Do We Rejoice in the Midst of Pain, or Run from It? (Phil 2:18) – Mondays with Mounce 314

ZA Blog on 3 hours ago. Tagged under ,.

Having established that God is at work in his children, giving them godly desires and the ability to accomplish those desires (Philippians 2:12–13), Paul then draws out one way those desires manifest themselves. “Do all things without grumbling or arguing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like stars in the universe.” (2:14–15)

As an aside, wouldn’t it be wonderful if this actually characterized the church? No negative words. No senseless debate. We would actually shine into the darkness of this world. And isn’t it interesting that if we could stop grumbling and arguing, then we will be “ blameless and innocent”? (And please don’t comment on the blog post about why it is so important that you argue about theology; that’s…

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Craig Keener on reading, writing, and biblical scholarship

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Craig S. Keener is the F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is the author of more than twenty books, including Miracles and Spirit Hermeneutics. His commentaries include the 4-volume Acts: An Exegetical Commentary, published by Baker Academic, and Revelation in the NIV Application Commentary, among others. He is also co-editor, along with John Walton, of the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible.

We recently collaborated with Dr. Keener to produce an online course on the book of Revelation. We were able to sit down with Dr. Keener for an extended interview about how he writes and conducts research, what it means for him to be a scholar at this moment in history, his advice to younger scholars, and much more.

Take a look:

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The Truth About God’s Love

Jeremy Bouma on 6 days ago. Tagged under ,,.

Even in Our DarknessTelling the truth is the essence of memoir. Jack Deere tells the truth about his own life in order to share with us the truth about life in his new book Even in Our Darkness.

In it, he offers an unvarnished look at the Christian life—with all of its disappointments and disasters, addiction and sin—to tell us something essential about the greatest truth: God’s love.

Below are some vignettes of his life showcasing the truth about God’s love, beginning with his early understanding of God’s posture toward humanity and ending with the ultimate truth about this love.


Jack’s dad was the first person to tell him about God, which left a lasting impression:

Dad told me we were born with immortal souls. After we died,…

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What Is a “Divided Tongue” (Acts 2:3) – Mondays with Mounce 313

Bill Mounce on 1 week ago. Tagged under ,.

If you were raised in the church with a biblical pastor, you might have some idea what a “divided tongue” is, but possibly not. My guess is that the most natural understanding is that you have multiple tongues (of fire), and each one is split into different parts (i.e., “cloven”), but one tongue. But then you get to the second half of the verse and you realize that this fire is going over each person present, possibly 120 people (Acts 1:15).

As you compare the translations, it can get even more confusing. The NRSV says, “Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.” As I said, I am not sure how people would understand “divided tongues.” And then later you have a single tongue over each person.

The problem is that you…

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The Contest of Good and Evil Within Us: An Excerpt from Jack Deere’s Memoir

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Jack Deere

Even in Our DarknessIn East of Eden, John Steinbeck wrote that we all have one story, and it is the same story: the contest of good and evil within us. Any honest person knows that they are losing this contest.

As a child, I could lie to others, but hadn’t yet developed the sophistication to lie to myself. I knew my bad deeds would always push down the scale. So I chose to enjoy my darkness rather than feel guilty about it.

Then I discovered that Christ had already borne the weight of my sin, and that once I accepted his gift, he would never leave. Yet Saint Peter’s scales lingered. In church I was told that as a Christian, my good deeds eventually would outweigh the bad. Then I preached versions…

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The Nicene Creed: Where it came from and why it still matters

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Know the Creeds and Councils

The Nicene Creed is one of the most famous and influential creeds in the history of the church, because it settled the question of how Christians can worship one God and also claim that this God is three persons.

It was also the first creed to obtain universal authority in the church, and it improved the language of the Apostles’ Creed by including more specific statements about the divinity of Christ and the Holy Spirit.

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SIL International and Zondervan Academic Working Together to Aid Global Bible Translation Efforts

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Zondervan Academic providing dozens of academic resources, including online courses, to support efficient and accurate Bible translation work around the world.

Grand Rapids, Mich., March 8, 2018 — Zondervan Academic is pleased to announce their support of SIL International®, a faith-based nonprofit organization committed to serving language communities worldwide. Zondervan Academic is providing to SIL some of the world’s top biblical resources to support efficient and accurate Bible translation work around the world.

SIL has developed Translator’s Workplace, a product built on the Logos Bible Software platform, so that those in a Bible translation role who are part of a private, managed group can access resources to aid their translation efforts. Translator’s Workplace acts like a library with unlimited loaning and loan periods. Zondervan Academic, which already distributes many of its titles digitally through Logos, has granted permission to Logos…

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The Truth About Shame and Grace

Jeremy Bouma on 1 week ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310538141Memoir is truth-telling. About one’s own life, yes, but also life. As Elie Wiesel said, “with memoir you must be honest, you must be truthful.”

In Even in Our Darkness, Jack Deere has written a moving memoir that tells the truth. Through his unvarnished story of the Christian life, Jack guides readers in overcoming life’s disappointments and learning to hear God speak in unimaginable ways.

One pathway Jack offers guidance is through the shoals of shame, and the importance of grace in finding victory. Through unvarnished honesty, he explores how each of us have a role to play in other’s experience of both shame and grace.

In one childhood anecdote, Jack recalls cussing out his mother. The next day, his dad told him to go to the dreaded “Back Bedroom” for…

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Did the Laodicean Church Write a Letter? (Col 4:16) – Mondays with Mounce 312

Bill Mounce on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under ,.

Paul writes, “After this letter has been read to you (καὶ ὅταν ἀναγνωσθῇ παρ᾿ ὑμῖν ἡ ἐπιστολή), see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans (ποιήσατε ἵνα καὶ ἐν τῇ Λαοδικέων ἐκκλησίᾳ ἀναγνωσθῇ) and that you in turn read the letter from Laodicea (καὶ τὴν ἐκ Λαοδικείας ἵνα καὶ ὑμεῖς ἀναγνῶτε)” (Col 4:16; NIV).

This verse gives us a nice example of ellipsis; ἐπιστολή is not repeated but assumed in the final clause. τὴν modifies the unexpressed ἐπιστολήν.

It gives us another example as well of how we often write in short-hand and expect the reader to understand the missing parts. If you just read the final phrase, who wrote the second letter? The NIV’s “the letter from Laodicea” sounds like the church in Laodicea wrote a letter to the Colossian church. However, most people (if…

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The Truth About Suffering

Jeremy Bouma on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

9780310538141“I will say, with memoir,” Elie Wiesel is quoted as saying, “you must be honest, you must be truthful.”

Jack Deere tells the truth in his new book Even in Our Darkness. Not merely about his own life, but about life.

Deere’s story is one of beauty in a broken life brimming with the kind of authenticity and realism, failure and fortitude, darkness and light we need to help us and others make sense of life in all of its trueness.

Under Deere’s guidance, truth—his truth, life’s truth—is “profoundly unmasked, unsettling, and unforgettable.” Beginning with the truth about suffering.

There were three insights I gleaned from his raw, harrowing account of life.

Suffering is Mysterious

Deere’s opening paragraph illustrates the truth of suffering’s mystery with painful precision:

On the morning of…

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7 tips for learning biblical Hebrew from Miles Van Pelt

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Miles Van Pelt recently shared some tips for learning Biblical Hebrew. If you’re thinking of learning Hebrew, you’ll want to take a look at what he says. And don’t forget to check out his Biblical Hebrew online course.

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When you’re studying a language, it’s always good to have a study group or a partner.

You want to do this for a number of reasons.

The first reason…

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(Our First Ever) eBook Sale on Word Biblical Commentary

ZA Blog on 3 weeks ago. Tagged under ,.

WBC eBook Sale

31 Word Biblical Commentary eBooks are on sale for the first time—and you save up to 75%. Check out the deals today because they end on March 4, 2018.

The WBC series will help you build deeper theological understanding from solid biblical scholarship. Gain a thorough understanding of the biblical text through historical, textual, linguistic, structural, and theological discoveries collected within these volumes, and gain balanced insight into the Bible’s meaning.

WBC has more #1-rated volumes than any other commentary series (source:, view the top commentaries). These essential resources feature top-rated scholarship by Richard J. Bauckham, William D. Mounce, Gordon J. Wenham, John E. Goldingay, H.G.M. Williamson, Richard N. Longenecker, and many others.

Don’t miss the sale.

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