Did Jesus Really Descend into Hell?
Who Killed Jesus? The Historical Context of Jesus’ Crucifixion
Craig Keener on reading, writing, and biblical scholarship
Who Wrote Ecclesiastes and What Does It Mean?
Do You Know These 7 Differences Between the Bible and Quran?
Who Wrote the Book of Hebrews?
What Happened Between the Old and New Testaments? 4 Things You Need to Know to Read the New Testament Well
What Language Did Jesus Speak?
Why Are Jesus’ Genealogies in Matthew and Luke Different?
Who wrote the book of James?
Who wrote the Gospel of John?
The Gospel of John provides no explicit internal evidence concerning its author. John, the disciple, is nowhere identified by name.
But the Fourth Gospel might provide us with clues concealed in the enigmatic figure of the “Beloved Disciple.”
This title occurs in five passages:
John 13:23: “One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him.” John 19:26: “When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son.’” John 20:2: “So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!’” John 21:7: “Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’” John 20:20: “Peter turned…
What Is Evangelism?
Most Christians know that they should be engaging in the work of evangelism, but few know what evangelism is.
For example, is the stay-at-home mom who helps run the play group at her church doing evangelism if she incorporates Bible stories into the craft activities? Can a play group become an evangelistic play group?
Or does evangelism only occur in more “conventional” tactics: witnessing on the street, leading large crusades? Are those the only ways the gospel of Jesus Christ can be communicated, the only way people can evangelize?
In other words: What counts as evangelism? What is evangelism?
This word evangelism carries a lot of baggage, tradition, and emotion. Furthermore, most people have been poorly equipped with evangelism methods that are no longer…
Who was John the Baptist?
The New Testament places a very high estimate on John the Baptist and his ministry.
John was the greatest figure yet produced under the old covenant, according to Matthew 11:11.
Jesus said of him in Luke 7:28, “I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John.”
And Hebrews 11:39 tells us he epitomized all the Old Testament saints who stood at the threshold of the new order without entering in.
His great importance lies in the fact that he bridged the old era and the new and was the link between the two.
Let’s take a closer look at his life, as well as his relationship to Jesus.
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Do We Rejoice in the Midst of Pain, or Run from It? (Phil 2:18) – Mondays with Mounce 314
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…
Craig Keener on reading, writing, and biblical scholarship
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
Telling 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,…
What Is a “Divided Tongue” (Acts 2:3) – Mondays with Mounce 313
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 2:3).
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…
The Contest of Good and Evil Within Us: An Excerpt from Jack Deere’s Memoir
In 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…
The Nicene Creed: Where it came from and why it still matters
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.
SIL International and Zondervan Academic Working Together to Aid Global Bible Translation Efforts
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…
The Truth About Shame and Grace
Memoir 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…
Did the Laodicean Church Write a Letter? (Col 4:16) – Mondays with Mounce 312
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…