11 Things to Know about the Doctrine of the Trinity

ZA Blog on 1 day ago. Tagged under ,,.

Trinity

To contemplate the Trinity is to lift up your heart and to “set your mind on the things above” (Col. 3:2).

It’s easy to turn doctrinal discussions into strictly intellectual affairs, but as Dr. Fred Sanders teaches in The Triune God course, we need to do so “in a way that enlists the reader’s strict and holy attention for what is essentially a spiritual exercise.”

Any discussion of trinitarian doctrine is an attempt to more deeply understand the character and nature of God.

If we’re interested in discovering (and maintaining) an orthodox understanding of the Trinity, there are some principles we need to understand.

These 11 things you need to know about the doctrine of the Trinity are adapted from his course:

1. The revelation of the Trinity comes with the revelation of the gospel.

The doctrine of the…

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How Did We Get the Old Testament?

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Old Testament

The Old Testament is thousands of years old, and contains accounts stretching back to the beginning of time. This ancient collection of books provides the foundation of both Judaism and Christianity.

So where did it come from? How did these age-old traditions, stories, and commandments make their way to modern times? These are important questions.

John Walton and Andrew Hill answer these questions in their Old Testament Survey online course. The following post is adapted from their unit on the background, history, archaeology, and formation of the Old Testament.

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Guide to the Attributes of God

ZA Blog on 3 days ago. Tagged under ,,.

Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology

Between the things God says and does, what other people say about him, and the life of Jesus, the Bible gives us numerous descriptions of God’s character. These passages are often sorted into “attributes of God,” a biblical framework we can use to talk about what God is like and how we know that. Exploring the attributes of God helps us prepare for evangelism, learn church doctrine, and most importantly, understand who God is.

There are several different methods for categorizing God’s attributes. This post will use the most common classification system, adapted from Wayne Grudem’s online systematic theology course.

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What Is the Soul? Is It Different from the Spirit?

ZA Blog on 5 days ago. Tagged under ,,,.

Wayne Grudem's Systematic Theology

Religious or not, most people believe they have some form of a soul. Whether they loosely believe in a concept like “the human spirit,” or they believe part of them will live on when their body expires, these beliefs about body, spirit, and soul all come from somewhere. You might be surprised to learn that much of what people believe about the soul or spirit doesn’t come from the Bible.

The Bible doesn’t neatly define the concepts of spirit and soul for us, so in order to know what it’s saying, we need to piece together all the clues it gives us. In his online systematic theology course, Dr. Wayne Grudem has done just that to reveal how the Bible answers, “What is the soul?” and “What is the spirit?”

The following post is adapted from Grudem’s course.

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Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: How Is One God Three Persons?

ZA Blog on 1 week ago. Tagged under ,,.

Trinity

If you ask the average Christian to define the Trinity, more often than not they’re going to give you a similar response: “The Trinity is one God in three persons.” While there will likely be some slight variations in how it’s stated, two words will almost always be present: “God” and “persons.”

It’s easy to understand why “God” would be part of every definition. The whole Trinitarian discussion revolves around what we can know and understand about God. When we discuss the Trinity, we’re discussing God.

But did you ever stop to wonder why “persons” is the accepted term for the distinctions of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Why not three “manifestations,” “modes,” or “beings?” The truth is that the term “person” wasn’t landed on haphazardly. Theologians have labored throughout church history to accurately define the Trinity.

What follows…

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9 Ways Suicide Affects Others

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

Even in Our DarknessMemoir is, by nature, truth-telling. In his new moving memoir Even in Our Darkness, Jack Deer tells the truth about one of the most painful themes repeated throughout his life: suicide.

On January 21, 1961, Dad woke to an empty house, poured whiskey in his coffee, swallowed some barbiturates, and scribbled an angry note.

Sometime before noon, he walked over to the record player in front of the two windows in our living room. He put on Floyd Cramer’s “Last Date,” setting the turntable to repeat. Then he sat down on the red sofa with gold embroidery and picked up his childhood rifle. He shoved one .22-caliber shell into the chamber, pressed the muzzle between his eyes, and left a thirty-four-year-old widow with a tenth-grade education…

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When Bibles Do, and Don’t, Follow the Greek. A Couple Examples. – Mondays with Mounce 320

Bill Mounce on 1 week ago. Tagged under ,.

Paul tells the Colossians church, “My goal is that their hearts may be encouraged (ἵνα παρακληθῶσιν αἱ καρδίαι αὐτῶν) and knit together in love (συμβιβασθέντες ἐν ἀγάπῃ), so that (καὶ εἰς) they may have all the wealth of full assurance of understanding, for knowledge of God’s mystery, which is Christ (εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν τοῦ μυστηρίου τοῦ θεοῦ, Χριστοῦ)” (2:2).

There are a couple things worth noting. The first is the value of keeping dependent clauses dependent. The text doesn’t say “encouraged and knit together.” παρακληθῶσιν is the main verb in the purpose clause, and συμβιβασθέντες is a dependent construction (adverbial participle) telling us something about how they are encouraged. Paul is not saying that he wants the Colossians to be encouraged and to be knit together. He is saying he wants them…

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Counterpoints eBook Sale 2018 (Our Biggest Yet)

ZA Blog on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under .

philosophy-pic_image

Creation and evolution. Homosexuality. Hell. eBooks exploring these and 31 other key topics are on sale: See the deals. Save up to 76% on these Counterpoints books and get expert dialogue on vital Christian issues—so you can draw your own informed conclusions.

The deals end May 8, 2018, at 11:59pm ET.

 

What’s special about the Counterpoints series?

Counterpoints volumes offer you expert dialogue on vital Christian issues.

Each Counterpoints volume—for example, let’s take Four Views on Creation, Evolution, and Intelligent Design—contains multiple contributions, each representing a key position within evangelical Christianity. Each contributor presents their own perspective, but also responds to their fellow contributors. In the volume on creation, evolution, and intelligent design you will find:

cases from Ken Ham (Young Earth Creationism), Hugh Ross (Old Earth [Progressive] Creationism), Deborah B. Haarsma (Evolutionary Creation), and Stephen C. Meyer

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What the Bible Tells Us About the 10 Plagues of Egypt

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The fifth plague

One of the Bible’s most dramatic scenes plays out in a showdown between God and an Egyptian Pharaoh, resulting in 10 nightmarish plagues. The Hebrew nation that God formed to worship and represent him was enslaved in Egypt, and he was demanding their release through his servant, Moses.

As Pharaoh continues to resist Moses, God inflicts upon Egypt a series of plagues. As the standoff drags on, the plagues become more severe, eventually escalating to the death of all of Egypt’s firstborn sons.

Why did God choose the plagues he did? And why did he harden Pharaoh’s heart, ensuring that Egypt would experience the entire series of plagues? These are some of the questions that Dr. Gary E. Schnittjer, professor of the Old Testament at Cairn University, tackles in his online course, The Torah Story. The following post is…

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7 Places We Find Jesus in the Old Testament

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

9780310536543From beginning to end, the Bible reveals the glory of Jesus. But for many Bible readers, it isn’t that simple.

While we know Jesus is the fulfillment of the Jewish story and we want to better understand how the two Testaments relate, we’re often unsure how the Bible’s many stories, characters, and events relate to each other—especially to Jesus. Some are tempted to force the Bible’s many pieces together, making superficial jumps from the Hebrew Scriptures to Jesus’ story. But most are left wondering:

Does Jesus and his story connect to the Old Testament? If so, where is Jesus in the Old Testament? How does the Old Testament inform our understanding of Jesus—his life and teachings, death and resurrection?

Christ from Beginning to End answers these questions, helping Christians better understand how to…

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Understanding the Creation Story from Genesis

ZA Blog on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,.

The creation of Adam

How did the world begin? Was the world a cosmological mistake or an intentional creation? What existed before the universe as we know it? Questions like these have generated tons of discussion (and arguments) in the historical, scientific, and religious communities.

While most people are familiar with the creation story found in Genesis, there’s a richness that’s often lost. In The Torah Story online course, Gary E. Schnittjer, Cairn University’s professor of Old Testament, plumbs the depth of the creation story while answering important questions like:

How did the author of Genesis receive the creation story? How does the narrative style of the creation story provide the backdrop for the rest of the biblical story? What does the creation story reveal about God? How are humans different than the rest of creation? What is mankind’s responsibility to creation?

This…

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Shoes on the Danube Bank: Message from Bill Mounce

ZA Blog on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under .

Shoes on the Danube Bank

We received this photograph and brief message from Bill Mounce on April 30, 2018.

I am in Budapest, Hungary teaching a class on the Pastoral Epistles for the Cru Seminary. These shoes represent all the Budapest Jewish people, adults and children, who were executed by the Arrow Cross Militiamen, fell into the Danube, and floated downstream. In total 3,500 people were murdered. Difficult to see.

***

Bill is the founder and President of BiblicalTraining.org, serves on the Committee for Bible Translation (which is responsible for the NIV translation of the Bible), and has written a commentary on the Pastoral Epistles and many other works including the best-selling biblical…

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