Angels in the Bible: What Do We Actually Know About Them?
Who Wrote Ecclesiastes and What Does It Mean?
The Seven Churches of Revelation: Why They Matter and What We Can Learn
Who Killed Jesus? The Historical Context of Jesus’ Crucifixion
Did Jesus Really Descend into Hell?
Do You Know These 7 Differences Between the Bible and Quran?
What Is the Soul? Is It Different from the Spirit?
Who Wrote the Book of Hebrews?
The Nicene Creed: Where it came from and why it still matters
Who are the Nephilim in Genesis 6?
Sodom and Gomorrah: A Story about Sin and Judgment
Sodom and Gomorrah are two of the Old Testament’s most infamously sinful cities. Genesis 19 tells the story of how God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah for their wickedness, but spared Lot and his family (mostly).
The New Testament uses these cities as examples of behavior that God’s people need to avoid. But what exactly was the nature of Sodom’s sin? Why did God single them out? And why was Lot spared?
In his online course on the book of Genesis, Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman III answers these questions and more, starting where the story actually begins in Genesis 18, when Abraham finds himself hosting three unknown visitors.
The following post is based on his online course.
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What Does This Prepositional Phrase Modify? (Acts 14:1) – Mondays with Mounce 327
Prepositional phrases are generally adverbial, but certainly not always. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell what they modify.
Take Acts 14:1 for example. Paul and Barnabas have just been run out of Pisidian Antioch and have entered Iconium. The NIV reads, “At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual (κατὰ τὸ αὐτὸ) into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed.”
The Greek is, ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν Ἰκονίῳ κατὰ τὸ αὐτὸ εἰσελθεῖν ⸀αὐτοὺς εἰς τὴν συναγωγὴν τῶν Ἰουδαίων. So what does κατὰ τὸ αὐτὸ modify?
I thought the NIV was pretty straightforward. “According to the same” is adverbial, the point being that it was their custom to first go to the synagogue…
Cain and Abel: A Story of Rebellion, Judgment, and Grace
The story of Cain and Abel is one of sibling rivalry and murder. It’s shocking to realize that there is only one generation between the Bible’s story of creation and the first homicide. Mankind’s descent into sinfulness was fast and severe.
Cain and Abel each bring God a sacrifice. When God shows disappointment in Cain’s sacrifice and pleasure in Abel’s, Cain kills Abel with a stone.
God confronts Cain about murdering his brother. Cain lies about it. And God exiles him to the land of Nod, east of Eden.
This brief account in the Bible is just 16 verses long, but it paints a powerful picture of sin, judgment, and surprisingly, grace. Renowned Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman III explores this famous passage in his online course on Genesis.
The following post is adapted from…
Psalm 100 Commentary: Seven Commands and Two Motivations of Our Praise
Shout. Worship. Come. Know.
Enter. Give thanks. Praise him.
These seven commands form the backbone of one of the most instructive psalms on giving grateful praise to the Lord: Psalm 100. W. Dennis Tucker and Jamie A. Grant provide insight into this psalm’s meaning and composition in their new commentary Psalms, Volume 2 (NIV Application Commentary).
This Psalms commentary, which is part of the NIV Application Commentary Series, helps readers learn how the message of the Psalms can have the same powerful impact today that it did when they were first written. This commentary helps you achieve both halves of the interpretive task—understanding the Bible’s original message and applying it powerfully today.
A good place to start is Tucker and Grant’s observation that Psalm…
Did the Disciples Have Any Faith in Jesus? (Mark 4:38) – Mondays with Mounce 326
I have had a great summer off from my daily routines and have been busy on some major writing projects. They will be announced at this year’s ETS annual meeting (2018). You’ll like them.
But during the summer, Robin (my wife) and I were listening to some sermons from an excellent preacher. I want to emphasize that he is really good. But even really good exegetical preachers can make mistakes, and his mistake, as subtle as it was, should serve as a reminder that we should always check the Greek before we preach.
I have no doubt that this preacher knows the Greek rule I am going to share with you, but I don’t think he checked the Greek this time.
Jesus is out on the sea with his disciples, the storm comes up, and the disciples wake up Jesus…
Psalm 139 Commentary: God’s Pervasive Presence, Intimate Knowledge, and Faithful Comfort
Psalm 139 is one of the more well-known and well-beloved psalms—and for good reason. This psalm speaks of the pervasive presence of God, and his intimate knowledge of us, which offer us an outsized measure of hope and comfort in the face of adversity and trial. But what does the psalm mean and how are its four poetic movements connected?
W. Dennis Tucker and Jamie A. Grant provide insight into the meaning and composition of this magisterial psalm in their new commentary Psalms, Volume 2 (NIV Application Commentary). This Psalms commentary, which is part of the NIV Application Commentary Series, helps readers learn how the message of the Psalms can have the same powerful impact today that it…
Abraham and Isaac: A Test of Faith
In Genesis 22, God tests Abraham’s obedience by asking him to sacrifice Isaac, his only son.
To modern readers, this passage and this test feels like a nightmare. Why would God ask Abraham to do that? And why would Abraham be willing to go through with it?
Old Testament scholar Tremper Longman III explores this challenging passage in his online course on the book of Genesis. The following analysis is adapted from his course.
But first, let’s look at the passage itself.
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Who Wrote the Book of Genesis?
Moses is traditionally considered the author of Genesis. But for over two centuries, one of the most contested questions in biblical scholarship has been “Who wrote the Book of Genesis—and when?”
Genesis is the first book of the Bible, and one of the five books of the Pentateuch. Several other books of the Pentateuch include passages that mention Moses recording events and writing down what God says. The authors of the New Testament—and even Jesus himself—appear to credit Moses as the author of Genesis.
So why don’t scholars agree?
There are passages in Genesis that Moses could not have written, because they describe events that happened after his death, known as postmosaica passages. And there are others that would simply be awkward for Moses to write, which are referred to as amosaica (such as Numbers 12:4).…
How to Read the Gospel of Mark in the Context of Second Temple Judaism
The Gospel of Mark is widely considered the earliest and most influential narrative of the ministry and passion of Jesus Christ. Although undervalued for centuries, Mark’s Gospel is now celebrated as a cleverly crafted ancient biography, emphasizing action, irony, and intrigue over more direct and discursive modes of theologizing.
Yet not all readings of Mark are equally illuminating or transformative.
Over the last several decades, the Jewishness of Jesus has been at the forefront of scholarship and students of the New Testament are more than ever aware of the importance of understanding Jesus and the Gospels in their Jewish context. Reading Mark in Context (edited by Ben Blackwell, John Goodrich,…
Why Do We Need to Read the Gospel of Mark in Context?
Scripture is not a 21st century text.
The recently released Reading Mark in Context: Jesus and Second Temple Judaism helps the reader see the contour and texture of Jesus’ engagement with his Jewish environment. It brings together a series of accessible essays that compare and contrast viewpoints, theologies, and hermeneutical practices of Mark and his various Jewish contemporaries.
This week we asked the editors, Ben C. Blackwell, John K. Goodrich, and Jason Maston, to weigh in on why they thought it’s important to read the Gospel of Mark in context. Read further to hear what they had to say.
Just the other day a new student asked me about studying the New Testament and early Christianity. They were wondering how you study…
What Is Sola Scriptura?
Sola Scriptura is a Latin phrase that means “only Scripture” or “Scripture alone.” It was one of the rallying cries of the Reformation.
But what is the significance of this phrase?
Sola Scriptura declares that only Scripture is our inerrant, sufficient, and final authority for the church, because it is God breathed and divinely inspired (2 Timothy 3:16). In the sixteenth century, this directly contradicted the teachings of the Catholic Church, which elevated tradition and the Pope and magisterium’s authority to the level of Scripture itself.
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10 Ways the Bible Uses Apologetics
Apologetics is how we logically and philosophically justify our beliefs in the Bible and Jesus. These arguments draw from a wide range of fields and use a variety of persuasive techniques.
Does the Bible itself provide a universal, context-free, step-by-step apologetic system we can apply to any and every apologetic situation? No. But it does offer tools and principles we can apply to our current cultural location, enabling us to think biblically about apologetics.
In their online course, Apologetics at the Cross, Joshua D. Chatraw and Mark D. Allen explore how the Bible creates persuasive arguments, showcasing methods, strategies, and principles that can shape our own arguments and reasoning today.
The following post is adapted from their course.
1. The cross is the best argument for Christianity
If ever there has been a proof-text against apologetics, it…