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…
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…
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,…
Speaking in Tongues: What Is Its Proper Role in Worship? (1 Corinthians 14 Commentary)
Some would say tongues deserve no role in worship. Some would say the gift of tongues deserves a prominent role. But what does the Bible say?
The nature of tongues and their role in worship were among the issues affecting the church in Corinth, as we see in the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. In Paul Gardner’s exegetical commentary on 1 Corinthians, Gardner brings deep insight to the issue in his interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14:1–19. Gardner explains that passage’s main idea in this way:
Church members should pursue love, and this means desiring those grace-gifts that build up the church. This will lead to a prioritizing…
9 Ways Suicide Affects Others
Memoir 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…
7 Places We Find Jesus in the Old Testament
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…
How to Read the Bible in Context
So how do we read such a book?
This question is important when picking up any document, from paperback to newspaper. You wouldn’t read a historical novel on WWII the same way you would a nonfiction historical account of the same time. And we read the newspaper’s front page differently than the opinion-editorials (or at least, we ought to read them differently).
How, then, should we read the Bible? It starts with context.
In Christ from Beginning to End, authors Trent Hunter and Stephen Wellum outline six different contexts—three specific, three general—to…
What Is the New Covenant?
“You must read the book with X-ray eyes, for it is an essential part of your apprehension of any book to grasp its structure.”
If you were to X-ray the Bible, you would first notice a four-plot structure: creation, fall, redemption, new creation. However, “if we want to see with finer details and understand what shapes the Bible’s deeper structure,” Trent Hunter and Stephen Wellum explain in their new book Christ from Beginning to End, “we need to grasp something called a covenant” (54).
Who God is and how he acts pivots around this word covenant, because “the Bible is…
12 Ways Evangelism Is Changing
You’ve heard it said the twenty-first century is markedly different from the twentieth. It’s not only because we have terrorism scares, self-driving cars, and Facebook. Church attendance is decreasing, religious Nones are increasing, and the way people view and interact with truth has changed.
Yet many Christians and churches are evangelizing as if we are still living in the twentieth century—and failing to make the unbelievable news about Jesus more believable.
Although the essence of evangelism is the gospel—the message that Jesus Christ is Lord—the task of evangelism is our human effort of proclaiming this message. This task used to primarily mean quoting Scripture, or explaining the believability of the Christian faith through clever arguments.
10 Reasons Why People Reject the Gospel
If the gospel is the “good news about Jesus,” then why do so many people reject it? If Christians bear this “good news,” how can they better share it using methods that are effective in today’s post-Christian world?
Evangelism in a Skeptical World offers actionable advice for making the unbelievable news about Jesus more believable. It also explains why people often reject this news in the first place, equipping Christians to make it more enticing to non-Christians they know.
Here are at least ten reasons why people often reject the gospel, and what you can do about it.
1) The gospel doesn’t fit their plausibility structure
Plausibility structures “are accepted beliefs, convictions, and understandings that either green-light truth claims…
What Is Evangelism?
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…
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,…