How to Apply the Bible to Your Life in Four Steps
One hallmark of biblical interpretation is the meant-means distinction: we need to determine what the Bible meant (to the original author and audience, in their context and culture) before understanding what it means (to us in our context and culture).
Authors William Klein, Craig Blomberg, and Robert Hubbard echo this hermeneutical rule in Introduction to Biblical Interpretation, Third Edition, a fully updated resource to help students unravel the mysteries of interpreting Scripture.
One of those mysteries is the means side of the equation: how to apply the Bible. The authors explain that “all applications must be consistent with the meaning of passages arrived at by means of…sound hermeneutical principles” (609). But how can one make the connection between what a passage meant, as determined…
4 Major Themes in First Peter and the Story of God
Martin Luther called the letter “one of the grandest of the New Testament.” Early church fathers Clement of Rome and Polycarp of Smyrna were inspired by the letter’s consoling, hopeful words. More recently, Karen Jobes said the five-chapter General Epistle is “significant for the church,” especially the Majority World church.
I’m referring to the first letter of Peter, which has a new guide today to help its readers navigate its major themes: Dennis Edwards’ 1 Peter (The Story of God Bible Commentary series). Of this letter Edwards writes:
First Peter will assist us by affirming our Christian identity, guiding us in our relationships within and without the Christian…
One Concern with Renewed Interest in the Holy Spirit: Depersonalization
In Rediscovering the Holy Spirit, Michael Horton encourages us to refocus on the person and work of the Spirit, in order to recognize him as someone other than Jesus or ourselves—or as something in creation.
Although the Holy Spirit has made something of a comeback in recent years, Horton bears a word of caution:
As with the revival of interest in the Trinity, renewed interest in the Spirit does not always mean clarity or consistency with respect to historic Christian teaching. It is not to be assumed that the Spirit whom people have in mind is the Spirit identified in Scripture. (20)
Horton has one particular concern in mind: the Spirit’s depersonalization.
His concern arises from both the culture and the church. Horton explores why, in order to help us rediscover the…
2 Views on Human Evolution: Evolutionary-Creation vs. Unique-Origin
Discussions surrounding Christianity and science have been fraught with taut rhetoric and polarizing polemics on both sides of the aisle. The new Dictionary of Christianity and Science aims to shape these conversations by offering a framework for better dialogue.
Perhaps in no other discussion do we need such a sure, sturdy referee than in the one surrounding human origin. Through the Dictionary‘s “Multiple-View Discussions” entry type, two able scientists lead the discussion: Darrel R. Falk and Ann Gauger.
Below, we’ve engaged one aspect of their lengthy, robust discussion: the genetic evidence for so-called common descent—the view that our species, Homo sapiens, descended from ape-like ancestors.
We trust it will give you a taste of this definitive reference, showcasing why Scot McKnight says “Every Christian studying science will want a copy within arm’s…
The Story of God and 1 John 3:11–18
This is how we know what love is: Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers and sisters. (1 John 3:16)
I would imagine several sermons pivoted around this verse over the past several days celebrating Good Friday, Holy Saturday, and Resurrection Sunday. It’s also the pivot verse in a passage Constantine Campbell engages in his new 1, 2, & 3 John commentary from The Story of God Bible Commentary series.
This resource offers a clear and compelling exposition of John’s epistles, as well as a guide for everyday readers in how to creatively and faithfully live out John’s lessons contextually. (Like each volume in The Story of God Bible Commentary series, Campbell explores this passage…
Darwin, Darwinism, and the “Dictionary of Christianity and Science”
That tension, however, hasn’t stopped Paul Copan, Tremper Longman, Christopher Reese, and Michael Strauss from offering the church and academy a new reference resource for the intersection of the Christian faith and contemporary science.
The Dictionary of Christianity and Science (on-sale 4/25/17) engages the crucial faith-science topics of the day. From Adam and Eve to the age of the earth, Big Bang to bioethics, string theory to the Scopes trial, this definitive resource offers you access to over 450 concepts, individuals, and debates, displayed in three types of entries:
Introductions offer quick and easy overviews Essays present further exploration of significant topics Multiple-view discussions stimulate discussion through vigorous, charitable, persuading points-of-view articles
To give you a…
4 Non-Biblical, Non-Christian Views of Reality You Need to Know About
In his new book The Essentials of Christian Thought Roger Olson tells the story of an aunt who was a passionately devoted member of the Presbyterian church. Though she was “one of the sweetest, most intelligent and devout Christian women he has ever had the privilege to know,” there was one problem:
Whether she was aware of it or not, her worldview, her metaphysical vision of ultimate reality, was radically contrary to that of the Bible and Christianity. (108)
This worldview problem is actually far too common. Which is why Olson devotes an entire chapter to non-biblical, non-Christian views of reality. We’ve briefly outlined these alternative perspectives that all Christians should be aware of—so they can avoid the mistakes of Olson’s dear…
Hermeneutics 101: Reasons, Challenges, and Benefits of Biblical Interpretation
Almost ten years ago I was introduced to hermeneutics by William Klein, Craig Blomberg, and Robert Hubbard in the first semester of my M.Div. program. Thanks to their sturdy textbook resource I got a goodly introduction to the important practice of biblical interpretation. Which is why I’m thrilled they’ve updated and revised it!
Now in its third edition, Introduction to Biblical Interpretation offers concise, logical, and practical guidelines for discovering the truth in God’s Word. With updates and revisions throughout that keep pace with current scholarship, this guide offers the best, most up-to-date information needed to interpret Scripture.
But how are we to learn what the Bible says? How do we…
6 Major Themes in the Johannine Epistles and the Story of God
A few years ago, Zondervan Academic launched a new commentary series to explain and illuminate Scripture in light of the Bible’s grand story: The Story of God Bible Commentary. Today we’re pleased to share the next volume.
Constantine Campbell’s new commentary on 1, 2, and 3 John offers a clear and compelling exposition of the Bible, as well as a guide for everyday readers in how to creatively and faithfully live it out contextually.
This commentary examines John’s teachings with an eye to the church today—the men and women who desire a deeper relationship with God, a stronger foundation for their walk, and a clearer vision for God’s working in the world beyond their immediate circle… (19)
In a few weeks we will showcase the dynamics of Campbell’s work…
Advice for Integrating the Essentials of Christian Thought with Learning
Doctrine. Politics. Church government. Moral issues. Christians disagree on just about everything under the sun. Yet a unity remains, centered around a core view of God and the world. This unity is rooted in the Christian vision for ultimate reality—a vision challenged by culture and often shunned by Christians.
Which is why Roger Olson’s new book The Essentials of Christian Thought is so important.
This book contains an archeology of the implicit philosophy of the Bible—the Bible’s assumed view of reality…this philosophy is foundational to everything the Bible teaches, and orthodox, thinking Christians of all denominations throughout the centuries have believed it. (10)
He wrote it not only to help Christians distinguish between the Bible’s vision of reality and competing ones from culture.…
Do You Pray for Spiritual Gifts? Here are Two Reasons Why You Should
Follow the way of love and eagerly desire gifts of the Spirit, especially prophecy. (1 Corinthians 14:1)
I would imagine many of us earnestly pursue the first part of Paul’s exhortation to the Corinthian believers. Pursuing love we get, and probably seek more often than not. But earnestly desiring the gifts of the Spirit? And “especially” prophecy? Perhaps not as much.
Yet Sam Storms urges in his new book Practicing the Power that this is exactly what we’re called to do as Christians.
the Holy Spirit wants to be pursued and will not be pushed. This is just another way of saying that if we want to see and experience the full range of spiritual gifts we must relentlessly seek them.…
Four Principles from Daniel for Sustaining Faith in Today’s World
A teenager and his friends, to say nothing of an entire nation, had to navigate this question themselves. Thankfully their wisdom has been preserved for us.
In his new book Hearing the Message of Daniel, Christopher Wright explores the perennial problem of living in but not of the world by exploring the book of Daniel—beginning with the young Jewish mens’ surprising response to Babylon’s program of indoctrination.
Though most sermons focus on their courage to say “no,” Wright explains why it is important that they said “yes” three times—giving us four principles…