Holiness Deserves Thoughtful Consideration – An Excerpt from Sanctification (New Studies in Dogmatics)

ZA Blog on 6 days ago. Tagged under ,,.

Thinking the holy for Christians, and specifically for reformational Christians, appears a difficult task. It remains needed, however, for the prophetic and apostolic witness to Jesus Christ insists on the importance of holiness from start to finish.

Many view holiness as accidental or expendable or even as a legalistic and conformist posture opposed to the freedom of the gospel. But Sanctification is one of the gifts of the gospel of Jesus Christ. In today’s excerpt from Sanctification, author Michael Allen explains why holiness deserves such consideration and how it requires a steady focus on the holiness of God.

9780310491460THINKING THE HOLY

As Moses would tell you, you have to approach the holy in the proper way. The burning bush demands a specific posture and mode of…

Read more

Bible Interpretation: 4 Challenges and How to Overcome Them

ZA Blog on 1 week ago.

Bible interpretation

You probably already know that the Bible was originally written to someone else who:

lived a long time ago, in another part of the world, where they spoke a different language, and had different cultural values.

A word that captures one of the greatest challenges and frustrations in Bible interpretation is distance. There are four aspects to this distance: time, geography, language, and cultural values. Being aware of these is a critical step toward interpreting the Bible correctly.

In this post, adapted from William Klein, Craig Blomberg, and Robert Hubbard’s Introduction to Biblical Interpretation online course, we’ll take a look at each of these.

By submitting your email address, you understand that you will receive email communications from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (501 Nelson Place, Nashville, TN 37214 USA) providing information about products and services of HCCP and its…

Read more

9 Tips for Learning Biblical Greek from Bill Mounce

ZA Blog on 1 week ago.

Bill Mounce tips on learning biblical Greek

William D. Mounce loathes the popular cliché “It’s all Greek to me.” As the author of the bestselling Greek textbook, Basics of Biblical Greek, and a former director of the Greek program at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, he’s heard it said by too many overwhelmed first year language students.

According to Dr. Mounce learning Greek is simply a matter of putting in the time and plodding through the basic steps. After years of teaching the language, Bill claims that if you truly want to learn Greek, and you’re willing to put in the time, you will learn it.

In his online biblical Greek course, Bill Mounce shares some of his best tips for new Greek students who actually want to learn the language.

9 tips for learning biblical Greek from Bill Mounce

If you really want to learn Greek,…

Read more

Biblical Counseling vs. Christian Counseling: What’s the Difference?

ZA Blog on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under ,.

biblical-counseling

This post is adapted from Heath Lambert’s Theology of Biblical Counseling online course.

There are some Christians who disagree that the Bible should be used to help us solve our counseling-related problems.

Christians who rely—to one degree or another—on the counseling insights of secular people have been called integrationists, Christian counselors, and Christian psychologists—among other things.

I want to show how the decision to be a Christian counselor is a theological decision. In order to do that, I will describe areas where biblical counselors agree with our brothers and sisters in Christian counseling, as well as some areas where we disagree.

By submitting your email address, you understand that you will receive email communications from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (501 Nelson Place, Nashville, TN 37214 USA) providing information about products and services of HCCP and its affiliates. You may…

Read more

How to study the books of James, 1 & 2 Peter, and Jude

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

How to study the books of James, 1 & 2 Peter, and Jude

You probably already know that the books of James, 1 & 2 Peter, and Jude are some of the most read—and mis-read—books of the New Testament. They include passages on dealing with temptation, the holiness of God, and the famous doxology at the end of Jude.

But they also include passages on slaves and masters, wives and husbands, and faith and works—passages that don’t line up with many modern norms, or even other parts of the canon.

What can we learn from these books?

A great deal, it turns out.

The challenge, however, is knowing where to start—or even…

Read more

7 Tips for Understanding Revelation

ZA Blog on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under .

The Book of Revelation is notoriously difficult to understand. Over the centuries, the church has presented countless interpretations and theories about the meaning and significance of this enigmatic work.

Even modern scholars approach Revelation in several different ways.

Whether you find that intimidating or enticing, we need some guardrails to keep us from getting lost in Revelation’s prophecies, metaphors, and apocalyptic imagery. Here are some tips for studying Revelation from Scott Duvall, who, along with J. Daniel Hays, teaches the Biblical Interpretation online course.

By submitting your email address, you understand that you will receive email communications from HarperCollins Christian Publishing (501 Nelson Place, Nashville, TN 37214 USA) providing information about products and services of HCCP and its affiliates. You may unsubscribe from these email communications at any time. If you have any questions, please review our

Read more

Was the Reformation a Mistake? An Excerpt by Catholic Theologian Matthew Levering

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

I hold that the Reformers made mistakes, but that they chose to be reformers was not a mistake.

In 1517, the Church was in need of a spiritual and theological reform. In today’s excerpt from Was the Reformation a Mistake? Why Catholic Doctrine Is Not Unbiblical, Matthew Levering provides the backdrop to the Reformation and reasons why the Reformers were not wrong to challenge the Church in Rome.

9780310530718WEEDS AND WHEAT: THE REFORMATION IN CONTEXT

Before proceeding, let me make some additional observations about whether the Reformation was a “mistake,” as my book’s title asks in light of the five-hundredth anniversary. In the Gospel of Matthew, Jesus’s preaching of the kingdom of heaven includes his sobering parable of the wheat and the weeds.…

Read more

What Does It Mean to Be Gay … and a Christian? An Excerpt from All But Invisible

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

“Christians who aren’t straight but who also observe a traditional sexual ethic are some of the least acknowledged and understood people today,” writes Nate Collins. “They don’t fit into the mainstream gay culture, but neither do they feel entirely at home in your typical evangelical church.”

All But Invisible: Exploring Identity Questions at the Intersection of Faith, Gender, and Sexuality “is a book about people, like myself, who don’t see themselves as heterosexual or straight,” writes Collins, who explains: “much of what follows is, unavoidably, the result of my reflection on my experience as a gender minority who is also a conservative Christian with traditional views on sex and marriage.

Hear more from Nate Collins in today’s excerpt from All But Invisible.

***

9780310526025I was twenty-three years old and one…

Read more

What Are the Gospels, and Why Are There Four of Them?

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

Historical Jesus

When people talk about “the gospel,” there’s only one thing they mean: the life and ministry of Jesus Christ. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are the four books of the Bible that record almost everything we know about Jesus. If we want to learn about the things Jesus said and did, we have to turn to these ancient texts, believed to have been written by eyewitnesses or people who spoke with them during the first century.

So why are there four separate versions of the story of Jesus? Or maybe you’re wondering, why are there only four, if he was such an influential figure?

Those are valid questions, but before we can answer them we have to know what constitutes a “gospel” and how they differ from other written works.

By submitting your email address, you understand that…

Read more

The 3 “Quests” for the Historical Jesus

ZA Blog on 4 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,.

Historical Jesus

The gospels give us the most detailed descriptions of Jesus’ life and ministry we have. They’re believed to have been written by eyewitnesses (or at least based on eyewitness accounts), and they all clearly claim that Jesus Christ is the son of God.

If you believe the gospels are historically accurate accounts of the things Jesus said and did, there’s little room for interpretation about who he really was. C.S. Lewis made famous the Lord, liar, lunatic trilemma to explain the challenge of dismissing Jesus’ divinity.

But those aren’t the only three options. The fourth option is much more appealing to skeptics: the gospels are unreliable, non-historical representations of a man known as Jesus.

The quests for the “historical Jesus”

Over the centuries, numerous Bible scholars have suggested that the gospel accounts can’t be trusted. These scholars argue…

Read more

Who Wrote the Gospels, and How Do We Know for Sure?

ZA Blog on 4 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,,,,,.

Historical Jesus

The Bible gives us four accounts of Christ’s life. Each records a unique perspective of the most significant event in history—the crucifixion and resurrection. All four gospels are named after men who lived during or shortly after Christ’s early ministry. Tradition considers these men the authors, but there’s one problem: not one of these books names its author.

The gospels are anonymous—so how do we know who wrote them?

None of the gospels came with an “about the author” section. The closest we get to a claim of authorship is at the very end of the Book of John, where the author implies that the book was written by “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (John 21:24 NIV).

Are there other context clues we can use to determine the authors? Can we trust tradition’s assumptions about who wrote the gospels? Did…

Read more

Bible Contradictions Explained: 4 Reasons the Gospels “Disagree”

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

Historical Jesus

The story of Jesus stands or falls on the trustworthiness of the Gospels. That’s why skeptics pay so much attention to the Gospels’ apparent contradictions. Christianity’s critics cast doubt on the New Testament’s reliability by pointing out disparities in the Gospels. This puts well-meaning—but often unprepared—Christians in a difficult position of trying to reconcile these potential inconsistencies.

So how do we account for the apparent discrepancies in the Gospel accounts? A lot of the problem stems from our expectations. If we expect a level of historical precision that the Gospels didn’t intend to provide, we’re going to run into problems. The truth is that it’s completely normal for ancient (and modern) historical accounts to summarize, paraphrase, omit details, and explain events in a way that highlights their specific points and perspectives.

By submitting your email address, you understand that…

Read more