What Is Our Assurance That We Are God’s Children? (1 John 3:19-20) – Mondays with Mounce 316

Bill Mounce on 1 month ago. Tagged under ,.

1 John gives us three ways that we can know we are God’s children.

The first is the inner witness of the Holy Spirit. “And the one who keeps his commandments resides in him, and he in him. And by this we know that he abides in us: by the Spirit whom he has given to us.” (3:24). A second is grounded in the nature of God and our true belief in him. “Everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God” (5:1, see also 4:2). The third is the fact that…

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10 Reasons Why People Reject the Gospel

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

Evangelism in a Skeptical World

Evangelism in a Skeptical WorldIf 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…

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What the resurrection means

ZA Blog on 1 month ago. Tagged under .

Why believe in the resurrection?

Of all religions, Christianity is the one that has the most historical evidence, and therefore the least to hide, in what it purports. We should never hide from, or routinely dismiss, the historical aspect of Christianity.

If all we have are historical reasons for our belief in the resurrection, then it is possible to conclude, with a certain amount of probability, that the resurrection of Jesus Christ happened in history.

However, we also recognize that, when we are thinking about the “why” question as it pertains to the resurrection of Christ, Christians should never be content to begin and end their belief in the resurrection of Christ with only historical data. Those data can support our belief in the resurrection. They can supplement what we believe and why we believe it.

But historical data cannot be the center of our…

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Is Everyone in your Church Going to Heaven? – Mondays with Mounce 315

Bill Mounce on 1 month ago. Tagged under ,.

One of the challenges of the letter to Ephesians is to understand how Paul could write a letter to a church where he had ministered for three and a half years, and yet in the letter it appears that he does not know the people to whom he is writing.

This explains the issues surrounding the inclusion of ἐν Ἐφέσῳ in 1:1 and the suggestion that the epistle is really a circular letter. But it does raise an interesting question about the translation of εἴ γε in 3:2 and 4:21.

“For this reason, I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus on behalf of you Gentiles— you…

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What does it mean that the Word became flesh?

ZA Blog on 1 month ago.

Who wrote the Gospel of John?

John 1:14 is one of the most important verses in the Bible. It reads: “The Word became flesh and made his dwelling among us. We have seen his glory, the glory of the one and only Son, who came from the Father, full of grace and truth.”

The Word did not just appear to be human; the Word became flesh.

This assertion stunned the Greek mind for whom the separation of the divine spirit and the mundane world (flesh, sarx) was an axiom of belief.

But the second phrase is equally stunning for the Jew. This Word dwelt (skenoo) among us and revealed his glory (doxa). This verb for dwelling is employed in the Greek Old Testament for the tabernacle of God.

By submitting your email address, you understand that you will receive email communications from HarperCollins Christian Publishing…

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Who wrote the Gospel of John?

ZA Blog on 2 months ago. Tagged under ,.

Who wrote the Gospel of John?

The Gospel of John provides no explicit internal evidence concerning its author. John, the disciple, is nowhere identified by name.

But the Fourth Gospel might provide us with clues concealed in the enigmatic figure of the “Beloved Disciple.”

This title occurs in five passages:

John 13:23: “One of them, the disciple whom Jesus loved, was reclining next to him.” John 19:26: “When Jesus saw his mother there, and the disciple whom he loved standing nearby, he said to her, ‘Woman, here is your son.’” John 20:2: “So she came running to Simon Peter and the other disciple, the one Jesus loved, and said, ‘They have taken the Lord out of the tomb, and we don’t know where they have put him!’” John 21:7: “Then the disciple whom Jesus loved said to Peter, ‘It is the Lord!’” John 20:20: “Peter turned…

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What Is Evangelism?

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

9780310534679Most Christians know that they should be engaging in the work of evangelism, but few know what evangelism is.

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…

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Who was John the Baptist?

ZA Blog on 2 months ago. Tagged under .

John the Baptist

The New Testament places a very high estimate on John the Baptist and his ministry.

John was the greatest figure yet produced under the old covenant, according to Matthew 11:11.

Jesus said of him in Luke 7:28, “I tell you, among those born of women there is no one greater than John.”

And Hebrews 11:39 tells us he epitomized all the Old Testament saints who stood at the threshold of the new order without entering in.

His great importance lies in the fact that he bridged the old era and the new and was the link between the two.

Let’s take a closer look at his life, as well as his relationship to Jesus.

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…

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Do We Rejoice in the Midst of Pain, or Run from It? (Phil 2:18) – Mondays with Mounce 314

ZA Blog on 2 months ago. Tagged under ,.

Having established that God is at work in his children, giving them godly desires and the ability to accomplish those desires (Philippians 2:12–13), Paul then draws out one way those desires manifest themselves. “Do all things without grumbling or arguing, that you may be blameless and innocent, children of God above reproach in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine like stars in the universe.” (2:14–15)

As an aside, wouldn’t it be wonderful if this actually characterized the church? No negative words. No senseless debate. We would actually shine into the darkness of this world. And isn’t it interesting that if we could stop grumbling and arguing, then we will be “ blameless and innocent”? (And please…

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Craig Keener on reading, writing, and biblical scholarship

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

craig-keener

Craig S. Keener is the F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is the author of more than twenty books, including Miracles and Spirit Hermeneutics. His commentaries include the 4-volume Acts: An Exegetical Commentary, published by Baker Academic, and Revelation in the NIV Application Commentary, among others. He is also co-editor, along with John Walton, of the NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible.

We recently collaborated with Dr. Keener to produce an online course on the book of Revelation. We were able to sit down with Dr. Keener for an extended interview about how he writes and conducts research, what it means for him to be a scholar at this moment in history, his advice to younger scholars, and much more.

Take a look:

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The Truth About God’s Love

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

Even in Our DarknessTelling 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.

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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,…

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What Is a “Divided Tongue” (Acts 2:3) – Mondays with Mounce 313

Bill Mounce on 2 months ago. Tagged under ,.

If you were raised in the church with a biblical pastor, you might have some idea what a “divided tongue” is, but possibly not. My guess is that the most natural understanding is that you have multiple tongues (of fire), and each one is split into different parts (i.e., “cloven”), but one tongue. But then you get to the second half of the verse and you realize that this fire is going over each person present, possibly 120 people (Acts 2:3).

As you compare the translations, it can get even more confusing. The NRSV says, “Divided tongues, as of fire, appeared among them, and a tongue rested on each of them.” As I said, I am not sure how people would understand…

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