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

ZA Blog on 2 months 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…

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7 Tips for Understanding Revelation

ZA Blog on 2 months 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.

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

ZA Blog on 2 months 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.…

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

ZA Blog on 2 months 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…

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Why Catholic Doctrine Is Not Unbiblical

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

9780310530718Was the Reformation a mistake?

A provocative question on the eve of the 500th anniversary of the Reformation. And an appropriate one given lingering divisions between Protestants and Catholics in orthodoxy and orthopraxy.

It’s a question Catholic professor Matthew Levering asks in his new book, Was the Reformation a Mistake? Spoiler alert: He doesn’t think it was.

He is “deeply grateful” for the Reformers’ emphasis on a number of doctrinal positions and believes “they were right in seeking reform” (31). Yet he does insist they “made some doctrinal mistakes” (15), which he addresses in his book:

I focus on nine issues raised by Luther at the outset of the Reformation that continue to divide Catholics and Protestants. These nine issues are the following: Scripture, Mary, the…

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What is the “Literal” Meaning of ἄγγελος? (James 2:25) – Mondays with Mounce 296

Bill Mounce on 2 months ago. Tagged under ,.

In James 2:25 we read, “Was not also Rahab the harlot justified by works when she took in the spies (ἀγγέλους) and sent them out by another way?”

BDAG defines ἄγγελος as referring to both humans and divine powers.

a human messenger serving as an envoy, an envoy, one who is sent a transcendent power who carries out various missions or tasks, messenger, angel

Under #1 they list Luke 9:25 (human messengers going before Jesus), Luke 7:24 (John’s disciples), prophets (specifically John the Baptist, Mt 11:10; Mk 1:2; Lk 7:27),…

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

ZA Blog on 2 months 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.

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The 3 “Quests” for the Historical Jesus

ZA Blog on 2 months 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…

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

ZA Blog on 2 months 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…

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“Who Am I?” Personal Identity in an Age of Identity Angst

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

9780310499824After certain events changed Brian Rosner’s life dramatically, he had lost his sense of self and was forced to revisit the most personal of questions:

Who am I?

Out from this one question tumbled a number of others: How do your circumstances affect your sense of self? What makes you, you? What is a human being, anyway?

Leveraging his own personal experiences, Rosner addresses these questions in his new book Known by God. It tells the story of his own crisis of identity and the comfort he found in being known by God in an age of identity angst—a sense in which people are no longer sure who they are.

In our day and age the question of personal identity is subject to two powerful but opposing forces. On the one hand, nothing…

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Bible Contradictions Explained: 4 Reasons the Gospels “Disagree”

ZA Blog on 2 months 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.

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Nabeel Qureshi, author of Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, passes

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

nabeel-qureshi-authorphoto2

(Nashville, TN) September 18, 2017—It is with deep sympathy for family and loved ones that HarperCollins Christian Publishing recognizes the passing of Nabeel Qureshi, who lost his year-long battle with stomach cancer on Saturday, September 16, 2017, and entered into the presence of Jesus, whom he had embraced as his Savior and Lord. He was 34 years old.

A convert from Islam to Christianity, Qureshi was known as an apologist for the Christian faith, a powerful preacher, and a best-selling author. He had an MD degree from Eastern Virginia Medical School, an MA in Christian apologetics from Biola University, an MA in religion from Duke University, and an MPhil in Judaism and Christianity from Oxford University. At the time of his diagnosis with cancer, he was in the midst of a doctoral program in New Testament at Oxford University.

His…

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