Angels in the Bible: What Do We Actually Know About Them?
Do You Know These 7 Differences Between the Bible and Quran?
The Seven Churches of Revelation: Why They Matter and What We Can Learn
Did Jesus Really Descend into Hell?
Who Wrote Ecclesiastes and What Does It Mean?
What Is the Soul? Is It Different from the Spirit?
7 Places We Find Jesus in the Old Testament
Who Wrote the Book of Hebrews?
Who Wrote the Gospels, and How Do We Know for Sure?
Why Are Jesus’ Genealogies in Matthew and Luke Different?
John Calvin: The Accidental Reformer
John Calvin was a sixteenth century French theologian, best known for his prominent role in the Reformation and his influential theology. More than four and a half centuries after his death, Calvin’s teachings continue to shape Christian beliefs, particularly regarding predestination and God’s absolute sovereignty.
In his lifetime, Calvin became a well-known (and controversial) Christian leader and a major fixture of the Reformation—but that almost didn’t happen. If it hadn’t been for a fateful encounter in Geneva, Switzerland, Calvin may have never stepped into the limelight.
In their online course, Church History 2: From Pre-Reformation to the Present Day, scholars Frank A. James III and John Woodbridge discuss John Calvin’s life and influence, and expose the moment when his life dramatically changed course in…
Counseling Techniques for Adolescents (by Andi J. Thacker)
The adolescent years are often difficult ones for parents, teachers, and youth leaders to navigate. “Knowing how to meet the therapeutic needs of adolescent clients and help families navigate this unique season of life can be a challenge for helping professionals,” writes Andi J. Thacker in her chapter from Counseling Techniques: A Comprehensive Resource for Christian Counselors (John C. Thomas, general editor). You will find Thacker’s complete chapter on “Adolescent-Focused Strategies” below. Thacker’s essay offers counseling professionals “therapeutic strategies, interventions, and techniques that can be utilized when working with adolescents” (290).
Counseling Techniques covers a lot more beyond adolescent-focused strategies. It is a comprehensive reference for the broad spectrum of Christian counseling practitioners and students, presenting counseling techniques through three lenses:
Theory-based counseling, including…
5 Tips for Reading Apocalyptic Literature in the Bible
Apocalyptic literature is a challenging genre. In the Bible, we find this genre in the Book of Revelation and in the second half of Daniel.
There’s also a lot of apocalyptic literature outside the Bible. It was a very popular genre during the Second Temple period (from 530 BC to 70 AD), and so we have a lot of examples of the purpose, form, and style of apocalyptic literature to inform our understanding of how it functions in Scripture.
Since it’s such a different style of writing than the gospels, epistles, or historical and theological writings we find elsewhere in the Bible, it’s important that we approach apocalyptic literature with a different perspective.
Here are 5 tips for reading apocalyptic books like Daniel and Revelation.
1. Pay attention to the symbolism
One thing to remember about…
Psalm 121 Commentary: Where Does Our Help Come From?
Psalm 121 encourages us in such times. It reminds us where our help comes from and infuses us with confidence: “My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth.” W. Dennis Tucker Jr. unpacks the true depths of this message by offering sound exegesis and application of the psalm in the new commentary Psalms, Volume 2 (NIV Application Commentary), co-authored by Tucker (who covers Psalms 107-150) and Jamie A. Grant (Psalms 73-106).
This Psalms commentary from the NIV Application Commentary Series will help you learn how…
Who Was Nebuchadnezzar?
Nebuchadnezzar was a powerful king of Babylon who reigned from about 605 BC until around 562 BC.
Nebuchadnezzar’s kingdom stretched across the ancient Near East. It was during his reign that the Babylonians sacked the city of Jerusalem and destroyed the temple. Because of Nebuchadnezzar, the Israelites lost their land, and ended up in exile.
This marked the beginning of what is called the diaspora (dispersion), when the…
Practical Counseling Techniques for Victims of Trauma
For survivors of trauma, what are effective counseling techniques that are integrated with a Christian worldview? Find answers below in this article adapted from Counseling Techniques: A Comprehensive Resource for Christian Counselors (John C. Thomas, General Editor), from the book’s chapter on trauma-focused treatment, written by Heather Davediuk Gingrich.
First, some background on the source: Counseling Techniques is a comprehensive reference for the broad spectrum of Christian counseling practitioners and students, presenting counseling techniques through three lenses:
Theory-based counseling, including cognitive, emotional, behavioral, and spiritual strategies, and more; Constituent-based counseling, with a focus on children, teenagers, couples, and families; Issue-based counseling, including domestic abuse, self-injury, sexual abuse, shame, trauma and more.
Counseling Techniques is an important book because whether you’re a novice or experienced…
When Is Then, Then? (Matthew 27:38) – Mondays with Mounce 330
The longer I work in Greek, the more curious I am about conjunctions, and the more I am concerned about how we teach glosses.
Take τότε for example. BDAG give two meanings using the gloss “then.” It can mean “at that time,” which conveys no idea of sequence. It can also mean “then” in the sense of “that which follows in time.” The problem of course is that if you translate with the simple gloss “then,” we hear it as sequential.
Coupled with this is how English hears a series of events. Even without conjunctions, we default to hearing them as sequential. This happened, then that happened.
The sequencing of events around Jesus’ trial illustrates the issue. There is a series of events introduced with τότε, with καί, and with aorist and present participles. I can’t do it here, but…
Jesus’ Possible Play on Judas’ Words – Mondays with Mounce 329
When Jesus says that one of the disciples will betray him, Judas responds, μήτι ἐγώ εἰμι (Matt 26:25). μήτι shows that he expected to answer “no,” and since μήτι is more emphatic than μή (see BDAG), I would argue that translations must include the expected response.
Most do, usually with “surely.” “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?” (NIV, also CSB, NET).
Unfortunately, the ESV and surprisingly the NLT undertranslate at this point. “Is it I, Rabbi?” (ESV). ““Rabbi, am I the one?” (NLT). Judas was not only a traitor; he was also a liar. The translation should bring that out.
Jesus responds, σὺ εἶπας. I find myself wondering about his answer. Translations do something like, “You have said so” (NIV, ESV). I find myself wondering if Jesus isn’t saying something a little more specific, even if the other disciples would…
What Does “Mene, Mene, Tekel, Parsin” Mean?
Mene, mene, tekel, parsin, is an Aramaic phrase found in chapter five of the Book of Daniel, the story of Belshazzar and the handwriting on the wall. (This is where we get the colloquial phrase “writing on the wall”.)
Here’s the passage where we encounter this peculiar phrase:
This is the inscription that was written:
mene, mene, tekel, parsin
“Here is what these words mean:
The Reformation’s Influence on How We Got Our Bible
The accessibility of the Bible in most of the world’s major languages can obscure a dramatic and sometimes unexpected story: how we got the world’s bestselling book.
In Know How We Got Our Bible, scholars Ryan Reeves and Charles Hill trace the history of the Bible from its beginnings to the present day, highlighting key figures and demonstrating overall the reliability of Scripture.
This story they tell about the Bible is an important one. As series editor Justin Holcomb explains:
The Bible is the most significant and influential book in the world because it is the Word of God. The Bible tells us who God is and who we are. Ultimately the Bible is about how God created and is redeeming the world through Jesus Christ… The Bible therefore…
Genesis 1: In the Beginning
“In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth.”
The Bible begins with these famous words in Genesis 1, laying the foundation for the rest of the Bible. Genesis 1:1–2:4a is the first of two creation accounts in Genesis, and it focuses on God’s creation of the cosmos.
The Bible’s creation account is the source of a lot of debate. Some modern readers strip away the cultural and theological significance of Genesis, and instead mine it for scientific details about how God created the heavens and the earth. Others suggest it is simply one of many ancient accounts of creation—a myth.
To help us understand this ancient Scripture, we’re drawing from the expertise of Tremper Longman III, a renowned Old Testament scholar. In his online course on the book of Genesis, Longman reveals the cultural and theological implications…
What Is a “Divided Tongue”? (Acts 2:3) – Mondays with Mounce 328
I am not sure why there are so many differences among the translations on Acts 2:3, but it is fun to think through the options.
The order of the words in the Greek is a little confusing; but if you think grammatically, translation is not that difficult.
The basic structure of the verse is γλῶσσαι … ὤφθησαν … καὶ ἐκάθισεν. The tongues appeared and sat.
Add in αὐτοῖς: γλῶσσαι ὤφθησαν αὐτοῖς. The tongues appeared to them, meaning, they saw the tongues.
There are two modifiers of γλῶσσαι. They were “divided” (διαμεριζόμεναι) and they where “like fire” (ὡσεὶ πυρὸς).
After the tongues of fire split, they settled over each person present (ἐφ᾿ ἕνα ἕκαστον αὐτῶν).
καὶ ὤφθησαν αὐτοῖς διαμεριζόμεναι γλῶσσαι ὡσεὶ πυρὸς καὶ ἐκάθισεν ἐφ᾿ ἕνα ἕκαστον αὐτῶν.
Several translations speak of…