What Is the Soul? Is It Different from the Spirit?
Religious or not, most people believe they have some form of a soul. Whether they loosely believe in a concept like “the human spirit,” or they believe part of them will live on when their body expires, these beliefs about body, spirit, and soul all come from somewhere. You might be surprised to learn that much of what people believe about the soul or spirit doesn’t come from the Bible.
The Bible doesn’t neatly define the concepts of spirit and soul for us, so in order to know what it’s saying, we need to piece together all the clues it gives us. In his online systematic theology course, Dr. Wayne Grudem has done just that to reveal how the Bible answers, “What is the soul?” and “What is the spirit?”
The following post is adapted from Grudem’s course.
Father, Son, and Holy Spirit: How Is One God Three Persons?
If you ask the average Christian to define the Trinity, more often than not they’re going to give you a similar response: “The Trinity is one God in three persons.” While there will likely be some slight variations in how it’s stated, two words will almost always be present: “God” and “persons.”
It’s easy to understand why “God” would be part of every definition. The whole Trinitarian discussion revolves around what we can know and understand about God. When we discuss the Trinity, we’re discussing God.
But did you ever stop to wonder why “persons” is the accepted term for the distinctions of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit? Why not three “manifestations,” “modes,” or “beings?” The truth is that the term “person” wasn’t landed on haphazardly. Theologians have labored throughout church history to accurately define the Trinity.
What the Bible Tells Us About the 10 Plagues of Egypt
One of the Bible’s most dramatic scenes plays out in a showdown between God and an Egyptian Pharaoh, resulting in 10 nightmarish plagues. The Hebrew nation that God formed to worship and represent him was enslaved in Egypt, and he was demanding their release through his servant, Moses.
As Pharaoh continues to resist Moses, God inflicts upon Egypt a series of plagues. As the standoff drags on, the plagues become more severe, eventually escalating to the death of all of Egypt’s firstborn sons.
Why did God choose the plagues he did? And why did he harden Pharaoh’s heart, ensuring that Egypt would experience the entire series of plagues? These are some of the questions that Dr. Gary E. Schnittjer, professor of the Old Testament at Cairn University, tackles in his online course, The Torah Story. The following post is…
Understanding the Creation Story from Genesis
How did the world begin? Was the world a cosmological mistake or an intentional creation? What existed before the universe as we know it? Questions like these have generated tons of discussion (and arguments) in the historical, scientific, and religious communities.
While most people are familiar with the creation story found in Genesis, there’s a richness that’s often lost. In The Torah Story online course, Gary E. Schnittjer, Cairn University’s professor of Old Testament, plumbs the depth of the creation story while answering important questions like:
How did the author of Genesis receive the creation story? How does the narrative style of the creation story provide the backdrop for the rest of the biblical story? What does the creation story reveal about God? How are humans different than the rest of creation? What is mankind’s responsibility to creation?
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…
Who was 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.
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Craig Keener on reading, writing, and biblical scholarship
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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SIL International and Zondervan Academic Working Together to Aid Global Bible Translation Efforts
Zondervan Academic providing dozens of academic resources, including online courses, to support efficient and accurate Bible translation work around the world.
Grand Rapids, Mich., March 8, 2018 — Zondervan Academic is pleased to announce their support of SIL International®, a faith-based nonprofit organization committed to serving language communities worldwide. Zondervan Academic is providing to SIL some of the world’s top biblical resources to support efficient and accurate Bible translation work around the world.
SIL has developed Translator’s Workplace, a product built on the Logos Bible Software platform, so that those in a Bible translation role who are part of a private, managed group can access resources to aid their translation efforts. Translator’s Workplace acts like a library with unlimited loaning and loan periods. Zondervan Academic, which already distributes many of its titles digitally through Logos, has granted permission to Logos…
An Introduction to the Aramaic Alphabet
Most Bible readers wouldn’t be surprised to hear that most of the Old Testament is written in Hebrew, but it might surprise them to find out just how much of the Old Testament is written in Aramaic. Old Testament passages written in Aramaic include:
Genesis 31:47 Jeremiah 10:11 Ezra 4:8-6:18 Ezra 7:12-26 Daniel 2:4-7:28
The Zondervan Academic online course Basics of Biblical Aramaic introduces you to the Aramaic language so that you can use it to better understand and teach God’s Word. Video lectures and exercises accompany each lesson’s instruction, providing a rich, interactive experience that goes well beyond a stand-alone textbook. Learning to read the 269 verses of Aramaic in the Old Testament has never been easier!
The following introduction to the Aramaic alphabet is adapted from this course.
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An Introduction to the Biblical Greek Alphabet
Is understanding Greek essential for having a clearer, more exact, and more persuasive presentation of God’s saving message?
If you’re unsure of the answer to this question, learning Greek will be a struggle. Each student must come to the place where they believe that learning Greek is truly worth the effort. There’s a wealth of awesome resources available to help pastors and preachers understand God’s Word, and it would be unfair to claim that the only way to be a good expositor of Scripture is to learn Greek.
Bill Mounce, New Testament Greek scholar and instructor for the Zondervan Academic Basics of Biblical Greek course, offers a helpful insight into the importance of learning biblical Greek:
You need to overhaul your car engine. What tools will you select? I would surmise that with a screw driver, hammer, a pair…
An Introduction to the Hebrew Alphabet
One of the difficulties of studying the Old Testament is that it represents a culture that’s completely foreign to us: both in terms of its time and practices. 77.3 percent of the entire Bible was originally written in Hebrew. So if we want to know what the Bible says and how to accurately communicate it, we should learn the language in which the vast majority of the Bible was written.
Understanding the Hebrew language has a way of connecting us back to that culture, back to that idiom, and back to their way of thinking. One of the great things about our day and age is that even if you can’t find a school to teach you biblical languages, then online courses can provide a unique opportunity to learn Hebrew.
In Basics of Biblical Hebrew, the Zondervan Academic online…
5 Disputed Books in the Old Testament
The church hasn’t always agreed on the value of certain canonized books. Martin Luther famously wanted Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation removed from the Christian canon. He believed they undermined Christian doctrines of sola fide (by faith alone) and sola gratia (by grace alone).
When it comes to the Old Testament, there have been some disputes about specific books that the Hebrew religious community had already accepted as authoritative. These books presented specific interpretive, theological, and contextual challenges.
The issue of disputed books is addressed in our Old Testament Survey course, and we’ve adapted the course material for the following article.
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