What Are the Fruits of the Spirit and the Works of the Flesh?
Jesus wanted his disciples to understand that there were some who would seek to distort the gospel. He called them “false prophets,” and he told the disciples how they’d be able to differentiate them from the real thing:
“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and…
What Can We Learn About Walking in the Spirit from Galatians 5?
Due to the influence of law-heavy teaching, the Galatians struggled to understand how to mature as Christians. Did they become righteous by following a set of moral precepts as their forefathers believed, or was there more to it than that?
Throughout the book of Galatians, Paul teaches the Galatians about the relationship between the law and Christian living, and in the 5th chapter of his epistle to the Galatians, Paul begins to explain how the spiritual life works in relationship to Christ and the Holy Spirit.
In his online course on Galatians, Thomas R. Schreiner walks us through Galatians 5. The following post is adapted from Schreiner’s course.
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What Is the False Gospel in Galatians?
It doesn’t take too long for Paul to get to the heart of the issue in his letter to the Galatians. He’s concerned that they’re abandoning Jesus’ grace and turning to a different gospel—a false gospel.
Paul doesn’t mince words when it comes to Judaizers coming in and undermining the work he has done in Galatia. In this letter, we see Paul at his strongest and most aggressive. There is no room for a gospel that strays from the grace of Christ. As we will see, Paul feels so strongly about the good news that has been preached to the Galatians that he calls down a curse upon anyone who would dare to proffer…
Who Were the Galatians?
If someone was to ask you who Paul wrote his epistle to the Galatians to, how would you respond? If you’re like most people, you’d probably answer that it was written to the church at Galatia, and—technically—you’d be right.
But did you know that there’s actually quite a bit of discussion around whether Paul’s letter was written to those in northern or southern Galatia? Does knowing who Paul was writing to affect how we read it? Not necessarily, but it does change the way we look at the book of Galatians in regards to Acts.
In his online course on Galatians, Thomas R. Schreiner helps us understand a little better about who Paul…
The Role of the Old Testament Law in Galatians
Communicating the role that the law played in God’s overall plan of salvation was one of the New Testament church’s biggest challenges. As Jews accepted that Jesus was the long-awaited Messiah, they struggled to understand how to bring their Jewish roots into this new reality.
The Christian who had come out of Judaism had to reconcile their understanding of what the law actually accomplished and how it worked. In their understanding, the law purified them and made them righteous. Was that true? If not, why were they given the law?
In his online course on Galatians, Thomas R. Schreiner explains Paul’s take on the law from Galatians 3:19–20. The following post is taken from…
How to study the book of Romans
Romans is one of the most well-known books of the Bible.
You’ve probably heard a hundred sermons from the book of Romans. You might list Romans 8 as one of your favorite passages. You might be aware that Romans contains some of the key passages on predestination, the doctrine of justification, the doctrine of sanctification, and other core doctrines of the church. And you probably know the role a verse from Romans played in Martin Luther’s articulation of the 95 theses that launched the Reformation.
Romans has had a life-changing impact on the lives of millions of people. It’s not hard to argue that this short letter written to a group of Christians two thousand years ago has changed world history.
So whether you know it or not, you have probably been influenced by the book of Romans.
What the Bible says about predestination
In any conversation about predestination, election, and God’s will in the act of salvation, two verses from Romans 8 are usually cited:
For those God foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brothers and sisters. And those he predestined, he also called; those he called, he also justified; those he justified, he also glorified. (Romans 8:29–30)
These two verses are some of the most scrutinized in the Bible, so let’s take a moment to unpack them in more detail to see what they tell us about predestination.
See what Douglas Moo says about Paul’s understanding of predestination:
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Advice on studying Romans from Douglas Moo
We recently sat down with Douglas Moo to talk about some challenges students face when studying Romans. Take a look at what he says.
And be sure to check out his new online course, The Book of Romans: History, Meaning, and Application.
I’ve talked to Christians over the years who say, “Oh, I’m not ready to study Romans yet, that’s too heavy for me.”
You’ve probably heard it taught maybe from the pulpit, maybe you’ve taken a Sunday school class on it. You’ve read it. You’ve studied it perhaps even in Bible study.
Romans is a book that addresses many of those fundamental worldview issues. What does it mean to be a Christian? What is the Gospel of Jesus Christ? How is it relevant to me and to my church?
I think some of the reasons we therefore…
What is justification?
In Romans 1:17, Paul writes: “For in the gospel the righteousness of God is revealed—a righteousness that is by faith from first to last, just as it is written: ‘The righteous will live by faith.’”
This does not refer, in so many words, to “justification by faith.” However, the idea is clearly expressed: God’s righteousness is “by faith from first to last.” It is the one who is “righteous by faith” who will gain spiritual life.
What does this mean? Douglas Moo explains:
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Who Wrote the Book of Hebrews?
When you consider the wide agreement among biblical scholars about who wrote every other book of the New Testament, it’s a little mysterious that we don’t know who wrote Hebrews.
There are a handful of contenders. Let’s take a look at the reasons each of them might be the author.
Did Paul write Hebrews?
It is possible Paul wrote the book of Hebrews. There are a couple reasons why this might be the case.
Did Jesus Really Descend into Hell?
It is sometimes argued that Christ descended into hell after he died.
The widely used Apostles’ Creed reads, “was crucified, dead, and buried, he descended into hell; the third day he rose again from the dead.”
But the phrase “he descended into hell” does not occur in the Bible.
Where did the phrase come from?
A murky background lies behind much of the history of the…
Did Jesus Know When He Was Going to Die?
Did Jesus expect to die? Did he intend to? If so, how did he view his death?
According to the Synoptic Gospels, from Peter’s confession at Caesarea Philippi onward, Jesus warned his disciples of his impending fate.
Three times he predicts that the Son of Man will suffer and die and then rise again (Mark 8:31–32, par.; 9:31, par.; 10:33, par.).
Historical evidence for the passion predictions
Some have argued that these passion predictions are prophecies created after the fact by the church, since Jesus could not have predicted his own death. Yet there is good evidence for their historicity:
Jesus uses the title Son of Man, which is characteristic of the historical Jesus rather than the later church; there is no reference to the cross in these sayings; and there is…