Why Learn Ugaritic?

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You already know that understanding the Bible’s original languages of Greek and Hebrew is an important prerequisite for serious biblical study.

But what about Ugaritic?

The Israelites didn’t speak Ugaritic. The Bible wasn’t written in Ugaritic. What makes understanding Ugaritic so important for understanding the Hebrew Bible?

What is Ugaritic?

Before we see why it’s so important to know Ugaritic, let’s take a closer look at the people who spoke it.

Ugaritic was the language spoken by the people who lived in the city-state of Ugarit. This city was located directly east of Cyprus, and directly north of Israel.

Ugarit was strategically placed on a direct east–west trade route from the Mediterranean regions to the…

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How to Understand the Difference Between Christianity and Islam

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In a year of polarizing politics, the rise of ISIS, and terrorism, it has never been more important for Christians to understand Islam.

In the Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus online course, New York Times bestselling author Nabeel Qureshi gives you a framework for thinking about how to confront Islam—and understand your own faith as well.

You will discover:

The differences between Islam and Christianity The truth about Muhammad Effective strategies for engaging Muslims in spiritual discussions The most common Muslim objections to Christianity The key beliefs upon which Islam stands or falls

It’s a learning experience that will equip you for the kind of apologetics and evangelism that led Nabeel himself to faith in Christ.

Watch the first lecture free

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Why You Shouldn’t “Preach the Gospel at All Times and Use Words When Necessary”

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There’s a famous quote. You’ve probably heard it:

“Preach the gospel at all times. Use words only when necessary.”

The original quote is attributed to St. Francis of Assisi. It’s been echoed by generations of Christians.

The spirit of the quote is good, and it makes a good point. Our actions matter. What’s more: actions usually speak louder than words. People are watching what we do.

But there are some good reasons why this quote does not present a good approach in relating with others.

The first reason is that, in many cases, people use it as an excuse to avoid articulating their faith.

How many times has the gospel not been shared, because we’ve embraced a version of Christianity where words don’t matter?

The second reason is more important:

The…

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It’s Time to Stop Being a “Second-source Christian”

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It is great to listen to pastors and student ministers. It is wonderful to hear what they think God’s Word is saying and that’s super beneficial to all of us.

But there is nothing like being able to read God’s Word for yourself.

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work,” according to 2 Timothy 3:16–17.

There is nothing better than being able to dig into God’s Word, understand what it means, and feel like God is speaking to you.

The Biblical Interpretation online course will equip you to do just that.

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How to Share the Gospel Without Making It Awkward

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Does this sound like you?

The Gospel is good news—I should be sharing it! But how? I’m a pastor. Why do I struggle with sharing the Gospel? Why does my church struggle with reaching new Christians? Most of my friends are Christians? Is that okay?

You want to tell friends and family about who Jesus is.

But where do you start? How do you share the Gospel without making it awkward or feeling forced?

Learn to share the Gospel

In the brand new Organic Outreach online course, pastor and author Kevin Harney will teach you a personal approach to sharing the news of Jesus in natural ways.

It’s not a system or a program. It’s a collection of biblical practices that you can start using right now. Today.

In this…

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Did the Early Church Practice Infant Baptism or Full Immersion?

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It’s not hard to determine how the early church celebrated baptism.

You can find several accounts in writings from the early church, including Tertullian’s On Baptism and Hippolytus’ Apostolic Tradition. The Didache also helps us understand how baptism functioned in the life of the church.

Let’s take a look.

How baptisms were performed

Here’s how the process worked:

If someone wanted to be baptized, they first underwent a period of instruction and moral examination.  Because baptisms usually took place on Easter Sunday, this period of instruction happened during Lent.

On the Thursday before Easter, the person being baptized began a period of fasting, praying, confessing sin, and attending Scripture readings and instructions. Exorcisms were also performed, in order to banish demons from the person.

Then, early on Sunday morning—the day of…

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Constantine’s Conversion to Christianity: Was It Real? Does It Matter?

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

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One of the major turning points in the history of the church was Constantine’s conversion to Christianity.

Some Christians consider Constantine a saint. Others treat him as a politician, who only used Christianity for political purposes. And still others believe Constantine’s conversion was sincere—but that he also used Christianity for his own gain.

Let’s take a deeper look at Constantine’s conversion—both the motives behind it and the effect it had on the church.

Who was Constantine?

Constantine was the first Christian emperor. His reign began in 306, and after a series of internal struggles, he consolidated his rule over the entire Roman Empire in 324. In addition to his successful military campaigns, Constantine made several administrative changes that established and extended his influence.

In the history of Christianity,…

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John Walton: “This Course Can Change Your Life”

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Have you ever read a chapter from the Old Testament and wondered, why did God put that in the Bible?

Everyone has.

Lots of people—even in the church, even in the academy—don’t really know how to read the Old Testament.

It’s time to change that.

In this online course, John Walton and Andrew Hill will walk you through the Old Testament, book-by-book.

You will learn:

How to read the Old Testament and ancient history together The background to each Old Testament book—even the hard books How the Old Testament relates to the New Testament Why understanding the theology of the Old Testament is so important And much more!

When you take this course, the Old Testament will start to…

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Wayne Grudem: “The Bible is enough.”

Wayne Grudem on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,.

Is the Bible enough for knowing what God wants us to believe and what he wants us to do?

The sufficiency of Scripture means that:

it contains all the words of God he intended his people to have in each stage of redemptive history, and it now contains everything we need God to tell us for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly.

Scripture contains everything we need for salvation.

In 2 Timothy 3:15, Paul says that Scripture is “able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus.”

Paul goes on to write about Scripture containing everything we need to live the Christian life. Paul goes on to…

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Wayne Grudem: “Why I Wrote Systematic Theology,” Plus a New Online Course

Wayne Grudem on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

When I first started teaching classes in Systematic Theology I found it difficult to find a book that would:

have clarity enough so that first year students could understand it; have application to people’s life so they could see the usefulness of doctrine; and quote Bible verses extensively because I was convinced that it was the words of scripture that are God’s very words and they change our minds and hearts more powerfully than any other merely human words.

That led me to write a book on systematic theology which included those features. Introducing a new online course

Now, in connection with the book, we have created an online course covering all 57 chapters.

My Systematic Theology online course includes the first half of a set of 57 10-minute lectures in which I introduce and give an overview…

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Get Your Free eBook on Character Formation in Online Education!

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Character Formation in Online Education

If you currently teach online, or you’re part of a school exploring online learning, you have probably asked yourself the following questions:

What does it mean to teach in a higher education setting from a distinctly Christian perspective? What are the best practices for teaching online?

Many people have answered each of these questions thoughtfully and well. You have no doubt encountered excellent material on these subjects written by thoughtful and experienced educators.

However, a gap still exists: very little has been written on the subject which combines these two questions.

In other words:

What does Christian teaching and learning look like online? How does an online learning environment lead to character and spiritual formation in students?

These questions frame the newly released Character Formation in Online…

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Responding to David Hume’s Argument Against Jesus’ Miracles

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miracles_blog_image Understanding Hume’s objections

Perhaps the most well-articulated argument against Jesus’ miracles comes from David Hume, the great eighteenth-century Scottish philosopher.

You’re probably already familiar with it, but in case you need a refresher…

Here is his argument, in a nutshell:

Human experience confirms the certainty of the laws of nature. Since miracles violate the laws of nature, it would take an enormous amount of evidence to confirm any miracle.

How much evidence? An impossibly large amount.

Because such evidence does not exist, belief in miracles is therefore irrational.

Hume supported his primary argument with four supporting claims:

No miracle has been attested by a sufficient number of educated and rational witnesses. There is a human tendency to believe the spectacular. Most reports of miracles occur among ignorant and barbarous people. Claims…

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