Who Is the Suffering Servant in Isaiah 53?

ZA Blog on 1 month ago. Tagged under ,,.


“The Suffering Servant” is a famous passage from Isaiah 53, which Christians claim is a messianic prophecy about Jesus. In the Gospel of Luke, Jesus quotes from this passage and suggests it’s about him:

“‘It is written: “And he was numbered with the transgressors”; and I tell you that this must be fulfilled in me. Yes, what is written about me is reaching its fulfillment.’” —Luke 22:37

The gospel writers and other New Testament authors quoted from this passage several times, explaining that Jesus fulfilled the various prophecies contained within it.

But some people claim this passage wasn’t a prophecy at all, and the Suffering Servant is actually the author of Isaiah. Or perhaps it’s the prophet, Jeremiah. Or a specific leper, whom the Babylonian exiles had seen die. In other words, it was…

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How to Read the Gospel of Mark in the Context of Second Temple Judaism

Jeremy Bouma on 7 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310534457The Gospel of Mark is widely considered the earliest and most influential narrative of the ministry and passion of Jesus Christ. Although undervalued for centuries, Mark’s Gospel is now celebrated as a cleverly crafted ancient biography, emphasizing action, irony, and intrigue over more direct and discursive modes of theologizing.

Yet not all readings of Mark are equally illuminating or transformative.

Over the last several decades, the Jewishness of Jesus has been at the forefront of scholarship and students of the New Testament are more than ever aware of the importance of understanding Jesus and the Gospels in their Jewish context. Reading Mark in Context (edited by Ben Blackwell, John Goodrich,…

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Why Do We Need to Read the Gospel of Mark in Context?

ZA Blog on 8 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

One reason?

Scripture is not a 21st century text.

9780310534457The recently released Reading Mark in Context: Jesus and Second Temple Judaism helps the reader see the contour and texture of Jesus’ engagement with his Jewish environment. It brings together a series of accessible essays that compare and contrast viewpoints, theologies, and hermeneutical practices of Mark and his various Jewish contemporaries.

This week we asked the editors, Ben C. Blackwell, John K. Goodrich, and Jason Maston, to weigh in on why they thought it’s important to read the Gospel of Mark in context. Read further to hear what they had to say.

Ben Blackwell:

Just the other day a new student asked me about studying the New Testament and early Christianity. They were wondering how you study…

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7 Places We Find Jesus in the Old Testament

Jeremy Bouma on 11 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310536543From beginning to end, the Bible reveals the glory of Jesus. But for many Bible readers, it isn’t that simple.

While we know Jesus is the fulfillment of the Jewish story and we want to better understand how the two Testaments relate, we’re often unsure how the Bible’s many stories, characters, and events relate to each other—especially to Jesus. Some are tempted to force the Bible’s many pieces together, making superficial jumps from the Hebrew Scriptures to Jesus’ story. But most are left wondering:

Does Jesus and his story connect to the Old Testament? If so, where is Jesus in the Old Testament? How does the Old Testament inform our understanding of Jesus—his life and teachings, death and resurrection?

Christ from Beginning to End answers these questions, helping Christians better understand how to…

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How Jesus Subverts the Kingdoms of this World

Jeremy Bouma on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310328612He was born in the Roman Empire over two thousand years ago, growing up to command the loyalty of thousands. During his thirties he was seen as the fulfillment of national hopes and founder of an endless kingdom.

His achievements were considered signs of divine authority. Official proclamations of these acts, known as “gospels,” were published in his honor. In fact, an inscription on a stone was uncovered in southwest Turkey describing him in this way:

God sent him as a savior for us to make war to cease, to create peaceful order everywhere. And the birthday of this “god” was the beginning for the world of gospels that have come to men through him.

Who was this “god”? If you said Jesus, you’d be wrong. The “savior” described is Gaius Octavius, otherwise known as…

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3 Keys to Help Doubters Make Sense of the Ten Commandments

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

doubters-guide-ten-commandmentsThe greatest cultural icon of the West isn’t American (Declaration of Independence). It isn’t British (Magna Carta) or French (The Social Contract). Instead it’s Judeo-Christian.

I’m speaking of the Ten Commandments.

Though some have tried to transcend it, offering alternative lists in its place, there is no denying—or escaping—its enduring attraction and influence. John Dickson hopes to recapture both in his new book A Doubter’s Guide to the Ten Commandments. In it he explores how these ten verses have changed our world and how they show us what the Good Life looks like.

The social impact of this ancient moral charter is so great that most people living in the West…are living by the Ten Commandments, pretty much. These rules…

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Either Lord or Lunatic – An Excerpt from Core Christianity

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

One doctrine especially core to Christianity concerns the identity of Christ: Is Jesus God?

As C. S. Lewis suggested over a half century ago, we are faced with the choice that either Jesus is Lord or he was a lunatic. March down through the centuries – from modern day to those who witnessed the life of Jesus – and you will see how the answer to this one question shapes how one views the world. In this excerpt from Core Christianity, Michael Horton walks the reader through the claim, the case and how the skeptics respond.


JESUS IS GOD. We know this because of the clear claims he made concerning himself and the fact that he rose from the dead just as he promised. Knowing that Christianity stands or falls with this claim, skeptics have focused all their critical…

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Extracurricular Activities 6.6.15 —American Baptists, 1 Enoch, and Stage Two Exile

Jeremy Bouma on 3 years ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

Malestrom by Carolyn Custis James

Carolyn Custis James Asks, “Can the Gospel Fill Our Manhood Void?”

The malestrom — the ways in which the fall impacts the male of the human species, causing man to lose himself, his identity and purpose as a man, and above all to lose sight of God’s original vision for his sons — poses one of the most serious historic challenges to the gospel.

Malestrom cover art - borderDoes the gospel have anything better to offer men than a kinder, gentler patriarchy? Is the gospel able to fill the manhood void with an indestructible identity and calling that cover the entire cultural spectrum and the complete lifespan of a man’s life — no matter how long or how short that may be or how his story plays out?

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God’s Promise Fulfilled in Jesus [Infographic] – The Most Significant People, Places, and Events in the Bible

Jeremy Bouma on 4 years ago. Tagged under ,,.


9780310518358When it comes to quickly grasping and retaining information, the human brain functions best with a combination of both words and pictures. This is why the new innovative, helpful resource from Zondervan can significantly benefit your teaching ministry.

The Most Significant People, Places, and Events in the Bible is an infographic survey of Scripture. This visual guide to the Bible makes it accessible and memorable for students and anyone curious to know more about God’s Word.

In under 200 pages it presents dozens of infographic snapshots that visually communicate key stories and biblical insights in an informative and understandable way through:

QuickView Summaries—outlines of Bible books and sections QuickGlance Bible Characters—revealing the highs and lows of central Bible figures’ lives QuickScan Bible Places—descriptions of key geographical locations and buildings in the Bible QuickLook Bible Events—tracing the…

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Why Is Deuteronomy the Favorite Book of Jesus? Daniel Block Explains

Jeremy Bouma on 5 years ago. Tagged under ,.

Like every volume in our NIVAC series, Daniel Block's commentary Deuteronomy helps readers access the original message in a way that helps them apply it to their own situation.

Block believes his commentary is unique because he's been wrestling with two important questions: Why is Deuteronomy the favorite book of Jesus? Why does its message underly so much of the New Testament? The answer, Block says, is "in the gospel that Moses preaches all the way through the book."

Block explains that this book is not primarily laws, but a set of potent sermons designed to shape God's people. In fact, here we consider Block's insistance that the book of Deuteronomy is a theological manifesto on par with the gospel…

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Can Jesus Sanctify Himself? (Monday with Mounce 93)

Bill Mounce on 8 years ago. Tagged under ,.

Monday with Mounce Came across a great illustration in church today about the nuances and complexities of translation.

The pastor was preaching on John 17:17-19. “Sanctify (ἁγίασον) them by the truth; your word is truth. As you sent me into the world, I have sent them into the world. For them I sanctify (ἁγιάζω) myself, that they too may be truly sanctified (ἡγιασμένοι) ” (NIV).

Dave preaches out of the NIV, but I double checked it against the ESV. Basically the same except for one very interesting difference. The second use of ἁγιάζω is translated as “consecrate.” “And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.”

What is fascinating about this passage is that the ESV tries to use the same English word for the same Greek word when used in an immediate context (like a verse or paragraph); here it varies the word from “sanctify” to “consecrate.” That’s your first clue something is up.

The NIV on the other hand is comfortable using different English words for same Greek word in the same context; after all, that is better English. But here the NIV and ESV are the reverse. So what’s going on?

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