Articles by Charlie Trimm



  • Talbot Magazine

    Shelf Life

    Recent publications from our very own Talbot faculty.

    Gary L. McIntosh, J.P. Moreland, Charlie Trimm, Michael J. Wilkins — 

    "Scientism and Secularism"; "Fighting for the King and the Gods"; "Building the Body"; "In His Image"

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    My recently published book on warfare in the ancient Near East and the Old Testament includes about 150 pictures. Besides the pictures from friends...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    My forthcoming book on warfare in the Ancient Near East and the Old Testament not only has many words, but also about 150 pictures. While ancient Near Eastern texts are somewhat familiar, visual imagery remains unknown for the most part. This is partly due to the difficulties of acquiring permission to print the pictures. Some pictures I was required to buy directly from museums or professional photographers (and so I will not be able to post these pictures online). However, I was also able to acquire pictures for free from three other sources. First, I will show some pictures that were taken by friends ...

  • Talbot Magazine

    YHWH & Genocide

    Reflections on an Unpleasant Topic in the Old Testament

    Charlie Trimm — 

    While the old testament contains multiple “unpleasant” topics for modern readers of the Bible, most likely none are as serious as the question of YHWH’s commanded destruction of the Canaanites. To say the point bluntly, YHWH’s commands to Israel in Deuteronomy 7:1–2 sound suspiciously like genocide: “You must devote them to complete destruction” (Deut. 7:1–2, ESV). The people of Israel followed those instructions when they conquered Jericho (Josh. 6:20–21).

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    The second chapter of my book on warfare in the ancient Near East (see an overview to the book in a previous post) studies the casus belli of the ancient kings. Although presumably kings often went to war to gain plunder, this was not frequently stated in such bald terms. Instead, the most commonly stated reason for warfare was that the king fought to defeat chaos and preserve order in the world. In this post we will look at the Egyptian and Assyrian claims for preserving order as their goal for war and how these claims help us understand Scripture ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    In my previous post, I introduced my book on warfare in the ancient Near East and the Old Testament. Before we look at more serious topics, we will begin our survey of the book by looking at a very practical matter: going to the bathroom in battle. Unfortunately, the ancient kings did not often refer to the topic in their martial accounts. However, a few details have come down to us!

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    I have recently finished the manuscript of a book tentatively entitled Fighting for God and King: A Topical Survey of Warfare in the Ancient Near East, which will be published by SBL Press at some point in the future. The book is designed to be a sourcebook on all topics related to warfare in the ancient Near East to enable those studying Scripture to know more of the cultural background of the Old Testament. Over the next few months as the book goes through copy editing and page proofs, I am planning on highlighting a few texts and pictures from the book to illustrate some aspects of Old Testament texts (this post will have one text and one picture along with an overview of the book). I hope you enjoy the journey! ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    Every year, the week before Thanksgiving brings the annual scholarly conferences for biblical and theological studies. Like most years, Biola and Talbot professors and students are well represented at these meetings in a variety of ways. See a full list of speakers and topics in this post.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    As we saw in the previous two posts in this series, the long defeat was an important theme for Tolkien that continued even after the defeat of Sauron. As is well-known, Tolkien did not intend his fiction to be an allegory; unlike C. S. Lewis’ Chronicles of Narnia, The Lord of the Rings was not designed to correlate to the Christ event. Given the lack of attention to a central act of atonement in the book, it is not surprising that Tolkien continued the theme of the long defeat even after the defeat of Sauron.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    This post continues the study of the long defeat of Tolkien by looking at the foundational work for the Lord of the Rings, the Silmarillion. As noted in the previous post, the long defeat was Tolkien’s phrase for the idea that no matter how many times one defeated evil, it continued to (apparently effortlessly) return to full strength. The motif is connected with the elves primarily, who are immortal and experience the long defeat over the long millennia of their lives. Since we are talking about the long defeat, it is good to slow down and look at more history!

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    J. R. R. Tolkien produced a masterpiece of fiction with his Lord of the Rings, one of the best-selling novels of all time. This post will begin a series of reflections based on Tolkien’s work, not only surrounding the 600,000 word Lord of the Rings but the entire world of Middle Earth (as recounted to us in great depth in the Silmarillion and other posthumously published work by Tolkien) and Tolkien’s thoughts about what he was trying to achieve through his world (largely recorded in The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien) ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    Most agree that knowledge about the Bible in the United States is very low today (our own Ken Berding’s helpful Bible Fluency Program seeks to rectify this). What little Bible knowledge is present usually is focused on the New Testament, leaving the Old Testament as a scary foreign land that few visit. However, this was not always the case. A recent book by Eran Shalev, American Zion: The Old Testament as a Political Text from the Revolution to the Civil War, gives us a glimpse of a somewhat different world as he shows how important the Old Testament was in political discussions in the United States before the Civil War ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    Every year, the week before Thanksgiving brings the annual scholarly conferences for biblical and theological studies. Like most years, Biola and Talbot professors and students are well represented at these meetings in a variety of ways ... The following list (mostly compiled by David Roberts) includes all those at Biola and Talbot participating in the meetings this year. As always, Biola professors and students are doing fascinating work in many different areas! ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    Charlie Trimm, Assistant Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies, released a book last year on the exodus and God as a warrior. Following is an interview with the author ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    Although I talk about many controversial topics in my classes, I receive no greater pushback from students than when I talk about the need for church discipline in churches today. We spend a class period introducing the topic, discussing various reasons why Americans do not like it, how to go about practicing all stages of church discipline, and reflecting on some difficult cases. The main point I want them to take away from the discussion and the assignment is to see how church discipline can be helpful for spiritual formation and encourage them to develop relationships in which their friends feel free to rebuke them over sin. For the assignment (see details below) I have them read a chapter on confession from our textbook on spiritual formation (Joanne Jung’s Knowing Grace), reflect on the practice of church discipline, and meet with a trusted friend or mentor to practice confession.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    The study of how to interpret biblical laws and apply them to our lives today (the text we study in class is the command in Deuteronomy 22:8 to build a parapet around your roof!) results in many opportunities to talk about issues related to spiritual formation, including such areas as celebrating the Sabbath, helping the poor, and identifying legalism. One interesting area we examine is how to honor our parents.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    Although most Biola students have grown up in the church, a surprising number of undergraduates (especially freshmen and sophomores) do not attend church. Students cite a variety of reasons for this, including busyness, lack of transportation, difficulty of settling into a church, receiving Bible instruction through Bible classes and required chapel attendance, and lack of depth in relationships when they attend church. Recognizing that these students do face legitimate difficulties, I created an assignment requiring them to attend the same church four times over the course of the semester and answer a series of questions about the church for the purpose of helping them think through how they should pick a new church. I’ve included the questions below. I’d love to hear any feedback on them!

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    The idea of our identity with Christ is an important topic in my class on spiritual formation. We spend several class sessions looking at Colossians 3:1-17 from a variety of angles and often return to thinking about how our identity with Christ is foundational for our spiritual life and maturity (the students also memorize Colossians 3:1-17 over the course of the semester). The capstone to this section of the class is an assignment helping the students to reflect on their own identity. Here are the instructions ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    This series of posts presents several of my active assignments from the required freshman class Biblical Interpretation and Spiritual Formation. This one has the students examine their use of time and money, and usually students are surprised at the results. Here are the instructions ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    Half of my teaching load each semester consists of teaching the required freshman class Biblical Interpretation and Spiritual Formation. Although I thought the combination of these two topics in one class was strange when I first read the job posting, the class has grown on me and I now love teaching it. I see the connection as leading from proper reading of the Bible to spiritual formation: the very structure of the class helps prevent us from merely reading the Bible in an academic fashion. We spend a large part of the semester looking at the different genres of the Bible (law, prophecy, etc.) and then we reflect on spiritual formation topics related to those genres (such as legalism and idolatry).

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    My previous posts have looked at several examples of the different ways God interacted with non-Israelite nations. Ken Berding suggested that I compile a list of the non-Israelite followers of YHWH in the Old Testament. Without further ado, here they are.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    The Canaanite destruction is the major ethical problem in the Old Testament. How can we serve a God who commanded genocide? As we saw in the previous posts on Midian, Amalek, and the Canaanites, the individuals and families who follow YHWH and become part of Israel are on one extreme of a spectrum (the Caleb end), while those who attack Israel are located on the other extreme (the Amalek end). The groups place themselves on the spectrum by means of their treatment of Israel and their attitude toward YHWH. A nation like Edom that neither helped nor attacked Israel would be near the middle of the spectrum, incurring YHWH’s displeasure but not a divine command for extermination. Although a nation like Midian might be placed on the Amalek end of the spectrum, individuals and families from Midian could turn to follow YHWH and place themselves on the Caleb end of the spectrum. In the case of Egypt, an entire nation could move on the spectrum, depending on their attitude toward Israel.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    The Canaanite destruction is the major ethical problem in the Old Testament. How can we serve a God who commanded genocide? In this post, we will look at the Torah’s presentation of the Canaanites to see how YHWH viewed the Canaanites in the time before the Conquest of Canaan.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    Among the prominent themes within the Old Testament, YHWH’s election of Israel to be his special people is especially significant. However, the idea that YHWH chose one specific group to be his special people has offended many people in the modern world, for whom the ideals of equality and equal opportunity are very important. If YHWH chose Israel, did he reject the other nations? This post will examine two groups whom YHWH views ambiguously in the Torah to explore in more detail YHWH’s relationship with non-Israelite nations in light of the election of Israel.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Charlie Trimm — 

    God’s role as a divine warrior is most likely one of his more neglected characteristics. Some today have gone so far as to reject any talk today about God being a divine warrior, viewing it as tired metaphor that should be retired. But most Christians have simply stopped thinking of God as one who fights. Not only does it not seem to mesh well with the picture of the peaceful Jesus but it is also out of step with most of contemporary culture. In spite of these concerns, looking at the martial actions of YHWH in the Old Testament (YHWH is a transliteration of God’s name in Hebrew) can help us understand better the God that we serve.