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Articles by Joe Hellerman



  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    Each August the Hellermans spend several weeks vacationing in the mountains, in Mammoth Lakes, CA. One afternoon, on one of our getaways, our oldest daughter (then thirteen years old) came out of her room with a play she had written. Rebekah has always been into drama. She had participated in a number of children’s theater productions at our previous church. On the home front, Rebekah recruited neighborhood friends and staged “plays” before a captive audience of indulgent parents ... So began an adventure that continues to unfold today, sixteen years later.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    ... Among the unique aspects of early Christianity, when compared to other religious options in the ancient world, are the relationships the early Christians shared across geographical boundaries. The church was a family—not only locally but also from town to town ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    Last Saturday evening, my wife and I had a delightful dinner out with two of our very best friends, John and Leah Hutchison. Before we left the house, I had about fifteen minutes to kill while Joann was still getting ready. The nerd in me has something laying right on my nightstand for just such occasions: a volume of Josephus’ Antiquities. I picked it up, intending to read a little Greek, and stumbled across a story that had escaped my memory but is worth revisiting ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    I am working on a sermon about the church at Antioch (Acts 11:19-30; 13:1-3). As I prepare, I am struck by the open-handed generosity of this church, with respect both to financial resources and personnel.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    I am not particularly enthralled with the spiritual gifts debate that is currently undergoing a renaissance of sorts, via John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference and publications. Been there. Done that. I was a new believer when the same debate was raging back in the late 1970s, and it is a bit discouraging to see the church divided, once again, over a topic that was beat into the ground a generation ago.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    One of my self-imposed projects over the January break is to read through N. T. Wright’s (most recent) magnum opus, Paul and the Faithfulness of God. The work is actually two separate books (@ 600 and 1200 pages, respectively!). Book I is primarily concerned with backgrounds, and Paul’s worldview vis-à-vis paganism and Judaism. Book II deals with Paul’s theology and more directly engages the text of his letters.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    Allow me to introduce you to Brett McCracken. Brett is a Talbot student and Biola employee whom God is using in some very strategic ways to represent Jesus and his people at the national level. I became acquainted with Brett through my oversight of the Good Book Blog. I am thankful and proud that this humble and gifted young man is part of the Biola/Talbot community, and I think that you will be, too, after you read the following interview.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    Literally. This morning I was jogging on the beach and came across four people: (1) a minister, (2) photographer, (3) a young man in a tux, and (4) a young lady in a wedding dress. I think the ceremony had just ended, because they were signing the marriage license as I ran by. What was sad was that there was not another person in sight.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    Remember 7th grade, when your English teacher taught you how to diagram sentences? You know, “main clause,” “subordinate clause,” and all that other stuff you have likely forgotten long ago? I still diagram sentences. And I teach my students how to diagram sentences, too—Greek sentences!

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    We at Talbot, and especially in the philosophy department, are deeply saddened with the homegoing of our mentor and friend, Dallas Willard.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    Social Justice or The Proclamation of the Gospel? In Amos Part One (2/18) we encountered the Northern Kingdom experiencing great prosperity during the reign of Jeroboam II. Suddenly, the prophet Amos appeared on the scene predicting Israel’s destruction and exile. I ended the previous post with this challenging question: “Why has God become so angry with a people that He has so richly blessed?”

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    We are presently teaching through the Minor Prophets at church. I had the joy of tackling the book of Amos over a couple Sundays in February—not exactly a seeker-sensitive text.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    Below is an excerpt from a commentary I'm writing on the Greek text of Philippians. The section I've copied is a rough first draft treating a key Christological phrase from 2:6. The commentary will be part of a series called The Exegetical Guidebook to the Greek New Testament (B&H Publications). It's aimed at seminary grads and pastors who have actually learned and retained their Greek...like Talbot students, we hope! You can get the abbreviations from Murray Harris's volume on Colossians, but they should be familiar to NT students (e.g., TDNT = "Kittel," etc.). Enjoy!

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    I recently received an inquiry from a Talbot student who wants to organize a small group for youth pastors from different churches who are starving for peer fellowship.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    The selfless, other-centered behavior of Christ, as portrayed in Philippians 2, is striking, whatever your cultural perspective. The following contrast shows just how radically counter-cultural Christ’s attitude toward his divine prerogatives was for those who ascended to the heights of secular power in the ancient world.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    I turn sixty years old this October. Talbot School of Theology has kindly given me the Fall semester off to mourn this milestone in my life. But what’s to mourn? I’m just that much closer to seeing Jesus face-to-face! So, I decided, instead, to celebrate my chronological landmark.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    Check this out. A quote from a kid who came to Christ at Hume Lake last week. It doesn't get any simpler, or any more profound, than this:

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    My previous post garnered some lively response, to say the least. Murray Vasser offered the most thoughtful and pointed critique. Since my response would not fit in a comment slot, I’ve posted it separately to contribute to the ongoing dialogue.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    I am receiving an increasing number of e-mails from persons in my church championing this or that conservative political cause. I recently responded in some detail to a dear brother who sent me a note encouraging his church leaders to become aware of a particular political agenda.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    At the intersection of Christian psychology and theology, much has been made in recent decades of our identity in Christ. I am assured that grasping the fact that I am “chosen, holy, and loved by God” (Colossians 3:12) is indispensable to a true view of myself as a Christian. Appropriating my identity in Christ forms the crucial foundation for healthy relationships with others, as well.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    One of my scholarly and pastoral agendas over the years has been to try to augment the idea of “me-and-Jesus”—which is so dear to the hearts of Western evangelicals—with the idea of “us-and-Jesus,” a concept that also fills the pages of the New Testament.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    As part of a 16-week overview of the Story of Scripture, I am preaching on the Ten Commandments this Sunday at church. The Second Commandment, in particular, has generated a variety of explanations: “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below” (Exodus 20:4). Why no images? Explanations vary, and they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Here are just a few:

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    In addition to my pastoral responsibilities, I play Hammond B3 on our church’s worship team. Those of you who are musical might appreciate what I wrote to the rest of the band, when we were about to invite a gifted young keyboard player in our congregation (Jacob) to play B3 with our new OCF Gospel Choir:

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    I preached on the Joseph story and came across something that should be a great encouragement to Christians facing difficult circumstances.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Joe Hellerman — 

    I have always had mixed feelings about the whole idea of sermons broadcast over the airwaves. And now with the internet we can listen to preachers from thousands of churches around the world without having to interact with a single human being. There are, of course, great benefits to the dissemination of all these sermons. But there are distinct liabilities, as well.