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Articles by Kenneth Berding



  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Each time I have read through The Chronicles of Narnia I have been struck by some apparent linguistic and cultural allusions to the Turkic-world in C.S. Lewis’s beloved series for children. Two of these seem beyond any reasonable doubt to be allusions to things Turkic, others seem very likely to connect somehow, and still others feel to the present author like connections, but may not in fact be. As a non-specialist, I list these for the consideration of those who are more familiar with linguistic/cultural influences on Lewis than I. I am a professor of New Testament who happens also to fluently speak and read modern Turkish. Moreover, I genuinely admire Lewis’s writings. These are my only qualifications. Readers who understand Lewis can research my suggestions further.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    As you daily walk in the Holy Spirit, God will fill you with his Spirit in such a way that your desires to sin lessen. Galatians 5:16—set in a chapter that parallels Romans 8 in many ways—says it so well: “Walk in the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.” The one who walks in the Spirit will not give in to the desires of the flesh. Walking in the Spirit and carrying out the desires of the flesh are mutually exclusive ideas; you cannot do one at the same time as you engage in the other.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    I remember sitting in my office with a student who was thinking about moving out of evangelical Protestantism and into a different church tradition. He began thinking this way after he had started reading widely in the writings of Christian authors from earlier eras. After being exposed to various authors who sometimes expressed divergent viewpoints from his own, he became increasingly unsure about whether the Bible on its own was clear in what it taught. He was considering changing to a church tradition that could interpret the Bible for him. Since, in his thinking, we can’t be certain what the Bible actually means when we read it, we need an authoritative guide. Let me assure you, there are people out there who will gladly tell you what the Bible means if that’s what you want! Another conversation with a different student also comes to mind. She wasn’t sure whether she could really give herself to Christ in faith because she didn’t know if the message of the gospel was actually true. But the more we talked together, the more I realized that she wasn’t struggling with which truth claims were correct and which were false; she was struggling with whether anyone could know something was true at all. So whenever I appealed to the Bible I didn’t get any traction in our discussion because she didn’t think we could actually come to know truth through a written text. Both of these students were struggling with whether the Bible was clear.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Following are seven reasons you might be struggling to love Muslims. The seventh reason is probably the most important ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    I have just finished reading through (most of) the new 1,200+ page book, The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures, edited by D.A. Carson. This book is a splendid example of deep thinking about important subjects presented in a format readable not just for advanced students and scholars, but also for other deep-thinking Christians. I am not saying that the topics are simple. Quite to the contrary, this book tackles some of the most difficult questions surrounding the authority of Scripture. The doctrine of inerrancy in particular is underscored throughout the book ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    I was serving as a worship pastor in a church in one of New York City’s suburbs when the attacks of September 11, 2001 were launched. Soon after the attacks, a small contingent of vocal church members began to demand that we start to sing American patriotic songs during our worship services. That suggestion didn’t sit well with me so I began trying to work through some of the relevant theological and practical questions one by one. I wrote these questions and answers on September 29, 2001, only 18 days after the attack on the World Trade Towers in New York City. The following is by no means the final word on the question, but it might provide categories you can use to think through this subject for yourself ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Today is my 30th wedding anniversary. Thirty years ago I vowed faithfulness, friendship, and my entire future to Trudi Lynn Wilson. Apart from following Christ, it was the best decision I ever made. Trudi has shown more love, compassion, and grace than I could have ever hoped for, and far more than I deserve. She has willingly tramped all over the world with me, setting up home, family, and ministry in Portland, Berlin, two cities in Turkey, Los Angeles twice, Philadelphia, and New York. But this post isn’t a veiled attempt to get you to send notes of congratulation (though gifts are welcome). I decided today might be a good day to share a song I wrote for Trudi about five years into our marriage ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Just inside the door of Sandie Weaver’s office in the lower level of Metzger Hall hangs a framed quotation from Oswald Chambers. Sandie is the Senior Director of Financial Planning & Operations at Biola University, which means that she is on a mission to make sure Biola University carefully plans for its financial future and lives within the constraints of whatever funds God brings into the university. I love walking into her office and immediately encountering this quote from Oswald Chambers. Sandie has had these words hanging on the wall of her office for more than 30 years to remind her that she labors to do what she does—not merely because it is wise and necessary—but because God called her to do it ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    I’ll bet you’re curious to know what this post is about! Actually, I love curious people, and find those who lack curiosity to be a bit boring. Still, there are some things that are good to be curious about, and others that vie for our attention that are not edifying. Here are two things worthy of your curiosity, and three that are not ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    In his classic book on sanctification, Holiness, J.C. Ryle includes a poignant paragraph on the divine and human natures of Christ.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Paul’s discussion of the Old Testament law in Romans and Galatians connects well with a practical life concern: How do we effectively parent our children? In particular, one question parents regularly face has to do with what part rules play in raising children. Since Paul actually uses the raising of children as an analogy to explain the role of the law (Galatians 3:24-26; 4:1-7; Romans 8:14-17), perhaps we should turn the analogy on its head and ask if there is anything we can learn about raising children from Paul’s teaching about the law ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    ... When I was younger, I would try to get rid of doubts by closing my eyes (really really tightly) and concentrate (really really hard) on pushing out the doubtful thoughts. And when I (inevitably) started thinking about my doubts again, I’d simply try again (really try this time!) to expel those doubts. But you can’t push doubts out of your mind any easier than you can push other thoughts out of your mind by valiantly trying ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    A spiritually-minded friend of my wife and me recently made this comment: “I struggle with the idea of praying according to the will of God. Since I know that some things are clearly according to God’s will, why can’t I just pray directly about those things and know for certain that they’re going to happen? But that’s not the way it works with my prayers. For example, I know that God doesn’t want Christians to get divorced. But I’ve sometimes prayed that God would preserve a struggling marriage that still ended up in divorce ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    More than a generation ago, Don Richardson popularized the idea that Christians who share Christ across cultures might encounter—and even ought to look for—“redemptive analogies” in those cultures. The idea was that God has pre-placed customs or stories into cultures that prepare people to respond to the gospel ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Columnist Joel Stein in the December 21 issue of TIME (p. 174) labeled 2015 as “The Year the Adults Gave Up" ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    I have no intention of answering this specific question. (Do you think I’m crazy?!) But since this is a truly difficult question for many Christian parents, let me offer a suggestion about gift spending that might help you in the future. I know that you’re probably reading this post too late in the season to make any changes for this upcoming Christmas, but now may be the ideal time to formulate plans for the future ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Praying for peace is good. Praying for justice is good. Praying for your Christian brothers and sisters who are facing torture and death is good. Praying for non-Christians who are facing torture and death is also good. But there is one crucial thing you can pray about that could change the course of history in the Middle East.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    This morning I was reading in Hosea 9:7-15 during my Bible reading time and was reminded once again why it is so important to be reading and learning the Bible. In those nine short verses are five allusions to places/events/things that someone who reads the Bible a lot should be able to recognize. Test your Bible knowledge and see if you know what Hosea is alluding to in each of these five cases ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Classical Christian education programs are on the rise. I am heartened that so many parents want their children to get a strong education that draws upon all that is wonderful, winsome, and wise from the past. But Latin instead of Greek? Are you serious? Come on, teachers and parents. Feel free to add Latin later if you’re so inclined, but really you should start with Greek. Here are eight (well … sort-of eight) reasons why Greek ought to be the core language you teach in your Classical Christian education program instead of Latin ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    One of the keys to understanding the New Testament (NT) use of the Old Testament (OT) may be the recognition that when a NT author draws upon an idea found in a particular OT passage, it does not have to be the main idea of that passage to be usable. The contemporary assumption (often not articulated) that it has to be the main idea of an OT text to be legitimate seems to be a key stumbling block for people studying the NT use of the OT. The tendency for people to focus only on the main idea of a text (rather than also upon sub-themes) may also explain my present discomfort with the sense / referent distinction made by various authors.[1] The sense / referent distinction seems to assume a single sense for a verse that is akin to an exegetical idea of that verse.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    The dialogue between Michael and Jim comes to a close: Michael: But what if it doesn’t happen the way I hope? What if I set out on a course of action and my impact turns out to be minimal? Jim: I don’t believe that anyone who lives a life of whole devotion to God will only have minimal impact. But it’s not until eternity that we will be able to see all that has occurred through our lives. In other words, we don’t always see fully now. But, let’s say that you really don’t make an impact; you can’t even see a dent. Even then, you’ve lived life according to the purpose for which you were created, and that can never be called an empty life. Michael: But if your ministry is unsuccessful, you haven’t succeeded. Jim: Not necessarily ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    The dialogue between Michael and Jim continues: Michael: I think I’ll never find a church I can take my family to. Jim: WHY NOT?! Michael: There’s just too much hypocrisy! Jim: I have to agree with you there. Michael: (not listening to Jim’s answer) … I know it’s hard for you to hear this, since you’re in the ministry and everything … (all of a sudden catching on) … did you say you agree?! Jim: Of course I do ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    The dialogue between Michael and Jim continues: Michael: I admire your courage. But I still think that what you’re trying to do is almost impossible. Jim: That’s one of the reasons we’re trying it. God is the one who makes the impossible possible. What do you think, Michael? Is the church a triumphant church, or are we just a band of persecuted idealists? Michael: In your case I’d say that you look more like a group of persecuted idealists. At the same time, the church does seem to be making strides in many places in the world ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    The dialogue between Michael and Jim continues: Jim: The issue, as I see it, is this: Are we supposed to make decisions according to wisdom or should we look for special guidance from God? Michael: That’s the question. Jim: Proverbs tells us that we’re supposed to seek after wisdom in every area of life.[1] Michael: So wisdom is obviously important. Jim: Definitely. But Paul describes the believer as one “led by the Spirit.”[2] This description may be broader than simply the internal processes in decision-making, but also probably includes those as well. The Bible also presents many examples of God giving specific guidance to individuals for specific situations by various means ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    The dialogue between Michael and Jim continues: Michael: How do you know things are going well? How do you know you’re not actually doing badly in your walk with God and that you just don’t realize it? Jim: What kind of question is that? Michael: A question to frustrate you. Jim: Thanks ...