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Articles by Kenneth Berding



  • 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 ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    The dialogue between Michael and Jim continues: Jim: Even in areas of sin, simple confession is often not enough to rid you of the habit that has been formed through patterns of sin. Sin has two main dimensions, the rebellion side and the habit side. Rebellion is dealt with through confession. Ungodly habits are usually eliminated by putting good habits in their place. And the only way to develop permanent good habits is by implementing self-discipline. Michael: (looking frustrated) By raising the issue of discipline, you’ve really hit a sensitive nerve with me. I’ve heard countless messages on self-discipline and am extremely uncomfortable whenever I hear them. Is a disciplined person like you more spiritual than a lazy bum like me? ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    The dialogue between Michael and Jim continues: Jim: Maybe we should talk about sin today. Michael: That sounds like a good way to mess up a nice morning … Jim: At least it’s a useful subject. Michael: I’m not so sure about that. Jim: Maybe it would be good to try. Michael: OK, if you insist ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    The dialogue between Michael and Jim continues: Michael: You said that the issue is whether the world determines the look of our lives, or whether the Bible determines it. Jim: Sometimes, biblical truths look extreme to us because we’re using the values of the world as our yardstick. Michael: So you think we should all be fools for Jesus. You think that we all need to make a decision to live radical, cut-loose lives for Jesus. Right? Jim: Right. Michael: I thought you said that the Lord has been teaching you about balance recently ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    The dialogue between Michael and Jim continues: Michael: Do you remember last week—one of the final things you said to me was, “I hope that you’re able to take hold of the life that the Lord has planned for you”? I think I responded with an “I hope so, too.” I’ve been thinking about this all week and I have another question I want to talk about. This one’s really nagging me. Jim: Shoot. Michael: Don’t start that again! Jim: OK. Michael: Do we ever actually get what we’re seeking? We’re told many times in the Bible that we’re supposed to seek the Lord. Is the Christian life all seeking, or is there any finding involved? ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    The dialogue between Michael and Jim continues: Jim: Haven’t you noticed that some preachers concentrate on themes of forsaking all to follow Christ, personal discipline, faithfulness in prayer, radical discipleship, the lordship of Christ, and the like, while others exhort us to let go of our self-reliance and learn about the inner joys of the life that God offers? Michael: I’ve never really though of it that way, but you’re right. Jim: Which should they be preaching? Michael: I’m not sure. Jim: I’ve got a theory ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    The dialogue between Michael and Jim continues: Michael: But isn’t there any way that I can have the joy and peace of the Christian life without the necessity of suffering, pain and personal discipline? Jim: You want to have your cake and eat it too? Michael: That’s not what I mean. Jim: What do you mean? Michael: What about all those people who talk about the peace and joy they experience as Christians? Their lives don’t seem to be all that difficult. Perhaps I should aim at that type of life ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Two men in their in their late 20’s walk into a coffee shop around 7:00 a.m. In college they had been good friends, but over the past few years had gotten out of touch. Having lived in the same dormitory for three of their four years at City Christian College, they still had many fond—and a few not-so-fond memories—of their time together in college. Just by accident (or so Michael thought) they had run into each other in a hardware store about three weeks before, and had set up a time to talk over breakfast. Jim thought of their accidental meeting as a divine appointment. He considered any accidental meeting to be a divine appointment ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    This weekend I had the privilege of reading Constantine Campbell’s brand new book, Advances in the Study of Greek: New Insights for Reading the New Testament. I had fun reading this book. It’s possible that this says more about me than it does about the book(!), but I must honestly acknowledge that for me it was a truly enjoyable experience to read this new volume. Advances in the Study of Greek is a good way for people who already have some training in Greek to get up-to-speed on inside discussions happening between Greek Geeks…that is, umm, Greek linguists and grammarians. Here is a short run-down on its contents ...