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Articles by Kenneth Berding



  • 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 ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Recent English Bible translators have increasingly opted to translate the Greek word peripateo, whenever it is used metaphorically to describe one’s way of life, with the English word “live.” The other option at translators’ disposal is to retain the metaphor and translate it into English as “walk.” The motivation for the decision to translate with the word “live” instead of “walk,” apparently, is the fear that readers might not grasp the metaphor, and thus might either interpret verses that employ the metaphor literalistically (describing the manner in which you put one foot in front of the other), or, more likely, that readers might simply find themselves confused by the metaphor. Let me show you some verses from Ephesians 4-5 where this matters, comparing the English Standard Version and the New American Standard Bible, both of which tend to use “walk” in such contexts with the New International Version and New Living Translation, both of which tend to use “live” (or something similar). Then let me offer a critique.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Before launching into his own biography of A. B. Simpson, the founder of the Christian & Missionary Alliance, A. W. Tozer reflects a bit on what kind of person makes the best biographer. As one who enjoys reading biographies, I appreciate the wisdom in Tozer’s words and offer them to all of you who have benefitted and grown as a result of reading the stories of others’ lives and journeys. So who is the best person to write a biography, and who probably shouldn’t write a biography?

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    “Paul’s fourth missionary journey? I thought he went on three missionary journeys!” Yes, according to Acts, Paul embarked on three missionary journeys. Then he was imprisoned in Palestine for a couple years, transported under guard via ship to Rome (a journey that included a shipwreck on Malta), and spent a couple more years under house arrest in Rome. End of story? No. That is where the book of Acts ends, but it is not the end of the story. There are enough biblical and historical hints floating around to allow us to reconstruct some of what happened next. As a result of such a reconstruction, perhaps we ought to start talking about Paul’s fourth missionary journey ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Weaver Book Company is sponsoring an Amazon.com giveaway of the Bible Fluency Complete Learning Kit. Up to five times, for each 100 entrants, one will receive a free copy of the Bible Fluency kit, including the teaching videos, flashcards, workbook, and music CD. Spread the word! The giveaway will last one week or until the fifth prize is awarded.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    The short answer, I believe, is that there is nothing wrong with offering a prayer to the Holy Spirit since God the Spirit is, of course, fully God, just as is God the Father and God the Son. However, most prayers in the New Testament and in the church of the second and third centuries were to God the Father, with a few exceptions.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    I am regularly vexed by how shallow my prayers can become. When I pray for something—and I know that all prayer is not for things—what should I pray for? Only for my family? For someone I know who is ill? For God to help me in the day ahead? For God to resolve whatever problem is currently worrying me? I often sense that there is some content that I’m missing when I’m praying. Do you sense the same thing? ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Newsweek decided to begin the New Year by attacking people who hold a high view of Scripture. (“The Bible: So Misunderstood It’s a Sin,” by Kurt Eichenwald, January 2-9 issue.) Their lead article on the Bible contains so many untrue or partially true assertions that it seemed to me that some sort of concise and readable response needed to be offered. But it would, literally, require a book-length critique to adequately address all the mischaracterizations, factual mistakes, and suggestive statements propounded in this single article. So I have decided to simply read through the article, select an occasional assertion from the article that needs a response, and try to offer a straightforward and hopefully fair response. None of these responses should be taken by a reader as sarcastic; my goal has been to offer sober-minded responses to particular assertions in an article that is full of inaccuracies.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    A few evenings ago, we hosted a delightful group of ten Biola students at our house for dinner. During dessert, we launched into a lively discussion about how we should celebrate Christmas as Christians. We discussed various sub-topics under this broader question, but we spent the largest portion of our time talking about how Christians should—and should not—talk to their children about Santa Claus.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Charles Spurgeon’s words about the way Whitefield preached are worth pondering ...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Sometimes I have to stop when I’m reading my Bible—and laugh. Let’s admit it; some passages are just plain funny. Here are some that my daughter Lydia and I collected together.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Are you as concerned about the growing problem of biblical illiteracy as I am? We Christians have more Bible-focused resources available to us than has any generation of Christians in the history of the world. Despite this we are literally—from a spiritual standpoint—starving ourselves to death. Would you like your church, adult Bible class, youth group, or small group to reach Bible fluency by pursuing an Old Testament Fluency in 12 Weeks class or a New Testament Fluency in 12 Weeks class using the free resources at biblefluency.com? Here’s how.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    What does it take to achieve Bible Fluency? In my next two posts I will guide you through how to use a brand new free resource called Bible Fluency: Sing it, See it, Study it, found at biblefluency.com. This first post seeks to answer the question: How can I use music, visuals, and a workbook to help me learn to think my way through the Bible?

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    This past Sunday (September 14, 2014), my fourth daughter, Ana, was baptized as a believer in Jesus Christ at Corona Del Mar beach with 15 or so others from Redemption Hill Church. We have heard from so many about the impact of her public testimony, so I thought that I might share it as an encouragement to you as well. The testimony is hers, written by her and read out before she was baptized.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    I recently came across an excellent list of questions that every missionary thinking of joining a missions agency should ask before signing up. This list, and the introductory paragraphs, were written by Dan Crane from the First Evangelical Free Church of Fullerton. They are reprinted with permission.