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Articles by Kenneth Berding



  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    A couple days ago I was reading Ephesians 1 in Greek during my morning Bible-reading time. As I read, I was drawn to two phrases that are clearly present in Greek but are often eliminated in English. The two expressions that get removed are “into him” (εἰς αὐτόν) in the middle of verse 5 and (“in him”) (ἐν αὐτῷ) at the end of verse 10. Presumably these expressions get cut because they are deemed unnecessarily repetitive.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    My mom passed from this world into the presence of the Lord less than three weeks ago. Since she faced a long journey through early-onset Alzheimer’s Disease (a journey of twenty years from the time the disease was detectable), I am so glad—beyond what you can probably imagine—that my mom is now with the Lord, in a place of rest, and with all her mental faculties restored while she awaits the resurrection and restoration of her body. My dad, sister, brother, and I each spoke at Mom’s memorial service about her genuine love for others and her faith in Christ. I’d like to share with you the last part of what I shared at that service.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Three years ago, Trudi and I adopted two precious girls out of the Los Angeles County foster system. They are now 14 and 12 years old. We are deeply grateful for these precious young ladies God has brought into our family. But we encountered a few things that we wish someone had told us about foster-adoptions before we started the process. Here is a short list of issues that might be helpful for you to know if you’re considering embarking on such an adventure.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Yesterday I spent about 45 minutes talking and praying with one of my current students. Four months ago he was invited to step into the role of youth pastor in his church, and now finds himself responsible for preparing and teaching a message every Friday and Sunday. Two messages a week! And this for someone who has only done a bit of preaching in the past… He shared with me (and I share this entire post with his permission) that the single hardest thing he has faced in his new role as youth pastor is the agonizing decision of what to preach each week.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Dave Brunn recently gave a gift to the English-speaking church in his book One Bible, Many Versions: Are All Translations Created Equal? (IVP, 2013). Dave Brunn is a professional translator and trainer of translator-wannabes within New Tribes Mission. To the best of my knowledge, he has never worked on an English-language translation project. His translational claim to fame is a translation of the Bible (done alongside dedicated national co-translators) into Lamogai, one of the multitude of languages in Papua New Guinea. Consequently, Dave Brunn brings an outsider’s perspective to our recent English translation battles. (You know what I’m talking about, the “mine is the best translation and all others are suspect” battles.) And his outsider’s perspective is clarifying and challenging. Here is a summary of the book, in the author’s own words (from pages 189-190), focusing on what translations share, rather than how they differ.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    This week was a week of tears in the Berding household. We cried as we sent our oldest daughter, Lydia, overseas into a needy and difficult region of the world as an ambassador for Jesus Christ. She will be gone for at least one year, and is open to and actively praying about making a long-term commitment after that year. We cried before we sent her. And we cried afterwards. But we will not hinder her from going out. Quite to the contrary, Trudi and I are entirely supportive of the mission Lydia is on; she is going out with our full blessing. But many young people don’t enjoy the support of their parents as they depart for overseas service, and many never actually make it—in large part because their parents have opposed them. Their Christian parents…! Family opposition may be the number one reason young people with a call to overseas missions don’t ever arrive there. And this is a grave sin on the part of the parents.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Is it possible to successfully “blend” the hymns of the past with modern hymns and worship music in a single service? Let's talk about it.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    The most recent issue of the Journal of Spiritual Formation & Soul Care carried an article I wrote on the relationship between spiritual formation and mission. Here's an outline...

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    A couple years ago I was asked to lead a discussion for the Talbot School of Theology faculty on “The New Perspective on Paul.” Now, you should know up-front that (for the most part) I am not very positive about the overall approach that New Perspectivists take when they interpret the letters of Paul (esp. Galatians and Romans) and when they try to set those letters in a reconstructed first century Jewish theological context. But I also do not believe that it is right or wise for people to be dogmatic about topics that they don’t know very much about. So, to help you interact responsibly with the New Perspective, I want to revisit the lecture I did for the Talbot faculty try to help you understand the New Perspective on Paul so that you can critically weigh for yourself its merits and demerits.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    In my last post I shared about how to carry on a deeper, less confrontational discussion with your Muslim friend by asking a question about the topic of hypocrisy. Click HERE for my earlier post. In this post I will suggest a different question to ask your friend that might allow you to enter into yet another non-confrontational conversation with the goal of introducing your Muslim friend to Jesus Christ.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    One of the hardest things Christians face when they step out to share their faith with Muslims is that the conversation almost inevitably veers toward a competitive discussion about which religion is better: “You think this, but I think this.” “I’m right and you’re wrong.” Often you’ll find yourself on the defensive: “Yes, Jesus did die on the cross…” “Yes, Jesus is the Son of God…” “No, the Bible hasn’t been changed…” Is there any way to keep your conversation from degrading into an “I’m right and you’re wrong” discussion?

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    My wife Trudi and I spoke for a parenting seminar this past weekend. We offered 14 “tips” for nurturing the spiritual lives of one’s children. I’ve included the 14 teaching points here for your own consideration. Our prayer is that many parents will take on the call to intentionally train their children in the ways of the Lord. If you want your children to grow up to be passionate followers of Christ…

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Which is the best Greek text to use when translating the New Testament? Some people argue for a “majority text” (a text like the one that lies behind the KVJ or the NKJV but none of the other major translations). What are the arguments that have been put forth in favor of the superiority of the Byzantine (majority) text of the Greek New Testament? How would you respond to someone who insisted that the majority text approach is correct?

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    People often get up-tight when they first learn of the existence of variations in the text of the Greek New Testament, but their concerns are baseless. The text of the New Testament is far-and-away the most attested and stable text of any ancient document. In fact, if you question the stability of the text of the New Testament, you probably ought to disregard just about everything you think you know about ancient history since almost all the important historical manuscripts from which such history is derived are from copies that are far later and of far poorer quality than are our New Testament manuscripts. I recently discovered a convenient way to demonstrate this!

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    This post is for people who are praying seriously about the possibility of serving overseas in long-term cross-cultural missions. It may help you assess where you presently stand in terms of “readiness” for such a ministry assignment.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    What are spiritual gifts, really? Andrew Faris posted an interview with me on this question at the "Christians in Context" blog.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    One of the top pop songs of 2012 was Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe.” Its catchy tune worked its way into millions of ears and stayed there; it was a classic “ear worm.” Even those of us who don’t listen to pop music were vexed by how difficult it was to get this song out of our thoughts.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    I recently discovered something about Nehemiah that I had never noticed before. There are lots of hints in the biblical book that bears his name that Nehemiah was a person who lived with an ongoing awareness of the presence of the Lord, and who highly valued the importance of communion with God.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    I just came across a 230 year old letter that is loaded with wisdom, love, zeal, and grace from an experienced "pastor" to a new "pastor."

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Here’s a great electronic resource that you can use to introduce people to Jesus during this Christmas season.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Con Campbell’s new book, Paul and Union with Christ: An Exegetical and Theological Study (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012, 479 pages, $34.99 softcover) is one of the most important books I’ve read in a long time. I predict that scholars and serious students of the Bible will be referring to this book for years to come. The reason is simple: Campbell has meticulously and even-handedly taken one of the Apostle Paul’s central themes, union with Christ, and has painstakingly examined it both through an exegetical and a theological lens.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    I just returned from the Evangelical Theological Society annual meetings in Milwaukee, Wisconsin where I picked up a copy of D. A. Carson’s new little book, Jesus the Son of God: A Christological Title Often Overlooked, Sometimes Misunderstood, and Currently Disputed (Crossway). On the taxi ride from the airport to the conference, I briefly tried to share the Lord with a taxi driver named Hassan. We were about a minute into the conversation when Hassan commented rather ardently, “We Muslims believe that Jesus is a prophet, and not the son of God.” I explained to him that Christians don’t believe that God had physical relations with Mary that led to her pregnancy, as many Muslims assume and consider blasphemous. The problem for dialogue with Muslims like Hassan is that many Muslims think that is precisely what we Christians mean when we use the expression “Son of God” in reference to Jesus—which, of course, we don’t. So what if you were a Bible translator in a Muslim country and knew that many of your readers would make the same assumption that Hassan did about the expression “Son of God”? Perhaps you should change the words “Son of God” to something else that is proximate in meaning but less offensive. Or maybe you shouldn’t…

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    What is the shortest verse in the New Testament? Did you respond “Jesus wept”? (Buzzer sound) No, that is the third shortest verse in the New Testament.

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    A few weeks ago I put up a post with the title: “Something About the Book of Romans that will Really Help You ‘Get’ It.” (Click HERE to read it.) I rounded out that article with a list of questions from Romans to help people see the importance of the ethnic issues going on in the background of the letter to the Romans. Some people expressed surprise that there were so many questions in the book of Romans—it’s not something that they had noticed before. Well, there are a whole lot more questions in Romans than the ones I listed. Questions are one of the ways Paul moves his argument forward. Do you want to see how many questions there are?

  • The Good Book Blog

    Kenneth Berding — 

    Here’s something that many people I talk to about Paul’s Letter to the Romans don’t seem yet to have grasped. The earliest house churches in Rome would have been primarily Jewish and would have culturally felt Jewish, but in A.D. 49 the Roman Emperor Claudius kicked the Jews out of Rome. Jewish Christians, of course, would have been expelled along with the rest of the Jews. During the five years between Claudius’s edict (A.D. 49) and his death (A.D. 54) when the edict lapsed and Jews started to return, the composition and self-understanding of the house churches in Rome would have shifted considerably. Paul’s letter to the Romans would have arrived in Rome somewhere around A.D. 57, during the period when Jews were still trickling back into Rome. If you can fix in your mind that the expulsion of Jews from Rome had a tremendous impact on the churches in that city, you will understand the message of Romans oh-so-much better!