Biblical Exposition Articles

  • Life of Jesus, Part Four

    Jesus Cast Out Demons

    Matt Williams — 

    When we begin to talk about spiritual warfare, Christians either overemphasis it, or underemphasize it. It is important to have a balanced and...

  • Life of Jesus, Part Three

    The Temptation of Jesus

    Matt Williams — 

    I remember asking my son after church one week what he had learning at church that day. His reply, “Jesus was tempted by ... that other guy.” I...

  • Life of Jesus, Part Two

    The Baptism of Jesus

    Matt Williams — 

    The baptism of Jesus is easily misunderstood. We often understand this important event as Jesus simply going into the Jordan River and being...

  • Klaus D. Issler — 

    Does the Old Testament (OT) teach that charging interest on a loan is sinful? Until about the 1500s, most Church leaders agreed that it was sinful,...

  • Klaus D. Issler — 

    For most of the history of the church, church leaders understood that the Old Testament taught a complete ban on any interest on loans. As noted in Part 1, the subject of this study is the matter of loans to fellow Israelites who had the potential for paying the loan back, not the topic of charity to the poor. Three important passages in the Pentateuch or Torah guide the main teaching on loans and interest in the Old Testament ...

  • Klaus D. Issler — 

    For much of church history, pastoral leaders believed the Old Testament taught that no interest should be charged on any loans. The care and protection for the Israelite working poor was the main rationale for such a prohibition that no interest should be charged on such loans. “If you lend money to any of my people with you who is poor, you shall not be like a moneylender to him, and you shall not exact interest from him” (Exod 22:25). Before we go too much further, let me state the obvious. What we are discussing here is the matter of loans that were offered to fellow Israelites who had the potential for paying the loan back. One doesn’t offer a loan to someone who has no means of paying it back; in that case one offers charity. The subject of charity is a different one with which the Old Testament makes provision through other means (e.g., gleaning [Lev. 19:9-10], sabbatical year [Exod 23:10-11], and triennial tithes [Deut 14:28-29]). The topic of this blog series is about lending, not charity ...

  • Markus Zehnder — 

    I present these thoughts from the perspective of someone who grew up in and is familiar with the academic and spiritual situation on the European continent. My observation is that many of the trends that have eroded a robust Christian influence on European culture are very much active in the Evangelical world of the US in the current situation as well ...

  • Matt Williams — 

    This article gives an overview of one of the Bible studies from The Forgiveness of Jesus DVD Bible study in the Deeper Connections series: Jesus heals a blind man in John chapter nine. To most of us, this seems like a pretty cool miracle; and it is, but there is so much more behind this miracle that we miss because we do not understand the first century context. When we take the time to learn this historical context, the passage pops! ...

  • Matt Williams — 

    The following is an overview of one of the Bible studies from The Forgiveness of Jesus DVD Bible study in the Deeper Connections series: Do you ever feel like you are too far gone for God to forgive you? Or, maybe you feel like he might forgive you, but he does it grudgingly? This fear is the main reason that I published The Forgiveness of Jesus because nothing could be further from the truth. When Jesus calls Matthew the tax collector (Matthew 9:9-13), it shows us that God seeks out the lowest of the low in order to show that he loves to forgive. But in order to fully understand the meaning of this text, we must understand the first century context. When we take the time to learn this historical context, the passage comes to life!

  • William Lane Craig — 

    Dear Dr. Craig, I have been enjoying your videos and podcasts about your study of the atonement. I have to admit though, that as of right now I don't accept penal substitution. Though I grew up with this view, I now hold a combination of the recapitulation and satisfaction theories. To briefly summarize for the readers, the recapitulation theory teaches that Jesus became like us and did what we should have done, so that in him, we might become like him and do what he did. This is perhaps the oldest theory of the atonement and is the basis for many later theories. The satisfaction theory of St. Anselm adds that Jesus's self sacrificial obedience served as restitution for our sins, or as Anselm calls it, satisfaction. In my opinion, these theories together are more Biblical and intellectually satisfying than penal substitution ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    A few years ago I received an email from a former student (now a young pastor) asking some questions about speaking in tongues during corporate worship. Let me excerpt his e-mail and then include my reply (with his permission): Dr. Berding, I am emailing you because I have a question about ‘service of worship’ for the church. Recently I have taken upon myself to work out some position papers on where I stand on a few ecclesiology topics. I have spent time reading from Horton, Grudem, Bloesch, and some of Clowney's works on ecclesiology. However, recently at our corporate worship one of the elders prayed in tongues and this was followed by what appeared to be an interpretation. As I have been reading through these books and wrestling with scripture, I have come to wonder if tongues plays a role in corporate worship or not ...

  • Jeffrey Volkmer — 

    In a post on his blog, "Jesus Creed," eminent New Testament scholar Scot McKnight seems to agree with some of the findings of Claude Mariottini's book Rereading the Biblical Text: Searching for Meaning and Understanding which argues that Gen. 3:15 is not in fact messianic. McKnight further points out that such a conclusion agrees with Old Testament luminaries Gordon Wenham and Gerhard von Rad as well as some translations. These, says McKnight, conclude that the “seed” mentioned in Gen. 3:15 refers to not an individual, but rather the sum total of the descendants of both the woman and the serpent ...

  • Kenneth C. Way — 

    In his forthcoming summative book, called Beyond the Texts, the Syro-Palestinian archaeologist William G. Dever summarizes what is presently known about ancient Israel and Judah based primarily on the artifacts—the material culture that includes textual sources. One example is Dever’s portrait of the historical King David. He offers the following seven propositions about David that are inferred from archaeology and also converge with what is attested in biblical texts ...

  • Dave Keehn — 

    Summer movies are often the stories of heroes; whether real-life or Marvel®, both are super. These stories inspire as they entertain us. The problem is, most of the time, we are content with letting someone else be the hero. We are too busy, too passive, too self-absorbed, or too afraid of what would happen if we got involved; and so the people around us stay unknown to us and do not receive the help they need. The result is preconceived biases that isolate us from one another and a lack of care and compassion for those who need a place of refuge and relief ...

  • Dave Keehn — 

    Job interviews are a nerve-wracking ordeal. The feeling of being out of control regarding one’s future leads to subservient postures in relationships. This was the situation the Moabite, Ruth, found herself in after returning with her mother in-law to Bethlehem (Ruth 1). However, in this amazing Biblical narrative is a posture of grace-seeking that is reminiscent of our seeking God; it is the God-action of finding favor in others that we should model in our working relationships ...

  • Michael Thigpen — 

    The account of humanity’s creation in the image of God in Genesis 1:26-28, is specifically crafted to lead the reader to conclude that God’s intended outcome, his purpose, for creating humanity in his image, was to create flourishing communities, not just flourishing individuals. The cultural or creation mandate as it has been called—God’s command to be fruitful, multiply, fill and subdue the earth, and to rule over the living things on the earth—is rightly seen as a command to fulfill God’s intention. Humanity is to fill the earth and bring about flourishing ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Why does the Bible use so many metaphors and analogies to describe the Spirit’s activities and our relationship to those activities? Why not employ concrete language to teach us what we need to know about the Holy Spirit and our relationship to him? ...

  • Matt Williams — 

    ... The Old Testament background is very helpful for understanding the deeper meaning of the New Testament scriptures. In the transfiguration account, we read in Matthew 17 that Jesus “was transfigured before them. His face shone like the sun, and his clothes became as white as the light.” We remember that in the Old Testament, after Moses went up Mount Sinai to meet with God and receive the ten commandments, his face “was radiant,” and he wore a veil (Exodus 34:33-35). Matthew 17 is showing us that Jesus is the new (but better) Moses ...

  • Octavio Javier Esqueda — 

    Jesús fue un inmigrante. Todos los cristianos también somos inmigrantes. Por lo tanto, Cristo se identifica con nosotros y nos entiende. Como sus seguidores debemos imitar su ejemplo y aprender de él. También debemos mostrar compasión por aquellos que son extranjeros al venir de otros países y regiones ya que reconocemos que todos nosotros somos también peregrinos y extranjeros ...

  • Octavio Javier Esqueda — 

    Jesus was an immigrant. All Christians are also immigrants. Therefore, Christ identifies himself with us and understands our situation. As his followers we should imitate his example and learn from him. We should have compassion for those foreigners who come from different regions and countries because we recognize that we all are also strangers and exiles on earth ...

  • Matt Williams — 

    ... Understanding the Jewish background of the first century helps us to understand the biblical story with a greater depth and appreciation. For example, most modern Christians mistakenly assume that the early followers of Jesus expected Jesus to resurrect from the dead. But that is far from the truth ...

  • Octavio Javier Esqueda — 

    Los cristianos son seguidores de Jesucristo. La palabra que se usaba en los tiempos de Jesús para designar a sus seguidores es discípulos. Por lo tanto, ser un cristiano es ser un discípulo de Cristo (Hechos 11:26). En Lucas 14:25-35, y en otros pasajes más, Jesús establece los requisitos para los que quieran ser sus discípulos. Grandes multitudes le seguían asombradas de su mensaje y autoridad. Sin embargo, Jesús no estaba complacido solamente con que mucha gente le siguiera sino que él deseaba que aquellos que tomaran la decisión de hacerlo, lo hicieran de acuerdo a unas normas específicas. Así que, Jesús se detuvo y delineó en esta ocasión cuatro características indispensables para sus seguidores. Para ser un buen cristiano o discípulo de Cristo es necesario cumplir con las condiciones que Jesucristo indica.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    In recent years, I have been helped in my study of the Bible by employing an informal distinction between “biblical necessities” and “theological explanations.” Of all the classes I teach at Talbot/Biola, this distinction has been most helpful to students taking a class I teach called Pauline Theology: Romans. Since some of my students have benefitted from this distinction, I thought you might appreciate reading about it today. A biblical necessity is a truth that you find yourself compelled to affirm after a careful reading of Scripture that pays attention to the appropriate literary, historical, and canonical contexts. You may not know how to explain all the what-abouts of the subject, but you cannot get around the fact that this particular teaching seems clearly supported by Scripture. The thing that you must affirm after a careful and contextual reading of Scripture is a biblical necessity ...

  • Matt Williams — 

    Up until about ten or fifteen years ago, Bible scholars mostly wrote for other Bible scholars, rather than for the church. In creating these Bible studies, I wanted to take the knowledge that we Bible scholars know and deliver it directly to the church in a creative and understandable way ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    I started the New Year by worshiping, fellowshipping, and preaching at Taft Avenue Community Church in Orange, California. At one point in the service, Pastor Bob Burris read aloud a short explanation of why Christians sing during times of worship. I appreciated what he read and want to share it with you today. The reading was adapted from a blog post by Kevin DeYoung, cut down to a length that could be used in a worship service. Why do we sing when we worship together?