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Category: Biblical Exposition

  • 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.

  • Tom Finley — 

    At a recent luncheon, the Talbot faculty were reminded about the culture of academia, a culture that permeates Christian universities as well. The typical academic conducts research by herself or himself alone. Any paper or book that results may be reviewed by colleagues, but still the research is the product of one mind alone. Sometimes there are books that contain contributions by various researchers, but each article typically has also a single author. There are exceptions to the rule—books or articles that are co-authored. They are still exceptions, though, and not the rule ...

  • 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 ...

  • Mark Saucy — 

    What images do the word “work” bring to mind? If students and others I’ve had the chance to ask are any measure, the first thoughts aren’t all that positive. For myself I can recall flip comments I have made (half-) jokingly about hating when my work gets in the way of my hobby (cycling, mountain biking—the sport of kings!). From what I get from others, I’m fairly typical ...

  • Walt Russell — 

    When was the last time you heard the Bible taught and it penetrated to the core of your being? What about having this experience after thinking, “I could care less about this topic!”? Then, much to your surprise, the Spirit used the Bible rightly-interpreted and rightly-applied to cut through your lack of interest and the absence of a felt need. You stumbled out of the room enthralled with the God who speaks so clearly and powerfully through His Word. You left passionately asking the Lord of the Bible how you could align your life with this amazing truth that you cared nothing about the hour before ...

  • 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 ...

  • 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 ...

  • Mark Saucy — 

    This week’s conference, “Israel and the Church: A Troubled Past and Glorious Future,” hosted by Biola and Chosen People Ministries, provided yet another opportunity for me to think “big picture.” As most of us, I suppose, the cares of daily tasks—emails, news cycles, family, work-ministry, church-ministry—I can get so buried in the daily that I lose the plan! By plan I mean the narrative that God has written for the world. A narrative that first rescues a fallen creation and then restores it to the flourishing fullness God made it for ...

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    This year we are studying 1 Corinthians at Oceanside Christian Fellowship. I preached the message on 6:12-20, with the above title. I began by explaining Paul’s foundational principles in verse 12: (1) not all things are helpful, and (2) I will not be dominated by anything. The rest of the sermon outlined the “Five Good Reasons” (subtitle, above) as follows ...

  • David Talley — 

    ... Grace is a concept that we have fully received, but one that we will never fully comprehend. Throughout all of eternity we will be “grow(ing) in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (2 Peter 3:18). Our worship and praise of the One who has bestowed grace on us will only increase, ever and always … there will be no end of our awe ...

  • 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 ...

  • Daniel Kim — 

    ... The well-known words suitable helper in Gen. 2:18 are so engrained in our English speaking culture that it’s difficult to think of Gen. 2:18 in any other terms, even though many translations have tried to adopt better wording to fit the original Hebrew (c.f., ESV, NLT, or the footnote in the NASB). These words come in the midst of the sentence, “I will make him a helper suitable for him” (NASB). Suitable helper might have been a suitable translation 50 years ago, but I suggest that the phrase suitable helper has become outdated and is now misleading in its translation ...

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    What Did the New Testament Authors Really Care About? The easiest way we know to answer that question is to pick up Matt Williams’s and Ken Berding’s (editors) book: What the New Testament Authors Really Cared About: A Survey of Their Writings. The second edition has just been released by Kregel in an attractive full-color format with some added materials ...

  • Kenneth Way — 

    One of the ways to interpret the idyllic story of Ruth is to read it as a wisdom text—an illustration of God’s order in the lives of his faithful people. There are a number of good reasons to read Ruth in this way ...

  • John McKinley — 

    Theologians have often observed the paucity of details about the Holy Spirit in the Bible, as compared to revelation of the Father and the Son. This holding back by the Spirit who inspired Scripture seems typical of his humility, and the trait of divine love “that does not seek its own.” Sets of details that we can add to the several statements about the Spirit are connected with eight metaphors used throughout the Bible. Several of these metaphors pull together and give concrete expression to the declarative statements of pneumatology, such as “the Spirit sanctifies, indwells, teaches, assures, and convicts people" ...

  • Gary Manning Jr — 

    It is commonly claimed that when Jesus used the phrase “I am” (ἐγώ εἰμι, ego eimi), he was making a direct reference to the name of God in the Old Testament, YHWH. There is some truth to this, but I want to suggest three important caveats to this claim: “I am” (ἐγώ εἰμι), by itself, is not a code for the name of God; “I am” is only intended to refer to deity in some of Jesus’ sayings; Paying too much attention to the “I am” part of the sentence distracts readers from paying attention to the rest of the sentence.

  • 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.

  • Dave Keehn — 

    As a parent, my favorite word to say is “yes.” Saying this word puts me in a favorable position with my children. The look of joy on their faces when I say “yes” compels me to say it more and more. I even struggle saying “yes” when I know it would be wiser to say “no” due to budget restraints (“yes, take my last $20”), or health concerns (“yes, eat the whole gallon of ice cream”), or just common sense (“yes, you can play in the street”). My children expect a “yes” when they ask because I love saying “yes” so often. So when I say “no” they are surprised by my objections to their request. However, my disapproving “no” is just as loving as my “yes,” and many times it is a much more compassionate response ...

  • Tom Finley — 

    Amos has much to say about oppression and the plight of the poor in Israel, so it is only natural that his book has become a focal point for discussions about social justice.[1] At least three aspects of the issue dealt with by Amos concern the nature of God, the role of the individual, and the role of the social system ...

  • Gary McIntosh — 

    One might think that church leaders would naturally agree on the priority of mission. However, this is not the case. Debate continues today between those who say the priority of mission is to do well in whatever form it takes, while others contend that our priority is to preach the gospel of salvation. Building on the salvation motif found in the Gospel of Luke, this article suggests that the priority of the church is to preach the gospel of salvation.

  • 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.

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    ... Because of the importance of Christian fellowship, it is important to distinguish biblical guidelines to guide and govern our interactions with other professing believers. This is especially true in a world such as ours, where there exists tremendous diversity in the beliefs and behaviors among those who call themselves Christians ...

  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    As we learn emotions from Jesus, not only does our blood start to boil (see Part 2) and our stomachs turn (see Part 3), he also shows our hearts how to beat with real joy. There is a stereotype floating around which says that Jesus and the faith he represents are about cold-hearted duty, doing the right thing at the expense of our happiness. There are enough grim-faced moralistic systems out that brandish the name of “Christianity” to keep the stereotype alive. But they have more in common with the philosophy of Immanuel Kant than with the kingdom of Jesus. The day after he stormed the Temple, Jesus returns to the same Temple courts to announce that his kingdom is like a big party, and everyone is invited; not a boarding school, not a boot camp, not a prison chain gang, but a party.

  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    If we peer underneath Jesus’ table-flipping rage at the Temple (explored in Part 2), we find a still deeper emotion to reflect. Matthew’s account tells us that immediately after protesting the poor-oppressing, God-mocking Temple system, “the blind and the lame came to him in the temple, and he healed them" (Matthew 21:14). What a beautiful moment. In it we see that Jesus was outraged not in spite of His care for people but precisely because of it. The very people marginalized and trampled under the religious power structure are brought into the spotlight and elevated by Jesus. (He has a way of doing that.) He didn’t take anything from them or treat them like chumps in a captive market. He gave them vision and sound bodies. He treated them like the intrinsically valuable human beings they each were—and all for free.

  • David Talley — 

    In Mark 9:1-13 we read about an unparalleled event in the Bible. It is absolutely amazing to let our imaginations wander to consider what the disciples actually witnessed. What a moment it must have been. But what does it actually mean to us? What can we learn from this event?