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Biblical Exposition Articles

  • 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 L. 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?

  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    To see and experience something of Jesus’ emotions, let us join eighty to a hundred thousand religious pilgrims on their trek to the sacred city to worship at the Jewish Temple. It is Passover week. In order to participate in the traditional Temple offerings, people need doves or pigeons. Since worshippers need these birds, they were sold at the Temple at a premium price. You could get a more economical bird outside the Temple courts or lug one from home through the hot desert. However, every bird used in Temple rituals had to pass the rigid purity standards of the Temple’s in-house animal inspectors. Only inflated Temple-sold birds had the guaranteed certification of the scrupulous inspectors. In this way, the house of prayer had become a classic case of what economists call a “captive market.

  • Mick Boersma — 

    ... When you think of unbelievers you know, I imagine you see some of them as more ‘open’ to the gospel than others. Whether we realize it or not, we often profile people as to their potential for faith. Appearances, careers, affiliations, social habits – these and other factors lead us to make assumptions about people. Zaccheus stands as one of those unlikely converts whose conversion represents the amazing love and mercy of our Lord ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Uno de los pasajes más conocidos en la Biblia se encuentra en Mateo 28:16-20. Este pasaje es comúnmente conocido como “La Gran Comisión.” Jesús nos ordena hacer discípulos entre todas las naciones. La palabra discípulo significa aprendiz o seguidor. A inicios de la era de iglesia, se les llamó “cristianos” a los seguidores de Jesús (Hechos 11:26). Por lo tanto, discípulo de Cristo o cristiano pueden considerarse como sinónimos.

  • 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 ...

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    Maybe you didn’t know that he was gone. He was. The prophet Ezekiel saw it all in a vision. God abandoned his temple during the Babylonian Exile in the sixth-century BC ...

  • Darian R. Lockett — 

    In this series of posts, we attempt to offer a rich and appreciative reading of James chapter 1 and 2 with an eye to James’ theology of human redemption—a Jacobian soteriology. In the previous post, we considered James 1:18 and 21 and concluded that this “word of truth” and “implanted word” thus is a new character, a new heart’s disposition created in us. It must be received (1:21) and, as the “law of freedom” it must be obeyed (1:22-25). Mercy must, it appears, be enacted in order to be efficacious. And thus the answer to the third question regarding this proverbial statement appears to be “yes,” mercy is a “work” required for salvation. But that is a misleading way to understand James. It is better perhaps to call the mercy that triumphs an appropriation of the divine concern (2:5, 8), proof of the reality of the “birth” (1:18) and the “implanted word” (1:21), and an accurate understanding of “faith” (2:14). This question of what constitutes “good works” will be explored now in this final post.

  • Darian R. Lockett — 

    In this series of posts, we attempt to offer a rich and appreciative reading of James chapter 1 and 2 with an eye to James’ theology of human redemption—a Jacobian soteriology. In the previous post, we considered the function of the “word” and the “law” as God’s gracious gifts for salvation. Here we specifically looked at James 1:18 and 21 and concluded that this “word of truth” and “implanted word” thus is a new character, a new heart’s disposition created in us. It must be received (1:21) and, as the “law of freedom” it must be obeyed (1:22-25). Thus, the “word/law” in James is God’s instrument for salvation—it is both gift and responsibility. In this second post we will focus on James 2:12-13 where “mercy” triumphs over judgment.

  • Darian R. Lockett — 

    I suspect for many readers of the New Testament that the Letter of James is something like the odd uncle at a family Christmas party who unfortunately suffers from chronic halitosis. Someone you rather not talk with, but in the end you are related—and thus might owe the obligatory yearly conversation. Well, if this does not accurately describe the church’s reception of James, it certainly represents the attitude of many scholars. For example, Andrew Chester notes “James presents a unique problem within the New Testament ...

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Disfrutar de una relación íntima con el Dios del universo es el propósito principal del ser humano. En Dios encontramos respuesta y sentido a nuestras vidas. El salmo 15 describe al tipo de persona que puede relacionarse personalmente con el Creador. El salmista se pregunta quién puede ser un huésped de Dios. En esa cultura, un huésped gozaba de acceso directo con el anfitrión. Este salmo de sabiduría se entonaba al entrar al templo. Los adoradores iniciaban con la pregunta y el sacerdote respondía con los requisitos y finalizaba con una promesa para aquellos que los cumplían.

  • 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? ...

  • Mark Saucy — 

    This post is the substance of a chapel message I gave to the students of Kyiv Theological Seminary on October 14 of last year (2014). At the time Ukraine was (and still is) in the midst of brutal conflict with Russian-backed separatists in the eastern regions of the country. All of the students present had been impacted by the conflict, some profoundly either by burying church members, relatives, and friends, or by answering conscription summons. No one in the country has been left untouched by the crisis. I offer these thoughts here because suffering and crisis and loss may come to those around us at anytime. We need the mind of our Lord to enter into such a house of sorrow or pain and be his instruments for healing ...

  • John McKinley — 

    The Christian belief system is consistent and coherent. This shows in the way that adjustments in one concept of the system often require modifications in other aspects. Increased clarity about one topic elucidates other topics. The interdependence of my beliefs was again displayed when I came across a common mistranslation of a single word in Luke’s gospel. Once I had been persuaded that the prevailing translation was misleading, I experienced shifts in the ways I view and relate to God, and how I pray and think about God’s involvement in daily life. These implications of a single word have been strong reverberations that I am grateful to experience ...

  • Joy Mosbarger — 

    The season of Advent is one in which the Church anticipates, prepares for, and celebrates the coming of Jesus Christ into our midst. As I thought about waiting expectantly for the presence of Jesus, I started wondering what exactly I am waiting for. What is it I expect from his coming? Am I waiting for him to come and fix my circumstances or get me out of a tight place? Do I just want him to ease my suffering and pain, to bring comfort and solace?

  • David Horner — 

    The Bible claims to be our supremely authoritative guide to life. But isn’t it irrational, oppressive, or even dangerous to base our lives on an ancient book—any book—rather than to “think for ourselves”? My claim in this short series is that basing our lives on the Bible is exactly what thinking for ourselves leads us to do—if we’re thinking well ...

  • Darian R. Lockett — 

    At the end of September I had the honor of speaking at the installation of my good friend, Mickey Klink, as head pastor of Hope Evangelical Free Church in Rosco, Illinois. The following is the text of my talk and I thought I would share it in this venue as it might possibly serve as encouragement for others who are about to embark on the journey of pastoral ministry. (I’ve shared this with Mickey’s permission) ...

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    Every year Bible scholars from around the world gather for a series of conferences about the Bible and related topics. This year the conferences are being held in San Diego, making it convenient for many Biola faculty to attend the conferences, present papers, see friends, and wander the book tables. The following list (thanks to David Roberts for compiling it) includes the presentation titles by those associated with Biola. As you can read, our professors are engaged in research in many different and interesting areas!

  • Aaron Devine — 

    I often think about home in a specific way. For a long time, home has been a safe place to come back to at the end of the day. It has been a place to establish a comfortable niche in the world as a respite, a literal financial investment in emotional well being. Home has been about rest and nurture, as it can be a place of ministry to family and friends. It also has been a place to launch out into kingdom ministry more broadly.