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Category: Biblical Exposition

  • 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 ...

  • 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 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 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 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 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.

  • Gary Manning Jr — 

    The release of the movie Left Behind has again drawn attention to the Christian belief in the rapture. The movie tries to portray the chaos in the world as millions of Christians suddenly disappear. This image has interested Christians for quite a while. I recall watching the Thief in the Night series of movies back in the 1970s (the Antichrist had sideburns!). But I am interested in a question that is often overlooked: what is the point of the rapture in the Bible?

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    I am often asked my opinion of the mega-church model of ministry. I find the model lacking, frankly, but not for the reasons you might think.

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • Alan Hultberg — 

    I recently previewed the upcoming Nicholas Cage film, Left Behind, based on the books by Tim LaHaye and Jerry Jenkins. The film centers on the chaos that ensues after the instantaneous disappearance of millions of people worldwide due to the coming of Christ for his church, an event known as “the rapture.”

  • Uche Anizor — 

    Inequality is not necessarily inequity. Often talk related to disparities in income, opportunities, education, skills—you name it—centers on the issue of justice or equity. However, it may be that justice or injustice has little to do with inequalities. As in all matters, it is helpful to get somewhat of a God’s eye view on this rather easily misunderstood issue. What I’d like to do is briefly draw attention to one strand of biblical teaching worth considering as we discuss matters of inequality. I’ll do this with the help of Edwards and his eschatology.

  • Dave Keehn — 

    A family had a priceless family heirloom – a vase – that was passed down one generation to the next generation. One day, the parents of the family who had possession of the vase, left the teenagers at home while they went out shopping for the day. When they returned home, their children met the parents at the door, with sad faces, reporting: “Mother, Father… you know that priceless heirloom our family passes down one generation to the next… while our generation just dropped it”

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    I recently read a fascinating book by Richard Nisbett, who compares and contrasts contemporary Asian and Western worldviews. It just so happens that the strong-group mentality of Nisbett’s Asian culture corresponds in some important ways to the mindset of people in the New Testament world.

  • David Horner — 

    How could it be reasonable to base my life on an ancient book (the Bible was written between 2000 and 3500 years ago)? Indeed, how could it be reasonable to base my life on any book? I should think for myself. To live by someone else’s instructions is to surrender my own mind and personality. That approach produces mindless drones, cultists and terrorists. Yet for two millennia, followers of Jesus from every culture and language have followed the Bible as their authority, from simple folks to some of history’s most influential scholars and intellectuals, from poor people with no political power to those in positions of great influence. And the world is radically different as a result.