Come and find out the answer to this question on Wednesday evening, March 7th, 7:00-8:30pm, at the Mayers Hall Auditorium at Biola University. This is the title of a free public lecture by Dr. Simon Gathercole, Senior Lecturer in New Testament at the University of Cambridge. The event will conclude with a Q&A session.
Cinematic portrayals of Biblical stories can be a helpful means to encourage our Christian walk. Especially is this the case for me when I watch a movie about the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Of course, not everything in a film will be theologically accurate—but no film can accomplish that task. A movie is the director’s and actors’ interpretation of the Gospel events. I have appreciated the following six movies about Jesus. There are sections in each film that touch me deeply and nurture deeper appreciation and love for our Lord. Perhaps one or more of these films will benefit you in the same way.
Early last year I did a blog post by this same title, and I want to revisit the subject again. Around this time every year the excitement begins to build for archaeologists and for those who are interested in archaeology. The reason for elation is that summer plans for excavation in Israel are announced every January. This summer, there are around twenty excavations in Israel that are open for volunteer participation. Yes, that means YOU can be a part of unearthing the next great discovery in Israel!
Leading people is never an easy task. It takes great skill and character to lead people effectively. It also takes time, effort, and patience to work with people and to lead them well. All of this is part of building a relationship. Unfortunately, many leaders take “shortcuts” in trying to work with people especially in the church. These leaders are not so concerned about the well-being of the common good but may be more bent towards controlling the people with biblical power sources such as the Bible. This entry will explore and potentially warn against these misuses and will respond with appropriate biblical refutations.
As I am working on a commentary on the Gospel of John (Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament), I have noticed a general trend by interpreters to minimize the functional importance of the dialogues of Jesus. While interpreters might admit in principle that the form of a particular scene is a dialogue, in practice the dialogical form of the scene is given little interpretive force. What is focused on instead is the words of Jesus, almost is if they occurred in a vacuum. I think this misunderstands the importance of dialogues. Let me explain.
What does Paul intend when he instructs that an overseer must be a husband of one wife in 1 Timothy 3:2 (cf. Titus 1:6 and 1 Timothy 3:12)? Here is a quick walk-through this somewhat complicated expression.
One the trickiest situations within leadership, has to do with how many people should be leading the church. Many people and cultures would strongly suggest a singular or monarchial type leader for the church while others would suggest a plurality of leaders. Which one is correct? Which model is the wisest? And what does the Word of God says about this? This entry will suggest that the Scriptures prescribe a plurality of leadership as being the wisest and most widely practiced model for leadership for the church.
I was perusing the news on msn.com some time ago and saw a link that said, “Do you have a spending problem? Take the Savvy Spending quiz.” I guess I had too much time on my hands, so I thought I’d take a look at the quiz. Before I started, however, MoneyCentral at msn.com gave me their advice ...
Consecutive expository preaching entails preaching through whole books of Scripture passage-by-passage. In recent years, more and more pastors are moving away from this kind of expository preaching. Some people complain that it is boring, lacks relevance, and is not sufficiently application driven. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are some very good reasons for maintaining (or adopting) consecutive expository preaching as the principal manner of preaching in your church. Here are seven.
I’m thankful and excited to be able to announce the publication of a new (short) book called Walking in the Spirit (published by Crossway). I am deeply concerned that we learn to live lives empowered by the Holy Spirit—that we learn to “walk” in the reality of his presence and power. This non-academic book is written especially for people who know that the Holy Spirit is important, but who aren’t quite sure what to do about it. Walking in the Spirit includes study questions for individuals and groups at the end of each chapter. Here is a link to the first section of the book if you’d like to read a little: http://www.amazon.com/Walking-Spirit-Kenneth-Berding/dp/1433524104/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314577370&sr=8-1#reader_1433524104
Scenario #1: A single mom is in a small group with a first-year seminary student. The young man just completed an introductory course in biblical hermeneutics. During the group’s sharing and prayer time, the following interaction unfolds: MOM: I have been really struggling to make ends meet. But just this week I found a verse that has really given me confidence and peace about my finances: ‘And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:19). STUDENT: You might wanna be careful about claiming that verse as a promise for your personal finances. As the context of Philippians indicates, that is a specific promise Paul gave to a local church because of their sacrificial financial contribution to his missionary efforts. It is not a generic promise to be claimed by just any individual Christian struggling with his or her finances.
How necessary are extra-biblical sources for reading Scripture? Even for those who believe the Bible is Scripture, the text is assumed to stand behind a dense fog of historical distance and cultural isolation. I teach a class called Biblical Backgrounds to upper-level biblical and theological studies majors at Biola University, and it is by far my most dreaded class. I do not dread the class because the course is uninteresting or unimportant; on the contrary, I find extra-biblical sources like history and culture to be fascinating and think the class might be the most important one I teach. But it is important not because backgrounds gives necessary insights for the study of the Bible, but because it might be the most destructive tool for reading the Bible as Scripture.
I have been sitting in the Gospel of Mark for several days, and The Tale of Two Daughters in Mark 5 has caught my soul’s attention. You remember how the last half of the chapter goes: Jesus has just demonstrated his authority over creation by calming the storm on the sea for his disciples, has demonstrated his authority over evil by casting out a legion of demons from the Gerasene man, and now has once more crossed the sea and landed on the shore where he is met by a great crowd of folks.
I often get questions from students about the best translation of some verse. Usually, the difference is between "literal" translation (such as ESV or NASB) and "dynamic" translation (such as the NIV or NLT). These two types are also called "formal" (because they try, when possible, to follow the forms and word order of the original Greek or Hebrew sentences) and "functional" (because...
A couple years ago I sat in a lecture in which a local scholar-pastor presented arguments in favor of amillennialism. As he described his own journey away from premillennialism into amillennialism, he said something that made me realize that many amillennialists misunderstand what premillennialists believe about the Millennium. As he told his story he commented: “I began to wonder why there was even a need for a Millennium since it was so much like the New Heaven and the New Earth. God can bring his promises to fulfillment in the New Heaven and the New Earth.” He had evidently been thinking of the Millennium in the same way as he had been thinking of the eternal state, so the Millennium eventually became redundant in his system, and he abandoned it. As his lecture progressed it became clear that he (now as an amillennialist) assumed that this is what all premillennialists thought about the Millennium.
My 83-year-old mother has dementia. To help me work through the pain of this living death, I recently gave her a gift she was not able to receive: a letter commemorating her 10th anniversary in the nursing home.
Choosing the right leaders helps determine good leadership. This is true for every organization that requires leadership. Even the business world understands this important axiom. Jim Collins for example in his book Good to Great uses the analogy of getting the “right people on the bus” before any kind of leadership could move, develop, or flourish. This is not only a proven principle from experience but also something that the Pastoral Epistles certainly emphasizes. This is why following the prescription of what makes a good leader according to the Word of God is so crucial for the church. Without referring to the qualities mentioned in the Scripture, potentially wrong criteria could be imposed in choosing leaders for the church and this would be tragic!
SHAME REMOVED; HONOR RECEIVED, PART 3 --Jesus' interactions with people in the Gospel of John...and today This is the third part of a series that looks at events in the Gospel of John in which we find Jesus interacting with various people who need help—physical help and spiritual help. In John 4, Jesus speaks with a Samaritan woman. It is interesting that John records this interaction right after his interaction with Nicodemus. The Samaritan woman could not be more different than Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a male Jew, a Pharisee, a member of the Jewish ruling council, and was Israel’s teacher (3:1, 10). He was the epitome of the best of the best that Israel had to offer.
Pop Quiz. Identify the correct company to which these advertising jingles are associated: “You deserve a break today” “Have it your way” “Rule the Air” Fascinating how advertising agencies craft a need for a product while feeding the human ego. The underlying message in these jingles is that it really is all about you.
The whole mentorship movement continues to increase in popularity especially within the church. Many young people today are seeking out mentors. This even seems to be a value for the younger generation. But in actuality, this movement is not a new one at all but rather one that dates back even to the first century.
1 Thessalonians 5:22: “Abstain from all appearances of evil” (KJV) “Abstain from every form of evil” (ESV) I confess that whenever I encounter this verse, I picture old, withered saints shaking their bony fingers in younger believers’ faces and exhorting them about some questionable behavior. In this recurring scenario, the godly, mature Christians find it necessary to exhort the younger saints, not because they have done something that is evil, but simply because they behaved in a manner that could have the appearance of being evil.
I can understand why the so-called “Hall of Faith” in Hebrews 11 includes luminaries like Abel and Enoch who have untarnished records in Genesis. I can also appreciate why imperfect people like Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses and Rahab are included among the faithful. But what about characters like Jephthah and Samson in Hebrews 11:32? These infamous figures from the book of Judges appear to be severely faith-challenged. So what are they doing in this august list?