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New Testament Articles

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    I wrote a book titled When The Church Was A Family. Considering its rather narrow focus, it has sold pretty well. I am particularly delighted that the book has become required reading in one of our Talbot Spiritual Formation courses. One person who has read When The Church Was A Family is Mark DeNeui. Mark is a New Testament scholar who has been training Christian leaders in Europe for over twenty years. He and his wife Lisa have been on furlough from the mission field and will shortly return to France. I was Mark’s youth pastor back in the late 1970s, I officiated at their wedding a decade or so later, and my wife and I have remained close to the DeNeuis all these years ...

  • John McKinley — 

    As with anything we touch, even good behaviors and initiatives can be twisted to harmful effects in our lives. The Bible holds out many precepts and instructions for right behaviors that are “acceptable” and “pleasing” to God. These guidelines are helpful for Christians to discern how to make choices in harmony with God, instead of in violation of God. The twist is when we mistakenly attempt to leverage the good actions we might do to prop up our sense of our acceptability before God. Many children learn from parents’ responses that behaviors can evoke positive and negative responses; how much of this learning is projected onto our relationship with God, our father in heaven? ...

  • Gary Manning Jr — 

    I am the very model of a Doctor of New Testament, I exegete pericopae in weather fine or inclement, I know the difference between a codex and a Chester B, and even if a manuscript is Byzantine or Westerly.

  • William Craig — 

    Dear Dr Craig, I was born in Turkey and simply followed the traditions and became a Muslim. I have always been hungry for knowledge and understanding. So I started to research Islam with the hope that I could have a closer/stronger connection with God. But unfortunately I realized that the Prophet Mohammed stands between God and me. This was my first disappointment. I also found out certain things that put me off so much from Islam, and in fact, from all the other religions. I then became and atheist because I believed it was intellectual, logical and rational. After I studied Mathematical Physics (and understood the true meaning of science, rationality and logic) at university, I realized that atheism was not for me either. My question is about Jesus. I am not a Christian but feeling very close to Jesus since the first day I came to know him. I don't understand him dying for our sins. What does that mean? No Christian has given me a satisfactory answer and I can't think of an answer myself. I am ready to die, today, for my mother but that's not what Jesus did (I assume?). What does it mean to "die for someone else's sins"? ...

  • 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 ...

  • Gary Manning Jr — 

    “Geologist claims Jesus was married… and had a SON: Expert says he has proof son of God was buried in 'family tomb' along with wife Mary and his brother” screams the headline. The sensational headline, along with the release date on Easter weekend, should be our first warning to take the announcement with a grain of salt. To understand what these claims are, we need to go back to a (widely discredited) documentary, “The Lost Tomb of Jesus,” released by documentarist Simcha Jacobovichi in 2007.

  • 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 ...

  • David Talley — 

    Discovery House recently published a new Bible Atlas that is worth your time to review. I thought you might find it helpful to become better acquainted with the author, Jack Beck, so I asked him the following questions.

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    Are you a Friday person or a Sunday person? Each year Easter gives us a special opportunity to stop and recalibrate our outlook on life. What is the difference between a Friday person and a Sunday person? Well, a Friday person is basically a pessimist, viewing every circumstance in a negative light, and always anticipating the worst: That little noise under the hood probably means I need to have my engine rebuilt. I’ll never be able to please my demanding boss. Nobody likes me. I’ll never get out from under these financial pressures. I guess I’m just meant to have a lousy marriage. This persistent pain in my side is probably cancer. A Friday person is someone who looks at a half-glass of water and thinks, “A lot of good that’ll do. I have a whole forest fire to put out!”

  • Gary Manning Jr — 

    The message of Easter is much more important than its chronology. Still, people often ask me questions about chronology in the Gospels. In my earlier post, I answered questions related to the date of Easter and the apparent difference between the chronology found in John and in the Synoptic Gospels. Today, I answer a few questions related to the "three days and three nights."

  • Gary Manning Jr — 

    The exact chronology of Easter is not the most important thing to think about during Easter week, but students often ask me questions about chronological issues in the Gospels. Here are two common questions: What is the probable date of Jesus’ crucifixion? In the Synoptic Gospels, Jesus dies the day after Passover. But in John, it seems like he dies on the Passover. Can these be reconciled?

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Weaver Book Company is sponsoring an Amazon.com giveaway of the Bible Fluency Complete Learning Kit. Up to five times, for each 100 entrants, one will receive a free copy of the Bible Fluency kit, including the teaching videos, flashcards, workbook, and music CD. Spread the word! The giveaway will last one week or until the fifth prize is awarded.

  • William Craig — 

    Dear Dr. Craig, On Jan 5th I made a statement that I was not going to allow doubt in regards to Jesus into my life, Jesus appears to be the best choice and that’s what I’m going with and I’ll reevaluate at the end of the year. Well, a few days after I made this statement some books by Rabbi Tovia Singer (Let's Get Biblical) that I ordered earlier arrived and I couldn’t help myself to start reading them. I hate that I’m so inconsistent, but I will not apologize for yearning for truth ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    The short answer, I believe, is that there is nothing wrong with offering a prayer to the Holy Spirit since God the Spirit is, of course, fully God, just as is God the Father and God the Son. However, most prayers in the New Testament and in the church of the second and third centuries were to God the Father, with a few exceptions.

  • Klaus Issler — 

    Dallas Willard (1936-2013) has been one of the key evangelical interpreters and provocateurs regarding the important doctrine of formation into Christlikeness. Willard was professor of philosophy at the University of Southern California and a former Southern Baptist pastor. Sometimes due to Willard's spearheading the importance of spiritual practices among Protestants, he is viewed as having said little else on the topic of Christian formation (Richard Foster claimed that Willard was his mentor on that particular subject, in the acknowledgement section of Foster’s classic book, Celebration of Discipline, HarperSan Francisco, 1978). But there is much more. ... Four pervading themes in Willard’s writings on Christian formation are briefly developed below, mainly with quotations from Willard.

  • 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 ...

  • William Craig — 

    "... I am now stuck in a nihilistic-atheistic world that I hate. Agnosticism is not even a coherent position to me, with regards to a Perfect Being, since I believe that the greatest conceivable being could give me knowledge of its existence, if it wanted to. Theism is a dream come true. The world would make sense, the existential mysteries that haunt me would be solved, life would be livable. It is atheism, however, which seems to be true, yet I do not want to live like this. I have become depressed to no end. I have been in a nihilistic rut for years now. I have become utterly recluse. Yet, even with all this, I cannot come to believe in God. What would YOU suggest I do? ..."

  • 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 ...

  • David Horner — 

    A wise person builds his or her house on a solid and lasting foundation. According to Jesus, such a foundation is rooted in him and his teaching about life. The wise person, said Jesus, “hears these words of mine and puts them into practice” (Matthew 7:24). It’s a call to follow what Jesus says as our authority. Claims to authority grind in our cultural gears. But this is often based on confusions about what authority is and what it means to follow it. In this series we’re unraveling some of those confusions ...

  • Alan W. Gomes — 

    In the last twenty years, many individuals claim to have visited heaven or hell and have written vivid accounts of what they purport to have seen. What should we make of these stories? Should they form a basis for our faith? Might they supplement or enhance the convictions that we already have? How do we evaluate such claims and what is their practical use even if true?

  • Alan W. Gomes — 

    In the last twenty years, many individuals claim to have visited heaven or hell and have written vivid accounts of what they purport to have seen. What should we make of these stories? Should they form a basis for our faith? Might they supplement or enhance the convictions that we already have? How do we evaluate such claims and what is their practical use even if true?

  • 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 ...