About the Blog

The Good Book Blog, a resource from the faculty of Talbot School of Theology, features articles that explore contemporary ideas from the perspective of the Bible — the “Good Book” — including topics such as apologetics, biblical studies, theology, philosophy, spiritual formation, ministry and leadership. Find out more about what sets Talbot apart and how it prepares Christian leaders through its degree programs.

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  • Joseph H. Hellerman — 

    I have always had mixed feelings about the whole idea of sermons broadcast over the airwaves. And now with the internet we can listen to preachers from thousands of churches around the world without having to interact with a single human being. There are, of course, great benefits to the dissemination of all these sermons. But there are distinct liabilities, as well.

  • Moyer V. Hubbard — 

    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 ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    I was living with my family on the north edge of New York City on September 11, 2001. The entire nation was stunned and outraged by the attacks on the Twin Towers. The shock reverberated across the nation. The effect on those living in New York was something else altogether.

  • Clinton E. Arnold — 

    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.

  • Joseph H. Hellerman — 

    One Sunday not too long ago I preached on Daniel 4, where Nebuchadnezzar discovers the hard way that “the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes” (v. 17). I serve a wonderful, God-loving congregation of mostly conservative Republicans. A couple weeks earlier, I had delighted my people by informing them that I would not make a very good Democrat, because I don’t trust big government. Their delight was short-lived, however, because I immediately said that I also wouldn’t make a very good Republican, because I don’t trust big business. Then, I really got ‘em thinking when I added that I probably don’t make a very good pastor—at least not according to current American evangelical criteria for pastoral success—because I don’t trust big institutional churches.

  • Uche Anizor — 

    One thing that has struck my students in their initial interactions with the Institutes is how different Calvin sounds than much theology and God-talk today. The difference, I think, lies in his conviction of the truth and weightiness of what he writes. He is confident, earnest, and forthright in a way that makes a twenty-first century reader feel uncomfortable.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    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

  • Uche Anizor — 

    In the preface to the 1539 Edition of the Institutes, Calvin explains the purpose of the Institutes and in doing so offers good counsel regarding the need for theology in reading Scripture well

  • Joseph H. Hellerman — 

    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.

  • Kevin E. Lawson — 

    A few months ago I introduced and explained a “coaching” model for teaching that I believe has greater potential for encouraging deeper, more transformative learning. Unfortunately, not many of us are teaching in this way and we need to begin changing how we prepare our lessons and how we use our time as we teach our students. Last month I began to share some ideas for how to begin moving from a “teaching for knowing” to a “teaching for growing” ministry. This month I will finish up these more specific ideas and give you some more questions for reflection. Beginning next month I’ll go back and spend more time on issues of how we prepare for our teaching, how we move beyond teaching for knowing in our use of time in the group, and how to develop a longer-term approach to promoting growth through our teaching. This blog picks up where the last one left off, with six more ideas for teaching more like a coach.

  • Kenneth C. Way — 

    My first book is finally available (http://www.eisenbrauns.com/item/WAYDONKEY )! It can tell you everything you never knew you needed to know about donkeys in the biblical world. It's actually quite a technical read since it began long ago as my dissertation project at Hebrew Union College (Cincinnati, OH). So it may not be the best book for, say, small group Bible studies or local book clubs. But if you want a dose of ancient Near Eastern and archaeological analysis, then this one is just for you.

  • Rob Lister — 

    Recently, prior to one of our family trips this summer I stumbled across what looks like a great resource for kids produced by “Faith Comes By Hearing.” It's been a blessing to our kids, so I thought I'd pass it along.

  • Uche Anizor — 

    Speaking about moral codes and laws, Oliver O’Donovan (Resurrection and Moral Order, 2nd ed.) says something helpful about how we use the Bible to make moral decisions. Speaking generally of the relationship between individual moral commands and the overall moral law, he writes first: The items in a [moral] code stand to the moral law as bricks to a building. Wisdom must involve some comprehension of how the bricks are meant to be put together.

  • Uche Anizor — 

    The Aug 15th issue of TIME magazine has a short piece on Rembrandt and his portraits of Christ. According to the writer, Richard Lacayo, Rembrandt in his early 40s began to evolve in the way he depicted Christ, changing from "turbulent scenes in the Gospel, full of sharp light and emphatic gestures, to smaller, contemplative groupings.” This shift in artistic emphasis represented a more profound concern in the artist

  • Joanne J. Jung — 

    I get the most puzzled looks whenever I pose this question. How you answer it will reveal whether you truly know a certain truth about yourself.

  • Uche Anizor — 

    After many years of foolishly putting it off, I am finally reading Oliver O’Donovan’s classic primer on Christian ethics, Resurrection and Moral Order (2nd ed.). One of the book’s major claims is that the resurrection of Jesus is the ultimate reaffirmation of the created order.

  • K. Erik Thoennes — 

    What are the sure signs that you are a authentic Christian? Bible reading, praying, church attendance, right answers to theological questons, concern for social justice, and acts of service, are all necessary to grow in Christ. But none of these is definite evidence that you are truly a child of God.

  • Mick Boersma — 

    It was fun while it lasted. My wife Rolane and I just returned from a week in a seaside condo in Huntington Beach, CA. We came back home just before the U.S. Open surfing championship there, in time to escape the record throng that attended.

  • Uche Anizor — 

    As I prepare to teach an undergraduate seminar on Calvin and Barth, I’ve been reflecting a bit on how I want my students to engage the latter, since (1) they have likely never read him firsthand and, more importantly, (2) he is not especially lauded in contexts in which my students have been reared or currently find themselves. The second point raises for me the general question: how should I (and my more-or-less conservative students) engage with less conservative writers, particularly upon a first (or second or even third) encounter?

  • David L. Talley — 

    This next month is an important time to be praying for the Muslim world.

  • Mickey Klink III — 

    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.

  • Kevin E. Lawson — 

    Over the last two months I have introduced and explained a “coaching” model for teaching that I believe has greater potential for encouraging deeper, more transformative learning. Unfortunately, not many of us are teaching in this way and we need to begin changing how we prepare our lessons and how we use our time as we teach our students. This month and next I want to share about a dozen ideas for how to begin moving from a “teaching for knowing” to a “teaching for growing” ministry. After these blogs I’ll go back and spend more time on issues of how we prepare for our teaching, how we move beyond teaching for knowing in our use of time in the group, and how to develop a longer-term approach to promoting growth through our teaching. First, how do we begin to teach more like a coach?

  • Gary T. Manning, Jr. — 

    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...

  • Betsy A. Barber — 

    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.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    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.