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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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  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    In this audio recording, Dr. Cardoza uses 1 Thessalonians 2 to discuss eight biblical characteristics of disciplers. "Discipling people is one of the most fundamentally important things we can do as Christians. The great commission tells us to make disciples; the New Testament is replete - especially in the gospels and acts - with examples of discipling..."

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    In this audio recording, Dr. Cardoza discusses the idea of identifying who to personally disciple. "Because time is of the essence and our time is so valuable, and because we must invest our time wisely as stewards, something I often think about is this: If I'm going to work with someone, who should I work with?"

  • Clint Arnold — 

    It was the fall of 1930. Just a year had passed since the stock market crash that triggered the Great Depression. Adolf Hitler was on his meteoric rise to power in Germany. But God was powerfully at work in the Pennsylvania steel town of Pittsburgh. A 21-year-old Jewish man named Bezalel Feinberg had heard the Gospel and prayed to receive Christ. It sounds so simple, yet it was anything but.

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    I am not particularly enthralled with the spiritual gifts debate that is currently undergoing a renaissance of sorts, via John MacArthur’s Strange Fire conference and publications. Been there. Done that. I was a new believer when the same debate was raging back in the late 1970s, and it is a bit discouraging to see the church divided, once again, over a topic that was beat into the ground a generation ago.

  • Ben Shin — 

    The dynamics of shame are one of the greatest cultural dynamics of the New Testament. This paradigm is key in understanding other concepts and various texts accurately especially as it relates to topics such as approval, reputation, glory, and status. While these practices were prevalent in the 1st century of the Mediterranean, they also have current bearing to different segments of society today, specifically Asian-Americans in the 21st century. This blog will be the first in a series of blogs that will demonstrate the correlation of Paul’s use of shame in light of the framework of Roman cultural practices as well as how it relates to modern 21st century Asian-American spiritual tendencies.

  • Scott Rae — 

    From the beginning, we learn that God created the world and called it good, making the material world fundamentally good (Gen. 1:31). He further entrusted human beings with dominion over the earth—giving them both the privilege of enjoying the benefits of the material world, but also the responsibility for caring for the world. We also learn that, from the beginning, God has implanted His wisdom into the world and given human beings the necessary tools to uncover His wisdom and apply it for their benefit (Proverbs 8:22-31). God set human beings free to utilize their God-given intelligence, initiative and creativity in discerning and applying what the wisdom He embedded into the world—this is all a part of the responsible exercise of dominion over creation that brings innovation and productivity to benefit humankind.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Los propósitos de año nuevo son parte de la costumbre anual de muchos de nosotros. La llegada del nuevo año nos da la oportunidad para detenernos por un momento y planificar un futuro mejor. Por ejemplo, los gimnasios aumentan sus membrecías considerablemente en enero con personas que desean bajar de peso o mejorar su condición física. También escuché que el índice de divorcios crece considerablemente las primeras semanas del año. Independientemente de la sabiduría de los propósitos, todos los deseos persiguen un mejor destino.

  • John McKinley — 

    When I was a research student holed up in a windowless office in the library for a year, the PhD student next to my office was Jeremy Howard. While I struggled through stacks of research trying to avoid drowning in the historical theology portion of my dissertation, Jeremy was blazing through the writing of his dissertation on the Copenhagen interpretation of quantum physics and its use for Christian apologetics. His research world couldn’t have been farther away from mine. Years later, he has recently piloted a work that fits a gap I didn’t know I was looking for. To pass on an introduction to this new series, I interviewed the general editor, Jeremy Howard with several questions here.

  • Joy Mosbarger — 

    The Christian calendar marks the observance of various feasts and celebrations throughout the year. January 6 is the day on which the Christian church celebrates Epiphany. The Season of Epiphany then extends until the day before Ash Wednesday. Epiphany means manifestation or appearance. It is a time in which the church focuses on the divine presence as manifested in Jesus Christ in New Testament times and the implications of that manifestation for today. The season is an occasion to contemplate the unfolding of the revelation of God’s presence on earth through his son, Jesus Christ. It is a time to watch and wait as the mystery and glory of the presence of God in our midst is unveiled. What will it look like for God to walk among us? How will Jesus manifest God to the watching world?

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    One of my self-imposed projects over the January break is to read through N. T. Wright’s (most recent) magnum opus, Paul and the Faithfulness of God. The work is actually two separate books (@ 600 and 1200 pages, respectively!). Book I is primarily concerned with backgrounds, and Paul’s worldview vis-à-vis paganism and Judaism. Book II deals with Paul’s theology and more directly engages the text of his letters.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    In an ideal world, all Christians would maintain three types of spiritual relationships as they walked through life. (Disclaimer: There have only been a couple times in my own life when I have had all three going at once, but this is still an ideal worth aiming for.)

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    El nacimiento de Jesús cambió al mundo. La navidad es, sin duda alguna, el acontecimiento más importante en la historia de la humanidad y, por lo tanto, la mayor celebración de cada año. El Dios creador del universo se hizo hombre y habitó entre nosotros. Dios no está lejos ni es distante sino que a través de Jesús su presencia es real y personal. De hecho, el milagro de la navidad se resume con la palabra “Emanuel” que significa apropiadamente “Dios con nosotros.”

  • David Talley — 

    I feel overwhelmed when people refer to a book as a “must read.” If I read all of the “must read” books that have been recommended to me in the past year, I would have to quit my job in order to read each one. So I will not heap one more “must read” on you in this review. However, if you are particularly interested in the issue of poverty, then I do highly recommend that you have this book in your library. I will also provide you with my advice on how you can read it quickly and still glean from its contents.

  • Scott Rae — 

    Why do pastors need to know all that much about work and economics? Last week we introduced this subject and suggested that there are very few areas of our lives that have nothing to do with work and/or economics. Remember that even the notion of our eternal salvation has something to do with economics, since the Bible actually describes the elements of our eternal salvation in economic terms. In addition, life on this side of eternity matters greatly. If we refuse to separate out the sacred from the secular, and thus affirm that all of life is spiritual, then there are few, if any, areas of our spiritual lives that are not impacted by economics.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Yes. If you deny that Adam was a historical person it negatively impacts other Christian doctrines. An affirmation of the historicity of Adam positively and necessarily connects with a number of key Christian doctrines.

  • John McKinley — 

    In Part One, I introduced the implausible situation that Jesus lived from His infancy with full divine awareness. I presented one argument that the New Testament presents Jesus as functioning with a human mind. This claim has been affirmed by the Council of Chalcedon (451) in opposition to some teachers such as Apollinaris, who denied that Jesus possessed a human mind and will. An incarnation involving two minds is complicated, but such is the historic teaching of the church.

  • Mark Saucy — 

    As a rule, Evangelicals are great defenders of the deity of Christ. That’s not something we mess around with, and anyone who might had better take care—be they Bart Ehrman or the Jehovah’s Witness at your door!

  • Scott Rae — 

    Why do pastors need to know all that much about economics? My friend and writing partner, Austin Hill, tells the story of a conference he attended as a graduate student, when the facilitator posed the provocative question, “Can somebody name for me one area of our lives that has nothing to do with economics?” The group was silent for more than a few moments, as the students were pondering this, most for the first time. Then a student spoke up in a southern drawl, and said what I suspect many were thinking. He said, “As a Christian, I believe that my eternal salvation has nothing to do with economics.” The group was taken aback by his forthrightness, and the facilitator then rephrased the question this way, “Ok, let’s assume you’re right about that, and let’s assume that one’s eternal destiny has nothing to do with economics (a debatable assumption), can somebody name a second area of our lives that has nothing to do with economics? He went on to suggest that “every facet of our earthly lives is impacted on some level by both economic activity and economic conditions.”

  • John McKinley — 

    One professor in this school playfully describes the birth of Jesus this way. There is Jesus, lying in the manger and looking out through the doorway of the stable at the stars in the night sky. I made all those stars. The baby then has another sensation alongside this new experience of seeing His creation through eyeballs, and it’s uncomfortable. I’m suddenly wet all through my diaper, and it’s getting cold! A normal infant would scream at this point until mom showed up. But not Jesus. He looks over at His teen-aged mom and thinks, I’d like to have this wet diaper changed, but Mary’s had such a hard night after so long of a trip. I’ll wait a few hours until she’s had some more rest. And so, baby Jesus, the pint-sized God-man waits until His mom has gotten the rest she needs. Probably not. It strains at plausibility to think that Jesus lived with His full divine consciousness from the beginning of His human life. We can be sure that Jesus knew His unique identity and relationship to God as His Father when He was twelve, having declared as much to Joseph and Mary in Jerusalem (Luke 2:49). Luke adds, “Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men” (v. 52, NASB). Jesus certainly knows who He is when He begins teaching, but beyond these details we don’t have revelation how much He knew before age twelve, or when.

  • Clint Arnold — 

    “The Scriptures of the Old and New Testaments are without error or misstatement in their moral and spiritual teaching and record of historical facts. They are without error or defect of any kind.” Thus reads Biola University’s (and Talbot School of Theology’s) Articles of Faith—a document that remains unchanged since it was written shortly after the turn of the century. As the Dean of Talbot and as one who has been on the faculty for 27 years, I can say that this is a conviction that runs very deep in our faculty. We believe that the Bible is the Word of God and, as such, is truthful in what it affirms and can be completely trusted.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    A couple days ago I was reading Ephesians 1 in Greek during my morning Bible-reading time. As I read, I was drawn to two phrases that are clearly present in Greek but are often eliminated in English. The two expressions that get removed are “into him” (εἰς αὐτόν) in the middle of verse 5 and (“in him”) (ἐν αὐτῷ) at the end of verse 10. Presumably these expressions get cut because they are deemed unnecessarily repetitive.

  • Mick Boersma — 

    A couple years back my wife Rolane and I visited ten of our wonderful Midwest Talbot alumni. What a joy to see them all thriving, finding God faithful, and knowing days of effective and challenging ministry. While we were in the area, we took the opportunity to visit my hometown of Hospers, Iowa and spent a little time with my cousins living there. Some of them I hadn’t been with in over 30 years - so long that we all wore nametags to keep from getting confused! While I only spent the first seventeen years of my life on the farm, it played a significant role in who I am today. In going back home, certain impressions left their mark on my mind and heart. Let me elaborate ...

  • Dave Keehn — 

    There is nothing like changes in one’s travel plan to reveal how we truly handle change. For myself, traveling with my family is a sacred obsession. I plan months ahead to get the best flights and reserve the “perfect” hotel to accommodate our sightseeing interests. As a family, we read travel books and blogs to find the out-of-the-way restaurants. With an itinerary in hand, we embark on our journey, only to be met with forced changes that were unforeseen. To say the least, I don’t deal with a “change in plans” well, especially when I am on vacation. Changes for me equal stress, hassles, and more work.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Por los tres últimos años, el índice de felicidad planetaria ha dado a conocer los países más felices del mundo de acuerdo a ciertos parámetros. Los resultados sorprendentes de la última edición en el 2012 señalaron que país más feliz del mundo es Costa Rica, en segundo lugar se encuentra Vietnam y en tercero Colombia. Los Estados Unidos se ubicaron en el lugar 104. Este índice de felicidad se basa en tres cosas: 1) Se hace la pregunta la persona, "¿Qué tan feliz es usted?" En una escala del 0-10. 2) Luego se mide la expectativa de vida de las personas de ese país. Finalmente se mide cuanta “tierra” (o recursos ecológicos) necesita la persona en ese país para ser feliz.

  • Ben Shin — 

    In my last blog, I wrote on how to invite a guest speaker to a retreat well. This included knowing how to choose a speaker for your group’s needs, giving enough time to prepare for the retreat, and serving him well as he arrives to the retreat. The goal for the time at the retreat is to serve the speaker well so that he would gladly want to return in the future without a second thought. This entry will concentrate on how to host the speaker well at a retreat.