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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.
 

  • Kenneth Way — 

    The Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary, edited by Tremper Longman III (with Peter Enns and Mark Strauss), is now available for purchase as an E-Book or in hardcover. This one-volume dictionary offers 1767 full-color pages and more than 5,000 articles by 124 Bible scholars. You might ask, “Why should I care about this Bible dictionary?” You should care because many of the contributors are Talbot faculty.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Hace ya varios años escuché una frase que me ha hecho pensar constantemente y que refleja uno de los mayores peligros que enfrentan los líderes cristianos. La frase dice así: “es importante no estar tan ocupado en la obra de Dios que nos olvidemos del Dios de la obra”. El problema no es el servicio a Dios sino el enfoque y, en muchos casos, la motivación que nos mueve al servicio. Estoy convencido que uno de los pecados principales de muchos líderes es el énfasis obsesivo por el trabajo y, por lo tanto, el descuido de lo esencial y verdaderamente importante como Dios, la familia y el cuidado personal.

  • John McKinley — 

    In response to the ongoing revelations of widespread cheating in professional sports, my earlier blog explored the idea of cheating as compared to New Testament ethics. So much for why athletes should not cheat, and what they should pursue instead. The doping problems in sport raise another question: what is someone responsible to do when she becomes aware of others' cheating? This question extends beyond sport to daily life evils that are preventable if someone in our lives would just speak up once in a while.

  • John McKinley — 

    Slowly, more top professional cyclists that were rivals of Lance Armstrong are mumbling confessions of the same carefully-worded sort that Lance released last January. Some have been coerced by teams or government inquiries (as with the handful of Americans who testified to their own doping as part of implicating Lance Armstrong). The latest is Jan Ullrich, the German cyclist who placed second to Lance three times in the Tour de France. Like many others, Ullrich used the same worn out excuse that “everybody was doing it,” and that his joining the “medical program” was just a way to play on a level field. What are we to think of these things?

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    A couple years ago I was asked to lead a discussion for the Talbot School of Theology faculty on “The New Perspective on Paul.” Now, you should know up-front that (for the most part) I am not very positive about the overall approach that New Perspectivists take when they interpret the letters of Paul (esp. Galatians and Romans) and when they try to set those letters in a reconstructed first century Jewish theological context. But I also do not believe that it is right or wise for people to be dogmatic about topics that they don’t know very much about. So, to help you interact responsibly with the New Perspective, I want to revisit the lecture I did for the Talbot faculty try to help you understand the New Perspective on Paul so that you can critically weigh for yourself its merits and demerits.

  • John McKinley — 

    Following on my earlier post on the metaphorical language used for naming and describing the punishment of hell, this post explores the doctrine of degrees of punishment. The basic idea is that the Bible seems to say that all evildoers will suffer the same hell for their sins, but God's perfect justice means that worse criminals will suffer worse punishments for their crimes. This is not torture or exacting pain as somehow accompiishing something for God, as if God were a fiendish tormentor. But then what is it?

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    In my last post I shared about how to carry on a deeper, less confrontational discussion with your Muslim friend by asking a question about the topic of hypocrisy. Click HERE for my earlier post. In this post I will suggest a different question to ask your friend that might allow you to enter into yet another non-confrontational conversation with the goal of introducing your Muslim friend to Jesus Christ.

  • Gary Manning Jr — 

    Recently, while reading through the minor prophet Haggai in the LXX (the Greek Old Testament), I noticed a phrase that looked familiar: “before a stone was laid on a stone (λίθον ἐπὶ λίθον) in the Temple of the Lord…” (Hag 2:15). Hmm… where had I seen λίθον ἐπὶ λίθον before? Yes: in Jesus’ Olivet Discourse, when he describes the coming destruction of the Temple buildings: “Do you see all these things? I tell you the truth: there will not be a stone left on a stone (λίθος ἐπὶ λίθον) here; all will be torn down” (Matt 24:2; see parallels in Mk 13:2, Lk 19:44).

  • Joanne Jung — 

    After being unresponsive for two days, my dad was escorted into the presence of his Savior on Saturday May 4, 2013 at 2 AM. Family and friends gathered to celebrate his life last Friday. I shared these words:

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    ¿Por qué las cosas son como son? ¿Dónde está Dios cuando el mundo lo ignora a Él y a sus principios? Cuando Dios actúa, ¿por qué hace Él lo que hace? Todos nos hemos hecho alguna vez preguntas difíciles respecto a Dios y a nuestra fe. En muchas ocasiones, lo que vemos aparentemente no concuerda con lo que creemos acerca de Dios. ¿Qué hacer en estas circunstancias? En Habacuc encontramos un libro bíblico que nos muestra un modelo para enfrentar estos momentos y acrecentar nuestra fe en el Dios que sostiene el universo con su poder.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    One of the hardest things Christians face when they step out to share their faith with Muslims is that the conversation almost inevitably veers toward a competitive discussion about which religion is better: “You think this, but I think this.” “I’m right and you’re wrong.” Often you’ll find yourself on the defensive: “Yes, Jesus did die on the cross…” “Yes, Jesus is the Son of God…” “No, the Bible hasn’t been changed…” Is there any way to keep your conversation from degrading into an “I’m right and you’re wrong” discussion?

  • Dave Keehn — 

    There is a pressure that is constantly battling around us to give people whatever they want. When you are younger it was labeled peer pressure. However, as we grow older the peer pressures continues throughout life, we just call them “Expectations”…

  • Kenneth Way — 

    Dr. John Walton, Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School, will present “Origins Today: Genesis Through Ancient Eyes” at Biola University. John Walton’s work on Genesis 1-3 offers a fresh perspective on the complex issue of faith and science by seeking to understand the message of Scripture within its ancient context.

  • Doug Huffman — 

    A search of the Internet will reveal several different kite parables, including one in support of the (un-Christian) idea that by holding tight to the string of God’s commandments people can fly themselves up into the heavens. I’d like to suggest a different kite parable, one that is more in keeping with Christian orthodoxy. My parable focuses on the kite itself (not the string) as the gospel of salvation through faith in Christ alone, but not a faith that is alone.

  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    Often times it seems that harder the church tries to be relevant, the more irrelevant we become. The Bible is full of this kind of upside down logic. The self-clingers lose themselves, the prideful end up humbled, those jostling to be first end last, and, now it seems, those trying the hardest to be relevant end up most irrelevant. Thaddeus Williams explores what happens when the church puts relevance to culture ahead of reverence to Christ.

  • Joanne Jung — 

    Something to ponder about an ancient Chinese word...

  • John McKinley — 

    Dyothelitism means that Jesus possesses two wills, one divine and one human. God the Father and God the Son are distinct persons, but they share the same divine will. The difference of Jesus’ will from his Father’s will in Gethsemane is his human will. By incarnation, God the Son took up a second way of living as a man. He now possesses two natures. Each nature is complete, including a will for each. I define will as the spiritual capacity for desires and choice in the exercise of personal agency. A caution to remember is that these are mysterious operations (desiring, choosing) of mysterious realities (persons, wills, Trinity) that may leave us continuing to wonder even after thinking it all through as best we can. We will consider briefly Jesus’ divine will, his human will, the situation of Gethsemane, and how this affects our thinking about the Trinity.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Esta semana se conmemoran los días más importantes para el cristianismo y, por consiguiente, para todo el mundo. La muerte y resurrección de Jesucristo marcan el eje central de nuestra fe. Durante la semana santa recordamos la muerte de Jesús en la cruz por nuestros pecados y su victoria sobre la muerte a través de su gloriosa resurrección.

  • Steve Porter — 

    While Christians decry the secularization of Christmas, the spirit of that season (gift-giving, twinkling lights, warm cocoa) coalesces rather well with the celebration of God coming to earth in the birth of Jesus. Easter is more difficult. For the Christian, the meaning of Easter is directly connected to the brutal and unjust execution of the one born in Bethlehem. Easter is the exuberance of the empty tomb, and yet it stands in solidarity with the alienation of a blood stained cross.

  • David Talley — 

    Can anything good come out of Kansas City? Absolutely! A global event is taking place there now at the International House of Prayer. You are invited to participate in what God is doing.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Which is the best Greek text to use when translating the New Testament? Some people argue for a “majority text” (a text like the one that lies behind the KVJ or the NKJV but none of the other major translations). What are the arguments that have been put forth in favor of the superiority of the Byzantine (majority) text of the Greek New Testament? How would you respond to someone who insisted that the majority text approach is correct?

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Recuerdo que el pastor de la iglesia donde crecí repetía constantemente esta frase “el amor es un producto de la voluntad”. Estas palabras se convirtieron en una expresión común en la iglesia y se mencionaban constantemente en diferentes contextos. Me parece que lo que el pastor quería comunicar era que la acción de amar está basada principalmente en una decisión y no solamente en emociones. Nuestras emociones cambian, pero cuando decidimos amar a Dios y a nuestro prójimo independientemente de nuestro estado de ánimo entonces estamos así cumpliendo la ley de Cristo. Estoy de acuerdo con la idea general, pero creo que el amor va mucho más allá de nuestra voluntad. El amor se centra en la persona de Dios y nosotros tenemos el gran privilegio de participar y demostrar el amor divino.

  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    Jesus prayed for His church to form a kind of angled mirror, bonded together with the kind of love that directs the world’s gaze upward to behold the Triune God of love (Jn. 17:11-24). Are we reflecting the Triune God clearly, or do our churches often form more of a cracked mirror, fragmented shards with animosities and apathies caked like mud, refracting little light from above? Dr. Williams explores one reason we may often fail to reflect the Trinity, namely, the lack of a robust doctrine of "the anti-Trinity."

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    Talbot faculty members share some of their picks for the best books released in 2012. Read about their recommendedations here, listed in alphabetical order:

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    What are spiritual gifts, really? Andrew Faris posted an interview with me on this question at the "Christians in Context" blog.