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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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  • Kenneth Way — 

    2013 is the inaugural year of an innovative biblical commentary series edited by John Walton and Mark Straus (published by Baker Books). It’s called Teach the Text because that is what it is about: helping people to teach the biblical text effectively. It combines literary, background and exegetical analysis with theological, pedagogical and homiletical discussion. But it does this in a surprisingly concise and accessible manner.

  • Tom Finley — 

    A Bible reader might justifiably ask, “Why would I need a commentary?” Some prefer to read the Bible for themselves so that they won’t be influenced by the opinions of others. They want to learn solely through what the Holy Spirit teaches them, and perhaps they even think to support their desire through Scriptures such as John 16:13 or Jeremiah 31:33–34. Besides the fact that the context won’t support such an interpretation from those passages, there are some good reasons why a commentary can be not only helpful for understanding the Bible but even highly beneficial.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Yesterday I spent about 45 minutes talking and praying with one of my current students. Four months ago he was invited to step into the role of youth pastor in his church, and now finds himself responsible for preparing and teaching a message every Friday and Sunday. Two messages a week! And this for someone who has only done a bit of preaching in the past… He shared with me (and I share this entire post with his permission) that the single hardest thing he has faced in his new role as youth pastor is the agonizing decision of what to preach each week.

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    Remember 7th grade, when your English teacher taught you how to diagram sentences? You know, “main clause,” “subordinate clause,” and all that other stuff you have likely forgotten long ago? I still diagram sentences. And I teach my students how to diagram sentences, too—Greek sentences!

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    The following is the first in a series of faculty book announcements that will appear on the Good Book Blog in the coming months.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Dave Brunn recently gave a gift to the English-speaking church in his book One Bible, Many Versions: Are All Translations Created Equal? (IVP, 2013). Dave Brunn is a professional translator and trainer of translator-wannabes within New Tribes Mission. To the best of my knowledge, he has never worked on an English-language translation project. His translational claim to fame is a translation of the Bible (done alongside dedicated national co-translators) into Lamogai, one of the multitude of languages in Papua New Guinea. Consequently, Dave Brunn brings an outsider’s perspective to our recent English translation battles. (You know what I’m talking about, the “mine is the best translation and all others are suspect” battles.) And his outsider’s perspective is clarifying and challenging. Here is a summary of the book, in the author’s own words (from pages 189-190), focusing on what translations share, rather than how they differ.

  • Kenneth Way — 

    By Thomas Finley and Kenneth Way From October 2 to December 8 of this year the Cyrus Cylinder will make a visit to The Getty Villa (in Malibu, CA) as part of a tour of the United States. This will be an amazing opportunity to see in person this artifact that gives significant background information for the Bible.

  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” This slogan, first broadcast by the United Negro College Fund in 1972, has become something of a John 3:16 for educators seeking to evangelistically rouse students out of intellectual slumber. If I could tailor this slogan for our Biola community as we embark on a new semester, it would become: “The mind of Christ is far too precious to not cultivate.” While lacking the elegant phrasing and bumper sticker quote-ability of the original, it does express something I hope we can pause to ponder as we enter our classrooms.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    This week was a week of tears in the Berding household. We cried as we sent our oldest daughter, Lydia, overseas into a needy and difficult region of the world as an ambassador for Jesus Christ. She will be gone for at least one year, and is open to and actively praying about making a long-term commitment after that year. We cried before we sent her. And we cried afterwards. But we will not hinder her from going out. Quite to the contrary, Trudi and I are entirely supportive of the mission Lydia is on; she is going out with our full blessing. But many young people don’t enjoy the support of their parents as they depart for overseas service, and many never actually make it—in large part because their parents have opposed them. Their Christian parents…! Family opposition may be the number one reason young people with a call to overseas missions don’t ever arrive there. And this is a grave sin on the part of the parents.

  • Joy Mosbarger — 

    Most of us are familiar with Jesus’ words at the Last Supper—or at least with some of those words. When we celebrate communion together, we regularly hear “this is my body given for you; do this in remembrance of me” and “this cup is the new covenant in my blood, which is poured out for you.” Recently, however, I read through Luke 22, which includes the Last Supper and the events surrounding it. In addition to these familiar words from the Last Supper, I was struck by some of the other words spoken by Jesus on this momentous occasion.

  • Gary Manning Jr — 

    Reza Aslan’s new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (Random House, 2013), is in most ways a typical attempt to paint a new picture of Jesus. Because so many hundreds of books of this type have been published, Aslan’s book would most likely not have received significant attention at all, except for two factors. First, a botched interview of the author on Fox News caused a huge surge of interest, making his book an overnight best seller. And second, Aslan is a very good writer. His primary teaching role, after all, is as a professor of creative writing at UC Riverside. Aslan is able to take a lot of important historical background and present it in a riveting manner, accessible to most readers.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Is it possible to successfully “blend” the hymns of the past with modern hymns and worship music in a single service? Let's talk about it.

  • 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 — 

    Love is a sloppy concept, and love is a complex reality. I love ice cream. I love my children. I love my wife. I love books. I love God. I love my students. Each of these “loves” has a different content. It could be a problem if I love books in the same way that I love my children, or if I love God in the way I love my wife. Love is not the same in every relationship that we live in. This is a brief analysis of love as we experience and live it in various relationships.

  • Nell Sunukjian — 

    Many women, and men, too, avoid studying Proverbs 31:10-31 because they think it presents an unrealistic and unattainable standard for women. I can’t tell you how many articles I have read that describe this lady as ‘superwoman’ and, therefore, not applicable for the average female. But would God really put a job description in His Word if it were unattainable? Surely our knowledge of Him says the description of the woman of noble character was placed in the Scriptures to encourage us, male and female. It’s for our edification; there is much we can learn from it about becoming wise women.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    The most recent issue of the Journal of Spiritual Formation & Soul Care carried an article I wrote on the relationship between spiritual formation and mission. Here's an outline...

  • 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?

  • Gary McIntosh — 

    A recent check on Amazon.com discovered that over 25,000 books are listed under the category of Church Growth. This is an amazing number of books given the fact that the North American Church Growth Movement is only forty-one years old. With such a large number of books written on the topic of church growth, it is only natural to ask if there is any consensus on what factors are found in growing churches in North America. What are those factors? I thought you’d never ask!

  • 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 — 

    An introduction to the book, His Brain, Her Brain: How Divinely Designed Differences Can Strengthen Your Marriage, by Walt and Barb Larimore (Zondervan, 2008).

  • Gary McIntosh — 

    One of the little known facts of church growth is that pastors can stay too long. Long pastoral tenure can actually harm the growth of a church. Generally, the first twenty years of a pastor’s tenure are quite healthy, but it is very rare for a pastor to lead a church through a third decade with vitality and growth.

  • John McKinley — 

    This last part in this series on hell is a listing of many of the biblical passages that touch directly on God's punishment of evildoers. I assembled the passages so that I could see them all at once. The repetition of key phrases and patterns stood out in helpful ways for me. I found it very convincing on many of the traditional aspects of the doctrine.

  • John McKinley — 

    As Part 3 in this series on the doctrine of hell, I introduce an interpretation of hell that is coming into print from a few contributors during the last decade. See Part 1 on the metaphorical language for hell, and Part 2 on the doctrine of degrees of punishments. The traditional teaching about hell has been criticized for many reasons, one of which is that sin continues forever in hell. This seems to be a cosmic dualism where good prevails only in heaven (the new creation), but evil continues to hold out in hell where evildoers continue to hate God and compound their guilt forever and ever. This might not be the best conclusion.