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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  • Matt Williams — 

    Jesus' interactions with people in the Gospel of John...and today This is the second part of a series that looks at events in the Gospel of John in which we find Jesus interacting with various people who need help—physical help and spiritual help. As we look closely at these individuals, we will often see that they are dealing with shame, though this theme is usually hidden in the historical background of the first century. Thus, over the course of this series, we will explore how Jesus interacts with them not only to take away their shame, but also to raise them up and give them honor!

  • Gary T. Manning, Jr. — 

    I grew up hearing and reading the Bible during the transition from the King James Version to NASB and NIV. In my church setting, the transition was mostly welcomed, except by a few godly old-timers who were certain that our prayers were more acceptable to God if they included a generous portion of thees, thous, and Elizabethan-era verb endings. The KJV had the interesting effect of making some very ordinary words into technical religious terms, since the words dropped out of ordinary use in the centuries since the KJV was translated. One of those words is grace. Interestingly, the NASB, the NIV, and even (often) the NLT continue to use this word to translate the Greek word χάρις (charis), even though the meaning of grace in English has changed over the centuries.

  • Mickey Klink III — 

    This week someone wrote me an email asking if I was able to give a defense of Calvin. This person had recently heard things about Calvin that he found “disturbing,” and wanted to know if they were true: harsh views on God and hell, abuse of intelligence and power in Geneva, sentencing people to death over theological disagreements, etc. Here is my response.

  • Jeffrey Volkmer — 

    I am now in my second year as a faculty member at Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology. Prior to this, I’ve spent the last 16 years of my life doing primarily two things: 1) attending three different universities, and; 2) working for local churches in a variety of capacities. You would think that after that amount of time invested in both theological higher education and church service, I would have learned quite a bit about the local church. Yet, this is anything but the case and not because the curriculum of my seminary lacked adequate focus on ecclesiology. Rather, teaching at a Christian university has opened up an amazing new curriculum for me and afforded me a unique and fresh vista from which to view the Church and learn from one of her most precious treasures – young people – and in this case, undergraduate students. I would like to share some of the greatest lessons this new curriculum has taught me as I seek to teach undergraduates.

  • Kevin E. Lawson — 

    Two months ago I raised a concern about a problem some churches struggle with in seeing limited impact of their teaching ministries in the lives of those who participate. I talked about some ways this problem has tended to be addressed, and my own conviction that there is a need for a better model or approach to our teaching if we hope to see real growth occur. Last month I introduced the basic ideas of “right-handed” teaching and discussed the first half of the model. This month I want to continue and complete my discussion of the model and then begin looking at how it works together.

  • Ashish J. Naidu — 

    Because of the propitiation of Christ, God’s wrath is satisfied, and we who were once enemies of God have now received “at-one-ment” or reconciliation.

  • Rob Price — 

    Denis Diderot (1713-84), editor and primary author of the massive—18,000 pages!—and massively influential Encyclopédie, has been called “the pivotal figure of the entire 18th century.” One of the pivotal moments in Diderot’s own career came in his conversion from deism to atheism. And central to this conversion were the implications he drew from Newton’s formulation of the principle of inertia.

  • Joseph H. Hellerman — 

    As we approach the Passion Week, it might help to think about Jesus’ crucifixion in a threefold way: 1. Cross-Bearing: The physical pain of Jesus’ death 2. Sin-Bearing: The spiritual anguish of Jesus’ death 3. Shame-Bearing: The public humiliation of Jesus’ death

  • Gary L. McIntosh — 

    Church leaders occasionally talk about the Rule of Four. Here is how it works. If you know 50 people, and each of them knows 50 more people, you have 2,500 friends of friends. If each of them knows 50 more people, you have 125,000 friends of friends of friends. And, if each of them knows 50 others, you have more than six million friends of friends of friends of friends.

  • Dave Keehn — 

    I have noticed the same principals that I am trying to teaching my son to be a better ballplayer are really the same fundamentals that help me coach students to be tools in God’s hands.

  • Rob Price — 

    Wonderful heavenly Father, you taught us through the third psalm that, when we feel the threat of wickedness, it is to you we should flee for refuge. “Arise, O Lord! Deliver us, O our God!” So you taught us there to pray. But here in the fourth psalm you teach us patience, for your deliverance comes in your own good time.

  • Walter Russell — 

    It was that nightmarish moment that all parents dread deep within their souls. I am staring into the open grave of one of our children. The setting is the cemetery of our family’s hometown in Bolivar, Missouri, where we have just completed the graveside service of our son Christopher. It is an unspeakably painful moment in my life. If I could muster any more tears, I would be uncontrollably weeping as I watch four men struggle to lower a steel vault lid to cover the grave vault holding Christopher’s little white casket. I will see his little smiling face no more. I won’t run my fingers through his beautiful blond hair again. We’ll never snuggle together or touch one another. This is the end. And as I stand there looking into what feels like the abyss, I realize that this could be the most despairing, skeptical, and faithless moment of my life. I feel like I could curse God for emotionally gutting me for the rest of my days. It is as if I am standing beside the deep, dark, bottomless pit of hell.

  • Alan W. Gomes — 

    The great reformer Martin Luther once declared that the biblical teaching of justification by faith alone “is the doctrine by which the church stands or falls.” Historically, Protestants have understood justification to mean that God declares us “not guilty” for our sins because Christ bore them in our place, and also that God declares us as being positively righteous in his sight because of Christ’s righteousness imputed to us, i.e., credited to our accounts. However, a recent teaching called the “New Perspective on Paul” has called into question the traditional Protestant understanding of justification.

  • K. Erik Thoennes — 

    We should want to know God more than we want to know his will for our lives.

  • Rob Price — 

    It could have turned out badly. Back in spring 2010 I decided sight unseen to assign Fred Sanders’s The Deep Things of God as a textbook in my fall Theology I class. The publisher said that the book should be available by mid-August. That’s about one week before the start of the semester. What if there were delays? And regardless of delays, what if the book showed up and was lousy? What would I tell my students?

  • Gary L. McIntosh — 

    I spoke to a gathering of pastors this last month on the topic of Healthy Churches. I suggested to the pastors that there are four, perhaps five, types of churches in a health paradigm. First, there are Hospice Churches. These churches are extremely ill, having declined in worship attendance for a decade or longer, and most likely will close. God can, of course, perform a miracle and restore hospice churches to health, but this is rare.

  • David L. Talley — 

    Recently, in the morning worship at our church, we used a lamentation written by former Biola/Talbot student, John Rinehart, to help us think about what it means to turn to the Lord in repentance. I include this today with the hope that God will continue to soften our hearts to the awesomeness of his holiness and the wonder of his love and grace. May the Lord turn our hearts to him more and more each day as we await the soon return of Jesus.

  • Benjamin C. Shin — 

    Leadership in the church is certainly not an easy task. It requires great diligence, faithfulness, time, energy, competence, and spirituality. The weekly demands of a pastor, for example, is much more than just preparing a sermon (even though the prep time certainly takes up a good portion of the week!). There are staff meetings, visitations, administrative duties, and many other responsibilities. Add to this, the personal responsibility of family and home life and you get a pretty full week! So how can a leader in ministry keep up all of these things, maintain a Spirit-filled life, fruitful ministry, and do so without going insane?

  • Kenneth C. Way — 

    Around this time every year the excitement begins to build. Well, at least this is true for archaeologists and for those who are interested in archaeology. The reason for elation is that summer plans for excavation in Israel are announced every spring. This summer, there are around twenty-two excavations in Israel that are open for volunteer participation. Yes, that’s right. YOU can be a part of unearthing the next great discovery in Israel!

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    It is rare for someone using critical methods to argue for a position more conservative than that taken by most conservatives. Such is the case with David Trobisch’s argument for the dating of the “closing"1 of the New Testament canon (The First Edition of the New Testament [Oxford University Press, 2000]).. Trobisch argues that the New Testament (NT) canon, containing the same 27 books as are found in our NT (though in a slightly different order than they are presently arranged), was published some time in the middle of the second century. Trobisch argues against the current consensus that the NT canon was a result of a long and complicated process that continued for a few centuries. Rather, in his own words, “The history of the New Testament is the history of an edition, a book that has been published and edited by a specific group of editors, at a specific place, and at a specific time (p. 6).”

  • Gary T. Manning, Jr. — 

    As the father of eight children, I have spent a lot of time with Dr. Seuss. It's scary that I can quote pages of Cat in the Hat from memory. But my time in Dr. Seuss occasionally pays off when I study the Bible. You see, Dr. Seuss was a political cartoonist in the 1930s and 40s, and political cartoons are ideal analogies for understanding symbolism in Revelation (an idea that I got from Dr. David Scholer, one of my doctoral advisors at Fuller). What is interesting, and what makes this relevant to the study of Revelation, is that Dr. Seuss' cartoons were immediately obvious to readers when they were printed, but are difficult to understand today unless we study history.

  • Rob Lister — 

    I loved my time in seminary. The seminary years were formative and growth-filled for me in many ways. I learned more about God in a concentrated period of time than ever before. My professors were scholar-pastors. I was blessed to be part of a healthy church. I made some of my best (and lifelong) friends during seminary. And God graciously started and grew our family during those years.

  • Matt Williams — 

    ▶Jesus' interactions with people in the Gospel of John...and today I would like to begin a series that looks at stories in the Gospel of John in which we find Jesus interacting with various people who need help—physical help and spiritual help. As we look closely at these individuals, we will often see that they are dealing with shame, though this theme is usually hidden in the historical background of the first century. Thus, over the course of this series, I will explore how Jesus interacts with them not only to take away their shame, but also to raise them up and give them honor!

  • John Hutchison — 

    In a recently posted blog (Marriage: The Power of Communication), I quoted Ephesians 4:29 to affirm the healing power of spirit-controlled communication between a husband and wife : “Let no unwholesome word proceed from your mouth, but only such a word as is good for edification according to the need of the moment, so that it will give grace to those who hear.” Even with good intentions, however, all marriages encounter conflict. When the “storm clouds” gather, how important it is to understand the role of disagreement in marriage. Where does it come from? Is it all destructive, or are there constructive attitudes that will strengthen a relationship?

  • Mickey Klink III — 

    Beginnings of ancient books were important. Ancient writers were well aware of the importance of narrative beginnings. As Morna Hooker explains (“Beginnings and Endings,” in The Written Gospel, ed. Markus Bockmuehl and Donald A. Hagner [Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005], 184), “In the introduction … an author would give some indication of the purpose or contents of the book. Some genres of literature – history, biography, scientific, medical, or technical works – begin with a formal preface, indicating the author’s purpose or method.” This narrative function of beginnings, therefore, provided information regarding purpose, method, and contents – key information needed to understand the rest of the narrative.