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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  • John Hutchison — 

    Just think about the meaning of the words in our wedding vows—“for better or for worse . . . in plenty and in want . . . in joy and in sorrow . . .in sickness and in health . . . as long as we both shall live.” What a commitment we make in that moment of time, with “God and these witnesses” listening! Are these just empty words of tradition, or do they represent a genuine promise of commitment? The longevity and quality of your marriage depends upon it!

  • Ashish J. Naidu — 

    A friend of mine has a coffee cup with the following words printed on the outside, “Presbyterian Coffee: Predestined to be brewed decently and in order.” I chuckled when I saw it for the first time several years ago. The humorous one-liner nicely captures a couple of representative ideas that are associated with a particular church denomination. An amusing tongue-in-cheek way to integrate the love of coffee, a distinctive theological perspective, and a related view of church polity, one might say! Funny sayings aside, the hallmark of church polity of things being done “decently and in order” actually derives from Paul’s remark in 1 Cor. 14:40, where he instructs believers to be orderly in their worship and to avoid discord and confusion. I suggest that this regulative principle of church polity can be of great service outside its walls, especially in conversational contexts that can be potentially explosive.

  • Kenneth C. Way — 

    I recently read an article by a renowned scholar in an obscure publication that really got me thinking. The article was by the prolific Jewish commentator, Jacob Milgrom (“The Desecration of YHWH’s Name: Its Parameters and Significance” in Birkat Shalom: Studies in the Bible, Ancient Near Eastern Literature…Presented to Shalom M. Paul, eds., C. Cohen, et al., 69-81. Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2008). Towards the end of the article Milgrom makes some compelling suggestions about the meaning of the name YHWH based on the testimony of God himself in the account of the burning bush (Exodus 3:9-15).

  • Joseph H. Hellerman — 

    Consider the following observations from two Christian thinkers representing two different theological traditions (Anglican and Eastern Orthodox): Fleming Rutledge comments on the earthquake catastrophe in Haiti: A frequent response heard from Christians is, “God has some purpose in this.” “Something good will come out of this.” “Haiti will become stronger as a result of this.” In one sense, all these things are true; however, these are deeply wrong responses, both theologically and pastorally….Glib, monochromatic responses to catastrophe should have no place in our faith.

  • John Hutchison — 

    This summer my wife and I will celebrate our 39th wedding anniversary . . . I am discovering when we say that publicly, there are noticeable gasps from the audience, and even a little applause now and then! Different from my parents’ generation, marriages that last have become the exception rather than the rule. What is it that makes marriage work well and last long? I have reflected on that a bit lately, and I’m convinced that the ancient wisdom of God’s Word, practically lived out in our complicated world, will bring longevity and quality to any marriage. Here are a few thoughts from the “blueprint” of marriage in Genesis 2:20-24.

  • David L. Talley — 

    In addition to my faculty responsibilities at Biola University, I am a member of a pastoral team at a local church (www.graceevfree.org). We do not have a senior pastor. Our understanding of this is captured in two ministry values, namely “Elder Leadership” and “Spirit-led Decision Making.” It is my hope that the following summary of these ministry values might challenge you in your understanding of how the body of Christ is to function.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    “It really doesn’t matter whether I go to church. I have Christian friends, Bible classes, and chapels at Biola; why do I need a church?” I’ve heard some version of this statement at least three times during the past week. Although many Biola students truly understand the importance of the local church and are actively involved in their churches, some of our students still don’t get it. They think that they already have plenty of access to good Bible teaching, fellowship, worship services, and opportunities to go on short-term missions trips. So what’s the big deal about the local church?

  • Joseph H. Hellerman — 

    I am presently at work on a book about the use of power and authority in Christian leadership. The provisional title is When Pastors Were Servants: Recapturing Paul’s Cruciform Vision for Authentic Christian Leadership. The primary biblical materials in play are Paul’s letter to the Philippians and the apostle’s ministry in Philippi, as related by Luke in Acts 16.

  • Joseph H. Hellerman — 

    If we’ve learned anything about Romans in recent years from the New Perspective folks, it is that Romans is not just about me and God. It’s also about me and you. Paul, in fact, leverages many of the familiar soteriological truths that we typically associate with the book of Romans in the service of what I take (at least in part) to be an ecclesiological agenda. The church at Rome was apparently divided along ethnic lines. Paul’s letter to the Romans represents (among other things) the apostle’s concerted effort to address the issue, in order to restore some inter-racial harmony in the congregation.

  • Robert B. Price — 

    Lord Jesus Christ, almighty and risen from the dead, you are awesome! What is all the strength of this world compared to you? Who is there to challenge you? The greatest leaders from the most powerful nations of this globe, the very kings of this earth and every evil power they so often represent—what is the fiercest of this opposition next to your iron rule?

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    Purity begets personal power. This personal power comes from integrity. Integrity creates inner strength, which manifests itself in strong character. This 'character' increasingly produces unmitigated power in the life of the person possessing it-- and such a person is fueled by nothing other than pure conviction.

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    Edvard Munch's ultimate work was his expressionist series The Frieze of Life. In that series Munch sought to illustrate some of the most fundamental themes of the human experience: life, love, death, melancholy, and fear.

  • Robert B. Price — 

    I need help praying. We all do. And our heavenly Father knows that. So he's placed his Spirit into our hearts and his word into our hands. The Good Book, and the Book of Psalms in particular, is the prayer book of God's people. It's part of how our Father helps us to pray. So I've tried writing prayers based on several of the psalms. In my church history classes, we begin class by reading a psalm and then praying—actually praying!—one of these prayers.

  • Joseph H. Hellerman — 

    Have you ever put together a relational biography? A relational biography describes the special people that God has used in your life over the years to get you where you are today. Try it. You’ll be amazed to discover just how much you owe to the influence of others over the years. As it turns out, I owe them just about everything! What follows is a list of but a few of my creditors, past and present.

  • Joseph H. Hellerman — 

    I have found it rather easy over the years to convince our Talbot students of the value of expository preaching. The challenge comes when our students leave the classroom and find themselves ministering to church folks who live in a sound-bite culture, and who have a strong affinity for topical sermons that “scratch ‘em where they itch.”

  • David L. Talley — 

    Hebrews 11 is often referenced as the “Hall of Faith” because its chapter is filled with the recounting of memories of saints of old who willingly gave their lives in service to our Lord. From time to time I encounter modern day saints who have clearly lived a life consistent with this great line of witnesses.

  • Joanne J. Jung — 

    In the current spiritual formation culture it is easy to equate our spirituality with undertaking spiritual disciplines. There is a temptation to think of spiritual formation as the result of a formula—that if I just do certain activities, I’ll be mature. Frustration can set in, however, when we don’t see any immediate change. What helps is remembering that our spiritual transformation is a life-long process and knowing that we are not left alone in this undertaking. Indeed, each of the members of the Trinity plays a part.

  • Dave Keehn — 

    The church I grew up in is no more. It was small when I was a child; my youth group was 5 teenagers – 2 of which was my sister and I… slim pickens for potential dates. And now the church is a shell of what it was – a few older people I knew from childhood, systematically opening the doors each Sunday for the “faithful” who still come. So what happened? Sinful revolt? Apathetic attendees? No, the community’s culture changed and the church failed to reach out to the new language speakers. So a church closes its doors because it can’t speak the language of the new culture.

  • Joseph H. Hellerman — 

    I recently spent an hour with a Talbot guy who is really ‘getting it.’ Not only is Peter a bright, disciplined student of the New Testament. He is also up-to-his-ears in local church ministry.

  • Gary T. Manning, Jr. — 

    As a resident of Hawaii most of my life, one of the conversations that I have often had with visitors was about what to see when they came to Hawaii. I would tell them to get out of Waikiki, to be sure to visit Hanauma Bay early in the morning, and to try our local plate lunch, among other things. Hawaii is a great place to visit anyway, but hopefully my tips made the trip more enjoyable. I do something similar when I talk to people about the Gospel of John. John is a beautiful book that will bless and delight; but I have some tips that I hope will add to the reader’s enjoyment. Here they are – six questions that make up my traveler’s guide to the Gospel of John.

  • Kenneth C. Way — 

    All faculty, students, and local alumni are encouraged to attend the lectures by James K. Hoffmeier who will be our guest for the annual Robert Saucy Lecture Series on March 1-3, 2011. His two chapel addresses (Tues./Thurs., 9:30 am; Calvary Chapel) will be respectively on "Yahweh Versus Pharaoh: God's Purposes in the Exodus" and "The Key to Finishing Strong: Lessons from the Life of Solomon." He will also offer an evening lecture that is open to the general public on "The Exodus From Egypt in Light of Recent Archaeological Evidence" (Wed., 7:30-9:00 PM in Mayers Auditorium [Marshburn Hall]).

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Last week I posted a piece in which I encouraged each of us to actually pray when we pray. Since then my thoughts about prayer have moved in another direction, particularly as it relates to the training of our children. I am becoming increasingly convinced that one of the most significant ways we convey spiritual truth to our children is through our prayers. I believe that when we pray with our children, our children learn about our relationship with the Lord and what we believe about God. Let’s look at three things we teach our children when they listen to us pray.

  • Robert B. Price — 

    Hey, if you can summarize Luther in 1,000 words, Calvin should be no problem. Not that Calvin’s any less interesting than Luther, just less open. In tens of thousands of pages of his surviving writings, including several thousand personal letters, Calvin gives only the rarest hints of what’s going on inside. It’s pretty obvious, though, that so profound an exegetical and theological legacy could only have come from a heart aflame for God.

  • Mickey Klink III — 

    Because the biblical documents were written in ancient times, in different cultures, and to different peoples, an historical approach to the interpretation of the Bible is deemed necessary. This has become so properly basic that it is nearly an axiom that the contemporary interpretation of the Bible is historical interpretation. Without denying that the Bible is the Word of God, the actual task of interpreting the Bible has become primarily an examination of the words of men. Such an historical emphasis makes theology seem less important, or at best a quite distant secondary concern.

  • Joseph H. Hellerman — 

    Third semester Greek is a challenging place to be for our seminary students. Many of these folks are doing well just to hang on to what they learned back in Greek 1-2. Learning intermediate grammar finds our students negotiating a sharp turn deep in the tunnel of language acquisition. The proverbial light at the end of this tunnel—where knowledge of Greek pays significant exegetical dividends—gets almost snuffed out for a season by Wallace’s thirty-some categories of the genitive case.