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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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  • Nell Sunukjian — 

    How would you like to be going into exile? Leaving all you have known—your home, your beautiful yard and fields, your places of repose and safety, your income earning ability? Two of my friends are going into exile this fall. One, the pastor of a church, is being exiled by leaders who had a different ‘vision’ for the church than he had. Never mind that he had served there faithfully for over a dozen years—yes, he had preached the Word, and yes, he had visited the sick—but, well, it wasn’t enough. He is facing the exile of not having a job, not knowing the future and not being able to see what God has ahead for him.

  • Erik Thoennes — 

    The recent statistics released by The Pew Forum on Religious & Public Life showing a decline among Americans who consider themselves religious are sure to alarm many concerned about the spiritual state of the nation. For evangelicals, the most potentially jarring of these statistics shows that for the first time in its history the United States does not have a Protestant majority. The study found that about 20% of Americans say they have no religious affiliation, an increase from 15% in the last five years. The sobering reality in all this for evangelicals is that, although our churches continue to grow, our evangelistic effectiveness has significantly lagged behind the US population growth. This study is a clear challenge to evangelicals to live up to our name and proclaim the good news in a culture where we can no longer assume common theological foundations. Evangelical Christians have to learn to preach the gospel in a culture where we are no longer part of the Protestant majority. This is not necessarily a bad thing though. A few observations about the data shows that the picture is not as bleak as it may seem.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    What is the shortest verse in the New Testament? Did you respond “Jesus wept”? (Buzzer sound) No, that is the third shortest verse in the New Testament.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    El Espíritu Santo es esencial para la vida y enseñanza cristiana. De hecho, no creo exagerar al afirmar que sin la ayuda y poder del Espíritu Santo todos nuestros esfuerzos tanto para agradar a Dios como para enseñar a otros a hacerlo carecen de sentido y, por lo tanto, los resultados son insignificantes. Desgraciadamente, en muchas ocasiones el Espíritu Santo es olvidado, minimizado o incluso relevado a solamente una teoría teológica que creemos porque se encuentra en la Biblia, pero que no tiene ninguna relevancia en nuestra vida diaria. De hecho, llegué a escuchar a un profesor de un seminario afirmar que muchos cristianos de forma práctica creen que la santa trinidad está compuesta por el Padre, el Hijo y las Santas Escrituras. De esta manera, la presencia del Espíritu Santo es totalmente olvidada.

  • Dave Keehn — 

    Mentoring may be a “buzz-word” in the business world, but the practice of developing another person for specific purposes of skill or leadership development has been around since the beginning of civilization. It is evident throughout Scripture – especially in the ministries of Jesus and Paul. However, the integration of mentoring for ministry preparation within academic settings has built in problems. SO WHY BOTHER? For many reasons...

  • Joy Mosbarger — 

    Halloween is not one of my favorite holidays. Somehow I seem to be lacking the creativity gene necessary to enjoy thinking up and assembling an ingenious costume. For me that process is not enjoyable; it is a laborious chore. It wasn’t always that way. Of course, as a young child, we don’t have much of a choice about whether we dress up for Halloween or what we wear. Our parents make those choices, and their primary criterion for a costume seems to be cuteness. And how hard is it to make a little child look cute?

  • Gary Manning Jr — 

    The latest news on historical Jesus research can now be found in… Popular Mechanics? I’m used to perusing Popular Mechanics to see flying cars, homemade submarines, and ads for power tools. But Popular Mechanics published a reconstructed picture of Jesus (quite a while ago, but I just noticed it!). I’ll show you the picture and explain it in just a bit. But first, I want you to see some of my favorite portraits of Jesus. My students have become accustomed to seeing these non-traditional pictures of Jesus decorating my powerpoint lecture notes. This picture of Jesus and the Samaritan Woman (from the Via Latina catacomb, ca. 340-350) was painted by a Roman, so Jesus and the woman both have Roman hairstyles and clothing. No beard on Jesus!

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    A few weeks ago I put up a post with the title: “Something About the Book of Romans that will Really Help You ‘Get’ It.” (Click HERE to read it.) I rounded out that article with a list of questions from Romans to help people see the importance of the ethnic issues going on in the background of the letter to the Romans. Some people expressed surprise that there were so many questions in the book of Romans—it’s not something that they had noticed before. Well, there are a whole lot more questions in Romans than the ones I listed. Questions are one of the ways Paul moves his argument forward. Do you want to see how many questions there are?

  • Gary Manning Jr — 

    This morning, I began teaching Greek sentence diagramming to my students in Introduction to Exegesis. Some students love diagramming, but probably more dread it, at least at first. I picked some sentences to diagram from John 1, mainly because the students had just translated this passage a few weeks ago. One sentence in particular, John 1:12-13, reveals that nerdy analytical approaches such as Greek diagramming can help understand passages of Scripture better. Here’s the diagram (with a translation below for non-Greek readers) ὅσοι δὲ ἔλαβον αὐτόν, ἔδωκεν αὐτοῖς ἐξουσίαν τέκνα θεοῦ γενέσθαι, τοῖς πιστεύουσιν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ,

  • Michelle Barnewall — 

    Recently I found myself thinking back to an article in Christianity Today by Philip Yancey in which he profiled the late Catholic theologian Henri Nouwen. Nouwen, a prolific and well-known spiritual writer, had taught at Notre Dame, Yale and Harvard before leaving academia to be a priest in residence for a community for the disabled in Toronto called Daybreak. On the surface, Nouwen’s decision might seem impulsive and irrational. After all, he left teaching at some of America’s premier universities to devote his time to people who did not have the ability to appreciate his tremendous intellectual gifts, who in fact could barely understand the most basic aspects of faith. But despite his academic success, Nouwen left those prestigious academic institutions because he felt that the busy schedule and intense competition were suffocating his spiritual life.

  • Gary McIntosh — 

    While reaching the whole world with the gospel is the mission of the Christian faith, lifegiving churches recognize that the world is made up of many different audiences. Since different groups of people have quite different cultures, needs, and methods of communication, a church that intentionally tries to reach a specific group with the message of Christ, will normally be much more effective than one that tries to reach everyone with a general attempt. Every church should have a sign that says, "Everyone Welcome," but a deliberate strategy must be in place or they will only see accidental growth.

  • Andy Draycott — 

    Insofar as Jesus Christ is emplaced in glorified resurrection embodiment at the Father’s right hand in heavenly session, that place shapes and orients all other place claims.

  • Mick Boersma — 

    After a Talbot chapel some time ago, in which we struggled with three or four 'glitches' in the program, my dear colleague Dennis Gaines leaned over and said to me, "I call these things weeds". Yes, weeds...those little irritations that prevent our best efforts from being the gems of perfection we designed them to be.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    He tenido el privilegio de ser profesor por más de veinte años. A los diecinueve años empecé a enseñar español y otras materias en una secundaria publica en Guadalajara, México. Esta aventura que empezó como un simple trabajo se ha convertido en mi vocación y he tenido la oportunidad de enseñar en varios países, instituciones y niveles académicos que van de la secundaria hasta el doctorado. La tarea de un profesor es ardua y siempre hay muchas cosas que aprender. De hecho, actualmente enseño en un programa doctoral que se enfoca principalmente en la tarea educativa y en los procesos de enseñanza-aprendizaje en diferentes contextos cristianos.

  • Gary Manning Jr — 

    Last week, I posted my initial take on the so-called "Gospel of Jesus' Wife." My first point was that it was "too early to tell" whether the manuscript was genuine. In the last twenty years, forgers have produced some amazingly convincing forgeries, so scholars have become cautious about all archeological finds.

  • Gary McIntosh — 

    Jesus often created controversy, particularly when he associated with sinners. He made it a practice of eating in the company of acknowledged sinners, a practice that was in direct contrast to that of the Pharisees. Why did He practice such an unusual form of hospitality for his day?

  • Mickey Klink III — 

    John 7:53-8:11, often described as “The Passage of the Woman Caught in Adultery” (passage de adultera), is famous for several reasons. The pleasant reason is that it is one of the most dramatic displays of the grace of God in the Bible. But there is also a more difficult reason that needs to be addressed: this passage was likely not in the original version of the Gospel of John, but was added later at an undeterminable time and for an unknown reason. How should the church treat this passage?

  • Joy Mosbarger — 

    A few weeks ago during the Scripture reading in church I was captivated by one of the verses read. It captured my thoughts to such an extent that I had a difficult time concentrating on the sermon. The words of the verse resonated in a deep place in my heart. The verse was John 14:5. In verses 1-3, Jesus is talking about going to prepare a place for the disciples in his Father’s house, a place where they will always be with him. Verse 5 is Thomas’s response to Jesus’ words in verse 4 where Jesus says, “And you know where I am going and how to get there” (NLT). In his candid frustration, Thomas bursts out with this reaction: “‘No, we don’t know, Lord,’ Thomas said. “We haven’t any idea where you are going, so how can we know the way?’”

  • Moyer Hubbard — 

    Many of you have probably heard of The Book of Mormon—not the book itself, but the Broadway musical that garnered nine Tony awards in 2011, including Best Musical, and earned a Grammy as well. It tells the story of two bright-eyed American Mormon missionaries who attempt to bring their good news to a remote village in Uganda racked by war, poverty, AIDS, and famine. (From the summary on Wikipedia). It is a powerful—albeit raunchy—satire of religion from the creators of that epitome of high-brow, cultured entertainment, South Park. I have not seen the musical myself, but I have viewed several segments on YouTube, and found myself (I admit it!) snickering at the delicious lampoon of Mormon doctrine, marveling at the music and vocal performances, and also deeply challenged by the message of the show.

  • Gary Manning Jr — 

    According to an article in the Washington Post, an ancient manuscript claiming that Jesus had a wife has just been discovered. I’ll tackle this new discovery with some Q&A. What is this new find? Karen King, the Gnostic scholar who published the manuscript, has titled it the Gospel of Jesus’ Wife (see the scholarly article here). It is a very small fragment, only 12 partial lines, of an ancient Gnostic book. The fragment, written in Coptic, dates from the fourth century, but it is a copy of an older book, perhaps written in the late second century. According to the fragment, Jesus refers to “my wife.”

  • John McKinley — 

    Jack Wilson had always enjoyed being in the open air where he could stretch his lungs and move his twenty-five year-old limbs freely. Today, however, Jack imagined he was in the fourteenth century while he pedaled the five miles to his school when a brown Buick slammed into his bicycle from behind. The impact threw him ten feet towards the gutter where he pulled his face to his knees and protectively clutched his head, unaware of the blood. Then Jack was out.

  • Kenneth Way — 

    Where is one place that you can go in Jerusalem to see possible remains of King David’s palace, Nehemiah’s wall, Hezekiah’s tunnel, the Pool of Siloam and royal tombs? That would be the City of David, which is the name given to the small spur of land that extends southward from the Temple Mount. I want to share with you five highlights from this small area.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    “El que espera, desespera” dice un refrán popular. Esperar algo no es satisfactorio para nadie y en ocasiones las salas de espera en oficinas y consultorios se convierten en salas de tortura para muchos que, como yo, son impacientes y perciben el tiempo de espera como un tiempo perdido. Esta creencia común puede percibir a la esperanza como algo negativo y algo no muy deseado.

  • Nell Sunukjian — 

    I wince when I look at the photo. Don and I are standing in the sun with our firstborn son, flanked by Don’s elderly grandparents. Grandpa has just lifted up our son toward heaven to give thanks. All of us are beaming with joy. And I am wearing a very short dress.

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    Below is an excerpt from a commentary I'm writing on the Greek text of Philippians. The section I've copied is a rough first draft treating a key Christological phrase from 2:6. The commentary will be part of a series called The Exegetical Guidebook to the Greek New Testament (B&H Publications). It's aimed at seminary grads and pastors who have actually learned and retained their Talbot students, we hope! You can get the abbreviations from Murray Harris's volume on Colossians, but they should be familiar to NT students (e.g., TDNT = "Kittel," etc.). Enjoy!