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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.
 

  • Matthew 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?

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    The following post outlines some of the nuts-and-bolts of leading a church as a plurality of pastors. It is an excerpt from a manuscript tentatively titled, When Pastors Were Servants: Recapturing Paul’s Cruciform Vision for Authentic Christian Leadership.

  • Clinton E. Arnold — 

    Over the weekend, I spoke at Antioch Church in Bend, Oregon where Talbot alumnus Ken Wytsma serves as pastor. In the “Redux” (Q&A) session that followed my message, someone asked me, “What is Spiritual Warfare?” Here is my response:

  • Gary Manning Jr — 

    When I teach or preach from the Gospels, I always bring in relevant aspects of the historical and cultural background. Including such details not only helps us in our interpretation of the scene, but also helps us retell the story well – an essential part of preaching from narrative passages. Several passages in the Gospels involve soldiers. Movies about Jesus, and most sermons about Jesus, portray all of these soldiers as Romans. We sometimes get the idea that there were centurions on every street corner. But is this the case? I have pulled together some of the information that we have about soldiers in Judea and Galilee in the first century, and included a few comments about each scene in the Gospels involving soldiers.

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    Ideas are not neutral and irrelevant. They are constructs of language that can have helpful or hurtful cooresponding effects. All ideas are not equally valid and are not necessarily even true... but, true or not, ideas can have powerful effects and great care should be taken in our handling of them.

  • Ashish 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.

  • David 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.

  • 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.

  • Gary 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.

  • Joe 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.

  • Rob 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.

  • Joe 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.

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    A sage once said that "Truth-telling is an act of violence." Regarding violence, anyone who has ever been victimized and that has suffered the resultant trauma knows its resonant results. It is like the proverbial pebble which causes a disproportionate effect-- rows of ripples that circumnavigate far from the point of impact, long after the rock has settled in the silt below.

  • Jeffrey Volkmer — 

    Along with speaking to one another in psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs, if one were to peruse the communication literature of most American, Evangelical churches, it would seem that Paul had somehow left off Twitter, Facebook, Wikipedia, and blogs of every sort. The ubiquity of “social media” in all its iterations has found quite the tender audience in Evangelicalism with seemingly no parachurch ministry, church (along with each respective ministry therein), pastor, youth minister, or seminary able forge ahead without intermittingly spreading communicative buckshot across the world wide web at a 140 character pace.

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    Fear can be rational or irrational. That said, there's a 'sense' in which it doesn't always matter whether one's fear is rational or not. That's because even if a particular fear happens to be irrational, that doesn't necessarily make it any less troubling. In fact, irrationality doesn't "negate" fear in the least-- and, in some cases, it can even breed terror.

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    Don’t gimme no theology. Just gimme the Bible! Ever heard someone say that? Well, at times theology comes in handy. That might sound like a no-brainer coming from a pastor/seminary professor, but as a historian I much prefer interpreting a biblical passage in its historical and literary context (my task as a New Testament scholar) to systematizing various portions of Scripture around a single theological truth (the task of a theologian).

  • Rob Price — 

    How do you introduce the great Protestant reformer Martin Luther in under 1,000 words—plus a picture or two? His life, his works, his doctrines, his impact? One standard biography (Brecht) runs 1,300 pages. I might omit a few things, but here goes.

  • Kevin Lawson — 

    Over the next several months, I will be addressing the problem of the shallow impact of many teaching ministries in our churches and ways that we might “Teach Deeper” for greater openness to God’s transforming work. In this first blog I pose some questions about why some of our teaching ministries seem to bear limited fruit and how we might better approach our teaching ministries.