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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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  • John McKinley — 

    Feminine Threads: Women in the Tapestry of Christian History, Diana Lynn Severance (Ross-Shire, Scotland: Christian Focus, 2011) 336 pp. $15 ($12 on Amazon; or $11.39 on Kindle) Overall, the book is challenging and informative for me as a male Christian. I have been mostly ignorant of the many deep and lasting contributions of women throughout the history of the church. The fascinating chronicles informed me to be full of admiration for these particular women, and for Christian women throughout the world today who struggle for basic human rights. I recognize that women continue to be disregarded, demeaned, patronized, minimized, and marginalized in evangelical churches and Western cultures today. Severance’s book is the beginning of a helpful corrective for the church to value women as equal heirs of the gift of grace.

  • Rob Lister — 

    One of the things I've struggled with over the years is knowing how to best pursue my own productivity goals. At various times, I’ve experienced everything from “productivity pride” to “productivity disappointment” to “productivity envy.” Along the way, I have learned that I don’t have to battle my productivity struggles in my own strength. And as a result of some of those lessons, I’ve collated a few items that I regularly pray for in relation to my productivity pursuits.

  • Uche Anizor — 

    Check out this excellent and thought provoking post by theologian Stephen Holmes from St. Andrews. Read the post here

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    These days have been filled with contrasts for me. In a way, we all face these contrasts, but when they are too close to each other, the tensions they produce literally move us from joy to tears. One the one hand, my baby daughter is now two-months-old. My wife and I celebrate the joy of her life and are thankful for the Lord’s blessing upon us. We are tired and somewhat sleep deprived, but her smile brings joy to our existence and reminds us about the goodness of life. On the other hand, however, it was the second anniversary of my dad’s passing and I find myself missing him more every day. Dead is as real as life and both bring deep emotions that flow from the core of our beings. Why can we be so happy and so sad at the same time?

  • Uche Anizor — 

    Mark Thompson of Moore College offers some helpful observations regarding the difference between patristic and modern treatments of the Trinity. Here's an excerpt: Patristic trinitarian thinking and writing appears more overtly biblical, and specifically more exegetical, than much modern writing. Sometimes that exegetical work is tortuous and repetitive, as in some of Athanasius' orations against the Arians. Sometimes it is crisp and leaves important questions unanswered. Yet the Bible is in the foreground rather than in the background in many of the patristic treatments of the doctrine. In contrast, much of the modern discussion glances off the Bible and shies away from sustained exegetical comment.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    “Preach the gospel at all times; when necessary, use words.” How many (hundreds of!) times have you heard that line rolled out? The good part about the alleged saying is that we do need to communicate that we truly believe the gospel through what we do. People need to see the gospel as well as hear it. If you have any doubts about this, please refer to my post from a few days ago on “justice and mercy” ministries. But there are two problems with the way this quote is normally used. First, it is often used by people who are oriented toward social concern but who are less comfortable with verbally proclaiming the good news about the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and faith in him alone. Such hesitancy to share the gospel verbally simply will not do if you even remotely consider yourself to be a biblical Christian. Second, Francis of Assisi apparently never said it.

  • Dave Keehn — 

    The model established by God through God’s people to instill God’s Truth within the Next Generation can be describe as such: begin religious instruction in the family home as spiritual practices, add knowledge through the larger community of faith, and provide mentoring from key spiritual leaders for specific practices and duties. This model was utilized throughout the Old Testament era due to some foundational concepts about young people, a developmental stage that was not fully identified at that time outside of Scripture. However, God has specific principles to follow in ministering to this pre-adult age group.

  • Uche Anizor — 

    Does our union with Christ have anything to say about Christian social justice? Todd Billings in chapter 4 of Union with Christ makes this vital connection

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Over the past five months the Overseers (translate: “Elders” or “Pastors”) at Whittier Hills Baptist Church have been thinking and praying about ministries of compassion and justice and the relationship of such activities to gospel proclamation. We have recently completed a position paper in which we collectively lay out what we believe the Bible teaches on this topic. We also address a few practical issues in the paper. We will be using this document in the future to help guide ministry decisions as we interact with those who are poor, oppressed, and marginalized. I’m linking you to our paper with the permission and encouragement of our leadership team. We hope that this paper will be a help to other churches, ministries, and individuals to think carefully and biblically through this important--and sometime controversial--topic. You are free to use this paper (or sections of it) in any way you consider appropriate in your respective areas of ministry.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    One of my professors in college was really old. I can hear everyone asking: “How old was he?” (No, his social security number wasn’t 7…). Let’s put it this way: he was the founder of the college at which I was studying (Multnomah in Portland, Oregon), and the school was celebrating the half century mark of its founding while I was there! In fact, Dr. John Mitchell was over the age of 90 when he taught the two classes I took from him. He continued to teach well into his mid-90s. Not surprisingly, he was getting forgetful about some things by the time I had him as a teacher, but what he definitely was not forgetting were the Bible verses he had memorized. His ability to recall Bible verses was astounding. I do not know this for a fact, but I would guess that he had all of the New Testament and large sections of the Old Testament committed to memory. All of his students were profoundly impacted by his immersion in the Scriptures.

  • Uche Anizor — 

    In the second chapter of Billings’ Union with Christ, he takes issue with the reduction of Reformed theology to the TULIP acronym. Specifically, regarding “total depravity” he questions the notion that one can properly understand a Reformed (or biblical) doctrine of depravity within the limited scope of the so-called “five points.”

  • Kenneth Way — 

    Early last year I did a blog post by this same title, and I want to revisit the subject again. Around this time every year the excitement begins to build 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 January. This summer, there are around twenty excavations in Israel that are open for volunteer participation. Yes, that means YOU can be a part of unearthing the next great discovery in Israel!

  • Rob Price — 

    I’m not the only one who’s been reading Billings. Uche Anizor has been at it, too, and he’ll soon be posting comments here on specific chapters of Billings’s book. Meanwhile, I’ll add a few of my own on Billings’s foundational first chapter on union with Christ as the ground of our adoption.

  • Rob Price — 

    Todd Billings is one of evangelicalism’s brightest up-and-coming pastor-scholars. From missions work in Uganda, to a Harvard Ph.D., to an adopted daughter from Ethiopia, Billings is advancing many of the projects dear to evangelicalism. You may have seen his wonderful cover article for Christianity Today (October 2011) on the theological interpretation of Scripture. In November 2011 he published the distillation of nearly a decade’s sustained reflection on a theme that is central to the gospel: the believer’s union with Christ.

  • Mick Boersma — 

    It wasn’t long after starting my pastorate in Washington State that I realized a hobby would be a good thing. I needed an activity that was far removed from ministry – something that would divert my attention away from the stresses brought on by working with people – an escape, if you will.

  • Ashish Naidu — 

    Wonderful is the word that encapsulates the world of horology. The more I read about the art and craft of watch making, the more I reflect on the infinite complexity of the divine mind, particularly the wondrous design and the meticulous plan of salvation—conceived in eternity—but executed in time and space.

  • Rob Lister — 

    I love reading good children’s literature to my kids. I especially love it when a great narrative for kids comes packaged together with really good theology. Such is the case with Starr Meade’s Keeping Holiday (Crossway, 2008)—a book so satisfying narratively and theologically that we are re-reading it to our kids this holiday season. The best way I can describe it is to say that Keeping Holiday is part Narnia and part Pilgrim’s Progress for kids.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Several years ago I had a Latin professor who made us memorize a phrase that it has been in my mind ever since. The Latin expression is “magister meus doctus est” and means “my professor is instructed or wise.” Obviously, my Latin professor was teasing when he made us memorize that phrase, but in reality, those words describe an important and profound truth. Everybody expects that professors are wise enough to guide their students. It has been commonly assumed that only those who know more can lead others in the right path because we know that nobody can give something without first possessing it. I have been a teacher in different countries and settings for twenty years now and I can testify about the accuracy of this general perception.

  • John Hutchison — 

    Thanksgiving day 2011 has come and gone. Like many families, it has always been for us a time when the relatives gather together. Like many Christian families, we try to remember in a more intentional way the blessings God has bestowed upon us. But unlike most families, on Thanksgiving Day we are painfully reminded of another memory . . .

  • Kenneth Way — 

    One of the best books I have read in the last couple of years is Thinking in Circles (Yale, 2007) by Mary Douglas. I highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in hermeneutics, literary approaches to the Bible, or the cultural background of the Bible. It is a non-technical read that is filled with fresh and provocative insights, and since it is only about 150 pages, one could read it in just one or two sittings.

  • Rob Price — 

    Last week our son, Elijah (7) was given a drawing assignment: copy Sandro Botticelli’s Madonna of the Pomegranate (c. 1487). Operative word here: ‘copy’. Elijah, however, understood ‘interpret’. And so the heavenly shafts of light illumining Mary’s head were transmogrified into something rather less spiritual. So, taking a cue from Sanders’s Avant-Garde category…

  • Rex E. Johnson — 

    Imagine meeting weekly for 3 – 4 months over coffee or tea with someone who is eager to discover what a relationship with Jesus Christ is all about. Conversations focus on understanding the Bible, salvation, the Holy Spirit and resurrection, righteousness and justification, peace with God and the peace of God, the realm of grace, freedom from punishment and the freedom in discipline. They are true conversations, not lectures. You have a guidebook, your “Traveler” gets a Traveler’s Notebook. We have often found that the Traveler has not really begun the journey. He or she has never surrendered to Jesus, and we can help them understand better what salvation is, and commit to Jesus.

  • Jeffrey Volkmer — 

    The recently convened Searching for Sanctuary Film Festival at Biola University presented significant independent films that explored the meaning of, and human longing for, sanctuary. The films screened were illustrative of the deep yearning all humans have for true sanctuary and the repercussions of its absence, ultimately pointing to the archetype of sanctuary for the Christian, Jesus Christ. One of the films screened was directed by Orlando van Einsiedel entitled, Skateistan: To Live and Skate in Kabul. It provided a beautifully shot and deeply poignant portrayal of the importance of sanctuary in the lives of the children of Kabul, Afghanistan, whose lives are tremendously impacted not only by the notable absence of sanctuary, but also how they were able to find it upon a skateboard. Here is not only an opportunity to view this wonderful film, but a theological reflection of its significance.

  • Kevin Lawson — 

    We often face pressures to move our Bible teaching sessions along in church, sacrificing depth of teaching impact to save time and keep on schedule with the lesson plans. What do we lose when we do this, and how might we respond to these pressures to ensure greater depth of impact in our teaching?

  • Uche Anizor — 

    A question I receive repeatedly, and a good one at that, is: “What is the theological interpretation of Scripture?” If you’ve heard this phrase bandied about and are still not sure what it means, you’re certainly not alone. There aren’t many concise and clear definitions of it, though there are a number of descriptive accounts.