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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.
 

  • Uche Anizor — 

    After many years of foolishly putting it off, I am finally reading Oliver O’Donovan’s classic primer on Christian ethics, Resurrection and Moral Order (2nd ed.). One of the book’s major claims is that the resurrection of Jesus is the ultimate reaffirmation of the created order.

  • Joanne Jung — 

    I get the most puzzled looks whenever I pose this question. How you answer it will reveal whether you truly know a certain truth about yourself.

  • Uche Anizor — 

    As I prepare to teach an undergraduate seminar on Calvin and Barth, I’ve been reflecting a bit on how I want my students to engage the latter, since (1) they have likely never read him firsthand and, more importantly, (2) he is not especially lauded in contexts in which my students have been reared or currently find themselves. The second point raises for me the general question: how should I (and my more-or-less conservative students) engage with less conservative writers, particularly upon a first (or second or even third) encounter?

  • Mickey Klink III — 

    How necessary are extra-biblical sources for reading Scripture? Even for those who believe the Bible is Scripture, the text is assumed to stand behind a dense fog of historical distance and cultural isolation. I teach a class called Biblical Backgrounds to upper-level biblical and theological studies majors at Biola University, and it is by far my most dreaded class. I do not dread the class because the course is uninteresting or unimportant; on the contrary, I find extra-biblical sources like history and culture to be fascinating and think the class might be the most important one I teach. But it is important not because backgrounds gives necessary insights for the study of the Bible, but because it might be the most destructive tool for reading the Bible as Scripture.

  • Gary Manning Jr — 

    I often get questions from students about the best translation of some verse. Usually, the difference is between "literal" translation (such as ESV or NASB) and "dynamic" translation (such as the NIV or NLT). These two types are also called "formal" (because they try, when possible, to follow the forms and word order of the original Greek or Hebrew sentences) and "functional" (because...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    A couple years ago I sat in a lecture in which a local scholar-pastor presented arguments in favor of amillennialism. As he described his own journey away from premillennialism into amillennialism, he said something that made me realize that many amillennialists misunderstand what premillennialists believe about the Millennium. As he told his story he commented: “I began to wonder why there was even a need for a Millennium since it was so much like the New Heaven and the New Earth. God can bring his promises to fulfillment in the New Heaven and the New Earth.” He had evidently been thinking of the Millennium in the same way as he had been thinking of the eternal state, so the Millennium eventually became redundant in his system, and he abandoned it. As his lecture progressed it became clear that he (now as an amillennialist) assumed that this is what all premillennialists thought about the Millennium.

  • Rob Lister — 

    Here’s a summer reading suggestion. Take Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga for a spin. It’s a stirring fantasy epic that is sure to delight both young and old in your home just as it has in ours.

  • Rob Lister — 

    The Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood recently published a brief review of mine on John Piper’s book This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence. I’m grateful for this book for many reasons. It’s succinct, practical, and encouraging. But the main thing I appreciated about it is the way Piper explicitly applied the God-centered meaning of marriage to the expressions of marriage (and singleness) that we experience in this life.

  • Walt Russell — 

    My 83-year-old mother has dementia. To help me work through the pain of this living death, I recently gave her a gift she was not able to receive: a letter commemorating her 10th anniversary in the nursing home.

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    Despite the evil that exists in our world, the Bible says that God keeps it from unraveling. So, for now, God allows evil to be unleashed-- at least to a degree-- while keeping it in check so He can fulfill the plan He has for all ages— and until He establishes His eternal reign after the defeat of evil and all evildoers.

  • Erik Thoennes — 

    A book I wrote came out today. It's called Life's Biggest Questions: What the Bible Says about the Things That Matter Most (Crossway). I pray it will help people to know God and his truth better.

  • Ben Shin — 

    Choosing the right leaders helps determine good leadership. This is true for every organization that requires leadership. Even the business world understands this important axiom. Jim Collins for example in his book Good to Great uses the analogy of getting the “right people on the bus” before any kind of leadership could move, develop, or flourish. This is not only a proven principle from experience but also something that the Pastoral Epistles certainly emphasizes. This is why following the prescription of what makes a good leader according to the Word of God is so crucial for the church. Without referring to the qualities mentioned in the Scripture, potentially wrong criteria could be imposed in choosing leaders for the church and this would be tragic!

  • Matthew Williams — 

    SHAME REMOVED; HONOR RECEIVED, PART 3 --Jesus' interactions with people in the Gospel of John...and today This is the third 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. In John 4, Jesus speaks with a Samaritan woman. It is interesting that John records this interaction right after his interaction with Nicodemus. The Samaritan woman could not be more different than Nicodemus. Nicodemus was a male Jew, a Pharisee, a member of the Jewish ruling council, and was Israel’s teacher (3:1, 10). He was the epitome of the best of the best that Israel had to offer.

  • Joanne Jung — 

    If you think the book of Ruth is some kind of self help program to become the best mother-in-law (or daughter-in-law), you will have missed the whole idea of why it's included in Scripture. It was written by one who carefully, skillfully, and dramatically records - with a surprise ending to the book - the events of a seemingly insignificant, desperate family. I brought this message to the audience attending Biola's chapel on Grandparents Day. It's 22 minutes short, but "the view is spectacular."

  • Kevin Lawson — 

    Last month I shared a “coaching” model for teaching that I believe can help us deepen the impact of our teaching, helping us avoid the problems of biblical amnesia and aborted application. This month I start by looking at Paul’s teaching ministry to see how this coaching approach fits with his efforts. Then I go back through the phases of the coaching model and talk about what that would mean for us as teachers in the church. What does it look like to begin teaching like a coach?

  • Mickey Klink III — 

    I just returned from a symposium on ecclesial theology in Chicago, IL (Oak Park, to be exact) hosted by The Society for the Advancement of Ecclesial Theology (SAET). The annual symposium of the SAET pulls together a diverse body of evangelical pastor-theologians from across the country, with fellows (“members”) representing the Lutheran, Pentecostal, Episcopal, Baptist, Messianic Jewish, Methodist, Presbyterian, and Independent Bible church traditions. Each three-day symposium gathers for discussion and collaboration on theological issues related to the life of the church. Mentoring fellows include Doug Sweeney (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) and Scott Hafemann (Gordon-Conwell, soon to be University of St. Andrews), and often involves visiting scholars/pastor-theologians: this year it was Kevin Vanhoozer (Wheaton College/Graduate School). I have been a fellow of the SAET for two years because we believe that theology is not merely done for the church but in and by the church. For the SAET the difference is crucial. Here is the mission of the SAET:

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    This past Wednesday night I participated in an outreach along with Talbot colleagues Gary Manning and Alan Hultberg at the Uptown Whittier YMCA. The outreach was in support of a new campus plant for Whittier Hills Baptist Church in one of many “downtowns” here in the Los Angeles basin (but referred to in Whittier as “uptown” rather than “downtown”). People from the uptown community received invitations either on the street—I went out twice along with two of my daughters and some others from the church—or by mail. We told people that the purpose of the forum was to respond to the recent upturn in the media of discussions about what happens after death. The turnout to the event was good and the responses were encouraging.

  • Joanne Jung — 

    Pop Quiz. Identify the correct company to which these advertising jingles are associated: “You deserve a break today” “Have it your way” “Rule the Air” Fascinating how advertising agencies craft a need for a product while feeding the human ego. The underlying message in these jingles is that it really is all about you.

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    We’ve seen a lot of death, pain, suffering, and evil in our world during the last few years, so today I want to address a few questions having to do with evil, pain and suffering— questions that, I believe, all ‘thinking’ people ask.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Last night I finished reading Rob Bell’s book Love Wins. I read it in preparation for an outreach I’ll soon be doing through my local church on the topic of heaven and hell. Love Wins is a deeply troubling repudiation of certain aspects of orthodox Christian doctrine by a megachurch pastor who is trying to be relevant to a tolerance-enamored generation.

  • Ben Shin — 

    The whole mentorship movement continues to increase in popularity especially within the church. Many young people today are seeking out mentors. This even seems to be a value for the younger generation. But in actuality, this movement is not a new one at all but rather one that dates back even to the first century.

  • Kevin Lawson — 

    Over the last three months I’ve described a “right-handed” model for thinking about what we do in Christian education. It pulls together five “right” aspects of what we need to focus on in our teaching: right relationship, right knowledge, right passion or heart, right will, and right actions. For the next few months I want to explore and unpack a “coaching” pedagogy that helps promote real growth, not just increased knowledge. Let me start with a verse from one of my favorite Psalms and a story.

  • Walt Russell — 

    1 Thessalonians 5:22: “Abstain from all appearances of evil” (KJV) “Abstain from every form of evil” (ESV) I confess that whenever I encounter this verse, I picture old, withered saints shaking their bony fingers in younger believers’ faces and exhorting them about some questionable behavior. In this recurring scenario, the godly, mature Christians find it necessary to exhort the younger saints, not because they have done something that is evil, but simply because they behaved in a manner that could have the appearance of being evil.

  • Andy Draycott — 

    ‘Missional ethics’ speaks of the missionary dimensions of the life of the people of God and the ethical features of mission. The connection between mission and ethics is fundamental for how we perceive our common life in the Spirit.

  • Rob Lister — 

    In my previous post, I reflected on a lesson about humility that I learned as a seminarian. Since then, I have encountered a few folks who have observed that a struggle with spiritual pride is not altogether infrequent in the halls of evangelical seminaries. Initially, seminary might seem an unexpected place to encounter such a struggle. Why is it, then, that this temptation is often found in this context? Is seminary somehow intrinsically antithetical to gospel humility?