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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.
 

  • 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?

  • Dave Keehn — 

    Is your church similar to a family holiday celebration? The table is set, the decorations adorn the room, all ages are gathered together… but sitting at different tables. The “adult’s table” is the set with the large platters of food, and the fine wine to match the fine china. At the “kids’ table” are plastic plates that won’t break, no table clothes that could be stained, and no food platters – the plates of food will be served to the children by a parent in pre-approved samplings that the adult chooses. Does this sound like the difference between the adult worship vs. kids worship: one gets the better equipment and musicians while we assume the kids are content with student musicians. Adult mission trips push the limits of opportunities while kids are often ignored for true missional experiences. Even our language of “big church” gives away the “second-class status” with which we classify the children and youth ministries. The larger the church, the more professional the youth ministry becomes… the more segregated youth are from the church. The result is tragically youth are “guests” in church, and hear the message “don’t mess it up”.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    I stand on the walls of Jerusalem As the armies march toward the city I know why they’ve come and what they’ll do And my heart cries out desperately

  • Freddy Cardoza — 

    Evil is present in the world. It was seen in the face of Usama bin Laden. It is also seen in things like murder, child abuse, terrorism, and natural disasters. Many Christians and non-Christians don't understand why evil is present in the world. Here's why.

  • Gary Manning Jr — 

    I grew up hearing and reading the Bible during the transition from the King James Version to NASB and NIV. In my church setting, the transition was mostly welcomed, except by a few godly old-timers who were certain that our prayers were more acceptable to God if they included a generous portion of thees, thous, and Elizabethan-era verb endings. The KJV had the interesting effect of making some very ordinary words into technical religious terms, since the words dropped out of ordinary use in the centuries since the KJV was translated. One of those words is grace. Interestingly, the NASB, the NIV, and even (often) the NLT continue to use this word to translate the Greek word χάρις (charis), even though the meaning of grace in English has changed over the centuries.

  • Matthew Williams — 

    Jesus' interactions with people in the Gospel of John...and today This is the second 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. 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, we will explore how Jesus interacts with them not only to take away their shame, but also to raise them up and give them honor!

  • Jeffrey Volkmer — 

    I am now in my second year as a faculty member at Biola University’s Talbot School of Theology. Prior to this, I’ve spent the last 16 years of my life doing primarily two things: 1) attending three different universities, and; 2) working for local churches in a variety of capacities. You would think that after that amount of time invested in both theological higher education and church service, I would have learned quite a bit about the local church. Yet, this is anything but the case and not because the curriculum of my seminary lacked adequate focus on ecclesiology. Rather, teaching at a Christian university has opened up an amazing new curriculum for me and afforded me a unique and fresh vista from which to view the Church and learn from one of her most precious treasures – young people – and in this case, undergraduate students. I would like to share some of the greatest lessons this new curriculum has taught me as I seek to teach undergraduates.

  • Kevin Lawson — 

    Two months ago I raised a concern about a problem some churches struggle with in seeing limited impact of their teaching ministries in the lives of those who participate. I talked about some ways this problem has tended to be addressed, and my own conviction that there is a need for a better model or approach to our teaching if we hope to see real growth occur. Last month I introduced the basic ideas of “right-handed” teaching and discussed the first half of the model. This month I want to continue and complete my discussion of the model and then begin looking at how it works together.

  • Ashish Naidu — 

    Because of the propitiation of Christ, God’s wrath is satisfied, and we who were once enemies of God have now received “at-one-ment” or reconciliation.

  • Rob Price — 

    Denis Diderot (1713-84), editor and primary author of the massive—18,000 pages!—and massively influential Encyclopédie, has been called “the pivotal figure of the entire 18th century.” One of the pivotal moments in Diderot’s own career came in his conversion from deism to atheism. And central to this conversion were the implications he drew from Newton’s formulation of the principle of inertia.

  • Dave Keehn — 

    I have noticed the same principals that I am trying to teaching my son to be a better ballplayer are really the same fundamentals that help me coach students to be tools in God’s hands.

  • Alan Gomes — 

    The great reformer Martin Luther once declared that the biblical teaching of justification by faith alone “is the doctrine by which the church stands or falls.” Historically, Protestants have understood justification to mean that God declares us “not guilty” for our sins because Christ bore them in our place, and also that God declares us as being positively righteous in his sight because of Christ’s righteousness imputed to us, i.e., credited to our accounts. However, a recent teaching called the “New Perspective on Paul” has called into question the traditional Protestant understanding of justification.

  • Rob Price — 

    It could have turned out badly. Back in spring 2010 I decided sight unseen to assign Fred Sanders’s The Deep Things of God as a textbook in my fall Theology I class. The publisher said that the book should be available by mid-August. That’s about one week before the start of the semester. What if there were delays? And regardless of delays, what if the book showed up and was lousy? What would I tell my students?

  • Kenneth Way — 

    Around this time every year the excitement begins to build. Well, at least this is true 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 spring. This summer, there are around twenty-two excavations in Israel that are open for volunteer participation. Yes, that’s right. YOU can be a part of unearthing the next great discovery in Israel!

  • Gary Manning Jr — 

    As the father of eight children, I have spent a lot of time with Dr. Seuss. It's scary that I can quote pages of Cat in the Hat from memory. But my time in Dr. Seuss occasionally pays off when I study the Bible. You see, Dr. Seuss was a political cartoonist in the 1930s and 40s, and political cartoons are ideal analogies for understanding symbolism in Revelation (an idea that I got from Dr. David Scholer, one of my doctoral advisors at Fuller). What is interesting, and what makes this relevant to the study of Revelation, is that Dr. Seuss' cartoons were immediately obvious to readers when they were printed, but are difficult to understand today unless we study history.

  • 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.