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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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  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    I recently watched a disturbing video. A camera caught the head of a certain political organization; we’ll call him Lucius, attempting to convince a packed auditorium about the reality of moral law. Specifically, Lucius appealed to a real moral law above and beyond culture to argue against a right to homosexual marriage. What struck me most was less of what he said and more how he said it. Lucius taunted the crowd relentlessly, hurling insults like hand grenades. People often argue against moral reality by appealing to moral reality (e.g., there can’t be absolutes because look at out how absolutely wrong the crusades and inquisitions were!). But there is an equal and opposite inconsistency, namely, arguing for moral reality while breaking the very morality we are defending (e.g., real morals like ‘love your neighbor’ exist, you ignoramus!). In other words, Lucius’ problem was that he did not argue his worldview as if his worldview were actually true. No matter what he said, the way in which he said it made it seem like morals like love and respect were not to be taken seriously after all. The medium refuted the message.

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    Ed Curtis, professor of biblical and theological studies at Talbot, just released the new book, Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs (Teach the Text Commentary Series). He kindly took some time to answer a few questions about the book.

  • Darian Lockett — 

    After thirty-five years of service, James Adamson’s NICNT commentary on the Epistle of James has received a much-needed update by Scot McKnight. McKnight’s contribution to the series significantly expands on its predecessor volume—being more than twice its size—which is due, in part, to the mounting scholarship on James appearing since its 1976 publication date.

  • Ben Shin — 

    Being a retreat speaker can be an enjoyable time but can also be a challenging time. The difference maker for which outcome occurs is largely dependent on the host for the speaker. Over the years, as both a speaker and also as a host, I’ve seen some excellent treatment of speakers and also some situations that could use a lot of improvement. This will be a 2 part series of blogs in which I hope to highlight some ways to invite and host a guest speaker in which he would feel very well taken care of throughout the whole process. In this first part of the series, I will focus on how to invite a guest speaker to a retreat.

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    Robert Saucy, distinguished professor of systematic theology at Talbot, just released the new book, Minding the Heart: The Way of Spiritual Transformation. He kindly took some time to answer a few questions about the book.

  • John McKinley — 

    “Flee immorality. Every other sin that a man commits is outside the body, but the immoral man sins against his own body” (1 Cor 6:18 NASB). Why is sexual sin singled out as uniquely damaging to the body in a way that other physical actions are not? Substance abuse, gluttony, cutting—these are all harmful acts to the body, but they do not do what sexual misconduct does, according to Paul. Typical responses from students to explain this exception are that sex involves the whole person, or maybe because it involves someone else. The same could be said for illegal drug use, so there must be something more.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    El gran educador Antonio del Corro (Sevilla, 1527-Londres, 1591) es quizá una de las figuras más importantes y a la vez menos conocidas de la reforma española. Es también un ejemplo a imitar para todos los que seguimos a Cristo y sobre todo para los que nos dedicamos a servirle a través de la enseñanza. El historiador Emilio Monjo se refiere a Antonio de Corro como “un personaje que refleja el talante de la Reforma española en cuanto a su libertad de pensamiento y palabra: una iglesia que había nacido libre por la acción de la Escritura, y que se mantuvo libre con la Escritura también en su exilio europeo".

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    Remember 7th grade, when your English teacher taught you how to diagram sentences? You know, “main clause,” “subordinate clause,” and all that other stuff you have likely forgotten long ago? I still diagram sentences. And I teach my students how to diagram sentences, too—Greek sentences!

  • The Good Book Blog — 

    The following is the first in a series of faculty book announcements that will appear on the Good Book Blog in the coming months.

  • Kenneth Way — 

    By Thomas Finley and Kenneth Way From October 2 to December 8 of this year the Cyrus Cylinder will make a visit to The Getty Villa (in Malibu, CA) as part of a tour of the United States. This will be an amazing opportunity to see in person this artifact that gives significant background information for the Bible.

  • Thaddeus Williams — 

    “A mind is a terrible thing to waste.” This slogan, first broadcast by the United Negro College Fund in 1972, has become something of a John 3:16 for educators seeking to evangelistically rouse students out of intellectual slumber. If I could tailor this slogan for our Biola community as we embark on a new semester, it would become: “The mind of Christ is far too precious to not cultivate.” While lacking the elegant phrasing and bumper sticker quote-ability of the original, it does express something I hope we can pause to ponder as we enter our classrooms.

  • Gary Manning Jr — 

    Reza Aslan’s new book, Zealot: The Life and Times of Jesus of Nazareth (Random House, 2013), is in most ways a typical attempt to paint a new picture of Jesus. Because so many hundreds of books of this type have been published, Aslan’s book would most likely not have received significant attention at all, except for two factors. First, a botched interview of the author on Fox News caused a huge surge of interest, making his book an overnight best seller. And second, Aslan is a very good writer. His primary teaching role, after all, is as a professor of creative writing at UC Riverside. Aslan is able to take a lot of important historical background and present it in a riveting manner, accessible to most readers.

  • Kenneth Way — 

    The Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary, edited by Tremper Longman III (with Peter Enns and Mark Strauss), is now available for purchase as an E-Book or in hardcover. This one-volume dictionary offers 1767 full-color pages and more than 5,000 articles by 124 Bible scholars. You might ask, “Why should I care about this Bible dictionary?” You should care because many of the contributors are Talbot faculty.

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    Hace ya varios años escuché una frase que me ha hecho pensar constantemente y que refleja uno de los mayores peligros que enfrentan los líderes cristianos. La frase dice así: “es importante no estar tan ocupado en la obra de Dios que nos olvidemos del Dios de la obra”. El problema no es el servicio a Dios sino el enfoque y, en muchos casos, la motivación que nos mueve al servicio. Estoy convencido que uno de los pecados principales de muchos líderes es el énfasis obsesivo por el trabajo y, por lo tanto, el descuido de lo esencial y verdaderamente importante como Dios, la familia y el cuidado personal.

  • John McKinley — 

    In response to the ongoing revelations of widespread cheating in professional sports, my earlier blog explored the idea of cheating as compared to New Testament ethics. So much for why athletes should not cheat, and what they should pursue instead. The doping problems in sport raise another question: what is someone responsible to do when she becomes aware of others' cheating? This question extends beyond sport to daily life evils that are preventable if someone in our lives would just speak up once in a while.

  • John McKinley — 

    Slowly, more top professional cyclists that were rivals of Lance Armstrong are mumbling confessions of the same carefully-worded sort that Lance released last January. Some have been coerced by teams or government inquiries (as with the handful of Americans who testified to their own doping as part of implicating Lance Armstrong). The latest is Jan Ullrich, the German cyclist who placed second to Lance three times in the Tour de France. Like many others, Ullrich used the same worn out excuse that “everybody was doing it,” and that his joining the “medical program” was just a way to play on a level field. What are we to think of these things?

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    A couple years ago I was asked to lead a discussion for the Talbot School of Theology faculty on “The New Perspective on Paul.” Now, you should know up-front that (for the most part) I am not very positive about the overall approach that New Perspectivists take when they interpret the letters of Paul (esp. Galatians and Romans) and when they try to set those letters in a reconstructed first century Jewish theological context. But I also do not believe that it is right or wise for people to be dogmatic about topics that they don’t know very much about. So, to help you interact responsibly with the New Perspective, I want to revisit the lecture I did for the Talbot faculty try to help you understand the New Perspective on Paul so that you can critically weigh for yourself its merits and demerits.

  • John McKinley — 

    Following on my earlier post on the metaphorical language used for naming and describing the punishment of hell, this post explores the doctrine of degrees of punishment. The basic idea is that the Bible seems to say that all evildoers will suffer the same hell for their sins, but God's perfect justice means that worse criminals will suffer worse punishments for their crimes. This is not torture or exacting pain as somehow accompiishing something for God, as if God were a fiendish tormentor. But then what is it?

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    In my last post I shared about how to carry on a deeper, less confrontational discussion with your Muslim friend by asking a question about the topic of hypocrisy. Click HERE for my earlier post. In this post I will suggest a different question to ask your friend that might allow you to enter into yet another non-confrontational conversation with the goal of introducing your Muslim friend to Jesus Christ.

  • Gary Manning Jr — 

    Recently, while reading through the minor prophet Haggai in the LXX (the Greek Old Testament), I noticed a phrase that looked familiar: “before a stone was laid on a stone (λίθον ἐπὶ λίθον) in the Temple of the Lord…” (Hag 2:15). Hmm… where had I seen λίθον ἐπὶ λίθον before? Yes: in Jesus’ Olivet Discourse, when he describes the coming destruction of the Temple buildings: “Do you see all these things? I tell you the truth: there will not be a stone left on a stone (λίθος ἐπὶ λίθον) here; all will be torn down” (Matt 24:2; see parallels in Mk 13:2, Lk 19:44).

  • Joanne Jung — 

    After being unresponsive for two days, my dad was escorted into the presence of his Savior on Saturday May 4, 2013 at 2 AM. Family and friends gathered to celebrate his life last Friday. I shared these words:

  • Octavio Esqueda — 

    ¿Por qué las cosas son como son? ¿Dónde está Dios cuando el mundo lo ignora a Él y a sus principios? Cuando Dios actúa, ¿por qué hace Él lo que hace? Todos nos hemos hecho alguna vez preguntas difíciles respecto a Dios y a nuestra fe. En muchas ocasiones, lo que vemos aparentemente no concuerda con lo que creemos acerca de Dios. ¿Qué hacer en estas circunstancias? En Habacuc encontramos un libro bíblico que nos muestra un modelo para enfrentar estos momentos y acrecentar nuestra fe en el Dios que sostiene el universo con su poder.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    One of the hardest things Christians face when they step out to share their faith with Muslims is that the conversation almost inevitably veers toward a competitive discussion about which religion is better: “You think this, but I think this.” “I’m right and you’re wrong.” Often you’ll find yourself on the defensive: “Yes, Jesus did die on the cross…” “Yes, Jesus is the Son of God…” “No, the Bible hasn’t been changed…” Is there any way to keep your conversation from degrading into an “I’m right and you’re wrong” discussion?

  • Dave Keehn — 

    There is a pressure that is constantly battling around us to give people whatever they want. When you are younger it was labeled peer pressure. However, as we grow older the peer pressures continues throughout life, we just call them “Expectations”…

  • Kenneth Way — 

    Dr. John Walton, Professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School, will present “Origins Today: Genesis Through Ancient Eyes” at Biola University. John Walton’s work on Genesis 1-3 offers a fresh perspective on the complex issue of faith and science by seeking to understand the message of Scripture within its ancient context.