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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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  • Clint Arnold — 

    Come and find out the answer to this question on Wednesday evening, March 7th, 7:00-8:30pm, at the Mayers Hall Auditorium at Biola University. This is the title of a free public lecture by Dr. Simon Gathercole, Senior Lecturer in New Testament at the University of Cambridge. The event will conclude with a Q&A session.

  • Klaus Issler — 

    Cinematic portrayals of Biblical stories can be a helpful means to encourage our Christian walk. Especially is this the case for me when I watch a movie about the life of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Of course, not everything in a film will be theologically accurate—but no film can accomplish that task. A movie is the director’s and actors’ interpretation of the Gospel events. I have appreciated the following six movies about Jesus. There are sections in each film that touch me deeply and nurture deeper appreciation and love for our Lord. Perhaps one or more of these films will benefit you in the same way.

  • 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?

  • Mick Boersma — 

    Rolane and I took home many impressions from our visit to Israel back in 1994. Not the least among them was the image of shepherds ‘abiding in the fields, keeping watch over their flock’. As we hurried in true western fashion from one important site to another, we came upon one or more of these caretakers seemingly just ‘hanging out’ with their wooly charges. We were impressed because their demeanor was in such sharp contrast to the model of shepherding we often see in our churches and ourselves. In the midst of hurrying about being faithful feeders, guides, guardians and healers of our people, we often neglect the power and blessing of just being there with them.

  • John McKinley — 

    My students usually have trouble grasping Chalcedonian Christology that Jesus, God the Son, lives as one person in two natures, simultaneously. I’ve thought about this repeatedly enough that the traditional formulation feels familiar to me, but students hearing it for the first time are confounded. Maybe I should be confounded more myself, and allow the mystery to creep in more heavily when I consider the Incarnation. I like to add that it’s appropriate when we think about Jesus and the deep things of God that we feel a bit dizzy. But we still need to try and make sense of it however we may grasp at these deep things with our feeble minds. Often I find that the hardest thing is not in thinking that Jesus is eternally God the Son, or that he is a true human being, but that he lives a dual life by possessing both natures and living through them at the same time (the hypostatic union). The analogy I explain to them from our life experience is focused on understanding the simultaneity of the Incarnation for God the Son.

  • Uche Anizor — 

    Herman Bavinck helpfully (as usual) comments on a proper way to understand “tradition” and its relationship to Scripture and theology: “[F]or a correct understanding [of the Bible] it still often requires a wide range of historical, archaeological, and geographical skills and information. The times have changed, and with the times people, their life, thought, and feelings, have changed. Therefore, a tradition is needed that preserves the connectedness between Scripture and the religious life of our time. Tradition in its proper sense is the interpretation and application of the eternal truth in the vernacular and life of the present generation. Scripture without such a tradition is impossible . . ."

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    As part of a 16-week overview of the Story of Scripture, I am preaching on the Ten Commandments this Sunday at church. The Second Commandment, in particular, has generated a variety of explanations: “You shall not make for yourself an idol in the form of anything in heaven above or on the earth beneath or in the waters below” (Exodus 20:4). Why no images? Explanations vary, and they are not necessarily mutually exclusive. Here are just a few:

  • Ben Shin — 

    The different tasks of leadership pose many challenges for a leader. It requires that the leader have a good sense of knowing the people well enough to relate to them but also for him to have a good sense of direction in terms of where he wants to lead them. Fundamentally, however, one of the most neglected aspects of leadership entails knowing exactly where the leader is in terms of self-awareness. In other words, the leader must have a good read on his own strengths and weaknesses in order to know how to best lead the people he shepherds over. This requires a strong sense of self-awareness of the leader in his giftedness, his personality, and his leadership style. This entry will examine the biblical encouragements for self-awareness and the hindrances that prevent his success in leadership.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    In addition to my pastoral responsibilities, I play Hammond B3 on our church’s worship team. Those of you who are musical might appreciate what I wrote to the rest of the band, when we were about to invite a gifted young keyboard player in our congregation (Jacob) to play B3 with our new OCF Gospel Choir:

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    I preached on the Joseph story and came across something that should be a great encouragement to Christians facing difficult circumstances.

  • 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.

  • 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

  • Mickey Klink III — 

    In a recent book on the state of education and the Knowledge of God, The State of the University: Academic Knowledges and the Knowledge of God(Blackwell. 2007), Stanley Hauerwas decries the lack of seriousness with which theological education is undertaken and perceived. His comparison with another “education” is revealing:

  • Alan Gomes — 

    [This Lord's Supper meditation was given at Grace Evangelical Free Church of La Mirada on 1.29.12.] Tonight we are about to celebrate the Lord’s Supper, in which we focus our thoughts on the marvelous work of redemption that Christ accomplished for us. In the next 10 minutes or so, I’d like us to mediate upon the depth of what transpired.

  • 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.

  • Dave Keehn — 

    “Ancient Roots of Modern Day Youth Ministry” (Pt. 1 of a 3 part series) Adolescence is a relatively new phenomenon, but what does Scripture have to say about the model of youth ministry many churches insist is "right"? This 3 part series will look at the Biblical rationale that should inform our youth ministry philosophy, starting with a discussion on the historical roots of youth ministry that have influenced youth ministry practices today.

  • 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.