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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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  • Dave Keehn — 

    Jesus Christ faced a myriad of challenges when he walked this Earth; developing the leadership team to continue his mission of redemption, i.e. through the Church after his ascension back to heaven, is one that is easy to underestimate. A glimpse of the training methodology for his disciples is seen in the discourse recorded in the Gospel of Matthew 10:1-8.

  • Erik Thoennes — 

    There is always a tension between the purity and unity of the church. How do Christians decide how much weight to put on certain beliefs? Here is how I think we need to figure out how to plant flags wisely.

  • Mick Boersma — 

    When we moved into our house several years ago the backyard was a mess. The previous owners had large dogs, which had torn up whatever grass had survived from the late 50’s, when the neighborhood was built. And there was that ugly wall separating us from the folks next door. One of the first outdoor projects involved building trellises next to this wall and planting vines that would, according to our plan, climb up and hide that eyesore. For those of you who are landscape challenged, a trellis is a framework of light wood or metal bars used mainly as a support for climbing plants. Well, it’s been 20 years since I built those trellises, and I hadn’t given them much thought – until about a year ago. Wandering through Rolane’s delightful collection of flowers and plants, I noticed that one section of my handiwork was rotting and falling apart. But the vine was doing well. In fact, it was now holding up the trellis! That made me think about the nature of the trellis, and how it reflects the realities of what we do in ministry. Let me elaborate.

  • Ben Shin — 

    One the trickiest situations within leadership, has to do with how many people should be leading the church. Many people and cultures would strongly suggest a singular or monarchial type leader for the church while others would suggest a plurality of leaders. Which one is correct? Which model is the wisest? And what does the Word of God says about this? This entry will suggest that the Scriptures prescribe a plurality of leadership as being the wisest and most widely practiced model for leadership for the church.

  • Rob Price — 

    In A.D. 410, the eternal and (so it was thought) invincible city of Rome was invaded by a foreign army. How could this have happened? Many pagans thought they knew who was to blame: the Christians.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    Henrietta: Pastor Bob said he’d be here before midnight. Mildred: My watch says it’s before midnight. Henrietta: So Pastor Bob is here. Right? Mildred: Right.

  • Rob Lister — 

    Recently, the church I attend concluded a summer sermon series on prayer that encouraged my prayer life. Now that the series is over, I thought it might be useful to jot a brief reflection on several of the key points that have stuck with me throughout this series.

  • Kevin Lawson — 

    One of the more important areas of preparing to teach for deeper impact that we all acknowledge is the need to pray about our teaching. I believe that all of us affirm this, but when it comes down to what and how to pray we are a bit vague and unsure what to do. Asking God to “bless” our teaching efforts is important, but not enough. In this month’s blog I suggest some ways we can be praying as we prepare to teach.

  • Kenneth Way — 

    It’s a simple concept: God is our Rescuer, and we are to be imitators of God (Eph 5:1). Therefore, we should be rescuers of others.

  • Mickey Klink III — 

    What does the doctrine of “the church” really do? Does it have a say in matters related to church life and practice? While you might want immediately to answer in the affirmative, let me offer one more question: When is the last time the doctrine of the church had a say in a ministry decision of your local church? Let me tell you where I am going with this. I have a hunch that the doctrine of the church is quite frequently a non-voting member of our ministry decisions – even within the church, and its influence is suppressed not by anti-church sort of Christians, but by the very same evangelicals who would herald themselves as committed to a robust ecclesiology. Allow me to give just one example

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    I have always had mixed feelings about the whole idea of sermons broadcast over the airwaves. And now with the internet we can listen to preachers from thousands of churches around the world without having to interact with a single human being. There are, of course, great benefits to the dissemination of all these sermons. But there are distinct liabilities, as well.

  • Moyer Hubbard — 

    I was perusing the news on msn.com some time ago and saw a link that said, “Do you have a spending problem? Take the Savvy Spending quiz.” I guess I had too much time on my hands, so I thought I’d take a look at the quiz. Before I started, however, MoneyCentral at msn.com gave me their advice ...

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    I was living with my family on the north edge of New York City on September 11, 2001. The entire nation was stunned and outraged by the attacks on the Twin Towers. The shock reverberated across the nation. The effect on those living in New York was something else altogether.

  • Clint Arnold — 

    Consecutive expository preaching entails preaching through whole books of Scripture passage-by-passage. In recent years, more and more pastors are moving away from this kind of expository preaching. Some people complain that it is boring, lacks relevance, and is not sufficiently application driven. But it doesn’t have to be this way. There are some very good reasons for maintaining (or adopting) consecutive expository preaching as the principal manner of preaching in your church. Here are seven.

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    One Sunday not too long ago I preached on Daniel 4, where Nebuchadnezzar discovers the hard way that “the Most High is sovereign over the kingdoms of men and gives them to anyone he wishes” (v. 17). I serve a wonderful, God-loving congregation of mostly conservative Republicans. A couple weeks earlier, I had delighted my people by informing them that I would not make a very good Democrat, because I don’t trust big government. Their delight was short-lived, however, because I immediately said that I also wouldn’t make a very good Republican, because I don’t trust big business. Then, I really got ‘em thinking when I added that I probably don’t make a very good pastor—at least not according to current American evangelical criteria for pastoral success—because I don’t trust big institutional churches.

  • Uche Anizor — 

    One thing that has struck my students in their initial interactions with the Institutes is how different Calvin sounds than much theology and God-talk today. The difference, I think, lies in his conviction of the truth and weightiness of what he writes. He is confident, earnest, and forthright in a way that makes a twenty-first century reader feel uncomfortable.

  • Kenneth Berding — 

    I’m thankful and excited to be able to announce the publication of a new (short) book called Walking in the Spirit (published by Crossway). I am deeply concerned that we learn to live lives empowered by the Holy Spirit—that we learn to “walk” in the reality of his presence and power. This non-academic book is written especially for people who know that the Holy Spirit is important, but who aren’t quite sure what to do about it. Walking in the Spirit includes study questions for individuals and groups at the end of each chapter. Here is a link to the first section of the book if you’d like to read a little: http://www.amazon.com/Walking-Spirit-Kenneth-Berding/dp/1433524104/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1314577370&sr=8-1#reader_1433524104

  • Uche Anizor — 

    In the preface to the 1539 Edition of the Institutes, Calvin explains the purpose of the Institutes and in doing so offers good counsel regarding the need for theology in reading Scripture well

  • Joe Hellerman — 

    Scenario #1: A single mom is in a small group with a first-year seminary student. The young man just completed an introductory course in biblical hermeneutics. During the group’s sharing and prayer time, the following interaction unfolds: MOM: I have been really struggling to make ends meet. But just this week I found a verse that has really given me confidence and peace about my finances: ‘And my God will meet all your needs according to his glorious riches in Christ Jesus’ (Philippians 4:19). STUDENT: You might wanna be careful about claiming that verse as a promise for your personal finances. As the context of Philippians indicates, that is a specific promise Paul gave to a local church because of their sacrificial financial contribution to his missionary efforts. It is not a generic promise to be claimed by just any individual Christian struggling with his or her finances.

  • Kevin Lawson — 

    A few months ago I introduced and explained a “coaching” model for teaching that I believe has greater potential for encouraging deeper, more transformative learning. Unfortunately, not many of us are teaching in this way and we need to begin changing how we prepare our lessons and how we use our time as we teach our students. Last month I began to share some ideas for how to begin moving from a “teaching for knowing” to a “teaching for growing” ministry. This month I will finish up these more specific ideas and give you some more questions for reflection. Beginning next month I’ll go back and spend more time on issues of how we prepare for our teaching, how we move beyond teaching for knowing in our use of time in the group, and how to develop a longer-term approach to promoting growth through our teaching. This blog picks up where the last one left off, with six more ideas for teaching more like a coach.

  • Kenneth Way — 

    My first book is finally available (http://www.eisenbrauns.com/item/WAYDONKEY )! It can tell you everything you never knew you needed to know about donkeys in the biblical world. It's actually quite a technical read since it began long ago as my dissertation project at Hebrew Union College (Cincinnati, OH). So it may not be the best book for, say, small group Bible studies or local book clubs. But if you want a dose of ancient Near Eastern and archaeological analysis, then this one is just for you.

  • Rob Lister — 

    Recently, prior to one of our family trips this summer I stumbled across what looks like a great resource for kids produced by “Faith Comes By Hearing.” It's been a blessing to our kids, so I thought I'd pass it along.

  • Uche Anizor — 

    Speaking about moral codes and laws, Oliver O’Donovan (Resurrection and Moral Order, 2nd ed.) says something helpful about how we use the Bible to make moral decisions. Speaking generally of the relationship between individual moral commands and the overall moral law, he writes first: The items in a [moral] code stand to the moral law as bricks to a building. Wisdom must involve some comprehension of how the bricks are meant to be put together.

  • Uche Anizor — 

    The Aug 15th issue of TIME magazine has a short piece on Rembrandt and his portraits of Christ. According to the writer, Richard Lacayo, Rembrandt in his early 40s began to evolve in the way he depicted Christ, changing from "turbulent scenes in the Gospel, full of sharp light and emphatic gestures, to smaller, contemplative groupings.” This shift in artistic emphasis represented a more profound concern in the artist

  • 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.