Why It’s More Important to Read the Bible than Devotional Books

I have received considerable help in my spiritual life over the years from reading devotional books. What is a devotional book? A devotional book is a book that assists you in growing in your spiritual life by explicating and making personal applications from what is written in the Bible. Examples of devotional books that have … Continue reading Why It’s More Important to Read the Bible than Devotional Books

Life is Christ

“What do you want out of life?” The trained interviewer appeared relaxed—even casual—as she asked me this question, but I could tell she was intent on figuring out who I was. In the context of interviewing for a summer job at a local department store during my break from college, that only meant that she … Continue reading Life is Christ

Great Grandma Captola Finds Her Way into a Term Paper

Every once in a while, I encounter a spiritually impacting paragraph while grading a term paper. Granted, this doesn’t happen often, but I really love it when it does! Such occurred earlier this semester while reading a paper submitted by Parker[1] in my Principles of Interpretation class. I share the following excerpt with his permission. … Continue reading Great Grandma Captola Finds Her Way into a Term Paper

Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy

One Christian book has spiritually helped me more than any other book during these past four months. God has used Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy, by pastor Mark Vroegop, to remind me of and re-teach me the biblical language of lament. I have returned repeatedly to the main ideas of this book since I first read … Continue reading Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy

Is it Possible Not to Sin? Can the Tongue be Tamed?

How can James write: “But no one can tame the tongue” (James 3:8 NAU) in one breath, and then in another write “this ought not to be so” (James 3:10 NRSV)? If no one can tame the tongue, why does James exhort his readers to tame their tongues, and blame them when they don’t? Is … Continue reading Is it Possible Not to Sin? Can the Tongue be Tamed?

Christian Hospitality

My wife is remarkably hospitable—far more than I. For ten straight years at her instigation, we invited all of my enrolled college students over every week during the academic year for dinner and spiritual conversation. (Fortunately, it never happened that they all showed up on the same evening. Whew!) We have scaled back a bit … Continue reading Christian Hospitality

When Have Been the Most Sorrowful Times of Your Life?

This probing question was asked me by a young man with whom I was spending regular mentoring times a few years ago. Now, I cannot answer the question for you today with specifics (though I tried to for my younger friend). But there is one insight about suffering that came out of that discussion that … Continue reading When Have Been the Most Sorrowful Times of Your Life?

How Accurate is the New Testament Text? A Simple Test for a Complicated Problem

People sometimes get up-tight when they first learn of the existence of variations in manuscripts of the Greek New Testament, but their concerns are baseless. The text of the New Testament is far-and-away the most attested and stable text of any ancient document. In fact, if you question the stability of the text of the New Testament, … Continue reading How Accurate is the New Testament Text? A Simple Test for a Complicated Problem

Quarrelsome, Argumentative, and Angry Church Leaders

“Which qualifications for leadership have you observed are the least-emphasized when church leaders are appointed to their offices?” This is a question I sometimes ask my students when I teach a class called Life & Letters of Paul. As my students read through the qualifications for overseers/elders in 1 Timothy 3 and Titus 1, they … Continue reading Quarrelsome, Argumentative, and Angry Church Leaders

Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2021

I read quite a few good Christian books in 2021. Here are seven of my favorites, plus a bonus book. Insider Church: Ekklesia and the Insider Paradigm, by S. T. Antonio. What should a church composed of Muslim-background believers in Jesus look like? How contextualized can/should such a church be? Solid and readable Christian ecclesiology … Continue reading Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2021