Was Paul a Tentmaker? Part 1: Did Paul Make Literal Tents?

In today’s post (part 1), I will try to answer the question of whether Paul literally sewed tents. It turns out that this is a disputed question. In a follow-up post (part 2), I will try to answer the question of whether Paul was a metaphorical tentmaker, that is, whether he worked with his hands … Continue reading Was Paul a Tentmaker? Part 1: Did Paul Make Literal Tents?

Jeremiah 29:11-13: “For I know the plans I have for you…” Do these verses apply to us…or not?

It has become increasingly popular in recent years for teachers of the Bible (myself included) to disparage people who apply Jeremiah 29:11-13 to their lives. “You’re not paying attention to the context!” they loudly protest (…as I have). This post will explore whether such disparagement is appropriate, and conclude that often it is not. I … Continue reading Jeremiah 29:11-13: “For I know the plans I have for you…” Do these verses apply to us…or not?

Chronology of the Apostle Paul

Here’s a blog post that contains more footnotes (historical notes) than main text. That’s because this is my own attempt to sort out the chronology of Paul.[1] Have you ever wondered when Paul did what? Here is a possible chronology. 33 A.D.Death of Christ[2]34Conversion of Paul[3]36First Jerusalem visit (Gal 1:18)44Famine visit to Jerusalem (Acts 11:29-30/12:25, … Continue reading Chronology of the Apostle Paul

How Wide is the Sphere of Ministry God has Given You?

After an extended time of prayer in the mountains last year, I left with one perspective that has proven extremely helpful to me. Here is that perspective: God has apportioned to each of us who are part of his kingdom not only specific ministries to build up the church and extend God’s kingdom work in … Continue reading How Wide is the Sphere of Ministry God has Given You?

Christian Virtues for Civil Disobedience

What attitudes should Christians display when compelled by conscience to disobey the government? Before addressing that question, let’s review one thing. Christians normally should not disobey the government. Quite the opposite is the case. In most situations, Christians should obey the government even when governmental directives appear unreasonable or overreaching. There is one broad biblical … Continue reading Christian Virtues for Civil Disobedience

Are You a People Pleaser?

Are you a people pleaser? Do you do things for others so they will like you, thank you, or just not get upset at you? The Urban Dictionary facetiously remarks that when people-pleasers die, it isn’t their own lives that flash before their eyes; they see the life of someone else flash before their eyes![1] … Continue reading Are You a People Pleaser?

Persecution and Scripture Memorization

In the early 1950’s in Communist Russia, three charismatic pastors came up with a risky idea they thought might be worth doing despite the risk. Nik Ripken, in his outstanding book about persecution, The Insanity of God, explains that: “…they planned and organized a youth congress in Moscow and invited all of the young, unmarried … Continue reading Persecution and Scripture Memorization

Warning: Don’t Drink the Water in the Sea of Galilee. You Might Start Allegorizing

There must be something in the water of the Sea of Galilee. Otherwise, how can you explain why so many people allegorize stories from the life of Jesus that take place on or around the Sea of Galilee? (What is allegorizing, you ask? Allegorical interpretation draws meanings out of a Bible passage that the biblical … Continue reading Warning: Don’t Drink the Water in the Sea of Galilee. You Might Start Allegorizing

Strength in Weakness: When God Showed Up in my Classroom

Have you ever been present when God’s manifest presence breaks into a prayer time, a sermon, a worship service, or a Bible study? This happened quite unexpectedly one morning during a summer class I was teaching—yes, in a college classroom. I was discussing Paul’s thorn in the flesh (2 Cor 12:7-8). What was it, anyway? … Continue reading Strength in Weakness: When God Showed Up in my Classroom

The Love of Christ Controls Us: But What is “The Love of Christ”?

Paul boldly and famously asserts: “the love of Christ controls us” (2 Cor. 5:14). But what does he mean by “the love of Christ”? If you’re willing to put up with a bit of Greek-grammar jargon, check out this golden nugget in a paragraph from Maximilian Zerwick’s grammar of New Testament Greek. Zerwick writes: …the … Continue reading The Love of Christ Controls Us: But What is “The Love of Christ”?