The 12 Most Important Books of the Bible

Suppose a Christian were stranded on a deserted island and could only select 12 books of the Bible from which to read. Which books would be most valuable? Which books are most important for understanding the character of God, the person of Christ, how God redeems a fallen world, the mission of the church, and … Continue reading The 12 Most Important Books of the Bible

What is Over-Realized Eschatology? What’s the Problem with it?

Over-realized eschatology is the assumption that all or most of what God has prepared for his people in the future can be experienced by God’s people in the present. Let’s break down this expression word-by-word. What is eschatology? Eschatology is the study of last things, that is, the end times. What is realized eschatology? Realized … Continue reading What is Over-Realized Eschatology? What’s the Problem with it?

Is the Christian Life Primarily Intense or Primarily Relaxed?

Should the Christian life primarily be viewed as intense (focused, passionate), or primarily as relaxed (peaceful, trusting)? Trudi and I regularly invite college students to our house for dinner, and this was the question we discussed during a recent dinner. As we conversed, students at the table brought up a variety of Scriptures, some of … Continue reading Is the Christian Life Primarily Intense or Primarily Relaxed?

“Greet One Another with a Holy Kiss”? (Q&A)

Four times the Apostle Paul instructs his readers to greet each other with a holy kiss (Rom 16:16; 1 Cor 16:20; 2 Cor 13:12; 1 Thess 5:26; cf. 1 Peter 5:18). Let’s work through a few questions related to these verses’ social background and address the question of whether we should bring back the practice … Continue reading “Greet One Another with a Holy Kiss”? (Q&A)

Dramatic Drop in Bible Reading: Why?

In 2011, the percentage of Americans who “used the Bible at least 3-4 times on their own, outside of a church setting” was around 50%. Again in 2012—around 50%. Then again in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, and 2021. Always around 50%. But according to the American Bible Society, in 2022, that … Continue reading Dramatic Drop in Bible Reading: Why?

What was Paul’s “Thorn in the Flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7)?

Paul’s thorn in the flesh was some sort of unusual, long-term, intermittent, stabbing, face pain that was viewed by others as shameful and the result of black magic attacks, but by Paul as attacks of a demon permitted by God. This is the conclusion of my newly-released book focused on answering one of the most … Continue reading What was Paul’s “Thorn in the Flesh” (2 Corinthians 12:7)?

Should We Translate τέλος (telos) as “End Goal” in Romans 10:4?

Recently, I was teaching a class session (Life & Letters of Paul) when a student asked me to define the word τέλος (telos) in Romans 10:4 (τέλος γὰρ νόμου Χριστὸς / telos gar nomou Christos, “For Christ is the τέλος of the law”). I replied that the usage-range of the word τέλος sometimes hovers more … Continue reading Should We Translate τέλος (telos) as “End Goal” in Romans 10:4?

Joy

“What are the joy-stealers? Why do so many of us struggle with joy?” I often ask my students this question when we open the book of Philippians. “Time pressures.” “Financial pressures.” “Unfulfilled expectations.” “Hurts from the past.” These are common responses from my students. But Paul would point us toward two other foundational reasons for … Continue reading Joy

Does an Elder Have to be “Able to Teach?” (1 Timothy 3:2)

Yes. An elder has to be “able to teach.” It is one of the qualifications for becoming an elder. However, “able to teach” in 1 Timothy 3:2 may not mean what you think it means. My guess is that when most people see the words “able to teach” as a qualification for an overseer (or … Continue reading Does an Elder Have to be “Able to Teach?” (1 Timothy 3:2)

Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2022

I read a lot of helpful Christian books this past year, but here are my seven favorites. Surprisingly, I read the first five before the end of January! Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament, by Mark Vroegop. The author first teaches how to lament, and then moves on to explain what we … Continue reading Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2022