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

Church Bells, Biblical Bells, and Redemption

In the Christian world, at least before the advent of modern telecommunications, church bells were the most common way of reminding Christians that a worship service was about to begin. But there is another kind of bell—a “bell that goes off in your head”—that is really useful when you read the Bible. For years I’ve … Continue reading Church Bells, Biblical Bells, and Redemption

One Thing You Can Do to Improve the Way You Pray for Other Christians

Do you ever struggle to know how to pray for other Christians? One possible (and common) approach is simply to pray for whatever people ask you to pray. That’s fine, as far as it goes, and we do see the Apostle Paul sometimes asking people to pray for him (Col 4:3; 1 Thess 5:25). Another … Continue reading One Thing You Can Do to Improve the Way You Pray for Other Christians

A Truly Beautiful Devotional Book

I recently read through Stephen Payne’s new devotional book, I Lift my Eyes to the Hills: God’s Help in Times of Trouble. Steve is a former college housemate and long-time friend. He sent me an advanced copy. What makes this book different from other devotional books you may have read in the past is that … Continue reading A Truly Beautiful Devotional Book

Advocating for Biblical Literacy

I just returned from a weekend in Philadelphia where I spent two days with individuals and organizations laboring to counter a dangerous pandemic. No, not that pandemic…. I’m talking about the pandemic of biblical illiteracy. I enjoyed numerous conversations with some really dedicated Christians who are on a mission to address a pandemic that ultimately … Continue reading Advocating for Biblical Literacy

What is an “Open Door”?

Not every door that appears to be is an open door. And not every door that appears to be closed is a closed door. Just because a ministry setting looks like it’s going to be hard doesn’t mean that it is a closed door. For the Apostle Paul, an open door was a God-given opportunity … Continue reading What is an “Open Door”?

Tattoos and Biblical Greek

A few years ago, a delightful young college student came up to me and asked, “Would you like to see my tattoo?” “Um…OK,” I mumbled, somewhat unsure of where on her body the tattoo might be located. She lifted her long hair so I could see what was engraved on the nape of her neck. … Continue reading Tattoos and Biblical Greek