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”?

It Must Have Been So Painful

Have you ever experienced pain from someone you deeply love? I have. Few things in life are harder. The hurt penetrates even deeper when the person who has spurned you also turns his back on the Lord. Following is a list I drew up in my journal some time ago during a period when I … Continue reading It Must Have Been So Painful

How Many Herods Are There in the Bible?

A few years ago, I wrote a post for the Talbot Faculty Blog that employed as its starting point a then-popular, very silly song (What Does The Fox Say? Who is the Fox Anyway?). The person referred to as “the Fox” in the Bible is Herod Antipas, so I was actually writing about him. But … Continue reading How Many Herods Are There in the Bible?

The Fragrance of Christ

“For we are the aroma of Christ to God among those who are being saved and among those who are perishing, to one a fragrance from death to death, to the other a fragrance from life to life. Who is sufficient for these things?” (2 Cor 2:15-16) One smell you’ll probably never encounter on the … Continue reading The Fragrance of Christ

Why Romans 7:18 Needs a Translation Update

I recently led a class session on how to interpret the second half of Romans 7. During the early part of the discussion, I presented four approaches to the overall interpretation of Romans 7:14-25 and asked students to inductively attempt to make arguments for each of the four positions from the passage itself. At one … Continue reading Why Romans 7:18 Needs a Translation Update

Why Michael Heiser is Probably Wrong about Satan in the Book of Job

Michael Heiser has done some good academic work during his career as an Old Testament scholar, and I will not hesitate to draw upon his insights in the future. But his view of the heavenly being labeled ha satan (Hebrew for “the satan”) in the book of Job is probably wrong. What I intend to … Continue reading Why Michael Heiser is Probably Wrong about Satan in the Book of Job

What is the Unforgiveable Sin? What is Blasphemy against the Spirit?

Some years ago, I counseled with a student who was paralyzed by a fear that she had committed the unforgiveable sin because of some terrible words she had uttered. Her concern came out of Matthew 12:31, “Therefore I say to you, any sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven people, but blasphemy against the Spirit shall … Continue reading What is the Unforgiveable Sin? What is Blasphemy against the Spirit?