When you read the Bible, how do you connect what you read to practical life? When you preach or teach from the Bible, how do you move from a historically-rooted text to application in the present day? The most common modern approach is “principlizing.” Modern Christians frequently try to discover a “principle” in whatever biblical … Continue reading The Problem with Principlizing: How Do We Move From Biblical Text to Application?
As I reflect on the books I read in 2019, I note seven Christian books that have impacted my own Christian thinking and spiritual life more than any others. This year’s list is a bit more academic than last year’s, though it ranges from easy-to-read to serious academic. Nevertheless, these are the seven books that … Continue reading Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2019
When my wife, Trudi, was a college student, a Christian friend invited her to visit a church on the other side of town to hear a well-known preacher. Since Trudi had been raised in churches that were rather tame when it came to overtly miraculous activities, she was surprised to discover an announcement in the … Continue reading Can Any Christian Learn How to Do Miracles?
Most of us are amazingly good at making excuses, especially when we do something wrong. I know I am. The other day I was reading my Bible, when I came across one of the most boneheaded excuses I have ever encountered (#1 below). It made me think of how many lame excuses show up in … Continue reading The 10 Lamest Excuses in the Bible
In his classic book on sanctification, Holiness (1877), J. C. Ryle, an evangelical Anglican bishop, penned a profound paragraph on the importance of Christ being both divine and human. It is rare to encounter such devotionally-rich reflections in modern Christian literature, so I offer it to you for your meditation today.
Here is one argument in support of more-literal Bible translations: looser translations have a tendency to soften difficult sayings in the Bible. I am not suggesting anything subversive here; simply that one of the natural pitfalls of trying to translate the Bible more dynamically is a tendency to soften hard sayings. A convenient way to … Continue reading An Argument for More Literal Bible Translations
And if your hand or your foot causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away. It is better for you to enter life crippled or lame than with two hands or two feet to be thrown into the eternal fire. And if your eye causes you to sin, tear it out and … Continue reading If Your Phone Causes You to Sin, Cut it Off
Here’s a bit of history that can help you understand something important about Paul's Letter to the Romans. The earliest house churches in Rome would have been primarily Jewish and would have culturally felt Jewish, but in A.D. 49 the Roman Emperor Claudius kicked the Jews out of Rome. Jewish Christians, of course, would have … Continue reading Something About the Book of Romans that will Help You Read it Better
How would you like your life to be characterized by the following descriptors: 1) Rooted deeply in the Lord, 2) Bearing spiritual fruit, 3) Resilient during suffering, 4) Prospering in your God-given mission? During this past year, I have been trying to memorize more psalms—and boning up on psalms I already know or kinda’ know. … Continue reading How to Become Rooted, Fruit-bearing, Resilient, and Prospering
In 19th century England, Atheists knew more about the Bible than most Christians do today. So did Liberal Anglicans, Anglo-Catholics, Unitarians, and Agnostics. So claims Timothy Larsen in A People of One Book: The Bible and the Victorians (Oxford, 2011). Larsen makes a convincing case that Victorian England was saturated with the Bible. Nineteenth century English people in general cared … Continue reading Even Atheists Knew More About the Bible Than Christians Do Today