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
When I reach for a book from my reference shelf, which books do I reach for most often? Apart from biblical commentaries, here is a list of the 20 books I am most likely to pull off my shelf (in no particular order): A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, … Continue reading When I Reach for a Book from my Reference Shelf…
When I learned Greek, there were zero Greek New Testaments produced for reading, that is, texts that included running definitions for less-frequent vocabulary on the bottom of each page. Now there are three, and you will have to choose which one to use. Here are some pros and cons for each. I’ll list them in … Continue reading Which is the Best Reader’s Greek New Testament?
Sometimes people skeptical of Christianity claim that the Apostle Paul, not Jesus, was the primary innovator of many things we think of as “Christian.” Some take it even further and claim that Paul so radically changed the teaching of Jesus that he, rather than Jesus, should be viewed as the true founder of Christianity. I’m … Continue reading Did Paul Invent Christianity?
Where might God want you to serve in ministry? I have just added a Spiritual Ministries Guide to my Resources Page. The Guide can help you think through various ministries God may have for you to build up his church and extend his kingdom work in the world. The Guide is an alternative to spiritual abilities … Continue reading Spiritual Ministries Guide
Recently, just after morning prayer at “The Birdhouse” community where Trudi and I live, I got into a short conversation with a couple of our residential college students about 1 Thessalonians 5:17 “pray without ceasing.” We realized as we talked that we often tend to think of this command as pointing toward some sort of … Continue reading Iterative Prayer