What Pliny the Younger Learned When He Interrogated Christians (ca. A.D. 110)

For many years I have been curious about a Roman governor known to us from history as Pliny the Younger. My interest initially arose because I resided for four years in one of the principal cities he governed—not to mention that one of my four daughters was born in that city. Moreover, since I have … Continue reading What Pliny the Younger Learned When He Interrogated Christians (ca. A.D. 110)

A Liturgy for Fasting and Prayer

I recently participated in A Call to Fast and Pray at Biola.  This event was the vision of Peter Brown (a current graduate student at Biola).  Fifty or so Biola students gathered to eat dinner together at the start of the fast and to listen to a message by Biola professor Jon Lunde.  At evening’s … Continue reading A Liturgy for Fasting and Prayer

Speaking in Tongues in Church

A few years ago I received an email from a former student (now a young pastor) asking some questions about speaking in tongues during corporate worship.  Let me excerpt his email and then include my reply (with his permission). ------------------ Dr. Berding, I am emailing you because I have a question about ‘service of worship’ … Continue reading Speaking in Tongues in Church

‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in the Middle East

Years ago, when Trudi and I lived in the Middle East, I wrote a prayer letter employing the poetic structure of “The Night Before Christmas.”  I share it with you on this Christmas Eve. ‘Twas the night before Christmas and all through our house Not a creature was stirring, ‘cept Trudi my spouse She stirred … Continue reading ‘Twas the Night Before Christmas in the Middle East

What kind of person do you hope to be in twenty years?

Recently, Trudi and I hosted six of my current college students for dinner.  (Note: as is our custom, we invited all my current students, but this time only six came).  In addition to those six were my wife, Trudi, and my daughter, Grace.  The nine of us had a great time together, and a wonderful … Continue reading What kind of person do you hope to be in twenty years?

A Simple Way to Keep the Old Testament Organized in Your Head

How can I keep the Old Testament organized in my mind?  There’s so much going on…  How do things connect?  Where is it going? Here is the simplest way I can think of.  Learn the four most important Old Testament covenants and their corresponding (rough) dates.  If you memorize this simple outline, you will kill … Continue reading A Simple Way to Keep the Old Testament Organized in Your Head

Why Do We Sing in Our Worship Service?

This past year I started the New Year by worshiping, fellowshiping, and preaching at Taft Avenue Community Church in Orange, California.  At one point in the service, Pastor Bob Burris read aloud a short explanation of why Christians sing during times of worship.  I appreciated what he read and want to share it with you.  … Continue reading Why Do We Sing in Our Worship Service?

The Not-So-Sacred Enneagram: A Book Review of The Sacred Enneagram by Chris

Several of my college students in recent days have asked for my opinion about the Enneagram of Personality.  It turns out that while I’ve had my nose stuck in my Greek New Testament, the Enneagram has become all the rage.  So I decided to hunker down and educate myself about the Enneagram.  My initial take … Continue reading The Not-So-Sacred Enneagram: A Book Review of The Sacred Enneagram by Chris

Ask God for What? Paul Weighs in on the Content of Petitionary Prayers

I am regularly vexed by how shallow my prayers can become. When I pray for something—and I know that all prayer is not for things—what should I pray for? Only for my family? For someone I know who is ill? For God to help me in the day ahead? For God to resolve whatever problem is currently … Continue reading Ask God for What? Paul Weighs in on the Content of Petitionary Prayers

“But that’s legalism!” What Legalism Is and Isn’t

“But that’s legalism!”  I can’t tell you how many times I’ve heard those words.  A Christian friend suggests that it’s unwise to smoke marijuana, and they get blasted with: “But that’s legalism!”  A pastor preaches on the importance of generosity, and he receives a terse note with three words on it (or four, if you … Continue reading “But that’s legalism!” What Legalism Is and Isn’t