Joy

“What are the joy-stealers? Why do so many of us struggle with joy?” I often ask my students this question when we open the book of Philippians. “Time pressures.” “Financial pressures.” “Unfulfilled expectations.” “Hurts from the past.” These are common responses from my students. But Paul would point us toward two other foundational reasons for … Continue reading Joy

Does an Elder Have to be “Able to Teach?” (1 Timothy 3:2)

Yes. An elder has to be “able to teach.” It is one of the qualifications for becoming an elder. However, “able to teach” in 1 Timothy 3:2 may not mean what you think it means. My guess is that when most people see the words “able to teach” as a qualification for an overseer (or … Continue reading Does an Elder Have to be “Able to Teach?” (1 Timothy 3:2)

Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2022

I read a lot of helpful Christian books this past year, but here are my seven favorites. Surprisingly, I read the first five before the end of January! Dark Clouds, Deep Mercy: Discovering the Grace of Lament, by Mark Vroegop. The author first teaches how to lament, and then moves on to explain what we … Continue reading Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2022

Should You Pray to the Holy Spirit?

The short answer, I believe, is that there is nothing wrong with offering a prayer to the Holy Spirit since God the Spirit is, of course, fully God, just as is God the Father and God the Son. However, most prayers in the New Testament and in the church of the second and third centuries … Continue reading Should You Pray to the Holy Spirit?

What is “Contextualization”? What is “Syncretism”?

Contextualization is putting the gospel into cultural forms that are easier for recipients to understand and receive without changing the gospel. Syncretism is mixing the gospel with false philosophical or religious ideas, resulting in the gospel message getting changed or substantially diluted. Contextualization is good and necessary. Syncretism is dangerous and should be avoided. Although … Continue reading What is “Contextualization”? What is “Syncretism”?

A Biblical Spectrum of Guidance from God (from clearest to least clear)

What if we were to plot biblical examples of the leading of the Spirit on a continuum from clearest communication to least clear? That’s what I propose to do in this post. For years I have been taking note of moments in the Bible where God communicates with his people beyond the written Word. Please … Continue reading A Biblical Spectrum of Guidance from God (from clearest to least clear)

Perseverance and Apostasy

Dr. Dongsu Kim recently published a valuable (and very large!) book entitled Perseverance and Apostasy in the New Testament: Unpacking the Dynamic of God's Sovereignty and Human Responsibility. Coming in at almost 1,000 pages, this is the most thorough treatment I have ever encountered of New Testament passages dealing with the question of whether a true Christian … Continue reading Perseverance and Apostasy

The Chronicler Teaches Us What it Means to “Seek” the Lord

I recently stumbled upon a delightful biblical discovery while doing a word search on the word “seek.” I discovered that the most common place in the Bible where the word shows up in connection with God is 1 and 2 Chronicles. Who would have guessed that? This suggests that seeking God is an important theme … Continue reading The Chronicler Teaches Us What it Means to “Seek” the Lord

What is a “Stronghold”? (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

“We pray against this stronghold…” Have you ever heard someone utter this line in prayer—or have you uttered it yourself? If you have ever used this expression, what did you mean when you used it? What is a “stronghold”? The answer to this question depends upon 1) whether you are trying to define the word … Continue reading What is a “Stronghold”? (2 Corinthians 10:4-5)

“All Fall Short of the Glory of God.” But What is the “Glory of God”?

What is the meaning of “fall short of the glory of God” (ὑστεροῦνται τῆς δόξης τοῦ θεοῦ) in Romans 3:23? (“For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.”)  It is not uncommon to hear people in our churches paraphrase this clause as falling short of God’s righteous standard. But where else does … Continue reading “All Fall Short of the Glory of God.” But What is the “Glory of God”?