The Problem with Principlizing: How Do We Move From Biblical Text to Application?

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?

Seven Favorite Christian Books of 2019

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

What Do Christians Mean When They Use the Word “Conservative”?

Last night we encountered some misunderstanding surrounding the word “conservative” during an open discussion after a community meal at The Birdhouse (the mentoring community Trudi and I lead for college students). One of the students commented that I was the first “conservative” she had ever met who was not a cessationist. (Cessationism is the view … Continue reading What Do Christians Mean When They Use the Word “Conservative”?

J. C. Ryle on Christ as Divine and Human: An Insightful Paragraph

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. 

Something About the Book of Romans that will Help You Read it Better

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.[1]  Jewish Christians, of course, would have … Continue reading Something About the Book of Romans that will Help You Read it Better

“Broken” as an Excuse for Repetitive Sinning

Word meanings sometimes shift.  I have begun to wonder whether one commonplace word has begun to shift recently—aiding certain contemporary Christians who want to minimize their sin and justify ongoing sin patterns.  There’s nothing new, of course, about Christians searching for ways to avoid feeling bad about sinning.  But modern Christians have become remarkably adept … Continue reading “Broken” as an Excuse for Repetitive Sinning

When I Reach for a Book from my Reference Shelf…

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…

Spiritual Ministries Guide

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

Is the Bible Clear?

I remember sitting in my office with a student who was thinking about moving out of evangelical Protestantism and into a different church tradition. He began thinking this way after he started reading widely in the writings of Christian authors from earlier eras. After being exposed to various authors who sometimes expressed divergent viewpoints from … Continue reading Is the Bible Clear?

Rather than the Enneagram: Let the Bible Highlight Your Sin Tendencies

The key insight of the Enneagram that Christians seem most attracted to—and that, in many people’s opinions sets it apart from other personality and strengths-finding tests—is its diagnosis of people’s sinful tendencies (what some Enneagramites refer to as “passions” and “fixations”).  In other words, the Enneagram is supposed to help us identify nine detrimental paths … Continue reading Rather than the Enneagram: Let the Bible Highlight Your Sin Tendencies