Author Archives for Guest Blogger

Return to the World of the Bible

May 28, 2018 7:00 am Published by 6 Comments

Studying archaeology can help us return to the world of the Bible. Read this short article from author and archaeologist David Chapman to find out how. TANGIBLE REALITES One of the benefits to reading the Bible is to understand the culture behind the text. For example, when I am reading a text, I’ll read about somebody drinking, and I immediately think of the cups that I would drink out of or the streets that I would walk down. I import my 21st-century assumptions into the Bible. One of the great things about archaeology is that it reminds us to start thinking like the people who received the Word of God in the Old and the New Testament. It helps us reenter that world, and to think along with them, and hear the Word of God coming to us in the culture in which it was initially written. That’s a huge aspect of archaeology that really helps every reader of the Scriptures. REAL HISTORY Archaeology helps with biblical understanding in another significant way. I frequently take groups over to Israel to see the various archaeological sites from the Bible. One of the things that people often report is when they go there, they... View Article

Six Major Theses of Richard Longenecker’s Romans Commentary

April 23, 2018 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

The Epistle to the Romans (NIGTC) by Richard Longenecker is truly the work of a lifetime. This volume has been in the works for several decades; the introductory material alone was enough to fill a 500-page book (Introducing Romans, 2011). Now the commentary itself is finally here, and it’s sure to be a standard reference work for decades to come. The following are six major theses for the volume identified by Longenecker himself, who presented them at a book launch at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, where he is professor emeritus of New Testament. * * * THESIS ONE Believers in Jesus at Rome in Paul’s Day Looked to the Mother Church at Jerusalem for their Christian theology, piety, and ethics. While Jewish believers in Jesus were undoubtedly in the majority when the Christian gospel was first accepted at Rome (with some Gentiles being won to Christ through their witness), after the restrictions on the Jews imposed by Emperor Claudius in A.D. 41 and Claudius’ Edict of A.D. 49 that expelled “all” (or at least a great number) of Jews from Rome, Gentile Christians became more prominent in the Christian meetings of the capital city of the Roman Empire. So Paul... View Article

Running the Wrong Way

April 23, 2018 7:00 am Published by 26 Comments

A German proverb says, “What is the use of running when we are not on the right road?” No matter how much effort we expend in travel, our efforts are wasted if we’re not heading in the right direction. RUNNING AWAY FROM GOD This proverb illustrates a profound Biblical truth—working strenuously to be righteous and religious is wasted effort if we’re not moving in the right direction. In Isaiah 58, for example, God notes that the people are praying and fasting, but they are headed in the wrong direction. Their religious fervor is not about God, even though it looks like it is. Their religion is all about themselves, because they are merely “eager for God to come near them” (v. 2). If they were really interested in getting to know God, their focus would be on the people God called them to love: the poor and the needy. THE ILLUSION Instead, we find them indicted for exploiting workers, quarreling and violence (vv. 3–4). They are not, in short, loving their neighbors. How can they love God whom they have not seen when they are failing to love the neighbor right in front of them (see 1Jn 4:20)? It’s clear... View Article

Bridging the Divide

April 2, 2018 7:00 am Published by 2 Comments

On Sunday at church, I was across the room from my son. He started running toward me, which any parent will attest is a great moment. While there are times he has run all the way to me, grinning ear to ear and laughing, today was different. He got part of the way, stopped, and broke into tears with arms stretched out to me. GOD, THE FATHER Which got me thinking, isn’t this how we are before God, the Father? Throughout history, religions have been built upon an idea that, with enough work, we are able to reach god. We live by the rules, meditate, and strive to “better ourselves”. Even in a Biblical context, we are consumed by the law and making ourselves worthy. We define our lives around practices that we hope make us holy. We do all this to earn standing before our god, to cross the “great divide“. Sometimes, this might appear to work. We find success and prosperity, admiration of other believers, or pride in our accomplishments. THE INFINITE DIVIDE However, the gap between imperfect man and an infinitely, perfect God is, by definition, infinite. No matter how many steps we take, how hard we... View Article

Silent Saturday

March 31, 2018 4:00 am Published by 8 Comments

The day after Jesus’ crucifixion (the Saturday before Easter) is one of those interesting, yet unrecorded days in biblical history. If you look at the Gospels, they each give about one verse to what was going on in the world of the Jews: they were “resting.” Whether it was due to traditional obligation or genuine obedience, the majority of people took this day off because of the Sabbath law. SCRIPTURE Then Jesus cried again with a loud voice and breathed His last. At that moment, the curtain of the temple was torn in two, from top to bottom. The earth shook, and the rocks were split… Many women were also there, looking on from a distance; they had followed Jesus from Galilee and had provided for Him. Among them were Mary Magdalene, and Mary the mother of James, and the mother of the sons of Zebedee. (Matthew 27:50-51;55-56, NIV) Since it was the day of Preparation, the Jews did not want the bodies left on the cross during the Sabbath, especially because that Sabbath was a day of great solemnity… After these things Joseph of Arimathea, who was a disciple of Jesus, though a secret one because of his fear of the Jews, asked... View Article

Waiting For His Bride

March 27, 2018 7:00 am Published by 3 Comments

WAITING FOR MY BRIDE Lately I have been thinking a lot on the character of Christ as the Bridegroom. It especially makes me think back to my wedding, and my own experience as a groom. My wife and I did not see each other beforehand but did take some pictures together, back-to-back. I could not see her, but I could see the train of her dress in the corner of my eye. Being so close to her, but only able to see a glimpse, made me even more eager to see her. Later, when it was time for her to come down the aisle, I knew she was outside the door and about to come in, but she forgot her bouquet. So I stood there, waiting. The anticipation alone was enough to bring tears to my eyes. WAITING FOR HIS BRIDE In Matthew, Jesus illustrates how the Good Father cares for his children. He feeds the birds of the air and clothes the grass, and yet “are you not of more value than they?” (Mat 6:26) Likewise, if we who are evil give good gifts to our children, “how much more will your Father…give good things to those who ask... View Article

The Noahic Covenant

February 9, 2018 7:00 am Published by Leave your thoughts

“I set my rainbow in the cloud, and it shall be for the sign of the covenant between Me and the earth. It shall be, when I bring a cloud over the earth, that the rainbow shall be seen in the cloud: and I will remember My covenant which is between Me and you and every living creature of all flesh: the waters shall never again become a flood to destroy all flesh. The rainbow shall be in the cloud, and I will look on it to remember the everlasting covenant between God and every living creature of all flesh that is on the earth.”
—Genesis 9:13–16 AFTER THE STORM The faint rainbow that appears after a summer thunderstorm symbolizes God’s mercy, His compassion on all. Moreover, it is a sign of God’s covenant, His binding agreement with all humanity to never destroy the earth with a flood. God initiated this covenant under the worst circumstances: “The earth was filled with violence” (6:11, 13). Even though humanity’s decline into evil greatly troubled God, He favored one man, Noah. He determined to save Noah and his family from His coming judgment and establish His covenant with them. NOAH’S STORY Although Noah was... View Article

Deuteronomy: A Theological Manifesto Like the Gospel of John

January 31, 2018 7:00 am Published by 1 Comment

This content is adapted from the blog over at Zondervan Academic and is written by Jeremy Bouma (ThM). Maybe it’s because I’m a green preacher and haven’t taught on the Old Testament often, but applying Deuteronomy to 21st century living is a head scratcher. Yet Daniel Block’s commentary on Deuteronomy (NIVAC) manages to do just that, apply it to everyday life in a way that stays true to the book’s original purpose. And the way he does that is by insisting that the book of Deuteronomy is a theological manifesto on par with the gospel of John. A theological manifesto? And in comparison with John’s gospel? An interesting comparison, I know, but one that’s helped me better understand the purpose and scope of Deuteronomy. And one that will surely help me preach it far better than I have in the past. Here is how Block explains his comparison: Just as John wrote his gospel after several decades of reflection on the death and resurrection of Jesus, so Moses preached the sermons in Deuteronomy after almost four decades of reflection on the significance of the Exodus and God’s covenant with Israel. Thus, like the gospel of John, the book of Deuteronomy functions as a theological... View Article

Reading Proverbs In the Context of the Old and New Testament

December 11, 2017 6:00 am Published by 2 Comments

This post is curated from the Zondervan Academic blog. Reading Proverbs One of my seminary professors used to cheekily refer to common Christian devotional practices as our “daily bread crumb.” Meaning: we often take a verse or even part of a verse and spin out a comforting crumb of exhortation at the expense of the whole loaf of biblical bread—whether the surrounding pericope or greater. Perhaps with no other place in Scripture do we do this than with Proverbs. Ryan O’Dowd offers an important reminder in his new commentary on Proverbs (Story of God Bible Commentary) when studying this book: such casual study of individual proverbs can be shortsighted, both because it is apt to overlook the endless depth of each saying and also because the sayings take on a whole new life in the larger collection of thirty-one chapters….To get wisdom one must wrangle seriously with all of these proverbial sayings as a collection. (17) Further still, to fully appreciate this collection of wisdom, we need to set it into its proper context by understanding the entire breadbasket, as it were, of wisdom in the Old and New Testament. Below we’ve briefly engaged the five contexts O’Dowd outlines in his sturdy introduction to fully appreciate the... View Article

About the Passion Translation

November 2, 2017 7:00 am Published by 2 Comments

This article is provided by BroadStreet Publishing Group, the publishing house for The Passion Translation. The Passion Translation is a groundbreaking attempt to re-introduce the passion and fire of the Bible to English readers. The Passion Translation is a new, heart-level translation that expresses God’s fiery heart of love to this generation using Hebrew, Greek, and Aramaic manuscripts, merging the emotion and life-changing truth of God’s Word. Dr. Brian Simmons—linguist, minister, Bible teacher, and former missionary—serves as lead translator for The Passion Translation. As a missionary, he and his wife, Candice, pioneered church plants in Central America. As a linguist, Brian co-translated the Paya-Kuna New Testament for the Paya-Kuna people of Panama. He and his wife have started numerous ministries, including a dynamic church in West Haven, Connecticut. He is also a gifted teacher of the Bible who has authored several books and serves churches worldwide through his teaching ministry. Brian began his biblical studies with The New Tribes Bible Institute and continued on to earn his doctorate with Wagner Leadership Institute, with a specialization on prayer. While Brian serves as the lead translator for The Passion Translation, the translated text and the numerous footnotes are evaluated by respected scholars... View Article