Peter serves at Shepherd's Theological Seminary in Cary, NC as the professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages. He loves studying the Bible and helping others understand it. He also runs the Bible Sojourner podcast.

  • Christian Living,  Culture,  Theology

    Rethinking Political Anxiety: God isn’t Limited by Evil

    Election season 2024 is ramping up in the United States, and thus Christians will be faced with many occasions to be anxious about who will be in charge of the nation. This is certainly not a phenomenon limited to Americans. It is a very human reaction to worry about who is in charge. It is also a good desire to want a good, just, and wise ruler. But as Christians, it is important to remember that God doesn’t need a Christian in the White House to accomplish what He wants to do. Or to put it another way, God can just as easily direct through unbelievers as believers. Our Desire for Righteous Rulers We rightfully desire righteous rulers. In fact, Proverbs 29:2 says that when the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice! It is easy to see how justice can be administered by those who hold to God’s righteous…

  • Hermeneutics,  New Testament,  Old Testament,  Scripture

    Fulfillment of Scripture is More than Prophecy

    We see the use of “fulfillment” terminology all over the New Testament. For example, in reference to Isaiah 61:1-2, Jesus says, “Today this Scripture has been fulfilled in your hearing” (Luke 4:21). Elsewhere John says that the events of the crucifixion happened “that Scripture might be fulfilled” (John 19:36). These are just two of the numerous examples in the New Testament where a fulfillment formula is used. The question is, what does it mean? Fulfillment as Prediction and Actualization of Prophecy The most common understanding of the fulfillment formula is that of prediction-actualization. The Old Testament prophets predicted certain things, and the actualization of that prophecy comes to pass (i.e., it was fulfilled). For example, in Isaiah 7:14 we see a prophecy concerning a virgin giving birth. In Matthew 1:22–23 we see that this prophecy is actually realized (fulfilled) in the virgin birth of the Messiah, Jesus. Similarly, there are…

  • Hermeneutics,  Scripture

    Reading Bible Stories the Wrong Way

    Everyone loves stories. And we all enjoy stories in a variety of ways. We watch movies, read books, or simply tell stories to each other about our daily lives. Although some stories are more epic than others, stories are an essential part of us. We cannot escape them. The majority of the Bible is written in story form. This means that when you read the Bible, you have the highest probability that you will be reading a narrative of some kind. Because we are surrounded by stories all the time, one would think we would understand the Bible better—if for no other reason than our familiarity with stories. However, we often struggle in the Bible’s narrative texts because we are not sure what the application is for our own life. This often leads to reading Bible stories in the wrong way. Reading Yourself into the Bible Story The most common…

  • Christian Living

    Dealing with Conflict Wisely as a Christian

    Every relationship known to mankind has the potential for conflict. Thank Adam and Eve for that. Granted, some conflicts can be minor, but sadly, some also can be major. The pressing issue in relationships is not if there is conflict, but rather how to deal with it so that only minor conflicts remain. Whether we are helping a friend, helping ourselves, or teaching a small group at church—we need to know how to deal with conflict and help others through it. Scripture gives important instruction on dealing with conflict, and there are a variety of applications from the text. For example, one of the best verses on dealing with conflict is Proverbs 15:1, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.” Speaking with kindness is essential to avoid escalating conflict. There are so many high-powered conflicts that could have been avoiding if both parties would…

  • Old Testament,  Theology

    Does the Bible Say There will be a Future Temple in Israel?

    One area of contention among those who argue about eschatological matters is whether there will be a future temple for Israel. Many think that the death of Jesus put an end to the sacrificial system (cf. Heb 10:18), so any rebuilt temple would be an attack on the all sufficient sacrifice of Christ on the cross. Does Scripture give any guidance on the issue of a future temple? Should Christians expect a temple to be rebuilt in Jerusalem? The answer to this question must be found by examining Scripture. One’s preconceived theological ideas should not influence the straightforward interpretation of Scripture. On that note, it may surprise some readers that the Old Testament prophets speak regularly about the concept of a rebuilt temple. Ezekiel 40–48 and the Future Temple The most well-known passage which talks about a future temple in Israel is Ezekiel 40–48. It is filled with detailed descriptions,…

  • Christian Living,  Old Testament

    When the Lovingkindness of God Leads to Disobedience

    We often rightly rejoice in the lovingkindness of God. We see His goodness all over the place. His love for us is what compels the believer to obedience (cf. 2 Cor 5:14). It should go without saying that the lovingkindness of God is one of the most powerful themes of the entire Bible. In fact, in the Old Testament, when God reveals His own character, He specifically zeroes in on His own compassion and lovingkindness as definitional characteristics He wants His people to know about. Then the LORD passed by in front of him and proclaimed, “The LORD, the LORD God, compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, and abounding in lovingkindness and truth; who keeps lovingkindness for thousands, who forgives iniquity, transgression and sin; yet He will by no means leave the guilty unpunished, visiting the iniquity of fathers on the children and on the grandchildren to the third and…

  • New Testament,  Theology

    A Significant Chronological Problem for Postmillennialism in Acts 3:21

    Postmillennialism is trending upward on the eschatological popularity scale. It has many visible and popular adherents, such as Doug Wilson, Jeff Durbin, and more recently, James White. As postmillennialism gains popularity, many questions arise about whether it is an accurate view of the world’s future. One significant challenge postmillennialism has is a chronological issue in Acts 3:21. Postmillennialism teaches that, over time, the church will emerge victorious by progressively and gradually triumphing over the world. Eventually the whole world will embrace the gospel, times of immense blessings will flow, and then Jesus will return to receive the kingdom. A self-assessed optimism of the future marks this view. In contrast to postmillennialism, premillennialism teaches that the coming of Christ must precede the establishment of a peaceful earthly kingdom. When Christ comes, he himself will establish a thousand-year reign (millennium) on the Earth. There are many ways to assess the theology of…

  • Misc

    Stats and Top Articles for 2023

    I wasn’t going to do a top articles of 2023 post, but I got convicted because it is important to give God praise for what He has seen fit to do. I also think it good to leave a record of God’s faithfulness. I have received many comments and emails encouraging me about how the podcast and blogs have been used by God in a variety of ways, and I am so thankful the Lord has been pleased to do that. We are nothings, but God has chosen to allow this small ministry to bear fruit. So, as a testimony of His faithfulness, here are the 2023 stats (you can compare with the 2022 stats from last year). Most Read Blog Articles in 2023 1. David as a Man after God’s Own Heart (1 Sam 13:14) No changes here. This is probably the most read article for 4 or 5 years…

  • New Testament

    Not So Silent Night Above Bethlehem?

    Will Varner recently posted over at Focus on the Family about how, although we often view the first Christmas night as a beautiful and tranquil evening, it was probably anything but that! Varner notes that although we often visualize angels as messengers of peace and good news, angels were often symbolically gathered for war! The first matter to consider is our mental image of angels. The biblical word cherubim has morphed into the English word cherub, which evokes images of fat and cute little creatures intended to warm our hearts. Such images are foreign to the Biblical description of angelic beings. The second matter is the Hebrew term tsva, often used to describe a group of angels and translated into English as “host.” But tsva is better understood as a military term, and in Modern Hebrew, tsva means “army.”  Luke refers to these angels with the Greek word stratia, which translates that Hebrew tsva (“army”) in the ancient…

  • New Testament

    The Nasty Innkeeper Who Turned Away Mary and Joseph—Did He Exist?

    Everyone is familiar with him. He’s the nasty, mean innkeeper who turned away Mary and Joseph because the inn was full. The innkeeper is so famous, every Christmas many Christians draw lessons from his failure to provide accommodation for the Savior’s family. Indeed, some Christians allegorize the story by saying we all relate to the innkeeper because we often don’t make room for the Savior in our own hearts. But what if the notion of an innkeeper in the traditional telling of the Christmas story is a little misleading? Okay, I actually think it is not just misleading but actually just wrong. I don’t think the evidence is there in the Christmas story for an innkeeper. Here is why I think that. The Word Traditionally Understood as Inn, Likely Does not Mean Inn In the KJV of Luke 2:7 we read, “And she brought forth her firstborn son, and wrapped…