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.

  • Old Testament

    Are Kings and Chronicles the Same?

    Many an English Bible reader has read the book of kings (also known as 1 & 2 Kings) only to feel they are reading a repeat of the same stories in the very next book, Chronicles (1 & 2 Chronicles). I remember the first time I read through the Bible, I was somewhat frustrated by all the repetition. I did not agree with the Greek translator of Chronicles, who calls Chronicles παραλειπομένων (“of the things left out”). It certainly doesn’t feel like Chronicles is talking about the things left out of Kings. What is the difference between Kings and Chronicles? Are they repeated histories that just both happened to make it into the Canon? Big Picture Differences between Kings and Chronicles The book of Kings covers a period of approximately four centuries, from the death of King David (ca. 970 BC) to the Babylonian exile of 587/6 BC. It is…

  • Old Testament

    Who is Ahasuerus in the Book of Esther?

    Sometimes different Bible translations can lead to interesting questions. For example, if we were to compare the NIV and the ESV translations, we would come across a seemingly large difference. According to the NIV, Xerxes was king during the time of Esther, but according to the ESV Ahasuerus was king. Who was the king? Was it Ahasuerus, or Xerxes? NIV This is what happened during the time of Xerxes… ESV Now in the days of Ahasuerus… Bible Translations and the Identity of Ahasuerus Why does the NIV say the king was Xerxes, while the ESV says the king was Ahasuerus? The issue is one of translation, yes, but also of identification. To complicate matters somewhat, the earliest translation of the Old Testament that we have (the LXX) identifies the king of the book of Esther as Ἀρταξέρξης (Artaxerxes). Josephus also agrees with the LXX. Thus, we have three options for…

  • Hermeneutics,  Review,  Theology

    Dispensational Hermeneutics by Mike Vlach

    Note: Information on entering the book giveaway is at the bottom of this post. It is a sad reality that whenever someone searches for dispensationalism, the first results they find are often strawman critiques of the system. Dispensationalists are often misrepresented in their beliefs. For example, dispensationalists are said to teach multiple ways of salvation, or embrace antinomianism, etc. Although there are certainly non-negotiable beliefs that are a part of dispensationalism, the real issue has always been how dispensationalists arrive at their beliefs. Dispensational Hermeneutics Enter Mike Vlach’s new book, Dispensational Hermeneutics: Interpretation Principles that Guide Dispensationalism’s Understanding of the Bible’s Storyline (available for purchase here). In this book, Vlach provides a go-to resource for those trying to understand why dispensationalists believe what they believe. The purpose of the book is best defined in Vlach’s own words: “Our goal is to present the key hermeneutical principles that influence Dispensationalism’s view…

  • Church,  Theology

    Are the Household Baptisms an Argument for Infant Baptism?

    Does the mention of household baptisms in Acts provide biblical evidence of infant baptism? Many theologians have argued just that. When arguing for infant baptism, paedobaptists of all kinds (Catholics, Lutherans, and Reformed) will often appeal to the household baptisms in Acts and 1 Corinthians as examples of when infants might have been baptized (cf. Acts 10:1-2; 16:13-15; 16:32-34; 18:8; 1 Cor 1:14-16). In the words of one Catholic paedobaptist: Catholics (and other advocates of infant baptism) do not claim that these verses prove that the Bible teaches infant baptism. However, a straightforward reading of them suggests that children were likely baptized along with the household or family of which they were a part. Thus, these verses pose a difficulty for Protestants who oppose infant baptism and must be explained differently. The Household Argument for Infant Baptism Explained The argument is that when the Bible talks about a household—especially when…

  • Misc

    Most Read Articles in 2022

    It is interesting seeing what people like to read. Many of the articles that I thought were some of my best writing barely saw any readers. At the same time, some articles which I hesitated even publishing were very well received. Of course some of that is related to social media and search engine algorithms. It is rather scary how dependent we are on social media allowing us to see what they want us to see. Search engines are another component of readership. The majority of the traffic to the Bible Sojourner comes through search engines, but that can vary depending on how favorably Google treats the website. Before moving on to the top articles of 2022, here are some brief statistics from this year: Now, on to the top posts of 2022. 1. David as a Man after God’s Own Heart (1 Sam 13:14) This article has been the…

  • Old Testament

    Was Caleb the Kenizzite a Native Israelite?

    Who was Caleb, the Son of Jephunneh? Although I think we often assume he was a naturally born Israelite, there may be evidence to suggest his family had joined Israel at some point. This might explain the unique references to the title, Kenizzite. Brief Background on Caleb the Son of Jephunneh Caleb, the son of Jephunneh, is a captivating character in Scripture. Caleb is most well known for being one of the 12 spies who explored the land of Canaan after the Exodus (Num 13:1-16). Out of the 12 spies who entered Canaan, only Caleb and Joshua trusted in God’s power to deliver the land to Israel (Num 14:6-10). They were faithful to Yahweh, while the rest of the spies gave a discouraging report and the people wanted to return to Egypt (Num 14:4). Caleb is well known for a variety of other reasons as well. Because of Caleb’s devotion…

  • Apologetics,  Church,  Theology

    Why the Pope is not Biblical or Christian

    Is the pope the leader of the Christian world? I regularly interact with young believers who assume that the Roman Catholic Church is just a variation of legitimate Christianity, similar to the difference between Baptists and Presbyterians. However, the differences between Catholics and other Christians are very significant. Indeed, these differences are actually irreconcilable. That is why Protestants celebrate the Reformation every October 31. On October 31, 1517, a young priest by the name of Martin Luther posted 95 theses on a castle door in Wittenberg, Germany. These 95 theses were revolutionary and ended up being a partial catalyst for launching the Reformation away from the Catholic doctrine and teaching. Catholicism and a Different Way of Salvation One of the most significant differences between the Catholic church and those who broke away from Catholicism is the issue of salvation. Catholic theology teaches that man must work in cooperation to help…

  • Old Testament

    Was Boaz the Son of Rahab?

    Almost every year when teaching through Old Testament survey class, I get asked whether Boaz was the son of Rahab. According to the genealogy of Matthew 1:5, Salmon was the father of Boaz by Rahab. So that seems to settle the issue then. Many people assume that Boaz was Rahab’s son, and perhaps Rahab herself would have told stories to Boaz about God’s gracious intervention in her life. Rahab being the mother of Boaz certainly preaches well! However, there are some complications. Boaz Probably Lived 200+ Years After Rahab We have a bit of a conundrum, because Ruth 4:21–22 gives us David’s likely relationship with Boaz. We can trace David’s genealogy as follows: Salmon fathered Boaz Boaz fathered Obed Obed fathered Jesse Jesse fathered David We know David becomes king over Judah around 1010 BC. So, if we trace the Ruth genealogy, we see that the story of Boaz probably…

  • Christian Living,  Culture

    3 Ways to be Thankful in a Thankless Culture

    One of the hallmarks of a degenerate society is the lack of thankfulness. This makes sense since giving thanks is an acknowledgment of God’s praiseworthiness and His goodness. Therefore, those who reject God are marked by a refusal to give thanks to God (cf. Rom 1:21). In contrast to thankless unbelievers, Christians are to be marked by constantly being thankful (Phil 4:6; 1 Tim 4:4). Thus, in honor of American Thanksgiving (sorry Canada), I want to give a few practical ways to promote a thankful heart during this season. Here are three practical ways you can stimulate thankfulness in your heart. Focus on what you deserve. This should be the ultimate prompt for Christians. As Christians, we are recipients of a thing called grace. We deserve hell and eternal damnation. We deserve nothing good, only judgment for rebelling against the Creator. Thus, how much do we have to be thankful…

  • Apologetics

    Two Simple Questions for the Atheist

    I’m not very good at witnessing to unbelieving atheists, but I try to do the best I can. I have studied different apologetic methods, and try to practice certain helpful things I pick up. The problem that I find in talking to an atheist is that they are usually not committed to a consistent worldview. They pick and choose what to believe, based not on a foundational conviction, but on popular opinion (never mind if their beliefs contradict). Although reasoning with nonbelievers can be difficult, here are two questions that I think can help demonstrate the inconsistency of an atheist’s worldview. What is the basis for logical thought or meaningful reasoning for the atheist? The premise behind this question is that true wisdom and rational capability is only found in the reality of God’s creation. Logic and reason are only possible because God has designed the world to operate in…