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 and Youtube channel.

  • Church,  New Testament

    Pastor, Elder, and Bishop: What’s the Difference?

    How should you refer to your church leader? Most of us use the term pastor, but some use the term elder and even bishop. If you are confused by these different denominational terms you are not alone. A bishop is typically equated with Catholic or Eastern Orthodox churches, although Anglican and a few Lutheran churches also use the term. The term elder is often associated with the Mormon church and the young men you meet in ties on your front porch, though more evangelical churches are utilizing the term elder now. For most people, the term pastor is an easily-recognizable term referring to the spiritual leader of a church. The Biblical Evidence As far as personal history, I grew up in a Baptist church that had a pastor, an assistant pastor, and a deacon board that made church leadership decisions. It was not until high school that I was introduced…

  • Christian Living,  Culture,  Scripture

    The Dangers of Relying on Personal Experience

    Personal experience is currently regarded as the primary means of knowledge and truth in our culture. Whether it is the current issues of racism or LGBT rights, or it is something like biblical interpretation; personal experience is regularly elevated as the controlling determiner of truth. Take for example the following claims of experience: “Systemic racism must exist because I have experienced it.” “You cannot judge a transgender individual because you don’t have his experience. You don’t know what it’s like for him.” “I have had the experience of speaking in tongues; therefore, Scripture has to be interpreted to allow for speaking in tongues.” Now at the outset, I freely acknowledge the value of personal experience. Scripture clearly expects wisdom to be possessed by the mature because of their many days of experience (Job 12:12). Also, many of the Psalms are based on a response to personal experience. Further, our personal…

  • Christian Living,  Culture,  Misc

    The Parable of the Rich Young Influencer

    I was recently made aware of a forgotten text that has recently been discovered. It turns out that Jesus did indeed speak to contemporary issues about social media. It has been called the Parable of the Rich Young Influencer. Here is the text in full: And behold, a Gen Z young man came up to Jesus, saying, “Teacher, what good deed must I do to have eternal life?” And Jesus said to him, “Why do you ask me about what is good? There is only one who is good. If you would enter life, keep the commandments.” He said to him, “Which ones?” And Jesus said, “You shall not murder, You shall not commit adultery, You shall not steal, You shall not bear false witness, Honor your father and mother, and, You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” The Gen Z young man said to him, “All these I have…

  • Church,  New Testament

    Who Can Perform Baptisms in the Church?

    Who can perform the baptisms for church? Does it have to be an official pastor? Can a woman perform the baptism? These are important questions which have significant impact in the daily life of the church. The impetus of this article was reading a provocative article entitled, “The (In)significance of the Baptizer in the Early Church: The Importance of Baptism and Unimportance of the One who Baptized.” As the title suggests, the author argued that the evidence of the early church downplays those who baptize in the church. I think there is wisdom in not making the baptizer more than he ought to be. However, at the same time, it is inherently a theological issue that we ought to think through. Does it matter who baptizes in the church? I offer my reasoning in three simple points. First, Matthew 28:18-20 does not limit those who baptize to a special class.…

  • Christian Living,  Culture

    Dying to Self in a ‘Me-First’ Culture: The Christian Counter-Narrative

    I work with young adults on a weekly basis, and I am deeply concerned for the younger generation within the church. The next generation is being trained by the culture to live according to feelings and desires. Now feelings and desires are not inconsequential, but the Christian worldview is so much more holistic and purposeful. While the non-Christian culture promotes personal happiness and fulfillment as the ultimate pursuit, the Christian worldview understands the purpose of life is to glorify God through dying to self. All around us the culture promotes a world where the most important question is, “How does this make me feel?” We are always being fed the lie that life is all about pursuit of ease and comfort. Difficulty is to be avoided at all costs. Comfort and security are to be pursued at all costs. Our personal happiness is preeminent. We are told that unless we…

  • Old Testament

    Hosea’s Kindergarten Disaster and the Bloodshed of Jezreel

    The names of the children of the prophet Hosea surely raised eyebrows in the Hebrew kindergartens of ancient Israel. God told Hosea to name the first child Jezreel, which means “May God sow” or “God will scatter.” The name could either be a blessing or a curse depending on how one looked at it. Furthermore, the Jezreel valley was notoriously known as a location of much fighting and bloodshed (1 Samuel 29:1-2 Samuel 2:8, 1 Kings 21:1, 2 Kings 9:24ff). One child with a strange symbolic name was not enough. Hosea’s second child was given the name Lo-Ruhamah, meaning “Not loved” or “Unloved.” Can you imagine the awkwardness during roll call when that name came up? “Is ‘unloved’ here?” For Hosea’s third child, God told Hosea name him Lo-Ammi, which means “Not my people.” Each of these names were rather shocking to the Israelites. Most importantly, they were symbolic names…

  • Christian Living,  Culture

    7 Warnings about Social Media for the Christian

    There are many reasons to believe that social media is here to stay. Social media provides an unhindered opportunity to connect with family and friends, or to keep an eye on the news, sports, and weather. It is estimated that by the year 2027, 5.85 billion people will be using social media. Social media is immensely popular among the younger generation, with 16-24 year-olds spending over three hours a day on social media. The Blessing of Social Media The ubiquitous nature of social media necessitates that Christians think critically about both the pros and cons of using social media platforms, as well as the consequences of frequent use. Many of the benefits of using social media as a Christian are evident. We can reach some with the gospel that we would otherwise be unable to impact. Further, we can share helpful resources which promote Christlikeness. We can also mutually edify…

  • Hermeneutics,  Old Testament

    Understanding Corporate Solidarity Through Genesis 3:15

    The concept of corporate solidarity, deeply ingrained in the biblical world, might be challenging for those accustomed to an individualized, democratic culture. However, grasping this concept is essential for a deeper understanding of various scriptural elements, such as the notion of being “in Christ” and the instances where groups are punished for the sins of an individual. At the heart of corporate solidarity is the idea that a single individual can represent a group or a body of people, similar to how a patriarch represents a clan, a father represents his family, and a king represents his nation. Corporate Solidarity Illustrated in Genesis 3:15 A classic illustration of corporate solidarity is found in Genesis 3:15, a verse crucial not only for its theological implications but also as a foundational text for understanding the entire narrative arc of the Bible. Known among evangelicals as the Protoevangelium, which means the first gospel,…

  • Apologetics,  Scripture

    Should Christians Quote the Bible to Unbelievers?

    Is there any benefit in quoting the Bible to someone who doesn’t believe the Bible? On the surface, it seems counter-intuitive. Why would we appeal to the Bible as authority if someone does not recognize that authority? For many Christians, if someone does not recognize the Bible as being from God they will try to argue for God in other ways. But I would propose that Christians not only can quote the Bible to unbelievers, but they should quote the Bible to unbelievers. An example of a hesitancy to quote the Bible comes form Matt Walsh, conservative blogger and devout Catholic, entitled, “When Christians Shouldn’t Quote the Bible.” In his article, he made a fairly bold statement: I contend that Christians should not appeal to the Bible when arguing with unbelievers about political and cultural topics. There is no need to quote Scripture when trying to explain, for example, why…

  • Church,  New Testament,  Theology

    How Many Resurrections are there in Scripture?

    Easter weekend is upon us, and so we celebrate the most important part of Christianity—the fact that Jesus is alive! This is the essence of our hope as believers. Because of Christ’s resurrection we have hope of our own resurrection. But understanding the timing of future resurrections can be tricky. How many are there? I saw an online discussion recently about how many resurrections there are in Scripture, and a question was asked about when OT believers are resurrected. I think it is a worthwhile discussion to have, and I think we can accurately observe four resurrections in Scripture. (This is of course assuming that the resurrection of Lazarus in John 11 and the saints in Matthew 27 are temporary and they die again). But, if you are interested, I have tried to compile a complete list of all the resurrections in the Bible. The Foundation for ALL Resurrections: Christ…