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,  Ethics

    Does the Bible Say Same Sex Attraction is Sin?

    Although some would argue that any same sex relationship is a good thing if it doesn’t harm anyone, in Christian circles there is usually a more clandestine approach to encourage acceptance of the gay lifestyle. This approach says that same sex attraction itself is not a sin, it is following through on the attraction that is the sin. In other words, to be attracted to the same sex is not a sin as long as one does not act on those impulses. In one sense, there is a difference between the gravity and consequences of following through on the attraction, but the real question is whether desires themselves can be sinful? People will often differentiate the issue between orientation and behavior. Some people will say that it is not sinful to be a “gay Christian.” It is only necessary to live celibate. However, there are two significant reasons that same…

  • New Testament,  Old Testament

    The Feast of Booths and the Kingdom of God

    The Feast of Booths is not something we often take the time to study because it involves a lot of time in the Old Testament. However, the New Testament assumes you know about it! In fact, knowing about the Feast of Booths helps us understand the Transfiguration in Matthew 17. What is the Feast of Booths? The Feast of Booths (Sukkot in Hebrew) was important for those in the OT and the NT. It was one of three times a year when all of the males in Israel were mandated to come to Jerusalem before God (Deut 16:16). The Feast of Booths was an 8-day celebration (beginning Tishri 15 on the Jewish Calendar), which happens to be in September/October in our calendar. During this feast, the people would live in temporary shelters (booths) and give offerings to the Lord (Lev 23:36). According to Lev 23:42, this was for native Jews only. The…

  • Church,  New Testament

    Dealing with the Divisive Person in Titus 3:10

    In Titus 3:10, the Apostle instructs Titus to “Reject a divisive person after a first and second warning” (CSB). However, in the KJV the divisive person is called a “heretic.” Clearly, the connotation is different. A divisive person is one who is given to strife, quarrelsome, and contentious, and thus is the target of this disciplinary action. Alternatively, according to the KJV, the man’s heretical beliefs are the issue, presumably as this heretic tries to persuade others to his views. Two questions arise when discussing the identity of the divisive man/the heretic: (1) Does the word mean divisive or heretic? (2) Is this process of church discipline different than what Jesus laid out in Matthew 18? What Does the Word Divisive or Heretic mean? The word for “divisive” (CSB) comes from the Greek word heretikos (αἱρετικὸς), from which we get “heretic” in English. To some, this settles the matter. But before we say this, we need to recognize that…

  • Church

    How Should Adult Children Relate to their Parents?

    Ever since I worked in youth ministry, I regularly have been faced with the issue of how do adult children relate to their parents. I guess it is obvious that everyone has to deal with this question at some point, since everyone is either a parent, or a child at some point in their life. Ephesians 6:1-4 is a good starting point for the discussion. Although children are told to obey their parents in these verses, the word for children in verses one and four generally refers to family relationship and not specifically to age. In other words, a 40 year old man is still a child of his father, because that is their relationship. However, the context of both verses indicates that the specific emphasis is on young children and their relationship to their parents. Young children are commanded to be completely obedient to their parents. An important thing…

  • Hermeneutics,  Old Testament,  Textual Criticism

    Bible Codes and Secret Messages in Scripture?

    I will periodically interact with groups that believe in bible codes and secret messages in Scripture, or be asked about them at church. Looking for a secret message in the Bible is seductive and has a long history with many Christian and Jewish advocates. Is there any evidence that the Bible contains a secret message or a hidden code? One individual who would answer in the affirmative was Chuck Missler (1934–2018). Missler was a very intelligent man who had a background in information sciences (computers, cryptography, etc.). In some of his written works and lectures on bible codes he taught there is a secret message in Scripture. Chuck Missler provides a good template for explaining some of the faulty thinking behind the idea that the bible contains a secret message. We will focus on two of many problematic ways of searching for a secret message in the Bible. First, we…

  • Old Testament

    What Was the Population of Earth Before the Flood?

    Depending on who you ask, the global population is somewhere around 7.9 billion people. That is a lot of people. Is this the highest population the earth has ever experienced? In the spirit of investigation I want to consider what the population of the earth was before the flood. The Earth’s Population at the Very Beginning A straightforward reading of the Bible begins with two human beings, Adam and Eve, created by God and put in charge of the garden to take care of it and work it (Gen 2:15). Their offspring include Cain, Abel, and Seth, although Genesis makes clear Adam and Eve have other sons and daughters as well (Gen 5:4). Cain kills his brother in one of the most appalling acts of violence recorded in Scripture, and is banished from his immediate family. While in exile, Cain finds a wife, marries, and has children. Although some people…

  • Law,  Old Testament

    When Did God Establish the Sabbath Command?

    There are many questions a New Testament believer is faced with when thinking through the Sabbath. For example, why was Israel commanded to keep the Sabbath? This is perhaps the most important question, and as I have written elsewhere, I believe the purpose of the Sabbath command was to give visible demonstration of the fact that Yahweh is Creator and Redeemer. When Israel kept the Sabbath, they were demonstrating that, as Creator, God had the right to dictate how one is to function in the created world. But another important question arises concerning the timing of the Sabbath. When did God institute the Sabbath? Did the Sabbath predate Moses? Evidence for a Pre-Decalogue Sabbath Some theologians argue that the Sabbath has always been an obligation for mankind since creation. To arrive at this conclusion, some have appealed to passages like Genesis 26:5 which says Abraham obeyed the voice of Yahweh,…

  • Review

    Book Review: For the Glory of God

    I recently had the privilege of working through For the Glory of God: Recovering a Biblical Theology of Worship by Daniel Block. Published in 2014, For the Glory of God is a masterful work, relying on Block’s extensive teaching and research experience. In many ways it is exhaustive, hitting the subject of worship from every conceivable perspective. Looking at the table of contents gives that impression. The book is divided as follows: Toward a Holistic, Biblical Understanding of Worship The Object of Worship The Subject of Worship Daily Life as Worship Family Life and Work as Worship The Ordinances as Worship Hearing and Proclaiming the Scriptures as Worship Prayer as Worship Music as Worship Sacrifice and Offerings as Worship The Drama of Worship The Design and Theology of Sacred Space Leaders in Worship There are also three appendices covering (A) Doxologies of the New Testament; (B) Hymnic Fragments in the…

  • Church,  Culture,  Theology

    Does Dispensationalism Hurt the Church?

    Not too long ago while I was on social media I stumbled across a quote by a Christian cultural apologist who said, “Wherever dispensationalism has gained ground, Christian culture has lost ground.” Although the claim that dispensationalism has hurt the church is not new, it was interesting to see how much agreement the post garnered in the comments. Some commenters labeled dispensationalism as the worst heresy the church has seen. Others said dispensationalism is a damnable heresy which has single-handedly lost the American culture war. In this post I would like to analyze the argument that dispensationalism itself is dangerous and responsible for the cultural loss we see in Western culture today. What is Dispensationalism? As I have written elsewhere, it is unfortunately common for people to wrongly attribute heretical beliefs to dispensationalism which are not inherently a part of the system. Dispensationalism should simply be viewed as a set…

  • Culture,  Ethics

    Is it True that Homosexuals are Born That Way?

    How significant is the argument that homosexuals are born that way? And, is it valid? In 2015 the Supreme Court decided that, against millennia of human history and biblical teaching, the definition of marriage should be expanded to include homosexual relationships. The case was Obergefell vs. Hodge, and Anthony Kennedy wrote the majority opinion. In his reasoning, he demonstrated that the born that way argument held significant influence on his decision. He argued that it was important to give homosexuals the right to marry since homosexuals are born that way and can’t change. “Only in more recent years have psychiatrists and others recognized that sexual orientation is both a normal expression of human sexuality and immutable.” Anthony Kennedy, Obergefell v. Hodges, June 26, 2015. The key word used by Kennedy is “immutable.” The idea that gay individuals are born that way with an unchangeable sexual orientation was a key driving…