• New Testament,  Theology

    The Link between Eschatology and Spiritual Gifts

    Although not often thought about, there is a link between eschatology and the spiritual gifts. There are many ways to argue for the cessation of spiritual gifts (for example, the cascade argument). But in this article I simply want to look at the correlation between one’s eschatology and the belief about miraculous gifts. Simply put, what what believes about eschatology, specifically the kingdom of God, has a logical impact on their understanding of the spiritual gifts. Read the Whole Article

  • New Testament,  Theology

    What Makes Jesus Happy?

    Happiness is often thought of as the chief goal in life. Thus, many people assume that, as a perfect human, Jesus must have been a very happy individual. However, I don’t see Jesus being happy very often in Scripture. In fact, I can only identify two times in the gospels where Jesus is described as happy. One of those times is in John 11:15 where Jesus is happy that he was not there to save Lazarus, so that the disciples would see God’s power displayed through Jesus. The other time Jesus is happy is described in Luke 10:21, Read the Whole Article

  • New Testament,  Scripture,  Textual Criticism

    Does it Burn, or is it Exposed? (2 Peter 3:10)

    Does it burn, or is it exposed in 2 Peter 3:10? Depending on which Bible translation you are reading, you could come away with a different perception. Note, for example, the way various translations treat 2 Peter 3:10. What is going on here? This is an issue of what is called textual criticism. Although criticism sounds bad, in this context it simply means textual evaluation. In other words, textual criticism is the means by which we evaluate which words are original, and which words are scribal additions (either intentional or unintentional). Read the Whole Article

  • New Testament,  Theology

    The Mark of the Beast, 666, and Nero (Rev 13:18)

    Revelation 13:18 says that the one who “has understanding” should calculate the “number of the beast.” This number is then further identified as the “number of man,” specifically, 666. Preterists have often interpreted Revelation 13:18 as a reference to Nero, but is that what John means when he says that the mark of the beast is 666? Symbolism and the Mark of the Beast Not everyone sees 666 as a reference to Nero. Many notable scholars have read the mark of the beast symbolically. Beale, for example, argues in his commentary that the mark of the beast is 666 because six is the number of imperfection. Thus, when six is…

  • Church,  New Testament

    Are Apostles for the Church Today?

    Although it is becoming more and more popular to argue that there are Apostles in the church today, this is far from a majority position. Rather, it is generally recognized that the Greek word used for apostles in the New Testament can be used in both a generic sense (simply meaning “sent one”), or in a specific sense. Romans 16:7 is an example of a generic sense where Paul uses the term “apostle” to refer to individuals who are sent out from a church for some purpose. Read the Whole Article

  • Church,  New Testament

    What Does it Mean to be Filled with the Spirit?

    Ephesians 5:18 commands believers to “be filled with the Spirit.” But what does it mean to be filled with the Spirit? Being filled with the Spirit has been understood in a variety of ways. Some have interpreted as some sort of spiritual manifestation of speaking in tongues. Others have said being filled with the Spirit is the same as being filled with Christ. Although there are many notions as to what being “filled with the Spirit” means, I think if we pay attention to the grammar and broader context of Ephesians, we can understand this passage. Read the Whole Article

  • New Testament,  Old Testament

    Where was the Altar of Incense Located?

    In Hebrews 9:3-4 we are told that the Holy of Holies (aka Most Holy Place) contained the golden altar of incense and the ark of the covenant. This Holy of Holies was entered only once a year on the Day of Atonement by the High Priest (Heb 9:7; cf. Lev 16). However, we see from other Scriptures that the altar of incense was used much more frequently than once a year (cf. Lev 4:7; Exod 30:7-8). In fact, in God’s instructions for the altar of incense, Israel was instructed to put the altar of incense outside of the Holy of Holies, separated from the Holy of Holies by a curtain…

  • Law,  New Testament

    How Did Jesus Fulfill the Law? (Matt 5:17-18)

    What does it mean that Christ came to fulfill the Law? In Matthew 5:18 Jesus promises, “Until heaven and earth pass away, not the smallest letter or stroke shall pass from the Law until all is accomplished.” The KJV translates this verse as, “one jot or one tittle shall no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.” The “jot” is likely referring to the smallest letter in the Hebrew alphabet, the yodh, which looks like ” י “. The “tittle” is probably referring to the part of the Hebrew letter which differentiated nearly identical letters. For example, the difference between ר and ד is only the smallest stroke…

  • New Testament,  Old Testament

    Jesus Quoting Psalm 82 in John 10

    In a previous post we looked at why the gods of Psalm 82 are better viewed as angelic beings than human judges. However, many interpreters view Jesus’ quote of Psalm 82 in John 10 as further evidence that Psalm 82 is a reference to human judges. The context of the situation in John 10 is that the Jews are about to stone Jesus for making himself out to be God (John 10:33). In answer to the Jews picking up stones, in John 10:34-36 Jesus says the following: Read the Whole Article

  • Church,  New Testament

    Elder, Bishop, or Pastor?

    How do you refer to church leaders? Do you use the term elder, bishop, or pastor? 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. Read the Whole Article