• New Testament

    She will be Saved through Childbearing – 1 Tim 2:15

    One of the most perplexing verses in the New Testament is 1 Timothy 2:15, “Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control” (ESV). Although this is a difficult text to understand, the application of this text is important for our understanding of the roles of men and women. There are a variety of questions that arise from this text about the nature of salvation and even how childbearing fits into the equation. We address the most important of these questions as follows. Who is the “she”? The immediate context of 1 Tim 2:11-12 demonstrates Paul is speaking about the role of women in general. Women are to “learn quietly,” and to refrain from teaching or exercising authority over men. As support for this command, Paul refers to the history of Adam and Eve. As part of the argument, Paul notes Eve’s…

  • Hermeneutics,  New Testament,  Old Testament,  Scripture

    Does Your Theology Start with Jesus? I Hope Not.

    Jesus is to be recognized as sovereign Lord in the church. But, is it justified to start with Jesus when it comes to forming theology? Many Christians affirm just that. For example, I was once listening to a podcast and the subject was raised about how we formulate our theology. One speaker said something like, “We must get our theology from the life and person of Jesus who is God incarnate. If your theology does not match with who he is, then go back to him and start over.” In the above podcast, one of the reasons this particular individual wanted to start with Jesus was to deny the validity of other parts of Scripture that seem to be quite clear. For example, this individual rejected places in the OT where God commands Israel to eliminate other nations, including children (e.g., 1 Sam 15). His reasoning was, “I cannot imagine…

  • 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. 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 Resurrection: Christ In 1 Corinthians 15:20 Paul calls Christ the “first fruits” of those who have…

  • Christian Living,  Ethics,  New Testament

    Is it Wrong for the Christian to Drink Alcohol?

    To drink or not to drink? Yes, today I tread into dangerous waters by discussing the Christian and whether its okay to drink alcohol. First, a disclaimer. I grew up in the Midwest where it was culturally taboo to drink, smoke, or chew; or hang with girls that do! (As the saying goes). When I moved to California, people tended to emphasize Christian “liberty” more, and thus tended to exercise their liberty to drink wine or beer. This difference in atmosphere prompted me to examine the issue of drinking and the Christian’s responsibility. I wanted to share some of that fruit with you. There are some who approach the matter by saying, “Jesus approved of using wine so we can drink it” (cf. John 2:1-10); or they will say Paul encouraged Timothy to drink wine (1 Tim 5:23). Therefore, Christians are able to drink alcohol, simple as that! However, it…

  • New Testament,  Theology

    The Cascade Argument against Miraculous Gifts

    There are a variety of ways to deal with the issue of continuationism (i.e., the belief that miraculous spiritual gifts like prophecy and tongues are currently in operation in the church today). In these discussions I often point to the cascade argument which is well summarized by Sam Waldron in his book, To Be Continued? His argument goes like this. There are no Apostles today. This is an important starting point, and fairly obvious to anyone who reads Scripture. Although there are apostles in the sense of general “sent ones” (cf. Phil 2:25; 2 Cor 8:23), there is also a clearly defined special group of Apostles. These Apostles were: (1) eye-witnesses of the resurrected Christ (Acts 1:22; 10:39-41; 1 Cor 9:1; 1 John 1:1-3), (2) directly appointed by Christ (Mark 3:14; Luke 6:13; Acts 1:2; 10:41; Gal 1:1), and (3) were able to confirm their mission through miraculous signs (Acts…

  • Hermeneutics,  New Testament,  Old Testament

    What Does it Mean: Scripture was Fulfilled?

    We see the use of this terminology all over the New Testament. For example, 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. The question is, what does it mean? The most common understanding of the “fulfilled” language 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. Although this is a valid understanding of “fulfilled” language, it is important to understand that it is not sufficient to explain…

  • Church,  New Testament,  Old Testament

    Prophets and Prophetic Revelation

    Since the beginning of time, God has communicated with His people through prophets. We can deduce from Genesis 3:8 that God likely communed with Adam and Eve at regular intervals. We are also told in Luke 11:51 that Abel was among the prophets, and thus received revelation from God. Prophets spoke for God. Perhaps better stated, prophets were God’s mouthpiece. Jeremiah 1:4-10 is quite instructive for the prophetic role. In v. 9, God specifically tells Jeremiah, “I have put my words in your mouth.” That is the role of the prophet—he speaks God’s words. As a nation, Israel was given special instruction for prophets. Deuteronomy 13:1–5 lays down the important principle that prophets cannot contradict previous revelation. If a prophet or a dreamer of dreams arises among you and gives you a sign or a wonder, and the sign or wonder that he tells you comes to pass, and if…

  • Hermeneutics,  New Testament

    Does Baptism Save You? Looking at Acts 2:38

    There are a few texts that seem to indicate that baptism saves an individual. In order to work through the apparent contradiction in Scripture, many will cross reference other texts to explain away the passage. Last time I pointed out that it doesn’t make sense to read one passage upon another. It can be helpful to cross reference, but the key to understanding Scripture is identifying authorial intent. The key to proper biblical interpretation involves knowing the author, the audience, the purpose of the passage, and the context. Knowing this information keeps us from injecting our own meaning or purpose into the text. It also helps us derive our theology from what the text means rather than conforming the text to our own theology. Coming off of last post, I thought it would be helpful to use Acts 2:38 as a test case for a proper contextual interpretation. What follows…

  • New Testament,  Review

    Book Review: The Synoptic Problem

    Recently I had the opportunity to read a new book published in 2016, The Synoptic Problem. The “Synoptic Problem” is a phrase used in NT studies to refer to the comparison of the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke) and examine their relationship. This new book, edited by Stanley Porter and Bryan Dyer, gives an overview of four main views: the Two Source hypothesis, the Farrer hypothesis, the Two Gospel hypothesis, and the Orality and Memory hypothesis. Craig A. Evans writes to present the two source hypothesis, which teaches that Mark was the first gospel written, and Matthew and Luke were literarily dependent upon Mark. This hypothesis also teaches that where Matthew and Luke share the same details that are not mentioned in Mark, they are dependent upon another source, referred to as “Q.” Mark Goodacre writes to represent the Farrer hypothesis. This theory holds that Mark was the first gospel…

  • Culture,  New Testament,  Old Testament

    Why Does the Bible Allow Slavery?

    Slavery is recognized as one of the great evils of our history. To many, this provides reason for rejecting what the Bible teaches. For example, some balk at the belief that Christians can put their faith in a book which, not only does not condemn slavery, but actually regulates it! Further, today people argue against the Old Testament and the Apostle Paul’s view of homosexuality because both sources include regulation of slavery rather than its abolition. Why does the Bible allow slavery? At first glance this seems an irredeemable blemish to the goodness of the Bible’s message. This is a challenging issue because our society brings with it cultural baggage which makes accurate interpretation of biblical texts on slavery difficult. We all are familiar with the African-American slave trade, and this is the kind of slavery that we envision taking place in the Bible. As a proper foundation for understanding…