• Christian Living

    True Greatness in the Christian Life

    As a Sophomore in college I remember having an opportunity to eat dinner with a wise man. This man was a teacher who taught only one class at the college, biblical hermeneutics. Although he only taught one class at the college, he was a full time teacher at a local high school as well. He had devoted his life to teaching young guns like myself how to understand the Bible and how to live the Christian life. Seeing him eating by himself one day at the school cafeteria, my friend and I went over to join him. I tried really hard to think of some good questions to ask him, but could only come up with one that I guess I had been thinking about. “Prof, do you think it is okay to want to be great?” The question came out of my own understanding of success. To me greatness…

  • Christian Living,  New Testament,  Theology

    Is God in Control of My Sickness?

    Nobody enjoys sickness or infirmity. Whether it is a significant disease or a minor sickness, infirmities often are a source of consternation and complaint. Regardless of whether it is our own sickness, or the sickness of a loved one, Christians are constantly driven to questions about God’s relationship to sickness and suffering. Does God have control over sickness? Sickness and God’s Glory One of my favorite passages which addresses the issue of sickness or infirmity and God’s control is John 9. As Jesus and His disciples traveled in Jerusalem, they pass by a man who was blind from birth. The disciples ask Jesus, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9:2). The assumption behind the disciples’ question is that sin and sickness are connected. The disciples supposed that it was either the blind man’s sin, or his parents’ sin that brought about the…

  • Hermeneutics,  Old Testament,  Scripture

    Did the Prophets Understand Their Prophecies?

    Sometimes it is claimed that prophets in the Old Testament did not fully understand their own prophecies. This is often an argument for sensus plenior, which is the idea of finding a “fuller meaning” behind the text—a meaning which the original author may not have known. One of the key texts which is used to support the idea that prophets did not fully understand their prophecies is 1 Peter 1:10–12. 10 Concerning this salvation, the prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and inquired carefully, 11 inquiring what person or time the Spirit of Christ in them was indicating when he predicted the sufferings of Christ and the subsequent glories. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you, in the things that have now been announced to you through those who preached the good news to you by the Holy Spirit sent…

  • Old Testament,  Review

    Book Review: The Case for Biblical Archaeology

    Last year, Shepherd’s Theological Seminary launched their Department of Biblical Archaeology. Although it lacked fan fare and an inaugural dig (due to Covid restrictions), there has been much excitement about the prospect of future digs in Israel and Jordan. Since I am a part of the program, I wanted to write a review of John Currid’s book, The Case for Biblical Archaeology: Uncovering the Historical Record of God’s Old Testament People, published by P & R in 2020. Having a good introductory resource for archaeology is imperative for the student, and Currid’s book definitely fulfills that need. The book itself is printed on quality paper, and has a collection of impressive color photographs and maps. In and of itself that helps aid the student, but it obviously increases the price somewhat. However, at the end of the day, the quality of the paper and photos are worth the extra price.…

  • Christian Living

    Loving by Leaving Rather than Staying (Prov 25:17)

    As Christians, we always are trying to get better at loving other people. To love one another is, according to Christ, the tell tale sign of being a believer (John 13:35). In contrast to viewing love as a mere feeling, Christians understand there is a deeper definition of love (1 Cor 13:4-7). Love meets the needs of others. Love exalts others. Love seeks the betterment of others. Through everything, biblical love is the supreme element in healthy, God-honoring relationships. As I was reading through Proverbs the other day, I was struck by one of the practical ways to show love. “Let your foot be seldom in your neighbor’s house, lest he have his fill of you and hate you.” Prov 25:17 One’s home has always been viewed as a sanctuary, a place of security and comfort. To invade that security and comfort too often can cause a stress on any…

  • Ethics,  New Testament,  Old Testament

    Homosexuality was Added to the Bible in 1946

    It is becoming more and more popular to argue that the Bible speaking against homosexuality is a recent innovation that was added to the Bible to make Scripture anti-gay. One very common iteration of the argument is that the word “homosexual” was not in any Bible prior to 1946. The implication of such argumentation is that the Bible does not speak against homosexuality, and that the church should therefore accept a gay lifestyle as being compatible with biblical teaching. Those who put forward such argumentation typically point to Luther’s German translation of 1 Corinthians 6:9, which uses the word Knabenschänder, or “boy molester” rather than the typical idea of homosexual found in modern translations. Additionally, proponents point to the KJV translation, done in 1611, which translated 1 Corinthians 6:9 as, “nor effeminate, nor abusers of themselves with mankind.” It was not until 1946 with the translation of the RSV that…

  • Culture,  Ethics

    Should Christians Use Preferred Gender Pronouns?

    Should Christians use the preferred gender pronouns for transgendered individuals? This is a question which has a variety of answers in the Christian community. Some individuals, like Preston Sprinkle or JD Greear have espoused an approach called Pronoun Hospitality, where the Christian refers to the transgendered individual by their preferred gender pronouns in an effort to show love and kindness. Others have argued Christians ought to use pronouns that match with God’s created intent. How should a Christian think through this issue biblically? At the outset, it should be noted that this is not just a theoretical question. Many individuals have already suffered consequences for deciding they cannot in good conscience use preferred gender pronouns and thus call a female a male or vice versa. There are many examples of this, whether it be a Christian doctor in the UK who was fired for refusing to call a male “madam”,…

  • Christian Living,  Culture,  Ethics,  New Testament

    Avoid Every Appearance of Evil (1 Thess 5:22)

    Growing up I often heard the King James Version rendition of 1 Thessalonians 5:22, “Abstain from all appearance of evil.” The implication of course was that Christians should avoid even the appearance of evil, not just evil actions themselves. Unfortunately this verse, like many others, has often been misinterpreted and misapplied. English Translations of 1 Thessalonians 5:22 KJV Abstain from all appearance of evil. NKJV Abstain from every form of evil. ESV Abstain from every form of evil. HCSB/CSB Stay away from every kind of evil. NIV Reject every kind of evil. NASB Abstain from every form of evil. NET Stay away from every form of evil. Comparing the various English translations, we can see that only the KJV translates this verse as “appearance of evil.” There is a significant difference between “appearance of evil” and “form/kind of evil.” Hence, we note that it is the KJV against the rest of the English translations. Although some would use this difference…

  • Christian Living,  Church,  New Testament

    Should Christians Confess their Sins?

    One question I periodically come across is whether there a place for Christians to confess their sins after conversion. Obviously it is an integral part of Christianity to believe that all sin (past, present, and future) has been dealt with by Christ on the cross. He has paid for all sin in full, assuring the believer of forgiveness and a future hope of eternity with Christ in heaven. So, is there any need to confess sin after conversion? A verse that is central to whether or not we should confess our sins after we are saved is 1 John 1:9. At first reading, 1 John 1:9 seems to imply that believers ought to confess their sins. However, some have argued that if 1 John 1:9 teaches believers are to confess their sins after conversion, then this would undermine the very heart of the gospel. The Broad Biblical Teaching on Forgiveness…

  • Ethics,  Misc,  Old Testament

    The Bible and Eating Humans—Cannibalism?

    Okay, weird title. But, this is a question that came up recently, and it is an interesting theological exercise. Is eating human flesh wrong? We are not talking mainly about overt cannibalism, where one commits murder in order to eat human flesh (which is clearly wrong). We are mainly talking about surviving on a boat or in the mountains and the survivors eating humans (who have already died) to survive. For example, the survivors of the 1972 plane crash in the Andes who ate their companions to survive. Is it wrong for a Christian to eat human beings who have already died in order to survive? The closest the Bible gets to directly addressing this issue is in a few select prophecies to Israel that their sin will cause them famine and hardship which would result in cannibalism during sieges (cf. Lev 26:29; Deut 28:53-57; Jer 19:9; Ezek 5:10). Additionally,…