Monday, June 30, 2014

Good news, indeed

Friday, June 27, 2014

On Matthew 6:33

Craig Keener's latest Bible background blog post is on the meaning of "all these things shall be added to you" in Matt. 6:33.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Luke 14:25-33 and evangelism

Already and not yet

Grace Digest features thoughts from Edward Fudge on living in the overlap.

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Being shaped

At anti-itch meditation Jeff Weddle shares nine experiences that shaped his faith. I especially liked the second one:
Being bullied. I gotta tell ya, the modern anti-bullying movement really irritates me. Suck it up, people! I was made fun of my entire life. Even now, as a 40-year old man, kids stare at my crossed eyes and make comments. Being bullied made me an observer of people. It made me a thinker. It gave me the blessing of sarcastic wit. It has taught me the crumminess of human nature and the security that is in Christ. Bullying may have been the most formative element of my life. To all you bullies out there: Thank you! I couldn’t have done it without ya!
Amen, and well said. His thoughts on becoming a minister are also full of insight. So are the other seven, come to think of it.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

'Fear not, little flock...'

Jim McGuiggan offers the best contextual commentary on Luke 12:32 I've ever seen.

Refining expository preaching

Here's a tip of the hat to Darryl Dash for the link to this Christ-Centered Expository Preaching Checklist.

Monday, June 23, 2014

More on Esther

Charles Savelle continues to post brief, meaty articles on the book Esther with posts on purpose, historicity, and historicity of characters (part 1 & part 2). Dr. Savelle has a tendency to share lots of good information, and it's worthwhile simply to visit BibleX from time to time.

SAOC volume available free

Claude Mariottini has posted a link to a free .pdf volume in the Studies in Ancient Oriental Civilization series from the Univerity of Chicago's Oriental Institute.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Transformation amidst hostility

Roy Stults at Persecution Blog looks back more then 1000 years and finds lessons for Christians on preparing for persecution.

Mothers & Fathers day divide

Matt Dabbs may have really hit on something in his observations on the very different approaches to Mother's Day and Father's Day sermons.
Mother’s day sermons feel like a pep rally for mom’s. We cheer them on. We celebrate their awesomeness. We give them the praise they deserve. Mother’s Day sermons feels like a team of mom’s just won some sort of mother world championship…the confetti and balloons fall and everyone is jumping up and down in celebration…
Then there is Father’s day. Father’s day feels like the losing team, half-time locker room speech. The coach is getting on to the guys…telling them how they royally messed up the first half and if they don’t shape up, will mess up the second half just as badly.
Matt goes on to offer possible reasons for the disparity, and he calls for what sounds like a very helpful solution.

Thursday, June 19, 2014

On 'fathers' and 'parents'

At Koinonia, NT Greek expert Bill Mounce has posted a helpful little treatment of the Koine word for "fathers" in Ephesians 6:4.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

The real contexts

Borrowed Light's Mike Leake has begun writing brief blog posts on the biblical contexts of some of the most-quoted verses of Scripture. So far he's done treatments of Psalm 118:24 and Philippians 4:3. The English teacher in me winces at a few grammatical shortcomings, but I still found the articles helpful..

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Doctrine of assurance

Assurance or security of salvation is one of those topics that tends to generate a lot more heat than light. That's why I was really glad to see this post, where Jeff Weddle concludes, "I think our doctrine of security should deal with all the verses, not just the ones that lean to the side we like. This is no easy task." Indeed.

Monday, June 16, 2014

Historical, woven

Charles Savelle shares a few thoughts on the genre of Esther.

Myth-making and the gospel

The opening of this Christianity Today article really caught my eye:
The obstacle to the gospel at a cultural level is the increasing incompatibility of an emerging American mythology that increasingly centers the story of the human self around a radicalized, sexualized interpretation of humanity. Pornography, homosexuality, and debauchery in general are creating a new understanding of the human self and human relationships.
How true.

Friday, June 13, 2014

Basic NT question

Craig Keener asks, "How do we imitate God?"

Worth reading

BreakPoint Blog, as usual, has been offering insightful commentary on the intersection of faith and culture. Here are two recent ones worth reading: "Suggestible Sexuality" and "Of 'Slender Man,' Idols, and Sacrifices."

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Worldly wisdom

Jeff Weddle: "You Can do Anything You Put Your Mind to, Unless you are Genetically Predisposed not To."

Jeff also shares insights and observations on his problem with Christian camp spirituality.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

On the people of God

"We have a long family history of building hope amidst the ruins."

Slave or son?

I really like Glen Scrivener's opening to his sermon on Gal. 4:1-3. Here it is: 
Two boys at work in a field. (Gal 4:1-3).
They look the same, but they couldn’t be more different.
One is a slave, the other is a son.  One is property, the other is heir.  One calls the owner “Boss”.  The other calls him “Daddy.”
But from a distance you can’t tell.
In church, slaves and sons sit side by side.  And, from a distance, you can’t tell which is which.  But actually there is a profound difference in their relationship to the Father – and this difference is decisive.
Yes, it is.

Monday, June 09, 2014

Well, when you put it that way. . .

Keith Brenton declares that he's a change agent:
I want to be changed. Transformed. Broken down and ground up into powder and mixed with water and remolded and reshaped into the image of Jesus, the Christ. Then fired in the kiln so I won’t shape-shift again. If that’s what it takes.

And that’s always what it takes.

I want that for everyone.
Amen. The phrase "change agent" is a red-flag term in Churches of Christ. But there really shouldn't be any argument with Keith's use of it.

Friday, June 06, 2014

'Read the whole thing'

When I link to an article, I sometimes try to extract the most meaty sentence or two for sharing here. But this article Jim McGuiggan on living in a fallen world is so rich, I'll simply fall back to Glenn Reynolds's refrain: Read the whole thing.

On fingers

Peter Leithart has posted a worthwhile meditation on biblical fingers.

Thursday, June 05, 2014

Ministry of sleep

This is exactly what I need to hear most days: "How We Glorify God by Sleeping" (HT: Darryl Dash).

Total victory

Well, this looks like a Mike Leake week at TS, but Mr. Leake has posted another keeper at Borrowed Light: "Why Did God Harden Pharaoh's Heart?" Here's a sample.
For the sake of Israel, for the sake of Egypt, and for our sake, God cannot just beat Pharaoh by a nose. He has to utterly embarrass and decimate him. And so he doesn’t let Pharaoh throw in the towel at plague 4. If he does there will rise up another power that is stronger than Pharaoh, and the Israelites will be wondering if maybe God will lose this time.

And so God hardens Pharaoh’s heart. He doesn’t let him cry uncle. He causes Pharaoh to keep going like a stubborn mule even though he is being whipped the whole way.
That sounds right.

Wednesday, June 04, 2014

Mid-week Sabbath

While doing my morning web readings to find links for posting here, I've been struck once again by how very many ministers are blogging, and every one, it seems, has written a book. Does anyone else feel like the torrent of words, even if you count only the good ones, has gotten out of hand? For today, at least, let's give it a rest.

Tuesday, June 03, 2014

Graduation lies & truth

These are both a little late, but very much worth reading. Mike Leake is spot-on with his essay, "Six Lies Grads Will Be Told." At the other extreme, Carolyn's and my youngest son, Levi, delivered the valedictory address to his graduating class this year about the value of pursing truth.

CBTJ now online

For years Rob Bradshaw has continued steadfast in his ministry of making solid works of biblical studies available free online at His latest addition: Calvary Baptist Theological Journal. I once visited Calvary Baptist Seminary several years ago when I lived, literally, across the street from Lansdale, Pennsylvania, but the seminary was closed at the time. It's good to have an opportunity to find out a little something about it through Rob's efforts.

Captive and crowned

Glen Scrivener has posted a short, delightful essay that sheds much light on the centuries-long debate on the relationship of grace and works. Here's Glen:
These debates can get tiresome. But the worst development of all is the person who stands up claiming to have discovered the optimal payment structure – not too strict, not too liberal. These sanctification Goldilockses are just right – balancing license and legalism with their perfectly measured pastoral pronouncements.
But the answer is NOT to balance licence and legalism. The solution to this problem does not lie in between these errors. We need to come out of this transactional kingdom and enter the realm of gracious union. If we miss union with Christ, we miss everything, and we will be doomed to ping-pong back and forth between “grace” and “holiness” – as though those things were extremes to be avoided!
Amen. I enthusiastically recommend Glen's whole article.

Monday, June 02, 2014

Third way in gospel preaching

Peter Mead looks at the different ways preachers approach the gospel and asks a question:
Do you preach a pressure message that constantly urges people to do the work of growth?  Do you preach a momentum message that simply looks back to the wonder of their identity change at conversion – a message proclaiming what God has done in Christ that does stir gratitude and does stir life change and doesn’t promote sinfulness, but, maybe, does still lack something?
Yes, I have, and yes, I have. And the third way Peter offers is spot-on.

A couple of keepers from Leithart

This post, on blood, water, and John 19:34, is a keeper. So is this one: Noahroma.