What Should New Testament Preachers Do with Old Testament Promises?

Some time ago my wife and I visited a church we’d never been to before and heard a message from one paragraph in Joshua 1. Take particular note of the promises (bolded), because the preacher did:

This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success. Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the LORD your God is with you wherever you go.

A stirring passage. And the preacher, who was a gifted speaker, skillfully weaved its themes into a unified sermon. We profited from it. We love to hear God’s word preached with care and feeling.
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One Thing Every True Evangelical Has in Common

Some people doubt evangelicalism exists—it’s too fractured to be called an -ism. And in the last year the value of the label has been fought over more vociferously than ever. What is “evangelicalism”? Is it even a useful concept anymore?

I believe it is still a useful concept, and I’ll tell you why: there’s a little something called “biblicism” which, thankfully, is still recognizable in basically all sectors of evangelicalism. It’s weakened in some places and under threat in all, but I still see it as a unifying center for evangelicalism. [Read more…]

How to Think Like a Christian Should

We rarely think about thinking. Many very smart people fail to see the assumptions hidden underneath their reasoning. How often do news articles assume that the only really reliable way of knowing truth is the scientific method? [Read more…]

Tips on Psalm 2

Put yourself in the shoes of the original readers of the famous second Psalm:

The kings of the earth set themselves,
and the rulers take counsel together,
against the LORD and against his Anointed, saying,
“Let us burst their bonds apart
and cast away their cords from us.”

Who would you, original reader, think the Lord’s “Anointed” is? That depends a good deal on when the psalm was written—and Scripture doesn’t tell us. [Read more…]

What’s the Difference between Lament and Complaint?

What’s the difference between lament and complaint? Or is “lament” just a name we give to complaining when it’s in the Bible?

Recently I attended the national meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, where I heard Tremper Longman deliver a paper on Psalm 46 that asked and answered that question. [Read more…]

How to Teach the True Meaning of Christmas to Your Kids

The rear seating in our 2004 Yukon must have some kind of magnetic field that provokes good questions from kids. This week it was, “Why do we decorate trees at Christmas? What does that have to do with Jesus being born?” I don’t remember asking such sophisticated questions at age 7.

But at age 37, I have an answer. [Read more…]

Evidence of God’s Grace amidst the “War on Christmas”

What Flannery O’Connor said of the South is true of all America—but it seems truest at Christmas:

While the South is hardly Christ-centered, it is most certainly Christ-haunted. The Southerner, who isn’t convinced of it, is very much afraid that he may have been formed in the image and likeness of God.

In our post-everything, skeptical-yet-credulous world, people may not know Jesus, but they’re not starting from a place of absolute ignorance. By God’s amazing grace, Christ has a cultural foothold in America—through Christmas. [Read more…]

Is the Pope Right or Wrong on “Lead Us Not Into Temptation”?

Pope Francis recently created an international theological incident when he told an Italian TV interviewer that the classic, traditional wording from the Lord’s Prayer, “Lead us not into temptation,” is “not a good translation.” Instead he favors translating this particular petition in the Lord’s Prayer something like, “Don’t let us fall into temptation.” The pope argued,

I am the one that’s falling. It’s not [God] who’s leading me into temptation to see, then, how I fall. No, a father doesn’t do this. A father helps you to get up right away. The one who is leading you into temptation is Satan. That is Satan’s mission. The prayer that we say means: “When Satan leads me into temptation, please give me your hand.”

Is the pope’s (re-)translation of the Bible here right or wrong?

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5 Words You’re Probably Not Getting in the Christmas Story

Every Christmas Eve growing up, my father read the Christmas story from Luke 2 in the King James Version.

And every Christmas Eve, I thought I understood it. I largely did. But I now see little things I was missing—through no fault of my own, nor of the KJV translators, but simply because of the inevitable process of language change. The KJV is 400 years old, after all. I now see these little things because I focused hard on them while writing my new book, Authorized: The Use and Misuse of the King James Bible.

Here are five things you might not have noticed you were missing in the Christmas story in Luke 2 in the King James Version. [Read more…]

What Do We Really Know about the Three Wise Men?

What do we really know about the “magi,” the three “wise men” who brought gifts to Jesus?

I get questions like this from my kids all the time, questions about Bible and theology stuff. I love their curiosity. And I often find myself answering them this way: “Well, how could we know?” [Read more…]