God’s Right-Hand Woman? Wisdom in Hebrews 1

Hebrews 1:2 tells us that in these “last days” God has spoken to humanity “by his Son, whom he appointed the heir of all things, through whom he created the world” (compare Col 1:16; 1 Cor 8:6). Jesus’ role as co-creator with God is a familiar doctrine. But in verse 3 there’s something that’s a bit odd: “He [Jesus] is the radiance of the glory of God.” What’s strange about the phrase isn’t its meaning. We get the metaphor. Jesus “shines forth” the glory of God; He is a brilliant reflection of what God is like. What’s odd is where the idea comes from, and how startling it would have been to the Jewish Christians for whom the book of Hebrews was intended.
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Is the Idea of the Imminent Return of Jesus Biblical?

I recall the traumatic experience of seeing the movie A Thief in the Night as a teenager. The film was about how Jesus could return at any moment—like a thief in the night, a description borrowed from 1 Thessalonians 5:2. The message: If we weren’t believers, we could be left behind by the Lord. The movie didn’t lead to my decision to put my faith in Christ, but it did accomplish one desired effect—it scared me. Is the idea of the imminent return of Jesus biblical?
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How Many Times Is Jesus Coming Back?

Few things in the Bible attract more attention than prophecies about the end times. Even people with only a passing acquaintance with the Bible know that it foretells a second coming of Jesus. Those who study the Bible know the book of Revelation reveals that the second coming brings an end to the reign of the antichrist (the “beast”; Rev 19:11–21). The risen Christ, the incarnation of God, returns to earth not as a suffering Savior, but as the glorious warrior-king. But does the Bible describe an earlier return of Jesus—one that precedes this triumphant arrival? [Read more…]

Did Abraham Meet Jesus?

Some of the most startling things in the Bible are hidden in plain sight.

Galatians 3:7 is a case in point. Amid the predictable focus on law, grace, and the gospel, Paul blindsides us: “the Scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, preached the gospel beforehand to Abraham, saying, ‘In you shall all the nations be blessed.’” [Read more…]

Charlton Heston Had Company

When we hear “Moses’ Law,” we think of the story we heard in Sunday school or the scene from The Ten Commandments where Charlton Heston (a.k.a. Moses) gets the two tablets from God. But what if I told you Moses and God weren’t alone?

It may come as a surprise, but the New Testament tells us in three places that the Law was delivered by angels, members of God’s divine council. Here are two of those passages: [Read more…]

Are Bible Translators Traitors?

A famous Italian proverb declares “traduttore, traditore,” which means, “translator, traitor.” Those who assume this is true are unaware [of] how difficult it is to produce a translation. Every translator at some point invariably discards the meaning of the original text. [Read more…]

Signed, Sealed, and Delivered—to Satan?

Throughout the New Testament, “family language” is used to describe the relationship of believers to God and Jesus. The Lord’s prayer instructs us to address God as “our Father” (Matt 6:9). Hebrews 2:11–12 reveals that Jesus considers believers his own siblings. Paul says Christians comprise “the household of faith” (Gal 6:10). How is it, then, that Paul tells Christians living in Corinth that believers unrepentantly living in sin should not only be put out of the Church (1 Cor 5:9–13) but also “delivered to Satan” (1 Cor 5:5)? [Read more…]

Did Jesus Have Female Apostles?

Paul’s final greetings to the Roman Church seem typical. We might just skim over the list of names without a second thought. But one name within that list has become the focus of controversy and heated debate:

Greet Andronicus and Junia, my kinsmen and my fellow prisoners. They are well known among the apostles, and they were in Christ before me. (Rom 16:7) [Read more…]

The Gospel, Spain, and the Ends of the Earth

“I hope to see you in passing as I go to Spain” says Paul, while imprisoned. His ambitions are repeated a few verses later: “When therefore I have completed this … I will leave for Spain by way of you” (Rom 15:28). It’s certainly ambitious for him to be making travel plans. But Paul wasn’t making casual conversation or planning a vacation. He believed that his life and ministry would not end until he reached Spain. We aren’t sure if Paul made it, but he was passionate about getting there. Why? He saw himself in the prophecy of Isaiah 66. [Read more…]

Should Missing Apostolic Letters Cause Us Concern?

Unless you’ve been on an extended vacation from popular culture, you know there’s been discussion about how we got the New Testament. Dan Brown’s blockbuster novel The Da Vinci Code based its conspiratorial plot in part on the notion that other gospels had been eradicated by spiteful church authorities and an emperor openly partial to orthodoxy. The success of the novel prompted many churchgoers to ask whether or not all the books that should be included in the New Testament actually were. [Read more…]