Does God Always Give Second Chances? John Says “No.”


It’s a common myth that God will always bring us back to repentance. This myth is debunked in the first letter of John. While John writes that “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness” (1 John 1:9), he also tells us that sometimes God never gives us another chance to confess our sins and be forgiven. [Read more…]

When Angels Do Time


Most Bible study resources describe fallen angels as demons who joined Lucifer in his rebellion against God. But what if I told you that the only place in the New Testament that describes angels sinning does not call them demons, has no connection to Lucifer, and has them in jail? Welcome to the world of 2 Peter and Jude. [Read more…]

Jesus Is God: Jude and Peter Tell Me So


The epistles of Peter and Jude are often overlooked in preaching and Bible study. Not only are they nestled among the more popular letters of Paul and the book of Revelation, but portions of these epistles sound odd to our modern sensibilities. That wasn’t the case in the first century. We can better grasp the meaning of these letters if we understand what they have in common with influential ancient Jewish and Christian writings that were circulating at the time. One of those literary works is known to us today as 1 Enoch, a book Peter and Jude draw upon in their letters. [Read more…]

Baptism as Spiritual Warfare


The pastor had been preaching a series of messages through 1 Peter. When it was time for 1 Peter 3:14–22, he sincerely announced, “We’re going to skip this section since it’s just too strange.” He was right and wrong that day. As odd as it is, this passage is one of the most compelling in the New Testament—if you understand what it’s saying.
[Read more…]

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.
[Read more…]

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?
[Read more…]

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…]