The Easy Way to Do a Responsible Bible Word Study

Oh man. They give me these topics sometimes. I’m supposed to make responsible Bible word studies “easy.”

Next week: Middle East Peace Negotiations for Beginners.

But no—we can do this. We can. Because the key word is “responsible,” and that mainly means you avoid claiming more for your Bible word study than your work really justifies. And the best way to do that is to calibrate your expectations beforehand. What are you actually hoping to accomplish from a Bible word study?

These five easy steps will show you both what to expect and how to get there. [Read more…]

When Did Satan Fall like Lightning?


In one of the more enigmatic verses in the Gospel of Luke, Jesus tells his disciples, “I saw Satan fall like lightning from heaven” (Luke 10:18). The question isn’t about the “what” of Jesus’ statement. It’s clear that Satan is under judgment. Rather, the confusion is over the “when” of the statement. It might sound like a reference to when Satan became Satan, before the garden of Eden—abandoning his status among God’s heavenly host—but that conclusion would be too hasty. [Read more…]

What’s the First Thing You Need to Know About NT Greek?

I’m in the middle of a series of posts on learning Greek, and each time I write I find myself wanting to start by holding up a warning sign. Here’s the last one, I promise (sort of): “Greek is not math.”

The first thing you need to know about New Testament Greek is that it was a normal human language spoken by real people in all social strata throughout the ancient Western world during the three centuries on both sides of Christ’s birth. These speakers and their language are now dead, but they left a whole lot of important writing and unimportant writing—which is important. [Read more…]

F.F. Bruce, “Dean of Evangelical Scholars”

Affectionately known as the “dean of evangelical scholars,” F.F. Bruce was a towering figure in modern evangelicalism.

One of the twentieth century’s most prolific scholars, Bruce penned more than 40 books spanning commentaries, church histories, and biblical theology—a dozen of which have been carefully selected for the F.F. Bruce Collection.

But perhaps more significant than his works was his career as a whole.

About F.F. Bruce

In a time when the academic community looked down upon evangelicals, F.F. Bruce demonstrated that an evangelical could perform worthwhile academic work.

At the same time, he persuaded evangelicals that they should not turn their backs on academic methods of Bible study, even if the results might differ from traditional evangelical views.

These words from contemporary C.F.D. Moule provide a compelling picture of the mind and manner of F.F. Bruce:

I know no better example of uncompromising truthfulness wedded to that most excellent gift of charity: Fred Bruce always speaks the truth in love. Certainly the truth: he is one of the rare souls who actually do verify their references. What he says can be relied on to be correct—not that he needs to do much verification, for he is blessed with an exceptionally tenacious memory. On the granite rock of a thorough classical education (Gold Medallist in Latin and Greek at Aberdeen, senior classic of his year at Cambridge) he has built a formidable edifice of extensive and accurate learning.

About the F.F. Bruce Collection

This 12-volume collection makes many of Bruce’s writings available that were previously inaccessible to most Christians. It contains:

  • Select commentaries, including a pared-down version of his famous 1954 Acts commentary
  • Pauline studies, including a work about Paul’s pastoral qualities and another about his inner circle
  • A delightful autobiographical account of Bruce’s childhood and career
  • Books on church history, biblical criticism, biblical theology, and more

This collection offers not only masterful treatments of important topics but also a compelling picture of a faithful Christian and his illustrious career.

Explore the collection—and pre-order today to save.

4 Simple Language Principles That Will Improve Your Bible Study

Learning New Testament Greek is a fantastic idea, and perhaps an intimidating one. I don’t want to add to the difficulty.

And I also kind of do.

I have a suggestion that will help you in the long run: try learning about language more generally before learning Koine Greek in particular. [Read more…]

Should Barbarians Get to Have God’s Words?

Salmon are anadromous.

That’s a $25 word that feels how terms found in encyclopedias are supposed to feel: formal, scientific. It’s in a higher register of English.

But if you know a little Greek, you’ll see immediately that all it means is “running back.” The salmon “run back” upstream to spawn. And it’s not to avoid confusion with American football that we say anadromous instead of “running back”: it’s because in our culture, scientificky terms are supposed to sound highfalutin.
[Read more…]

Does the New Testament Misquote the Old Testament?

Sometimes when a New Testament writer quotes the Old Testament, the two passages do not match precisely. Is the New Testament writer misquoting the Old Testament? Or is there another explanation?

Luke records that when Jesus began his ministry, he went to the synagogue in Nazareth on the Sabbath day. When he stood up to read the Scriptures, “The scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him” (Luke 4:17). Jesus read the description of a climactic arrival of the anointed one from Isaiah 61:1–2, excluding the last half of verse two. That omission is understandable, but if you look at Luke 4:18–19 and Isaiah 61:1–2 side by side, several dissimilarities in what Jesus read are readily apparent. [Read more…]

How Technology Is Revolutionizing Pastoral Training

The printing press is often credited with bringing Scripture out of the control of the clergy and into the hands of everyday Christians. It spread the ideas of Reformers such as Luther and quickened the advance of the gospel and gospel theology. Printed books brought immense value, including easy and inexpensive access to the Bible and theological works.

But some Christians of the era opposed this agent of change, worried it would lead to error and heresy. Many of their dire predictions came true, and yet the benefits were so great that, in hindsight, any opposition strikes modern Christians as ridiculous. [Read more…]

JoAnna Hoyt on Writing an Evangelical Exegetical Commentary

Commentary writing is unlike any other type of writing. It’s a long and complex process that requires hundreds of hours of research before even a single word is put to the page. With multiple editorial and review passes that follow, the final product is a culmination of years of work and involves a whole team of people alongside the author.

This interview with JoAnna Hoyt, author of Amos, Jonah, & Micah: Evangelical Exegetical Commentary, will shed some light on this complicated writing process. [Read more…]

Pro Football Players on Life, Loss, and Jesus

Professional football players have fame, money, and lifestyles that few will ever know. But some live for a greater purpose than football, and with a deeper motivation than winning. They live by faith. [Read more…]