Bible

Yes, You Can Learn New Testament Greek

Until the Reformation, it was not standard practice for clergy to learn the original languages of the Scriptures. This was in part due to the long reign of Jerome’s Vulgate translation into Latin that was the officially endorsed version of the Roman Catholic Church. Among Protestant pastors, learning Hebrew and Greek is common and often required, but this regard for the importance of the biblical text in its original languages has not filtered through to…

Continue reading

Bible Canon of Scripture

Is Holy Scripture Sufficient?

The expanse of 2000 years of Church history means that one is forced to be more precise and specific than some prior ages might have required, because as Thomas Schreiner has written, “controversy is the furnace in which clearer theology is formed.” Distinguishing between the authority of Scripture and the sufficiency of it is one of those furnaces, and indeed, while both are doubted, there is a need to parse the implications of saying Scripture…

Continue reading

Bible

Read Your Bible Slowly

The statistics on Bible engagement among Americans are not encouraging. They have not been for several years. The latest research from Barna shows that the number of Americans who are “Bible Centered” dropped from 9% down to 5%. Bible-Centered is defined as those who “Interact with the Bible frequently. It is transforming their relationships and shaping their choices.”[1] That is a subjective measure, but the category next to that one, “Bible Engaged” has a similar…

Continue reading

Bible Canon of Scripture Theology

The Fallacy of Red Letterism as an Interpretive Grid

Most people have heard of “Red Letter Christians.” Who are they and what do they believe? According to redletterchristians.com,  “Red Letter Christians is a movement that holds the teachings of Jesus—which are highlighted in red letters in many Bibles—as central to our understanding of the Bible. Christ is the lens through which we interpret the Word — and the world. Not only do we have words on paper, but the Word becomes flesh — in…

Continue reading

Bible Theology

Biblical Theology Comes from Reading More of the Bible

Most Christians at least acknowledge the fact that reading through all of Scripture is something they should do. One hears complaints about the great difficulties of making it through Leviticus, the implication being that it is so far removed from our contemporary experience that it is rough sledding indeed to push on. I recall being part of a study a few years ago on the last four books of the Pentateuch, and one participant remarked at…

Continue reading

Bible Culture

When Deconstruction Becomes Destruction

It is, I think, an unfortunate choice of words that some speak of examining their belief system as “deconstructing faith.” It is unfortunate because the origins of deconstruction are in literary critical theory, a theory that has no particular regard for objective truth. Indeed, one of the hallmarks of deconstruction is that there is no such thing as truth, there is only culturally conditioned understandings of our world. One should distinguish between this and revising…

Continue reading

Bible Old Testament

Notes from the Resistance: How the Old Testament Continues to Assert its Value

I have written before about the “unhitching” of the Old Testament from the New, and the furor caused by some suggestions Andy Stanley made in his preaching. My previous post considered some statements he had made in public speaking. Having now read his book, Irresistible, I want to consider some of what’s in it and whether it offers a better explanation of his public preaching. There was a strong reaction against Stanley, and the invocation…

Continue reading

Bible

The Counterpoint of Truth

One of the delights of musical training is to see the connections between the discipline of music and that of other areas of life, most notably, theology. I thought about this recently with regard to the fugue. A fugue is a musical form that has distinct parameters, and which great composers have exploited. Bach was, as in most things, the master. A fugue begins with a single voice, playing a melody, called the subject. That…

Continue reading

Bible Theology

Is the Metaphor of God as Father Incorrect?

What are the limits of language when we speak of God’s person and essence? What can we say definitively about God that does not lapse into sentimental anthropomorphizing? These questions aren’t new, but they are recent news due to the remarks of Justin Welby, the Archbishop of Canterbury. Welby stated that it is wrong to think of God as male or female. “God is not a father in exactly the same way as a human…

Continue reading

Bible Culture

Using God’s Words in Our God Talk

There is an ongoing conflict between what Americans say is important about their faith, and how we speak about it to the culture around us. This is, in part, what Jonathan Merritt says in his NY Times OpEd, It’s Getting Harder to Talk About God. I agree with much of what Merritt writes, but while he diagnoses a problem with our “God Talk,” he doesn’t offer a prescription to heal it. To be fair, his…

Continue reading