Custom-Made Temptations, Crafted Just For You

Paul told the Corinthians that he and his apostolic associates were wise to Satan’s deceptive schemes (2 Cor 2:11). The apostle knew Satan was a formidable enemy who had millennia of experience tempting and deceiving God’s image-bearers; but he also knew he had been given insight into the way his enemy operated. Continue reading “Custom-Made Temptations, Crafted Just For You”

27 Quotes from David Gibson’s ‘Living Life Backward: How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us to Live in Light of the End’

We are currently studying the book of Ecclesiastes in our college group (Tuesday nights) and with our young professionals (Friday nights). In preparation I’ve been reading repeatedly the text of Ecclesiastes while also finding help in a small collection of books and commentaries. David Gibson’s book, Living Life Backward: How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us to Live in Light of the End has been particularly helpful. Below are my favorite quotes.   Continue reading “27 Quotes from David Gibson’s ‘Living Life Backward: How Ecclesiastes Teaches Us to Live in Light of the End’”

Introductory Thoughts on Biblical Interpretation

Recently I’ve had the opportunity to engage the issue of hermeneutics with my fellow elders and with a few other pastor friends. Below is a brief outline of some of my basic hermeneutical convictions and exegetical practices that I prepared for my discussion with these brothers. I pray that this outline is helpful for you as you think through your own approach to biblical interpretation. These comments are meant to be introductory (not comprehensive) so feel free to dialog about these principles in the comment section.  Continue reading “Introductory Thoughts on Biblical Interpretation”

Toward a Christian Philosophy of History

Over the past few years—due to teaching assignments, writing projects, and personal interest—I’ve done a fair amount of reading and reflection on the Genesis creation narrative. One the major questions with which professing evangelicals are currently wrestling is how we should understand the Genesis account as it pertains specifically to the existence of Adam and Eve. Specifically: Are Adam and Eve historical people, created de novo by God, or does the creation account provide merely theological truths without venturing to make material claims? Continue reading “Toward a Christian Philosophy of History”

How Union with Christ Helps Us Apply Justification and Sanctification

One objection the Reformers faced was that their doctrine of justification by faith alone eliminated the need for good works and sanctification and thus robed people of the motivation for these necessary elements of the Christian life. Nevertheless, despite accusations to the contrary, Luther championed justification by faith alone while making clear that true faith would bear the fruit of good works. But it is was John Calvin a few years later who would provide greater clarity on how to understand the relationship between justification and sanctification. Continue reading “How Union with Christ Helps Us Apply Justification and Sanctification”

9 Exhortations for Doing Theology

Theology can be a snare if we don’t pursue it properly. Below are nine exhortations for how we should approach the work of theology.

(1) Revere the nature of Scripture and beware of mere abstraction
When we study theology we must recognize that all true and useful theology flows from a proper understanding of Scripture. In order to properly understand Scripture, however, we must approach it according to what it is. That is, we must take it on its own terms and its own nature or else we will run the risk of misinterpreting and misapplying the Bible. For example, Scripture contains—particularly in the New Testament—a significant amount of epistles that deal specifically with theological and doctrinal issues. But the Bible is not a theology textbook, per se. There are multiple genres in Scripture: historical narrative, poetry, proverbial sayings, and stories, both true and fictional (e.g., parables). And even the heavily doctrinal portions of Scripture were written as letters to churches, not theological treatises. Continue reading “9 Exhortations for Doing Theology”