Posts by Bryan Elliff

Posts by Bryan Elliff

Incorporation into Christ: The Mystery in Ephesians

I was a teenager when I experienced my first revelation as a reader of Paul’s letters. It was as if Ananias had once again stepped off the street called Straight and opened my eyes. What I saw was very simple and (I have since found out) already discovered by many before me: Paul wrote very often about Jew-born and Gentile-born believers and how they become a unified church through the gospel. “So that’s why he talks so much about things…

Why Is God Angry With Us?

I have at times felt uncomfortable with the idea that God is angry at humankind. I mean that the harshness of it sometimes feels unfair. The feeling comes when I read things like the conquest of Canaan or the graphic predictions of judgments that God would bring on Israel. But most of all, eternal torment is almost impossible for me to think about without real terror and revulsion. Could anything someone does in these moments on earth deserve that? My…

What is the Gospel? A Look at the Message in Acts

What serious Bible reader hasn’t been a bit surprised by the way the apostles in Acts proclaim the gospel message? “Well, that’s not quite the way I would have done it,” he muses, turning the page. That’s at least how I began to reflect on the question “What is the gospel?” a few years ago. Now it seems to me that this is a highly important topic. Christianity (or “the Way,” if we’re going to be Acts-ian) has been very…

Ministry Report From Colombia, March 2016

I just returned from a 3-week trip to beautiful Santa Elena, Colombia where I was teaching at the Instituto Bíblico Reformado Nueva Providencia. The teaching format was kind of a cross between a Bible Intensive Retreat and The Muller Center for Biblical Studies in which we studied the books of Titus and Mark for a full 11 days. The official title of the class was “Inductive Bible Study Method – New Testament”. There were 17 students, mostly between the ages…

Less Lecture, More Learning: Ideas for a Better Sunday School Hour

My wife and I recently spoke with a woman from a church in town. “I don’t have any idea how to study the Bible,” she complained. “It’s so difficult to understand.” What’s worse, she concluded by saying, “So I don’t really read the Bible much.” I’m fairly familiar with this church and know it to be one that cares about the Bible. I also know for a fact that, for the last three years, this woman has been sitting in…

Update from Rome | July 2014

This month, God gave us the incredible opportunity of spending a month in Rome in order to take a 3-week intensive (and by intensive we mean very intensive!) spoken biblical Greek class. Everyone gives us funny looks when we say we came to Italy to learn Greek, but there happens to be an institute here that we took a class with in Jerusalem which teaches ancient Greek as a living language. It was a lot of work, but we could…

Jerusalem Update May-June 2014

Congratulations. You are now reading the very last of our updates from Jerusalem. Why? You guessed it! We are leaving Jerusalem. I’ve finished my studies here at JUC and we’ve decided to set sail for home. For a long time, we had considered staying an extra year or half-year in order to study some more, but as things stand now, we feel that there are better opportunities for God to use us in Kansas City. We actually leave in less…

Jerusalem Update: April 2014

Since arriving nearly nine months ago, never has the reality of living at the crossroads of three major world religions been so evident as it has this past month, the first time in years that Passover, Western Christian Easter, and Eastern Orthodox Easter all collided. And by collided, I’m not just speaking metaphorically. Some days we could hardly make it out of the Old City, where we live. Besides the massive influx of Jews from all around the world arriving…

Jerusalem Update: March 2014

Below are a few points from life here. But, the most important comes first: Beautiful, sunny, 70 degree weather. With flowers included. That means more picnics, more studying outside, more walks with friends, just all around more goodness. Other than the weather, life carries on as normal, except for a few changes. Bryan’s parents, sister, and 4 good friends from our church in Kansas City are here!! (Ok, actually this is the most exciting point.) They are doing a 2…

Jerusalem Update: December 2013

We walked to church last night, with plastic bags over our shoes. When we arrived, we found something missing from the picture. People. Well, there were two people. They also had plastic bags over their shoes. Aside from these two, pretty much all that we could see was the 15 inches of snow blanketing Jerusalem. Clearly church was cancelled. As we slogged back home, nodding to the few other pedestrians on the road, our hearts were filled with grim solidarity…

Jerusalem Update: November 2013

“You know what I love about living here?” These were the first words I heard from Bryan’s mouth this morning. I peeked my head into our tiny bathroom area where Bryan was carrying out his morning bug massacre to hear his answer. “I love how many problems we have here. It’s great.” You might think this answer sounded Pollyannish, but I understood exactly what he meant. Of course, unlike our escalating bug problem, a few weightier ones we’ve been dealing…

Jerusalem Update: October 2013

Elliff October Update You know the feeling. You stop paying much attention to the paths you walk (or drive) every day, you go to the same stores and buy the same foods, you see the same people and grow to enjoy their company . . . it’s the feeling of settling in. Though surprises still often tap us on the shoulder, this welcome feeling has been growing in us this last month. Lately we’ve found that a good way to…
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