Articles (Page 3)

Articles (Page 3)

Missionary or Missionary Worker?

Missionaries must have other workers, long and short term, to assist. Many of these will naturally come from among those who show promise as converts through the missionary’s efforts. Paul, though perhaps exceptional in his management skills, had 38 whose names appear as likely assistants at various times. He was always traveling and laboring with a coterie of faithful helpers. There could have been even more! Some of Paul’s workers were women (18%, according to Schnabel, p. 251), although no…

He’ll Stand

The following words by Paul the Apostle make for tangible peace between sincerely conscientious Christians who differ in convictions: “Who are you to judge the servant of another? To his own master he stands or falls; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand” (Romans 14:4). A true believer will ultimately stand justified before God, regardless of differences in those matters about which God has chosen to give no definitive command. In such areas we…

Law Confusion

It is an often repeated mistake for Bible readers to assume that “the works of the Law” means any good work or act of obedience to God. However, Paul appears to mean by this term in his first century context “the externalities of the Mosaic Law”. If someone said, “You have to be circumcised to be saved, and obey Old Covenant separation laws, feast days and dietary restrictions” he would be talking about what hopeful Gentile converts in the first…

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…

Living By the Prophet’s Words

Prophets like Moses and Paul, John and Isaiah had amazing encounters with the Lord. But we are to step out in faith without having similar experiences. You should not expect that God has to prove that what has been written is required of us by an additional vision, appearance, voice, or impression. We shouldn’t say, “I won’t take this step unless I have special revelation from God,” but must obey what God has made known to the prophet-writers of the…

Jesus and Joseph

Like Jesus, Joseph was the special son of his father, beloved; like Jesus, Joseph was hated because his father loved him and because of his words and predictions of future authority; like Jesus, Joseph was plotted against; like Jesus, Joseph was stripped of a wonderful tunic, made bloody; like Jesus, Joseph was sold for silver; like Jesus, Joseph was taken to Egypt; like Jesus, Joseph was falsely accused; like Jesus, Joseph was given authority after humility; like Jesus, Joseph began…

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…

Jacob Saw Christ

Jacob, on his flight to Paddam-Aram, had a dream of a ladder leading to heaven with the Lord at the top and angels descending and ascending. This took place at what he would call Bethel, or “house of God.” “And behold, the Lord stood above it and said…” is a phrase which indicates that he was actually speaking with the preincaranate Christ. That it was the preincarnate Christ that Jacob saw that night is made clear later when Jesus met…

Women in Your Ministry Context: An Appeal for Male Christian Leaders to Choose Male Assistants

A fine young pastor and his family take a small church in a rural area, or perhaps in a tired part of an otherwise thriving city. It’s their first opportunity to lead a church, and they have dreams of something deep, growing, and lasting. There is little money given by the church to hire anyone else other than this single leader. Well enough. It can’t be other than it is in the beginning. But right off the pastor is in…

Identity Theft: Losing Our Christian Self-Consciousness

When whimpering Gideon hid himself from the Midianites in the winepress while threshing his wheat, the angel of the Lord appeared to him with this striking greeting: “The Lord is with you, you mighty man of valor!” Man of valor? In Gideon’s mind, nothing could be further from the truth. But the angel continued, “Go in this might of yours, and you shall save Israel from the hand of the Midianites.” Gideon squeaked out a lame response, “O my Lord,…

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…