Biblical Studies/Theology

Confronting Church Conflict

3 John 5–14: Third John focuses on three men, two of whom—Gaius and Diotrephes—were church leaders. Gaius was a committed servant, full of love and truth, and given to hospitality…

When the Time Was Right

The Hebrew Scriptures provide inklings of God’s special preparations for His Son. Abraham and his descendants were to live in a specifi c place, the “Promised Land” (Gen. 12:1).

The Roman Effect

It is difficult today to imagine life in the ancient Roman Empire. We are far removed from the first century, and the motion picture industry has molded the way we perceive…

Beyond the Manger

Even at this time of year, when we celebrate Jesus’ birth, most people don’t know who Jesus is. The Bible has much to say about the One who was born in a manger in Bethlehem.

No Room at the Kataluma

When it comes to the account of Jesus’ birth, it seems like the villain was the poor innkeeper. After all, he was the one who turned Mary and Joseph away…

Waiting for His Shout

It is not difficult to picture the scene Jesus’ disciples witnessed when the resurrected Lord ascended from the surface of the earth, rising higher and higher. Their squinting gaze no doubt focused…

A Beloved Servant

3 John 1–4: Churches are like families: full of members with differing personalities, dispositions, and temperaments. Some members are friendly, loving, truthful, generous, and hospitable…

Standing for the Truth

2 John 5–13: All Christians should obey biblical truth and manifest love, as taught by Jesus Christ. The “elect lady and her children,” whom the apostle John mentioned in his second epistle, lived observably according to these commandments…

Humanity’s Rejection of God’s Moral Absolutes

Humanity’s refusal to accept God’s wisdom has led people to reject His moral absolutes. Consequently, individuals engage in practices that violate what God ordained for mankind. They commit…

Two Boys, Two Mountains, Two Covenants

In our modern or postmodern world, the narratives of the Old Testament frequently slip from a vibrant canvas of deep theological truth into shallow “stories” from which believers draw…

The Far-Reaching Abrahamic Covenant

Imagine, if you can, an “appearance” by the God of glory to an idol worshiper named Abram living in Mesopotamia. He gave Abram a command and an extraordinary promise…

Abraham’s Faith

Anyone who has read the story of Abraham would agree he was an ordinary man who was made extraordinary by faith. He stands out in Scripture as a stellar figure whom Judaism calls…

A Rock on Which to Build the World

Abraham is the only person in the Old Testament called the “friend” of God (Isa. 41:8; Jas. 2:23). In the New Testament, he is listed as an ancestor of Jesus Christ (Mt. 1:1) and…

The Long Arm of Grace

Reading the biblical account of Abraham’s life is like watching a tightrope walker who steps onto a thin wire to traverse cavernous depths. The slightest misstep can bring disaster. Counted as…

Confidence in God

1 John 5:13–21: Some Christians lack assurance that they are truly born again. Certainty about one’s salvation comes through knowing what God’s Word teaches. The apostle John’s major focus…

Humanity’s Rejection of Genuine Wisdom

The foundation, or beginning, of wisdom is the fear of the Lord (Ps. 111:10). Unfortunately, large segments of humanity do not fear the Lord and have no true wisdom. Instead…

Introduction to Obadiah

History is replete with small nations that strut across the world stage, proudly flex their political muscles, and then vanish into obscurity. Edom was such a nation, and its story was…

The Pitfall of Pride Obadiah 1—4

Obadiah 1–4: When the apostle Paul wrote to his young protégé Timothy to tell him how to pastor the church at Ephesus, he cautioned him not to give too much responsibility to…

The Folly of Misplaced Trust Obadiah 5—9

Obadiah 5—9: Most Americans remember where they were on 9/11. We remember our vulnerability; our politicians singing together on the Capitol steps in Washington, DC; the national prayer…

The Genesis 12:3 Principle Obadiah 10—14

Obadiah 10—14: Imagine having to sleep with a gun under your bed. I am not talking about Detroit, New York, or Philadelphia. I am talking about Haifa, Tel Aviv, and Jerusalem. This…

You Reap What You Sow Obadiah 15—16

Obadiah 15–16: Have you ever seen someone revel in another’s misfortune or be smug and self-satisfied when sympathy was called for? There’s a saying, “What goes around comes around.” The Bible…

Every Square Inch! Obadiah 17—21

Obadiah 17–21: One of the joys of spending time in Israel is the privilege of making wonderful friends. As relationships grow, conversations arise on a variety of topics. Sometimes…

The Foundation of Genuine Wisdom

The Bible teaches that the foundation, or beginning, of genuine wisdom is the fear of the Lord. Unwise people spurn the fear of the Lord by neglecting God’s moral absolutes…

God’s Signs

Signs are important to me because I travel a lot, and they point me in the right direction. Biblical signs are somewhat different. Though they point us in the right direction…

Contrasts of Wisdom

The Bible calls attention to several problems with false wisdom, which, in reality, is not wisdom at all. After Babylon had manifested great pride in abusing the Israelites during their 70-year…

Can Three Be One?

Christians are often accused of worshiping three gods. Admittedly, the truth of a triune (three in one) God is a difficult, if not impossible, concept to grasp. God is not like…

More Than a Prophet

Many people believe Jesus was a good man and a prophet. Some will even admit He was the Son of God who came to Earth. But tell them Jesus was God Himself who appeared…

The Divine Shepherd of Israel

When Jesus was born in Bethlehem, He entered a world that was bursting with anticipation. Some of the Jewish people were longing for God’s divine manifestation, as in the days of…

A Heart for Our Needs

Charles Haddon Spurgeon, a 19th-century, British Baptist preacher, opened his great Christmas Eve sermon published in 1914 with these words: “He was moved with compassion…

Spiritual Discernment

1 John 4:1–6: First-century believers were often inundated with heretical doctrine from people whom the Bible identifies as false teachers and false prophets. At that time…

The Wisdom of God Conclusion

God gave Babylonian King Nebuchadnezzar a dream that disturbed he could not sleep. Then God revealed to Daniel the dream’s content and meaning. This article explains…

Loving One Another

1 John 3:11–24: In 1 John 3:10, the apostle John declared, “Whoever does not practice righteousness is not of God, nor is he who does not love his brother.” These strong words…

The Wisdom of God Part Three

This article provides more examples of God’s distribution of wisdom. Nebuchadnezzar, the crown prince of Babylon, came to Israel’s capital city of Jerusalem in August 605 BC.

What Is the Gospel?

If you were to die tonight, do you know for certain you would go to heaven? I’ve heard all types of answers to this question: “I don’t believe in heaven.” “I think I’m going to heaven….

Saints and Sinners

1 John 3:4–10: The First Epistle of John teaches that people who are truly born again are children of God and will practice righteousness (2:29), keeping themselves pure from sin…

The Wisdom of God Part Two

Proverbs 2:6–7 states, “The Lᴏʀᴅ gives wisdom; from His mouth come knowledge and understanding; He stores up sound wisdom for the upright.” However, the Bible also reveals…

Behold God’s Love

1 John 3:1–3: God’s redemptive program began with His love for fallen humanity. Those who have been “born of Him” (1 Jn. 2:29) by faith in Jesus Christ manifest this…

The Wisdom of God Part One

Webster’s New International Dictionary defines wise as “discerning and judging soundly concerning what is true or false, proper or improper.” It defines wisdom as the…

The Greatest Sacrifice

With Passover beginning at sundown on April 14, grocery stores are stocking up on kosher items. Kosher literally means “fit and suitable,” and the laws of kashrut tell…

The Road to the Cross

Are you ever tempted to doubt God’s love for you? Perhaps you’ve lost a loved one, heard bad news from your doctor, or face some nagging temptation yet again. “God,” you agonize…

Beyond the Veil

For ages God has been inviting people to seek Him. Yet, at the same time, He made it clear that it was impossible to enter His presence. When Moses asked to see…

The Resurrection: Dispelling the Myths

Around the time of Christ there were dozens of Messianic movements. Each ended the same way: The leader died, often by execution, and the movement died…

Warning Against Antichrists

1 John 2:18–29: At the inception of his epistle, the apostle John declared, “God is light” (1 Jn. 1:5). He said people who walk in God’s light abide in fellowship with Him.

The Grace of God Conclusion

Our previous article showed that the apostle Paul was consumed by the transforming reality of God’s grace. Many times Paul used the word grace in his epistles to the…

Contend for the Faith! Jude 1—4

Have you ever wished you could return to the purity of the first-century Christian church, when there were no denominational differences and all believers were simply called…

Apostasy, Angels, and Judgment Jude 5—11

Apostasy is nothing new. Although it may seem worse today than in previous years, it has been around almost forever; and it reaps God’s judgment. An apostate is one who departs from…

Snapshots of Apostates Jude 12—15

On the evening of January 13, 2012, the luxurious cruise ship Costa Concordia was sailing off the coast of the Tuscan Island of Giglio when, without warning, it struck mountainous…

Essentials for the Faithful Jude 16—25

The short epistle of Jude is a scathing denunciation of false teachers and their immoral doctrines. It portrays them as evil individuals who worm their way into churches even though…

How to be a Godly Leader

So many churches and Christian organizations are facing crises in their leadership. Godly leadership is critical if Christians are to grow in Christ and glorify Him. Here are four principles of godly…

The Girl Almost Nobody Loved

One of the many wonderful things about the Bible is how full it is of real people and their real struggles. It is not a sterile Book. God clothed His truth in skin through the hundreds of…

Love Not the World

1 John 2:12–17: In this section, John assured his readers of his confidence in their salvation (vv. 12–14); and he instructed them to guard against loving the world and becoming part of its…

The Grace of God Part Eight

We saw that the word translated “testify” refers to “an emphatic affirmation that a thing is or will be so.” The word translated “gospel” means “good news.” A commission is “an authoritative order”…

Messiah

As we teach the Bible, we’re always surprised to learn how many people don’t realize that Jesus’ name is not “Jesus Christ.” The word Christ is English for the Greek word Christós.

If That Isn’t Love

It doesn’t take long for people to realize how much I love my little dog, Herbie. If I could, I’d take him with me everywhere. Herbie helped me understand how difficult it is for families to lose…

While We Were Still Sinners

I will never forget the day I visited the infamous Dandora Dump on the outskirts of Nairobi, Kenya. The stench overwhelmed me as I witnessed young children scouring smoking mountains of toxic…

The Greatest Gift of All

I still can’t believe I overslept on Christmas morning. I can’t believe any 8-year-old would oversleep on Christmas morning. I saw my father sitting near the Christmas tree, beaming with anticipation.

The Test of Knowing God

1 John 2:3–11: It is easy for someone to say, “I know God”; but what does that really mean? First John 2:3–11 provides three tests or evidences of what it means to know God and be in…

The Grace of God Part Seven

In Acts 20:24 the apostle Paul referred to his purpose in life: “that I may finish my race with joy.” The Greek word translated finish means “to fulfill” or to carry out “a required course in…

God’s Provision for Sin

1 John 2:1–2: God is light (1 Jn. 1:5). Light defines and describes God’s true nature and symbolizes His purity, character, and glory. To have true fellowship with God, Christians must…

The Grace of God Part Six

Because of God’s grace, the church was able to grow. This article on the grace of God in the New Testament will observe how God, through grace, administered His eternal, moral absolutes over…

Introduction to Jeremiah

The prophet Jeremiah ministered from 627 to about 585 B.C., more than 100 years after the trauma of Assyria’s destruction of the northern kingdom of Israel in 722 B.C. Yet the consequences…

Shall Not Come to Mind Anymore

Jeremiah 3:16 and John 3:16: The Ark of the Covenant represented God’s presence and His footstool. It was where the Day of Atonement (Yom Kippur) ceremony was conducted in ancient…

Fellowship With God

1 John 1:5–10: Fellowship with God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ is the message the apostle John proclaims throughout this epistle. For believers to have fellowship with God, they…

Christ’s Incarnation

1 John 1:1–4: Before the apostle John wrote 1 John, he had already lived through the inception, expansion, and persecution of the first-century church…

How it All Began

Of all the Passovers that have ever been celebrated, only one was the actual Passover. It took place more than 34 centuries ago when the God of…

A Night to Remember

Preparations for the evening were ready. When the hour had come, Jesus and His disciples went to an upper room, where they reclined around a low…

The Seven Keys to History Part Six

Of all the events that have shaped history, there have been none more important than the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God’s ultimate solution to sin…

The First Epistle of John

In most Bible-believing churches, a Sunday morning service seems filled with a spirit of joy and harmony. Visitors are welcomed warmly and invited to please come back…

The Grace of God Part Three

God’s grace is evident throughout Scripture. The previous article presented examples of that grace. This article will continue that study. The cry for God’s grace by…

The Seven Keys to History Part Five

We live in a world that is deeply influenced by evolution and supposed scientific theory. To have a rightly ordered life, we must understand (1) God is the Creator…

A Final Exhortation

Hebrews 13:18–25: The final eight verses of Hebrews 13 conclude the Epistle to the Hebrews. In them, the author exhorted Jewish believers one last time through a…

The Grace of God Part Two

As we have seen, the two key Old Testament words for “grace” are hanan and hen. The Hebrew verb related to grace is hanan. In one form, it means “be gracious” or…

The Seven Keys to History Part Four

The first three keys to history are found in the first 2,000 years of the world, from Genesis 1 through 11: creation, corruption, and catastrophe. Genesis 12 holds the fourth…

Counseling the Christian Hebrews 13:7–17

Chapter 13 of Hebrews contains the book’s final admonishment. Whereas verses 1–6 provide practical and personal exhortation on how believers should live in Christ, verses 7–17 focus more on theological…

The Grace of God Part One

This article begins a study of God’s grace in the Scriptures. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew verb related to grace is hanan.1 In one form it “has the meaning…

The Greatness of the Gospel

God knows what we need better than we do. And He has provided abundantly for us in many ways, as you’ll see here.

Awaiting the Bridegroom

Ever been somewhere so comforting you never wanted to leave? Well, that’s nothing compared to what lies in store if you belong to Jesus.

The Best is Yet to Come

Streets of gold, the Tree of Life, the New Jerusalem. They’re not elements of a fairy tale. They’re real, as this outstanding article explains.

The Seven Keys to History Part Three

Have you ever heard the expression “the then world”? It comes from 2 Peter 3: For this they willfully forget: that by the word of God the heavens were of old…

Whatever Happened to Sunday Dinner?

I am not sure how my mother pulled it off, but she made Sunday dinner a special occasion. I have fond memories of the smells, tastes, and family atmosphere of the midday…

The Christian’s Commitment Hebrews 13:1–6

To this point, the book of Hebrews has stressed the superiority of Christ, while exhorting believers not to leave the church because of persecution but to go on to Christian…

The Love and Mercy of God Conclusion

The previous article cited examples of Jesus administering God’s mercy in various ways during His ministry on Earth. He administered mercy to the unsaved and guiltless and healed the blind, demon-possessed…

Wearing God’s Glasses

Have you ever seen an optical illusion? A picture, perhaps, that can look either like a duck or a rabbit, depending on your perception? That’s how the world can be. People…

The Seven Keys to History Part Two

The entire world lives on a seven-day cycle that was God’s design and creation: In six days He created the world, and on the seventh He rested. Genesis 1 says…

The Final Warning Hebrews 12:18–29

In a fifth and final warning to Jewish believers in Christ, the book of Hebrews contrasts the experience of God’s people at Mount Sinai as they received the Mosaic Covenant…

The Love and Mercy of God Part Six

The New Testament reveals that Jesus defended and administered God’s mercy in various ways during His ministry on Earth. On one occasion Jesus and His disciples went to a house and ate…

The Seven Keys to History Part One

Creation is God’s handiwork. It is the starting point for a correct understanding of everything about humankind, history, and life. So we begin this series…

The Facts and Flaws of Covenant Theology Conclusion

What does God say about Israel’s future? If the New Testament teaches ethnic Israel has a future, then Replacement Theology is untrue. While on Earth, Jesus established that He was premillennial…

The Lord’s Chastening Hebrews 12:5–17

Tribulation and suffering befall all true Christians sometime in their lives. The believers addressed in the book of Hebrews were no exception. Persecution had…

The Love and Mercy of God Part Five

The previous article focused on God’s eleos mercy as related to eternal salvation. Now we will examine other relationships of God’s mercy expressed through the Greek New Testament words eleos, oiktirmos…

The Triunity in Isaiah

Bible-believing Christians hold fast to many cardinal doctrines of the faith, such as the virgin birth, inspiration of Scripture, substitutionary atonement, justification by faith, and the plurality within the Godhead…

Isaiah: The Royal Prophet

He moved with grace through the culture of his day. That was Isaiah, a prince of prophets, whom you’ll get to know better through this excellent article.

Isaiah’s Son/Child Theme

Higher critics often point to differences within the book of Isaiah to prove their theory of multiple authors and time periods. However, many common themes run throughout the book and argue…

Merely Lumps of Clay

Imagine a clay pot complaining about the potter who created it! The thought is absurd. The lump of clay is nothing. In fact, it’s completely worthless until the potter skillfully…

Who Is Like You, Eternal One?

Do you have trouble or heartache in your life? Does the world situation worry you? Then the book of Isaiah should be a great comfort because it makes clear there’s a God…

A Faith That Endures Hebrews 12:1–4

The book of Hebrews was written to provide evidence of Jesus Christ’s divinity, confirm that the Mosaic Law had been both fulfilled and abrogated in Christ, and exhort Jewish believers…

The Love and Mercy of God Part Four

The previous article introduced key Greek words for God’s mercy in the New Testament and noted the relationship of God’s love to His mercy. This article examines more examples of God’s…