Biblical Studies/Theology

Rebels Without a Cause

It didn’t go well for Korah and crew when they complained against God. In fact, the ended up in what people today might call a giant sinkhole. Anyone who knows a little Yiddish probably knows the word kvetch. It means complain and whine habitually.

The Covert Conspiracy

Many things happen behind the scenes that affect our lives and the history of nations. The Israelites fell prey to the enemy’s devices, and it cost them dearly. If you think you know everything going on around you, think again. Life is not always what it seems. Sometimes circumstances are orchestrated…

The Desert Complaint Department

A lesson in what NOT to do–even though God is always faithful. Complaining is a flaw of sinners. It is part of humanity’s sinful condition. It is part of humanity’s sinful condition. We grumble about long lines, prices, people…

Satisfying God’s Wrath

The biblical doctrine of propitiation is under attack in our culture. Adherents of postmodernism and even some people within the church have rejected biblical teachings they perceive to be too harsh—such as judgment, hell, and the doctrine of propitiation.

A Minister’s Encouragement

1 Thessalonians 3:1–5: Birthing is not easy. That’s why it’s called labor. Paul felt personally responsible for the Thessalonian church, which he had birthed through his ministry. He cared for the babes in Christ there with the gentle love…

A Minister’s Heart

1 Thessalonians 2:13–20: The testimony of a new believer in Christ causes other believers to rejoice. Imagine how overjoyed the apostle Paul was to learn of the Thessalonians’ steadfast faith despite their persecution. He rejoiced over them and longed to see them again.

Ministering With Affection

1 Thessalonians 2:7–12The church is a family. People enter it by being born into it spiritually. And, as in a family, all members have responsibilities; and their commitment to and love for one another are necessary to create…

A Little Math Helps a Lot

It is often interesting to know the age of individuals at significant points in their lives. The Bible is not written in chronological order, and ferreting out that information often requires doing a little math. But the results can be fascinating.

Troubled Twins

Struggle defined Jacob and Esau’s relationship. It began in the womb, continued when Esau sold his birthright to Jacob, and culminated when Jacob stole Esau’s blessing. Though they were twins, the men were…

Family Feud

God uses all types of circumstances to shape people. Sometimes they are favorable; other times they involve trouble, heartache, and grief. In the case of the patriarch Jacob, the Lord used 20 difficult years in Padan Aram, when Jacob worked for…

From Bethel to Bethel

Many people struggle through life. Every day brings them something new to worry about. Some have illnesses. Others have grief. The list of troubles that shape a person is endless. The patriarch Jacob knew all about trouble…

The Man Whom God Knighted

There is no other biblical personality that has been made more the butt of harsh and unfair criticism than that of the patriarch Jacob, one of the ancestors of the Jewish race. He is depicted as the cunning supplanter…

Ministering with Integrity

1 Thessalonians 2:1–6: The apostle Paul’s abrupt departure from Thessalonica brought accusations that he was a religious charlatan preaching for financial gain and personal honor. If the accusations went unanswered, they…

God Is…

Although we’ll never grasp God in His entirety, we can still learn about Him through three things in particular. When I was a PhD candidate, I had to endure a comprehensive oral examination before four professors…

The Unfathomable Christ

During His incarnation, Christ was humiliated for our sake. Here are seven characteristics of Jesus that should make us love Him even more. You are about to read one of the most enlightening passages in all of Scripture…

The Story of Glory

Bobby was exactly my age—only 28. The cause of death was a horrific car crash. His extended family was unchurched, and I was asked to pray with them and later conduct the funeral. As a young pastor…

The Thessalonians’ Testimony

1 Thessalonians 1:9–10: When the Thessalonians received Jesus Christ as their Savior, they experienced a thrilling transformation. They were completely delivered from the darkness and depravity of paganism and anxiously…

The Conflict Begins

Have you ever asked yourself, Why is the world the way it is? What’s going on here? Most people have. Here is a brief explanation in an edited excerpt from Dr. Renald Showers’ extraordinary book What on Earth Is God Doing?

Inside View Sep/Oct 2016

It is common to cross paths with Christians who don’t believe the Jewish people today are God’s Chosen People. They fail to see how Israel fits into God’s plan for this world…

Plays on Words

The locations mentioned in Micah 1 have names that are similar to the verbs in the same sentence,1 creating plays on words that are lost when translating the text from its original Hebrew…

The Decivilization of Judah Micah 3

What goes around comes around. That means you can’t get away with doing wrong because eventually, wrong will be done to you. Biblically, it is the law of sowing and reaping, something the Judean leaders…

Waiting For Deliverance Micah 6—7

It’s election year in America, and again many are hoping for new leadership to restore the glory of our country. We think if only we get the right leaders into positions of influence, then perhaps we can…

Rejoicing Over Salvation

1 Thessalonians 1:5–8: The apostle Paul did not preach on the power of positive thinking to the Thessalonians. He did not use skillful oratory, philosophical arguments, clever expressions, or…

The Sense of Plain Sense

Another way in which I was subjected to the attitude of Replacement Theology was through the teaching that all of the Old Testament had been nailed to the…

The Greatest Prophet

Prophet, Priest, and King. That is how Jesus’ ministry roles are often portrayed. The Gospels emphasize His role as King of the Jews, though He has yet to occupy that position…

What Went Wrong

Contrary to what some people think, the concept of priesthood did not originate with Israel. In the patriarchal period, the male head of each household functioned as a…

The Divine Separation

“Power tends to corrupt, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” So said Sir John Dalberg-Acton in the 19th century, and nothing happening in the world to date has contradicted him…

Thankful for the Thessalonians

1 Thessalonians 1:2–4: When kindness is shown to someone, the usual response is to say thank you. No New Testament writer other than Paul expressed thankfulness to his fellow Christians…

Liberty, Love, and Life With Christ Conclusion

During its formative years, the church was entirely Jewish, as Jewish people by the thousands recognized Jesus as their long-promised Messiah. But by the end of the apostle Paul’s first missionary journey…

Liberty, Love, and Life With Christ Part Four

Christians are to honor God’s holiness by keeping His commandments. But what about gray areas where the Bible is silent? In those cases, followers of Jesus must not offend their consciences or those of other believers…

Introduction to the First Epistle to the Thessalonians

1 Thessalonians 1:1: First Thessalonians is a key book for every Christian, whether a new believer or seasoned saint. The theme is the coming of the Lord, and each chapter builds on an aspect of the believer’s life…

Dancing with the Devil

The reality of demonic attack and Jesus’ victory over it is woven throughout the Gospels, and there are 82 references to the word demon or demons in the New King James Bible…

The Thessalonian Church

Acts 17:1–10: One of the apostle Paul’s most important ministries took place in Thessalonica. His letters to believers there show how he established churches early in his ministry, met with opposition…

Liberty, Love, and Life with Christ Part Three

Christian liberty is a gift from God. Scripture says Christians are free to practice whatever God’s moral absolutes do not prohibit (Gal. 2:4; 5:1), providing they do not violate their own consciences (Rom. 14:22–23)…

The Permanence of the Promise

Some people maintain Romans 9—11 is a digression. However, as Bible scholar Thomas R. Schreiner noted, “The idea that these chapters disrupt the argument of the epistle has all but vanished today…

Vessels of Clay Romans 9:1–29

Four thousand years ago, God called Abraham from Ur of the Chaldees (southern Iraq) to the land of Canaan (Israel) and made him an awesome promise…

Mission Impossible Romans 9:30–10:21

On my first day of college many years ago, I met a Gentile who was “born again.” He presented Jesus Christ as Savior and the only way to heaven and told me…

It’s Not Over Yet Romans 11:25–36

Unfortunately, many people do not understand what the Bible teaches about Israel. God loves the Jewish people; and, according to Romans 11:25–36, His redemptive plan for them is not over yet.

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…