Pastors, preachers, and Bible teachers: Have you thought about your Christmas sermon or lesson yet? If you want to help people celebrate Christmas this year (and every year) in keeping with established facts—not later legends, traditions, or popular imaginations—start by avoiding these common mistakes.
1. Don’t add details that aren’t in the text.
This might seem obvious but bears repeating because it happens so often. The massive annual proliferation of Christmas cards, nativity scenes, and TV specials perpetuates these added details and gives the impression that they are facts.
The... Read More
It’s that time again, the most wonderful time of the year!
It’s the most wonderful time of the year
With the kids jingle belling
And everyone telling you “Be of good cheer.”
It’s the most wonderful time of the year.
And on it goes …
So what’s the most wonderful time of the year? Christmas, of course! Little has changed since Andy Williams first recorded this song in 1963. We love Christmas, because it’s a time to be with family and friends and to feel cozy and warm.
Lost in the Shuffle
And yet, while we love Christmas, sometimes Christ gets... Read More
As we live life on mission, how can we be part of God’s purpose to increase and reproduce? In short, we can identify: ask God whom he wants us to impact for Christ and identify such individuals in our lives. We can invest: get to know those people, spend time with them, share our faith, and bring them into our church community. We can invite: call people to individual discipleship and challenge them to be an active part of God’s mission. Finally, we can increase: help send out disciples to work in God’s harvest.
God Will Give Numerical Increase
Now in what follows, I’m going to... Read More
As a little boy, I was blessed to grow up in the small country of Austria, the land of “Silent Night, Holy Night” and of The Sound of Music. Christmas was truly a special time of the year, and many Christmases were in fact white. My sister and I would leave our wish list for the Christ child on our window sill the night before Christmas (we celebrated on Christmas Eve), and then, on Christmas Eve, behind closed doors, we heard our Christmas tree being set up and decorated by (we surmised) angels. Later that evening, we would enter our living room, and, lo and behold, find most of the... Read More
“Best of” book lists have certainly continued to proliferate since Biblical Foundations first started to compile these lists close to a decade ago. However, quite a few of these lists are compiled by individuals whose specialty is primarily in historical or systematic theology rather than biblical studies, biblical theology, or hermeneutics, which is our primary focus at Biblical Foundations.
That said, here’s our list of the best resources in biblical studies for 2015. The volumes are listed in no particular order. All of them exhibit a very high level of scholarship, and the... Read More
Should someone tell Luke about run-on sentences? Luke was not only a doctor; he was a very well educated man. As a result, he wrote a very elegant literary preface to his Gospel. He says he followed matters closely for some time and talked to eyewitnesses. With regard to Jesus’ birth, who would have been an eyewitness? The main eyewitness would have been Mary, Jesus’ mother. Mary was most likely much younger than Joseph, who in all probability had died by the time Jesus started his public ministry.
Who Was Jesus?
Luke wrote his account for Theophilus, who is called “most excellent,” a... Read More
Note: This address was originally delivered at the banquet of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (CBMW) in Atlanta, GA, on Monday, November 16, 2015.
Good evening! I’m very grateful to all of you for your leadership and untiring work on behalf of the biblical teaching on gender roles.
Thank You for Wayne Grudem Award
I wanted to take a moment to thank you personally for awarding my wife and me the Wayne Grudem Award for Complementarian Scholarship. This is a very high honor and very encouraging to us as we try to be faithful to the legacy of those who, like Wayne, have shown such... Read More
The following Advent Reading Plan, reproduced from The First Days of Jesus: The Story of the Incarnation by Andreas J. Kӧstenberger and Alexander E. Stewart (foreword by Justin Taylor; Wheaton: Crossway, 2015) includes six readings from the Old Testament, six from Matthew, nine from Luke, and four from John.
The readings, keyed to The First Days of Jesus, move from some of the major Old Testaments texts expressing messianic expectations to the infancy narratives in Matthew and Luke to John’s prologue. Ideally, these Scripture passages should be read in conjunction with the respective... Read More
Today’s college students face many challenges. I know. Two of my children are currently in college, and one of them graduated from college a year ago. Without aiming to be comprehensive, five of the major issues college students face, based on my unscientific survey of my children and some of their friends, are the following: (1) busyness and overcommitment; (2) sexual purity; (3) relationship anxiety; (4) lack of direction and uncertainty about the future; and (5) religious doubt and confusion.
Top 5 Issues College Students Face: Some Thoughts
While there are doubtless others who are more... Read More
Why pursue excellence? Biblically speaking, we should pursue excellence not because we’re motivated to boost our ego or to achieve success, but because our glorious, excellent God deserves no less, and because he’s created us for excellence and has called us to pursue excellence for His glory.
How Should We Respond to God’s Excellence?
What’s our proper response to God’s excellence? I believe Scripture tells us that we can do so in primarily three ways: (1) proclamation; (2) imitation; and a (3) committed, conscious, and deliberate pursuit of Christian... Read More
In Philippians 4:8, Paul writes, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, what is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” OK, then, let’s do just that – think about excellence.
Christians Not Always Known for Excellence
What comes to your mind when you hear the word “excellence”? Chances are, it’s not people in the church. It’s just a minor pet peeve of mine, but how many times have you seen typos or other spelling... Read More
I love writing. Sometimes people ask me for suggestions on how to find time to write and how to be productive.
Here are a few suggestions:
(1) Be disciplined: Grind it out. Germans call this Sitzfleisch (essentially, the ability to stay seated and not to get up until a given task is accomplished).
(2) Be flexible: Make a plan. Then get it done in whichever way possible. If you can’t get it done in the morning, don’t go to bed until you got it done whenever you can.
(3) Be committed: Keep your writing commitments. Accountability is key. Writing never just happens. It takes... Read More
In his first epistle, the apostle John writes, “That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life—the life was made manifest, and we have seen it, and testify to it and proclaim to you the eternal life, which was with the Father and was made manifest to us—that which we have seen and heard we proclaim also to you, so that you too may have fellowship with us; and indeed our fellowship is with the Father and with his Son Jesus Christ. And we are writing these... Read More
As we read at the beginning of the book of Acts, the early church was devoted to fellowship, koinōnia (sharing things in common; koinon = common): “And they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. … And all who believed were together and had all things in common” (Acts 2:42). The emphasis on fellowship is interesting, because Acts is a book about mission. So we see that in the early church, community was the foundation for the church’s mission.
Community and the Gospel
Later in the book of Acts, we see... Read More
The book of Acts tells us about the first Christians that “they devoted themselves to the apostles’ teaching and the fellowship, to the breaking of bread and the prayers” (Acts 2:42). The early church was a praying church! (It also was serious about studying Scripture and about Christian fellowship.) Note that it doesn’t say “prayer” but “the prayers” (presumably set liturgical early Christian prayers like some of the ones Paul incorporates in his letters). Interesting!
We know the Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6:9–13), and we know the Great Commission (Matt... Read More