In order to appreciate the significance of Messiah’s coming—and thus to understand the true meaning of Christmas—we need to travel back in time, back to the first Christmas, before this event even carried that name. We can’t offer you a time machine, but we can point you to the earliest written witnesses to the first Christmas: the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
These Gospel authors wrote their accounts on the basis of the eyewitness testimony of others; neither Matthew nor Luke was there on that fateful night in Bethlehem. Luke even explicitly alerts his readers to... Read More
When I met an American traveler on a train from Vienna to Venice as a young Austrian college student, I was struck by a question she asked: Did Christ not already do everything he needed to do for us to be saved? If so (and he did), why are so many Viennese people sitting around in parks and coffee shops engaging in idle talk, looking like they’re waiting for something to happen? Why are they not acting on what God has done for them in Christ? What are they waiting for? The point was clear. There was no need to wait. Christ death on the cross called for a response.
The story of the... Read More
There’s often a difference between official Roman Catholic Church dogma and what regular Catholics believe. This is why it’s impossible to read Roman Catholic statements of faith and on that basis alone conclude what most Catholics actually believe and practice. Nevertheless, it’s a good start to look at some of the major Roman Catholic teachings. What do Roman Catholics believe?
The Bible Plus Tradition
First, Roman Catholics essentially hold to the Bible plus tradition as their basic authority. That is, they don’t just believe in the Bible as Protestants or evangelicals do,... Read More
I’m sure you’ve heard of Murphy’s Law: “Anything that can go wrong will go wrong.” But do you know who Murphy is? Most likely, the adage originates with Edward Murphy, a scientist who conducted experiments at what is now Edwards Airforce Base in the late 1940s.
My wife Marny and I experienced Murphy’s Law many times. At our wedding, because of unexpected snow, Marny had to rent a fur coat and ran late. We had to play the Adagio prelude tape multiple times, and the pastor started teasing me, asking if I thought my bride would show up. Then, at the end of the wedding, just after... Read More
What’s the bestselling book of all time? You guessed it: it’s the Bible. But what about the second-bestselling book of all time? Many of you have heard the answer: Rick Warren’s The Purpose-Driven Life. The book’s popularity attests to the fact that we all have a deep longing to discover the purpose for which we exist. What is life’s purpose? Why are we here?
None of us can reflect on the deepest existential questions on a daily, weekly, or even monthly basis. Of necessity, we’re engrossed in the daily tasks of getting the kids to school, doing our work, and keeping our marriage... Read More
God does not always do things the way that we think he should or act as we might expect. He does not always act in accordance with human wisdom (Paul develops this point in 1 Corinthians 1:18–25, 27–29). Nowhere is this clearer than in the infancy narratives of Matthew 1–2 and Luke 1–2. The birth of Jesus fulfilled God’s promises in a way that bypassed contemporary expectations. Our familiarity with the Christmas story unwittingly causes us to miss the unexpected wonder, shock, newness, and scandal which accompanied these events.
The Scandal of the Virgin Conception
Matthew provides... Read More
Biblical Foundations Online is the virtual extension of Biblical Foundations™. Biblical Foundations provides Christ-centered resources grounding believers in biblical truths and equipping them to share these truths with others. Join us for our first online course, a biblical-theological survey of God’s plan for men and women from Genesis to Revelation, and learn how to live out God’s design for you today. God’s Design for Man and Woman is based on the book by the same name published by Crossway. We’ll look at God’s design for man and woman as originally established at creation,... Read More
In most areas of scholarship, and biblical research is no exception, engaging the primary sources is exceedingly important. There is no substitute for interacting directly with the text of the Bible and contemporaneous literature in the original languages. I have found that Logos Bible Software, and Logos 6.0 in particular, is an excellent tool for doing careful original language work.
I recently finished teaching a Ph.D. seminar on Biblical Theology at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. We spent our semester analyzing the New Testament use of the Old Testament. Over the course of 14... Read More
Conditional Immortality (CI) is the view that life or existence is the Creator’s provisional gift to all, which will ultimately either be granted forever on the basis of righteousness or revoked forever on the basis of unrighteousness. Believers will be raised to inherit eternal life while unbelievers will be raised to be judged by God and then be destroyed.
CI also holds that at death, believers and unbelievers alike cease to exist. Immortality is not granted to believers until they are raised to new life. Some proponents of CI even argue that Jesus’ humanity was annihilated at his... Read More
The disciples had not understood what Jesus meant when he said he would suffer, die, and be raised on the third day (Matt. 16:21–23; 17:22–23; 20:17–19). The Pharisees and religious leaders didn’t understand either, but they were concerned enough with Jesus’ predictions that they posted guards at his tomb (Matt. 27:62–66). Indeed, how could Jesus be expected to be raised from the dead? He had died a criminal’s death. More than that, he had died like a traitor or blasphemer, as one cursed by God according to the Scriptures (Deut. 21:22–23). It would be natural to think that the... Read More
For good reason the Gospels devote a great deal of space to the events leading up to Jesus’ crucifixion on Thursday and Friday of Passover week, as well as Jesus’ glorious resurrection on Sunday, the “Lord’s Day.” Yet little space is given in the Gospels to the day between “Good Friday” and Easter Sunday, sometimes known as “Holy Saturday.” None of the Gospels records any of the activities of the disciples on the Sabbath after his burial and prior to his resurrection, except for Luke, who simply writes, “On the Sabbath they rested according to the commandment” (Luke... Read More
Remarkably, this year the dates of Easter week coincide exactly with those of the final week of Jesus, according to most likely estimates, as follows. Justin Taylor and I include a rationale for the original dates in our book The Final Days of Jesus: The Most Important Week of the Most Important Person Who Ever Lived (Crossway, 2014). Here is a brief synopsis of these events.
Sunday, March 29: Jesus triumphantly enters the city of Jerusalem, mounted humbly on a donkey in keeping with prophetic messianic prediction. He later predicts his impending death and teaches at the Temple.
Monday,... Read More
I am grateful for the publication of several volumes in 2014 that will equip serious exegetes and preachers to study and proclaim God’s word with greater accuracy and authority. This pertains particularly to the study of Acts, Galatians, 1-2 Thessalonians, and 1 Peter. Other important books pertain to the divinity of Jesus, church leadership, and heaven. In the interest of full disclosure, while no books I authored are included, there are several books to which I contributed an essay (6, 7) or which I edited (2, 4).
1. New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis. 5... Read More
My years as a Ph.D. student at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School were certainly a very mind-stretching experience. I took classes with D. A. Carson on the use of the OT in the NT, with Doug Moo on the Second Temple period and on the Septuagint, with Grant Osborne on apocalyptic literature, and many more. In these classes, I came to realize that many issues in NT studies are considerably more complex than the average person realizes. In fact, becoming aware of some of these issues can be confusing, even disorienting, and can leave people bewildered, unless they have the necessary scholarly... Read More
Margaret and Andreas Kostenberger recently fielded questions addressed to them by Matt Smethurst of The Gospel Coalition regarding their new book God’s Design for Man and Woman. Here is an excerpt of their interview:
In the book you survey the Bible’s theology of man and woman. What do you understand God’s design for man and woman to be?
In our biblical-theological survey from Genesis to Revelation we identify a pervasive pattern of male leadership as well as a pattern of male-female partnership. Far from flowing from a few isolated, debated passages, the pattern of male leadership... Read More