In interpreting the stories in the Old Testament historical books, like David and Goliath, look for the authorial intent and you will find the authoritative message.
When my wife and I had our honeymoon in Plymouth, Mass.—some 14 years ago now—we made the decision to drive the entire way. Now I know a 20-hour car ride on your honeymoon sounds like a bad idea, but it was really quite nice. On the way, we visited places like Hershey, Penn., Amish Country, and New York City. One … Read More
Clemson versus USC. Coke versus sweet tea. Krispy Kreme versus Dunkin Donuts. The mere mention of such subjects will likely spawn spirited squabbles among some South Carolina Baptists. But one topic towers above all in its potential to produce dissent and debate in the pews. No, not politics. Bible translations. When it comes to translations, most Christians have their preference, … Read More
As an older Old Testament professor, occasionally I’ll receive random emails asking for the translation of certain English phrases into Hebrew. When I do, I can typically predict reason for the request: Tattoos are becoming increasingly common among the younger generation of believers. Some well-intentioned Christians have attempted to buck the trend by mustering biblical texts that seemingly prohibit the … Read More
Based on what I hear, the trendiest stories that trend on Twitter these days are ones with “lists.” Top ten of this… Five ways of that… So as not to be accused of not being hip to modern modes of messaging, I’m offering my own list. As an Old Testament professor, sometimes I feel as if I have a neon … Read More
Count me among the millions of readers who have been blessed over the decades by the writing and ministry of J. I. Packer. His some 300-plus essays, articles, and books, such as Knowing God, have made an impact on innumerable lives, mine included. So, when it was recently revealed that the nearly ninety-year-old Packer had lost his vision and would … Read More
“Ninety Percent.” As a young aspiring minister-in-training, I remember hearing this number frequently—and annoyingly—as I packed my belongings and life and headed to seminary. According to well-meaning mentors, this oft-quoted number represented the percentage of seminarians no longer in full-time ministry after 10 years. They were the “drop-outs,” I was told; don’t be like them. For me, the number functioned … Read More
How does the old adage go? If you want a barometer for the spiritual health of a Christian, check his or her checkbook. Perhaps this is true. But let me propose another barometer, this time for the spiritual health of Western Christianity—the Amazon.com top-selling Christian books list. And its measurements are not encouraging. This list’s array of Amish romance novels, … Read More