Grace in 3D

Grace in 3D Did you know that there is a depth of meaning to the word “grace” which is frequently overlooked by the modern church? In my last article, we noticed the connection between obedience and grace and I promised that we would further investigate the meaning of grace. Grace is often defined as “unmerited favor,” or “getting what I don’t deserve.” Although these are accurate definitions, they only communicate one aspect of the Greek word charis (grace). We often find that a 3-dimensional representation…

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The Difference Between Legalism and Obedience (Romans 5-8)

The Difference Between Legalism and Obedience (Romans 5-8) Did you know that Christians are called to be slaves of obedience? Many today resist this notion. It sounds too legalistic or works oriented. In fact, at first glance, it doesn’t sound appealing at all. Slavery suggests domination and control. We in the western world desire to promote freedom and don’t want to be enslaved to anyone or anything. Even Christians will quickly point to Paul’s admonition: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand firm therefore,…

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Important or Impotent: How Many Sons Did Absalom Have?

Important or Impotent: How Many Sons Did Absalom Have? Did you know that 2 Samuel 14:27 states that Absalom had 3 sons, but in 2 Samuel 18:18 Absalom says that he has no son? In the previous article on Absalom’s hair I pointed out this apparent contradiction and promised to offer an explanation. The easiest way of explaining away the contradiction (frequently suggested by commentators) is that Absalom’s sons must have died prematurely. I believe this whitewashes the problem (the text gives no hint that…

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Absalom’s Hair, or, Give Me a Head With Hair!

Absalom’s Hair, or, Give Me a Head With Hair! Did you know that in the ancient Near East long hair was frequently a picture of a warrior’s prowess and strength? The most obvious example from the Bible is Samson whose long hair is explicitly connected with his strength (Judges 16:17). Samson’s long hair symbolized his separation to God (the true source of his strength––Judges 13:5) and when his hair disappeared, so did the Lord’s presence (Judges 16:20). But Samson is not the only long-haired warrior…

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Envy and the Cross (Mark 15:10)

Envy and the Cross (Mark 15:10) Did you know that, biblically speaking, there is a difference between envy and jealousy? In fact, envy was considered one of the great evils of the ancient world, while jealousy, in the proper context, was considered a natural and proper response. Many people use these words interchangeably today. So what is the difference and what does this have to do with the Cross as our title suggests? First, we will look at the biblical meanings of the words jealousy…

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Family Portraits: Character Studies in 1 and 2 Samuel an Interview

Family Portraits: Character Studies in 1 and 2 Samuel The following interview was conducted by my friend and colleague Lindsay Kennedy who is a teacher at Calvary Chapel Bible College York, and an active blogger of all things biblical. You can find his blogs and book reviews, as well as other information, at http://www.mydigitalseminary.com 1. You (almost) exclusively teach OT history (Genesis, Josh-Kings) at CCBCY (Calvary Chapel Bible College York). What first sparked your interest in the Old Testament? When I was doing my undergraduate…

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Cross Examination: The Cross of Christ in the Roman World

Cross Examination: The Cross of Christ in the Roman World Did you know that those who study the history and culture of the Roman world of the first century affirm that the Roman Empire (consisting of Romans, Greeks, Jews, Egyptians, etc.) was founded on the cultural values of honor and shame? To quote David deSilva, “A person born into [this] culture was led from childhood to seek honor and to avoid disgrace. Honor comes from the affirmation of a person’s worth by peers and society,…

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My Review of Misreading Scripture With Western Eyes

Misreading Scripture With Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders To Better Understand The Bible, E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brien, Downers Grove: IVP Books, 2012. As an American, I thought I knew England. After all, I had visited the UK on three occasions. However, when my wife and I moved to England a little over ten years ago, we realized that we had settled into a very different culture. Many have had the experience of being offended or bewildered by the words or actions of…

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Anger: The Bible says, “The Nose Knows”

Anger: The Bible says, “The Nose Knows” Did you know that the word “nose” is a common way of expressing anger in the Old Testament?  The psalmist speaks of the Lord’s anger by saying, “Smoke went up from His nostrils (Ps. 18:8–NKJV).  In Ezekiel 38:18 when Gog comes against the land of Israel, the Lord says, “my anger will rise up in my nose” (translation by E. Johnson, TDOT, vol.1, p. 351). In Hebrew thought, there is a connection between the nose and anger. Elkanah’s…

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