Let Us Do Good to All People

At God’s direction, Jeremiah sent a letter to the exiled people of God in Babylon which said, “But seek the welfare of the city where I have sent you into exile, and pray to the Lord on its behalf, for in its welfare you will find your welfare” (Jeremiah 29:7). They would return to their […]

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Freedom!

A few years ago in an introductory course on the New Testament, I introduced my students to Paul’s detailed argument in 1 Corinthians 8-10 on the Christian response to the issue of eating meat that had been offered to idols. I prefaced my remarks saying, “This problem is not one that we confront today. We […]

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Is A College Education Really Worth It?

“Why do we think like we do?” My colleague Dave Baer and I asked this question time and again during our years teaching together overseas. We both attended the same Christian college, although years apart. Yet we recognized how the school had sown within us a body of knowledge and ways of thinking that became […]

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Reading The Word of Life

“I never read the New Testament before. I found it to be a very interesting book.” A few years back one of my students wrote these words at the bottom of his final exam in a course in New Testament. He had been raised in the church. Throughout his church services, Sunday school classes and […]

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The Art Deception and the Art of Discernment

He was practiced in the art of deception. People back then knew him as Alexander of Abonoteichus, a second century character Lucian describes in his essay “Alexander the False Prophet.” Apart from Lucian’s descriptions of him, we know little about the man. However, his impact in the ancient world was profound and even commemorated in […]

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The Body of Christ

“For just as the body is one and has many members, and all the members of the body, though many, are one body, so it is with Christ. For in the one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—Jews or Greeks, slaves or free—and we were all made to drink of one Spirit” (1 Corinthians […]

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Seek the Welfare of the City

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers” (Galatians 6:10).   “Submit to every human authority because of the Lord, whether to the emperor as the supreme authority or to governors as those sent out by him to punish those who […]

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The Last Enemy

Tom just died.  I spoke to Paul last night, Tom’s brother and my good friend for many years. A few months ago, Paul let me know that Tom was in a losing battle against cancer. Although his passing was expected, it was hardly welcome. Paul lost his brother, his sister Barb is weeping, and their […]

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Challenge the Powers – Serve Christ

“The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1, NIV).   “And when the centurion, who stood there in front of Jesus, saw how he died, he said, ‘Surely this man was the Son of God!’” (Mark 15:39, NIV).   Roman Imperial Power   The Gospel of Mark begins and ends […]

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Violence In The Land

Josephus, the ancient historian who chronicled first century Jewish history in The Jewish War, says that 12,000 Jews died when the Roman general Pompey captured Jerusalem in 63 BC. Another Jewish text from the period described the brutal violence of these events this way: “The lawless one laid waste our land, so that no one […]

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