Bearing Witness

One of the more subtle misconceptions about evangelism is that it is “bearing witness” to Jesus. The reason people say this is because it is language found in the Bible. However, in the New Testament (NT) proclaiming the good news about Jesus is actually not necessarily the same as testifying about him. I will explain this distinction but we must first acknowledge that in the New Testament “bearing witness” or “testifying”, actually requires seeing something with your own two eyes or hearing it with your own two ears before you publicly declare it. The following are some clear examples. First of, Jesus says to Nicodemus, Continue reading “Bearing Witness”

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Understanding how oral tradition works

A Word in Edgewise

Jesus of Nazareth lived between 6-4 BC and 30-33 AD.  When he died, he was in his mid- to late-thirties. That’s about as good as we can get.  The documents and historical sources don’t allow us any more precision.  The first Gospels written about Jesus—perhaps in this order, Mark, Matthew, Luke, and John—are not written until 30-40 years after his execution.  The period in between we call the period of oral tradition.  In this time, the stories of Jesus are told and retold, and then they are written down in the books we have today.  Now this does not mean there were not written sources during the period of oral tradition.  It means we just don’t have them.  Why? Because like most things written 2000 years ago they did not survive.  If, as some believe, the stories of Jesus are taken up in longer narratives like Mark or Matthew, going…

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The Value of the Greek Old Testament

The Septuagint was the first translation made of the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek. It was begun over two hundred years before the birth of Jesus. It was translated from a Hebrew Old Testament text-type that is older than the Masoretic text, from which most Old Testaments are translated today. This is sad, for the apostles had access to both the Septuagint and to the proto-Masoretic text that was in existence in their time. And they chose to quote from the Septuagint—not the proto-Masoretic text.

You have probably noticed that many of the Old Testament passages that are quoted in the New Testament don’t read the same in the New as they do in the Old. However, if you were using the Septuagint Old Testament, they would read the same.

Continue reading “The Value of the Greek Old Testament”

In Fairness to the Pharisees (Part 2)

A few weeks ago I posted something on the Pharisees. They were an issue I had wanted to address for a long time because they have been unfairly characterised in the Christian world. “Pharisee” is now a Christianese synonym for “hater.” The truth is the Pharisees as a group are not just stock villains in Christian sermons but are actually very important, even to today’s Christian. Continue reading “In Fairness to the Pharisees (Part 2)”

How long did it take for God to make the world?

The folks over at BioLogos explain here how long a day is in Genesis 1 and what those days means.

What about Life After Death?

Examining 2 Corinthians 5:6-8 for an intermediate state

Does the Bible teach there is an intermediate state between death and resurrection? Biblical scholar J. Richard Middleton takes on a popular proof text for this belief.

CREATION to ESCHATON

The core hope of New Testament eschatology is the resurrection of the body and a renewed earth. This is the central argument of my book A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology.

But there are some New Testament texts that seem (on the surface) to contradict this holistic vision of redemption. So I devoted two chapters in the book to addressing such “problem texts.”

In previous blog posts I examined two such texts (1 Thessalonians 4 and Matthew 24), both of which are typically thought to teach the “rapture” of believers to heaven at Christ’s return. I concluded that neither text actually teaches this idea.

But my examination of “problem texts” led me to wonder about the so-called “intermediate state” (or “interim state”), the idea of a temporary period between death and resurrection when the righteous (or their “souls”) are with Christ in heaven, awaiting resurrection.

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The Living Soul

A quick explanation of what the English word “soul” means in the Bible from the folks over at The Bible Project. Continue reading “The Living Soul”