Posts in New Testament

Problem Passages in The Message

By Gary Manning Jr Nov. 29, 2016 3:05 p.m. Church Life, New Testament

My friend Ken Berding wrote a recent blog post explaining his concerns about using The Message. As he pointed out, people often treat it as a Bible translation, when it is actually a very loose paraphrase. One of Ken’s observations is that The Message routinely adds meaning to or subtracts meaning from the original Greek and Hebrew text. While doing detailed work in the Greek New Testament and in several English translations, I have repeatedly found this to be true.

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Conscience: What It Is, How To Train It, and Loving Those Who Differ

By Kenneth Berding Nov. 29, 2016 9:53 a.m. Apologetics, Biblical Exposition, Church Life, Culture, Ethics, Missions, New Testament, Spiritual Formation

The title of this post is the exact title of a new little book written by Andrew David Naselli & J. D. Crowley and published by Crossway.  This new book is intended for a general Christian (non-academic) audience, addressing an oft-neglected subject: the conscience.  Discussions of this topic have been few in recent years, despite the fact that the Greek word for “conscience” (συνείδησις) appears 30 times in the New Testament (20 times in the writings of Paul).  The book is short (142 pages without the appendices and indices).  Thankfully, it is also clearly written.  One can easily imagine a book dealing with the so-called grey areas being less-than-clear.  The authors have done a fine job in making a complicated subject easy-to-understand.

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Why We Should Stop Using The Message

By Kenneth Berding Nov. 2, 2016 9:00 a.m. Christian Education, Church Life, New Testament, Old Testament

It’s time we stopped reading, buying, and recommending The Message.  We who hold to a high view of Scripture—that the Bible is the very word of God, inspired by God, inerrant in all it affirms—need to carefully reconsider our use of The Message.  There actually wouldn’t be a problem at all if The Message were sold and treated as an interpretation of the Bible, or an expansive reading of the Bible.  But as long as The Message continues to be marketed and used by preachers and teachers as a Bible translation, it is imperative that we ask the question of whether it is an accurate translation or not.  I believe that the answer to this question is:  The Message is not an accurate translation of what the original authors wrote.

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Is Satan Real?

By Clint Arnold Oct. 31, 2016 6:00 a.m. Apologetics, Culture, Ministry and Leadership, New Testament, Spiritual Formation

This was a question posed to me by NBC News reporter John Larson a few years ago.  The interview was part of a Dateline episode that explored the topic of Satan, evil spirits, and supernatural evil.  As often happens in the editorial process, only a small portion of the 45-minute interview was included in the show.  I thought I would share a more complete account of the interview.

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How Did Christianity Prevail in Ancient Rome and What Can We Learn from It?

By Sean McDowell Oct. 13, 2016 12:00 p.m. New Testament, Historical Theology

What was unique about Christian practices and teachings in the first three centuries of the church? And how did such a minority faith — which was considered irrelevant, extreme, and at odd with the role “religion” is supposed to play in a pagan society — ultimately prevail? In his recent book Destroyer of the gods, New Testament scholar Larry Hurtado focuses on the first of these questions. But his book also has powerful implications for the second.

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Desire to Sin Decreases When You Walk in the Spirit

By Kenneth Berding Sep. 19, 2016 3:21 p.m. Biblical Exposition, Ministry and Leadership, New Testament, Spiritual Formation, Theology

As you daily walk in the Holy Spirit, God will fill you with his Spirit in such a way that your desires to sin lessen.  Galatians 5:16—set in a chapter that parallels Romans 8 in many ways—says it so well:  “Walk in the Spirit and you will not carry out the desires of the flesh.”  The one who walks in the Spirit will not give in to the desires of the flesh.  Walking in the Spirit and carrying out the desires of the flesh are mutually exclusive ideas; you cannot do one at the same time as you engage in the other.

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Is the Bible Clear?

By Kenneth Berding Sep. 8, 2016 1:46 p.m. Apologetics, Culture, New Testament, Old Testament, Philosophy, Spiritual Formation, Theology

I remember sitting in my office with a student who was thinking about moving out of evangelical Protestantism and into a different church tradition. He began thinking this way after he had started reading widely in the writings of Christian authors from earlier eras. After being exposed to various authors who sometimes expressed divergent viewpoints from his own, he became increasingly unsure about whether the Bible on its own was clear in what it taught. He was considering changing to a church tradition that could interpret the Bible for him. Since, in his thinking, we can’t be certain what the Bible actually means when we read it, we need an authoritative guide. Let me assure you, there are people out there who will gladly tell you what the Bible means if that’s what you want!

Another conversation with a different student also comes to mind. She wasn’t sure whether she could really give herself to Christ in faith because she didn’t know if the message of the gospel was actually true. But the more we talked together, the more I realized that she wasn’t struggling with which truth claims were correct and which were false; she was struggling with whether anyone could know something was true at all. So whenever I appealed to the Bible I didn’t get any traction in our discussion because she didn’t think we could actually come to know truth through a written text.

Both of these students were struggling with whether the Bible was clear.

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