Sunday, November 22, 2009

Word of the Day

The Hebrew word hesed is one of the most pregnant and potent words in the Old Testament. Psalm 136 repeats it in a refrain in each of its 26 verses: "His hesed endures forever." Notice how different translations often render this term:
"unfailing love" [NIV]

"lovingkindness" [NASB]

"steadfast love" [ESV and NRSV]

"mercy" [KJV, NKJV]

"faithful love" [NLT]
One my favorite theological books of all time, The Jesus Storybook Bible, hints at the idea of hesed when it frequently refers to "God's Never Stopping, Never Giving Up, Unbreaking, Always and Forever Love."

This idea of hesed is the ultimate sentiment between YHWH and His covenant people. The meaning of hesed is bound to YHWH's covenant promises to Abraham. It is not mere love or emotive adoration. Hesed includes and implies covenantal favor, love, mercy, fidelity, and kindness. The word almost tells a story in itself.

We can rejoice with the prophet Micah when he says, "Who is a God like you, pardoning iniquity and passing over transgression? You do not retain Your anger forever, because You delight to show hesed."
[for more word studies on hesed, read here, here, here, and here]

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Jude 1-2

There are layers of thick theology in Jude's brief, two-verse salutation. He wants to be known as a slave. This is a beautiful enough picture to discuss and delve into. Yet, he wants to be known as a slave of his brother, the Messiah! Even the Greek structure of "Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ" [ESV] is only shared by James, another earthly brother of our Lord. No other NT writers depict their servanthood in the the same way as Jude and James.

Furthermore, in his introductory benediction, he extends mercy, peace, and love to whom he his writing. This blessing is also unique to Jude. Perhaps there is something about each of these that he desires people to cling to as they "earnestly contend for the faith" [Jd 3].

Lastly, his addressees are merely "the called ones." These are the first and last words in the following Greek phrase:

τοῖς ἐν θεῷ πατρὶ ἠγαπημένοις καὶ ἸησοῦΧριστῷ τετηρημένοις κλητοῖς

Now, notice how the middle of this phrase is structured:
ἐν θεῷ πατρὶ ἠγαπημένοις

ἸησοῦΧριστῷ τετηρημένοις
Their calling is not vague, detached, or meaningless. Their calling is bound up in the fact that they are loved by God and kept by Jesus Christ. This may not land on you they way it should. Maybe it didn't land on them as Jude intended. But after he warns them of false teachers in their midst who are destructively leading people astray, his closing doxology ends by saying, "To Him who is able to KEEP you... be glory, majesty, power, and authority before all ages and now and unto all ages" [Jd 24-25]. They definitely get it now.

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

spiritual warfare and demonic activity

In my classes, we are discussing these issues right now. Some of my students get a little freaked out about it. James' command [echoed by Peter in 1 Pe 5.7-9] to "resist the devil" in Js 4.7 is not a theoretical, spiritual antidote for tough times. James wants believers to actually do it.

So, how does that work? What does it look like to "resist the devil"?

I'm showing them this lecture/talk that I think helps to biblically answer the how-to question when dealing with demonic activity. Some of the stories are intense and downright crazy, but Driscoll's thoroughly biblical approach is what must be noted.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

2 Cor 4


... but not crushed
... but not despairing
... but not abandoned
knocked down
... but not destroyed

ALWAYS carrying the death of Jesus in the body so that the life of Jesus may be manifested in our body.
Paul's theology betrays his grammar ["our body"]. I love it when he does that. Then, with the odd couple of contrition and confidence, he tell the Corinthians,
So, death is at work in us, but life in you.
How and why are modern gospel-ministries often not described as such?

Saturday, November 7, 2009

this is what i remember listening to when i was young. if you're not charasmatic by the end of watching, you've got issues.

ROMANS iNTRO [1.1-7]

From Paul
  • [a slave of Christ Jesus]
  • [called as an apostle]
  • [set apart for the gospel]
For the Gospel
  • [which God promised beforehand]
  • [which God promised through His the prophets in the Scriptures]
  • [which concerns His Son]
The Gospel about God's Son, Jesus
  • [who descended from David]
  • [who was declared the Son of God in power, through the Spirit, by His resurrection]
  • [who is our Lord]
  • [through whom we have grace and apostleship for the obedience of faith among the nations]
To all those in Rome
  • [called to belong to Jesus]
  • [who are loved by God]
  • [called to be saints]
  • [grace and peace to you all from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ]

some thoughts on women in church from 1 Cor 11 and 14

Paul says that "every wife who PRAYS or PROPHESIES with her head uncovered dishonors her head" [1 Cor 11.5]. Now don't think about the definition of the spiritual gift of prophesy. Don't think about the head-covering issue. Think about the fact that Paul assumes women will PRAY and PROPHESY in church.

This reality in Paul's mind is not posited against 1 Cor 14.33-34, but alongside of it: "Women should keep silent in the churches. For they are not permitted to speak."

So, how is this not a flagrant contradiction? What is Paul's problem? He can't even think straight.

The context of the 1 Cor 14 passage is a discussion on orderly worship and the gift of prophecy. Paul says that when people prophesy, others should "weigh in" [ESV] or "judge" [NASB] or "evaluate" [NLT] the prophecy that was spoken [14.29-33]. It seems that Paul just doesn't want women weighing in or discerning these prophecies.

Just as there is functional subordination in the Godhead [the Son is equal is essence to the Father, but also obeyed Him], there is the same in His image bearers [see Gen 1-2]. The man and the woman bear the image together, but have distinct roles in the image-bearing process.

So, do I think women can participate in church on a Sunday morning? Sure. In what capacity? It appears a limited one. Guess we'll have to dig there later.

Proverbs 7, ESV

She seizes him and kisses him and with a bold face she says,
I had to offer sacrifices and today I paid my vows; so now I have come out to meet you. I have spread my couch with coverings, I have perfumed my bed with myrrh, aloes, and cinnamon. Come let us drink our fill of love till morning. For my husband is not at home; he has gone on a long journey.

With much seductive speech she persuades him; with her smooth talk she compels him. All at once he follows her.

... As an ox goes to the slaughter.

... As a stag is caught fast till an arrow pierces.

... As a bird rushes into a snare.


Now, O sons, listen to me. Let not your heart turn aside to her ways; do not stray into her paths, for many a victim has she laid low, and all her slain are a mighty throng. Her house is the way to Sheol, going to to the chambers of death.


James and I, taking in the Folly sunset.

Crouching tiger. Hidden butt-crack.

So happy. I love them.

Ladies, please.

Baby Mama. Baby Daddy.

Sunny Sara. Sleeping Mikey.

Nonna and Poppa playing with Skeebo.

Mom and I are having a great time. James looks a little confused about it all.

I caught him with one hand. I had just thrown him about 9 ft in the air.


This summer I helped out with Bible Bee contestants. You make think this to be lame and sound a little too VBS-ish, but be patient. It was a group of high-schoolers competing for a national prize. 17,000 kids participate across the country. Each student must memorize large portions of Scripture from the OT and NT. They also had to take to memory dozens of Bible facts and random questions. It really was a daunting task for most of these teens. I would say that several of them know more Bible than their pastor. Anywho.

They were awesome to work with. Most of these kids were generally conservative and/or fundamentalist in their upbringing. I do live 12 miles from Bob Jones. And here's the crazy thing. What would you say the prize is for the national winner of this competition?

A gold-embossed, bonded-leather KJV?

A lifetime supply of everything Tim LaHaye has ever written?

How about a scholarship to Liberty? or CIU?

No. The prize for the high school winner of the Bible Bee gets a $100,000 check. Yes. You read those zeros correctly. There will be a kind, happy, conservative, God-fearing, 16-year old kid with their name on a check for $100,000. My lifetime salary might not add up to that until I'm 30.

Here's the best part. One of the kids that I got to "coach" and help this summer went to the national competition [they start with hundreds of regional competitions]. In the national competition, he moved from the top 100 to the top 20. Today they will cut it down to 7. Then a winner will be picked. I'm kind of proud of the whole thing.

And plus, he's an incredible kid... Go Joshua! I'm going to try to watch him live online :)