Showing posts from February, 2024

Encouragement for Ministry with Jesus

This post exegetes 2 Corinthians 4:1-5:8, drawing on commentary from Warren Wiersbe ("Bible Expository Commentary") and Colin Kruse ("New Bible Commentary"). "Calling of Matthew" by Carpaccio (public domain via Wikimedia  Commons) Introduction   As believers, the Holy Spirit equips and calls us for participation with Jesus in his ministry. And what a joy it is to “journey” with Jesus as he ministers by the Spirit and through the church to our world. But let’s face it—ministry with Jesus is sometimes difficult and even discouraging. When we face the "down” times, we need Paul’s words of encouragement: “Since through God's mercy we have this ministry, we do not lose heart” (2Cor 4:1).  Paul knew what he was talking about. He often faced severe difficulties in ministry. Sometimes he grew deeply discouraged. Yet, he did not lose heart; he never quit. Why? Because he knew whose ministry it was. Instead of bemoaning what he did not have, he rejoiced in

Resurrection of the Dead (preaching resource for Easter Sunday: March 31, 2024)

This post exegetes 1 Corinthians 15:1-20, providing context for the RCL Epistle reading on 3/31/2024 (Easter Sunday). This exegesis draws on commentary from Warren Wiersbe ("Bible Expository Commentary") and Bruce Winter ("New Bible Commentary"). "Resurrection of the Dead" by Cluny (public domain via Wikimedia Commons) Introduction   The doctrine of the resurrection of the dead is an encouraging core teaching of the Christian faith. Sadly, it was rejected by Greeks who embraced a dualistic philosophy that viewed the body as evil and the spirit (viewed as an immortal soul) as good. Death was thus seen as the release of the spirit/soul from its bodily prison. The idea that God will resurrect people bodily was to Greeks both absurd (Acts 17:32) and unwelcome.  Despite this dualistic Greek viewpoint, Corinthian Christians (most who were Greeks) embraced (at least at first) the doctrine of the bodily resurrection. However, by the time Paul wrote 1 Corinthians,

Sharing Jesus’ Selflessness (preaching resource for Passion-Palm Sunday: March 24, 2024)

This post exegetes Philippians 2:1-11, providing context for the RCL Epistle reading on 3/24/2024 (Passion-Palm Sunday). This exegesis draws on commentary from Warren Wiersbe ("Bible Expository Commentary") and Francis Foulkes ("New Bible Commentary").   "Crucifixion" by Metsu (public domain via Wikimedia Commons) Introduction  When Epaphroditus brought to Paul a generous gift from the church at Philippi, he also brought disturbing news of a double threat to that congregation’s unity: false teachers from without (Phil 3:1–3) and disagreeing members from within (Phil 4:1–3). Paul is greatly concerned, and so in his letter to the Philippians he pleads with them to recover a true and lasting unity.  They will do so as they, through the Spirit, actively share in the mind of Jesus. Note Philippians 2:1-2: 1 If you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any fellowship with the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassi

Torrance on the basic grammar of theology

This post reproduces (with permission) a handout prepared by Paul D. Molnar  for the 2/1/24 online meeting of the T.F. Torrance Reading Group, addressing chapter 6 ("The Basic Grammar of Theology") in Thomas F. Torrance's book "The Ground and Grammar of Theology." In chapter 6 of The Ground and Grammar of Theology,  Torrance begins his reflections on the Trinity   by stressing first that theological knowledge is scientific in the sense that it “involves knowledge . . . in accordance with the nature of the realities with which we have to do in it,” 146.  For him that means to have true knowledge of reality it has to be knowledge of its internal structure and internal relations. As applied to the Trinity of course that means that unless we know God as the triune God and thus as the eternal Father, Son, and Holy Spirit “in terms of God’s inner divine relations,” we do not know God at all. So, he rejects what he calls dualism and also rejects dividing the study of t

Jesus Is Greater Than Aaron (preaching resource for Lent 5: March 17, 2024)

This post exegetes Hebrews 4:15-5:10, providing context for the RCL Epistle reading on 3/17/2024 (Lent 5). This exegesis draws on commentary from  Warren Wiersbe ("Bible Expository Commentary"), F.F. Bruce ("Epistle to the Hebrews in the NICNT") and D.A. Carson ("New Bible Commentary").   Icon: Christ, High Priest (public domain via Wikimedia Commons) Introduction Moses did not lead the people of Israel into the ‘rest’ of the Promised Land. In fact, Moses was forbidden to enter in. Joshua led them into that physical rest, but he was unable to lead them into their promised spiritual rest (Heb 4:8). But what about Aaron, Moses’ brother, who was Israel’s first high priest? Is it possible that he and his successors in the Aaronic priesthood, with all of its sacrifices and ceremonies, could bring a troubled soul into God’s promised rest? The Jewish Christians who received this letter were sorely tempted to believe so, and to return to the religion of their fath