Is the Bible Pro-Slavery?

“The Bible is pro-slavery.” This is a common charge these days. It is a part of the New Atheist attack on religion, and it also comes from various progressive circles to defend certain social views (in line with the so-called redemptive-movement hermeneutic). It is not an incomprehensible claim. In fact, it has some apparent, face value support—and not just in Old Testament law regulations, but in New Testament epistles written by the very apostles of Jesus Christ: Ephesians 6:5: “Bondservants, obey your earthly masters” (all translations ESV). Colossians 3:22: “Bondservants, obey in everything those who are your earthly masters.” I Peter 2:18: “Servants,…

Is “Consistent Preterism” Really Consistent?

Our church is working through I and II Thessalonians, and I recently had the privilege of preaching on II Thessalonians 2:1-12, which is the passage about the infamous “man of lawlessness” whom most people identify more popularly as the “anti-Christ” (terminology from I John) and often also as the “Beast” of Revelation 13. My general strategy for the purposes of preaching was to emphasize application of the principles rather than speculation about the details, although I did wrestle a bit in my study with the more contested issues, particularly the identity of the man of lawlessness and the nature of…

Five Strategies for Daily Bible Reading

I’ve always been amazed by Jesus’ response to Satan’s first temptation: “if you are the Son of God, command these stones to become loaves of bread” (Matthew 4:3). I picture Jesus there, looking at the stones. His ribs are poking out, and his body is worn away after 40 days of fasting. But even in extreme hunger, Jesus prioritizes spiritual food above our physical food: “man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God” (Matthew 4:4). In other words, Jesus’ response is not simply a rejection of Satan’s offer, but a…

What Kind of a Thing is the Bible? 6 Theses

Sometimes it’s helpful to state the obvious—to step back and remind ourselves of the forest so that we don’t get lost in all the trees. Within academia, hyper-specialization and the tyranny of the pedantic often obscure the obvious; within our everyday life, routine and the tyranny of the mundane often veil the obvious. So we need continual reminders of the obvious—not only in our relationships and everyday life, and also in our theology and spiritual life. Here I list 6 evangelical theses about the Bible in the spirit of “naming the obvious,” with an implication for each one for how…

Enoch and the Afterlife

It is very common to hear the claim in biblical scholarship that there is no doctrine of the afterlife in the Pentateuch, that the afterlife is a later idea that evolved throughout the Old Testament from (1) no afterlife at all to (2) sheol, the shadowy realm of the dead to (3) full-blown bodily resurrection unto heaven and hell. This final doctrine is held to be the result of contact with Zoroastrian thought during the exile, and thus represented in only a few, later Old Testament texts like Daniel 12:2. Typically Christians respond by appealing to the notion of progressive…

Some Thoughts on Noah

I know I’m a bit late, and Christians have already reviewed the recent film Noah to death, but I can’t help but share a few thoughts of my own after watching it last night. In no particular order: 1) I was surprised at how much the flood story was set in the larger context of creation-fall-new creation. I expected the movie to disconnect the Noah story from the larger biblical narrative, but there were frequent references back to events narrated in Genesis 1-5, especially the fall of Adam and Eve. In fact, the film opened against this backdrop, and throughout…