Implications or Applications?: Preaching Biblical Narratives

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Some preachers produce abundant applications (or, implications?) for their congregations from biblical narratives, whether they are Old Testament historical narratives like Judges 4 or New Testament Gospel narratives like Mark 3. Other preachers insist they should offer only theological and practical implications. Still others refuse to recognize any implications or applications from Scripture narratives. They declare, “Biblical narrative is only descriptive, not prescriptive.” Which practice is best? Which practice is legitimate and in keeping with sound biblical interpretation?

New Testament Teaching

No matter what the topic, one should always begin with the Scriptures themselves. What does the Word of God teach?… Continue reading

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Why is Bible translation an important missions ministry?

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The Word of God must be at the core of all missions strategy. Without the Word of God, no ministry can be satisfactorily performed—

  • the Word provides the authority for ministry,
  • the instruction for ministry,
  • the power of ministry, and
  • the message of ministry.

To all of this nearly all agree. But what we too often neglect is how Bible translation fits into missions strategy.

Bible Translation and Evangelism

First of all, James 1:18 and 1 Peter 1:23 declare that the new birth itself is by means of the Word of God. That means that a missionary must speak from the Bible in the language of the people in order to evangelize.… Continue reading

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Biblical Genealogies: Begetting a Devotional Reading

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You’ve heard it and maybe even said it yourself, “When I get to a genealogy in my Bible reading, I just skip it.” Genealogies (lists of names telling who is related to whom) can be boring and intimidating—especially if you have to read all those hard-to-pronounce names aloud for someone else to hear. However, Paul did not exclude the biblical genealogies when he wrote, “All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work” (2 Timothy 3:16–17 esv).… Continue reading

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True Spirituality, Dealing with Addiction, and Self-Help Manuals

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Dealing with addictions can push a Christian to the limits of patience, trust, and exhaustion. The addiction might involve drugs, alcohol, tobacco, food, sex, pornography, power, popularity, wealth, social media, technology, or recreation—and many more. Recovering addicts soon find that they need help—help from God, help from family, help from friends, help from their church. As the battle rages to control the addiction, it has become very common for counselors and addicts alike to turn to self-help manuals. Who hasn’t been helped at least a little by getting some good biblical advice from a significant book like Heath Lambert’s Finally Free,[1] which deals with pornography and lust?… Continue reading

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Continuity: Old Testament Truth in New Testament Clothing

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One of the benefits of getting older consists of gaining perspective, being able to put the past into its proper place in order to better understand the present. Fifty-four years of studying the Bible also has its benefits—primarily in more clearly understanding the continuity that exists between the Old and New Testaments. As I was reading through the Bible this past year, Isaiah 62:5 (“as the bridegroom rejoices over the bride, so shall your God rejoice over you”)[1] called to mind the picture in Revelation 21:2 when John beheld the New Jerusalem descending from heaven “prepared as a bride adorned for her husband.” The association led me to contemplate God’s own joy with that city—especially with its inhabitants.… Continue reading

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