Peace-Loving Believers in an Age of Violence, Part 2

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Just war advocates normally base their stance upon passages revealing the divine origin and approval of government and its functions. Romans 13:1–7 forms the anchoring text for developing their view of governmental authority in the lives of Christians. The apostle Paul represents the government as a divinely constituted authority (vv. 1, 2). Hodge argues that

It was to Paul a matter of little importance whether the Roman emperor was appointed by the senate, the army, or the people; whether the assumption of the imperial authority by Caesar was just or unjust, or whether his successors had a legitimate claim to the throne or not.

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Practical Pauline Missions: Athens

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Brethren, we are not apostles, but their example instructs us. We cannot be exactly like the apostle Paul, but we can learn basic principles and practices from the biblical record of Paul’s missionary service. We can even develop a biblical evangelistic or missions methodology based upon Paul’s example. A careful study of Paul’s missionary efforts reveals that his methodology exhibits flexibility. Although he often begins with the synagogues (Acts 17:1–4, 10), he makes exceptions—as he does at Philippi, going to a group of women meeting for prayer outside the city (Acts 16:11–13). Each strategic church plant comes about through different means.… Continue reading

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When God Takes a Faithful Servant Suddenly and Unexpectedly

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As my wife and I were boarding our flight from Gatwick Airport in London my cell phone buzzed. It was not a good time to answer it and I knew if it were important, the call would be repeated when we landed in California. Sure enough, as soon as our plane touched down in Los Angeles I turned on my phone and the call came immediately. The news rocked me—my brother Jim had died at home in his sleep—suddenly and unexpectedly. Memories flooded my mind as I expressed to his wife my sorrow for his family. Thinking about what I would say at his memorial service, God laid the apostle Paul’s final words on my heart from 2 Timothy 4:6–8.… Continue reading

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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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A Corinthian Chronology

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One of my favorite New Testament churches is the church at Corinth. They didn’t always get everything right, and they caused Paul a lot of trouble, but when viewed through his apostolic eyes they are rightly seen as a trophy of God’s grace (1 Cor. 1:4-9; 2 Cor. 7:16).

While recently preparing to teach 1 & 2 Corinthians in our Sunday school New Testament survey, I got a little bit carried away in the details of Paul’s interaction with the church there, from his first visit in Acts 18 to his last recorded departure in Acts 20 – and is there ever a load of information to get caught up in!… Continue reading

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