Tag Archives: Teaching

Are we “Born of God”, or “Adopted”? It can’t be both.

Does the Bible say we are adopted by God? I am quite certain that the Bible does not say we are adopted by God. It does say that we are born of God. Many commentators seem awfully confused about this, but that’s because they are reading an English translation of a Greek document, written in a […]

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The Veil Torn, the Earthquake, and the Resurrection of the Dead – Matthew 27:51-54

A dramatic account, but does it make sense? In Matthew 27, an orderly account of the process of Jesus’ arrest, interrogation, and crucifixion is proceeding along nicely, when all of a sudden there is a dramatic change. It is a change in style, and in content. No sooner does it begin, it is finished! But […]

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Come, let us reason together. To you has been given the mystery of the kingdom!

Plumbing the Mysteries of God In modern English when we describe something as a “Mystery”, we mean it has not been “solved”. Either we can get enough information and can solve it, or we can’t and it remains a mystery. But that’s not what the word means when you read it in the Bible. In the Bible […]

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Become like a little child; Understand the Kingdom of Heaven

The Story of Cain and Abel This basic little story is not complex. It is structured like a children’s story. But for reasons I list below, theologians almost universally fail to understand it. It means what it says: “If you do well, will you not be accepted?” ()

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How to pray, when life’s not ok

Praying the Laments The Lament Psalms are complaints, often bitter complaints, against God. I recently preached on Psalm 13 because I think we need to understand the power and the treasure of the Lament Psalms. This was a sermon but I have adapted it a little, into written form. This message is dedicated to the […]

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What’s Your Story?

God’s Story, and your place in it. The Universe is a Story. It is the Story of God, His Creation, and His plans for that Creation. Those plans include two parts, although these are two sides of the one “coin”: the redemption of all that is of God, and the destruction of everything else. You […]

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Christian Assurance, Apart From the Law: A Defence Against the Judaisers

Judaisers A ‘Judaiser’ is someone who insists that a believer in Christ must join the Covenant of Moses, which was ratified at Mt Sinai around 1300BC. The Apostle Paul was routinely persecuted by Judaisers, who were scandalised that Paul’s non-Jewish (“Gentile”) converts were not being circumcised. The Judaisers are back. There is a whole movement […]

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Sonny with a Chance

The Bible: A Book of Comfort My friend Sonny saw me in the Mall today and we had a bit of a chat. He said something very wise, which I pointed out was similar to something Jesus had said. At that point he produced a well worn, well loved Bible, and began reading it to me.

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Why do innocent people suffer?

What would your response have been? I was aware that my friend had been grieving the death of her adult daughter, who had been murdered by White Supremacists. They left her hung by the neck, in a room covered in blood from obvious signs of struggle. The police declined to investigate, deeming it a suicide. […]

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I have much more to say to you, more than you can now bear. – Jn 16:12

But when he, the Spirit of truth, comes, he will guide you into all the truth. – Jn 16:13 What is Truth? An exasperated Pilate poses the question, “What is truth?” (Jn 18:38). He did so because Jesus said, “Everyone on the side of truth listens to me” (Jn 18:37). So what is this “truth”? And why […]

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The Book of Job: (not so?) Friendly Advice

What does the Book of Job say about counselling our friends? A key message of the Book of Job is that, when someone is suffering, there may be things going on that we are unaware of. Rather than badger the person to amend their behaviour, or drag them into a theological debate, we should comfort […]

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Romans 8:12-14 “Flesh and Spirit”. Do the translators understand?

Discerning the Worldview of the Translators…? The Bible talks about “the flesh” and “the spirit”. Various translations treat these concepts in subtly different ways, and in those differences there can be substantial theological impact. Irrespective of what we want it to say, it is important to comprehend what the original author meant by these terms, […]

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Genesis 2:2-3 – Why God rested

Why did God rest? We often ask our Biblical texts questions that they were not designed to answer. This can be ok sometimes, and it can yield information that is good and helpful. But at other times it can result in us reading the text in ways that were never intended, potentially obscuring or even […]

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Luke 17:20-21 “Behold! The kingdom of God is in the midst of you”

What is the kingdom of God, and where is it? What does Luke 17:20-21 mean? Is it a spiritual message about the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer? What does this ambiguous term mean, that “the kingdom of God is “ἐντὸς” (“within/inside” – Strongs Concordance)? This teaching is frequently pulled out of its […]

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The Psychological Gospel

Can the Gospel be described in Psychological terms? The Gospel is not a matter of psychology. It is a message about the Kingdom of God: “Jesus is Lord”. But the contemplation of this, and the comprehension of it, can have profound psychological effects on the person concerned. This is because it matters that Jesus is Lord. It […]

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Isaiah: Hiddenness

Isaiah and the theme of Hiddenness In the Book of Isaiah there is a notable theme describing a kind of “hiddenness”, which refers to spiritual blindness and deafness by the people. It is a fascinating theme, and often misunderstood. This is a little journey through the Book of Isaiah tracking on this particular theme.

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Is Ecclesiastes about feelings?

How are we supposed to feel when we read Ecclesiastes? I was asked whether the central message of the book of Ecclesiastes was “Pessimism”, or “Joy”. In other words, how are we supposed to feel when we read it? (Or perhaps, how did the author feel when it was put together?) I don’t think we’re […]

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The Holy Bible: Offering An Explanation for the Atheist

What can an Atheist be offered about why the Bible is important to Christians? Shouldn’t we (Christians) be able to describe the Bible in terms that an Atheist can understand and appreciate, even if they don’t share our view of it’s spiritual authority? The pithy, “the Bible is the word of God” really won’t do […]

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Tithing: Unbiblical. Shouldn’t we prevent believers from doing it, then?

Is it Permissible to Tithe? Tithing is not a New Testament principle, and despite endless attempts to make it sound like Christians are obliged to tithe, the Good Book simply doesn’t say so. But does this mean that we must stop people from tithing? Is it spiritually dangerous? Is it like circumcision, about which Paul […]

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Jesus and the Wineskins: What does it mean?

Nobody seems to understand what the wineskins are about! A friend asked me what Jesus was talking about when he mentioned sewing patches onto garments, and putting wine into wineskins. I didn’t know the answer, and a quick overview of the commentaries revealed that nobody else does either. Most theories produce problematic answers Whereas there […]

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