Those Whom He Justified He Glorified: Paul’s Argument in Romans 1:17–3:31

In contemporary evangelicalism, the writings of the Apostle Paul are conventionally interpreted in terms of a strictly forensic doctrine of justification. According to this reading, mankind has, in sinning, incurred the just wrath of God. The sins of mankind were counted (imputed to) as if they were Christ’s, and when one exercises faith in Christ, one’s sins are recognized as punished in his person and Christ’s active obedience is imputed to the…

The Intercession of Saints in God’s Divine Council

According to the Old Testament, the heavenly or divine council is the host of angels surrounding God, “advising” Him. You see this theme in Job 1–2, 1 Kings 22, and so on. But the theme begins all the way back in the first chapter of Genesis. In the Beginning In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth—but only the earth was without form, void, and dark. God spends six days…

Old Testament as Icon

When I was in seminary, I focused for my STM on the study of the Old Testament (OT).  My thesis was on understanding the census numbers in the book of Numbers, so that they could be read as Christian Scripture (and not mere ‘history’). Passages such as those are often ignored in preaching and catechesis, as they seem like good history (maybe), but not much else.  My answer, after surveying all the…

Seeing the Virgin Mary through Biblical Eyes

In order to understand the role that the Virgin Mary plays in Scripture, one first needs to understand the symbolism of Bride and Groom that runs through the pages of the Bible. If one understands the role that Bride and Groom plays, then one will understand why the Virgin Mary is central to the Bible. She is fundamental to the story of redemption, just as fundamental as Eve is to the story…

How to Read the Bible and Divide the Church

How can we know the original context of the Bible? For many Christians today, this is a question at the heart of what it means to even be a follower of Christ. Discerning the correct interpretations of scripture from the incorrect; the exegesis from the eisegesis; the quality commentaries from the rubbish. But are these the right questions to be asking? And can we even know the answers? Context Abhors a Vacuum I’ve participated in…

Gospel Meditations on the Cross: John

Authority Each of the Gospel accounts, in one way or another uses the Crucifixion scene to communicate that Jesus is the true King of all. Yet, John takes a particular interest in the authority of Jesus during his trial and all the way through his death. This theme at the Cross is not new to John’s Gospel. In fact, he begins his Gospel declaring Jesus’ Godhood. (John 1:1) Still, John the Theologian…

Gospel Meditations on the Cross: Luke

The Righteousness of God Having been a missionary companion (Acts 16:10), and disciple of the Apostle Paul (2 Timothy 4:11), Luke reflects Pauline concerns, themes and emphases in his writing (Luke-Acts). One such theme is an emphasis on the Gospel of the Messiah of Israel reaching the Gentiles (Luke 2:14, 31-32, 4:26-27). The Lordship of Jesus over/for the Gentiles is not merely an addendum to God’s work for Israel. What God did…

Gospel Meditations on the Cross: Mark

Returning the World to God In the Bible, there is a genre called apocalyptic literature. A dominant feature of apocalyptic literature is that it uses vivid imagery to reveal (the word apocalypse means revelation) a greater sense of purpose and reality to an event. Often times these revelations include astronomical phenomena that are meant to point to, not mainly to the event itself, but rather, what is happening on Earth. It is…