The Greatness of Jesus

One popular commentator describes the book of Hebrews as “the most difficult book in the NT to study.” Another wrote, “Hebrews is a delight for the person who enjoys puzzles.” I do not disagree that there are several exegetical challenges in the book of Hebrews; however, I would posit that the book of Hebrews has one simple, yet significant theme that cannot be missed—the greatness of Jesus. Let’s explore how the author of Hebrews makes Jesus supreme over three OT motifs. In so doing, the writer exalts Jesus to his rightful position and strengthens the faith of the saints to go hard after their “great Shepherd” (13:20).

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Simon, Son of Jonah

In his Gospel, Matthew records a perplexing statement, in which Jesus identifies Peter as “the son of Jonah” (16:17). What does Jesus mean by this title? Many today follow one well-known commentator who uncharacteristically passes over this phrase by surmising that Jesus probably called Peter’s father by his Hebrew equivalent Johanan (Iōanan) and then Matthew contracted it to Jonah (Iōna). Such a comment faces significant challenges, and here are three examples:

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Why Ben Franklin Quit Church Attendance

Benjamin Franklin (1706-1790) is one of the most well-known names among America’s founding fathers.  However, what is little known among Americans today is his insightful Autobiography. This monograph, which he began when he turned 65 years of age (1771), may give more insight into Franklin’s life than any other document he produced including Poor Richard’s Almanac. What interests me most is Franklin’s comments about his spiritual life.  Let me share with you a few of his thoughts, which may encourage us today to be Word-centered believers (Matthew 4:4).

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Jesus' Last Words

It has been reported that as Alfred Hitchcock lay on his death bed, he said, “One never knows the ending.” This striking statement causes my thoughts to quickly turn to the final chapter of Matthew. The seeming catastrophe of Jesus’ crucifixion on Golgotha’s hill in the previous chapter (27:45-61) gives way to his ultimate triumph in Galilee (28:16-20). What Jesus had predicted before his death (26:32) was now taking place, “just as he said” (28:6). However, for Matthew, Jesus’ resurrection is not the end of the story; rather, this belongs to his divine commission. Jesus’ words to his handpicked disciples are expressions of triumph and hope, not despair and uncertainty. Let’s review three encouraging ideas from Jesus’ last words recorded in Matthew.

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Basic Elements for Theological Method

All Christians should know what they believe, and why they believe it. For this reason, it is important for all Christians to give some thought to how they form their understanding of Bible doctrine.  This brief article summarizes some useful guidelines for developing a theological method informed by Scripture.

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Paul's Portrait of God in Romans 1

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If I could recommend one chapter to fuel your worship of God today, it would be the first chapter of Paul’s epistle to the Romans. You may have read this chapter hundreds of times in your Christian life. However, I encourage you to carefully read through it at your next opportunity and trace the incredible portrait that Paul paints of our great God. At least 26 times God is mentioned in this chapter by name or by personal pronoun. He clearly dominates Paul’s thinking, and I think that Paul is seeking to get his readers to consider Him so that He may be worshipped for who He is. Since space is limited, let’s review ten of Paul’s statements about God and observe what is on his heart.

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Breaking Faith with the Lord

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Reading through the opening chapters of Numbers is not always the easiest undertaking for a 21st century believer. The first two chapters are a bit tedious as Israel takes a census of each tribe and learns how to be arranged around the Tent of Meeting. The next 100 verses explain the specific duties of the tribe of Levi as they “keep guard over the whole congregation” (3:7). Chapter 5 abruptly begins with Yahweh commanding the people of Israel to keep the camp clean because “I dwell in the midst of it” (v 4). Then, Yahweh explains how to make atonement “when a man or woman commits any of the sins that people commit by breaking faith with the Lord” (v 6). These words seem to leap off the page of Scripture. What does it mean to break faith with the Lord? Let’s consider this.

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