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:
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).
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.
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.
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.
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.
In a sad commentary on the health of the Corinthian church, the apostle Paul declares that when the Corinthian church members gather together, “it is not for better, but for worse” (11:17). The weekly gatherings of the Corinthian church (16:2) were a fleshly display of what one author termed “radical individualism” rather than a sweet “manifestation of the Spirit for common good” (12:7).