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A Journey through Revelation in Tomball, TX

If you are in the Tomball, Spring, The Woodlands, Magnolia, or Houston area, I join with Pastor Jeff Medders to invite you to Redeemer Church’s first Bible Conference: A Journey through Revelation.

Join us for a journey through one of the most difficult books in the Bible, the book of Revelation.

Four sessions, question and answers, and Christ-centered worship.

SCHEDULE – March 22-23

  • FRIDAY, 22nd, 6:30pm-8:30pm, 2 Sessions, Q&A.
  • SATURDAY, 23rd, 6:30pm-8:30pm, 2 Sessions, Q&A.

*Child Care is provided.

Register here.

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The folks at College Park Church in Indianapolis know how to throw a party. I don’t think I’ve ever spoken at a more encouraging church, and I praise God for the way the pastors set the tone for the whole church to receive the word of God with enthusiasm. It was a blessing, too, to have them take such good care of my sweet wife and our kids. I was supposed to be ministering to them, but they were the ones ministering to us!

This past weekend it was my privilege to preach five times at THINK|13 at College Park Church in Indianapolis (photos here). The theme was “Finding Your Place in God’s Story.” Here are the titles linked up to the audio for the five sessions:

In an attempt to help folks remember these session themes, I opened by introducing a “memory palace” inspired by Moonwalking with Einstein. You can hear all about that in the audio for the first session.

Hoping to encapsulate the big story of the Bible and the five sessions, I attempted a poem for the conclusion of the fifth message.

What a blessing to be with the people of God, and what a blessing to have God’s word, which reveals to us the salvation planned by the Father, accomplished by the Son, applied by the Spirit.

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Championship Basketball

It’s better to honor God than to win, but that doesn’t mean we don’t try to honor God by winning!

My oldest son’s 9 year old basketball team played in the championship game at Southeast Christian Church today, and with a great team effort we came home with the victory.

IMG_3462Our watchwords were Defense, Dedication, Discipline, and everyone on the team learned the definition of discipline: doing what you’re supposed to do, when you’re supposed to do it, to the best of your ability, every time. Everyone responsible for everyone else. Bloodhounds for rebounds. We didn’t buy a ticket, so we’re not standing around watching. Leave it all on the floor, baby, go hard or go home.

Praise be to God, we came home with an 8–2 season and a victory in the championship game of the tournament.

There were some teams in the league that came to be identified by the best player on the team. “So-and-so’s team” was the way everybody identified them. That wasn’t said about our team, though we had several very good players.

These Bulldogs worked hard on defense, helped each other, stayed in position, rebounded, and ran a good offense that got the whole team involved.

Great season Bulldogs!

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The Epic Quest of Your Life

The Journey to the Bible’s World: The Epic Quest of Your Life

Sydney Carton went to a far better rest than he had ever known. Jane Eyre heard the voice of her old master. Alexei helped his brother Dmitri escape. Raskolnikov found grace with Sonya. Jean Valjean became a father to Cosette. Bilbo found the ring. Frodo carried it to Mount Doom. The man and the boy carried the fire on the road. Jeeves saved the day, repeatedly, as Bertie’s keeper. Harry faced down Voldemort, laying down his life for his friends.

These events that take place in great stories only make sense in the context of the wider narrative in which they’re set. In the novels, these events are powerful, thought provoking, moving, beautiful. But if you haven’t read the stories and don’t know the context, they mean very little.

Jesus accomplished an exodus in Jerusalem. He came as the lamb of God. He called himself the bridegroom. He spoke of his death in terms of the tearing down of the temple. When he died on the cross, dead people came out of their graves.

Like the events in the novels, these things about Jesus make sense when read against the back-story that gives them meaning. It can be hard to see the big story of the Bible because the narrative thread is harder to pick up than it is in most novels.

When I first started reading the Bible, it puzzled me that though this book was the one inspired by God, it seemed to me that other books were so much easier (and seemingly more fun) to read. Those other books seemed so much easier to understand. Often those other books were putting life’s big questions right on the surface. Reading other books was like picking low-hanging fruit. Reading the Bible was like searching for diamonds in a desert.

The problem was not with the Bible. The problem was with me and my expectations. For all the fun and ease I found in stories, I couldn’t find answers. I couldn’t find Truth.

If our fingers learn to feel the Bible’s narrative thread, we can follow that thread through the desert to the diamonds. We will feel the power and beauty of the descriptions of Jesus in the Gospels because the notes they sound will resonate in music our ears have learned to hear. The imagery will communicate rather than confuse. We will come away thinking the biblical authors were not only inspired but of subtly brilliant, no more thinking other writers tell better tales. We will come to see that the best of the world’s writers have merely sought to capture something of the shimmer on the Bible’s pages.

This is what biblical theology is for: to take you to Truth, to lead you all the way to God.

If you understand biblical theology, you won’t think that Homer, Virgil, Dickens, and Hugo were better storytellers than Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. You won’t think the Gospels rough and rude. You’ll see how they’re carefully crafted, structurally sound, climactic presentations of a story far more significant than any novelist invented.

If you come to understand biblical theology, the Bible will explain not merely what God has done in Christ but the whole world and its fullness, including but not limited to the world’s great works of literature. Better: you will learn the insight of the men of Issachar, who understood the times and knew what Israel should do.

Best: if you come to understand biblical theology, it will be because you will have come to know God. You will understand what the Spirit inspired the biblical authors to write, and if the Lord has truly made you a biblical theologian, you will see how your life fits in the Bible’s big story, the true story of the world. You will have learned the interpretive perspective of the biblical authors, embraced it, and begun to apply it to your own life.

Becoming a biblical theologian is an epic task worthy of every human being. It goes beyond the mere reading of books on the topic, though that will aid those who join this quest. It requires a lifelong study of the Scriptures for the glory of the Father in the power of the Spirit by faith in the Son.

Are you ready to begin your journey? This is an adventure that will take you into the real world, the world of the Bible. And my prayer is that once you’ve been there, you’ll never want to be anywhere else. Count the cost. Bring your Bible. Join me for THINK|13.

This post also appeared today on the College Park Church Blog.

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We Love Homeschooling

I am so thankful that our kids are enrolled in Hamilton Classical Academy, and here’s just one reason. The other day their history book from Veritas Press (Pages of History by Bruce Etter and Alexia Detweiler) introduced this acorn to oak-tree concept of the growth of the promises in the OT from the acorn of Genesis 3:15 to the oak-tree of fulfillment in Christ. After she read the section to them, my sweet wife encouraged the kids to draw what they had learned, and here’s our oldest son’s reproduction of the chart from the book.


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A Revelation Symposium in Reno

Banner-01Sierra Bible Church in Reno, NV is hosting a Revelation Symposium on Saturday, February 23, 2013. I’m looking forward to interacting with Sam Waldron and Gary DeMar. Details here.

Then Lord willing, Sunday, February 24, 2013, it will be my privilege to preach the word at Sierra Bible. If you’re in the area, I’d love to see you there.

If you’re not in the area, you can get my take on the book of Revelation here.

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Winter Bible Conference, Grace Church Tallahassee

Grace Church of Tallahassee, Florida is hosting a Winter Bible Conference January 25–27, 2013. I’ll be speaking on the Holy Spirit. Here are the session topics and times:

Friday, January 25, 7pm, The Holy Spirit and Old Covenant Believers
Saturday, January 26, 9am, The Promise of the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament
Saturday, January 26, 10:45am, The Holy Spirit in John
Sunday, January 27, 9:45am, They Holy Spirit in Acts
Sunday, January 27, 10:45am, The Holy Spirit in Romans

If you’re in the area, I would love to see you there. If you’re not in the area, you can get my take on these topics here.

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New Year’s Resolutions

1) Resolved: in stray and sundry moments when I find myself waiting in line or sitting in traffic, to meditate on the Scripture I know and seek to apply it to life rather than fretting about the way I could be using that time to study more Scripture.

2) Resolved: to obey Deuteronomy 6 and repeat the words of the Bible to my children when we rise up and lie down, when we sit in the house and walk by the way, and to talk with them about the truths of holy Writ.

3) Resolved: in view of the fact that marriage is a mini-drama of the gospel, to love my wife as Christ has loved the church, as this is the epic adventure of my life.


I wrote these for Towers for New Year’s Day 2012 and now post them here.

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In Houston October 1–6, 2012

My sweet wife grew up in Houston, and then when I finished my PhD at SBTS in 2003, the Lord opened a door for me to teach at the Houston campus of Southwestern Seminary. I had the privilege of teaching there from 2003–2008. In January of 2004 I was ordained to gospel ministry by Providence Baptist Church in Houston, and then in 2005 I was blessed to get involved with the core group of people planting what has become Baptist Church of the Redeemer. It was my privilege to help pastor that flock with some dear fellow-elders from 2005–2008.  We loved Houston because we loved the people of God we had the joy of walking with there, and the Lord’s people there loved us so well.

So getting to go back to Houston feels a bit like going home. My brother and his wife and their new baby even live there!

All this makes me delighted to have the opportunity to teach a class on the Gospel of John at The Bible Seminary in Katy, TX, just west of Houston. The class will meet Monday through Friday, October 1–5, from 8:15am until 4:30pm. If you’re looking to spend a week in the Word, I’d love to see you there.

Then that Friday night, October 5, and Saturday morning, October 6, I’ll be doing three sessions on Biblical Theology at the recently planted Christ Community Church. Lord willing, we’ll be looking at the Song of Songs in biblical theology, then motherhood in biblical theology, then fatherhood in biblical theology.

If you’re in the Houston area (or if you’re within driving distance of Houston!) and we had the joy of interacting there, please consider this an invitation, yea, a plea, old friend. Let’s reconnect – it would be great to spend the week in the Word with you at The Bible Seminary, and then what a privilege to think together about marriage and parenting in biblical theology at Christ Community Church. I would be thrilled to reconnect with you.

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I. H. Marshall Reviews G. K. Beale

It’s not often that a scholar of the stature of I. Howard Marshall reviews a book by a scholar of the stature of G. K. Beale. Both are men of massive influence, standing, piety, and scholarship.

Both Marshall and Beale have written a New Testament Theology, and Marshall’s review of Beale’s is in Themelios 37.2, which appeared today. Here’s Marshall’s conclusion:

So if you want a survey that will tell you what are the characteristics and distinctive contributions of the individual authors or books of the NT, you will not find it here (although you will be able to find what many of them say or imply on the selected theme of the book), and you will need to turn to such as Frank Matera and Frank Thielman. Similarly, if you want synthetic summaries of the teaching of the NT on the various motifs that it discusses, you will need to turn to such as Donald Guthrie or Tom Schreiner. And if you want a critical discussion of the varied understandings of contemporary scholars, you will need to turn to such as Peter Stuhlmacher. This volume focuses essentially on the biblical basis for NT theology, and I found so many fresh ideas (well, fresh to me) in it that I have read it with excitement and shall need to keep returning to it for fresh stimulus.

I think it’s safe to say that Marshall’s book will also “tell you what are the characteristics and distinctive contributions of the individual authors or books of the NT.”

Anyone interested in biblical theology should read the whole thing.

Related: my review of Beale’s book can be found here.


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Congrats to Gentry and Wellum on Kingdom through Covenant

I am delighted that the UPS man just dropped this book at our house.

Heartiest congratulations to Peter J. Gentry and Stephen J. Wellum on their book, Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants.

I’m thrilled to see this in print, and I’m excited about the discussion of this book and my own God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology that will take place at ETS this fall.

Here are the details on the session:

3:00 PM-6:10 PM
Frontier Airlines Center — 102 E
Biblical Theology (Invited): Recent Whole-Bible Biblical Theologies

Stephen G. Dempster
Crandall University

3:00 PM—3:40pm
Jim Hamilton
Southern Seminary
Why “God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology”?

Peter J. Gentry
Southern Seminary
Kingdom through Covenant and the Glory of God

Steve Wellum
Southern Seminary
From Biblical to Systematic Theology: What “Kingdom through Covenant” is Seeking to Contribute

Mark Boda
McMaster Divinity College, McMaster University
Response to James M. Hamilton’s God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology

Elmer A. Martens
Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary
Response to Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum’s Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants

5:30pm—6:10 PM
Panel Discussion

Mark Boda
McMaster Divinity College, McMaster University

Stanley K. Fowler
Heritage Theological Seminary

Peter J. Gentry
Southern Seminary

Jim Hamilton
Southern Seminary

Elmer A. Martens
Fresno Pacific Biblical Seminary

Steve Wellum
Southern Seminary

Craig Carter
Tyndale College, Toronto


I am honored to serve alongside Professors Gentry and Wellum. I don’t consider myself worthy of their company, to say nothing of Tom Schreiner’s, who having written a Pauline Theology and a New Testament Theology will soon bring out his own Whole-Bible Theology.

Other single volume attempts at Whole Bible Biblical Theology include the following:

Geerhardus Vos, Biblical Theology, 1948

Willem Vangemeren, The Progress of Redemption, 1988

Brevard Childs, Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments, 1993

Charles H. H. Scobie, The Ways of Our God, 2003

Reinhard Feldmeier and Hermann Spieckermann, God of the Living, 2011

My book appeared in 2010, Gentry and Wellum’s appears now in 2012, and Schreiner’s The King in His Beauty is set to appear in 2013. That means that three of the four larger (600+pg) evangelical attempts at Whole Bible Biblical Theology published in this century have been written by members of the faculty of Southern Seminary.

If you’re interested in biblical theology, let me invite you to check out SBTS. This a great place to study.

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In Parker, Colorado This Weekend: The Fulfillment of the OT in Revelation

If you’re in the Denver area, I’d love to see you tomorrow and Sunday.

Lord willing, I’ll be teaching from 9am to 5pm at Faith Baptist Church in Parker, Colorado on Saturday, June 9, 2012 on the Fulfillment of the OT in Revelation.

Then on Sunday I’ll be preaching from Revelation 5.

Would love to see you there!

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