• Exegesis has Consequences Article by Anthony Carter

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2014

    Ideas have consequences. Since the dawn of Western philosophy, we have witnessed the good, the bad, and the ugly of this axiom. From the influence of John Locke upon the founders of America, to the disastrous results of the influence of Karl Marx in Communist Russia and Friedrich Nietzsche in Hitler’s Germany, it can hardly be argued that ideas don’t have consequences. Yet, not only do ideas have consequences, but so too does exegesis. The danger of erroneous interpretation of Scripture is not new in our day. The Apostle Paul instructed a young Timothy, “Do your best to … View Resource

  • Grammatical Fallacies Article by Douglas Moo

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2014

    God’s Word comes to us in words. These words are human words: chosen by particular human beings in particular circumstances to communicate a particular message. Of course, the words of Scripture are also divine words. Each one of them is “breathed out” by God (2 Tim. 3:16). However, while the inspired quality of the words of Scripture means that they are utterly reliable and fully authoritative, it does not cancel the genuine human quality of those words. As orthodox interpreters have long recognized, then, the words of Scripture function in many basic ways just like any words function … View Resource

  • The Importance of Sound Exegesis Article by Daniel Doriani

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2014

    A Bible scholar walks into a friend’s kitchen and sees a magnet fixing a diet plan to the refrigerator door. It reads, “‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the Lord, ‘plans to prosper you … to give you hope and a future’ ” (Jer. 29:11, NIV). Is his dieting friend interpreting Scripture correctly? The first principle of interpretation is “Read contextually.” The Bible scholar thinks to himself, “Does he know that Jeremiah spoke to Israel’s leaders in exile in Babylon? That a word spoken to the nation of Israel isn’t necessarily a personal promise … View Resource

  • Interpreting Hermeneutics Article by Burk Parsons

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2014

    My first appointment today was with a seminary student of mine who also attends our church. He is a sharp student in his early forties who left a lucrative career in order to pursue God’s call to pastoral ministry. He asked me to review his research paper and suggest ways he could improve it. In discussing his paper, he explained how his position on baptism had recently begun to change from a believer’s-baptist (credobaptist) position to an infant-baptist (paedobaptist) position. Even though I am a convinced paedobaptist, I urged him as a first-year seminary student to take extraordinary … View Resource

  • Logical Fallacies Article by Andreas Kostenberger

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2014

    Logic (from the Greek word logos, “reason”) is the “science that deals with the principles and criteria of validity of inference and demonstration, the science of the formal principles of reasoning” (Merriam-Webster). While theology, as the study of God, transcends mere logic, it is reasonable to expect that Scripture adheres to common principles of reasoning. Properly used, logic derives true propositions from other true propositions. Even though Scripture may not explicitly state a given truth, we may make true statements that have Scripture’s authority behind them if they are properly derived from what Scripture does say following principles of … View Resource

  • Word-Study Fallacies Article by Robert Cara

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2014

    At my seminary, I often teach the introductory Greek course. On the first or second day of class, at least one student and I will have the following typical conversation during one of the breaks: “Dr. Cara, is it not true that sin in the New Testament means ‘miss the mark’?” “Well, not exactly,” I respond. “In the Bible, sin means to violate God’s law. Yes, it is true that the Greek word translated as ‘sin,’ hamartia, is a combination of ‘not’ and ‘mark,’ but that is not its meaning in the Bible.” “I’m confused. I have been … View Resource

  • Dragons and Holiness Article by Tony Reinke

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2013

    The incredible imaginative power of the human mind connects us. If I mention standing ankle deep in the ocean, many of you can picture this image (and maybe feel the dizziness as you watch the water rush past your feet and back). Or if I mention the feeling of floating free under water in a swimming pool with eyes open, many of you know this feeling, too. Or if I mention the muffled silence that blankets a neighborhood in a thick snowstorm, you can probably imagine it. Thousands of other scenarios we can enjoy together. This is the work of … View Resource

  • Thinking Like Jesus Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2012

    Several years ago, I was asked to give a convocation address at a major theological seminary in America. In that address, I spoke about the critical role of logic in biblical interpretation, and I pleaded for seminaries to include courses on logic in their required curricula. In almost any seminary’s course of study, students are required to learn something of the original biblical languages, Hebrew and Greek. They are taught to look at the historical background of the text, and they learn basic principles of interpretation. These are all important and valuable skills for being good stewards of the … View Resource

  • Amen Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2011

    And all the people said … “Amen!” The “amen corner” has had an important place in the life of the church throughout the ages. However, it is rare to find such a spot among Presbyterians. We are known as God’s frozen chosen for a reason. It has been said that the Methodists like to shout “Fire,” the Baptists like to shout “Water,” and the Presbyterians like to softly say, “Order, order.” Nevertheless, in spite of the idiosyncrasies of various ecclesiastical persuasions, the function of the word amen far transcends denominational usages in the modern era. The term amen was used … View Resource

  • Blessing Article by John Tweeddale

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2011

    The Bible is a blessed book. It begins with blessing. It ends with blessing. It’s about blessing. Even more, it is a blessing. But all of this begs a question: what exactly do we mean by the word blessing? Count Your Blessings In everyday parlance, the word blessing reflects a range of meanings. We can count them one by one. So, for example, we might speak of bumping into a long-lost friend as an “unexpected blessing” or (depending on the friend) even as a “mixed blessing.” Here the word more or less conveys the idea of personal gain and good … View Resource

  • Church Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2011

    In the language of the Westminster Confession of Faith, the church comprises the “whole number of the elect, that have been, are, or shall be, gathered into one, under Christ the Head thereof” (25.1). This is otherwise known as the invisible church. In another sense, the church is the body of the faithful (1 Cor. 12:27; Eph. 2:21–22; Rev. 21:2, 9), consisting of those throughout the world who outwardly profess faith, together with their children (WCF 25.2). This is otherwise known as the visible church. The Greek word that is translated as “church” in the … View Resource

  • God’s Hammer Article by R.C. Sproul Jr.

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2011

    Sometimes, indeed often, we build and maintain our paradigms for our own comfort. Our worldviews are usually less the result of careful, dispassionate, sober-minded analysis and more the result of self-serving, special pleading, rationalization of our sin. We believe not because these beliefs commend themselves to our minds but because in our minds the beliefs commend us. It is these habits of our desperately deceitful hearts that make us miss the voice of God. He speaks, but we hear what we want to. We come to our Bibles with this most fundamental presupposition—whatever the Bible may be saying, it can’t … View Resource

  • Problematic Analogies and Prayerful Adoration Article by Carl R. Trueman

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2011

    Ask any children’s Sunday school teacher what the most difficult thing to teach is and he will almost certainly tell you: “The doctrine of the Trinity, that God is one but exists in three persons.” Ask them how they do it and you will probably find them outlining an analogy: “God is like water, ice, and steam” is one of the more popular. The problem with such an analogy — indeed, with any analogy — for the Trinity is that it is actually more misleading than helpful. What it describes is not really something akin to the biblical Trinity … View Resource

  • We Believe the Bible and You Do Not Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2010

    Not too long ago, in an effort to get a better grasp of the Lutheran doctrine of the Lord’s Supper, I was reading the chapters on the sacraments in Francis Pieper’s Christian Dogmatics, and I ran across this statement: “The difference between the Lutheran Church and the Reformed in the doctrine of Baptism is fully and adequately defined by saying that the former believes God’s Word regarding Baptism, the latter not” (vol. 3, p. 269). View Resource