• The Breath of God Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2004

    Creation The ancient hymn Veni Creator Spiritus, composed in the eighth century and part of the Roman breviary of Vespers, is a hymn extolling the Holy Spirit. John Dryden’s magnificent translation renders the opening lines this way: “Creator Spirit, by whose aid the world’s foundations first were laid.” The activity of the Holy Spirit as Creator finds expression in the second verse of the Bible! Describing the undeveloped creation as “without form and void” and in “darkness,” the author describes the Spirit of God as “hovering over the face of the waters” (Gen. 1:2). Forming a bookend … View Resource

  • Can Snakes Talk? Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2006

    With the possible exception of John 3:16, no verse in the Bible is more crucial and definitive than Genesis 3:15: “I will put enmity between you and the woman, and between your offspring and her offspring; he shall bruise your head, and you shall bruise his heal.” As Alec Motyer writes, “The whole of Scripture is not packed into every scripture, but we may allowably expect every scripture to prepare and make room for the whole. This is what happens in Genesis 3:15” (Look to the Rock, IVP, p. 34). Several important issues emerge all at once … View Resource

  • The Christian Life as Pilgrimage Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2016

    Who would true valour see, Let him come hither; One here will constant be, Come wind, come weather. There’s no discouragement Shall make him once relent His first avowed intent To be a pilgrim. A half-century ago, I sang these words in school assemblies set to music composed by Ralph Vaughan Williams. The words appear in Part 2 of John Bunyan’s The Pilgrim’s Progress as part of Mr. Valiant-for-Truth’s testimony. Earlier, Valiant had introduced himself to Mr. Great-heart and his companions with the words, “I am a Pilgrim, and am going to the celestial city.” All … 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

  • Concupiscence Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2011

    Our Dear Temeluchus, We are very pleased with the success you have had appealing to this young man’s sexual appetite. Telling him that every other young man is viewing pornography was a good move, and ensuring that he turned down the offer to block particular internet sites was crucial. Having his friends mock the very idea of sexual purity as prudish and “puritan“ was a stroke of genius. And how did you manage to get a Christian counselor to say that experimentation would ensure a more balanced and healthy attitude toward sex? You are showing great promise, our young trainee … View Resource

  • Corinthian Enthusiasm Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | June 2009

    Only one book is absolutely essential to save us, to equip us to obey God’s will, and to glorify Him in whatever we do. Only one book gives us undiluted truth — the whole truth and nothing but the truth. Only one book serves as our ultimate and final authority in all that it affirms. That book, of course, is the Bible, God’s Holy Word. No wonder John Wesley once exclaimed, ‘Let me be homo unius libri’—a man of one book! And yet the irony is that if we use only this book, we may in fact be … View Resource

  • The Covenant Keeper Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2006

    Two important words emerge in the story of Noah that will echo throughout the pages of Scripture: grace (Gen. 6:8, ESV has “favor”) and covenant (v. 18). In a context where the sinfulness of man is said to be “great” (v. 5), Noah finds “favor in the eyes of the Lord” (v.8), and because of it, he escapes the cataclysmic deluge that is the consequence of God’s retributive anger toward human rebellion. The grace of God shown to Noah (and his family) is covenantal in form: “I will establish my covenant with you” (6:18). This is … View Resource

  • Creation Ex Nihilo Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2006 | Genesis 1

    No sentence is more pregnant with meaning than the opening one of the Bible: “In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth” (Gen. 1:1). It tells us several things all at once, four of which are worth reflecting upon: First and foremost, it tells us that God is the ultimate Being. Before there was a universe, there was God. He exists independently of matter and sequence of time. God transcends space and time. He is not limited by spatial considerations (He is everywhere in His fullness continually). Nor is He locked into the present in any way … View Resource

  • The Decree of God Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2007

    Joseph has just revealed his true identity to his astonished brothers. It had been a tearful moment (Gen. 46:2, 14; cf. 42:24; 43:30). He is about to engage in a discourse on predestination and the divine decree (yes, really!), but this is no abstract theological exercise; it is theology engaging the harshest of realities — betrayal, false imprisonment, and injustice! Joseph had, from one point of view, every right to think that life made no sense at all because there was no controlling power governing the course of events. He might have been tempted to think along the … View Resource

  • Dying Well Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2007

    Sarah lived 127 years…. And Sarah died…. And Abraham went in to mourn for Sarah and to weep for her” (Gen. 23:1–2). Sarah and Abraham had been married fifty-two years. He would live almost four decades without her (see Gen. 25:7). She was sixty-five when she married Abraham, who was ten years older (Gen. 12:4; see 17:17, where we learn that when he was 100, she was 90). Eleven years into their marriage, still childless, Abraham was eighty-six and took another wife, Hagar (Gen. 16:16). Fourteen years later, when Abraham was one hundred years old, Sarah … View Resource

  • The Edge of Death Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2007

    All of us who are adults have had the temptation to pat a child on the head and say something appropriate. When Jacob had spent seventeen years in Egypt with his family and the time of his death drew near (Gen. 47:29), he made his son, Joseph, swear to him that he would ensure that he would not be buried in Egypt, but in his own burial plot back home in Canaan — a piece of land bought by Abraham (50:13). Then, as news of his death came to Joseph, he took his two sons, Ephraim and … View Resource

  • Everything Is Against Me! Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | September 2007

    It is Jacob’s lowest point. As far as he knows, Joseph is dead. That’s the story his sons have led him to believe, showing him the blood-stained “coat of many colors” (Gen. 37:31–33). He mourned his son’s death and “refused to be comforted” despite the hypocritical attempts of his sons who knew full well that Joseph was alive somewhere.  Many years have now passed. Joseph has spent two years in prison, been installed as second-in-command to the pharaoh, and enjoyed seven years of abundant harvest. Now the predicted seven years of famine have begun (something that Joseph had … View Resource

  • Evidences of Assurance Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2016

    The Westminster Confession of Faith insists that Christians may be “certainly assured that they are in the state of grace” (18:1) and goes on to assert that this “infallible assurance of faith” is “founded upon” three considerations: “the divine truth of the promises of salvation” “the inward evidence of those graces unto which these promises are made” “the testimony of the Spirit of adoption witnessing with our spirits that we are children of God” (18:2). The possibility of “certain” and “infallible” assurance is set against the backdrop of medieval and post-Reformation Roman Catholic views that paralyzed the church … View Resource

  • Favor in God’s Eyes Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2006

    Nondum considerasti, quanti ponderis sit peccatum!” wrote Anselm in his famous work on the incarnation, Cur Deus Homo. Translated, it means: “You have not considered how weighty sin is!” Low views of sin breed tepid views of the Gospel — views that the modern church is inclined to adopt. Salvation thus becomes a therapy of self-help rather than a deliverance from God’s wrath. Consequently, these opening chapters of Genesis are all the more counter-cultural in this postmodern age of ours. The opening chapters of Genesis depict for us a number of issues resulting from Adam and Eve’s … View Resource

  • Finding God in the Dark Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | August 2007 | Genesis 39

    Four times in Genesis 39 we read that God was with Joseph (39:2-3, 21, 23). The statements form a set of pillars at either end of the story of Joseph’s initial experience of Egypt. On the one end, they come at the beginning of the story after Joseph has been sold by the Ishmaelites to Potiphar, the pharaoh’s “captain of the guard” (39:1). The point of the description is to show to us that God’s presence “prospered” Joseph (39:2). He was a “successful man” (39:2) because “the Lord was with him” (39:3 … View Resource