• The Historical Reality of Adam Article by Guy Waters

    FROM TABLETALK | January 2014

    In Adam’s fall, we sinned all.” So begins the New England Primer, which taught generations of early Americans to read. In introducing our forefathers to the letter A, the primer was also administering a generous dose of biblical theology. As Paul puts it crisply in 1 Corinthians 15:22, “For as in Adam all die, so also in Christ shall all be made alive.” Through Adam, sin and death entered into the world. By Christ, sin and death were conquered. Adam forfeited life by his disobedience. Christ achieved life by His obedience. These simple, basic truths, Paul tells the Corinthians, … View Resource

  • The Promise of God’s Presence Article by John R. Sittema

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2013

    Out of the blue, the old man heard the voice of God. This wasn’t one of the gods his people tried to placate in fear. This one talked. What did He want? The old man’s name was Abram, later changed to Abraham. The God who spoke was Yahweh—literally, “He who is.” Yahweh told him to leave Ur, which was near the Persian Gulf, and move to a small strip of land along the Mediterranean. God would be there, and Abraham would enjoy His presence. TO GLORIFY GOD AND ENJOY HIM The story is told in Genesis 12. Abraham’s descendants—a weary … View Resource

  • Spokesmen for God Article by John L. MacKay

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2013

    The Lord did not commission His prophets to act as missionaries, going to those who had never heard God’s Word, nor were they to be innovators inaugurating a radically different religion. Their primary duty was to administer spiritual first aid to those who, though nominally acquainted with the terms of the covenant, were not complying with them, either through spiritual complacency or open defiance (Jer. 2:25; Zeph. 1:12). Prophetic ministry sought to soften hardened hearts and reclaim seared consciences by urging a return to the old paths (Jer. 6:16)—behavior which conformed to God’s requirements and would restore intimate and lasting … View Resource

  • What’s in a Name? Article by Mark Futato

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2010

    Anybody who has spent any time in the church can tell stories of flat-out ridiculous attitudes and actions they have seen in the lives of God’s people. There is nothing new under the sun. The book of Jonah exposes in a sometimes humorous way the foibles of the faithful in ancient Israel. Against the backdrop of human folly shines the brilliance of divine faithfulness. Such is the message of the book of Jonah. We need not, however, study the whole book to get this message. It is found in Jonah’s name. View Resource

  • Christ Our Church Article by Kim Riddlebarger

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2010

    There are a number of Old Testament passages that figure prominently in the New Testament. In Galatians 3:10–14, several of them are quoted by the apostle, and he uses these Old Testament passages as proof texts for the doctrine that sinners are justified through faith alone. Those who trust in Jesus Christ to save them from their sins understand that it was Jesus’ suffering upon the cross that turned aside God’s wrath and anger. But this was not yet clear in the Old Testament when these passages first appeared. The first passage cited by Paul in this section is from … View Resource

  • Joseph’s Faith in Death Article by Kim Riddlebarger

    A key figure in the closing chapters of the book of Genesis, Joseph is known for several things: his “coat of many colors,” being sold into slavery by his jealous brothers, and his remarkable ability to interpret the dreams of the Egyptian pharaoh. But when the author of Hebrews looks back on the life of Joseph in chapter 11 (the so-called “hall of faith”), Joseph is remembered for something else. “By faith Joseph, at the end of his life, made mention of the exodus of the Israelites and gave directions concerning his bones” (v. 22). Joseph was the eleventh son … View Resource

  • Lessons from a Queen Article by Tom Ascol

    FROM TABLETALK | May 2008

    In contrast to many of the ancient Near Eastern cultures, the Bible demonstrates a great respect for women. Among Jesus’ closest followers were Mary and Martha, and women were often the object of His kindness (Matt. 9:20ff; 15:22–28; John 8:1–11) and illustrative of His teaching (Luke 4:25–26; 15:8–10). Once, in response to a Pharisee’s request for a sign, Jesus invoked the memory of a woman who lived one thousand years before His time. He used her example both to instruct and to warn those who had experienced the privileges of seeing His works and hearing His teaching.  After citing the sign … 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 interpreted from … View Resource

  • A Loyal Love Article by Kathy Miskelly

    FROM TABLETALK | July 2007

    For where you go I will go, and where you lodge I will lodge. Your people shall be my people, and your God my God” (Ruth 1:16). Those words of Ruth are often quoted to express the desire that one’s marriage and family might be characterized by a loyal love that will endure through the years. We long to rest under the shadow of true loyalty, to have the assurance that we will not be forsaken or betrayed by those we love and that we will never betray those who have trusted us. Human loyalty is frail, and false loyalty … View Resource

  • Limping Home to God Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2007

    Poor Jacob! You have to love him even though he’s such a disagreeable fellow! A cheat from birth, Jacob has lived up to his name and now finds himself away from home, fearing the wrath of his twin-brother, Esau. Not that life with his uncle Laban had been a picnic. “Out of the frying-pan into the fire” the saying goes, and Jacob found his uncle to be as wily a character as himself. What had probably been a temporary arrangement turned into twenty years during which Jacob fell head-over-heels for a woman called Rachel, but was “tricked” by his uncle … View Resource

  • Snakes and Ladders Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | March 2007 | Genesis 28

    Poor Jacob! You have to feel sorry for him even though he’s a most disagreeable character! A “self-willed mother’s boy,” with opportunistic instincts that enabled him to outsmart friends and foes alike in a ruthless bid at getting his own way, Jacob emerges in Genesis as the less likeable of Isaac’s twin boys. And yet, he is the one God chooses to bless! Jacob has fled for his life because his twin brother Esau is as mad as a hornet with him for his duplicity in stealing Esau’s birthright through trickery. Esau has vowed, once their father is dead, to … View Resource

  • Wily Jacob Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | February 2007

    Sell me your birthright now,” Jacob demanded of his twin brother, Esau (Gen. 25:31). Thus begins the sorry tale of Abraham’s grandson. From the start, Jacob challenges us to dislike him: a self-willed, pampered child with ruthless skills in getting his own way.  Though the youngest of the twins, the birthright (rights to inherit) should have been Esau’s - a far more attractive personality all round. But God has other ideas, promising to his mother, Rebekah, that the birthright would be given to Jacob (Gen. 25:23). This was a recipe for trouble, designed to show that inheritance in God’s kingdom … 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 at ninety years of age … View Resource

  • Left Behind by Grace Alone Article by Chris Donato

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2006

    The story of Lot isn’t particularly nice. It is, in fact, one of the more gross stories in the Old Testament. A recalcitrant man of faith, a self-centered wife, two incestuous daughters, obstinate daughters and sons-in-law, and a city full of violence and perversion — great characters all — for a tragedy. Yet it is not without hope. For despite his depressing mistakes, Lot was a righteous man whose faithful soul was tormented over the lawless deeds of the Sodomites (2 Peter 2:7–8). God, ever utterly faithful to His covenant, did not abandon Lot (for Abraham’s sake, Gen. 19:29); rather, … View Resource

  • Sodom and Gomorrah Article by Derek Thomas

    FROM TABLETALK | November 2006

    Genesis 19 is unseemly stuff! The kind of thing we don’t want to be found reading in public on Sunday mornings when our mothers are present! Sodomy, rape, and who knows what else? Do we close our eyes and think nice thoughts rather than dwell on what this story is really about? And coming so quickly after the moving prayer of chapter 18 — what in the world are we to make of it? Assumptions are that the sin here is homosexuality of a violent nature. Genesis 19:5 simply says that the men of Sodom demanded, “Bring them out to … View Resource