• Explaining Anomalies Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2016

    Unbelievers often allege that the Bible is “full of contradictions.” I’ve noted in many places over the years, however, that most of the contradictions people suggest really do not qualify as contradictions but merely reflect the difference in perspective we get when several eyewitnesses describe the same event but give different details. In such cases, the accounts do not contradict one another; rather, each account may emphasize different aspects of the same event, such that we get a fuller picture when we see how the details can be harmonized. Variations in perspective are exactly what we should expect even in … View Resource

  • Blasphemy against the Holy Spirit Article by Dennis Johnson

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2015

    Jesus’ announcement that blaspheming the Holy Spirit is a sin that will never be forgiven is “hard” for two reasons. First, it seems to contradict Scriptures that tell us Christ’s blood can effect forgiveness for every sin (1 John 1:7, 9). Second, Jesus affirms that slander against Himself, the Son of Man, can be forgiven; but slander against the Holy Spirit cannot. Does this exalt the dignity of the third person of the Trinity above the second person? The saying appears in varying forms in the Gospels: Every sin and blasphemy will be forgiven people, but the blasphemy against the … View Resource

  • Cursing of the Fig Tree Article by Daniel Doriani

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2015

    On Palm Sunday, Jesus entered Jerusalem to shouts of acclamation and then tossed the money-changers from the temple. God had appointed it as “a house of prayer,” but its priests had made it “a den of robbers.” Jesus spent the night in Bethany. As He returned the next morning, He was hungry. Seeing a fig tree by the road, he went up to it but found nothing on it except leaves. Then he said to it, “May you never bear fruit again!” Immediately the tree withered. (Matt. 21:18–19) This is surprising. Until now, Jesus’ miracles brought restoration. We cannot say … View Resource

  • Eating Flesh, Drinking Blood Article by Brian Vickers

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2015

    Difficult words, no doubt. No less for John’s readers than for Jesus’ hearers. For many that day, it was too much, so they walked away. Just the day before, Jesus fed five thousand people from five loaves of bread and two fish (John 6:1–14). Once they were well fed, having enjoyed the benefits of Jesus’ miracle, the people concluded, “This is indeed the Prophet who is to come into the world,” and they decided that He should be king (vv. 14–15). What a difference a day makes. Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the … View Resource

  • Hidden from the Wise Article by Erik Raymond

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2015

    If we sit back in our chair and honestly contemplate the scope of the church, we find ourselves somewhat bewildered. It is clear that God’s agenda in and through the church is to showcase His manifold wisdom: “so that through the church the manifold wisdom of God might now be made known to the rulers and authorities in the heavenly places” (Eph. 3:10). At the same time, there are many people with tremendous influence and ability who are not believers. Do you ever wonder why God has chosen to pass by some with so much “promise” only to give new … View Resource

  • I and the Father Are One Article by Andreas Kostenberger

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2015

    When Jesus said, “I and the Father are one” (John 10:30), what did He mean? The gender of the Greek word for “one” in this passage is not masculine but neuter, designating the Father and Jesus not as one person but as one entity (“one thing”). The clear affirmation of Jesus’ deity in John’s gospel is striking, as it raises some important questions regarding His relationship to God the Father. If God the Father—Yahweh, the great “I Am,” the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob—is God, and Jesus is God as well, how many gods are there? In first-century Jewish … View Resource

  • An Introduction to the Hard Sayings Article by John Tweeddale

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2015

    The so-called hard sayings of Jesus entered Christian vernacular in 1983 with the publication of F.F. Bruce’s book of the same name. But individuals have been grappling with the teachings of Jesus long before the don of twentieth century British evangelical biblical scholarship wrote his now-famous work. After Jesus’ bread of life discourse in John 6, several professed followers of Christ abandoned His band of disciples because they were offended by what they dubbed His “hard sayings” (vv. 60–65). Not everyone was as put off by the words of Christ. The Apostle Peter responded to the very same “offensive” words … View Resource

  • Keys of the Kingdom Article by Guy Waters

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2015

    For many Christians, mentioning the “keys of the kingdom” calls to mind the extravagant claims of the Roman Catholic Church for the papacy. Protestants justifiably shrink from such claims. In Matthew 16:19, Jesus is addressing Peter, but He is not addressing only Peter: I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven. After asking His disciples at Caesarea Philippi, “Who do people say that the Son of Man is?” (v. 13), Jesus then asks, “But who … View Resource

  • No Peace but a Sword Article by Joel Kim

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2015

    The disciples of Jesus, like their Jewish contemporaries, believed that when the Messiah came, he would come as the “Prince of Peace,” bringing political freedom and material prosperity (Isa. 9:6–7; Zech. 9:10). Moreover, Jesus taught them that peacemakers were indeed blessed (Matt. 5:9) and told them to offŠer greetings of peace as they entered a home (Matt. 10:12–13). Perhaps some were even aware that He was to bring “peace on earth” (Luke 2:14). Yet, Jesus also said, “I have not come to bring peace, but a sword” (Matt. 10:34). Jesus did not deny that peace would result from His … View Resource

  • Not One Jot or Tittle Article by Brandon Crowe

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2015

    Matthew 5:17–18 is a key text for interpreting the Sermon on the Mount and the entire gospel of Matthew: Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. Here Jesus says that not one iota (jot) or dot (tittle) will pass away from the law. These most likely refer to the smallest strokes of the Hebrew alphabet, … View Resource

  • The Purpose of Parables Article by Ben Dunson

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2015

    In Matthew 13:10–17, Jesus explains to His disciples why He teaches in parables. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. (v. 13) This passage may appear perplexing at first, especially when Jesus indicates that His actual intention in speaking in parables is that truth would be concealed from those on the outside. How should we make sense of this? First, Jesus is clearly teaching that the secrets of the kingdom of God are unknowable through mere human reasoning and intuition. Jesus does … View Resource

  • Unclean Spirits and Waterless Places Article by Robert Carver

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2015

    Beelzebul! He casts out demons by Beelzebul!” Such was the vicious response of the Pharisees after Jesus healed a demon-possessed man. Jesus pointed out that their charge was absurd and illogical, and then accused them of having committed the unpardonable sin (Matt. 12:22–32). He said that the Ninevites (who repented at Jonah’s preaching) and the queen of the South (who came to hear the wisdom of Solomon) would rise up at the judgment against “this generation” (vv. 41–42). One greater than Jonah and Solomon was in their midst, and they rejected Him. Jesus then spoke of an unclean spirit’s going … View Resource

  • When Towers Fall Article by David Strain

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2015

    God whispers to us in our pleasures, speaks in our conscience, but shouts in our pains: it is his megaphone to rouse a deaf world.” So wrote C.S. Lewis in his book The Problem of Pain. Pain presents a constant challenge for Christians as we strive to discern God’s design in the pattern of our lives. Unanswerable as these questions seem, we are sometimes tempted to shrink back from thinking about suffering altogether, fearing perhaps that the subject presents insurmountable difficulties for faith. But in Luke 13:1–5, Jesus tackles it head on. He focuses on two instances of suffering, … View Resource

  • The Sons of God Article by R.C. Sproul

    FROM TABLETALK | April 2013

    In the twentieth century, the German biblical scholar Rudolf Bultmann gave a massive critique of the Scriptures, arguing that the Bible is filled with mythological references that must be removed if it is to have any significant application to our day. Bultmann’s major concern was with the New Testament narratives, particularly those that included records of miracles, which he deemed impossible. Other scholars, however, have claimed that there are mythological elements in the Old Testament as well. Exhibit A for this argument is usually a narrative that some believe parallels the ancient Greek and Roman myths about gods and goddesses … View Resource

  • The Church and Israel in the New Testament Article by Keith Mathison

    FROM TABLETALK | October 2012

    One of the most common questions asked by students of the Bible concerns the relationship between Israel and the church. We read the Old Testament, and it is evident that most of it concerns the story of Israel. From Jacob to the exile, the people of God is Israel, and Israel is the people of God. Despite the constant sin of king and people leading to the judgment of exile, the prophets look beyond this judgment with hope to a time of restoration for Israel. When we turn to the New Testament, the same story continues, and Israel is still … View Resource