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Take the Time to Read a Chronological Bible in 2023

Over the last two years, I read a Chronological Study Bible for my personal devotions.  A chronological study Bible puts every passage in the historical order of the events that it narrates. This is different from our regular Bibles, whose books are grouped roughly according to genre. For instance, all the wisdom writings are put together, as are the prophets (major, then minor), and the New Testament letters (first Paul, then everyone else).  The result is that books written at widely separated times in history might be placed right next to each other, despite historical contexts being so different. A chronological...

Jesus and Our Shame 

When your conscience speaks to you, what voice do you hear? Is it an inner lawyer or an inner grandma? This is the question of Australian missiologist David Williams. The inner lawyer is interested in right and wrong, good and evil, guilt and innocence. As you weigh your future options or consider your past actions, that inner lawyer will ask questions such as “is it right or is it wrong?”. He (I’m making this lawyer a man, mainly because my imagined inner lawyer looks and sounds exactly like Atticus Finch) is either your defence (“you were right!”), or your prosecutor (“that...

Amazing Grace and the Evangelical Heart

Something new happened towards the middle of the eighteenth century. A great movement arose that coalesced around the idea and experience of being born again. It was called the Great Awakening. Of course, ever since Jesus’ conversation with Nicodemus, Christians have understood the importance of regeneration—though different traditions have expressed it in different ways through the centuries. Within reformed theology, Calvin had much to say about regeneration, but new pressures were at play a couple of hundred years later when the message of “being born again” (i.e. changing status and starting afresh) gained its prominence and power. By then, Christians...

In My Place Condemned He Stood: Penal Substitutionary Atonement

Some years ago at our church we got our trainees to read J. I. Packer’s classic essay “What did the Cross Achieve?” In it, the great British theologian sets out a careful, nuanced, and compelling case for the penal substitutionary nature of Christ’s work on the cross. I was excited for them to read it. Packer carefully defended a position they had no idea needed defending … like the existence of gravity. They were underwhelmed. They did not find any fault with the writing, or the exegesis, or the theology as such. Rather, the trainees were perplexed because, for them,...

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