Tag Archives: New Testament

An Embarrassment of Riches

How do we know that the New Testament has been reliably transmitted from the first century down to today? I lead a short seminar for HSC and Uni students today discussing this question in relation to the historicity of Jesus Christ. Some of the data, facts and figures on this topic are summarised in the below video by Dan Wallace.

Dan Wallace is Professor of New Testament at Dallas Theological Seminary and a highly regarded scholar on ancient manuscripts.

Have you read the New Testament recently? Here’s a good place to start.

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Posted by on 10/12/2012 in Apologetics, Bible


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What is the gospel?

It’s good news and if you have just 4 minutes, this video will tell you exactly what it is.

HT: St Ebbe’s

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Posted by on 27/09/2012 in Evangelism, Gospel, Jesus


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Because he built it, he will fill it

Is the world around us a mistake or an accident? If God made the world and everything in it, did Adam and Eve somehow upset everything and cause God to revert to “Plan B”?

The kingdom of God on earth started in Eden with the days of creation in Genesis 1. God sets the universe in motion and provides a template of forming and filling used during the entire Bible story.

The first stage of the 7 day pattern relates to new life. It starts with God speaking and his Word gives life. The way we receive faith and start our spiritual life is through God’s Word. (Rom 10:17, 1 Pet 1:23)

The seven day creation consists of 3 days of forming parallel to 3 days of filling*. In the same way you would build shelves in your house. First you erect the frame and then you fill the shelves with your belongings. The belongings don’t replace the shelves, they fill them. The New Testament did not replace the Old Testament, it filled it. (Matt 5:17-19, Heb 3:1-6)

The final day of Creation is a day of Rest, it anticipates our future and the rest that God desires to give us. (Matt 11:28-30, Heb 4:9-11)

Forming (by dividing)

Day 1 – Light & Dark

Day 2 – Firmament – Divided Waters (Sky & Sea)

Day 3 – Land & Sea, Grain & Fruit plants

Filling (with multitudes)

Day 4 – Sun, Moon & Stars

Day 5 – Swarms of Birds & Fish

Day 6 – Land Animals & Man


Day 7 – Stop, Rest, Hallow & Enjoy

(*Bull, Bible Matrix, pp.46-47)


Posted by on 10/04/2012 in Bible, Hermenutics


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Leviticus your neighbour

No, it’s not a naughty word, nor is it the title of a film about the life of Nelson Mandela. It’s the 3rd book of the Bible. You know, the one with all the gory sacrifices and (seemingly!) obsolete laws and rituals.

This time of year, many Christians make plans to read through the Bible in the coming year. It’s a commendable goal and regular bible reading ought to be part of the life of anyone who is serious about knowing, believing in, trusting and living for God. However in an average reading plan, say 3 or 4 chapters a day (8-15min) many people come unstuck somewhere around the end of January.

Why? Well there are many reasons; lack of discipline, lack of encouragement, overwhelmed by the task, or as is often the case… they hit the book of Leviticus and balk. The stories of the patriarchs in Genesis are great, they give the background to all those Sunday School and Children’s Spot lessons we’re so familiar with. The account of the plagues in Egypt and the amazing crossing of the Red Sea in Exodus is an easy read, because, after all, most of us have seen the movie and we know the story. Right?

But, blood, guts, more blood, weird definitions of cleanliness and did I mention blood? What on earth has that got to do with the ‘golden rule’ and loving my neighbour and all that stuff Jesus spoke about? Here’s the rub, the first time that is taught in the Bible is, you guessed of course, Leviticus 19:18, which says,

Do not seek revenge or bear a grudge against anyone among your people, but love your neighbor as yourself. I am the LORD. (NIV84)

Leviticus tells what it means to be God’s holy people and how that is displayed in day to day life. More specifically though, blood is a divider and separator. It is through sacrifice that we move (or rather are moved by God) into worship. We are taken hold off, separated from what we were and established as something altogether new.

During my preaching at Grace Church in January, I am going to spend 2 Sunday mornings at Kogarah and 1 at Sutherland going through some of the highlights of Leviticus. We’ll have a look at some of those gory details and see how they connect to Jesus and the New Testament. As we do that, you might like to have another go at reading the book of Leviticus. There’s only 27 chapters, 3 a day and you’ll knock it over in 9 days. Give it a shot.

If you’re still thinking or wondering about a plan to read through the rest the of the Bible, here’s a couple of links that might help out.

Bible Reading by Spurgeon

Bible Gateway Reading Plans

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Posted by on 05/01/2012 in Bible, Jesus, Reading, worship


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What is Biblical Spirituality

From Tim Chester via The Resurgence:

Spirituality has come to be about solitude, calm, silence.

In reality, though, this is spirituality for the well-off. It’s only for those who can afford to go on retreat or have space in their home where they can be quiet. It won’t work for the single mother in a small apartment. It won’t work for the migrant worker who goes to work at six in the morning. It’s not urban spirituality. And it’s not biblical spirituality

Biblical spirituality is about:

* Bible meditation, not mystical silence
* Passionate engagement, not rural retreat
* Growing together, not individual solitude

In other words, biblical spirituality, at its core, is about the word of God, the mission of God, and the community of God.

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Posted by on 02/09/2011 in Bible, discipleship, Theology, worship


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Whats the worst insult you can think of?

When we think of dogs, we think of “man’s best friend” or warm, cuddly pets. In the New Testament times dogs were not thought of as dirty scavengers. The worst thing you could call somebody, was, a dog.

In Philippians 3:2 Paul uses the term “dog” to designate anyone who directs you away from Jesus as the source of joy. In particular, he focuses on those obsessed with moralistic rule keeping as the means to achieve God’s blessing. The idea was, along the lines of, if you live according to a strict moral code, then God will be happy with you.

We’re all familiar with the austere looking puritan caricatures that so often are used to ridicule Christians. Unfortunately, in many cases, those caricatures are closer to the truth than Christians will care to admit. “Oh, we’re saved by grace” they nobly espouse. Then, as soon as someone falls short of their  moral code of conduct, they are either given a dressing down or shunned.

These so-called Christians are Dogs! Filthy, disgusting, scavengers, scum of the earth!

What is going to bring joy into my heart and soul and keep it? What safeguard is there for me that will keep me stabilized, make me certain and keep me secure so I can live with joy?

It is not keeping to the rules. You can’t possibly maintain a perfect standard anyway. Instead, joy, exuberant, exalting, free, hedonistic joy is to live each day realizing that everything God does in you and through you, is by grace, rather than working for it and earning it.

Stay clear of “dogs” or whatever else you might think to call those who turn you away from Jesus.

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Posted by on 24/08/2011 in discipleship, Gospel, Jesus


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Harmony in Marriage… ENGAGE!

I am a Star Trek Fan. Original Series, Next Generation, Deep Space 9, Voyager, Enterprise, the Movie franchise. In 2001, my wife bought me the entire NG series on VHS as a gift. She has also in recent years bought me the OS DVD’s.

Jean-Luc Picard is the Captain of the NCC 1701D Galaxy Class Starship Enterprise. He is renowned as an intergalactic diplomat and many of the NG episodes revolve around various diplomatic trade negotiations, interspecies warfare etc.

Political diplomats will tell you that the solution to inter-country conflict is to understand what the other party wants and find a way to give it to them.

The New Testament book of James tells us:

What causes fights and quarrels among you? Don’t they come from your desires that battle within you? You want something but don’t get it. ~ James 4:1-2a

Conflict is an issue in every relationship. Often it is not your ability to resolve a conflict that makes that relationship work – rather it might be understanding what has caused the conflict is mismatched expectations.

My problem, when faced with an escalating conflict is that I am focused on “my needs.”

But, what does your spouse need? Today? This weekend / week / month / year?

This is going to require your time and attention to figure out. This might mean, exploring things, like temperament differences, love language differences, life stage differences and yes, sexual differences.

How can you identify your spouse’s needs? 

How can you, with God’s help, serve your spouse?

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Posted by on 16/08/2011 in Blokes, leadership, marriage


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