Welcome to my digest of Christian comment.
For Biblical commentary, use the Bible Study Notes menu above, and for topical comments, use the categories list on the right.
“Excuse me. May I ask you a question? Is that man a preacher?” asked the nurse at the Oxford Radcliffe Hospital.
“Yes. Why do you ask?” I said.
“Well, after a long day, when all visitors have left, he gets out of bed and goes from room to room. I think he is preaching and praying with people. Frankly, we cannot keep him in bed at night. We say, ‘Mr. Green, you must rest and get back into bed.’ He did just have a heart attack you know.…
Romans 1:5 ‘Through him we have received grace and our apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith among all the Gentiles on behalf of his name.’
What is meant by ‘the obedience of faith’? Here are the main interpretative options:-
(a) ‘Faith’ may mean ‘the faith’, or the body of apostolic teaching. Compare Acts 6:7 – ‘obedient to the faith’. But the definite article is absent in the original, and the context in Romans (which emphases ‘faith’) is against this interpretation.…
Mark 2:25f – “Have you never read what David did when he was in need and he and his companions were hungry—2:26 how he entered the house of God when Abiathar was high priest and ate the sacred bread…?”
According to 1 Sam 21:1-6, Ahimelech was high priest at this time. His son, Abiathar, became high priest shortly afterwards. Various attempts at reconciling this apparent discrepancy have been made:-
(a) Some think that Mark is plainly mistaken. …
Matthew 18:20 “Where two or three are assembled in my name, I am there among them.”
Christians regularly appeal to this saying in order to reassure themselves that, no matter how few their numbers when they gather for public worship or for prayer, Jesus himself will be present.
Matthew Henry: ‘Every believer has the presence of Christ with him; but the promise here refers to the meetings where two or three are gathered in his name, not only for discipline, but for religious worship, or any act of Christian communion.’
Ryle: ‘There is comfort in these words for all who love to meet together for religious purposes.…
John 20:21 – “Just as the Father has sent me, I also send you.”
In what sense are Jesus’ disciples sent ‘just as’ he himself was sent?
The two ‘sendings’ use different Greek words: the first, apostellō, and the second, pempō. However, as Kruse explains, nothing theological should be made of this difference, because the two words are used interchangeably throughout John’s Gospel. Carson agrees, saying, ‘this is an instance of John’s penchant for minor stylistic variations.’
To be sure, we cannot be either incarnated as the Son of God was, nor can we die, as he did, for the sins of the world.…
Matthew 25:40 – “Just as you did it for one of the least of these brothers or sisters of mine, you did it for me.”
Who are ‘these brothers of mine’?
Summary: it is often assumed that ‘these brothers of mine’ are the the poor, and therefore that our final destiny depends on acts of kindness exercised towards the poor. In fact, Jesus only ever uses this expression to refer to his disciples (see esp. Mt 12:49), and thus the point of this teaching is that to receive kindly one of his disciples is to receive Christ himself.…
27:52 And tombs were opened, and the bodies of many saints who had died were raised. 27:53 (They came out of the tombs after his resurrection and went into the holy city and appeared to many people.)
Did these remarkable events actually happen?
So-called ‘mainstream’ critical scholarship regards it as ‘legendary’. According to Harper’s Bible Commentary, for example, ‘One wonders what the resurrected saints were doing between Good Friday and Easter. The story flatly contradicts Paul’s teaching that other resurrections will occur only at the Parousia (1 Cor.…
1 Timothy 4:10 – ‘…the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of believers.’
Obviously, Paul was no universalist. So what interpretative options are left?
1. All, potentially, and believers, actually? Some, including Fee, think that Paul means that salvation is available to all, but effective for those who believe. This would be consistent with 1 Tim 2:6. Understood in this way, the verse becomes a strong support for the doctrine of universal (as opposed to particular) atonement. …
1 Timothy 2:15 – But [the woman] will be delivered through childbearing.’
This may mean:-
12:1 ‘Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses…’
Does this mean that the redeemed in heaven observe us here on earth? Some think so (with varying degrees of clarity and conviction, Donald Guthrie, EBC). It is noted that the imagery is that of the amphitheatre, and so it would make sense to understand these ‘witnesses’ be the spectators in the grandstand. Even if this interpretation were correct, the text gives little encouragement to the kind of popular sentimentalism (“Grandma is looking down on us”) that operates in the absence of gospel faith.…