Skip to content

Most Recent Blog Posts

The Promises of the Old Testament: An Interview with Randy Robison

Randy RobisonHow can the long-ago practices, laws, and rituals of the Old Testament possibly be relevant to our lives now? How are the promises that were made in the Old Testament transformed in Christ? What does it mean that God is the same yesterday, today, and forever?

Bible Gateway interviewed Randy Robison about his book, The Age of Promise: Escape the Shadows of the Law to Live in the Light of Christ (Thomas Nelson, 2018).

Buy your copy of The Age of Promise in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

You begin the book by describing how the New Testament was written in a time when the Old Testament era was ending. Briefly unpack that.

Randy Robison: When Christ came, he was the fulfillment of prophecy and the Old Testament law. One covenant was coming to a conclusion while another one was being initiated. So we see terms like “this age and the age to come” and things that are “at hand” or “soon to be” which were happening or transitioning as various New Testament books were being written. We even see verb tenses shift and change because things are happening so quickly.

Also, Jesus came first to the Jews, then to the Gentiles, but that also brought judgment on God’s people who refuse to recognize the Messiah. So we see prophecies being made and fulfilled within the scope of that generation. Understanding the context and the times of the Scriptures helps us to better apply them today.

In the book, each of ten chapters focuses on a different promise. What do you mean we live in an age of promise?

Randy Robison: The principles of the Old Testament and the law were fulfilled in Christ. In this era, under the rule of Jesus Christ, the ancient principles and constructs take on a different meaning. Even something like judgment, which once carried the death and weight of the law, actually holds a promise for those who are in Christ. By understanding the age in which we live, we better appreciate the Old Testament as well as everything Christ accomplished for us.

What is the promise of deliverance (because Christians continue to be persecuted and face general hardships) and how does obedience factor into it?

Randy Robison: Ever since the fall of mankind, God has been our deliverer. Christ provides the ultimate deliverance because no matter what hardships we face in this life, even unto death, it’s not the end for us. Our earthly afflictions are only for a season and this life is just a vapor. But eternity is forever and that’s our promise. Obedience reaps the rewards of endurance and peace as the Holy Spirit guides and comforts us in all circumstances.

What is the promise of sacrifice and why do we need it?

Randy Robison: The promise of the sacrifice is that Jesus paid it all. We don’t need to strive to atone for our sins because Christ has already done that. We simply need to receive his life so that he can rein in us and impact others through us.

What does it mean when the Bible says we are a chosen people?

Randy Robison: Under the old covenant, the Israelites were set apart by God to reveal himself to the rest of the world. Under the new covenant, all believers, regardless of race, gender, or class, are set apart by God to reveal himself to the rest of the world. God calls everyone to himself, but only those who respond are called “chosen” and enabled to live as his sons and daughters.

How should Christians be living in the “promise of the priest”?

Randy Robison: The Old Testament system of the priesthood provided a blueprint for representing God on earth. Now that Christ has assumed the role of High Priest forever, he paved the way for all believers to assume the priestly duties. That enables us to do things like representing God on earth, proclaiming what is true and right, restoring those who have fallen, and serving others in his name.

What does Paul mean when he says “we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ” in 2 Corinthians 5:10 and how should that influence the behavior of Christians?

Randy Robison: The judgment seat that Paul refers to relates to the rostrum or tribunal of his time. This is not a place of destruction in the Old Testament sense of judgment or even the judgment that Jesus warned the Jews about, which was a different word. As Paul had previously told the Corinthians in his first letter, this is a place where our actions are weighed and determined to be of eternal value, which he equates to silver, gold, and precious stones, or of no lasting value, which he equates to wood, hay, and straw. Through God’s purifying fire, our unrighteous deeds will be “burned up” and removed forever, leaving only the good things of eternal value. That’s why we don’t need to live under the shame of our mistakes, but can focus on laying up treasures in heaven through acts of obedience. This is actually good news.

What is the kingdom of heaven?

Randy Robison: In short, it’s the right for Christ to rule over one’s heart and mind. It should not be confused with a place here on earth or elsewhere, because it’s a matter of authority, not of location. However, it’s precisely what we should seek to bring to earth through the gospel.

Why is it important to keep in mind that end-times are coming (and what does that actually mean)?

Randy Robison: The “last days” and “end times” usually speak of the end of the old covenant and the judgment that came upon the Jews that rejected Christ. That’s why writers of the New Testament repeatedly claimed to be living in such a time. I see no scriptural evidence of a coming destruction of our planet, but rather the promise that God’s kingdom will continue to expand until all of creation is restored. This process, which Paul wrote about in Romans 8, began when Christ was born and will continue until he is seen in all of his glory.

How can Christians best communicate the reality of eternity to people who don’t believe the Bible and who assume this life is all there is?

Randy Robison: We do this by the way we live our lives and, when necessary, with our words. Being “chosen” means being set apart and, in some translations, “peculiar.” This is not a call to be weird, but a reflection of the fact that the more we live under the lordship of Christ, the more we stand out in this world. The fruit of a Spirit-filled life (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control) grows naturally and visibly. When people wonder where it comes from, we just need to tell them.

What do you hope readers of your book will do when they finish it?

Randy Robison: I hope they’ll have a deeper understanding of all that Christ has done for us and a greater desire to know him and live for him. Of course, I also hope they’ll give the book to someone else to read!

What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?

Randy Robison: I try to read fewer passages and more entire books, because they were written with a beginning and end. Focusing on a single passage is a little bit like focusing on one character in a painting. That’s good if you want to better understand that character, but it’s important to see the entire picture.

I especially enjoy the book of Romans because it explains Christ to an audience with little or no knowledge of him, and the Gospel of John because it focuses on making the case for Christ as the Messiah. I also enjoy the book of James because it’s very practical for believers.

What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App?

Randy Robison: Bible Gateway has helped me with every book that I’ve written. I’ve looked at all the Bible resources online and found Bible Gateway to be the one that’s consistently the most helpful. Whether using the site on my laptop or the app on my phone, I get more from the Scriptures when I use Bible Gateway.


The Age of Promise is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.


Bio: Randy Robison is a writer, producer, and co-host for the television program LIFE Today. He is the author of numerous books, such as The Age of Promise, God Wants You to Be Happy, Our Presidents & Their Prayers, God of All Creation, as well as collaborations with his father, James Robison and Senator Rand Paul. He is a graduate of Oral Roberts University, a husband, and a father of four. He and his family make their home in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

You’re missing out if you haven’t joined Bible Gateway Plus. Try it right now!

Don’t Miss These Free Resources in the Bible Gateway App!

Download the free Bible Gateway App

Download the free Bible Gateway App

Did you know that with the Bible Gateway App (@BibleGatewayApp) you have automatic access to a selection of Bible learning resources, including the NIV Application Commentary and The Bible Panorama? You have at your fingertips:

  • Commentaries
  • Devotionals
  • Dictionaries
  • and even a Study Bible and an Encyclopedia!

To find your free resources, open the Bible Gateway App and tap the menu in the top-left corner of your screen. From the menu, select “Resources.”

Download the free Bible Gateway App

Select the category and resource that you wish to view. In the image below, you’ll see a screenshot of the available commentaries. All free resources have a yellow FREE flag beside the title of the work.

Download the free Bible Gateway App

We hope you enjoy exploring these study tools to enhance your Bible learning experience! And don’t forget there are more resources available when you sign up for a monthly or yearly subscription to Bible Gateway Plus through the App.

If you like using the Bible Gateway App, tell your friends about it. The Bible Gateway App is one of the best ways to keep Scripture close everywhere you go!

And, if you haven’t already, check out (and download) the free Bible Gateway Bible Audio App to hear as well as read (at the same time) the Bible everywhere.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Download Bible Gateway’s New Bible Audio App]


Small Steps Out of the Darkness

Hannah BrencherBy Hannah Brencher

Even though I walk
through the darkest valley,
I will fear no evil,
for you are with me;
your rod and your staff,
they comfort me.
Psalm 23:4

I wish I could tell you there is this one sudden moment when God swoops in like a superhero and makes all the pain go away. Like a production set wrapping up after the filming of a television season, the lights go up, the director yells “Cut! That’s a wrap,” and we all go home. I want to be able to tell you that you’ll experience healing in an instant. It’s not impossible, but there is usually more trudging through the mud than that.

A lot of times, pain builds a ZIP Code™ and you live there for a while. For me, “coming out of the woods” wasn’t sudden. It was a seriously gradual process. It was a whole list of things I needed to do to get better: Take medicine. Talk to people. Go to therapy. Get out of bed. Take a shower. There were elements of my faith I needed to cultivate: Sit with the Bible. Write down Scripture. Pray. Even if I didn’t feel like it, I chose to do these things.

People’s advice to me is tired and repetitive during this time: It’s important to sit with your pain. Pain demands you learn its name. You need to shut off. Limit the distractions. Get comfortable with the waiting.

I wish I could go to the nearest McDonald’s and order a full recovery off the dollar menu. But then I remember God and how he wants us all to stop running and start living, even in the imperfect circumstances. Imperfect circumstances don’t mean your life stops. Sometimes imperfect circumstances cause your life to truly begin.

“Okay, new plan,” my friend Chrisy says to me one morning as we meet up at her home. She is one of the women dedicated to seeing me every day through this depression until it lifts. I am making traction at this point. I am starting to feel the medication working and I am getting stronger.

“Let me ask you this: When you went through depression that first time, what brought you out of it?”

The answer has always been pretty obvious to me. I did a TED talk in 2012 that went viral, and since then, I’ve never been able to separate myself from the girl who left love letters across New York City to cope with depression.

“I wrote letters to strangers,” I said. “You know this.”

“You stopped thinking about yourself,” she said.

“Yeah, and it helped.”

“So go home and write more letters,” she said to me. “This time, I want you to write letters to people you know. You don’t have to write to strangers anymore. There are so many people who have been with you in this fight. You haven’t thanked them yet.”

Chrisy told me to begin writing down all of my steps and accomplishments. She said depression was going to try to trick me into thinking I wasn’t making any improvements, but if I wrote down all the little things I did on a daily basis, I’d start to see the progress. She told me to call them my “little victories.”

“Even when you write a letter, record the task. Every letter you write is a big step toward doing something other than admitting defeat.”

This is what I needed. I didn’t need someone to stroke my head and pity me for being depressed. I needed someone to tell me to get up and do something. And then do something else. And then something else.

I stopped by Target on my way home and picked up stationery. I wrote about 30 letters that day—all to people who had been in my corner for this fight. I found myself driving down the street to the convenience store on the corner and buying a pack of black composition notebooks made of faux leather. At home, I wrote on the front of one of them the words “Fight Song 2015” in thick silver Sharpie.

I decided I wanted to write fight songs—little notes of encouragement—into this black notebook for my daughter who doesn’t exist yet. I can’t actually say I’ll ever have a daughter, but I’ve been writing these “nonexistent child” letters for years about falling in love, being brave, and going after what makes you come alive.

I started writing these notes when I was about 13 years old after I discovered my mother’s diaries in the back of our family’s bookcase. One by one, I snuck a diary out of the bookcase and brought it to my bedroom to read about my mother and a life she lived before me. Even though she didn’t write in those diaries for me, I felt like she did. I started keeping diaries religiously after that day.

I think my daughter will need something more though. On the days when she forgets how to sing, she’s going to need something more robust than a diary entry. This is where the fight songs come in.

Fight songs are a reminder to keep going. Just keep going. Keep going when the storm comes. Keep going when the night falls. Keep going when the cancer arrives. Keep going when the loved ones leave. Keep going when your heart breaks. Keep going when the bottom drops out from underneath you and you don’t know how to trust anymore. Keep going when you don’t know what you want anymore. Keep going when the sun burns you and when people burn you (because both will happen). Keep going when you crush your dreams with the weight of your own expectations. Keep going when you don’t know where to go or which place to call home anymore.

Just keep going. There’s still some fight left in you.

We need the fight songs for the days when we forget how to sing. They remind us where our strength lies. They push us to be stronger.

________

Come Matter HereTaken from Come Matter Here: Your Invitation to Be Here in a Getting There World by Hannah Brencher. Click here to learn more about this title.

From viral TED Talk speaker and founder of The World Needs More Love Letters, Hannah Brencher’s Come Matter Here is the power read you need to start living like you mean it here and now.

Life is scary. Adulting is hard. When faced with the challenges of building a life of your own, it’s all too easy to stake your hope and happiness in “someday.” But what if the dotted lines on the map at your feet today mattered just as much as the destination you dream of?

Hannah Brencher, TED Talk speaker and founder of The World Needs More Love Letters, thought Atlanta was her destination. Yet even after she arrived, she found herself in the same old chase for the next best thing . . . somewhere else. And it left her in a state of anxiety and deep depression.

Our hyper-connected era has led us to believe life should be a highlight reel—where what matters most is perfect beauty, instant success, and ready applause. Yet, as Hannah learned, nothing about faith, relationships, or character is instant. So she took up a new mantra: be where your feet are. Give yourself a permission slip to stop chasing the next big thing, and come matter here. Engage the process as much as you trust the God who lovingly leads you.

If you are tired of running away from your life or tired of running ragged toward the next thing you think will make you feel complete, Come Matter Here will help you do whatever it takes to show up for the life God has for you. Whether you need to make a brave U-turn, take a bold step forward, or finish the next lap with fresh courage, find fuel and inspiration for the journey right here.

Hannah Brencher is an author, blogger, TED speaker, and entrepreneur. She founded The World Needs More Love Letters, a global community dedicated to sending letter bundles to those who need encouragement. Named as one of the White House’s “Women Working to Do Good” and a spokesperson for the United States Postal Service, Hannah has been featured in The Wall Street Journal, Oprah, Glamour, USATODAY.com, The Chicago Tribune, and more. Find Hannah at hannahbrencher.com.

New Verse Mapping Bible Study Launched

Buy your copy of Luke: Gathering the Goodness of God’s Word in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

Realizing the interconnectedness of Scripture throughout the Bible requires a level of research and resource that many Bible readers feel they’re lacking. The assumption is this level of in-depth biblical knowledge falls to the academy, pastor, or theologian. Award-winning author, Kristy Cambron (@KCambronAuthor), has set out to break the mold in a new verse mapping curriculum study series, released through Thomas Nelson (@ThomasNelson).

Buy your copy of Verse Mapping Luke: Gathering the Goodness of God's Word in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

Verse mapping helps unpack the context of Scripture more simplistically to help readers have a deeper understanding of God’s Word. The first two studies in the series, Luke: Gathering the Goodness of God’s Word and Acts: Feasting on the Abundance of God’s Word will empower you to go beyond simply reading the Bible to researching and uncovering how to apply the Word in your everyday life. Cambron focuses on a 5-step process to improve your study time with God through verse mapping:

  • Verse: Select a verse to map
  • Design: Write your verse in several translations and identify key words or phrasesBuy your copy of Verse Mapping Luke with DVD: Gathering the Goodness of God's Word in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day
  • Develop: Look up key words and discover any underlying meanings
  • Actions: Research and document the people, places, and context referenced
  • Outcome: Write a one- to two-sentence summary of what you learned and anchor the verse to your life.

“We’re so excited to partner with Kristy Cambron on verse mapping,” says John Raymond, vice president and publisher of Trade Curriculum for HarperCollins Christian Publishing. “This creative new approach to Bible study will bring Scripture alive for so many people and it will help HarperCollins Christian Publishing (@HCChristianPub) accomplish our mission of meeting the needs of people by publishing resources that promote biblical principles.”
Buy your copy of Verse Mapping Acts: Feasting on the Abundance of God's Word in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

In both studies, Cambron provides step-by-step instructions on what readers need and how to get started in verse mapping. Designed for independent study, all sizes of groups, and all age-ranges, verse mapping is for people who want more depth when studying God’s Word. Consisting of six video sessions each, both Luke: Gathering the Goodness of God’s Word” and Acts: Feasting on the Abundance of God’s Word guide the reader through verse mapping a small section of Scripture. The accompanying Bible study guide includes diagrams for verse mapping, discussion questions, and group activity prompts.

Buy your copy of Verse Mapping Acts with DVD: Feasting on the Abundance of God's Word in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

“If you’re not a seminary-trained theologian by education, don’t worry—verse mapping is for anyone with a heart to know the Word of God more,” writes Cambron. “What matters is not how much knowledge you have before you begin, but where the journey takes you. The goal is to experience a deeper, more personal walk with Jesus, with the Bible as the field manual on your story road with Him.”


Verse Mapping is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.


Bio: Kristy Cambron is an award-winning author of Christian fiction, including her bestselling debut The Butterfly and the Violin, and an author of Bible studies, including the Verse Mapping series. She is a passionate storyteller who travels to speak at ministry events across the country, encouraging women to experience a deeper life in the Word through verse mapping. Her work has been named in Publishers Weekly Religion & Spirituality TOP 10, Library Journal Reviews’ Best Books, RT Reviewers’ Choice Awards, and received 2015 & 2017 INSPY Award nominations.

Kristy holds a degree in art history/research writing, and has 15 years of experience in education and leadership development for a Fortune-100 Corporation. She lives in Indiana with her husband and three sons and can probably be bribed with a coconut mocha latte and a good read. To stay connected, visit kristycambron.com.

Study the Bible like never before by becoming a member of Bible Gateway Plus. Try it right now!

Bible News Roundup – Week of May 20, 2018

[Return daily during the coming week for updates]

Support Bible Gateway—Browse the Bible Gateway Store
BibleGatewayStore.com

Scripture Read At the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle
Bible Gateway Blog

Bible Reading Marathons Bring Together Believers from All Denominations
The Alabama Baptist
Bible Gateway: Scripture Engagement through the Public Reading of Scripture

Eastern York High Students Can Leave School to Study the Bible
York Daily Record

Surrey Police Responds to Secularist Backlash Over Accepting Free Bibles from Gideons International
Premier

Photographs of Bible Lands from 1895 New Testament
Houston Baptist University
Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, A Collection of Bible Museums & Exhibits

Yamaha Audio System Installed in Saint Panteleimon Monastery on the South-West Side of the Peninsula of Mount Athos in Macedonia, Northern Greece to Help Scripture Reading Be Clearly Heard
ETNow

Tshivenda Bible Literacy Material Launched by the Bible Society of South Africa
Zoutpansberger

See other Bible News Roundup weekly posts

Thousands already have! Try your 30-Day free trial today!
Remove banner ads and expand your Bible reading experience using our valuable library of more than 40 top resources by becoming a member of Bible Gateway Plus. Get biblically wise and spiritually fit. Try it free for 30 days!

Scripture Read At the Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle

The Royal Wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan MarkleBritain’s Prince Harry and American actress Meghan Markle were married in St. George’s Chapel in Windsor Castle May 19, 2018 as a global audience of hundreds of millions tuned in to watch.

During the ceremony, the following Bible passages were either quoted or referenced:

1 John 4:16 (NCV)

God is love. Those who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.

Song of Solomon 2:10-13 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

My beloved speaks and says to me:
“Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away;
for now the winter is past,
the rain is over and gone.
The flowers appear on the earth;
the time of singing has come,
and the voice of the turtledove
is heard in our land.
The fig tree puts forth its figs,
and the vines are in blossom;
they give forth fragrance.
Arise, my love, my fair one,
and come away.”

Song of Solomon 8:6-7 (NRSV)

“Set me as a seal upon your heart,
as a seal upon your arm;
for love is strong as death,
passion fierce as the grave.
Its flashes are flashes of fire,
a raging flame.
Many waters cannot quench love,
neither can floods drown it.
If one offered for love
all the wealth of one’s house,
it would be utterly scorned.”

1 John 4:7 (NRSV)

Beloved, let us love one another, because love is from God; everyone who loves is born of God and knows God. Whoever does not love does not know God, for God is love.

Deuteronomy 6:5 (NRSV)

You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your might.

Leviticus 19:18 (NRSV)

You shall not take vengeance or bear a grudge against any of your people, but you shall love your neighbor as yourself: I am the Lord.

Matthew 22:37-40 (NRSV)

He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the greatest and first commandment. And a second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.”

1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Love is patient; love is kind; love is not envious or boastful or arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice in wrongdoing, but rejoices in the truth. It bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things.

Amos 5:24 (NRSV)

Let justice roll down like waters, and righteousness like an ever-flowing stream.

Isaiah 2:4 (NRSV)

…they shall beat their swords into plowshares,
and their spears into pruning hooks;
nation shall not lift up sword against nation,
neither shall they learn war any more.

Matthew 14:22-33 (NIV)

Immediately Jesus made the disciples get into the boat and go on ahead of him to the other side, while he dismissed the crowd. After he had dismissed them, he went up on a mountainside by himself to pray. Later that night, he was there alone, and the boat was already a considerable distance from land, buffeted by the waves because the wind was against it.

Shortly before dawn Jesus went out to them, walking on the lake. When the disciples saw him walking on the lake, they were terrified. “It’s a ghost,” they said, and cried out in fear.

But Jesus immediately said to them: “Take courage! It is I. Don’t be afraid.”

“Lord, if it’s you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”

“Come,” he said.

Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”

Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”

And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Then those who were in the boat worshiped him, saying, “Truly you are the Son of God.”

 

Discover what you’re missing by not being a member of Bible Gateway Plus. Try it right now!

Candace Cameron Bure Reads Bible Verses on Kindness

Buy your copy of Kind Is the New Classy in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day
 

Enter to possibly win an autographed copy of Kind is the New Classy by actress and model Candace Cameron Bure! Two winners will be selected at random. One entry per person; legal residents of the USA 18 years of age and older. Entry period: May 21, 2018 (midnight ET) – June 21, 2018 (11:59 pm ET). Enter here.

Buy your copy of Kind Is the New Classy in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

As a woman in today’s world, you know the pressure you feel on all sides to conform to society’s expectations. In her new book, Kind is the New Classy: The Power of Living Graciously (Zondervan, 2018), beloved actress and author Candace Cameron Bure (@candacecbure) reveals the thought patterns and practices that have empowered her to flourish with grace, integrity, and excellence, and that have helped her keep her cool under pressure, respond to criticism with grace, stay grounded yet go places in life, remain true to who she is despite the expectations of others, and hold fast to what ultimately matters the most.

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog guest post by Candace Cameron Bure, One Important Reason Why You Should Be Kind to Everyone]

The Bible says to be kind is to be benevolent, considerate, helpful, gentle, and compassionate. God demonstrates his divine characteristic of kindness in his dealings toward the weak, poor, vulnerable, and disenfranchised, and he expects the same of his followers. God delights in showing kindness and likens his acts to a parent showing kindness to a child. Jesus showed kindness toward the crowds that surrounded him as well as to hurting individuals. And, of course, the gospel itself is an example of supreme kindness.

Enjoy this video of Candace reading favorite Bible verses on the subject of kindness she recorded while visiting the offices of Bible Gateway.

[Download the free Bible Gateway App and the free Bible Audio App from Bible Gateway to take the Bible with you everywhere you go]


2 Corinthians 12:9 (CEV)
But he replied, “My kindness is all you need. My power is strongest when you are weak.” So if Christ keeps giving me his power, I will gladly brag about how weak I am.

Ephesians 4:32 (NLT)
Instead, be kind to each other, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, just as God through Christ has forgiven you.

Galatians 5:22-23 (CEV)
God’s Spirit makes us loving, happy, peaceful, patient, kind, good, faithful, gentle, and self-controlled. There is no law against behaving in any of these ways.

[See 225 search results on Bible Gateway for the word “kindness” in the Bible]

Buy your copy of Staying Stylish: Cultivating a Confident Look, Style, and Attitude in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day   Buy your copy of Balancing It All: My Story of Juggling Priorities and Purpose in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day   Buy your copy of Dancing Through Life in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day   Buy your copy of Reshaping It All: Motivation for Physical and Spiritual Fitness in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day


Kind is the New Classy is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.


Bio: Candace Cameron Bure, actress, producer, New York Times bestselling author, beloved by millions worldwide from her role as D.J. Tanner on the iconic family sitcoms Full House and Fuller House, Hallmark Channel movies, former co-host of The View, inspirational speaker, and Dancing with the Stars Season 18 finalist, is both outspoken and passionate about her family and faith. Candace continues to flourish in the entertainment industry as a role model to women of all ages. She lives in the Los Angeles area with her husband and three children.

 

Learn all you can about the subject of kindness when you become a member of Bible Gateway Plus. Try it right now!

What Does It Mean to Live in a Post-Truth World?: An Interview with Abdu Murray

Abdu MurrayIncreasingly, Western culture embraces confusion as a virtue and decries certainty as a sin. Those who are confused about sexuality and identity are viewed as heroes. Those who are confused about morality are progressive pioneers. Those who are confused about spirituality are praised as tolerant. Conversely, those who express certainty about any of these issues are seen as bigoted, oppressive, arrogant, or intolerant.

This cultural phenomenon led the compilers of the Oxford English Dictionary to name “post-truth” their word of the year in 2016. How can Christians offer truth and clarity to a world that shuns both?

Bible Gateway interviewed Abdu Murray (@AbduMurray) about his book, Saving Truth: Finding Meaning & Clarity in a Post-Truth World (Zondervan, 2018).

Buy your copy of Saving Truth in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

What have you observed that prompted you to write this book?

Abdu Murray: A few things got me concerned about the way Western culture is viewing the very ideas of truth and clarity. As I speak on university campuses across North America, I’m seeing how the questions students ask have shifted away from factual issues, like evidence for the resurrection, to social and cultural questions that focus on human ability to define reality. Questions about sexual, gender, and religious identity seem to dominate. I’m seeing this in my one-on-one conversations, too. What’s emerging isn’t a quest to find out the facts that might give credibility to the gospel, but a quest to see if the Christian message can actually compete with a secular view that humanity is the determiner of right, wrong, and a better society. In other words, what I began to see was that people have taken to the idea that humanity can replace God.

The second thing I noticed is that confusion has now morphed into a virtue. Those who are confused sexually are labeled heroes. Those who see morality as a fuzzy category are considered progressive. And those who are confused about religious claims—saying that all paths are equally valid roads to God—are considered “tolerant.” But those who are clear on these matters are not treated so charitably. If someone is certain or clear on sexual boundaries, that person is a bigot. If a person is clear on the existence of objective moral values and boundaries, that person is regressive. And if someone clearly understands that different religious paths can’t possibly all lead to God, that person is considered intolerant. In other words, confusion has become a virtue and clarity has become a sin.

The results of this are becoming more and more evident. Truth is no longer the standard for our discussions. We’re beginning to lose our ability to reason. We’re beginning to lose our integrity. And as we elevate ourselves to godhood, we’re losing our sense of moral accountability and human value.

I wrote Saving Truth to diagnose how this has happened and how we can make clarity and truth attractive to culture once again.

How do you define truth?

Abdu Murray: Simply put, truth is that which conforms to reality. There are historical truths, moral truths, scientific truths, and spiritual truths. And all of them must be coherent and cohesive. In other words, if our worldview is true, what we learn from history and science ought to complement each other. Spiritual truths also ought to complement other areas of truth. But fundamentally, truth is objective. By that I mean that it doesn’t depend on human opinion. I believe it was Os Guinness who said that truth is true even if no one believes it and falsehood is false even if everyone believes it. The Christian faith is one based on the historical claims found in Scripture, particularly Jesus’s resurrection, and we see that history corroborates that fact. It’s also backed up by scientific discoveries about the universe’s beginning and its fine tuning for life. And the philosophy found in Scripture, which unfolds who we are, who God is, and what it means to be in relationship with him, is rich and robust.

What does “post-truth” mean and what are its two modes?

Abdu Murray: Oxford English Dictionaries designated “post-truth” as its 2016 Word of the Year. It’s actually not a new word, having been coined likely in 1992. But in 2016, it was used 2,000% more than in the previous years. According to Oxford Dictionaries, post-truth relates or denotes circumstances in which objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal beliefs. In other words, feelings and preferences matter more than facts and truth.

This is different and more problematic than postmodernism. Where a postmodern person might say, “There is no objective truth,” a post-truth person might think “there is objective truth, but I don’t care because my personal feelings and preferences matter more.” Anyone who brings facts that challenge those feelings or preferences is labeled as a “hater” or something similarly derogatory.

One mode of post-truth is the “hard mode.” By this I mean there are those whose personal preference to have their social or political agenda is so strong, they’re willing to twist the truth or even spread falsehood to get progress for their agenda. Usually, this can be addressed by bringing facts and logic into the discussion. But post-truth’s “soft mode” is actually more problematic. In that mode, people don’t so much lie about facts, as they simply ignore them or make their preferences matter more. In the soft mode, if someone brings facts that challenge another person’s feelings or preferences, the one who brought the facts is labeled as a “hater” or something worse. And so facts and logic won’t be persuasive at the outset because they’re ignored or shouted down as tools of the intolerant. In Saving Truth, I try to provide a roadmap for how to deal with this more difficult soft mode of post-truth.

Why is it important that truth exists and that it be acknowledged?

Abdu Murray: Logically, truth is inescapable. The moment someone makes a claim, they’re invoking the truth. If, for example, someone claims there’s no truth, one can simply challenge that by asking “Is it true that there’s no truth?” If it’s true, then truth does exist. If it isn’t true, then the claim is meaningless. We simply can’t live in a culture that denies objective truth or subordinates the truth to feelings and preferences.

If personal preferences and feelings are all that matter, then the world will be chaotic. We’d never go to a cancer specialist who denies that truth exists. We surely hope that the architects of our skyscrapers believe that physics and metallurgy contain truth. And we ought to care whether our politicians, our ministers, our friends, and even we ourselves acknowledge and love the truth.

Why do people work to avoid truth?

Abdu Murray: When truth is convenient for us, we become its champions. But when the truth costs us something, we try to avoid it and rationalize our way around it. It’s just a part of the human condition to avoid, and even reject, truth when it isn’t comfortable or convenient (2 Thess. 2:10-11). But truth-less comfort will not last.

C. S. Lewis put it well when he said that if we look for truth, we may find comfort. But if we look for comfort, we will get neither truth nor comfort—only soft soap to begin with but in the end, despair. I certainly can understand that. For most of my life, I wasn’t a Christian. I held to the Islamic worldview. Embracing the truths of the Christian faith would cost me some things in my life, not the least of which was my religious identity. It took me nine years to embrace the gospel—not because the answers were hard to find, but because the answers were hard to accept. Yet gloriously, in Christ we have one who’s both the truth (John 14:6) and the God of all comfort (2 Cor. 1:3) who helps us to embrace the truth, no matter the cost.

How has the church joined the culture of confusion?

Abdu Murray: There’s this oft-repeated principle within Christian circles: The church should be “in but not of” the outside culture. Sadly, I think that in our increasingly polarized society, the church has become both “in and of” the culture in some disappointing ways.

The culture of confusion is one that elevates feelings and preference over facts and truth. That’s how we get “fake news” and fuzzy moral standards. More Christians than I’d care to admit have joined and perpetuated this phenomenon by sharing stories across social media that either are outright untrue or are misleading. The goal here is to make “the other side”—particularly liberal non-Christians—look as bad as possible.

But there are also Christians who have the polar opposite approach. They don’t want to disagree with anyone, and so they actually compromise biblical standards to make non-Christians as comfortable as they can be. I think of the oft-misused words, “Judge not, that you be not judged” (Matt. 7:1). Sadly, too many Christians use this passage to argue that Christians should not judge anyone’s behaviors or moral choices. Of course, they fail to cite the rest of the passage, in which Jesus clarifies that “when we judge” we’re to do so unhypocritically.

The church’s two opposing preferences—to vanquish our enemies on one hand and to be liked be everyone on the other—have led the church into confusion. The Bible calls us to be uncompromising on the truth, but to express the truth to non-Christians with love, compassion, and respect because we ourselves were among those who rejected the truth (Titus 3:1-7). We can rise above the post-truth culture of confusion by living in that tension.

What do you mean that “autonomy is confused for freedom”?

Abdu Murray: The seed for the post-truth mindset is the human desire for autonomy. We’ve confused autonomy with freedom, thinking they’re synonymous when they’re not.

Autonomy is the state of being a law unto one’s self (“autos” meaning self and “nomos” meaning law). Someone who’s autonomous is a law unto themselves and so he has no restraints whatsoever. An autonomous person can do or be whatever he wants, whenever he wants, however he wants. That ultimately leads to total chaos because if I’m a law unto myself and another person’s “law unto themselves” conflicts with my law, who will decide who’s right? It won’t be truth, it’ll be chaos (see Judges 17:6; 21:5: “In those days there was no king in Israel. Everyone did what was right in his own eyes”).

But true freedom is different. It requires boundaries; specifically the boundaries of truth and facts. As Chesterton pointed out, we don’t have the freedom to draw a giraffe with a short neck. Freedom entails limits. True freedom is not the unfettered ability to do, say, or be whatever we want in any way we want. True freedom is the ability to do what we want, in accordance with what we should, based on what we are. What we are is children of the Most High. That’s exactly why Jesus says that when we know the truth, the truth will set us free.

What did Jesus mean in John 8:32?

Abdu Murray: When Jesus said that “you shall know the truth, and the truth shall set you free,” he was perhaps saying one of the most profound things ever uttered in history. That’s not an exaggeration. In fact, there’s so much in just that phrase that one could write an entire book based on it (pun intended)!

Jesus linked truth with freedom. When we know the truth, we’re truly free. That’s the first coupling Jesus makes. But just a few verses later, he makes another astonishing coupling. He says, “So if the Son sets you free, you will be free indeed” (John 8:36). Jesus said in verse 32 that the truth would set us free and in verse 36 he says that the Son sets us free. Coupling them together we see that the Son is the truth.

In the person and work of Christ, we see the truth that we’re made in God’s image meant to commune with God, that we’ve forsaken that purpose, but that in the Son, God has provided a way to restore our purpose. That truth sets us free to be who and what we were meant to be.

What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?

Abdu Murray: There are so many, but I’d like to mention two. First, when I was exploring whether the gospel is true, I found so much beauty and truth in Romans 5:8. As a Muslim, I believed that God is the greatest possible being (which is why Muslims often say “Allahu Akbar,” which means “God is Greater”). It occurred to me that if God is the greatest possible being, he would express the greatest possible ethic (which is love) in the greatest possible way (which is self-sacrifice). That in Romans 5:8, we read exactly that: “God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” There it is: the Greatest Possible Being expressing the greatest possible ethic in the greatest possible way.

And then there’s Colossians 4:5-6, where the apostle Paul beautifully describes how we’re to communicate the beauty and truth of the gospel. He tells us to walk in wisdom toward outsiders, making the best use of the time. In other words, find out what other people care about, what their real questions are.

Often, Christians are answering questions people aren’t asking. They’re answering questions they wish people would ask. But when we listen carefully we can find boulevards for the gospel and address the person’s actual concerns in intelligent and emotionally impactful ways. We don’t ignore people’s preferences and feelings. We try to show how the truth is what should influence and perhaps change those preferences and feelings.

Apologetics (1 Pet. 3:15) is the art and science of Christian persuasion. But when we answer questions no one asked or give them a fire hose of our opinions, we transform it into the art of making someone sorry they asked! Paul closes his thought with this: “Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you should answer each person” (Col. 4:6). That final word is important. Christians are not to answer questions. We aren’t to answer controversies or even objections. We’re to answer people, because questions don’t need answers, but people do.

We need to show others that we understand where they’re coming from, especially when we don’t agree with them. Then, by asking questions of our own, we can get others to see that God’s word is not about arbitrary restrictions on freedom, but is the source of true freedom. When we see another person not as a debate opponent but someone for whom Christ died to save, we can more compassionately convey the gospel message in a way that speaks directly to that person and their struggles without compromising the unchanging truths of Scripture.

What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App?

Abdu Murray: Both the website and the Bible Gateway App are so valuable. What I love about them both, especially the App, is that we can have the Word of God at our fingertips, searchable and with study helps and resources. How often have we engaged in spiritually important conversations, only to find our Bible or commentaries aren’t readily at hand to help us express the gospel clearly? The website and the App directly address such situations by giving us access to the truth that sets us free.


Saving Truth is published by HarperCollins Christian Publishing, Inc., the parent company of Bible Gateway.


Bio: Abdu Murray is North American Director with Ravi Zacharias International Ministries and is the author of Saving Truth: Finding Meaning & Clarity in a Post-Truth World, Grand Central Question: Answering the Critical Concerns of the Major Worldviews, and Apocalypse Later. For most of his life, Abdu was a proud Muslim who studied the Qur’an and Islam. After a nine-year investigation into the historical, philosophical, and scientific underpinnings of the major world religions and views, Abdu discovered that the historic Christian faith can answer the questions of the mind and the longings of the heart. Abdu has spoken to diverse international audiences and has participated in debates and dialogues across the globe. He has appeared as a guest on numerous radio and television programs all over the world. Abdu holds a BA in Psychology from the University of Michigan and earned his Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School. As an attorney, Abdu was named several times in Best Lawyers in America and Michigan Super Lawyer. Abdu is the Scholar in Residence of Christian Thought and Apologetics at the Josh McDowell Institute of Oklahoma Wesleyan University.

 

Learn the truth by studying the Bible as a member of Bible Gateway Plus. Try it right now!

The State of the Bible 2018: Five Types of Bible Readers

Buy your copy of How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

The State of the Bible 2018 research—commissioned by American Bible Society (@americanbible) and conducted by Barna Group (@barnagroup)—reveals trends in how often Americans are reading the Bible, their perceptions around the Bible, and how much impact the Bible has on their choices, relationships, and lives overall.

[Select a Bible Reading Plan that’s right for you from Bible Gateway]

We’ll unpack the research in the weeks ahead. To begin, here are the five categories in which the survey takers are placed in the report:

Bible Centered (9% of the population) More often than not, Bible Centered adults are
Buy your copy of How to Read the Bible Book by Book: A Guided Tour in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

  • married men from the Baby Boomer generation
  • are 51 years of age on average
  • attend church weekly
  • attend Protestant churches
  • and reside in the South.

Most do not have children under 18 at home. Four out of five Bible Centered adults (80%) use the Bible every day, while the remainder read it several times a week (16%) or once a week (3%).

[Read the Bible Gateway Blog post, Latest Bible-Related Research]

State of the Bible 2018 chart: Scripture Engagement by Age

[Read Bible Gateway Blog posts that Introduce You to the Bible]

Bible Engaged (17% of the population) On average, Bible Engaged adults are 4 years younger than those who are Centered, at 47 years old. Like Bible Centered adults, Engaged

  • are more likely to be married
  • attend a Protestant church
  • are weekly church attenders
  • and reside in the South.

More women than men are in the Engaged category. Three in 10 Engaged adults (30%) use the Bible every day, and another 59% read it at least weekly.

Bible Friendly (15% of adults) Adults in this category average 44 years of age. Men are just as likely as women to be in this group, and they’re just as likely to be married as they are single. Half are non-practicing Christians, that is, they call themselves Christian but either don’t attend church at least once a month or don’t consider their faith very important. They’re just as likely to attend a Catholic church as they are a Protestant church. Just under half (47%) attend church weekly. While only 8% use the Bible every day, just under half use it once a week (47%), compared to 21% who use it monthly, and 24% who use it at least once a year.

State of the Bible 2018 chart: Bible Use Among the Five Engagement Segments

Bible Neutral (5% of adults) interact with the Bible sporadically. More than half (55%) use the Bible at least three or four times a year, 23% use it once a month, and the remaining 21% use it at least one a week or more. They’re younger than other engagement segments, with an average age of 38 and more likely to be men than women. Two-thirds are not practicing Christians, and another one in six (16%) are non-Christians or aren’t affiliated with any faith group. While 42% attend church weekly, more than one-third are unchurched (38%).

Bible Disengaged (54% of the adult population): The largest segment of the population is defined as Bible Disengaged. Those in the Bible Disengaged category don’t necessarily have hostile or negative feelings toward the Bible, but may simply be indifferent. A majority of the Bible Disengaged don’t interact with the Bible at all. 91% use the Bible on their own once or twice a year or less. The Disengaged are primarily classified by their infrequent interaction with the Bible and its minimal impact on their lives.

The average age is on par with Bible Engaged adults at 46. Bible Disengaged are more likely to be

  • Gen X
  • unmarried
  • without children under 18 at home
  • and reside in the suburbs.

They’re roughly split between non-practicing Christians (46%) and non-Christians (48%); few are practicing Christians (6%). They’re largely unchurched (73%), and a small 10% report using the Bible at least three to four times a year. Three in five (60%) say they never engage with the Bible on their own, while 22% use it less than once a year.

 

Engage with the Bible by becoming a member of Bible Gateway Plus. Try it right now!

How Is the Exodus Theme Expressed Throughout the Bible?: An Interview with Alastair J. Roberts

Alastair J. RobertsHow is the theme of exodus spread throughout both the Old and New Testaments? How is its message of redemption through Jesus Christ from slavery to sin seen in a unified manner in Scripture?

Bible Gateway interviewed Alastair J. Roberts (@zugzwanged), who, along with Andrew Wilson (@AJWTheology), authored the book, Echoes of Exodus: Tracing Themes of Redemption through Scripture (Crossway, 2018).

For those who aren’t familiar with it, briefly explain the story of the exodus in the Bible.

Buy your copy of Echoes of Exodus in the Bible Gateway Store where you'll enjoy low prices every day

Alastair J. Roberts: The story of the exodus, found in the second book of the Bible, is the account of God’s deliverance of the children of Israel from the land of Egypt, where they were oppressed by Pharaoh. Through the work of his servant Moses, God brought plagues upon Egypt and delivered Israel through the parted Red Sea, while drowning their pursuers. God brought Israel to Mount Sinai, where he formed a marriage-like bond with them with the giving of the Law and the establishment of his dwelling in their midst in the tabernacle. Due to Israel’s rebellion and unbelief, they wandered in the wilderness for 40 years, before they were led into the Promised Land of Canaan by Joshua, where they gained possession of the land through divinely empowered military conquest over the inhabitants of the land, who had been set apart for judgment for their wickedness.

What patterns do you see in the order of the 10 plagues?

Alastair J. Roberts: The corruption of the body of Egypt began in the Nile, where the baby boys of the Israelites had been drowned. This spread to the land through the frogs which came forth from the Nile. The dust of the land was then turned to lice. The plague of insects was then given wings in a plague of swarms, rendering the whole land unclean. The land animals then become diseased. Then human beings also broke out in boils. The plagues rose further as the hail came from the sky to strike the seasonal crops and the east wind brought locusts to consume what was left. Then the lights of the heavens themselves were turned out over Egypt. Finally, in the climactic judgment, the lives of the firstborn were extinguished. The judgment God brings moves from the waters beneath to the heavens above. It’s a process of de-creation, dismantling the world of Egypt from its roots to its rafters.

While the world of Egypt is dismantled, the book of Exodus also contains a narrative of new creation. The establishment of the tabernacle at the end of the book of Exodus is a symbolic new creation, as God instructs Israel in the forming and filling of a new realm.

Why have your formatted your book around a musical metaphor?

Alastair J. Roberts: It can be difficult for modern persons to understand the possibility of a deep unity of events, persons, and realities across time, as we often think of time merely as a sequence of events in succession. However, in music we can hear ways in which times can be powerfully connected, even at a distance. Recurring rhythms and motifs relate different passages of a piece of music together. Likewise, the recurring theme of exodus is one that unites realities together across time, revealing a deeper connection between them. Our bodies have a natural tendency to move with music and, in a similar manner, the ‘music’ of God’s great themes of redemption continue to move the church in the present. Events such as the exodus aren’t merely consigned to the distant past, but express the motifs that characterize God’s action in the here and now.

How does the exodus theme unify Scripture?

Alastair J. Roberts: By revealing that Scripture isn’t merely an assemblage of detached stories in loosely historical order, but the development of a majestic theme over millennia; a theme that reaches its climax in the work of Jesus Christ. The exodus theme reveals the ways in which, across the history narrated by Scripture, God is orchestrating the outworking of his great purpose, intimating themes that anticipate later fulfillment, and bringing beauty, harmony, and order to light within the disjointed and discordant realm of human history.

How does Jesus fulfill the story of Joshua?

Alastair J. Roberts: Jesus—whose name is a variant of the name of Joshua—fulfils the story of Joshua as he pioneers a way into the Promised Land of the new creation, giving his people rest.

How does the Last Supper fit in to the exodus theme?

Alastair J. Roberts: The Last Supper was a Passover meal, a celebration in which the event of the exodus was memorialized (Luke 22:7-23; compare Exodus 12:1-28). Jesus institutes his own memorial at this meal, taking an existing celebration powerfully charged with memory and anticipation and relating it to what he was about to accomplish.

Bringing his coming death and resurrection into close correspondence both with the events of the original exodus and with the intense expectations of future deliverance associated with the Passover celebration, Jesus provided his followers with a framework in which to understand what he was doing. He’s the sacrificed Passover Lamb, the sun is darkened over his cross, he becomes the slain firstborn Son for his enemies, he’s the one who tears open a path through the deep waters of death, so that we might pass through unharmed. The connection to the original exodus highlighted by the Last Supper alerts us to the significance of Christ’s fulfillment of all of these themes.

What do you mean that the Bible places more emphasis on the freedom for and less on from?

Alastair J. Roberts: Most of the biblical account of Exodus is concerned, not with the initial deliverance from the tyranny of Pharaoh, but with God’s self-revelation and forging of a new covenant bond with his people. The children of Israel are set free from Pharaoh in order that they might serve God and be brought into faithful fellowship with him. In the contemporary West, we often think of freedom principally as the removal of restraints upon us. However, as the Apostle Paul warned the Corinthians, such liberty can take liberties with us (1 Corinthians 6:12). Set free from bondage to external powers, we can readily forge new chains of our own, manacled by our own vices and sinful habits.

God sets before a freedom that is greater than this, the positive freedom of being established in truthful ways of life, in restored fellowship with him and our neighbours. The Law was given as an expression of what such a way of life would look like, but, as sons and daughters of fallen Adam, the Israelites rebelled against it. The Law held out a vision of freedom in fellowship to Israel, but couldn’t bring them into enjoyment of it. Christ gives us his Spirit so that the condemnation of the Law upon rebellion might be dealt with in his death and so that what the Law couldn’t do on account of our sinful nature could be achieved by the inner working of his Spirit (Romans 8:3-4).

What are some similarities between the story of 1 Samuel 1-2 and the opening chapters of Luke and Acts?

Alastair J. Roberts: At the beginning of Luke, as at the beginning of 1 Samuel, we see a woman whose womb is opened by the Lord. As in the book of Exodus, the great stories of the establishment of the kingdom of Israel and the establishment of the kingdom of heaven begin with women at the foreground of the narrative frame. We see prayer at the temple (Luke 1:10; compare 1 Samuel 1:8-18) and a priest who lacks spiritual perception, associated with dulled physical faculties (Luke 1:20; compare 1 Samuel 1:12-14, 3:3). We see the gift of a Nazirite son (Luke 1:15; compare 1 Samuel 1:11). We see a powerful declaration of praise by the woman whose womb had been opened (Luke 1:46-55; compare 1 Samuel 2:1-10), followed by descriptions of their children’s growth (Luke 1:80; 2:40, 52; compare 1 Samuel 2:21; 3:19) and of portentous events in their early childhood (Luke 2:41-52; compare 1 Samuel 3:1-18). Early in Luke’s narrative, we also see a woman named Anna (Hannah), who is constantly in prayer in the temple (2:36-38). Acts also begins with prayer in the temple (1:14; compare Luke 24:53). The tongues-speaking of the Christians at Pentecost is mistaken for drunken speech (Acts 2:13), much as Hannah’s prayer is in 1 Samuel 1:12-14.

As God is establishing a new kingdom in the Gospels, it should not surprise us that it involves the appearance of themes that remind us of the establishment of the original kingdom of Israel.

How is the life of Jesus an exodus, “hidden in plain sight”?

Alastair J. Roberts: There are themes of exodus found in numerous episodes in Jesus’ life. Christ, like Moses, is the future deliverer who is rescued from the wicked king seeking to kill the baby boys (Matthew 2:16-18). Like Israel, Christ is brought up out of Egypt (Matthew 2:13-15). Christ passes through the waters of baptism in the Jordan and is led up by the Spirit into the wilderness for a period of 40 days of testing (Matthew 3:13—4:11), much as Israel passed through the Red Sea and was led by the pillar of fire and cloud into the wilderness, where they spent 40 years being tested. Christ is the one who speaks about the Law from a mountain (Matthew 5:1).

The Gospel writers want us to notice the connection between the exodus and what Christ is doing and will often tell their stories in ways that foreground parallels. For instance, in chapter 6 of his Gospel, John tells us of Jesus crossing a sea, followed by a great multitude, which he takes to a mountain, where he miraculously feeds them with bread that he later relates to the manna.

However, all these little parallels merely point toward the far greater exodus that Christ is accomplishing—the Greek term for exodus is employed in Luke 9:31—through his death and resurrection. Christ defeats the Pharaoh Satan. He’s the firstborn Son brought forth from the opened grave. He’s the one who establishes a new covenant and a new tabernacling of God with his people. He’s the one who ascends to God’s presence, as Moses did on Sinai, and gives the Spirit, who fulfills what the Law could not.

What is a favorite Bible passage of yours and why?

Alastair J. Roberts: The Psalms have always been very important to me. My mother helped me and my brothers to memorize several psalms as very young children. I often find myself returning to these in my mind, their words running like deeply cut grooves of grace in my consciousness, along which streams of divine encouragement can flow. Psalm 1 and Psalm 23 are especially valuable to me.

What are your thoughts about Bible Gateway and the Bible Gateway App?

Alastair J. Roberts: I rarely use Bible apps on my phone, but I have been using Bible Gateway for the better part of two decades. As someone who does a lot of theological writing online, Bible Gateway is generally a more convenient and readily accessible text to use than my physical copy of the Bible, especially as its search features and easily navigable format make locating texts very straightforward.

I have thought a lot about the importance of attending to the formats in which we engage Scripture. While digital Bible formats like Bible Gateway should not replace our primary engagement with Scripture in the form of the spoken word in the gathered assembly of the people of God, they are invaluable resources for personal study and online reference, making certain forms of engagement with Scripture far more possible for the typical individual than ever would have been the case previously (for example, allowing for the ready comparison of different versions). By performing these purposes especially well, as J. Mark Bertrand has observed, they are also freeing up our printed Bibles to be less like textual Swiss Army knives and more specialized in their uses, making possible the rise of readers’ Bibles, for instance.

Is there anything else you’d like to say?

Alastair J. Roberts: Andrew and I are hoping that our little book will encourage Christians of many different levels of understanding to read their Bibles in a deeper way. We want people, having read Echoes of Exodus, to return to the scriptural narratives and see what riches they can find. We wrote the book with Bible study groups and actively engaged readers of Scripture in mind. Each chapter of the book is short, with review and thought questions following, all intended to get people reading the text more closely for themselves.

We only scratched the surface of the theme of exodus in this book (I wrote over 150,000 words of notes in preparation for the book, and the book is only 40,000 words in length). There’s so much more for people to discover for themselves!


Bio: Alastair J. Roberts (PhD, Durham University) is one of the participants in the Mere Fidelity podcast and a fellow of Scripture and theology with the Greystone Theological Institute.

Andrew Wilson (PhD, King’s College London) is the teaching pastor at King’s Church London and a columnist for Christianity Today. He is the author of several books, including Unbreakable: What the Son of God Said About the Word of God and The Life We Never Expected: Hopeful Reflections on the Challenges of Parenting Children with Special Needs (with his wife, Rachel).

 

What are you waiting for? Here’s your invitation. Become a member of Bible Gateway Plus to get biblically wise and spiritually fit. Try it right now!