Josh Garrels: “The Original Spacefan”

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1 Corinthians: An Introduction, Part 2

1corinthiansThe intended audience

Obviously many members of the church in Corinth were Gentiles. Among the Greeks, prostitution was considered perfectly acceptable behavior, whereas Jews considered it wicked. The fact that the church needed to ask about prostitution shows it had a substantial Greek element.

On the other hand, Paul freely alludes to and argues from the Old Testament as though his readers were familiar with it. That is, he assumes that many of his readers are Jews or God-fearers. In Acts, Luke refers to certain Gentiles as “God fearers,” likely Gentiles associated with the synagogues and worship of Yahweh but who were not circumcised — that is, not proselytes (Acts 10:2; 13:16,26). Continue reading

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1 Corinthians: An Introduction, Part 1

1corinthiansI’ve been asked to write some lesson materials on 1 Corinthians for my church’s fall quarter adult Bible classes. I’ll try to offer some insights into what Paul is saying in 1 Corinthians, especially on questions that are important to today’s church. The lessons should naturally flow from understanding the text.

And 1 Corinthians is very much a book for today’s Churches of Christ. It addresses disfellowshipping a member, the role of women, tongues and other gifts of the Spirit, submitting to the scruples of the “weak” brother, and most importantly, love within the congregation, unity, and the gospel. Continue reading

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Eerdman’s New Testament Commentaries Collection

Eerdmans New Testament Commentaries Collection (4 vols.)Shortly after my back surgery, in November of last year, the good people at Logos Bible Software asked me to review the Logos electronic version of the Eerdmans New Testament Commentaries Collection.

I warned Logos that I had several books ahead of them and could be a long time getting well — all of which proved true.

Nonetheless, I’ve been plugging along, reading these books on Vyrso or Logos software. Vyrso is the Logos version of Kindle, allowing me to read these books on my iPhone as well as on my PC. Continue reading

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Apologetics: Presuppositional Apologetics

[It'll be well worth your time to watch all three videos.] Continue reading

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Apologetics: The Resurrection of Jesus

emptytomb3A central claim of Christianity is that Jesus was resurrected from the dead. In particular, “resurrection” is not a dead man’s incorporeal, phantasmagorical spirit floating off to heaven.

Rather, the claim is that Jesus’ body left the grave re-animated and transformed into a body given by the Spirit (1 Cor 15:44). That is, Christian faith insists on an empty tomb.

What evidence of an empty tomb is there? After all, finding a First Century tomb with no one in it would hardly prove that Jesus had been buried there. No, the evidence is not archaeological but historical. Continue reading

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Apologetics: Archaeology and the Bible, Part 2

archaeologyOld Testament

The Dead Sea Scrolls

These were found in 1946 by a shepherd boy in caves near the Dead Sea. There are hundreds of such caves, and many are very difficult to reach. Fortunately, the boy’s goats wandered into a cave that held scrolls, leading to the greatest Biblical archaeological discovery of the 20th Century.

Scholars have only recently published the full texts of the scrolls, and they have shed tremendous light on Second Temple Judaism from about 200 BC to shortly after the time of the apostles. Continue reading

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Apologetics: Archaeology and the Bible, Part 1

archaeologyWe really can’t fairly consider the impact of archaeology on the Bible’s authenticity without knowing a little history.

Of course, for centuries, the Western world just assumed the Bible to be true and felt no need to test its claims against archaeology. However, by the late 19th Century, European skepticism had come to dominate Christian education. In fact, at this time the center of Christian scholarship was Germany, with Tübingen University being the center of New Testament Higher Criticism. Continue reading

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Time off

I need to have a series of medical tests starting this morning. I’ve been dealing with severe back spasms for a while now, likely due to my back surgery in October.

Hopefully the tests will give the doctors what they need to treat me.

So I should be gone for less than a week if all goes well.

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Apologetics: The Prophecies

scrollThere are numerous prophetic references to the Messiah in the Old Testament, and the fulfillment of these prophecies by Jesus is at times uncanny. It’s an impressive list of prophecies — so many that we can’t begin to cover them all.

Moreover, as you can imagine, skeptics question the applicability of many of these texts. And, indeed, the church should be cautious to make only those claims truly justified by the text.

In addition, we must be careful not to limit these prophecies to apologetics. They, in fact, establish much of the theology of the New Testament, and the New Testament becomes much clearer when we read it in line of its prophetic ancestry. But that’s too big of a topic for today. For today, we’re just going to cover the predictive power of prophecy as evidence of the foreknowledge of God and the truth that Jesus is God’s Messiah. Continue reading

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