Essential Theological Video and Audio


The Bible Project – Word Study: Chara – “Joy”

The Bible Project – Public Reading of Scripture


Joey Dear – Death, Adam and Eve, and Ephesians 2:1 (Part 1)

John Owen – On the Holy Spirit (Books 1-5)

Chapter I.

General principles concerning the Holy Spirit and his work

The apostle Paul, in the 12th chapter of his First Epistle to the Corinthians, directs their exercise of spiritual gifts which they had asked him about (among other things and emergencies). Here are the fixed words with which he prefaces his whole discourse: Verse 1, “Now, concerning spiritual gifts,” — pneumatika, or charismata as his ensuing declaration shows. The imagination of some, that spiritual persons are meant here — contrary to the sense understood by all the ancients — is inconsistent with the context.

Because the church had consulted with Paul about spiritual gifts and their exercise, the whole series of his ensuing discourse is directed toward this. Therefore, at its close, he summarizes the design of the whole as he advises, “Covet earnestly the best gifts,” — namely, among those which he proposed to address, and had done so accordingly, verse 31. The ta pneumatika of verse 1 are the ta charismata of verse 31; as it is expressed in 1 Cor 14:1, “‘Desire spiritual gifts,’ whose nature and use you are now instructed in, as first proposed.” That church had received an abundant measure of these gifts, especially those that were extraordinary, and tended to convict unbelievers. For the Lord having “many people in that city,” whom he intended to call to the faith, Acts 18:9-10 encouraged our apostle, against all fears and dangers, to begin and carry on the work of preaching there; he continued in this “a year and six months,” verse 11. But the Lord also furnished the first converts with such eminent, and for some of them, such miraculous gifts, that they might be a prevalent means to the conversion of many others. For the Lord will never fail to provide instruments and suitable means to effectively attain any end that he aims at. In the use, exercise, and management of these “spiritual gifts,” that church (or a number of its principal members) had fallen into multiple disorders. They had abused their gifts, using them for their own aspirations and ambition. And from these, other evils ensued — just as the best of God’s gifts may be abused by the lusts of men, and the purest water may be tainted by the earthen vessel into which it is poured. Upon receiving this information, some who loved truth, peace, and order, were troubled at these miscarriages. In answer to a letter from the whole church, written to Paul about these and other occurrences, 1 Cor 7:1 he gave them counsel and advice to rectify these abuses. First, he advised them to rightly prepare themselves with humility and thankfulness, which becomes those who were entrusted with such excellent privileges as they had abused (and without which they could not receive the instruction which he intended for them). To do that, he reminded them of their former state and condition before their calling and conversion to Christ. “You know that you were Gentiles, carried away with dumb idols, even as you were led.”

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John Owen – On the Holy Spirit (Books 6-9)

Chapter I.

The Work of the Holy Ghost in the illumination of the minds of men

The objective cause and outward means of illumination are the subjects at present designed for our consideration; and it will issue in these two inquiries:

1. On what grounds, or for what reason, do we believe the Scripture is the word of God, with divine and supernatural faith, as it is required of us in a way of duty?

2. How or by what means may we come to rightly understand the mind of God in the Scripture, or the revelations that are made to us of his mind and will in this?

By illumination in general, as it denotes an effect worked in the minds of men, I understand it to mean that supernatural knowledge which any man may have of the mind and will of God, as revealed to him by supernatural means, for the law of his faith, life, and obedience. And so far as
it is comprised in the first of these inquiries, it is the declaration of this which we design at present, reserving the latter inquiry for a distinct discourse by itself.

As to the former, some things may be premised:

FIRST. Supernatural revelation is the only objective cause and means of supernatural illumination.

These things are commensurate. There is a natural knowledge of supernatural things, which is both theoretical and practical, Rom 1:19, 2:14-15; and there may be a supernatural knowledge of natural things, 1 Kings 4:31-34; Exodus 31:2-6.2

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Nick Batzig – The Social Media Echo Chamber

Social media parlance and procedure are constantly evolving. Phraseology and expectations are mysteriously codified into the minds of the masses. In the social media echo chamber, parameters develop progressively and often imperceptibly. Paranoia and subtweets, expectations and ultimatums, flattery and bullying abound in the social media echo chamber. It is a messy world full of messy people.

From one point of view, the only difference between the Christian social media echo chamber and High School is that most of the influential figures on social media are in their 20s, 30s and 40s. Human nature being what it is, social behavior never changes. Surely there must be a way for us to regulate our engagement in the social media echo chamber.

Nearly four years ago, Kevin DeYoung wrote a post titled, “The Ten Commandments of Twitter.” What he set out in that post is as apropos today as it was then. I especially find the second and eighth points helpful in light of the nature of social media: “Thou shalt not assume the worst about the tweets of others;” and “Thou shalt not make public demands of complete strangers.” If we would all commit to keeping these two rules, life would be quite a bit easier for all of us in the echo chamber of social media.

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Eric Watkins – Cain and Abel: More than Sibling Rivalry

By faith Abel offered to God a more acceptable sacrifice than Cain, through which he was commended as righteous, God commending him by accepting his gifts. And through his faith, though he died, he still speaks. (Heb. 11:4)

Few biblical stories are more intriguing and saddening than that of Cain and Abel—the Bible’s first scene of death, martyrdom, and sibling rivalry. The book of Hebrews mentions Abel twice, in 11:4 and in 12:24. For now, we will focus on the first of these two references, though the second is both profound and edifying. In Hebrews 11:4, we are given the first instance of an Old Testament hero of faith. Abel is the first “witness” to testify to the better things that God promised to the saints of old and has now fulfilled in these “last days” (v. 3) in Christ. It is important to remember that in the book of Hebrews, God has not simply spoken to the Old Testament saints, He has also spoken through them. Thus, revelation of the better things to come in Christ was something of which the Old Testament believers were not only recipients of, they were also participants in—participants in the drama of redemption that would climax in the person and work of Christ.

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Brittany Salmon – More Than a Political Stance: Adoption and the Pro-Life Cause

Our family stands out.

We can’t go to a grocery store without someone stopping and asking us questions about each of our children. For starters, we have identical twin daughters with bright blonde hair and piercing blue eyes. Like typical four year olds, they are feisty and sweet with a touch of sass. The amount of commentary we receive on them alone is enough to write a whole other blogpost, but to add to the excitement we also have a son who doesn’t look anything like us at all.

You see, our son joined our family through the blessing of adoption. He is a beautiful, strong black boy. He is smart and kind and loves to laugh loudly at his sisters. Put that combo together in a grocery store and we’re magnets for conversation starters. Some people stare. Some people are kind. But our diverse family draws attention in a homogenous world in which we tend to surround ourselves with people who think, look and act like us.

One day while standing in the checkout line, a well-intended fellow believer approached our family and commended us on the pro-life stance we took by adopting. I smiled and said, “Yes, we are pro-life, but our son’s birth mom is the true hero; she’s the one who should be commended for her pro-life choice. We really are the lucky beneficiaries of her brave love.”

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Mike Leake – What to Do When Your Sin Makes Your Enemies Pounce

“It is a marvel that any man escapes ruin, the dangers which beset even the best being many and terrible.” –W.S. Plumer

Have you noticed 90% of news stories necessitate a person being ruined? Occasionally the ruin is not a result of a bone-headed decision or immoral choice. But more often than not, it is because sin has caught up with someone. And if you and I are being honest we’d have to admit that our absence from the front page isn’t for lack of opportunity but rather because of grace.

Psalm 38 is a painful Psalm. David is the guy on the front page whose life is ruined because of a personal transgression. And his whole world is coming apart. His relationship with God feels strained, his friends are keeping him at a distance, and his enemies are using this as an opportunity to pounce. The worst part is that David isn’t an innocent victim, he’s a guilty sinner. His conscience is not on his side.

Thankfully, I have not had an experience which totally fits King David’s scenario. I have said and done things which are dumb and/or sinful. I have had to endure consequences of my mistakes, but I do not believe I have experienced fully what David is going through in Psalm 38, at least not to this depth. And I hope I never do.

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Kristen Hatton – How Parenting Out of Weakness Strengthened My Relationship With My Teen

“Can I talk to Dad now?”

Right in mid-sentence, my college daughter interrupted me and asked for the phone to be handed over to my husband. She had called me – upset and stressed out – needing someone to talk to, but then abruptly decided my husband was actually the one she preferred. While not easily offended, I would be lying if I said this didn’t bother me at all. I’m thankful she likes to talk to her dad, but what about me? Couldn’t we just all be on speaker?

I desperately wanted to know what she was thinking, experiencing, and doing, but every time we talked it felt like I was walking a fine line, not knowing what question or comment would push her too far and cause her to retreat. Even before that night I had sensed her shutting me out, and I couldn’t figure out why.

So as you can imagine after my husband hung up with her from my phone, I was anxious to hear her side of the conversation. But before he told me anything about her, he told me something about myself.

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Joel Littlefield – Three Adoption Misconceptions

I’m not an adoption expert by any means. I’m just a man who loves Jesus. I’m married to a woman who loves Jesus. Both of us have been deeply affected by God and His Fatherly heart for the orphan. For us, that specifically meant pursuing a domestic adoption, a process that is just now coming to a close after a year of paperwork, lawyers, background checks and a ton of hurry up and wait.

But this blog is not about our journey as much as it’s about you and what God may be calling you to do. It’s for those who need some encouragement and a nudge in the right direction. It’s for the one who has been lied to or is lying to themselves. It’s to remind you of a few key things that may help you sort out what your involvement in the world of adoption should be. Again, I’m no expert. I’m just sharing what I’ve learned with those who sense a call towards adoption.

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Tony Reinke – Don’t Be That Guy: Thirty No’s in Paul’s Letters

We can invest the rest of our lives plunging deeper into the writings of the apostle Paul to get a better view of the glories of Christ to delight our souls.

In Paul’s letters (as elsewhere in the Bible) we are told glorious indicatives of truth like Christ is the Creator and Sustainer (Colossians 1:16–17), who was incarnated and died as our propitiation (Romans 3:25), was raised from the dead (1 Corinthians 15:3–4), and he inaugurated the new creation (Colossians 1:18), as he ascended to his sovereign throne (Colossians 3:1). And by faith we are united to him and his power!

In Christ all of these truths of grace are ours (2 Corinthians 1:20). And these glorious truths feed our souls and give rise to all the manifold commands from God that bring focus and direction to our daily lives in the form of apostolic imperatives.’

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