But even if you should suffer for the sake of righteousness, you are blessed. And do not fear their intimidation, and do not be troubled, but sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you yet with gentleness and reverence; and keep a good conscience so that in the thing in which you are slandered, those who revile your good behavior in Christ will be put to shame.  1 Peter 3: 14-16

For the Love of God - Apologetic Report
Monday, 08 October 2018 18:05

1 Kings 12; Philippians 3; Ezekiel 42; Psalm 94

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1 Kings 12; Philippians 3; Ezekiel 42; Psalm 94

THE DIVISION OF THE unified kingdom into two unequal parts—the kingdom of Israel with its ten tribes in the north and the kingdom of Judah with two tribes in the south (1 Kings 12)—once again presents us with a remarkable dynamic between...

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1 Kings 11; Philippians 2; Ezekiel 41; Psalms 92–93

IN FEW PLACES DOES THE WORD however have more potent force than in 1 Kings 11:1: “King Solomon, however, loved many foreign women.” In those days, the size of a king’s harem was widely considered a reflection of his wealth...

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Saturday, 06 October 2018 18:05

1 Kings 10; Philippians 1; Ezekiel 40; Psalm 91

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1 Kings 10; Philippians 1; Ezekiel 40; Psalm 91

THE VISIT OF THE QUEEN OF SHEBA (1 Kings 10) has often been spiced up in books and films until it has become a royal love story. Not a hint of love interest or sex scandal peeps out of the biblical text. The function of the queen of Sheba is to...

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Friday, 05 October 2018 18:05

1 Kings 9; Ephesians 6; Ezekiel 39; Psalm 90

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1 Kings 9; Ephesians 6; Ezekiel 39; Psalm 90

JUST BEFORE THE CLOSING LINES of Paul’s letter to the Ephesians, he invites his readers to pray for him (Eph. 6:19–20): “Pray also for me, that whenever I open my mouth, words may be given me so that I will fearlessly make known the...

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Thursday, 04 October 2018 18:05

1 Kings 8; Ephesians 5; Ezekiel 38; Psalm 89

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1 Kings 8; Ephesians 5; Ezekiel 38; Psalm 89

THE DEDICATION OF THE TEMPLE in Jerusalem and Solomon’s prayer on that occasion (1 Kings 8) overflow with links that reach both backward and forward along the line of redemptive history.

(1) The structure of the temple is a proportionate...

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Wednesday, 03 October 2018 18:05

1 Kings 7; Ephesians 4; Ezekiel 37; Psalms 87–88

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1 Kings 7; Ephesians 4; Ezekiel 37; Psalms 87–88

ONE OF THE REMARKABLE FEATURES of Paul’s letters is that much space is devoted to teaching people how to live. Indeed, the Bible as a whole is interested in teaching us what to believe (because these things are true), and it is no less...

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Tuesday, 02 October 2018 18:05

1 Kings 6; Ephesians 3; Ezekiel 36; Psalm 86

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1 Kings 6; Ephesians 3; Ezekiel 36; Psalm 86

A MYSTERY IN PAUL’S WRITINGS is not normally something “mysterious,” still less a whodunit. It is a truth or a doctrine which in some measure has been kept hidden in previous generations, and now with the coming of the Gospel has been...

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Monday, 01 October 2018 18:05

1 Kings 4–5; Ephesians 2; Ezekiel 35; Psalm 85

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1 Kings 4–5; Ephesians 2; Ezekiel 35; Psalm 85

CHRISTIANS ARE OFTEN TAUGHT to memorize Ephesians 2:8–9: “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God—not by works, so that no one can boast.” Certainly...

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Sunday, 30 September 2018 18:05

1 Kings 3; Ephesians 1; Ezekiel 34; Psalms 83–84

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1 Kings 3; Ephesians 1; Ezekiel 34; Psalms 83–84

CHRISTIANS SOMETIMES ASK WHY, if Solomon was so wise, he married many wives, ended his reign rather badly, and eventually compromised his loyalty to God.

The answer partly lies in the difference between what we mean by wisdomand the various...

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Saturday, 29 September 2018 18:05

1 Kings 2; Galatians 6; Ezekiel 33; Psalms 81–82

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1 Kings 2; Galatians 6; Ezekiel 33; Psalms 81–82

THE END OF GALATIANS 6 brings several themes together.

(1) Paul’s practice was to dictate his letters. Nevertheless, in order to authenticate them, he commonly wrote the last little bit in his own distinctive hand (compare 2 Thess. 3:17)....

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Friday, 28 September 2018 18:05

1 Kings 1; Galatians 5; Ezekiel 32; Psalm 80

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1 Kings 1; Galatians 5; Ezekiel 32; Psalm 80

THE TRANSFER OF REGAL AUTHORITY from David to Solomon (1 Kings 1) is messy. One of David’s sons, Adonijah, confers with Joab, the head of the military, and tries to take over. Bathsheba, Solomon’s mother, reminds her ailing husband of his...

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Thursday, 27 September 2018 18:05

2 Samuel 24; Galatians 4; Ezekiel 31; Psalm 79

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2 Samuel 24; Galatians 4; Ezekiel 31; Psalm 79

GALATIANS 4INCLUDES a couple of sections that have long prompted Christians to ponder exactly how Paul understands the history of Israel—especially the so-called “allegory” of 4:21–31. They attract a great deal of attention....

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Wednesday, 26 September 2018 18:05

2 Samuel 23; Galatians 3; Ezekiel 30; Psalm 78:40–72

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2 Samuel 23; Galatians 3; Ezekiel 30; Psalm 78:40–72

GALATIANS 3 COULD USEFULLY occupy us for an entire book as long as this one. But here I shall restrict myself to two observations.

First, in the first five verses Paul appeals to experience. He asks the Galatians whether their conversion and...

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Tuesday, 25 September 2018 18:05

2 Samuel 22; Galatians 2; Ezekiel 29; Psalm 78:1–39

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2 Samuel 22; Galatians 2; Ezekiel 29; Psalm 78:1–39

SOME COMMENTATORS UNDERSTAND Paul in Galatians 2:1ff. to be saying that after some years he returned to Jerusalem to set before the Jerusalem apostles and other leaders the Gospel he had been preaching among the Gentiles, because he wanted...

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Monday, 24 September 2018 18:05

2 Samuel 21; Galatians 1; Ezekiel 28; Psalm 77

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2 Samuel 21; Galatians 1; Ezekiel 28; Psalm 77

THE OPENING LINES OF Paul’s letters are usually crafted with great care. The simplest form of letters in the ancient Greek world was: “From me, to you, Greetings”—often followed by some statement of thanks, and then the body of...

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2 Samuel 20; 2 Corinthians 13; Ezekiel 27; Psalms 75–76

IN MANY CHURCHES AROUND THE WORLD, though comparatively less frequently in North America, the minister at the end of the service will quietly utter the two words, “The grace.” Those gathered know that this is a signal for the...

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Saturday, 22 September 2018 18:05

2 Samuel 19; 2 Corinthians 12; Ezekiel 26; Psalm 74

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2 Samuel 19; 2 Corinthians 12; Ezekiel 26; Psalm 74

“I MUST GO ON BOASTING,” Paul writes (2 Cor. 12:1), though of course he has been doing so only in the most ironic way (see yesterday’s meditation and the one for September 21). But now he faces a new dilemma. Apparently his...

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Friday, 21 September 2018 18:05

2 Samuel 18; 2 Corinthians 11; Ezekiel 25; Psalm 73

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2 Samuel 18; 2 Corinthians 11; Ezekiel 25; Psalm 73

IN THE CONTINUING PRESSURE he felt to respond to those who were undermining his authority in Corinth, Paul finds he must “boast” while not “boasting” (see yesterday’s meditation). In 2 Corinthians 10 Paul climaxes his...

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Thursday, 20 September 2018 18:05

2 Samuel 17; 2 Corinthians 10; Ezekiel 24; Psalm 72

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2 Samuel 17; 2 Corinthians 10; Ezekiel 24; Psalm 72

THERE IS A GREAT DEAL OF BOASTING in Western evangelicalism. Some of it is so flagrant that it is repulsive to all serious-minded people. Much of it, however, is subtle and potentially subversive. Probably most of us are guilty of it sometimes.

On...

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Wednesday, 19 September 2018 18:05

2 Samuel 16; 2 Corinthians 9; Ezekiel 23; Psalms 70–71

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2 Samuel 16; 2 Corinthians 9; Ezekiel 23; Psalms 70–71

SECOND CORINTHIANS 9 IS THE second of two consecutive chapters that Paul devotes to the subject of giving.

(1) He resumes with a lovely delicacy (2 Cor. 9:1–5). On the one hand, he assures the Corinthians that they do not really need...

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Tuesday, 18 September 2018 18:05

2 Samuel 15; 2 Corinthians 8; Ezekiel 22; Psalm 69

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2 Samuel 15; 2 Corinthians 8; Ezekiel 22; Psalm 69

THE LONGEST SUSTAINED ENCOURAGEMENT in the New Testament to give money is found in 2 Corinthians 8–9. Today I shall reflect on some of the emphases in 2 Corinthians 8.

(1) Paul encourages the Corinthians to give by referring to the generosity...

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Monday, 17 September 2018 18:05

2 Samuel 14; 2 Corinthians 7; Ezekiel 21; Psalm 68

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2 Samuel 14; 2 Corinthians 7; Ezekiel 21; Psalm 68

WHAT A TWISTED THING SIN IS. Its motives and machinations are convoluted and perverse.

At one level the account of 2 Samuel 14 is pretty straightforward. At another, it is full of thought-provoking ironies.

David adopts the worst of all possible...

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2 Samuel 13; 2 Corinthians 6; Ezekiel 20; Psalms 66–67

THE THREAT TO DAVID’S REIGN predicted by the prophet Nathan begins with a sordid side-tale that nevertheless betrays exactly what is wrong with David’s rule (2 Sam. 13).

The multiplicity of royal wives meant that there were...

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Saturday, 15 September 2018 18:05

2 Samuel 12; 2 Corinthians 5; Ezekiel 19; Psalms 64–65

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2 Samuel 12; 2 Corinthians 5; Ezekiel 19; Psalms 64–65

IN NATHAN’S DRAMATIC CONFRONTATION with King David (2 Sam. 12), the prophet’s courage was mingled with a formidable sagacity. How else could a prophet grab the attention of an autocratic king and denounce his sin to his face,...

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2 Samuel 11; 2 Corinthians 4; Ezekiel 18; Psalms 62–63

HERE IS DAVID AT HIS WORST (2 Sam. 11). In the flow of the narrative through 1 and 2 Samuel, it is almost as if adversity brought out the best in David, while his chain of recent unbroken military and political successes finds him...

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