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
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1 Samuel 12; Romans 10; Jeremiah 49; Psalms 26–27 

HERE I WISH TO REFLECT on one small part of Romans 10.

As part of his insistence that Jews and Gentiles alike must be saved by faith or not at all, the apostle Paul reviews the fundamental Christian “word of faith”: “That if...

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Saturday, 18 August 2018 18:05

1 Samuel 11; Romans 9; Jeremiah 48; Psalm 25

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1 Samuel 11; Romans 9; Jeremiah 48; Psalm 25 

ONE OF THE IMPORTANT QUESTIONS that the first Christians had to answer, as they bore witness to Jesus the Messiah, went something like this: “If Jesus really is the promised Messiah, how come so many Jews reject the claim?” Inevitably, there...

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1 Samuel 10; Romans 8; Jeremiah 47; Psalms 23–24 

WHAT DOES IT MEAN FOR Christians to be “more than conquerors” (Rom. 8:37)? A considerable body of thought pictures a special group of illustrious Christians who “live above it all,” powerful in confronting temptation,...

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Thursday, 16 August 2018 18:05

1 Samuel 9; Romans 7; Jeremiah 46; Psalm 22

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1 Samuel 9; Romans 7; Jeremiah 46; Psalm 22 

OCCASIONALLY SOMEONE COMES ALONG who shows exceptional promise from his or her youth, and then lives up to that promise. But that does not seem to be the common way of things. Who would have thought that a minor painter from Vienna could become the...

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Wednesday, 15 August 2018 18:05

1 Samuel 7–8; Romans 6; Jeremiah 44; Psalms 20–21

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1 Samuel 7–8; Romans 6; Jeremiah 44; Psalms 20–21 

WHY PEOPLE ASK FOR SOMETHING is at least as important as what they ask for.

This is true in many domains of life. I know an executive in a midsize corporation who successfully talked his bosses into setting up a new committee. The reason...

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Tuesday, 14 August 2018 18:05

1 Samuel 5-6; Romans 5; Jeremiah 43; Psalm 19

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1 Samuel 5-6; Romans 5; Jeremiah 43; Psalm 19

GOD IS NEVER AMUSED at being treated with contempt, nor by having his explicit instructions ignored or defied. For then he would not be God.

God is well able to defend himself. In 1 Samuel 5-6, the unfolding account can be as restrained as it is precisely...

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Monday, 13 August 2018 18:05

1 Samuel 4; Romans 4; Jeremiah 42; Psalm 18

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1 Samuel 4; Romans 4; Jeremiah 42; Psalm 18

WHEN PEOPLE KNOW LITTLE about the God who has actually disclosed himself, it is terribly easy for them to sink into some perverted view of this God, until the image held of him has very little to do with the reality.

One can understand the...

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Sunday, 12 August 2018 18:05

1 Samuel 3; Romans 3; Jeremiah 41; Psalm 17

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1 Samuel 3; Romans 3; Jeremiah 41; Psalm 17

THE LORD DOES NOT CALL all his prophets in the same way, or at the same time of life. Amos was called when he was a shepherd in Tekoa. Elisha was called by Elijah to serve an apprenticeship. But Samuel was called even from before conception.

Samuel’s...

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Saturday, 11 August 2018 18:05

1 Samuel 2; Romans 2; Jeremiah 40; Psalms 15-16

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1 Samuel 2; Romans 2; Jeremiah 40; Psalms 15-16

IF ROMANS 1 CONDEMNS the entire human race, Romans 2 focuses especially on Jews. They have enormous advantages in that they were the recipients of the Law — the revelation from God mediated through Moses at Sinai. But here too, Paul argues, all...

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Friday, 10 August 2018 18:05

1 Samuel 1; Romans 1; Jeremiah 39; Psalms 13-14

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1 Samuel 1; Romans 1; Jeremiah 39; Psalms 13-14

HOW DOES THE WRATH OF GOD manifest itself, according to the Scriptures?

There is no short answer to that question, because the answers are many, depending on an enormous array of circumstances. God’s wrath wiped out almost the entire human race at...

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Thursday, 09 August 2018 18:05

Ruth 3-4; Acts 28; Jeremiah 38; Psalms 11-12

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Ruth 3-4; Acts 28; Jeremiah 38; Psalms 11-12

SCHOLARS DISAGREE SOMEWHAT over the social significance of each action taken in Ruth 3-4, but the general line is clear enough. Almost certainly the levirate laws, which allowed or mandated men to marry widowed in-laws under certain circumstances to keep...

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Wednesday, 08 August 2018 18:05

Ruth 2; Acts 27; Jeremiah 37; Psalm 10

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Ruth 2; Acts 27; Jeremiah 37; Psalm 10

THE NARRATOR HAS ALREADY TOLD US that when Naomi and Ruth arrive back in Bethlehem it was the time of barley harvest (Ruth 1:22). Now (Ruth 2) the significance of that bit of information is played out.

It was long-standing tradition, stemming from Mosaic Law,...

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Tuesday, 07 August 2018 18:05

Ruth 1; Acts 26; Jeremiah 36; Psalm 9

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Ruth 1; Acts 26; Jeremiah 36; Psalm 9

THERE IS SCARCELY A MORE ATTRACTIVE figure in all of Scripture than Ruth.

She is a Moabitess (Ruth 1:4). She lives in troubled times, and faces her own terrible grief. She and another Moabitess, Orpah, marry two recent immigrants called Mahlon and Kilion. These...

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Monday, 06 August 2018 18:05

Judges 21; Acts 25; Jeremiah 35; Psalms 7-8

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Judges 21; Acts 25; Jeremiah 35; Psalms 7-8

THE LAST WRETCHED STEP in the violence precipitated by the rape and murder of the Levite’s concubine now plays out (Judg. 21). In a fury of vengeance, the Israelites have swept through the tribal territory of Benjamin, annihilating men, women,...

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Sunday, 05 August 2018 18:05

Judges 20; Acts 24; Jeremiah 34; Psalms 5-6

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Judges 20; Acts 24; Jeremiah 34; Psalms 5-6

ONE MIGHT HAVE EXPECTED that only the guilty would be hunted down and executed (Judg. 20). But the Levite is stirring up the nation (without, of course, disclosing his own disgraceful behavior). So far as our records go, Gibeah does not offer to hand over...

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Saturday, 04 August 2018 18:05

Judges 19; Acts 23; Jeremiah 33; Psalms 3-4

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Judges 19; Acts 23; Jeremiah 33; Psalms 3-4

BY THE TIME WE REACH Judges 19, the law of the jungle has triumphed in the fledging nation of Israel.

The Levite introduced to us at this point takes on a concubine. (Levites were supposed to marry only virgins; see Lev. 21:7, 13-15.) She sleeps around and...

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Friday, 03 August 2018 18:05

Judges 18; Acts 22; Jeremiah 32; Psalms 1-2

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Judges 18; Acts 22; Jeremiah 32; Psalms 1-2

PERHAPS AN INNOCENT READER might have hoped that yesterday’s reading (Judg. 17) reflected a minor aberration among the people of God. Today’s (Judg. 18) makes that hope less sanguine: one entire tribe of Israel is off the rails, and doubtless...

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Thursday, 02 August 2018 18:05

Judges 17; Acts 21; Jeremiah 30 – 31; Mark 16

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Judges 17; Acts 21; Jeremiah 30 – 31; Mark 16

THE SIGNS OF MORAL, SPIRITUAL, and intellectual declension in Israel during the time of the judges now multiply, some of them obvious, some of them subtle. Although Judges 17 is a brief chapter, it is charged with an abundance of them.

(1) A grown...

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Wednesday, 01 August 2018 18:05

Judges 16; Acts 20; Jeremiah 29; Mark 15

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Judges 16; Acts 20; Jeremiah 29; Mark 15

PAUL’S ADDRESS TO THE EPHESIAN ELDERS (Acts 20:18-35) can be broken down into three parts. In the first (Acts 20:18-24), Paul talks about his own ministry in Ephesus and his own future. In the second (Acts 20:25-31), he uses his example of ministry as...

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Tuesday, 31 July 2018 18:05

Judges 15; Acts 19; Jeremiah 28; Mark 14

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Judges 15; Acts 19; Jeremiah 28; Mark 14

ONE OF THE STRANGEST ACCOUNTS in the book of Acts concerns the seven sons of Sceva (Acts 19:11-20). Paul’s ministry in Ephesus lasted some considerable time, perhaps two and a half years, and during that time “God did extraordinary miracles...

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Monday, 30 July 2018 18:05

Judges 14; Acts 18; Jeremiah 27; Mark 13

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Judges 14; Acts 18; Jeremiah 27; Mark 13

SOME OF US HAVE WONDERED why God has occasionally used in powerful ministry people blatantly flawed. This is not to say that God should only use perfect people, for that would mean he would be using no people. Nor am I referring to the fact that we all have...

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Sunday, 29 July 2018 18:05

Judges 13; Acts 17; Jeremiah 26; Mark 12

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Judges 13; Acts 17; Jeremiah 26; Mark 12

MOST OF PAUL’S EVANGELIZING of Gentiles began with the synagogue. His regular procedure when he arrived in a new town was to visit the synagogue and (since it was not uncommon to ask visitors to speak) avail himself of the opportunity to preach the...

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Saturday, 28 July 2018 18:05

Judges 12; Acts 16; Jeremiah 25; Mark 11

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Judges 12; Acts 16; Jeremiah 25; Mark 11

THREE OBSERVATIONS ON THESE STEPS in the ministry of Paul and Silas (Acts 16):

(1) To understand Paul’s “Macedonian call” (Acts 16:6-10), one must follow his movements on a map. After traveling through the central part of what is now Turkey,...

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Friday, 27 July 2018 18:05

Judges 11; Acts 15; Jeremiah 24; Mark 10

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Judges 11; Acts 15; Jeremiah 24; Mark 10

HERE I SHALL SQUEEZE TWO SEPARATE meditations into this space, one on each of the primary passages.

In Acts 15, it is critically important to understand what the dispute was about that called into existence what has since been labeled “the Jerusalem...

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Thursday, 26 July 2018 18:05

Judges 10; Acts 14; Jeremiah 23; Mark 9

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Judges 10; Acts 14; Jeremiah 23; Mark 9

PAUL HAD BEEN EVANGELIZING for fifteen years or more, probably largely around the Tarsus area, before this “first” trip is recorded. Doubtless he built up extraordinary experience evangelizing Jews and Gentiles alike, so that by the time he emerges...

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