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

The Reformed Reader - Apologetic Report
Thursday, 21 February 2019 20:46

On Seeking (Bernard)

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image Bernard of Clairvaux’s commentary/sermons on the Song of Solomon is allegorical, but it is for sure worth reading.  One reason this commentary is worth reading is because in it Bernard very helpfully describes the biblical “seeking” theme.  Here’s one example...

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image I always enjoy reading Blaise Pascal.  Here are two paragraphs from a section of his writings called, “Morality and Doctrine”:

The greatness and the wretchedness of man are so evident that the true religion must necessarily teach us both that there is in man some great source...

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image Christians struggle with pride just like people who are not Christians. We all know what pride looks like in real life.  It’s that man always talking about his acheivements, it’s that woman showing off how much and how far she jogs, it’s that guy on the team who...

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Friday, 15 February 2019 21:25

We Stand by the Power of God

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imageThe truth that God never forsakes his people but always preserves and protects them is one of those biblical teachings that is the source of deep comfort.  Nothing can separate us from the love of God in Christ (Rom. 8:39). No one can rip us out of the strong and loving arms of the Lord (John...

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Wednesday, 13 February 2019 06:21

Newton’s Critique of Edwards

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image Near the end of Josiah Bull’s biography of John Newton, there’s a quote by Newton that is somewhat critical of the great American theologian, Jonathan Edwards. Here it is:

“Mr. Edwards was an excellent man, but some of his writings are too metaphysical, and particularly that...

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Tuesday, 12 February 2019 00:37

The Nature or Properties of Election (Boston)

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image When the Bible talks about election, “God’s elect”, or “the elect,” what does this mean?  What is election?  Obviously in this context it’s not people electing someone to office. Instead, it’s God’s electing someone to salvation in...

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Saturday, 09 February 2019 07:34

What Mind Can Grasp “I AM”? (Augustine)

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image Commenting on John 8:24, Augustine had some brilliant reflections on Jesus’ words: Unless you believe that I am [εγω ειμι] you will die inyour sins.  Note below how Augustine went back to Exodus 3 to explain Jesus’ words in John...

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Wednesday, 06 February 2019 23:48

…In Studying Things of No Use (Calvin)

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When it comes to the fact that God has revealed himself in his Word, we do well to remember that what he revealed to us there is what he wants us to know about him and faith in him.  The Word is sufficient for our theology, our faith, and our practice.  We may not add to it, nor may we go...

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Wednesday, 06 February 2019 05:35

The Great Names of God (Bavinck)

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I really like Herman Bavinck’s discussion of the names of God in the second volume of his Reformed Dogmatics.  Here’s a section of it which is full of Scripture references.  It’s theological and redemptive-historical, but it’s also practical:

There is an...

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Monday, 04 February 2019 00:20

Our Living Hope (Clowney)

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Reading through Edmund Clowney’s commentary on 1 Peter 1:3-5 this morning brought me to these excellent observations about Christian hope:

Peter writes a letter of hope. The hope he proclaims is not what we call a ‘fond hope’. We cherish fond hopes because they are so fragile. We...

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Saturday, 02 February 2019 00:00

In But Not Of This World (Epistle to Diognetus)

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This is such a great section of the 2nd century Chrisitan letter called “The Epistle to Diognetus“.  It is good commentary on the teaching of Christ and his apostles that this present age, this present world, is not our permanent home (John 17; 1 Pet. 1:1, etc.).

For Christians are...

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Friday, 01 February 2019 06:21

Election and the Judgement of Charity (Calvin)

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imageCalvin’s Commentaries

When we speak about election, we always have to understand that we don’t have God’s view or perspective on it.  We don’t have access to all the names written in the book of life, nor can we pry into the secret counsel of God.  The question...

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imageBavinck, vol. 2

We can know the true and living God in a personal way. We can know the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob as Lord, Father, Redeemer, and Rock. But we can’t know him in an exhaustive way. We can’t know him in his inner being or as he is in himself. We can know him...

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Tuesday, 29 January 2019 05:47

Legal Preaching (Boston)

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imageThomas Boston, Works

In a sermon on Isaiah 61:1, Thomas Boston mentioned in detail what it means to have a broken heart which the Lord binds up and heals. It’s quite a good sermon, but the older English isn’t always easy to decipher. At one point, citing Psalm 51:17, he mentioned that...

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Monday, 28 January 2019 00:16

The Two Principal Parts of Scripture (Beza)

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imageTheodore Beza

Here’s a helpful explanation of the law/gospel distinction by Theodore Beza (d. 1564):

We divide this Word into two principal parts or kinds: the one is called the “Law”, the other the “Gospel”. For all the rest can be gathered under the one or the other of...

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Saturday, 26 January 2019 00:15

Overcoming Evil with Good

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imageCalvin on Romans

While preaching through Romans 12 the last couple of months I was reminded how helpful Calvin’s commentaries are. Here are a few of my favorite sections of his comments on Romans 12:19-21:

…He [Paul] commands here that however grievously we may be injured, we are not to...

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Thursday, 24 January 2019 01:22

Was Ruth Barren?

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Ruth was probably barren before she had little Obed. This is something I haven’t heard before, or at least I don’t remember hearing. However, after studying the text and consulting some commentaries, I do believe that before Ruth conceived and gave birth to Obed she was most likely...

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John Murray explained the relationship between systematic theology and practical theology so well in his charge to Edmund Clowney when Clowney was installed as professor of practical theology at Westminster Theological Seminary (1963). Here’s what Murray said:

Practical theology is...

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Monday, 21 January 2019 00:03

The Way of Humility in Fighting Anger (Welch)

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imageEd Welch

As I’ve mentioned before, Ed Welch’s little devotional called A Small Book about a Big Problem is a helpful resource for combating anger in the Christian life. This morning I was helped by Welch’s explanation of humility and what it has to do...

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imageZanchius, Predestination

In light of his debates with John Wesley (1703-1791) about free will, predestination, and other related topics, Augustus Toplady (1740-1778) edited and translated some of Jerome Zanchi’s 16th century writing on predestination. I’m not certain about the details...

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Thursday, 17 January 2019 05:01

The Duty Ours, The Power is God’s (Flavel)

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When it comes to the mysterious providence of God and trials that come our way in his providence, we need to submit to his will (even when it’s hard to do!). We need the faith to say, “Lord, you know best; thy will be done.” How can we do that? It’s easier said than done...

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Wednesday, 16 January 2019 05:18

Unteachable Blockheads – Steifsynning (Luther)

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imageLuther on Romans

Martin Luther’s “Lectures on Romans” is an excellent resource to own, read, and study. I’ve come back to it quite a bit and I’m always challenged, edified, and encouraged by it. Today when studying Romans 12:16b (do not be wise in&n...

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Tuesday, 15 January 2019 04:07

Called to be Faithful (Guinness)

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I like how Os Guinness ended his excellent book, Impossible People. Here’s the paragraph:

God may stretch out his restraining hand and hold us [Western culture] back from the consequences of our settled choices. In his mercy, he may revive his church, and the Christian faith may...

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Friday, 11 January 2019 21:45

Comfort for a Grieving Widow (Chrysostom)

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imageChrysostom (d. 407 AD)

A young Christian woman was grieving the death of her husband. It was a hard and heavy blow. John Chrysostom knew of her grief and wrote her a kind letter to direct her gaze heavenward, to the Lord. In this part of the letter (dated around 380 AD), Chrysostom echoes...

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Friday, 11 January 2019 03:47

If We Know Our Own Hearts (Henry)

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Romans 12:9a says, “Love must be without hypocrisy” (NET). Matthew Henry said this love is affectionate and respectful. Concerning the latter he wrote,

2) A respectful love: In honor preferring one another (v10b). Instead of contending for superiority, let us be forward to give to...

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