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
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I’m sure many of our readers have heard all sorts of info about the differences between three words for love: agape (αγαπη), eros (ερως), and phileo (φιλεω). I’ve heard a few of these discussions myself and...

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The second volume of Petrus Van Mastricht’s “Theoretical-Practical Theology” was recently published in English. I’ve mentioned volume 1 here before, so I won’t give a long explanation of it, but Van Mastricht (1630-1706) is one of my favorite Reformed theologians. This...

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Friday, 14 June 2019 22:13

Christians Living in Harmony (Marshall)

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In 1 Peter 3:8a the apostle calls Christians to be like-minded. This doesn’t mean that Christians need to have the same political views, dress the same way, agree on the same way to school their children, or agree on the same Bible translation to use. It means something much deeper....

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Thursday, 13 June 2019 23:07

Much We Need Thy Tender Care (Brooks)

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We know that God cares for his people. We’re called to cast all our anxieties on the Lord, because he cares for us (1 Pet. 5:7). He’s mindful of his children (Ps. 40:6). It’s very clear throughout Scripture that the children of God are cared for!

In his booklet “A...

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Wednesday, 12 June 2019 01:57

Increasing Our Spiritual Gifts (John Owen)

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God gives his people spiritual gifts so his people can bless others and bring him glory. Peter tells us to use our gifts to serve one another (1 Pet. 4:10). But the Christian might ask a question: How do we receive spiritual gifts or how do the spiritual gifts we have grow or...

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Sunday, 09 June 2019 22:37

The Freeness of Grace… (Toplady)

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Augustus Toplady used the term “legal fear” to describe the fear people have that makes them think they need to earn God’s favor. They’re afraid that if they don’t do enough to meet God’s standards he will not accept them. It’s a fear that tells a person...

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Article IV of the Apology of the Augsburg Confession (1531) uses the terms “receive” or “received” (etc.) well over thirty times (I lost count!). This is very significant because Article IV is on justification sola fide. I don’t have time and space to explain all the...

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Tuesday, 04 June 2019 22:14

Loved So Much! (Bernard of Clairvaux)

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Bernard of Clairvaux (d. 1153) was cited and quoted by Calvin and Luther more than a few times. There’s a reason for that! Here’s one example found in his treatise, “On Loving God.” The quote comes right after Bernard uses various Scriptures to explain the love of God...

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In 1 Timothy 2:9 Paul tell us that adult Christian women “are to dress in suitable apparel, with modesty and self-control. Their adornment must not be with braided hair and gold or pearls or expensive clothing, but with good deeds…” (NET Bible). Peter says something similar to...

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Saturday, 01 June 2019 06:01

The New Jerusalem (Bavinck)

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One great aspect of being a follower of Jesus is the fact that we have a great inheritance waiting for us in the new creation (1 Pet 1:4-5). The new creation itself will be an amazing place where God’s people will no longer have to worry about sin, sickness, evil, death, cancer, kidnapping,...

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One theme in Scripture that beautifully describes our Lord is the fact that he is the great physician. In Exodus 15 Yahweh is called the healer. The Psalms talk about God binding up the brokenhearted while Isaiah says that the Messiah heals us by his wounds. Jesus himself said that the...

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Wednesday, 29 May 2019 06:20

Make Him Church (S)hop (Screwtape)

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I love this section of Screwtape Letters where Screwtape, the older demon, gives his young demon-nephew Wormwood some tips on duping “churchgoing” Christians.  Screwtape says that if Wormwood can’t get a certain Christian to skip church altogether, the next best thing is to...

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Horton, Justification

On the last day when the Lord comes to judge the living and the dead, is there something like a final justification based on our works? Can we even talk about a present justification and a final justification, as if there are two justifications? The New Perspectives on Paul...

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image One aspect of the Christian’s identity is being a servant or slave of Christ (1 Cor. 6:20, Col. 4:12, 1 Tim. 4:6, etc).  Although being a slave typically isn’t a good thing, when a person is a slave of Christ it is totally good in every way.  The Christian has been set...

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Thursday, 23 May 2019 01:32

New Evidence of Your Depravity? (Packer)

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 Many of us know the words of Paul in Romans 8 quite well, including verses 33-34: “Who will bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies.  Who is the one who will condemn? Christ is the one who died (and more than that, he was raised), who is at the right...

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image Jesus left an example for his followers in how to act when suffering for doing good.  This is what Peter talks about in 1 Peter 2:21-23.  To say it in another way, when we suffer for following Christ in obedience to God, we should act in a Christ-like way through it all, following...

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image In chapter 17 of Good & Angry, David Powlison talks about being angry at God. Obviously it’s sinful to be angry at God and blame him of wrongdoing.  Powlison’s discussion of this topic is a good one; it’s worth reading for sure!  I especially appreciated...

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Saturday, 18 May 2019 00:11

We Honor the Governing Authorities (Calvin)

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image The apostle Peter tells Christians that we must “honor” and “submit to” governing authorities like kings, presidents, governors, and other similar rulers (1 Pet. 2:13-14, 17).  Peter doesn’t say we should honor and submit to some governing authorities, but...

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image I realize that not all of our readers are interested in Bible software.  Certainly you can study Scripture very well without computer software!  In fact, sometimes Bible study is better without screens because usually distractions come with screens.  However, for some...

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Wednesday, 15 May 2019 01:27

Eternal Punishment (Vos)

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image When Scripture talks about the eventual fate of the unrepentant, those who never turn to Christ in faith, it is a bleak picture of God’s wrath and punishment.  It’s not a fun thing to talk about, but it is a reality that makes Christians so thankful for Christ and his saving...

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Sunday, 12 May 2019 23:45

On The Proper Use of Sickness (Pascal)

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image In a written prayer called “To Ask God the Proper Use of Sickness,” Blaise Pascal (d. 1662) reflected on health and sickness in the Christian life.  More specifically, Pascal confessed that when he was healthy, he didn’t thank God for it and use his health to serve Him....

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Saturday, 11 May 2019 09:28

Their Minds Fixed on God (Craigie)

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image Before the Israelites crossed the Jordan into the Promised Land, Moses had much to say.  One thing Moses highlighted was God’s power and presence with his people as they went.  Here’s what Moses said in Deuteronomy 31:3-6:

As for the LORD your God, he is about to cross...

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image “Salvation by grace alone” is a sweet sounding phrase in the ear of the Christian.  Here’s a nice explanation of this truth by Charles Hodge:

Another decisive fact is that salvation is of grace. The two ideas of grace and works; of gift and debt; of undeserved favour and...

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image In a brilliant and edifying way, the apostle Peter refers to Christians using numerous terms for Israel found in the Old Testament.  In 1 Peter 2, for example, he calls followers of Jesus “a holy priesthood” that offers up “spiritual sacrifices” (1:5 NASB)....

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Wednesday, 08 May 2019 05:01

The Exodus Motif in Scripture (Estelle)

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image It’s not a new insight for many students of Scripture when they hear that the exodus event is alluded to or referred to many times in the Bible.  From the Psalms to the Prophets to the NT authors, the exodus is an important theme in Scripture.  Bryan Estelle’s book, ...

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