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

In all of ancient Near Eastern literature, so far as I am aware, Hagar is the only woman whom Deity directly addresses by name (Gen. 16:8; 21:17). The woman in question is not one of the great matriarchs of the Old Testament—Sarah, perhaps, or Rachel, or Rebekah—but a slave who resents...

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God’s time scale is so different from ours. Abram wants a son, and feels his time is running out; God envisages a race with countless millions of descendants. Abram feels his life is approaching its termination with nothing very much settled as to God’s purpose in calling him out of Ur...

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If one were to read through the book of Genesis without knowing the content of any other book of the Bible, one of the most enigmatic sections would certainly be these few verses about Melchizedek (Gen. 14:18–20). After all, how does he contribute in any substantial way to the plotline of the...

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The picture is a lovely one, Jesus is so tender and gentle that when he finds a “bruised reed” (Matt. 12:20), instead of snapping it off thoughtlessly, he binds it up in the hope that it will rejuvenate itself.

Authors: D.A. Carson Posts – The Gospel Coalition...

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This passage, Genesis 12, marks a turning point in God’s unfolding plan of redemption. From now on, the focus of God’s dealings is not scattered individuals, but a race, a nation. This is the turning point that makes the Old Testament documents so profoundly Jewish. And ultimately, out...

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Moved by compassion when the crowds remind him of sheep without a shepherd, Jesus instructs his disciples, “Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field” (Matt. 9:38)—and then he organizes a trainee mission for the twelve who constitute his...

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Despite the comprehensiveness of the punishment it meted out, the flood did not change human nature. God well knows that murder, first committed by Cain, will happen again.  Now he prescribes capital punishment (Gen. 9:6), not as a deterrent—deterrence is not discussed—but as a...

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Why Does Jesus find the faith of the centurion so astonishing (Matt. 8:5–13)? The centurion assures Jesus that as far as he is concerned it is unnecessary for the Master to visit his home in order to heal the paralyzed servant. He understands that Jesus need only say the word, and the servant...

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There was a time when scarcely a person in the Anglo-Saxon world would not have been able to cite John 3:16. Doubtless it was the best known verse in the entire Bible. It may still hold pride of place today—I am uncertain. But if it does, the percentage of people who know it is considerably...

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The first three sections of Matthew 6 (which itself is the central chapter of the Sermon on the Mount) deal with three fundamental acts of piety in Judaism: giving to the needy (traditionally called “alms-giving”), prayer, and fasting (Matt. 6:1–18). The common link is...

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Again and again in the fifth chapter of Genesis, one finds the refrain, “and then he died.” So-and-so lived so many years, and then he died . . . and then he died . . . and then he died . . . Why the repetition?

From the beginning, God’s intention had been...

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It took only one generation for the human race to produce its first murderer (Gen. 4). Two reflections:

(1) In the Bible, there are many motives behind murder. Jehu killed for political advantage (2 Kings 9-10); David killed to cover up his adultery (2 Sam. 11); Joab murdered out of revenge, and out...

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In any domain, we are unlikely to agree as to what the solution of a problem is, unless we agree as to the nature of the problem.

The religions of the world offer an enormous range of solutions to human problems. Some promulgate various forms of religious self-help exercises; some advocate a kind of...

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What a strange way, we might think, to end this account of Creation: “The man and his wife were both naked, and they felt no shame” (Gen. 2:25). Hollywood would love it: what an excuse for sexual titillation if someone tries to place the scene on the big screen. We hurry on, chasing the...

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All four of these chapters depict new beginnings, but the first reading Genesis 1 portrays the beginning of everything in this created universe.

On the face of it, this chapter, and the lines of thought it develops, establish that God is different from the universe that he creates, and...

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BOTH OF OUR PRIMARY READINGS for this last day of the year convey hope.

The first, 2 Chronicles 36, depicts the final destruction of Jerusalem. The Babylonians raze the city and the leading citizenry are transported seven or eight hundred miles from home. But the closing verses admit a whisper of...

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AT LAST WE REACH THE CLIMAX of redemption (Rev. 21). In his final vision, John sees “a new heaven and a new earth” (Rev. 21:1). Some notes:

(1) The absence of any sea (Rev. 21:1) does not establish the hydrological principles of the new heaven and new earth. The sea, as we have noted...

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IN THE MEDITATION FOR November 9, I briefly reflected on the reforming zeal of Josiah, who led the last attempt at large-scale reformation in Judah (2 Kings 22). About three-quarters of a century had passed since the death of Hezekiah, but much of this was presided over by Manasseh, whose reign of...

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REVELATION 19 IS DIVIDED into two parts. In the firstpart, John hears the roar of a great crowd in heaven shouting out various lines of unrestrained praise, joined by various others in antiphonal unity. The first stanza of adoration (Rev. 19:1–3) praises God because he has condemned the...

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IF REVELATION 17 EXPOSES THE abominations of “Babylon,” Revelation 18announces her imminent destruction. Much of the language is drawn from Old Testament passages that predict the destruction of historic Babylon or some other pagan city characterized by corruption, violence, and...

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THE VISION OF THE PROSTITUTE OF Revelation 17 is replete with colorful language that has confounded many an interpreter. Yet the main lines are reasonably clear, and even the more disputed points are not completely obscure. Here we may reflect on three matters:

(1) Her basic identification to any...

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THE SEVEN BOWLS OF GOD’S WRATH (Rev. 16), containing the seven last plagues (see also Rev. 15), are poured out on the earth. Doubtless much of the language is symbol-laden; some of it is transparent, some of it more difficult to understand. Here I wish to focus on one clause that is repeated....

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WITH THE EXCEPTION OF only a few verses, most of the material in 2 Chronicles 29–31 has no parallel in 2 Kings. What these chapters provide is a detailed account of how King Hezekiah went about reinstituting temple worship that was in line with the Law of God delivered through Moses, and then...

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IN REVELATION 13, we discovered that all those under the authority of the unholy triumvirate have a mark on their foreheads. This means that they can participate in the world order of the dragon and his beasts and be spared the wrath of Satan. Here in Revelation 14, we learn that God’s people...

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IT TURNS OUT THAT SATAN HAS two unholy beasts to assist him, one that comes out of the sea (Rev. 13:1–10), and the other out of the earth (Rev. 13:11–18). Together they constitute an unholy triumvirate that in some ways apes the Trinity.

Admittedly, many of the apocalyptic symbols in...

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