Morning Mashup 09/07

Start your Labor Day off right with a mashup of articles for your information, edification, entertainment, and enjoyment.

How Andy Mineo’s “You Can’t Stop Me” Became Baseball’s Top Walk-Up Song – Andy Mineo’s “You Can’t Stop Me” just proved it’s universal popularity by winning Baseball Tonight’s inaugural Whammy award.

(Almost) The Whole Continuous Story of the Old Testament in 11 Books – There are 11 books in the Old Testament, that almost tell the entire story of God’s redemption before Christ.

When Does Your Religion Legally Excuse You From Doing Part of Your Job? – Very helpful article from The Washington Post.

Need We Jail Each Other Over Marriage Licenses? – “The situation in Kentucky reminds all of us that America is extremely divided on issues that show no signs of weakening. This zero-sum culture war cannot continue if the social fabric of America is to have any chance of unifying around a robust pluralism.”

11 Easy Steps to Repenting on the Internet – Barnabas Piper on the brutal realities of repenting online.

The Promise of God in Threatening Pain – NFL center, Garrett Gilkey, offers helpful reflections on the sovereign promises of God in the midst of pain.

Defending the Bible, Protecting the Faith – Dr. Timothy Jones, my current family and discipleship professor discusses how believers should respond to skeptics in this interview about his new book, How We Got the Bible.

Church Discipline, Contemporary Grace Style – Rick Phillips with some weighty questions with those who identify with Tullian Tchjividjian and the Contemporary Grace Movement.

Can a Label Edify? – And here is Ray Ortlund’s response to Phillips. Admittedly, he doesn’t address any of Phillips’ questions or concerns, but does raise legitimate questions over the benefit of labels.

Pop Atheism and the Power of the Gospel – “As conservative Christian convictions continue to be marginalized, I fear the evangelical response might be something other than courageous love. We could be tempted to shrink back in fear if we aren’t properly propelled by the power of the gospel. Like Sayers, we may wish they all would just leave us alone.”

How I Learned to Live Joyfully – I try to read everything J.I. Packer writes. He is a superb teacher. This piece recounting Packer’s personal experiences only proves this to be true.

Faith’s true office is to see life in the midst of death. –John Calvin


3 Dangers in Misusing the Law of God

Probably_Valentin_de_Boulogne_-_Saint_Paul_Writing_His_Epistles_-_Google_Art_ProjectIn 1 Timothy 1:8-11, the apostle Paul gives a brief defense of the nobility of the law. Very similar to what he says in Romans 7:16, the apostle writes to Timothy that the law is “good” (Gk. kalos) (v. 8). Many people today would simply have to disagree with Paul. At minimum, an increasing number of professing Christians and churches within evangelicalism are seeing the law as irrelevant. At most, they see it as detrimental. Some go so far as to boldly declare that the Old Testament is unnecessary for faith and practice. However, the majority (which has at times included myself) simply practically ignoring the Old Testament, especially the law.
All Christians are tempted to misuse the law of God. And what’s worse is that more often than not, we honestly don’t care how we are using the law, or if we even use it at all. Actually, many of our attitudes are more like, “Misuse the law? I don’t even know what the law is!” A lack of preaching from the Old Testament and the errant notion that the Old Testament is irrelevant and replaced by the New Testament has led to many churches filled with Christians who have no idea what to do with the law. The ultimate danger in this is that when you misuse the law of God you miss the gospel of God.

3 Dangers in Misusing the Law

There are three primary ways we can misuse the law of God, which can prove spiritually dangerous.

1. Trusting the law to save. 

The law of God cannot save you from your sin. It exposes your sin, but it does not give life. We misuse the law when we try to base our salvation on our obedience to its demands. In itself, the law is not enough.

2. Adding to the law’s commands. 

This was the error of the Pharisees. A good modern example of this is found in the “King James only” movement. Requiring people to ascribe to one particular English translation of the Bible is a form of adding to the law’s commands. When we do this kind of thing, we take God’s law and make it our own, adding to its stipulations as if we have divine authority. The law is good because it comes from God. Added demands are detrimental and legalistic because they come from us. We misuse the law when we try to recreate it in our legalistic image.

3. Missing the law’s purpose. 

The above two dangers fall under this final danger. The false teachers in Ephesus were using the law to promote speculations that strew far from the intended meaning and purposes of the law. Paul says their discussions of the law were vain. Isn’t the same true in many evangelical circles today? We make broad statements like, “I hate religion, but love Jesus.” We pit the law and the gospel against one another like two raging bulls trying to impale each other. When we rightly understand the law and its intended purpose, we will see that the law is not strictly opposed to the gospel. No, the law serves the gospel, the sinner, and the Christian.

In Accordance with the Gospel

The church at Ephesus under Timothy was facing false teachers who were misusing the law. They did not understand its purpose. We know this because it was not leading them to the gospel. They were ignorant, confused, and arrogant. Misusing the law produces things such as these. Whereas a right understanding and use of the law is in “accordance with the gospel of the glory of the blessed God,” (v. 11) which produces “love that comes from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith” (v. 5). When we use the law as it was intended by God to be used, we will stand in appropriate awe of the beauty of its purposes. Yes, the beauty of the law is that though it is unable to save, it points us to the only One who can.

396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is the Children’s Pastor at First Baptist Church East Bernstadt. He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife, Erica, and their dog, Simba. You can follow him on Twitter @Mat_Gilbert.

“Psalms: An Introduction and Commentary” by Tremper Longman III

Psalms by Tremper Longman III is published by IVP in 2014. It is apart of the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary Series.

Dr. Longman is the professor of biblical studies at Westmont College. He has authored numerous books and commentaries. His study and comprehension of the Old Testament have been very beneficial in my life.

In this work, Longman states in the preface that the Psalms is the Heart of the Old Testament. I could not agree more. In the introduction, Longman gives helpful information regarding the Psalms in their title, composition, organization and use. He also discusses the types, styles and theology behind the Psalms which leads to Worship when we read and reflect upon the Psalms. This introduction is very helpful and shows readers how to think, use, and read the Psalms.

Longman throughout the rest of this useful commentary breaks each Psalm down with context, comment, and meaning. This is very important for Pastors, Teachers, or anyone who desires to study the Bible. In this format, the student of the Bible is able to comprehend the text in its context, understands its complexities, and then go onward to application. The Bible student who desires to reflect upon the Psalms would benefit from purchasing Longman’s commentary published by IVP.

Friends, You only get one life, and it will soon pass. Only what is done for Christ will last.

1557562_10153227664651515_1796309980_nEvan Knies is an undergraduate student at Boyce College where he studies Biblical and Theological Studies. He lives in Louisville, KY with his wife, Lauren. You can follow him on Twitter @Evan_Knies.

Is the New Testament God-Breathed?


All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work. –2 Timothy 3:16-17

This is a crucial question for the validity of the Christian faith and for witnessing to orthodox Jews. In order to answer this question, we must take a variety of things into consideration. Firstly, we must conclude from the context of this passage and the context of the New Testament (NT), that when Paul refers to “Scripture” (γραφη), he is always referring to the Old Testament (OT). Paul was specifically referring to the OT as Scripture when writing to Timothy. It was the OT that Timothy’s mother and grandmother had taught him from childhood (2 Tim. 1:5; 3:15). The Greek word for “Scripture” is used 51 times in the NT and every single occurrence refers to the OT. Nothing in this passage indicates that Paul is referring to any other writings that were circulating around the early church at that time.

Now that we are clear that Paul is referring to the OT in this passage, it is crucial that we understand what he meant by the word “all.” The Greek word for “all” can be just as easily and correctly translated as “every” in this passage. So, Paul is saying, “Timothy, every single portion of Scripture is from God and it is for your good!” It is not just a portion of the OT that Paul commends to Timothy. It isn’t just those epic stories or the monumental figures and events that serve as types of the Christ who was to come that Paul commends to young Timothy. No, Paul says that it is all Scripture, the entire OT, that is breathed out by God and profitable.

This is so crucial for us today. We can be so guilty of minimizing the importance of the OT. Because of cultural differences between the original authors and us, we often simply ignore the reading and study of many OT texts. The OT is not just a collection of cool stories to entertain our children in Sunday school or provoke us to speculate how tall Goliath really was or just how big the fish was that Jonah was swallowed by. The OT is authoritative and God-breathed Scripture that we will see should hold a place of supremacy in our lives.

All of the OT is God-breathed and profitable. So, all of the genealogies. All of the gruesome battle descriptions. All of the names that are so difficult to pronounce. All of the Law. All of the imagery of the prophets. All of the poetry of the psalmists. All of the suffering of Job. All real. All inspired. All authoritative. Scripture does not glean its authority from our capacity to understand it and it is not waiting for our finite and sin-ridden approval. Scripture gleans its authority from the One whom spoke it. Paul is essentially saying to Timothy, “Timothy, every single OT text is supreme and sufficient for your salvation, sanctification, and ministry because it is breathed out by God. You need it in order to face false teachers and suffering!”

All Scripture: New Testament

What about the New Testament? It is important to understand what Paul wrote to Timothy about Scripture in its historical context. As we have seen, both the historical and literary context demands that we understand “all Scripture” as referring to the OT. The question then quickly becomes, if Paul meant only the OT writings when he spoke of “all Scripture,” (and I think he did) then how can this verse apply to the NT writings? Or better yet, does this verse even teach that the NT is God-breathed as well? In short, I believe that this verse, though directly meaning that the entirety of the OT is God-breathed and profitable, carries with it some important implications that allow for the inclusion of the NT within the scope of the phrase “all Scripture.”

Is the New Testament included in “all Scripture?”

We must understand that the NT writers used the Greek word for “Scripture” in a very unique way. When they use it, they are not just referring to everyday writings. They are talking about holy writings that come from God himself. In other words, “Scripture” is a special and holy category that exclusively includes written revelation from God. Everything included in the category “Scripture” is God-breathed. At the time that Paul writes this letter to Timothy, only the OT was strictly considered “Scripture.” Only the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings were included in the category they called “Scripture” (γραφη). So, when the NT writings were added into this special and holy category called “Scripture,” it can be said of them that they are God-breathed. He simply writes to Timothy that “Scripture” is God-breathed and necessary for his sanctification and satisfaction. Though in context he was speaking of the OT, the implications of this meaning can include the NT if the NT is Scripture.

Can the New Testament be Considered “Scripture?”

This leads us to another question. Can the NT be considered in this holy and special category (Scripture)? There are five good reasons that we can consider the NT as “Scripture.”

Reason 1: In two places in the NT, we see the NT writings themselves being called “scripture” (2 Peter 3:16; 1 Tim. 5:18).

Reason 2: Jesus viewed his own teaching as having the authority of God. In John 14:10 he says, “I do not speak on my own authority, but the Father who dwells in me does his works.”

Reason 3: Paul also considered Jesus’ teaching as having unique authority (1 Cor. 7:10; 11:23-26).

Reason 4: Jesus prepared his apostles to speak with divine authority (John 16:13).

Reason 5: The apostles claimed to be inspired by God (1 Cor. 2:13; 7:12, 40; 14:37; 2 Cor. 13:3).

It is clear, then, that when Paul wrote that “all Scripture” is God-breathed, he is referring to the Old Testament directly, and by implication, the New Testament. Therefore, it is worthy of your trust. Worthy of your devotion. Worthy of your obedience.

396110_519885398036913_1852978654_nMathew Gilbert is a student at Boyce College (B.A. Biblical and Theological Studies, Dec. ’14). He is the author of the forthcoming book Come to the Well: 50 Meditations to Fuel Your Joy in God (CrossBooks). Mathew lives in London, KY with his wife Erica and their dog, Simba.