The Bible is the book Christians live by and follow. It provides guidance about how to live a Godly life in a fallen and corrupt world.

I’ve found the Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy to be powerful about the role of the Bible in the lives of Christians. It reads,

“We affirm that the holy Scriptures are to be received as the authoritative Word of God. We deny that the Scriptures receive their authority from the church, tradition, or any other human source.” ~ The Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy, Article I.

With that said, let’s take a look at the Bible as the ultimate authority for Christians.

Bibliology - The Bible as the Ultimate Authority

Photo Credit: Ben Onken

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I’m not sure about you, but I like to be sure of something before I use it and follow it. When purchasing things I like to research online what is best, ask friends for their feedback, and then make sure I am getting a good product. Anyone who becomes a Christian or is wrestling with the Christian faith should study the Bible and ask, “Why is the Bible authoritative and accurate?” Here are four reasons that I believe the Bible is authoritative and accurate.

A. It’s Breathed out by God

The first reason the Bible is authoritative and accurate is because the Bible contains the words of God. Paul tells us about this in his second letter to Timothy. Continue Reading…


I remember sitting down with the man discipling me near the window at Starbucks. Every month I would bring him questions and we would talk through them together. This month I was curious about the Bible. The question I asked him was, “How did the Bible come to be put together?” I think I jokingly said, “Was there an explosion in a paper factory, and the Bible got put together in that explosion? How did it happen?” I did not realize it, but I was asking about what I now know is the Canon. 

With that story, let’s take a look at the methodical and God-directed way that the Bible was compiled. The process I am broadly describing is called “canonization” or “the canon of Scripture.” What does the word “canon” mean? The word has Hebrew and Greek backgrounds. In Hebrew the word is קָנֶה (canew) which literally means “rod” for measuring (that “rod” used for measuring came from a reed-type plant). The rod was used as a rule or standard against which things were measured. Two examples of this use are in Ezekiel:

As he brought me nearer, I saw a man whose face shone like bronze standing beside a gateway entrance. He was holding in his hand a linen measuring cord and a measuring rod.” (Ezekiel 40:3, NLT, emphasis added)

He measured the east side with his measuring rod, and it was 875 feet long. Then he measured the north side, and it was also 875 feet. The south side was also 875 feet, and the west side was also 875 feet.” (Ezekiel 42:16–19, NLT, emphasis added)

In the New Testament the word is κανων (canon). Two examples of this use are in Paul’s letters to the Galatians and Philippians:

And as for all who walk by this rule, peace and mercy be upon them, and upon the Israel of God.” (Galatians 6:16, ESV, emphasis added)

however, let us keep living by that same standard to which we have attained.” (Philippians 3:16, NASB95, emphasis added)

First, I want to show you when the New and Old Testaments were completed. Then, we will look at when those Testaments were recognized as Scripture. Next, I want you to know the exact criteria that were used when recognizing what made New Testament Scripture. Lastly, we will take a brief look at the books that made it into the Bible.

Bibliology - The Canon of Scripture


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A. Old Testament (435 B.C.)

The last books of the Old Testament to be written were likely Nehemiah and Malachi. Most scholars say Malachi was written somewhere between 433-420 B.C. near the reign of the Persian King Artaxerxes II (Smith, Interpreting the Prophetic Books94; Bullock, An Introduction to the Old Testament: Prophetic Books407-408). Continue Reading…


In the last couple hundred years I am not sure if any doctrine of Scripture has come under more attacks from secular society than the inspiration and inerrancy of Scripture. Non-Christians have questioned the authenticity of God’s Word and many have been vocal and hostile about it.

Why make such a fuss about inspiration and inerrency? Charles Ryrie writes, “The doctrine of inspiration is not something theologians have forced on the Bible. Rather it is a teaching of the Bible itself, a conclusion derived from the data contained in it. And whatever one may think of the Bible, it, like any other witness, has the right to testify on its own behalf” (Ryrie, Basic Theology, 76)

With that said, let’s look at the doctrines of inspiration and inerrancy. Some books separate these two topics, but for the sake of simplicity I have combined them.

Bibliology - Inspiration and Inerrancy

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II. INSPIRATION Continue Reading…


In this first post in a series of five about the doctrine of Scripture–bibliology–I’d like to introduce you to general revelation and special revelation. In later posts I want to look at the Trinity, sin, salvation, and the church. But before discussing those topics I want to describe for you general revelation and special revelation. Here are a brief outline and definition of those terms. 

Bibliology: General Revelation and Special Revelation

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The phrase “general revelation” means that God’s revelation is available to all people at all times. It is something seen in creation and our everyday lives. Here are a few other definitions of general revelation:

“General revelation includes all that God has revealed in the world around us, including man.” (Ryrie, Basic Theology, 31)

“General revelation comes through observing nature, through seeing God’s directing influence in history, and through an inner sense of God’s existence and his laws that he has placed inside of every person.” (Gruedem, Systematic Theology, 123)

In one of King David’s psalms he speaks about God’s general revelation through creation: Continue Reading…

As we celebrate the birth of our Lord Jesus Christ today on December 25 I want to share a few thoughts about the future return of Christ that could occur at any moment.

I am a dispensationalist who believes in the pretribulational rapture and premillennial reign of Christ. Yet, I hold these views lite and loose. They are not points worth arguing and causing disunity within the body of believers. Lots of people smarter than me hold contrary views and I respect those who do.

Often we hear people say, “Christ could come at any moment” or “I’m ready for Christ to come back.” Yet, what does that mean about our beliefs about Christ’s return and the end times? Doesn’t the book of Revelation describe seven years of tribulation of plagues, sores, earthquakes, hail, fires, and other events that indicate judgement which all occur before Christ returns in Rev 19:11?

While there are various views on the return of Christ, here are six reasons I believe Christ will return for his people before the seven years of tribulation begins.

Christ Return and the Rapture

Photo Credit: “Waiting for the Word


First, the church seems to be absent from the narrative of Rev 4-19. The Greek word for church, ἐκκλεσια, is used nineteen times in Rev 1-3, zero times in Rev 4-19, and one time in Rev 20-22. While it is not good to argue from an “absence of evidence” it does strike me that if the church was on the earth during the time of the Tribulation (Rev 4-19) there would be mentions of it. But, there are none in Rev 4-19.  Continue Reading…


  1. These reasons for the pre-trib rapture is adapted from Mark Hitchcock’s book, The Endwhich is a great reference book for end-times events.

Whether it is orthodox, protestant, evangelical, or catholic Christianity, all agree on the doctrine that God exists as three persons–Father–Son–Holy Spirit together as one God.

Below is a brief outline of the primary Scriptures that described the doctrine of the Trinity. 

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Definition of the Trinity
I believe that the one God exists as three distinct persons—Father, Son, and Holy Spirit—each is equal in nature, equal in glory, but distinct in relationship (definition based on J. Scott Horrell and his forthcoming book on the Trinity).


A. Old Testament

When reading the first five books of the Old Testament it is good to remember who wrote the books, whom they were written to, and what was the historical context of “God” at that time. Numerous hints and evidences are provided in the Bible that suggest Moses was the person who wrote the first five books of the Bible. And those first five books were written between 1446 and 1406 after the “Exodus” of the Israelites from Egypt. In this time, there were numerous gods throughout the ancient near east. Gods of fertility, water gods, grain gods, and many many others. Moses, as God’s chosen leader taking the people out of Egypt recorded the first five books of the Old Testament as a way to communicate to the Israelites who they were and who their God was.

1. Gen 1:1

Simply, one God created the world with ease and freedom.  Continue Reading…

When talking with people about what is “church” I often hear someone say, “But hey, the Bible says ‘where two are gathered in Jesus’ name, I am with you.’ People will often use this phrase to describe how a small group is a church. Yet, the context of that passage has nothing to do with what a church is or what a church does. In Matt 18:19-20 the context is correcting another believer and prayer, not what is or is not a church.

What is the Church

Photo Credit: Peter’s First Preaching (The Bible and Its Story, vol 10)

With that said, let’s look at what the church actually is. From my understanding of the Bible there are seven key elements of a church.


First, the church is commanded to go into all nations and make disciples. Continue Reading…

A Brief Study of Hell

December 4, 2017

I have worked hard during the last year and a half to provide a verse-by-verse teaching through the book of Revelation. There are a few sections of the book that I skipped which I hope to teach on in the future. Throughout a study in the book of Revelation the topic of “hell” comes up a lot. Here I wanted to provide a short summary of what the Bible says about hell and the different views about hell. 

A Brief Study of Hell

Photo Credit: Viktor Vasnetsov (1848-1926)


Hell is a place of eternal conscious punishment. Worms which will “never die” devour people and the fire that devours people will “never go out” (Isa 66:22-24; Mark 9:48). At the end times many bodies will rise up to “everlasting life” or to shame and “everlasting disgrace” (Dan 12:2-3). Hell is also described as an “eternal fire” (Matt 18:6-9; 25:4; Jude 7). The smoke of this fire that torments unbelievers in hell will rise “forever and ever” (Rev 14:9-11). Continue Reading…


A. Story of Joe Rantz

Joe Rantz was a man born in 1914 which means he lived through the Great Depression of the 1930s. However, hard economic times were not the only hardship that Joe had to endure. When Joe was five years old his mother suddenly died and as a result Joe was sent via train (by himself) to live with his aunt, Alma. Joe had to live with Alma because his dad had went to Canada to figure life out after the death of his wife. After Joe’s dad had time to morn and collect himself, he came back to the United States, found a job, and quickly remarried. Joe was sent back via train to live with his father and his new stepmother which he had never met. Growing up Joe’s parents had three additional children; three step siblings for Joe. When Joe was ten his step-mother was fed up with him and told Joe’s dad that Joe must move out of the house. So, Joe lived at the school house where he did miscellaneous chores as a way to pay his rent and food allowance. When hard economic times hit Joe’s family they decided to move, but Joe’s stepmother gave Joe’s father an ultimatum: Either Joe stays or she will stay with the kids. Joe’s stepmother was fed up with Joe and would not tolerate him any longer. In her mind, the family was moving for a fresh start and they were not going to take Joe with them. So, the family left for a new area to start over and left Joe in their home. Joe stayed there for a while. He continued to go to school and find food to eat. One way that he provided for himself was going down to the local water canal to fish. Him and his friend would go to the canal together. One boy would stand up stream with a wooden spear in his hand ready to throw it at a fish while the other boy went down stream, jumped in the water, and tried to rush the fish up stream. The boy with the spear would through it into a salmon, then the two boys would take the salmon to town and sell it for cash as if they had caught it with bait and tackle (despite the big hole through the fish). Over time, things started to get better for Joe. Joe’s older brother learned about Joe being left by his family and had Joe come live him and his wife during high school. When it came time for college Joe was accepted to the University of Washington. Just before college he met a woman who would eventually be his wife. Joe had worked hard to save up enough money to pay for school, but he would need to find part-time work while in school. In fact, the one way to guarantee that you would get part-time work while in college was to play a sport. If you were a student-athlete the school would put you to work. So, Joe tried out for the rowing team. It was work that Joe loved because it was difficult, painful, and masculine. So many of his life experiences caused him to develop grit and determination and rowing was a way for him to use that experience. Joe’s rowing team eventually competed in the 1936 summer Olympics which the United States took the gold medal! While his life started out very difficult, later in life he was able to taste some of the sweet things of life. He got a college education, married a lovely woman, and won the gold medal for his country!

B. Text of Rev 21:1-8

1Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth were gone and the sea was also gone. 2Then I saw the holy city—the new Jerusalem—coming out of heaven from God dressed like a bride prepared up for her husband.
3Then I heard a loud voice from the throne saying:
“Look! The home of God is with mankind. He will live with them and they themselves will be his people and God himself will be with them. 4God will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death, sadness, crying, or pain. Those prior things are gone forever.”
5Then the one sitting on the throne said, “Look! I am making everything new!” Then he said, “Write this down, because these words are trustworthy and true.” 6Then he said to me: “It is finished! I am the Alpha and Omega, the Beginning and the End. To the one who thirsts I will give from the spring of the water of life for free. 7The one who is victorious will acquire these things. I will be his God and he will be my son. 8But, the cowardly, unfaithful, abominable, murderers, fornicators, sorcerers, idolaters, and liars will burn in the lake of fire and sulfur. This is the second death.” (Rev 21:1-8) 1

The New Heaven and New Earth of Revelation 21.1 to 21.8

C. General Remarks about Rev 21:1-8

Like most of the book of Revelation, this passage is a little controversial and difficult to interpret for two reasons:

  • First, the rest of the Bible does not say a lot about the new heaven, earth, and Jerusalem.
  • Second, when the rest of the Bible (both OT and NT) mentions the new heaven, earth, and Jerusalem it appears to describe this future state in the same time period as the Millennium.

Meaning, when OT prophets or NT writers described the end time they seemed to describe all of the events happening together. Instead of a sequential or chronological way. Examples are Isa 61:1-2; 65:17; 66:22; Dan 12:2; Luke 4:17-19; 2 Peter 3:10-13. However, the book of Revelation provides a clear description of events that happen in a sequential and mostly chronological way.

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A. The New Heaven and New Earth (v. 1)

Καὶ εἶδον οὐρανὸν καινὸν καὶ γῆν καινήν. ὁ γὰρ πρῶτος οὐρανὸς καὶ ἡ πρώτη γῆ ἀπῆλθαν καὶ ἡ θάλασσα οὐκ ἔστιν ἔτι.

Then I saw a new heaven and a new earth. For the first heaven and the first earth were gone and the sea was also gone. (Rev 21:1) 2

1. New or New?

The Greek word used here for “new” is the adjective, καινος, which describes something that is recent in contrast to something old. Often it is translated as new. According to one lexicon it describes new “in the sense that what is old has become obsolete, and should be replaced by what is new. In such a case the new is, as a rule, superior in kind to the old” (BDAG, 497). Walvoord describes the word meaning both “new in character and in the sense of recently made” (Walvoord, Revelation, 329). Metzger says it is a “new kind of heaven and earth” (Metzger, Breaking the Code, 98).

2. No Sea Continue Reading…


  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek text.
  2. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek text.


A. Review of Past Lessons

B. Text of Rev 20:11-15

11Then I saw a great white throne with someone sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence. No place was found for the earth and sky. 12Then I saw the dead—the great and the small—they were standing before the throne. The books were opened, then another book was opened which is the Book of Life. The dead were judged from what had been written in the books according to their deeds. 13The sea gave up the dead that were in it. Death and Hades also gave up the dead that were in them. Every person was judged according to his deeds. 14Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire—this is the second death—which is the lake of fire. 15If someone’s name is not found written in the Book of Life, he is thrown into the lake of fire. (Rev 20:11-15) 1

The Great White Throne Judgment in Rev 20.11 to 20.15

Photo Credit: “The Last Judgment” (Stefan Lochner, 1400-1451)

C. General Remarks about Rev 20:11-15

“The account in these few verses, in spite of their brevity, is one of the most impressive descriptions of the Last Judgment ever written.” Metzger, Breaking the Code, 97

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Καὶ εἶδον θρόνον μέγαν λευκὸν καὶ τὸν καθήμενον ἐπʼ αὐτόν, οὗ ἀπὸ °τοῦ προσώπου ἔφυγεν ἡ γῆ καὶ ὁ οὐρανὸς καὶ τόπος οὐχ εὑρέθη αὐτοῖς.

Then I saw a great white throne with someone sitting on it. The earth and sky fled from his presence. No place was found for the earth and sky. (Rev 20:11) 2

A. Who Sits on the Throne

The one sitting on the throne is the Father and probably also Jesus. In the New Testament the Father is described as providing the last judgment (Matt 6:4; 10:32-33; 18:35; Mark 8:38; Rom 14:10; also see Dan 7:9, 10, 22), but Jesus has been given authority to judge (Matt 7:22-23; 25:31-46; John 5:22, 30; 2 Cor 5:10). Continue Reading…


  1. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek text
  2. Unless otherwise noted, all translations are my own based on the NA28 Greek text