Peter Oakes on Galatians 1-2

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“Just as there is a temptation for Christianity to retreat into a message that can be justified on the basis of purely human argument, there is also a temptation for Christianity to retreat into being a system of ideas, rather than being based on a revealing of Jesus…For Paul, Jesus was not primarily someone whose teaching was a source of ideas…Jesus, as risen Lord, also had a continued existence, and thus the church’s existence was in Christ, a part of Christ’s life. The early house-church members were not primarily called by Paul to a set of beliefs and ideas. They were called to participation in Christ.”  — Peter Oakes, “Galatians,” p 62 (italics added.)

Exploring the Gospel of John: Part 3

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This is a series on exploring the book of John for rookies and experts alike! Start here and read more here if you want to follow along.


The author of the gospel of John begins by telling the reader who Jesus is from the outset, similar to the way a musical overture functions.[1] In a dramatic and sweeping pronouncement, John 1:1 declares that the (Greek) Logos, or the Word, was eternal, was with God, and was God himself. He likens the Logos to light, life, and the One and Only Son of God (John 1:4, 14, NIV). John then goes on to illustrate the assertions of the prologue by showing Jesus in a series of stories of personal encounters between himself and individuals (or groups.) As the reader reads through the progression of encounters, a picture of Jesus beings to emerge.

Continue reading “Exploring the Gospel of John: Part 3”

Exploring the Gospel of John: Part 2

gospel of john_ part 2

This is a series on exploring the book of John for rookies and experts alike! Start here, if you want to follow along.


Personally, I have always been drawn to the gospel of John as a favorite account. The interaction between Jesus and the Samaritan woman of chapter 4 has long been a story from scripture that has encouraged me, especially when Jesus describes himself as the well of life-giving water. The fourth gospel has a way with words that draws a dramatic and compelling picture—imagery of light and dark, good and evil, the kingdom of heaven and the world below. This kind of epic story telling is hard to resist!

Continue reading “Exploring the Gospel of John: Part 2”

LaCugna on the doctrine of the Trinity

quote _header image-1“The doctrine of the Trinity is ultimately therefore a teaching not about the abstract nature of God, nor about God in isolation from everything other than God, but a teaching about God’s life with us and our life with each other.

Trinitarian theology could be described as par excellence a theology of relationship, which explores the mysteries of love, relationship, personhood and communion within the framework of God’s self-revelation in the person of Christ and the activity of the Spirit.”  –Catherine Mowry LaCugna, “God For Us: The Trinity & Christian Life.”

everyday theology: trust in Galatians 3

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‘everyday theology’ posts are bite-sized ideas to chew on from scripture, from other works of theology, and from life. feel free to share wherever you hang out on the internet!


Paul’s contrast of the Spirit and flesh in Galatians is strong (and not without some dramatic language!) He uses the Greek word “pistis” (meaning: trust) in this context in chapter 3—challenging the Galatians on the issue of whether they would put their trust in the message of the gospel that they first believed (as Abraham did), or whether they would put their trust in the “works of the flesh” (likely, circumcision as an outward sign.)

To be “sons of Abraham” (3:6-9) means that our righteousness before God comes by way of our trusting in God. It is by faith (belief and trust working together) that we are made right before God and are able to live by the power of the Holy Spirit. Faith is the living out of belief, as we see exemplified in Abraham’s life. He trusted God.

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Exploring the Gospel of John: Part 1

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Doesn’t this time of year just make you want to learn something new?

It’s officially autumn (or, fawl, as we Southerners say) and for anyone enrolled in school–that means new classes! There’s a chill in the air so it’s finally appropriate to dig out that old college sweatshirt and wear it with your favorite pair of perfectly-broken-in jeans. While we’re at it, go ahead and fill up your travel mug with some fresh coffee and let’s hit the books, okay? If you’re hungry to learn, grab your Bible, a notebook, and something to write with and let’s get started.

Continue reading “Exploring the Gospel of John: Part 1”

SHARED: Matthew L. Anderson on Carvaggio

Carvaggio, *The Calling of St. Matthew*

“For perhaps obvious reasons, I love this painting by Carvaggio immensely–and spent a solid hour looking at it and the companion pieces when in Rome this past month. The standard interpretation is that Matthew is the bearded gentleman on the left, with the hand pointing at himself. But I persist in thinking Matthew is the young man slumped over his coins that he is reluctant to give up, and that the finger points at him.”

Matthew Lee Anderson, “The Path Before Us”

For more thought-provoking commentary on theology, ethics, and society, follow him here on the Twitters and consider subscribing to Matt’s weekly newsletter. You can do so for $3, or apply for one of the discounted rates. It’s some of the best quality writing on the intersection of these topics that I’ve come across…well worth the scrilla.

on being lead into truth

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I grew up in a home that genuinely modeled the truth of God to me.

Every morning, as we ate our cheerios, we read the scriptures together. We talked about God as if he were real, living in our home just down the hall. I came into self-awareness and my own need for redemption at a young age and was baptized in a creek, down in an actual holler. The community that surrounded me was light on doctrine but thick with love. We stood on the creek bank and sang a Petra song, and in that precious moment, a seed was planted within me.

Years later, at important intervals of crisis, the steady presence of the Holy Spirit would find me, like a thick cloud of humidity that I couldn’t escape. God was with me, even in my fear and my running. He would not let me go, even when I wanted to be lost.

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