Tuesday, August 20, 2019

According to Mark: Depending on Christ

We are a little more than halfway through our study of Mark, but in an important sense, we are nearing the end. That is because, starting in Mark 10, Jesus turns resolutely toward Jerusalem and the destiny that awaits Him there. His credentials have been established for all those who care to see, so now the time has come for Him to complete the great work of providing redemption for mankind.

Friday, August 16, 2019

Breaking the Heart of the Spirit

Today’s question comes from a steadfast friend of Quest Forums who wants to know,

What does it mean to “grieve the Holy Spirit”? And what are the ramifications of it?

Tuesday, August 13, 2019

According to Mark: Progressing in Faith

If you have been following along in our study of the gospel of Mark, then you know about his penchant for unifying themes. The overarching one in every passage is to present Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). Our target text for today, Mark 8:22–9:50, is no exception. Of course, it also has an undercurrent of its own. Mark, inspired by the Holy Spirit, wanted to send a message about the progression of faith. Personally, I find it to be the most impactful lesson of this book, and I hope it will make that same impression on others.

Friday, August 9, 2019

What is the Trinity?

One of the most awe-inspiring and important doctrines in Christianity, as well as one of the most difficult to understand, is the Trinity. In fact, there is a sense in which you could say it is impossible to understand. That might be discouraging to hear at the start of a discussion on the subject,  but acknowledging it ultimately permits us to come to terms with it. We are attempting to discover an intimate aspect of the nature of God. We, with our finite and fallen minds, cannot really expect to tie everything up nice and neatly. Concepts like this must, at the last, be taken at face value. The truth comes from what God has told us, not from what we can figure out on our own. We can still form a partial understanding, though, and it is important to try.

Tuesday, August 6, 2019

According to Mark: Universal Soul Care

For this entry in our study of the second gospel, we will be looking at Mark 7:1–8:21. We saw last time that Jesus calls His followers to look to Him for provision. As Mark moves forward with his narrative, he builds on this by developing the theme that Jesus provides for all people, not just for the Jewish nation of which He was a part.

Friday, August 2, 2019

Morality with God

The article I wrote last week, which you can view here, was a response to an idea sometimes repeated by atheists. They say that Christians are frightening for saying that it is impossible to be moral without believing in God, and I explained that is not the heart of our position. Rather, it is impossible to have the concept of morality without the existence of God. You can do the right thing without believing in Him, and you can do the wrong thing while believing in Him, but “right” and “wrong” make no sense without an objective, eternal standard.

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

According to Mark: Looking for Provision

As you may know, chapter and verse numbers are not an original part of the Bible. It is not as if Mark included them while writing his gospel, which is why we get a bit of an odd start to this week’s entry of our “According to Mark” study. The first half of Mark 6:6 completes the thought of the preceding verses in the chapter, while the second half begins what follows. So today, we are looking at Mark 6:6b–56. At least we are staying inside one chapter this time.

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Morality Apart from God

I’ve noticed a recurring thread in atheistic thought that deserves some attention. Oftentimes, you will hear them express a fear of religious people, and particularly of Christians. It is not a fear that we will do them any harm. What they’re afraid of is the basis of our morality. They find it frightening when we say that it is impossible to be moral without the commandments of God. Christians, they believe, only try to live rightly because we are afraid. If biblical morality is a restraint on what we want to do, and what we would do without it, then that expresses a great darkness within us.


Tuesday, July 23, 2019

According to Mark: Fear, Faith, and Wonder

Welcome back to the Quest Forums “According to Mark” study. As we have seen so far, there is a simple purity to Mark’s gospel. His primary goal is to make it so that we can see Jesus as “the Christ, the Son of God” (Mark 1:1). However, we have also seen that this was not always easy for the people at the time of Jesus’ ministry to recognize, and many were opposed to Him as a result. Those themes continue with our passage for today, Mark 4:35–6:6a.