Often discussion questions are aimed at the timid reader. The
questions below aren't.
These materials were developed for a small group known to its
members as the "The
Holy Huddle". Here's the history
behind this effort. Feel free to contact me with any
Collins, Rochester, New York
ON SERMONS, LECTURES & EXCERPTS
THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
Copyright reserved by Tim Collins. Documents I have authored which
are linked to on this page may be freely distributed, so long
as this authorship and copyright notice is attached.
set of studies aims to develop a better understanding of what Jesus was
like, with the goal of knowing Jesus better and growing closer to him.
Here is a little introductory presentation. and a discussion question on the Jesus of the Servant Songs in Isaiah
Two passages in which Jesus interacts with Gentiles
Jesus and his family
Jesus calls his disciples (slides due to pandemic shelter-in-place order)
Jesus walks on water (slides)
Jesus heals the paralytic lowered through the ceiling; uses a clip from the series The Chosen, episode 6, 43:07-55:30
DEVOTIONS FOR HOLY WEEK
Brief devotions for Monday through Thursday: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Maundy Thursday
Here is a little introductory presentation. Commentaries I found particularly useful were the two (big and little) by Gordon Fee, and the one by Lynn Cohick, who also has some very nice brief videos on Philippians. Also rare and very useful are these devotional lectures on Philippians by Gordon Fee: lecture one, lecture two, lecture three, from the 2005 National Vineyard Conference in Columbus Ohio. (Other Fee resources can be found here.)
1: Philippians 1:1-11: Introduction to Philippians
Week 2: Philippians 1:12-30: To live Christ, to die, gain; and some introductory slides
Week 3: Philippians 1:27-2:11: The mind of Christ; and A chart of anxieties and their solutions in ancient Rome, the modern West and the gospel
Week 4: Philippians 2:1-14: Kenosis
PART II (with a set of refresher introductory slides)
Week 5: Philippians 2:14-30: Shine among them like stars; makes reference to a clip from this lecture by Lynn Cohick
Week 6: Philippians 3:1-14: The power of his resurrection
Week 7: Philippians 3:12-4:4: Christian maturity
Week 8: Philippians 4:4-9: Worrying, and the peace that passes understanding; makes reference to the excellent Bible Project video on shalom
Week 9: Philippians 4:2-9 again: The theme of joy; whatever is true, honorable, etc.
Week 10: Philippians 4:10-23: Imitation and discipleship; in context: "I can do all things"; "My God will meet all your needs"
Week 11: The secret of contentment presentation, using audio clips from Clive Calver (source here), Dennis McCallum (source here) and Drumomo Gary (source here)
AND THE CHRISTIAN LIFE
1: Chapter six, "The Sovereignty of God", from Tim Keller's Walking
with God through Pain and Suffering (chapters
6-8 of Keller are here); includes a chart surveying of voices
from Scripture on suffering
Chapter seven, "The Suffering of God", from Keller's book--how
God suffers for and with us
Chapter 7 continued, and Keller,
chapter 14, "Praying"; D = S - M; chart of
the Principles of Prayer
Prayer, continued; how we hear from God (using an excerpt from
Dennis McCallum's "The
Thorn in the Flesh", 15:00-20:00); also discussion of the
God Saved Me in My Pain" by Aubrey Sampson, which focuses on
Lamentations, hesed, etc.
Sampson, continued, and excerpt from Peter Enns'
The Sin of Certainty (pp. 156-159; 166-170): God
wants your trust, not your certainty; doubts, far from being a
shameful disaster, may be God's way of teaching greater depth of
James 1:9-27: Trials and
temptations; listening and doing (Andy)
James 2:1-13: True religion
Faith and works; Christian speech
James 3:13-4:10: How to live
by heavenly, not worldly wisdom
James 4:4-5: Friendship with the
world vs. romance with God
based on Tim Keller's PG-13 sermon "Courage"
THE SIGNS OF JESUS IN JOHN
Wedding at Cana: 2:1-11
the Official's Son: 4:43-54
the Pool of Bethesda: 5:1-29
the Multitude: 6:1-15, 22-36
the Man Born Blind: Chapter 9
The following are resources and notes from an inductive-study series in
NRSV, without verse numbers or paragraphs
NIV, without verse numbers but with paragraphs
Introduction to the Inductive
Study method; leader's
introduction, motivating the method
Here is a log of
our observations and questions from each section.
For background on Ephesians try Dr.
For more information on exegesis and inductive study, see
the section below.
Here are section pdfs on graph paper with wide margins, for use in noting
inductive-study observations, questions, etc.:
Ephesians 1:1-14, Ephesians
1:15-2:10, Ephesians 2:11-3:13
Discussion questions (smaller than the usual number because they are meant
to be paired with inductive study):
Ephesians 1: Blessings of the new
Ephesians 2:11-22: the new
Ephesians 3: power, mysterion,
rulers and authorities
Ephesians 4:1-16: prophecy and the
four-fold ministry; maturity in Christ
Ephesians 4:17-32: Putting
Ephesians 5:1-20: ...and
so how do we live?
5:21-6:9: Wives and husbands
Some useful resources for the study of Amos: Dictionary of the OT: Prophets; Introduction
to the Hebrew Bible.
Here is commentary on the text: IVP
Bible Background Commentary; IVP New Bible Commentary.
Here also is an excellent sermon by Tim Keller on Amos, "Healer
of the World".
Here is background on Amos,
as well as questions on part I: 1:1-3:2
(does God intervene with modern pagan nations?)
Amos 3:4-end of 6: Cows of
Bashan--Christians and riches (courtesy Andy Elliot)
The Sovereignty of God: His Wrath and His Mercy (courtesy Janet Coughlin)
information on Romans. Also useful, the Romans
syllabus from the class taught by Prof. Robert Hann at CRCDS
Romans chapter 1: parallels with
creation; God's wrath and the surprising result
Romans chapters 2-3: Jewish boundary
Romans chapter 4: Abraham's trust was reckoned to him as
righteousness (questions by Andy Elliot)
Romans chapter 5:1-11: the benefits of
grace. Refers to Jim Van Tholen's sermon on this passage, Where All Hope Lies, uses an
excerpt from Walter Wangerin's Paul,
clip from Tim Keller's sermon on this passage, "Joy"
Romans 5:12-6:23: Adam and
Jesus; Slaves to sin and slaves to righteousness; our identity in Christ
as the engine of sanctification
Romans chapter 7: The grace mindset v.
the law mindset
Two excellent sermons on Romans 7: "Law
School" by Dennis McCallum and "Splitness"
by Tim Keller. This article talks about why this passage describes post-conversion experience.
Romans 8, part 1 (vv. 1-17): The
Spirit. Uses clips from Dennis McCallum's Walking
According to the Spirit (Part 3) and Tim Keller's Mortification
Romans 8, part 2 (vv. 18-39),
courtesy Andy Elliot
Saul's Damascus-road experience and its
influence on the theology of Romans. Also, enjoy this vivid
teaching by Sue Collins on the DRE.
Romans 9:1-10:4: What do we make
of Jewish rejection of the Messiah? Uses a four-minute
clip from Doug Stuart on "love" and "hate" in the OT. See also this
helpful page on Romans 9 by the Society of Evangelical Arminians.
Romans 12: Living sacrifices
Romans 13: Church and state (if a
fellow believer steals from you, do you prosecute?)
Romans 14:1-15:13: Catering to the
"weaker" brother or sister in the Lord for the sake of conscience (and
here is a handout with a
repeated discussion question which delved into a little more detail
on matters of conscience, adiaphora)
Romans 16: Evidence of
diversity from Paul's greetings, and discussion of the "homogeneous
unit principle" (from a Lausanne conference)
Here is a presentation
on small groups.
Introduction to the
Psalms (including questions on Pss
2 and 35); and a shorter "participant's
version" without the lengthy leader's notes. The psalm settings in
this section were selected by the incomparable Juli Elliot.
This has reference
to three brief (~2 min.) audio clips, one
by Lee Campbell from his very
fine introductory lecture on the Psalms and two from a 2015 talk by
Ajith Fernando on remaining fresh in ministry: part
1 and part 2.
(His lecture is here
and on youtube.)
are two useful articles on hesed:
traditional view of homosexuality, the Bible and Christian life:
does the Bible say about homosexuality?
- An excellent and pastorally
sensitive introduction to this topic was done by David Whiting of Northridge Church in
objections with grace and truth
on the series)
arguments in favor of a the non-traditional (revisionist) viewpoint:
do I live as a Christian if I experience same-sex attraction?
- A book
review from the Calvin
Theological Journal of Brownson's book Bible Gender, Sexuality, which attempts (but fails) to put the
revisionist position on biblical footing. This scholarly
article refutes Brownson's false ideas about homosexuality in
Keller's review of God and the Gay Christian by Matthew Vines, another popular
revisionist book which too fails to establish a credible biblical case
for embracing homosexual practice.
- D. A. Carson's thoughtful
examination (see pp. 383-8) of how we decide what matters should
be left to the individual to decide
- A useful blog
post by Trevin Wax on whether homosexuality falls into the
"agree to disagree" category
topic deeply impacts the hearts and lives of many of us so levity
on the topic is dangerous, but perhaps can be helpful when done
Background on 2 Corinthians. This is a powerpoint
presentation. Even if you don't have Microsoft Office, you can view it
with this free
Powerpoint Viewer from Microsoft.
Questions on 1:1-11:
comfort and affliction--even beyond what we can bear--in kingdom work;
Paul's itinerary kerfuffle; includes a note on the various 2 Corinthians
commentaries I used.
Questions on 1:12-2:17:
Travelgate; Missing in Troas; an unlikely Triumph
Questions on 2:18-4:6: GLORY; letters
Questions on 4:7-5:10: Jars of clay;
POWER in Paul's letters (handout);
when we suffer at the hands of the church rather than the world
Questions on 5:1-6:10: Walking by
faith; new creations in Christ
Questions on 6-7: Metanoia
and metamelomai; remaining pure
while living in the world
Questions on 8-9: The collection for
the saints in Judea; how to motivate people; includes a question on this
clip from a teaching
by Dennis McCallum
Questions on 10: Taking every thought
captive and demolishing strongholds--using this
excerpt from Don Carson's A Model
for Christian Maturity
Questions on 11: divine
jealousy and foolishness for God
Questions on 12: Paul's thorn in
the flesh and his vision of the third heaven
Questions on Paul
in Corinthians as a model for leadership; also questions on
Spurgeon's sermon, "Earnestness:
It's Marring and Maintenance"
Background on Job
Questions on the prologue and Job's first
lament, including a question on "Sitting
Shiva" from Miriam's
Kitchen by Elizabeth Ehrlich
Questions about Job's
Questions on Job's
speeches (including excerpt from Elie Wiesel's The
Trial of God)
Questions on Elihu's speeches
questions on "Broken"
by Henri Nouwen, from his Life of the
Beloved, Spiritual Living in a Secular World
on God's response to Job
(including a question on "Andi's
story" from Tim Keller's Walking
with God Through Pain and Suffering)
New Testament views on
suffering, including a question on
Tim Keller's description of Elisabeth Elliot's novel, No
GORDON FEE'S PAUL,
THE SPIRIT AND THE PEOPLE OF GOD, WITH ANA FLUIT
1 and Overture: The Spirit in
Chapter 2: The Spirit as the renewed presence
Chapter 3: The Spirit as Person (Ana)
Chapter 4: The Spirit and the Trinity
Chapter 5: The Spirit as evidence of the
"presence of the future" (Ana)
Chapter 6: The Spirit and the people of
Chapter 8: Conversion: The Spirit at the entry
Chapter 10: The fruit of the Spirit
Chapter 11: The Spirit against the flesh
Chapter 12: The Spirit, present
weakness, and prayer (Ana)
Chapter 13: The Spirit and worship
Chapter 14: The Spirit and the charismata
Chapter 15, part 1: The Spirit for today and
Chapter 15, part 2: The
Spirit for today and tomorrow, part 2
is a little background
1-2:4: Jesus is superior to the angels; pioneer of our faith;
drifting from our anchor
Chapters 2:5-3:15: Freed
from fear of death; identifying with others; "today if you hear his
voice, do not harden your hearts", etc.
Chapter 4:1-5:10: The
promised rest; our great high priest
Chapter 5-7: Meat, not
milk; laying the foundations; falling away; Melchizedek and the new
Melchizedek; The New Covenant; Earthly and Heavenly Sanctuaries
sacrifice one and for all; a call to persevere
hall of faith (discussion questions by Jim Smith)
Chapter 121-13: Suffering;
uses a reading from Tim Keller's Walking
With God Through Pain and Suffering, pp. 80-84: Kendra's
Chapter 12:14-13:25: Final
exhortations; uses a
passage from Don Carson's How Long, O
Here is a chapter from Walsh
& Keesmaat, Colossians Remixed, which does a great
job drawing the context of Colossians.
Chapter 1:1-14: Setting the stage
Paul's Christology hymn; old and new creation
Chapter 1:21+: The false
Chapter 2: Empty asceticism and our
Chapter 3:1-17: Five to kill, five
to put away, five to put on
Counterpoint and Harmony", by Gilbert Meilaender, on ways to
understand headship in Col 3 and Eph 5
Chapter 3, part 2:
Pornography and thought adultery; headship in marriage; also discusses
the essay The Sermon and
the Lunch by C. S. Lewis, on Christians and home life
THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO LUKE
on Luke (handout)
Chapters 1-2: The
infancies of Jesus and John
Chapters 3-4: JtB; the
temptations in the desert; Jesus' inaugural sermon
Chapters 5-8: Jesus'
Galilean ministry: healing the leper; Sabbath disputes; healing
the centurion's slave; signs of the Jubilee
Chapters 9-10: End of the
Galilean ministry; Start of the long journey south
Chapter 12: The yeast of the
Pharisees; the fire is kindled
Chapter 13-14: Theodicy;
the Narrow Door
Chapter 14; 17: The cost of
discipleship; stumbling blocks; lepers and mustard seeds
Chapters 18-19: Blessing
the little children; the Rich Young Ruler; healing the blind man;
WALKING IN THE DUST OF RABBI JESUS,
BY LOIS TVERBERG
3: Shema: Loving
God with Your Whole Heart
Chapter 4: Meeting
Myserlf Next Door [The Golden Rule]
Chapter 5: Gaining
a Good Eye [Generosity and the evil eye]
Chapter 6: The
Mystery of the Name [The name of God, etc., incl. writing
Chapter 7: How
to Have a Kosher Mouth [gossip!]
Chapter 8: Taking
My Thumb Off the Scales [judging others]
Chapter 10: Thinking
with Both Hands [weighing the laws]
SERMON ON THE MOUNT
are Parts One and Two
of a lecture on the Sermon.
Here is a presentation on the antitheses regarding adultery and divorce. (pdf version)
following are discussion questions on the Sermon:
Beatitudes, part 1: Intro and makarios (Mt 5:1-11)
Beatitudes, part 2: Poverty, meekness, spiritual hunger, salt (Mt 5:1-11)
3. The Beatitudes
completed; salt & light; Jesus and the Law (Mt 5:3-20)
4. The Antitheses,
part 1: murder and anger (Mt 5:21-48)
Antitheses, part 2: lust, adultery and divorce (Mt 5:21-48)
Antitheses, part 3: Paul and the SOTM; oaths; the lex talionis (Mt 5:21-48)
Antitheses, part 4: pacifism, nonviolence, non-resistance (Mt 5:21-48)
Lord's Prayer; practicing piety (Mt 6:1-18)
money, judging others (Mt 6:19-34)
others, continued (Mt 7:1-6)
Seek, Knock; the narrow gate (Mt 7:7-14)
and Doers (Mt 7:15-27)
is a handout on the Lord's
a sermon by Stanley Hauerwas on the Sermon from a community-based,
GLOBAL WARMING AND CLIMATE CHANGE
is a talk given at RCRC in Dec 2019 as part of a series taught by Anthony Selvaggio (pastor of RCRC) on Christian creation care, using Creation Care by Moo and Moo
MONEY, POVERTY AND THE
are excerpts and
discussion questions from Bonhoeffer's Cost
of Discipleship, with an
the very relevant questions
110 and 111 of the Heidelberg Catechism, with commentary. (Thanks,
is a sermon by John Welsey, "On
the Use of Money", excerpted from Ben Witherington III's Jesus and Money. Oh, and discussion questions.
by Klyne Snodgrass is a useful recourse, as it lists all the major
gospel passages related to money.
Here's a paper by Craig Blomberg: "On
Wealth and Worry: Matthew 6:19-34--Meaning and Significance".
the economic status of the
disciples and the early church?
is a relevant
sermon by Bob Hann on the occasion of the Feast of Epiphany.
Practical guidelines from
Sider (pp. 191-4) on living simply.
Mary's to-do list for Rich
book review from Christian Century, of Schneider's book, among
others. Like all good book reviews, it contains some worthwhile thinking
of its own. Here is an
interesting article on the related topic of how churches get their
members to give monetarily.
are pages 187-190 of Sider,
where he discusses the graduated tithe. (Arbutus
Sider? "Arbutus is a genus of at least 14 species of flowering plants in
the family Ericaceae, native to warm temperate regions of the
Mediterranean, western Europe, and North America" -wikipedia.)
is a paper by John Schneider
which explores in less space the themes in his book, The
Good of Affluence.
those who missed it, here are Andy's
questions from the Nov 18, 2011 HH meeting.
are the first two chapters of Ron
Sider's book. Here's the third.
Here is the fifth chapter of John
R. Schneider's The Good of Affluence,
and discussion questions
by Andy and me on that chapter.
is chapter 5 of Sider.
AND 2 PETER: CHRISTIAN LIFE IN ANCIENT ROME
is a lecture on the Roman cultural
and physical setting of the first-century church.
This is an introductory chapter from Philip Payne's Man
and Woman: One in Christ (Zondervan), which talks about the
cultural attitudes toward women. Starting on p. 35 is an
interesting section on Gamaliel, Paul's teacher.
Here is some background material
on 1 Peter.
And here is a chapter from Timothy Tennent's Theology
in the Context of World Christianity, on the subject of honor & shame in
first-century culture and the Bible. Here are two other excepts on
honor and shame: one on particularly
focusing on 1 Peter, and one
1 Peter contains a household code
which prescribes relationships between husbands, wives, slaves,
masters, old and young. Here is a handout
Aristotle's, Peter's and Paul's household codes. Here is an article
about the household code in Ephesians, which has some good
background on the topic.
And here is a really interesting
article by Miroslav Volf on 1
Peter's paradigm for cultural engagement.
is a nifty little article by Calvin Stapert on Bach's
St. John Passion and Christus
Victor atonement theology.
good blog entries: honor
shame in Paul; Jesus'
into hell... or the dead.
Here, then, are the eight studies in 1 Peter:
introduction to 1 Peter
introduction to honor & shame in 1 Peter
and other topics
of the OT, spirits in prison, etc.
into the household code; "be serious and disciplined"
the social code
Christus Victor; preaching to the dead again; spiritual warfare
with the world; the Suffering Servant; timelines of redemption
Background on second Peter.
Questions on 2 Peter, part
1 (on 1:1-15). And part
2 (on 1:16-2:10a). Unfortunately, these questions don't
address all of 2 Peter, just through 2:10.
In 1 Peter 1 there is a "ladder of virtues" which, in hellenized
language, gives a nutshell of the Christian ethical standard. A good
point of comparison is Aristotle's Nicomachean Ethics. Books II-IV
virtues. To those virtues we'd want to add Justice (discussed in
book V), and the "virtues of
thought" (aka "intellectual virtues") discussed in Book VI:
practical wisdom (aka Prudence), intelligence (insight into 1st
principles), scientific understanding, and wisdom. (Thanks to my friend
Tim O'Keefe for this great background material!)
Here's a devotional from D. A.
Carson on 2 Peter 2:1-3.
lack of a better place, here is an
article by Craig Keener on demon possession now and then.
is the lecture I
gave on science and faith at the LLE on 4/11/2014 to a secular
audience as part of the Science and Technology seminar series. It
draws upon ideas from Ian Hutchinson and T. F. Torrance.
is a lecture on my
experience of the interation of science & faith, given at
Trinity Reformed Church, 4/18/2010, as part of their Christians
at Work series. I also made up some
questions based on the talk.
The talk is better if you watch, when indicated, some video clips:
segment of the show Big Bang Theory on
the topic of string theory,
the movie Angels and Demons,
movie of my simulation of a shock wave propagating
through a clumpy medium, and the acceleration
phase and deceleration phase of a
NIF-scale ICF implosion.
other resources related to various aspects of science & faith:
EXCELLENT SERMONS AND LECTURES
Here is an
lecture by D. A. Carson on elders, from the 9
Marks web site. And while we're on Carson, here are two interviews
of him by Mark Dever (same source): An enjoyable
of his many books, and his observations
Deacon For?", a sermon on Eph 4:1-16; 1/9/2000.
Helmut Thielicke's Encounter with
Spurgeon: advice all pastors should read at least once a year!
N. T. Wright's "The
Who Raises the Dead", from his book Following
Jesus (Eerdmans, 1994).
Here is a sermon by C. K. Barrett on
Hosea which I found insightful, originally posted
by Ben Witherington.
Here is a brief article
I wrote on two very substantive articles from Books & Culture
talking about surveys which show evangelicals looking very much like
their surrounding culture. The B&C articles, by Sider and
Stackhouse, can be found here: Jan/Feb 2005; Jul/Aug 2007.
BROWN TAYLOR'S THE PREACHING LIFE
Here are discussion
questions on Barbara Brown Taylor's The Preaching Life:
Chapters which describe her history and philosophy: "A
in Ruins" (1), "Call"
(6), "Preaching" (7),
and her sermons:
Love" (the Good Samaritan),
"The Fourth Watch" (Mark
6:45-52--Jesus walks on water),
"I Am Who I Am" (John
"The Tenth Leper" (Luke
"The Opposite of Rich"
(on the rich young ruler),
"The One To Watch" (and
great article on the Widow's Mite),
"Knowing Glances" (on the Sheep
and the Goats),
"The Voice of the
Shepherd" (on John 10 and the parable of the Good Shepherd),
"The Lost and
Found Department" (on the parables of the lost sheep and coin)
Here is a presentation
an overview of Isaiah, and questions
Here are questions
chapters 2-5, plus a handout with some suggestions for how
Here are questions
chapters 6-12, and a handout on the
the NT reads the OT.
Here are questions
chapters 24-27. (Chs. 13-23 left as an "exercise for the reader".)
Here are questions
chs. 28-35 (in two parts).
Here are questions
Here are two sermons on Isaiah 43:
God of Newness" by John N. Oswalt
Sake, For My Sake" by Cornelius Plantinga
Here are questions
Here is a
nice teaching on the servant songs by Xenos Christian Fellowship
pastor Gary DeLashmutt. And here's an
intriguing essay by pastor Dennis McCallum discussing why the
"suffering servant" and "conquering king" messianic prophecies in the OT
are mixed together in such an opaque way.
Here are questions
chapter 49 and the second Servant Song.
Here are questions on chs. 50-55, and all four Servant Songs: part
Here is abrief handount describing the pre-Christian intepretations
the Suffering Servant.
And finally: questions
AND MEDITATIONS FOR ADVENT AND CHRISTMAS
You may be surprised by how many excellent
writers have adopted.
Here is a great Christianity Today
article by Walter Wangerin called A Stranger in Joseph's House.
Here is a must-read by Miroslav Volf called She Who Truly Loves, and
another, The Gift of Infertility.
Gilbert Meilaender, renowned ethicist, wrote six open letters in Christian Century to his adoped
son, as his son was leaving for college:
Gifts and Achievements, Living into Commitments, Moment-ousness, Silence, Being Adopted and Adoptees One and All. Check
out especially Living...
RESOURCES FOR EXEGESIS
Here is a
training presentation for new small-group leaders. Also, Xenos
has a great guide
for leading group discussion, which is a staple of their
home-church structure. Oh, actually, it appears they removed it--that's
a real loss.
Here is a handy list of common
errors (with examples!) from Douglas Stuart's book Old
Testament Exegesis (Westminster John Knox, 2001).
And here is a great,
guide to biblical hermeneutics with some excellent examples, by
Ben Witherington (from his blog).
find useful this outline of Fee's short
to sermon exegesis (and as a Word
is more on hermeneutics: an essay by Michael Green on an
evangelical understanding of the various forms of NT criticism. It
may be slightly out of date, but provides an excellent balance.
for a place to start when studying a passage? Here are some questions to
use in inductive
study, grouped by literature type.
OUR ELECTION IN TERMS OF JESUS'
Here is a fascinating and
enjoyable article by Bob Hann (Prof. CRCDS
and retired Presyterian minister), called "Election,
humanity of Jesus, and possible worlds." (This link points to the
revised version--the one to read for the May 23rd 2008 small-group
meeting.) It's one of the most thought-provoking discussions of
predestination you will read. (Journal
of the Evan. Theol. Soc. 29,
295, 1986.) Here's a lucid, contrasting discussion
election by Ben Witherington.
ADVERSARIES AND BIBLICAL PRIORITIES
Here is an article by Craig
Blomberg which I found interesting: "The
Testament Definition of Heresy (Or When do Jesus and the Apostles
Really Get Mad?)" (Journal of
the Evan. Theol. Soc. 45,
A useful article from Christianity
Favorite Heresies Revisited by Researchers".
Here are discussion
on the article, as well as a
chart of NT heresies and adversaries, which may save you from some
of the drier parts of the article.
Gnosticism was the first major heresy which the early church was forced
to resist and refute. A central tenet of it was docetism: the belief
that Jesus only seemed human,
but was really not tainted by the flesh. Modern bible-believing
Christians often find it challenging to know how much humanity to allow
Here's thought-provoking and brief article on Jesus' humanity and the
inspiration of scritpture: "The
of Infallibility", Word and World,
26, 355 (2006).
presentation giving an introduction to the parables of Jesus. Good
background if you want a refresher.
Jesus' parables, and discussion
questions comparing the theology of Jesus' parables to that in
of parables rewritten in an academic context by Deb and
Loren Haarsma. Very funny!
T. F. Torrance giving a Reformed theology of the role of parables
in epistemology (18 Mb). Really fun, actually! And discussion
on the article.
the short story Hunters in the Snow by Tobias
Wolff, and discussion
questions on the story by Susan M. Gilbert-Collins.
Mt 20:1-16, the parable of the landowner, by Barbara Brown
questions on right- and left-handed power based on Robert Capon's
Parables of the Kingdom.
PARABLES OF JUDGMENT
related to the parables of judgment, found in Mt 24-25 and
parables of Lazarus
Dives, and the Unmerciful Servant; makes reference to a
brief sermon by Dietrich Bonhoeffer on the unmerciful servant (Mt
to Ed Hull for sharing this gem).
the Murderous Tenants. Here are lecture
slides on the Wicked Tenants. I believe they make the case that
the cleansing of the Temple is about much more than corrupt money
parable of the Unjust
Steward. Here is a thought-provoking sermon on the parable of the unjust steward
(Lk 16:1-9): Thomas
Long, "Making Friends", Journal for
The parables of the Great
and the Wedding Feast.
The "parable" of the
and the Goats.
the Talents and the Minas, as well as a handout
various meanings ascribed to the Talents through the ages.
the Thief in the Night, the Faithful and Unfaithful Stewards, and the
Here is a handout on the
Discourse, which is the context for these parables.
PARABLES OF GRACE
are resources related to the parables of grace primarily found in Luke:
the Good Samaritan
the Friend at Midnight
the Widow and the Unjust Judge; and the Pharisee and the Tax Collector
here is a handout on Pharisees]
of the Lost Sheep, Coin and (prodigal) Son
PARABLES OF THE KINGDOM
some resources related to our study of the parables of the kingdom (in
Mt 13 and Mk 4):
brief and readable history of the study of parables by a Bethel
Seminary prof., in the Luther Seminary journal Word
the mustard seed and the leaven and the growing seed
the pearl and the hidden treasure
is a five-week series on 1 Jn: one,
on the Gospel of John: The
version with discussion questions, and the
full version with gory detail.
Here is an
handout on Gregory of Nazianzus' quote, "that which was not
assumed was not healed".
is a handout on the
relationship with the World in the gospel of John and 1 John.
is a handout on what
Didache has to say about prophets.
RACE, START TO FINISH: 1 THESSALONIANS AND 2 TIMOTHY
am aware of the arguments against Pauline authorship for 2 Tim.
(a) Even if this is written by a disciple of Paul, it still speaks
about what does and doesn't change from the inception of the written
record of Paul's ministry to its end; (b) I am largely persuaded by
Oden's argument in favor of Pauline authorship.]
A reading by Raymond Brown
on the strengths and weakenesses of the strategy Paul chose in the
pastoral letters (1 Tim, 2 Tim, Titus) for the survival of the
second-generation Aegean Church in the face of heresy from within.
Discussion questions on 2 Tim: one,
version"; week three also discusses the article "What American
Teenagers Believe", with link below).
Discussion questions on 1 Thessalonians: here
10-12, which includes a description of the wisdom literature's
definition of wisdom.
(And here is a a chart
Kaiser on the symbolism in ch 11).
Here is an
chart from a paper referenced in the New Jerome Commentary which
outlines the structure of the book, which has the fascinating
implication that the book as a whole was not redacted.
five (*), six (*), nine, ten (*),
and twelve, thirteen,
(Asterices refer to versions without leaders' notes.) Plus, a chart
messianic prophecies from Zechariah.
Here is Ben Witherington's very
argument that Lazarus is
actually the beloved disciple.
Chapter one, one part
& ten, ten*,
(Files marked with an asterisk were made by Jenny Douglas.)
(courtesy Barbara Hull).
questions on Gender,
Sexuality and the Trinity by J. B.
questions and background
material on the Trinity.
on Trinitarian passages in the NT, and many examples from Gordon
Fee's most excellent Paul, The
Spirit, and the People of God.
handout on Gregory of Nazianzus' quote, "that which was not
assumed was not healed".
article from Andy Elliot on the
new atheism movement. It's about 4 Mb, and note before you print
it out that there are some pages which are mostly black, which you may
wantnot want to print.
is a useful chart from Xenos.org regarding the Mosaic
and its relevance for modern Christians.
Here is a
copy of the
service from the Book of Common Prayer, with Daily Family
Devotions thrown in as a bonus.
in the "new perspective" on Paul? Want to know what the big noise
is about? Want to distinguish covenantal v. variegated nomism? Sure you
do! Here's a Christianity
article on the topic from Aug 2007, and here is a blog entry by Ben
Witherington (click "show original post"), critiquing it (or go here
and page down to Mar 8).
an excerpt from IVP's The New Bible
Commentary on the
hypothesis--the source criticism of the Pentateuch. This
gives an overview and asks questions a shy conservative reader would
want addressed. For a thorough and readable treatment of the canonical
theory, see Who Wrote the Bible by
Richard E. Friedman.
Lewis Smedes on promises, and discussion
questions on the essay The
Gospel as Prisoner and Liberator of Culture by Andrew
Walls (which can be found in the collection The
Missionary Movement in Christian History). Great article.
is an article, "What
Teenagers Believe", from Books & Culture.
questions on a selection from Dallas Willard's Spirit
of the Disciplines.
questions on the New
As Dead about brain death and associated ethical issues.
questions on the blessings and curses of Deut 28.
questions on Bonhoeffer's sermon, "Learning
to Die", on Revelation 14:6-13.
the distant past: The Rochester Studies
are a set of bible study discussion questions used in a non-denominational
bible study in Rochester, New York. I launched the group in 1994,
which included David and Linda Boris, Andrew and Christi Markiel, Eliza
Stefaniw, Dean Johnson, Jodi Quam-Johnson, Anthony Perez-Miller, Rebecca,
Paula and Marshall Henry, Candice Bacon, George and Sue Fisher, Ed and
Barbara Hull, Laura Toepfer, and others. David Boris co-led the group for
many years, and I benefitted tremendously from working with him.
- Ruth, I Peter, Judges, Parables, Philippians, Revelation, Romans, Habakkuk, Hebrews, Acts of the
are two excerpts on tongues and prophecy from D. A. Carson's Showing
the Spirit: first, on 14:1-5 and
tongues v. prophecy; second, on
tongues itself, such as whether there are two types ("prophetic"
v. "prayer language"). Very helpful.
is a very small, informal survey of
some who speak in tongues, and a few who have had nonzero interaction
with the charismatic community.
are some questions touching on the Holy Spirit in Acts and 1 Corinthians
12-14: Part 1 (baptism in the Holy Spirit, the history of
the gifts, glossolalia), Part
2 (prophecy, being filled with
the Holy Spirit, the charismatic tradition, close moments).
is a lecture giving an overview
the Holy Spirit (if such a thing is possible).
Here is a section
from Michael Green's excellent Evangelism
in the Early Church, talking about aspects of the
lives of the early church members and evangelists. It points to the
ways the fruit of the Spirit were visible in those communities.
Here is a
characteristically good article by Raymond Brown: "Diverse
of the Spirit in the New Testament" (Worship,
57 no 3 May 1983, p. 225-23),
which provided the core of the above HS overview.
Here is a nicely
balanced and insightful chapter on the Holy Spirit in Acts from
Michael Green's lay-commentary Thirty
Years That Changed the World.
Here is an
interesting letter by John Wesley in which he mentions the idea of
sudden, complete sanctification. It's in the context of complaining that
old preachers are seldom good. [The
Letters of the Rev. John Wesley, ed. John Telford (London:
Epworth, 1931), vol. 7, p. 222. Referred to in Milard Erickson's Christian Theology, p. 869, fn. 27.]
old letters, here's a brief article from the Gordon-Conwell student
newspaper back in the 70s talking about a
little-known letter from Calvin to Beza in which Calvin says that
sometimes, during prayer, he finds himself speaking in an unknown tongue
[Quent Warford, “Calvin Speaks Unknown Tongue,” The
Paper: Student Paper of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary 1.6 (March 24, 1975): 6]. (See
this blog entry by the
G-C librarian and this
by Ben Witherington.)
understanding of the Holy Spirit involves learning discernment. This
by Dennis McCallum provides some good pointers based on Scripture
This isn't strictly about the Holy Spirit, but here is a
really nice infographic about the one-another passages in Paul.
Here are questions on Romans 6-8,
part 1, along with an
~3-min. audio clip from a
teaching by Dennis McCallum. Also, since we are jumping into the
middle of Romans, here is a
little background on the book. Here are questions
on Romans 6-8, part 2.
Here are questions
on the Spirit in the life of the
believer, as understood from Ephesians. Also, a handout with background
files are in mostly "pdf" format, readable by Adobe Acrobat. If you don't
already have Acrobat, it is free:
Above are some resources developed for
use with a small group (a
subset of whom is pictured here and here)
and in adult Sunday school at Rochester
Christian Reformed Church.
small group, informally known as the Holy Huddle, also has a blog.
Here's the history behind this effort:
There are myriad study guides for any book you might want; to
paraphrase Jn 21:25, I suppose that even the whole world barely
has room for the study guides that have been written. So why write
more? I began writing these discussion questions while leading and later
co-leading (with David Boris) a graduate-level Bible study at the
University of Rochester in New York. I am currently in a small group at
Rochester CRC filled with more smart folks who have a strong penchant for
analysis and deep thought. There seems to be a dearth of discussion
questions which address this desire--hence these materials.
here's Tim Collins' main web site.