Category Archives: Bible Bites [Exegesis]

This category includes all posts that are primarily about exegesis (biblical interpretation), except for posts already included in the Church Chat category.

What is “the Rapture”?

(Old Facebook Post – Revised)

Here’s some good exegesis from Phillip Long related to the verb “will be raptured [caught up]” found in 1 Thessalonians 4:17. (The Bible never mentions “The Rapture” in noun form.)


“The purpose of this catching away is to “meet with Lord.” The word translated “to meet” (ἀπάντησις) is often used of a delegation sent from a city to greet a dignitary or king, usually in order to escort that important person into a city… When the great king comes, his followers will be gathered to him in order to be a part of his great entourage escorting him back to the world he created.”

I find this understanding more convincing than the explanation I grew up hearing, which imported far too many end-times assumptions into the text without listening carefully enough to the text itself in its own historical and cultural context.

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Are you being trained by grace?

(Old Facebook Post – Revised)

Are you being trained by grace today? What does that training look like in your situation? How do you discipline yourself to undergo grace’s training? How does the fact that you have been saved by grace change you so that you engage in godly behaviors?

“The grace of God has appeared, bringing salvation for all people, training us to renounce ungodliness and worldly passions, and to live self-controlled, upright, and godly lives in the present age, waiting for our blessed hope, the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior Jesus Christ, who gave himself for us to redeem us from all lawlessness and to purify for himself a people for his own possession who are zealous for good works.” (Titus 2:11-14 ESV)

“When the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life. The saying is trustworthy, and I want you to insist on these things, so that those who have believed in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works. (Titus 3:4-8, ESV.)

Note how the second passage parallels the first one, with “goodness and loving kindness” matching “grace.” Both of these first “appear,” then “save” us (fleshed out in much greater detail in the second passage), and finally lead to “good works.”

I think one way we can cooperate with grace’s training is to regularly meditate on all the aspects of how grace has saved us (as begun in the second passage). This is the “knowledge of the truth that accords with (or leads to) godliness,” see Titus 1:1. Martin Luther counseled pastors to preach the gospel of grace and “beat it into people’s heads” continually.

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Deuteronomy–heart of the Old Testament, hints of the New

(Old Facebook Post – Revised)

Let me recommend these sermons on Deuteronomy. (Find HDT Deuteronomy 2007, Series 1, Series 2, and Series 3, by doing a search for the preacher “Paul Barker” and the book “Deuteronomy.”)

If you want to understand the big story of the whole Bible well, and only have time to seriously examine 4 or 5 Old Testament books, Deuteronomy should probably be one you include in your study. It basically summarizes or predicts everything crucial from Moses to Malachi. In other words, most of the rest of the OT is commentary on and contemporary application of Deuteronomy. Plus, it clearly foretells Christ and his heart-changing work!

Paul Barker is an Australian Anglican who did his PhD thesis on Deuteronomy, and his sermons are models of how to present insightful scholarship in a very understandable form, as preaching that convicts. If you listen, notice also how he demonstrates Christian application of OT Law and how he continually and authentically traces the connection from the text at hand to Christ. God, give us more able and faithful preachers of your Word!


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