Here are some essays that have helped me understand the Bible and the Church better.
The Law of Moses and the Christian: A Compromise – David Dorsey — The best I’ve read on the topic, this essay clarified a sticky theological problem for me, giving me a paradigm for reading Old Testament law. (Also see Atkerson’s lectures on New Covenant Theology, from New Testament Reformation Fellowship.) Update: I also heartily affirm the conclusions Douglas J. Moo summarizes at the end of both of these essays: Jesus and the Authority of the Mosaic Law and The Law of Moses or the Law of Christ.
Baptism and Becoming a Christian in the New Testament – Robert Stein — An excellent article about the New Testament Church’s understanding of the relationship between baptism and conversion. Also helpful for developing a biblical understanding of church membership.
Biblical Church Membership: A Look at the Modern Practice of Church Membership – Jamon S.R. Sorrells — A thought-provoking article worth serious consideration. A quote: “If a person says, ‘I am a member of “such-and-such” church,’ what do they mean? What constitutes being a ‘member’ of a local assembly? Is our modern day practice of local church ‘membership’ ordained by God, or instituted by man? What are the advantages to our modern day practice of church ‘membership’? Are there any drawbacks? Should believing ‘members’ of a local assembly, and believing ‘non-members’ of the same assembly, be treated differently? Should ‘membership’ have its privileges? These are some of the questions I wish to explore in this article.”
Made in the Image of God – Marc Cortez — This series of blog articles is the best I’ve read on the subject. I usually hear that being made in the image of God means we can think/feel/decide/relate etc. like God. But what of those who can’t? Are they in the image of God, too? Are they even human? Good ethics springs from good exegesis and good theology. This blog series is a wonderful example of all three. Quote: “What does it mean to be made in the image of God? …I think it’s primarily about God manifesting his presence through us… The image of God isn’t just a theological ‘problem;’ it’s a way of viewing the entire Christian life.”