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All articles in category Biblical/theological

December 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

The wonder of Christ’s person

Is Jesus really God? In AD 319, Arius, a deacon in Alexandria, fired the first shots in a 60-year war that would come to engulf all of Christianity in the Roman empire. Arius argued, ‘If the Father begat the Son, then he who was begotten had a beginning in existence, and from this it follows there was a time when the Son was not’. By these words Arius denied the full deity of Jesus and gave birth to Arianism. Alexander, the bishop of Alexandria, assisted by his chief deacon Athanasius, stood against Arius. In 321 they deposed Arius from his office, declaring his views heresy....

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December 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Christmas wonder

At this time of year, our minds are drawn to the wonder of the birth — the incarnation — of Jesus Christ. Referring to Christ’s incarnation, the Bible says: ‘Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus, who, being in the form of God, did not consider it robbery to be equal with God but made himself of no reputation, taking the form of a servant, and coming in the likeness of men. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross’(Philippians 2:5-8). Divinity What...

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December 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Mary’s song

There seem to be two views of a 21st century Christmas. The first owes something to Charles Dickens and Bing Crosby: chestnuts roasting on an open fire; the Christmas of jollity and plenty; merry Christmas! It is a time centred around an excess of food, booze and presents; a time to forget the cold weather and have fun. The second view is quite different; it is the angst-filled Christmas. John Lennon sang, ‘So this is Christmas; what have you done?’ It is the Christmas of Bob Geldof, where we are urged to get out and do something. We read of ‘Crisis at Christmas’ and are confronted...

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November 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Jonah for today’s church (3)

Mercy is a quality rarely seen in the world today. Instead, we see a competitive spirit, a ‘get all you can, while you can’ attitude. Thankfully, when we look at the God of the Bible, we see mercy. ‘Now the word of the Lord came to Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go to Nineveh, that great city, and preach to it the message that I tell you. So Jonah arose and went to Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceedingly great city, a three-day journey in extent. And Jonah began to enter the city on the first day’s...

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November 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

A tale of two wives: Eunice

In ET, October 2016, we looked at the marriage of Priscilla to Aquila. This month we consider the marriage of Eunice, the mother of Timothy. Perhaps Priscilla’s marriage being such a good example has left some readers saying, ‘That’s all fine for Priscilla. She made the perfect marriage. Some of us have not had that blessing’? But the amazing comprehensiveness of the Word of God provides a role model for women with difficult marriages too. Maybe the marriage was a huge mistake, through your own fault? Or maybe the man you thought would be an Aquila turned out otherwise? If we know little about Priscilla,...

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October 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

A tale of two wives: Priscilla

The Bible tells us tantalisingly little about Priscilla: just enough to piece together about 17 years of the life of an amazing woman (see Acts 18; Romans 16:3; 1 Corinthians 16:19), but leaving plenty to ask her when we meet in heaven! Her real name was Prisca, Priscilla being the diminutive — ‘little Priscilla’; a feisty little lady, perhaps! She and her husband Aquila are always mentioned together. Was she like her husband from Pontus, on the Black Sea coast of what is now Turkey? Or did she fall in love with the dashing stranger who arrived at the synagogue when she was a young...

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Jonah for today’s church (2)
October 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

Jonah for today’s church (2)

‘Then Jonah prayed to the Lord his God from the fish’s belly. And he said: I cried out to the Lord because of my affliction, and he answered me. Out of the belly of Sheol I cried, and you heard my voice’ (Jonah 2:1-2). Prayer is a sacred act. It is not meant to be a flippant afterthought or a casual thinking out aloud. It is approaching the throne of grace, mindful both of the one doing the praying and the One doing the listening. Prayer is a holy activity that gives us immense access to God.      Jonah’s example tells us that we can pray from anywhere....

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‘Your eyes shall see the King in his beauty’ (Isaiah 33:17).
October 2016
Articles > Biblical/theological

‘Your eyes shall see the King in his beauty’ (Isaiah 33:17).

The immediate context of this promise is the threat Israel faced when the Assyrian king Sennacherib mounted a siege against the nation (c.700 BC). The people had seen king Hezekiah in mourning, with sackcloth on his head because of the danger they were in. God assured them that the time would come when the pagan army would be defeated and their king would again ‘adorn himself with the robes of state and appear with a smiling countenance in all the beauty of joy’ (C. H. Spurgeon). Serious students of Scripture know that, in the Old Testament, our glorious Saviour is prefigured in the context of...

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