Can anyone pick up the Bible, read it and understand it? Is Scripture "clear," and if it is: about what and for whom is it clear?
I wrote my Masters dissertation on the topic of the perspicuity, or clarity, of Scripture. This is an important topic, because whether or not we view Scripture as clear affects how we handle and use the Bible and how we relate to church traditions, and how we view the world in the midst of a culture in which many long-held beliefs and assumptions are being challenged.
In this episode, Nick and Mike discuss the concept of the perspicuity of Scripture, looking at the history of this concept and what is at stake in this debate.
For more articles and content, make sure to check out the Theology for the People website.
Did you know that the Book of Esther never mentions God? Or that whereas almost every Old Testament book is quoted in the New Testament, the Book of Esther is not? Or that the Dead Sea Scrolls contained copies of every Old Testament book except the Book of Esther?
So then, does Esther belong in the Bible? In this episode I will explain why it was included in the Bible, and why it belongs there.
This episode is also available as a blog post: http://nickcady.org/2018/08/15/is-the-book-of-esther-fictional-does-it-really-belong-in-the-bible/
In Part 2 of this two-part series, Nick and Mike discuss the process through which the New Testament was recognized as Holy Scripture.
At what point were the books of the New Testament recognized as Scripture? Who was involved in that process, or who made that determination? What about the disputed books, and why was the Gospel of Thomas kept out of the Bible?
We answer these questions and more in this episode.
Make sure to check out the Theology for the People blog as well.
In Part 1 of this two-part episode, Nick and Mike discuss some common misnomers and conspiracy theories regarding the formation of the New Testament canon.
What happened in Nicaea? Did Constantine play a role in the formation of the New Testament canon? If so, is there anything we should be concerned about?
Check out the Theology for the People blog as well.
In this episode I'm joined by Pastor Jon Markey from Ternopil, Ukraine. Along with being a pastor and missionary, Jon is a musician and producer. We discuss how the resurrection infuses our lives, including our work and art, with meaning and purpose.
Sometimes people have the idea that if the world is going to burn anyway, then there is no point in trying to invest time and energy into work or art in this world; it would simply be akin to hanging curtains in a house that is on fire. However, as Jon and I discuss, Jesus' resurrection changes that story in a big way.
Check out Jon and Steffie's work at Room for More:
In Matthew 27:52-53 it says that when Jesus died, "The tombs also were opened. And many bodies of the saints who had fallen asleep were raised, and coming out of the tombs after his resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many."
Why did this happen? And what happened to these "walking dead": did they ascend into Heaven with Jesus, or did they die again at a later date? What was the meaning and significance of this?
You can find more articles and content, as well as a place to submit questions or suggest topics at the Theology for the People blog site.
In this episode Nick and Mike discuss what it means in Ephesians 4:14 where the Apostle Paul talks about “winds and waves of doctrine.” What are they? How do we recognize them before it’s too late? And how do we avoid being carried away by them?
Along with some examples of winds and waves in the recent past, we discuss the “deeper things” of Christianity: what many people mean when they use that phrase and what the deepest things are in reality.
Also visit the Theology for the People blog.
Why is it that in the Bible, sometimes God punishes some people severely for their sins, but other people receive no punishment for similar actions?
Responding to a question that was submitted here: Theology for the People: Ask a Question or Suggest a Topic, about why God judges some people more harshly than others in the Bible. Examples of this are with Michal (the wife of David) and Uzzah in 2 Samuel 6, the story of the two prophets in 1 Kings 13, and Ananias and Sapphira in Acts 5.
This principle can be seen in our lives today, where some people do evil things and seem to suffer no consequences, and in some cases succeed as a result, whereas many who endeavor to lead a godly life don't succeed or even suffer. David asked this same question in the Psalms because of what he experienced in his own life.
In this episode, three important considerations are brought up to help understand this dynamic.
In this episode Nick and Mike discuss what the Bible has to say about religion and how God feels about it. Is religion opposed to relationship with Jesus? What is "religion" anyway - and is Christianity a religion or not?
We look at uses of the word "religion" in the Bible, as well as passages like Isaiah 1 and Amos 5. We also examine Jefferson Bethke's spoken word YouTube video: "Why I hate religion but love Jesus," as well as a New York Times article about popular views on religion - along with biblical examples from Jesus, the apostles, and the New Testament church.
In this episode Nick and Mike discuss a comment that came in to the Theology for the People blog claiming that church is only good for "becoming robotized, lobotomized, Romanized, and institutionalized," and is "pointless for knowing Jesus Christ personally." This comment represents a not-uncommon attitude to "organized religion" in general and church in particular.
This episode includes discussions about the Bible, Jesus, American history, and Henry David Thoreau.
The book recommended in this episode is The Bible in America: Essays in Cultural History