Baptism is practiced by most all Christians, though different denominations have various modes of baptism. The basic biblical model for baptism which many Christians follow is that of submergence in water. Many denominations and non-denominational churches practice baptism by fully submerging a person into a special tank, tub, or pool built inside of the church or on church property, or they may use a pond, lake, sea, or even the ocean. Outside of those denominations that practice infant baptism or baptism related to church membership, baptism is most commonly an action taken by a newly professing believer as an outward expression of their faith in Jesus Christ and their prior acceptance of salvation. Baptism is a common theme throughout the New Testament, and Jesus Himself told His disciples to baptize other new believers (Matthew 28:19). For most evangelical Christians, there is no doubt that baptism plays a significant role in one’s faith, but its exact purpose and function is highly debated. Throughout history, there have been many discrepancies between varying viewpoints regarding the method and meaning of baptism, causing multiple churches to practice baptism in vastly different ways. In order for one to reach a solid, biblical conclusion on baptism, the varying current practices must be contrasted to that of the New Testament instances so that its purpose, function, merits, and mode may be correctly understood and applied today. One of the most controversial debates surrounding baptism has to do with its purpose and merits. On one hand, there are those who believe it to be a step taken after one is saved in order to publically profess their faith and decision to follow Christ. For this group, baptism is certainly important, but it is not needed in order to accept the gospel message and be saved. According to this perspective, baptism comes after one receives salvation. On the other hand, there are those who believe that baptism is absolutely necessary to salvation. In this way, they believe that baptism is a part of the process, or a means, of salvation, and that one cannot obtain salvation without having been baptized. This view places baptism prior to receiving salvation. Each of these views claim to be biblical and rely upon Scripture, and each side presents convincing arguments for why their perspective should be the one followed. Yet each differs from the others significantly. Since each of the views pertaining to the separately debated issues cannot all be true because they are contradictory, it is important to study all of the instances and mentions of baptism in the Bible in order to reach a solid and biblical conclusion.
Beginning as a “rescue operation” to save any archaeological evidence left behind before new building began on the site, uncovering Tel Dan became the “longest-running excavation project ever conducted in Israel.” By the 1990’s Tel Dan had been excavated for over thirty years, revealing some of the most unique discoveries in archaeological history. Now, over … Continue reading Archaeology: Tel Dan, King David, and a Window Into History
It is often said that Jesus never claimed to be God. While it may be true that one cannot find a specific instance in which Jesus uses the exact words “I am God”, there are many statements made by Jesus that do reveal that He equated Himself with the God of the Old Testament. In fact, He often used certain names of God found in the Old Testament as names for Himself in order to reveal Himself as both the prophesied Messiah and the One True God. Just as the names of God in the Old Testament relate to His nature, so do the names that Jesus uses for Himself. One such name of this sort is “I AM”, which is found in both the Old and New Testaments. When simply reading through the Bible, it can be easy to miss the meaning and significance behind this name. Also easy to overlook are the instances in which Jesus used "I am" in a way that refers specifically, and only, to God. This is especially true given the fact that the full meaning of this name can quite literally be lost in translation due to grammar differences between the original languages and our own. In order to understand exactly what Jesus meant when He used this name for Himself, we must first understand its meaning and use by God in the Old Testament. Once we do this, we will then be able to apply this understanding to the New Testament and accurately determine Jesus' intent and purpose in His use of this name for Himself...
On Easter Sunday, April 1, 2018, NBC Network will present their live televised version of the famous Broadway show, Jesus Christ Superstar (from this point forward referred to simply as Superstar). But before you get too excited about seeing Jesus on TV, there are some things you should know about this mega-hit musical. They are calling it "The Greatest Story Ever Told", but this isn't the story you know from the Bible. When comparing Superstar to the New Testament writings, particularly the four Gospels, Christians who are not familiar with the musical may be surprised to find that there is a significant amount of not-so-subtle messages in Superstar...
A common myth is that Jesus never believed He was God or claimed to be God. Scripture is quite clear, however, that this is not true. Lee Strobel suggests that there are at least 10 different facts presented within the Bible that point toward Jesus believing, claiming, and acting as if He is God. These may … Continue reading Is Jesus God? (The Son of Man)
After Jesus was raised to life again on the third day, He told His disciples that He would send the Holy Spirit to guide and teach them [John 14:26]. God’s Spirit is referred to as a Comforter, Counselor, and Helper. As God's children who are redeemed through Jesus Christ, we also have the Holy Spirit living … Continue reading Who Is the Holy Spirit?
Jesus is called the Son of God throughout Scripture, and John 3:16 tells us that "[God the Father] gave His One and Only Son" to be our Savior. Jesus is both God and man, having been God forever, but also coming to earth through birth as a human [John 1:14], dying as a man [1 Peter 3:18], and … Continue reading Who Is the Son?
The Bible often refers to God as our Father, and Jesus called Him Father on multiple occasions, such as in His prayer in Matthew 6:9 – "Our Father in heaven, Your name be honored as holy." God, who is Lord of all, also cares personally for us as our loving Father. He gives us mercy … Continue reading Who Is the Father?
One of the most difficult concepts to understand is how Christ could be both man and God at the same time. This idea has sparked much debate and is often considered an illogical contradiction by many. Some have questioned whether Jesus was ever fully human or fully God, and others have concluded that He could … Continue reading Is Jesus Both God and Man? (The Hypostatic Union)
The Bible should be a vital part of every Christian's life. It is God's own Word that He has given to every person. In it He reveals His nature and character, His love for everyone, and the answers to life's deepest questions. Because it is God's Word, Christians should diligently seek to understand what it … Continue reading Seven Guidelines for Reading and Understanding the Bible