How to Read Galatians for Preaching and Teaching | Influence Podcast


Paul’s letter to the Galatians is brief but theologically profound. It centers on the nature and implications of the gospel itself. The letter was born out of Paul’s controversy with the so-called Judaizers, and it continues to be a source of controversy among scholars today because of the so-called New Perspective on Paul. In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk to Craig S. Keener about how to read Galatians for preaching and teaching. Keener is F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky, and a world-renowned New Testament scholar. He is … Continue reading How to Read Galatians for Preaching and Teaching | Influence Podcast

Leadership Lessons of the Apostle Paul | Influence Podcast


In this episode of the Influence Podcast, I talk to Ryan Lokkesmoe about leadership lessons we can learn from the New Testament church. Lokkesmoe is lead pastor of Real Hope Community Church in Houston, Texas. He has a Ph.D. in New Testament from the University of Denver, and he is author, most recently, of Paul and His Team, published in 2017 by Moody. Here’s my review of his book: Ryan Lokkesmoe is the lead pastor of Real Hope Community Church in Houston, and has a Ph.D. in New Testament studies. In Paul and His Team:What the Early Church Can Teach Us About … Continue reading Leadership Lessons of the Apostle Paul | Influence Podcast

From Imitator to Imitable (1 Thessalonians 1:5b-7)


Which is more important: what you say or what you do? In one sense, this is a false dichotomy. Both our words and our deeds are important. Indeed, they need one another. Without deeds, words are empty. Without words, deeds are mute. Paul brings words and deeds together in 1 Thessalonians 1:4-10. Verses 4-5 speak of Paul, Silas, and Timothy’s Spirit-driven preaching that was demonstrated by “power” (miracles) and resulted “deep conviction” in the heart of the Thessalonians. Out of that deep conviction, and following the missionaries’ example, the Thessalonians themselves lived lives that gained renown throughout the area. In … Continue reading From Imitator to Imitable (1 Thessalonians 1:5b-7)

Grace and Peace to You (1 Thessalonians 1:1c)


Letters typically begin with a greeting. In New Testament times, Greek-speaking writers began their letters with the word chairein, “Greetings!” (e.g., Acts 15:23, 23:26; James 1:1). Paul, who wrote his letters in Greek, transformed this epistolary convention by replacing chairein with the similar looking and sounding charis in the greeting of all his letters, and by adding eirēnē. So, this is the standard greeting in Paul’s letters: “Grace and peace to you from God our Father and from the Lord Jesus Christ.”[1] Paul’s standard greeting is a wonderful way for Christians to begin their letters (or emails) to other people. … Continue reading Grace and Peace to You (1 Thessalonians 1:1c)

The Church’s Physical and Spiritual Locations (1 Thessalonians 1:1b)


The church exists on two planes: Physically, it is located at a specific place and time. Spiritually, however, it is located in God, who is eternal and whose saving purposes for humanity cross the boundaries of geography and chronology. Paul took note of these two planes in 1 Thessalonians 1b: “To the church of the Thessalonians in God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.” We often read this address line of Paul’s letter as throwaway verbiage, a mere convention of first-century letter-writing. Letters are from somebody to somebody else, so why pay attention when Paul names his readers? Why? … Continue reading The Church’s Physical and Spiritual Locations (1 Thessalonians 1:1b)

Christianity Is a Team Sport (1 Thesslonians 1:1a)


In 2011, Drew Brees broke Dan Marino’s single-season passing record, a record which had stood for 27 years. Can you name the center who snapped him the ball? The left tackle who guarded his blindside? The running back who caught the ball? Me neither, not without Google anyway.* But Brees couldn’t have broken Marino’s record without their help, or the help of the other seven members of the offensive team. We sometimes think of the apostle Paul as a Lone-Ranger missionary who single-handedly evangelized Gentiles in Asia Minor and Europe. But like Drew Brees, Paul had help. He played on … Continue reading Christianity Is a Team Sport (1 Thesslonians 1:1a)