A Tale of Trees: How Arboreal Theology Pervades the Bible

The Gospels tell a tale of trees. It starts with John the Baptist. He comes preaching a gospel of repentance, warning the “axe is already laid at the root of the trees” (Matt. 3:10). Trees without fruit or with bad fruit will be cut down and consumed in fire (Matt. 3:10). Jesus reiterates the warning.... Read more

Harry Reeder on Teaching Ecclesiastes

The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy. Harry Reeder: There’s three themes that you’ve gotta translate from Ecclesiastes and vanity into the Christian life, informed by the vitality of Christ. And that number one is this, you’re going to get... Read more

Let Jude Deliver You from Your Truth

Speak your truth. You have your truth, and I have mine. Weve all heard these phrases. At times, assertions of my truth and your truth can sway even the believers mindwe become so used to hearing them that we barely acknowledge their implications. But the brisk epistle of Jude pierces through the foggy myth of... Read more

Crushing Rahab: Does the Old Testament Borrow from Myth?

Does the Old Testament borrow mythical ideas from Israels ancient Near Eastern neighbors? This is a longstanding question. Creation stories are a good test case. In the creation myths of Israels idolatrous neighbors, we sometimes read of conflict at creation, in which one god defeats another and uses the defeated gods corpse to create the... Read more

How Church Leaders Can Help Domestic Violence Victims

Two decades ago, my husband (now ex-husband) called me on the way home. His angry words drove ice-cold fear into my heart. Despite my prayers for change, the cycle of abuse was starting again. Based on past experience, his verbal tirades would soon spiral into threats of bodily harm. I immediately gathered my children and... Read more

Should Christians Sign Non-Disclosure Agreements?

During the onboarding process for a job at a Christian non-profit, I was asked to sign a non-disclosure agreement. Is it wrong for ministries to ask employees to sign an NDA? And is it wrong for Christians to bind themselves to such agreements? A non-disclosure agreement (NDA), also known as a confidentiality agreement, is a... Read more

What Should We Preach During a Crisis?

Regular exposition through books of the Bible addresses the full range of need and experience facing congregations. By plowing through Spirit-inspired books year by year, pastors address common and uncommon issues found among those sitting before them. And sometimes the extraordinary happens. The Sunday after 9/11, while visiting my son at his college, we attended... Read more

10 Ways Pastors Can Encourage Church Attendance

Since coming to faith in Christ at age 15, Ive had a strong desire to gather with the body of Christ. Even hearing not-so-stellar preaching and being with cantankerous people, I always loved gathering with Gods people. When isolation due to chemotherapy kept me from church for four months in 2019, my deepest longing was... Read more

Should Missionaries Expect Rapid Growth?

Missionaries often start their journey into ministry with high expectations. Chief among them is a hope for fruit from their labors. However, it doesnt take long for some to realize their dreams may not instantly translate into reality. Cultural differences shock the system. Language learning is slow and can frustrate a family. Team dynamics may... Read more

Celebrating Expository Preaching in the African American Tradition

One of my most vivid memories growing up in church was the annual summer Sunday our congregation would gather with a local African American church for a joint worship service, followed by a potluck lunch (dinner on the grounds, we called it). We handled it like a home-and-home football serieseach church played host in alternating... Read more

5 Reasons to Recover Benedictions at Church

To modern ears, benedictions may sound like archaic and rigid conclusions to worship services. Why not just say, Youre dismissed? But what if benedictions reach down into our deepest hopes? What if they train us to have God-sized expectations for the future? And what if they arent just for pastors in worship services, but for... Read more

6 Questions for Assessing Bible-Study Material

Editors’ note:  TGC’s Womens Training Network events are an excellent way to equip the women in your church to engage the Bible as they study and serve. In the coming months, we have events in Detroit, Memphis, and Iowa City. Register now! Not long ago, I tossed a Bible-study book to the ground after spending... Read more

10 Questions Pastoral Candidates Should Ask a Search Team

When seeking a new pastor, most churches elect a search committee that accepts and sorts through rsums to find a few men who meet the criteria. The methodology is by no means perfectit’s often as difficult for committee members as for candidatesbut it’s typical. I’ve heard many whove served on these committees describe stress-filled seasons... Read more

5 Lessons on Faithful Endurance from a Longtime Pastor

When I became a pastor 12 years ago, I quickly realized the dropout rate among pastors is high. Statistics vary, but Ive personally known several pastors who left ministry for one reason or another. Sometimes we forget, though, the pastors whove persevered in faithful ministry for decades. My friend Dave Lewis is an example. Dave... Read more

What We Learn When We Teach Kids the Bible

As adults, its easy to assume that teaching the Bible to kids is helpful for them, but not for ourselves. Why? Sometimes we assume our maturity has outgrown whatever simple truths kids can grasp (I dont need this). Other times were so consumed with contextualizing the message, we neglect to teach ourselves (I really want... Read more

Why Freedom Needs Boundaries – The Gospel Coalition

Jen Pollock Michel: Karen, how do we make believing in Jesus compelling in a believe-in-yourself world? Karen Swallow Prior: Well, I think that we can approach our non-theistic, non-believing friends with some common truths that we all really acknowledge and understand, and that is, there really is no such thing as complete autonomy. We are... Read more

Yes, Pastors Should Have Friends in the Church

Have you ever been in a room full of people and yet felt alone? Isolation and loneliness are common struggles for even the most extroverted pastors, and they remind us that those called to shepherd Gods flock need ministry too. As a young pastor I was advised to never become close friends with anyone in... Read more

Back Together: The Story of a Church Split and Reunited

It broke Larry Konnemans heart when First Baptist Church of Ellisville near St. Louis, Missouri, split in 1993. It was the worst time in my church lifeever, said Konneman, who started coming around the church when he was 16 years old, chasing a girl who went there. He caught her, and after the two went... Read more

5 Ways Exodus Confronts Our Secular Age

Exodus is epic. An underdog leader of a slave nation stands up to the world’s most powerful man. Hail, frogs, flies, and rivers of blood plague the most prosperous nation on the planet. God miraculously divides a major body of water so his people can escape their captors. Thats just the first half. No wonder... Read more

The Underrated Potential of One-to-One Bible Reading

Imagine if everyone in your church were regularly reading the Bible. Everyone? you might ask. I dont even read it regularly. But if this happened at your church, do you think your church would grow in the likeness of Christ? Imagine if everyone in your church were regularly engaged in evangelistic relationships. Maybe a few... Read more

TGC Podcast: H. B. Charles on Jesuss Longest Conversation

The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy. H. B. Charles: Father, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ, we ask again and afresh, that you would open our eyes that we may behold wonderful things about the Lord Jesus... Read more

TGC Podcast: 6 Ways to Watch Your Heart in Ministry

The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy. Ellen Dykas: I’d like to begin our time this afternoon with a letter. “Dear friends and faithful supporters, I want to thank you for your years of support in so many ways. But... Read more

Why I Look Forward to the Pastoral Prayer at Church

Acts 29: Churches Planting Churches I love our kids at Imago Dei Church. Each week I hear from many of these little rascals after the service, or through my stroll through the childcare area (we have more than 130 kids younger than 4!). Last week I asked the 4-year-old girl beside me during our final... Read more

TGC Q&A Podcast: Why Train Women to Teach the Bible?

Jen Wilkin: Why train women to teach the Bible? Taylor Turkington: Jen, I think that as we think about the church, God has gifted all his people. He’s gifted men, he’s gifted women. And when we look at women who have a gift of teaching, we want to equip them just like we equip all... Read more

Surprised by Hopelessness: A Response to N. T. Wright

The coronavirus has exploded around the world resulting in more than 885,000 confirmed cases and more than 44,000 deaths. The worlds economy has crashed, resulting in hardship for millions. Hundreds of millions are living under stay-at-home orders. With all this, its natural for people to ask ultimate questions: Why is all this happening? Where is... Read more

5 Reasons Pastors Need the Psalms

Sometimes a gift grows on you. Several years ago, after I completed a dissertation on the Psalms, a friend gave me a small hardback copy of the Psalter. It wasnt fancy or expensive. But over the years, it’sbecome one of the best gifts Ive ever receiveda book for prayer more than readingbecause now, more than... Read more

Why Did God Kill Nadab and Abihu in Leviticus 10?

The priesthood looked promising for Nadab and Abihu. The holy God of Israel had personally set them apart to serve as priests (Ex. 28:1). Their family pedigree was rich and their preparation extensive (Lev. 810). They were dressed in fresh robes and sashes (Lev. 8:7). The turban on their heads held a golden plate boasting... Read more

How Should a Pastor Think Through Leaving His Church?

In spring 2014, I made one of the most gut-wrenching decisions of my adult life: I resigned as pastor of a church that had called me little more than three years before. After months and months of prayer, soul-searching, sleepless nights, and seeking advice from wise men with decades in the trenches of ministry, I... Read more

John Piper on the Coronavirus and Christ – The Gospel Coalition

The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy. Collin Hansen: How likely are you to contract the coronavirus, to die of it or at least to know someone who does? Even if you knew those odds, such knowledge would bring little... Read more

You Are What (Animal) You Eat: Making Sense of the Bibles Dietary Laws

I love bacon and ham and the occasional scallop. Sometimes, theres nothing that will substitute for a grilled pork chop. Yet for thousands of years, Gods people were denied these delights. Why? Many Christians immediately look for reasons of hygiene or health. Pigs wallow in muck, and pork breeds the larvae that cause trichinosis. Shrimp... Read more

8 Reasons Youth Ministers Should Attend Seminary

Should those called to work in youth ministry be required to attend seminary? Theres a fight between two combatants that often goes into answering that question: in one corner is $60,000 worth of debt from training and diplomas. In the other stands the 12-year-veteran whos been in the trenches gaining experience in youth ministry, but... Read more

Why (and How) to Preach Christs Descent to the Dead

Death is a Thief and a Robber. Death is a Glutton and a Plague. Death is the Last Enemy and the one that every human being faces. In our own power, that confrontation is entirely futile, and yet were each forced to enter into the fray. Pastors preach funeral sermon after funeral sermon, loved ones... Read more

The Missions Field in Our Backyard: Diaspora Ministry Is Nothing New

As of 2017, more than a quarter of a billion people worldwide lived outside their country of birth. In the United States and abroad, this is big newsthe stuff of political wrangling and late-night talk show monologues. The global movement of peoples is at an all-time high, with the West as a preferred destination. This... Read more

Benjamin Gladd on Teaching Luke

The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy. Nancy Guthrie: Welcome to “Help Me Teach the Bible.” I’m Nancy Guthrie. “Help Me Teach the Bible” is a production of The Gospel Coalition sponsored by Crossway, a not-for-profit publisher of the ESV... Read more

2 Reasons Jesus Died on the Cross

Why did Jesus die? Historically, from a human perspective, the answer is straightforward enough. The Jewish leaders plotted against him, Judas betrayed him, Herod and Pilate tried him, and the Roman soldiers executed him. A number of individuals and groups were responsible for his death. As Luke puts it, “Wicked men put him to death... Read more

How to Livestream Your Church Service: A Practical Guide

Among the many ramifications about the spread of COVID-19 is a sudden need for churches everywhere to rethink their Sunday services, moving from a physical to an online gathering for a season. But livestreaming a sermon or Sunday service can be a daunting challenge, especially for small-to-medium-sized churches that lack the budget and team to... Read more

Echoes of Holy Saturday in Old Testament Books

Holy Saturday is like the story of Joseph in prison in Genesis: what Jesuss brothers and the Gentile authorities meant for evil, God meant for good. Holy Saturday is like the crossing of the Red Sea in Exodus: Jesus goes before his people through the waters of death, leading them out of bondage and into... Read more

5 Lessons from Spurgeons Ministry in a Cholera Outbreak

As reports of the coronavirus spread around the world, pastors and church leaders are discussing how they should respond to the outbreak. Throughout church history, many pastors have worked through similar challenges. As a young village preacher, Charles Spurgeon admired the Puritan ministers who stayed behind to care for the sick and dying during the... Read more

After Calvary: How the Day of Atonement Highlights Jesuss Heavenly Offering

Theres a difference between tidying and cleaning. Often, Im more concerned with the former; my wife with the latter. Tidying involves putting shoes on racks, clothes into drawers, books on shelves, and toys in bins. Cleaning requires vacuuming, mopping, spraying, wiping, scrubbing, and magic-erasing. To my eyes, at least, tidying makes a more immediate, obvious... Read more

Why Did Jesus Rise from the Dead?

Why did Jesus rise from the dead? According to 1 Peter 1:3, his resurrection brings us at least two life-changing benefits:a living hope and a new life. Let’s consider these twin truthstwin promisesfrom the New Testament’s broader witness. Raised to Provide a Living Hope Death is a terrible thing. Most people face their own death... Read more

Avoiding Disunity amid Difficult (Coronavirus) Decisions

In early February, as we were making our initial coronavirus decisions at our church in China, it didnt take long to discover there would be many opportunities for disunity. By Gods graceand as a testimony to the gracious saints in our churchit seems weve been able to seek mutual understanding and avoid any huge divisions.... Read more

Dont Let Your Bible Reading Plan Die in Leviticus

For many Christians, the five books of the Pentateuch are flyover countryespecially Leviticus. Written at least 3,000 years ago, it feels foreign to the modern reader. Page after page of detailed regulations about blood sacrifice, dietary laws, swift and violent judgments, and longwinded rules about how to cleanse a house from leprosy, make relating difficult.... Read more

Take Heart, Pastor. Your Church Wont Be Empty Sunday.

This coming Lords Day, Im preparing to do something Ive never done before: preach to an entirely empty sanctuary. A stripped-down version of our service will be livestreamed from the church to our congregants as they watch from home or in small groups. Ill be one of hundreds, if not thousands, of ministers and worship... Read more

Colin Smith on Teaching Lamentations to Grieving People

The following is an uncorrected transcript generated by a transcription service. Before quoting in print, please check the corresponding audio for accuracy. Colin Smith: I think of preaching or teaching the Bible as being like a little humpback bridge over a river. You’ve got the world of the Bible, and you’ve got the world of... Read more