Author Archives: Bill Smith

Unequal Holiness

In 1 Corinthians 7:12-16 Paul deals with how the Corinthian Christians are supposed to be relating to unbelieving spouses. He essentially tells them, “Look, if your unbelieving spouse is willing to stay with you as a faithful Christian, don’t initiate a divorce. If he/she wants to leave you, let him/her go. The believer is not […]

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Worship as Ordination

Anyone who has read his Bible straight through has done it. Admit it. When you get to those parts in Exodus that deal with the instructions for and construction of the Tabernacle, your eyes glaze over and your mind begins to wander. Measurements, lists of materials, meticulous details about clothes and tent pegs are not […]

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The Politics of Justification

The doctrine of justification is precious among Protestants. And it should be. The fact that God has declared our sins forgiven and that we have a righteous standing in the sight of God united to Christ is comforting and brings great joy. Unfortunately, the biblical teaching on justification is, many times, truncated. We have tended […]

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In the Flesh: Then and Now

The interpretation of Romans 7:7-25 is notoriously difficult. Good scholars disagree on many aspects of the passage, but the central interpretative difficulty concerns the identity of the “I.” Is Paul referring to himself? Is Paul referring to himself pre- or post-conversion? Does the “I” refer to Adam? Is the “I” representative of Israel with Paul […]

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Grace Reigns In Death

The evidence of sin and its death ruling in the world is clear. Paul describes the situation vividly in the opening section of his letter to the Romans. No matter who you are, Jew or Gentile, you have the same problem: you are “under sin” (Romans 3:9). Being under sin means that you live in […]

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Learning to Laugh

Humor is a funny thing. It is altogether familiar yet also mysterious. What makes us laugh? Why do we find things funny? There are academic fields of study dedicated to discovering what makes things humorous. These academicians even have a journal entitled International Journal of Humor Research. No joke. Just thinking of a room full […]

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What the Corinthians Did Right

Paul’s letter to the Corinthians is one of those epistles in Scripture to which pastors and teachers resort to show the church everything that it shouldn’t be. There is, of course, good reason for this. The Corinthian church was filled with all sorts of problems. Personality cults (i.e., factions), sexual immorality (both in illicit use […]

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Cultivating the Body

New Year’s resolutions for weight loss are practically on the liturgical calendar of America. Somewhere around the beginning of a new year, people resolve that they will get in better shape. Some are made to feel guilty by the obesity police in our country (whose standards are, many times, very unrealistic, one-size-fits-all approaches). Others are […]

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