Author Archives: James B. Jordan

What is Conversion?

Conversion is a turning from sin to Christ. Now, let’s think about that. Does conversion happen only once in a lifetime, or does it happen many times? That is the question, I believe, that needs answering. From my experience, and from my understanding of the Bible and of Christianity, there are four kinds of conversion […]

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Priests to the Nations

Israel was supposed to be a priest to the nations (Ex. 19:6). Her water would cause their trees to grow. This was signified to all men when Israel came out of Egypt, for “then they came to Elim, where they were twelve springs of water and seventy date palms, and they camped there beside the […]

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Worship and Ceremony, Part II: The Lord’s Supper

This is the second installment of a two-part article. Click HERE to read Part I. The fourth perspective on ceremony is that of the action of the Lord’s Supper. As we noted before, the inauguration of the Lord’s Supper preceded its interpretation. Jesus did not at that point give an explanation of it. He just […]

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Worship and Ceremony: Part 1

Evangelicalism needs a return to formal and Biblical worship. Worship is a public act, performed on the surface of God’s true altar, the world, before His throne. Man’s chief end is to glorify and enjoy God, and worship is done for God’s pleasure. It is man’s highest privilege to dance before the throne of the […]

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The Structure and Typology of the Bathsheba Incident

2 Samuel 11-12, which record David’s sin with Bathsheba and its aftermath, is structured chiastically: This arrangement highlights several things about the episode. It reinforces what is obvious from even a casual reading, that the transition in the story occurs with Nathan’s confrontation of David’s sin and David’s confession. Up to that point, we have […]

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Are Not All These Galileans?

One of the curiosities of the New Testament revelation is its focus on Galilee. The region of Galilee was given to Asher, Zebulun, Naphtali, and Issachar, and the events of Judges 4-8 occurred there, so it had some importance in Israelite history. But when the tribe of Ephraim led the northern tribes to secede from […]

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On Biblical Theology

Biblical Theology is often defined as the historical unfolding of God’s revelation, or of God’s revelation and of the history of his covenantal redemption and transformation of humanity and the world. In practice, Biblical Theology is usually broader than this, and also includes the study of literary structure and of Biblical themes. We shall include […]

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153 Large Fish

Simon Peter went up, and drew the net to land, full of large fish, a hundred and fifty-three; and although there were so many, the net was not torn. (John 21:11) This is one of those texts in the Bible that many people puzzle over. It is not a puzzle for some. They say this […]

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Jesus’ Burial Clothes

John devotes much attention to Jesus’ burial clothes. He tells us that Nicodemus brought about a hundred pounds of myrrh and aloes to spice Jesus body, and that He was bound in linen wrappings. We find out that His body and His head were wrapped separately. (John 19:39-40; 20:6-7). When Jesus was raised from the […]

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The Good Friday Paradise Party

I grew up in the 1950s. This was before the “Sixties” and the democratization, informalization, and general cheapening of the church and her worship. Ministers were Father Donovan, Pastor Eckhart, Reverend MacPherson, Mister (Episcopal) Parker, and Brother Smith. Liturgical speech was high language, sounding kind of like the King James Bible and the Book of […]

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And the Holy of Holies Became Flesh

And the Word became flesh and tabernacled among us, and we beheld His glory…(John 1:14) Commentaries on John, discussing the Word or Logos in John 1, routinely turn to Greek philosophy and say that John is using a term and at least part of an idea familiar in the ancient world. John is showing the […]

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The Meaning of the Mount of Olives

Speaking of the Church, Romans 11:16-17 says, “And if the root be holy, the branches are also. But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, being a wild olive were grafted in among them and became partaker with them of the root of the fatness of the olive tree . . . .” (also vv. […]

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How To Change the World, 2

Clearly, more than just getting worship right is important in changing the world, but since worship is the central act of God’s people, performed on the first day of the week at the center of the world before the very face of God, surely worship sets the tone of everything else. We have seen that […]

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How To Change the World, 1

Jesus has told us that He intends all nations to be discipled. Nations. Not just individuals. All nations as theocracies. That being the case, the Church exists for the life of the world. Being baptized is not only a matter of becoming part of a new family, it is also enlistment into a holy army. […]

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Music and Hermeneutics

From time to time, when I’ve lectured on how to read the Bible, I’ve used art-music as one example thereof. When we listen to a simple folk song, we hear the same melody over and over again, but this is not how composers write “high” music. Let me amplify. A composer will put out a […]

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In the Fish: The Church as Tomb

“For just as Jonah was three days and three nights in the belly of the sea-monster, so will the Son of Man be three days and three nights in the heart of the earth” (Matthew 12:40). Some reflections on Jonah’s Big Fish have led to the following essay. Let me affirm at the outset that […]

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Apologia on Reading the Bible, 3

This is the third of a three-part essay. The Literary Reader As a conclusion to this essay, I want to make some observations that grow out of C. S. Lewis’s remarkable Experiment in Criticism, mentioned in an earlier installment. What Lewis is interested in doing is coming up with a way to distinguish good literature from bad, […]

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Apologia on Reading the Bible, 2

This is the second portion of a three-part essay. Learning to Read Learning to read the Bible is easier said than done, of course. There are several reasons for this, and they all have to do with the art of reading. Reading is an art and not a science, and there is no quick formula for […]

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Apologia on Reading the Bible, 1

What does it mean to read the Bible as inspired literature? The method is not new nor is it uncommon in Dutch Reformed circles. Exegesis must be Christocentric, plenary (all the text serves a theological purpose), respect the context in God’s redemptive plan, and plumb the full literary depth of the writing. I have written […]

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How To Change the Supreme Court

Appalling as it is, the decision of the United States Supreme Court regarding marriage cannot come as much of a surprise to reformation minded Christians. At the same time, this event is a warning from which we might learn. It is parallel to the attack of AIDS in the homosexual community a generation ago: a […]

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The Temple Singers

Who were the company of singers who sang in the Temple built by Solomon? I think many people might answer “the Levitical singers.” That is not correct, because the Levites were not allowed inside the Temple; only the priests were. The Levitical choir and orchestra performed for Yahweh outside the building, in the courts. In […]

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Psalm 36 Commentary

Get the Psalm 36 Translation here Psalm 36 begins with several translation problems. First, the first word in the actual psalm, as it is found in the English text, is the word “oracle.” This word also begins the second verse in the medieval Massoretic Hebrew text, which is our basic Hebrew text. (The first Hebrew […]

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Psalm 32 Commentary

Get the Psalm 32 Translation here Psalm 32 is the first part of Ps. 32-33, ending with a call to praise that is answered by what follows. Ultimately the psalm needs to be considered as a whole, but what we call Psalm 32 does have its own structure and logic, so we’ll take it up […]

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Psalm 32

Psalm 32 is the first part of Ps. 32-33, ending with a call to praise that is answered by what follows. Ultimately the psalm needs to be considered as a whole, but what we call Psalm 32 does have its own structure and logic, so we’ll take it up separately here. It is often noted […]

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Psalm 29

Click here to download the Translation Here we have the seven-fold Voice of Yahweh, bracketed by two sets of four lines about Yahweh. The central seven-fold Voice section uses “Yahweh” ten times, for a total in this psalm of eighteen usages of “Yahweh” (3 x 3 x 2). The psalm, obviously, is about Yahweh. Yahweh […]

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