• Engage

    All the Genealogies of the Bible: A fascinating author interview

    Today I’m happy to introduce you to the work of Dr. Nancy S. Dawson, author of All the Genealogies of the Bible (Zondervan Academic). The book is a new, wonderful reference work that released this past fall. Here’s an interview I did with her: SG: Dr. Dawson, I love all the genealogical charts and commentary you’ve given readers that cover the figures of both Old and New Testaments. It’s a thick, hardback book. It must have taken years! How did this project come about? ND:  My background is in the sciences—an M.S. in botany/plant taxonomy and a PhD in cell biology. After several faculty appointments, our family moved to North Carolina. There, I had…

  • Engage,  Uncategorized

    Tamar’s “Wrong” Makes It Right

    Today I’m happy to host guest columnist Katherine Tucker. You can read her bio below. In honor of Women’s History Month, consider the hope of Easter through the story of a woman in the Bible. Her story is obscure, often misunderstood, and frequently passed over. Those familiar with it tend to cringe a little at her name. “Tamar.” It invokes ideas of prostitution, seduction, and revenge. What could this harlot have to do with our LORD, the incarnation, and the resurrection? As it turns out, literally everything.  The truth is that we have Tamar “the prostitute” to thank for Jesus’s family tree. Tamar is one of three women named in…

  • Engage,  Uncategorized

    How Then Shall We Live? (Contextualization, Part III)

    “Will you burn incense for your dad?” My mom looked at me expectantly as she asked. Within a month, we fly back to Taiwan to take my dad’s ashes home. My grandparents have already purchased a family lot, where we will lay his remains. Because they practice Buddhism, they will expect us to burn incense in honor of their deceased son. According to traditional Chinese belief, the smoke from burning incense carries one’s prayers to the heavens. A person can burn incense both to honor a deceased family member and to ask them for blessings. For example, one relative would ask her deceased husband to bless their grandchildren’s studies. Because…

  • Archive,  Engage

    Contextualization, Part 2: Making Known the Unknown God

    Part two in a series on contextualization from my former intern, Crystal. “You need more rice.” I watched my mentor scoop more of the starchy grain onto another student’s plate. We were dining at a Chinese restaurant, courtesy of the head of the research lab where I was interning. “Chinese people eat a lot of rice. It’s a staple in our culture. Like how Americans eat bread or potatoes.” Now, I can think of some American cuisines where the meat seems more indispensable. (Have you feasted at a Texas barbeque?) But my mentor’s analogy had served its purpose. My peer’s face lit up with understanding. Biblical Precedence for Contextualization My…

  • Engage,  Uncategorized

    The Gospel in “American Born Chinese”: An Introduction to Contextualization

    Today I’m happy to introduce you to my former student “Crystal,” a guest blogger, for a series on contextualizing the gospel. You can read her bio at the end. A Disney+ subscriber and a theologian walk into a coffee shop.The theologian asks: what does a nerd, a monkey, and a mythical scroll have to do with the gospel? The Disney+ subscriber answers: I watched that show. What Does the Gospel Have to Do with American Born Chinese? In May 2023, the American Born Chinese television series released on Disney+ to critical acclaim. In the series, Jin Wang, the son of Taiwanese immigrants, conceals his nerdy interests in an attempt to…

  • Engage

    Lent for Beginners

    Today is Mardi Gras. Fat Tuesday. Today we eat the chocolate we may be giving up starting tomorrow. Lent, the forty-day season preceding Easter, begins on Ash Wednesday, tomorrow. On Ash Wednesday, participants receive ashes on their foreheads as a reminder that from dust we came, and to dust we shall return—not in some morbid zombie sense, but because remembering the brevity of life and our mortality can help us live more holy lives. Long before the Eastern and Western Church split, and long, long before the Protestant Reformation, Christian believers observed this special season of penance. “Lenctentid” literally means both “springtide” and “March,” the month in which most of…

  • Engage

    Writing for Ministry: Ten Tips

           Also, part of loving others and reaching the widest-possible audience is using gender-inclusive language. The following statement, with which I heartily agree, is adapted from the syllabus of one of my colleagues: “All written submissions should strive to use male/female-inclusive language. As a gospel-shaped, gospel-centered community of learning, we have compelling reasons to think, write, and speak in such a way as to ensure that none are either intentionally or inadvertently excluded by our use of language. Consider using ‘humans,’ ‘persons,’ ‘humanity,’ or ‘humankind”’ rather than ‘man’ or ‘men’ when referring to humans in general. Consider alternating between the use of ‘he’ and ‘she’ as generic pronouns or substituting…

  • Engage

    About Bathsheba…

    Today I’m happy to feature Lindsay Ann Nickens, a budding Old Testament scholar at Dallas Theological Seminary, in this guest post about Bathsheba. Lust, betrayal, shame. These words often come to mind when we hear David and Bathsheba’s story. But 2 Samuel 11–12, where we find their story, is primarily—surprisingly—a war text. The story begins with a spring setting, at a time when kings customarily go to war to enlarge national boundaries and defend territories from invading kings (11:1). The Old Testament describes Yahweh as invested in defending Israel as a place solely devoted to his worship. Yet David chose to stay home during the war season instead of investing…

  • Engage

    Guess What Paul Has in Mind for Marriage?

    Today I’m happy to have as my guest Dallas Theological Seminary student Shena Ashcraft, who has spent the past semester doing an independent study focused on the Roman household codes and what they have to do with Paul’s instruction about marriage in Ephesians 5. For a video version of this content, go here. Rewind with me to the 1980s, when kids in classrooms and at kitchen tables were playing the classic board game, Guess Who? Both players chose a secret character card that the opposite player would try to guess by asking only yes or no questions. Their opponent had hinged pictures of all the characters in front of them…

  • Engage

    Savor Christ

    Today I’m happy to bring you a guest post from Dallas Theological Seminary students Makay Bergthold and Kristen Powell: If you could uncork a glass bottle of “Christmas,” what delightful scent would greet you? Gingerbread? A fresh-cut Christmas tree? The spices of cinnamon and cloves in hot apple cider simmering on the stovetop? Whatever your Christmas treat of choice, the opportunity to savor smells and tastes that bring pleasure may spark a happy memory that connects you to loved ones or a time in your life when Christmas was simpler or more joyful. For many adults Christmas no longer brings simple delights, but instead anxieties over expectations, potential family conflict,…