Developing a Relationship with God the Holy Spirit — What Do We Learn from 2 Peter about the Holy Spirit?

A Hymn That Challenges All Hymns

Begin by reading this amazing passage in Philippians 2:6-11, considered by many to be an early Christian hymn.

Phil. 2:6    Though he was in the form of God,
he did not consider being equal with God something to exploit.

7 But he emptied himself
by taking the form of a slave
and by becoming like human beings.

When he found himself in the form of a human,
8 he humbled himself by becoming obedient to the point of death,
even death on a cross.

9 Therefore, God highly honored him
and gave him a name above all names,

10 so that at the name of Jesus everyone
in heaven, on earth, and under the earth might bow

11 and every tongue confess that
Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.

Read more:

Peter has a Rough Night


Matthew 26:69-75

Quite a lot has taken place since Jesus told the disciples that they would disown Him. Quite a lot has taken place since Peter objected to that and Jesus told him he would deny Jesus three times that very night.

Jesus has been arrested, tried in a joke of a trial and been found guilty of blasphemy and condemned to die; Peter was outside listening to the proceedings. You might recall that when Jesus was arrested, Peter drew his sword and cut off the ear of one of the guards, but Jesus had stepped in to stop Peter, replacing the man’s ear. Then Jesus told the crowd off for not doing their foul deeds in public, and Peter, along with the other disciples had fled the scene.

The disciples had learned a great deal over the past few years from Jesus, but in spite of at least three warnings, they hadn’t quite gotten the point of Jesus’ mission as the Messiah; that He had come not to conquer the Romans and restore Israel as a Nation of the earth, but instead had come to conquer sin and death and establish a Kingdom not of this world. Jesus told the group about His real mission three times, each of which ended by Jesus telling them He was going die at the hands of the Jewish leaders, and then rise again from the grave on the third day. Yet in each instance, the disciples reacted to His death prediction and apparently didn’t notice the resurrection prediction.

Peter now knew that Jesus was about to die, but the resurrection part of the story still eluded him. Remembering Jesus’ words of earlier that evening, he now creeps of and weeps bitterly over his own rejection of his Master in front of those in and around the place of His trial. For Peter, relief from his agony was still far off, but he wasn’t the only one having a bad night; Judas, the betrayer was having a worse night.

Comment for Don’s blog and leave comments at:

What Do We Learn from the Gospel of MARK about the Holy Spirit?

Podcast – Four Steps to Proper Biblical Interpretation

Is Bart Ehrman Right When He Says Ephesians And Colossians Were Forged?

Does the New Testament Really Have a Unifying Centre? Maybe, Maybe Not!

One of the problems with coming up with a New Testament Theology is the many diversities within the New Testament, this poses a genuine problem for interpreters who are trying to identify a theological core in the New Testament, but the problem is not insurmountable.

To restate the problem, the differences across the New Testament collection are well rehearsed: Paul versus the Jerusalem church, the Synoptics versus John, the Lucan Paul and versus the Paul of the epistles, John the Elder vs the docetists and secessionists, and then in the second century the proto-orthodox church versus the Valentinians, Marcionites, and Ebionites. Concrete examples of this diversity and divergence in the New Testament are not hard to find. Although I am convinced that one can easily reconcile James’ and Paul’s account of “faith” and “works,”[1] nonetheless, one will have to admit that they differ markedly over the application of Gen 15:6 to Christ-believers. Whereas James incorporates a standard Jewish interpretive strategy of reading Gen 15:6 in light of Gen 22:9-18 (see 1 Macc 2:52), this is an approach that Paul explicitly rejects in Romans 4 and Galatians 3 whereby Paul disallows any attempt to read Abraham’s subsequent act of obedience back into Gen 15:6 or otherwise it would make salvation based on works and not grace. Similar disparities emerge if we look at different views on food sacrificed to idols in the New Testament. The Jerusalem council (Acts 15:28-29) and words of the risen Jesus according to John the Seer (Rev 2:14, 20) expressly forbid eating food sacrificed to idols, whereas Paul treats it purely as a matter of personal conscience (1 Cor 8:1-13; 10:25-33; Rom 14:15-23). This arguably signifies different strategies for negotiating the contamination of idolatry even if everyone agreed that idolatry should be avoided. It is diversities such as these – as well as genre, perspective, situation, intertextuality, and rhetoric – that also pose a serious challenge to identifying a theology nucleus or a type of theological centre to the New Testament. How does one find a theological centre in diverse and sometimes disparate materials? Afterall, what is prominent in Paul might be peripheral to Peter. What is affirmed in Paul and Luke-Acts (Christians can live peaceably under the aegis of the Roman empire) might be repudiated in the Apocalypse of John (Christians long for the empire to be burned to the ground). What is judged to be the central message of the New Testament might not even appear in the theology of the epistle of Jude. For many scholars, a New Testament theology is merely the chronicle of a cacophony of irreconcilable conflicting interpretations and plays for power.[2] To be honest, I think it is clear that trying to curate the New Testament into a tidy and timeless theology with a homogenous core is deeply problematic because of the New Testament’s inherent diversities, the on-going and often unresolved debates taking place, and even the developments of views held by New Testament authors.