About James M. Arlandson

James (Jim) M. Arlandson, Ph.D., is lifelong learner and teacher. He has published a book: Women, Class, and Society in Early Christianity: Models from Luke-Acts (1997, now out of print). He is a student of biblical theology (but not a professional theologian) and a translator and commentator on the New Testament and an essayist and college teacher. Contact: drjimsebt@hotmail.com

What Is the Biblical Character of Worship at Church?

What should worship look like, biblically, in a church service? What are its component parts? Is the church today imbalanced by omitting some things? Included here is a teaching about prayer and intercession, based on the Lord’s Prayer.

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The Spirit in the Church and Believers

Renewalists have a robust and biblical pneumatology (doctrine of the Spirit). The church is a living organism, and the Spirit is guiding it. But the church is made up of individual believers. The Spirit works in them too.

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How to Get Past Your Past: Forget the Devil’s Playground

Do you remember when you messed up? When you got drunk and went too far? What about the flirtation that went too far? What about saying stupid stuff at the job or Thanksgiving? When you lost your temper? What about your bad behavior generally? What about that abortion? Shoplifting?

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Women in Ministry: Replies to Objections

Updated 11/03/2022: Here are twenty-eight objections in a list that Complementarians raise. Replies are given to each one. Many important verses are discussed here, like Genesis 1-3, Galatians 2:28, Ephesians 5:22-24, 1 Timothy 2:11-15, 1 Peter 3:1-7, 1 Corinthians 7 and 11:2-16 and 14:34-36.

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Who Were the ‘Sons of God’ in Genesis?

Who were the “sons of God” mentioned in Genesis? This post covers the “sons of the Most High” in Psalm 82 and the “sons of God” in Job 1-2 and other verses. Updated: This post also looks into the phrase “because of the angels” in 1 Cor. 11:10.

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God’s Love and Grace in Job, Psalms, and Proverbs

This is for your Bible study and sermon series and personal edification. All the words for love and grace in these three books of the biblical Wisdom literature are found here. Great for your personal edification or a series in a Bible study or sermons.

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Why Doesn’t Divine Healing Happen One Hundred Percent of the Time in This Age?

Yes, healing is “in” the atonement, like every biblical benefit. So why not 100% healing right now? (I updated this post.)

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Are Older Women Restricted to Teaching (‘Only’?) Young Women? A Close Look at Titus 2:3-5

How restrictive are those verses in the title? Does the Greco-Roman household offer any guidance for reading them? What about other verses in the NT?

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Women Really Did Work as–and Were–Overseers, Elders, Pastors: A Close Look at 1 Timothy 5:9-10

When we focus on the term “offices,” we overlook the vital truth that pastors (also called shepherds), elders, overseers (also called bishops) must do and be rather than just hold an office. The three titles are functional (doing) and spiritual and moral (being), more than formal (official). (We also take a look at 1 Peter 5:1-5 and 1 Timothy 3:11, 12-13).

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New Testament Restricts Authority of Modern Prophets

Yes, prophets of a certain sort rightly exist today, biblically speaking. However, errors are committed in many churches today, usually by “youtube” and “facebook” prophets. They are unscripturally concentrating too much authority in themselves. A closer reading of the New Testament, however, restricts them, their authority, and their ministry.

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From Charlemagne to Queen Elizabeth II

May she be welcomed into heaven because she put her faith in Christ! 1926-2022. Historians of the monarchs of Europe always include several genealogical tables. Here are some of them for your convenience. Further, each monarch massively influenced influenced the Western European church, and the church influenced them. Continue reading

Are Women Allowed to Teach Men? A Close Look at 1 Timothy 2:11-15

Certain interpreters of those verses in the title have restricted women’s full participation in the teaching ministry. But are these restrictions truly biblical? Let’s take a deeper look at the verses in the title.

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Yes, Junia Really Was a Female Apostle: A Close Look at Roman 16:7

The only reason this verse has become controversial is because Complementarians (those who restrict women from full participation in ministry) have made it controversial. But Rom. 16:7 is straightforward and clear and easily translated.

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7. Interpreting the Bible and Finding the Truth

The words “the truth” will shock postmodernists and deconstructionists. Good. But it asks: How do we study and interpret the Bible? How do we find truth which really is out there, around us? This post is a simple reply to claims of unsolvable ambiguities in the Bible.

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5. The Deconstructed Jesus

Deconstruction overturns privileged hierarchy and meaning. Defenders promise us that they do not practice Anything Goes in their deconstruction of texts. Do they keep their promise? How do we verify it? Click on this link only if you have courage.

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Acts 21

This chapter has all sorts of prophetic words about Paul going up to Jerusalem. He arrives there. The chapter also sees James, the (half-)brother of Jesus, tell Paul to go along with a vow to be a good witness to the law-keeping converts to the Jesus Movement, which he did. A riot promptly beaks out when he is spotted in the temple. In v. 16, Paul’s third missionary journey comes to an end, and his journey to Rome via Jerusalem begins in v. 17.

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1. Postmodernism and the Bible: Introduction

So begins an eight-past series. In the late 1980s or early 1990s, a pastor reported this conversation (as I recall it) between him and a woman from his large congregation. She apparently wanted him to approve of something.

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Acts 16

Paul begins his second missionary trip, with Silas. The Spirit leads Paul and Silas not to go into two big regions but to go to Macedonia; the salvation of Lydia and her household; the deliverance of an oppressed girl; a beating, Paul and Silas singing and praying in prison; an earthquake; and a jailer’s and his household’s salvation. Timothy and Luke join Paul’s team.

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Acts 15

The council in Jerusalem decided on how Gentiles could be saved. They held to four requirements, which were designed for peaceful fellowship between Messianic Jews and converted Gentiles. Paul and Barnabas split up. After this, Paul and Silas begin Paul’s second missionary trip, all the way to Acts 18:22. And Barnabas and Mark make a second team. Included: Timeline table of Paul’s journey coordinated with his epistles.

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Does Torah Really Order Girl to Marry Her Rapist against Her Father’s Will?

Scripture: Deuteronomy 22:28-29 and Exodus 22:16-17. Is the titled question true? Or are there circumstances that clarify what was really going on? A parallel case in colonial Philadelphia is also included here.

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Acts 13

This chapter is clearly transitional. In their first missionary journey, Barnabas and Saul go beyond Israel and Antioch and head westward. It includes worshipping and praying and personal prophetic words and spiritual warfare. It has Paul’s first recorded sermon, a masterpiece. This is Paul’s and Barnabas’s first missionary journey (to 14:28). Table: Paul’s travels which is coordinated with a timeline.

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7. Torah and Slavery: Marrying Captives of War

Scripture: Deut. 21:10-14. War was a fact of life in the ancient Near East. When a soldier whose army was victorious saw a woman he was attracted to, what could he do? The Torah regulates this cultural fact.

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6. Torah and Slavery: Foreign Slaves

Scriptures: Lev. 25:44-46 and Deut. 23:15-16 (and Exod. 21:16, again, with its parallel Deut. 24:7). As we have observed in this series, slavery was a cultural fact of the ancient Near East. When an Israelite bought a foreign slave or a foreigner residing among them, what were his obligations to care for them and what rights did the slaves have? This post also has two parallel cases in colonial Virginia.

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4. Torah and Slavery: What Happened When Masters Punished Their Slaves?

Scriptures: Exod. 21:20-21, 26-27; Lev. 25:43, 46. There were two cultural (and unpleasant) facts in the ancient Near East, long before the Torah existed: (1) Masters hit their slaves to punish them, and (2) slaves had secondary status. How does the Torah intervene and regulate those two pre-existing facts? (I also include cases of a servant girl dying allegedly from a beating and a servant boy who was flogged for theft, in colonial Philadelphia.)

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Acts 5

Ananias and Sapphira are instantly judged. God through the apostles worked many signs and wonders, and the people greatly honored the Messianic community. Some feared to join, but others did. Peter’s shadow was cast on them and miracles happened. The council arrested the apostles and put them in prison, but an angel released them. They went into the temple and preached but were rearrested. Gamaliel gave his speech urging caution about executing them. The apostles were flogged and released but never stopped preaching.

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3. Torah and Slavery: Impoverished Father Sells His Daughter to Be a ‘Secondary Wife’

Scripture: Exod. 21:7-11. In a culture of arranged marriage and widespread poverty, fathers in the ancient Near East did this long before the Torah existed. Now the Torah has to intervene and tell the men what the daughter’s legal rights were. This post also looks at polygamy.

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Acts 4

The council (Sanhedrin) arrest Peter and John and the healed man and threaten them. The two apostles say they must obey God instead of man. They return to the Christian community and report what happened. The whole community pray for boldness and share everything in common. The place where they met was shaken, and they are again filled with the Spirit.

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2. Torah and Slavery: Israelite Indentured Servants

Scriptures: Exod. 21:2-6; Lev. 25:39-42; Deut. 15:12-18. The Torah balances out fairness with generosity, yet it is still obviously situated in the ancient world–its own cultural context. It is always best to evaluate these ancient texts on their own terms and in their own times. Let’s see what we can discover. For comparison, this post includes the case of an indentured servant in colonial Philadelphia.

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Acts 2

The Holy Spirit arrives with great power at the festival of Pentecost. Peter preaches the first sermon after the birth of the church. He tells the Jewish pilgrims that they must repent and be baptized for the forgiveness of sins. Three thousand souls were added to the church. Then the earliest community shared everything in common, and more people were being saved.

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1. Torah and Slavery: Abraham, Sarah, and Hagar

Scripture to be studied: Gen. 16:1-4. Hagar was a handmaid to Abraham’s wife, Sarah. Critics claim that Abraham could have sex with Hagar whenever he wanted because she was a slave. This post also looks into polygamy. It also includes a case of a slave woman named Lucy and her three children in 1827-1828, South Carolina, America, just for a comparison.

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False Prophets in Sinai Covenant and Imperfect Prophets in New Covenant: Life and Death Differences

Youtube critics daily, it seems, call for the blood of Christian prophets who are mistaken about some of their prophecies. The critics read Deuteronomy 13 and 18 and demand the death penalty for their ministries. But what did Paul say about them? Let’s do a side-by-side comparison of the OT and the NT.

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What 1 Corinthians 14 Really Teaches

An old-fashioned Bible study here. There is a lot of confusion in certain quarters of the global Renewal Movement. How can we clear up the confusion? What did Paul really teach in 1 Corinthians 14? Are we willing to obey his teaching or just run roughshod over it?

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Women Teachers: New Translation and Reinterpretation of 1 Timothy 2

What if 1 Timothy 2:12-15 is not about women teaching and dominating men at church? What if it is about a husband and wife at home? Or does the house church merge the domestic and public spheres? What would that mean for church policy and women teachers out in public?

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Spiritual Sonograms: God Loves You and Your Baby

Whether you want your baby or not, God loves him or her, and he loves you. God can turn your Plan B into his Plan A, and make it better than your plans. Keep your baby, if you have an unplanned pregnancy.

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John 21

Jesus appears again, this time on the shore of the Lake of Galilee. He miraculously provides them with a catch of 153 large fish. He asks Peter three questions about his love and commitment. He predicts by what manner of death Peter would glorify God. He tells Peter not to get distracted by the beloved disciple’s future. The post-script says that the beloved disciple wrote the Gospel, and his testimony is true. Not even the world itself would have room for all the books to contain all the things Jesus said and did.

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What Do Romans 8:28-30 and 10:8-13 Teach about Predestination?

God initiates. We respond. We need both passages to clarify and balance out the other one. This is an old-school exegesis (pronounced EX-uh-gee-sus or ex-uh-GEE-sus), which means a close reading or analysis of a text.

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John 20

Jesus is raised from the dead. Mary Magdalene visits the empty tomb. She reports back to Peter, who visits the tomb, but the beloved disciple gets there first. They depart and Mary returns. She sees two angels in the tomb; then Jesus appears to her outside it. She clutches him, and he tells her to stop because he will not leave permanently at that moment. He commissions her to tell the other disciples. He appears to them and shows them his hands (wrists) and side. He exhales and says for them to receive the Spirit. He appears to Thomas. John lays out the purpose of the book.

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John 19

The chief priests and temple officers shout for him to be crucified. They back Pilate into a corner, saying that they have no king but Caesar. He reluctantly orders his crucifixion. The soldiers divide his garments. He hands his mother over to the disciple whom he loved. Jesus dies when he gives up his spirit. His side is pierced. Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus work together to bury him.

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John 18

Jesus is arrested in a garden and brought before the emeritus high priest Annas. Then he is led to the serving high priest Caiaphas. Next, Pilate questions him, finds no basis for an accusation against him, and intends to release him because of a Jewish custom. The Jewish establishment and their allies shout for the insurrectionist Barabbas to be released, instead.

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5. The Gospel Traditions

With this article (Part Five) we turn a corner away from archaeology and non-Christian written references to Gospel persons (the last three articles). Now we discuss the preservation of Jesus’ ministry — his words and activity — after his crucifixion (and resurrection) and up to the time when the Gospels were written.

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John 13

Jesus washes his disciples’ feet. He predicts Judas’s betrayal. Jesus gives them a new commandment: to love one another. He also predicts Peter’s three denials. Verse 31 begins the Farewell Discourse(s) all the way to 17:26. The chronology between John and the Synoptics and Passover and the crucifixion is also discussed here. They can be harmonized.

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John 10:34-36 and Psalm 82: Who Were the ‘Gods’ and ‘Sons of Most High’?

Who were the “gods” and “sons of the Most High” in Psalm 82:6? Whom does Jesus say they were in John 10:34-36? Many commentators offer their opinion, and they are unanimous about who they were not. Now what about–who they were?

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John 10

Jesus says he is the gate or door to the sheep pen. He says he is the Good Shepherd. He proclaims that he and the Father are one. The Father is in him and he in the Father. The religious establishment pick up stones to execute him prematurely. He replies to their mob mentality with Scripture. Ps. 82 is discussed in detail here in vv. 34-36. He withdraws.

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John 8

Jesus forgives a woman caught in adultery, saying to her accusers: Let the one without sin be the first to throw the stone at her. Jesus says, “I am the light of the world.” Knowing the truth will set you free. The Jerusalem establishment’s father is actually the devil. Jesus makes this startling pronouncement: “Before Abraham was, I am.”

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John 7

Jesus told his brothers that he was not (currently) going to this feast of Tabernacles, yet he went a little while later. Then he taught in public in the temple. Jesus challenged the rulers to judge with a righteous judgment and stop being lawbreakers who were seeking to kill him for (allegedly) breaking the law. They sent officers to arrest Jesus. The people’s opinion about him were divided. The officers returned and said his teaching was unprecedented, so they could not arrest him! Nicodemus steps forward and defends Jesus.

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Five Myths about Marijuana and You

These myths appear in college papers and online. The users are eager to believe they don’t have a problem, so they have invented an entire mythology about this plant. Here are only five myths and the arguments to explode the myths.

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John 1

In this chapter, we learn that the Word was God. The Word became flesh. John the Baptist testifies about Jesus and who John himself is not. John proclaims that Jesus is the lamb of God and the Spirit coming down like a dove. Two disciples follow Jesus, Andrew and an unnamed one. Andrew calls his brother Simon, and Jesus nicknames him Peter. Jesus calls Philip in Galilee, and Philip invites Nathanael.

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