Revelation 5 – Worthy is the Lamb!

July 14, 2013

While Revelation 4 focused on the worth of the Creator who sits on the throne, Revelation 5 turns our attention to the dramatic investiture of the one who is worthy to break the seals and unroll the scroll. Revelation 4 portrays the reality of the heavenly throne room where the sovereign God, sitting on the throne, […]


Revelation 4 — Bowing Before the Throne

July 7, 2013

Revelation 4-16 gives us eyes to see the conflict between the kingdom of God and world powers with the eyes of God. We see the conflict between the kingdom of God and the kingdoms of this earth from a heavenly perspective; we see it from the throne room of God. John, “in the Spirit,” is […]


Psalm 84 — The Blessedness of Assembly

April 13, 2013

This Psalm uses the language of love poetry; it has an “erotic intensity” (Robert Atler, The Book of Psalms, 297). “How lovely are your dwelling places,” the Psalmist exclaims. The term “lovely” is related to the Hebrew terms for “lover” and “lovemaking.” It describes the “love song” between the King and his wife in Psalm […]


Psalm 63 – Longing for Assembly

April 12, 2013

The ancient compilation Apostolic Constitutions (2.59) advises believers to gather for daily worship and to open their service with Psalm 63. Reflecting the same time period (ca. 400 CE), Chrysostom reports that believers sang this Psalm at the begining of their morning assemblies (Commentary on Psalms, cv. 63). It is still part of the communal daily morning […]


Tolbert Fanning on Evangelists and the Lord’s Day

April 5, 2013

Brother “J. R. W.” of Kentucky tossed Tolbert Fanning a softball in the June 1858 issue of  the Gospel Advocate (pp. 170-171).  It was a subject he had constantly addressed as an editor and evangelist. It was one of the great themes of his life beginning with his time as an evangelist supported by the Nashville […]


Antebellum Middle Tennessee and the “Lord’s Day” I

March 27, 2013

During the summer of 1858 Tolbert Fanning, President of Franklin College and a leader in Middle Tennessee for over twenty-five years, toured the congregations surrounding Nashville. He recounts this tour in the September 1858 edition of the Gospel Advocate (“Prospects in Middle Tennessee,” pp. 257-263). He visited Hartsville and Bledsoe’s Creek congregations in Sumner county; Lebanon […]


Amos 5:18-27: The First Woe

March 21, 2013

This text begins the third major section of Amos. In the first section (Amos 1-2) the prophet addressed eight nations and climaxed his message with an extended application to Israel. In the second section (Amos 3:1-5:17) the prophet declares the word of the Lord in three brief speeches (“hear this word” in 3:1, 4:1 and […]


19th Century Middle Ground: Women in the Assembly

February 11, 2013

Benjamin Franklin (1812-1878) was the leader of northern conservatives in the mid-19th century within the Stone-Campbell Movement. His American Christian Review was the most widely read periodical of the movement after the Civil War. He led the fight, for example, against the introduction of instrumental music into worship assemblies and grounded the argument for an exclusive “five public […]


Haggai 1:1-11 — “It is Not Yet Time,” the People Say.

June 1, 2012

Haggai, whose name derives from the Hebrew word for “feast” (hag), delivers this first oracle on the first day of the sixth month in the second year of Darius the Persian Emperor, that is, August 29, 520. The significance of this date is that it is the monthly New Moon festival; this was a holy […]


New Testament Hymns

February 5, 2012

The early church, even as its Scripture was being written, expaned the Hebrew Psalter to include their own faith-hymns. Some (like Luke’s Canticles) are squarely rooted in the Hebrew traditions though with a Christological application and others reflect the new situation of the people of God in the church as the story of Israel is […]