Does God send good people to hell?

A reader asks this about good people: There seem to be a lot of good people doing kind things out there; it’s hard to believe they will be condemned to hell because the only way there is Jesus. I reconcile myself with knowing my Savior is 100% good. But does God send good people to […]

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Was Martha’s sister Mary a prostitute?

Was Martha’s sister Mary a prostitute? What about Mary Magdalene? Was Martha’s sister Mary the same person as Mary Magdalene, from whom seven demons were cast? I hear these questions surprisingly often. Here’s why. The gospels have an account of Mary of Bethany—the sister of Martha and Lazarus—anointing Jesus’ feet and wiping them with her hair, and […]

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Encouraging More Talk in Quiet Discussion Groups

A small group leader asks: “My discussion group is quiet, and I seem to be doing most of the talking. The group members complete a workbook at home, but they’re not sharing their answers much. Do you have any ideas about how to encourage more discussion?” This is a question I’ve spent a lot of time praying […]

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How to Choose Discussion Questions

Last week a small group Bible study leader asked me how I choose discussion questions from workbooks. These workbooks typically have chapters with five or six daily lessons that group members complete at home and plan to discuss when they meet. You can’t ask all the questions: there isn’t time. But it’s essential to get through all […]

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Did Joshua Cause Leap Years?

This question came up in my summer Bible study on The Story: Did Joshua cause leap years by praying for the sun to stop? Christians naturally want to pass along any information that might influence agnostic friends to trust the Bible. That’s great when the details are solid, but sometimes inaccurate claims bounce around, and […]

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Telescoped Genealogies: Was Rahab the Mother of Boaz?

Recently in a discussion about the Bible’s book of Ruth, this question came up: Was Rahab the mother of Boaz? Rahab, you probably remember, was the Canaanite prostitute who hid the Israelite spies. In the book of Ruth, the young Moabitess Ruth cares for her Israelite mother-in-law Naomi. Both are destitute widows. Ruth accompanies Naomi […]

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Sins of the Fathers?

Does God punish innocent children to the third and fourth generations for the sins of the fathers? Last week, someone asked several questions about children being punished for their parents’ wrongdoings, including whether events in Jewish history were examples of this and whether he should be concerned that he’ll suffer for his parents’ and grandparents’ sins. […]

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Why God Says No: A 3 Dog Tale

Sometimes God tells us No to test whether our hearts are faithful and obedient. Imagine a master dog trainer who supplies dogs to the ATF, DEA and police is training a newly hired apprentice. The trainer points to three calmly sitting dogs and says, “We just received these dogs that received their initial training elsewhere. […]

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Why God Says No: To Teach Eternal Purpose

Why does God sometimes say No to things we seem to really need for peace and happiness? Many years ago a small business I worked for shut down unexpectedly, leaving me unemployed in the middle of a recession a few months before I was to be married. I had a tough time finding a new […]

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