Differences between You and Others That God Uses to Reveal and Change Your Heart

  1. “personal hardwiring that the Creator has formed in each of us”
  2. “viewpoints, instincts, and tastes that have been formed in us through the experiential, cultural, and relational influences that we have lived in and which have formed the way we see the world and respond to it”
  3. “personal sin and weakness” and “our growth in grace”

Paul Tripp lists those “tools of difference” with reference to marriage, but they apply more broadly to any relationship (What Did You Expect? Redeeming the Realities of Marriage , p. 215).

Malcolm Gladwell

I recently listened to four fascinating audiobooks by Malcolm Gladwell, and it was time well spent. Gladwell writes well and offers accessible yet penetrating insights about human nature and the world we live in.

From his bio:

Malcolm Gladwell has been a staff writer with The New Yorker magazine since 1996. His 1999 profile of Ron Popeil won a National Magazine Award, and in 2005 he was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 Most Influential People. He is the author of four books, The Tipping Point: How Little Things Make a Big Difference (2000), Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking (2005), and Outliers: The Story of Success (2008), all of which were number one New York Times bestsellers. His latest book, What the Dog Saw (2009), is a compilation of stories published in The New Yorker.

Amazon | Summary | Wikipedia [Read more…]

How Should We Interpret the New Testament’s Graphic Descriptions of Hell?

I attempt to answer that question in the latest 9Marks eJournal: Hell: Remembering the Awful Reality [PDF | HTML].

“Hellfire and Brimstone: Interpreting the New Testament’s Descriptions of Hell.” 9Marks eJournal 7:4 (September–October 2010): 16–19. [PDF | HTML]


The New Testament graphically and horrifically describes hell. And that raises a thorny question: How should we interpret those dreadful images? May we simply label them “metaphors” to soften their bite?


  1. How does the New Testament describe hell? [five ways]
  2. How do people interpret the New Testament’s horrific descriptions of hell? [three ways]
  3. How should we interpret the New Testament’s horrific descriptions of hell? [two of the three ways are plausible]


We may disagree about some finer nuances of our literal and metaphorical interpretations of hell’s darkness, fire, and suffering, but we should agree that, at the very least, the New Testament teaches that hell is eternally miserable, terrifying, and painful. It’s certainly no better than being cast into literal “outer darkness” or being tormented with literal “fire and sulfur.”