“The Sin of the Scribes”
February 12, 2023
Faith Presbyterian Church – Morning Service
The Reading of the Word
This morning we continue in the Gospel of Mark as we come to Mark 3:22-30
Please do listen carefully, for this is God’s word for us this morning:
22 And the scribes who came down from Jerusalem were saying, “He [that is, Jesus] is possessed by Beelzebul,” and “by the prince of demons he casts out the demons.” 23 And he called them to him and said to them in parables, “How can Satan cast out Satan? 24 If a kingdom is divided against itself, that kingdom cannot stand. 25 And if a house is divided against itself, that house will not be able to stand. 26 And if Satan has risen up against himself and is divided, he cannot stand, but is coming to an end. 27 But no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.
28 “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, 29 but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin”— 30 for they were saying, “He has an unclean spirit.”
This is the word of the Lord. (Thanks be to God.)
“All people are like grass, and all their glory is like the flowers of the field; the grass withers and the flowers fall, but the word of the Lord endures forever.” [1 Peter 1:24-25]
Let’s pray …
Prayer of Illumination
Lord, our eyes long for your salvation
and for the fulfillment of your righteous promises.
Deal with us, your servants, according to your steadfast love,
and teach us your statutes.
We are your servants, and so we ask you to give us understanding,
that we may know your testimonies.
As we attend to your word now,
help us to love it more than gold, even much fine gold.
Make us to hold to your precepts as right,
and to hate every false way.
Grant this, we ask, in Jesus’s name. Amen
[Based on Psalm 119:123-125, 127-128]
Our text this morning is about the sin of the scribes. And our goal this morning is to understand that sin, to see how Jesus responds to it, and to understand what all of that means for us.
In our text itself, the scribes do something kind of startling. These religious leaders come up to Jesus – they travel a distance in order to see him, as we are told in verse twenty-two. And when they get there, they don’t deny Jesus’s miraculous power. They don’t question his abilities to do astounding things. They don’t quibble about the details of what Jesus is doing. Rather, they simply declare that Jesus is evil. They say that he is working not for God, but for Satan – for the devil – that is what is meant by the references to Beelzebul and the prince of demons in verse twenty-two. [Edwards, 119, 120]
Now … Jesus at this point has done some amazing things. He has helped and healed many people. He’s been a source of hope and new life for many. So why would the scribes claim that what Jesus is doing is the work of the devil?
To answer that question, and see how a passage like this applies to us, we need to consider five things – two from the words of the scribes, and three from the response of Jesus.
We’ll start with two things we need to see from the words of the scribes. And the first is the assumption. What is the assumption behind the scribe’s words here?
We can be tempted to treat the scribes as two-dimensional cartoonish bad guys. Why do they say something so bad? Well, because they’re the villains!
But it’s then that we need to remember that Mark is writing history. Which means that these scribes were real-life people like you and me. And, as author Sarah Schulman reminds us, it’s especially when we study historical characters who do things that feel inexplicable to us that we need to remember that “people do things for reasons, even if they are not aware of those reasons” and even if they would themselves deny those reasons. [Schulman, 15] Still the reasons are there. And we need to enter that complexity.
But I think we often want to avoid that. Digging deeper, allowing people who do bad things to be more complex can make them more relatable. Which can be scary. Because then we might see some of the seeds of their bad actions in ourselves as well. It feels much safer to think of such people as two-dimensional caricatures with nothing in common with us. But if we do that, we learn nothing from them. Instead, we need to ask ourselves: What is going on in their hearts, and do I see anything like that in my own heart?
With that in mind, we need to ask: What is going on in the hearts of the scribes? What is the logic they are following?
One commentator puts it quite plainly. He writes: “The logic of the scribes was simple: because they believed themselves to be God’s representatives, Jesus’ ‘secession’” – Jesus’s differences with them – “necessarily put him in allegiance to Satan.” [Myers, 165]
To put it a little more simply: The scribes’ starting assumption is that they are the good guys. Therefore, anyone who differs from them must be evil.
And when we put it that way, the scribes maybe don’t seem so foreign to us after all. In fact, their starting assumption is not so unusual. It’s pretty common for people to assume that they are the good guys in the story of their lives. And if they are the good guys, then whoever opposes or differs from them must be the bad guys – must be evil.
And that is the starting assumption of the scribes from Jerusalem.
They believe that they are the ultimate measure of what is good, and true, and right.
And Jesus, by this point in Mark’s Gospel has already demonstrated that he differs from the scribes on multiple issues. [See Mark 1:22, 2:6-7, 2:16, 3:2-6] And so, the scribes reason, if they are good, then Jesus must be evil.
And what lays this assumption bare is that when Jesus differs from them, it doesn’t seem to enter the scribes’ minds that he might be right, and they might be wrong. Their fundamental assumptions seem to be grounded in their own rightness and their own goodness.
And in that way, the scribes would fit in really well in twenty-first century America. Because across the cultural spectrum the one thing that so often unites us in our culture today, is the belief that each of us has as individuals that we are right, and we are good, and so those who disagree with us are evil or stupid.
Whether progressive, conservative, or centrist, it so often seems that almost everyone in our culture takes themselves – their own moral and intellectual instincts – as the ultimate standard of what is good and true and right.
And I use that word “instinct” intentionally. Because in many ways that is what it comes down to. Of course just about everyone has reasons they could give for why they believe what they believe. But the fact is that often our rational arguments follow our convictions rather than leading to them. [For a good display of this pattern, read Alisdair MacIntyre’s A Short History of Ethics] And even when they do lead to them, we are still stuck with the question of why we trust our own reasoning above everyone else’s.
And so, at the end of the day, the ultimate authority that many people appeal to is their own gut: their moral and intellectual instincts and preferences.
We don’t usually admit that out loud. But it can be kind of refreshing when someone actually does.
Years ago I came across that in the writings of Thomas Nagel. Thomas Nagel, an emeritus professor of philosophy at New York University, and an atheist.
In his book Mind and Cosmos Nagel identifies three possible explanations of how the universe, as it is, came to be. One possibility is that through various random causes and effects, it developed into what it is today by pure chance. A second possibility is that a Being greater than and outside of the universe (in other words, God) created the cosmos with the intention that it should be as it is. A third possibility is that there is something that is part of the nature of the universe that pulls it along a certain trajectory to be what it has become – an impersonal teleological force in the universe.
Nagel’s book then very thoroughly and very convincingly argues against option #1 – against the possibility that through various random causes and effects, the universe developed into what it is today by chance. That leaves options two and three: either the universe was made by God with intention, or some impersonal force within the universe determines its destination – its telos. And at that point in his argument, Nagel admits that while he does not himself have a convincing explanation for the universe’s direction without God, he will only be exploring option #3. In other words, he will only engage with an atheistic explanation for the universe, rather than consider one that involves God. [Nagel, Mind and Cosmos, 26, 58, 95, 121]
And in a moment of refreshing honesty, Nagel writes: “That, at any rate, is my ungrounded intellectual preference.” [Nagel, Mind and Cosmos, 26]
Nagel rejects the idea of God as an explanation. But he’s honest enough to admit that not only is his rejection based on preference – but his preference is not grounded in any evidence or argumentation. It’s rooted in his desire – in instincts that have led to that starting assumption.
And in another book titled The Last Word, Nagel is even more honest. There he explains openly: “I want atheism to be true.” “And,” he adds, “[I] am made uneasy by the fact that some of the most intelligent and well-informed people I know are religious believers. It isn’t just that I don’t believe in God and, naturally, hope that I’m right in my belief. It’s that I hope there is no God! I don’t want there to be a God; I don’t want the universe to be like that.” [Nagel, The Last Word, 130]
Thomas Nagel admits that when it comes to the question of God, he takes his gut-level instincts and preferences as his ultimate guide. And when he admits that, we need to recognize that what makes him unique is not how he lets his ungrounded assumptions guide him – what makes him unique is how honest and self-aware he is about it.
Because many follow that same pattern of thinking, though they rarely admit it. We see it at work here in the scribes. We see it often in other people we know. And if we’re honest, we can see it in ourselves as well.
It’s the assumption that we ourselves – that our gut instinct – is the ultimate measure of what is true, and good, and right. We are the good guys. And so whoever disagrees with us, whoever challenges us, must be evil.
Where do you see that assumption in your own heart and life?
When others disagree with you … when others challenge you … when others confront you … when others just seem to see things from a different angle than you do … how often do you honestly entertain the possibility that you may be mistaken … and how often instead do you have a gut-level reflex to reject what they say, and to assure yourself that you are right and good, and to think to yourself about how wrong, or deceived, or even evil this other person must be? How often do you unreflectively assume, in your heart, that your own moral and intellectual instincts are the ultimate standard of what is good and true and right?
That is the assumption of the scribes in our text. And it’s often our assumption as well.
That’s the first thing we see in our text.
That brings us to the second thing we need to consider about the sin of the scribes: its effect. What is the effect of this sin?
Now, there’s a lot we could say about how this assumption affects our communities, and our relationships, and our intellectual life. We could spend a lot of time on that. But that’s not the focus of our text. Our text is focused on a less visible but even more important effect of this assumption. It’s focused on how this assumption affects our relationship to God.
And what we see in our text is that when we begin with the assumption that we ourselves are the ultimate measure of what is good, and true, and right, then we can end up declaring that what God is doing is evil.
That is, after all, what we see here in our text. The scribes look at the Son of God, and what he is doing by the power of the Spirit of God, and they declare that his actions are evil – that what he’s doing is actually demonic.
And as wild as that sounds, when you consider the starting point of their thinking, it kind of makes sense. Because if you are the ultimate measure, in your heart and mind, of what is good, then anyone who opposes you must be evil. If you are the ultimate measure of truth, then anyone who disagrees with you must be a liar. And if you are the ultimate measure of what is right, then anyone who contradicts you must be demonic.
And so, if we follow through on that gut-level conviction, it can even lead us to declare that God himself is stupid, evil, and demonic.
There are a few ways we might commonly see this play out among us.
The first possibility is that it causes us to outright reject the God of the Bible. You may learn about the God of the Bible and as you do, you see that he is a God who sometimes disagrees with you. But if your foundational assumption is that you are the best judge of what is true and good and right, then you’ll need to reject the God of the Bible for disagreeing with you. More than that, you’ll be forced to conclude that the God of the Bible is a lie – a deception that will mislead people away from the truth. Which is pretty similar to the claim of the scribes here.
A second possible effect of the assumption that we are the ultimate measure of what is true, and good, and right, is that it causes us not so much to reject the Bible as a whole, but to try to edit it and the God it describes. Rather than letting the Bible tell us what is right and true, we take the Bible, and we accept the parts that we already agree with, and in one way or another, we edit out the parts where God dares to disagree with us. We might do that by questioning the validity of some portions of Scripture. We might do that by muddying the interpretation of some parts of Scripture. We might do that by just ignoring some parts of Scripture. But either way, we highlight some parts of the Bible and we try to silence other parts of the Bible. This can be a second effect if our starting assumption is that we ourselves are already the best measures of what is true and good and right.
Now here’s the real problem with both of those first two responses – whether we reject the Bible in full or we seek to edit it. In both cases, if God really is speaking by the Holy Spirit through the Bible (and he is), then we are essentially calling God himself a liar. We’re calling him evil. We/re saying that if there is a disagreement about what is good, and right, and true, between us and the Maker of the universe … then we are better judges – we are more reliable measures – of what is good and true and right, than the God who made us is.
We do the same thing, then, as the scribes.
But if neither of those patterns describe you, I think there’s a third way the assumption of the scribes might play out in our relationship to God. And that is that it might cause us to slander what the Holy Spirit is doing in the Church.
Whenever other Christians say or do things that disagree with us – whether in matters of doctrine, or in ethics, or in social engagement, or in something else – we need to be careful. Of course the forces of the world, the flesh, and the devil are always at work to twist the Scripture, and we need to be careful and on guard. That conviction is important. There’s nothing wrong with that conviction.
But where we can go wrong is when we assume that the world, the flesh, and the devil are all at work twisting the truth out there among other Christians … but they’ve never twisted our own views or perspectives. And so, whenever we encounter disagreement in the Church, we assume that God has sent us to correct them … and it never enters our minds that God might have sent them to correct us.
And that perspective, again, is remarkably similar to the perspective of the scribes in our text. And it’s very common among Christians today. If you assume that in any theological or ethical disagreement with other Christians, you have something to teach them … but they never have anything to teach you … then you too, have decided that you yourself are the ultimate measure of what is true, and good, and right. Sure, you’re rooting that in the Bible, which is good – but you’re basically assuming that you are the perfect (or at least the best living) interpreter of God’s Word.
But the Bible tells us that the Holy Spirit is at work in and through his Church. And that includes a lot more people than you. He is at work correcting and rebuking and maturing all God’s people. Because none of us are perfect. All of us not only do flawed things, but we believe flawed things. And the way God often addresses that is to correct us with his Word, by the Holy Spirit, through the ministry of other Christians – Christians different than us. And if we, in our minds, don’t even consider that as a possibility, then we are essentially saying that every time another Christian disagrees with us, their perspective is a deception from the devil. And so, those times when we are wrong, we may, in effect, attribute the corrective work of the Holy Spirit to Satan.
When we assume that we are the ultimate arbiter of what is true and good and right, it may lead us to reject the Bible, or try to edit the Bible, or to resist the Holy Spirit as he works through other members of the Church.
And when we do that, we are like the scribes in this text: we can end up declaring that what God is doing is evil.
So we see the assumption of the scribes and we see the effect that it has. Those are the two things we learn by looking at the words of the scribes.
Next, we need to consider what we learn from the response of Jesus. And there we see that Jesus does three things: he offers a challenge, a warning, and then hope.
First, he challenges their thinking.
And we see this in verses twenty-three through twenty-seven. There’s a lot in those verses. But when you look at Jesus’s overall argument you see that essentially what Jesus is doing here is he’s challenging the logic and the plausibility of the scribes’ claims. [Edwards, 121]
And he does that by exposing the implausibility of their claims, and then offering a more plausible alternative.
The first thing he essentially says in verses twenty-three through twenty-six is: “Does it really make sense that Satan is casting out his own forces? Does it really make sense that demonic forces are going around freeing people for demonic forces?” He first questions the logic and plausibility of their assertion. And then, in verse twenty-seven, he offers a much more plausible alternative: that it’s the opponent of Satan that’s battling Satan.
He basically says: “What makes more sense: That Satan is fighting against himself? Or that God is invading Satan’s house, and freeing those whom Satan has been oppressing?”
In other words, Jesus is asking, if they set aside those assumptions about themselves for a moment and look at what is actually happening … then what makes more sense? The obvious answer is that it makes more sense that God is the one freeing people from Satan, rather than Satan freeing people from Satan.
And in a similar way, Jesus calls us to consider whether our assumptions lead us to resist him, or to resist his Word, or to resist the ministry of his Spirit – if those assumptions behind our resistance really make sense.
If you reject the Bible in favor of your own spiritual and moral intuitions, then the question might go like this: “What makes more sense: That of the 8 billion people alive right now … and of the billions more who have existed before now on this planet … you of all people intuitively know the truth of God best of all … or that if there is a God, then he would choose to make himself known in a way that is more public than that … in a way that is available to billions of people over thousands of years, through his Holy Scriptures?”
If you want to edit the Bible, then the same challenge of reason might ask: “What makes more sense: That of all the particular cultures of all the world, yours has arrived at the exact correct combination of spiritual and ethical stances, so that where other cultures were wrong, you are so right that you can correct even the Scriptures themselves … or is it more plausible that if there is a God, then he would challenge and even offend every person, of every culture, in some way … because he’d know something more than we do … and so we should expect to receive correction from him, rather than give correction to him?”
Or if you think that Christians different from you can only be different because they are in error, then the challenge of reason may ask: “What really makes more sense: That of all the denominations and all the sects that have existed among God’s people over thousands of years, your particular subgroup is the one that got it all right … or is it more plausible that every part of the Church falls short, and that by the Holy Spirit God is constantly reforming and purifying his people through the ministry of his people – and therefore he is seeking to reform even you?”
In short, Jesus urges the scribes – and so he urges us – to be reasonable: to ask if our assumption that we are the ultimate measure of what is true and good and right is really plausible.
Because it’s not. It makes far more sense that God is doing something that is over and above us – something we need to receive rather than judge.
That’s the challenge Jesus puts to the scribes and to us.
Second, Jesus responds to the scribes with a warning. Because the sin of the scribes is not just unreasonable … It’s also cosmically dangerous.
We see this in verses twenty-eight through thirty. Jesus says: “‘Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter, but whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit never has forgiveness, but is guilty of an eternal sin’— for they were saying, ‘He has an unclean spirit.’”
Now Jesus’s statement here is a difficult one, and one that has been greatly debated. [Grudem and Schreiner, 1981-1982]
But in the context of this passage, and in the context of the Bible as a whole, I think we can get a fairly clear picture of what Jesus is warning about here.
It might be helpful to begin with what this sin is not. The sin described here is not something that someone can do accidentally, or in the heat of the moment, and then be barred from forgiveness even when you seek it with repentance.
As one commentator puts it, this passage and others like it “are not talking about a situation where someone is remorseful for sin and returns to the love of Jesus, and yet Jesus rejects him. […] [It] doesn’t mean that we really want to repent and can’t.” Instead, it’s describing a situation where “we harden ourselves and don’t want to repent.” [Leithart, Matthew, 255-256; See also Bavinck, RD, 3.156, 4.268]
As the theologian Herman Bavinck puts it, the blasphemy of the Holy Spirit that Jesus describes here “does not simply consist in unbelief, nor in resisting and grieving the Holy Spirit in general, nor in denying the personality or deity of the Holy Spirit, nor in sinning against better knowledge.” [Bavinck, RD, 3.156] Those are things that people do and are forgiven for in the Bible.
What’s being described here is much more than all that. It’s a final closing off of ourselves from the ministry of the Holy Spirit and his testimony in our lives. And so if you are deeply concerned that you may have committed this sin, and you want to seek God’s grace, then, by definition you have not committed the sin Jesus is speaking of here. [Edwards, 124]
Instead, Jesus describes here where the sin of the scribes ultimately leads. It’s not the beginning or even the middle of the path of their sin that he describes. But it’s the end of where that road will lead them if they persist. [Bavinck, WWG, 235] It’s the final destination of their sin. It’s the end result of a “persistent rejection of God,” a deliberate and willful rejection of and resistance to the Holy Spirit’s call to salvation. [Wilkens, 1845; Bayer, 1899; Grudem and Schreiner, 1982]
Because the scribes have assumed that they are the ultimate measure of what is good and true and right, they will label any correction that God sends them by the Holy Spirit as demonic. They will therefore reject every voice of correction the Holy Spirit sends. And if they persist in that sin, then they will never come to accept God’s word, or correction, or even his grace. They will never accept a real relationship with him. They will instead harden themselves, over and over, every time God sends them correction … until they finally make themselves unable to repent.
And that is a sense of what Jesus is describing here.
It’s a sin not just against the moral law – but against the gospel: a rejection of the good news of the gospel, and a refusal to embrace it. [Bavinck, RD, 3.156]
As one writer puts it, Jesus’s point is not that in certain circumstances God will refuse to forgive someone who is truly repentant of this sin. “It’s rather that if you decide firmly that the doctor who is offering to perform a life-saving operation on you is in fact a sadistic murderer, you will never give your consent to the operation.” [Wright, 38]
Jesus tells us that if we reject the ministry and the testimony of the Holy Spirit, and we do it again and again, and over and over we call his word a lie, and we call his work demonic, we can reach a point where we will never again entertain accepting his Word to us. Jesus lays that out that possibility for the scribes, and for us, as a warning. [Edwards, 124]
And if you right now are resisting the Lord’s correction … If you are insisting in one way or another that God cannot correct you, because you already are the measure of what is true and good and right, then you need to hear Jesus’s warning.
By his Word, the Lord is warning you that if you continue to resist him, you may come to the point where you no longer can repent. And that should scare you.
Because if you persist in trying to live apart from God, then the terrifying truth is that in the end God may give you what you ask for. If you ultimately refuse him, then he will, in the end, put you outside his presence for eternity. Into the darkness. Into the cold. Forever. Lacking the presence of your Maker. And lacking every good thing that he could give you. You will be isolated and alone. And it will be hell.
That, Jesus warns us, is where the road the scribes are on leads in the end. That is the final destination for all who persist in refusing to hear and receive God as he comes to you through the Holy Spirit. That is the warning you need to consider this morning.
So Jesus gives a challenge, Jesus gives a warning.
Third and finally, Jesus gives an alternative.
The alternative is to embrace him over ourselves, and to call out for him to rescue and forgive us.
Jesus here reminds us that he came to rescue people from Satan’s domain. And if we stop trusting in ourselves, and turn instead to him, he will rescue us.
In verse twenty-seven he says: “no one can enter a strong man’s house and plunder his goods, unless he first binds the strong man. Then indeed he may plunder his house.”
Sin, self-centeredness, self-righteousness, these are tools of Satan, the strong man. And left to ourselves, we are captives in his house. We cannot free ourselves. We are not strong enough.
But Jesus came to bind the strong man. Jesus came to plunder his house.
And so, if we want to be freed from our sins of self-righteousness and self-centeredness, we don’t begin by trying to free ourselves. We begin by appealing to Jesus. We begin by asking him to take us as plunder. We begin by asking him to rescue us from the strong man of sin and self-righteousness.
Now, even as we ask him for this, we must realize – if we know ourselves at all – that we don’t deserve Jesus’s help. We don’t deserve his rescue.
Which is why it’s important that here in this text Jesus not only offers us rescue, but he offers us forgiveness.
We can focus so much on verse twenty-nine of this passage that we miss the staggering power of verse twenty-eight. Listen to it again: “Truly, I say to you, all sins will be forgiven the children of man, and whatever blasphemies they utter.” Jesus is saying that whatever you have said, whatever you have done, if you repent – if you turn from your sin and unbelief, and you come to Jesus, and you embrace him by faith, then you will be forgiven by him. It doesn’t matter how terrible the things you’ve done have been. He says that for those who trust in him “all sins will be forgiven” – even terrible blasphemies against Jesus himself. And so, the second thing Jesus offers is forgiveness for all who trust in him. [Bavinck, WWG, 235]
And so we can ask Jesus to forgive us. We can ask Jesus to rescue us – to take us as his plunder.
But as we do that, we need to keep in mind that plunder doesn’t belong to itself. Plunder belongs to the one who takes it. When Jesus rescues us from sin and self-righteousness, we don’t become neutral and autonomous. Rather, we become his. But that too is good news.
Because all the things the scribes assumed they were … and all the things we so often assume we are … all those things we are not, Jesus actually is. He truly is good. He truly is right. He himself is Truth. And we are far better off belonging to him than we are belonging to ourselves. For he will show us the way of all truth. He will make us right. He will make us good. Not by our own power, but by the power of his Spirit. Not by our own intuitions, but by the truth of his Word. Not by our own merits, but by the gospel of his grace. We will experience it in part in this life, but we will experience it in full in the life that is to come.
That is the alternative that Jesus offers if we come to him in faith.
Where do you need to more deeply embrace that offer? Where have you been denying his correction? Where have you been resisting his word? Jesus here calls you to turn to him – to forsake your trust in yourself, and to ask him to forgive you and to rescue you.
Do not delay. But call to him now. Because he will bind up the strong man who holds you captive. He will take you to himself. And when you belong to him, then you will truly be free.
This sermon draws on material from:
Adams, Douglas. The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy in The Ultimate Hitchhiker’s Guide: Complete & Unabridged. New York, NY: Random House, 1979 (1997 Edition).*
Bavinck, Herman. Reformed Dogmatics. Edited by John Bolt. Translated by Jon Vriend. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2003-2008 (volumes 1-4)
Bavinck, Herman. The Wonderful Works of God. Translated by Henry Zykstra. Glenside, PA: Westminster Seminary Press, 1956 (2019 Edition).
Bayer, Hans. Introduction and notes to Mark in The ESV Study Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008.
Edwards, James R. The Gospel According to Mark. The Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2002.
Grudem, Wayne and Thomas R. Schreiner. Introduction and notes to Luke in The ESV Study Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008.
Horne, Mark. The Victory According to Mark: An Exposition of the Second Gospel. Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2003.
Keller, Timothy. Jesus the King. New York, NY: Penguin, 2011.
Leithart, Peter J. The Four: A Survey of the Gospels. Moscow, ID: Canon Press, 2010.
Leithart, Peter J. The Gospel of Matthew Through New Eyes: Volume One, Jesus as Israel. Monroe, LA: Athanasius Press, 2017.
Myers, Ched. Binding the Strong Man: A Political Reading of Mark’s Story of Jesus. Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2008 (2017 Printing)
Nagel, Thomas. The Last Word. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 1997.
Nagel, Thomas. Mind and Cosmos: Why the Materialist Neo-Darwinian Conception of Nature Is Almost Certainly False. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2012.
Wilkens, Michael J. Introduction and notes to Matthew in The ESV Study Bible. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2008.
Wright, N.T. Mark for Everyone. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2004.
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