Articles by Paul Ellis

Update: Paul’s New Book


For the past year and a half I have been writing a book on the gospel of Jesus. I’m happy to announce – it is finished! Great! What’s the new book called? Letters from Jesus: Finding Good News in Christ’s Letters to the Churches. Who picked the name? You did. Probably. A few weeks ago I ran a poll on [...]

The Gospel of Jesus in the Story of Job


Imagine you wanted to turn the story of Job into a play, but not a historical play. You have no interest in telling the old story of a man who was robbed and suffered. You’re much more meta than that. No, you want a gospel play. You want to tell the good news story of Jesus using characters from the story [...]

Is Job a Type of Jesus?


The Bible contains pictures of Jesus on every page. Indeed, one of the reasons why I enjoy reading the scriptures, is they reveal much about the character of Christ. But what about the story of Job? Where is Jesus in that? A couple of readers suggested that Job represents Christ in this story. I have to confess, [...]

What is the Sign of the Son of Man in heaven?


What do you make of these words of Jesus? Then will appear the sign of the Son of Man in heaven. And then all the peoples of the earth will mourn when they see the Son of Man coming on the clouds of heaven, with power and great glory. (Matthew 24:30) What is this prophecy about? And what is the sign of the Son of [...]

The Parable of the Fig Tree (Luke 13:6–9)


A man had a fig tree, which had been planted in his vineyard, and he came looking for fruit on it and did not find any. And he said to the vineyard-keeper, “Behold, for three years I have come looking for fruit on this fig tree without finding any. Cut it down! Why does it even use up the ground?” And he [...]

The Blood of Righteous Abel (Matthew 23:35)


Does God punish nations for the sins of their forefathers? Did God punish Israel for killing his prophets? It seems like it when you read these words of Jesus: Therefore, behold, I am sending you prophets and wise men and scribes; some of them you will kill and crucify, and some of them you will scourge in your [...]

Forty Fulfilled Prophecies


Here’s a quiz question: When Jesus came riding into Jerusalem on a donkey, was he received as (a) the long awaited Messiah, or (b) a prophet? It might surprise you, but the answer is (b): When Jesus entered Jerusalem, the whole city was stirred and asked, “Who is this?” The crowds answered, “This is [...]

Did God Ruin Job? (Job 2:3)


Pop quiz: Which Biblical character has attracted the most comments on this blog? Yes, it’s Job, which tells me that the story of Job-who-lost-everything is one of the most divisive in scripture. For the past eight years, I have maintained that God was not complicit in the ruin of Job. God did not rob him, kill [...]

Branches are Not Sticks: Why God Will Never Cast You Away


“Whoever comes to me I will never cast away” (John 6:37). Jesus promised he would never cast away those who come to him, yet some people fear he might. Because Jesus is fickle and he changes his mind a lot. Of course, that’s not true, yet some worry that it might be true, because of what he said here: If [...]

Why Flee to the Mountains?


When trouble comes, you have two choices: fight or flight. Fleeing is the underrated choice. In these days of belligerence and bullying, the temptation is to fight or die. Yet Jesus told his disciples that there would be times when fleeing is the better option: Whenever they persecute you in one city, flee to the [...]

Is God the Author of Evil?


Whenever I tell people that God-is-all-the-time-good, I am invariably rebuked by those who say he isn’t. And they’ve got the scriptures to prove it. Job 1:21 says God robbed Job 1 Samuel 2:6-7 says God makes people poor and kills them Exodus 4:11 says God gives people disabilities Isaiah 45:7 says God is the [...]

Every Knee Shall Bow: Was Paul a Universalist?


Here’s a verse to fire the imagination: It is written: “As surely as I live,” says the Lord, “Every knee will bow before me; every tongue will acknowledge God.” (Rom. 14:11) What picture comes to your mind when you read these words? Some see this verse as pointing to universal salvation. “Everyone who [...]