Brief Insights on Mastering Bible Doctrine (Heiser)

This was probably some of his earlier blog articles and podcast series. Although aimed at the beginner, the student of many years can still glean some insights.

Splitter or Joiner?

Good news: we have multiple, independent written accounts of Jesus’s life and resurrection.
Bad news: they aren’t really saying the exact same thing.

Is this is a problem for inerrancy? Only if you have a wooden view of inerrancy. Our temptation is to join or harmonize the variant accounts in Scripture. The problem is that God chose not to do that. Maybe there is a teaching point to all of this…

Right Canon

The issue of the canon wasn’t as existential for the earliest Christians as it was for us. No one is using the same canon as Jude was. Jude quoted Enoch as authoritative. Aside from Ethiopians, no one is saying Enoch is canonical (and I suppose a case could be made that Jude didn’t consider Enoch as canonical).

Kingship and the Spirit

In the OT the presence of the Spirit often, but not always, came upon those who were anointed for royal service (1 Samuel 10:6, 8; 16:13). Therefore, in Psalm 51, David is not worried about losing his salvation when he asks for the Spirit not to be taken away. He is worried about losing the kingship and with good reason. What David did to Uriah and Bathsheba was as bad as anything Saul did.

Potter and the Clay

The potter does have power over the clay, yet the potter also allows the clay a choice (Jeremiah 18:7-8).

Death and the Fall

Romans 5:12 just says there was no human death before the fall. Presumably there were organisms in the plants. When Adam and Eve (and cattle) ate the plants, was there death?

Eternal Punishment

When Jesus said “the worm dieth not” (Mark 9:43, 48), he was quoting Isaiah 66:54. The contrast is between those who are slain and those who endure.” I think there is something to that, but the text is not as clear on this point as Heiser thinks it is.

He has a stronger case on Revelation 14:11, “the smoke goes up forever.” This is a reference to Isaiah 34:9,10). It is talking about Edom, yet Edom is not burning today.


It is a fun read with many thoughtful suggestions.


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