Oct 24, 2016

Reading of the Gospels

George Guthrie discusses 6 ways to transform your reading of the Gospels here.

Oct 23, 2016

Vary Your Illustrations

Peter Mead reminds us to do just that here.

Oct 22, 2016

8th Century Papyrus Mentioning Jerusalem?

Apparently, an 8th century BC papyrus which mentions the word “Yerushalma” (possibly meaning “to Jerusalem”) has been discovered. You can read about it here.

Oct 20, 2016

Oct 19, 2016

Using Humor in Preaching

According to a recent Preaching magazine survey, humor is used quite often in preaching. Respondents were asked, "How often do you use humor in preaching?" Here are the results.

Frequently - 54%
Sometimes - 44%
Rarely - 2%
Never - 0%

An interesting follow up survey might relate to what kind of humor is used or used most frequently (e.g., jokes, sight gags, dry humor, etc.).

Oct 18, 2016

St. Luke's Day

See this post related to St. Luke's Day and the accompanying sonnet by Malcom Guite.

Video of the 2016 Advanced Expository Workshop

You can access all the sessions of the 2016 Advanced Expository Workshop here. This year's focus was on the book of Ruth. 

Oct 17, 2016

Top 10 Books Every Pastor Should Read

Here is a list of the top 10 books every pastor should read.

Oct 16, 2016

Biblical Foods

See this interesting article on biblically-related foods.

Oct 15, 2016

Provocative People in Proverbs

Tim Challies, building on the work of Lou Priolo, has a good discussion here of the provocative people of Proverbs.

Oct 14, 2016

Annotated Bibliography on the War Scroll

Not new, but some readers might be interested in this helpful annotated bibliography by Todd Scacewater on the War Scroll.

Oct 13, 2016

Larry Hurtado's Lanier Theological Library Lecture

The video for Larry Hurtado's recent Lanier Theological Library lecture entitled, “A New and Mischievous Superstition: Early Christianity in the Roman World” is now up. You can access it here.

Oct 12, 2016

Growing Theologically after Seminary

Scott Slayton has five excellent suggestions here for making sure that one continues to grown theologically after your time in seminary is over.

Oct 11, 2016

Two Articles on the Dea Sea Scrolls

Live Science has two articles here and here on the Dead Sea Scrolls. The first article highlights newly revealed Dead Sea Scrolls while the second addresses the possibility that at least some of these newly revealed scrolls are forgeries.

Oct 10, 2016

Don't Preach a Saturday Night Special

John Frye has a good caution here concerning the temptation of preaching Saturday night specials sermons.

Oct 8, 2016

Review of Eschatology: Biblical, Historical, and Practical Approaches

D. Jeffrey Bingham and Glenn R. Kreider, eds., Eschatology: Biblical, Historical, and Practical Approaches (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2016).

The volume under review serves two purposes. First, it is intended festschrift for Craig Blaising in honor of his sixty-fifth birthday. Second, it is intended to be, “an introductory, student-friendly textbook” on eschatology (p. 31). This work consists of twenty-six essays distributed into four sections: (1) The Doctrine of the Future and Its Foundations, (2) The Doctrine of the Future in the Bible, (3) The Doctrine of the Future in the History of Christian Thought, and (4) The Doctrine of the Future and Christian Ministry. As is typical with festschrifts, readers will find some contributions more profitable than others. The following review will be more selective than comprehensive and will in some sense reflect this reviewer’s interests.

The first section consists of four essays focusing on the doctrine of the future and its foundations. The section kicks off with an essay by Jeffrey Bingham, entitled, “The Doctrine of the Future and Canonical Unity; Connecting the Future and the Past.” This essay consists of two parts, (1) Marcion: Dichotomy and Discontinuity, and (2) Orthodoxy, Harmony, and Discontinuity. Although Bingham treats Marcion with more sympathy than is sometimes the case, he clearly points out that he was in error. After discussing the orthodox counters to Marcion, Bingham writes,
Essential to any Christian eschatology is a Christian philosophy of salvation history and or progressive revelation. This philosophy must account for the differences between the Testaments and dispensations without wandering into the forbidden territory of dichotomy and contradiction. This philosophy must produce a hermeneutic that reads the differences only in linkage with the fundamental concepts of unity: One God, Creator, and father, one Christ, and one history with a common subject and objective in its part. With such a philosophy and hermeneutic, we avoid doing dishonor, as Marcion did, to the one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, both God and human (p. 50).
Another essay of particular interest was Stanley Toussaint’s essay on hope. Toussaint argues that genuine hope must contain both desire and expectancy (p. 54) and then traces how these elements can be seen in the Old and New Testaments. Interestingly, Toussaint argues that the present tense “I Am” in Matthew 22:31–32 does not directly point to the resurrection of the Patriarchs but rather the passage as a whole points to the Abrahamic promises which require resurrection to fulfill (pp. 56–7). The chapters by Charles Ryrie and John and Stefana Lang provide a clear affirmation of the concept of predictive prophecy.

This is not so much a criticism per se, but I think that this section should be placed later in the volume. Methodologically, one should move from the Text to theology. Or in other words, I would switch the order of parts one and two. 

The second major section includes eight essays on eschatology in the Bible with four essays devoted to each Testament. In the Old Testament section, Daniel Block’s contribution focuses on Israel’s eschatological salvation in Deuteronomy. Unfortunately, although there is much to appreciate in his chapter, he downplays the messianic significance of the book, even rejecting a messianic reading of Deuteronomy 18:15–19 (p. 113, fn. 20). George Klein develops the concept of waiting on the Lord by a careful examination of the psalms and his explanation of waiting is, and is not, is valuable (p. 174). Mark Rooker’s chapter on the Prophets offers a solid introduction to Old Testament prophets.

In the New Testament section, Darrell Block surveys the Synoptic Gospels by looking at three broad areas; (1) sayings about the future, (2) Parables about the future, (3) the Olivet Discourse and the future, and (4) the future of the individual. David Turner’s essay on John’s writings, particularly John’s Gospel, argues that, “John’s interest is not so much to project what will be as it is to describe what is in light of what will be. What is anticipates what will be; what will be has already begun” (p. 212). Edward Glenny argues that, “Paul’s understanding of the future flows out of and is based upon the core belief that the ends of the ages had arrived in Christ” (p. 227). Similarly, David Allen’s examination of the eschatology in Hebrews and the General Epistles identifies a number of common elements in what is otherwise a fairly diverse group of writings (p. 262). Oddly missing from this survey of the New Testament is any detailed treatment of Acts and Revelation (although Revelation is touched upon in Turner’s essay). 

The third major section is devoted to the doctrine of the future in the history of Christian thought. Here, eleven essays cover a broad historical sweep, from the Apostolic Fathers to contemporary Evangelicalism. Most interesting to me were the chapters by Stephen Presley on the Apostolic Fathers, Justin Martyr and Irenaeus of Lyons and Friedhelm Jung and Eduard Friesen’s study on the doctrine of the future in contemporary European theology.

The fourth and final section related to the doctrine of the future and Christian ministry consists of three essays. Among them, the most helpful is probably Denny Autrey’s inquiry into how eschatology affects or informs pastoral ministry.

By way of broad evaluation, this is a good, but uneven, volume on eschatology. It functions well as a festschrift but is less suited in its desire to be a “student-friendly textbook” on eschatology. The treatment of eschatological content is uneven. Some aspects of eschatology have a fair amount of overlap between various essays whereas other areas are inadequately addressed or not addressed at all. This volume also lacks a glossary, indices, and visuals that would make it truly “student-friendly.” In sum, this work is probably more beneficial for those who are already familiar with biblical eschatology than for the beginning student.

Thanks to Kregel for providing the book used in this review.

Oct 7, 2016

Charles Ryrie's Bible Collection for Sale

Sotheby's will be auctioning Charles Ryrie's million dollar Bible collection on December 5 in New York. Items being offered "will include some 200 lots of manuscript and printed Bibles, ranging from the tenth-century “Benton” Gospels in Greek (estimate $50/$80,000) to a beautifully illuminated thirteenth-century Italian manuscript Bible in Latin (estimate $150/250,000) to two leaves surviving from the Gutenberg Bible, printed in Mainz about 1454 (estimate $50/70,000 each). But the core of the Ryrie Collection is the remarkable run of early English translations of the Bible, including multiple very rare early editions of the versions prepared by Myles Coverdale and William Tyndale, the latter of whom was martyred. Most remarkably, the Ryrie Collection includes a manuscript of John Wycliffe’s New Testament, produced in England about 1430 (estimate $500/800,000). The Authorized, or King James version is also well represented, including the tallest copy known of the first edition, from the celebrated library of Louis Silver (estimate $400/600,000). First and other early editions in many other vernacular languages are represented as well, including German, Spanish, Italian, Irish, Welsh, and the Indian Massachusett language." 

You can read more about the auction in this article. Start saving your shekels!

Oct 6, 2016

Hurtado on "The Distinctiveness of Early Christianity"

Those interested in reading a summary of Larry Hurtado's most recent book, Destroyer of the God's might want to check out this article in Catalyst magazine.

Oct 5, 2016

Gentlemen Theologians

Jason Duesing has a thoughtful post here on the lack of and need for "gentlemen theologians."

Oct 4, 2016

The Challenges of Higher Education

Faculty Focus has good post here sharing the results of a readers' survey on the challenges of teaching higher education. Although I did not participate in this survey, a number of the findings seem to be true to my own experiences.

Oct 3, 2016

Biblical Studies and Systematic Theology

Matt Emerson has a great reminder here that biblical studies and systematic theology are "covenanted friends."

Oct 2, 2016

Tel Lachish

Many of you may have already heard about some exciting discoveries at Tel Lachish announced a few days ago by the Israel Antiquities Authority here. There are a number of news reports out there. I would start here for additional information and here for the most pictures. You can also access a free PDF copy of Pamela Magrill's 2006 book, A Researcher's Guide to the Lachish Collection in the British Museum here but note that this is a listing of finds with no pictures.