Jun 25, 2016

The Inscriptions of the Psalms

William Barrick does a nice job here of defending the inspiration of the inscriptions or superscriptions that occur in about 116 psalms.

Jun 24, 2016

Can You Over-Communicate?

Michael Hyatt says "no" and explains why here.

HT: Wayne Stiles 

Jun 23, 2016

Five Reasons to Study the Biblical Languages

Here is another reminder on the value of studying the biblical languages.

Jun 22, 2016

Sheep's Tails and Leviticus 3

See Seth Rodriguez's interesting post on sheep's tails and Leviticus 3 here. By the way, the post is illustrated with pictures taken from the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands. If you teach or preach the Bible then you really should be familiar with this resource.

Jun 21, 2016

Treasure in Heaven

Peter Leithart has some interesting comments here on the meaning of the phrase "treasure in heaven" (Matt 19:21).

Jun 20, 2016

Free: Putting Jesus in His Place by Rob Bowman and Ed Komoszewski

Putting Jesus in His Place by Rob Bowman and Ed Komoszewski, is free today as a Kindle book on Amazon. Use this link

HT: Dan Wallace

A Review of A Commentary on the Psalms: Volume 3 (90–150)

Allen P. Ross, A Commentary on the Psalms: Volume 3 (90–150), Kregel Exegetical Library (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2016).

This volume is the third and final installment of Ross’ commentary on the Psalms. The author is professor of divinity at Beeson Divinity School. I first became acquainted with Ross’ through his helpful commentary on Genesis, Creation and Blessing. I have also benefited from his Introducing Biblical Hebrew and Holiness to the Lord: A Guide to the Exposition of the Book of Leviticus. At one time, he had a number of helpful studies on the Psalms at Bible.org but those have been removed probably because of the publications of these volumes.

Ross states his intended design of the volume clearly. “I have written with pastors, teachers and serious students of the Bible in mind. That has guided my choices in how to present the material and how much detail to include, knowing that not all who use this commentary will have expertise in the biblical languages or foreign language resources. The selections made for the bibliography included in the third volume were made with the same idea in mind–what resources will be helpful and practical for biblical expositors to use in their study of the psalms” (p. 11).

The commentary itself is divided into five basic parts: (1) The author’s own translation and text-critical notes, (2) composition and context, (3) exegetical analysis (summary statement and outline), (4) commentary in expository form, and (5) message and application (including the New Testament implication). These five elements are ideally suited for helping the expositor move from text to sermon or lesson.

In general, five aspects are particularly commendable. First, Ross’ attention to the text is commendable. This is not as much a commentary on commentaries but a commentary on the text. Furthermore, the author consistently deals with the very issues that preachers and teachers would have about the text. Second, the superscriptions, when present, are taken as reliable guides for the background to the psalm. This is all too rare in recent treatments on the Psalms. Third, both the exegetical and homiletical outlines are presented in complete sentences. Complete sentence outlines force one to complete a thought rather than phrasal outlines that can lack precision. Fourth, Ross shows how each Psalm relates to the New Testament. Many commentaries do this for some Psalms but Ross does this for every psalm. Five, I really appreciate the fact that Ross uses footnotes rather than endnotes. Also, the more technical information is relegated to the footnotes so that the material is available but it does not interfere with the basic flow of the explanation.

My criticisms of this volume are fairly minimal. First, I wish the “applications” were consistently actual applications. In a number of cases, a principle is merely identified with little help on how one should apply the principle. Second, while the word study index is a nice feature, it is not user friendly. There is no page number given and it is unclear as to whether the specific word study is in the explanation or a footnote. Third, in at least one case, the exegetical summary and message which are supposed to be different are not always so (see pp. 81, 89).

These criticisms aside, Ross has provided a valuable tool for preachers and teachers. His three volumes might be the best mid-level (between technical and devotional) resource for preachers and teachers. While not inexpensive at a retail price of $49.99, one can take comfort in the fact that one is getting significant bang-for-the-buck.

Thanks to Kregel for providing the review copy used in this unbiased review.

Jun 18, 2016

Sling Bullets as a Terror Weapon

Although most of the research related to this article involves sling bullets found in Scotland, the article does point out that similar bullets have been around since biblical times. And bullets like these have been found in the Holy Land usually dated to the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

Jun 17, 2016

SBL Press Has a New Twitter Handle and a Blog

I just received this notice by email: 
SBL Press is pleased to announce that @SBLPress is on Twitter and that we have launched the SBL Handbook of Style blog. @SBLPress provides news of new publications, e-book releases, and special sales. The SBL Handbook of Style blog explains elements of SBL style, corrects errors in the second edition, and answers style questions unaddressed in the recent edition. 

Jun 16, 2016

The "Jesus Wife" Fragment in The Atlantic Monthly

Just in case you missed it, Ariel Sabar's article in The Atlantic Monthly seems to be the final nail in the coffin of the so-called "Jesus Wife" fragment.

Jun 15, 2016

Pastor Finds Perfect Bible Passage To Illustrate Movie Clip

Sadly, this "article" from Babylon Bee hits pretty close to how some approach sermon writing.

Jun 14, 2016

Luke-Acts or Luke–Acts and the Proper Use of the Hyphen

I found this article on proper use of the hyphen at The Chronicle of Higher Education more interesting than I probably should. I remember that during the writing of my dissertation, a serious discussion took place over whether it should be Luke-Acts with a hyphen or Luke–Acts with an en dash or en-dash (I have seen it spelled both ways). It was decided that Luke-Acts with a hyphen should be used when referring to these two books as a unity. But Luke–Acts should be used when referring to Luke through Acts as it relates to contact. That is shaving with mighty fine razor!

Jun 13, 2016

Hurtado on Coins and Early Christianity

Larry Hurtado has an interesting post here on "Coins and Early Christianity." It looks like defacing money goes way back.

Jun 11, 2016

The Book of Ruth and Sexual Ethics

Some might be interested in Olivia Friedman take here on the Ruth story.

Jun 10, 2016

Baylor University Press Sale

Baylor University Press is having a three-day (June 10-12), 50%-off, sale starting today with two caveats: (1) the sale items only include titles published before 2015, and (2) you must use the code BJUN. You can access the sale here.

There are some good options including a number of titles in the Baylor Handbook of the Greek/Hebrew Texts.

Jun 9, 2016

Piper's Six Favorite Books on Romans

You can read about John Piper's six favorite books on Romans here.

Jun 8, 2016

The New Testament's Use of Psalm 8

Lindsay Kennedy has an interesting post here on the New Testament's use of Psalm 8.

Jun 6, 2016

Prayers of Paul

Here are ten prayers of Paul for God's people.

Jun 5, 2016

Emoji Translation of the Bible

This is not a translation I would recommend but you can read about a new emoji translation of the KJV here. Or you can visit the website here. "For God so loved the world" is rendered as, "4 😇 so 😍 the 🌎".

Jun 4, 2016

Psalms Resource

Dr. William Barrick has posted some excellent excellent material related to the Psalms. So far he only has Psalms 1 and 2 but apparently the plan is to go through the entire Psalter. You can check it out here.

Jun 3, 2016

Improve Your Preaching

Kevin DeYoung offers so good advice here on how to improve one's preaching.