Aug 30, 2016

Sermon Quality and Choosing a New Church

The Pew Research Center recently put out this study on what Americans are looking for in choosing a new church. This study is interesting at a number of levels but I was most interested in what it had to say about preaching. For example, "Among U.S. adults who have ever looked for a new house of worship, about eight-in-ten say the quality of sermons (83%) or feeling welcomed by clergy and lay leaders (79%) played an important role in their choice." Unfortunately, this survey did not indicate what people meant by "quality sermons." Some of those surveyed also noted that they were looking for churches that offered "preaching from the Bible." Which is both encouraging and disappointing. It is encouraging in that at least some are looking for biblical preaching. It is disappointing in that biblical preaching is not a given. In any case, to borrow from Mark Twain, the reports of the death of preaching seem to have been greatly exaggerated.

Aug 29, 2016

Aug 28, 2016

Writing Tips for Pastors

This post discusses the following five tips.

1. Make Writing a Priority
2. Don’t Waste Your E-Mail
3. Send Helpful Newsletters
4. Share Your Devotions
5. Thorough Sermon Notes or Manuscripts

Aug 27, 2016

The Divisions of the Bible and Talmud

This article discusses the divisions of the Bible and Talmud. Many Bible students are familiar with the work of Stephen Langton is often credited (and sometimes blamed) for giving us the chapter divisions we now have in our Bibles. The issue is a actually bit more complicated than that which you can read about here. But what I actually found more interesting was that the distinctive page layout of the Talmud is apparently the creation of a Christian printer.

Aug 26, 2016

J. Alec Motyer (1924–2016)

J. Alec Motyer has gone to be with the Lord. I only knew him from his writings, especially his commentary on Isaiah. You can read more about Motyer here.

How to Read the Textual Apparatus in UBS5

My friend and colleague, Dr. David Hutchison, has created the following helpful video explaining how to read the textual apparatus in UBS5 using 1 John 1:4 as an example.

Aug 25, 2016

So You Want to Buy the New Logos 7?

See this story by Babylon Bee. The sad thing is that it is not too far from the truth!

A New Understanding of the Shape of the Tabernacle

Here is an interesting take on what the tabernacle might have looked like. I am not convinced this new understanding is correct but I appreciate the attempt to take the details of the text seriously.

Aug 24, 2016

Jacob Neusner

Those who are well-versed in biblical studies are familiar with the name Jacob Neusner. To say that Neusner is prolific is an understatement. But the man himself is a controversial and complicated character evidenced by a recent bibliography that you can read about here.

Aug 23, 2016

The Pursuit of Perfectionism Versus Excellence

See David Murray's post here on the difference between the pursuit of perfectionism and the pursuit of excellence. 

Aug 20, 2016

Latest Issue of Review of Biblical Literature

The latest issue of Review of Biblical Literature is out. Reviews can be accessed by clicking the links below but unfortunately you must be a SBL member.

Jonathan Ben-Dov and Seth Sanders, eds.
Ancient Jewish Sciences and the History of Knowledge in Second Temple Literature
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10586
Reviewed by John J. Collins

Athalya Brenner-Idan, ed.
Discourse, Dialogue, and Debate in the Bible: Essays in Honour of Frank H. Polak
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10229
Reviewed by Max Rogland

Rodney J. Decker
Mark 1–8: A Handbook on the Greek Text
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10277
Reviewed by J. Andrew Doole

Crispin Fletcher-Louis
Jesus Monotheism: Volume 1: Christological Origins: The Emerging Consensus and Beyond
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10588
Reviewed by Larry W. Hurtado

Jonathan I. Griffiths
Hebrews and Divine Speech
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10211
Reviewed by Bryan J. Whitfield

George A. Kiraz and Joseph Bali, eds.; Gillian Greenberg and Donald M. Walter, trans.
Ezekiel according to the Syriac Peshitta Version with English Translation
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10879
Reviewed by Jerome A. Lund

James M. Leonard
Codex Schøyen 2650: A Middle Egyptian Coptic Witness to the Early Greek Text of Matthew’s Gospel: A Study in Translation Theory, Indigenous Coptic, and New Testament Textual Criticism
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=9947
Reviewed by Uwe-Karsten Plisch

Michael Lyons
An Introduction to the Study of Ezekiel
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10544
Reviewed by J. Michael Thigpen

James R. McConnell Jr.
The topos of Divine Testimony in Luke-Acts
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=9954
Reviewed by Kyle R. Hughes

Jennifer Houston McNeel
Paul as Infant and Nursing Mother: Metaphor, Rhetoric, and Identity in 1 Thessalonians 2:5–8
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=9921
Reviewed by Trevor Burke

Ari Mermelstein
Creation, Covenant, and the Beginnings of Judaism: Reconceiving Historical Time in the Second Temple Period
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10202
Reviewed by Stewart Moore

J. Richard Middleton
A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10136
Reviewed by J. P. Davies

Jutta Noetzel
Maleachi, ein Hermeneut
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10668
Reviewed by Thomas Hieke

Daniel R. Schwartz
Judeans and Jews: Four Faces of Dichotomy in Ancient Jewish History
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10332
Reviewed by Lester L. Grabbe

Charles Anthony Stewart, Thomas W. Davis, and Annemarie Weyl Carr, eds.
Cyprus and the Balance of Empires: Art and Archaeology from Justinian I to the Coeur de Lion
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10046
Reviewed by Young Richard Kim

Aug 19, 2016

The Limitations of Strong’s Concordance for Word Studies

Gary Shogren has a good reminder here of the limited value of using a Strong's Concordance for understanding the meaning of Hebrew or Greek terms. 

Aug 18, 2016

Free Romans Study

Michael Kruger has made handouts and videos from a two-year study of Romans available for free here.

Aug 17, 2016

Advice for Bible College and Seminary Students

Michael Cooper has some good advice for Bible college and seminary students here on how to contribute to one's own education.

Aug 16, 2016

Emailing in an Academic Context

Mark Goodacre has a nice post here on how professors should respond to students' emails and he provides a link to another post here advising students on how to email their professors. Both of these posts are worth reading and I think they might apply, with some modification, to church and ministry contexts as well.

Aug 15, 2016

Plagiarized Commentaries

I was a bit shocked to see this notice from Eerdmans about plagiarism in some fairly well-known commentaries from a scholar whose work I have used and appreciated. At minimum, it is a reminder of how careful one needs to be in documenting one's sources and writing.

2016 Advanced Expository Preaching Workshop

The 2016 Advanced Expository Preaching Workshop will be held on October 10, 2016 from 8:00 AM – 6:00 PM at the Riley Center of Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. This year's focus will be the book of Ruth. You can get more information here or register here.

Aug 14, 2016

Jeremiah 13:23

Lee Fields has a good post here on Jeremiah 13:23 and how meaning is not merely grammatical.

Aug 13, 2016

How Long Is the Average Sermon Series?

Preaching Magazine ran a poll recently concerning the average length of a sermon series. Here is what they found.

Longer than 15 weeks – 8%
10–15 weeks – 12%
6–10 weeks – 36%
2–5 weeks – 31%
I do not preach in series – 13%


There were no big surprises here for me except for the fact that I might have suspected that, "I do not preach in series" number might be higher than 13%.

Aug 12, 2016

The Great Commission

Rob Plummer has a nice explanation here of the Greek of the "Great Commission" (Matt 28:19–20a).

Aug 11, 2016

The Septuagint and Biblical Theology

Check out Ed Glenny's article, "The Septuagint and Biblical Theology." It is available as a free PDF here.