Jan 21, 2019

Psalm 15

O Lord, who shall sojourn in your tent?
     Who shall dwell on your holy hill? 

For many today, David’s opening question seems so antiquated, so last week. The default is, if, there is a God, he doesn’t really care how we approach him, just that we approach him. But David’s question is not what is out of touch here but rather such attitudes reveal that we are often out of touch with the holiness of God. Psalm 15 reminds us that enjoying access to God is a privilege not a right. As a privilege it is not tied to social or economic status, gender, age, or ethnicity but it is a privilege nonetheless. It is not a call to ritual, or even doctrinal formalism, but rather a call to personal integrity exercised before God and with people.

Jan 20, 2019

Preaching through Nehemiah

Timothy Raymond gives you four reasons to so here.

Jan 19, 2019

Free Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms

IVP Academic is offering a free PDF of their Pocket Dictionary of Theological Terms. You can get it here.

Jan 18, 2019

The Latest Issue of the 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.

David J. McCollough responds to an RBL review of his Ritual Water, Ritual Spirit: An Analysis of the Timing, Mechanism, and Manifestation of Spirit-Reception in Luke-Acts

Kristian A. Bendoraitis and Nijay K. Gupta, eds., Matthew and Mark across Perspectives: Essays in Honour of Stephen C. Barton and William R. Telford
Reviewed by Gregg S. Morrison

Alma Brodersen, The End of the Psalter: Psalms 146–150 in the Masoretic Text, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Septuagint
Reviewed by Nancy L. deClaissé-Walford

Sara R. Johnson, Rubén R. Dupertuis, and Christine Shea, eds., Reading and Teaching Ancient Fiction: Jewish, Christian, and Greco-Roman Narratives
Reviewed by Andrew Tobolowsky

T. M. Lemos, Violence and Personhood in Ancient Israel and Comparative Contexts
Reviewed by Anthony Rees

Maren R. Niehoff, ed., Journeys in the Roman Near East: Imagined and Real
Reviewed by Joshua Schwartz

Brian Charles DiPalma, Masculinities in the Court Tales of Daniel: Advancing Gender Studies in the Hebrew Bible
Reviewed by Jordan M. Scheetz

Alan J. Thompson, Luke
Reviewed by David Lertis Matson

Marie Turner, Ecclesiastes: An Earth Bible Commentary: Qoheleth’s Eternal Earth
Reviewed by Timothy J. Sandoval

Michael Ufok Udoekpo, Rethinking the Prophetic Critique of Worship in Amos 5: For Contemporary Nigeria and the USA
Reviewed by Joel Stephen Williams

Michael Wolter, The Gospel according to Luke: Volume I (Luke 1–9:50)
Reviewed by Kenneth D. Litwak

Jan 17, 2019

Jan 16, 2019

The Race for the Next Dead Sea Scrolls

Haaretz has an article on the search for more Dead Sea Scrolls here. Unfortunately, the article appears to be behind a paywall although I was able to access it.

Jan 15, 2019

The Berlin Pedestal

Early references to Old Testament Israel are not common. Typically, the Merneptah Stele is considered the oldest extra-biblical reference to Israel. But some suggest that the so-called Berlin Pedestal should be considered the oldest reference. You can read about it here. Another article can be found here.

Jan 14, 2019

Old Testament Figures as Moral Examples?

Moralistic, "be a Daniel," kind of preaching has rightly been criticized for a variety of reasons. But Michael Kruger is right to point out here that there is a place for using Old Testament (and New Testament) characters as exemplars if it is done rightly.

Jan 13, 2019

Studying Biblical Geography

I didn't really enjoy studying geography in grade school and it took me awhile to warm up to the topic in Bible college and seminary. But I am fully convinced of its value now and this post gives three basic reasons to study the biblical geography of Israel.

Jan 12, 2019

Song of Solomon a Key to the Great Commission?

This article in Christianity Today seems to think so. But even if one sets aside the dubious and strained allegorical interpretation, I don't see a significant connection to the Great Commission here much less a "key." But this article does illustrate the problem with the allegorical approach where a text can mean almost anything like when a statement like "your eyes are doves" is understood as,
Doves don’t have peripheral vision—they can’t see to the right or to the left, only what’s in front of them. This theme of having our eyes set on Christ is evident throughout Scripture and throughout Israel’s story. God knows we are easily distracted and anxious; our eyes need to be set not on our circumstances, our failures, or on fellow broken people but rather on him.
That is a wonderful sentiment but not what Songs 1:15 or 4:1 are about.  

Jan 11, 2019

The Latest Issue of the 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.

Andrew H. Bartelt, Jeffrey Kloha, and Paul R. Raabe, eds., The Press of the Text: Biblical Studies in Honor of James W. Voelz
Reviewed by Laurent Pinchard

Joshua T. James, The Storied Ethics of the Thanksgiving Psalms
Reviewed by J. Clinton McCann Jr

Jon C. Laansma, The Letter to the Hebrews: A Commentary for Preaching, Teaching, and Bible Study
Reviewed by Cynthia Long Westfall

David J. McCollough, Ritual Water, Ritual Spirit: An Analysis of the Timing, Mechanism, and Manifestation of Spirit-Reception in Luke-Acts
Reviewed by Mark A. Proctor

Saul M. Olyan and Jacob L. Wright, eds., Supplementation and the Study of the Hebrew Bible
Reviewed by Marko Marttila

Julie Faith Parker, ed., My So-Called Biblical Life: Imagined Stories from the World’s Best-Selling Book
Reviewed by Katherine Low

Michael Peppard, The World’s Oldest Church: Bible, Art, and Ritual at Dura-Europos, Syria
Reviewed by Ralph K. Hawkins

Meric Srokosz and Rebecca S. Watson, Blue Planet, Blue God: The Bible and the Sea
Reviewed by Peter L. Trudinger

Andrew Tobolowsky, The Sons of Jacob and the Sons of Herakles: The History of the Tribal System and the Organization of Biblical Identity
Reviewed by Nathan LaMontagne

Henrietta L. Wiley and Christian A. Eberhart, eds., Sacrifice, Cult, and Atonement in Early Judaism and Christianity: Constituents and Critique
Reviewed by Daniel Ullucci

Jan 10, 2019

Some Thoughts on Psalm 1

I am working on a writing project on the book of Psalms. Here are some introductory thoughts on Psalm 1.

The Psalms are usually understood as a book of praise and Proverbs as a book of wisdom. But the Psalms are also brimming with practical insights into living well. The ancient Israelite understood that praise involved more than the lips and the secret to living well was more than good intentions. The secret was delighting in the law of God, recognizing the folly of rejecting God’s law, and knowing that God would judge both.

For Christ-followers today, this timeless truth remains virtually unchanged. While many in the world today value experience over truth (and some would even deny the existence of truth at all), this first Psalm, then and now, reminds us of the importance of knowing God’s word. Psalm 1 uses vivid imagery from nature and farming to portray the stark contrast between the lives of the righteous and the wicked to be seen before people and the Lord. This is an important contrast to make when the lines of right and wrong are being blended or eliminated altogether.