Jul 26, 2014

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. 

T. Desmond Alexander
From Paradise to the Promised Land: An Introduction to the Pentateuch
Reviewed by Keith Bodner

Ronald J. Allen
Reading the New Testament for the First Time
Reviewed by Peter J. Judge

Daniel I. Block
By the River Chebar: Historical, Literary, and Theological Studies in the Book of Ezekiel
Reviewed by Ananda Geyser-Fouche

Dave Brunn
One Bible, Many Versions: Are All Translations Created Equal?
Reviewed by Patrick Schreiner

Richard J. Dillon
The Hymns of Saint Luke: Lyricism and Narrative Strategy in Luke 1–2
Reviewed by Robert O'Toole

Stephen E. Fowl
Ephesians: A Commentary
Reviewed by Thomas Slater

Susan Mathew
Women in the Greetings of Romans 16.1–16: A Study of Mutuality and Women’s Ministry in the Letter to the Romans
Reviewed by Kathy Ehrensperger

Frederick J. Murphy
Apocalypticism in the Bible and Its World: A Comprehensive Introduction
Reviewed by J. Todd Hibbard

David C. Tollerton
The Book of Job in Post-Holocaust Thought
Reviewed by Bradley Embry

Josef Wiesehöfer and Thomas Krüger, eds.
Periodisierung und Epochenbewusstsein im Alten Testament und in seinem Umfeld
Reviewed by Thomas L. Thompson

Jul 25, 2014

Daniel Study Guide

The nice folks at Kregel recently sent me a copy of Sue Edwards' recent study guide on the book of Daniel. I am not a big user of guides like this, but a quick scan of the contents suggests that there is some good stuff here. The questions are straightforward and typically relevant to the text. The guide has helpful "digging deeper" sidebars and there are occasional QR codes that link to YouTube videos. If study guides are your thing you might want to take a look at this one. You can read an excerpt here

Jul 24, 2014

Free: Greg Beale on Biblical Theology

You can download 22-lecture Biblical Theology course by Greg Beale for free on iTunes U. Use this link. Here is a list of the 22 lectures.

1: Introduction; Inaugurated Eschatology I
2: Inaugurated Eschatology II
3: Inaugurated Eschatology III 4: Inaugurated Eschatology IV
5: Inaugurated Eschatology V; Biblical Theology of the Gospels I
6: Biblical Theology of the Gospels II
7: Biblical Theology of the Gospels III
8: Biblical Theology of the Gospels IV
9: Biblical Theology of the Gospels
10: Biblical Theology of the Gospels VI V
11: A Redemptive Historical Perspective of the Temple I
12: A Redemptive Historical Perspective of the Temple II
13: The Damascus Road Resurrection Christophany I
14: The Damascus Road Resurrection Christophany II
15: The Eschatological Nature of Paul’s Anthropology and Relationship of New Creation to Reconciliation I
16: The Eschatological Nature of Paul’s Anthropology and Relationship of New Creation to Reconciliation II
17: Sanctification, Justification, and the Relationship of Christ to the Law I
18: Sanctification, Justification, and the Relationship of Christ to the Law II
19: The Eschatological Conception of the Church I
20: The Eschatological Conception of the Church II
21: The Eschatological Role of the Holy Spirit I
22: The Eschatological Role of the Holy Spirit II

HT: John Wayne Coatney

A Reflection on Older Commentaries

Contemporary students of the Bible often ignore or disparage older commentators and commentaries. But I try to make them a regular part of my study. While these older works may be bereft of the latest research, they are often rich sources of pastoral wisdom and spiritual depth. As a case in point, note the following words from William Jenkyn's dedication to his exposition of Jude.
"My aim in publishing these Lectures is to advance holiness, and, as far as I could do it, by following the mind of the apostle, to oppose those sins, which if people hate not most, are like to hurt them most; and to advance those duties with which, if people be not most in love, yet in which they are most defective, and thereby most endangered. And now again, I beseech you, that I may testify my unfeigned affection as well by my epistle as my book —labour to keep close to God in a loose age; spend not your time in complaining of the licentiousness of the times, in the mean while setting up a toleration in your own hearts and lives. That private Christian who does not labour to oppose profaneness with a river of tears, would never, if he could, bear it down with a stream of power. Lay the foundation of mortification deep. Reserve no lust from the stroke of Jesus Christ. Take heed of pleasing yourselves in a bare formal profession. Labour to be rooted in Christ. He who is but a visible Christian, may in a short time cease to be so much as visible; he who speaks of Christ but notionally, may in time be won to speak against him. Love not the world. Beware of scandals; take them not where they are, make them not where they are not. The common sin of our times, is to blacken religion, and then to fear and hate it. Despise not the providences of God in the world; they are signs of God's mind, though not of his love. Delight in the public ordinances, and highly esteem faithful ministers; they and religion are commonly blasted together. Shun seducers. Sit down under a minister as well as under a preacher. He who will hear every one, may at length be brought to hear none; and lie who will hear him preach who ought not, may soon be left to learn that which he ought not. Preserve a tender conscience; every step you take fear a snare; read your own hearts in the wickedness of others. Be not slight in closet services; and oft think of God in your shops, for there you think you have least leisure, but sure you have most need to do so. Let your speech be alway with grace, and a word or two of Christ in every company, if possible; and yet not out of form, but feeling."
Jenkyn, William and Jean Daillé, Exposition of the Epistle of Jude and the Epistles to the Philippians and Colossians (Edinburgh: James Nichol, 1865), vii.

Jul 23, 2014

Elijah on Mt. Carmel

The newest issue of Bibliotheca Sacra has a fascinating article entitled, "Pyrotechnics on Mount Carmel." The author begins by noting that,
"Three biblical fire miracles involve the prophet Elijah: fire from heaven  that consumed a water-soaked sacrifice and altar on Mount Carmel (1 Kings 18:146), fire from heaven that consumed two sets of fifty soldiers (2 Kings 1:1–18), and a chariot of fire that carried Elijah to heaven at the end of his earthly life (2:1–18)."
But what I found most interesting is the scientific insights related to fire and combustion brought by the author, Charles Baukal, is a combustion engineer. So if you get a chance, check out the article in the July-September 2014 issue. While your at it, you might want to look at the April-June which contains an article by the same author on Nebuchadnezzar's furnace from Daniel 3.

Jul 22, 2014

DBTS Recommended Booklist

Here is a recommended booklist produced by the faculty of the Detroit Baptist Theological Seminary.

Jul 21, 2014

Paul, Rhodes, and the Colossus-ians

Near the end of Paul's third missionary journey, Luke mentions the city of Rhodes (Acts 21:1). I found the following statement interesting on a variety of levels.

"Next day they sailed and passing Cape Triopium where Cnidus is situated and spotting the islands of Tylos and Nisyros to the southwest and Syria in the opposite direction arrived at Rhodes, the capital of the island of the same name. Founded toward the end of the fifth century BCE at the crossroad of the east and the west the island had a well-known maritime history. It was famous for the Colossus which was the work of the sculptor Chares of Lindos. In antiquity the statue was regarded as one of the Seven Wonders of the World. The fame of the Colossus led some people in the Middle Ages to think that Colossians to whom Paul had written were the inhabitants of Rhodes. At the time of Paul's visit the Colossus was already pieces lying buried where it had crashed in about 227 BCE. This was a gigantic bronze statue of Helios. It was some 40 m high and 250 tons,  standing on the mole or the hill overlooking the harbour where the Costello stands today. A Rhodian tradition places it where St Paul's gate is now. The statue commemorated the defeat of the seige of Demetrius Poliorcetes who failed to capture the city, his nickname 'Poliorcetes' standing for 'Besieger of Cities.' The bronze statue showed the god naked and wearing a gold crown of rays with his arms stretched in front. It is said that it could be seen from a distance of some 100 km." 

Fatih Cimok, Journeys of Paul: From Tarsus to the Ends of the Earth (Istanbul: A Turizm Yayinlari, 2004), 200. 

Jul 20, 2014

Steve Walton's Acts Materials

Steve Walton has provided this link handouts and videos from his study on Acts at the London Institute for Contemporary Christianity.

Jul 19, 2014

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. 

Jason D. BeDuhn
The First New Testament: Marcion's Scriptural Canon
Reviewed by Richard I. Pervo

Joseph Blenkinsopp
David Remembered: Kingship and National Identity in Ancient Israel
Reviewed by Walter Dietrich
Reviewed by Ralph K. Hawkins

Claudia V. Camp
Ben Sira and the Men Who Handle Books: Gender and the Rise of Canon-Consciousness
Reviewed by Ibolya Balla

Esther G. Chazon and Betsy Halpern-Amaru, eds.
New Perspectives on Old Texts: Proceedings of the Tenth International Symposium of the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature, 9–11 January, 2005
Reviewed by Bennie H. Reynolds III

Terence E. Fretheim
Reading Hosea–Micah: A Literary and Theological Commentary
Reviewed by David W. Baker

W. Edward Glenny
Hosea: A Commentary based on Hosea in Codex Vaticanus
Reviewed by Richard G. Smith

Giovanni B. Lanfranchi, Daniele Morandi Bonacossi, Cinzia Pappi, and Simonetta Ponchia, eds.
Leggo! Studies Presented to Frederick Mario Fales on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday
Reviewed by Michael S. Moore

Néstor O. Míguez
The Practice of Hope: Ideology and Intention in 1 Thessalonians
Reviewed by Raymond F. Collins

Jane Dewar Schaberg; Holly E. Hearon, ed.
The Death and Resurrection of the Author and Other Feminist Essays on the Bible
Reviewed by Susanne Scholz

Jul 18, 2014

The Syllabus

Those involved in the academic side of things might want to read Allan Metcalf's examination of the origin of the word syllabus here.

Jul 17, 2014

Review of Elders in the Life of the Church

Phil A. Newton and Matt Schmucker, Elders in the Life of the Church: Rediscovering the Biblical Model for Church Leadership, updated ed. (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2014).

Elders in the Life of the Church is an updated edition of the 2005 Elders in the Congregational Life. Not only has Matt Schmucker been added as a contributor, but the content has been significantly bolstered by at least eighty pages. In essence the book examines elder plurality from three angles: historical, biblical, and practical.

The historical angle is primarily concerned with Baptist history. A short but enlightening survey of statements and confessions make a solid case that at least some of the Baptist forebears believed in a polity that included plurality of elders.

In the biblical section, the authors focus on four key texts: Acts 20:17–31; 1 Timothy 3:1–7; Hebrews 13:17–19; and 1 Peter 5:1–5. Strangely, Titus 1 is not treated independently in this section, although the authors do interact with Titus a number of times in the book.

Newton and Schmucker also discuss practical issues related to the elder model. This discussion really involves two aspects. First, the authors unpack the practical advantages of elder plurality. Second, significant attention is paid to practical implementation, that is, how one makes the shift from the more common single pastor plus deacons to the elder model.

This book is easy to read, with short chapters. The authors’ call to consider the elder model is one worth hearing. There is a transparency in the discussions with frequent references to personal anecdotes highlighting Newton and Schmucker’s successes and failures in taking their own churches through a transition to the elder model. Those seeking to make a similar transition will find plenty of practical advice. Even those already in elder-led churches will probably find at least some of the suggestions to be helpful.

The greatest weakness in the book is the biblical section. It is not that a biblical case cannot be made, but ironically, insufficient attention is paid to the details and specifics of the biblical text. Also puzzling is the omission of Titus 1, even if there are parallels to the 1 Timothy passage. The placement of some of the chapters appears to be strange or forced. For example, it is unclear how chapter 2 flows from chapter 1 or transitions to chapter 3. 

Nonetheless, Elders in the Life of the Church is a helpful primer to the plurality of elders model, especially from a Baptist context. Baptist pastors and leaders who want to know more about the elder model or how to transition to such a model should find help here.

You can read an excerpt here

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

Jul 16, 2014

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. 

Thomas L. Brodie
Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus: Memoir of a Discovery
Reviewed by Benjamin I. Simpson

Richard J. Clifford
Reviewed by Lawrence M. Wills

David J. A. Clines and J. Cheryl Exum, eds.
The Reception of the Hebrew Bible in the Septuagint and the New Testament: Essays in Memory of Aileen Guilding
Reviewed by Benjamin J. M. Johnson

Joan E. Cook
Reviewed by Jonathan L. Huddleston

Avraham Faust
Judah in the Neo-Babylonian Period: The Archaeology of Desolation
Reviewed by Gert T. M. Prinsloo

James E. Harding
The Love of David and Jonathan: Ideology, Text, Reception
Reviewed by Katherine Low

Charles E. Hill and Michael J. Kruger, eds.
The Early Text of the New Testament
Reviewed by Amy M. Donaldson

Irene Nowell
Reviewed by Timothy R. Ashley

Naomi Steinberg
The World of the Child in the Hebrew Bible
Reviewed by Karin Finsterbusch

Joshua Marshall Strahan
The Limits of a Text: Luke 23:34a as a Case Study in Theological Interpretation
Reviewed by Claire Clivaz

Jul 15, 2014

Three Ways to Incorporate Psalm Singing into Worship Services

Brian Croft has identified three helpful ways to incorporate singing the Psalms into a worship service here.

Jul 14, 2014

Five Suggestions for Studying and Retaining Your Greek

Andreas J. Köstenberger, Benjamin L. Merkle, and Rob Plummer offer five suggestions for studying and retaining  your Greek here. Make sure to read the explanations in the post but here are the five suggestions.

1. Read the GNT in your daily devotions.

2. Include Greek study in your weekly ministerial preparations.

3. Take a “Greek retreat” once or twice a year in which you read longer sections of the GNT, a technical Greek resource, or a Greek grammar.

4. Consider what elements of accountability and self-discipline may be applied to incorporate study of the GNT into your life.

5. Teach Greek.

Jul 11, 2014

After Paul Left Philippi

Paul's ministry in Philippi in Acts 16 is one of the highlights of his second missionary journey. Similarly, Paul's epistle to the Christians in Philippi is a favorite among Bible readers. But this biblical material might give the impression of a thriving and influential Christian community in Philippi. But extrabiblical evidence seems to challenge this impression. As Fatih Cimok notes,  

"Following the enthusiasm with which some Philippians embraced Paul's message one would expect Christianity to have flourished in the region in a short time. The scarcity of Christian tomb reliefs and their late date (post-Constantinian), in contrast to the popular continuity of pagan ones, the reliefs of various deities, especially the reliefs of Artemis/ Diana  and the elaborate shrines dedicated to the Roman god of nature  Sylvanus, on the rocks of the acropolis in the period following Paul's visit do not confirm this. Some scholars speculate that the absence of any reference to a bishop in Polycarp's letter written in the 150s to Philippi may also point in the same direction, the relatively late development of Christianity in the region. The fact that the apocryphal Acts of Paul and Acts of Andrew the Philippians are converted through a series of miracles may also point to a strong pagan trend, requiring miracles. The events in Acts, the city's location on the Via Egnatia would make Philippi a very important pilgrimage site only after the time of Constantine the Great."

Fatih Cimok, Journeys of Paul: From Tarsus to the Ends of the Earth (Istanbul: A Turizm Yayinlari, 2004), 134.

Jul 10, 2014

Crossway eBooks

Westminster Bookstore has partnered with Crossway to make eBooks available. For the next 48 hours they are offering 300 titles for only $1.99. You can see all titles here. Here is a list of some of the sale titles.

James Hamilton, God's Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology (ebook)

R. Kent Hughes, John: That You May Believe (Preaching the Word) (ebook)

Bruce Ware, Man Christ Jesus: Theological Reflections on the Humanity of Christ (ebook)

N. T. Wright and Taking Out the Garbage

Randall Hardman has a nice post on N. T. Wright that includes a pretty funny fictional argument between N. T. and his wife over taking out the garbage. You can check it out here.

HT: Shaun Tabatt

Jul 9, 2014

Eisenbrauns' Sale on Jesus Studies

Eisenbrauns is offering a 60%-off, 10-day sale, on select Jesus studies. Among the volumes on sale are the first two volumes of John Meier's Marginal Jew series. You can check out the sale here.

“Altar to the Unknown Sermon Method”

See David Allen's post entitled “Altar to the Unknown Sermon Method” here. This post is a slightly revised version of Allen's introduction in Text-Driven Preaching: God’s Word at the Heart of Every Sermon. This is an excellent book. You can read an interview with Allen on the book here.

Jul 8, 2014

Bible Odyssey

I meant to mention this the other day, but the Society of Biblical Literature's initiative "Bible Odyssey" is up and running here. Looks interesting.