May 26, 2017

Ten Theses on Biblical Theology

Scott Hafemann along with Richard Schultz developed the following “Ten Theses on Biblical Theology.”

1. Biblical theology should be biblical, taking the canon in its entirety as its starting point and criterion.

2. Biblical theology should be theological, aiming at making synthetic assertions about the nature, will, and plan of God in creation and redemption, as well as their corresponding implications for the nature, will, and purposes of humanity.

3. Biblical theology should be historical, contextual, and thematic in its methodology, integrating historical development, literary structures, sociocultural factors, and theological concepts within an understanding of the history of redemption.

4. Biblical theology should develop its theological categories inductively from the biblical text, not from a predetermined systematic framework.

5. Biblical theology should be exegetically based, taking intertextuality as its starting point., including both the “OT” use of the “OT” and the “NT” use of the “OT” as preserved in the MT and LXX traditions.

6. Biblical theology should be intentionally bi-testamental and unifying, so that neither the OT nor NT are read in isolation from each other nor from the standpoint of a “canon within a canon.”

7. Biblical theology should work toward a unity of canon, going beyond the traditional disciplines of OT and NT theology and beyond providing simply descriptive accounts of the various theological emphases within its individual writings.

8. Biblical theology should strive to incorporate the diversity of the biblical writings within the unity of its theology, without sacrificing either its historical particularity or its overarching history of redemption.

9. Biblical theology should be both descriptive and prescriptive in order to be faithful to its theological task of providing an enduring contribution to the self-understanding of God’s people within their contemporary context.

10. Biblical theology should be pursued by means of an intentional dialogue within the body of Christ in order to overcome the lamentable specialization of biblical scholars and be viewed as a profoundly spiritual calling in order to be faithful to the biblical witness.

Scott Hafemann, “What’s the Point of Biblical Theology? Reflections Prompted by Brevard Childs,” in BiblicalTheology: Past, Present, and Future, ed. Corey Walsh and Mark. W Elliott, (Cascade: Eugene, OR, 2016), 118-19.

May 25, 2017

Biblical Theology Books

Paul Henebury evaluates a number of biblical theology books here.

May 24, 2017

Genesis 1 to Exodus 40 as Prelude to Leviticus

L. Michael Morales’ biblical theology of Leviticus is an interesting read. The following quote sets up where Morales sees Leviticus going." target="_blank="As the fiery glory of YHWH fills the tabernacle at the end of the book of Exodus, the drama of redemptive history thus far comes to a culminating pinnacle. There is even a sense in where one could read Genesis 1 to Exodus 40 as a complete narrative, a story about being expelled from God’s Presence in Eden, then, finally being brought back into that Presence through the tabernacle cultus – a story about Paradise lost and regained. Fittingly, the tabernacle and its furnishings are pervaded in the Edenic imagery. The tabernacle narrative crowning Exodus 40, then, not only forms a bookend with the creation accounts of Genesis 1 – 3, both pertaining to life in the Presence of God, but, further still, the tabernacle cultus is presented as a mediated resolution to the crisis introduced in Genesis 3 with humanity’s expulsion from Eden.
L. Michael Morales, Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord? A Biblical Theology of Leviticus, New Studies in Biblical Theology 37, ed. D. A. Carson (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2015), 75.

May 21, 2017

Resources on Acts

Mike Bird lists his top ten resources on Acts here.

May 20, 2017

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.

John J. Collins
The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish Apocalyptic Literature
Reviewed by Marvin A. Sweeney

Nina Henrichs-Tarasenkova
Luke’s Christology of Divine Identity
Reviewed by James F. McGrath

Hannelore Jauss
Der liebebedürftige Gott und die gottbedürftige Liebe des Menschen: Ursprung und Funktion der Rede von der Liebe des Menschen zu Gott als alttestamtentlicher Beitrag zur Gotteslehre
Reviewed by Michael S. Moore

Karl Allen Kuhn
The Kingdom according to Luke and Acts: A Social, Literary, and Theological Introduction
Reviewed by Frank E. Dicken

R. Reed Lessing
Isaiah 56–66
Reviewed by Dominic S. Irudayaraj

Rüdiger Liwak; Markus Witte and Dagmar Pruin, eds.
Israel in der altorientalischen Welt: Gesammelte Studien zur Kultur- und Religionsgeschichte des antiken Israel
Reviewed by Jeremy M. Hutton

Matthew R. Malcolm
Paul and the Rhetoric of Reversal in 1 Corinthians: The Impact of Paul’s Gospel on His Macro-Rhetoric
Reviewed by Timothy J. Christian

Bruce J. Malina and John J. Pilch
Social-Science Commentary on the Deutero-Pauline Letters
Reviewed by Maria Karyakina
Reviewed by Korinna Zamfir

Julia M. O’Brien
Reviewed by Bob Becking

May 19, 2017

Moo on James' and Paul's Use of Genesis 15:6

I think Doug Moo’s explanation of the difference between James’ and Paul’s use of Genesis 15:6 to be helpful.
To borrow a metaphor from the world of photography, Paul uses a telephoto lens to isolate the inherent meaning of the verse whereas James looks at the verse through a wide-angle lens, viewing it in the larger landscape of the Abraham narrative. Paul cites the verse to highlight the adequacy of faith in and of itself to justify a person before God. The faith Abraham exercises here comes before his circumcision (Gn 17) and before his famous “work” of obedience (Gn 22). As so often, Paul gives fuller meaning to the terms of the original text, especially in his strongly forensic interpretation of righteousness. But his application of the text, I have argued, is legitimate, since Gn 15:6 teaches that Abraham’s faith was considered by God as meeting the entirety of his obligation before God. James gives us no reason to think that he ignores or changes the meaning of the text. But he insists that the faith of which Gn 15:6 speaks is, in the larger story of Genesis, a faith that expresses itself in works of obedience and that these works are also to be included in the “entirety of the obligation” that Abraham owes to God.
Douglas Moo, “Genesis 15:6 in the New Testament,” in From Creation to New Creation: Biblical Theology and Exegesis, ed. Daniel M. Gurtner and Benjamin L. Gladd (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2013), 162.

May 18, 2017

Observe Repetition. Observe Repetition

I appreciate the words below from Dale Ralph Davis. I often tell my students that the biblical authors did not have emoticons so one has to read especially carefully and closely. One basic way is to observe repetition.
"Biblical writers did not have the luxury of using bold, italicized, or underlined type as our computer-driven generation does. They had to make their emphases in different ways. Repetition was one means that they used as a substitute for underscoring." 
The Word Became Fresh: How to Preach from Old Testament Narrative Texts (Ross-shire, Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, 2006), 22.

May 17, 2017

Watson on Matthew's Gospel

“Matthew’s gospel bears witness to a Jewish Jesus whose person and work are shaped by his people’s history as interpreted in the scriptural record. The gospel was placed first in the canonical collection because its early readers were convinced by its fundamental claim: salvation has come to the world in the person of a Jew.”

Francis Watson, The Fourfold Gospel: A Theological Reading of the New Testament Portraits of Jesus (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2016), 49.

May 16, 2017

Five Pointers on Using Humor in Preaching

Peter Mead has five pointers on using humor in preaching here.

May 15, 2017

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.

M. Eugene Boring
I and II Thessalonians: A Commentary
Reviewed by Matthew D. Jensen

Constantine R. Campbell
Advances in the Study of Greek: New Insights for Reading the New Testament
Reviewed by Hennie Stander

Roy R. Jeal
Exploring Philemon: Freedom, Brotherhood, and Partnership in the New Society
Reviewed by Timothy Gombis
Reviewed by S. Matthew Solomon

Lori Khatchadourian
Imperial Matter: Ancient Persia and the Archaeology of Empires
Reviewed by Jason M. Silverman

John S. Kloppenborg and Alicia J. Batten, eds.
James, 1 and 2 Peter, and Early Jesus Traditions
Reviewed by Pheme Perkins

David McAuley
Paul’s Covert Use of Scripture: Intertextuality and Rhetorical Situation in Philippians 2:10–16
Reviewed by Isaac Blois

Young-Ho Park
Paul’s Ekklesia as a Civic Assembly: Understanding the People of God in Their Politico-Social World
Reviewed by Bradley J. Bitner

Alexander Prokhorov
The Isaianic Denkschrift and a Socio-cultural Crisis in Yehud: A Rereading of Isaiah 6:1–9:6[7]
Reviewed by Csaba Balogh

Stephen Richard Turley
The Ritualized Revelation of the Messianic Age: Washings and Meals in Galatians and 1 Corinthians
Reviewed by Craig L. Blomberg

May 14, 2017

ETS Videos: Progressive Covenantalism and Progressive Dispensationalism

Videos of the three plenary sessions from the 2017 Annual Meeting of the Southwest Region of the Evangelical Theological Society are now available on Youtube. The theme was “Progressive Covenantalism and Progressive Dispensationalism” and the plenary speakers were Dr. Stephen Wellum and Dr. Craig Blaising.

Plenary Session 1 – Dr. Stephen Wellum, “Progressive Covenantalism”

Plenary Session 2 – Dr. Craig Blaising, “Progressive Dispensationalsim”

Panel Discussion – Drs. Wellum and Blaising

May 13, 2017

Soldiers Using the Bathroom in the ANE

Charlie Trimm has a brief but enlightening post here on how soldiers used the bathroom in the ancient Near East.

May 12, 2017

Taking Notes on a Computer?

This is fairly balanced article on the advantages and  disadvantages of taking notes on a computer in class.

HT: George Hillman

May 11, 2017

5 Lessons from Preaching in a Dying Church

Brian Croft has a good word here about what he learned from preaching in a dying church. I think his observations might also fit most churches. In any case, I am looking forward to his further unpacking of these lessons.

May 10, 2017

The Identity of the 144,000 in Revelation 7

Clint Archer does a nice job of arguing that the 144,000 means 144,000 here. Readers might also want to check out Joel White's essay, "The 144,000 in Revelation 7 and 14: Old Testament and Intertextual Clues to Their Identity" (pp. 179-97) in the festschrift to Greg Beale, From Creation to New Creation.

Beginning Seminary Later in Life

Daniel Darling has some good advice for those beginning seminary later in life here. In fact, this advice is worth considering for anyone coming to seminary.

May 9, 2017

Creating Better Connections between Preachers and Hearers

Peter Mead shares 20 ways for creating a better connection between preachers and hearers here.
20 suggestions for a better connection between preacher and listeners.
See more:
20 suggestions for a better connection between preacher and listeners
See more:
20 suggestions for a better connection between preacher and listeners
See more:

May 7, 2017

The Lord with His People in the Wilderness

One aspect of blogging that I find helpful is the opportunity to be exposed to what others are reading and studying. a case in point is this post by Shane Lems summarizing part of Timothy Laniak's, Shepherds After My Own Heart, where he discusses three ways in which the Lord helped His people in the wilderness.

May 5, 2017

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. 

James Aitken and James Paget, eds.
The Jewish-Greek Tradition in Antiquity and the Byzantine Empire
Reviewed by Jonathan M. Potter

Anne Fitzpatrick-McKinley, ed.
Assessing Biblical and Classical Sources for the Reconstruction of Persian Influence, History and Culture
Reviewed by Jason M. Silverman

Joseph A. Marchal, ed.

The People beside Paul: The Philippian Assembly and History from Below
Reviewed by Isaac Blois

Chris Tilling
Paul’s Divine Christology
Reviewed by Chris Kugler

Wim J. C. Weren
Studies in Matthew’s Gospel: Literary Design, Intertextuality, and Social Setting
Reviewed by David Kaden

K. K. Yeo, ed.
From Rome to Beijing: Symposia on Robert Jewett’s Commentary on Romans
Reviewed by Eric C. Smith

May 4, 2017

Preaching through Books

Peter Cockrell explains why he does so here. I would encourage all my preaching friends to consider it as well.

May 3, 2017

10 Things You Should Never Do in a Theological Research Paper

You can read about 10 things you should never do in a theological research paper by downloading a free ebook from Michael Kibbe here.