Apr 19, 2008

Children and Baptism

Pulpit magazine has an interesting article concerning the appropriate age to baptize children.

A Tale of Two Sons

Last night I had the privilege of attending a special promotional event featuring John MacArthur sponsored by KCBI, a local Christian radio station. MacArthur was promoting his latest book entitled A Tale of Two Sons. The book is basically an exposition of the Parable of the Prodigal Son (Luke 15:11–32). As might be expected, MacArthur’s sermon was a condensed version of his exposition on this parable. Although the sermon was longer than typical (about an hour), he did a nice job with the text. In particular, he highlighted the importance of understanding the cultural background. He noted in particular the work of Kenneth Bailey, and the importance of understanding the honor/shame context. MacArthur also stated that he has spent ten years preaching through the Gospel of Luke, and projects the entire series to be eleven years (nine years in Matthew)! He also noted that he preached five messages (five hours) on this parable. Overall, it was an informative and edifying evening. Thanks Sam and Joy.

Hebrew and Greek Anyone?

Eric Sowell on his Archaic Christianity blog has a practical list of questions about whether one should study Hebrew and Greek.

· How Much Longer Do You Plan On Living?

· Do You Want To Use The Better Tools?

· Have You Learned A Second Language Before?

· Can You Carve Out A Significant Portion Of Time, Work Hard, and Stay Focused?

· Do You See Value In More Direct Exposure To Scripture?

· Do You Want To Be Able To See Through The Translational Interpretive Grid Better?

· Do You Have Access to a Class?

· What Is Your Place in the Church?

Make sure you read Eric’s post for an explanation of each of these questions.

Apr 18, 2008

Advantages of Series Preaching

Peter Mead has an insightful blog post on the advantages of series preaching. In sum, Mead notes five advantages.

A series of sermons has greater leverage than a solo sermon.

A series of sermons can create momentum beyond the moment.

A series of sermons allows messages to balance each other.

A series of sermons allows for longer lead time in preparation.

A series of sermons allows for overlapped or deeper exegetical work.

Make sure to read the entire post by clicking the link above.

Apr 17, 2008


Paul Dean at Crosswalk.com offers the following observation concerning worship.

While lost persons can and should be saved during a worship service, and while the gospel must be preached every Sunday (in the course of bible exposition), worship is not an evangelistic tool. To adapt a worship service to appeal to lost people in effect is to worship them and not worship God. It is to steal His glory. True worship is about Him and not them.

Latest Issue of the Review of Biblical Literature

The latest issue of the Review of Biblical Literature is out. Reviews that may be of interest to those interested in Bible exposition include:

John Barton
The Nature of Biblical Criticism
Reviewed by James D. G. Dunn

Roland Boer
Symposia: Dialogues concerning the History of Biblical Interpretation
Reviewed by Henning Graf Reventlow

A. Andrew Das
Solving the Romans Debate
Reviewed by Don Garlington

Tremper Longman III
Reviewed by Timothy J. Sandoval

Edward P. Meadors
Idolatry and the Hardening of the Heart: A Study in Biblical Theology
Reviewed by Thomas J. Kraus

James W. Watts
Ritual and Rhetoric in Leviticus: From Sacrifice to Scripture
Reviewed by Hanna Liss
Reviewed by Mark McEntire

Paul R. Williamson
Sealed with an Oath: Covenant in God's Unfolding Purpose
Reviewed by Matthew S. Harmon

Rejoicing With Those Who Rejoice

Although I do not intend to blog frequently about personal matters, in this case I feel that it is appropriate to rejoice with those who rejoice. Namely, two friends and fellow Bible exposition Ph.D. students just passed their oral comprehensive inquisitions exams. Congratulations Dennis and Yohannes!

Apr 16, 2008

Passover Sacrifice

Todd Bolen on his
Bible Places blog has a video link to a Passover sacrifice performed in Jerusalem this month. I think Todd's explanation is worth reading even if you elect not to watch the video. The video might be difficult for some to watch.

Apr 15, 2008

Helpful Thessalonians Commentaries

As I wind down a recent expositional study of the Thessalonian Epistles it might be helpful to identify some of the commentaries that I found most helpful. The following list is in alphabetical order and not necessarily in order of preference usefulness.

Bruce, F. F. 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Word Biblical Commentary, ed. Ralph P. Martin. Waco: Word, 1982.

Hiebert, D. Edmond. 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Revised ed. Chicago: Moody, 1992.

Holmes, Michael W. 1 and 2 Thessalonians. NIV Application Commentary, ed. Terry Muck. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998.

Marshall, I. Howard. A Commentary on the Epistles to the Thessalonians. New Century Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982.

Morris, Leon. The First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians. Revised ed. New International Commentary on the New Testament, ed. F. F. Bruce. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991.

Witherington, Ben, III. 1 and 2 Thessalonians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans; Carlisle: Paternoster, 2006.

Apr 14, 2008

Chapter and Verse Divisions

Stephen L. Cook at Biblische Ausbildung has an interesting discussion on the origins of the chapter and verse divisions that we have in our Bibles.

Biblical Languages in Preaching

A new survey on “Biblical Languages in Preaching” has been posted at the Sermon Central website. While the results appear to be fairly typical in my experience, it is disturbing that only one third of the respondents had any training in the original language of two thirds of the Bible (Hebrew).

Apr 13, 2008

Christocentric, Theocentric, Christotelic?

Peter Mead at his Biblical Preaching Blog has an interesting discussion concerning whether reference to Jesus is an essential component of a definition of Bible exposition. He identifies two possible positions (1) Christocentric, (2) Theocentric. I left a comment noting that perhaps there is a third position that merits consideration, namely, a position advocated recently by Peter Enns and others, namely, “Christotelic.” According to Enns, “The OT is a story that is going somewhere, which is what the Apostles are at great pains to show. It is the OT as a whole, particularly in its grand themes, that finds its telos, its completion, in Christ. This is not to say that the vibrancy of the OT witness now comes to an end, but that—on the basis of apostolic authority—it finds its proper goal, purpose, telos, in that event by which God himself determined to punctuate his covenant: Christ” (“Apostolic Hermeneutics and an Evangelical Doctrine of Scripture: Moving Beyond a Modernist Impasse,” Westminster Theological Journal 65 [2003], 277). Personally, I am not sure that I agree with this approach, but I am hearing and seeing it more and more.

A Theology of Rhetoric

C. Richard Wells in a book coauthored by A. Boyd Luter (Inspired Preaching) and in a chapter entitled “The Inspired Preaching of Acts” makes the following observation on developing a theology of rhetoric.

"It is here [Acts 17] that we begin to discern the outline of another dimension to Luke’s theology of preaching in Acts, namely, a theology of communication, a ‘spiritual rhetoric,’ if you will, an understanding not only of what the disciples preached, but how they preached it; not only of the kerygma as a ‘message preached,’ but a ‘message preached’" (italics his, p. 84).