May 31, 2008
Peter Mead has an insightful post here related to whether the general disinterest in expository preaching today is to be blamed on the fickle culture or faulty practitioners. I suspect that it is less either/or and more both/and. After all, preachers themselves are often children of their culture as well. That being said, Mead's statement that, "People who tell me they don’t appreciate expository preaching are essentially telling me they haven’t heard any worthy of the label," rings true.
David Ritsema has a very helpful post on "Top Ten Tips for doing your PhD" here. He lists three different lists, two from other sources, and his own list. I have included a edited version of the lists below.
1. Talk to your supervisor
2. Stay focused
3. Start with a plan
4. Be flexible
5. Stay sane while researching
6. Set yourself achievable deadlines
7. Stick to your achievable deadlines!
8. Know when to stop
9. Choose tough but friendly examiners
10. Think about the next step
1. Begin with the end in mind
2. You have no obligation to write an important or even useful thesis
4. Exercise regularly
5. Enjoy your “play time”
6. Talk to others about your problems
7. Record your progress
8. Don’t find excuses - don’t do too many other important things.
9. Choose a dissertation topic you are passionate about
10. Work on your strengths, not on your weaknesses
11. Take charge - it’s your life not your supervisor’s
12. Do what is right for you - including the choice of discontinuing your Ph.D.
1. Go to SBL/AAR National Meeting or else a local meeting. [I would include ETS]
2. Develop Friendships with Other Students and Scholars.
3. Prepare yourself and family (if married).
4. Make Use of Discounted Book Sellers .
5. Develop a pattern of studying.
6. Learn to read and write quickly.
7. Buy Turabian but download SBL Guide.
8. Buy Software Suites.
9. Locate Online Academic Communities.10. Take seriously your professors’ comments but never let their criticism keep you from moving forward.
May 30, 2008
The Parchment and Pen Blog has a funny post on the"Top Ten Reasons the Dispensationalist Did Not Cross the Road." They are (drum roll please):
10. Thought he would be raptured before he got there anyway.
9. Thought that the other side was for the ‘Israel’, and this side was for the ‘church’.
8. Charles Ryrie was still on this side of the road, why cross?
7. Thought it was pointless since Jesus was just going to bring him back after 7 years.
6. Like the OT prophets and the church age, he was unable to see the other side.
5. He was afraid that if he went, there would be nothing to restrain the man of lawlessness.
4. He was not a part of the dispensation of ‘crossing’.
3. Dallas Theological Seminary hadn’t yet published anything telling him how to do it.
2. Thought there was a two thousand foot gap between the 69th and 70th step.
May 29, 2008
Dave Bish has the following meditation on Revelation 1 on his blog here.
He is the faithful witness, reliably revealing what will happen.
He is the firstborn from the dead, his resurrection brings ours.
He is the ruler of the kings of the earth, they all stand accountable to him.
He loves us.
He freed us from our sins by his blood, taking our punishment, cleansing us.
He made us a kingdom, over which he is king.
He made us priests to God the Father, and we may boldly approach.
He owns glory and rule over all things forever, he is incomparable.
He is coming with the clouds, he will return.
He will be seen by every eye, even those who pierced him.
He will cause all to wail, the light who exposes our sin.
He is the beginning and the end. He was, is and will be.
He Tribution and patient endurance are in him.
He addresses the churches with warning and encouragement.
He walks among his churches like a son of man.
He wears a long robe and a gold sash.
He has hair that is white like wool and snow.
He has eyes that are like flaming fire.
He has feet that are like burnished refined bronze.
He has a voice is like torrents of water.
He holds church leaders in his hands.
He speaks words that can divide bone and marrow and pierce the heart of man.
He has a face that shines with more brilliance than the midday sun.
He says don't fear him.
He is first and last, we and all creation are 'jonny-come-latelys' in the party of all eternity.
He the living one.
He died and is now alive forevermore.
He holds the keys to hell.
He knows what is coming.
In a new book by Southern Baptist Theological Seminary professor Timothy Paul Jones, the author tackles common conspiracy theories involving Jesus. The book entitled, Conspiracies of the Cross: How to Intelligently Counter the Ten Most Popular Theories that Attack the Gospel of Jesus, addresses the following ten conspiracy theories.
- The New Testament Gospels and the traditions of the Resurrection emerged too late to represent eyewitness testimony.
- Early church leaders eliminated many books from the New Testament; some of these ‘lost scriptures’ were the sacred texts of the first Christians.
- Early Christian leaders selected sacred books and essential beliefs to protect the church’s power structures—not to testify to historical truth about Jesus. Other books and beliefs were violently suppressed.
- The Gospels and other New Testament writings were copied so poorly and edited so thoroughly that the meanings of entire books have changed.
- With few exceptions, the acts and sayings in the New Testament Gospels do not represent actual, historical happenings.
- Jesus never existed at all.
- The Dead Sea Scrolls and perhaps even the New Testament books include encoded secrets about Jesus.
- Jesus married Mary Magdalene and founded a physical dynasty.
- Jesus was never buried, and he never rose from the dead. Dogs and other wild animals consumed His body.
- Since miracles are always improbable, the resurrection of Jesus cannot be considered as a historical event, regardless of how much historical evidence supports it.
May 28, 2008
Peter Mead has a good post on the problem that expositors face in having an abundance of resources readily available for study and preparation. After reading Mead's excellent discussion I would add the following.
First, much of good exposition begins with learning how to ask the right questions of the text and the task. By asking the right questions, you can have a better chance of selecting and utilizing the right resources. Such selection automatically reduces the number of resources needed to do the job. Consistently attempting to be exhaustive will only make one exhausted.
Second, after asking the right questions then a good expositor will learn by experience and training the best resources to find the answers to one's questions. Of course, "best" can be subjective. To this I would offer the following comments. The "best" resources are the resources that we have the ability to use. For example, some critical commentaries are too technical for those who lack sufficient academic training to handle them. The "best" resources are those with which we have found to be helpful in the past. This would include not only specific books, but also specific authors. What do our peers use? The "best" resources might be those which others whose opinions we respect have recommended. The "best" resources might be "best" in the sense that we have them in our personal library orresources which are readily accessible in a local library or online. The "best" resources are typically ones which are theologically sound. This is less important with some tools such as lexicons and grammars, etc., but care should be utilized in commentaries and sources that deal with the text, theology, or application of the text.
Derek James Brown has written a nice post on the benefits of journaling. I must confess that I used to journal quite frequently, but the demands of seminary and ministry have been such that I have not really made the time for it lately. The following points from Derek might cause me to reconsider.
- With a journal I am able to record observations and insights into Scripture.
- A journal gives me a place where I can meditate on Scripture.
- With a journal I can record important events and my interpretation of those events.
- My journal is the place where I record my thoughts about what I am reading.
- I can use my journal to help me evaluate and maintain discipline in other areas.
- Writing in my journal helps me think more carefully, deeply and accurately.
May 27, 2008
Matt Waymeyer has a nice post on the phenomena of dual authorship evidenced in Matthew 1:22 and 2:15. Waymeyer concludes that,
The implications of this are profound. According to Matthew 1:22 and 2:15, the person who is ultimately responsible for the action of speaking forth the Old Testament prophecies is the Lord Himself, for Matthew refers to the words of prophecy as “what was spoken by [hupo—ultimate agency] the Lord.” In addition, however, these verses also indicate that the Lord used intermediate agents to speak forth these words of prophecy, for Matthew refers to “what was spoken…through [dia—intermediate agency] the prophet.” Put very simply, A (God) used B (the prophets) to perform C (write Scripture).Read the entire post here.
John MacArthur in Pulpit Magazine has a nice reminder of the importance of praying for the lost.
Do you have a heart to pray for the lost like Jesus did? Do you have the passion that inspired John Knox to plead, “Give me Scotland or I die”? Is your attitude that of George Whitefield, who prayed, “O Lord, give me souls or take my soul”? Do you, like Henry Martyn, mourn when you see others trapped in false religion and cry out, “I cannot endure existence if Jesus is to be so dishonored”?Read the entire article here.
Although this is not actually new news, some may not be aware of the recent argument of Utrecht University Old Testament scholar Marjo Korpel that a 9th century B.C. seal discovered in 1964 belonged to the infamous Queen Jezebel, the wife of King Ahab (1 Kings 16:31). You can read about it here.
There is an interesting review of Kevin J Madigan and Jon D Levenson's Life and Death in the Bible: The Power of God for Christians and Jews in the Asia Times Online. You can read it here.
Read this interesting op-ed piece in the Jerusalem Post (here). Shmuley Boteach suggests that Einstein might have benefited from following the values taught in the same Bible that he famously criticized in a recently auctioned personal letter.
May 26, 2008
Terry Cook has made a rather extensive and from what I have seen, a rather well done set of notes for New Testament Greek available. Thanks Terry and the Biblical Studies and Technological Tools blog for making this available here.
The Book of Exodus is often divided into two major sections (1:1–18:27 and 19:1–40:38). This division is quite understandable. The first eighteen chapters are primarily narrative, with Moses leading the Israelites out of Egypt and into Sinai. The remaining chapters are a mixture of narrative and instruction related to Israel at Sinai. The first section is concerned with bringing the Lord’s people out of Egypt whereas the second section is concerned with bringing Israel into a right relationship with the Lord. But for our part, we suggest that the text has three major movements. First, YHWH redeems His people by grace and through His covenantal relationship with the Patriarchs (1:1–18:27). Second, YHWH’s redeemed people are given the basis for rightly relating to their Redeemer which entails both privilege and responsibility (19:1–31:18). And third, YHWH’s redeemed people fail to live up to the privilege and responsibility to which they have been called, but the Lord graciously renews the covenant and the tabernacle is built (32:1–40:38).
May 25, 2008
"Has grace begun in you? Can you mark—though it should be but tiny drops of a streamlet which will terminate in such an ocean—the tiny grains which are to accumulate and issue in such 'an exceeding weight of glory? Do not delay this momentous question. No grace, no glory."
—John MacDuff (1818-1895)