Jun 7, 2008

New Blog: Between the Times

Denny Burk has reported on his blog that "some professors from Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary have just started a new blog that you may be interested in reading. It is called “Between the Times.” Check it out here.

Jun 6, 2008

Numbers 5:11-31: Trial By Ordeal

There is an
article in The Jewish Journal on the trial by ordeal passages in Numbers 5:11-31. It is interesting to see a modern rabbinic take on this passage, particularly as it relates to its application (or not).

Peter Gentry and the Septuagint

There is a nice interview of Peter Gentry concerning the Septuagint. I have reproduced part of the interview below. For the rest go

Should it bother evangelicals who believe in the inerrancy of Scripture that the NT writers sometimes quote the LXX where it differs from the Masoretic text?

The NT writers sometimes took the Septuagint wording and applied it to a new circumstance (e.g., Acts 14:11 borrowed words from Ps. 118:22; 2 Cor. 16:8a borrowed words from 2 Sam. 7:14 and other texts). At other times the NT writers corrected the Septuagint reading in order to bring it into greater conformity to the Hebrew texts (e.g., see the use of Isa. 28:11–12 in 1 Cor. 14:21, or the use of Isa. 63:10 in Eph. 4:30). The use of the Septuagint doesn’t imply that the NT writers thought that the original Hebrew was mistaken; rather, it means that they affirmed the truthfulness of that which they were quoting or adapting in their own writing.

Why is it important to study the Septuagint?

Several reasons make study of the Septuagint important: (1) It provides extremely early textual testimony to the Hebrew Scriptures; (2) it provides us with an extremely early understanding of Hebrew grammar and word meanings otherwise unknown to us; (3) it essentially provides for us the earliest commentary on the Hebrew text (since all translation involves interpretation); (4) it serves as a key witness to the thought and worldview of Second Temple Judaism (c. 450 b.c.–a.d.70), since it was produced in the intertestamental period; (5) it is the key to understanding the Greek of the NT, since it was used so often by the apostles and by the early church; (6) it can shed light on translation debates today.

Latest Issue of 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:

Klaus-Peter Adam
Saul und David in der judäischen Geschichtsschreibung: Studien zu 1 Samuel 16-2 Samuel 5
Reviewed by Walter Dietrich

Andrew R. Angel
Chaos and the Son of Man: The Hebrew Chaoskampf Tradition in the Period 515 BCE to 200 CE
Reviewed by Lorenzo DiTommaso

John H. Elliott
Conflict, Community, and Honor: 1 Peter in Social-Scientific Perspective
Reviewed by Pheme Perkins

Cristina Grenholm and Daniel Patte, eds.
Gender, Tradition and Romans: Shared Ground, Uncertain Borders
Reviewed by Angela Standhartinger

John Paul Heil
Ephesians: Empowerment to Walk in Love for the Unity of All in Christ
Reviewed by Timothy Gombis

Y. V. Koh
Royal Autobiography in the Book of Qoheleth
Reviewed by Cristian G. Rata

Carleen R. Mandolfo
Daughter Zion Talks Back to the Prophets: A Dialogic Theology of the Book of Lamentations
Reviewed by Elizabeth Boase

Leo G. Perdue
Wisdom Literature: A Theological History
Reviewed by Bernd U. Schipper

Lieve M. Teugels and Rivka Ulmer, eds.
Midrash and Context: Proceedings of the 2004 and 2005 SBL Consultation on Midrash
Reviewed by Alex P. Jassen

Joseph B. Tyson
Marcion and Luke-Acts: A Defining Struggle
Reviewed by Dieter T. Roth

Thomas Schreiner's New Testament Theology

Towers Online has a brief review/summary of Thomas Schreiner's recently released New Testament Theology. The article in particular focuses on Schreiner's inaugurated, already/not yet eschatology. You can read it

Jun 5, 2008

The Historical Study of Scripture Is Not Enough

John Hobbins has written a nice post arguing that the historical study of Scripture is not enough. He is making his comments in light of the recent controversy involving Peter Enns. I think that Hobbins is generally on the mark here concerning the importance of reading the text historically, but also theologically.

Consumerism and the Church

Martin Downes has
posted a portion of an editorial for Evangelical Magazine. I have included three paragraphs below that I found worth noting.
The sign that we are not thinking biblically on these matters is that we are asking all the wrong questions about Christian activities. “What's in it for me?” is the unspoken assumption as we listen to sermons and sing God's praise. Our reasons for choosing a church, or even staying in a church, can be exactly the same as the reasons we have for choosing a product. How does it make us feel? What are the personal benefits? What activities are on offer for the children? A further sign of wrong thinking is that a culture of criticism about church activities is tolerated.

When was the last time that you went to church in order to do others good spiritually? Is that your deliberate aim? The Bible is full of images that describe Christians as part of a greater whole. We are sheep in a flock, parts of a body, members of a family, bricks in a building. Each image undermines the idea that we can think about being, and acting, as a Christian apart from the Church. We are to build one another up in love, to spur one another on to love and good deeds.

Involvement in the local church is not “another” option on the spiritual menu for 21st century Christians. To belong to God's people, to be part of God's family, is the high privilege conferred on God's children. Here is the place where God dwells by his Spirit. Here is the place where God assembles us, speaks to us, and sanctifies us. Here is the place where he has given gifts. Here is where we are to serve him, serve one another, and display the Gospel. It is time to put consumerism back on the shelf.

"Good Works" Is Not an Oxymoron

For a helpful review of the New Testament references to "good works" see this
post by John Davies. The first paragraph of Davies' post states,
In the circles in which I move, it seems to be almost impossible to utter the phrase “good works” without putting a “not” in the sentence. Good works have a bad press. The strange thing is that these are circles that seek to uphold the Bible’s teaching, yet when I read the Bible, I never find “good works” used in a negative way. I count 17 instances of ergon agathon(and 2 Thess 1:11 is very close, “good resolve and work of faith”), and 16 of ergon kalon in the NT, mostly in the plural. Being a mere OT scholar, I can’t detect any real difference between these two Greek expressions generally rendered “good work(s).”
Make sure to read the entire post.

Thanks to Michael Bird here for pointing this post out.

Jun 4, 2008

Latest Princeton Theological Review

The latest issue of the
Princeton Theological Review is available here for free. The focus of the issue is theological hermeneutics.

Thanks to the Sean the Baptist blog for the heads up.

Psalm 22:17: Evidence from the Talmud for a Traditional Rendering

John Hobbins has a nice post
here on the well-know translational difficulties with Psalm 22:17, a text used in the Gospels to refer to the crucifixion of Christ.

This is Funny

This is funny.

Better Blogging

Derek James Brown has some helpful suggestions for blogging better. Read it here.

1. Continue to add to your blogroll, but don’t overload it.

2. Categorize your articles.

3. Determine what is going to set you apart from other blogs.

4. Write well.

5. Make your site look good.

6. Keep it simple.

7. Visit and comment on other sites in order to promote your site.

8. Regularly update your blog.


According to the latest Church Leaders Intelligence Report,

Among the most generous U.S. population segments were evangelicals (24% of whom tithe); conservatives (12%); people who pray, read the Bible and attended a church service during the past week (12%); charismatic or Pentecostal Christians (11%); and registered Republicans (10%). Among the least generous are people under the age of 25, atheists and agnostics, single adults who have never been married, liberals, and downscale adults. One percent or less of the people in each of these segments tithed in ’07. Among all born-again adults, 9% contributed one-tenth or more of their income. Protestants are four times as likely to tithe as Catholics (8% vs. 2%). From ’00 to ’04, an average of 84¢ out of every $1 donated by born-again adults went to churches. Since ’05, that proportion has declined to just 76¢.
Barna Group 4/14/08

Jun 3, 2008

New Website for Associates for Biblical Research

The Associates for Biblical Research have a redesigned website. It looks pretty good. Check it out

Jun 2, 2008

Applying Samson

David Ker has a good
post highlighting the challenges of applying Samson's last act recorded in Judges 17:28-31. The post also provides a helpful reminder concerning the problems associated with some illustrations.

Namelessness in the Bible

There is an interesting article
here on the phenomena of nameless characters in the Bible. While I don't personally find much of the literary analysis in the article persuasive, but the article does serve to raise the importance of literary analysis, including characterization, in interpreting biblical narratives.

Church Growth is Dead

There is an interesting
editorial by Marty Fields, pastor of Westminster Presbyterian Church concerning the failure of the church growth movement. I found one particular paragraph particularly insightful.
Very simply they made secular people even more secular. Rather than leading people to worship Christ they led them deeper into worshipping themselves. This should be no surprise: if you gear a church towards the consumer preferences of a fallen culture you will produce a fallen church. Why would anyone think that catering to man’s fundamental sin problem would do otherwise? Liberals say there is no sin, and church growth says sin is no big deal. The very heart of the gospel tells us otherwise: sin is real and its the main problem we must address. Any church that fails to address this will fail too.

Jun 1, 2008

Finger-Licking-Good Exposition

Yesterday, I had a post on finger-pointing exposition which discussed the source for the typical disdain for Bible exposition today. Today, I want to discuss some things that I believe make for finger-licking-good exposition. Here is a list for starters.

Finger-licking-good exposition is true to the text, the God of the text, and the preacher of the text.

Finger-licking-good exposition is able to transport Scripture from long ago and far away to right here and right now.

Finger-licking-good exposition exalts God and not the sermon, the audience, and certainly not the preacher.

Finger-licking-good exposition is the culmination of a process which has been bathed in prayer, born in toil, and proclaimed in earnest.

Finger-licking-good exposition is sensitive to the fact that what truly matters is not the felt needs of the congregation revealed through surveys but the real needs of fallen people as revealed through Scripture.

Finger-licking-good exposition understands the difference between the old, old story and once upon a time.

Finger-licking-good exposition touches the head, the heart, and the hands.

Finger-licking-good exposition is the fruit of exegetical study not merely the proclamation of the exegetical study.

Finger-licking-good exposition begins or ends with Christ.

Evangelical Decline?

Christine Wicker has a thought-provoking editorial on trends suggesting a decline in Evangelical influence here. She focuses particularly on the declines within the Southern Baptist Convention as a case in point.