Nov 29, 2008

Wealth and Poverty

Much of the Bible is concerned about the topics of wealth and poverty. One of the great challenges of dealing with this topic in the West in general and the United States in particular is that our general relative affluence makes it difficult to gain a perspective from which we can better appreciate such texts. To this end there is a helpful tool that you can access here in which you can plug in your annual income and see how rich you are in relation to the world.

A Review of Simpson's Assaulted by Joy

Simpson, Stephen W. Assaulted by Joy: The Redemption of a Cynic. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008.

Normally, I review books that are directly related to biblical studies. But Robin Geelhoed at Zondervan contacted me about the book in question. Wanting to stretch a bit I decided to take it on. I am glad I did. Assaulted by Joy is a series of personal vignettes describing the author’s journey from cynicism to joy. The approach is generally effective since joy is more easily illustrated than defined. Using both personal tragedy and triumph, Simpson demonstrates that joy is more of a journey than a destination and that cynicism is a constant and attractive detour along the way. And that joy, contrary to popular understanding, is not best produced individually but rather cultivated in community and in relationship with others. Overall, the book is personable and easy to read and I could not help but identify with the author’s struggle with cynicism. That being said, I wonder whether the cynics that could benefit most from this book, will conclude that Simpson’s book is too simplistic, shallow, and saccharine. Or is that simply me being cynical?

Nov 28, 2008

Expository Preaching: The Minimum

Colin Adams suggests that at minimum expository preaching includes . . .

1. Reading or quoting from the biblical passage to be expounded.
2. Giving the basic thrust of that passage’s message.
3. Positively demonstrating the meaning of the text by supplying relevant supporting evidence to your interpretation (historical background, literary context, grammatical support, word studies, wider Scriptural cross-reference, etc)
4. Negatively clarifying what the passage does not mean; ruling out possible faulty interpretations.
5. Drawing out the lessons of the passage for believer and non-believer.
6. Relating the passage to Christ and his gospel (setting the text within the wider framework of biblical theology).

(Note: non essentials to exposition include catchy introductions or conclusions, illustrations, numbered points, alliteration. No doubt some of these can be helpful on ocassion, but you could do exposition without them).

The post can be found here.

Reformed Theology Literature Website

There is a nice Reformed theology literature website accessible

Nov 27, 2008

Dissatisfied Churchgoers Cite Three Main Complaints

According to the latest issue of the Church Leaders Intelligence Report,

People who are dissatisfied with how their church is helping them develop spiritually (about 17% overall) are most concerned about three elements of the weekend worship service. 68% say the service does not incorporate Bible teaching that helps them with everyday life. 70% say the service is not challenging or thought-provoking enough, and 81% say it does not provide enough in-depth study of the Bible. Those generally satisfied with their churches also list these three elements, but with a much higher rate of satisfaction.
Sounds like some solid Bible exposition would help!

Nov 26, 2008

Zane Hodges (1933-2008)

I learned today that Zane Hodges has gone on to be with the Lord. Although I did not know the man personally, men that have taught me were influenced by him. Dan Wallace has a nice reflection on Zane here.

Considerations for Choosing a New Sermon Series

Colin Adams has offered the following list of helpful points to consider in selecting a new sermon series.

1. How long do we have for this batch of sermons (one year; three months; four weeks)?

2. What Testament did we preach from last?

3. What biblical genre have we not preached from lately?

4. What is the one greatest spiritual need in the church currently? (and what book/section of a book would best address that need?)

5. What portion of Scripture excites me at the moment personally?

6. What Scripture books/sections have I not preached on with this congregation?

7. If we’ve just preached through a relatively lighter book, what would stretch the congregation? If we’ve just waded through Leviticus, what might make for some lighter lifting?

8. Are there any clear and present theological dangers that need to be urgently addressed?

9. Is there a contemporary circumstance (9/11, credit crunch) that might call for or pave the way for a series of sermons?

You can read the entire post here.

Nov 25, 2008

Ortlund on Preaching

The Faith by Hearing blog has noted the availability of three messages by Ray Ortlund on preaching. Here are the links to Ortlund's message.

Power in Preaching: Decide (1 Cor 2:1-5)

Power in Preaching: Desire (1 Thess 1:2-5)

Power in Preaching: Delight (2 Cor 12:1-10)

Why Professors Blog

Fred Sanders has an interesting post on why professors blog. The post has remarks from Michael Bird, Scot McKnight, Andreas Köstenberger, and Peter Leithart. You can read it

Thanks to Justin Taylor for pointing this out.

Nov 24, 2008

Blomberg Takes on National Geographic

Craig Blomberg takes National Geographic magazine to task for denying that Herod the Great actually slaughtered the infants as recorded in Matthew 2:16-19. You can view the National Geographic article
here and Craig Blomberg's response here.

Preaching a Funeral For An Unbeliever

See this helpful
post on preaching an unbeliever's funeral.

Stackhouse on Qualifications for Teaching at a Small Christian College

Some readers might be interested in this post by John Stackhouse on "Qualifications for Teaching at a Small Christian College." The post can be accessed here.

Review of Basics of Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek

Constantine R. Campbell, Basics of Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008), 159 pps.

Thank Jesse Hillman for the review copy.

Constantine Campbell has written a short, interesting, and informative book on verbal aspect in biblical Greek. The strength of this work is its clarity (terms are defined, examples provided, etc.). The reader is also aided by the exercises (with answers), a glossary, and an index. To be quite honest, I am not sure that I am qualified to evaluate the strengths of some of some of the more technical linguistic arguments, but it appears that Campbell was fair and balanced in his discussions. Every now and then, one reads a book that stretches and informs the reader. For this reader, Basics of Verbal Aspects is such a book.

Table of Contents:


Introduction: Verbal Aspect and Exegesis

Verbal Aspect Theory

1. What is Verbal Aspect?

2. The History of Verbal Aspect

3. Perfective Aspect

4. Imperfective Aspect

5. The Problem of the Perfect

Verbal Aspect and New Testament Text

6. Verbal Lexeme Basics

7. Present and Imperfect Tense-forms

8. Aorist and Future Tense-Forms

9. Perfect and Pluperfect Tense-Forms

10. More Participles

A Concluding Postscript: Space and Time

Verbal Glossary

Answers to Exercises


Nov 23, 2008

Prophecy of the Eucharist in Malachi?

Jake Belder has an interesting post in which he notes that some of the early Church Fathers viewed Malachi 1:10 as a prophecy of the Eucharist. Read the post