Dec 6, 2008

Review of Bovon's. Luke 1: A Commentary on the Gospel of Luke 1:1–9:50.

Thanks to Fortress Press for the review copy.

Bovon, François. Luke 1: A Commentary on the Gospel of Luke 1:1–9:50. Hermeneia, ed. Helmut Koester. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2002.

The author is a seasoned Lukan scholar who is currently serving as Frothingham Professor of the History of Religion at Harvard Divinity School. This volume is the first of a three-volume commentary on the Gospel of Luke originally published in German as Das Evangelium nach Lukas (EKKNT III/1. Zürich: Benziger Verlag & Neukirchen¬Vluyn: Neukirchener Verlag, 1989).

Bovon’s commentary is similar to the format and approach of other volumes in the Hermeneia series. Luke 1 begins with a surprisingly short introduction of twelve pages. Nonetheless, the introduction is worth reading since Bovon is able state in brief what takes others much longer.

Following the introduction is the commentary proper, which, is divided into forty-seven sections. Each section is further demarcated into five sections: bibliography, translation of the text, analysis, commentary, and conclusion. The analyses typically set the entire passage in context with the commentary section discussing the parts. The conclusion attempts to relate the passage theologically and practically. For the most part, the format works and Bovon’s comments are generally clear and judicious. The bibliography is helpful but does not appear to be quite up to date. The lack of interaction with more recent scholarship is acknowledged in the author’s forward and for some will make this volume less attractive since it reflects the state of scholarship of the German 1989 edition. In the fast-paced world of biblical studies some would consider it out-of-date.

Overall the commentary is a solid contribution to Lukan studies. Although the lack of interaction with more recent scholarship will be off-putting for some, Bovon’s contributions to the sttudy of the Third Gospel in this volume should not be ignored.

Important Elements in a Sermon Introduction

Peter Mead identifies the folllowing as the most important elements in a sermon introduction.

This speaker is relevant to me. I don’t want to listen to somebody that is out of touch with the real world. Please give me confidence that you are a relevant speaker.

This message is relevant to me. If I am a normal listener, I have not come to church excited for a historical lecture. Please give me confidence that this message will be relevant to my life. If you leave application and relevance until the end of the message (traditional approach) then I may well miss it (to be absent from the body may not mean being present with the Lord, if you see what I mean?)

This passage is relevant to me. I would be thrilled to open up my Bible with expectation and motivation, hungry to understand it and be changed by it. As the preacher you need to create that motivation during your introduction.

Read the entire post here.

Dec 5, 2008

Walton on Isaiah 9:6

John Walton has an interesting post on the messianic names in Isaiah 9:6. He suggests that,
"based on 1) the singular use of "name"; 2) the prevalent use of theophoric names; 3) the lack of precedent for messiah being attributed deity; and 4) Isaiah’s fondness for long names, growing increasingly complex; that we have just one long, complex name: Pele’-yo’ets’-el-gibbor-’avi-’ad-sar-shalom. Like Maher-shalal-hash-baz it is a name made up of two parallel lines. Each of these lines is theophoric and has four components. The resulting translation would be: 'A Supernatural Planner is the Mighty God; The Father of Time is a Prince of Peace.'"

Read the entire post here.

Latest Issue of Review of Biblical Literature

The latest issue of Review of Biblical Literature is out. Reviews that may be of interest from a Bible Exposition perspective include:

Ignacio Carbajosa and Luis Sánchez Navarro, eds.
Entrar en lo antiguo: Acerca de la relación entre Antiguo y Nuevo Testamento
Reviewed by David Creech

Lutz Edzard and Jan Retsö, eds.
Current Issues in the Analysis of Semitic Grammar and Lexicon I: Oslo-Göteborg Cooperation 3rd-5th June 2004; II: Oslo-Göteborg Cooperation 4th-5th November 2005
Reviewed by Frederick E. Greenspahn

Paul Foster, ed.
The Writings of the Apostolic Fathers
Reviewed by Taras Khomych

Robert P. Gordon
The God of Israel
Reviewed by Ben C. Ollenburger

Hans-Josef Klauck
Ancient Letters and the New Testament: A Guide to Context and Exegesis
Reviewed by Matthew D. Montonini

Mary E. Mills
Alterity, Pain, and Suffering in Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel
Reviewed by Hallvard Hagelia

Peter M. Phillips
The Prologue to the Fourth Gospel: A Sequential Reading
Reviewed by John Painter

Thomas Römer and Konrad Schmid, eds.
Les Dernières Rédactions du Pentateuque, de L'Hexateuque et de L'Ennéateuque
Reviewed by John Engle

Andreas Schüle
Der Prolog der hebräischen Bibel: Der literar- und theologiegeschichtliche Diskurs der Urgeschichte (Genesis 1-11)
Reviewed by Karl Möller

Christopher R. Seitz
Prophecy and Hermeneutics: Toward a New Introduction to the Prophets
Reviewed by Julia M. O'Brien

Hagith Sivan
Between Woman, Man and God: A New Interpretation of the Ten Commandments
Reviewed by William Marderness

J. Samuel Subramanian
The Synoptic Gospels and the Psalms as Prophecy
Reviewed by Thomas J. Kraus
Reviewed by Edward J. Mills III

Sigve K. Tonstad
Saving God's Reputation: The Theological Function of Pistis Iesou in the Cosmic Narratives of Revelation
Reviewed by Tobias Nicklas

Ben Witherington III
The Letters to Philemon, the Colossians, and the Ephesians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on the Captivity Epistles
Reviewed by Timothy Gombis

How to Preach the Old Testament at Christmas

Justin Taylor has an interesting
post on how to preach Christ at Advent. He lists three examples from Ralph Davis.

Dec 4, 2008

Walt Kaiser on Authorial Intention

See this
post on some remarks by Walt Kaiser on the hermeneutical issue of authorial intention.

A Slide Presentation on Khirbet Qeiyafa

Claude Mariottini has posted this link to a slide presentation produced by Yosef Garfinkel of Hebrew University and Saar Ganor of the Israel Antiquities Authority on Khirbet Qeiyafa.

Decker on Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament

Rod Decker has a nice summary of, and observations about, the recent sessions at ETS concerning the recent book
Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. You can read the post here.

Dec 3, 2008

Köstenberger’s Top Ten Biblical and Theology Books for 2008

Köstenberger has posted his top ten biblical and theology Books for 2008. Here is his list.

1. The ESV Study Bible (Crossway): While people may debate the merits of the ESV as a translation, the qualities of the ESV Study Bible are indisputable. An exquisitely produced, high-quality product that sets a new standard for study Bibles.

2. Eckhard Schnabel, Paul the Missionary (InterVarsity Press): A worthy sequel to Schnabel’s landmark 2-volume work Early Christian Mission. The new “Ronald Allan” on Paul’s missionary practice. Both thorough and practical.

3. D. A. Carson, Christ & Culture Revisited (Eerdmans): A timely book on an all-important subject, the relationship between Christianity and contemporary culture. Carson properly takes his starting point from Niebuhr’s classic work Christ and Culture. A very important book.

4. Robert Stein, Mark (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament; Baker): I haven’t read Stein’s work in toto yet, but from what I’ve seen so far, this commentary is first rate, as one would expect from this senior Markan scholar.

5. David Chapman, Ancient Jewish and Christian Perceptions of Crucifixion (Mohr-Siebeck): The revised version of a dissertation at Cambridge University under William Horbury, this will be the standard work on crucifixion for a long time to come.

6. Margaret Elizabeth Köstenberger, Jesus and the Feminists (Crossway): This book should have been written a long time ago. A judicious survey of various feminist approaches to Jesus. J. I. Packer calls it “scrupulously fair.” In the interest of full disclosure: I am married to the author.

7. Cosmology of New Testament Theology (ed. Jonathan Pennington and Sean McDonough; T & T Clark): Finally, a monograph on this very important but widely neglect aspect of New Testament theology. Worldview matters, then and now.

8. Craig Blomberg and Mariam Kamell, Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament: James (Zondervan): A great start to an important new series from Zondervan. Blomberg here teams up with Mariam Kamell, a doctoral student at St. Andrews University.

9. Suffering and the Goodness of God (ed. Christopher Morgan and Robert Peterson; Theology in Community series; Crossway): Another promising start to a new series, with contributions by, among others, Robert Yarbrough, Walter Kaiser, Dan McCartney, and John Frame.

10. Clyde Fant and Mitchell Reddish, Lost Treasures of the Bible: Understanding the Bible through Archaeological Artifacts in World Museums (Eerdmans): A great publishing idea, and well executed. As a teacher and student of Scripture, this is a resource I will value highly.

Helpful Sermon Tool from Logos

[Update: Please see the concerns in the comments below regarding this post. I contacted Logos directly, and to be quite frank, the response from Logos was less than satisfactory.]

From the Logos blog:

As a hat-tip to all our loyal Logos blog readers, we wanted to let you know about our latest online project, (beta). While we aren’t ready for a full-out release announcement, we thought it would be fun to let you guys and gals get the first chance to visit the site and “kick the tires.” is an online community built around user created sermons and illustrations and already hosts over 56,000 sermons and illustrations.

Along with the ability to search using the same powerful search engine that runs, you can also rate sermons, subscribe to sermon RSS feeds, create links to sermons and illustrations you want to share with people, and even create your own user account to upload your sermons and illustrations to the site.

If you already have a account, there is no need to create a new account to use the site. Your username and password work on Not only that, but you can also promote your church and your sermons by enhancing your profile with a picture, a link to your church, your title, organization, personal blog or website, denomination, and much more. To enhance your profile, just visit:

If you’re a Logos user and have the Sermon File Addin, contributing to is as easy as checking the “add my sermons to the Logos database” checkbox. Your sermons will automatically be added and, even more, when you edit them within Logos, your edits will appear on the site as well.

So, there you go. Remember, the site is in beta, so go check it out and let us know what you think.

Dec 2, 2008

Jackman on Ten Exhortations for Preachers

Colin Adams has posted David Jackman's ten exhortations for preachers. The ten exhortations are:

1. Get rid of the idea that we have to make the text relevant.

2. Go back and work hard on the text, to find out what it meant to its first hearers or readers.

3. Make sure the original context determines your contemporary application.

4. Set the passage also in its wider Biblical theological context.

5. Focus your understanding and purpose in key sentences.

6. Develop a clear programme.

7. Study your congregation.

8. Apply the truth to the whole person.

9. Make your language count.

10. Pray for the Holy Spirit to blow his life-giving breath through it all and to do the gracious and powerful work of which only he is capable.

Jackman's entire article can be accessed here.

Mounce on the Definitite Article in 1 Timothy 4:13

Bill Mounce has a nice discussion on the definite article in 1 Timothy 4:13 and its potential applications. Read the post

Free Spurgeon Audio Download is offering a free download of the first ninety days of Spurgeon's classic devotional
Mornings and Evenings. Go here and enter the coupon code DEC2008 when prompted.

Dec 1, 2008

The Provenance of Philippians

Michael Bird has a nice
discussion on the provenance of Philippians. He argues for an Ephesian provenance. The post is worth reading although I hold to the traditional Roman provenance for Philippians.

Bivin on Hebrew as a Spoken Language in First-century Israel

David Bivin has an interesting post affirming that Hebrew was a spoken language in First-century Israel (contra much current scholarship). I found the following comment most interesting.

Randall Buth has pointed out to me a fascinating indication that Hebrew was the spoken language in the first century. The Jewish historian Josephus describes an incident that took place during the siege of Jerusalem (War 5:269-272). Josephus relates that watchmen were posted on the towers of the city walls to warn residents of incoming stones fired from Roman ballistae. Whenever a stone was on its way, the spotters would shout “in their native tongue, ‘The son is coming!’” (War 5:272). The meaning the watchmen communicated to the people was: Ha-even ba’ah (the stone is coming). However, because of the urgency of the situation, these words were clipped, being abbreviated to ben ba (son comes). (This well-known Hebrew wordplay is attested in the New Testament: “God is able from these avanim [stones] to raise up banim [sons] to Abraham” [Matt 3:9 = Luke 3:8].)

You can read the entire post here.