Dec 27, 2008

How to Have an Expository Preaching Church

Jim Kang has posted on how to have an expository preaching church. Read the post

Why Pastors and Professors Ought to be on Facebook

Alex Tang and Kar Yong have posted
here and here concerning why pastors and professors ought to be on Facebook.

Alex Tang:

  • it forces them to become more computer and Internet savvy. Many pastors are generations behind in their understanding and use of communication technology
  • it introduces them to a new way of social interacting- the digital way.
  • it makes them human. Depending on their openness and integrity, pastors who presents themselves as themselves will have to reveal a more personal and human side of themselves.
  • allows them to understand and know what the younger generations in his/her congregation is doing in these social network spaces
  • develop new aspects of their ministries. Most pastors do not realise that their ministry is limited to the verbal and printed words. They need to be missional with digital words
  • provide the presence of Christ in these social network spaces
  • make 'friends' with people from all over the world
  • they need to create Christian faith communities in these social network spaces
  • they should have fun

Kar Yong:

  • In addition to the reasons listed by Alex, I think I could add that if lecturers in seminary participate in Facebook, we can discuss aspects of our lectures with our students, engage with them and, who knows, we might even attract some potential students.

Dec 26, 2008

Preaching Ecclesiastes

I was recently teaching Ecclesiastes to a class of seminarians. During the course of our discussion I was asked how one might go about preaching this challenging book. While I have not actually preached through the book myself (I have taught it several times), one of my friends, who is actually a professor of homiletics, has. David L. Allen, who at time was the pastor of MacArthur Boulevard Baptist Church in Irving, Texas, preached through Ecclesiastes in 2003. I have listened to the messages and I commend them to you. The title of the sermon series was a take off a James Bond move, "The World is not Enough." Here is a listing of the cleverly titled individual messages.

Ecclesiastes 1:1-2: "The World Is Not Enough"
Ecclesiastes 1:3-11: "The View From The Treadmill"
Ecclesiastes 1:12-2:11: "I Can't Get No Satisfaction"
Ecclesiastes 2:12-26: "Life's Joy? It's God's Gift!"
Ecclesiastes 3:1, 8: "War...What Is It Good For?"
Ecclesiastes 4: "Getting on God's Time Zone"
Ecclesiastes 5: "Watch Your Step at Church"
Ecclesiastes 6: "Things Ain't What They Seem!"
Ecclesiastes 7:1-15: "God Wisdom?"
Ecclesiastes 8: "Who's In Charge Here?"
Ecclesiastes 9: "Most Unlikely to Succeed"
Ecclesiastes 10: "Life With Dumb and Dumber"
Ecclesiastes 11: "Enrolled...Don't Forget the Final"
Ecclesiastes 12:1-8: "A Visit to Vanity Fair"
Ecclesiastes 12:9-14: "The World Is Not Enough...But God Is"

Walton on Judges 11:29-40: Jephthah's Daughter

John Walton has posted on Judges 11:29-40, in particular the fate of Jephthah's Daughter. Read the post

Dec 25, 2008

What's in Your Bible

The Logos blog has made a Bible canon table from their new
Bible Study magazine available by clicking the picture below.

What's in Your Bible? Find out at

Dec 24, 2008

Peter Mead on Dealing With Inadequacy

Peter Mead has identified four observations on dealing with personal inadequacies in preaching. In sum:

1. Feelings of inadequacy are appropriate.
2. Feelings of inadequacy should not be avoided.
3. Feelings of inadequacy should not undermine faith.
4. Feelings of inadequacy might be a prompt to faith-filled action.

Mead concludes by stating that "Feelings of inadequacy – not all good, not all bad, not the end of the story." You can read the entire post here.

Translations of the Apocrypha

Mark Hoffman has posted on Bob Burns' compilation and comparison of different trnaslations of the Apocrypha. You can access Hoffman's post
here. You can access Burn's post here and a table here

The table as an XML spreadsheet:

As an MS Excel spreadsheet:

As an image file:

Concerning the table Burns offers the following explanatory notes:

The line items highlighted in blue represent the preferred available
text tradition for each book in the collection. For the 3 additions to
Daniel, for instance, the preferred text tradition is "Theodotion". In
this analysis, the Latin Vulgate (with the exception of 2 Esdras) is
never viewed as a preferred text tradition, because it is itself a
translation of the Greek; also it is known that Jerome, the translator
of the Vulgate, paraphrased and abridged a number of these books.

Esther poses the highest number of ways in which it has been handled by
translators. For instance, the translators of the KJV, EV and RSV did
not restore the portions from Greek Esther into the narrative sequence
of the book, so one is left with a jumble of incoherent chapters out of
their context.

Some translators DID reinsert the chapters, such as the NAB, NJB and the
NRSV-CE, but within the context of a translation of Esther from the

Few translators, such as NETS and NRSV, have translated all of Greek
Esther as a unit, thus giving us a better picture of what ancient
readers of Esther in Greek would have been reading.

Three compositions, 2 Esdras, Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) and Psalm 151 have
been enlarged with previously lost portions. 2 Esdras had a portion of
chapter 7 recovered from versions of that book found outside of the
Vulgate. In the case of Psalm 151, its longer original form was
recovered from the Dead Sea Scroll caves. Sirach had portions recovered
from Hebrew fragments found in the Cairo Geniza.

Dec 23, 2008

Mounce on Hebrews 12:3-11

Bill Mounce has posted on Hebrews 12:3-11. In particular, the post is concerned with the reference to discipline in 12:5. Mounce concludes that this verse teaches that there are that "we are being "disciplined," not in the sense of being punished for sin but in the sense of God allowing life to mold and shape us, to teach us about his love as our heavenly father, and to call us to faithfulness in the midst of life."

I think this conclusion is correct and one that I reached a number of years ago when I was writing an argument for the book of Hebrews for a seminary class. Writing an argument forces you to notice not only the divisions or breaks between sections, but also the logical links and connections between the same passages.

In any case, you can read Mounce's post here.

What Characterizes a Gospel?

What characterizes a Gospel? Mark Strauss has helpfully identified three characteristics of a gospel.[1] First, the Gospels are historical literature, that is, “they have a history of composition,” “they are set in a specific historical context,” and “they are meant to convey accurate historical information.” Second, the Gospels are narrative literature and “not merely collections of reports or sayings of the historical Jesus.” Third, the Gospels are theological literature, that is, “theological documents written to instruct and encourage believers and to convince unbelievers of the truth of their message. One further note concerning genre can be made. There is a developing consensus that the Gospels bear close similarities in form to Greco-Roman biographies.[2]

[1] The substance of this paragraph is summarized from Mark L. Strauss, Four Portraits, One Jesus: An Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), 27–9.

[2] See Richard A. Burridge, What Are the Gospels? A Comparison with Greco-Roman Bibliography, ed. Astrid Beck and David Noel Freedman, 2d ed., Biblical Resource Series (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004).

Dec 22, 2008

Walton on Jonah 3:5

John Walton has an interesting discussion regarding Jonah 3:5, namely, what does it mean when the people of Nineveh believed in or believed God. Read it

Dec 21, 2008

All Things are Better in Koine

Hard to describe. You just have to watch it.

Carson on Three Views on the Use of the Old Testament

D. A. Carson has reviewed
Three Views on the Use of the Old Testament, edited by Berding and Lunde. Read the review here. Other reviews of this book that I have posted on can be found here and here.