Jan 31, 2009

Walton on the Creation of Humankind in the Ancient Near East

John Walton continues is series of posts on Old Testament backgrounds by discussing the creation of Humankind in the ancient Near East. Read it

State of the Church in America

According to a recent story in USA Today, the Gallup pollsters have listed the states with the highest to the least percentages of respondents who affirmed that religion is an important part of their daily lives.

• Mississippi: 85%
• Alabama: 82%
• South Carolina: 80%
• Tennessee: 79%
• Louisiana: 78%
• Arkansas: 78%
• Georgia: 76%
• North Carolina: 76%
• Oklahoma: 75%
• Kentucky: 74%
• Texas: 74%
• West Virginia: 71%
• Kansas: 70%
• Utah: 69%
• Missouri: 68%
• Virginia: 68%
• South Dakota: 68%
• North Dakota: 68%
• Indiana: 68%
• Nebraska: 67%
• New Mexico: 66%
• Pennsylvania: 65%
• Florida: 65%
• Maryland: 65%
• Ohio: 65%
• Iowa: 64%
• Minnesota: 64%
• Illinois: 64%
• Michigan: 64%
• Delaware: 61%
• Wisconsin: 61%
• District of Columbia: 61%
• Idaho: 61%
• Arizona: 61%
• New Jersey: 60%
• Wyoming: 58%
• Colorado: 57%
• Hawaii: 57%
• California: 57%
• Montana: 56%
• New York: 56%
• Connecticut: 55%
• Nevada: 54%
• Rhode Island: 53%
• Oregon: 53%
• Washington: 52%
• Alaska: 51%
• Massachusetts: 48%
• Maine: 48%
• New Hampshire: 46%
• Vermont: 42%

Jan 30, 2009

Which Do Your Prefer to Hear?

Derek Thomas asks the following great question:

Which of these two statements do preachers most like to hear: a) "I didn't understand much of what you said, but I love to hear you preach," or "You know, when I hear you preach I say to myself, 'I could have seen that in the text"?

Read his entire post here.

Proverbs 31 Woman Updated

Kate Dolan has an updated and humorous version of the Proverbs 31 woman.

A wife of noble character who can find?

She is worth more than a Nintendo system with Rock Band and Wii Fit all bundled together.

Her husband trusts her with all the credit cards and the remote control.

She brings him excellent credit ratings all the days of her life.

She selects volunteer cutting assignments from the kindergarten teacher and works with eager hands.

She is like merchant ships, bringing in food from the store with the best coupon deals that week.

She gets up before the clock radio kicks on; and microwaves sausage patties for her family.

She considers a lottery ticket and buys it; out of her Bunco winnings she enters a basket bingo and wins a birthday gift for her mother-in-law.

She works out at the gym vigorously; her arms are strong enough that she doesn't have too much of that hanging flab when she raises her forearms.

She sees that she's getting a good return on her 401(k) rollover, and her lamp always goes out at a reasonable time (but she can turn it back on if the kids need something or the dog starts whining).

In her hand she holds the steering wheel and grasps the box of Cheez-Its to hand out to the kids in the carpool.

When it snows, she has no fear for her household; for she has arranged to go in late for work on days when schools open on a two-hour delay.

She makes her bed most days even if no one's coming over.

Her husband is respected at the city sports stadium, where he takes his seat among the season ticket-holders.

She makes allergen-free brownies and sells them at the bake sale and supplies the scout troop with sodas for the party.

She is clothed with strength and dignity, or at least sweats that are clean, with not too many paint spatters.

She can laugh at the ridiculously high heating bill.

She speaks with wisdom, and can faithfully instruct her family on how to change the bag in the vacuum cleaner.

She watches over the affairs of her children text messaging each other in the same room and does not eat anything from the Cheesecake Factory.

Her children arise and, though they call her really bad names, at least they're up in time to get ready for school.

Her husband praises her (from his seat with the season ticket-holders): ``Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all.''

Charm is deceptive, and beauty is fleeting; but a woman who has read this far in my bad paraphrase deserves to be praised.

Give her the reward she has earned: A rest. (In other words, that's the end).

The original article can be found here.

Jan 29, 2009

Commentaries on the 1-3 John (the Johannine Epistles)

Mark Goodacre has posted on the availability of some of the latest issues of the
Biblical Studies Bulletin here. The March 2008 issue provides a nice summary and evaluation of commentaries on the Johannine Epistles that help in preaching and teaching in the local church. The evaluation is done by Pieter J. Lalleman. You can dowload the entire issue here (see pages 5-6). Or you can access all the issues here.

Jan 28, 2009

Prayer and the Sovereignty of God

Matt Waymeyer has posted a four part series,
here, here, here, and here on prayer and the sovereignty of God. Namely, asking and answering the question, "Why pray if God is sovereign?"

Waymeyer offers five reasons why believers should pray in light of the sovereignty of God.

1. God has commanded us to pray.
2. Jesus modeled a life of prayer.
3. God is able to respond to our prayers.
4. God actually does respond to prayer.
5. God has ordained prayer as a means by which He accomplishes His eternal purposes

Mounce on Using Greek in the Pulpit

Bill Mounce has provided some good advice concerning using Greek in the pulpit. One paragraph in particular is worth noting well.

"So learn your languages, do your homework, read the best commentaries, struggle with the Greek and Hebrew text, check various translations, and then express yourself with simplicity and humility, and let the power of the sermon be the power of the Spirit working through your words. But please do not hold yourself up as an authority who must be believed because you know what the Greek says. Who knows? Perhaps God will send someone to hear you who knows more about Greek than you do, and will blog about your mistake before the world (as I did in last week’s blog)."

Read the entire post here.

Vance Havner on Being "There"

Vance Havner commenting on 1 Kings 17:2-4, 9-10 suggests:

I do not believe that the ravens would have fed Elijah anywhere else, not would the widow woman have appeared anywhere else except “there.” God did not say, “Elijah, ramble around as you please and I will provide for you.” “There” was a place of God’s will for Elijah- the place of God’s will for Elijah- the place of his purpose, the place of His power and the place of His provision.

“There” was the place of God’s purpose. God has a “there” for you, somewhere He wants you to be, something He wants you to do. You can never be truly happy elsewhere, nor can you please God anywhere but “there.” You may do lovely things and become a “success,” but always there will be the haunting sense of having chosen life’s second best.

Jan 27, 2009

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:

Philip S. Alexander
The Targum of Lamentations: Translated, with a Critical Introduction, Apparatus, and Notes
Reviewed by Jan-Wim Wesselius

Margaret Barker
Temple Themes in Christian Worship
Reviewed by Mary L. Coloe

Paul C. Burns, ed.
Jesus in Twentieth Century Literature, Art, and Movies
Reviewed by Tsalampouni Ekaterini
Reviewed by Richard Walsh

Bruce Chilton
Abraham's Curse: The Roots of Violence in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam
Reviewed by Marvin A. Sweeney

John Day, ed.
Temple and Worship in Biblical Israel: Proceedings of the Oxford Old Testament Seminar
Reviewed by Aren M. Maeir

Timothy Edwards
Exegesis in the Targum of Psalms: The Old, the New, and the Rewritten
Reviewed by Joachim Vette

William A. Ford
God, Pharaoh and Moses: Explaining the Lord's Actions in the Exodus Plagues Narrative
Reviewed by Hee Suk Kim
Reviewed by Brian D. Russell

J. Harold Greenlee
The Text of the New Testament: From Manuscript to Modern Edition
Reviewed by J. K. Elliott

Robert H. Gundry
The Old Is Better: New Testament Essays in Support of Traditional Interpretations
Reviewed by Michael F. Bird

Thomas Krüger, Manfred Oeming, Konrad Schmid, and Christoph Uehlinger, eds.
Das Buch Hiob und seine Interpretationen: Beiträge zum Hiob-Symposium auf dem Monte Verità vom 14.-19. August 2005
Reviewed by Philippe Guillaume

Francis J. Moloney
The Living Voice of the Gospels
Reviewed by Stephan Witetschek

Risto Nurmela
The Mouth of the Lord Has Spoken: Inner-biblical Allusions in Second and Third Isaiah
Reviewed by Christophe Nihan

U. B. Schmid, with W. J. Elliott and D. C. Parker
The New Testament in Greek IV: The Gospel according to St. John: Volume 2: The Majuscules
Reviewed by Marcus Sigismund

Kenton L. Sparks
God's Word in Human Words: An Evangelical Appropriation of Critical Biblical Scholarship
Reviewed by Arthur Boulet
Reviewed by Jeffrey A. Gibbs

Clinton Wahlen
Jesus and the Impurity of Spirits in the Synoptic Gospels
Reviewed by Mark D. Batluck

Thomas R. Yoder Neufeld
Recovering Jesus: The Witness of the New Testament
Reviewed by V. George Shillington

Now for Something Totally Different: Transvestism in Ancient Israel

Claude Mariottini has an interesting post on transvestism in Ancient Israel and Deuteronomy 22:5. Although the content is a bit out of the ordinary, it is worth reading. You can access it

Jan 26, 2009

What You Won't Learn in Greek Class

Rod Decker lists six things taken from David Black that you won't learn in his Greek class. The list is worth reading. Make sure you read Decker's caveats which I would also share. In any case, you can read the post here.

Latest Issue of the Journal for the Study of the New Testament

Here is a list of articles to the latest issue (vol. 31 no. 3) of the Journal for the Study of the New Testament with links to their abstracts.

“Exposing the Economic Middle: A Revised Economy Scale for the Study of Early Urban Christianity”
Bruce W. Longenecker
“Named Letter-Carriers among the Oxyrhynchus Papyri”
Peter M. Head
“The Politics of Promise: Echoes of Isaiah 54 in Romans 4.19–21”
Mark Forman
“Revisiting the Euphemism in 1 Corinthians 7.1”
Roy E. Ciampa
“After 70 and All That: A Response to Martin Goodman's Rome and Jerusalem
James Carleton Paget

Jan 25, 2009

Walton on Temple and Cosmos

John Walton has an interesting post on the ancient Near Eastern understanding of the relationship between temple and cosmos. You can read the post