Mar 21, 2009

John Piper, the Gospel of John, and Commentaries

The Desiring God blog has posted a Youtube video with John Piper discussing the three primary commentaries that he is using as he preaches through the Gospel of John. The three commentaries are:

Carson, D. A. The Gospel According to John. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1991.

Köstenberger, Andreas J. John. Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament, ed. Robert W. Yarbrough and Robert H. Stein. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2004.

Ridderbos, Herman N. The Gospel According to John: A Theological Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997.

New Website on the Gospels

Tyndale House had created a new website (4 Gospels) for the study of the Gospels. It is a work in progress, but still might be worth checking out. You can access it

Mar 20, 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:

James Rowe Adams
From Literal to Literary: The Essential Reference Book for Biblical Metaphors
Reviewed by Christine Treu

Moshe Anbar
Prophecy, Treaty-Making and Tribes in the Mari Documents during the Period of the Amorite Kings (From the End of the 19th Century B.C.E. Until 1760 B.C.E.) [Hebrew]
Reviewed by John Engle

Dianne Bergant
Scripture: History and Interpretation
Reviewed by Sean P. Kealy

Charlotte Elisheva Fonrobert and Martin S. Jaffee, eds.
The Cambridge Companion to the Talmud and Rabbinic Literature
Reviewed by Daniel R. Schwartz

Norman C. Habel and Peter Trudinger, eds.
Exploring Ecological Hermeneutics
Reviewed by John Painter

Randall Heskett
Messianism within the Scriptural Scrolls of Isaiah
Reviewed by J. Todd Hibbard

Lynn R. Huber
Like a Bride Adorned: Reading Metaphor in John's Apocalypse
Reviewed by Tobias Nicklas

Bernard S. Jackson
Wisdom-Laws: A Study of the Mishpatim of Exodus 21:1-22:16
Reviewed by Assnat Bartor

Mark Leuchter
The Polemics of Exile in Jeremiah 26-45
Reviewed by Wilhelm J. Wessels

Susan Niditch
Judges: A Commentary
Reviewed by Yairah Amit

Susanne Scholz
Introducing the Women's Hebrew Bible
Reviewed by Amelia Devin Freedman

Joseph B. Soloveitchik; edited by David Shatz, Joel B. Wolowelsky, and Reuven Ziegler
Abraham's Journey: Reflections on the Life of the Founding Patriarch
Reviewed by Ralph K. Hawkins

Charles H. Talbert
Ephesians and Colossians
Reviewed by Andrew T. Lincoln

Henry A. Virkler and Karelynne Gerber Ayayo
Hermeneutics: Principles and Processes of Biblical Interpretation
Reviewed by Oda Wischmeyer

Robert L. Webb and John S. Kloppenborg, eds.
Reading James with New Eyes: Methodological Reassessments of the Letter of James
Reviewed by Peter Frick

Mar 19, 2009

Preaching Feedback

Peter Mead notes that some of the feedback we receive for our preaching is encouraging, but not altogether helpful. He identifies the following four reasons why some feedback is misleadingly positive.

1. Hopefully this doesn’t apply in your church, but many people are actually positive about poor preaching because they haven’t heard any better.
2. Certainly most Christians are relatively polite and pleasant. Much post-sermon feedback is church culture speaking.
3. Christian listeners appreciate the character of their preachers, even if they are grossly lacking in competence. That is to say, your preaching may be poor, but you care for their family, buried their grandfather, etc.
4. Most Christians are listening to sermons to have their own spiritual distinctives reinforced. This writer calls this the reinforcement bells. If a preacher rings the right bells, which they typically will since people choose the church that suits them, then they will feel “pats on the souls back.”

To this I would add that some people are simply by nature, glass half full types. I love these people, but I have found that I need to seek the input of others if I want a more honest assessment.

R.T. France on Gospel Harmonization

Rob Bradshaw at has placed R. T. France's "
Chronological Aspects of 'Gospel Harmony'" online. While this article is not exactly new (1986), it was new to me. Concerning the article, Bradshaw states, "France looks at the chronology of the gospel accounts of the cursed fig tree, the cleansing of the temple and the last supper, the latter in some depth. A well-written and thought-provoking article." I found France's discussion on the cleansing of the temple most helpful. Here, the options are helpfully categorized and the strengths and weaknesses are discussed clearly. By the way, France's solution (following A. Plummer) to the chronological problem is that Jesus and the disciples ate the Passover a day earlier than usual because the Lord knew that he would be crucified on the official day (p. 54).

Mar 18, 2009

Christian Book Summaries

"Enhancing the ministry and impact of thinking Christians by providing thorough and readable summaries of noteworthy books from Christian publishers." You can access the site here.

The books summarized seem to be primarily from the Christian living category.

HT: Kevin Gabriel

"Seventeen Things that Seminary Never Taught Me"

Deepak Reju has posted on "Seventeen Things that the Seminary Never Taught Me." Deepak's seventeen are.

1. How to tell a man his wife just died.
2. How to tell a couple they should not get married.
3. How to tell a staff member he is fired.
4. How to tell my wife that I am depressed.
5. How to tell someone that he or she is foolish.
6. How to encourage someone who has given up on life.
7. How to plead with a man to stay with his wife.
8. How to give comfort to a woman whose husband just left her.
9. How to give comfort to a mother who just suffered a miscarriage.
10. How to navigate the IRS tax code for pastors.
11. How to chair an elders’ meeting.
12. How to organize and manage a church budget.
13. How to balance church responsibilities with family life.
14. How to do a wedding and a funeral.
15. How to administer the Lord’s Supper.
16. How to best use technology for the sake of the kingdom.
17. How to shield my kids from the pressures of being a PK.

The Restored Middle Bronze Gate in Dan

Haaretz has an article about the restored Middle Bronze mud-brick gate in Dan. I wish that the article would have included a picture.

HT: Todd Bolen

Mar 17, 2009

The Book of Acts in a Nutshell

Guy Davies has posted the following comment at his

I heard this quote in a talk on the 'Holy Spirit and Evangelism' at a Ministers' Fraternal in Honiton, Devon earlier today. A concise commentary on Acts:

Jesus went up
The Spirit came down
The apostles went out
Sinners came in

Piper on Never Letting the Gospel Get Smaller

John Piper:

Here is a simple exhortation that I have been trying to implement in our family:

Seek to see and feel the gospel as bigger as years go by rather than smaller.

Our temptation is to think that the gospel is for beginners and then we go on to greater things. But the real challenge is to see the gospel as the greatest thing—and getting greater all the time.

The Gospel gets bigger when, in your heart,

  • grace gets bigger;
  • Christ gets greater;
  • his death gets more wonderful;
  • his resurrection gets more astonishing;
  • the work of the Spirit gets mightier;
  • the power of the gospel gets more pervasive;
  • its global extent gets wider;
  • your own sin gets uglier;
  • the devil gets more evil;
  • the gospel's roots in eternity go deeper;
  • its connections with everything in the Bible and in the world get stronger;
  • and the magnitude of its celebration in eternity gets louder.

So keep this in mind: Never let the gospel get smaller in your heart.

Pray that it won’t. Read solid books on it. Sing about it. Tell someone about it who is ignorant or unsure about it.

Now I would remind you, brothers, of the gospel.... For I delivered to you as of first importance what I also received: that Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures, that he was buried, that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures. (1 Corinthians 15:1-4)

Sifre to Deuteronomy

Matthew Lanser has posted an interesting summary on comments on Deuteronomy 6:4 from the
Sifre (or Sifrei) to Deuteronomy. The Sifre is a rabbinic verse-by-verse commentary which incorporates material from the Mishnah and Tosefta. It is usually dated to A.D. 250-350. I am not sure what to make of Matthew's observations. I also wonder whether this could shed any light on Paul's thought Romans 9-11, a passage that I have been giving some thought to recently. (I Realize that relating rabbinic materials to the New Testament can be tricky.) In any case, you can read the post here.

E-Journal for Young Pastors

The March/April issue for 9Marks E-Journal is devoted to young pastors. I have not read every article here, but this issue seems like a must read for young pastors, and maybe older ones as well. You can access a pdf version of the journal

Mar 16, 2009

Union With Christ

Phil Gons has posted a helpful list of resources on the doctrine of the believer’s union with Christ. Phil’s list includes books, dictionary and encyclopedia articles, chapters or sections in systematic theologies, chapters or sections in other books, journal articles, conference papers, and dissertations and theses.

Seminary Sirens

Ken Schenck takes a shot at some of the common misconceptions concerning seminary here.
While seminary horror stories were not created in a vacuum, it is also worth noting that there are some real and substantial positives in a seminary education.

Moo on the Use of the Old Testament in the New

Any Naselli reproduces a passage concerning the use of the Old Testament in the New from Doug Moo's commentary on Romans (in the Encountering series). Whether you agree with him or not, Moo's comments point out some of the complexities of language usage.

Reading Strategies for Pastors

Peter Mead interacts with John Piper on reading strategies for Pastors
Personally, I think of reading much like a spiritual discipline. Good reading exercises the mind, encourages the heart, and energizes the hands to act.

Mar 15, 2009

Rachel Stealing Her Father's Gods

John Walton has a post on the possible background for the account in Genesis 31 of Rachel stealing her father's gods (
teraphim). You can read it here.