May 30, 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:

Moshe Bar-Asher, Dalit Rom-Shiloni, Emanuel Tov, and Nili Wazana, eds.
Shai le-Sara Japhet: Studies in the Bible, Its Exegesis and Its Language [Hebrew]
Reviewed by Bálint Károly Zabán

A. Philip Brown II and Bryan W. Smith, eds.
A Reader's Hebrew Bible
Reviewed by Hallvard Hagelia

Leonhard Burckhardt, Klaus Seybold, and Jürgen von Ungern-Sternberg, eds.
Gesetzgebung in antiken Gesellschaften: Israel, Griechenland, Rom
Reviewed by Ernst Axel Knauf

Jaap Dekker
Zion's Rock-Solid Foundations: An Exegetical Study of the Zion Text in Isaiah 28:16
Reviewed by Máire Byrne

Diana Lipton
Longing for Egypt and Other Unexpected Biblical Tales
Reviewed by Amelia Devin Freedman

Bryan M. Litfin
Getting to Know the Church Fathers: An Evangelical Introduction
Reviewed by H. H. Drake Williams III

I. Howard Marshall
A Concise New Testament Theology
Reviewed by Edward J. McMahon II

Scot McKnight and Joseph B. Modica, eds.
Who Do My Opponents Say That I Am? An Investigation of the Accusations against Jesus
Reviewed by V. George Shillington

Chaim Navon
Genesis and Jewish Thought
Reviewed by David M. Maas

V. Henry T. Nguyen
Christian Identity in Corinth: A Comparative Study of 2 Corinthians, Epictetus and Valerius Maximus
Reviewed by Thomas Schmeller

Fabrizio A. Pennacchietti
Three Mirrors for Two Biblical Ladies: Susanna and the Queen of Sheba in the Eyes of Jews, Christians, and Muslims
Reviewed by Carole R. Fontaine

May 29, 2009

Folmsbee on Youth Ministry: If I Were to do it Again

Chris Folmsbee, a youth pastor for thirteen years, has posted on "Youth Ministry: If I Were to do it Again." While I don't normally post on youth ministry issues I think Chris' suggestions are quite helpful. In fact, these suggestions might be worth considering for pastoral ministry in general. In any case, Chris suggests:

• Act theologically before methodologically
• Be more of a spiritual director than a program director
• Hire a parent to be a part of our youth staff
• Spend more time investing in interns/co-pastors
• Experiment with more learner-centered education models
• Ask less of my volunteers and yet equip them more
• Communicate change to the church leaders, staff and parents more
• Create more opportunities for students to "learn up" instead of me "teaching down"
• Celebrate the successes in the lives of students with greater regularity and intensity
• Worry less about the retreat themes and spend more time with the students on the retreats.
• Take students on way more spiritual retreats
• Work hard to be more collaborative with the youth workers in my city
• Take more time off to be with my wife and kids
• Be more intentional with a confirmation process
• Find time to laugh and play more
• Be more grace-filled with students who were goofing off and causing trouble
• Try to learn more from the staff instead of thinking I have all the answers
• Take the criticism of others more seriously and less defensively
• Meet with my spiritual director more often
• Take personal retreats more often
• Be way more missional and a lot less attractional in my approach or model
• Try and get more pulpit time to advocate for the students in the church and community
• Pray more and develop a team of people to pray with
• Provide inspiring training for the parent of the students
• Call the students to greater levels of holiness
• Spend a lot more time creating opportunities for students to practice justice
• Allow the more artistic students opportunities to express themselves and their love for God.
• Teach much more conversationally
• Try to enter into the joy, pain, loss, doubt, hurt, etc. of the students and their families

Read the entire post here.

Walt Kaiser on the Old Testament and Hermeneutics

The Koinonia blog has posted the following interview with Walt Kaiser.

McKnight and Commentaries on Galatians

See this
post for Scot McKnight's recommendations concerning commentaries on Galatians. McKnight lists:

F. F. Bruce: The Epistle to the Galatians: A Commentary on the Greek Text (The New International Greek Testament Commentary).

R Longenecker: Galatians (Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 41).

H. D. Betz: Galatians: A Commentary on Paul's Letter to the Churches in Galatia (Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible).

J. D. G. Dunn: The Epistle to the Galatians.

J. Louis Martyn, Galatians (The Anchor Yale Bible Commentaries).

May 28, 2009

Paul's Conversion and Food

In discussing Paul's conversion in Acts 9, Robert Lawson Brawley notes concerning 9:19:

"Food likewise has a metaphorical function at Paul's conversion. As a synecdoche for hospitality, it signals his integration into the community (Acts 9:19). Food is a sign of community among believers but also of their relationship with God (2:42, 46). Lines of decelopment extend to Peter's table fellowship with Gentiles (11:3), to Paul's involvement in famine relief for Jerusalem (11:28-30), to the apostolic decree (15:20, 29; cf. 21:25), to the conversion of the Philippian jailer (16:34), and to the restoration of Eutychus (20:11)."

Centering on God: Method and Message in Luke-Acts, Literary Currents in Biblical Interpretation, ed. Danna Nolan Fewell and Davild Miller Gunn (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 1990), 153.

Hebrew Vocabulary Picture

Some Hebrew readers might enjoy this
picture from the Hebrew and Greek Reader blog.

Setzer on Jewish Responses to Early Christians in Acts

While doing some research on the Book of Acts, I came across the work of Claudia Setzer (Jewish Responses to Early Christians: History and Polemics 30–150 C.E. [Minneapolis: Fortress, 1994], 44–82). She argues that there are “five different portrayals of the Jews and their reactions to Christians” in Acts (p. 46). The five reactions are:

1. Neutral curiosity (e.g., 2:41, 47–48; 4:4, 22, 32, 36; 5:9, 14, 26; 8:5, 25, 56; 9:29, 43; 11:14; 13:13–43, 44; 14:1–7; 17:1–9, 10–12, 17; 18:4, 7–8, 19–20, 24–28; 19:8–10 20:26; 28:17–25).

2. General tolerance (5:34–39; 19:33–34; 23:6–9; 28:21–25).

3. Plots against Christian preachers, spontaneous violence (e.g., 6:8–14; 7:54–58; 9:23–25; 11:19; 12:11; 13:45, 50; 14:2–5; 14:19; 17:13; 20:3, 19; 21:27–32; 22:22, 30; 23:12–27, 24:18; 26:21).

4. Attempts to use official channels to censure or punish Christian preachers (e.g., 4:2–3, 17–21; 5:17–18, 33–40; 6:8–14; 8:1–3; 9:1–2, 21; 12:1–3, 11; 17:5–9; 18:12–17; 21:11; 22:4, 30; 24:1–9, 27; 25:2–3, 7, 13–19; 26:2, 7, 9–11).

5. Competition with Christians in the realm of magic (e.g., 13:6–12; 19:13–19).

I would argue that the first category might be better labeled “Positive/Neutral,” but labels aside, Setzer’s survey does show that the presentation of Jewish responses in Acts is varied.

May 27, 2009

Theological Writing Handout

J. David Stark at the
New Testament Interpretation blog has made his eighteen page "Theological Writing Handout" available for free download here. Although I have not had the opportunity to work through the entire document, what I have read looks helpful.

Jack of All Trades and Master of None: The Case for “Generalist” Scholars in Biblical Scholarship

Michael Bird and Craig Keener have
posted a helpful piece entitled "Jack of All Trades and Master of None: The Case for 'Generalist' Scholars in Biblical Scholarship" on this month's SBL Forum. Bird and Keener argue that there are five advantages to being a generalist. These advantages can be summarized as follows:

1. Generalists are required in order to disseminate the work of specialists to a wider audience.

2. The work of generalists is often more conducive to interdisciplinary research.

3. The Hebrew Bible and especially New Testament each constitute a relatively small body of writings compared to many other areas of discourse (Renaissance literature, postmodern French philosophy, etc.).

4. The generalist may have an advantage over the specialist in the classroom.

5. Historically many of the scholars of ancient or modern times with the greatest impact have been generalists (e.g., Jerome, Origen, Calvin, F. C. Baur, J. B. Lightfoot, B. F. Westcott, H. J. Holtzmann, Adolf von Harnack, and Adolf Schlatter, Martin Hengel, E. P. Sanders N. T. Wright, James Dunn, and Jacob Neusner, F. F. Bruce and Matthew Black)

Abraham and Ur

Michael Heiser has a brief post concerning Abraham and the location of Ur. Heiser presents an alternative to the traditional location of Ur in southern Mesopotamia. The post also contains a link to an article by Cyrus Gordon.

Six Views on Creation

C. Michael Patton has posted a helpful overview of six views of Creation/Evolution

May 26, 2009

Ten People a Pastor Should Fear

Jared Wilson has a helpful post on "10 People a Pastor Should Fear." Of course #10 doesn't technically qualify as "people." In any case, Jared's ten are:

1. The guy who "subtly" reminds you how much he gives to the church.

2. The young guy who likes it when you rant against stuff or preach angry.

3. The guy or gal who doesn't like it when you rant against stuff or preach angry.

4. The lady with the unbelieving or spiritually unsophisticated husband who emails you a lot.

5. The person who finds you right after the message to point out something you got wrong, quibble over a minor point, or mention some other criticism.
You are tapped out right after your sermon, and this person will just crush your heart with one soft blow.

6. The person who likes every single one of your sermons.

7. The guy on the theological hobbyhorse.

8. The podcast sermon connoisseur who thinks, "You really oughtta listen to what John Piper says about that." Etc.

9. The worship leader who has CD's of himself.

10. God

Read the entire post here

HT: Erik Raymond

May 25, 2009

Robinson on the Heresy of Application

See Haddon Robinson's helpful
article on application in preaching. As Robinson notes, "More heresy is preached in application than in Bible exegesis."

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:

Israel Finkelstein and Amihai Mazar; edited by Brian B. Schmidt
The Quest for the Historical Israel: Debating Archaeology and the History of Early Israel
Reviewed by Ralph K. Hawkins

Richard A. Horsley, ed.
In the Shadow of Empire: Reclaiming the Bible as a History of Faithful Resistance
Reviewed by Roland Boer

Tal Ilan, Tamara Or, Dorothea Salzer, Christiane Steuer, and Irina Wandrey, eds.
A Feminist Commentary on the Babylonian Talmud: Introduction and Studies
Reviewed by Joshua Schwartz

Walter C. Kaiser, Darrell L. Bock, and Peter Enns; edited by Kenneth Berding and Jonathan Lunde
Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament
Reviewed by Stephen Moyise

David Marcus, ed.
Biblia Hebraica Quinta: Ezra and Nehemiah
Reviewed by Andrew Steinmann

Russell Pregeant
Knowing Truth, Doing Good: Engaging New Testament Ethics
Reviewed by M. Eugene Boring

Leo G. Perdue, ed.
Scribes, Sages, and Seers: The Sage in the Eastern Mediterranean World
Reviewed by James L. Crenshaw

Tammi J. Schneider
Mothers of Promise: Women in the Book of Genesis
Reviewed by Ellen White

David Valeta
Lions and Ovens and Visions: A Satirical Reading of Daniel 1-6
Reviewed by Jordan M. Scheetz

H. G. M. Williamson, ed.
Understanding the History of Ancient Israel
Reviewed by Walter Dietrich

Robert W. Yarbrough
1, 2, and 3 John
Reviewed by Tobias Nicklas

May 24, 2009

Grading and the Song of Solomon

Recently, I was grading some assignments for a seminary class that covered part of the Old Testament historical books (Samuel, Kings, Chronicles) and the Wisdom Books (Job, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, and Song of Solomon). In one assignment, the student was to identify and record
significant passages, doctrines, people, or actions in the book and list OT and NT cross-references. For Song of Solomon, one male student identified "breasts/chests." To be honest, I am not sure whether this should be categorized as a significant passage, doctrine, people, or action! Nonetheless, it provided a much needed chuckle for a day filled with grading.