Aug 15, 2009
Read this interesting post on the debate concerning burial or cremation. R. Scott Clark argues,"burial is not just a cultural custom. It’s an act of faith. When there is a choice between burial and cremation, the latter isn’t just a convenience or an economy, it’s a message about the body and the nature of our humanity and our status as image-bearers."
Although this article is a few years old, Gordon Franz has a nice discussion on Nahum, Nineveh, and the Assyrians. This article provides helpful background bot only on the book of Nahum, but also Jonah as well. You can access the article at the Associates of Biblical Research website here.
Yesterday I provided a link to an interview with John Piper's in Bible Study Magazine. What I failed to note is that Logos Bible Software is providing a free electronic version of Piper's book Finally Alive. For further information click on the picture below.
Aug 14, 2009
Mart De Hann has posted a helpful piece on different kinds of wisdom. Here is an excerpted portion (see the full post here).
According to Buddhist folklore. Two traveling monks reached a river where they met a young woman. Wary of the current, she asked if they could carry her across. One of the monks hesitated, but the other quickly picked her up onto his shoulders, transported her across the water, and put her down on the other bank. She thanked him and departed. As the monks continued on their way, the one was brooding and preoccupied. Unable to hold his silence, he spoke out. “Brother, our spiritual training teaches us to avoid any contact with women, but you picked that one up on your shoulders and carried her!” “Brother,” the second monk replied, “I set her down on the other side, while you are still carrying her.”
As I’ve thought about this story, I’ve been reminded of how important it is to acknowledge that, While the Bible is the measure of all moral and spiritual truth, all moral and spiritual truth is not confined to the Bible.
Four Kinds of Wisdom:
Secular wisdom (Helpful insights that can be observed without regard for God or the supernatural)
Religious Wisdom (Encompasses secular wisdom, but recognizes God and the supernatural)
Biblical Wisdom (Selectively encompasses secular and religious wisdom, while in the process providing something like an international standard of weights and measures. The combined Old and New Covenants provide an authoritative yardstick for evaluating wisdom found inside or outside of the Scriptures)
Redemptive Wisdom (the wisdom of the cross)
Christian Book Distributors has the Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon on sale for $4.99 plus postage, this Friday only. The ad says "slightly imperfect." Not sure what that means, but this is a great price. Here is the link.
Aug 13, 2009
“The effect of the decision made Jerusalem was far-reaching. In the first place, it freed the Gospel from any necessary entanglement with Judaism and the institutions of Israel, though without renouncing the legitimacy of the continued Christian expression and mission within those confines. Thus, the Gentile and Jewish missions of the church were able to progress side by side in the decade to follow without any essential conflict. Secondly, reactions to Paul within the Jerusalem church were clarified. It is possible that some of the Jewish believers were even more fixed in their enmity than before. But others of the Christian community at Jerusalem came to have more positive attitudes toward him, as seems to have been the case with John Mark. And some felt themselves happier in a Gentile ministry than at Jerusalem because of the deliberations of the council, as was evidently true of Silas (Acts 15:27, 32, 34, 40). Thirdly, the decision made at the Council had the effect of permanently antagonizing the Jews. From this time forward, the Christian mission within the nation- and especially to Jew in and around Jerusalem- would face very rough sledding indeed. Paul said in Romans 11:28 to a predominantly Gentile audience, that the Jewish people, so far as concerns the Gospel, ‘are enemies of God, for your sake.’”
Richard N. Longenecker, The Ministry and Message of Paul (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1971), 56–7.
Aug 12, 2009
See this post for Scot McKnight's recommendations concerning commentaries on Hebrews. McKnight lists:
Harold Attridge: Hebrews: A Commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews (Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible).
W. L. Lane: Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 47a, Hebrews 1-8 and Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 47b, Hebrews 9-13.
Craig Koester: Hebrews: A New Translation With Introduction and Commentary.
Paul Ellingworth: The Epistle to the Hebrews: A Commentary on the Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Commentary).
Luke Timothy Johnson: Hebrews: A Commentary (New Testament Library)
Aug 11, 2009
In his book Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament (pp. 26–7), John Walton identifies ten principles for doing comparative studies between ancient Near Eastern backgrounds and the Old Testament.
1. Both similarities and differences must be considered.
2. Similarities may suggest a common cultural heritage or cognitive environment rather than borrowing.
3. It is not uncommon to find similarities at the surface but differences at the conceptual level and vice versa.
4. All elements must be understood in their own context as accurately as possible before cross-cultural comparisons are made (i.e., careful background study must precede comparative study).
5. Proximity in time, geography, and spheres of cultural contact all increase the possibility of interaction leading to influence.
6. A case for literary borrowing requires identification of likely channels of transmission
7. The significance of differences between two pieces of literature is minimized if the works are not the same genre.
8. Similar functions may be performed by different genres in different cultures.
9. When literary or cultural elements are borrowed they may in turn be transformed into something quite different by those who borrowed them.
10. A single culture will rarely be monolithic, either in contemporary cross-section or in consideration of a passage of time.
Aug 10, 2009
John Anderson has a nice survey of various approaches to Old Testament theology. He examines four approaches: Eichrodt, von Rad, Childs, and Brueggemann. Read the post here.
Aug 9, 2009
“When one considers the situation of the Jerusalem Church in A.D. 49, the decision reached by the council must be considered one of the boldest and most magnanimous in the annals of church history. While still attempting to minister exclusively to Jews themselves, Jewish Christians in Jerusalem refused to impede the progress of that other branch of the Christian mission whose every success inevitably meant only further difficulty and oppression for them.”
Richard N. Longenecker, New Testament Social Ethics for Today (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1984), 39.