Aug 22, 2009

Acts and the Mission to the World

Emphasis on the mission to the world in Acts does not begin in Acts 1:8. Hints of the universal spread of the gospel are found already in the Gospel of Luke. Brian Rosner has noted the following six hints to the universal gospel in Luke’s narrative.

(1) The prophecy of Simon in 2:32, a quotation of Isaiah 42:6 (cf., Acts 13:47), which indicates that salvation is in the presence of all peoples, a light for revelation to the Gentiles.
(2) John the Baptist’s ministry to Roman soldiers in 2:1; 3:1,14.
(3) Jesus’ reading of Isaiah 61 in the synagogue in Nazareth and his commendation of the Gentiles in Luke 4:16-30 . . .
(4) The portrayal of Jesus as the ‘Friend of tax collectors and sinners’ (7:34), those on the edge of Jewish society (cf.,esp. 5:27-39; 19:5-7).
(5) The prominence of women in Jesus’ ministry, from Elizabeth and Mary, through Mary and Martha, to the women witnesses of the resurrection
(6) The response of Samaritans to Jesus which forms a focus of interest of Luke (9:51-56; 10:25-37; cf., Acts 8:4-24), more so than for the other Gospels.

Brian J. Rosner, “The Progress of the Word,” in Witness to the Gospel: The Theology of Acts, ed. I. Howard Marshall and David Peterson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 220.

Aug 21, 2009

The Limitations of Archaeology

Regular readers of this blog know of my interests in archaeology and the Bible. But it is also important to keep in mind the inherent limitations of archaeology as it relates to biblical studies. Victor Matthews provides the following helpful list of the limitations of archaeology:

-The material remains uncovered by archaeologists are always incomplete.
-Interpretation of artifacts and excavation sites, like interpretation of the biblical text, involves subjective judgements that are vulnerable to revision or being discredited.
-Archaeology cannot prove or disprove the truth of the biblical narrative or its theological statements.
-Archaeological evidence cannot and should not be the only data used to interpret the Bible or the world of ancient Israel.
-Because scientific methods are constantly being improved, archaeological data is subject to reexamination. But even this is not always possible if previous excavators have destroyed data by trying to "get down" to biblical levels or have failed to adequately record and publish the results of their work.

Victor H. Matthews, Studying the Ancient Israelites: A Guide to Sources and Methods (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007), 90.

Aug 20, 2009

Interpreting Symbols in Revelation

See Alan Bandy's brief, but helpful, post on interpreting symbols in Revelation here.

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:

Bill T. Arnold
Reviewed by Jan-Wim Wesselius

Margaret Barker
The Hidden Tradition of the Kingdom of God
Reviewed by Benedict Thomas Viviano, O.P.

Adam Green
King Saul: The True History of the First Messiah
Reviewed by Ralph K. Hawkins

Søren Holst
Verbs and War Scroll: Studies in the Hebrew Verbal System and the Qumran War Scrolls
Reviewed by Francis Dalrymple-Hamilton

Hans-Josef Klauck
The Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles: An Introduction
Reviewed by Paul Dilley

Bernard M. Levinson
"The Right Chorale": Studies in Biblical Law and Interpretation
Reviewed by J. Glen Taylor

Darian Lockett
Purity and Worldview in the Epistle of James
Reviewed by John C. Poirier

Daniel Marguerat, ed.
Introduction au Nouveau Testament: Son histoire, son écriture, sa théologie
Reviewed by V. Henry T. Nguyen

Steve Mason
Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary: Vol. 1b: Judean War 2
Reviewed by Marcus Sigismund

Francis J. Moloney
Life of Jesus in Icons: From the "Bible of Tbilisi"
Reviewed by V. Henry T. Nguyen

Martti Nissinen and Risto Uro, eds.
Sacred Marriages: The Divine-Human Sexual Metaphor from Sumer to Early Christianity
Reviewed by Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer

Jacobine G. Oudshoorn
The Relationship between Roman and Local Law in the Babatha and Salome Komaise Archives: General Analysis and Three Case Studies on Law of Succession, Guardianship and Marriage
Reviewed by Judith Evans Grubbs

Kuo-Wei Peng
Hate the Evil, Hold Fast to the Good: Structuring Romans 12.1-15.1
Reviewed by Derek R. Brown

Per Rönnegård
Threads and Images: The Use of Scripture in Apophthegmata Patrum
Reviewed by Mark DelCogliano

Eckhard J. Schnabel
Paul the Missionary: Realities, Strategies and Methods
Reviewed by Torrey Seland

Aug 19, 2009

Preaching and Hebrew Resources on Sale

Readers might be interested in two items's mid-week mark down sale (good for today only). Just click on the links below. Price does not include postage.

John MacArthur, Preaching at 60% off = $9.99

iVocab for Biblical Hebrew at 55% off = $14.99

Aug 18, 2009

New Collection of Holy Land Pictures

Todd Bolen at and has produced a new set of pictures of the Holy Land. This new collection, “The American Colony and the Eric Matson Collection,” is part of the Historic Views of the Holy Land series. The entire collection was five years in the
making and contains 4,300 images from 1898 to the 1940’s in jpg and PowerPoint format, spanning eight CD volumes.

After spending a good part of an afternoon (and still not looking at everything), I can commend this collection to you for at least three reasons. First, while there are a number of places where one can access recent pictures of places in Israel, it is much harder to find good older pictures. Having been to Israel twice, I am amazed at how much I recognized but also how much things have changed over the years. Second, I recommend this collection because it is so carefully and helpfully organized and labeled. This is a great time saver when you are looking for a particular image. Third, this collection is valuable because all the images have been placed into PowerPoint presentations with labeling. Once again this is a valuable time saver for those interested in teaching/presenting or merely viewing the pictures. With a few clicks of the mouse you can be good to go.

The individual CD’s will be released at the rate of one volume a month. Or you can purchase the entire collection now at the discounted price of $99 here. This month’s release is the Northern Palestine volume ($20) here.

Aug 17, 2009

Ministry Considerations

C. Michael Patton has identified sixteen considerations for someone who is considering ministry. You can read the post here.

Aug 16, 2009

Civil Submission and 1 Peter

Josh Mann has a thoughtful discussion on how to apply the submission to the government passage in 1 Peter 3:13-17. Read it