Oct 31, 2009

Review Overview of Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary Old Testament

I will be reviewing volume 5 of the Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary Old Testament (ZIBBCOT) in the near future (thanks to Jesse Hillman at Zondervan for the free review copy). But for now here is a brief overview of the entire series.

General Overview from Zondervan:

This series brings to life the world of the Old Testament through informative entries and full-color photos and graphics. Here readers find the premier commentary set for connecting with the historical and cultural context of the Old Testament.

Features include:

• Over 2000 photographs, drawings, maps, diagrams and charts provide a visual feast that breathes fresh life into the text.
• Passage-by-passage commentary presents archaeological findings, historical explanations, geographic insights, notes on manners and customs, and more.
• Analysis into the literature of the ancient Near East will open your eyes to new depths of understanding both familiar and unfamiliar passages.

Contributors (in alphabetical order):

David W. Baker (Isaiah)
Daniel I. Block (Judges)
Daniel Bodi (Ezekiel)
Eugene E. Carpenter (Deuteronomy)
Mark W. Chavalas (Joel/Zephaniah)
R. Dennis Cole (Numbers)
Izak Cornelius (Job)
Paul Ferris Jr. (Lamentations)
Roy E. Gane (Leviticus)
Duane Garrett (Ecclesiastes/Song of Songs)
Richard S. Hess (Joshua)
John Hilber (Psalms)
Andrew E. Hill (Malachi)
Kenneth Hoglund (Haggai/Zechariah)
Philip S. Johnston (Amos)
V. Philips Long (1 & 2 Samuel)
Tremper Longman III (Psalms)
Ernest C. Lucas (Daniel)
Frederick J. Mabie (2 Chronicles)
Dale W. Manor (Ruth)
Daniel M. Master (Micah)
Victor H. Matthews (Habakkuk)
Alan R. Millard (Obadiah/Nahum)
John M. Monson (1 Kings)
Iain Provan (2 Kings)
Simon Sherwin (1 Chronicles)
J. Glen Taylor (Hosea)
Anthony Tomasino (Esther)
Steven M. Voth (Jeremiah)
John H. Walton (General Editor and Genesis/Jonah/Zechariah)
Bruce Wells (Exodus)
Edwin M. Yamauchi (Ezra/Nehemiah)

A Holy Life

"A holy life isn’t the automatic consequence of reading the right books, listening to the right tapes, or attending the right meetings. It’s the result of a living, loving union with Jesus Christ and a life marked by godly discipline. It means setting the alarm clock so we can begin the day with God and pray and meditate on the Word. It means following Paul’s example of consecration and concentration and saying with him, ‘One thing I do’ (Phil. 3:12–14)."

Warren W. Wiersbe, On Being a Servant of God (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993), 44.

Oct 30, 2009

Longenecker on Acts 15 and Galatians 2

Richard Longenecker states the following in connection with the relationship between Acts 15 and Galatians 2.

“Any discussion of the Jerusalem church's attitude toward the Pauline mission that seeks to go beyond generalities is immediately faced with the thorny question of the relation of Paul's ‘second visit’ to Jerusalem (Gal 2:l–10) to the Jerusalem Council (Ac 15:1–29). The literary and historical issues are complex. But one point drawn from the polemic in Galatians needs to be made here, namely, that Paul's silence in that letter to his converts in Galatia as to the decision of the Jerusalem Council forces the irreconcilable dilemma of saying either (1) that Luke’s account in Acts 15 of a decision reached in Paul’s favor at Jerusalem is pure fabrication, or (2) that Galatians was written before the Jerusalem Council.

Richard N. Longenecker, “Acts,” in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, vol. 10, rev. ed., ed. Tremper Longman III and David E. Garland (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007), 939–40.

Longenecker goes with option 2. I concur.

Media and Biblical Scholarship

Josh Mann has an interesting post on media trends and biblical scholarship. You can access it

Oct 29, 2009

Paul, His Letters, and Acts

I am currently reading Thomas E. Phillips' 2009 book
Paul, His Letters, and Acts. I have included the publishers product description below.

"Aside from Jesus, the Apostle Paul had the greatest formative influence on t
he early Christian movement. Yet who was this passionate missionary who carried the message of Christ throughout the Mediterranean world? The New Testament writings give us not one but two portraits of Paul. We read numerous details of Paul’s life and relationships in the Book of Acts, and we also find an additional set of details about Paul’s activities in his letters. Yet how consistent are these two portraits? And which one gives us the most accurate picture of the historical Paul? In this volume Thomas E. Phillips examines the portrayals of Paul in recent biblical scholarship in the light of these two major NT portraits. Believing the apostolic conference at Jerusalem to be a watershed event, Phillips draws conclusions that help contemporary readers get a more accurate picture of Paul."

To view the table of contents, introduction, and a a sample chapter see the link above.

Oct 28, 2009

McKnight Recommended Commentaries on Revelation

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

David DeSilva, Seeing Things John's Way: The Rhetoric of the Book of Revelation .

D. Aune, Revelation 1-5 (Word Biblical Commentary 52a) .

G. Osborne, Revelation (Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament) .

S. Smalley, The Revelation to John: A Commentary on the Greek Text of the Apocalypse

G. Beale, The Book of Revelation: A Commentary on the Greek Text (New International Greek Testament Commentary.

A Comparison of the Major Characters Involved in the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15)

Thomas Phillips in his recent book Paul, His Letters, and Acts, suggests three interrelated “tendencies” concerning the major characters involved in the Jerusalem Council (Acts 15).

1. “Leadership functions and theological authority tend to be more concentrated and less diversifies in Acts than in Paul’s letters.”

2. “Paul tends to portray his gospel, particularly his message of a law-free inclusion of Gentiles into the church, as more independent than does Acts.”

3. “Relations between Paul and other recognized authorities of early Christianity tend to be more contentious and uneven in Paul’s letters than in Acts.”

Thomas E. Phillips, Paul, His Letters, and Acts, Library of Pauline Studies, ed. Stanley E. Porter (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2009), 146-7.

Oct 27, 2009

Themes and Transformations in Old Testament Prophecy

I am currently finishing a review of Samuel Meier's
Themes and Transformations in Old Testament Prophecy. Because this review is for a journal I cannot share it here. But here is the publisher's note about the book and the table of contents.

We meet the prophets of Israel in our own time and in one place–Scripture. So it might seem odd to consider that they are not all the same, these voices from “back then.” In fact, the prophets inhabited a time span of hundreds of years and faced events that on their own terms were more convulsive than our 9/11. They were not uniform in their language, their concerns, their personalities, their remedies or their visions of the future.

In this book, Sam Meier explores some recurring themes and features--such as angels, writing, miracles, the future and kingmaking–all with an eye on their transformation over time. And the defining event in this transformation turns out to be the great convulsive event of the story of Israel, the defeat and exile of the kingdom of Judah.

Themes and Transformations in Old Testament Prophecy is a book that goes beyond the standard introductions to the prophets. Yet it does so in a way that will inform and intrigue beginning students and anyone curious about the prophets of Israel.

1. Introduction
2. The Prophet and the Divine Council
3. Is the Future Determined?
4. What Do You See?
5. The Manner of Revelation
6. Angels
7.Thus Said Yahweh
8. Poetry, Prose, and the Prophets
9. Writing the Prophets
10. Dating the Prophets
11. Miracles
12. Prophets as King-Makers
13. The Chariots of Men and of God
14. Continuities in History
15. Reliable Prophets in the Context of Change
16. Summation
Bibliography of Cited Words
Author Index
Biblical and Ancient Text Index

For Those Considering Seminary

Trevin Wax has a helpful post defining and discussing the various options available for doing seminary (e.g., on-campus, by extension, or online). You can read the post

Oct 26, 2009

Mounce on Conflicting Translation Procedures

Bill Mounce provides a helpful explanation of what happens when you have conflicting translation procedures as illustrated in the ESV's translation of Romans 2:27,29. Read it

How Not to Preach as Illustrated from Movies

Kevin DeYoung has a humorous post on how not to preach illustrated by YouTube clips of several movies. Check it out

Oct 25, 2009

Free Audio of Martin Luther’s "Here I Stand"

Martin Luther’s "Here I Stand" recording by Max McLean is available for free download until November first. Access it here.

HT: Andy Naselli

Hebel in Ecclesiastes

I have been teaching on Ecclesiastes the last few weeks. As part of my preparation I read C. L. Seow’s article “Beyond Mortal Grasp: The Usage of Hebel in Ecclesiastes” Australian Biblical Review 48 (2000): 1–16. I thought I might share a couple of quotes from the article.

“The book of Ecclesiastes has a sullied reputation due in no small part to popular perceptions of its keyword, hebel, traditionally translated as “vanity.” No other work in the Bible is as readily identified, indeed, caricatured by perceptions of a single term. The word is not the most common in the book by any means, although its 39 occurrences-over half the total of 73 in the entire Hebrew Bible-is certainly considerable. It is the keyword in Ecclesiastes inasmuch as it appears in strategic places, frequently marking the beginning or the end of discrete units and sub-units” (p. 1).

"Throughout Ecclesiastes, then, one finds a picture of a world that is in every sense imprehensible-not apprehensible and/or not comprehensible. Nothing that human beings accomplish or possess or tries to grapple with is ultimately within mortal grasp. The only response for humanity - and it is a God-given response-is to enjoy life under the sun, whenever it is possible to do so” (p. 15).