Nov 28, 2009

The Christian Fish Symbol

See this short but interesting article at on the ubiquitous Christian fish symbol.

Finley and Morsey on Daniel 11

One of the more interesting sessions that I attended at the recent Evangelical Theological Society meeting was “An Exegetical and Theological Study of Daniel 11 with Hermeneutical and Homiletical Implications.” The paper was interesting in that it was the fruit of the collaboration between a teaching pastor (Ed Morsey), an Old Testament scholar (Thomas Finley), and a theologian (Mark Saucy). All three men attend Granada Heights Friends Church and Finley and Saucy teach at Talbot School of Theology. The presentation of the paper itself was done by Morsey and Finley. The following are a few of the salient points from the presentation.

Finley shared three principles of interpretation for Daniel 11.

1. There is an abrupt shifts occur when moving from one king or realm to another.
2. The entire prophecy concerns world events that happen in relation to Judah.
3. Remarkable as the predictions are, it is really only possible to tell their outcomes after they happened. The prophecy is not interested in giving a detailed history in advance.

Morsey shared the following in his part of the presentation.

The message on Daniel 11 was entitled “In the Crossfire.”

This message built on top of three points (“realities”) established in the previous week from Daniel 10. Namely,

1. God’s power is unfathomable.
2. He deeply loves us.
3. A spiritual war is raging.

From Daniel 11 points four and five were added:

4. God’s people struggle in the crossfire.
5. But it refines our faith.

There was much more in the paper, and if I understood correctly both Finley and Morsey will be collaborating on a future commentary.

Nov 27, 2009

Those in Theological Error

Martin Downes has posted an interesting piece on "The Seven Habits of Highly Effective Heretics." While the title is a bit over the top in my opinion, Downes does make a helpful observation concerning the different types of people who are involved in theological error.

"In an unpublished paper given at a B.E.C. conference the late Rev. Robert Sheehan helpfully talked about how in the New Testament there are five kinds of people who are in error, and five different responses to those errors by the apostles. They are:

1. The sincerely ignorant
2. The sincere misinterpreter
3. The temporarily inconsistent
4. The deceived
5. The deceivers"

What it Takes to Be an Expert

According to a article by Michael Hyatt, "A study by K. Anders Ericsson, which looked at musical prodigies, found the common denominator for mastery and success: 10,000 hours of practice. "The emerging picture from such studies," says neurologist Daniel Levitin, "is that 10,000 hours of practice is required to achieve the level of mastery associated with being a world-class expert—in anything." 10,000 hours is the equivalent of 20 hours a week for 10 years."

Obedience in Hebrews

“The promises and warnings Hebrews are especially relevant for us in the 21st century. We might think that those who heard Jesus speak and saw him perform miracles have a greater responsibility than we who have met him only through the words of Scripture. Hebrews argues the opposite, however. The readers did not hear God speak at Mount Sinai or Jesus while on earth (2:1–4); yet, they have greater responsibility because they hear God's voice speaking to them through Scripture. This is, in my view, the most striking teaching of Hebrews regarding obedience. Hebrews places the authority of Scripture over the authority of sense experience. What you ‘hear’ through Scripture is more authoritative than what you see, touch, hear, or taste through the senses.”

Felix H. Cortez, “‘See That You Do Not Refuse the One Who is Speaking’: Hearing God Preach and Obedience in the Letter to the Hebrews,” Journal of the Adventist Theological Society 19 (2008): 107–8.

Nov 26, 2009

Being Grateful is Good for Your Health

See this Associated Press story on the potential health benefits of being grateful. Surely there is a sermon introduction or illustration here.

Paul's Expressions of Thanksgiving

See Kevin DeYoung's short but helpful examination of Paul's expressions of thanksgiving

Preaching on Hell

This may seem to be an unusual topic for Thanksgiving Day, but see Guy Davies excellent post on "Preaching on Hell"
here. As Christians we can be thankful for both the provision of blessings and the preservation from eternal judgment.

Nov 25, 2009

Teaching/Learning Hebrew Through Children's Books

See this great
post on some children's books in Hebrew. These might be great resources for anyone seeking to learn or teach Hebrews as or to adults.

HT: Karyn Traphagen

The Audience of 1 Peter

Peter Nathan has posted some thoughts on the discussion at the recent Society of Biblical Literature meeting on the original audience (Jewish or Gentile) of 1 Peter.

Movie Illustrations in Sermons

Peter Mead has posted some wise counsel and cautions concerning using movie illustrations in sermons. While he is not opposed to using movie illustrations Peter offers the following cautions:

1. Not everyone will have seen it.
2. Not everything in it may be appropriate.
3. Will it take too much explaining?
4. Will it overwhelm the text and the message?
5. Will it create inappropriate association?

You should read the entire post here.

Nov 24, 2009

Historical Criticism

See Derek Leman's
discussion on Saturday's session of papers at the Society of Biblical Literature on “What is Historical Criticism?”

Nov 23, 2009

"Jesus is God-sized – God is Jesus-shaped"

"Jesus is God-sized – God is Jesus-shaped." Great line from
Glen Scrivner.

HT: Milton Stanley

New Testament Theology at SBL

There was apparently an interesting panel discussion Sunday night at SBL between James Dunn, Frank Matera, D. A. Carson, and Udo Schnelle on Schnelle's just published
New Testament Theology. I had wanted to attend and I purchased the volume, but my travel plans did not allow it. But here are two different blog postings on the discussion for those who were and were not able to attend here and here. Anyone record it?

Nov 22, 2009

The Unity of Isaiah

I was interested in reading the following statement from H. G. M. Williamson’s statement in “Recent Issues in the Study of Isaiah,” in Interpreting Isaiah: Issues and Approaches, p. 21.

“The most noteworthy development in study of the book of Isaiah over the past two decades or so has been the rediscovery of the book’s unity. Prior to that, it was normal for commentaries to be written by different authors on different sections of the book, and for textbooks on prophecy to have separate (and separated) chapters on Isaiah of Jerusalem, “Deutero-Isaiah”, and so on. Nowadays, as we shall see, the picture looks very different.”

But before advocates of Isaianic unity get too excited, Williamson adds,

“This does not in the least mean, however, that scholars have reverted to a view that the book was all written by a single individual. While that position is still defended from time to time, it is more normal for a view of overall literary unity to be held in conjunction with a (sometimes quite radical) analysis of the history of the book's growth over two or more centuries with many hands contributing to it. Indeed, there are those who would now question whether, for instance, we should still think of a single author as being responsible for the bulk of chapters 40–55 (Deutero-Isaiah) or whether we should not rather envisage these chapters as the product of incremental growth by a larger number of writers.”


H. G. M. Williamson, “Recent Issues in the Study of Isaiah,” in Interpreting Isaiah: Issues and Approaches, ed. David G. Firth and H. G. M. Williamson (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2009).