Jan 2, 2010

Having Trouble With New Year's Resolutions?

If you are, you might try this
New Year's resolutions generator.

The Dumbest Quotes of the 2000's

Ever wonder why the Bible contains so many admonitions about speaking? Where here is one reason why.

On the Writing of Commentaries

Rodney Decker has a nice collection of quotations on the writing of commentaries

Jan 1, 2010

Reading the Greek New Testament in One Year

Denny Burk has posted a schedule that will allow you to read the Greek New Testament n a year. You can check it out

The Anatomy of a Sermon

Darrell Johnson, building on an analogy used by Pitt-Watson (A Primer for Preachers [Grand Rapids: Baker, 1986], 10) compares a sermon to the human body. In this analogy, a sermon consists of:

-a heart (the theme and purpose statement)

-a skeleto
n (its main points, conceptual structure)
-a backbone (a natural harmony)
-joints (smooth
transitions) -lifeblood (emotional, passion, conviction)
-flesh (illustrations, everyday examples)
-muscle (application that req
uires and enables action)
-Spirit (the breath and breathing of the living God) (Johnson’s addition)

Darrell W. Johnson, The Glory of Preaching: Participating in God's Transformation of the World (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2009), 105.

Roman House Churches for Today

I recently picked up a book on sale called Roman House Churches for Today: A Practical Guide for Small Groups by Reta Halteman Finger, assistant profes
sor of New Testament at Messiah College, Grantham, Pennsylvania. Flipping through the book it appears to be partly an examination of the Epistle to the Romans and partly a guide for small groups. There is a unique juxtaposition between for example a chaper entitled “Isis, Mithras, or Stoicism: Religions and Philosophies in Rome” and then actual recipes for agape meals. Unfortunately, I do not have the time to go through this book in greater detail. Have any of you read it? Thoughts?

You can access the table of contents 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:

Randall C. Bailey, Tat-siong Benny Liew, and Fernando F. Segovia, eds.
They Were All Together in One Place? Toward Minority Biblical Criticism
Reviewed by Jonathan Draper

Diane Banks
Writing the History of Israel
Reviewed by Marc Brettler

Christopher A. Beetham
Echoes of Scripture in the Letter of Paul to the Colossians
Reviewed by Maarten J. J. Menken

Craig L. Blomberg and Mariam J. Kamell
Reviewed by Wesley Wachob

Shawna Dolansky
Now You See It, Now You Don't: Biblical Perspectives on the Relationship between Magic and Religion
Reviewed by Clare Rothschild

Renate Banschbach Eggen
Gleichnis, Allegorie, Metapher: Zur Theorie und Praxis der Gleichnisauslegung
Reviewed by John S. Kloppenborg

Gabriella Gelardini
"Verhärtet eure Herzen nicht": Der Hebräer, eine Synagogenhomilie zu Tischa be-Aw
Reviewed by Carl Mosser

François Genuyt
L'Épître aux Romains: L'instauration du sujet-Lecture sémiotique
Reviewed by Jean-Paul Michaud

Christopher Gilbert
A Complete Introduction to the Bible
Reviewed by Dirk G. van der Merwe

Judith Hartenstein
Charakterisierung im Dialog: Maria Magdalena, Petrus, Thomas und die Mutter Jesu im Johannesevangelium im Kontext anderer frühchristlicher Darstellungen
Reviewed by Ismo Dunderberg

Richard S. Hess
Israelite Religions: An Archaeological and Biblical Survey
Reviewed by Lester L. Grabbe

Edgar Kellenberger
Die Verstockung Pharaos: Exegetische und auslegungsgeschichtliche Untersuchungen zu Exodus 1-15
Reviewed by Danny Mathews

Adam Kamesar, ed.
The Cambridge Companion to Philo
Reviewed by Gregory Sterling

R. W. L. Moberly
The Theology of the Book of Genesis
Reviewed by Markus Witte

Dietmar Neufeld, ed.
The Social Sciences and Biblical Translation
Reviewed by Fika van Rensburg

Carolyn J. Sharp
Irony and Meaning in the Hebrew Bible
Reviewed by InHee Cho

Patricia Walters
The Assumed Authorial Unity of Luke and Acts: A Reassessment of the Evidence
Reviewed by Joel B. Green
Reviewed by Richard I. Pervo

Dec 31, 2009

Additions to Daniel and Esther in the Septuagint

See William Varner's discussion concerning the additions to Daniel and Esther in the Septuagint here.

Faith and Friendship in Ruth 1:17

Ruth 1:16–17 is one of the most powerful statements of faith and friendship in the entire Bible. Both faith and friendship come together in Ruth’s vow in v. 17 (
%nE)ybeW ynIïyBe dyrIßp.y: tw ‘yli hw"ïhy> hf,’[]y: hKo) which asserts that only death would be able to separate her from Naomi. Ruth’s wording is in keeping with standard imprecatory formulas (1 Sam 14:44; 20:13; 2 Sam 3:9; 1 Kgs 2:23; 19:2) in which, “a positive statement is introduced by the assertive use of the particle yKi” (Ibid.). Furthermore, “in each of the five occurrences in Samuel 1 – Kings the oath introduced by yKi expresses what the speaker was determined will happen” (Bush, Ruth/Esther, WBS [Dallas: word, 1996], 83). The NET does a nice job of communicating the certainty of the statement (“Nothing but death”) required by an oath introduced by yKi. A close second would be the REB and its “I solemnly declare” (making explicit the oath formula).

Bailey on the Beatitudes

Concerning the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3–12 and Luke 6:20–26, Kenneth Bailey notes the following

1. Luke presents four pairs of blessings and woes. Matthew has nine blessings. Persecution is prominent in each collection.

2. Bless-ed refers to a spiritual condition of divinely gifted joy already present, not a requirement to be fulfilled in order to receive a reward.

3. In the light of Isaiah's usage, the "poor in spirit" are the humble and pious who seek God. The kingdom of God is theirs.
4. God will comfort the bless-ed who mourn.
5. To deny suffering or to find it darkly entertaining are both wrong.
6. Suffering can become a doorway to profound wisdom.
7. The house of mourning can make the heart glad.
8. The righteous mourn over injustice and do not succumb to compassion fatigue.
9. The righteous mourn over their own sin and are comforted.
10. For Jesus, "the land" meant the land of Israel, and only the meek had rights of inheritance, not the violent or the members of a particular clan. The text expanded in the later church to include the whole earth.
11. The meek are those who humbly seek God. They are neither too bold nor too timid.
12. Being meek is in harmony with being angry over injustice inflicted on others.

Kenneth E. Bailey, Jesus Through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2008), 74–5.

Dec 30, 2009

Hellenism in Ancient Jewish Life

Biblical Archaeology Review
has an article by Martin Goodman on Hellenism in ancient Jewish life. You can access the article

Yearly Bible Reading Plans

See Denny Burk's
discussion on yearly Bible reading plans. Denny also makes available a plan that he created. Whether you use this plan or another, I would encourage you to make it a habit of reading through the Bible every year. I started this habit a number of years ago, but have been only keeping records of it for the last thirteen years. During that time, I only failed to finish one year.

Bible Word Clouds

Most familiar with working through Bible books know that one way to do biblical theology or identify themes in a book is to note how often a word is used. One visual tool that some have use is www.wordle.net. You can view all sixty-six books in Wordle

HT: Stephen Smuts

Dec 29, 2009

Witherington on Ten 2009 Books on the New Testament You Should have Read

You can see Ben Witherington III's recommendations for "Ten 2009 Books on the New Testament You Should have Read"

Two Churches in Acts 15

“The narrated events of 15:l–35 focus on the two dominant churches mentioned thus far in the narrative: the Jerusalem church and the Antioch church. The structure of this literary section reflects these two settings. On the one hand, the section begins and ends with scenes in the Antioch church (15:l–5, 30–35). On the other hand, the section’s central part (15:6–29) includes the discussions and decisions of the Jerusalem church, as Paul, Barnabas, and others from Antioch travel to Jerusalem and meet with the Jerusalem Christian leaders — a meeting frequently called the Apostolic Council or the Jerusalem Counci1. Thus, both churches function as significant characters in this narrative section, and the interaction between them, depicted typically as representatives from one group interact with the other church, is a potentially significant aspect of the characterization of the Christian churches in the book of Acts.”

Richard P. Thompson, Keeping the Church in its Place: The Church as Narrative Character in Acts (New York: T & T Clark, 2006), 182–83.

Dec 28, 2009

The Problem With Topical Preaching

“Yes, there is a role for sermons other than expository ones. So-called topical preaching, for example, does sometimes participate in God's transformation of people’s lives. But the communicator runs two risks in preaching typically. One one hand, topical prea
ching leaves too much to the preacher's ability to come up with the content of the sermon. And on the other, topical preaching can give an impression about the Bible that is not accurate. The preacher has to rummage through all kinds of different verses and try to make some coherent sense of them; too much is left to the preacher's ability to pull a message together. Such an approach suggests the Bible is a collection of sayings about various topics, a depository of principles to live by, rather than what it is, the story of the living God creating and redeeming a people for himself, for a world truly filled with the knowledge of his glory.”

Darrell W. Johnson, The Glory of Preaching: Participating in God's Transformation of the World (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2009), 54.

Dec 27, 2009

Theology and Ethics in Hebrews

“A careful reading of Hebrews shows why it is that separating theology and ethic
s in the New Testament is an exercise in futility rather than fertility. It is true that one can talk about the two separately with profit, but if one actually wants to describe the New Testament thought world in some reasonably holistic way, such a way of parsing things out is inadequate. The two things are so intertwined that even one as exalted as Christ, one as divine as the Son is believed to be in Hebrews, one as appropriately worshiped as the Son of Man is asserted to be, can nevertheless become the ethical paradigm of faith and faithfulness for the audience of this magnificent sermon. Going back and forth between exposition and exhortation, we find Christ in both sorts of materials and in both theological and ethical categories.”

Ben Witherington III, The Indelible Image: The Theological and Ethical Thought World of the New Testament, Volume One: The Individual Witnesses (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2009), 461.