Dec 31, 2010

What Is “the Law and the Prophets” in Luke 16:16?

Yesterday I posted a survey of the treatments of Luke 16:16–18 in some major commentaries. Now I thought I would share with you some of the positions held by the commentators concerning the identification of “the law and the prophets” in Luke 16:16. Here is a table with some results.

The identification of “the law and the prophets”
Old Testament preaching
Joseph Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke 10–24: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, AB (1985), 1116
The period of time marked by the law and the prophets or the Old Testament period or age
I. Howard Marshall, The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text, NIGTC (1978), 628
Alfred Plummer, A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Gospel According to St. Luke, ICC (1901), 389
Norval Geldenhuys, The Gospel of Luke, NICNT (1977), 420
Robert H. Stein, Luke. NAC (1992), 418.
Darrell Bock, Luke 9:51–24:53, BECNT (1996), 1351, 54.
The Old Testament
William Hendriksen, The Gospel According to Luke, NTC (1978), 774.
C. F. Evans, Saint Luke (1990), 607.
Craig Evans, Luke, NIBC (1990), 246.
John Nolland, Luke 9:21–18:34, WBC (1993), 821.
C. Marvin Pate, Luke. Moody Gospel Commentary (1995), 316
Joel Green, The Gospel of Luke, NICNT (1997), 603.
The testimony of the Scriptures
Luke Timothy Johnson, The Gospel of Luke, Sacra Pagina (1991), 250. Probably should be included in the OT category.

Dec 30, 2010

Discussions of Luke 16.16–18

I have been working recently on Luke 16:16–18. This is an important passage for understanding how Jesus understood the relationship between the proclamation of His kingdom and the Mosaic Law. In my research I consulted a number of commentaries and I thought I might share with you my basic evaluations of the discussions of the passage in each of the commentaries. Please note that these evaluations are by no means complete and therefore may or may not reflect the overall quality of the commentary as a whole. I have listed the commentaries and annotations in alphabetical order.

Joseph A. Fitzmyer, The Gospel According to Luke 10–24: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, AB (1985). A fairly detailed discussion of the major issues, but after explaining the options, Fitzmyer does not really take a stand on the meaning of biazetai in 16:16. Furthermore, the explanation of continuing validity of the Law begs for further elaboration: “Jesus sees his preaching of the kingdom as something more abiding than the universe itself, because it is the real meaning of the continuing validity of the Law.”

Joel B. Green, The Gospel of Luke, NICNT (1997). Green has one of the most disappointing treatments of the passage. One would expect more detailed exegesis in a full-length commentary in a major commentary series. While Green provides a decent explanation of the flow of the argument he doesn’t deal adequately with the details of the text. For example, the meaning of biazetai in v. 16 is barely addressed.

Walter Liefeld and David Pao, “Luke, in The Expositor’s Bible Commentary, rev. ed. (2007). Liefeld and Pao provide a decent explanation of biazetai in v. 16 (although they do not take a position) but not much of an explanation of v. 17.

I. Howard Marshall, The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text, NIGTC (1978). Good discussion of both the details and meaning of the text. But it would have been more helpful for Marshall to clarify his explanation of the continuing validity of the Law in light of the coming of the kingdom in vv. 16–17.

John Nolland, Luke 9:21–18:34, WBC (1993). Nolland offers a good discussion both in the details of the text and of the meaning of Luke’s argument as a whole. But the discussion of the continuing validity of the Law in v. 17 is a bit confusing. On the one hand, Nolland writes, “The continuing validity of every detail of the law is here being lent the sense of permanence that adheres to the creation itself” and later in the same paragraph he states, “The addition of v 17 makes it quite clear that v 16 is not to be read as implying any kind of supersession of the law,” but then Nolland suggests that “while v 18 to follow suggests that an ethical focus should be given to the sense of v 17” (p. 821). What is confusing is whether Nolland believes that v. 17 is teaching all or some (the ethical) aspects of the Law are being presented as continuing in validity.

Robert H. Stein, Luke, NAC (1992). Stein offers a solid overall discussion of the significant details of the text. Stein also identifies five different views of v. 17: “(1) All the laws in the OT will remain. (2) All the moral but not the ceremonial and civil laws found in the OT will remain. (3) All the promises/prophecies in the OT will be fulfilled. (4) The OT is transformed and fulfilled in Jesus’ teachings. (5) The OT in all its aspects, i.e., its law, promises, and prophecies, will be fulfilled. In light of the following verse it appears that the second interpretation probably was meant” and eventually settling on the second option (p. 419).

Dec 29, 2010

Tips for the Th.M.

Marc Cortez has a series of posts on tips for doing a Th.M here.

Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament on Sale

Christian Book Distributor’s Midweek Markdowns has the three-volume Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament edited by Jenni and Westermann on sale for $24.99 (a 79% discount) until tomorrow. They are also offering 10% off (use code 339017) or free shipping (use code 339015) if you spend over $25. You can see TLOT here as well as other midweek markdowns here.

Dec 28, 2010

Bulletin for Biblical Research 20:4

The latest volume of the Bulletin for Biblical Research is out. It contains the following articles.

Labor Pains: The Relationship between David's Census and Corvée Labor
Kyle R. Greenwood

The "Better Righteousness": Matthew 5:20

Don Garlington

The Order and Essence of Canon in Brevard Childs’s Book on Paul

John C. Poirier

The Problem with the Observance of the Lord’s Supper in the Corinthian Church

Barry D. Smith

Cosmology, Eschatology, and Soteriology in Hebrews: A Synthetic Analysis

Alexander Stewart

Understanding the Gospel of Judas

Craig A. Evans


Dec 27, 2010

Christological Titles in Acts 2

"Of all the christological titles or categories, two are clearly of great importance to Luke: Jesus as Lord (kyrios) and Jesus as Christ (christos). It is indeed the explicit justification of the use of these two terms for Jesus which governs the programmatic speech of Peter in Acts 2: the whole of the speech is, in one sense, an attempt to provide a detailed justification for the claim that God has made Jesus to be ‘Lord’ and ‘Christ’ (2:36). Indeed this structure to the speech, and the importance which the speech clearly has within the book of Acts as a whole, must clearly throw into question any claim that Luke is totally uninterested in the christological titles; certainly the way that Luke’s Peter clearly seeks to justify the use of these two terms suggests that Luke does see the terms as having some significance."

Christopher M. Tuckett, Christology and the New Testament: Jesus and His Earliest Followers (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2001), 140.

Dec 26, 2010

The Latest Issue of 'Atiqot

'Atiqot 64 is now available online at "Articles published in 'Atiqot are the result of the numerous salvage excavations conducted each year on behalf of the Israel Antiquities Authority, which provides the most encompassing research on the region and its connections with the neighboring countries."

Dec 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons."

Dec 24, 2010

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:

Mark Andrew Brighton
The Sicarii in Josephus's Judean War: Rhetorical Analysis and Historical Observations
Reviewed by Shayna Sheinfeld
Colleen M. Conway
Behold the Man: Jesus and Greco-Roman Masculinity
Reviewed by Ronald R. Clark
Thomas B. Dozeman
Reviewed by Wolfgang Oswald
Benjamin H. Dunning
Aliens and Sojourners: Self as Other in Early Christianity
Reviewed by Judith Lieu
Troels Engberg-Pedersen
Cosmology and Self in the Apostle Paul: The Material Spirit
Reviewed by L. Ann Jervis
Hermann Gunkel; K. C. Hanson, ed.
Israel and Babylon: The Babylonian Influence on Israelite Religion
Reviewed by Michael S. Moore
Bruce Hansen
'All of You Are One': The Social Vision of Galatians 3.28, 1 Corinthians 12.13 and Colossians 3.11
 Reviewed by Kobus Kok
William H. Jennings
Storms over Genesis: Biblical Battleground in America's Wars of Religion
Reviewed by Phillip Michael Sherman
Isaac Kalimi
The Retelling of Chronicles in Jewish Tradition and Literature: A Historical Journey
Reviewed by Rivka Ulmer
Kirsten Nielsen, ed.
Receptions and Transformations of the Bible
Reviewed by Donatella Scaiola
Rodrigo F. de Sousa
Eschatology and Messianism in LXX Isaiah 1-12
Reviewed by Tyler Mayfield
Jerry L. Sumney
The Bible: An Introduction
Reviewed by Gail Streete
Anthony C. Thiselton
The Living Paul: An Introduction to the Apostle's Life and Thought
Reviewed by Stephan Joubert
Reviewed by H. H. Drake Williams III
Richard Valantasis
The Making of the Self: Ancient and Modern Asceticism
Reviewed by Andrew T. Lincoln

Schreiner's 40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law

Initially I was a bit skeptical about the catechetical-like forty question format. But 40 Questions about Christians and Biblical Law by Thomas Schreiner has helped to ease, if not erase, my doubts about the format.

Any book that is based on a question-and answer-format should be evaluated both on the quality of questions that are asked and the quality of the answers that are given. In 40 Questions about Christians and Biblical Law, I found Schreiner’s questions and answers to be excellent and helpful. The questions asked are significant (questions that are worth asking), succinct (the questions are clearly and concisely stated), and logically sequential (the questions are asked in a logical progression). Schreiner’s answers are also praiseworthy. The pertinent issues are explained and fairly presented, and the author’s view is clearly stated and argued. One might disagree with Schreiner’s answers, but one will not have to wonder what he believes and why. Sprinkled throughout are helpful tables (see pp. 20, 43, 93, 125, 210).

There are five additional features that add to the usefulness of this work. First, I like the fact that this book has footnotes (not endnotes), which provide the interested reader additional information. Second, I appreciate the summary paragraphs that close each chapter. Third, the inclusion of reflection questions will allow this text to be used in the classroom or a small group study. Fourth, there is a four-page annotated bibliography. And finally the book has Scripture and ancient sources indices.

In sum, Schreiner masterfully addresses the main issues in what is a complicated, and at times, contentious, topic. Whether you have one question or forty about the relationship of Christians to the biblical law, this volume is an excellent resource of both introduction and investigation.

Thanks to Kregel for the review copy.

Dec 23, 2010

Pekka Pitkänen's Website

Yesterday I posted an interview with Pekka Pitkänen. If you found that interview interesting you might want to visit Dr. Pitkänen's website here. There are links to various resources that are worth checking out.

Dec 22, 2010

Free Online Hebrew Course

David Murray has posted a link to a free online Hebrew course that he created.

Five Questions With Pekka Pitkänen

Joshua is the latest volume of the Apollos Old Testament Commentary series published by InterVarsity Press. Its author, Pekka Pitkänen, a Senior Lecturer in the Open Theological College Course, Department of the Humanities, University of Gloucestershire, has graciously agreed to participate in a brief interview related to the book of Joshua in general and the commentary in particular.

Question: What originally drew you to the book of Joshua?

I did work on Joshua as part of my PhD thesis on the early history of Israel. My doctoral supervisor, Gordon Wenham, asked me around 2001, after completing my PhD, if I wanted to have a hand at writing a commentary for the Apollos series, and I thought I could try to do one on Joshua as I was in any case interested to look into the book in more detail. At that time I was mostly thinking of issues that pertain to certain traditional academic discussions surrounding the book, and questions that relate to violence and related modern application really only subsequently sprung into my view as part of my research and work on the commentary.

Question: You suggest that Joshua should be read as part of the Christian canon in a post/neocolonial age. Could you explain what you mean by post/neocolonial and how your reading differs from other more traditional readings?

I think post/neocolonial age means that we are now aware of the role of power in determining world affairs, also in historical dimension. Postcolonial critique in particular analyses these issues, and this in particular from the perspective of the powerless, or the colonised, whereas Western readings often tend to spring from the perspective of the coloniser, even if in many cases only inadvertently, due to the historical role of the West and its collective power over world affairs during the past 500 years. Neocolonial critique acknowledges the end of explicit colonialism at large, however, it pays attention to continuing inequalities in the world in terms of systemic power and their resulting implications.

Question: You have an extended section in your commentary dealing with the problem of war, conquest, and genocide in Joshua. Why do you think it is important to raise these ethical issues in a commentary?

I think Christians need to reflect on problems of violence in human life, also in a historical dimension, and how the biblical texts reflect human propensity to violence and genocide. Of course, that the text of Joshua is part of the Christian canon makes the related problems all the more difficult for Christians, and yet, it is my view that these need to be looked into and analysed. We are now living in a global world and perhaps have a chance to try to formulate global solutions to certain problematic aspects of violence that have been manifested in human history, and I believe Christians can make their contribution based on analysing the biblical documents. Of course, Joshua is not the only book to address or bear relation to these issues, but I think it is an important one to consider as part of the canonical biblical materials.

Question: What do you think Joshua’s main message for the church today?


I think the book should sensitivise us into thinking about the role of violence as part of religion and as part of human life. While Joshua in my view presents genocide as part of God’s unique salvation history some 3,000 years ago, (and not to mention questions of theodicy that this and the book as a whole in my view clearly imply,) we should not think that we as Christians today should be advocating similar approaches, whether intentionally or inadvertently, and, perhaps, if we for example draw in the study of the gospels and other biblical materials, we can collectively try to find ways of working towards a more just and peaceful world.

Question: Who do you think would be most helped by reading your commentary on Joshua?

I would hope that the commentary could help people reflect on the issues outlined above. While the primary target audience for the book is Christians, I have tried to write the book in such a manner that those who may not subscribe to a Christian worldview or Christianity in general could also benefit from reading it. In addition, I have included comments on issues relating to Joshua that have more traditionally been looked at in academic discussion, and I hope these can be of help and stimulus to students and scholars of the Old Testament.


Dec 21, 2010

Prayer and Preaching

"The final step in preparation for preaching, and perhaps the most important, is earnest petition for divine blessing on the message. I never feel properly prepared if I have not spent time with the Lord, asking him to give enlightenment, conviction, regeneration, and faith as the passage is preached. Luther said that theologians are made by oratio, meditatio, and tentatio, or prayer, meditation, and trial. The same may be said of the preacher, and first place is given to prayer."

S. Lewis Johnson Jr., "Method: Expounding Individual Books," in Inside the Sermon, ed Richard Allen Bodey (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990), 156.

Dec 20, 2010

NLT Bible Giveaway

The publishers of the New Living Translation are having a Bible giveaway.To enter, visit the NLT Facebook page by clicking 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:

Joel S. Baden
J, E, and the Redaction of the Pentateuch
Reviewed by David Carr
Maurice Casey
The Solution to the 'Son of Man' Problem
Reviewed by Panayotis Coutsoumpos
Tom Holmén, ed.
Jesus from Judaism to Christianity: Continuum Approaches to the Historical Jesus
Reviewed by Steven M. Bryan
Bruce W. Longenecker and Kelly D. Liebengood, eds.
Engaging Economics: New Testament Scenarios and Early Christian Reception
Reviewed by Markus Lang
Jesús Luzarraga
El Padrenuestro desde el arameo
Reviewed by Jeffrey L. Morrow
Kevin B. McCruden
Solidarity Perfected: Beneficent Christology in the Epistle to the Hebrews
Reviewed by Martin Karrer
Alice Mouton
Rêves hittites: Contribution à une histoire et une anthropologie du rêve en Anatolie ancienne
Reviewed by Michael S. Moore
Daniel A. Smith
Revisiting the Empty Tomb: The Early History of Easter
Reviewed by Michael R. Licona
John Strazicich
Joel's Use of Scripture and the Scripture's Use of Joel: Appropriation and Resignification in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity
Reviewed by Douglas Watson
Emma Wasserman
The Death of the Soul in Romans 7: Sin, Death, and the Law in Light of Hellenistic Moral Psychology
Reviewed by Karl-Wilhelm Niebuhr

Dec 19, 2010

Reading the New Testament in Light of the Old Testament

"Evangelical approaches to the Messiah in the OT often have focused on reading the NT back into the OT. I am suggesting that one should also move in the other direction. The OT shed a a great deal of light on the NT. Our primary objective should be to read the NT in light of of the OT, not vice versa."

John Sailhamer, The Meaning of the Pentateuch: Revelation, Composition and Interpretation (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2009), 246.

Dec 18, 2010

Training Video for BibleWorks 8

Here is a video of a recent BibleWorks 8 training session at Luther Seminary.

Dec 17, 2010

BiblePlaces Give-Away: Pictorial Library of Bible Lands

Todd Bolen at is giving away a complete ten volume set of the Pictorial Library of Bible Lands. In my opinion, this is the finest set of pictures of the Holy Land available. To read about the give-away and to enter go here.

Osborne on on Matthew 1:1–17

Two days ago, I posted some initial thoughts on Grant Osborne’s new commentary on Matthew in Zondervan’s Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series. Today I thought I would make some observations about Osborne’s section on Matthew 1:1–17. I will make my cursory comments on the sections as they occur in the commentary.

Literary context

This is an important feature lacking in some commentaries, namely, explaining how the section at hand fits with what has gone before and what follows. In the case of Matthew 1:1–17, nothing has preceded the section, but Osborne points out that the section sets the tome for the Gospel: “Matthew begins with genealogical proof that Jesus is indeed the Davidic Messiah and that God has sovereignly controlled his ancestry. This proves that Jesus is the son of Abraham and of David and sets the tome for the rest of the book” (p. 57).

Main Idea

Again, this is an important feature. One key to doing exposition is asking and answering the question, “What is the main or central idea of the passage at hand.” Osborne suggests that the main idea is that, “Matthew shows that Jesus is the expected Davidic Messiah, whose pedigree demonstrates his claim. At the same time he shows that the lineage of Jesus goes beyond Jewish heritage to embrace the Gentiles as well, thereby preparing for his theme of universal mission” (p. 57). The only observation that I would make is that Osborne try to synthesize the main idea into one sentence.


I like the fact that Osborne has provided his own translation. It is helpful to see how different scholars translate the text in comparison to major English translations. I also appreciate that in this series the author’s translation is formatted in graphical (or structural) layout form.

Structure and Literary Form

Osborne provides a good discussion of the “fourteen” structure of the genealogy. I do wonder why Osborne does not discuss the genealogical literary form. He does discuss the differences in genealogical forms in his explanation of the text, but this section seems like the more logical place to put that discussion.

Explanation of the Text

Osborne provides a fairly thorough discussion of the text. Some might be surprised by how much can be said about a genealogy. On a formatting note, not all readers will appreciate the editorial decision to include the English translation and Greek text at the beginning of the individual comments. But, I find this feature helpful, although it surely adds to the length of the book.

Theology in Application

I applaud the inclusion of this section. It has always seemed strange to me that some commentaries ignore the theology of the theological texts that they are commenting on. However, I wonder whether if this section is a bit misnamed. A better designation might be “Theological Contribution” or “Theological Principles,” since there is very little actual application. Readers will probably be disappointed if they look to this section for insights into how to apply the text to their lives.

Dec 16, 2010

Hebrews 2:1–4: The Danger of Drifting

The preposition διά and the pronoun τοῦτο often translated “therefore” suggests that a conclusion is drawn from the fact of Christ’s superiority over angels. In essence, if the Mosaic Law which was mediated by angels required uncompromising obedience how much more the revelation brought by the Son of God (cf. 1:1, 2), confirmed by the original believers, and underscored by divine manifestations. “Since the purpose of this evidence is the validation that God has spoken definitively in Christ, unbelief and carelessness can only be regarded as the expression of an utterly incomprehensible hardness of heart (cf. 3:7–8, 12, 15: 4:7).”[1] The author wants to make it very clear that the person who neglects the message and work of Christ does so at great personal peril. The argument is summarized in the table below.
Old Testament Law
New Testament Gospel
The Son
Just Punishment
[No] Escape
    Lesser to Greater

[1] William L. Lane, Hebrews 1–8, Word Biblical Commentary, ed. Ralph P. Martin, vol. 47A (Dallas: Word Books, 1991), 40.

Dec 15, 2010

Osborne's New Commentary on Matthew

A newer commentary series that I am really excited about is Zondervan's Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (ZECNT).

The features of this commentary series that I am most excited about include the discussions on the literary context, the identification of the main idea, the graphical (or structural) layout of the author’s translation, and theology in application. All of these features are valuable for preachers and teachers interested in doing serious exposition.

One of the most recent volumes in ZECNT is Grant Osborne's commentary on Matthew. My initial response to receiving the commentary is "this is heavy" (literally). The book is 4.5 lbs. and clocks in at 1,152 pages. Having read Osborne before I should not be surprised. Another initial observation which should not be surprising to those familiar with Osborne's work in hermeneutics is that he begins the commentary with seven pages on how to study and preach Matthew. This is well worth reading.

David Instone-Brewer on BibleWorks 8

See this very helpful post by David Instone-Brewer on BibleWorks 8.

The Standard of Preaching

"Faithful engagement with Scripture is a standard by which preaching should be measured, and the normal week-in, week-out practice of preaching should consist of sermons drawn from specific biblical texts. Biblical preaching in this strict sense should be the rule and not the exception."

Thomas G. Long, The Witness of Preaching, 2nd ed. (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2005), 54.

Dec 14, 2010

Denny Burk on 2 Timothy 2:2

See Denny Burk's post on 2 Timothy 2:2.

A Sermon Series on Exodus

If you are like me, you are interested in seeing how other preachers preach through a book expositionally. So you might be interested in Tim Strickland's approach here. Tim has provided links for the audio and sermon notes as well. I haven't gone through the audio or notes in detail, but it looks pretty good.

Dec 13, 2010

Roger Nicole (1915-2010)

The Baptist theologian Roger Nicole died this past Saturday. See this article.

What is on BibleWorks 8

A few days ago, I posted some initial thoughts on BibleWorks 8. Here is a link to resources that are included in BibleWorks 8.

Dec 11, 2010

BibleWorks 8

I have been a BibleWorks user since my Bible college days (BibleWorks 3?). But I haven’t upgraded my version (BibleWorks 5) in several years. One reason for not upgrading is that I have been fairly content with BibleWorks 5 (BW5) and my add-on modules of BDAG and HALOT. But, I ran into a friend of mine at this year’s Society of Biblical Literature meeting and he convinced me that BibleWorks 8 (BW8) was a significant improvement from the version I was using. So after talking with Jim Barr, director marketing at Bibleworks, I agreed to review this new version.

Here are my initial thoughts. Loading the program meant removing the older version and then loading BW8). I had some initial difficulties, some of which were on my end of things, but customer support was able to get me up and going. After loading the program I followed the recommendation to watch the introductory videos on the search window, the browse window, the analysis window, and the BibleWorks editor. These videos were very helpful in getting started. Although I have not had a great deal of time to play around with BW8 my initial impression is that it is a significant upgrade from BW5. Not only are there more language resources available, but the analysis window really allows you to see more information at a glance than ever before. Stay tuned for future posts. 

Dec 10, 2010

Are You Raising Preachers in Your Church?

See this post for several reasons why you need to raise up preachers in your church.

Review of The New Testament in Antiquity

Burge, Gary M., Lynn H. Cohick, and Gene L. Green. The New Testament in Antiquity. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009.

The study of biblical backgrounds in general and a focus on the backgrounds of the New Testament in particular has received great academic interest in recent years. The 2009 publication of The New Testament in Antiquity is both a part, and the fruit, of that general interest in backgrounds. The book’s three authors teach New Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School.

The book itself is an amalgamation of New Testament introduction, survey, and of course backgrounds. The quality of production is excellent with numerous pictures, maps, and diagrams. The text is comprehensive in scope, touching upon most major issues related to the study of the New Testament. But at slightly less than 500 pages, many of the more technical discussions are more introductory than exhaustive. What The New Testament in Antiquity does well is expose the reader to the major issues. In the preface, the authors state four goals which can be summarized as (1) academically rigorous, (2) accessible to students, (3) emphasis on the ancient context of the New Testament, and (4) responsive to confessional commitments of the evangelical tradition. To this end I believe that The New Testament in Antiquity has met its self-imposed goals rather well. Helpful features include questions for discussion and an introductory and advanced bibliography at the end of every chapter.

A few years ago, I evaluated several books focusing on New Testament backgrounds to use as a required text for a course that I was teaching. I ultimately settled on a text which I thought was pretty solid. But if I were to teach that same course today, I would replace that text with The New Testament in Antiquity.


Dec 9, 2010

Five Reasons to Send Your Pastor to a Conference

Michael Johnson at the desiringGod blog discusses five reasons to send your pastor to a conference. I agree that there are very good reasons to send your pastor but I also think that a lot depends on the conference. That being said, while some churches say that they can't afford to send their pastor, I would suggest that in many cases you cannot afford not to send your pastor. Intellectual stimulation and spiritual encouragement is one way to avoid intellectual stagnation and spiritual discouragement.

The Gospel According to the Old Testament Series on Sale

Westminster Theological Seminary Bookstore has The Gospel According to the Old Testament Series on sale until December 15. If you purchase three or more individual volumes and automatically get them at 50% off and as always, there is $1 Shipping on orders over $35.

I have not used this series, but it sounds interesting. Here is the publisher's description.

A series of studies on the lives of Old Testament characters, written for laypeople and pastors, and designed to encourage Christ-centered reading, teaching, and preaching of the Old Testament.

The series is edited by Tremper Longman III.


What the Original Greek Really Says

Just in case you missed this, Louis McBride posted this great picture on his blog the other day.

Dec 8, 2010

Social-Science Commentary on the Book of Acts

Publisher’s Description:

Like earlier volumes in the Social Science Commentary series, this volume situates Acts squarely in the cultural matrix of the first century Mediterranean world, elaborating its codes of patron and client, mediatorship, honor and shame, healing and sickening, wizardry and witchcraft accusations, and the understanding of the Spirit of God as well as deities and demons as personal causes of significant events.

Simplified Outline:

Part 1: Jesus First Command to the Twelve – Their Activities Among Israelite Majority Populations (Acts 1:4–12:25)
Part 2: Jesus Second Command to Saul/Paul – His Activities Among Israelite Minority Populations (Acts 12:25–25:31)
Appendix: Recurring Scenes in Luke and Acts
Reading Scenarios for the Acts of the Apostles
List of Scenarios

Make sure you check out the Google Books preview here.

Thanks to Fortress Press for the review copy.

Dec 7, 2010

Ebook Deal on Luke-Acts in the Expositor's Biblical Commentary Series

The Google Ebookstore is offering the volume on Luke-Acts in the newly revised Expositor's Biblical Commentary Series for only $4.99 here. The Luke comments are authored by Walter Liefeld and David Pao, John by Robert Mounce, and Acts is done by Richard Longenecker. You can view a sample here.

HT: Todd Bolen

The Tempting of Jesus and the Pinnacle of the Temple

Ferrell Jenkins and Leen Ritmyer both discuss the location of the pinnacle of the temple (Matt 4:5; Luke 4:9) here and here respectively.

Long on the Crucial Ingredients of Preaching

1. First, there is the congregation, the assembly, the people who will hear the preaching.
2. Then there is the preacher (or preachers-it doesn't have to be only one.)
3.Then there is the sermon.
4. Finally, there is the presence of Christ.

Thomas G. Long, The Witness of Preaching, 2nd ed. (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2005), 15-16.