Apr 24, 2010

Paul's Preaching in Athens

Paul Copan has a good post on Paul's preaching in Athens. See it

Seminary Online

Christianity Today has posted an article on the growth of online education and its impact on the seminary. Read it here. You might want to check out this previous post as well.

The Ascension of Christ

One of the most neglected theological aspects of the life and work of Christ relates to His Ascension. Christians often take for granted the reality of the Ascension since Christ is no longer physically present but fail to think about the theological implications of the event. If you doubt this, just ask a few people at your church concerning what they think of the Ascension. So I thought it might be helpful to share five observations from Peter Toon on the meaning of the Ascension.

1. The Ascension is seen, especially by Luke, as that which necessarily follows and completes the Resurrection.
2. Since Jesus died, descended into Hades, was raised from death, and ascended into heaven as the Messiah of his people, then by his resurrection and ascension, he became the firstfruits of his people.
3. The Ascension implies exaltation.
4. Jesus ascended in order to begin his heavenly ministry as High Priest, making intercession
5. Jesus ascended to bestow the gift of the Spirit upon the disciples whom he had called.
6. The Ascension inaugurates a new age.

Peter Toon, The Ascension of Our Lord (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1984), 17-19.

Apr 23, 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:

Frank Eibisch
Dein Glaube hat dir geholfen: Heilungsgeschichten des Markusevangeliums als paradigmatische Erzählungen und ihre Bedeutung für diakonisches Handeln
Reviewed by Wilhelm Pratscher

David L. Baker
Tight Fists or Open Hands? Wealth and Poverty in Old Testament Law
Reviewed by Timothy Sandoval

Hans M. Barstad
History and the Hebrew Bible: Studies in Ancient Israelite and Ancient Near Eastern Historiography
Reviewed by Jeremy Hutton

Carol M. Bechtel, eds.
Touching the Altar: The Old Testament for Christian Worship
Reviewed by Tony Costa

R. Scott Chalmers
The Struggle of Yahweh and El for Hosea's Israel
Reviewed by Markus Saur

James H. Charlesworth and Petr Pokorný, eds.
Jesus Research: An International Perspective
Reviewed by Peder Borgen

Lowell K. Handy, ed.
Psalm 29 through Time and Tradition
Reviewed by Gert Prinsloo

Hannah Harrington
The Purity Texts
Reviewed by Eric F. Mason

Giulio Maspero
Trinity and Man: Gregory of Nyssa's Ad Ablabium
Reviewed by Ilaria Ramelli

Herbert Schmid
Die Eucharistie ist Jesus: Anfänge einer Theorie des Sakraments im koptischen Philippusevangelium (NHC 113)
Reviewed by Riemer Roukema

Apr 22, 2010

Acts: Prescriptive or Descriptive

“A major issue in interpreting Acts is the extent to which it is prescriptive, saying how the church is always meant to be, or descriptive, telling us how the church was at this particular period (Marshall, Acts, 101–5). One helpful tool in deciding case by case about this issue is to consider how far Luke presents clear patterns of events. For example, 2:38-42 presents a fivefold pattern of what it means to become a Christian, involving repentance from sin, water baptism, receiving forgiveness and the gift of the Spirit, and joining the renewed people of God. This pattern keeps reappearing in Acts, not always in the same sequence as in 2:38-42, but with the same elements present (e.g., 8:12–17; 10:44–48; 19:l–20). Using this ‘patterning’ tool, we may identify three themes that address the theology and practice of today's churches.”

Steve Walton, "Acts," in Theological Interpretation of the New Testament: A Book-by-Book Survey, ed. Kevin J. Vanhoozer (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008), 80.

Apr 21, 2010

Latest Issue of Themelios

The latest issue of
Themelios (35:1) is now available as a pdf here. The articles are:

Editorial: Perfectionisms by D. A. Carson

Minority Report: The Importance of Not Studying Theology by Carl Trueman

New Commentaries on Colossians: Survey of Approaches, Analysis of Trends, and the State of Research by Nijay Gupta

Does Baptism Replace Circumcision? An Examination of the Relationship Between Circumcision and Baptism in Colossians 2:11–12 by Martin Salter

Pastoral Pensées: The Church: A Hidden Glory (1 Timothy 3:14–16) by Bill Kynes

Ten Comments You're Least Likely to Hear at Church

1. Hey! It's my turn to sit in the front pew.

2. I was so enthralled, I never noticed your sermon went 25 minutes over time.

3. Personally I find witnessing much more enjoyable than golf.

4. I've decided to give our church the $500 a month I used to send to TV evangelists.

5. I volunteer to be the permanent teacher for the junior high Sunday School class.

6. Forget the denominational minimum salary; let's pay our pastor so he can live like we do.

7. I love it when we sing hymns I've never heard before!

8. Since we're all here, let's start the service early.

9. Pastor, we'd like to send you to this Bible seminar in the Bahamas.

10. Nothing inspires me and strengthens my commitment like our annual stewardship campaign!

Source: Preaching Now

Apr 20, 2010

More Links Between Luke-Acts

I recently posted on the thematic links that tie Luke and Acts together. Steve Walton has a couple of good paragraphs on this as well. Walton writes:

"Acts is properly to be read as the continuation of Luke's Gospel, and many seeds planted in the Gospel come to fruition in Acts. Thus, the hints of Gentile inclusion found in the infancy narratives (e.g., Luke 2:32) become a major theme in Acts. The new exodus motifs found in Luke, notably the use of Isa. 40–55 (e.g., Luke 3:4–6; see Pao, esp. ch. 2; Turner, Power, 244–50), are fully developed in the renewal and restoration of Israel in Acts (Pao, ch. 4), which now becomes a worldwide, ethnically inclusive community (note the echo of Isa. 49:6 in the key verses Acts 1:8; 13:47). The Lukan emphasis on the Spirit as the power of Jesus' ministry (Luke 1:35; 3:16, 21–22; 4:l [twice], 14, 18; 10:21; 11:13) leads to Jesus promising the Spirit's power for the apostles' ministry (Luke 12:12; 24:49; Acts 1:5), and to the Spirit’s coming to equip the believers for mission and ministry (Acts 2:1–4, 16–21, 38; etc.). To read Acts apart from Luke is to impoverish and badly skew one's reading of Acts (see Walton; Wenham and Walton, chs. 11, 13).

"Reading Luke and Acts together, on the other hand, can explain some puzzles. Such an approach is suggestive for Luke’s apparently diminished emphasis on the death of Jesus in Acts, for Luke has told this story clearly in his Gospel and, while writing Acts, can count it as read and known. The clear statement of Acts 20:28, seeing the blood of Jesus as ‘obtaining’ his people, is the tip of a large iceberg of understanding of Jesus’ crucifixion found in the Gospel, notably in Luke 23 (Wenham and Walton 235)."

Steve Walton, "Acts," in Theological Interpretation of the New Testament: A Book-by-Book Survey, ed. Kevin J. Vanhoozer (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008), 79.

Apr 19, 2010

Paul's First Missionary Journey

"From the standpoint of ministry and mission, the most significant feature of the [first] missionary journey of Paul and Barnabas was the journey itself. As far as we know, this was the first time when a church had adopted and carried out a specific plan to carry the gospel to the lost world. On the other hand, from the standpoint of theology or doctrine, perhaps the most significant feature of that missionary journey was the fact that churches which were specifically and primarily Gentile had been established."

Robert L. Cate, A History of the New Testament and Its Times (Nashville: Broadman, 1991), 296.

Bibliotheca Sacra 11-20

In an earlier post I announced that Rob Bradshaw at BiblicalStudies.org.uk had posted the first ten volumes of
Bibliotheca Sacra, the theological journal of Dallas Theological Seminary, online. The next ten volumes are now available. See here.

Thematic Links between Luke-Acts

There are some interpreters today who suggest that Luke and Acts should be separated. But I truly believe in the importance of hyphenating Luke-Acts. There are numerous, significant, and meaningful links between Luke and Acts. In this vein, see these two posts (
here and here) from Michael Barber summarizing an article by Charles Talbert on these thematic links. By the way I would add prayer to the six themes noted. You might also want to see this earlier post.

Potsherds and the Bible

Ferrell Jenkins has an interesting post on potsherds and the Bible

Apr 18, 2010

Jesus, Paul and the People of God: A Theological Dialogue with N.T. Wright

The much discussed nineteenth annual Wheaton Theology Conference held on April 16-17, 2010: Jesus, Paul and the People of God: A Theological Dialogue with N.T. Wright is now available in audio or video

HT: Denny Burk

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:

Hector Avalos, Sarah Melcher, and Jeremy Schipper, eds.
This Abled Body: Rethinking Disabilities in Biblical Studies
Reviewed by Yael Avrahami

Susan Emanuel and Jonathan G. Campbell
The Exegetical Texts
Reviewed by Eric F. Mason

A. Philip Brown
Hope amidst Ruin: A Literary and Theological Analysis of Ezra
Reviewed by Bob Becking

James R. Linville
Amos and the Cosmic Imagination
Reviewed by M. Daniel Carroll R.

John P. Meier
A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus, Volume 4: Law and Love
Reviewed by William Loader

Gerald O'Collins
Christology: A Biblical, Historical, and Systematic Study of Jesus
Reviewed by James F. McGrath

Gregory E. Sterling
Coptic Paradigms: A Summary of Sahidic Coptic Morphology
Reviewed by William Arnal

Guy G. Stroumsa
The End of Sacrifice: Religious Transformations in Late Antiquity
Reviewed by Douglas Estes

Stefan Wälchli
Glaubenswelten der Bibel: Eine kleine Geschichte des biblischen Glaubens und der Entstehung der Bibel
Reviewed by Louis Jonker

Harald Martin Wahl
Das Buch Esther: Übersetzung und Kommentar
Reviewed by Donatella Scaiola

Walter T. Wilson
Pauline Parallels: A Comprehensive Guide
Reviewed by Martinus C. de Boer

Otto Zwierlein
Petrus in Rom: Die literarischen Zeugnisse
Reviewed by James D. G. Dunn