Jun 5, 2010

Some Problems With Identifying the Apostolic Prohibitions With Leviticus 17-18

Many New Testament interpreters identify the prohibitions in the Apostolic Decree (Acts 15:20, 29; 21:25) with Leviticus 17-18. But this identification is not without significant difficulty. As Mark Seifrid notes:

"It is unlikely that the Decree is directly connected to Lev. 17–18, the Noachian commandments, or the
bXwt rg (a Gentile who is not a proselyte). The most serious difficulty in connecting the Decree with Lev. 17–18 is that the term prosh,lutoj had undergone a shift in meaning which is manifest even in the LXX translation. By the first century, prosh,lutoj , by which the foreigner is designated in Lev. 17–18 (LXX) would be understood to refer to a full proselyte, not to a sojourner within Israel. Wilson [Luke and the Law, 86] also points out that the connection of pnikto,j with Lev. 17–18 is “by any reckoning extremely obscure.” There is no evidence that first-century Judaism made Lev. 17–18 a part of its requirements for either proselytes or godfearers.”

Mark A. Seifrid, “Jesus and the Law in Acts.”
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 30 (1987): 49.

Jun 4, 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:

A. Joseph Everson and Hyun Chul Paul Kim, eds.
The Desert Will Bloom: Poetic Visions in Isaiah
Reviewed by by Uwe Becker

Karen L. King
The Secret Revelation of John
Reviewed by by Douglas M. Parrott

Christina M. Kreinecker
Zeugen der Auferstehungsberichte
Reviewed by by James M. Leonard

Elisa Estèvez Lòpez
Mediadoras de sanación: Encuentros entre Jesús y las mujeres: Una nueva mirada
Reviewed by by Stephan Witetschek

Nathan MacDonald, Richard Bauckham, Daniel R. Driver, and Trevor A. Hart, eds.
The Epistle to the Hebrews and Christian Theology
Reviewed by by John Dunnill

Shalom Paul
Isaiah 40-66: A Commentary [Hebrew]
Reviewed by by Benjamin D. Sommer

Jeremy M. Schott
Christianity, Empire, and the Making of Religion in Late Antiquity
Reviewed by by Todd Krulak

Lesleigh Cushing Stahlberg
Sustaining Fictions: Intertextuality, Midrash, Translation, and the Literary Afterlife of the Bible
Reviewed by by Oda Wischmeyer

The Effect of the Jerusalem Council

“The effect of the Apostolic Council is to universalize and make permanent the principle inherent in the conversion of Cornelius. Acts 15 finalizes the manner in which Gentiles are to enter and remain within the fellowship of believers. The question explicitly raised in the text is that of the requirements for salvation. However, the issue of the basic nature and identity of the believing community is also at stake. Ultimately the decision of the Council recognizes Gentiles as full heirs of salvation and members of the people of God, apart from the Mosaic law. This recognition defines the position of the believing community vis-à-vis the Law and Judaism."

Mark A. Seifrid, “Jesus and the Law in Acts,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 30 (1987): 44.

Jun 3, 2010

Ten Questions With Steven Lawson

Colin Adams has a nice interview with Steven Lawson on expository preaching. See it here.

The Book of Revelation

Although an exercise in hyperbole, Eugene Peterson's words concerning the Book of Revelation are a good reminder not to neglect the study of Revelation.

"The Revelation gives us the last word on Christ, and the word is that Christ is center and at the center. Without this controlling center, the Bible is a mere encyclopedia of religion with no more plot than a telephone directory."

Eugene H. Peterson, Reversed Thunder (New York: Harper Collins, 1988), 28.

Jun 2, 2010

Teaching Church History

Although teaching church history is not really my discipline, Seumas MacDonald has a post that offers a number of helpful suggestions for teaching church history. Read it here.

Missions in Preaching and Teaching

Dustin Benge has a good reminder on the centrality of missions in preaching and teaching here.

Mark Rooker on the Ten Commandments

Dr. Mark Rooker, professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Southeastern
Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, North Carolina has recently come out with his fifth book: The Ten Commandments: Ethics for the Twenty-First Century. Dr. Rooker holds degrees from Rice University (B.A.), Dallas Theological Seminary (Th.M.), and Brandeis University (M.A., Ph.D.) with additional studies at The Hebrew University of Jerusalem and has authored dozens of articles for books, journals, and dictionaries, as well as translation work for two English Bible translations.

Dr. Rooker has graciously agreed to the following interview concerning his book
The Ten Commandments: Ethics for the Twenty-First Century.

How did the Ten Commandments: Ethics for the Twenty-First Century come about?

A few years ago, Broadman & Holman had a luncheon in the Raleigh area and announced the launching of a new series called the New American Commentary Studies in Bible and Theology. The next day I met with a representative of Broadman & Holman and the subject of the Ten Commandments was discussed. This was the beginning of my research for the book.

My special interest in studying the Ten Commandments for myself began during my doctoral studies at Brandeis University where I took a course on the book of Exodus taught by the late Nahum Sarna. Dr. Sarna was a Jewish scholar and a former British citizen and was interested not only in uncovering the meaning of the biblical laws but also how Old Testament biblical laws were the foundation for European law.

I continued to study the Ten Commandments as I taught courses on the book of Exodus at Dallas Seminary, Criswell College, Moscow Theological Seminary, and Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary.

Why did you write the book?

I wrote the book to examine each of the Ten Commandments in their Old and New Testament contexts and explore how they are relevant for today.

What is the main thesis of the book?

The Ten Commandments apply to the contemporary Christian life as they are important for biblical ethics and part of what is involved in the process of sanctification.

Who should read the book?

People interested in biblical ethics and those teachers who want to address our culture about the ethics and morals of the Bible.

What do you hope to accomplish through this book?

That people see the relevance of the Ten Commandments for personal ethics and appreciate the fact that the Ten Commandments are foundational for the laws of Western Civilization.

Jun 1, 2010

Free Francis Chan Audio Book

Christianaudio.com is offering a free audio download of Francis Chan's
Forgotten God. Here is a description of the book.

As Jesus ascended into heaven, He promised to send the Holy Spirit - the Helper - so that we could be true and living witnesses for Christ. Unfortunately, today's church has admired the gift but neglected to open it. Breakthrough author Francis Chan rips away paper and bows to get at the true source of the church's power: the Holy Spirit.

Go here and use the coupon code JUN2010.

Exegesis and Expository Preaching

"An expository sermon rises and falls on exegesis. Exegesis involves a thorough, analytical study of a biblical passage in order to develop a useful interpretation of the passage. Before we can preach any passage, we need to thoroughly understand it; exegesis is the process by which we determine the meaning.”

Paul D. Wegner, Using Old Testament Hebrew in Preaching: A Guide for Students and Pastors (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2009), 68–9.

May 31, 2010

Confession vs. Apologies?

Recently I read this article on how to make apologies for verbal faux pas in the work place. This article got me to thinking about apologies and the Bible. It seems to me that the Bible tends to emphasize confession rather than apology. But,
Is a confession the same as an apology? Just thinking out loud here. What do you think?

May 30, 2010

The Divinity of Christ

"Some critics of Christianity seem to think that you can get rid of the idea of the divinity of Christ, and leave every other Christian doctrine untouched. They seem to think it's like some sort of precision surgery, allowing you to remove apparently unnecessary parts of the human body - it's not taking away something unimportant, but the very source of it's life and power! These words of C. S. Lewis sum up the situation perfectly: "The doctrine of Christ's divinity seems to me not something stuck on which you can unstick, but something that peeps out at every point so that you'd have to unravel the whole web to get rid of it." To deny the divinity of Christ is unnecessary and leads to a totally inadequate version of Christianity."

Alister McGrath, Explaining Your Faith (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1995), 61.