Jun 12, 2010

Threats to the Church in the Book of Acts

Interpreters have noted a recurring motif in Acts relates to threats against the nascent church in the Book of Acts (). Joseph Tyson has argued that, "Luke employs a standard literary pattern to report the resolution of certain problems. A number of specific episodes in this and later sections of Acts stress the theme of peace as the essence of the early Christian movement, while showing various threats to this peace and the ways in which the threats are resolved and peace is restored. Each of these narratives has four components: (1) peace; (2) threat; (3) resolution; and (4) restoration."

Tyson goes on to illustrate this pattern with the story of Ananias and Sapphira (Acts 4:32–5:11).

1. Peace. All the believers are of one heart and soul; no one regards anything as his or her own, and all things are held in common. The apostles witness to the resurrection; no one is in need, and distribution is made according to need. The action of Barnabas is cited
as an illustration - 4:32-37. This is a rather full description that serves both as a general summary and as an introduction to the story of Ananias and Sapphira.
2. Threat. Ananias and Sapphra lie about retaining some of the proceeds from a sale of property - 5:l–2.
3. Resolution. Peter condemns the two and they both die; thus, the threat is eliminated from the community - 5:3–10.
4. Restoration. Awe comes upon the whole community - 5:11.

Tyson, Joseph B. “Themes at the Crossroads: Acts 15 in Its Lukan Setting.” Forum 4 (2001): 110.

Jun 11, 2010

Criswell on Preaching from the Old Testament

"A man honors God when he preaches from the Old Testament, because
in its pages are the foundational truths of the gospel. The New Covenant is built on the Old Covenant. If one is to understand and to appreciate the New, one must read, study, preach, and teach the Old. The Old Testament contains Christ, as Jesus explained to the disciples on the road to Emmaus. 'Beginning at Moses and all the prophets, he expounded unto them in all the scriptures the things concerning himself'(Luke 24:27). How could a man improve on that? What a blessed privilege to stand and preach the unsearchable riches of Christ from the pages of the Old Testament."

W. A. Criswell, "Preaching from the Old Testament," in Tradition and Testament: Essays in Honor of Charles Lee Feinberg, ed. John S. Feinberg and Paul D. Feinberg (Chicago: Moody, 1981), 294.

Jun 10, 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:

James Allen Hewett
New Testament Greek: A Beginning and Intermediate Grammar
Reviewed by Francis Dalrymple-Hamilton

Amy-Jill Levine, ed.
A Feminist Companion to Patristic Literature
Reviewed by Judith Lieu

Joel Marcus
Mark 8-16: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary
Reviewed by William Telford

Giulio Maspero
Trinity and Man: Gregory of Nyssa's Ad Ablabium
Reviewed by Mark DelCogliano

Denis Minns and Paul Parvis, eds.
Justin, Philosopher and Martyr: Apologies
Reviewed by Paul Foster

Benjamin E. Reynolds
The Apocalyptic Son of Man in the Gospel of John
Reviewed by William O. Walker Jr.

Elisabeth Schüssler Fiorenza
Democratizing Biblical Studies: Toward an Emancipatory Educational Space
Reviewed by Daniel Smith-Christopher

Andrew Steinmann
Reviewed by Ian Young

John Fleter Tipei
The Laying on of Hands in the New Testament: Its Significance, Techniques, and Effects
Reviewed by Panayotis Coutsoumpos

Martin Vahrenhorst
Kultische Sprache in den Paulusbriefen
Reviewed by Christoph Stenschke

Jun 9, 2010

Galatians 2 = Acts 15 Again

Most New Testament interpreters hold that Galatians 2 and Acts 15 are two versions of the same event. This correlation is often assumed as an established fact. So it is particularly refreshing to see when someone questions this "assured result" and in a non-Evangelical forum at that. See Tom McGlothlin's post at Duke Newt

The Challenges of Definition

Bill Mounce has an interesting post on definitions and biblical languages

Margeraut on Paul and the Law in Acts

“To conclude, a study of Acts 13 and Acts 10 sets before us two affirmations on the Law that are not co-ordinated, but neither are they contradictory. On the one hand, faith, and not the Law, saves. Luke is a good disciple of Paul in the sense that he affirms the unconditional disqualification of the Torah as a way to salvation. But, on the other hand, when it is interpreted by Jesus and focused by him on the twin commands of the Law, Torah remains the storehouse of God's eternal will: not to save, but to specify “'what is pleasing to God” (Acts 10.35b). Thus, the Law is on the one hand invalidated, in so far as faith has taken over as the means of salvation; while on the other hand, and elsewhere, the Law remains the reservoir of the divine will, a reservoir whose indispensable presence allows an appreciation of God's faithfulness. This is the basic tension that has to be taken into account in the analysis of the relationship between Paul and the Law in Acts.”

Daniel Marguerat, “Paul and the Torah in Acts,” in Torah in the New Testament: Papers Delivered at the Manchester-Lausanne Seminar of June 2008, ed. Michael Tait and Peter Oakes, Library of New Testament Studies 401, ed. Mark Goodacre (London: T & T Clark, 2009), 106.

Jun 8, 2010

Peter's Speech in Acts 15

Seifrid argues that Peter’s speech establishes Gentile salvation apart from the Mosaic Law in four ways. “He underscores: (1) the divine initiative in bringing Gentiles to faith (15.7); (2) the divine witness to their full acceptance by their “Pentecostal” reception of the Spirit (15.8, 9); (3) the blameworthiness of trying to impose the Law on the Gentiles in the light of this divine action (15.10); (4) grace, apart from Mosaic law, as the means of salvation for Jew and Gentile (15.11)."

Mark A. Seifrid, “Jesus and the Law in Acts,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 30 (1987): 146.

Jun 7, 2010

Revelation 1:1

"The word must in verse 1 is gigantic in its implications. There are no contingency plans in heaven. No mere probabilities; no plan B; no bail-out clauses. Everything is assured. This is neither fate nor karma. This is King Jesus who not only holds the ‘stars’ and walks among the ‘lampstands,’ but also before whom one day every knee is going to bow and every tongue is going to confess that He is Lord, to the glory of God. In the remaining twenty-one chapters of Revelation all of these titles and images of Jesus, and more, are brought to life."

Scotty Smith and Michael Card, Unveiled Hope: Eternal Encouragement from the Book of Revelation (Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 1997, 32.

Jun 6, 2010

Commentary Recommendations

Some readers might be interested in John Brand's compilation of commentary recommendations for the whole Bible here.