Jun 26, 2010
Jun 25, 2010
Most discussions on applying the Bible relate to how to develop applications. But William Larkin has some helpful points related to need to limit applications in certain texts.
- Intended recipient. Sometimes the immediate context limits the teaching by the intended recipient, e.g., the command to the rich young ruler in Matt 19:21.
- Cultural conditions. Sometimes the cultural conditions necessary for fulfillment limit the teaching, e.g., the command in 1 Pet 2:17 to “Honor the king.”
- Cultural rationale. Sometimes there is a limited cultural rationale, e.g., the matter of hair length in 1 Cor 11:14–16.
- Subsequent revelation. Sometimes the broader context of Scripture limits application, as when subsequent revelation sets aside previous teaching, e.g., the rescinding of dietary restrictions in Acts 10:13–15.
Jun 24, 2010
The Wisdom Literature in general, and Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon in particular have been especially challenging books for many to teach or preach. I am always looking for helpful resources for these books. For this reason, I was particularly delighted to receive a copy of the new commentary on Ecclesiastes and Song of Solomon in the Apollos Old Testament Commentary Series by Daniel Fredericks and Daniel Estes. I have not had the opportunity to get into the book yet, but I have found other volumes in the AOTC series to be helpful, so I am quite hopeful. In any case, here is the publishers description of the book.
This volume by Daniel J. Estes and Daniel C. Fredericks expounds the books of Ecclesiastes and Song of Songs in a scholarly manner, and it shows the relevance of these important books to today's readers. Edited by David W. Baker and Gordon J. Wenham, this commentaries are intended primarily to serve the needs of those who preach from the Old Testament, but is equally suitable for use by scholars and all serious students of the Bible.
For a look at the table of contents go here.
Much thanks Adrianna Wright and InterVarsity Press for the review copy.
Jun 23, 2010
The Gospel-Filled Wallet by Jeff Weddle is a short, but thought-provoking, examination of materialism in general and money in particular. The strengths of the book include its readability (Jeff knows how to turn a phrase) and its unflinching commitment to having a biblical perspective on the topic at hand. I also appreciated the refreshing perspective provided by The Gospel-Filled Wallet. As Weddle notes, much of what is published at the popular-level concerning Christians and money tends to relate to how you can biblically make money and how to keep more of what you make. Instead, Weddle seeks to point out the inherent dangers of materialism and therefore how to keep less for ourselves and spend/give away more. His section on how to spend money biblically (pp. 56–63) is particularly helpful in this regard.
I think it is also worth pointing out what this book is not. The Gospel-Filled Wallet is not really a developed biblical theology of materialism, finances, or money. Although the book is filled with scriptural references (by the way, a Scripture index would be nice) the exposition of individual passages is relatively brief. This may be due to the nature of the study and to space limitations, or both. There is also some lack of synthesis of the material found in the individual passages. For example, one wonders about the larger debate in Christendom about the issue of tithing or not. I would have also appreciated seeing how the author relates passages in the Proverbs that seem to deal with material wealth and as good and desirable to his thesis. Indeed, there is precious little examination of passages in the Old Testament. This is problematic for at least three reasons. First, the Old Testament is about two thirds of our Bible and contains much in regards to materialism and money. Second, the authors and characters in the New Testament, including Jesus, did not approach materialism or money tabula rasa, but one presumes that their views would have been developed from their Bible, the Old Testament. So to understand more fully their perspective, you would need to understand the Old Testament perspective(s). Third, the lack of Old Testament material undermines the sub-title of the book, that this book is an examination of what the Bible really says about money. You cannot really claim to talk about what the Bible says if you ignore a good portion of what the Bible actually says. In sum, I would have appreciated a bit more of a nuanced discussion of the biblical material and more recognition of the genuine tension of what the Scriptures teach about materialism and money.
But criticisms aside, Weddle is to be commended for taking on a challenging and controversial topic head-on with an approach that many would consider counter-intuitive or dead wrong. The Gospel-Filled Wallet is Weddle’s biblical version of an “inconvenient truth.” If a book worthy of being read is one in which both your head and heart have been challenged, then The Gospel-Filled Wallet is worthy of our prayerful consideration.
Much thanks to Milton Stanley at Transforming Publishing for the review copy.
Jun 22, 2010
See Peter Mead's post on the primacy of homiletics in seminary instruction.
"Too often homiletics is taught as a little addendum, an almost token seminar in public speaking tacked onto a robust theological education. Let’s think again about the importance of homiletics – for the sake of the institutions, but much more importantly, for the sake of the church."
Jun 21, 2010
David Allen's Lukan Authorship of Hebrews was published recently. Having read an earlier rough draft of this work I was delighted to see it out and thankful for Jim Baird at B & H for sending me a copy. I hope to post an interview with Dr. Allen in the near future, but in the meantime here is the publisher's description and table of contents for the book.
A new volume in the NEW AMERICAN COMMENTARY STUDIES IN BIBLE AND THEOLOGY series, Lukan Authorship of Hebrews explains why Luke is the likely author of the book of Hebrews. The ramifications of this possibility are then detailed in depth, including the way Hebrews informs the interpretation of the books of Luke and Acts. Also present throughout is commentary author David L. Allen’s thorough analysis of the writing style similarities between Hebrews, Luke, and Acts.
Table of Contents:
List of Abbreviations
1. Historical Survey of the Authorship Question: Development of the Lukan Theory
2. Barnabas, Apollos, and Paul
3. The Linguistic Argument: Lexical, Stylistic, and Textlinguistic Evidence
4. The Purposes of Luke-Acts and Hebrews Compared
5. The Theology of Luke-Acts and Hebrews Compared
6. The identity of Luke and the Jewish Background of Luke-Acts
7. Historical Reconstruction: Lukan Authorship of Hebrews
Select Bibliography Author Index
Jun 20, 2010
"Christ’s removal of the yoke of the law made circumcision and kosher eating, etc., no longer obligatory in any sense apart even from the matter of gaining salvation ; yet neither were these Jewish practices and modes of living forbidden by Christ. They became adiaphora, matters of liberty and choice, that should not be forced upon others or become a cause of pride and marks of special holiness as compared with Gentile Christians, Peter could continue kosher eating, for instance, but not as though that elevated him above those who did not eat kosher and made him stand higher in God's sight."
R. C. H. Lenski, The Interpretation of the Acts of the Apostles (Columbus: Wartburg, 1944), 604.