Sep 4, 2010
Some more academically-informed readers may be aware of recent debates concerning the unity of Luke¬–Acts. Many interpreters (as I do) continue to affirm this unity but that unity is now being challenged with a new vigor. Michael F. Bird, “The Unity of Luke–Acts in Recent Discussion,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 29 (2007): 425–48, offers a fairly recent overview of the debate
In this article, Bird not only discusses the history of the debate, but also identifies the following seven major issues and implications for the discussion as it moves forward (pp. 439–42).
The interpretation of Luke and Acts will depend on what other literature they are read in proximity to.
The prologue of Luke's Gospel will be interpreted differently according to alternative conceptions of the relationship between Luke and Acts.
The genre of Luke and Acts postulated by scholars is informed in some way by what is made of their literary relationship.
Any attempt to devise a structure of Luke and Acts will again be influenced by prior convictions about the relationship (and the type of relationship) between them.
Any conclusion made regarding the unity or disunity of Luke and Acts invariably affects how Luke's overarching literary and theological purposes are understood.
By addressing the issue of the unity of Luke and Acts we are forced to evaluate a variety of methodological approaches to New Testament study.
The relationship between Luke and Acts will determine one's approach to New Testament theology.
Sep 3, 2010
"Luke wrote his two books to be read together, but for most of their history they have been read in their canonical context, as two discrete texts that relate to a range of others. This does not mean that Luke and Acts cannot or should not be read in this way. It simply acknowledges that many readers have privileged the way in which the canon suggests that these texts should be read over the way in which the author appears to have suggested that these texts should be read. Each reading strategy is appropriate for the community in which it has been followed—a community of believers, or a community of scholars—and many individuals will use one strategy or the other at different times. Some will also adopt a middle position between them, as Jaroslav Pelikan does in his recent theological commentary on Acts. There he notes that in his cross-references to the four Gospels he will 'in the first instance cite the Gospel of Luke where possible, and the other three Gospels as appropriate (Pelikan 2006: 31, where he presents this decision as a consequence of the common authorship of Luke and Acts as seen in the two prefaces and their repeated address to Theophilus). Pelikan recognizes the authorial unity of Luke-Acts, but does not feel excluded from noting how Acts may be related to other canonical Gospels besides Luke, just as he relates it also to other New Testament books."
Andrew Gregory, "The Reception of Luke and Acts and the Unity of Luke-Acts," Journal for the Study of the New Testament 29 (2007: 470.
Sep 2, 2010
R. T. Kendall, The Lord's Prayer: Insight and Inspiration to Draw You Closer to Him (Grand Rapids: Chosen, 2010).
Sometimes the most difficult passages in the Bible to address are familiar passages. It can be hard to say anything new and anything new runs into preconceptions that people already have about the passage. That being said, R. T. Kendall’s book on the Lord’s prayer (or as I prefer the model prayer) is an interesting amalgamation of exposition on the Lord’s prayer, an examination of prayer in general (e.g., the purpose of prayer, the pattern of prayer, unanswered prayer), and an elucidation of various theological concepts (e.g., the Fatherhood of God, evil, the Kingdom of God). There is not much new here, but the book doesn’t read like a cliché either.
The heart of the book consists of five major sections divided into twelve chapters. Each chapter deals with a phrase from the prayer from either the version contained in Matthew or Luke. The discussion is clear and not overtly technical (although some technical issues are addressed). Sprinkled throughout are personal anecdotes and a pastoral spirit. All told the book is a good read for personal devotions or perhaps a book that can be used in a small group study.
Sep 1, 2010
Christianaudio.com is offering a free audio download of J. Oswald Sanders' Spiritual Leadership. I remember reading this book in Bible college. I commend it to you.
Go here and use the coupon code SEP2010.
Aug 31, 2010
Aug 30, 2010
"In summary, Old Testament prophecy describes the future kingdom of God as being in existence prior to the final judgment. At the final judgment, the conditions of sin and cease so as to give way to conditions of everlasting peace and righteousness (e.g., Isa 9:7; Dan 9:24) in which there is ‘no death, no crying, no pain, for the first things have passed away’ (Rev 21:4). A number of OT prophecies speak directly of this final, eternal kingdom order. However, a number of prophecies, while highlighting conditions of blessedness, also describe conditions of sin and death which can only precede the final judgment. This can only be true if the future, eschatological kingdom is first established some time prior to the final judgment, the final judgment, then, separating two phases of that kingdom, one temporary, the other eternal."
Craig Blaising, "The Kingdom That Comes With Jesus: Premillennialism and the Harmony of Scripture," Southerm Baptist Journal of Theology 14 (2010): 6.
Aug 29, 2010
A few days ago I posted a definition of narrative criticism from James Resseguie’s book Narrative Criticism of the New Testament. Resseguie goes onto identify three potential contributions that narrative criticism can offer for reading texts.
1. “Narrative criticism views the text as a whole . . . it avoids the fragmentation of the text associated with various forms of historical criticism.”
2. Narrative criticism examines the complexities and nuances of a text through close readings. Literary critics read biblical literature as literature. The narrative critic attends to the nuances and interrelationships of texts: its structure, rhetorical strategies, character development, arresting imagery, setting, point of view, and symbolism, to name a few.”
3. Narrative criticism emphasizes the effects of a narrative on the reader . . . Since narrative criticism analyzes the narrative point of view, it can describe the text’s effects upon a reader.”
James Resseguie, Narrative Criticism in the New Testament: An Introduction (Grand Rapids: Baker, 20905), 38–40.