Sep 25, 2010
Sep 24, 2010
"Attempts to locate the heart and core of the Epistle to the Hebrews elsewhere than in the death of Jesus fly in the face of all but unanimous scholarly opinion. There is wide agreement regarding Jesus’ death as basic to the theology of the author of this Epistle. The evidence is everywhere. Having made ‘purification for sins’ by his death, Jesus achieves session at God’s right hand (Heb. 1:3–4). The certainty of Christ’s sympathy toward his own rests in his assuming a humanity culminating in passion and death (2:17-–18; 4:15–16). Jesus’ death, followed by his exaltation, is the assurance that God will bring his people to the glory for which he created them (3:3; 5:4–5). By his death Jesus becomes fully Son of God and High Priest forever (5:8–10; 6:20; 7:11–17, 20–22, 24–28). His crucifixion guarantees the superiority of the new covenant (8:6, 9:11–14)."
Roy A. Harrisville, Fracture: The Cross as Irreconcilable in the Language and Thought of the Biblical Writers (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006), 235.
Sep 23, 2010
New Testament interpreters have long debated the historical reliability of Acts. Opinions are all across the spectrum from extreme historical unreliability to undeniable historical reliability. I happen to hold that Acts is historically reliable, but I think that what is meant by historically reliable is a question worth asking and answering. In asking and answering this question, it may be more profitable to first ask and answer the question “what kind of history do we have in Acts” before asking and answering “is that history reliable.” Daniel Marguerat attempts to answer the first question by applying Paul Ricœur’s historical taxonomy to Acts which I have attempted to represent in the table below. Thoughts?
Marguerat’s Application of Paul Ricœur’s Historical Taxonomy to Acts
Seeks to establish verifiable facts
Seeks to evaluate events from a social, economic, and/or political perspective
Seeks to interpret the past and the possibility it offers to a community to understand itself in the present
Question: How did Titus take Jerusalem in AD 70?
Question: What were the consequences of Titus’ conquest of Jerusalem for Jews and Christians?
Question: Why did God allow Titus to conquer Jerusalem?
Acts contains this kind of history (e.g., Paul’s travel itinerary in 20:13–15)
Acts contains this kind of history (e.g., God’s intervention in 5:19; 7:55; 9:10)
Modified from Daniel Marguerat, The First Christian Historian: Writing The "Acts of the Apostles," Society for New Testament Studies Monograph Series 121, ed. Richard Bauckham (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2002), 8–11.
Sep 22, 2010
Readers of this blog know that I am deeply committed to preaching and teaching both Testaments. But preaching the Old Testament in general and certain books in particular is not without its challenges. Part of the challenge is not the book or the sermon, but the hearers. I think that Bechtel's remark is pretty accurate observation.
Carol Bechtel Reynolds, “Life After Grace: Preaching from the book of Numbers,” Interpretation 51:1: 269.
Sep 21, 2010
Much is often made of the failures of Job's friends (Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar) in the Book of Job. This criticism is valid. But I think it is also worth noting that these same friends acted commendably at the beginning (2:11-13).
They came (they had made an appointment together to come and mourn with him)
They mourned (they lifted their voices and wept; and each one tore his robe and sprinkled dust on his head toward heaven)
They stayed (“they sat down with him on the ground seven days and seven nights”)
They stayed quiet (“no one spoke a word to him”)
They were sensitive (“they saw that his grief was very great”) I think that Job's friends can provide helpful ministerial principles, both good (as seen in 2:11-13) and bad (as seen primarily in chapters 4-26). Job's friends also remind us that ministry is often a process and therefore, there is always the danger of starting well and finishing poorly.
Here are the articles to the latest issue of the Journal for the Study of the New Testament.
David G. Horrell, “A New Perspective on Paul? Rereading Paul in a Time of Ecological Crisis,” pp. 3–30
Mark Finney, “Honour, Head-coverings and Headship: 1 Corinthians 11.2–16 in its Social Context,” pp. 31–58
Ben Cooper, “Adaptive Eschatological Inference from the Gospel of Matthew,” pp. 59–80
J. R. Daniel Kirk, “Why Does the Deliverer Come (Romans 11.26)?” pp. 81–99
Daniel Johansson, “Kyrios in the Gospel of Mark,” 101–24
Sep 20, 2010
I am not anti-science. In fact, one of my earliest ambitions was to be a scientist and the field in general still fascinates me. But, I am not comfortable with the way the science card is sometimes played in biblical studies. An example would be how science (e.g., the theories of evolution, age of the earth, etc.) is sometimes used in the debate about Creation (e.g., Gen 1-2). While I agree with those who state that the Bible is not a scientific text book per se, I would also suggest that science is not an infallible evaluator of what is found in Scripture. One reason for my skepticism is simply that the assured results of the scientific enterprise is not as assured as many think it is. Read this.