Oct 23, 2010

Point of View: Four Planes

Yesterday I talked about point of view. Today I want to introduce four “planes” in which point of view is expressed. Borrowing from the work of Boris Uspensky, James Resseguie identifies and discusses four different “planes” of point of view:

1. Phraseological point of view which seeks to ask and answer what words and phrases are used in a narrative.

2. Spatial-Temporal point of view which seeks to ask and answer where and when are the events narrated.

3. Psychological point of view which seeks to ask and answer what are the characters’ thoughts and behaviors.
4. Ideological point of view which seeks to ask and answer what are the narrator’s norms, values, and worldview.

James Resseguie, Narrative Criticism in the New Testament: An Introduction (Grand Rapids: Baker, 20905), 169–73.

How Many Bible Versions Do We Need?

See this article.

Point of View

People tell stories and stories tell people. How a story is told tells us something about the storyteller. In reading biblical narratives it is important to at consider point of view, that is, how do the authors (both human and divine) feel about the story. Or as James Resseguie puts it, point of view relates to “the narrator’s attitude toward or evaluation of the action, dialogue, characters, setting, and events.”[1]

[1] James Resseguie,
Narrative Criticism in the New Testament: An Introduction (Grand Rapids: Baker, 20905), 169.

Oct 22, 2010

Hermeneutiucs and Sanctification

This is a longish quote, but one I think worth considering.

"If hermeneutics is an aspect of our minds being conformed to the mind of Christ, it must be engaged through the gospel. Any aspect of sanctification, or growth in holiness, is clouded by our ongoing sinfulness and ignorance of the truth, yet we remain secure in the knowledge of our free justification on the grounds of Christ's righteousness for us. This justification does not, as it is sometimes represented, relieve us of the motive or responsibihty to strive for holiness. Indeed, our free justification provides the only legitimate grounds and the most powerful motive for such striving. Likewise, the gospel presents us with the righteousness of Jesus Christ, who, in his earthly life, perfectly interpreted the word of hs Father. In so doing he justified the fallible attempts of his people to interpret the word. The justification of our hermeneutics by the perfect hermeneutics of Christ is the motivation for us to strive for hermeneutical sanctification. We are not saved by good works, but we will not be saved without good works (Eph. 2:8–10). In the same way, we are not saved by the purity of our hermeneutics, but we will not be saved without some measure of hermeneutical sanctification taking place. The ordinary Bible-reader may be completely unreflective about this, but every effort to understand the Bible aright is a striving for hermeneutical sanctification. At the grass roots, hermeneutical conversion takes place when one becomes a believer. The Bible will never be the same again to us because we, as believers, have made a quantum shift from unbelief and rejection of God’s word to faith and trust in that word, and submission to it. There are clear biblical grounds for the importance of exposing false teachings and behaviour patterns that are inconsistent with the gospel.
. . .

"The need to specify a gospel-centred, evangelical approach to hermeneutics arises from the distinctive beliefs of evangelicalism. As difficult as these may be to pin down, we must endeavour to understand them and to test them for their consistency and validity. If Christ truly is our Lord and Saviour, then he is the Lord and Saviour of our hermeneutics."

Graeme Goldsworthy, Gospel-Centered Hermeneutics: Foundations and Principles of Evangelical Biblical Interpretation (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2006), 18–19. 


Oct 21, 2010

Top 100 Tools for Learning

See this list of the top 100 tools for learning.

Hurtado on the New Testament in the Second Century

Larry Hurtado has posted an interesting essay concerning the handling of the New Testament in the second century.

The Role of Acts 15 in Contextualization in the New Testament

"Acts 15 is also vital to our study of patterns of contextualization in the New Testament church. In the first place, it describes a decisive moment in the encounter between faith in Christ and culture within the life of the early church, which helps to give the task of incarnating the gospel a historical and theological basis. Second, it offers perhaps the fullest and most significant narrative in the New Testament of the process of doing contextual theology by the church. This makes Acts 15 worthy of our careful attention.”

Dean Flemming, Contextualization in the New Testament: Patterns for Theology and Mission (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005), 43.

Oct 20, 2010

Preaching Christ

“To preach Christ from all the scriptures requires careful interpretation, not wild flights of imagination. We need to ask, ‘What truth about God and his saving work is disclosed in this passage?’ When we can answer that question, we are on firm ground to ask two others: ‘How is this particular truth carried forward in the history of revelation? How does it find fulfillment in Christ?’ Because the Old Testament points beyond itself, it is rich in symbolism. We cannot miss the symbolism of the sacrifices commanded in the law, of the temple as God's dwelling place, of the sacred calendar with its day of atonement and year of jubilee. We must recognize, too, the symbolism implied in the calling of God's servants: prophets, priests, and kings. Even the events of the Old Testament may have a symbolic dimension: the exodus certainly does; so do the deliverances accomplished by those of whom God raised up to be judges and kings of his people. Indeed, we come to see that the whole structure of God’s dealings with his people is preparing us for the new covenant realities. This is how the New Testament writers constantly find types of Christ in the Scriptures. What is symbolical in the Old Testament is found to be typical in the New; it points us to the fullness of Christ.”

Edmund P. Clowney, “Preaching Christ from Biblical Theology,” in Inside the Sermon, ed. Richard Allen Bodey (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990), 59.


Oct 19, 2010

Dead Sea Scrolls Going Digital

See this story on the work of the Israel Antiquities Authority to digitize their entire collection of Dead Sea Scrolls.

Light and Darkness in the Gospel of John

Steven Coxhead has a brief but helpful post on the Old Testament background for the light and darkness motif in the Gospel of John. Read it here.

Oct 18, 2010

The Function of the Amos Quotations in Acts

Huub van de Sandt has noted that the only two quotations from Amos in Acts perform an important thematic function in the book. 

Sandt states, “between the first Amos quotation (punishment of Israel) in Acts 7 and the second (new perspective for the Gentiles) in Acts 15, many chapters are needed to gradually introduce Luke's view that the Gentiles will be saved as Gentiles. Through his accounts in chapters 8 (the actual start of missionary activities aimed at non-Jews), 9 (Paul’s call), 10–11 (Cornelius' story), and 13–14 (the extended mission among the Gentiles), Luke shows how in his time, salvation had come within reach of the nations. In order to substantiate this view, he presents Peter and James in Acts 15 as interpreters of events that recently happened to the Gentiles. The realization of the promise in Amos 9.11–12 was guaranteed by the events taking place in his time. The converted Gentiles are accepted as Gentiles in the restored ‘tent of David’ and will participate in the promises to Israel.”

Huub van de Sandt, “The Minor Prophets in Luke–Acts,” in The Minor Prophets in the New Testament, ed. Maarten J. J. Menken and Steve Moyise, Library of New Testament Studies 377, ed. Mark Goodacre (London: T & T Clark, 2009), 77.


Oct 17, 2010

Acts 15 as Wedding

"The book of Acts without chapter 15 would be like a wedding ceremony without the crucial pronouncement. Everything that happens in chapters 1–14 leads up to this high point and what follows merely traces the implications of the decision. It was not uncommon in the ancient world for a piece of literature to have not only a beginning and an ending, but also a centre."

Brian S. Rosner, "The Progress of the Word," in Witness to the Gospel: The Theology of Acts, ed. I. Howard Marshall and D. Peterson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998), 227.