Dec 11, 2010

BibleWorks 8

I have been a BibleWorks user since my Bible college days (BibleWorks 3?). But I haven’t upgraded my version (BibleWorks 5) in several years. One reason for not upgrading is that I have been fairly content with BibleWorks 5 (BW5) and my add-on modules of BDAG and HALOT. But, I ran into a friend of mine at this year’s Society of Biblical Literature meeting and he convinced me that BibleWorks 8 (BW8) was a significant improvement from the version I was using. So after talking with Jim Barr, director marketing at Bibleworks, I agreed to review this new version.

Here are my initial thoughts. Loading the program meant removing the older version and then loading BW8). I had some initial difficulties, some of which were on my end of things, but customer support was able to get me up and going. After loading the program I followed the recommendation to watch the introductory videos on the search window, the browse window, the analysis window, and the BibleWorks editor. These videos were very helpful in getting started. Although I have not had a great deal of time to play around with BW8 my initial impression is that it is a significant upgrade from BW5. Not only are there more language resources available, but the analysis window really allows you to see more information at a glance than ever before. Stay tuned for future posts. 

Dec 10, 2010

Are You Raising Preachers in Your Church?

See this post for several reasons why you need to raise up preachers in your church.

Review of The New Testament in Antiquity

Burge, Gary M., Lynn H. Cohick, and Gene L. Green. The New Testament in Antiquity. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009.

The study of biblical backgrounds in general and a focus on the backgrounds of the New Testament in particular has received great academic interest in recent years. The 2009 publication of The New Testament in Antiquity is both a part, and the fruit, of that general interest in backgrounds. The book’s three authors teach New Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School.

The book itself is an amalgamation of New Testament introduction, survey, and of course backgrounds. The quality of production is excellent with numerous pictures, maps, and diagrams. The text is comprehensive in scope, touching upon most major issues related to the study of the New Testament. But at slightly less than 500 pages, many of the more technical discussions are more introductory than exhaustive. What The New Testament in Antiquity does well is expose the reader to the major issues. In the preface, the authors state four goals which can be summarized as (1) academically rigorous, (2) accessible to students, (3) emphasis on the ancient context of the New Testament, and (4) responsive to confessional commitments of the evangelical tradition. To this end I believe that The New Testament in Antiquity has met its self-imposed goals rather well. Helpful features include questions for discussion and an introductory and advanced bibliography at the end of every chapter.

A few years ago, I evaluated several books focusing on New Testament backgrounds to use as a required text for a course that I was teaching. I ultimately settled on a text which I thought was pretty solid. But if I were to teach that same course today, I would replace that text with The New Testament in Antiquity.


Dec 9, 2010

Five Reasons to Send Your Pastor to a Conference

Michael Johnson at the desiringGod blog discusses five reasons to send your pastor to a conference. I agree that there are very good reasons to send your pastor but I also think that a lot depends on the conference. That being said, while some churches say that they can't afford to send their pastor, I would suggest that in many cases you cannot afford not to send your pastor. Intellectual stimulation and spiritual encouragement is one way to avoid intellectual stagnation and spiritual discouragement.

The Gospel According to the Old Testament Series on Sale

Westminster Theological Seminary Bookstore has The Gospel According to the Old Testament Series on sale until December 15. If you purchase three or more individual volumes and automatically get them at 50% off and as always, there is $1 Shipping on orders over $35.

I have not used this series, but it sounds interesting. Here is the publisher's description.

A series of studies on the lives of Old Testament characters, written for laypeople and pastors, and designed to encourage Christ-centered reading, teaching, and preaching of the Old Testament.

The series is edited by Tremper Longman III.


What the Original Greek Really Says

Just in case you missed this, Louis McBride posted this great picture on his blog the other day.

Dec 8, 2010

Social-Science Commentary on the Book of Acts

Publisher’s Description:

Like earlier volumes in the Social Science Commentary series, this volume situates Acts squarely in the cultural matrix of the first century Mediterranean world, elaborating its codes of patron and client, mediatorship, honor and shame, healing and sickening, wizardry and witchcraft accusations, and the understanding of the Spirit of God as well as deities and demons as personal causes of significant events.

Simplified Outline:

Part 1: Jesus First Command to the Twelve – Their Activities Among Israelite Majority Populations (Acts 1:4–12:25)
Part 2: Jesus Second Command to Saul/Paul – His Activities Among Israelite Minority Populations (Acts 12:25–25:31)
Appendix: Recurring Scenes in Luke and Acts
Reading Scenarios for the Acts of the Apostles
List of Scenarios

Make sure you check out the Google Books preview here.

Thanks to Fortress Press for the review copy.

Dec 7, 2010

Ebook Deal on Luke-Acts in the Expositor's Biblical Commentary Series

The Google Ebookstore is offering the volume on Luke-Acts in the newly revised Expositor's Biblical Commentary Series for only $4.99 here. The Luke comments are authored by Walter Liefeld and David Pao, John by Robert Mounce, and Acts is done by Richard Longenecker. You can view a sample here.

HT: Todd Bolen

The Tempting of Jesus and the Pinnacle of the Temple

Ferrell Jenkins and Leen Ritmyer both discuss the location of the pinnacle of the temple (Matt 4:5; Luke 4:9) here and here respectively.

Long on the Crucial Ingredients of Preaching

1. First, there is the congregation, the assembly, the people who will hear the preaching.
2. Then there is the preacher (or preachers-it doesn't have to be only one.)
3.Then there is the sermon.
4. Finally, there is the presence of Christ.

Thomas G. Long, The Witness of Preaching, 2nd ed. (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2005), 15-16. 

Dec 5, 2010

New Book: Documents and Images for the Study of Paul

Elliott, Neil, and Mark Reasoner, eds. Documents and Images for the Study of Paul. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress, 2011. Paperback 432 pages.

Publishers Description:

The world surrounding Paul and the assemblies comes vividly to life here. Documents and Images for the Study of Paul gathers representative texts illustrating Jewish practices, Greco-Roman moral exhortation, biblical interpretation, Roman ideology, apocalyptic visions, epistolary conventions, and more to illustrate the complex cultural environment in which Paul carried out his apostolic work—and the manifold ways in which his legacy was reshaped in early Christianity.

Paul is the focus of intense and often controversial scholarly attention today. Brief, insightful introductions orient the reader to the significance of ancient sources for different contemporary interpretations of Paul's life and thought. Photographs illustrate the visual environment of the Greco-Roman world; a map, a timeline, and an index of scripture passages make the sourcebook the perfect companion text for studying Paul and his letters.

Table of Contents (simplified):

Introduction: Exploring Paul’s Environment
1. Paul’s Self-Presentation
2. Paul’s Gospel and Paul’s Letters
3. The Gospel of Augustus
4. Paul’s People: Israel
5. The Communities around Paul: The Ekklēsiai
6. Paul’s Legacy

Excerpts can be found here.

Thanks to Fortress Press for this review copy.