Dec 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!

"But when the fullness of time had come, God sent forth his Son, born of woman, born under the law, to redeem those who were under the law, so that we might receive adoption as sons."

Dec 24, 2010

Latest Issue of Review of Biblical Literature

The latest issue of Review of Biblical Literature is out. Reviews that may be of interest from a Bible Exposition perspective include:

Mark Andrew Brighton
The Sicarii in Josephus's Judean War: Rhetorical Analysis and Historical Observations
Reviewed by Shayna Sheinfeld
Colleen M. Conway
Behold the Man: Jesus and Greco-Roman Masculinity
Reviewed by Ronald R. Clark
Thomas B. Dozeman
Reviewed by Wolfgang Oswald
Benjamin H. Dunning
Aliens and Sojourners: Self as Other in Early Christianity
Reviewed by Judith Lieu
Troels Engberg-Pedersen
Cosmology and Self in the Apostle Paul: The Material Spirit
Reviewed by L. Ann Jervis
Hermann Gunkel; K. C. Hanson, ed.
Israel and Babylon: The Babylonian Influence on Israelite Religion
Reviewed by Michael S. Moore
Bruce Hansen
'All of You Are One': The Social Vision of Galatians 3.28, 1 Corinthians 12.13 and Colossians 3.11
 Reviewed by Kobus Kok
William H. Jennings
Storms over Genesis: Biblical Battleground in America's Wars of Religion
Reviewed by Phillip Michael Sherman
Isaac Kalimi
The Retelling of Chronicles in Jewish Tradition and Literature: A Historical Journey
Reviewed by Rivka Ulmer
Kirsten Nielsen, ed.
Receptions and Transformations of the Bible
Reviewed by Donatella Scaiola
Rodrigo F. de Sousa
Eschatology and Messianism in LXX Isaiah 1-12
Reviewed by Tyler Mayfield
Jerry L. Sumney
The Bible: An Introduction
Reviewed by Gail Streete
Anthony C. Thiselton
The Living Paul: An Introduction to the Apostle's Life and Thought
Reviewed by Stephan Joubert
Reviewed by H. H. Drake Williams III
Richard Valantasis
The Making of the Self: Ancient and Modern Asceticism
Reviewed by Andrew T. Lincoln

Schreiner's 40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law

Initially I was a bit skeptical about the catechetical-like forty question format. But 40 Questions about Christians and Biblical Law by Thomas Schreiner has helped to ease, if not erase, my doubts about the format.

Any book that is based on a question-and answer-format should be evaluated both on the quality of questions that are asked and the quality of the answers that are given. In 40 Questions about Christians and Biblical Law, I found Schreiner’s questions and answers to be excellent and helpful. The questions asked are significant (questions that are worth asking), succinct (the questions are clearly and concisely stated), and logically sequential (the questions are asked in a logical progression). Schreiner’s answers are also praiseworthy. The pertinent issues are explained and fairly presented, and the author’s view is clearly stated and argued. One might disagree with Schreiner’s answers, but one will not have to wonder what he believes and why. Sprinkled throughout are helpful tables (see pp. 20, 43, 93, 125, 210).

There are five additional features that add to the usefulness of this work. First, I like the fact that this book has footnotes (not endnotes), which provide the interested reader additional information. Second, I appreciate the summary paragraphs that close each chapter. Third, the inclusion of reflection questions will allow this text to be used in the classroom or a small group study. Fourth, there is a four-page annotated bibliography. And finally the book has Scripture and ancient sources indices.

In sum, Schreiner masterfully addresses the main issues in what is a complicated, and at times, contentious, topic. Whether you have one question or forty about the relationship of Christians to the biblical law, this volume is an excellent resource of both introduction and investigation.

Thanks to Kregel for the review copy.

Dec 23, 2010

Pekka Pitkänen's Website

Yesterday I posted an interview with Pekka Pitkänen. If you found that interview interesting you might want to visit Dr. Pitkänen's website here. There are links to various resources that are worth checking out.

Dec 22, 2010

Free Online Hebrew Course

David Murray has posted a link to a free online Hebrew course that he created.

Five Questions With Pekka Pitkänen

Joshua is the latest volume of the Apollos Old Testament Commentary series published by InterVarsity Press. Its author, Pekka Pitkänen, a Senior Lecturer in the Open Theological College Course, Department of the Humanities, University of Gloucestershire, has graciously agreed to participate in a brief interview related to the book of Joshua in general and the commentary in particular.

Question: What originally drew you to the book of Joshua?

I did work on Joshua as part of my PhD thesis on the early history of Israel. My doctoral supervisor, Gordon Wenham, asked me around 2001, after completing my PhD, if I wanted to have a hand at writing a commentary for the Apollos series, and I thought I could try to do one on Joshua as I was in any case interested to look into the book in more detail. At that time I was mostly thinking of issues that pertain to certain traditional academic discussions surrounding the book, and questions that relate to violence and related modern application really only subsequently sprung into my view as part of my research and work on the commentary.

Question: You suggest that Joshua should be read as part of the Christian canon in a post/neocolonial age. Could you explain what you mean by post/neocolonial and how your reading differs from other more traditional readings?

I think post/neocolonial age means that we are now aware of the role of power in determining world affairs, also in historical dimension. Postcolonial critique in particular analyses these issues, and this in particular from the perspective of the powerless, or the colonised, whereas Western readings often tend to spring from the perspective of the coloniser, even if in many cases only inadvertently, due to the historical role of the West and its collective power over world affairs during the past 500 years. Neocolonial critique acknowledges the end of explicit colonialism at large, however, it pays attention to continuing inequalities in the world in terms of systemic power and their resulting implications.

Question: You have an extended section in your commentary dealing with the problem of war, conquest, and genocide in Joshua. Why do you think it is important to raise these ethical issues in a commentary?

I think Christians need to reflect on problems of violence in human life, also in a historical dimension, and how the biblical texts reflect human propensity to violence and genocide. Of course, that the text of Joshua is part of the Christian canon makes the related problems all the more difficult for Christians, and yet, it is my view that these need to be looked into and analysed. We are now living in a global world and perhaps have a chance to try to formulate global solutions to certain problematic aspects of violence that have been manifested in human history, and I believe Christians can make their contribution based on analysing the biblical documents. Of course, Joshua is not the only book to address or bear relation to these issues, but I think it is an important one to consider as part of the canonical biblical materials.

Question: What do you think Joshua’s main message for the church today?


I think the book should sensitivise us into thinking about the role of violence as part of religion and as part of human life. While Joshua in my view presents genocide as part of God’s unique salvation history some 3,000 years ago, (and not to mention questions of theodicy that this and the book as a whole in my view clearly imply,) we should not think that we as Christians today should be advocating similar approaches, whether intentionally or inadvertently, and, perhaps, if we for example draw in the study of the gospels and other biblical materials, we can collectively try to find ways of working towards a more just and peaceful world.

Question: Who do you think would be most helped by reading your commentary on Joshua?

I would hope that the commentary could help people reflect on the issues outlined above. While the primary target audience for the book is Christians, I have tried to write the book in such a manner that those who may not subscribe to a Christian worldview or Christianity in general could also benefit from reading it. In addition, I have included comments on issues relating to Joshua that have more traditionally been looked at in academic discussion, and I hope these can be of help and stimulus to students and scholars of the Old Testament.


Dec 21, 2010

Prayer and Preaching

"The final step in preparation for preaching, and perhaps the most important, is earnest petition for divine blessing on the message. I never feel properly prepared if I have not spent time with the Lord, asking him to give enlightenment, conviction, regeneration, and faith as the passage is preached. Luther said that theologians are made by oratio, meditatio, and tentatio, or prayer, meditation, and trial. The same may be said of the preacher, and first place is given to prayer."

S. Lewis Johnson Jr., "Method: Expounding Individual Books," in Inside the Sermon, ed Richard Allen Bodey (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1990), 156.

Dec 20, 2010

NLT Bible Giveaway

The publishers of the New Living Translation are having a Bible giveaway.To enter, visit the NLT Facebook page by clicking here.


Latest Issue of Review of Biblical Literature

The latest issue of Review of Biblical Literature is out. Reviews that may be of interest from a Bible Exposition perspective include:

Joel S. Baden
J, E, and the Redaction of the Pentateuch
Reviewed by David Carr
Maurice Casey
The Solution to the 'Son of Man' Problem
Reviewed by Panayotis Coutsoumpos
Tom Holmén, ed.
Jesus from Judaism to Christianity: Continuum Approaches to the Historical Jesus
Reviewed by Steven M. Bryan
Bruce W. Longenecker and Kelly D. Liebengood, eds.
Engaging Economics: New Testament Scenarios and Early Christian Reception
Reviewed by Markus Lang
Jesús Luzarraga
El Padrenuestro desde el arameo
Reviewed by Jeffrey L. Morrow
Kevin B. McCruden
Solidarity Perfected: Beneficent Christology in the Epistle to the Hebrews
Reviewed by Martin Karrer
Alice Mouton
Rêves hittites: Contribution à une histoire et une anthropologie du rêve en Anatolie ancienne
Reviewed by Michael S. Moore
Daniel A. Smith
Revisiting the Empty Tomb: The Early History of Easter
Reviewed by Michael R. Licona
John Strazicich
Joel's Use of Scripture and the Scripture's Use of Joel: Appropriation and Resignification in Second Temple Judaism and Early Christianity
Reviewed by Douglas Watson
Emma Wasserman
The Death of the Soul in Romans 7: Sin, Death, and the Law in Light of Hellenistic Moral Psychology
Reviewed by Karl-Wilhelm Niebuhr

Dec 19, 2010

Reading the New Testament in Light of the Old Testament

"Evangelical approaches to the Messiah in the OT often have focused on reading the NT back into the OT. I am suggesting that one should also move in the other direction. The OT shed a a great deal of light on the NT. Our primary objective should be to read the NT in light of of the OT, not vice versa."

John Sailhamer, The Meaning of the Pentateuch: Revelation, Composition and Interpretation (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2009), 246.