Mar 19, 2011

Schreiner on Preaching the Law

"What role does the law have in preaching? We must consider where a command is in the story line of the Bible and in terms of the redemptive-historical scheme we see in Scripture. The moral norms of the Bible cannot be preached apart from canonical context and apart from the whole counsel of God. In addition, when we preach God's commands, we must always preach them in light of the gospel of Jesus Christ. God saves us by mercy, and then he gives us commands by which we respond to his grace. It is incredibly easy to turn things around so that law precedes grace, and thereby the moral norms of the law become for us a ladder by which we try to be right with God or to impress him with our works. Obeying God is always a response to his grace; it is never a means bu which we become right with God."

Thomas R. Screiner. 40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2010), 229.

Mar 18, 2011

Circumcision and Acts 15

See this post by Philip Long on circumcision and Acts 15.

Mar 17, 2011

Hell in History

There has been a lot of discussion of Hell and eternal punishment lately. C. Michael Patton has a summary of Hell across the spectrum of history by providing various quotations. See here.

Mar 16, 2011

Interview With William Varner

See this nice interview with William Varner concerning his brand new commentary on James.

Jesus' Transfiguration (Mark 9:2-10)

I suggest that there are at least five ways that the Transfiguration was significant.
  1. The Transfiguration unveiled for a moment the true glory and majesty of Jesus
  2. The appearance of Moses and Elijah at the Transfiguration ties the life ministry of Jesus to the Old Testament (the Law and the Prophets) and echoes the the manifestation of God at Mt. Sinai
  3. The Transfiguration provides a context for the Father’s affirmation of the Son (v. 7; cf 1:11)
  4. The Transfiguration is a call to obedience: "Listen to him" (v. 7b)
  5. The Transfigurationties the life and ministry of Jesus to His passion (vv. 9-10)

Mar 15, 2011

Paul’s Speech in Athens (Acts 17:22-31)

Paul’s Athens speech has been widely studied and debated. Much of the debate has concerned whether it owes its origin to the Old Testament or to Greek philosophy. But it is possible that too much effort has been expended in trying to identify a clear-cut source to Paul’s thought since either source could be used to support Paul’s approach. The fact that the debate exists at all is probably a testimony to Paul’s ability to contextualize his message. In any case, the speech is rhetorically constructed [1] and literarily sophisticated. [2]

[1] Ben Witherington III, Acts, 518, suggests that, “The speech can be divided up as follows: (1) exordium, including captatio benevolentiae, vv. 22-23; (2) propositio, v. 23b; (3) probatio, vv. 24-29; (4) peroratio, vv. 30-31” (Ben Witherington, III, The Acts of the Apostles: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1998], 518).
[2] “The speech is very carefully crafted with considerable alliteration, assonance, and paronomasia” (Witherington, Acts, 520). Krodel suggests that, “The whole speech is carefully balanced and its parts interrelated; e.g., ‘the times of ignorance’ (v. 30) relate to the introduction; ‘the man appointed judge’ (v. 31) is the counterpart to the ‘one’ (v. 26). There are two infinitives in the second as well as in the fourth part, and a total of three negative statements expressing divine objection in parts 1 and 3” (Gerhard A. Krodel, Acts, Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament [Minneapolis: Augsburg , 1986], 329). Talbert suggest that the structure is chiastic (Charles H. Talbert, Reading Acts: A Literary and Theological Commentary on the Acts of the Apostles [New York: Crossroad, 1997], 162).

Mar 14, 2011

The Link Between Good Theology and Good Writing

See this thoughtful post on the link between good theology and good writing.

Soldiers in the Gospels

Gary Manning Jr. has an interesting post on soldiers in the Gospels here.

Mar 13, 2011

Varner on the Triads in Jude

Students of the Book of Jude have long recognized that one of the distinguishing features of the book is its the authors use of triads.William Varner has a nice list here. One might quibble here and there, but this list gives you a pretty good idea of the number and the discussions discusses the possible meaning of the triads. Read the post here.

Judges 17-21

I taught from Judges 18 not too long ago. This chapter falls into a section which is often called an appendix to the book. Whether it should be viewed as an appendix or not can be debated. In any case, I think five observations can be made concerning these chapters.

1. This section is illustrative and exemplifies the utter moral depravity and spiritual bankruptcy of Israel. The holy nation bears greater resemblance to the pagan Canaanites than a covenant people related to YHWH.

2. The key text in this section (and perhaps the book) is Judges 17:6: “In those days there was no king in Israel; every man did what was right in his own eyes” (cf. 18:1; 19:1; 21:25). 

3. There is a logical and causal connection between a lack of leadership and a lack of morality.

4. This section is dischronologized. The events in chps 17–21 apparently occur early in the Judges period (note the references to the grandsons of both Moses (18:30) and Aaron (20:28) and the reference to the ark located at Bethel (20:27–28).

5. While this section is clearly divided into two parts: (1) 17:1–18:31, (2) 19:1–21:25, there are common links between the two sections.