May 7, 2011

Seven Ways to Preach a Lousy Sermon

See this article by Ken Collins.

A List of Bible Libraries, Museums, and Special Collections

See this helpful list of Bible libraries, museums, and special collections in the United States.

Note: For some reason, the link above is no longer working. I will leave this post up for a bit longer to see if it will be fixed.

HT: Randy Brown

May 6, 2011

The Problem of Fractions

Edwin Yamauchi has noted the problem of fractions in dealing with archaeological evidence. The importance of understanding ‘fractions” relates to the tendency of some to make dogmatic assertions about the Bible’s lack of historical veracity based on only a fraction of the evidence or lack of evidence. This methodology is, to say the least, problematic.  

I have summarized Yamauchi’s main points and quoted his explanations.[1]

1. The Fraction That Has Survived: “only a fraction of what is made or what is written ever survives.”
2. The Fraction That Has Been Surveyed: “only a fraction of the available sites have ever been surveyed.”
3. The Fraction That Has Been Excavated: “only a fraction of the surveyed sites have ever been excavated.”
4. The Fraction That Has Been Examined: “only a fraction of any excavated site is actually examined.”
5. The Fraction That Has Been Published: “only a fraction of the materials, and especially the inscriptions in languages other than Greek or Latin, produced by excavations has as yet been published.”[2]

Yamauchi goes on to note, “Now if one could by an optimistic estimate reckon that one-tenth of our materials and inscriptions has survived, that six-tenths of the available sites have been surveyed, that one-fiftieth of these sites have been excavated, that one-tenth of the excavated sites have been examined, and that one half of the materials and inscriptions excavated have been published, one would have (1/10 x 6/10 x 1/50 x 1/10 x 1/2) at hand but six, one hundred-thousandths of all the possible evidence” (p. 156). 

Now certainly much has been done in the nearly forty years since Yamauchi published this statement, but I think it would be fair to say that we are still dealing with a small fraction of the evidence.

[1] Edwin Yamauchi, The Stones and the Scriptures (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1972), 146–57.
[2] Interestingly, Hill and Walton attribute a sixth point to Yamauchi: “Only a fraction of what has been examined and published makes a contribution to biblical studies” (Andrew E. Hill and John H. Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament, 3rd ed. [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009], 359). However, I could not find this sixth point in The Stones and the Scriptures.

May 5, 2011

May 4, 2011

Eight Things Not in the Bible

See this post by John Byron.

Teaching About Jesus Through the Old Testament

The theme of the spring 2011 issue of Southern Seminary magazine is on "Teaching About Jesus Through the Old Testament." You can download a PDF of the entire issue here. This issue contains brief articles written by Tom Schreiner, James Hamilton, and others.

May 3, 2011

Paul Enns on Heaven

See this article tied to Paul Enns' recent book Heaven Revealed.

Moral Equivalence

Kevin DeYoung has a nice discussion of moral equivalence here.

Free Audio: Keener on the Reliability of the Gospel

Free audio for Craig Keener's recent lecture on the "Historical Reliability of the Gospels" is available here. The lecture was given at Crossway College in Brisbane, Australia.


May 2, 2011

Free Audio Download of Tim Challies' The Next Story is offering a free audio download of Tim Challies' book The Next Story: Life and Faith after the Digital Explosion for the month of May. For more details and instructions go here.

May 1, 2011

The Ryrie ESV Study Bible

An old candy commercial used to have as its signature line: “Two great tastes that taste great together.” I suspect that there will be a similar sentiment for many readers who pick up the new The Ryrie ESV Study Bible.
The Ryrie Study Bible, first published in 1978 and revised in 1995, has sold over 2.6 million copies in its various forms. The English Standard Version introduced in 2001 is becoming the go to translation for many readers who prefer a more literal translation. Now Moody Publishing has brought both of these together in The Ryrie ESV Study Bible.

I like several things about this Bible. I like Charles Ryrie, the author of the notes in the Ryrie Study Bible who has a gift for taking complicated ideas and making them simple. His study notes were conservative, clear, and concise. You might not agree with all of Ryrie’s notes, but you will seldom have a problem understanding what he means. I like the various charts, diagrams, and tables sprinkled throughout. The maps are from Beitzel’s excellent New Moody Atlas of the Bible. The Ryrie ESV Study Bible also comes with an access code to a free download of WORDsearch Bible software which includes Ryrie’s notes and more than 250 other resources. I also like the ESV. There is no perfect translation, but I think that the ESV is a great choice as a study translation. I read through it several years ago as part of my annual read-through of the Bible.

As with any study Bible, one will inevitably encounter interpretations in the introductions or notes that he or she will disagree with. And some readers will not agree with Ryrie’s Dispensational perspective. But all things told, I have no problem recommending The Ryrie ESV Study Bible as “two great tastes that taste great together.”

I received this book free from Moody Publishers as part of their Blogger Review Program. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own.