Sep 17, 2011

Walvoord's Revelation Commentary


Among Dispensational interpreters, John Walvoord’s commentary on Revelation has long been considered a go-to source for the study of the Apocalypse. Recently, Philip E. Rawley and Mark Hitchcock have updated and revised this standard work.

There are four changes that may make this work more appealing to a future generation of interpreters. First, the wording of commentary been streamlined through the removal of many of the long block quotes contained in the original version. While long quotes are not bothersome to me, many modern readers find them tedious and I must admit this volume is more accessible than the original. A second improvement involves updating the interaction of the commentary with work that has been done in Revelation since the commentary was first published in 1966. Obviously, much has been done in the last forty-five years. Third, this work has been improved by having a cleaner, more attractive type-setting and inclusion of some charts and diagrams. Finally, a fourth improvement involves the addition of a Scripture index that was lacking in the original version.

There is one aspect of this revision that I believe detracts from the value of this work. The revised edition lacks some of the scholarly heft of the original. Gone is the interaction with older resources. Now the oldest work consulted in this volume is from 1967. This lack of interaction can be seen in the relatively paltry bibliography of two pages listing only twenty-five sources. By way of comparison, the 1966 edition had a seven page bibliography containing over 130 entries. One might also add that there is much less interaction with works from other interpretive traditions.

In my opinion, one of the appealing features of the original edition was that it had a good balance between academic interaction and lay-friendly accessibility. The new volume shines at the latter, but has lost a bit of luster concerning the former. So if you are looking for a readable commentary written from a Dispensational perspective this revision might be exactly what you are looking for. But if you are looking for a commentary that interacts more deeply and broadly with interpretive tradition then you will probably have to go elsewhere.   

Sep 16, 2011

The Importance of Ecclesiology

This is a good reminder of the importance of having a robust ecclesiology.

Sep 15, 2011

Latest Issue of Review of Biblical Literature

The latest issue of Review of Biblical Literature is out. Reviews can be accessed by clicking the links below.

David A. Bernat
Sign of the Covenant: Circumcision in the Priestly Tradition
Reviewed by Ulrich Zimmermann
Lewis R. Donelson
I and II Peter and Jude: A Commentary
Reviewed by Peter H. Davids
Neil Elliott and Mark Reasoner, eds.
Documents and Images for the Study of Paul
Reviewed by Carolyn Osiek
Reviewed by James P. Sweeney
Miguel Pérez Fernández
Textos fuente y contextuales de la narrativa evangélica: Metodología aplicada a una selección del evangelio de Marcos
Reviewed by David E. C. Ford
John Paul Heil
Colossians: Encouragement to Walk in All Wisdom as Holy Ones in Christ
Reviewed by Christopher A. Beetham
Job Y. Jindo
Biblical Metaphor Reconsidered: A Cognitive Approach to Poetic Prophecy in Jeremiah 1-24
Reviewed by Colin Toffelmire
Yelena Kolyada
A Compendium of Musical Instruments and Instrumental Terminology in the Bible
Reviewed by Helen Leneman
T. M. Lemos
Marriage Gifts and Social Change in Ancient Palestine: 1200 BCE to 200 CE
Reviewed by Marianne Blickenstaff
Anwar Tjen
On Conditionals in the Greek Pentateuch: A Study of Translation Syntax
Reviewed by Randall Gauthier

Sep 14, 2011

Which Would You Rather Hear?

When it comes to comments on your preaching and teaching, which would you rather hear?

"Wow! I have never heard that before? or "Wow! I have never seen that before?"

Earlier in my ministry, I think I would have chosen the former, but the more I teach and preach, the more I have come to prefer the latter. You see, my goal as a  preacher and teacher is not primarily to demonstrate that I have something novel to say. Nor is the goal of preaching to communicate what others might see if only they were as gifted, spiritual, well-trained, etc. as me. Rather, my goal as a preacher and teacher is to help people to see what Scripture has to say. I want my audience to know that the key to seeing what I have seen  is the diligent, careful, prayerful examination of the Scriptures. The best expository message are not one's that spotlight on the preacher, but the best expository messages are those that throw a spotlight on a passage of Scripture.

Sep 13, 2011

The Value of Historical Theology

See Tim Chester's post here on the value of studying historical theology.

Sep 12, 2011

Biblical Archaeology: Illumination, Probability, not Proof

“For those who have the specific purpose of engaging the biblical text, archaeology’s primary role vis-à-vis the Bible should be illumination and probability, not proof. We must learn to enter the biblical world and harmonize it with the text without the burden of ‘proving’ historical reliability, much less theological truth. And yet, with presuppositions aside, the weight of evidence leads us to more historical probability than the ‘minimalists’ allow.”

John M. Monson, "The Role of Context and the Promise of Archaeology in Biblical Interpretation," in The Future of Biblical Archaeology, ed. James K. Hoffmeier and Alan Millard (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004), 317.


Sep 11, 2011

The Death of Words

This is not exactly a biblical post, but I found this article on the life and death of words interesting.