Oct 29, 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.

Darrell L. Bock and Robert L. Webb, eds.
Key Events in the Life of the Historical Jesus: A Collaborative Exploration of Context and Coherence
Reviewed by Richard Horsley

William P. Brown
Reviewed by Harry P. Nasuti

Christopher Bryan
The Resurrection of the Messiah
Reviewed by Peter Smit

A. R. Pete Diamond and Louis Stulman, eds.
Jeremiah (Dis)Placed: New Directions in Writing/Reading Jeremiah
Reviewed by Michael Avioz

Frances Flannery, Colleen Shantz, and Rodney A. Werline, eds.
Experientia, Volume 1: Inquiry into Religious Experience in Early Judaism and Christianity
Reviewed by Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer

Scott W. Hahn
Kinship by Covenant: A Canonical Approach to the Fulfillment of God's Saving Promises
Reviewed by Pablo T. Gadenz

Rolf A. Jacobson, ed.
Soundings in the Theology of Psalms: Perspectives and Methods in Contemporary Scholarship
Reviewed by Jeffery M. Leonard

Peter Landesmann
Die Darstellung "Der zwölfjährige Jesus unter den Schriftgelehrten" im Wandel der Zeiten
Reviewed by James R. McConnell

Riemer Roukema
Jesus, Gnosis and Dogma
Reviewed by James F. McGrath

J. Randall Short
The Surprising Election and Confirmation of King David
Reviewed by David G. Firth

Oct 28, 2011

The Value of a Good Outline

Peter Mead takes on some of what he perceives as myths of outlines and understands the benefits of outlining to be mainly for the speaker. I think that is good as far as it goes but it fails to appreciate the tangible benefits for the audience. Before proceeding to my response, read his post here

I believe that a well crafted outline not only helps the speaker, but serves at least three significant purposes for the hearers. First, it reinforces the idea that there is a particular logic in the case of more didactic texts and a particular flow in the case of narrative texts. That is, outlines remind the listener that an argument or story is going somewhere. Second and related to the first, a good outline helps the listener to more easily anticipate where the preacher is going and to remember where the preacher has been. If I know a speaker’s outline, then I can more easily anticipate where he is going and as the message progresses, to frame where he is going in light of where he has already been. This can be invaluable in properly understanding and appreciating the material in any given section. I can recall many occasions as a hearer thinking, “Where is he going with this?” While creating a sense of anticipation can be a good thing, a listener who has to expend too much effort trying to figure out where a message is going is often going to miss important parts of the message itself. Third, an effective outline is a helpful teaching device in and of itself. A speaker always does one of two things. He communicates content (directly) and he communicates method (often indirectly). My first two points have addressed mainly the former, this last point addresses the latter. Outlining is a not only a tool in speaking but it is also a methodology for reading and studying. When a good outline is utilized, the audience implicitly sees the advantages of the method, thereby adopting the method as they might study the Bible.

One final point, Peter makes part of critique of outlines based on what audiences usually remember, but if memorability were the sole criterion for how we craft our sermons then I fear that we would fill it with illustrations and jokes. The fact of the matter is, many people remember very little of anything that we say after a few days. This is why my last point above is really important. I don’t care if the congregation remembers my outline, but I do care if I help to teach them implicitly the value of outlining and even to some degree, how to do it.

Oct 27, 2011

Old Heresies

Louis McBride has a good post on the disturbing tendency among some to entertain old heresies. His final paragraph is worth repeating.

“For an increasing number of Christians today to suggest that something is a heresy (even though it was labeled as such over a century ago) is politically incorrect, rude and the height of intolerance.  Whereas many of the New Testament authors and first- and second-century church fathers fought hard to protect the church from the devastating effects of heresy nowadays we want to open up a dialogue with them.”

See Louis’ entire post here.

Best Way to Study

Some of my student readers might find this article helpful.

Oct 26, 2011

Tweaking Your Preaching

Peter Mead has some helpful suggestions for tweaking certain elements in one's preaching. I found the following comment to be particularly spot on.

"Instead of passionately pursuing the preaching of the message of the text, many preachers choose instead to preach their message from the text.  That is, they use the biblical text as a starting point, but at the end the listeners don’t feel they know the text any better than at the beginning.  Don’t preach from a text, preach the text.  (I think this is the hardest one to spot in a mirror – every preacher thinks they are explaining the text.  Perhaps you should ask someone who knows the Bible well and be ready to listen to what they tell you!)"

Read Peter's entire post here.

Oct 25, 2011

Free Martin Luther Audio

In honor of Martin Luther, Christianaudio.com is offering Martin Luther: In His Own Words as a free audiobook download through October 31. This is a compilation of many of Luther's most important writings, including the Ninety-Five Theses and six other works. 

Oct 24, 2011

Good Exposition

"Good exposition does not preach about the Bible. Good exposition preaches the Bible. It delights in the details and doctrines of Scripture. It teaches God's people to read and better understand the eternal and timeless truths of God's Word for themselves."

Daniel L. Akin, Bill Curtis, and Stephen Rummage, Engaging Exposition (Nashville: B & H Academic, 2011), 153.

Oct 23, 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.

Rachel Adelman
The Return of the Repressed: Pirqe de-Rabbi Eliezer and the Pseudepigrapha
Reviewed by John C. Poirier
Bob Becking, Alex Cannegieter, Wilfred van de Poll, and Anne-Mareike Wetter
From Babylon to Eternity: The Exile Remembered and Constructed in Text and Tradition
Reviewed by Francis Dalrymple-Hamilton
Roland Boer, ed.
Secularism and Biblical Studies
Reviewed by Brent Landau
John J. Collins
The Scepter and the Star: Messianism in Light of the Dead Sea Scrolls
Reviewed by Erik Eynikel
Lester L. Grabbe, ed.
Israel in Transition 2: From Late Bronze II to Iron IIA (c. 1250-850 BCE): The Texts
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=7805 Editor(s):
Reviewed by Friedrich Schipper
Dan Jaffé, ed.
Studies in Rabbinic Judaism and Early Christianity: Text and Context
Reviewed by Peter J. Tomson
Adina Moshavi
Word Order in the Biblical Hebrew Finite Clause
Reviewed by Hubert James Keener
Thomas R. Schreiner
Reviewed by David Luckensmeyer
Louis Stulman and Hyun Chul Paul Kim
You Are My People: An Introduction to Prophetic Literature
Reviewed by Steed Vernyl Davidson
Samuel I. Thomas
The "Mysteries" of Qumran: Mystery, Secrecy, and Esotericism in the Dead Sea Scrolls
Reviewed by Carol Newsom