Dec 31, 2011
“Another aspect of Christian character that is needed to be a good and godly Bible teacher and scholar is a willingness to give the text the benefit of the doubt before leaping to the conclusion that the text is: (1) riddled with contradictions, (2) is unclear, or (3) is hopelessly antiquarian and thus obsolete and irrelevant. One of things that has often surprised me about some Bible scholars is that they will not give the Bible the same benefit of the doubt they will give their colleagues' theories, even if a theory is wild and wooly. This I find exceedingly odd. Why should a modern writer be given so much more benefit of the doubt than an ancient one? I see no rational reason for this, but it reflects a phenomenon I have come to call justification by doubt, as if doubting something proves one is a critical thinker and therefore a good scholar of the Bible.”
Ben Witherington III, Is There a Doctor in the House? An Insider's Story and Advice on Becoming a Biblical Scholar (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2011), 129.
Dec 30, 2011
Rob Bradshaw at BiblicalStudies.org.uk has just posted a PDF of P. H. R. van Houwelingen's 2010 article in the European Journal of Theology entitled "The Authenticity of 2 Peter: Problems and Possible Solutions" here. I remember looking at this article a while back and finding it helpful.
"It is therefore not surprising that the Song is one of the three most commented-upon books in the Bible. In the first place, its presence there urgently calls for explanation. Can a canonical book of Scripture really be as secular as this poetry seems to be? In a second place, if it has some hidden religious or theological meaning, how do we discover it? To those who think they know the answer to the last question, the Song then offers unique opportunity for exegetical virtuosity—not to say uncontrolled fantasy.”
Robert W. Jenson, Song of Songs, Interpretation (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2005), 2.
Dec 29, 2011
How does Acts work as a narrative? Simply stated, the plot of Acts unfolds in support of Luke’s theological aim. On the one hand, he designs his story according to a specific geographical and chronological framework. The action begins in Jerusalem before moving beyond the holy city into the neighboring provinces of Samaria and Judea before moving into the nations and peoples beyond Palestine. Many have found this geographical outline indexed by Jesus’ programmatic prophecy in Acts 1:8. In addition, Acts traces the key events with brief glimpses of the most important leaders of earliest Christianity to establish a general chronology of the church’s origins. On the other hand, the historical conception provides the framework for two grand thematic movements (‘conversion’ and ‘consecration’), each scripted by extended citations of Scripture (see 2:17-21; 15:16-18) that narrate how the redemptive purposes of God are realized through the church’s mission.”
Robert W. Wall, “Acts,” in The New Interpreter’s Bible: A Commentary in Twelve Volumes, vol. 10, ed. Leander E. Keck (Nashville: Abingdon, 2002), 13–14.
Dec 28, 2011
My friend Larry Waters has co-written a commentary on Job with Mona Bias in the Asia Bible Commentary Series. Larry knows more about the Book of Job than most anyone I know. This expository commentary provides solid explanations of the book and thoughtful applications particularly geared towards an Asian context. The book is a bit difficult to find, but you can see it here and order it by following these instructions.
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Dec 27, 2011
"Responsible biblical preaching does not come easily. It requires time, study, and hard work. The time required for the study of Scripture is not spent apart from ministry; it is not even in preparation for ministry. It is ministry, and as such it should be cherished and protected. There are ways to use study time wisely and efficiently. There are even shortcuts we can take in the process of biblical interpretation, but there are no short circuits."
Thomas G. Long, The Witness of Preaching, 2nd ed. (Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2005), 67.