Aug 11, 2012

Preaching as a Theme in Acts

I was recently thinking through the theme of preaching in Acts. My preliminary survey of the material yielded the following four observations. Note this only represents a preliminary examination of the topic and more work certainly needs to be done. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

1. Preaching in Acts is an important part of other themes in Acts including the expansion of the church, the spread of the inclusive gospel, and the ministries of Peter and Paul.

2. At least three different terms are used in Acts for preaching: kērussō “to proclaim, preach” (8x), euangeizō “to preach the good news (15x), didaxē “teach” (15x), didaskō “to teach”(16x).

3. The distinction between preaching and teaching is appears to be arbitrary and therefore, it is hard to distinguish between the two at times. For example, is Peter’s speech at the enrollment of Matthias preaching or teaching or something else (1:16-22, 24b-25)? Part of the issue may be how one defines preaching.

4. It seems likely that the recorded instances of preaching in Acts, especially the sermons, have been narratively compressed. Acts almost certainly contains summaries of both the act of preaching and what was preached.


Aug 10, 2012

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.

Stéphanie Anthonioz
« À qui me comparerez-vous ? » (Is 40,25): La polémique contre l'idolâtrie dans le Deutéro-Isaïe
Reviewed by Sven Petry
Kenneth E. Bailey
Paul through Mediterranean Eyes: Cultural Studies in 1 Corinthians
Reviewed by Ben Witherington III
Jason Bembry
Yahweh's Coming of Age
Reviewed by Johannes de Moor
Martin J. Buss; ed. Nickie M. Stipe
The Changing Shape of Form Criticism: A Relational Approach
Reviewed by Colin Toffelmire
Marielle Frigge
Beginning Biblical Studies
Reviewed by Coleman Baker
Teresa J. Hornsby and Ken Stone, eds.
Bible Trouble: Queer Reading at the Boundaries of Biblical Scholarship
Reviewed by Juliana Claassens
Timothy Larsen
A People of One Book: The Bible and the Victorians
Reviewed by Mark Elliott
Matthew S. Rindge
Jesus' Parable of the Rich Fool: Luke 12:13-34 among Ancient Conversations on Death and Possessions
Reviewed by Nils Neumann
Francesca Stavrakopoulou
Land of Our Fathers: The Roles of Ancestor Veneration in Biblical Land Claims
Reviewed by Bob Becking
Michael P. Streck
Altbabylonisches Lehrbuch
Reviewed by Gerhard Karner

Aug 9, 2012

Christian Historians and Moral Judgments

John Fea has an interesting post concerning whether Christian historians should make moral judgments about history. You can read the post here.

"How Many Miles Did Jesus Walk?"

See this post by Pat McNulty. He sort of answers the question, but more importantly, he brings out some important ramifications of the question.

Aug 8, 2012

Good Hermeneutical Advice

“Genre criticism, rightly used, should avoid the kind of problem that arises when, for example, we classify Daniel and revelation as apocalypses and assume we have thereby “cracked the code.” Such classification is too broad to do justice to the variety of genres that may be contained in the one document. Not only do both books contain much that is not strictly apocalyptic, but it can be easily assumed that the category apocalyptic is a classification that follows fixed rules and conveys unambiguous meaning without complications. Some studies have drawn up lists of apocalyptic characteristics by which to test the biblical books and even to date them to establish hermeneutical rules for them. Yet the edifice of scholarly reconstruction of apocalyptic has in some cases resulted in something that is really not found in any of the separate texts said to be apocalyptic.

“I would suggest that care is needed before drawing parallels between biblical texts and trends in secular writings that are assumed to have come from the same or similar provenance. The important thing is not the label but the way meaning is conveyed. While background culture and history form part of the context within which we understand the meaning of the biblical texts, the overruling hermeneutical principles must come from within Scripture itself. Scripture as god’s word must interpret history and culture, not the other way round.”

Graeme Goldsworthy, Christ-Centered Biblical Theology: Hermeneutical Foundations and Principles (Downers Grove: InterVarsity, 2012), 51-52. 

Aug 7, 2012

Colin Kruse on Romans

Check out Michael Bird's interview of Colin Kruse on Romans here.

Aug 6, 2012

Feast Day for Jesus' Transfiguration

Thanks to, I now know that today is the feast day to celebrate Jesus' transfiguration. You can read more about it here.

Aug 5, 2012

Motyer on Isaiah 52:13-53:12

I really enjoyed these comments for the day by Alec Motyer on Isaiah 52:13-53:12.

"Holy ground indeed! It feels irreverent to attempt a “thought for the day” from this awesome passage. Why not just read and re-read it? But if a “thought” must be offered, consider the opening of verse 10: “It was Yahweh's pleasure to crush him.” Many a Christian parent has known heartfelt joy when a dear child is called into the Lord’s service, and has also accepted with (tearful) joy the departure of the child to distant – even menacing – places, demanding suffering and sacrifice. But there comes a point where tears remain and joy ends! Consider, therefore, “the love that drew salvation’s plan,” finding pleasure in sending the beloved Son; finding pleasure too when “by the carefully planned intention and foreknowledge of God” (Acts 2:23) he was “delivered” into lawless hands to crucify and put to death. No, that is a love beyond our possibility of experience, yet, says John (I John 4:9–10, 14), “this is what love is – he loved us and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins.” It is not only God’s peace that is “past understanding,” beyond our powers of heart and mind; far more so his love. The hymn-writer asks, “Jesus, what didst thou find in me that thou has dealt so lovingly?” Change the wording from “Jesus” to “Father.” The answer remains the same – he loved us because he loved us because he is love. The response is not to question, not to raise unintelligent questions prompted by our deficient, sin-impaired logic but, as Wesley should have written, that we should be “found in wonder, love and praise.” In this place, too, we discover how marvellously secure we are in Christ. Through him as Mediator we come to the Father, and, knowing partially but terrifyingly, all that unfits us for his presence and fits us for his wrath, we find ourselves in the presence of love beyond anything known on earth, and the voice which says, “I was delighted when my Son died for you – and I am still delighted.”"

Alec Motyer, Isaiah by the Day: A New Devotional Translation (Ross-shire: Christian Focus, 2011), 261.