Nov 23, 2013

James Hoffmeier and Stephen Moshier at the Lanier Theological Library

Those in the Houston area might be interested in registering for a free lecture on January 18, 2014 by James Hoffmeier and Stephen Moshier at the Lanier Theological Library.

The lecture is entitled, "Moses Did Not Sleep Here! A Critical Look at Some Sensational Exodus and Mt. Sinai Theories." Here is a brief description.

"Over the past 10-15 years there have been a number of sensational ideas advanced for where and how the Red Sea crossing occurred as the Hebrews departed Egypt and where Mt. Sinai is located. Many of these are known from popular TV programs on the History, Learning, Discovery and National Geographic Channels. Some of these theories, such as the one that has the Israelites crossing the Gulf of Aqaba and landing in Saudi Arabia will be examined biblically, archaeologically (Hoffmeier) and geologically (Moshier). Was Mt. Sinai a volcano? Is there any basis for identifying Mt. Sinai with the traditional site, Gebel Musa? These and other questions will be treated, using film clips, slides and maps." 

For additional information or to register go here.

Nov 22, 2013

Review of What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About

Jason DeRouchie, ed., What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About: A Survey of Jesus’ Bible (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2013). 

The Old Testament is unexplored territory for many Christians. So any resource that can help one to navigate through this part of Scripture should be appreciated. What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About is just such a resource.
This work, the product of seventeen authors and edited by Jason DeRouchie, is concise, well-written, and pedagogically friendly. The book is arranged in Jewish canonical order with each book covered individually. There are numerous and helpful charts, diagrams, sidebars, maps, and photos. The book contains seven appendices (although the last two are really more indices). There is not much to criticize in this work. It is certainly not as detailed as some other surveys but what it does it typically does well. One chapter that I did find disappointing was the one on the Twelve (i.e. the twelve Minor Prophets). While one can justify treating the Minor Prophets as a single book, I think it would have been better to address each book individually. After all it is called the Twelve and not the One. Furthermore, since this is a survey of Jesus’ Bible, it might be worth noting that the New Testament never clearly refers to the Twelve collectively, but rather to individual prophets/books (e.g., Joel [Acts 2:16], Hosea [Rom 9:25], Jonah [Matt 12:39, etc.]).

But these criticisms do not outweigh the overall value of the book. Indeed, I wish that this book came with a CD or website access that would allow pastors and teachers to easily access the charts, diagrams, maps, and photos for presentation purposes.

I am thankful to Kregel for providing the review copy utilized in this unbiased review.

Nov 21, 2013

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.

Georg Fischer
Theologien des Alten Testaments
Reviewed by Martin Leuenberger

Mercedes L. García Bachmann
Women at Work in the Deuteronomistic History
Reviewed by Susanne Scholz

Yung Suk Kim, ed.
1 and 2 Corinthians: Texts @ Contexts
Reviewed by Matthew R. Malcolm

Yulin Liu
Temple Purity in 1–2 Corinthians
Reviewed by S. Aaron Son

Jodi Magness, Seth Schwartz, Zeev Weiss, and Oded Irshai, eds.
“Follow the Wise”: Studies in Jewish History and Culture in Honor of Lee I. Levine
Reviewed by Rami Arav

Susan E. Myers, ed.
Portraits of Jesus: Studies in Christology
Reviewed by Francis J. Moloney

Daniel C. Olson
A New Reading of the Animal Apocalypse of 1 Enoch: “All Nations Shall be Blessed”
Reviewed by David R. Jackson

Colleen Shantz and Rodney A. Werline, eds.
Experientia, Volume 2: Linking Text and Experience
Reviewed by Scott D. Mackie

Eric A. Seibert
The Violence of Scripture: Overcoming the Old Testament’s Troubling Legacy
Reviewed by Ralph K. Hawkins

Martin Williams
The Doctrine of Salvation in the First Letter of Peter
Reviewed by Jennifer G. Bird

Nov 20, 2013

What Drives Your Preaching Schedule?

" . . . a preaching schedule driven by the Bible rather than by perceived needs will over the long haul, stimulate greater maturity in a church. Substantial long-term growth requires a steady diet of the Word. Rather than beginning with our people's needs, therefore, the majority of our preaching schedule should balance the biblical diet we offer our listeners. Then, as we submit to the Word and the Spirit, giving these priority over our hobby horses, creativity, and even our desire to meet people's felt needs, God will permeate our preaching and perform whatever work He needs to perform in listeners' hearts and lives."

Daniel Overdorf, One Year to Better Preaching: 52 Exercises top Hone Your Skills (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2013), 22

Nov 19, 2013

Suggestions for Crafting Message Statements

Last week I had a brief post here on message statements for the books of the Bible. I noted that a message statement is a one-sentence summary consisting of a subject and compliment(s). In this post, I will offer a few suggestions for crafting message statements.
  1. The subject of your message statement needs to encapsulate the whole book otherwise it will better serve as a compliment.
  2. A message statement needs to cover the whole book but not every book of the Bible. Some message are so broad and generic that they are not really useful in capturing the the uniqueness of a book.
  3. Try to resist the temptation to use God as the subject. God, of course, is the presumed subject of every biblical book. However, if you make God the subject then you will likely have a problem with point 2. If you feel compelled to use God as the subject, then try and narrow it to a distinctive aspect or attribute of God that is central to the book (e.g., attributes like holiness, sovereignty, faithfulness, etc., or functions like God as judge, redeemer, warrior, etc.).
  4. Do your best to avoid a message statement that is is too historically grounded. For example, while one could argue that the subject of Lamentations is the destruction of Jerusalem, if you use that as the subject, then what is the message for all of us who are not Jewish or otherwise associated with Jerusalem? In these cases, it is better to abstract a more generic subject out of the historical subject. For Lamentations the subject might be something like "the tragic and destructive consequences of sin." Doing this will keep your message relevant to a contemporary audience. However, you will need to take care that you do not run into issues related to point 2.
  5. Understand that the Bible is inspired and inerrant but your message statements are not. Be willing to change your message statement as you gain a better appreciation of a book.
  6. Remember that you cannot improve or edit what has not been written. Do not let the fear and difficulty of composing message statements paralyze you. Simply do your best and keep point 5 in mind. 

Nov 17, 2013

Moo's Galatians Commentary

I hope to pick up a copy of Doug Moo's new Galatians commentary soon. But until then I will have to be content with this PDF excerpt. This excerpt contains a very good  treatment on the the issue of whether the Jerusalem visit of Galatians 2:1-10 should be equated with Acts 11:27-30 or Acts 15:1-29. I also happen to agree with Moo's conclusion.