Mar 15, 2014

The Expository Reading of Scripture

“Scripture reading is the missing jewel in much contemporary evangelical preaching. Think about the sermon you heard or preached last weekend. How well was the Scripture read? If you were the one preaching, how much time did you spend preparing yourself or someone else to read the text? Oddly enough, we spend little time preparing to read the text. This is not surprising, I suppose, given the fact that just about anyone, let alone pastors, can read off the cuff. Yet there is a place for the expository reading of Scripture. It can enrich worshipers whether or not it is connected to the sermon, but especially serves us well when we preach the longer text in the Gospels.”

Steven D. Mathewson, Preaching the Four Gospels with Confidence (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2013),23-24.

Mar 14, 2014

Romans 2:22: Robbing Temples

I developed the following table for a course that I am teaching on Romans. It was developed from discussions found in Colin G. Kruse, Paul’s Letter to the Romans, PNTC, ed. D. A. Carson (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2012), 149-51; Douglas Moo, Romans, NICNT (Grand Rapids:Eerdmans, 1996), 163-65; Thomas R. Schreiner, Romans, BECNT 6 (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998), 132-33.
Romans 2:22: Views on Robbing Temples
Metaphorical Views
Literal Views
·     Sacrilegious actions (cf. Acts 19:37)
·     Idolatrous devotion to the law
Jerusalem Temple
Pagan Temples
Failure to pay the temple tax
·     Robbing of pagan temples
·     Using or profiting from items stolen from temples
·     The literal views seem preferable since stealing and adultery appear to be literal
·     It seems best to see pagan temples in view since the word used is most often used in this context
·     The sin of robbing temples is tied in some way to idolatry.

Mar 13, 2014

Encountering John

If you are planning to study or teach the Gospel of John you should check out Andreas Köstenberger’s revised edition of Encountering John: The Gospel in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective. There is much that could be said about this work but I will limit myself to two points: (1) what I like about it and (2) how this edition compares to the first edition.

There is much to like about the volume. For starters, it is user-friendly. Each chapter provides an introductory outline of its contents as well as learning objectives. There are numerous sidebars, tables, diagrams, and illustrations. This work is also well-written with a penchant for making accessible some fairly complex and complicated issues. For the more interested reader there are several good appendices and excurses. Over half of the book consists of a survey through John’s Gospel. This too was well written and I was consistently impressed with the quantity and quality of the material found here. This work is not a commentary per se, but it would provide a nice supplement to exegetical commentaries.

Some might wonder how this edition compares to the first edition. As an owner and user of both editions here are some thoughts. There is not much by way of changes in substance. In the preface, Köstenberger notes that the changes in the editions involved mainly “updating scholarly references in the endnotes and the bibliography, as well as going through the entire manuscript carefully and improving minor inaccuracies in style and (in a few cases) substance” (p. xi). That being said there is a relatively slight increase in the page count from 288 to 304. In sum, if you already have the first edition and are less interested in the scholarly works of the last fifteen years then the 2nd edition is not essential. But all things being equal, the modest price of the new edition ($29.99) makes this volume worth getting.

You can access a PDF excerpt here.

Thanks to Baker Academic for the copy used in this unbiased review.

Mar 11, 2014

The Primary Purpose of Instruction in Greek

"First, I began to see that the primary purpose of instruction in Greek is service to Christ's body, the church. Training in New Testament Greek may be an exceedingly important part of the seminary curriculum, but it is primarily a servant’s heart—a love for God and for God’s people—that makes this activity worthwhile. I have found time and again that, whatever this heart of dedication to Christ and his people exists, preaching and other applications of Greek (and
Hebrew) flow naturally. An old Scottish proverb puts it beautifully: ‘Greek, Hebrew, and Latin all have their proper place. But it is not at the head of the cross, where Pilate put them, but at the foot of the cross, in humble service to Christ.’ Put less imaginatively, the success of a seminary education is to be measured, not in terms of how much grammar and theology we have managed to cram into the heads of our students, but in terms of whether we have produced mature human beings who are dedicated to serving God and others to the very best of their ability.”

David Alan Black, Using New Testament Greek in Ministry: A Practical Guide for Students and Pastors (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1993), 21-22.

Mar 10, 2014

Miles Van Pelt on Learning Biblical Languages

Miles Van Pelt has passed on some good advice about learning biblical languages.

HT: Koinonia Blog

Mar 9, 2014

A Soldier's Letter

I suppose that almost as long as there have been soldiers there have been letters home. Read this fascinating article about a letter written by an Egyptian soldier serving in the Roman army about 1800 years ago. As I was reading this articles, I couldn't help but see some similarities to the language in some of Paul's epistles. I am not suggesting any direct parallel but I did find it interesting.