Jul 19, 2014

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. 

Jason D. BeDuhn
The First New Testament: Marcion's Scriptural Canon
Reviewed by Richard I. Pervo

Joseph Blenkinsopp
David Remembered: Kingship and National Identity in Ancient Israel
Reviewed by Walter Dietrich
Reviewed by Ralph K. Hawkins

Claudia V. Camp
Ben Sira and the Men Who Handle Books: Gender and the Rise of Canon-Consciousness
Reviewed by Ibolya Balla

Esther G. Chazon and Betsy Halpern-Amaru, eds.
New Perspectives on Old Texts: Proceedings of the Tenth International Symposium of the Orion Center for the Study of the Dead Sea Scrolls and Associated Literature, 9–11 January, 2005
Reviewed by Bennie H. Reynolds III

Terence E. Fretheim
Reading Hosea–Micah: A Literary and Theological Commentary
Reviewed by David W. Baker

W. Edward Glenny
Hosea: A Commentary based on Hosea in Codex Vaticanus
Reviewed by Richard G. Smith

Giovanni B. Lanfranchi, Daniele Morandi Bonacossi, Cinzia Pappi, and Simonetta Ponchia, eds.
Leggo! Studies Presented to Frederick Mario Fales on the Occasion of His 65th Birthday
Reviewed by Michael S. Moore

Néstor O. Míguez
The Practice of Hope: Ideology and Intention in 1 Thessalonians
Reviewed by Raymond F. Collins

Jane Dewar Schaberg; Holly E. Hearon, ed.
The Death and Resurrection of the Author and Other Feminist Essays on the Bible
Reviewed by Susanne Scholz

Jul 18, 2014

The Syllabus

Those involved in the academic side of things might want to read Allan Metcalf's examination of the origin of the word syllabus here.

Jul 17, 2014

Review of Elders in the Life of the Church

Phil A. Newton and Matt Schmucker, Elders in the Life of the Church: Rediscovering the Biblical Model for Church Leadership, updated ed. (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2014).

Elders in the Life of the Church is an updated edition of the 2005 Elders in the Congregational Life. Not only has Matt Schmucker been added as a contributor, but the content has been significantly bolstered by at least eighty pages. In essence the book examines elder plurality from three angles: historical, biblical, and practical.

The historical angle is primarily concerned with Baptist history. A short but enlightening survey of statements and confessions make a solid case that at least some of the Baptist forebears believed in a polity that included plurality of elders.

In the biblical section, the authors focus on four key texts: Acts 20:17–31; 1 Timothy 3:1–7; Hebrews 13:17–19; and 1 Peter 5:1–5. Strangely, Titus 1 is not treated independently in this section, although the authors do interact with Titus a number of times in the book.

Newton and Schmucker also discuss practical issues related to the elder model. This discussion really involves two aspects. First, the authors unpack the practical advantages of elder plurality. Second, significant attention is paid to practical implementation, that is, how one makes the shift from the more common single pastor plus deacons to the elder model.

This book is easy to read, with short chapters. The authors’ call to consider the elder model is one worth hearing. There is a transparency in the discussions with frequent references to personal anecdotes highlighting Newton and Schmucker’s successes and failures in taking their own churches through a transition to the elder model. Those seeking to make a similar transition will find plenty of practical advice. Even those already in elder-led churches will probably find at least some of the suggestions to be helpful.

The greatest weakness in the book is the biblical section. It is not that a biblical case cannot be made, but ironically, insufficient attention is paid to the details and specifics of the biblical text. Also puzzling is the omission of Titus 1, even if there are parallels to the 1 Timothy passage. The placement of some of the chapters appears to be strange or forced. For example, it is unclear how chapter 2 flows from chapter 1 or transitions to chapter 3. 

Nonetheless, Elders in the Life of the Church is a helpful primer to the plurality of elders model, especially from a Baptist context. Baptist pastors and leaders who want to know more about the elder model or how to transition to such a model should find help here.

You can read an excerpt here

Thanks to Kregel for providing the free review copy used in this unbiased review.

Jul 16, 2014

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. 

Thomas L. Brodie
Beyond the Quest for the Historical Jesus: Memoir of a Discovery
Reviewed by Benjamin I. Simpson

Richard J. Clifford
Reviewed by Lawrence M. Wills

David J. A. Clines and J. Cheryl Exum, eds.
The Reception of the Hebrew Bible in the Septuagint and the New Testament: Essays in Memory of Aileen Guilding
Reviewed by Benjamin J. M. Johnson

Joan E. Cook
Reviewed by Jonathan L. Huddleston

Avraham Faust
Judah in the Neo-Babylonian Period: The Archaeology of Desolation
Reviewed by Gert T. M. Prinsloo

James E. Harding
The Love of David and Jonathan: Ideology, Text, Reception
Reviewed by Katherine Low

Charles E. Hill and Michael J. Kruger, eds.
The Early Text of the New Testament
Reviewed by Amy M. Donaldson

Irene Nowell
Reviewed by Timothy R. Ashley

Naomi Steinberg
The World of the Child in the Hebrew Bible
Reviewed by Karin Finsterbusch

Joshua Marshall Strahan
The Limits of a Text: Luke 23:34a as a Case Study in Theological Interpretation
Reviewed by Claire Clivaz

Jul 15, 2014

Three Ways to Incorporate Psalm Singing into Worship Services

Brian Croft has identified three helpful ways to incorporate singing the Psalms into a worship service here.

Jul 14, 2014

Five Suggestions for Studying and Retaining Your Greek

Andreas J. Köstenberger, Benjamin L. Merkle, and Rob Plummer offer five suggestions for studying and retaining  your Greek here. Make sure to read the explanations in the post but here are the five suggestions.

1. Read the GNT in your daily devotions.

2. Include Greek study in your weekly ministerial preparations.

3. Take a “Greek retreat” once or twice a year in which you read longer sections of the GNT, a technical Greek resource, or a Greek grammar.

4. Consider what elements of accountability and self-discipline may be applied to incorporate study of the GNT into your life.

5. Teach Greek.