Dec 31, 2015

Studying Acts in Greek

Some might be interested in joining William Varner as he leads (through video) a study of Acts, particularly as it relates to advanced Greek grammar. This might make for a great New Year's resolution! You can check out the first video on Acts 1:1 here.

New Testament Scholars Who Died in 2015

 Brian Small on Facebook's Biblical Studies Discussion List provides the following accounting of New Testament scholars who passed away in 2015. It is a humbling reminder of the transitory nature of this life and the importance of believing in and proclaiming the gospel.
Marcus Borg - January 21
Luise Schottroff - February 8
Charles E. B. Cranfield - March 4
Fred Craddock - March 6
Harold Greenlee - March 21
Roger Omanson - April 30
J. Louis Martyn - June 4
Verlyn Verbrugge - June 21
Eduard Lohse - June 24
Ferdinand Hahn - July 28
Dietmar Neufeld - September 9
John Howard Schütz - September 27
I. Howard Marshall - December 12
Robert Mulholland - December 20

Dec 30, 2015

Dec 29, 2015

Coverdale on Reading the Bible

I have seen the following quote a number of times (sometimes it is attributed to John Wycliff) but it is still an important reminder that no matter how sophisticated our hermeneutical method becomes we never move beyond paying attention to the actual text at hand.
It shall greatly helpe ye to understand Scripture, if thou mark not only what is spoken or wrytten, but of whom, and to whom, with what words, at what time, where, to what intent, with what circumstances, considering what goeth before, and what followeth.
Myle’s Coverdale, Rules for Reading the Bible (1535) 

Dec 28, 2015

Top 10 Archaeological Discoveries of 2015

HeritageDaily lists their top 10 archaeological discoveries for 2015 here. Numbers 5 and 6 are most biblically significant.

The Holy Spirit in Judges

Amos Yong has an interesting post here on he Holy Spirit in the book of Judges.

Dec 25, 2015

Dec 24, 2015

The Virgin Conception

Eric Davis has a helpful post on the virgin conception here.

Dec 23, 2015

Thoughts on Peaching the Infancy Narratives

Ian Paul has a good post on preaching the infancy narratives here.

Dec 22, 2015

Journal of Biblical Literature 134.4

The lasted volume of the Journal of Biblical Literature is now out. Here is a list of the articles with links to abstracts.

Ancient Prayers and the Psychology of Religion: Deities as Parental Figures
David A. Bosworth

Left-Handed Benjaminites and the Shadow of Saul
Suzie Park

The Levite of Judges 19–21
David Z. Moster

The Book of Malachi, Manuscript 4Q76 (4QXIIa), and the Formation of the “Book of the Twelve”
Mika S. Pajunen and Hanne von Weissenberg

Greek Philosophical Discourse in the Book of Judith?
Lawrence M. Wills

Were the Psalms Collections at Qumran True Psalters?
William Yarchin

The Oddity of the Reference to Jesus in Acts 4:13b
Chris Keith

Paulus Tragicus: Staging Apostolic Adversity in First Corinthians
Courtney J. P. Friesen

Community Is a Body: Sex, Marriage, and Metaphor in 1 Corinthians 6:12–7:7 and Ephesians 5:21–33
Jill E. Marshall

JBL FORUM The JBL Forum, an Occasional Exchange
Adele Reinhartz

Twice Called, Thrice Rebuked: Doing African Biblical Scholarship
Gerald O. West

The Making of Gershom’s Story: A Cameroonian Postwar Hermeneutics Reading of Exodus 2
Kenneth N. Ngwa

Memories of Midwives
L. Juliana Claassens

Space and Human Agency in the Making of the Story of Gershom through a Senegalese Christian Lens
Aliou C. Niang

A Luta Continua: Toward Trickster Intellectuals and Communities
Musa W. Dube

Dec 21, 2015

Five Errors to Drop from Your Christmas Sermon

See Andreas Kӧstenberger and Alexander Stewart's article in Christianity Today here.

Dec 18, 2015

Psalm 121

Randy McKinion has a nice treatment of Psalm 121 here.

Dec 17, 2015

2016 Expository Preaching Workshop

I know that it seems a bit early to be talking about 2016 but Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is hosting another one of its expository preaching workshops on March 7. This year's theme is "Recapturing the Voice of God: Preaching the Genres of Scripture." The workshop will cover preaching the Law, Psalms, Parables, NT Letters, and Revelation. You can read more about it here but it does not appear that you can register yet.

Dec 16, 2015

Christianity Today's 2016 Book Awards

I would have thought that these would be the 2015 book awards but you can check Christianity Today's list here.

Dec 14, 2015

Videos of I. Howard Marshall on Acts

Rob Bradshaw has posted 5 videos with I. Howard Marshall on Acts. The videos are from the Moore College Lectures in 1991. You can check out the post and videos here.

Dec 13, 2015

The Zondervan Blog's Top 12 Biblical-Theological Posts in 2015

The Zondervan Blog's lists their top 12 biblical-theological posts for 2015 here.

Dec 12, 2015

I. Howard Marshall (1934–2015)

It is being reported that the New Testament scholar I. Howard Marshall has died. You can read more information here.

Hezekiah's Tunnel Video

I am not sure how long this video has been out but it was new to me.

Dec 11, 2015

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.

Deborah Levine Gera
Reviewed by Patricia Ahearne-Kroll

Christopher B. Hays
Hidden Riches: A Sourcebook for the Comparative Study of the Hebrew Bible and Ancient Near East
Reviewed by Brad E. Kelle
Reviewed by Victor H. Matthews

Thomas Hieke
Levitikus: Erster Teilband: 1–15 and Levitikus: Zweiter Teilband: 16–27
Reviewed by Erhard S. Gerstenberger

Doohee Lee
Luke-Acts and ‘Tragic History’
Reviewed by Gregory Sterling

Meir Lubetski and Edith Lubetski, eds.
New Inscriptions and Seals Relating to the Biblical World
Reviewed by Jeffrey L. Morrow

Piotr Michalowski
The Correspondence of the Kings of Ur: An Epistolary History of an Ancient Mesopotamian Kingdom
Reviewed by T. Sharlach

J. Brian Peckham
Phoenicia: Episodes and Anecdotes from the Ancient Mediterranean
Reviewed by Josette Elayi

Matthew Thiessen
Contesting Conversion: Genealogy, Circumcision, and Identity in Ancient Judaism and Christianity
Reviewed by James C. Miller
Reviewed by Rafael Rodríguez

Dec 10, 2015

Some Westminster Bookstore Sale Titles

I recently stopped by the Westminster Bookstore website and noted that the following volumes are on sale. 

Paul and Judaism Revisited: A Study of Divine and Human Agency in Salvation by Preston Sprinke – $12 (50% off).

Galatians: Gospel Rooted Living by Todd Wilson – $14.99 (50% off). 

Ecclesiastes (Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom & Psalms) by Craig Bartholomew – $20 (50% off).

Privilege the Text!: A Theological Hermeneutic for Preaching by Abraham Kuruvilla – $18 (50% off).

Daily Life in Biblical Times (Archaeology and Biblical Studies) by Oded Borowski – $7.97 (50% off).

Paul and the Faithfulness of God: Two Book Set by N. T. Wright – $44.50 (50% off).

The Ancient Near East: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures by James Pritchard – $24.98 (50% off).

Encountering John: The Gospel in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective by Andreas Kostenberger  – $14.99 (50% off).

Grace in Galatia: A Commentary on Paul's Letter to the Galatians by Ben Witherington – $22 (50% off).

New Testament: A Historical and Theological Introduction by Donald Hagner – $25 (50% off).

Handbook on the Wisdom Books and Psalms by Daniel Estes – $18 (50% off).

Dec 9, 2015

Two Perspectives on Online Seminary Education

Brett Younger discusses how seminaries are reluctantly selling their souls here. Ron Crawford responds to Younger by discussing how seminaries are forging a future here.

Dec 8, 2015

The Number of Textual Variants in the Greek New Testament

Peter Gurry has a nice post at the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog here on the number of variants  in the Greek New Testament.

Hauerwas on Writing Theology

I found this story interesting: "Stanley Hauerwas tells Wycliffe College how to write a good sentence."

Dec 7, 2015

Two New Biblical Studies Titles

The T & T Clark blog has noted the release of two new titles that might be of interest.

Luke’s Christology of Divine Identity

by Nina Henrichs-Tarasenkova

Nina Henrichs-Tarasenkova employs a narrative approach to establish how Luke binds Jesus' identity to the divine identity of YHWH and concludes that the Lukan narrative does in fact portray Jesus as God, when it shows that Jesus shares YHWH's divine identity. She argues against a long tradition regarding how best to represent Luke's Christology.

The Return of the King: Messianic Expectation in Book V of the Psalter

by Michael K. Snearly 

In this work, Michael Snearly argues that the arrangement of Book V of the Psalter witnesses to a renewed hope in the promises made to David.

Dec 5, 2015

Logos' Days of Advent Giveaways So Far

Just in case you missed it, Logos Bible software is giving away a resource a day in celebration of Advent. The giveaways so far are:

Day 1: Scripture and the Authority of God by N. T. Wright
Day 2: Calvin's Calvinism
Day 3: 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, Hebrews, Cornerstone Biblical Commentary by Linda Belleville, Jon Laansma, and J. Ramsey Michaels
Day 4: 11 issues of Tabletalk magazine devoted to Christian History
Day 5: A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Book of Esther, International Critical Commentary by Lewis Paton

You can still access all of these giveaways here.

Dec 4, 2015

Andreas Köstenberger's Top Ten Books of 2015

Andreas Köstenberger identifies and discusses his top ten books of 2015 here.

Dec 3, 2015

Preaching from a Manuscript: Writing or Using?

Michael Kruger has some good advice on manuscripting sermons here.

Dec 2, 2015

Free Audio: Matt Chandler's Recovering Redemption's free audio selection for December is Matt Chandler's Recovering Redemption. You can access the offer here.

Dec 1, 2015

Free N. T. Wright's Scripture and the Authority of God

Logos is helping to celebrate Advent by offering N. T. Wright's Scripture and the Authority of God free today. You can access this offer here.

Free Logos Book for December: Ephesians by Stephen Fowl

The free Logos Book for December is Stephen Fowl’s commentary on Ephesians in the New Testament Library series. You can also purchase Hebrews by Luke Timothy Johnson in the same series for $1.99. You can also enter to win 15 volume NTL series. You can access these deals here.

Nov 28, 2015

Some Possible Sales of Interest for Bibliophiles

Here are some sales that might be of interest.

Amazon has a 30% off sale of one item until 11/30. Use the code "HOLIDAY30." But do note that it caps out at $10 so you won't get a great break on more expensive volumes. If you don't have Prime then free shipping starts at $35. You can check it out here.

Barnes and Noble has a true 30% off sale on one item until 11/29. Use the code "30BFRIDAY." Free shipping starts at $25. You can check it out here.

Oxford University Press has 50% off of volumes here until 1/15/2016. On the downside, free shipping starts at $150. Standard shipping charges for US orders is $5.50 for the first book and $1.50 for each additional book You can check it out here.

Nov 27, 2015

Elliott Johnson Festschrift

A new festschrift honoring Dr. Elliott Johnson was presented
at the recent Dallas Theological Seminary alumni breakfast at the Evangelical Theological Society. The volume entitled, The Theory and Practice of Biblical Hermeneutics: Essays in Honor of Elliott E. Johnson. The volume consists of an introduction by E. D. Hirsch and seventeen essays from Walter Kaiser, Norm Geisler, and others. This work is also one of the new offerings of a publishing venture led by H. Wayne House called Lampion Press.

 Here is a picture of Dr. Johnson and me at the breakfast. 

Nov 25, 2015

The Ascension and Atonement in Hebrews

Mike Skinner has an interesting post suggesting that, "the locus of atonement as happening in heaven at the time of the ascension." You can check it out here.

Nov 24, 2015

Book Review: A Commentary on the Manuscripts and Text of the New Testament

Philip Wesley Comfort, A Commentary on the Manuscripts and Text of the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2015).

Those who preach, teach, or study the Bible seriously will at some point encounter issues related to variant readings in the text and whether they do so knowledgeably or not, will practice a form of text criticism. So having reliable and helpful resources is invaluable. Philip Wesley Comfort’s  A Commentary on the Manuscripts and Text of the New Testament attempts to be such a resource.

The commentary proper is broken down into seven chapters covering the Synoptic Gospels, the Gospel of John, Acts, Paul’s epistles, Hebrews, the general epistles, and Revelation. It is important to know that Comfort’s general approach is to give greater weight to external rather than internal evidence, and to give great preference to the early manuscripts, so in most cases to the papyri (p. 31). So Comfort states, “In this volume, manuscript evidence is given priority of place inasmuch as the readings of the earliest manuscripts are always followed” (p. 31). This is important because Comfort states that he practices “reasoned eclecticism” (p. 31) but his approach differs from others who also claim to practice “reasoned eclecticism”

By way of evaluation, there are several admirable features of the book. First, it contains a good introduction to manuscripts, texts, and nomina sacra (chapter one). I especially enjoyed the discussion on nomina sacra. Second, I also believe that the annotated discussion of manuscripts is helpful (chapter 2). Third, on a more practical level, the volume is deliberately sized to match the UBS and NA28 Greek New Testaments. Finally, the volume is fairly reasonably priced at $29.99.

Now for what I don't like. First, the repetitive parenthetical definition of nomen sacrum as sacred name. The parenthetical definition does not appear every time but many, many times and it got to be annoying. Second, this work curiously refers to the somewhat outdated BAGD instead of BDAG and NA 27 and UBS 3 and 4 instead of NA 28 and UBS 5 respectively. Similarly, some of the volumes referenced in the bibliography are not current. For example, the first rather than the second edition of Kurt and Barbara Aland's The Text of the New Testament is listed.

Those who have cut their teeth like me on Metzger’s A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament may wonder whether Comfort’s volume replaces, supplements, or is redundant to Metzger. I think it is is best utilized as a supplementary text. Its approach is different from Metzger and also tends to highlight the nomina sacra more but I think as a whole that I prefer Metzger's discussions. Nonetheless, Comfort's volume can serve as a handy counterpoint to Metzger.    

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

Nov 23, 2015

Rare Christian Papyrus on eBay for $99?

Apparently a papyrus fragment containing a small portion of the Gospel of John was being listed on eBay for an opening bid of $99. You can read about it here.

Paul and Bedbugs

Recently while going through some old articles in my files, I reread this piece by Jerome Murphy-O'Conner. I thoroughly enjoyed going through it but especially tthe following excerpt about bedbugs. 

"Those who could afford better rented beds in the rooms. The snorting and stamping of the animals outside was sometimes drowned out by the snores of others who shared the room, anyone of whom might be a thief. Paul’s anxiety that he might lose the tools of his trade was hardly conducive to a sound night’s sleep. And sound sleep was made infinitely more difficult by that perennial occupant of all inns, the bedbug.
"The menace posed by the bedbug is graphically— and amusingly—described in a tale from the Acts of John written in the third century A.D. about a journey from Laodicea to Ephesus.
“On the first evening we arrived at a lonely inn, and while we were trying to find a bed for John we noticed a curious thing. There was one unoccupied and unmade bed, so we spread the cloaks which we were wearing over it, and begged him to lie down on it, while all the rest of us slept on the floor.
“But when John lay down he was troubled by the bugs. They became more and more troublesome to him, and it was already midnight when he said to them in the hearing of us all, ‘I order you, you bugs, to behave yourselves, one and all. You must leave your home for tonight and be quiet in one place, and keep your distance from the servants of God.’ And while we laughed and went on talking, John went to sleep, but we talked quietly and, thanks to him, were not disturbed. 
“Now, as day was breaking, I got up first, and Verus and Andronicus with me, and we saw by the door of the room which we had taken an enormous mass of bugs. We were astounded at their great number. All the brethren woke up because of them, but John went on sleeping. When he woke up, we explained to him what we had seen. He sat up in bed, looked at the bugs, and said, ‘Since you have behaved yourselves and listened to my correction, you may go back to your own place.’ When he had said this, and had got up from the bed, the bugs came running from the door towards the bed, climbed up its legs, and disappeared into the joints” (#60–61).'"

“On the Road and on the Sea with St. Paul: Travelling Conditions in the First Century,” Bible Review 1:2 (Summer 1985).

If you enjoyed this excerpt, you might want to check out, “On the Road with Paul” by Edwin Yamauchi at the Christian History Institute website. Use this link