May 25, 2018

Paul, the Apostolic Decree, and 1 Corinthians

Recently while working on 1 Corinthians, I came across an older article in my files addressing the question of why Paul does not mention the Jerusalem Council’s decree on the issue of food sacrificed to idols (8:1–11:1). A. S. Geyser suggests that that Acts 16:4 is a later addition. Therefore, Paul did not share the decree because it was only originally intended only for Syria and Cilicia. He goes on to argue that the later addition of 16:4 “is fairly obvious: as early as the end of the first century it became necessary for the Church to give universal effect to the Apostolic Decree” (p. 137).

While one can appreciate Geyser’s solution it seems to be lacking text critical evidence. It seems the better solution is to follow David Garland and others who see Paul as applying the principles of the decree without referring to the decree itself.

A. S. Geyser, “Paul, the Apostolic Decree and the Liberals in Corinth,” In Studia Paulina in honorem Johannis de Zwaan septuagenarii, 124-38 (Haarlem: De Erven F. Bohn N.V., 1953).

May 23, 2018

Psalm 150 as the Conclusion to the Psalter

In discussing how Psalm 150 serves as an apt conclusion to the Psalter, Edward Feld provides the following summary. 
And so it is with this orchestral symphony of praise that the book of Psalms ends. The book begins with a single individual, one person who is righteous, and ends with all that has God’s breath praising God. The book begins with the righteous person studying God’s word at home, at night, and ends with everyone in the temple singing together. At its best, the book has offered us words that connect us in our common humanity. Its recitation allows us to enter into a deeper reality that we may have known before. The book may have helped us to face our emptiness and find our way back to a world of blessing and thanksgiving. 
Edward Feld, Joy, Despair, and Hope: Reading Psalms (Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2013), 150.

May 22, 2018

New Exodus Theme in Isaiah

Peter Gentry identifies the following passages in Isaiah as containing New Exodus themes.

Passages in Isaiah Where New Exodus Is the Theme
1.         40:3-5              The Highway in the Wilderness
2.         41:17-20          The Transformation of the Wilderness
3.         42:14-16          Yahweh Leads His People in a way Unknown
4.         43:1-3              Passing through the Waters and the Fire
5.         43:14-21          A Way in the Wilderness
6.         48:20-21          The Exodus from Babylon
7.         49:8-12            The New Entry into the Promised Land
8.         51:9-10            The New Victory at Sea
9.         52:11-12          The New Exodus
10.       55.12-13          Israel Shall Go Out in Joy and Peace

Peter J. Gentry, How to Read and Understand the Biblical Prophets (Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2017), 79-80

May 21, 2018

The Implications of the Life of the Spirit

Although these thoughts are over forty years old, George Ladd’s exhortation concerning the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer are just as timely today.
In conclusion, a beautiful practical devotional thought emerges from this study. The believer has already received the life of the Spirit which is the life of the Age to Come (5:25), and he is to show forth by his life in this present evil world the character of the new age, however imperfectly. This thought applies especially to Christians in their relationship one to another. A Christian fellowship is not a social organism or institutional though it is both. It is an eschatological community. Its mission is not only to proclaim the gospel, but to demonstrate by life and fellowship the life of the Age to Come.
George Eldon Ladd, "The Holy Spirit in Galatians," in Current Issues in Biblical and Patristic Interpretation: Festschrift for Merrill Tenney, ed. Gerald F. Hawthorne. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975.