Dec 31, 2019

Bible Reading Plan Generator

I want to invite you to join me in reading through the Bible in 2020. There are many resources out there to keep one on track. This plan generator by John Dyer looks to be one of the better ones.

HT: Josh Bleeker

Dec 30, 2019

1 Corinthians as Triage or Surgery

Jack Levison's discussion of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians is interesting. At the beginning of the article he states,
Flush with references to pneuma and pneumatikos—spirit and spiritual—1 Corinthians seems like a
manifesto of the Holy Spirit. Actually, it is not. The letter is triage, pure and simple. It does not reflect the skilled hand of the surgeon. In this letter, Paul stanches the bleeding of misguided believers ("The Holy Spirit in 1 Cornthians," in Interpretation 72 [2018]: 29).
I am not sure one has choose between triage or surgery. I am inclined to believe it might be a little of both. Although it is obviously fictional, Paul might be like "Hawkeye" Pierce of television's MASH who often operated within triage circumstances and yet saved lives because he was a skilled surgeon.

Dec 29, 2019

A Review of Reading Acts

Joshua Jipp. Reading Acts. Cascade Companions. Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2018.

The author is Associate Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has authored several monographs and numerous articles related to the New Testament. 

Reading Acts is part of the Cascade Companions series. This series’ stated aim is to “introduce nonspecialist readers to that vital storehouse of authors, documents, themes, histories, arguments, and movements that comprise this heritage [Christian theological tradition] with brief yet compelling volumes.” This is a worthy goal though “nonspecialist readers” are not specifically defined. Perhaps it refers to the typical layperson (if there be such a one).

In any case, there is much to appreciate about the volume at hand. It is well-written, carefully and fairly argued, and offers thought-provoking insights from one who has clearly spent considerable time in Acts. The book begins by addressing introductory matters and then proceeds thematically and roughly in the order of Acts. A final postscript addresses why one should read Acts and this is followed by a brief bibliography and subject and scripture indices. That being said, this work is difficult to categorize. It is part introduction, biblical theology, commentary, and study guide (with questions). It reminds me of a study Bible but with only the notes and sidebars but with a bit more scholarly heft. This is not bad per se, but who would be inclined to want to give this volume the consideration it deserves?

There are other factors that might hinder this work. The fact that it does not follow the actual text of Acts (at least religiously) makes it a bit difficult for the “nonspecialist” to follow. A better approach might have been to follow the text and highlight the theological threads that run through the book. It is ironic that Reading Acts does not actually read Acts as Acts reads. Another limitation is the bibliography. While one should not expect to have a fully-developed bibliography there are notable and surprising omissions that might be helpful for the “nonspecialist” to be aware of. For example, commentaries by C. K. Barrett, D. Bock, and F. F. Bruce, J. A. Fitzmyer, and B. Witherington are not listed and works like H. Conzelmann’s The Theology of St. Luke, I. H. Marshall’s Luke as Theologian, and Witness to the Gospel: The Theology of Acts edited by I. H. Marshall and D. Peterson are also notably absent. Meanwhile, the author includes six of his own works. There are good and legitimate reasons for referencing one’s own work but does this seeming imbalance really accomplish the mission of the series to introduce readers to the breadth of the Christian theological tradition? 

Reading Acts is a good work. But I am not sure it really fills a void. Having invested considerable time in Acts myself, I appreciate the exegetical and theological bang-for-the-buck but I wonder if the “nonspecialist” will find as much help. I hope so, because Acts is a book well worth the Church’s consideration as it, like the early Church, finds itself in an increasingly non-Christian, pagan, immoral, and hostile world. I suspect that there are better resources to help the “nonspecialist” to tolle lege (take up and read). 

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

Dec 28, 2019

The Latest Issue of the Review of Biblical Literature

The latest issue of Review of Biblical Literature is out. Reviews can be accessed by clicking the links below but unfortunately you must be a SBL member.

Kengo Akiyama, The Love of Neighbour in Ancient Judaism: The Reception of Leviticus 19:18 in the Hebrew Bible, the Septuagint, the Book of Jubilees, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the New Testament
Reviewed by James W. Watts

Amy Anderson and Wendy Widder, Textual Criticism of the Bible
Reviewed by Alan Taylor Farnes

Lindsey A. Askin, Scribal Culture in Ben Sira
Reviewed by Elisa Uusimäki

Koert van Bekkum, Gert Kwakkel, and Wolter H. Rose, eds., Biblical Hebrew in Context: Essays in Semitics and Old Testament Texts in Honour of Professor Jan P. Lettinga
Reviewed by Johannes F. Diehl

Athalya Brenner-Idan and Helen Efthimiadis-Keith, eds., A Feminist Companion to Tobit and Judith
Reviewed by Irene Nowell
Walter Brueggemann; Davis Hankins, ed., Tenacious Solidarity: Biblical Provocations on Race, Religion, Climate and the Economy
Reviewed by Marshall Johns

Theodore S. de Bruyn, David G. Hunter, and Stephen A. Cooper, Ambrosiaster’s Commentary on the Pauline Epistles: Romans
Reviewed by Adam Ployd

Zev I. Farber and Jacob L. Wright, eds., Archaeology and History of Eighth-Century Judah
Reviewed by Aren Maier

David Hamidović, Encyclopédie des messianismes juifs dans l’Antiquité
Reviewed by Michaël Girardin

Samuel David Luzzatto; Daniel A. Klein, ed. and trans., Shadal on Exodus: Samuel David Luzzatto’s Interpretation of the Book of Shemot
Reviewed by Alan Cooper

Gregory S. MaGee, Portrait of an Apostle: A Case for Paul’s Authorship of Colossians and Ephesians
Reviewed by Craig A. Evans

Jürgen van Oorschot and Markus Witte, eds., The Origins of Yahwism
Reviewed by Anne Marie Kitz

Benjamin E. Reynolds and Gabriele Boccaccini, eds., Reading the Gospel of John’s Christology as Jewish Messianism: Royal, Prophetic, and Divine Messiahs
Reviewed by Chris Kugler

Alexandra Robinson, Jude on the Attack: A Comparative Analysis of the Epistle of Jude, Jewish Judgement Oracles, and Greco-Roman Invective
Reviewed by Travis B. Williams

Peter Stuhlmacher, Biblical Theology of the New Testament
Reviewed by Craig Blomberg

Dec 27, 2019

2019's Top Ten Discoveries in Biblical Archaeology

You can see a list with descriptions here

Here is another list from Christianity Today

Number two on the first list and number eight on CT's list was found by my friend Tim Lopez at Tel Shiloh. He was also the one who found the ceramic pomegranate in 2018.

Dec 26, 2019

The Master's Seminary Journal: Fall 2019

You can access the entire journal for free with this PDF. Here is a list of the articles.

Are the Canonical Gospels to Be Identified as a Genre of Greco-Roman Biography? The Early Church Fathers Say ‘No.’
F. David Farnell

Job’s Eschatological Hope: The Implications of Job’s Redeemer for Social Justice
Jamie Bissmeyer

And How Shall They Hear Without a Preacher? A Biblical Theology of Romans 9–11
Gregory H. Harris

A Dynamic Relationship: Christ, the Covenants, and Israel
Cory M. Marsh

Romans 7: An Old Covenant Struggle Seen through New Covenant Eyes
Jay Street

The Reformation’s “Macedonian Call” to Africa—the Long Way Around
David Beakley and Johann Odendaal 

Implication and Application in Exposition, Part 2: Principles for Contemporary Application
Carl A. Hargrove

HT: Alf Cengia

Dec 24, 2019

Reading the Septuagint

William Ross has some helpful thoughts here.

Dec 23, 2019

Exodus, Ruth, and the Prophets

Victor Matthews notes some interesting parallels between the story of the Exodus, the story of Ruth, and the post-exilic return of Israel/Judah. These might be attributed to both sharing a well-worn literary plot line but consider the following.

"The story of Ruth can also be seen as a miniversion of the Exodus account and of the return from exile as envisioned in Isa 40, Jer 32, and Ezek 37. It contains these common elements:

1. Forced departure from the land due to famine (see Gen 12:10; 41:57–46:7)

2. Eventual return after the death of the old way of life and old leadership (Mahlon and sons); compare wilderness experience and Moses' death (Num 27:12-23; Deut 31:1–8; 34:1–9)

3. Restoration of legal rights to the land through struggle (aspects of the conquest narrative [Josh 1] as well as the struggle with the “adversaries” of Judah and Benjamin" described in Ezra 4) 4. Renewal of the covenant with messianic hope; tie to David (see Ezek 34:11–31; Isa 9:6–7; 11:1–5)."

Victor H. Matthews, Judges and Ruth, New Cambridge Bible Commentary (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2004), 212.

Dec 21, 2019

The Latest Issue of the Review of Biblical Literature

The latest issue of Review of Biblical Literature is out. Reviews can be accessed by clicking the links below but unfortunately you must be a SBL member.

Richard J. Bautch and Mark Lackowski, eds., On Dating Biblical Texts to the Persian Period: Discerning Criteria and Establishing Epochs
Reviewed by Marvin A. Sweeney

Colleen M. Conway, John and the Johannine Letters
Reviewed by Judith M. Lieu

Richard Elliott Friedman, The Exodus
Reviewed by Bryan D. Estelle

Ida Fröhlich, ed., David in Cultural Memory
Reviewed by Walter Dietrich

Christoph Koch, Gottes himmlische Wohnstatt: Transformationen im Verhältnis von Gott und Himmel in tempeltheologischen Entwürfen des Alten Testaments in der Exilszeit
Reviewed by Martin Leuenberger

Sung Jin Park, Typology in Biblical Hebrew Meter: A Generative Metrical Approach
Reviewed by Donald R. Vance

Daniel Patte, Romans: Three Exegetical Interpretations and the History of Reception
Reviewed by Timothy Gombis

Kenneth M. Wilson, Augustine’s Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to “Non-free Free Will”: A Comprehensive Methodology
Reviewed by Evgenia Moiseeva