Sep 14, 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.

Jeremy W. Barrier, Jan N. Bremmer, Tobias Nicklas, and Armand Puig I Tàrrech, eds., Thecla: Paul’s Disciple and Saint in the East and West
Reviewed by Jade Weimer

Alma Brodersen, The End of the Psalter: Psalms 146–150 in the Masoretic Text, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and the Septuagint
Reviewed by John Screnock

Bogdan Burtea, “Die Geheimnisse der Vorväter”: Edition, Übersetzung und Kommentierung einer esoterischen mandäischen Handschrift aus der Bodleian Library Oxford
Reviewed by James F. McGrath

Peter Gemeinhardt, Olga Lorgeoux, and Maria Munkholt Christensen, eds., Teachers in Late Antique Christianity
Reviewed by Benjamin A. Edsall

Michael J. Gorman, Abide and Go: Missional Theosis in the Gospel of John
Reviewed by Dorothy A. Lee

Nijay K. Gupta, The Lord’s Prayer
Reviewed by Torrey Seland

Matthias Konradt, Das Evangelium nach Matthäus
Reviewed by Susanne Luther

F. Dorie Mansen, The Unremembered Dead: The Non-burial Motif in the Hebrew Bible
Reviewed by Byron R. McCane

Takamitsu Muraoka, Jacob of Serugh’s Hexaemeron
Reviewed by Robert A. Kitchen

Johannes Unsok Ro, Poverty, Law, and Divine Justice in Persian and Hellenistic Judah
Reviewed by Phillip Michael Lasater

R. S. Sugirtharajah, Jesus in Asia
Reviewed by D. N. Premnath

Sep 13, 2019

The Three Parables in Luke 15

Ian Paul has a helpful discussion here on certain elements and features of the three parables in Luke 15.

Sep 12, 2019

The Rod in Proverbs

Eric Davis has a post here discussing whether the rod in Proverbs is literal or metaphorical.

Sep 11, 2019

Walton on Sharing Possessions in Acts

Steve Walton has made his paper and PowerPoint presentation on the idea of sharing possessions in Acts which he gave at the recent British New Testament Society meeting. You can access the paper here and the PowerPoint here.

Sep 10, 2019

Designer Shoes and Ministry

Ramesh Richard has some helpful thoughts here on the tension between material possessions and ministry.

Sep 9, 2019

Christians and the Book of Leviticus?

Clark Bates asks and answers the question, "What’s a Christian to do With Leviticus?" here.

Sep 8, 2019

Samson, the Gates of Gaza, and Exposition

William Barrick provides three links here providing an article, notes, and a PowerPoint addressing Samson and the gates of Gaza and and the expository method.

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.

Jione Havea, ed., Sea of Readings: The Bible in the South Pacific
Reviewed by Rhiannon Graybill

Adam D. Hensley, Covenant Relationships and the Editing of the Hebrew Psalter
Reviewed by David Cohen

Jennifer Knust and Tommy Wasserman, To Cast the First Stone: The Transmission of a Gospel Story
Reviewed by Stephen Carlson

Yitz Landes, Studies in the Development of Birkat Ha-Avodah [Hebrew]
Reviewed by Joshua Schwartz

Matthew D. C. Larsen, Gospels before the Book
Reviewed by Nicholas A. Elder

Jongkyung Lee, A Redactional Study of the Book of Isaiah 13–23
Reviewed by Jacob Stromberg

Christoph Levin, Das Alte Testament
Reviewed by Wilson de Angelo Cunha

Luke Macnamara, My Chosen Instrument: The Characterisation of Paul in Acts 7:58–15:41
Reviewed by Joshua W. Jipp

Harry O. Maier, New Testament Christianity in the Roman World
Reviewed by G. Anthony Keddie

Jean-Louis Roura Monserrat, La conception paulinienne de la foi en Romains 4
Reviewed by Kirby Applegate

Stefan Schorch, ed., The Samaritan Pentateuch: Leviticus
Reviewed by James W. Watts

Joseph Verheyden, Reimund Bieringer, Jens Schröter, and Ines Jäger, eds., Docetism in the Early Church: The Quest for an Elusive Phenomenon
Reviewed by Charles E. Hill

Sep 7, 2019

The Stables at Megiddo

Norma Franklin has a very nice article on the so-called stables of Megiddo here.

Dead Sea Scrolls

There is an interesting, but fairly technical, article here on the preparation of the Dead Sea Scrolls manuscripts here. The focus of the study and the article is the Temple Scroll.

Sep 6, 2019

Wisdom from Past Preachers

Nathan Busenitz has a nice listing here.

Sep 5, 2019

Psalm 23 Prepositionally

James Smith's* Handfuls on Purpose includes the following outline of Psalm 23. While I wouldn't use this as my main preaching outline, it might make for a good illustration or supplement to a message.

Psalm 23 (again).

1. Beneath me, "green pastures."
2. Beside me, "still waters."
3. With me, "my Shepherd."
4. Before me, "a table."
5. Around me, "mine enemies."
6. Upon me, "anointing."
7. After me, "goodness and mercy." 

8. Beyond me, "The house of the Lord."
— Selected.

James Smith and Robert Lee, Handfuls on Purpose for Christian Workers and Bible Students, I–XIII, vol. 7 (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1947), 123.

* James Smith wrote the first ten volumes before his death and the later volumes were completed by Robert Lee.

Sep 4, 2019

Paul: Converted or Commissioned

Phillip Long has a thoughtful and helpful post here on whether Paul was converted or commissioned. Count me in the conversion camp. But I do think that part of the issue relates to definitions and one must be very carefully not to import our modern conceptions of conversion into Paul's experience. That being said, one issue for me is that I don't see sufficient similarities between Paul's experience in Acts 9, 22, and 26 and Old Testament commissioning types. Four prominent examples illustrate what I mean: Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel.

Notice that in the case of Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, their commissioning was not in the context of rebellion against what the Lord was doing as was the case with Paul.  

Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel all seem to have their experiences in the context of sacred space. With Moses, the idea is seen in the location Horeb (aka Mt. Sinai) and with the command to Moses, "Take off your sandals, for the place where you are standing is holy ground" (Exod 3:5). Isaiah has his commissioning in the "temple" (Isa 6:1) with interpreters debating as to whether it is the earthly or heavenly one. The location of Jeremiah's calling is unstated but the Lord's touching of Jeremiah's mouth in 1:9 would seem to imply a divine throne room setting. Ezekiel's commissioning might be visionary (Ezek 1:1) but the description of what Ezekiel sees certainly sets the context of his calling in sacred space (Ezek 1:4-28).  In contrast, there is no hint of sacred space in Paul's experience. 

Also, with Moses, Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel, the organ of speech, the mouth, plays an important role (Exod 4:10-11; Isa 6:5-7. Jer 1:6, 9; Ezek 3:1-3). But for Paul it is the organ of sight, his eyes, that plays a prominent role (Acts 9:8-9, 17-18).

One final point, with the commissioning of Moses, Isaiah, and Jeremiah there is a sense of immediacy. That is, the calling happened at a singular moment. In Paul's case there is a three day delay (Acts 9:9). 

Other points of dissimilarity could be raised but these seem sufficient to show that if Paul's experience was a commissioning, that it was substantially different from the examples of commissioning that we have in the Old Testament.   

Sep 3, 2019

Tweeting Romans

Andrew Errington does it here. Looking through his tweets, Andrew takes a more traditional reading of Romans than some might like.

Sep 2, 2019

Minor Characters in the Bible

Peter Mead posts here about the benefits of studying minor characters in the Bible. I generally agree on the potential benefits but one needs to careful about at least two things. First, there is a danger of over-emphasizing someone that the Spirit-inspired text presents as a minor character. In literary terms we need to be careful that we do not try to create a round character out of a flat one. Second, sometimes there is so little information recorded about the minor character that one resorts to a "sanctified imagination," eisegesis, or a study of historical backgrounds. If we are having to fill in too many blanks then one might need to go back to the first point.

Sep 1, 2019

Free Logos Book for September: James (ZECNT)

The free Logos Book for the Month for September is James Blombergs' and Miriam Kamell's James commentary in the ZECNT series. David Pao's Colossians and Philemon or Karen Jobe's 1, 2, and 3 John in the same series can also be had for $1.99 and $4.99 respectively. You can also register for a chance to win the six-volume Zondervan Reference Collection. For all these offers, go to the Logos' Free Book of Month page here.

Aug 30, 2019

Thoughts on Psalm 133

Some of our fondest memories of road trips involve snacking, stops at roadside attractions, bathroom breaks, and for many, singing. We sing as we travel (no talent required) because it helps us to pass the time and it helps us to bond. Spouses and siblings also find it harder to bicker when there is a melody to be proclaimed. Simply put, singing brings us together. It seems Israel understood this and so the Psalms of Ascent (Psalms 120–134, aka Pilgrim Psalms) provided a means to pass the time and bond as they traveled up to Jerusalem to worship. So, it seems quite apropos that one of these Psalms of Ascents, Psalm 133, pictures the blessedness of unity in family and faith. The family that walks together worships together and vice versa.

Aug 29, 2019

Canonical Interpretation, Intertextuality, and Preaching

Jonathan  Catanzaro has some interesting thoughts here on canonical interpretation and intertextuality and how these relate to preaching.

Aug 28, 2019

Gender and the Resurrection Body

Ian Paul has a very good discussion here related to gender and our resurrection bodies.

Aug 27, 2019

Imprecatory Psalms

Abraham K-J has a decent discussion of imprecatory psalms here where he concludes that we can indeed pray them.

Aug 26, 2019

Willie Nelson and Job 19:17

The line "bad breath is better than no breath at all" from Willie Nelson's 2018 song "Bad Breath" reminded me of this verse from Job. 
"My breath is offensive to my wife,
    And I am loathsome to my own brothers." (19:17, NASB)

Aug 24, 2019

The Cemetery at Bab edh-Dhra

David Graves has some nice maps, illustrations and photos of the cemetery Bab edh-Dhra here. Bab edh-Dhra has been identified by some as biblical Sodom.