Jun 1, 2019

Free Course from Logos: On the Clarity of Scripture

Logos' free book of the month this month is actually a free course by John Frame on the "Clarity of Scripture." You can also purchase Craig Keener's course "Principles of Bible Interpretation" and David Baker's "Theology of Genesis" for $9.99 and $19.99 respectively. Logs is also offering four other courses for $39.99 and an opportunity to win their Jesus and the World He Lived In bundle. For all these offers go here.

May 31, 2019

Low Comedy and High Coincidence in 1 Samuel 24

Commentaries are not known for their humor but I did chuckle when I read this remark concerning 1 Samuel 24.
In another combination of low comedy and high coincidence, Saul decides to "relieve himself" (literally to "cover his feet") in the very same cave in which David and his men are hiding from him (24:4).

Stephen B. Chapman, 1 Samuel as Christian Scripture: A Theological Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016), 185.

May 30, 2019

Parallels between Genesis 28:10–18 and 31:1–55

I note the following parallels between Genesis 28:10–18 and 31:1–55.

Genesis 28:10–18
Genesis 31:1–55
Involves a night scene (28:11)
Involves a night scene (31:54)
A promise to be with Jacob (28:18)
A promise to be with Jacob (31:3)
A dream (28:12)
A dream (31:10)
References to a stone (אבֶן) and pillar (מַצֵּבָה) (28:18)
References to a stone (אבֶן) and pillar (מַצֵּבָה) (31:45)
A naming of the place (28:19)
A naming of the place (31:47–49)
Vows are made (28:20–22)
Vows are made (31:48–53)
A stone is set up as a memorial (28:22)
Stones are set up a memorial (31:52)
Jacob continues his journey (29:1)
Jacob continues his journey (31:55)

May 29, 2019

Applying Psalm 73

There are at least four ways to apply Psalm 73.

1. Stop viewing circumstances as the lens through which one sees divine favor or God’s goodness. Then and now, circumstances (bad things happening to good people and good things happening to bad people) are not reliable. They can only tell “what is” and not “Who is.”

2. Recognize that it takes faith to see God’s goodness when bad things happen to good people and good things happen to bad people. Philosophical arguments are fine and perhaps to some degree helpful but ultimately, we must come to the point that we can say “God’s presence is my good” (v. 28).

3. Find comfort in God’s presence. Notice how the psalmist does just that in verse 23: “I am always with you.” We often talk about God being with us and that can be true. But it is not simply God is with us but that we are with God.

4. Look to the Cross. The Cross shows us that bad things happen to good people (i.e. Jesus) and evil can appear to triumph. Yet, the Cross also demonstrates that God can still be good and bring about good even, and perhaps, especially, in such circumstances.

May 28, 2019

Who Was Job?

Here is a a good discussion from Jewish perspective.

May 27, 2019

The Chiastic Structure of Psalm 8

Many interpreters have noted the inclusion created by the first and last lines of Psalm 8. Other have suggested a chiastic arrangement. The one by Mark Futato is probably the best one I have seen. 

The majesty of the Creator (v. 2a [1a])
    The works of God’s fingers (vv. 2b–4 [1b–3])
        What is humanity? (v. 5 [4])
    The works of God’s hands (vv. 6–9 [5–8])
The majesty of the Creator (v. 10 [9]) 

Mark Futato, “Psalm 8: A Christological Perspective,” in Interpreting the Old Testament Theologically: Essays in Honor of Willem A. VanGemeren, ed. Andrew C. Abernethy (Grand Rapids, 2018), 219.

May 26, 2019

Preaching through Books of the Bible

I am an advocate of preaching through books of the Bible believing that the practice benefits both the preacher and the congregation. Orrick, Payne, and Fullerton explain one of the important benefits for the preacher below.
"The first argument for the lectio continua method is that it helps the preacher personally to grow in knowledge and obedience by his disciplined encounter with and immersion in God's Word. Because the under-shepherd cannot lead his flock where he himself is not going, this may be the most fundamental argument for this method, This is not to say that preachers who do not employ the lectio continua method are not immersed in God's Word; but in the proposed method, immersion in the text is virtually inevitable. By definition,you are seeking to come to terms with what the author is saying in the particular text and how it fits with the overall argument of the book, and why it matters. In other words, you are askingand answering the "what?" of the text, the "so what?" of the text, and the "now what?" of the text; and this discipline, week in and week out, brings enormous benefit to the preacher even before it benefits the congregation."
Jim Scott Orrick, Brian Payne, and Ryan Fullerton. Encountering God through Expository Preaching: Connecting God’s People to God’s Presence through God’s Word (Nashville: B&H Academic, 2017), 62