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.