The Biblioblog Reference Library

[«] Posts From the Blog "Reading Acts"(#251)

October 16 2017, 1PM

Jackson, Paul N. Devotions on the Greek New Testament, Volume Two. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2017. 189 pp. Pb; $18.99.  Link to Zondervan This new volume of devotionals from the Greek New Testament follows the first volume edited by J. Scott Duval... [Book Reviews] [Biblcial Greek] [book review] [greek new testament]

8AM

In the first five chapters of Romans, Paul has shown that no one is able to merit salvation by their good works. Even Abraham failed to merit salvation, so God credited him with righteousness” (Romans 4:3). In Romans 5:12-21 Paul makes the case that God... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

October 14, 7AM

Paul deals with a potential objection from his dialogue partner, a Jewish person who has tried to keep the Law but now discovers he is just as guilty as the Gentile. If the Jews have spectacularly failed to keep the Law and are enslaved to the “power of... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

October 13, 10AM

McGuckin, John Anthony. The Path of Christianity: The First Thousand Years. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2017. 1209 pgs., Hb.; $65.00 Link to IVP John Anthony McGuckin’s new book is a substantial contribution to the intellectual and social history... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Church History]

October 11, 6AM

Paul addressed the book we call Romans to Christians living in Rome. At the time the letter was written, he had not yet visited the city as far as we know and he does not personally know Christians in Rome. Although he may have something about the church ... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [Book of Romans] [Epistle to the Romans] [Romans]

October 10, 6AM

The background to 2 Corinthians is complicated by letters from Paul we do not have as well as visits to Corinth by Paul, Timothy and Titus. An additional problem is 2 Corinthians is a compilation of several other letters. Perhaps parts of 2 Corinthians co... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [2 Corinthians]

October 9, 12 PM

Le Peau, Andrew T. Mark through Old Testament Eyes. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel, 2017. Pb. 352 pp. $28.99.   Link to Kregel As Andrew Le Peau observes in the introduction to this new commentary series, the New Testament writers were Old Testament people... [Book Reviews] [gospels] [book review] [gospel of mark] [Intertextuality]

October 7, 6AM

After sending the tearful letter with Titus, Paul planned to meet with Titus in Troas for a report. When this meeting did not happen, Paul grew concerned the Corinthian church was upset with him. Titus was a Greek co-worker of Paul mentioned in several le... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [2 Corinthians]

October 6, 6AM

In 2 Corinthians 2:12-13 Paul says he went to Troas and after a long digression he picks up that thread again in 7:5. If we were reading the letter straight through, or hearing the letter read to us for the first time, we might have expected Paul’s resp... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [2 Corinthians]

October 5, 12 PM

Pennington, Jonathan T. The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing: A Theological Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2017. 326 pp.; Hb.; $32.99. Link to Baker    In the introduction to his new book on the Sermon on the Mount, Jonathan P... [Book Reviews] [Matthew] [book review] [jesus] [sermon on the mount]

5AM

Paul does not think the church at Corinth is maturing as they should. First Corinthians outlines several problems which were due to not fully applying their status in Christ (factions, sinful behavior, questions about key doctrines). In 1 Corinthians Paul... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [2 Corinthians] [the Cross]

October 4, 6AM

After Paul established the church at Corinth (Acts 18:1-17), he remained for 18 months before traveling to Ephesus. He will spend three years in Ephesus, although he appears to have done ministry in Troas as well as planting several churches around the Ly... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [1 Corinthains] [the Cross]

October 3, 12 PM

Gowler, David B. The Parables after Jesus: Their Imaginative Receptions across Two Millennia. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2017. 320 pp.; Pb.; $29.99. Link to Baker    David Gowler’s earlier book on the parables, What Are They Saying about the... [Book Reviews] [parables] [book review] [gospels] [jesus]

5AM

In 1 Corinthians 14 Paul deals with misuse of spiritual gifts which led to divisions between self-described spiritual and the unspiritual people in the church. Their worship was no longer devoted to fellowship between people of every social class (male an... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [1 Corinthains] [the Cross] [Worship]

October 2, 5AM

The Logos Bible Software “Free book of the Month” for October is their best offer ever. During the month of October, you can add The Anchor Yale Bible commentary on Romans by Joseph A. Fitzmyer for free, and Francis I. Andersen’s Anch... [bible software] [Acts] [commentary] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [Genesis] [ipad] [logos] [Logos Bible Software]

October 1, 11AM

Welcome to the Biblical Studies Carnival for September 2017.  This month I have the privilege to host the carnival, next month Doug Chaplin will host his first carnival at his blog, Musings of a Christian Humanist. The next three carnivals are set: Oct... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

September 30, 6AM

Some people in the Corinthian church have no problem eating “food offered to idols” (εἰδωλόθυτος). This is the specific topic of chapter 8 and Paul will mention it again in 10:19. This word appears in Acts 15:29 in the list of things the J... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [1 Corinthains] [the Cross]

September 29, 11AM

By using the death of Jesus on the Cross, God has “made foolish the wisdom of this world” (v. 20). Where is the wise, scribe, the debater of this age? These three questions call on the highest educated (and potentially most arrogant) people in the Gre... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [1 Corinthains] [the Cross]

5AM

In 1 Corinthians 1:18-2:16, Paul shows the heart of his message was that God sent his son into the word to die on the Cross in order to provide atonement for sin. To a Jew, Greek or Roman living in the first century, almost every word of this familiar sum... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [1 Corinthains] [the Cross]

September 28, 6AM

Paul established the church at Corinth in Acts 18. When Paul arrives in Corinth he meets Aquilla and Priscilla, Jews who had been expelled from Rome by Claudius. Paul’s initial ministry is in the agora, working at a tentmaker.  Paul describes his initi... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [1 Corinthains]

September 27, 5AM

If the one who is walking in the Spirit is supporting the local Christian community, how was that community supposed to use the support? “Doing good” might refer to doing things that were considered a civic virtue in the community.  In a Jewish conte... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [Galatians]

September 26, 5AM

In the context of verse 1, this “bearing a burden” may refer to a burden carried by the brother caught in sin. But the language could also refer to financial burdens. This is possible since the next paragraph deals with helping others financially. The... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [1 Thessalonians]

September 25, 12 PM

Paul described what those who “walk by the Spirit” look like in Gal 5:22-26. In the first part of chapter 6 Paul gives another example of walking in the Spirit from Galatians 5. There is a contrast between bearing the burden of the Law (Acts 15:10, 28... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [1 Thessalonians]

September 23, 7AM

Paul says that Peter’s actions are nothing less that hypocrisy. Peter has changed his attitude and behavior toward Gentile Christians after the visit from the “men from James.” The first verb (ὑποστέλλω) is a military term and has the sens... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [Galatians] [hypocrisy]

September 22, 12 PM

At the beginning of the letter to the Galatians, Paul must clarify his relationship with the Jerusalem church. If Paul is under the authority of Jerusalem, then it is at least possible that the “men from James” could claim that Paul has not been autho... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [1 Thessalonians]

5AM

As Thomas Schreiner points out in his recent commentary on Galatians, when he wrote this letter, Paul did not need to explain the situation and background to his readers (p.31). They knew what the situation since it concerned them. We are therefore at a g... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [1 Thessalonians]

September 21, 5AM

The first major controversy the early church had to contend with strikes the modern reader a bit strange. Rather than debating the nature of Jesus or developing the doctrine of the Trinity, the first major theological problem was the status of the Gentile... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [circumcision] [Galatians]

September 20, 9AM

Last week I offered a brand new copy of Ernst Käsemann, On Being a Disciple of the Crucified Nazarene: Unpublished Lectures and Sermons (Translated by Roy A. Harrisville; Eerdmans, 2010). I bought the book this weekend at the Eerdmans Warehouse Sale (one... [Book Reviews] [Apostolic Fathers] [book review] [Church History] [free book] [Giveway]

5AM

One of the basic assumptions most Christian have about Jews in the first century is that they kept separate from the Gentiles. Josephus said that Jews “did not come into contact with other people because of their separateness” (Antiq. 13:245-247). Any... [Pauline Literature] [Diaspora] [Paul]

September 19, 7AM

“So then” (Ἄρα οὖν) is a common Pauline way of drawing a logical conclusion to a section. Since his readers have been chosen by God as the first to share in the Gospel, they will be glorified at the time of Christ’s return (2:14). If this is... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [1 Thessalonians] [2 Thessalonains]

September 18, 5AM

The situation in Thessalonica has changed since Paul wrote his first letter to the church. In fact, the second letter is so different from the first that some scholars suggest it was actually the first letter Paul wrote to the church and the order was rev... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [1 Thessalonians]

September 17, 11AM

The verbs translated “ask” and “urge” (ἐρωτάω and παρακαλέω) in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2 are commonly used to encourage a reader to a particular action.  They appear in personal letters between people of the same social status rather... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [1 Thessalonians]

September 16, 7AM

In 1 Thessalonians 4:9–10 Paul encourages the church at Thessalonica to pursue “brotherly love.” What is brotherly love? The noun used here (φιλαδελφία) was only used for literal family relationships before the Christian community began to... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [1 Thessalonians]

September 15, 6AM

1 Thessalonians fits well into the book of Acts 17:1-9. Paul arrived in the city from Philippi, where he had been arrested illegally and released when he informed the Philippian magistrates he was a Roman citizen. As is typical for Paul he visits the loca... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [1 Thessalonians]

September 14, 1PM

Bird, Michael F. An Anomalous Jew: Paul among Jews, Greeks, and Romans. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2017. xii + 322 pages; Pb. $28.   Link to Eerdmans This new collection of essays from Michael Bird includes three chapters previously published and t... [Book Reviews] [Pauline Literature] [Eerdmans] [Paul]

5AM

Acts 15 concerns the first major controversy in the early church, although the issue seems strange to modern readers. Unlike later theological debate over the divinity of Jesus or the Trinity, or modern concerns over how to properly worship in church or w... [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [new perspective on Paul] [Paul's Conversion]

September 13, 6AM

Somehow I lost a week in the flurry of a new school year. I promised to give away another book I have recent purchased then found it was already on my shelf. This week I have a brand new copy of Ernst Käsemann, On Being a Disciple of the Crucified Nazare... [Book Reviews] [book review] [free book] [Giveway] [Apostolic Fathers] [Church History]

September 12, 8AM

[I wrote this post almost exactly six years ago, September 14, 2011. Howard Pepper asked some good questions in a recent post about the idea of conversion, so I thought O would re-publish this as part of the recent series of posts on Paul’s backgrou... [Luke / Acts] [Pauline Literature] [E. P. Sanders] [new perspective on Paul] [Paul] [Paul's Conversion] [The Wretched Man]

5AM

In his role as the apostle to the Gentiles, Paul is sometimes described as trying to bridge the gap between Judaism and the pagan world. His sermon at Athens in Acts 17 is often used as a model for “how to do ministry” today. In order to reach the wor... [Pauline Literature] [Diaspora] [Paul]

September 11, 12 PM

Merkle, Benjamin L. and Robert L. Plummer. Greek for Life: Strategies for Learning, Retaining, and Reviving New Testament Greek. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2017. 176 pp.; Pb.; $19.99. Link to Baker    In Greek for Life Merkle and Plummer want ... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Greek] [book review] [Greek]

5AM

Paul claims to be called to be an apostle in each of the undisputed letters (Rom 1:1, 1 Cor 1:1, 2 Cor 1:1, Gal 1:1) as well as several other letters (Eph 1:1, Col 1:1, 1-2 Tim, Titus). In addition to the headings of these letters, Paul refers to his apos... [Pauline Literature] [Diaspora] [Paul]

September 9, 10AM

One of the basic assumptions most Christian have about Jews in the first century is that they kept separate from the Gentiles. Josephus said that Jews “did not come into contact with other people because of their separateness” (Antiq. 13:245-247). Any... [Pauline Literature] [Diaspora] [Paul]

September 8, 12 PM

Pleins, J. David  and Jonathan Homrighausen. Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary by Conceptual Categories: A Student’s Guide to Nouns in the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2017. 176 pp.; Pb.; $17.99.   Link to Zondervan The goal of this ne... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Hebrew] [Hebrew Language]

5AM

One of the more tantalizing aspects of Paul’s early ministry is his “three years in Arabia.” In Galatians 1:17, Paul claims he did not go to Jerusalem immediately, but rather he went to Arabia for a period of time before returning to Damascus. This ... [Pauline Literature] [Arabia] [Galatians] [Paul]

September 7, 12 PM

Todd Bolen has been producing high quality resources for Bible teachers for many years on his website Bible Places.com. I first became aware of Bolens’s Pictorial Library of Biblical Lands at an ETS in 2003. At the time this was eight CDs or one DVD of ... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Geography] [book review] [geography]

4AM

Like Philippians 3, in 2 Corinthians 11:23–33 Paul boasts about his ministry. Since this letter is written in the mid-50s, the list refers to Paul’s early ministry. But Paul does not list his accomplishments quite the way we would expect them. First, ... [Pauline Literature] [Diaspora] [Paul]

September 6, 6AM

It is time to give away my extra copy of  Charles Talbert’s Reading the Sermon on the Mount: Character Formation and Decision Making in Matthew 5–7 . As I mentioned in the previous post, I plan on teaching through the Sermon in my Sunday School ... [Book Reviews] [Apostolic Fathers] [book review] [Church History] [free book] [Giveway]

5AM

Galatians 1:11–12 (ESV) For I would have you know, brothers, that the gospel that was preached by me is not man’s gospel. For I did not receive it from any man, nor was I taught it, but I received it through a revelation of Jesus Christ. At the beginn... [Pauline Literature] [Diaspora] [Paul]

September 5, 8AM

For most Christians, Paul’s experience on the Road to Damascus (Acts 9) is the classic story of the conversion of the chief of sinners. Jesus himself appears to Rabbi Saul and confronts him with the truth of the resurrection and completely turns him aro... [Pauline Literature] [Diaspora] [Paul]

September 4, 8AM

Paul claims to be a Pharisee in Philippians 3 and in Acts 22:2-5 he claims before the Sanhedrin to have been “educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers” (Acts 22:3). The Pharisees are well known in scrip... [Pauline Literature] [Paul] [pharisee]

September 1, 11AM

This month you can download David E. Garland’s NIV Application Commentary on Mark for free, and add John Walton’s NIVAC commentary on Job for only $1.99. For the first time that I can recall, they are offering a third book in this series, Scot... [bible software] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [ipad] [logos] [Logos Bible Software]

6AM

The Carnival is right through that door. Trust me. It is Carnival time once again, and Jason Gardner posted a great collection of links at eis doxan in his Biblical Studies Carnival for August 2017.  Jason is currently a PhD candidate at Dallas Theologi... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

August 31, 7AM

One of the most important starting points for the study of Paul is the simple recognition that Paul was a Hellenistic Jew who was born in the Diaspora, yet received training in Jerusalem from the prominent teacher Gamaliel.  While this seems to be a rath... [Pauline Literature] [Diaspora] [Paul]

August 30, 7AM

Once again, to celebrate the end of the summer and beginning of the new academic year, I am giving away a few books. In this case, it is another book I purchase and then discovered I already had it on the shelf. Since I am planning to teach through the Se... [Book Reviews] [Apostolic Fathers] [book review] [Church History] [free book] [Giveway]
Last week I announced I would celebrate the new school year by giving away a copy of First up is Paul Borgman’s The Way according to Luke: Hearing the Whole Story of Luke-Acts (Eerdmans, 2006). This is my own copy of the book, which I purchased twice (... [Book Reviews] [book review] [free book] [Giveway]

August 29, 8AM

Since this is an odd-numbered Fall, I am teaching Pauline Literature. For a textbook I will be I will be using Longenecker and Still, Thinking through Paul (Zondervan, 2014). This will be my second time using this this book for the class. Although some of... [Pauline Literature] [Paul]

August 26, 5AM

Laansma, Jon C. and Randall X. Gauthier. The Handy Guide to Difficult and Irregular Greek Verbs. Aids for Readers of the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. Kregel Academic, 2017. 80 pgs; Pb. $13.99 Link to Kregel Kregel Academic recently sent me a ... [Book Reviews] [New Testament Greek] [grammar] [Greek] [Kregel] [syntax]

August 25, 5AM

Eerdmans recently sent me an uncorrected advanced copy of Douglas Campbell’s Paul: An Apostle’s Journey. The book will not be released until January 2018, so consider this a sneak peek at what I think will be a popular textbook for a Pauline Literatur... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Pauline Epistles]

August 24, 6AM

Kimble, Jeremy M. 40 Questions about Church Membership and Discipline. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel, 2017. Pb. 272 pp. $23.99.   Link to Kregel If recent studies are accurate, both church attendance and church membership in America are in decline. This i... [Book Reviews] [Gospel of John] [book review] [church] [Church Membership] [Church Discipline]

August 23, 10AM

To celebrate the beginning of a new school year I thought I would give away several books. Hopefully this happens to other people, but I occasionally purchase a book, and then when I put it on the shelf I discover I already have the book. Although this is... [Book Reviews] [book review] [free book] [Giveway] [Luke] [Luke / Acts]

August 22, 4AM

In the opening paragraph of the book we are introduced to Joseph and Pharaoh and the well-known situation of the famine. Pentaphres a priest in Hierapolis has a beautiful daughter named Asenath. She is described as tall like Sarah, handsome like Rebecca a... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Joseph and Aseneth] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Second Temple Judaism]

August 21, 4AM

Joseph and Aseneth book is a “romance,” telling the story of Joseph’s marriage to Aseneth, the daughter of Potiphera (called Pentepheres in this book.)  Like the book of Jubilees, the book attempts to answer a question which many people have about ... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Joseph and Aseneth] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Second Temple Judaism]

August 17, 4AM

M. D. Johnson translation of the Greek version of the Life of Adam and Eve is rearranged and placed in parallel columns to the Latin version in Charlesworth’s Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. This text is sometimes called Apocalypse of Moses, although he r... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Adam and Eve] [apocalypse] [Life of Adam and Eve] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

August 16, 8AM

The Life of Adam and Eve is an expansion of the creation and fall narrative. It appears in two forms, a “Life” of Adam and an “apocalypse” of Adam. Both were likely written in Hebrew and translated into Greek and Latin. There are parallels to othe... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Life of Adam and Eve] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Second Temple Judaism]

August 15, 4AM

Chapters 6-11 are a Christian addition to the Martyrdom of Isaiah, usually called the “Visions of Isaiah.” Isaiah has a vision when he was in Jerusalem to see King Hezekiah. While he is surrounded by forty prophets (including Joel and Micah), he slips... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Jubilees] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Second Temple Judaism]

August 14, 4AM

The first five chapters of this work are a Jewish expansion of 2 Kings, detailing the martyrdom of Isaiah. Chapters 6-11 are a Christian work which detail Isaiah’s ascension through the seven heavens. This section is akin to the apocalyptic literature o... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Jubilees] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Second Temple Judaism]

August 11, 10AM

One of my favorite movies when I was a kid was Day of the Triffids. In this 1963 British film, the earth experiences an unusual meteor shower. Everyone who watched the meteors were struck blind, and for reasons not sufficiently explained in the film a rar... [apocalyptic] [eclipse] [Signs of the End] [solar eclipse]

August 10, 5AM

Jubilees 24-27 detail Jacob’s stealth as he buys Esau’s birthright and his journey to Gerar. Like the similar Abraham story, the lie concerning his wife is omitted. There is a long section (24:14-26) given the locations of various wells dug by Jacob. ... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Jubilees] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Second Temple Judaism]

August 9, 4AM

Jubilees 11 is a narrative-genealogy for Abram. The births of Serug, Nahor, Terah and Abram are narrated. The period leading up to the time of Abram’s birth is a terrible time, but Abram is a righteous man who separated from his father over the worship ... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Jubilees] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Second Temple Judaism]

August 8, 10AM

Chapter 1 begins with Moses going up to Mount Sinai to receive the Law the Lord commands him to create a book so that his descendants will know what has happened on the Mountain.  The Lord tells Moses the people will not keep the Law, they will worship i... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Jubilees] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Second Temple Judaism]

August 7, 5AM

Just as the writer of Jubilees sought to insert the Law into primeval history, so to the boundaries of the Land (Halpern-Amaru, Rewriting the Bible, 25-26). The allocation of the land of Israel to the descendants of Shem is made in documents written by No... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Jubilees] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Second Temple Judaism]

August 4, 6AM

In Jubilees, the law is established in creation, therefore “Obedience to the Law is the central message of Jubilees” (Wintermute, “Jubilees,” OTP 2:40). The writer desires to place as many Jewish customs and religious features as early in the hist... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Jubilees] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Second Temple Judaism]

August 3, 6AM

The primary purpose of Jubilees is therefore to define the true Jewish people as those who keep God’s law and to call the Jewish people back to obedience to that Law (suggested by Sanders in Paul and Palestinian Judaism, 362). The Law is rooted in the v... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Jubilees] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Second Temple Judaism]

August 2, 12 PM

Jubilees is a critically important book for the study of the New Testament. As a summary and expansion of the Law, Jubilees provides a deep insight into the way the Jews in the last two centuries before Christ thought about the importance of the Law. The... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Jubilees] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Second Temple Judaism]

August 1, 5AM

Rubén de Rus has posted the July 2017 Biblical Studies Carnival at his blog, Ayuda Ministerial/Resources for Ministry. Jim West did not post his Avignonian Carnival, but he is celebrating Walther Eichrodt’s Birthday. The next few carnivals will be ho... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

July 31, 11AM

I have been traveling quite a bit this summer and have finally made it back to my office. I have an early fall class starting next week, but I do plan on continuing the Second Temple period literature series through August. While I was speaking at West Co... [Biblioblogs] [Huzzah!] [podcast] [Youth Ministry]

July 21, 12 PM

After interviewing the demons, Solomon is visited by the Queen of Sheba, who is a witch in the Testament of Solomon 19. The Queen of Sheba visits Solomon in 1 Kings 10 and marvels at the glory of the Temple and Jerusalem and she is certainly not a witch. ... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Demons] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Queen of Sheba] [Testament of Solomon]

July 18, 7AM

The Testament of Solomon begins with the story of a demon named Ornias who stole wages from a worker building the Temple and then sucked the thumb of a man’s son, sapping his strength. Solomon interrogates the boy and discovers the demon’s activities.... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Solomon]

July 17, 7AM

D. C. Duling argues at length that this Solomonic magical text was written in Greek, likely from Alexandria in the third century A.D. (OTP 1:940-943), although earlier scholarship argued for a much later date. There is no clear evidence of an earlier Hebr... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Gad]

July 15, 7AM

The first few fragmentary verses set the context for the testament.  Moses called Joshua and commanded him to go forth in the strength of the Lord. Moses tells Joshua he was prepared by the Lord to be the mediator of the covenant and now he is about to d... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Moses]

July 14, 7AM

This book is called The Assumption of Moses in Charles, although the Testament and the Assumption may be two separate books. The only extant copy of the Testament of Moses is a Latin palimpsest dating to the sixth century A.D.  This manuscript is missing... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Moses]

July 13, 7AM

This testament is a Christian work with a Trinitarian introduction (the exact same words as the Testament of Isaac). The writer refers the reader to the Old Testament to learn the rest of the history (7.2). The work is known primarily from an Arabic text,... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Jacob]

July 1, 11AM

I have posted a few updates to the Zambia 2017 blog. I am preaching in an African church in the morning, and the conference starts on Monday.  Click on over and see what I have been up to in Zambia this week. [Travel] [Zambia]

4AM

After spending some time reading in the so-called anti-Imperial texts in Paul, I would suggest that Paul does in fact envision the eventual destruction of the Roman Empire.  But Paul does not encourage the sorts of anti-government protests and social act... [Ephesians] [Paul] [Anti-imperialism] [Epistle to the Ephesians] [N. T. Wright] [Pauline Epistles]

12 AM

Several times in Ephesians Paul mentions rulers and authorities, powers and dominions. Most commentators observe Paul has spiritual forces in view when he uses this kind of language. By the first century, Judaism had developed a complicated view of angel... [Ephesians] [Paul] [Anti-imperialism] [Epistle to the Ephesians] [N. T. Wright] [Pauline Epistles]

June 30, 7AM

The Lord tells Michael it is time for Abraham to return to his home so that he can make arrangements for his death. Abraham refuses to follow the angel even though he has fulfilled his request to see the whole world. Michael is forbidden to touch Abraham ... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Abraham]

June 29, 7AM

The book begins like other examples of testament literature. Abraham, now at the age of 995 years, is about to die “unexpectedly.” In this case, however, Michael comes down from heaven to Abraham at the command of God. Michael goes to Abraham and find... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Abraham]

June 28, 7AM

E. P. Sanders notes in his introduction to the next three testaments that they all three likely come from Greek-speaking Jewish author living in Egypt in the first or second century A.D. (OTP 1:869). They were, however, thoroughly taken over by Christians... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Abraham]

June 27, 7AM

Chapter 1 is a brief introduction to the book; Job gathers his family to listen to his final words. In this section we learn the names of the children of Job and that his second wife is the daughter of Dinah, making the children of Jacob. This is critical... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Bilhah] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Job] [Testament of Reuben]

June 26, 7AM

Unlike the Testament of the Twelve, the Testament of Job is an independent text which has been edited by Christians, although the original text likely dates to the first century. The book takes the occasion of Job’s last words to his even sons and his t... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Job]

June 24, 6AM

I leave Sunday afternoon for Zambia to participate in a pastor’s Bible conference. The conference is July 3-7 and we are expecting pastors from Zambia, Tanzania, and Malawi. There are a two theology sections and two practical theology sections. I wi... [Biblioblogs] [Travel]

June 23, 9AM

Rob Bradshaw at BiblicalStudies.uk.org has been scanning theological journals and other resources for many years, with more than 32,000 articles available for free download. He just added Evangelical Quarterly. As Rob explains on his blog, The Evangelical... [Biblioblogs] [Book Notices] [Biblical Studies] [Biblioblogs] [Journals] [PDF Journals]

7AM

The historical expansion section of Benjamin concerns an apocryphal story about Joseph in his trip down to Egypt (chapters 1-2). Joseph is a model of a pious man who loved the Lord his God, feared him and loved his neighbor (chapter 3). There is a Christi... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Testament of the Twelve] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Benjamin]

June 22, 7AM

Joseph has a lengthy historical expansion which covers the entire book. Joseph describes his initial imprisonment (chapter 1) and spends chapters 2-9 describing the traps set by the “Egyptian woman” trying to coax him in a sexual affair. She uses prom... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Testament of the Twelve] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Joseph]

June 21, 7PM

Today is the day I pick a winner for a new copy of Gerald McDermott’s recent book, Israel Matters: Why Christians Must Think Differently about the People and the Land (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Brazos Press, 2017). The contest opened a week ago, and only 13... [Book Reviews] [Huzzah!] [free book] [Giveway]

7AM

Asher is missing the historical expansion found in previous testaments. He begins with a moral exhortation concerning the “two ways.” This ethic is found throughout this literature, but is clearly the main theme here. OTP 1:816, note a comments this ... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Testament of the Twelve] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Asher]

June 20, 6AM

Like most of this collection, the Testament of Gad begins with an expansion of the Joseph story. Although there is virtually nothing about Gad known from the Hebrew Bible other than a notice he was Bilhah’s son (Gen 30:11). Although his name means “go... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Testament of the Twelve] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Gad]

June 19, 9AM

Like most of these testaments, the author has expanded on very minimal information about Naphtali to create the final words of this son of Jacob. Other Second Temple texts expanded Naphtali’s story as well. For example in Joseph and Asenath 25.5-7, Dan ... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Testament of the Twelve] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Naphtali]

June 15, 7AM

Dan begins with a confession that he rejoiced over the death what he thought was the death of Joseph. He so hated his brother that he desired to suck the blood of Joseph (1:9)! This, he claims, was the spirit of Beliar at work within him. Anger is therefo... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Testament of the Twelve] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Dan]

June 14, 5AM

This testament is fragmentary in Armenian and Slavonic versions and several Greek manuscripts are mission 6.4-8.3 (Kugler, 64). Kugler suggest the text was shortened by later scribes to limit the extravagant claims of compassion made by Zebulon. The Testa... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Testament of the Twelve] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Zebulon]

June 13, 12 PM

I have not given away a book on Reading Acts in a while, but a giveaway is a good way to overcome the summer blogging malaise.  I recently reviewed Gerald McDermott’s recent book, Israel Matters: Why Christians Must Think Differently about the Peo... [Book Reviews] [Apostolic Fathers] [book review] [Church History] [free book] [Giveway]

6AM

This brief Testament begins with an expansion of the birth of Issachar drawn from Genesis 30:1-24. Unlike the biblical story, there is more dialogue between Rachel and Leah. Rachel accuses Leah of stealing Jacob as husband because Leah gave up her mandrak... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Testament of the Twelve] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Issachar]

June 12, 12 PM

McDermott, Gerald R. Israel Matters: Why Christians Must Think Differently about the People and the Land. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Brazos Press, 2017. 158 pp.; Pb.; $17.90  Link to Brazos Press Gerald McDermott edited a volume of essays on the status of Isra... [Book Reviews] [book review] [dispensationalism] [israel]

7AM

Testament of Judah chapters 20-25 are a mini-apocalypse. The reader is first commanded to love Levi because the priesthood is superior to anything on earth (21:2-3). Reflecting the later history of the priesthood and monarchy, Levi was given heavenly matt... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Testament of the Twelve] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Judah]

June 9, 6AM

The first twelve chapters of the Testament of Judah recount the military adventures of Judah. This section is laced with legendary elements pitting Judah against the “two armor-clad kings of the Canaanites” In 4:7 Jacob killed a giant twelve cubits ta... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Testament of the Twelve] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Judah]

June 8, 7AM

Baylor University Press is having a Grad Student Sale The sale itself runs from Friday, June 9th through Sunday, June 11th. Use the discount code “BJUN” to order books from their website at a 50% discount! The code applies to all books published in... [Book Notices] [baylor] [Cheap Books]

5AM

During the 70 weeks, each Jubilee will bring a further digression of the priesthood, from the first priests who are great and speak to God as a father, to the seventh, who are idolaters, adulterers, and money-lovers, arrogant, lawless, voluptuaries, peder... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Testament of the Twelve] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Levi]

June 7, 5AM

Testament of Levi 14-18 is a mini-apocalypse. Levi explains that in the past the people of God have acted impiously (citing the Book of Enoch). Because of the sin of the people, which is compared to that of Sodom and Gomorrah, the sanctuary of the Lord wi... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Testament of the Twelve] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Levi]

June 6, 5AM

Levi is one of the most interesting of the Testaments for the study of the New Testament. While there are ethical elements, the Testament begins by informing the reader Levi was healthy when he gathered his sons and he told them of what would happen “un... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Testament of the Twelve] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Levi]

June 5, 8AM

Just as the other Testaments of the Twelve, the writer expands on the biblical story considerable. Simeon was blessed with strength and courage which he used in the raid on Shechem (Genesis 37:25-28, T.Simeon 1-2). He was, however, envious of Joseph (who ... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Testament of the Twelve] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Simeon]

June 3, 6AM

Peckham, John C. The Love of God: A Canonical Model. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2015.  Link to IVP Peckham’s 2012 dissertation at Andrews University was published as The Concept of Divine Love in the Context of the God-World Relationship (Studi... [Book Reviews] [Arminianism] [book review] [Calvinism] [love of God] [theology]

June 2, 11AM

Once again the good folk at Logos are offering an excellent Free Book of the Month. This month Logos partners with P&R Publishing to offer John M. Frame, Salvation Belongs to the Lord: An Introduction to Systematic Theology (P&R, 2006) as a fre... [bible software] [Authorship of Hebrews] [commentary] [Ephesians] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [Hebrews] [ipad] [Joseph Ratzinger] [logos] [Logos Bible Software]

7AM

T.Reuben deals with the problem of sexual promiscuity. In the Hebrew Bible, all we are told is Reuben “defiled his father’s bed” by sleeping with Bilhah, his father’s concubine (Gen 35:22). The writer of the Testament of Reuben uses this story to ... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Testament of the Twelve] [Bilhah] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Testament of Reuben]

June 1, 10AM

Not really Jeff Jeff Carter has posted the Biblical Studies Carnival for May at his blog, thatjeffcarterwashere. As he says, “there are thrills and spills and delights around every new corner.” It is indeed a carnival feast for all the senses... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

6AM

The Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs claim to be the final words of the sons of Jacob. Just as Jacob gave his final “testament” in Genesis 49, each of these Testaments claim to the last words of a patriarch to their sons. The genre of testament is ... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Testament of the Twelve] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

May 31, 5AM

Since The Apocalypse of Elijah is strongly influenced by the book of Revelation, especially 11:1-12, it is not surprising to find a great deal in this apocalypse about a future Antichrist. Jewish apocalypses anticipated a coming king who would persecute G... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Apocalypse of Elijah] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

May 30, 5AM

The Apocalypse of Elijah is not strictly speaking an apocalypse. It is strongly influenced by the book of Revelation, especially 11:1-12 (the appearance of two witnesses in Jerusalem). There are dozens of possible ways to interpret the two witnesses, from... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Apocalypse of Abraham] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

May 29, 6AM

The Apocalypse of Adam is a gnostic text found among the Nag Hammadi codices. It is written in Coptic but is likely a translation from Greek. The date is difficult to determine. It may refer to Vesuvius, but the allusion is not certain. McRae concludes a ... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Apocalypse of Adam] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

May 26, 6AM

Dating the Apocalypse of Abraham is difficult due to the lack of concrete historical references in the book. It refers to the destruction of the temple in chapter 30 and possibly Vesuvius in the same context. The fact the book is interested in the fall of... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Apocalypse of Abraham] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

May 25, 1PM

Hays, Richard B. and Stefan Alkier, eds. Revelation and the Politics of Apocalyptic Interpretation. Waco: Baylor University Press, 2015. 239 pp.; Hb.; $29.95  Link to Baylor This collection of essays are the result of an interdisciplinary conference host... [Book Reviews] [apocalyptic] [book review]

7AM

3 Baruch was originally a Greek work but is also known in Slavonic translation. It is possible the book is mentioned in Origen’s De principiis 2.3.6. If this is so, then the book can be dated before A.D. 231. This citation is, however, far from certain,... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [3 Baruch] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

May 24, 12 PM

In the summer of 2016 I began a long series on the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. I made about 75 points from May 18 through September 6 (when my fall teaching responsibilities required most of my attention). As it turned out, I only managed to post on the... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [2 (Syriac Apocalypse of) Baruch] [2 Baruch] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Second Baruch]

May 22, 12 PM

Bockmuehl, Markus. Ancient Apocryphal Gospels. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2017. 344 pp.; Hb.; $40.00  Link to Westminster This new contribution to the Interpretation Resources for the Use of Scripture in the Early Church limits itself to apocryph... [apocalyptic] [Book Reviews] [book review] [New Testament apocrypha]

May 19, 12 PM

Connelly, Douglas. Seven Letters to Seven Churches. Lifeguide® Bible Studies. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2017. Pb; 64 pp; $9  Link to IVP InterVarsity Press sent me a copy of this short Bible Study for the Letters to the Seven Churches found in ... [Book Reviews] [Bible study] [book review] [Revelation]

May 18, 10AM

Petra 2005 May 2005 was my first trip to Israel. I had only 14 students but we did just about everything on that trip. We stayed several days longer than any other trip and made day trips to Petra and St. Catherine’s Monastery in Egypt. Tourism was ... [Israel Trip] [israel] [Jordan] [Travel]
On the Temple Mount May 2007 was only the second time I visited Israel. I only had a handful of students, so Dale DeWitt joined with three people from his church in South Dakota and one student brought a friend and another brought her brother. This was my... [Israel Trip] [israel] [Jordan] [Travel]
The May 2009 Grace Bible College Israel trip (May 12-22) was my third trip and for the first time I was able to “live blog” several times from Israel. Free wireless internet was still a rarity in the hotels at that time, so I only made three p... [Israel Trip] [israel] [Jordan] [Travel]
In May 2011 sixteen Grace Bible College students  traveled to Israel and Jordan. Unlike other Israel trips, this time we flew Royal Jordanian Airlines to Amman and spent a few days in Jordan before crossing into Israel. This trip was special because my t... [Israel Trip] [israel] [Jordan] [Travel]
Mount Arbel Carob Tree Lookout, January 2012 In January 2012 I traveled with 22 adults and students to Israel and Jordan. This trip was a little different than a student trip since we had a wide range of ages (one in high school, two college students, an... [Israel Trip] [israel] [Jordan] [Travel]
Mount Arbel Carob Tree Lookout In May 2013 I traveled with 15 students and friends to Israel and Jordan. Thanks to Ben Rolff for this video! GBC – Israel Tour 2013 Day 1 – We Have Left, On a Jet Plane Day 2 – Walking around Jerusalem Day 3 – The... [Israel Trip] [israel] [Jordan] [Travel]
In May 2015 I traveled with 24 students and friends to Israel and Jordan. Professor Scott Shaw was a co-leader, without his help it would have been very difficult. I wrote these posts while in Israel or Jordan on my iPad, so think of them as “live r... [Israel Trip] [israel] [Jordan] [Travel]
In May 2017 I traveled with 34 students, parents and friends to Israel and Jordan. This was my eighth trip to Israel and by far my largest group. Professor Scott Shaw was a co-leader (this was his fourth trip), without his help it would have been impossib... [Israel Trip] [israel] [Jordan] [Travel]

9AM

Phillips, Susan S. The Cultivated Life: From Ceaseless Striving to Receiving Joy. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2015.  Link to IVP Susan Phillips begins her book on spiritual disciplines with a description of life as a circus. Most readers will app... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Spiritual Discipline] [Spirituality]

May 17, 4AM

The last day of our Israel trip began with a 5:00 AM wake-up call in order to catch our 10:00 AM Turkish Airlines flight. We were to land in Chicago at 5:40 PM, losing the eight hours, but of course we were delayed in Istanbul slightly. With favorable win... [Israel Trip] [israel] [Travel]

May 13, 11AM

Today is our last full day in Israel, tomorrow we fly out at 10am and arrive back at Grace Bible College around 10pm. The flight times are longer than that since there is a seven hour time difference.  We left Tamar at 9am, allowing for a little more... [Israel Trip] [Bethlehem] [israel] [Travel]

May 12, 12 PM

Our second-to-the-last day in Israel began at En-Gedi, where David hid from King Saul in a cave (1 Samuel 24). This is one of the more beautiful hikes on the trip since the Israeli Parks service has developed Wadi David as a nature preserve. The mile and ... [Israel Trip] [Dead Sea] [En Gedi] [israel] [Qumran] [Travel]

May 11, 11AM

Since we are staying at Tamar we needed to leave at 8 AM to travel north to our three sites for the day. The first, Mamshit, was a Nabatean trading town developed in the first century. Walking up the hill from the park entrance we entered the reconstructe... [Israel Trip] [Arad] [israel] [Mamshit] [Masada] [Travel]

May 10, 12 PM

Not too much to report today. Every tour has a necessary travel day, in this case we left Petra about 8:30 and drove to the Arava Border crossing to return to Israel. The drive was uneventful, except for a short bathroom break at a new shop with very clea... [Israel Trip] [israel] [Travel]

May 9, 7AM

Today was our big walk through Petra. Because our hotel is right next to the entrance, we were able to leave at 9 AM and walk over to the visitor center at Petra. The students seem very happy at the extra sleep, especially since we got to the hotel at nea... [Israel Trip] [Jordan] [Petra] [Travel]

May 8, 12 PM

We left the hotel early in order to cross the border to Jordan. This was relatively painless although it took much longer than anticipated. Moving 35 people through the lines simply took longer on both sides, and with only a couple of exceptions the secur... [Israel Trip] [israel] [Jordan]

May 7, 12 PM

The tour today focused on sites in the Jesus sits in Galilee. We left about 8 AM and made a stop at Yardenet, the pilgrim baptism site on the Jordan River. This is a location that is set up for large groups to come in and participate in a baptism in the J... [Observations on Acts]

May 6, 1PM

Our goal was to leave Jerusalem at 8 o’clock sharp this morning, but that did not happen since a pair of students oversleep and unfortunately leave their phone off the hook so that could not be called. By the time I pounded on the door we were ... [Observations on Acts]

May 5, 6AM

After a lighter walking day yesterday, we started at the Mount of Olives with the goal of walking across the Kidron Valley, up to the City of David, through Hzekiah’s tunnel, and then Back up to the Dung Gate, back across the Old City and out the Ja... [Observations on Acts]

May 4, 11AM

After the long walking day yesterday the group was more than happy to visit two excellent museums in Jerusalem. First, we visited the Yad VaShem, the Israeli Holocaust Museum. Ironically, as we arrived at the museum our bus had some sort of an electrical ... [Israel Trip] [israel]

May 3, 8AM

This was our first full day in Jerusalem. After a short walk from our hotel we visited the Garden Tomb. As always this was an early highlight for everyone. Our Garden Tomb guide was Peter, and his presentation of the facts about the Garden was excellent a... [Observations on Acts]

May 2, 1PM

I am currently on a tour of Israel and Jordan with students and friends of Grace Bible College. We made it to Jerusalem after a very long day of travel. We left campus on time (which is strange) and hit virtually no traffic on the way to Chicago’s O... [Israel Trip] [GBC Israel] [israel]

May 1, 9AM

For the next two weeks I am leading a (mostly) student group from Grace Bible College on a tour of Israel and Jordan. This is my eighth trip leading a group to Israel. I have 35 students and parents on this trip, so it is by far the largest group I have... [Israel Trip] [GBC Israel] [GBC Israel Trip] [Jordan] [Petra]

April 28, 12 PM

Johnson, Andy. 1 & 2 Thessalonians. Two Horizons New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2016. 349 pp. Pb; $25. Link to Eerdmans Andy Johnson’s new contribution in the Two Horizons series from Eerdmans on the two letters to the The... [Book Reviews] [Thessalonians] [1 Thessalonians] [2 Thessalonains] [Pauline Epistles]

April 22, 8AM

The activity of the Zealots and Sicarii further destabilized the political situation. The name Sicarii comes from a short sword that could be concealed under clothing.  The Sicarri would mingle into a crowd and assassinate their enemies. They were not re... [Second Temple Period] [Jewish Revolt] [New Testament Background] [Social Bandits]

April 21, 6AM

I am quite used to seeing stories about the historical Jesus in the media around Christmas and Easter. It is a good time for the History channel to trot out reruns of Secret Mysteries of the Bible or The Bible and Aliens. And to be honest, I occasionally ... [historical Jesus] [humor] [Poppycock]

April 20, 2PM

In addition to Jesus, there were several false messiahs appeared in the first century. Each of this examples are from humble origins (shepherds, etc.), sought to set themselves up as kings, and developed a peasant following. Under the procurator Fadus (44... [Second Temple Period] [Jewish Revolt] [New Testament Background] [Social Bandits]

10AM

Josephus, Wars 1.10.5 Now Herod was an active man, and soon found proper materials for his active spirit to work upon.  As therefore he found that Hezekias, the head of the robbers, ran over the neighboring parts of Syria with a great band of men, he cau... [Second Temple Period] [Jewish Revolt] [New Testament Background] [Social Bandits]

April 18, 1PM

Prior to the Jewish revolt, at least some Jewish writers thought the people of Israel would be reassembled as the twelve tribes of Israel. The Diaspora will end and Jews will return to the Promised Land. Isaiah 40-66 anticipated a kind of new exodus. God ... [Second Temple Period] [Jewish Revolt] [Messianic Expectations] [New Testament Background]

April 17, 11AM

Dunn, James. Neither Jew nor Greek: A Contested Identity. Christianity in the Making, Volume 3. Grand Rapids, Mich. Eerdmans, 2016. 960 pp. Hb; $60.00. Link to Eerdmans Neither Jew nor Greek completes Dunn’s three-volume project encompassing the New Tes... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Priesthood of Believers] [theology]

April 16, 2PM

E. P. Sanders contended Judaism in the Second Temple period was not a religion of individual salvation (278). God made a covenant with the people of Israel and it is the people who will be preserved. The eschatology of Israel is a national eschatology rat... [Second Temple Period] [Jewish Revolt] [New Testament Background] [roman empire]

April 14, 5AM

Estes, Douglas. Questions and Rhetoric in the Greek New Testament. An Essential Reference Resource for Exegesis. Grand Rapids, Mich. Zondervan, 2017. 400 pp. Hb; $49.99. Link to Zondervan For most students of the New Testament Greek, the syntax of questio... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Priesthood of Believers] [theology]

April 13, 10AM

Longenecker, Richard N. Paul, Apostle of Liberty. Second Edition. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2016. 435 pp. Pb; $34.   Link to Eerdmans Richard Longenecker’s Paul, Apostle of Liberty was first published in 1964. Much has happened in Pauline studies... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Pauline Theology]

6AM

I have posted on this topic before,  usually in the context of the book of Revelation. For example in this post I argued Revelation is a form of resistance literature offering an alternative way of looking at the power of Rome. On my recent tour of Rom... [Second Temple Period] [New Testament Background] [roman empire] [Roman Religion]

April 11, 1PM

Roman religious thought is characterized by the syncretic thinking of the Roman people. They had little imagination and largely assumed the Greek gods with new names. Zeus, for example, is Jupiter in Rome. The three key gods of Rome, Jupiter, Minerva and ... [Second Temple Period] [New Testament Background] [roman empire] [Roman Religion]

April 7, 7AM

Greco-Roman Religions might be considered “the competition” of early Christianity, but this is not a fair description of how religions functioned in the first century. A Guardian lares First, in the first century, religion was rarely a choice. A perso... [Second Temple Period] [New Testament Background] [roman empire] [Roman Religion]

April 6, 1PM

Tidball, Derek. The Voices of the New Testament: Invitation to a Biblical Roundtable. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2016. 279 pgs., Pb.; $24.00 Link to IVP In the late 1970s Steve Allen hosted an educational program on PBS called Meeting of the Minds... [Book Reviews] [book review] [New Testament Theology]

6AM

The prohibition of Gentiles in the main court of the temple during the first century is well known. Paul refers to a “dividing wall” of hostility between Jews and Gentiles in Ephesians 2:15, probably an allusion to the warning to Gentiles in the Templ... [Second Temple Period] [Gentiles] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism] [temple]

April 5, 8AM

While the synagogue was a place for prayer and study of scripture, the Temple was a place for sacrifice. Just as sacrifice of animals is always a part of religion in the ancient world, it played an important part of the practice of religion in Jerusalem. ... [Second Temple Period] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism] [temple]

April 4, 12 PM

Anizor, Uche and Hank Voss. Representing Christ: A Vision for the Priesthood of All Believers. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2016.205 pp. Pb.; $20. Link to IVP   Representing Christ is a study of the priesthood of the believer written by two recent ... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Priesthood of Believers] [theology]

10AM

When it comes to distinctively Jewish practices, how much did the “average Jew” care about keeping these traditions?  The great majority of Jews, comments N. T. Wright, “cared sufficiently about their god, their scriptures, and their Jewish heritag... [Second Temple Period] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism] [shema]

April 2, 11AM

After the national tragedy of 586 B.C. the study of the Law became a critically important practice for the Jews.  They went into exile because they did not follow the Law, therefore they devoted themselves to the study and practice of Law. The first two ... [Second Temple Period] [midrash] [New Testament Background] [pesher] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

April 1, 10AM

The Logos Bible Software “Free book of the Month” for April is E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brien, Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible (IVP, 2012). You may recall thei... [bible software] [Acts] [commentary] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [Genesis] [ipad] [logos] [Logos Bible Software]

6AM

  Jonathan Robinson has posted his “Mad as a March Hare” version of the Biblical studies carnival at  ξἐνος. He has hosted twice before,  2012 April Fools and 2010 Oktoberfest, but this is his best work yet. Jonathan’s car... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

March 31, 12 PM

Buckley Michael J. What Do You Seek? The Questions of Jesus as Challenge and Promise. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2016. 158 pages; pb. $18.00   Link to Eerdmans This short monograph collects fourteen short meditations on questions asked by Jesus in t... [Book Reviews] [Gospel of John] [jesus] [Pauline Epistles]

10AM

“Yet out of the whole human race He chose as of special merit and judged worthy of pre-eminence over all, those who are in a true sense men, and called them to the service of Himself, the perennial fountain of things excellent” (Philo Spec. Laws 1.303... [Second Temple Period] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism] [shema]

March 30, 6AM

The belief in only one God is the most basic aspect of Judaism. As expressed in Deuteronomy 6:4-6, the shema. The first four of the Ten Commandments clarify how Israel was to worship God (worship God alone, without a graven image, without using his name i... [Second Temple Period] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism] [shema]

March 28, 12 PM

Faithlife Study Bible. Edited by John D. Barry, Douglas Mangum, Derek R. Brown, and Michael S. Heiser. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2017. Hb. $49.99  Link to Zondervan The Faithlife Study Bible is a new Study Bible designed to help readers to find th... [Book Reviews] [Bible] [book review]

March 27, 1PM

Hardin, Leslie T. The Spirituality of Paul: Partnering with the Spirit in Everyday Life. Grand Rapids, Mich. Kregel, 2016. 192 pp. Hb; $16.99. Link to Kregel Leslie Hardin is a contributor to the Journal of Spiritual Formation and Soul Care and wrote The ... [Book Reviews] [Paul] [Apostle Paul] [book review] [Pauline Epistles] [Spirituality]

March 24, 11AM

In 4 Maccabees the role of the law as nearly equivalent to reason. Although God created humans with emotions and passions, he also “enthroned the mind among the senses as a sacred governor over them” (2:21). The mind was given the Law, in order to “... [Second Temple Period] [Fourth Maccabees] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

4AM

It is possible the book of 4 Maccabees represents the “fourth philosophy” mentioned by Josephus as a subgroup of Judaism in competition with the Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes. It has been thought that this “fourth philosophy” referred to the Z... [Second Temple Period] [Fourth Maccabees] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

March 23, 5AM

4 Maccabees is included in several manuscripts of the LXX, including Vaticanus but was not included in the Vulgate.  The book is therefore not a part of the Apocrypha although it is often included in introductions to the Apocrypha. It is also in manuscri... [Second Temple Period] [Fourth Maccabees] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

March 22, 4AM

Johnson, John E. Under an Open Heaven: A New Way of Life Revealed in John’s Gospel. Grand Rapids, Mich. Kregel, 2017. 256 pp. Pb; $15.99. Link to Kregel John Johnson has served as a pastor and a professor of Pastoral Theology at Western Seminary in ... [Book Reviews] [Gospel of John] [book review] [jesus]

March 21, 10AM

Our full final day included a walk through Ephesus. This really the highlight of any tour to western Turkey. Although Perge and Heriopolis were large sites and restored very nicely, Ephesus has more to see and it is a far more significant location histori... [Travel] [Turkey] [Ephesus]

March 17, 11AM

Our main visit today was Pergamum, primarily the acropolis of the city. Unfortunately the city is quite a drive from Izmir, but we had a nice stop for bathrooms (and a nice Turkish coffee for me). Although it turns up on Seven Churches of Revelation tours... [Observations on Acts]

March 16, 11AM

We left the Hotel Colossae and headed to two cites where there is just not much to see, Philadelphia and Thyatira. The problem is both of these locations have modern cities built over them, making the kind of archaeology seem at Hierapolis or Laodicea imp... [Observations on Acts]

March 15, 12 PM

Today began with a long drive north out of Antalya, following the general route of the via Sebaste. I was struck by several things on the four hour drive to Laodicea. First, most people reading Acts do not realize how high the Tarsus Mountains are. Paul t... [Observations on Acts]

March 13, 8AM

It was a cold and rainy day in Istanbul, but we were able to see all we planned. The day began at the Hippodrome and Blue Mosque. Nothing remains of the Hippodrome other than three obelisks. Of the three, the Obelisk of Theodosius is the most interesting.... [Observations on Acts]
This is my second full day in Turkey, heading south to the Mediterranean Sea. The day started earlier than a day ought to start, since we needed to be on the bus at 5:30 AM. We had an early flight to Antalya (Turkish Air, great flight except I needed more... [Observations on Acts]

March 12, 10AM

It was a cold and rainy day in Istanbul, but we were able to see all we planned. The day began at the Hippodrome and Blue Mosque. Nothing remains of the Hippodrome other than three obelisks. Of the three, the Obelisk of Theodosius is the most interesting.... [Observations on Acts] [Archaeology] [Hagia Sophia] [Istanbul] [Museums]

March 11, 9AM

A cloudy day in Istanbul, the view from my hotel This week I am on a short trip in Turkey, visiting many of the typical sites you might expect in Istanbul. I am obviously looking forward to Ephesus, but our short tour is packed. Usually these kind of tour... [Observations on Acts]

March 10, 7AM

Porter, Stanley E. When Paul Met Jesus: How an Idea Got Lost in History. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2016. 435 pp. Pb; $34.   Link to Cambridge Second Corinthians 5:16 is usually read as if Paul is denying that he knew Jesus prior to the dram... [Book Reviews] [Paul] [Apostle Paul] [book review] [jesus] [Pauline Epistles]

March 7, 7AM

Third Maccabees is perhaps best remembered for God’s dramatic actions rescuing the Jews from Ptolemy IV Philopater (221-205 B.C.). Josephus narrates a similar story, but dates it to the reign of Ptolemy VIII Physcon (169-116 B.C., Contra Apion, 2.52-55)... [Second Temple Period] [Maccabean Revolt] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

March 6, 7AM

Gold octadrachm issued by Ptolemy IV Philopator, British Museum When Philopater visits Jerusalem wants to offer sacrifices at the temple in order to make his new subjects “feel secure” (1:6-16). He is greatly impressed by the Temple and wants to enter... [Second Temple Period] [Maccabean Revolt] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism] [Third Maccabees]

March 4, 7AM

Third Maccabees book opens rather abruptly with the news of Philopater IVs victory over Antiochus III at the battle of Raphia (1:1-5). Ptolemy IV Philopater (221-203) was a weak and indecisive king, initially not defending his territory until the Antiochu... [Second Temple Period] [Maccabean Revolt] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism] [Third Maccabees]

March 3, 1PM

This “historical romance” was written in Greek sometime after the battle of Raphia (217 B.C.) and before the fall of Jerusalem in A.D. 70. The book seems to know the additions to Daniel and possible the Letter of Aristeas as well, so it is probable th... [Second Temple Period] [Maccabean Revolt] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism] [Third Maccabees]

March 2, 1PM

In 140 B. C. the people declared Judas Maccabees’ brother Simon as high priest as well as the commander of the army and gave him the title ethnarch (head of the nation). This office was conferred “forever, until a trustworthy prophet shall arise” (1... [Second Temple Period] [Maccabean Revolt] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

March 1, 1PM

The Logos Bible Software “Free book of the Month” for March has an Easter theme. During the month of March, you can download This Risen Existence: The Spirit of Easter (Fortress 2015) by Paula Gooder for your Logos library. The book contains... [bible software] [Acts] [logos] [ipad] [free books] [Logos Bible Software] [Free iPad Books] [commentary] [Genesis]

8AM

It is March 1, and Jacob Prahlow has posted the Biblical Studies Carnival for February 2017 (number 132 for those who want to collect them all). Jacob has curated an excellent collection of links for this month so be sure to read his Carnival and visit th... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

February 27, 10AM

In New Testament studies it is somewhat commonplace to say the Jews at the time of Jesus were expecting a messiah who was a military leader or a Davidic king. In popular preaching this is usually stated without any sort of evidence. There is some reason t... [Second Temple Period] [gospel of mark] [jesus] [Maccabean Revolt] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

February 25, 7AM

1 Enoch 83-90 follows a long section of the astronomical speculations, although it is related to chapter 82 as a continuation of Enoch’s dialogue with Methuselah (83:1). These two chapters serve as an introduction to the Animal Apocalypse, a slightly ve... [1 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [Second Temple Period] [Maccabean Revolt] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

February 23, 7AM

A feature of apocalyptic which is drawn from the Hebrew Bible is the belief God will intervene in history to destroy the evil attacking the faithful. The nation of Israel always understood God as their defender.  There is a great deal of “warrior langu... [1 Enoch] [Second Temple Period] [Maccabean Revolt] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

February 22, 5AM

The problem western pop-Christianity has re-defined apocalyptic to refer only to “the end of the world as we know it.” Some students want to read Revelation as if it was in the same genre as The Book of Eli or The Road. Those two films are excellent e... [apocalyptic] [Second Temple Period] [apocalyptic literature] [Revelation]

February 20, 3PM

Gorman Michael J. Apostle of the Crucified Lord: A Theological Introduction to Paul and His Letters. Second Edition. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2016. 731 pp. Pb; $48.   Link to Eerdmans In the introduction to this second edition of Gorman’s textbo... [Book Reviews] [Paul] [Apostle Paul] [book review] [Pauline Epistles]

February 18, 8AM

If 1 Maccabees can be described as pro-Hasmonean propaganda, the Psalms of Solomon vilify the Hasmoneans as corrupt law-breakers who have brought the might of Rome down upon Israel. The eighteen psalms are preserved in both Greek and Syriac manuscripts fr... [Second Temple Period] [New Testament Background] [Psalms of Solomon] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

February 15, 2PM

1 Maccabees is clearly in favor of the revolution against the Seleucid and the Hasmonean dynasty.  It is “a thoroughgoing pro-Hasmonean” (Fischer, 4:441). For the author of 1 Maccabees, the revolt was God’s will since the Hasmoneans liberated Judea... [Second Temple Period] [Maccabean Revolt] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

7AM

In 168 B.C. Antiochus made a second campaign into Egypt with the intention of annexing it to his own kingdom. This time things were not to go as well as he had planned. His army was met by a delegation from the Roman senate led by Popilius Laenas.  Popil... [Second Temple Period] [Maccabean Revolt] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

February 14, 2PM

Early in his reign, Antiochus IV Epiphanes was involved in a dispute over the high priesthood in Jerusalem. Onias III was the legitimate High Priest. His pro-Hellenism brother Jason traveled to the newly established Antiochus and bribed the king to be app... [Second Temple Period] [Maccabean Revolt] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

February 12, 2PM

If the writer of 1 Maccabees positioned Judas as David-revisited, it would be unlikely that he would look forward to a future messiah. The book represents a staus quo sort of Judaism, and is “opposed to the Pharisees, the apocalypticists, and the many s... [Second Temple Period] [Judas Maccabees] [maccabees] [Messiah] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

February 10, 7AM

The book of 1 Maccabees clearly favors the revolution against the Seleucid and the Hasmonean dynasty. In fact, it is “a thoroughgoing pro-Hasmonean . . . perhaps even Sadducean, tendency interpenetrates the entire work” (Fischer, 4:441) and the “aut... [Second Temple Period] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

February 9, 1PM

The conflict between the Hellenists and the Hasidim came to a climax during the reign of Antiochus IV Epiphanes (175-163 B.C.), leading to the Maccabean revolt. Antiochus IV had been in Rome as a hostage because of his father’s military defeats. Before ... [Second Temple Period] [Maccabean Revolt] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

February 8, 7AM

Just as the writer of Jubilees sought to insert the Law into primeval history, so to the boundaries of the Land. Jubilees begins with the recognition that the Land is a gift from God rooted in the covenant.  Chapter 1:7-14 summarizes Israel’s history a... [Second Temple Period] [Intertestamental Period] [Jubilees] [Second Temple Judaism]

February 7, 8AM

In Jubilees, the law is established in creation, therefore “obedience to the Law is the central message of Jubilees” (Wintermute, “Jubilees,” OTP 2:40).  The writer desires to place as many Jewish customs and religious features as early in the hi... [Second Temple Period] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

February 6, 7AM

The book of Jubilees is a critically important book for the study of the New Testament. The book was written in the second century B.C. in Hebrew as a summary and expansion of the book of Genesis and Exodus 1-12. Vanderkam reports paleographic studies dat... [Second Temple Period] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

February 4, 7AM

The book of Sirach was originally written in Hebrew by Yeshua ben Sira at the beginning of the second century B.C.E. and was translated into Greek by the author’s grandson before 116 B.C.  The book was likely completed before the reign Antiochus IV Epi... [Second Temple Period] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

February 3, 12 PM

Sirach wrote in the period before the events which led to the Maccabean revolt. He is friendly toward the Greeks and optimistic that Jewish people can live alongside their Greek neighbors. Perhaps Israel’s religion can be presented to the nations as a r... [Second Temple Period] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

8AM

From 336-323 Alexander the Great conquered most of the known world.  The empire extended from Greece to Egypt, and as Far East as Babylon and parts of India. Alexander believed that Greek culture was superior to all other cultures, so forced all captured... [Second Temple Period] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

February 1, 2PM

BiblioBlogger Carnival Barker? Cassandra Farrin hosts the January 2017 Biblical Studies Carnival at her Ethics & Early Christianity Blog hosted by the Westar Institute. In addition to the usual categories, Cassandra has a collection of links to bibli... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

8AM

Logos Bible Software is offering N. T. Wright’s Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Christian Discipleship for free in the month of March. This book was originally published by SPCK in 1994 and has been reprinted in North America by Eerdmans. ... [bible software] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [ipad] [logos] [Logos Bible Software] [N. T. Wright]

January 31, 1PM

The Jewish diaspora begins as early as 722 B.C. when Assyria destroyed Samaria and deported some of the population to other Assyrian cities. For Judah, the exile began before the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. Babylon began deporting key people to Babylon ... [Second Temple Period] [New Testament Background] [Psalms of Solomon] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

January 30, 2PM

Taylor, Richard A. Interpreting Apocalyptic Literature: An Exegetical Handbook. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Ministry, 2016. 205 pp. Pb; $21.99.   Link to Kregel This new contribution to Kregel’s Handbooks of Old Testament Exegesis has a more narrow fo... [apocalyptic] [Book Reviews] [1 Enoch] [book review] [Daniel]

January 28, 8AM

The author the book of Tobit presents Tobit as keeping the Covenant in the diaspora by consciously paralleling him to Joseph and Daniel, the two characters in the Hebrew Bible who lived in a foreign country yet remained true to the Mosaic Covenant. In bot... [Second Temple Period] [apocrypha] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism] [Tobit]

January 27, 2PM

The book of Tobit is, on the face of it, a fairy-tale about a young man, Tobias, who goes out into the wide world, encounters many dangers, but is under the protection of the Heavenly Powers and returns with great riches and with Sarah, his wife, with who... [Second Temple Period] [apocrypha] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism] [Tobit]

8AM

In a previous post I included rabbinic literature as a possible source for the study of the Second Temple period. I hesitated to include this on my list and placed it last intentionally. I was asked on twitter by @woofboy to expand on this point. (Sorry, ... [Second Temple Period] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

January 26, 2PM

Christians have often called the Second Temple Period is sometimes called the “400 silent years” since there are no authoritative writers from the end of the Old Testament until Paul begins to write in the early 50s A.D. But this period is anything bu... [Second Temple Period] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

January 23, 12 PM

Why would someone interested in the New Testament study the history of the Greco-Roman world?  This history is important because the key to understanding the New Testament is context….If we do not try to put ourselves into the context of the origin... [Second Temple Period] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

5AM

Over the next few months I will be posting on the history and literature of the Second Temple period. I had an opportunity to teach an eight-week series in my church on the “Time between the Testaments.” This began with the Persian period and ran thro... [Second Temple Period] [New Testament Background] [Second Temple Period Judaism]

January 17, 2PM

Thanks to WJKP for sending along a review copy of this new textbook by Markus Bockmuehl. This is the latest in the Resources for the Use of Scripture in the Church series, which is itself a subset of the Interpretation commentary series. The book begins w... [Book Reviews] [Apologetics] [book review] [Paul] [Pauline Theology] [theology]

January 16, 7AM

It is time to draw a name for The Romans Debate, Revised and Expanded Edition (1991, Baker Academic). This book is a brand new paperback (with a remainder mark) and is my own copy. There were 24 people signed up (I allowed only one entry per person). I t... [Book Notices] [Book Reviews] [Acts] [Luke] [Zondervan] [book review] [New Testament] [free book] [Giveway]

January 13, 1PM

I had the opportunity to preach on January 1, 2017: click here to see the video or listen to the audio, scroll to the bottom of this page to choose. I chose Romans 5:1-12 as my text, since New Year’s Day is an opportunity to reflect on the past twelve ... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

January 11, 12 PM

Gorman, Michael J. Becoming the Gospel: Paul, Participation, and Mission. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2016. 351 pp. Pb; $28.   Link to Eerdmans In this new monograph Michael Gorman asserts the apostle Paul wanted his communities to not only believe t... [Book Reviews] [Apologetics] [book review] [Paul] [Pauline Theology] [theology]

January 9, 12 PM

This week I am giving away a copy of The Romans Debate, Revised and Expanded Edition (1991, Baker Academic). This collection of essays on Romans was first published in 1977 and then reprinted and expanded in 1991 by Hendricksen. The current printing of th... [Book Notices] [Book Reviews] [Acts] [Luke] [Zondervan] [book review] [New Testament] [free book] [Giveway]

7AM

Today is the day I pick a winner for a copy of Andrew Abernethy’s Book of Isaiah and God’s Kingdom. There were 28 people signed up (I allowed only one entry per person). I took each of your names, sorted randomly and then pasted them into ... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Giveway] [Huzzah!] [Isaiah]

January 5, 11AM

Here is an exciting announcement from Eerdmans: Mark Goodacre and Todd D. Still are taking over editorship of the New International Greek Text Commentary series. The NIGTC is one on the premier New Testament commentaries published today (here is my review... [Observations on Acts]

January 4, 7AM

It is the beginning of a new year, and to celebrate I am offering a brand new copy of Andrew Abernathy’s The Book of Isaiah and God’s Kingdom: A Thematic-Theological Approach (NSBT 40; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2016). I reviewed the boo... [Book Notices] [Book Reviews] [book review] [free book] [Giveway] [Isaiah] [IVP]

January 2, 11AM

The Logos Bible Software “Free book of the Month” is really a Journal.  For the month of January, you can add the first issue of the Bulletin for Biblical Research, published by the Institute for Biblical Research in 1991. According to the ... [bible software] [Acts] [commentary] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [Genesis] [ipad] [logos] [Logos Bible Software]

7AM

Jennifer Guo hosts a festive holiday carnival complete with snow and  “inaugurated eschatology.” There are many links to blogs from old veterans to new blogs from graduate students.  Head over to Jennifer’s blog and start your new year righ... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

December 29 2016, 10AM

Walton, Benjamin H. Preaching Old Testament Narratives.  Grand Rapids, Mich. Kregel, 2016. 254 pp. Pb; $18.99. Link to Kregel   This short book is based on Walton’s 2012 D.Min thesis for Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary (“Enhancing Hermeneutical... [Book Reviews] [book review] [old testament] [Preaching]

December 28, 9AM

Abernethy, Andrew T. The Book of Isaiah and God’s Kingdom: A Thematic-Theological Approach. NSBT 40; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2016. 245 pp. Pb; $25.  Link to IVP This new contribution to the New Studies in Biblical Theology series focuses on ... [Book Reviews] [Isaiah] [Biblical Theology] [book review]

December 27, 11AM

Porter, Stanley E. The Apostle Paul: His Life, Thought and Letters. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2016. 487 pp. Pb; $40.   Link to Eerdmans Stanley Porter’s new introduction to Paul is intended as an updated and reworked version of his Early Christia... [Book Reviews] [Paul] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [Pauline Authorship] [Pauline Chronology] [Pauline Literature]

December 19, 1PM

Holladay, Carl R. Acts: A Commentary. NTL; Minneapolis: Westminster John Knox, 2016. lxiv + 608 pages; Hb. $75.00.  Link to Westminster John Knox Press There have been several significant contributions to the New Testament Library series from Westminster... [Book Reviews] [Acts] [Book of Acts] [book review]

December 16, 10AM

Now through December 31, Wipf & Stock is offering 40% off any purchase through their website, using the discount code BYE2016. The best use of this discount is to buy my book, Jesus the Bridegroom (Pickwick, 2015). Marianne Blickenstaff of Union Presb... [Book Notices] [eschatology] [historical Jesus] [Huzzah!] [Intertextuality] [jesus] [Shameless self promotion]

December 14, 2PM

Lightfoot, J. B. The Epistles of 2 Corinthians and 1 Peter: A Newly Discovered Commentary. Edited by Ben Witherington III and Todd D. Still. The Lightfoot Legacy Set 3; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2016. 317 pp Hb; $40.00.   Link to IVP In the las... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [Gospel of John] [J. B. Lightfoot] [John]

December 7, 12 PM

Scheck, Thomas, ed. Commentaries on the Twelve Prophets: Volume 1, Ancient Christian Texts by Jerome. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2016. Link to IVP This new contribution to the Ancient Christian Texts series is the first of three volumes collecting... [Book Reviews] [book review] [church fathers] [jerome] [Minor Prophets]

December 6, 2PM

In Romans 14 Paul is trying to guide congregations to preserve the unity of the body of Christ despite having a wide variety of views on some practices. He mentions two in particular, considering some days sacred and eating some types of foods. Esteeming ... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

10AM

Although it is possible Paul includes this section as a general commentary on how Jews and Gentiles ought to get along in mixed congregations, it is likely he has heard something about a specific conflict in the house churches in Rome. He describes some o... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

December 2, 5AM

The Logos Free Book of the Month offer for December is How to Read Proverbs by Tremper Longman III (IVP, 2002). Longman is a well-know Old Testament scholar who has contributed a commentary on Proverbs in the Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdo... [bible software] [Brevard Childs] [commentary] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [ipad] [Isaiah] [Jeremiah] [logos] [Logos Bible Software]

December 1, 12 PM

Jim West is the host of the 129th Biblical Studies Carnival for November 2016. His carnival is all about the annual meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature. Jim seems to have had a good time at SBL, at least he took a lot of pictures. Brian Small h... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

November 30, 2PM

Irons, Charles Lee. A Syntax Guide for Readers of the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. Kregel, 2012. 608 pp. Hb; $39.99. Link to Kregel This new publication from Kregel follows in the tradition of Sprachlicher Schluessel Zum Griechischen Neuen Tes... [Book Reviews] [New Testament] [book review] [Greek] [greek new testament] [syntax]

November 26, 8AM

In the previous post, I argued that Paul commands obedience to the government.  I pointed out that the Roman government at the time was as oppressive as any in history and permitted any number of practices that we modern American Christians would not put... [Paul] [Romans] [jesus] [Epistle to the Romans] [Paul and Empire]

November 25, 7AM

The transformed life ought to effect one’s relationship with government. This is based on common idea from the Hebrew Bible that God ordains the rulers and the nations.  Since Paul is speaking about the Roman empire, it must mean that the Christian oug... [Paul] [Romans] [Christians and Government] [Nero] [roman empire] [Romans 13] [Rome]

November 18, 7AM

In order to define how we ought to think of one another, Paul redefines how we related to one another. First, he says we ought to think with humility. The ESV “more highly than we ought” is a translation of a single Greek word (ὑπερφρονέω).... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

November 16, 5PM

Paul says in Romans 12:1-2 that the one who is in Christ is to present themselves as a living sacrifice by renewing the way they think about the world. This is in contrast to conforming to the way the world answers the big questions about life. The result... [Paul] [Romans] [Epistle to the Romans]

November 14, 1PM

In order to be a living sacrifice, the believer must completely change the way they think about everything. There are two parts to this change of thinking. First, Paul says the believer is to “not be conformed” to the image of this world. The verb σ... [Romans] [Conform] [Paul] [Pauline Literature]

November 11, 8AM

Today is the day I pick a winner for a hardback copy of the NIVAC commentary by Scot McKnight on Galatians. There were 23 comments (after I deleted some duplicates), so I pasted your names in a spreadsheet, sorted them randomly, then generated a random nu... [Book Reviews] [Apostolic Fathers] [book review] [Church History] [free book] [Giveway]

November 9, 7AM

Paul uses a metaphor for the Christian life in this verse: the “in Christ” people are to be like “living sacrifices” to God. This is a metaphor that a Roman, Greek, or Jew would fully understand. Typically a sacrifice is killed on the altar, but h... [Paul] [Living Sacrifice] [Romans]

November 7, 10AM

I have a brand new copy of Scot McKnight’s Galatians commentary in NIV Application series. I made some comments in a previous post about this series which is on sale right now for $4.99 a volume in several eBook formats. McKnight is a very well-known an... [Book Notices] [Book Reviews] [Baker] [book review] [free book] [Giveway] [New Testament]

November 6, 2PM

Zondervan is offering the 42 volumes of the NIV Application commentary for $4.99 each for a limited time. Starting on November 7, you can purchase any volume of this series in an eBook format for only $4.99. This series features the work of many world-cl... [Observations on Acts] [Book Notice] [commentary] [Zondervan]

November 4, 6AM

In 11:1-10, Paul picks up on a common theme in the Hebrew Bible: there always a remnant of righteous within the unbelieving Israel. At the time of Elijah there was a remnant of faithful Jews who refused to worship Baal. When Isaiah is called to announce t... [Romans] [Paul]

November 3, 12 PM

After concluding Romans 8 with the great promise that nothing can separate those who have been declared righteous and adopted into the family of God from the love of God, a reader might object that God has in fact rejected his people Israel. God made prom... [Paul] [Romans] [Pauline Theology]

5AM

Thiselton, Anthony C. Discovering Romans. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2016. 311 pp. Pb; $22.  Link to Eerdmans This new contribution to Eerdmans’s Discovering Biblical Text series by Anthony Thiselton is an excellent introduction to the exegetical p... [Book Reviews] [book review] [New Testament] [Paul] [Romans]

November 2, 11AM

Before dealing with the problem of God’s faithfulness, Paul lists many advantages the Jews have as God’s people. In Romans 3:1-2 Paul initially raised the question of the advantages the Jewish people have with respect to God. Historically, some Jews w... [Paul] [Romans] [Pauline Theology]

November 1, 7AM

Bob MacDonald has done a remarkable job collecting and organizing the best of the BiblioBlogs this month at at his blog Dust.  Click all the links, support the scholars who do good work and share it on their blogs each month. In other Biblioblog news,... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

October 28, 8AM

Richards, E. Randolph and Brandon J. O’Brien. Paul Behaving Badly: Was the Apostle a Racist, Chauvinist Jerk? Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2016. 224 pgs., Pb.; $16.00 Link to IVP This book follows Mark Strauss’s Jesus Behaving Badly (IVP 201... [Book Reviews] [book review] [dispensationalism] [eschatology] [Progressive Dispensationalism] [theology]

6AM

Romans 9-11 deal with the “problem” of the Jewish people in the present age. If God has begun a new program to deal with all peoples equally without giving a special advantage to Israel, one might ask if Israel is completely cut off from God’s bless... [Paul] [Romans] [Pauline Theology]

October 27, 3PM

Even the believers look forward to their redemption, knowing that they have not been fully glorified at this point in their lives. Paul refers to himself and his Christian readers as the “firstfruits of the Spirit” (v. 22-23). This could refer to the ... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

5AM

Paul’s thesis in Romans 8:18-22 is that our present suffering is not even worth comparing to the glory to be revealed in the children of God. He uses “consider” (λογίζομαι) once again, the same word for Abraham being declared righteous in 4... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

October 25, 8AM

Paul often contrasts living one’s life according to the flesh with living according to the Spirit. Galatians 5:16-25 a prime example, but there are others. This is an example of a “two ways” passage common in Judaism (Psalm 1) and early Christianity... [Paul] [Romans] [Epistle to the Romans]

October 21, 6AM

By sending his Son, God accomplished what the law could not. But to what does the law refer in this Romans 8:3? Law may refer to the Mosaic Law, keeping to the context of Romans 7:1-12 or as a “principle” as in 7:21 (the “sin principle”). James Du... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

October 20, 12 PM

Having described the wretched condition of people who know what the law demands but cannot keep it (7:21-24), Paul now declares that those who are in Christ have been set free from the Law of sin and Death (8:1-4) Condemnation refers to a “the punishmen... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

October 19, 6AM

When Paul talks about the struggle to do what the Law requires in Romans 7, is he reflecting his own experience as a Jew?  Alternatively, Paul may be speaking of his post-conversion struggle with sin. It is even possible that Paul speaking hypothetically... [Paul] [Romans] [Christianity] [E. P. Sanders] [Epistle to the Romans] [new perspective on Paul] [Wretched Man]

October 18, 11AM

In Romans 5 Paul has concluded that those who are in Christ are declared righteous by the faithful act of Jesus, the second Adam. Although the Law caused sin to increase, those who are in Christ experience an abundance of grace in Christ Jesus. We are fre... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

October 17, 6AM

In order to show how justification “works,” Paul alludes to Genesis 3, Adam’s rebellion against God in the Garden. Genesis 3 indicates the penalty for eating from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil is death, and Genesis 5 demonstrates that r... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

October 14, 12 PM

Since we have access to the Father, we can boast in the “hope of the glory of God” (5:2b). Hope in Paul’s letters tends to be eschatological, looking forward to the future resurrection from the dead.  Our hope in this context is in some way present... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

7AM

Since we have been justified by faith (like Abraham), we experience peace with God rather than wrath (5:1). The wrath of God has been satisfied in the death of Jesus so that those who are in Christ by faith experience peace, not wrath. Paul uses an aorist... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

October 13, 11AM

In verse 14 Paul makes a radical statement within the world of Second Temple period Judaism: if Abraham’s heirs are the ones who keep the Law, then Abraham’s faith is emptied and God’s promise to him is nullified. According to verse 15, the Law brin... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

5AM

Abraham’s faith was demonstrated before the law was given by many hundreds of years, thus he was not saved by the law. Chronologically this seems obvious, but the Second Temple period texts cited above indicate at least some Jews looked to Abraham as a ... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

October 11, 6AM

Abraham’s saving faith was demonstrated before he was given the sign of circumcision. It was not the physical act of circumcision that saved, but his faith before the act. In Genesis 17 God gives Abraham a sign of his covenant: each male born in his hou... [Observations on Acts]

October 10, 12 PM

Romans 4 offers an interesting application of the New Perspective on Paul. Paul seems to be making a contrast between his opponents who saw Abraham’s faith as meriting justification and his view that one cannot boast in salvation because it is wholly a ... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

October 6, 7AM

In Romans 4 Paul illustrates his statement claim that God will justify all those who are in Christ Jesus by faith, no works. Like Galatians, he uses the well-known story of Abraham in order to show that the father of the Jewish people was himself made rig... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

October 5, 6AM

Justification refers to God rendering a final verdict on the sinner. At the (future) final judgment, God will declare we are righteous, on the basis of the gracious gift of Jesus on the cross (in 3:20 the verb is future passive, although in the negative, ... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

October 4, 7AM

This section is brief, but forms a theologically rich transition in the book of Romans. Having proven both Jew and Gentile stand before God condemned, Paul will now begin his argument that God himself has acted decisively to provide righteousness from God... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

October 3, 12 PM

The final part of Paul’s claim that all humans are under the power of sin is a scriptural argument based in a series of verses strung together. The NIV translates the key phrase as “under the power of sin,” although the Greek is simple “under sin... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

9AM

Logos Bible Software is offering Craig Keener’s Cascade Commentary on Romans for free during the month of October. This is one of the best resources Logos has offered in a while. I already have both books in my Logos library (and Fee as a physical b... [bible software] [1 Corinthains] [2 Corinthians] [commentary] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [ipad] [logos] [Logos Bible Software]

October 1, 7AM

York Bloggers Gathering to Carnival Randy McCracken (@randalmccracken) hosts the September Biblical Studies Carnival at Bible Study with Randy. Randy is a first time host, so be gentle. Randy hails from the ancient city of York, England, a city Randy po... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

September 30, 4AM

Forsythe, Ralph. Matthew, Mark, Luke and John: A Parallel Comparison of the Four Gospels. Passageway Press, 2016. 464 pp; Pb; $30.   Link to Passageway Press Reading the four gospels horizontally is an important interpretive strategy. There are so many ... [Book Reviews] [Dead Sea Scrolls] [apocalyptic literature] [book review] [John J. Collins] [Second Temple Judaism]

September 29, 12 PM

Second Temple period Judaism considered circumcision to be an important boundary marker. It was one of the key definitions of what it meant to be a Jewish person. Circumcision was a practice dating back to Abraham (Gen 17:9-14) and was intended as a phy... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

5AM

The Law-keeping Jew is guilty of the very sins of which he accuses the Gentiles, and is therefore under God’s judgment. A Jewish opponent in the Second Temple period may have thought that circumcision and keeping the Law was sufficient to avoid the wrat... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

September 28, 6AM

This salvation or judgment is for the Jew first and also the Greek, “God shows no partiality.” Having already said Salvation is for the Jew first and then the Greek, Paul now says both Jews and Greeks will be held accountable equally when God judges t... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

September 27, 5AM

The conclusion of Romans 1 is that no human responds to the clear revelation of God in creation. Because humans do not think it worthwhile to retain the knowledge of God, God hands them over to a “not worthwhile” mind. Based on contemporary rhetoric o... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

September 26, 12 PM

One of the most controversial elements of Paul’s description of sin is his statement that “God gave them over to dishonorable passions” (1:26-27). These dishonorable passions are sexual relations which are “contrary to nature.”  “Relations”... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [homosexuality] [Paul]

September 24, 7AM

Paul makes three similar statements in this controversial paragraph. God “gave them over” to sinful desires, shameful lusts, and depraved minds. The verb (παραδίδωμι) is used in the LXX for God handing over Israel to an enemy (Gen 14:20, Ex... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

September 23, 4AM

Because humans suppress the truth and do not honor God, they became unable to respond properly to God (v. 21a). The verb “render futile” (ματαιόω) is used of idolatry (Jer 2:5) and has the sense of emptiness or worthlessness. The word-group is ... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [idolatry] [Paul]

September 22, 11AM

  “Paul clearly does believe that when humans look at creation they are aware, at some level, of the power and divinity of the creator.” N. T. Wright, “Romans,” 432. Although it is tempting to find some kind of Stoicism in Paul’s thought he... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

6AM

Foundational for the preaching of the Gospel is a proper view of the pervasive effects of sin on the human race. Paul therefore begins with the “pagan world,” people which everyone would agree are not living in a way that pleases God (or any god for t... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

September 20, 10AM

Paul contrasts Jesus’ physical descent from David and the spiritual declaration he was the Son of God. Although some detect a reference to Jesus’s human and divine nature in this verse, it is more likely Paul has in mind Jesus’s life prior to the re... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

September 19, 12 PM

At the beginning of Romans Paul describes the Gospel as concerning his Son, who was descended from David according to the flesh and was declared to be the Son of God in power according to the Spirit of holiness by his resurrection from the dead, Jesus Chr... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

September 16, 4AM

“Le premier contact fut écrasant.” – “The first encounter was overwhelming.” M.-J. Lagrange, Saint Paul: Épître Aux Romains. Études Bibliques. Paris, 1950. Romans 1:16–17 (ESV) For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power ... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

September 15, 1PM

Hays, J. Daniel. The Temple and the Tabernacle. A Study of God’s Dwelling Places from Genesis to Revelation. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2016. 208 pp. Pb; $19.99. Link to Baker. In this richly illustrated book Daniel Hays presents a biblical theolo... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [Tabernacle] [temple]

6AM

From the book of Acts we know Paul wrote Romans after a long and bitter controversies in both Galatia and Corinth. As a result of these conflicts, Romans “constitutes a ‘manifesto’ setting forth his deepest convictions on central issues” (Kruse, R... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

September 14, 4AM

Unlike most of Paul’s letters, the occasion for the letter is not obvious. Although there seems to be a clear purpose statement in 15:24-29, it is not clear why Paul would have written the bulk of the book to support that purpose. There is no indication... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

September 13, 5AM

The traditional view is that the Roman church was founded by both Peter and Paul. Few accept this tradition today. The story of Peter’s arrival in the second year of Claudius (A.D. 42) is found in Eusebius (H.E. 2.14.6). Peter followed Simon the Sorcere... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

September 12, 12 PM

The Scribal Process: From God, to an author, to a scribe, to the page In Romans 16:22 Tertius “who wrote this letter” greets the readers. Paul is the author of the letter, but Tertius is the scribe or amanuensis who did the actual writing. The name me... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

September 11, 10AM

Although almost every commentary on the book of Romans praises it as a masterpiece of Christian theology, there are several recent responses to Paul and Pauline theology which push back against this dominance in the formation of Christian theology. If yo... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

September 10, 6AM

“One can almost write the history of Christian Theology by surveying the ways in which Romans has been interpreted.” Joseph Fitzmyer, Romans, xiii. Because Romans is the longest of the New Testament epistles it has major influence on Christian theolog... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

September 9, 11AM

Starting this weekend, I am starting a new series on the book of Romans. For the first time, I am teaching an undergraduate class on Romans. In the past, Romans was always part of a Pauline Lit survey, but I never was satisfied with only two weeks of lect... [Romans] [Book of Romans] [Paul]

September 8, 12 PM

Cronin, Sonya Shetty. Raymond Brown, ‘The Jews’ and the Gospel of John: From Apologia to Apology. LNTS 504; London: T&T Clark, 2015. 232pp. Hb; $112.00; Pb. $39.95 (2013); PDF eBook $27.95.   Link to Bloomsbury   Sonya Cronin’s monograph trac... [Book Reviews] [Dead Sea Scrolls] [apocalyptic literature] [book review] [John J. Collins] [Second Temple Judaism]

September 7, 9AM

Lamb, David A. Text, Context, and the Johannine Community. LNTS 477; London: T&T Clark, 2014. 232pp. Hb; $110.00; Pb. $39.95 (2013), PDF eBook $27.95.   Link to Bloomsbury   In this revision of his 2012 doctoral thesis at the University of Manchest... [Book Reviews] [Dead Sea Scrolls] [apocalyptic literature] [book review] [John J. Collins] [Second Temple Judaism]

September 6, 12 PM

After the dark days, Baruch saw a last “bright waters” which indicate there will be “eternal peace on the throne of the kingdom” (Chapters 73-76). This is the messianic age when health will descend like dew and joy will encompass the earth. Wild a... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [2 (Syriac Apocalypse of) Baruch] [2 Baruch] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Second Baruch]

5AM

Baruch asks a further question about those who face woe and suffering in that time (chapter 52). He falls asleep and has a vision of a cloud coming up from a great sea (chapter 53). The cloud flashes lightning and great water begins to pour out of it. The... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [2 (Syriac Apocalypse of) Baruch] [2 Baruch] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Second Baruch]

September 3, 1PM

Following the common structure of the book, Baruch waits seven days then prays again to the Lord (48:1-24). He acknowledges that God establishes times and commands things that will take place. God is eternal, but humans live short lives; therefore Baruch ... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [2 (Syriac Apocalypse of) Baruch] [2 Baruch] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Second Baruch]

6AM

In order to be prepared for this coming Anointed One and the judgment he brings, people ought to not despise God’s law and “mingle” with the nations. Here we have a reflection of the problem between Jews who sought to keep the Law, probably the Pale... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [2 (Syriac Apocalypse of) Baruch] [2 Baruch] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Second Baruch]

September 2, 6AM

Baruch goes to the ruins of the Holy of Holies and sits there weeping because “that of which we were proud has become dust” (chapter 35). He falls asleep and has a vision (chapter 36-37). In this vision he sees a forest surrounded by a high mountains ... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [2 (Syriac Apocalypse of) Baruch] [2 Baruch] [Messiah] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Second Baruch]

September 1, 12 PM

As they do every month, Logos Bible Software is offering a free book for your Logos library. This month Logos partners with 9Marks to offer you a free copy of Thabiti M. Anyabwile, What Is a Healthy Church Member?   Anyabwile is senior pastor of First... [bible software] [1 Corinthains] [2 Corinthians] [commentary] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [ipad] [logos] [Logos Bible Software]

8AM

The August Biblical Studies Carnival is up at Monday Morning Theologian, hosted by Kevin Turner (who calls himself J.K. on his blog). Kevin claims to be an amateur, but he has collected a great list of links. Go click all the links and find out what the ... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

6AM

After Baruch prays this, he sees heaven open and his strength returns and a second dialogue begins (chapter 22). This time the Lord questions Baruch – does someone start something they cannot finish? The obvious negative answer is supplied by Baruch and... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [2 (Syriac Apocalypse of) Baruch] [2 Baruch] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Second Baruch]

August 31, 4AM

While standing on Mt. Zion, Baruch hears a voice from heaven. The Lord answers an objection Baruch raised in his lament (chapter 13). This is a dialogue between God and Baruch which deals with the problem of the destruction of temple (13-20). What good is... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [2 (Syriac Apocalypse of) Baruch] [2 Baruch] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Second Baruch]

August 30, 12 PM

2 (Syriac Apocalypse of) Baruch appears to have been written in the late first century, probably around A.D. 100. Like 4 Ezra, the book is a response to the recent fall of Jerusalem. Using the persona of Jeremiah’s scribe Baruch, the author of this book... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [2 (Syriac Apocalypse of) Baruch] [2 Baruch] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Second Baruch]

4AM

The Jewish Apocalypse of Ezra deals with the problem of the Jews in the post-70 world.  Has God abandoned his people?  This is extremely important for New Testament studies since the “Jewish problem” arises in nearly every context.  The New Testame... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [4 Ezra] [Fourth Ezra] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

August 29, 1PM

Dunn, James D. G. The Acts of the Apostles. Foreword by Scot McKnight. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2016. 421 pp. Pb; $32.   Link to Eerdmans   Seriously? This is not a new commentary from Dunn, but a reprint of the 1996 Epworth commentary. Unfortuna... [Book Reviews] [Acts] [Book of Acts] [book review] [James Dunn]

4AM

Ezra has his final vision three days later while sitting under an oak (14:1-18).  The Lord calls to him and tells him to store up all of the visions he has received because the ages are growing old and the time of the end is drawing near.  History has b... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [4 Ezra] [Fourth Ezra] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

August 27, 7AM

After another seven days, Ezra experiences another vision (13:1-13.)  A great wind stirs the sea and Ezra sees a figure of a man flying with the clouds, surrounded by a great multitude. The mountains melt like wax before him.  A huge multitude has gathe... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [4 Ezra] [Fourth Ezra] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

August 26, 12 PM

Pummer, Reinhard. The Samaritans: A Profile. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2016. 376 pp. Pb; $30.   Link to Eerdmans In his introduction to this new history of the Samaritan people, Pummer cites an anonymous reviewer of James Montgomery’s 1907 monogr... [Book Reviews] [book review] [history] [samaritans]

6AM

Ezra’s second dream in the field involves an eagle with twelve wings and three heads (11:1-35).  The heads and the wings mutate in various ways throughout the dream, some becoming dominant while others wither and become puny. Ezra hears a voice from th... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [4 Ezra] [Fourth Ezra] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

August 25, 5AM

After seven days of fasting, Ezra is still troubled in his spirit and once again brings a complaint before the Lord. He reviews creation (6:38-54) before asking his real question – if Israel really is God’s favorite people out of all those descended f... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [4 Ezra] [Fourth Ezra] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

August 24, 4AM

After seven days of fast, Ezra returns to the Lord in prayer (5:21-30)  He reminds the Lord that out of all of the forest he has chosen a special vine which he planted in Zion, from all the cities of the world he has chosen Jerusalem.  Why then has the ... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [4 Ezra] [Fourth Ezra] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

August 23, 1PM

Ezra’s first vision sets the stage for all that follows.  He is troubled in his spirit over the fall of Jerusalem and calls out to the Lord in prayer asking about the justice of the destruction of the city (3:1-11).  He reviews the history of Israel w... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [4 Ezra] [Fourth Ezra] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

4AM

Because it was written about the same time as the book of Revelation, 4 Ezra is one of the more important apocalyptic books. The Jewish apocalypse (chapters 3-14) was probably written about A.D. 100 based on the opening verse which states the book was wri... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [4 Ezra] [Fourth Ezra] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

August 22, 4AM

The Apocalypse of Zephaniah is a fragmentary piece of apocalyptic literature. Study of the book is hindered by missing sections in the two partially preserved manuscripts. Clement of Alexandria may have referred to the book (in Stromata), making the lates... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Apocalypse of Zephaniah] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

August 20, 6AM

Fragment 2 as reported in 1 Clement 8:3 describes God’s mercy. Even if the sins are “redder than scarlet or blacker than sackcloth,” if the people simply call God “Father” he will forgive them.  In addition to Jesus’ use of Father for God, Ga... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Apocryphon of Ezekiel] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

August 19, 1PM

Jobes, Karen H., ed. Discovering the Septuagint: A Guided Reader. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Academic, 2016. 351 pp. Hb; $20.00.   Link to Kregel Academic Karen Jobes is well known for her Invitation to the Septuagint (Baker 2000) co-written with Moise... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Greek] [LXX] [Septuagint]

6AM

The Apocryphon of Ezekiel is a lost work known only through a fragment preserved in Epiphanes (Against Heresies 64.70, 5-17), the Babylonian Talmud Sanhedrin 91a, a fragment preserved in 1 Clement 8:3, a number variations of a saying Tertullian attributed... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Apocryphon of Ezekiel] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

August 18, 1PM

The text is known from a fifteenth century Syriac manuscript (Rylands Syriac MS).  The original may have been written in Hebrew or Aramaic, although Aramaic is more likely if the provenance is Alexandria, as Charlesworth thinks it is.  The book was date... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Treatise of Shem]

4AM

This Oracle continues the themes of book 11, extending the history into the currant era. Augustus is described as a ruler no other Roman will ever exceed, a man God approved for this hour (14-35). There is a brief “Christian insertion” in 30-34 which ... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline] [Sibylline Oracles]

August 17, 10AM

Collins dates this book to the “turn of the era” and considers it an example of Diaspora Judaism.  We are therefore back to the early part of the development of the format of the sibyl, but as Collins notes, this is very different than Sibylline 3 an... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline] [Sibylline Oracles]

August 16, 7AM

Lines 217-250 of the eighth Sibylline oracle form an acrostic poem based on “Jesus Christ Son of God, Savior, Cross.” The theme of the poem is eschatology and much is drawn from the Old Testament (the heavens will roll up, Isa 34:4, for example.) The ... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline] [Sibylline Oracles]

August 15, 12 PM

The eighth Sibylline oracle contains a wealth of clear historical allusions. The first 216 lines are probably Jewish with some Christian interpolations. The second half of the book draws together various sources, nearly all Christian and interested in dev... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Nero] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline] [Sibylline Oracles]

August 13, 6AM

This is the least structured of the oracles and is probably a collection of various sources.  The work is Christian and probably is not based on any Jewish material.  As such, the Seventh Oracle represents the other end of the tangent begun in the earli... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Gnosticism] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline] [Sibylline Oracles]

August 9, 11AM

A series of oracles against nations follows (163-227, 286-360). Rome, Egypt, the Gauls, and the Ethiopians are listed for special condemnation in the first section, Asia and Europe in the second. The city of Corinth is singled out for special attention in... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline] [Sibylline Oracles]

7AM

The Fifth Sibylline is eschatological, similar in many ways to book 3. There is a clear expectation of an enemy of God who will oppress the people and a savior sent from God to rescue his people. Collins considers this an example of Diaspora / Egyptian Ju... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline] [Sibylline Oracles]

August 8, 7AM

As described by Collins, the Fourth Sibylline is a “political oracle” updated by a Jew in the late first century (OTP 1:381). Of special interest is the scheme of history the book presents: four kingdoms, a conflagration, then the resurrection and jud... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline] [Sibylline Oracles]

August 6, 6AM

This section (489-544) begins with a long prophecy of disaster against a variety of city states and peoples including the Phoenicians, Crete, and even Gog and Magog (513), but the main enemy judged in this section is Greece (520, 534, 537).  In 544 there... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline] [Sibylline Oracles]

August 5, 11AM

This section seems to have been inserted into the third book from another source as it interrupts the flow of the apocalyptic section ending in 294. Babylon is judged first because they destroyed the temple (303-313). Babylon will be “filled with blood... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline] [Sibylline Oracles]

10AM

As discussed in the introduction, Collins identified the first 96 lines as an introduction, possibly a fragment from another book.  Lines 1-8 form an introduction by the Sibyl herself, explaining that she speaks as God bids her to speak. There follows a ... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline] [Sibylline Oracles]

August 2, 1PM

Papandrea, James L. The Earliest Christologies: Five Images of Christ in the Postapostolic Age. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2016. 144 pgs., Pb.; $18.00 Link to IVP In his introduction, Papandrea explains the challenged faced in the post-apostolic e... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Christ] [Church History] [jesus] [theology]

6AM

Lines 1-96 are probably a conclusion to another book. Lines 97-349, 489-829 are the “main book,” with an “Oracles against the nations” section inserted in 350-488. The main section expects God to intervene during the reign of the seventh king of E... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline] [Sibylline Oracles]

August 1, 10AM

Logos Bible Software is offering a volume of the Believers Church Bible Commentary for free in August 2016. During this month you can add Ecclesiastes by Douglas B. Miller to your Logos library for free, and for $1.99 you can add Thomas R. Yoder Neufe... [bible software] [commentary] [Ecclesiastes] [Ephesians] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [ipad] [logos] [Logos Bible Software]

7AM

Summer is always slow time for Biblioblogs. Since this was the hottest July ever in the history of the universe, so bloggers have crawled back under their rocks…or are excavating, like Andrew King (@aking443) or outside playing Pokemon Go. Seems e... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

July 30, 6AM

Allison, Jr., Dale C. Death Comes: Death, Imagination, and the Last Things. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2016. 194 pp. pb; $18.   Link to Eerdmans This short book was developed from Allison’s Stone Lectures at Princeton Theological Seminary in Octob... [Book Reviews] [book review] [death] [heaven] [hell] [John J. Collins] [judgment]

July 29, 11AM

Phocylides was a sixth century B.C. poet who was, in the ancient world, well-known as an author of maxims and proverbs applicable to daily life (See P. W. Van Der Horst, “Pseudo-Phocylides” in OTP 2:565-582; ABD 5:347-348; “Pseudo-Phocylides and the... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline] [Sibylline Oracles]

7AM

After a short five line introduction, we read the fate of the tenth generation. Because of the Christian interpolation, the eighth and ninth generation are lost, and perhaps the beginning of the description of the tenth. Lines 6-39 describe a number of ... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline] [Sibylline Oracles]

July 28, 6AM

The last section of the first Sibylline Oracle was inserted by a Christian. The section is a clear description of Jesus Christ, “the son of the most high, immortal God” (1.331). The goal is to add a prediction of the events of the life of Jesus into t... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline] [Sibylline Oracles]

July 27, 7AM

I dealt with the introductory material for the first two Sibylline Oracles in a previous post. The first 323 lines of Book One of the Sibylline Oracles are a Jewish summary of biblical history from through the “seventh generation.” This section is dat... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline] [Sibylline Oracles]

July 23, 6AM

Collins, John J. The Apocalyptic Imagination. Third Edition. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2016. 456 pp. Pb; $38.   Link to Eerdmans Along with Collin’s Between Athens and Jerusalem, The Apocalyptic Imagination is a popular introduction to the litera... [Book Reviews] [Dead Sea Scrolls] [apocalyptic literature] [book review] [John J. Collins] [Second Temple Judaism]

July 22, 6AM

Because the “books” of the Sibylline Oracles are from different periods it is necessary to briefly note the date and provenance for each. See this post for oracles 1-3, this post for oracles 4-7. Sibylline Oracles Book 8. The eighth oracle is a compos... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline] [Sibylline Oracles]

July 21, 5AM

Because the “books” of the Sibylline Oracles are from different periods it is necessary to briefly note the date and provenance for each. See this post for oracles 1-3, this post for oracles 8-14. Sibylline Oracles Book 4. Collins describes this book ... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline] [Sibylline Oracles]

July 20, 6AM

Because the “books” of the Sibylline Oracles are from different periods it is necessary to briefly note the date and provenance for each. See this post for oracles 4-7, this post for oracles 8-14. Sibylline Oracles Books 1-2. The first two books of th... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline] [Sibylline Oracles]

July 19, 12 PM

Hill, Carol, Gregg Davidson, Tim Helble, and Wayne Ranney, eds. The Grand Canyon, Monument to an Ancient Earth: Can Noah’s Flood Explain the Grand Canyon? Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel, 2016. 468 pp. Pb; $39.   Link to Kregel I will confess my knowledge... [Book Reviews] [book review] [creationism] [Grand Canyon] [Science and Faith] [young earth creationism]

6AM

The genre of the Sibylline Oracle is well known in the ancient world. The Sibyl is always an elderly woman who delivers strange sayings as if from the gods. Ovid tells the story of a woman who asked Apollo to live as many years as there are sands on the s... [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline Oracle] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [Sibylline]

July 18, 12 PM

Hart, David Bentley. A Splendid Wickedness and Other Essays. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2016. 309 pp. Pb; $35.  Link to Eerdmans Almost all of the 52 essays in this collection appeared in First Things. They are all more or less brief reflections on ... [Book Reviews] [book review]

7AM

The final section of 3 Enoch contains several heavenly features in a somewhat random order. Metatron reveals these “secrets of the cosmos.” Chapter 41 describes the letters by which the world was created. These letters are not identified in this sect... [3 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [2 Enoch] [Enoch] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

July 14, 11AM

Two weeks ago I opened a giveaway context for a slightly used copy of Florentino Garcia Martinez’s The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: The Qumran Texts in English (Leiden; Grand Rapids. Mich.: Brill; Eerdmans, 1996). Since then there have been 29 c... [Book Notices] [Book Reviews] [Baker] [book review] [free book] [Giveway] [New Testament]

7AM

The book has a higher view of the man Enoch that the previous Enoch pseudepigrapha. We learn in chapter 4 the angel Metatron is actually Enoch himself, having been elevated by God himself to the level of an angel (6:1-2). Enoch is described as the “choi... [3 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Enoch] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

July 13, 6AM

3 Enoch explains how the Rabbi Ishmael journeyed into heaven and saw God’s throne and chariot guided by the archangel Metatron. The general form is a report of a vision and an explanation of elements of the vision by Metatron. Since this angelic being i... [2 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Enoch] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

July 12, 5AM

While the book is attributed to the rabbi Ishmael, who died before the Bar Kokhba revolt, Alexander dates the book to the fifth or sixth century A.D. (Alexander, “3 Enoch,” 223). Odeberg thought the earliest stratum of the text dated to the first cent... [2 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Enoch] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

July 11, 9AM

Bingham, D. Jeffrey and Glenn R. Kreider, Eschatology: Biblical, Historical, and Practical Approaches. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel, 2016. 501 pp. Hb; $36.99.   Link to Kregel Although the fact is not mentioned on the cover of this book or on the Kregel ... [Book Reviews] [book review] [dispensationalism] [eschatology] [Progressive Dispensationalism] [theology]

6AM

In Chapter 64 Enoch once again is about to go up into heaven, this time as 2000 people watch. Enoch is described in this chapter as “glorified before the face of the Lord for all eternity” and the one the Lord chose in preference to all the people of ... [2 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Enoch] [Melchizedek] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

July 8, 5AM

When Enoch returns to his family in chapter 38 he begins to instruct them in what he has learned while in heaven. Enoch He mourns for his children who have not seen the face of the Lord (chapter 39) and then urges them to pay close attention because all w... [2 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Enoch] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

July 7, 12 PM

I am happy that Jim Davila  has been posting links to my Enoch series on his PaleoJudaica blog.  He also included a few links to older posts on PaleoJudaica that might be of interest. I failed to mention in my introductory post that 2 Enoch was only k... [2 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [Enoch] [pseudepigraphy]

5AM

After he becomes like the angels, Enoch is instructed by Vrevoil, the swiftest of the archangels who records all the Lord’s deeds. After being instructed for 30 days and 30 nights, Enoch records this instruction in 366 books (22:10-23:6; Recension A has... [2 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Enoch] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

July 6, 6AM

The book begins with Enoch’s vision soon after he fathered Methuselah. He is caught up into heaven by glorious angelic beings (chapter 1). He then instructs his sons to walk before the Lord by praying and giving generous gifts to the Lord (2:2). In chap... [2 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Enoch] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

July 5, 6AM

“In every respect 2 Enoch remains an enigma” (OTP 1:97). Dates for 2 Enoch range from pre-Christian to early medieval.  Józef Milik thought the book was the work of a Christian monk dated the book to the ninth or tenth century A.D. based on a neolog... [2 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Enoch] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha]

July 2, 8AM

I plan on continuing my series on the Enoch Literature after the weekend, but since this is a holiday weekend, I thought I would give away a book to celebrate. I have an extra copy of Florentino Garcia Martinez’s The Dead Sea Scrolls Translated: Th... [Book Notices] [Book Reviews] [Baker] [book review] [free book] [Giveway] [New Testament]

July 1, 11AM

Once again Faithlife is offering a Free “Book of the Month” for your Logos library. For the month of July you can download a copy of Pentecostalism: A Guide for the Perplexed (Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2013), by Wolfgang Vondey from T&... [bible software] [Authorship of Hebrews] [commentary] [Ephesians] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [Hebrews] [ipad] [Joseph Ratzinger] [logos] [Logos Bible Software]

6AM

Kris Lyle has posted the June 2016 Bibliblog Carnival has arrived at Old School Script. Kris has done a great job gathering links in the month of June, including the “kerfuffle over Trinitarian theology amongst evangelicals.” Everyone sho... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

June 30, 12 PM

Collins, John J. Scriptures and Sectarianism: Essays on the Dead Sea Scrolls. WUNT 2/332; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014. 329 pp. HB; 119,00 €.  Link to Mohr Siebeck Due to the length of this review, part one appears here. Part two of Scriptures and S... [Book Reviews] [Dead Sea Scrolls] [apocalyptic literature] [book review] [John J. Collins] [Second Temple Judaism]

6AM

Collins, John J. Scriptures and Sectarianism: Essays on the Dead Sea Scrolls. WUNT 2/332; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2014. 329 pp. HB; 119,00 €.  Link to Mohr Siebeck Due to the length of this review, part two appears here. In this collection of previou... [Book Reviews] [Dead Sea Scrolls] [apocalyptic literature] [book review] [John J. Collins] [Second Temple Judaism]

June 29, 6AM

The final chapters of 1 Enoch are advice to his children and follow a pattern not unlike the Old Testament wisdom literature.  There is a general admonition to listen to the words of the father and walk in righteousness.  What follows are a long series ... [1 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Animal Apocalypse] [Enoch]

June 28, 6AM

The Apocalypse of Weeks is a brief recounting of human history as a series of weeks. This vision concerns the “elect ones in the world” (93:1).  Enoch has learned these future events through a heavenly vision given by holy angels and understood from ... [1 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Animal Apocalypse] [Enoch]

June 27, 10AM

The June Biblioblog Carnival will be hosted by Kris Lyle  and Old School Script. This is a relatively new blog and Kris has been posting quite a bit of useful Contact Kris on this blog or  via twitter @KristopherLyle. I am sure he is nearly finished ... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [blogging] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

6AM

This last section of 1 Enoch contains wisdom-like literature which condemns various sinners.  The section also contains a “testament” in which Enoch urges his grandchildren to live a moral lifestyle.  Included as chapter 93 is an apocalyptic section... [1 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Animal Apocalypse] [Enoch]

June 24, 6AM

The animal apocalypse is important for the general eschatological outline it provides.  The people of Israel will be oppressed and a deliverer will come (although this deliverer is not as detailed as in the Similitudes.) There will be a judgment (90:20) ... [1 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Animal Apocalypse] [Enoch]

June 23, 1PM

Padilla, Osvaldo. The Acts of the Apostles: Interpretation, History and Theology. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2016. 264 pgs., Pb.; $26.00 Link to IVP In his introduction, Osvaldo Padilla says his intention is to do for the present generation of Act... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Genesis] [old testament]

6AM

The next period of history (1 Enoch 90:1-5) from 426/416 to 265/255 B.C. (Nickelsburg, 395).  Thirty-seven shepherds pasture the sheep, then twenty-three shepherds pasture the sheep, fifty-eight seasons total (rather than seventy, as expected). The numbe... [1 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [Animal Apocalypse] [Enoch]

June 22, 6AM

The Animal Apocalypse is one of the most remarkable sections of 1 Enoch. As Daniel Olson says, the Animal Apocalypse “an original theological interpretation of human history.” Olson argues in his recent dissertation this allegory was written early in ... [Observations on Acts]

June 21, 6AM

1 Enoch 83-90 is a new section since there is a break from the astronomical speculations of the previous section, although it is related to chapter 82 as a continuation of Enoch’s dialogue with Methuselah (83:1). These two chapters serve as an introduct... [1 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [pseudepigraphy]

June 20, 7AM

Boda, Mark J. Zechariah. NICOT; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2016. 935 pp. Hb; $58.   Link to Eerdmans Mark Boda’s new commentary on Zechariah in the NICOT series from Eerdmans sets the standard for exegetical commentaries on this important post-exi... [Book Reviews] [book review] [old testament] [Psalms]

June 17, 6AM

This section is a lengthy discourse on celestial bodies with the goal of calculating the length of a year correctly. Chapter 72 – The Sun Chapter 73 – The Moon Chapter 74 – Systems of Rotation Chapter 75 – The Stars and Their Positions Chapter 76... [1 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [pseudepigraphy]

June 16, 6AM

The general apocalyptic context of the parables section of 1 Enoch may provide context for the reading of the New Testament, especially the Gospels. When John the Baptist and Jesus appear preaching the Kingdom of God as “at hand,” the original audien... [1 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [pseudepigraphy]

June 15, 12 PM

Marshak, Adam Kolman. The Many Faces of Herod the Great. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2015. 432 pp. Pb; $35.  Link to Eerdmans   Herod the Great took the minor Hellenistic kingdom of Judea and successfully transformed it to a major kingdom with inter... [Book Reviews] [Herod] [Herod the Great] [book review] [history]

5AM

Chapters 64-69 returns to the subject of the judgment of the Flood. After a brief note describing the fallen angels who sinned in the earth (chapter 61), the narration shifts to Noah. In chapter 65 Noah goes to his grandfather Enoch and complains about th... [1 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [pseudepigraphy]

June 14, 6AM

Chapters 58-71 contain the third “parable” of the Similitudes. Chapter 58 introduces this last parable concerns the “glorious portion” awaiting the righteous and elect. The content of the parable is more concerned with revealing to Enoch mysteries... [1 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [pseudepigraphy]

June 13, 5AM

Judgment imagery comes to a climax in chapters 53-57 with Enoch’s visions based on a deep valley. At first Enoch sees a vision of a deep valley filled with “gifts and tribute” brought by all the inhabitants of the earth. This tribute does nothing to... [1 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [pseudepigraphy]

June 10, 5AM

James VanderKam calls this section a “Scenario for the End Time” because all of the powerful beings will be humiliated “in those days.” They will delivered into the hand of the Chosen One like grass to the fire or lead to the water. The image of g... [1 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [pseudepigraphy]

June 9, 5AM

The second parable in the Book of Similitudes (chapters 45-57) is a description of the eschatological judgment of the wicked and the vindication of the righteous. In many ways this is the most interesting section of the parables so I will break it up over... [1 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [pseudepigraphy]

June 8, 12 PM

Longenecker, Richard N. The Epistle to the Romans. NIGTC; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2016. 1208 pp. Hb; $80.   Link to Eerdmans It is clichéd to call this new contribution to the New International Greek Text Commentary “highly anticipated.” Ric... [Book Reviews] [book review] [New Testament] [Pauline Epistles] [Romans]

6AM

After a brief genealogical introduction in chapter 37, Enoch is given three “parables.” These are not parables in the same sense as the parables of Jesus, but rather oracle-like material, hence the translation in OTP “thing” in 38:1.  Chapters 38... [1 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [pseudepigraphy]

June 7, 6AM

The book now known as 1 Enoch is a compilation of at least five smaller books. Chapters 1-36 or at least 6-36) are usually entitled The Book of the Watchers and this next section The Book of the Similitudes or the Parables of Enoch. A problem for dating t... [1 Enoch] [pseudepigrapha] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigraphy]

June 6, 10AM

Baylor University Press is having a Grad Student Sale The sale itself runs from Friday, June 10th through Sunday, June 12th. Use the discount code “BJUN” to order books from their website at a 50% discount! The code applies to all books published i... [Book Notices] [baylor] [Cheap Books]

5AM

1 Enoch 17-19 contain Enoch’s first journey through the heavens. In this first vision there are a number of scenes which depict an ancient world view which graphically imagines how the orderly universe is maintained.  He sees the “high places” and ... [1 Enoch] [pseudepigrapha] [apocalyptic] [Archangels] [pseudepigraphy] [Uriel]

June 4, 6AM

Provan, Iain. Discovering Genesis. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2016. 224 pp. pb; $22.   Link to Eerdmans Discovering Genesis by Iain Provan is the first Old Testament volume in Eerdmans new Discovering Biblical Texts series (Discovering Matthew and D... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Genesis] [old testament]

June 3, 6AM

1 Enoch 12 introduces the reader to Enoch for the first time. He was hidden “before all this happened” with the “Watchers and holy ones” presumably for his protection. Since the phrase הָֽאֱלֹהִ֗ים in Genesis 5:22 could refer to God or... [1 Enoch] [pseudepigrapha] [apocalyptic] [Azazel] [Enoch] [pseudepigraphy]

June 2, 6AM

In 1 Enoch  9 we learn the rest of the angels are watching the progress of the events on earth. Michael, Sariel (Isaacs follows the Ethiopic, Surafel; manuscripts have Uryan of Ur’el Raphael (Rufa’el) and Gabriel. They hear the cries of the humans an... [1 Enoch] [pseudepigrapha] [apocalyptic] [Archangels] [gabriel] [Michael] [pseudepigraphy]

June 1, 12 PM

This is a brief follow-up to my earlier post on finding a translation of Enoch. Several people have offered suggestions in the comments to supplement by opinion that the “best value” translation is the Fortress Press reprint of Nickelsburg a... [1 Enoch] [pseudepigrapha] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigraphy]

5AM

Brian Renshaw posted an Alice Cooper themed Biblical Studies Carnival for May. And he is right, school is out for the summer and most academic head off to Caribbean beaches or their summer homes in the south of France. Brian did an excellent job curatin... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

May 31, 1PM

Blenkinsopp, Joseph. Abraham: The Story of a Life. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2015. 256 pp. Pb; $29.   Link to Eerdmans In this book, Joseph Blenkinsopp offers what he calls a “discursive commentary” on Genesis 12-22, the life of Abraham. In th... [Book Reviews] [book review] [old testament] [Genesis] [Abraham]

5AM

Chapter 6 begins the actual Book of the Watchers. In the biblical story of the Nephilim, the sons of God saw the daughters of men were are beautiful so they married them and had children (Gen 6:1-4). These children were called the Nephilim, the “mighty ... [1 Enoch] [pseudepigrapha] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigraphy]

May 28, 6AM

The May Biblioblog Carnival will be hosted by Brian Renshaw. Brian hosted the carnival back in January 2014 on his old blog New Testament Exegesis. He is nearly finished selecting his links, but if you have something you think is carnival worthy, send ... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [blogging] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

May 27, 8AM

1 Enoch 1-5 is an introduction to the Book of the Watchers (1 Enoch 6-36). Nickelsburg  argues the superscription to the book is an allusion to Deuteronomy 33:1 and he translates it to make the allusion more clear. Deuteronomy 33:1 This is the blessing w... [1 Enoch] [pseudepigrapha] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigraphy]

May 26, 7AM

Collins, John C. Apocalypse, Prophecy, and Pseudepigraphy: On Jewish Apocalyptic Literature. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2015. 399 pp. Pb; $34.   Link to Eerdmans   Apocalypse, Prophecy, and Pseudepigraphy collects nineteen essays published by Colli... [apocalyptic] [Book Reviews] [book review] [Eerdmans] [pseudepigraphy]

May 25, 4AM

The book known today as 1 Enoch not a single book, but rather a series of short books written over a period of time. They share some themes and interests, most obviously revelations given to Enoch. Since four of the five major sections of the book were fo... [1 Enoch] [pseudepigrapha] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigraphy]

May 23, 5AM

Dillman’s Ethiopic text of 1 Enoch I have been asked several times where to get a copy of 1 Enoch to read. As with most books, there are free copies on the internet and expensive books only available in the reserve room at high quality university li... [1 Enoch] [pseudepigrapha] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigraphy]

May 20, 6AM

Of all the apocalyptic material in the Pseudepigrapha, 1 Enoch is probably the most important. According to John Collins, the publication of 1 Enoch in the early nineteenth century was the major motivation for the study of Second Temple period literature... [1 Enoch] [pseudepigrapha] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigraphy]

May 18, 12 PM

In the previous post I made a few comments on common problems confronting those who study the Pseudepigrapha. A serious problem is that even though a particular book originated among Jewish thinkers of the Second Temple period, most of this literature was... [1 Enoch] [pseudepigrapha] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigraphy]

May 17, 4AM

Since I intended to spend the summer reviewing the apocalyptic literature in the Pseudepigrapha, this would be a good to time think about some of the challenges reading this material. I will be using the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, edited James Charlesw... [1 Enoch] [apocalyptic] [pseudepigrapha] [2 Baruch] [4 Ezra] [Old Testament Pseudepigrapha] [pseudepigraphy]

May 16, 6AM

Thomas, John Christopher and Frank D. Macchia. Revelation. Two Horizons New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2016. 692 pp. Pb; $36.   Link to Eerdmans   This new addition to the Two Horizons series from Eerdmans by John Thomas and F... [Book Reviews] [book review] [old testament] [Psalms]

May 13, 6AM

In his book Apocalypse Recalled (Minneapolis: Fortress, 2002), Harry Maier advocates taking Revelation as a “subversive piece of memory work” in order to avoid falling into the trap of extremism. The apocalyptic genre, Maier argues, looks at the prese... [apocalyptic] [apocalyptic literature] [Revelation]

May 12, 4AM

It is important to remember the oral nature of our texts in the New Testament, Harry Maier (Apocalypse Recalled, Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2002) emphasizes the “performance” of the text as a vital component of how to understand Revelation. While it... [apocalyptic] [apocalyptic literature] [Revelation]

May 11, 4AM

Apocalyptic is best known for its symbolic use of language. The genre is full of strange dreams and visions, usually symbolic of something that the writer is trying to tell his readers, but hide from those that are not familiar with the “code.” This m... [apocalyptic] [apocalyptic literature] [Revelation]

May 10, 4AM

One of the central themes in most apocalyptic books is that the world is experiencing some kind of spiritual warfare. Apocalyptic literature generally sees the world as a great conflict between the powers of evil, represented by Satan, and the powers of g... [apocalyptic] [apocalyptic literature] [Revelation]

May 9, 5AM

Next week I am teaching a three-week summer class entitled “Daniel and Revelation.” A major component of this class is learning how to read apocalyptic literature like Daniel 7-12 and most of Revelation. Most students think a class on Revelation sound... [apocalyptic] [apocalyptic literature] [Revelation]

May 6, 5AM

Former atheist Alister McGrath has a doctorate in molecular biophysics has been nothing if not a prolific writer since becoming a Christian. Most of his books would be apologetics and often concern the relationship of science and religion. He is the Andre... [bible software] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [Genesis] [ipad] [logos] [Logos Bible Software] [Pentateuch]

May 5, 5AM

 Ross. Allen P. A Commentary on the Psalms. Volume 3 (90-150). Grand Rapids, Mich. Kregel, 2016. 1040 pp. Hb; $49.99. Link to Kregel. Allen Ross’s third volume of his Psalms commentary brings to completion this major contribution to the study of the ... [Book Reviews] [book review] [commentary] [old testament] [Psalms]

May 4, 10AM

Morales, L. Michael. Who Shall Ascend the Mountain of the Lord? A Biblical Theology of the Book of Leviticus. New Studies in Biblical Theology 37. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2015. 190 pgs., Pb.; $22.00 Link to IVP In this contribution to the NSBT ... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [intervarsity press] [Leviticus] [NSBT] [Pentateuch]

May 3, 10AM

Now that I have completed my grading for the spring semester and turned in the last of my grades, I am ready to announce the winner of the latest volume of the New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity, edited by S. R. Llewelyn and J. R. Harrison, wi... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Eerdmans] [free book] [Giveway] [Greek] [New Testament]

5AM

Baker, Mike, J. K. Jones, and Jim Probst. We Speak: Proclaiming Truth in and Age of Talk. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2015. 189 pp. Pb.; $16.00  Link to IVP including a 3 minute video This book is intended to accompany a set of curriculum produce... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [Ruth]

May 2, 6AM

Jeff Carter (@thatjeffcarter) posted a fine Carnival on May 1 (I was out celebrating May Day). He claims to have used the “more-is-more, throw the spaghetti against the wall and see what sticks kind of approach, ” otherwise know as the Keener... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]
Borthwick, Paul. Great Commission, Great Compassion. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2015.  Link to IVP Paul Borthwick is a missiologist who teaches at Gordon College and has contributed several important books on missions and evangelism. This short b... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [evangelism] [great commission] [Missions]

April 29, 10AM

Payne, J. D. Apostolic Church Planting: Birthing New Churches from New Believers. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2015.  Link to IVP Apostolic Church Planting is a follow-up to Payne’s Discovering Church Planting (InterVarsity, 2009). At one-quarter... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Church Growth] [church planting] [discipleship]

5AM

In a 1993 interview for The Door, Tony Campolo said: “Any theology that does not live with a sense of the immediate return of Christ is a theology that take the edge off the urgency of faith. But any theology that does not cause us to live as though the... [Revelation] [apocalyptic]

April 28, 5AM

After describing the coming of the Messiah, John’s vision turns to a scene of thrones. These thrones for those who were killed during the time of tribulation described in Revelation. There are other New Testament passages promising thrones to the faithf... [Jewish Christian Literature] [Revelation] [apocalyptic] [Great Whore]

April 27, 7AM

Virtually everyone agrees this passage describes the triumphal return of Christ.  But as Aune notes, the imagery used is not derived from other early Christian traditions concerning the return of the Lord (Revelation, 3:1046). The various descriptions in... [Revelation] [apocalyptic] [Book of Revelation] [jesus] [second coming]

April 26, 10AM

This is the second book I am giving away in celebration of One Million Hits at Reading Acts as well as the end of the spring semester. I have an extra copy of the latest volume of the New Documents Illustrating Early Christianity, edited by S. R. Llewelyn... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Eerdmans] [free book] [Giveway] [Greek] [New Testament]

April 25, 1PM

I have made a slight dent in the huge pile of papers I still need to grade before the end of the semester, but the time has come to announce the winner of my extra copy of Samuel V. Adams, The Reality of God and Historical Method: Apocalyptic Theology ... [Book Reviews] [book review] [free book] [Giveway]

6AM

Lim, Bo H. and Daniel Castelo. Hosea. Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2015. 260 pp. Pb; $25.   Link to Eerdmans Unlike other commentaries in the Two Horizons series, Lim and Castelo place their theological essays in... [Book Reviews] [book review] [commentary] [Hosea] [Prophets] [theological interpretation]

April 23, 6AM

Revelation 17 gives us another chance to test the method of reading Revelation in the context of the first century, like a political cartoon. The kingdom of the beast is described with a rather vivid metaphor in this chapter – the empire is like a d... [Jewish Christian Literature] [Revelation] [apocalyptic] [Great Whore]

April 21, 1PM

Pate, C. Marvin. 40 Questions about the Historical Jesus. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel, 2015. Pb. 407 pp. $23.99.   Link to Kregel Historical Jesus studies have fallen on hard times in the last few years. In the mid-1990s there was a flurry of publicati... [Book Reviews] [book review] [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [Synoptic Gospels]

5AM

John says he sees another “great and marvelous sign,” the third such description in the book (cf. 12:1 and 12:3).  The sign, in this case, is the last set of seven angels. These are the last because “God’s wrath is completed.” God’s wrath is ... [Revelation] [apocalyptic] [Book of Revelation] [LAMB OF GOD] [The Song of Moses] [wrath]

April 20, 6AM

This section is clearly related to the material in chapter 13. There is a contrast between those who have taken the mark of the beast in chapter 13 and the 144,000 witnesses (who were introduced in chapter 7). Note that these witnesses have the name of Go... [Revelation] [144000] [apocalyptic] [Book of Revelation]

April 19, 12 PM

  I have a huge pile of papers to grade before the end of the semester, so I have decided to do a little spring cleaning in my office instead of dispatch my responsibilities. I have an extra copy of Samuel V. Adams, The Reality of God and Historical... [Book Reviews] [Apostolic Fathers] [book review] [Church History] [free book] [Giveway]

5AM

The Mighty Angel stands in his place and speaks.  The speech is described as the roar of a lion, and he is answered by the “seven thunders.” This description is significant for several reasons. It is the only place in Revelation where an angelic mess... [Gospel of John] [Revelation] [apocalyptic] [Beasts] [eschatology] [The Beast]

April 18, 8AM

John does not identify this angel, although some speculate it is Gabriel primarily because the name Gabriel means “mighty one.” It is not necessary to make the connection to Gabriel, although there are certainly other parallels here to Daniel. Gabriel... [Gospel of John] [Revelation] [apocalyptic] [Beasts] [eschatology] [The Beast]

April 17, 12 PM

G. R. Reasley Murray commented that Revelation 13 is a kind of “satanic trinity” (Revelation, 207). Vern Poythress considers the language of Revelation 13 to be a “counterfeit” of the true Christ: “ kind of pseudo-incarnation of Satan, is a coun... [Gospel of John] [Revelation] [apocalyptic] [Beasts] [eschatology] [The Beast]

April 15, 12 PM

Reading Acts launched in September 2008, and after three years hit about 50,000 views. As of today, the blog had its one millionth hit! Although the majority of these are undoubtedly spambots from eastern Europe hoping to steal my identity or sell me low... [Biblioblogs] [Huzzah!] [Shameless self promotion]

7AM

There are a remarkable number of parallels between this series of judgments and the ten plagues in Exodus.  For example, trumpets are associated with the theophany at Sinai (Exod 19:13-19; 20:18).  The first trumpet judgment is similar to Exodus 9:13-25... [Jewish Christian Literature] [Revelation] [eschatology] [theology]

April 14, 6AM

The Twenty-Four Elders by William Blake The 24 elders in Revelation 4-5 are a good test-case for methods of interpretation in this unusual book. What is important in this vision is the worship God receives from all of creation. Is the number 24 significan... [Jewish Christian Literature] [Revelation] [angels] [eschatology] [theology]

April 13, 7AM

Like the 24 elders, the four “living creatures” worship God at his throne (Rev 4:6b-8a). The NIV places these creatures “in the center, around the throne.” This reflects the difficulty of the syntax of this line in Greek. It could mean they are si... [Jewish Christian Literature] [Revelation] [eschatology] [Ezekiel] [theology]

April 12, 11AM

Revelation 4-5 are often read only for their value in describing worship (worthy is the Lamb….) or their Angelology (Who are the elders?  What are the four living creatures?)  While these elements are certainly there, the function of these chapter... [Jewish Christian Literature] [Revelation] [eschatology] [theology]

April 11, 8AM

The theological term for the end times is eschatology, the study of last things. This includes not only the return of Christ and the kingdom, but also “personal eschatology,” what happens to individuals after death, what judgments await the believer a... [Jewish Christian Literature] [Revelation] [eschatology] [theology]

April 9, 5AM

The person of Jesus frames the book of Revelation. In my previous post I arguedthe major theme of Revelation is worship, so it is no surprise that the object of this worship is often Jesus as the Messiah, the Lamb of God. The book begins with John’s vis... [Jewish Christian Literature] [Revelation] [jesus] [theology] [Lion and Lamb] [LAMB OF GOD]

April 8, 12 PM

Despite the fact the book has a great deal to say about coming events, Revelation is not a roadmap of the future. It is, rather, an exhortation for today. It is possible that people living in the tribulation will pick up the book of Revelation and see the... [Jewish Christian Literature] [Revelation] [Book of Revelation] [God] [Theolgy]

April 6, 7AM

Despite the fact the book of Revelation is usually mined for what it has to say about future events, it is not a “roadmap for the future.” It is, rather, an exhortation written to very real churches to encourage them to live a different kind of life i... [Revelation] [Second Temple Period] [Apocalypse of John] [apocalyptic] [Literal Interpretation]

April 5, 8AM

Perhaps more than any other New Testament book, the date for the writing of Revelation is important for interpreting the book. If the book was written in the 90s, then the immediate background for the book is persecution of Christians under Domitian. But ... [Jewish Christian Literature] [Revelation] [Fall of Jerusalem] [Hermenutics] [Preterism]

April 2, 12 PM

How is it even possible to approach the book of Revelation a literal hermeneutic? The presence of such bizarre symbolic language seems to preclude the possibility of reading the book literally. The presence of highly figurative language does not preclude ... [Revelation] [Second Temple Period] [Apocalypse of John] [apocalyptic] [Literal Interpretation]

7AM

Because of its unusual character, Revelation has been approached from a number of interpretive principles, some of which raise serious questions concerning its value as divine authoritative revelation. All of the methods used by evangelicals today have... [Revelation] [Second Temple Period] [Apocalypse of John] [apocalyptic] [Literal Interpretation]

April 1, 1PM

Logos Bible Software is going with a historical text for their “Free Book of the Month” promotion. They are offering Athanasius’s On the Incarnation of the Word of God in the Logos library and they will add a free audio version of t... [bible software] [Church History] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [ipad] [logos] [Logos Bible Software]

9AM

No fooling, N. T. Wrong has risen from the dead to host the March 2016 Biblical Studies Carnival CXII. For those who are new to the BiblioBlog world, N. T. Wrong disappeared after hosting the Biblical Studies Carnival XXXVII in February 2009. His carniv... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

March 31, 6AM

The opponents in Jude  misuse the grace of God as a license to sin. These seems to be the key problem Jude needs to address. The teachers seem to have been antinomian, a perversion of the gospel which argues that those who are saved are somehow “beyond... [Jewish Christian Literature] [Jude]

March 30, 7AM

While I have always thought of Jude as rather late (post 70 at least, if not in the 90’s), there are good reasons to date the book earlier. In his WBC volume on Jude and 2 Peter, Richard Bauckham argues that the letter is very early, perhaps as ea... [Jewish Christian Literature] [Jude] [Paul] [Antinomianism]

March 29, 5AM

Orlando, Robert. Apostle Paul: A Polite Bribe. Eugene Ore.: Cascade Books, 2014. 174 pp. Pb; $23.   Link to Wipf & Stock A “Polite Bribe” refers to Paul’s collection for the poor saints in Jerusalem. Robert Orlando’s thesis is that Paul nee... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Eerdmans] [Gospel of John] [John]

March 28, 8AM

Capes, David B., Rodney Reeves and E. Randolph Richards. Rediscovering Jesus: An Introduction to Biblical, Religious and Cultural Perspectives on Christ. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2015. 272 pp. Hb; $30.00.   Link to IVP In Mark 2:6 Jesus tells ... [Book Reviews] [book review] [gospels] [historical Jesus] [intervarsity press] [jesus]

March 24, 11AM

Boxall, Ian. Discovering Matthew: Content, Interpretation, Reception. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2015. 216 pp. Pb; $22.   Link to Eerdmans Ian Boxall’s Discovering Matthew is the first of two contributions to the new Discovering Biblical Texts se... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Eerdmans] [Gospel of Matthew] [Matthew]

5AM

The short letter of Second John is address to the “elect lady and her children.” This is likely a reference to a church. Since the Greek word for church is feminine, calling a church a “chosen lady” is a natural metaphor. Jobes points out that nei... [Jewish Christian Literature] [John] [2 John] [Letters of John] [Second John]

March 23, 7AM

One of the frustrations reading the letters of John is the John’s rather stark, black-and-white view of the world. He begins in 1 John 1:5 by stating that “God is light, and in him there is no darkness.” There is a “polarity between God and ‘the... [Jewish Christian Literature] [John] [Dualism] [Gnostics] [Letters of John]

March 22, 6AM

By the end of the first century, at least some Christians began to deny that Jesus had a physical body. This teaching is known as Docetism, and was motivated by a strong belief that Jesus was in fact God, but also that material things are inherently evil ... [John] [1 John] [docetism] [heresy] [Letters of John]

March 21, 6AM

Edwards, James R. The Gospel according to Luke. PNTC. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2015. 831 pp. Hb; $65. Link to Eedrmans James Edwards previously contributed the volume on Mark to the Pillar New Testament Commentary. It is unusual for a commentary ser... [Book Reviews] [Luke / Acts] [book review] [Eerdmans] [gospels] [Luke]

March 18, 6AM

In response to the claim the apostolic teaching concerning the return of Jesus is a cleverly devised myth, Peter claims to be an eyewitness of “his majesty” (2 Peter 1:16b-18). Peter is referring to the Transfiguration of Jesus (Matt 17:1-8, Mark 9:1-... [2 Peter] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Christian Life] [Peter] [salvation] [virtue]

March 17, 5AM

This paragraph is like a “last testament” for Peter. He knows he will be executed soon and he wants to encourage the readers to keep what he has said in mind even after he is gone. Some of the language here is “stock language” used in last testame... [2 Peter] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Peter] [salvation] [suffering]

March 16, 4AM

In 1 Peter 1:5-7, the writer has described a virtuous life. But the one who lacks these qualities has forgotten they are cleansed of sin (v.9).  Two metaphors are used to describe someone that lacks the virtues listed in verses 5-7. First, they are like... [2 Peter] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Christian Life] [Peter] [salvation] [virtue]

March 15, 5AM

Like several other places in the New Testament, Peter offers a list of virtues to describe what a “godly life” might look like. The structure of the list is like a staircase (a and b, b and c, etc.) This is a Hellenistic Greek style known as sorites, ... [2 Peter] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Christian Life] [Peter] [salvation] [virtue]

March 14, 12 PM

Discussions of 2 Peter tend to focus on the authenticity of the book and the possibility the book is pseudonymous. As interesting as these issues are, they distract readers from the rich theology of this often ignored letter of the New Testament. First, t... [2 Peter] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Godly Loving] [Peter]

March 10, 7AM

Persecution is therefore not a cause for fear, but rather an opportunity to honor Christ and revere him as Lord (as opposed to Caesar!) Peter is not commanding a completely passive acceptance of suffering. Rather, he tells the readers to be ready to give ... [1 Peter] [Jewish Christian Literature] [persecution] [Peter] [suffering] [wives]

March 9, 7AM

1 Peter 3:13 makes the simple point that no one usually attacks people for doing good things. As he stated in 2:13-14, people generally do not suffer insults and persecution for doing good things (although there are always exceptions). It is better to suf... [1 Peter] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Peter] [slaves] [wives]

March 8, 7AM

Since Peter’s audience is about to face persecution, he tells them how they are to respond to attacks on their faith. Most scholars think that the kind of persecution that Christians faced in Asia Minor in the middle first century was the sort of insult... [1 Peter] [Jewish Christian Literature] [persecution] [Peter]

March 7, 7AM

Peter concludes the ethical section of the letter with a description of what the Christian community ought to look like (v. 8).  All five of these phrases are single words in Greek, and are rare outside of this passage. (The only exception is tender hear... [1 Peter] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Peter] [slaves] [wives]

March 5, 8AM

After lengthy instructions to slaves and wives, Peter simply tells husbands to “live with your wives in an understanding way, showing honor to the woman as the weaker vessel, since they are heirs with you of the grace of life, so that your prayers may n... [1 Peter] [Jewish Christian Literature] [husbands] [Peter] [slaves] [wives]

March 4, 6AM

When Peter begins to address wives in the congregation, his focus is on how the outsiders understand the Christian wife. The situation in view in 3:1 is of a wife who has come to Christ, but her husband is not a Christian. While there are many examples of... [1 Peter] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Peter] [slaves] [wives]

March 3, 7AM

The relationship of a slave to his master must be “respectful submission” (1 Peter 2:18-19). The word translated “be subject” or “submit” (ὑποτάσσω) carries more negative connotations in English than in Greek. The word has the sense o... [1 Peter] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Peter] [slaves] [wives]

March 2, 8AM

Peter has stated several times in this letter that the readers are living like “strangers and aliens” in this world. Since they are strangers, the world is watching them very closely. It is therefore essential that the Christian live life to a higher ... [1 Peter] [Evening Service Notes] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Peter] [slaves] [wives]

March 1, 1PM

Once again Logos is offering something a little different for their Free Book of the Month promotion.  Instead of a traditional book in the Logos format, the free “book” is John Piper’s Look at the Book, a series of 101 short videos ... [bible software] [Bible study] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [ipad] [John Piper] [logos] [Logos Bible Software] [video]

6AM

Jacob Prahlow posted the Biblical Studies Carnival for February 2016 at Perusing Veritas. Jacob did a great job collecting many of the best and brightest posts made in the month of February. Take a break from obsessing over Super Tuesday and head over t... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

February 29, 6AM

Strangers are not always welcome. Imagine this scene: you are traveling in England, and in some small village you have some car trouble so you stop at the local pub with a colorful name like “the Prancing Pony” or “The Drunken Duck” or my personal... [1 Peter] [Jewish Christian Literature] [government] [Peter] [salvation]

February 26, 1PM

Peter describes Jesus as a “living stone” that was rejected by men (2:4). What is a “living stone”? Some take this as an uncut rock. Altars in the Old Testament were to be built from unhewn rock, not dressed stone.  Water that is used in a Jewish... [Jewish Christian Literature] [Peter] [Diaspora]

February 25, 7AM

Having described our salvation as secure by its very nature, Peter goes on to describe our salvation as “has been kept in heaven” and guarded by the power of God.  A second reason our great salvation is secure is that we are not guarding it, God the ... [Jewish Christian Literature] [Peter] [Diaspora] [Thomas Schriener]

February 24, 7AM

In order to comfort those who might think their suffering implies a loss of salvation, Peter describes the nature of salvation as an expectation that cannot be lost. It is not possible to lose our inheritance of salvation because it is by its very nature... [Jewish Christian Literature] [Peter] [Diaspora] [Thomas Schriener]

February 23, 11AM

It is possible the original readers of 1 Peter wondered about the status of their salvation. They knew God had promised the Jewish people a return from the exile, a return to the “promised land” and a righteous and just king to rule over them in a tim... [Jewish Christian Literature] [Peter] [Diaspora] [Thomas Schriener]

February 22, 1PM

Like James, Peter’s first letter appears to reflect a Jewish Christianity. Surprisingly, this is not the majority opinion. In his brief notes on 1 Peter in the ESV Study Bible, Thomas Schriener comments that “Most scholars are convinced that the recip... [Jewish Christian Literature] [Peter] [Diaspora] [Thomas Schriener]

February 20, 8AM

At the conclusion of his discussion of the relationship between faith and works, James uses Abraham as an example of a person who obeyed God and was declared righteous. He alludes to Genesis 22 and quotes Genesis 15:16 and concludes that a person is consi... [james] [Jewish Christian Literature] [faith and works] [Letter of James] [Rahab]

February 17, 7AM

Karen Jobes argues James assumes Jewish wisdom literature, although he “transposes it by Jesus’ teaching” (Letters to Christians, 206). By the time of the New Testament, Jewish wisdom literature (like Proverbs) had come into contact to Greek ethical... [james] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Sirach] [wisdom]

February 16, 6AM

A central aspect of the ethical teaching in the book of James is proper treatment of the poor. James 1:27 commands the care of widows and orphans, in 5:15 he commands the elders to care for the sick in their churches. James warns his readers that the weal... [james] [Jewish Christian Literature] [ethics] [Poverty] [the book of James]

February 15, 1PM

Traditionally James is thought to have been an “unbeliever” before the resurrection. Like Paul, he encountered Jesus after the resurrection and “converted” to Christianity. This description is troublesome for several reasons. First, the unbelief o... [james] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Letter of James]

February 14, 2PM

The Letter of James is often described as pseudonymous, meaning that the letter is attributed to James but not actually written by him.  In fact, this is an issue for several of the books of the New Testament: The Pastoral Epistles, Ephesians, Colossians... [james] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Letter of James] [pseudonymity]

February 13, 7AM

The traditional view is that the author is James, the brother of Jesus. There is nothing in the Letter of James that does not resonate with what we know about James from the book of Acts and Paul’s letter to the Galatians. Of course there are scholars w... [james] [Jewish Christian Literature]

February 12, 8AM

James 1:1 indicates that he is writing to “the twelve tribes in the Dispersion.” Assuming that this line is to be read literally, we need to understand what a Jewish writer would have meant when he said “twelve tribes” and Diaspora. Simply put, a ... [Hebrews] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Always Saved] [election] [Once Saved]

February 10, 12 PM

In Hebrews 11 the writer explained what he meant by faith, and then gave numerous examples of faith.  Based on these examples, Hebrews 12:1 exhorts the reader to “run the race marked out for us.”  This is possible because we are surrounded by a “g... [Hebrews] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Book of Hebrews] [marathon]

February 9, 6AM

The writer of Hebrews has argued throughout the book that various elements of the Old Covenant were shadows or hints at the reality fully realized in Jesus Christ. Perhaps the most important of these comparisons is the assertion in chapter 9 that the Day ... [Hebrews] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Always Saved] [election] [Once Saved]

February 6, 5PM

Hebrews 6:4-6 says that it is impossible for those who have “once been enlightened” to be restored to repentance if they should fall away. The key to understanding this verse is the word “fall away.” The verb παραπίπτω refers to someone w... [Hebrews] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Always Saved] [election] [Once Saved]

February 4, 10AM

Hebrews 6:4-12 is one of the difficult in the Bible because it deals with a very sensitive problem: If someone recants their faith and completely turns their back on God, can they still be “saved”?  It does not take very long to find a websit... [Hebrews] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Always Saved] [election] [Once Saved]

February 3, 7AM

Logos is has something a little different for their Free Book of the Month promotion. Partnering with Eisenbrauns, Logos is offering the first two issue of the Journal of Theological Interpretation for free. The Journal began publication in 2007 and i... [bible software] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [ipad] [logos] [Logos Bible Software] [Scott Hahn] [theological interpretation]

February 2, 7AM

The context of the notoriously difficult “falling away” passing in Hebrews 6:4 is critically important.  In Hebrews 6:1-3 the author of Hebrews implies his readers are immature and have failed to grow at an expected pace. They need to “build again... [Hebrews] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Book of Hebrews]

February 1, 6AM

Tim Bulkeley posted the heavily footnoted Biblical Studies Carnival at SansBlogue. He used some new and interesting categories to cover the best and brightest biblical and theological studies blog posts in the first month of 2016. Tim has a nice round-up... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

January 30, 9AM

Hebrews 8-9 are theologically more controversial than the rest of Hebrews because it appears the writer of Hebrews says the Jewish people have been replaced by the Church. The New Covenant has replaced the Old just as Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross is su... [Hebrews] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Book of Hebrews]

January 29, 8AM

Like human priests, Christ was divinely appointed to his office (5:5-6). The writer will deal with his points in reverse order, dealing first with the appointment of Jesus to the office of High Priest. The writer cites two Psalms which he already used in ... [Hebrews] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Book of Hebrews]

January 28, 6AM

The book of Hebrews emphasizes the priesthood of Jesus more than any other book in the New Testament. In fact, much of the argument of Hebrews 5-10 is based on Jesus as the High Priest. Two words of caution before discussing Jesus as a High Priest. First,... [Hebrews] [Jewish Christian Literature] [high priest]

January 27, 10AM

After his discussion of Jesus and Moses, the author of Hebrews offers a brief exhortation based upon the experience of Israel. He alluded to Psalm 95 and Israel’s rebellion in the wilderness in 3:7-11, concluding with the Lord’s judgment on that gener... [Hebrews] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Book of Hebrews]

January 26, 7AM

After proving that Jesus is superior to the angels in Hebrews 1-2, the writer moves to his second argument, that Jesus is superior to Moses.  Why move from angels to Moses? For most modern readers, angels are superior to humans, so if Jesus is superior t... [Hebrews] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Book of Hebrews] [jesus] [Moses]

January 25, 2PM

One of the problems with reading Hebrews is identifying the date and recipient of the letter. I am convinced the recipients were in Rome, living just before the Neroian persecutions.  I think the standard arguments for this position are solid, although I... [Hebrews] [Jewish Christian Literature] [Book of Hebrews] [Purpose of Hebrews]

January 22, 8AM

Another common element in descriptions of Jewish Christian is “anti-Paulinism.” To what extent does a given document disagree with Paul and Pauline theology? There is a wide range of opinion on what Paul’s theology really was, especially in the wake... [Jewish Christian Literature]

January 21, 1PM

Donald Hagner’s article on Jewish Christianity in the Dictionary of the Later New Testament provides a summary of the theology of Jewish Christianity. The first issue Hagner discusses is the Law and Christian Life. The Jewish community in Acts appears t... [Jewish Christian Literature]

January 20, 7AM

In Paul and the Faithfulness of God, N. T. Wright points to three issues that may give some indication of the “Jewishness” of a particular writer.  He begins his discussion of Paul’s redefinition of Jewish Monotheism in Jesus with a survey of the ... [Jewish Christian Literature]

January 19, 8AM

In the earliest days, Christianity was entirely Jewish, yet by the end of the first century the majority of the church was Gentile, and by the end of the second century only a minority of Christians were converts from Judaism. There is little doubt a book... [Jewish Christian Literature]

January 18, 6AM

Starting this week I am teaching an undergrad class on the “Jewish Christian Literature.” Essentially, this is a class that covers Hebrews through Revelation. Sometimes this section of the New Testament is called the “catholic epistles” or the “... [Jewish Christian Literature]

January 15, 7AM

Today is the day I pick a winner for a copy of Mark Strauss’s excellent book, Jesus Behaving Badly. There were 22 people signed up (I allowed only one entry per person). I took each of your names, sorted randomly and then pasted them into Excel. ... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Giveway] [jesus]

January 14, 12 PM

Merrill, Eugene H. A Commentary on 1 & 2 Chronicles. Grand Rapids, Mich. Kregel, 2015. 637 pp. Hb; $39.99. Link to Kregel. Commentaries on 1 & 2 Chronicles are often painful to read. Since the books begin with nine chapters of genealogy there is ... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [Chronicles] [commentary]

January 13, 8AM

Wilson, Lindsay. Job. Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2015. 420 pp. Pb; $28.   Link to Eerdmans Suffering is one of the few constants of human history. The early twenty-first century has witnessed daily suffering be... [Book Reviews] [old testament] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [Job] [suffering] [Wisdom Literature]

January 11, 10AM

Hawk, L. Daniel. Ruth. Volume 7B, Apollos Old Testament Commentary Series. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2015. 166 pp. Hb; $30.00.   Link to IVP The Apollos Old Testament Commentary Series intends to accurately interpret the original text of the Ol... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [Ruth]

January 8, 12 PM

I happen to have an extra copy of Mark L. Strauss, Jesus Behaving Badly (IVP 2015), so I thought I would pass it along to a Reading Acts reader. I reviewed the book in November, concluding that it is a readable introduction to some of the issues one fac... [Book Notices] [Book Reviews] [book review] [free book] [Giveway] [gospels] [jesus]

January 4, 9AM

Click here for a chance to win a free subscription to Logos Cloud! I have been using Logos Bible Software since the early 1990s when I purchased a “Scholars Package.” This came on four 3.5” floppy discs and included a handful of resources. At the ti... [bible software] [Free Logos Books] [ipad] [Logos Bible Software]

January 2, 9AM

Logos Bible Software is offering an excellent book for their “Free Book of the Month” promotion, The JPS Torah Commentary: Exodus by Nahum Sarna. Sarna served as the general edited of the series published by The Jewish Publication Society (... [bible software] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [ipad] [Jürgen Moltmann] [logos] [Logos Bible Software] [Westminster John Knox Press]

7AM

Jennider Guo’s December 2015 Biblical Studies Carnival has arrived in time for the new year. Jenifer has done a remarkable job collecting the best of the BiblioBlogs the last month of the year, so head on over and click all the links, the deserv... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

December 30 2015, 12 PM

I reviewed 47 book reviews this year on Reading Acts. I always appreciate the publishers who send me review copies. I do read these books and write the same sort of review I would write for a Journal. I usually exceed 1000 words for a review, and in some ... [Book Reviews] [Huzzah!]

December 29, 7AM

The last Biblioblog Carnival of 2015 will be hosted by Jennifer Guo (@jenniferguo). Jennifer told me she was working hard on the Carnival, but if you send her a link or two she might be able to use them. What have you read this month that was challengi... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [blogging] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

December 26, 7AM

I got this idea from John Scalzi, a SF writer who has been writing a blog since before there was such a thing. I read his collection of essays/blogs on a plane this summer (The Mallet of Loving Correction) in which he had a list of “25 Geeks NOT to Foll... [Biblioblogs] [humor] [parody] [Twitter]

December 23, 7AM

Jim West says he is going to mock every “top ten list” inevitably appearing on every blog this next week. Mock this. If You Aren’t Following Phil Long on the Twitter, You Should Be I Bet Satan Loves Methodist and Episcopal Churches Though… Hey ... [Biblioblogs] [bibliobloggers] [humor]
Lucas, Ernest C. Proverbs. Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2015. 421 pp. Pb; $28.   Link to Eerdmans Commentaries on Proverbs are often difficult write because proverbs are, by nature, easy enough to understand yet ... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [Intertextuality] [Proverbs] [Wisdom Literature]

December 21, 8AM

Two years ago I thought it would be funny to write a few tweets with common student mistakes. This turned into a “top ten list” of things I have consistently read while grading Bible papers. I just did these as tweets over a couple of days (and ye... [humor] [Academia] [Fail]

December 18, 7AM

Lightfoot, J. B. The Gospel of John: A Newly Discovered Commentary. Edited by Ben Witherington III and Todd D. Still. The Lightfoot Legacy Set 2; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2015. 317 pp Hb; $40.00.   Link to IVP Last year IVP released the first ... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [Gospel of John] [J. B. Lightfoot] [John]

December 16, 10AM

Marshall, Mary. The Portrayals of the Pharisees in the Gospels and Acts. FRLANT 254; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2015. Hb;  €89.99.  Link to V&R  In this important monograph, Mary Marshall answers the “comparative neglect of the Gos... [Book Reviews] [book review] [gospels] [Pharisees]

December 15, 12 PM

Porter, Stanley E. and Andrew W. Pitts. Fundamentals of New Testament Textual Criticism. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2015. 202 pp. Pb; $22.   Link to Eerdmans This new introduction to New Testament textual Criticism is intended as a companion to Por... [Book Reviews] [Textual Criticism] [Eerdmans] [Greek] [book review]

December 10, 12 PM

Evans Craig A. and H. Daniel Zacharias, eds., “What Does the Scripture Say?”: Studies in the Function of Scripture in Early Judaism and Christianity: Volume 2: The Letters and Liturgical Traditions. LNTS 470; Studies in Scripture in Early Judaism and ... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [Hermenutics] [Intertextuality]

December 9, 9AM

Evans Craig A. and H. Daniel Zacharias, eds., “What Does the Scripture Say?”: Studies in the Function of Scripture in Early Judaism and Christianity: Volume 2: The Letters and Liturgical Traditions. LNTS 470; Studies in Scripture in Early Judaism and ... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [Hermenutics] [Intertextuality]

December 7, 2PM

Evans Craig A. and H. Daniel Zacharias, eds., “What Does the Scripture Say?”: Studies in the Function of Scripture in Early Judaism and Christianity: Volume 1, The Synoptic Gospels. LNTS 469; Studies in Scripture in Early Judaism and Christianity. Lon... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [Hermenutics] [Intertextuality]

10AM

Evans Craig A. and H. Daniel Zacharias, eds., “What Does the Scripture Say?”: Studies in the Function of Scripture in Early Judaism and Christianity: Volume 1, The Synoptic Gospels. LNTS 469; Studies in Scripture in Early Judaism and Christianity. Lon... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [Hermenutics] [Intertextuality]

December 4, 6AM

Apocalyptic thinking often divides history into various periods. Daniel’s outline of history as four coming kingdoms is one example, but there are others in apocalyptic literature. Perhaps the most common way for apocalyptic thinking to divide history i... [Paul] [Second Temple Period] [apocalyptic] [Pauline Epistles]

December 3, 1PM

In Thinking Through Paul, Bruce Longenecker and Todd Still examine J. C. Beker’s suggestion that Paul’s thinking is “the apocalyptic interpretation of the Christ event” (TTP 302). It has become fashionable to describe Paul’s theology as “apoca... [Paul] [Second Temple Period] [apocalyptic] [Pauline Epistles]

December 2, 10AM

Edwards, Ruth B. Discovering John: Content, Interpretation, Reception. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2015. 272 pp. Pb; $22.   Link to Eerdmans This book joins Ian Boxall’s Discovering Matthew as the first volumes of a new (or rebooted) Discovering th... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Eerdmans] [Gospel of John] [John]

December 1, 12 PM

Once again the good folk at Logos are offering an excellent Free Book of the Month. For the month of December you can have a copy of Stephen Fowl’s excellent Ephesians Commentary in the NTL Library from Westminster John Knox Press. Fowl wrote the ... [bible software] [Authorship of Hebrews] [commentary] [Ephesians] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [Hebrews] [ipad] [Joseph Ratzinger] [logos] [Logos Bible Software]

7AM

Waltke, Bruce K., James M. Houston, Erika Moore. The Psalms as Christian Lament: A Historical Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2014. 328 pp., Pb., $28.00.  Link to Eerdmans This book is a follow-up to The Psalms as Christian Worship (Eerdmans, ... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [Hermenutics] [mystery]

November 28, 10AM

Jim West Blogging The November BiblioBlog Carnival will be hosted by Jim West at Zwinglius Redivivus. Jim was busy at SBL/AAR snapping pics and taking names. Jim is not the kind of person to let a scrapbook opportunity pass him by! So if you are recover... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [blogging] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

7AM

This long sentence might be a summary of what Paul means by “sound doctrine” in Titus 2:1.  Gordon Fee called these lines “semi creedal” (1-2 Timothy, Titus, 200)  and nearly all agree that this section was used in some form of liturgy. Paul con... [Pastoral Epistles] [Paul] [Pauline Theology] [Sound Doctrine] [titus] [Titus 3]

November 27, 7AM

The false teachers described in the book are coming from within Titus’s churches on Crete. They are elders who are not spiritual leaders and have defected from sound teaching and are behaving in a way that brings dishonor to the church. The list of qual... [Pastoral Epistles] [doctrine] [Paul] [Pauline Theology] [Tradition]

November 26, 7AM

In contrast to the false teachers, Paul lists his own suffering as an example of what will happen to anyone that wants to live a godly life (vv. 10-12).  This is somewhat surprising for contemporary Christians who are fed a steady diet of “health a... [Pastoral Epistles] [doctrine] [Paul] [Pauline Theology] [suffering] [Tradition]

3AM

The opponents in Ephesus stand in contrast to Paul’s record of suffering (v. 13) It is Paul and Timothy’s opponents who are the imposters. The noun (γόης) Paul uses here is a common way to describe an opponent in a philosophical debate. The noun o... [Pastoral Epistles] [doctrine] [Paul] [Pauline Theology] [suffering] [Tradition]

November 25, 1PM

In 2 Timothy 1 Paul has told Timothy to model his life and ministry after Paul, recalling the examples of both his family (Lois and Eunice) and Paul’s co-worker Onesiphorus. He ought to avoid the example of the false teachers in Ephesus, namely Phygelus... [Pastoral Epistles] [Godliness] [Paul] [Pauline Theology]

7AM

Paul was “appointed a preacher and apostle and teacher” of the Gospel (1:11). This description of Paul’s ministry is similar to 1 Tim 2:7. The “preacher” in the ESV is better a “herald,” or “proclaimer.” This is a person who is appointed... [Pastoral Epistles] [doctrine] [Paul] [Pauline Theology] [Tradition]

November 24, 10AM

Kaiser, Walter. Tough Questions about God and His Actions in the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich. Kregel, 2015. 176 pp. Pb; $16.99.   Link to Kregel First-time readers of the Old Testament are often shocked by the grittiness of some of the stories, es... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [Hermenutics] [old testament] [Walter Kaiser]

November 21, 1PM

Paul devotes a great deal of space to the care of widows in 1 Timothy, likely because this was a problem for Timothy in Ephesus.  The Hebrew Bible has a remarkable interest in the protection of widows (Exod 22:22; Deut 10:18; Ps 146:9; Deut 24:17-21). Ba... [Evening Service Notes] [Pastoral Epistles] [Paul] [Pauline Theology] [Widows]

November 20, 1PM

In my previous post on 1 Timothy, I stated that you cannot really guess who these opponents are based on Paul’s four statements in 1 Tim 4:1-2.  He does give us more to go on in verses 3-4.  At the very least, we can say that the opponents in Ephe... [Evening Service Notes] [Pastoral Epistles] [Last Days] [Paul] [Pauline Theology]

7AM

This section of 1 Timothy is the center of the letter, perhaps the center of the three Pastoral Epistles as a whole. The main metaphor Paul works in this letter is the Household of God. Timothy is a pillar in that household and responsible for the spiritu... [Pastoral Epistles] [Godliness] [Paul] [Pauline Theology]

November 19, 1PM

The opponents in Ephesus are like the people predicted to come in the “later days.” Jesus also described false messiahs and prophets who would come claiming to be messengers from God. First and Second John both describe teachers with wrong views about... [Pastoral Epistles] [Last Days] [Paul] [Pauline Theology]

7AM

The qualifications for the overseer are moral virtues which would be worthy of respect in the Greco-Roman world. He must be “above reproach.” Along with verse 7, this is the controlling theme of the whole passage.  Paul will repeat this for all membe... [Evening Service Notes] [Pastoral Epistles] [1 Timothy] [deacons] [elders] [Paul] [Timothy]

November 18, 1PM

First Timothy 3 and 1 Titus 1 are well-known passages because the describe the qualifications for church leadership. We usually fret the most over the line about “one wife” and perhaps that the leader must have well-behaved children, but there is far ... [Pastoral Epistles] [1 Timothy] [deacons] [elders] [Paul] [Timothy]

7AM

1 Timothy 2:11-15 is perhaps the most troubling in the New Testament in terms of what Paul commands for his churches and his reasons for those commands. The command is for women “to learn in quiet and submission” (v. 11). As with Paul’s commands abo... [Pastoral Epistles] [1 Timothy] [First Timothy] [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [Quiet Life]

November 17, 7AM

1 Timothy 2 is one of the most difficult passages in the New Testament, primarily because of the potential abusive applications of the second half of the chapter.  It has been used to silence the voice of women in the church, despite the very clear Pauli... [Pastoral Epistles] [1 Timothy] [First Timothy] [Paul] [Pauline Literature] [Quiet Life]

November 16, 1PM

Paul thanks God because God has enabled him to be faithful to the service to which he was appointed (v. 12). To “strengthen” someone is to give them the power of ability to do a particular task. This is the same verb (ἐνδυναμόω) Paul uses in... [Pastoral Epistles] [1 Timothy] [First Timothy] [Paul] [Pauline Literature]

12 AM

In order to illustrate what he means by “the disobedient, ungodly, and sinners,” Paul offers a sin-list. For the most part, this list is the standard sort of things that one expects.  Paul has two words for sexual sins.  The first covers a wide rang... [Pastoral Epistles] [1 Timothy] [First Timothy] [Paul] [Pauline Literature]

November 14, 7AM

It can be argued that the material in Ephesians 4-6 and Colossians 3-4 reflect an early form of apostolic teaching or catechism material. The terms kerygma and didache are used to distinguish between two types of apostolic message.  Kerygma is the “pre... [Ephesians] [Paul] [Colossians] [didache] [kerygma]

November 13, 5AM

The idea that the church is the bride of Christ is common in popular thinking, especially in hymns and songs. This is based on the common metaphor drawn from the Hebrew Bible that Israel is God’s bride. Beginning in Hosea, the prophets use the metaphor ... [Ephesians] [Paul] [Anti-imperialism] [Epistle to the Ephesians] [N. T. Wright] [Pauline Epistles]

November 12, 6AM

Several times in Ephesians Paul mentions rulers and authorities, powers and dominions. Most commentators observe Paul has spiritual forces in view when he uses this kind of language. By the first century, Judaism had developed a complicated view of angel... [Ephesians] [Paul] [Anti-imperialism] [Epistle to the Ephesians] [N. T. Wright] [Pauline Epistles]

November 11, 7AM

After spending some time reading in the so-called anti-Imperial texts in Paul, I would suggest that Paul does in fact envision the eventual destruction of the Roman Empire.  But Paul does not encourage the sorts of anti-government protests and social act... [Ephesians] [Paul] [Anti-imperialism] [Epistle to the Ephesians] [N. T. Wright] [Pauline Epistles]

November 10, 5AM

I read an article by Denny Burk in JETS a few years ago which was a decent summary of anti-Imperial readings of Paul, although I think that he has lumped N. T. Wright along with Richard Horsely and Hal Taussig. To me, Wright is not doing the same sort of ... [Ephesians] [Paul] [Anti-imperialism] [Epistle to the Ephesians] [N. T. Wright] [Pauline Epistles]

November 9, 6AM

The traditional “background” to Philemon posits Philemon as a wealthy man and slave owner (15-16) probably living in Colossae.  He is described as a “partner” in Paul’s ministry and his house appears to have been used for meetings of believers ... [Colossians] [Paul] [Philemon] [Pauline Epistles] [slavery]

November 8, 1PM

Colossians 1:22 begins with “but now” (νυνὶ δὲ). These are two very important words in the Greek, indicating an important contrast. The contrast is between time when we were enemies of God and the present time when we have experienced reconc... [Colossians] [Paul] [Colossae] [Pauline Epistles]

November 7, 8AM

Paul beings by pointing out humans are alienated from God, or perhaps “estranged.” In English, estranged can simply mean separation, “a man and his estranged wife…” This doesn’t mean that the one of the marriage partners are wrong.  It me... [Colossians] [Paul] [Colossae] [jewish mysticism] [Pauline Epistles] [Testament of Solomon]

November 6, 2PM

Colossians 1:15-20 appear to have been an early Christian hymn.  There is evidence this was poetry, perhaps pre-dating Paul and well known to the congregation.  Paul uses material like this in other contexts (Phil 2:5-9, for example).  It is likely Pau... [Colossians] [Paul] [Colossae] [jewish mysticism] [Pauline Epistles] [Testament of Solomon]

7AM

Strauss, Mark L. Jesus Behaving Badly: The Puzzling Paradoxes of the Man from Galilee. Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2015. 223 pp. Pb; $16.00.   Link to IVP In his introduction, Strauss points out most everybody likes Jesus. Although he begins with... [Book Reviews] [historical Jesus] [jesus]

November 5, 1PM

One of the main issues we need to sort out for understanding the letter to the Colossians is the nature of the false teaching which was causing problems in the church.  Paul clearing thinks that it is important enough to write a letter to a church which ... [Colossians] [Paul] [Colossae] [jewish mysticism] [Pauline Epistles] [Testament of Solomon]

7AM

“Without doubt…the least important church to which any epistle of Paul is addressed.” J. B. Lightfoot, Colossians, 16. By the first century, the city of Colossae could only be described as a “small town” by Strabo, (Geography, 7.8.13.)  Lit... [Colossians] [Paul] [Colossae] [jewish mysticism] [Pauline Epistles] [Testament of Solomon]

November 3, 1PM

I just received  the new UBS Greek New Testament, Fifth Edition with the NIV in the mail today from Zondervan.  I obviously have not spent much time with the books since it is only just released, but I will offer a few “first impressions.” This is... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Greek] [Kregel] [Textual Criticism]

7AM

Paul’s opponents may have claimed to be better qualified to explain the role of the Law for Gentiles because of their heritage and training. This is more or less equivalent to someone who claims to be an expert because they graduated with a PhD from Har... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

November 2, 9AM

The Logos Bible Software “Free book of the Month” is Urlich Luz’s excellent Matthew 1-7  in the Hermenia series from Fortress Press and for a mere $1.99 you can get the second volume (Matthew 8-20).  These volumes retail for $75 e... [bible software] [Acts] [commentary] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [Genesis] [ipad] [logos] [Logos Bible Software]

November 1, 6AM

Typical Blogger Welcome to the Biblical Studies Carnival  for October 2015. This is BiblioBlog Carnival 116. The first BiblioBlog carnival was Joel Ng at Ebla Logs in March 2005. That blog is not long gone, but you can read an archive of it at Pete... [Biblioblogs]

October 31, 2PM

Paul begins the next section of the letter to the Philippians by calling on the church to live a life worthy of the Gospel. By living a worthy life, the church will stand firm in one spirit (v. 27-28).  One’s “manner of life” (πολιτεύομα... [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

6AM

As is typical of Paul’s letters, he begins by expressing his thanks for the church in prayer.  Most letters in the Greco-Roman world began with some sort of thanksgiving section in order to set the tone for the letter. Here Paul recalls his time with t... [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

October 30, 7AM

It is remarkable that the issue of Paul’s citizenship first arises in Philippi in Acts 16. Citizenship was not common in the first century, not everyone was guaranteed the privilege of being a citizen of the Empire. In 28 B.C. there were approximately 4... [Paul] [Anti-imperialism] [empire] [Philippians] [Rome]

October 29, 5AM

Paul uses a metaphor for the Christian life in this verse: the “in Christ” people are to be like “living sacrifices” to God. This is a metaphor that a Roman, Greek, or Jew would fully understand. Typically a sacrifice is killed on the altar, but h... [Paul] [Living Sacrifice] [Romans]

October 28, 11AM

In 11:1-10, Paul picks up on a common theme in the Hebrew Bible: there always a remnant of righteous within the unbelieving Israel. At the time of Elijah there was a remnant of faithful Jews who refused to worship Baal. When Isaiah is called to announce t... [Paul] [Romans] [Pauline Theology]

7AM

Romans 9-11 deal with the “problem” of the Jewish people in the present age. If God has begun a new program to deal with all peoples equally without giving a special advantage to Israel, one might ask if Israel is completely cut off from God’s bless... [Paul] [Romans] [Pauline Theology]

October 27, 1PM

After arguing from scripture that the one who is in Christ has been declared righteous by faith apart from works of Law, Paul must responding to a potential objection.  Someone might ask, “If we are saved by God’s grace alone and not by our works, wh... [Paul] [Romans] [Pauline Theology]

October 26, 1PM

The October Biblioblog Carnival will be hosted right here at Reading Acts. A “blog carnival” is a collection of links on a particular topic for a given period. I think the idea of a blog carnival first developed out of psychology or sociol... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [blogging] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

9AM

Bandy Alan S. and Benjamin L. Merkle. Understanding Prophecy: A Biblical-Theological Approach. Grand Rapids, Mich. Kregel, 2015. 264 pp. Pb; $21.99. Link to Kregel There have been several introductory handbooks for the Prophets have appeared recently. Mos... [Book Reviews] [Paul] [Colin G. Krise] [James Dunn] [N. T. Wright] [new perspective on Paul] [Romans]

October 25, 11AM

Paul shows that with Abraham long before the Law was given, Abraham’s faith was “reckoned” to him as righteousness. In secular Greek, the verb λογίζομαι (logizomai) was used for determining the amount of a debt (Demosthenes Or. 27, 46).  T... [Paul] [jesus] [pagans] [Romans]

October 24, 6AM

Paul uses a wide variety of metaphors for salvation in the book of Romans, but the idea of redemption and sacrifice would have been most clear to both Jews and Gentiles. It is God who provides salvation through the faithful act of Jesus on the Cross. Jesu... [Paul] [Book of Romans] [righteousness] [Romans]

October 23, 5AM

Longenecker and Still have stimulating section on the “righteousness of God” in Romans (Thinking through Paul, 174-7). Prior to the Reformation, the phrase referred to the justice of God and his righteous judgment of sin. Think of the Renaissance pain... [Paul] [Book of Romans] [righteousness] [Romans]

October 22, 12 PM

Christianity came to Rome through the Synagogue, likely from Jews who heard the gospel while in Jerusalem as early as Pentecost. Paul wrote Romans in the second half of the 50s to already existing congregations which have separated from the synagogues or ... [Paul] [Romans] [Pauline Theology] [Rome]

October 21, 7AM

Since Romans is such an important book for understanding Paul’s theology, this is a good place to pause in our survey of Paul’s letters and think about what effect the New Perspective has had on our perceptions of Faith and Works, justification and ot... [Paul] [Book of Romans] [Romans]

October 20, 11AM

Paul describe himself with three “titles” in Romans 1:1. First, he is a a servant of Christ Jesus. The term “servant of Christ Jesus” should be understood in terms of Old Testament background rather than Greek/Roman culture (Cranfield, 50).  On t... [Paul] [Romans] [Pauline Theology]

October 17, 8AM

Paul’s solution is simple: expel/purge the sinful man from the congregation (5:4-5). As far as Paul is concerned, the man already stands condemned. Don Garland points out the perfect tense verb (κέκρικα) implies Paul has already made a judgment a... [Corinthians] [Paul] [1 Corinthains] [Pauline Theology] [Sexual Sin]

October 16, 6AM

Paul states clearly the sin in the church at Corinth is so bad even the Romans would consider it wrong. Why is the immoral man committing a sin like this? Most scholars thinks money is the main issue. Perhaps the wife was from a wealthy and prestigious fa... [Galatians] [Paul] [1 Corinthains] [Divisions in the church] [Pauline Theology]

October 15, 2PM

Paul has a kind of zero-tolerance policy for divisions in the church, the issue covered in the first four chapters 1 Corinthians. In chapters 5-6 he deals with a series of related issues which cannot be tolerated. Sexual immorality may have been part of c... [Corinthians] [Paul] [1 Corinthains] [ethics] [Pauline Theology] [sexual morals]

October 14, 7AM

In 1 Corinthians 4, Paul calls himself and Apollos “stewards” who have been entrusted with the most important thing imaginable, the “mysteries of God.” Like a fund manager, he is to protect that investment but also see that there is a return on th... [Galatians] [Paul] [1 Corinthains] [church] [Divisions in the church] [Pauline Theology]

October 13, 7AM

In 1 Corinthians 1-2, Paul argues God has inverted the thinking of the world by choosing the foolish to humble the wise; by choosing the weak to humble the strong. The one who is in Christ has the Spirit of God and the Mind of Christ and ought to be think... [Galatians] [Paul] [1 Corinthains] [Divisions in the church] [Pauline Theology]

October 12, 9AM

1 Corinthians begins with four chapters directed at reported divisions in the church. In 1:11 Paul uses the noun ἔρις (eris), quarreling or discord. This word refers to a “hot dispute” between rivals (Ciampa and Rosner, 1 Corinthians, 77). It app... [Galatians] [Paul] [1 Corinthains] [Divisions in the church] [Pauline Theology]

October 10, 8AM

Paul alludes to Leviticus 19:18: the Law is fulfilled in one commandment, “Love your neighbor as yourself” (Gal 5:14). This verse is the most quoted verse from the Pentateuch in the New Testament, despite the fact it is almost never referred to in fir... [Galatians] [Paul] [ethics] [Freedom in Christ] [Pauline Theology]

October 9, 7AM

The fact the believer is free from the Law should not necessarily lead to the view that the believer may indulge in sinful behavior (Galatians 5:13). Does Paul contradict himself in this verse? He has consistently argued in Galatians that the believer is... [Galatians] [Paul] [ethics] [Freedom in Christ] [Pauline Theology]

October 7, 1PM

That Abraham “believed in God and was declared righteous” is an important point for Paul. But it is critical to Paul’s point to know when Abraham believed. He trusted in God’s word before the sign of the Covenant was given, in Genesis 15 not 17. W... [Galatians] [Paul] [Abraham] [circumcision] [Pauline Theology]

October 6, 7AM

Paul says that Peter’s withdrawal from table fellowship with the Gentile is nothing less that hypocrisy. The problem Paul has with Peter is his change of attitude and behavior after the visit from the “men from James.” The first verb Paul uses (shri... [Galatians] [Paul] [Pauline Theology] [Peter] [The Antioch Incident]

October 5, 12 PM

Galatians 2:11-14 describes a serious confrontation between Paul and Peter. This incident takes place at Antioch some time before the Jerusalem conference in Acts 15. For Paul, Peter’s withdrawal from table fellowship is plainly hypocrisy. Peter has ag... [Galatians] [Paul] [circumcision] [Pauline Theology] [The Antioch Incident]

October 4, 11AM

Commenting on his meeting in Jerusalem, Paul says that the Pillars “added nothing” to him (2:6). This can be taken in two different ways. First, the Pillars did not add anything to Paul’s gospel, meaning they “approved” of the Gospel Paul was te... [Galatians] [Paul] [circumcision] [Pauline Theology]

October 3, 7AM

[NB: This is based on an excerpt from my upcoming book on Galatians.] In Acts 2 Paul reports a meeting in Jerusalem with “the Pillars.” In this meeting he brings along Titus as a test case for Gentile salvation. With respect to the book of Act... [Galatians] [Paul] [circumcision] [Pauline Theology]

October 1, 1PM

The first major controversy the early church had to contend with strikes the modern reader a bit strange. Unlike later theological debate over the divinity of Jesus or the Trinity, or modern concerns over how to properly worship in church or who can (or c... [Galatians] [Paul] [circumcision] [Pauline Theology]

6AM

This month’s Biblical Studies Carnival was hosted at The Biblical Review by William Brown (@willhartbrown). William says, “I’ve enjoyed the opportunity sift through the many posts pertinent to Biblical Studies. Aside from the specific lin... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

September 29, 11AM

In 1 Thessalonians 4:9–10 Paul encourages the church at Thessalonica to pursue “brotherly love.” What is brotherly love? The noun used here (φιλαδελφία) was only used for literal family relationships before the Christian community began to... [Paul] [Pauline Theology] [Thessalonians]

September 28, 1PM

The verbs translated “ask” and “urge” (ἐρωτάω and παρακαλέω) in 1 Thessalonians 4:1-2 are commonly used to encourage a reader to a particular action.  They appear in personal letters between people of the same social status rather... [Paul] [Pauline Theology] [Thessalonians]

September 26, 4PM

In 1 Thessalonians 2:4 Paul says he spoke to the congregation as someone who was approved by God to be entrusted with the Gospel. This is an important claim and is related to Paul’s apostleship. First, Paul says he was “approved by God.”  This... [Paul] [Judaism] [Pauline Theology] [pharisee]

7AM

Paul frequently distinguishes himself from Greco-Roman philosophers. In several different texts, Paul boasts in his weakness and claims he is unskilled as a public speaker. In 1 Thess 2:1-7, for example, he clearly distances himself from the typical orato... [Paul] [Orator] [Pauline Theology]

September 23, 6AM

Paul claims to be called to be an apostle in each of the undisputed letters (Rom 1:1, 1 Cor 1:1, 2 Cor 1:1, Gal 1:1) as well as several other letters (Eph 1:1, Col 1:1, 1-2 Tim, Titus). In addition to the headings of these letters, Paul refers to his apos... [Paul] [apostle] [Apostleship] [Pauline Theology]

September 22, 6AM

Like Philippians 3, in 2 Corinthians 11:23–33 Paul boasts about his ministry. Since this letter is written in the mid-50s, the list refers to Paul’s early ministry. But Paul does not list his accomplishments quite the way we would expect them. First, ... [Paul] [Judaism] [Pauline Theology] [suffering] [Suffering for Christ]

September 18, 1PM

In several letters Paul confesses that he once persecuted the followers of Jesus and caused the death of some. In Acts Luke associates this violent persecution with the preaching of Stephen, a deacon who delivers a prophetic speech in Acts 7 arguing that... [Paul] [Judaism] [Pauline Theology] [pharisee]

September 17, 7AM

Like the discussion of Paul’s conversion, the New Perspective on Paul has had quite a bit to say here.  Typically Paul has been viewed as struggling to keep the Law, perhaps in despair over his inability to do “the whole of the Law.” Romans 7:25 is... [Paul] [Judaism] [Pauline Theology] [pharisee]

September 16, 7AM

For most Christians, Paul’s experience on the Road to Damascus (Acts 9) is the classic story of the conversion of the chief of sinners. Jesus himself appears to Rabbi Saul and confronts him with the truth of the resurrection and completely turns him aro... [Paul] [Judaism] [Pauline Theology] [pharisee]

September 15, 6AM

Today is the day I pick a winner for a copy of The Setting of the Sermon on the Mount by W. D. Davis. The context opened a week ago, and 27 people signed up (there were more comments, but I allowed only one entry per person). I took each of your name... [Book Reviews] [free book] [Giveway] [Huzzah!]

September 12, 7AM

Paul claims to be a Pharisee in Philippians 3 and when brought before the Sanhedrin Paul claims to have been “educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers” (Acts 22:3). This is a controversial topic, Scot M... [Paul] [Judaism] [Pauline Theology] [pharisee]

September 11, 6AM

Longenecker and Still argue Paul was a Jew who valued his ancestral traditions despite living in a Jewish Diaspora community in Tarsus (Thinking through Paul, 26). Paul’s describes his Jewish heritage in Philippians 3:4-6, claiming he was “circumcised... [Paul] [Pauline Theology]

September 10, 7AM

Although Longenecker says there is no evidence to indicate Paul grow up with “a silver spoon in his mouth” (Thinking through Paul, 26), John Polhill speculates Paul may have been wealthy for several reasons (Paul and His Letters, 9). First, Paul was b... [Paul] [Pauline Theology]

6AM

This Fall I am once again privileged to teach Pauline Literature this fall. I will be using a new textbook this year, Longenecker and Still, Thinking through Paul (Zondervan, 2014). Both authors are top-notch Pauline scholars and the book is well designed... [Paul] [Pauline Theology]

September 9, 8AM

Wright, Christopher J. H. The Message of Lamentations. The Bible Speaks Today; Downers Grove, Ill.: IVP Academic, 2015. 166 pp. Pb; $16.00.   Link to IVP Wright has already written the volumes on Jeremiah and Ezekiel for The Bible Speaks Today series as... [Book Reviews] [book review] [intervarsity press] [Jeremiah] [Lamentations]

September 8, 1PM

To celebrate the happiest time of the year (the beginning of school), I am going to give away a few books on Reading Acts. Two weeks ago, I gave Jake Bodet a copy of The World of the New Testament: Cultural, Social, and Historical Contexts (Grand Rapids... [Book Notices] [Book Reviews] [book review] [free book] [Giveway] [jesus] [New Testament] [sermon on the mount]

6AM

Today is the day I pick a winner for a new copy of Reading Luke (Zondervan, 2005). The context opened a week ago, and 30 people signed up (there were more comments, but I allowed only one entry per person). I took each of your names, sorted randomly ... [Book Reviews] [free book] [Giveway] [Huzzah!]

September 4, 6AM

Comfort, Philip Wesley. A Commentary on the Manuscripts and Text of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel, 2015. 443 pp. Hb. $29.99.  Link to Kregel Philip Comfort is well known for his many publications on New Testament textual criticism and ... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Greek] [Kregel] [Textual Criticism]

September 3, 7AM

Beale, G. K. and Benjamin L. Gladd.  Hidden But Now Revealed: A Biblical Theology of Mystery. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2014. 392 pp. Pb; $27.00.   Link to IVP Greg Beale is well-known for his work on the Old Testament in the New, including Th... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [Hermenutics] [mystery]

September 2, 11AM

Psalm 73 begins with a proverb, “Truly God is good to Israel, to those who are pure in heart.” But the writer wonders if that is really true. From his own experience, the wicked seem to prosper (73:4-12) and he does not see much benefit in keeping his... [Psalms] [meditation] [old testament] [wisdom]

4AM

The Logos Bible Software “Free book of the Month” is Gary V. Smith’s Mentor Commentary on Amos published by Mentor in 1998. The book was originally published by Zondervan in 1989, this is a “revised and expanded” edition. ... [bible software] [Acts] [commentary] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [Genesis] [ipad] [logos] [Logos Bible Software]

September 1, 4AM

We are deep in the dog days of summer, but August Biblical Studies Carnival is a breath of fresh air. Bob MacDonald has done a remarkable job collecting the best of the BiblioBlogs this month at at his blog Dust.  Click all the links, support the sch... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

August 31, 10AM

To celebrate the happiest time of the year (the beginning of school), I am going to give away a few books on Reading Acts. I gave Jake Bodet (@JakeBodet) a copy of The World of the New Testament: Cultural, Social, and Historical Contexts (Grand Rapids. M... [Book Notices] [Book Reviews] [Acts] [book review] [free book] [Giveway] [Luke] [New Testament] [Zondervan]

4AM

Today is the day I pick a winner for a new copy of The World of the New Testament (Baker, 2013). The context opened a week ago, and 43 people signed up (there were more comments, but I allowed only one entry per person). I took each of your names, sor... [Book Reviews] [free book] [Giveway] [Huzzah!]

August 28, 11AM

This is the last call for links for the August Biblioblog Carnival hosted by Bob MacDonald (@drmacdonald). I know Bob has been busy all month collecting the best contributions to biblical studies and theology on the web in August, but he can always use... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [blogging] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

August 27, 4AM

Even though he questioned the value of his innocence, the writer’s perspective is changed when he entered into worship. The wicked are not as prosperous has he once thought (73:18-20).  The writer knew his feet were in danger of slipping when he became... [Psalms] [meditation] [old testament] [wisdom]

August 26, 4AM

Like Job and Jeremiah, the writer of Psalm 73 wonders if there is any value to being “pure in heart.” This should not be understood as arrogance, the writer has done what he believes to be all that he can to approach God in the proper way. He claims t... [Psalms] [meditation] [old testament] [wisdom]

August 25, 4AM

The psalmist confesses he has envied the wicked because of their prosperity (73:2-3).  In doing so, the writer expresses what many people are afraid to admit, he is honest before God in a way which distresses the ordinary Christian. This embarrassing ope... [Psalms] [meditation] [old testament] [wisdom]

August 24, 1PM

To celebrate the happiest time of the year (the beginning of school), I am going to give away a few books on Reading Acts. First up is The World of the New Testament: Cultural, Social, and Historical Contexts (Grand Rapids. Mich.: Baker Academic, 2013) e... [Book Notices] [Book Reviews] [Baker] [book review] [free book] [Giveway] [New Testament]

10AM

The first line of Psalm 73 may have been a popular proverb at the time the Psalm was written. At the very least, it is a common theme in the Psalms. Those who are the true worshipers of God are pure in heart. In Psalm 24, for example, only those who have ... [Psalms] [wisdom] [Wisdom Literature]

August 21, 12 PM

Boda, Mark J. ‘Return To Me’: A Biblical Theology of Repentance. NSBT 35; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2015. 232 pp. Pb; $22.   Link to IVP Mark J. Boda (PhD, University of Cambridge) is professor of Old Testament at McMaster Divinity and ... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [Old Testament Theology] [repentance]

August 20, 7AM

Psalm 49 describes the fate of the wealthy. Wisdom literature in general has a great deal to say about the folly of relying on one’s personal wealth. Despite this, it seems like contemporary American culture (especially conservative evangelicalism)... [Psalms] [foolish] [Money] [wisdom] [Wisdom Literature]

August 18, 4AM

How did a wisdom Psalm function as a worship song?  Psalm 49 is an example of setting a wisdom theme to music, although these themes are not typically part of modern worship. When was the last time you heard a praise and worship song on the futility of w... [Psalms] [Money] [wisdom] [Wisdom Literature]

August 17, 6AM

Psalm 49 is a wisdom song with many similarities to both Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. Wisdom literature is primarily found in the books of Proverbs, Job and Ecclesiastes, although proverbs and “wise sayings” appear in virtually every book of the Hebrew... [Psalms] [meditation] [old testament] [wisdom]

August 12, 9AM

Gundry, Robert H. Peter: False Disciple and Apostate according to Saint Matthew. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2015. 139 pp. Pb; $20.   Link to Eerdmans   Video of a lecture Gundry gave at Westmont on the topic of this book. This short study by Rober... [Book Reviews] [Apostle Peter] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [gospels] [Hermenutics] [Matthew] [Peter]

August 11, 6AM

In most Wisdom literature, the one who has hope in the Lord will succeed even if the wicked seem to prosper now. Psalm 37 describes the wise as “waiting for the Lord.” This refers to placing hope in the Lord to keep his promises of loving care for his... [Psalms] [meditation] [old testament] [wisdom]

August 10, 6AM

Do not worry about the wicked (v. 1-2). Fret and envy seem like two different ideas in English, although they are used parallel here in Psalm 37. To “fret” in Hebrew (hitpael of חרה) as the sense of burning with anger, a “passionate intensity, a ... [Psalms] [meditation] [old testament] [wisdom]

August 6, 6AM

Green, Bradley G. Covenant and Commandment: Works, Obedience and Faithfulness in the Christian Life. NSBT 33; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2014. 208 pp. Pb; $22.   Link to IVP In this new contribution to the NSBT series, Bradley G. Green (PhD, The... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [Covenant] [Covenant Theology] [good works] [Hermenutics]

August 5, 7AM

Allen Ross points out the psalmist does not compare his righteous heart to the wicked person. Most people would expect the writer to say “but not so me!” after this picture of the person who lives in total ignorance of impending doom. (Something like... [Psalms] [meditation] [old testament] [wisdom]

August 4, 7AM

This is not the usual word used for “fear of the Lord.” This word (פַּחַד) has the connotation of terror or dread, the kind of fear that makes you tremble. It is used in passages where God’s wrath is poured out on an enemy (“the dread of the... [Psalms] [Fear of the Lord] [meditation] [old testament] [wisdom]

August 3, 1PM

I have been teaching through some of the Wisdom Psalms in my Summer Bible Study series at church. Psalm 36:1 presents several unusual challenges for a teacher since translations vary greatly: NIV: I have a message from God in my heart concerning the sinfu... [Psalms] [Bible Translation] [LXX] [old testament] [wisdom]

6AM

The Logos Bible Software “Free book of the Month” is Mikeal C. Parsons Acts commentary in the Paideia series from Baker. Mikeal Parsons is a top Acts scholar and the Paideia series pays close attention to the cultural and educational contex... [bible software] [Acts] [commentary] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [Genesis] [ipad] [logos] [Logos Bible Software]

August 1, 6AM

The June Carnival has arrived at Lindsay Kennedy’s My Digital Seminary. Lindsay has done a remarkable job collecting the best of the BiblioBlogs this month. Click all the links, the deserve it. Lindsay includes a blurry photograph of himself and N... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

July 31, 8AM

Shepherd, Charles E. Theological Interpretation and Isaiah 53: A Critical Comparison of Bernhard Duhm, Brevard Childs, and Alec Motyer. The Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies 598. London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2014. Hb $112.00.   Link to ... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [Hermenutics] [Isaiah] [old testament] [Old Testament Theology]

July 30, 6AM

Hill, Wesley. Paul and the Trinity: Persons, Relations, and the Pauline Letters. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2015. 224 pp. Pb; $26.   Link to Eerdmans with a twelve minute video “book trailer.” Wesley Hill attempts a theological reading of severa... [Book Reviews] [book review] [exegesis] [Pauline Theology] [Trinity]

July 28, 8AM

The first six verses of the Psalm described God’s continuous silent revelation of his existence and attributes to the whole world. Despite the testimony of creation, not all people recognize the God of creation and fail to give him his proper glory. He ... [Psalms] [meditation] [old testament] [wisdom]

July 27, 12 PM

Celebrate a long hot summer with the July 2015  Biblical Studies Carnival by Lindsay Kennedy (@digitalseminary) at My Digital Seminary. I am sure Lindsay would appreciate having a few nominations for top posts for the month. Here is a link to Lindsay&#... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [blogging] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

7AM

The first half of Psalm 19 is a meditation on Genesis 1. Heavens and sky refer to all of creation. The “heavens” is the atmosphere in this case, and the skies are the firmament from Gen 1:7 (רָקִיעַ). In the worldview of the Ancient Near east, ... [Psalms] [meditation] [old testament] [wisdom]

July 17, 11AM

Logos Bible Software has completed their Lexham Bible Dictionary. The LBD weighs in at over 4.5 million words in more than 7,000 articles. It took about five years for the 700 contributors from to complete the work. The Dictionary is completely integra... [bible software] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [ipad] [logos] [Logos Bible Software]

July 16, 6AM

Verhoef, Eduard. Philippi: How Christianity Began in Europe: The Epistle to the Philippians and the Excavations at Philippi. London: T&T Clark, 2013. Hb $100.00; Pb $29.99; ePub / Logos $24.99 Link to Bloomsbury T&T Clark  Link to Logos This mono... [Book Reviews] [book review] [old testament] [Biblical Theology] [Ruth] [Old Testament Theology] [James McKeown] [the book of Ruth]

July 14, 6AM

Psalm 1:4-5 says the wicked will not “stand in the judgment” or “in the congregation of the righteous.” These two descriptions indicate the wicked will be expelled from the people of God. Standing in judgment puts this psalm in an eschatological c... [Psalms] [meditation] [old testament] [righteous] [wisdom]

July 13, 7AM

[NB:  I am teaching through some of the wisdom Psalms this summer at Rush Creek, so I thought I would use some of this material here.] In Psalm 1:2-3 the one who is actively avoiding fools delights themselves with the Law of the Lord. The Word of the Lo... [Psalms] [meditation] [old testament] [wisdom]

July 8, 11AM

Campbell, Constantine R. Advances in the Study of Greek: New Insights for Reading the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2015. 253 pp. Pb; $34.99.  Link to Zondervan   A Short Interview with Campbell Campbell’s Advances in the Study of Gr... [Book Reviews] [book review] [exegesis] [Greek] [greek new testament] [Lunguistics] [New Testament]

July 7, 12 PM

  Always read your life-verses in their proper context… [humor] [Fail]

July 6, 2PM

Liftin, Duane. Paul’s Theology of Preaching: The Apostle’s Challenge to the Art of Persuasion in Ancient Corinth. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2015. 392 pp. Pb; $40.00.   Link to IVP In recent years interest in Greco-Roman rhetoric has... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Paul] [Pauline mission] [Preaching]

July 2, 6AM

Building a Church Looking back on everything he has written thus far, Paul says his defense of himself is really intended to “upbuild” (ESV) the church.  Paul considers his letter to be a legal defense against an attack coming from his opponents in C... [Paul] [Corinthians] [humility]

July 1, 1PM

Logos Bible Software partners with Kregel this month to offer Thomas Schreiner ‘s  40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law (Kregel, 2010) for their “Free Book of the Month” promotion. Schreiner explains the “interplay bet... [bible software] [Brevard Childs] [commentary] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [ipad] [Isaiah] [Jeremiah] [logos] [Logos Bible Software]

8AM

The June Carnival has arrived at William Ross’s blog. William has done a great job gathering links to excellent BiblioBlogs in the month of June, on a wide variety of topics. Everyone should find something of interest, go check it out. Click all ... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

June 30, 8AM

Paul has refused to accept gifts from the Corinthian church in order to avoid a patron/client relationship. Rather than patronage, Paul describes his relationship with Corinth as a parent and child (12:14b-15). In the Corinthian letters, Paul uses parent/... [Paul] [Corinthians] [humility]

June 29, 6AM

Once of the main reasons Paul wrote 2 Corinthians is because he cancelled his plans to visit the church (1:15-2:4). Paul’s reasons for the change in plans was to spare the church. He was angry with them and knew the visit would be painful indeed. Instea... [Paul] [Corinthians] [humility] [Roman culture]

June 25, 10AM

Paul’s real “thorn in the flesh” identified at last….     [Paul] [Corinthians] [humility] [humor]

5AM

The “thorn in the flesh” is directly related to Paul’s “great revelations.” This is not something Christians need to fear, Paul is unique in salvation history as the apostle to the Gentiles, and his visionary experience is unique as well. The ... [Paul] [Corinthians] [humility]

June 24, 1PM

McKeown, James. Ruth. Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2015. 152 pp. Pb; $22.   Link to Eerdmans  and an interview with McKeown at EerdWorld. James McKeown wrote the Genesis commentary in the Two Horizons series. Thi... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [intervarsity press] [john goldingay] [old testament] [Old Testament Theology]

6AM

The June 2015 Biblical Studies Carnival will be hosted by  William A. Ross, so if you have any suggested links for significant blog posts related to biblical or theological studies, feel free to send them his way (williamross27 at gmail dot com). The Ju... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [blogging] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

June 23, 7AM

Paul says he was caught up to the third heaven and receive revelations of “surpassing greatness.” Paul reports this vision in a way consistent with other visions of heaven in the literature of the Second Temple period. Like other prophets, Paul is “... [Paul] [Corinthians] [humility]

June 22, 11AM

Paul continues his boasting in 1 Cor 12, this time mentions a vision in which he was transported to the “third heaven.” We do not know when this vision occurred, and the way Paul describes it is hard to place in the book of Acts. He describes... [Paul] [Corinthians] [humility]

June 18, 6AM

Goldingay, John. Do We Need the New Testament? Letting the Old Testament Speak for Itself. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2015. 184 pp. Pb; $22.00.   Link to IVP NB: This is the second part of my review of Do We Need the New Testament?, the first pa... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [intervarsity press] [john goldingay] [old testament] [Old Testament Theology]

June 17, 1PM

Goldingay, John. Do We Need the New Testament? Letting the Old Testament Speak for Itself. Downers Grove, Ill..: InterVarsity, 2015. 184 pp. Pb; $22.00.   Link to IVP John Goldingay is one of the foremost Old Testament scholars His ICC commentaries on I... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [intervarsity press] [old testament] [Old Testament Theology]

June 9, 7AM

In 2 Cor 11 Paul catalogs his suffering in this paragraph. Since this book was written while Paul was in Ephesus (Acts 19), we know he will face even greater suffering than this (two separate two-year house arrests and a shipwreck between!) He says he has... [Paul] [Corinthians] [humility]

June 8, 7AM

[I had the opportunity to preach at Bethesda Church in Prior Lake, Minnesota this Sunday, this is a “highlight” from my sermon. I am teaching an extension course this week in Minnesota, back to Grand Rapids in a week.] It seems strange for Pau... [Paul] [Corinthians] [humility]

June 3, 1PM

Chalmers, Aaron. Interpreting the Prophets: Reading, Understanding and Preaching from the Worlds of the Prophets. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2015. 173 pp. Pb; $20.00.   Link to IVP Aaron Chalmers is head of the School of Ministry, Theology and C... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [intervarsity press] [Prophets]

June 2, 10AM

Logos’s Free Book of the Month promotion is offering an excellent commentary once again for the month of June. Until the end of this month, Logos users can download Anthony Tomasino’s contribution on Esther in the Evangelical Exegetical Comm... [bible software] [Brevard Childs] [commentary] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [ipad] [Isaiah] [Jeremiah] [logos] [Logos Bible Software]

June 1, 6AM

Dr. Claude Mariottini posted the May 2015 edition of the Biblical Studies Carnival. He has a nice collection of the best biblioblogs for this month.  Dr. Mariottini also made this observation: “I discovered that many people who write academic blogs... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [blogging] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

May 29, 11AM

Smith, Gary V. Interpreting the Prophetic Books: An Exegetical Handbook. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Ministry, 2014. 224 pp. Pb; $22.99.   Link to Kregel This new contribution to the Handbooks of Old Testament Exegesis covers a huge secion of the Old Te... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [old testament] [Prophecy] [Prophets]

May 28, 7AM

Seifrid, Mark A. The Second Letter to the Corinthians. PNTC; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2014. 569 pp. Hb; $50.   Link to Eerdmans Seifrid’s new commentary on Second Corinthians arrived about the same time as the second edition of Ralph Martin’s ... [Book Reviews] [2 Corinthians] [book review] [Non-Pauline Letters] [Paul]

May 27, 6AM

Martin, Oren R. Bound for the Promised Land: The Land Promise in God’s Redemptive Plan. NSBT 34; Downers Grove, Ill..: InterVarsity, 2015. 208 pp. Pb; $20.00.   Link to IVP This new addition to New Studies in Biblical Theology is a detailed study of t... [Book Reviews] [Biblical Theology] [book review] [intervarsity press] [NSBT]

May 26, 7AM

Burge, Gary M. A Week in the Life of a Roman Centurion. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2015. 189 pp. Pb; $16.  Link to IVP, includes a short book trailer featuring Burge. Burge says the modern reader is like “a foreigner in their world and culture,... [Book Reviews] [book review] [church] [Ministry] [Preaching]

May 22, 5AM

Pelton, Randal E. Preaching with Accuracy. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel Ministry, 2015. 170 pp. Pb; $16.   Link to Kregel, read a 25 page excerpt from the book. This short book of preaching is in many ways a combination of Haddon Robinson’s classic Bib... [Book Reviews] [book review] [church] [Ministry] [Preaching]

May 12, 1PM

[The group has now returned home after a long day of travel from Tamar in the Negev to Tel Aviv to fly through Newark to Chicago and finally a bus ride to Grand Rapids, Michigan. I took a day to recover, and now I am teaching a summer session Jesus and th... [Israel Trip] [israel] [Travel] [Travel in Israel]

May 8, 11AM

This was our final full day touring the Dead Sea region. We started early at En Gedi, a nature park with a 1.8 mile hike back into a canyon to “David’s Waterfall.” This is the location called the Crags of the Wild Goats in 1 Samuel 24:2 ... [Israel Trip] [Dead Sea] [En Gedi] [israel] [Qumran] [Travel]

May 7, 11AM

Today was an all-Negev day, beginning with a drive to Mamshit (or the Greek Mampsis for those who are sensitive). Mamshit is a Nabatean trading post built in the first century AD as a caravansary. There are two old churches at the top of the hill; the Nil... [Israel Trip] [Arad] [israel] [Mamshit] [Masada] [Travel]

May 6, 11AM

Just a quick report today. We crossed back into Israel this morning by 10AM at the Aqaba/Eilat border crossing. The transfer went absolutely smoothly and our guide Ash was very professional in helping us on the Jordanian side. We drove to the Coral Beach ... [Israel Trip] [Eilat] [israel] [Tamar] [Travel]

May 5, 8PM

  This was one of the nicest days I have had for walking in Petra. The temperature was no more than mid-80s in the afternoon, and with the breeze almost chilly in the morning. We left the hotel and drove only about 15 minutes to the entrance to the p... [Israel Trip] [Isral] [Jordan] [Petra] [Travel]

7AM

We left our hotel very early to cross the the border into Jordan. This went very smoothly until we got to the other side and our Jordanian guide was not there. He was caught in traffic near the border, a small village had a “market day” and ca... [Israel Trip] [israel] [Travel] [Mount Nebo] [Jordan] [Jerash]

May 4, 12 PM

  At the Jordan River  This was another day of great weather for our tour, just a bit over 80 and breezy. We started the day Yardenet, location in Gaillee on the Jordan River for Christians to get baptized. Well, not all Christians, I suppose. We s... [Israel Trip] [Galilee] [israel] [Sea of Galilee]

May 2, 11AM

We started very early today and drove from Jerusalem to Caesarea, Herod the Great’s tribute to the Roman Empire on the Mediterranean Sea. This is one of the best presented sites in Israel and I have always enjoyed the walk along the beach. We starte... [Israel Trip] [Galilee] [israel] [Sea of Galilee]

May 1, 11AM

We had another great day in and around the Old City of Jerusalem. We began the day at the traditional drop off point on the Mount of Olives in front of the Seven Arches Hotel. When we arrived we were almost the first bus, so there were only a few people l... [Israel Trip] [mount of olives]

April 30, 11AM

Today was a “museum day,” something I have not done quite this way before. We began at Yad VaShem, the Holocaust museum in Jerusalem. This is one of the best designed museums I have ever visited. A person can walk through the story of the Shoah from t... [Israel Trip]

April 29, 9PM

Today was a very long walk from our hotel to the Old City of Jerusalem. According to several step-counters people wore, we walked about 7 miles today. One estimate was higher, but the other two were a bit lower, but based on how my feet feel, 7 miles is j... [Israel Trip]

April 28, 11AM

Our long travel day started from the Grace Bible College commons, and although the bus was late and we hit some really slow traffic, we made it to Chicago in time to make the flight. Funny that a trip of 6000 miles starts with road construction in West M... [Israel Trip] [Grace Bible College] [israel]

April 27, 6AM

At Jaffa Gate 2013 I am leaving today to lead a tour in Israel and Jordan.  This is my seventh trip to Israel since 2005 and I am looking forward to this one a great deal.  I have 24 students along with me on this trip and they are all ready for an ad... [Archaeology] [Israel Trip] [tel Tamar]

April 23, 8AM

Last Sunday I had the privilege of preaching for the morning Worship Service at Rush Creek Bible Church in Byron Center, Michigan. I do not get to do this very often since I usually teach the Sunday Evening Bible study as well as a Sunday School class. I... [John] [final words of Jesus] [jesus] [John's Gospel] [Peter] [Resurretcion] [the Gospel of John]

April 21, 10AM

The books of Luke – Acts end with the phrase, “boldly and without hindrance. Since Paul is in prison when the book ends, it is quite remarkable that Luke could describe Paul’s activity not being hindered. But the statement is not about P... [Luke / Acts] [Observations on Acts] [Paul] [Acts] [gospel] [jesus christ] [Luke=Acts]

April 20, 6AM

The last words of the book of Acts in the Greek are “boldly and without hindrance.” This is a good theme to leave the book of Acts, that Paul preached the gospel boldly and without hindrance. To speak “boldly” (παρρησία) is to have freedom... [Luke / Acts] [Observations on Acts] [Acts] [Acts 20] [elders] [Luke] [Miletus]

April 19, 11AM

Saint Paul Outside the Walls in Rome Christianity came to Rome before Paul, but we have very little idea of how it got there or how closely it was aligned with Jerusalem.  As Luke tells the story, Christianity did more out from Jerusalem, to Samaria and ... [Luke / Acts] [Observations on Acts] [Acts] [Acts 20] [elders] [Luke] [Miletus]

April 14, 6AM

If Luke has carefully designed his two-volume history, we should probably pause to wonder why he includes such lengthy description of the journey to Rome. This must be more than an exciting story (did he think readers were getting bored?), nor was Luke tr... [Luke / Acts] [Observations on Acts] [Acts] [Luke] [Paul] [Shipwreck]

April 13, 11AM

In his defense before Festus, Paul offers a his view on the Servant in Isaiah: The Servant is Jesus, who suffered for our sins (Luke 4:18, Is 61:1). There seems to have been some discussion of who the servant was; recall that the Ethiopian Eunuch wa... [Observations on Acts] [Acts] [Agrippa] [Festus] [Luke / Acts] [Paul]

April 12, 10AM

In Acts 23:12-15, a group of more than forty Jews make a vow to kill Paul. The verb here (ἀναθεματίζω) has the sense of putting oneself under a curse if a action is not performed. This is a rather strong response, but it is not unexpected afte... [Luke / Acts] [Observations on Acts] [Acts] [Luke] [Paul] [Trial]

April 11, 4AM

In Acts 23:1 Paul claims to have “lived his life in good conscience up to this day.”  In the context of a hearing before the Sanhedrin, it is possible to read this as a statement that he has been faithful to the Jewish Law.   This is ve... [Luke / Acts] [Observations on Acts] [Acts] [Luke] [Paul] [Sanhedrin] [Trial]

April 9, 7AM

Based on Paul’s behavior in Acts, it may well be he would have told the Jews to continue keeping the Law.  He required Timothy be circumcised (16:3) and he had made a vow while in Corinth (18:18). When he is before the Sanhedrin, Paul claims he has con... [Luke / Acts] [Observations on Acts] [Acts] [Judaism] [Law] [Luke] [Paul]

April 8, 12 PM

Based on Paul’s behavior in Acts, it may well be he would have told the Jews to continue keeping the Law.  He required Timothy be circumcised (16:3) and he had made a vow while in Corinth (18:18). When he is before the Sanhedrin, Paul claims he has con... [Luke / Acts] [Observations on Acts] [Acts] [james] [Law] [Luke] [Miletus] [Paul]

7AM

When Paul arrives in Jerusalem, he meets with “James and the Elders.”  As it turns out, there are many Jews in Jerusalem who believe Jesus is the Messiah yet are still following the Law (21:20).  This is not unexpected since Jesus said he did not co... [Luke / Acts] [Observations on Acts] [Acts] [elders] [james] [Jerusalem] [Luke]

April 6, 1PM

Paul’s plan is to by-pass Ephesus and meet the Elders at Miletus, thirty miles from Ephesus. What was the purpose of this plan? Paul’s desire is to get to Jerusalem as rapidly as possible, so he may have simply wanted to avoid Ephesus. Had he stopped... [Luke / Acts] [Observations on Acts] [Acts] [Acts 20] [elders] [Luke] [Miletus]

10AM

Paul leaves Ephesus with the intention of returning to Jerusalem for the purpose of delivering the collection to the Jerusalem church at Pentecost. The collection was a gift from the Gentile churches to the Jerusalem believers.  Romans 15:26 states that ... [Luke / Acts] [Observations on Acts] [Acts] [Acts 20] [Luke] [Paul] [The Collection]

8AM

Keathley, Kenneth and Mark F. Rooker, eds. 40 Questions about Creation and Evolution. 40 Questions and Answers Series. Grand Rapids, Mich. Kregel, 2015. 432 pp. Pb; $23.99. Link to Kregel. Kenneth D. Keathley (PhD, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminar... [Book Reviews] [book review] [Creation] [creationism] [evolution] [Old-Earth] [young-earth]

April 3, 5AM

When Jesus washes his disciples’ feet, he is preforming a parabolic act. As with parables, we need to understand the context in order to understand what Jesus was trying to teach through the washing of his disciples’ feet. It is well-known that hospit... [John] [Foot-washing] [humility] [jesus] [last supper] [Passover]

April 2, 1PM

Just when you though the Logos Free Book of the Month promotion could not get any better, they offer Brevard Childs’ commentary on Isaiah in the in OTL series for free through the month of April. This 576 page commentary on on Isaiah was published b... [bible software] [Brevard Childs] [commentary] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [ipad] [Isaiah] [Jeremiah] [logos] [Logos Bible Software]

7AM

Jacob Prahlow posted the March Biblical Studies Carnival over at Pursuing Veritas. Jacob did an excellent job curating a list of blogs on biblical and theological topics. So check out his work and put Pursuing Veritas on your regular blog reading li... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

April 1, 12 PM

[This is the second guest post from one of my Advanced Studies in Acts students, John Caprari. John is a senior undergraduate Biblical Studies major with an emphasis on Pastoral Ministry. He and his wife will be going to Africa soon after graduation to... [Observations on Acts] [church planting] [Luke / Acts] [Missionary Strategy] [Missions] [The Book of Acts]

4AM

[This is the third set of guest posts from my Advanced Studies in Acts class. Joe Caprari is a senior undergraduate Biblical Studies major with an emphasis on Pastoral Ministry. He and his wife will be going to Africa soon after graduation to explore a ch... [Observations on Acts] [church planting] [Luke / Acts] [Missionary Strategy] [Missions] [The Book of Acts]

March 31, 7AM

Acts 19:11-17 reports the amusing story of the Sons of Sceva who attempt to cast out demons in the name of Jesus and Paul. Jewish exorcists are well known in the ancient world. Legends about Solomon’s great power of demons were well-known. Josephus says... [Observations on Acts] [Demons] [Exorcism] [Luke / Acts] [magic] [The Book of Acts]

March 30, 1PM

Paul’s years in Ephesus are perhaps his most fruitful times in ministry. Witherington comments that Luke intends this unit to be a “lasting model of what a universalistic Christian mission ought to look like” (Acts, 573). It is perhaps strange to th... [Observations on Acts] [Ephesus] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

March 29, 10AM

The March 2015 Biblical Studies Carnival will be hosted by  Jacob Prahlow over at Pursuing Veritas. This is a “call for links” to blogs of interest published in March,. Email or tweet the links to Jacob (prahlowjj at slu.edu, or @prahlow... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [blogging] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

March 28, 6AM

The city of Corinth was an important cosmopolitan city in the middle part of the first century. (Was Corinth more sinful than other Roman cities? Click the link for my comments about that longstanding misunderstanding of history, as well as a followup c... [Observations on Acts] [Corinth] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [Sin City] [The Book of Acts]

March 27, 1PM

After several very difficult experiences in Philippi and Thessalonica and an unfruitful visit to Athens, Paul finally experiences some good success in Corinth. After preaching in the synagogue he establishes a church that includes several key converts.... [Observations on Acts] [conflict] [Corinth] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

March 25, 7AM

Paul quotes two Greek writers as support for his case that the creator God does not need temples or temple services from humans. The use of this material has always prompted discussion among readers of Acts, especially with respect to application. Is Pa... [Observations on Acts] [Bob Dylan] [Luke / Acts] [Mars Hill] [Simpsons] [The Book of Acts]

March 24, 3PM

The Athens of the first century was a shadow of its glorious past. The golden age of Athens was some 500 years before Paul visited the city, but it was nevertheless an impressive city. The emperors Augustus and Claudius both made generous donations to mai... [Observations on Acts] [Barnabas] [conflict] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

10AM

After a successful time in the synagogue in Thessalonica, charges are made against Paul before the local Roman authorities (Acts 17:1-9). The charges against Paul are significant: he is accused of “defying the decrees of Caesar” and “advocating anot... [Observations on Acts] [empire] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

March 23, 1PM

While walking through the marketplace, Paul and Silas encounter a girl possessed with the “spirit of Python” (πνεῦμα πύθωνα). The Python was the serpent or dragon that guarded the Delphic oracle at Mt. Parnassus. Apollo was also the god m... [Luke / Acts] [Observations on Acts] [demon] [Oracle] [The Book of Acts]

March 20, 11AM

When Paul begins to work in a new location, he often visits a local synagogue first. But when Paul arrives in Philippi he visits worshipers by a river because there was no synagogue in the city. Access to water was an important factor for Diaspora Jews, s... [Observations on Acts] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [Lydia] [Phillipi] [The Book of Acts]

March 19, 4AM

Chambers, Andy. Exemplary Life: A Theology of Church Life in Acts. Nashville: B&H, 2012. 292pp. Pb; $29.99.   Link to B&H Academic   Click to read the first chapter of the book. Andy Chambers is senior vice president for Student Development an... [Book Reviews] [book review] [church] [Church Organization] [elders]

March 18, 1PM

In Acts 16:3, Paul circumcised Timothy, a Hellenistic Jew who begins to travel with Paul during the second missionary journey.  The problem is Paul’s reasons for circumcising Timothy at this time. The whole point of the conference in Acts 15 was to dea... [Observations on Acts] [Barnabas] [conflict] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

4AM

[This is another post by a student in my Advanced Acts Studies seminar class, Camron Befus. Camron prepared a lecture on the conflict between Barnabas and Paul, so I asked him to write two blog posts on the topic.] Barnabas wishes to take his cousin John ... [Observations on Acts] [Barnabas] [conflict] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

March 17, 1PM

DeClaissé-Walford, Nancy J., Rolf A. Jacobson, and Beth LaNeel Tanner. Psalms. NICOT; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2014. 1073 pp. Hb; $60.   Link to Eerdmans I have occasionally taught through sections of the Psalms and found the lack of quality reso... [Book Reviews] [book review] [commentary] [The Psalms]

4AM

[This is another post by a student in my Advanced Acts Studies seminar class, Camron Befus. Camron prepared a lecture on the conflict between Barnabas and Paul, so I asked him to write two blog posts on the topic.] The first conflict in Paul’s ministry ... [Observations on Acts] [Barnabas] [conflict] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

March 16, 1PM

One of the most interesting things about the Jerusalem meeting is that it is James who appears as a key leader and is described as rendering a decision on the matter of Gentiles and the Law (Acts 15:13-21). The structure of the Jerusalem community seems t... [Observations on Acts] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

11AM

Peter reports his experience with Gentile salvation and argues that requiring Gentiles to keep the Law is placing an unnecessary yoke upon them (Acts 15:7-11).  He first briefly reminds the assembly of his encounter with Cornelius, a conversion which was... [Observations on Acts] [Acts 15] [Hellenistic Jews] [Jerusalem Council] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

March 14, 7AM

The first major controversy the early church dealt with strikes the modern reader a strange.  Rather than debating who Jesus was or beginning to develop the doctrine of the Trinity, the first major theological problem they need to solve was the status of... [Observations on Acts] [Hellenistic Jews] [Jerusalem Council] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

March 13, 1PM

Marianne Blickenstaff of Union Presbyterian Seminary reviewed my Jesus the Bridegroom for Review of Biblical Literature. I am very happy to have her read the book, especially since I read her book, ‘While the Bridegroom is with them’ : Marr... [Book Notices] [Observations on Acts] [eschatology] [historical Jesus] [Huzzah!] [Intertextuality] [jesus] [Shameless self promotion]

March 12, 12 PM

Darrell Bock makes an important observation concerning this “council.” He suggests it ought to be called a consultation rather than a council since it is not like the later “church councils” which decided doctrine for the church (Nicea, for exampl... [Observations on Acts] [Jerusalem] [Jerusalem Council] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

March 11, 1PM

[This is Adam Renberg’s second contribution to the blog. Adam is an Advanced Studies in Acts student this semester.] After Paul’s preforms the miracle in Acts 14:8-10, he is met with an unanticipated response from the crowd. While miracles have be... [Observations on Acts] [Hermes] [Luke / Acts] [Lystra] [The Book of Acts] [Zeus]

4AM

[This post was written by Adam Renberg, one of my “Advanced Studies in Acts” students. They are helping teach my undergrad Acts class a few times this semester, so I thought I would give them “guest blogger” status.] In Acts 14:8-10, we see the fi... [Observations on Acts] [healing] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [Lystra] [The Book of Acts]

March 10, 12 PM

After leaving Antioch, Paul and Barnabas travel 85-90 miles southeast to Iconium.  Like Psidian Antioch, Iconium was a large Roman city with a Jewish population. It is possible that Iconium was a Roman colony; it was given the privilege of calling itself... [Observations on Acts] [Hellenistic Jews] [Iconium] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

6AM

Like Jesus (Luke 4:22) and Peter (Acts 2:40-41), there is a great deal of interest in Paul’s message. The apostles are invited back for a second Sabbath to continue this discussion. Luke mentions those who were most attracted to Paul’s message were th... [Observations on Acts] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [Synagogue Sermon] [The Book of Acts]

March 9, 7AM

Paul’s use of scripture in Acts 13 is a complicated issue, but it gives us insight into the way the early Christians used the Hebrew Bible. I want to focus on the description of David in verse 22. Paul combines several verses to describe David. This com... [Observations on Acts] [Hellenistic Jews] [Interpretation] [Luke / Acts] [Synagogue Sermon] [The Book of Acts]

March 8, 3PM

Acts 13 contains the first of several “sermons” given by Paul. Luke is clearly summarizing since the sermon is a mere 25 verses long, taking no more than a couple of minutes to read. Since the sermon follows the blinding of Bar-Jesus, it is likely tha... [Observations on Acts] [Luke / Acts] [Paul] [sermon] [Synagogue Sermon] [The Book of Acts]

March 7, 7AM

González, Justo. The Story Luke Tells: Luke’s Unique Witness to the Gospel. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2015. 141 pp. Pb; $14.   Link to Eerdmans, including a short interview with González. Professor Emerita at Columbia Theological Seminary, Just... [Book Reviews] [book review] [church] [Church Organization] [elders]

March 6, 10AM

Barnabas and Saul arrive at Paphos they are challenged by a “sorcerer and false prophet” named Bar-Jesus, or Bar-Joshua. Bar-Jesus was a counselor for Sergius Paulus, the Roman proconsul on Cyprus. Thus Bar-Jesus was a very powerful man in the governm... [Observations on Acts] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

March 5, 7AM

Barnabas and Saul set out from Antioch to Seulcia, a port about 16 miles from Antioch. From there they sail to Cyprus, an island in the Mediterranean about 100 miles from Selucia. Paphos Why Cyprus? As Keener says, is simply makes sense for Barnabas to be... [Observations on Acts] [Cyprus] [Luke / Acts] [Missionary Method] [The Book of Acts]

March 4, 7AM

Walton, Steve, Thomas E. Phillips, Lloyd Keith Pietersen, F. Scott Spencer, eds. Reading Acts Today. FS Loveday C. A. Alexander. LNTS 427; London: T&T Clark, 2011. 232pp. Hb; $130.00; Pb. 39.95 (2013).   Link to T&T Clark Loveday Alexander is Pr... [Book Reviews] [book review] [church] [Church Organization] [elders]

March 3, 7AM

The church at Antioch was led by “prophets and teachers” (13:1). As Keener points out, the two roles were closely related as leadership gifts in a local church (2:1983). Synagogues would have had teachers, although the extent to which they were leader... [Observations on Acts] [Antioch] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

March 2, 10AM

Logos Bible Software is offering Roy Harrisville’s 1 Corinthians commentary in the Augsburg Commentary series for free, and Frederick Danker’s 2 Corinthians in the same series for only 99 cents. Harrisville is a long time professor of New Tes... [bible software] [1 Corinthains] [2 Corinthians] [commentary] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [ipad] [logos] [Logos Bible Software]

6AM

O’Brien, Peter T. Hebrews. PNTC; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2010. 630 pp. Hb; $52.   Link to Eerdmans     Link to Logos   Interview with O’Brien by TGC Peter T. O’Brien is emeritus professor at Moore College in Sydney, Australia. He has ... [Book Reviews] [book review] [commentary] [Hebrews]

February 28, 7AM

Merkle, Benjamin L. and Thomas R. Schreiner, eds. Shepherding God’s Flock: Biblical Leadership in the New Testament and Beyond. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel, 2015. 320 pp. Pb. $18.99   Link to Kregel  Link to 31-page sample Shepherding God’s... [Book Reviews] [book review] [church] [Church Organization] [elders]

February 27, 8AM

When they were set apart for a special mission by the Holy Spirit, Saul and Barnabas were functioning as leaders in the church at Antioch. Before examining the first missionary journey I want to reflect a moment on this important but overlooked church. It... [Observations on Acts] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

February 26, 7AM

After he is miraculously released from prison, Peter goes to the home of Mary and her son John Mark. This seems to have been a larger home where people have gather to pray for him. While Peter had no problems getting out of the prison, he has some (humoro... [Observations on Acts] [Acts] [james] [Luke / Acts] [Peter] [The Book of Acts]

February 25, 2PM

Herod Agrippa begins to persecute the church in Jerusalem (verse 1). The Herod of Acts 12 is Agrippa I.  Later in Acts we meet Agrippa, he is Herod Agrippa II (Agrippa II is Marcus Julius Agrippa, Acts 25-26). Born about 10 B.C., Agrippa I was the grands... [Observations on Acts] [Herod] [Herod Agrippa] [Luke / Acts] [Rome] [The Book of Acts]

February 24, 7AM

If Luke has been tracking the story of the movement of the Spirit to the “fringes” of Judaism, then we might wonder what the point of chapter 12 is in that development. It is possible to see persecution from Herod (Agrippa I) as a demonstration of how... [Observations on Acts] [Luke / Acts] [Peter] [The Book of Acts]

February 23, 5AM

When did the earliest believers begin to question the “boundary markers” of Judaism?  By “boundary markers” I mean primarily circumcision, food laws and keeping Sabbath. It is not really possible to describe Peter and John as preaching to Jews in... [Observations on Acts] [circumcision] [Cornelius] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

February 22, 12 PM

After Cornelius receives the Holy Spirit, Peter returns to Jerusalem. The “circumcised believers” there asked him about his visit to a Gentile’s home. To what extent is Peter defending himself in this section? Luke says that they the circumcised bel... [Observations on Acts] [Cornelius] [Gentiles] [Luke / Acts] [Peter] [The Book of Acts]

February 21, 10AM

In a previous post, I sided with the consensus view that there were God-fearing Gentiles in Synagogues in the first century, although I am hesitant to describe this as a semi-official class, nor do I think there was a significant number of these Gentiles.... [Observations on Acts] [Almsgiving] [Cornelius] [Luke] [Luke=Acts]

February 19, 1PM

Cornelius is was part of the Italian Regiment (Acts 10:1), a cohort based in Syria and part of the Roman administration for the region. The centurion was the “backbone” of the Roman army and the most important tactical officer (Keener 2:1743). In the ... [Observations on Acts]

February 18, 10AM

Luke describes Cornelius as God-Fearing and devout. “Devout” (εὐσεβής, 10:2) indicates someone is devoted to a particular religion or god; a person who is “profoundly reverent” (BDAG), whether this is a person who is reverent towards the G... [Observations on Acts] [Cornelius] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [Peter] [The Book of Acts]

February 17, 10AM

Tanning pits in Morocco Peter stays in Joppa at the home of Simon the Tanner (Acts 9:43). This simple statement is important, especially in the light of what happens in chapter 10. This is significant since the occupation of leather-worker (tanner) was co... [Observations on Acts] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

February 16, 2PM

Tabitha is described as a godly disciple who died suddenly (9:36-38). This is the only woman described as a disciple in the New Testament. The word μαθήτρια is used only here, it is used for female disciples of Plato (D. Lat Lives, 4.2). Luke is f... [Observations on Acts] [Dorcas] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [Peter] [Tabitha] [The Book of Acts]

7AM

Lydda in 1948 Lydda was a large Jewish village in the Plain of Sharon. Lydda is on the main road from Jerusalem to Joppa, about 27 miles (44km) northwest of Jerusalem on the coastal plain. (The modern Lod, ten miles from Tel Aviv, is near the Ben Gurion a... [Observations on Acts] [healing] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [Peter] [The Book of Acts]

February 15, 1PM

Saul’s conversion in the first part of this chapter is dramatic, but it will be many years before Saul’s missionary efforts are detailed by Luke. From 9:32 through chapter 12 Luke follows the story of Peter outside of Jerusalem among Hellenistic Jews ... [Observations on Acts] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

February 14, 6AM

Bronze Coin of Aretas IV Luke tells us that Paul spent some time in Damascus proclaiming Jesus in the Synagogue, but was forced to leave the city because there was a plot to kill him (Acts 9:23-25).  Paul mentions these events in Galatians and 2 Corinthi... [Luke / Acts] [Paul] [Acts] [Arabia] [Conversion of Paul] [Damascus] [Luke] [Nabatea]

February 13, 3PM

After he is healed from his blindness, Paul immediately begins to do ministry in the same Damascus synagogue he intended to visit. His preaching “agitates” (συγχέω) the synagogues, a verb which has the sense of amazement and surprise. Sometimes ... [Observations on Acts] [Jealousy] [Luke / Acts] [persecution] [The Book of Acts] [Zeal]

12 PM

When Saul meets the resurrected Jesus on the road to Damascus, he is struck blind (9:8). While this blindness might be explained as the result of the theophany (he looked into a bright light and was physically damaged as a result, Acts 22:11 more or less ... [Observations on Acts] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

February 12, 10AM

As I stated in the previous post, many Pauline scholars prefer to call Paul’s encounter on the road to Damascus a “call” rather than a conversion from one religion to another. This events similar to a prophetic call of an Old Testament prophet simil... [Observations on Acts] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

February 11, 12 PM

Like most who write on the conversion of Paul, John Polhill asks if Paul was “predisposed” to conversion (Paul and His Letters, 55).  To what extent did was Paul “prepared” for his encounter on the road to Damascus?  Certainly Paul thought that ... [Observations on Acts] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [new perspective on Paul] [Paul] [Paul's Conversion] [The Book of Acts]

February 10, 12 PM

After the execution of Stephen, Luke tells us that a great persecution broke out in Jerusalem, presumably led by Saul and other Hellenistic Jews from the synagogue of the Freedmen. Philip, introduced in Acts 6 as a deacon, now functions as an evangelist i... [Observations on Acts] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

February 9, 10AM

This persecution is directly related to the death of Stephen in chapter 7. Since Stephen’s sermon was a statement of judgment against the leadership of Israel for their resistance to the Holy Spirit. There is a progression of resistance in Acts 1-8.  F... [Observations on Acts] [Luke / Acts] [persecution] [Saul] [The Book of Acts] [Zeal]

February 6, 1PM

Craig Keener asks an intriguing question in his section on the arrest of Stephen. The crowds at the Temple held Peter and the Twelve in “high esteem” as they taught daily at Solomon’s Porticio (Acts 5:13). When the High Priest sends guards to arrest... [Observations on Acts] [Justin martyr] [Luke] [Luke=Acts] [Stephen]

9AM

In the conclusion to his sermon, Stephen claims the current generation is just as stiff-necked and rebellious as the Wilderness generation, and will therefore fall under the same judgment (7:51-53). The conclusion to Stephen’s sermon draws on themes fou... [Observations on Acts] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

8AM

Stephen is arrested on false charges and put on trial (Acts 6: 11-15). The false charges against Stephen concern his attitude toward the Law and the Temple. Luke is clear that these are false charges against Stephen. He is not against the Law or the Templ... [Observations on Acts] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [Martyrdom of Stephen] [Stephen] [The Book of Acts]

February 5, 11AM

We cannot make a general judgment like “all Jews from the Diaspora were more liberal” nor “all Jews from Jerusalem were more conservative.” These categories are derived from modern, western ways of dividing an issue into opposing, black and white ... [Observations on Acts] [Hellenistic Jews] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

February 4, 12 PM

Acts 6-8 describe the activities of two non-apostles, Stephen and Philip. Both are Hellenistic Jews, and neither is numbered among the Twelve. It is possible these men were not followers of Jesus prior to Pentecost. Perhaps they were among the crowd who h... [Observations on Acts] [Acts] [deacons] [Hellenistic Jews] [history] [Luke=Acts]

7AM

One of the frustrations of studying Acts is Luke’s tendency to offer only a few chronological clues for the events after the resurrection until the death of Herod in Acts 12. To complicate matters, Luke presents the story thematically in the early chapt... [Observations on Acts] [chronology] [history] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

February 3, 2PM

Beale, G. K. with David H. Campbell. Revelation: A Shorter Commentary. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2014. 576 pp. Pb; $35.   Link to Eerdmans Greg Beale’s commentary on Revelation in the New International Greek Text Commentary series was published i... [Book Reviews] [apocalypse] [book review] [commentary] [eschatology] [Revelation]

8AM

Logos Bible Software has outdone itself for the “Free Book of the Month” Promotion.  Logos partners with Eerdmans to offer Stephen Westerholm’s Justification Reconsidered: Rethinking a Pauline Theme. This book is a good overview of P... [bible software] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [ipad] [logos] [Logos Bible Software] [new perspective on Paul] [NPP]

February 2, 2PM

Gamaliel is a well known figure in the first century. He was likely the grandson of the famous Hillel and is mentioned in the Mishnah. He was active after A.D. 25 and was reputed to have been a great teacher of the Law. The man had such a great reputation... [Luke / Acts] [Observations on Acts] [Acts] [history]
Peter’s response is more or less a summary of all of the speeches given previously in Acts (verses 29-32). First, Peter once again says he “must obey God rather than men.” Keener follows most commentators by hearing an allusion to the trial of Socra... [Observations on Acts] [Luke / Acts] [obedience] [persecution] [The Book of Acts] [Zeal]

January 31, 11AM

Keener points out the people received the apostles’ teaching favorably, but the temple aristocracy is far more aggressive. The power of God on display in the apostles’ preaching invites more persecution (Keener, 2:1205).  In Acts 5:17 the High Priest... [Observations on Acts] [Jealousy] [Luke / Acts] [persecution] [The Book of Acts] [Zeal]

January 30, 5AM

In Acts 3:11 and 5:13 Luke reports Peter regularly taught at Solomon’s Portico. The word στοά (stoa) is often translated “colonnade,” columned- porch, usually enclosed on one side covered with a roof. According to Josephus, Solomon’s Portico w... [Luke / Acts] [Observations on Acts] [Archaeology] [history] [Luke/AScts] [temple]

January 29, 12 PM

The first few chapters indicates that there was remarkable growth in Jerusalem after Pentecost.  But in Acts 5:13, Luke tells us “none of the rest dared join them, but the people held them in high esteem.” Even those within the church were greatly af... [Luke / Acts] [Observations on Acts] [Acts] [history] [Holy Spirit] [Jerusalem]

January 28, 1PM

There are a wide variety of attempts to explain the very unusual story of Ananias and Sapphira. In his article on this chapter F. Scott Spencer lists a few of the many suggestions scholars have offered for “unlocking the mystery of this shocking episode... [Luke / Acts] [Observations on Acts] [Acts] [Ananias and Sapphira] [history] [Intertextuality]

9AM

Luke gives an ideal example: Joseph the Levite, also known as Barnabas (4:36) Barnabas is a significant figure in the book of Acts, introduced here as a member of the community at Jerusalem. Barnabas sold some property and turns the proceeds over to the a... [Luke / Acts] [Observations on Acts] [Acts] [Ananias and Sapphira] [church] [giving] [history]

January 27, 3PM

Luke gives an ideal example of a member of the early Christian community in Jerusalem: Joseph the Levite, also known as Barnabas (4:36). Barnabas is a significant figure in the book of Acts, introduced here as a member of the community at Jerusalem. The i... [Luke / Acts] [Observations on Acts] [Acts] [Barnabas] [history]

January 26, 1PM

In Acts 4:32-5:16 we have a description of the early community of believers in Jerusalem.  A text such as this provides a good opportunity to stop and think about how we ought to apply the book of Acts today. Sometimes this group is described as living a... [Observations on Acts] [dispensationalism] [early church] [Luke / Acts] [The Book of Acts]

6AM

The reaction of the followers of Jesus is praise and prayer. This runs counter to what the council intended – they ought to have been filled with remorse for having been shown to be teaching blasphemy, they ought to have humbly submitted to their elders... [Observations on Acts] [Acts 4] [suffering]

January 25, 11AM

When he is giving testimony in Acts 4, Peter asks if the healing of a lame man is a good deed or not. If this is an act of kindness, then it must come from God. The obvious answer seems to be yes, it is a good deed from God. If they agree it is a good dee... [Luke / Acts] [Observations on Acts] [Acts] [history] [jesus]

January 24, 8AM

There are a number of similarities between events on Acts 2 and 3. Apparently Peter and John regularly went up to the temple for prayer and worship. While they were there, they had opportunity to preach Jesus as the messiah. The gospel of the risen and as... [Luke / Acts] [Acts] [Book of Acts] [Caiaphas] [history] [Luke]

January 23, 2PM

Schmitt, John W. and J. Carl Laney. Messiah’s Coming Temple. Updated Edition. Grand Rapids, Mich. Kregel, 2014. 248 pp. Pb; $16.99. Link to Kregel. This book is an update to Schmitt and Laney’s original 1997 Messiah’s Coming Temple, adding three cha... [Book Reviews] [eschatology] [Ezekiel] [kingdom] [Kregel] [Messiah] [temple]

January 22, 3PM

Peter calls Jesus “God’s Servant.” The title “servant” was not usually an honor prior to the Christian use the word. Since the idea of serving God is so much a part of Christianity, we miss the impact of the word as a title for Jesus. The activi... [Luke / Acts] [Acts] [Book of Acts] [history] [Luke]

January 21, 2PM

Even though they acted in ignorance, the people must still repent (3:19-21). Bock says this text is “so important to the overall presentation of eschatology in Acts that each phrase needs careful attention” (Bock, 1:174). Why are these people to repen... [Luke / Acts] [Acts] [Book of Acts] [history] [Luke]

8AM

Peter healing a lame man is significant for several reasons. First, Jesus healed many crippled persons during his ministry, Mark 2:1-12 for example. Second, he was a well-known beggar who was crippled from birth. People knew he was unable to walk, and tha... [Luke / Acts] [Acts] [Book of Acts] [history] [Luke]

January 20, 12 PM

When Peter addresses the crowd in Acts 2, he argues Jesus’s death fulfilled God’s plan, and Jesus was vindicated by God in his resurrection and ascension. The death of Jesus was according to God’s purpose and foreknowledge, but humans are responsibl... [Luke / Acts] [Acts] [Book of Acts] [history] [Luke]

January 19, 10AM

The imagery of Pentecost may be important. Pentecost is a pilgrim-holiday also known as the Feast of Weeks or Shavuot. The holiday celebrated the firstfruits of the harvest. The Festival of Weeks was the smallest of the three pilgrim festivals, falling 50... [Luke / Acts] [Acts] [Book of Acts] [history] [Luke]

6AM

In his Acts commentary Clint Arnold says archaeologists have recovered several Herodian homes near the Tomb of David, one of which is the traditional site of the upper room (ZIBBC, 11). I visited this room on my first trip to Israel in 2005 and recall be... [Luke / Acts] [Acts] [Book of Acts] [history] [Luke]

January 18, 11AM

When asked if he was about to restore the Kingdom to Israel, Jesus reminds his disciples that “it is not for them to know” when the kingdom will be restored. Rather than knowing the “times and dates” God has planned, the disciples are to be witne... [Luke / Acts] [Acts] [Book of Acts] [history] [Luke]

January 17, 7AM

While in Jerusalem, it appears that Jesus and the disciples gathered in their usual location on the Mount of Olives (1:6-8).  Some disciples asked if Jesus was going to “restore the kingdom to Israel” at this time. This question is reminiscent of the... [Luke / Acts] [Acts] [Book of Acts] [history] [Luke]

January 16, 12 PM

After the resurrection, Jesus gives many “convincing proofs” of the resurrection (1:3). The word Luke selects for “proof” (τεκμήριον) in this opening paragraph is word associated with other historical texts in the ancient world. The word ... [Luke / Acts] [Acts] [Book of Acts] [history] [Luke]

January 15, 5AM

Common wisdom often equates the earliest example of something with the most pure form. Things were best in the “good old days” and we need to get back to those good old days in the present church. But the earliest is not always the best. It is also tr... [Luke / Acts] [Acts] [Book of Acts] [history] [Luke]

January 14, 1PM

It might seem strange to even ask of the book of Acts ought to “apply” to the modern form of the Church. All Scripture is profitable for teaching, reproof, correction, and training in righteousness. The real question is whether the Church in the book ... [Luke / Acts] [Acts] [Book of Acts] [history] [Luke]

5AM

There is a third element of the book of Acts which cannot be ignored. Luke is a theologian and his book is telling the reader about the work of God in the world. He has wide variety of theological interests, such as how God’s plan is unfolding in histor... [Luke / Acts] [Acts] [Book of Acts] [history] [Luke]

January 13, 5AM

In the previous post I briefly discussed the problem of Luke as real history. I used the analogy on a film based on historical events. Luke was forced to select form a wide range of events those which fit his over all agenda and adapt what he did choose t... [Luke / Acts] [Acts] [Book of Acts] [history] [Luke]

January 12, 5AM

When we read the book of Acts, it seems obvious Luke intended to write some sort of history of the expansion of the early church from a small messianic sect of Judaism in Galilee and Judea to an empire-wide religion which included both Jews and Gentiles. ... [Luke / Acts] [Acts] [Book of Acts] [history] [Luke]

January 11, 11AM

I am teaching the book of Acts this semester, so starting this week will be actually reading Acts on Reading Acts. To celebrate I finally registered the domain for Reading Acts (so no more .wordpress in the URL, no ads and faster load times). They tell me... [Observations on Acts]

January 10, 7AM

Garrett, Duane A. A Commentary on Exodus. Grand Rapids, Mich. Kregel, 2014. 741 pp. Hb; $39.99. Link to Kregel, including a sample PDF of the first 50 pages of the introduction. Duane Garret’s commentary on Exodus is the latest installment in the Kregel... [Book Reviews] [book review] [commentary] [Exodus] [Kregel] [old testament]

January 9, 9AM

Martin, Ralph P. 2 Corinthians. Second Edition. Word Biblical Commentary 40; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2014. 751 pp. Hb; $54.99.   Link to Zondervan Academic This is the first revised commentary I have used in the Word Biblical Commentary since Zo... [Book Reviews] [commentary] [Paul] [Pauline Epistles] [Ralph Martin]

January 6, 2PM

The Evangelism Study Bible. Grand Rapids, Mich. Kregel, 2014. 1564 pp. Hb; $39.99. Link to Kregel. This Study Bible is a project developed by EvanTell, a Dallas-based evangelistic ministry founded by evangelist Larry Moyer.  The Evangelism Study Bible us... [Book Reviews] [book review] [evangelism]

January 5, 8AM

Ryle from Vainity Fair, 1912 Logos Bible Software returns to the classics for their “Free Book of the Month” promotion. For the month of January you can download the first volume of The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges, Genesis, by H. ... [bible software] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [Genesis] [ipad] [logos] [Logos Bible Software] [Pentateuch]

January 3, 7AM

Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch. Ed. T. Desmond Alexander and David W. Baker. Downers Grove, Ill..: InterVarsity, 2002. 950  pp. Hb; $20.   Link to IVP  Link to Logos Dictionary of the Old Testament: Historical Books. Ed. Bill T. Arnold an... [Book Reviews] [book review] [IVP] [logos] [old testament]

January 2, 7AM

Daniel Gullotta rang in the new year by posting the December Biblical Studies Carnival. This is the 106th Biblical Studies Carnival, and Dan has done a great job curating a list of the best and brightest for December. In other biblio-blogging news, Jim ... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

December 31, 7AM

Fee, Gordon. 1 Corinthians, Revised Edition. NICNT Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2014. 962 pp. Hb; $65.   Link to Eerdmans Gordon Fee is one of the greatest New Testament scholars of the twentieth century. Fee was the general editor of the NICNT series... [Book Reviews] [1 Corinthians] [book review] [gordon fee] [Paul] [Pauline Epistles]

December 30, 7AM

Lightfoot, J. B. The Acts of the Apostles: A Newly Discovered Commentary. Edited by Ben Witherington III and Todd D. Still. The Lightfoot Legacy Set 1; Downers Grove, Ill..: InterVarsity, 2014. 176 pp. Pb; $16.99.   Link to IVP Ben Witherington discover... [Book Reviews] [Acts] [book review] [commentaries] [J. B. Lightfoot]

December 29, 7AM

Bird, Michael F. The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2014. xiv + 393 pages, pb. $30.   Link to Eerdmans [NB: This is the third and final part of my review of Bird’s The Gospel of th... [Book Reviews] [gospels] [historical criticism] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [Michael Bird]

December 27, 7AM

Bird, Michael F. The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2014. xiv + 393 pages, pb. $30.   Link to Eerdmans This is the second part of my review of Michael Bird’s new book, The Gospel of t... [Book Reviews] [gospels] [historical criticism] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [Michael Bird]

December 26, 8AM

Bird, Michael F. The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2014. xiv + 393 pages, pb. $30.   Link to Eerdmans Michael Bird’s The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Je... [Book Reviews] [gospels] [historical criticism] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [Michael Bird]

December 22, 3PM

An angel warns Joseph not to divorce Mary because the child was conceived by the Holy Spirit (1:20-21). The angel indicates that the conception of the child is by the Holy Spirit. While we usually talk about this as a virgin birth, it is better to think i... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Christmas] [jesus] [Matthew]
Joseph discovered his young wife to be is with child (Matthew 1:18-19). Betrothal in the Second Temple Period was a legally binding relationship which could be set aside only through a divorce-like proceeding. A betrothal period could take up to twelve mo... [historical Jesus] [Christmas] [gospels] [Matthew]
At Christmas we are used to hearing about the “sign of Immanuel” and that the “virgin will cconceive a child.” Rarely does a Christmas sermon look back to the original context of the Immanuel passage. But Matthew may very well have... [Evening Service Notes] [historical Jesus] [New Testament] [Christmas]

2PM

One of the most secure facts about Jesus from New Testament is that he was “from Nazareth in Galilee.”  If he was  the Messiah, son of David, why was he not “from Bethlehem?”  As the readers of Matthew and Luke, we know he was born in Bethl... [gospels] [Bethlehem] [Birth] [Christmas] [jesus] [little town of bethlehem]

6AM

Forbes, Greg. Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament: 1 Peter. Nashville: B&H, 2014. 202 pp. Pb; $24.99. Link to B&H Academic.  Click here for a 21-page sample from the book in PDF format, including front-matter and first chapter. This new ... [Book Reviews] [1 Peter] [B&H] [exegesis]

December 20, 7AM

Mouw, Richard J. Called to the Life of the Mind: Some Advice for Evangelical Scholars. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2014. 80 pages, pb. $10.  Link to Eerdmans This little book is a series of personal reflections from Mouw’s long career first as philo... [Book Reviews] [Evangelical Theological Society] [evangelicalism]

December 19, 12 PM

Kellum, L. Scott. Preaching the Farewell Discourse: An Expository Walk-Through of John 13:31-17:26. Nashville: B&H, 2014. 350 pp. Pb; $129.99.   Link to B&H Academic; Click here for a 51-page sample from the book in PDF format, including front-... [Book Reviews] [exegesis] [Expository Preaching] [Gospel of John] [Hermenutics] [John]

8AM

Dan Gullotta nominated me for a Liebster Award. I thank him kindly for this honor, and I am thrilled there is someone out there reading this blog who is not a Brazilian spammer trying to get me to buy Uggs. I am also happy to be on a list with Jim West th... [humor] [Shameless self promotion]

December 18, 10AM

Why does Jesus weep in John 11:35?  The crowd assumes that it is because his friend Lazarus died, it is an emotional reaction to death.  But most commentaries point out that the vocabulary used to describe Jesus’ emotions go beyond sorrow.  In fact, ... [Gospel of John] [jesus] [Jesus Wept] [John]

December 17, 8AM

Jesus prays a “prayer of thanksgiving” before commanding Lazarus to come out of the tomb. This prayer has been discussed with respect to the possibility of historicity – is it the type of prayer that Jesus might have prayed in this context?  Some s... [Gospel of John] [jesus] [John] [Lazarus] [Prayer]

December 16, 6AM

John 10 begins with the closest thing to a parable we find in the Gospel of John. While parables are common in the other three Gospels, John does not record a single parable. In this passage, Jesus uses an extended metaphor drawn from the common experienc... [Gospel of John] [gospels] [historical Jesus] [John] [ezekiel 37] [jesus] [resurrection] [seven signs] [shepherd metaphor] [theology]

December 15, 7AM

Hamilton, James M. With the Clouds of Heaven: The Book of Daniel in Biblical Theology. NSBT 32; Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2014. 272 pp. Pb; $20. Link to IVP James Hamilton, associate professor of biblical theology at Southern Baptist Theological... [Book Reviews] [apocalyptic] [Biblical Theology] [Daniel] [intervarsity press]

December 13, 11AM

While walking in Jerusalem, the disciples see a man born blind and ask Jesus why the man was born blind (verse 1-2). Judaism sometimes connected sin and illness.  The reason for this is a strong belief that God judges sin with illness.  The three friend... [Gospel of John] [John] [Money-Changers] [temple] [Temple Action]

December 12, 8AM

Bessenecker Scott A. Overturning Tables: Freeing Missions from the Christian-Industrial Complex. Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2014. 176 pp. Pb; $16.99.   Link to IVP In Overturning Tables, Scott Bessenecker offers bold suggestions for new ministry... [Book Reviews] [book review] [church] [Missions]

December 11, 11AM

In John 8:12 Jesus makes the remarkable statement that he is the “Light of the World.”   As readers of John’s Gospel, we have know this fact since the prologue, but now Jesus declares to crowds gathered to celebrate the Feast of Dedication that... [Gospel of John] [jesus] [John] [Light of the World]

December 10, 5AM

The saying of Jesus, “let he who is without sin cast the first stone” is an commonly quoted text encouraging grace and forgiveness, even a kind of inclusiveness in the church.  But the authenticity of the story in 7:53-8:11 is disputed. It is... [Gospel of John] [John] [John 7:53-8:11] [Textual Criticism]

December 9, 7AM

When his brothers encourage him to go up to Jerusalem, Jesus initially refuses their request because “his time has not yet come.”  However, he does eventually go to Jerusalem in secret.   His apparent refusal leads to some textual variation, since ... [Gospel of John] [jesus] [John]

December 8, 9AM

The Feeding of the Five Thousand appears in all four Gospels.  The details in John are in some ways more detailed.   For example, the role of Andrew and Philip are unique to John, in the synoptic gospels the disciples who ask Jesus about the crowds are... [Gospel of John] [jesus] [John] [Miracles] [Passover]

December 6, 8AM

Jesus’ encounter with the woman at the well is a favorite story for preachers.  Here Jesus meets with a woman of ill-repute and crosses cultural and social boundaries to share the gospel with her.  As a result she returns to her village and many place... [Gospel of John] [jesus] [John] [John 4] [Samaria] [samaritan]

December 5, 1PM

In John 3, where do the words of Jesus end and the words of the John begin? Many “red-letter” Bibles will mark the entire section as the words of Jesus.  The ESV, for example, marks the whole section red, but drops the quote marks at 3:15 with an exp... [Gospel of John] [John 3] [Red-Letters] [Words of Jesus]

December 4, 7AM

Logos Bible Software posted another book in their Free Book of the Month” Promotion. Opening Up Genesis by Kurt Strassner  was originally published  by Dayone  in 2009 as an easy-to-read Bible Study for either personal devotional reading or... [bible software] [Bonhoeffer] [Dietrich Bonhoeffer] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [ipad] [logos] [Logos Bible Software] [Westminster John Knox Press]

December 3, 12 PM

John’s gospel quite different from the synoptic Gospels in that he includes a few stories from the “other disciples.” For example, in Galilee Jesus finds Philip and simply tells him, “follow me.” Philip is featured in John in sev... [gospels] [Gospel of John] [Philp]

December 2, 11AM

Brooks, Christopher W. Urban Apologetics: Why the Gospel is Good News for the City. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel, 2014. 176 pp. Pb; $16.99.   Link to Kregel Christopher W. Brooks is a graduate of Biola’s Master’s program in Christian Apologetics and ... [Book Reviews] [Apologetics] [book review] [Detroit] [Kregel]

5AM

We know far less about Andrew than Peter, James and John, although he is often listed along with these three in the gospels.  Andrew and Peter were brothers, as were James and John, working in the same fishing village in Galilee when they are called to b... [gospels] [Andrew] [Apostle Andrew]

December 1, 10AM

  Today is the day I pick a winner for Michael Bird’s The Gospel of the Lord (Eerdmans, 2014). There were 46 people signed up (there were more comments, but I allowed only one entry per person). I took each of your names, sorted randomly a... [Book Reviews] [Apostolic Fathers] [book review] [Church History] [free book] [Giveway]

9AM

Jim just posted a twitterific, SBL laced, November 2014 Biblical Studies Carnival. As expected, Jim has a great collection of links with bonus twitter handles so you can follow all the “really important people” on Twitter. Brian Small has a g... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

November 30, 3PM

The identity of Nathaniel is a problem since he is not mentioned as a disciple in the synoptic gospels.  Usually he is identified as Bartholomew based on the order of the apostles in the Synoptics.  (Bartholomew always follows Philip in the lists.)  Ba... [gospels] [Gospel of John] [Nathanael]

November 29, 8AM

The differences between John and the Synoptics provide an opportunity for scholars to study the formation of a gospel from a different angle. John may have used other Gospels, or purposefully ignored them. Often complicated scenarios are created in order ... [gospels] [Gospel of John] [Raymond Brown]

November 28, 11AM

It is well known that the gospel of John is considerably different than the other three Gospels.  One of the reasons that the Gospel of John seems so different is that the three synoptic gospels are so similar.  Because of the similarities between Matth... [Gospel of John] [jesus] [John] [Köstenberger] [the Gospel of John]

November 25, 2PM

It is the time of year to be thankful, and I am thankful that I have an extra copy of Michael Bird’s new book, The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus (Eerdmans, 2014) to give away to some lucky reader of this blog. Th... [Book Notices] [Book Reviews] [book review] [Eerdmans] [free book] [Giveway] [gospels] [Michael Bird]

5AM

Thomas was not with the disciples when Jesus first appeared after the resurrection. We are not told why and it may not be important. But while the other ten were locked in the upper room out of fear, Thomas was someplace else. Thomas seemed ready to die w... [Gospel of John] [gospels] [historical Jesus] [John] [doubting thomas] [jesus] [resurrection] [theology] [thomas]

November 24, 6AM

One of the more difficult lines in the Gospel of John is Jesus’ reaction to Mary: Do not cling to me, for I have not yet ascended to the Father” (verse 17). What does Jesus mean? It may be the case that he has only just resurrected, and cannot be touc... [Gospel of John] [gospels] [historical Jesus] [John] [jesus] [Magalene] [mary] [Mary Magdelene] [resurrection] [theology]

November 23, 1PM

According to John 20:1, the first witness to the resurrection is Mary Magdalene, who visited the tomb very early on Sunday morning. Who is this Mary? The name “Magdalene” indicates she was from a town in Galilee, Magdal about a mile north of T... [Gospel of John] [gospels] [historical Jesus] [John] [jesus] [Magalene] [mary] [Mary Magdelene] [resurrection] [theology]

11AM

Mark is very brief and concise as he describes the crucifixion. The whole of Mark’s gospel has led up to the first phrase of verse 24, a simple line, “they crucified him.” He did not need to go into great detail, everyone in the Roman world knew wha... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Crucifixion] [jesus] [Mark] [Passover] [theology]

November 18, 1PM

Stein, Robert H. Jesus, the Temple and the Coming Son of Man: A Commentary on Mark 13. Downers Grover, Ill.: InterVarsity, 2014. 155 pp. Pc; $18.00.   Link to IVP This short book is an extension of Robert Stein’s work on the Gospel of Mark in the Bake... [Book Reviews] [apocalyptic] [book review] [gospel of mark] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [Mark]

5AM

While Jesus is in the high priest’s house being interrogated, Peter and another disciple have followed from a distance. This other disciple seems to be known by the servants of the high priest, since he arranges for Peter to be allowed into the courtyar... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Arrest] [jesus] [Second Temple Judaism]

November 17, 12 PM

In Luke 22:41-46 Jesus prayed “let this cup be taken from me.” This phrase might be interpreted to mean that Jesus would like to not have to go through the upcoming torture and death. It may, however, refer to the fact that the physical pain he wa... [gospels] [Cup of Wrath] [Gethsemane]

6AM

At the Last Supper, Jesus predicted the disciples would all fall away, even Peter. Peter, as the leader of the disciples, denies this vehemently! Jesus declares to Peter that not only will he deny him, he will do so three times before the night is out! Je... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [Second Temple Judaism]

November 16, 11AM

Judas leads a group of soldiers and guards to the garden to arrest Jesus (John 18:2-9). Judas’s role as betrayer is to lead the temple guard to the place where Jesus is camping.  It is likely that there are a number of campsites on the Mount of Olives,... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Arrest] [jesus] [Second Temple Judaism]

November 15, 7AM

There is perhaps another hint of eschatology in the Last Supper. Craig Evans suggests that the broken piece of bread which Jesus distributes is the afikoman (ἀφικόμενος, אפיקומן, Wikipedia). At the beginning of the Seder, a small portion... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [end times] [eschatology] [jesus] [Second Temple Judaism]

November 14, 1PM

In Mark 14:25 Jesus states that he will not drink again from the fruit of the vine until he drinks it anew in the Kingdom of God. Since the emphasis is on drinking wine when the kingdom comes, this should be taken as an allusion to an eschatological banqu... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [end times] [eschatology] [jesus] [last supper] [Second Temple Judaism]

November 13, 7AM

A few years ago the media went wild over the ‘Gospel of Judas,” a gnostic text which (it was claimed) described Judas as a faith disciple of Jesus, chosen to be the betrayer because he was so faithful. I first encountered this idea through William Kla... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [betrayal] [Gospel of Judas] [gospel of mark] [jesus] [Judas] [Mark]

November 12, 1PM

Why does this anonymous woman anoint Jesus in Mark 14:1-8? To honor a prestigious guest with oil is not unusual, but this is an extravagant act on the part of the woman. The oil is an “alabaster flask of perfume.” The version of the story in John 12 i... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Burial of Jesus] [jesus] [Second Temple Judaism]

November 11, 2PM

In Mark 14:3-9 Jesus is anointed by a woman at a meal given in his honor. There is a serious source critical problem with this story. Mark and Matthew agree on many details, and John 12:1-8 appears to be the same story. But there is a similar story in Luk... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Anointing] [Bethany] [jesus]

November 9, 11AM

What they have done is taken care of “the least of these” is very simple practical ways, usually described as social responsibilities, things that were valued by the Jews at the time of Jesus. The idea that a righteous person takes care of the poor an... [gospels] [parables] [Keith Green] [Sheep and Goats]

November 8, 6AM

This pericope is a grand conclusion to the Olivet Discourse and sums up many of the eschatological themes in Matthew.  But is this a parable? Not in the normal sense of a parable, it is more of an apocalyptic prophecy with parabolic elements.  The story... [gospels] [parables] [Sheep and Goats]

November 7, 1PM

This parable in Matthew 25 is an interesting example for parable study since it is often dismissed as a creation of the later church to explain the long-delay of the return of the Lord. The parable is an allegory created by Matthew to explain why Jesus di... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [end times] [eschatology] [jesus] [Second Temple Judaism]

November 6, 11AM

At the very beginning of the Olivet Discourse, Jesus warns his disciples to watch out for people who will appear claiming to be the Messiah (ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ χριστός) (Matt 24:2-5). Similarly, in Matt 24:10-13 he warns against pseudo-prophets ... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [end times] [eschatology] [jesus] [Second Temple Judaism]

November 4, 12 PM

In Mark 13:4 (Matt 24:3, Luke 21:7) the disciples ask Jesus “what will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?” Jesus had just predicted that at some point, the beautiful Temple would be destroyed, “not one stone would be left on anoth... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [end times] [eschatology] [jesus] [Second Temple Judaism]

November 2, 11AM

All Jewish men over the age of 20 were required to pat a half-shekel tax to the Temple by the 25th of Adar.  “If one chose to pay the tax in the Temple, there were 13 shofar-chests in the Temple court which were used to collect different offerings (m.... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [temple] [Temple Incident]

November 1, 12 PM

Logos has something a little different for their “Free Book of the Month” promotion in November. After the rather heavy theology of Moltmann last month, Logos users can download Carol Purves‘s biography of George Muller, From Prussi... [bible software] [biography] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [George Mueller] [Guy Fawkes] [ipad] [logos]

6AM

Brian Renshaw just posed the October 2014 Biblical Studies Carnival. He did a nice job (and avoided making too many Halloween puns), so head over to his and click all the links. Jim West offers his “I Can’t Believe SBL is Just Around the Corner... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

October 31, 3PM

When Jesus condemns the Temple as a “den of thieves,” is he launching an attack on the aristocratic priests who ran the Temple? Were the priests actually corrupt in the Second Temple Period? The commentary on Habakkuk from the Qumran Community refers ... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [fig tree] [jesus]

6AM

It seems strange that there were vendors set up in the Temple courts selling animals.  Usually Christians think of these people in a very negative light, since Jesus does run them out of the place and calls then a bunch of thieves.  Christian preachers ... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Diaspora] [jesus] [moneychangers] [Passover] [temple]

October 30, 10AM

In Mark, the Temple incident is framed by the curse of the Fig Tree and provides the clues we need to fully interpret that parabolic action. In fact, this action is also symbolic. Jesus arrives at the Temple as the messiah, inspects the Temple and finds ... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [fig tree] [jesus]

October 29, 12 PM

When Jesus is walking to Jerusalem, he is hungry and finds a fig tree by the side of the road. He expects to find a bit of fruit, but there is none. Remarkably Jesus pronounces a curse on the tree, saying it will not bear fruit again “until the end of t... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [fig tree] [jesus]

October 28, 12 PM

Each of the Gospels describes Jesus entering Jerusalem as a “triumphal entry.” This is an event which Christians typically celebrate a week before Easter as “Palm Sunday,” at least in my youth by letting little kids wave fake palm branches and ret... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Second Temple Period] [hosanna] [jewish nationalism] [Jewish Tradition] [Palm Sunday] [psalm 118] [Triumphal Entry]

October 25, 1PM

Logos Bible Software is offering an excellent book for their “Free Book of the Month” promotion.  Partnering with Fortress, Logos is giving away a copy of Jürgen Moltmann’s The Crucified God: The Cross of Christ as the Foundation an... [bible software] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [ipad] [Jürgen Moltmann] [logos] [Logos Bible Software] [Westminster John Knox Press]

10AM

Exodus 21:17  “Anyone who curses his father or mother must be put to death. Leviticus 20:9 “‘If anyone curses his father or mother, he must be put to death. He has cursed his father or his mother, and his blood will be on his own head. Deuteronomy ... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Galilee] [jesus] [qorban]

October 24, 11AM

In Mark 7:1-5 the Pharisees question Jesus over his lack of attention to the tradition of “hand washing” before meals. Jesus’ disciples do not wash their hands before a meal in order to avoid ritual purity, presumably the question directed at Jesus ... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [Miracles] [Synoptic Gospels]

October 23, 7AM

Jesus is often described as a kind of revolutionary, a political operative who was subtly working to challenge Roman authority. Historical Jesus studies often examine the Roman presence in Galilee as well as the shock of increased urbanization in an other... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [Jewish Revolt] [Synoptic Gospels]

October 21, 1PM

I recently reviewed Sean Freyne’s The Jesus Movement and Its Expansion, and I found it to be a stimulating book that challenged some popular ideas about Jesus and his time in Galilee. Freyne was a well-known expert on Galilee and he began this new... [Book Reviews] [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Book Revews] [jesus] [Sean Freyne]

October 20, 12 PM

Bock, Darrell L. and Mitch Glaser, eds. The People, the Land, and the Future of Israel: Israel and the Jewish People in the Plan of God. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel, 2014. 369 pp. Pb. $16.99   Link to Kregel Darrell Bock and Mitch Glaser have worked tog... [Book Reviews] [Biblical prophecy] [book review] [dispensationalism] [end times] [Prophecy] [Prophets]

October 19, 10AM

…Jesus exorcisms were not merely isolated incidents of compassion for individuals oppressed by malevolent forces.  They were direct confrontations of the power and the presence of the Kingdom of God.  The success of Jesus’ assaults indicated tha... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [Miracles] [Synoptic Gospels]

October 18, 7AM

The Feeding of the 5000 is one of only a few stories appearing in all four Gospels. Jesus miraculously feeds a large crowd and intentionally evokes several images from the Hebrew Bible in order to reveal something about himself. The authors of the Gospels... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [Miracles] [Synoptic Gospels]

October 16, 7AM

Mark Strauss says, Jesus’ miracles were not “showy demonstrations of power or even proof of his identity. They are manifestations of the in-breaking of the Kingdom of God, a foretaste and preview of the restoration of creation promised by God” (Four... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [parables] [Synoptic Gospels]

October 15, 12 PM

The so-called criterion of authenticity can applied to the miracle stories.  For example, all strata of the tradition indicate that Jesus did miracles, including Mark, Q, M/L, and John.  This ought to satisfy the criterion of Multiple Attestation since ... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [Miracles]

October 14, 7AM

[The] modern man acknowledges as reality only such phenomena or events as are comprehensible within the framework of the rational order of the universe. He does not acknowledge miracles because they do not fit into his lawful order. When a strange or marv... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [Jesus’ miracles] [miracles of Jesus] [Synoptic Gospels]

October 13, 12 PM

After looking at a few example methods in the last few posts, I want to suggest four points that need to be part of a method for reading parables properly. First, Parables are “extended metaphors” in which an abstract concept is made more clear throug... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [parables] [Synoptic Gospels]

October 10, 12 PM

While the allegorical method was largely ignored in the early twentieth century, it never was completely abandoned. Some of the literary methods popular in the late 1960s were not far from allegory. More recently, Craig Blomberg developed a method for the... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [parables] [Synoptic Gospels]

October 9, 7AM

Beale, Gregory K., Daniel J. Brendsel, and William A. Ross. An Interpretive Lexicon of New Testament Greek: Analysis of Prepositions, Adverbs, Particles, Relative Pronouns, and Conjunctions. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2014. 96 p. Pb. $15.99. Link to... [Book Reviews] [old testament] [book review] [New Testament Greek] [Zondervan]

6AM

In a previous post, I suggested the Parables “fit” into the culture of first century Galilee. One way to read parables properly is to study the material culture of the world of Jesus in order to highlight the rhetorical impact of the imagery he used. ... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Kenneth Bailey] [parables] [Synoptic Gospels]

October 8, 6AM

Robert Funk is an example of a literary approach to the parables. He adapted Dodd’s work along literary lines, using the parable of the Great Supper as a test case for his theory of parables as metaphor. The imagery of a parable is drawn from common lif... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [parables] [Robert Funk] [Synoptic Gospels]

October 7, 4AM

C. H. Dodd’s The Parables of the Kingdom was a major step forward from the foundation of Jülicher. Dodd attempted to read the parables in their proper historical context (Sitz im Leben Jesu), but he also attempted to deal with the problem of eschatolog... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [parables] [Synoptic Gospels]

October 6, 12 PM

It is sometimes said that in the parables of Jesus we hear the true ipsissima vox Jesu: the real voice of Jesus. Joachim Jeremias, for example, begins his classic The Parables of Jesus by stating we “may be confident” we stand on firm historical groun... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [parables] [Synoptic Gospels]

October 4, 12 PM

Oath taking was common in Jesus day, since it was permissible by the Mosaic Law (Deut 23:21-23).  An oath was pronouncing a curse upon one’s self if the truth was not spoken, or a promise is not fulfilled. The first century Jewish philosopher Philo def... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Dead Sea Scrolls] [jesus] [Synoptic Gospels]

8AM

Jesus also extends the seventh commandment to include far more than sex outside of marriage. His method is generally the same as for murder in the previous section. It is not just the action of adultery that is the problem but the thought process behind i... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Dead Sea Scrolls] [jesus] [Synoptic Gospels]

October 3, 2PM

In Matthew 5:21-48 Jesus discusses six issues drawn from the Law. While he begins with a quotation of the Law, he interprets the Law in a radical fashion in order to get to the heart of the original command. To use Scot McKnight’s three categories of Je... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [sermon on the mount] [Synoptic Gospels]

October 2, 11AM

It is no coincidence that the Sermon on the Mount echoes throughout the Gospel of Luke, as well as in Paul’s letters and the rest of the New Testament….  In the first three centuries of the church, no other biblical passage was referred to as oft... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [sermon on the mount] [Synoptic Gospels]

October 1, 12 PM

Matthew 5:1-2 Now when he saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying… The Sermon on the Mount is the first of five sermons in Matthew.  Notice that the first and the last... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Dead Sea Scrolls] [jesus] [Synoptic Gospels]

4AM

Mike Skinner has posted the September Carnival at cataclysmic.  The theme is college football, which appears to be some sort of mid-western cult that takes over the entire culture for a few months each fall. Maybe the two top teams in the NTC (New Test... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [blogging] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

September 28, 10AM

After his baptism and temptation, Jesus returns to his hometown of Nazareth where he attends a synagogue service. He is asked to read a portion of scripture from Isaiah 61. It is possible Jesus was allowed to choose the passage; it is not certain whether ... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Dead Sea Scrolls] [jesus] [Synoptic Gospels]

September 27, 6AM

When we study Jesus’ understanding of “kingdom” in the Gospels there are two competing themes. In some texts, Jesus seems to say that the Kingdom of God is present in his ministry. For example, Mark describes Jesus preaching that the Kingdom of God ... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [kingdom] [N. T. Wright] [Synoptic Gospels]

September 25, 12 PM

In order to understand how a first century Jewish audience might have understood the phrase “kingdom of heaven” or “kingdom of God” is to examine messianic expectations from the Second Temple Period. This background should shed some light on the p... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [King Jesus] [kingdom] [N. T. Wright] [Synoptic Gospels]

September 24, 7AM

When N. T. Wright describes “Kingdom of God” in The Challenge of Jesus, he seems to be defending against two separate views he considers inadequate.  Frequently denies that Jewish expectations were looking for the “end of space and time,” which s... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [King Jesus] [kingdom] [N. T. Wright] [rapture] [Synoptic Gospels]

September 22, 12 PM

We may therefore safely conclude that Jesus habitually went from village to village, speaking of the kingdom of the God of Israel, a celebrating this kingdom in various ways, not least in sharing meals with all and sundry. These actions and words must the... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [King Jesus] [kingdom] [N. T. Wright] [Synoptic Gospels]

September 21, 10AM

Keeping the Sabbath was of critical importance to first century Jewish practice. The day is set aside for rest and those that willfully broke the Sabbath were to be stoned to death.  This Sabbath was considered by non-Jews to be a most peculiar practice ... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [Sabbath] [Synoptic Gospels]

September 20, 12 PM

Daily Prayers were accompanied by the reciting of the Shema. While the Qumran community prayed three times a day, most Jews appear to have prayed twice a day.  These prayers were either at the time of the morning and evening sacrifice or at dawn and sund... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Genre] [historical criticism] [jesus] [Jesus Seminar] [Synoptic Gospels]

6AM

When Jesus described the Temple as a “den of robbers,” he was attacking a healthy economic system that developed around the Temple in the first century. Josephus (Antiq. 14.105-109) reported that in 54 B.C. the Roman general Crassus raided the... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [jesus] [Second Temple Judaism] [temple]

September 19, 1PM

E. P. Sanders once said “Judaism was more a way of life than a doctrinal system” (Judaism: Practice and Belief, 3). Sanders describes practical details of daily Jewish life as well as the fundamental teachings of Judaism most the Jews of the first cen... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Genre] [historical criticism] [jesus] [Jesus Seminar] [Mark Strauss] [Synoptic Gospels]

6AM

What would historical Jesus studies look like if we started with the things Jesus did first, rather than the words of Jesus? Frequently Historical Jesus studies begin with the words rather than the activities of Jesus. Sayings judged as authentic are then... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Genre] [historical criticism] [jesus] [Jesus Seminar] [Mark Strauss] [Synoptic Gospels]

September 18, 12 PM

One of the commonly cited reasons for suspending judgment on the words of Jesus is that studies seeking to authenticate the words of Jesus tend to be concerned only with methods for authenticating the words and less interested in what is actually said in ... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Genre] [historical criticism] [jesus] [Jesus Seminar] [Synoptic Gospels]

September 17, 9AM

Mark Strauss does an excellent job describing and assessing the so-called “criteria of authenticity” used to evaluate the sayings of Jesus (Four Portraits, 359-62).  I have expanded this list a bit using volume 1 of John Meier’s The Marginal Jew. ... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Genre] [historical criticism] [Synoptic Gospels]

September 16, 4AM

In the first century most information was not recorded, it was reported orally. Jesus taught orally, the disciples listened, remembered, and eventually wrote down what he said. The problem is obvious, how do we know if the disciples accurately recorded th... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [historical criticism] [jesus] [Synoptic Gospels] [Words of Jesus]

September 15, 12 PM

Albert Schweitzer’s Quest for the Historical Jesus is in many ways one of the most important books of the twentieth century, although my guess is that few people would care to read it today. Perhaps because of the popularity of N. T. Wright, Schweitzer ... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Albert Schweitzer] [historical criticism] [N. T. Wright] [Synoptic Gospels]

September 13, 6AM

“…it is now generally recognized that the Evangelists were not merely ‘scissors and paste men.’ On the contrary, the ‘scissors’ were manipulated by a theological had and the ‘paste’ was impregnated with a particular theology.” Robert... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Genre] [Redaction criticism] [Synoptic Gospels]

September 12, 1PM

One of the assumptions of Form Criticism is that the disciples did not write anything down during Jesus’ lifetime or even in the earliest years of the church. The teaching and activities of Jesus were passed along as oral tradition through teaching and ... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Form Criticism] [Genre] [memory] [Synoptic Gospels]

September 11, 4AM

Form Criticism was applied to the New Testament by K. L. Schmidt, Martin Dibelius, and Rudolf Bultmann. Their work was based on the form criticism popular in Old Testament studies which divided the text into individual sections (pericope, plural, perico... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Form Criticism] [Genre] [historical criticism] [oral tradition] [Synoptic Gospels]

September 10, 4AM

In order to account for this common material, scholars have conjectured a document they call Q (from the German word Quelle, source). This hypothetical document is used to explain the many sayings of Jesus that appear in Matthew and Luke, but not in Mark.... [Observations on Acts] [sayings of Jesus] [The Gospel of Matthew]

September 9, 11AM

Source and Form Criticism both attempt to get behind the text of the gospels in order to understand how the written Gospels were formed. As the name implies, Source Criticism seeks to identify the sources the Gospel writers used when they wrote their gosp... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Genre] [Huckleberry Finn] [Mark Twain] [Synoptic Gospels]

September 6, 7AM

People often misunderstand what the word “criticism” means when applied to the Bible “Biblical Criticism” sounds like “I am going to criticize the Bible.” Biblical criticism must have been invented by the Devil (or at least German liberals) in... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Genre] [Synoptic Gospels]

September 5, 6AM

Just yesterday I received a new book edited by Christopher M. Hays and Christopher B. Ansberry, The Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2013). The book is a collection of essays on somewhat controversia... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Genre] [historical criticism] [Inerrancy] [Synoptic Gospels]

September 4, 4AM

“…in the second half of the eighteenth century, in connection with the intellectual movement of the Enlightenment, within Protestant theology the insight began to prevail that the Bible is a book written by men, which, like any product of the huma... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Genre] [historical criticism] [Synoptic Gospels]

September 3, 4AM

Over the last 150 years there has been a rise in skepticism with regard to the historical validity of the New Testament record concerning Jesus. Originally confined to scholars and theologians, this skepticism is beginning to influence popular thinking. T... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Bart Ehrman] [Genre] [Synoptic Gospels]

September 2, 11AM

Various explanations of the possible literary genre of the four gospels have been offered.  Most Christians approach the gospels as biographies of Jesus.  The do have some biography-like elements, but they are not biographies by the standards of the mod... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Genre] [Synoptic Gospels]

6AM

It is impossible to read a text without interpreting the text in some way. The very fact we are converting signs and symbols on a page into thoughts in our mind is an act of interpretation. Every time we read a sentence, we make many decisions about what ... [gospels] [historical Jesus] [Genre] [Synoptic Gospels]

September 1, 9AM

On September 1, 2008 Reading Acts published its first post, “Why Acts?” I originally set up this blog as a supplement to my preaching through the Book of Acts at Rush Creek Bible Church. My plan was to offer a few thoughts before and after I preached ... [Biblioblogs] [Biblioblogs] [Huzzah!] [Reading Acts] [Shameless self promotion]

6AM

Rob Bradshaw posted his August Biblical Studies Carnival at the Biblical Studies Blog. This is a great collection of links to articles of interest to those working in biblical or theological studies, including some archaeology and textual criticism. If... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [blogging] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

August 28, 8AM

Pettit, Paul and R.Todd Mangum. Blessed Are the Balanced: A Seminarian’s Guide to Following Jesus in the Academy.  Grand Rapids, Mich. Kregel, 2014. 137 pp. Pb; $14.99. Link to Kregel. This is a short guide to maintaining a spiritual life in Semina... [Book Reviews] [Paul] [Kregel] [seminary] [Spiritual Discipline]

6AM

While the following commands from Paul seem unrelated to the theme of unity, Frank Thielman argues they ought to be read in the context of persecution (Philippians, NIVAC, 217-9). While this is not an Empire-wide systematic persecution of believers, we ha... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul] [worry]

August 26, 6AM

Paul does something unusual in Philippains 4, he specifically names at least two leaders in the congregation have some problem hindering the church. Specifically, Euodia and Syntyche need to demonstrate unity. For Paul to specifically name people is very ... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

August 25, 10AM

In this final encouragement toward unity, Paul addresses the leadership of the church at Philippi. He began the letter by addressing the elders and deacons (1:1), now he calls for the leadership of the church to demonstrate the mind of Christ by standing ... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

August 21, 12 PM

Freyne, Sean. The Jesus Movement and Its Expansion: Meaning and Mission. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2014. 495 pp. Pb; $35.00.  Link to Eerdmans Sean Freyne was the Emeritus Professor of Theology in Trinity College (Dublin) until his death in August o... [Book Reviews] [Paul] [Colin G. Krise] [James Dunn] [N. T. Wright] [new perspective on Paul] [Romans]

6AM

Today is the day I pick a winner for these two excellent books. There were 57 people signed up (62 comments, but I allowed only one entry per person). I took each of your names, sorted randomly and then pasted them into Excel. Random.org gave me a numb... [Book Reviews] [Apostolic Fathers] [book review] [Church History] [free book] [Giveway]

August 12, 10AM

It is August, so it is just about time to start thinking about “back to school.” In fact, I have just started teaching an OT Survey course in an August intensive format, so to celebrate a new school year, I am going to give away a couple of Ch... [Book Reviews] [Apostolic Fathers] [book review] [Church History] [free book] [Giveway]

August 11, 4AM

In order to reach the goal Paul does not look back at anything, but keeps his attention fixed on the goal God has placed before him.  Forgetting what lies behind. To “forget” (ἐπιλανθάνομαι) is fairly clear, although this word can mean ... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

August 8, 11AM

Describing Diogenes of Sinope (404–323 B.C.) Diogenes Laertius (Lives of Eminent Philosophers 6.24) said: He was great at pouring scorn on his contemporaries. The school of Euclides he called bilious, and Plato’s lectures waste of time, the performanc... [humor] [bibliobloggers]

August 6, 6AM

Paul develops an accounting metaphor in verse 7. All of his achievements count for nothing when it comes to his position in Jesus Christ.  On one side of the ledger is his human achievement, on the other is the sake of Christ. He writes them off as a los... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

August 5, 9AM

Turner, Jim. So-Called Christians: Healing Spiritual Wounds Left By The Church. Greenville, South Carolina: Ambassador International, 2014.157 pages, pb., $11.99   Link Jim Turner is a pastor with more than 25 years of experience in a variety of church ... [Book Reviews] [2 Baruch] [4 Ezra] [apocalyptic] [Books] [Second Temple Period]

6AM

Paul’s opponents may have claimed to be better qualified to explain the role of the Law for Gentiles because of their heritage and training. This is more or less equivalent to someone who claims to be an expert because they graduated with a PhD from Har... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

August 4, 9AM

Logos is giving away a copy of their nine-volume  Tyndale Ministry Collection.  The book collects a number of books by Greg Laurie (Harvest Christian Fellowship in Riverside, California), but all nine books are designed to help with discipleship and ch... [bible software] [Bonhoeffer] [Dietrich Bonhoeffer] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [ipad] [logos] [Logos Bible Software] [Westminster John Knox Press]

6AM

In this section of the letter, Paul shifts from his encouragement to serve one another humbly in order to be unified against an unspecified persecution to a second major issue, a potential attack by people from inside the church. Since the Philippian chur... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

August 1, 10AM

Logos Bible Software has another nice selection for their “Free Book of the Month” promotion. This month they are partnering with Fortress Press to offer volume three of the Works of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Creation and Fall. This volume is a n... [bible software] [Bonhoeffer] [Dietrich Bonhoeffer] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [ipad] [logos] [Logos Bible Software] [Westminster John Knox Press]

6AM

Jonathan Homrighausen posted his July Biblical Studies Carnival at Linguae Antiquitatum. Go and check it out, it is a good one this month. Jonathan usually does some good work on linguistics and patristics on his blog, so it is good to highlight Lingu... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [blogging] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

July 30, 7AM

The July 2014 Biblical Studies Carnival will be hosted by Jonathan Homrighausen at his fine blog Linguae Antiquitatum. Consider this your official encouragement to send Jonathan links to blogs of interest published in July. Send him an email (jdhomri... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [blogging] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

6AM

Unlike Timothy, Epaphroditus is only known from this letter. Paul praises him highly as a valuable co-worker. We know virtually nothing about him from Acts other letters. His name was common in the first century and is related to the goddess Aphrodite. Pa... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

July 29, 7AM

Philippians 2:19-30 strikes some readers as a digression. After one of the most theologically dense passages in the New Testament, Paul spends two paragraphs in the middle of his letter to talk about travel plans with no obvious theological content. Since... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

July 28, 8AM

The first command Paul gives in order to “work out your salvation,” is not do things without grumbling. This seems odd, since for most modern Evangelicals there are far worse sins than grumbling! Paul is, however, making an allusion to the wilderness ... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

July 26, 6AM

In Phil 2:12, Paul said believers ought to “work out” their salvation in fear and trembling. I suggested in a previous post that Paul’s point in this very difficult verse is something like “cultivate your salvation in order to bear fruit on the Da... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

July 25, 6AM

Paul’s command to “work out our salvation” might come as a surprise (v. 12). Paul is so adamant elsewhere that we are not saved by works, but rather grace through faith. In fact, this verse has been the source of a great deal of post-Reformation the... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

July 24, 7AM

Jesus humbled himself by taking on the nature of a human. While humility is often seen as a virtue in modern culture, people did not “humble themselves” in the Greco-Roman world. Someone who was humble was lowly and weak, even servile. That man should... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

July 23, 6AM

It seems every word in Philippians 2:5-11 is theologically important . That Jesus “emptied himself” is one of the most discussed since it is not immediately clear what it means to become empty when one is “the form of God.” The meaning of “empti... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

July 22, 10AM

It is hard to over-estimate the theological importance of Phil 2:5-11. Paul’s original intention may not have been to create a theological statement when he described Jesus as the “form of God.” Even though this passage is foundation for a correct u... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

July 8, 1PM

Karen Swallow Prior recently posted a list of Classic Literary Works to Challenge the Thinking Christian. The top four are all visions of the not-to-distant future dystopias, and are among my favorite books. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury 1984 by George ... [Book Reviews] [Books] [Douglas Adams] [Elie Wiesel] [Top Books]

July 7, 6AM

The Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament 3.1 (2014) has several interesting articles, including: Nathan Lovell, “The Shape Of Hope In The Book Of Kings: The Resolution Of Davidic Blessing And Mosaic Curse” Matthew R. Akers“The So... [Book Notices] [Book Reviews] [book review] [Books] [journal]

July 4, 9AM

Boccaccini, Gabriele  and Jason M. Zurawski, ed. Interpreting 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch: International Studies. Library of Second Temple Studies 87; London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2014. 240 pp. Hb, $125.00.  Link to Bloomsbury This volume collects an addit... [Book Reviews] [2 Baruch] [4 Ezra] [apocalyptic] [Books] [Second Temple Period]

July 3, 12 PM

Boccaccini, Gabriele  and Jason M. Zurawski, ed. Interpreting 4 Ezra and 2 Baruch: International Studies. Library of Second Temple Studies 87; London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2014. 240 pp. Hb, $125.00.  Link to Bloomsbury This volume collects an addit... [Book Reviews] [2 Baruch] [4 Ezra] [apocalyptic] [Books] [Second Temple Period]

July 1, 1PM

Logos Bible Software is offering another nice little in their “Free Book of the Month” promotion.  Partnering with Wipf & Stock this month, Logos is giving away a copy of Hans J. Iwand’s The Righteousness of Faith According to Lu... [bible software] [free books] [Free iPad Books] [ipad] [logos] [Logos Bible Software] [Wipf & Stock]

June 30, 12 PM

June and July are usually slow months for Bibliobloggers, and it looks like many regular writers have dedicated themselves to watching the World Cup. Jim West undoubtedly will have posted his Avignonian Carnival, although he is a master multi-tasker an... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [blogging] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

June 27, 11AM

Newton, Phil A. and Matt Schmucker. Elders in the Life of the Church: Rediscovering the Biblical Model for Church Leadership. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Kregel, 2014. Pb. $16.99   Link to Kregel Both of the authors of this new book from Kregel are well-qualif... [Book Reviews] [Baptist] [book review] [church] [deacons] [Ecclesiology] [elders]

7AM

Dinkler, Michal Beth. Silent Statements: Narrative Representations of Speech and Silence in the Gospel of Luke. BZNW 191; Berlin: De Gruyter, 2013. 261 pp. Hc; $140.00. Link to De Gruyter This monograph is a revision of Dinkler’s Ph.D dissertation compl... [Book Reviews] [Books] [De Gruyter] [gospel of luke] [Silence]

June 26, 5AM

Paul’s appeal in Phil 2:1 is based on what the church already has. The ESV translates these short phrases as conditions (“if there is any….”) This does not mean Paul is unsure of the state of the church in Philippi. The Greek syntax does not e... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

June 25, 6AM

Here is some good news on my book, Jesus, the Bridegroom. It will be available in the Logos Library as a part of a two-book bundle. The “Wipf & Stock Eschatology Bundle” is on pre-order along with Jonathan Menn’s Biblical Eschato... [Book Notices] [eschatology] [historical Jesus] [Huzzah!] [Intertextuality] [jesus] [Shameless self promotion]

June 24, 12 PM

The June 2014 Biblical Studies Carnival will be hosted be hosted right here at Reading Acts. This is a “call for links” to blogs of interest published in June 2013. Email the links to me (plong42 at gmail.com) or leave a comment with a link... [Biblioblogs] [Biblical Studies Carnival] [Biblioblogs] [blogging] [carnival] [Huzzah!]

6AM

If the church is living their lives worthy of the Gospel, they will be striving together for the gospel and not frightened by any opposition they face. The verb Paul uses here is cognate of ἀθλέω, “to compete in a contest,” implying strenuous ... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

June 23, 8AM

Paul begins the next section of the letter to the Philippians by calling on the church to live a life worthy of the Gospel. By living a worthy life, the church will stand firm in one spirit (v. 27-28).  One’s “manner of life” (πολιτεύομα... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

June 20, 6AM

Paul expects that his imprisonment will not end in shame (v. 18b-20).  Paul’s desire is to be free of this legal threat, to be delivered from the charges and return to the ministry to which he has been called. Paul’s expectation is that everything th... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

June 19, 6AM

Paul’s imprisonment may have been controversial, allowing an opportunity for rivals to “afflict” Paul.  When your rival in business has troubles, you benefit. When Toyota recalls a million cars, other car companies benefit because Toyota’s public... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

June 18, 6AM

There are two specific ways the Gospel has advanced as a result of his imprisonment. First, the whole “imperial guard” has heard Paul’s imprisonment is on account of Christ. The word Paul chose here is refers to the praetorium (πραιτώριον)... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

June 16, 7AM

Paul begins the second section of his letter by saying what has happened to him has in no way hindered the preaching of the Gospel. “What has happened” is Paul’s arrest and imprisonment.  Assuming the traditional view, Paul was placed in protective... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

June 12, 7AM

I want to make one last comment on the opening prayer in Philippians 1. Paul prays in these opening verses that the church at Philippi about in love. The goal of “abounding in love” is eschatological. If the church abounds in love all the more, on the... [Evening Service Notes] [Philippians] [Bible study] [Paul]

June 11, 6AM