Extrabiblical Sources as Context – An Excerpt from Reading Romans in Context

ZA Blog on 3 hours ago. Tagged under ,,,.

reading romans in context

How best should we approach extrabiblical sources when studying Scripture? That is the question asked in today’s excerpt from Reading Romans in Context. Since taking historical context into account is valuable, we cannot ignore a historical source simply because it is not in the biblical canon. Yet we want to be certain to handle it wisely.

Read on to get a glimpse into the recent release, Reading Romans in Context.


Paul’s letter to the Romans is widely celebrated as the apostle’s clearest and fullest exposition of the good news concerning Jesus Christ. As William Tyndale lauded, “[It] is the principal and most excellent part of the New Testament, and the most pure Euangelion, that is to say glad tidings and that we…

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Brueggemann, Gaventa, & McKnight Share Stories of Faith and Scholarship

Jeremy Bouma on 2 days ago. Tagged under ,,,.

I became a scholar (or teacher, or pastor) because of my professor, Professor x.

9780310515166_394_600_90I imagine it wasn’t difficult to fill in the x. Now imagine spending an extended session with them, to hear how their scholarship has affected their faith.

That’s the premise of a new collection of life stories by a diverse group of prominent Bible scholars, called I (Still) Believe.

It was the hope of editors John Byron and Joel Lohr “that more than anything the contributors present real stories, with all the complexities and struggles they may hold. And they do.” (13) The result is a deeply personal, at times surprising extended conversation with eighteen leading biblical scholars of our day.

Below are three stories of faith and scholarship, from Walter…

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Mounce Archive 20 – Incomplete Definitions

Bill Mounce on 3 days ago. Tagged under ,,.

Everyone needs a break once in a while, and Bill Mounce is taking one from his weekly column on biblical Greek until September. Meanwhile, we’ve hand-picked some classic, popular posts from the “Mondays with Mounce” archive for your summer reading and Greek-studying pleasure.

First-year Greek students memorize the gloss for εὐθύς as “immediately.” If we use that translation, according to the book of Mark, Jesus seems to be running around like crazy. Mounce reminds us to look back at a lexicon and realize words often have a wider semantic range than we use.

Consider the excerpt below or read the original post here.

One of the strange literary characteristics of the gospel of Mark is the apparently inordinate use of εὐθύς. It is an adverb I memorized as meaning “immediately.”

It occurs 59 times in the NT, 41 being…

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Is it Possible? – An Excerpt from Character Formation in Online Education

ZA Blog on 6 days ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

character formation in online education cover

We live in an era where education institutions are pioneering many new options. As we seek to understand if online education holds potential for the Christian institution, author Joanne J. Jung says it does. In fact, she claims online learning can offer benefits traditional classroom learning can’t. Through the pages of Character Formation in Online Education, she guides instructors on how to create online education that matters.

This excerpt finds Jung setting out her argument right out of the gate. Read on to get a taste.


Advertising for online courses is ubiquitous: TV, radio, billboards, newspapers, magazines, the Internet. But are all online courses created equal? The general consensus among students is that online classes are easy. That descriptor, however, does not generally refer…

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[Common Places] Engaging with Kate Sonderegger: Interview (Part 1)

Michael Allen and Scott Swain, editors of Common Places on 1 week ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

Sonderegger_Katherine_photo2014The release of a book within a multi-volume systematic theology project makes for a momentous occasion in the world of systematic theology. Over the last few years a number of such projects have launched, none to greater acclaim or worthy of more significant attention than Katherine Sonderegger’s Systematic Theology. In a previous post we introduced and began to explore critically the volume on the Doctrine of God. In this and another post we will make available an interview that Scott Swain and Michael Allen had with Kate Sonderegger. In this post we inquire about her book’s organization, her theological influences, her commitment to monotheism (in light of charges that such a belief leads to hegemony and violence), and how this inaugural volume will relate to her upcoming volumes in…

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5 Reasons Christians Should Talk About Prostitutes and Polygamists

Jeremy Bouma on 1 week ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310518471Let’s talk about sex. The deviant, Old Testament kind.

As in prostitution, polygamy, rape, adultery, and incest.

If you’re blushing, you’re not alone. By the looks of it most of the Bride is too, given how little we talk about sexual sins and sex in general. David Lamb wants to change this.

“The church needs to talk about sex more,” writes Lamb in his new book Prostitutes and Polygamists, “not just the ideal but also the reality.” (19)

And the reality is sex is broken. It’s not the way it’s supposed to be at many levels. Which is why the Bible talks about it so much, and why we should too:

“The Bible gives us no excuse for being reluctant to talk about sexual…

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Prepare for Fall – eBook Sale

ZA Blog on 1 week ago. Tagged under ,,,,,.

Pastors eBook Sale

The store shelves filled with school supplies and dorm wares are a reminder that summer is coming to an end. For professors and pastors this means preparing hearts and minds for the coming academic and ministry year.

Here are a few recommendations for encouraging reads to help you ease from the last vestiges of summer into fall. This eBook sale features recently released The Emotionally Healthy Leader, now $7.99 (65% off!). Bestselling author Peter Scazzero shows leaders how contemplative spirituality holds profound implications for surviving stress.

Check out these resources soon – the sale ends 8/22:

The Emotionally Healthy Leader | Peter Scazzero | $7.99 (65% off!) Emotionally Healthy Church, Updated and Expanded | Peter Scazzero | $3.99 (63% off) The Pastor’s Ministry

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Mounce Archive 19 – Relying on Headers

Bill Mounce on 1 week ago. Tagged under ,,,.

Everyone needs a break once in a while, and Bill Mounce is taking one from his weekly column on biblical Greek until September. Meanwhile, we’ve hand-picked some classic, popular posts from the “Mondays with Mounce” archive for your summer reading and Greek-studying pleasure.

Quite often, we put too much faith in the headings translators have added to our Bibles. As Mounce explains in this post, a quick glance at the header can shape the way we read the passage. He calls us to read the Word carefully.

If this preview whets your appetite,  you can click here to find the original post.

Usually adjectives used substantivally (i.e., as nouns) are pretty easy to figure out. Between the meaning of the adjective and the context of the passage, the translator can figure out how to treat the word. But every once in a…

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A Sudden Scholar – An Excerpt from I (Still) Believe

ZA Blog on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,.

I (Still) BelieveCan serious academic study of the Bible become threatening to one’s faith? I (Still) Believe answers this question with a resounding “Far from it!” Faith enhances study of the Bible and, reciprocally, such study enriches a person’s faith. With this in mind, this book asks prominent Bible teachers and scholars to tell their story reflecting on their own experiences at the intersection of faith and serious academic study of the Bible.

Engage in this excerpt below as Ellen F. Davis (Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology, The Divinity School, Duke University) shares her faith journey.


I am not an accidental biblical scholar, but I am a sudden one, or so it seems to me. I had no intention at all of…

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Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields — Keeping Sabbath Holy: Purpose or Means (Exod 20:8; Deut 5:12)?

Lee Fields on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,,,.


In this post we will compare NASB and NIV as we did in the last, but this time it will cover the phrase modifying the command to remember (Exod 20:8; or “keep” in Deut 5:12) the Sabbath.

Figure 1 below gives Exod 20:8 in the Hebrew (MT = Masoretic Text), followed by the NASB95 and the NIV. The differences between the English versions are bolded.

The questions are: What would NASB “to keep” mean, and why does NIV translate differently?

Figure 1: Exod 20:8 in MT, NASB95, and NIV

Screenshot 2015-08-19 at 20.42.54

The Hebrew

The last phrase in English is one word in Hebrew, לְקַדְּשׁוֹ (leqaddešô). Breaking down the word grammatically can be done by knowing Hebrew grammar or…

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Paul Has 5 Things to Say to Rich Christians

Jeremy Bouma on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,.

Paul and MoneyOdds are you are among the richest 1% in the world, probably close to the top 25% in America.

Paul has a message for you.

This message comes to us through Keith Krell’s and the late Verlyn Verbrugge’s new book Paul and Money—a biblical and theological analysis of Paul’s teachings and practices on how financial matters intersect with our lives.

One of those matters addresses the question, “Did Paul have an independent message…for Christians who had wealth? The answer to this question is a resounding yes.” (242)

They reveal 5 important things about this message, which have great bearing on the financial lives of most Christians

1) Money-Love Roots Evil

We’ve all heard one of Paul’s more pointed instructions:…

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Mounce Archive 18 – You Plural, You Individual

Bill Mounce on 2 weeks ago. Tagged under ,,,.

Everyone needs a break once in a while, and Bill Mounce is taking one from his weekly column on biblical Greek until September. Meanwhile, we’ve hand-picked some classic, popular posts from the “Mondays with Mounce” archive for your summer reading and Greek-studying pleasure.

In Philippians 1:6, Paul says he trusts God to continue working in “you” plural. But can the believer also use this verse to rest assured the Lord will work in each of us individually? Mounce concludes: “[I]f God is working among the believers as a group, the only way to do that is for him to work in the life of each individual believer.”

Begin with the excerpt below or read the complete post here.

Paul begins his letter to the Philippians with praise for them, and then says this now famous verse. “And I am sure…

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