“The Best Comment on Yahweh” via Bruce K. Waltke
We just found this piece by Bruce K. Waltke in our blog archives, unpublished since 2008. I can’t explain the delay, but here it is now. —Adam Forrest, Zondervan Academic Blog
Together, Professor James M. Houston and I have written a commentary on selected Psalms (The Psalms as Christian Worship: An Historical Commentary—Eerdmans, 2010). Professor Houston, formerly Lecturer of historical geography at Oxford, with a specialization in the history of ideas, and founder of Regent College, cites this passage from Hillary of Poitiers, first bishop of Gaul (4th century), on the meaning of the Name [Yahweh]. It is the best comment I have read.
He (Hillary of Poitiers) narrates that as he was searching how he should live his life, “I chanced upon those books which according to Jewish tradition were written by Moses and the Prophets. In…
Why Biblical Dictionaries Are a Mixed Blessing (New NIDNTTE Introduction)
You can get the rest of Silva’s essay in this just-released free eBook: the Primer on the revised New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis (NIDNTTE).
The free eBook will give you a test drive through the new NIDNTTE. You’ll investigate the New Testament words used for father, love, Jerusalem, and Hell — using adapted content from NIDNTTE. The eBook also includes more exclusive content similar to Silva’s essay.
Read on and get the free ebook here.
Dictionaries can be a mixed blessing. They are essential resources for the study of the vocabulary, but they also may reinforce our…
Ajith Fernando: Arminian? Calvinist? I Suppose We are to Draw Daggers
Today our friend Ajith Fernando, teacher and author of several books including the recent Reclaiming Love, shares a devotional that’s cut me to the quick.
Recently Fernando met people who are encouraged by the revival of Reformed theology, yet as committed Arminians. Like them he appreciates Calvinism, but is committed to Arminianism, and so he wonders: What is he and others like him to do?
In the authentic post below he reveals his conclusion about a split that often engenders dagger-drawing:
Systematic theology is helpful and needed in the church, but sometimes, with the paradoxes of Scripture, it can foster unnecessary divisions among devout biblical Christians…when we approach some of the difficult areas—on…
John Walton – Asking the Right Questions of Job
Reading Biblical Devotional Books – An Antidote to Burnout
a guest post from Ajith Fernando,
"Over the past forty-four years or so I have been reading expository books by Bible scholars that give evidence of good background and technical knowledge while also being devotionally edifying. I find that these books do three important things to us. First, they increase our knowledge of God’s life-giving Word. Second, they give us information that would not have normally been accessible to us and thus help us to be more at home in the world of the Bible. And third, they feed the soul with eternal truth which is a great source of inspiration, joy, edification, security, and one of the surest antidotes to burnout.
Here is a list of some of the authors who have ministered to me from my late teens: Graham Scroggie, F. B. Meyer, G. Campbell Morgan, A. T. Robertson, H. L. Ellison, F. F. Bruce, Donald Guthrie, Alec Motyer, John Stott, and Leon Morris. More recently I am finding the writings of Thomas Schreiner (NT Theology), Bruce Waltke (OT Theology), Chris Wright and Don Carson doing this for me.
Then there is another kind of author who writes books that are primarily devotional but which are also biblically and theologically grounded. Here are some of my favourite authors of this kind of book: Robert Murray M‘Cheyne (A Basket of Fragments); Jonathan Edwards, E. Stanley Jones (the devotional The Word Became Flesh is amazing), Paul Rees, Wesley Duewel, Dennis Kinlaw (How to Have the Mind of Christ may be the most inspiring book I have read), J. I. Packer (Knowing God is still unsurpassed), Robert Coleman (see his latest, The Heart of the Gospel), C. J. Mahaney (Humility), Tim Keller (so many recent books), and John Piper (A Godward Life; Future Grace). The top place in this category goes to John Wesley, whose complete works I am slowly reading through. I learned his style of arguing for biblical truth when studying for my lay preacher’s exams about forty-four years ago. This has had a huge impact on my style of preaching.
These are books to read slowly. I have not finished reading most of them. And I do not feel bad about that. But by reading large chunks from these books slowly over a period of several months, the Lord has ministered the wealth of his truth to my soul.
A Pastor left the ministry burned out and totally discouraged. He left his whole library behind in his last church. When the new pastor looked through his library, he found that the older books in the library were biblical and theological books. The newer books were mostly how-to books, dealing with the practical challenges of ministry. It seems that he had been working on improving his skills without feeding his soul. This lesson applies to those who are not in vocational Christian ministry also.
Darrell L. Bock on the Unity of Luke and Acts
What is the minimum it takes to get into heaven? – A Guest Post from Bill Mounce
Life is a journey. Life is a hike from our City of Destruction to the Celestial City. But no matter how the journey unfolds along the path, it has a beginning point. In Jesus’ imagery, the journey begins at the gate. In my imagery, the hike begins at the trailhead.
Everyone’s trailhead is a little different. For some, we started the journey on our mother’s knee at a young age. For others it starts after a difficult time in the teenage years, and perhaps in the midst of those difficult times you met a friend who started to walk with you. For others the trailhead is much later, after you have sampled life and found it lacking. Our trailheads can often look quite different.
However all of our trailheads have many things in common, and today I want to talk about what we all have in common. As you start your journey as a follower of Jesus, or if you are just thinking about it, or if you are walking with a new traveler, it is important that we have the same understanding of what the trailhead looks like; otherwise it will become confusing on down the path.
One of the defining moments in my life was when I was in graduate school. I was waiting for the bus, and a young coed asked if I was one of those “Divinity” students. (That’s what it is called in Scotland.) I said yes, and she asked if I were a Christian. I said yes, and she responded, “What is a Christian?” Much to my shame, I had never thought through a quick and decisive answer. I was working on a Ph.D. but had not thought through this most important of all questions. The bus came in two minutes and she got on.
I didn’t go to the office that day. I went back to the dorm and started reading and praying, working on an answer I could give in two minutes. I spent much of the next day looking for her on campus but never found her.
Craig Blomberg reviews the Matthew ZECNT
Craig Blomberg at Denver Seminary recently reviewed Osborne's Matthew volume from the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament.
You can read an excerpt below, and find the rest here.
"Osborne finds history, theology, and literary style all present in abundance, none necessarily in tension with any other. He opts for Matthew the apostle as author and cautiously suggests a date of 65-67 for his writing. He adopts the two-source hypothesis for Gospel relationships, outlines the book by means of its alternating sections of narrative and discourse, highlights the typological uses of the Old Testament, and deftly sums us the key principles of each pericope and their implications in each “theology in application” section.
Bruce Waltke on the reign of Humanity
C.S. Lewis remarked at the coronation of Queen Elizabeth in 1953 that 'the pressing of that huge, heavy crown on that small, young head was a symbol of the situation of all men.' God has called humanity to be his vice-regents and high priests on earth…
After the Fall, however, without God and his wisdom, generic adam is brutish, a tyrant (Prov. 30:2-2; cf. Ps. 73:22); with God and his revelation, adam is humane, crowned with dignity and honor.
In other words,…
Scot McKnight on Heaven and Hell
"I believe in heaven. I believe in heaven because Jesus did and I hope to believe in heaven as Jesus did. I believe in heaven because I believe in justice, in peace, and in love. I believe in heaven, in part, because of the apostles and the saints and the Reformers and Harriet Beecher Stowe and C.S. Lewis and Dorothy Sayers and Mother Teresa and the children in Rwanda.
I don’t, however, believe “heaven” is forever and ever. I believe that what is forever and ever is called the New Heavens and the New Earth, the time and place where heaven comes down to earth. The New Heavens and New Earth will be the fullness of flourishing.
But belief in the New…
Toward a Kingdom Vision in the Classroom (Guest Post by Scot McKnight)
Scot McKnight is a recognized authority on the New Testament, early Christianity, and the historical Jesus. He is the Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies at North Park University (Chicago, Illinois). The author of numerous books, including the award-winning The Jesus Creed, Scot is the author of One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow (Zondervan, 2010). He is presently researching the meaning “gospel” in the earliest Christian communities.
A student approached me after class and asked me if I had any “extra” copies of One.Life: Jesus Calls, We Follow. She said she and her friends wanted to use it in a Bible study they were doing. I asked them why they wanted to use One.Life and she said, “Because if it’s like your Jesus class, we want to talk about that stuff more than we can in class.”
A professor friend told me that she was using the book with her students for spiritual formation because she explained to me that her students no longer saw spiritual formation as simply praying and reading the Bible but as doing “deeds of mercy.”
Thoughts on Egypt and prophecies in Isaiah 19 by Walt Kaiser
Recently I was asked by a friend who leads a BSF (Bible Study Fellowship) class to offer my thoughts on the recent activities in Egypt, and to comment specifically on Isaiah 19, which the class was studying. Here's what I told the class. What do you think?
Yes, I believe the Isaiah 19 passage is most relevant. Verses 16 to 25 place the coming events “in that day” six times (vss 16, 18, 19, 21, 23, and 24). Since the prophecies to the foreign nations are bounded by chapter on the first advent of Christ (Isa 7-12) and the second advent of Christ (24-27), chapters 13-23 fall between those two end pieces in position and apparently in time as well. That is why I also stress the eschatological phrase “In that day.”