Women in the Bible: What We Learn from the Book of Luke
Opponents of Christianity will often suggest that the Bible has a low view of women. It’s a patriarchal book with a patriarchal worldview. In many cases though, Scripture reveals that while that may have been true of ancient Judaism (like many other ancient cultures), God–and Jesus–honored women in profound and meaningful ways.
In his online course, A Theology of Luke and Acts, Darrell L. Bock examines the numerous passages portraying women in the Gospel of Luke. The following post is based on his course.
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What Benefit Do You Receive from Your Giving? (Philippians 4:17) — Mondays with Mounce 337
(You can watch this blog post on YouTube.) One of the fundamental lessons everyone who does word studies needs to understand is that words have a range of meaning. When students memorize Greek vocabulary, we have to give them the basic meaning (or meanings) of the word, but it is a mistake to think that the most common use of a word is somehow its “literal” meaning.
σάρχ does not mean “flesh”; it means many things. One of its “glosses” may be “flesh,” but the word means so much more than just “flesh.”
So whether you are in a church learning Greek for your Bible study, or a first year Greek student, at some point you will need to make the transition from glosses to a full definition of a word and understand how to use context to…
What Does Justification Mean? 7 Things You Need to Know
When we reflect on the meaning of salvation—and on our piety, mission, and life together—our thought necessarily engages the doctrine of justification. But what does justification mean? In many ways, this question has always sat at the heart of the Christian faith. However, at various junctures in the church’s history the question has taken on greater urgency—and debate. We live in such a time.
Michael Horton explores the meaning of justification in a key chapter of his new book Justification, Volume 2, one half of the new two-volume theological project on justification (also including Volume 1).
This post overviews seven of the many insights Horton unearths about the meaning of justification in chapter seven of Justification, Volume 2, where Horton outlines the historical, lexical, exegetical, and theological contours…
Greek Students Should Do Two Translations (Matthew 13:11) — Mondays with Mounce 336
(Note: you can watch this blog post on YouTube.) In first year Greek we historically do just one wooden, word for word translation. This way the teacher knows that the student knows the tense of the verb or case of the noun. The problem is that the students leave first year class thinking that word for word is acceptable English and is the most accurate translation method, neither of which is accurate.
Take Matthew 13:11 for example. “And (δὲ) answering he said to them (ἀποκριθεὶς εἶπεν), ‘because (ὅτι) to you it has been given (δέδοται) to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven (οὐρανῶν), but to them it has not been given (δέδοται).’”
But translating δέ in this context is redundant. In v 10 the disciples asked a question, and v 11 is his answer. No connective…
How Much Should We Ask of Our Students? (Mark 12:28) — Mondays with Mounce 332
I am thinking quite a bit these days about sequencing, and how different biblical Greek is from English, which then raises interesting problems for the translator. I am also wondering more about how students should be translating in their first year of Greek.
Look at the series of participles in the Greatest Command (Mark 12:28).
προσελθὼν εἷς τῶν γραμματέων ἀκούσας αὐτῶν συζητούντων, ἰδὼν ὅτι καλῶς ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν· ποία ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη πάντων;
The basic sentence structure is εἷς ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν. “One (of the scribes) asked him.” As a side note, my friend Dan Wallace told me that he prefers his students to find the verb–subject–direct object, especially in a complicated sentence, and then see where the rest of the words fit in relation to that structure. This is instead of just going word for word. A good idea.
When Is Then, Then? (Matthew 27:38) – Mondays with Mounce 330
The longer I work in Greek, the more curious I am about conjunctions, and the more I am concerned about how we teach glosses.
Take τότε for example. BDAG give two meanings using the gloss “then.” It can mean “at that time,” which conveys no idea of sequence. It can also mean “then” in the sense of “that which follows in time.” The problem of course is that if you translate with the simple gloss “then,” we hear it as sequential.
Coupled with this is how English hears a series of events. Even without conjunctions, we default to hearing them as sequential. This happened, then that happened.
The sequencing of events around Jesus’ trial illustrates the issue. There is a series of events introduced with τότε, with καί, and with aorist and present participles. I can’t do it here, but…
Jesus’ Possible Play on Judas’ Words – Mondays with Mounce 329
When Jesus says that one of the disciples will betray him, Judas responds, μήτι ἐγώ εἰμι (Matt 26:25). μήτι shows that he expected to answer “no,” and since μήτι is more emphatic than μή (see BDAG), I would argue that translations must include the expected response.
Most do, usually with “surely.” “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?” (NIV, also CSB, NET).
Unfortunately, the ESV and surprisingly the NLT undertranslate at this point. “Is it I, Rabbi?” (ESV). ““Rabbi, am I the one?” (NLT). Judas was not only a traitor; he was also a liar. The translation should bring that out.
Jesus responds, σὺ εἶπας. I find myself wondering about his answer. Translations do something like, “You have said so” (NIV, ESV). I find myself wondering if Jesus isn’t saying something a little more specific, even if the other disciples would…
The Reformation’s Influence on How We Got Our Bible
The accessibility of the Bible in most of the world’s major languages can obscure a dramatic and sometimes unexpected story: how we got the world’s bestselling book.
In Know How We Got Our Bible, scholars Ryan Reeves and Charles Hill trace the history of the Bible from its beginnings to the present day, highlighting key figures and demonstrating overall the reliability of Scripture.
This story they tell about the Bible is an important one. As series editor Justin Holcomb explains:
The Bible is the most significant and influential book in the world because it is the Word of God. The Bible tells us who God is and who we are. Ultimately the Bible is about how God created and is redeeming the world through Jesus Christ… The Bible therefore…
What Is a “Divided Tongue”? (Acts 2:3) – Mondays with Mounce 328
I am not sure why there are so many differences among the translations on Acts 2:3, but it is fun to think through the options.
The order of the words in the Greek is a little confusing; but if you think grammatically, translation is not that difficult.
The basic structure of the verse is γλῶσσαι … ὤφθησαν … καὶ ἐκάθισεν. The tongues appeared and sat.
Add in αὐτοῖς: γλῶσσαι ὤφθησαν αὐτοῖς. The tongues appeared to them, meaning, they saw the tongues.
There are two modifiers of γλῶσσαι. They were “divided” (διαμεριζόμεναι) and they where “like fire” (ὡσεὶ πυρὸς).
After the tongues of fire split, they settled over each person present (ἐφ᾿ ἕνα ἕκαστον αὐτῶν).
καὶ ὤφθησαν αὐτοῖς διαμεριζόμεναι γλῶσσαι ὡσεὶ πυρὸς καὶ ἐκάθισεν ἐφ᾿ ἕνα ἕκαστον αὐτῶν.
Several translations speak of…
What Does This Prepositional Phrase Modify? (Acts 14:1) – Mondays with Mounce 327
Prepositional phrases are generally adverbial, but certainly not always. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell what they modify.
Take Acts 14:1 for example. Paul and Barnabas have just been run out of Pisidian Antioch and have entered Iconium. The NIV reads, “At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual (κατὰ τὸ αὐτὸ) into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed.”
The Greek is, ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν Ἰκονίῳ κατὰ τὸ αὐτὸ εἰσελθεῖν ⸀αὐτοὺς εἰς τὴν συναγωγὴν τῶν Ἰουδαίων. So what does κατὰ τὸ αὐτὸ modify?
I thought the NIV was pretty straightforward. “According to the same” is adverbial, the point being that it was their custom to first go to the synagogue…
Did the Disciples Have Any Faith in Jesus? (Mark 4:38) – Mondays with Mounce 326
I have had a great summer off from my daily routines and have been busy on some major writing projects. They will be announced at this year’s ETS annual meeting (2018). You’ll like them.
But during the summer, Robin (my wife) and I were listening to some sermons from an excellent preacher. I want to emphasize that he is really good. But even really good exegetical preachers can make mistakes, and his mistake, as subtle as it was, should serve as a reminder that we should always check the Greek before we preach.
I have no doubt that this preacher knows the Greek rule I am going to share with you, but I don’t think he checked the Greek this time.
Jesus is out on the sea with his disciples, the storm comes up, and the disciples wake up Jesus…
How to Read the Gospel of Mark in the Context of Second Temple Judaism
The Gospel of Mark is widely considered the earliest and most influential narrative of the ministry and passion of Jesus Christ. Although undervalued for centuries, Mark’s Gospel is now celebrated as a cleverly crafted ancient biography, emphasizing action, irony, and intrigue over more direct and discursive modes of theologizing.
Yet not all readings of Mark are equally illuminating or transformative.
Over the last several decades, the Jewishness of Jesus has been at the forefront of scholarship and students of the New Testament are more than ever aware of the importance of understanding Jesus and the Gospels in their Jewish context. Reading Mark in Context (edited by Ben Blackwell, John Goodrich,…