5 Disputed Books in the Old Testament
The church hasn’t always agreed on the value of certain canonized books. Martin Luther famously wanted Hebrews, James, Jude and Revelation removed from the Christian canon. He believed they undermined Christian doctrines of sola fide (by faith alone) and sola gratia (by grace alone).
When it comes to the Old Testament, there have been some disputes about specific books that the Hebrew religious community had already accepted as authoritative. These books presented specific interpretive, theological, and contextual challenges.
The issue of disputed books is addressed in our Old Testament Survey course, and we’ve adapted the course material for the following article.
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Who Were the Minor Prophets?
The Minor Prophets is a collection of twelve Old Testament books, known simply as “the Twelve” or “the Book of the Twelve” in the Hebrew Bible. The title “minor” refers to length, not significance. Roughly in chronological order, each of these short books gives a glimpse into the spiritual landscape and history of Israel, challenging the status quo through prophets called to speak on God’s behalf.
But who were these people?
In their Old Testament Survey online course, Andrew Hill and John Walton provide a scholarly overview of the entire Old Testament, answering questions like this along the way. The following post is adapted from their unit on the Minor Prophets.
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NIV Application Commentary Sale: $4.99 eBooks for a Short Time
Save up to 83% on NIV Application Commentary eBooks right now: See the deals.
About NIV Application commentaries
NIV Application Commentaries are different because they help you complete the interpretive task. You will understand the Bible’s ancient message, but you will also see how that message speaks with authority and power, today, in your own context.
You’ll grow in your teaching, preaching, study, and personal Bible reading—because the NIV Application Commentaries help you get the full job done.
Who Wrote Ecclesiastes and What Does It Mean?
The book of Ecclesiastes presents a challenge to casual Bible readers and academics alike. The book’s theme and tone seem so contrary to the rest of Scripture. In fact, it’s one of the few books of the Old Testament that the early church debated not including in the Bible.
One of the biggest questions surrounding Ecclesiastes is in regards to its authorship. Who wrote Ecclesiastes—and what was he trying to communicate to us? That’s a question that professor John Walton tackles in his online course, Old Testament Survey. Let’s look at what Dr. Walton has to say about the origins, background, structure, and purpose of this interesting book.
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Reading Proverbs In the Context of the Old and New Testament
One of my seminary professors used to cheekily refer to common Christian devotional practices as our “daily bread crumb.” Meaning: we often take a verse or even part of a verse and spin out a comforting crumb of exhortation at the expense of the whole loaf of biblical bread—whether the surrounding pericope or greater.
Perhaps with no other place in Scripture do we do this than with Proverbs. Ryan O’Dowd offers an important reminder in his new commentary on Proverbs (Story of God Bible Commentary) when studying this book:
such casual study of individual proverbs can be shortsighted, both because it is apt to overlook the endless depth of each saying and also because the sayings take on a whole new life in the…
Is the Bible “Patriarchal”? Yes and No – An Excerpt from Gender Roles and the People of God
Patriarchy—literally, “the rule of the father,” from the Greek patriarkhēs—is any systemic structure in which men or the eldest male hold the power, particularly over women, typically within a household but also in broader society. It has been with us almost since the dawn of humanity.
But is it biblical?
Alice Mathews asks this question and more of this important topic in her new book Gender Roles and the People of God:
How are we to think about the role or place of a woman in a patriarchal system? What is this woman, created as the man’s helper, according to Genesis 2:18? Is she…merely “a loyal and suitable assistant” to a man? Is this what God intended us to learn from that text?…
Something to Brag About: Jeremiah 9:22-23 (Part 2: Adjectives, Gender, and Number) – Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields
This month’s post continues from last month. Please see the June 2017 post for an explanation of versification. As mentioned there, this post will follow Hebrew numbering with Hebrew texts and English numbering with English texts.
The Hebrew of 22b–d contains three adjectives, “wise … strong … rich” and three corresponding nouns, “wisdom … strength … riches.” The adjectives are functioning as nouns and refer to people identified by each quality. The nouns are impersonal and are things possessed by the people.
The careful reader of English versions notices some differences between the NIV and NASB in v. 23b–d: the NIV has “the wise … the strong … the rich” while the NASB reads “a wise man … the mighty man … a rich man.” The reader who is…
Five Intriguing Insights About Grace and the Old Testament
The language of grace so permeates the Bible and all traditions of Christian theology that to claim that salvation is by grace alone is, in itself, to claim very little at all (17).
So begins Grace Alone, Carl Trueman’s tour de force examining the doctrine of salvation as a gift of God.
He examines the development of this theme in the early church, through the Reformation, to the Protestant confessions that still shape the church in the present day. Trueman also explores the biblical means of receiving God’s grace—with a highly informative engagement of grace in the Old Testament.
Below we’ve highlighted some of his material to help you better understand what the Old Testament says about this doctrine, in order to help the church recover it in the face…
How to Apply the Bible to Your Life in Four Steps
One hallmark of biblical interpretation is the meant-means distinction: we need to determine what the Bible meant (to the original author and audience, in their context and culture) before understanding what it means (to us in our context and culture).
Authors William Klein, Craig Blomberg, and Robert Hubbard echo this hermeneutical rule in Introduction to Biblical Interpretation, Third Edition, a fully updated resource to help students unravel the mysteries of interpreting Scripture.
One of those mysteries is the means side of the equation: how to apply the Bible. The authors explain that “all applications must be consistent with the meaning of passages arrived at by means of…sound hermeneutical principles” (609). But how can one make the connection between what a passage meant, as determined…
Software Sale: Word Biblical Commentary Set — Save at Least $800 on WBC
Right now, the Word Biblical Commentary set is on sale at Logos, Accordance, Olive Tree, and WORDsearch software retailers.
If you act now, you will save at least $800. This is a very steep discount—you pay an average of just $6.56 per volume!
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How will the Word Biblical Commentary help you?
The WBC series will help you build deeper theological understanding from a solid base of biblical scholarship. Gain a thorough understanding of the Bible through historical, textual, linguistic, structural, and theological discoveries collected within the series—equipping you with balanced insight into the meaning of the biblical text.
Hermeneutics 101: Reasons, Challenges, and Benefits of Biblical Interpretation
Almost ten years ago I was introduced to hermeneutics by William Klein, Craig Blomberg, and Robert Hubbard in the first semester of my M.Div. program. Thanks to their sturdy textbook resource I got a goodly introduction to the important practice of biblical interpretation. Which is why I’m thrilled they’ve updated and revised it!
Now in its third edition, Introduction to Biblical Interpretation offers concise, logical, and practical guidelines for discovering the truth in God’s Word. With updates and revisions throughout that keep pace with current scholarship, this guide offers the best, most up-to-date information needed to interpret Scripture.
But how are we to learn what the Bible says? How do we…
Olive Tree Bible Software Sale: These Exegetical Commentaries Are for You, If…
Right now the Zondervan Exegetical Commentaries on the New Testament and Old Testament are steeply discounted (50% off) at Olive Tree Bible Software.
If you identify with one or more of these statements, this commentary series is for you:
you would like help interpreting the words of Scripture without getting bogged down in scholarly issues that seem irrelevant to the life of the church. you would like to see a visual representation (a graphical display) of the flow of thought in each passage. you would like expert guidance from solid evangelical scholars who set out to explain the meaning of the original text in the clearest way possible and to help you navigate through the main interpretive issues. you have taken Greek and would like a commentary that helps you apply what you have learned without assuming you are…