Zondervan Mourns the Death of Verlyn D. Verbrugge, Editor, Writer, Pastor, and New Testament Scholar

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Verlyn Verbrugge

Verlyn D. Verbrugge, longtime Zondervan editor, teaching pastor, author, and New Testament scholar, died on June 21, 2015 following a six-month battle with pancreatic cancer. He was 72 years old.

His death serves as a deep loss to family, friends, and publishing colleagues; the academic community, especially those working in the areas of New Testament studies and Biblical Greek; and the Christian church at large, including the numerous pastors and leaders around the world whose lives and Bible knowledge he shaped.

Since June 1986, Verlyn (or V2 as colleagues fondly called him) has served as one of Zondervan’s principal production editors for Bibles and academic resources in biblical and theological studies. His versatility, however, extended far beyond the academic publishing arena. Verlyn effortlessly traversed between scholarly and popular landscapes, serving as a trusted editor for both church/ministry resources and popular…

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3 Ways the Gospel Reoriented a 1st-Century ISIS Leader: Race, Patriarchy, Class

Jeremy Bouma on 3 years ago. Tagged under ,,,,,,.

Malestrom by Carolyn Custis James

The images have been chilling and all too common: Masked figures staring into the camera in the desert or at sea-side locations before beheading Christians.

What if one of them wanted to talk with you about a dream he had where a man said, ‘You are killing my people’?

That’s what happened to a Middle East YWAM worker. He was introduced to an ISIS fighter who had killed many Christians and wanted to follow Jesus after dreaming of a man in white.

Sound familiar?

Like Saul of Tarsus, Muslims gripped by the malestrom are being radically transformed because of their encounters with Jesus. According to Carolyn Custis James, author of Malestrom, this makes perfect sense: “Jesus’ gospel has a subversive power to reach behind enemy lines, draw men to Jesus, and…

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Extracurricular Activities 2.28.15 — Diversity, the Church and Utopia, & Rural Churches

Jeremy Bouma on 4 years ago. Tagged under ,,,.


Michael Bird Explores Paula Fredrikson’s Arguments on Paul and Justification

In the latest issue of JBL is an article by Paula Fredriksen on “Paul’s Letter to the Romans, the Ten Commandments, and Pagan ‘Justification by faith,’” JBL 133.4 (2014): 801-7.

Fredriksen attempts to understand “justification by faith” beyond its usual theological discourse and identify the meaning of the phrase in its original social context. Her starting point is Josephus, Ant. 18.116-19 with John the Baptist’s preaching of “piety” and “righteousness” which correspond to the two tables of the Ten Commandments: commands 1-5 (piety toward God) and commands 6-10 (justice towards others).

Al Mohler Explores Human Diversity and the Biblical Worldview (Part 1)

A prominent question many worldviews and metanarratives are now wrestling with is the question of human diversity. Diversity is a fact that cannot be denied. The insularity…

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Philippians with Lynn Cohick 5 — The Most Challenging Idea in Philippians is a “Tall Order!”

Jeremy Bouma on 4 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

That’s how professor Lynn Cohick describes Paul’s most challenging idea in her new Philippians commentary (Story of God Bible Commentary series) Now which idea might be that “tall order”? Paul’s admonition to “conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel”? (Phil 1:27) What about “Do everything without grumbling or arguing”? (Phil 2:14) Perhaps his challenge to be “content whatever the circumstances”? (Phil 4:11) What do you think is the most challenging idea in Philippians? For Cohick, it’s the issue of unity.

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Developments in My Field of Study — Douglas Campbell Offers 3: 1970’s Literature, Humanities Voices, Western Incarceration

Jeremy Bouma on 5 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

9780310326953Last week we here at Koinonia Blog launched an exciting new series called Developments in My Field of Study. Michael Bird headlined our all-star line-up with a look at what's trending in New Testament studies, providing a glimpse into its current scholarly state.

Today we offer another prophetic voice, Douglas Campbell's, professor at Duke Divinity and contributor to Four Views on the Apostle Paul. In the video below he offers a fascinating look at 3 developments within the field of Pauline studies:

  1. Unanswered questions from 1970's major Pauline studies
  2. Insights from contemporary humanities voices
  3. Engagement with Western and ancient incarceration issues.

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Wednesday Giveaway — Lynn H. Cohick’s New “Philippians” Commentary (SGBC Series)

Jeremy Bouma on 5 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

UPDATED 10/25/13: Congratulations to Kathy, Ron Boyer, Timothy G Harris, Wayne Moore, and Rhonaldo Ghenova for winning this weeks giveaway. Thanks to everyone else for participating and sharing your favorite section from this important letter!

9780310327240If you've been following Koinonia the past few weeks you know that Zondervan Academics has launched a new exciting commentary series, The Story of God Bible Commentary, beginning with two inaugural titles: The Sermon on the Mount by Scot McKnight and Philippians by Lynn H. Cohick.

Last Tuesday Cohick helped us understand what we would miss if Paul never wrote his important letter to the Church at Philippi. Then on Thursday we read an excerpt from her…

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What is the Key to Unlocking Paul’s Theology? An Excerpt from “Paul and Union with Christ”

Jeremy Bouma on 5 years ago. Tagged under ,,.


If you missed it, earlier in the week we posted a short video on Con Campbell's book Paul and Union with Christ. The book itself is a thorough treatment of what James Dunn and others call one of Paul's central theological themes: union with Christ.

But rather than conceiving of this important concept as the center of a wheel—where all other ideas emanate like spokes—Campbell images it as a key to discerning the web of Paul's interconnecting, interdependent ideas; "a key provides access to something that is missing in order to make sense of the whole." (439)

The excerpt below further explains this intriguing, insightful description of arguably the key theological motif that helps unlock Paul's whole theology:

We observed…that the theme of…

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Key Influences on Con Campbell’s Research for His Book “Paul and Union with Christ”

Jeremy Bouma on 5 years ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310329053Constantine R. Campbell's new Paul and Union with Christ is one of the most thorough treatments of one of Paul's most important, yet obtuse subjects I have seen.

As Campbell explains, "The theme of union with Christ in the writings of the apostle Paul is at once dazzling and perplexing. Its prevelance on every page of his writings demonstrates his proclivity for the concept, and yet nowhere does he directly explain what he means."

Hence this important book. And in it he engages two central concerns of Paul's scheme: what union with Christ actually is and what role it performs in Paul's theology. The manner in which he engages them is through both exegesis and theology, an unusual…

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An Introduction By Michael Bird to the “Four Views on the Apostle Paul”

Jeremy Bouma on 5 years ago. Tagged under ,.

9780310326953When I entered my MDiv program back in August, 2007, a fellow student friend of mine introduced me to a facinating conversation that had been boiling unbeknownced to me for decades: the New Perspective on Paul.

Back then I wish I would have had a helpful book edited by Michael F. Bird to help me navigate this important conversation, called Four Views on the Apostle Paul.

The excerpt below from Bird's introduction should paint for you a good picture of the delightful engagment you'll find inside:

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Wednesday Giveaway – 4 Views on the Apostle Paul

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"I have become all things to all people so that by all possible means I might save some. I do all this for the sake of the gospel, that I may share in its blessings." -1 Cor. 9:22b-23

UPDATE 8/9/13: The winner of this giveaway is Mike K. Thanks to everyone else for joining the discussion!

The Apostle Paul. Few individuals have influenced the Christian church as much as Paul. Of course, his letters contain some things that are "hard to understand" (2 Pet. 3:15), and we may come away with different perspectives on these topics:

What did Paul think about salvation? What was Paul's view of the significance of Christ? What is the best framework for describing Paul's theological perspective? What was Paul's vision for the churches?


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Beaches, Bikinis, and the Body of Christ
by Lynn Cohick

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No, this is not a blog advocating (or decrying) beach evangelism, the butt of many (sometimes well deserved) jokes. This is much more serious, it is musings on what it means to be embodied as believers in Jesus. This past week my sister-in-law was on a panel discussing body image among young women. The epidemic of anorexia and bulimia, the evidence of which is displayed on YouTube and Facebook, reminded me yet again of the need for Christians to affirm our faith in the resurrection of the body.

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Pay to Play: Discussing Paul’s Roman Citizenship
by Lynn Cohick

ZA Blog on 10 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

"Pay to Play" has become a catch-phrase in the Chicago-land area where I live. Our governor has been impeached by the State House after charges were leveled that he offered to ‘sell’ the Senate seat vacated by President-elect Barack Obama to the most lucrative bid. It reminded me of another story, this one in Acts 22:24-9, where a Roman commander reveals to Paul that he paid to play – in the high stakes world of Roman citizenship. Paul rejoins that he did not have to pay, for he was born a Roman citizen. Though a minority of scholars argue that Paul’s Roman citizenship is not historical, most conclude for solid reasons that Luke accurately reflects Paul’s situation. Conversations generally revolve around how Paul’s father might have come to be a Roman citizen, thus making his son a citizen as well.

373px-Apostle_Paul_on_St_Isaac_cathedral_%28SPb%29 But the situation is more complex. In the Roman Empire at this time, licit marriage was granted only to a couple in which each held Roman citizenship. All other combinations of marriage partners, where neither or only one held Roman citizenship, were deemed illicit. It must be stressed that this label bore no moral stigma, it merely reflected social status. In a licit marriage, the father’s status was given to his children. In all other marriages, such as between those who were foreigners or between those who were born free but not citizens, the child took the mother’s social status. This would include, then, all Jews and other ethnic minorities who lived around the Roman Empire. They married and had children, but those children, according to the legal system of the Romans, took their mother’s social status of either free or slave, and citizen or non-citizen. Obviously, if the mother was a slave, there could not have been a marriage in any legal sense; her children would be the property of her owner. Even if she was granted freedom, the children remained with the owner. Thus to accommodate Paul’s claims that he was born a Roman citizen, his mother, if she was enslaved, would have been granted freedom before Paul was born.

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