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Archive for the ‘new testament’ Category

This is a series of lectures titled “How Can We Trust the Bible?” delivered by Michael Kruger, president of Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte. If you follow this blog for any amount of time you might recognized the name of this scholar for we have shared other resources from him before.  For instance see Four Lectures on the Canon by Michael J. Kruger (Free MP3s!) and Video: Michael Kruger on What It Means That the Bible Is Self-Authenticating.

This particular lecture series was presented at Christ Community Church Wilmington.

It consists of 3 lectures and 2 Q&A.

Check it out below:

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Benjamin Reaoch. Women, Slaves, and the Gender Debate : a Complementarian Response to the Redemptive-Movement Hermeneutic.  Phillipsburg, NJ: Presbyterian and Reformed Publishing, August 17th 2012. 193 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Westminster Amazon

Christian theologian John Frame once said that “The discussion of the man-woman relationship has greatly intensified since the 1970s.”  I think Frame is right.  Much discussion has been ongoing and many books have been written on the topic.  Different movements have also arise over the decades.  One such movement focuses more on the hermeneutics of how we approach the Scriptures and how we interpret passages concerning the relationship of man and woman.  It is called the redemptive-movement with William Webb being the notable leader of the group.  While different people affiliated with this movement may differ in some of their conclusion nevertheless we can safely say that their hermeneutics lead them to the conclusion of egalitarianism.  This is a book length critique of the movement from a Complementarian perspective.

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Jon C. Laansma and Randall X. Gauthier. The Handy Guide to Difficult and Irregular Greek Verbs: AIDS for Readers of the Greek New Testament.  Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, September 26th 2017. 80 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

In my opinion one of the best thing I got from my education in seminary was picking up the original languages of the Scriptures; other places such as the church might be better to prepare for other skillset for those entering the ministry but for most people the languages is probably the most helpful thing one can get in seminary that isn’t as easy to learn “on the job” or through self-study alone.  However it is a skill that can easily be lost if one doesn’t engage in expository preaching or work with the biblical languages in other ways.  It is with this perspective that I appreciate this new resource from Kregel Academic titled The Handy Guide to Difficult and Irregular Greek Verbs: AIDS for Readers of the Greek New Testament.

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A few days an old man died.  An old man who was in his 90s who was born in the 1920s.  The world noticed.  His name was Hugh Hefner; just saying his name most people would know who he was and what he stood for.

This same month another man also died.  He too was a man born in the 1920s.  Most people in the world would not know who he was or what he was about.  His name was Robert Thomas, a New Testament scholar and professor who for decades taught Greek, heremeneutics, exegesis and New Testament theology.

Two men so close in age yet two men who were worlds apart.

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A weekend nonfiction review!  Cause even ministers need breaks from heavy theological reading!

Tom Standage.  Writing on the Wall.  New York, NY: Bloomsbury USA, October 15th 2013. 288 pp.

5 out of 5

Purchase: Amazon

This was a fascinating book on social media.  As the subtitle states this book is on the first two thousand years of social media.  You might be scratching your head like I did at first with the idea of social media having been around for the last two millennium but I think the author Tom Standage made a good point that social media has been around for some time though it might not look like the social media we have today. We must not confuse our idea of social media that is based upon technologies such as the internet, websites and high speed connection with the social media that has been existent in the past.

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On the one hand I appreciate that atheist and skeptic Bart Ehrman has written a book that argues for the historical existence of Jesus.  On the other hand the book is not without its problems.

Here are all our posts that exposes the fallacious reasoning in Ehrman’s book.

Bart Ehrman On Critics’ Alleged Mutually Exclusive Claims

Bart Ehrman’s Schizophrenic Misrepresentation of Fundamentalists’ view of Inspiration and Bible’s Historicity

Bart Ehrman’s Fallacious Argument from Silence in his book, “Did Jesus Exist?”

Bart Ehrman’s Claim: Jews didn’t deny other gods’ existence?

Bart Ehrman Questioning the Historicity of Jesus’ Triumphant Entry Part 1

Bart Ehrman Questioning the Historicity of Jesus’ Triumphant Entry Part 2

 

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Note: If your pastor prepares his sermon from the Greek New Testament and you want a recommendation of what to get him for Christmas, I recommend this work.

a-syntax-guide-for-readers-of-the-greek-new-testament

Charles Lee Irons. A Syntax Guide for Readers of the Greek New Testament.  Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, July 27th 2016.  608 pp.

This is a great work for reference for preachers and students of the Greek New Testament.  The book examines the Greek New Testament text at the level of syntactical observations and when appropriate several possible interpretations.  The author Charles Lee Irons wrote this work with the intent of going beyond merely parsing Greek verbs and declining Greek nouns but at the stage of interpretation involving phrases, clauses and sentences.  This work is helpful for those who want a single volume providing this kind of observation from the Greek text.  Why is this important?  As Irons wrote in the introduction, “Analysis of syntax often entails making judgments about the various uses of a certain grammatical form, giving rise to a particular meaning in that context” (9).

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Summer-Institute-2016-Banner

 

Want to go into the Bible deeper?  Or perhaps you want to have a better survey of the New Testament?

Professor Keith Essex has taught on the Bible for decades and taught for Grace Life London Summer Institute in 2014 a ten session series that surveys the New Testament.

The ten part videos follows below.

Bookmark this.  Share this.  Be edified by this.

Enjoy!

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summer-road-trip

I love summer.  I think of vacations, road trips and travel.  And also the possibility of listening to some audio books!

Most of the titles in the following lists of audiobooks that I reviewed were what I listened to on my travels earlier this year to a particular country to teach theology.  The travel there was rather long (more than the hours of most people’s typical workweek!) and not necessarily all easy and I spent more time enroute there more than the actual time I spent on the ground in that country.  So I got to read a lot and also listened to a lot of of audiobooks as a break from my normal reading.  The following are my suggestions.  Not all the books are written by Christians and some are books that by God’s common grace can be insightful to human nature and history.

First recommendation of course is the Word of God itself!

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Want to proceed beyond Greek Grammar and into Greek exegesis?

Here’s Dr. Farnell’s lectures on Greek Exegesis.

For Pastors who have taken Greek and want to refresh your Greek this is also helpful.

There’s 14 videos in total.

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This work is a classic!

The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross

Leon Morris. The Apostolic Preaching of the Cross.  Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Publishing, September, 1965. 318 pp.

Many years ago I remember hearing Don Carson mentioned this book in passing during a conference with a local chapter of The Gospel Coalition.  The sermon by Carson really blessed me and I couldn’t forget the book he mentioned since I wondered what treasure I would find if I were to read it myself.  It took me nearly a decade to finally purchased this book but I finally did it: I bought it, read it and was exceptionally blessed by it.

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From the Maccabees to the Mishnah

Shaye J.D. Cohen.  From the Maccabees to the Mishnah (Third Edition).
Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2014. 328 pp.

This book covers the history of the Second Temple period that began with the rise of the Maccabees around 160 BC to the destruction of the Temple in 70 and a bit beyond.  As the author noted in the beginning of the book this was a time of a diverse group of sects, groups and social/cultural dynamic within Judaism and interaction with those on the outside such as Hellenistic and Roman culture.  The author himself is not a Christian but a Jew though this book is published by the publishing arm of a mainline Protestant denomination (specifically the PCUSA); his perspective at times goes against what evangelical Christians would believe but it also goes against the very denomination of the publishers such as the authors preface protesting the PCUSA’s stance against Israel.  Yet this book has managed to be in print for decades and it is on its third edition.  In reading this book there were some great takeaways while there were also some parts of the book that raised some concerns.

Good:

  • The book convincingly made the argument that the Jews tend to pursue the political stance of accommodation with Gentile rulers rather than rebellion with only four exceptional instances.
  • The author had a good discussion about the term Hellenistic Judaism because it is not as if there is a Judaism that was non-Hellenistic versus that which was Hellenistic during the Post-Persian period; rather the Hellenism of the Judaism of those period was one of degrees; Cohen sees the term better used as a chronological indicator of the religion after Alexander the Great.
  • Cohen shares with the reader that conversion to Judaism entail three elements: monotheism, circumcision and integration into the Jewish community.  He also note the distinction that a “Judaized” Gentile might not necessarily adopt all of the theology of Judaism since practice is more determinative than theology for most Jews during this era.
  • The discussion on the synagogue is excellent.  Second Temple Judaism supplemented the temple with the synagogue and the priest with scribes who were learned teachers.
  • The discussion about sects was also very insightful.  Cohen define sect as a small group which separate itself from the majority and sees itself as the sole group that understand God’s will.  Sectarian grounds in Judaism often clash on three points: the law, temple and interpretation of God’s Word.  He also caution that sectarianism is not the same thing as mere diversity.
  • This books gives a good introduction to the Talmud and other Jewish religious writing such as commentaries and paraphrase.
  • The end of the book had a helpful “Further reading” section in which the author introduces to the reader scholarly editions of primary sources and also important secondary sources.  These are helpful pointers for further study!

Problems:

  • There is an interesting secular/sacred, faith/fact divide that the author assumes that colors his perspective.  For instance on location 261 the author does not think history can answer the question of whether or not Christianity is the fulfillment of the Old Testament.  Why not? If Christianity is a religion with historical claims and the Old Testament also makes future historical claims the authors claim is problematic.
  • In location 3509 Cohen claims divine origin isn’t necessary for biblical status which to me is hard to prove.
  • The author takes a liberal dating of the bible that reflect the perspective of the historical critical perspective.  For instance in location 1804 Cohen assumes Ecclesiastes was a product of the Hellenistic period rather than Solomonic in origins.  Cohen also assume the existence of more than one Isaiah.  Moments like these in the book took away from the books strength.
  • The chapter on the Canon is the most disagreeable chaper of the book for me.  I suppose if there is any value in it, it is a concise summary of a liberal perspective on the Canon.

Conclusion

I do recommend this book but also caution it be read with Christian discernment and maturity.

NOTE: This book was provided to me free by Westminster John Knox Press and Net Galley without any obligation for a positive review. All opinions offered above are mine unless otherwise stated or implied.

Purchase: Amazon

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ananiasandsapphirabiblestory1

There was some discussion on a friend’s blog responding to a nonbeliever’s assertion that Acts 5 demonstrate that the early Christians were Communists.  Acts 5:1-16 is the passage concerning Ananias and Sapphira.

I’ve reproduced my comment here with slight editorial change:

I think the fact that Acts 5 still acknowledged private property does not sit well with a Marxist reading of Acts 5.  Specifically, the Apostle Peter in verse four affirmed the right of private property when he asked Ananias: “While it remained unsold, did it not remain your own? And after it was sold, was it not [b]under your control?”

I would also add that the communal passages such as the one you mentioned here in Acts 5 and also Acts 2:44-45 must also be interpreted in the light of the larger flow of the book of Acts.
We must remember that Acts 1:8 is the “controlling” verse for the direction of the book of Acts. Acts 1:8 is the command Jesus gave the disciples: “but you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you; and you shall be My witnesses both in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and even to the remotest part of the earth.” Note there is an emphasis by Jesus that the Gospel is to go outward that comport with Matthew 28:19-20 (what is commonly called the Great Commission).
It seems in light of Acts 1:8 that this gathering of an internal community sharing things in common is not the thing that Jesus or Acts want to stress as normative for the Christian, but it ought to be one of reaching out. In fact it took God bringing a persecution in Acts 8:1-5 that the Acts 1:8 plan gets unfolded (I think my interpretation is justified, note the echoes of Acts 1:8 in Acts 8:1-5 with the term “Jerusalem,” “Judea” and especially the multiple reference to “Samaria.” This point must not be missed).
Acts 8 onwards is more closer to us in terms of the Christian church era and I think Acts 2-7 with the believers gathering together fits in a specific context of Redemptive History in that it was the early Post-Pentecost age when believers from around the world was still getting to know the Gospel more deeply before eventually going back “home” to all the different parts of the Roman empire (see Acts 2 again) and beyond.

I think to pull these passages as supporting Communism does not take into account the immediate context within Acts 5 nor does it take into account the context of the uniqueness of the event in Redemptive History.  In other words, the case for communism from Acts 2 and 5 fail.

In my next post on Wednesday I will address the issue of the term communism, Marxism and the Soviet State.

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James White

The video below is a debate between James White and Bart Ehrman on the topic “Does the Bible Misquote Jesus?”

The debate originally took place on January 21, 2009 at Ft. Lauderdale, Florida and was sponsored by American Vision but the video of it on Youtube was just recently made available for free for viewing online.  We appreciate American Vision and Alpha Omega’s ministries’ generosity in blessing God’s people!

Enjoy the debate by two capable scholar.

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d a carson

Last year (2013) I begun reading books by New Testament Professor Don Carson.  Thus far I’m enjoying his works and I plan to read more books and article by him.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that he has taught on the issue of New Perspective on Paul.  Here is a video of his lecture, it’s about three hours long:

 

 

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