Thursday, February 21, 2008

Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament

Jeff, the Scripture Zealot, has a great page extolling this terrific new resource co-edited by Don Carson and Greg Beale. I'm still reading Beale's wonderful book The Temple and the Church's Mission, and have read many of Carson's output over the years, particularly appreciating his Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God.

I've only been surveying this commentary so far, and have noticed that the contributors have each used different methods of giving us their information, but that all have been asked to address these issues:
(1) attention to the NT context of the citation or allusion; (2) attention to the OT context of the citation or allusion; (3) attention to the use of the OT passage in the literature of Second Temple Judaism; (4) attention to textual factors—is the NT passage citing the Hebrew, the Greek translation of the Hebrew, or the Aramaic translation of the Hebrew or could the author be citing from memory?; (5) attention to the way in which the OT quotation or allusion is intended to function; and (6) attention to the theological contribution the NT author uses the OT text to make. To this point, all this may sound rather bookish, but the utility of this volume is not limited to the groves of academe.
(This summary is from James Hamilton's review at 9marks.orgJames Hamilton's review

I particularly appreciate the way Andreas Kostenberger has set out his contribution on John. (My wife would probably be amused by that, because she tells me that I love lists and books of lists.) I do like the way he has given us some tables of the Old Testament quotes and allusions.

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

Evangelism and Conversion

I've just read two helpful articles from Christianity Today, Mark Dever's What Evangelism Isn't which is excerpted and adapted from his The Gospel and Personal Evangelism and an older, longer article by John Stackhouse,What Conversion is and is not.

Both are well worth your time. You will notice Stackhouse translates METANOIA as "conversion." It means "repentance." Related, but distinct, I think.
Happy New Year, folks.

David McKay

Monday, December 31, 2007

Bible reading project progress

Over the past few years, I have enjoyed reading through several different versions of the Bible, including
Today's New International Version [TNIV]
The NIV Archaeological Study Bible
The ESV Reformation Study Bible
The New Living Translation, 2nd edition
I am currently about 60% of the way through the Good News Translation, Australian Edition.

It has been a great joy to read each of these. I've found all of them helpful, and often wonder why some people can say such amazingly unhelpful and uninformed things about various versions of the Bible.
But I am looking forward to completing the Good News Translation [which is not a misnomer; I think Zondervan has recently changed its title from Good News Bible to Good News Translation], and reading through The Books of the Bible: a presentation of Todays New International Version.

This Bible removes verses, chapters and headings, places the footnotes at the end of each book as endnotes, and even rearranges the order of the books, partly chronologically and partly by author.
You will find that the first books of The First Testament are in the order you are used to, but that the books of Samuel and Kings have been restored to the original form of one book, not four.
But then The First Testament begins to follow the format of the Hebrew Bible to some degree, by having a section devoted to the prophets [but ordered mainly chronologically, not by book size]and finally a section of poetry, plus Chronicles-Ezra-Nehemiah [restored to a single book] and ending with Daniel, an apocalyptic work.
The New Testament begins with Luke-Acts as one book in two volumes, then has Paul's letters in chronological order, three books written to Jews, Matthew, Hebrews and James, Mark grouped with Peter's letters, and then John's gospel and letters and finally ending, like the First Testament, with Revelation, an apocalyptic book.
I'm finding it easier to read from this Bible when it is my turn to read in church [once I've found my place, as it only has verse locations at the bottom of each page].
The paragraphing is very well done, and I especially like the way it has been arranged in Ephesians 5:21-33. Despite the accusations about the TNIV, this arrangement is so obviously complementarian, I think.
The arrangement of this Bible is greatly superior to our current setup, but I wonder if it will catch on? I'm hopeful that it will, or else that it will encourage others to experiment with the order of the presentation of the books.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

Through the Bible, Through the Year

Firstly, I must point out that the title is a misnomer, because the book will give you an overview of the Bible, but there is about one verse per day at the head of each page, with interesting comments by Stott and a Bible passage for further reading cited at the bottom of the page.
Even if you were to read all of the verses cited at the page end, you would have read only a tiny snippet of the Bible's 1189 chapters. But you would have a fair overview of its contents, nonetheless.
Stott's comments are very helpful and nearly always interesting. My wife and I are using the book for daily reading, having read through a good proportion of the New Testament and Psalms over the past few years.
If you follow the author's advice, you will be reading about Christmas and the significiance of the incarnation of Jesus around Christmas time and reading about Christ's trial, suffering, death, burial and resurrection around Easter, and getting an overview of the rest of the Bible at other times.
I think the book will only be worthwhile if you do read the suggested additional reading as the main Bible reading and then read Dr Stott's comments. With this caveat, I am happy to recommend the book as a good daily devotional over the course of a year.
The link reveals that there are shops accessed via Amazon that can sell you this book for $USD4.99 plus postage! My copy was $AUD25!

1001 Classical Recordings You Must Hear Before You Die

This was my Christmas present from my darling wife. I admit, I did drop hints! It is arranged chronologically from Carmina Burana in the Twelfth Century to Julian Anderson's 2004 Book of Hours.
I notice that I have a lot to learn about the early and late stuff: haven't heard of half of these works!
The book gives articles about specific works, information on the composers and recommended recordings.
It is interesting to see where a particular work fits in history and in a composer's output and what others were writing at the same time.
And I've always liked a nice book of lists: ask Joan!

I was amused by an advertisement for this book and the companion CD set being followed by a recording of Rimsky-Korsakov's Scheherazade. Maybe that work should now be renamed A Thousand and One Stories To Hear Before I Die!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Tom Schreiner

I think Tom Schreiner is a great blessing to the church. We are fortunate that God has gifted him and that he is using these gifts for God's glory.

I have enjoyed his Commentary on Romans, his Pauline Theology, his book on Paul and the Law and especially the book he co-wrote with Ardel Caneday, The Race Set Before Us.

I have also enjoyed his Commentary on Peter's Epistles and Jude.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Music for Relationship Strain?

In reading through Remarriage After Divorce In Today's Church, I was taken by Gordon Wenham's interesting comment about action churches should engage in to help people understand the bible's teaching about divorce and remarriage:
In my experience, evangelical worship tends to be almost entirely praise oriented. But if one looks at the Psalms, the most common category is laments, psalms in which the worshipper pours out his complaint to God and prays for help and healing.
In our congregations there are many who come to worship bearing great pain in their souls, and they need the opportunity to express their woes to God. If the way is not clear for them to do so, they will feel even more excluded and cut off from their fellow worshippers and from God.

I'm enjoying this book, and so far have especially enjoyed Mark Strauss' excellent pastoral introduction and concluding comments, and Gordon Wenham's interesting suggestions for churches which believe they have been too permissive on this issue in the past.

Highly recommended.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

The Letter to the Hebrews

I have been busy reading and re-reading Hebrews, because I love it, because I'm trying to memorise it, and because I will be preaching on it at our church for two weeks while our minister takes a well-earned holiday.

I'm now in Hebrews 7 in my memorisation, and am listening to Don Carson's Hebrews talks from the 2002 John Bunyan Conference. If I can squeeze it in, I would also like to listen to Professor Carson's talks on The Use of the Old Testament in Hebrews. You can find these talks and download them for a very cheap price at Christwaymedia.

I hope to speak on The Superiority of Jesus in Hebrews 1:1-2:4 and on Becoming a Mature Christian from Hebrews 5:7-6:20. After choosing these topics and passages, I was interested to see what Raymond Brown says in his introduction to Hebrews in his Bible Speaks Today exposition, Christ Above All. [Raymond Brown, the former principal of Spurgeon College, not Raymond Brown, the eminent Roman Catholic commentator.]
The letter appeals to severely tested believers, some of whom have been physically assaulted, had their homes plundered, been cast into prison and been exposed to fierce persecution, to keep their faith firmly anchored to the moorings of truth, to maintain their steady confidence in Christ and to press on to mature Christian stability.

The author encourages these folk to persevere, to keep going, to take hold of the hope set before them, but before he does this, he firstly tells them to look, not to themselves for inward strength, not to their contemporaries, but to Christ. No believer can cope with adversity unless Christ fills his horizons, sharpens his priorities and dominates his experience.
Please note that the above is a slight rearrangement of Brown's words and not a direct quote.
Brown shows that the writer begins with an exposition of Christ as prophet [1:1-2], priest [1:3] and king [1:8-14]. He sees the book's message as gathered around two themes:
Revelation: the word of God
Redemption: the work of Christ.
The word of God dominates chapters 1-6 and 11-13, whereas the work of Christ has priority of place in the central section, chapters 7-10.
Brown has another way of putting this, which is
a. What God has said to us through human channels, and different historical contexts, and in Christ, God's greatest and final message to us

b. What Christ has done for us, by fulfilling and transcending and making obsolete the priesthood and sacrifices of the Old Testament.