Gundry’s new Commentary on the NT

I think will be well worth considering in study of the New Testament – Robert H. Gundry’s Commentary on the New Testament (Baker Academic, 2010).

Here is a description:

Verse-by-verse explanations with a literal translation Shouldn’t a Bible commentary clarify what God’s Word actually says? Going beyond questions of authorship, date, sources, and historicity, respected linguist and teacher Gundry offers a one-volume exposition of the New Testament that focuses on what is most useful for preaching, teaching, and individual study–what the biblical text really means. Providing interpretive observations in a “breezy” style that’s easy to read and adaptable for oral use in pulpit or classroom presentations, Gundry directs his book to an evangelical audience.

His crisp translation of the New Testament inserts various phrasings of passages in brackets, allowing for smooth transition from original text to alternative and contemporary readings. SAMPLE TEXT OF TRANSLATION JOHN’S PREDICTING A MORE POWERFUL BAPTIZER THAN HE (Mark 1:1-8) 1:1-3: The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, God’s Son, according as it’s written in Isaiah the prophet, “Behold, I’m sending my messenger before your face [= ahead of you], who’ll pave your way [= the road you’ll travel], [the messenger who is] the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Prepare the way of the Lord. Make his paths straight.'”

Pastors, Sunday school teachers, small-group leaders, and laypeople will welcome Gundry’s non-technical explanations and clarifications. And Bible students at all levels will appreciate his sparkling interpretations of the NT Scriptures. A trustworthy guide for anybody wanting to delve deeper into God’s Word. SAMPLE TEXT OF COMMENTS “Gospel” means “good news.” Jews would associate this good news with Isaiah 52:7. Non-Jews would think of the good news of an emperor’s accession to power, birthday, visit to a city, military victory, or bringing of prosperity to the empire. But Mark’s good news has to do with the salvation and victory brought by Jesus over evil in all its demonic and physical forms. “The gospel of Jesus Christ” therefore means “the gospel about Jesus Christ” and refers to a proclaimed message (“the voice of one crying out”), not a book (though because books like Mark’s contain that proclaimed message, the term came to refer to those books in the capitalized form of “Gospels” to distinguish them from the message, kept uncapitalized as “gospel”).

It comes in at 1100 pages so it is not a book to just read through but to be used as a reference and obviously it won’t be too exhaustive in its comments either since he is commenting on the whole NT – I know for some this might be considered useless or for the lay person but I might suggest otherwise – Gundry is a good scholar and he makes good contributions to biblical studies (especially with the Gospel of Mark).  I’ve read through his NT intro and know I would probably appreciate this larger work too.

HT: Charles Savelle

Good Interview with Luke Timothy Johnson

For those interested here is an interview with LTJ over at the Big Think website.

Interview with Professor Luke Timothy Johnson | Emory University | Big Think.

The interview is based off the question:

Your latest book indicates that creeds have been less unifying to Christians than their ways of practicing their faith.  Does this conflict with your earlier book in which you suggest that the content of our belief matters?

He takes 45 min to answer the question!  lol!  I love this guy!  🙂

HT: Ekaputra Tupamahu‘s facebook page.

communion as confession

Taking communion is an act of confession. It’s a confessional act. When we confess something we are agreeing to the veracity of something – a criminal signs a confession, a statement agreeing that he committed the crime – when we confess our sins and claim Christ as Lord we agree to our sinful state and need for God – this is essentially what we are doing when we take of the Lord’s supper. This confession is made on three levels – past, present, future.

In taking of the bread and wine, we confess to the past reality that the historical person of Jesus Christ of Nazareth came into this world to give his life as a ransom for many – we confess, or we agree to the fact that Jesus died on the cross for our sins to reconcile God and man – and that he rose again from the dead. Taking communion confesses this reality.

In the present sense, our taking of the meal confesses our desperate need for God – we recognize that we are “sinners in need of a savior” There is some overlap with past and present because in taking communion, in the past and present sense, we recognize we need deliverance from our sin and that placing faith in Christ is the means of our deliverance – the Lord’s supper is a memorial of another historical event – the Exodus. Exodus accounts the deliverance of Israel from slavery to the Egyptians. To bring about their deliverance, the Lord instituted the Passover Meal in which the people were to sacrifice a lamb without blemish and put the blood on the top and the sides of the door post so the angel of death would “passover” their homes and not take their firstborn. Fast forward to Christ and we see the Exodus as a type of what Christ was to do on the cross – hence what is referred to as the second exodus. The first was a physical deliverance, the second, a spiritual one. In taking communion we are confessing to our need for spiritual deliverance from sin.

Finally, in the future sense, our taking of the fellowship meal has an anticipatory element to it – we anticipate the day when we will take of the vine together with the Lord Jesus in his eternal kingdom and the marriage supper of the lamb. At the last supper, on the night he was betrayed, Jesus told his disciples he would not take of the vine again until we are all together in his Father’s kingdom – so in taking communion we are anticipating that day when we will all be together with the Lord in his eternal kingdom.

Taking communion is a confessional act – in so doing we are confessing to the reality of the cross of Christ, our need for God – and our hope of celebrating the meal with Christ in his eternal Kingdom.

picture used by permission: