this could be a good resource for some people!!

Biblical Reasoning

David Reimer (New College, University of Edinburgh) sent me a link to a website with the entire Tanak read in audio to help prepare for my MTh in Biblical Studies.

I have found this website helpful for my pronunciation and to quickly work through large chunks of text. I added the link to the Resource page on the blog for quick access.

You can access the audio Tanak by clicking here.

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on selling seminary text books


John Byron posts about this and I agree with him when he writes: 

I remember hearing a saying about pastors many years ago. It went something like this: “You can tell when someone graduated from seminary by looking at when the most recent book on their shelf was published.” In other words, too many pastors stop reading when they finish seminary. Perhaps some sold all of their books.  I wonder where they will go when they need to look up a question. Do they look up anything? Do they have any questions? …… I would ask them to think before they sell all of their books. They just might need them again someday.
note too, he is not talking about college textbooks, he is talking about SEMINARY text books, the books pastors and teachers will need in ministry… now, maybe because things are moving into the digital age ther may be a reason to get rid of SOME of your books, but whatever you do, unless you have an exact digital copy, don’t get rid of them.  You will need them!  

Allen Bevere pitches in on this and has good advice for pastoral search committees: 
If I were a parishioner interviewing a pastor as a potential candidate to shepherd my congregation, one of the questions I would ask is “What books have you read in the last year?” I dare say the answer more often than not would be quite disappointing.
Imagine that?  You are being interviewed for a pastorate and one of the interview questions is “what books have you read in the last year?”  If you don’t read (and sadly too many pastors don’t) what will you tell them if you gave them all away?  
Bevere goes on: 
Yes, there are certainly pastors who continue the life of study throughout their years in the parish. But I fear that there are all too many whose pursuit of the truth stopped once they received that seminary diploma at graduation. Yes, they may read a few things here or there, but they are more interested in spending the evenings watching reality TV than continuing to grapple with the great theological truths of our faith. Some may think that indictment is too harsh, but my experience tells me that it is on target.
I think we in the dominant nations do not realize what a gift it is to have such information readily available. There are pastors in the dependent countries who would jump at such an opportunity at seminary education and the resources it affords.
When I have traveled to Cuba to teach pastors there, they are itching to learn and grow. I remember on one occasion, I was teaching theology to a group of about forty Methodist pastors. I would stop occasionally at certain points in my lecture to see if there were any questions. After about the third time that I paused, one pastor responded, “We have no questions. We have never heard any of this before. Please continue.”
Allen also brings up a great point here.  IF and only IF you have to get rid of them.  Why not “give” them to needy Bible colleges.schools around the world that desperately need good resources, especially study resources like dictionaries and commentaries and such? 
Anyways, like Allen says, I think those who readily part with their books have no idea what they are doing or why?  Well, most of them anyways….
I had to throw my books away… because of a toxic mold problem that we encountered in our home at the Grand Canyon.  I did it to protect my family, but it was the hardest thing I have EVER done and it hurt.  It still does.  Many of them will never be replaced or repurchased.  It was indeed a sad sad day.  what I wouldn’t give to have them back or have the ones in the photos in the linked posts…. 

Larry Hurtado on Romans 9-11

Larry Hurtado has a blog post where he responds to an article in the Expository Times by NT Wright on a review of Pauline scholarship as of late.   Here is his own summary of how he view Romans 9-11:

I’ve re-read his essay on Romans 9–11 several times now, and my copy is heavily marked with indications of my puzzlement and disappointment at numerous points. I will simply say that I remain of the view that in Romans 9–11 Paul’s protracted and repeated concern is the fate of his people, fellow Jews, in light of his firm conviction that Jesus has been made now the one source of salvation, and the large-scale rejection of the Gospel by his people. For Paul, it seems to me, the issue boils down to this: If his ancestral people have simply gone into a ditch permanently, then “the word of God has failed” (Rom 9:6), and/or God has abandoned his people (11:1) to whom he made promises. And if God can be so defeated by Jewish unbelief in the Gospel, or can turn from his promises to Jewish ancestors, then God’s character and redemptive power are under suspicion.

I admit I have not set my mind on how I see this passage and at this point I like Hurtado’s take on it….

Quote of the Day on Renewal

Great statement from Amos Yong:

Maybe one of the main reasons why we are not experiencing renewal is because we are really not ready to appear as drunks before a watching world. We have too much status to keep up, too much acceptance to compromise, too much respect to preserve. We have too many assumptions that get in the way. We have too many achievements to protect. After all of our hard work ofbuilding up the church, why would we now want to turn things loose to aliens and strangers who don’t even speak our language, not to mention women, the poor, and those who are uneducated?
Maybe that is precisely why we need more drunkenness, although not as the world supposes. Rather, we need a fresh outpouring of the Spirit that can shake us free from our inhibitions and renew us and the world along with it. Even so, come Holy Spirit!

(HT: Andrew Lovins).

on commentary writing

Stanley Porter has written a scathing post on the quality of commentaries written on the book of Romans in the last 30+ years.  It not a pretty picture.

Here it is in part:

I recently reviewed about fifty commentaries on the book of Romans as part of a major writing project. I included commentaries from John Bengel’s of 1742 to the latest that I could get my hands on. I wanted to examine the state of play in commentary writing on Romans over most of the modern period. I eliminated the popular and “application-oriented” commentaries, and concentrated on those that present themselves as treatments of the text of Romans. If any book of the New Testament should bring out the best in commentary writing, Romans should be the one—and was I sadly disappointed.

No, I did not read through every commentary, but I concentrated on their introductions and especially Romans 5:1-11, a passage that I have written on many times and hence know something about. I wanted to see how up-to-date each commentary was for the time in which it was written (note this!), in the following areas: Greek language and linguistics, textual criticism, theology, literary and epistolary and rhetorical issues, audience concerns, and history of interpretation.

whew!!  Read more here.   Dave Black has a few words himself where he states:

7:16 AMGood for Stan Porter. He’s had the courage to say a few things about modern commentaries that others would never dare to mention. It’s time we stopped making excuses for repetition and mediocrity. If you’re going to say something, say something new and important. People don’t read commentaries critically nowadays it seems. No matter how shallow or mundane, we extol every new commentary that comes off the press. After all, how dare we criticize Dr. So-and-So’s latest work? We almost worship commentators, like we do war heroes. Just try criticizing U. S. Grant for messing up his early assignment in the Western Theater. Someone is likely to fire back, “How can you blame him? He was drunk at the time.” Porter is right. America has produced few really great commentaries in the past three decades. It’s a little presumptuous of publishers to fawn all over their latest works. Most of us who have reached middle age have discovered that there’s not much new under the sun. Today’s sensational new commentary is very much like the sensation of 30 years ago.

Like many I too must feel ashamed for my addiction to commentaries, or kool-aid or whatever.   I took years of biblical language studies in seminary, I should know better!  🙂  I mean, if you know how to study the Bible and can access the Greek and or the Hebrew, you could, in a sense, write your own commentary!   The problem is we are too busy to do all that ourselves and think we must have nothing less than an earned PhD in order to engage the Bible ourselves.  Nothing could be further from the truth!  Okay, so I might not put out as smart a commentary on Romans as say, Dogulas Moo did, but hey, I bet with some careful reading of the text and honest exegsis, with some background reading and thinking, you could do a half decent job yourself.

There is one key book many should consider though, if you feel too dependent on commentaries and that is one put out by none other than the late great Fredrick W. Danker known as Multipurpose Tools for Bible Study (Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2003). This book is simply a must have!


New NICNT work on Hebrews!

Yes, the time has come and the great dean of scholars F.F. Bruce’s work is being updated by none other than the great Gareth Lee Cockerill, professor of New Testament and Biblical Theology at Wesley Biblical Seminary, Jackson, Mississippi!!

The Epistle to the Hebrews (New International Commentary on the New Testament), Eerdmans, June, 2012; 768pgs.

This is the last edition of the NICNT set to be editied and approved by the renown Gordon D Fee, longtime editor of the series.

The kind folks at Eerdmans have interviewed Cockerill and today, part one was posted!  Here it is in part:

2. Why do you feel it’s time for an updated NICNT volume on Hebrews? (And what does it feel like to walk a mile in the literary shoes of the late F. F. Bruce?)

The Epistle to the Hebrews (NICNT)The Epistle to the Hebrews (NICNT)
(Click to order.)

I was just beginning my doctoral program when I had the opportunity to stand in the lunch line next to F. F. Bruce. It was in 1973, at the twenty-fifth annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. Professor Bruce asked me what I was working on.  I said that I was doing my dissertation on Hebrews 7:1-25. He told me that he had just had a student (Bruce Demarest) complete a dissertation on the history of the interpretation of that chapter. One of my doctoral exams was on this very subject! When I had that conversation with Professor Bruce, I never dreamed that I would have the honor of producing the commentary on Hebrews that would replace his classic volume in the NICNT. I am humbled by the privilege that has been given me.

In our initial discussions, Gordon Fee, the NICNT editor, asked me to justify replacing Bruce. I told him that scholarship had made significant advances in understanding ancient rhetoric, in analyzing the structure of Hebrews, particularly through discourse analysis, and in studying the intertextuality of the New Testament’s use of the Old. In writing this commentary I have been true to these original arguments. This new volume shows how the author has structured Hebrews and arranged his argument to have maximum rhetorical effect on his hearers. I have attempted to interpret each passage in relation to this larger picture and to show the importance of each for the whole. I have also presented a fresh analysis of Hebrews’ use of the Old Testament that emphasizes continuity and fulfillment rather than continuity and discontinuity, the view adopted by many. By my exposition of the text I attempt to demonstrate how Hebrews’ use of the Old Testament can inform our own interpretation.

Looks like it is going to be a pretty important contribution to the study of the Book of Hebrews!  Part two is coming up later so he

The Holy Spirit in Mission

J.P. Moreland has posted a two part interview done by Joe Gorra with Gary Tyra on his new book The Holy Spirit in Mission: Prophetic Speech and Action in Christian Witness (IVP, 2012).  They are good interviews!

Here is a key part of the interview I found interesting:

In the Introduction, you speak to “the need for a new pneumatology” (14ff). Specifically, what is that need? How is (for lack of a better descriptor) the “old pneumatology” incomplete?As I’ve suggested, as an evangelical I’m much committed to the authority of Scripture and the need for all spiritual experiences to be evaluated on the basis of the sacred text. On the other hand, as a missional Pentecostal I am acutely aware of the possibility of, and need for, fresh, ongoing experiences of Spirit-empowerment that enable a missional faithfulness.

Over the years I’ve become more and more convinced that even though both evangelicalism and Pentecostalism have in common a commitment to mission and devotion to the Bible, what has been missing is a pneumatology that, because its focus is on mission rather than boundary-marking and boundary-reinforcing pneumatological doctrines, has the power to unite rather than divide evangelicals of all stripes. It is this kind of pneumatology I have attempted to put forward in this book.

Sadly this is the truth!  We have allowed our insistence on adherence to Pentecostal distinctives to hinder us in getting on with the mission of the church which is the mission of God.

You should read the rest of the interviews!  Part One & Part Two

Happy Earth Day 2012!

Happy Earth Day all! So grateful for the proclamation of Genesis 1:1!!

בְּרֵאשִׁ֖ית בָּרָ֣א אֱלֹהִ֑ים אֵ֥ת הַשָּׁמַ֖יִם וְאֵ֥ת הָאָֽרֶץ׃ 

In the beginning GOD created the heavens and the earth!

May we all be joyful adherents to GOD’s command in Genesis 1:28

And God blessed them. And God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth and subdue it, and have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”

in ways that honor God and bring flourishing to all!

see also Brian LePort’s good thoughts on Earth Day!

you can also watch an interview with the original founder of Earth day John McConnell.