Zondervan’s NIVAC commentaries on Sale!

Apparently Zondervan is running sale on the commentaires in the NIVAC set!  $4.99 on the Kindle! Check it:

Keener’s Revelation commentary

Gary Burge’s John commentary

Doug Moo’s work on Romans!

Walton’s work in Genesis!

Block’s work in Deuteronomy !

Looks like the whole set is on sale! Get em while you can! lol! 🙂

passage of the day: John 3:16-21

This really is such an amazing passage, there is so much here to take in:

John 3:16-21:

For God so loved the world that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who believes in him may not perish but may have eternal life. Indeed, God did not send the Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him. Those who believe in him are not condemned; but those who do not believe are condemned already, because they have not believed in the name of the only Son of God. And this is the judgment, that the light has come into the world, and people loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil. For all who do evil hate the light and do not come to the light, so that their deeds may not be exposed. But those who do what is true come to the light, so that it may be clearly seen that their deeds have been done in God.

While I think there can be a few different ways to go with this passage, I like to look at it from the perspective of the missio dei.  I think it has much to contribute to how we know and understand the mission of God.  In fact, I like to look at a lot of the Bible as a whole in the light of salvation history and missio dei.  I don’t own the book but I know Howard Marshall in his NT Theology talks about how New Testament Theology is missionary theology.   I think he is exactly right!  And I think the whole thrust of John’s letters is missional through and through.  Sure there is Christology and other issues but I would say the overall theme of the book is a missional one – it is seen in God giving his only Son, that everyone who believes in his name may not perish but have eternal life.  

What is the missional focus?  God so loved the world he gave his one and only Son.  He sent him not to condemn, but to save.

I think the missional focus of the Fourth Gospel can be supported by the Letters of John.  First John tells us, 

1 John 4:9 God’s love was revealed among us in this way: God sent his only Son into the world so that we might live through him.

1 John 4:10 In this is love, not that we loved God but that he loved us and sent his Son to be the atoning sacrifice for our sins.

1 John 4:14 And we have seen and do testify that the Father has sent his Son as the Savior of the world.

So i think there is strong support for the missional elements of John (and I am sure the rest of the Gospels too).  It amazes me really.  Hebrews 3:1, too calls Jesus “the apostle and high priest of our confession.”   An Apostle is a missionary, one sent on the behalf of another to accomplish some purpose.  In the case of Jesus is was not to condemn the world, but to save it and see that all have a chance at eternal life.
This missional focus of John I think should be reflected in the mission of the church – that we go out not to condemn but to save.  Those who listen and believe on the name of his one and only son, they shall have eternal life and condemnation will not be on them.  To those who chose not to listen, they will be condemned already, and why?  This is the judgement, the verdict… Jesus has come into the world and those who like that will be drawn to him.  Those who don’t will resist and run to the darkness.
Would those who try to resist eventually be overcome because “light wins?”  Light always wins out over the darkness.  Jesus and his mission will be accomplished because like leven in the dough, the light will spread and the darkness will be overcome by the light (Christ).
Lots of interesting possibilities there!  It’s wonderful really.  🙂


Help a Brother Out??

I am part of the WTS blogger program and they are about to make huge changes real soon.

I got the following note from them today:

Dear Brian,

Please find below your report for March 2013:

March 2013 Referrals: 21
Roll-Over Referrals: 433
Total Balance: 454

At 500, they give the certificate.  Unlike my more prodigious bloggers who get WTS certificates every time they come out, mine has been a LONG TIME in coming!

Sooo, I was wondering if you all would mind helping me out?  I just need, it looks like 50 more clicks on this LINK right here or on the following which are some books I am thinking of getting because of your graciousness (favor) towards me in helping me out:

David Peterson’s Engaging with God: A Biblical Theology of Worship.

Craig Keener’s two volume commentary on The Gospel of John.

Ramsey Michael’s commentary on The Gospel of John in the NICNT set.

Richard Bauckham’s The Bible and Mission: Christian Witness in a Postmodern World.

To name a few.

So, could you help a brother out?  🙂  50 clicks is all I need, I think.

Awesome!  Thanks so much in advance!  Blessings,

on the local church

Dave Black presents some challenging convictions we all need to think about: 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

5:05 AM At the risk of repeating myself …  

  • I am convinced that the house church rather than the sanctuary church was the New Testament norm.

  • I am convinced of the normalcy of tent-making leadership.

  • I am convinced that the church exists in part to equip all of its members for ministry.

  • I am convinced that the leadership of the church should be shared for the health of the congregation.

  • I am convinced that top-down structures of leadership are unquestionably more efficient. Efficient in doing almost everything other than equipping, which is the primary task of leadership.

  • I am convinced that the process of appointing new elders is best done on the basis of recognizing who is already serving as an elder in the church.

  • I am convinced that any local church that takes seriously Jesus as the Senior Pastor will not permit one man to become the titular head of the church.

  • I am convinced that the essential qualifications for ministry in the church have little or nothing to do with formal education and everything to do with spiritual maturity.

  • I am convinced that the church is a multi-generational family, and hence one of the things that makes the church the church is the presence of children, parents, and other adults.

  • I am convinced that because every local church has all the spiritual gifts it needs to be complete in Christ, believers should be exposed to the full expression of the charisms (grace-gifts) when they gather, in contrast to specialized ministries that center around singularly gifted people.

  • I am convinced that the local church is the scriptural locus for growing to maturity in Christ, and that no other training agency is absolutely needed.

  • I am convinced that the local church ought to be the best Bible school going.

  • I am convinced that Paul’s letters were not intended to be studied by ordinands (a candidate for ordination) in a theological college but were intended to be read and studied in the midst of the noisy life of the church.

  • I am convinced that the church is a theocracy directly under its Head (Jesus Christ), and that the will of the Head is not mediated through various levels of church government but comes directly to all His subjects.

  • I am convinced that the goal of leadership is not to make people dependent upon its leaders but dependent upon the Head.

  • I am convinced that since all believers are “joints” in the body, ministry is every believer’s task.

  • I am convinced that pastor-teachers, as precious gifts of Christ to His church, are to tend the flock of God by both personal care and biblical instruction, equipping God’s people for works of service both in the church and in the world.

  • I am convinced that the role of pastor-teacher is a settled ministry in a local congregation.

  • I am convinced that leaders should communicate that every part of the body is interrelated to the other parts and indispensable; every member will be appreciated, every charism will be treasured.

  • I am convinced that the whole church, the community of all the saints together, is the clergy appointed by God for ministry.

  • I am convinced that everyone needs to be equipped for his or her own ministry both in the church and in the world. If the church is to become what God intended it to be, it must become a ministerium of all who have placed their faith in Christ. The whole people of God must be transformed into a ministering people. Nothing short of this will restore the church to its proper role in the kingdom of God.

Think about it.

It’s a lot to think about and to be honest, over the last couple years I have been becoming convinced of many of the same points as well.

What about you?

Dave Black’s Greek 23 (a Psalm)

This is Great!  

Greek 23

A Psalm of David (Black)

My textbook is my guide, I am never in need.

It makes me learn the conjugations.

It leads me beside the declensions.

It restores my confidence in grammar.

It guides me along the paths of exegesis

For its publisher’s sake.

Even though I face the scourge of participles

I will fear no evil,

For you are with me.

Your appendices and charts,

They comfort me.

You prepare an answer for me in the presence of my teachers.

You anoint my mind with wisdom.

My soul bursts with pleasure.

Surely my textbook will follow me

All the days of my life,

And I will remain a Greek student forever.


13 truths about NT Greek (and Hebrew)

from Dave Black’s blog:

1:36 PM The Reader’s Digest once published an article called “13 Things Used Car Salesmen Won’t Tell You.” Well, here are “13 Things Your Greek Teachers Won’t Tell You.”

1. Greek is not the only tool you need to interpret your New Testament. In fact, it’s only one component in a panoply of a myriad of tools. Get Greek, but don’t stop there.

2. Greek is not the Open Sesame of biblical interpretation. All it does is limit your options. It tells you what’s possible, then the context and other factors kick in to disambiguate the text.

3. Greek is not superior to other languages in the world. Don’t believe it when you are told that Greek is more logical than, say, Hebrew. Not true.

4. Greek did not have to be the language in which God inscripturated New Testament revelation. Truth be told, there’s only one reason why the New Testament was written in Greek and not in another language (say, Latin), and that is a man named Alexander the Great, whose vision was to conquer the inhabited world and then unite it through a process known as Hellenization. To a large degree he succeeded, and therefore the use of Greek as the common lingua franca throughout the Mediterranean world in the first century AD should come as no surprise to us today. I emphasize this point only because there are some today who would seek to resurrect the notion of “Holy Ghost” Greek. Their view is, in my view, a demonstrable cul-de-sac.

5. Greek words do not have one meaning. Yet how many times do we hear in a sermon, “The word in the Greek means…”? Most Greek words are polysemous, that is, they have many possible meanings, only one of which is its semantic contribution to any passage in which it occurs. (In case you were wondering: Reading all of the meanings of a Greek word into any particular passage in which it occurs is called “illegitimate totality transfer” by linguists.)

6. Greek is not difficult to learn. I’ll say it again: Greek is not difficult to learn. I like to tell my students, “Greek is an easy language; it’s us Greek teachers who get in the way.” The point is that anyone can learn Greek, even a poorly-educated surfer from Hawaii. If I can master Greek, anyone can.

7. Greek can be acquired through any number of means, including most beginning textbooks. Yes, I prefer to use my own Learn to Read New Testament Greek in my classes, but mine is not the only good textbook out there. When I was in California I taught in an institution that required all of its Greek teachers to use the same textbook for beginning Greek. I adamantly opposed that policy. I feel very strongly that teachers should have the right to use whichever textbook they prefer. Thankfully, the year I left California to move to North Carolina that policy was reversed, and now teachers can select their own beginning grammars. (By the way, the textbook that had been required was mine.)

8. Greek students think they can get away with falling behind in their studies. Folks, you can’t. I tell my students that it’s almost impossible to catch up if you get behind even one chapter in our textbook. Language study requires discipline and time management skills perhaps more than any other course of study in school.

9. Greek is fun. At least when it’s taught in a fun way.

10. Greek is good for more than word studies. In fact, in the past few years I’ve embarked on a crusade to get my students to move away from word-bound exegesis. When I was in seminary I was taught little more than how to do word studies from the Greek. Hence, I thought I had “used Greek in ministry” if I had consulted my Wuest, Robertson, Kittle, Brown, Vincent, or Vines. Since then I’ve discovered that lexical analysis is the handmaiden and not the queen of New Testament exegesis. Greek enables us to see how a text is structured, how it includes rhetorical devices, how syntactical constructions are often hermeneutical keys, etc.

11. Greek can cause you to lose your faith. It happened to one famous New Testament professor in the US when he discovered that there were textual variants in his Greek New Testament, and it can happen to you. When the text of Scripture becomes nothing more than “another analyzable datum of linguistic interpretation” then it loses its power as the Word of God. That’s why I’m so excited about my Greek students at the seminary, most of whom are eager to place their considerable learning at the feet of Jesus in humble service to His upside-down kingdom.

12. Greek can be learned in an informal setting. The truth is that you do not need to take a formal class in this subject or in any subject for that matter. I know gobs of homeschoolers who are using my grammar in self-study, many of whom are also using myGreek DVDs in the process. If anyone wants to join the club, let me know and I will send you, gratis, a pronunciation CD and a handout called “Additional Exercises.”

13. Greek is not Greek. In other words, Modern Greek and Koine Greek are two quite different languages. So don’t expect to be able to order a burrito in Athens just because you’ve had me for first year Greek. On the other hand, once you have mastered Koine Greek it is fairly easy to work backwards (and learn Classical Greek) and forwards (and learn Modern Greek).

Okay, I’m done. And yes, I’m exaggerating. Many Greek teachers do in fact tell their students these things. May their tribe increase.

Now who wants to tackle “13 Things Your Hebrew Teachers Won’t Tell You”?

(From Dave Black Online. David Alan Black is the author of Energion titles Christian Archy,The Jesus Paradigm,  Why Four Gospels? and  Will You Join the Cause of Global Missions?. Used by permission.)

Go here too to read Henry’s reflection on it all.  I can relate!

Quote of the Day: On getting a PhD

I know I post a lot on here about how it could be good for pastors of churches to think about getting a PhD or for PhD’s who haven’t been able to get into teaching just yet, to work the pastoral ministry.   Well, the following quote, believe it or not, is quite pastoral, and really could even be said of the MDiv, and I think in a lot of cases even the “pastoral ministry itself.”  Consider:

If you can imagine yourself doing anything else besides a PhD, then go do that.

Yup, there it is folks!  The most pastoral advice one can receive regarding academic or vocational work.  It’s true.  As Dr. Treier avers, PhD’s are time consuming labor intensive plain old-fashioned HARD WORK.  As it should be.  If there is something else you can do and find great joy and fulfillment in doing, go do that.  🙂   This is not to say if you are in a program now that you should stop or any such thing.  By all means, pursue thy calling with all thine heart!  It’s just that for those in the consideration – “let those who have ears to hear, hear.”

The rest of what he has to say is quite good too:

The job market suggests that in most fields evangelicals in particular do not need more applicants; we need a few better-prepared ones. The church, meanwhile, quite likely needs more intelligent and intellectually-curious pastoral staff members. Let the one who has ears, hear.

This is good too:

Having said that, I had a seminary professor tell me that I was not well cut out for pastoral ministry in certain respects, whereas “if you don’t go into the academy, you’re wasting your gifts.” If a professor tells you that, then again let the one who has ears, hear [no professor told me that] –although, in the most recent job market, the words are less and less likely to be spoken [indeed].

Perhaps the bottom line is to ask your potential recommenders to be really honest with you before they simply agree to write reference letters. You need to give them the freedom to do this, because–speaking from experience–it is not easy to tell someone with a heart set on a PhD that they’re probably not cut out for it. But you need someone to care for you enough to be as honest and helpful as they can.

This may even go go so far as to suggest that even if you do have the aptitude and gifting, that doesn’t necessarily mean you are to pursue the PhD.   Asks those who you know who have the COURAGE to be brutally honest (and with a loving interest in your personal best interest and personal, mental, emotional, spiritual well-being) with you.  They will let you know.

Nothing wrong with getting the PhD.  Like Marc Cortez says, just do it with your eyes wide open (and I say with your chin up).