on using Greek in sermons

here is a great tip from Dave Black:

March 10, 2013 8:12 AM When preachers use Greek from the pulpit, should someone be required to interpret (see 1 Cor. 14:26-32)? A preacher, for example, might etymologize. “The Greek word here [name the word] is composed of two roots [name them in Greek], the first meaning ____ and the second meaning ____; hence the word means ______.” The problem is that these definitions often do not comport with actual New Testament usage. The preacher has committed the root fallacy, exposed so long ago by Don Carson and others (including moi). Here’s the problem: Who in the congregation is able to check the accuracy of remarks like that? This is where Paul’s teaching about tongues in 1 Corinthians might have an application. You will recall that Paul requires the one who speaks in a tongue to provide an interpretation at the same time. Or else someone else would have to be present who could show the value (or non-value) of its worth for the edification of the Body. In this way Paul sought to rob the tongues-speaker of the subterfuge and mystery inherent in “unknown tongues” without discouraging initiative of the right kind.

Maybe this is a good reason to always have a Q & A session after we preach/teach. I’m told that even the Golden-Mouthed orator Chrysostom allowed questions during his sermons.

Just a thought.

Indeed.  🙂

a thought on “grace”

I recently picked up a copy of Siegfried Schatzmann’s A Pauline Theology of Charismata (Hendrickson, 1987).  It is his PhD dissertation from SWBTS.  It’s a packed 103 pages of reading and highly technical reading on the use of “charismata” in Paul’s letters.  It’s a good work.   As well one should he starts out exploring the etymology of the concept and it is quite interesting.  Consider the following:  (sorry I am not able to access Greek fonts at this time so you will forgive the transliterations and keep reading?  Thx!  🙂 )

Xarismata is derived from the root word xaris.  Whereas the former is used sparingly, the latter occurs profusely both in secular Greek literature and in the NT.  Xaris, in the Pauline letters generally translated as “grace,” and xarismata, the unique NT term for “gift,” develop from the stem, xar-.  “Grace” is probably Paul’s most fundamental concept by which he expresses the event of salvation.  It is crucial to understand, therefore, that “grace” does not, for Paul, convey the notion of God’s disposition or attitude towards mankind but rather God’s gracious “act.”  Rudolf Bultmann appropriately summarizes the foundational character of xaris in Paul as “God’s eschatological deed.”  Paul’s Theology is this appropriately described as “charitocentric”; xaris denotes God’s “fundamental gift of salvation” to humanity.  By no means must this be construed to mean that Paul considered “grace” as God’s generous act in the past only.   Every cursory study of such passages as Rom 3:24, 5:15, and Eph 2:5,8, shows that grace, as God’s eschatological event in Christ, is experienced in the present and also transforms and characterizes existence in the present.  This understanding of xaris, then leads to its correlate, xarismata.  Yet, the further probing into the significance of the relatedness of these terms mus await the exegesis Rom 5:15, 16, and of 6:23.

This is interesting.  So often we talk about grace as God’s unmerited favor towards us, and probably this is true, but as seen in Schatzmann, it in fact refers to God’s act of salavation!

Yes, this is interesting.

on being a staff pastor

Rod Decker asserts the following:

I suspect that more seminarians these days are expecting and looking for a “staff position” (though it may have “pastor” in the title) rather than a pastoral ministry in which they will be preaching on a regular basis. That may be where some will function best, but I fear that many are underestimating what God could do through them in not aspiring to pastoral pulpit ministry. In most cases I would rather see a seminary graduate take a smaller church as “the pastor” rather than joining the staff of a large church. There is a place for “staff” roles, especially for those who may not have a solid local church background—perhaps having come to Christ during their university days and then come directly to seminary. Some of these staff positions may become life-long ministries (and that is legitimate in some cases); others may be for a few years to gain some experience. I would like to think, however, that these would be the exceptions rather than the usual pattern; unfortunately (I think) they have become the norm. A seminary grad will learn far more about ministry, about preaching, about the Bible and theology in two years of such ministry in the smaller church than they are likely to learn in twice that time as an assistant. Yes, they will make some mistakes—and learn from them. But hopefully their seminary training will have helped them avoid the worst missteps, and remember that seminary can never teach everything an aspiring pastor needs to know; it can never give them all the answers. But a good seminary program can give them the tools and teach them how to think and how to approach ministry. There is an excellent essay on this topic by Kevin Bauder, “It’s the Theology!” posted at <http://seminary.wcts1030.com/publications/Nick/Nick131.html&gt;.

I can say without hesitation, that this is true.  We learned a lot when we pastored at the Grand Canyon National Park (South Rim).  Sure, we made some mistakes but we learned from them and we moved on.  Rod isn’t knocking staff pastor positions, but I think more folk need to think about stepping out and taking thchurhces congregations, or planting them… That can be when can really take on all that is involved in the  pastoral vocation, especially the sacred talks of preaching, which is the topic of the article from which thesis quote is taken.

A Pauline Theology of Charismata

that is a book I learned about recently and picked up on Amazon… Siegfried S. Schatzmann’s A Pauline Theology of Charismata. It has Ben Aker’s name in it (my NT and Greek prof from AGTS) so I know it is going to be good!  🙂  (It is a bit dated though, 1987, so it would be nice to see an update).  As I see it, a solid theology of the Charismata is still pretty underdeveloped even today, let alone a good robust theology of the Holy Spirit though I know Levison has been making some headway with that.  🙂

do we really know the bible languages

by way of Rod Decker on this post, I came across this blog.  He has an interesting take on learning and knowing the Greek and in part made this assertion about seminary (or even Bible college) Greek classes and learning/reading Koine (NT) Greek:

Greek classes in seminary tend to reinforce dependency on English translations. Virtually every translation assignment Greek students receive comes from the New Testament, a text that most of the students have almost memorized already. Rather than teaching a true literacy of Greek, seminary Greek classes tend to create a hybrid literacy that relies upon established translations for meaning then supplements that knowledge with enough Greek proficiency so that students won’t miss anything important. However, an unintentional side effect of this hybrid literacy seems to be that students catch and emphasize details that the text does not.

At first my own response (or reaction?) is to say, it is true, there is one Grammar I know of that one major complaint is it uses Bible verses for the translations sentences straight away!  The philosophy is so that people can start reading the Bible in the Greek soon as possible (to maintain interest?)!  In many ways this is completely understandable, but I wonder if it ends up defeating the overall purpose of learning Koine?  I wonder this as He goes on to say:

Think about it. I just used an imperative. I wonder if the NT writers were really jumping up and down, waving their arms, and shouting “get this” every time they used an imperative. I wonder if obscure lexical connections sprung to the original recipients’ minds as they read Paul’s letters. I wonder if we really know Greek as well as we would like others to think.

I know one thing I really appreciated about learning Greek from Machen’s Grammar (this is more looking back now, but I think I caught on while going through it), was that I don’t think there was even a single Bible verse in any of the translation exercises (I don’t have the grammar anymore so I can’t check).  But I think it helped as it forced us to work the grammar for ourselves instead of as this blog poster talks about (he is unnamed because he is a missionary in a restricted country) – our knowledge of the Bible helps us fill in the gaps as we read the text.  Maybe the less we know of what we are reading the more we focus on what the text is saying, at least in our first year of learning the language?

What do you all think about this?

Greek and Hebrew Online

There is this pretty good and useful online Hebrew and Greek reader!!  Hey, if it helps use it!

Here is the “study” portion (Greek/Hebrew side-by-side with English).

Here is the “reader” portion (just the Greek or Hebrew text).

Soon they will also have flash cards!

It is a GOOD thing more online resources are available to help Christians learn and utilize the biblical languages!

But here is the deal Neal… you have to use them if you want them to be of any use to you.  It is a tool for you to grow both spiritually and ministerially.  I wonder if there are all too many folk out there who like having these sorts of apps or Bible programs on their computers as sort of a status quo it is the Christian thing to do but never actually use it.  As I see it, having access to things like this online Bible Web App, or Logos or Bible Works on your computer is like having a Bugatti Veyron Super Sport, the fastest car in the world, sitting in your driveway and the keys in the ignition…. and you just sitting there looking at it.  DUDE!! It is YOURS and all you do is just sit there and look at it, or go inside and close the door and just watch the TV?  No way! You get in it and you DRIVE IT!  You USE it!!  (if you don’t know how, you find a way!!).  It is the same with having access to the languages in your reading and study of the Bible, the VERY WORD OF GOD.  They ain’t gonna be of much benefit of ya don’t use them….

Be Blessed!

more on exegesis and translation

from Steve Runge’s book Discourse Grammar of the Greek New Testament: A Practical Introduction for Teaching and Exegesis (Hendrickson, 2010). In talking about the role of “de” and “ouv”as development markers, Runge writes:

So far, we have looked at how English uses adverbials such as “then” and “now” to mark new developments. Greek uses its rich set of connectives to mark development, resulting in a mismatch between the function of some conunctions in Greek and that of their English counterparts. The most commonly used development markers in the Greek NT are “de” and “ouv.”

Not only do the particles “de” and “ouv” serve as conjunctions, but also they serve as development markers in the discourse in ways comparable to temporal adverbs in English. This raises the question of how to best translate them. Should we translate “ouv” as “therefore,” “then,” or “now”? This quandary illustrates the problem of needing to express all grammatical information in translation. There may not be an easy translation solution. This is where exegesis and exposition come in. Even if we cannot capture everything in a single English word, we can still understand the function of the Greek word. We can understand what it signals in the discourse and find other ways of capturing or communicating its function.

I very much appreciate this comment and feel this is why it is really important everyone pick up this book and read it along with Wallace’s GGBB. It also highlights the importance of why second year Greek is needed. My second year Grrek prof Ben Aker told us about how in first year Greek one is a form chaser whereas in second year Greek one becomes a function chaser.

Words have more than meaning, they also have function and place within a given text. Knowing the function of words, phrases, and clauses, helps get at what is going on in the text under study. Good exegesis leads to better exposition and application of the text and good exegesis requires a working knowledge of these kinds of issues.

NT Greek text of the day

where is it?

3 ημεν γάρ ποτε καὶ ἡμεῖς ἀνόητοι, ἀπειθεῖς, πλανώμενοι, δουλεύοντες ἐπιθυμίαις καὶ ἡδοναῖς ποικίλαις, ἐν κακίᾳ καὶ φθόνῳ διάγοντες, στυγητοί, μισοῦντες ἀλλήλους. 4 ὅτε δὲ ἡ χρηστότης καὶ ἡ φιλανθρωπία ἐπεφάνη τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν θεοῦ, 5 οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων τῶν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ ἃ ἐποιήσαμεν ἡμεῖς ἀλλὰ κατὰ τὸ αὐτοῦ ἔλεος ἔσωσεν ἡμᾶς διὰ λουτροῦ παλιγγενεσίας καὶ ἀνακαινώσεως πνεύματος ἁγίου, 6 οὗ ἐξέχεεν ἐφ’ ἡμᾶς πλουσίως διὰ Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ τοῦ σωτῆρος ἡμῶν, 7 ἵνα δικαιωθέντες τῇ ἐκείνου χάριτι κληρονόμοι γενηθῶμεν κατ’ ἐλπίδα ζωῆς αἰωνίου. 8 Πιστὸς ὁ λόγος, καὶ περὶ τούτων βούλομαί σε διαβεβαιοῦσθαι, ἵνα φροντίζωσιν καλῶν ἔργων προΐστασθαι οἱ πεπιστευκότες θεῷ. ταῦτά ἐστιν καλὰ καὶ ὠφέλιμα τοῖς ἀνθρώποις:

Thoughts about it all?

Source of the Greek Script

got a couple books

thanks to those who buy stuff though the amazon links I put up.  I appreciate your willingness to do that.

So, one thing that is important to me is being able to exegete the Bible from the original languages, so far as I am able.  Because of this I get books that help me in this venture.  One that I got was:

Richard Erickson’s A Beginner’s Guide to New Testament Exegesis: Taking the Fear out of Critical Method (IVP Academic, 2005).  Here is a description:

Let’s face it. Just the word exegesis puts some of us on edge. We are excited about learning to interpret the Bible, but the thought of exegetical method evokes a chill. Some textbooks on exegesis do nothing to overcome these apprehensions. The language is dense. The concepts are hard. And the expectations are way too high. However, the skills that we need to learn are ones that a minister of the gospel will use every week. Exegesis provides the process for listening, for hearing the biblical text as if you were an ordinary intelligent person listening to a letter from Paul or a Gospel of Mark in first-century Corinth or Ephesus or Antioch. This book by Richard Erickson will help you learn this skill. Thoroughly accessible to students, it clearly introduces the essential methods of interpreting the New Testament, giving students a solid grasp of basic skills while encouraging practice and holding out manageable goals and expectations. Numerous helps and illustrations clarify, summarize and illuminate the principles. And a wealth of exercises tied to each chapter are available on the web. This is a book distinguished not so much by what it covers as by how: it removes the “fear factor” of exegesis. There are many guides to New Testament exegesis, but this one is the most accessible–and fun!

Perhaps it is a beginner edition, but given I had to toss a lot books a while ago, I needed to get some new ones and some beginner editions are worth having and this is one of those worth having.

The other one I got based off a recommendation from my friend and blogger Luke Geraty:

Gerald Mann’s Why does Jesus make me nervous?: Taking the Sermon on the Mount seriously (Word Books, 1980).   Don’t know much about it.  He like it, it was cheap, so I wanted to check it out.  🙂

Well, thanks again for going through my amazon links to get stuff.  I appreciate it.


BibleWorks 9 is officially out!

From the website:

  BibleWorks 9!
Now available! This brand-new version comes with even more to help you focus on the text.

What’s New?

Four Columns

You’ll immediately notice the addition of another column to the main window. With two columns devoted to Analysis content you can customize it to view your favorite two resources simultaneously.

The BibleWorks Manuscript Project  

This first installation of the BibleWorks Manuscript Project includes new transcriptions and complete image sets of Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, Bezae, Washingtonianus, Boernerianus, and GA1141 (over 7.5 GB!!). Manuscripts are fully searchable, and morphological tagging is partially complete (free updates are coming!).

The Moody Atlas of the Bible

BibleWorks comes with the full Moody Atlas. Its 118 masterful maps in high-resolution and dozens of photos can be easily inspected and copied to your presentations. No unlock required!

The CNTTS NT Critical Apparatus  

The full New Testament Critical Apparatus from the Center for New Testament Textual Studies is now available for PCs! This exhaustive apparatus covers the entire New Testament. The BibleWorks version has been enhanced to show a matrix of Aland categories and time period for the mss for each reading. The apparatus tracks and updates as the mouse moves over the text in the BibleWorks main window. No unlock required!

ESV Study Bible  

A must-have resource for all users! BibleWorks already comes with the ESV, but for only $20 all notes, articles, images, and maps from the ESV Study Bible are included. We took particular care to present high-resolution versions of all images and maps. The notes track and display in the main window next to any Bible version of your choice. Unlock required.

…and there’s much, much more!
 click here for more details and video demonstrations of BibleWorks 9.

$359 Full Version  
$159 Upgrade from BW8 Free shipping in the U.S.!
$199 Upgrade from BW7  
$20 ESV Study Bible (highly recommended!)  
Order here today: store.bibleworks.com


If you are a pastor and blogger, you may be able to request a review copy!  Just be sure to review it… (like someone I know who got a review copy and failed to follow through).