on 1 Corinthians 14:1-5

Here is, I think, a great article on this passage of Scripture in the Enrichment Journal.  It is by my NT professor Ben Aker (now professor emeritus) at AGTS.

Here is an excerpt:

Pentecostals hold two fundamental positions regarding the nature of the gift of tongues based upon 1 Corinthians 14:1–5. One group believes that this gift is addressed to God and involves such things as prayer and/or praise. They believe that the one interpreting tongues should speak a praise or petition addressed to God. Tongues in this instance never contain a “message” to believers. Further, tongues are an inferior gift. W.G. MacDonald, a proponent of this position, recently summarized his view: “Glossolalia is always directed to God, and only to Him. In form,glossolalia is spoken or sung to Him. In content, biblical glossolalia consists of worship or prayer. It consists of praise or petition, thanksgiving or intercession. Because glossolalia is unidirectional to God, it cannot be an oracular utterance. Designed for individual edification, glossolalia when properly interpreted, rests at the bottom of the apostolic scale of gifts benefiting the congregation.”1

The other group believes that, like prophecy, the gift of tongues can also be a message directed to the church when accompanied by the interpretation, and that this gift of tongues is no more inferior than any other gift when appropriately manifested.

I wish to present the case for the latter view in an inductive manner by simply allowing the Bible to speak for itself. First, let us examine the larger context of the relevant passage in 1 Corinthians….

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.

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.  🙂

Some new books

Thank you to the anonymous donor of a few new books that showed up in my mailbox yesterday!!  (Well, I hope they were for me and not sent to my address on accident!  lol!)  It was very gracious of you, kind person!   Thanks so much I really appreciate it!

Here is what they are:

Eugene Peterson’s A Long Obedience in the Same Direction (IVP).

Gordon Fee’s New Testament Exegesis (WJK).

Gordon Fee’s Paul, the Spirit and the People of God (Baker).

Jurgen Moltman’s The Trinity and the Kingdom (Fortress).

So… pretty much , nothing less than the BEST!!  🙂

Gordon Fee on the Task of Exegesis

I was trying to figure out how long I have been blogging in one form or another (for a certain reason) and saw this post I put up on an old blog on July 15th, 2009.  I thought I would repost it, and put it out there for you all (might seem kind of ridiculous now, but it was what I thought then (ps my very first ever blog post was on May 2, 2005):

A friend put up a post I want to copy here from Gordon Fee that he titles “a word of advice to bibliobloggers”:

I want to say with great vigour that even though the first task of the exegete is the historical one (to determine the biblical author’s intended meaning), this first task is not the ultimate one.  The ultimate task, and now I repeat myself, is the Spiritual one, to hear the text in such a way that it leads its reader/hearer into the worship of God and into conformity to God and his ways.

-Gordon Fee, Listening to the Spirit in the Text, (Eerdmanns, Grand Rapids, MI, 2000, p.11)


Here is a question I have:

If exegesis does not lead us to the worship of, and a deeper more intimate knoweldge of, God, is it then an idol, something that sets itself against the knowledge of God?

Now, I know this is not always the case but I wonder if it could be the case for some people in some instances?   Could some be more interested in knowledge of the Bible and it’s teachings than necessarily the One to whom the Bible points?

I would assert that, yessome are more interested in knoweldge of the Bible for it’s own sake and that for them the task of exegesis is not a spiritual one by any means but a strictly historical or literary one and so therefore it does not lead them to a deeper worship and or a more intimate knoweldge of the Holy One.

So for these, yes, exegesis is a kind of idolatry

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.

On Greek Syntax

No, not sin tax you silly!  Syntax, you know, that feature of grammar that helps understand how words, phrases, clauses, sentences and so on relate to each other? That kind of syntax.

In learning language, it is indispensable.  Learning a few Greek or Hebrew word studies or even learning a year of Greek isn’t going to be enough.  You have to learn Greek syntax to really get at the meaning and function of the language.

Rich Erickson says in his book, A Beginner’s Guide to New Testament Exegesis: Taking the Fear out of Critical Method (IVP Academic, 2005), he writes:

Be sure of this: without a working knowledge of New Testament Greek syntax we cannot hope to understand the Greek New Testament.

It’s true.  Words don’t have meaning, meanings have words, and words can only mean something in relationship to other words so it is important to get familiarized with the basics of syntax for Koine Greek, if you want to understand the Greek New Testament.

A couple must have books with regard all this are:

Dan Wallace’s Basics of New Testament Syntax, The (Zondervan, 2000)


Waltke – O’Conner’s An Introduction to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (Eisenbrauns, 1990).

To make best use of these, consult the scripture index for the verse you are working on at the moment to see if they have any particular syntactical insights you can use in studying the passe being worked on.


must have book on NT Exegesis

Richard Erickson’s A Beginner’s Guide to New Testament Exegesis: Taking the Fear out of Critical Method (IVP Academic, 2005), might be titled as a “beginner” book but you’d be wrong to think you don’t need it if you are past “beginner” stage… indeed, you’d be wrong.    If you are a Pastor or Bible teacher…  you simply must have this book!  Getting this book will help you be tutored in textual criticism (with actual examples), Syntactical and Discourse Analysis (actual examples), info on the various genre of the New Testament, general exegetical method, and so on.  It may seem basic, but I think you’d be surprised.   Don’t think about it, get it!  🙂

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.


The Bible Teaching Pastor’s desk:

what does yours look like?

Here is a suggestion from Walter Kaiser in his book  Toward an Exegetical Theology: Biblical Exegesis for Preaching and Teaching (Baker, 1981),139:

The exegete [i.e., the Bible teacher] should keep on his [or her] desk a well-marked text book of Biblical theology along with lexicons and grammars.  It will also be most helpful if that textbook has a Scripture index and a theme index so that the exegete may use this tool quickly without having to leaf through the whole book to find pertinent comments on the subject under investigation.

One good book (I had to throw out) to consider is the IVP New Dictionary of Biblical Theology (IVP, 2000).   This book is really great! It gives a basic biblical theology of each book of the Bible and also gives the biblical theology of many topics (love, joy, peace, etc).

As to the lexicons and grammars, wordbooks, etc, this is why I think it is good to have computer programs like Bible Works or Logos – these programs often have them on there and so they can be quickly accessed – concordances, grammars (e.g., Wallace/Waltke, O’Conner, etc), lexicons (e.g., BDAG/HALOT); TWOT; NIDOTE, NIDNT, etc); dictionaries, etc.

Right and proper use of these should enable and promote a more or less solid biblical exegesis and hence good Bible teaching.

So, how’s your desk looking?