Craig S. Keener on John 3:16

The Assemblies of God Enrichment Journal has several good articles out this summer and one is Craig Keener on John 3:16.  Looks like pretty good stuff especially given his scholarship on John!   Here is a segment:

The world is the object of salvation. God loved not just His obedient Son, but also the world that did not know Him and opposed Him.1 God’s love for the entire world reminds us He wants everyone to believe in Jesus and receive salvation.

Some of Jesus’ contemporaries emphasized God’s special love for Israel or for the righteous, but they did not recognize that God loved everyone. In the chapter following John 3:16, however, some Samaritans began to understand. They acknowledged Jesus as the Savior of the world (4:42; cf. 1 John 4:14). The “world” included Samaritans, whom most Jews despised. If it included Samaritans, it also included all other peoples, including those we might be tempted to despise today.

It may take more effort to bring God’s light to people groups shrouded in darkness, but there is no people group and no individual beyond the pale of God’s love. Jesus shed His blood for all. If we honor His sacrifice, we will love and serve across ethnic, cultural, and religious lines.

Because God gave His Son for the world does not mean everyone is saved; it means salvation is available for anyone. John 3:17 emphasizes that God’s purpose in sending His Son was not to condemn the world; it was already condemned. Instead, He sent His Son to save the world. Jesus is the sacrifice that appeases God’s anger for sins, not only ours, but also those of the entire world (1 John 2:2). Salvation is for “whoever believes.”

We should be motivated to share the good news because God desires everyone to receive salvation. When we think of unreached people groups, we remember that Jesus already paid the price for their salvation. However, they still must believe to be saved. This necessity invites us to follow our Lord’s sacrificial example to do whatever necessary to bring the unsaved the message that God loves them so greatly that He gave His own Son.

It is a wonderful thing that God loves the WHOLE world, not just certain people and desires that all come to repentance and salvation through his Son Jesus Christ!


C.S. Keener on Biblical Interpretation

Craig S. Keener wrote a course on Biblical Interpretation back in ’04-’05 and has allowed it to be downloaded and used and distributed FREELY.  You can download it if you want (PDF) and use it!  I did and am now trying to get it moved it over to my Kindle!!

Now in PDF: Bible Interpretation Course by Professor Craig S. Keener.  (Source)

disclaimer: I just downloaded it so I do not know the strengths and or weakness of it yet.  I guess download and read at your own risk?!  🙂

Be Blessed!

on Interpreting the Book Revelation

Craig Keener writes in his NIVAC commentary on the book of Revelation concerning its interpretation:

Another matter of interpretation is that some want to take everything in Revelation literally.  Whether one should attempt this approach depends in a sense on what one means by the term literally.   When Reformers like Luther talked about interpreting the Bible “literally,” they were using a technical designation (sensus literalis) that meant taking each part part of Scripture according to its “literary sense,” hence including attention to genre or literary type.  But they did not mean that we should down play figures of speech or symbols.  We should take literally historical narrative in the Bible, but Revelation belongs to a different genre, a mixture of prophetic and “apocalyptic” genres, both of which are full of symbols.  The Reformers did not demand that we interpret symbols as if they were not symbols, and this kind of literalism is actually at odds with what they meant (22).

Thanks to guys like John Anderson I am in the beginnings of beginning to understand more what is meant by viewing the Text of Scripture in a literary sense (genres and such) though I have more learning to do with regard to symbols and how to understand them and their role in understanding and interpreting certain parts of the Bible, like the book of Revelation.  I understand  not everything is to be taken or understood literally but instead, (where appropriate) literarially (sp?) and how that applies to understanding such as text as the book of Revelation.  I also assume as I get more into Keener’s commentary that he’ll explain these things and it’ll start to make better sense.


Craig Keener to join Asbury Seminary!

According to Ben Witherington on his Facebook page announced within the last hour…. the following was put up as his facebook status:

The big move is definitely coming— Craig Keener is joining Asbury’s faculty!

This indeed a HUGE move and a great one for many an aspiring NT Scholar!  Where Keener is at now, Palmer Seminary, there are no PhD programs.  Now, with his move to Asbury – folks may very well be able to apply to have Craig Keener as their PhD Supervisor!  Imagine that!  (not to mention that there are other great scholars at Asbury worthy of sitting under their supervision, but now Keener may be a new option to consider.  Dr. Witherington is the advanced news.  The news will probably be listed on the Seminary website in the following week or so, but for now, this is it.

Now, if you ask me, if Asbury wants to up the ante, then they need to get with the program and start creating programs to suit folks already in ministry – creating flexible distance and or modular (seminar) based programs seems to be the new wave of the future of theological education.  Debbie and I are doing ministry in the Grand Canyon National Park.  We plan to be here a while (pending our US Missions appointment) so pursuing futher education at Asbury isn’t going to work, unless they make some changes (like the programs at Western Seminary in Portland).  I know this isn’t popular with some folk but its a direction that needs to be considered.

If someone from Asbury reads this, hopefully it will be taken into serious consideration for the future of the school.

on the historical Jesus

Michael Debusk asks, “Is the Quest for the Historcal Jesus over?”  He notes Scot McKnight’s article in Christanity Today, and three rejoinders by N.T. Wright, Craig Keener, and Darrell Bock (the links are in his blog post).  In sum, McKnight contends:

 …that the Enlightenment project which sought to uncover the Jesus of history–that is, Jesus stripped of the theological baggage imposed on him by the church–has failed to produce any reliable portrait. Why? The inability to overcome a secular, naturalistic bias against the evidence.

Additionally, McKnight’s contention seems to be that attempts to reconstruct the histoical Jesus are just that reconstructions – and typically, they are all different.  So it leads to a key question McKnight asks of the discipline of historical Jesus studies:

We must be willing to ask, Whose Jesus will we trust? Will it be that of the evangelists and the apostles? Will it be the church’s orthodox Jesus? Or will it be the latest proposal from a brilliant historian?

I am sill processing what I think of it all but I do agree with Keener that “As long as the historical questions are being asked, then, it is important for the Tom Wrights, Ben Witheringtons, and the many other believing scholars engaged in the discussion to articulate their perspective….”  and that:

Used rightly, these methods can be friends rather than foes of faith. The academy’s ground rules are limited, not always fair, and themselves open to challenge. Some methods, such as the double dissimilarity criterion, are now widely rejected. But many of the principles provide a minimal basis for dialogue among scholars of different persuasions. Through that dialogue, we can establish at least some historical information on which most scholars can agree.

 So what do you all think?  Is the quest for the historical Jesus over?  What say you?

on the historical Jesus

Nick has reviewed Craig Keener’s The Historical Jesus of the Gospels, and while the review is fine, there is a section that annoys me.  It’s not Nick fault, he may not even realize it but it is something many a shcolar does and I’ll try to explain why it bothers me.  Here is the section:

The Jesus that we can know from our earliest and best sources (the Gospels) was an itinerant preacher/charismatic healer/exorcist/miracle worker who believed himself to have been commissioned by God to bring about Israel’s restoration.  He was an eschatological prophet who taught of a coming kingdom that he believed he would play a significant role in ushering in.  He envisioned his mission at least partly in messianic terms and called for radical discipleship, placing allegiance to him along the lines that were reserved for God alone, hence there is good reason to see continuity between the extremely early emphasis on Jesus’ exalted status and Jesus’ own exalted self-awareness (see esp. chap. 19).  In short, the historical Jesus of the Gospels is the Jesus that the Church has traditionally proclaimed.

I guess what bothers me is how the passive past tense is used as though Jesus didn’t really know who he was or what he was doing.  Did not Jesus know who he was and what he was doing from the time he was twelve years old, if not from before time began?   If so, why all the talk about “he believed himself to be…” “He thought he was…” so on and so forth? 

Thought?  Explainations?  Thanks.

Grace and Truth

came through Jesus Christ it says in John 1:17 (v.14 reads he was “full of grace and truth).   I am reading through the Gospel of John in my Greek NT.  I am reading in my UBS edition since it has the section breaks so I read from section to section.  In reading the prologue there is much to think about and reflect on.

I am thankful Jesus came into the world in “grace and truth” or that “grace and truth” came through Jesus.  It seems necessary that grace and truth go together though John seems to contrast this with Moses and the Law.  Not that Moses wasn’t a gracious person, but I am inclined to think the Law wasn’t that gracious.  The Law just showed us the truth but not always in a gracious way – Keener suggests God’s presentation of the Law at Sinai had elments of grace and truth but that it was incomplete – the fullness of that grace and truth came in and through Jesus Christ.

But anyways, it is good that John coupled grace with truth – for often truth is easer to receive when offered with a seasoning of grace (and mercy too).  Jesus is the full embodiment of the Father and exemplifes his character of one who is humble and gentle of heart – one who we know we can go to and receive from because he is “full of grace and truth.”

what say you?