From Eden to the New Jerusalem: An Introduction to Biblical Theology by T. Desmond Alexander
Many thanks to the kind folks at Kregel for this review copy!
Interest in biblical theology (hereafter BT) has been on the rise in recent years and a number of fine volumes have been published on the subject. One of those entries is T. Desmond Alexander’s From Eden to the New Jerusalem: An Introduction to Biblical Theology . One thing that quickly becomes apparent is that Alexander’s approach is hardly like most others. Rather than an introduction to the discipline of BT per se, it’s more an example of how one can do BT. There is no discussion of the history of the discipline, nor of what constitutes such—it’s simply a demonstration of one approach to BT.
He states that this book has its origins in a study he was doing on what Revelation 20-22 reveals about death and the afterlife. Using that study as a springboard, Alexander explores the meta-story of scripture from…end to beginning? Yes, Alexander puts it in reverse and explores the grand story of scripture by starting at the end—Revelation—and working back to Genesis. By that I mean that his study of Revelation 20-22 serves as a catalyst to study from the beginning—Genesis0—and work through the Bible, tracing the development of particular themes.
You should not expect, however, a detailed walkthrough of the whole Bible, but rather a thematic exploration that hits on some of the more central themes in Scripture, the temple motif in particular. Admittedly, I had reservations about this approach; however, Alexander capably accomplishes the purpose he set out to achieve in this book, which is to answer the questions “Why does the earth exist?” and “What is the purpose of human life?”
Having said this, it seemed a bit odd (initially) that Alexander would have entitled the book From Eden to the New Jerusalem. Given his approach, shouldn’t it have been the other way around? Not really, because Alexander vacillates back and forth between the two canonical bookends and discusses not only how each serves to frame the biblical story, but how the temple motif figures into the intervening material. Obviously this is not an exhaustive discussion of the motif, but a survey to show at minimum how the temple, from the garden of Eden to the New Jerusalem, is developed throughout the biblical story.
Overall, Alexander’s take on the meta-narrative of scripture is one with which I can mostly resonate. If someone wanted to know what my general take is on the big picture of scripture is, I would recommend this book. While I remain unconvinced that the whole of Scripture is bound by a single unifying concept or theme (Heilsgeschichte would be the most likely contender), Alexander ably answers the questions asked at the outset.
Though a few years old now, I gladly recommend this title, particularly if you are interested in biblical theology in general or the temple motif specifically. This book clocks in at only 208 pages (including bibliography and scripture index), so it will leave many questions unanswered or partially addressed. However, Alexander amply footnotes his discussion throughout. That and the bibliography should provide plenty of resources for additional study.
Αυτω η δοξα
I’ll confess that for the first few years of my Christian life, I read the bible in ignorance. I didn’t know anything about anything concerning scripture. Sure, I knew the book names and memorized some verses over time and I got the gist of certain parts of it after a while. But I was ignorant, ignorant of so many important factors that simply must be considered if we’re going to rightly discern and interpret scripture. It wasn’t until I went to seminary that the scales were lifted and I began to see the scripture in a whole new light. *as an aside, you don’t have to go to seminary to learn to interpret scripture* It was there that studying Hebrew, Greek, and hermeneutics totally transformed my approach to scripture.
In addition to these critical tools, over the last few years I’ve also come to the point where I try to read a text, no matter what portion, in light of the whole. Once an interpretation is reached in light of the immediate context (which isn’t always a satisfactory one), I want to know what part it plays in the larger story. While I am not totally convinced a singular unifying theme ties both testaments together, there are enough thematic strands present to bind the two testaments together as a grand narrative.
All that to point you to a helpful post at The Gospel Coalition, one you may have read already. If not, take a moment to read it–it’s quite good. Jen Wilkin names and discusses a few reading strategies employed by Christians that leave them ultimately unchanged by the scripture. Why? Primarily because the scripture isn’t read in the way it should be. Check out the categories and be reminded how not to read the scripture!
Αυτω η δοξα
Invitation to Biblical Interpretation: Exploring the Hermeneutical Triad of History, Literature, and Theology by Andreas J. Köstenberger and Richard D. Patterson
Many thanks to the kind folks at Kregel for this review copy!
My review is one of many that are a part of the blog tour for this book.
Köstenberger and Patterson (hereafter K/P) have written this book “to teach a simple method of interpreting the Bible,” (23) presumably the purpose for anyone who has ever written a hermeneutics text. There is a distinct difference, however, in the approach that K/P have taken. They call it the “hermeneutical triad,” which is comprised of history, literature, and theology (24). These are the components used to construct the grid through which the reader is to read the biblical text. As the authors note, they are not the first to use this grid (they give appropriate nods to Longman, Dillard, Wright, and Vanhoozer), but the first to describe it with a specific name. K/P also claim to take a rather novel approach to the interpretive process, namely moving from specific hermeneutics to general (25). So rather than starting with words (i.e. syntax), they start with canon, particularly looking at the bigger picture of Scripture. They take this approach because of “the common linguistic premise that the discourse context is primary for determining word meaning” (26).
You might already decide the track the authors will take simply by their names and the associations that attend them. They are upfront that they look at scripture as “the inerrant, inspired Word of God” and that this conviction underpins the entirety of their work. While this is repellant to some, it would be unfair to immediately dismiss this work so simply.
K/P begin by offering a bit more detail to their triad. History (=historical context) is critical because all scripture is rooted in real-life history—it wasn’t produced in a vacuum. Second, the bible is literature. K/P state that literature (at least concerning scriptural literature) has three components—canon, genre, and language and these components are the object of their literary analysis (27). The third component is theology. Interpreting the scripture as God’s self-disclosure demands that it be rightly understood if God himself if to be understood rightly. Is this triad effective as a hermeneutical approach? In this review, I hope to answer this quest thoughtfully and humbly.
Concerning the format, each chapter begins with a list of objectives, a modest outline of the contents, and a visual “road map” of sorts. These are rather common elements in textbooks and will prove to be helpful to some, not as much to others. Each chapter also concludes with a list of guidelines that succinctly reiterate the main points of the chapter, a short glossary of key terms and a list of study questions. These elements can be helpful if one takes opportunity to take advantage of them. There are also helpful appendixes in the back for building a biblical studies library and a glossary, as well as scripture, person, and subject indexes.
Though I do not plan to summarize each chapter here (there are 16!), I will speak generally of its three-part history-literature-theology division. Chapter 1 sets the stage for the task at hand and introduces the reader to the discipline of interpretation by discussing two different aspects of biblical interpretation, namely what it is and why it should be done properly, and a condensed history of hermeneutical approaches spanning from the Old Testament to modern theories and practices. As stated, this history is quite brief, but helps to understand how various methods have come and gone and how we got to where we are.
Now that introductory matters are introduced, one can feast on the real meat of this book—the hermeneutical method itself. Part one of the book is concerned with the historical-cultural background of the bible and (obviously) begins with the OT. K/P essentially offer a historical synopsis of the major historical events and persons that we might say help define the OT era and set the stage for the arrival of the Christ. K/P also briefly discuss the Second Temple period (or intertestamental period) for its now-recognized importance in better understanding the historical-religious atmosphere of the NT era. The remainder of the chapter is a discussion of primary and secondary sources and their importance for understanding the historical background of the text. One of the helpful features that this book includes (and other hermeneutics texts as well) is a sample of how the features previously discussed figure into the hermeneutical process. Here both OT and NT examples are provided and aptly demonstrate how historical background is helpful and necessary to rightly begin the interpretive process.
Part two focuses on literature and there is much to feast upon here. This part is comprised of three subsections: canon, genre and language, topics that are continually at the center of study and debate. In their discussion of the OT canon, they introduce readers not only to the concept of canon, but also canonical interpretation. This approach typically evokes one name—Brevard Childs—and they spend a few pages discussing his method and that of Christopher Seitz, whom they credit with forwarding Childs’ work. While their contribution is hardly even a primer on the subject, it is enough to help the hermeneutical novice get a bearing on an important interpreter’s contribution to the field. The discussion of law and covenant are helpful here, particularly in light of more recent research on the various types of covenants in the ANE. While much of what K/P discuss is typical of introductory hermeneutics texts, they distinguish themselves somewhat by tackling matters that aren’t typically included, such as the Exodus and the development of messianism. The Exodus may seem an odd subject to discuss hermeneutically, but K/P clearly believe events such as the Exodus to be actually historical events and thus it is necessary to know its place in the development/evolution of the Israelite people and the scriptures they produce.
The bulk of part two, as one might expect, is concerned with the myriad features of the various types of literature, e.g. narrative, prophecy, poetry, wisdom, apocalyptic, etc. I was pleased to discover that the canonical book of Revelation is given an entire chapter’s devotion. Few books frustrate and fluster bible readers more than Revelation and it’s not hard to see why. However, both novice and more learned students of the scripture will gain from K and P’s contribution.
One of the more challenging sections to plow through is poetry. Even in English poetry is difficult to me, partly because of its esoteric vocabulary. Certainly every subject that has been scrutinized by scholars has yielded its own brand of highly specialized terminology, but poetry is one that I’ve had a harder time fully grasping because of this. K/P don’t hold back and offer the reader a number of technical terms in this section, such as aposiopesis, apophthegm, dactylic, anapest, and amphibrach to name a few. While they provide brief definitions (thankfully!), poetry is inherently contrary to most readers’ use of language and these kinds of terms will certainly not help the beginning interpreter.
Part three of the book, while comparatively short, is perhaps one of the most helpful sections for beginning readers (more learned folk might learn something as well!). Here the authors tackle the issue of language, and no current hermeneutics text would be complete without it. K/P address initially some important aspects of Greek (genitive, the article, word order), yet do not address Hebrew specifically. K/P also introduce the reader to discourse analysis, an area that has received much more attention in recent years and is making its way into more texts such as this one. The twenty pages devoted to exegetical fallacies is also a helpful, especially to those new to the task (but we more experienced interpreters aren’t immune, so this is a good refresher on some basics, though certainly less extensive than Carson’s work). The final chapter of this unit deals with figurative language, an element that continues to befuddle many and spark plenty of debate. K/P do a fine job of acclimating the interpreter to the shallower waters of discerning the meaning behind figurative language, though one will have to look elsewhere for more comprehensive treatment.
The final unit of the book concerns theology and thus rounds out K and P’s hermeneutical triad. Unfortunately, this section was the least stimulating for me personally. Why? Mostly because it’s quite short in comparison. Naturally I expect a hermeneutics text to be concerned primarily with historical and literary features and issues, but given the attention paid to theology in interpretation in recent years, I really hoped for more here. But that’s not to say this section isn’t good, because it is. I appreciate and resonate with the authors very strongly here because they argue for a theology that is derived from the bible, rather than imposing one’s own viewpoints onto the scripture. Essentially this is known as a biblical theology, to which they give attention in the following pages, specifically the issues, methods, and history of biblical theology. Not surprisingly, K/P discuss the theology of the NT (though briefly) and the use of the NT in the OT, another topic that has received a healthy share of scholarly attention in recent years. This unit on theology is concluded with a seemingly logical end—the dispersion of theology, or a chapter on preaching/teaching the scripture as a result of examining the text through this hermeneutical triad. Because not all interpreters of scripture are necessarily teachers and/or preachers, this final chapter will be of less value to some than others.
In sum, I am confident to say that Köstenberger and Patterson have produced an immensely helpful volume that will certainly become the standard biblical hermeneutics text for many (if the endorsements are any indication) and a valuable companion resource to many others. While Invitation to Biblical Interpretation treads plenty of very familiar ground, its inclusion of more recent research will set it apart from other similar texts, as will the vastness of the terrain it surveys and samples of the method at work. I can highly recommend this volume to the uninitiated who have only begun the potentially perilous journey of biblical interpretation, as well as to the well-traveled sojourners who have covered many miles in their exploration of the canonical landscape.
Αυτω η δοξα
How to Read the Bible through the Jesus Lens by Michael Williams
Thanks to the folks at Zondervan for this review copy!
This is my contribution to the book tour for which I received this copy of Michael Williams’ book. For my part, I chose Genesis and Romans for review (I’ve not read every page of this book as it was not required for the review).
The title of the book says it all—Williams writes to show how one can read the bible in such a way as to find Jesus in every book in the canon. This sort of Christocentric hermeneutic is certainly nothing new or novel, but Williams feels that “the fact that all of scripture testifies about Jesus” has been somewhat obscured by other details that tend to be the object of the bible reader’s study. His aim, then, is to provide a snapshot view of each biblical book, wherein he offers enough thematic ties to formulate a theme for that book and ultimately how each canonical book points to Jesus.
Each canonical book/chapter is comprised of several parts. First, he offers a quick introduction of the book in question. Bear in mind it’s not an introduction that you would find in a commentary or other more specialized work, but something much more generalized, at least in the chapter on Genesis. Other chapters throughout the book briefly summarize the story up to that point either chronologically or thematically and segue to the contents of the book itself. These brief glimpses at the landscape of the biblical story are helpful in that they are concise and show the reader how various books relate to others (the book of the twelve is a good example).
Each chapter has a graphic inserted just after the introductory paragraph that indicates what Williams’ believes to be the theme of the book. For Genesis, the theme is said to be “God separates out one through whom he would bless all nations” (13). This aspect of Williams’ book will likely serve as the spawning ground for most of readers’ disagreements. I will agree with Williams’ that the idea of separation is an important theme early on in Genesis, but I am not convinced that it is the theme. Williams’ notes the acts of separation in the first creation account (vv1:1-28) and the subsequent separation of people, i.e. Seth from Adam and Eve’s other children (5:3-32), the line of Abraham from all other people (12:1-3), etc, but does not discuss how the remainder of the story plays out except in a brief summary (clearly the nature of the book prevents such extended discussions). Each chapter also includes memory passages/verses that reinforce the proposed theme.
The subsequent sections are “The Jesus Lens”, “Contemporary Implications”, and “Hook Questions”. The “Jesus Lens” sections obviously tells how the canonical book in question points to Jesus, which in Genesis (acc. to Williams) is accomplished by showing “Jesus is the one to whom all God’s separating was always meant to lead, and Jesus is separate from all others in his ability to bring the promised divine blessing to the nations” (15). I must say that I was surprised that the so-called “proto-evangelium” of Gen 3:15 was not mentioned, given that many see in that verse the beginnings of what Christ would ultimately accomplish. The “Contemporary Implications” section is exactly what it sounds like—a brief attempt to show the contemporary relevance of these ancient texts and their pointing to Jesus. Williams maintains the theme of the canonical book here and ties it together by showing how God’s work of separation continues in the life of modern believers. The final part of each chapter is “Hook Questions,” questions provided for readers to engage personally and/or in a group setting, presumably for those who wish to pursue matters beyond the initial discussion of the chapter. These questions will be helpful to varying degrees depending on a number of factors, some being more helpful than others.
On the New Testament side, I chose to read and comment on Williams’ treatment of Romans. The theme proposed is “Through Christ, God brings his chosen ones from death to life”. While this is certainly a concept Paul discusses in Romans, I’m not convinced that it would serve as the theme of the book. This is due mostly to my own view of Romans, which is to say I see it as Paul’s explication of what the gospel is and how it is effected in the life of sinners and how they, upon regeneration, are to live the gospel. This is certainly not at odds with Williams’ proposed theme—much of what the gospel is in Romans concerns what God does to reconcile sinners to himself, i.e. bringing them from death to life, but one is hard pressed to condense the whole of Romans to this one idea.
And therein lies the main concern I have with this book and others like it—the attempt to condense canonical books to a singular theme is often difficult, if not sometimes impossible. Many books of the bible are quite complex and defiantly resist simplified categorization, thematic or otherwise. To do so concerns me because too often people (especially many modern bible readers) are more concerned with simplifying the scriptures so that they can make more expedient use of it. It’s a common approach in many churches today to hurry up and get to the application—what does this mean for me today? While I believe the scripture is certainly relevant for readers of all eras, we must not bypass the difficulties and complexities of scripture just to get to why it’s important today. Cart before the horse, anyone? This approach can easily lead to bad interpretations which inevitably leads to bad theology.
However, let me be clear in what I do not wish to suggest—that Williams’ book will lead to this end. Yes, it could for some, those who fit the mold I mentioned above, but for those whose desire is to read the scripture from a bird’s-eye perspective, to get a snapshot of the bible’s story, Williams’ book will help you in that. I agree with Williams and others who believe the whole of scripture finds its ultimate fulfillment in Christ and that we should read the it accordingly, but I also believe the fullest and most faithful way to read the scripture Christocentrically (or through the Jesus lens) is to understand each book and each section of scripture as it was understood by its original hearers and readers, to whatever extent we are able. I am confident that Williams would agree with this and he does an admirable job of telling the greater story that all scripture, as a whole, is meant to tell. He has written a very readable book (at times even humorous) and it will serve well those who wish to see how the scripture tells of Jesus, whether by a whisper or a shout.
Αυτω η δοξα
It’s only in recent years that I have given much attention to books/works that lie outside the Protestant canon. As a Baptist, I was never really exposed to these books and when they were mentioned, it was probably in the context of a conversation or statement about “the Catholic bible,” you know, the one with all those extra books. I can vaguely remember talk of these books through my early years as a Christian and most who spoke of them did so only vaguely and ignorantly (I don’t mean ignorance to imply stupidity)–they simply didn’t know much about them. This was the case with me for many years and I regret that I was so reticent about reading and learning about them.
A number of reasons ultimately played a role in my hesitations with the apocrypha, but perhaps the biggest one was unfounded suspicion. To hear “Maccabees” or “Tobit” was to hear clanging symbols because those books weren’t in my bible. Rather than look into them for myself, I figured they weren’t included for a reason and so I remained content to leave them be.
Over the years I’ve managed to broaden my horizons and read beyond my little denominational circle and have come to see the value in reading and learning about these books that didn’t make the final cut, at least for us protestants. I enjoy reading the apocrypha and hope that you, if you’ve not read it it, will take up and read some of it some time.
With that in mind, I will say that among the apocryphal writings, 2 Esdras is quickly becoming one of my favorites. Here’s a passage I was reading this morning–it sounds so “biblical”, right? (2 Esdras 7:112-15, CEB)
The present world isn’t the end. Glory does not continuously remain in it, and so those who were able prayed for the weak. But the Judgment Day will be the end of this time and the beginning of the future, endless time in which decay is no more, indulgence is undone, unbelief is cut off, but justice is fully grown, and truth arisen. Therefore, no one will then be able to have mercy on someone who has been condemned in the judgment, nor to overwhelm one who has conquered.
Αυτω η δοξα
John Collins states in Apocalyptic Literature: A Reader that “Apocalyptic literature is crisis literature” (24). Shortly thereafter, he describes the situation in the book of Revelation:
The worldly reality seemed to be that God had lost control; Satan and Satan’s forces had the upper hand. The Roman emperor as Satan’s representative held all power. What John did through his apocalypse was to give his readers a different way of understand their situation, an eschatological view of current events. Beyond the appearance was the reality that God was bringing order our of the chaos of the universe. Satan and his cohorts, especially the Roman emperor, would be defeated by the heavenly armies. God would be victorious (25; emphasis mine).
This caught my attention because I have usually read this kind of statement in regards to the creation account of Genesis 1. It’s interesting that the same sentiment can be found in both places, which happen to begin and end the canon. While there is certainly way more to this issue to rest content on this brief assertion, that Scripture begins and ends with God demonstrating his authority over creation and everything in it is quite cool, don’t ya think?
Αυτω η δοξα
Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God by Timothy Ward
Published by InterVarsity Press
Many thanks to Adrianna Wright at IVP for this review copy!
There is no question that the issues of inerrancy, infallibility, suffiiciency and general nature of Scripture have been the source of quite a bit of contention in the last few decades of biblical scholarship. Timothy Ward sets out “articulate, explain and defend what we are really saying when we proclaim, as we must, that the Bible is God’s Word.” Specifically, he wants to “describe the nature of the relationship between God and Scripture” (p. 13). This goal Ward achieves most clearly. Ward works toward this goal by arranging the content around three primary outlines: biblical, theological, and doctrinal. The biblical outline is an attempt to discern the Bible’s “own description of the relationship between God and Christ” and “between the words by which they speak and act.” Ward argues here that “the words of the Bible are a significant aspect of God’s action in the world.” This outline follows three points of discussion: God’s action and his words, God’s person and his words, and God’s words and human words. Naturally, Ward begins the conversation in the Old Testament, drawing on well-known accounts such as creation, Noah and the flood, the call of Abram, and Jeroboam (1 Kings 13), seeing them as clear indications of God’s speech as action. He follows suit with random passages from the Psalter and the prophets. From the New Testament, Ward focuses on justification and effectual calling as illustrative of the intimate connection between God’s speaking and acting. The following few pages travel back to the Old Testament, where Ward ensconces his central point in the context of covenant, arguing that God essentially invested himself in his words that established the covenant. The final section of the biblical outline deals with the relationship between God’s language and human language.
Ward works toward an analysis of the role of Scripture in relationship with each of the persons of the Trinity in his theological outline. This section I found particularly enjoyable for the simple fact that Ward inextricably ties Scripture to the very persons of the Godhead. It was refreshing to read!
The third (and final) outline is doctrinal, in which Ward discusses Scripture under headings that he claims are those “with which evangelicals are usually most familiar,” those being Scripture’s necessity, sufficiency, clarity, and authority. This is the section I most looked forward to given the debate that has surrounded these issues in the last few decades of biblical studies and theology. Ward is clearly a proponent of inerrancy, but is careful to define such as “an outworking of the trustworthiness of Scripture” (p. 130). Ward’s view that Scripture is inextricably tied to the persons of the Trinity indicates that Scripture itself must be trustworthy just as God is trustworthy. Ward approaches the claims of Scripture from the perspective of speech-act theory, which essentially “thinks of language as at root a means by which one person performs actions in relation to another” (p. 57). Again, by binding Scripture to the Trinity, the speech-acts of Scripture are no less than the very action of God. I found Ward’s treatment of hot-button issues such as inerrancy, infallibility, authority, etc. was very insightful and was the one section I anticipated most. Given the general move away from inerrancy in the last few decades, I was glad to read of Ward’s understanding of the issue.
Ward closes his work with a chapter discussing the application of Scripture to the Christian’s life, the aspect of Scripture that is the goal of Bible study for countless masses the world wide. His advice is practical and flows naturally from his view of Scripture.
In sum, I found this book to be very readable, not overly engrossed in academic jargon, and quite enjoyable. Ward is clearly and unashamedly Reformed in his theology and this perspective is obvious throughout the book. However, even those who do not share Ward’s passion for Reformed theology can still read this book with great benefit. Perhaps if there were one criticism I might offer, it would be that Ward does not interact at length with scholars who hold a lesser view of Scripture. That’s certainly not to say that such interaction is absent from the book, only that it doesn’t occupy much of it. Such was likely intentional, and there are many other books that take up that particular conversation. For those looking for a treatment of the Bible as Scripture and takes seriously the implications of claiming it to be the Word of God, look no further than Words of Life.
“In Christian living and thinking there is a right place for the mystery of God, as the Lord states forcefully to Job (Job 38-41). However, a necessary focus on God as mystery must not be allowed to obscure the extraordinary act of grace by which God speaks to us human words of promise, such that for us to trust those words is in itself an act of trusting God himself” – p. 32.
“If God is not taken into account as the ultimate solid ground on which all meaning rests, and as the basis on which our language can be said reliably to bear meaning, then we do indeed end up staring into the abyss in which meaning is for ever undecidable” – pp. 64-65
“It is the person of Christ who is primarily the Word. He is spoken of directly in those terms in Scripture; he is ‘the Word of life’ (1 John 1:1). Christ is the one in whom the person of the Son was incarnated in an unrepeatable union of two natures, divine and human. He is the one who was conceived supernaturally, died a substitutionary death, rose physically and ascended to the right hand of the Father, and in whom the life of the believer is hidden. It is to him that our devotion is due, and it is he who ill be exalted for eternity as the Lamb who was slain for our redemption. No Bible is referred to in the Bible’s apocalyptic vision of the new creation, because the dwelling of the Father and the Son with renewed humanity will be sufficiently intimate, presumably, to make Scripture unnecessary for life in relationship with God (Rev. 22:3-5)” – p. 72.
“God’s aim in Scripture is to lead us to true devotion to Christ, and obedience to him and love for him, impinging on every area of life and thought” – p. 73.
“Behind many objections to the evangelical understanding of the action of the Holy Spirit in the authoring of Scripture lie objections to divine providence that lean more towards deism than they do towards a biblical doctrine of God, which states, however unfathomable it may ultimately be to us, that an action can simultaneously an act of God and a genuinely human act” – pp. 88-89.
“Through the Spirit the church therefore did not create the canon of Scripture, but came to recognize it” – p. 92.
“Whenever we encounter the speech acts of Scripture, we encounter God himself in action. The Father presents himself to us as a God who makes and keeps his covenantal promises. The Son comes to us as the Word of God, knowable to us through the words. The Spirit ministers these words to us, illuminating our minds and hearts, so that in receiving, understanding and trusting them, we receive, know and trust God himself” – p. 95.
“The evangelical doctrine of Scripture is therefore an outcry against Roman Catholic understandings of revelation, and against any practice that effective regards the as yet unfulfilled predictions about the future made by a contemporary prophet as equally authoritative as God’s words in Scripture” – p. 103.
“Right and healthy doctrine cannot always be read easily off the pages of Scripture, but instead has to be worked for” – p. 114.
“However, for the time being we should note that each new generation of Christians does not come to Scripture with a clean slate. Whether it acknowledges it or not, each generation approaches Scripture wearing spectacles coloured by centuries of inherited beliefs and practices. Where Scripture has faithfully shaped that inheritance, Scripture proves itself sufficient again by being the means through which God speaks again. Where that inheritance includes purely human and thus unbiblical elements, the sufficiency of Scripture stands as a call on us to open up all our most cherished beliefs and practices, especially the ones we use to mark our Christian subculture off from other subcultures, to correction by the voice of God in Scripture” – p. 114-15.
“The idea that the Bible is ‘infallible’ means that it does not deceive. To say that the Bible is ‘inerrant’ is to make the additional claim that it does not assert any errors of fact: whether the Bible refers to events in the life of Christ, or to other details of history and geography, what it asserts is true” – p. 130.
“Thus the term ‘inerrancy’ may be of recent origin, but the idea of inerrancy is not” – p. 132.
“Everyone who reads the Bible does so with a set of expectations and assumptions, some consciously held and some subconscious, that heave been handed on to them. It is dangerous, of course, if these are misleading expectations and assumptions. What is often equally dangerous is to deny that one has them at all” – p. 150.
“At heart he is reminding them of the one thing that has been undeniably true of them ever since they first devoted themselves to the apostolic gospel: that by the work of the Spirit of God they are not what they once were” – p. 169. (referring to preaching to a congregation)
I am pleased to announce that not only will I finally post my review of Timothy Ward’s Words of Life: Scripture as the Living and Active Word of God sometime early next week, but I will also be posting an interview with the author. Stay tuned…
Αυτω η δοξα,
I know several folks have made known their disgust over the TNIV because they had shelled out a hefty sum for a study bible. The same goes for me with this one–I spent a fair amount purchasing the Hebrew and Greek reader’s bibles, only now to know they will be combined. I guess it was only a matter of time…
And, yes, I will likely purchase one of these–it looks like a lovely bible!
Αυτω η δοξα,
I have taken up a task that I set about to start some time ago, but for various reasons, did not start in earnest: reading through the Bible in the original languages. Though I have exegeted many passages from both testaments, I want to focus on reading through the text, vocalizing aloud as I go through in hopes of retaining more of the text in my memory. I am under no delusion that this will be an easy task, but I think it will be very rewarding.
The tools I will use in this endeavor are:
A Reader’s Greek New Testament: 2nd Edition by Richard J. Goodrich and Albert L. Lukaszewski
Complete Vocabulary Guide to the Greek New Testament by Warren C. Trenchard
A Reader’s Hebrew Bible by Philip A. Brown, II and Bryan W. Smith
Vocabulary Guide to Biblical Hebrew by Miles V. Van Pelt and Gary D. Pratico
I am much more nimble working through the Greek and have long needed to shore up my Hebrew, so hopefully I will accomplish this, as least as much as such an exercise could do so.
Has anyone else taken up this task?
Αυτω η δοξα,