Zwinglius Redivivus

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Gareth Jones Reviews “1-2 Corinthians: For the Person in the Pew”

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Gareth has reviewed the Corinthian correspondence in the Commentary  for his institution’s Newsletter, and has passed it along for inclusion here.  He writes

Saint Paul knew more than I can ever imagine about Christians living in tension with the Gospel and with each other, and his several letters to the Church in Corinth are pivotal to the entire New Testament. Which is why I am so pleased to mention here some recent commentaries by a friend of mine, Jim West, on I and II Corinthians.

Subtitled ‘for the Person in the Pew’, and published by Quartz Hill Publishing House of Quartz Hill School of Theology, California, these two commentaries are in fact part of a much larger project by West to write similar commentaries on every book of the Bible, and to make them available in print and electronically for everyone to read. That project is now nearly completed and the results are tremendous.

I think there are three main reasons why these commentaries are so successful. First, West is a first-class Biblical scholar, one who makes the intelligent critical study of the text central to his theological interpretation. That commitment is rarer than one might imagine and to have it realized across the entire Bible is an astonishing feat that gives us now a unique resource.

Second, and delightfully, Jim West is a great writer: his pages fizz with sharp words and phrases and he appears incapable of saying anything boring about these texts. This ability keeps us reading along with him and, more importantly, reading along with Saint Paul. I have rarely come across any Christian writing project, aimed at ‘the person in the pew’, that has succeeded so brilliantly in bringing alive its subject matter.

Third, West couldn’t dodge an issue if his life depended on it, which can be an uncomfortable position for a Christian theologian. Corinth, as with most churches in most places, had some strange people believing and practising some odd things. The knack, as West points out, is to engage them endlessly with love and grace rather than self-righteous anger, but to engage them: ‘Paul lived with a purpose. And he urges the Corinthians to do the same. As we all who name the name of Christ must’ (West on I Cor. 9:27, p.60).

I am going to be talking to Jim about making these commentaries available through Ming Hua’s website, but in the meantime please do visit Logos and inspect them for yourselves if you have the time: you will find them a superb companion to your own reading of the Bible and, as importantly, a great reminder of just how much the early Church struggled with some of the same problems we face now.

Gareth Jones, Principle
Ming Hua Theological College
Honk Kong

Written by Jim

September 14, 2014 at 08:04

Two New Volumes From Eerdmans for Students of the Hebrew Bible

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smithWarfare exerts a magnetic power, even a terrible attraction, in its emphasis on glory, honor, and duty. In order to face the terror of war, it is necessary to face how our biblical traditions have made it attractive — even alluring.

In this book Mark Smith undertakes an extensive exploration of “poetic heroes” across a number of ancient cultures in order to understand the attitudes of those cultures toward war and warriors. Smith examines the Iliad and the Gilgamesh; Ugaritic poems commemorating Baal, Aqhat, and the Rephaim; and early biblical poetry, including the battle hymn of Judges 5 and the lament of David over Saul and Jonathan in 2 Samuel 1. Smith’s Poetic Heroes analyzes the importance of heroic poetry in early Israel and its disappearance after the time of David, building on several strands of scholarship in archaeological research, poetic analysis, and cultural reconstruction.

And excitingly

blenkinRepresenting the highest echelon of Isaiah studies, this volume explores distinct issues that arise from the critical study of the text of Isaiah. The contributors acknowledge and comment on the exegetical contributions of distinguished biblical scholar Joseph Blenkinsopp, providing distinction and coherence to the collection.

The publication between 2000 and 2004 of Blenkinsopp’s 3-volume Anchor Bible commentary on Isaiah marked a significant development in Isaiah studies. Many of the articles and books now published in the field cite Blenkinsopp, testifying to how his commentary is influencing and helping shape the future direction of Isaiah studies. This volume, with its focus on his contributions, provides a fresh look at Isaiah studies in the twenty-first century.

Written by Jim

September 10, 2014 at 08:33

Resistance Isn’t Futile

7 Ordnet euch also Gott unter und widersteht dem Teufel, so wird er vor euch fliehen! 8 Naht euch Gott, und er wird sich euch nahen! Reinigt eure Hände, ihr Sünder, und läutert eure Herzen, ihr Zweifler!

9 Wehklagt nur und trauert und weint! Euer Lachen verwandle sich in Klage und eure Freude in Kummer! 10 Erniedrigt euch vor dem Herrn, und er wird euch erhöhen.

11 Macht einander nicht schlecht, liebe Brüder und Schwestern! Wer seinen Bruder schlechtmacht oder über seinen Bruder urteilt, der macht das Gesetz schlecht und urteilt über das Gesetz. Wenn du aber über das Gesetz urteilst, dann bist du nicht Täter, sondern Richter des Gesetzes. 12 Einer nur ist Gesetzgeber und Richter, der kann retten und vernichten. Du aber, wer bist du, dass du über deinen Nächsten urteilst?

13 Wohlan, die ihr sagt: Heute oder morgen werden wir in die und die Stadt aufbrechen, ein Jahr dort verbringen, gute Geschäfte machen und Gewinne erzielen! 14 Ihr wisst ja nicht, was morgen sein wird, wie es dann um euer Leben steht. Denn ein Rauch seid ihr, der eine Weile zu sehen ist und dann verschwindet. 15 Ihr solltet sagen: Wenn der Herr es will, werden wir leben und dies oder jenes tun. 16 Stattdessen seid ihr noch stolz auf eure Prahlerei. Solcher Stolz ist aber stets von Übel. 17 Zu wissen nun, was es Gutes zu tun gäbe, und es doch nicht zu tun – das ist Sünde. (Jam 4:7-17 ZUR)

Written by Jim

September 5, 2014 at 13:58

Posted in Bible

Reception History: A New Academic Series


Written by Jim

September 4, 2014 at 13:25

Indeed, James, Indeed

Every time I read James I remember what a prat Luther could be.  Anyone who thinks this Letter insubstantial is theologically blind.

Woher kommen denn die heftigen Auseinandersetzungen unter euch, woher die Machtkämpfe? Doch von den Begierden, die in euren Gliedern zum Krieg rüsten!  Ihr begehrt und habt doch nicht, ihr geht über Leichen und giert und könnt doch nicht erlangen, ihr kämpft und führt heftige Auseinandersetzungen. Ihr habt nichts, weil ihr nicht bittet.  Bittet ihr aber, so empfangt ihr nichts, weil ihr verkehrt bittet: Ihr bittet, um euren Begierden Befriedigung zu verschaffen.  Ihr Treulosen, wisst ihr nicht, dass Freundschaft mit der Welt Feindschaft gegen Gott ist? Wer der Welt Freund sein will, macht sich zum Feind Gottes. (Jam 4:1-4 ZUR)

That’s pure gold right there.

Written by Jim

September 2, 2014 at 07:53

Posted in Bible

The History of The Reception of Biblical Texts

Written by Jim

August 26, 2014 at 15:25

Read the UBS 5 Greek Text Free Online, And NA 28, And BHS, And…

From the German Bible Society-

Das Greek New Testament in der 5. Auflage (‪#‎UBS5‬) ist online: .


And here’s NA 28.


And if you visit either of those pages on the left nav panel you’ll see that you also can select any of the critical texts that are presently available save BHQ.


Written by Jim

August 21, 2014 at 09:58


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