Category Archives: Bible

Real Christians

Real Christians (i.e., authentic disciples of Christ) have let fake Christians (i.e., people who are nothing more than Christians in name only) off the hook for far too long and remained silent in the face of their reprehensible behavior instead of taking seriously the command of Scripture-

In my letter, I wrote to you that you should have nothing to do with people living immoral lives. I was not including everybody in this present world who is sexually immoral, or everybody who is greedy, or dishonest or worships false gods — that would mean you would have to cut yourselves off completely from the world.  In fact what I meant was that you were not to have anything to do with anyone going by the name of brother who is sexually immoral, or is greedy, or worships false gods, or is a slanderer or a drunkard or dishonest; never even have a meal with anybody of that kind. It is no concern of mine to judge outsiders. It is for you to judge those who are inside, is it not?  But outsiders are for God to judge. You must banish this evil-doer from among you. (1 Cor. 5:9-13)

Go and do that and then maybe the society you live in will take you seriously.

Waiting for it all to End

About times and dates, brothers, there is no need to write to you for you are well aware in any case that the Day of the Lord is going to come like a thief in the night.  It is when people are saying, ‘How quiet and peaceful it is’ that sudden destruction falls on them, as suddenly as labour pains come on a pregnant woman; and there is no escape.  But you, brothers, do not live in the dark, that the Day should take you unawares like a thief.  No, you are all children of light and children of the day: we do not belong to the night or to darkness, so we should not go on sleeping, as everyone else does, but stay wide awake and sober.  Night is the time for sleepers to sleep and night the time for drunkards to be drunk, but we belong to the day and we should be sober; let us put on faith and love for a breastplate, and the hope of salvation for a helmet.  God destined us not for his retribution, but to win salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ, who died for us so that, awake or asleep, we should still live united to him.  So give encouragement to each other, and keep strengthening one another, as you do already  (1 Thess. 5:1-11).

The Tyndale House (Cambridge) Greek New Testament Launch

We are delighted to celebrate the launch today of The Greek New Testament Produced at Tyndale House Cambridge.

This volume represents a 10-year journey to present the New Testament in a way that reflects as clearly as possible its earliest recoverable wording. Taking the edition prepared by Samuel Prideaux Tregelles as a starting text, the Tyndale House Greek New Testament draws on the most ancient available manuscripts, including early sources discovered in the past 40 years. The editorial choices are based on an extensive study of scribal habits, and pay particular attention to the recurring scribal tendencies within manuscripts.

The result is a Greek New Testament that significantly assimilates the appearance of the earliest manuscripts, with paragraph marks presented as far as possible as they are in earliest sources, limited punctuation, and the elimination of interruptions from critical signs in the main text. This edition aims to be the most accurate possible printing of the New Testament in its earliest well-documented form.

As editor and associate editor, we acknowledge our profound debt to Dr Peter M Head and
Dr Patrick James, our associate editors. Over the course of the project we worked with more than two dozen scholars connected with Tyndale House, researching and peer-reviewing the finished text. Our thanks go to them, without whom this edition would not have been possible. We also extend our sincere thanks to Crossway and Cambridge University Press for their craftsmanship in presenting the volumes so beautifully.

It is our enormous pleasure to present to you the culmination of this project. It is our hope that The Greek New Testament Produced at Tyndale House opens up new possibilities for you in your study and appreciation of these precious ancient scriptures.

Yours sincerely,

When It Comes to People Who Call Themselves Christians, Judge Away!

In my letter, I wrote to you that you should have nothing to do with people living immoral lives.  I was not including everybody in this present world who is sexually immoral, or everybody who is greedy, or dishonest or worships false gods — that would mean you would have to cut yourselves off completely from the world.   In fact what I meant was that you were not to have anything to do with anyone going by the name of brother who is sexually immoral, or is greedy, or worships false gods, or is a slanderer or a drunkard or dishonest; never even have a meal with anybody of that kind.  It is no concern of mine to judge outsiders. It is for you to judge those who are inside, is it not?  But outsiders are for God to judge. You must banish this evil-doer from among you (1 Cor. 5:9-13).  — St Paul

You got it, brother.  You got it…

Quote of the Day

As you have done, so will it be done to you: your deeds will recoil on your own head. (Obad. 1:15)

The Luther Birthday Weekend Sale is Almost Over

the-person-the-pew-commentary-series

From now till midnight on Sunday the 12th of November you can purchase the entire Commentary for $99.  Yup.  You read that right.  For the next 3 days you can acquire the entire Commentary in PDF format for less than half price.  How?  Just by clicking my PayPal Link.  It’s that simple.  It really is an exceptionally useful work for the layfolk in your life (even if it isn’t aimed at academics).  Here’s what a normal person thinks:

***

This commentary set is written and designed exactly for the average person. The person who hasn’t spent years in book learning and writing papers. Rather, it’s for a person who feels a yearning to know a bit more so they can grow spiritually and intellectually in the faith. The average person might not know where to start on the journey. This set does it beautifully. – Doug Iverson

***

When There’s No King…

In those days there was no king in Israel, and everyone did as he saw fit. (Jdg. 21:25)

There’s Still Time for You To take Advantage of the Sale

the-person-the-pew-commentary-series

From now till midnight on Sunday the 12th of November you can purchase the entire Commentary for $99.  Yup.  You read that right.  For the next 3 days you can acquire the entire Commentary in PDF format for less than half price.  How?  Just by clicking my PayPal Link.  It’s that simple.  It really is an exceptionally useful work for the layfolk in your life (even if it isn’t aimed at academics).  Here’s what a normal person thinks:

***

This commentary set is written and designed exactly for the average person. The person who hasn’t spent years in book learning and writing papers. Rather, it’s for a person who feels a yearning to know a bit more so they can grow spiritually and intellectually in the faith. The average person might not know where to start on the journey. This set does it beautifully. – Doug Iverson

***

Luther: On Love of the Bible- Or, How a Theologian is Made

Once when he was a young man he [Martin Luther] happened upon a Bible. In it he read by chance the story about Samuel’s mother in the Books of the Kings. The book pleased him immensely, and he thought that he would be happy if he could ever possess such a book. Shortly thereafter he bought a postil; it also pleased him greatly, for it contained more Gospels than it was customary to preach on in the course of a year.

When he became a monk he gave up all his books. Shortly before this he had bought a copy of the Corpus iuris and I do not know what else. He returned these to the bookseller. Besides Plautus and Vergil he took nothing with him into the monastery. There the monks gave him a Bible bound in red leather. He made himself so familiar with it that he knew what was on every page, and when some passage was mentioned he knew at once just where it was to be found.

“If I had kept at it,” he said, “I would have become exceedingly good at locating things in the Bible. At that time no other study pleased me so much as sacred literature. With great loathing I read physics, and my heart was aglow when the time came to return to the Bible. I made use of the glossa ordinaria. I despised Lyra, although I recognized later on that he had a contribution to make to history. I read the Bible diligently. Sometimes one important statement occupied all my thoughts for a whole day. Such statements appeared especially in the weightier prophets, and (although I could not grasp their meaning) they have stuck in my memory to this day. Such is the assertion in Ezekiel, ‘I have no pleasure in the death of the wicked,’ etc. [Ezek. 33:11].”  [Luther’s Table Talk].

And that, good reader, is how a theologian is made. If your theology is empty and soulless (or Emergent and Seeker Sensitive) or your Pastor’s preaching more fluff than substance (or cute stories than the development of exegetical themes), the reason lies in unfamiliarity from and disinterest in the Bible.

Luther was the theologian he was (and the same can be said of Calvin and Zwingli, Oecolampadius and Melancthon, Bullinger and Bucer) because he (and they too) was (were) biblical scholar(s) in the truest sense of the phrase.

There’s Still Time to Acquire the Commentary…

the-person-the-pew-commentary-series

From now till midnight on Sunday the 12th of November you can purchase the entire Commentary for $99.  Yup.  You read that right.  For the next 3 days you can acquire the entire Commentary in PDF format for less than half price.  How?  Just by clicking my PayPal Link.  It’s that simple.  It really is an exceptionally useful work for the layfolk in your life (even if it isn’t aimed at academics).  Here’s what a normal person thinks:

***

This commentary set is written and designed exactly for the average person. The person who hasn’t spent years in book learning and writing papers. Rather, it’s for a person who feels a yearning to know a bit more so they can grow spiritually and intellectually in the faith. The average person might not know where to start on the journey. This set does it beautifully. – Doug Iverson

***

The Book of Ruth: Origin and Purpose

New in Bible and Interpretation.

What is the Gospel?

The gospel is a good and a sweet word, and an assured testimony of God’s grace to us-ward, exhibited in Christ unto all believers. Or else: The gospel is the most evident sentence of the eternal God, brought down from heaven, absolving all believers from all their sins, and that too freely, for Christ his sake, with a promise of eternal life. — Heinrich Bullinger

A Truly Useful and Important Resource for Old Testament Studies

Just published, “The Old Testament in Archaeology and History” is a volume with which I am intimately familiar, having read through most of it in early editorial stages.  I can recommend it to you for courses in Old Testament and for courses in Archaeology.  The essayists are all top notch and the editors are the cream of the Old Testament crop.

I received my copy today and I’m quite thrilled with the results of all that labor over all those months.  I think you’ll be quite impressed with it yourselves.

Quote of the Day

Das Neue Testament enthält die einzigen zuverlässigen Überlieferungen über das Auftreten Jesu wie über das grundlegende Werden der Kirche und ihrer Verkündigung. — Leonhard Goppelt

If You Preach Booze, The Crowd Will Love You

Disaster for those who plot evil, who lie in bed planning mischief! No sooner is it dawn than they do it, since they have the power to do so.  Seizing the fields that they covet, they take over houses as well, owner and house they seize alike, the man himself as well as his inheritance. 

So Yahweh says this: Look, I am now plotting a disaster for this breed from which you will not extricate your necks; you will not hold your heads up then, for the times will be disastrous indeed. That day they will make a satire on you, they will strike up a dirge and say, ‘We have been stripped of everything; my people’s land has been divided up, no one else can restore it to them, our fields have been awarded to our despoiler.’  Because of this, you will have no one to measure out a share in Yahweh’s community. 

‘Do not drivel,’ they drivel, ‘do not drivel like this! Disgrace will not overtake us!  ‘Can the House of Jacob be accursed? Has Yahweh grown short-tempered? Is that his way of going to work? His prophecies can only be favourable for his people Israel!’  

But you are the ones who play the enemy to my people. From the inoffensive man you snatch his cloak, on those who feel safe you inflict the damage of war. My people’s women you evict from the homes they love, and deprive the children of my glory for ever, saying, ‘Up and off with you! You can’t stay here!’ For a worthless thing you exact an extortionate pledge.  

If a man of the spirit came and invented this lie, ‘I prophesy wine and liquor for you,’ he would be the prophet for a people like this. (Mic. 2:1-11)

The Greek New Testament – Cambridge, UK, Tyndale House

The publisher, Crossway, has sent a copy of this very new edition.  For which I heartily thank them.  The volume arrived in a quite sturdy slip cover and is itself the black hardback version.

In 11 days it will be publicly available and so will an online edition at Tyndale House.  Be sure to check it out.

If you wish to learn a bit about the edition you can visit this post.  And you can also check out my earlier observations on a sample of the Gospel of Mark and other posts.

One Very Simple, Scriptural Reason that No Christian Should Endorse Any Politician

We are representatives of Christ, first, last, and only.  Our ministry isn’t a ministry of endorsing politicians, but representing Christ.  And the simple fact is, we cannot be representatives of Christ and politicians simultaneously.  One must give way to the other.  We will either serve God, or political Mammon.  This text from Paul is the only text we need to know that political endorsements are inappropriate and those, like Falwell and Metaxas and Bakker and White and the rest who have publicly endorsed Trump (or any politician of any party) are simply wrong:

τὰ δὲ πάντα ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ τοῦ καταλλάξαντος ἡμᾶς ἑαυτῷ διὰ Χριστοῦ καὶ δόντος ἡμῖν τὴν διακονίαν τῆς καταλλαγῆς, ὡς ὅτι θεὸς ἦν ἐν Χριστῷ κόσμον καταλλάσσων ἑαυτῷ, μὴ λογιζόμενος αὐτοῖς τὰ παραπτώματα αὐτῶν, καὶ θέμενος ἐν ἡμῖν τὸν λόγον τῆς καταλλαγῆς. ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ οὖν πρεσβεύομεν ὡς τοῦ θεοῦ παρακαλοῦντος δι᾽ ἡμῶν· δεόμεθα ὑπὲρ Χριστοῦ, καταλλάγητε τῷ θεῷ.  (2 Cor. 5:18-20 TIS)

omnia autem ex Deo qui reconciliavit nos sibi per Christum et dedit nobis ministerium reconciliationis  quoniam quidem Deus erat in Christo mundum reconcilians sibi non reputans illis delicta ipsorum et posuit in nobis verbum reconciliationis pro Christo ergo legationem fungimur tamquam Deo exhortante per nos obsecramus pro Christo reconciliamini Deo (2 Cor. 5:18-20 VUL)

It is all God’s work; he reconciled us to himself through Christ and he gave us the ministry of reconciliation.  I mean, God was in Christ reconciling the world to himself, not holding anyone’s faults against them, but entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. So we are ambassadors for Christ; it is as though God were urging you through us, and in the name of Christ we appeal to you to be reconciled to God. (2 Cor. 5:18-20 NJB)

Alles aber kommt von Gott, der uns durch Christus mit sich versöhnt und uns den Dienst der Versöhnung aufgetragen hat.  Denn ich bin gewiss: Gott war in Christus und versöhnte die Welt mit sich, indem er den Menschen ihre Verfehlungen nicht anrechnete und unter uns das Wort von der Versöhnung aufgerichtet hat.  So treten wir nun als Gesandte Christi auf, denn durch uns lässt Gott seine Einladung ergehen. Wir bitten an Christi Statt: Lasst euch versöhnen mit Gott! (2 Cor. 5:18-20 ZUR)

Et le tout vient de Dieu, qui nous a réconciliés avec Lui par le Christ et nous a confié le ministère de la réconciliation.  Car c’était Dieu qui dans le Christ se réconciliait le monde, ne tenant plus compte des fautes des hommes, et mettant en nous la parole de la réconciliation. Nous sommes donc en ambassade pour le Christ ; c’est comme si Dieu exhortait par nous. Nous vous en supplions au nom du Christ : laissez-vous réconcilier avec Dieu. (2 Cor. 5:18-20 FBJ)

The Dictionary of the Bible and Ancient Media

The Dictionary of the Bible and Ancient Media is a convenient and authoritative reference tool, introducing specific terms and concepts helpful to the study of the Bible and related literature in ancient communications culture. Since the early 1980s, biblical scholars have begun to explore the potentials of interdisciplinary theories of oral tradition, oral performance, personal and collective memory, ancient literacy and scribality, visual culture and ritual. Over time these theories have been combined with considerations of critical and exegetical problems in the study of the Bible, the history of Israel, Christian origins, and rabbinics. The Dictionary of the Bible and Ancient Media responds to the rapid growth of the field by providing a source of reference that offers clear definitions, and in-depth discussions of relevant terms and concepts, and the relationships between them.

A review copy was provided some weeks ago and my thoughts on the work follow:

The volume contains a list of entries, a list of contributors (which is almost as long as the list of entries), editorial bios of the three chief editors, a little entry called ‘How to use this book’ and an introduction to media studies and biblical studies.

Entries include such topics as ‘Jan Assmann’, ‘Rudolf Bultmann’, ‘Circumcision’, ‘Code Switching’, ‘Dance’, ‘Epigraphy’, ‘Guslar’ (and I admit, I had no idea what that was supposed to be.  I imagined it must be some sort of Hipster beer or some such thing), ‘Iconography in the Hebrew Bible’, ‘Libraries’, a half dozen or so entries on some aspect of ‘Memory’ (which one would expect given the presence of Chris Keith on the editorial board), ‘Susan Niditch’, ‘Pilgrimage’, ‘Plato (on Writing and Memory)’, ‘Riddles’, ‘Social Memory’ (!), ‘Targums’, ‘Verbatim Memory’ (!!), ‘Wax Tablet’, and a great hoard of others.

It may seem, at first glance, that the topics  selected for entry are completely random, or ideologically motivated.  But that isn’t actually the case.  Rather, the selected topics all do ‘fit together’ and when the volume’s opening section is consulted (the bit called ‘How to use this book’) it all makes actual sense.  It aims, according to the editors, to introduce users to the blossoming field of Media studies and its fruitfulness (or at least potential fruitfulness) for biblical studies, ‘… by providing a convenient handbook of key terms, concepts, methods, and voices that are frequently encountered in media-critical studies of the Bible’.

Naturally, they continue, the entries in the Dictionary are not exhaustive, and many other topics could be included.  Yet it seems clear to this reader that their own key term is ‘communications culture’.  That is the term that summarizes the volume and its central concern.  It is, I presume, the newest ‘buzzword’ and I suspect in the next few years many, many papers at SBL will include somewhere in their titles the phrase ‘Communications Culture’ or ‘Media Culture’.  This volume, to put it plainly, will probably just be the first of many which focus on ‘communications’ in connection with Biblical Studies.

Whether ‘communications culture’ will become the latest flash in the pan fad of biblical studies or whether it will eek out a permanent place in the methodological universe remains to be seen.  We appear to be merely at the opening of the play, with several acts to follow (to mix metaphors).

The question, at present, remains:  is this a useful volume?  Every reader will have their own opinion on the topic and answer to that question, but for my part, I would say yes, very much so; and no, perhaps not.  Allow me to excerpt a portion in illustration of my answer by means of a snippet of the entry on Bultmann:

I think it fair to say that Bultmann would be very surprised to learn that he was a practitioner of ‘Media Criticism of the Bible’.  So perhaps the method is a bit forced at this point.  Perhaps it’s seeing ‘media criticism’ where none is really to be found.  But of course this is a natural stage in the development in any new methodology: in striving to justify its existence, it must provide examples of it.  Sometimes those examples are more than a little tendentious.

However, let me hasten to say that the book does better.  Here’s an excerpt from an entry that actually does have to do with media:

Thus the volume strives mightily to justify itself and its nascent methodology and at some points it fails but in many it succeeds.  For what is essentially the first attempt at a new field in relationship to study of the bible, it’s very useful.

I recommend it.  It will surely be turned to by students and scholars in the near future as a groundbreaking resource.  Whether, however, it has shelf life remains to be seen.

The New And Improved German Bible Society App

Learn about it here.  Download it for iOs  here.

$35 for a fine edition of the Hebrew Old Testament and the Greek New Testament

Here.