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An Interview with Amy Jill-Levine and Marc Z. Brettler About “The Bible With and Without Jesus”

JW – What is it that drew you to this project? What is its genesis? What provoked you to write such a book?

AJL, MZB – This project is in many ways a continuation of The Jewish Annotated New Testament (2011, 2017), which we edited together. We enjoyed working together – even our disagreements turned out to be enjoyable learning experiences – but the format of that volume, with short glosses, was very constraining, and we realized that we had a lot more to say. We both have had experience in the classroom and in synagogues and churches of finding that Jews and Christians had very different interpretations of the same texts, whether from Genesis or Isaiah, Jonah or the Psalms. In some cases, members of one group would tell us that the other group’s reading was wrong. Since the Bible has always been open to multiple interpretations, since ignorance helps no one and intolerance harms many, and since we want to show that, in biblical interpretation, there can be multiple and even mutually exclusive correct answers, we thought this book – showing respect for each tradition – would be both timely and helpful: timely because it rejects the cancel culture that is becoming so prominent, and helpful because we can only move forward if we listen respectfully to other positions.

JW – Do you think that inter-religious dialogue has ‘taken a hit’ in recent years?

AJL, MZB – Civility has taken a hit, and any sort of dialogue suffers because of it, especially in a political atmosphere that gives priority to one particular form of religious affiliation.

JW – After all this time, why do Christians and Jews still find themselves at odds concerning so many things?

AJL, MZB – Not only are we ignorant of each other’s history, we are not as familiar as we should be with our own, and that includes biblical interpretation. Sometimes we are afraid to ask questions for fear of sounding foolish or, worse, bigoted. Sometimes we rely on incorrect information, often conveyed to us as children by well-meaning but uninformed teachers or clergy. Sometimes we understand a tradition by the worst exemplars of its practitioners rather than by the best. And much too often we define ourselves through negative identity—we are what the other is not. This inevitably leads to misrepresenting the other, and often demonizing them.

JW – Your book is wonderfully organized. Did that happen ‘genetically’ or did you rearrange chapters until you hit upon the present arrangement?

AJL, MZB – Thank you; this was not easy, and we went back and forth several times on the order of the chapters. We tried to follow canonical order, more or less, but that was impossible, since the Jewish Tanakh and the Christian Old Testament are not in the same order. Beginning with creation made sense, and from the beginning we knew we wanted to end with Jeremiah 31, the promise of the New Covenant, a promise that, in our view, remains unfulfilled.

JW – How did you settle on the subtopics in each chapter? There are loads of texts you could have addressed. How did you ‘narrow it down’?

AJL, MZB – This happened pretty organically. The texts that we found the most fascinating turned out, for the most part, to be the texts we have been asked most about by Jews and Christians.

JW – The discussion of ‘prophecy’ is particularly interesting to me. Do you think that the Prophetic literature is the bit of the Hebrew Bible that Jews and Christians see most differently?

AJL, MZB – Yes—and this is a very important point. Even when Jews and Christians share the “same” texts, they often read them differently or evaluate them differently. Select prophetic texts, such as the Emanuel material in Isaiah 7-9 and the so-called “suffering servant” passages have substantially different reception histories—they are crucial to Christians from their earliest history, but of no particular significance within Judaism. The interpretation of Jonah is also quite different within the two traditions.

JW – The discussion of the sacrifice in chapter seven is one of the clearest and most profoundly important treatments of the topic I have seen in a good while. How did you balance the Christian and Jewish views so delicately? I guess what I’m wondering is, how were you able to examine the issues involved so judiciously and theologically? (Biblical scholars aren’t usually known for their theological sensitivity).

AJL, MZB – Ah, now, Jim, surely you are not indicting the entire field. Working on editing the Jewish Annotated New Testament, we had a number of occasions when we asked our contributors to rephrase, precisely because we are aware that words can take on different, sometimes offensive, connotations, depending on the ears that are listening. We insist in our writing and our teaching on being as gracious to others as possible, and therefore on being theologically sensitive. (Contrary to Marcion, being gracious is a good Jewish, and Hebrew Bible value!) One does not need, we think, to agree or to believe in a particular viewpoint to express it in a clear, sympathetic, and straightforward manner. We tried hard to do this throughout, and we appreciate that you recognized our ability to do so. In at least one case, we suspect we’ll get some pushback, and that is in our conclusion that the Epistle to the Hebrews is supersessionist. At the same time, however, we also note that the rabbinic reading of Melchizedek and Psalm 110 can be taken as arguing against Christian readings.

JW – I don’t want to appear to be one of those terrible people who tells authors what they should have written instead of discussing what they did write. But I was stricken by the fact that your treatment of ‘The Son of Man’ made no reference to Mogens Müller’s -“The Expression ‘son of Man’ and the Development of Christology: A History of Interpretation”. Did you simply find it irrelevant?

AJL, MZB – Not at all – it’s an extremely helpful volume and – in retrospect – you’re right; we should have included it. This is one of the many books that primarily traces Christian readings that did not find its way into the bibliography. Our focus for this chapter was primarily the use of this expression in the Tanakh and then in rabbinic literature—since that was less well known.

JW – In chapter 13, ‘In the Interim’, you write

“In the twenty-first century, we are finally at the point where Jews and Christians can read their shared texts differently, and learn from each other. We all can, and must, even read those texts unique to the other’s tradition. Jews do well to read the New Testament and then to share these readings with Christians, and Christians do well to look at nonbiblical Jewish sources and then share them with Jews. We are finally at the point where we can interpret the Bible, whatever its content, not as a zero-sum problem, but as an opportunity to correct certain older readings based in polemic, creating newer ones based on the possibility of mutual respect if not in complete agreement.”

JW – I hope that’s true. Of course, in many places it is. In some it is not. So my final question is, how hopeful are you that Jews and Christians all can do exactly what you describe in that paragraph?

AJL, MZB – We are not naïve enough to believe that “all” Jews and Christians will read this book, and that “all” will instantly adopt the tolerant attitude that we are suggesting. To use a Hebrew Bible phrase—mi yitten—if that were only so! But we have already seen progress made on both sides in this type of mutual understanding, and we have been invited by both Jewish and Christian groups to have conversations about the book (doing this on zoom rather than in person is not as much fun, but it is infinitely easier to schedule). If we can help just a few people be able to see that biblical studies is neither a blood sport nor a zero-sum game, that there is often beauty and inspiration in another’s tradition, and that the nastiness we have found in most of the reception history on both sides serves only to harm, then we will have succeeded.

JW – What’s next? What are you working on now that we can look forward to reading in the near future?

AJL, MZB – Have you any suggestions?

JW – Thank you for your time! And THANK YOU for this wonderfully crafted brilliantly executed book. Please do more of this. Perhaps a commentary on Hebrews from a Jewish and Christian perspective.

AJL, MZB – Given what we’ve said above, that would be a real challenge. It might however be fun to tackle more of the New Testament readings, perhaps of characters in the biblical tradition. We’ve looked at Adam and Eve in this book, but we can envision chapters about Cain and Abel, Noah, Abraham, Sarah and Hagar; the four women in Matthew’s genealogy (Tamar, Rahab, Ruth, Bathsheba), Moses, David, Solomon, Elijah, Jezebel, and of course, the Hebrew Bible’s main character: God.

JW– Whatever you do, we know it will be worth reading.

 

Sacred Journeys in The Counter-Reformation

At this link you can access the front matter and look inside the volume.  DeGruyter have kindly provided a review copy.  More soon.

 

Another Free Book from Logos: A Christological Catechism, by Joseph Fitzmyer

THIS is an EXCELLENT book!  Get it whilst thou canst.

 
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Posted by on 10 Aug 2020 in Biblical Studies Resources, Books

 

Paulus als Erzähler? Eine narratologische Perspektive auf die Paulusbriefe

Coming out tomorrow. I had the joy of reading it at dissertation stage. It really is a deeply thought provoking work.

 

#BookLoversDay Commentary Sale

In honor of #BookLoversDay, get yourself a copy of The Commentary for half price- $40 !!!!

The ‘Person in the Pew’ commentary series is the only series of Commentaries written by a single person on the entire Bible and aimed at layfolk in modern history.  The entire series in PDF format is available from yours truly for, again, today only, a paltry $40.  Order yours by clicking my PayPal Link and be sure to include your email address.

 
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Posted by on 9 Aug 2020 in Biblical Studies Resources, Books

 

#BookLoversDay

The man who does not read has no advantage over the man who cannot read. —Mark Twain #BookLoversDay

 
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Posted by on 9 Aug 2020 in Books

 

August 9- #BookLoversDay

Me too, Desiderius, me too-  even if the meme maker doesn’t know how to spell your name…

 
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Posted by on 9 Aug 2020 in Books

 

Johann Jakob Wettstein’s Principles for New Testament Textual Criticism: A Fight for Scholarly Freedom

In Johann Jakob Wettstein’s Principles for New Testament Textual Criticism Silvia Castelli investigates the genesis, development, and legacy of Wettstein’s criteria for evaluating New Testament variant readings. Wettstein’s guidelines, the Animadversiones et cautiones, are the first well-organized essay on New Testament text-critical methodology, first published in the Prolegomena to his New Testament in 1730 and republished with some changes in 1752. In his essay, Wettstein presents a new text-critical method based on the manuscripts’ evidence and on the critic’s judgment. Moving away from the authority invested in established printed editions, Wettstein’s methodology thus effectively promotes and enhances intellectual freedom. The second part of this volume offers a critical text and an annotated English translation of Wettstein’s text-critical principles.

Coming this Fall.

 
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Posted by on 8 Aug 2020 in Books, Brill

 

Prophets, Priests, and Promises: Essays on the Deuteronomistic History, Chronicles, and Ezra-Nehemiah

Coming early next year:

Shortly before his untimely death Gary Knoppers prepared a number of articles on the historical books in the Hebrew Bible for this volume. Many had not previously been published and the others were heavily revised. They combine a fine attention to historical method with sensitivity for literary-critical analysis, constructive use of classical as well as other sources for comparative evidence, and wide-ranging attention to economic, social, religious, and political circumstances relating in particular to the Persian and early Hellenistic periods. Knoppers advances many new suggestions about significant themes in these texts, about how they relate one to another, and about the light they shed on the various communities’ self-consciousness at a time when new religious identities were being forged.

 
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Posted by on 8 Aug 2020 in Biblical Studies Resources, Books, Brill

 

Folios: Episode One

 
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Posted by on 8 Aug 2020 in Books, Church History

 

The Bible With and Without Jesus: How Jews and Christians Read the Same Stories Differently

A-J has a new book coming out that looks fantastic.

Esteemed Bible scholars Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Brettler take readers on a guided tour of the most popular Old Testament stories referenced in the New Testament to explore how Christians, Jews, and scholars read these ancient texts differently. Among the passages analyzed are the creation story, the role of Adam and Eve, the suffering servant passages in Isaiah, the sign of “Jonah” Jesus refers to, and the words Jesus quotes from Psalm 22 as he is dying on the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

Comparing Jewish, Christian, and academic interpretations of each ancient narrative, Levine and Brettler offer a deeper understanding of these contrasting faiths, and illuminate the  historical and literary significance of the Bible and its place in our culture. Revealing not only what Jews and Christians can learn from each other, The Bible With and Without Jesus also shows how to appreciate the distinctive perspectives of each. By understanding the depth and variety of reading these passages, we not only enhance our knowledge of each other, but also see more clearly the beauty and power of Scripture itself.

A review copy arrived in late July and I’ve been spending a LOT of time with this work. In what follows, I’ll provide excerpts from the volume and then remarks upon them.  Doing this will, I hope, provide potential readers with all the information they will need in order to determine whether or not this is a book that they will want to read.  And, by the way, it is!

First, the table of contents:

The copy provided was a prepublication electronic version, so that should be kept in mind.  Each of the 13 chapters have several subsections, some of them quite short and others of them quite expansive.  Each subsection deals with an aspect of the overarching chapter theme.  So, for instance, on chapter 4-

Each subsection also offers extensive endnotes so that curious readers can pursue even more information on the topics and subtopics of interest to them.  The authors treat the material from the point of view of their respective scholarly positions, but their arguments are so tightly interwoven that there is no way to determine where one begins and the other picks up and carries on.

Some of the more interesting materials are found in chapter 5’s subsection titled:

Aside from the obvious- i.e., that the authors write with clarity and specificity, there is also the fact that they somehow have managed to address the very issues that will be of most interest to modern souls.  Fearlessly.  They simply are unafraid and accordingly they speak frankly and honestly about even the most controversial of topics.

An in depth analysis of the subject of justice, so central these days, leads readers to connect with ancient texts in a profoundly interesting way.  The subject at hand, then after said deep analysis, provokes the further conclusion that

As I suggested above, our authors are fearless. They tackle what must surely be one of the most obvious disagreements between Christians (some, anyway) and Jews: the so called virgin birth.

Honest exposition is so refreshing when so many have an ‘angle’ and the text’s voice is silenced by its supposed interpreters.

One final extract will round out the examples, which, to be honest, could be multiplied into the dozens and hundreds.

Jews and Christians have much in common.  This book will help both Christians and Jews see things from the point of view of the other and by doing so, will facilitate both understanding and hopefully acceptance and love.

This is a remarkable book.  It is an invitation to a dialogue and once entered into, a dialogue that is astonishingly deep and scintillating.  The authors have done us all a very important service by writing it.  It would be a tragedy if you failed to read it.  You won’t know what you’ve missed and any summary will fall short.

Take this book in hand and read it as soon as it’s out.  You owe it to yourself.  You owe it to your own understanding of the message and meaning of the Bible.  And you owe it to your dialogues and interactions with scholars of other traditions.

 
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Posted by on 3 Aug 2020 in Biblical Studies Resources, Book Review, Books

 

Martin Noth Wrote a Lot

Here’s a listing of just some of the things in his bibliography.  Remember, just because something wasn’t published last week doesn’t mean it isn’t worth your time.  In fact in 99% of cases, the best stuff was written before you were born (unless you’re over 50).

 
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Posted by on 3 Aug 2020 in Biblical Studies Resources, Books

 
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The Logos Free Book of the Month is a Good One

 
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Posted by on 1 Aug 2020 in Biblical Studies Resources, Books

 

I’ve Counted Them All… And the (Updated As Necessary) Grand Total of Books in my Library Is…

Books

8,247* volumes.  And as my Seminary Prof said when I asked him if he had read all the books in his library- ‘I’ve read some of all of them, and all of some of them.’

Amen.

_______________________
* denotes the current number, updated 1 August, 2020.

 
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Posted by on 1 Aug 2020 in Books

 

Creator and Creation according to Calvin on Genesis

In her work Rebekah Earnshaw provides an analysis of Creator and creation according to Calvin on Genesis. This offers a new theological reading of Calvin’s Genesis commentary and sermons, with an eye to systematic interests.

This analysis is presented in four chapters: The Creator, The Agent and Act of Creation, Creatures, and Providence. Calvin on Genesis gives unique insights into each of these. First, the Creator has priority in Calvin’s thought. The Creator is l’Eternal, who is infinitely distinct and abundantly for creatures in his virtues. Second, the agent of creation is triune and the act of creation is “from nothing” as well as in and with time. This is a purposeful beginning. Third, Calvin affirms creaturely goodness and order. The relation of humans and animals illustrates Calvin’s holistic view of creation as well as the impact of corruption and disorder. Providential sustenance and concursus are closely tied to the nature of creatures and the initial word. Fourth, fatherly governance for the church is presented separately and demonstrated by Calvin’s treatment of Abraham and Joseph.

Earlier presentations of Calvin on Creator and creation are incomplete, because of the lack of sustained attention to Calvin on Genesis. This analysis supplements works that concentrated on the Institutes and Calvin on Job, by bringing new material to bear. Further, throughout this analysis lies the implicit example of a biblical theologian, who pursues what is useful from scripture for the sake of piety in the church.

Insights from Calvin’s thought on Genesis provide a foundation for systematic work that reflects on this locus and the integrated practice of theology.

Rebekkah’s little book (just over 200 pages) aims to

… provide …  a theological analysis of Creator and creation according to Calvin on Genesis. This brings together three elements: a doctrinal locus, a man, and his exposition of a biblical book in commentary and sermon. Until now, this combination has not been thoroughly scrutinised. Therefore, the question at hand is what contribution do these texts make to our understanding of Calvin’s theology in this area and, hence, in what areas might contemporary theological research be furthered by heeding this new insight.

A simple enough thesis, right?  But filled with perilous paths and dangerous potential pitfalls.  For instance, which of Calvin’s materials to examine?  In what languages?  How extensively?  With what focus?  All of these dangers are seen in advance:

This investigation is prompted and shaped by four factors of increasing specificity: theological interest in Creation, the inclusion of exegesis of Genesis in previous theological work on Creation, publication and translation of Calvin’s Genesis sermons, and limited attention to Genesis in earlier treatments of Calvin on Creation. Each of these makes the present question significant and can be considered in turn.

As part of her survey of the material, E. remarks

This sweeping survey of treatments of Calvin on Creation cannot do justice to their scholarship. However, the purpose here is more modestly to identify that within these earlier works there has been some reference to Calvin’s treatment of Genesis, but there has been no study of its contribution as a whole in this area. The brief comments from the end of Book One of the Institutes remain the authoritative account despite more recent broadening of the horizons within Calvin studies to focus on other texts or diachronic analysis.

This volume remedies that.  Quite nicely and thoroughly.  As she notes later on

Throughout his work on Genesis Calvin promotes faith in the Creator that issues in piety; that is, his exegesis develops doctrine with pastoral outworking. This is not accidental, as Calvin happens to be a theologian who enters a pulpit. Rather, Calvin continually concerns himself with the use of Creation in accordance with scripture in the life of God’s church. His conclusion to his first Genesis sermon is typical in this regard.

That, then, is what we need to remember about these words of Moses, and we must, in short, apply ourselves to this endeavour and become acquainted with God our Creator in such a way that we pay him homage with our lives, acknowledging him also as our Redeemer and confessing that we are doubly obligated to him, so that we may dedicate ourselves completely to his service in all holiness, righteousness, and integrity.

Calvin may be outdated in terms of his scientific understanding of the ‘how’ of creation.  But he remains incredibly relevant when it comes to the theological ‘why’ of creation.  And this book, well written and well executed, helps we 21st century folk hear that ‘why’ with a certain clarity and forcefulness.

 
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Posted by on 30 Jul 2020 in Book Review, Books, Calvin, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht

 

Makers of the Modern Theological Mind: Rudolf Bultmann

9781619708136oDecades ago Morris Ashcraft wrote the definitive exposition of the theology of Rudolf Bultmann.  It also went out of print decades ago and became a classic in the meanwhile.

Hendrickson has, thankfully, republished this masterpiece in paperback and made it once more easily available.

How can modern scientific humanity understand the strange religious language of the Bible? This is one of the questions Rudolf Bultmann (1884–1976) spent his life answering. As a devout Lutheran committed to the Christian faith, Bultmann’s concern was how to make Christianity intelligible in the twentieth century. His concept of demythologizing was part of his lifelong attempt to help people “hear” the Christian gospel and respond to it authentically. All of this originated out of a genuine pastoral concern to highlight the nature of New Testament faith. As Morris Ashcraft writes, “He stands alongside Karl Barth as a man who changed the direction of theology significantly and perhaps permanently.”

In this book, along with a brief biographical sketch, Morris Ashcraft provides a concise and reliable guide to Bultmann’s system of thought and his continuing influence.

Dean Ashcraft was at Southeastern Seminary while I was there doing an MDiv and a ThM and a finer scholar and Christian you’ve never met.  His book on Bultmann remains the finest of the genre.  Students of the New Testament should all be required to read it.

 
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Posted by on 30 Jul 2020 in Book of the Week, Books, Modern Culture

 

The Ascension of Christ: Recovering a Neglected Doctrine

Lexham have sent this along for review:

The good news of Jesus includes his life, death, resurrection, and future return—but what about his ascension? Though often neglected or misunderstood, the ascension is integral to the gospel.

In The Ascension of Christ, Patrick Schreiner argues that Jesus’ work would be incomplete without his ascent to God’s right hand. Not only a key moment in the gospel story, Jesus’ ascension was necessary for his present ministry in and through the church. Schreiner argues that Jesus’ residence in heaven marks a turning point in his three-fold offices of prophet, priest, and king. As prophet, Jesus builds the church and its witness. As priest, he intercedes before the Father. As king, he rules over all.

A full appreciation of the ascension is essential for understanding the Bible, Christian doctrine, and Christ’s ongoing work in the world.

Weighing in at a slight 116 pages, this little work aims to highlight the significance of the ascension of Christ in terms of his threefold office as Prophet, Priest, and King.  That being its aim, it is a success.

Schreiner does a good job tying together the threads of Christ’s multiform work and the ascension.  He also does a good job of assembling the relevant biblical and theological material.  And, most importantly, he doesn’t attempt to say too much.  He allows the material to set the parameters instead of trying to fill the work with fluff and irrelevancies.  This book could have turned into some 300 page monstrosity had Schreiner lacked the good sense that he clearly possesses. As it stands, however, it is like the porridge that Goldilocks ate: it’s cooked just right.

The book can be faulted, though, for including reference to Calvin and Bavinck while completely and inexplicably ignoring both Luther and Zwingli. Both of whom had important things to say about the Ascension of Christ and which could have been included herein for fullness sake.  Still, I don’t want to appear to be one of those terrible people who tell an author what I want rather than examine what he himself wrote.  Yet I would fail in my duties to full disclosure of the work’s strengths and weaknesses if I failed to remark concerning this chink in its argumentative armor.

To be fair, every theological work should include some bit or other from Luther and Zwingli.  And when they don’t, they aren’t all that they could be.

Another bit of a blunder is found in the Index, which while being useful, has ‘Y’ where there should be a ‘T’.  Someone must have seen a ‘T’ at some point in the editorial process, but I assure you, it is a ‘Y’.

All in all, however, this is a delightful book.  And I recommend it.  Unhesitatingly.

 
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Posted by on 27 Jul 2020 in Book Review, Books, Theology

 

The Good Old Days…

When the herd weren’t allowed to distort the Scriptures-

 
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Posted by on 27 Jul 2020 in Bible, Books, Church History

 

Everyday Prayer With the Reformers

When God’s children pray, we talk to a God familiar with the requests, praise, and longings of generations of his people. We have much to learn from those who went before us. In this devotional, Donald McKim takes us back to the wisdom of over twenty Protestant Reformers—including John Calvin, Martin Luther, and Philip Melanchthon. As McKim draws from the insightful writings and prayers of the Reformers of yesteryear, he provides brief, meditative readings, along with reflection questions and prayer points, to nourish our prayer lives today.

McKim here aims to provide

… a series of short devotional reflections on quotations from Protestant Reformers that are drawn from a variety of sources.

To fulfill his aim, he begins with the prayer of Zwingli at the opening of the Prophezei (more on this in a moment) and naturally that decision sets the tone for the whole.  Entering into the act of study necessitates prayer.  Indeed, entering into a new day also necessitates prayer.  Navigating life necessitates prayer.  Prayer is necessitated by existence.  And so McKim opens the door to various Reformers and their studies or libraries and lets us sit with them or kneel with them as they perform the most essential daily act- the act of prayer.

And what better way to begin, as suggested above, than to say, with Zwingli,

Almighty, eternal and merciful God, whose Word is a lamp unto our feet and a light unto our path, open and illuminate our minds, that we may purely and perfectly understand your Word and that our lives may be conformed to what we have rightly understood, that in nothing we may be displeasing to your majesty, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Making use of Scripture and brief devotional observations, McKim interweaves appropriate citations from the leaders of the Church and offers those of us who pray a little guidebook and aid to deepen our own devotional practices.

Each devotion begins with a passage from Scripture and this, which should be read first of all, introduces the remarks of McKim which follow.  At the conclusion of each devotional a question is posed and readers/ users are invited into the dialogue between Scripture and theologian.

Following is a sample-

Why Do We Need to Pray?
Psalm 50:12–15

A direct and most precious promise about prayer comes from Psalm 50: “Call on me in the day of trouble; I will deliver you, and you shall glorify me” (v. 15). This is a promise for all seasons. We may need to pray to God because we are facing a “day of trouble.” When we do, the promise “I will deliver you” is given. Then, our need is to pray to express our deepest thanksgiving for what God has done in delivering and helping us. We shall “glorify” God by giving gratitude to our deliverer! This is captured by the Heidelberg Catechism. It asks, “Why is prayer necessary for Christians?” The answer is “Because it is the chief part of the thankfulness which God requires of us.”

While we need to pray to seek God’s help, we also—especially— need to pray to express our most profound thanks for the help we receive. We glorify God with our praise and thanks. We also glorify God by what we do to live out our gratitude in commitment and service to the One who delivers and saves us.

This response of thanks is a primary mark of a Christian, according to the Reformers. We are supremely people of thankfulness. We are those who live in the grip of gratitude to the God who gives us salvation in Jesus Christ, who died for us. We cannot help but pray in praise to our God!

Prayer Point: Pray and request help for the “troubles” of your life. Pray also in deep thankfulness and praise for God’s help in delivering you.

This little book is a treasure trove of devotional helpfulness.  Not only does each devotion bring readers nearer to the goal of godliness, each citation from the various Reformers which intersperse the little work bind us to our theological heritage and remind us that we are members of a ‘great cloud of witnesses’ who are – because of that – neither alone nor abandoned.

Take, for instance, this prayer of Melanchthon-

I give thanks to Thee, Almighty God, for revealing thyself to me, for sending thy Son Jesus Christ, that he might become a sacrifice, that through him I might be forgiven and receive eternal life. I give thanks to Thee, O God, for making me a recipient of thy great favor through the Gospel and the Sacraments, and for preserving thy Word and thy Holy Church. O that I might truly declare thy goodness and blessings! Inflame me, I earnestly beseech Thee, with thy Holy Spirit that thanksgiving may shine forth in my life. . . . Enlighten my heart, I beseech Thee, that I may be more fully aware of thy favor toward me and forever worship Thee with true thanksgiving. — Philip Melanchthon

The body of Christ transcends time and space.  By means of texts such as these and biblical citations and helpful devotional observations and probing questions, we are engrafted more firmly into that body.

Professor McKim is to be thanked for his wonderful work and his cogent spirituality.  All persons, whatever their theological persuasion, will find value in this volume, but the Reformed especially will be especially encouraged.

 
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Posted by on 20 Jul 2020 in Book Review, Books, Church History, Theology

 

The Theology of Jeremiah

John Goldingay has a book forthcoming

In The Theology of Jeremiah, Goldingay considers the prophet Jeremiah himself, his individual circumstances and those of Judah, and his message. Though Jeremiah’s message varies throughout the book, we gain insights into Jeremiah’s theology by viewing the book in its entirety. In doing so, we learn about God, Israel as the people of God, the nature of wrongdoing and prophecy, and what we know about the future.

 
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Posted by on 16 Jul 2020 in Biblical Studies Resources, Books