Tag Archives: Bible

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.

A Book That Tells The Biblical Story from A-Z

TVZ_ABC_Cover_Vor.inddIm neuen Buch «Buchstabe für Buchstabe» erzählt Käthi La Roche biblische Geschichten so packend und verständlich, dass man sie auch Kindern sehr gut vorlesen kann. Im Interview erläutert die ehemalige Grossmünster-Pfarrerin die Motivation für das Buch.

What follows in the article is a very nice interview with the author about her book. It’s published by the brilliant folk at TVZ.

Wenn Kinder lesen lernen, gehen neue Welten auf. Auf diesen Entdeckungsreisen können Erwachsene die Kinder begleiten. Beim gemeinsamen Lesen, Buchstabe für Buchstabe, tauchen Klein und Gross in die Welt des Glaubens ein. Hannes Binder hat jeden Buchstaben des Alphabets so illustriert, dass man erahnen kann, welche meist biblische Geschichte Käthi La Roche in der Folge dazu nacherzählen wird. Pro Buchstabe erklärt die Autorin ausserdem einen Grundbegriff des christlichen Glaubens.

Das Buch macht Mut, miteinander über Fragen, Worte und Glaubensinhalte zu sprechen. Es animiert dazu, die Bilder gemeinsam zu betrachten, die Geschichten zu erzählen und Buchstabe für Buchstabe mit den Kindern das Alphabet zu lernen – das Alphabet des Glaubens.

S.T.E.P. (Scripture Tools for Every Person)

A fantastic new web resource from our friends at Tyndale House has gone live and it’s titled ‘STEP” – which stands for Scripture Tools for Every Person.  Here are some screenshots showing just a very few of the features.  Note, though, that hovering your mouse over any word in the English version and up pops (in either the Greek or Hebrew text) the underlying text (click the images to enlarge) :




This is one of my favorite features:  hover your mouse over a word and the occurrences in the displayed text are highlighted and the word’s definition pops up in a box at the top right (for Greek and Hebrew both) :


You can check out the folk who worked on the project here.  I think this is one of the best resources on the web for biblical research.  It is exceptionally user friendly and easy to navigate.  We all owe the folk at Tyndale House a hearty thank you.

Why Mark Burnett’s ‘The Bible’ is Rubbish

Fuller ANE Studies writes on the facebook-

No wonder the series’ advance defenders have been NT scholars. This review answers one of my main questions about the series: Only five of the ten episodes are dedicated to the Old Testament. That was never going to work from a narrative perspective, since the OT is 3/4 of the Bible. It’s a misrepresentation of the Bible, and it reinforces in the popular mind that the actual history of Israel and Judah is of no consequence. Also learned this: “The sins of Sodom are represented by kissing, dancing and fire-eating.”

Absurd dilettantism is all we can expect from Hollywood.  They never get it right and they never will until such time as they inquire of and follow the guidance of actual biblical scholars.  Mark Burnett knows less about the Bible than Simcha knows about actual archaeology.  Indeed, you have to give it to Jacobovici, he may be a sensationalizer but he knows at least a tiny bit.  The same can’t be said of Burnett.

No one who watches the series by Burnett should labor under the delusion that it is at all accurate.  The parts I’ve seen definitely haven’t been and even when he uses scholars he cuts and pastes and they end up saying things I seriously doubt they have said.

Finally, as an aside, I got an email from Christianbooks.com saying that they highly recommended the series.  For shame.

Biblica Online

Dear Reader

We are pleased to inform you that Fascicle 93/4 (2012) of our journal is now available on-line at its usual site.

In this issue you will find the following articles and short notes:

Kalimi Isaac, «King Solomon: His Birth and Names in the Second Temple Period Literature» Vol.93 (2012) 481-499

Pinker Aron, «On the Meaning of Job 4,18» Vol.93 (2012) 500-519

Schütte Wolfgang, «Die Amosschrift als juda-exilische israelitische Komposition» Vol.93 (2012) 520-542

Thiessen Matthew, «Abolishers of the Law in Early Judaism and Matthew 5,17-20» Vol.93 (2012) 543-556

Ferda Tucker S., ««Sealed» with the Holy Spirit (Eph 1,13-14) and Circumcision» Vol.93 (2012) 557-579

Noonan Benjamin J., «Hide or Hue? Defining Hebrew THS» Vol.93 (2012) 580-589

Kilgallen John, «Was Jesus Right to Eat with Sinners and Tax Collectors?» Vol.93 (2012) 590-600

Swetnam James, «The Meaning of tois akousasin at Hebrews 4,2» Vol.93 (2012) 601-608

As usual, you will find on our pages the complete index of this issue and those of the last eighteen years, summaries of articles published over the last seventeen years and the complete text of articles and shorter contributions published since 1998.
We very much hope that our service will help the continuously increasing number of our on-line readers in their biblical research. We will be happy to receive your comments and suggestions.

Sincerely yours

Roger Boily,
Managing Editor of the On-line edition

Knoxville Is the ‘Most Bible Minded’ City in the Country

Barna’s research shows that Knoxville is the city with the highest percentage of the population reading the Bible.  Providence, RI and Bedford, MA have the least bible readers:

barna_biblemindedcities_preview1click to enlarge.

An interesting study and altogether unsurprising.  If only all those Bible readers were actually practitioners of faith.  Now THAT would be report-worthy.

Friedman Responds to Lemche

Richard Friedman has today responded to Lemche’s essay of yesterday in Bible and Interpretation. In a word, he didn’t like it (but surely no one thought he would), concluding-

Enough of this “scholarship” that needs to include aspersions against the objectivity of other scholars, even when agreeing that their central point in an article was right.

The Politics of Israel’s Past: The Bible, Archaeology and Nation-Building

A forthcoming volume edited by Keith Whitelam and Emanuel Pfoh

Myself and Keith Whitelam in Sheffield

It is not uncommon that historical images—presented as simply given, self-evident and even indisputable—are employed in political readings of the past and used as a legitimizing tool. For that reason, the authors of this volume, biblical scholars, archaeologists, anthropologists and historians, undertake a deconstruction of modern biblical discourses on the Bible’s production and the history of ancient Israel, enabling the exploration of critical approaches to ancient Palestine’s past, to the history of the peoples of the region, to the history of the biblical text(s) and, last but not least, to the modern political uses of biblical narratives as legitimizing land ownership and nationalisms.

Among the topics treated are the appearance of Judaism and its connection to the production of biblical literature, the politics of archaeological practice in Israel, the role of archaeology in the production of nationalist narratives of the past, the relationship between genetic studies and Jewish nationalism, and the prospects for writing critical histories of ancient Palestine beyond biblical images and religious and political aspirations.

Each article illustrates the close relationship between the Bible, archaeology and processes of nation-building in the State of Israel. The Politics of Israel’s Past concerns itself both with the ways in which contemporary politics affects the knowledge of the past and with the processes by which constructions of an ancient past legitimate modern political situations.

Tavern Fools

A pastor entered a tavern where a man, wishing to embarrass him, rose and suddenly called out quite loudly, “Es gibt keinen Gott” (“There is no God”). The pastor went to him, calmly laid his hand on his shoulder, and said, “Friend, what you have said is not at all new. The Bible said that more than 2,000 years ago.” The man replied, “I never knew that the Bible made such a statement.” The pastor informed him, “Psalm 14, verse 1, tells us, “The fool says in his heart, there is no God.” But there is a great difference between that fool and you. He was quite modest and said it only in his heart; he didn’t go about yelling it out in taverns.” — Anon.

From the Introduction…

Of the soon to appear Archaeology, Bible, Politics, and the Media: Proceedings of the Duke University Conference, April 23-24, 2009, edited by our friends Eric and Carol Meyers —

The editors hope that this collection of essays and responses will provide valuable insights to scholars who seek a better relation with and understating of the media and who hope to avoid the pitfalls of sharing their expertise with the general public. We also hope that journalists, reporters, and documentarians might come across this book and become sensitive to the concerns of those whose expertise is essential to them when they deal with biblical and archaeological subjects. Finally, we hope that all readers will be made aware, if they aren’t already, that the discoveries of both biblical studies and archaeology are all too easily distorted and misrepresented by the religious or political agendas of others.

Here’s the extensive Table of Contents:

Fantastic News on the ‘Biblical Text Digitized’ Front

Die Transkription des Neuen Testaments des Jan Utenhove, erschienen 1556 in Emden, ist seit dem 3. September 2012 auf der Website der Digitale Bibliotheek voor de Nederlandse Letteren (www.dbnl.nl) einzusehen. Unter der Leitung von Drs. Hans Beelen, Niederlandist an der Universität Oldenburg, haben 39 Ehrenamtliche über eineinhalb Jahre an der Transkription gearbeitet. Es ist die neunte historische Bibelübersetzung, die im Rahmen des Bibeldigitalisierungsprojekts im Internet editiert wurde.

You can access it directly here.

Did Jesus Walk on Water? Or Bones???

A humorous little tale highlighting the importance of proper translation of the Bible:

Isn’t the Bible in the regional or national language adequate? After attending a recent church service, Lika speakers in Democratic Republic of Congo answered a quick and confident, “No!”

During the Sunday service the Congolese pastor was preaching in French, the national language. An interpreter stood at the front of the church, ready to orally translate the pastor’s message into Lingala, the regional language, for the benefit of those not fluent in French.

The pastor read Matthew 14:25 from his French Bible, “And late in the night, Jesus came towards them, walking on the water.” The interpreter then translated the verse into Lingala. Unfortunately, the French words for “water” and “bone” sound the same. The interpreter had Jesus walking on bones rather on water! Many people were mystified and confused: How did Jesus walk on these bones? Who put the bones there for Jesus? Who had killed the people so Jesus would have bones to walk on?

Many left the service that day with irrelevant questions clouding their minds rather than understanding and awe filling their hearts. The Lika team is now thoroughly convinced of the need for mother tongue Scriptures.

Yes, clearly, a proper translation is needed!  Jesus didn’t tread on bones.

Just Because You Love The Bible Doesn’t Mean You’re A Competent Exegete

Just as just because an elderly woman loves art, it doesn’t mean she’s competent to restore a faded masterpiece.

The woman, in her 80s, was reportedly upset at the way the fresco had deteriorated and took it on herself to “restore” the image. BBC Europe correspondent Christian Fraser says the delicate brush strokes of Elias Garcia Martinez have been buried under a haphazard splattering of paint. The once-dignified portrait now resembles a crayon sketch of a very hairy monkey in an ill-fitting tunic, he says.

What she did to the painting is what too many do to the Bible. And the Bible is far more important than a painting and yet, for some reason, dilettantes of every age and social location imagine themselves master-workers competent to render it correctly. They aren’t.

That ‘study to show yourself an approved workman’ bit in 1 Timothy… yeah, take that seriously.

Reason 99,099 That God Should Destroy the World

Or at least take the Bible out of 99.9% of people’s hands…  Via Josh Carel and ‘What Bible Students Say’ on the twitter-

“We are in world that is freedom of everything but this does not mean The words of God should be literally translated.”

Sigh.  I hope this kid is going into academic theology and not pastoral ministry.  There are already too many ignorant Parsons and this chap (or chapette) would just befoul the pool more.

Good for Poland

 A Polish pop singer has been fined for disparaging the Bible. Dorota Rabczewska, who goes by the stage name Doda, said in an interview that she doubted the Bible because “it’s hard to believe in something that was written by someone drunk on wine and smoking herbs.” She was fined $1,450 for offending religious feelings, reports AP. The case was seen as a test of continuing Catholic influence and freedom of expression in the increasingly secular nation.

Dodo.  She’s obviously projecting the method by which she produces her own music onto the authors of the Bible.

I know, I know, everyone loves all the ‘free speech’ stuff (when it suits them).  But I’m happy to see, from time to time, the same kind of intolerance aimed at the angry atheists as is aimed at Christians by them all the time. Personally I think it would be grand if anyone who demeaned the Bible were tossed over to Poland for a couple of years.

Are You Looking for a Study Bible?

Look no further! The German Bible Society has just announced the Stuttgarter Erklärungsbibel: Jubiläumsausgabe 2012

Aus Anlass des 200jährigen Bestehens der Stuttgarter Bibelgesellschaft erscheint die Stuttgarter Erklärungsbibel in dieser besonders schönen und hochwertigen Jubiläumsausgabe. Das Äußere und der Inhalt stehen in bestem Einklang – ein gediegenes, in Leder gebundenes Buch und eine Studienbibel, wie man sie sich wünscht: die klassische Übersetzung Martin Luthers, einschließlich der Apokryphen, mit historischen und theologischen Kommentaren direkt bei den entsprechenden Textabschnitten. So kann man in kompakter Form eine erste exegetische Orientierung zu allen Texten der Bibel gewinnen.

Über den kommentierten Bibeltext hinaus bietet die Ausgabe zahlreiche Verweisstellen am Fuß der Seiten, Einleitungen und Inhaltsübersichten zu den einzelnen biblischen Büchern, ein kleines Bibellexikon in Gestalt von umfangreichen Sacherklärungen im Anhang, mehrere Landkarten und eine Zeittafel zur biblischen Geschichte.

It’s rather pricey but…. I’d rather pay it for a Bible than a video game console.  I wonder if the James Spinti over at Eisenbrauns can get it on order…  I suppose I should ask.

The Teacher Arrested: For Having Hymns on his Laptop…

Not for having something evil- but for having Christian hymns on his school laptop

Indian teacher Shijo Kokkattu was arrested last week on Raa Atoll for possession of Catholic imagery and a Bible.  A Raafainu School teacher had contacted police after finding what appeared to be Christian hymn videos on a school computer, which 30 year-old Kokkattu had allegedly transferred from his personal flash drive by accident.  Foreign media and school sources reported that religious songs and pictures had been transferred onto the desktop of a school laptop, which Kokkattu had used.

That’s a singularly odd reason to arrest someone.  The moral?  Don’t visit the Maldives!

Kokkattu, of Kerala, India, had been teaching at Raafainu School for two years before his arrest. “He was a very good teacher, we’ve not had any complaints of him in the past,” said Shiraj.  Shiraj said Kokkattu had not shown the material to anyone.  Meanwhile, the Global Council of Indian Christians (GCIC) has demanded in regional media that the Indian government seek an apology from the Maldives over Kokkattu’s treatment.  “The lack of justice and the degree of religious intolerance in the Maldives is reflected by the actions of the Maldives government,” GCIC President Sajan K George told Asia News. “This is the worst form of religious persecution. The Indian government should demand an apology for the shabby treatment inflicted on one of its citizens.”

A Public Lecture At the University of Chicago

This would be fun- but it coincides with the Reformation Spirituality Conference I’m already committed to attend. But if you’re in Chicago-land, you should go.

lecture series at uchicago divinity school: the matter of israelite religion Don’t miss this excellent lecture series at the University of Chicago Divinity School entitled, “The Matter of Israelite Religion.” The four-part lecture series, cosponsored by the Chicago Center for Jewish Studies: “will highlight recent material finds relevant to, and theoretical advances in, the study of ancient Israelite religion, with implications for biblical literature and ideas.” The lectures are scheduled as follows: TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 1 … Read More

via XKV8R: The Official Blog of Dr. Robert R. Cargill