New International Commentary for Logos Sale

Reading Acts

NICNT Sale Logos

Logos is running a great sale on volumes of the New International Commentary series from Eerdmans. This includes both the Old Testament series and the New Testament series. Through May 15, 2019 volumes in this series are up to 43% off, including the most recent volumes.

In general, these commentaries are based on the English text with technical lexicial and syntactical information in the the footnotes. These are nonetheless academic commentaries. As with most commentary series, the later volumes are generally more detailed than the earlier ones. The NICNT editor Joel Green characterized the series as “faithful criticism”  which serve “pastors, students, and scholars alike for its attention to the text of Scripture, its currency with contemporary scholarship, and its service to the global church.”

I have reviewed several of these commentaries , so click through to the full reviews on these volumes.

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A Bible Scholar’s Guide to Preaching: Theological Resources (Gupta)

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I have already offered my suggested exegetical resources (including exegetical commentaries)

Here I want to pass on my favorite theological resources to move from biblical text to theology and application

Commentaries

There are many good commentaries that delve into the theological dynamics of the text. Here are some worthwhile series.

BNTC (Black’s) This series balances exegetical study with theological examination

Two Horizons This unique series offers theologically-sensitive exposition, and then also thematic analysis

NTL (New Testament Library) Similar to BNTC

I would also commend reception-oriented series like IVP’s Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture series and the Reformation Commentary on Scripture.

There are a few series written by theologians, not biblical scholars, but they tend to be hit-or-miss (e.g., Brazos, Belief).

Moving into the territory of “application” there are several options.

Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary This series boasts beautiful designs, numerous images and sidebars, great scholars, and a…

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Book Review: Douglas J. Moo, Romans. Second Edition (NICNT)

Reading Acts

Moo, Douglas J. Romans. Second Edition. NICNT; Grand Rapids, Mich.: Eerdmans, 2018. clvi+1027 pp.; Hb.; $80.00. Link to Eerdmans   

Douglas Moo’s 1996 commentary on Romans quickly became a standard reference on Paul’s longest and most important letter. Pauline studies have blossomed in the last twenty years since the first edition was published. Many important monographs and commentaries on Romans have appeared as well as several important Pauline theologies. Many important responses to the New Perspective on Paul were published, such as the two volume Justification and Variegated Nomism (Baker, 2004). Some of these nuanced and expanded Sanders others sought a return to the traditional view of Paul and Judaism. N. T. Wright’s Justification generated various responses, culminating in Wrights massive Paul and the Faithfulness of God (Fortress, 2013) and a collection of essays in response to Wright, God and the Faithfulness of Paul (Fortress, 2017). Since…

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A Bible Scholar’s Guide to Preaching: Meditation

Crux Sola

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Pastors of different types and in different contexts have varying levels of time for “sermon prep.” We all known 5 hours is not enough, but most do not have the luxury of 20+ hours. So, let’s say that we are working in a given week with 15 hours for sermon prep. Everyone approaches this differently, but I tend to try to have a few big chunks to really dig in (e.g., 3-hour block x2) and then some daily re-working, and then practicing the day before and/or the morning of.

Let’s say, then, that for me, the ideal would look something like this (week to week)

Monday: 4 hour block

Tuesday-Thursday: 2 hours each day

Friday: 3 hour block

Weekend: 2 hour practice

I have been teaching pastors and preachers for ten years. I know that there is a temptation to jump into books and look at websites to begin constructing…

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The End Times? – A quick glance at Matthew 24

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The “end times” are an often talked about, much debated, popular topic of the church, and even with some outside of it. The newspaper, the television, and social media feeds are filled with news of trouble and calamity; a fact that leads some to tie the conversation of “end times” into all that trouble and tribulation. Christians, when drawing eschatological conclusions from the troubles in the news, must carefully and wisely discern what they view in the world with the words of Christ in Scripture.

In the following entry, the topic of eschatology, or the end times, will be explored in consideration of Matthew chapter 24. The light shed on the topic, by Jesus’ words Himself, will give sound advice for parishioners who may question or have trouble with what they view on the daily news. In consideration of the end times, and in reflecting on the world in which one lives, one can find hope, anticipation, and optimism in Jesus’ words in Matthew chapter 24, amid the trouble, trial, and despair that surrounds them.

Advice Concerning End Times Based on Jesus’ Eschatological Discourse

Matthew chapter 24 is a difficult section of Scripture, both to understand within its overall context and to apply to our own hopeful anticipation. When one looks at the world around them, there is often much to be negative about, and it’s easy to become apprehensive and anxious instead. Sadly, much literature and teachings on the end times, and Jesus’ return, falsely assume that certain events will signify the specificity of Christ’s return date. Just as the disciples were curious concerning Jesus’ foretelling of the destruction of the Temple (Mt 24:1-2), the modern believer is curious as to when the earth will be destroyed, or similar eschatological belief concerning the end. Rather than focus on the happenings in the news and other such events in the world, one would be better served to realize that not a single event that can occur will point to a direct time or date of Jesus’ second coming.

Jesus’ “parousia”, or second coming “presence” is not signaled by events of the world, however the events of the world display the age in which one lives. Currently, in this post-resurrection, post-ascension world, the age of “overlap,” humanity experiences both the anguish of sinfulness and the hope-filled joys of the coming eternal Kingdom. Although Jesus has defeated sin and death, Christians experience victory, but not the fullness of it. That means that the world will still experience trouble, hardship, war, despair, false hope, and so on. Jesus called these troubles “the birth pangs” (Mt 24:8 NRSV). The birth pangs and Messianic woes are not signals of the coming of Christ, but instead, reminders of the age in which one lives. Just as a pregnant woman prepares for the birth of her child, so too Christians should always be prepared for the return of the King, Jesus. When one focuses too much on a specific event as evidence of Jesus’ exact time of return, they miss the breath of the signs of the age, pointing not to specifics, but motivating believers for preparedness and readiness. Blomberg says, “Like a woman’s contractions before her labor and delivery, these preliminary events remind one of the nearness and inevitability of Christ’s return. But just as a woman may experience false labor and just as genuine contractions still leave her uncertain about the exact time of delivery, so too the events of vv. 4-8 do not enable us to predict the time of Christ’s coming” (Blomberg 1992, 354).

Jesus drives the point of preparation and readiness multiple times throughout his eschatological discourse. For some, the misreading of the signs of the times, as mentioned above, can lead to the opposite effect. Rather than viewing the trouble, despair, and whatever else is going on in the world as a direct sign of Christ’s return, some view the lack of certain events, as time to spare. Instead of an overall sign of an age, some may translate that specific events must occur before Christ will arrive, therefore giving them time to live unpreparedly. For example, if there is no current war, or no current false-Christ that they can interpret, then Christ must not be coming soon. Blomberg rightly says, “Christians who claim they can narrow down the time of Christ’s return to a generation or a year or even a few day’s period, while still not knowing the literal day or hour, remain singularly ill-informed” (Blomberg 1992, 365). Sadly, misreading eschatological events can lead to both unpreparedness or over-anxiousness. Christ points instead to hopeful anticipation amid the fallen world, while always being ready; because no one knows the specific time or date anyhow. Blomberg says, “All these questions about the time of Christ’s return are misguided because no one but the Father knows their answers anyway” (Blomberg 1992, 365).

For those who place their faith, trust, and hope in Christ the end times, although certainly filled with conflict, misfortune, and difficulty, are an anticipative cue that Christ will return. The focus should always be less on the specificity of certain events, and more so on the overall age in which one lives, the overlapping of the ages, the “Messianic woes” (Davis 2018, np). These woes, though painful, point to the great and beautiful day of Christ’s return, the glorious resurrection, final judgement, and the ushering in of the sole reign of God’s Kingdom. As one lives in history, on this side of Jesus’ resurrection, may they be encouraged and confident as Christ’s return is always imminent. Blomberg says, “People must constantly be ready for the possible return of Christ, since he might come at any time and catch some off guard” (Blomberg 1992, 367).

The “End Times” Through the Lens of Matthew Chapter 24 (Past, Future, Present)

Through the lens of Matthew 24, the answer to the question of when, is “Yes” to all three perspectives of past, future, and present. When Jesus speaks with his disciples, he foresees and foreshows several different occurrences, each with varying time sequences. The events that have already happened are Jesus’ fulfillment of the “messianic expectations of Judaism” (Allison 1992, 208). Jesus is the Messiah, fulfilling the prophecies and promises of Israel, ushering in with Him the very eschatological age, the Kingdom of God. Also, included in the past was the physical destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem, which Jesus foretold would be another sign of the birth pangs of this age. The events that will happen in the future are the physical return of Christ, ushering in with it the final judgement, the punishment of the unrighteous, and the creation of the new heavens and new earth (Rev 21:1-8). The events that are happening now, which are detailed in the paragraph above, is the current age, the overlap of the ages, and the messianic woes. The present time is “simultaneously the age of tribulation and the age of the kingdom’s presence” (Allison 1992, 208). Jesus speaks to all three eras.

Conclusion

Eschatology, or the end times, was investigated in consideration of Matthew chapter 24. The light shed on the topic, by Jesus’ words Himself, gives sound advice for Christian parishioners who may question or have trouble with what they view on the news each day. In consideration of these “end times,” and in reflecting on the world in which one lives, one can always find hope, anticipation, and optimism in Jesus’ words, especially in Matthew chapter 24, amid the trouble, trial, and despair that surrounds them. May the believer always live in a prepared state of readiness, as one awaits the glorious day of Christ Jesus’ second coming.

 

 

Bibliography

Allison Jr., Dale. 1992. “Eschatology.” Pages 206-209 in Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. Edited by G. Green, J., S. McKnight, and I. H. Marshall. Downers Grove: InterVarsity.

Blomberg, Craig. 1992. Matthew: The New American Bible Commentary. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman Publishing Group.

The Violence of the Biblical God – L. Daniel Hawk – Eerdmans

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L. Daniel Hawk is professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Ashland Theological Seminary and an ordained minister in the United Methodist Church. He is the author of Ruth in the Apollos Old Testament Commentary series.

L. Daniel Hawk says:

The violence of the biblical God confronts faithful readers with a host of perplexing challenges. The God who decrees “Thou shalt not kill” nevertheless commits and commands killing, sometimes on a massive scale. God’s collusion with violence throughout the Old Testament is difficult to reconcile with Jesus’s commands to love one’s enemies and turn the other cheek. Then there is the matter of how God’s violence has been used to legitimate and direct Christian programs of violence throughout history, from crusades to colonialism. Doesn’t a violent God produce violent followers?

The conversation about God’s violence in our day has largely centered on the question of whether the Old Testament depiction of the violent God is compatible with the God revealed through the teachings and ministry of Jesus. A number of recent and influential books (for example, Gregory Boyd’s The Crucifixion of the Warrior God and Eric Seibert’s The Violence of Scripture), respond with an emphatic “No!” They argue that the violence of the Old Testament God cannot be reconciled with the non-violent teaching and life of Jesus.

It follows then, the argument goes, that all references to God’s violence –whether in word or deed–reflect false or fictional representations of God. These are to be attributed to the incorporation of the violent imagery associated with the religion and deities of the ancient world. Since violent portraits of God arise from flawed ideas about the divine, they do not reveal who God really is and cannot be taken at face value. One must therefore find an alternate way to interpret the images–for example, to allegorize them–or to reject them altogether.

I am uncomfortable with this way of dealing with the issue for a number of reasons. I begin with the assumption that two parts of the canon witness to one and the same God; the God revealed in Israel’s testimony is the God incarnate in Jesus Christ. I see the Bible’s diverse and disparate representations of God as presenting a paradox that requires hard thinking and resists attempts to harmonize.

I’m also uncomfortable with approaches that assert that what the Bible plainly says is not what the Bible really says. How and who decides when the Bible speaks plainly or truly reveals God seems a slippery process. Equally slippery is the tendency to derive theological conclusions from reconstructions of what ancient people were thinking, especially since some reconstructions rest on pure conjecture.

I, therefore, decided to come at the topic of divine violence from a different direction, beginning with approaching all canonical depictions of God as revelatory and the Bible as a revelatory text in its own right. I think it better, as a corollary, to draw theological conclusions from what the biblical text plainly says, rather than on what biblical interpreters think biblical writers were thinking. Finally, I view the Bible as a diverse assembly of witnesses that draws interpreters into an ongoing conversation about how to think and act in alignment with God’s work in our time–as opposed to mining the Bible for categorical moral principles.

In The Violence of the Bible God, I focus specifically on the way that the Bible tells the story of God’s work to restore a damaged creation by working through and with human partners, following the thread of the Primary Narrative (Genesis through 2 Kings) and picking up it up again in Luke and Acts. The narratives, as I read them, depict a God who enters the ungodly mess that humans have made of the world and who, in the process of working and identifying with human partners, is drawn into the maelstrom of violence that configures the world. As the story unfolds, we encounter a God who is deeply committed to those partners and adapts to their situations and behaviors for the sake of the relationship. As a result, over time God becomes entangled in the very systems of human violence and oppression that God opposes.

The project eventually comes crashing down, with God’s chosen people in exile and humbled by the dominant power of their time. The story picks up again, however, in the New Testament, with a new divine approach, which entails God disengaging with rather than working within the oppressive systems of the world. Now standing outside those systems, God is free to fully and clearly reveal God’s nature and priorities through God’s Son.

Taken as a whole, the story of God’s work to renew creation recounts God’s determination to work with and adapt to a collaborative relationship with flawed human partners. It presents multiple, disparate portraits of God working within and God working outside the systems created by wayward humanity. The diversity of canonical portraits, I suggest, signals how the Bible may guide reflection on violence. The canon places various contexts and perspectives in conversation and in so doing invites Christians to extend the conversation into their own contexts.

http://eerdword.com/2019/01/10/meet-this-book-the-violence-of-the-biblical-god/