Elliott E. Johnson’s, A Dispensational Biblical Theology, now is available on Kindle. It worth reading of all of its pages. Advocates and critics, alike, should respect this work.
My doctoral supervisor, David Hogg, was once asked in my Theological Method PhD seminar what his method is. I still love his response: “I look for patterns and weird stuff.” That is, his approach to reading Scripture consists largely of paying attention to what is repeated and what stands out as extraordinary, either in terms of actual events or their description or both. This interpretive method produces readings that sometimes (many times) vexes those who hold to the historical-critical method and its evangelical cousins.
What, then, are the *theological* rationales that give an interpreter the hermeneutical warrant to link certain biblical texts together in a typological chain? To put a finer historical point on it, why does Irenaeus, in his On the Apostolic Preaching, feel justified in linking the Virgin Birth to the untilled ground out of which Adam is made, or Eve’s creation out of Adam’s rib to…
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Finally, I secured my copy of Edwards the Exegete. I am so excited! It takes a little while to fit a work like this into the budget, even when it is sale price.
Edwards was an incredible Christological, whole-Bible thinker. I hope to learn from his method how to become a better reader of Scripture. From the little bit I have read, I would invite anyone who wants another look at a better understanding of how to read Scripture to slowly wade through Sweeney’s work. It will be worth every effort given to the task. Sweeney is academic, yet lucid in his writing.
When my life was fainting away,
I remembered the LORD,
and my prayer came to you,
into your holy temple.
The mercy and grace of God to Jonah is so breathtaking it almost makes your heart skip a beat. Jonah is going down to his death underneath the sea. He deserves to drown due to his rebellion toward the Almighty and his apathy toward the unbelief of the pagan sailors. Before his lungs burst, he is able to eek out a prayer to the Lord. He is certain that the Lord will hear him.
It is grace to us that we have the story of Jonah, the sign of Jonah, and the antitype of Jonah in Christ. His mercy to us on the Cross and in vacating the grave is greater than being rescued from drowning at the bottom of the sea.
A resource highlighting the grace and mercy of God: Richard D. Phillips’ commentary on Jonah.
I am enjoying greatly Jeremy Treat’s, The Crucified King: Atonement and Kingdom in Biblical and Systematic Theology (Zondervan)! Treat has done a tremendous job in wedding Biblical Theology and Systematic – or Dogmatic – Theology, or rather, in seeing how the Biblical text yields the fruit of both. In particular, others have demonstrated the Markan use of Isaiah in Mark’s portrayal of Christ as King and the crucified one. But they have not done it to the degree that Treat has, neither have they shown so interdependently how “King” guards the truth of the Cross (Systematics), and that the Cross/atonement – as developed through Redemptive History – is what beautifies the role of the King (Biblical Theology). You can read the thoughts of others on Treat’s work below.
I also am most eager for the arrival of Richard D. Phillips’ commentary on John in the Reformed Expository Commentary series (P&R).
Others on Treat’s work:
I just finished Jonathan Pennington’s, Reading the Gospels Wisely, (currently a steal at only $4.99 in the Kindle edition). I highly recommend this text for gaining a greater appreciation of the role the Gospels should play in one’s reading of the entirety of the canon. Pennington and I differ on our hermeneutical approaches to reading texts, but as a whole, his thesis is outstanding.
I was struck by one of the word pictures at the end of the book he uses to highlight the significance the Gospels should play in our corporate worship:
“A rediscovery of the central role of the Gospels in the church will affect our worship services and preaching…. [M]ost liturgical traditions maintain a special regard for readings and expositions from the Gospels…. But in general, the Gospels have tended to play a lesser role in much of American evangelicalism. There ‘the gospel’ has often been boiled down to ‘justification by faith,’ which is then fed to people in moralism-dusted bouillon cubes on a pilaf of pietism. If indeed the Gospels are significant in the ways I have argued in this chapter, this approach will not do if the church is to thrive. Both in our worship-service Scripture readings and in the content of our preaching, the Gospels themselves must play the dominant role. And when the Gospels are read and preached, they must not be used merely as springboards to other doctrinal ideas. Rather, honoring the narrative form of the Gospels, we must enter into the power and tension of the story and apply this to the lives of believers by focusing on the final Word, Jesus the Christ.”
Jonathan T. Pennington, Reading the Gospels Wisely: A Narrative and Theological Introduction (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker, 2012): 256; emphasis mine.
Think about the word picture. Endeavor to eat something vastly different. Get a copy of Pennington’s work.
Related Resource: P. T. Smuts, Mark by the Book: A New Multidirectional Method for Understanding the Synoptic Gospels (P&R); I reviewed here.
It has been my privilege and joy this week to teach the 10-hour course, A Pauline Theology of the Church, for the Mt. Pleasant Baptist Church Christian Education Institute, Washington, DC. The students are asking great questions and providing challenging responses to the presentations.
As promised to the students, I am posting the resources below for further study beyond the the course text:
Thomas Schreiner, Paul: Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ (IVP Academic)
Herman Ridderbos, Paul: An Outline of His Theology (Wm. B. Eerdmans)
Tom Holland, Paul: Contours of a Pauline Theology (Mentor)
I suggest you start with Horton; read with a small group or class. Advance to Schreiner after Horton. Then read Ridderbos and Holland in any order of preference.
Also, as a follow-up to the brief discussion on same-sex marriage, please consider Justin Taylor’s post, “Gay Marriage: Not Just a Social Revolution but a Cosmological One.”
Recently WTSBOOKS interviewed Dr. Greg Beale in conjunction with the release of Beale’s Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament. The interview asks Dr. Beale a few questions related to the interpretation of the text.
I appreciate Dr. Greg Beale’s grounding of interpretation in the inspiration of the words of the writers of Scripture. However, he conflates two ideas that should remain separate in order for us to interpret the text faithfully.
1. Divine Inspiration – by which Beale means revelation, for he is speaking of the broadening of what the author and the Lord are saying through the speaker – and understanding the interpretation of what has been spoken are vastly different concepts. Even knowing that one is speaking, “Thus saith the Lord,” would not necessarily mean that the author would have known his words would go beyond the immediate historical context. One can see this if one appeals to a text like the death of the man of God in 1 Kings 13 rather than a more obviously prophetic passage like the construction of the Tabernacle Exodus 25. The passage on the man of God warned the generation reading 1 and 2 Kings of the authority of the word of the Lord even in the life of one called by God. One does not immediately think that this passage typifies Jesus always doing his Father’s will (cf. Jn. 8:28; 12:49; 14:10) and yet being brought to death by the word of the Lord (Jn. 17:4; cf. Isa. 53:10), does he? Yet with the Tabernacle passage, one has a textual clue that there is more to the instructions than simply earthly blueprints because there is a “pattern” involved (Ex 25:9, 40; cf. Heb. 8:5; 9:23; 10:1).
2. “Context” for spoken words is different than for written words. That is, the words on a page are limited by all of the words around them. The additional, unexpressed mental thoughts of the author that were not communicated in the words do not matter to our task as exegetes, for as readers we have no access to them. We only have access to what is written on the page. If Beale, by intention, means more than “the author’s central idea in the narrow historical context and additional later revelation unknown but suspected by the author,” then I cannot know this, for this is all Beale’s words reveal to the readers of the interview. If he also means by intention, “the author’s effectual hope in the life of the believer and the purposes for which he wrote in response to a historical catalyst,” I cannot know this for it does not come through in the interview. It would be unfair (and illogical) to say that I missed Beale’s “central idea expressed in the text” because I missed Beale’s “effectual hope for the believer.” When E. D. Hirsch spoke of author’s intention, he meant “the author’s central idea in the narrow historical context as able to be discerned by willed verbal meaning and literary clues.” But Beale speaks of a different intention when he says “larger than even he understood,” for he is then speaking of “additional later revelation unknown but suspected on the basis of inspiration.” The two are not the same and should not be confused even though they both fly under a banner of “intention.”
3. In his illustration of enjoying Bach, the listening student, when asked, “Does he like other composers like Vivaldi,” would have been correct to say, “I do not know, for Dr. Beale did not say anything about other composers, neither did he speak of enjoying classic compositions as a whole or of other composers while speaking of enjoying Bach.” The student has no clues in the context to indicate that Beale’s verbal meaning goes beyond “Bach” to “other composers.” No one could fault the student for not knowing Beale’s unexpressed idea(s). However, imagine if the student were reading a paragraph by Dr. Beale that said, “Summer is great! I get uninterrupted time to enjoy my downloads of the Westminster Brass, London Symphony Orchestra, and Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra playing the great masters of history. Ah, there’s nothing I enjoy more in the summer than sitting on the patio, sipping lemonade, and listening to Bach. Listening to the grand symphonies of the Western musical canon rescues my mind from the torture of having to hear Carl Trueman play his rock music around the WTS campus.” Then if someone asked, “Does Dr. Beale also like Vivaldi, or only Bach,” the student could have said, “I suspect he does like Vivaldi, for he likes Bach and ‘the great masters.’” If Beale does not express his intention, it cannot be interpreted, even if it is in his head. He wants the intention in his head to be something that we access in the process of exegesis. However, we cannot because exegesis focuses on ideas expressed (which are limited by the words around them), not unexpressed mental ruminations (which could go on forever). The only ideas upon which we can do exegesis are those expressed by the words in the text, not unexpressed ideas. The resurrection of Christ in Psalm 16 is an expressed idea because “not see corruption” is something that could not refer to David (as Peter notes in Acts 2:29-31, of which Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. provides good exegesis). However, the equal access of Gentiles and Jews as fellow heirs in Christ is not an expressed idea in the Old Testament (Eph. 3:6). It cannot be gained by exegesis, even though it is the Lord’s express purpose (intention) throughout Old Testament Redemptive History to include the Gentiles in redemption with the Jews as one new man.
In the full interview, WTSBOOKS asks Beale,
You express your own position as situated “on the side of those who affirm that the NT uses the OT in line with the original contextual meaning.” (Handbook, p. 13). What do you mean when you speak of “original contextual meaning”? How does this differ—if at all—from strict adherence to a grammatical-historical approach?
If Beale’s answer to the interview questions means something other than, “One’s exegesis of the Old Testament text must factor in that – as the Old Testament authors understood – the spoken/written revelation, as divinely inspired, has thicker intentions that go beyond narrow historical context of the original speaking author, as illustrated by a modern example related to listening to ‘Bach,’” he did not adequately express that as his intended meaning so as to give us access to it.
It is not that intentions are “thicker” and need to be unpacked. Instead, the definitions of “intention” are many, and they need to be expressed. I would recommend Elliott E. Johnson’s Expository Hermeneutics for more on how the written paragraph is the smallest context of interpretation for willed verbal meaning in a text.
This past Sunday, Rev. Gregory M. Sims, Pastor of New Canaan Baptist Church – my pastor – preached two great messages from Gal. 5:22-23 (at 11:00 AM) and Gal. 5:16-18 (at 7:30 AM). In the second message, entitled, “Flowing in Fruitfulness, Part 5: Patience, Kindness, and Goodness,” he made three points related to the definitions of “patience,” “kindness,” and “goodness.” Other important points in the message included these:
I was particularly blessed by his typological use of four Old Testament passages to illustrate the failure or obedience of saints with respect to these products of the Spirit:
Thus, through the one message, Pastor Sims both exhorted us to walking with the Spirit, and he showed us how to read the Old Testament. I am enjoying messages like this each week; I am thankful for my pastor’s labor in the word of God.
I have been enjoying Jonathan Edwards’, Charity and Its Fruits, in preparation for a study series I will be teaching, entitled, “Living the Ultimate: Studies in 1 Corinthians 13.” Charity is Edwards’ series of sermons on 1 Corinthians 13, including the very famous sermon, “Heaven, A World of Love.”
Kyle Strobel recently published an edited version of Charity that is even more enjoyable (and more complete) than the popular version edited by “T. E.” You can read Justin Taylor’s interview with Strobel on the book here. A pdf of the introduction – well worth the read – is available here.
Here is the schedule for, “Living the Ultimate,” as taught on Wednesday evenings, 7:30 PM, at New Canaan Baptist Church, Washington, DC:
Why Live for the Ultimate Rather than Anything Else
Mt. 22:34-40; Jn. 13:34-35; 1 Cor. 13:1-13
A Picture of the Ultimate
1 Cor. 13:1-13
Be the Ultimate or an Annoyance
1 Cor. 13:1
Have the Ultimate or Insignificance
1 Cor. 13:2
Do the Ultimate or It’s Worthless
1 Cor. 13:3
A Compassionate Ultimatum
1 Cor. 13:4
Getting Rid of an Ultimate Problem: Your Selfishness
1 Cor. 13:4-5
The Ultimate Attitude Adjuster
1 Cor. 13:5
The Ultimate Joy
1 Cor. 13:6
You Will Not Get the Ultimate by Quitting
1 Cor. 13:7
Ultimately it is about Meeting Him
1 Cor. 13:8-12
Keeping the Ultimate Ultimate
1 Cor. 13:13
A pdf version of the outline notes for this Wednesday’s study is available here.