Tag Archives: biblical theology

How to Go to Seminary for Free without Going to Seminary

biblical-training

There are many who desire the in-depth study of the Bible that one gains in seminary, but cannot afford to allocate the time required. Especially for those who do not aspire to serve in an official ministerial capacity, the time and labor that go into seminary simply are not practical. While online resources abound, some of which I have highlighted on this site (see here), one perhaps stands above the rest in my mind. BiblicalTraining.org (BT) contains a wealth of free, online courses, taught by many first-class professors. With 73 free classes available, anyone can easily gain access to the basics of a seminary education.

Of course, one cannot substitute the value of an on-campus experience. Between the rigor of presenting assignments and interacting with peers and professors in person, seminary is best experienced in the flesh, so to speak. Perhaps most significant, few people have the motivation and stamina to learn the biblical languages on their own (and no, learning the Greek alphabet in your fraternity does not count). But for those unable to pursue a degree in biblical studies, resources like BT may be a great help.

I have known about BT for some time, but have recently come across the accompanying iPhone application. Now, one can easily take lectures on the go, whether redeeming time in the car, or, as I often do, when doing the dishes.

Of the courses available, I want to commend a few that pertain to Old Testament studies. I hope many of you will make use of this great resource. If you benefit from this ministry, do not forget to consider a financial contribution to continue this work (see here).

1) Old Testament Surveys

2) Essentials of the Old Testament

3) Old Testament Theology

4) Essentials of Old Testament Theology

5) Biblical Theology

 

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The Right Doctrine from the Right Text

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G. K. BealeHandbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament: Exegesis and Interpretation. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012, 172 pp.

The New Testament’s use of the Old has been an increasingly popular area of interest in biblical studies. Throughout the diverse spectrum of scholarship, few Evangelicals have made as great a contribution as Greg Beale. Beginning with his 1984 book, The Use of Daniel in Jewish Apocalyptic Literature and in the Revelation of St. John, a revision of his doctoral dissertation, Beale has continued to blaze a trail in the study of the New Testament’s use of the Old, with his most recent addition, a Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, which seeks to outline a methodology for identifying and understanding Old Testament quotations and allusions in the New.

The book, consisting of seven chapters, begins by surveying the introductory issues in the New Testament’s use of the Old, concluding that the New Testament authors display various degrees of awareness of literary and historical contexts of referenced OT passages (12). This conclusion, supported by lengthy bibliographic entries, is evident throughout the remainder of the book as Beale argues for a contextual understanding of OT citations and allusions.

Central to any discussion of the NT’s use of the OT is a discussion of typology, which Beale defines as “the study of analogical correspondences among revealed truths about persons, events, institutions, and other things within the historical framework of God’s special revelation, which, from a retrospective view, are of a prophetic nature and are escalated in their meaning” (14, removed italics). He follows this definition by providing warrants for identifying an OT type, viewing the cyclical nature of biblical narratives as intrinsically forward-looking, which allows for the development of a type in the OT itself. The second chapter continues the discussion of chapter one by defining other significant terms, such as allusion and echo.

The third chapter forms the heart of the book, outlining a ninefold approach for studying an OT reference in the New, beginning with the New and Old Testament contexts. After these contexts have been thoroughly studied, Beale suggests surveying references to the OT passage in early and late Judaism, followed by a comparison of the relevant textual traditions (ie. LXX, DSS, Josephus, Philo, ect.). The remaining steps involve deciphering the NT author’s textual, hermeneutical, theological, and rhetorical use of the OT passage in its present context. Chapters four through six further expound the specifics of these latter steps of the process, together with examples clarifying the method and value of each. The final chapter of the book consists of an illustration of Beale’s ninefold approach that examines the use of Isaiah 22:22 in Revelation 3:7.

The usefulness of this book can hardly be stated for those seeking to rightly handle the Scripture, whether student, pastor, or laity. Beale’s clear writing style, in addition to the uncharacteristic conciseness of the book, makes the method accessible to a wide audience. Furthermore, Beale, while emphasizing the indispensable value of learning the biblical languages, formats the book in such a way that those not familiar with Hebrew and Greek are able to profit just as well from the work.

Yet, together with the method itself, one of the greatest contributions of this book is the organized bibliographic information throughout. With the discussion of each step, Beale points the reader to both primary and secondary sources, allowing the exegete to draw their own conclusion. Also, a hearty bibliography of general reference works on the New Testaments use of the Old may be found at the back of the book.

Beale is to be commended for this book, which outlines the methodology underlying much of his previous work in this field. Though the reader could gain much of the same information by studying the edited volume, Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, the succinct procedure here is far more accessible. By employing the ninefold process, students may be better able to relate the contexts of New and Old Testament passages, building a genuine biblical theology that respects the unity and diversity present in the Scripture, for the ultimate purpose of knowing and loving the sovereign Lord of history.

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