Tag Archives: New Testament

Biblia Graeca – Septuagint + NA28

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I believed on faith, but now I have seen with my own eyes. The much anticipated Biblia Graeca, including both the Septuagint and the newly published NA28 in a single volume, is scheduled for release this Fall.  At present, there is a 20% discount. You can view it here.

(HT: Jim West)

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When God Hates Your New Testament

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I’m not sure why I continue to be surprised by the conventions of the “spiritual-but-not-religious” movement, but find myself here again. I was recently alerted to the release of a self-proclaimed “new New Testament” edited by Hal Taussig of Union Theological Seminary (New York). The book includes the original texts found in the New Testament supplemented by texts such as the Gospel of Mary, The Secret Revelation to John, and the well-known and loved Gospel of Thomas.

This compilation of texts stems from a council of scholars and “spiritual leaders,” who thoughtfully considered what Bible would serve the twenty-first century. Herein lies the impetus behind this project: modern men and women need a modern Bible. For too long orthodoxy has bound individuals seeking to connect with the divine, but now it is time for a bigger picture of God that accommodates the contemporary climate of our world. The list of contributors alone, including the likes of John Dominic Crossan and Barbara Brown Taylor, alerts the reader to the spiritual trajectory of the work. This inclusive view of God stands in direct opposition to historic orthodox Christianity, which now is cast as the younger brother of Fundamentalism.

This brand of revisionist Christianity is nothing new. Certain schools of scholars have long since sought to redefine what has been considered orthodox by the Christian church for centuries. But, surprisingly, these theories rarely enjoy a long track record, though the ghost of Walter Bauer has been sighted in the pages of some contemporary works such as those of Bart Ehrman. It seems that orthodoxy has a pesky way of sticking around.

Now let me be clear what I am not saying. I am not suggesting that anyone be shielded from non-canonical Gospels and Epistles. In fact, I advised Christians to read the stuff. But what I am saying is that these ancient texts need to be set in proper relation to the New Testament canon itself. While some of these texts must be recognized as heretical, others actually provide valuable insight into the world of early Christianity (defined in the narrow sense). And while these texts may prove helpful, they must remain distinct from the NT canon itself. So, everyone should read the texts found in this book, but everyone should know what they are and what they aren’t.

This discussion is directly linked to the question of the New Testament canon. And though such questions are complex and at times messy, a better resource could not be found than the work of Michael Kruger, President of RTS Charlotte ( See here). Kruger has penned some of his initial thoughts on “a New New Testament” here.

Also, Dan Wallace has written an additional review of “a New New Testament,” which I highly recommend. Read it here.

In the final analysis, the issue comes down to whether we can be ok with a God who talks about sin and the need for a savior. Whether we can allow God, not our feelings or natural inclinations, to define reality. Whether we will hear the bold claim of Jesus that any attempt to connect to the divine apart from a bloody cross and an empty tomb is folly. Or will we content ourselves to a “I’m ok, your ok” form of spirituality? I recommend sticking with the “old” New Testament, by which millions have met an able savior in the Lord Jesus Christ.

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Some Helpful Guidelines for Evangelical Scholarship

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For Evangelicals who traverse the waters of biblical Scholarship, the tension between the critical study of the Bible and reverence for it as the inspired Word of God hangs in a delicate balance. While it is popular to simply write off Evangelicals as enemies of progress who unnecessarily resist the tides of contemporary scholarly opinion, others recognize the presence of presuppositions on both sides of the divide.

As those who have been saved by grace, Evangelicals cannot reduce the Bible to just another literary product of the ancient world. Rather, Evangelicals must seriously think through the various issues that intersect in our doctrine of Scripture. Questions of historical matters and textual problems must be addressed; context and canon must be understood; and, the place of reason and faith must be weighed. For the Church of Jesus Christ to be built, truth must be the catalyst for our endeavor.

Though these issues can be complex, the Baker Academic Blog has  posted a list of Ten Guidelines for Evangelical Scholarship from NT scholar Donald Hagner. This list synthesizes the central points of the matter, allowing for both an appreciation for the humanity of Scripture, notwithstanding its divine origin. As those with a high view of Scripture, Evangelicals must learn think critically, all the while proclaiming the good news of our resurrected king.

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And A Carnival it is…

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I wake up on the first of every month with a sense of anticipation. It’s kind of like Christmas, but, without all the baggage. For, it’s time for the biblical studies carnival: a monthly synopsis of blog posts on subjects related to biblical studies.

This month, Jim West has put together our carnival. And, as anyone familiar with Jim’s blog will know, it is not the least bit dull. In addition to his colorful commentary, Jim links to many good posts on Hebrew Bible, New Testament, DSS, ect. The carnival itself is dedicated to Mack Brady, son of Jewish Literature Professor of Penn State Christian Brady, who recently passed away at the young age of eight years old.

Some highlights of the carnival include a couple posts by my friend Brian Davidson on discourse analysis and the book of Jonah, Rusty Osborne’s post on John Walton’s guiding principals for ANE comparative study, and a link to the newly released Marginalia Review of Books site. And just in case that was not enough, we have the privilege of seeing Jim in a Snuggie.

I am looking forward to next month’s carnival, put on by Drewe at Delving into the Scriptures. Phil Long is always looking for new folks to host carnivals, so for more information see here.

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Can You Skip 1st year Greek?

Over the course of my studies, I have met scores of seminary students who have told me their plan to study the bare bones of elementary Greek in order to “knock out” the required language courses, hoping all the while to gain proficiency in Bible software programs to aid them in their ministries. A couple weeks ago, Rod Decker posted some observations on this approach. His comments are well worth reading. He asks in conclusion, “do you want to learn Greek (or Hebrew)? Or do you want to learn software?” This is a warning that all ministers should note in their use of the original languages, as we have all seen the danger of their misuse.

See Decker’s comments here

Another classic resource is Don Carson’s Exegetical Fallacies 

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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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