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Showing posts from September, 2009

God's Love in Jude 1

Jude 1 reads, 'Jude, a servant of Jesus Christ and a brother of James, To those who have been called, who are loved in God the Father and kept for Jesus Christ:' (TNIV). The big debate in this verse is over the phrase ἐν θεῷ πατρὶ ἠγαπημένοις which the TNIV translates 'who are loved in God the Father' (the NASB, ESV, RSV, and NRSV are similar). The NIV translates the phrase 'who are loved by God the Father' (as does the HCSB). The question is on how to best translate 'ἐν in this case, is it 'in' or 'by?' Commentators are split, with Bauckham and Davids following the TNIV and translating it 'in.' Reese and Green go with 'by.'

If you're interested in the argument based on Greek, it follows in the rest of this paragraph. Green claims that the translation 'by' because in this case ἐν plus a dative expresses personal agent. Bauckham and Davids suggest that if Jude wanted to say 'loved by God', there was a muc…

Giving Thanks to the Glory of God

While commenting on Jonah 2:2-9, a psalm of thanksgiving, Elizabeth Achtemeier says, "The basic meaning of 'to give thanks' in Hebrew thought was 'to confess,' and so God was not properly thanked until the deliverance was recounted in the congregation and it was inspired to praise God's name" (Achtemeier p. 271). I think that this is an excellent reminder of how thanksgiving is supposed to function. So often when we see God move on our behalf our thanksgiving is only uttered to him. But the ancient Israelites thought, I believe rightly, that we haven't properly thanked God until we have shared how God has wondrously worked with the rest of our believing (and unbelieving!) community and shared in a way which compels others to worship and praise God. God does not work in our lives for our benefit alone. He works that he may be glorified, and part of how he is glorified is through the praises of those who hear of his marvelous deeds.

The Future of Missions?

This past week in formation group we had a special guest for 'Global Christian Week.' Tim Taylor, founder and director of Coffee Ambassadors came to present a new model for doing missions that he considers the future of missions, that is business as missions.

What is business as missions? Business as missions is starting for profit businesses that are not first and foremost concerned about making money. They aim to reflect Christ in the way they do business, specifically they do business ethically and with the goal of having a positive impact on the lives of all who they come in contact with and ultimately building relationships through which they can share the gospel. Perhaps it would be easiest to explain through the example of what Tim is doing in Coffee Ambassadors.

Coffee is the number two traded commodity in the world. Typically, coffee is bought from farmers in the developing world for a low price, traded several times along the way, and then purchased by coffee roasters.…

Finding Our Way Through Genesis One

Yesterday evening, I had the pleasure of attending a meeting of The American Scientific Association's Wheaton-Naperville chapter. The ASA is an association of Christians in science who take both their faith and science seriously. The speaker for the event was Dr. John Walton, professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. He spoke on his book, The Lost World Of Genesis One. I have not yet read the book (I hope to do so in the near future), but if the book substantiates the claims Walton made during the talk, it could prove to be, for evangelicals, the single most important book of the decade.

I will give a brief outline of the main points he made during his talk but first we have some matters of definition to deal with. The basic issue is whether Genesis 1 recounts material creation or functional creation. Material creation is God making stuff (e.g.., I created a chair - meaning I took pieces of wood and built a chair). Functional creation is God assigning already existing things…

NT Quotations of the OT and Cultural Context

As a follow up to my previous post I would now like to ask the question, 'must we interpret OT texts that are referred to in the NT the same was as the NT author?' This is a difficult question, but when placed in the larger framework of the interpretation of the New Testament use of the Old Testament, it becomes easier to handle.

When the NT cites an OT passage, are we required to say that the original meaning of the OT passage includes the sense given it by the NT author? In Three Views on the NT Use of the OT both Darrell Bock and Peter Enns (in my opinion) successfully argue, 'no.' One can think of Paul's usage of Genesis 13:14-16 in Galatians 3:16, 29. There he plays on the fact that 'zera (offspring) is a collective noun in the Hebrew interpreting the word in two different senses 13 verses apart. In Paul's cultural context this type of exegesis was acceptable. In ours it typically isn't. This doesn't in any way invalidate Paul's theological …

A difficult question, but we'll take them as they come

Today there was an interesting post on Justin Taylor's blog where he posts a video where Tremper Longman suggests that the existence of a historical Adam and Eve is an open question. The question was then raised, what do we do with passages like Romans 5:12-13 which presupposes a historical reading of Genesis 1-3? As one who does not think that a literal Adam and Eve existed I find this to be a very interesting and important question.

The first thing to point out is that Paul is making an analogy, 'Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man...' (Rom 5:12a - TNIV). This is made clear in verse 18 when Paul picks up this thought again (5:13-17 are a digression - see e.g., Schreiner p. 268) saying, 'Consequently, just as one trespass resulted in condemnation for all people...' (Rom 5:18a - TNIV). The 'just as' at the start of each clause signals that Paul is making an analogy. Does the analogy break down if there was no historical Adam?

Let's ta…

First Things

Hello everyone. This is the first of what I hope to be many posts, Lord willing. I guess I should begin with three things, an introduction of myself, a hint at the direction of the blog, and a justification for blogging.

I am a first year mdiv student attending part time at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, IL. I also work full time as a programmer and project manager at a marketing research firm in downtown Chicago. I've been happily married for three years to my wife Sung.

What will I post on this blog? My interests are theology (especially hermeneutics, doctrine of God, doctrine of Scripture, and ethics), sports, and rock music, but theology will probably be the main area of discussion. I love the Bible, and I love to engage in interpretation of Scripture. Expect to see a lot of that here, both in general discussion of Biblical interpretation and interpretation of specific texts. I hope that it will be enriching to all who read, and that I will benefit from your t…