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Showing posts from March, 2010

Galatians 1:18-24: Paul's Honesty and Ours

18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord's brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. 21 Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only heard the report: "The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy." 24 And they praised God because of me.I haven't written much about application in the Galatians series yet, but I personally felt conviction in this passage and thought it would be worth while to blog about it. I have to credit McKnight with this basic insight.

Paul's was honest even when it was potentially damaging. As Paul was recounting his story he would badly want to omit his visit to Jerusalem if at all possible, because any visit could be damaging and spun as him having been t…

Paul's Argument in Galatians 1:18-24

18 Then after three years, I went up to Jerusalem to get acquainted with Cephas and stayed with him fifteen days. 19 I saw none of the other apostles—only James, the Lord's brother. 20 I assure you before God that what I am writing you is no lie. 21 Then I went to Syria and Cilicia. 22 I was personally unknown to the churches of Judea that are in Christ. 23 They only heard the report: "The man who formerly persecuted us is now preaching the faith he once tried to destroy." 24 And they praised God because of me. (TNIV)In this section Paul continues along in his defense of himself and his gospel. As McKnight notices, this portion of chapter one has essentially the same argument as 1:13-17, it just concerns a different or perhaps more specific set of authorities. Within three years of his call, Paul went up to Jerusalem to meet Peter. The emphasis here is the shortness of his stay with Peter. His reference to being with Peter for 15 days is sandwiched between a referen…

Galatians 1:13-17 and the New Perspective on Paul

13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. 17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus. (TNIV)In my last post I summarized what the New Perspective on Paul is. Here I want to briefly look at one aspect of their claim, that Paul did not convert because of a tortured conscience (we will eventually look at the other major claim of the NPP but not for a while).

Commenting on verse 14, Dunn claims that, 'Not least in significance here is the fact that Paul rec…

What is the New Perspective on Paul?

In a previous post I mentioned that Galatians 1:13-17 had implications for the debate surrounding the New Perspective on Paul (NPP). Some of you are probably wondering what the heck I’m talking about as I’ve made glancing reference to it several times during this series. Today’s post will examine what the NPP is and in a future post I will look at how Galatians 1:13-17 impacts our assessment of it. This explanation will be a bit simplistic, but please keep in mind that this is a blog post that’s meant to be accessible to lay people and not an academic paper.

Simply put the NPP is an attempt to understand Paul as fully as possible against his Jewish background. This means that to understand Paul, one must understand the Judaism of his day. This is attempted through analyzing Jewish writings contemporary to the New Testament, as well as those from previous generations that were still of great influence (of which the writings of the OT were some among many). The NPP is not only a new pers…

Top Ten Crops to Grow in Your Garden

This month's top ten list is the top ten crops (not just vegetables) to grow in your garden. For this month's list, I decided to expand the pool of contributors, so it's now three of my co-workers and I making the list, rather than just one. Thanks to them for participating, it made for some fun debate!

Our criteria was a weighted average between taste, versatility, and cost effectiveness. All three were rated on a five point scale.

10.Carrots: Versatility - 3.25 Taste - 4 Value - 3

I consume more carrots than any other vegetable. I'm not a huge fan of cooked carrots, but I do enjoy raw baby carrots. I have them every day with my lunch (which is peanut butter and jelly with chips).

9. Green Beans: Versatility - 3 Taste - 4.5 Value - 3

Green beans are pretty tasty. They do especially well in Asian stir-fries because they take on a little bit of soy sauce flavor without being overwhelmed.

8. Potatoes: Versatility - 4.75 Taste - 3.5 Value - 2

Potatoes are one of the most versat…

My Final Four are

...Ohio St., Syracuse, Kentucky, and Duke, with Syracuse defeating Kentucky 78-74 in the finals.

Of the little bit of college basketball that I've watched this year, Syracuse has looked like they have all the necessary tools to win it all, especially if Wes Johnson is healthy. The game that really stuck out for me was their absolute dismantling of Villanova.

Who did you pick?

After the first game starts you should be able to see my entire bracket here.

Galatians 1:13-17: 'Progressing in Judaism'

13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. 17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus. (TNIV)
Today my friend with whom I am studying Galatians asked an interesting question. He asked what it meant for Paul to advance in Judaism beyond Jews of his own age (vs. 14). How would one do such a comparison, and was it arrogant to do so? I didn't know the answer and I thought it was an important question, so I thought I'd look into it and blog about it (it's helpful …

Paul's Argument in Galatians 1:13-17

13 For you have heard of my previous way of life in Judaism, how intensely I persecuted the church of God and tried to destroy it. 14 I was advancing in Judaism beyond many of my own age among my people and was extremely zealous for the traditions of my fathers. 15 But when God, who set me apart from birth and called me by his grace, was pleased 16 to reveal his Son in me so that I might preach him among the Gentiles, my immediate response was not to consult any human being. 17 I did not go up to Jerusalem to see those who were apostles before I was, but I went into Arabia. Later I returned to Damascus. (TNIV)In this section, Paul continues to set the record straight. It seems that he had never told the Galatians about his calling to apostleship. The Teachers had, though, using their version of Paul's story to undermine the gospel that he preached. This necessitated that Paul correct their understanding of his past. The second half of verse 13 and verse 14 tell of Paul's life…

A Lenten Reflection

I’ve recently started reading The New Testament and the People of God by NT Wright, a book which I am long overdue to read. I don’t dare attempt a review of it, but I will post snippets here and there and provide a little commentary from time to time over the next few weeks or however long it takes me to finish the book.

I felt that this first quote, in addition to being insightful, was also particularly appropriate to ponder and expand upon during lent.
The Christological question, as to whether the statement ‘Jesus is God’ is true, and if so in what sense, is often asked as though ‘God’ were the known and ‘Jesus’ the unknown; this, I suggest, is manifestly mistaken. If anything, the matter stands the other way around (xv).The Jesus we see in the gospels is the clearest and most tangible presentation of God that we have. The goal of the Christian life is to be conformed to God, to bear his image as purely as possible. Jesus lived and died to redeem others. He died for you, he died for …

Book Review: God the Peacemaker: How Atonement Brings Shalom

(Thanks to Adrianna from IVP for providing me with a review copy)

The New Studies in Biblical Theology Series (NSBT) is a one of my favorite series of monographs. Previous titles published include, Original Sin by Henri Blocher and The Temple and the Church's Mission by Greg Beale, so it was with great anticipation that I selected Graham Cole's book, 'God the Peacemaker.' I was not disappointed.

Cole proceeds from plight to solution, beginning by diagnosing the problem, namely, evil, and God's answer for it, the atonement. Our sin has caused a rupture in our relationship with God, others and the world, and the atonement repairs that rupture, hence the title of the book (22). To flesh that out a little, 'the divine atoning project...is nothing less than to secure God's people in God's place under God's reign living God's way enjoying God's shalom in God's loving and holy presence as both family and worshippers, to God's glory' (25).

A Series of Questions on Soteriology

I have a question that I would like to ask, what is the relationship between justification, salvation, and judgment? Are justification and salvation coterminous, do they occur at the same time, can one be justified and ultimately not saved, does justification affect judgment and if so how? On a related note, what are the grounds of judgment, on what basis (or bases) does (do) one survive the judgment and experience salvation?

I ask these questions because I truly think they're difficult to answer. How does judgment on the basis of works mesh with justification by faith? I think that if we can get clarity on the relationship between justification, salvation, and judgment then this latter question becomes easier to answer (I also ask them because I'm working on a paper on judgment for my biblical theology class).

Galatians: Recommended Reading on Legalism

For those of you who are following along with my Galatians series (and even for those of you who aren't - but especially for those who are) I would like to commend to you a new series that Scot McKnight is starting at Jesus Creed called, 'Liberated from Legalism,' which is based on Galatians and is about how the gospel frees us from legalism. Dr. McKnight has long been a student of Galatians and has written an excellent commentary for readers of all levels, so this new series that he is beginning should be worth checking out.

In this post he begins by defining legalism:
Legalism is any practice or belief that is added to the gospel that compromises the sufficiency of Christ as Savior and jeopardizes the adequacy of the Spirit in moral guidance.
Legalism then is the charge against you or me, often sensed at the deepest level, that we are not accepted by God in Christ and indwellt by the Holy Spirit. I think that this is an excellent start and am looking forward to seeing how he…