Wednesday, April 30, 2014

New Testament History by the People (aka. wikipedia)

  • Ok let's face it....Wikipedia is here to stay (at least for now). I hear a lot of people hate on wikipedia, but I see way more people using it. I admit it's not the most credible source and I don't let my student's cite it....but....I will admit that when i have a quick question on a date, name, time or basic survey of a topic...often the first place I go is Wikipedia. 

So I love Wikipedia and I love NT history (if you read this blog, you see the gospels and nt history are the two things I am most often writing about) what does wikipedia have to say about New Testament history....Wikipedia's page of the "historical background of the New Testament" is shockingly long and thorough. One day I would love to give a full listing of all the different subjects in NT History/Gospel scholarship that Wikipedia covers but for now I just recommend you scan over the link. I enjoyed looking at the tables of content just to see a neat and nice outline of how one could cover NT history. Good idea...cover the sects before Jesus, then Jesus himself and then the christian/jewish story post-resurrection. 

More then just reading Wikipedia's article, contribute to it....thats the whole point!! Don't just read it with your nose stuck up, if theres something that's wildly liberal (or conservative) then simply write in another view on the encyclopedia, add a quote or a thought to balance it out. Add to the conversation don't just glare at it....I love that about wikipedia. 

Monday, April 28, 2014

Reformed Philosophy

Interested in "reformed philosophy"....who isn't right?!

The reformed church has quite a history of formidable philosophers that is currently being carried on by philosophers like Alvin Plantiga and Nicholas Wolterstorff and James K.A. Smith. Here is a great website named philosphia reformita, at the top of the page it lists some of the big names in reformed philosophy, giving a brief biography of the philosopher as well as a listing of all the written works by the author and the online works that are available by that particular author. It also has a link to the philosphia reformita journal which has a few (but not many) of it's articles available for free.

Also here is a great website that lists the majority of Alvin Plantiga's articles and gives links of the ones that are available to read online.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

Jerusalem in the New Testamant by N.T. Wright

Good introductory article into the social and historical setting of Jerusalem during the time of Jesus by NT Wright. NT Wright's book Simply Jesus opened my eyes up to the beauty of seeing the gospel in the light of it's historical context. His more scholarly work New Testament and the People of God helped to turn my fascination into a deeper understanding and appreciation for the complexities of the 1st century. This article is a good first taste for someone who has not read some of the above works mentioned.

Jerusalem in the NT _Wright_.pdf

Friday, April 25, 2014

Dr. Constable' bible study notes (sonic light)

On the resources page is the link to dr. constable's bible study notes; but it's such a good resource that I wanted to throw it out on the normal blog posts as well. I was just using it to look at his notes on the gospel of Luke and as I was flipping through around 300 pg's of notes on Luke I was astounded and just wanted to let more people know about this great resource.

Dr. Constable is a professor at Dallas Theological Seminary (DTS), which is known for it's theological bent towards dispensationalism, and I believe this will show in some of his notes on Daniel and Revelation.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Two Sources on the Genealogy of Jesus

From IVP Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels:

A genealogy is the record of a person’s ancestral descent. While the word itself is not found in the Gospels (cf. 1 Tim 1:4; Tit 3:9; Heb 7:6), the only extended examples of genealogies in the NT are in Matthew and Luke and trace the ancestry of Jesus.

As Matthew’s and Luke’s infancy narratives differ  [p. 254] from each other, so do their genealogies: each has a different structure, (somewhat) different contents and different purposes, and each is located in a different place in their respective Gospels.

1. Matthew’s Genealogy (Mt 1:1-17)
2. Luke’s Genealogy (Lk 3:23-38)
3. A Comparison of the Genealogies

Dictionary of Early Christian Biography

I have recently been searching through the "dictionary of early christian biography" and found it really useful....the content and great and probably one of the best things about it is that is free and easily accessible on the web and several bible programs. You can download the pdf version or more easily search it through studylight.

This dictionary covers early church history up till the 600's. It is full of names, doctrines, councils and literature of this time period. Fascinating time period and awesome tool to help dig through it.

Christianity in the Roman Empire (Article from George Mason University)

I enjoyed this article on Christianity in the Roman Empire from George Mason University’s Course on History of the Western World. (copied below) It is a good and simple summary of some of the major elements that came together to create the "perfect storm" (wright-simply Jesus). It highlights the roman political and social atmosphere as well as the Jewish religious and political situation that created the atmosphere and background of the New Testament. 

In the Fullness of Time: Christianity in the Roman Empire

"When the fullness of time was come, God sent forth his Son."
Galatians 4:4, KJV

From the first century, Christians have claimed that the world was uniquely prepared for the coming of Jesus Christ and the birth of Christianity. Perhaps it was the phenomenal spread of the new faith that sparked these claims. Indeed, it is estimated that by 312 A.D. one in ten people in the Roman world called themselves Christians.[1]

Probably no period in the history of the world was better suited to receive the infant church than the first century A.D….By the second century Christians…began to argue that it was a divine providence which had prepared the world for the advent of Christianity.[2]

What kind of world would allow for such a rapid spread of this new faith? What was the historical context for the advent of Christianity? There are at least three sources of influence that came together in the Roman Empire that seem to have encouraged its early success: the political influence of the Romans, the cultural and intellectual influence of the Greeks, and the religious influence of the Jews.[3]

Church as Missionary Church

“The Christian church, according to Acts, is a missionary church that responds obediently to Jesus’ commission, acts on Jesus’ behalf in the extension of his ministry, focuses its proclamation of the kingdom of God in its witness to Jesus, is guided and empowered by the selfsame Spirit that directed and supported Jesus’ ministry, and follows a program whose guidelines for outreach have been set by Jesus himself.”
(From NIV Expositor's Commentary on Acts 1:8) 

Monday, April 21, 2014

NT Wright on the Resurrection

In honor of easter, two vids from N.T Wright on resurrection. The first one gives a short snippet of some of his thinking on eschatology from his book "suprised by hope", the 2nd video is more of the apologetics angle, where he talks about whether a scientist can believe the resurrection.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Bible Q and A website

I have been reading the book of Job devotionally recently and as I am in the last few chapters now I was curious about how to read and interpret the figure of Elihu. Is elihu to be thrown in the same group as Job's friends or is he to viewed as a mouthpiece of God, a messenger preparing the way of the Lord. Confused by this, after finishing my quiet times I did what most 21st century biblical readers have done in their time....I googled my question. Upon doing so I found this great website: a biblical hermeneutics q and a website.

I didnt get a chance to flip through it in detail, but it helped me think through Elihu (gave reason for both sides) and flipping through some of the pages allowed me to see that there was quite a bit of other good questions and answers, I would recommend that it is worth taking a look.

NT Wright on new book "Paul and the Faithfulness of God"

I have really enjoyed N.T Wright's writings in the past few years, and have even launched myself into his huge "christian origins and the question of God" series. Thus far, I have only read things by Wright concerning Jesus, the gospels and the resurrection. I have yet to read anything he has had to say concerning Paul. I have heard people I respect and listen too say that "his work on Jesus is amazing but his stuff on Paul you should stay away from." I believe the controversy of Wright and Paul is mainly concerning his views of justification, a view that gained popular light in the evangelical world when it went in a back and forth tussle with Piper a few years back. Anyways, because of the controversy I have always stood afar from his thoughts on Paul, but with his new book out I decided I would listen to this lecture about the book and justification. It's worth the listening too!

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

A history of fundamentalism and evangelicalism

I read this great blog by Justin Taylor today about 10 key events of fundamentalism and evangelicalism in the 21st century. It is enlightening to see the history of the discussions that I still going on today, to see the roots of questions like "inherency and evolution..." and the liberal vs conservative divide that has gone back over the past hundred years (and certainly it could be traced back even before that).
It is well worth the read for all young people like me who have grown up hearing the questions but maybe not fully appreciated the history of the discussion they are involved in.

A working definition of Theology- faith seeking understanding

Tomorrow in our Bible school we will be discussing "what is theology and why is it important'? I enjoyed reading through the introduction of Alister Mcgrath's basic theology as I have thought threw this question.

Mcgrath begins in his preface by saying that (1) Theology= Talking about God and (2) Christian Theology = talking about God in a Christian way. He goes on to say that: “The study theology is to thus think systematically about the fundamental ideas of Christianity. It is intellectual reflection on the act, content, and implications of the Christian faith.”.....“Theology can be thought of as the Christian discipleship of the mind”

This reminded me of a simpler version of Karl Barth's opening thesis in his Church Dogmatics:

"As a theological discipline dogmatics is the scientific self-examination of the Christian Church with respect to the content of its distinctive talk about God" (Vol.1:1 pg.3)

The quote that has stuck with me the most from Mcgrath's book is one he quotes from Anselm of Canterbury:

Theology is “faith seeking understanding” '(Anselm of Canterbury (1033-1109)

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Luther's Commentary on Galatians

Going through Galatians in SBS today. Found Luther's commentary on Galatians online at several different is one of the easier ones to access, don't even need to download. Though if you would like it on PDF or kindle version, that is easy to find online as well.

just go to the following link luther on galatians and then click on the book of galatians and it will give you luther's comments chapter by chapter