Just last year Doug Moo’s long awaited commentary on Galatians in the Baker Exegetical Commentary series was released. As the author of arguably the best modern commentary on Romans, Moo’s volume on Galatians was highly anticipated, and it does not disappoint.
Last week I had the privilege of speaking at a pastors retreat for Heather Hills Baptist Church. They asked me to walk through a biblical theology of marriage as the foundation for their reflection and discussion on issues related to marriage and our culture. My wife Kate and I greatly enjoyed our time with these faithful pastors and their wives!
My goal was to trace the thread of marriage from Genesis to Revelation. The central point that I tried to demonstrate is that God created marriage to display/reflect his relationship with his people. Thus marriage is not an analogy but rather a microcosm of the greater reality.
Below you will find a link for the handout I used, as well as the audio.
234. A preacher is like a carpenter; his tools are God’s Word. Because the audience, upon whom he is to work, is diversified, he should not continuously teach in the same tone, rather, in respect of the differences in his congregation, comfort for a while, frighten, scold, offer reconciliation, and so on. (p. 209)
Yesterday the latest issue of Themelios was posted. There are several articles on different aspects of Jonathan Edwards’ life, pastoral ministry, and theology. Along these same lines there is a review of Dane Ortlund’s Edwards on the Christian Life: Alive to the Beauty of God, the latest contribution to the helpful Crossway series Theologians on the Christian Life. Also worth noting is the review of Rhys Bezzant’s Jonathan Edwards and the Church.
1040. The Greeks certainly have good and lovely words, but not sentences. Their language is very friendly and charming, but not rich in sayings. The Hebrew language on the other hand is very simple, but majestic and glorious; precise and sparse in words, but with deep meaning, which cannot be duplicated.
I learned more Hebrew when I compared one place and passage to another. than when I directed my attention solely to grammar. If I were younger, I would learn this language, for without this language one can never rightly understand Holy Scripture. Then the New Testament, although it may have been written in Greek, is nevertheless full of Hebraisms and in a Hebrew style. Therefore, it has been said: “The Hebrews drink from the stream, the Greeks from the water line that flows from the spring, and the Latins from the pool.”
I have mastered neither Greek or Hebrew, but nevertheless I will forage into Hebrew and Greek. But the language alone cannot make one a theologian, but is only an aid. (p. 102)
1700. What should God do with us? We cannot bear good days, nor endure bad ones! When he gives us riches, we are proud, when he gives us poverty, we despair. Would it not be better to lead us to the dance with the shovels right away [that is, dead and buried]? We are a sorry lot. We had better believe that our God will be merciful; otherwise it’s all over for us (p. 107)
Given that this blog is “a forum for all things pertaining to biblical theology” it is only fitting that this week’s Noteworthy Book is What is Biblical Theology? A Guide to the Bible’s Story, Symbolism, and Patterns by James Hamilton. He is an associate professor of Biblical Theology at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and in my estimation one of the sharpest young biblical theologians in the evangelical world today. And in the interest of full disclosure, Jim is a friend.
In this short book, Hamilton defines biblical theology as:
the interpretive perspective reflected in the way the biblical authors have presented their understanding or earlier Scripture, redemptive history, and the events they are describing, recounting, celebrating, or addressing in narratives, poems, proverbs, letters, and apocalypses. (p. 16)
Thus, when studying the Bible
our aim is to trace out the contours of the network of assumptions reflected in the writings of the biblical authors. If we can see what the biblical authors assumed about story, symbol, and church, we will glimpse the world as they saw it. To catch a glimpse of the world as they saw it is to see the real world. (p. 19)
These three (story, symbol, church) form the basic structure of the rest of the book. Each of these sections contains several short chapters covering key subjects such as the plot of the Bible, imagery, typology, patterns, and the church’s setting in the story.
The greatest strengths of this book are its size and readability. Hamilton writes for those who are new to the area of biblical theology, making this an ideal book to give anyone in the church who wants to read and understand the Bible. Students in Bible colleges and seminaries will also find this book useful as an entry point into the field of biblical theology, though they will need other texts to orient them to the range of approaches to biblical theology as an academic discipline.
Those who want to see Jim’s attempt at writing a whole-Bible biblical theology are encouraged to see his excellent book God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology. He maintains an excellent blog, and you can listen to his sermons here.
3588. In earlier times there were many pilgrimages to holy places, such as Rome, Jerusalem and Compostela, to atone for sins. But we can undertake a true pilgrimage, in faith–namely when we diligently read the Psalms, Prophets, Gospels, etc. That way we would not be strolling through holy cities, but through our thoughts and hearts, and visit the real praiseworthy land and paradise of eternal life. (p. 346)
In a letter to his son Christopher, J. R. R. Tolkien attempts to explain why from his perspective so many sermons are so bad:
The answer to the mystery is prob[ably] not simple; but part of it is that ‘rhetoric’ (of which preaching is a dept.) is an art, which requires (a) some native talent and (b) learning and practice. The instrument used is v[ery] much more complex than a piano, yet most performers are in the position of a man who sits down to a piano and expects to move his audience without any knowledge of the notes at all. The art can be learned (granted some modicum of aptitude) and can then be effective, in a way, when wholly unconnected with sincerity, sanctity, etc. But preaching is complicated by the fact that we expect in it not only a performance, but truth and sincerity, and also at least no word, tone, or note that suggests the possession of vices (such as hypocrisy, vanity) or defects (such as folly, ignorance) in the preacher.
Good sermons require some art, some virtue, some knowledge. Real sermons require some special grace which does not transcend art but arrives at it by instinct or ‘inspiration’; indeed the Holy Spirit seems sometimes to speak through a human mouth providing art, virtue, and insight he does not himself possess: but the occasions are rare. In other times I don’t think an educated person is required to suppress the critical faculty, but it should be kept in order by a constant endeavour to apply the truth (if any), even in cliche form, to oneself exclusively! A difficult exercise… (The Letters of J. R. R. Tolkien, p. 75)
A difficult exercise indeed! No wonder the apostle Paul wrote “who is sufficient for these things ” (2 Cor 2:16). Yet he also wrote “it pleased God through the folly of what we preach to save those who believe” (1 Cor 1:21).
234. A preacher is like a carpenter; his tools are God’s Word. Because the audience, upon whom he is to work, is diversified, he should not continuously teach in the same tone, rather, in respect of the differences in his congregation, comfort for a while, frighten, scold, offer reconciliation, and so on (p. 209)