Category Archives: Galatians

Promising New Commentary Series Announced: Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation

This past Friday Broadman and Holman (B&H) publicly announced a new commentary series entitled Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation.  According to the preface series (emphasis mine):

The present set of volumes constitutes an ambitious project, seeking to explore the theology of the Bible in considerable depth, spanning both Testaments. Authors come from a variety of backgrounds and perspectives, though all affirm the inerrancy and inspiration of Scripture. United in their high view of Scripture, and in their belief in the underlying unity of Scripture, which is ultimately grounded in the unity of God himself, each author explores the contribution of a given book or group of books to the theology of Scripture as a whole. While conceived as stand-alone volumes, each volume thus also makes a contribution to the larger whole. All volumes provide a discussion of introductory matters, including the historical setting and the literary structure of a given book of Scripture. Also included is an exegetical treatment of all the relevant passages in succinct commentary-style format. The biblical theology approach of the series will also inform and play a role in the commentary proper. The commentator permits a discussion between the commentary proper and the biblical theology that it reflects by a series of cross-references.

The major contribution of each volume, however, is a thorough discussion of the most important themes of the biblical book in relation to the canon as a whole. This format allows each contributor to ground Biblical Theology, as is proper, in an appropriate appraisal of the relevant historical and literary features of a particular book in Scripture while at the same time focusing on its major theological contribution to the entire Christian canon in the context of the larger salvation-historical metanarrative of Scripture. Within this overall format, there will be room for each individual contributor to explore the major themes of his or her particular corpus in the way he or she sees most appropriate for the material under consideration.

This format, in itself, would already be a valuable contribution to Biblical Theology. But there are other series that try to accomplish a survey of the Bible’s theology as well. What distinguishes the present series is its orientation toward Christian proclamation. This is the Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation commentary series! As a result, the ultimate purpose of this set of volumes is not exclusively, or even primarily, academic. Rather, we seek to relate Biblical Theology to our own lives and to the life of the church. Our desire is to equip those in Christian ministry who are called by God to preach and teach the precious truths of Scripture to their congregations, both in North America and in a global context.

The first volume is by Tom Schreiner on Hebrews, which will release in February 2015. Here is the full list of contributors, including yours truly:

Old Testament contributors:

Desmond Alexander Genesis

Mark Rooker                           Exodus

Paul Wegner                            Leviticus

Richard Averbeck                   Numbers

Ken Mathews                          Deuteronomy

David Firth                              Joshua

Iain Duguid                             Judges, Ruth

Robert Fyall                            1-2 Samuel

Bob Bergen                             1-2 Kings

Gary V. Smith                         1-2 Chronicles

Andrew Hill                             Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther

Barry Webb                             Job

James Hamilton                       Psalms

Allen Ross                               Proverbs

Ernest Lucas                            Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs

Jack Collins                             Isaiah

Stephen Dempster                   Jeremiah, Lamentations

Paul Williamson                      Ezekiel

Joe Sprinkle                             Daniel

Anthony Petterson                   Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah

Ray Clendenen                        Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi

New Testament contributors:

Charles Quarles                       Matthew

Peter Bolt                                 Mark

Michael Wilkins                      Luke

Ardel Caneday                         John

Alan Thompson                       Acts

David G. Peterson                   Romans

Peter Davids                            1 Corinthians

Jason Meyer                            2 Corinthians

Matt Harmon                           Galatians

Greg Beale                               Ephesians

Doug Moo                                Philippians

Joel White                                Colossians, Philemon

Terry Wilder                            1-2 Thessalonians

Andreas Köstenberger             1-2 Timothy, Titus

Thomas Schreiner                    Hebrews

David Chapman                       James

Rick Melick                             1-2 Peter, Jude

Michael Martin                        1-3 John

Eckhard Schnabel                    Revelation

The

An Interview with Doug Moo

One of the greatest privileges I have had in life is to do my Ph.D. work under the supervision of Doug Moo at Wheaton College. In light of his Galatians commentary now being published in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series, Justin Taylor recently conducted an interview with him. The interview covers a wide range of topics, including the remarkable story of his conversion and the beginning of his academic ministry, his process for writing commentaries, justification, and future writing projects.

You can find the interview here.

HT: Justin Taylor

Sabbatical Update

As you may know, I was on sabbatical during the Spring Semester of the last academic year. Since I have now finished that sabbatical (and the summer as well) and resumed by teaching responsibilities at Grace College and Theological Seminary. So here is a brief summary of what, by the grace of God, I spent my time working on:

  1. I finished the draft of my Philippians commentary. I have been working for almost four years (off and on) on this commentary in the Mentor Commentary Series by Christian Focus. It is now in the hands of the publisher, so Lord willing it will come out in 2014.
  2. I began working on a commentary on Galatians. Having written my dissertation on Galatians, I am excited to now be working on a commentary on Galatians. It will be part of a new series published by Broadman & Holman entitled Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation. Look for more details on this series down the road; the lineup of contributors is stacked! At this point I am still in the early stages of writing, but it is not due for another few years.
  3. I began co-writing a book on inaugurated eschatology in the life of the church. My friend Ben Gladd and I are under contract with Baker to write a book that explains how inaugurated eschatology applies to the different aspects of life in the church such as preaching, missions, prayer, worship, etc. The goal is to finish the manuscript early in 2014 with a likely publication date sometime in 2015.
  4. I wrote an essay entitled “Allegory, Typology, or Something Else: Revisiting Galatians 4:21-5:1.” Although I am not at liberty to discuss where this will be published, this essay is my attempt to explain how Paul is using Scripture in this challenging passage. I will be presenting a version of this essay in November at the annual conference of the Evangelical Theological Society in Baltimore.
  5. I wrote the introductory notes for Philippians in the forthcoming NIV Proclamation Bible. I will give more details when this is published later this month, but in the meantime you can find more information here.

I’m grateful to God for the opportunity to step away from the classroom to focus on these writing projects. May God use them to display the beauty of Christ and advance his kingdom in this world.

How I’m Spending My Sabbatical

Yesterday I began my one semester sabbatical from teaching at Grace College & Theological Seminary. Although many have joked that this is merely a 4 1/2 month vacation, the reality is that my sabbatical will be quite busy with writing projects. Here are the two main things I will be working on:

  1. Finish a commentary on Philippians. I have been working for almost four years (off and on) on this commentary in the Mentor Commentary Series by Christian Focus. My hope is to complete the draft by the end of January and send it out to colleagues and friends for feedback. Once I receive feedback from them I hope to send it off to the publisher by the beginning of the summer, if not sooner. Lord willing it will come out in 2014.
  2. Begin a commentary on Galatians. Having written my dissertation on Galatians, I am excited to begin work on a commentary on Galatians. It will be part of a new series that Broadman & Holman entitled Biblical Theology for Christian Proclamation. Look for more details on this series down the road; the lineup of contributors is stacked!

In addition to these two major projects, there are also some smaller ones (a journal article here, a chapter in an edited volume there, etc.) that will keep me busy as well. And from March 1-12 I will be leading a group of college and seminary students from Grace on a trip to Israel.

Please join me in praying that God will bless this season of writing to proclaim his glory and encourage his people.

Review of She Must & Shall Go Free – Ciampa (JETS 55 [2012]: 199-202)

Part of life in the academy is having your work reviewed by other scholars. Since I have mentioned other reviews (see here) of my dissertation She Must and Shall Go Free: Paul’s Isaianic Gospel in Galatians, I wanted to draw attention to a recent review by Roy Ciampa, who is a NT professor at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary and a widely respected scholar in the field of the use of the OT in the NT. He also has written an excellent monograph on the use of Scripture in Galatians 1-2. The review was published in the March 2012 issue of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (pp. 199-202). Unfortunately it is only available online to members of the Evangelical Theological Society, so I will have to summarize its contents (I’ll skip the part where he simply summarizes the contents).

Ciampa begins with the positives. He commends my work in the relevant secondary literature and the effort to “turn over every rock and look behind every tree in order to bring to our attention both potential instances of Isaianic influence and possible ties between such instances within Galatians” (199-200).  While noting that other scholars have noticed some of these instances, he notes that a number are new and provide insights that others have missed. He especially appreciated my treatment of Galatians 4:21-5:1 and the role of Isa 54:1 in that section, even though he disagrees with the extent of the influence I propose. And he agrees with my conclusion that this section is not a digression but rather the climax of Paul’s exegetical argument.

The problem for Ciampa arises when he comes to my central thesis that Paul’s argument in Galatians as whole has been shaped by Isaiah 40-66. He writes: “While I am impressed with the boldness of the thesis and the work carried out to defend it, I find myself largely unconvinced, but still grateful for insights gleaned along the way” (200).  He claims that I do not pay enough attention to other sources of influence for Paul’s thought in Galatians (though he notes that such attention would require a much longer and more complicated study!). While acknowledging that Isaiah was an important influence, Ciampa contends that Paul draws his gospel “from a much wider swath of material” (200). He then provides examples of where other such sources do not appear to have been read through Isaianic lenses.

I am grateful that Ciampa devoted careful attention to my monograph. In many respects this is the highest compliment that a scholar can receive–to have his work taken seriously.  He has been more than fair in his assessment of my work. While nothing he has said has changed my mind, his review has certainly given me food for thought as I revisit Galatians down the road in a future commentary.

On a personal note, Ciampa has gone out of his way to be kind, encouraging, and gracious in our various personal interactions. He has been an excellent model to me of how to engage in gracious critical interaction with those whom he disagrees.

Review of She Must and Shall Go Free

It is both a strange and humbling experience to have something you have written reviewed by someone you have never met. Yesterday, a review of my published dissertation She Must and Shall Go Free: Paul’s Isaianic Gospel in Galatians was published in Themelios 37.1. You can read the review here.

The reviewer, John Anthony Dunne, was kind enough to send me an advance copy to ensure that he represented my views fairly. He was more than fair; in fact, he is exceptionally gracious when he writes:

Overall, Harmon’s book is an exciting and informative read. His explanations are insightful, and he includes many helpful charts comparing the MT and LXX of Isaiah with Pauline texts. Although a few of Harmon’s suggestions are not fully convincing to me, he succeeds in demonstrating how impactful Isaiah was for Paul as he wrote his letter to the Galatians. She Must and Shall Go Free is a must-read for those serious about Galatians and Paul’s use of the OT.

To God be the glory for Dunne’s kind words and any usefulness my work might have for understanding God’s Word better!

Mondays with Marty

In this week’s installment from Off the Record with Martin Luther, Luther comments on his love for Paul’s letter to the Galatians:

“146. Galatians is my favorite epistle, the one in which I place all my trust. It is my Katie von Bora [his wife]..'” (p. 311)

DISCLAIMER: The views reflected in this quote do not necessarily reflect those of the author of this blog. This quote is shared in the interest of edification, education, and/or humor.