Category Archives: Writing Projects

Review of Studies in the Pauline Epistles: Essays in Honor of Douglas J. Moo

Over at the The Paul Page, Don Garlington has written a lengthy review of Studies in the Pauline Epistles: Essays in Honor of Douglas J. Moo. While surveying all of the essays, he devotes special attention to the three essays by James D.G. Dunn, Stephen Westerholm, and N.T. Wright because of their relevance to the discussion about the so-called Old and New Perspectives on Paul. The entire review is worth reading, but here is Garlington’s conclusion:

All in all, this volume is more useful than many Festschriften in its accumulation of essays that provide exegesis of biblical texts, interaction with current scholarship, and applications to the church at large. Apart from disagreements that advocates of the new perspective might have with the honoree, this is a book that should be consulted often. No doubt, we will remain in Doug Moo’s debt for some time to come.

The Presentation of Studies in the Pauline Epistles

This past November I had the privilege of revealing the “secret project” I had been working on for four years: Studies in the Pauline Epistles: Essays in Honor of Douglas J. Moo. We surprised him with it at the dinner celebrating the 50th Anniversary celebration of NIV, held during the annual ETS conference.  Here is the video of our presentation:

Zondervan has also posted brief interviews with me and my co-editor Jay Smith, highlighting some of the distinctive features of this collection of essays:

You can purchase it on Amazon and other places online.

Announcing: Studies in the Pauline Epistles: Essays in Honor of Douglas J. Moo

Last night at a dinner celebrating the 50th anniversary of the formation of the Committee on Bible Translation (responsible for the NIV Translation), I had the distinct privilege of presenting a Festschrift to my doctoral mentor and friend, Doug Moo. For those who don’t know what a Festschrift is, it is a volume written to honor a scholar who has made significant contributions to his/her field. So along with Jay E. Smith, I edited Studies in the Pauline Epistles: Essays in Honor of Douglas J. Moo , a volume of essays on various aspects of Pauline studies, published by Zondervan. We managed to assemble an outstanding team of former students, colleagues, and prominent Pauline scholars.

It is available for purchase here at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society in San Diego. It should be available for purchase through the usual outlets within a matter of days. (When links become available I will post them on the blog).

Here is a look at the table of contents:



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Here were my comments when presenting Doug with this volume:

God calls us to show honor to whom honor is due, and that is what Jay and I are here to do tonight for Doug Moo. Over the course of his academic career and ministry in the church, Doug Moo has proved himself to be a faithful servant of Christ and steward of God’s mysteries. During his years at Trinity and Wheaton Doug has prepared countless men and women for gospel ministry. Both of us had the privilege of doing our doctoral work under Doug’s supervision: Jay while at Trinity and me while at Wheaton. He proved to be a terrific mentor, blending high expectations and critical analysis with timely encouragement.

Doug is well-known for his numerous biblical commentaries that are models of careful exegesis, thoughtful theological analysis, and wise pastoral application. The clarity of his prose is matched by his commitment to represent the views of others in terms they themselves would recognize.

Doug’s most significant contributions as a scholar center on two primary areas: Pauline studies and Bible translation. He has actively engaged the complex issues surrounding the New Perspective on Paul, as well as the relationship between the Mosaic Law and the gospel. And of course we are here tonight because of Doug’s role as the chair of the Committee on Bible Translation. In this capacity he has overseen the production of the most recent revision of the New International Version released in 2011. In this role, Doug has proved an able advocate of the NIV, carefully explaining the rationale for various decisions of the CBT and graciously responding to critics.

So for the past four years, Doug, Jay and I have been secretly working behind your back to produce a Festschrift as a small token of our love and appreciation for you and your faithfulness as a servant of Christ and steward of God’s mysteries. We have assembled an outstanding team of former students, colleagues, and prominent Pauline scholars to write on various subjects focused on Pauline studies and translation issues. So it is our distinct honor to present this volume to you tonight.


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


Noteworthy Book – From Heaven He Came and Sought Her (eds. David Gibson & Jonathan Gibson)

Of the so-called five points of Calvinism (often represented with the acronym TULIP), the most frequently rejected one is “limited atonement.” More accurately referred to as “definite atonement” or “particular redemption” the idea is that:

In the death of Jesus Christ, the triune God intended to achieve the redemption of every person given to the Son by the Father in eternity past, and to apply the accomplishment of his sacrifice to each of them by the Spirit. The death of Christ was intended to win the salvation of God’s people alone. (p. 33)

The classic defense and explanation of this doctrine is the tome by the great Puritan John Owen entitled The Death of Death in the Death of Christ, originally written in 1648. In a 1959 reprint of this classic, J.I. Packer wrote a lengthy introduction that came to be a classic in its own right.

Despite the value of these two pieces, a robust explanation and defense of definite atonement was still needed. That has now been remedied with the release of From Heaven He Came and Sought Her: Definite Atonement in Historical, Biblical, Theological, and Pastoral Perspective. Edited by David Gibson and Jonathan Gibson, this book is now the go-to resource for definite atonement. Over 20 different scholars and pastors contributed to the volume, including Henri Blocher, Sinclair Ferguson, Alec Motyer, John Piper, Tom Schreiner, and Carl Trueman. They even let me contribute a chapter (“For the Glory of the Father and the Salvation of His People: Definite Atonement in the Synoptics and Johannine Literature”).

Crossway has built a nice website for the book here that includes a list of contributors, a brief summary of each chapter, and endorsements from folks such as Lig Duncan, Doug Wilson, D.A. Carson, Michael Horton, David Wells, and John Frame. There is even a Twitter feed (@defatonement) and Facebook page dedicated to the book.

To whet your appetite, here is an introductory video:

May God use this book to deepen people’s love for the one who loved them and gave his life for them (Gal 2:20)!

Noteworthy Book – The Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary

One of the most helpful tools that any student of the Bible can own is a good Bible dictionary. While there are a number of different ones available, there has been a recent addition that is worth noting: The Baker Illustrated Bible Dictionary, edited by Tremper Longman III.

Weighing in at a hefty 5.6 pounds, this reference work contains over 5,000 articles in its 1,700+ pages. Complementing the articles are over 400 full color illustrations, maps, and pictures to further enhance the content. Colored tabs on the edge of the pages makes it easy to find a subject quickly. Despite its girth this dictionary uses readable font and is attractively laid out. More than 100 different scholars contributed articles.

I had the privilege of contributing the following articles: citizen/citizenship, Clement, courier, fellowship, fulfill/fulfillment, impute/imputation, inheritance, new birth, paraclete, priesthood of believers, reconciliation, regeneration, salvation, and sin.

If you are interested in taking a sneak peek inside the dictionary, you can follow the link above to the Amazon page and click on the image of the book. I highly recommend this resource as a companion for your own reading and study of the Bible.

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.

Now Available – She Must and Shall Go Free: Paul’s Isaianic Gospel in Galatians

Looking for the cure to insomnia? Or perhaps have an extra $140 burning a hole in your pocket that you are just desperate to spend? Then I have good news for you. My dissertation has now been published and is available for purchase. Here is a brief description:

Scholars have long recognized the importance of Paul´s citations from the Pentateuch for understanding the argument of Galatians. But what has not been fully appreciated is the key role that Isaiah plays in shaping what Paul says and how he says it, even though he cites Isaiah explicitly only once (Isaiah 54:1 in Galatians 4:27). Using an intertextual approach to trace more subtle appropriations of Scripture (i.e., allusions, echoes and thematic parallels), Harmon argues that Isaiah 49-54 in particular has shaped the structure of Paul´s argument and the content of his theological reflection in Galatians. Each example of Isaianic influence is situated within its original context as well as its new context in Galatians. Attention is also paid to how those same Isaianic texts were interpreted in Second Temple Judaism, providing the larger interpretive context within which Paul read Scripture. The result is fresh light shed on Paul´s self-understanding as an apostle to the Gentiles, the content of his gospel message, his reading of the Abraham story and the larger structure of Galatians.