This article considers the interaction that John Owen had with the Socinians. It puts it into historical perspective, explaining the heresy of Socinianism, namely, its anti-Trinitarian view. The author goes on to assess the way Owen linked the Socinians with others, especially Richard Baxter and Hugo Grotius.
What is the function of the voice of Leviticus in Daniel 9? Levitical terminology and thought-forms pervade the chapter. This essay argues that intertextual sensitivity to the Leviticus connections in Daniel 9 can make the reader sensitive for new insights in the theological perspective of the chapter.
There are a number of instances in the Old Testament where "elohim" (“God, god”) is accurately translated by the plural (“gods”). Some instances are used of an Israelite divine assembly or divine council under the authority of Yahweh (Psalm 82:1). This raises the question whether the divine plural in the Old Testament is a demonstration of an evolution in the religion of Israel from polytheism to monotheism.
This article seeks to show when theological error becomes heresy. It explains what are the fundamental doctrines of Christianity, and the distinctions therein between error and heresy.
This article considers the best translation and interpretation of Genesis 2:5-6. The discussion revolves around whether these verses describe a dry or a wet world.
The doctrine of Christology is of central importance in Christian thought. More recent scholarship has questioned the view that an understanding of the person of Jesus as the Son of God in a real or essential sense is to be found in the mind of Jesus and in the thought of the early church, and that such understanding can for the basis of a modern Christology. This article addresses the scholarship that denies the above contentions, questioning whether they demonstrate a true reading of the New Testament evidence.
There are only three explicit Old Testament references to the doctrine of the image of God in man: Genesis 1:26, Genesis 5:2, and Genesis 9:6. However, the importance of the doctrine is out of all proportion to the limited treatment it receives in the Old Testament. That man is a [creature]] implies limitations upon the range and degree of his similarities to God.
This study considers two of the prepositions used in New Testament statements on the subject of the atonement to see what contribution they have to make. Four prepositions are used in the New Testament statements about the death of Christ, but only two are examined here, i. e. "for" (ἀντί) and "on behalf of/for the sake of/for the beneft of" (ὐπέρ).
The Hebrew expression "saraph me'opheph" occurs twice in the Old Testament, and both times in Isaiah. Isaiah 14:29 refers to the "fiery flying serpent" and Isaiah 30:6 the term is usually understood as a reference to the sand-viper. Such interpretations imply that these creatures were semi-mythological. This article calls into question this interpretation, showing from contemporary data that these creatures may have been some kind of poisonous winged insect.
This paper wants to re-examine the interpretation of Malachi 1:11 that suggests that worship offered in sincerity and truth under the auspices of any religion whatsoever is in effect offered to the one true God. Is this interpretation consistent with Old Testament teaching as a whole on the subject of the worship of the nations? Is it consistent with the prophet's teaching in the rest of Malachi? The author examines these questions, and then takes a fresh look at the text and its interpretation.
The Gospel of Matthew's account of the resurrection of Jesus is regarded by many scholars as the least reliable historically. This article does not provide definitive answers to the questions raised, but it indicates some of the avenues that could be further explored. The relationship of Matthew 28 to the other gospels is examined. The major arguments that supposedly justify treating Matthew 28 with suspicion are each considered in turn.
This essay attempts to explain the belief that the death of Christ on the cross had the character of penal substitution, and that it was by virtue of this fact that it brought salvation to mankind. First, the author clears up some questions of method. He then continues to explore what it means to call Christ's death substitutionary.
The concepts of wisdom and knowledge in 1 Corinthians have been studied from two general approaches. One approach derives the apostle Paul's usage from nonmythological understanding of the concepts in the Old Testament and later Judaism. The second approach sees an influence of mythological origins that may or may not have been mediated through Judaism.
One looks almost in vain for a major discussion of sin during the twentieth century. Does guilt before God still have meaning in the context of modern developments such as Marxism and psycho-analitical approaches to who man is? This essay attempts to examine the way that theology has sought to come to terms with the idea of sin during the twentieth century.
The aim of this essay is to survey approaches to the parousia (return of Christ) in modern theology. It wants to describe and assess these modern approaches within their own proper theological and historical context. It is followed by the author's own approach to the subject, showing where he thinks he may draw fruitfully upon modern insights and where we must take warnings from modern misunderstandings.
The author addresses questions about the interpretation of the Bible's ethical material. These are questions about the meanings of moral words, to be distinguished from questions of normative ethics and of descriptive ethics. By defining "ethics" formally, rather than by its content, O'Donovan has included within the scope of ethics two spheres that are sometimes distinguished from it, i.e., the religious and the aesthetic.
This article draws attention to the fact that it is no longer possible to describe Nuzi customs as customs of Hur simply on the basis that they show some divergence from better-known Mesopotamian practices, and because there was considerable influence of Hur at Nuzi. In Near Eastern Studies there is an increasing awareness that the similarities between Nuzi and other Mesopotamian text groups are, in fact, greater than was formerly supposed.
Does preaching still have any meaning in our time and age? Is the sermon a relic of the past? This essay wants to reflect on the theological question of what preaching really is. The true renewal of preaching can only happen in the way of understanding the real nature and function of preaching. A renewal on the level of preaching technique alone is not really a renewal at all. In the New Testament, we find the origin of what Christian preaching is. Some key terms used for preaching are examined.
The approach of this article to the Scriptures is with the conviction that they mean exactly what they say. However, it is not true that the Bible means nothing more than that. The author grapples with the divine as well as the human element in the Bible. It reflects on how readers can hear what God's timeless message is from any given passage. It is within this context that the article reflects on the significance of "sensus plenior" (the "fuller" sense).
In Old Testament scholarship, there is a general recognition of the unique importance of the Decalogue in Israel's understanding of her relationship with God. The article states that the last six commandments are in themselves not at all unique. Is there significance in the explicit listing of these otherwise very general moral obligations at the foundation of the nation as the covenant people of Yahweh?
What is the relationship between the name of God and the glory of God? In OT studies there has been a change in the conception of the ark of the covenant in Deuteronomy. The ark is no longer seen as the footstool of God in his glory, but merely a receptacle containing the stones on which the law is written. This study is concerned with the fact that God's name has been used to demythologize the ark. Exodus 33:18ff.
What is the literary structure of the composition of the oracles against Babylon in Jeremiah 50 and Jeremiah 51? This study hopes to demonstrate that the composition of the oracles is not disordered but rather a well-ordered complex of structurally related elements. The thesis is that the composition is comprised of six movements set within a common framework.
What are the extra-biblical sources for the history of Israel? There is an Assyrian text that offers an account of dealings with Judah, a text renowned since the beginning of Assyriology. That text is Sennacherib's report of his attack on Judah and Jerusalem during the reign of King Hezekiah. This article examines mainly this text.
This article is an account of the political thought of the book of Revelation. It reflects on how the goodness of creation is questioned by the apparent meaninglessness of the historical events. Only if history can be shown to have a purpose can the praise of creation resume. The sacrificial death of the Messiah of God is the event that interprets all other events.
What is the relationship between Christ and Christian ethics? The article asks the question: If Christians are what they are by virtue of their participation in Christ, then what room is left for human ethical activity? What is the relationship between grace and morality? Webster wants to explore this relationship by giving close attention to the New Testament material on the imitation of Christ.
This article considers the matter of competition in business and politics. It reviews the matter from a Christian perspective, then sets out its advantages.
The release of CO2 and other so-called greenhouse gases into the atmosphere, leading to the "greenhouse effect," has caused a major concern about man's environmental and ecological responsibilities. This paper asks whether Christians have a distinctive viewpoint on these matters. First, it is noted that the issues raised go far beyond scientific analysis; profound consequences for economic life can follow.
What were the appropriate Christian responses to the complexity of daily life presided over by the deities in Corinth, as portrayed in 1 Corinthians 8-1 Corinthians 10? This essay responds to this question by first describing the religious pluralism of Roman Corinth, which took for granted the legitimacy of all its many gods and many lords.
This article considers the translation of Ruth 4:5.
What is the meaning of "kathegetes" in Matthew 23:10? This article proposes that the papyrus P.Oxy. 2190 (c. AD 70–90) could help in understanding its meaning. In this papyrus the term occurs more frequently than in most literary sources. It is then argued that "kathegetes" in Matthew 23:10 refers to a tutor
What is the significance of man being created in the image of God? This article outlines the current state of exegesis on this doctrine and the problems connected with the traditional theological interpretation of Genesis 1:26. Next, he considers the newly recognized importance of intertestamental Judaism for a Christian doctrine of the image of God.
The resurrection of Jesus is central to the Christian faith. This article argues that resurrection is essentially a feature of the last times and the outstanding aspect of the Christian hope. The New Testament makes it evident that the resurrection of Jesus was linked not only with his death but also with his parousia. The major theme of this study is the nature and significance of this connection.
This article reflects on the interpretation of the writing on the wall of Daniel 5:26-28. The article starts to consider the particular problem why the Babylonians could not read these Aramaic words when Aramaic was an official court language. It is proposed that the inscription was a number written in cuneiform, which was translated into Aramaic and then interpreted.
What is the intended meaning of the rhetorical question in 1 Corinthians 10:22? This article argues that an investigation of the Old Testament background to verses 1-21 suggests a likely origin for 10:22b, and also clarifies its precise intent, significance, and force.
This essay wants to contribute to the discussion about biblical inspiration. Two modern but very different views of biblical inspiration are examined (those of B. B. Warfield and James Barr). Begby argues that despite their strengths both would have benefited from sustained attention to the trinitarian context of the work of the Spirit in inspiration.
This article argues that careful lexicological investigations in 1 Timothy 2:12 have undermined the traditional interpretation of "authenteō" ("to have authority over") and brought to light various shades of meaning, without demonstrating their relevance to the passage. The argument of this paper is that if closer attention is paid to the structural and figurative character of the passage, the result is a reading that takes into account both the proper sense of "authenteō" and the particular social context and circumstances of the apostle's message.
This article makes a case for the possibility of written literature and thus the skill and knowledge of writing existing in Palestine from at least the tenth century BC onward.
Greek hero cults consisted of sacrifices offered at the grave of deceased human beings. There was a belief that the hero was still active and able to exercise a powerful influence. In this article, this evidence is compared to Mark’s portrayal of Jesus’ empty tomb to show that it is not the empty tomb of a hero, but of one who has been raised from the dead.
The apostle Paul uses the phrase "refresh the heart" some four times. This article wants to look at the use of the verb "anapauō" (with various meanings) in particular where it is combined with "pneuma" ("spirit") or "splanchna" ("bosom") in ancient Greek literary and non-literary sources. It concludes that Paul's use of the complete phrase (1 Corinthians 16:18, 2 Corinthians 7:13, Philemon 7, and Philemon 20) may have been a unique usage.
Opinions vary on the relationship of 1 Corinthians 7:6-7 to its wider context. The result is that widely differing interpretations of 1 Corinthians 7:1-24 have been offered. This article offers a way to unlock the pattern of Paul's thought in 7:8-24. It is argued that 7:6 does not refer to the contents of 7:1-5, but emphatically to 7:7a where "de" assumes an adverbial role of "rather" in Paul's warning. Using the strong adversative "but" in 7:7b, Paul acknowledges that either singleness or marriage is a divine gift.
In Romans 8:26 Paul compares the ministry of the Holy Spirit in helping Christians in their weakness to something he had written earlier. He uses the comparative adverb "hosautos." There is no consensus among interpreters as to the subject of the comparison. This article makes a proposal: Paul is comparing the Spirit’s ministry in verse 26 to the Spirit’s ministry in verse 16.
Did the New Testament permit divorce in Matthew 19 and elsewhere? This article argues that an improved syntactic analysis of the Old Testament text shows Moses to have in fact issued a specific directive on divorce; however, that directive in Deuteronomy 24 was open to the kind of misunderstanding that Jesus needed to correct.
The most important models Paul urges his readers to imitate are those of himself, Christ, and God. He also directs his readers to the behavior of other individuals and occasionally reminds them of the example of other churches. There are also exhortations that his readers become "models" for others to imitate. Questions have been asked regarding the motivation behind Paul’s instruction.
This article focuses on the moral distinction between appearance and reality, between an outward self and an inward self. It examines contemporary virtue ethics and the claim that Christian ethics is a virtue ethic. It identifies, examines, and evaluates three theses that are central to virtue ethics: a priority thesis, a perfectionist thesis, and a communitarian thesis.
The aim of this article is to examine the reasons why theodicy, as we understand the term today, is virtually absent from ancient Mesopotamian literature. The purpose is to discover what factors in that culture led to the exclusion of theodicy and the idea of innocent suffering from their worldview and literature.
Is the canon merely an anthology of the religious literature of the day, making it no longer possible to speak of its unity? This article indicates two main ways in which the issue of biblical unity is typically presented: unity may be based in the process of divine inspiration which is believed to have brought about these writings, or it may be based in a theory of providential ordering.
This article discusses the renewal of theological interpretation of Scripture. The article first mentions the strength of objections to theological interpretation in the 19th century, the time when the paradigm of historical criticism was established. This is followed by a consideration of the problem of conceptualizing revelation within the Old Testament, as done by Preuss in the 20th century.
This article argues that the Gospel of Mark’s sayings on the coming of the Son of Man (Mark 8:38, Mark 13:24-27, and Mark 14:62) refer to the return of Jesus. This is argued against the view of R. T. France and N. T. Wright according to whom these sayings call attention to the vision of Daniel 7:9-14.
Grammar alone is inadequate to determine the meaning of "pistis Christou" in the letter to the Galatians. Does it mean "faith in Christ" or "faithfulness of Christ"? This article wants to offer an exegesis of Galatians 3:1-6 to better understand its meaning in Galatians 2:16. The conclusion of the author is that it refers to the faith of men in Christ.
Does the apostle Paul in Romans 11 differ from how he is represented in Acts 28:16-31 on how he views the response of Jews to the gospel? This essay argues that the differences do not contradict each other but rather are complementary. In both cases Paul sees a mixed response among Jews, the developing of a faithful remnant, and the matter of "provoking to jealousy" as a critical element.
The essay is an exegetical study of John 13:31-32. It considers all the textual and historical questions surrounding the text. Ensor argues that Jesus claims that through his return to the Father by way of the cross, his divine qualities would be revealed. In this way, he would fulfill the role of the "one like a son of man" of Daniel 7:13-14.
This essay argues that according to the Westminster Confession of Faith, the Christian church's only obligation towards the Old Testament judicial laws is one of "general equity." However, opinions vary as to how these words must be interpreted in the context of the Reconstructionist movement (Theonomy debate).
This article concerns itself with Romans 11:26-27. It is argued here that Paul’s Old Testament citation in this passage includes Isaiah 2:3, Isaiah 27:9, Isaiah 59:20-21. The article argues that for Paul, the first advent of Christ inaugurates the fulfillment of these promises from Isaiah. The salvation of "all Israel" is not an exclusively future reality.
Being known by God is a critical concept in the Bible. It is, however, neglected in exegesis and theology. This article wants to revive interest in the theme by reflecting on its definition and considering its pastoral function in the Bible. Being known by God is roughly equivalent to three related ideas: belonging to God, being loved or chosen by God, and being a child of God.
This article engages with Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Divine Discourse: Philosophical Reflections on the Claim That God Speaks, offering an explanation and critique of Wolterstorff’s move from the first to the second hermeneutic in his interpretation of Psalm 137.
This study takes a look at modern accounts of collective religious visions. Five factors are discussed that make it very likely that such visions are hallucinations. In the second part of the paper, the author examines whether the same is true of Jesus’ resurrection appearances. The Gospels relate only non-glorious appearances of Jesus.
This article wants to put the distinctive elements of salvation in relation to each other in order to create a comprehensive picture. He links the initiating elements of the spiritual life with the progress of the believer’s life, with a view to preparing the ground to redefine the doctrine of the perseverance of believers within such a revised order of salvation.
This article claims that Larry Hurtado's work on Christology remains an evolutionary, multi-stage model, and is historically problematic. He believes Hurtado overstates the case for Jewish opposition to Christ-devotion, minimizes the ethical particularity of earliest Christianity. His claim that religious experiences gave the decisive impetus to Christ-devotion does not reckon adequately with the implications of social-science study.
Did the Old Testament make use of imagery found in other ancient Near Eastern texts and portray creation as God’s victory over, and transformation of chaos. The article indicates that this understanding is often associated with the expression "tohu wabohu" (Hebr. in Gen. 1:2), translated as"formless and empty," and that many interpretations of Genesis 1:1-2 imply that this chaos existed before God began his work as Creator.
This article exposes diverse applications of psychological approaches to the book of Lamentations. It gives an analysis of the benefits and limitations of this research. It then continues to relate prayer and pain in the poetry of Lamentations by exploring the connections between Lamentations and the psychology of prayer.
Do the participles of Romans 12:9-21 function as imperatives or may they be connected with a finite verb in the context of the passage? The suggestion of this article is that the participles might be connected with a finite verb, but one that is unexpressed in the passage.
What ought to characterize the Christian life? This article indicates the unity of vision for a Christian life in Romans 12:9-21, Philippians 4:2-9, and 1 Thessalonians 5:12-24. This unity of vision helps us see the correspondence between Romans 1:18-32 and Romans 12:1-2 and the unity of Romans 12–13 as a whole.
This article wants to work towards greater clarity on the meaning of the three clauses found in John 1:3c-4.
This article finds fault with the popular evangelicalism of the past few decades and sees it as a crumbling edifice. The source of this demise is evangelicalism's understanding of the doctrine of God, the doctrine of Christ and redemption, and the doctrine of the Holy Spirit, especially his work in regeneration and sanctification.
This article describes neotheism as a new view of God in theological scholarship. After describing the characteristics of this new worldview, the author then also sets up objections to this view of God. The objections touch on the topics of creation ex nihilo, predictive prophecy in the Bible, the test for false or true prophecy, and God's ultimate victory over evil.