This article considers Paul's purpose in writing Romans. Wu wants to demonstrate exegetically that Paul's motive in writing Romans was to motivate them to support his mission to the “barbarians” in Spain. He argues that the letter’s theology exists to allow Paul to preach the gospel where Christ had not been known (Romans 15:20). Wu works out the implications for the church's missiological and pastoral practice.
How does information about building practices from the ancient Near East support an interpretation of the book of Ezekiel? Peterson's thesis is that Ezekiel deliberately omits some key human elements from ANE temple-building practices in his temple vision of Ezekiel 40:1-Ezekiel 43:11, in an effort to help Israel to realize the nature of their sin.
How should the use of contraceptives as instruments of family planning be viewed from a theological perspective? The arrival of the Pill in 1960 caused a major shift in thinking about this topic. Hollinger considers the theological argument against contraception that has too often been missing in ethical considerations in Protestant circles.
This article explores the relationship between the Old Testament and the New Testament, and whether there are structural connections between the two. Did the order of the the Old Testament books influence the ordering of the books of the New Testament canon? The article further considers what the possible implications are for the reading and interpretation of the Bible as one book.
What is the true identity of Nimrod that the readers of the Bible get acquainted with in Genesis 10:8, 9 (cf. 1 Chronicles 1:10, Micah 5:6)? This study wants to work towards a clearer identification of Nimrod by investigating the different words, phrases, and constructions that act as exegetical clues that can possibly throw more light on what can be known for certain about the biography of Nimrod.
Did God make one or three or perhaps even more covenants with Abraham? Do Genesis 12, Genesis 15, Genesis 17, and Genesis 22 refer to different covenants? This article argues that the Lord made a single covenant with Abraham and later supplemented that covenant by adding name changes, requirements, and promises.
Is the birth of Jesus from a virgin an invention of Matthew (Matthew 1:23) as part of a desire to fulfil the words of Isaiah 7:14? This article examines the interpretation of Isaiah 7:14 in pre-Christian times and how Matthew cited prophetic texts. It also reflects on the influence of the early tradition of Jesus’ descent from David upon Matthew's reference to a virginal conception.
What is the nature of human freedom in light of man's natural tendency towards sin? This article responds to a previous article in the journal by Paul Himes who argued that 1 Corinthians 10:13 provides good evidence in favour of libertarianism, at least in situations in which Christians are tempted to sin. Cowan argues contrary to Himes that the text actually supports a compatibilist view of freedom.
This article offers a new translation of the often-puzzling text 1 Timothy 2:15. Hubbard argues that this text refers to the safe-keeping of a woman through the ordeal of child-bearing. He also interprets the text against the background of the ancient Mediterranean world, which he believes to be essential for a good interpretation of Paul's letter and this verse in particular.
The interpretation of how Hosea 11:1 uses Matthew 2:15 has a troubled history. Beale gives a short overview of interpretations before he offers his grammatical-historical and biblical-theological approach. Beale concludes that Matthew makes a comparison between Jesus as the "son" with the "son" of Hosea.
The election of Israel to be the people of God is a significant theme in the Old Testament. This special position of Israel has offended many people both in the ancient and modern world. In a world of "equal opportunity," people argue that the idea of election leads to violence because it in effect defines all other nations as the enemy. The elect and the non-elect are seen as antagonistic categories.
This article provides a bibliography on relevant resources for the study of literature from the intertestamental period, which is useful for an understanding of the background to the New Testament. Specific attention is given to the Dead Sea Scrolls, but also authors like Philo and Josephus, as well as rabbinic literature and the Talmud.
This study explores the possibility that Paul created the so-called hymnic material he is using in Ephesians 5:14. Supporting this thesis is a study of the way that the passages from Isaiah have been conflated in Ephesians 5 and have influenced the broader contours of Ephesians. The authors first look at the Old Testament text behind the citation and then demonstrates how Paul contextually appropriates the texts for his purposes.
The use of Amos 9:11-12 in Acts 15 has been much discussed. Many covenant theologians has seen this text as evidence for the church replacing Israel. Dispensational exegetes treat this text as not relevant for the present age but a reference to a future state of affairs. Hays seeks to follow a third alternative and steer clear of the pitfalls mentioned.
In this article Hays argues that the theme of justice is the central theme and motif of Luke 18:1 to Luke 19:10. Hays notices Luke's use of the Old Testament prophets and the theme of justice to be found in the prophets as it is connected to the coming messianic era. He then notices the socio-economic context of the first-century Palestine. Finally, Hays demonstrates how the theme of justice runs through Luke 18 to 19.
This article wants to consider the soteriological significance of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. The author considers Jesus' resurrection in relation to his offices as Messiah: prophet, priest (Hebrews 5:5–10), and king (Acts 2:30–32). He wants to emphasize that the resurrection on Sunday is more than just a "proof" of the gospel of the cross.
What is the significance of salt in the Bible? Why are the disciples of Jesus called the salt of the earth (Matthew 5:13)? This study argues that there are four central notions that stand out. The binding factor is the biblical idea of covenant. The article proceeds with a survey of salt in the Hebrew Scripture and the disciples as salt in the New Testament.
Many commentators agree that the prophecies in Isaiah 40-Isaiah 55 were written to a group of Hebrew exiles living in Babylon about 150 years after the time of Isaiah. However, this article wrestles with this point of view and therefore reassess the interpretation of seven passages that do not seem to address Hebrew exiles in Babylon.
According to Wolters the meaning of the verb αὐθεντέω, which occurs in 1 Timothy 2:12, has been under considerable scholarly discussion since the 1980s. The thesis of this article is that one important attestation to the possible meaning of the word has not received the due attention because of an error of dating.
This article is an argument in defence of proof-texting. Historically, it has served a useful function as a sign of disciplinary symbiosis among theology and exegesis. The authors believe that a renewed practice of proof-texting may serve as a sign of lively interaction between biblical commentary and Christian doctrine.
Does the New Testament use the Old Testament in a contextual manner, that is, acknowledging the literary context from where the reference is taken? The thesis of this article is that Paul’s use of Exodus 32:6 in 1 Corinthians 10:7 and the flow of the argument in 1 Corinthians 10:1–13 are best understood against the literary context of covenant making, breaking, and renewal in Exodus 19-Exodus 34.
Mark 14:51-52 is a major crux of Mark’s Gospel where we find the account of a young man fleeing naked from the scene as Jesus was arrested. This essay reviews the opinions of the young man’s identity. It proposes not an identification of this man, but the theological agenda of Mark. The paper wants to enable preachers to use this text in Mark 14 as the basis for a sermon that provides a valid application for transforming lives for God’s glory.
How do we move from the Bible to formulating theology? This article believes that a study of good examples may help to prevent the exercise from becoming purely theoretical. The author uses John Calvin to present an example of how one person made such a move. In particular he uses Calvin’s implicit approach to church leadership and in particular church government. This article wants to understand how Calvin moved from the Bible to practice and then compares it to contemporary models.
According to this article, a shift has occurred in how justification is viewed. The rise of the so-called New Perspective on Paul led to justification being viewed more in corporate terms. What is the place of the individual in Paul's view of justification? Hassler believes that the case that Paul was not really interested in “inner tensions of individual souls and consciences” has been overstated.
Seifrid wants to regard Romans 10 as providing an interpretive key to the gospel Paul proclaimed. He further wants to make use of this chapter in Romans to assess the vision of N. T. Wright on justification. He offers exegetical remarks on Romans 10:1-21, which he then uses to make critical remarks about what he understands Wright is teaching about justification.
The Gospel of Luke (Luke 2:1-2) and the first-century Jewish historian Josephus differ on the date for the census of Quirinius. In this study, the author argues that Josephus's account of the census and the revolt by Judas the Galilean is actually a mistaken duplication of events that occurred much earlier.
In this article N. T. Wright responds to critical questions on his view on justification by faith. For Wright justification is rooted firmly in Jesus himself. He has four preliminary considerations: the question of Scripture and tradition, the issue of Paul’s context and later contexts, the methodological issues of words and stories, and the understanding of Second Temple Judaism.
Thielman is convinced that if one is to understand how justification functions in Paul's writings, one needs to understand how the righteousness language functions in Romans 1:17. He argues in this article that part of the reason for the volatile interpretive history of this verse is that the phrase is polyvalent. He further argues that the "righteousness of God” has three meanings in Romans 1:17.
This article is about justification, how lost sinners share in the saving righteousness of God in Christ. Schreiner is in dialogue with N. T. Wright. First, Schreiner is convinced that Wright wrongly says that justification is primarily about ecclesiology instead of soteriology. Next, Schreiner believes that Wright often introduces a false polarity when referring to the mission of Israel.
This article examines Paul’s interpretation of the veil of Moses (Exodus 34:29-35) in 2 Corinthians 3:7-18. This application is burdened with difficulties. Garrett wants to offer a new translation and interpretation of 2 Corinthians. He starts with an examination of the narrative of Exodus 19-Exodus 34 and then analyzes 2 Corinthians 3.
This study suggests that we find an allusion to Genesis 3:7 in Luke 24:31. Both Adam and Eve's eyes and those of the two disciples on the road to Emmaus were opened when they were offered food. The study first notes the general lack of attention in the relevant literature for the possibility of this inter-canonical connection. Ortlund identifies three scholars who link Luke 24:31 to Genesis 3, and then provides four factors that suggest such a link.
This study reflects upon the narrative manner in which the covenants are presented in the Old Testament. The covenants are portrayed with considerable narrative and architectonic art. Through a study of the relevant covenant narratives, one is enabled to see better the significance of God’s covenant-making procedure in the different covenants.
The Old Testament views leadership in general as a privilege granted to an individual in order to serve the interests of those who are led. This view of leadership is reflected in particular in Deuteronomy's version of the Decalogue. This article offers a comparison of Deuteronomy 5's versions of the Decalogue with Exodus 20.
In this article Chrisholm responds to a critique of Andrew Steinmann on his view on the chronology of the book of Judges. He offers a critique of Steinmann’s reply and amplifies and clarifies his own position.
This article responds to an article by Robert Chisholm, who proposed a chronology of the book of Judges. This chronology was based on a literary clue in the book itself. This article agrees with much of what Chisholm wrote. However, it asks whether the pattern Chisholm identified is necessarily a clue to the chronology of Judges or a clue to another feature developed by the author of Judges.
This article wants to encourage and enhance theological training and biblical instruction that can be of support and help in the area of bioethics. What is needed is to form a good theological perspective and seek wisdom. The article reflects on a realistic theological approach to counseling and bioethics.
Many scholars consider the classic formulations of the doctrine of Scripture to be that of Hodge's and Warfield's. Yet many criticisms have been brought in against their views over the years. Claims have been made that the Dutch Reformed theologians like Abraham Kuyper and Herman Bavinck promoted a “functional” (organic) rather than a “philosophical” (mechanical) method to understand the nature of Scripture.
The issue of who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven was a matter of great weight to the Lord Jesus. The issue is addressed in all three Synoptic Gospels. For Jesus it is much more than a quarrel among his disciples; it is actually nothing less than the possibility that they will forego their place in the eschatological kingdom. The article focuses on Matthew 18:1-4, but the parallels in Mark and Luke are taken into account.
How does the order of the New Testament books in the canon function hermeneutically, that is, influence the way the books are interpreted? This article assumes that the location of a biblical book influences a reader’s view of the book. Readers presume that documents that are grouped together are related in some way in meaning.
This is a review article of the influential The Deliverance of God: An Apocalyptic Rereading of Justification in Paul by Douglas A. Campbell. Moo mainly interacts with what he sees as Campbell's fierce attack on Paul's theology of justification.
Deuteronomy 6-Deuteronomy 8 occupy an important place within the book of Deuteronomy and in the Jewish and Christian tradition. This essay seeks to understand the context of these chapters. It first surveys its history of interpretation and offers an evaluation. The thesis and proposal of the article is that the Decalogue (Deuteronomy 5:6-21) and the covenant ratification ceremony at Sinai (Exodus 24) offer a plausible context.
In this article Ware argues for the importance of viewing Christ as the God-man, which emphasizes the unity of the two natures of Jesus Christ. In support of his position, he appeals to two features of the life and ministry of Christ. The first consideration is the significance of Jesus who came as the long-awaited Messiah. Next, Ware considers the reality of the impeccability of Jesus.
The focus of the study is on John 20:12. The author uses the whole of John 19:38-John 20:18 as a basis of his study. He reflects on the possibility to see in John 20:12 an allusion to the ark of the covenant. Lunn finds a number of related allusions in the immediate context. He further explores the theological implications of such allusions from the Torah.
A very important date for the interpretation of the book of Daniel is 536 BC. This date refers to the end of the seventy weeks of Daniel 9:24. It is also the start of the sixty-nine weeks of Daniel 9:25-26. At the end of this period a messiah would appear and Jerusalem would be rebuilt. The author argues that Nehemiah was this anointed one.
Who is the "company of nations” referred to in Genesis 35:11 that shall come from Jacob? This article wants to understand its significance within the broader framework of the promise to Abraham in Genesis 12:3 and the way it developed in Genesis. The author proposes that the promise of “a company of nations” coming from Jacob is closely related to the initial promise to Abraham regarding blessings for the nations.
The field of New Testament textual criticism was strongly influenced by the publication of Bart Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus: The Story behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. The publication's main argument was that the early orthodox faith radically changed the text to conform to their views.
Christian worship must be biblical worship. What are the hermeneutical principles involved in developing a good biblical theology of worship? The primary goal in this paper is to clarify some of the hermeneutical confusion, by noting some of the distinct approaches that do exist in the English, Scottish, and American Presbyterian traditions.
What is the possible origin of the praise sections in the book of Revelation? Seal argues that John shaped his praise utterances according to the form of acclamations shouted to dignitaries of his time. The article first defines acclamations before discussing their form and function in John's Roman world.
Emerging scholarship want to read the New Testament as in a socio-political context that was dominated by Roman imperial ideology. Does imperial ideology indeed form the primary Greco-Roman background for the letters of Paul? Burk describes how American imperialism forms the background for this approach. He then goes on to extensively evaluate various aspects of the "Fresh Perspective," such as its drawing illegitimate parallels between the Roman Empire and present-day America.
The Synoptic Gospels regularly describe the way one enters the kingdom of God. The Synoptics rarely in these contexts explicitly mention faith. The Gospels do not imply that people merit eternal life and the kingdom; nevertheless, active obedience provides the gateway to life. The article draws attention to the way the Gospels framed the doctrine of salvation (soteriology).
This article continues Hawkins' debate with Rodger Young and Bryant Wood on the date of the exodus-conquest. He defends his methodology in this article.
Jobes underlines the importance of Bible translation. She reflects on Bible translation through her outline of a biblical theology of language. She also explores relevance theory as it bears on the question of translation. Jobes works toward conclusions on what characteristics a translation must have to be faithful.
What was the social position of women in antiquity? Were they less educated than men and did they enjoy less opportunity for public speech than men? Keener first notes the relevance of these questions for one line of egalitarian interpretation of Paul. He then examines some exceptions to this general rule, the presence of some women in advanced education, women in Jewish education, and women speaking in public.
The Gentiles of Macedonia and Achaia owed a material blessing to the messianic Jews in Jerusalem. What for? Do Gentile churches in the twenty-first century owe it as well? These and related questions are investigated as Peterman deals with Romans 15:26. He first makes comments on translation issues and the significance of the verse, then gives arguments for his conviction that Gentile Christians have a continuing debt to believing Jews.
The author first surveys the available options for reading Genesis 11:1-9: an ahistorical primaeval event, an agnostic historical event, or a known historical event. He then provides a reading of this passage as a known historical event, together with the textual and archaeological evidence considered.
This article wrestles with a question with a specific focus.
In this article, Hays responds to Clyde Billington who gave a proposal regarding the textual variant problem in 1 Samuel 17:4 concerning the height of Goliath. He responds to a number of aspects, including the difficulty of defining a cubit, the unexplained Dead Sea Scrolls evidence, the fear of Saul and its narrative context, Goliath’s armour and weapons, etc.
What was the size of Goliath and the giants we read of in Joshua? In this paper the author argues that both the six-cubits reading and the four-cubits reading of 1 Samuel 17:4 give the same basic height for Goliath. In addition, this paper will argue that both readings are saying that Goliath was about eight feet tall. It also seeks to answer related questions about the size of the exodus giants.
The Bible portrays the hostility between God and Satan, but there is also abundant testimony that Satan was subject to God’s control and was used by God to accomplish his purposes. He is indeed represented as a servant of God. This presentation of Satan is explicit in the book of Job. This article looks at how Satan is portrayed in Job and then explores how later biblical texts use this presentation of Job.
This article presents a critique of Robert Peterson who defends the traditional interpretation of eternal torment against the challenge posed by annihilationism. The author critically examines key features of Peterson’s case and suggest that it has some major shortcomings and is ultimately unsuccessful. Annihilationists admit that the Bible teaches eternal punishment. They differ with the more traditional view of what this punishment entails.
How should indirect speech be interpreted? In the New Testament, several passages of this nature are found, where the intended meaning of a statement differs from its direct meaning. Biblical interpreters from cultures where the style of communication is mostly direct easily miss the indirect meaning and instead interpret the statement in a direct manner. Montgomery looks at John 1:35-41 as a case in point.