Abram, when he reached Shechem, built an altar and "called upon the name of Yahweh". According to many scholars, the patriarchs used the name "El Shaddai" as the name of God. They argue that the name of Yahweh was not known before the time of Moses, and so Genesis 12:8 does not portray the true reality. The purpose of this study is to give some reasons for thinking that the author of Genesis 12 rightly used the name Yahweh.
The purpose of this short note is to restate an old explanation of the first clause of Isaiah 40:20.
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.
What is the exact meaning of the "thirtieth year" in Ezekiel 1:1? This article submits its own proposal.
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.
Did Jesus see himself as the servant referred to in Isaiah 53? This understanding of Jesus' view of his mission has come under attack. This article concerns itself with a response to the work of C. F. D. Moule, C. K. Barrett, and Morna Hooker who are all critical of the view that finds Jesus' self-understanding steeped in Isaiah 53.
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).
This article considers the matter of editing of a prophetic text, and it does so by using as example the "Servant passages" in Isaiah, particularly Isaiah 7:14, its context and content. The author argues that the concept of the editing of a text is not itself at fault; rather, this concept is simply not taken with sufficient seriousness by those who appeal most frequently to it.
Was there a development in the eschatology of Paul? This article examines 2 Corinthians 5:1-10, highlighting three issues arising from the passage that are relevant for this discussion on the development in Paul's eschatological thought. First, the author reflects on Paul's personal relationship to the return of Christ. Next, it considers the time of the receipt of the spiritual body.
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.
The doctrinal convictions of popular Christianity cannot be ignored when writing the history of doctrine. The author wants to encourage evangelical Christians to become more self-conscious about doctrinal development as an evangelical phenomenon. It is argued that evangelical thinking about the doctrine of Scripture has not remained immune to change.
This essay wants to concentrate primarily on the very sensitive area of the selective treatment of handicapped newborn babies. It is a response to the trial of Leonard Arthur. It is argued that there is a moral dimension to medical decisions that may not be within the scope of particular medical technical competence.
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 is romantic love? This study says it refers to the love of two persons of the opposite sex for one another, understood and expressed in terms of attraction and devotion. This love includes delight and joy in appreciation of each other, including the sexual and physical aspects. The study offers a fresh look at the Bible's understanding of romantic love especially in relation to courtship and marriage.
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 essay wants to place 2 Corinthians in the life of the apostle Paul as a missionary and church leader whose apostoleship was a subject of controversy at Corinth. It sketches the course of apostolic history in outline and indicates the way Paul's vocation was shaped by the flow of events that led to the composition of the letter.
Luke presents the ascension as the climax of his gospel. He also presents it as the most striking element in the introduction to Acts. By using these ascension accounts to form the link between the Gospel of Luke and Acts, Luke seem to indicate its significance for a proper understanding of his theology and purpose.
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 essay describes the view of E. P. Sanders with respect to Jesus Christ and repentance, and that description leads to the identification of a problem within Sander's view. Sanders argues that Jesus offered the kingdom of heaven to the wicked without repentance. The article analyzes how this problematic view arose.
What is nationalism and how did it play a role in the life of Israel as the people of God? This article examines the characteristics of neo-Babylonian nationalism before looking at two biblical examples of nationalism. The focus is on some of the eschatology concerned with Israel's future, which also involves the nations.
The purpose of this article is to re-examine some aspects of the kingdom of God, especially in the light of certain evidence about the Son of Man, and the relation of the kingdom to Jesus' person and mission. It focuses on two logia in the Beelzebul controversy as presented in Matthew 12:25-32 and its parallels in Mark 3:23-30 and Luke 11:17-30 and Luke 12:10,3.
When we consider the relationship between Ugaritic literature and the Old Testament, we are to make a comparison between different genres of literature. It has become customary in modern scholarship to hold that Habakkuk 3 was influenced by Ugaritic poetry. This article questions whether this pays necessary attention to the difference in their literary genre.
This essay examines the contrast in Scottish and American church history from the 1730s to the 1840s, and focuses on the difference in theological development. The author argues that the study of the relationship between formal religious thought and its social, political, and intellectual contexts shows why theology developed differently in the two regions during this period.
This article examines the speech of the apostle Paul in Acts 20:17-38. It offers a good prospect of direct comparison between the Paul of Acts and the Paul of his letters.
This article reviews the book of E. W. Nicholson on the covenant in Old Testament, with the title God and His People, Covenant and Theology in the Old Testament.
Does the rabbinic tradition have a concept of original sin? This article first gives an overview of the view in the rabbinic tradition of the origin of evil and original sin. Next, it gives a thorough treatment of the apostle Paul's idea of original sin by examining Romans 5:12-21, Romans 7:7-25, and 1 Corinthians 15:20-22.
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.
The argument of the apostle Paul in Romans 5:7 forms the focus of the study. The author considers the possible difficulties of verse 7. He argues that the verse can be divided into two clauses: 7a, "for scarcely will anyone die for a righteous man," and 7b, "though for a good man someone might possibly dare to die." The recent history of interpretation of this verse is surveyed and a possible understanding of verse 7 is offered.
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.
1 Peter makes extensive use of the Old Testament. This article reflects on how the author of 1 Peter used the Old Testament to develop Christian ethics. It indicates how Peter's selection of texts was based upon the correlation between the situation of the people of God in the Old Testament and that of his readers. The teaching from the Old Testament was then developed in the author's own terminology to show its relevance for the suffering Christian churches.
This article considers the translation of Ruth 4:5.
According to the book of Acts, the apostle Paul was imprisoned for in excess of four years. How did he cope? This article draws attention to the helpers the apostle received. It indicates different kinds of helpers, like friends, slaves, jailers, disciples, and churches, and how they gained access to him. The article notes further the kind of help and support the apostle received.
Even though the term "Biblical Theology" is widely used today, there is not a generally accepted definition of its purpose and scope. The approach of J. P. Gabler is examined in this article. An alternative approach is offered that seeks to define Biblical Theology in relation to the Christian tradition rather than over against it. The merits of these two approaches are assessed in the light of the history of Biblical Theology over the past two hundred years.
Metaphors referring to family life played an important role in the formation of the New Testament and the early church. This article explores one aspect of the use of family metaphors, namely, the image of a father, used metaphorically by the apostle Paul in 1 Corinthians 4:14–21 to assert his apostolic authority in the church in Corinth.
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 significance and intention of the call in Deuteronomy 12:5? How should readers understand this command and its application in the historical books of the Old Testament? This article argues that the Old Testament record is sufficiently clear and consistent, and that the traditional view adopted by Thompson, Craigie, Kitchen, and others has support from the ancient Near East.
How relevant is the Old Testament for Christian ethics and how should it be used? The purpose of this first part of a two-part article is to survey some approaches to the question, both ancient and modern, examining assumptions and methods. Special notice is given to the early church, the time of the Reformation, and the modern period.
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 article provides an overview of the discussions on the description of the siege of the city of David in Isaiah 29:1–8. The main focus is on the suddenness with which the picture changes from judgment and devastation (vv. 1-4) to deliverance (vv. 5-8), which has occasioned much debate among commentators.
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.
In John 6:69, Peter confesses Jesus as "the Holy One of God." Scholarly opinion on the meaning of the Holy One of God is deeply divided. The most common solution is that the title simply means "Messiah." This article argues against such a position and suggests instead that the primary meaning of the title is that of "representation" or "agency." In Mark and Luke, it is an agency of judgment on the demons.
Is there a link between worship and ethics in Romans 12? Too often the main inspiration for Paul's thinking behind this text is ignored. The biblical-theological background to Paul's argument and the wider context of Romans must be taken into consideration. Peterson argues that the first two verses of Romans 12 proclaim a reversal of the downward spiral depicted in Romans 1.
Is there a dichotomy between fact and faith? A frequent cause of mutual alienation among Christians is the charge of too much certainty on the one hand and too little certainty on the other. Is it possible to find a kind of certainty that is confident and yet humble and teachable? We live after the Enlightenment, which looked for the ideal of knowledge in an "objectivity" that pretended to eliminate all the subjective factors in human knowledge and to provide undisputed certainty.
What was the timeframe anticipated by Jesus for the fulfillment of the promises in Luke 22:29-30? This article argues that on the basis of verbal, grammatical, contextual, logical, and other factors, it is the eschaton that is in view. The author explains further that neither the differences between Luke 22:29-30 and Matthew 19:28 nor the limited thematic likeness between Luke 22:29-30 and apostolic activity in Acts count against his conclusion.
Ephesians 5:18 contrasts drunkenness with fullness with the Spirit. This essay explores behavioural patterns followed at various Greco-Roman convivial gatherings. Accordingly, the present study suggests that the statements of Ephesians 5:18-20, and ultimately others made throughout the moral teaching in Ephesians, simply reflect the writer's assumption that his readers regularly gathered in a mealtime context.
This article explores the importance of a right understanding of the preposition "anti" ("instead of") in 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 (v. 15). Padgett argues that various lexical choices make no difference in this case. Paul is stating that nature has given women hair instead of a covering. This conclusion adds probability to the alternative reading being proposed.
With the resurgence of spirituality has come a renewed popular interest in angels. Thus, angels figure far more extensively in New Age thought than they have done in Christianity over the last two or three centuries. This essay explores the role angelology could potentially play in contemporary orthodox theology.
Robert Cook evaluated the post-mortem evangelism position held by Clark Pinnock in a recent article. He found Pinnock’s position rationally consistent. This article rejects Cook's analysis and the position Pinnock takes. It also suggests that this position is part of a failure to understand the radical nature of evil.
Opinion is divided over the meaning of the Hebrew term "hesed." This article examines the use of ִ"hesed" in the Old Testament, particularly in the setting of human relationships and the relationship between God and his people. It also considers the Hebrew terms with which ִ"hesed" is most closely associated. It concludes that at the heart of ִ"hesed" is loving commitment within the context of a relationship.
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.
This article assesses the common positioning of the Pastoral Epistles at the transition from second to third generation Christianity. The conclusion is that while there is validity in recognizing theological development in the Pastoral Epistles, this need not be explained in terms of late discontinuity with the theology of Paul. Towner argues that it is more likely that the Pastoral Epistles develop the theology of Paul.
Both the Old and New Testaments mention marriage covenants that God contracted between himself and his bride. The aim of this essay is to examine whether or not the several authors and the two Testaments contradict each other in this matter. The article demonstrates that in both Testaments God is described as someone who subjects himself to his own law with regard to regulations concerning marriage, separation, divorce, and remarriage.
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.
This article wants to examine how commentators over the centuries have interpreted Genesis 4:17-24. It asks how far their views reflect the influence of the cultures to which they belonged. Particular attention is paid to early and medieval Jewish commentators. This is followed by a representative selection from the Christian exegetical traditions.
This aricle reflects on the significant role the metaphor of "father" played in the pastoral practice of Paul. It indicates that a major line of Paul’s use of paternal imagery can be traced back into the Old Testament and early Jewish tradition. This is noted in the manner in which he corrects his converts in 2 Corinthians 1-9. The article concludes that Paul appears to owe much more to his ancient Jewish environment for his use of the paternal metaphor than has often been assumed.
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.
The Hebrew phrase "melek nineveh" ("king of Nineveh") is found in the Old Testament only in Jonah 3:6. This article wants to show that the title is not an anachronism. Why did the author ignore the usual designation "king of Assyria," found thirty times in 2 Kings 18-20? The common custom was to give provincial capitals the same name as the province. This could explain the fact that the book says the "city" was a three-day walk (3:3).
This article investigates, from an archaeological and historical perspective, the route of Paul's travels through Galatia to Troas, described in Acts 16:6-8. It begins with a brief analysis of the text. Next, it surveys the evidence about the ancient sites along the route from Dorylaeum to Troas. It ends with some additional observations about the transportation system.
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.
This article believes that it is impossible to treat Paul’s understanding of the law of Moses rightly apart from at least some discussion of "natural revelation" in Paul’s letter to the Romans. The author believes that the two themes are linked in Romans 2:12-16 in such a way that the interpretation of one affects the interpretation of the other.
Deuteronomy 27 is usually regarded as an awkward chapter, both internally as well as in its relationship to the chapters preceding and following it. It is the purpose of this article to discuss the theology of this chapter. The relationship of Yahweh and Israel to each other is discussed, with focus on Israel under curse and under grace. Rather than offering two equally possible options, blessing and curse, the ceremony on Mount Ebal is biased towards curse. No blessings are mentioned.
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.
In the Hezekiah narrative found in 2 Kings 18-20 and Isaiah 36-Isaiaih 39 there is a repeated use of "trust" or "rely on." This article explores the context and content of "trust" in the narratives. Its occurrences elsewhere in Isaiah, Psalms, Proverbs, and other prophetic literature are examined as well, and it can be seen that these point to a consistent pattern of true and false grounds for "trust."
This article wants to understand the nature of the case against Paul in Acts 18:12-17, Gallio legal reasons for rejecting it, the implication of the ruling for early Christians, and the defense Paul brought in subsequent Roman criminal proceedings.
What were the Jewish and Greco-Roman views of fatherhood that informed two aspects of Paul’s relationship as "father"—hierarchy/authority and affection—towards his "children" in 1 Thessalonians? Paul had a relationship of hierarchy similar to that of the paterfamilias (head of the household) in society who assumed the responsibility for socializing his children into the community.
There is always a tension in affirming both divine sovereignty and human freedom. This article examines Clark Pinnock's attempt to reconcile God's sovereignty with human freedom by suggesting that God knows all that can be known, which does not include future human decisions. However, God is omnicompetent and thus able to bring about his ultimate goals.
This article presents a detailed exegetical study of Hebrews 11. The exegesis indicates that references to future resurrection in Hebrews 11:17-19 and 35 are of foundational importance to the structure and logic of the argument of the chapter. It also addresses the common assumption that the resurrection of Christ was of no importance to the author of Hebrews and concludes that it is mistaken.
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 is a review article of Samuel Byrskog's Story as History – History as Story. It is an attempt to examine the role of eyewitnesses in the formation of the Gospel tradition. This review highlights first the importance of the subject of the role of eyewitnesses, and the lack of thorough treatments.
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 addresses the issue of "self-designations" in the Pastoral Epistles. What were the "names" used in early Christianity in this way to designate other members of the church? How did authors refer to members of the churches to whom they were writing? Does the term "Christian" provide the answer to these questions?
The background to this article is the view sometimes still promoted that Paul was not converted, and that the Damascus Road experience was only a call to ministry. However, the way Luke portrays Paul in Acts 8-Acts 10 shows Saul to lack a right relationship with God. Luke accomplish this picture in part by contrasting the pre-conversion Saul with Stephen, the Ethiopian eunuch, and Cornelius.
How did the doctrine of the perseverence of the saints develop in the way it is understood and applied in the life of the church? This article gives an overview of the history of this doctrine, starting with the important contribution of Augustine. It continues with how Thomas Aquinas saw perseverance as a necessary gift of God, but believers cannot be certain it was given to them.
According to this article, it seems as if 1 Corinthians 1-1 Corinthians 4 play a significant role in the letter as a whole. The problem of food offered to idols is approached by Paul in essentially the same manner as he approaches the problem of divisions over leaders. It is argued that 1 Corinthians 8:1–11:1 appears to follow closely Paul’s pattern of argumentation in 1 Corinthians 4.
How is Deuteronomy 32 used in Hebrews 10:30? This article is an argument for the translation "vindicate" rather than "judge" in Hebrews 10:30. The context of Deuteronomy 32 is explored in greater detail, followed by a detailed look at the situation of the letter to the Hebrews. Finally, the article looks at how the translation "vindicate" contributes to the exegesis of Hebrews 10.
This article gives close attention to the technique of Luke in his composition of Acts 17:16-34. This reveals the ways in which the Areopoagus narrative is not aimed at a Gentile audience but rather engages multiple implied readers or audiences. The way Paul is portrayed and the responses of the Athenians to his message are suggestive of how Luke answers for his readers the question, "What hath Athens to do with Jerusalem?"
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.
Goldingay argues that apparent ambiguities at the beginning of Psalm 4 can be resolved and become clear by reading the latter part of the psalm. He compares the reading of this psalm with the understanding of a sentence, which cannot be done until we have reached the end of it.
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 Old Testament does know of a "living sacrifice." The article demonstrates that the difference between the Old Testament and New Testament concepts of "spiritual life" is the way in which the believer becomes the sacrifice in the New Testament. It seems reasonable to think that the "living sacrifice" of Romans 12:1b may have an Old Testament precedent, and the article argues in the direction of the ritual for the Azazel-goat of Leviticus 16.
This article draws from evidence in the letter to the Romans and argues that the apostleship of Paul consisted in bringing the believing Gentiles into unity with the Jewish believers, as one people united in praise to God. This meant that the nature of his apostleship necessitated working with Jews whenever possible. This understanding of Paul's calling demands a rethinking of what it means to call Paul "apostle to the Gentiles."
How should Christians conduct themselves in the public square? This article focuses upon the Old Testament prophet Amos, and his life, mission, and message and its relevance for Christians in the public square. The author first introduces the concept of the public square and then make use of relevant biographical, geographical and historical facts that are helpful to understand Amos’ prophetic voice in the public square.
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.
To what does the breastplate of righteousness in Ephesians 6:14 refer? This study includes a brief survey of Paul’s usage of spiritual armor in other epistles and an examination of the background of spiritual armor found in Isaiah. The author concludes that the breastplate is ethical, consisting of virtues that reflect Christ.
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 is a response to John Goldingay's article in the same journal on the topic of canon and Old Testament theology. Seitz asks critical questions with regard to the form of the canon, the function of creeds and the rule of faith, and finally about referring to the danger of an appeal to narrativity, which can easily reduce the Old Testament to a past story.
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.
This study is concerned with this question: should Polycarp be viewed as a student of the apostle John, as was the view throughout church history, or does he stand more in the tradition of the apostle Paul, as what seems the case simply by reading the letter Polycarp himself wrote?
Christianity emerged from Judaism. This article inquires how dialogue was conducted with the Jewish confession that the Lord is One. According to this article this did take place frequently, as is evident in the use of the Shema in many New Testament passages (e.g., Romans 3:27-31), and it was also a flashpoint of debate between the church and the synagogue in the first century.
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.
Lalleman argues that the idea of creation can already be found in Jeremiah. Jeremiah 4-Jeremiah 5 has parallels in Genesis 1-2 as well as in Jeremiah 33. She believes that there is insufficient ground to assume that Jeremiah 33 represents a post-Jeremiah development. Jeremiah uses also creation as a framework for his proclamation of judgment and doom.
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.
This article suggests that a close reading of the Septuagint translation of Jeremiah reveals that his prophetic message influences the way Mark portrays Jesus’ words and deeds. In specific contexts in Mark’s narrative (e.g., Mark 8:17, Mark11:17-18), where potential linkages with the Greek version of Jeremiah’s prophecy occur, the author demonstrates the potential contribution of the Greek version to the reader's understanding of Mark’s purpose.
How should the future of the scholarly study of the New Testament look like? In this study, Bird examines the problem of balancing the historical and theological components of New Testament theology. The article offers a critique of both Biblical Theology and the historical study of Christian Origins.
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.
Are there guardian angels protecting God's children? This essay looks at Matthew 18]]:10 in its literary context. Next, it notes that some scholars deny that single Christians have a guardian angel. However, the article finds in early Jewish and Christian sources references to angels whose mission was to avenge the evil made to children.
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.
This is a study of the main ethical points found in the decision of the Jerusalem council in Acts 15:4-29. It proposes that the council members attitudes of mutual trust, honoring God and his Word, and responding with some concession toward the others form important parts of the ethical teaching. The situation of the council is described in terms of the historical background and the flow of the narrative.
This article wants to investigate several ways in which the letter of James describes the necessary human response to the saving initiative of God. It starts with a study of James 2:14-26 and continues by looking at the soteriological language throughout the book: repentance and humility, love and mercy, and perseverance and patience.
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.
This article wants to indicate the political dimensions of the book of Lamentations. The Babylonian politics of violence are vividly depicted in the poetry of Lamentations. In the second part of the article, the author argues that Lamentations contributes to modern theo-political reflections. Readers are encouraged to bring political calamity into God’s presence through prayer.
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 evaluates the scholarly discussion on the interpretation of the warning passage of Hebrews 3:6 and 14, and provides a new way of interpreting the passage.
This article wants to work towards greater clarity on the meaning of the three clauses found in John 1:3c-4.
What are the best methods to use when translating the Bible? This essay considers the idea of foreignizing Bible translation. It is a method that wants to "relocate" the Bible reader into the world of the text. This method is contrasted with a domestication of the text. This essay discusses the advantages of foreignizing translation practices.
This article sees the work of Campbell as a sustained attack against traditional understandings of justification, and in particular the understanding of Romns 1-Romans 4. This review gives special attention to Campbell's own exegesis and finds merit in much of it, but at the key points deems it unacceptable.
Is the parable in Luke 15:11-32 primarily about a son or a family? This article chooses to approach the parable from the perspective of the father and not the son. It calls attention to the generous actions of the father in the parable. This parable is then placed against the background of the larger understanding of the excessive goodness of God, as expressed in the Gospel.
This article continues the argument that certain Old Testament and early Jewish references to a temple form the background for the Holy Spirit appearing as of fire and associated features in Acts 2. It examines a number of Old Testament citations in Acts 2 in order to determine whether or not they relate to a temple theme.