Friday, November 14, 2014

Advice to my students

Zondervan has been producing a series of videos titled "Advice to My Students." This series provides a short interview with various seminary professors who explain what advice they routinely give to their students. Below is my contribution to the series.

Monday, November 10, 2014

An Obligation of Thanks (2 Thessalonians 1:1-4)

For those who are interested, the below video is of the sermon I gave on Sunday at Linden Road Presbyterian Church in Mansfield, Ohio. The message is based on the work in my new commentary.



Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Recent Research on Revelation: Book Notice

My friend and colleague, Dr. Russell S. Morton, professional fellow at Ashland Seminary, has published a new book. It is part of the Sheffield Phoenix "Recent Research" series and promises to be a useful resource for those doing serious study in the Apocalypse of John. Here's the blurb.

Perhaps no other biblical book has been the source of as much consternation to its readers as the Revelation of John of Patmos. Their distress has been accentuated by popular approaches, which often advance sensationalist visions of the future. But did John’s vision focus on the distant future, or was it directed to concerns of his own day? If it was directed to his own situation in Roman Asia Minor, what lasting significance, if any, does it have for people two thousand years after the composition of the work?
Recent Research on Revelation is an ambitious attempt to comprehend the great range of scholarly views on the Apocalypse. Avoiding popular and sensational readings of Revelation, this book outlines how scholars of various stripes grapple with John’s dramatic and often disturbing book. Beginning with a historical survey of scholarly opinion, the book examines the question of what form of literature Revelation is. It then offers an overview of various methods used to interpret the Apocalypse, ranging from traditional historical-critical analysis to feminist and postcolonial criticisms.
The Apocalypse continues to evoke strong reactions in its readers, both positive and negative, from comfort to perplexity to revulsion. At the very least, it stimulates readers’ interest to an extent not surpassed by any other New Testament book. We cannot shut our eyes to John’s vision, for it has had too much impact on who we are, whether Christian or not.

You can see the full table of contents here
Congratulations, Russell! 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Infusing Hope into Difficult Circumstances: Paul's letters to the Thessalonians

My recent commentary on 1 & 2 Thessalonians in the Story of God Bible Commentary series was released earlier this month. Here is a short video in which I explain purpose of the series and talk about what I see Paul doing in these letters.

You can buy it on Amazon for  only $23.00 in print or $20.00 in digital format.




Monday, October 20, 2014

Pete Enns on the Gift of Darkness

Only those who have gone through a difficult, dark period in their life and faith truly understand the experience. 

Pete Enns has a short piece on his blog today about the gift of darkness. His post is a reflection on St. John of the Cross.

The darknesses and trials, spiritual and temporal, that fortunate souls ordinarily undergo on their way to the high state of perfection are so numerous and profound that human science cannot understand them adequately. Nor does experience of them equip one to explain them. Only those who suffer them will know what this experience is like, but they won’t be able to describe it.”
St. John of the Cross 
"During the dark night the tried-and-true rituals and creeds of religion no longer satisfy or bring assurances of God’s love. (So you might get bored with church services for very good reasons too, but that is not the same as mere spiritual laziness or a lack of faith.)"
Pete Enns

You can read the full post here

Saturday, October 11, 2014

The Biblical World reaches one million hits!

Today the Biblical World blog reached one million hits! I started the blog in July of 2010 and never thought I would see this many visitors.

 Of course not everyone who visits is looking for my blog, but I still consider it accomplishment. Over the last few years I have tried to ensure that people who visit the blog do so because they are interested in the content and not because I had a picture or title that was designed to hook-in visitors who are looking for something else. I am unsure to what degree I have been successful.

Many thanks to everyone who reads the blog. It's not as active as it once was, but I still try to use it for letting people know about important events and developments related to the Bible.  Perhaps we will hit two million even quicker?

Now if I just had a dollar for every person who visited . . .

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Afraid you'll be left behind? The Origins of the "Rapture."

The Nicholas Cage reboot of the Left Behind series is attempting to breath new life into a story that is fairly worn out.

Although I haven't seen the film, I know that its premise is based on the idea that God will secretly "snatch away" the Christians just before a period of intense suffering begins on the earth under the leadership of the Antichrist.

The belief in a pretribulation rapture is well known in North America. Even people who aren't believers are aware of it. This is probably due to the way it has been woven into various aspects of Protestantism throughout the 20th century.

The problem, however, is that belief in a pretribulation rapture is relatively new in Church history. It began with a prophecy at a prayer meeting in either Scotland or Ireland and moved to the USA with the teachings of J. Nelson Darby and was popularized through the preaching of D. L. Moody and the Scofield Bible. I have told this story to my students a number of times over the years.

Today, in response to the Nicholas Cage reboot, Ben Witherington has produced a short video explaining the (short) history of the pretributlation rapture. If you have never heard this before, I think you will find it quite interesting.




 Incidentally,Witherington places the prayer meeting in Glasgow, Scotland. I had once read it took place in Ireland at the home of Lady Powerscourt.