Learning How to Think Biblically— Part One

One of the real differences between proper Biblical orthodoxy and cultish behavior is that when it comes to leadership the former works by persuasion and dialogue, and the latter works by dictatorial tactics, mind control, smoke-filled room decision making from above, and of course the claim 'the Spirit told me to say or do X' etc. The former is not afraid of questions, discussion, different points of view, the latter often claims secret revelations that only the leader has had and is 'told' to … [Read more...]

Best Books– Part Six

It's nice to be able to commend some of your contemporaries and their good serious scholarly work. One such contemporary is John M.G. Barclay, the current Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at Durham. John was at Glasgow before that and trained, if memory serves, at Cambridge. His first major book immediately got him all kinds of positive attention, and is entitled Obeying the Truth:Paul's Ethics in Galatia (1991). This is an excellent close reading of Galatians and a helpful dealing with the … [Read more...]

Suspicion– Part Two

The world of academia is a bit like a circus. There are main acts and side shows. There are barkers drawing attention to themselves, and others who are not on ego trips at all. There are actually truth seekers, but their are also job seekers. There are careful scholars and careless scholars. There are scholars with axes to grind, and scholars who are genuinely open to learning new things. Imagine that. I must admit that sometimes I am naive about who's who in the zoo, and my default is to … [Read more...]

Suspicious Minds

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SBmAPYkPeYU"Those who enjoy their own emotionally bad health and who habitually fill their own minds with the rank poisons of suspicion, jealousy and hatred, as a rule take umbrage at those who refuse to do likewise, and they find a perverted relief in trying to denigrate them."----Johannes Brahms“Pure love and suspicion cannot dwell together: at the door where the latter enters, the former makes its exit.” -― Alexandre Dumas“If the Tiber rises too high … [Read more...]

Best Books– Part Five

It would be difficult to fully assess in one blog post the work of J.D.G. (Jimmy) Dunn. For one thing, he is among the most prolific NT scholars of the modern era. Don't believe me? Check this out....James D. G. Dunn (1970). Baptism in the Holy Spirit (Studies in Biblical Theology Second Series 15). London: SCM Press. James D. G. Dunn (1975). Jesus and the Spirit. London: SCM Press. James D. G. Dunn (1985). The Evidence for Jesus. Philadelphia: Westminster Press. ISBN … [Read more...]

Best Books– Part Four

I'm often asked why I turned down Oxford, where I had been accepted to do my doctoral work, to go to Durham. The answer is simple--- Durham had a better NT department with Barrett and Cranfield and others, and C.K. Barrett was at the time the best Methodist NT scholar in the world, by general acknowledgment. In fact, as time went on, it was surprising to hear various of the German scholars like Martin Hengel say that Barrett was the best NT scholars in the English-speaking world. When I got to … [Read more...]

Best Books– Part Three

Ian Howard Marshall was someone I could identify with quite readily. He was an Evangelical and he was a Methodist and he was a NT scholar as well. One of his earliest books (1969), based on a thesis was Kept by the Power of God, which made sense of all the apostasy and perseverance texts in the NT. This is still one of the best studies on this particular subject. Howard was a real churchman as well, frequently preaching here and there in Methodist Churches, and he became President of the … [Read more...]

Jesus’ Genealogy— Were Luke and Matthew on the Same Ancestry Page?

One of the more controversial aspects of the Gospels is the two genealogies we have for Jesus, one in Mt. 1.1-17 the other in Lk. 3.23-38. While there are a few similarities between the two (e.g. they both mention that Jesus is the 'so-called' son of Joseph), they are mostly different, and they serve very different purposes. Some Bible students along the way have tried to suggest that we have Mary's genealogy in Luke, and Joseph's in Matthew, but this solution simply doesn't work, since Joseph … [Read more...]

Finding Jesus— Episode Three

You may be surprised to hear me say so, but the third episode of Finding Jesus, about the Gospel of Judas, was the most effective of those which have aired thus far. It's a very fair probing of what we ought to think about Judas (some pros, mostly cons), and the subsequent traditions about Judas, including the late second or early third century document called The Gospel of Judas. Kudos to David, Mark, Candida and others who made it so.A cautionary word is in order about the entire … [Read more...]