Finding Jesus– Episode Four (on James)

This show just keeps getting better, and if you missed the episode last night, you missed the best episode in this six part series. Go to CNN, type Finding Jesus into the search box, and find last night’s episode on James the brother of Jesus. Once again one has a variety of scholarly opinion, but in this episode we get to dip into the shady world of forgery and coping of antiquities. Copying, and labeling something a copy of say,… Read more

Learning How to Think Biblically– Part Two

Unfortunately, we live in an age of Biblical illiteracy, and the problem is only compounded by attempts at self-education through the internet, where there is as much dross as gold, straw as silver to be found. So obviously the first step in learning how to think Biblically, including thinking critically (in the good sense of the word– keenly, asking good questions) about the Bible is that you need to learn what the Bible actually says. Not being familiar with the… Read more

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… 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… 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… Read more

Suspicious Minds

“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, or the Nile too… 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:… 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… 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… 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… Read more

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