Should Christians Defend the Virgin Birth?

Over at the Zondervan Academic Blog, Jeremy Bouma interacts with the section in WCOB where I talk about the virgin birth. He uses the provocative title: “Should Christians Defend the Virgin Birth?”

You only have to watch the famous episode of Not the Nine O’Clock News where they mock the virgin birth (“No, don’t laugh, they can do it in a test tube these days”) and Jane the Virgin to realize that the idea of virgins having babies is a little #awkward when it comes to beliefs about how babies are made.

Bouma points to two things I address in WCOB: First, Bird is “inclined to understand the nativity stories as a clarification to Jesus’ divine sonship rather than the necessary grounds for it” (102). Second, Bird rejects attempts to make the virgin birth story “a late creation intended as a christological parody of stories about ancient persons who were supposedly born of strange and supernatural circumstances” (102).

On the “meaning” on the virgin birth (or virgin conception), I reject the idea that it is to preserve the sinless of Jesus since we get DNA from both of our parents. So, the significance of the virgin birth is:

  1. “makes it clear that Israel was the vehicle by which God’s deliverance was brought into the world” (105)
  2. “underscores the dominant role of the Holy Spirit in Jesus’s ministry” and him bringing about redemption (105)
  3. “provides clarification to Jesus’s identity as the preexistent and eternal Son of God made flesh” (106)
  4. “means that God’s new world was at last becoming a reality” (106)
  5. “teaches us about the victory of God and the vanquishing of Satan” (107)

If Only We Had Phoebe’s Lecture Notes

I've just finished reading through Richard Longenecker's epic NIGTC Romans commentary and I loved what he had to say about Phoebe in Rom 16:1-2. Phoebe had been Paul's patron during his ministry at Corinth, had most likely heard from his own lips the contents of the letter as it was being formulated, and must have had some part in discussing with Paul and other Christians of that area at least a few portions of the letter - and therefore would have been in a position to explain to the … [Read More...]

Mike Bird’s Romans Commentary is only $6.00 on Kindle!

Bargain bonanza, my Romans commentary in the SGBC series is now only $6.09 on kindle!It is normally $36.99, so get it while you can.  … [Read More...]

What If I Told You There Was A Reasonable & Non-Homophobic Case Against Same-Sex Marriage?

Okay, this might be a tad late for friends in Ireland, UK, NZ, and the USA, but in Australia we are yet to legalize same sex marriage.So the good folks at the Australian Christian Lobby have published a short article of mine where I try to set out a reasonable and non-homophobic case against … [Read More...]

Podcast Interview with Larry Hurtado on “The Destroyer of the Gods”

Over at The Deep Waters podcast is an excellent interview by Nick Peters of Larry Hurtado about his forthcoming new book Destroyer of the Gods: Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World (Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2016).Click "podcast" to listen on-line or else subscribe via iT … [Read More...]

Trinity Conference in Houston this November

RTS Houston is hosting a conference on 12 November called Confessing the Triune God: Retrieving Nicene Faith for Today's Church, with a great panel of speakers lined up:Dr. Michael A. G. Haykin | Biblical Exegesis in Fourth-Century Trinitarian DebatesRev. D. Blair Smith | Trinitarian Re … [Read More...]

Greg Beale on End of Exile in 2 Cor 6:16-18

I'm currently writing a chapter on 1 & 2 Corinthians for an NT Introduction. While I've always felt like I had a good grip on 1 Corinthians (its argument and scholarly conversation), but generally I haven't been as familiar with 2 Corinthians, so I'm always learning more here.There is an … [Read More...]

Latest Issue of Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus

The latest issue of Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus, includes these articles:Anthony Le Donne Editorial: The Third Quest in RetrospectJames Crossley Editorial: Some Future for Historical Jesus StudiesDale C. Allison Memory, Methodology, and the Historical Jesus: A … [Read More...]

Book Notice: Daniel Hawk on the Book of Ruth

L. Daniel Hawk Ruth  Apollos Old Testament Commentary. Downers Grove, IVP, 2015. Available at Amazon.comBy Jill FirthL. Daniel Hawk (PhD, Emory University) is professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ashland, Ohio and an ordained minister in the United … [Read More...]

Book Notice: Stephen Chapman on 1 Samuel

Stephen B. Chapman  1 Samuel as Christian Scripture: A Theological Commentary Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016. Available at Amazon.comBy Jill FirthStephen B. Chapman (PhD Yale) is associate professor of Old Testament at Duke Divinity School, director of graduate studies in religion at Duke … [Read More...]

Book Notice: Joy Schroeder on Genesis

Joy A. Shroeder (trans, ed) The Book of Genesis  The Bible in Medieval Tradition Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2015. Available at Amazon.comBy Jill FirthJoy Shroeder (PhD Notre Dame) is holder of the Bergener Chair in Theology and Religion at Trinity Lutheran Seminary and Capital Seminary in … [Read More...]

Some Notable New Studies about the Septuagint

A couple of great articles about the Septuagint (LXX) that you need to know about are:W. Edward Glenny, "The Septuagint and Biblical Theology," Themelios  41 (2016).This article is an excellent survey of scholarly views on how the LXX relates to the biblical canon and its uses for biblical th … [Read More...]

Book Notice: Soong-Chah Rah on Prophetic Lament

Soong-Chan Rah  Prophetic Lament: A Call for Justice in Troubled Times Downer’s Grove, IVP, 2015. Available at Amazon.comBy Jill FirthSoong-Chen Rah (DMin, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary) is Milton B. Engebretson Associate Professor of Church Growth and Evangelism at North Park Th … [Read More...]

Kyle Greenwood GETS Why I Wrote What Christians Ought To Believe

My thanks to Kyle Greenwood for a great review of What Christians Ought To Believe. It was for guys like him and for churches like his that I wrote it! So, how did I underestimate the value of this book? It's not just for my teenagers who are lacking formal theological education. It's for pastors, … [Read More...]

Bird on a Wire – Dear GOP, How could you let this happen?

I think I might start posting short videos of political, social, and theological commentary under the title "Bird on a Wire."Here is my comical attempt to identify the depth of the GOP's blunder in nominating Donald Trump as its candidate for president.Goes for 4:00 mins. … [Read More...]


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