Archives For Scripture

 

The Surprising Nature of Scripture.
 
A Review of

Preaching the Luminous Word: Biblical Sermons and Homiletical Essays
Ellen Davis 

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2016
Buy Now: [ Amazon ]

 

Reviewed by Joseph Johnson
 

This Book was Featured as one of 
Our Best Books of 2016

 
Near the beginning of Preaching the Luminous Word, Ellen F. Davis describes herself as “an exegete who teaches Old Testament and preaches, in that order” (xxiv). I’m grateful for that. It means the sermons gathered together in these pages are born out of a love for exegesis and attentive theological study, and it allows her to open up the unendingly rich and surprising world of Scripture in ways that invite her hearers and readers to slow down and linger with the text. Though her main academic background is in the Old Testament, Davis’s sermons in this volume reflect her engagement over the years with both the Old and New Testaments, delivered on a variety of occasions and in the midst of the seasonal rhythms of the Church’s liturgical calendar.

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Radner-Ephraim

Ephraim Radner’s new book, Time and the Word: Figural Reading of the Christian Scriptures,

explores the theological foundations of figural interpretation, the hermeneutic that was practiced by Christians from the earliest days of the church through the early modern period. Figural interpretation was replaced by the historical critical method that we use today, and contemporary Christians tend to look down on figural reading as an interpretive method that finds things in the text that aren’t actually there. But Radner argues that this attitude doesn’t do justice to the depth of figural reading, and he makes a compelling argument for the recovery of this ancient practice. Radner, who is a professor of historical theology at Wycliffe College at the University of Toronto, is known for work that is both rich and fresh, and this book is no exception.

Time and the Word: Figural Reading of the Christian Scriptures
Ephraim Radner

Hardback: Eerdmans, 2016
Buy Now:  [ Amazon ]
 
 
Interview by Erin Zoutendam
 
 
ERB: Let’s start with what might be the hardest question. How would you define figural interpretation for people who have never heard of it before?

ER: That’s a good question, and you’re right—it is a hard question. The first thing to be said is that figural interpretation is something that the church has always done. It’s not a matter of inventing a method; it’s a matter of identifying a way that the Bible has been read and continues to be read by lots of different people. The Bible is God’s book that describes the world, the world as it actually is—not just the world as it was.

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Eugene_Peterson

Sunday (Nov. 6) marks the birthday of acclaimed pastor and writer, Eugene Peterson…

In honor of the occasion, we offer a series of our favorite brief video clips featuring Eugene Peterson

*** Books by Eugene Peterson

Conversation with Bono on the Psalms:

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Paul, Perspectives,
and Christian Witness

A Review of 

The Apostle Paul and the Christian Life: Ethical and Missional Implications of the New Perspective
Scot McKnight and Joseph B. Modica, Eds.

Paperback: Baker Academic, 2016
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Reviewed by Danny Yencich
 
The worlds of biblical scholarship, Christian colleges and seminaries, and evangelical theology and preaching have played hosts to a tempest in a teapot these last few decades. While the rest of the world continued on doing what the rest of the world does, the aforementioned invested readers of Paul have been engaged in a usually quite interesting and sometimes very heated debate about the broad contours and implications of the theology of the apostle to the gentiles. Like a river system, the debates have splintered off into various tributaries, feeders, and side streams, but the central points of dispute have been, and remain to this day, Paul’s attitudes toward salvation, gentiles, and the Judaism of his day. This nexus of issues, read through the lens used by the great reformer Martin Luther, gave rise to what has been called (often pejoratively) “the Old Perspective on Paul” (hereafter “OP”). Enter its adversary from stage right: the New Perspective on Paul (“NP”). Grossly oversimplified, the OP/NP debates have largely centered on first century Torah observance (“works of the law”), justification, and the question of “faith in/of Jesus Christ.” It may be instructive here to take one verse, Galatians 2:16, and run it through the interpretive apparatuses of the OP and NP to briefly and oversimply sketch the broad contours of the debate.

…yet we know that a person is justified not by the works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ. And we have come to believe in Christ Jesus, so that we might be justified by faith in Christ, and not by doing the works of the law, because no one will be justified by the works of the law (Gal 2:16, NRSV).

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Get into the Game

 
A Review of 

Reviving Old Scratch:
Demons and the Devil for Doubters and the Disenchanted

Richard Beck

Paperback: Fortress Press, 2016
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Reviewed by Josh Morgan.
 
 
Christians view and interpret Christ rather diversely. However, there seem to be even wider discrepancies between understandings of Satan. Is he real or a metaphoric personification? Is he a fallen angel or playing a designated role in God’s court? Does he have real power or not? Do Christians need to worry about Satan, or should we have no fear because we live in Christ? Many modern Christians in developed countries seem to avoid the issue, perhaps reading C.S. Lewis’ The Screwtape Letters, but not having much more conscious experience with the Devil beyond that.

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Faith Working Through Love
 
A Feature Review of 

God Unbound:
Wisdom from Galatians for the Anxious Church

Elaine Heath

Paperback: Upper Room Books, 2016
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Reviewed by Daniel Ogle.
 
 
 
The church is anxious.

A large part of that, of course, is that the church is in the world, and the world in which we live is anxious – anxious about power and who will have it, anxious about identity and how we deal with difference, and anxious about how exactly we are going to live into a future that we can’t predict.

One of the most important parts of God Unbound, Elaine Heath’s new book, is that she doesn’t hide from that anxiety.  It is right there in the title, and one of the book’s gifts is naming the anxiety and then setting out to help us think through how we can faithfully live in the midst of it.

The particularity of the church’s anxiety often centers on institutional survival. A generation ago we built buildings and created organizations and made assumptions out of strength and confidence.  But the world has changed – and those assumptions and those buildings and those structures that once seemed to serve us so well now look more like obstacles than pathways to faithfulness.
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What if the problem is not out there, but in our own hearts?

A Feature Review of

Fear of the Other: No Fear in Love
William Willimon

Paperback: Abingdon Press, 2016
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Reviewed by James Honig

 

The long months of the presidential campaign have given people of faith plenty of self-righteous high horses from which to rail at those who would stir up the juices of our all too common human fear of the other.

Reminds me of that delicious story in Luke’s gospel of a Pharisee named Simon who throws a dinner party and invites Jesus (Luke 7). When a woman with a reputation crashes the party, Simon takes the occasion for some self-righteous harrumphing about Jesus’ rusty skills as a prophet. Jesus doesn’t even know who it is who is wetting his’ feet with her tears and wiping them dry with her hair, Simon says to himself. In a brief and masterfully told parable, Jesus turns the tables on that highly religious man, exposing Simon’s self-righteousness and need for forgiveness.

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Paul-Pastor
One of this week’s best new book releases
is Paul Pastor’s excellent book:

The Face of the Deep:
Exploring the Mysterious Person of the Holy Spirit

Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [  Kindle ]

Here are two helpful videos that Paul made to introduce the book:

 

Video #1:  Do We Forget the Holy Spirit?

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At the Heart of Biblical Faith?

 
A Review of 

Sacred Sense: Discovering the Wonder of God’s Word and World
William P. Brown

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2015
Buy now: [ Amazon ]  [ Kindle ]
 
Reviewed by Debbie Philpott
 
 

Every man discriminates between the voluntary acts of his mind, and his involuntary perceptions, and knows that to his involuntary perceptions a perfect faith is due. He may err in the expression of them, but he knows that these things are so, like day and night, not to be disputed.
~ Ralph Waldo Emerson, Self-Reliance

 
 

When reading William P. Brown’s In Sacred Sense: Discovering the Wonder of God’s Word and World, I was reminded of an encounter with an Old Testament scholar and chaplain whose longing touches me still.

A few years ago, I engaged in a one-on-on conversation with the chaplain as part of the standard interview process for professorship at a traditional Christian university campus.  Ours was a phone interview due to the distance between us and the timing of the interview.  He asked many of the standard questions for which I had already prepared a response—questions regarding my testimony and my beliefs, and how my beliefs aligned with those of my potential future employer.  Nearer the end of our lighter conversation, he asked a final question that I found troubling, then and still.

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Bringing Coherence to
our Scattered Spiritual Lives.

A Review of 

Lectio Divina: From God’s Word to Our Lives
Enzo Bianchi

Paperback: Paraclete Press, 2015
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Reviewed by Andrew Stout

 

Theological interpretations of Scripture are very much in fashion. These methods emphasize the Church’s interpretive role through typology, creeds, and liturgical use. Plenty of good books are available that call for reappropriations of premodern and precritical interpretive methods (in addition to a host of individual authors, book series like the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible, Intervarsity Press’ Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture, and Baker Academic’s Foundations of Theological Exegesis and Christian Spirituality could be mentioned). However, as Rowan Williams notes in the Foreword to Lectio Divina, “We have plenty of good scholarship and plenty of good popular summaries of that scholarship – but very little on the actual theology of reading the Bible, very little on reading the Bible as a central form of our discipleship” (vii). Enzo Bianchi understands the scholarship, and he provides a helpful orientation for the layperson. More than this, however, Bianchi shows that proper interpretation requires the faithful entrance into an active dialogue with the Word.

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