Andrew Byers on using secondary literature

I have written previously on developing a bibliography. Now Andrew Byers, who teaches at Cranmer Hall, Durham University, has written a very helpful post on the Logos Academic Blog on ‘How to use secondary literature in NT research’ that covers similar ground but with further suggestions and valuable links to resources. He writes (with students particularly in mind),

Engaging with this material will likely increase your grade or assessment mark (assuming you engage with it well). More importantly, it will deepen your understanding of the passage you are studying and the history of research behind it.

Do have a look at this post.

Machen on the Minister and His Greek Testament

Brad Bitmer draws on Machen for encouragement and exhortation to ministers who might neglect their Greek New Testament.

Gathered flowers

J.G.MachenAlthough many students arrive at theological college eager to learn the biblical languages, some students (and some sending churches) have lingering questions over the value of learning Greek and Hebrew for pastoral ministry. Most of these questions are not new.

J. Gresham Machen was one of several who found himself addressing what he called the “widening breach between the minister and his Greek New Testament” as modernism and pragmatism began to impact seminaries and theological training a century ago. This was Machen’s diagnosis:

The modern minister objects to his Greek New Testament or is indifferent to it, first, because he is becoming less interested in his Greek, and second, because he is becoming less interested in his New Testament.

As to the first objection, that ministers and seminarians are less interested in Greek, Machen saw the disinterest in Greek as a symptom of a deeper malady afflicting modern education. He…

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Logos Free Book – Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes (IVP, 2012)

Although today is 1 April, you can accept as entirely truthful the claim that there is indeed a new opportunity to get a very useful book free for Logos, and another one at a low cost. Phil Long’s post tells you all you need to know!

Reading Acts

Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the BibleThe Logos Bible Software “Free book of the Month” for April is E. Randolph Richards and Brandon J. O’Brien, Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible (IVP, 2012). You may recall their recent Paul Behaving Badly (IVP 2016). When I reviewed that book several people told me they had read Misreading Scripture and found it to be an excellent and challenging book. In my own teaching I have always tried to set the text in the proper context, not only the context of the Bible but also the proper cultural context. This book is a good introduction to some of the important cultural and social realities an informed Bible reader needs to understand in order to read the Bible without imposing modern, western assumptions on the ancient, eastern text.

In addition to the free book, Logos is offering Christopher A. Hall’s Reading Scripture with the Church Fathers

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Appreciating Don Carson

DACarson222x296Dr D. A (Don) Carson, Research Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, has had a profound influence on the shape of Christian thought in numerous different ways during the past four decades. It is entirely appropriate, therefore, that his contribution should be acknowledged. In the case of a person in ministry, particularly an author, this is often done by means of a Festschrift, a collection of essays written by colleagues and/or students and/or friends of the honoree. Such a Festschrift has just been published by IVP to mark Don Carson’s 70th birthday: Serving the Church, Reaching the World. In fact, this is the second Festschrift presented to Carson. In 2011, Crossway published a collection of essays to mark Carson’s 65th birthday, entitled Understanding the Times: New Testament Studies in the 21st Century.

Serving the Church, Reaching the WorldThese two books have quite different characteristics, reflecting the remarkable diversity of Don Carson’s interests. The earlier volume is a substantial collection of mainly technical essays relating to academic biblical studies. The new volume is relatively slight (171 pages) and is oriented much more towards the ministry and mission of the church. In fact the title is drawn from the strap line of the Word Alive teaching weeks, events which Don Carson has enthusiastically supported from their inception. While the essays are serious (and some may be quite demanding), they focus on issues which will be of particular interest to those involved in preaching and evangelistic ministry. The familiar names of contributors such as David Jackman, Jim Packer, William Edgar, Tim Keller and John Piper (along with able contributors whose names may not be so widely known) will give a good sense of what can be anticipated within the pages of this volume. A poignant aspect of the publication of this book is the inclusion of an essay by Mike Ovey, Carson’s friend and collaborator and formerly the principal of Oak Hill College, published posthumously following Ovey’s sudden death in January 2017.

I plan to write a fuller review of the two books and update this post with the review in due course. For the moment, I simply want to draw readers’ attention to these important books and to acknowledge my own sense of personal thankfulness for Don Carson. He has been a great encouragement and model to me as he has engaged in academic scholarship of the highest standard while, at the same time, remaining committed to the ministry and mission of the church throughout the world. Several of his books have been standard resources throughout my Christian service. In particular, I think of An Introduction to the New Testament (co-authored with Douglas Moo and, for the first edition, Leon Morris), and his wonderful commentary on The Gospel According to John,

Understanding the TimesMore recently, I have been grateful for his industry in organising and editing The Enduring Authority of the Christian Scriptures. It was my privilege to serve with Don Carson for a period of time as part of the editorial team of the journal, Themelios. I have also benefitted from his teaching in person at various events (in both English and French!), beginning with a lecture he gave at the Free Church College (now Edinburgh Theological Seminary) in the early 1990s while I was a student.

Don Carson is also one of the co-founders (along with Tim Keller) of the Gospel Coalition. I have appreciated the commitment displayed by Carson and Keller to both clarity regarding core gospel truth and cooperation between Christian brothers and sisters wherever possible.

If you have never read anything by Don Carson, and you are looking for something not too technical, I would recommend particularly his wonderful The God Who Is There that lays out the theology of the Bible for those without prior knowledge (see also the excellent videos) and his daily reading notes, available freely online, from For the Love of God.

I almost entitled this post ‘Honouring Don Carson’. But I changed my mind and wrote ‘Appreciating Don Carson’. Here is my reason: In the introduction to Serving the Church, Reaching the World, Richard Cunningham comments on Carson’s reluctance to have any attention drawn to him. In keeping with this, Carson consistently concludes prefaces in his books with the Latin phrase Soli Deo gloria, ‘To God alone be the glory’. Don Carson has always indicated that all honour should be given to his glorious God and saviour. And that I am entirely happy to do. But I think that it is possible to give honour and glory to God by recognising and appreciating the service of his servant, Don Carson.

Kindle Deals: Mission and World Christianity

Readers who use Kindle (whether an actual Kindle device or the software for PCs, tablets and phones) can often purchase useful books at discounted prices. I will identify a selection of books for Kindle that catch my attention from time to time. I will focus on those available at a discount in the UK. Readers in other parts of the world may find different offers are available. Readers should note that deals often last for only a short time before the price increases again. The Gospel eBooks and Cross-points sites (among others) are helpful resources for deals as they arise. Here are some books (as of 11 April 2017) that may be of use to those interested in mission and World Christianity:

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: Nabeel Qureshi’s testimony of growing up as a Muslim and coming to faith in Jesus as Lord and Saviour. (£2.99)

The Next Christendom: This important study by Philip Jenkins is essential reading. (£2.99)

God’s Continent: Christianity, Islam and Europe’s Religious Crisis: Part of Philip Jenkins’s trilogy of studies. (£2.48)

Salvation Belongs to Our God: This book by Chris Wright was published as part of the ‘Langham Global Library’ series. (£3.79)
 

Reading a dictionary!

Brill Dictionary of Ancient GreekI am sure there must be jokes told about the kind of person who spends their time reading a dictionary! I suspect that I would make a worthy target for such jokes since I love dictionaries (for various languages) and I have recently spend a good deal of time reading not one but two dictionaries!

I have been working on a review of the recently-published Brill Dictionary of Ancient Greek (I am grateful to Brill for supplying a review copy of this handsome book). Rather than simply saying ‘this is a big book that contains a lot of words’, I decided to compare selected entries in this massive reference work with the standard Greek lexicon for New Testament studies, namely ‘BDAG’ (an abbreviation based on the names of the main editors: Bauer, Danker, Arndt and Gingrich; it is ironic that this would also be the abbreviation of the title of the new dictionary!).

My review will appear, all being well, in SBET in due course. For now, I will simply encourage readers who are interested in Koine Greek to be aware of this new resource. Those, like me, who appreciate good dictionaries will also want to be aware of the forthcoming Cambridge Greek Lexicon.

Kindle Deals: Theology and Church Life

Readers who use Kindle (whether an actual Kindle device or the software for PCs, tablets and phones) can often purchase useful books at discounted prices. I will identify a selection of books for Kindle that catch my attention from time to time. I will focus on those available at a discount in the UK. Readers in other parts of the world may find different offers are available. Readers should note that deals often last for only a short time before the price increases again. The Gospel eBooks and Cross-points sites (among others) are helpful resources for deals as they arise. Here are some books (as of 21 April 2017) that may be of use to those interested in theology and church life:

Church History in Plain Language (Fourth Edition): by Bruce L. Shelley.  (£2.99)

Doctrine Matters: by John Piper. (£1.99)

Lost in the Middle: MidLife and the Grace of God: by Paul David Tripp (£2.37)

Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus: A fascinating testimony by Nabeel Qureshi, a former Muslim who came to faith in Jesus. Highly recommended! (£2.99)

Joni: If you haven’t already read this classic Christian biography (and even if you have!), now is your chance to pick it up at a bargain price. (£0.99)

Sweeter Than Honey: Preaching the Old Testament: Anything written by Chris Wright is worth reading! This study of preaching the Old Testament has already been published as How to Preach the Old Testament for All Its Worth (Zondervan), but the Langham edition is available for about half the price of the Zondervan edition! (£4.07)