I was invited to speak on the topic of hermeneutics for the 31st Metro Manila Fundamental Bible Conference. Due to covid19, the entire conference was livestreamed in social media on October 20-23 (Manila time). My talk below is in English-Tagalog. Unfortunately, there are no English-only subtitles for those who do not understand Tagalog. Maybe someday.… Continue reading Who Determines Meaning? Authorial Intent, Allegory, Literal Reading, and Biblical Theology
Based on the assumption that a “Johannine community” existed as a Christian group distinct from the churches mentioned in Luke-Acts and Paul, Raymond Brown attempts to reconstruct this community by determining the life-situation of the original audience of the Fourth Gospel and John’s Letters. He stresses passages that are significantly different from the Synoptics, indicating theological interest for the Johannine community.
Christians of the 21st century have an embarrassment of riches when it comes to Bible study tools. One valuable resource for God’s people is a study Bible. While there are many kinds of study Bibles, they are not all created equal. The best study Bibles are those that help the reader understand the Bible better. That is the goal of the NIV Study Bible, which is now in its 35th year. Having owned several study Bibles (ESV Study Bible, MacArthur, CSB Study Bible, etc.) and having reviewed other study Bibles here and here, I have seen the same helpful features that are found in many study Bibles. This includes charts, maps, and comments on the text. These features seem to be a given for study Bibles. In this review, however, I want to point out five unique features that I find to be the strengths of the NIV Study Bible.
In 40 Questions about Typology and Allegory, Mitchell Chase has provided concise, helpful, and comprehensive treatment on one of the longtime hermeneutical debates in the church going back to the Antiochian School and Alexandrian School in the fourth century: the interpretation of typology and allegory. With an affirmation of the authority, inspiration, and unity of the Bible, Chase aims to help Bible readers to be more faithful readers of Scripture and to see more fully the glory of the story of the Bible by orienting them to the subjects of typology and allegory. He presents his material in four key parts.
Part of my preparation for my comprehensive exam next month, I must master the basic contours of the second half of the Christian Bible—the New Testament. While I am just scratching the surface, I have found this study so rewarding that I want to share my method and some of its fruits.
Irenaeus on the Christian Faith is James Payton’s condensation of the church father’s magnum opus, Against Heresies. Irenaeus, a theologian of the second century, presents a defense and presentation of the Christian faith against Gnosticism. In Book I of Against Heresies, Irenaeus painstakingly describes the gnostic teaching. He responds negatively in Book II by offering a thorough refutation. He then responds positively in Books III-V by presenting what Christians believe from the Apostles’ Teachings (Book III) and from the words of Christ (Book IV). Book V serves as an addendum, where Irenaeus adds “further teaching” from Christ and the Apostles. James Payton finds Irenaeus’ presentation of the Christian faith beneficial and edifying even for believers who are a couple millennia removed from the dangers of first century Gnosticism.
Aída Besançon Spencer has contributed a significant resource in the study of the Letter of James. I received a copy of this book from the publisher, Kregel Publications, in exchange for an honest review. When evaluating exegetical commentaries, I typically look at three areas: 1) key features (usually dictated by the commentary series); 2) discussion… Continue reading A Commentary on James by Aída Besançon Spencer (Kregel Series) — A Book Review
David Mathis provides the church with encouragement and tools for spiritual growth in his monograph, Habits of Grace. Mathis highlights three principles of ongoing grace: hearing God's voice (Scripture), having God's ear (prayer), and belonging to his body (fellowship) (p. 15). His goal is to help the Christian see "how realistic and life-giving it can… Continue reading “Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines” by David Mathis — A Book Review
In Conversion, Michael Lawrence addresses the theological and practical problem that leads to false conversion in the church, especially among the children. He laments that, Too often our confessional theology says one thing, while our practical theology says something else. We say that regeneration makes us new creatures in Christ, but then we teach our… Continue reading “Conversion: How God Creates a People” by Michael Lawrence — A Book Review
John Onwuchekwa teaches his readers how to pray better corporately (as churches). In this short volume, Onwuchekwa laments the lack of corporate prayer that slows down and lingers on God's glories, attributes, and character unhurriedly, as well as the lack of meditation that confesses specific sins. Onwuchekwa, John. Prayer: How Praying Together Shapes the Church.… Continue reading “Prayer: How Praying Together Shapes the Church” by John Onwuchekwa — A Book Review
Mark Allan Noll, formerly a professor of history at the University of Notre Dame, is now a research professor of history at Regent College. He holds a Ph.D. in History of Christianity from Vanderbilt University (1975). His dissertation was “Church Membership and the American Revolution: An Aspect of Religion and Society from the Great Awakening… Continue reading “Between Faith and Criticism: Evangelicals, Scholarship, and the Bible in America” by Mark A. Noll – A Book Review
Arthur Holmes, in The Idea of a Christian College, argues for the role and importance of a Christian liberal arts education. Holmes, Arthur F. The Idea of a Christian College. Rev ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1987 Synopsis In chapter 1, Holmes argues that the purpose of a Christian college is to cultivate a liberal arts… Continue reading “The Idea of a Christian College” by Arthur F. Holmes — A Book Review
In Handbook of Christian Education, Horton provides a biblical philosophy for Christian education, outlining biblical teaching on education and deducing biblical principles regarding the teaching of subjects in a standard curriculum. Horton, Ronald. Handbook of Christian Education. Greenville, SC: BJU Press, 2017. Synopsis Part 1 In Part 1, Horton addresses the Christian Philosophy of education,… Continue reading “Handbook of Christian Education” by Ron Horton — A Book Review
George M. Marsden is a Reformed Evangelical historian with a PhD in American history under Sydney Ahlstrom at Yale University. Marsden previously taught at Calvin College, Duke Divinity School, and University of Notre Dame. He has won the Bancroft Prize for his work Jonathan Edwards: A Life (2003)in 2004. His other works include Fundamentalism and… Continue reading “The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship” by George M. Marsden – A Book Review
Many who read the Bible in a year feel the struggle by the time they reach Leviticus. How can one read Leviticus theologically and devotionally? Enter The Jesus Bible. I received a review copy of The Jesus Bible (Artist Edition) free of charge as a member of BG2 and a #BibleGatewayPartner. This Bible is available… Continue reading The Jesus Bible (Artist Edition) – A Review
In Missions, Andy Johnson argues that the local church is responsible to identify, train, send, and support missionaries. Based primarily on a biblical understanding of the local church, the gospel, and missions, Johnson provides wise and practical counsel on how a local church effectively accomplishes its role in global missions. Johnson, Andy. Missions: How the… Continue reading “Missions: How the Local Church Goes Global” by Andy Johnson—A Book Review
Mere Christianity is Lewis’ attempt to explain and defend the common beliefs among Christians (across denominations) to non-Christians. Thus, mere Christianity refers to the basics that all who profess to be Christians agree. Lewis has four topics in this book, which were originally talks given on the radio. In Book 1, Lewis argues for right… Continue reading “Mere Christianity” by C. S. Lewis—A Book Review
In Canon Revisited, Kruger defends the view that Christians have intellectually sufficient grounds for affirming that the 27 books rightfully belong to the canon of the New Testament (p. 20). Kruger responds to the de jure objection to the NT canon, which argues that Christians have no rational basis to know which books are part… Continue reading “Canon Revisited” by Michael J. Kruger — A Book Review
Alan Culpepper’ Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel provides a seminal work on analyzing the narrative elements of the Fourth Gospel. Culpepper compares the literary features of secular literary criticism with John’s Gospel while also interacting with Johannine research. He employs the theoretical model from Seymore Chatman that focuses on the transmission of story from author… Continue reading “Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel” by R. Alan Culpepper – A Book Review
More than any other generation in church history, our era has been blessed with a wealth of tools for understanding and applying the Bible. One of these tools is the NIV Life Application Study Bible (NIV LASB). I received a review copy of the NIV Life Application Study Bible, Third Edition free of charge as… Continue reading Brand New! NIV Life Application Study Bible 3rd Ed – A Review
What Is Biblical Theology? provides an accessible tool on demonstrating how Hamilton does biblical theology—which is thinking through the whole story of the Bible by “interpreting particular parts of the story in light of the whole” (p. 12). For Hamilton, the Bible is a true story, and What Is Biblical Theology? is about “the Bible’s… Continue reading “What Is Biblical Theology?” by James Hamilton – A Book Review
In Jesus the Word According to John the Sectarian, Gundry argues that North Americans must return to the fundamentalism based on John’s sectarian portrayal of Jesus the Word. Through christological exegesis of pertinent passages in the Fourth Gospel, Gundry, in the first chapter, demonstrates how Jesus presents himself as the Word (cf. John 1:1). The… Continue reading “Jesus, the Word, According to John the Sectarian” by Robert Gundry – A Book Review
Good stories have a moment of crisis when the anticipated hero appears on the scene to bring victory and resolution. In C.S. Lewis’ The Chronicles of Narnia, Narnia has been experiencing a hundred years of winter with the reign of the White Witch. Through the prophecies that have been orally passed down, the Narnians are… Continue reading Jesus the Messiah and Hanukkah: The Historical Background of John 10:22-42
James Barr. The Semantics of Biblical Language. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 1961. iv + 313 pp. James Barr, an ordained minister of the Church of Scotland, taught at Edinburgh (his alma mater), Manchester, Oxford, Princeton, and at Vanderbilt. Some of his mentors include F.F. Bruce and Donald Guthrie. His most well-known student who continued… Continue reading “The Semantics of Biblical Language” by James Barr – A Book Review
The SOGIE Bill is a hot topic dividing Filipinos. SOGIE, or "Sexual Orientation or Gender Identity or Expression Equality Act," is also known as an anti-sexual orientation and gender discrimination act. According to this bill, discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity, and gender expression will be punishable by law. The whole bill… Continue reading The SOGIE Bill and the Discrimination Fallacy
Here is a very rare personal update in this blog. A few have asked me where they can access the Tagalog-English sermons I have preached while I was at Pines City Baptist Church in 2014-2016. These sermons were originally on a One Drive folder posted online. Due to some changes made by OneDrive, not all… Continue reading Tagalog-English Sermons Available Online
Dever, Mark. Discipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2016. 122 pp. In Discipling, Dever describes biblical discipling and shows how it is practiced in and through the local church. To be a Christian means being a disciple of Jesus and discipling others, which means doing deliberate spiritual good to help others… Continue reading “Discipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus” by Mark Dever – A Book Review
In The Hermeneutical Spiral, Osborne argues that biblical interpretation entails a “spiral” from text to context, from original meaning to significance for today’s church (p. 22). As one wrestles with biblical interpretation, he is spiraling nearer and nearer to the text’s intended meaning for contemporary significance. For Osborne, the hermeneutical enterprise has three levels: 1)… Continue reading “The Hermeneutical Spiral” by Grant Osborne: A Book Review
This post is also available at Exegetical Tools. When reading through 2 Peter and Jude, striking similarities between these two letters may alert even the casual reader. An obvious resemblance becomes evident when one compares Jude 4-18, 24-25 with 2 Peter 2:1—3:3, 14, 18. The following chart shows some examples of the similarities found in… Continue reading Five Views on the Literary Relationship between 2 Peter and Jude
A friend has asked me to respond to a discussion over at larapatricia.wordpress.com regarding speaking up against the government. I'm re-posting my answer to that discussion here at my space for easy reference. Is it biblical to speak up against the government? The simple answer: absolutely! Moses was commanded by God to speak against Pharaoh… Continue reading Speaking Up Against an Unjust Government, Civil Disobedience, and Pursuing Church Unity in Politics