How did we end up with 27 books in the New Testament? Are these books authoritative because they were selected as part of the NT canon, or were they selected because they were authoritative? Various groups within Christendom think about the NT canon differently. The contributors to this monograph are Darian R. Lockett (conservative evangelical), David R. Nienhuis (progressive evangelical), Jason David Beduhn (liberal Protestant), Ian Boxall (Roman Catholic), and George L. Parsenios (Eastern Orthodox). I am reading this monograph coming from a conservative evangelical viewpoint with a historic fundamentalist heritage. I am not unaware of my bias in this review, but I am not ashamed of it either. In all honesty, no one approaches the discussion with complete neutrality. So the editors, Stanley E. Porter and Benjamin P. Laird, write in the introduction, We further anticipate that many readers will be confronted with viewpoints and perspectives that they have not seriously considered and that they will be encouraged to carefully examine the merits of their own positions and to engage in further research and reflection.”
New Covenant Themes in the Cana Cycle: A Literary-Theological Reading of John 2-4
Below is a video of my presentation of "New Covenant Themes in the Cana Cycle" in the New and Living Way podcast. I'm thankful to RD Pineda for the gracious invite.
The NET Eternity Now New Testament Series Box Set – A Review
The Bible set I have dreamed about came in the mail last week. The NET Eternity Now New Testament Series Box Set is one way to read the New Testament that is fresh, illuminating, and devotional. This set divides the New Testament into five volumes.
“Revelation: Through Old Testament Eyes” by Tremper Longman III – A Book Review
Revelation: Through Old Testament Eyes is an insightful resource for students of Scripture doing exegetical research in Revelation. This review consists of two parts. First, I will list key contributions of this commentary. Second, I will demonstrate how I used this commentary in preparing a recent sermon. I received a free copy of this commentary from the publisher, Kregel Academic, in exchange for an honest review.
“James: An Exegetical Guide for Preaching and Teaching (Big Greek Idea Series)” by Herbert W. Bateman IV & William C. Varner– A Book Review
The Big Greek Idea Series is an excellent resource for preachers and Greek students. The volume on James by Hebert W. Bateman IV and William C. Varner will invigorate pastors who have forgotten their Greek and persuade Greek students that mastering Greek is not in vain. I received a free copy of this commentary from the publisher, Kregel Academic, in exchange for an honest review. In this review, I will make comments on three areas. First, I want to present four ways this volume benefits pastors and Greek students. Second, I will examine the exegetical analysis given in this commentary on selected texts. Lastly, I have two very minor quibbles I observed from this volume.
“Colossians and Philemon: A Commentary for Biblical Preaching and Teaching” (Kerux Commentaries) – A Book Review
Adam Copenhaver and Jeffrey D. Arthurs have contributed a commentary designed for preachers and teachers. I received a copy of this commentary from the publisher, Kregel, in exchange for an honest review. When evaluating commentaries, I typically look at three areas: 1) key features (usually dictated by the commentary series); 2) discussion regarding introductory issues… Continue reading “Colossians and Philemon: A Commentary for Biblical Preaching and Teaching” (Kerux Commentaries) – A Book Review
“A History of Evangelism in North America” edited by Thomas P. Johnston – A Book Review
A History of Evangelism in North America is a collection of essays by various authors edited by Thomas P. Johnston. The goal of this collection is simple: “The goal was to offer a breadth of concurrent evangelism methodologies, which in some cases includes considerable interactions between the subjects. The result portrays God’s oversight of evangelism as North American Christians sought to obey Christ’s Great Commission in their generation.” This collection of biographical sketches and historic movements rekindles one’s passion in evangelism. I received a free copy of this collection from the publisher, Kregel Publications, in exchange for an honest review.
Thompson Chain-Reference Bible – A Review
se it well until I was 25! Dr. Frank Charles Thompson first published the cross-reference notes in the wide margin of his Bible in 1908. The TCRB is a comprehensive cross-reference tool that has been used for Bible study since then. It has more than 4,000 topical listings and 100,000 marginal references. In light of search engines and the growing use of Bible study software, is there still a void that the TCRB can fill? This is the primary question I seek to answer in this review.
“John through Old Testament Eyes: A Background and Application Commentary” by Karen H. Jobes — A Book Review
You cannot fully understand the New Testament without a solid grasp of the Old Testament. This is why I’m thankful for Karen Jobes’ contribution, John: Through Old Testament Eyes. This volume will aid teachers and preachers of God’s Word to see how the Old Testament illuminates our understanding of John’s Gospel. I received a free copy of this commentary from the publisher, Kregel Publications, in exchange for an honest review.
The Irrevocable Nature of Salvation and the Warning Passages
Why are there warning passages if God has promised that our salvation will not be lost? This post is three years late. In 2018, I contributed an article on the topic of the irrevocable nature of salvation and the warning passages, focusing on John's Gospel. The online link to the article can be found here.… Continue reading The Irrevocable Nature of Salvation and the Warning Passages
Church Unity Motif in the Fourth Gospel – Paper Presentation at Southeastern Regional ETS
This year's Southeast Regional Evangelical Theological Society (ETS) was hosted by Charleston Sothern University. (Hopefully, BJU Seminary would host it next year). Dr. Scott Swain was the plenary speaker. He spoke on "God, Metaphysics, and the Discourse of Theology" and "God, the Bible, and Being." I'm thankful for the opportunity to share my paper at… Continue reading Church Unity Motif in the Fourth Gospel – Paper Presentation at Southeastern Regional ETS
A Useful, but Dangerous Tool – A Review of Kristy Cambron’s NIV Verse Mapping Bible
Anytime someone reads and studies God’s Word, it is a good thing. You certainly do not need a seminary degree to study God’s Word. Studying God’s Word prayerfully in dependence on the Spirit yields good fruit. These things are all true. This is why I think Kristy Cambron’s NIV Verse Mapping Bible has lots of… Continue reading A Useful, but Dangerous Tool – A Review of Kristy Cambron’s NIV Verse Mapping Bible
“40 Questions about Biblical Theology” by DeRouchie, Martin, and Naselli–A Book Review
Perhaps the best one-stop shop for an introduction to biblical theology is 40 Questions about Biblical Theology by Jason DeRouchie, Oren Martin, and Andy Naselli. This monograph covers the definition, methodology, examples, and applications of biblical theology. It is thorough, concise, and even devotional. Anyone teaching a beginner’s course on BT or new to the… Continue reading “40 Questions about Biblical Theology” by DeRouchie, Martin, and Naselli–A Book Review
Recommended Podcasts – Part 2
Whether I’m driving on the highway, running on the elliptical, or playing NBA 2K, I like to tune in to some podcasts. I have classified them into two categories. Last week, I posted six podcasts for learning the Bible and pastoral ministry. You can see them here. In this post (#7-#10), the podcasts are more leaning towards academic discussions.
A Conversation on Biblical Conversion with Filipino Pastors
Last night I was invited as a guest for Church Matters (episode 6: Usapang Conversion) sponsored by Treasuring Christ PH. The three regular hosts are pastors Derick Parfan (Baliwag Bible Christian Church), Franco Ferrer (International Baptist Church of Manila), and John Hofilena (Redeemer Christian Church Manila). The topic is on biblical conversion and the church.… Continue reading A Conversation on Biblical Conversion with Filipino Pastors
Recommended Podcasts – Part 1
Whether I’m driving on the highway, running on the elliptical, or playing NBA 2K, I like to tune in to some podcasts. I have classified them into two categories. In this post, I'll list podcasts for learning the Bible and pastoral ministry. Next week's post will be on podcasts for academic discussions.
Bible Reading Tools
The goal is not to check of a list of chapters or to finish reading the whole Bible in 365 days. The goal is to let the Words of Christ dwell in us richly in all wisdom (cf. Col 3:16). For what does it profit a man if he reads the entire Bible but does not understand what he reads? Let me share some of my favorite resources that I’m utilizing in my Bible reading this year. The first three tools are probably sufficient tools for many. To those who want a little more challenge, I have added two more.
Who Determines Meaning? Authorial Intent, Allegory, Literal Reading, and Biblical Theology
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
“The Community of the Beloved Disciple” by Raymond Brown — A Book Review
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.
NIV Study Bible: Fully Revised Edition — A Review
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.
40 Questions about Typology and Allegory by Mitchell L. Chase — A Book Review
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.
I Love the New Testament
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: A Condensation of Against Heresies” by James Payton, Jr. — A Book Review
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.
A Commentary on James by Aída Besançon Spencer (Kregel Series) — A Book Review
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
“Habits of Grace: Enjoying Jesus through the Spiritual Disciplines” by David Mathis — 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
“Conversion: How God Creates a People” by Michael Lawrence — 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
“Prayer: How Praying Together Shapes the Church” by John Onwuchekwa — 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
“Between Faith and Criticism: Evangelicals, Scholarship, and the Bible in America” by Mark A. Noll – 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
“The Idea of a Christian College” by Arthur F. Holmes — 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
“Handbook of Christian Education” by Ron Horton — 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
“The Outrageous Idea of Christian Scholarship” by George M. Marsden – 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
The Jesus Bible (Artist Edition) – A 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
“Missions: How the Local Church Goes Global” by Andy Johnson—A Book 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” by C. S. Lewis—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
“Canon Revisited” by Michael J. Kruger — 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
“Anatomy of the Fourth Gospel” by R. Alan Culpepper – 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
Brand New! NIV Life Application Study Bible 3rd Ed – A 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?” by James Hamilton – A Book 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
“Jesus, the Word, According to John the Sectarian” by Robert Gundry – 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
Jesus the Messiah and Hanukkah: The Historical Background of John 10:22-42
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
“The Semantics of Biblical Language” by James Barr – A Book Review
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 and the Discrimination Fallacy
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
Tagalog-English Sermons Available Online
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
“Discipling: How to Help Others Follow Jesus” by Mark Dever – A Book Review
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
“The Hermeneutical Spiral” by Grant Osborne: 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
Five Views on the Literary Relationship between 2 Peter and Jude
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