Tag Archives: Kregel

Reordering the Trinity

If you were to ask a systematic theologian “Is the Trinity in the Bible?” there would be various answers that she could give you. If she says “yes” she will have to nuance her answer quite a bit – the word “Trinity” never appears in the Bible, the words we use to describe the Trinity never appear in the Bible, etc. If she says “no” she will have to tell you why she isn’t actually a heretic, but she will likely be able to show the scriptural basis for Trinitarianism.

Fred Sanders says that,

One of the chief obligations laid upon Trinitarian theology in our times is that it render the doctrine of the Trinity with unprecedented clarity as a biblical doctrine, or, to speak more precisely, as a doctrine that is in the Bible.

In order to do this, in the past, some theologians resorted to a41aka-4obzl-_sx331_bo1204203200_ proof text approach to this doctrine. Show that Jesus is divine, show the Holy Spirit is divine, throw it all together into a bowl and bam! Trinity. Yet these sort of hermeneutical moves no longer are very persuasive in the eyes of many. Thankfully people like Wesley Hill have taken a different approach for showing how the Trinity is indeed Biblical. But the proof text approach is not completely gone. Rodrick Durst’s new book, Reordering the Trinity, is one of those “proof text” type of Trinity books. But lets just call it a concordance approach. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

What is innovative about Durst’s book is not the fact that he lays out 75 (yes seventy-five) occurrences of the Trinity in the New Testament. What is innovative about this book is that Durst show that in these 75 occurrences there are 6 different patterns.

  1. Father, Son, Holy Spirit
  2. Father, Holy Spirit, Son
  3. Son, Father, Holy Spirit
  4. Son, Holy Spirit, Father
  5. Holy Spirit, Son, Father
  6. Holy Spirit, Father Son

He then goes on to give percentages for how many times each of these combinations occur. (Father, Son, Spirit takes the lead with 28 occurrences and Spirit, Son, Father comes in last with only 8 occurrences.) What is most interesting about this book is that he shows that each of the 6 patterns have different thematic significance!

  1. Father, Son, Holy Spirit – Missional
  2. Father, Holy Spirit, Son – Formational
  3. Son, Father, Holy Spirit – Christological
  4. Son, Holy Spirit, Father – Regenerative
  5. Holy Spirit, Son, Father – Ecclesial
  6. Holy Spirit, Father, Son – Sanctifying

What’s really groundbreaking about this is that it leaves us with various options for thinking through and praying through different ways when we are focusing on different things. For instance if we are focusing on praying about sanctification we may start with the Spirit, move on to the Father, and end with the Son. Or if we are praying about mission we may begin by asking the Father to be glorified as we go out and proclaim the Son by the power of the Holy Spirit, etc.

What’s great about this book is that Durst has this devotional aspect in mind when he is writing. He even includes an appendix for incorporating this Trinitarian Ordering into your own prayer life.

Overall I found this book to be very stimulating for my personal devotional life. It opened up to me the mind blowing idea, or to put it a better way it gave me a theological basis, for prayer that is focused on different persons of the Trinity. So, if you take this book as a series of proof texts that the Trinity is Biblical you will be disappointed. But if you read it as a sort of concordance showing how Trinitarian ordering makes a difference in your own walk with God then you have stumbled upon an amazing resource.

Note: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an impartial review.

 

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A Commentary on the Manuscripts and Text of the New Testament

Comfort’s A Commentary on the Manuscripts and Text of the New Testament is “an up-to-date commentary on all the significant manuscripts and textual variants of the New Testament.” It feels and looks very similar to Bruce Metzger’s A Textual Commentary on the New Testament. One key difference between these two texts is that Metzger only comments on the variants which appear in the UBS version of the Greek New Testament but Comfort doesn’t limit himself to commenting only on those variants.

What also makes this commentary stand out is that he takes into account the Nomina Sacra in the manuscripts. In many manuscripts scribes present the divine names “with specially calligraphy to disntinguish these names as being sacred.” (8)

In his first introductory chapter he addresses the Nomina Sacra, like “Lord,” “Father,” “Son,” and Spirit. Sometimes these names are written in full. At other times they are contracted with an overbar. He discusses the “why” of the Nomina Sacra, and the variants between manuscripts.

The second introductory chapter is an annotated list of manuscripts of the New Testament. Each entry includes the designation of the manuscript, original publication and current location.

The text itself works provides a passage then various things:

  1. What comfort takes to be the original wording of the verse
  2. Variant readings
  3. Manuscript information

For instance His commentary on Mark 1:11 looks like this:

You are my beloved Son.

“Son” is written as a nomen sacrum (sacred name) in one early MS (Codex Sinaiticus) as well as L. God hereby indicated that Jesus was the divine Son of God, not just a son of God.

His commentary on Acts 5:32 looks like this:

The Holy Spirit whom God has given.

The divine “Spirit” is written as a nomen sacrum (sacred name) in four early MSS (P45, Codex Sinaiticus, A, D) as well as P74 33.

Overall this will be a very helpful book to those engaged in textual criticism (most others won’t find this very useful). However, as someone who is more engaged in systematic theology (exegesis is in fact a part of that!) having comments on the nomen sacra in particular passage is actually very helpful. Also very helpful is that this book looks an awful lot like your Greek NT. I highly recommend it for those who have are engaged in biblical/theological scholarship.

You can purchase this book through Kregel Academic or through Amazon.

Note: I received this book courtesy of Kregel Academic in exchange for an impartial review.

40 Questions about Christians and the Law – (Free Book)

Don’t miss out on this chance to expand your LOGOS Bible Software library for free. This month (July 2015) they are offering ‘40 Questions about Christians and Biblical Law’ by Thomas R. Schreiner (Kregel Academic, 2010). Order yours here: LINK.

About The Book:
This volume by Dr. Thomas R. Schreiner on the interplay between Christianity and biblical law is an excellent addition to the 40 Questions & Answers series. Schreiner not only coherently answers the tough questions that flow from a discussion about the Old Testament Levitical Law, but also writes clearly and engagingly for the student. The pastor, student, and layperson can easily understand Schreiner’s biblical theology of the Law.

The reader will enjoy the clarity and encouragement of 40 Questions About Christians and Biblical Law. The simple Q&A format allows readers to skip to questions of interest.

(HT: Bible Geek Gone Wild)

Shepherding God’s Flock

Towards the end of 2014 I spent some time praying, asking God what areas of growth he wanted me to focus on in 2015. Two areas that came up were 1) Preaching and 2) Shepherding. God wanted me to work on my preaching and communication skills and God wanted me to grow in having a heart that reflects his own compassion for his flock. It almost seemed like perfect timing that Kregel asked me to review Shepherding God’s Flock: Biblical Leadership in the New Testament and Beyond.

Shepherding God’s flock is a collection of essays complied by Benjamin Merkle and Tom Schreiner written by leading pastors and scholars on various issues of church leadership. The book focuses on three areas:

  1. Biblical Theology of Shepherding
  2. Historical Theology Regarding Shepherding and Ecclesiology
  3. Modern and Practical Approaches to Shepherding

Leadership and shepherding in the OT and NT is addressed by James Hamilton, Andreas Kostenberger, Benjamin Merkle and Tom Schreiner. Presbyterian, Anglican, Baptist, and Roman Catholic perspectives and polity structures are addressed by Nathan Finn, Jason Duesing, Shawn Wright, Michael Haykin and Gregg Allison. The modern side of shepherding is addressed by Bruce Ware and Andrew Davis.

This book is definitely written from a Baptist perspective, this means that everything in the book is slightly slanted towards and elder led, congregationally ruled ecclesiology and understanding of the elder’s role. Having a “baptistic” ecclesiology, there is much for me to agree with in this volume, though I do have to admit that I am very sympathetic with Presbyterian localized ecclesiology (teaching elders and ruling elders).

I enjoyed this book very much and I actually learned a ton. The book wasn’t as much about the role of a shepherd – but more so a book about biblical church polity. That is okay, its not what I expected but I certainly appreciated it – especially because my time at Fuller Seminary didn’t include much thinking about polity. (We were focused on other aspects of ecclesiology.) Overall this is a fantastic collection of essays. I honestly believe that this will become an indispensable textbook for any class on ecclesiology or church structures. I wouldn’t be surprised if I ended up using this book as a textbook in the future. It includes everything one would want from a textbook for an eldership/church polity class – it has biblical material, historical-theology material, and practical material.

Note: I received this book courtesy of Kregel Publishers in exchange for an impartial review.

Book Review – A Commentary on Exodus by Duane Garrett

I have worked my way through several of the Kregel Exegetical Library Commentaries in the past few months – this time I turn my attention to Duane Garrett’s commentary on Exodus. Garrett is a pretty well known scholar who teaches at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. He specializes in OT interpretation and has written quite a bit on Hebrew grammar and historical background.

This commentary is aimed at pastors, though its not without its benefits for those who have a scholarly bent. He provides a verse by verse exegetical and theological study of this immensely significant book. As it is well known, Exodus serves as a major foundation for Old Testament (and New Testament) theology, perhaps it even serves a more significant role than even the call of Abraham or any other event in Genesis!

There are already several good commentaries on Exodus, so what makes this commentary stick out? First off, he spends a lot of time (though he calls it a short amount of time) giving the reader an introduction of Egyptian history, culture, language, and geography. Second he focuses on the state of scholarly arguments regarding historical questions. For instance, the dating of exodus, the genealogy of Moses, the location of the Red Sea, and the Location of Sinai. Third, he pays extra attention to the poetry found in Exodus. Fourth, he writes in such a way as to make this commentary useful for pastors and Bible teachers. This is especially evident in how he breaks up the commentary (Translation, Structure, Commentary, Theological Summary of Key Points). Finally, he writes this commentary from the position that Exodus is Christian literature. This might be controversial in some circles, but its part of our Christian canon, so it’s appropriate to read it that way.

I really appreciated the structure of the commentary section. The highlight for me was the Theological Summary of Key Points. As someone who preaches, I naturally gravitated towards these sections.

However this commentary is not without its drawbacks. He spends nearly 130 pages on historical background. Garrett concedes that most critical scholars tend to dismiss such historical issues as meaningless for the interpretation of Exodus. Now I don’t want to go that far, however I am a firm believer in the belief that our commentary should try to stick to the canonical form of the text and not get bogged down on issues behind the text. We should focus in on what God is saying through the words he has revealed to us, and not hang on the shifting sands of historical scholarship.

Despite, what I believe is an undue emphasis on behind the text issues, as opposed to textual issues, I found this commentary to be useful in helping me understand this significant biblical book. This book just confirmed for me that the Kregel Exegetical Library is a commentary set that is really worth collecting.

(Note: I received this commentary from the publisher in exchange for an impartial review.)

Citizens (Book Review)

Citizen: Your Role in the Alternative Kingdom begins with author Rob Peabody standing on a Balcony overlooking the Old City of Jerusalem. In that moment, life seemed to become so much clearer – he came to a breakthrough…. He realized that the Christian life he had been experiencing had been quite anemic, he realized that he wanted more. Thus kicked off a process that led him all the way from Texas to the UK.

Throughout Citizen Rob Peabody challenges the reader to re-imagine their life, reposition what she values, re-identify who she is, and re-center life around the true King of the world…

Here is what he says about that sort of life:

“It will be hard at times, then sweetly exhilarating and right at others. In the end, you will find the life you were created to live: a life so extraordinary and full of joy that you cannot even fully comprehend it right now; a life not wasted, a life that goes beyond just you, a life that gives worship and glory to the One who is worthy. The Father is standing with open arms, inviting you in to experience all that he has created and called you to be. You have been saved for this…” (pp. 33-34)

As Peabody begins to stoke the reader’s imagination for what this sort of life looks like by using a “Citizen” metaphor throughout the book. Citizens have a particular identity, they have a particular community, they have certain allegiances, they represent certain sovereign bodies, etc. Each one of these aspects of citizenship get fleshed out in each chapter of the book. All in all, Peabody shows that as citizens of the Kingdom of God Christians will play a certain role in this world, and their roles will stretch across various spheres including home, church, work, and mission.

I absolutely loved this book, as I read it I was very encouraged and motivated to live out my identity as a citizen of the kingdom. As a minister I was especially encouraged to re-infuse the concept of citizenship into my sermons. Over the summer I had begun to stray a little bit from the Kingdom emphasis that I was regularly placing in my sermons, but this book reminded me that citizenship in the kingdom is a central aspect of our identity as Christians, so I can’t overlook that as I am preaching.

To sum things up, I really recommend this book, it challenged me and reminded me of some central truths that I had begun to overlook in my own ministry. (Pair this alongside of Scot McKnight’s Kingdom Conspiracy and you will be set on Kingdom & Ministry books for a while!)

As a special offer to you, the reader, you can now get Citizen: Your Role in the Alternative Kingdom on sale (this week only) by clicking the image below – at only $0.99 for the next few days an $1.99 for the rest of the week its a real steal.

citizen sharable image

(Note: I received this book courtesy of Kregel in exchange for an impartial review.)

Book Review – A Commentary on the Psalms, Vol. 2 by Allen Ross

I have really grown to like the Kregel Exegetical Library commentaries on the Old Testament. A while back ago I reviewed a commentary on Judges from the same series, I really enjoyed it and found it useful, so I had pretty high expectations for this commentary on the Psalms from the same series.

Let me share with you a few things I found to be very helpful…

  1. Engagement With Current Scholarly Work – This commentary does a good job engaging other important works written on the Psalms. For instance in his commentary on Psalm 47 Ross interacts with Mowinckel’s enthronement theory and several more modern variations upon that theory.
  2. It Doesn’t Get Bogged Down on Source Criticism – Though Ross does attempt to (carefully) address the sitz im leben he doesn’t fall into the trap of trying to discern the various sources of the Psalms. Instead he opts for taking the canonical version of the Psalms and makes comments on that version instead.
  3. The Inclusion of Textual Variants and Comments on the Variants – This isn’t necessarily helpful to a preacher, nevertheless the quality and quantity of comments on these textual variants makes this commentary stand out among other Psalm commentaries.
  4. It Provides Clear Outlines of Each Psalm – This will be very helpful to preachers. Its almost as he has broken down each Psalm into 3 (or 4 or 5) point messages!
  5. Helpful & Concise “Message and Application” sections – I found it personally helpful that for each Psalm covered in this volume Ross provides an italicized “central expository idea.” This is a one or two sentence long phrase which captures the central theme of the Psalm. When preaching narrowing down one’s passage to one central idea is very helpful, not only for crafting the sermon but also for helping the congregation remember the central point. Now as they are, these “central expository ideas” probably won’t work as message points, but they are certainly a good start on making an accurate, deep, and memorable statement of your own.

One thing that would have been helpful, but wasn’t included would have been a brief recap of the introductory material. Ross often alluded to things he had written in the introduction, however the introduction is in volume one, not in volume two… all this to say, volume two certainly does not exist as a stand alone volume, you need volume one. However, the fact that volume two didn’t include any sort of introduction didn’t really change my opinion of this commentary. In fact this made me want to go and get the first volume!

As a preacher and bible college teacher I found this commentary to be useful, exegetically rigorous, as well as very practical. I highly recommend it to pastors and seminary students (some of the issues addressed in this commentary might be a bit too technical for a bible college/undergraduate student or a lay person). So if you are looking for a high quality commentary on Psalms 42-89 you should purchase this volume.

(Note: I received this book courtesy of Kregel in exchange for an impartial review.)