I have been swamped recently: meeting a publication deadline (a translation of the final volume of the Theological Dictionary of the Old Testament, which deals with Biblical Aramaic), attending the Society of Biblical Literature annual meeting in Boston, chairing an editorial board meeting there (with all the preparation entailed), presenting a paper there, holidays, family, and all the rest. Consequently, I have neglected this blog. A New Year approaches and I do not intend to wait for its arrival before acting on my resolve to be more attentive. For the next several weeks, I will be posting a series of lectures given last month at the First Presbyterian Church on the subject of:
In the most recent entry in this blog, I reacted to Brent Strawn’s, The Old Testament is Dying: A Diagnosis and Recommended Treatment by offering reflections concerning factors that may contribute to the phenomenon Strawn describes. This second entry on the subject will examine some of the dangers for believers and for the church inherent in Continue reading No Stream without a Source
Many know the Old Testament lectionary reading for this coming Sunday, the fifth Sunday in Lent, through the familiar spiritual. Slaves in the American Sought clearly heard in Ezekiel and his visions of a wheel and a valley of dry bones a promise of God’s power to bring life out of death, freedom out of slavery. The passage finds its place in the common Continue reading Dry Bones
A generation goes, and a generation comes, but the earth remains forever. Eccl 1:4 RSV
Human progress is neither automatic nor inevitable… Every step toward the goal of justice requires sacrifice, suffering, and struggle; the tireless exertions and passionate concern of dedicated individuals. Martin Luther King, Jr.
I was born in February of 1957, when the union still had only forty-eight states, three years after the US Supreme Court handed down the historic Brown v. Board of Education (347 U.S. 483), and just a few months before the first nine black students enrolled in Little Rock Arkansas schools implementing the ruling. Local sit-in campaigns began at a Woolworth Continue reading Tireless Exertions
“For it is the time to begin judgment with the household of God;if we are first, what will be the end of those who not believe in the gospel of God?”
1 Peter 4:17
New Testament scholars identify 1 Peter, along minimally with 2 Peter, Titus, Hebrews, and Revelation, as “persecution literature,” literature produced during a period in which Christians faced oppression and persecution simply because of their faith. Typically, such literature admonishes believers, tempted to escape persecution by renouncing their faith, Continue reading A Time of Testing
Do Unto Others
Read in tandem, Genesis 1 and 2 state perhaps the most fundamental polarity of human existence. Genesis 1 describes God’s creation of humankind in God’s very own “image and likeness.” It is difficult to imagine a more definitive declaration of the dignity and significance of being human. Humans bear God’s image; every human being is like God. Of Continue reading Dirt to Dust
Several years ago now, when I had been teaching undergraduates for a few years, I said something (demonstrably true) in class about the text-critical problems with a particular passage of scripture that caused a minor disturbance among students. It soon reached the ears of the administration. Nothing came of it in the long run, I am happy to say, except for Continue reading By our Fruits
In a few weeks, I begin my twentieth-eighth year teaching, my twentieth at BTSR. The realization has given me occasion to reflect on a number of matters. How has my thinking changed? Has my faith deepened? Continue reading My Confession of Faith
Exod 2:24; Judg 2:16; Luke 17:12-19
This time of year means preparation for facing first year students. Most have never engaged in rigorous academic study of the Bible. They come to seminary as I came to my undergraduate religion major, innocently expecting that the Bible says what they have always thought it said and that serious study of it will only confirm what they Continue reading Grace: Transactional or Transformational?