Category Archives: New Testament

The Theological Interpretation of Scripture: A Very Brief Introduction

The Theological Interpretation of Scripture (TIS) has become a topic of discussion among academic authors like, Francis Watson, Daniel Treier, Kevin Van Hoozer, and Stephen Fowl. Right from the beginning the name itself sounds like something we shouldn’t be doing. It is as if we are allowing our beliefs to determine what scripture says. While that does happen in many quarters, it’s not the case with TIS. Actually those who are involved in TIS see it more as a recovery of premodern hermeneutics (Bible interpretation). The argument is that modernist hermeneutics, like the Grammatical Historical (GH) method, have not lived up to their promise in providing a method of a truly unified reading of scripture. Some have suggested that the GH method leaves us with interpretive pluralities where each interpreter has the final say on what Scripture says.

So as you can probably imagine this would create a few challenges. If Scripture is the means by which God speaks then It ought to be read as a whole. This first came to my mind many years ago when I suggested that what we were looking for in our interpretation of Scripture was author intentionality in the text. That is to say we wanted to know what the human authors were trying to say. I can remember the conversation because a friend of mine returned and asked if I saw any ambiguity in this. That was when I started to look at other sources like John Calvin. At that point in my life I had only become familiar with Calvin through the Institutes of the Christian Religion which was helpful. However, reading through his commentaries I realized how different his hermeneutic and the hermeneutic of the Patristic homilies were compared to what I had seen in contemporary authors.

So just a recap on what has just been said. TIS places emphasis on the claim that God is the author of Scripture (2 Timothy 3:16) and therefore should be understood in light of the whole. Obviously there is much to say on this and I will have to discuss this in more detail as I work through it myself. But because the subject matter of the Old and New Testament is the Messiah or Jesus Christ (Luke 24:27, John 5:39) we have an essential unity that plays a big role in our exegesis (or what we come away with from the text). This is not to say that GH should be eradicated from our exegetical practice. But TIS does bring unity to the particulars left behind by GH.

What of the human authors of Scripture? I knew you were going to ask that. As I stated above on the ambiguity of author intentionality, the challenge is our inability to definitively map out what the writers intention actually is. TIS seeks to clarify that the author’s intention is what is found in the text. It is God who is the author of Scripture who can make His intention known through the centuries to His people. This last move makes the church the primary context of Biblical interpretation.

I know this was brief but I hope it has prompted you to ask questions about your own method of interpretation. Maybe you can share with me some of your conclusions as I don’t have too many of my own yet. If you are interested I have listed some literature that has contributed to the discussion of TIS below.

Treir, Daniel J. Introducing Theological Interpretation of Scripture: Recovering a Christian Practice. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2008.


Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Hermeneutics, New Testament, Old Testament

Glory To God In The Highest,Peace Among Those With Whom He Is Pleased

Image result for luke 2

And in the same region there were shepherds out in the field, keeping watch over their flock by night. And an angel of the Lord appeared to them, and the glory of the Lord shone around them, and they were filled with great fear. And the angel said to them, “Fear not, for behold, I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord. And this will be a sign for you: you will find a baby wrapped in swaddling cloths and lying in a manger.” And suddenly there was with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

“Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among those with whom he is pleased!” (Luke 2:8-14 ESV)

Leave a comment

Filed under Christianity, Faith, Jesus, New Testament

Book Review: A Syntax Guide For Readers Of The Greek New Testament

Lee Irons has recently published a new Syntax Guide For Readers Of The Greek New Testament (SG). The purpose for this guide is to give readers of New Testament Greek a jump start in to the discipline of reading the New Testament in its original language. Typically studies of the Greek tend to either get overlooked or focus on individual word studies. What Irons would like to see is students of New Testament Greek take up the practice of reading whole sections of the Greek text and eventually the entire New Testament. However, anyone who has taken up that task has recognized immediately the difficulty before them in being able to readily interpret as you read. SG provides the syntactical information (i.e. idioms, syntactical categories, etc. )to help aid in understanding Greek phrases and sentences  in order to “streamline” the reading experience.

While this is a helpful volume it requires some prior familiarity of the Koine Greek. I would say this volume was ideally written for any one with at least two years of Greek. In fact the volume assumes it’s reader’s understanding of Greek. My only reservation is the Iron’s does not sight the sources he has used for his content. Then again this isn’t that kind of tool, which is fine with me as I have always known Irons to be competent with his Greek.

This volume has several appealing features. First it follows the Novum Testamentum Graece, 27th and 28th editions. To me it even looks like the maroon hardback UBS Greek New Testament. There is also a subject index that allows the reader to look up verses by grammatical form. This is a very helpful volume. I have attempted to use it as Irons had intended and I found personally I come away with a better understanding of the text since my tendency is to skip over phrases or sentences that I didn’t understand.  Definitely a must for any Greek reader’s reference library.

Rating 4 out of 5

Disclosure of Material Connection: I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255 <> : “Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.”


Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Book Review, Greek, New Testament

Unbelievable? Are the Gospels based on eyewitness testimony? Bart Ehrman vs Richard Bauckham: Saturday 09 April 2016 2:30:00 pm – Premier Christian Radio

Bart Ehrman’s new book ‘Jesus Before the Gospels’ makes the case that the stories about Jesus would have changed and evolved before they were written down as the Gospels.Richard Bauckham, author of ‘Jesus and the Eyewitnesses’, defends the view that the Gospels were written by those with access to eyewitness testimony of Jesus’ first followers. They debate who wrote Mark, whether the the Gospels came from anonymous traditions and how they received their titles.

Source: Unbelievable? Are the Gospels based on eyewitness testimony? Bart Ehrman vs Richard Bauckham: Saturday 09 April 2016 2:30:00 pm – Premier Christian Radio

Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, Gospel, New Testament

Our Need for Hope

Our Need for Hope
Week of March 27, 2016
Bible Verses:  John 11:17-27.
The Point:  Jesus is the Resurrection who gives us life now and forever.

The Resurrection and the Life: John 11:17-27.

[17]  Now when Jesus came, he found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb four days. [18]  Bethany was near Jerusalem, about two miles off, [19]  and many of the Jews had come to Martha and Mary to console them concerning their brother. [20]  So when Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went and met him, but Mary remained seated in the house. [21]  Martha said to Jesus, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died. [22]  But even now I know that whatever you ask from God, God will give you.” [23]  Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” [24]  Martha said to him, “I know that he will rise again in the resurrection on the last day.” [25]  Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, [26]  and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?” [27]  She said to him, “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world.”

News of the death of a loved one has got to be among the hardest that anyone can receive. The range of emotions go from shock to sadness and in some cases even anger. Because we are all created the same the grieving process between believers and non-believers looks pretty much the same except for one exception. Because Christ has conquered death and the grave, and is “the resurrection and the life”, Christians experience a sense of tremendous hope. In our text we read how Jesus handled the news of His dear friend Lazarus. We also read how Jesus turns a funeral into an example of what is to come for all those who believe that He is “the resurrection and the life”.

Hope is yet another term that gets bantered about without much consideration of its implications. It is used as a term of temporal appeasement. Politicians might refer to themselves as the candidate of hope. In this context it sounds really good, but very little if anything is truly meant by it. This however isn’t the way in which Christians understand the term. In Christianity hope is legitimately substantiated by the person in whom the hope is being placed. Unlike an earthly politician who doesn’t truly have the means by which to make good on the hope that is invested in him; God can and does make good on the hope that is placed in Him.

Having said that we can now refer to our text and look at the hope demonstrated by Martha. The context is the death of Lazarus. In verse 20 Martha ran out to meet Jesus when she heard of His arrival. In verse 21 Martha confesses that if Jesus had been there four days ago her brother would not have died. It is true that Jesus authenticated who He was by doing miracles, and bringing someone from the dead is one such miracle that Jesus had the power to bring about. It is important to keep in mind here that Jesus is not in the business of conducting miracles to amuse or entertain like some cheap parlor trick often seen on television “healing ministries”. Jesus conducted miracles to show His compassion and to demonstrate who He was as the Messiah spoken of in the Old Testament. So we see here Martha’s attitude of hope in Jesus and His relationship to God.

In verse 23 Jesus makes the simple statement “your brother will rise again”. Martha was quick to make assumptions about what he may have meant. She assumed in verse 24 that Jesus was referring to the beginning of the “tribulation”. Wait, that isn’t right. Perhaps she assumed that Jesus was referring to some time in the middle of “tribulation”. No, she doesn’t even mention the tribulation. She said she knew that her brother would rise again on the last day. Martha believed in the general resurrection. This is what is unique about Christianity. Our hope is eschatological which means that it is tied to the end when we are resurrected at Christ’s return. Much of the difficulty that we experience on a day to day basis is the result of a fallen humanity living in a fallen world. But our hope looks to the future with new bodies, new heavens, new earth, and eternity with the Lord of Glory. This is why Jesus says in verse 25, 26, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die”.

In verses 26 and 27 Jesus asks Martha for her affirmation when He says, “do you believe this?” The tendency is to shy away from asserting what one believes. However, asserting ones belief is a very significant practice for confessional Christianity. And Martha responds appropriately  “Yes, Lord; I believe that you are the Christ, the Son of God, who is coming into the world”. What follows is what we know from reading ahead. After making this statement Jesus demonstrates what is in store for all those who believe that He is the resurrection and the life as he brings Lazarus from the dead.

This is the essence of Christian hope. It is putting our trust and faith into a God that promises and has the means to fulfill that promise of a future glory for all those who believe that He is “the resurrection and the life”.




Leave a comment

Filed under Bible, New Testament

Matthew 28:18


Leave a comment

Filed under 2 Kingdoms, Bible, New Testament


“As was already said in the preceding, the distinction between the law and the gospel is not the same as that between the Old and the New Testament. Neither is it the same as that which present day Dispensationalists make between the dispensation of the law and the dispensation of the gospel. It is contrary to the plain facts of Scripture to say that there is no gospel in the Old Testament, or at least not in that part of the Old Testament that covers the dispensation of the law. There is gospel in the maternal promise, gospel in the ceremonial law, and gospel in many of the Prophets, as Isa. 53 and 54; 55:1–3, 6, 7; Jer. 31:33, 34; Ezek. 36:25–28. In fact, there is a gospel current running through the whole of the Old Testament, which reaches its highest point in the Messianic prophecies. And it is equally contrary to Scripture to say that there is no law in the New Testament, or that the law does not apply in the New Testament dispensation. Jesus taught the permanent validity of the law, Matt. 5:17–19. Paul says that God provided for it that the requirements of the law should be fulfilled in our lives, Rom. 8:4, and holds his readers responsible for keeping the law, Rom. 13:9. James assures his readers that he who transgresses a single commandment of the law (and he mentions some of these), is a transgressor of the law, Jas. 2:8–11. And John defines sin as “lawlessness,” and says that this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments, 1 John 3:4; 5:3.”

Louis Berkhof, Systematic Theology (Grand Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans publishing co., 1938), 613.

Leave a comment

Filed under Dispensationalism, Gospel, Law, Louis Berkhof, New Testament, Old Testament, Paul the Apostle, Quotes, Theology