Purpose of this Website

Is Another “Biblioblog” Really Needed?

One may rightfully ask – given there are approximately 633 million websites in the world[1] – whether another is needed. Likewise, one may further ask whether yet another website focused on the Bible is needed. Both are valid questions, especially given that there are only so many hours in the day to read. My goal of hosting a personal ministry and writing-based website is fairly modest, however, as I have no ability nor credentials to go head-to-head with the more popular multi-author sites (Reformation 21, Gospel Coalition, Desiring God, etc.) or even the better known blogs within the biblical studies world (e.g., WrightGoodacre, HurtadoKruger).

I hope to achieve three goals with this website.

(1) Connecting Bible Scholarship to the Church

As the website title states, one of my motivations in pressing “pause” on the pastoral route in order to pursue a PhD in New Testament  is a passion for bridging the gap between “Bible world” and “every day world of Joe Businessman and / or Sarah Stay-at-home-mom,” or whomever. While it has not always been the case (certainly not during, say, the Reformation period), recent decades in the American church have seen a rise in suspicion among laypeople and pastors towards biblical scholarship. Though a small number of popular scholarly writers are given a free pass (i.e., the D. A. Carsons of the world), the bulk of OT and NT scholarship is seen as “too academic” and not relevant to the everyday preacher (who is trying to write sermons, counsel, visit hospitals, and so forth) and the layperson (who does not have the patience for the “synoptic problem” or “hermeneutical theory”).

On the other side of the divide is an increasing tendency for university or even seminary level researchers and professors to become walled off in an intramural set of debates about participle use or reader response criticism that is several steps removed from the everyday walk of faith of the vast majority of Christians. While this work is ultimately vital to advancing our understanding of God’s Word, the unfortunate side effect of narrow specialization within the biblical studies world is a gravitational drift towards becoming a debate among a handful of very smart people who argue with one another in the same ivory tower.

My aim as a student and future pastor is to exert my energies in bridging the divide, for I do not believe there should be such a large one. Scholarship should fundamentally serve the purpose of blessing and strengthening the church by developing further insight into the Bible’s teaching and history; the church should likewise minister the gospel in such a way that Christians are hungry to know Christ more fully, which then leads to sharpening one’s pencil to understand the Bible in a fuller way. In other words, Bible scholarship should not be purely academic, and the church should not be scared of scholarship. The church is the foundation and pillar of the truth (1 Tim 3:15), which sound biblical scholarship should play a role in uncovering.

Hence, one of my recurring themes in everything I write on this site will be to delineate the “so what?” of any area of study I pursue here. If it cannot be made intelligible and impactful to the average Christian in the pew, it is probably not worth the time!

(2) Maintaining A Road Back to Reality

In light of lofty ambition #1, I also recognize that as a PhD student, I will not be immune to the aforementioned vortex of narrow specialization. It would be easy, and in some sense more productive, to lose myself in the library stacks for three years focusing only on my dissertation and then reemerge at the end to see what has been happening in the world in the interim. I have little interest in doing so.

Thus, a major motivating force behind this website is to have a platform through which I can engage with topics within and outside my field, distill my thoughts down to an understandable form, and share them with however many readers come along. This website also provides a repository for my non-PhD work, such as preaching, teaching, special projects, and more formal writings.

(3) Engaging in Biblical Discussion With Friends, Family, Supporters, and the Academic Community

A third motivation behind this website is to create a small environment for discussing a variety of topics related to NT (and occasionally OT) studies. The web medium allows ideas that have not been fully developed to be shared in such a way that we can all be sharpened through dialogue, further research, encouragement, and even debate.

The topics discussed here will likely be highly varied, but I plan on focusing on the following handful of key themes:

  1. The Septuagint (the Greek translation of the Old Testament, dating from the early 200s BC)
  2. Non-canonical writings and the insights they provide into the literary and religious world of the New Testament times
  3. Intertextuality and literary approaches to understanding and interpreting Scripture
  4. Covenant theology
  5. Christian encounter with Islam (a side interest of mine)
  6. The intersection of the Christian life and the workplace
  7. Various topics relating to my dissertation

_____________________

Footnotes:

[1] “December 2012 Web Server Survey,” <http://news.netcraft.com/archives/2012/12/04/december-2012-web-server-survey.html> (23 July 2013).

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