Category Archives: Literary analysis

“Jesus told stories to make himself easier to understand”

20170910_203840A while back I was invited to participate in what was originally slated to be a series over at The Gospel Coalition on the “difficult words of Jesus.” I drew the “Parable of the Sower”-vis-a-vis-Isaiah 6:10 passage, for which I was delighted. It’s a challenging text, and one which is central to understanding Jesus’ parables. In my writeup, I make the case that, as Jesus reveals via his use of the OT, he doesn’t teach in story form to make himself easier to understand—contrary to popular conception—but almost the opposite, at least for those who do not have “ears to hear.”

As it (I assume) turns out, the broader series is not happening, so my contribution appeared recently as a standalone article. Without the context of the broader series, it probably seems rather random and a bit curmudgeonly (not unlike my unintentionally sort-of-viral Saul/Paul writeup: TGC, but originally here), but it wasn’t really intended that way.

(It also happened to appear right as hurricane Irma was approaching. Most trolls will say, “Don’t we have more important things to worry about?” Yep…but I didn’t pick the timing.)

“Unto Him” in Eph 1:5—A Minority Report on the Christological Option for an Oft-Overlooked Pronoun

When I stumbled on it last year in preparation for teaching Ephesians, I was stunned. Where did this “unto him” come from that I had never seen before in the English translations of my youth? And what does it mean?

In this post, I will explore a little phrase at the middle of the justly famous “adoption” verse of Ephesians 1:5, which does not even show up in some English translations.

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Summary of Research on the Parable of the Wicked Tenants

In the newly-released October 2016 edition of Currents in Biblical Research, I have written a longish summary and analysis of the research done in the past century or so on the Parable of the Wicked Tenants.

This parable has fascinated me since my MDiv days, when I wrote a paper on it in my Gospels class dealing with the conclusion, where Jesus quotes from Psalm 118:22 (see here). The parable also forms the foundation of one of the chapters of my dissertation, so I have been hiking around in the vineyard for quite some time.

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What’s Happening with the Greek Verb?

On July 10–11, a massive Greek nerdfest is being held in Cambridge (at Tyndale House) on Linguistics and the Greek Verb. The conference is being chaired by a friend of mine, Chris Fresch (who will soon be taking a teaching post in Australia after completing his PhD at Cambridge), and Steven Runge (from Logos).

Available for preorder at Logos

The focus of the conference is, in effect, to shed some light on the latest things happening in the study of the Greek verbal system. It may look like arcane stuff, but much of it will be informing your Bible translations for years to come. So even if you don’t know or care what aspect-prominence or grounding mean, in years to come your handy thinline or study Bibles will be impacted by this kind of research.

I am attending (most of) the conference and will post a summary of the major points in the papers I attend below. Fortunately, the papers from the conference will be published soon enough in The Greek Verb Revisited.

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NIV 50th Anniversary and Translation Strategy

Tonight at the annual meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society, Zondervan sponsored a dinner celebrating the 50th anniversary of the NIV translation. It was a well-done event with videos featuring members of the Committee on Bible Translation, a great meal, a touching tribute to Doug Moo (the current chairman), and a delightful gift of a leatherbound NIV for all attendees.

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New Article in JTS on Luke’s Temple Theology

In March, I posted a presentation I had made to the Cambridge Graduate NT seminar on the theological importance of the Jerusalem temple in the Gospel of Luke. I had actually submitted the full version of that research to the Journal of Theological Studies (published by Oxford University) in mid-December 2013. The presentation I made in March was a highly condensed version. I found out a month or two after the presentation that the paper was accepted by JTS. That article has now been published at long last.

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Paper presentation on Luke’s theology of the Temple

Today I presented a paper at the Cambridge graduate New Testament seminar entitled: “Yahweh Comes in the Side Door: The Temple Theology of Luke.” The paper focuses on the distinct way in which the gospel of Luke makes use of the Jerusalem temple as a way to present a certain theology about Jesus Christ. In brief:

It is well-known that the Jerusalem temple plays a major structural role in the of the gospel of Luke (and the book of Acts). The theological purpose of the temple in the gospel has received less attention, however. This paper traces the development of the temple motif in the gospel and presents a comprehensive argument that the author uses the temple setting to present a particular point about Jesus: namely, that his entrance into the temple before the passion week is the long-awaited arrival of the glory of Yahweh back to the temple.

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