Category Archives: Old Testament

A Framework for Navigating Discontinuity and Continuity of the OT Law

I have been teaching through Covenant Theology at River Oaks Church for the past few months, and we recently have been discussing the covenant God made with Moses at Sinai. Understanding how this Mosaic Covenant fits within the OT as a whole, the covenant of grace, and God’s plan of redemption is a challenge in its own right—see my series on “Rescuing Moses from Exile” (1, 2, 3, 4). But the even more difficult task is figuring out what we should make of this covenant, and the law on which it is centered, in the NT and Christian era.

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Reading the Psalms with Jesus

Tonight I got to spend part of the evening with a group of students at Reformation Bible College, as part of their biweekly Abide fellowship. Lots of familiar faces from my church were there.

I did a short talk on how to read (at least some of) the psalms in the way Jesus (and other NT writers) guide us to read them. Not merely as anticipating him, but as giving voice to his own words and in many ways shaping his identity.

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A Biblical Theology of Holy War, Pt 6: The Covenant Maker

Since the Vietnam and Korean wars in the U.S. (though the roots were there before, no doubt), there has been a tendency in the U.S. among some groups to voice a strongly critical opinion regarding U.S. military troops. They are often seen less as brave freedom-defenders and more as villains for fighting various wars against Iraq, Afghanistan, and others. Note, for instance, the critical backlash against American Sniper and the charge that  the deceased Chris Kyle is not a patriotic American soldier but an Islamophobic, Arab-hating, blood-thirsty criminal.

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In response, there has been an equally strong counter-reaction that has lauded American soldiers (the yellow ribbon magnets, etc.), zealously defended Chris Kyle, and treated all soldiers as heroes.

While the public ostracizing of returning troops may not be as strong now as it was with Vietnam, the anti-soldier attitude is still present.

This state of affairs is interesting in that it ignores a key feature of warfare: the soldiers themselves do not pick which battles to fight. Their leaders do. Yes, the soldiers pull the triggers and make decisions in the field and so forth—and they are responsible for their actions—but in principle the war is the leader’s war. Any blame for whether a war is just or unjust falls primarily on the one who wages it, not the ones who are sent.

While my goal here is not to get into the modern war question, this analogy does bring us to an important aspect of the OT cherem.

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Oxbridge Biblical Studies Conference 2015: Paper Lineup

The agenda for the Oxbridge Biblical Studies Conference on May 1, 2015, is set. We have a great group of presenters and an interesting faculty discussion on the schedule, as well as a “field trip” to visit  a collection of ancient manuscripts.

*** (Updated on May 4 with photos from the event) ***

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Aramaic Starter Kit

Aramaic, the neglected biblical language.

Aramaic is the third language (after Hebrew and Greek) in which portions of the Bible were originally written.  Genesis 31:47, Jeremiah 10:11, Daniel 2:4b–7:28, and Ezra 4:8–6:28, 7:12–26 are composed in Aramaic, accounting for about 268 total verses in the OT. Given that the total corpus is somewhat small (only about 1% of the OT by verse count), the language is infrequently taught at the seminary level. However, the language is hugely important historically, as it was the lingua franca (common language) of much of the Jewish and early Christian world. In fact, it is considered firmly established that Jesus’ primary spoken language was Aramaic, which is partly evidenced by several words in the Greek NT that are transliterations of Aramaic words.

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