“to equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children . . . Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love.”
–Ephesians 4:12–16, ESV
Author Archive | JMH
Louis Markos makes an important point against the use of gender-neutral language in Bible translations:
Over the last several decades, this postmodern deconstruction of masculinity and femininity has, I believe, been fostered by the widespread acceptance of gender-neutral language. Many recent Bible translations (NRSV, NLT, CEV, NIV 2011) have adopted such language, despite the fact that God himself (Gen. 5:1–2) refers to the human race by the name of the first man, Adam. McDowell and Stonestreet do not use one of these translations (they use the ESV); still, I think their own use of gender-neutral language has the unintended consequence of downplaying the sexual complementarity on which strong and fruitful biblical marriages rest.
I suspect that the usage of “man” to refer to humanity in the English language resulted from the influence of the Bible.
If I’m reading a document from another time and place that has been translated into my language, I want to read the words they used so that I can see how they conceived of the world. I don’t want their way of conceptualizing the world re-shaped into the way the world is conceptualized by the pc police in this time and place. If that happens, I won’t have any suspicion that the world was seen differently in that time and place.
Once again, the best remedy for this is to learn and use the biblical languages. If you can’t do that, stick with a literal translation.
My esteemed colleague Dr. Rob Plummer writes:
For years, I watched many of our formerly zealous Greek students slowly apostatizing from the language they once loved.Partial solution….. www.dailydoseofgreek.com.On October 1, I will start a daily email service, delivering a link to a free 2-minute video of me reading/translating from the GNT. I’ve made these videos using a tablet with some fun new “screen cast” technology.Sample “daily dose” videos are on the website, as well as twenty-five brief videos covering the basics of Elementary Greek. It’s all free – and hopefully a means to strengthen God’s servants for more faithful study and teaching.If you think the website/emails might be helpful to others, please share the link:www.dailydoseofgreek.com.
Robert L. Plummer, Ph.D.Chairman, New Testament Department
Professor of New Testament InterpretationThe Southern Baptist Theological Seminary2825 Lexington RoadLouisville, KY 40280
Human sexuality is hotly disputed today, with many now contending that “gender” is a set of learned behaviors that have no intrinsic basis in a person’s sex. The idea is that being born with male body parts doesn’t require a male to obey Paul’s command to “act like men” (1 Cor 16:13), just as being born with female body parts would not require a female to be ladylike (cf., though, 1 Cor 11). Telling a boy not to act like a girl is offensive to those who conform to prevailing opinion in our culture, which would also teach children that “transgender” is normal.
The Bible teaches, however, that God made man male and female, and the Bible clearly stipulates that males and females have gender roles assigned according to sex.
The most basic aspect of this is something our culture is at war against: the way that men are to be fathers and women are to be mothers, God having created male and female such that they have the requisite biological equipment to fulfill these roles.
The very terms used to describe the man and the woman in Genesis 1:27 reflect the way that God made man and woman to correspond to one another, to complement one another. In the language of Genesis 2:18, God made the woman “according to the front of him.”
The anatomical and biological glory of the way male and female complement one another in God’s good creation (Gen 1:31) is reflected in the terms used for male and female in Genesis 1:27. Here’s an embed from Google Books showing the TDOT entry on zachar, the term used for “male” in Genesis 1:27–the relevant portion is in the first full paragraph, beginning with “The etymology,” and be sure to read the third full paragraph as well on the Genesis 1:27 term for “female”:
The language Moses chose to use reinforces what Bible readers have always concluded from these texts: God made man male and female, and he intended them to complement one another. The correspondence between them is built into the biological specifics of what God made and reflected in the linguistic realities of the biblical text.
However the culture might try to redefine sexuality and gender roles, God’s creation is clearly seen, and his word is firmly fixed.
Thanks to Andy Naselli, you can read the last page of With the Clouds of Heaven: The Book of Daniel in Biblical Theology online. Check it out.
And the first review I’ve seen is in an Australian Christian Newspaper called New Life (on page 15). Naturally, I disagree with him where he disagrees with me (because that’s what we do, isn’t it?), but I’m thankful for the positive review.
This poem comes at the moving conclusion of Andrew Peterson’s fourth and final book in the Wingfeather Saga, The Warden and the Wolf King:
The world is whispering–listen child!–
The world is telling a tale.
When the seafoam froths in the water wild
Or the fendril flies in the gale,
When the sky is mad with the swirling storm
And thunder shakes the hall,
Child, keep watch for the passing form
Of the one who made it all.
Listen, child to the Hollish wind,
To the hush of heather down,
To the voice of the brook at the stony bend
And the bells of Rysentown.
The dark of the heart is a darkness deep
And the sweep of the night is wide
And the pain of the heart when the people weep
Is an overwhelming tide–
And yet! and yet! when the tide runs low
As the tide will always do
And the heavy sky where the bellows blow
Is bright at last, and blue
And the sun ascends in the quiet morn
And the sorrow sinks away,
When the veil of death and dark is torn
Asunder by the day,
Then the light of love is the flame of spring
And the flow of the river strong
And the hope of the heart as the people sing
Is an everlasting song.
The winter is whispering, “green and gold,”
And the heart is whispering, too–
It’s a story the Maker has always told
And the story, my child, is true.
We think so highly of this poem that Andrew Peterson somehow got Armulyn the Bard to write for him that we’re memorizing it together.
Our family relished the re-read-aloud of the first three volumes in preparation for the fourth, and the capstone did not disappoint. My oldest son has read the first three volumes so many times that when we read back through them, I would finish a chapter, and he would tell me the title of the next! We had to put contact paper over the cover of the third book because it was worn out from use. I’m pretty confident that before long this fourth volume will look as books do when they’re constantly in the hands of young readers. Binding no longer crisp and tight, dust jacket torn and loose fitting, pages softened and browned at the edges. Books are beautiful when they’re new, but well-used books earn another kind of beauty: the love they’ve been shown gives them a velveteen rabbit kind of grandeur. (A fitting comparison/compliment, don’t you think, for the proprietor of The Rabbit Room who writes books whose covers have to be held together by contact paper?)
We praise God for Andrew Peterson. The Lord has used his music and his fiction to bless and deepen our lives. If you haven’t read the Wingfeather Saga series, you should.
Mike Wittmer, a fellow premillennialist, once asked me what the millennium does. Why is it there?
As I was pondering the Big Story of the Bible in preparation to preach an overview kind of sermon recently, the thought began to take shape in my head that the millennium provides another point of contact–a typological point of contact–between Adam and Jesus. Consider the parallels:
Adam was in the undefiled garden, living before God in Eden. The garden was invaded and defiled by Satan. Adam and Eve did not withstand the temptation but sinned and were expelled from God’s presence.
In Romans 5 and 1 Corinthians 15 Paul discusses the way that Adam was a type of the one to come, Jesus, whose obedience would match and overcome Adam’s disobedience. Paul also makes clear that whereas in Adam all die, in Christ all shall be made alive.
In his first coming, Jesus obeyed where Adam disobeyed and gave life where Adam gave death.
At his second coming (Rev 19), Jesus will cleanse the land of the serpent and his seed, restoring creation to an Eden-like state. The thousand year reign of Christ in Revelation 20:4–6 matches the thousand year life-spans of Adam and other pre-flood figures (cf. Gen 5).
Having reigned for a thousand years in an undefiled, cleansed creation, Jesus gets another chance to succeed where Adam failed. Adam lived in undefiled purity and innocence but sinned at Satan’s instigation. Having established a millennial kingdom, a golden age of undefiled innocence, Jesus has subdued the earth, filling and ruling over it as God commanded Adam to do, when Satan is released from the pit (Rev 20:7).
We are not told where Cain got his wife at the beginning, and we are not told where Satan got his followers at the end. But we can see a clear contrast between Adam and Jesus:
Adam in Eden failed to stand before the Satanic revolt. He sinned and was exiled from God’s presence.
Christ at the end of the millennium will stand fast against the Satanic revolt. He will conquer and bring about the new heaven and new earth, the new Jerusalem, the new and better Eden.
It seems, then, that the point of the millennium is to begin the renewal of creation that will be completed once Christ has triumphed in circumstances similar to those under which Adam was conquered. Adam sinned in Eden, but Jesus will overcome Satan at the end of the edenic millennium. Whereas Adam was driven from the garden, the conquest of Christ opens the way for the edening of all creation, in fulfillment of God’s eternal purpose.
“No longer will there be anything accursed, but the throne of God and of the Lamb will be in it, and his servants will worship him. They will see his face, and his name will be on their foreheads. And night will be no more. They will need no light of lamp or sun, for the Lord God will be their light, and they will reign forever and ever” (Rev 22:3–5).
In the mystery of God’s providence, we have the efforts of Ezra and Nehemiah to thank for our Savior’s birth, life, death, and resurrection. God saved us through Jesus, and we see God’s sovereignty in tension with human responsibility as we consider how Ezra and Nehemiah worked to ensure that there would be a Joseph and a Mary so there could be a Jesus. They didn’t know that would be his name, but it was concern for him, hope for him, that drew Ezra and Nehemiah back to the Scriptures, kept them on their knees, compelled them to call the people to repent, and caused them to seek the rebuilding of people and wall.
Is there anything more important than the Bible? Jesus said Scripture can’t be broken, and he prayed that the Father would sanctify his people in the truth, then said, “Thy word is truth.”
God’s people need God’s word.
The word doesn’t work like a magic formula, however. We don’t just pass our eyes over a meaningless series of symbols. No, for the word to work it has to be understood.
To understand the Bible we need biblical theology.
Why? Because biblical theology enables us to understand the trees as they stand in the forest, and it enables us to see the shape of the forest formed by all those trees.
Biblical theology helps us see how the biblical authors understood the Scriptures and their own situations. Biblical theology shines the light on how later authors picked up the storyline started by earlier authors of Scripture, summarizing and interpreting it in their use of symbolism, imagery, typology, and significant patterns.
God has spoken to us in his word. We want to understand what he has said. God’s people need to hear his voice.
Are your ears trained to hear him?
We want to do biblical theology because we want to know God and love God’s people by giving them the fullness of what God has revealed in our preaching and teaching.
Join us at the next SBTS Alumni Academy for two days (Jan 8–9, 2015) of biblical theology. If we are to teach the nations to obey everything Jesus said, we have to understand what it means.
Register here, that all the ends of the earth might fear the Lord.
I love Jason Duesing’s writing. I started to excerpt his first and last paragraphs, then urge you to go read the whole thing.
I decided not to excerpt them because they are so much more powerful in the context of the whole.
If you wonder what seminaries have to do with taking the gospel to the unreached, you MUST read this.
If you wonder why we should go to the unreached, you MUST read this.
The gospel is the only hope the lost have. If they perish without Christ, consider what they face.
Read. Reflect. Pray. Go. Send.
Christ comes soon.
Broadman and Holman allowed me to put an excerpt of my new book on Ezra–Nehemiah on Christianity.com. The chapter excerpted deals with how to live a wartime lifestyle on a millionaire’s budget. Here’s a bit:
Can you imagine slaughtering an ox a day? I don’t know how big Nehemiah’s herd of oxen was, but he referred to a twelve year period of time in 5:14. Twelve years multiplied by 365 days per year is 4,380 oxen. He either had a herd big enough to sustain that or he had the money to buy that many oxen. He also slaughtered six sheep per day, and in twelve years that’s 26,280 sheep.
This is enormous wealth. Nehemiah trusted God and loved God’s people, so he did not exploit the privileges of his office. But I see no indication at all that he felt the slightest bit guilty about having the means to sacrifice an ox, six sheep, and enjoy “all kinds of wine in abundance” every ten days (Neh 5:18). There are poor people in the land. Nehemiah does not give any indication that he feels wrong about being extravagantly wealthy while others are poor.
The rest is here.
Searching on Bibleworks 9 for Mac
BW9 offers several options to search the Bible and other texts (e.g. Apostolic Fathers, Josephus, Philo etc.). The most common and easiest search options to access are the right-click search option and the command window. When one right-clicks on a word or a selected phrase, BW9 offers different options for searching.
Form Search: This searches for the inflected form of the word selected.
Lemma Search: This searches for the dictionary form of the word. This search does not give homonyms; it is limited to the form of the word in question that has the same meaning. Using the lemma search, one can do an exhaustive study of the word as it appears in the lexicon, Greek or Hebrew texts. For example, when I searched “θέλημα”, the “search for inflected form” option listed 13 occurrences whereas the lemma search offered 62 occurrences of the same word.
Homonym Search: This search is only available when searching a Hebrew text. Homonyms are tagged by letters: Homonym 1=a, 2=b etc. From the Browse Window, right-click the word and choose “search for Homonym” or enter the search in the Command line. In the Command line the search for II_בראlooks like: . ברא@v*+Ha*|
Phrase Search (Greek/Hebrew): This search retrieves a string of words instead of a single word; it hunts for two or more words as an exact phrase (the same inflection of words) or the same phrase with varying inflections of the words. If one is searching for a phrase with the same words and inflection, simply select the phrase, right-click on it, and choose “search for phrase” in the menu.
For a lemma based phrase search one must select the text version that is morphologically tagged. Type the version abbreviation (eg. BGM, BNM) into the “Command line” and hit enter. Insert the control character of a single quote make (‘) for a phrase search, then enter the lexical form of the each word in place of the inflected form, accents are not necessary. If you wish to search on a phrase in a verse in the verses your studying, enter the phrase as displayed in morphology version in the Browse Window.
The manuscripts in BW9 are transcribed and fully searchable as well. The manuscripts are tagged with verse references and scroll with the verses as you change them.
BW9 comes with close to six hours of “How to Videos” well organized to ease new users learning process. These videos are extremely helpful for new users. One of the challenges for buying a Bible software like this is the difficulty of learning how to use it. However, the developers have made it easy by providing these videos. There is no excuse to not know and make proper use of this software. There are also contextual helps: place your mouse on a window or button and press the F1 key for contextual help.
It is very difficult to use the lemma search option to look up a phrase, meaning that it cannot search several lemmas from a direct highlight and search. The lack of this feature can make research time-consuming. To lemma search a Greek or Hebrew phrase, you have to type out the phrase or clause in the command window in Greek or Hebrew, along with some additional symbols. This means that you must know how to use the Greek and Hebrew Keyboards to do phrase/clause searches.
On the PC version, the keystrokes, Control+Shift+B on a word processor opens the “Popup Verse Copy Window,” a very handy feature for fast copying of verses from any version or versions of your choice into your word document. This feature, however, does not work on the Mac version.
Despite a few improvements that would make this software even user-friendlier on the Mac, it is a great resource for those who desire to study the Bible, especially in the original languages. This may not occur every time, but in my case, since I installed Bibleworks, Hebrew font has been working perfectly in Microsoft Word office for Mac. This may be an additional benefit, and I cannot explain how excited I am about this. I am still exploring the software, but I’d highly recommend it. The price for all that comes with it is unbeatable. Buy, study, and grow in love for God and his church.
PhD Candidate, SBTS
BibleWorks 9 for Mac: Software for Biblical Exegesis and Research. Norfolk, VA: BibleWorks LLC, 2011, $359.00
I am so amazed at the wealth of the resources with which God has blessed this era to study his Word. No era before now has enjoyed the blessings of tools such as Bibleworks for easy, fast, and enjoyable study of God Word. At this point in history, just with a mouse click, one can find every occurrence of a given word in the Bible, in any language of one’s choice. What a privilege to be living at this point in time. This privilege comes, according to scripture, with responsibility. “Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required” (Luke 12:48 ESV). With this sobering thought I offer my review of Bibleworks 9 (BW9) on the Mac platform.
From its inception, Bibleworks, one of the premier Bible software of our time, was designed for Windows PCs. Now the most recent version, Bibleworks 9, runs on Mac using a $6 Mac adapter. From my perspective, a Bible software is as good as the searches it can conduct and the resources it provides. Thus, while this review will touch on other features of this software, the bulk of attention will be given to these two capabilities.
BW9 has three interface windows: Search window, Browse window, and Analysis window (the third can be subdivided). These windows are all inter-connected.
The first I will discuss is the search window with the command line. To do a search in the command line, one must enter a word preceded by a period or a phrase preceded by a single quotation mark. The results are displayed in the search window. You can then select which verse you want to study, click on it, and it will appear in the browser window.
On the browse window, one can toggle between the full text and a single verse in different Bible versions, just with a single click. When you pass your cursor over a word or verse reference, detail information about the word or reference appears in the analysis window.
The analysis window displays all of the resources in your library that have the highlighted word or reference. To expand any of them, simply hold down the shift key while the cursor remains on the word in the browse window. While holding the shift key down, you can move the mouse cursor over to the analysis window and click on any of the displayed resources to see the entire context of the word or reference. I find this feature very helpful because it spares you time. You do not have to search your entire library; BW9 does it for you immediately as your mouse runs over a word or after you click a verse reference.
The analysis window has additional features that are helpful for research. The analysis window can be partitioned to add a fourth column. With the option to divide the window, one can access two resources at the same time, which greatly increases efficiency. The analysis window also has several tabs, which function differently.
The Analysis tab is useful when you are studying the Bible in Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic. When you place your cursor on a word in one of these languages in the Browse window, BW9 will draw helpful resources into this tab, such as lexicons and grammars, to give you more detailed information on the word’s meaning. As you would expect, on the note tab, you can take notes. There you find options to save, copy, cut, paste, etc. The cross-reference tab (X-Refs) lists all cross-references for the selected verse in the browse window and categorizes them according to the frequency of use. The statistic tab gives a graphic display of the search result, which shows in which book the word or phrase on the search window occurs the most and the number of times in each pericope. Another tab, probably the most helpful for those who are interested in New Testament text criticism, is the manuscript tab. Under this tab one has access to several manuscripts, which include Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, and Sinaiticus, among others. All of these manuscripts are fully transcribed and morphologically tagged, and their digital images are also tagged with verses references. The Tischendorf apparatus and New Testament Critical Apparatus from the Center of New Testament Textual studies are also included. These manuscripts and apparatuses set Bibleworks miles apart as a leading electronic resource for detailed manuscript analysis and textual criticism, particularly in the New Testament. Astonishingly, all of these come in the base package; there are no additional prices for the manuscripts! Finally, the analysis window has an Editor tab, which offers all the functions of the Window WordPad editor, but with more features and neatly integrated with BW9 itself.
The Analysis window can be hidden with a simple mouse click. Click the Analysis Tab on the bottom bar if you need more space for the Search or Browse Windows.
Although BW9 runs on Mac, the interface is not what one would expect for a Mac software; it looks exactly the same as the Windows version. Although it is not the most user-friendly interface, the price of the software and its functionality silences the rushing complaints of a cluttered interface. The type of interface is not a major issue for me because the software still does what it was designed to do. It may take a few keystrokes to understand the different icons, but it does not take long to learn how to navigate the software.
PhD Candidate, SBTS
What General Weygand called the Battle of France is over. I expect that the Battle of Britain is about to begin. Upon this battle depends the survival of Christian civilization. Upon it depends our own British life, and the long continuity of our institutions and our Empire. The whole fury and might of the enemy must very soon be turned on us. Hitler knows that he will have to break us in this Island or lose the war. If we can stand up to him, all Europe may be free and the life of the world may move forward into broad, sunlit uplands. But if we fail, then the whole world, including the United States, including all that we have known and cared for, will sink into the abyss of a new Dark Age made more sinister, and perhaps more protracted, by the lights of perverted science. Let us therefore brace ourselves to our duties, and so bear ourselves that, if the British Empire and its Commonwealth last for a thousand years, men will still say, “This was their finest hour.”
S. E. Morison concludes the Preface to his edition of Of Plymouth Plantation 1620–1647 by William Bradford with this stirring paragraph:
Bradford’s history is a story of a simple people inspired by an ardent faith to a dauntless courage in danger, a resourcefulness in dealing with new problems, an impregnable fortitude in adversity that exalts and heartens one in an age of uncertainty, when courage falters and faith grows dim. It is this story, told by a great human being, that has made the Pilgrim Fathers in a sense the spiritual ancestors of all Americans, all pioneers.
In his brilliant and thought provoking book, Deep Exegesis, Peter Leithart writes (167):
“In a book happily back in print, John Breck argues that chiasms are not ‘balanced structures, but instead are dynamic literary devices. He suggests that chiasms should be read ‘helically,’ moving not just from A to B to C to B’ and so on, but from A to A’, B to B’, C to C’, and so on. Read in this way, the text has a centripetal pull toward the central section. The corresponding sections, Breck argues, are related in the same ways that the strophes of a verse of Hebrew poetry are related. He says there is a ‘what’s more’ relationship between the corresponding lines: A and, what is more, A’.”
[the Breck book to which Leithart refers is The Shape of Biblical Language: Chiasmus in the Scriptures and Beyond]
This idea of reading a chiasm “helically” (from “helical: of or shaped like a helix; spiral”) is exactly right.
I have argued that chiastic structures function this way across the books of Revelation and Daniel, and in my forthcoming book on the theology of Daniel, I suggest that Daniel’s chiastic structure influenced the choices John made in structuring Revelation chiastically.
This helical function can also be seen in the chiastic structure of 2 Samuel 21–24 (see GGSTJ, 174–75) and is likely at work anywhere you find a chiasm in the Bible.
William Shakespeare, As You Like It, Act II, scene 7:
All the world’s a stage,
And all the men and women merely players;
They have their exits and their entrances,
And one man in his time plays many parts,
His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant,
Mewling and puking in the nurse’s arms.
Then the whining schoolboy, with his satchel
And shining morning face, creeping like snail
Unwillingly to school. And then the lover,
Sighing like furnace, with a woeful ballad
Made to his mistress’ eyebrow. Then a soldier,
Full of strange oaths and bearded like the pard,
Jealous in honor, sudden and quick in quarrel,
Seeking the bubble reputation
Even in the cannon’s mouth. And then the justice,
In fair round belly with good capon lined,
With eyes severe and beard of formal cut,
Full of wise saws and modern instances;
And so he plays his part. The sixth age shifts
Into the lean and slippered pantaloon,
With spectacles on nose and pouch on side;
His youthful hose, well saved, a world too wide
For his shrunk shank, and his big manly voice,
Turning again toward childish treble, pipes
And whistles in his sound. Last scene of all,
That ends this strange eventful history,
Is second childishness and mere oblivion,
Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything.
In a letter to Walker Percy, Shelby Foote exhorted Percy to get to work on his desire to write fiction, saying something that is true about any craftsman pursuing any craft:
“But the most heart-breaking thing about it is: the better you get, the harder youll have to work–because your standards will rise with your ability. I mentioned ‘work’–it’s the wrong word: because if youre serious, the whole creative process is attended with pleasure in a form which very few people ever know. Putting two words together in a sequence that pleases you, really pleases you, brings a satisfaction which must be kin to what a businessman feels when he manages a sharp transaction–something like that, but on a higher plane because the businessman must know that soon he will have spent the dollars he made; but those two words which the writer set together have produced an effect which will never die as long as men can read with understanding.
So much for execution. I cant even begin to speak of conception–it comes from God.”
I just keep cheering Saul Sarabia’s translation work into Spanish. I’m so grateful for the work he is doing on behalf of his fellow Spanish speakers, and so impressed with his industry. He has rendered yet another one of my essays, this time “The Skull Crushing Seed of the Woman,” into Spanish:
Please point any Spanish brothers and sisters interested in the Bible to Saul’s labors on their behalf.
Here are the other essays Saul has translated into Spanish:
- Is This What You Mean by “Church Growth”? September 29, 2014
- God Created Man . . . Male and Female September 24, 2014
- Rob Plummer’s Daily Dose of Greek September 19, 2014
- Sexual Complementarity in Genesis 1:27 September 17, 2014
- May Women Teach Men at Church? September 2, 2006
- Q & A on Paul and Jesus, Women and the Law January 21, 2007
- Three Objections Enns Makes to Mohler: Apparant Age, Authority, and World-Picture November 4, 2011
- How Often Should a Church Take the Lord’s Supper? May 3, 2011