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Spanish Translation of “Were Old Covenant Believers Indwelt by the Holy Spirit?”

Saul Sarabia Lopez has come through again! Here is his translation of my essay, “Were Old Covenant Believers Indwelt by the Holy Spirit?

¿Estaba el Espíritu Santo dentro de los creyentes en el Antiguo Pacto?

Here are the other essays he has translated (links go to posts where the Spanish translations can be found):

The Center of Biblical Theology in Acts

Biblical Theology and Preaching

The Seed of the Woman and the Blessing of Abraham

 

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Marriage Redefined Step-by-Step

Dr. Mohler has an important analysis of the Utah court ruling on polygamy, in which he traces the “progress” toward the redefinition of marriage:

Of course, the moral revolution that has transformed marriage in our times did not start with the demand for legal same-sex marriage. It did not begin with homosexuality at all, but with the sexual libertinism that demanded (and achieved) a separation of marriage and sex, liberating sex from the confines of marriage. So sex was separated from marriage, and then sex was separated from the expectation of procreation and child-rearing. Marriage was separated from sex, sex was separated from reproduction, and the revolution was launched. Adding to the speed of this revolution, then, was the advent of no-fault divorce and the transformation of marriage into a tentative and often temporary contract.

Once that damage had been done, the demand to legalize same-sex marriage could not be far behind. And now polygamy is enjoying its moment of legal liberation. Once marriage was redefined in function, it was easy to redefine it in terms of permanence. Once that was done, it was easy enough to redefine it in terms of gender. Now, with the logic of moral revolution transforming marriage in all respects, polygamy follows same-sex marriage. If marriage can be redefined in terms of gender, it can easily be redefined in terms of number.

The intrinsic relationship between the purpose and function of marriage and the intimate relations God designed to be enjoyed within marriage (a permanent, exclusive, one-flesh, comprehensive interpersonal union of one man and one woman) is precisely why Denny Burk’s What Is the Meaning of Sex? is the most important book published this year. More on that shortly.

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C. S. Lewis and Biblical Theology

In his “Introduction” to Athanasius’s On the Incarnation, C. S. Lewis noted that “Every age has its own outlook.” Reading “the controversies of past ages,” Lewis was struck that “both sides were usually assuming without question a good deal which we should now absolutely deny. . . . they were all the time secretly united . . . by a great mass of common assumptions.”

I am convinced that the biblical authors have their own outlook and share a great mass of common assumptions. The task of biblical theology is to trace out the worldview that the biblical authors share with one another.

In What Is Biblical Theology?, I’m trying to get at the outlook, shared assumptions, in short, the worldview of the biblical authors, by examining the Bible’s story, symbols, patterns, and the church’s role in it all.

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Books from SBTS Faculty in 2013

This year (2013) the SBTS faculty published the following books (alphabetical by author’s last name):

Chad Brand, Flourishing Faith: A Baptist Primer on Work, Economics, and Civic Stewardship

Chad Brand and Tom Pratt, Seeking the City: Wealth, Poverty, and Political Economy in Christian Perspective

Denny Burk, What Is the Meaning of Sex?

Dan Dewitt, A Guide to Evangelism

James M. Hamilton, The Bible’s Big Story: Salvation History for Kids (children’s book)

James M. Hamilton, What Is Biblical Theology? 

Michael A. G. Haykin, Ardent Love for Jesus: English Baptists and the Experience of Revival in the Long Eighteenth Century

Michael A. G. Haykin, A Consuming Fire: The Piety of Alexander Whyte (Kindle ed.)

Dr. Haykin was also presented with a festschrift in his honor: The Pure Flame of Devotion: The History of Christian Spirituality

Heath Lambert, Finally Free: Fighting for Purity with the Power of Grace

R. Albert Mohler, Five Views on Biblical Inerrancy (contributor)

Tom Nettles, Living by Revealed Truth: The Life and Pastoral Theology of Charles Haddon Spurgeon 

Robert L. Plummer, The Story of Scripture: How We Got Our Bible and Why We Can Trust It

Robert L. Plummer, Understanding the Bible: A Guide to Reading and Enjoying Scripture

Thomas R. Schreiner, The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments

Owen Strachan, Risky Gospel: Abandon Fear and Build Something Awesome

Brian Vickers, Justification by Grace through Faith: Finding Freedom from Legalism, Lawlessness, Pride, and Despair

Members of our faculty also contributed to the following edited volumes:

From Heaven He Came and Sought Her

In Defense of the Bible: A Comprehensive Apologetic for the Authority of Scripture

The Call to Ministry

Acting the Miracle

Christ-Centered Biblical Counseling

I think I got everyone–if you see something I overlooked, please do bring it to my attention!

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Interview on and Review of What Is Biblical Theology?

Thanks to Matt Damico (whom you should follow here and here) and Aaron Hanbury and everyone at SBTS Communications who made this happen. Below are some videos that are interspersed in this interview, and Damico’s review is here.

If the task of biblical theology is to understand and embrace the interpretive perspective of the biblical authors, what’s an interpretive perspective?

How can biblical theology protect the people of God from Joel Osteen? (that wasn’t really the question, but it comes up in the answer):

How do the narrative and poetic portions of the Bible relate to each other? (HT: Stephen Dempster!)

How does biblical theology affect your preaching?

For more, I invite you to go on an adventure, to join the quest for the answer to the question: What Is Biblical Theology? 

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We Watch Every Year, by Spencer Haygood

Spencer Haygood shared this Dr. Seuss style poem with me for the Christmas season. I loved it, and he gave me permission to post it here. Enjoy!

We Watch Every Year!

B. Spencer Haygood, Jr

 

We all know the story, we’ve all heard it told,
of the Who’s down in Whoville, and the Grinch, bold and cold;
how the grouchy old Grump greatly hated their joys
and grinningly plotted to steal all their toys.

Oh, we watch every year, at least most everyone.
We watch, and we watch, as the dark deed is done;
as the Grinch takes the toys of the Who girls and boys
and away, on his sleigh, takes them all, without noise.

And up on a ledge, at the top of Mount Crumpit,
the meany old Grinch sits ready to dump it
all off the edge of the ledge to the pit
he means to dump it all, yes, all of it.

“For what could he do worse than this,” he surmised
“than take away all of these things that they’ve prized?”
But just as he’s ready to shove it headlong,
from the town comes a sound … “Oh no, it’s a song!”

A song, being sung, while the Who’s all hold hands
A song that now echoes throughout all Who-land
And a great celebration of life and its ways
of family and friend and fun holidays

And the grouchy and grumpy old Grinch-heart was stirred.
That heart two sizes too small had heard
something that made him see Christmas was more
than all of these “things” that were bought at a store.

And so he returned all the toys to the Who’s
And all they thought lost they didn’t really lose
So they all joined together at the grand Christmas feast
and the Grinch, you remember, carved the roast beast.

It’s all a good story, with a good moral, yes!
Life doesn’t consist in the things we possess.
But is that all Christmas is, an Enlightenment tale,
of peace and good will, beyond things for sale?

Is Christmas just time for family and friends,
a year-ending festival of food without end,
with check accounts empty, and credit cards full,
a few sincere wishes, and a whole lot of bull,
when presents are given—some are hers, some are his—
is that really all we believe Christmas is?

Oh, I know a story, a story that’s old
and of this story’s glory not the half has been told
of Paradise first, and then Paradise lost,
of the deepest rebellion, and the terrible cost,
of the entrance into “Ourville,” not of an old Grinch,
but of that ancient Serpent, and sin and its stench,
and how he stole, not some toys, but life from our race
leaving us with no hope, not even a trace.

But then the first promise of One who would come
and undo the undoing the Undoer had done.
From that moment on, as the story proceeds
everything points to this coming seed.

From Seth to Noah to Shem it flows
then to Terah and Abraham, it goes and it goes
on to Isaac and Jacob and then David the King
the line can’t be stopped, not by anything.

Finally to Christ everything leads
prophecies, promises, patterns, and seeds
the portrait grows clearer and clearer, till the day
He appears in “Ourville” who will take sin away.

How perfectly, perfectly the round is maintained
Paradise lost, now Paradise regained
The way to the tree of life that was barred
now opened in him once more, evermore.

It’s true, in the Garden the first Adam fell
and if that were the end … what a story to tell
but the last Adam came and took all our loss
stood all the test, endured the cross
paid what we owed, went to the grave
then rose the third day, mighty to save.

It’s the story of sacrifice, of changing of place
of love everlasting and infinite grace
of sweet mercy offered to us, due the worst,
now freely accepted, freed from the curse.

Oh, we watch every year, least most everyone
we watch, and we watch, as the great Deed was done
from the grandeur of heaven to the grime of the stall
comes the Lord of all glory, and the great King of all
who’s born there in Bethlehem that dark, starry night
for the purpose of making what’s wrong once more right.

We all know the story, we’ve all heard it told
this story of glory, and this good news of old
Oh, for the wonder and witness once more
of our voices, with angels, raised evermore,
singing, shouting, filling earth with the praise
of the glorious Gospel of God’s mighty grace.

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The Land of Promise through the Ages

Seth Rodriguez introduced the SBTS OT Colloquium to the Maps of War website the other day. The map below (may have to click through to see it) shows who controlled the land God promised to Israel from 3,000 BC to AD 2006. Fascinating. Check it out:

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The Glorious Calling of the Mother

Just yesterday I was asked: does the Bible teach that women are to do anything more than schlepp kids and keep house?

Proverbs 31 has lots to say about what wise women do, but this video turns the question on its head, capturing the profound majesty of mothering:

3 Queens from Matt Bieler on Vimeo.

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Once More on the Cover of What Is Biblical Theology?

I gave my take on the cover of What Is Biblical Theology?, and today Josh Dennis alerted me to a post on the same from the photographer who came up with the cover and executed it. Here’s a snippet:

By recreating the image and replacing the apple with a Bible, this application fit so well with “discovering theology.” The author of this book’s intentions involve studying the Bible’s symbols and patterns–thus finding out what is behind the Bible. Everything hides something else, and theology is more than words on a page in a bound book.

You can read the rest here, where you’ll also find the process through which the photographer went, some background photos, and other info, all of which lend further insight into the development of this phenomenal cover–and I can say that because I had nothing to do with it!

Thanks to Crossway Books and Brandon Hill Photos for their fine work.

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How Important Is Biblical Theology?

Credo MagazineHow important is the discipline of biblical theology to healthy local church ministry?

JMH: What could be more important to followers of Jesus than learning to read the Bible the way that he did, learning to read the Bible the way that he taught his Apostles to read it, the way they taught the earliest churches to read it? Being a disciple of Jesus means learning to understand and embrace the interpretive perspective of the biblical authors. That’s what Biblical Theology is.

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Gunner’s Review of Wenham’s Psalms as Torah

Someone said: Only a Philistine could fail to love the Psalms.

David “Gunner” Gunderson doesn’t just make last second shots, he thinks and writes well, and I’d encourage you to check out his important review of an important book, Gordon Wenham’s Psalms as Torah. Here’s a snippet:

The Burden of the Book: The Shaping Power of Praying the Psalms

Christians often talk about “the power of prayer,” and rightfully so. But what’s usually meant is the power of prayer to change things by summoning the sovereign power of God. This book is all about the power of prayer, but Wenham is taking a different angle. He wants us to see that prayer not only reshapes the landscape of our lives by moving mountains but reshapes the landscape of our hearts by recrafting and renewing our attitudes and commitments.

[P]rayer has an impact on ethical thought . . . If we praise a certain type of behavior in our prayers, we are telling God that this is how we intend to behave. On the other hand, if in prayer we denounce certain acts and pray for God to punish them, we are in effect inviting God to judge us if we do the same. This makes the ethics of liturgy uniquely powerful. It makes a stronger claim on the believer than either law, wisdom, or story, which are simply subject to passive reception: one can listen to a proverb or a story and then take it or leave it, but if you pray ethically, you commit yourself to a path of action (57).

Therefore, it’s not enough for the church to retell the narratives, preach the gospels, and exposit the epistles. We must also pray the Psalms, individually and corporately. [the whole thing]

We love the Psalms. Often in family devos around here we will be reading a Psalm nightly until the whole family can recite it. Right now we’re reading Psalm 29.

I’m hoping and praying for the creatives among us to come up with more and more tunes for singing the Psalms in ways that resonate today. May the Lord bless us with his word.

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Worth It?

Thinking about entering the traffic, lines, chaos, and craziness of Black Friday in search of the good deal?

Consider this paragraph:

Here’s how it works, according to one industry consultant describing an actual sweater sold at a major retailer. A supplier sells the sweater to a retailer for roughly $14.50. The suggested retail price is $50, which gives the retailer a roughly 70% markup. A few sweaters sell at that price, but more sell at the first markdown of $44.99, and the bulk sell at the final discount price of $21.99. That produces an average unit retail price of $28 and gives the store about a 45% gross margin on the product.

You can read the whole thing here. Take it easy. Give thanks. Don’t ruin your weekend for deals that aren’t deals. 

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Spanish Translation of “The Seed of the Woman and the Blessing of Abraham”

Saul Sarabia L. has blessed me with Spanish translations of my essays “The Center of Biblical Theology in Acts” and “Biblical Theology and Preaching,” and now he has also translated “The Seed of the Woman and the Blessing of Abraham.”

If you know Spanish language students of the Bible, please do pass this on to them: “La Simiente de la Mujer y la Bendición de Abraham,” translated by Saul Sarabia Lopez.

May the Lord use us to carry out the great task of making disciples of all nations.

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Yogi Berra and Biblical Theology

Credo Magazine interviewed me on my new book, What Is Biblical Theology?, and Yogi Berra made a contribution to a snippet:

The second of the three main sections of your book is devoted to some of the major symbols found in the Bible, including the Bible’s images, types, and patterns. Why is it imperative for Christians to understand and rightly interpret these symbols?

I happen to have on my desk a copy of Baseball’s Greatest Quotations. Trying to understand the Bible without understanding the symbolism employed by the biblical authors would be like trying to understand Baseball’s Greatest Quotations with no knowledge of the game of baseball.

Even someone with no knowledge of baseball can appreciate Yogi Berra saying “Ninety percent of this game is half mental.”

But what about when Yogi, a catcher, comments on the manager experimenting with playing him at third base: “Third ain’t so bad if nothin’ is hit to you.”

If you know baseball you get it. If you don’t know baseball, as Yogi said: “In baseball, you don’t know nothing.”

Yogi Berra aside, the point is that the biblical authors, borne along as they were by the Holy Spirit, intended the symbolism they employed to convey more than the bare words would bear.

You can read the whole thing here.

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The Thrilling Adventure of Bible Reading

I’m honored to commend the new book by R. Reed Lessing and Andrew E. Steinmann, Prepare the Way of the Lord: An Introduction to the Old Testament, Concordia, 2014.

Here’s my endorsement:

To read the Bible is to risk a thrilling adventure through wild jungles with thunderous cataracts and soaring timbers teeming with life. Some turn its pages like those who would make rain forests into concrete wastelands for billboards and bobos. Others, and we thank God for the likes of Drs. Steinmann and Lessing, come to the forest with a gleaming eye and forward lean, eager to plunge in, to explore the glories and relish the sights and smells and sounds, for there is always more to see. This book will take you on a life-changing expedition through the Book of books. Your guides are as faithful as they are courageous, and you will not regret your time on this excursion with these authors. Enjoy!

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For Our Good Always

Congratulations to Daniel I. Block on a festschrift (celebration-writ) presented to him by his students, edited by Jason DeRouchie, Jason Gile, and Kenneth Turner, For Our Good Always: Studies on the Message and Influence of Deuteronomy in Honor of Daniel I. Block.

Here’s a personal testimony to the generosity and magnanimity of Dr. Block: I was a PhD student here at SBTS in the days when Dr. Block was part of the faculty here. My sweet wife worked as a secretary on campus the first year, and the word among the student wives serving as secretarial staff was that profs proved their Christianity in the way they treated secretaries. Dr. Block had a great reputation among those dear ladies, and one time he had a cookout at his home for the secretaries and their husbands. It was one of those evenings in Louisville that makes me think of the word halcyon. Dr. Block’s lawn and hosta beds were like the garden of Eden.

On another occasion, I had written an 80 page (!) paper that was related to my dissertation. Dr. Block disagreed with my conclusions, but he agreed to read it. I realize now how generous it was of him to agree to read that long paper. He not only read it, he provided detailed, handwritten feedback. I am grateful.

Congratulations, Dr. Block, and thanks for your good example.

Here’s the publisher’s description of the book:

With a title adapted from Deut 6:24, For Our Good Always is a collection of 25 essays from evangelical scholars on the message of Deuteronomy and its influence on Christian Scripture. No other book colors the tapestry of biblical thought quite like Deuteronomy. It synthesized the theology of the Pentateuch, provided Israel with a constitution for guiding their covenant relationship with Yahweh in the promised land, and served as a primary lens through which later biblical authors interpreted Israel’s covenant history. Recent advances in scholarship on Deuteronomy and developments in biblical interpretation are raising fresh questions and opening new paths for exploration. This collection of studies wrestles with Deuteronomy from historical, literary, theological, and canonical perspectives and offers new questions, presents original discoveries, and makes innovative proposals.

The volume is offered in honor of Daniel I. Block on the occasion of his 70th birthday. Few Old Testament scholars have worked so ably, carefully, and intentionally to help the church and the academy grasp the message of Deuteronomy. Block’s own studies always exhibit an admirable balance of exegetical rigor, literary and theological awareness, and pastoral care, and for well over a decade he has, like the priest-scribe Ezra, devoted himself to the study, practice, and teaching of the deuteronomic torah (Ezra 7:10), helping and urging others to hear the life-giving gospel of Moses in Deuteronomy. The international group of specialists that contributed to this volume consists of Daniel Block’s colleagues, friends, and former students. It is their hope that these studies will in various ways supplement Daniel Block’s work, serving the church and the academy and honoring the God of Israel.

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Because He Gave His Son

We transgressed, defiled and raged,
And he gave his son.
For our filth and shame, staining sin,
He sent the pure one.

Bloodied hands and bloodsoaked lands,
The Lamb—he held his tongue,
His blood was spilt; the church was built,
Because he gave his son.

Now free from chains and all your pains
To living waters run
For cleansing life where Jesus reigns,
The risen, ruling Son.

Worthy he of all our praise,
Honored as his name we raise,
Constant through all time he stays,
Jesus all who trust him saves!

—-

From the sermon “This Is How God Loved the World” on John 3:16–21, preached at Kenwood Baptist Church on October 13, 2013.

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Two Interviews

Shawn Tabatt welcomed me onto his Author Talks program to talk about The Bible’s Big Story. Have a listen.

And yesterday at SBTS Chapel Dr. Mohler hosted an Author Interviews Panel with Tom Nettles, Tom Schreiner, Denny Burk, Heath Lambert, and me. You can watch below or grab the audio.

Here are the books discussed:

Nettles, Living by Revealed Truth

Schreiner, The King in His Beauty

Burk, What Is the Meaning of Sex?

Lambert, Finally Free

Hamilton, What Is Biblical Theology?

I wish we could have turned the questions Dr. Mohler asked us back to him, so that we could have heard about his recent Conviction to Lead.

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How to Grow in Humility: Experience the Greatness of Jesus

Muhammed Ali said, “It’s hard to be humble when you’re as great as I am.” He also said, “Humble people, I’ve found, don’t get very far.”

We see the opposite of that pride in John 3 from John the Baptist, and the reason John’s perspective is so different from Ali’s comes down to two things: he knows the identity of Jesus, and he knows the part Jesus plays in God’s plan.

From those realities I make these two assertions about true humility:

1)    True humility results from encountering Jesus, who is true greatness.
2)    True humility arises from knowing the part Jesus plays in God’s big plan.

Two applications: knowing the greatness of Jesus and the part he plays keeps us from thinking that we’re the world’s Savior, and it helps us to know what our own role is and isn’t.

From what the Baptist says in John 3:27–33, we see 15 things that he knew that kept him humble:

1. What can’t be done:

“A person cannot receive even one thing . . .” (John 3:27a)

2. Where gifts come from:

“unless it is given him from heaven” (3:27b).

3. Who he is:

“You yourselves bear me witness, that I said, ‘I am not the Christ’” (3:28a)

4. What his role is:

“but I have been sent before him” (3:28b)

5. Who Jesus is:

“The one who has the bride is the bridegroom” (3:29a)

6. What his relationship to Jesus is:

“The friend of the bridegroom, who stands and hears him” (3:29b)

7. How to respond to Jesus:

“rejoices greatly at the bridegroom’s voice. Therefore this joy of mine is now complete” (3:29c)

8. What must happen:

“He must increase, but I must decrease” (3:30)

9. Where Jesus is from:

“He who comes from above” (3:31a)

10. What place Jesus occupies:

“is above all. . . . He who comes from heaven is above all” (3:31b, e)

11. Where he, the Baptist, is from:

“He who is of the earth belongs to the earth” (3:31c)

12. How he speaks:

“and speaks in an earthly way” (3:31d)

13. How Jesus speaks:

“He bears witness to what he has seen and heard” (3:32a)

14. How Jesus is rejected:

“yet no one receives his testimony” (3:32b)

15. What it means to receive the testimony of Jesus:

“Whoever receives his testimony sets his seal to this, that God is true” (3:33)

Pride comes from thinking more highly of ourselves than we ought. By recognizing that he is not the Messiah, the Baptist has accepted the fact that he is not Israel’s king, not Israel’s champion, not Israel’s Savior. John knows who he is and who he is not. John also knows what his purpose is. His purpose is to prepare the way for Jesus. John knows his own origin. He is from earth, not heaven. John knows that he has nothing he has not received (1 Cor 4:7), and that whatever he has received has come as a gift from God (John 3:27).

One reason we are not humble is the fact that we have not experienced greatness. We have not encountered majesty, so in our ignorance and lack of experience we begin to think that we are grander and greater than we really are. We begin to overestimate our own importance. This doesn’t happen to John because he has experienced greatness, majesty, authority, incomparability in the person of Jesus. John knows that Jesus is the bridegroom (John 3:29) who comes from above, that is, heaven (3:31).

One manifestation of our pride is the assumption that we will succeed where others have failed. What keeps John from that pride? He knows that there has never been a better witness than Jesus, and “yet no one receives his testimony” (John 3:32). No one has a better perception of reality than Jesus. No one has more right to be heard than Jesus. No one could communicate more clearly than Jesus. And his testimony was not received.

What do you expect will happen to your testimony? What right do we have to think that we will have more success than Jesus had?

We cannot receive what has not been given. We are not Messiah. We are not from heaven but from earth. We are not the world’s Savior. We were created to reflect the glory of the image of the invisible God. We were made for Jesus, not the other way around. Therefore we should feel what John articulates about himself and Jesus in John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.”

From “He Must Increase, But I Must Decrease,” preached at Kenwood Baptist Church on October 27, 2013. 

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