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Beetle Blows Boiling Water Out Its Backside

The Bombardier Beetle is a miracle. I wish I could embed this video, but I wasn’t tech savvy enough to do it. You really should click over to this page to see the clip of this beetle that is able to perform a chemical reaction within its body that enables it to blast “boiling caustic liquid” out its rear end, and at the same time it’s able to prevent itself from being burned. Stunning.

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Championship Basketball

It’s better to honor God than to win, but that doesn’t mean we don’t try to honor God by winning!

My oldest son’s 9 year old basketball team played in the championship game at Southeast Christian Church today, and with a great team effort we came home with the victory.

IMG_3462Our watchwords were Defense, Dedication, Discipline, and everyone on the team learned the definition of discipline: doing what you’re supposed to do, when you’re supposed to do it, to the best of your ability, every time. Everyone responsible for everyone else. Bloodhounds for rebounds. We didn’t buy a ticket, so we’re not standing around watching. Leave it all on the floor, baby, go hard or go home.

Praise be to God, we came home with an 8–2 season and a victory in the championship game of the tournament.

There were some teams in the league that came to be identified by the best player on the team. “So-and-so’s team” was the way everybody identified them. That wasn’t said about our team, though we had several very good players.

These Bulldogs worked hard on defense, helped each other, stayed in position, rebounded, and ran a good offense that got the whole team involved.

Great season Bulldogs!

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Congrats to Andy Naselli on From Typology to Doxology

My good friend Andy Naselli recently completed his second Phd. The first one was done at Bob Jones in Theology and resulted in an important book entitled Let Go and Let God? A Survey and Analysis of Keswick Theology. The second one was done at Trinity under D. A. Carson, and it has now been published as From Typology to Doxology: Paul’s Use of Isaiah and Job in Romans 11:34–35.

This book results from a whole host of good things: Andy is one of the brightest scholars I know, works as hard as anyone I’ve ever met, is one of the most organized men in the world, and he wrote this book on a superlative text under the supervision of the wise, learned, and godly Carson.

I was honored that Andy invited me to write a foreword for the published version of the dissertation, and I’m grateful for permission from both author and publisher to post that foreword here:

The book you hold in your hands deserves close attention for several reasons: it treats a climactic passage in what may be the most important letter ever written by one of the world’s most influential authors. Moreover, in Romans 11:33–36 Paul himself quotes two other great texts, the books of Job and Isaiah. In addition to the significance of the material treated, Andy Naselli’s treatment is notable: this book explains the use Paul makes of Isaiah 40:13 and Job 41:3 in Romans 11:34–35, and the explanation is as insightful and responsible as it is daring and exciting.

It’s not hard to imagine a published dissertation being responsible and insightful, but daring and exciting? Indeed.

Exciting precisely because Andy Naselli dares to understand. The daring claims made here are that Paul gets the Old Testament right; that as Paul quotes the Old Testament, his citations invoke broader passages, and that the flow of thought in those broader passages corresponds to the argument Paul makes. Insight and courage ignite Naselli’s bold contention that Paul’s use of these texts cues us to a wider typological connection that Paul sees between what Isaiah said to the nation of Israel, the experience of Job, and what Paul says the Jewish people will experience in the future. The wood of Naselli’s scholarship, arranged with rigorous care, has been set aflame by his sympathetic analysis of Paul’s perspective, resulting in a sacrifice of praise with a pleasing aroma. Accounting for all the evidence, whether from primary sources or secondary literature, the blazing book yields light and heat.

How could Paul’s citation of Isaiah 40:13 be typological? Because as the quotation of Isaiah 6:9–10 in all four gospels and Acts indicates, the hardening that led to the exile from the land has not yet been lifted (cf. Rom 11:25). The prophesied new exodus and return from exile have been anticipated and inaugurated but not yet consummated. Anticipated in the returns to the land narrated in Ezra and Nehemiah; inaugurated in the death and resurrection of Jesus; there is a sense in which, having rejected the Messiah, Israel remains in exile. Paul is explaining in Romans 11 how God will keep his promise to restore his people, having made them jealous by those who are no people (cf. Deut 32:21 and Rom 11:13–14). The typological pattern of new exodus and return from exile evoked in Isaiah 40, then, is the pattern that will find its antitype, its ultimate fulfillment, when the Redeemer comes from Zion, banishes ungodliness from Jacob, takes away their sin, brings them into the new covenant, “and in this way all Israel will be saved” (Rom 11:26–27). Naselli also draws insightful parallels between the experience of Job and Israel in making the case that Paul’s use of Job 41:3 is also typological.

Andy Naselli shows that Paul’s use of Isaiah 40:13 and Job 41:3 demonstrates that God established a foundation of judgment on which he built a soaring tower of mercy for the praise of his glory in the life of Job and the history of Israel, and this pattern of events will be fulfilled in the future redemption of Israel to which Paul points. To put it another way, Naselli has demonstrated that Paul’s argument here is that God shows his glory in salvation through judgment.

This book deserves the attention of all who care to understand the passages examined here, and more broadly, how the New Testament authors understand the Old. This is an exploration of unsearchable judgments and inscrutable ways (Rom 11:33), pointing to the one whose mind none has mapped, to whom none give counsel or bribes, “For from him and through him and to him are all things. To him be glory forever. Amen” (Rom 11:34–36). Let me keep you from it no longer: God’s best to you in this insightful and responsible, daring and exciting read.

In my opinion you should buy this book right now and read it as soon as possible.

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Failed Humblebrag? Mosaic Self-Promotion? Or True Humility?

Some people think it ironic that Moses purportedly wrote Numbers 12:3, “Now the man Moses was very humble, more than any man who was on the face of the earth” (NAS).

The irony is obvious, right? It’s hardly humble to declare yourself the most humble man in the world.

Unless it’s true.

In which case, it wouldn’t be a humblebrag fail.  Nor is Moses touting his own virtue.

If it’s true, wouldn’t it be proud false humility to act or speak as though this weren’t the case?

Others think that this verse has to be one of those verses Moses obviously didn’t write.

I think Moses did write it, and I don’t think this statement is either ironic or an instance of Mosaic self-promotion.


Moses has been having face to face conversations with God (Num 12:8; cf. Deut 34:10). No one else on the face of the earth enjoys that kind of access, that kind of direct revelation from God (cf. Num 12:6–7).

If anything will create humility, face to face interaction with Yahweh will do the job. Moses knew the greatness of God like no one else. Moses thereby knew both his inadequacy and his massive task like no one else.

Moses knew from this direct interaction with God what God’s intentions were and what part God intended Moses to play in the program. Only a reprobate fool would be made proud by such knowledge, and Moses is neither.

So Moses, I contend, is humbly speaking the truth. The access Moses had to God made him the humblest man in the world, and part of the proof of his humility is that he doesn’t cave to the proud desire to avoid doing anything that might make people think he isn’t humble.

The irony there is that sometimes the humble thing to say or do strikes some people as proud. This dilemma no doubt contributes to displays of false humility meant to mask the proud desire to have others think we’re humble.

How do we find clarity in the moral confusion of this fallen world?

We have to see by “the light of the knowledge of the glory God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2 Cor 4:6). Knowing God will make us humble, and it will enable us to rise above the impulse to cloak our pride in false humility, the impulse that keeps us from doing the humble thing. We overcome this because we know God and are convinced that his judgment is the only one that matters.

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The Bible’s Sprawling, Ramshackle Narrative

Before we launch into Jeremiah, Lord willing, I’m doing three sermons on Biblical Theology at Kenwood. This past Sunday, August 21, 2011, it was my privilege to preach “A Story of Stories: The Bible’s Sprawling, Ramshackle Narrative.” The title of the sermon comes from a phrase used by David Steinmetz in an essay about the Bible, which Stephen Dempster brought back to my attention.

We looked at the building blocks of the Bible’s narrative: its setting, characters, plot (with its conflict and episodes), and only one sentence on its theme. But the theme is pervasive.

Then we looked at the unsolved mystery that you have when you get to the end of the Old Testament, a mystery solved in Christ.

Probably the most exciting thing about this sermon was what my 7 year old son wrote while I was preaching. Here’s an image of his notebook, and the transcription follows below:

The Seed [by Jake Hamilton, age 7]

Once upon a time there was a king and his arch enemy. The kings name was Zavior. His arch enemy’s name was Serpen. King Zavior was everything you could name. Serpen seemed good, but he was evil. Serpen was secretly gathering an army made of demons. King Zavior had an army made of angels. One day Serpen was sitting in his lair when one of his spies came in and said that King Zavior was having a party – a perfect time to attack! When the party came and it was time to attack the bad guys heard a war cry! It was King Zaviors army! Well unlike other books you’ve read where there’s the soldiers run away well this was diffrent. The soldiers fought and fought but Zaviors army won! [Crossed out sentence] The soldiers were killed and Serpen was bound in a pit for a thousand years and then [crossed out phrase] be let go to gather an army but they failed. Then he was judged and thrown in the lake of fire. After that, King Zavior reigned forever in peace. The End.

Hallelujah! And I wasn’t even talking about the millennium in this sermon!

May “The Story of Stories: The Bible’s Sprawling Ramshackle Narrative” continue to inspire artistic hearts to imitate the great Creator.

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Piper Endorses GGSTJ

These words on the Crossway blog have me saying Soli Deo Gloria:

“I was riveted. Never do I sit down and read sixty pages of ANY book that I get in the mail. But I could not stop—could not stop reading and could not stop rejoicing over God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment. It is the kind of overview of redemptive history Edwards wanted to write. It’s what I hoped would be written.”

–John Piper
Pastor for Preaching and Vision
Bethlehem Baptist Church
Twin Cities, Minnesota


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Doxologies in the New Testament: Limited Time Offer

Here is the fourth of the five Tables from God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology that I’m posting here. This one gathers all the Doxologies in the New Testament. Like the previous one, the relevant statements of the verses are printed out along with the references. A fitting thing to read through on the day after Easter, don’t you think?

Here it is: “Doxologies in the New Testament.” [Link Removed]

This is going live on Monday, April 25, 2011, and it will be removed on Wednesday, April 27, 2011. Blessed be the name of the Lord.

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What Is God’s Glory?

Thomas R. Schreiner defines the glory of God in his essay in For the Fame of God’s Name as follows:

“I would define the glory of God as the beauty, majesty, and greatness of who he is; therefore, in all he does, whether in salvation or in judgment, the greatness of his being is demonstrated.”

Schreiner, “A Biblical Theology of the Glory of God,” in For the Fame of God’s Name, 216. HT: Mitch Chase

Personal Anecdote: when Schreiner was writing his essay “A Biblical Theology of the Glory of God” for the volume honoring Piper, he asked me if I had defined the glory of God in my book. I was really grateful for his email, because it made me realize that I hadn’t! So having thought about it a little, I wrote up a definition, added it to my introductory chapter, and sent it to him. Here’s my definition:

“What is the glory of God? I would suggest that the glory of God is the weight of the majestic goodness of who God is, and the resulting name, or reputation, that he gains from his revelation of himself as Creator, Sustainer, Judge, and Redeemer, perfect in justice and mercy, loving-kindness and truth.”

God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment, 56.

I would observe that Schreiner mentions salvation and judgment, and I’m getting at the same things when I mention God’s justice and his mercy, his loving-kindness and truth.

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OT Prayers Appealing to God’s Concern for His Own Glory

As I mentioned before, there are 77 tables in God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology, and I have permission from Crossway to make five of them available here for free. Each will be available for about 48 hours.

The one linked in this post (cataloging prayers in the Old Testament that appeal to God’s concern for his own glory) may be the most valuable one of the bunch, though the next one on Messianic Woes is really good, too. They all have value, but the previous one on Yahweh’s intent to make himself known only dealt with texts in Exodus (so it wouldn’t take you long to read through Exodus carefully and find the references for yourself), another one that’s forthcoming on the doxologies in the New Testament wouldn’t be that hard to compile for yourself, and the one I’ll post on the chiastic structure of Revelation partakes of the weakness common to every proposed chiastic structure of a longer passage or a whole book (they are impossible to prove definitively, and they will always be disputed).

I’ll tell you why I think the next one on the Messianic woes is valuable when I post it. Why do I think this one would be valuable for you to download? It saves you it a ton of work.

These prayers that appeal to God’s concern for his own glory show how the believing remnant in the old covenant responded to God’s pursuit of his own glory: they joined him in it. These OT saints adopted God’s priorities and based their prayers on what they understood to be of greatest concern to God himself–his reputation among the nations, the glory of his name, the revelation of the truth about who he is. Moses, Joshua, David, Solomon, Elijah, Hezekiah, Jeremiah, Asaph, Asa, and Jehoshaphat all petition God on the basis of his concern for his own glory.

Incidentally, there is a massively important point of application here: this is how we, too, should pray. The perspective of the biblical authors is not merely to be studied but adopted, embraced, and lived.

These prayers appealing to God’s concern for his glory are applied to a variety of situations and employ a variety of expressions, and they had to be located the old fashioned way, which is still the best way to examine a biblical theme: by reading slowly through the OT, marking them as they appeared, and then gathering them all into one place. So this chart saves you a ton of work, but actually doing this kind of work for yourself is the best way to study the Bible because it demands that you read attentively, remember what you’ve read, correlate new information with what you’ve already seen, and assimilate the results into a coherent whole.

So in this table I list every prayer in the Old Testament that appeals to God’s concern for his own glory; at least, I think I got them all! If you find one that I missed I’d love to know about it.

This table is going live on Tuesday, March 22, 2011, and the link will be removed at the end of the day on Thursday, March 24, 2011.

Here’s the link: Old Testament Prayers Appealing to God’s Concern for His Own Glory [link removed].


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Yahweh’s Intent to Make Himself Known: Limited Time Offer

The kind folks at Crossway have agreed to allow me to give you, dear reader of this blog, a set of gifts, each of which will be available for a limited time.

There are 77 tables in God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology, and I have permission to make five of them available here for free. I hope they’ll be useful to you.

These tables could be used in your own study of the Bible, as you teach the Bible to others, or perhaps even in course notes. These tables typically gather the sorts of things that computer searches or concordances don’t turn up with just one or two searches. That is, they collect the kinds of information that you have to read through the text carefully to find all the instances of because sometimes the same idea is expressed in several different ways. The Chicago Manual of Style (p. 757, §18.4) describes the kind of biblical theological theme I have in mind:

“A computer can search, record, and alphabetize terms and can arrange numbers far more efficiently than a person. But it cannot distinguish between a term and a concept or between a relevant and an irrelevant statement. At best it can generate a concordance.”

I’d love for these gifts to spur you to buy the book and become a regular here at For His Renown, but you’re under no obligation to do either of those in order to get these tables. They’re gifts. All you have to do is click the link, take a look, and you can decide whether or not you want to save the thing for your own use in the future. If you want it, you will need to save it, because unlike Biblical Theology for Kids!, which is going to be here when you come back, these will not remain available indefinitely.

This first one catalogs statements God makes in Exodus about his intention to make himself known. He asserts repeatedly that he is Yahweh, and he tells Israel, the Egyptians, and Pharaoh that they will know that he is Yahweh.

Here’s the link to the table cataloging these references: Yahweh’s Intent to Make Himself Known [link removed].

This link is going live on Friday, March 18, 2011, and it will go dead at the end of Monday, March 21, 2011.

And may the Lord make himself known to you!

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Amen to God’s God-Centeredness, and the Whole Bible Says So, Too

John Piper has a fascinating post today on how Brad Pitt stumbled over God’s concern for his own glory.

Does the Bible teach that God seeks his own glory?

Let me invite you to consider the evidence for the claim that God’s glory is his own ultimate purpose, the main theme of the whole Bible, the linchpin in the Bible’s theodicy, and the theological centerpiece of every single biblical author.

There’s a lot of evidence for the idea that God seeks his own glory. This book has not exhausted it, but if you have trouble with the idea, how about joining me on a guided tour of the whole Bible? At many points I’m not sure I’ve done it justice, but the journey will repay all the effort you can give it.



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Biblical Theology Interview on the CBD Academic Blog

Matthew Miller writes an academic blog for, and he has put up a very encouraging post about God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment, which is followed by an interview on the book.

How many Christmas cards do you get with the word ‘judgment’?


He raised great questions that I enjoyed answering.


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A FedEx Truck just left this copy of God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology on our front doorstep.

Praise the Lord! May his favor be upon us, and may he confirm the work of our hands (Ps 90:17).

Some time back I thought through the timeline on this project. It’s a joy to reflect on God’s faithfulness to me and my family through these years:

Spring 2002, Prof. Mark Seifrid’s Seminar on New Testament Theology introduced me to the discussion of the question of the center of biblical theology, and in reading these discussions I was struck that no one had proposed that God’s glory was central to biblical theology.

October 2002, Finished my first trip through Isaiah in Hebrew, very impressed with the theme of God’s glory in salvation through judgment.

Summer 2004, Presented a paper at the Triennial Conference of the Tyndale Fellowship, responded to by I. Howard Marshall, attended by, among others, G. K. Beale and T. Desmond Alexander.

Spring 2005 (April), Met Bruce Winter at the Wheaton Theology Conference, and he told me that the paper would be published in Tyndale Bulletin.

November 2005, Presented a paper at ETS on “The Center of Biblical Theology in Acts.”

Spring 2006, “The Centre of Biblical Theology: The Glory of God in Salvation through Judgment?” appears in Tyndale Bulletin.

June 24, 2006, Justin Taylor emailed me asking if I had ever considered proposing a book on the center of biblical theology.

September 20, 2006, Justin emails again, and I send him initial proposals.

January 2007, Proposal shaping up, positive emails with JT, Schreiner, and Beale.

January 17, 2007, Discussion of August 2007 or January 2008 as completion dates!

February 7, 2007, Passes first hurdle at Crossway.

February 21, 2007, Offer to publish (contract!) comes from Crossway.

Fall 2008, “The Center of Biblical Theology in Acts” published in Themelios.

January 1, 2010, Completed manuscript submitted to Crossway.

Spring/Summer 2010, Read through the book three different times in various editorial stages.

November 4, 2010, The book arrives at Crossway, and they overnight me a copy.

November 5, 2010, Today the book arrives on my doorstep while we were eating lunch as a family. Our 6 year old son went to the door and came back with a package. Rejoicing and celebration ensues.

Glory to God in the highest.

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In Houston This Weekend

Lord willing, I’ll be at Bethel Church Houston (formerly Bethel Independent Presbyterian Church) this Sunday, November 7, 2010. I’ll be preaching from Revelation 5 in their two morning services, and then at 5pm leading a Sunday Night Seminar on “God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology.”

If you’re in the Houston area, it would be a delight to see you again.

Amazon says that God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment: A Biblical Theology has not yet been released. But, praise God, attendees of the Sovereign Grace Pastors Conference received copies earlier this week, and Bethel Church has boxes of the book available.

I still don’t have a print copy myself! So if you want a copy of the book, it appears that right now Bethel Church in Houston is the only place in the world where you can get it.

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Do You Love God’s Glory?

If you love God’s glory, you’ll be thrilled to see this new book: Christopher W. Morgan and Robert A. Peterson, ed., The Glory of God (Wheaton: Crossway, 2010).

Here’s the Table of Contents from Crossway’s site:

Contributors 17
Introduction 19
1. The Glory of God Present and Past
Stephen J. Nichols
2. The Glory of God in the Old Testament
Tremper Longman III
3. The Glory of God in the Synoptic Gospels, Acts, and the General Epistles
Richard R. Melick Jr.
4. The Glory of God in John’s Gospel and Revelation
Andreas J. Köstenberger
5. The Glory of God in Paul’s Epistles
Richard B. Gaffin Jr.
6. Toward a Theology of the Glory of God
Christopher W. Morgan
7. A Pastoral Theology of the Glory of God
Bryan Chapell
8. A Missional Theology of the Glory of God
J. Nelson Jennings

Of course, I don’t think this should be the only book on God’s glory you buy this year (ahem), but the glory of God is a topic that cannot be exhausted. May we celebrate God and relish the glory of his great name all our days, and may this book help us do so.

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The Presuppositions of the Apostles’ Exegetical Method (according to Beale)

Richard Barcellos is doing a series of posts on the New Testament’s use of the Old, and today’s post includes this from Beale’s seminal essay:

Beale lists five distinctive presuppositions of the apostles’ exegetical method:

  1. the assumption of corporate solidarity or representation.

  2. that Christ is viewed as representing the true Israel of the Old Testament and true Israel, the church, in the New Testament;

  3. that history is unified by a wise and sovereign plan so that the earlier parts are designed to correspond and point to the latter parts (cf. Matt. 11:13-14);

  4. that the age of eschatological fulfillment has come in Christ;

  5. as a consequence of (3) and (4), the fifth presupposition affirms that the latter parts of biblical history function as the broader context to interpret earlier parts because they all have the same, ultimate divine author who inspires the various human authors, and one deduction from this premise is that Christ as the centre of history is the key to interpreting the earlier portions of the Old Testament and its promises.

I’m thrilled to know that Beale’s essay is online: "Did Jesus and His Followers Preach the Right Doctrine from the Wrong Texts?" Themelios 14 (1989): 89–96.

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At Redeemer This Sunday

This is a shout-out to the Houston homies. Lord willing, I’ll be preaching on “The Floodwaters of Judgment” this Sunday at Baptist Church of the Redeemer.

It would be a joy to see you if you can make it.

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Why Me Lord, by Ross King

For your Saturday listening pleasure, a little perspective from Ross King:


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Köstenberger’s new Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters

Congratulations to Andreas Köstenberger on the publication of his massive A Theology of John’s Gospel and Letters. This is the first volume in what looks like an exciting new series from Zondervan, and this one is comprehensive.

This book has been long in coming, and it is well worth the wait. The volume eclipses everything else available on the topic of Johannine theology. I sometimes hear complaints that evangelical scholars do not lead the way but lag behind. The next time I hear someone say that, I’m going to point to this volume as a prominent example of an evangelical taking the lead in the discussion.

This book is the new starting place for the study of Johannine theology, and in my opinion everyone building a library of books that deal with the Bible should make sure this one finds an easy to access place on the shelf.

You might even win a free copy from Köstenberger’s website.

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