Tuesday, September 22, 2015



Fellow-heirs (Eph. 3:6)—of One Inheritance
Fellow-members (Eph. 3:6)—of One Body
Fellow-partakers (Eph. 3:6)—of One Calling
Fellow-citizens (Eph. 2:19)—of One home
Fellow-laborers (Eph. 4:3)—of One Master
Fellow-soldiers (Phil. 2:25)—in One Warfare
Fellow-prisoners (Rom. 16:7)—in One Hope. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Chart: Mary's Magnificat

OLD TESTAMENT PARALLELS TO MARY’S MAGNIFICAT________________________________

Other Old Testament
My soul exalts the Lord
34:3; 35:9; 103:1-2; 145:21
Isaiah 61:10
My spirit has rejoiced in God my Savior

Habakkuk 3:18
He has regard for the humble state of His bondslave

1 Samuel 1:11; Genesis 30:13; Malachi 3:12
Mighty One has done great things
126:3; 71:19-21
Job 5:9
Holy is His name
Exodus 15:11; Isaiah 47:4; 6:3
His mercy is upon generation after generation toward those who fear Him
103:17; 118:4; 145:19; 147:11
Exodus 20:6; 1 Kings 8:23
He has done mighty deeds with His arm
89:11; 98:1
Exodus 15:6-7; Isaiah 40:10; 51:9; 52:10
He has scattered those who were proud
33:10; 59:11
Job 5:12-13; Daniel 4:27
The thoughts of their hearts

Genesis 6:5; 8:21; Deuteronomy 29:19
He has brought down rulers

Job 12:19
Has exalted those who were humble
107:40-41; 113:6-8
Job 5:11; 24:24; Ezekiel 17:24
He has filled the hungry with good things
34:10; 107:9; 146:7
Isaiah 65:13
He has given help to Israel His servant

Isaiah 41:8
In remembrance of His mercy

As he spoke to our fathers
Genesis 18:18; 22:17; Isaiah 46:3-4; 49:14-16; 63: 7-16: Jeremiah 31:3; 33:24-26: Micah 7:20;
To Abraham and his descendants forever

Genesis 17;19

Friday, September 11, 2015


UNDERSTANDING PROPHECY: A Biblical-Theological Approach, Alan S. Bandy & Benjamin L. Merkle, Kregel Academic, Grand Rapids MI, 2015

The aim of this book is to give the reader a framework of how to interpret any passage in the context of the Bible (p.9). The book is unique because the authors have different views of prophecy. Brandy is a historic premillennialist and Merkle is an amillennialist, however both seem to be writing from a covenant theology view. The emphasis seems to uplift areas they have in common and downplay the differences. They also write from a biblical-theological approach, as the title states.

The book is divided into three sections:

Chapters 1-3, deal with the general subject of prophecy and the biblical-theological approach. They clearly uphold inspiration pointing out that “Prophecy is the vehicle for divine revelation” (p. 17). They clearly bring out that the term eschatology is “slippery” term referring to different aspects of the term which can be all-encompassing theologically. They give good keys to understanding prophecy, including the progressive nature of prophecy, thematic, Christocentric, and to be seen from a Biblical-theological perspective. Their general view is to downplay the popular culture caught up in the idea that prophecy is mainly predictive of the future (although they do not deny it, they certainly downplay it), looking more at historical context and its relevance to the original readers. They clearly hold that most prophecy is not predictive in nature, rather centers upon aspects of repentance, social justice, and theological understanding in the historical context of the prophet. Prophecy is primarily forth-telling, and only a small part is fore-telling. They hold that the messages of the prophets are encapsulated in three points:
  • The covenant has been broken, therefore repent!
  • If you refuse to repent, then judgment.
  • Yet, there is hope beyond the judgment for a glorious, future restoration.

These points are well taken. They go on to deal with the forms of prophecy (poetry, pose, apocalyptic, and the challenge of symbolism (which is an attack on the dispensational method). It gives the reader their idea of what biblical theology is, and how it deals with prophecy. To their credit they declare the important presupposition of biblical theology, which all can appreciate:
·         The Bible is God’s Word.
·         God’s Word has a unified message.
·         The unified message of God’s Word centers on Jesus.
·         Jesus’ death, resurrection, and ascension are the climax of redemption history.

Chapters 4-6 focus on Old Testament prophecy. In these chapters they center up the types of Old Testament prophecy: unconditional, conditional, and fulfilled prophecy. They take time to discuss restoration prophecies (Chapter 5). They admit that many passages point to the restoration of Israel, however, they are overly cautious of literal fulfillment of these prophecies. They seem to be more than willing that those should be interpreted mainly symbolically. The reasons in the nature of biblical religion, the unique genre of biblical prophecy, symbolic manner in which the New Testament interprets Old Testament prophecies, and the role of Jesus’ death and resurrection in salvation history. They seem to be saying that these descriptions are fulfilled in some type of code—“The meaning is not expressed in the actual language, but through the actual language of the prophecies” (page 123). The last area they center upon is the Messianic Prophecies that center upon the three offices of Christ—priest, prophet, and king.

Chapters 7-10 deal with the New Testament prophecies. This section is divided into three areas: the coming of Messiah in the gospels and Acts; the epistles, and the book of Revelation. In this section they deal with major prophecy areas in the New Testament. I was especially interested in their comments on the Olivet Discourse. I was somewhat unsatisfied in their treatment; much was oversimplification on the views, especially the futurist view. Although I found their view, “Already-Not Yet” was somewhat interesting, and brought in some good points. Their comments about “left behind” are noteworthy.

In the epistles they center upon the last days. They reject a pretribulational rapture, and the doctrine of the any moment return of Christ. They clearly hold that at least four events must happen before the return of Christ—the gospel preached to the whole world; the conversion of all Israel; the great tribulation; and the coming of Antichrist. They fail to see any differences between the gospels, epistles, and Revelation; common among Covenant theologians.

On Revelation they readily amid that it is one of the most difficult books of the Bible to interpret (p. 224). They take the view that the key of understanding symbolism and spend much of the chapter of this. In the areas of book they consistently chose the figurative or symbolic interpretation. This is true of their overall approach to prophecy saying in their conclusion: “We must resist becoming obsessed with knowing the details of the future because it takes us beyond Scripture into the realm of speculation” (p. 242).

This work on prophecy centers upon common elements between the two authors. The only place that shows disagreement is the two appendixes, and they are very limited: Future conversion of Israel with Bandy seeing it a mass conversion of ethnic Israel in the future. Merkle on the other hand sees it as referring to the Ethnic elect remnant through all history. The other hand is the meaning of the Millennium; which Bandy holds a historical premillennialist and Merkle holding to the amillennialist view. Otherwise, in the major portion of the book one would be hard press to see any difference between the two. There are more differences between historical premillennialist and amillennialist than what are given in the book. Part of the reason for this is both are coming from a Covenant theological view. They downplay literal interpretation of prophecy and the futurist views, and magnify the non-literal view. Do not get me wrong, there are areas in the book that all will agree with, but to me it was lacking and not a satisfying treatment of the subject. They seem to have sacrificed their distinctiveness on the altar of unity.

I received this book free from Kregel Publications for the purpose of reviewing it. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Thoughts on John 1:4-5

In John 1:4-5 we come face to face with the literary chain of sorites,[1] (life, life, light, light, darkness, and darkness).[2] These expand on the Word’s participation in creation in this context; later John will expand to salvation, but not here.[3] Notice in creation He is the source of life, his first creative act was light, and the existing darkness was not able to overtake the light. The context of these verses is creation centered. There are three features of the work of Christ in creation:
  • Life—“In Him was life, and the life was the Light” (1:4). There is a parallel to the self-existing life of the Godhead in John 5:26. Life was not created rather it was given (cf. Genesis 2:7; Acts 17:25). There are two clear implications: First, Christ is the life source. Christ empowered the creation with life. He is the source of all life. Second, and somewhat difficult to understand is that His life shared became light, for His “life was the Light of men.” The article used with light in this context is Anaphoric, meaning it is an amplification of life.[4]  Carson correctly states: 
If 1:4...is read in the context of the first three verses, it is more likely that the life inhering in the word is related not to salvation but to creation. The self-existing life of the word was so dispensed at creation that it became the light of the human race...At least in this verse, John is more interested in the source of light (the life of the word) and its purpose (for the human race) than in the mode or purpose of its dispersal.[5]
MacLeod makes three suggestions on this life as light:[6] First, the given life gave significant light in that it was the communication of the knowledge of God. Second, it could be the reflection of God that is seen in His creation (natural or general revelation). Romans 1:20. Third, it is the direct communication that the Lord had with Adam and Eve in the garden. I favor the first suggestion which indicates that there is something in man that knows there is a supreme being—the image of God. From it man has the natural illumination of reason and conscience, insufficient as that may be to bring one to the point of salvation—cf. Romans 2:15.
  • Light—“The Light shines in the darkness” (1:5a). Notice that the word “shines” is in the present tense, indicating that innate light of creation still is active in man. It continues in spite of man’s rebellion/darkness. This is a clear allusion to the fall (Genesis 3). “The light shone in the darkness of the act of creation, and it continues to shine in the darkness of fallen humanity.”[7] This light anticipates the greater light of the Incarnate Christ and the light He gives in salvation (John 1:14). Harris notes “The question of whether John has in mind here the pre-incarnate Christ or the incarnate Christ is probably too specific.”[8] John is using the old creation to set up the light which shines in the work of Jesus Christ.
  • Darkness—“The darkness did not comprehend it.” Darkness in John is positive evil and it speaks of being the environment of the lost. In the plan of God, darkness cannot overtake the power of light. There has been debate over the translation of comprehend. The Greek word is katalambano, meaning to grasp, obtain, to lay hold of, overtake, apprehend, or comprehend. Many take the word to indicate that it has no power to overtake the light and suggest a better translation would be “overpower.” Darkness cannot penetrate or extinguish the light. This statement is in the aorist tense indicating that the failure of overpowering took place in the point of time—at the Cross.

[1]  Sorites: an argument consisting of propositions so arranged that the predicate of any one forms the subject of the next and the conclusion unites the subject of the first proposition with the predicate of the last. (Merrian-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, 11th Edition). It is sometimes referred to as the paradox of the heap, for the Greek word means heap.
[2]  Craig Keener, THE GOSPEL OF JOHN, [Peabody MA, Hendrickson, 2003], 1:383.
[3]  MacLeod, “The Creation of the Universe by the Word: John 1:3-5,” 197.
[4]  See Daniel Wallace, GREEK GRAMMAR: BEYOND THE BASICS, [Grand Rapids MI, Zondervan, 1996], 217-220.
[5]  D,A, Carson, PNTC: THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO JOHN, [Grand Rapids MI, Eerdmans, 1991], 119.
[6]  MacLeod, ‘The Creation of the Universe by the Lord: John 1:3-5,” BIBLIOTHECA SACRA, January 2003, 197-198.
[7]  George Beasley-Murray, WBC: JOHN, [Waco TX, Word, 1987], 11.
[8]  Harris, JOHN, [1:5], www.Bible.org, n.p. 

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Book Review; Comfort's Commentary

Philip Westley Comfort, A COMMENTARY ON THE MANUSCRIPTS AND TEST OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, Grand Rapids MI, Kregel Academic, 2015.

Philip Comfort is well-known for his writings concerning the Greek text. In this latest one he gives a handy aid for anyone who uses the Greek text. It is really a commentary on the variants found in the many New Testament manuscripts, arranged in order of their appearance in the New Testament. However, I found it is more than that. In addition, Comfort has a very helpful introduction. I found it well worth reading. He gives special features of his work:
  • He seems to center on 2nd Century manuscripts, although he does not neglect the others. I personally like this emphasis over some of the other textual mythology. Clearly these would be closer to the originals.
  • He brings out the nomina sacra (sacred names). These are special markings in the manuscripts that do not appear in any printed Greek text. In the manuscripts they are presented with special calligraphy to distinguish the names as sacred. He points them out in his commentary—claiming no other commentary does so. He also has a full appendix of the Significance of the Nomina Sacra. This gives this work added value.
  • He gives a list of the earliest manuscripts for each chapter of the New Testament (i.e. Matthew 1 = P1).
  • He also gives an annotated list of the manuscripts of the New Testament (Chapter 2).

The heart of the book is the running commentary of the Greek text variants—giving his view of the correct one and showing the others. Each has the manuscript information in which they are found. Comfort clearly confesses that in some cases the original reading cannot be determined and gives options for the reader. Another feature of this book is that everything is given in English, so one who is not well versed in the Greek text can still gain valuable information from this work.

This will be a handy reference for any Pastor, student, or a well verse layman who spends time in the study of the Bible. It is compact, organized for quick use, and gives good information in a concise, reader friendly way. Its most valuable contribution is in the area of the Nomina Sacra. It will not likely replace the more standard work of Metzger’s textual commentary, but it will be a pleasant supplemental work to it. It is worth having on your bookshelf for quick reference.

 I received this book free from Kregel Publications for the purpose of reviewing it. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission's 16 CFR, Part 255.