Thursday, June 23, 2016

THE LIFE OF DAVID 001



GOD’S CHOICE OF DAVID (1 Samuel 16)


David was a man of all seasons. His life marked an epoch of God’s working His plan and purpose in the halls of history. Born to be a king, yet lived his early life as a shepherd. A man of war; yet longed for peace. Knew what it was to experience the joy of the mountaintops of life; yet experienced the depths in the valley of despair. Popular but not without rejection. Gulston tells us that, “in David all people would see themselves, in his hopes and his fears, in his failing, and in his strivings to climb the High Way.”[1]

EVENTS LEADING TO THE CHOICE OF DAVID
One cannot get a true picture of the importance of David without some knowledge of the events before his introduction in 1 Samuel 16. The kingship of Saul and his failure led to the events of David. Notice three things about the kingship of Saul:
·         He was the people’s choice (1 Sam. 8:7-8). God allowed them the desire of their hearts.
·         He was a man of great looks and ability (1 Sam. 9:2).
·         Once king he failed miserably in doing the will of God (1 Sam. 15:9, 20-21) consequently rejected by God (1 Sam. 15:28).
Getz says, “the story of Saul is one of psychological, physical and spiritual deterioration.”[2] Saul’s downward direction is caused by his unbelief (1 Sam. 13:11); his impatience, he ran ahead of God (1 Sam. 13); and his dishonesty, when asked by Samuel what he did, he blamed others (Jonathan in 1 Sam 14; the people of God in 1 Sam. 15). Wiersbe points out that, “We don’t have to commit a serious sin to start on that steep road that leads to disgrace, discipcle and possible death.”[3]
It does not end well with Saul. It ended with rejection by stubbornness; not restoration by repentance. It is not how we begin in life, but how we end that important. Yes, we will have failures and sin, even deep sin, but it does not have to end in rejection. God is willing and able to restore because of repentance of the heart (cf. Luke 15:17-24). We all are in some way or time prodigal sons that need to be restored. Saul refused to return to his father’s house.

THE CHOICE OF DAVID
Saul was the choice of man, which failed. David is the choice of God. That choice is not perfect. David will have his failures, but instead of rejection, God will restore him because he was a man after God’s heart. The choice of David is seen in 1 Samuel 16:1-13. The prophet Samuel has rebuked Saul and has nothing to do with him until his death (1 Sam. 15:35). Saul had become a recluse living under the regret of the Lord. Yet he is still king and has the power of a king.
In 1 Samuel 16:1-13, there are three parts to the choice of God. They are:

The Mission of Samuel 16:1-5.
This has been called the capstone of Samuel’s career.[4] Yet it is a mission that Samuel did not want. There are two stated reasons for this: (1) Grief over Saul [v. 1]; and (2) the Fear of Saul [v.2]. It saddens Samuel that God rejected Saul. This may because of his own part in making Saul king. He grieves because of what Saul became and because God rejected him. He had done his best for Saul. Now he was left devastated. Sauel is also fearful of Saul (as was Moses [Exodus 3:ll, 13; 14:1] and Jeremiah [1:6]), who could be described as the Herod of the Old Testament. He was selfish, demented because of his power, and self-protecting of his own power at all cost. He knew that Saul was willing to destroy him because of such a mission. Like most of us, Saul, would strike out at the massager, instead of heeding the message (cf. 13:14).  Saul was not going to simply surrender to a replacement. He would rebel against such an idea.  Yet, Samuel knew he must obey God in spite of the circumstances and personal danger.  The work of God must go on, and Samuel was to have a role in it. His mission was to anoint the next king of Israel.
This is a God-directed mission. It involved preparation, filling the horn with oil and taking the sacrifice; obedience to the instruction to go, and ministry to the right people, the house of Jesse the Bethlehemite. His going to Jesse was twofold: To worship by way of the sacrifice and to choose the next king. This is preceded by the act of consecration, both of the elders, and the house of Jesse (16:5). This act of consecration consisted of ritual cleansing, involving bathing, putting on clean outfits, temporary suspension of sexual activity, and avoidance of the dead.[5]
The Meeting with Jesse (16:6-10).

The words “when they entered” (16:6) is somewhat unclear, however it seems to indicate in the context the place of worship. After the sacrifice and worship, Samuel held the anointing ceremony. It centered on Jessie and his family and was the central purpose of his coming to Bethlehem.  
God’s instruction to Samuel was to anoint the one whom He designated to him (`6:2). After being consecrated, Samuel begins to look over the sons of Jessie. He attention first was directed to Eliab, who was handsome and impressive, but was not God’s choice. Samuel is instructed not to look on appearance or stature (16:7). God is looking on the deeper level of the heart (16:7). Eliab did not pass the heart test. Samuel looked at the seven sons but God had not chosen any of those (16:8-10). The prophet’s experience seems to contradict his revelation. Yet, not all the sons had been examined. In disappointment Samuel finally asked “Are these all the Children?”  Jesse say there is a young one out attending the sheep. He is the youngest, probably considered too small to be considered to be in the running by Jesse. By being called the youngest, it is to be noted that it is not simply pointing to age. It also indicates that in Jesse’s mind he was the least important. David illustrates the principle that God uses the small weak things to carry out His plan and purposes (cf. 1 Cor. 26-31).
The Meeting with David (16:11-13).

David was sent for. Upon arrival, the physical traits are given. He is described as “ruddy” meaning either having red-tinted hair, or having a bronze complexion. He was also “handsome.” However, these traits are not the basis of God’s choice. All God’s choices are based on His grace, not man’s greatness or potential greatness. What mattered was David’s character. “He was not interested in how tall the man was, but rather in the largeness of his soul,” observes Getz.[6] He looks at the heart (16:7). In respect to Samuel and the choice of God there are two important elements that stand out:
·         We are to guard against deceitful influences.
·         We must be conscious of the standards that are God’s, not interject our own in their place.
David was clearly the choice of God. Samuel had no choice but to anoint him king. David illustrates three important principles about the choice of God:
·         The choice of God is often contrary to human reason. Human reason would not have led to the choice of David.
·         God’s choice is based upon the heart of the man, not his head. The choice of God is not based upon our ability, but our availability.
·         The choice of God is a heavenly recognition of the usefulness of the man. Our heart may not be perfect, but it is to be perfectly useable by being open to God and His will.
David’s heart is shown to be:
·         A Spiritual heart—he was a man after God’s own heart.
·         A Servant’s heart—Psalm 78:70,
·         A heart of Integrity—Psalm 78:72
What is our heart condition?



[1]  Charles Gulston, DAVID: SHEPHERD & KING, [Grand Rapids MI, Zondervan, 1980], 20.
[2]  Gene A. Getz, WHEN YOU FEEL LIKE A FAILURE: TAKE A LESSON FROM DAVID, [Ventura CA, Regal Books, 1979], 7.
[3]  Warren W. Wiersbe, DON’T LOSE YOUR CROWN: STUDIES IN THE LIFE OF KING SAUL, [Lincoln NE, BACK TO THE BIBLE, 1985], 40.
[4]  Robert D. Bergen, NAC: 1, 2 SAMUEL, [Nashville TN, B&H, 1996], 177.
[5]  Ibid, 178.
[6]  Getz, 11. s

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Studies in Colossians #22

Peril of Philosophy (2:8-15)  [Continued]


The Results of Our Position in Him (2:13-15).

Paul now turns to the application of our position in Christ. The shift of attention is emphasized by the personal pronoun you in this clause. The shift is from God’s accomplishments in Christ to its benefits for the believer. These accomplishments are centered in four Greek finite verbs in the text:

1.    Sunedsoopoiesenyou hath he quickened (2:13 KJV), or as the NASV has it, He made you alive together with Him. The great need for this is found in the words: “you were dead in your transgressions and the uncircumcision of your flesh.” Paul is speaking of the condition of spiritual death, not physical (cf. Rom. 7:9-11). It was brought about by our sin or transgressions, which alienated us from the promises of God (cf. Eph. 2:11-12). The word for transgressions which emphasizes a deliberate act of disobedience, or rebellion. Outside Christ we are sinners by practice and nature. The word were (eimi) is a present participle suggesting that we existed in a state of spiritual death before salvation.[1] The word and is a connective with “the uncircumcision of your flesh.” It points to the condition of us Gentiles to which the text seems to be directed. The reference to uncircumcision speaks from the Jewish perspective of the Gentile lawlessness. It speaks to the reality of their state who formerly were excluded from the commonwealth of Israel and God (cf. Eph. 2:11-12). In the Jewish perspective they were dead not only because of their sin, but because of their status of being outside the covenant.

There is a clear past/present contrast here. We were dead; now we are made alive. The past is recalled to remind us of the wonder of God’s quickening us with Christ. Being quickened or made alive is a variation of being spiritually resurrected. This finite verb (used only here and Eph. 2:5) denotes: (1) a resurrected life. It is a benefit of our identification with Christ being raised from the dead. By this act we have experienced a spiritual resurrection and passed from death to life. (2) It is an action done to us, not by us. It is God, who made Jesus alive from the dead that made us alive. It is His work upon us. The word “always refers to the Divine life that is in God the Father and Son and is extended to believers.”[2] He made us alive with Christ.

The last clause, “having forgiven us all our transgressions” is the counterbalance to being dead in transgressions. “Having forgiven” is an adverbial participle and can be taken as temporal (when he forgave) or causal (for he forgave).[3] Both are acceptable in the Greek. It also is qualifying in its nature. It qualifies how one was made alive together with Christ. It is aorist which expresses that this happened in a point of time. It “refers to action prior to the leading verb, i.e., God having forgiven the; then He made the alive in Christ.”[4] The word forgiven (charidsomai) is related to grace (charis), which indicates that forgiveness was a free and gracious action of God (cf. Eph. 2:8-9). 

2.    Erken (having canceled out or took out of the way [KJV]) is the second main finite verb. This explains how forgiveness was accomplished. Moo points out this is “contemporaneous and describes the means by which forgiveness was attained.”[5] Our debt to God was canceled thereby forgiven. This debt was the law. The result is freedom from the burden of the law (cf. Eph. 2:15). This was done by “having canceled out the certificate of debt consisting of decrees against us” (2:14). This phrase speaks of a threefold action:
·         The deed—canceling out the debt. The verb means to wipe out, expunge, erase, or blot out. It is not only used in scripture of one’s sin; but of one’s name (Rev. 3:5) and our tears (Rev. 7:17; 21:4); but here it speaks of the law being canceled for salvation. The word is in the prefect tense here, laying stress of the permanently effect of Christ’s action.
·         The object—the certificate of debt against us (or the handwriting of ordinances—KJV). In the day of Paul, it speaks of a certificate of indebtedness; a document recording legal obligate debts to pay. The law of Moses was a written document of our obligations to God. It was written by the finger of God (cf. 2 Cor. 3:7; Deut. 9:10). In Exodus 19:8 mankind through Israel signed this obligation to keep the law. It has proved impossible. It consists of “decrees” that is twofold: (1) they are against us. Not only that, (2) but they were hostile to us, (hypenantios; used only here and Hebrews 10:27), meaning against, adverse, as an opponent. These describe the character of the Law in relation to man. Man is unable to do it, therefore, we are guilty of not holding to our end of a bargain. We are in default; it stands hostile to us and is against us. Gromacki calls the law, “the prosecuting attorney, judge, jury, and executioner of the sinner.[6] We dare not take the law lightly. It is a debt we cannot pay. However, in Christ this debt has been permanently canceled, not by our action, but the action of Christ on our behalf. It reflects that Christ’s sacrifice was a sin offering. We are saved not by a sacrifice we make, but by His sacrifice in which we trust. 
·         The means— “having nailed it to the cross” (2:14). Christ is not the only thing nailed to the cross, so was our debt under the law. It must be remembered that Christ was nailed to the cross as a lawbreaker. He was accused of blasphemy and died under that charge being reflected in the nailing of the words “King of the Jews.” While the words were true; the implication to the Jews was blasphemy, claiming to be God (cf. John 19:7, 21-22). He was crucified not because of the truth, but because of the law. The law, that certificate of debt, was nailed to the cross thereby canceling it. “God has not only forgiven us all our sins but he also utterly removed the signed acknowledgment of our indebtedness.”[7]  This was done by two things: (1) he blotted it out; (2) he nailed it to the cross.
3.    Edeigmatisen is the third finite verb. It means to make a show of, or a spectacle, expose, or translated in our text a public display. It is the setting forth the results of divine action. Triumph is the result— “When He had disarmed the rulers and authorities, He make a public display of them, having triumphed over them through Him” (2:15). There is little question that this is a climactic statement concerning the victory of God on the cross. This is not an easy text to grasp because almost every word is disputed. The student must deal with the following:
·         What or who are the principalities and powers in this verse? It may be taken as elect angels, evil angels, or even human authorities. If they are the elect angels it refers these angels in the giving of the law (Gal.3:19, Heb. 2:2) and marks the end of the mediation of these angels. If, they are evil angels, it speaks of His triumph over their plot to destroy the Messiah by his death and resurrection. This is the most common choice. In light of 1 Cor. 15:24, evil angels are the likely ones referred to. Had they realized this truth “they would not have crucified the Lord of glory” (1 Cor. 2:8). The cross is the basis of their defeat.
·         There is debate also as to the meaning of spoiled or defeated. It is the participle apekdusamenos, that has the basic meaning of renounce, or to put off. It is found only in Colossians (2:15; 3:9) and translated differently in each case (2:15, disarmed or spoiled [KJV]; 3:9, lay aside or put off [KJV]). There are two views concerning this:[8] (1) the earliest view makes Christ the subject and the powers as the object, thus teaching that Jesus stripped himself of the powers and principalities. (2) The second view understands flesh as the object of the verb teaching that Jesus got rid of the flesh and made a public spectacle of the powers and authorities. While this view could easily be a reference to the resurrection. However, one big problem that I see is that the flesh is not mentioned in the text or context. It has not been held in favor. Most hold to the first view. The grammar and syntax is more in line with the view. It is likely that imagery here is that from a royal court, not a battlefield where an army is disarmed, but a court were public officials are despoiled by the stripping of their dignity.[9] Here the word is used to refer to Jesus threw off the plans and powers of the evil rulers and authorities. It supports the concept that Jesus is the all-powerful victor over these rulers and authorities. Johnson says, “…Christ divested Himself at the cross of the evil powers which had struggled with Him so strongly through His ministry in attempts to force Him to abandon the pathway of the cross (cf. Luke 4:1-13; Matthew 16:22-23; Luke 22:53, etc.).”[10]

The word edeigmatisen (public display) is somewhat clearer. Its emphasis in on the victor who made a public display of his victory and shames the defeated. He makes a spectacle of his enemies. This prepositional phrase likely intensifies its nature; thus “he boldly made a spectacle” of them.[11]
4.    The last verb thriambeusas (triumphing), is used also in 2 Corinthians 2:14, and continues the thought of victory. It is often used of a victory parade where the Roman general would lead the captives in a public procession. There are three requirements for this to be met for such a procession in Rome. (1) The actual commander in the field must lead the procession. (2) The campaign must have been successfully concluded. (3) A large number of the enemy had to be taken or fallen in battle.[12] This would be the natural picture that would come to the reader’s mind by the use of the word. Not only was it an act of victory, but of glorification as well. On the cross, Christ was the field commander, secured the fact of victory over the Satanic kingdom, and secured the territory of our eternal salvation. The event points to the finished work of Christ on the cross, by which we can be complete in Him through faith in His finished work. His work on the cross was sufficient and nothing needs to be added.
To be continued… 





[1]  Campbell, COLOSSIANS & PHILEMON, 103.
[2]  Ibid, 104.
[3]  Pao, ZECNT: COLOSSIANS & PHILEMON, 170.
[4]  Campbell, COLOSSIANS & PHILEMON, 104.
[5]  Moo, PNTC: COLOSSIANS AND PHILEMON, 209.
[6]  Gromacki, STAND PERFECT, 113.
[7] O’Brien, WBC: COLOSSIANS, PHILEMON, 126,
[8]  Moo, PNTC: COLOSSIANS AND PHILEMON, 213.
[9]  O’Brien, WBC: COLOSSIANS PHILEMON, 127
[10]  S. Lewis Johnson Jr., “The Sufficiency of Union with Christ,” BIBLIOTHECA SACRA, January 1963, 20.
[11]  Pao, ZECNT: COLOSSIANS & PHILEMON, 173.
[12] Johnson, ““The Sufficiency of Union with Christ,” 20-21.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Studies in Colossians #21



Peril of Philosophy (2:8-16)  [Continued]

        2. The Answer to the error: Christ (2:9-15).

The emphasis in contrast to philosophy is the achievement of Christ and our union with Him. The word “for(hoti), a causal particle, indicating reason why and commonly translated because or for. The antidote is the sufficient work of Christ. The reason is Christ’s deity (v. 9) and the believer’s completeness in Him (v. 10). He is the standard by which other philosophies much be measured. The work of Christ is the answer to the error of philosophy. This provides the grounds for the previous warning. Its heart is our identification in and with Christ (cf. Gal. 2:20). One should take note of the phrase “in Him” and “with Him” in this section. The emphasis is on our union in and with Christ.

It is also interesting how this section is perceived.  Many make a break at the end of verse 10.[1] I do not agree with such a break. There are two main reasons for this. First, verse 9-12 is one sentence. Second, the sentence has a series of connectives (and, kai) that connects verses 9-12. The sentence can be diagramed as:

In Him the fullness of deity dwells… (v.9)
           And (kai) in Him you are complete… (v.10)
           And (kai) He is the Head…
           And (kai) in Him you were circumcised… (v.11)
            
Our position in Him (2:9-12).

The basis of our position is directly related to the fullness of Christ— “in Him all the fullness of Deity [or Godhead] dwells in bodily form” (2:9). This is foundational. The phrase in Him is emphatic by its position, and serves to strengthen the contrast between false philosophy and Christ. In Him dwells all the fullness points to the totality of deity. He is God and the fullness of deity dwells in Him. Of deity is a genitive of content.[2] Johnson points out:
The word theotetos (AV, Godhead) means deity and is to be distinguished from the theiotes of Romans 1:20, which means divinity. The former word looks at the essence of God and the latter at the quality of God. The former is deitas, or Godhead, and the latter is divinitas, or Godhood.[3]

The full essence of deity dwells in bodily form in Christ. The word dwell is katoikei, an intensive word, that has the force of a permanent dwelling. One needs to especially note here that this is not talking about the incarnate Christ of the past, but the resurrected Christ of the present. It is a present and has a strong durative force stressing that this is not speaking of a transitory sojourn, but continually permanently. It dwells permanent with Him, even in His resurrected state. He still has a material body—a resurrected, immortal, incorruptive body—which can be seen and touched.  The word all makes this an all-inclusive statement. It speaks of the totality; “that total deity inhabits the resurrection body of Christ, i.e., that the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, in a manner beyond our comprehension, occupy His present body.[4] He is the visible image of the invisible God (cf. 1:15). While the word bodily has been taken in a number of ways,[5] it seems most reasonable it is somewhat an unlimited expression of the glorified body of Christ. He now possesses a glorified body (cf. Phil. 3:21; 1 Tim. 2:5) which is durative and present in Heaven, and will return as the exalted and glorified Messiah in the future earthly kingdom.

Verse 9 speaks of the relationship of Christ to God, verse10 speaks of our relationship to Christ. “For in Him you have been made complete” (2:10). The connective (and) is used to connect these two verses. It is to be noted that the connection is not only seen by the connective (kai), but there is connection seen by the play on the two key words—fullness (pleroma) and complete (pepleroment)—which is of the same verbal root word.[6] God is in the fullness of Christ and we are made full or complete in Him. It draws attention to the incorporation or union motif.  “Believers are to be satisfied fully because they ‘have been filled’ in the one who contains ‘all the fullness’ of deity.”[7] It supports the thesis of the sufficiency of Christ. It accentuates the abiding status of the believer as complete through our union with the Lord. 

The word complete (pepleroment) is a shipping term. It is used of a ship that is fitted, filled, and completely ready for the voyage. John tells us that out of his fullness we have received grace upon grace (John 1:16). Paul applies it to the standing of the church, the body of Christ, where the fullness of Christ fills all in all (Eph. 1:23).

The third connective (kai) deals with our identification in Christ (2:11-12). This speaks of the Jewish element of the philosophy and rituals of the false teachers. Again the verse states “in Him,” denoting the sphere were the action takes place. It is a dative of relationship,[8] and speaks of our union. Our union in Christ involves three things:

First, a true circumcision— “you were also circumcised with a circumcision made without hands.” (2:11). Judaizes in Acts 15 insisted that physical circumcision was necessary for salvation. Paul counteracts such an idea for this dispensation of grace. They ignored the truth that physical circumcision was just a shadow of a forthcoming spiritual work (cf. Deut. 10:16; 30:6; cf. Rom. 2:28-29). Like many in Christianity today, the Jews of Paul’s day equated outward conformity with inward reality. That belief is at the heart of the false philosophy of the world.  The phrase “you were also” is an aorist that points to a completed action in the past, referring here to the time of our conversion or salvation. It implies that God is the agent of the action, and we are the object of the action. This was not a physical procedure—without hands—but a spiritual one (cf. Phil. 3:3). Campbell notes two things evident in this: (1) man had nothing to do with this circumcision, and (2) it had nothing to do with the physical body.[9]

Paul could have stopped there for the statement up to this point makes perfect sense by itself. However, he did not. He adds: “in the removal of the body of the flesh by the circumcision of Christ” (2:11). There is an ambiguity here[10] and therefore somewhat hinders our understanding. However, it seems to me, that the phrase must be taken in light of two factors: the overall context of our identification in Christ and the knowledge that these are two prepositional phrases:
In the removal of the body of the flesh
By the circumcision of Christ.
These two factors must be keep in mind as one deals with this clause.

The overall clause refers back to the believer’s spiritual circumcision. This points to the means through which this spiritual circumcision was performed. However, there is a question as to how this should be understood. There are three ways that it has been taken reflected by the translators:
(1)   It describes what was done to believers when they received this circumcision. The rule of flesh was put off by this circumcision (NIV).
(2)   The first phrase refers to the experience done to believers, and the second phrase refers to Christ (KJV). Our old nature was put off when Christ was circumcised.
(3)   Both are parallel and described the experience of Christ. This would make the cutting off of the flesh a reference to His death, and the circumcision of death (or crucifixion).

Because of the ambiguity of the text, it is not easy to come to a conclusion. However, it seems to me that since the context is that of identification its meaning must be in line with this thought.  In this section we are identified with three things—circumcision, baptism, and resurrection (2:11-13). I agree with Campbell who states:
It appears to us that this spiritual circumcision, which typifies the cutting off of the sinful flesh (cf. Rom.7:18-20), is the same as that which Paul typifies by baptism in Romans 6:3-4, namely the death of the flesh through identification with the death of Christ.[11]

Dunn observes that “in the circumcision of Christ” is a summary statement, and is a description of the death of Christ under this metaphor of circumcision.[12]

Second, true baptism— “having been buried with Him in baptism” (2:12). Most read here a physical baptism in water in this passage. That is not the case. Baptism must be taken in the same light of circumcision and resurrection. None of which is a physical experience by the believer. This goes beyond the rite of water baptism. It is a spiritual baptism. It again emphases a spiritual experience. Just as Christ’s death was a circumcision, so His death was a baptism (Rom. 6:3-4 cf. 1 Cor. 12:13).

It must be pointed out that the word buried in this text cannot mean buried in water. The word is from the Greek meaning “entomb, or inter.” Christ was not buried in dirt nor water, he was entombed. Our identification is being entombed with Christ in baptism. Note the change from “in” to “with.” Stam makes a valid point saying, “believers are ‘buried with’ Christ, not like Christ.[13] Spiritually speaking when He was in that tomb, we were spiritually in that tomb with Him. Paul places a great emphasis on this baptism in his epistles (cf. 1 Cor. 2:13; Rom. 6:3; Gal. 3:27; Eph. 4:5).[14] Gromacki is correct saying that since circumcision not made with hands is spiritual, this likewise must be spiritual baptism.[15] Do not overlook Romans 6:4-6 in this regard to spiritual baptism and our identification.
                                                                      
Third, spiritual resurrection— “in which you were also raised up with Him through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (2:12). Contrary to most commentators, Dunn see “in which” referring back to Christ in 2:8, not baptism.[16] He has a valid point, especially in the light of Ephesians 2:6. Moo, who holds that it refers to baptism, admits the pronoun is not decisive in this context.[17] O’Brien argues it is more consistent to translate in which as in whom.[18] We were raised “with” Christ. Again it speaks of our identification. We are identified with His resurrection. When He was raised out of the tomb (not water), we were likewise, in that act became our identification and spiritual resurrection. Notice this is not identification in a future event, but it already has taken place as seen in the aorist tense. We have already experienced this spiritual resurrection. O’Brien notes:
Although it is only in Colossians and Ephesians that the apostle speaks of having been raised with Christ as a past event, these references in the earlier epistles presume the present experience of the resurrection life in Christ.[19]

O’Brien’s comment confirms the uniqueness of this truth as being a Pauline revelation to the church, the body of Christ. He reveals it and applies it to God’s people in this present age of grace. It is the work of God on their behalf. It is “through faith in the working of God, who raised Him from the dead” (2:12). The phrase indicates two things: (1) the means—through faith. As we are saved by grace through faith (Eph. 2:8-9), we are likewise identified by the same means. (2) The object of this faith is in the working of God. Campbell calls it the faithful energizing of God.[20] The implication is that we have been raised with Christ through faith in God’s power, the same power in bringing Christ back from death. In Christ we have been crucified, buried, and risen together with Him and seated with Him (cf. Eph. 2:6). It is our identification as well as our position in Christ.

To be continued.
      




[1]  See Constable, NOTES ON COLOSSIANS, 38.
[2]  In the Greek, the genitive, not the dative, is the case used to indicate the content of the verb. Wallace, BEYOND THE BASICS, 93.
[3]  S. Lewis Johnson, Jr., “Beware of Philosophy,” BIB-SAC, October 1962, 308.
[4]  Campbell, COLOSSIANS, 95.
[5]  For a survey of these views, see Pao, COLOSSIANS, 161-162; O’Brien, WBC: COLOSSIANS, PHILEMON, 112-113.
[6]  Gromacki, STAND PERFECT IN WISDOM, 104
[7]  Pao, ZECNT: COLOSSIANS & PHILEMON, 163.
[8]  Harris, EGGNT: COLOSSIANS AND PHILEMON, 90.
[9]  Campbell, COLOSSIANS & PHILEMON, 99.
[10]  Moo, PNTC: COLOSSIANS AND PHILEMON, 198, says the connection here with that genitive is notorious for its ambiguity.
[11]  Campbell, COLOSSIANS & PHILEMON, 38.
[12]  Dunn, NIGTC: COLOSSIANS AND PHILEMON, 158.
[13] C.R. Stam, BAPTISM AND THE BIBLE, [Chicago, Berean Bible Society, 1981], 104,
[14]  See C.F. Baker, DISPENSATIONAL THEOLOGY, 430-31 on spiritual baptism.
[15]  Gromacki, STAND PERFECT IN WISDOM, 109.
[16]  Dunn, NIGTC: COLOSSIANS AND PHILEMON, 160.
[17]  Moo, PNTC, COLOSSIANSAND PHILEMON, 202.
[18]  O’Brien, WBC: COLOSSIANS, PHILEMON, 119.  
[19]  Ibid, 120.
[20]  Campbell, COLOSSIANS & PHILEMON, 102. 

Book Review: Longenecker on Romans

Richard N. Longenecker, THE NEW INTERNATIONAL GREEK TESTAMENT COMMENTARY: THE EPISTLE TO THE ROMANS, [Grand Rapids MI, Eerdmans, 2016], 1140 pages.



This is a commentary that I long awaited. Richard N. Longenecker is one of the premier scholars of our day. His work on Romans will be one will be useful for some time to come. It is clearly directed toward those who know and use Greek, however, it is useful to the Pastor as well. It is technical, but there are gems for the non-Greek scholars as well.
The introduction is directed more toward an historical approach of how this book has changed from an earlier view of being a compendium of Christian doctrine to today it is mainly seen as an epistle by much of modern scholarship. This has come about because the absence of some major doctrines in the epistle (i.e. the resurrection; the Lords Supper). Much of the introduction deals with critical issues, not suppressing since its major emphasis the Greek text. It is relative short and concise, but detailed enough to make the reader think. His gives the two main thesis of the epistles as (1) To impart what he calls a “spiritual gift” which is unique and is also known as “my gospel” (2:16; 16:25). (2) To seek the Romans assistance for the extension of his mission to the Gentiles (1:13; 15:24). There are subsidiary purposes of defending the gospel, to strengthen the believers, and direct they relation to the Roman government (pages 10-11). These certainly fall in line with the dispensational position that Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. He holds that the central thrust of the epistle is more Gentile than Jewish.
The main element is that of the commentary proper. It is massive, technical, and somewhat reader friendly. However, at least a basic knowledge of Greek is needed by the reader. The commentary is laid out differently than the other volumes of this series. In this volume each section includes Textual notes; Form/Structure/Setting; Exegetical Comments; Biblical Theology; and Contextualization for Today. That is not the case in earlier books in the series. One wonders if this format will be used by coming editions. It certainly changes the consistency and uniformity of the series.
He presents the book as being structured in a fourfold way: Romans 1-4; 5-8; 9-11; 12-16. He sees the main thrust of the epistle as being Romans 5-8. His exegesis and comments are sound, detailed, helpful, and challenging at times. He gives somewhat a balanced and fair views of the text. One will not always agree with his conclusions, but his reasoning for them are clearly presented. He seems to hold reconciliation as the heart of the gospel and epistle instead of the more common view of righteousness (pages 566-570). I enjoyed much of what he wrote and gained new insights.
There are two weaknesses that I see in the commentary—weaknesses that the reader needs to be aware:
(1)   In places he is too brief for a commentary of its stature. A prime example is Romans 3:10-18. Which is a long quote from the Old Testament. He does a good job on the handling of the Old Testament, but never really deals with the Greek text of the quote. He deals with the passage in only 2 ½ pages, and rarely mentions the Greek text (contra Cranfield, who in a little over 4 pages refers to the Greek text a number of times). This brevity seems odd for a commentary of the Greek text.
(2)   He does not always deal with the views of his fellow commentators. For example, in Romans 9:22-23 he says nothing about Moo and Schreiner’s view of double predestination—although he uses them as sources. That disappointed me, I was looking for some interaction on the subject. He does not even interact with N.T. Wright and simply states he was influenced by Dunn, but gives no details of his teaching, although he deals with the Law and the New perspective (362-370).
Overall, this is a good commentary and anyone studying this great epistle will be aided by it. It, despite its weaknesses, is worthwhile. The question one will have to answer is it worth the high price. Its price (retail $80.00, or $53.00 from Amazon), may make it out of reach for many; so evaluate carefully before you invest. Make sure before you purchase. I would not rate it as the best (4 out of 5 stars), but certainly in the upper tier of commentaries available on Romans. 
This is a commentary that I long awaited. Richard N. Longenecker is one of the premier scholars of our day. His work on Romans will be one will be useful for some time to come. It is clearly directed toward those who know and use Greek, however, it is useful to the Pastor as well. It is technical, but there are gems for the non-Greek scholars as well.
The introduction is directed more toward an historical approach of how this book has changed from an earlier view of being a compendium of Christian doctrine to today it is mainly seen as an epistle by much of modern scholarship. This has come about because the absence of some major doctrines in the epistle (i.e. the resurrection; the Lords Supper). Much of the introduction deals with critical issues, not suppressing since its major emphasis the Greek text. It is relative short and concise, but detailed enough to make the reader think. His gives the two main thesis of the epistles as (1) To impart what he calls a “spiritual gift” which is unique and is also known as “my gospel” (2:16; 16:25). (2) To seek the Romans assistance for the extension of his mission to the Gentiles (1:13; 15:24). There are subsidiary purposes of defending the gospel, to strengthen the believers, and direct their relation to the Roman government (pages 10-11). These certainly fall in line with the dispensational position that Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles. He holds that the central thrust of the epistle is more Gentile than Jewish.
The main element is that of the commentary proper. It is massive, technical, and somewhat reader friendly. However, at least a basic knowledge of Greek is needed by the reader. The commentary is laid out differently than the other volumes of this series. In this volume each section includes Textual notes; Form/Structure/Setting; Exegetical Comments; Biblical Theology; and Contextualization for Today. That is not the case in earlier books in the series. One wonders if this format will be used by coming editions. It certainly changes the consistency and uniformity of the series.
He presents the book as being structured in a fourfold way: Romans 1-4; 5-8; 9-11; 12-16. He sees the main thrust of the epistle as being Romans 5-8. His exegesis and comments are sound, detailed, helpful, and challenging at times. He gives somewhat a balanced and fair views of the text. One will not always agree with his conclusions, but his reasoning for them are clearly presented. He seems to hold reconciliation as the heart of the gospel and epistle instead of the more common view of righteousness (pages 566-570). I enjoyed much of what he wrote and gained new insights.
There are two weaknesses that I see in the commentary—weaknesses that the reader needs to be aware:
(1)   In places he is too brief for a commentary of its stature. A prime example is Romans 3:10-18. Which is a long quote from the Old Testament. He does a good job on the handling of the Old Testament in the New Testament, but never really deals with the Greek text of the quote. He deals with the passage in only 2 ½ pages, and rarely mentions the Greek text (contra Cranfield, who in a little over 4 pages refers to the Greek text a number of times). This brevity seems odd for a commentary of the Greek text.
(2)   He does not always deal with the views of his fellow commentators. For example, in Romans 9:22-23 he says nothing about Moo and Schreiner’s view of double predestination—although he uses them as sources. That disappointed me, I was looking for some interaction on the subject. He does not even interact with N.T. Wright and simply states he was influenced by Dunn, but gives no details of his teaching, although he deals with the Law and the New perspective (362-370).

Overall, this is a good commentary and anyone studying this great epistle will be aided by it. It, despite its weaknesses, is worthwhile. The question one will have to answer is it worth the high price. Its price (retail $80.00, or $53.00 from Amazon), may make it out of reach for many; so evaluate carefully before you invest. Make sure before you purchase. I would not rate it as the best (4 out of 5 stars), but certainly in the upper tier of commentaries available on Romans.