Monthly Archives: March 2013

The Psalms: Highview Architecture

An excellent summary of the overarching structure — highview architecture — of The Psalms.

The Torah is holy history that becomes Law only in the context of Todah, “Praise and Thanksgiving.


The Canticles that were preserved in the Book of Praise [The Psalms] open with the dynamism of obedience (Psalm 1) and the expectation of the ideal King (Psalm 2). They terminate with the Hallelujah of the final apotheosis (Psalm 150) (Samuel Terrien, The Psalms: Strophic Structure and Theological Commentary, 60).

I had to look up the word “apotheosis” — from the Greek word “to deify” — elevation to divine status, deification, the perfect example.

Also, what a phrase! — “dynamism of obedience” — I love that.

“What is the purpose of preaching?”

“The story is told of a homiletics professor who, many years ago, asked his classes, “What is the purpose of preaching?” His students would struggle valiantly to make adequate reply, but they never succeeded. Then, triumphantly, the professor would sing out, Scottish brogue and all, so I am told, “Gentlemen” … “the purpose of preaching is to raise the dead!” Perhaps the statement strikes us today as a bit florid and dramatic. Yet the professor was on to something that needs to be repeated again and again, I believe: When we preach, God registers his claim upon us. He breaks into the little kingdoms that we have built, in which we attempt to exercise our rule over people and things, and says, “Let God be God.” He disturbs us in our comforts and presumptions, and — for what cause save his own graciousness, none of us can guess — quickens our dead future. He does so with his Word” (Charles L. Bartow, The Preaching Moment: A Guide to Sermon Delivery, 48-49).

Bible Q/A: OT – Exodus

Q/A: OT – Exodus

What is the theme of Exodus? The Deliverance and Redemption of the Nation of Israel.

What is the Outline of Exodus? (1) Egypt (2) Wilderness of Sinai (3) Mt. Sinai

What key event occurs in Exodus 3-4? God calls Moses.

What does God tell Moses in Exodus 3:14-15? God reveals his covenant name to Moses: “I AM WHO I AM” — Moses is told to tell the sons of Israel, “I AM has sent me to you.”

What events are narrated in Chapters 7-11? The Plagues the Lord sends against the nation of Egypt are narrated in Chapters 7-11.

What Plagues were sent against the nation of Egypt? (1) Water turned into blood (2) Frogs (3) Gnats/lice (4) Flies (5) Death of livestock (6) Boils (7) Hail/fire (8) Locust (9) Darkness (10) Angel of Death (firstborn die).

What significant event began in Exodus 12? Passover.

What significant event occurred in Exodus 14? The parting of the Red Sea — the Lord delivers Israel from the armies of Pharaoh.

What instruction does Jethro give Moses in Chapter 18? He instructs Moses to delegate authority.

What command is given in Exodus 19:5-6? Israel is commanded to obey God’s voice and keep God’s covenant.

What right and privilege is associated with the command given in Exodus 19:5-6? God says they shall be a kingdom of priests and a holy nation.

What is listed in Exodus 20? The Ten Commandments.

What are the Ten Commandments? (1) No other gods before the Lord (2) Make not graven images/idols (3) Do not take the name of Lord in vain (4) Remember the Sabbath (5) Honor father and mother (6) Do not murder (7) Do not commit adultery (8) Do not steal (9) Do not bear false witness (10) Do not covet.

What does Chapters 21-23 cover? The Law of the Covenant.

What important event occurred in Exodus 29? The consecration of the priests.

What rebellious event occurred in Chapter 32? Moses went up on the mountain, but rebellious Israel constructed and worshiped a Golden Calf.

Who was Aaron? Aaron was the first High Priest and was the brother of Moses.

Who was Miriam? Miriam was the sister of Moses. (She led the women in worship/song in Exodus 15.)

Who was Zipporah? Zipporah was the daughter of Jethro, the priest of Midian (Exodus 3:1); she was the wife of Moses (Exodus 2:21).

F.F. Bruce: A Life

A common practice I have adopted is reading Christian biographies and/or autobiographies.

Growing up I had never given Christian biographies and autobiographies much thought, but then my theology professor at university plead with us (his students) to get into the habit of reading Christian biographies and autobiographies. I took his advice to heart and practice, for which I am grateful — I have been thoroughly edified by the simple joy of reading Christian biographies, to say the least. (Reading stories about Saints who have walked faithfully with our Lord is a wonderful way to spend time in leisure.)

All of that as a way to preface my reflections on a (relatively) new biography of F. F. Bruce, who was one of the most well-known and well-respected powerhouse Evangelical Biblical Scholars of the past century.

F. F. Bruce: A Life by Tim Grass is an excellent book.  About a month or two ago I read a book review of the biography in Books & Culture, and I immediately ran over to and purchased the book.

For a biography, I read it very quickly, but only because I realized very early on it that it would be a book I would return to again. Tim Grass has written splendidly, ably sketching the life-story of F. F. Bruce and his work — which is a real treat to all, since this is the first book length biography on Bruce, who was a trained Classicist turned Bible Scholar. Grass closes the book in Chapter 10 – “Legacy and Evaluation” – which proivdes a very thoughtful overview of Bruce’s life and influence.

F. F. Bruce was a godly man, that is indisputable, and this book provides a behind-the-scenes peak into his life, which was very much a private life — Bruce abhorred spiritual exhibitionism. Bruce had a sharp mind, but he was fair, charitable, and irenic. Grass’ biography, therefore, provides an intimate understanding of Bruce’s personal love for God and Scripture and the Church. I encourage all to take up and read this book: Bruce was a very influential Bible Scholar during the 20th-century, and this biography will benefit and contribute to your knowledge of Evangelicalism and Scripture.

One of the things I learned was that F. F. Bruce wrote an autobiography, but it dealt very little with his own life and his work, e.g., “a great deal of [Bruce’s autobiography] was not about himself and his work but about the books he had acquired and the people he had encountered” (ix). Which is to say this is the basis for the real value of this book: this biography breaks new ground, it doesn’t merely repeat and/or reassemble what has been said about Bruce elsewhere.

Also, additional F. F. Bruce kudos: Two years ago I read Bruce’s New Testament History. It was great — Bruce not only had a brilliant mind, but he was a competent author! And I have just begun Bruce’s commentary on the Book of Acts, and I intend to read his autobiography, In Retrospect: Remembrance of Things Past, which was published 10 years before Bruce’s dead in 1990.

Church Year: The Annual Cycle

“Perhaps the most important single characteristic of the annual calendar presupposed by the ecumenical lectionary is its Christological center. The annual sequence of seasons is actually a pairing of two Christ-celebrations: (1) Christmas and (2) Easter, (1) Incarnation and (2) Redemption. The Christmas celebration is prepared for in Advent and reflected in Epiphany. The Easter celebration is prepared for in Lent and reflected in the fifty days following, which climax in Pentecost. In this sense the Christian Year may be described as the annual rehearsal of the history of our salvation accomplished in the birth, death, resurrection, and return of Jesus Christ” (Horace T. Allen Jr., A Handbook for the Lectionary, 25).

Bible Q/A: OT – Genesis

Q/A: OT – Genesis

What is (are) the theme(s) of Genesis? Beginnings, Creation, New Beginnings. The creation of God’s people in Abraham.

In what sense are the respective creation narratives in Genesis 1 and 2 different? Each chapter has its own perspective and focus, the former focus being God’s perspective and the latter focus being man’s perspective.

Where is the Cultural Mandate (aka Dominion Mandate) found? Genesis 1:28.

What do we learn in Genesis 2:24? We learn that a man is to leave his mother and father and cleave to his wife.

What does Genesis 3 cover? It narrates the Fall of man.

What is so important about Genesis 3:15? It is the proto (first, earliest) – gospel (fancy, technical word is protevangelium), it is the first announcement of the redemption to be effected in and through Christ. (This promise called the “mother promise” by Cornelius Van Til.)

What is important about Genesis 3:16? Contains the curse of the woman.

What is important about Genesis 3:17? Contains the curse of Adam.

What is significant about Adam and Eve’s clothing? They were made from animal skins, a shadow affirming the need for blood to be shed to cover/atone for sin (see Leviticus 17:11).

What happens to Adam and Eve in Genesis 3:22-24? They are sent out of the Garden of Eden.

What was Cain’s sin? Cain offered a sacrifice by the sweat of his brow and not by faith (see 1 John 3:12), subsequently he murdered his brother Abel (Genesis 4:8).

Who was the son of Cain? Cain’s son was Enoch, the first man to build a city (Genesis 4:17).

Who is the other Enoch? The other Enoch was a descendant of Seth; he walked with God and God took him (Genesis 5:24).

What does Lamech boast about? He boasts about killing a man (Genesis 4:23-24).

Who was the father of Methuselah? Enoch (Genesis 5:21).

Why did God send a flood? Because man had become thoroughly corrupt and violent (Genesis 6:13, 17).

What does Genesis 6:9 teach about Noah? That Noah was a just man, perfect in his generations, and that he walked with God.

What does Genesis 7:13 denote? It lists the sons of Noah that entered the Ark with him.

Who was Shem? Son of Noah and ancestor of Abraham.

How many days did the flood waters cover the earth? Genesis 7:24 – “The waters prevailed upon the earth an hundred and fifty (150) days.”

With whom does God make a covenant in Genesis 9? God makes a covenant with Abram.

What happens in Genesis 11? Scattering of the nations at the Tower of Babel.

What does Genesis 15:6 teach us about Abram? Abram believed God, counted to him for righteousness

Who is Eliazar? Abram’s heir (before he had sons).

Which acts of God’s judgement are narrated in Genesis 18-19? Judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah

Who are Moab and Benammi? Sons of Lot by his daughters (the fathers of the Moabites and children of Ammon).

What key event occurred in Genesis 22?In obedience, Abraham was going to offer Isaac as a sacrifice — angel of the Lord intercedes and instructs Abraham, “Lay not thine hand upon the lad.”

Who was Rebekah? The wife of Isaac, the mother of the twins Esau and Jacob (Israel).

What does the Lord tell Rebekah in Genesis 25? She is pregnant with Esau and Jacob, and the Lord tells her, “Two nations are in thy womb…the elder [Esau] shall serve the younger [Jacob (Israel)].”

In Genesis 32, why did Jacob give the new name “Peniel” to a place/location?Because at that place Jacob wrestled with God; Jacob named the place Peniel (“facing God”) because he’s saw the appearance of the God and received the Lord’s favor.

Name the wives/concubines of Jacob: Leah, Rachel, Bilhah, and Zilpah.

Who were the sons of Rachel? Joseph and Benjamin.

Who is sold in to slavery in Chapter 37?Joseph is sold by brothers in to slavery.

What is important about the blessing given in Chapter 48? Jacob (Israel) blesses the sons of Joesph, however, Jacob blesses Ephraim (the second born of Joseph) and sets him before his brother Manasseh (the firstborn of Joseph).

Who does Jacob call unto in Chapter 49?Jacob (Israel) called unto his sons; he instructs them and blesses them.