Saturday, April 21, 2018

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (An Emphasis on Divine Comfort)

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (SBLGNT): Εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ πατὴρ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν καὶ θεὸς πάσης παρακλήσεως, 4 ὁ παρακαλῶν ἡμᾶς ἐπὶ πάσῃ τῇ θλίψει ἡμῶν, εἰς τὸ δύνασθαι ἡμᾶς παρακαλεῖν τοὺς ἐν πάσῃ θλίψει διὰ τῆς παρακλήσεως ἧς παρακαλούμεθα αὐτοὶ ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ. 5 ὅτι καθὼς περισσεύει τὰ παθήματα τοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς ἡμᾶς, οὕτως διὰ τοῦ Χριστοῦ περισσεύει καὶ ἡ παράκλησις ἡμῶν. 6 εἴτε δὲ θλιβόμεθα, ὑπὲρ τῆς ὑμῶν παρακλήσεως καὶ σωτηρίας· [a]εἴτε παρακαλούμεθα, ὑπὲρ τῆς ὑμῶν παρακλήσεως τῆς ἐνεργουμένης ἐν ὑπομονῇ τῶν αὐτῶν παθημάτων ὧν καὶ ἡμεῖς πάσχομεν, 7 καὶ ἡ ἐλπὶς ἡμῶν βεβαία ὑπὲρ [b]ὑμῶν· εἰδότες ὅτι [c]ὡς κοινωνοί ἐστε τῶν παθημάτων, οὕτως καὶ τῆς παρακλήσεως.

"Note that the word 'comfort,' as a noun or a verb, occurs ten times in this passage. It has the connotations of encouragement and strength as well as consolation" (Philip B. Harner, An Inductive Approach to Biblical Study, 100).

Also notice how Paul elsewhere uses words for comfort in his second letter to the Corinthians.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Attributive Genitive (Wallace)

Daniel B. Wallace (Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, pp. 78-88) explains that in the case of the attributive genitive, "The genitive substantive specifies an attribute or innate quality of the head substantive. It is similar to a simple adjective in its semantic force, though more emphatic: it 'expresses quality like an adjective indeed, but with more sharpness and distinctness.'"

The last part of that quote is taken from A.T. Robertson's big grammar.

As Wallace points out, the genitive itself (whether possessive or descriptive, etc.) is grammatically substantival, but semantically adjectival; that is, the genitive functions like an adjective, although it is formally a substantive (i.e., a noun).

See Luke 16:9; Romans 6:6 for potential examples.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Joel Green on Luke 17:21

Joel B. Green explains:

Attempts to read Luke's ἐντὸς ὑμῶν as a reference to the inward, spiritual dynamic of the kingdom of God (e.g., Caragounis, “Kingdom of God?” 423–24) find ready adherents in this age of psychology and individualism here in the West. But they falter especially on the grounds that (1) nowhere else in Luke-Acts is the dominion of God regarded as an inner, spiritual reality; and (2) the notion that the Pharisees contain within themselves the kingdom of God is inconsistent with the Lukan portrayal of persons from this Jewish group. For the usage of ἐντός + plural object with the sense “among,” see the survey in Mattill, Last Things, 203–7. Cf. Lebourlier, “Entos hymōn”; Maddox, Purpose, 134; Carroll, End of History, 79. An alternative translation is grammatically possible and makes sense within this co-text—namely, “within your purview” (cf. the related views of Darr, Character Building, 11314; Beasley-Murray, Kingdom of God, 102–3).

See The Gospel of Luke, page 1607.

Source: https://www.scribd.com/book/276704356/The-Gospel-of-Luke

The Baker Compact Dictionary of Biblical Studies (A Review)

Tremper Longman III and Mark L. Strauss. The Baker Compact Dictionary of Biblical Studies. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2018.

I'm amazed at how useful this concise dictionary is. One usually encounters numerous technical terms in academic biblical studies: many of the words tend to perplex unseasoned readers. Even those of us who have become acclimated to reading professional biblical studies may find ourselves confounded by theological vocabulary or termini technici associated with scriptural studies.

The new work written by Longman III and Strauss provides definitions for unfamiliar terms and it contains entries for place names, personal names, academic specialties, and the definitions are clear and specific. Not only do the authors discuss strictly biblical topics or words, but even words that apply to the ancient world at large are found in the dictionary. For example, an informative paragraph about the Epicureans not only defines the word, but says that Epicurus was a materialist who believed that matter and space exist--bodies and motion--but nothing else.

There is not much written about Shekinah, other than the term is rabbinic and derives from a Hebrew verb meaning "to dwell." The book provides more information for the word "Ketuvim." An acronym for the Hebrew Bible is Tanakh (also spelled Tanach or Tanak): these letters stand for Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible), Nevi'im (the Prophets), and Ketuvim refers to "the Writings." Which books comprise the Nevi'im and the Ketuvim? The Baker Compact Dictionary supplies accurate and helpful definitions for each one of these words.

While I by no means endorse everything that this dictionary asserts, readers of academic biblical literature will be hard pressed to find a resource that has this much content for such a low price. I also want to thank Baker Books for sending me a review copy of this publication; I was not under obligation to give a favorable review.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

DOXA in Exodus and Ezekiel LXX

Exod. 16:10 proclaims that Jehovah's glory "appeared" in the cloud--it was some kind of visible manifestation. Compare Exod. 13:21; 16:7; 24:16; 40:34-35; Numbers 16:42; Ezekiel 3:23. Ezekiel 43:2 states that the earth shone because of God's glory.

It's hard for me to understand how one can deny that YHWH's glory in Ezekiel 1:28 is visible, bright, and overwhelming to the prophet. I also do not necessarily see the brilliance restricted to lightning in the verse: "The meaning is, In the brightness, or light, that was about what I saw, was the appearance of the rainbow" (Benson Commentary).

2 Cor. 3:18 mentions beholding the Lord's glory-DOXA "as in a glass" (KJV) which again connotes visibility on some level. Furthermore, Paul urges that "we" are changed "into the same image from glory to glory" by the spirit of God.

This page contains plenty of information on DOXA: https://www.studylight.org/lexicons/greek/gwview.cgi?n=1391

The rendering "glory" is vague, but the basic idea is still conveyed that the word DOXA potentially refers to external splendor, an outward manifestation of brilliance, etc.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

John 1:29 and "Sin"

Τῇ ἐπαύριον βλέπει τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἐρχόμενον πρὸς αὐτὸν καὶ λέγει· ἴδε ὁ ἀμνὸς τοῦ θεοῦ ὁ αἴρων τὴν ἁμαρτίαν τοῦ κόσμου. (John 1:29 NA28)

" The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (ESV)

Why does 1:29 say τὴν ἁμαρτίαν (singular) instead of the plural form "sins"?

Robert Mounce: Temple, 1:24, writes that John uses the singular (“sin”) because there is only one sin and it is characteristic of the entire world, “the self-will which prefers ‘my’ way to God's— which puts ‘me’ in the centre where only God is in place.”

See Mounce, Robert H.. John (The Expositor's Bible Commentary) (Kindle Locations 1758-1760). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Stanley Porter believes that 1:29 uses the singular form "to represent sin in its collective sense" (John, His Gospel, and Jesus, page 210). Compare Westcott (John, 1:40).

Rogers and Rogers claim the singular form appears in 1:29 in order to reference "the mass of sin and the subsequent guilt incurred (Godet; Hoskyns)."

On the other hand, before reading too much into the singular, maybe one should compare 1 John 3:5 and other texts that speak of the Lamb (Jesus) taking "sins" away.

Friday, April 06, 2018

David Stewart and Arguments for God's Existence

David Stewart and Arguments for God's Existence

1. William Paley uses the complexity of a watch and its parts along with order and motion to suggest an intelligent designer.

2. The world and its order are being compared to artifacts that exemplify design, intelligence and mechanical skill.

3. A watch or another artifact might be imperfect; for example, a watch might seldom tell the correct time or sometime fail to work properly. Nevertheless, one might still arrive at the conclusion that watches have designers, albeit imperfect ones. (p. 145)

4. Most people would not be inclined to believe that a watch just came to be organized in the form of a watch by an impersonal "principle of order" (p. 146); watches do not assume their respective forms by chance or random events (p. 146). Compare Heb. 3:4.

5. Another way to confront secular views of God is by emphasizing problematic features of things that infinitely regress (p. 148). See the first and second "way" of Aquinas' cosmological argument. If the universe has always existed and did not have a beginning, it would be an example of infinite regression. However, what are the chances that the cosmos infinitely regresses?

6. Immanuel Kant possibly makes a case for God or a supreme being by appealing to the existence of morality and ethics (p. 154). Is it possible for morality to exist without God? See Romans 2:14-15.

See David Stewart, Exploring the Philosophy of Religion, Seventh Edition (London and Toronto: Prentice Hall, 2010), ISBN: 978-0-205-64519-0.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

John 14:1-Interacting with Scholarship and the Greek Text

Μὴ ταρασσέσθω ὑμῶν ἡ καρδία· πιστεύετε εἰς τὸν θεόν, καὶ εἰς ἐμὲ πιστεύετε. (John 14:1 SBLGNT)

This verse is part of the Upper Room Discourse given by Jesus to his apostles on the night before his sacrificial death. Jesus encouraged his disciples not to let their hearts be troubled although he possibly meant "stop being troubled" (Robert H. Mounce). What would help the disciples of Jesus to avoid becoming faith of heart? His next words provide the answer:

"Trust in God, trust also in me." Moreover, according to Mounce:

Jesus is saying to his disciples, “You do trust in God; therefore trust also in me [pisteuete, “trust,” GK 4409, can be taken as indicative or imperative in either clause]. Have I not yet convinced you that I and my Father are one [10:30; cf. 17: 21– 23]? If the Father is worthy of your trust, so also is the Son.” In light of this, then, Jesus urges, “You must not let yourselves be distressed” (Phillips).

Mounce, Robert H. John (The Expositor's Bible Commentary) (Kindle Locations 6942-6944). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Mounce understands the first πιστεύετε to be indicative while he thinks the second πιστεύετε is imperative although he points out that either occurrence of the verb could be indicative or imperative. What difference does the verb's mood make?

Again, quoting Mounce:

The interpretation of v. 1b adopted above takes the first πιστεύετε (pisteuete, GK 4409) as indicative and the second as imperative. Since both can be indicative or imperative in either location (plus the fact that the first may be taken as a question), a rather confusing number of possibilities are available. Jesus is about to be rejected by the nation’s leaders as the promised Messiah, and this event will expose the disciples’ faith to an extreme test. So he encourages them that since they do believe in God they are also to maintain their belief in him, regardless of his coming rejection and death.

Mounce, Robert H.. John (The Expositor's Bible Commentary) (Kindle Locations 7048-7052). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Mounce, Robert H.. John (The Expositor's Bible Commentary) (Kindle Locations 7052-7053). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

W. Harris Hall offers these comments on the grammatical questions in John 14:1

"The translation of the two uses of pisteuete is difficult. Both may be either indicative or imperative, and as Morris points out, this results in a bewildering variety of possibilities.118 To complicate matters further the first may be understood as a question: 'Do you believe in God? Believe also in me.' Morris argues against the AV (KJV) translation which renders the first pisteuete as indicative and the second as imperative on the grounds that for the writer of the Fourth Gospel, faith in Jesus is inseparable from faith in God."

See https://bible.org/seriespage/17-exegetical-commentary-john-14#P2669_459385

D.A. Carson also discusses the Upper Room Discourse although he calls it, "the Farewell Discourse." One thing I like about Carson's treatment of John 14:1 is that he links Philippians 4:6-7 with the verse: we might also associate Colossians 3:15 in this case. On the other hand, I must offer some critical remarks regarding Carson's exposition of this passage.

Carson believes the indicative/imperative question is "incidental" from one perspective since "in either case Jesus is linking himself directly with God" (page 20). He reckons that John 14:1 constitutes a transparent "claim to deity." His reasoning is that all first-century Jews knew they had to trust in God, but what Jew would put trust in a man the same way that he/she trusted in God (YHWH)? Besides, at some point, a man is going to disappoint us and dash our hopes somehow. But Jesus would never let us down or disappoint us (1 Peter 2:6).

See D.A. Carson, The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus: An Evangelical Exposition of John 14-17. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1980; Repackaged Edition published in 2018.

Response: Carson imports large assumptions into his exposition of John 14:1. The verse doesn't exactly declare, "trust in me like you trust in God." Christ just urges his disciples to trust in God and his Son. The verse could be read from the perspective of agency, that is, one could reason that Christ is the agent of God sent to accomplish the divine will. He is the holy one of God (the Messiah), but not necessarily God himself (John 6:69; 17:3). Yes, I'm aware of John 1:1c. But that verse needs to be exegeted with care. Carson and Mounce will not agree, but I see a conceptual parallel between John 14:1 and 2 Chronicles 20:20:

καὶ ὤρθρισαν πρωὶ καὶ ἐξῆλθον εἰς τὴν ἔρημον Θεκωε καὶ ἐν τῷ ἐξελθεῖν ἔστη Ιωσαφατ καὶ ἐβόησεν καὶ εἶπεν ἀκούσατέ μου Ιουδα καὶ οἱ κατοικοῦντες ἐν Ιερουσαλημ ἐμπιστεύσατε ἐν κυρίῳ θεῷ ὑμῶν καὶ ἐμπιστευθήσεσθε ἐμπιστεύσατε ἐν προφήτῃ αὐτοῦ καὶ εὐοδωθήσεσθε (LXX).


Note on Rhetorical Devices:

It appears that John 14:1 employs a rhetorical device. Notice the syntax, πιστεύετε εἰς τὸν θεόν, καὶ εἰς ἐμὲ πιστεύετε.

I might reword the structure like this: "trust in God (A) and in me (B) trust." Observe that "trust" (a verb) begins and ends the clause. We apparently have a chiastic arragement in 14:1 that not only begins and ends with "trust, but uses verbs and prepositional phrases in a rhetorical manner. See https://www.academia.edu/9686371/Chiastic_Structures_in_Hebrews_A_Study_of_Form_and_Function_in_Biblical_Discourse