Purpose:

The Paroikos Bible Blog exists as a resource to those interested in Biblical studies and Koine Greek. It is hoped that this blog will simultaneously provide food-for-thought to the reader while pointing him or her in the direction of valuable resources, both in print and on the internet, that will further help his or her studies in the Word.

Jan 28, 2014

Academic journals accessible online: Part 1

Call me old-fashioned, but I prefer an actual book in my hands rather than one of them “new-fangled” I-pads or what-not. Nevertheless, when it comes to research in Biblical studies, the majority of folks probably aren’t going to live close enough to a decent library to access some of the better evangelical (and secular) journals that deal with Biblical research. Fortunately, many top-notch journals have started making their articles available on-line. Since the point of this blog is to function as a resource for those interested in Biblical studies, I am going to list and discuss some of the more important journals and link to their websites.

This topic will be posted in three separate sections. Today’s post will deal with the evangelical and accessible (but important) journals that contain articles which even less-formally educated Christians might be interested in. The second post will deal more with more specialized journals (as well as secular journals) that focus on a particular section of Biblical studies but are essential for serious academic work.  Finally, the third post will deal with obscure and foreign language journals that doctoral students should be familiar with.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
To access articles, click here.
This journal allows anybody to look at articles up until the most recently published. So, at the time of this writing, anybody has access to all articles through 2010.
The strength of JETS is that it covers a broad range of topics associated with evangelical life and theology, from justification in the New Testament to a recent article on Biblical literacy in Ireland to a call for more academics to go teach in foreign countries (written by a friend of mine).

Tyndale Bulletin
To access articles, click here.
This is the cream of the crop of evangelical scholarship. Like JETS, anybody can access all but the most recent journals. Unfortunately, the free archives stop at 2007. You can download an article in either Word or PDF format.

Themelios
To access articles, click here.
This journal is strictly an on-line journal (though initially it was paper-and-ink), and is actually now run by The Gospel Coalition. All articles are available for free in PDF format. The strength of this journal is that, in addition to more academic articles, it also includes discussions of a more practical nature (e.g., the April 2013 issue has an article by Eric Ortlund entitled “The Pastoral Implications of Wise and Foolish Speech in the Book of Proverbs”). As such, this journal caters to all Christians more than any other journal on this list.

Science and Christian Belief
To access articles, click here.
British journal run by “Christians in Science” and “The Victoria Institute.” Anybody can access its articles except for the past 5 years. Though not an evangelical journal per se (and much of the writers are theistic evolutionists), this journal contains many beneficial articles including the recently published very moving personal testimony by J├╝rgen Moltmann, and an excellent article by R. J. Berry dealing with “Adam” as representing a real person (and its importance for Paul’s theology in Romans). Also, this is a great place to read some top scientists and philosophers (e.g., Polkinghorne, who is both!) discuss issues in their field.


Bulletin for Biblical Research
To access articles, click here.
Another solid, broadly evangelical journal. Anybody can access all but the last 4 years of articles.

Detroit Seminary Journal
To access articles, click here.
Most journals associated with a specific school don’t seem to want to share them online (see below), but fortunately Detroit Baptist Seminary is an exception. By the way, this is the only self-identifying fundamentalist journal that consistently puts out scholarly articles on par with, or at least within the ballpark of, the other journals on this page. It is also the best source to go to if you want to learn more about the history of, and issues within, fundamentalism.

I also wanted to list here Bibliotheca Sacra, Westminster Theological Journal, and Trinity Journal, but those three are all associated with a particular school and do not offer free access to their articles (though at least Westminster offers a few “sample” articles you can download).

Some final thoughts: Unlike popular level articles, most books, and personal blogs (including this one), academic journal articles represent hours of critical research and a thesis that attempts to make a contribution to scholarship. What you read in, say, Tyndale Bulletin may not be the most original thought in the world (“nothing new under the sun” and all that), but it will be a usually be a higher-quality thought than you will be get elsewhere. Furthermore, these articles are (usually) peer-reviewed. That means that (in theory, at least) one does not get published on the basis of their name alone; they must actually have something interesting to say. Conversely, a totally unknown person can get published, if they have something to say that makes a genuine contribution to scholarship. These journals have anonymous referees (almost always established scholars) that weed out shoddy work. There is some subjectivity involved (I can attest to that: one journal rejected a paper that another journal accepted a couple months later), but overall this is where significant theological discussions begin.

Despite the rigorous scholarship behind these journals, they can still benefit ministry. I have more than once incorporated findings of a journal article into my own Sunday School lessons or sermons (being careful not to pass off somebody else’s idea or quote as mine), while occasionally a journal article will actually challenge or encourage me spiritually. In other words, academic research and spiritual edification are not mutually exclusive!!

One more note: “academic” does not necessarily mean “jargon-filled.” This will actually depend upon the author. And you don’t have to read an article through all the way to benefit from it, either. Skimming can give you just enough food-for-thought and get the theological portion of your brain humming.. If, however, you intend to critically interact with an article, make sure you read it thoroughly, more than once. I can’t stress that enough. Plagiarism and misrepresentation are the two great sins of academic thought!

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