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.

Apr 27, 2018

Regarding academic journal articles, part 3--Journals that can be spiritually beneficial

In previous posts (here and here), I have discussed the importance of journal articles for academic research, including the top evangelical journals and the top journals for biblical academia overall (a ranking that is open to constant revision!). Now I'd like to discuss something a bit outside "normal" academia, namely specific journals that can challenge you spiritually (and by "challenge you spiritually," I don't mean "Good gravy, that's the worst heresy this side of Marcion! I must immediately post something on social media comparing it to Nazis!"; instead, I mean "Possess the potential to help me become a better servant of Jesus Christ").

1. Themelios: available here. My hat is off to this journal for offering an excellent blend of academic and practical. Although not devoid of solid academic articles (I'm thinking especially of Edward Glenny's ground-breaking discussion of different theological approaches to the LXX), this journal consistently publishes material that is meant to speak directly to the Christian's spiritual life. It trends towards the Reformed-Calvinistic side, but nonetheless has very helpful material even for those not of that theological persuasion (including myself!). Case in point: D. A. Carson ("the Albert Pujols of New Testament scholarship" [you may quote me on that]) writes an excellent mediation on "Subtle Ways to Abandon the Authority of Scripture in Our Lives."

2. Emmaus Journal: once again, an excellent hybrid of academic material and practical theology, published by the faculty of Emmaus Bible College. Back issues up until 2012 (as of this moment) are available on Galaxie Software. EMJ consistently deals with practical, church-oriented matters. Case in point: volume 13.2 (2004), the dialogue between Jay Swisher and Lisa Beatty on "What Kind of Music Does God Like?" (I greatly appreciate Lisa Beatty's gentle corrective to Jay Swisher that music being "intelligible" is very important!). Another example: David J. MacLeod in vol 21.1 (Summer 2012) offers a theological and practical discussion on Christian singleness (a discussion that has been often neglected).

3. Faith & Mission: this used to be the official journal of my own alma mater, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. It is no longer published, and has been more-or-less replaced by the Southeastern Theological Review, which probably has higher academic standards (and, too be fair, STR itself quite often has excellent articles). However, F&M had some excellent practical-minded, church-oriented articles, especially in the 2000s after the completion of the conservative resurgence. I think, for example, of David R. Beck's helpful theological and practical study of "Evangelism in Luke and Acts" in the Spring 2003 issue of Faith & Mission (vol. 20.2). F&M provides solid examples of scholarship combined with readability and practical value.

Plenty of other practically-minded journals exist, of course (for example, Journal for Biblical Manhood and Womanhood and Priscilla Papers both focus on the relationship of men and women and how that plays out in the church and in the home, although the two journals approach the matter from two radically different perspectives!). Furthermore, even among top-tier mainstream journals, occasionally an article will crop up that has practical ramifications. For example, the [in my humble-but-correct opinion] excellent article by Hae-Kyung Chang, "The Christian Life in a Dialectical Tension? Romans 7:7-25 Reconsidered" in Novum Testamentum 49 (2007), on the second page of the article, makes it clear that Chang's exegesis is directly concerned with the practical-theological ramifications of this passage for Christian counseling. [And, for the record, Chang's article convinced me of his position, broadly speaking; thus I cite his article favorably in my dialogue with Steven Cowan in JETS vol. 55.4].

In conclusion, "academic study vs. spiritual application" can be a false dichotomy. Reading academically may, in fact, benefit you spiritually.

On the humorous side, I conclude with this excellent quote by John Wesley, which I found in Dr. Beck's article discussed above. Wesley once received a letter from a man saying "The Lord has told me to tell you that he doesn't need your book learning, your Greek and your Hebrew." Wesley responded:
"Thank you sir. Your letter was superfluous, however, as I already knew the Lord has no need of my 'book-learning' as you put it. Howeveralthough the Lord has not directed me to say soon my own responsibility I would like to say to you that the Lord does not need your ignorance either."

Apr 5, 2018

A Mention of the 1950 Wheaton College Revival in David Pao's Colossians Commentary

This year, I have the privilege of teaching "Reading and Syntax of the Prison Epistles" at the seminary level. I allow my students to choose which "track" they want to go on, which determines their textbook, their assignments, and even their final exam. For those who take the Ephesians track, I require  they purchase the commentaries by Harold Hoehner (standalone) and Clinton Arnold (Zondervan Exegetical), though I also require a certain amount of reading from Markus Barth's Anchor Bible commentary. For Philippians, I require Gordon Fee's classic NICNT commentary (still worth its weight in gold) as well as the revised WBC by Hawthorne and Martin. For Colossians, I require Douglas Moo's Pillar commentary and David Pao's Zondervan Exegetical Commentary.

Now, Baptist College of Ministry and Falls Baptist Church are revival-oriented, and I'd occasionally heard mention of a key student revival that had taken place at Wheaton College in 1950. I was surprised and delighted to find that David Pao actually discusses (in a positive way) this event in his fairly recent commentary. Even more significantly, he quotes a student from that era, a quote that provides evidence that this was not just a wide-spread emotional experience, but rather an event which had tangible results:
"Of the senior class, one-third of us became foreign missionaries. That's the only class in the history of the school with such a percentage. Other classes had one missionary or two or three. We had one hundred, and I think that's a very telling fact" (quoted on page 179 of Pao's commentary).

I do not, of course, have time on this blog to provide a deep exegetical or theological discussion on the nature of revival. I do want to say two things in closing, however: 1. the proof of any real work of the Spirit among the people of God will involve tangible results that benefit the local church or expand the kingdom; and 2. kudos to David Pao for a solid commentary that very much cares about the practical application of exegesis.