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The commentary demonstrates how to work through the texts of Philippians and Philemon in the light of relevant scholarship but also with the use of one's own critical judgment. While traditional exegetical questions are dealt with, contemporary theological concerns are highlighted, and there is a special effort to probe the social issues that arose in the Pauline churches. Gender roles and slavery are given particular attention as they arise in the texts. Scholarship, now enlightened by greater knowledge of the social structures and relationships of Mediterranean antiquity, is just beginning to explore questions of how women functioned in house-church communities, how early Christians dealt with the institution of slavery, and how slaves were integrated into their communities. To the extent allowed by the commentary format, these questions are given special attention in contributing to an ongoing discussion. "Osiek deftly weaves new rhetorical, social-historical, and social-scientific insights into classical historical and philological research on Philippians and Philemon. She has the special gift of discussing difficult issues in simple language and with great clarity. The result is a remarkable synthesis in which readers of all kinds will come to a deeper understanding not only of these two letters and recent scholarship on them, but of Paul and the ancient world he inhabited." --Dennis C. Duling, Canisius College "Professor Osiek's combination of meticulous scholarship, a profound grasp of the rhetorical and social dimensions of Philippians and Philemon, and her succinct yet limpid style make this commentary a remarkably accomplished and mercifully compact addition to Pauline Studies." --Philip F. Esler, Vice-Principal (Research) and Professor of Biblical Criticism in the University of St. Andrews, Scotland "Osiek's brief commentary is a model of excellent scholarship shared with clarity and with sensitivity to contemporary interpretive issues. The historical and sociological approaches in the hands of Osiek lead to insightful and important comments, for example, on issues related to women (in Philippians) and to slavery (in Philemon). Osiek presents alternative interpretations clearly and fairly and always makes her own case with grace. this is authentic biblical scholarship in the service of all God's people." --David M. Scholer, Professor of New Testament and Associate Dean for the Center for Advanced Theological Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary "Osiek succeeds in combining up-to-date scholarship on the puzzles of Philippians and Philemon along with a clear exposition of the real meaning of Paul's thought. The commentary will be of great value to both the professional and the lay reader." --Vincent Branick, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Dayton
In this volume, Pheme Perkins mines the writings from Nag Hammadi and Qumran for illuminating parallels to Ephesians, showing how a first-century audience would have heard and responded to the various parts of the letter. Under her sure guidance, contemporary readers are led to see the rhetorical power and the theological depth of this pseudonymous letter.
This informative and engaging commentary invites modern readers to "overhear" Paul's letter as if they were present in one of the Galatian house-churches where it was being read for the first time. By setting aside the theological baggage of the centuries that burdens many other interpretations of Galatians, Williams allows the Apostle's own provocative thought to be encountered freshly and appreciated anew in its own terms.
This commentary highlights both the socio-political context of 1 Corinthians and the clash of significantly different religious viewpoints represented by Paul and the congregation he had founded in Corinth. In particular, Richard Horsley shows that this letter provides a window through which one may view the tension between the Corinthians' interest in cultivating individual spirituality and the apostle's concern for building up a social-religious community devoted to the common advantage, for the flourishing both of personal dignity and a humanizing solidarity.
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Mark's genius lies, not in telling a story about Jesus, but in creating conditions under which the reader may experience the peculiar quality of God's good news. The Evangelist hurries one along breathlessly, "immediately," making sure that the reader lurches with the characters into one pothole after another. "What is this new teaching" that consorts with the flagrantly sinful, turning the pious homicidal, intimates into strangers, and mustard seeds into "the greatest of all ... shrubs"? Jesus' closest adherents, the Twelve, are among the most muddled. Who can blame them? They ask for an obscure parable's interpretation and receive an answer even more confounding. They are told to feed thousands with next to nothing. Their boat almost capsizes while their teacher sleeps. As they oar in rough waters, the teacher strides the waves intending to bypass them. Putting the reader in the same boat, Mark structures conversations with Jesus that make little sense, if any. The Twelve are craven, stupid, self-serving, and disobedient: meet the average Christian. Besides, "their hearts were hardened." Who hardens hearts? God. Should not God's Messiah lift the burdens of those following him? What kind of Christ heads to a cross, handing his disciples another for themselves. "Do you not yet understand?" from the Introduction
In a striking departure from customary readings of the Acts of the Apostles as the story of the growth of the church, Gaventa argues that Luke's second volume has to do with nothing less than the activity of God. From the beginning of the story at Jesus' Ascension and extending until well past the final report of Paul's activity in Rome, Luke narrates a relentlessly theological story, in which matters of institutional history or biography play only an incidental role. Gaventa pays careful attention to Luke's story of God, as well as to the numerous characters who set themselves in opposition to God's plan.
Many resources have been written to offer assistance in exploring and understanding the lectionary texts for the purpose of preaching. However, few have sought to provide this kind of preaching commentary on texts that do not follow the lectionary's grouping. For those whose preaching does not customarily follow the lectionary, and for those who depart from the lectionary text during certain periods of the year, little guidance has been offered for how to select, and preach on, important biblical texts. The Ten Commandments: A Preaching Commentary, the first book in The Great Texts series, gives guidance to preachers on preaching about this central part of faith. The principles by which volumes in The Great Texts series have been chosen are primarily two-fold: (1) Thematic: Texts on certain overarching themes or ideas of the Christian faith are brought together; (2) Biblical/traditional: Texts that have long been recognized as belonging together, and as being particularly beneficial to the work of preaching.
This helpful one-volume commentary resource provides brief preaching commentaries and prayers for worship for the first Sunday in Advent through Epiphany of the Lord (Years A, B, and C). This book includes: lectionary readings for each Sunday and Holy Day in the season; three sermon briefs for each Sunday in Advent and the Sunday after Christmas; sermon briefs for Christmas, Christmas Eve, and the Day of Epiphany; creative prayers for each Sunday and Holy Day in the season; scripture index.
An Introduction to the Gospels is designed to be a textbook for courses on the Gospels, for use at the college and beginning seminary level. Reflecting the most recent scholarship and written in an accessible style, the volume covers all four of the Gospels, including a survey of "the world of the Gospels".The book opens with a discussion of the origin, development, and interrelationships of the Four Gospels. After a chapter-length treatment of each canonical Gospel and the non-canonical Gospels, the work concludes with a discussion of the "historical Jesus" debate.In An Introduction to the Gospels, Mitchell G. Reddish: - provides a solid, convenient survey of the Gospels in an accessible textbook format- presents up-to-date scholarship in a field that has been dominated by older texts- gives a balanced presentation of the content of the Gospels
Taking his point of departure from the newest frontier of research, McCann reads the psalms in the context of their final shape and canonical form. He interprets the psalms as scripture as well as in their character as songs, prayers, and poetry from Israel's history. McCann's intent is to contribute to the church's recovery of the psalms as torah--as instruction, as a guide to prayer, praise of God, and pious living. The explicit connections which McCann draws from the psalms to the New Testament and to Christian faith and life are extensive, making his work suitable for serious study of the psalms in academic and in church settings. An appendix examines the tradition of singing the psalms and offers suggestions for the use of the psalms in worship.
The Interpreting Biblical Texts series presents a concise edition covering the seven undisputed epistles of Paul. In this volume, Charles Cousar is primarily concerned not with the man Paul and his life and work, but with his surviving letters. Part 1 introduces methods in reading the Pauline letters. Part 2 attends to the critical themes emerging in the letters--the decisiveness of Jesus Christ and old versus new life. Part 3 discusses the other six letters bearing Paul's name that appear in the New Testament.
In this volume, R. Alan Culpepper considers both the Gospel and the Letters of John. The book begins with a close look at the relationship between John and the Synoptics and a summary of John's distinctive thought and language. The second chapter addresses the fascinating issues regarding the origins of the Gospel and the letters: authorship, sources, and composition. The history of the Johannine community is reviewed in chapter three. Chapter four interprets the plot of the Gospel and prepares the student to read John as literature by providing a brief orientation to narrative criticism. The fifth chapter turns to more traditional concerns: John as theology. This chapter provides a digest of the Christology, theology, and eschatology of John. The sixth through the eighth chapters, the heart of the book, guide the student through a reading of the Gospel. The ninth chapter serves as an introduction to the Letters, noting especially their relationship to the Gospel. Each letter is treated in turn. The final chapter examines the challenges and potential of the Johannine literature as documents of faith. "In previous writings Alan Culpepper has shown himself to be one of the best Johannine scholars of our time. He not only conveniently draws together his research but also shows himself to be an excellent teacher." --Raymond E. Brown
This volume is written for anyone who--for whatever reason--is drawn to the New Testament. It is also for those who are not so drawn, for it is written out of the conviction that good readers need to be formed. Anyone can read the Bible; no particular level of education is required, but readers need to learn what to look for in stories that may seem distant and strange. The long tradition of reading the Scriptures in the church is not the enemy in such an enterprise, but audiences change, and the Bible must be heard and wrestled with in each new situation. This volume focuses on the Gospel according to Mark, probably the first of the four Gospels to be written. It has received the least attention of the four in the history of the church. The explosion of Markan scholarship in the last decades tells a fascinating story that is not the focus of this study but informs it. The result of intense engagement with Mark within and outside the academic community has not achieved a meeting of the minds. Mark's Gospel does not easily yield its secrets. It is the case, however, that conversing about Mark has been enormously interesting and productive for the church as well as the academy. This volume is written to open readers to its remarkable story. Where engagement will finally lead remains as unpredictable and as promising as the Gospel itself.
Biblical texts create worlds of meaning and invite readers to enter them. When readers enter such textual worlds, which are often strange and complex, they are confronted with theological claims. With this in mind, the purpose of the Interpreting Biblical Texts series is to help dedicated students in their experience of reading and interpreting by providing guides for their journeys into textual worlds. The controlling perspective is expressed in the operative word of the title: interpreting. The primary focus of the series is not so much on the world behind the texts or out of which the texts have arisen as on the worlds created by the texts in their engagement with readers. In this volume, Donald Senior provides an up-to-date introduction to the Gospel of Matthew. The seven chapters of Part One focus on modern biblical scholarship and the interpretation of Matthew, discussing the sources and structure of the Gospel, its use of the Old Testament, its understanding of Jewish Law, its setting as a part of the mission of Christianity to the Gentiles, its Christology, its understanding of the nature of discipleship, and the community from which the Gospel originated. The six chapters of Part Two provide a structured guide to reading and interpreting Matthew's Gospel.
In this volume, Richard J. Clifford seeks to make the biblical wisdom literature intelligible to modern readers. It is easy to quote the occasional proverb, say a few things about "the problem of evil" in Job, or quote "vanity of vanities, " but far more rewarding to read the whole book with an appreciative and informed eye. Opening chapters of The Wisdom Literature comment on the striking similarities between ancient and modern "wisdom literature" and on the comparable literature from ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Canaan. Thereafter, a chapter is devoted to each biblical wisdom book (Proverbs, Job, Ecclesiastes, Song of Songs, Sirach, and Wisdom of Solomon), studying not only its content but also its rhetoric -- how it engages the reader.
In The Historical Books, Richard D. Nelson introduces neophyte readers to the basic concepts of history and historical writing and provides a simple framework of events and periods that can be used to situate historical data reported in texts or presupposed by them. Standard interpretive methods are accessibly explained and illustrated by consistent reference to 2 Samuel 24. The focus of discussion moves from the narrow level of individual pericope to larger units of meaning. Because the ultimate goal is to expose the claims made on the reader by these biblical texts and to help the reader make sense of these claims, the interpretive spotlight rests on the present interaction of text and reader rather than on the past.
This handbook provides thorough introductory articles on important themes in Christian theology. Along with cross-references and select bibliographies, it is an indispensable reference source. The Handbook consists of 148 topical entries arranged alphabetically. Instead of a Table of Contents, a "Routes For Reading" page suggests related entries, and cross-referencing makes 'surfing' this volume easier than ever.
This collection of sermons explores the age-old question of why a loving God allows suffering to visit His children. Tull encourages readers to ask why in good times as well as in difficult ones, to examine God's eternal presence in times of blessed joy as well as during sorrow and care. He emphasizes scriptures and anecdotes that illustrate God's comfort and grace during all situations in our lives.
Pastors will keep this book--its hints, its chuckles, its struggles--close at hand. You never know when you'll get one of those dreaded questions. They are always just around the corner. Even when things are going swimmingly for the pastor, a these dreaded questions are waiting in the wings. They might come from a tear-stained child , a gruff, "You'll have to show me" member, or from a desperate Sunday School teacher. The zinger comes and the pastor, aware that two thousand years of Christian thought have not generated a simple "I'm glad you asked" answer, most respond. The dreaded ten: (1) Is my Jewish neighbor going to hell? (2) Why did God let my kitten, Fluffy, die? (3) What do you mean, you changed the light bulb that Grandma gave the church? (4) Why doesn't your wife sing in the choir? (5) Who are you going to vote for, Reverend? (6) Why are you leaving us for another church? Don't you like us? (7) Why do you pick hymns no one knows? (8) Why do we keep sending off money for missions? (9) Why can't we use Christmas red on the altar table during December? (10) Are all "acts of God" acts of God?F. Belton Joyner Jr. is a retired United Methodist pastor and author of The Unofficial UM Handbooks and Being Methodist in the Bible Belt: A Theological Survival Guide for Youth, Parents, and Other Confused Methodists and many other books. Currently, he is a visiting lecturer at Duke Divinity School and member of Judicial Council of The United Methodist Church. He lives in Bahama, North Carolina.
In his best-selling book, 24 Hours that Changed the World, pastor and popular author Adam Hamilton helped readers relive the one day in history that changed everything. Hamilton invites readers and viewers to experience and understand the significance of Jesus' final hours. Based on this popular series by Adam Hamilton, 24 Hours That Changed the World For Youth offers an age-appropriate perspectve on the fnal day in Jesus' life on earth.
How can something be created from nothing? How does Genesis relate to the New Testament and Christian faith? In this eight-week study, homiletics professor and pastor J. Ellsworth Kalas approaches Genesis as a very personal and almost intimate book. Instead of viewing it as an academic study or as a puzzle to be solved, the author reads Genesis in a very personal, up-close way. Easy-to-follow, step-by-step suggestions for leading a group are provided, as well as questions to facilitate class discussion. Immersion, inspired by a fresh translation--the Common English Bible--stands firmly on Scripture and helps readers explore the emotional, spiritual, and intellectual needs of their personal faith. More importantly, they'll be able to discover God's revelation through readings and reflections.
Imagine a life of true happiness, a life of complete honesty with God. Through this study of the Scriptures, you learn how to live a life of gratitude while producing actions that honor God. Easy-to-follow, step-by-step suggestions for leading a group are provided as well as questions to facilitate class discussion. This eight-week volume is part of the Immersion Bible Studies series. Inspired by a fresh translation, the Common English Bible (CEB), Immersion stands firmly on Scripture and helps you explore the emotional, spiritual, and intellectual needs of your personal faith. Whether you are using the CEB or another translation, Immersion will offer new insights into God's Word, your own life, and your life with God. Psalms features eight sessions.
The end times. How should I approach such a topic? With hopefulness? intimidation? Do I even understand it? What does it mean to me? Immersion Bible Studies - Revelation helps answer the questions that often leave most readers puzzled. Over the course of this eight-week study, it will deepen the reader's knowledge of this challenging but important book of the Bible and find hope through the revelation of Jesus Christ. Easy to follow, step-by-step suggestions for leading a group are provided as well as questions to facilitate class discussion. Immersion, inspired by a fresh translation--the Common English Bible--stands firmly on Scripture and helps readers explore the emotional, spiritual, and intellectual needs of their personal faith. More importantly, they'll be able to discover God's revelation through readings and reflections.
Most people live with a cacophony of voices demanding attention--from work and family to telemarketers and movie myths--voices inside and voices outside all saying, "Do this!" Hebrews invites each reader to listen to God. More specifically, everyone should listen to God's ultimate messenger, Jesus. Immersion: Hebrews invites readers to do just that and prepares them to hear with an open heart. Easy to follow, step-by-step suggestions for leading a group are provided as well as questions to facilitate group discussion. Immersion, inspired by a fresh translation--the Common English Bible--stands firmly on Scripture and helps readers explore the emotional, spiritual, and intellectual needs of their personal faith. More importantly, they'll be able to discover God's revelation through readings and reflections.