Monthly Archive for January, 2009

CBD Purchases-Croy’s Greek and The Expositor’s Bible Commentary

Some people wanted to know which beginning Greek book I was going to go with after reading Greek For The Rest Of Us. Although I briefly mentioned what I would be getting in a previous post, on Monday I ordered Croy’s A Primer of Biblical Greek because it’s deductive in style and deals a little bit with the Septuagint. And Mike and Esteban recommend it.

I used a gift card and had just a bit left over and came across this–
The Expositor’s Bible Commentary: Introductory Articles, Volume 1 for only $5. I’m sure I saw this mentioned on another blog but can’t remember where. Even though it’s a little old, with names like Bruce and Metzger among many others, I felt I couldn’t go wrong at that price. My library is sorely lacking in reference works other than NT commentaries.

I thought I would mention it in case anyone else might be interested.

Quote of the Day: Theology


Theology is faith seeking understanding, but understanding is more than theoretical. If we really grasp who and where we are as disciples, we should know how to live out our faith. All too often, however, the church professes its faith but is unsure how to practice it. Even some of my seminary students come to theology classes somewhat reluctantly, assuming that doctrine is neither practical nor relevant to their future ministry.

To define doctrine as direction for fitting participation in the drama of redemption – in what God is doing in Christ through the Spirit to form the church and renew creation – is to ensure that the understanding that faith seeks will not stop short of practice. My goal as a theologian is to move beyond the acquisition of knowledge to its application in real life: in a word, I want to get wisdom.

–Kevin Vanhoozer, Theologian

Books Worth Reading Twice

I’d like to know what Christian books you think are worth reading twice. More specifically:

  1. A book you have read in its entirety that you would like to read again
  2. A book you have read twice or more in its entirety because you thought it was that good, not because you had to because of school etc.

This would not include reference type books unless you’ve read them cover to cover as you would a normal book.

Starting with #2 I have read these books twice:

  • My Utmost for His Highest by Oswald Chambers
  • The Gospel According to Job by Mike Mason
    Amazon review:

    This is the best book I have ever read, bar none. I’m sixty years old. Been in ministry 30 years. Mason has turned my nice neat evangelical theology on its ear. I never read a book more than once. Ever. I am starting my fourth reading this month. I would give a month’s salary to sit down over coffee with this author.

  • The Pursuit of God by A.W. Tozer
  • Knowing God by J.I. Packer
  • Praying Backwards by Bryan Chapell

Books I would like to read again:

I’d like to hear yours but notice I didn’t turn this into an evil meme. If you’d like, please reply here or write a post on your blog.

I’ve scheduled this to post while I’m having surgery. Isn’t technology great?

Back Surgery on Tuesday

I’m scheduled to have back surgery on Tuesday the 27th. A lumbar microdiscectomy (as opposed to the more major fusion) will be performed because of a herniated disk. All other attempts to help the problem were an utter failure.

If you would be willing to pray for me I would appreciate it. I’m not concerned about the surgery itself but you could of course pray for skill for the doctor etc.

Also, I have trouble taking things one day at a time (Matthew 6:34) as I suppose everyone does to a degree. Since I also have arthritis in my back, achy muscles because of other conditions etc. I wonder how much the surgery will help and how many problems I’ll still have left. It will be what it will be and God will help me to cope as He always has. Any relief would be welcome and I should be hopeful.

And I’ve read about how there can be an emotional letdown during the first part of recovery. Supposedly there are hormones that rise during the surgery and there is a letdown afterwards. I read this on interwebs so I know it’s true. From past experience I know that pain and certain drugs won’t help that aspect of it either. Since I deal with chronic difficulties in this area I will be bracing myself for this. The physical pain itself that there might be isn’t that big of a deal. Pray that I will “suffer well”, which is something I might post about in the future.

I may try to write a quick post or two and schedule them to go up next week. I might also do a couple of re-posts from before the time most of my beloved blogging friends came around these parts. I don’t want to be like everyone else and go on hiatus but if I’m quiet for a while, that’s why.

That was the long version of saying, “I’m having surgery. Please pray for me.”

This is what I ask:

Colossians 1:11-12 NRSV
May you be made strong with all the strength that comes from his glorious power, and may you be prepared to endure everything with patience, while joyfully 12 giving thanks to the Father, who has enabled you to share in the inheritance of the saints in the light.

Do scholars read Philip Yancey?

Let alone Bibliobloggers?

Influential Books and Authors: 2
An Interview with Dr. Craig Blomberg

at Koinonia

This clip is only two minutes long.

This book helped me to have a minor breakthrough regarding forgiveness.

Verse of the Day

James 3:17
But the wisdom from above is first of all pure. It is also peace loving, gentle at all times, and willing to yield to others. It is full of mercy and good deeds. It shows no favoritism and is always sincere.

The Superior Scribbler Award(s)


“I haven’t had an orthodox career, and I’ve wanted more than anything to have your respect. The first time I didn’t feel it, but this time I feel it, and I can’t deny the fact that you like me, right now, you like me!”

Since these awards are sort of hard to track down I’ll start off with the original blog post at The Scholastic Scribe:

We’ve been participating in this Jacked Up Blogging Janx for 6 months now. This is our 200th Post. To Commemorate, Celebrate, & Generally Share the Bloggy Love, we’ve Created an Award. Yes, The Superior Scribbler Award is a Scholastic Scribe Original! We’d like to pass it along to 5 Extremely Deserving Scribblers. And we hope they pass it along, in turn. ‘Etcetera, Etcetera, Etcetera,’ as Yul Brynner would say…

Of course, as with every Bloggy Award, there are A Few Rules. They are, forthwith:

  • Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
  • Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
  • Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
  • Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we’ll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
  • Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

Damian at Castle of Nutshells has passed this award onto me and I’m very honored. He always has interesting posts and often says what I’m thinking before I have a chance to post on it which is fine because he’s more eloquent than me.

Sometimes I’m wary of these awards and I don’t look for or like attention (despite what the movie star quote at the top says) but they can be valuable to know who is reading your blog and also to find new blogs that might be of interest like A Catechumen’s Tale that Damian also awarded.

I also thought I would mention something about my name and this blog’s name. I’ve chosen to just use my first name for a few reasons and instead of using and linking to the name Jeff when commenting on other people’s blogs, I used my blog’s name of Scripture Zealot from the beginning and sign my name at the bottom of the comment. I think it’s strange when people give themselves their own nickname and I wasn’t intending to do that even though I am very zealous about Scripture. So I would say that my name is Jeff and my blog’s name is Scripture Zealot.

I also hope the word zealot doesn’t have any negative connotations. It just means that I’m zealous about getting to know God through it.

So with those overly self-conscious words out of the way I’d like to pass this award onto:

Romans 12:11 TNIV
Never be lacking in zeal, but keep your spiritual fervor, serving the Lord.

The right way and the wrong way to lead someone to salvation

Some other people have done the work for me and written about a couple of things I’ve wanted to articulate. So I will just link to them. I think these posts for the most part are great.

Ask Jesus into my heart?

Even as a Christian “ask Jesus into my heart” still makes no sense to me. This by itself is a great way to start someone out on rocky soil.

On the other end we have Integrity of belief at Castle of Nutshells. I can only imagine what the church would be like if this early church (and currently Orthodox) practice were commonplace.

I think I’ve been putting myself through this process of being a catechumen without really realizing it with my “three year plan” of reading commentaries, other books, learning how to study the Bible, being more rigorous about spiritual disciplines etc. This is without an official mentor but hopefully I’m not going off course. After I’m done with this basic training I’ll only have scratched the surface but hope to have a better grasp of the NT and a little more of the OT and most importantly get to know more of who God is and continue to grow closer to Him. Going through a lot of suffering also does wonders for spiritual growth if receptive to learning.

2 Timothy 3:14-15
But you must remain faithful to the things you have been taught. You know they are true, for you know you can trust those who taught you. You have been taught the holy Scriptures from childhood, and they have given you the wisdom to receive the salvation that comes by trusting in Christ Jesus.

Links of Interest

Life of Reilly
There are some games in which cheering for the other side feels better than winning.
HT: Letters from Kamp Krusty

Is The ESV Readable?

Ten Significant Christian Publications – 2008 *Reformed Alert*

HT: living the crucified life and crypto-theology

New Testament Exegesis Bibliography – 2009

Annotated Old Testament Bibliography – 2009

Writing Notes in Bibles and Books

If you want to be cool this week, you need to write a post about how you mark up your books. So because of my need for acceptance and a daily affirmation (therapists say this is a good thing and I’m OK), I will show you a couple of my own.

I don’t take many notes in books. In commentaries I do some highlighting. It’s sparse enough so that if I’m looking for something that’s important, I can usually page through it and find the quote I’m looking for. Lately I’ve been writing themes or subjects at the top of the page in commentaries. I need to now go through all of them and write down the subjects and what book and page they’re listed on. I think I will put these in my Wiki.

If anyone else has a system like this I’d like to hear about it.

Here is an example from Schreiner’s 1-2 Peter, Jude:

Book Markings
Click for larger image

Marking up the Bible is more complex. If you don’t have an advanced degree you might not understand it, although I don’t have any degree, but I’m probably smarter than all of you but I’m also probably the most humblest person you’ll ever meet.

Anyway, green is memorized Scripture. If it’s a long passage it will be vertical next to the passage. Yellow is regular highlighting. If there is a word within the highlighting to be emphasized that will be underlined in pencil (not shown). Orange is for a definition or further comment. An orange dot below will have the definition or further comment. Corresponding words or phrases will be underlined in pencil. In this picture I’ve used colored pencils as a special example because there were so many corresponding terms. Cross references will be in the margins which is a really tight fit (none on this page). Other notes are in pencil.

Bible Markings
Click for larger image

These are the cool bloggers I try to emulate:

N.T. Wright on Reformed Theology

For those of you who are Reformed, what do you think of this?
Interview with N.T. Wright – Responding to Piper on Justification

It makes me not want to read the book even if I may not completely agree with Piper. Not that I’m much interested in whole books that are debates anyway.

Some perplexing parts:

My anxiety about what has now been seen as the traditional Reformed view (though there are many traditional Reformed views!) is that it focuses all attention on ‘me and my salvation’ rather than on ‘God and God’s purposes’, which – as we see in the Gospels, and in e.g. Romans 8 – are much wider than just my salvation.

I hope that the book will alert people to the fact that the underlying discussion is really about taking Scripture seriously – (a) the whole Scripture, not just selected parts, and (b) Scripture as the final arbiter, over against all human traditions including our own!

However, this may explain part of it, with added emphasis:

In fact, the omission of the Spirit from many contemporary Reformed statements of justification is one of their major weaknesses.

It would be nice if he was more clear about whether he was talking about Piper (which he did mention specifically in a few places), stereotypical contemporary Reformed doctrine and classic Calvinism/Reformed theology, although he did mention the latter in the first quote, not that it made any sense.

In this interview it looks like he doesn’t have an accurate view of what Reformed is.

I’m dipping my toe into more controversial posts which I’ve avoided so far and don’t want to do too much of so we’ll see how it goes.

Your Favorite NT Introduction?

What’s your favorite New Testament Introduction for reference purposes?

I’m looking for one that will be a good all around resource for the NT, especially when doing exegesis of a passage. By the end of this year I should have a commentary for each book of the NT though so the introductions in those are good for background, culture, author, audience etc. I also have two study Bibles but those are pretty abbreviated. I don’t want too much duplication. I’m wondering if I would rather have a dictionary of some sort.

This one seems to be highly rated and would be at the top of my list for now:
New Testament Introduction (Master Reference Collection) by Donald Guthrie

Then there is:
An Introduction to the New Testament by D.A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo (sounds like a good combo)

What do you think of one of these? Are there any you like better?

Calvin’s Institutes Giveaway

Nick Norelli at Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth will be giving away a copy of Calvin’s Institutes of the Christian Religion.

I’m sure that whoever wins will greatly benefit from reading it.

Nick requested a review copy and also a copy to give away so we have him and Westminster John Knox Press to thank for giving us the opportunity.

Wordle’s of OT Prayers

Last week I reviewed a book called Great Prayers of the Old Testament. Here are Wordles of the prayers in case they may interest you.

Abraham – Genesis 18:22-33
Wordle: Abraham Prayer

Moses – Numbers 14:13-23
Wordle: Moses

Hannah – 1 Samuel 2:1-10
Wordle: Hannah

David – 2 Samuel 7:18-29
Wordle: David

Solomon – 1 Kings 3:5-14
Wordle: Solomon

Jonah – Jonah 2:2-9
Wordle: Jonah

Jeremiah – Jeremiah 32:16-25
Wordle: Jeremiah

Hezekiah – 2 Kings 19:15-19
Wordle: Hezekiah

Ezra – Ezra 9:6-15
Wordle: Ezra

Nehemiah – Nehemiah 1:4-11
Wordle: Nehemiah

Daniel – Daniel 9:3-19
Wordle: Daniel

Job – Job 42:1-6
Wordle: Job

That’s God’s Problem


Genesis 22:2
Then God said, “Take your son, your only son, whom you love–Isaac–and go to the region of Moriah. Sacrifice him there as a burnt offering on a mountain I will show you.”

Hebrews 11:17-19
By faith Abraham, when God tested him, offered Isaac as a sacrifice. He who had embraced the promises was about to sacrifice his one and only son, 18 even though God had said to him, “It is through Isaac that your offspring will be reckoned.” 19 Abraham reasoned that God could even raise the dead, and so in a manner of speaking he did receive Isaac back from death.

[:18] The ethical problem which the story presents to twentieth-century readers is not the problem on which our author [of Hebrews] concentrates. The problem to which he invites his readers’ attention is this: The fulfilment of God’s promises depended on Isaac’s survival; if Isaac was to die, how could these promises be fulfilled? And yet Abraham had no doubt that the one who had given the promises required the sacrifice of Isaac. What was he to do? It was Abraham’s problem; apart from the dictates of natural affection, how could the promise of God and the command of God be reconciled? Later writers, reflecting on the incident*, make much of the turmoil in this score. Indeed, the impression which we get from the biblical narrative is that Abraham treated it as God’s problem; it was for God, and not for Abraham, to reconcile his promise and his command. So, when the command was given, Abraham promptly set about obeying it; his own duty was clear, and God could safely be trusted to discharge his responsibility in the matter.

–F.F. Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews

*Abraham’s relation to Isaac, ethically speaking, is quite simply expressed by saying that a father shall love his son more dearly than himself. Yet within its own compass the thical has various gradations. Let us see whether in this story there is to be found any higher experssion for the ethical such as would ethically explain his conduct, ethically justify him in suspending the ethical obligation toward his son, without in this search going beyond the teleology of the ethical.

–Søren Kierkegaard, Fear and Trembling

Bruce mentions Kierkegaard and the title Fear and Trembling in his footnotes but didn’t quote him. I found what I thought was a decent quote but must confess I don’t understand most of what Kierkegaard writes. Somehow I managed to read this book a couple of years ago and thought of it before I looked at Bruce’s footnote.

Back to Bruce’s quote on Hebrews 11:18, this adds another dimension to my concept of worrying. We can obviously worry apart from God altogether and just worry. Or we can bring things to God but then worry about how he is going to do it. This isn’t for us to worry about either. It can become more complex by worrying about whether he will answer yes or no, and if he answers no, how he will then provide or work things out. This is God’s problem, not ours as long as we are obedient.

But what kept me going more than anything else was my confidence in the character of God.

–Ravi Zacharias quoting Charles Cooper in Cries of the Heart

Romans 4:20-21
Yet he did not waver through unbelief regarding the promise of God, but was strengthened in his faith and gave glory to God, 21 being fully persuaded that God had power to do what he had promised.