Archive for the 'Study' Category

Colossians and Philemon by Michael F. Bird

I love the book of Colossians and there are and will be quite a few more commentaries coming out on this. Someday after I’ve done some other things like looking further into the OT and reading more of Calvin I’d like to study Colossians as in-depth as I can.

If you’re interested and haven’t seen it, here is a review by Review by David Schrock at The Gospel Coalition Reviews of a commentary/exposition of Colossians and Philemon by Michael F. Bird

I’m still a little dizzy about the back surgery thing and haven’t been posting as much lately.

Greek Vocabulary

I find it rather disastrous to fall behind in vocabulary.

–David Black

I know this from experience! Print out flashcards right away. If you have a paper cutter that works great. If not, use a scissors and do them one chapter at a time. Over time divide them into piles. One for those you know well, one for new ones that you’re still learning and one for those that are in between. I just used the book but you can’t separate those that you know well from those you need to go over more often. And memorizing them in the same order all the time doesn’t help either.

There are many software options out there too. I’m one who would rather use technology and the computer than old fashioned stuff but for vocabulary, plain old paper flashcards seem to work the best for me.

Just do it.

I need encouragement with Greek

What I need encouragement for is how useful learning beginning Greek will be.

I’ve gotten to like learning it somehow and I’ve even gotten interested in how the language works, which is highly unusual for me. I hated learning Spanish. I’m not a nerd like many of you. I do have a feeling that God is leading me along this path and that it will be ‘profitable’ but I still have doubts.

But when I read posts like this I think about how paltry my learning will be and how much I’ll be able to read, understand and benefit from after going through Black’s beginning book (which I’m a little more than half-way through) plus a very basic linguistics book (probably also by Black) and maybe just a little of something else. I really don’t want to spend much more time than that on the language. There is so much other stuff I want to read and learn.

I’m normally somebody who goes all out with whatever I do. I can’t just do something as a light ‘hobby’ or it isn’t as much fun. I know I’m free to learn as much as I want. But like I said, I just don’t want to spend that much time on it.

Any words of encouragement for me and anyone else in the same situation?

100 Awesome Open Courses for Bibliophiles

Book lovers and collectors don’t have to stop learning after they graduate college. There are loads of free courses to take online that will supply you with reading lists, information about the history of books and manuscripts, linguistics, foreign literature, ancient texts and more. Here are 100 awesome open courses for bibliophiles.

100 Awesome Open Courses for Bibliophiles
Scroll down to Ancient Texts for the most relevant ones. 3.0 is now in beta

Bible Study Tools 3.0 is now in beta. The URL is:

Learning Greek So Far

Esteban encouraged me to read and study Greek for the Rest of Us because I like to read commentaries and it would help me learn some thing about Greek that might help me to better understand what they’re talking about in NT commentaries. I learned more about why translations are different and a bit about exegesis than about Greek partly because the book wasn’t organized in a way that was easy for me to learn from.

So I decided to actually learn some Greek and started with Croy’s grammar. After getting almost a third of the way through I got a review copy of Black’s grammar and decided to switch to that. I’m a third of the way through that now.

At this point now I can finally better understand what they’re talking about in commentaries when they comment on the Greek. I even know quite a bit of the vocabulary. Even though I only plan on going through beginning level I won’t stop here because I’d like to be able to read some Greek at a beginning level.

So, I’m encouraged that it has helped me a bit with my original intention. I hope to be able to use a Reader’s Greek NT by later next year. I don’t know if a beginning level will help with exegesis or not. What do you think?

Switching Beginning Greek Grammars (if anyone cares)

I’ve been using Croy’s A Primer of Biblical Greek. Partly because it was suggested along with Black’s by Mike Aubrey and partly because it includes passages from the LXX in the exercises and maybe a couple of other reasons I can’t remember.

I’m a NetGalley reviewer and I requested Black’s new 3rd edition of Learn to Read New Testament Greek. After I requested it they said they’d be asking for my class size and where I teach. Ha. So I wouldn’t be getting that one. But then a week later I found it in the mail along with the workbook too! I feel guilty but I’m going to do a good review for them especially since I bought Mounce’s also.

In looking through Black’s book I like it better. It’s more efficient but at the same time explains terms that Croy’s doesn’t. As an example, in an exercise in Croy’s book, I didn’t understand how someone could be taught by the word if ‘word’ is a dative. But in Black’s book it explains that it’s an instrumental dative. However Black’s will leave out things that aren’t as important like rules of accenting which are put in an appendix.

I find myself learning more in less space in this book. It’s probably a little less comprehensive so when I’m done I’ll go to Croy and Mounce.

I got Mounce just to get a really rounded education and to do a good comparative review of Black’s and it’s very good of course but there’s just a little too much stuff going on compared to Black. I like how Mounce as the Exegetical Insight at the beginning of each chapter which I’ll be reading. Black also helps more with exegetical skills.

Look for a review in the future.

Learn to Read New Testament Greek by David Alan Black

Book Aquisitions

I’m going through France’s commentary on Matthew. There is a very truncated introduction because the commentary is already 1200 pages long and he wrote a previous book called Matthew: Evangelist and Teacher which he expects you to read. So I checked out An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods and Ministry Formation by David A. deSilva from the library for the second or third time. Since I had book money I decided to finally just buy it. My little library is sorely lacking in reference materials. This came highly recommended by Mike Aubrey and others and since I was able to take a look at it I knew I would like it. It was “A 2005 Gold Medallion finalist!” One of the things I really like about it is it “integrate[s] instruction in exegetical and interpretive strategies with their customary considerations of authorship, dating, audience and message”. (added emphasis)

deSilva New Testament Introduction

Our group Bible study is going to be studying Ecclesiastes, which was my suggestion so I’m very glad about that. I already had Eaton’s Ecclesiastes and decided to spend another whole $6 and by Kidner’s (used) just to get another look. I may do a brief comparison at some point. I found that I like the NLT Study Bible’s treatment of Ecclesiastes better than the ESVSB mainly because the NLTSB is more thorough with more quantity of helpful information. I love Ecclesiastes and love it even more now.

I’ve been “learning” Greek using Croy’s beginning grammar book. I had been thinking it might be nice to get Black’s and/or Mounce’s just to get a well rounded treatment and possibly help me learn some things better by having them explained differently. I’m a NetGalley reviewer and requested Black’s Learn to Read New Testament Greek. After I requested it I saw that it’s only for teachers. But they sent it to me anyway. And not a galley but the book with the workbook! So I thought in order to do a good review of it, I might as well get Mounce’s Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar to do a good comparison of all three. In reading some of the Amazon reviews of the Mounce I see that it’s good for people who are self teaching. I did not know that as Johnny Carson would say. So I’m looking forward to all of this. I’ll say that the Black book is beautiful. You’ll see a review of that in the future.

Learn To Read New Testament Greek by Black

After Matthew I’ll be going through John with the help of Carson’s The Gospel According to John: An Introduction and Commentary (Pillar New Testament Commentary).

I think that brings my slowly growing library to well over a hunderd (sic) books. I bet you’re jealous. My library is smaller than yours and I’m content (Phil 4:11-13).

Greek Terms and Definitions

Here is a video posted on the Koinonia blog in a post titled (entitled?) Con Campbell discusses how his book fits with Wallace’s, Mounce’s, and other texts.

As someone who is a beginner in learning some Greek, I think it’s very important for me to remember that the vocabulary I’m learning are just glosses–simple definitions that don’t cover the whole range of meaning. The same would go for grammar terms.

I think this is important for those of us who look up a word in a lexicon like Strong’s and expect to find the meaning of a word or unlock any information we don’t get from an English translation. The people who translate the Bible in general are extremely knowledgeable about the original languages aside from the disagreements some people have on certain passages in certain translations (I need to cover myself for those who will protest that thought).

I think what’s most helpful for a word or phrase study is to compare it in at least six different translations of different styles ranging from the more literal (formal equivalence or whatever more current term you’d like to use) all the way to paraphrase. This will show you how different translators handled the text, especially if different Greek manuscripts were used for different translations.

Keep in mind these are comments from the peanut gallery so I hope I’m not embarrassing myself too much.

Learning Greek Update

When I mentioned I was going to start learning Greek some people wanted to know how things are coming along.

I don’t know what happened, but Greek became interesting to me starting a couple of weeks ago. It’s not just something I’m trying to learn so that I can use a reader’s NT and understand a good bit of what I’m reading, but it’s actually interesting to learn how things work, understand things that perplexed me for a while and a light bulb goes off, word order (not that I understand it), how economical it is etc. This makes the exercises much less frustrating. I won’t say it’s fun, but it’s interesting.

That’s a great thing God has done because I’m not naturally interested in languages.

It’s going slow because of my age, time I’m willing to spend (although I’m working on it every day), mental energy or lack of, especially with all the medical stuff, and wanting to learn it well. I decided not to think negatively of this in any way. In fact I’m glad I’m not learning Greek in school or I would forget the majority of it by the time I’m finished racing through it at college speed.

I’m on Chapter 11 out of 32 in the Croy book.

I still don’t think I’ll go beyond Croy’s beginning book, Black’s linguistics book and Campbell’s Verbal Aspect (just because I have it) but hopefully that will be enough to really benefit from it.

A Primer of Biblical Greek by Clayton CroyLinguistics by BlackBasic of Verbal Aspect by Campbell

On Prayer

Here are some things I’ve collected on prayer and I thought I would list them here. Prayer is one of my top four subjects of interest so I’m always looking for good reading.

Old Testament Education

I’m now going through Revelation (and enjoying it a lot). I love reading commentaries and have gone from Romans through Revelation having done a lot of reading about Jesus from the historical perspective and also books pertaining to the Gospels.

After Revelation I would like to alternately read a commentary on an OT book with a Gospel and then Acts.

Regarding the OT I’d like to mention what I have and plan on reading. It’s the order of things that I’d like to ask you fine folks about.

I have von Rad’s Old Testament Theology, Creation and Blessing–a commentary/exposition of Genesis, Eaton’s commentary on Ecclesiastes, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth by Stuart and Fee (which I’ve read once) and The Symphony of Scripture by Mark Strom. Starting next year or earlier I plan on reading through the whole OT. I would also like to buy a commentary on Isaiah and possibly Daniel, the latter just because I like him. I also have the ESV and NLT study Bibles.

Since suffering is a subject of interest, I’ve done a lot of reading on Job and feel I have a relatively good handle on that one.

Given all that, what order would you read these materials? Should I read von Rad’s work first? If so, the whole thing or piece-meal? Something more basic on themes like The Symphony of Scripture? Should I read through the OT first? How would you go about it?

Encouragement for Learning Original Languages

Cheerleading by Miles Van Pelt at Koinonia Blog

Saturday a’Machen: The Minister and His Greek Testament posted by Esteban Vázquez at The Voice of Stefan

The first post above has the quote shown below. I don’t understand the part that I have made bold. Could anyone explain that?

Feel ‘poured out’ over a great many interests with intense desire to do but so little power and time to accomplish . . . Hebrew: I can think of nothing I’d like better than to be able to pick up a page of the Hebrew Old Testament and read it at sight. Greek loses a lot of its challenge when one gets to know a little.

–Jim Elliot, College Journals

P.S. I’m still not posting much because of recovering from back surgery. It’s going well but slower than expected.

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.

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.