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A recent theology exam included questions about the teolology and methodology of the Apostles’ use of the Old Testament in the New Testament.  The candidate agreed with their Christological  goal, but had some criticisms for their methodology.  This issue is part of the controversy over Peter Enns’ book Inspiration and Incarnation.  His srgument in the book created quite the stir, resulting in his leaving Westminster Theological Seminary.  Enns and Bruce Waltke state their respective cases on the matter in the lastest issue of WTJ.

Good for us, Dr. Roger Nicole’s 1958 article New Testament Use of the Old Testament is now available online.  He addresses the range, authority and accuracy of the New Testament usage of the Old Testament. Dr. Nicole helps us to understand that we should not hold the New Testament authors to the standards of a doctrinal thesis.

Personally, I’m uncomfortable with criticism of how the Apostles used the Old Testament.  That is because I affirm the dual authorship of Scripture.  It is divinely inspired (2 Timothy 3:16), and God used real people in a way that they wrote in accordance with their personality, culture and circumstances.    This means that one cannot criticize the human authors without also criticizing the Spirit of Christ who inspired them.  That same Spirit inspired the original OT Scriptures which had an original meaning and a greater fulfillment in Christ.  The OT, in addition to having an original meaning, often has a typological function.  This explains why some verses seem to be taken out of context.

But who cares what the Cavman thinks- read Dr. Nicole!

HT: Between Two Worlds

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As I slowly work my way through Luke’s gospel, there is a slight difference in the accounts of Matthew & Luke.  Matthew says, “Then the devel left him, and angels came and attended him.”  Luke puts it this way, “When the devil had finished all this tempting, he left him until an opportune time.”  Many see that opportune time to be the final week.  But I notice Jesus being tempted throughout Luke’s gospel. 

In chapter 4 he faces the temptation to reveal his messianic identity too soon, as the demons try to “out him” repeatedly.  Jesus was also tempted by the crowds to disobey the Father and stay in one location to preach.  He had been sent to preach the gospel all through the region.

As the reports of his great authority and power spread, Jesus would often withdraw to isolated places to pray.  He was resisting the temptation to pride.  He was also tempted to fear men as he was verbally attacked in the synagogue (5:21ff).  Later in that chapter he was tempted to give in to the legalism of the Pharisees, and John’s disciples.  He faced this again in chapter 6, along with the temptation harden his heart to another man’s misery, as the Pharisees had.

So you see that a pattern of continual temptation emerges.  This is why we find that he “faced all of the same temptations we do, yet did not sin (Heb. 4 15).”  Like us, Jesus was continually tempted to sin- but didn’t.  He did what we could not do.  So, when he endured the curse (Galatians 2), he did it for us instead of for his own sin.  My little girl knows that Jesus died for our sins.  One day she asked “who died for Jesus’ sins?”  Honest question from a 4 year-old.  Honest answer- he had no sins but ours.

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Bible Study Magazine and Mars Hill are giving away 20 copies of Mark Driscoll’s new book, Vintage Church. Not only that, but they are also giving away five subscriptions to Bible Study Magazine and a copy of their Bible Study Library software! Enter to win on the Bible Study Magazine Mark Driscoll page, then take a look at all the cool tools they have to take your Bible study to the next level!

PS- the Cavman uses Logos Bible Study Software, but could use an upgrade.

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Oh, happy day it is.  I learned from WTS Books that The Spirit of the Reformation Study Bible is available again (hardcover, genuine leather, sample pages). 

This is my favorite Study Bible.  It uses my preferred translation (the NIV).  It provides a good balance between accuracy and read-ability.  The General Editor is one of my former professors- Dr. Richard Pratt.  The study notes are extensive, and come from the Reformed Heritage.  The ESV Study Bible which came out in 2008 has a leg up when it comes to charts and maps.  But I think this Study Bible has a leg up  regarding the translation (I know some will disagree) and consistency of theological approach.  This is the Study Bible I recommend.

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Near the end of Luke 2 there is a shift from God’s mercy to the reality that the coming of Messiah also means judgment for some.  We see this in Simeon’s prophetic song:

“This child will be rejected by many in Israel, and it will be their undoing.  But he will be the greatest joy to many others.  Thus, the deepest thoughts of many hearts will be revealed.”  2:34-35 (NLT)

But that is not the end of this dark cloud rising over Israel.  John the Baptizer’s ministry ups the ante.  He rejoiced in the repentance of many, but was surprised to see others.

“You brood of vipers!  Who warned you to flee God’s coming judgment?”  3:7

“Even now the ax of God’s judgment is poised, ready to sever your roots.  Yes, every tree that does not produce good fruit will be chopped down and thrown into the fire.”  3:9

“I baptize with water, but someone is coming soon who is greater than I am- so much greater that I am not even worthy to be his slave.  He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and with fire.  He is ready to separate the chaff from the grain in his barn but burning the chaff with never-endedin fire.”  John used many such warnings as he announced the Good News to the people.”  3:16-18

Jesus’ ministry was not all good news.  It was also judgment on Israel.  The true Israel was about to be separated from false Israel.  It is not about blood line (John said this in 3:8 too).  The true Israel is comprised of those Israelites who believe, and believing Gentiles are grafted onto Israel (see Romans 9).

Judgment on unbelieving Jews took place, as prophesied by Jesus (Mt. 24) in 70 AD.  The age of Israel was done- the wrath of God for all the murdered prophets and especially the Prophet was poured out on that generation (Mt. 23).

This process continues to this day with regard to all of humanity.  Jesus reveals the the deepest thoughts of hearts- who treasures Him and who rejects Him.  The former receive the Holy Spirit, and the latter receive fire, an unquenchable flame.  Some seem to think this strange- calling Him ‘the Torturing God’ as though wacked out, far right nutjobs made this thing up.  But there it is in Scripture- Jesus is worth treasuring, rejoicing in.  To despise His glory is an act of cosmic treason. This judgment provides a backdrop for us to more fully understand the glories of His grace.  We who believe have been rescued from eternal condemnation.

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This week I started reading Luke.  Part way through chapter 1 I decided to take the slow road instead of my typical 3 chapters/day.  I was struck by a few things that day and didn’t want to lose sight of them by thinking I needed to finish the chapter (or 3!). 

What struck me the last 3 days was the focus on mercy in chapter 1.

Zechariah and Elizabeth we aged, and barren.  Reminds you of Abraham and Sarah.  They had hearts for God, walking before Him blamelessly (vs. 6).  Yet, they were still barren.  She bore reproach in the community.  She wasn’t cursed by God, but people looked down on her.

  • “Your prayer has been heard.”  They had probably wondered if God had closed up shop.  But God heard the prayer.
  • “The Lord has done this for me.  In these days he has shown his favor and taken away my disgrace among the people.”  God removed her misery, showing her mercy.  This prompted me to pray for God to show me mercy by removing my “disgrace among the people.”  He is not ashamed of me, but some people view pastors of failed churches as, well, failures whom they don’t want pastoring their churches lest they fail too.
  • When Gabriel revealed the Incarnation to Mary, she was obviously stunned.  Inconceivable!  He informs her that Elizabeth is pregnant.  “For nothing is impossible with God.”  Too often we are subject to low expectations.  Makes sense with people, but not God.  I found Him challenging my own meager faith- “Cavman, do you believe I can do great things for you?  Do you really think such things impossible?”  Sadly, yes.  I don’t want to be one of those people who thinks hardship isn’t God’s plan- but I also don’t want to think life is only hardship, or only hardship where I’m concerned.
  • “I am the Lord’s servant, may it be to me as you have said.”  She no longer resisted the thought, but embraced it.  Faith receives what God says and embraces what He brings to pass.  I want to have this attitude of submission- glad submission.

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I consider Proverbs to be “preventative grace”.  It was initially written to prepare young men for adulthood by providing practical wisdom.  It was to help them avoid the pitfalls of life’s choices rather than get out of them.  So, when I saw Anthony Selvaggio’s A Proverbs Driven Life, I was interested.  When I was offered a copy for free to review- I was estatic.

Before Selvaggio gets into the various topics that Proverbs covers, he wants to orient people to what Proverbs are, and aren’t.  Since Proverbs is a book about wisdom, it is about everyday life.  It is not about laws & precepts (he hits that again in a later section) but more like signposts.  Proverbs are generalisms that help us to make good choices by cluing us in to the typical outcomes. 

We need this book because, as he says, “people make a lot of short-sighted, self-centered decisions.”  And those decisions bring lots of misery to them and others.  We are a people who profoundly lack wisdom.

Proverbs offers us future-oriented wisdom and guidance so we can make wise decisions and live in ways that please and exalt God.

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