Thoughts on the Theological Interpretation of Scripture

My most recent PhD seminar was called Biblical Theology and Theological Hermeneutics. The seminar focused on the “theological interpretation of Scripture” (hereafter TIS), an influential but difficult-to-define movement in contemporary biblical hermeneutics. I really enjoyed taking a quarter to step out of my normal fields of historical/systematic theology and enter into a conversation being had within the field of biblical theology. Its served for me as a kind of crash course on the current state of biblical studies in Western academia, and especially the current division between Bible and theology—between “what it meant” verses “what it means” (as Krister Stendahl put…

The Book of Revelation

At some point after my doctorate, I would like to make studying the book of Revelation one of my life projects. It coheres with some of my other interests, like the doctrine of heaven, and its a book that continually fascinates me. I would like to study it because: 1) Its probably the most misunderstood and perhaps the most difficult book in the Bible. Partly for that reason, I think its often neglected. For instance, John Calvin wrote commentaries on almost every book in the New Testament except Revelation (and 2 and 3 John), and Martin Luther once said of…

Looking Back At Favorite Blog Posts and Series

I’ve been blogging for just over 6 years now. Its been a far more enriching experience than I had expected. My primary purpose in blogging has always been my own learning: I find that I learn best in a dialogical, two-stage process of both (1) reading and (2) writing. Stage 1 typically involves carefully reading a book with my pen in hand, making notes on the pages and inside the back cover as I struggle with how to place and understand the book. (Sometimes, of course, it could also be an article, movie, etc.) The key in this stage is…

Thoughts on Biblical Inerrancy

I believe in biblical inerrancy. I never read the Bible wondering which parts are true and which parts are false. Doing so would seem to me inconsistent with accepting the Bible as the Word of God. I bow before every word of Scripture as authoritative over my life and faith, binding for my conscience, and worthy of my trust. What I mean by inerrancy is the idea that the Bible never misfires. Its intended meaning never deviates from reality. It is truth. I’m also grateful for the legacy of inerrancy. The rise of higher-biblical criticism impugned the integrity of Scripture,…

Don’t Despise the Day of Small Beginnings

I am taking the youth through the night visions of Zechariah 1-6 on Sunday mornings these days. Its a lot of fun! I’m reminded of God’s wisdom in communicating to us in such rich and diverse genres as we find in the Bible. The pictorial nature of Zechariah, though at times bizarre and difficult to understand, communicates at levels where mere prose cannot. I’ve been encouraged and surprised at the student response. Its cool to see the pictures and images communicating in broader, emotional ways, even when we are not fully sure of all the details of interpretation. This week…

Elijah and the Ravens

One of the portions of Scripture that stood out to me while reading through the Bible in 2011 was the story of Elijah at Mt. Horeb in I Kings 19. I began to think about it over the summer, and then taught the youth from it in September, and then eventually preached from it in “big church” this past June. That entire year the story stayed with me – I turned back to it again and again for encouragement and stability, frequently finding new layers of meaning and significance in it. “What does I Kings 19 say about this?” became…