Posts in New Testament

Did the Apostle Paul Use Profanity?

By Gary Manning Jr Oct. 1, 2015 3:21 p.m. New Testament

In Philippians 3:8, the apostle Paul compares his religious credentials to knowing Jesus. The difference could hardly be more emphatic: “knowing Christ Jesus my Lord” is of “surpassing value,” but Paul’s past success is like σκύβαλα (skubala). σκύβαλα is commonly translated as rubbish, refuse, or garbage, but sometimes more strongly as dung, in both ancient and modern translations (Vulgate, Tyndale, KJV, NET). Some have suggested another four-letter translation, stronger than dung.

While teaching Greek, I used to say that σκύβαλα is the closest thing to a swear word you can find in the New Testament - and I was repeating something that I had heard or read quite a few times. C. Spicq's Greek lexicon even suggests that σκύβαλα should be rendered crap. But is it true? Is σκύβαλα a swear word, or maybe a rude word? Or is it unobjectionable?

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Metaphors Revealing the Holy Spirit, Part One

By John McKinley Sep. 30, 2015 10:00 a.m. Biblical Exposition, New Testament

Theologians have often observed the paucity of details about the Holy Spirit in the Bible, as compared to revelation of the Father and the Son. This holding back by the Spirit who inspired Scripture seems typical of his humility, and the trait of divine love “that does not seek its own.” Sets of details that we can add to the several statements about the Spirit are connected with eight metaphors used throughout the Bible. Several of these metaphors pull together and give concrete expression to the declarative statements of pneumatology, such as “the Spirit sanctifies, indwells, teaches, assures, and convicts people" ...

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Prince of Peace—Jesus, or Pope Francis?

By Doug Geivett Sep. 24, 2015 1:15 p.m. New Testament, Old Testament, Theology

“Prince of peace” is biblical language. In other words, it derives from its use in the Bible as a descriptive title with a very specific context. The title “Prince of Peace” is used of the Messiah in Isaiah 9:6. It is, therefore—according to Christian orthodoxy—a reference to Jesus Christ. This is an extraordinarily honorific title. It denotes the full realization of messianic hope. In the Christian Scriptures it alludes to human reconciliation with God, and only by extension to the realization of peace within the human community. The agent, of course, is the Prince of Peace ...

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New Commentary On Philippians

By Joe Hellerman Sep. 23, 2015 9:00 a.m. New Testament

Dr. Joseph Hellerman, Professor of New Testament at Talbot School of Theology, talks about his volume on Philippians in the Exegetical Guide to the Greek New Testament series ...

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Does "I Am" always refer to God in the Gospel of John?

By Gary Manning Jr Sep. 21, 2015 9:00 a.m. Biblical Exposition, New Testament, Old Testament, Theology

It is commonly claimed that when Jesus used the phrase “I am” (ἐγώ εἰμι, ego eimi), he was making a direct reference to the name of God in the Old Testament, YHWH. There is some truth to this, but I want to suggest three important caveats to this claim:

  1. “I am” (ἐγώ εἰμι), by itself, is not a code for the name of God;
  2. “I am” is only intended to refer to deity in some of Jesus’ sayings;
  3. Paying too much attention to the “I am” part of the sentence distracts readers from paying attention to the rest of the sentence.

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Sub-Themes in the New Testament Authors' Use of the Old Testament

By Kenneth Berding Sep. 10, 2015 9:00 a.m. Biblical Exposition, Ministry and Leadership, New Testament, Old Testament, Theology

One of the keys to understanding the New Testament (NT) use of the Old Testament (OT) may be the recognition that when a NT author draws upon an idea found in a particular OT passage, it does not have to be the main idea of that passage to be usable. The contemporary assumption (often not articulated) that it has to be the main idea of an OT text to be legitimate seems to be a key stumbling block for people studying the NT use of the OT. The tendency for people to focus only on the main idea of a text (rather than also upon sub-themes) may also explain my present discomfort with the sense / referent distinction made by various authors.[1] The sense / referent distinction seems to assume a single sense for a verse that is akin to an exegetical idea of that verse.

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Responding to Objections with Truth and Love

By Dave Keehn Aug. 31, 2015 9:45 a.m. Biblical Exposition, Christian Education, New Testament, Theology

As a parent, my favorite word to say is “yes.” Saying this word puts me in a favorable position with my children. The look of joy on their faces when I say “yes” compels me to say it more and more. I even struggle saying “yes” when I know it would be wiser to say “no” due to budget restraints (“yes, take my last $20”), or health concerns (“yes, eat the whole gallon of ice cream”), or just common sense (“yes, you can play in the street”). My children expect a “yes” when they ask because I love saying “yes” so often. So when I say “no” they are surprised by my objections to their request. However, my disapproving “no” is just as loving as my “yes,” and many times it is a much more compassionate response ...

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