- Biblical Epistemology – My prolegomena helped me grasp how a Biblical worldview in intellectually credible. The writings of John Frame and N.T Wright on critical realism helped me grasp a way of looking at the world that is neither naive or nihilist. We can perceive what is true, through reason, the Spirit, and the Word, but not all we say is true.
This enabled me to press into a pluralistic context like Austin, Texas with the requisite humility and confidence.
- Systematic Theology – Showed me how the Bible is theologically coherent. Apparent contradictions and various texts can be harmonized to tell us something about the nature, character, and purposes of God.
This enabled me to know God and answer some of the big questions regarding suffering, evil, election and so on.
- Hermeneutics – Enabled me to read and interpret texts well through propositional analysis, grammar, syntax, genre and so on. Discourse analysis was paradigm-shifting for me and taught me how to reason much better (Thank you Dr. Roy Ciampa!).
This enabled me to read the Bible and other books well, to reason well cultural texts and claims, as well as biblical ones.
- Biblical Exegesis – I got to apply hermeneutics to the whole Bible with the guardrails of mentors in order to understand the author’s intent. Lots of Bible. I added a second degree to get more practice and more Bible! In particular, Greg Beale’s categories for OT in NT exegesis helped me grasp how to make sense of what the NT authors do with the OT.
This launched me into the difficult task of showing the church, through preaching, that the two testaments are a whole.
- Biblical Theology – The above led me to read diachronically not just systematically, to read along the grain of Scripture so that the grand narrative of Creation-Fall-Redemption-New Creation is always my framework and Christ is at the center. Meredith Kline, Greg Beale, Sean McDonough were all a great help in this. Monotheistic Christology, the understanding that “Jesus is Lord” places Christ into the identity of YWHW simply blew my mind and still does.
That is gospel-Centered and led to a a consistent practice of challenging cultural notions of authority with the authority of Christ, basically preaching and teaching and discipling and counseling people into Jesus as King, not just as Savior
I’ve been reading 1 Corinthians a lot in preparation for preaching through it the rest of the year. If 1 Timothy lays the foundation for the church, 1 Corinthians builds a distinct community on top of that foundation, and it does so amidst a pluralistic culture swirling with the idolatries of knowledge, power, status, sex, and wealth.
1 Corinthians is practical theology par excellence. Every ethical exhortation is rooted in rich gospel thought. Ethical issues are treated with backwards Christology (cross) and forward Christology (new creation). The letter is retrieves old testament theology and, to use Richard Hays’ phrase, converts the imagination to think out the story of God in a way that resocializes them to live distinctly in their culture. Everything is here: biblical theology, practical issues, cultural engagement, pastoral wisdom, and Christ crucified and risen. Here are a few books I’m reading to help me understand and preach this letter well:
A Reader’ Greek New Testament
This is a great version of the GNT with words that occur less than 30 times defined in the footnotes.
The Theology of First Corinthians
Victor Furnish does a nice job with the theology arguing that the gospel drives everything in this letter. I also have three others in this series including Green’s Luke and Bauckham’s on Revelation and have loved them both.
First Corinthians: A Bible Commentary for Teaching and Preaching
Richard Hays, one of my favorite NT authors, does biblical theology that inspires you.
Conflict & Community in Corinth
Ben Witherington, especially good on Greco-Roman backgrounds.
The First Epistle to the Corinthians
A heavy weight scholar with masterful exegetical skills and great detail. Eye-crossing at times.
Working through our Coming of God series for Advent, I’ve been reading a number of books on the incarnation. Two books, in particular, have been scintillating, along with an essay by Princeton theologian Robert Jensen.
Man Christ Jesus: Theological Reflections on the Humanity of Christ (Bruce Ware)
This short, accessible book has a lovely cover design and thought provoking reflections on incarnation. I found chapter two, on the role of the Spirit in the life of Christ, especially enjoyable. While some points are debatable, it is a helpful read.
God Who Became Human: a Biblical Theology of Incarnation (Cole Graham)
This is the 30th installment in a fantastic series of books–New Studies in Biblical Theology–edited by D.A. Carson. The scholarship in this series is always top notch and clear. Cole’s prior contribution, God the Peacemaker, was also a delight to read. These books let the Bible sing by tracing its major themes through inter-textual connections within the larger narrative of Scripture. They also frequently provide helpful theological and practical reflection.
Nicene Christianity: The Future for a New Ecumenism (ed. Christoper Seitz)
The is a great collection of essays that reflect on the Nicene Creed. Robert Jensen is in top form reflecting theologically and creatively upon the phrase “for us…he was made man.” Some superb insights and stirring reflection on the nature of Christ’s humanity and the present state of heaven.
Missional best practices can only get us so far and then we burnout. In order to carry the mission of God forward, leaders and churches need deep theological conviction formed by biblical missiology. But that’s not enough. Even with strong biblical convictions in place, competing cultural stories like consumerism and individualism can challenge, distort or undermine the mission of the church. How can we plant, lead, and multiply churches that make discerning disciples amidst these challenges? Finally, using Scripture and culture, how do we form missional practices that are true to the gospel?
Michael Goheen, top notch scholar and faithful practitioner, will deliver three robust talks based on three important books he has written:
Don’t miss this Micro-conference on September 17, 2013.