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Twelve Affirmations about the Bible

John Pavlovitz, “5 Things I Wish Christians Would Admit about the Bible

Michael Byrd, “7 Things I Wish Christians Knew about the Bible

May 2016 Biblical Studies Carnival

The next Biblical Studies Carnival is now posted at Brian Renshaw’s eponymous blog. If you are interested in top-notch biblical scholarship and/or are an Alice Cooper fan, you owe it to yourself to go see.

Biblical Tribalism

Good words from Scot McKnight:

The Bible you carry is a political act. By “Bible” I mean the Translation of the Bible you carry is a political act. Because the Bible you carry is a political act the rhetoric about other translations is more politics than it is reality. The reality is that the major Bible translations in use today are all good, and beyond good, translations. There is no longer a “best” translation but instead a basket full of exceptional translations.

I wish I could claim credit for this aphorism, or that I could even remember where I first heard it, but I’ve long said the best Bible translation is the one you’ll actually read.

Knight continues,

Each of these Bibles is a good translation. We need to teach our church people that and knock off the politics of translation. Maybe you should vary from week to week which translation you use, announce your translation, and then affirm the value of that translation.

A year of confusing the politics out Bible translations might bring the most clarity!

Food for thought.

April 2016 Biblical Studies Blog Carnival

That Jeff Carter is hosting the festivities this month. Enjoy!

Jewish Christianity?

Scot McKnight summarizes James D. G. Dunn’s concise, albeit heartbreaking, explanation of why the term “Jewish Christianity” is redundant—and why many Christians have forgotten that fact:

There is something of an oddity about the title ‘Jewish Christianity’. For in a very important sense, that is what Christianity is — at least in its beginnings, and integrally in its character. In an important sense, often lost to view, the adjective ‘Jewish’ is quite unnecessary, since Christianity, with a Jewish Messiah as its central figure, and its holy scripture predominantly written by Jews, can hardly be anything other than ‘Jewish’ in a crucially defining sense. The oddity, rather, at least arguably, is that Christianity so quickly lost sight of its Jewish roots and character, that ‘Jewish Christianity’ became just one form of Christianity, almost a primitive form to be lost increasingly to view as Christianity became more international and less definitively Jewish in character. The increasing loss of distinctively Jewish identity is one of the most striking features of the first two centuries of Christianity. The growth of a contradictory adversus Iudaeos tradition which came to dominate Christianity more or less up to the present day has a self-contradictory character. To reckon seriously with this fact is still one of the great challenges facing twenty-first-century Christians, when the memory of the Holocaust is still unspeakably raw.

What Is the Gospel?

Here is a “TED-style talk” by Michael Bird on recognizing the true gospel.

1 Timothy and Ephesiaca

Ben Witherington is beginning a multi-part review of Gary Hoag’s Wealth in Ancient Ephesus and the First Letter to Timothy: Fresh Insights from Ephesiaca by Xenophon of Ephesus. Along the way, he makes an impassioned case for Neutestamentlers to dig deeper into the classics:

Here I want to talk about the value of reading NT documents in light of both Greco-Roman and Jewish sources, not just one or the other. The problem of course is that most NT scholars were not, and are not students of the classics first, which makes me a rarity. I did Latin and Greek classics in junior high, high school, and college, and this helped me immensely to be prepared to be a good student of the NT, which after all, is all in Greek, and more often than not addresses people who do not live in Palestine but for whom the Greco-Roman world is their reality. So, when someone finds a Greek document that nobody previously had compared to the NT, and does the hard work of comparing it to a relevant relatively contemporary NT book— this is a good thing.

I look forward to what Ben has to say about what Gary has to say about what Xenophon might tell us about 1 Timothy.