Hermeneutics

Review of ‘Covenant’ by Daniel I. Block (Part 1)

A Review of Daniel I. Block, Covenant: The Framework of God’s Grand Plan of Redemption, Grand Rapids: Baker, 2021, 704 pages, hdbk.

Daniel Block has been a major evangelical OT scholar for many years, contributing commentaries on Ezekiel, Deuteronomy, and Judges/Ruth, and many articles. He is known for his incisive and creative scholarship. Therefore, this contribution to the study of covenants in the Bible is most welcome.

As someone with familiarity with Block’s work I fully expected Covenant to be marked by independent thinking and fresh insight. Both qualities are to be seen in this large work. As someone who has a decided interest in the subject I think it best if I begin my review with some general comments.

267 reads

New Release: the Old in the New by Michael J. Vlach

I am excited to announce the release of my new book, The Old in the New: Understanding How the New Testament Authors Quoted the Old Testament. The book is published by Kress Biblical Resources with an imprint from The Master’s Seminary. I have been working on this book since 2011. It was formed through years of teaching a Th.M. seminar at The Master’s Seminary called, “New Testament Use of the Old Testament.”

Trying to understand NT quotations of the OT is a huge topic for any one person but I have tried my best to address most NT uses of the OT in this book. This includes the “harder” cases like Matthew 2:15’s use of Hosea 11:1, and Paul’s use of “seed” in Galatians 3:16. In his endorsement of this book, Walter Kaiser states, “He [Vlach] has also taken up a wide sample of most, if not all, of the passages usually raised on this subject and has given a reasonable solution in Scripture text after Scripture text—in a succinct, but credible manner. I cannot endorse Vlach’s work too highly, for I found that he had hit the nail on the head in case after case.” 

I also address the various ways the NT authors quoted and used the OT. In addition, I also evaluate the seven different approaches to this topic. And I lay out the perspective that I think is accurate.

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“Dispensationalists hold to the originalist approach to hermeneutics.”

"Dispensationalists . . . believe (1) that meaning is contained in words, (2) that words can have a broad semantic range, (3) that that range is limited in any instantiated use of those words by historical context, and (4) that the original intention of the author is both fixed and impervious to evolution." - Snoeberger

949 reads

Review of ‘Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels’ by Richard Hays

Review of Richard B. Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels,* Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2017, 524 pages, paperback.

Richard B. Hays has established himself as one of the foremost NT scholars in the world, based on enduring works like The Moral Vision of the New Testament and Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul. He has been at the forefront of the study of such seemingly obtuse but telling elements of the study of the NT as “metalepsis” and “figural interpretation.”

Metalepsis in biblical studies is the incorporation and use of the OT in the New, particularly by way of partial allusion, employed in a new context that draws attention to aspects of the larger previous context.

1298 reads

An update on Paul Henebury's book

"I thought I would write something about the book I have been writing for some time now. The book is called The Words of the Covenant: A Biblical Theology. It’s subtitle is Old Testament Expectation. I am working with the publisher to finalize the manuscript. Lord willing it will be at the printers in the summer. " - Paul

829 reads

Two Testaments, but One Bible

When we cross over from the OT into the NT we might think that we ought to expect a very clear continuity. After all the OT, particularly the covenants and the Prophets have led us to expect a great future for the nation of Israel. Even though that people had gone and done their own thing, we would think that God would stick with His covenants and promises to that nation and bring them to Himself. We would also expect to see the arrival of the Messiah, the One whom Israel was expecting. Israel would finally have peace and prosperity under the protection of their Christ. They would be able to trust in Him to reign over them, and they could look to Him for blessing and guidance.

And as we enter the NT through the doors of the Synoptic Gospels this picture doesn’t seem to be upset; this indeed is the track that we appear to be on. Matthew, of course, starts off with a genealogy of the King1 and includes a number of announcements in the early chapters of his biographical narrative that encourage the reader to believe that, with the coming into the world of Jesus, the promised Kingdom was “at hand.”

1801 reads

Review: 40 Questions About Biblical Theology

A Review of 40 Questions about Biblical Theology* by Jason S. DeRouchie, Oren R. Martin, and Andrew David Naselli, Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2020, 400 pages, paperback.

How does one review a well-written and well researched book on Biblical Studies that one disagrees with almost entirely? That is the position I find myself in with this book. DeRouchie, Martin, and Naselli are all subscribers to the fast-spreading approach to the Bible called “Progressive Covenantalism,” an approach first annunciated for most people by Peter Gentry and Stephen Wellum’s Kingdom through Covenant: A Biblical-Theological Understanding of the Covenants, which I reviewed here.

What this means is that fans of New Covenant Theology are going to really like this book, fans of Covenant Theology are going to approve of much in it (even though CT draws some criticisms), “Essentialist” (to use Joseph Parle’s word) and Progressive Dispensationalists are going to like it a lot less, and “Biblical Covenantalists” (that’s me) are going to really take issue with it. I say this so that my biases will be clear.

2573 reads

The Writing of the Two Testaments: A Consideration

An interesting phenomenon in regard to the reading of the Old Testament and the New is the respective chronologies of the authorship of the canons. Whereas the Old Testament was written over a period of approximately 1,300 years – taking Job as the earliest book (c.1750 B.C.) and Malachi as the last book (c. 450 B.C.), the New Testament was written within one average human lifetime. This represents a vast difference which ought to be given more consideration than it has.

The Writing of the OT

If we consider the span of years for the writing of the Old Testament we get something like this (citing representative examples):

  • Job – 18th Century B.C.
  • The Pentateuch – Mid 15th Century B.C.
  • Many Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Canticles – 10th Century B.C.
  • Jonah, Amos, Hosea, Micah – 8th Century B.C.
  • Isaiah, Nahum, Zephaniah, Habakkuk – 8th to 7th Century B.C.
  • Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, 1 & 2 Kings – 6th Century B.C.
  • Zechariah, Ezra/Nehemiah, Malachi – 5th Century B.C.

During that time history witnessed the beginning of the nation of Israel under Moses, and the dominance and eventual waning of Egyptian and Babylonian dynasties, plus the Hittite, Assyrian, Persian empires, and the onset of the Greek empire. Israel rose to become a powerful state in the days of David and Solomon; then split into two kingdoms until some centuries later both parts of those kingdoms went into captivity.

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