A prudent, zealous, and laborious Minister

Not to read or study at all is to tempt God: to do nothing but study, is to forget the Ministry: to study, only to glory in one’s knowledge, is a shameful vanity: to study, in search of the means to flatter sinners, a deplorable prevarication: but to store one’s mind with knowledge proper to the saints by study and by prayer, and to diffuse that knowledge in solid instructions and practical exhortations, – this is to be a prudent, zealous, and laborious Minister.

Quesnel, quoted by Charles Bridges in “The Christian Ministry”
The Christian Ministry book cover

A Timely Reminder From Titus

A timely reminder from Titus (specifically, Titus 3:1-2), for me and my brothers and sisters in Christ:

  • Be submissive to rulers and authorities
  • Be obedient
  • Be ready for every good work
  • Speak evil of no one
  • Avoid quarreling
  • Be gentle
  • Show perfect courtesy toward all people

Why?

For we ourselves were once foolish, disobedient, led astray, slaves to various passions and pleasures, passing our days in malice and envy, hated by others and hating one another. But when the goodness and loving kindness of God our Savior appeared, he saved us, not because of works done by us in righteousness, but according to his own mercy, by the washing of regeneration and renewal of the Holy Spirit, whom he poured out on us richly through Jesus Christ our Savior, so that being justified by his grace we might become heirs according to the hope of eternal life.

Titus 3:3-7

Grace and peace this Election Day!

Next!

Currently mid-way on Intro to New Testament 2 with Tom Schreiner, but in the mail came some of the texts for my next class. I’ll be taking Personal Spiritual Disciplines with Don Whitney over the winter term.

Two of those are extra credit, but look really promising (both the Whitney books). I already had the other texts required for the course, Whitney’s Spiritual Disciplines for the Christian Life and Pilgrim’s Progress.

In The Mail: CSB

So, class number two started yesterday: Intro to New Testament 2, taught by Tom Schreiner (woohoo!). Noted from the syllabus that we have to read Acts through Revelation (the scope of the class) in either the NIV or CSB. I usually read in the ESV these days, so decided to send out for a copy of the CSB. I got the study version, and not the single column version, though I was tempted. Been a while since I’ve used a study bible and not certain this was the best version to choose for a study bible, but thought it was worth trying out.

Looks nice, anyway!

Smells good, too!

Pastries

In his discussion on “Qualifications of Inerrancy” in 40 Questions About Interpreting The Bible, Robert Plummer encourages pastry-making informed by appropriate sources:

7. Inerrancy does not mean that the Bible provides definitive or exhaustive information on every topic. No author in the Bible, for example, attempts a classification of mollusks or lessons in subatomic physics. The Bible tangentially touches on these subjects in asserting that God is the creator of all things, marine or subatomic, but one must not press the Scriptures to say more than they offer. If you want to learn how to bake French pastries, for example, there is no biblical text that I can suggest. I can, however, exhort you to do all things diligently for God’s glory (Col. 3:17) and not to engage in gluttony (Prov. 23:20). And I would be happy to sample any of the pastries you make.

40 Questions About Interpreting The Bible, p. 43, Robert L. Plummer (italics his)

All jesting aside, the book so far has been a very crisp read, and I am enjoying it quite a bit. This last question/chapter was on the presence (or lack thereof) of error in Scripture. It immediately put me in mind of Warfield’s The Inspiration and Authority of the Bible, which sits nearby. Alas, it will remain undisturbed on my desk for another occasion. I must be through question seven this coming week, as my Biblical Hermeneutics class begins in earnest.

From the same question (#4), the following “Reflection Question” is posed, which I offer as an exercise to you, the reader:

What is the most puzzling text in the Bible to you?

Now, onward to transmission accuracy.

-G

In the Mail, Fall 2020 SBTS Edition

Time to get reading!

So, here is what I will be reading (above and beyond the stuff I am already reading) for my first semester (fall, the first two of six class blocks during a year of online instruction):

F1: Biblical Hermeneutics

Required. These, in no particular order, are the required books for my first session:

Optional. I ordered before the syllabus was quite online, and found out after that these were optional – meaning possible replacements if you had already read the book by Alexander. I knew they were optional, but not exactly what optional would mean (one or the other, zero or more, etc.) Nevertheless, I got both:

F2: Intro to New Testament 2

Looking forward to digging in!

G.

The Special Case of Conversation

I found myself laughing quite loudly, and re-reading this passage to my wife to help her share in my enjoyment. I’m not sure I succeeded, but I will share with you all nonetheless.

The subject is conversation, and in the specific passage, the authors are beginning to illuminate the “presupposition pool”. Even more specifically, the idea that speakers naturally exclude or include content based on these shared concepts.

…Any speaker will necessarily make certain assumptions about his listeners and will fashion what he has to say accordingly. For example, he will not unnecessarily explain such technical terms as he may use unless he is fairly sure that explanation is required; the gratuitous supply of an unnecessary explanation may become part of the communication and may be perceived as patronizing. On the other hand failure to provide a necessary explanation may be perceived as deliberate one-upmanship, as exhibitionism, as (Chapter 3) sesquipedalian. Under these circumstances the listener may determine not to ask for clarification of the new word and so allow the communication to fail. In either case misunderstanding of the actual contents of the presupposition pool is likely to lead to an undeniable alteration in the character of the conversation.

Linguistics & Biblical Interpretation, p. 258

Yes, I had to look up “sesquipedalian” (Yes, they did in fact define it in Chapter 3, right near the beginning, and yes, that knowledge went “in one ear and out the other”, so to speak). Yes, you should look it up, too. These are my kind of people.

Linguistics & Biblical Interpretation

So far, I’m very much enjoying Linguistics & Biblical Interpretation, by Cotterell & Turner. Very easy to read and understand, as it strives to lay a foundation for the value of linguistically-supported study of Scripture.

I found the following, from the chapter on the pitfalls of word studies, interesting:

…my concept of ‘boy’ in the more general usage may include very many features concerning the range of their features and physique, their hygiene, their habits of play, their social abilities and limitations, and so forth, none of which is linguistically attached to the word ‘boy’ as such at all. The sentences

(1) Boys are usually male,
(2) Boys are usually unkind,

illustrate the difference. The first will be recognized as semantically anomolous (sic), for the qualifier ‘usually’ implies there are exceptions; but a boy that was not a male would appear to be a contradiction of the sense “boy”. The second sentence is linguistically acceptable (even though we consider it wholly untrue) because nothing about the sense of the word ‘boy’ overlaps in meaning with either ‘kind’ or ‘unkind’. The sense “male” is linguistically attached to ‘boy’; “kind” or “unkind” is not.

L&BI, p. 117

That seems pretty clear, and that level of clarity is appreciated. More often than not, linguistic study is rolled up with nuance – but that doesn’t mean it has to be overly complicated!

In The Mail: Lexical Semantics

I spend (likely) too much time over at Nerdy Language Majors. Between that and Koine-Greek, I always have something new and interesting to learn and grapple with. And sometimes, it is useful just to find books worth picking up. So, HT to Keith Surland for pointing out Lexical Semantics of the Greek New Testament, by Nida & Louw, a week or so back. I look forward to spending time in it soon!

Lexical Semantics of the Greek New Testament