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Review: Preaching in the New Testament by Jonathan Griffiths

Is preaching simply an invention of the Reformation? Is the preacher a quirk of Protestantism, with no counterpart in the early church? The appropriately titled Preaching in the New Testament by Jonathan Griffiths establishes that the NT teaches preaching is indeed a unique ministry, integral to the health of the body. As a volume in the New Studies in Biblical Theology (other reviews), it approaches the topic from a biblical-theological angle, attempting to discern and harmonize the teaching of Scripture.

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Review: A Jew to the Jews by David Rudolph

Just how Jewish was Paul after his conversion? Didn’t he renounce his heritage? Didn’t he say that we are under grace, not the Law? To many, Paul effectively rejected his Jewishness and became a circumcised Gentile. 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 is the smoking gun. Here, Paul’s Jewishness appears nonessential, optional. He simply adopted or discarded it for missionary purposes. But what if we’ve misread this passage? In A Jew to the Jews, David Rudolph confronts this reading of Paul. He specifically targets 1 Cor 9:19-23 and proposes that Paul remained a fully-observant Jew in Christ.

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Review: The So-Called Jew in Paul’s Letter to the Romans

I recall my shock when a veteran teacher told me that Romans 2 was possibly the most difficult chapter in the letter for him to interpret. Upon my own study, I soon understood: though Paul’s rhetoric seems clear at first, there is a flow-chart-like abundance of exegetical options available to the interpreter. Change one small interpretation and the whole passage takes on a fresh meaning. As if there weren’t enough already, another branch in the flow chart is growing in popularity among scholarship today. This view questions the long-held tradition/assumption that Romans 2:17ff describes the Jew. The authors of this present volume have written on this question elsewhere, but The So-Called Jew in Paul’s Letter to the Romans presents a unified re-reading of Paul’s letter if this hypothesis were true.

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Review: Reversing Hermon by Michael Heiser

Though 1 Enoch is not in either Jewish or Christian canons, its ideas were highly influential in the first century. In fact, in Reversing Hermon, Michael Heiser argues that many of the details in the New Testament “can only be traced to 1 Enoch” (p2). Though Heiser is not alone in this claim, it will be a new idea to many and Reversing Hermon is an accessible presentation from an expert in the field of all things weird in the Bible.

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Review: Colossians by Christopher Seitz (Brazos Theological Commentary)

The Brazos Theological Commentary series enlists “leading theologians [to] read and interpret scripture for today’s church, providing guidance for reading the Bible under the rule of faith.” The emphasis is upon a theological and unashamedly “Christian” interpretation. This pushes back against attempts for “objective” historical readings stripped of tradition. The choice of commentator is unique, such as philosophers, theologians and historians of varying traditions. The Colossians volume is by Christopher Seitz. Seitz an OT scholar with expertise on canonical reading of Scripture. The result is a fresh reading of Paul’s letter.

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Review: Messiah ben Joseph by David C. Mitchell

Messiah ben JosephRead carefully, for not all is as it seems. A son of Joseph will be the Messiah. He will begin by gathering a following in Galilee before journeying to Jerusalem, where he will be killed. A foreigner will then attack Jerusalem, take captives, and leave many to wander in the wilderness. But the Messiah ben David will descend in the clouds to Jerusalem and raise the Messiah ben Joseph, and others, from the dead. There will be a time of peace before Gog will arise against Jerusalem. The LORD will then destroy Gog and Death itself, and the nations will go up to Jerusalem to worship Yahweh.

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