Introduction to the New Testament (1915) [Chapter 3]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

The Gospel of Mark

(pp.46-54)

A) About the author of the chapter:

Louis Berkhof “graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1900 …

In 1902 he went to Princeton University for two years earning a B.D. degree …

In 1906 he was appointed to the faculty of Calvin Theological Seminary. He assumed the presidency of the seminary in 1931 …” [1]

[1] http://www.calvin.edu/hh/seminary_presidents/semm_pres_berkhof.htm

B) Chapter Summary:

i) Contents

“We  may  divide  the  contents  of  Mark’s  Gospel,  that  treats  of  Christ  as  the  mighty Worker,  into  five  parts:

I. The Advent  of  the  mighty  Worker, 1:1 — 2:12 …

II. The Conflict  of  the  mighty  Worker, 2:12 — 8:26 …

III. The  Claim  of  the  mighty  Worker, 8:27 — 13:37 …

IV. The Sacrifice  of  the  mighty  Worker, 14:1—15:47 …

V. The mighty  Worker  as  Conqueror  of  Death, 16:1-20.”[1]

ii) Characteristics

“The  most  striking  peculiarity  of  the  second  Gospel  is  its  descriptive  character.  It  is Marks  constant  aim  to  picture  the  scenes  of  which  he  speaks  in  lively  colours.”[2]

e.g. the  look  of  anger  that  Christ  cast  on  the hypocrites  about  him,  3:5;  Jesus  taking little  children  in  his  arms and  blessing  them,  9:36;  10:16;  Jesus,  looking  at  the young  ruler,  loved  him,  10:21

“This  Gospel  contains  comparatively  little  of  the  teaching  of  Jesus;  it  rather  brings  out the  greatness  of  our  Lord  by  pointing  to  his  mighty  works,  and  in  doing  this  does  not  follow the  exact  chronological  order …

Mark,  though  considerably  smaller  than  Matthew,  contains  all the  miracles  narrated  by  the  latter  except  five,  and  besides  has  three  that  are  not  found  in Matthew.  Of  the  eighteen  miracles  in  Luke,  Mark  has  twelve  and  four  others  above  this number.”[3]

“In  the  Gospel  of  Mark  several  words  of  Christ  that  were  directed  against  the  Jews  are left  out,  such  as  we  find  in  Mt.  3:  7-10;  8:  5-13;  15:  24,  etc.  On  the  other  hand  more  Jewish customs  and  Aramaic  words  are  explained  than  in  the  first  Gospel,  f.  i.  2:18;  7:3;  14:12;  15:6, 42;  3:17;  5:41;  7:11,  34;  14:  36.  The  argument  from  prophecy  has  not  the  large  place  here that  it  has  in  Matthew.”[4]

“The  style  of  Mark  is  more  lively  than  that  of  Matthew,  though  not  as  smooth.  He  delights  in  using  words  like  εὐθύς or  εὐθέως and  πολύς prefers  the  use  of  the  present  and  the imperfect  to  that  of  the  aorist,  and  often  uses  the  periphrastic  εἶναι with  a  participle  instead of  the  finite  verb.  There  are  several  Latinisms  found  in  his  Gospel,  as  κεντυρίων,κορδάντης, κράββατος,πραιτώριον,  σπεκουλάτωρ and  φραγελλοῦν.”[5]

iii) Authorship

“Just  as  in  the  case  of  Matthew  we  are  entirely  dependent  on  external  testimony  for  the name  of  the  author  of  the  second  Gospel.”[6]

“… the  voice  of  antiquity  is  unanimous  in ascribing  it  to  Mark.  The  most  ancient  testimony  to  this  effect  is  that  of  Papias,  who  says: “Mark,  the  interpreter  of  Peter,  wrote  down  carefully  all  that  he  recollected,  though  he  did not  [record]  in  order  that  which  was  either  said  or  done  by  Christ.  For  he  neither  heard  the Lord  nor  followed  him;  but  subsequently,  as  I  have  said,  [attached  himself  to]  Peter,  who used  to  frame  his  teaching  to  meet  the  [immediate]  wants  [of  his  hearers]  ;  and  not  as making  a  connected  narrative  of  the  Lords  discourses.  So  Mark  committed  no  error,  as  he wrote  down  some  particulars  just  as  he  called  them  to  mind.  For  he  took  heed  to  one thing—to  omit  none  of  the  facts  that  he  heard,  and  to  state  nothing  falsely  in  [his  narrative] of  them.”  Several  other  church  fathers,  such  as  Irenaeus,  Clement  of  Alexandria,  Tertullian, Origen,  Jerome,  Eusebius,  e. a.,  follow  in  his  wake;  there  is  not  a  dissentient  voice.”[7]

“After  the  death  of  Peter  he [i.e. Mark]  is  said  to  have  visited  Alexandria,  where  he  was  the  first  to  found  Christian  churches,  and  finally  died  a  martyrs  death. This  tradition,  though  old,  is  not  without  suspicion.”[8]

Daniel Seely Gregory: “[Mark was] like  Peter  more  a  man  of  action  than  of  deep  and  abiding principle,  a  man  of  fervor  and  enthusiasm  rather  than  of  persevering  effort;  but  he  was transfused  by  the  power  of  the  same  Christ  who  transfused  Peter  into  the  man  of  rapid, continued  and  effective  effort  in  the  missionary  work  of  the  Church.”[9]

“Papias  says  that  “Mark was  Peters  interpreter  and  wrote  down  carefully  all  that  he  recollected.”  Clement  of  Alexandria  also  says  that  he  wrote  down  the  discourses  of  Peter,  as  he  remembered  them.  Irenaeus, Tertullian  and  Jerome  all  style  Mark  “the  interpreter  of  Peter.”  Tertullian  even  says  that  “the Gospel  published  by  Mark  may  be  reckoned  Peter’s,  whose  interpreter  he  was.”  And  Origen still  stronger:  “Mark  wrote  his  Gospel  according  to  the  dictates  of  Peter.”  Similarly  Athanasius.  All  these  testimonies  agree  in  asserting  that  Mark  was  dependent  on  Peter  in  writing his  Gospel;  they  disagree,  however,  as  to  the  degree  of  dependence,  some  claiming  merely that  Mark  recorded  what  he  remembered  of  Peters  preaching,  and  others,  that  he  wrote what  Peter  dictated.”[10]

“The  Gospel  itself  incidentally  testifies  to  the  relation  in  which  it  stands  to  Peter.  There are  many  touches  that  indicate  first-hand  knowledge,  as  in  1:16-20;  1:29;  9:5; 15:54,  72;  16: 7.  Some  things  found  in  the  other  Synoptics  are  unexpectedly  omitted  by  Mark,  as  Peters walking  on  the  water,  Mt.  14:  29;  his  appearance  in  the  incident  of  the  tribute  money,  Mt. 17:  24-27;  the  statement  of  Christ  that  He  prayed  for  Peter  individually,  Lk.  22: 32;  the  significant  word  spoken  to  him  as  the  Rock,  Mt.  16:18.  In  other  cases  his  name  is  suppressed, where  it  is  used  by  Matthew  or  Luke,  as  7:17  cf.  Mt.  15: 15;  14:13  cf.  Lk.  22:8.”[11]

Continue reading “Introduction to the New Testament (1915) [Chapter 3]”

The Literature of the Old Testament (1913) [Chapter 3]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

The Pentateuch

(pp.29-33)

A) About the author of the chapter:

George Foot Moore “graduated from Yale College in 1872 and from Union Theological Seminary in 1877, in 1878 Moore was ordained in the Presbyterian ministry and until 1883 was pastor of the Putnam Presbyterian Church, Zanesville, Ohio.

He was Hitchcock professor of the Hebrew language and literature at Andover Theological Seminary, 1883–1902. In 1902 he became professor of theology and in 1904 professor of the history of religion at Harvard University.” [1]

[1] https://www.britannica.com/biography/George-Foot-Moore

B) Chapter Summary:

“The Old Testament begins with a comprehensive historical work, reaching from the creation of the world to the fall of the kingdom of Judah (586 B.C.), which in the Hebrew Bible is divided into nine books (Genesis-Kings). The Jews made a greater division at the end of the fifth book (Deuteronomy) and treated the first five books (the Pentateuch) as a unit, with a character and name of its own, the Law.”[1]

“The names of the several books in our Bibles are derived from the Greek version, and indicate in a general way the subject of the book, or, more exactly, the subject with which it begins: Genesis, the creation of the world; Exodus, the escape from Egypt; Leviticus, the priests’ book; Numbers, the census of the tribes; Deuteronomy, the second legislation, or the recapitulation of the law.”[2]

“The three middle books of the Pentateuch (Exodus-Numbers) are more closely connected with one another than with the preceding and following books (Genesis, Deuteronomy); in fact, they form a whole which is only for convenience in handling divided into parts. In these books narrative and legislation are somewhat unequally represented. Exod. 1-19 is almost all narrative, as are also c. 24, and cc. 32-34; the story is picked up again in Num. 10, what lies between is wholly legislative; in Num. 10-27, 28-36, narrative and laws alternate, the latter predominating. It is evident that from the author’s point of view the narrative was primarily a historical setting for the Mosaic legislation.”[3]

“Deuteronomy begins with a brief retrospect (Deut. 1-3) of the movements of the Israelites from the time they left the Mount of God till they arrived in the Plains of Moab, the lifetime of a whole generation. There, as they are about to cross the Jordan to possess the Land of Promise, Moses delivers to them the law which they shall observe in the land, and with many exhortations and warnings urges them to be faithful to their religion with its distinctive worship and morals. Thus Deuteronomy also presents itself essentially as legislation.”[4]

“The history of the Israelite tribes opens with the account of the oppression in Egypt, the introduction to the story of deliverance. Its antecedents are found in the Book of Genesis, the migration of Jacob and his sons from Palestine to Egypt several generations earlier in a time of famine; and this in turn is but the last chapter in the patriarchal story which begins with the migration of Abraham from Syria or Babylonia to Palestine.”[5]

“Gen. 1-11 tells of creation and first men; the great flood; the dispersion of the peoples, with a genealogical table showing the affinities of the several races and another tracing the descent of Abraham in direct line from Shem the son of Noah. But even in Genesis the interest in the law manifests itself in various ways, such as the sanction of the sabbath, the prohibition of blood, and the introduction of circumcision.”[6]

“In regarding the whole Pentateuch as Law, or, to express it more accurately, as a revelation of the principles and observances of religion, the Jews were, therefore, doing no violence to the character and spirit of these books; and in ascribing them to Moses they were only extending to the whole the authorship which is asserted in particular of many of the laws, and especially of the impressive exhortations in Deuteronomy which form the climactic close of his work as a legislator.”[7]

[1] pp.29-30

[2] p.30

[3] Ibid.

[4] pp.30-31

[5] p.31

[6] Ibid.

[7] pp.31-32

C) Chapter Review:

  • Readability: 7/10
  • Theological depth: 5/10
  • Any other comments: Interestingly enough, George Foot Moore did not touch on the different theories regarding the authorship of the Pentateuch. The chapter, just like the previous one, was really short & found wanting content wise.

 

Introduction to the New Testament (1915) [Chapter 2]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

The Gospel of Matthew

(pp.37-45)

A) About the author of the chapter:

Louis Berkhof “graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1900 …

In 1902 he went to Princeton University for two years earning a B.D. degree …

In 1906 he was appointed to the faculty of Calvin Theological Seminary. He assumed the presidency of the seminary in 1931 …” [1]

[1] http://www.calvin.edu/hh/seminary_presidents/semm_pres_berkhof.htm

B) Chapter Summary:

i) Contents

“The  Gospel  of  Matthew  may  be  divided  into  five  parts:

The Advent  of  the  Messiah, 1:1 – 4:11 …

The Public  proclamation  of  Messiah’s  Kingdom, 4:12 – 16:12 …

The  Distinct  and  Public  Claim  of  Messiahship, 16:13 – 23:39 …

The Sacrifice  of  Messiah  the  Priest, 24:1 – 27:66 …

The Triumph  of  Messiah  the  Saviour  and  King.”[1]

ii) Characteristics

“As  to form  we  find,  in  the  first  place,  a  characteristically  Jewish  numerical  arrangement of  things  in  this  Gospel.  The  genealogy  in  ch.  1  consists  of  three  groups  of  generations  of fourteen  each.  There  are  seven  beatitudes  ch.  5;  seven  petitions  in  the  Lord’s  prayer  ch.  6;  a group  of  seven  parables  ch.  13;  and  seven  woes  on  Pharisees  and  Scribes  ch.  23.”[2]

“As  to  the style  of  Matthew,  in  the  second  place,  may  be  said  that  it  is  smoother  than  that  of  Mark, though  not  so  vivid.  But  it  is  tinged  with  Hebraisms,  less  indeed  than  the  language  of  Luke, but  more  than  that  of  Mark.  It  is  rather  impersonal,  lacking  in  individuality.”[3]

“The  arrangement  of  the  material  in  this  Gospel  also  differs  considerably  from  that  in the  other  Synoptics.  The  narrative  is  not  continuous,  but  is  interrupted  by  five  great  discourses,  such  as  are  not  found  in  the  Gospels  of  Mark  and  Luke,  viz,  the  Sermon  on  the Mount,  chs.  5-7;  the  charge  to  the  apostles,  ch.  10;  the  parables  of  the  Kingdom,  ch.  13;  the discourse  on  the  church,  ch.  18;  and  the  final  eschatological  discourses  of  Christ  on  the  last judgment,  chs.  23-25.  After  every  one  of  these  discourses  we  find  the  words:  “And  it  came to  pass,  when  Jesus  had  ended  (made  an  end  of,  finished)  these  sayings,  etc.””[4]

“As  to  contents  the  following  peculiarities  deserve  our  attention:  In  the  first  place  the Gospel  of  Matthew  has  a  more  Jewish  aspect,  than  the  other  Synoptics.  Its  predominant subject  is,  the  Messiah  and  his  Kingdom …

In  the  second  place  the  first  Gospel  alludes to  the  Old  Testament  more  frequently  than  any  other:  It  emphasizes  the  fact  that  the  New Testament  reveals  the  fulfilment  of  Old  Testament  promises;  that  Christ  was  born,  revealed himself  and  labored  as  the  prophets  of  old  had  foretold.  Matthew  contains  more  than  40 quotations,  while  Mark  has  21  and  Luke,  22.”[5]

iii) Authorship

“The  superscription  ascribes  the  first  Gospel  to  Matthew.  That  this  embodies  the  opinion of  the  early  Church  is  evident  from  the  testimony  of  Irenaeus,  Tertullian,  Origen,  Eusebius and  several  others,  who  all  point  to  Matthew  as  the  author.”[6]

“The  Gospel  itself  shows  unmistakably,  by  its  Jewish  physiognomy,  that  its  author  was  a  Jew,  yea  even  that  he  was  a Palestinian  Jew,  for  he  quotes  from  the  Hebrew  and  not  from  the  Septuagint.”[7]

“It  contains  no direct  evidence,  however  to  the  authorship  of  Matthew,  though  there  are  a  couple  points  of difference  between  it  and  the  other  Synoptics  that  are  best  explained  on  the  assumption  that Matthew  wrote  it.  When  we  compare  the  lists  of  the  twelve  apostles  in  Mt.  10:2-4;  Mk.  3: 16-19;  and  Luke  6:14-  16,  we  notice  that  only  in  the  first  Gospel  the  name  Matthew  is  followed by  the  less  honorable  qualification  “the  publican  ;”  and  that  it  has  the  order,  “Thomas  and Matthew”  instead  of,  “Matthew  and  Thomas.’”[8]

“Our  information  regarding  Matthew  is  very  scanty.  We  read  of  him  first  in  connection with  the  call  to  follow  Jesus,  Mt.  9:  9,  10;  Mk.  2:14,  15;  Lk.  5 :  27-29.  There  is  no  reason  to doubt  that  the  Matthew  of  the  first  Gospel  is  the  Levi  of  the  second  and  third.  Possibly  his name  was  changed  by  the  Lord  after  his  call  to  the  discipleship,  just  as  those  of  Peter  and Paul.”[9]

“A  veil  of  obscurity  is  cast  over  the  apostolic career  of  Matthew.  Tradition  has  it  that  he  remained  at  Jerusalem  with  the  other  apostles for  about  twelve  years  after  the  death  of  the  Lord,  laboring  among  his  fellow-countrymen. When  the  work  was  done,  it  is  said,  he  preached  the  Gospel  to  others,  according  to  the popular  opinion  in  Ethiopia.  He  probably  died  a  natural  death.”[10]

iv) Composition

“A  hotly  debated  question  is  that  regarding  the  language  in  which Matthew  originally  wrote  his  Gospel.  The  difficulty  of  the  problem  arises  from  the  fact  that external  testimony  and  internal  evidence  seem  to  disagree.  As  a  result  the  camp  is  very  much divided,  some  scholars  ardently  defending  a  Hebrew,  others  with  equal  zeal  a  Greek  original.”[11]

“… evidence  both  external  and  internal  has  given  rise  to  several  theories,  which  we  can  briefly  state  in  the  following  manner:

(1.)  Matthew  wrote  his  Gospel  in  Hebrew  and  someone  else  translated  it  into Greek.  This  position  was  held  by  the  Church  in  general  until  the  time  of  the  Reformation. Since  then  several  Protestant  scholars  took  another  view,  because  Rome  defended  the  ultimate authority  of  the  Vulgate  by  pointing  out  that  the  Greek  Matthew  was  also  merely  a  translation. The  attacks  of  Rationalism  on  the  so-called  second-hand  Matthew,  and  the  dubious  character of  a  part  of  the  ancient  testimony,  also  served  to  bring  this  theory  into  discredit …

(2.)  There  never  was  a  Hebrew  original,  but  Matthew  wrote  his  Gospel  in  the  Greek language.  The  present  gospel  is  not  a  translation,  but  an  original  work …

(3.)  Matthew  wrote  neither  a  Hebrew  nor  a  Greek  Gospel,  but,  if  anything,  a  work  called the  λόγια by  Papias,  which  must  have  been  a  collection  of  the  sayings  or  discourses  of  the Lord.  According  to  some  these  λόγια are  lost,  but  must  probably  be  identified  with  one  of the  supposed  sources  (Q)  of  our  present  Gospels.  Others  as  Godet  and  Holdsworth  believe that  the  work  contained  the  discourses  that  we  find  in  the  Gospel  of  Matthew  and  was therefore  incorporated  bodily  in  our  present  Gospel.

(4.)  The  evangelist  after  writing  his  Gospel  in  Hebrew  with  a  view  to  his  countrymen, possibly  when  he  had  left  Palestine  to  labor  elsewhere,  translated  or  rather  furnished  a  new recension  of  his  Gospel  in  the  Greek  language  with  a  view  to  the  Jews  of  the  Diaspora.  The former  was  soon  lost  and  altogether  replaced  by  the  latter.”[12]

“The  Gospel  of  Matthew  was  undoubtedly  destined  for  the  Jews. This  is  expressly  stated  by  Irenaeus,  Origen,  Eusebius,  Gregory  Nazianzen,  e. a.  This  testimony is  corroborated  by  internal  evidence.  The  genealogy  of  Jesus  goes  back  only  to  Abraham, the  father  of  the  Hebrew  race;  and  in  harmony  with  the  tenets  of  the  Jews  the  Messiahship of  Christ  is  proved  from  the  prophets.  The  whole  Gospel  impresses  one  as  being  occasioned by  the  exigencies  of  the  Jews  both  in  Palestine  and  without.”[13]

“Irenaeus  makes  a  very definite  statement,  viz.:  “Matthew  among  the  Hebrews  published  a  Gospel  in  their  own language,  while  Peter  and  Paul  were  preaching  the  Gospel  at  Rome  and  founding  a  church there.”  This  must  have  been  somewhere  between  63-67  A.  D.”[14]

“The  dates  assigned  to  this  Gospel  by  rationalistic  critics  range  from about  70  to  125  A.  D.”[15]

“The  question  arises,  whether  Matthew  used  sources  in  the  composition  of his  Gospel.  The  prevalent  opinion  at  present  is  that  the  writer  of  this  Gospel,  whoever  he may  have  been,  drew  in  the  main  on  two  sources,  viz,  on  the  λόγια of  Matthew  for  the  discourses  of  the  Lord,  and  on  the  Gospel  of  Mark  for  the  narrative  portion  of  his  work …

Against  these  see  Davidson  and  Salmon.  Zahn’s  opinion  is  that  Mark  employed  the  Hebrew  Matthew  in  the  composition  of his  Gospel,  and  that  the  writer  of  our  Greek  Matthew  in  turn  used  the  Gospel  of  Mark.”[16]

“All  we  can  say  is  (1)  that  in  all  probability  the  Hebrew  Matthew  depended  on  oral tradition  only;  (2)  that  our  Greek  Matthew  is  based  on  the  Hebrew;  and  (3)  that  it  is  not impossible  that  Matthew  had  read  the  Gospel  of  Mark  before  he  composed  the  present Greek  Gospel.”[17]

v) Canonical Significance

“This [i.e. traces  of  the Gospel of Matthew’s  use,  especially  of  the  Sermon  on  the  Mount  in  the  Didache, and the Gospel of Matthew being clearly  quoted  in  the  Epistle  of  Barnabas] proves  that  the  Gospel  was  used  and  recognized  as  canonical in  the  early  part  of  the  second  century.”[18]

“Further  it  is  abundantly  testified  to  until  the  beginning of  the  third  century,  when  all  controversy  ceases,  there  being  up  to  that  time  altogether  21 witnesses,  so  that  this  Gospel  is  one  of  the  best  attested  books  in  the  New  Testament.  Among these  witnesses  are  the  old  Latin  and  Syriac  Versions  that  contain  this  Gospel;  early  church fathers  that  refer  to  it  as  authoritative  or  quote  it;  and  heretics  who,  even  while  attacking the  truth,  tacitly  admit  the  canonical  character  of  the  Gospel.”[19]

“This  book  is  properly  placed  at  the  very  beginning  of  the  New  Testament.  It  forms  part of  the  foundation  on  which  the  New  Testament  structure  was  to  be  reared.  And  among  the Gospels,  which  together  constitute  this  foundation,  it  is  rightly  put  in  the  first  place.  It  is, as  it  were,  a  connecting  link  between  the  Old  Testament  and  the  New.  As  the  Old  Testament had  reference  to  the  Jews  only,  so  the  Gospel  of  Matthew  is  written  for  the  old  covenant people.  And  it  is  clearly  linked  to  the  Old  Testament  by  its  continual  reference  to  the prophets.”[20]

“The  permanent  spiritual  value  of  this  Gospel  is  that  it  sets  forth  in  clear  outline Christ  as  the  One  promised  of  old;  and,  in  harmony  with  the  prophetic  literature,  especially as  the  great  divine  King,  before  whom  the  Church  of  all  ages  must  bow  down  in  adoration.”[21]

[1] pp.37-38

[2] p.38

[3] Ibid.

[4] Ibid.

[5] pp.38-39

[6] p.39

[7] Ibid.

[8] Ibid.

[9] p.40

[10] Ibid.

[11] Ibid.

[12] pp.41-42

[13] p.43

[14] p.44

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] p.45

[18] Ibid.

[19] Ibid.

[20] Ibid.

[21] Ibid.

C) Chapter Review:

  • Readability: 9/10
  • Theological depth: 8/10
  • Any other comments: Louis Berkhof’s summary of the different positions out there re the composition of Matthew is very helpful. It gives the reader just enough information & if the reader is curious to know more, he/she can delve into the scholarship on the issue.

The Literature of the Old Testament (1913) [Chapter 2]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

The Old Testament as a National Literature  

(pp.25-29)

A) About the author of the chapter:

George Foot Moore “graduated from Yale College in 1872 and from Union Theological Seminary in 1877, in 1878 Moore was ordained in the Presbyterian ministry and until 1883 was pastor of the Putnam Presbyterian Church, Zanesville, Ohio.

He was Hitchcock professor of the Hebrew language and literature at Andover Theological Seminary, 1883–1902. In 1902 he became professor of theology and in 1904 professor of the history of religion at Harvard University.” [1]

[1] https://www.britannica.com/biography/George-Foot-Moore]

B) Chapter Summary:

“For the religious apprehension of Jews and Christians the Old Testament is a body of Sacred Scriptures, containing the Word of God as revealed to the chosen people. The revelation was made “at sundry times and in divers manners” through many centuries, that is to say, it has a historical character, an adaptation to the needs or accommodation to the capacities of men, and, from the Christian point of view, makes a progressive disclosure of the divine purpose and plan of salvation.”[1]

“… for many scholars, Catholic and Protestant, the deliverances of the church, or the consent of tradition, or the testimony of the New Testament, or the concurrence of all these, outweighs, in such a matter as the unity and Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, the internal evidence of the books themselves, and makes it their task to show that the evidence which seems to contradict this attribution is, when properly interpreted, compatible with it; while others hold that no external authority and no theory of inspiration can be allowed to countervail the cumulative weight of internal evidence.”[2]

“In this literature are also the sources for the political history of the Hebrew people and for the history of its civilization and religion.”[3]

“All that survives of Hebrew literature prior to the age of Alexander is preserved in the Jewish Bible. It is not until the beginning of the third century B.C. that we come upon books written by Jews in Hebrew or in Greek which are not included in the canon. It is, doubtless, only a small part of a rich and varied literature that has thus been rescued across the centuries; much the larger part of what was written in the days of the national kingdoms, for example, must have perished in the catastrophes which befell Israel in the eighth century and Judah in the beginning of the sixth.”[4]

“The books of the Old Testament differ widely in matter and form—history and story; legislation, civil and ritual, moral and ceremonial; prophecy and apocalypse; lyric, didactic, and dramatic poetry.”[5]

[1] p.25

[2] p.26

[3] Ibid.

[4] p.27

[5] p.28

C) Chapter Review:

  • Readability: 6/10
  • Theological depth: 5/10
  • Any other comments: This chapter was disappointingly short & lacked good content. I expected more substance seeing how George Moore decided to set aside an entire chapter to cover this.

 

Introduction to the New Testament (1915) [Chapter 1]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

The Gospels in General  

(pp.14-36)

A) About the author of the chapter:

Louis Berkhof “graduated from Calvin Theological Seminary in 1900 …

In 1902 he went to Princeton University for two years earning a B.D. degree …

In 1906 he was appointed to the faculty of Calvin Theological Seminary. He assumed the presidency of the seminary in 1931 …” [1]

[1] http://www.calvin.edu/hh/seminary_presidents/semm_pres_berkhof.htm

B) Chapter Summary:

i) The Title of the Gospels

“The  word  εὐανγγέλιον passed  through  three  stages  in  the  history  of  its  use.  In  the  older Greek  authors  it  signified  a  reward  for  bringing  good  tidings; also,  a  thankoffering  for  good tidings  brought. Next  in  later  Greek  it  indicated  the good  news  itself.  And  finally  it  was  employed  to  denote  the  books  in  which  the  gospel  of  Jesus  Christ  is  presented historic  form. It  is used  very  extensively  in  the  New  Testament,  and  always  in  the  second  sense,  signifying  the good  news  of  God,  the  message  of  salvation.”[1]

“The  first  trace  of  the  word  as  indicating  a  written  gospel  is  found  in  the  didache [15:3], the  Teaching  of  the  Twelve  Apostles,  discovered  in  1873  and  in  all  probability  composed between  the  years  90  and  100  A.  D …

The  plural euanggelia,  signifying  the  four  Gospels,  is  first  found  in  Justin  Martyr,  about  152  A.  D.”[2]

ii) The Number of Gospels Recognised by the Early Church

“In  all  probability  the  earliest  evidence  that  the  Church  of  the  first  ages  accepted  the  four  Gospels  that we  now  possess  as  canonic,  is  furnished  by  the  Peshito,  which  most  likey  dates  from  the first  half  of  the  second  century.”[3]

“Another  early  witness  is  found  in  the  Muratorian  Fragment,  a  mutilated  work  of  which  the real  character  cannot  now  be  determined,  and  that  was  probably  written  about  170  A.  D.”[4]

“An  important  witness,  really  the  first  one  to  a  fourfold Gospel,  i.  e.  to  a  Gospel  that  is  four  and  yet  is  one,  is  Tatian,  the  Assyrian.  His  Diatessaron was  the  first  harmony  of  the  Gospels.  The  exact  date  of  its  composition  is  not  known;  the meaning  of  its  name  is  obviously  [the  Gospel  ]by  the  Four.”[5]

“In  one  of  his [i.e. Irenaeus (c. 120-200)] books  he  has  a  long  chapter  entitled:  “Proofs  that  there  can  be  neither  more  nor fewer  than  four  Evangelists.” Looking  at  the  Gospels  as  a  unit,  he  called  them  “the  Gospel with  four  Faces.””[6]

“Another  significant  testimony  is  that  of  Origin,  the  great teacher  of  Alexandria  of  whom  Eusebius  records  that  in  the  first  book  of  his  commentaries on  the  Gospel  of  Matthew  he  asserts  that  he  knows  of  only  four  Gospels,  as  follows:  “I  have learnt  by  tradition  concerning  the  four  Gospels,  which  alone  are  uncontroverted  in  the Church  of  God  spread  under  heaven,  that  according  to  Matthew,  who  was  once  a  publican but  afterwards  an  apostle  of  Jesus  Christ,  was  written  first;  .  .  .  that  according  to  Mark  second; .  .  .  that  according  to  Luke  third;  .  .  .  that  according  to  John  last  of  all.””[7]

“Church  History  VI, 25. Eusebius  himself,  who  was  the  first  historian  of  the  Christian  Church,  in  giving  a  catalogue of  the  New  Testament  writings,  says:  “First  then  we  must  place  the  holy  quaternion  of  the Gospels.””[8]

iii) The Literary Character of the Gospels

“The  Gospels  have  a  literary  character  all  their  own;  they  are  sui  generis. There  is  not another  book  or  group  of  books  in  the  Bible  to  which  they  can  be  compared.  They  are  four and  yet  one  in  a  very  essential  sense;  they  express  four  sides  of  the  one  εὐαγγέλιον of  Jesus Christ.”[9]

“The  Gospels  are  not  histories  of  the  life  of  Christ,  nor  do  they, taken  together,  form  one  history …

They  are  four  pen-pictures,  or  better,  a  four  fold  portraiture  of  the  Saviour  a  fourfold  representation  of  the apostolic  κήρυγμα;  fourfold  witness  regarding  our  Lord.”[10]

“Each  one  of  them  gives  us  a  certain  view  of  the  Lord,  and  only the  four  taken  together  present  to  us  his  perfect  likeness,  revealing  him  as  the  Saviour  of  the world.”[11]

“Matthew  wrote  for  the  Jews  and characterized  Christ  as  the  great  King  of  the  house  of  David.  Mark  composed  his  Gospel for  the  Romans  and  pictured  the  Saviour  as  the  mighty  Worker,  triumphing  over  sin  and evil.  Luke  in  writing  his  Gospel  had  in  mind  the  needs  of  the  Greeks  and  portrayed  Christ as  the  perfect  man,  the  universal  Saviour.  And  John,  composing  his  Gospel  for  those  who already  had  a  saving  knowledge  of  the  Lord  and  stood  in  need  of  a  more  profound  understanding  of  the  essential  character  of  Jesus,  emphasized  the  divinity  of  Christ,  the  glory  that was  manifested  in  his  works.”[12]

Continue reading “Introduction to the New Testament (1915) [Chapter 1]”

The Literature of the Old Testament (1913) [Chapter 1]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

The Canon of the Old Testament  

(pp.7-24)

A) About the author of the chapter:

George Foot Moore “graduated from Yale College in 1872 and from Union Theological Seminary in 1877, in 1878 Moore was ordained in the Presbyterian ministry and until 1883 was pastor of the Putnam Presbyterian Church, Zanesville, Ohio.

He was Hitchcock professor of the Hebrew language and literature at Andover Theological Seminary, 1883–1902. In 1902 he became professor of theology and in 1904 professor of the history of religion at Harvard University.” [1]

[1] https://www.britannica.com/biography/George-Foot-Moore

B) Chapter Summary:

“The early Christians received the Sacred Books of the Jews as inspired Scripture containing a divine revelation and clothed with divine authority, and till well on in the first century of the Christian era the name Scriptures was applied exclusively to these books.”[1]

“In time, as they [i.e. the early Christians] came to attach the same authority to the Epistles and Gospels, and to call them, too, Scriptures (2 Pet. iii. 16), they distinguished the Christian writings as the Scriptures of the new dispensation, or, as they called it, the “new covenant,” from the Scriptures of the “old covenant” (2 Cor. iii. 6, 14), the Bible of the Jews. The Greek word for covenant ( diathéké ) was rendered in the early Latin translation by testamentum , and the two bodies of Scripture themselves were called the Old Testament and the New Testament respectively.”[2]

“The Scriptures of the Jews were written in Hebrew, the older language of the people; but a few chapters in Ezra and Daniel are in Aramaic, which gradually replaced Hebrew as the vernacular of Palestine from the fifth century B.C.”[3]

Continue reading “The Literature of the Old Testament (1913) [Chapter 1]”

Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe (2010) [Chapter 3]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

Creation: God Makes 

(pp.79-108)

A) About the author(s):

Mark Driscoll has a Master of Arts degree in exegetical theology from Western Seminary. He was the founding and preaching pastor of Mars Hill Church, and former president of the Acts 29 Church Planting Network

Gerry Breshears is a Professor of Theology at Western Seminary and earned his PhD in Systematic Theology from Fuller Theological Seminary.

B) Chapter Summary:

I) What does the Bible say about creation?

“The first book of the Bible, Genesis, takes its name from its first words, “In the beginning,” as genesis means “beginning.” The book of Genesis in general, Genesis 1 to 3 in particular, records the beginning of creation and human history.  Moses  penned  Genesis  in  roughly  1400 BC as  the  first  of a  five-part  book  called  the  Pentateuch,  meaning  “book  in  five  parts.”  The Genesis  account  of  creation  was  most  likely  directly  revealed  to  Moses  by the  same  Holy  Spirit  who  was  present  in  Genesis  1:2,  since  Moses  was not  present  for  the  creation  event.  Genesis  is  not  an  exhaustive  treatment of  early  history  but  rather  a  theologically  selective  telling  of  history  that focuses  on  God  and  mankind  while  omitting  such  things  as  the  creation  of angels  or  the  fall  of  Satan  and  demons.”[1]

“The  first  line  of  Genesis  says,  “In  the  beginning,  God  created  the  heavens  and  the  earth” … Brilliantly,  the  Bible  opens  with  the  one true,  eternal  God  as  both  the  author  and  subject  of  history  and  Scripture. Consequently,  everything  else  in  history  and  Scripture  is  dependent  upon God  and  is  only  good  when  functioning  according  to  his  intentions  for  it from  creation.”[2]

“In  Genesis  1:1,  the  word  used  for  created  is  the  Hebrew  word  bara, which  means  “creation  from  nothing.”  The  other  Hebrew  word  used in  a  creative  sense  in  Genesis  is  asah,  translated  “make”  or  “made,” which  means  “to  fashion  or  shape,”  or  “to  make  something  suitable,” such  as  making  loincloths  out  of  fig  leaves or  making  the  ark.  Bara emphasizes  the  initiation  of  an  object,  whereas  asah  emphasizes  the shaping  of  an  object.  Along  with  statements  where  God  does  initial creation  (the  heavens  and  the  earth),  the  only  other  things  bara’d  are the  living  creatures and  human  beings.  When  people  create  we  are doing  asah,  not  bara.”[3]

See Gen.  1:1;  2:3-4; 1:21; 1:27; 3:7; 5:1-2; 8:6.

“In  the  creation  account  we  see  that  God  created  (bara)  “the  heavens  and the  earth.”  This  phrase  could  be  more  literally  translated  “the  skies  and  the land,”  since the heavens are not the place where God lives, but the place where stars  move and  birds  fly.  The  Hebrew  word  eretz, usually translated “earth,” in  Genesis  1  does  not  mean  the  planet  but  the  land  under  the  water, separated from  water, where  vegetation  grows  and  animals  roam.  Elsewhere  in Scripture  it  usually  means  the  Promised  Land.  The  phrase  “skies  and  land” is  a  Hebraic  way  of  saying  “everything”  from  the  skies  above  to  the  earth below,  like  saying  from  top  to  bottom  or  head  to  toe,  including  space-time, mass-energy,  and  the  laws  that  govern  them.  In  other  places  in  Scripture,  the phrase  includes  the  sun  and  moon,  which  could  in  turn  mean  that  the  sun  and moon  were  created  as  a  part  of  this  first  creation.”[4]

“… the  same  language  for  “without  form  (tohu)  and  void  (bohu)” used in Genesis 1:2 is used elsewhere in Scripture in reference to uninhabited land.”[5]

See Deuteronomy 32:10, Isaiah 45:18

“[In Jeremiah 4:23,] “without form  and  void”  does  not  mean  chaos,  but  it  means  empty  of  humans;  “no light”  does  not  mean  there  is  no  sun  but  that  the  land  is  without  God’s  blessing.  Similarly,  in  Genesis  1:2  “without  form  and  void”  is  the  condition  of the  land  before  God  made  it  good,  filling  it  with  light  and  life.  The  best understanding  is  not  that  God  created  primordial  chaos  and  formed  earth  out of  it,  but  that  God  created  everything  out  of  nothing  and  that  the  land  existed for  some  unstated  period  of  time  in  a  desert-like,  empty  state.”[6]

““In  the  beginning”  means  that  there  was  an  inauguration, but  not  when  that  moment  was.  Therefore,  Genesis  1:1  leaves  open  both the  possibilities  of  a  young  and  an  old  earth.

The  creation  account  goes  to  great  lengths  to  make  it  clear  that  the God  who  created  (bara)  everything  according  to  the  first  verse  is  the same  God  who  prepared  (asah)  the  land  for  humans  to  dwell  with  him  in the  remainder  of  Genesis  1  and  2.”[7]

[1] pp. 81-82

[2] p.82

[3] Ibid.

[4] p.83

[5] Ibid.

[6] p.84

[7] Ibid.

Continue reading “Doctrine: What Christians Should Believe (2010) [Chapter 3]”

Jesus the Son of God (2012) [Chapter 3]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

“Jesus the Son of God” in Christian and Muslims Contexts

(pp.73-109)

A) About the author:

D.A. Carson (Ph.D, Cambridge University) is a research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he has taught since 1978. He is president of the Gospel Coalition, and has written or edited nearly 60 books.

B) Chapter Summary:

i) What bearing does this study of Jesus as the Son of God have on the way Christians should think about Jesus?

“… in the New Testament “Son of God” is not a terminus technicus, as the Latins say–a technical term that always carries the same associations.”[1]

“Bible readers should exercise special pains not to succumb either to unjustified reductionism, in which one particular usage is read into every occurrence, or to “illegitimate totality transfer,” in which the entire semantic range of the expression is read into every occurrence. Context must decide.”[2]

“We have observed how 2 Samuel 7:14, Psalm 2:7, and Psalm 45:6-7 are applied to Jesus, even though the first certainly applies to Solomon, not Jesus, the second probably applies first of all to David and his immediate successors, and the third certainly applies, initially, to kings who had heirs who replaced their fathers, not to Jesus. Yet in all three cases the context drops hints of a fulfillment that outstrips local petty monarchs. Once these passages are nestled into the complex matrix of the Davidic typology, the many passages that anticipate an heir of David who is declared to be God and whose reign embraces the entire earth and even the heavens, the connection to Jesus is all but inevitable.”[3]

“Insofar as our conceptions of him diverge from what he has disclosed of himself, so far are we worshipping a false god, which is normally called idolatry. To study hard what holy Scripture says about the Son of God, who has most comprehensively revealed his heavenly Father, is to know more about God, and thus to begin to ground our worship in reality rather than slogans.”[4]

ii) What bearing does this study of Jesus as the Son of God have on current debate regarding the translation of the title, especially in Muslim contexts?

“At the street level, many Muslims think Christians believe that God somehow impregnated Mary, and that the Trinity is made up of God, Mary, and Jesus, who is thus the Son of God. They find the construct bizarre, not to say blasphemous, and of course, they are right. Informed Muslims have a better understanding of what Christians mean by the Trinity, but they find this Christian take on monotheism illogical at best, blasphemous at worst. In short, the objection to thinking of Jesus as the Son of God is not restricted to the repulsiveness of the idea that God had sexual union with a woman, but extends to the deeper criticism of the incarnation: the absolute distinction between God and his creation must not be breached.”[5]

“… some sectors of SIL/Wycliffe, Frontiers, and other organizations have for a number of years embarked on a variety of Bible translations that have replaced many references to God as the Father and to Jesus as the Son. For example, in one recent Arabic translation, Al Kalima, the baptismal formula of Matthew 28 becomes, “Cleanse them by water in the name of Allah, his Messiah and his Holy Spirit.” Sometimes “Guardian” has been used instead of “Father.””[6]

See www.al-kalima.com/translation_project.html

“(1) We should all recognize the extraordinary diversity of “son of” expressions in the Bible. Probably they should not all be handled the same way.”[7]

“On almost any reading of the evidence, the associations of the expression [the Son of God] are complicated, theologically laden, and inescapable. Why should it not be better, then, to render the original more directly, perhaps with explanatory notes?”[8]

“… words for “father” and “son” that convey mental pictures of social relationship but not biology may be misleading as words for “father” and “son” that convey mental pictures of a biological connection. For we have seen how “begetting” or “generation” or “engendering” language can be used of the way God becomes the “Father” of the Davidic king, and finally of Jesus himself: that is, the begetting is itself metaphorical. God establishes the Davidide as his son, he begets him, when the Davidide comes to the throne: at that point, so far as the activity of reigning is concerned, the Davidide is to act like his “Father,” and thus show himself to be a true son. This is more than a mere social relationship; it is a metaphorical engendering.”[9]

“… John’s Gospel happily associates Messiah and Son of God, but a passage like John 5:16-30, as we have seen, so deepens what it means to affirm that Jesus is the Son of God that our entire understanding of God and of sonship are enriched and transformed. This is not a mere translational matter. No language, no culture, means by “Son” what Jesus means in John 5–yet “Son” is the category Jesus uses, even though nothing in English, or Urdu, or Arabic, prepares us for a Son of God whose relationship with the Father is anything like what the text describes.”[10]

“… the richest theological loading of the expression “Son of God” as applied to Jesus springs from passages that deploy the expression to cross-polinate distinctive uses. This fact constitutes a driving reason to translate “Son of God” and “Father” expressions consistently, for otherwise, these crucial intracannonical links will be lost to view.”[11]

[1] p.74

[2] p.74

[3] p.75

[4] p.86

[5] p.89

[6] p.89

[7] p.91

[8] p.93

[9] p.101

[10] p.103

[11] p.107

C) Chapter Review:

  • Readability: 9/10
  • Theological depth: 7/10
  • Any other comments: This chapter is a lot more practical and is a worthwhile read for anyone interested in the subject of biblical translation as well as the difficult decisions that accompany it.

Jesus the Son of God (2012) [Chapter 2]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

“Son of God” in Select Passages

(pp. 43-71)

A) About the author:

D.A. Carson (Ph.D, Cambridge University) is a research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he has taught since 1978. He is president of the Gospel Coalition, and has written or edited nearly 60 books.

B) Chapter Summary:

i) Hebrews 1

Note: Dr Carson points out that Hebrews 1:5 cites Psalms 2:7 and 2 Samuel 7:14

“New Testament texts quote Psalm 2:7 to prove Jesus is superior to angels, to prove Jesus did not take on himself the glory of becoming high priest but was appointed by God, and to demonstrate that God has fulfilled his promises to the Israelite ancestors by raising Jesus from the dead – even though, on the face of it, Psalm 2 does not mention angels, has no interest in the high priest’s office, and makes no mention of the resurrection of the Messiah.”[1]

“… both 2 Samuel 7:14 and Psalm 2:7 depict the Davidic monarch as God’s son, ideally imitating his heavenly father’s kingly rule. Both passages hint at Davidic reign that eclipses anything in the first millennium BC. Both are elements in a trajectory of anticipatory passages that run through the Old Testament.”[2]

See Isaiah 9, Ezekiel 34

“This trajectory–or, to use the more traditional terminology, this Davidic typology–is inherently forward-looking. It anticipates that toward which it points. When Hebrews 1:5 quotes Psalm 2:7 with reference to Jesus, it is the Davidic typology that warrants it; that is, the writer to the Hebrews is reading Psalm 2:7 not as an individual prooftext but as one passage within the matrix of the Davidic typology it helps to establish.”[3]

“… in the Old Testament, God reigns in a peculiar and redemptive way over the Israelites, and thus, via his appointed Davidide, over the Davidic kingdom. As anticipation mounted for the coming of the ultimate Davidic king, it was recognised that that kingdom, when it dawned, would be redemptive and transformative.”[4]

“… just as the kingdom of God sometimes refers to the entire sweep of God’s reign, and sometimes to that subset of his reign under which there is salvation for his own people, so also Jesus’s reign can embrace all of God’s sovereignty, all authority in heaven and on earth (Matt. 28:18), and sometimes can refer to that subset of his reign under which there is life (e.g., 1 Cor. 6:9-10).”[5]

“… as in 2 Samuel 7, so also in Psalm 45: the immediate referent is necessarily a Davidic king other than Jesus–and yet these texts are nestled within a Davidic trajectory that can be fulfilled only in Jesus.”[6]

“… in Psalm 45: the courtier does not think the king he is addressing is literally, ontologically, God, as verse 7 makes clear. The psalm is loaded with hyperbolic expressions of the king’s majesty, integrity, justice, humility, and power, precisely because these were the standards the king was supposed to maintain if he, as the son of God, was tasked with reigning as his Father reigns.”[7]

“… the sonship language applied to Christ in the prologue cannot be restricted to a strictly Davidic messianic horizon. The writer to the Hebrews, in other words, is prepared to link, within his first chapter, Jesus’s sonship in the Davidic, messianic sense, with his sonship in the sense of his thoroughly divine status, embracing his pre-existence and his oneness with God in creation.”[8]

“Judging by the evidence of Hebrews 1–and a treatise could be written to demonstrate similar support through much of the New Testament–Christians commonly plugged away at integrating confessional christologies. Just as we discovered in chapter 1, that Matthew can leap from an Israel-as-son-of-God christology to a Davidic-king-as-son-of-God christology, showing no embarrassment at affirming that Jesus is the Son of God in both senses, so Hebrews 1 leaps from preexistent-Godhead-as-Son-of-God christology to Davidic-king-Messiah-as-Son-of-God christology.”[9]

Continue reading “Jesus the Son of God (2012) [Chapter 2]”

Jesus the Son of God (2012) [Chapter 1]

[Articles in the Summed Up series are intended to be summaries of chapters of selected theological books. The author(s) will be quoted verbatim for the purposes of ensuring accurate representation]

“Son of God” as a Christological Title 

(pp. 13-42)

A) About the author:

D.A. Carson (Ph.D, Cambridge University) is a research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, where he has taught since 1978. He is president of the Gospel Coalition, and has written or edited nearly 60 books.

B) Chapter summary: 

i) Sons and sonship

“In the ancient world, however, the percentage [of sons doing what their fathers did and daughters doing what their mothers did] would have been much higher, frequently well over 90 percent. If your father was a farmer, you became a farmer … if your father was a carpenter, you became a carpenter – which of course is why Jesus could be known both as the carpenter’s son (Matt. 13:55), and, in one remarkable passage, as the carpenter (Mark 6:3 – presumably after Joseph had died).” (p.19)

“He [i.e. your father] established your vocation, your place in the culture, your identity, your place in the family. This is the dynamic of a culture that is preindustrial and fundamentally characterized by agriculture, handcrafts, and small-time trade.

This social dynamic does not necessarily shape the linguistic structures of all cultures characterized by it, but it certainly does the Hebrew culture.” (p.20)

“… there are many “son of X” idioms in the Bible, where the identity of “X” is highly diverse and the relationship between the son and X is certainly not biological.

Consider, for example, the expression “son(s) of Belial,” or “men [or occasionally ‘daughter’] of Belial,” where “Belial” is usually masked by contemporary translations.” (p.20)

See Deuteronomy 13:13, Judges 19:22, Judges 20:13, 1 Samuel 1:16, 1 Samuel 2:12, 1 Samuel 10:27, 1 Samuel 25:17, 1 Samuel 25:25, 1 Samuel 30:22, 2 Samuel 16:7, 2 Samuel 20:1, 2 Samuel 23:6, 1 Kings 21:10, 1 Kings 21:13, 2 Chronicles 13:7, and 2 Chronicles 6:15

“Calling someone “a son of Belial” is not necessarily suggesting that the biological father of the son is Belial/worthless/wicked/a scoundrel/Satan. Rather, it is a dramatic way of saying that the conduct of the son is so worthless/wicked that he is identified with the worthless/wicked family.” (p.22)

“[There are many cases where] the expression “son(s) of X,” the “X” is often abstract, or at least nonpersonal, nonhuman (e.g. son of one year, sons of affliction, son of morning, sons of oil, sons of the quiver). In all such cases, the relationship between the “son” and “X” cannot, of course, be biological.” (p.24) [emphasis mine]

“Who are the sons of Abraham? The true sons of Abraham, Paul insists, are not those who carry Abraham’s genes, but those who act like him, who imitate the faith of Abraham (Gal. 3:7; cf. John 8:33, 39-40), the “man of faith” (Gal. 3:9).” (p.26)

ii) The use of “Son(s) of God” to refer to beings other than Jesus

“In Luke 3, the genealogy of Jesus is traced all the way back to “Adam, the son of God” (3:38) … Certainly Adam is the son of God in the sense that God generated him, making him in the image and likeness of God, created to reflect God’s glory.” (p.29)

“As early as Exodus 4:22-23, the singular expression “son of God” can refer to Israel collectively.” (p.29)

See also Psalm 80:15, Hosea 11:1, Jeremiah 31:9

“The expression “son(s) of God” can refer to God’s covenant people, individually or plurally (rather than collectively) both under the terms of the old covenant and under the terms of the new.” (p.30)

See Deuteronomy 14:1, Isaiah 43:6, Isaiah 45:11, Isaiah 63:8, Jeremiah 3:19, Galatians 3:26, Romans 8:14, Philippians 2:15, 1 John 3:1

“… sonship language can be applied to Christ’s followers when in some way or other they are imitating God, their heavenly Father.” (p.30)

See Matthew 5:9, Like 6:35-36

“More specifically, the Davidic king is designated the “son of God.”” (p.31)

See 2 Samuel 7:14

“When a Davidic assumes the throne, he does so under God’s kingship. The reign of the Davidic king is meant to reflect God’s reign … the Davidic monarch is called the son of God because he enters into the identity of the supreme Monarch, God himself.” (p.32)

See Psalm 2:6-7, Psalms 89:19-29

“The major New Testament writers find ways to distinguish between Jesus’s sonship and the sonship of believers. In John’s Gospel, only Jesus is referred to as ὁ υἱός (“the son”) of God; believers are characteristically referred to as τὰ τέκνα or τὰ παιδία (“the children”) of God (e.g., John 1:12).

In Paul, although υἱός can be used to refer to both Jesus and the believer, only believers are sometimes described as being sons by adoption (Rom. 8:15, 23; 9:4; Gal. 4:5; Eph. 1:4-5).” (p.33)

Continue reading “Jesus the Son of God (2012) [Chapter 1]”