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Saturday, March 31, 2012

Questions They Don't Ask at Bible Bowl

Having just seen a photo on Facebook from a friend of mine from Bible Bowl (a biblical trivia competition, at its most basic definition), a thought occurred to me: What kinds of questions do we never ask at these types of events? Since the questions at such competitions are all multiple choice and no essays (all the competitors are aged 7-13, give or take a couple years), they have limited answers. However, were other types of questions available, what would they be? A few have popped into my head, and so I figured I would share them.

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Separation, Reunion, Easter, and Eschatology

A little over a month ago my wife and I got some interesting news: she got the job. The position for choir director at her old middle school opened up mid-semester, and the school needed a "permanent substitute." (Permanent sub because the original teacher was still under contract, but could no longer maintain the position.) Given her degree in music-education, she applied for the spot. Lo and behold, the job was given to her. Not only was she offered the job, but she also took it. What this meant for us was that we would be living apart for a while. We have not been living together for about a month now. I think, however, I have learned some things I would not have discovered otherwise. 

Friday, March 23, 2012

A Disturbance in the Force

This semester I'm taking a class on Church Growth, dealing in part with the history of the Church Growth Movement, its principles, theology, and other such aspects. Fortunately, there has been some excellent literature for this class. Since book reviews are part of the grade, the reading has more or less been mandatory, but is for the most part no less interesting. Currently I'm reading through The Arbinger Institute's Leadership and Self-Deception (2000) and have completed such works as The Five Dysfunctions of a Team, by Patrick Lencioni, and Move: What 1,000 Churches Reveal About Spiritual Growth, by G.L. Hawkins and C. Parkinson.

They are all great books, but partway through Leadership and Self-Deception I find myself asking the questions being asked by the person weaving the narrative. And as I began articulating the thoughts with which the book is concerned, a different kind of question came to me: "Why do I find this literature to be more motivating, more captivating than the Gospel? Why is this book more provoking, compelling, interesting?"

As this question gnawed at my thoughts, I was disturbed by the fact that I had pondered these questions. Well, not so much the presence of the questions themselves, but the fact that in the questions there is a certain amount of truth. While I love reading the New Testament in Greek and translating it, I rarely find myself compelled by the Gospel as I am reading these books to do something about myself. Why is this? Why can I so easily be entrapped by a 168 page book, yet remain more or less untouched by the life of a sacrificial lamb? I have to admit: I'm scared.

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Repost: Christus Victor in the Lord's Prayer

Here is a repost from Richard Beck's Experimental Theology blog. Interesting on several levels, not least of all because he explores Greek genitives. Concerned primarily with the translation of the final phrase in Matt 6.13, Dr. Beck peruses the possibilities. Enjoy!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

Run-On Sentences

So there was this time when I decided I wanted to translate something from the Bible so I picked Ephesians because I thought that since Ephesians was something I had never read straight through in English it would be a good idea to do in the Greek and then I realized that Paul or whoever wrote Ephesians (because I don't think Paul did it, but that's something I ought to study a little more) tends to use run-on sentences which is kind of annoying due to the fact that at the beginning of a sentence there is a participle and you can go three or four verses along and still not find its controlling verb and that frustrates me.

If Paul or pseudo-Paul can do it, why can't I? Answer: because it annoyed me to even try to write one, let alone translate such a mess!

I got to Eph 2, which starts with καὶ ὑμᾶς ὄντας... When I see a participle, my training has taught me that it almost always is relative to a finite verb. So I started looking. 2.1 begins with a participle whose controlling verb does not appear to occur until v. 6. Relative clauses, participles, genitives, and seemingly random asides abound in these few short verses. If this is how English teachers feel when they grade badly written essays, then I applaud you for your patience.

As for how the translating is going in Eph, you might have noticed that I'm much farther in translating than in blogging about such. There is a simple reason and a complicated reason for doing this. First, I just haven't got around to posting my translating notes. Second, I'm kind of waiting to see whether the translating of later parts of the text will inform or exegete earlier areas. I might get the early stuff out of the way, writing down how participles and genitives are translated, which means the potential for self-interpretation would have to wait. We'll just have to see where this goes.

Grace and peace,

Thursday, March 8, 2012

The Sabbath: Rest as a Discipline

"Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy." Ex 20.8

I always grew up hearing about how evil the Pharisees were. They were the bad guys. You know, because they wanted to kill Jesus, and who in their right mind would want to kill Jesus? One of the things they did most of was imposing sub-rules on pre-existing religious statements, particularly the Sabbath.

Monday, March 5, 2012

The Exodus From Egypt: Lecture with Dr. James K. Hoffmeier

Tonight Lubbock Christian University will play host to Dr. James K. Hoffmeier, an apparently renowned Egyptologist. The lecture is entitled "The Exodus from Egypt in Light of Recent Archaeological and Geological Work in North Sinai," and I must admit I am quite excited about it. I may or may not post my notes from the lecture, depending on the availability of a video recording via LCU's tech team (quite separate from our IT department, mind you.

Whatever happens, I'll be sure to let you all know how it went. I can't wait for this thing to start! I showed up about 45 minutes early to get a good seat, since nearly 1,000 people are to show up in an auditorium whose seating capacity is 1,150. I'm grateful for the opportunity whatever happens.

Grace and peace,

Sunday, March 4, 2012

Ephesians 1.7-10

Ephesians 1.7-10 Translation and Footnotes

Notes for the Translating Posts

So here's the thing: since some of the footnotes are somewhat extensive and deeper than a mere classification for genitives, participles, and infinitives, I have opted to keep each post rather short in terms of the number of verses translated. While I have no intention of turning this into an in-depth commentary on whichever book I am translating, I most certainly plan on writing out my rationales for differing translational choices as well as anything that intrigues me, either about the grammar and syntax of the phrase/sentence/paragraph/book at hand or the potential implications for those interpretive choices. If you notice something you would have done differently, let me know. I'm always open to hear other options for a translation.

Saturday, March 3, 2012

Repost: "Confessions of a Christian Addict"

A dear friend and family member of mine very recently blogged about her own struggle, one with which I am very familiar: porn. I've posted before on the topic, and if you've read it, you'll know it's no secret that porn is a pitfall of mine as well. So instead of me blabbing on and on as usual, here is a repost from her blog, Simplicities of a Writer. Let her testimony speak for itself.