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Posts Tagged ‘New Testament’

Composite Gospel Pericope Index

Semantic Bible’s Composite Gospel Pericope Index.

Everything Must Change Chapter Twelve

I’m still paging through Brian McLaren’s Everything Must Change. Chapter 12 (No Junk DNA) has been the most interesting chapter thus far.

Chapter 12 offers readers a very, very basic overview of what New Testament scholars, historical-critical exegetes, and form critics refer to as “Sitz-im-Leben” (Ger: setting in life, or life situation). The Sitz-im-Leben of the Sacred Texts compiled in the New Testament points toward a real-time sociological setting in which all particular and revealed forms of narrative rhetoric inherent to the writings were developed. Said differently, all of the New Testament’s Legends, Aphorisms, Prophecies, Parables, Liturgies, Epistles, and Teaching Materials were shaped within and shaped by a very real and very influential sociological context. Aphorisms and Parables exist, for example, because Jesus lived in an oral culture and these forms were conducive to easy memorization. This socio-literary phenomenon, which is totally missed in cursory readings of the texts, and/or seriously altered by a detrimental superimposition of an interpreter’s personal but divergent life situation (e.g., reader response theory), is absolutely necessary for holistic New Testament interpretation and understanding. A holistic understanding of the New Testament, Gospels, and Jesus of Nazareth requires a certain amount of historical study, sociological understanding, and honest real-time interpretation and application. Christians should get a grip on Sitz-im-Leben, to say the least. Read More »

A Tale of Two Meals

Setting: Jesus’ Table Meals vs. Religious Broker’s Table Meals. These meals clashed at Simon the Pharisee’s House (See: Luke 7). In this story we find a 1st century religious elitist named Simon extending a shared meal invitation to Jesus of Nazareth. Jesus accepts, and journey to Simon’s house.

I can easily imagine Jesus facing his inner-circle of friends and trying to explain why he can’t join them at the evening meal, as originally planned. Read More »

Three Major Presuppositions of the Jesus Seminar

The three major presuppositions of the Jesus Seminar: 1. Scientific Naturalism (i.e., anything outside the realm of natural explanation can never be backed by historical evidence). 2. The primacy of the apocryphal gospels. 3. The necessity of a politically correct Jesus. Read More »

A Few Notes Concerning Christian Sanctification

1. Any operative definition of sanctification can be summarized by one word: “consecration.” Specifically, I’m talking about an individual’s “full consecration to God.” Said differently, I understand Christian sanctification to be the act - which can find a catalyst in crisis or elation - of completely surrendering one’s self and being to God. Sanctification is an act of faith, trust, humility, sacrifice and love. One’s life is let go and offered to God as the most sacred sacrifice. God is everything; life is lived as if it were so. This is the reality of sanctification. Read More »

The Difficult Parable of the Dishonest Manager

A recent chat with friends regarding peaceful, non-violent resistance of cultural norms led to one of the most difficult parables taught by Jesus. Luke 16:1-9 has stumped and mystified interpreters for years, if not centuries. Some argue that the real meaning of this parable is lost to us forever; others point to Jesus’ overarching penchant for non-violent subversion as the key that unlocks the real meaning and intention of this parable. Given the social, political, and religious setting in which Jesus was situated, I tend to side with those who cite subversion. Read More »

Matthew’s Subversion of Our Ordinary Norms

The Gospel of Matthew has been called the most Jewish of all the Gospels. Jesus of Nazareth was Jewish, mind you. I think that simple truth alone has been subtly buried by the crushing tide of our popular, Western expressions of Christianity. Jesus was Jewish, as were his disciples. The Gospel of Matthew reflects this Jewishness more so than any other canonical Gospel. This is very important. The Jewishness of Mathew is very, very important.

You see, in Matthew, the author is writing specifically to Jewish people who are well trained in Jewish Law or Torah. That’s why the Gospel begins immediately with a long and tough to read genealogy. Yeah, we may as well admit it, we all skip that part of Matthew, right! Right. It is, however, a very important feature of this Gospel. The author of Matthew includes it because he is writing to a Jewish audience and he wants to show his audience that the redemptive work God began with Israel is completed in Jesus of Nazareth, the Messiah. So, in this long and tedious genealogy, Matthew not only links Jesus’ heritage with King David, but also with Abraham. Jesus of Nazareth is Son of David, Son of Abraham, Son of God. That’s pretty important info., not only for Matthew’s Jewish audience, but for all of us Gentiles too. Read More »

Living Out Matthew 4:23-5:16

C. Wess Daniels of Gathering in Light tagged me for a meme built upon favorite passages of Scripture. I have a lot of favorite passages and stories, but I think the following represents the one portion I find myself going back to time and time again. I personally believe Jesus meant what he said, and said what he meant. Yet, we are so comfortable with life lived apart from the practical ramifications of his teaching. I personally go back to the following portion of scripture because I - me - have to check myself daily against the master’s teaching, lest I comfortably wander away from my own cross. Jesus never said his way was easy … Read More »

House Church, Lectio Divina, and Markan Sandwiches

Our weekly house church gathering is built around the practice of Lectio Divina. Yes, house churches can take many, many shapes, forms, and identities; many methodologies can be tracked in these intimate and sacred gatherings. House churches are as diverse as the communities from which they spring. This is a good thing! Our gathering centers upon group Lectio Divina, or the spiritual reading/praying of scripture. This particular spiritual practice is an ancient one. It is a spiritual practice dedicated to silence, prayer, scripture, and the individual engagement of God, in a group setting. It offers participants a time wherein they chatter less about God, and instead actually listen for God in extended periods of reading, re-reading, and silence. It is an awesome group experience. Read More »

Roaming Immediate and Future Soteriology in Luke

There is no shortage of big and small talk regarding “apocalyptic themes,” “end times scenarios,” and the “anti-Christ” in North American Christian circles. It is an interesting phenomenon, to say the least. Perhaps Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins have something to do with it? Maybe it is all of those late night Cable TV “prophets?” I really can’t cite one reason for the subject matter’s popularity in the United States. There are probably many reasons. I do know that there is plenty of contextual material to seriously consider before jumping willy-nilly into apocalyptic conclusions and preaching them as if they were the gospel itself (e.g., Jewish and Christian Sacred Texts, Culture, etc.). One example of this sort of material consideration follows: Read More »