How to tell the biblical story in a way that makes a difference


14 Mar 2023

Thanks to James McGrath, I’ve been fretting a bit more over the “fishers of people” saying in Mark 1:17 and Matthew 4:19. In his commentary, Hagner decides in the end that it “refers in a general way to the work of the new disciples, who are now to be concerned with drawing men and women into the kingdom of God.”

This reflects a fairly common way of thinking about the phrase. It’s misleading, in the first place, in that the kingdom of God was not a present reality, into which people were evangelised and baptised, but a future reality that you had to wait for.

3 comments |
I was asked whether there is any connection between the condemnation of lust in Matthew 5:27-30 and what is said about marriage in Jeremiah 16. I suggested in the last post that the sayings in the Sermon on the Mount about being thrown into Gehenna are Jesus’ reworking of the prophet’s denunciation… (7 Mar 2023 | 2 comments)
Ron got in touch to say that he’s persuaded by the argument that Gehenna in Matthew stands for a historical judgment. He can see how this makes good sense of the sayings about anger, hypocrisy, retaliation, and love of enemies, which presuppose a context of conflict and violence. But how is looking… (1 Mar 2023 | 0 comments)
John Walton must know a lot more about the Tower of Babel story in Genesis 11:1-9 than I do—it was the subject of his doctoral dissertation, and, of course, he is an eminent Old Testament scholar. Still, I am not persuaded by his argument in a recent Christianity Today article, “Beware Our Tower of… (20 Feb 2023 | 2 comments)
I did an interview last week with John Morehead, who directs Multifaith Matters. His organisation aims to provide support for individuals, churches, and organisations doing mission in a pluralistic religious context, so we talked about “narrative-historical approaches to the gospel, salvation, hell… (16 Feb 2023 | 0 comments)
A friend rang this morning wanting to know whether the thousands who died, and no doubt are still dying, in the earthquake that devastated the region around Gaziantep and Aleppo last week are now continuing to suffer in some far worse post mortem state of torment or alienation. It may seem the… (13 Feb 2023 | 3 comments)
I have a lot of work to do on hermeneutics in the coming months. One of the books I am reading is Craig Bartholomew’s Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics: A Comprehensive Framework for Hearing God in Scripture (2015), which seems to be both a general introduction to the field and a defence… (6 Feb 2023 | 2 comments)
This is an odd two-part post. I came across Cleanthes’ “Hymn to Zeus” in Mike Bird’s Jesus among the gods: Early Christology in the Greco-Roman World. It’s an outstanding early example (third century BC) of the pagan instinct to identify a supreme god who created and now manages the cosmos… (2 Feb 2023 | 6 comments)