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

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When exactly did the Word become flesh? In the beginning, which may have been either the beginning of creation or the beginning of new creation, or both, the Word was with God, and the Word in some sense was God. This is John’s reworking of a familiar Jewish Wisdom motif, probably with a view to linking it with the prevalent Hellenistic... (20th Dec. 2018 | 17 comments)
Ignorance about the ignorance of the Son Carlton Wynne is assistant professor of systematic theology and apologetics at Westminster Theological Seminary and, therefore, not surprisingly believes that “as the eternal Son of the Father, Jesus Christ possesses the fullness of deity, including the attribute of omniscience”. But how are we to... (14th Dec. 2018 | 6 comments)
Why won’t there be marriage in the resurrection? What are we to make of Jesus’ saying that in the resurrection people will not marry or be given in marriage? I’ve been looking at Robert Song’s argument for covenant partnerships for gay and lesbian people in his book Covenant and Calling: Towards a Theology of Same-Sex Relationships. Marriage is... (12th Dec. 2018 | 16 comments)
Evangelicals and the narrative-historical method: three questions I am arguing on this site for a major shift in the way that the church reads the New Testament and presents its significant content. Most churches today start from a theological tradition and, wittingly or otherwise, read the New Testament for the purpose of explaining, elaborating upon and... (6th Dec. 2018 | 11 comments)
In the beginning was the Word, etc. Since John’s christology has been under discussion recently (see “Why did the Jews accuse Jesus of making himself equal to God?” and “Before Abraham was, I am”), and since I will be preaching on the Word which became flesh as the first in an Advent series this Sunday, I’ve scraped together some... (29th Nov. 2018 | 11 comments)
Before Abraham was, I am My assumption has always been that we have a “higher” christology in the Gospel of John than we do in the Synoptic Gospels, but I’m beginning to have my doubts. I argued last week that when Jesus is accused by the Jews of making himself equal to God or making himself God (Jn. 5:17-18; 10:33), his... (26th Nov. 2018 | 9 comments)
Why did the Jews accuse Jesus of making himself equal to God? I think we have to allow that John’s Gospel differs from the Synoptic Gospels in this fundamental respect: it is not an attempt to remember the historical Jesus; it is an attempt to restate the significance of the historical Jesus from a later theological vantage point, shaped in particular by a... (20th Nov. 2018 | 16 comments)
Does the narrative-historical method distort New Testament christology? My response to deon’s two lengthy and thoughtful comments (see the last piece on Jesus as Alpha and Omega) on how the narrative-historical approach potentially distorts crucial elements of New Testament christology has grown rather long, so I have posted it separately. But it remains a response to... (15th Nov. 2018 | 31 comments)
Jesus as Alpha and Omega, first and last, beginning and end Towards the end of the book of Revelation John hears somebody say: “Behold, I am coming soon, bringing my recompense with me, to repay each one for what he has done. I am the Alpha and the Omega, the first and the last, the beginning and the end” (Rev. 22:12–13). This is presumably Jesus speaking (... (13th Nov. 2018 | 20 comments)
What happens on the “day of Christ”? Less than you might think The New Testament narrative at every point is directed towards future events, from John the Baptist’s announcement that the bad trees of Israel would be cut down and burned in the fire to John the Seer’s vision of a new heaven and a new earth. I say “events”—plural—because I don’t think the... (7th Nov. 2018 | 3 comments)
More on the new Jerusalem in the midst of the nations In Revelation 21:22-26 John describes a situation in which the new Jerusalem is surrounded by the nations, which walk by its light, and the kings of these nations bring their “glory and honour” into the city. Despite the fact that the gates of the city will always be open, nothing unclean, nor any... (2nd Nov. 2018 | 14 comments)
What was the most important lesson that the early church learned from Jesus? Professor James Dunn gave a class yesterday at the London School of Theology for a mixed group of undergraduates, research students, and the teaching body. The topic was “Jesus according to Jesus”, which was taken from his forthcoming book Jesus According to the New Testament. He took us on a... (1st Nov. 2018 | 4 comments)
How come there are bad people in the new heaven and new earth? I started out with the intention of explaining what appears to be the persistence of bad things and bad people in the new heaven and new earth described in Revelation 21-22. John tells us that the gates of the new Jerusalem that is seen descending from God will never be shut, but “nothing unclean... (24th Oct. 2018 | 18 comments)
unPodcast: Does the narrative-historical method help us to answer the question “Why be a Christian?” This is the script for the recent podcast of the same name for those who prefer the sound of the voice in their head.Here’s the question that I want to address. It was sent to me by someone who gets the narrative-historical approach to reading the Bible and is wondering whether it has anything to... (18th Oct. 2018 | 5 comments)
Why did Jesus say he would crush some to pieces? If you’re looking for a good example of how conservative evangelicalism gets the Jesus story wrong (albeit with the best of intentions), look no further than this piece on The Gospel Coalition site, in which Steve Mathewson asks, “Why Did Jesus Say He Will Crush Some to Pieces?”It has to do with... (16th Oct. 2018 | 1 comment)
Podcast: Does the narrative-historical method help us to answer the question “Why be a Christian?” On my blog and in a few books I argue against the theological interpretation of scripture and for a consistently narrative-historical interpretation of scripture. Why? Because the method makes much better sense of the texts. But can it do more than that? Can it give us better answers to the big... (11th Oct. 2018 | 3 comments)
Podcast: The good news is the narration of history Most people probably still think of the “gospel” as the offer of eternal life to individuals on the basis of Jesus’ atoning death. That is quite wide of the mark as far as the New Testament is concerned. I argue here that the good news was an unfolding story about how the God of Israel was... (5th Oct. 2018 | 0 comments)
The Bible Project New Testament Overview: story and history Alex asked what I thought of The Bible Project’s telling of the biblical story in this video. The video is called a “New Testament Overview”, but really it’s a lively, line-drawn, animated presentation of the “epic complicated story of God’s covenant partnership with Israel and all humanity”. The... (28th Sep. 2018 | 9 comments)
Why is there no “gospel” in the Gospel of John? Here’s an irony, surely. The Gospel to which everyone turns for their definition of the “gospel” is one of the few books of the New Testament in which the euangelion word-group does not appear. The other gospel-free texts are Titus, James, 2 Peter, the letters of John, and Jude—all minor epistles... (21st Sep. 2018 | 2 comments)
The “patriarchy paradox”: why both complementarians and egalitarians may have got it wrong (and right) An article in the London Times today reports on what it calls the “patriarchy paradox”, which is that social equality between men and woman appears currently to reinforce rather than weaken gender stereotyping. You need to subscribe to the Times to view the article, but I’ll summarise the content... (15th Sep. 2018 | 2 comments)
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