Posts Tagged ‘Bible’

Fall 2009: Teaching the Bible in Church

July 11, 2010

It has taken me longer than I would have liked to blog about the classes I have taken at Princeton Theological Seminary thus far, but it is still my intention to do just that.

The last class I took in Fall 2009 was Teaching the Bible in Church with Dr. Gordon Mikoski.  I took the class in the Fall short term (also referred to as the Jan or J term) so the class met Monday through Friday 9am – 12pm for three weeks.  The syllabus described the course this way:

Pastors and teachers in congregational settings require dynamic conceptions of the theory and practice of teaching scripture in order to carry out the church’s ministry of education and formation in effective ways. This course will explore the dynamic intersections between biblical knowledge, needs of various learners in congregations, and creative pedagogies. This course fulfills the education and formation requirement.

The books used were: (more…)


Teaching the Bible Using Art

July 11, 2010

This is my final project for my “Teaching the Bible in Church” class at Princeton Theological Seminary.  Due to copyright restrictions I cannot post the whole thing, but I post the majority of it here in case it is helpful or interesting to some.  I have written about the entire course separately.



Description of the Learners and Historical Assumptions

This curriculum is intended for the Adult Education Ministry at Presbyterian Church (PCUSA).  There are two full time ministers, one Parrish Visitor, and seventeen paid staff members at GBPC, including the Director for the Pre-school on site. The congregation’s reported total membership for 2008 was just over 1,200 people which is significantly greater than the average membership of 250 people.  Over the past ten years, the church has continued an overall trend of increased membership and worship attendance averages 702 people.  The church has a robust Christian Education program and enrollment averages 794.  The church is composed of a majority of affluent professionals, middle-class working families, and elderly people.  Generally speaking, the congregation is well educated, most having completed at least a Bachelor’s Degree.  The majority of the congregation is white.  There are some minority populations represented, but they are, however, the minority both as a whole and when broken down into specific racial and ethnic demographics.  Spiritually speaking the congregation is comprised of individuals who are just beginning in the faith to those who have been faithful Christians for many years. There are three worship services each Sunday (8:30, 9:45, and 11:15am) with the first and last service being contemporary worship and the 9:45, traditional.  Adult Sunday school is offered during each service.

This curriculum is intended for (more…)

Suggested Resources on Luke

April 16, 2010

Below is a list of resources my Greek Exegesis Prof made available for us.  The exegesis paper I wrote on Luke can be found here.

Recommended Commentaries:

Bovon, Francois. Luke 1 (Luke 1:1-9:50). Hermeneia. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2002.

Culpepper, R. A. The Gospel of Luke. In The New Interpreter’s Bible, vol. 9. Nashville: Abingdon, 1995.

Fitzmyer, J. A. The Gospel According to Luke. 2 vols. Anchor Bible. Garden City: Doubleday, 1981 and 1985.

Green, J. B. The Gospel of Luke. New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1997.

Johnson, L. T. The Gospel of Luke. Sacra Pagina. Collegeville, MN: Liturgical, 1991.

Marshall, I. H. The Gospel of Luke: A Commentary on the Greek Text. New International Greek Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1978.

Talbert, C. H. Reading Luke: A Literary and Theological Commentary on the Third Gospel. New York: Crossroad, 1988.

Commended Commentaries:

Caird, G. B. Saint Luke. Philadelphia: Westminster, 1963.

Schweizer, E. The Good News according to Luke. Atlanta: John Knox, 1984.

Tannehill, R. C. Luke. Abingdon New Testament Commentary. Nashville: Abingdon, 1996.

For general background, you may want to begin with one of the following:

Carroll, John. “Gospel of Luke.” In The New Interpreter’s Dictionary of the Bible. Nashville: Abingdon, 2008. 3:720-34.

Green, Joel. The Theology of the Gospel of Luke. New Testament Theology. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1995.

Suggested Resources on 1 Thessalonians

March 9, 2010

One of the things I have learned at seminary is that buying a set of commentaries is not always the best way to go.  For those who are interested, here is a list of resources on 1 Thessalonians my prof put together for my NT Exegesis Class.

Best, Ernest. A Commentary on the First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians. Harper’s New Testament Commentaries.  New York:  Harper and Row, 1972.

Bruce, F. F. 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Word Biblical Commentary. Waco, Texas: Word, 1982.

Collins, Raymond.  The Birth of the New Testament:  The Origin and Development of the First Christian Generation. New York:  Crossroad, 1993.

________ .  Studies on the First Letter to the Thessalonians.   Bibliotheca ephemeridum theologicarum lovaniensium 66.   Leuven: University Press, 1984.

________ , editor.  The Thessalonian Correspondence. Bibliotheca ephemeridum theologicarum lovaniensium 87.   Leuven:  University Press, 1990.

Donfried, Karl Paul.  Paul, Thessalonica, and Early Christianity.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.

________, and I. Howard Marshall. The Theology of the Shorter Pauline Epistles.  New Testament Theology.   Cambridge:  Cambridge University Press, 1993.

Frame, J. E.  A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles of Paul to the Thessalonians. International Critical Commentary.   Edinburgh:  T. and T. Clark, 1912.

Furnish, Victor Paul. 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians. Abingdon New Testament Commentaries. Nashville: Abingdon, 2007.

Gaventa, Beverly Roberts.  First and Second Thessalonians.  Interpretation.  Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 1998.

Juel, Donald H.  1 Thessalonians.   Augsburg Commentary on the New Testament.   Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1985.

Krentz, Edgar M.  “First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians,” in Anchor Bible Dictionary. New York:  Doubleday, 1992.  6:515-23.

Malherbe, Abraham J.  Paul and the Thessalonians:  The Philosophic Tradition of Pastoral Care. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1987.

The Letter to the Thessalonians.  Anchor Bible.  New York: Doubleday, 2000.

Marshall, I. Howard.  1 and 2 Thessalonians.   New Century Bible Commentary.   Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983.

Morris, Leon.  The First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians.   New International Commentary on the New Testament, revised edition.  Grand Rapids:  Eerdmans, 1991.

Richard, Earl.  First and Second Thessalonians.   Sacra Pagina 11.  Collegeville, MN:  Liturgical, 1995.

Old Testament Paper: Jeremiah 20

March 1, 2010

Yesterday I posted the paper I wrote on Rahab in Joshua 2.  Today I will post the paper I wrote on Jeremiah 20:7-13.  If anyone finds this helpful, please feel free to use it for personal or group study.




Jeremiah’s accusations of God in Jeremiah 20:7-13 are intense at best and blasphemous at worst.  How is it that Jeremiah, a mere man, could accuse God as he does?  Are these the rants of someone with no regard for the Holiness of God or the legitimate qualms of a rational and emotional child of God?  While Jeremiah’s statements are bold, his words are not the only place where God is affronted in this way.  In fact, when looking at Jeremiah 20:7-13 in light of similar Biblical texts, it becomes easier to see Jeremiah’s words as a radical honesty that seems to draw him closer to God.


At the start of this passage, Jeremiah declares, “O Lord, you have enticed me, and I was enticed; you overpowered me, and you have prevailed” (v. 7a).   Such strong language leaves the reader wondering, “What has the Lord done that would deserve such strong accusation?”  Fortunately Jeremiah tells us what he takes issue with.  “I have become a laughingstock all day long,” he says, “everyone mocks me” (v. 7b).  It seems a bit odd that Jeremiah would accuse God for enticing and overpowering him because of the response of others.  That is until the readers proceeds to the next verse.  Jeremiah boldly declares, “the word of the Lord has become a reproach for me/ a reproach and derision all day long” (v. 8b).  Indeed, he claims, “Whenever I speak, I must cry out, I must shout, ‘Violence and destruction!’” (v. 8a).  At this point the reader has a good idea why Jeremiah is accusing the Lord so vehemently!  It is God that has put these words in his mouth and if he decides not to speak the words God gives him, he says “there is something like a burning fire shut up in [his] bones” (v. 9b).  These feelings are so intense it seems as though Jeremiah has no choice but to speak!  If he does not, he becomes “weary with holding it in” (v. 9b) and claims that he cannot hold it in (v. 9b).  In light of this it seems that Jeremiah’s accusations are legitimate!

In Psalm 35:17-28 a similar scene plays out between the Psalmist, who is supposedly David, and God.  While there seems to be more details included regarding the Psalmist’s “treacherous enemies” (v. 19a), the passage with the statement, “How long, O Lord, will you look on?” (v. 17a).  How long will you sit up there on your pearly white throne, God, while I am dying down here?!?  What is the Lord lax in responding to?  The Psalmist practically begs God to “Rescue me from their ravages, my life from the lions!” (v. 17b) thus revealing his predicament.  The Psalmist continues on saying, “You have seen, O Lord; do not be silent!” (v. 22a) and then as if that was not bold enough, he proceeds to tell God, “Wake up!” (v. 23b).  Another great example of accusations of God is found in Job 23 where Jobs says, “Oh, that I knew where I might find [God], that I might come to his dwelling!  I would lay my case before him, and fill my mouth with arguments” (v. 3).  It seems that Job is essentially saying, “Boy, would I give God a piece of my mind!”  After all, God did hand Job over to Satan to be tested just short of death (Job 1:12, 2:6).

So Jeremiah is in good company when he accuses God.  Indeed, both David and Job are considered men of faith in the eyes of God (cf. Hebrews 11:32-34, Job 1:8).  So while it is irreverent to accuse God as Jeremiah does, this radical honesty leads to a better understanding of God’s provision.  After making his bold accusations against the Lord, Jeremiah begins to see God’s goodness in his situation.  He says, “The Lord is with me like a dread warrior; therefore my persecutors will stumble” (v. 11a).  Now the persecutor is no longer God, but his “close friends [who] are watching for [him] to stumble” (v. 10b).  Next Jeremiah says, “O Lord of hosts, you test the righteous, you see the heart and the mind” (v. 12).  This is a more positive view of God’s work than the enticement and overpowering of verse 7.  And to cap it off, Jeremiah declares, “Sing to the Lord; praise the Lord! For he has delivered the life of the needy from the hands of the evildoers” (v. 13) which surely indicates a change of heart and a certain level of closeness with God.  Similarly, the Psalmist ends Psalm 35 with a declaration that “[his] tongue shall tell of [God’s] praise all day long” (v. 28).  Likewise, while the narrative takes longer to describe Job’s journey, he says, “God understands the way to [wisdom], and he knows its place.  For he looks to the ends of the earth, and sees everything under the heavens” (Job 28:23-24).  Thus Jeremiah’s radical honesty eventually leads him to a place of contentment where he is closer to God.


If the only Biblical text that remained was Jeremiah 20:7-13, it would be hard indeed to view God in a positive way.  However this lament, as well as the many others in various Biblical texts, plays a distinct role in Jeremiah’s life of faith.  This glimpse of Jeremiah’s inner struggles help present day Christians see that honesty is part of being faithful.  While the human condition contributes to many feelings of anger, it seems as though Jeremiah’s lament shows the reader that God can handle that too.  In the end, God walks through the angry times as well as times of contentment.  God truly is with his children through thick and thin!


Davis, Ellen F. Getting Involved with God. New York: Cowley Publications, 2001.

“Holy Bible.” In The Harper Collins Study Bible (NRSV), edited by Harold W. Attridge. New York: Haper One, 2006.

Kugel, James L. How to Read the Bible. New York: Free Press, 2007.