Counterpoint Series and The Socratic Club

Counterpoints-TwitterSeveral other faculty members of Trinity and I started a “Socratic Club” this last year on campus (on the origins of such a group see this short synopsis). We gather every Thursday night and discuss matters primarily biblical, philosophical, literary, and theological. While our Club is not as targeted as the original one of Oxford we still operate along the same principles of an open forum where anyone can share.
It has included presentations by individuals on topics ranging from such topics as the nature of Christian preaching, what is the gospel and how are people saved, and engaging “spirit/s” in Greek literature. We’ve also had group counter-point discussions. Thus, this post.
This week only Zondervan is offering each of their Counterpoint series for only $4.99 (a steal of a deal). These have made our Club able of tackling all sorts of issues that we don’t have to be concerned with intense research or the stress of what to say. We simply provide a copy via our library, ask individuals in the Club to read a particular view/chapter and highlight the key points of the argument being presented. We’ve covered such topics as genocide in the OT and women in ministry, with plans to continue using this series. It also allows the rest of us the opportunity to hear a number of perspectives from within the broader scope of Evangelicalism on a topic.
If anyone is interested in starting such a group on their campus this is a great way to supplement discussions that is low cost and low stress.

Advice from Miles Van Pelt

There was a helpful little video and blog post recently on Koinoniablog.net where Miles Van Pelt (author of Basics of Biblical Aramaic and co-author of Basics of Biblical Hebrew) offers several bits of advice to language learning. He reminds students they must be intentionally regular in working on the languages. He says, “The way I have found most effective in my own life is to get up early and do it before everyone else starts to want your time, your schedule, and your attention” (and the other bit can be read and watched HERE).
Great advice to students, professors and anyone else working on learning languages. I would add that, while he may be disciplined sufficiently to rise early every day to work on it many of us are not that disciplined. However, this can be compensated for by simply finding natural ways of integrating language learning into the ebbs and flow of your day-to-day schedule.
For instance, when looking up a passage why not also look up the original as well as the English. Try sight translation and see how you do. This is a very simple practice that can result in significant language gains.
Another idea is to bring along your Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek Bible to church, Sunday school or a Bible study. You can also have an English Bible open for reading along, but just try following along as much as possible with the Hebrew/Aramaic/Greek.
Just a couple of simple tips to increase time spent reading the original languages that does not require much effort or extra work (not least, waking up early to do it…yuck!). So what advice might you give?

Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho

Just a fun post with a short music video because this song got stuck in my head a few days ago after a discussion of the historicity of Joshua and walls of Jericho (Joshua 6). Indeed, when the text of Scripture makes strong historical claims we ought to accept those claims (despite the archeological evidence not yet being clear one way or another – see this bit, which I do not fully endorse, by Bryant Wood who challenges the findings of Kathleen Kenyon). And V. Philips Long has made a fine contribution to the discussion of the veracity of historical claims from Scripture on us as faithful readers in his contribution (“The Art of History”) to “Foundations of Contemporary Interpretation” (gen. ed., Moisés Silva; 6 Vols in 1; Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1996): pp.247-434.

Here is Mahalia Jackson singing “Joshua Fit the Battle of Jericho”

Rediscovering the Mission of God in Scripture

Mission of GodThe following is what I will be presenting and handing out for a family camp I’m speaking at tomorrow morning. What would you say if you were asked to speak on the topic of giving a brief (hour and a half) interactive teaching on the mission of God in Scripture? I’m just tracing the threads through Scripture of God’s purpose to make for himself a people in His image and how this has cosmic reconciling intent. What might you add? What Scripture would you include and why?

Rediscovering the Mission of God in Scripture

Genesis 1:26-28

  • Who do we image and why were we made?

Genesis 12:1-3
Genesis 17:1-8

  • Abram (later Abraham) would be blessed in order to…?
  • Why was he chosen?

2 Samuel 7

  • What did the LORD promise David? Why?

Isaiah 16:5

  • What will the “son of David” be like?

Isaiah 55:1-5

  • What is the message to the nations?

Isaiah 56:6-7

  • What was the purpose of the temple according to this passage?

Matthew 12:18-21

  • What did Matthew understand the mission of Jesus to be in light of the Old Testament revelation?

Matthew 24:14
Matthew 25:31-46

  • How are these two passages about the “message” of the good news connected? What do they reveal about those who hold to this message, and what is the end result of response to this message?

Ephesians 2

  • For what end were we created? What is our message? How does it look?

Recommended Reading

Wright, Christopher J. H. The Mission of God: Unlocking the Bible’s Grand Narrative. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2006.
Wright, Christopher J. H. The Mission of God’s People: A Biblical Theology of the Church’s Mission. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010.
Wright, N. T. How God Became King: The Forgotten Story of the Gospels. New York: HarperOne, 2012.