Thursday, February 26, 2015

Check Out The New Testament Greek Portal

One of the projects I worked on while I was at Southeastern was building a website that pulled together a plethora of tools and resources for learning and using New Testament Greek. Students, if you haven't checked out the New Testament Greek Portal, be sure you check it out. Whatever interests you about Greek, you'll find something that will help you in your studies on that site.

Is It Really "The" Ministry?

I did a quick scan around the blogoworld to see what people have been saying about "the" ministry over the past week. Let me share a little with you that's being said out there. These are just four. Three think one way about "the" ministry. One quite the opposite.

A Lutheran pastor has written a letter to other Lutheran pastors talking about "the" ministry. He writes, "Moreover, you have not chosen your vocation by yourself. Sure, God gave you a desire to study for the ministry (1 Tim. 3:1)." And he quotes Martin Chemnitz's Ministry, Word, and Sacraments: An Enchiridion a number of times referencing "the" ministry.

An article in the Philadelphia Tribune about one church's pastor adds a little more about "the" ministry. Here's a snippet: "The journey to that point began when he was growing up at Vine, heard his calling, and did not know that it was a calling. During his college years he drifted away from attending church. After graduation he felt a pull to return to church, but he resisted. Instead he immersed himself in his financial industry career. His company promoted him to become division accounting manager and relocated him to Westminster, Md. It was during this time he said that his calling was becoming more intense. Yet he felt secure in his new position and rebuffed the need to join the ministry. 'I used to think that people only went into the ministry if they couldn’t do anything else,' [he] admitted. 'I also felt that being called to the ministry was about wanting to have a title or make a lot of money. So, I felt secure in my job and I was excelling."

One church put up some descriptions of their pastors online. There was this one: "He received Christ as his personal Savior as a young boy and then was called to the ministry while at college." And then this one: "After graduating from Pensacola Christian College and receiving a Masters of Bible Exposition from Pensacola Theological Seminary, God called him into the ministry where he served 7 years as a youth pastor in a large ministry."

Okay, so those three think about "the" ministry one way. "The" ministry is synonymous with being a pastor. So I saw one more. Here it is.

Proclamation Presbyterian Church posted their bulletin online. It features a number of quotes from different Christian authors. How about this one they included by Ed Stetzer: "In John 20 Jesus tells his followers that He is sending them as His Father has sent Him. Thus, the Bible teaches everyone is sent on mission and everyone is called to the ministry (John 20:21, 1 Peter 4:10). The only questions are to where, among whom, and doing what."

Here's the thing, folks. We can keep referring to the ministry synonymous to pastoral ministry. Or we can do what PPC did and put it right smack dab in the bulletin for every single member of the local church to see. Everyone is in "the" ministry. Everyone is "called" into "the" ministry if in fact they have been saved by grace through faith in Jesus' substitutionary sacrifice on the cross. The ministry can either be the stuff pastors do, or it can be the Great Commission. Well, it really can't be both. But what I'm saying is, we have to make a decision. It's one or the other. And if we really believe the latter, then we have to do away with this seriously unhelpful expression and abbreviated reference to pastoral ministry.

A few things have to happen. (1) Pastors have to stop referring to what God did in their lives as being "called into the ministry." Why? Because it automatically, consciously or unconsciously, tells everyone who hears it who doesn't serve in that capacity that they haven't been called into "the" ministry, or, at least, that how they are serving Lord in different capacities is somehow minuscule and insignificant in comparison to what it is that pastors do. (2) These same pastors need to emphasize the importance of being granted the amazing privilege of being able to make Christ known to a lost and dying world. (3) Everyone in Christ who isn't a pastor has to take up a Great-Commission jersey and get into the game. Stetzer is so right. "The Bible teaches everyone is sent on mission and everyone is called to the ministry (John 20:21, 1 Peter 4:10). The only questions are to where, among whom, and doing what."

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Watch The Inerrancy Summit Live

The Inerrancy Summit hosted by The Master's Seminary is going on from March 3rd to March 8th next week. If you can tune in to the lifestream of the main sessions, please do. I'm sure it will be well worth the time. If you curious about why we can trust the Bible and what it means to say that the Bible is "inspired," this is one conference you'll want to watch. You can find the details here, just scroll down to get the schedule.

Some Thoughts After Proofreading A Book

So, I just finished proofreading a book in Spanish and finalizing its index. I figured I would jot down the first five things that come to my mind about doing something like that. Here they are:
1. Proofreading is hard work. You're looking for everything. It's is not like reading. It's reading on steroids. 
2. You start to see circles when squares are on the page. When you look at something a million times, you start to hallucinate. That's not good when you're trying to spot things. 
3. You'll never find everything. It's just impossible. You do your best on your honor before the Lord and put the "final" product in his hands (and the publisher's). 
4.  It only gets more complicated when you're talking about a book in more than one language being translated from one language to another language. 
5. It takes time. Lots of it. 

Back From The Doctor

I just got to the office, but first had to make a trip to the doctor. This cold forced me to call in the experts. Looks like I'll be taking an antibiotic and some special cough syrup. Here's to feeling better!!! Thanks for praying, everyone. I tell you what, I haven't been hit by a cold this hard in four or five years. Nothing is worse than slowing down. And I'm reminded just how important rest really is. I've got a couple of things on the plate this afternoon, but I think tomorrow might just be a chillax kind of day while my bod absorbs the meds.

Some New Greek Books In My Library

My friend and colleague Carl Sanders brought me some new books to the office this evening. Right when he walked through the door I heard him saying, "It's gift time. It's gift time." That's always a good sound! Carl officially gave me my first Greek children's books! Thanks, Carl!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

WebEx-ing In Your Hebrew Class At Capital!

Bob Cole and Dougald McLauren are team-teaching Hebrew here at Capital this semester. I heard from one of deans that this class is going super well. Bob and Dougald are doing a live WebEx with the class each week and walking through the lessons. Word on the street . . . the students love it!

ALGNT: Indexing Finished

Tonight, with a fever around 100, I wrapped up the indexing for Aprenda a leer el griego del Nuevo Testamento. This book really is almost done and really almost about to be sent to the publisher. I know, I know. I keep saying it's close. Seriously, though. It's almost done. Dave Black's research assistant, Joshua Covert is kindly walking through the manuscript and double-checking all of the Greek. Once that is all done, and any corrections made, the book is gone!

Here's what my set-up looked like tonight. Little screen, BIG screen. Now that's what I'm talking about!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Going Back To The Library Of Congress

I'm taking my Greek class to the Library of Congress next week. I took one of our Greek classes over there last year. Eric Frazier hosted us in the Rosenwald Room and allowed each of the students to take a look at some of the world's most important Bibles. I think I got an email from every single student in that class expressing their thankfulness for that experience. They called it "unforgettable," "amazing," and "awesome." I agree. It's amazing to look on a table a see the Complutensian Polyglot, Erasmus' Greek New Testament, a 1611 King James Bible, the Eliot Indian Bible, and many more. It's surreal. I know this semester's Greek class will love it too.

So that we can maximize our time downtown and not waste time driving from the Hill back to Springfield, Capitol Hill Baptist Church is allowing us to have our afternoon session in their facilities again. I'm really thankful for CHBC. These guys and gals are serious about using what they have in service to the King. Some churches might ask, "What do we get out of it?" CHBC only says, "Hey, that's awesome. Let us check and see if there's space that day. . . . Yeah, there's space. It's all yours." Thanks, Capitol Hill Baptist Church. It means a lot!

Below, a picture of our Greek class last semester at the Library of Congress. Pretty amazing!

Check Out My Greek Translation Videos On YouTube

Hey, if you didn't know, I have a number of translation videos walking through many of the exercises found in David Alan Black's Learn to Read New Testament Greek. They are free, although prayers are appreciated. You can find them by clicking on the following links:
LRNTG, Chapter 1
LRNTG, Chapter 3
LRNTG, Chapter 4
LRNTG, Chapter 5 
LRNTG, Chapter 7
LRNTG, Chapter 8 
LRNTG, Chapter 11

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Putting Together The Index For ALGNT

The index for Learn to Read New Testament Greek is not keyed to page numbers. That's how I'm able to start working on the indexing for the Spanish version. The section numbers don't change from the English to the Spanish. So, I worked through some of that tonight. Once I hand this over to Henry, the book will be finished. I absolutely can't wait. 

Read Stetzger's "4 Ways To Involve Everyone In Evangelism"

I just got finished reading Ed Stetzger's "4 Ways to Involve Everyone in Evangelism." You can read it here. The most important thing that he said is evangelism is "for everyone." It's a ministry that cannot be relegated to a select few. It's the work of everyone who has genuinely been transferred out of the domain of darkness and placed into the kingdom of God's beloved Son. With that said, I noticed a couple of other things that would make me throw a question mark up. First, is baptism really just for believers, like the Lord's Supper? Is it a private confession or a public confession? Stetzger says, "The Lord’s Supper, baptism, even some small groups are just for believers." I don't think baptism belongs in this list. Second, I think we need to make a distinction regarding inclusive events. I think a lot of churches are super inclusive, even to the point that the Sunday morning message is just an opportunity to "give the gospel" to the invitees or people who just dropped by. I'm not against having the "inroad" ministries like Stetzger points out, but I think most people in our congregations are super satisfied with just having a "Will you come to church with me" Great Commission. We have to get to the point where people understand that if they do not explain what Jesus did on the cross, then they are not really living the life Jesus wants for them to live.

A Quick Question On Q

I was starting to read a journal article this afternoon that I was interested in just based on reading the title. It didn't take more than a few words before I was hit with the modern infatuation with the hypothetical Gospel text Q. Why is it so cool to quote from such hypothetical documents? If someone is talking about the Gospel of Matthew, what is the real draw to cite not Matthew, but a document that has absolutely no historical support whatsoever? Alright, back to reading.

Have You Gone To The Dance?

By "dance" I'm referring to Craig Benno's blog Trinitarian Dance. Lots of good stuff over there. I can't remember if I've recommended that blog before, but check it out. You won't find the normal blah-blah-blah over there. Craig's breathing that Aussie air and you'll find lots that will get you thinking about what it means to be living this thing called the Christian life.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

It's Snowing!

Here's what our place looks like covered in snow. It's been snowing all day. Looks like it will snow until midnight before turning to rain and washing most of it away.

Relaxin' Away

I appreciate all the prayers. This cold is a doozy, y'all. Lesly's taking great care of me though. Right now, it's snowing and we are watching House Hunters International. If you've never seen the program, it's a good one. Alright, back to relaxing and taking it easy.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Read Kraeger's Article On Lexicography And Pedagogy

The title is "Whence and Whither Greek Verbal Lexicography and Pedagogy: A Diachronic Review," and you can read it here.

Read Porter's New Article On Greek Grammars

Stan Porter's new article in BAGL is available online. You can read it here. The title? –"The Usage-Based Approach to Teaching New Testament Greek."

Fighting A Cold!

I've been fighting off a cold for the past week. Well the past few days showed me that I had lost, and it had made the advance with success and took the strong point. Now I am gathering up my forces and planning my own advance; it's time to retake ground that was taken from me! I'm heading to the store with Lesly to get some cold meds and some more Ricolas. After that, I'm planning on hitting the drive-thru at the Chick-fil-a. When you are sick, your body tells you what it wants. Mine is telling me to visit the ones who invented the chicken sandwich. I've received my orders, offered my salute, and now I'm off to fulfill that which I have been instructed to do. Watch out, Cold! I'm coming for you!