Sunday, November 22, 2015

One Of The Best Date Spots In The World Just Opened Up Across The Street

Men, listen to me. If you're looking for somewhere special to take your bride, find yourself a Krispy Kreme. This is one of our favorite date spots. Can you believe they just opened one up across the street? The next closest up here in Yankee land is just a short walk from the White House downtown, and you know how parking can be down there!

Friday, November 20, 2015

A Quick Note From My President

I was in Atlanta all week for the ETS annual meeting. When I got to the office this morning, I had a short note from President Teague. The note meant a lot. Our president is an encourager. He loves to just let us know we are on his mind and in his prayers. It means a lot when you have an administration like the one we have here at LBC|Capital.

Thursday, November 19, 2015

Now That's A Fun Game

Paul Himes has got a game that might give dodge ball a run for its money. It involves Greek and parsing. Read about it here. Paul, keep up the great work, brother.

Touch Points With My Greek Students

Our Greek students are working on their Greek exegesis project this week and next week. There are two parts. This week's assignment (Part 1) consists of three analyses: historical, textual, and lexical. Each student has selected a discourse unit from the Greek New Testament. Fourteen total. This week I've been interacting with them about their projects, but Monday and Friday are the real big days to touch base with them. I meet with each student for about 30 to 45 minutes, either in person or via some sort of call, to go over where they are at and field any questions they might have or help them get over any hurdles they've encountered. This is a really important moment for the students. The students know they can reach me every day throughout the course (I have a 24 hour policy for getting back to emails and phone calls, and my office is always open). This opportunity is really special though because this is their project. This is their analysis of a Greek passage that they wanted to work through. Well, I can't wait for tomorrow. I've got appointments scheduled straight from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. No better thing to come back from ETS and do than work directly with my students. They are the reason we are here. In some way, shape, or form, I am going to go with my students to every single mission field they serve over the years through what we learn to do in our classes, especially from touch points like we have tomorrow. And there is nothing more amazing that, if you ask me.

Back From Atlanta And ETS

I was down in Atlanta all week for the annual meeting for the Evangelical Theological Society. I had a great time, especially catching up with lots of friends. The best presentation was no doubt Danny Akin's titled "Building Great Commission Families." Folks, living for the Great Commission begins at home, but living for the Great Commission can't and doesn't stop at home. It was an excellent and very practical presentation. I'm so thankful to Danny and the investment he made in my life. Southeastern has a very, very special place in my heart. I ventured over to some Greek sections, but was sorely disappointed. But that's the way it goes sometimes at conferences. It can be very hit or miss. One thing that is never hit or miss is the quality time I get to spend with people though. Hanging out with my colleagues at Lancaster and Capital was so important and such a pleasurable experience. I got to see my friend Bob Olsen (one of the coolest guys in the world) who teaches down at the University of Mobile. I visited my friends from The Master's Seminary at their evening reception. It was so nice to see Michael Grisanti, Larry Pettegrew, Greg Harris, Keith Essex, and some of the guys I went to school with. I swung by the Wipf and Stock table. They didn't have my book on the table (sigh), but they did have my friend Paul Hime's book on 1 Peter. I had a great lunch this afternoon with B&H. Hanging out with Chris Cowan, Chris Thompson, Jim Baird, and Ray Clendenen for a short while meant a lot to me. You know, we wouldn't have Dave Black's Greek grammar in Spanish were it not for their Great Commission focus, which is not something you find in Christian publishing all the time. I got to catch up with my good friend Jacob Cerone too! There was a lot going on. I feel energized and drained all at once. It's great to be back home for sure. But one more thing before I share the pictures. For me the most special moment of the whole conference was a big hug from Danny Akin and just a few words that meant the world to me, "You make us proud, Thomas. So proud of you, brother."

Friday, November 13, 2015

Rolling Discussion: What's One Thing You Wish You Would Have Learned In Your Greek Class But Didn't?

No class can cover everything. It doesn't matter what the subject matter is (e.g., theology, counseling, hermeneutics, etc.), you simply can't cover everything. And that goes for my classes as well–all of them. I'm curious if there is something you wish you would have learned in your Greek class but didn't. Share it with us here in the comments section. I'm looking forward to hearing your thoughts.

What's It Look Like In Our Greek Class?

Here are a few pictures from our Greek class this week. Here are just few things that I would point out about our Greek classes here at Capital. (1) Our students work together. We really believe in cooperative learning here at Capital. (2) We embrace technology. You're going to learn Greek grammar, but we want you to bring to class and use in class anything and everything that you're going to be using day-in-and-day-out in ministry for the rest of your lives. (3) You have to think about exegesis every day in our Greek classes. We do not postpone thinking about the difference Greek makes in our study of the New Testament. The real fuel for continued use in Greek ministry, in my humble opinion, is (1) showing students that it makes a difference sooner rather than later and (2) helping them dig for these treasures for themselves and thinking through them together as a group.

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Class Just Let Out

Class just finished in Greenbelt. It was a great class. The students are real troopers. They hung in all day, which can be pretty grueling sometimes when you're covering Greek grammar. Lesly just snapped this picture of me over in the library. It was a long day, but there's a smile on our faces. We have such a wonderful privilege to study and teach the Bible. There are Christians scattered all over the world today that would give anything to be where we were today, studying the grammar of the New Testament. How couldn't I have a smile on my face? To teach and train a future generation of servant-leaders to rightly handle the Scriptures is the highest honor in my book.

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Greek Class Meets Tomorrow

Tomorrow I will walk onto campus here in Greenbelt and gather together with our Greek students for two long, hard, intense days of study. We'll be meeting all day tomorrow and all day Thursday. I can't wait. One of the things we will be covering is the Greek participle. One scholar has said if you master the Greek participle, you master the Greek language. It's no doubt the participle is tricky, but it's not insurmountable. We can get it, we just need to hit pause and spend a little time talking about the many different ways it is used. In addition to that, we are going to practice looking through a number of passages focusing on syntax. We are going to practice diagramming passages. We are going to stretch ourselves in the types of resources we use when looking at a passage we are studying. One of the things I've learned about students of the New Testament is the most underused resource they have is their introductory and intermediate Greek grammars. The great thing about Greek is you don't have to stop studying it after you finish a Greek course. And our grammars are just begging us to spend a little more time with them. They sit over on our shelves wondering if we will ever pick them up again. Greek grammar is really learned by studying as you go, in my opinion. Sure you can memorize  all of the categories and uses of a particular area of Greek grammar. But nothing really solidifies until you start wrestling with a passage that you are studying. And you have to pick up your grammar during this important stage of language learning. Thinking through what could be with a particular issue in a New Testament passage does a million times more for helping us learn Greek than memorizing a PDF of all the different uses far, far, far removed from the task of exegesis.

Students, I'll see you in class! I can't wait!

Teaching In Ethiopia

I'll be traveling to Ethiopia in just a few months to teach a class on the letters of the New Testament at the Evangelical Theological College. I just sent Frew and Nigusse my syllabus for the course yesterday. How about two things you might not have guessed about this course? One, we will include Hebrews with Paul's letters despite the overwhelming scholarly consensus today that rejects Pauline authorship. Two, a number of letters are found after Jude in our New Testament. Yes, we will include Revelation 2–3 in this course. After all, why should we not include letters written by the Lord Jesus Christ in a class on letters of the New Testament? Okay, okay, one more. The students in our course are not going to have a final exam. Instead, they are going to build their own course, on a particular letter of the New Testament or a grouping of letters. They will have six lessons to prepare using the Hook-Book-Look-Took approach to teaching. Why do this? Well, you can't walk into a local church with your final exam from a seminary class, but you can with this project. Needless to say, I'm excited.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Special Thanks To The Men's Wearhouse Staff

I was over at the Men's Wearhouse in my neighborhood. I needed to get fitted for a black suit. It's been a while folks. My blue blazer and khakis can only go so far. I'm really thankful for George Kimber and his team for taking such great care of me. If you need to look sharp in some new clothing, go see George at the Gambrills, MD Men's Wearhouse.

Jacob Cerone And The Letters Of Ignatius

Special thanks to Jacob Cerone for sending me a copy of this fine book! If you're trying to practice your Greek and you want some new or different exercises to work through, you will definitely appreciate this book. Hey Greek teachers, here's a great book you can incorporate into your Greek courses. And this book will not break the bank! Get your copy here.