What’s coming up? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
We had some recording problems with a past show so once we get that taken care of, we will be uploading again. This could also be the last show of the year. I’m not sure, but I don’t think many people care for a new podcast on Christmas and New Year’s Eve both. So if this is it, let’s see how this year will end.
Letter-writing is today seen as a lost art. It’s certainly not one I partake in. It was done in the ancient world and one of our most prolific writers was Paul. Have we ever stopped to think not just about the content of what he said but the way he generally worked his letters? What is the style of Paul? What does he intend to do with openings and closings and everything in between?
We may not have, but someone has. That someone is Jeffrey Weima. He is the author of Paul: The Ancient Letter Writer: An Introduction to Epistolary Analysis. We will be talking to him about what all went into Paul writing his letters and recognizing the various parts of his letters, but who is Jeffrey Weima?
According to his bio:
Dr. Jeffrey Weima is Professor of New Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary, where he has taught for the past 25 years. He is a sought-after speaker who is able to communicate well the truths of the Bible in an interesting, contemporary and practical manner. Jeff has published five books (Neglected Endings: The Significance of the Pauline Letter Closings ; An Annotated Bibliography of 1 and 2 Thessalonians ; 1 & 2 Thessalonians ), recently completing a major commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians (Baker Books: 2014). His fifth and latest book, Paul the Ancient Letter Writer: An Introduction to Epistolary Analysis, appeared in the fall of this year (Baker Books: 2016). Jeff is also the author of numerous scholarly articles, academic essays and book reviews. He has taught courses all over the world: Hungary, Greece, Italy, South Korea, Kenya, Taiwan, The Philippines, and South Africa. Jeff is an active member of several academic societies, lectures overseas, leads biblical study tours to Greece,Turkey, Israel/Jordan, and Italy, conducts intensive preaching seminars for pastors, and preaches widely in the Christian Reformed Church as well as many other churches in both the USA and Canada.
Jeff and his wife, Bernice, have been married for 33 years. They have four children and five very cute grandkids.
Many of us have studied the writings of Paul and read about them, but how many of us have studied the style of Paul and the importance of every single part of his letters? Is there really something significant in the introduction to Galatians for instance? You might be surprised. In fact, I hope you will be. Weima’s book is a fascinating work that I recommend greatly.
I hope you’ll be looking forward to this new episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast. Please consider going on ITunes and leaving a positive review. You know I love to see them!
What do I think of the book by Rodney Reeves, E. Randolph Richards, and David Capes published by IVP? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
Paul. He’s a fascinating figure. Who is the man and what shaped him? What can we learn from him today? There are many fine books out there about Paul and many fine ones from a Christian perspective, but now we have an extremely thorough one that seems to hit Paul from all angles and the church owes Reeves, Richards, and Capes a debt of gratitude for this excellent gift. It is a book that is highly readable and with solid content. While it could be seen as a primer of sorts with further reading at the end of each chapter to encourage the reader to study further, it could easily be seen as a reliable guide in itself and one who reads this will have an excellent understanding of the world of Paul.
The book also includes several sidebar statements where the authors ask about a claim “So what?” Students often want to know what difference that something that can be often thought to be a tangential point. Isn’t this just something that nerdy scholars would care about? What difference will it make in my own life. The authors want you to know what difference it does make. There also are “What’s More” sections. In these, the authors add in additional details and sometimes even post ideas that would be challenging to our modernistic ways of thinking and say “Maybe we should take Paul a little bit more seriously here.”
It is incredible how thorough this book is. I particularly enjoyed the first part with reading about the honor-shame culture. This is a favorite area of mine to study and I wish more people spoke about it and I’m encouraged to know that NT students who are beginning their studies will be learning about this fascinating area. In fact, there are a number of times in the book I was thinking an area had been left out. For instance, when it comes to the section on the writing of letters I knew I was getting to the end and was thinking “What would be really nice is if they had included something on how much it cost to write one of these letters.” What do you know? Right towards the end there’s a section on the cost of writing the letters.
The authors also spend time going through each book of Paul’s. Some of these are handled in sections, such as the Pastorals. Some of them have their own chapters, which is fitting due to the influence of these books. The student who comes to the text will have a greater knowledge of all of the epistles of Paul as a result. It rounds off with a look at Paul’s theology as well as an excellent look at how it is that Paul’s letters came to be collected and made into a canon. The final section is on Paul’s legacy. What difference has Paul made? How has he been seen in history? What does he have to say to our world today?
It’s hard to think that a book could be so thorough on the life of Paul and his work and impact, but indeed, it is. I absolutely stand behind this book and hope that it is put into the hands of students going into ministry. The student who reads this book will be better equipped to understand Paul the man, the works of Paul, and be able to even make a defense for the works of Paul today. Even better, he will be able to take his own personal holiness much more seriously and consider how Paul is to have an impact on his life today. Hopefully he’ll have the same focus that Paul had, that God is in Christ reconciling the world to Himself.
This is a must read book for all interested in Paul.
What’s coming up on the Deeper Waters Podcast this Saturday? Let’s plunge into the Deeper Waters and find out.
One of the benefits of being at Defend The Faith 2015 this year was getting to meet so many apologists, and meeting them for the first time. Some I’d never got to meet or even heard of before. Last week we interviewed Tawa Anderson for instance, and that interview will be up on our site soon. This Saturday, we’re interviewing someone else I met at the conference and that is Justin Langford. Who is he?
Justin Langford is Assistant Professor of Christian Studies at Louisiana College in Pineville, LA where he teaches New Testament and Greek. He received a B.A. in Sociology from Louisiana College, and the M.Div., Th.M., and Ph.D. degrees from New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. Justin’s areas of interest are the general epistles, hermeneutics, Koine Greek, and intertextuality. He is a member of the Evangelical Theological Society and the Society of Biblical Literature. Justin is married and has three small children. Other than teaching and spending time with his family, Justin enjoys music, football, and coffee.
(For the sake of interview, we will be nice and try to overlook the fact that he likes football and has fallen for coffee, the great diversion of satan to take us away from tea.)
Langford gave a quite fascinating presentation on forgeries in the Bible. One interesting exercise that he did was that he put up two passages. Naturally, he didn’t include anything like verse numbers or anything of that sort and said “Okay people. Which passage of these two do you think came from the Bible and which one came from something outside of the Bible?” Honestly, there were some I didn’t even recognize immediately, which shows how easy it can be to be taken in.
So Langford gave some tips then on how forgeries are detected and what steps are to be taken. We also had an interesting discussion which said “What if we found a book today that we could all agree was Pauline, even the most liberal scholars, such as a 3 Corinthians? Should we include that in the canon?” I was actually on the side of people who said “No. We should not include that in the canon. A part of canonicity is that the text needed to be accepted by the church as a whole. If a letter was not accepted by the ancient church, we should trust their wisdom and have a closed canon.” Others disagreed but the most important part of it all is that we had a good discussion on the topic.
With works out there like Bart Ehrman’s Forged (Which I have reviewed here and here.), we have to be doing better. These kinds of charges are only going to keep coming and the church needs to have a good line of defense. We can be thankful that there are people like Langford out there who are answering those kinds of charges. I urge you to be watching your Podcast feed for the next episode of the Deeper Waters Podcast.