Sunday, November 18, 2018

Rolling up My Sleeves

Priorities. With life increasingly busy, this word nags at me like an irritating tag in a dress shirt. Many of you know that this blog has been anything but a priority of mine for some time. Frankly, I have not had the itch to engage in the field of NT studies for some time. After a decade plus of trying my best to keep up with the field, I grew weary, as did my desire to pursue Doctoral studies. Too many obstacles, too many occasions of trying to hammer a square peg into a round hole, left me lifeless and listless. I don't blame anyone but me. Did I get too married to the idea that being a scholar was my identity, rather than remembering that my true identity is found in the One who loved me and gave Himself for me? Probably. It is not easy to admit that, but there it is. I had to let go of what I thought my life should be in order to get back to the most fundamental aspect of who I am. This journey is still in process.

Along the way, I found some new passions such as birding and photography. I also rediscovered a gift that I had allowed to remain dormant for approximately twenty years, drawing. I thank God for these new hobbies, as they have reinvigorated me mentally and spiritually. My relationship with God has deepened, taken on new hues, and allowed me to appreciate other facets of life I long neglected. My sense of wonder has returned; my child-like faith is alive.

Prayerfully, I believe now is a good time to relaunch New Testament Perspectives. I do not know what this looks like, exactly. I am not going to set any agendas that are too ambitious. I have done this before and fallen flat on my face. I will post only when I have something to share and about things in which I feel passionate. I don't want to waste my time or yours. Time is too valuable to waste on drivel and boring posts that do not edify or help the writer or the reader.

Well, it's time to roll up my sleeves and get to work. See you soon, I pray!


Friday, January 12, 2018

Jonathan Pennington and the Quote of the Day and a Question

As I was listening to Jonathan Pennington's On Script interview, I was struck by a comment he made about living a virtuous life. At the 36:03 mark, Pennington states:
There's a place for duty on the way to virtue. That is, if virtue is the whole person where you're reasoning your affections and your actions are aligned with each other that's what virtue is. It's harmony, it's teleiosity. If that's what virtue is, there's still a place for doing on the way to get there, and the reason is..., as we do, we become. Habituation matters. The choices we make and the habits we align ourselves with form us to be a certain kind of person.
As I was pondering this soundbite, I thought of the Kingdom of God, or in Matthean terms, the Kingdom of Heaven, and how this notion of virtue may relate to inaugurated eschatology, i.e., the already not yet dynamic that the Kingdom presents. Could it be that Jesus' Sermon on the Mount and all of its ethical demands contain a dimension of this already not yet duty that we are to practice on the way to living a virtuous life in light of the already yet coming Kingdom?

Just a thought I was pondering concerning Jonathan's insightful comment.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Recommended Listening

One of the pitfalls of being away from blogging for such a long period of time is the fact that I am late to many a dance. What I mean by this is, is when I was blogging regularly, it forced me to keep up with various other blogs, and the field of NT studies in general. Now, that I am finally making way back around, I plan on playing catchup. So, for me, I am finally going to get around to listening to the renown podcast On Script. Matthew Bates and others have done all students of Scripture a wonderful service with this podcast; I only wish I would have envisioned this idea myself. (:)) Anyway, I plan on downloading many of the episodes and listening to them while at work, in particular, the one with Jonathan Pennington and his recent work, The Sermon on the Mount and Human Flourishing. I plan on reading Pennington's book as soon as I finish Scot McKnight's commentary on the SOTM.

I will be linking to On Script in my blogroll.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Goals for 2018

One of the things I have been meaning to do for some time is to study the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5-7). Instead of being all over the board in this New Year, because I am not the greatest multi-tasker in the world (just ask my wife), it is better for me to focus on a narrow section of Scripture. More than just an object of study though, I desire to be transformed by my reading of this text. To quote the great Augustine:
"If anyone will piously and soberly consider the sermon which our Lord Jesus Christ spoke on the mount, as we read it in the Gospel according to Matthew, I think that he will find in it, so far as regards the highest morals, a perfect standard of the Christian life..." 
(Augustine of Hippo, “Our Lord’s Sermon on the Mount,” in Saint Augustin: Sermon on the Mount, Harmony of the Gospels, Homilies on the Gospels, ed. Philip Schaff, trans. William Findlay and David Schley Schaff, vol. 6, A Select Library of the Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, First Series [New York: Christian Literature Company, 1888]), 3.n

In other words, my longing is to have a life-changing encounter with the text, not treat it as merely an object for study. Otherwise, what is the point? If one is honest with oneself, the Sermon on the Mount strips away all of our preconceived notions of what it means to be a Christian. It is perhaps the most ethically challenging teaching in the entirety of the Bible.

All that said, I am not sure what this will look like in terms of blog posts. I have already begun reading Scot McKnight's helpful Sermon on The Mount in The Story of God Bible Commentary series (Zondervan; 2013). Next, I plan on reading Jonathan Pennington's The Sermon on The Mount and Human Flourishing (Baker Academic; 2017). I will consult various commentaries as well (Luz, Hagner, France, Allison &Davies, Turner's, etc.). My biggest goal, however, is to memorize the Sermon on the Mount in both English and Greek. I know this will take a lot of time, and I pray that I do not grow weary in the attempt.

I plan on utilizing this blog to act as sort of a journal for my studies. It is my hope that someone else will find this material useful and edifying.

Any suggestions on other resources would be appreciated.

Monday, January 1, 2018

Happy New Year!

If one desires to dust off an old book, one must grab it off the shelf and commence with the task. That's how I view the status of this blog. Once relevant, at least moderately so, I have gone virtually silent the past couple of years. That is not a lost to most, although some of you have expressed to me on occasion that you enjoyed my blog. The reasons for going silent are too many to enumerate here, but I do feel the need to revisit the strange world of blogging, if for no other reason than to express my own interests, (less than an altruistic motive, I realize), and along the way hopefully convey something of interest to anyone who may stumble upon NT Perspectives. 

So, here it goes again. Another year, another attempt hopefully NT Perspectives will shake free of blogging purgatory and be relevant once again.