Matthew and Stephen

Assuming that Matthew was composed very early in the history of the church - in the early 30s, I suspect - it fits neatly into the early persecution situation of the church. As a retelling of Israel’s history, it mimics Stephen’s sermon, which presents the history of Israel as a history . . . . Continue Reading »

Partners with God

Albert Wolters suggests in an old Calvin Theological Journal article that Peter’s phrase “partakers of divine nature” should be understood covenantally, rather than ontologically. “Partaker” should be rendered “partner” and “divine nature” is . . . . Continue Reading »


David Daube suggests in his book on the New Testament and rabbinic Judaism that the image of the Spirit “overshadowing” Mary is ultimately drawn from the image of Boaz covering Ruth with the wing of his garment. The Lord spreads his skirt over Mary - who, like Ruth, calls herself the . . . . Continue Reading »

Wrestling with God

The story of Israel is the story of her repeated rejection of Yahweh’s emissaries, and thus of Yahweh himself. The gospel is the announcement that Yahweh will not allow Himself to be rejected: Resurrection is the I in the TULIP. Jacob, the first Israel, wrestled with everyone, and found he . . . . Continue Reading »

Typology and history

In his classic essay on the “Reasonableness of Typology,” GWH Lampe argued that critical scholarship reintroduced history into biblical interpretation: “In place of the unhistorical attitude which saw the Bible as a vast harmonious complex of prophecy and fulfillment, type and . . . . Continue Reading »

Celibacy and the temple

George Buchanan suggests a connection between Jewish asceticism and the expansion of purity concerns following the destruction of Solomon’s temple: “After the temple was burned in 586 . . . there was no longer a sacred place where the Lord could dwell in the land, undefiled. At that . . . . Continue Reading »

AD 70 and the Birth of the West

Augustine’s City of God created the Christian West because it enabled believers to think about a future of Christianity that did not depend on the persistence of Rome. Augustine relativized the story of Rome to the story of the City of God. How did he do that? Jesus taught him. Jesus taught . . . . Continue Reading »

Narrative structure of Matthew

In a 1997 article in NTS , Christopher Smith defends the five-discourse structure of Matthew against narrative critics who focus attention on the plot of Matthew. The problem with narrative approaches, Powell argues, is that as story Matthew doesn’t always work all that well: “it is a . . . . Continue Reading »


Oscar JF Seitz has an interesting article in a 1960 issue of JBL . He connects the stones in the Jordan in Josh 4 with the stones that Jacob erects in Gen 28, which form the “House of God” in contrast to the false house of Babel. Bringing this into the NT, he notes that John the Baptist . . . . Continue Reading »