Category Archives: OT in the NT

The Lord’s Supper in Paul

Thomas R. Schreiner and Matthew R. Crawford have done us a great service in editing The Lord’s Supper: Remembering and Proclaiming Christ until He Comes, which has just appeared from Broadman and Holman.

I’m honored to have contributed to this project, and I’m grateful that Broadman and Holman has kindly granted me permission to post my essay here:

The Lord’s Supper in Paul: An Identity Forming Proclamation of the Gospel,” pages 68–102 in The Lord’s Supper: Remembering and Proclaiming Christ Until He Comes, ed. Thomas R. Schreiner and Matthew R. Crawford, NACSBT (Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 2010).

Patrick Schreiner has an interview with the editors.

Here’s the outline of my essay:

The Lord’s Supper in Paul: An Identity Forming Proclamation of the Gospel

1. Introduction

2. Problems in the Corinthian Church

2.1 First Corinthians 1–4, The Gospel Against Factionalism
2.2 First Corinthians 5–7, The Gospel Against Sexual Immorality
2.3 First Corinthians 8–10, The Gospel Against Idolatry

3. The Lord’s Supper: An Identity Shaping Proclamation of the Gospel

3.1 Anti-gospel Divisions
3.2 Proclaiming the Lord’s Death
3.3 Partaking in a Worthy Manner
3.4 Receiving One Another

4. Implications for the Contemporary Church

Here’s the Table of Contents for the volume:

David S. Dockery, “Foreword”

Thomas R. Schreiner and Matthew R. Crawford, “Introduction”

1. Andreas J. Koestenberger, “Was the Last Supper a Passover Meal?”

2. Jonathan T. Pennington, “The Lord’s Supper in the Fourfold Witness of the Gospels”

3. James M. Hamilton Jr., “The Lord’s Supper in Paul: An Identity-Forming Proclamation of the Gospel”

4. Michael A. G. Haykin, “‘A Glorious Inebriation’: Eucharistic Thought and Piety in the Patristic Era”

5. David S. Hogg, “Carolingian Conflict: Two Monks on the Mass”

6. Gregg R. Allison, “The Theology of the Eucharist according to the Catholic Church”

7. Matthew R. Crawford, “On Faith, Signs, and Fruits: Martin Luther’s Theology of the Lord’s Supper”

8. Bruce A. Ware, “The Meaning of the Lord’s Supper in the Theology of Ulrich Zwingli (1484–1531)”

9. Shawn D. Wright, “The Reformed View of the Lord’s Supper”

10. Gregory A. Wills, “Sounds from Baptist History”

11. Brian J. Vickers, “Celebrating the Past and Future in the Present”

12. Gregory Alan Thornbury, “The Lord’s Supper and Works of Love”

13. Ray Van Neste, “The Lord’s Supper in the Context of the Local Church

Thomas R. Schreiner and Matthew R. Crawford, “Epilogue”


Filed under Biblical Theology, Books, Discipleship, Ecclesiology, Evangelism and Apologetics, Gospel, OT in the NT

“Son of Man” or “Human Beings” in the NIV 2011: What Difference Does It Make?

In answer to the question: What makes a translation [of the Bible] accurate?

I said: “Its ability to preserve the way that later biblical authors evoke earlier Scripture.”

You can read my explanation at the BibleGateway Perspectives in Translation forum.

The NIV 2011 provides a perfect illustration of my point. Hebrews 2:6–8 is quoting Psalm 8:5–7, but the NIV 2011 has a problem with the text.

Here is Psalm 8:4 in the NIV 2011:

what is mankind that you are mindful of them,
human beings that you care for them?[c]

Here is the quotation of Psalm 8:4 in Hebrews 2:6 in the NIV 2011:

“What is mankind that you are mindful of them,
a son of man that you care for him?

The problem here is not that Psalm 8:4 says “human beings” rather than “son of man.” Psalm 8:4 says “son of man.” You can come to your own conclusions as to why the NIV 2011 prefers to render the phrase “son of man” in Psalm 8:4 as “human beings.”

I would argue that in Psalm 8 David is describing his role as a new Adam exercising dominion over God’s creation (cf. Ps 8:6–8 and Gen 1:26–28) so that God’s name/glory will cover the dry lands as the waters cover the sea (cf. Ps 8:1, 9). This is in keeping with the promises that God has made to David in 2 Samuel 7, which are restated in Psalm 2.

So in Psalm 8 David refers to himself as “son of man,” then talks about how God made him ruler over the beasts of the field. In Daniel 7, in the context of a vision of various beasts who have taken over the rule God’s world, Daniel sees “one like a son of man” approach the Ancient of Days and receive everlasting dominion. Then Jesus refers to himself as “son of man” all over the place in the gospels, and the author of Hebrews, discussing Jesus, quotes Psalm 8 in Hebrews 2.

So is it important to render Psalm 8:4 “son of man”? Or can we render it “human beings”?

The answer depends on what you prioritize.

Apparently the Committee on Bible Translation prioritizes something that causes them to change the words “son of man” in Psalm 8:4 to “human beings.”

If the highest priority is to translate what the text says so that the interconnectedness of Scripture can be maintained, so that people can understand the whole Bible and see how everything fits together “according to his purpose, which he set forth in Christ as a plan for the fullness of time, to unite all things in him, things in heaven and on earth” (Eph 1:9–10, ESV), then simple phrases like “son of man” should be translated simply “son of man.”

No small theological matter is at stake here. Does it matter whether Psalm 8 can be seen to be pointing forward to Christ, who fulfills the Davidic pattern as the new Adam who will exercise dominion and make the name of the LORD majestic in all the earth?

Postscript: I hope that this post is rendered irrelevant by the Committee on Bible Translation changing the phrase in Psalm 8:4 from “human beings” to “son of man.” I know they have “son of man” in a footnote, but “son of man” should be in the text not in a footnote.


Filed under Bible and Theology, Biblical Theology, Messiah in the OT, OT in the NT, OT in the OT

“The Mystery of Marriage” from For the Fame of God’s Name

Praise God for marriage! What gift can be compared to this one? Who but God could have come up with something so good?

Crossway has kindly granted permission for me to post my essay from the Piper Festschrift:

James M. Hamilton Jr., “The Mystery of Marriage,” pages 253-71 in For the Fame of God’s Name: Essays in Honor of John Piper, ed. Sam Storms and Justin Taylor. Wheaton: Crossway, 2010.

Taken from For the Fame of God’s Name edited by Sam Storms and Justin Taylor, ©2010.  Used by permission of Crossway, a publishing ministry of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187,

Here is the opening paragraph of “The Mystery of Marriage”:

Marriage holds a unique place in all the Bible: what else joins two image-bearers together as one, serves as a key concept for understanding the relationship between Yahweh and Israel then Christ and the church, and consequently affords to every married couple the opportunity to live out the gospel? God sets himself on display in marriage, which means that God shows his glory in marriage. Thus, the thesis of this essay is that marriage exists as a unique display of God’s glory.[1] In order to establish and exposit this thesis we will look first at the way that marriage joins two persons in the likeness of God as one. From there the second section explores the way that Yahweh’s relationship to Israel is treated as a marriage, and the third section of this essay will examine the way that marriage exists to portray the relationship between Christ and the church. The final section will look at marriages as mini-dramas of the gospel.[2]

[1] I am humbled to have this opportunity to honor John Piper. The Lord has used him mightily in my life, mainly as I have listened to recorded sermons and addresses across the years. In this preaching, the Lord has used John Piper to herald again and again the infinite glory of God in Christ. I cannot adequately thank him for showing me such glory, but I can join him in praising this glorious God, this worthy Savior, and this powerful Spirit, three persons, ever one God, worthy of all praise. And praise be to God for John Piper! I am also grateful to write on the topic of marriage in honor of Piper, since his chapter on marriage in Desiring God provided a key insight I have pursued in my own marriage and announced at every wedding at which it has been my privilege to speak: love seeks its joy in the joy of the beloved. “The reason there is so much misery in marriage is not that husbands and wives seek their own pleasure, but that they do not seek it in the pleasure of their spouses” (John Piper, Desiring God [Sisters, OR: Multnomah, 1996], 175–76). See also John Piper, This Momentary Marriage: A Parable of Permanence (Wheaton: Crossway, 2009).

[2] For a wider discussion of marriage in the Old Testament, see Paul R. House, Old Testament Theology (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1998), 466–69. For a broader discussion of marriage that takes up the issues of divorce, qualifications for elders, and children, see Thomas R. Schreiner, New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2008), 776–86.

From there the outline of the essay is as follows:

Adam and Eve: Two Become One

Yahweh and Israel: Covenant Broken and Kept

Hosea 1: Hosea and Gomer
Hosea 2: Israel’s History and Future
Hosea 3: Hosea and Israel’s Future

Jesus and the Church: Marriage and the Gospel

The Fulfillment of Old Testament Expectation
The Deep Waters of the Meaning of Marriage

The Gospel and Marriage


The essay’s end is punctuated by an attempt at poetry:


Like land and sea and stars above
And all else he has made,
This too is for the glory of
The one who has displayed

A love not based on beauty’s shades
Nor driven by some debt,
A love before there were yet days
Like none else ever met.

The archetype for man and wife
Is Christ’s love for his bride.
To Christ her Lord the church submits,
And for her life he died.

And for this reason, man should leave
His parents and his kin,
And to his wife then he shall cleave
Never to leave again.

Please do read the whole thing. This essay was written for a volume honoring John Piper, and my prayer is also that it will serve to strengthen the marriages of those who read it.

May your understanding of the gospel be deepened, and may it be displayed in the way you love your spouse and hold marriage in honor (Heb 13:5, even if you aren’t married).

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Filed under Attempts at poetry, Bible and Theology, Biblical Theology, Books, Gospel, Marriage, OT in the NT

Review of Joel Kennedy’s The Recapitulation of Israel

Joel Kennedy. The Recapitulation of Israel: Use of Israel’s History in Matthew 1:1–4:11. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 2.257. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2008. 264pp. 9783161498251. $105.00 (paper). Published in Bulletin for Biblical Research 20.2 (2010): 268-69.

This book is a revision of a dissertation supervised by Francis Watson at Aberdeen. The subject of the book is “the Christological use of Israel’s history in Matthew 1:1–4:11” (3), and its “primary focus . . . is examining Israel’s history and the recapitulation of it in Matthew” (17). Though Kennedy defines “recapitulation as a particular subset of typology,” he thinks “at this point in the discussion, it appears best to step aside from trying to defend typology as a legitimate label for Matthew’s work” (21). He states that typology needs “further refinement,” and therefore his study avoids “the term typology and seek[s] to strictly examine Matthew’s text itself in regard to recapitulation” (22). Kennedy states, “The term most apt in describing [the] utilization of Israel’s history in Matthew is recapitulation, which includes repetition, summing up, representation, and embodiment” (23).

After the Introduction, Chapter 2 looks at Matthew’s Genealogy (Matt 1:1–17). Kennedy passes over Matthew 1:18–25, moving directly to what he refers to as the “Passive Recapitulation of Israel’s History” in Chapter 3 (Matt 2:1–23). Chapter 4 then treats the “Active Recapitulation of Israel’s History” (Matt 3:1–4:11).

Kennedy’s treatment of Matthew’s genealogy first discusses the multilinear and unilinear genealogies in the Old Testament, then proposes that unilinear genealogies can also be teleological when they aim to highlight a key figure at the climactic end of the genealogy, such as the genealogy in Ruth that concludes with David. He then shows that genealogies are compressed narrative summaries. All this sets up a useful discussion of the way Matthew uses the genealogy to present Jesus as the recapitulation of Israel. The sense in which Israel’s history is “passively” recapitulated is that Jesus relives and repeats it in the events that happen to him as a child. Kennedy reads Matthew 2 from the perspective that it is narrating the new exodus. Chapter 4 then discusses the baptism and testing of Jesus.

This book makes an important contribution to the discussion of the use of the OT in the New. More work like this needs to be done, looking at the larger patterns and frameworks in the OT and then examining how these are used in the New. This goes far beyond citation formulas, verbal quotations and allusions, and other connections that are established at lexical levels. The kind of work that needs to be done, like Kennedy’s, is only possible from reading the texts in their original languages, gaining a thorough knowledge of the stories and patterns, and then engaging in slow reflection on textual connections. Too much work on the use of the OT in the New has been done without respect for OT context. Too many assertions have been made by NT scholars (and OT scholars too) whose conclusions betray simple failure to understand what either the OT or NT author was doing.

My only complaints about the present volume have to do with the way it tries to avoid the issue of typology. The attempt to circumvent the issue fails because though the word “typology” is avoided, the term that is used, “recapitulation,” is presented as a subset of typology. I cannot find a statement that differentiates between the two, nor do I see appreciable distinctions between what Kennedy calls “recapitulation” and what Allison, for instance, calls “typology” (Kennedy briefly summarizes Allison, with approbation, on p. 21). Connected to this is Kennedy’s dissatisfying decision to pass right over Matthew 1:18–25. The thesis of my essay (“The Virgin Will Conceive: Typological Fulfillment in Matthew 1:18–23,” in Built upon the Rock, ed. John Nolland and Dan Gurtner [Eerdmans, 2008], 228–47) fits perfectly, it seems to me, with Kennedy’s thesis, and he cites other essays from Built upon the Rock, so he had access to the volume. Perhaps the sticking point was the word “typology,” but in the absence of clear discrimination between that term and “recapitulation,” it seems that one word is merely standing in for the other. Many people have reservations about typology as a method of interpretation, but I do not think that using a different term for the same thing will alleviate those concerns. These complaints registered, let me say that this is an enjoyable and insightful volume that moves in a productive direction. Kennedy models an interpretive approach that will yield sound conclusions regarding how the New Testament authors understood the Old and presented their work as its fulfillment.


Filed under Bible and Theology, Books, Messiah in the OT, Messianism, OT in the NT, Typology

Baptism Now Saves You?

Have you ever wondered why Peter says (1 Pet 3:20-21) that the waters of the flood through which Noah and a few others were saved correspond to baptism?

In the sermon it was my privilege to preach yesterday, I tried to pursue a biblical-theological explanation of how the flood was an expression of God’s wrath that was used by Israel’s prophets to symbolize the wrath of God that would fall at the exile. When Jesus died on the cross, the full expression of wrath anticipated by the flood and the exile was poured out on him. To capture this reality, Jesus spoke of his death as the moment when he would “drink the cup” of God’s wrath and be “baptized” (e.g., Mark 10:38-39). Jesus was baptized into the floodwaters of God’s judgment, and when believers are baptized into the body of Christ, they are united to Christ, and his baptism into the floodwaters of judgment counts for us. We are saved through the death dealing waters of judgment and raised to walk in newness of life.

As I say, I did my best to exposit these themes in a sermon preached at Baptist Church of the Redeemer on June 6, 2010. You can download it here. Thanks to my dear friend and former fellow elder, Travis Cardwell, for letting me seek to serve the beloved saints of Redeemer.

I didn’t say this in the sermon, but if my exposition is correct, we see Moses doing biblical-theological interpretation of the creation and flood narratives and then connecting those events to his own experience as a baby in the Nile and Israel’s crossing of the Red Sea at the exodus. The prophets then follow the biblical-theological interpretation modeled by Moses, and Jesus interprets what will happen to him in line with these biblical-theological moves made by Moses and the Prophets in the OT. That is, Jesus interpreted the OT and his own life the same way that Moses and the prophets interpreted the OT and their own lives. Then the Apostles, Peter in this case, interpret the OT, the Gospels, and their own experience the same way that Moses and the Prophets did, and Peter learned this way of reading the Bible, as well was this way of reading life through the lens of the Bible, from Jesus.

I didn’t say this in the sermon either, but I think that the flood, the exile, the cross of Christ, and the baptism of new believers all show that the glory of God in salvation through judgment is indeed the center of biblical theology, which is the thesis of my forthcoming book. One of the reasons I wanted to preach this sermon was that I hadn’t dealt so much with these connections between the flood and baptism in the book.

As days go by someone may want to find this sermon among the others in the sermon player on that page. If you need to search the sermon player, you can probably search my name (Jim Hamilton), the date (June 6, 2010), or perhaps the title of the sermon (“The Floodwaters of Judgment”).


Filed under Bible and Theology, Biblical Theology, Center of Biblical Theology, Gospel, OT in the NT, Preaching, Sermon Audio

Peter Gentry on Daniel’s Seventy Weeks

The next issue of The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 14.1 (2010) is soon to be released. The issue is on eschatology, and you can see the Table of Contents here.

SBJT has generously made available what looks to be the most important essay in this issue: Peter J. Gentry, “Daniel’s Seventy Weeks and the New Exodus,” SBJT 14.1 (2010): 26–45.


Filed under Bible and Theology, Biblical Theology, Messiah in the OT, OT in the NT

Sermons on Titus

The past four weeks at Kenwood we were in Paul’s letter to Titus. Here are the sermons:

April 18, 2010, Titus 1:1-4 Truth Produces Godliness

April 25, 2010, Titus 1:5-16 Elders in Response to False Teachers

May 2, 2010, Titus 2:1-15 Behavior that Commends the Gospel

May 9, Titus 3:1-15 Behavior Based on the Gospel

May the Lord add his blessing to the reading and the hearing of his word.

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Filed under Bible and Theology, Biblical Theology, Ecclesiology, Gospel, OT in the NT, Preaching, Sermon Audio

Revelation Sermon Series

In God’s kindness, Kenwood Baptist Church voted to call me as their pastor of preaching the last Sunday of March, 2009. The first book I preached through was the book of Revelation. While some might question the wisdom of jumping right into apocalyptic literature, the book of Revelation pronounces a blessing on those who read, hear, and keep what is written in it (Rev 1:3). Those who understand John’s Apocalypse–and live such that they have “kept” what it reveals–are blessed. We went through the book from April to April, and the year’s worth of sermons are linked below. May the Lord bless us with the reading, hearing, and keeping of this word.

April 5, 2009 Revelation 1:1-8 The Blessing of the Revelation of Jesus Christ

April 12, 2009 Revelation 1:9-20 John’s Vision of the Risen Christ

April 26, 2009 Revelation 2:1-7 First Love

May 3, 2009 Revelation 2:8-11 Faithful unto Death

May 10, 2009 Revelation 2:12-17 Repent of Nicolaitan Teaching

May 17, 2009 Revelation 2:18-29 King Jesus Versus Jezebel

May 24, 2009 Revelation 3:1-6 Wake Up!

May 31, 2009 Revelation 3:7-13 An Open Door No One Can Shut

July 5, 2009 Revelation 3:14-22 I Will Spit You Out of My Mouth

July 12, 2009 Revelation 4:1-11 The Throne Room Vision

July 19, 2009 Revelation 5:1-14 The Lamb Standing as though Slain

July 26, 2009 Revelation 6:1-16:21 God’s Plan to Save and Judge

August 9, 2009 Revelation 6:1-17 The Seals on the Scroll

August 23, 2009 Revelation 7:1-17 The Sealing of the Servants of God

August 30, 2009 Revelation 8:1-13 Trumpeting the End of the World

September 6, 2009 Revelation 9:1-21 The Unimagined Horrors of God’s Judgment

September 13, 2009 Revelation 10:1-11 Eat This Scroll (and prophesy the history of the future)

September 20, 2009 Revelation 11:1-19 Bearing Witness til Kingdom Come

October 11, 2009 Revelation 12:1-17 The Seed of the Woman Conquers the Serpent

October 25, 2009 Revelation 13:1-10 The Beast

November 1, 2009 Revelation 13:11-18 The False Prophet

November 8, 2009 Revelation 14:1-13 The Song of the Redeemed

Unfortunately our recording system failed the day I preached Revelation 14:14–20. For this sermon, please see my forthcoming Preaching the Word volume on Revelation. Please let me know if you are interested in funding a new sound system for Kenwood Baptist Church.

December 20, 2009 Revelation 15 Seven Angels with Seven Plagues

December 27, 2009 Revelation 16 The Seven Bowls of Wrath

January 3, 2010 Revelation 17 The Harlot and the Beast

January 10, 2010 Revelation 18 Lamenting or Rejoicing over Babylon’s Fall?

Unfortunately our recording system failed the day I preached Revelation 19:1–10 The Harlot and the Bride

February 14, 2010 Revelation 19:11-21 The Return of the King

February 28, 2010 Revelation 20:1-15 The Millennium

March 7, 2010 Revelation 21:1-8 A New Heaven and a New Earth

Unfortunately our recording system failed the day I preached Revelation 21:9–27 The New Jerusalem

March 21, 2010 Revelation 22:1-9 They Will See His Face

April 4, 2010 Revelation 22:10-21 Come, Lord Jesus


Filed under Biblical Theology, OT in the NT, Preaching, Sermon Audio

Revelation 9-12, Four Recent Sermons

It has been my privilege to be preaching through the book of Revelation, and here are my four most recent sermons at Kenwood Baptist Church:

10-11-2009 – Revelation 12:1-17 The Seed of the Woman Versus the Seed of the Serpent

09-20-2009 – Revelation 11:1-19 Bearing Witness til Kingdom Come

09-13-2009 – Revelation 10:1-11 Eat This Scroll (and prophesy the history of the future)

09-06-2009 – Revelation 9:1-21 Trumpeting the End of the World

May the Lord bless his word!


Filed under Bible and Theology, Biblical Theology, Eschatology, Evangelism and Apologetics, Ministry, OT in the NT, Preaching, Sermon Audio

Was Joseph a Type of Christ?

I think so, and I try to prove it in this essay: “Was Joseph a Type of the Messiah? Tracing the Typological Identification between Joseph, David, and Jesus,” The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 12.4 (2008), 52-77.

The gist of my article is this: From the reuse of key words and phrases (linguistic connections) and from parallels in significant event sequences (historical correspondence) we can see that the author(s) of the narratives concerning David in Samuel deliberately sought to point their readers to the narratives concerning Joseph in Genesis. Thus, the author(s) of Samuel saw Joseph as a type of David, and the two play similar roles in the outworking of salvation history. We find the same kinds of linguistic connections and parallels in event sequences between the narratives about Joseph and the narratives about Jesus, and Jesus fulfilled everything to which both David and Joseph pointed (escalation). Thus, Joseph was first a type of David, and then both Joseph and David were types of Jesus. In my judgment, this provides the necessary textual warrant to demonstrate both historical correspondence and escalation from Joseph through David to Jesus.

For the details, check out the essay: “Was Joseph a Type of the Messiah? Tracing the Typological Identification between Joseph, David, and Jesus.”

Here are my other attempts to exposit the typological interpretation practiced by the biblical authors in the Old and New Testaments:

The Typology of David’s Rise to Power: Messianic Patterns in the Book of Samuel,” a Julius Brown Gay Lecture presented at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary,” March 13, 2008.

The Virgin Will Conceive: Typological Fulfillment in Matthew 1:18-23,” in Built upon the Rock: Studies in the Gospel of Matthew, ed. John Nolland and Dan Gurtner, 228-47. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2008.


Filed under Bible and Theology, Biblical Theology, OT in the NT, Typology

“Arise, O Star” at Songs of Southern Friday Night

Last summer I posted the lyrics to “Arise, O Star,” which is my attempt to put the Messiah in the Old Testament to music.

This spring there was an invitation here at SBTS for folks to submit songs they had written, so I turned this one in along with another (an attempt to put the ESV text of Psalm 67 to music, more on that later). Anyway, this Friday night some of the songs submitted, including “Arise, O Star,” will be sung in Dillard Chapel. Here are the details:

The School of Church Music and Worship School Council and the Hymn Society are sponsoring a worship service presenting new songs and hymns written by members of the Southern Seminary community.  The service will held in Dillard Chapel on Friday, April 17th at 7:30 pm.  Everyone is welcome to attend.

If you’re in the Louisville area, it would be great to see you at this event Friday night.

Thanks to the valiant efforts of Chris Fenner, a “lead sheet” replete with musical notations and guitar chords now exists for “Arise, O Star.” If you are interested, you can download that here. You have my permission to sing this anytime you like with anyone who will join you.


Filed under Attempts at poetry, Bible and Theology, Biblical Theology, Messiah in the OT, OT in the NT, Spiritual Discipline

The Seed of the Woman and the Blessing of Abraham

I have just been alerted that my Tyndale Bulletin essay, “The Seed of the Woman and the Blessing of Abraham,” is now online:

The Seed of the Woman and the Blessing of Abraham,Tyndale Bulletin 58.2 (2007), 253-73.

Here’s the abstract:

Might the blessing of Abraham in Genesis 12:1-3 be a direct answer to the curses of Genesis 3:14-19? The curses of Genesis 3 introduce con­flict between the seed of the serpent and the seed of the woman, con­flict between the man and the woman, with difficulty in childbearing, and conflict between the man and the ground, which is cursed for man’s sin. God promises land, seed, and blessing to Abraham. The nations will be blessed through the seed of the woman, seed of Ab­raham, who crushes the serpent’s head. The birth of this seed means that the conflict between the man and his wife is not final, nor will the dif­ficulty in childbearing be fatal. And God promises land to Abraham and his seed, land that hints of a return to Eden.

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Filed under Bible and Theology, Biblical Theology, Gospel, Messiah in the OT, OT in the NT

Review of Chester, Messiah and Exaltation


Andrew Chester, Messiah and Exaltation: Jewish Messianic and Visionary Traditions and New Testament Christology, WUNT 207. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007. 716pp. ISBN: 978-3-16-149091-0. $215.00. Cloth.

Published in BBR 18.2 (2008), 348-50. 

Encouraged to do so by Martin Hengel, Andrew Chester has revised or expanded several published essays, written three substantial new ones, and given them to us as Messiah and Exaltation. Chapter 1 sets forth the purpose of publishing these essays, which Chester states do not “form a single sustained argument” (2). These essays focus on key ideas regarding Jewish messianism and early Christology. In many ways all of the essays develop ideas first presented in what appears as chapter 5 of this volume. 

In chapter 2, Chester takes up arguments made by Maurice Casey, Richard Bauckham, and Timo Eskola. Casey argues that the Jewish prophet Jesus was only later turned into a Gentile God. Chester gives much more attention to Bauckham and Eskola. Bauckham posits a hard and fast line between the divine identity and other supernatural beings who do not, for instance, receive worship. Chester argues that Bauckham’s explanation of Logos and Wisdom as being included within the divine identity fails, bringing forth and discussing at length evidence that appears to overturn aspects of Bauckham’s argument. Eskola, according to Chester, recapitulates many themes already present in the work of others, such as Hengel, in his presentation of an intriguing Merkabah throne mysticism, which he argues is reflected in such texts as Psalms 110, 16, and 132, 2 Samuel 7, and Acts 2:22–36. For Chester, Eskola begs too many questions (a favorite charge of Chester’s) and insufficiently defines both “Messianism” and “Merkabah mysticism.” Chester summarizes, critiques, and seeks to go beyond these arguments in order to base early Christology primarily on the extraordinary visions experienced both by Christ himself and by his followers. These visions, Chester argues, were the central and shaping forces operating in early Christological thinking. Only once the importance of the visions is established would Chester bring in both the citation of Old Testament Yahweh texts with reference to Christ and the worship of Jesus, but he concedes that the process of theological development cannot be neatly demarcated. 

Chapter 3 examines the themes of “Resurrection, Transformation and Christology” in the OT, extra-biblical, and NT texts. Chester argues that “resurrection can be used to portray individual, national and cosmic transformation.” The NT presents the resurrected Christ as “transformed to take on the divine glory and image” (189), and believers anticipating transformation into the image of Christ. 

Chapter 4 turns to “The Nature and Scope of Messianism.” Chester first discusses the various definitions of messianism before turning to the primary evidence. His treatment of the Hebrew Bible is mainly a review of the works of minimalists such as Pomykala and Karrer and maximalists such as Laato and Horbury. Chester is not overly impressed with the minimalists, and his summaries of Laato and Horbury are nothing short of fascinating, though in Chester’s estimation, Laato begs too many questions and Horbury’s understanding of the messiah is too broad. Chester then undertakes a comprehensive discussion of evidence for messianism in the Qumran texts. He suggests that the evidence for two messiahs at Qumran is limited and “cannot simply be assumed to underlie all of Qumran messianism” (269). Chester then considers Messianism as it relates to the temple and the Torah and concludes with the NT evidence. 

Chapter five is the heart of the volume. This earliest essay contains the main lines of the arguments Chester develops, revises, and even changes through the subsequent essays. The essay is introduced with discussion of the various positions scholars take, followed by treatment of Jewish messianic expectation reflected in second temple writings, which leads into consideration of Jewish mediatorial figures (with which Bauckham took issue in God Crucified, an argument Chester challenges in chapter 2 of the present volume), and Chester concludes this essay looking at Pauline Christology as it relates to Jewish messianic expectation and mediatorial figures. 

Chapter six will be particularly interesting to pre-millennial interpreters. Chester provides a thorough discussion of Eschatology and Messianic Hope. The Jewish evidence of a messianic “golden age” is treated, as are Christian texts, focusing on Revelation, chiliasts and non-chiliasts, Barnabas, Shepherd of Hermas, 1 and 2 Clement, Ignatius and Polycarp, and the Epistle to Diognetus. Chapter seven treats “Messiah and Temple in the Sibylline Oracles,” chapter eight discusses “Messiah and Torah,” and chapter nine concludes the volume with “The ‘Law of Christ’ and the ‘Law of the Spirit’.” 

These essays are the work of a mature scholar who is thoroughly conversant with the primary and secondary evidence. Chester fairly presents the views of other scholars, summarizing them at length before moving into discussion and critique of the positions with which he agrees or disagrees. This aspect of the volume will benefit anyone interested in messianism. 

The detailed character of the arguments, the wide-ranging scope of the collection, and the massive scholarship involved make it difficult to take issue with particular points in a short review such as this. I submit a few general observations, more in the form of impressions than critiques. The long discussions sometimes yield little payoff or are so technical as to be mainly of interest to those working specifically on, say, “the law of Christ” (chapter 9), yet holding much less interest for those working on primary evidence for messianism in the Hebrew Bible (chapter 4). But, that is the nature of both the vast question of messianism and this particular volume—a collection of essays, which, as the author states at the outset, do not comprise a sustained argument for a thesis. The sometimes unremarkable conclusions to these long discussions reflect Chester’s caution, which is perhaps overly resistant to synthetic summaries. For some, this aspect of Chester’s work will be a mark of the quality of his scholarship, and there can be no disputing its quality. Others, though, will feel that the pendulum has swung too far from the synthesis of messianism presented in Schürer to an overemphasis on its diversity as seen in the minimalists. Chester’s work is moving the pendulum back toward the middle, but it is perhaps only a short step from Chester to Horbury (in spite of Chester’s claim that his view is “altogether different” 283 n. 293), which might make that middle look more and more like Schürer’s synthesis. If Schürer goes too far, it nevertheless seems that there is a core of messianism that holds together its various expressions (as Craig Evans has recently noted in The Messiah in the Old and New Testaments, Eerdmans 2007, 239). 

Chester, in spite of all the qualifications, reservations, and nuances, is no minimalist and helpfully argues that the messianic expectations attested in extra-biblical Jewish literature and the NT can be described as at least “latent” in the Old Testament itself (282–84). Further, he acknowledges Horbury’s point that bringing the various writings of the Old Testament together into the beginnings of the OT canon resulted in them being presented side by side, creating a dynamic interaction between the diverse OT indications of an expected deliverer (279–80). Minimalists may appreciate Chester’s ever present caution, insistence on the value of the texts in their own right, and attempts to qualify the conclusions drawn by maximalists, who may feel that the massive evidence Chester presents, in spite of his attempts to stem its tide with nuance and qualification, inexorably reinforces their position. No one will be convinced by everything here, but the thorough summaries of scholarship and the thoughtful discussion of primary evidence make this volume a valuable contribution.

1 Comment

Filed under Bible and Theology, Books, Messiah in the OT, Messianism, OT in the NT

Arise, O Star

[I wrote this some time back, and we have sung it a number of times at Redeemer. I’m only posting it now because I’ve only now figured out how to make things single spaced on the blog–press shift then enter.]

Arise, O Star

Verse 1
Seed of the woman
Promised long ago
Sworn to crush the serpent’s head
That to Eden we might go

All nations will be blessed
In the seed of Abraham
And the scepter is to Judah
The land belongs to him


Arise, O Star
Jacob longs for you
Keep your word, Lord
Your promises all true

Your people wait
For that Day when you will come
Take your power and reign
Heaven’s highest Son

Verse 2
The branch will come from Jesse
Great David’s greater Son
As a Son to God comes He
To the throne in Zion

The prophet like Moses
Priest like Melchizedek
Anointed with the Spirit
Messiah, he shall reign

to chorus

Verse 3
So the Man of Sorrows came
Acquainted with his grief
Smitten for our sins
Raised to set us free

And he shall come again
With all his holy ones
For that day we watch
Come soon, Lord Jesus

to chorus

James Merrill Hamilton Jr.
March 31, 2006


Here are the biblical texts that give rise to these lyrics:

Continue reading


Filed under Attempts at poetry, Bible and Theology, Messiah in the OT, OT in the NT, Worship

The Tie: Understanding Scripture in Light of Christ

The spring issue of the Southern Seminary magazine, The Tie, has just appeared online, and it takes up the question of reading the Bible Christologically. You can subscribe to the magazine for free, and I think you ought to do so and ask them to send you a copy of the current issue.

The current issue is now online, and it has essays from Stephen Wellum, Russell Fuller, and myself on how the whole Bible preaches Christ, David Powlison writes on how to center counseling on Christ, Russ Moore shows us how to go beyond the Veggie Tales Gospel (you have to read this) to preach Christ ourselves, and David Prince gives us an example of preaching Christ from Judges. And there’s more. Check it out online, subscribe right away, and may the Lord use this magazine to help us fix our eyes on Jesus!

–my short piece deals with how the authors of the New Testament understand the Old Testament.

Here is the text:

The Interpretation of the Old Testament in the New

One sometimes hears people express a desire to know exactly what Jesus said to the two men on the road to Emmaus following His resurrection. But if one wants to know how Jesus interpreted the Old Testament on the road to Emmaus, the easiest way to find out is to read the New Testament. This point is so important that its central implication needs to be made explicit: the New Testament indicates that its authors understand themselves to be reading the Old Testament the way that Jesus read the Old Testament. Continue reading


Filed under Bible and Theology, Messiah in the OT, Messianism, OT in the NT

Bulletin for Biblical Research Articles Online

I am delighted to see that the Institute for Biblical Research has put back issues of the Bulletin for Biblical Research online for free. All the essays in BBR are peer reviewed, and they are all quality pieces of work. Among the articles published through 2005, the ones below are some of my favorites. Happy Reading!

JACOB NEUSNER, Mr. Sanders’s Pharisees and Mine Bulletin for Biblical Research 2 (1992) 143-169 [© 1992 Institute for Biblical Research]

E. EARLE ELLIS, Jesus’ Use of the Old Testament and the Genesis of New Testament Theology Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 (1993) 59-75 [© 1993 Institute for Biblical Research]

THOMAS R. SCHREINER, Did Paul Believe in Justification by Works? Another Look at Romans 2 Bulletin for Biblical Research 3 (1993) 131-158 [© 1993 Institute for Biblical Research]

D. A. CARSON Current Issues in Biblical Theology: A New Testament Perspective Bulletin for Biblical Research 5 (1995) 17-41 [© 1995 Institute for Biblical Research]

MARTIN HENGEL Tasks of New Testament Scholarship Bulletin for Biblical Research 6 (1996) 67-86 [© 1996 Institute for Biblical Research]

JOHN SAILHAMER Creation, Genesis 1-11, and the Canon Bulletin for Biblical Research 10.1 (2000) 89-106 [© 2000 Institute for Biblical Research]

JAY E. SMITH 1 Thessalonians 4:4: Breaking the Impasse Bulletin for Biblical Research 11.1 (2001) 65-105 [© 2001 Institute for Biblical Research]

V. PHILIPS LONG Renewing Conversations: Doing Scholarship in an Age of Skepticism, Accommodation, and Specialization Bulletin for Biblical Research 13.2 (2003) 227-249 [© 2003 Institute for Biblical Research]


Filed under Bible and Theology, Gospel, Messiah in the OT, OT in the NT

Responses to Mike Bird’s Questions

My friend Mike Bird posted some questions in response to what is happening at Westminster Seminary with Peter Enns as a result of Enns’s book, Inspiration and Incarnation.

My responses to those questions in the comments section on Bird’s blog became such that I thought it might be useful to post them here.

For the questions, see Mike’s post here. My response was as follows:


I appreciate Marty’s responses above [the third comment in response to Bird’s post], and I want to add that it seems to me that the way you’ve framed the questions doesn’t exactly match the way that the opposition to Enns understands the issues. 

It may be that the way you’re framing the issues is the way that Enns thinks they should be framed, but I don’t think those who think he doesn’t fit at WTS approach the questions the way you do here. So, I’ll briefly add my two cents on your 4 points, which I think will get at the way the Enns-opposers would think about the issues (I can’t speak for them, but being sympathetic with their concerns, I’m giving you the rationale behind my concerns): 

1. My guess is that they would say there isn’t only one orthodox way of dealing with extra-biblical sources. I suspect they would be very sympathetic with Greg Beale’s objection to the way that Enns narrows things down to only one possible explanation–that the biblical authors shared mythological notions reflected in extra biblical lit–then from this Enns concludes that the biblical authors held some mythological ideas that they wrote up in the Bible. Beale lists 4 different ways that evangelicals have explained the kinds of things that lead Enns to think there are mythological notions in the Bible: 1) biblical polemic against these ideas; 2) general revelation shared by biblical and extra-biblical authors; 3) common reflection of ancient tradition; and 4) a productive use of truth found in extra-biblical literature. (I’m referring to the Beale review in JETS, which I think is worth reading carefully).

All this to say, there isn’t one and only one orthodox way of dealing with these kinds of things, there are many orthodox ways of explaining these things. There are also unorthodox ways of explaining them, and the folks at WTS think that saying that the Bible contains myth is on the unorthodox side. I agree. 

2. Couldn’t it simply be that Genesis 1-3 is engaged in polemics against the false notions current in the day? 

3. With Marty’s points above, I would add that Paul would have held that the Bible was totally true and trustworthy (inerrancy), and I think he would have seen enough manuscripts to recognize that God didn’t re-inspire every scribe who decided to copy a manuscript of a biblical text (the point of saying that the autographs are inspired and inerrant). 

As for the kinds of things we see in Paul’s citation of Isa 59:20 in Rom 11:26-27, we have to take these things on a case by case basis. The Greek translator of Isaiah was working with an unpointed Hebrew text–as was Paul if he was looking at the Hebrew rather than the Greek (I don’t need to tell you that the pointings don’t come in until the middle ages, ca. 6th-7th c. AD, but maybe some readers will benefit from that note). Just a cursory glance at this leads me to think that the Greek translator of Isaiah has carried over the subject from the first half of the line (“the redeemer will come”) to the second half of the line, so that whereas the Masoretes pointed the text to read “to those who turn”–taking ulshavey as a masc. pl. ptcpl in construct with the following word, the Greek translator perhaps read the yod as a vav (easy to do if the tail on the yod was a little long–or maybe it was a vav and the Masoretes misread it as a yod) and perhaps the Greek translator, seeing ulshavo, took this as an infinitive construct whose 3ms (the vav) pronominal suffix pointed back to the subject of the first half of the line, resulting in the reading “and he will turn back ungodliness” in the LXX instead of “and for those who repent of sin” in the Masoretic text. I only put this out as a possibility. A definitive explanation would require, among other things, an examination of the translation technique employed by the Isaiah translator. But this possibility should show that we should not draw overly rash conclusions about the kinds of things we see happening in the texts as we move from the Masoretic text to the Greek translations of the OT to the New Testament. Other changes in Paul’s rendering appear to have come in from the influence of Psalm 14:7. On these issues I highly recommend Peter Gentry’s article, “The Septuagint and the Text of the Old Testament,” BBR 16.2 (2006), 193-218. 

Having said all this, I would also say that my presupposition is that Paul has rightly understood the meaning of the OT text–even if that meaning is dependant upon his interpretation of the wider context of not only Isaiah but the whole OT–and so perhaps Paul does introduce changes (maybe as Earle Ellis argues he selects from all the translations/interpretations known to him) and these changes that Paul introduces into his citations are intended to communicate more clearly what he thinks is the true meaning of the OT text in context. So the variations that we see point us to the way that Paul is interpreting the OT. Now the question becomes, has Paul rightly understood the OT? I think he gets it right, and I think it is incumbent upon us to patiently seek to understand him and not too quickly arrive at the conclusion that Paul has done violence to the OT text or assumed some mythological interpretation. 

Even if Paul is alluding to the movable well, as Enns argues, how do we know that by asserting that the rock was Christ he is not opposing what he views as a silly fable? In several texts Paul calls his audiences to reject Jewish myths that promote speculations (e.g., 1 Tim 1:4). Maybe the movable well thing was one of those speculative myths. In my opinion, Enns has taken what is at best a dubious possibility–that Paul believes in the movable well–and from that dubious possibility Enns wants to construct his doctrine of Scripture. I think his critics who have objected that he’s trying to build a doctrine of Scripture from “problem texts” are right on the money, and I think the Beale is right to point out in his Themelios review that when you count up the problem texts that Enns cites, there aren’t more than a dozen! Maybe as few as 8 to 10.

4. Marty’s answer is very helpful. Schreiner rejects the idea that the prophecy was really made by the historical Enoch, and he states, “It is better to conclude that Jude quoted the pseudepigraphical 1 Enoch and that he also believed that the portion he quoted represented God’s truth. Jude’s wording does not demand that he thought we have an authentic oracle from the historical Enoch. We do not need to conclude, however, that the entire book is part of the canon of Scripture . . . Jude probably cited a part of 1 Enoch that he considered to be a genuine prophecy” [Schreiner cites Moo as being in general agreement with him on this point]. Schreiner then suggests that Jude’s opponents might have valued Enoch, so he quoted this unremarkable prophecy against them, concluding, “Jude simply drew from a part of the work that he considered true” (Schreiner, 1, 2 Peter, Jude, 469-70).

I think that Greg Beale’s three reviews of Enns’s book are worthy of careful study, and I hope that what I have written here is helpful. 

So thankful for the reliability of the Bible! 



Filed under Bible and Theology, Evangelism and Apologetics, History, OT in the NT

The Typology of David’s Rise to Power: Messianic Patterns in the Book of Samuel

It was my joy and privilege to present a lecture yesterday at Southern Seminary on the topic in the title of this post.

For those interested in the presentation, I will update this post with the audio if/when it appears on the SBTS website. For anyone interested in the bibliography and the sections I had to skip, here is the manuscript: The Typology of David’s Rise to Power.


Filed under Bible and Theology, Messiah in the OT, OT in the NT, Typology

Jesus as the Fulfillment of the Temple in the Gospel of John, by Paul Hoskins

Paul M. Hoskins, Jesus as the Fulfillment of the Temple in the Gospel of John, Paternoster Biblical Monographs. Waynesboro, GA: Paternoster, 2006. xiv + 265pp. $35.00. Paper.

This volume is a revision of a dissertation done by Paul Hoskins, who now teaches at Southwestern Seminary, at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School under the supervision of D. A. Carson. Carson pens a foreword to the book that points to the feature of this volume that sets it apart from the many others that treat Jesus and the temple in John. That distinctive feature is the fine treatment of typology offered by this volume.

Hoskins opens with a chapter that provides a helpful summary of what is happening in Johannine studies, a clear methodological framework, and a very important survey of the state of the scholarly discussion on the issue of typology. Anyone interested in typology should begin their research with this excellent, up to date discussion of the issue.

Chapter two then examines the significance of the temple in the Old Testament and in some extra-biblical Jewish literature. The Old Testament establishes key patterns that will be matched and exceeded by Jesus. Chapter three exegetes passages in John that point to Jesus fulfilling and replacing the temple: John 2:18–22; 1:14; 1:51; and 4:20–24. Chapter four takes up the relationship established in the Gospel of John between the temple and the Jewish feasts and the provision Jesus brings in his death, resurrection, and exaltation.

Chapter five moves on to a key issue in the discussion of typology. A typological relationship between the temple and Jesus is established on the three points that in fulfilling the temple, Jesus has (1) fulfilled an Old Testament institution (2) through the significant correspondence between the institution and himself, and (3) he has also surpassed the temple in the greater provision he makes. The question Hoskins moves to in chapter five is whether the Old Testament temple typology is to be understood as “prospective or predictive.” In other words, did the temple point forward to what Jesus would do? Or, alternatively, should the temple typology only be understood retrospectively, since its import was unknown to the Old Testament author? Hoskins identifies the position that the typology was predictive as the traditional view, and he points to the way that this view highlights divine intention in the Old Testament patterns. This position is informed by what Hoskins argued in the introduction to the volume: that proponents of the traditional understanding of typology “can appeal to a canonical approach that views one divine author as ultimately responsible for the unity of the whole canon” (25). As indicators that the Old Testament types are understood by John as predictive, Hoskins points to John recounting statements that Moses wrote about Jesus (John 1:45; 5:46) and to the words of John 19:36, which state that what happened to Jesus happened in order to fulfill Scripture, and these considerations imply that “John is comfortable with the idea that a type can predict or prefigure its antitype” (188).

Chapter six summarizes the findings of the study and compares them to similar material in Paul and Revelation. Hoskins finds that John provides the basis for Paul’s identification of the church as the temple of the Holy Spirit, and he suggests that the temple blessing of God dwelling with his people finds its consummation in what is described in Revelation.

This book is perhaps the most important study of typology to have been produced in many years, and the clarification of the typological nature of the relationship between Jesus and the temple in John makes a significant contribution to Johannine studies. The temple has received a good deal of attention lately, with G. K. Beale showing the connections between The Temple and the Church’s Mission, my own study, God’s Indwelling Presence, exploring the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in terms of new covenant believers enjoying blessings that were found only at the temple under the old covenant, and Paul Hoskins helps us to see that Jesus is the antitype of the temple. The implications of this volume extend beyond the boundaries of Johannine scholarship, for in some circles there is a good deal of confusion regarding the way that the New Testament authors understand and refer to the Old Testament. A renewal of interest in and consideration of typology is a development that will bring clarity to much of this confusion. This volume can move that discussion forward and deserves significant attention, worthy as it is of careful reading and frequent citation.


Filed under Bible and Theology, Books, OT in the NT, Typology