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Archive for the ‘Gordon Fee’ Category

So, over at Boston Bible Geeks, Danny posted an interesting list of the 5 scholars that the average churchgoer would benefit from reading. That sounded like a great idea to me, and I was interested to read his list, so I’m stealing his idea and making my own. I’ll raise my hand and admit that a good bit of the reading that I do would not be of much benefit to the non-academic. And since I’m confessing here, I’ll also admit that I felt a twinge of guilt at  the statement that Danny quoted about Gordon Fee, whom I admire very much. Too much of my studying is about the Bible as an object, rather than the God it reveals, and that’s not okay.

So on that theme, I’ll list the five scholars that I think the layperson should read.

1. Gordon Fee

I’m with Danny on this one. I haven’t read his book on exegesis, but I have read God’s Empowering Presence, and if there’s any one academic book that I would encourage a layperson to struggle through, it’s probably this one. I’ve read many (too many) scholars that rebuke (rightly) our current churches, but don’t give any possible solutions. Fee isn’t afraid to offer solutions and practical advice to the average church on the corner, which is what scholarship should really be about anyway.

Recommended Reading:

God’s Empowering Presence

Paul, the Spirit, & the People of God

How to Read the Bible For All It’s Worth (w/ Douglas Stuart)

2. NT Wright

NT Wright can be a polarizing figure and for the life of me I can’t figure out why. As far as I’m concerned everything I have read by him has been top-notch stuff that would benefit both the scholarly world and the Church. That doesn’t mean that I agree with everything that he says, and sometimes I wish he would stop blaming “our Western post-enlightenment thinking” for every problem facing our world, but I have found him always to be worth reading, and I agree with him wholeheartedly that we desperately need to recapture the new creation/resurrection eschatology of the New Testament if we are going to have any impact at all on our culture, which is dying while we sit back and watch.

Recommended reading:

Surprised By Hope (Seriously, I wish I could get a copy of this into the hands of every Christian in my city)

Following Jesus

Christians at the Cross

The Meal Jesus Gave Us

3. John Goldingay

Because he makes the Old Testament simply come alive, and his love for the God revealed there comes through on every page.

Recommended Reading:

Old Testament Theology volume 1: Israel’s Gospel

Old Testament Theology volume 2: Israel’s Faith

Old Testament Theology volume 3: Israel’s Life

God’s Prophet, God’s Servant

4. Eugene Peterson

Because he’s so practical that you didn’t even know he was a “scholar”. No really, the Christian faith is a lived out faith, not just a book to be read (no matter how inspired). Peterson knows that and communicates it like no one else.

Recommended Reading:

Pretty much anything.

5. Thomas Oden

Because (at least where I live, which is supposedly the most “Christian” region of the United States), the Body of Christ in the present has almost no knowledge of the generations within that body that have come before us. That’s generalizing for sure, and Lord knows there are Presbyterians here that know (or think they know) John Calvin up and down, but that’s about it as far as I can tell. Oden is doing his best to let us in on the millennium and a half  that transpired before Calvin. (Note for some John Piper fans: That was not hyperbole, there actually were Christians before John Calvin).

Recommended Reading:

Classic Christianity

Anything in the ACCS series

Ancient Christian Doctrine (5 volumes)

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The man can preach.

The audio is from the 2005 National Vineyard Conference. The morning devotions are all on Paul’s Epistle to the Philippians. You can check out all the speakers at the conference web page, or you can go straight to the Fee lectures below:

The Gospel of the Kingdom

Morning Devotion #1

Morning Devotion #2

Morning Devotion #3

Enjoy, & check out the Phillip Jenkins lecture too if you have time.

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While I’m doing the top 5 thing, I thought I would look ahead. These are the top 5 books (or sets) that I am most excited about reading this year (so far). Again, none of these are actually new books. I’m still playing catch up.

1. John Goldingay – Old Testament Theology (3 volumes)

Yes, its true. I haven’t read any of them yet. I messed around and found his Pentateuch lectures on ITunes, and now I’m fairly sure that volume 1 is going to be the next book that I buy.

2. Craig Keener – Commentary on the Gospel of John

Keener is the man. At 1500 pages or so, this should keep me busy for awhile. Check out the table of contents here, and tell me that doesn’t get you excited?

3. Something by Eugene Peterson

I’m open to suggestion on this one. I’ve heard a few of his lectures, and I’ve really liked what he had to say. Sometimes its good to step away from the academic stuff, and just listen to an elder in the faith.

4. GK Beale – The Revelation (NIGTC)

I take it this is pretty much the standard commentary on the book from a Reformed amillennial perspective. Actually, I’ve heard many say its the best commentary on the book from any perspective. As amillennial myself, I’m already inclined to agree with Beale, but that doesn’t mean I won’t enjoy the read. My experience with books from a decidedly Reformed perspective has been a little frustrating lately, so I’m counting on this one to break the streak.

5.  Gordon Fee – Pauline Christology

Enough said.

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Well, it’s time for the obligatory top 5 list. These are the top 5 books that I read in 2009. Only one was actually released this year, and it was a new edition reprint. These are in no particular order.

1. Bruce Waltke – An Old Testament Theology

A pleasure to read. Waltke’s love for the Old Testament comes through on every page. I would have liked a little more on the prophets, but who am I to complain? Maybe we’ll get something fresh on the prophetic literature from Waltke’s pen at some point in the future.

2. David Alan Black – Learn to Read New Testament Greek

Probably as fun as a beginning Greek textbook could possibly be, and it’s definitely worth the time spent studying & working through it. I’ve already got a list of people who I plan on loaning it to once I finish.

3. Gordon Fee – God’s Empowering Presence

Enough said.

4. V. Phillips Long, Iaian Provan, & Tremper Longman III – A Biblical History of Israel

I wasn’t what I expected, but it certainly was worth reading and will definitely be one that I will return to. The bibliography gave me loads of new books to go on the “wanted” list. This one has also wins the “most annoying endnotes ever” award for the year. Flipping to the back is always a pain, but in a book like this, it’s almost unforgivable.  Almost.

5. Bishop NT Wright – The Resurrection of the Son of God (again) (sort of)

Right, so I read this one straight through back when it came out, and loved it. Well, I happened to pick it up this year to see what he had to say about a certain passage in Paul, and ended up basically reading the last 2/3 or so straight through again. If on the off chance you haven’t read this one, you really should do yourself a favor and pick it up. I simply can’t say enough about the thing.

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As Paul put it, the glory of God has been imaged for us in the one true human who bears the divine image, Christ himself; and by beholding his face, we see the glory of the eternal God (2 Cor 3:18; 4:4, 6). The burden of this book is that we must recognize the same to be true about the Spirit, not simply theoretically, but really and experientially. The Spirit is not lightly called the Spirit of Jesus Christ. Christ has put a human face on the Spirit as well. If we are truly to understand Paul, and to capture the crucial role of the Spirit in his theology, we must begin with his thoroughly Trinitarian presuppositions. Not only has the coming of Christ changed everything for Paul, so too has the coming of the Spirit. In dealing with the Spirit, we are dealing with none other than the personal presence of God himself

God’s Empowering Presence, p.6

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