Matt Harmon’s Commentary on Philippians

HarmonThis new commentary is one that preachers and other Bible interpreters will want to add to their library:

Matthew S. Harmon. Philippians: A Mentor Commentary. Fearn, Scotland: Christian Focus, 2015.

My endorsement:

Matt Harmon explains Paul’s letter clause by clause, traces Paul’s argument, reads Paul’s argument in light of the rest of the Bible, and applies the letter to people today. He reminds me of two of his professors when he was working on his PhD at Wheaton: Doug Moo and Greg Beale.

Phrasing: My Favorite Way to Trace an Argument

The best part about knowing the biblical languages is tracing the argument.

The main tool we use for this at Bethlehem College & Seminary is Biblearc.

Biblearc

Biblearc initially focused exclusively on tracing the argument by a method called arcing. It is a method that John Piper and Tom Steller developed after learning it from Dan Fuller.

Last year Biblearc added bracketing.

And this year it added phrasing. Phrasing is my favorite method for tracing the argument because it’s so intuitive and clear.

Phrasing goes by many names:

  • block diagramming
  • causal layout
  • grammatical diagramming
  • phrase diagramming
  • propositional displays
  • propositional outlines
  • sentence flow
  • text hierarchy
  • thought-flow diagramming

Phrasing is a flexible and easy-to-use Bible study tool that allows you to visually trace a passage’s argument: simply indent to subordinate. The Biblearc phrasing feature has all sorts of mark-up features from arrows to relationship comments to Dot Notes.

My colleagues Jason DeRouchie and Brian Tabb teamed up with Andy Hubert to show how it works in these five videos:

1. Introduction to Biblearc’s Phrasing Module

[Read more…]

Perspectives on the Extent of the Atonement: 3 Views

atonementMy most recent book, another debate-book, just released:

Andrew David Naselli and Mark A. Snoeberger, eds. Perspectives on the Extent of the Atonement: 3 Views. Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2015.  

31-page sample PDF (front matter + introduction)

I explain more about the book in this 5-minute video:

This book presents a point-counterpoint exchange concerning God’s intention in sending Christ to die on the cross. All of the contributors recognize a substitutionary element in the atoning work of Christ, but they disagree over the nature and objects of that substitution. [Read more…]

Toolbox for Skillful Shepherding

Andrew M. Davis, “The Practical Issues of Church Discipline,” in Those Who Must Give an Account: A Study of Church Membership and Church Discipline, ed. John S. Hammett and Benjamin L. Merkle (Nashville: Broadman & Holman, 2012), 172:

toolbox

Related:

  1. Andy Davis writes about the amazing story of his church in this 9Marks article and tells Mark Dever about it in this 9Marks interview.
  2. Seven Essential Elements of an Effective Shepherding Ministry
  3. 22 Mistakes Pastors Make in Practicing Church Discipline (an excerpt from probably the single most helpful accessible book on church discipline)

 

Zombie Nouns and Verbs: Why Nominalizations and Passives May Be Killing Your Writing

Cannibals eat the flesh of fellow human beings.

And words can eat fellow words.

It depends on how a person strings them together.

How do you prefer to communicate with words: to clarify or to convolute, clutter, and confuse? To reveal or conceal?

That’s why Helen Sword, author of Stylish Academic Writing (Harvard University Press, 2012), refers to one type of words as zombie nouns.

Zombie Nouns: Nominalizations

Watch this five-minute video that Helen Sword narrates (based on her article “Zombie Nouns,” New York Times, July 23, 2012):

So as a general rule, use verbs instead of the related nouns when possible.

For example, [Read more…]