John Murray’s Motivational Words for Seminary Students

murrayIn 1944 while America was fighting in World War II, some young men enlisted at Westminster Theological Seminary instead of enlisting for military service. This is the opening address in which Professor John Murray welcomed them on June 30, 1944. Murray’s words—especially the ones I bolded below—are a motivational perspective for students who are currently enrolled in seminary (HT: Chris Brauns).

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John Murray. “Greeting to Entering Students, 1944.” Pages 104–6 in Collected Writings of John Murray, Volume 1: The Claims of Truth. Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth Trust, 1976.

[page 104] In the name of the Faculty of Westminster Theological Seminary it is my duty and privilege now to welcome to the fellowship and work of the Seminary the members of the incoming class. On behalf of the Faculty I therefore extend to you cordial congratulation and welcome. [Read more…]

“Here I Stand”: Elsa (from Frozen’s “Let It Go”) vs. Luther (at the Diet of Worms)

The following two videos each include the bold words “Here I stand.” But do they mean the same thing?

1. Elsa (from Frozen‘s “Let It Go”)

2. Luther (at the Diet of Worms)

Tim Keller explains how they differ:

“Let It Go,” by Robert Lopez and Kristen Anderson-Lopez, was sung in the Disney movie Frozen and won the 2013 Oscar for Best Original Song. It is both interesting and ironic to compare the sung speech of the character Elsa in Frozen with that of Martin Luther before the Holy Roman Emperor. Both say, “Here I stand.” But Luther meant he was free from fear and from other authorities because he was bound by the Word of God and its norms. Elsa speaks for the contemporary culture by saying she can be free only if there are no boundaries at all.

[Read more…]

NIV Zondervan Study Bible

nivzsbThe NIV Zondervan Study Bible releases on August 25.

D. A. Carson is the general editor; Desi Alexander, Rick Hess, and Doug Moo are the associate editors; and I served as the assistant editor. I worked on this study Bible full-time for four years and for a fifth year part-time. I managed the project and helped copyedit all of the notes and essays for content and style.


I briefly explain my role in this video (1:55 min.):

The study Bible has completely fresh content from new contributors. Its audience is as general as the target audience for the NIV itself: the English-speaking world.

As I edited this study Bible, I consulted many other study Bibles. In my view these were the four best study Bibles at the time:

  1. ESV Study Bible (which I warmly recommended in JETS in 2009)
  2. NIV Study Bible (which is remaining in print)
  3. HCSB Study Bible
  4. NLT Study Bible

Now I think that the top two study Bibles available are the ESV Study Bible and the NIV Zondervan Study Bible.

  • They share many of the same strengths that any good study Bible does: the introductions to each book of the Bible explain the broad literary context and relevant historical-cultural context, and the study notes explain individual parts in that larger context.
  • They have complementary strengths: a major strength of the ESV Study Bible is systematic theology, and a major strength of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible is biblical theology. And that’s not surprising since the general editor for the ESV Study Bible is Wayne Grudem and the general editor for the NIV Zondervan Study Bible is Don Carson.

Biblical theology is a main distinctive of the NIV Zondervan Study Bible. In two recent “Ask Pastor John” episodes, Tony Reinke asked Don Carson about this:

  1. What Is Biblical Theology? And Do We Need It? (Episode 644)
  2. Why We Must Understand the Temple in God’s Plan Today (Episode 645)

(Those links include both the audio and transcripts.)

There are five theological disciplines: exegesis, biblical theology, historical theology, systematic theology, and practical theology. I briefly explain them in this short video (2:50 min.):

I try to show how Harry Potter illustrates biblical theology in this 4-minute video:

The notes in the NIV Zondervan Study Bible make biblical-theological connections, and the study Bible concludes with 28 essays on biblical theology:

  1. The Story of the Bible: How the Good News About Jesus Is Central (Timothy Keller)
  2. The Bible and Theology (D. A. Carson)
  3. A Biblical-Theological Overview of the Bible (D. A. Carson)
  4. The Glory of God (James M. Hamilton Jr.)
  5. Creation (Henri Blocher)
  6. Sin (Kevin DeYoung)
  7. Covenant (Paul R. Williamson)
  8. Law (T. D. Alexander)
  9. Temple (T. D. Alexander)
  10. Priest (Dana M. Harris)
  11. Sacrifice (Jay A. Sklar)
  12. Exile and Exodus (Thomas R. Wood)
  13. The Kingdom of God (T. D. Alexander)
  14. Sonship (D. A. Carson)
  15. The City of God (T. D. Alexander)
  16. Prophets and Prophecy (Sam Storms)
  17. Death and Resurrection (Philip S. Johnston)
  18. People of God (Moisés Silva)
  19. Wisdom (Daniel J. Estes)
  20. Holiness (Andrew David Naselli)
  21. Justice (Brian S. Rosner)
  22. Wrath (Christopher W. Morgan)
  23. Love and Grace (Graham A. Cole)
  24. The Gospel (Greg D. Gilbert)
  25. Worship (David G. Peterson)
  26. Mission (Andreas J. Köstenberger)
  27. Shalom (Timothy Keller)
  28. The Consummation (Douglas J. Moo)

In addition to writing the above biblical-theological essay on holiness, I coauthored the notes for three New Testament books:

  1. John (coauthored with Don Carson)
  2. 2 Peter (coauthored with Doug Moo)
  3. Jude (coauthored with Doug Moo)

And I’m grateful that two of my colleagues at Bethlehem College & Seminary contributed God-glorifying, Jesus-exalting notes to the study Bible:

  1. Jason DeRouchie wrote the notes on Zephaniah. (Jason recently drafted a commentary on Zephaniah for Crossway’s ESV Bible Expository Commentary series and is currently finishing a more detailed commentary on Zephaniah for the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the Old Testament series.)
  2. Brian Tabb wrote the notes on Revelation. (Brian is currently writing a biblical theology of Revelation for Don Carson’s New Studies in Biblical Theology series.)

Here are some more videos about the study Bible:

NIV Zondervan Study Bible, General Editor, Dr. D.A. Carson (4:31 min.):

Interview with Don Carson (5:20 min.):

Meet the team of scholars behind the new NIV Zondervan Study Bible (4:23 min.):

Andy Naselli on the NIV and the Committee on Bible Translation (2:04 min.):

Related: Announcing the NIV Zondervan Study Bible

Logic on Fire: The Life and Legacy of Dr. Martyn Lloyd-Jones

Logic on Fire is a 100-minute documentary on “The Doctor,” David Martyn Lloyd-Jones.   

Here’s a 4-minute preview:

logicPeople the documentary interviews include Christopher Catherwood, Elizabeth Catherwood, Jonathan Catherwood, Kevin DeYoung, Ligon Duncan, Sinclair Ferguson, John MacArthur, Jason Meyer, Iain Murray, R. C. Sproul, and Justin Taylor.

It also comes with over 4.5 hours of special features and a 128-page book. And you can watch some extra interview footage here.

My wife and I enjoyed watching the documentary. I read Carl Trueman’s review after I watched the documentary, and I agree with Carl.

The Life of David Brainerd: A Documentary by Joe Tyrpak


Joe Tyrpak recently produced an edifying 57-minute documentary called The Life of David Brainerd. It introduces the most influential book on missions in modern history—the most popular book authored by American’s greatest theologian, Jonathan Edwards. Joe also wrote a corresponding 44-page devotional. (If you order the DVD and devotional together, you save $2.)

Joe and I are close friends and accountability partners. He pastors Tri-County Bible Church in Madison, Ohio, and he is currently finishing his Doctor of Ministry in Applied Theology at Southern Seminary. His DMin thesis is on David Brainerd.

Joe’s a great guy, and his documentary is well done. My family enjoyed watching it together.

Joe did his homework. The people he interviewed include Ken Minkema and Doug Sweeney, both scholars on Jonathan Edwards. (He briefly interviewed me as well regarding spirituality, but the Edwards scholars are particularly helpful.)

Historian Nathan Finn reviewed the documentary very positively for the Jonathan Edwards Center at TEDS.

Update on 8/18/2015: Here’s a trailer (3:19 min.):

A Funny Footnote

This is probably the most entertaining grammar I’ve read. (It’s lightweight intermediate Greek.)

David Alan Black. It’s Still Greek to Me: An Easy-to-Understand Guide to Intermediate Greek. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1998.

The book ends with a funny footnote (p. 157):


It may appear a bit self-serving to list here so many of my own writings on New Testament studies, but I assure you, dear reader, that all royalties I receive go directly to needy children.

[Footnote] My own.