Of course, there are all sorts of factors, but here’s one: get better at systematics. I frequently encounter the view that it’s somehow more noble to stick with the messiness of biblical studies than to taint our analysis with systematic formulations. But I think this is naïve: we all bring systems of understanding to the text, so it’s worth positively refining our intuitions and preliminary judgements in conversation with the doctrines that have been wrestled through over two millennia. This doesn’t mean we can’t critique the systems in play; in fact we can only critique and refine them if we have some genuine familiarity with them. So anyway I’ve just got my hot-off-the-press copy of Gerald Bray’s history of theology, God Has Spoken .



Just got out of the Emergency Department at hospital. I had been faint and shivery and unable to stand up, but have had a bunch of tests without any bad results, and am now feeling better. So I’m not chasing sympathy, just thought I’d share the cool selfie I managed to snap on the way!

Logos 6 already?

Wasn’t it just Logos 4 when they last “started from scratch”? Well it seems they’re doing it again. I feel like it wasn’t that long ago that we all had to upgrade to Logos 5. Anyway, looks interesting: the ‘Ancient Literature’ section in the passage guide will certainly be useful in quickly checking what the early interpreters said about a given passage. And there are pictures of Spurgeon a’plenty :-)

The 2015 catalogue from Paternoster is now available here.

I just noticed that the advertised cover for a forthcoming book I’m editing has my name as ‘Mathew’ rather than ‘Matthew':


I’m sure this will get sorted out before printing, but it reminded me of some other editorial oopsies I’ve encountered – like a previous book (caught before printing) in which the cover said ‘hermenutics’ rather than ‘hermeneutics':

Future of Biblical Interpretation IVP

And there’s the NIV that I’ve pointed out before, in which an ironic section of Scripture has a portion missing:


I also have a book on my shelf in which the author’s first name, rather than surname, appears on the spine:

Porter Stovell

But my most treasured editorial oopsy comes in Feldmeier’s commentary on 1 Peter:


It is often said that Stephen’s speech represents an answer to the charges that he was undermining Temple and Torah, in the form of a theologically radical vision of a God who has brought Temple and Torah to fulfilment in Jesus. It is suggested that from this Christological vantage point, Stephen is critiquing a Jewish over-emphasis on the Temple as the limiting location of God.

But is this theologically radical critique really evident in the speech itself? In my view, the emphasis is not on Temple and Torah as fulfilled and surpassed, but rather on the God of the Scriptures as the one who has historically communicated his presence and his demands through rejected messengers: the alien Abraham, the afflicted Joseph, and the abandoned Moses, in particular. Thus the way Jesus is introduced at the end of the speech (as one who has been betrayed and rejected) is the climax of the point Stephen has been developing throughout the speech.

Bede Fever

Yesterday I ordered a whole bunch of works by Bede (you know, the venerable one). It’s all because of one paragraph he said about the book of Samuel, which was the most amazing thing I’ve read about the Old Testament by an early Christian writer. I want to know if that paragraph is representative of what he says more widely, or if it was a one-off fluke. Given the look of him in this picture, I’m bracing myself – that’s one cross looking monk…



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