Why New Interpreters Bible

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Posted: Tue, Feb 1 2011 1:09 PM

http://www.logos.com/product/8803/new-interpreters-bible

 

I was asked what  was so special about the NIB to make someone want it. I did post there the entire treatment of Gal. 4:1-11, but I came across in my studies today a wonderful little gem in the reflections on Romans 8. This is quite typical of the wonderful insight you will find throughout the 12 volumes. And so is my reason to wanting to own this work in Logos.

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If the creation is to be renewed, not abandoned, and if that work has already begun in the resurrection of Jesus, it will not do simply to consign the present creation to acid rain and global warming and wait for Armageddon to destroy it altogether. Christians must be in the forefront of bringing, in the present time, signs and foretastes of God’s eventual full healing to bear upon the created order in all its parts and at every level. If the world is to be put to rights, brought under the saving lordship of God’s restorative justice, and if that work has already been unveiled prototypically in Jesus’ death and resurrection, it will not do to concentrate on individual justification while allowing wider issues of justice to go unaddressed. Christians must be in the forefront of bringing, in the present time, signs and foretastes of God’s healing justice to bear upon the world that is still full of corruption, injustice, oppression, division, suspicion, and war. And if the world is to attain its full beauty and dignity as God’s liberated new creation, a beauty and dignity for which the present evidences of God’s grandeur within creation are just a foretaste, it will not do to regard beauty, and its creation and conservation, as a pleasant but irrelevant optional extra within a world manipulated by science, exploited by technology, and bought and sold in the economic marketplace. Christians must be in the forefront of bringing, in the present time, signs and foretastes of God’s fresh beauty to birth within the world, signs of hope for what the Spirit will yet do:

And for all this, nature is never spent;

There lives the dearest freshness deep down things;

And, though the last lights off the black West went

Oh, morning, at the brown brink eastward springs–

Because the Holy Ghost over the bent

World broods with warm *** and with ah! bright wings. (G. M. Hopkins, “God’s Grandeur.”)

     --N. T. WRIGHT,  THE NEW INTERPRETER’S BIBLE VOLUME X

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The New Interpreter's Bible commentators are consistently aware that they are in conversation with preachers and teachers in the church. The New Interpreter's Bible is the commentary preachers and teachers need for the years ahead. —Patrick J. Wilson, The Christian Century
The quality of both the commentary and the Reflections sections is consistently high. The New Interpreter's Bible is an invaluable addition to the library of both academician and pastor. —Victor P. Hamilton, Asbury College
The New Interpreter's Bible provides a much richer perspective on the text than in any other commentary series currently available. —Lawrence Boadt, CSP Washington Theological Union, Silver Spring, MD 
The strength of this work lies in its explicit attempt to bring the depth of biblical scholarship into conversion with the preaching and teaching ministry of the church.  —David Mesner, Christ Lutheran Church, Slayton, MN


Posts 5285
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Feb 6 2011 4:56 PM

Looks like NIB is almost ready for pre pub, only  the tinniest white space left in Almost there bar. 

 

Here is the treatment on Luke 10:38-42, 



COMMENTARY

The story of Mary and Martha stands in a complementary relationship with the story of the good Samaritan and gains much of its meaning from the tensive relationship between the two stories. The journey motif runs through Luke 10: Jesus sends the seventy(-two) out on mission with instructions for their journey and what to do when they enter a village or a house, and the parable of the good Samaritan is the story of four travelers. The lawyer correctly identified the priority of the commands to love God and love one's neighbor. The story of the good Samaritan then develops the meaning of the command to love one's neighbor, and the story of Mary and Martha highlights the overriding importance of devotion to the Lord's Word as an expression of one's love for God. The story of the good Samaritan features "a certain man" (v. 30), while Martha is introduced as "a certain woman" (v. 38). The good Samaritan exemplifies the disciples' seeing; in a similar way, Mary exemplifies the virtue of hearing (see 10:23-24). Moreover, both the Samaritan and Mary, a woman, represent marginalized persons-unlikely heroes. As a composite, they are model disciples: "those who hear the word of God and do it" (8:21).10:38. The encounter with Mary and Martha, which takes the form of a pronouncement story featuring Jesus' response to Martha, is set in the context of Jesus' journey to Jerusalem and echoes the journey instructions previously given to the disciples (9:1-6; 10:1-12). The connection between being received and eating is established by 10:8: "Whenever you enter a town and its people welcome you, eat what is set before you." Martha welcomes Jesus and begins preparing a meal for him (see 19:6-7).10:39. The complication appears when we are told that Mary, Martha's sister, is sitting at Jesus' feet (in the place of a disciple; see 8:35; Acts 22:3) and listening to his word. Luke has already established a strong link between Jesus' teachings and God's Word (see 5:1; 8:11, 21). The scene resonates positively and negatively with rabbinic lore: "Let thy house be a meeting-house for the Sages and sit amid the dust of their feet and drink in their words with thirst . . . [but] talk not much with womankind."122 By sitting at Jesus' feet, Mary is acting like a male. She neglects her duty to assist her sister in the preparation of the meal, and by violating a clear social boundary she is bringing shame upon her house.10:40. Martha's protest is justifiable, but the narrator casts it in a negative light by characterizing Martha as "distracted" by her work (lit., "service," diakoni"a diakonia). Earlier, Jesus spoke of the seed (i.e., the Word of God) that fell among thorns-those who do not receive it because they are preoccupied with "the cares and riches and pleasures of life" (8:14). Martha's distraction places her in this category. Although she is fulfilling the role assigned to her by society, she allows secondary matters to distract her from hearing the Word of God. After all, "One does not live by bread alone" (4:4). Like the disciples, Mary had left everything to follow Jesus (cf. 5:11, 28).The conjunction of the three words or phrases "leaving" (poreu"omai poreuomai), "the word of God" (to;n lo"gon tou' qeou'  ton logon tou theou), "to serve" (diakone"w diakoneo) will be found again in Acts 6:1-6, where the disciples choose not to leave the ministry of the Word of God to serve tables and instead appoint the seven for this task. In this parallel scene, Jesus allows Mary-a woman-to claim the same role that the disciples later claim for themselves.10:41-42. Jesus' response to Martha forms the climax of this scene. The repetition of her name, "Martha, Martha," conveys a mild rebuke or lament. Like demons, her cares about fulfilling her duties have thrown her life into disorder. Like thorns, they have prevented her from attending to Jesus' teachings. Like the cares of a husband for his wife, her cares have prevented her from "unhindered devotion to the Lord" (1 Cor 7:32-35). Martha is anxious about many things, but only one thing is needed. This is not a counsel to prepare a simple meal rather than a lavish one, but a reminder that the duty of the love of God and obedience to God's Word take precedence over all other concerns.Mary, on the other hand, has chosen the "Chosen One" (9:35). While Martha is distracted by "parts" of the meal, Mary chooses "the good part." Disciples often need more discrimination, not more vigorous effort. Martha presumes to tell Jesus what he should do; Mary lets Jesus tell her what she should do. By choosing to attend to Jesus' teachings while laying aside everything else, Mary exemplifies what it means to "love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your strength, and with all your mind" (v. 27). As if to affirm Mary's radical violation of Palestinian social roles, Jesus adds that what she has chosen "will not be taken away from her" (v. 42). 

REFLECTIONS

Neither the story of the good Samaritan nor the story of Mary and Martha is complete without the other. Each makes its own point-the Samaritan loves his neighbor, and Mary loves her Lord-but the model for the disciple is found in the juxtaposition of the two. To the lawyer, Jesus says, "Go and do," but he praises Mary for sitting and listening. The life of a disciple requires both.The power of these two stories consists not just in that they exemplify the great commands of 10:27 but in Jesus' choice of characters to illustrate the love of neighbor and the love of God: a Samaritan and a woman. The social codes and boundaries were clear and inflexible; a Samaritan would not be considered a model of neighborliness, and a woman would not sit with men around the feet of a teacher.123In its own way, the conjunction of the stories about the good Samaritan and the female disciple voice Jesus' protest against the rules and boundaries set by the culture in which he lived. As they develop seeing and hearing as metaphors for the activity of the kingdom, the twin stories also expose the injustice of social barriers that categorize, restrict, and oppress various groups in any society (Samaritans, victims, women). To love God with all one's heart and one's neighbor as oneself meant then and now that one must often reject society's rules in favor of the codes of the kingdom-a society without distinctions and boundaries between its members. The rules of that society are just two-to love God and one's neighbor-but these rules are so radically different from those of the society in which we live that living by them invariably calls us to disregard all else, break the rules, and follow Jesus' example.

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 7 2011 9:25 AM

Another thing I like about the NIB is the fact it has a full treatment of the Apocrypha (Deutro-canon for the Catholics out there). Here is a sample from one of my favourite books from the Apoch. Wisdom (along with Sirach, these two wisdom books are my most read in the Apoch. and St. Paul seems to have quoted Wisdom in Romans, that is not to say Paul would have deemed Wisdom as scripture, but even for those who do not consider the books inspired they do make for wonderful background to the New Testament. 

 

Wisdom 3:1-13a, The Just Are in the Hand of God  

COMMENTARY

3:1-9, The Reward of the Just. 3:1-4. As opposed to the shameful death the wicked projected for the just one, the author declares the just to be in the hand of God. Three images are used to create a sharp contrast between the blessedness of the just and the anticipated tragedy and shame projected by the wicked. The just are in the hand of God (v. 1); they are in peace (v. 3); and their hope is the fullness of immortality (v. 4). The hand of God traditionally signifies divine power and protection (Ps 95:4). To be in peace intimates the fullness of rest and well-being (Pss 4:8; 29:11). The hope of immortality refers to the author's declaration that justice is immortal (1:15). This noun "justice" (dikaiosu"nh dikaiosyne), along with its adjective, "immortal" (ajqa"nato"v athanatos), is late and quite rare in the LXX (cf. Wis 3:4; 4:1; 8:13, 17; 15:3; 4 Macc 14:5; 16:13). It is a concept borrowed from the Greek that expresses Israel's hope in God's faithfulness to the promises of the covenant.31The author concedes the appearance of tragedy and shame, but contends that the reality of the just is one of blessedness (vv. 2-4). Only from the perspective of the foolish do the just seem to have died, and their death seems to have been disaster, destruction, and even punishment.3:5. By creating this disjunction between appearances and reality, the author is inviting the reader to look behind appearances for enduring values. The author introduces the idea of God's "testing" the just and offers two traditional metaphors of transformation and applies them to the case of the just who have died.The idea of God's testing the people is often associated with the wanderings in the desert after the exodus from Egypt. In the theology of Deuteronomy, the desert experience of Israel is presented as a time of testing and an opportunity for inculcating discipline and knowledge (Deut 4:36; 8:2-5). This theme will be picked up in the later part of the book, when the specific history of the exodus will be treated. The sapiential tradition developed the notion of "testing in order to teach" as a means of passing on the insights of wisdom (Prov 3:11-12; Sir 2:1-5; 4:17-18).3:6. The two metaphors that facilitate the notion of the transformation of the just in the context of God's testing are borrowed from metallurgy and the temple cult. Both metaphors share the image of fire as the element that causes transformation. The transformation of the just is compared to gold's being tested or purified in fire (v. 6; cf. Ps 66:10; Prov 17:3; Zech 13:9; Mal 3:2-3; Sir 2:5). The testing of gold in fire has the double function of verification and purification. The second metaphor, the burnt offering, accentuates the union between the just and God. The just are literally compared to a burnt offering that, though consumed by fire, is accepted by God as a pleasant fragrance (see Gen 8:21). If the metaphor of gold's being tested in fire stresses transformation and purification, the second metaphor stresses God's acceptance and union with the just.3:7-8. The transformation of the just includes also a heightening of their activity at the time of judgment (vv. 7-8). Until now, the just have been passive, both during the wicked's speech and during the author's declaration of their blessedness. They are at peace in the hand of God. But at the time of judgment they will "shine forth"; they will run like "sparks through the stubble"; they will "govern nations." This idea of the righteous shining with brilliance is often associated with the vindication of the just at the time of judgment in apocalyptic writings. In Dan 12:3, for instance, the wise and the righteous are described as shining forth like the brightness of the sky and the stars (cf. Matt 13:43).Several descriptions in the wicked's speech are reversed in the author's presentation of the just. The just were in the hands of the wicked, but now they are in the hands of God (2:18-3:1). The wicked were to put the just to torment, but now no torment will touch them (2:19-3:1). The wicked planned to test what would happen to the just, but it was really God who had tested the just and found them worthy (2:17-3:5). The wicked were to try the forbearance of the just, but God is the one who has tried them like gold in the furnace (2:19-3:6).3:9. The final brief comments on the just reiterate the faithfulness of God in covenantal terms. The just abide with God in love. Grace and mercy rest on the holy ones, and God's providence watches over the elect. The author's belief in an afterlife is rooted more deeply in covenantal theology than in Greek philosophical ideas concerning the immortality of the soul.323:10-13a, The Punishment of the Wicked. 3:10-11. In contrast to the active blessedness of the just, the author declares the hope and strength of the wicked to be empty and useless (v. 11). As a result of their injustice, the wicked will be punished according to their reasoning (v. 10). The wicked will not be punished simply because they have sinned. Rather, in the very manner of their wickedness, they will experience the punishment of their own reasoning.The author draws a close connection between the false reasoning of the wicked and the experience of punishment. This is a unique perspective in the work that once again reveals the author's profound psychological understanding of the relationship among thought, praxis, and consequences. The entire reasoning process of the wicked contains the seeds of their own destruction. The nihilistic judgment on life, the invitation to evasive pleasure, the beckoning to oppress the weak, and the call to kill the just-all of these principles informing their view are understood by the author to turn against the wicked.It is not as if the punishment is an external penalization that has no bearing on the manner of the injustice perpetrated. The author envisages an internal coherence between one's actions and their consequences. This will be particularly emphasized in the latter half of the book, where the author treats the issues of idol worship (11:16; 12:23-27; 14:30-31) and the punishment of the enemies of the righteous ones in the plague episodes (15:18-16:1; 18:4-5). An explicit relationship will be drawn between their sin and the punishment for it.This idea of a relationship between sin and punishment is implicit in several psalms of lament in which the psalmist calls on God for liberation and for the wicked's punishment according to their very means of wickedness: "Their mischief returns upon their own heads, and on their own heads their violence descends" (Ps 7:16 NRSV; cf. Pss 5:10; 9:15; 35:8; 37:14-15; 109:29; 141:10).Although the punishment of the wicked for their false reasoning and injustice is envisaged as taking place in the future (they "will be punished as their reasoning deserves," v. 10), the seeds of destruction are already operative in their lives. Their lives really are miserable, their hope is vain, their labors are unprofitable, and their works are useless. These images are the very antitheses of the experience of the just, who are in peace, whose hope is the fullness of immortality, and whose future is to govern nations and rule over peoples.3:12-13a. The concluding declaration of the first diptych focuses on the fruit of the wicked, the topic for the next diptych. The wives of the wicked are foolish, their children are evil, and their offspring are cursed. The author's judgment of punishment for the wicked here is rather harsh and comprehensive, without distinctions and exceptions. Even the children and the wives of the wicked will experience destruction.The author takes pains to attribute the cause of ultimate death to the words and actions of the wicked. Why does the curse of the wicked extend to wives and children who may not have any guilt? Of course, the author is continuing in a longstanding tradition that claimed that blessings and curses continue to the fourth generation (cf. Exod 20:5; 34:7; Num 14:18; Deut 5:9; Sir 41:5-10). Actions do have consequences on other people, for better or for worse. If the wicked hope to accumulate advantages and wealth through injustice, they will be sorely dismayed. This irony introduces the contrast in the next diptych between the hopeless fruitfulness of the wicked and the hopeful sterility of the just.

REFLECTIONS

1. This passage, which declares the hope of the just who have died (3:1-9), is one of the many biblical texts offered for selection at funerals. The author encourages the embracing of pain and loss, but offers hope as well. The declarations and images in the text have the unique capability of offering hope without bypassing or diminishing the pain of loss. Recognition is given to the suffering and death of others in the image of gold's being tested and purified in fire and in the image of the burnt offering. To lament and mourn the loss of family and friends is an important element in human relations, and it is not wise to pass over mourning lightly.Yet, at the same time, pain and loss may be transformed into hope. The purification of gold leads to brilliance; the burnt offering signifies union. This is the unique perspective the author wishes to bring to the tragedies of life. In contrast to the perspective of the wicked, who see in human tragedy a destroyer of human value, the author focuses on the relationship between the just and God that emerges from their experience of tragedy. Far from being destructive tragedies, experiences of pain and loss can become moments of purification, resolution, and even deeper union with others.

2. The interpretation of tragedy in our own lives and in the lives of others remains ambivalent. Perhaps it is almost an instinctive reaction to interpret tragedy as punishment and a consequence of guilt. Instead of seeing tragedy, loss, sickness, and even death as a call to care and to be concerned for union, we judge either other people or ourselves as being accursed. Perhaps we simply try to avoid the realities of those who suffer altogether."Though in the sight of others they were punished,/ their hope is full of immortality" (3:4 NRSV). The Wisdom text offers a different perspective on the reality of tragedy and limitations in human life. Tragedy, loss, and death are not the destroyers of ultimate human value. The book of Job is the great precursor to the Wisdom text for modulating the perception and interpretation of tragedy in life. The tragedy of Job's life and family was not the result of his guilt, no matter how much the tradition and the three friends tried to impose such an interpretation on his experience. Christ, likewise, modulated the interpretation of tragedy in the case of the man who was blind from birth. The disciples presumed guilt to have been the cause of his blindness, "Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?" (John 9:2 NRSV). Jesus's response transformed the perspective on tragedy. He denied sin to be the cause for that tragedy and instead stated that the response to the man's blindness will be the manifestation of God's works (John 9:1-3).

3. In the author's critique of the lives of the wicked, a parallel is drawn between their sin and their punishment. Implicit in this parallel lies the age-old belief that injustice will finally catch up with the perpetrators. The reward of justice and the punishment of injustice too easily may be understood as extrinsic to moral conduct. For the Wisdom author, the fruit of a moral life is already implicit in the concrete decisions and actions of individuals. Even if the explicit or public revelation of justice and injustice resides in the future, the personal consequences of moral acts, like planted seeds, are active from the start.

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Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Feb 7 2011 7:24 PM

Here is a  look at  Psalm 84...

PSALM 84:1-12, HAPPY ARE THOSE WHOSE STRENGTH IS IN YOU

COMMENTARY

Psalm 84 is perhaps the most expressive and beautiful of all the songs of Zion (see Psalms 46; 48; 76; 87; 122). Like the others, it may originally have been recited or sung by pilgrims as they made their way toward, arrived at, or walked about Jerusalem. Verse 1 seems to offer the psalmist's enthusiastic response upon first seeing the city or the Temple, an experience that the psalmist reflects on in v. 2. Verses 3-4 are linked by the repetition of the word "home"/"house" (tyb bayit), which may derive from the psalmist's contemplation of the happiness of the priests and other cultic personnel who resided in the Temple. The word "happy" (yrva )asrê) becomes a key word in the psalm (see vv. 4, 5, 12), and vv. 5-7 extend the experience to the pilgrims who will see God in Zion. Verses 8-9 consist of petition. Verse 10 shifts from direct address of God to reference to God in the third person; and with v. 11, the psalm has the character of a profession of faith. The profession is made explicit in the concluding verse, which at least implicitly invites others to share in the psalmist's experience of God. The two initial and concluding sections (vv. 1-4, 8-12) each consist of seven poetic lines. While this may be coincidental, the effect is to focus attention on vv. 5-7 as the central unit, thus highlighting the experience of the pilgrim. It may not be coincidental that v. 5 begins with the word "happy," which is featured in the concluding verses of the surrounding sections. By the end of the poem, the beatitudes in vv. 4-5, 12 have constructed a compelling portrait of a faithful follower of God.The canonical placement of Psalm 84 is worthy of note. It occurs immediately following a psalm that concludes both the Asaph psalms (Psalms 50; 73-83; see Introduction) and the Elohistic psalter (Psalms 42-83). Even though Psalms 84-85 and 87-88 are psalms of Korah (see also Psalms 42-49, the beginning of the Elohistic psalter), they do not significantly change the character of Book III. Psalms 84 and 87, both songs of Zion, recall Psalm 76, and each is sandwiched between complaints that effectively call for deeper understanding-that is, how should the enthusiastic hope and trust of the Zion songs be understood in view of the stark realities voiced in the complaints? This question, prompted by the ordering of psalms in Book III (see Commentary on Psalms 73; 74; 78; 79; 80; Introduction), encourages an eschatological understanding of Psalm 84. In short, its use was not restricted to ancient pilgrims to Jerusalem. Rather, it effectively articulates the experience of generations of pilgrims, who, trusting God (v. 12), have "seen" God (v. 7) in various times and places and have derived from their experience of God a strength that transforms them and their lives (vv. 5-7; see Reflections below).84:1-4. The translation "lovely" (twdydy yudîdôt) in v. 1 is adequate, because the psalmist's experience involves visual admiration of Zion, but the experience creates a bond between person and place that might be better expressed with the word "beloved" (see the Hebrew word translated here as "dwelling place" [twnkvm miskAnôt] in Pss 43:3; 46:4; 132:5, 7). The title "LORD of hosts" is associated elsewhere with the ark, God's earthly throne (see Commentary on Psalm 24, esp. the discussion of vv. 7-10), and it occurs elsewhere in contexts where God is addressed as "King" (v. 3; see also Ps 48:8; Isa 6:5). Verse 2a further communicates the power of the place (see "courts" also in v. 10; Pss 65:4; 96:8; 100:4; 116:19; 135:2; Isa 1:12; 62:9), for which the psalmist "longs" (see Gen 31:30, where Jacob longs for his father's house, and note "home"/"house" in Ps 84:3-4) and "faints" (see "fail" in Ps 73:26; 119:81). As v. 2b indicates, the place derives its power from the presence of "the living God" (see Ps 42:2, where longing for God is also eloquently expressed but with different vocabulary and imagery). The verb in v. 2b usually indicates a joyful cry (see Pss 5:11; 67:4; 95:1; 96:12; 98:4), but it occasionally has a more plaintive sense (see Lam 2:19).As Gen 31:30 suggests, longing is what one naturally feels for home. In other words, the psalmist is homesick for the true home: God's house. The sight of birds nesting within the temple complex (v. 3) and of the cultic officials at work leads the psalmist to reflect upon the appropriateness of literally finding a "home" in the Temple (see Pss 23:5-6; 27:4). The address of God as "my King," along with the repetition of the phrase "LORD of hosts" from v. 1 (see also vv. 8, 12), suggests that the psalmist's praise is not ultimately of the place but of God. The experience of the particular place puts the psalmist in touch with God's sovereignty over all places (see Commentary on Psalm 48).84:5-7. The transformational power of Jerusalem is evident in the affirmations of vv. 5-7. The noun "strength" (z[ (oz) indicates elsewhere an attribute of the sovereign God (see Exod 15:13; Pss 29:1; 93:1; 96:6-7), but it is also regularly imparted to God's people (see Exod 15:2; Pss 29:11; 68:35; 81:1; 86:16). Here the psalmist apparently claims that God bestows strength upon those traveling to Jerusalem, although the sense of v. 5b is uncertain (see NRSV note and cf. NRSV and NIV). Verse 6 also seems to connote transformation, although the precise sense is again unclear. "Baca" [akb] is usually taken as a proper noun. Its location is unknown, but apparently it was a dry place, to which the pilgrims bring relief. The word is similar to the word ykb (bukî), which means "tears," in which case another sort of transformation is suggested. The mention of springs and rain may imply a connection with pilgrimage to the Feast of Tabernacles, which is associated elsewhere with rain (see Zech 14:16-19). Such a conclusion is uncertain, however, and it is possible to read the whole verse symbolically. The final form of the Hebrew text actually encourages this, since it has vocalized a set of consonants that could mean "pools" (tkrb burekôt) so that they mean "blessings" (burAkôt). In short, wherever the pilgrims go, they bring blessings. Enlivened and empowered by the vision of God's awaiting them (v. 8; see "saw"/"seen" in Ps 48:5, 8) or perhaps by the hope of being seen by God (see v. 9), the pilgrims gain strength (the Hebrew words differ in vv. 5 and 7; see also 1 Sam 2:4). They themselves are transformed.84:8-12. Verses 8-9 move to petition, and apparently the pilgrim prays for the king. The word "shield" (@gm mAgen) which is used of God in v. 12 (see also Ps 3:3), can also be used of human rulers (see Ps 47:9), and the word "anointed" refers even more clearly to the king (see Ps 2:2). In the post-exilic era, the "anointed" (jyvm mAsîah) could also have referred to the high priest (see Num 3:3). In either case, it would have been natural for those visiting Jerusalem to pray for the leaders of the people (see Ps 61:6-7).Verses 10-11 again return to the psalmist's own experience (see vv. 1-4; note "courts" in v. 2 and "home"/"house" in vv. 3-4). The poetic hyperbole in v. 10a expresses the same longing as in v. 2. In v. 10b, "doorkeeper" probably does not refer to the office of that description (see 2 Kgs 12:9), but to anyone waiting to enter the Temple. Kraus translates as follows, "I would rather lie on the threshold at the house of my God than live in the tents of the wicked."323 The "tents of the wicked" need not refer to a specific place, but to any place characterized by self-serving rather than to the service of God (see discussion of "the wicked" in Commentary on Psalm 1). To await entrance into God's house, by contrast, means to be one "whose walk is blameless" (v. 11). It is significant that precisely this kind of person is mentioned in Ps 15:2 in response to the question in 15:1, "Who may dwell on your holy hill?" To walk blamelessly does not mean absolute perfection but humble dependence upon God for life. Or, as v. 12 suggests, it means ultimately to trust God (see Ps 40:4 and the essentially synonymous beatitudes in Pss 2:12; 34:8b). Verse 11 articulates the content of this trust as the psalmist affirms God's providing "favor" and "honor" (see Prov 3:34-35, where these two words also occur together)-everything necessary for the sustenance of life. The same Hebrew word (bwf tôb) underlies "better" (v. 10) and "good thing" (v. 11), thus framing the two verses. The confidence expressed is not in a retributional scheme whereby good things are guaranteed as a reward. Neither is the happiness promised a facile or carefree cheeriness. Rather, happiness consists of taking refuge in God (see Pss 2:12; 73:28; note 84:5, 7), and the repetition of "good" recalls the affirmation of Ps 73:28 that ultimate goodness is to be near God (see also Ps 63:3). In a word, this is also the message that pervades Psalm 84.

REFLECTIONS

1. One of the most beautiful of contemporary musical arrangements of the psalms is "How Lovely, Lord," a metrical paraphrase of Psalm 84 by Arlo D. Duba that has been set to music by Hal H. Hopson (Merle's Tune). The auspicious wedding of text and tune captures movingly both the psalmist's longing for communion with God and the experience of well-being that results from encountering the living God. In other words, although our symbols for and understandings of God's presence in space and time may differ from those of the ancient psalmist, Psalm 84 can continue to function effectively and powerfully.

2. Citing Jon Levenson's conclusion that in Psalm 84 "physical ascent is also a spiritual ascent," Tate suggests that the pilgrimage experience described in Psalm 84 is sacramental-"visible actions become the means of grace and revelation of the presence of God."324 For Christians, the visible actions may differ, but we still regularly engage in visible actions that we profess to be means of grace, modes of experiencing God's real presence and of finding our true home. For instance, we come regularly to what forms the centerpiece of any real home: a table. But for us, this is the Lord's table, where we eat and drink with Christ and with one another as a sign of our belonging. At the Lord's table we not only remember but are also re-membered; that is, we profess to receive a strength that derives not from ourselves but from God (see vv. 5, 7). In essence, as Psalm 23 suggests as well, church is home (see Commentary on Psalm 23, esp. discussion of vv. 5-6).And so we go to church to profess that our lives are not our own but are lived under God's sovereign claim (see vv. 3-4; see also Reflections on Psalms 46; 100). We go to church to profess that insofar as we are powerful people, our strength derives not from ourselves but from God (see vv. 5, 7). We go to church to profess that our worthiness, insofar as we have any, derives not from what we manage to accomplish but from what God bestows (vv. 10-11). We go to church to profess that happiness is not the ceaseless pursuit of material well-being that our culture promotes but the entrusting of our lives and futures to God (see v. 12). As Mays suggests:Every visit to a temple or church or meeting of believers is in a profound sense a pilgrimage. We "go" [see v. 7 and the same Hebrew word translated "walk" in v. 11], not just for practical or personal reasons; we go theologically. Christians have read and sung Psalm 84 and through it praised the God to whom we "go" in different ways.325Psalm 84 thus proclaims the good news that our destination, daily and eternally, lies in God. This good news contains the transforming power by which we profess to find strength, value, and life itself (see Commentary on Psalm 48). 

Posts 5285
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Feb 22 2011 11:00 AM

A look at the relections for the end section of Ruth Chapter 1

 

REFLECTIONS

No matter how central her role in the story may be, Naomi comes across in this first chapter as a rather unattractive character. She knows that her name means “sweet” or “sweetness,” but she does not feel sweet. Life has not been sweet for Naomi. Furthermore, Naomi does not act in the way we expect the faithful to act. She blames the LORD for the emptiness she now feels. She neither asks nor expects the LORD to come to her aid as God had come “to the aid of his people by providing food for them.”37 In modern times we might say that Naomi is in one of the stages of the grieving process. Like many of us who have suffered losses that leave us feeling empty, Naomi fears that her loss of husband and sons is the result of divine judgment. She may even feel that she is somehow to blame for their deaths.

Also like others who are caught up in the throes of their own grief, Naomi seems to lack gratitude for the support she has received from Ruth. When the two travelers arrive in Bethlehem, Naomi complains that she went away full—with a husband, two sons, and a promising future—and that she is coming back empty, because of the LORD. She speaks to the women of the town as if Ruth were neither present nor important to her. In this stage of her grief, Naomi’s emptiness has not been affected by Ruth’s pledge of undying loyalty.

From the beginning of the story it has been clear that Naomi is the character who is most in need of redemption. Her situation cries out for a reversal or a recovery. If members of a modern audience feel no need to be redeemed, they may be reluctant to identify themselves and their own situations with Naomi’s situation. Thus, if you are inclined to preach or to teach Ruth as a parable of God’s grace, you will need to lead your listeners to recognize that they, like Naomi, have pockets of emptiness in their lives that cannot be filled through their own efforts.

The narrative we call the story of Ruth will eventually tell us how Naomi is persuaded to let go of her bitterness, how her emptiness is filled with new life, how her redemption becomes the first step in the redemption of the people of God. Nevertheless, the memory of Naomi is a bittersweet one. We know more about the bitter side of Naomi than of the sweet. Might we not say the same about most of the people of God? Are not most of us really more like Naomi than we are like Ruth? At best most of us might say we have lived bittersweet lives of faith. Most of us can probably say that (like Naomi) we have more often been the recipients than the givers of loving kindness/faithfulness. Yet it can be said

that this bitter, grieving Naomi has succeeded in achieving what many missionaries hope for: someone has chosen to follow her God, and she (Naomi) has become an instrument for this choice not by putting on a “happy face” but by being her true self. For Ruth, Naomi’s truthful expression of her grief and bitterness does not obscure what Ruth has seen as a member of her family for the last ten years nor what she knows about Naomi’s faith.38

Thus it seems that Naomi’s story would serve as an appropriate basis for a sermon on All Saints Day. Just as Memorial Day is a secular holiday meant to honor those who have died 

in the country’s service and to remember those we continue to love, even though they are no longer a physical part of our lives, so also All Saints Day is a time set aside in the church year for the remembrance of those who have died in the faith. This “memorial day” of the church is celebrated either on the first day of November (the day after Halloween) or on the first Sunday in November.

In older English versions of the Bible, we find references to the “saints” in the Old Testament as well as in the New Testament. One of the words that gets translated as “saints” in the Old Testament is a form of the Hebrew word for lovingkindness or faithfulness above and beyond the ordinary. According to that definition, we might easily say that Ruth should be included among the “saints” whom we remember on All Saints Day. It is easy to see how Ruth’s actions toward Naomi might be described as faithfulness above and beyond the call of duty. Ruth probably comes as close to conforming to our traditional expectations of what a saint is like as any Old Testament character ever does. However, in the Christian tradition the people who are called saints have not all demonstrated an extraordinary degree of faithfulness, patience, or piety. In fact, the apostle Paul uses the term “saints” to refer to all who are a part of the body of Christ. Under this definition, all Christians, past, present, and future, can be considered a part of the communion of saints. And in Matt 27:52 the saints are even said to include the pre-Christian faithful.

It is easy to see how we might include Ruth among the communion of saints. Ruth plays an important, even an essential role in the carrying out of God’s will in the world. Ruth is the change-agent whose loving faithfulness reflects God’s faithfulness to Naomi. But in the last analysis, we need to acknowledge that this festival of All Saints is not about the faithfulness of the saints at all. It is, rather, a celebration of the faithfulness of God.39 Because Naomi does not come across as a model of sainthood or faithfulness as we usually understand it, because Naomi does not act as we expect the faithful to act, it is easier for us to see that her story is about the faithfulness of God, and not about the faithfulness of humankind. Thus there is a message of good news for those who can see themselves mirrored in the character of Naomi: God can use us, as weak and as faulty as we may be, just as God used Naomi, even in the midst of her bitterness and grief, to accomplish some small part in the work of God in the world. Like Naomi, we can be called “saints,” not because we have been extraordinarily faithful to God but because God has been extraordinarily faithful to us.

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Jan Kleinsmit | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 23 2011 8:09 AM

Hi Dan,

I have the hardcopy version of  Volume 10 which consists of NT Wright's treatment of Romans. This alone makes it well worth the price for that specific Volume.

Do you have the entire set?

Regards from South Africa

Posts 13392
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 23 2011 8:39 AM

If it was discounted, I'd be in, but $67/volume is too high for me.

Posts 5285
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 23 2011 9:18 AM

Jan Kleinsmit:

Hi Dan,

I have the hardcopy version of  Volume 10 which consists of NT Wright's treatment of Romans. This alone makes it well worth the price for that specific Volume.

Do you have the entire set?

Regards from South Africa

Yes I own the entire set in both Hard Cover and the Abingdon CDROM version.  It is an ok way to have it but it is little more than having it in a word processor, I use it ever day but would love to have it in Logos. It is without a doubt my most used commentary. I am happy to post any passage you might like to see the treatment of. It has it;s weak points as any series has, but all in all I am very happy with the quality. Like Mark I think it is a bit over priced but for me I am glad to pay a premium for this work. I payed far more for the Yale Anchor Bile Commentary which I use often but for the most part could very well have done without.

 

-dan

Posts 453
Mike S. | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 23 2011 9:27 AM

Mark Barnes:

If it was discounted, I'd be in, but $67/volume is too high for me.

Fully agree. 

At that price, I would buy only a few volumes as needed individually... never the whole set. The current price is full retail for the printed set. I can get printed individual volumes at almost %40 off this price... without having to buy the full set. Indeed, I have a few volumes in print, and a lot of the "paper" is actually two copies of the text (NRSV and NIV). I'm guessing the Logos version isn't going to include those inline as the print volumes do, and the publisher doesn't need to pay royalties for the use of the NIV and NRSV either... hence the "cost" to the publisher is even lower for the electronic version, yet here we are... 

I'm glad the publisher has come to the table. I understand publishers aren't making out like apple, but neither are their customers. I'm also glad that some people are willing to pay $800, but they're not going to see much movement (if it makes it out of prepub) unless they break up the set, or lower the price. 

Posts 5285
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Feb 23 2011 2:31 PM

Mike S.:

Mark Barnes:

If it was discounted, I'd be in, but $67/volume is too high for me.

Fully agree. 

At that price, I would buy only a few volumes as needed individually... never the whole set. The current price is full retail for the printed set. I can get printed individual volumes at almost %40 off this price... without having to buy the full set. Indeed, I have a few volumes in print, and a lot of the "paper" is actually two copies of the text (NRSV and NIV). I'm guessing the Logos version isn't going to include those inline as the print volumes do, and the publisher doesn't need to pay royalties for the use of the NIV and NRSV either... hence the "cost" to the publisher is even lower for the electronic version, yet here we are... 

I'm glad the publisher has come to the table. I understand publishers aren't making out like apple, but neither are their customers. I'm also glad that some people are willing to pay $800, but they're not going to see much movement (if it makes it out of prepub) unless they break up the set, or lower the price. 

Abingdon's CDROM dose and any Book that has the Bible as part of the text like the Daily Study Bible and Preachers Commentary. I really am not too sure if Abingdon would allow them to publish it without them, and even on the page it states "The full texts and critical notes of the New International Version and the new Revised Standard Version of the Bible are presented for quick reference and comparison" If the text is not placed in fully it would be very hard to have the NAB in there for the deutercanonical books since the critical translation notes with it are totally unlike the standard notes of the regular NAB. Also not having them would end up complicating things since the Books are based on NIV1984 and Logos is no longer able to sell it.

 

-Dan

Posts 158
Fred | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Mar 2 2011 5:34 AM

Dan Francis:
If the text is not placed in fully it would be very hard to have the NAB in there for the deutercanonical books since the critical translation notes with it are totally unlike the standard notes of the regular NAB. Also not having them would end up complicating things since the Books are based on NIV1984 and Logos is no longer able to sell it.

Hi, Dan.

1.  Thanks for your insights into the NIB.

2.  Would you please explain further the two sentences quoted above.  (I'm feeling particularly dense today - {g}.)  I still don't understand why inline Bible texts are needed with the Logos cross-referencing of commentaries and bibles.

Thanks.

Fred

Posts 251
Rod | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 17 2012 11:22 AM

Mark Barnes:
If it was discounted, I'd be in, but $67/volume is too high for me.

There are obviously more than a few folks that share your opinion and, as a result, they have just lowered the price again so it now sits at $40 per volume.  Still not sure that I'm in...

Posts 5285
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 17 2012 1:03 PM

Taxee:

Mark Barnes:
If it was discounted, I'd be in, but $67/volume is too high for me.

There are obviously more than a few folks that share your opinion and, as a result, they have just lowered the price again so it now sits at $40 per volume.  Still not sure that I'm in...

Taking a look at it I think you would find it quite useful, the price is down (for how long we don't know) and the 97 contributors, are among tops scholars in both mainline and evangelical backgrounds. If you pre order it and change you mind you can always cancel or return it to logos if it is really not for you… I mean I bought the ECC and it wasn't for me at all and got a full refund. I don't want to encourage you to buy something that you will undoubtably return but I would ask you to give it a try. I don;t think you will be sorry you did and it is basically a risk free thing if you have no benefit  from this series.

-dan

Posts 13392
Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 17 2012 1:42 PM

Dan Francis:
Taking a look at it I think you would find it quite usefu

I own one of the volumes in hardback, and find it OK - probably on a par with WBC but at a simpler level. Still it would give me something on the deutero-canonicals, which I don't have fully covered even with Hermeneia and Anchor. I'll put a bid in, but may well pull it depending on when it comes out.

Posts 5285
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 17 2012 7:19 PM

Mark Barnes:

Dan Francis:
Taking a look at it I think you would find it quite usefu

I own one of the volumes in hardback, and find it OK - probably on a par with WBC but at a simpler level. Still it would give me something on the deutero-canonicals, which I don't have fully covered even with Hermeneia and Anchor. I'll put a bid in, but may well pull it depending on when it comes out.

Thanks Mark, hope you are able to get the NIB and that it helps you as much as it has helped me over the years.

-Dan

 

Posts 846
Eric Weiss | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jan 17 2012 8:04 PM

Hmmm....

These excerpts make me question if the NIB is a resource I would use much. I got in at $480, but I'm not sure where I'll be 30 days after I download it. I guess I should look at it carefully after it comes out to see if it's worth nearly $500 to me.

Optimistically Egalitarian (Galatians 3:28)

Posts 5285
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 18 2012 9:41 AM

Eric Weiss:

Hmmm....

These excerpts make me question if the NIB is a resource I would use much. I got in at $480, but I'm not sure where I'll be 30 days after I download it. I guess I should look at it carefully after it comes out to see if it's worth nearly $500 to me.

That's up to you, and maybe it isn't for you. But it may cost you a lot more after it is out of pre pub.

-Dan

Posts 176
Bill Coley | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 18 2012 11:19 AM

I own the entire hardbound NIB set, find it very useful, and would love to have it in Logos format. The current pre-pub price is a good value, but perhaps not one I will pay for no other reason than personal finances.

Resource preferences are incredibly personal matters. No one can decide for another what will work best for him or her. For that reason, the excerpts you have posted, Dan, have been great blessings for people seeking to assess the NIB for possible inclusion in their Logos libraries. Thank you (even though I already own the darned thing!)

Blessings,

Bill

Posts 846
Eric Weiss | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jan 18 2012 11:39 AM

Dan Francis:

Eric Weiss:

Hmmm....

These excerpts make me question if the NIB is a resource I would use much. I got in at $480, but I'm not sure where I'll be 30 days after I download it. I guess I should look at it carefully after it comes out to see if it's worth nearly $500 to me.

That's up to you, and maybe it isn't for you. But it may cost you a lot more after it is out of pre pub.

-Dan

I suspect it will periodically be offered at ~$500 (e.g., Christmas specials) if I or others choose to bow out. I read some more of your excerpts and there may be enough there to keep me (or for me to keep it). Thanks for your posts.

 

Optimistically Egalitarian (Galatians 3:28)

Posts 5285
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jan 19 2012 9:18 AM

Eric Weiss:

Dan Francis:

Eric Weiss:

Hmmm....

These excerpts make me question if the NIB is a resource I would use much. I got in at $480, but I'm not sure where I'll be 30 days after I download it. I guess I should look at it carefully after it comes out to see if it's worth nearly $500 to me.

That's up to you, and maybe it isn't for you. But it may cost you a lot more after it is out of pre pub.

-Dan

I suspect it will periodically be offered at ~$500 (e.g., Christmas specials) if I or others choose to bow out. I read some more of your excerpts and there may be enough there to keep me (or for me to keep it). Thanks for your posts.

 

Happy to do it. I will admit it is not the perfect bible commentary (I have personally never found a series that has no weaknesses) but for me if I could only own one commentary it would be it and I would't think myself too hard done by. Indeed it is the only multi-volume series I have kept in my print library. I look forward to the day I can use it on Logos and I do know it will come, I just hope it is fairly soon.

-dan

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