New Interpreter's Bible (12 Vols.) - Pre-Publication Examples

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Posts 175
Bill Coley | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 5 2012 9:34 PM

Sogol:

Does anyone know if the bar updates real-time?

 

It's been my observation that CP purchases appear to move their respective graphs within moments of the transactions; I don't know whether the same is true for pre-pubs.

The bar tonight looks the same as it did before I made my purchase earlier today.


FWIW,

Bill

 

 

Posts 175
Bill Coley | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 5 2012 9:39 PM

Dan Francis:
PS: Maybe we need a prayer chain….. "Oh Holy Spirit move the hearts of those who love the study of your Word to  help bring the New Interpreter's Bible to Logos." But in all seriousness, if i could only own one commentary without a doubt it would be NIB, allowed 4 it would be NIB, WBC, DSB, Interpretation, so as you see my other 3 favourites are there, heck I was ecstatic when the OT of the Daily Study Bible appeared on my iPad a couple weeks ago. NIB will come in good time to one program or another.

 

Dan,

Just want to commend you for your extraordinary efforts in this thread. Your persistence was the single most influential factor in my decision to get in on the NIB. However I or others Logos users benefit from this great resource should it make to publication, I think I will most cheer for you when that day arrives. Your efforts deserve great success.

Blessings,

Bill

Posts 255
Sogol | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 6 2012 8:11 AM

I would say that, at best, the bar on my screen has moved to 4.9 cm today versus 4.8 cm yesterday (out of 5.5 cm total).

I'm not sure how precisely the bar corresponds to actual progress, but if it does correspond closely, yesterday's orders pushed us just a tad closer.

Hence, if there were 1 or 2 orders yesterday, that would mean that we would still probably be about 6 to 12 orders away from a full bar.

Posts 570
Rev Chris | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 6 2012 8:22 AM

It would sure be nice to hear from Logos on this.  But even better, I wish Logos would do a bit of a marketing push for the NIB.  Either place an ad on the homescreen in Logos, or make it one of the coveted website banners, or even send out an email for those subscribed.  Not sure the chances of that happening, but it would be nice!

Pastor, seminary trustee, and app developer.  Check out my latest app for churches: The Church App

Posts 5251
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 6 2012 10:31 AM

Rev Chris:

It would sure be nice to hear from Logos on this.  But even better, I wish Logos would do a bit of a marketing push for the NIB.  Either place an ad on the homescreen in Logos, or make it one of the coveted website banners, or even send out an email for those subscribed.  Not sure the chances of that happening, but it would be nice!

It has been on the home page a few times, I would be happier if Logos would correct the NIB page to reflect 97 contributors, not 18 as it now states. On on their blog announcing the price drop. It just is super frustrating that even though there are many new orders, it's only about where it was before the price drop.

-Dan

Posts 570
Rev Chris | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 6 2012 10:58 AM

Ah well, I guess I wasn't paying close attention when those postings went up.  Well, I will wait patiently by, and make do with my printed copies for now.  I have to say, though, if Logos' Mac competitor brings it out before Logos even puts it into "contract" status, and the price is comparable, I may just jump ship.  I like the commentary enough that I don't mind opening up a second program on my Macbook to do my work.  After all, isn't that why I upgraded my ram to 8gb? :)

Pastor, seminary trustee, and app developer.  Check out my latest app for churches: The Church App

Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 6 2012 11:24 AM

Dan Francis:
It has been on the home page a few times, I would be happier if Logos would correct the NIB page to reflect 97 contributors, not 18 as it now states. On on their blog announcing the price drop. It just is super frustrating that even though there are many new orders, it's only about where it was before the price drop.

One of the problems with this is that Leander Keck is listed as either the author or as one of the authors on quite a number of the volumes.  A broader base of contributors would be desireable.  I don't think Keck is quite up to the caliber of a John Calvin.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 5251
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 6 2012 1:23 PM

George Somsel:

Dan Francis:
It has been on the home page a few times, I would be happier if Logos would correct the NIB page to reflect 97 contributors, not 18 as it now states. On on their blog announcing the price drop. It just is super frustrating that even though there are many new orders, it's only about where it was before the price drop.

One of the problems with this is that Leander Keck is listed as either the author or as one of the authors on quite a number of the volumes.  A broader base of contributors would be desireable.  I don't think Keck is quite up to the caliber of a John Calvin.

Who wrote the NIB??? 

Keck ONLY Wrote the Introduction, he was the general editor, the above link lists the complete 97 contributors. THIS is what i was saying Logos is refusing to correct the information page, I say refusing because it has been pointed out several times. This is the same as claiming Frank E. Gaebelein (General Editor) wrote the whole Expositors Bible Commentary.

-Dan

Posts 5251
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jun 7 2012 7:36 PM

Dan Francis:

George Somsel:

Dan Francis:
It has been on the home page a few times, I would be happier if Logos would correct the NIB page to reflect 97 contributors, not 18 as it now states. On on their blog announcing the price drop. It just is super frustrating that even though there are many new orders, it's only about where it was before the price drop.

One of the problems with this is that Leander Keck is listed as either the author or as one of the authors on quite a number of the volumes.  A broader base of contributors would be desireable.  I don't think Keck is quite up to the caliber of a John Calvin.

 

Who wrote the NIB??? 

Keck ONLY Wrote the Introduction, he was the general editor, the above link lists the complete 97 contributors. THIS is what i was saying Logos is refusing to correct the information page, I say refusing because it has been pointed out several times. This is the same as claiming Frank E. Gaebelein (General Editor) wrote the whole Expositors Bible Commentary.

-Dan

 

 

Here is the Breakdown by Volume.

-Dan

Volume I

Introduction to The New Interpreter’s Bible ~ Leander E. Keck

Introduction to the Canon ~ Daniel J. Harrington

Modern English Versions of the Bible ~ Keith R. Crim

The Authority of the Bible ~ Phyllis A. Bird

How the Bible Has Been Interpreted in Jewish Tradition ~ Michael A. Singer

How the Bible Has Been Interpreted in Christian Tradition ~ Justo L. González

Contemporary Theories of Biblical Interpretation ~ Moisés Silva

Contemporary Methods of Reading the Bible ~ Carl R. Holladay

Reading the Bible from Particular Social Locations: An Introduction ~ James Earl Massey

Reading the Bible as African Americans ~ James Earl Massey

Reading the Bible as Asian Americans ~ Chan-Hie Kim

Reading the Bible as Hispanic Americans ~ Fernando F. Segovia

Reading the Bible as Native Americans ~ George E. Tinker

Reading the Bible as Women ~ Carolyn Osiek

The Use of the Bible in Preaching ~ David G. Buttrick

The Use of the Bible in Hymns, Liturgy, and Education ~ Catherine Gunsalus González

Life in Ancient Palestine ~ David C. Hopkins

The Ancient Near Eastern Literary Background of the Old Testament ~ Simon B. Parker

Introduction to the History of Ancient Israel ~ J. Maxwell Miller

Introduction to Israelite Religion ~ Gary A. Anderson

Introduction to Early Jewish Religion ~ John J. Collins

Ancient Texts and Versions of the Old Testament ~ Judith E. Sanderson

Introduction to the Pentateuch ~ Joseph Blenkinsopp

Genesis ~Terence E. Fretheim

Exodus ~ Walter Brueggeman

Leviticus ~ Walter C. Kaiser Jr.


Volume II

Numbers ~ Thomas Dozeman

Deuteronomy ~ Ronald Clements

Introduction to Narrative Literature ~ Toni Craven

Joshua ~ Robert Coote

Judges ~ Dennis Olson

Ruth ~ Kathleen Farmer

1 & 2 Samuel ~ Bruce Birch


Volume III

1, 2 Kings ~ Choon-Leong Seow

1, 2 Chronicles ~ Lesle C. Allen

Ezra and Nehemiah ~ Ralph W. Klein

Esther and Additions to Esther ~ Sidnie White Crawford

Tobit ~ Irene Nowell

Judith ~ Lawrence M. Wills


Volume IV

1, 2 Maccabees ~ Robert Doran

Introduction to Hebrew Poetry ~ Adele Berlin

Job ~ Carol A. Newsom

Psalms ~ J. Clinton McAnn Jr.

 

Volume V

Introduction to Wisdom Literature ~ Richard J. Clifford

Proverbs ~ Raymond C. Van Leeuwen

Ecclesiastes ~ W. Sibley Towner

Song of Songs ~ Renita J. Weems

Wisdom ~ Michael Kolarcik

Sirach ~ James L. Crenshaw

 

Volume VI

Introduction to Prophetic Literature ~ David L. Petersen

Isaiah 1--39 ~ Gene Tucker

Isaiah 40-66 ~ Christopher Seitz

Jeremiah ~ Patrick Miller

Baruch and Letter of Jeremiah ~ Anthony J. Saldarini

Lamentations ~ Kathleen O'Connor

Ezekiel ~ Katheryn Pfisterer Darr


Volume VII

Introduction to Apocalyptic Literature ~ Frederick J. Murphy

Daniel; Bel and the Dragon; Prayer of Azariah; Susannah ~ Daniel L. Smith-Christopher

Hosea ~ Gale A. Yee

Joel ~ Elizabeth Achtemeier

Amos ~ Donald E. Gowan

Obadiah ~ Samuel Pagán

Jonah ~ Phyllis Trible

Micah ~ Daniel J. Simundson

Nahum ~ Francisco O. García-Treto

Habakkuk ~ Theodore Hiebert

Zephaniah ~ Robert A. Bennett

Haggai ~ W. Eugene Msrch

Zechariah ~ Ben C. Ollenburger

Malachi ~ Eileen M. Schuller


Volume VIII

Ancient Texts and Versions of the New Testament ~ Eldon Jay Epp

The Cultural Context of the New Testament: The Greco-Roman World ~ Abraham J. Malherbe

The Jewish Context of the New Testament ~ George W. E. Nickelsburg

The Ecclesiastical Context of the New Testament ~ Vincent L. Wimbush

The Gospels and Narrative Literature ~ Robert C. Tannehill

Jesus and the Gospels ~ Christopher M. Tuckett

Matthew ~ Eugene Boring

Mark ~ Pheme Perkins


Volume IX

Luke ~ R. Alan Culpepper 

John ~ Gail R. O'Day

 

Volume X

Acts ~ Robert Wall

Introduction to Epistolary Literature ~ Robert Wall

Romans ~ N.T. Wright

1 Corinthians ~ J. Paul Sampley


Volume XI

2 Corinthians ~ J. Paul Sampley

Galatians ~ Richard B. Hays

Ephesians ~ Pheme Perkins

Philippians ~ Morna D. Hooker

Colossians ~ Andrew T. Lincoln

1 and 2 Thessalonians ~ Abraham Smith

1 and 2 Timothy ~ James D. G. Dunn

Titus ~ James D. G. Dunn

Philemon ~ Cain Hope Felder


Volume XII

Hebrews ~ Fred Craddock 

James  ~ Luke Johnson

First Letter of Peter ~ David L. Bartlett

Second Letter of Peter and Letter of Jude ~ Duane F. Watson

First, Second, Third Letters of John ~ C. Clifton Black

Revelation ~ Christopher Rowland

 

Posts 8967
RIP
Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jun 7 2012 7:59 PM

Dan Francis:
Here is the Breakdown by Volume.

Thanks again, Dan.

You are truly the Champion of the Interpreter's Bible. I appreciate your efforts.

Logos 7 Collectors Edition

Posts 5251
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 8 2012 10:32 AM

Super Tramp:

Dan Francis:
Here is the Breakdown by Volume.

Thanks again, Dan.

You are truly the Champion of the Interpreter's Bible. I appreciate your efforts.

Well I value it greatly and just want the truth about it out there, I was horrified after someone here clearly made it sound as if there are very few contributors, something i tried to rectify putting up the full list of the 97 contributors and having asked Logos to correct the page, indeed I am going to email Bob P. to ask him personally if he might look into the correction.

-Dan

Posts 9947
George Somsel | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 8 2012 10:44 AM

Dan Francis:
I was horrified after someone here clearly made it sound as if there are very few contributors,

C'est moi.

george
gfsomsel

יְמֵי־שְׁנוֹתֵינוּ בָהֶם שִׁבְעִים שָׁנָה וְאִם בִּגְבוּרֹת שְׁמוֹנִים שָׁנָה וְרָהְבָּם עָמָל וָאָוֶן

Posts 5251
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 8 2012 12:21 PM

George Somsel:

Dan Francis:
I was horrified after someone here clearly made it sound as if there are very few contributors,

C'est moi.

Yews you, but hey hardly you fault, if Logos tells you something why would they lie…. The NIB information was pieced together rather haphazardly, from some material at Abingdon, when it first came listed, even saying it was going to have the power of the Folio engine for your searches (the software behind iabingdon's CDROM). Within a few weeks they took that off but left the numerous other errors there. Although where Logos got the number 18 from I have no idea, the volumes marked as if written by Keck is sort of understandable because he is the general editor, but all in all if you are going to be too lazy to put the authors up, Various  would be better than the general editor.

-Dan

 

Posts 5251
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Jun 12 2012 5:36 PM

Logos has updated the product page, http://www.logos.com/product/8803/new-interpreters-bible now lists all the authors even though total count is still wrong now 45 vs 18 previously listed but still far from the 95 that there are… This has be corrected too…listing 94, which I assume is the correct count. It;s nice to see Logos putting this right, it may not bring a lot more people around but it sets the facts out there anyway. Thank you Bob, for getting marketing to update things.

-Dan 

Posts 5251
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 13 2012 2:33 PM

LOGOS recently did 10 Most Profound Andrew Murray Quotes, which got me thinking the same might be nice for New Interpreter's Bible. So here are my 12 Gems from the 12 Volumes of the New Interpreter's Bible. I realize one person's gems may well be another persons, stones to be scattered but I hope you enjoy.  http://www.logos.com/product/8803/new-interpreters-bible 

-Dan

-----------------

In Leviticus, the people of God are called to be holy, not because holiness is an arbitrary religion game that God wants played, but because God is holy. Because God is holy, God’s people are to be holy by being like God in the world. We can, therefore, do away with all the cartoon pictures of the sanctimonious holy person wearing a halo and a prudish glare. To be holy is not to be narrow-minded and primly pious; it is, rather, to imitate God. To be holy is to roll up one’s sleeves and to join in with whatever God is doing in the world. --Leviticus: Walter C. Kaiser Jr. Volume 1

The songs of mothers remind us that our story as the church is a part of what God has been doing since creation itself (1 Sam 2:8b), since the first giving of God’s promise to raise up a people (Luke 1:55). The history of God’s salvation does not originate with Jesus or with the church. The church is a part of the larger activity of God from creation onward. To be the community of Jesus as the Messiah is to be related to a God whose story is always larger than the church’s story. It is to be related to a God whose transforming power on behalf of the powerless does not originate in Jesus Christ but was already known to Hannah and simply finds new expression in the song Mary sings for the church. --The First and Second Books of Samuel: Bruce C. Birch, Volume 2

Along with other stories pertaining to Elijah, the miracles in this chapter have been commemorated in music and in art. In these re-creations of the story, attention is invariably drawn to the supramundane origin of Elijah's experiences. That is, indeed, the main point of the passage: It is the Lord, the God of Israel, who brings about these wonders. So, too, we dare to believe that things that seem impossible to human beings can be brought about by the Lord: Birds of prey may provide nourishment; the poor may have their victuals wondrously replenished; and even the dead may be resurrected. It is the Lord and no other god who performs such miracles. So we are called to believe as well. --The First and Second Books of Kings: Choon-Leong Seow, Volume 3

The Misfit represents what Psalm 1 and the rest of the psalter call wickedness—the conviction that we are doing all right by ourselves, that we need no help. It is not surprising that the Misfit’s words conclude the story: “ ‘It’s no real pleasure in life.’ ” He is telling the truth. Failing to trust God and to make connection with God as the source of life, persons cannot be “happy.” It is not surprising that contemporary societies of isolated selves consistently fail to produce people who are “happy,” even though these societies are among the wealthiest, healthiest, and most educated in human history. In biblical terms, to be autonomous, to be alienated from God and other people, is to “perish.” --Psalms: J. Clinton McAnn Jr., Volume 4

The appearance of wisdom and achievement of the aged is not to be confused with virtue. As with the earlier cases of the tragic death of a virtuous person and the apparent fruitlessness of a barren person, the author calls for an examination of the true nature of human strength and wisdom. What appears to be a tragic loss of life in the case of the wise youth indeed is not. Presumably the author could have chosen other figures to signify human strength, such as people of wealth or those with educational and political might. Instead he uses three extreme examples of human misfortune to highlight with clarity the significant values of virtue and justice for determining the dignity of human beings. The true failures, tragedies, and disasters in life are not what the wicked think they are. Moral vacuity expressed through a life of evasive pleasure, exploiting the weak, and perpetrating violence brings on a death and destruction that is far more devastating than the experience of mortality, which all human beings encounter. --Book of Wisdom: Michael Kolarcik, Volume 5

Pastoring is not, however, the sole responsibility of ordained ministers. To the contrary, authentic leadership requires “pastoral” care. Everyone who, in one way or another, in one arena or another, exercises authority and influence would do well to consider how the shepherd metaphor might impact his or her mindset and actions. Pastoring begins with the psalmist’s full awareness that “the earth is the Lord’s and all that is in it,/ the world, and those who live in it” (Ps 24:1). As leaders and caretakers, we are not to use persons, things, and situations to personal advantage. Neither exploitation nor neglect is acceptable. Rather, we are to act as God’s stewards, protecting and providing for those who are entrusted to our care, but belong to God. Ezekiel 34 has much to say to leaders of every ilk, be they politicians, health care providers, supervisors, teachers, pastors, or parents.--Book of Ezekiel: Katheryn Pfisterer Darr, Volume 6

Amos was inspired to recognize that the daily life of Israel had completely given up the ethical standards of the Yahwistic religion. Whether he thought in terms of “covenant theology” or not, he clearly saw the treatment of the poor in Israel as a fundamental rejection of the relationship that Yahweh had established with Israel, which required obedience not only in worship but also in the maintenance of a just society. We might describe his evaluation in this way: It was an unhealthy society, so sick it could not survive much longer. But Amos spoke in terms of God’s activity in history. The death of Israel would not be from “natural causes”; it would be God’s work. We must not then conclude that God prefers to work via killing and burning.52 God allows human beings to chart their own courses, then finds ways to work through, or in spite of, what they do. --Amos: Donald E. Gowan, Volume 7

The move to the future tense indicates that the life of the kingdom must wait for ultimate validation until God finishes the new creation. The future tense of the beatitudes resists all notions that Christianity is a “philosophy of life” designed to make people successful and calm today, in the present moment. Christianity is not a scheme to reduce stress, lose weight, advance in one’s career, or preserve one from illness. Christian faith, instead, is a way of living based on the firm and sure hope that meekness is the way of God, that righteousness and peace will finally prevail, and that God’s future will be a time of mercy and not cruelty. So, blessed are those who live this life now, even when such a life seems foolish, for they will, in the end, be vindicated by God. --Matthew: Eugene Boring, Volume 8

The Word becoming flesh is the decisive event in human history—indeed, in the history of creation—because the incarnation changes God’s relationship to humanity and humanity’s relationship to God. The incarnation means that human beings can see, hear, and know God in ways never before possible. The Father-Son relationship of God and Jesus is the key to this changed relationship. God’s Son, because he is the incarnate Word, derives his identity from God (1:1, 18). The relationship between divine and human is transformed, because in the incarnation human beings are given intimate, palpable, corporeal access to the cosmic reality of God. --John: Gail R. O’Day, Volume 9

Shared worship, indeed, is central to Paul’s vision. He does not say that one should wait to share in worship until all aspects of belief and practice have been hammered out. On the contrary. He sees the mutual welcome, allowing people from very different backgrounds literally to worship together with one voice, as of the essence of the quest for a deeper unity. When we read this alongside Gal 2:11-21, we discover that this is not just a bit of good advice; it grows directly from the doctrine of justification by faith itself. The point of that doctrine is that all who confess Jesus as Lord and believe that God raised him from the dead belong in the same worshiping family, and at the same table. Shared eucharistic fellowship should not be the reward awaiting us at the end of ecumenical negotiations and agreements. It should be a central means by which we travel together along that road. --The Letter to the Romans: N. T. Wright, Volume 10

Whatever the reason for the special reference to those who held office in the Philippian church, the letter is addressed to the whole community. All are “in Christ Jesus” and so belong to the fellowship of God's people. Once again, the terms have become so familiar that we no longer appreciate their real significance. We think of “saints” as very special people and forget that we are all called to be saints—to be members of God's people and, therefore holy, like God. This new status belongs to those who are “in Christ,” who claim their new relationship with God because of their relationship with Christ. It is because Christ is God's holy one that those who belong to him are “saints” (the Greek word a{gioi [hagioi] means “holy ones”). Our proper emphasis on individual responsibility has tended to make us think of sanctity as something personal and private, but Christianity is primarily a calling to belong to a community. The church is not simply a group of individuals who happen to have responded to the gospel; it is the community of God's people, whose corporate life is an essential expression of their divine calling. Paul would certainly have endorsed John Wesley's maxim that “Christianity is essentially a social religion; and that to turn it into a solitary religion, is indeed to destroy it.” Paul's emphatic “all” (1:4, 7-8) will remind us how important this idea is. --The Letter to the Philippians: Morna D. Hooker, Volume 11

In contemporary America, the “appearances” of race and gender are instantly recognizable, for they have, through titanic struggles, finally been brought to general consciousness. On these fronts, the church's record has been mixed; despite some strong efforts toward genuine inclusiveness, racial and gender discrimination is still a reality within most denominations. The sort of discrimination of the poor person that James describes is less easy to see, partially because denominations tend to sort themselves out along socioeconomic lines. But to imagine a dirty and bewildered street person wandering into a Sunday morning fellowship seeking warmth and coffee is in most cases also to imagine a deeply uncomfortable fellowship. Such instances—and it is easy to multiply the ways in which people can, because of appearance, size, gender, sexual orientation, and status, seem to be “poor by the world's standards”—challenge the church's recollection that it is supposed to be a “kingdom” made up of just such inconvenient and unacceptable persons. When the poor cannot find a place in a Christian church, that church no longer has any connection to Jesus. --The Letter of James: Luke Timothy Johnson, Volume 12

Posts 85
Armwood | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 13 2012 7:38 PM

Dan,

Thanks for your many post on this series. I would like to ask, if you could see your way to post a look at mark 1 : 1-4?

                                                                                                                                                        THANKS

 

Armwood

Posts 5251
Dan Francis | Forum Activity | Replied: Wed, Jun 13 2012 7:50 PM

Armwood:

Dan,

Thanks for your many post on this series. I would like to ask, if you could see your way to post a look at mark 1 : 1-4?

                                                                                                                                                        THANKS

 

Happy to do that. I hope this gives you a good enough look to help you decide if the NIB would be right for your needs.

-DAN

 

Mark 1:1, Introduction

Link to:  

COMMENTARY

The first sentence appears to serve as a title for the whole work as well as the introduction to the first episode. However, scholars disagree over whether such a sentence could stand by itself as the title of a book.55 Some interpreters prefer to treat this sentence as an introduction to the citation of Scripture that follows in vv. 2-3. Elsewhere Mark uses the word for “as” (kaqw"v kathos) to attach a phrase to what comes before (4:33; 9:13; 11:6; 14:16, 21; 15:8). However, the citation does not clarify verse 1 but refers to John the Baptist. The opening word, “beginning” (!Arch"  Arche), may refer either to a temporal beginning or to the opening of the narrative. Those who treat the term as a temporal marker assume that the opening sentence refers to the introductory episode. The term gospel (eujagge"lion euangelion) reappears in Mark 1:14-15. There, Jesus initiates his own preaching of the gospel message.56 Its claim to refer to the whole narrative that follows lies in the connection between the titles used for Jesus and what follows. Peter’s recognition that Jesus is “the Christ” constitutes the turning point in Mark (8:27-30).

The expression “Son of God,” which follows “Jesus Christ” in some manuscripts, is textually insecure.57 However, it represents the pivotal confession about Jesus in the Gospel (1:11; 9:7; 15:39). It may have been dropped in some manuscripts because it concludes a long line of abbreviations beginning with “gospel.” By the time Mark was written, “Christ” was so commonly used as a designation for Jesus that without further specification the word did not imply a particular dignity. Therefore, a title that expresses 

 

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Jesus’ unique dignity would be necessary to highlight the significance of the narrative to come. Thus the combination of “messiah” and “Son of God” (i.e., “Son of the Blessed One”) appears in the high priest’s question at Jesus’ trial (14:61).

Although modern readers associate the word gospel (NRSV “good news”) with written accounts of the life of Jesus, Mark probably uses the word in the sense of the Pauline epistles. There gospel refers to the oral preaching that Jesus is the source of salvation (cf. Rom 1:1, 9, 16; 2:16). Later, we learn that followers of Jesus must be ready to suffer for the sake of the gospel (Mark 8:35; 10:29; 13:10). This usage shows that the genitive “of Jesus Christ” indicates the one about whom the gospel speaks, not a record of Jesus’ preaching. Romans 1:1 describes the apostle as set apart for the “gospel of God,” and an elaborate creedal formula refers to the risen Lord as “Son of God” (Rom 1:3-4). The associations between the beginning of Mark and the Pauline use of “gospel” for the preached message about Jesus Christ captures the significance of oral testimony as the root of Christian faith.

Paul’s letters show that the designation “Christ” (a Greek rendering of the Aramaic for “anointed”) was commonly used with “Jesus” as a proper name (e.g., Rom 1:1). Thus many readers may not have recognized “Christ” as a title, implying that Jesus had a special dignity as God’s anointed agent. The Gospel will use “Christ” as a messianic title. It forms the content of Peter’s confession (8:29), where it represents an insight that distinguishes Jesus’ disciples from the popular opinions about Jesus.

“Son of God” occupies a special place in Mark’s presentation of Jesus. During the ministry of Jesus, God refers to Jesus as “beloved Son” (1:11; 9:7). Demons also acknowledge Jesus as the Son of God (3:11; 5:7), whose appearance marks the end of their hold on human beings. During the passion, Jesus accepts the title (14:62) and is acknowledged Son of God by the centurion who witnesses his death (15:39). Yet to an audience in that time, the expression “Son of God” would not suggest the incarnate divinity, which Christians came to associate with its use for Jesus. In Ps 2:7 (also 2 Sam 7:14; Ps 89:27) the expression belongs to royal terminology. The newly anointed king is declared God’s adopted son. Early Christians frequently used this psalm text as evidence for the exalted status of the risen Lord (cf. Heb 1:5; 5:5).

Although Mark does not quote Ps 2:7 directly, many exegetes think that he presumed his readers would fill out the expression “Son of God” with the allusions to this psalm. The descent of the Spirit and divine voice at Jesus’ baptism suggest anointing and divine adoption. However, other royal imagery in which Jesus is described as son of David or king of Israel surfaces only in the context of Jesus’ passion. Therefore, Mark does not assume that human beings confessed that Jesus was “Son of God” prior to the crucifixion. There it reflects a truth that is properly understood only when it is used of the crucified. Upon entering Jerusalem, Jesus heals a blind man who hails him as “Son of David” (10:47, 51). Jesus is executed on the false charge of claiming to be “king of Israel”—i.e., leader of an insurrectionist movement (15:6-32). The soldiers and crowds mock the lowly, crucified “king,” who cannot save himself. Exegetes are divided over whether Mark intends the reader to attach a new meaning to such royal terminology or to reject it as inadequate to understanding Jesus. The Markan apocalypse warns readers against following false “christs” who will arise during a time of turmoil and war and claim to lead the people in Jesus’ name (13:5, 21-22).58 Mark’s reluctance to use royal imagery for Jesus apart from the passion itself undercuts the plausibility of persons who might allege that they embody the messianic, royal authority of Jesus.

The use of the expression “Son of God” by demons suggests another context for understanding the expression. Greek-speaking readers unfamiliar with the Jewish context of “Son of God” might understand the expression in a more general sense to refer to an individual who possesses some form of divine power. Mythology contains stories of demigods and heroes, and popular tales of miracle workers and other extraordinary individuals assumed that such unusual traits bespeak a special relationship to the gods. No fixed set of traits is associated with such 

 

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figures in antiquity. Mark may have known a tradition of exorcism stories in which Jesus was addressed as “Son of God.” In that context, the expression merely indicates that Jesus possesses power superior to that of any of the demons. The fact that Mark composed the summary statement in 3:11 indicates that he was not uncomfortable with the inference that Jesus’ miracles are a function of his status as Son of God. However, that understanding does not form the basis of the believer’s confession that Jesus is Son of God. For the Gospel of Mark as a whole, emphasis on the miraculous power of Jesus is subordinated to the presentation of Jesus as the beloved Son of God who accomplishes God’s will on the cross.59

REFLECTIONS

Modern Christians find three surprises in the beginning of Mark’s Gospel: its abruptness, the meaning of a gospel as proclamation, and the importance of the titles “messiah” and “Son of God.” Our experience with the other Gospels, as well as the annual celebration of Christmas, leads us to expect either a birth story, as in Matthew and Luke, or a poetic meditation on Jesus’ pre-existence with God, as in John. The danger of the infancy narratives lies in speculations about the childhood of Jesus and his family, which may take over from the real story of salvation. In early Christianity, a number of writings provided readers with that emphasis, and even in modern times writers claiming special psychic wisdom have produced works that claim to fill in details of the hidden life of Jesus. The abrupt beginning of Mark provides an opportunity to highlight a different feature of our Christmas celebration: the fulfillment of God’s promises of salvation. Information about Jesus’ childhood, or even speculation that he spent time with the Essenes or in some other part of the world, that one finds in these pseudo-gospels has no bearing on the plan of salvation. The public ministry, death on the cross, and resurrection of Jesus are the events in which God’s love comes to humanity.

We can demonstrate the importance of the message about salvation by reminding people that the word gospel originally meant “proclamation” or “good news.” Christianity did not begin with a new book. Its Scripture was that of the Jewish people. Christianity began with a “new message” about what the God known through that Scripture had done in Jesus Christ. The sayings of Jesus and stories about him had circulated by word of mouth for years before Mark was written. Unlike a technical manual, these stories do not depend on writing to be remembered. Compared to the difficulties of Sanskrit religious writings from India, for instance, the story about Jesus is amazingly simple. If one expects long ascetic training, complex rituals, and obscure writings for a religion to be profound, then the gospel form comes as a surprise. The good news itself is a simple message of salvation in Jesus, which people can take anywhere in the world.

The titles for Jesus are so familiar that it is difficult to hear “Christ” or even “Son of God” as though for the first time. How can modern men and women recapture the eager expectation that God will redeem humanity from the cosmic and human powers of suffering, evil, and injustice? All too often the modern versions of those false prophets who appropriate Christ’s name and the human longings for an end time have led their followers to a sectarian isolation from the larger community. Christians should not be taken in by such latter-day prophets. Yet we have been warned that the title “God’s anointed” belongs to Jesus alone. Others hear “Son of God” and immediately isolate Jesus from the real world of human experience. Mark’s Jesus is not so isolated; he exhibits a range of human emotions. Although he possesses divine power, Jesus cannot overcome the hostility of his enemies or the fearful misunderstanding of his own 

 

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disciples. We must learn to hear in “Son of God” praise for the faithful human suffering that Jesus exhibits.

Mark 1:2-8, John the Baptizer Appears

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COMMENTARY

Mark immediately connects the good news with the Old Testament prophecies of salvation. The position of the quotations suggests that they belong to the gospel concerning Jesus Christ. However, the one who will prepare the way in the wilderness is John the Baptist. The other Gospels do not refer to Isa 40:3 until after John has been introduced (Matt 3:1-3; Luke 3:2-4; John 1:19-23).

The citation attributed to Isaiah in vv. 2-3 combines the reference to a messenger who will prepare God’s way from Mal 3:1 with Isaiah’s description of the way in the wilderness (Isa 40:3); these two passages are linked by the phrase “prepare the way.” The messenger figure combines Mal 3:1 with the angel who guarded Israel in the wilderness (Exod 23:20). That prophecy appears in a different context in Q (Matt 10:11; Luke 7:27).60 Including the angel of Exodus in the prophecy reminds readers of the importance of the wilderness in salvation history. Salvation traditionally comes from the wilderness. Moses, Elijah, and David all had to flee to the wilderness (Exod 2:15; 1 Sam 23:14; 1 Kgs 19:3-4). Likewise, Jesus will emerge from the wilderness to begin preaching the good news and will return 

 

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there several times (Mark 1:35, 45; 6:31-32, 35; 8:4).61

The voice crying in the wilderness uses the words of the prophet to sound the beginning of the good news. The prophetic texts suggest that the one for whom the messenger prepares the way is God, whose royal power will liberate a captive people (cf. Isa 40:9-10). Both John (v. 4) the baptizer and Jesus (vv. 12-13, 35, 45) emerge from the wilderness to preach to the people. The Community Rule found at Qumran indicates the importance of this Isaiah tradition. Members of that Jewish sect looked upon their wilderness community as the place in which the righteous prepared the way of the Lord.62 However, unlike the Essenes, Jesus is not merely founding a community whose faithful obedience to the Law would anticipate God’s final coming in judgment, such as we find at Qumran. Instead, Jesus is the Lord.

Some exegetes treat 1:1-3 as the introduction to the whole Gospel. The command “prepare the way of the Lord” contains a double reference. On the one hand, it refers to the preparation that John the Baptist’s preaching will make for the coming of Jesus. On the other, it reminds Christian readers to prepare for the return of the Lord in judgment. Thus when John the baptizer appears, his summons to a baptism of repentance is described as a preparation for the Lord. National repentance was commonly depicted as the prelude to the “day of the Lord”—that is, the day when God will judge the nation for its sins (cf. Joel 2:12-17). Historically, John the Baptist exemplifies a form of prophetic leadership among the people that galvanizes popular hopes for renewal and liberation. His execution by Herod Antipas indicates that such figures may be a serious threat to the established order.

Josephus has explained John’s preaching in philosophical categories that were more comprehensible to a Hellenized audience. He exhorted the people to an inner moral reform that was symbolized in the external ritual of baptism.63  From Josephus’s perspective, only the inner moral reform constitutes forgiveness. The soul cannot be cleansed by a washing of the body. Mark’s report that John’s baptism was a vehicle for forgiveness (v. 4) is probably closer to the view held by the common people. Several Jewish texts of the period associate washing in the flowing (i.e., living) waters of a river as part of the appeal to God for forgiveness.64 The desire for repentance, forgiveness, and purification was motivated by John the Baptist’s warning that the day of the Lord—the day of judgment—was drawing near.65

From the Christian perspective, John the Baptist did not awaken a repentance that heralded God’s judgment. Rather, the repentance and anticipation evoked by John’s preaching provided a receptive audience for Jesus’ ministry. This evaluation of the Baptist contains a historical core. The eschatological context of John’s preaching implies that baptism is not merely a purification ritual that can be repeated whenever individuals are defiled by sin or ritual impurity. Rather, the crowds who come to be “gathered together by baptism”66 are the remnant, the redeemed who will experience God’s coming as a day of salvation. Since Jesus announced that God’s reign was at hand, some of those who had responded to the Baptist’s call were certainly among Jesus’ earliest followers (as the Fourth Gospel suggests, John 1:35-38).

John’s imprisonment will mark the beginning of Jesus’ mission in Galilee (Mark 1:14). John’s execution by Herod Antipas (Mark 6:14-29) anticipates Jesus’ own death. Since the Baptist’s disciples retrieved his body for burial (6:29), Mark acknowledges that followers of the Baptist continued to exist as a recognizable group after Jesus began his ministry. Mark 11:27-33 returns to the link between the preaching of the Baptist and that of Jesus. Jesus demands that the religious leaders tell him the source of John’s authority before he will defend his own activities. Trapped by their unwillingness to acknowledge John and their fear of the crowd’s reaction if they deny that the Baptist was from God, the authorities cannot answer Jesus. Such fears reflect plausible political concerns in the first century. Josephus alleges that Herod executed John because Herod feared the popu

 

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larity the baptizer enjoyed with the people. Such persuasive speech may lead to rebellion, so Herod Antipas decided to rid himself of the problem before any rebellion could occur.67

Neither Josephus nor the Fourth Gospel makes any comment about John’s dress or diet. However, both are important elements in the wilderness symbolism that Mark introduces with the prophetic citation.68 John’s clothing recalls the prophet Elijah in 2 Kgs 1:8: “A hairy man, with a leather belt around his waist” (NRSV). Just as Mal 3:1 depicts Elijah as the forerunner of the Lord, so also Mark 9:13 makes explicit the identification of John with the prophet Elijah. John’s diet of locusts and wild honey, as abstention from meat and wine, also marked him as a prophet (cf. Dan 1:8).

Although Mark and Josephus agree on the general outlines of the Baptist’s ministry and his popularity with the people, Mark sees the Baptist as the forerunner of Jesus. Consequently, John’s baptism cannot be an end in itself. The crowds who flock to John from Judea and Jerusalem were not necessarily expecting another to come after the Baptist. The double saying (vv. 7-8) points away from the theme of repentance to the coming of a “greater one” and a further cleansing. The concept of a cleansing by the Holy Spirit appears in the Qumran rule.69 The Testament of Levi 18:6-8 associates the coming of the Spirit with the revelation of a true high priest in the line of Levi. Consequently, the claim to have received the Spirit may mark members of the elect prior to the messianic age as in the Qumran rule. Or the Spirit may be linked to the appearance of the final age of salvation, as in The Testament of Levi. Therefore, some interpreters have suggested that the saying about the stronger one may have referred either to God or to an indeterminate messianic figure before it was applied to Jesus. In the double-membered form of the saying, the superiority of the coming one is demonstrated both by the Baptist’s unworthiness to undo his sandals and by the fact that he brings the Spirit. An anthropomorphic use of the shoe as a sign of divine wrath appears in the psalms (Pss 60:8; 108:9). However, the saying more naturally suggests a human agent.70 Both Q and Mark suggest that the Baptist announced the coming of God’s judgment. On the level of human affairs, he may well have expected the coming of a human agent whose activity would inaugurate the end time.71

John’s baptism was not a purification rite to be repeated. Nor did it establish a righteousness that could never be lost. Those who repented and received baptism from John would be the elect, who are prepared to receive the one to come. Since the comparison between John and the coming one presumes a qualitative difference between the two, “baptism with the Holy Spirit” suggests a permanent change in an individual’s relationship with God that will come about only at the eschaton. Repentance and water baptism, as practiced by John the Baptist or in the purification rituals that marked persons who joined the Essene sect, may only designate a reorientation of a person’s life. The Essenes entered a community that had already tested their determination to reform and walk obediently according to the Law. Members of the sect received the “Spirit of the true counsel of God.”72 John had not gathered the elect into a separate community but asked the nation as a whole to repent. Some interpreters conclude that forgiveness of sin is to be associated with baptism in the Spirit.73 However, the prophetic promises of cleansing and receiving the Spirit at the end time are less concerned with past sin than with future holiness (cf. Ezek 36:25-27). The elect will never turn away from the Lord.

The description of John the Baptist in Q includes examples of oracles that warn of impending judgment (Matt 3:7-12; Luke 3:7-18). If Mark was familiar with that tradition about the Baptist’s preaching, he refocused it. The Baptist’s role is to introduce Jesus as the coming one, not to warn that divine judgment is near. Mark’s version of the saying about baptism with the Spirit lacks the 

 

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second term attached to the Q version, “with fire” (Matt 3:11; Luke 3:16). Fire is a common symbol of judgment in the Old Testament (Amos 7:4; Isa 31:9; Mal 3:2). The Qumran Rule of the Community describes an eschatological cleansing of the elect by fire and the Spirit in which all traces of evil are removed from the righteous. The Spirit is compared to purifying water.74 For the elect, fire has a purifying function rather than a judgmental one. Some exegetes think that Q originally referred only to “baptism with fire” and that the version “with the Spirit and fire” represents a conflation of Mark and Q. However, both “Spirit” and “fire” designate the coming end time; “Spirit” points toward the salvation experienced by the elect, “fire” to divine judgment. Since John’s baptism prepared the elect for the end time, reference to salvation would have been been appropriate to an early variant of the saying.75

Mark focuses attention on the prophetic saying with which the Gospel begins. John the Baptist appeared to prepare the way in the wilderness for Jesus. By highlighting the difference in dignity between Jesus and the Baptist, Mark points to Jesus’ uniqueness. One who is unworthy to untie the sandals of another establishes a social distance greater than that between a master and a slave. Such an exaggerated claim of unworthiness played an important function in honor/shame cultures in indicating that the speaker will not threaten the honor of the superior party.76 With the aid of the OT references to God’s triumphant march through the wilderness to Zion, as well as the titles used for Jesus in v. 1, Mark’s readers should identify Jesus’ appearance with the approach of God.

REFLECTIONS

1. Since preparing the way of the Lord forms the central focus of the Advent readings, this account of John the Baptist is often used on the Sunday before Christmas, because it asks us to consider what it means to prepare for the Lord’s coming. The Isaiah passages, which feature prominently in the Advent season, bring words of hope to those discouraged by years of exile and the bleakness of the Jerusalem to which they returned. The ancient mythological imagery of God as the triumphant divine warrior bringing the exiles home through the wilderness served Isaiah as a word of hope.77 The good news in Mark is that those hopes have finally been fulfilled.

2. However, the Lord does not come to a people who are unprepared. What is required of them? Repentance, forgiveness of sin, and baptism—themes that we associate with the liturgical season of Lent. In the ancient church, catechumens prepared for baptism and penitents for reconciliation with the community in the Lenten season. These traditions emphasize conversion and reform. Sometimes the call to reform our lives suggests that humans build the “way of the Lord” by their obedience to the ethical vision of Christianity. That perspective endangers the element of divine grace, which belongs to the gospel message. In the exodus, God, through an angel, led the people. In Isaiah, God is responsible for the return of the exiles through a wilderness that has been turned into a paradise. These images of hope, promise, and renewal remind us that human obedience, walking in the way of the Law, is a proper response to God’s grace. We do not build the highway and then wait for God to come. God has already drawn near to us before we repent.

 

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Posts 43
Peter Covert | Forum Activity | Replied: Thu, Jun 14 2012 4:42 PM

Yes

Posts 570
Rev Chris | Forum Activity | Replied: Fri, Jun 15 2012 7:26 AM

It does look like it's getting closer, which is good.  FWIW, I just posted a link to it on my FB, hoping some more people will sign up. 

Pastor, seminary trustee, and app developer.  Check out my latest app for churches: The Church App

Posts 85
Armwood | Forum Activity | Replied: Sat, Jun 16 2012 8:24 AM

There have to be, some more people who can help in geting this series to the go phase, COME onLightningSmile. Lets say you order it and after lets say TWENTY days of comparison in the privacy of your home you can simple call and have it vioded out. So for the REST  of the logos family who REALLLLY want this...... you know what to do  IdeaLeft Hug

Armwood

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