Donald Hagner’s Recollections of George Eldon Ladd (Part 2)

Today’s guest post is from Dr. Donald Hagner, George Eldon Ladd Professor Emeritus of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary. See part one of Donald Hagner’s recollections of George Ladd.

Ladd also had a lighter side to him, when he was not laboring away in his library. I remember a delightful social evening in Ladd’s home when Rudolf Schnackenburg was staying there as a guest; and another social evening there, shortly after Ladd had returned from an SNTS meeting he had attended in Europe, when Ladd showed slides from the occasion, with pictures of scholars known to us students only by name. One occasion I shall never forget was when Ladd invited those who were not returning home for Christmas to come to his house for a dinner on Christmas Day. At the end of the day we played games together. And there was George, the erudite NT scholar, lying on the floor with us, building matchstick castles to see who the goat would be whose match brought the whole structure down.

When I joined the Fuller faculty in 1976, Ladd, now 65, was not the same man I knew as a student. For a variety of reasons, documented in John D’Elia’s biography, A Place at the Table: George Eldon Ladd and the Rehabilitation of Evangelical Scholarship in America, Ladd began to decline psychologically and physically. It was a hard thing to watch. The decline was steep after the death of his wife in 1977. He welcomed me as a new colleague in the department and insisted that I call him “George.” He was genuinely moved when I asked him if he would autograph my copy of what would be his last book, The Last Things: An Eschatology for Laymen (1977). The stroke he suffered in 1980 left him in a pitiable state, and within two years he went to be with his Lord—fully dependent, as he knew he would be, upon the grace of God in Jesus Christ.

Little did I know in the 1970’s, far less in 1964, that in 1993 I would eventually become the first incumbent in the newly endowed chair bearing Ladd’s name. As it happens, I now drive by Ladd’s old house nearly every day and I glance at the house and remember the man. I often feel sad that he unfortunately had little sense of how important his contribution to evangelical scholarship was, how he opened up to many of us the importance and usefulness, indeed, indispensability, of the critical study of the Scriptures, how he was the inspiration for many of us and the source of our motivation to follow in his steps, to the best of our ability. And as I glance at that house I thank God for George Ladd and how much he has meant to so many.


Experience for yourself the remarkable impact G.E. Ladd has had on biblical scholarship with many of his important works in Logos.

Get the Best Lexicons for Back to School!

One of our hottest academic resources is now on sale! The BDAG/HALOT bundle, a crucial resource for original language study, is now only $249.95. That’s $25 off the regular price. We don’t usually discount this great item, but we want you to get one of the best resources at a great price for our Back-to-School This sale ends soon, so get BDAG/HALOT today.

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Two Great Resources Better Together

Both BDAG and HALOT are essential for understanding the original Greek and Hebrew languages of the Old and New Testament. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, also known as BDAG from the various authors’ and editors’ last initial, is a massive storehouse of Greek lexical data. Referencing classical, intertestamental, Early Christian, and modern literature, BDAG helps students and scholars locate the meaning of Greek words within both the religious and secular literature of the time. In the same way, HALOT provides those studying the Old Testament with references to words found in the Dead Sea Scrolls, Targums, and other Jewish literature. Based on the latest scholarship on Hebrew Bible lexicography, HALOT provides the student of the Old Testament with up-to-date definitions of even the most esoteric Hebrew words. Adding HALOT to your library only enhances your Hebrew study by providing the best in Hebrew scholarship.

Understanding the Very Words of the Bible

Whether you know the original languages or not, Logos makes it easy to do word studies in order to get more out of the text. For instance, the book of Job contains many words that are only found in that book. Even with a knowledge of Hebrew, the book of Job is nearly impossible to understand without the aid of lexicons! The same can be said of the writings of Luke in the New Testament. But with the print versions of BDAG and HALOT, you can spend hours flipping back and forth between lexicons in order to locate all of the vocabulary. However, with Logos Bible Software, the lexicon works for you, helping you to spend more time in the text and less time staring at the dictionary. Utilizing the Exegetical Guide, Logos breaks down each Greek and Hebrew word so that you can understand its function and meaning. It also finds the exact article in HALOT that you need to understand the word that you are looking at, saving you time and getting you the information that you need.

Going, Going, Gone!

Scholars and students have relied on these resources to better understand the very words of Scripture. Now, with Logos, you too can learn more about the biblical text through the lexical work provided in the BDAG and HALOT lexicons at a reduced price! However, this resource goes back to retail price when our Back-to-School sale ends. See all the back-to-school deals today!

Dr. George Guthrie—Studying the Book of Hebrews

Dr. George Guthrie, Professor of Bible at Union University in Jackson, TN, discusses the background, authorship and interpretation of the Book of Hebrews with Cliff Kvidahl, an Instructional Designer for Logos Mobile Ed.

What is Mobile Ed?

Logos Mobile Education is different from any other form of education—it is created to work seamlessly with your Logos software to equip you with the biblical and theological training you need to further your ministry. Lecture videos and their enriched transcripts can live side-by-side on your PC as you read along, or you can watch the videos on your mobile device wherever you are. Courses cover a wide variety of topics, with more being filmed every week.

Get started—enhance your learning with Mobile Ed.

Learn more:

The Godfather of Jerusalem

Many readers will remember Francis Ford Coppola’s classic, The Godfather. The movie is vaguely reminiscent of the narrative in 1 Kings 2. An aging patriarch explains to his son the steps he must take to solidify a new regime. In the movie, Michael Corleone takes the appropriate steps and secures his future. However, as is shown in the remainder of the Godfather trilogy, Michael does so to the detriment of his own soul. In today’s biblical text, David is about to die, but he intends to make sure that certain debts are taken care of before he goes. And in that story, we see him as the Godfather of Jerusalem.

Literarily, the reader is clued in that something is wrong very early on. David’s advice to his son is a modification of the original injunction found in 2 Samuel 7:1–17.  Paul R. House notes in the New American Commentary Series,  “According to David, Solomon will only ‘be strong’ and a ‘man’ if he keeps the Mosaic covenant. He must take great pains to ‘observe’ what God demands.’”[1] However, Iain W. Provan has the following to say in the Understanding the Bible Commentary Series:

For as David makes clear to Solomon in verse 4, the continuance of the dynasty depends upon obedience. Those are the terms of God’s promise to David. The reference here is apparently to 2 Samuel 7:11b–16, although it is noteworthy that this passage has, in fact, no explicit mention of any conditions being attached to the promise. Indeed, it is plainly stated (7:14–15) that wrongdoing on the part of David’s successors will not lead to the end of the dynasty, but only to corrective, parental discipline from God. These verses seem to give the Davidic promise a somewhat unconditional ring, and a few passages in Kings also sound this note (1 Kgs. 11:3615:42 Kgs. 8:19). There is thus a degree of tension in Kings as to precisely what the implications of the Davidic promise are.[2]

Furthermore, on the heels of this charge comes David’s surprising command to kill Joab. The king’s final command to even the score comes with unique literary markers. Chapter 1 contains a frequent play on words around the verb, ידע ydʿ (to know). And now David pronounces, “Moreover, you also know what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me . . .” (emphasis added). He has not forgotten Joab’s offense, nor has he forgiven him. Even Solomon is aware of Joab’s transgression. And it is reckoning day. David’s wording here may also be significant in that he emphasizes “what Joab the son of Zeruiah did to me” (emphasis added).The Godfather of Jerusalem is looking to settle a score, and he has set in motion the death of his army commander and one-time close friend.

To be fair, others differ in their interpretation of this passage. The Ancient Christian Commentary takes the position that this was simply a matter of establishing the kingdom.

A Necessary Punishment. Isho‘dad of Merv: [David] orders Solomon to punish [Joab], not out of viciousness or hatred for him but because he knew that he was wicked and that, if he had acted with hostility against him who was a mature man, he would act even worse against a young man, so that the kingdom would become unstable, and the house would not be firmly established. Therefore he entrusts his son with the revenge against him who had offended him, in order that, after the killing of that evil man by the hand of the new king, he might be feared by everyone, and no revolt might ever occur. Books of Sessions 1 Kings 2.5–6.1

The theme of solidifying the kingdom is valid, and is clearly presented in the first chapter, but it does not absolve David of some personal responsibility. Furthermore, it should be noted that, according to a parallel portion in Chronicles, David’s bloodthirstiness was the reason he could not build the temple:

David said to Solomon, “My son, I had it in my heart to build a house to the name of the Lord my God. But the word of the Lord came to me, saying, ‘You have shed much blood and have waged great wars. You shall not build a house to my name, because you have shed so much blood before me on the earth. Behold, a son shall be born to you who shall be a man of rest. I will give him rest from all his surrounding enemies. For his name shall be Solomon, and I will give peace and quiet to Israel in his days.’” (1 Chron. 22:7–9)

And yet, by assigning this execution to Solomon, David includes his son in the violence that precluded his building of the temple.

Jerome T. Walsh notes the following in Berit Olam:

David is in the process of giving Solomon his final advice, one king to another, on how to assure his success. But David’s suggestions are made by innuendo, indicated by oblique references like “act according to your wisdom” (v. 6) and “you are a wise man; you will know what to do” (v. 9). David expects Solomon to be shrewd enough to read between the lines of his advice.

However, not until chapter 3 does Yahweh give Solomon “a wise and discerning mind.” It leaves the reader’s mind open to wonder, “What type of wisdom was it that led Solomon to slay Joab?” It may highlight the juxtaposition between human wisdom and divine wisdom. And it leads the reader to the bigger question, “Is Solomon really the right man for the job? Is he the coming king who will finally bring peace to Jerusalem?” The initial narrative does not encourage those thoughts.


[1] Paul R. House, 1, 2 Kings, vol. 8, The New American Commentary (Nashville: Broadman & Holman Publishers, 1995), 96.

[2] Iain W. Provan, 1 and 2 Kings, 36.

Get the Best Commentary Sets with Logos Back-to-School Sale!

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The other day, someone asked me what I wish I had done differently when I began seminary. My answer would have been: I wish that I had invested in complete sets, instead of buying resources piecemeal. The benefit of having the complete collection at your disposal cannot be overestimated. That’s why we’ve worked to offer the best commentary collections at the lowest possible prices. That’s why we’ve included the International Critical Commentary for our Back-to-School sale. This set is on sale at a massive discount, 30% off the original price for a limited time! Add it to your library today with coupon code BTS2014.

The best of grammatical-historical scholarship on the Bible

The editors of the International Critical Commentary bring together the best biblical scholars of the 20th and 21st centuries to elucidate the writings of Scripture from the standpoint of textual criticism, philology, and source criticism. The roll call is impressive: S.R. Driver and C.A. Briggs edited the essential Brown, Driver, Briggs (BDB) Hebrew lexicon; I. Howard Marshall is the eminent New Testament scholar and professor emeritus at the University of Aberdeen; and C.E.B. Cranfield, about whose Romans commentary Bill Mounce cannot “imagine preparing a talk on Romans without checking Cranfield carefully.[1]

The major strength of this commentary series is its devotion to the original language texts of Scripture. In each volume, the author moves verse by verse and phrase by phrase through the biblical book, offering grammatical and historical insights while saving theological excurses for expanded appendices. The authors dig deep into each passage, bringing to light the language and literature of the Scripture that enhances the study of the pastor and the scholar.

Exegetical insights from the ICC

Jesus’ comments on new and old wineskins are often discussed but rarely understood. In Luke 5:33–39, Jesus defends his disciples behavior by stating that the bridegroom is here but when he goes away, the disciples will begin to fast. Jesus tells a parable concerning the folly of tearing out a piece of new cloth to fix old clothing. He again reinforces his point by explaining how one cannot put new wine in old wineskins.

Plummer acknowledges the difficulty of these words of Jesus: “As to the precise meaning, interpreters are not agreed, beyond the general truth that a new spirit requires a new form.” (Plummer, Luke, 163) However, Jesus seems to be commenting on the idea that Judaism as a system cannot be a proper vessel for the spirit of the coming age: “The scribes and Pharisees, wise in the letter of the law, and understanding their own cramping traditions, were incapable of receiving the free spirit of the Gospel. Young and fresh natures, free from prejudice and open to new light and new impressions, were needed to receive the new word and preserve it unchecked and untrammeled for future generations.” (164)

What about Jesus’s conclusion concerning the person who drinks the new wine and states ὁ παλαιὸς χρηστός ἐστιν (“The old is good”)? Plummer contends with commentators who think that the person has tried the new wine and amend “χρηστός” to “χρηστότερος” (“better”). Instead, the text should stand as it is, with Jesus’s implicit condemnation of the man who will not even taste of the new wine and, by proxy, of the new age to come. (165)

Using ICC in Logos

The beauty of using the ICC in Logos Bible Software is that the commentaries integrate with the other products in your library. With Logos, you can place commentaries side by side while scrolling through your preferred Bible translation or original text resource. While you read the text, the commentaries scroll with you so that you can spend more time learning about the Word than making sure your commentaries are open to the correct passage. Logos also contains many more features that will enhance the way that you do Bible study:

  • The Passage Guide brings together all the resources in your library to help you better understand any biblical passage in depth. If you wanted to do a study on Luke 5:33-39, simply search for that pericope in the Passage Guide search bar and Logos will gather together all of the sources in your library relevant to the section of Scripture that you are studying. This includes not only the ICC, but also other commentaries, outlines, and even media.
  • With the Sermon Starter Guide, your sermon preparation time is cut in half. By utilizing this feature, you can have commentaries, sermons, and illustrations all in one place. Can’t find that perfect quote for your sermon? Logos brings together any quote collections found in your library and finds those relevant to your sermon passage. With the Sermon Starter Guide, let Logos do the ground work so that you can focus on feeding your flock with the Word of God.

Time is running out

The International Critical Commentary is a part of our Back-to-School sale which goes away soon. Get everything you need to excel this school year with Logos back-to-school sale. 



Dr. Bobby Conway—Apologetics and Evangelism

Dr. Bobby Conway, founder of The One Minute Apologist, discusses seeing daily opportunities for evangelism and the role of apologetics.

What is Mobile Ed?

Logos Mobile Education is different from any other form of education—it is created to work seamlessly with your Logos software to equip you with the biblical and theological training you need to further your ministry. Lecture videos and their enriched transcripts can live side-by-side on your PC as you read along, or you can watch the videos on your mobile device wherever you are. Courses cover a wide variety of topics, with more being filmed every week.

Get started—enhance your learning with Mobile Ed.

Learn more:


As many of you have noted, it can be difficult to have discussions in the comments section of a blog. In light of this, we here at Logos have created a new site:

Christian Discourse is the place to have honest conversations about the things that matter most. It’s designed to guide you in exploring God through discussion. You’ll find it packed with conversations on theology, apologetics, devotional thoughts, Bible questions, and more—all tied to living out the Christian life. Gain biblical insight from followers of Christ across the globe and share thoughts on our culture’s most pertinent issues and most pressing troubles.

Earlier this year, the blog lit up with comments and discussion regarding the Historicity of Adam. The first post, by Dr. Temper Longman presented an evolutionary creationist perspective. Then, in April, Dr. Richard Gaffin presented a counterview defending the historicity of Adam. It looks like the conversation has started again here at Christian Discourse, and we’d love your input!

Your thoughts and concerns matter. Share them at Christian Discourse, a safe place to discuss ideas that impact lives. Join the conversation, today.

Donald Hagner’s Recollections of George Eldon Ladd (Part 1)

Today’s guest post is from Dr. Donald Hagner, George Eldon Ladd Professor Emeritus of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary.

This week we celebrate the 103rd anniversary of George Ladd’s birth. When I first walked into his classroom as a transfer student he was a comparatively young 53 year-old and at his peak. He had joined the Fuller faculty 14 years earlier, in the third year of the founding of the seminary. The faculty of those very early years was extremely excited about the new seminary and enthusiastic about engaging in a high quality of scholarship within a community of biblical faith. It was a new start on the west coast that became known for a while as “neo-evangelicalism,” with the goal of pursuing a conservative alternative, which was neither fundamentalist nor separatist, to the liberal seminaries of the day.

180px-GELaddLadd brought with him to Pasadena the high standards of scholarship that had impacted him at Harvard. It was clear to me that the Ladd I encountered deeply loved the NT and delighted in the study of its content and origins. Equally obvious was his deep personal commitment to Christ and the mission of the church. He regarded evangelical scholarship as providing a vitally important—indeed, indispensable—service to the ultimate well-being of the church and the preservation of its doctrine.

Ladd’s enthusiasm for the study of the NT was contagious. Quite a few of his students, including myself, were drawn to graduate study and academic careers in NT through his influence. Ladd’s strength as a professor was not in straight lecturing—not that he was poor at it!—but rather in the give and take of the seminar format. With his somewhat stern visage, Ladd could be intimidating in this context. He expected only the best from his students, and when he didn’t get it, he could become more than a little harsh. The subject matter was too important not to give it one’s best effort.

Ladd’s New Testament Theology class was a basic NT core requirement taken by all B.D. students (along with Everett Harrison’s New Testament Introduction). Students of my era were privileged to get new installments every week of the NT Theology textbook being written by Ladd, the pages almost still wet with that blue mimeograph ink. We felt we were on the cutting edge as we shared Ladd’s enthusiasm for what he was writing and as the NT opened up to us in exciting new understanding.

The elective courses that Ladd offered were particularly exciting because of their small size, which gave us greater opportunity for one-to-one interaction. A few of these courses left an indelible impression upon me: four students meeting once a week with Ladd in his office to read the Greek text of Epictetus; a seminar on the Historical Jesus, meeting weekly in the evening in Ladd’s living room (including refreshments), in which we worked through a key book each week; a seminar on the Gospel of John, in which we read C. H. Dodd’s The Interpretation of the Fourth Gospel, focusing on the backgrounds of the Hermetic literature, Philo, rabbinic Judaism, Gnosticism, and Mandaism. Ladd was always insistent on the importance and necessity of knowing the primary sources. On the back of the paperback edition of Dodd’s book was found a statement that proved true: “the reader is asked to work very hard: the reward will be commensurate.” This could well serve as a summary of Ladd’s philosophy of teaching.


Part two of Dr. Hagner’s recollections of G.E. Ladd will be up next week, so be sure to come back for that. In the meantime, you can pick up Ladd’s A Theology of the New Testament, the reading of which is sure to open up the New Testament for you in remarkable ways. You can also pre-order the George Eldon Ladd Collection (7 vols.) at a discount while it’s still on Pre-Pub.

Shipping Soon: the New Interpreter’s Bible

The New Interpreter’s Bible is considered one of the best multi-volume Bible commentaries released in the last 20 years. Incorporating a wide range of scholars from various religious traditions, this set represents a truly ecumenical endeavor. With commentary and reflections from top scholars like N.T. Wright, Walter Kaiser, and Walter Brueggemann, this set will help you go further in your study of Scripture. Until August 7 you can save 20% by pre-ordering The New Interpreter’s Bible (12 vols.). Pre-order today before the price goes up!

Better understand the Bible’s meaning

Some commentaries are meant to be exhaustive, giving you a lot of information and letting you do the hard work to sort through it and find ways to apply it—whether it be citing it in your research or gaining insight into Christian living. Others are reflective and thoughtful, but may not comment on the original text or go too deep into interpretive issues. The New Interpreter’s Bible represents the best of both worlds, seeking to provide you with the meaning of the text while drawing out application for discipling and preaching. What follows is a showcase of some invaluable observations from two top New Testament scholars.

Romans 1:18-32

Paul’s critique of Jewish and Gentile mores dominates his argument in Romans 1-2. N.T. Wright notes that Paul’s argument is not chiefly against the Gentiles alone but also incriminates the Jews as well, contrary to scholars who believe that 1:18-32 is written against the Gentiles and the contents of chapter 2 against the Jews. Wright comments on 1:24-27,

“‘God gave them up’ [is a] repeated phrase [which] carries scriptural echoes from Ps 81:12. This psalm is itself a hymnic telling of the exodus narrative, warning of idolatry, bemoaning the fact that Israel has not heeded the warning, and appealing for the people to return to YHWH. Thus, again, Paul’s surface text describes paganism, but the subtext quietly includes Israel in the indictment.”  (New Interpreter’s Bible, 10:433)

Wright discusses Paul’s revision of the worldview of the Wisdom of Solomon which drives his argument in this pericope. (NIB, 10:429)  God’s judgment over both Jew and Gentile means that the church finds itself in the risky position to exclude and embrace sinners. (NIB, 10:434-5)

Acts 15:15-18

The Jerusalem Council is the first ecumenical council of the Church. Brought about by controversies among Jewish and Gentile Christians, the apostles and leaders of the church were forced to reckon with the fact that Gentile believers were turning to the Lord in droves. Robert Wall discusses James’s scriptural reference, Amos 9:11-12, and the two changes that James makes to drive his point home: (1) μετὰταῦτα is substituted for ἐντῇἡμέρᾳἐκείνῃ from the Septuagint text, highlighting the timing of Amos’s prophecy which is taking place after the church’s mission to the Jews and Gentiles. (NIB, 10:218-9) and (2) the Masoretic Text states that Israel’s restoration comes after reclaiming the land of Edom. However, James quotes the LXX text which declares that the restoration of Israel means that “all other peoples may seek the Lord.” In other words, when Israel enters into her possession, so will the Gentiles. (NIB, 10:219) Wall helps readers to see how James restructures and reinterprets Israel’s sacred writings to allow for the Gentiles to become the people of God.

Even better in Logos

When you purchase the New Interpreter’s Bible, not only do you have access to the content of this series, you are able to maximize its effectiveness using the power of Logos Bible Software.

  • Using the Passage Guide, Logos compiles the resources in your library relevant to the study of your passage. Simply type your passage into the Passage Guide search box and Logos automatically retrieves what you need to better interpret your passage, including the commentary found in the New Interpreter’s Bible.
  • The Exegetical Guide breaks down the text of Scripture for you, allowing you to study the Bible word-by-word. Open up a new window with the text of the New Interpreter’s Bible alongside the Exegetical Guide and you will have two powerful resources to help you go deeper into the Word.
  • Kick start your sermon study by making use of the Sermon Starter Guide. Logos gathers all of the sermons, commentaries, media, outlines, and more in one place so that you begin crafting quality sermons and feed your congregation God’s Word. When you click on a resource, it opens directly to the text of Scripture that you searched for in the Sermon Starter Guide. This feature makes it simple to gather thoughts from the Reflections portions of the New Interpreter’s Bible, helping you to better interpret passages of Scripture and apply them to your church.

The New Interpreter’s Bible (12 vols.) will be available for download August 7, which means that this discounted price is going away soon! Get this discount before it’s gone: pre-order the New Interpreter’s Bible today!



Identifying Repeated Terms in Biblical Narratives

The authors of the Old Testament used word repetition to emphasize key points in their writings, but this literary device is not always accessible to English readers.

In this video, Todd Bishop will show you an example of word repetition in a familiar Old Testament story, and then demonstrate how you can identify occurrences of this literary feature using the Word List tool in Logos 5. This tool enables you to build a list of words from a particular text or book of the Bible, and then sort your list according to frequency, making it easy to identify repeated terms. Logos even allows you to transform your word list into easy-to-memorize flash cards.

The word list tool comes standard with all Logos 5 base packages. As an added bonus, Logos has just released a free Greek and Hebrew Flashcards app, which allows you to stay on top of your vocabulary, even on the go. You can now generate a word list on your desktop and make that list available in the flashcards app.

With Logos 5 you’ll enjoy all-new features, such as Word Lists, Flashcards, and more. Get your custom upgrade price, and study with the most powerful tools.