Peter Leithart’s Writing Confession

Photo by Zac Calvert Peter Leithart, senior fellow of theology at New Saint Andrews College, speaks to Union students and staff about the importance of receiving gifts from God and sharing it with others.

Peter Leithart has just offered the best, and most honest, post on writing I’ve seen in some time. Writing is variously referred to as a craft, an art form, an obsession, or simply communication.

But Leithart makes it clear that writing, however you define it, is hard. And it’s not simply the writing or typing of words that is challenging. More to the point, the actual process of bringing a writing project to completion is daunting.

The candid nature of Peter’s post is surprising, given how prolific the man is. He has written numerous books on theology, pastoral ministry, and a few Bible commentaries. He knows what he’s talking about.

The true value in his post for anybody involved in writing, and especially scholars, is his delineation of the five stages in a book project. These include: ambition, contraction, panic, obsession, and wonder. There is a good mix of sound advice, humor, and sheer anxiety, including the following gem:

Panic is good. . . . Once you’ve had a good panic, you’re fine. Everything’s smoothly downhill from here.

For a solid introduction to Leithart, get the Peter J. Leithart Collection available on Logos, featuring six of his best works. Peter also has a superb set of lectures available as a bundle on Logos Mobile Ed, where you can see the man in action as he teaches through Sacramental Theology, Typological Hermeneutics, and Trinitarian Theology.

*Find other works by Leithart and related authors on the leading resource for biblical research, Logos 7, currently being offered with introductory discounts until February 6.

** Peter’s original post was on First Things and can be found here.

How to Avoid the One-Meaning Fallacy

The one-meaning fallacy assumes that every Greek or Hebrew word has only one meaning. Basic translation theory tells us that this is not the case. However, even if you’re aware of this fallacy, you may be using resources that are steering you in the wrong direction.

In this segment from Learn to Use Biblical Greek and Hebrew with Logos 6, Johnny Cisneros shows you how the one-meaning fallacy can sneak up on you when using Strong’s numbers and how you can avoid it by using additional lexicons. He walks you through each step, using the word kosmos in John 3:16 and 1 John 2:15 as an example.


Learn more about this Mobile Ed course and pre-order today to save 57%. Don’t wait—the course is shipping November 19!

Ben Witherington on Jesus’ Encounter with the Samaritan Woman

Ben Witherington quote about the Samaritan woman at the wellShare quote on Facebook

“Nowhere in the Gospel of John, perhaps, is context more important than this story,” says Dr. Ben Witherington III in reference to Jesus’ encounter with the Samaritan Woman. That’s a bold statement. But it makes sense once you discover how many cultural taboos Jesus was actually committing. We’ll let Dr. Witherington explain the details but let’s just say it was a lot…

This lecture comes from Dr. Witherington’s course NT221 The Wisdom of John: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Johannine Literature.

Quit Hiding, It’s Just the Apocrypha

hiding_1024x512“There is still quite a perception of extra-canonical literature as not just non-canonical but somehow dangerous,” says Dr. David deSilva in an interview for the Mobile Ed Conversations podcast. “And that’s a prejudice I have worked long and hard to combat.”

Dr. deSilva goes on to explain the importance of extra-canonical literature—how students in his classroom receive it, and why he’s so passionate about it. He also provides some tips on where to start if you’re interested in studying apocryphal texts for the first time.

Dr. David A. deSilva is the trustees’ distinguished professor of New Testament and Greek at Ashland Theological Seminary. He’s written over 20 books in the areas of New Testament and Second Temple Judaism and is a leading expert on the cultural world of the New Testament.

Earn a Graduate Diploma in New Testament

ATS-Logo-RGB Dr. deSilva’s Mobile Ed courseware on the Apocrypha (BI291) and The Cultural World of the New Testament (NT201) are being included in Ashland Seminary’s new online Graduate Diploma in New Testament. This enables students to learn remotely and earn graduate-level credit they can use toward a master’s degree.

The program consists of five master’s-level courses incorporating presentations by Ashland faculty, group discussions, webinars, course readings, and assessments while also utilizing Mobile Ed courseware and the Logos Bible Software Gold base package.

The courses focus on engaging the texts and contexts of Scripture, developing a solid foundation in New Testament studies, and encountering the words behind our English translations. Students will also have the opportunity to explore specific topics of interest by choosing from a list of electives.

Register Today

The Graduate Diploma in New Testament program begins October 3, 2015. Visit Ashland’s website to learn more and register today!

The Purpose of Luke–Acts: Paul’s Exoneration

Andrew Pitt’s course NT316 Book Study: The Gospel of Luke is shipping on August 27. In the course, Dr. Pitts examines in detail the genre and purpose of Luke’s Gospel. He argues that Luke writes his Gospel, along with the book of Acts, as a political document meant to exonerate Paul who was imprisoned in Rome at the time. In the segment below, Dr. Pitts provides some evidence for this position:

NT316 Book Study: The Gospel of Luke is part of the 9-course Studies in the Gospels Bundle. This bundle is shipping on August 27, so order it today at the Pre-Pub price for 41% off!

Is the Gospel of Luke a Biography or History?

In this episode, Dr. Andrew W. Pitts considers why most scholars view the book of Luke as a biography rather than a history—and then shares his perspective. He also talks about Christ’s faithfulness to us in contrast to our individual faith in Christ.

Dr. Pitts in the 2015 recipient of the Paul J. Achtemeier Award for New Testament Scholarship. He is the chair of the biblical studies department and assistant professor of biblical studies and Christian ministries at Arizona Christian University.

Dr. Pitts’ extensive course on the Gospel of Luke is available in the Studies in the Gospels Bundle, which is about to ship. Order before August 27 to save over 40%.

The Story of the Church through the Context of the Clergy

Dr. Jennifer Powell McNutt is associate professor of theology and history of Christianity at Wheaton College. In this episode of Mobile Ed Conversations she talks about the overarching story of the Enlightenment and about her desire to tell the story of the church through the context of the clergy. You can also listen and subscribe on iTunes.

Want to expand your knowledge of church history? The two-course Church History Bundle follows Christendom from the Early Church all the way to Post-Modernism. For a more focused study, take a look at CS201 Western Civilization: Greeks to Aquinas.

Does “Faith Alone” Doctrine Contradict the Letter of James?

Of the “five solas” of the Reformation, sola fide (Latin for “faith alone”) was so important that Luther called it the “doctrine by which the church stands or falls.” Rooted in Scriptures like Eph 2:8–10, it drew a line in the sand between Protestant and Catholic theology on the topic of justification.

“Faith alone.” It’s a simple phrase really. Its meaning seems equally simple … until we read that “faith apart from works is dead” in Jas 2:14–17. How do we reconcile that? Is there a contradiction going on here? How did Reformers like Luther and Calvin view this passage?

In this clip from his course on the Letter of James, Dr. William Varner explains that sola fide does not in fact contradict what James is saying. The key lies in understanding the difference between “faith alone” and a faith that is alone.

In NT365 Book Study: Letter of James, Dr. Varner presents a fresh perspective on James the man and also James the letter, showing how the emphasis on works complements rather than contradicts Paul’s emphasis on faith.

Learn more about this course and pre-order it today to save 41%!

Dr. Con Campbell—Greek Scholarship and Rediscovering the Joy of the Bible

In this episode of the Mobile Ed Conversations podcast, New Testament professor Dr. Constantine Campbell describes his upcoming projects and unpacks one of the most important questions his students ask: have I lost my passion for the Bible?

Learn more from Dr. Campbell in his Mobile Ed course on Colossians and Philemon in the Paul’s Letters Bundle.

The Militaristic Messiah of Psalms of Solomon

“It is probably one of the most important texts, since it’s one of the few in the Second Temple literature that is so specifically concerned and interested in a Davidic messiah,” says Dr. Joel Willitts, professor of biblical and theological studies at North Park University, speaking on Psalms of Solomon 17. “In fact, the text calls that messiah Kyrios Christos, ‘Lord Messiah’—and it’s that kind of confession that we hear on the lips of Paul through his letters time and time again.”

Anyone interested in messianic expectations during the period in which the New Testament was written cannot ignore this important pseudepigraphal text. Further, this chapter from Psalms of Solomon creates interesting messianic translation questions in that it depicts an explicitly militaristic messiah.

“And gird him with strength, that he may shatter unrighteous rulers, and that he may purge Jerusalem from Gentiles who trample (her) down to destruction,” Psalms of Solomon 17 reads, referring to the messiah. “With a rod of iron he shall shatter all their substance; he shall destroy the godless nations with the word of his mouth.”

Dr. Willitts explains how this messianic text ought to be interpreted, in light of Wisdom tradition, in this brief clip from his Mobile Ed course NT202 A Survey of Jewish History and Literature from the Second Temple Period.

BetweenTheTestamentsBundle_310x335Learn more about this important depiction of the Second Temple messianic expectations in the Between the Testaments Bundle, which contains both NT202 and BI291 The Apocrypha: Witness between the Testaments by Dr. David A. deSilva. These courses are shipping soon. To claim the 40% discount, order before July 20.

A Conversation on the Davidic Messiah 

“Isaiah is the key that unlocks the significance of what the Davidic messiah was going to do,” says Dr. Mark Strauss, professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary. “In Isaiah … you see the messiah is actually going to die as an atoning sacrifice for his people. And so, reading Isaiah as a unity, as certainly Jesus did, and first-century Jews did, you see the messiah is portrayed precisely as Luke portrays him: as the Davidic messiah whose role is to suffer and die and bring forgiveness of sins, and then the expansion of the gospel to the Gentiles.”

You can hear more from Dr. Strauss and Dr. Willitts as they discuss the Davidic messiah throughout the Bible and in other Second Temple literature, in particular, in this episode of the Mobile Ed Conversations podcast: