The Redundant Personal Pronoun in Matthew 5:5

Matt 5:5: μακάριοι οἱ πραεῖς, ὅτι αὐτοι κληρονομήσουσιν την γῆν.

Most English translations render the second clause something like “… for they shall inherit the earth” (NASB). (See the examples below from Bible Hub.) Continue reading

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Trials Are the Best Education Our Heavenly Father Could Afford

Consider it all joy, my brethren, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.

James 1:2-4

Continue reading

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Greek Attributive Participles versus Relative Clauses

Hayes, Michael E. An Analysis of the Attributive Participle and the Relative Clause in the Greek New Testament. Studies in Biblical Greek, Vol. 18. New York, NY: Peter Lang, 2018.

Since the Greek relative clause and the attributive participle are often translated into English using the English relative clause, they are often viewed as equivalent. The author of this book undertook this study to find out the difference between them. His conclusion was as follows (p. xvi):

  • The attributive participle is usually restrictive (except under certain prescribed conditions).
  • The relative clause is primarily nonrestrictive (when both constructions are feasible both grammatically and stylistically).

I’ve often wondered about the difference between these two constructions, and I’m offering below my summary of his conclusion below in order to make his research available to Greek students such as myself. If your interest is piqued by this summary, I recommend that you check out the author’s monograph for the full argument. Continue reading

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A Short Review of R. R. Reno and John J. O’Keefe, Sanctified Vision: An Introduction to Early Christian Interpretation of the Bible (2005)

Early in the book the authors use the metaphor of building a house and say that just like building a house has both structure and materials, so the patristic exegesis also had structure and materials. They state that their goal is not to explain the materials with which the fathers worked (e.g., philosophical presuppositions, etc.), but rather the structure of their exegesis (the kinds of interpretive moves they would make). The fathers tend to make a number of interpretive moves that we moderns find counter-intuitive, and this book aims to show the logic behind the fathers’ exegesis. Continue reading

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A Short Review of Hans Boersma, Heavenly Participation: The Weaving of a Sacramental Tapestry

A while back I read the book Heavenly Participation, by Hans Boersma. I really enjoyed it and found it helpful. Here’s the gist: Continue reading

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Coptic Resources

Coptic is a form of Egyptian written using Greek letters with some letters brought in from Demotic. It is important for the textual criticism of the New Testament because it (along with Latin and Syriac) is one of the earliest languages into which the New Testament was translated. In addition, there is a rich history of early Christian sources that were either written in or translated into Coptic. (For example, my own interest in Coptic stems from the fact that one of the earliest manuscripts of the Didache is a Coptic Fragment from around the 5th century.) Continue reading

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A Short Review of Roland Allen, Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours?

Here is a short review of Roland Allen’s classic book, Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours? (Paternoster, 1912). (You can find it for free on

Allen (1868-1947) was an Anglican missionary to China who was forced to leave because of the Boxer Rebellion. He subsequently wrote several books on the topic of missions, including Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours?, and The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church and the Causes which Hinder It (1927). In both of these books he looks to the church in the book of Acts for inspiration for modern missions. Continue reading

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Review of Seven Marks of a New Testament Church, by David Alan Black

A few months ago I re-read Seven Marks of a New Testament Church, by David Alan Black. Since he is my doctoral supervisor and I worked for him for four years, this was not my first time hearing his ideas. However, I was looking for some reading on the church, and thought I would read it since I hadn’t yet read the book from beginning to end. Here are a few brief thoughts: Continue reading

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On the Spirit and Education in Scripture Interpretation

I recently had a conversation with a few brothers about the relationship between the Holy Spirit and education in biblical interpretation, and wanted to follow up on it with a few thoughts.

The Scriptures teach that because of our sinfulness, we need the Holy Spirit to help us understand the Scriptures rightly. This teaching comes from 1 Cor 2:14: “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit” (NIV). The question is, how does the Holy Spirit help us understand the Bible? Continue reading

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One Part of Why I Became a Christian

The world’s a pretty big place, that’s for sure. There’s so much we don’t know. I believe that. However, I do think you have to make a choice at some pretty important junctures because the ways of thinking and living diverge. Some ways of living and thinking sharpen one’s grasp on reality and lead to well-being, and other ways of living and thinking lead to confusion and a decrease in well-being (if not for ourselves, than at least for those around us).

For me, one important juncture is whether reality is out there to be discovered, or whether it’s all just our own interpretation. If it’s really there, if meaning and purpose are really there, then we can adjust ourselves to be more receptive to it. If it’s all just an interpretation, then there’s no standard outside of myself to which anything I can do can be judged. Continue reading

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