Beale on Typology

One of the most controversial and potentially difficult issues within the realm of biblical interpretation is that of typology.  How are the people, places, events, and circumstances of the Old Testament text to be interpreted and understood insofar as their connection to subsequent people, places, events, and circumstances is concerned; especially as they relate to Christ and the church?

Greg Beale, in his forthcoming book, Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament: Exegesis and Interpretation (Baker Academic, 2012), provides a helpful definition for considering that which may be properly understood as having typological significance.  He defines biblical typology as:

The study of analogical correspondences among revealed truths about persons, events, institutions, and other things within the historical framework of God’s special revelation, which, from a retrospective view, are of a prophetic nature and are escalated in meaning. (p. 14)

After defining biblical typology, he offers two helpful points of clarification regarding “escalation” and “retrospection”.

Beale notes, “By “escalation” is meant that the antitype (the NT correspondence) is heightened in some way in relation to the OT type.  For example, John 19:36 views the requirement of not breaking the bones of the Passover lamb in the OT epoch to point to a greater reality of the bones of Jesus not being broken at the crucifixion…”  Additionally, “…escalation would be the correspondence of God providing literal manna from heaven for physical sustenance and providing the manna of Christ from heaven for spiritual sustenance.”  Clarifying “retrospection”, Beale says, “By “retrospection” is meant the idea that it was after Christ’s resurrection and under the direction of the Spirit that the apostolic writers understood certain OT historical narratives about persons, events, or institutions to be indirect prophecies of Christ or the church.” [Please read the qualification Beale cites regarding the “retrospective” characteristic of biblical typology, noted in the “Comments” section.]

While some interpreters are extremely leery of deeming anything in Scripture a “type” that isn’t expressly stated as such, Beale’s definition and subsequent study promises to be handled with scholarly precision and care, and, undoubtedly, a reverence for both God and his Word.

  • WTSbooks.com has a sample chapter and audio lecture available, as well as some overall info on Beale’s forthcoming work.
  • Amazon.com has the book for a deeply discounted pre-order price of $9.67 (Reg. $17.99)
  • Baker Book House is offering the opportunity to win a copy of the book this week at their blog (Giveaway ends, Friday, August 17, 2012, at 6AM EST).  I’m hoping to win a copy myself, so I can continue the study above! 🙂
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Baker Book Giveaway

Baker Academic is giving away a copy of G.K. Beale’s latest book, Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament: Exegesis and Interpretation, at their blog. The giveaway runs until Friday, August 17, at 6AM EST.  CLICK HERE to be redirected to the giveaway.

Here’s a little info about the book:

Read inside (PDFs): Sample Pages

Publisher’s Description: This concise guide by a leading New Testament scholar helps readers understand how to better study the multitude of Old Testament references in the New Testament. G. K. Beale, coeditor of the bestselling Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, focuses on the “how to” of interpreting the New Testament use of the Old Testament, providing students and pastors with many of the insights and categories necessary for them to do their own exegesis. Brief enough to be accessible yet thorough enough to be useful, this handbook will be a trusted guide for all students of the Bible.

Contents:
Introduction
1. Challenges to Interpreting the Use of the Old Testament in the New
2. Seeing the Old Testament in the New: Definitions of Quotations and Allusions and Criteria for Discerning Them
3. An Approach to Interpreting the Old Testament in the New
4. Primary Ways the New Testament Uses the Old Testament
5. Hermeneutical and Theological Presuppositions of the New Testament Writers
6. The Relevance of Jewish Backgrounds for the Study of the Old Testament in the New: A Survey of the Sources
7. A Case Study Illustrating the Methodology of This Book

208 Pages
Published September 2012

THE LECTIO CONTINUA METHOD w/ Rev. Dr. Jon D. Payne

Is there a way of approaching the task of preaching that ensures a local church receives a balanced diet of the Word?  Is there a manner of proclamation that takes up “the whole counsel of God”, rather than allowing the preaching to be driven by the preacher’s every whim?  The answer is,”YES!”

Rev. Dr. Jon D. Payne, series editor of The Lectio Continua Expository Commentary on the New Testament, was kind enough to answer a few questions about the lectio continua method of reading and preaching, its benefits, and what we can expect from this exciting new expository commentary series on the NT.

As was touched upon yesterday, Dr. Payne is senior pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Douglasville, GA, and Visiting Lecturer in Practical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta. He is the author of John Owen and the Lord’s Supper (Edinburgh: Banner of Truth, 2004), In The Splendor of Holiness: Rediscovering the Beauty of Reformed Worship for the 21st Century (Tolle Lege Press, 2008), and co-editor of and contributor to a forthcoming collection of essays celebrating the 450th anniversary of the Heidelberg Catechism (Reformation Heritage Books, 2012). Dr. Payne is also a frequent contributor to Modern Reformation. Jon and his wife Marla have been married for thirteen years and have two children, Mary Hannah (9) and Hans (7).

KF: What is the lectio continua method of reading/preaching the Scriptures?  What are the benefits of such a method?

JDP: The Lectio Continua method of reading and preaching the Scriptures is the regular, consecutive, systematic, verse by verse exposition of God’s Word.  When executed faithfully, this method ensures that God’s Word is preached, and not something (or someone) else.  Sadly, it has become increasingly difficult for committed believers to find a church where the “whole counsel of God” is faithfully proclaimed.  Too often modern day preachers put style over substance, creativity over content.  Sermons are filled with personal stories, clever anecdotes, and entertaining illustrations, and not with careful exegesis and exposition — a simple explanation and application of the text.  At the root of this problem is a lack of belief in the inspiration, authority, sufficiency, and efficacy of God’s Word.  We boldly confess a high view of Scripture, yet our preaching reveals something quite different.

Dr. Jon D. Payne

The benefits of the lectio continua method of preaching are myriad. To name but a few:

  1. The whole counsel of God is trumpeted forth (Acts 20:27; Matthew 28:20).
  2. The difficult and thorny texts are not passed over (II Timothy 3:16-17).
  3. God’s people learn how to study the Bible as their ministers preach through OT and NT books.
  4. Faith is created and nourished in God’s elect through the Word of Christ (Romans 10:17).
  5. The good news of Christ crucified, risen and exalted is preached from all of Scripture, thus underscoring the Christo-centric nature of the Bible (2 Corinthians 2:1-2).
  6. The indicatives and the imperatives are boldly proclaimed.
  7. The minister may not only choose “soap box” texts from which to preach.
  8. In time, the congregation will hear the entire Bible preached and read in morning and evening Lord’s Day worship (NOTE: In the last nine years our church has read and preached through well over half the Bible in public worship). See I Timothy 4:13.
  9. Ministers are marvelously free to preach with boldness and authority, since it is GOD’s Word that they are preaching, not man’s ideas.
  10. Through careful exegesis and preparation, ministers grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (Acts 6:4).  I think that the burnout rate and the rise of immorality among ministers are due, in large part, to a lack of time in the study.  Ministers who rely upon charm, charisma, style (ahem … dare I say, fashion), and intellectual gifts, and not upon God’s Spirit and Word, are easy prey for the Devil.

KF: What are the distinguishing marks of the Lectio Continua Expository Commentary on the New Testament (LCECNT)?  How often can we expect to see new volumes in this series?

JDP: The aim of the LCECNT is to provide biblical exposition that is unswervingly Reformed, Confessional, Christ-centered, Redemptive-Historical, and full of application. Each volume, as with every preacher, will have strengths and weaknesses.  But we trust that the end result will serve as an example to future preachers, a resource for current preachers, and an encouragement to all members of Christ’s church who desire to grow in their understanding of God’s life-transforming Word. In other words, these expository commentaries are not just for pastors and theologians, they are meant to be read by Christians everywhere.

New volumes will appear every few months. The next three vols will appear this fall and winter, 2012:

  • First Peter by Jon Payne

KF: How did the vision for this series develop?

JDP: Several years ago I read through D.M. Lloyd-Jones’s multivolume expository commentaries on Romans and Ephesians. As a young and impressionable seminary student, these lectio continua sermons had a significant impact on my life and ministry. Now teaching homiletics at RTS Atlanta, I am aware of the great need for students to recognize the value of preaching through books of the Bible.  Many of them are coming out of churches where careful expository preaching is unknown. In addition, many pastors are losing confidence in God’s Word, and thus replacing systematic expository preaching with mostly topical the thematic sermons — of the poorer sort.

A couple of years ago it occurred to me that the wider church – ministers and laypeople included – could always use more serious biblical exposition in print, to help drive us back to biblical preaching in our congregations. Fresh and faithful expositions of God’s Word in print should be welcome in every generation. Many friends and colleagues have graciously agreed to participate in the series, and I trust that their contributions will be a blessing.  Currently, the list of contributors includes Terry Johnson, Iain D. Campbell, Sinclair Ferguson, Ian Hamilton, J. Ligon Duncan, Harry Reeder, Kim Riddlebarger, Joel Beeke, JV Fesko, David W. Hall, Richard D. Phillips, et al.  My earnest hope and prayer is that the series will be a help and encouragement to many.

I’d like to extend my gratitude to Dr. Payne for taking the time to answer a few questions about the series.  Please take a moment to check out the following resources by Dr. Payne: John Owen on the Lord’s Supper and In the Splendor of Holiness: Rediscovering the Beauty of Reformed Worship for the 21st Century.

Tomorrow, I’ll be posting my review of Galatians, by J.V. Fesko – the first volume in the LCECNT series.  Until then, CLICK HERE, to download a PDF sample of the series preface, introductions, and first chapter.

FOR DISCUSSION:

What manner of preaching is characteristic in your local church?  In light of this preaching method, how would you say the people in your church view God’s Word?
Leave a comment below…

LECTIO CONTINUA WEEK.

There’s some exciting stuff forthcoming on the blog in the few days ahead…  All this week, we will be focusing on an exciting addition to the world of expository commentaries – The Lectio Continua Expository Commentary on the New Testament (LCECNT), published by Tolle Lege Press.

If you’re unfamiliar with the series, here is a brief description from the publisher:

The Lectio Continua Expository Commentary seeks to be rigorously exegetical, God-centered, redemptive-historical, sin-exposing, Gospel-trumpeting and teeming with practical application. It aims to encourage ministers, elders, seminarians and interested laypeople to rediscover the profound spiritual benefits of systematic expository preaching; that is, the faithful preaching of the “whole counsel of God” — verse by verse, chapter by chapter, book by book. It also endeavors, by the power of the Spirit, to help Christ’s kingdom disciples to “grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ” (II Peter 3:18).

The week at a glance…

Tomorrow, we will be featuring an interview with Dr. Jon D. Payne, the editor of the Lectio Continua series.  Dr. Payne kindly took time to answer a few questions about the series, the method of preaching upon which the series is based (and its benefits), as well as how the vision for the series developed.  The Rev. Dr. Jon D. Payne serves as senior pastor of Grace Presbyterian Church (PCA) in Douglasville, GA, and Visiting Lecturer in Practical Theology at Reformed Theological Seminary in Atlanta.  He is the author of several books.

Wednesday, I’ll be posting my review of the first volume in the series, Galatians, by J.V. Fesko.

Thursday, we have the privilege of connecting with Dr. J.V. Fesko.  As author of the LCECNT  commentary on Galatians, Dr. Fesko graciously took some time to speak about the gospel, the commentary, and, specifically, the themes of new creation, fruit of the Spirit, and sanctification as they pertain to Paul’s letter to the churches in Galatia.  Dr. Fesko is Academic Dean and Professor of Systematic Theology and Historical Theology at Westminster Seminary California, and a minister in the Orthodox Presbyterian Church.  His present research interests include the integration of biblical and systematic theology, soteriology, ecclesiology, and sixteenth- and seventeenth-century Reformed theology.

You won’t want to miss the interviews with Dr. Payne and Dr. Fesko.  I encourage you to subscribe to the blog feed via email (located on the right sidebar), or add the feed to your reader of choice.

 

KOINONIA BLOG TOUR: MATTHEW by GRANT OSBORNE (ZECNT)

Several weeks ago, Zondervan Academic’s blog, “Koinonia”, announced a blog tour featuring some of the newly released volumes in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series.  Through their generosity, I received a review copy of Grant Osborne’s volume on Matthew.

It’s my hope that this brief review will provide the reader with some basic information about the series, as well as the Matthew volume in particular, hoping that one will be able to make a good assessment as to whether the “Matthew” volume would be of general benefit to personal study and/or pastoral preparation.

General Remarks

I’m excited about the volumes in this series, as the ZECNT series is proving to be solidly evangelical, exegetically helpful, academically credible, and designed with the pastor-teacher in mind.

If grades were given out solely in terms of layout, construction, and design, the ZECNT would score very highly.  This commentary is not small by any means (1154 pages), but its hardcover construction and binding are of great quality for such a sizeable book.  The layout and design are clear and logical, with a very readable typeset.

Textually speaking, the commentary series, as a whole, utilizes 7 different components for the analysis of each pericope:

Literary Context

Each pericope is considered in light of how it functions within the book as a whole.

Main Idea

An incredibly helpful 1-2 sentence summary of the “big idea” of each pericope.

Translation and Graphical Layout

The commentator provides his translation of the Greek text.  This part is particularly helpful for visualizing the interconnectedness and flow of the text, as each section is displayed with each clause or phrase on it’s own line. This is greatly helpful for understanding how each clause or phrase supports or develops the main action of the text.

Structure

After the graphical layout, the commentator explains his interpretive decisions regarding the way he related the clauses in each pericope.

Exegetical Outline

A detailed description and overall flow of each passage, in outline form.

Explanation of the Text

Utilizing the Greek language (English translation provided as well for the non-specialist) the commentator works his way through the text noting and explaining textual, historical, contextual, cultural, and interpretational issues.  I appreciate that the English translation is cited first and is in bold; the Greek text is offered afterward in parentheses.  This, again, helps the non-specialist get the most out of this commentary, while continuing to provide the original text for the Greek student.

Theology in Application

The commentator addresses the theological implications of the passage for the church today.

Overall, the layout and design of this series are superb for the person desiring a commentary that will be “user-friendly” as well as one that will effectively and logically help a person thoroughly work their way through a particular pericope.

My only qualm with the design, and a seemingly insignificant one at that, is the use of the “computing-style” scroll bar next to each of the outline snapshots in the “Literary Context” sections.  It just seemed a little cheesy and didn’t connect with the rest of the overall graphical layout.

Commentary

The “Introduction” to the volume was brief, but to the point.  Though it my not be as thorough in matters as many scholars would like, it follows the series’ purpose/intention by providing information essential in understanding Matthew’s gospel for the purpose of preaching/teaching.

I found the section on “The Purpose and Audience of Matthew’s Gospel” particularly helpful in giving the student a lens through which to see Matthew’s purpose in writing, specifically to show the impact of Jesus’ life and ministry on four groups—the leaders, the crowds, the disciples, and the demons.  This will no doubt be pastorally and homiletically helpful for the pastor to aid the church in asking which group they identify with each time they come to the text.

Osborne has interacted will with other scholars well, and has provided a great deal of wealth and direction in his footnotes as well.

Overall, I appreciated Osborne’s ability throughout the commentary to work his way through the text of Matthew’s gospel in such a way as to provide information and explanation essential to pastoral preparation.  There aren’t long discourses on controversial minutiae (though that is certainly necessary at times for certain aspects of biblical study), but rather clear, concise, and altogether helpful undertakings of the most essential matters for the pastor-teacher.

Theology

This commentary series is worth its price for the “Theology in Application” section alone.  As many pastors are very busy with the ins-and-outs of fulltime vocational ministry, this section will help the pastor credibly teach a passage and with theological depth, effectively help the congregation see the practical theological implications for their lives.

One specific example of the helpful nature of this section is in Osborne’s treatment of the temptation of Messiah Jesus in Matthew 4.  Many pastors often make hasty, pragmatic conclusions about this text saying that it teaches that believers can defeat Satan with Scripture in every temptation.  Though there may be some principles to be drawn regarding the effectiveness of God’s Word in aiding the believer to think in truth and avoid the lies and temptations of the Enemy, the passage is explained with a proper focus upon Jesus as the victorious Son of God and noting the work of perfect obedience that He has successfully accomplished for the salvation of His people and the glory of His Father.

Conclusion

Overall, Osborne’s volume is definitely one to be considered when studying or preaching through Matthew’s gospel.  I would highly recommend it!

The ZECNT series as a whole is one that should be sought after by pastors who desire to understand and teach the Scriptures credibly.  I believe the series makes a valuable contribution in what it specifically provides to the pastor-teacher.  With the matters addressed, and to the quality with which they are, this commentary series will help pastors cut straighter lines in their exegesis of the text, helping those entrusted to their care understand the theological implications of the text for doxological purposes in their lives and in the body of Christ.

NOTE: I received a free copy of this book from the publisher, for the purposes of review, with no requirement to give a positive review.

OTHER VOLUMES IN THE ZECNT INCLUDE:

GALATIANS by Thomas R. Schreiner

EPHESIANS by Clinton E. Arnold (ZECNT series’ general editor)

JAMES by Craig Blomberg & Mariam J. Kamell