NT Gospel Doctrine Lesson 3: Luke 2, Matthew 2

Arvo Pärt’s Nunc Dimittis, the Latin text of Luke 2:29-32, “Now dismiss…”

Matthew and Luke provide us with two different but similar narratives, which are probably among the most familiar to any Christian. We typically combine these narratives together in our Christmas celebrations, art, creches, and cartoons, but they *are* different and separate. For example, Matthew talks about the visit of the wise men (not portrayed as visiting soon after the birth), but does not mention shepherds on the night of the birth. Continue reading “NT Gospel Doctrine Lesson 3: Luke 2, Matthew 2”

NT Gospel Doctrine Lesson 2: Matthew 1, Luke 1

Arvo Pärt’s magnificent Magnificat, one of many songs based on the Latin translation of Mary’s “my soul doth magnify (magnificat) the Lord” in Luke 1:46ff. (Here’s a small ensemble version)

Genealogies

Both Matthew and Luke give us genealogies, and as moderns, we’re inclined to skip over them, or misunderstand what they’re trying to tell us. In fact, the one thing they are NOT telling us is the one thing we assume they’re telling us: a straight genealogical descent. And this is one reason why we get confused as to why Luke and Matthew’s genealogies differ. Continue reading “NT Gospel Doctrine Lesson 2: Matthew 1, Luke 1”

Brief NT Introduction and Gospel Doctrine Lesson 1: John 1:1-14, Isa 61:1-3, JST Luke 3:4-11

Carl Bloch’s Last Supper, public domain

Let’s start the new year by reminding ourselves how little we know, with a brief quiz. (That’s the grouchy academic in me, throwing a surprise pretest on the first day of class.)

1) Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John: which are apostles and which are not?

2) Describe the nativity according to Mark.  (HT: Ronan’s post.)

3) Which Gospel gives us the detail about the mean innkeeper, who turned away Joseph and Mary?

If you want to see more such questions, and the midterm and final I gave my BYU NT class, see my post and comments here. Continue reading “Brief NT Introduction and Gospel Doctrine Lesson 1: John 1:1-14, Isa 61:1-3, JST Luke 3:4-11”

New Testament Gospel Doctrine Resources (Post 2): The Bible, Text, and Translation

My updated bookshelf: Mission triple, quad, Jewish Study Bible, Reader’s Hebrew Bible, Reader’s Greek New Testament, Jewish Annotated New Testament, Hart’s New Testament.

(Link to Part 1, the Short List)

I want to emphasize that the absolute best and easiest thing you can do to increase the quality and frequency of your Bible study is to supplement your KJV with a different translation. Continue reading “New Testament Gospel Doctrine Resources (Post 2): The Bible, Text, and Translation”

New Testament Gospel Doctrine Resources (Post 1): Top 5 Books

My old bookshelf

It’s that time of year when sales happen, Christmas money appears in your stocking, and January is coming and bringing changes. Of course, we’ll start studying the New Testament,  but our Church-oriented Gospel Doctrine experience will happen half as often with the new 2-hour schedule. Continue reading “New Testament Gospel Doctrine Resources (Post 1): Top 5 Books”

“You either believe the scriptures or you don’t”

Ben contemplates his words, at Petra.

“You either believe the scriptures or you don’t.” I have, on occasion, been accused of wresting or disbelieving scripture. More often than not, this accusation has come from well-meaning people of my own faith who don’t understand how interpretation of scripture works. Often, they don’t even understand that interpretation exists.

It is impossible to read scripture without making an implicit claim as to what a passage means, which is “interpretation.” So everyone is interpreting, all the time, consciously or unconsciously. Continue reading ““You either believe the scriptures or you don’t””

Group study: Recycling an old suggestion

My old bookshelf

My old bookshelf

 I have more thoughts on group and family study to supplement replace our lost hour of Church, but in the meantime, this post (originally 2011, reposted last year) might be helpful. 

I plug modern Bible translations one way or another in virtually everything I write and teach. Now that you have two or three translations, how do you integrate them into your family study or teaching? Here’s one suggestion. Continue reading “Group study: Recycling an old suggestion”

The Future Faith of Our Seminary Students

Ben contemplating in Petra.

This is a long post, with four sections, but I ask you to read it because I think it’s important.

I first explain the nature of my concern, the two emblematic issues involved, and conclude by inviting you to do something.

Intro/Why I’m concerned

The 2019 Seminary manual for Old Testament is now available. I skimmed through some early bits, and I’m concerned for the future faith of our LDS youth. Continue reading “The Future Faith of Our Seminary Students”

Raymond Brown on Understanding and Teaching Complicated Historical Issues

Raymond E. Brown SS, was a Catholic priest and Bible scholar, known for his Introduction to the New Testament, his volumes in the Anchor Bible Commentary series, and other academic and semi-popular works. He also wrote a popular book called 101 Questions on the Bible which has some really great stuff. As you might expect from the title, he presents this in Q&A format.

Several questions address the nature of scripture and genre, but also how to teach and preach passages where there is a large difference between scholarly understanding and popular traditions. (Virtually all the italics are mine.) Continue reading “Raymond Brown on Understanding and Teaching Complicated Historical Issues”