Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Last night, a bunch of our church friends helped Janice move in to her new apartment, and as a housewarming present, one of the guys bought her Cranium:

I've never played Cranium before, but it was so fun! It was like Taboo, Pictionary, Schrades, and Jeopardy all rolled into one.
One particular challenge I thought was really neat was "Team Gnilleps," in which your team has to spell a certain word backwards. Sounds easy, right? So did I, until they give you words like "amphibian" and "adrenaline."

Do you enjoy boardgames? What other games would you recommend for small gatherings?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Footnotes or endnotes?

Here are two of the books I'm currently reading:

[Top] N.T. Wright's Justification
[Bottom] James D.G. Dunn's Theology of Paul the Apostle

Do you read books that have footnotes/endnotes? I'd rather not keep flipping back and forth to see what other extra details the author might be hinting at in the endnotes! I wish every one of these books used footnotes.

What do you prefer?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Ab excessu divi Augusti

"Following the death of divine Augustus."
This is the supposed title of the book, Annals, of Roman senator/historian, Tacitus, as he outlines the reign of four Roman emperors that followed Caesar Augustus. I was reading through C.K. Barrett's The New Testament Background: Selected Documents and read an interesting portion of Tacitus' work:

BookXV (regarding the Great Fire of Rome in AD64)
"...But all human efforts, all the lavish gifts of the emperor, and the propitiations of the gods, did not banish the sinister belief that the conflagration was the result of an order. Consequently, to get rid of the report, Nero fastened the guilt and inflicted the most exquisite tortures on a class hated for their abominations, called Christians by the populace. Christus, from whom the name had its origin, suffered the extreme penalty during the reign of Tiberius at the hands of one of our procurators, Pontius Pilatus, and a most mischievous superstition, thus checked for the moment, again broke out not only in Judæa, the first source of the evil, but even in Rome, where all things hideous and shameful from every part of the world find their centre and become popular. Accordingly, an arrest was first made of all who pleaded guilty; then, upon their information, an immense multitude was convicted, not so much of the crime of firing the city, as of hatred against mankind. Mockery of every sort was added to their deaths. Covered with the skins of beasts, they were torn by dogs and perished, or were nailed to crosses, or were doomed to the flames and burnt, to serve as a nightly illumination, when daylight had expired. Nero offered his gardens for the spectacle, and was exhibiting a show in the circus, while he mingled with the people in the dress of a charioteer or stood aloft on a car. Hence, even for criminals who deserved extreme and exemplary punishment, there arose a feeling of compassion; for it was not, as it seemed, for the public good, but to glut one man's cruelty, that they were being destroyed."

I just found it fascinating that even from a secular writer, there seems to be a hint of compassion and sympathy for what happened to the early Christians regardless of the way he feels about their "superstition."

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Did you hear that?

Our homework this week is 1 Thess. 2:13-20 and since I'm at a coffee shop right now and don't have my commentaries, I don't know if I'm nitpicking, but I ran across something in verse 13:

Καὶ διὰ τοῦτο καὶ ἡμεῖς εὐχαριστοῦμεν τῷ θεῷ ἀδιαλείπτως, ὅτι παραλαβόντες λόγον ἀκοῆς παρ᾽ἡμῶν τοῦ θεοῦ ἐδέξασθε οὐ λόγον ἀνθρώπων ἀλλὰ καθώς ἐστιν ἀληθῶς λόγον θεοῦ, ὃς καὶ ἐνεργεῖται ἐν ὑμῖν τοῖς πιστεύουσιν.

The part that I had trouble with is 13b "ὅτι παραλαβόντες λόγον ἀκοῆς παρ᾽ἡμῶν τοῦ θεοῦ". The 4 translations that I normally look at (ESV, NAS, NRS, NIV) all roughly translate that as, "that when you received the word of God that/which you heard from us." My qualms are with the genitive, "ἀκοῆς", because when I looked it up in BDAG, Paul never seems to use it to say "you" did something, but more often than not, it just refers either to a report, the ears, or some kind of hearing. Why can't it be translated: "that when you received the word of report of God from us"?

Am I just hearing what's not there?

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Summer readings....

[A photoshopped picture of some books I'm using/reading right now]

Do you remember when high school teachers would assign you like 5 books to read over the summer? I used to hate that so much. I guess things have definitely changed, because I have assigned myself a bunch of books to get started on this summer:

John Barclay, Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora: From Alexander to Trajan (323BCE-117CE)
Richard Bauckham, Jesus and the God of Israel
ed. Richard Horsley, Paul and the Roman Imperial Order
John Piper, The Future of Justification
N.T. Wright, Justification
Carl J. Richard, Twelve Greeks and Romans Who Changed The World
Brevard S. Childs, The Church's Guide for Reading Paul
J. Paul Sampley, Paul in the Greco-Roman World
James D.G. Dunn, The Theology of Apostle Paul
Gordon Fee, Pauline Christology: An Exegetical-Theological Study
David deSilva, Honor, Patronage, Kinship & Purity: Unlocking New Testament Culture

On top of that, my wish list for books keeps growing. I think I'm happy and sad about that at the same time...

What are you reading this summer?

PS: If you want a chance to win BibleWorks8, go here and enter the drawing! It's from the blog, Cal.vini.st.

Monday, June 8, 2009

The beloved physician...

ἀσπάζεται ὑμᾶς Λουκᾶς ὁ ἰατρὸς ὁ ἀγαπητὸς καὶ Δημᾶς.

This verse (Col. 4:14) is translated, "Luke the beloved physician greets you and also Demas." Luke wrote a bulk of the NT, writing the longest book in the NT (Luke), and as a sequel to that, he also wrote Acts. While some scholars have insisted that Luke-Acts is really just one book divided for practical purposes, I think Carson & Moo is right when they said:

"We should probably consider Luke and Acts to be two separate books that stand in close relationship to each other. Luke almost certainly had both books in mind when he began to write, and certain common themes and purposes bind them together."1

I just started reading Acts in Greek (following a one chapter a day plan), and I have to say, this is a much more difficult read than where I just came from, John. He keeps using these words that only occur in Luke-Acts, and it is quite frustrating, after thinking I had gotten a good hang of Greek while reading John.

Some examples:
ἀτενίζω (to gaze, stare) [Found in Lk. 4:20, 22:56, Acts 1:10, 3:3-5, 6:15, 7:55, 10:4, 11:6, 13:9... only two other times outside of Luke, 2 Cor. 3:7, 13!]
ἐσθής (clothing) [Lk. 23:11, 24:4, Ac. 1:10, 10:30, 12:21... once in James 2:2!]
συγκαταψηφίζομαι (to be numbered with) [Ac. 1:26]

I don't know if he really was a doctor or not, but he certainly writes like one.

1D.A. Carson & Douglas J. Moo, An Introduction to the New Testament, (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005), 203.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Hometown hero?

Do you guys know Will Ferrell? He's pretty darn funny, and it looks like he's been busy this week: I saw him on Monday night for Conan's debut on the Tonight Show, and apparently, last night Discovery Channel aired an episode of Man vs. Wild feat. Will Ferrell. Maybe he'll show up at the Staples Center tomorrow for the Lakers game...

Did you know that he was born and raised in Irvine? He went to elementary school, jr. high, and high school in Irvine where a bunch of my friends went. I lived on the other side of the city, so I didn't go to any of those schools... ah well.

Anyway, here's him roughin' it out in some desolate place with the guy whose name is apparently "Bear":

I wonder what deer eyeballs taste like... what's the nastiest thing you ever ate?

Monday, June 1, 2009

A picture is worth....

I really enjoy visual aids, and this one in particular is a very good one. Just makes me wish I received a bail-out.