After two and a half years of seminar work, writing papers, presentations, and flying to and from Kansas City, my final PhD seminar begins today. It has been a long and strenuous journey through my classes, and it seems odd that I have finally reached my final seminar before my comprehensive exam and dissertation.
I remember when my doctoral studies started in August 2014 and I mapped out my potential schedule, the “Dissertation Seminar” seemed all too far away. I had Old/New Testament Theology, Advanced Greek/Hebrew grammar, and various other courses that I looked forward to taking. I never thought this seminar would be reached, but slow and steady finishes the race.
The way Midwestern offers their non-residential courses allows the student to take two seminars each semester, but only one at a time. When one seminar ends, the next one possibly available for the student will begin the next day or a week later. For example, when my Old Testament Theology seminar ended in April 2015 my Adv. Greek Grammar began the very next week. Also, taking advantage of directed studies can speed up the degree as well. I was fortunate to take NT Theology and Adv. Hebrew Grammar in this format.
With the full support of my wife and congregation, I have not stopped my schooling since January 2015. In fact, my Adv. Hebrew class ended a week before our son was born, so this has been my first “break” since January 2015. Continue reading
This past week I was on the campus of Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary for my most recent PhD seminar, and I had the privilege to, once more, attend chapel. On Tuesday Dr. Madsen, the PhD program director and wearer of many hats, preached from Revelation 14 and did not mince words or soften the message of The Apocalypse.
I encourage you to listen Dr. Madsen expound the entire chapter.
Paul Hoskins, Associate Professor of New Testament at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary, has provided a helpful tool for students of New Testament Greek. Master Greek is a website devoted to helping students with their parsing.
It is interesting that many first year Greek grammars do not stress parsing in their homework exercises. They just ask the student to translate Greek sentences into English. Sooner or later, diligent Greek students figure out that they cannot produce an accurate translation without knowing how to parse the Greek words.
Now, without practice, your parsing skills get rusty and perhaps you grow to rely on Bible software to do all of your parsing. This is really unfortunate, because you become tethered to your Bible software and cannot really read the Greek text with any level of fluency. Many possible insights from the Greek text will become lost to your view this way.
This really is a helpful website for testing your parsing ability, but the best part is how easy it is to navigate. Hoskins wrote a helpful abstract on how to use Master Greek. Continue reading
On a recent episode of “Word Matters,” a podcast by Brandon Smith and Trevin Wax, the discussion was focused on the temptation scene in Mark’s Gospel. In comparison to the other Synoptic Gospels, the brevity of Mark’s temptation scene is almost breathtaking, especially when one considers both Matthew and Luke stretch their versions to include the dialogue between Jesus and Satan and are nearly five times longer. What Mark might lack in detail, he provides a seemingly obscure reference to wild animals being with Jesus in the wilderness.
I listened closely to what both Smith and Wax had to say about this verse because I am currently preaching through Mark on Sunday mornings and I had trouble determining what I thought was correct. There have been various interpretations to this, and Smith helpfully provides more of the popular ones. I was encouraged to hear Smith voice my understanding of this reference, especially when the commentaries I was able to reference suggested otherwise. I believe the reason Mark included the “wild animals” in his temptation scene was to point to a renewed creation in which the Christ would inaugurate at the end of the days.
I think it is important to remember that 1:1–15 comprises the first overall section of Mark’s Gospel. The description of John the Baptist baptizing people and the baptism of Jesus are meant to be compared to one another. John baptizes with water, the one after him will baptize with fire (v 8). The people from Judea and Jerusalem are coming to Mark to be baptized (5), Jesus comes for baptism as the perfect son of God who is obedient to his father (9). Continue reading