Thursday, January 10, 2008

Blog Moving to ΑΓΑΠΗΣΕΙΣ

From now on, go to ΑΓΑΠΗΣΕΙΣ to keep up with my blog and my resources on the Letter of James. Check out my Recent James Scholarship page there.

Wednesday, January 9, 2008

What I'm Reading Now

Here are the readings that I have started with the New Year in the different categories...
1 Hermeneutics
  • Bruce Longenecker, Rhetoric at the Boundaries: The Art and Theology of New Testament Chain-Link Transitions (2005)
2 Theology
  • Oscar Cullmann, Christ and Time: The Primitive Christian Conception of Time and History (1950)
3 New Testament
  • George Guthrie, The Structure of Hebrews: A Text-Linguistic Analysis (1994)
4 Letter of James
  • Chris Morgan, "The Doctrine of God in the Epistle of James" (ETS paper, 2007)

5 Textual Criticism

  • David Alan Black, ed. Rethinking New Testament Textual Criticism (2002)
6 Greek
  • Devine & Stephens, Discontinuous Syntax: Hyperbaton in Greek (1999)

7 Early Church

  • Kirsopp Lake, trans. 1 Clement (75-110 A.D.)
8 Historical Christianity
  • Sinclair Ferguson, John Owen on the Christian Life (1987)
9 Old Testament

  • James Barr, Old and New in Interpretation: A Study of the Two Testaments (1966)
10 Jewish Backgrounds
  • James VanderKam, An Introduction to Early Judaism (2001)
11 Linguistics

  • William Alston, Illocutionary Acts & Sentence Meaning (2000)
12 Papuan Languages

  • Mark Donahue, "One Phrase Structure" (2000)
13 Discourse Analysis
  • Robert Longacre, Joseph: A Story of Divine Providence. A Text Theoretical and Textlinguistic Analysis of Genesis 37 and 39-48 (2003)
14 Translation Theory
  • Timothy Wilt, ed. Bible Translation: Frames of Reference (2003)
15 Missions
  • John Piper, Let the Nations Be Glad! The Supremacy of God in Missions (1993)
16 Teaching Theory
  • Lingenfelter & Lingenfelter, Teaching Cross-Culturally: An Incarnational Model for Learning and Teaching (2003)
17 Marriage & Family
  • Tim & Joy Downs, The Seven Conflicts: Resolving the Most Common Disagreements in Marriage (2003)

18 Men & Accountability
  • Brennan Manning, Ruthless Trust: The Ragamuffin's Path to God (2000)
19 Book Reviews
  • Larry Hurtado, The Freer Biblical Manuscripts: Fresh Studies of an American Treasure Trove (2006) -- reviewed by Hernández

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Planned Reading Categories

One of the new disciplines I have begun with the new year has been to follow a planned reading schedule across a variety of categories. In the past I have tended to focus my reading and research too narrowly on one topic to theexclusion of other areas. To combat this tendency, I have decided to pinpoint a significant number of reading categories and follow a plan to read in each category every week. To succeed in this I must read in several categories each day. Here are the reading categories that I have outlined so far in addition to daily Bible reading...
  1. Hermeneutics
  2. Theology
  3. New Testament
  4. Letter of James
  5. Textual Criticism
  6. Greek
  7. Early Church
  8. Historical Christianity
  9. Old Testament
  10. Jewish Backgrounds
  11. Linguistics
  12. Papuan Languages
  13. Discourse Analysis
  14. Translation Theory
  15. Missiology
  16. Teaching Theory
  17. Marriage & Family
  18. Men & Accountability
  19. Book Reviews
Obviously, a lot of these categories are closely related or overlapping, and there may be a surprising lack of fiction and other areas to some people. Well, this is the plan for now. I may adjust it quarterly, and if I find that it's too difficult to read in this many areas every week, or if it's too weird to only come back to a book once or twice a week, I'll adjust the schedule. For the first week of the year, however, I got through all the categories in 6 days and it worked just fine to pick up where I had left off 6 days earlier.

Monday, January 7, 2008

Life Changes with the New Year

I'm not usually one for making New Year's resolutions. But this year December had already been a time for thinking about changes that I needed to make in my life.

It started when my wife returned to the highlands in order to take our kids back to their school to be involved with classmates in all of the activities that come at the end of the school term. Therefore, I was alone in our remote village for two weeks at the beginning of December, and this kind of solitude always gives me opportunity to reflect on my role as a husband and father as well as to evaluate other areas of my personal and ministry life.

I was further prepared to make changes with the New Year when I was invited to meet with a group of men on a weekly basis to discuss a book together and to encourage and pray for one another. So I now had some outside accountability to keep up with the changes I was about to make.

So when the 1st of January came, the Lord had prepared me to put into action several ideas that had been rolling around in my head for some time.
  • Start each day in prayer and live more consistently aware of God's presence
  • Lead my family in worship each morning and evening
  • Exercise on a regular basis each week
  • Follow a planned reading schedule each day across a variety of categories

After one week, all of these disciplines have been put into practice very consistently. Now, how many weeks does it take to start a new habit? The challenge for me will be the many transitions that we face each year, moving between different parts of the country with different tasks and daily schedules in each place.