Month: December 2008

Centennial Edition, Scofield Study Bible

I recently received a review copy of the Scofield Study Bible released in recognition of the 100th anniversary of the first publication of this study Bible (in 1909).Though I am not a dispensationalist, one must acknowledge the impressive impact the Scofield Study Bible has had in its time.

My point here though is to note, with disappointment, that the study Bible still lists “Church Order” as the “Theme” of 1Timothy and Titus.The notes in these letters are quite dated even in this update.

The Pastoral Epistles Through the Centuries

While at SBL I discovered the Blackwell Bible Commentaries series and picked up a review copy of one volume, The Pastoral Epistles Through the Centuries, by Jay Twomey.This is a fascinating series.According to the “Series Editors’ Preface:

The Blackwell Bible Commentaries series, the first to be devoted primarily to the reception history of the Bible, is based on the premise that how people have interpreted, and been influenced by, a sacred text like the Bible is often as interesting and historically important as what it originally meant.

The commentaries then do not seek to expound the text but to reveal how the texts have been understood and used.I don’t know any other source that provides this in as extensive a manner.We do have commentary series that survey patristic writers or reformation writers, but this series samples more broadly taking in general literature as well as explicitly theological writings.Thus, in the Pastorals volume Twomey interacts with Chrysostom and Calvin but also Cervantes and Chaucer.


So far I have found this volume to be very interesting.I will look to comment more in the future as I get further into the book.This whole series will be one to watch.

New Monograph on 1 Tim 2:1-7

Jesus as Mediator: Politics and Polemics in 1Timothy 2:1-7, Malcolm Gill

(Peter Lang, 2008), pb., 196 pp.

This is the published version of a PhD dissertation done at Dallas Theological Seminary. Gill’s main thesis is that 1Timothy 2:1-7 should be read as a polemic against the claim of Roman Emperor’s to be the “mediator” between the gods and humans.

Much has been written in recent years about the impact of the imperial cult on the New Testament, and Gill seeks to apply this to 1Timothy.In doing this he surveys the research previously done on the prominence of the imperial cult in Asia Minor (chapter 2) and investigates the possible backgrounds of the word mesites, translated as “mediator” in 1 Tim 2:5 (chapter 4).

I think one of the more useful parts of this book is his survey of research on the imperial cult in Asia Minor.However, I found myself unconvinced by the overall thesis.Gill argues for a Graeco-Roman background to the passage and its key vocabulary and against Jewish background.His arguments seem forced at places.I found myself more taken with the opposite argument put forward in a recent PhD dissertation done at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary by Chuck Hetzler titled, “Our Savior and King: Theology Proper in 1 Timothy.”Though unaware of Gill’s work (since it has just appeared), Hetzler provides more compelling evidence for Old Testament context for the vocabulary used of God in 1 Timothy.I hope Hetzler’s work will soon appear in published form so others can compare the arguments.

Gill’s book could have used another round of editing as well. It had numerous surveys of options which did not always contribute to the point of the argument.Also there were very many errors from spelling, to missing words, wrong words, etc.This detracted from the work.