Category Archives: Biblical Studies

Free Ebook for Kindle

How the Bible Came to Be is an Ebook short (about 60 pages) from The Baker Illustrated Bible Handbook. It is available free today only (May 25). The link I am including is only good for the United States.

Here is a list of the subjects covered.

  • Inspiration
  • Production and Shaping of the Old Testament Canon
  • Writing, Copying, and Transmitting the New Testament Text
  • The Canon of the New Testament
  • The Dead Sea Scrolls
  • The Septuagint
  • Bible Translation and the English Bible
  • Translations for the World

Use this link.

HT: Brooks Cochran

Does “Abba” mean “Daddy”?

You have heard it many times. Many of the things a preacher reads or hears sound good. So, he repeats it the next time he is speaking on a related topic. Then the members of the congregation begin to repeat it to their friends.

Child holding hand of adult.

But, is it true that Abba means something like daddy or papa?

In a series of posts beginning with the word FactChecker, Glenn T. Stanton  tracks down the origin of this idea to the German Lutheran New Testament scholar Joachim Jeremias in 1971. He also shows that several other reputable scholar responded in a scholarly way to the claim.

One of the sources he cites is a 1988 article by James Barr:

But in any case it was not a childish expression comparable with ‘Daddy’: it was a more solemn, responsible, adult address to a Father.

Ministers should read Stanton’s blog (here) before completing Sunday’s sermon.

And he said, “Abba, Father, all things are possible for you. Remove this cup from me. Yet not what I will, but what you will.” (Mark 14:36 ESV)

For you did not receive the spirit of slavery to fall back into fear, but you have received the Spirit of adoption as sons, by whom we cry, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:15 ESV)

And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, “Abba! Father!” (Galatians 4:6 ESV)

HT: BibleX

Florida College Lectures on Logos Pre-pub

Yesterday I explained a little about Logos Bible Software and their Community Pricing and Pre-publication Specials. Today I want to tell you about a set of Pre-pub books that are of special interest to me.

Florida College is an accredited (by the Southern Association) private liberal arts college that for decades has offered four years of Bible studies. The college does not accept funds from churches, but the board, administration and faculty are members of Churches of Christ that are often designated as non-instiutional.

Accreditation as a junior college was granted to Florida College in the mid-1950s, but the college continued to offer four years of Bible studies. Biblical Studies was the first accredited Bachelor’s degree to be offered in 1997.

Since its beginning in 1946, Florida College (earlier named Florida Christian College) conducted an annual Bible lecture program. Beginning in 1974 the main lessons in these lectureships were published in book form from the manuscripts of invited speakers. The speakers were teachers and ministers associated with Churches of Christ.

Melvin Curry followed Homer Hailey as chair of the Bible department after Hailey’s retirement in 1973. Nineteen of the volumes were edited by Curry. After that, it came my turn to edit ten volumes while I served as chair of Biblical Studies. Since my retirement in 2001, Daniel Petty has served as department chair and edited the annual lecture book.

FC Lectures 1996

There are a total of 38 volumes (1974–2011) in the series. Some of these volumes have been out of print for several years.

The Logos web site offers the following overview of the lecture books:

The Florida College Annual Lectures (1974–2011) brings you thirty-eight years of the college’s annual lectures series in complete written form. Prior to the first published lecture series in 1974, only content outlines were available.

Each volume includes fifteen or more lectures from contributors from various biblical fields, and focus on a specific theme. These themes deal with modern issues and are supported by recent scholarship. Learn what true worship entails. Discover how God can restore your life. Challenge yourself to share the gospel message. The Florida College Annual Lectures (1974–2011) (38 vols.) contains both informative and stimulating topics that allow you to apply the biblical principles found in its lectures to your daily walk with Christ.

With Logos, every word is essentially a link! Scripture references are linked directly to the Bibles in your library—both the original language texts and English translations. Logos Bible Software allows you to quickly move from the table of contents to your desired content and search entire volumes and collections by topic, title, or Scripture reference, making Logos the perfect software to expand your understanding of the Word.

How Pre-publication works. Books on Pre-pub will not be produced until Logos sees that there are enough orders to make the publication feasible. Interested customers lock in the pre-pub price. You must set up an account with Logos, but your card is not charged until the book or set is ready to deliver. You will be notified when the book is ready. At that time you have a choice to continue or cancel. You may have to wait 6 months or more until the work is ready.

The deal is great. This 38 volume set of Florida College Lectures is available on Pre-pub for $74.95. This set is scheduled to sell for $174 when it is published. Even that is a bargain.

In order for this great resource to become a reality, Logos need a few more people to agree to buy the completed work. Help yourself, and others, in this worthy effort.

Think about these 38 volumes for $75. There are more than 600 lectures. That’s about 12 cents per lecture. Even mine are worth that. The entire collection is searchable, along with all other works you have in your Logos collection. When a Scripture reference appears, simply mouse over it and the Scripture is visible in your preferred version of the Bible.

In a previous post here I have explained that you must have a Logos base package, or already have Logos on your computer.

Logos Bible Software is the premier digital publishing format for books dealing with Biblical Studies. If you are serious about Bible study, you need to investigate Logos.

Meanwhile. Go to the Logos web site and place your Pre-pub order NOW. The sooner Logos publishes, the sooner we can begin to utilize the search features in this entire set. You can always get to the information by going to Look under Products for the Pre-publication Specials. The direct link to info about the Florida College Annual Lectures, with a list of every lecture, is here.

Logos Community Pricing

Logos Bible Software has a feature called Community Pricing. It works like this. A book (or set) is chosen for publication. Interested persons are asked to place a bid on the completed digital publication. When there are enough bids to pay for publication the book is published. After the initial publication, the price goes up. I have purchased many Logos publications using Community Pricing and Pre-Publication Specials.

To use the Community Pricing or Pre-Pub specials you must already have Logos (or the older Libronix) on your computer. You may purchase a base package from Logos (here), or buy a relatively inexpensive set of books from someone like Rejoice Christian Software. I suggestion you buy something like the  Baker New Testament Commentary ($79.95 here), the Norman Geisler Apologetics CD-Rom Library ($29.95 here), or one of the other great specials they offer.

thompson_land-and-the-bookHere is a Community Pricing special too good to miss for anyone interested in the land of the Bible: The Land and the Book by William M. Thomson. This is an old work that is rich in information about the land and the culture of the Bible land.

Rich with scriptural landmarks and filled with hundreds of beautiful pen-and-ink illustrations, Thomson’s The Land and the Book has been a popular classic for over 100 years. Learn more about the people, places, and historical events behind the text you’re studying. Incorporate pictures, illustrations, and graphics into sermons, school papers, or Sunday school lesson plans. Whether you are a student, pastor, scholar, or layperson, the 3-volume Land and the Book is a must-have resource for Bible study or reading.

A work like this does not replace current studies, but it supplements them. Just go to Logos (here) and bid $18 on this work. If it sells for less you will pay less.
In the next post I will share another special pre-pub bargain.

The significance of Gaza

After my first tour to the Bible Lands, including Rome, Greece (Athens and Corinth), Egypt, Lebanon, Syria (Damascus), Jordan, and Israel, in April/May, 1967, I decided to make a second tour the following year. For many years, I always added some new places on each tour. In 1968 I added Beersheba and Gaza. The Gaza Strip (named such because of the long, narrow size of the small entity) had been under Egyptian control for several decades until June, 1967.

There was not much to see at Gaza. By the time we visited in 1968, Gaza was under Israeli control. We drove to the coast where there were only a few houses and some small fishing boats. This is one of the few slides that I have to illustrate the visit to Gaza.

Gaza on the Mediterranean Sea in May, 1968. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Gaza on the Mediterranean Sea in May, 1968. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Gaza is mentioned several times in the Old Testament. Here is a summary of these references.

  • Gaza was the southwestern boundary of the Canaanites in the table of Nations (Genesis 10:19).
  • The original inhabitants of Gaza were replaced by the Caphtorim, likely the ancestors of the Philistines (Deuteronomy 2:23).
  • Joshua defeated Canaanites “even as far as Gaza” (Joshua 10:41).
  • Joshua eliminated the Anakites except in Gaza, Gath, and Ashdod (Joshua 11:21-22). We recognized these cities as later belonging to the Philistines.
  • Gaza is listed as belonging to the tribe of Judah (Joshua 15:47; Judges 1:18).
  • The Midianites oppressed Israel, “as far as Gaza”, for seven years (Judges 6:4).
  • Samson had contact with the inhabitants of Gaza (Judges 16).
  • Gaza is listed as one of the five Philistine cities in the time of the Israelite Judges (1 Samuel 6:17).
  • Solomon controlled territory as far southwest as Gaza (1 Kings 4:24).
  • Hezekiah defeated the Philistines as far as Gaza and its territory (2 Kings 18:8).
  • Jeremiah makes reference to Gaza being conquered by Pharaoh (Jeremiah 47:1).
  • The prophets of Judah pronounced judgments upon Gaza (Amos 1:6-7; Zephaniah 2:4; Zechariah 9:5).

The only New Testament reference to Gaza is in Acts 8:26. Philip the evangelist was instructed to go south on the road that descends from Jerusalem to Gaza. English translators struggle with the issue of whether the city was desert, or the road leading to the city ran through a desert area. (I will leave that for some other time.)

The first display one sees as he enters the archaeology wing of the Israel Museum is that of the anthropoid coffins from Deir el-Balah, a site south of Gaza city. The coffins, excavated by Trude Dothan in 1972, bear evidence of Egyptian influence. They date to the 13th century B.C.
Anthropoid Coffins from Deir el-Balah in the Israel Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Anthropoid Coffins from Deir el-Balah in the Israel Museum. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Limited time bargain on a great Bible atlas is offering Carl Rasmussen’s Zondervan Atlas of the Bible for a limited time at the unusual price of $14.99. Click here.


I can’t promise that it will still be available by the time I get this posted, but you can try.

Update Noon  12-04-12:  I see the price is now $19.99. If you have a a Prime account with Amazon (postage free), or wish to add another item, the price may be better at $22.73 for Zondervan Atlas of the Bible.

This Atlas is an extremely good one. It is well written, accurate, colorful, filled with great photos and helpful maps. Earlier this evening I emailed a notice to folks who have traveled with me recently, or who plan to, with this note:

This is an excellent book for anyone planning a tour to Israel, or anyone who has been. It should be one of your most helpful Bible study tools.

One of the ladies who traveled to Israel earlier this year replied with this note:

That is a great price. I got one before we went. I use it daily as I read and it sure brings the scriptures alive. It is much more so now that we have seen the country.

Reading the Blogs

Charles Savelle (Bible X) tells about his enjoyable afternoon at Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary to visit the Dead Sea Scrolls and the Bible Exhibit (Fort Worth).  He describes the entire visit, step by step, including a list of “the scroll fragments and other manuscripts and Bibles” including a list of the Biblical verses included in the scroll fragments. A Qumran simulated dig is part of the exhibit. Charles includes a a hi-res photo of himself standing in a nice replica of a mikvah (ritual bath) at Qumran. Read the complete report here. The exhibit runs through January 13, 2013.

I enjoyed lunch with Charles one day at the recent ETS annual meeting. I find his Bible X blog helpful.

Luke Chandler reports here that a different Dead Sea Scrolls Exhibit is now open at the Cincinnati Museum Center. This exhibit includes about “600 biblically-related artifacts on loan from the Israel[i] Antiquities Authority.” Read more here. This exhibit which runs through April, 2013, has already been in New York and Philadelphia. Check our link to the New York exhibition here. The 39 page guide to the exhibit by Gordon Franz is still available.

The War Scroll displayed at the Cincinnati Museum.

The War Scroll displayed at the Cincinnati Museum Center.

Luke also comments on a recent comment by Dr. William Dever regarding the lack of evidence for the “Low Chronologyhere.

It was only yesterday that I came caught up with a post by Seth Rodriquez (Wild Olive Shoot)  written the day after the U.S. presidential election. He has some important words for those who may have been disappointed in the outcome of the election. See here.

The Annual Meetings # 3 (SBL)

The annual meetings of the American Academy of Religion and the Society of Biblical Literature were held this year at the McCormick Place Convention Center in Chicago. I think McCormick Place is the largest facility of this type that I have ever been in. Much walking was required to move between sessions. Fortunately there is a good system of escalators to move between levels of the facility.

With the two scholarly organizations meeting together the book exhibit is extremely large. It is impossible to show it all from floor level. Here is a little glimpse of the Baker Academic section.

The AAR/SBL book exhibit, Chicago, 2012. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

The AAR/SBL book exhibit, Chicago, 2012. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

David McClister, my former student and colleague at Florida College, looks over one of the map books on display in the exhibit hall.

Dr. David McClister looks over a map book at AAR/SBL 2012. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Dr. David McClister looks over a map book at AAR/SBL 2012. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

I spent my time at the SBL sessions dealing with Places in the Bible World. I attended the session on Polis and Ekklesia: Investigations of Urban Christianity Consultation. The theme for the five speakers this year was Roman Corinth.

The Biblical Lands and Peoples in Archaeology and Text Section covered a number of subjects including Moab, Ammon, the Philistines, first century priestly house in Jerusalem (Shimon Gibson), the possibility of a priestly order at Migdal-Gennesar (Richard Notley), et al.

One session consisted of archaeological reports on the new excavations at Azekah (Oded Lipschits, Yuval Gadot), the ongoing work at Khirbet Qeiyafa (Michael Hasel, Yosef Garfinkel, and Madeleine Mumcuoglu), and the new work at Jezreel (Norma Franklin).

Another session featured studies on the Egyptian invasion of the Sea Peoples (James Hoffmeier), Tell Tayinat (Tim Harrison), Tel Dor (Elizabeth Bloch-Smith), Ashkelon (Daniel Master), and Gath (Aren Maeir). There were a couple of other reports on the Philistines that I did not hear. It is always good to hear these reports first hand, long before the reports find their way into journals and books.

Aerial view of Tel Dor. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Aerial view of Tel Dor on the Mediterranean Coast. Photo by Ferrell Jenkins.

Dor has a long history extending from the Canaanite period around the 20th century B.C. It was also controlled by the Phoenicians, the Sea People, the Israelites, the Assyrians, the Babylonians, the Persians, the Greeks, and the Romans. Dor was abandoned in the third century A.D. (Biblical Archaeology Review, Nov./Dec. 2002).

For Biblical references to Dor, see here.

It is nice to be back home with on time flights.

The Annual Meetings # 2 (NEAS)

Attending the annual meetings of professional organizations allows one to keep up with the latest scholarly efforts of various scholars. When I was teaching I attended sessions dealing with the subjects I was teaching. I have always attended sessions dealing with archaeology because these help be to keep abreast of the field. On my tours, I am often able to tell the guides about discoveries that they have not yet learned about.

Some affiliated smaller organizations meet under the auspices of the larger one. The NEAS (Near East Archaeological Society) meets with ETS. I attended most of the sessions of the NEAS. Let me give you some idea about what I heard.

Charles Ailing, Did Moses Learn His Monotheism From Akhenaten? Mostly likely not. According to the Biblical chronology, Moses was earlier than Akhenaten.

Douglas Petrovich, Identifying the Tower of Babel and (Re-)Locating the Site of Its Construction. He suggested Eridu. Doug began his paper with a prayer in which he said, “Thank you for the thrill of learning, and thank you for the truth.”

Randall Price reported on “the Final Season of Excavation on the Qumran Plateau.” I did not hear his presentation about the search for Noah’s Ark. Seth Rodriquez looked at how archaeology provides insights into Psalm 144.

Morten Jensen, from Denmark, spoke about “Religious Motivation in the Archaeological Record of First-century Israel.” A paper on Metallurgy was read for a scholar who was unable to arrive from Germany.

We had two presentations by excavators at Gezer. Steven Ortiz spoke about the recent excavations. Daniel Warner spoke about the fabulous new find of the Gezer Water System. See our earlier report on this water system here.

Gezer Water System

Excavating Gezer Water System. Photo: Art Beaulieu. Courtesy BP & NOBTS.

The sessions last about three hours and have at least five presenters in each. One session was devoted to Wheaton College’s Contribution to Biblical Archaeology from Joseph P. Free to the Present. Alfred J. Hoerth, who served as chair of the department of archaeology, spoke of the contributions from Free to the present. Other speakers, all of whom attended and/or taught at Wheaton included Daniel Master (Ashkelon), John Monson, and Tom Davis. This was an extremely worthwhile session.

Free is known for his book about archaeology, but also for his excavation of the biblical site of Dothan. One interesting tidbit: Free purchased the tell of Dothan from the Jordanian landowner. I think this would be impossible today.

Dothan is known as the place where Joseph’s brothers sold him into slavery (Genesis 37:12-36).

Perhaps I can get to a few comments about the SBL meeting after I return home.

ETS Plenary Sessions Online

Charles Savelle reports that the video of the plenary sessions at the recent ETS meeting are available online here Individual links are listed below. Zondervan Academic, the provider of the videos, includes advertising that you may skip to get directly to the lecture.

The general theme of the 2012 annual meeting was Caring for Creation. In these four lectures you will find four competent scholars presenting differing views on a subject that is important to each of us.

Calvin Beisner “Creation Care and Godly Dominion: The Search for a Genuinely Biblical Earth Stewardship”

Russell Moore “Heaven and Nature Sing: How Evangelical Theology Can Inform the Task of Environmental Protection, and Vice-Versa”

Richard Bauckham “Reading the Bible in the Context of the Ecological Threats of our Time”

Douglas J. Moo “Biblical Theology and Creation Care”

HT: Charles Savelle @ Bible X