Thursday, May 31, 2012


"The Roman province of Macedonia lay in the northern part of GREECE and extended beyond the historic kingdom of Macedonia, from the Adriatic eastward to Thrace.  To the north lay the provinces of Illyricum and Moesia.  Southward it took in the area of Thessaly (and the mountainous range around Olympus).  To the southwest of Macedonia was the region of Epirus, and to the south the province of Achaia. . . ."

     David W. J. Gill, "Macedonia," in The new interpreter's dictionary of the Bible, ed. Katharine Doob Sakenfeld (Nashville, TN:  Abingdon Press, 2006), vol. 3, p. 761-762.

Achaia, Achaea

"The province of Achaia, formed after the incorporation of Greece in the Roman Empire (146 BCE), covered the area of the Peloponnese and southern mainland Greece. . . ."

     David W. J. Gill, "Achaia," in The new interpreter's dictionary of the Bible, ed. Katharine Doob Sakenfeld (Nashville, TN:  Abingdon Press, 2006), vol. 1, pp. 30-31.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Resurrection of the body

"Paul's teaching about the bodily resurrection arises out of a Jewish anthropology in which the 'soul' (Heb nepes; Gk psyche) is the animating principle of human life. . . . In mainstream Jewish thought human beings do not have souls, they are souls.  This anthropological underpinning has tremendous implications for a doctrine of the resurrection in that it refuses to surrender the somatic [(i.e. bodily)] component of a human being.  Resurrection involves the redemption of the physical body, although . . . the somatic nature of that resurrection gives scope for some of Paul's most creative thinking in 1 Corinthians 15:35-49. . . ."

     L. J. Kreitzer, "Resurrection," in Dictionary of Paul and his letters, ed. Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, and Daniel G. Reid (Downers Grove, IL:  InterVarsity Press, 1993), 810 (805-812).

"In Paul’s day, people believed heavenly bodies . . . were living things"

See, for example, Philo:

"Among lesser plants, that did not partake of its universal character, some were created with a capacity of moving from one place to another, others, meant to be stationary, lacked such a capacity for change of place.  Our name for those which have the power of locomotion is animals.  These took to . . . the several main divisions of our universe, land animals to earth, to water those that swim, the winged creatures to air, and to fire the fire-born. . . . The stars found their place in heaven.  Those who have made philosophy their study tell us that these too are living creatures [(ζῷα . . . νοερὰ)], but of a kind composed entirely of Mind.  Of these some, the planets, appear to change their position by a power inherent in themselves, others to do so as they are swept along in the rush of our universe, and these we call fixed stars."

     Philo, De plantatione (Concerning Noah's work as a planter) III.11-12, trans. F. H. Colson and G. H. Whitaker (Loeb classical library, Philo III (Cambridge, MA:  Harvard University Press, 1930), p. 218/219).

Enemies of God

"The terminology of 'enemy' (echthros), 'enmity' (echthra), 'hate' (miseō) and its various related images must be seen within the context of the dualism of Pauline thought.  Humanity is divided by Paul into 'those who are being saved' and 'those who are perishing' (1 Cor 1:18; 2 Cor 2:15); those of the kingdom of light and those of the domain of darkness (Col 1:12-13; cf. Gal 1:4); those who belong to Christ and those who belong to this world (Eph 2:1-10; 1 Cor 2:6-7).  The backdrop for this division is the supernatural conflict between the rule of Christ and 'the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly realms' (Eph 6:12; see Principalities and Powers).  It is to the latter categories that the term enemy properly applies. . . ."

     L. L. Belleville, "Enemy, enmity, hatred," in the Dictionary of Paul and his letters, ed. Gerald F. Hawthorne, Ralph P. Martin, & Daniel G. Reid (Downers Grove, IL:  InterVarsity Press, 1993), 235 (235-238).


"Formal fixed Christian creeds began to appear only in the 3rd and 4th century, but they have their roots in biblical statements of faith. . . .
     "In the NT there is the simple creedal acclamation:  'Jesus is Lord' (1 Cor 12:3, Phil 2:11). . . . In 1 Cor 15:3-7 is a statement with four elements:  Christ died, was buried, was raised, and appeared to believers. . . ."
     "Such formulations, with their poetic rhythms, were used in liturgical contexts. . . ."

     Barbara E. Reid, "Creed," in The new interpreter's dictionary of the Bible, ed. Katharine Doob Sakenfeld (Nashville, TN:  Abingdon Press, 2006), vol. 1, p. 789.

Monday, May 7, 2012


"'merit' designates man's right to be rewarded for a work done for God. The conception has its foundation in the Bible, where in both the OT and the NT rewards are promised to the just for their good works. . . . The term appears to have been first employed by Tertullian, who already recognizes diversity of merit followed by diversity of reward. . . . This doctrine was endorsed by Cyprian, Augustine (partly), and the later Fathers, until the theology of merit was fully developed by the Schoolmen. . . .
"The traditional doctrine of merit was repudiated by the Reformers, esp. by M. Luther, who taught the sinfulness of all human works whether done before or after justification. Most subsequent Protestant theology has denied that merit is a valid Christian category. . . ."

"merit" The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. Ed. F. L. Cross and E. A. Livingstone. © Oxford University Press 2005. The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church: (e-reference edition). Oxford University Press. Seattle Pacific University. 8 May 2012

Saturday, May 5, 2012

"Joseph Fletcher’s famous ethical question"

"Situation ethics is more Biblical and verb-thinking than Greek and noun-thinking.  It does not ask what is good but how to do good for whom; not what is love but how to do the most loving thing possible in the situation."

     Joseph Fletcher, Situation ethics:  the new morality (Philadelphia:  The Westminster Press, 1966), 52.