Hermeneutical Considerations Quotations

Better than Julicher

Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, p.402

Another characteristic of the Parables, in the stricter sense, is that in them the whole picture or narrative is used in illustration of some heavenly teaching, and not merely one feature or phase of it, as in some of the parabolic illustrations and proverbs of the Synoptists, or the parabolic narratives of the Fourth Gospel. Thus, in the parabolic illustrations about the new piece of cloth on the old garment (Luke 5:36), about the blind leading the blind (Luke 6:39), about the forth-putting of leaves on the fig-tree (Matt. 24:32); or in the parabolic proverbs, ‘Physician, heal thyself’ (Luke 4:23); or in such parabolic narratives of St. John, as about the Good Shepherd (John 10), or the Vine (John 15)�in each case, only one part is selected as parabolic. On the other hand, even in the shortest Parables, such as those of the seed growing secretly (Mark 4:26-29), the leaven in the meal (Matt. 13:33), and the pearl of great price (vv. 45,46), the picture is complete, and has not only only in one feature, but in its whole bearing, a counterpart in spiritual realities. But, as shown in the Parable of the seed growing secretly (Mark 4:26-29), it is not necessary that the Parable should always contain some narrative, provided that not only one feature, but the whole thing related, have its spiritual application.

In view of what has been explained, the arrangement of the Parables into symbolical and typical [by Goebel per footnote 16] can only apply to their form, not their substance. In the first of these classes a scene from nature or from life serves as basis for exhibiting the corresponding spiritual reality. In the latter, what is related serves as type (Gr:t�pos ), not in the ordinary sense of that term, but in that not unfrequent in Scripture: as examples�whether for imitation (Phil. 3:17; 1 Tim. 4:12), or in warning (1 Cor. 10:6,11). In the typical Parables the illustration lies, so to speak, on the outside; in the symbolical, within the narrative or scene. The former are to be applied; the latter must be explained.

This, it seems to me, is far more in harmony with the fact recorded in the Gospels, that the parables that Jesus explained (the Sower: Matthew 13:1-9 explained in vv.18-23; and the Weeds: Matthew 13:24-30 explained in vv. 36-43) every item in them is explained.


Quotations Theological Reflections

Knowledge of Good and Evil

This is from a larger statement by T.E. Wilder, made on the Puritanboard.

This is the point of the command in the garden, not to eat of the fruit of the tree. Adam saw that the fruit was good: that, by natural law so to speak, there was nothing wrong about eating it.

But the tree was the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. What was this knowledge? That good and evil are determined by the word of God and not by external nature (the goodness and beauty of the fruit) or by man’s internal nature (hunger, desire for nutrition, etc.). The tree, taken together with God’s command, gave this knowledge without man’s having to eat from it. Eating the fruit from the tree is not acquiring knowlege of good and evil but going against that knowledge.

Which is a way of looking at this that I had never thought of.


Hermeneutical Considerations Quotations

Carson on the “I am” sayings

D.A. Carson, ‘ �I Am� Sayings’, Evangelical Dictionary of Theology


In the NT, many �I am� sayings are supplied with a subjective completion (e.g., �I am the light of the world,� John 8:12) and therefore do not qualify as �I am� utterances in the absolute sense. More difficult are the few instances outside John’s Gospel where the text offers a simple eg? eimi (lit. �I am�) but where the context makes clear that the meaning is �It is I� or �I am he��with the antecedent of the �I� or �he� apparent in the surrounding verses. These are probably at best ambiguous self-disclosures of deity, hints for those familiar with OT; for many of Jesus’ prepassion self-revelations adopt such a stance of planned ambiguity. For instance, when Jesus walks to his frightened disciples across the surface of the water, he calms their fears by saying, eg? eimi, The context demands the conclusion that Jesus is identifying himself (�It is I�), showing that what they perceive is not a ghostly apparition (Mark 6:50). Yet not every �I� could be found walking on water: it would be premature to discount all reference to OT theophany. Again, Jesus warns his disciples against those who will lead many astray by claiming �I am� (Mark 13:6; Luke 21:8); but the context demands this be interpreted as �I am the Christ��as Matt. 24:5 makes explicit. Jesus used identical language at his trial (Mark 14:61-62) and similar language after his resurrection (Luke 24:39), in each case bearing some ambiguity.

The Fourth Gospel raises new questions. Although many of Jesus’ �I am� utterances recorded by John are supplied with explicit predicates (�I am the true vine,� �I am the good shepherd,� �I am the bread of life,� �I am the resurrection and the life�), two are undeniably absolute in both form and content (8:58; 13:19) and constitute an explicit self-identification with Yahweh who had already revealed himself to men in similar terms (Isa. 43:10-11). Jesus’ opponents recognize this claim to unity with Yahweh (John 8:58-59); in 13:19-20, Jesus himself proceeds to make it explicit. These two occurrences of the absolute �I am� suggest that in several other passages in John, where �I am� is formally absolute but a predicate might well be supplied from the context (e.g., 4:26; 6:20; 8:24,28; 18:5,6,8), an intentional double meaning may be involved.

And that was so good that I think I shall have to do something revolutionary, something that almost never happens, and add more books by D.A. Carson to my Amazon wish list.

Quotations Theological Reflections

The Death of Israel

Alfred Edersheim, The Life and Times of Jesus the Messiah, pp.298,299

It was, surely, a wondrously linked chain of circumstances, which bound the Synagogue to the Church. Such a result could never have been foreseen, as that, what really was the consequence of Israel’s dispersion, and, therefore, indirectly the punishment of their sin, should become the means of fulfilling Israel’s world-mission. Another instance this, of how Divine judgment always bears in its bosom larger mercy; another illustration how the dying of Israel is ever life to the world; another manifestation of that supernatural Rule of God, in which all is rule, that is, law and order, and all the supernatural, bringing to pass, in the orderly succession of events, what at the outset would have seemed, and really is, miraculous. For the Synagogue became the cradle of the Church. Without it, as indeed without Israel’s dispersion, the Church Universal would, humanly speaking, have been impossible, and the conversion of the Gentiles have required a succession of millenial miracles.


The dying of Israel is ever life to the world. I believe Edersheim makes his case with regard to the synagogue (fruit of the dispersion) and the church. But this principle, as is obvious from the very form of its statement, is also true in other ways. Paul takes up this thought, when thinking of the the Gospel reaching to the Gentiles, and says:

So I ask, did they stumble in order that they might fall? By no means! Rather through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles, so as to make Israel jealous. Now if their trespass mean riches for the world, and if their failure mean riches for the Gentiles, how much more will their full inclusion mean! Now I am speaking to you Gentiles. Inasmuch then as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry in order somehow to make my fellow Jews jealous, and thus save some of them. For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean, but life from the dead? (Romans 11:11-15, ESV)

The dying of Israel is life to the world in that through their trespass salvation has come to the Gentiles. An example of this can be found in the narrative of Acts 13. There Paul and Barnabas have come to Antioch of Pisidia and preached in the synagogue with a good deal of acceptance. However, in view of their popularity the Jews were jealous and opposed Paul. At which point Paul and Barnabas boldly say: It was necessary that the word of God be spoken first to you. Since you thrust it aside and judge yourselves unworthy of eternal life, behold we are turning to the Gentiles For so the Lord has commanded us, saying, �I have made you a light for the Gentiles, that you may bring salvation to thend of the earth.� (Acts 13:46,47: see also Acts 18:6.)

But there is yet another way in which it is true that the dying of Israel is life to the world. It is in connection with the Ideal Israelite, Jesus of Nazareth, the Christ of God. He is called out of Egypt in fulfillment of Hosea 11:1 (Matthew 2:13-15). But Hosea 11:1 is an historical statement relative to the Exodus. Jesus repeated that Exodus, however, that it might be clear that He is the true Israel, the true prince who has power with God and man. The Exodus pointed to Jesus. Isaiah 44 also established that Jesus is the true Israel:

But now hear, O Jacob my servant, Israel whom I have chosen! Thus says the Lord who made you, who formed you from the womb and will help you: Fear not, O Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen. For I will pour water on the thirsty land, and streams on the dry ground; I will pour my Spirit upon your offspring, and my blessing on your descendants. They shall spring up among the grass like willows by the flowing streams. This one will say, ‘I am the Lord’s,’ another will call on the name of Jacob, and another will write on his hand, ‘The Lord’s,’ and name himself by the name of Israel. (Isaiah 44:1-5, ESV)

That this is about Christ is established by the context: for instance, the parallel with Isaish 42:1-9, which Matthew applies to Christ (Matthew 12:15-21). Taking that as a given, then, it is very clearly true that the dying of Israel is life to the world. Jesus died: He is the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world; Jesus died: He offered Himself without spot to God; Jesus died: He triumphed over principalities and powers in the cross. Jesus died as the saviour of the world. And so His dying is the life of the world: And the bread that I will give for the life of the world is my flesh (John 6:51). And this dying of the new Israel was also through old Israel’s trespass �as Peter says to the �men of Israel�, this Jesus, delivered up according to the definite plan and foreknowledge of God, you crucified and killed by the hands of lawless men (Acts 4:23).

And that points us to another facet of this truth, something that Paul emphasizes and that is demonstrated clearly in Jesus. Death is not the end of the story. Paul anticipates the acceptance of Israel. They have stumbled, but not in order to fall. Their full inclusion will mean yet greater riches. And Jesus rose from the dead. That was His vindication: in it He was declared to be the Son of God with power (Romans 1:3,4). And His resurrection is for our justification (Romans 4:25). The dying of Israel is ever life to the world. The dying of Israel is always in connection with transgression. But the dying of Israel results in resurrection: and the resurrection of Israel is ever the inauguration of the unimaginable fullness of blessing.


Pastoral Care Quotations

A Letter from John Knox

John Knox to his mother-in-law, 1553

Where God saith, �It repenteth me that I made Saul king,� he means not, that Saul at any time was a member of Christ�s body; but that he was a temporal officer, promoted of God, and yet most inobedient to his commandment; and therefore, that he would provide another to occupy his room: and that where he says, �I repent,� we must understand him to speak after the manner of men, attemperating himself to our understanding. For otherwise, God repenteth not; for before, his majesty knew the inobedience and rebellion of the wicked king. But, Sister, God the Father cannot repent, that he hath engrafted us members of Christ�s body; for that were to repent the honor of His own Son, yea, and his own good work in us.

Abide patiently, and give no place to the temptations of the adversary. Let him shoot his darts in his despite; but say you in your heart, The Lord is my defender, and therefore shall I not be confounded: dolor shall be but for a moment, but ever and ever shall we reign with Jesus our Lord; whose Holy Spirit be your comfort to the end.


Quotations Theological Reflections

Leo the Great, Again: Again, on the Ascension

Leo the Great, �On the Lord�s Ascension, ii�

[Speaking of the apostles, he says that they] �made such progress after the Lord�s Ascension that everything which had previously filled them with fear was turned into joy. For they had lifted the whole contemplation of their mind to the Godhead of Him that sat at the Father�s right hand, and were no longer hindered by the barrier of corporeal sight from directing their minds� gaze to That Which had never quitted the Father�s side in descending to earth, and had not forsaken the disciples in ascending to heaven.�


Poetry Quotations

The Day of Wrath

A translation by Walter Scott of Thomas of Celano


That day of wrath, that dreadful day

When heav’n and earth shall pass away!

What powe’r shall be the sinner’s stay?

How shall he meet that dreadful day?

When, shriveling like a parched scroll,

The flaming heav’ns together roll;

When louder yet, and yet more dread,

Swells the high trump that wakes the dead;

O on that day, that wrathful day

When man to judgment wakes from clay

Be thou the trembling sinner’s stay

Though heav’n and earth shall pass away