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Search Results for: bibliography john

Bibliography for Gems from John

Gingrich, F. W., BibleWorks 9 Software for Biblical Exegesis & Research. Norfolk, VA: BibleWorks, 2011

Hayford, Jack W., exec. ed. John: Living Beyond the Ordinary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2009.

Hendriksen, William. New Testament Commentary: Exposition of the Gospel According to John, Two Volumes Complete in One. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953.

Pink, Arthur W. Exposition of the Gospel of John: Three Volumes Complete and Unabridged in One. Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, 1975.

Christ in the Psalms: Bibliography

  • 31 Days of Wisdom and Praise: Daily Readings from the Books of Psalms and Proverbs, New International Version. Arranged by R. Dean Jones. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990, by International Bible Society.
  • Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology, Elk Grove, California. The Orthodox Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008.
  • Aland, Barbara, Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, and Bruce Metzger, Editors. The Greek New Testament, Fifth Revised Edition with Greek Text of Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 28th Edition. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2014.
  • Allen, Leslie C. Word Biblical Themes: Psalms. Waco: Word Books, 1987.
  • The Ancient Faith Psalter. Translated by © 2016 Ancient Faith Publishing. Chesterton: Ancient Faith Publishing, 2016.
  • Anderson, Bernhard W. with Steven Bishop. Out of the Depths: The Psalms Speak for Us Today, 3rd Edition, Revised and Expanded. Louisville: Westminster John Know Press, 2000.
  • Archer, Gleason L. and Gregory Chirichigno. Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 1983.
  • Arndt, William F. and F. Wilbur Gingrich, Editors. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 2nd Edition. Revised and Augmented by F. Wilbur Gingrich and Frederick W. Danker from Walter Bauer’s Fifth Edition, 1958. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1979.
  • Augustine, St. Aurelius. Expositions on the Psalms. Digital Psalms version 2007 (public domain), compiled by Ted Hildebrandt. Available at https://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/ted_hildebrandt/otesources/19-psalms/text/books/augustine-psalms/augustine-psalms.pdf. Accessed April 11, 2019.
  • Barclay, John. The Psalms of David, and the Paraphrases and Hymns: With a Dissertation on the Book of Psalms, and Explanatory Introductions to Each. Edinburgh: James Gall, 1826. Reprinted Digitally by Forgotten Books, registered trademark of FB &c Ltd., London, 2017. Available at http://www.ForgottenBooks.com, 2017. A better quality copy is available at https://babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=nyp.33433068259260;view=1up;seq=205;size=75. Accessed April 11, 2019.
  • Bates, Matthew W. The Birth of the Trinity: Jesus, God, and Spirit in New Testament & Early Christian Interpretations of the Old Testament. Oxford University Press: Oxford, United Kingdom, 2015 and Paperback Edition 2016.
  • Bates, Matthew W. The Hermeneutics of the Apostolic Proclamation: The Center of Paul’s Method of Scriptural Interpretation.  Baylor University Press: Wayco, Texas, 2012.
  • Bates, Matthew W. Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King. Baker Academic: Grand Rapids, Michigan, 2017.
  • Belcher, Richard P. Jr. The Messiah and the Psalms: Preaching Christ from All the Psalms. Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, Ltd., 2006.
  • BibleWorks. BibleWorks 9 Software for Biblical Exegesis & Research. Norfolk, VA: BibleWorks, 2011.
  • Bonar, Andrew A. Christ and His Church in the Book of Psalms: 150 Inspirational Studies. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1978.
  • Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1974 in paperback.
  • Brenton, Sir Lancelot C. L. The Septuagint Version: Greek and English. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1970.
  • Broyles, Craig C. Understanding the Bible Commentary Series: Psalms. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999.
  • Brueggemann, Walter. The Message of the Psalms: A Theological Commentary. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1984.
  • Bullock, C. Hassell. Encountering the Book of Psalms. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001.
  • Cameron, Michael. Christ Meets Me Everywhere: Augustine’s Early Figurative Exegesis. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.
  • Childs, Brevard S. Biblical Theology in Crisis. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1970.
  • Clowney, Edmund P. Preaching Christ in All of Scripture. Wheaton: Crossway, 2003.
  • Costley, Clare L. 2004. “David, Bathsheba, and the Penitential Psalms*.” Renaissance Quarterly 57, no. 4: 1235-1277
  • Crossway. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright © 2001,2007 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. This publication contains The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2007 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. It includes the January 2008 Update. See also English Standard Version Bible Online: http://www.biblestudytools.com/esv/psalms/ .
  • Darby, John, John Darby’s Synopsis, Whole Bible, Psalm 102, Available at Christianity.com, “Psalm 102 Bible Commentary: John Darby’s Synopsis,” https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary.php?com=drby&b=19&c=102#%5B1%5D, Accessed on November 17, 2017.
  • Dines, Jennifer M. The Septuagint. London and New York: T&T Clark, 2004.
  • ESV. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright © 2001, 2007, 2011 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. (ESV)
  • Feinberg, John S. and Paul D. Feinberg, Editors. Tradition and Testament: Essays in Honor of Charles Lee Feinberg. Chicago: Moody Press, 1981.
  • Friberg, Timothy, Barbara Friberg, and Neva F. Miller. Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament. Baker’s Greek New Testament Library. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000. BibleWorks, v.9.
  • Futato, Mark D. Edited by Howard, David M. Jr. Interpreting the Psalms: An Exegetical Handbook. Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic, 2007.
  • Gingrich, F. Wilbur and Frederick William Danker, Editors. Shorter Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, 2nd Edition. Copyright © 1965 by The University of Chicago Press.
  • Hawker, Robert S. The Poor Man’s Old Testament Commentary: The Book of Psalms, public domain. Available at http://grace-ebooks.com/library/Robert%20Hawker/RH_Poor%20Man%27s%20Old%20Testament%20Commentary%20Vol%204.pdf, published by Grace Baptist Church of Danville, Kentucky. Accessed May 3, 2018.
  • Hays, Richard B. Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1989.
  • The Holy Bible: New International Version®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide. See also (New International Version Bible Online): http://www.biblestudytools.com/colossians/. See also http://www.biblestudytools.com/esv/psalms/.
  • Horne, George, Lord Bishop of Norwich. A Commentary on the Book of Psalms: In Which Their Literal and Historical Sense, as They Relate to King David and the People of Israel, Is Illustrated; and Their Application to Messiah, to the Church, and to Individuals as Members Thereof, Is Pointed Out; With a view to render the Use of the Psalter pleasing and profitable to all orders and degrees of Christians. Philadelphia: Alexander Towar, 1822.
  • Horsley, Samuel Lord Bishop. The Book of Psalms; Translated from the Hebrew: With Notes, Explanatory and Critical. London: 1815.
  • Jobes, Karen H. and Moises Silva. Invitation to the Septuagint. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2000.
  • Jones, R. Dean, Arranger. 31 Days of Wisdom and Praise. International Bible Society. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990.
  • King’OO, Clare Costley. Miserere Mei: The Penitential Psalms in Late Medieval and Early Modern England. Notre Dame, IA: University of Notre Dame Press, 2012.
  • Law, Timothy Michael. When God Spoke Greek: The Septuagint and the Making of the Christian Bible. New York: Oxford University Press, 2013.
  • Lewis, C. S. Reflections on the Psalms: The Celebrated Musings on One of the Most Intriguing Books of the Bible. Boston and New York: Mariner Books, a division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1958, 1986 and 2012.
  • Lynch, David K. “The San Andreus Fault.” Geology.com: Geoscience News and Information. https://geology.com/articles/san-andreas-fault.shtml. Accessed 4/7/2018.
  • Marcos, Natalio Fernandez Marcos. The Septuagint in Context: Introduction to the Greek Version of the Bible. Translated by Wilfred G. E. Watson. Netherlands: Society of Biblical Literature, 2000.
  • Nestle-Aland, Editors. Novum Testamentum Graece, 26th Edition. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1979, 1987.
  • NIV. The Holy Bible: New International Version®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide. (New International Version Bible Online): http://www.biblestudytools.com/colossians/
  • Pietersma, Albert, ed. A New English Translation of the Septuagint: The Psalms. Translated by Albert Pietersma. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007. Available online at http://ccat.sas.upenn.edu/nets/edition/24-ps-nets.pdf. Accessed April 27, 2018.
  • Pink, Arthur. An Exposition of Hebrews. Baker Book House: Grand Rapids, 1954.
  • Rahlfs, Alfred, Editor. LXT – LXX Septuaginta (LXT) (Old Greek Jewish Scriptures), Copyright © 1935 by the Württembergische Bibelanstalt / Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (German Bible Society), Stuttgart.
  • Rahlfs-Hanhart. Septuaginta: Editio altera. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2006.
  • Reardon, Patrick Henry. Christ in the Psalms, 2nd edition. Chesterton: Ancient Faith Publishing, 2011.
  • Saphir, Adolph. The Divine Unity of Scripture. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1896. Public Domain.
  • Saphir, Adolph and Cortesi, Lawrence. “Chapter 4. Christ Above the Angels (Hebrews 1:5-2:4)” in The Epistle to the Hebrews: An Exposition. Public Domain. Available at http://juchre.org/saphir/heb2.htm Accessed 7/30/2017.
  • Spurgeon, Charles. The Treasury of David: Containing an Original Exposition of the Book of Psalms; A Collection of Illustrative Extracts from the Whole Range of Literature; A Series of Homiletical Hints upon Almost Every Verse; And Lists of Writers upon Each Psalm in Three Volumes. Peabody: Henrickson Publishers, No Date.
  • Thayer, Joseph. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Abridged and Revised Thayer Lexicon). Ontario, Canada: Online Bible Foundation, 1997. BibleWorks, v.9. 
  • Tigay, Jeffrey H. “Psalm 7:5 and Ancient Near Eastern Treaties.” Journal of Biblical Literature 89, no. 2 (1970): 178-86. doi: 10.2307/3263047.
  • Tournay, Raymond Jacques. Seeing and Hearing God with the Psalms: The Prophetic Liturgy of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Translated by J. Edward Crowley. Sheffield, England: Journal for the Study of the Old Testament (JSOT) Supplement Series 118, 1991.
  • Waltke, Bruce K. and James M. Houston with Erika Moore. The Psalms as Christian Lament: A Historical Commentary. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2014.
  • Waltke, Bruce K. and James M. Houston with Erika Moore. The Psalms as Christian Worship: A Historical Commentary. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010.

 

Link to Contents Page

Link to Annotated Bibliography   

Christ in the Psalms: An Annotated Bibliography

While my approach to Psalms is independently my own, in the sense that I first recognized Christ’s voice in Psalms before I consulted other sources, over roughly the past eight years, I have looked for confirmation from other writers. My viewpoint is that the Psalms are about Christ, and even further, predominantly his own words, spoken prophetically through human authors by means of the Holy Spirit. Confirmation is difficult to find, both within Christian devotional and academic literature. Fortunately, as the Lord has guided my search, I have had some small success.

Because I will quote various authors in future posts, I want to introduce and briefly describe in advance the few books and authors I value.

Topic

My authorial intent in writing the series of articles in this blog is to encourage readers to seek the Lord’s own voice within the Psalter. For devotional purposes, hearing the Son’s voice through psalmic prophets carries great reward. With this intention in mind, the following few books have confirmed my own discoveries.

There are not many devotional books nor scholarly books available to the average reader who seeks either guidance or confirmation in hearing and identifying the Lord Christ’s voice in Psalms. I believe that the New Testament authors of the gospels, Acts, and letters did hear the Christ’s voice in Psalms and other books of the Old Testament. Christ himself, as recorded in several gospel locations (Matthew 22:44 and parallels; Luke 24:25-27; 44-47) perceived the Old Testament to have been written about himself. After his resurrection, he gave his disciples his own key to this understanding and helped them unlock the Scriptures for themselves (Acts 2:25-36). The author of Hebrews also wrote extensively about the Old Testament with the Christological viewpoint in mind.

The following annotated list includes authors favorable to the view that the Psalter and other biblical books contain a record of prayers and speech occurrences performed by Christ during all ages of his eternal existence and especially during his incarnation. These have been handed down prophetically through Old Testament authors by means of the Holy Spirit. In some of these speech occurrences, dialogue between Father and Son is displayed.

Discerning and dividing God’s Word in a manner that includes recognition of divine speech and dialogue in Psalms (and elsewhere in Scripture) is a rich and sorely overlooked field of study today. I hope this small list proves useful to those few who may be interested.

Bibles

New International Version Bible (NIV)

The Holy Bible: New International Version®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide. See also (New International Version Bible Online): http://www.biblestudytools.com/colossians/. See also http://www.biblestudytools.com/esv/psalms/.

I recommend the versions published before the 2011 revision. I do not recommend that version because the gender neutral language erased some of the direct references to Christ “the man.”

Although the NIV uses a dynamic equivalence method, the older editions adhere to the literal intention of the text and are not influenced by a heavily biased set of presuppositions regarding hermeneutic principles.

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man who does not walk in the counsel of the wicked or stand in the way of sinners or sit in the seat of mockers. (NIV, 1983 Print Edition)

31 Days of Wisdom and Praise: Daily Readings from the Books of Psalms and Proverbs, New International Version. Arranged by R. Dean Jones. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990, by International Bible Society.

A small, pocket-sized NIV paperback arranged with five psalms per day, not in sequence. On a typical day, such as Day 25, for example, the reader would discover Psalms 25, 55, 85, 115, and 145. This edition provides a palatable way to read across the psalms and to finish the entire book in one month. Because of the unique arrangement, the reader is exposed to thematic connections within the psalms that otherwise might not be noticed in a strictly chronological reading. This is a very comfortable book in which to read and make small notations as in a daily devotional. There are few notes and no commentary.

The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright © 2001, 2007, 2011 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. (ESV)

The ESV is a solid, clear, reliable, trustworthy, and consistent biblical translation based on literal hermeneutic principles. References include citations at the beginning of notes for a given passage, multiple citations are given, and the reader is not overly burdened by excessive notes.

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man who walks not in the counsel of the wicked, nor stands in the way of sinners, nor sits in the seat of scoffers; (ESV)

For those who may have access to digital or printed Bibles in the original languages, I recommend the following (which is also available in print):

Brenton, Sir Lancelot C. L. The Septuagint Version: Greek and English. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1970.

Although the number of translations of the Septuagint (LXX) into English (LXE) have increased recently, for biblical research I recommend Brenton’s as one which adheres fairly closely to the Greek text and has not been redacted, or edited, to match the Masoretic (Hebrew) tradition. Because New Testament authors used the Septuagint as their personal Bibles and most often quoted a Septuagint version in their writing, it is a useful and important version to have for textual comparisons. Further, the Septuagint, although written a few centuries before Christ appeared, seems to make his prophetically proclaimed presence in the Old Testament clearer than many English translations based upon the Masoretic text and influenced by a biblical hermeneutic that discourages what translators sometimes term reading backward into a text. The Septuagint translators cannot be accused of interpreting the Old Testament in view of light from the New, since events of the New Testament were still future when the Septuagint translations were written.

Psalm 1:1 Blessed is the man who has not walked in the counsel of the ungodly, and has not stood in the way of sinners, and has not sat in the seat of evil men. (LXE)

Note: For the purpose of hearing the voice of Christ in Psalms, most study Bibles will not help readers, and many may hinder. A good reference Bible that includes both forward and backward citations, word use references, and allusions between the Old and New Testaments is very useful. I do recommend the Bibles described above.

Other Resources

Archer, Gleason L. and Gregory Chirichigno. Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 1983.

As the title suggests, this book is a “must have” for locating Old Testament quotations that appear in the New Testament.

Barclay, John. The Psalms of David, and the Paraphrases and Hymns: With a Dissertation on the Book of Psalms, and Explanatory Introductions to Each. Edinburgh: James Gall, 1826. Reprinted Digitally by Forgotten Books, registered trademark of FB &c Ltd., London, 2017. Available at http://www.ForgottenBooks.com, 2017.

John Barclay, a Berean preacher of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, determined quite against the established church to preach what he uncovered in Scripture alone, no matter where that Scripture might lead. Accordingly, he ranks among those who recognize the figure of Christ the Messiah present throughout the Psalter, including Psalm 1. Just as he hears the Son’s prayers, he also hears the Father’s reply. He is one of very few who delineates a two-part dialogue in Psalm 102, as cited in Hebrews 1. He labels Psalm 102 with the superscription, “A pray’r of God’s afflicted Son…”

Even though Barclay’s Psalter is paraphrased verse, its rendering is remarkably literal. He reserves his comments and the detailed defense of his view for the initial preface to Psalm 1, raising and answering many objections to the understanding that Christ prays all the Psalms, and to the shorter prefaces before each of the other psalms.

Bates, Matthew W. The Birth of the Trinity: Jesus, God, and Spirit in New Testament & Early Christian Interpretations of the Old Testament. Oxford University Press: Oxford, United Kingdom, 2015 and Paperback Edition 2016.

Matthew W. Bates, Ph.D., The University of Notre Dame is Assistant Professor of Theology at Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois.

To paraphrase E. B. White’s Wilbur the Pig, “It is not often that someone comes along who is a true Christian and a good scholar. Matthew Bates is both.” In The Birth of the Trinity, Bates has gifted his readers a treasure chest. This is a magnificent book replete with highly detailed bibliographic and substantive footnotes, end references, and beautiful biblical, topical, and primary, secondary, ancient, and modern bibliographic indices.

Everything Bates writes is thoroughly focused and impressively complete on the topic of divine dialogue between Father and Son, as evidenced in the ancient Jewish Scripture, i.e., the Old Testament. As he demonstrates the early concept of Trinity, Bates closely examines and dissects biblical passages from the Old Testament that evidence speaker shifts, or dialogue, between the Divine Persons.  Then, just as thoroughly, he reviews the literary reception history of these passages that is found in the pages of the New Testament (by Jesus, Peter, Paul, Luke, the author of Hebrews, and others) and in extra-biblical, coeval literature by authors such as Irenaeus, Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and Origen. By these methods, he demonstrates that the Trinitarian God has “an unremitting personal concern for one another” (204) and that “the Christology of our earliest Christian sources is as high as that of our later sources.” (ibid.)

As concerns the topic of divine dialogue within Scripture, Bates performs the inestimably valuable service of structuring a framework of analysis, introducing a vocabulary (prosopological exegesis), and proposing a methodology for any reader to recognize and critically test such biblical speech. This book is a scholar’s prayer come true on the topic of divine dialogue in Scripture.

Bates, Matthew W. The Hermeneutics of the Apostolic Proclamation: The Center of Paul’s Method of Scriptural Interpretation.  Baylor University Press: Wayco, Texas, 2012.

Matthew W. Bates, Ph.D., The University of Notre Dame is Assistant Professor of Theology at Quincy University in Quincy, Illinois.

While this book is about Paul’s use of kerygmatic proclamation, Matthew Bates’ central argument in exegeting Paul’s hermeneutic is Paul’s use of the reading technique Bates calls “prosopological exegesis.” He gives this topic three entire chapters, pages 183-355.

The book is excellent both for understanding this overlooked literary technique employed by the Holy Spirit through the prophets of the Old Testament and as a resource for further study of other authors writing on the same topic.

Belcher, Richard P. Jr. The Messiah and the Psalms: Preaching Christ from All the Psalms. Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, Ltd., 2006.

From the back cover of the book: Dr. Richard Belcher is Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, North Carolina. He received an MDiv from Covenant Theological Seminary and a PhD from Westminster Theological Seminary. He is also an active pastor.

Richard Belcher’s book tends more towards scholarship than devotion; however, his Christian beliefs shine forth in this work. The book discusses the psalms topically, according to received categories, such as Royal Psalms, direct and indirect Messianic Psalms, Psalms of orientation, disorientation, and new orientation, among others. Only thirty of the one hundred and fifty psalms are covered in particular analysis.

Belcher does not overtly recognize “speech” as such in this book. For example, he labels as oracles what Bates (above) terms “reported speech” in Psalm 110. Belcher appears to take a “middle of the road” approach regarding Christ in the Psalms. While he freely proposes the Psalms to be about Christ and demonstrates how many might be applicable to him, he does not seem to go beyond what current, traditional scholarship might accept. Belcher includes an excellent set of notes and bibliography. While there is a biblical index, there is no topical index.

BibleWorks. BibleWorks 9 Software for Biblical Exegesis & Research. Norfolk, VA: BibleWorks, 2011.

BibleWorks is currently in its 10th edition. While not inexpensive, it is far less expensive than Logos, and its quality and user friendliness is supreme. Nearly all language translations are available, including photos of the original Dead Sea Scrolls. Users can design their own parallel columns with as many versions as they choose. BibleWorks contains all the digital and original language features any scholar or lay person might want. It does not contain commentaries. I highly recommend BibleWorks as being well worth its cost.

Bonar, Andrew A. Christ and His Church in the Book of Psalms: 150 Inspirational Studies. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1978.

Andrew Bonar, a nineteenth century (1810-1892) minister in the Church of Scotland and the Scottish Finieston Free Church, was a contemporary of Charles H. Spurgeon.

Bonar’s book on Psalms is a blessing to read, filled with the love, joy, and peace emanating from his devotion to Christ, as he is portrayed in Psalms and other Scripture, both Old and New Testaments. Bonar is an outstanding scholar who gives copious references to other works, which he cites in both text and footnotes, and who frequently cites both Hebrew and Greek.

Bonar is not ashamed to own Christ in the Psalms, yet he does so gently by biblical demonstration, never appearing strident or as though he has a point to prove. He recognizes divine dialogue. For example, he hears the plaintive voice of the suffering, incarnated Christ in Psalm 102, and he distinguishes the Father’s direct address to Christ as being one of reply: “From the Garden of Gethsemane…Sorrowful unto death, his soul cries, …” and, “It is here (compare Heb. i. 10-12) that the voice from the Father addresses him.” (303) Very few scholars, or even devotional writers, are able and/or willing to name Christ as the poor person in Psalm 102 and to hear the words of divine dialogue within that psalm. Bonar does.

Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1974 in paperback.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer, best known perhaps for his being a willing martyr’s sacrifice at the hand of the Nazis, wrote his slim devotional book on Psalms in 1943.

Bonhoeffer writes, “And he [David] is not unaware of this, but ‘being therefore a prophet, and knowing that God had sworn with an oath to him that he would set one of his descendants upon his throne, he foresaw and spoke of the resurrection of the Christ’ (Acts 2:30 f.). David was a witness to Christ in his office, in his life, and in his words. The New Testament says even more. In the Psalms of David the promised Christ himself already speaks (Hebrews 2:12; 10:5) or, as may also be indicated, the Holy Spirit (Hebrews 3:7). These same words which David spoke, therefore, the future Messiah spoke through him. The prayers of David were prayed also by Christ. Or better, Christ himself prayed them through his forerunner David” (18-19).

Cameron, Michael. Christ Meets Me Everywhere: Augustine’s Early Figurative Exegesis. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

Michael Cameron wrote Christ Meets Me Everywhere while an Associate Professor of Historical Theology at the University of Portland in Oregon.

As Cameron explains in his introduction, he was careful to enter into the mind of Augustine himself in order to lead readers into an understanding of this prodigious writer in the context of his own times and mindframe. Chapter 6 is titled, “Hearing Voices: Christ at Prayer ‘In the Psalm and on the Cross.” It explores Augustine’s Exposition of the Psalms and the interpretive method of uncovering the use of prosopoligical exegesis within the psalms, a rhetorical device common in the classics and during the time period when the Psalter was written.

Cameron writes concerning Augustine and the psalms, “He read them according to the Church’s already ancient tradition, which heard them not only speaking about Christ but even as transcribing the thoughts of Christ’s inner life” (Christ Meets Me Everywhere, 9).

Hays, Richard B. Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul. New Haven & London: Yale University Press, 1989.

Richard B. Hays is a highly respected, world-renowned scholar of New Testament theology and its writers. He was Dean of Duke Divinity School as recently as 2015.

Hays’ approach to Paul’s letters is fresh, vibrant, and alive. While the goal of the book is not to challenge one of the most dearly held tenets of modern exegesis, namely, that a biblical text can only mean what it meant to its original readers, he does just that. Scrupulously using all the tools of exegetical academics, he casts the Apostle Paul as a charismatic writer and seeks to prove by means of Paul’s own words that the biblical text is alive and interactive, even today. He also grants today’s readers permission to read Scripture as Paul did. I happened to finish reading the book on a New Year’s Eve, and truly, Hays sets off a giant bundle of fireworks in the field of biblical exegesis.

Hays writes, “Illuminated by the Spirit…Paul’s reading of Scripture are transformative: by correlating God’s word to Israel with the new circumstances of his churches and the content of his kerygma, he generates novel interpretations that nonetheless claim to be the true, eschatologically disclosed sense of the ancient texts. Even passages that might have seemed perspicuous, such as Deut. 30:11-14, turn out to have concealed a meaning manifest only in Paul’s inspired reading, a meaning that neither Moses nor Ezra could have guessed…” (Echoes, 154-155).

In answer to the question, May we as today’s readers do what Paul did, Hays replies, “Yes.” “…Paul’s readings of Scripture enact a certain imaginative vision of the relation between Scripture and God’s eschatological activity in the present time. To learn from Paul how to read Scripture is to learn to share that vision, so that we can continue to read and speak under the guidance of the Spirit, interpreting Scripture in light of the gospel and the gospel in light of Scripture… Paul exhorted his readers to become imitators of him (1 Cor. 4:16, 11:1; Phil. 3:17). Surely to imitate him faithfully we must learn from him the art of reading and proclaiming Scripture (Echoes, 183).

Law, Timothy Michael. When God Spoke Greek: The Septuagint and the Making of the Christian Bible. New York: Oxford, University Press, 2013.

“Timothy Michael Law is Founding Editor of the Marginalia Review of Books, Contributing Editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books, and Lecturer in Divinity at the University of St Andrews. He has been an Alexander von Humboldt Fellow in the Georg-August-Universität Gottingen (2012-2014), a British Academy Postdoctoral Fellow in the Oriental Institute at the University of Oxfored (2009-2012), and a Junior Research Fellow at the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies (2009-2014)” (http://marginalia.lareviewofbooks.org/masthead/timothy-michael-law/. Accessed May 16, 2018).

Law writes, “What would modern Christian theology look like if its theologians returned the Septuagint to the place it occupied at the foundation of the church, or at least began to read it alongside the Hebrew Bible, as a witness to the story of the Bible and in acknowledgment of its role in shaping Christianity? … I have tried to do the work of the historian, and perhaps now the door is open wide enough for the theologians to walk through it” (When God Spoke Greek, 171) .

Law’s book is a “thriller” of the academic world, not too difficult for the lay reader to follow, and definitely difficult to lay aside without reading to its very last page. Of great value to the student are the 35 plus pages of bibliographic notes. Its main point, which is the tremendous role the Septuagint played in shaping both the New Testament and the theology of the early church through Origen, Augustine, and up until Jerome, is easy to follow and to grasp.

Pink, Arthur. An Exposition of Hebrews. Baker Book House: Grand Rapids, 1954.

Arthur Pink (1886-1952) of the Reformed tradition, was born in Great Britain, studied at the Moody Bible Institute in Chicago, pastored in four states of the United States, became an itinerant preacher, returned to Scotland in 1940, and continued writing until his death. Pink is widely respected today as a biblical scholar, and his book of 1,307 pages, An Exposition of Hebrews, is now a classic.

Why include a commentary on Hebrews in a bibliography about Psalms? Psalms is quoted in Hebrews at least 16 times. Citations from the Psalter form the backbone of the writer’s basic arguments in the first and second chapters of Hebrews, as well as elsewhere in the book. Most relevant to this discussion, the Letter to the Hebrews is a large and important piece of evidence in the reception history of Psalms in the early church.

Hebrews provides tremendous evidence that the writer of the letter and the readers in that day clearly understood that Psalms includes dialogue between Father and Son. While Pink authored his book on Hebrews long before Matthew Bates (see above) most likely was born, he himself uses Bates’ prosopological exegesis (this refers to a reading technique in which the reader understands that the psalmist writer has slipped into in-character-dialogue, often between Father and Son, within the text of the psalm) in his understanding and explaining the text of Hebrews in relevant portions (of course he did not use Bates’ unique term for this reading technique). Chapter 1 of Hebrews is replete with the biblical author’s use of prosopological exegesis to make his points to his readers. Pink recognizes these instances as matters of fact and expounds these psalmic passages for his readers in a completely unselfconscious manner with the portions of dialogue clearly explained.

Reardon, Patrick Henry. Christ in the Psalms, 2d ed. Chesterton: Ancient Faith Publishing, 2000, 2011.

Taken from the back cover of his book, “Patrick Henry Reardon is pastor of All Saints Antiochian Orthodox Church in Chicago.” He has written several books, including The Jesus We Missed (2012) and Reclaiming the Atonement Volume 1: The Incarnation (2015).

Psalms is the book most often quoted in the New Testament. According to the authors of the New Testament, writes Reardon, Christ “walks” within the Psalms. (viii) “…to pray the psalms is to pray them in Jesus’ name, because the voice in the Psalter is Christ’s own voice. Christ is the referential center of the Book of Psalms.” … “Ultimately, the words of the psalms are the mighty name of Jesus broken down into its component parts. Thus has it always been.” (viii)

Reardon’s work contradicts the recent academic premise, introduced during the Enlightenment, that the Old Testament can only mean what its human authors and the listeners of that day may have thought it meant, as reconstructed by today’s scholars. The “radical premise” (viii) of Reardon’s approach to Psalms is the theological unity of the Old and New Testaments. Further, the foundation of the biblical unity is the continuity of the church with ancient Israel. (viii)

Reardon demonstrates that the Psalter, like many other parts of Scripture, includes dialogue in multiple voices. Reardon compares the dialogue to mini-dramas. When we pray the prayers of Psalms, we enter into the voice and character of Christ the Son of God, as he and the Father engage in dialogue with one another. We also enter into the conversation between the Church and God, Father and Son, that is audible in both Testaments. Reardon claims that it is the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts to teach us these things, “And we impart this in words not taught by human wisdom but taught by the Spirit, interpreting spiritual truths to those who are spiritual.” (1 Corinthians 2:13 ESV) Reardon labels his viewpoint concerning the unity of Old and New Testaments “radical.” (viii) I can heartily agree, as sadly, in today’s era, we do not find this viewpoint often encouraged.

Concerning divine dialogue within the Psalms, Reardon appeals to Justin Martyr. “‘The Divine Word,’ said Justin, ‘sometimes speaks as from the person [apo prosopou] of God, the Ruler and Father of all, sometimes as from the person [apo prosopou] of Christ, sometimes from the person [apo prosopou] of the peoples answering the Lord or His s

The remainder of Reardon’s book explores each psalm individually with Christ in view throughout. His presentation is both devotional and scholarly, including multiple citations from related portions of Scripture and occasional references to other authors.

For a casual audience, Reardon is vastly more readable than Bates (above), because Reardon does not include the prolific technical detail of the latter. Sadly, Reardon does not include an index.

Saphir, Adolph. The Divine Unity of Scripture. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1896. Public Domain. Available at https://archive.org/stream/divineunityofscr00saph/divineunityofscr00saph_djvu.txt. Accessed 3/08/2018.

Adolph Saphir (1831-1891) was born in Hungary of Jewish parents. The entire family converted to Christianity in response to the Jewish mission of the Church of Scotland. He became a Christian pastor and lived most of his adult life in Great Britain. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Saphir,_Adolph_(DNB00).

This book is fresh air. While it is not about Psalms in particular, it is about Scripture from the perspective of one converted to Christianity from Judaism. Adolph Saphir captures the essence of the Reformation and marries Scripture and the Holy Spirit. His view is that Scripture, by means of the Holy Spirit, is available to all, regardless of education or “expertise.” While the pastor/teacher’s role in scriptural interpretation is genuine, that role is to present the “key” that allows readers to unlock Scripture for themselves, much as Phillip presented the key to the Ethiopian eunuch, who then went on his way without Phillip, the book of Isaiah happily in his hands. The key which both Phillip and Saphir present is Christ, whom they acknowledge as the center of Scripture.

Saphir writes, “The synagogue has given me the Old Testament, and am I therefore to deny that Jesus is the Messiah? Because the synagogue has given me the Old Testament, am I bound to interpret the Old Testament with their blindness? I am thankful that it has given me the Old Testament, but it has no authority to interpret to me the Old Testament. [See note below*.] And as for the Church that has given me the New Testament, I am thankful to the Church that has given me the New Testament. But the authority of the Church in interpreting the New Testament, specially [spelling in original]  when it says exactly the opposite to what is written in the New Testament, certainly no Christian can acknowledge, for the Scripture is very simple and plain.” (143-144)

*This author’s Note: Contra the mantra, The Old Testament can only mean what the original authors and readers of that day would have understood it to mean.

Saphir, Adolph and Cortesi, Lawrence. “Chapter 4. Christ Above the Angels (Hebrews 1:5-2:4)” in The Epistle to the Hebrews: An Exposition. Public Domain. Available at http://juchre.org/saphir/heb2.htm Accessed 7/30/2017.

Adolph Saphir (1831-1891) was born in Hungary of Jewish parents. The entire family converted to Christianity in response to the Jewish mission of the Church of Scotland. He became a Christian pastor and lived most of his adult life in Great Britain. https://en.wikisource.org/wiki/Saphir,_Adolph_(DNB00).

In his exposition of the book of Hebrews, Adolph Saphir acknowledges the voice of Christ in all the psalms. He writes, “Christ is in all the psalms; they speak of Him.” To Saphir, not only do the psalms speak of Christ, but both Christ and the Father speak to one another from within psalms. One example is Psalm 102. Saphir writes, “Then it is that God the Father replies to Him, ‘Thou, Lord, in the beginning hast laid the foundation of the earth; and the heavens are the works of thine hands’ (Heb 1:10)… this suffering One is the Lord; He is the same, and His years fail not.” (Both of the above quotations can be found at https://juchre.org/saphir/heb2.htm.)

…………………….

The foregoing Annotated Bibliography is hardly a beginning. Hopefully, as time progresses, the list of authors who hear divine dialogue within the pages of Psalms will increase.

 

Link to the full bibliography

Link to first article for this series

Link to Contents for this series

 

 

1 Psalms Bible Study: Bibliography

Outline of Series

 

  • 31 Days of Wisdom and Praise: Daily Readings from the Books of Psalms and Proverbs, New International Version. Arranged by R. Dean Jones. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990, by International Bible Society.
  • Academic Community of St. Athanasius Academy of Orthodox Theology, Elk Grove, California. The Orthodox Study Bible. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2008.
  • Aland, Barbara, Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, and Bruce Metzger, Editors. The Greek New Testament, Fifth Revised Edition with Greek Text of Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, 28th Edition. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2014.
  • Allen, Leslie C. Word Biblical Themes: Psalms. Waco: Word Books, 1987.
  • Anderson, Bernhard W. with Steven Bishop. Out of the Depths: The Psalms Speak for Us Today, 3rd Edition, Revised and Expanded. Louisville: Westminster John Know Press, 2000.
  • Archer, Gleason L. and Gregory Chirichigno. Old Testament Quotations in the New Testament. Eugene, Oregon: Wipf & Stock, 1983.
  • Arndt, William F. and F. Wilbur Gingrich, Editors. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literrature, 2nd Edition. Revised and Augmented by F. Wilbur Gingrich and Frederick W. Danker from Walterr Bauer’s Fifth Edition, 1958. Chicago: The University of Chicago Press, 1979.
  • Barclay, John. The Psalms of David, and the Paraphrases and Hymns: With a Dissertation on the Book of Psalms, and Explanatory Introductions to Each. Edinburgh: James Gall, 1826. Reprinted Digitally by Forgotten Books, registered trademark of FB &c Ltd., London, 2017. Available at http://www.ForgottenBooks.com, 2017.
  • Belcher, Richard P. Jr. The Messiah and the Psalms: Preaching Christ from All the Psalms. Scotland: Christian Focus Publications, Ltd., 2006
  • BibleWorks. BibleWorks 9 Software for Biblical Exegesis & Research. Norfolk, VA: BibleWorks, 2011.
  • Bonar, Andrew A. Christ and His Church in the Book of Psalms: 150 Inspirational Studies. Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1978.
  • Bonhoeffer, Dietrich. Psalms: The Prayer Book of the Bible. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1974 in paperback.
  • Brenton, Sir Lancelot C. L. The Septuagint Version: Greek and English. Grand Rapids: Zondervan Publishing House, 1970.
  • Broyles, Craig C. Understanding the Bible Commentary Series: Psalms. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1999.
  • Brueggemann, Walter. The Message of the Psalms: A Theological Commentary. Minneapolis: Augsburg, 1984.
  • Bullock, C. Hassell. Encountering the Book of Psalms. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2001.
  • Clowney, Edmund P. Preaching Christ in All of Scripture. Wheaton: Crossway, 2003.
  • Crossway. The Holy Bible, English Standard Version. Copyright © 2001,2007 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. All rights reserved. This publication contains The Holy Bible, English Standard Version, copyright © 2007 by Crossway Bibles, a division of Good News Publishers. It includes the January 2008 Update. See also English Standard Version Bible Online: http://www.biblestudytools.com/esv/psalms/ .
  • Darby, John, John Darby’s Synopsis, Whole Bible, Psalm 102, Available at Christianity.com, “Psalm 102 Bible Commentary: John Darby’s Synopsis,” https://www.christianity.com/bible/commentary.php?com=drby&b=19&c=102#%5B1%5D, Accessed on November 17, 2017.
  • Feinberg, John S. and Paul D. Feinberg, Editors. Tradition and Testament: Essays in Honor of Charles Lee Feinberg. Chicago: Moody Press, 1981.
  • Friberg, Timothy, Barbara Friberg, and Neva F. Miller. Analytical Lexicon to the Greek New Testament. Baker’s Greek New Testament Library. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2000. BibleWorks, v.9.
  • Futato, Mark D. Edited by Howard, David M. Jr. Interpreting the Psalms: An Exegetical Handbook. Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic, 2007.
  • Gingrich, F. Wilbur and Frederick William Danker, Editors. Shorter Lexicon of the Greek New Testament, 2nd Edition. Copyright © 1965 by The University of Chicago Press.
  • Horne, George, Lord Bishop of Norwich. A Commentary on the Book of Psalms: In Which Their Literal and Historical Sense, as They Relate to King David and the People of Israel, Is Illustrated; and Their Application to Messiah, to the Church, and to Individuals as Members Thereof, Is Pointed Out; With a view to render the Use of the Psalter pleasing and profitable to all orders and degrees of Christians. Philadelphia: Alexander Towar, 1822.
  • Jones, R. Dean, Arranger. 31 Days of Wisdom and Praise. International Bible Society. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1990.
  • Lewis, C. S. Reflections on the Psalms: The Celebrated Musings on One of the Most Intriguing Books of the Bible. Boston and New York: Mariner Books, a division of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 1958, 1986 and 2012.
  • Nestle-Aland, Editors. Novum Testamentum Graece, 26th Edition. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 1979, 1987.
  • Rahlfs, Alfred, Editor. LXT – LXX Septuaginta (LXT) (Old Greek Jewish Scriptures), Copyright © 1935 by the Württembergische Bibelanstalt / Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft (German Bible Society), Stuttgart.
  • Rahlfs-Hanhart. Septuaginta: Editio altera. Stuttgart: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2006.
  • Reardon, Patrick Henry. Christ in the Psalms, 2nd edition. Chesterton: Ancient Faith Publishing, 2011.
  • Saphir, Adolph. The Divine Unity of Scripture. London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1896. Public Domain.
  • Saphir, Adolph and Cortesi, Lawrence. The Epistle to the Hebrews: An Exposition. Public Domain.
  • Spurgeon, Charles. The Treasury of David: Containing an Original Exposition of the Book of Psalms; A Collection of Illustrative Extracts from the Whole Range of Literature; A Series of Homiletical Hints upon Almost Every Verse; And Lists of Writers upon Each Psalm in Three Volumes. Peabody: Henrickson Publishers, No Date.
  • Thayer, Joseph. A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (Abridged and Revised Thayer Lexicon). Ontario, Canada: Online Bible Foundation, 1997. BibleWorks, v.9.
  • The Holy Bible: New International Version®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide. See also (New International Version Bible Online): http://www.biblestudytools.com/colossians/. See also http://www.biblestudytools.com/esv/psalms/.
  • Tournay, Raymond Jacques. Seeing and Hearing God with the Psalms: The Prophetic Liturgy of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. Translated by J. Edward Crowley. Sheffield, England: Journal for the Study of the Old Testament (JSOT) Supplement Series 118, 1991.
  • Waltke, Bruce K. and James M. Houston with Erika Moore. The Psalms as Christian Lament: A Historical Commentary. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2014.
  • Waltke, Bruce K. and James M. Houston with Erika Moore. The Psalms as Christian Worship: A Historical Commentary. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2010.

Next in Series

Jesus’ Categorical Statements in John 6: The Impossibility of Faith Without God

Week 7 Part 3 John 6:22-71: Focus–God’s Sovereignty in Election and Human Choice and Responsibility

(Link to Outline of John)

John’s Theme: John 20:31 … these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

Four Verses that Function as “Necessary/Sufficient” Couplets

I. Couplet One–John 6:37 (Necessary Condition) and John 6:65 (Necessary Condition)

A. John 6:37 All that the Father gives me will come to me, and whoever comes to me I will never cast out.

X = “all that the Father gives me”

Y = “will come to me”

In this construction, X is a subset of Y.sufficient-copy

• There may be others in Y whom the Father has not given.

• Everyone who is in X must be in Y.

• Y is necessary for X.

• X at this point is not necessary for Y.

Paraphrases of John 6:37

• If the Father gave you to me, it is necessary that you come to me.

• This necessity is called Irresistible Grace

B. John 6:65 And he said, “This is why I told you that no one can come to me unless is granted him by the Father.”

X = those who come to me

Y = those whom the Father granted sufficient-part-2

Jesus’ statement “no one can come to me unless it is granted him by the Father” can be translated as–

No X (those who come to me)   If Not   Y (granted by the Father)

or,

No X unless Y = Y is necessary for X.

In this construction, X is still a subset of Y. Notice, however, that the terms have changed.

• The X of verse 37 has become the Y of verse 65.

• The Y of verse 37 has become the X of verse 65.

In both verses, however, X is still a subset of Y.

Conclusion: If “those whom the Father gives” is a subset of “those who come,” AND “those who come” is a subset of “all that the Father gives,” then both terms are subsets of each other. This can happen only if the terms are identical. Therefore, both terms are Necessary and Sufficient for each other.

necessary-sufficient-copy

All whom the Father gives will come, and all who come were given by the Father. God’s grace is both Irresistible and Necessary.

 Romans 11:33 Oh, the depth of the riches and wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable are his judgments and how inscrutable his ways!

II. Couplet Two–John 6:47 (Necessary Condition) and John 6:53 (Necessary Condition)belief_eternal-lifesufficient

A. John 6:47 Truly, truly I say to you, whoever believes has eternal life.

X = whoever believes

Y = those who have eternal life

X is a subset of Y.

Y is a necessary condition for X. However, as stated, it is not a sufficient condition.

B. John 6:53 So Jesus said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless you eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood, you have no life in you.”

First, to “eat the flesh of the Son of Man and drink his blood” is understood as a metaphorical, symbolic, or spiritual, way of saying, “believe in Jesus.”

Paraphrase: Unless you partake fully in the being and life of Jesus the Son of Man, you have no life in you. sufficient-couplet-2

Shortened Paraphrase: Unless you believe in Jesus, you have no life in you.

X = those with life

Y = those who believe in Jesus

If not Y, then not X

Y is necessary for X

As stated, Y is not sufficient for X.

Again notice, Jesus in these two statements has interchanged the X and Y terms. In verse 47, “whoever believes” (X) is a subset of “those who have eternal life” (Y), while in verse 53, “those with [eternal] life” is a subset of “those who believe in Jesus” (Y).

Conclusion: If “whoever believes” is a subset of “those who have eternal life,” and “those with [eternal] life” is a subset of “those who believe in Jesus,” then each subset is identical with the other. Again, belief in Jesus is both necessary and sufficient for eternal life, and in order to have eternal life, it is both necessary and sufficient to believe in Christ.

christ-eternal-life

There is only one set of believers–those who have eternal life, and only one set of those with eternal life–those who believe. Jesus has just demolished the “many pathways to God [eternal life]” argument. One may believe that there are many pathways to God and eternal life, but such a belief is not Scriptural; nor does it adhere to the teaching of Jesus.

III. These are not the only places in Scripture where Jesus has made these claims.

John 6:36 But I said to you that you have seen me and yet do not believe.

John 6:54 Whoever feeds on my flesh and drinks my blood has eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.

John 14:6 Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.

John 11:25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. Whoever believes in me, though he die, yet shall he live, 26 and everyone who lives and believes in me shall never die. Do you believe this?”

The People Respond

When taken as whole, Jesus’ statements in John 6:22-71 presented a stumbling block to his listeners. These were–

1. The Jewish leaders

John 6:41 So the Jews grumbled about him, because he said, “I am the bread that came down from heaven.” 42 They said, “Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? How does he now say, ‘I have come down from heaven’?”

John 6:52 The Jews then disputed among themselves, saying, “How can this man [this fellow] give us his flesh to eat?”

2. Christ’s disciples, those who had been following him regularly for some time

John 6:60 When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This is a hard saying; who can listen to it?”

John 6:66 After this many of his disciples turned back and no longer walked with him.

3. The Twelve, those closest to Christ, his intimate friends and companions

John 6:67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?” 68 Simon Peter answered him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life, 69 and we have believed, and have come to know, that you are the Holy One of God.” 70 Jesus answered them, “Did I not choose you, the Twelve? And yet one of you is a devil.” 71 He spoke of Judas the son of Simon Iscariot, for he, one of the Twelve, was going to betray him.

Believing the words of Christ presents problems for millions of those who hear him today. This is why God’s “sovereign choice in election” is a blessing, an aid, a help, a gracious act of forgiveness, not a hindrance nor any unfairness on his part. Without that gracious drawing of God, no one would come to Christ, as Jesus explains in John 6. We do not know why God draws some to Christ and not others.

We do know that nowhere in John’s gospel, nor any other place in Scripture of which I am aware, does God or Christ ever say that he will turn anyone away who seeks him. Rather, Christ says that all who seek him will find.

Matthew 7:8 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

Luke 11:10 For everyone who asks receives, and the one who seeks finds, and to the one who knocks it will be opened.

Joel 2:32 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved. For in Mount Zion and in Jerusalem there shall be those who escape, as the LORD has said, and among the survivors shall be those whom the LORD calls.

Acts 2:21 And it shall come to pass that everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.’

Romans 10:13 For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

Are you one who struggles against placing your faith and confidence in Jesus Christ? Perhaps you find the bluntness of his words difficult to receive? If this is so, there is no need to turn away from Christ. God provides a remedy for your condition.

Ephesians 2:8 For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God,

The remedy for an unbelieving heart is prayer. If you want eternal life, humble yourself and ask God to reveal himself to you. When God reveals himself to anyone, he also reveals Christ.

John 6:45 It is written in the Prophets, ‘And they will all be taught by God.’ Everyone who has heard and learned from the Father comes to me–

Father, I pray that anyone reading this right now, who does not know you, will be found of you, and because of your drawing them, will come to know you, and that knowing you, they will come to know and receive Jesus Christ and through believing his Word, receive eternal life in his name. I pray, precious Father, that the gift you gave me when you drew my heart to know and believe in you, will be multiplied as the loaves and fishes, and reach out to many unto eternal life. Thank-you, Father, for hearing my prayer. In Jesus I pray, amen.

So Where in John 6 Is Human Responsibility and Choice?

Having said all that, God still provides for human responsibility and human choice. !!!!! How can this be? Well, God is God and he is infinite–we are finite, and unfortunately, still under the curse of the Fall. Some things that seem paradoxical are; perhaps God in humanity’s eternal future will explain all which is unexplainable now. What is known now is that God somehow takes our choice into account as he makes his own sovereign election.

In John 6 we find human responsibility and choice in the following verses:

John 6:25 When they found him on the other side of the sea, they said to him, “Rabbi, when did you come here?” 26 Jesus answered them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you are seeking me, not because you saw signs, but because you ate your fill of the loaves. 27 Do not labor for the food that perishes, but for the food that endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you. For on him God the Father has set his seal.”

John 6:28 Then they said to him, “What must we do, to be doing the works of God?” 29 Jesus answered them, “This is the work of God, that you believe in him whom he has sent.”

John 6:67 So Jesus said to the Twelve, “Do you want to go away as well?”

Definition of want: “Gingrich, (θέλετε from θέλω,2. wish, will of purpose or resolve, wish to do Mt 20:14; Mk 3:13; J 6:21, 67; Ac 18:21; Ro 7:15f, 19f; 2 Cor 8:10; Col 1:27; Rv 11:5. οὐ θέλω I will not Mt 21:30 v.l.)” (See Bibliography for Gems from John)

Our faith is the mechanism, the means, which God uses to accomplish his own sovereign will.

All of us need God’s will–his help–in returning to him, in being drawn to Christ, and in choosing Christ, because our own will was destroyed at the Fall (Genesis 3). Regeneration is necessary in order to believe, simply because dead men don’t choose—they cannot. Faith is for the living; dead people have no faith, because they are dead. God regenerates us in Christ—we choose to believe.

 

 

 

Jacob’s Ladder = Jesus Christ: Gospel of John Explains

jacobs-ladder

John the Baptist, Jesus, and the First Disciples: John 1:19-51

Outline of This Presentation

I. Points of confusion concerning what the text is saying (Including Jacob’s Ladder)

II. Highlights of content

III. Personal applications

………………………………….

I. Points of confusion concerning what the text is saying:

I’ve read through John’s gospel many times over the course of my lengthy relationship with Christ. Below are a few questions I’ve asked as I’ve read this text.

A. John the Baptist–is he or isn’t he Elijah?

19And this is the testimony of John, when the Jews sent priests and Levites from Jerusalem to ask him, “Who are you?” 20He confessed, and did not deny, but confessed, “I am not the Christ.” 21And they asked him, “What then? Are you Elijah?” He said, “I am not.” “Are you the Prophet?” And he answered, “No.” 22So they said to him, “Who are you? We need to give an answer to those who sent us. What do you say about yourself?” 23He said, “I am the voice of one crying out in the wilderness, ‘Make straighth the way of the Lord,’ as the prophet Isaiah said.”

24(Now they had been sent from the Pharisees.) 25They asked him, “Then why are you baptizing, if you are neither the Christ, nor Elijah, nor the Prophet?” 26John answered them, “I baptize with water, but among you stands one you do not know, 27even he who comes after me, the strap of whose sandal I am not worthy to untie.” 28These things took place in Bethany across the Jordan, where John was baptizing.

Question:

Verse 21: If John the Baptist is not Elijah (Malachi 4:4-6), as he states, then why does Jesus in Matthew 11:14 and Matthew 17:10-12 say that John is Elijah?

Possible Answer:

In the context of the then current expectations of the priests and Levites sent by the Jewish religious leaders in Jerusalem, John replied to their question, “No,” he was not Elijah. He was not literally and physically Elijah resurrected.

Yet Jesus states unequivocally in the Matthew 11:14 that John is Elijah, if his listeners are willing to accept that, and in Matthew 17:10-12 Jesus states to his disciples that Elijah already came in John the Baptist.

The angel that spoke prophetically to John’s father Zechariah in Luke 1:17 said that his about-to-be-born son would go ahead of Messiah in the “spirit and power of Elijah.”

So, the answer would be no to a concrete, literal, physical Elijah, and yes to a symbolic, spiritual Elijah.

As to the charge of “spiritualizing” the Old Testament, yes, the Gospel records Jesus doing that abundantly.

B. How could John the Baptist say that he “did not know” Christ?

29The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world! 30This is he of whom I said, ‘After me comes a man who ranks before me, because he was before me.’ 31I myself did not know him, but for this purpose I came baptizing with water, that he might be revealed to Israel.” 32And John bore witness: “I saw the Spirit descend from heaven like a dove, and it remained on him. 33I myself did not know him, but he who sent me to baptize with water said to me, ‘He on whom you see the Spirit descend and remain, this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.’ 34And I have seen and have borne witness that this is the Son of God.”

Question:

How can John say in verses 31 and 33, “I myself did not know him,” when Jesus was his relative and he recognized Messiah as early as his mother’s womb? (Luke 1:36, 39-41)

Possible Answer:

The best answer I have found comes from William Hendriksen (Hendriksen, 99, 100), who states that John did not recognize Jesus in his “quality as Messiah,” according to either the mental process of intuition and reason or the physical process of observation and experience.

John knew that this person Jesus, who came to him physically in order to be baptized, was the Messiah, the Lamb of God, and the Son of God only because the God who had commissioned him had told him that as he is baptizing, the one on whom the Spirit comes down and remains as a dove is the One.

So John received his knowledge by revelation from God.

C. Why did Nathanael respond so strongly? And what exactly is Jacob’s Ladder?

35The next day again John was standing with two of his disciples, 36and he looked at Jesus as he walked by and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God!” 37The two disciples heard him say this, and they followed Jesus. 38Jesus turned and saw them following and said to them, “What are you seeking?” And they said to him, “Rabbi” (which means Teacher), “where are you staying?” 39He said to them, “Come and you will see.” So they came and saw where he was staying, and they stayed with him that day, for it was about the tenth hour.  40One of the two who heard John speak and followed Jesus was Andrew, Simon Peter’s brother. 41He first found his own brother Simon and said to him, “We have found the Messiah” (which means Christ). 42He brought him to Jesus. Jesus looked at him and said, “You are Simon the son of John. You shall be called Cephas” (which means Peter).

43The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him of whom Moses in the Law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus of Nazareth, the son of Joseph.” 46Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him and said of him, “Behold, an Israelite indeed, in whom there is no deceit!” 48Nathanael said to him, “How do you know me?” Jesus answered him, “Before Philip called you, when you were under the fig tree, I saw you.” 49Nathanael answered him, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50Jesus answered him, “Because I said to you, ‘I saw you under the fig tree,’ do you believe? You will see greater things than these.” 51And he said to him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

Question:

Why was Nathaniel’s response so “over the top?” How did Nathanael get such tremendous faith and spiritual insight from Jesus’ one statement, “I saw you under the fig tree.” What am I missing?

Possible Answer:

A. The Miracle Itself

1. Jesus saw Nathanael under a particular fig tree before Philip had found him.

2. This fig tree was not present at the Jordan River where Jesus had been (:43), since he had already left there and was on his way to Galilee the next day.

3. Therefore, Jesus had supernaturally seen Nathanael in another place and another time, and this is what Nathanael realized.

4. Not only had Jesus seen Nathanael’s outward form sitting under the fig tree, he had apparently been reading his thoughts long distance as he sat there meditating.

5. Philip had called Jesus the One the Scriptures had prophesied would come, and with that context prodding him, Nathanael knew that only the Son of God could know what he had been thinking when he was miles away both in distance and time.

B. Unravelling the Significance of Jesus’ Statement about an Israelite without Guile

1. Within the context of the entire passage, Jesus has been thinking of the patriarch Jacob, who tricked (used guile) his brother out of his blessing as firstborn son.

2. The use of trickery, deceit, or guile characterized both Jacob (Genesis 30:37-43) and his posterity (Genesis 34, whole chapter about Dinah and her brothers’ trickery to vindicate their honor).

3. Nathanael understands Jesus to be assessing his character as being without guile, and agreeing with this assessment, he asks, “How do you know me?”

Jacob’s Ladder Explained

4. After Jesus’ explanation of having supernaturally seen into Nathanael’s thoughts, and after Nathanael’s exclamation of astonished, profoundly convinced faith, Jesus continues with a prophecy concerning himself, “Truly, truly, I say to you, you will see heaven opened, and the angels of God ascending and descending on the Son of Man.”

5. This statement refers to Jacob’s vision while asleep of a ladder stretching from heaven to earth and angels moving up and down, back and forth, upon (ἐπ᾽ in Greek, abbreviated form of ἐπὶ) the ladder.  (Genesis 28:11-13)

6. Jesus connects this ladder with himself, saying in verse 51 that the angels would be moving up and down on (upon) (ἐπὶ in Greek) himself. He IS the ladder in Jacob’s dream.

7. Jesus is announcing that he is the connection between earth and heaven, between man and God. Jesus is the mediator, the go-between, the way, the access to God. He stands in relation not only to Israel as Israel’s king, but also in relation to humankind in its entirety, for he is the “Son of Man,” and as such, the Savior of all mankind.

………………………………….

 II. Highlights of John 1:19-51

 

Hayford, Jack W., exec. ed. John: Living Beyond the Ordinary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2009, 15-16.

Hayford, Jack W., exec. ed. John: Living Beyond the Ordinary. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, Inc., 2009, 15-16.

Pink, Arthur W. Exposition of the Gospel of John: Three Volumes Complete and Unabridged in One. Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, 1975, 73.

Pink, Arthur W. Exposition of the Gospel of John: Three Volumes Complete and Unabridged in One. Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, 1975, 73.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

What was the Difference between John’s and Jesus’ Baptisms?

John’s purpose was to manifest (show out, point out, make known) Christ to Israel. It was to prepare a people for him. John prepared this people by bringing them to see and acknowledge their sin before God in the symbolic act of water baptism. By being baptized by John, they acknowledged that death was their due. They were then prepared to receive Christ as Savior dying in their place as condemned sinners.

Christian baptism is different. A Christian believer does not confess that death is his due, but he demonstrates, again symbolically, that he has already died in Christ to sin. Christian baptism signifies the Christian’s having died with Christ. And, of course, the Christian’s coming up from the water signifies resurrection with Christ.

(Based upon Pink, 59-60)

 

John the Baptist’s Sevenfold Witness to Christ

Pink, Arthur W. Exposition of the Gospel of John: Three Volumes Complete and Unabridged in One. Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, 1975, 61.

Pink, Arthur W. Exposition of the Gospel of John: Three Volumes Complete and Unabridged in One. Grand Rapids: The Zondervan Corporation, 1975, 61.

 

Why does John 1:35-42 differ from Mark 1:16-20?

One simple answer given by Arthur Pink (Pink, 62-63) is that the account in John describes these disciples’ conversion, while the account in Mark describes their call to service.

 

“Behold the Lamb of God”

Behold, the Lamb of God

Original artwork by Christina Wilson

 

Arthur Pink teaches that if we’re going to see Jesus as the “Lamb of God” (John 1:36), we must stop to “behold” him. We must quit striving in our own flesh; we must “come to the end of ourselves.” (Pink, 66)

ESV  Exodus 14:13 And Moses said to the people, “Fear not, stand firm, and see the salvation of the LORD, which he will work for you today. For the Egyptians whom you see today, you shall never see again.

As Jesus said,  “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

God calls to saving conversion in various ways

1. by testimony of preachers: John and Andrew (John 1:35-39)

2. by testimony of friends: Andrew got Peter (John 1:40-42); Philip got Nathanael (John 1:44-46)

3. without human vehicle–directly by God: Christ got Philip (John 1:43)

 

III. Personal Applications

Do I know Jesus personally? Or, do I rely mostly upon my church and my pastor(s)?

1. John the Baptist, Jesus Christ, the disciples, and God himself chose not to use the vehicle of the then-current religious structure of the Jewish leaders of Jesus’ day.

2. John the Baptist taught in the wilderness, not in Jerusalem.

3. Neither John, nor Christ, nor the disciples had been educated by the Jewish leaders.

4. Why do you suppose God chose not to introduce Christ to the world through the vehicle of the Jewish religious institution of that day?

5. Have there ever been times in your life when you have had to leave the teachings of a church in order to follow Christ and his teachings?

Have I experienced the call of God upon my life? How does this affect me in specific situations I may face every day?

Jack Hayford (Hayford, 17, 20-21)points out the positive effects on one’s life of the sure knowledge of God’s calling:

1. Jesus knew his calling.

2. John the Baptist knew his calling.

3. Each of the disciples experienced their own specific call by God.

4. What about me?

 

Gems from John: Outline of the Prologue

Gems from the Gospel of John

Week 1: Prologue John 1:1-18

THEME OF JOHN:

ESV  John 20:31 … these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God, and that by believing you may have life in his name.

  • Christ is Son of God
  • Our appropriate response is belief
  • Belief yields LIFE in his name

OUTLINE OF JOHN

I. Prologue (1:1-18)

  • Christ the Eternal Word 1:1-12
  • Christ the Incarnate Word 1:13-18
  • Prologue Summarized 1:18

II. Presentation of Christ as the Son of God (1:9-12:50)

III. Instruction to the Twelve by the Son of God (13:1-17:26)

IV. Suffering of Christ as the Son of God and Son of Man (18:1-20:31)IV

V. Epilogue: the Continuing Work of the Son of God (21:1-25)

THREE SYNOPTIC (Seeing Together) GOSPELS AND JOHN

  1. Matthew: Lord Jesus is Son of David, heir to Israel’s throne, the King of the Jews
  2. Mark: Christ is Servant of Jehovah, the perfect Workman of God
  3. Luke: Christ the Savior is the Son of Man, the perfect Man
  4. John: Christ is the Son of God made flesh

The three synoptic gospels share 1) much similar material, 2) a similar chronology, and 3) a point of view that shows Jesus’ interactions as man with men. John’s material is 90% unique, and his chronology suits his own purpose, which is to demonstrate through the witness of 1) God, 2) John the Baptist, 3) his miracles, 4) his disciples, and 5) his resurrection that he is God’s unique Son, very God of very God.

OUTLINE OF JOHN 1:1-13—CHRIST THE ETERNAL WORD (Pink, 17-18)

  1. The Relation of Christ to Time – “In the beginning,” therefore, Eternal: 1:1.
  2. The Relation of Christ to the Godhead – “With God,” therefore, One of the Holy Trinity: 1:1.
  3. The Relation of Christ to the Holy Trinity – “God was the Word” – the Revealer: 1:1
  4. The Relation of Christ to the Universe – “All things were made by him” – the Creator: 1:3.
  5. The Relation of Christ to Men – Their “Light”: 1:4, 5
  6. The Relation of John the Baptist to Christ – “Witness” of His Deity: 1:6-9.
  7. The Reception which Christ met here: 1:10-13.
    1. “The world knew him not”: 1:10.
    2. “His own (Israel) received him not”: 1:11.
    3. A company born of God “received him”: 1:12, 13.

  OUTLINE OF JOHN 1:14-18—CHRIST, THE WORD INCARNATE (Pink, 32)

  1. Christ’s Incarnation – “The word became flesh” 1:14.
  2. Christ’s Earthly sojourn – “And tabernacled among us” 1:14.
  3. Christ’s Unique Glory – “As of the only Begotten”
  4. Christ’s Supreme excellency – “Preferred before” 1:15.
  5. Christ’s Divine sufficiency – “His fulness” 1:16.
  6. Christ’s Moral perfections – “Grace and truth” 1:17.
  7. Christ’s Wondrous revelation – Made known “the Father” 1:18

SUMMARY OF PROLOGUE USING ONLY VERSES 1 AND 14 (Pink, 42)

1) “In the beginning was the word” 1:1

a) “And the word became flesh” tells of the beginning of his human life. 1:14

2) “And the word was with God” 1:1

b) “And tabernacled among us” shows Him with men. 1:14

3) “And the word was God” 1:1

c) “Full of grace and truth,” and this tells what God is. 1:14

 

** In Christ God and mankind meet. Christ is the meeting place of God and people.

 

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN LAW AND GRACE (Pink, 46)

ESV  John 1:17 For the law was given through Moses; grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.

  1. Law addresses men as members of the old creation; Grace makes men members of a new creation.
  2. Law manifested what was in Man – sin; Grace manifests what is in God – Love.
  3. Law demanded righteousness from men; Grace brings righteousness to men.
  4. Law sentences a living man to death; Grace brings a dead man to life.
  5. Law speaks of what men must do for God; Grace tells of what Christ has done for men.
  6. Law gives a knowledge of sin; Grace puts away sin.
  7. Law brought God out to men; Grace brings men in to God.

John 1:9 CHARACTERISTICS OF THE “TRUE LIGHT” WHICH CHRIST IS (From Bishop Ryle)

1 – Undeceiving Light

2 – Real Light

3 – Underived Light

4 – Supereminent Light – Above ALL Others

Psalms 56-60: A Packet–Psalm 60 Restoration of Israel

 

The seeds of mercy sown in Psalm 59 as a glimmer of hope break forth as morning light in Psalm 60. Psalm 60 records God’s answer to the intercessory prayer of Psalm 59:11, and then presents further prayer.

Psalm 59:11 Slay them not, lest they forget thy law; scatter them by thy power; and bring them down, O Lord, my defender. (LXE)

Psalm 60 opens with three verses which describe in past tense, as though already accomplished, the suffering of God’s people, “apostate Israel” (1), at the hands of God himself. Why did God punish Israel? God displayed his judgmental wrath upon his own nation, because they failed to recognize their Messiah when he came. Or, having recognized him, they rejected him. Forcing the hand of the Romans who occupied their land, they crucified him. Both the crucifixion of the King and the wrath of God against those who did so were foretold in Psalms 56-59, “as a memorial,” as though written on stone (2). Psalm 60, the last of the five psalm packet, is the final memorial stone. It describes the restoration of those who crucified Messiah. It opens, as already mentioned, with a recap of their punishment.

1 O God, thou hast rejected and destroyed us; thou hast been angry, yet hast pitied us.
2 Thou hast shaken the earth, and troubled it; heal its breaches, for it has been shaken.
3 Thou hast shewn thy people hard things: thou has made us drink the wine of astonishment. (LXE)

So many good things open up in Psalms once the reader realizes who is the speaker. Psalms 56-59 establish Messiah Christ as the speaker. By following the thread of his speech, the reader discovers the single plot thread that extends from beginning to end through these five psalms. With his Passion in mind, it breaks as pure blessing upon the tender heart to realize that the Rejected One is now interceding from the resurrection side of the cross for the very people who disowned him, for those who had been among the enemies who pursued him to death. In Psalm 60, the speaker presents himself as one of those who received the judgment of God, which is so poignant in Psalm 59:11. He prays “us,” “us,” “thy people,” and “us,”–four times total in the first three verses. Psalm 60 is where the just judgment of God meets his mercy (Psalm 85:10). The “Father forgive them,” is reconciled with God’s understandable wrath.

Psalm 56:7 For their crime will they escape? In wrath cast down the peoples, O God! (ESV)

Luke 23:34 And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.” And they cast lots to divide his garments. (ESV)

Paul in Romans 9-11 tackles the difficult subject of God’s having blessed the Gentiles with salvation in Christ, while so few of his fellow Jewish people believed. Had God rejected his people Israel? Appearances to the contrary, Paul answers no. His argument takes three forms.

1. First, God is sovereign. He gives grace to whom he wishes. No one merits his mercy, but it must be received by faith.

Romans 9:15 For he says to Moses, “I will have mercy on whom I have mercy, and I will have compassion on whom I have compassion.” 16 So then it depends not on human will or exertion, but on God, who has mercy. (ESV)

Romans 9:30 What shall we say, then? That Gentiles who did not pursue righteousness have attained it, that is, a righteousness that is by faith; 31 but that Israel who pursued a law that would lead to righteousness did not succeed in reaching that law. 32 Why? Because they did not pursue it by faith, but as if it were based on works. They have stumbled over the stumbling stone, 33 as it is written, “Behold, I am laying in Zion a stone of stumbling, and a rock of offense; and whoever believes in him will not be put to shame.” (ESV)

2. Second, at the outset of the Christian message there was a remnant of Israel who did receive the Good News of salvation in Christ alone by faith. That is to say, Israel was not rejected in whole. Paul counts himself as part of this remnant.

Romans 11:1 I ask, then, has God rejected his people? By no means! For I myself am an Israelite, a descendant of Abraham, a member of the tribe of Benjamin. 2 God has not rejected his people whom he foreknew. Do you not know what the Scripture says of Elijah, how he appeals to God against Israel? 3 “Lord, they have killed your prophets, they have demolished your altars, and I alone am left, and they seek my life.” 4 But what is God’s reply to him? “I have kept for myself seven thousand men who have not bowed the knee to Baal.” 5 So too at the present time there is a remnant, chosen by grace. (ESV)

3. God’s plan all along was to make room for the Gentiles. In describing this, Isaiah uses the metaphor of stretching out the boundaries of a tent, and Paul uses the metaphor of branches being cut off from an olive tree, others being grafted in, and finally, the cut-off branches being grafted back in.

Isaiah 54:1 Rejoice, thou barren that bearest not; break forth and cry, thou that dost not travail: for more are the children of the desolate than of her that has a husband: for the Lord has said, 2 “Enlarge the place of thy tent, and of thy curtains; fix the pins, spare not, lengthen thy cords, and strengthen thy pins; 3 Spread forth thy tent yet to the right and the left: for thy seed shall inherit the Gentiles, and thou shalt make the desolate cities to be inhabited.” (LXE)

Romans 11:15 For if their rejection means the reconciliation of the world, what will their acceptance mean but life from the dead? (ESV)

17 But if some of the branches were broken off, and you, although a wild olive shoot, were grafted in among the others and now share in the nourishing root of the olive tree, (ESV)

20…They were broken off because of their unbelief, (ESV)

23 And even they, if they do not continue in their unbelief, will be grafted in, for God has the power to graft them in again. 24 For if you were cut from what is by nature a wild olive tree, and grafted, contrary to nature, into a cultivated olive tree, how much more will these, the natural branches, be grafted back into their own olive tree. 25 Lest you be wise in your own sight, I do not want you to be unaware of this mystery, brothers: a partial hardening has come upon Israel, until the fullness of the Gentiles has come in. 26 And in this way all Israel will be saved, as it is written, “The Deliverer will come from Zion, he will banish ungodliness from Jacob”; 27 “and this will be my covenant with them when I take away their sins.” (ESV)

The text of Romans 11:26 reads, “And in this way all Israel will be saved.” Paul had been speaking of a remnant of Israel in the first portion of this chapter, as quoted above. Now here, “all Israel” refers to the whole of Israel, not just the remnant. And Gentiles are included in Israel’s olive tree. God’s victory over all nations–Israel and Gentile nations combined–this is the theme of Psalm 60. It is a happy theme.

First, Gentiles are included:

Romans 4:16 That is why it depends on faith, in order that the promise may rest on grace and be guaranteed to all his offspring– not only to the adherent of the law but also to the one who shares the faith of Abraham, who is the father of us all, 17 as it is written, “I have made you the father of many nations” (ESV)

Next, how will this happen? The answer lies in the “spirit of stupor” that had been placed upon Israel as a consequence of their having rejected their Messiah, God’s anointed. The spirit of stupor will be removed. This phrase binds Isaiah 29, Psalm 60, and Romans 9-11 together as speaking of the same topic and the same people, God’s people, Israel.

Isaiah 29:10 For the LORD has poured out upon you a spirit of deep sleep, and has closed your eyes (the prophets), and covered your heads (the seers). (ESV)

Psalm 60:3 Thou hast shewn thy people hard things: thou has made us drink the wine of astonishment. (LXE)

Romans 11:8 as it is written, “God gave them a spirit of stupor, eyes that would not see and ears that would not hear, down to this very day.” (ESV)

Paul’s New Testament word for “stupor” in Greek is “κατανύξεως (Rom 11:8 BGT).” The word translated “astonishment” in Psalm 60 is “κατανύξεως (Psa 59:5 LXX),” and in Isaiah the Greek Septuagint for “deep sleep” is “κατανύξεως (Isa 29:10 LXT).” Thayer’s Lexicon reports that these three citations are the only place in all of Scripture where this lemma (stem) and even the form occur. Clearly, these verses are tied together.

Unwrapping Psalm 60

A Word about the Superscription

The superscription of Psalm 60 contains much Davidic history into which most commentators delve. The thesis of this blog on the Psalter is that the psalms are first and foremost a prophetic word about Christ. As such, delving into the historic details of David’s life would be a distraction, rather than an aid (3). David’s life was limited, in that David was human and mortal. As such, the details of his history are a distraction to the larger, metanarrative events of the life of Messiah, God’s Son, God and human in one, who both died and was resurrected (Acts 2:25-32).

In an exception to my usual custom, I’ve written extensively (2) about a select phrase in the superscription of each of the psalms in this packet, as found in the Greek Septuagint. The phrase is, “εἰς στηλογραφίαν” or “for a memorial,” as something written on a stone. The phrase, “εἰς στηλογραφίαν,” as found in these five psalms, is unique to all of Scripture. This phrase is one item that binds these psalms together as a packet. The accompanying phrase, , “εἰς τὸ τέλος,” or “for the end,”  strengthens the association.

The superscription of Psalm 60 has a further phrase of interest. It is, “τοῖς ἀλλοιωθησομένοις ἔτι.” This is translated as, “for them that shall yet be changed,” by Brenton, “for those that shall yet be changed,” by NETS (Pietersma), and “for things yet to be changed,” by the Orthodox Study Bible (See the Bibliography for all three). The Greek word “change” is most often used literally in Scripture, and it means simply, “to change.” See, for example, Luke 9:29.  Many commentators confess not knowing what the Hebrew of the Masoretic might mean, but the phrase is often interpreted as a musical instruction. Clearly, however, the phrase as it stands in Greek follows the plot line of the five psalms remarkably well, when the speaker is seen to be Christ and when Psalm 60 is interpreted as the change of heart and fortune of the people of God, that Paul describes in Romans 11.

Unpacking the Body of Psalm 60

 1. Verses 1-3: description of the disaster.

Psalm 60:1 O God, thou hast rejected and destroyed us; thou hast been angry, yet hast pitied us.
2 Thou hast shaken the earth, and troubled it; heal its breaches, for it has been shaken.
3 Thou hast shewn thy people hard things: thou has made us drink the wine of astonishment. (LXE)

Psalm 60 opens with the speaker’s recounting to God his rejection and destruction of “us.” The phrase at the end of verse 1 (LXE), “yet [thou] hast pitied us,” links back to the glimmer of hope found in the prior psalm’s verse 11, “slay them not…scatter them.” As Psalm 60 opens, the destruction has already been accomplished, and the speaker looks back upon the “hard things” and the “wine of astonishment” God had made them drink (vs 3).

2. Verses 4-5: the intercessory prayer.

 4 Thou hast given a token to them that fear thee, that they might flee from the bow. Pause.
 5 That thy beloved ones may be delivered; save with thy right hand, and hear me. (LXE)

Verse 4 is difficult, “Thou hast given a token to them that fear thee, that they might flee from the bow. Pause.” The Greek word for “token” is σημείωσις, related to the word “sign” found so frequently in John’s writing. One example is John 2:18.

John 2:18 So the Jews said to him, “What sign do you show us for doing these things?”
19 Jesus answered them, “Destroy this temple, and in three days I will raise it up.”
20 The Jews then said, “It has taken forty-six years to build this temple, and will you raise it up in three days?”
21 But he was speaking about the temple of his body.
22 When therefore he was raised from the dead, his disciples remembered that he had said this, and they believed the Scripture and the word that Jesus had spoken. (ESV)

In the above passage from John, the “sign” given was the resurrection of Christ from the dead. Seeing this sign, the disciples believed. Going back to Psalm 60:4, the token, or sign, was given to “them that fear thee.” In Scripture, including the Psalter, to “fear” the Lord is good. “The fear of the Lord is the beginning of wisdom,” (Proverbs 1:7 LXE). Those who “fear” the Lord are God’s people and recipients of his blessing. So far then, we have God giving a sign to those who fear him–both of these are positive elements, and the last portion of verse 4 also speaks blessing, “…that they might flee from the bow. Pause.” Most frequently in the Old Testament, the word “bow” refers to the weapon, as in a bow and arrow. An example of this usage is Psalm 46:9, “Putting an end to wars…he will crush the bow, and break in pieces the weapon…” Taken at simple face value, the sense of the Septuagint in Psalm 60:4 seems to be that God is giving a sign of warning to his followers to flee some form of war or violence. That sign could be the resurrection of Christ, and the violence could be that foretold in Psalm 59, God’s wrath upon those who did not fear him, but persecuted his anointed. Jesus himself gave such a warning in Matthew 24:15-21.

Matthew 24:15 “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), 16 then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. 17 Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, 18 and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak. 19 And alas for women who are pregnant and for those who are nursing infants in those days! 20 Pray that your flight may not be in winter or on a Sabbath. 21 For then there will be great tribulation, such as has not been from the beginning of the world until now, no, and never will be. (ESV)

Moving forward to verse 5, the speaker pleads with God that he would save his “beloved ones,” so that they might be delivered. Whoever verse 4 may refer to, perhaps believers who heeded the sign and thereby fled from the bow of God’s wrath, it seems best to place verse 5 with verses 1-3. That is, the “beloved ones” are the “us” and “thy people” whom God has rejected and destroyed, yet pitied. The “Pause” after verse 4 reinforces the likelihood that a different group is here being spoken of. The “beloved ones” are they that need to be delivered and saved, because having missed the “sign,” they have already experienced God’s wrath. The speaker prays that God’s harsh treatment of them will now end. It is of course the risen Christ, the victor of Psalm 59, who prays (see Romans 8:34).

3. Verses 6-8: God replies.

 6 God has spoken in his holiness; I will rejoice, and divide Sicima, and measure out the valley of tents.
 7 Galaad is mine, and Manasse is mine; and Ephraim is the strength of my head;
 8 Judas is my king; Moab is the caldron of my hope; over Idumea will I stretch out my shoe; the Philistines have been subjected to me. (LXE)

The striking thing about the series of place names in verses 6-8 is that the first five stretch from one end of Israel to the other, while the last three are Gentile lands. As Isaiah describes in chapters 11 and 12, all the land will belong to the Lord. All kingdoms will be conquered by him. In God’s kingdom, it is good to be conquered by the love of his Son, for there is salvation under no other name. All portions of Old Testament prophecy point to the same outcome: the unification of God’s original people Israel with Gentile nations under one banner of love, the cross of Jesus Christ. Bonar writes of verse 4, “Here is the voice of Israel owning Jehovah’s gift of Messiah to them,” (Bonar, See note 1). Paul writes in Romans 11:23-25 that when the full number of the Gentiles has come in, then, if Israel does not continue in their unbelief, they, too, will be grafted in again. God answers, “Yes!” to the speaker’s intercessory prayer in Psalm 60. 

4. Verses 9-12: Christ and the church respond.

Who is it that will lead me into Gentile lands, as represented by Idumea (in a part-for-the-whole metaphor)? asks the speaker. He answers his own question, Isn’t God the one who will do this? Just so, Jesus in his ministry on earth ever and always submitted to and depended upon God his Father. Here it is the same.

Who speaks this section? In verses 9-11, the speaker appears to be the same first person voice as the speaker of verses 1-5. In verse 12, the last verse, it is easy to hear the voice of a chorus of people, as is the case with the last verse of many psalms (4). Verses 9-12 as a whole speak of the evangelization of the earth by Christ and his church, comprised of believers from all nations, Israel and Gentile combined. Together with their Lord, they go forth in dependence upon God to take the gospel to all remaining nations.

5. Conclusion.

Andrew Bonar (see footnote 1) titles this psalm, “The Righteous One asks, and rejoices in, Israel’s restoration.” A plain, straightforward reading of Psalms 56-60 in the Septuagint English version (I use Brenton’s translation), readily yields this conclusion. I recommend reading these five psalms together, start to finish, in one sitting. Although one’s interpretation of details may vary, when viewed as a sequential packet, the overall plot thrust of these psalms is unmistakable. This packet speaks of Christ, God’s Son the King, in his ministry on earth up to and through his Passion. The packet extends beyond to his resurrection and the subsequent punishment of God’s people, who had rejected and persecuted him. And, most blessedly, it extends even further to the time when the victorious Son owns them in mediatorial intercession for them, so that they “shall yet be changed” and be restored. At that time, God will lead his Christ and his people as a single unit into all Gentile lands. The prophecy of this packet of psalms runs parallel with the gospel messages of Isaiah and Paul the Apostle.

OneSmallVoice.net 

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1 Andrew A. Bonar, Christ and His Church in the Book of Psalms, Grand Rapids: Kregel Publications, 1978, 182.

2 A substantial explanation of certain key phrases in the Greek superscriptions of Psalms 56-60 is available in the first article of theis series, titled, “Psalms 56-60: A Packet–Part 1, The Superscriptions.” It can be accessed at  https://onesmallvoice.net/2019/09/12/psalms-56-60-a-packet-part-1-the-superscriptions/.

3 I have found that commentators who are most concerned about the historical events alluded to in the superscription are less likely to mention Christ in regard to the psalm.

4 See, for example, Psalm 18:50.

Psalms 56-60: A Packet–Psalm 58 Enter Judgment

 

Ding-dong, the witch is dead! Which old witch? The wicked witch
Ding-dong, the wicked witch is dead. —
lyrics from The Wizard of Oz. (1)

Question: Did the Munchkins in The Wizard of Oz celebrate death and vengeance, or were they celebrating the ending of cruel slavery suffered by all when wickedness ruled the land?

Introduction

Judgment is an uncomfortable theme for many Christians and Christian critics who have been raised on John 3:16 and its sequel, “God is love,” in 1 John 4:8. How can judgment possibly be consistent with the teaching of 100% acceptance in Jesus Christ for every willing individual? Nevertheless, the theme of judgment, and yes, punishment, occurs cover to cover throughout the Bible. After describing the characteristics of the wicked, Psalm 58 focuses on the theme of judgment for the enemies of God and his Son, the King.

Disclaimer

This author bears no animosity nor any judgmental attitude toward any people group anywhere in the globe. Jesus Christ broke down all walls of division separating any given portion of humankind from any other portion (Ephesians 2:14-3:21). We are all one in Christ, and love rules the day. The importance of this packet of psalms lies in their prophetic word of Christ. These psalms function as an aid to help along the nascent faith of unbelievers and all Christians everywhere. For those who still may doubt that Psalm 58 treats of Christ, perhaps the quotes in the Notes section may help (2).

Who are these wicked?

Verse 1 of Psalm 58 states a basic premise that the mouth is indicative of what lies in the heart.

Psalm 58:1 If ye do indeed speak righteousness, then do ye judge rightly, ye sons of men.

Christ in in the New Testament states it this way,

Matthew 12:34 Offspring of vipers! How are you able to say anything good, since you are evil? For the mouth speaks from what fills the heart. (NET)

And James in the memorable passage concerning the tongue, introduces the topic of how one’s speech relates to the whole person:

James 3:2 For we all stumble in many ways. If someone does not stumble in what he says, he is a perfect individual, able to control the entire body as well. (NET)

Psalm 58 LXE (Septuagint in English by Brenton) goes on to describe the “sons of men” (3) or “sinners” in verses 2-4:

2 For ye work iniquities in your hearts in the earth: your hands plot unrighteousness.
3 Sinners have gone astray from the womb: they go astray from the belly: they speak lies.
4 Their venom is like that of a serpent; as that of a deaf asp, and that stops her ears;
5 which will not hear the voice of charmers, nor heed the charm prepared skillfully by the wise.

Again, Jesus puts it this way:

Matthew 15:8 “‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me; 

Mark 7:21 For from within, out of the heart of man, come evil thoughts, sexual immorality, theft, murder, adultery,

John 8:44 You are of your father the devil, and your will is to do your father’s desires. He was a murderer from the beginning, and does not stand in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks out of his own character, for he is a liar and the father of lies. 

Matthew 13:38 The field is the world, and the good seed is the sons of the kingdom. The weeds are the sons of the evil one,

Matthew 23:33 You serpents, you brood of vipers, how are you to escape being sentenced to hell?

Luke 7:31 “To what then should I compare the people of this generation, and what are they like? 32 They are like children sitting in the marketplace and calling out to one another, ‘We played the flute for you, yet you did not dance; we wailed in mourning, yet you did not weep.’

Matthew 13:13 For this reason I speak to them in parables: Although they see they do not see, and although they hear they do not hear nor do they understand.

The kind of people described in both Testaments above are the ones who opposed Jesus every step of his ministry. They are those whom the gospels call the Pharisees, the Sadducees, the priests, the chief priests and elders, the Sanhedrin, the lawyers, and the scribes. These are people who hated the truth of God and Christ, who hated the actions of love and good works, especially towards the down and out and poor of person and spirit. They were absolutely sure that they were right and all who disagreed with them were wrong and to be hated. They were proud in their hearts and disdainful of all who were different than they. They believed that they merited special, favorable treatment from God because they believed themselves to be superior to others. They were the religious authorities of Jesus’s day who sought to annihilate him.

What will be the fate of the wicked who hate God and his Christ?

Psalm 2 first prophesies the outcome for this set of people.

Psalm 2:1 Wherefore did the heathen rage, and the nations imagine vain things?
2 The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers gathered themselves together, against the Lord, and against his Christ;
3 saying, Let us break through their bonds, and cast away their yoke from us.
4 He that dwells in the heavens shall laugh them to scorn, and the Lord shall mock them.
5 Then shall he speak to them in his anger, and trouble them in his fury.
6 But I have been made king by him on Sion his holy mountain,
7 declaring the ordinance of the Lord: the Lord said to me, Thou art my Son, to-day have I begotten thee.
8 Ask of me, and I will give thee the heathen for thine inheritance, and the ends of the earth for thy possession.
9 Thou shalt rule them with a rod of iron; thou shalt dash them in pieces as a potter’s vessel.
10 Now therefore understand, ye kings: be instructed, all ye that judge the earth.
11 Serve the Lord with fear, and rejoice in him with trembling.
12 Accept correction, lest at any time the Lord be angry, and ye should perish from the righteous way: whensoever his wrath shall be suddenly kindled, blessed are all they that trust in him.
(LXE)

Psalm 58 is very similar to Psalm 2 in its approach. The basic premise of both psalms is that God has a Son with whom he is well-pleased. The Son, while sojourning on earth, will encounter opposition from enemies, who will be defeated. God warns them in advance of the consequences of their rebellion, and he encourages them to repent and receive his favor. (4)

 Psalm 58:6 God has crushed their teeth in their mouth: God has broken the cheek-teeth of the lions.
 7 They shall utterly pass away like water running through: he shall bend his bow till they shall fail.
 8 They shall be destroyed as melted wax: the fire has fallen and they have not seen the sun.
 9 Before your thorns feel the white thorn, he shall swallow you up as living, as in his wrath. 

Jesus himself, the one who loved his Father so much that he willingly conformed to the Father’s will to provide a life raft for the sinking human race by dying a most painful death upon the cross, said this about the future of his enemies:

Matthew 11:21 “Woe to you, Chorazin! Woe to you, Bethsaida! For if the mighty works done in you had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

Matthew 23:13 “But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! For you shut the kingdom of heaven in people’s faces. For you neither enter yourselves nor allow those who would enter to go in.

Matthew 23:34 Therefore I send you prophets and wise men and scribes, some of whom you will kill and crucify, and some you will flog in your synagogues and persecute from town to town, 35 so that on you may come all the righteous blood shed on earth, from the blood of righteous Abel to the blood of Zechariah the son of Barachiah, whom you murdered between the sanctuary and the altar.

Matthew 23:37 “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, the city that kills the prophets and stones those who are sent to it! How often would I have gathered your children together as a hen gathers her brood under her wings, and you were not willing! 38 See, your house is left to you desolate. 

Matthew 8: 11 I tell you, many will come from east and west and recline at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, 12 while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.” 

Matthew 13: 41 The Son of Man will send his angels, and they will gather out of his kingdom all causes of sin and all law-breakers,
42 and throw them into the fiery furnace. In that place there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

Matthew 24:1 Jesus left the temple and was going away, when his disciples came to point out to him the buildings of the temple.  2 But he answered them, “You see all these, do you not? Truly, I say to you, there will not be left here one stone upon another that will not be thrown down.”

Luke 19:41 And when he drew near and saw the city, he wept over it,  42 saying, “Would that you, even you, had known on this day the things that make for peace! But now they are hidden from your eyes.  43 For the days will come upon you, when your enemies will set up a barricade around you and surround you and hem you in on every side  44 and tear you down to the ground, you and your children within you. And they will not leave one stone upon another in you, because you did not know the time of your visitation.”

And as in Psalm 2, Psalm 58 pronounces blessing upon the righteous:

10 The righteous shall rejoice when he sees the vengeance of the ungodly: he shall wash his hands in the blood of the sinner.
11 And a man shall say, Verily then there is a reward for the righteous: verily there is a God that judges them in the earth.

Likewise, Jesus pronounces blessing upon the righteous.

Matthew 13:43 Then the righteous will shine like the sun in the kingdom of their Father. He who has ears, let him hear. 

Conclusion

The destruction of the temple and Jerusalem in 70 CE fulfilled in whole or in part the prophecies of judgment pronounced in Psalms 2 and 58 against God and his King. (5) Looking ahead, Psalm 59 records again the speaker’s trials by the hand of his enemies, his expressions of faith in prayer, his expectations of  vindication, and his prophecies of future judgment upon his enemies. In spite of the Wizard of Oz lyrics at the beginning of this article, neither Psalm 58 nor Psalm 59 are what one might call “happy.” God’s standards are higher than Hollywood’s, even when it comes to the little Munchkins celebrating the wicked witch’s demise. Happiness does come, but it must await Psalm 60.

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1 Full lyrics and copyright information available at https://www.google.com/search?ei=vv20XaCHNMSUsgWrtLfgBA&q=wizard+of+oz+lyrics+ding+dong+the+witch+is+dead&oq=wizard+of+oz+lyrics+ding&gs_l=psy-ab.1.0.0j0i22i30l3.805142.810221..813139…0.0..0.70.1396.24……0….1..gws-wiz…….0i131j0i67.cBktK4kg-Eg. Accessed October 26, 2019.

2 John Barclay’s preface to Psalm 58: “The rulers of the people met, Like wolves around a lamb combin’d Against the Lord of  glory set, Contrive the death they had design’d: But ah! the blood they mean to shed, (Which flows for our eternal weal,) Shall be for ever on their head, And more inflame the flames of hell. (Barclay, 57)

Samuel Lord Bishop Horsley writes concerning Psalm 58. “This Psalm has no obvious connection with any particular occurrence in the life of David; but it is connected remarkably with the history of Christ.” (Horsley, 139)

Andrew Bonar writes, “O that the sons of men would hear in this their day! O that every ear were opened to these words of  The Righteous One reasoning with the ungodly in prospect of the day of vengeance.” (Bonar, 179)

3 Translations based upon the Hebrew Masoretic text generally ascribe the subsequent description to rulers.

4 See Bonar in Note 2. The quotation applies here, also.

5 See https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/maps/primary/josephussack.html and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Siege_of_Jerusalem_(70_CE)#Destruction_of_Jerusalem.

 

 

 

Psalms 56-60: A Packet–Psalm 57 Let All Peoples Rejoice!

 

Revelation 7:9 After this I looked, and behold, a great multitude that no one could number, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, clothed in white robes, with palm branches in their hands, 10 and crying out with a loud voice, “Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!”

Excerpt from below: “Following a long pause equivalent to the three days Christ spent in the tomb, the psalmist-worshiper-musician breaks into his joyful peals of praise, which continue to the end of the psalm.”

Link to Septuagint Psalm (56)57

Psalm 57 is so similar to Psalm 56 that it could be considered an expansion of it. Psalm 56 focuses upon the enemies of Christ and closes with statements expressing his great faith and hope in God’s resurrection of him. Psalm 57 picks up these themes and develops the significance of the resurrection portion, while looking back upon the duress experienced under the persecution of the enemies, which led to the cross.

Craig C. Broyles captures the “flashback” nature of the first portion of the psalm when he writes, “Thus, verses 2-4, 6 may function largely as a confession of trust or a testimony, not as a lament.” (Broyles, 244) What Broyles lacks in his interpretation, however, is the basic thesis that Christ is the speaker of this and many other psalms like it. Hearing the voice of Christ in the psalmist’s prophetic words is the key that unlocks the relationship of the psalm’s various parts. (See Luke 24:25-27, 44)

A great help to the modern reader is to envision a readers’ theater setting for this and many other psalms. In such a theater, there would be a “stage” where actors in identifying costumes or wearing identifying facial masks would speak the lines of the psalms. The words our Bibles present record the readers’ words, but not stage directions, and very few narrative elements that would connect or interpret the speeches. The psalms often are abbreviated scripts. One interpretive help is knowing that Christ the Messiah, Son of God (See Psalm 2), is most often the first person speaker. A second help is knowing the basic outline of Christ’s incarnation: his mission, good works, the enemies who opposed him, his passion and death, resurrection, and ascension into glory and dominion. Keeping both these points forefront in the mind will help the reader connect the various portions of any given psalm.

The Structure of Psalm (56)57

First, Psalm 57 could well be a continuation of Psalm 56, even though the entire Psalter is not arranged in this sequential fashion. Often the reader must jump around among the psalms to uncover sequential material. But here verse 13 of Psalm 56 provides a strong connection to Psalm 57.

Psalm 56:13 For thou hast delivered my soul from death, and my feet from sliding, that I should be well-pleasing before God in the land of the living. (LXE) 

[LXE means Septuagint in English. The version I love and use is Brenton’s. See footnote one for more information about the Septuagint.]

The phrases, “thou hast delivered my soul from death,” and “before God in the land of the living,” indicate resurrection from death. The ESV translation is very similar:

For you have delivered my soul from death, yes, my feet from falling, that I may walk before God in the light of life. (ESV)

Psalm 57 develops the resurrection theme, beginning with a flashback to the prayer Christ prayed, possibly in the Garden of Gethsemane:

Psalm 57:1 Have mercy, upon me, O God, have mercy upon me: for my soul has trusted in thee: and in the shadow of thy wings will I hope, until the iniquity have passed away. (LXE)

The function of the flashback is to state the nature of the problem the psalmist faced before his deliverance and to recall the prayer he prayed while under duress.

Verse 2 also states as a recollection before deliverance the resolve of the speaker, “I will cry to God most high.” The next phrase in verse 2, “the God who has benefited me,” is better translated as a present, “the God who benefits me.” (2)

Verse 3 launches into a past tense narrative of God’s saving actions, which continues through verse 4. After reading the verses below, compare these to the highly dramatized narrative of the resurrection found in Psalm 18:14-19.

3 He sent from heaven and saved me; he gave to reproach them that trampled on me: God has sent forth his mercy and his truth;
4 and he has delivered my soul from the midst of lions’ whelps: I lay down to sleep, though troubled. As for the sons of men, their teeth are arms and missile weapons, and their tongue a sharp sword.
(LXE)

[Translation note: In Brenton’s translation, the word “though” is italicized. This indicates that this connecting word is not in the original Greek. If translated as written, one would say, “I lay down to sleep, troubled.” I believe Brenton erred here in supplying the word “though.” The original wording is best for a simple reason. To say, “I lay down to sleep, though troubled,” forces a meaning upon the original of a literal sleep, as in overnight or a nap. On the other hand, while “I lay down to sleep, troubled,” does not preclude the meaning of a night’s sleep in the midst of angst, it allows for the metaphorical sleep of death, as in Matthew 27:52, Isaiah 14:8, 43:17, and 1 Kings 11:43. I believe that the sleep of death is the primary meaning of this passage, in agreement with Psalm 22:1, “O God, my God, attend to me: why hast thou forsaken me?” and with Luke 22:44, “his sweat became like great drops of blood falling down to the ground,” while Jesus prayed in the Garden.]

In verse 5, we see what Christians often sing and marvel over–the glory of the cross:

5 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; and thy glory above all the earth. (LXE)

This exclamatory verse interrupts the narrative of the actions of the enemies in verses 4-6. The ESV and NET place an exclamation point at the end of the line. Verse 6 continues the narrative, but differs from verse 4 in that it gives the final outcome of defeat for God’s enemies.

6 They have prepared snares for my feet, and have bowed down my soul: they have dug a pit before my face, and fallen into it themselves. Pause. (LXE)

Following a long pause equivalent to the three days Christ spent in the tomb, the psalmist-worshiper-musician breaks into his joyful peals of praise, which continue to the end of the psalm.

7 My heart, O God, is ready, my heart is ready: I will sing, yea will sing psalms.
8 Awake, my glory; awake, psaltery and harp: I will awake early.
9 O Lord, I will give thanks to thee among the nations: I will sing to thee among the Gentiles.
10 For thy mercy has been magnified even to the heavens, and thy truth to the clouds.
11 Be thou exalted, O God, above the heavens; and thy glory above all the earth.
(LXE)

What Broyles found strange (see paragraph 2 above) was the perceived dissonance between the opening strain of individual lament followed by the shouting praise to God on an international and cosmic level (Broyles, 243). He concludes that the speaker “is a representative liturgist speaking on behalf of the people of God, who regularly experience opposition from non-believers” (ibid). Yes! He still falls short, however, by not recognizing that Christ is here being prophesied as the representative of not only his own people according to his flesh but the entire human race internationally. The non-believers in Christ’s case were the religious leaders whom he called out on many occasions.

 25 Jesus answered them, “I told you, and you do not believe. The works that I do in my Father’s name bear witness about me,
26 but you do not believe because you are not among my sheep.
27 My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.
28 I give them eternal life, and they will never perish, and no one will snatch them out of my hand.
(John 10:25-28 ESV)

The same chapter of John from which the above quotation is taken also announces the international and racially inclusive nature of God’s glorious victory in Christ:

John 10:16 I have other sheep that do not come from this sheepfold. I must bring them too, and they will listen to my voice, so that there will be one flock and one shepherd. (NET)

Conclusion

Psalm 57 is a joyful psalm of praise and thanksgiving for God’s victory in overcoming the psalmist’s enemies. The voice in the psalm is the prophetic voice of Christ. We know this by comparing this psalm with other psalms, such as Psalm 22, which are widely accepted as messianic prophecies. We also recognize Christ prophetically in the speaker’s voice of Psalm 57 through application of hindsight, comparing this psalm with events of Jesus’s life, as recorded in the gospels. The use of hindsight is not to be disparaged–Jesus himself gifted his disciples and the church with the light of understanding that hindsight brings (See Luke 24:25-27). While Psalm 57 gives the joyful outcome for those who gladly receive Christ’s mediation for them, looking ahead, Psalm 58 describes the outcome of judgment upon the enemies of God and his Son, those enemies who dug a pit and fell into it themselves, Psalm 57:6.

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1 See the chapter in this blog on the Septuagint, “Psalm 28: Why the Septuagint?” and the Bibliography for many books specifically about this marvelous treasure. Authors to note are Jennifer Dines, Natalio Marcos, Karen Jobes and Moises Silva, and Timothy Michael Law.

2 See NETS on this phrase, “to God who acts as my benefactor.”

 

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