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The Logos Bible Software “Free book of the Month” for November is volume one of James Montgomery Boice’s Exposition of the Psalms. Volume 1 (Psalms 1–41) is free, volume 2 (Psalms 42–106) is $1.99 and Volume 3 (Psalms 107–150) is $2.99. This is about 1000 pages of exposition for $4.98, less than the price of a Venti Candy Cane Peppermint latte.

Psalms, Vol. 1: Psalms 1–41These are expositional commentaries, rather than exegetical. Boice comments on the English text and only occasionally interacts with other commentaries or scholarship. This is a commentary intended to be read by a layperson or pastor. He is not interested in the origins of the Psalms not does the commentary worry too much about the historical setting beyond what the Psalm header indicates. He says in the introduction, “The sermons appearing in this volume were preached in relatively short segments between the winter of 1989 and the fall of 1991 and were aired on the Bible Study Hour in special winter and summer series in 1992–93.” Boice is a preacher, and his expositions in these three volumes demonstrate his preacher’s heart. You can also get the complete James Montgomery Boice Expositional Commentary series for $99 during the “Twelve Days of Christmas” sale.

Logos also has a giveaway, this month it is the Baker D.A. Carson Collection (15 vols. $262.99 value). I am not sure why they did not choose to make the Boice collection the giveaway this month, but the Carson collection is worth entering the contest.  There are a few ways to get chances in this giveaway, so scroll down to the bottom of the page and enter early and often.

The free books (and almost free) books are only available through December 31, 2017.

The Logos Bible Software “Free book of the Month” for October is their best offer ever. During the month of October, you can add The Anchor Yale Bible commentary on Romans by Joseph A. Fitzmyer for free, and Francis I. Andersen’s Anchor Bible Commentary on Habakkuk for only $1.99, and J. Louis Martyn’s Galatians commentary for only $2.99. All three of these are excellent contributions to scholarship. Any work on Romans engages with Fitzmyer, and Martyn commentary on Galatians is one of the best available. The three books are about $150.00 retail, and you can get Logos 7 Basic Edition for free. So no excuses!

The Anchor Bible format begins with a fresh translation followed by a comment on the text and then a “notes” section for exegetical detail. All Greek is transliterated and all citations are in-text. All three commentaries interact with both ancient and modern scholarship and seek to explain the text as clearly as possible. For each section there is a bibliography covering secondary literature in English, German, and French. This makes the commentary invaluable for any student of these biblical books.

Strangely, Logos is not giving away the Anchor series in their monthly Logos. In anticipation of the the Reformation celebrations at the end of October, they are giving away the 55 volume set of Luther’s Works (a $258.99 value).  There are a few ways to get chances in this giveaway, so scroll down to the bottom of the page and enter early and often.

The free books (and almost free) books are only available through October 31, 2017. Do not miss this opportunity to add three excellent professional commentaries to your Logos Library.

I am not sure I have never done a blog post “by request” before, but when Mat Loverin calls the tune, I have to dance.  This is a difficult little problem which touches on the syntax of the Greek New Testament, but may very well reflect the presuppositions of the reader more than anything else.  In addition, this is an allusion to the book of Habakkuk and may also illustrate how Paul uses the Hebrew Bible to evoke more ideas that are contained in the actual words.

In his magisterial commentary on Romans in the ICC series, C. E. B. Cranfield lists the following options for understanding this phrase:

  • From the faith of the Old Testament to the faith of the New Testament.
  • From the faith of the Law to the Faith of the Gospel (Tertullian)
  • From the faith of the preachers to the faith of the hearers (Augustine)
  • From faith in one article to faith in another (Mentioned by Aquanis)
  • From faith in the present to faith in the future (Mentioned by Aquanis)
  • From the faith of the words (whereby we now believe what we do not see) to the faith of the things, that is realities (whereby we shall possess what we now believe in) (Augustine)
  • God’s faithfulness to man’s faith (Ambrosiaster)
  • Growth in faith (Sanday and Headlam)

Notice that some of these possibilities seem to bridge the gap between the Old Testament and the New, it is all “one faith.”  Others see “faith” as a technical term for “doctrine,” others here the word faith as our response to God.  Some of these historical suggestions are very much driven by presuppostions.

Cranfield says that the problem with all of these views is that they take “from faith” in a different sense that it is used in the Habakkuk quotation.  He mentions that it is possible to take “from faith” as meaning by faith and “by faith” as an instance of  “an abstract for a concrete.”   The Habakkuk quote probably intended to link righteousness and faith.  Habakkuk is commenting on the fall of Judah to the Babylonians – how does a faithful person respond to such a spiritual disaster? Cranfield therefore suggests that the meaning is something like “for in it (the gospel that is being preached) a righteous status which is God’s gift is being revealed (and so offered to men) – a righteous status which is altogether by faith.”  (Romans, 99).  This is a theological unpacking of the text which may very well be good theology, but is it what Paul intended to communicate?

Should the meaning of this line in the book of Habakkuk bear on Paul’s use of the line in Romans 1:17?  It is possible that Paul wanted us to hear the words of Habakkuk in their original context and “hear the echoes” of the fall of Jerusalem in the quote.  If so, then the reader ought to be thinking about the faithfulness of God in keeping his covenant despite the sin of Israel and the judgment of the exile.  The faithful God is working in the people of faith to reveals his righteousness / justice at the present time.   Perhaps this is a text which could be read as an “end of the exile” motif in Paul.  How is it that God has ended the long exile of Israel?  By revealing his righteousness through the faithful act of Jesus on the cross.

But if I say “we have nothing to fear except fear itself,” I am not sure I can expect my audience to hear the words in the context of Franklin D. Roosevelt, nor even know that the words are from his 1933 inaugural address.  (In fact, his point was “we can get through the depression,” but until I looked it up, I would have thought this referred to entering World War II).  There are some people who might think that someone else said the line and “hear and echo” of something I had not intended, and perhaps “create a meaning” in their own mind that was not my intention at all.  Imagine the meaning if someone thought that Yogi Berra was the source of the phrase, describing the chances the 1969 Mets had at winning the World Series!  Or worse yet, Harry Potter trying to convince Ron Weasley to follow the spiders into the Forbidden Forest.  Those contexts might very well spin the meaning of my use of the quote off into unintended and perhaps disastrous meanings to my original text.

Overall I am inclined to give the context of the Hebrew Bible full weight in Paul’s allusion, especially since this line is something of a theme for the whole book of Romans.  Paul is declaring that the faithful God is acting to reveal his righteousness in the faith actions of his Son, on behalf of the faithful.

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