Friday, December 30, 2022

Magical thinking

One of the king’s primary responsibilities was to defeat and contain these threatening beings, thus maintaining the stability of the world. This was of utmost importance in Egyptian ideology, and the king was often depicted in the act of annihilating rebels or symbols of evil, who usually took the form of foreigners. For example, in smiting scenes, the pharaoh strides forward with a weapon raised overhead in order to execute the one or more foreign enemies who are in his grasp (fig. 1.5). In other scenes, the king takes the form of a sphinx or griffin and tramples foreign enemies (fig. 1.6). This imagery, like all imagery in ancient Egypt, had a magical capacity: by depicting the king defeating his enemies, the Egyptians guaranteed that the king would continually do so. The image created the reality. In this way, such imagery was both apotropaic and effective.—Ancient Egyptian Prisoner Statues: Fragments of the Late Old Kingdom, 8–9

<idle musing>
In the old days, we used to call this sympathetic magic, but that term has fallen out of favor in the last thirty or so years. I don't recall what they call it now, but it's still the same: Like begets like.

Makes sense, doesn't it? As one of my seminary professors used to say, when you reason from the given to the divine, you end up with magic—the attempt to control your circumstances by manipulating them symbolically, i.e., magic.

Unfortunately, some of that thinking has invaded Christian thought, theology, and behavior. Now, I'm not trying to minimize or deny the effectiveness of acting out some things, such as the writing of offenses on a piece of paper and then burning the paper—we are embodied beings and actions help—but, to think the action in and of itself is effective? Well, no. Emphatically, no. It only becomes effective through the power of God in the Holy Spirit, working in and through you and your circumstances.

And as for the practice that I've seen of placing a Bible on someone as if the book is magical? That's just plain wrong. The Bible is just a block of wood, thinly sliced—unless the Holy Spirit quickens it. Nothing more; nothing less. And there is nothing magical about reciting scripture over someone either.

"Guard your thoughts" means more than just watch out for mean or sinful thoughts; it also means guard your thoughts (and practices) against sub-Christian ideas. You can't manipulate God, and that's what is happening in the above scenarios. Pharaoh was trying to manipulate the gods into striking his enemies. It didn't work! The Old Kingdom fell.

What's interesting is that this practice of destroying prisoner statues was prevalent at the end of the Old Kingdom, as it was getting weaker. Think about that for a minute.

Magic tends to run rampant when we feel like the world around us is out of control. But, if you really believe that God is in control (or as some prefer, in charge), then why should you need to perform magical actions?

Could it be that, as J. B. Phillips's 1952 book put it, Your God Is Too Small?

Consider that in you New Year's Resolutions…

Just an
</idle musing>

Divine hope

513 C. M.
The garner of God.

COME, thou omniscient Son of man,
   Display thy sifting power;
   Come, with thy Spirit’s winn’wing fan
   And throughly purge thy floor.

2 The chaff of sin, the’ accursed thing,
   Far from our souls be driven;
   The wheat into thy garner bring,
   And lay us up for heaven.

3 Whate’er offends thy glorious eyes,
   Far from our hearts remove; -
   As dust before the whirlwind flies,
   Disperse it by thy love.

4 Then let us all thy fulness know,
   From every sin set free;
   Saved to the utmost, saved below,
   And perfected in thee.
          Charles Wesley, from the Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (1870 ed.)

Thursday, December 29, 2022

For the love of…

Sir. 31:5    Whoever loves gold won’t be declared just,
      and whoever pursues profits
      will be led astray by them.
6 Many have been ruined because of gold,
           and their destruction has met them head-on.
7 It’s a stumbling block for those
      who are possessed by it,
           and it will take
           every senseless person captive. (CEB)

<idle musing>
We Protestants could do worse than reading the deuterocanonical books once in a while. There are some real gems in there…
</idle musing>

To what end salvation?

I return my reader to one of the key questions of this book: What is the goal of salvation? For too long, scholars and laymen alike have myopically viewed justification and salvation as ends in themselves, whether for the benefit of the individual or of the incorporative body of Christ. The goal of salvation is believers’ conformity to the Son of God—their participation in his rule over creation as God’s eschatological family and as renewed humanity—but only and always with the purpose of extending God’s hand of mercy, love, and care to his wider creation. This was humanity’s job in the beginning; it will be believers’ responsibility and honor in the future; it is God’s purpose in calling his people in the present.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 266

<idle musing>
Indeed! We underestimate the purposes of God and are unaware of his ability to bring it about.

That's the final paragraph of the book. I hope you enjoyed the brief snippets I posted; they really don't do the book justice. It is definitely worth the time invested in reading it. But, be aware that it is loaded with untranslated Greek—both LXX and NT—so if your Greek is rusty/nonexistent, you will miss some of the nuances. But, it is still worth the time invested.
</idle musing>

A hymn for the new year

1128 C. M.
For a blessing on the truth.

O GOD, by whom the seed is given,
   By whom the harvest blest;
   Whose word, like manna shower’d from heaven,
   Is planted in our breast ;—

2 Preserve it from the passing feet,
   And plund’rers of the air;
   The sultry sun’s intenser heat,
   And weeds of worldly care.

3 Though buried deep, or thinly strown,
   Do thou thy grace supply:
   The hope in earthly furrows sown
   Shall ripen in the sky.
                  Reginald Heber (1783–1826)
                  from the Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (1870 edition)

Wednesday, December 28, 2022

Participation in Christ

God’s children will receive this glory in full when their own redemption and adoption is complete, but they also are currently glorified, even if in part. This is the reason believers are predestined, called, and justified: that, as God’s eschatological family, his children might be used by God to bring redemption to the world around them, in part by action and in part by prayer (Rom 8:26–27). This participation is the now of believers’ glorification, the present purpose for which they were called (Rom 8:28, 30). Believers are not yet glorified entirely or completely, but they nonetheless participate in the Son's glory in the present as those whose new identity is established in the Messiah, the Son of God.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 250 (emphasis original)

Sanctified Knowledge

1011 1st P.M 6 lines 8s.
Sanctified knowledge.

COME, Father, Son, and Holy Ghost
   To whom we for our children cry
   The good desired, and wanted most,
   Out of thy richest grace supply;
   The sacred discipline be given,
   To train and bring them up for heaven.

2 Error and ignorance remove;
   Their blindness, both of heart and mind:
   Give them the Wisdom from above,—
   Spotless, and peaceable, and kind:
   In knowledge pure their minds renew,
   And store with thoughts divinely true.

3 Learning’s redundant part and vain
   Be here cut off, and cast aside:
   But let them, Lord, the substance gain;
   In every solid truth abide;
   Swiftly acquire, and ne’er forego
   The knowledge fit for man to know.

4 Unite the pair so long disjoin’d,
   Knowledge and vital piety:
   Learning and holiness combined,
   And truth and love, let all men see
   In those whom up to thee we give,
   Thine, wholly thine, to die and live.
                  —Charles Wesley, Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (1870 edition)

Tuesday, December 27, 2022

Tozer for a Tuesday

[Speaking of those who force an interpretation and call it "rightly dividing the word of truth," he says} Rightly dividing the Word of Truth turns out to be anemic and usually bleeds to death in the hands of the man who holds it. Then he carries a dead text around with him and rams it down everybody’s throat. The carnal urge to “rightly divide” arises from intellectual pride. And that is What we call trying too hard.—A.W. Tozer, Living as a Christian, 33

<idle musing>
We all know people like that, don't we? : (

Lord, deliver me from being one of them!
</idle musing>

Monday, December 26, 2022

Participation in Christ

God’s children are tasked with the role of participating in God’s restoration process in creation through the practice of prayer. In this way they participate with the Son's rule over creation as those whose new identity is in Christ. Just as the Son intercedes on behalf of the saints in his glory in Romans 8:34, so also the saints demonstrate their sonship, and thus their participation in the Sons glory, in the present. And they do so not in domination but in a Christ—modeled dominion (e.g., Phil 2:6–11) that leads to redemption. But because of their weakness, they can only fulfill this role with the help and intercession of the Spirit.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 245

Saturday, December 24, 2022

Hymn for a Christmas Eve

493                                     L. M.
There remaineth a rest for the people of God.

COME, O thou greater than our heart,
   And make thy faithful mercies known;
   The mind which was in thee impart:
   Thy constant mind in us be shown.

2 O let us by thy cross abide,
   Thee, only thee, resolved to know,
   The Lamb for sinners crucified,
   A world to save from endless wo.

3 Take us into thy people’s rest,
   And we from our own works shall cease;
   With thy meek Spirit arm our breast,
   And keep our minds in perfect peace.

4 Jesus, for this we calmly wait;
   O let our eyes behold thee near!
   Hasten to make our heaven complete;
   Appear, our glorious God, appear!
            Charles Wesley, Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (1870)

Thought for the day

3 Rich people inflict injury,
   but then act as if they’re the ones
   who have been wronged;
     the poor suffer injury,
     but they’re the ones
     who must apologize.
4 If you are useful to the rich,
   they will work with you,
     but if you are in need,
   they will abandon you.
5 If you own anything,
   they will live with you;
     they will exhaust what you have,
     and they won’t suffer.
6 If they need you, they will deceive you
     and smile at you and give you hope;
     they will speak nicely to you and say,
     “What do you need?”
7 They will embarrass you
   with their fine foods,
     until they have cleaned you out
     two or three times over.
     In the end they will mock you,
     and after these things,
     they will see you and abandon you
     and shake their heads at you.

Sir. 13:8    Take care that you don’t go astray,
     and don’t be humiliated
     by your own foolishness.
9 When powerful people invite you,
   show yourself reluctant,
     and they will invite you all the more.
10 Don’t be forward,
   or you might be rejected;
     and don’t stand far off,
     or you might be forgotten.
11 Don’t think that you can speak
   with them as an equal,
     and don’t trust in their
   lengthy conversations,
     because they will test you
     with a lot of talking;
     and when they are smiling, they are really examining you.
12 Those who won’t guard your secrets
   are cruel,
     and they won’t spare you
     from mistreatment
     and imprisonment.
13 Be on guard and pay attention,
     because you are tiptoeing
     around your own downfall.—Sir 13:3–13 (CEB)

<idle musing>
I try to read through the Deuterocanonical books every year, usually in December. I'm a bit behind schedule this year, only being in Sirach now.

Every year I notice something new. This year I was struck by the similarity of Wisdom to sections of Romans and Hebrews. I'll have to pursue that a bit…
</idle musing>

Friday, December 23, 2022

Just because

The weather right now:

That's warmer than yesterday??!! I didn't look yesterday when I was out shoveling (we got about 6 inches of snow), but it definitely was cold! I was outside for about 2.5 hours shoveling and the wind did feel cold. And when I looked at the temperature at about 8:00 last night, it was -12ºF. So I guess the wind chill would be lower than -27ºF.

Merry Christmas!

Hymn to God's holiness

100 L. M.

HOLY as thou, O Lord, is none
   Thy holiness is all thine own;
   A drop of that unbounded sea
   Is ours,—a drop derived from thee

2 And when thy purity we share,
   Thine only glory we declare;
   And, humbled into nothing, own,
   Holy and pure is God alone.

3 Sole, self-existing God and Lord,
   By all thy heavenly hosts adored,
   Let all on earth bow down to thee,
   And own thy peerless majesty:

4 Thy power unparallel’d confess,
   Establish’d on the Rock of peace
   The Rock that never shall remove
   The Rock of pure, almighty love
              —Charles Wesley, Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (1870)

For whom do we groan?

I propose that nothing in the text warrants reading τὸ γὰρ τί προσευξώμεθα καθὸ δεῖ οὐκ οἴδαμεν [We don’t know what we should pray] in Romans 8:26 as a reference to the prayers believers should make only on their own behalf. Instead, what believers ought to pray for in Romans 8:26 and what the Spirit intercedes for in Romans 8:27 is not only for the believers’ own good but is also for the good of the creation, which currently groans, hence Paul’s transition from creation to believers in Romans 8:22–23.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 244 (emphasis original)

Thursday, December 22, 2022


I suggest that, though God’s children have not yet fully received their adoption as sons and thus are not yet in full possession of the inheritance, they are nevertheless called with the purpose of cooperating with God to bring restoration to his creation in the present. Discussions regarding humanity’s responsibility toward the nonhuman creation are increasingly popular, particularly within discussions surrounding the intersection of ecological concerns and theology. Byrne even goes so far as to suggest that “the future of the world (salvation) does to some extent lie in human hands.” He continues by stating, “Hope for the future in this sense takes human action into account. It remains hope in God but it is also hope in the prevailing power of God’s grace working through, not around or above human cooperation.”—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 242 (emphasis original in/quotation)

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

He shall glorify…

OK, I've been listening to Handel's Messiah, what can I say! Anyway, here's today's excerpt from Conformed to the Image of His Son:

Glorification, according to my working definition, occurs in two stages. On the basis of believers’ union with Christ, glorification is a present reality, at least in part. They are free from the powers of sin and death and have received the Holy Spirit, the firstfruits of their adoption. When believers’ bodies are resurrected to share in the glory of Christ, as in Philippians 3:21, then they will do so fully.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 237

Tuesday, December 20, 2022

Tozer Tuesday

As soon as we accept the doctrine or the idea that the Bible is a book of theological toys to be played with by tender saintlings, we have missed the purpose of the Scripture and face the danger of slipping into false doctrine before very long. For the Bible was given to us not to satisfy our curiosity but to sanctify our personality.—A.W. Tozer, Living as a Christian, 33

Monday, December 19, 2022

An Advent hymn

118 C. M.
Design and object of His advent.

HARK, the glad sound! the Saviour comes,——
   The Saviour, promised long;
   Let every heart prepare a throne,
   And every voice a song.

2 He comes, the pris’ner to release.
   In Satan’s bondage held;
   The gates of brass before him burst,
   The iron fetters yield.

3 He comes, from thickest films of vice
   To clear the mental ray,
   And on the eyes oppress’d with night
   To pour celestial day.

4 He comes, the broken heart to bind,
   The wounded soul to cure,
   And, with the treasures of his grace,
   To’ enrich the humble poor.

5 Our glad hosannas, Prince of peace,
   Thy welcome shall proclaim,
   And heaven’s eternal arches ring
   With thy beloved name.
                    by Philip Doddridge
                    from the 1870 Hymns for the Methodist Episcopal Church

Sunday, December 18, 2022

Numismatic abbreviations

The last two books I've edited have had numismatic references, and therefore abbreviations. I'm not a numismatics guy—far from it! So, I had to dig around for a good site for abbreviations. The one I've had the best success with so far is this one called Wild Winds.

I also found a link to the Mionnet supplement volumes on google books here. There are nine of them!

This is mainly for my reference, but others might find it useful. If you have better sites, please add them in the comments.

See all the copyediting stuff here.

Friday, December 16, 2022

But what does the text say?

Contrary to Schreiner, Witherington, Moo, and others who maintain this guaranteed future reality, there is no indication within the context of Romans 8:30 that Paul writes from this future standpoint. Assurance alone is not a strong rationale for assuming Paul is writing about believers’ guarantee of glorification from a future perspective. I suggest that scholars take this view because their presupposed definition of δόξα [doxa] requires it: God’s people have clearly not yet been brought fully into the divine glory; therefore, the only explanation of the aorist is that, because it is so assured in the future, it can be spoken of as if it were a reality already in the present. This anticipatory interpretation, however, is unsupported.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 236

Thursday, December 15, 2022

The goal

My emphasis here is on the ultimate goal of the calling, which Paul makes clear is not believers’ justification, contrary to much of Protestant post-Reformation theology. The goal is a redeemed people through whom God brings redemption to the rest of the cosmos. The embedded structure of Romans 8:28–30 makes this clear.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 230–31 (emphasis original)

<idle musing>
A helpful reminder, isn't it? Post-Reformation theology gets hung up on the penultimate goal, forgetting what the reason for salvation is in the first place. God's ultimate goal hasn't changed: He gave humanity the imago Dei to be his stewards on earth; the method has changed because of sin and rebellion, but the goal remains the same.
</idle musing>

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Speech does not equal writing

The assumption that writing exists solely to represent speech is also gravely mistaken. As Coulmas has observed, “Writing is for readers who have little need for minute phonetic information because they know the language that is written and, therefore do not depend on such information for identifying meaningful units in the text.” Moreover, as Coulmas notes that the origins and development of writing are independent of spoken language: “writing did not evolve as a means to record speech but as a system of communication” (2003: 15). The purpose of writing is to communicate meaning, not sound.—William Schniedewind, in Advances in Biblical Hebrew Linguistics, 113

<idle musing>
I need to be reminded of that every now and then…
</idle musing>

Tuesday, December 13, 2022

But we see Jesus…

In short, what I have argued here in Romans 8:29-30 is that Paul sees that those conformed to the image of the Son are those who, though once participants in the Adamic submission to the powers of sin and death, now participate in the reign of the new Adam over creation. Mankind’s position on earth as God’s vicegerents to his creation is now restored, though now through the image of the Son of God, who reigns as God’s preeminent vicegerent. The depiction of humanity being crowned with glory and honor and established with dominion over creation in Psalm 8 is now again a reality, through both the Firstborn Son of God and those who participate in his exalted status, that is, his glory. Byrne notes that this is the “full arrival at the goal of God’s intent for human beings” in Romans 8:29. Those conformed to the image of God’s Son participate in the Firstborn Son’s sovereign position over creation as adopted members of God’s eschatological family and, as such, as a reglorified humanity.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 226–27

Tozer Tuesday

Double dose today!

I do not believe that evangelical truth necessarily must accept any one theory of inspiration as long as we believe that the holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Ghost. “For verily I say unto you, till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled” (Matt. 5:18 [KJV]). This, I believe, fulfills the requirements for belief concerning inspiration of Scripture.—A.W. Tozer, Living as a Christian, 29


It is usually the case in the Word of God that there are a multitude of applications, so that if one man says it means this, and another man says it means that, and three others say it means some other thing, they are not contradicting each other; they may easily be complementing each other’s interpretation. I have no objection to various interpretations provided they do not say, “Accept my interpretation or I rule you out.” That mindset is too narrow and legalistic.—A.W. Tozer, Living as a Christian, 30

<idle musing>
Isn't that a refreshing viewpoint? You could call it a generous orthodoxy. Quite the change from the heresy hunting and boundary-drawing activities of some today!

May those of his tribe increase while the heresy hunters decrease. The church (and world) would be a better place!

Just an
</idle musing>

Monday, December 12, 2022

Who's leading the show?

Rom 8:30 should first (not only) be read through a disciplined lens of biblical theology, in which we strive to let the text inform our system rather than (in an unhealthy way) our system inform the text. To be sure, it is not only impossible but undesirable to read any given text without a systematic framework. Yet our mindset must be one of self-consciously letting the text tinker with the framework rather than the framework with the text.—Dane Ortlund, Inaugurated Glorification: Revisiting Romans 8:30 JETS 57 (2014): 128 (emphasis original); cited in Conformed to the Image of His Son, 225

<idle musing>
But how often is it the other way around? Far too often we go to scripture seeking a proof text for our chosen position, rather than going there with an open mind. Yes, we all have frameworks (presuppositions), but they must be open to modification if we intend to grow spiritually (as well as intellectually and emotionally).

Back in the day, we used to call that inductive versus deductive reading. Not sure what they call it now, but the principle remains the same: Let the text dictate what you find, not the other way around.

To share a story: Many years ago, another person and I used to get together to sight-read in the Greek New Testament. One day, the person I was reading with said something to the effect that they were truly amazed because I let the text dictate how I translated and interpreted it. I asked them what they meant. They replied that they had been taught to go to the text with a firm idea and then find it there—and this person was seminary-trained! Yikes!

As the title of the post asked, "Who's leading the show?" I hope and pray you let God, through the Holy Spirit, direct what you find in any given text, not what your presuppositions/framework/theology dictates has to be there or can't be there.
</idle musing>

Saturday, December 10, 2022

Self-righteousness, the ultimate false hope

443 S. M.
Self-righteousness destroyed

A GOODLY, formal saint,
   I long appeared in sight;
   By self and Satan taught to paint
   My tomb, my nature, white.
   The Pharisee within still undisturb’d remain’d;
   The strong man, arm’d with guilt of sin,
   Safe in his palace reign’d.

2 But, 0, the jealous God
   In my behalf came down;
   Jesus as himself the stronger show’d,
   And claim’d me for his own.
   My spirit he alarm’d,
   And brought into distress;
   He shook and bound the strong man,
   arm’d in his self-righteousness.

3 Faded my virtuous show,——
   My form without the power;
   The sin-convincing Spirit blew,
   And blasted every flower:
   My mouth was stopp’d, and shame
   Cover'd my guilty face;
   I fell on the atoning Lamb,
   And I was saved by grace.
                                  (1870 Methodist Episcopal hymnal)

Friday, December 09, 2022

What do you do with that εἰκόν [eikon] in Romans 8:29

How then should one understand Paul’s use of εἰκόν [eikon] in Romans 8:29? It should be noted first that, as Philip Hughes rightly suggests, τῆς εἰκόνος [tes eikonos] and τοῦ υἱοῦ [tou huiou] in Romans 8:29 should be taken as mutually explicative, so that the verse reads “be conformed to the image (that is) [God’s] Son” (see 1 Cor 15:49). The image is neither external to the Son nor an attribute of the Son that can theoretically be removed or replaced; the image is the Son himself, the perfect representation of Sonship.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 193

<idle musing>
For those of you paying close attention, you'll see over a hundred page jump here from the last one. That's because she has been laying a lot of foundational and literature review work (it's a revised dissertation after all!) that, while important to the study, doesn't lend itself very well to extracting a paragraph here and there. I recommend you look at the book if you are really interested. A word of warning though: If you aren't quite proficient in Greek, you will have a terrible time of it! She quotes large sections of the LXX without translating it.
</idle musing>

Thursday, December 08, 2022

Jesus, I am resting

1 Jesus, I am resting, resting
   In the joy of what Thou art,
   I am finding out the greatness
   Of Thy loving heart.
   Thou hast bid me gaze upon Thee,
   And Thy beauty fills my soul,
   For by thy transforming power
   Thou hast made me whole.

   Jesus, I am resting, resting
   In the joy of what Thou art,
   I am finding out the greatness
   Of Thy loving heart.

2 Oh, how great Thy loving-kindness,
   Vaster, broader than the sea;
   Oh, how marvellous Thy goodness
   Lavished all on me
   Yes, I rest in Thee, Beloved,
   Know what wealth of grace is Thine,
   Know Thy certainty of promise
   And have made it mine. [Refrain]

3 Simply trusting Thee, Lord Jesus,
   I behold Thee as Thou art,
   And Thy love, so pure, so changeless,
   Satisfies my heart,
   Satisfies its deepest longing,
   And supplies its every need,
   Compasseth me round with blessings:
   Thine is love indeed. [Refrain]

4 Ever lift Thy face upon me
   As I work and wait for Thee;
   Resting 'neath Thy smile, Lord Jesus,
   Earth's dark shadows flee.
   Brightness of Thy Father's glory
   Sunshine of Thy Father's face,
   Keep me ever trusting, resting,
   Fill me with Thy grace. [Refrain]
    By Jean Sophia Pigott,

<idle musing>

As an aside, read the author bio at Seems Hudson Taylor found this hymn to be of great comfort. Personally, I can see why. It summarizes very well the power of looking to Jesus.

I'm fairly certain I learned this hymn from the Methodist Hymnal, but it isn't in the United Methodist one I have (1964 edition, w/O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing as #1). And I searched the index of the 1935 Methodist Episcopal Hymnal (Holy, Holy, Holy as #1) at, which was the hymnal I grew up with until about 1969, and it doesn't seem to be there either. So, I honestly don't know where I picked it up. Nevertheless, God brings it to mind frequently when I'm feeling stressed. Just like Hudson Taylor, I find comfort in its words; I hope you do too.
</idle musing>

Genesis—yes, but which part?

The point of Romans 1:23 is not the fall into sin of the primal pair from Genesis 3, particularly through idolatry, which thus affected either Gentiles specifically or humanity more generally, but humanity’s (אדם ['adam]) “exchange of the glory of the immortal God” in terms of its failure to fulfill its created purpose or identity as creatures made in the image of God, having dominion over creation as vicegerents of the Creator God—hence Paul’s obvious allusion to Genesis 1:26–28 and not Genesis 3:6. Dane Ortlund rightly argues that Paul’s reference here is not to God’s own glory, which then implies an “exchange of worship,” but that “it is probably human glory (the divine image) that is in view.” Humanity’s rejection of its created purpose throughout history took the form of idolatry—a form found in both Gentile and Jewish history—and resulted in a humanity that existed in their actions and desires as shadows of their created selves (Rom 1:24-32). Though the fall narrative of Genesis 2–3 is not implicit in Romans 1:23, Genesis 1:26-28 certainly is. Moreover, though the name “Adam” is not mentioned in Romans 1, the created purpose or identity of corporate humanity (“adam”; אדם) in Genesis 1:26-28 is undoubtedly of central importance in Romans 1:23.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 93–94

<idle musing>
Interesting idea, which I really like and think is probably correct. I don't follow Romans' scholarship very closely, so I don't know how common this view is, but let's let her run with it. It ties in nicely with Second Isaiah's idea of a recommissioned humanity via the Servant.
</idle musing>

Wednesday, December 07, 2022

My faith looks up to thee

1 My faith looks up to Thee,
   Thou Lamb of Calvary,
   Saviour divine;
   Now hear me while I pray,
   Take all my sins away,
   O let me from this day
   Be wholly Thine.

2 May Thy rich grace impart
   Strength to my fainting heart,
   My zeal inspire;
   As Thou hast died for me,
   O may my love to Thee
   Pure, warm, and changeless be,
   A living fire.

3 While life's dark maze I tread,
   And griefs around me spread,
   Be Thou my guide;
   Bid darkness turn to day
   Wipe sorrow's tears away,
   Nor let me ever stray
   From Thee aside.

4 When ends life's transient dream,
   When death's cold, sullen stream
   Shall o'er me roll,
   Blest Saviour, then, in love,
   Fear and distrust remove;
   O bear me safe above,
   A ransomed soul
Words by Ray Palmer, The Book of Hymns (Methodist Hymnal, 1964), 143

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

Tozer for Tuesday

Not only does a Christian believe in the invisible world but he also counts on it. He acts, plans and lives as one who counts on the reality of the invisible. On the opposite side, the man of the earth does not believe in another world, or if he believes in it, he nods dutifully toward the belief in another world, but he does not let it change his plans any. He acts just the same as if there were no other world. He lays his plans precisely the same as if there were no invisible world, and he continues to live as if heaven is a myth and does not exist.

But the Christian counts on the other world, so that the invisible presence of God in His eternal kingdom, and the spirits made perfect in the holy church of the first-born, and the Holy Ghost and the invisible world actually influence his life. The invisible actually shapes his plans, determines his habits, comforts, consoles and supports him..—A.W. Tozer, —Living as a Christian, 21

<idle musing>
How many who call themselves Christian can fit into Tozer's category of the "man of the earth"? Too many I fear : (
</idle musing>

Unfortunate reversal

Behind the line of argument here [Rom 1:23] would seem to be the biblical tradition, stemming from Gen 1:26–28, where human beings, created in the image and likeness of God, are given dominion over the rest of creation (fish, birds, animals, reptiles), a motif given more poetic expression in Psalm 8 (esp. vv 5–8). Idolatry represents the summit of “futility” (v 21) in that it has human beings submitting themselves in worship to the creatures over which they were meant to rule. This perverts the whole raison-d'étre of the non—human created world, subjecting it to “futility” (8:30).—Brendan Byrne, Romans, Sacra Pagina (Collegeville, MN: Liturgical Press, 2007), 38; quoted in Conformed to the Image of His Son, 93

Monday, December 05, 2022

What amazing words of grace!

294 C. M.
Sufficiency and freeness.

WHAT amazing words of grace
   Are in the gospel found!
   Suited to every sinner’s case,
   Who knows the joyful sound.

2 Poor, sinful, thirsty, fainting souls,
   Are freely welcome here;
   Salvation, like a river, rolls,
   Abundant, free, and clear.

3 Come, then, with all your wants and wounds;
   Your every burden bring:
   Here love, unchanging love, abounds,——
   A deep, celestial spring.

4 Whoever will—O gracious word!—
   May of this stream partake;
   Come, thirsty souls, and bless the Lord,
   And drink, for Jesus’ sake.

5 Millions of sinners, vile as you,
   Have here found life and peace;
   Come, then, and prove its virtues too,
   And drink, adore, and bless.
                                          Methodist Episcopal Hymnal 1870 edition

How does the LXX use δοξάζω?

Two points of significance are notable here. First, in each of the examples for δοξάζω above [Daniel, Esther, 1 maccabees, Isaiah, and Sirach], the aorist active idicative third-person singular form is used—the same form used 1n Romans 8:30 for God's glorification of humanity. Second, in nearly every instance of humanity's glorification in the LXX (the exceptions being Ex 34:29-30, 35; Sir 50:15), δοξάζω refers primarily to a status or position of honor, authority, being radiant or brought into the presence of God.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 50

<idle musing>
Remember that! It will be important later in the book.
</idle musing>

Friday, December 02, 2022

It's tautological

Put another way, according to the presentation of the identity of God by the translators of the LXX, the identity of God is irreducible to his presence. God is presented as a God who reigns because he is omnipotent and, as an omnipotent God who ranks above all idols and other gods, he therefore reigns as king.—Conformed to the Image of His Son, 45–46

Thursday, December 01, 2022

'Tis metaphorical, you see

All God-talk, all theology, even ours, is metaphorical, describing God in terms that properly belong to the human sphere. It cannot be otherwise, as human words, like human thought, belong this side of creation, and cannot begin to describe its other side, God as he is in his own interior life. Such knowledge as we have of God is not of God as he is, but as he shows himself towards human beings.… When we say that God saves, redeems, pities us, is our Father, our shepherd, our King, we are using metaphors or images drawn from human life and experience. In other words, we are using anthropomorphisms, ascribing to God human actions and human feelings.—J. C. L. Gibson, Language and Imagery in the Old Testament (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1998), 22; cited in Conformed to the Image of His Son, 28

<idle musing>
Starting a new book today, Conformed to the Image of His Son. I picked it up at AAR/SBL a few years ago, and it languished on my bookshelf until recently.

Today's snippet might seem to contradict the previous post from Tozer about God being near, but not really. We use anthropomorphisms, but they accurately reflect God to a degree. The danger is to forget they are metaphorical, trying to describe what is beyond human comprehension.
</idle musing>

Tozer for a Tuesday (ok, it's Thursday; I forgot!)

So the believer accepts and believes in a real world of which God is the King, an eternal kingdom, an eternal world, a spiritual and invisible world co-existing with and touching and accessible to this world. Heaven is not so far away that we must take a jet and continue through light years of travel to get to heaven. The average Christian thinks of heaven as being so far away, and only by accommodation do we sing about heaven being near and “glory coming down our souls to greet.”—A.W. Tozer, —Living as a Christian, 17

<idle musing>
Sadly, he is correct. Too many Christians see God as "out there"—a great chasm separating us from him. That's not the biblical witness! God is close at hand, nearer than you realize; in fact, living inside you in the form of the Holy Spirit.

If we would internalize that understanding, it would transform how we live, wouldn't it? Lord, make it so!
</idle musing>

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

Freedom; it's not what you think

One can hardly imagine a greater contrast to what Luther meant by “the freedom of a Christian”: living in paradoxical bondage to selfless, loving service of your neighbors, tirelessly tending to their needs whatever they might be, as a result of gratitude for the unmerited gift of God’s saving grace. Freedom as understood by Luther, as well as by the other Protestant and Catholic reformers of the sixteenth century, was based on a radically different understanding of what human beings are, what the point of human life is, and how one ought to live. No wonder it seems so alien today to most Westerners.—Rebel in the Ranks, 262

<idle musing>
And that's also what Jesus, the apostles, and Paul all meant by the freedom of a Christian. It's the freedom to serve. The freedom of not fearing your neighbors or enemies, but instead loving them and serving them.

There's always been a shortage of that kind of freedom, but I suspect it's at an unusually low point right now in our society.

I saw a new word yesterday, "angertainment," the use of anger to entertain people. It seems a sad but apt descriptive word for our society.

Again, a good meditation for advent, leading up to the Deliverer's birth.

Just an
</idle musing>

Tuesday, November 29, 2022

The Goods life?

To judge by most people’s actions today, they believe the goods life is the good life, and they devote themselves to this whether or not they also believe in God or engage in worship or prayer. In public culture and society as a whole, in both the United States and Europe, the consumption of goods and pursuit of enjoyment has essentially replaced religion. Whether you happen to be religious has no effect at all on the dominant culture. This would have horrified—if perhaps not surprised—Luther and Calvin and other sixteenth-century Protestant reformers.—Rebel in the Ranks, 255

<idle musing>
I like that, the "goods life." He is correct, we've exchanged a good life in Christ for a goods life of consumerism—and it doesn't fulfill. We need to consume more to attempt to fill that hole in our souls, which of course feeds the cycle of consume and throw away, leading to an ever warmer and more unstable climate.

Seems an appropriate meditation this advent season for why we need a savior.

Just an
</idle musing>

Monday, November 28, 2022

A different look at Adam Smith

I read an interesting review article over the weekend about Adam Smith on the New York Review of Books (via Libby from my local library). I haven't read any Adam Smith for almost 50 years (back in high school), but maybe I should take another look. Here's a brief little snippet that I found interesting:
Once we enter society and start trading with one another, Smith thought, material goods take on a social meaning. Now we are as concerned with how those goods make us appear to others as we are with the goods themselves. Once we enter an economy with others, which is the only economy there is, we cease to think and act in a strictly economic sense. When “everyone began to look at everyone else and to wish to be looked at himself,” wrote Rousseau, “public esteem acquired a price.” Smith’s theory is an attempt to make sense of that price.
Seems there's a lot more going on than I remembered (and than most people talk about when they discuss Adam Smith). The above quotation should make the Chicago school of economists recalculate. They assume a Robinson Crusoe (article's words) approach: No societal pressure, therefore a person will make a logical decision. When's the last time someone did that!!? Right, Robinson Crusoe, but even he was influenced by his cultural background (I know, he's a literary figure, but the point stands).

If you can access the article via Libby, I recommend it; otherwise, try interlibrary loan (an independent scholar's best friend!).

By the way, the book reviewed is Being Me Being You: Adam Smith and Empathy, by Samuel Fleischacker, University of Chicago Press, 216 pp., $105.00; $35.00 (paper). The paperback is actually affordable!

Sunday, November 27, 2022


Advent Sunday! Christmas has pretty much taken over the Advent season; it used to be a preparation time for the coming of the "Long-Expected Jesus." Now, it's rare to hear an advent song; you mostly hear Christmas carols. Don't get me wrong; I love Christmas carols! But I would love to hear more Advent songs. Here's one that is probably the best known: O Come, O Come, Immanuel (various spellings of Immanuel; I prefer Emanuel myself). I didn't know the back story on this until I read about it on The Anxious Bench the other day. Fascinating! Anyway, here's the hymn, and please, do yourself a favor and look through a hymnal at some of the other Advent hymns an reacquaint yourself with the build up to the arrival of Messiah!

1 O come, O come, Immanuel,
   and ransom captive Israel
   that mourns in lonely exile here
   until the Son of God appear.

Rejoice! Rejoice! Immanuel
shall come to you, O Israel.

2 O come, O Wisdom from on high,
   who ordered all things mightily;
   to us the path of knowledge show
   and teach us in its ways to go. Refrain

3 O come, O come, great Lord of might,
   who to your tribes on Sinai's height
   in ancient times did give the law
   in cloud and majesty and awe. Refrain

4 O come, O Branch of Jesse's stem,
   unto your own and rescue them!
   From depths of hell your people save,
   and give them victory o'er the grave. Refrain

5 O come, O Key of David, come
   and open wide our heavenly home.
   Make safe for us the heavenward road
   and bar the way to death's abode. Refrain

6 O come, O Bright and Morning Star,
   and bring us comfort from afar!
   Dispel the shadows of the night
   and turn our darkness into light. Refrain

7 O come, O King of nations, bind
   in one the hearts of all mankind.
   Bid all our sad divisions cease
   and be yourself our King of Peace. Refrain

Saturday, November 26, 2022

I could use more of this attitude. Could you?

556 S. M.
The spirit of prayer

THE praying spirit breathe!
   The watching power impart;
   From all entanglements beneath,
   Call off my peaceful heart;
   My feeble mind sustain,
   By worldly thoughts oppress’d;
   Appear, and bid me turn again
   To my eternal rest.

2 Swift to my rescue come;
   Thine own this moment seize;
   Gather my wand’ring spirit home,
   And keep in perfect peace:
   Suffer’d no more to rove
   O’er all the earth abroad,
   Arrest the pris’ner of thy love,
   And shut me up in God.
                                      —Charles Wesley

Thursday, November 24, 2022

Clement of Alexandria and hymns

It's funny the things you see when you page through a book as opposed to just doing a search on the internet. I was leafing through The Book of Hymns, The 1966 edition of the Methodist hymnal, and ran across two hymns by Clement of Alexandria. They must be some of the oldest hymns around outside the Bible; he lived from ca. AD 160–220, so he was born roughly 130 years after Christ's ministry, death, and resurrection (and ascension!); to put that in modern comparisons, compared to the Revolutionary war, he would have been born around 1900, or compared to the Civil War/War between the States, he would have been born in 1990.

Anyway, this particular hymn, number 86 in The Book of Hymns, appears in over 200 hymnals according to The lyrics below were taken from there; the Methodist hymnal uses an older translation and is missing verse 2 (Why? It's a great verse!). Enjoy!

1 Shepherd of tender youth,
   guiding in love and truth
   through devious ways,
   Christ, our triumphant King,
   we come your name to sing
   and here our children bring
   to join your praise.

2 You are our holy Lord,
   Christ, the incarnate Word,
   healer of strife.
   You did yourself abase
   that from sin's deep disgrace
   you might now save our race,
   and give us life.

3 You are the great High Priest,
   you have prepared the feast
   of holy love;
   and in our mortal pain
   none calls on you in vain;
   our plea do not disdain;
   help from above.

4 O ever be our guide,
   our shepherd and our pride,
   our staff and song.
   Jesus, O Christ of God,
   by your enduring Word
   lead us where you have trod;
   make our faith strong.

5 So now and till we die
   sound we your praises high
   and joyful sing:
   infants and all the throng
   who to your Church belong,
   unite to swell the song
   to Christ, our King!

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Now Thank We All Our God (duplicate!)

A bit too unbelieving, with a God who is "out there" as opposed to living within via the Holy Spirit, but still good sentiments for a Wednesday before Thanksgiving Day:

1. Now thank we all our God,
   with heart and hands and voices,
   who wondrous things has done,
   in whom this world rejoices;
   who from our mothers' arms
   has blessed us on our way
   with countless gifts of love,
   and still is ours today.

2. O may this bounteous God
   through all our life be near us,
   with ever joyful hearts
   and blessed peace to cheer us;
   and keep us still in grace,
   and guide us when perplexed;
   and free us from all ills,
   in this world and the next.

3. All praise and thanks to God
   the Father now be given;
   the Son, and him who reigns
   with them in highest heaven;
   the one eternal God,
   whom earth and heaven adore;
   for thus it was, is now,
   and shall be evermore.

United Methodist Hymnal (1989) # 102, via

I just realized that I had posted this earlier. Sorry about that! Still good sentiments, and I could always say with Peter that it is not tiresome to me and good for you to be reminded of these things!.

Tuesday, November 22, 2022

Musings on Hebrews 3–4

484 C.M.

The believer’s rest.

LORD, I believe a rest remains
   To all thy people known;
   A rest where pure enjoyment reigns,
   And thou art loved alone.

2 A rest where all our soul’s desire
   Is fix’d on things above;
   Where fear, and sin, and grief expire,
   Cast out by perfect love.

3 O that I now the rest might know,
   Believe, and enter in;
   Now, Saviour, now the power bestow,
   And let me cease from sin.

4 Remove this hardness from my heart;
   This unbelief remove;
   To me the rest of faith impart,—-
   The Sabbath of thy love.

Tozer for a Tuesday

I've decided to bring back Tozer for a Tuesday; it's been a few years, but I think I need to read him again. Here's today's snippet, from Living as a Christian.
If he or she is honest, the average Christian will sing, “See how I grovel here below, fond of these earthly toys,” rather than sing, “The waves of glory roll, my shouts I can’t control.” How can we become the ones who sing in honesty “My shouts I can’t control”?

The Christians Peter writes about saw the invisible, believed in it and rejoiced with “joy unspeakable and full of glory.” I do not know how to tell you how to get it; I only know how they got it. They got it by believing in what they could not see, and that is the only way that you and I will ever have joy unspeakable and a shout that we cannot control.—A. W. Tozer, Living as a Christian, 17

Monday, November 21, 2022

The church's one foundation

1 The Church's one foundation
   Is Jesus Christ her Lord;
   She is His new creation
   By water and the Word:
   From heaven He came and sought her
   To be His holy bride;
   With His own blood He bought her,
   And for her life He died.

2 Elect from every nation,
   Yet one o'er all the earth,
   Her charter of salvation
   One Lord, one faith, one birth.
   One Holy Name she blesses,
   Partakes one Holy Food,
   And to one hope she presses
   With every grace endured.

3 Though with a scornful wonder
   Men see her sore opprest,
   By schisms rent asunder,
   By heresies distrest,
   Yet saints their watch are keeping,
   Their cry goes up, "How long?"
   And soon the night of weeping
   Shall be the morn of song.

4 'Mid toil, and tribulation,
   And tumult of her war,
   She waits the consummation
   Of peace for evermore;
   Till with the vision glorious
   Her longing eyes are blest,
   And the great Church victorious
   Shall be the Church at rest.

5 Yet she on earth hath union
   With God, the Three in One,
   And mystic sweet communion
   With those whose rest is won:
   O happy ones and holy!
   Lord, give us grace that we,
   Like them, the meek and lowly,
   On high may dwell with Thee.

Methodist Hymn and Tune Book (1917)

Amen! Good preaching!

I don't know if you follow Roger Olson's blog or not. If you don't you definitely need to take a look at today's post, on economic theory and Christian ethics. Here's a short snippet, but you definitely need to read the whole thing (and the preceding post as well for context and indentifying the theorists):
Nozick’s theory of justice as entitlement has no way of guarding against price gouging even in a catastrophe. Nor has it any way to ameliorate the growing gap between rich and poor in a capitalist society. In fact, I will go so far as to say his theory of justice is unjust and evil. Nozick may not have been a Social Darwinist, but this I will say about it: If I were a Social Darwinist I would find Nozick’s theory of justice as entitlement an ally and I would use it to promote my Social Darwinist beliefs. As a Christian ethicist, I unequivocally condemn Nozick’s theory of justice as entitlement even if Nozick himself inconsistently with his own theory offered qualifications that make it appear as if his theory has “place” for compassion. In his theory, charity is left to individuals and organizations and government has no obligation to help the poor, the indigent, the vulnerable, the weak, or the helpless.
<idle musing>
Amen and amen! Good preaching!
</idle musing>

Sunday, November 20, 2022

Now thank we all our God

1 Now thank we all our God
   with heart and hands and voices,
   who wondrous things has done,
   in whom his world rejoices;
   who from our mothers' arms
   has blessed us on our way
   with countless gifts of love
   and still is ours today.

2 Oh, may this bounteous God
   through all our life be near us,
   with ever-joyful hearts
   and blessed peace to cheer us
   and keep us in his grace
   and guide us when perplexed
   and free us from all ills
   in this world and the next.

3 All praise and thanks to God
   the Father now be given,
   the Son, and him who reigns,
   with them in highest heaven,
   the one eternal God,
   whom earth and heav'n adore;
   for thus it was, is now,
   and shall be evermore.

Thursday, November 17, 2022

Fairest Lord Jesus

1 Fairest Lord Jesus,
   ruler of all nature,
   O thou of God and man the Son,
   Thee will I cherish,
   Thee will I honor,
   thou, my soul's glory, joy, and crown.

2 Fair are the meadows,
   fairer still the woodlands,
   robed in the blooming garb of spring:
   Jesus is fairer,
   Jesus is purer
   who makes the woeful heart to sing.

3 Fair is the sunshine,
   fairer still the moonlight,
   and all the twinkling starry host:
   Jesus shines brighter,
   Jesus shines purer
   than all the angels heaven can boast.

4 Beautiful Savior!
   Lord of all the nations!
   Son of God and Son of Man!
   Glory and honor,
   praise, adoration,
   now and forevermore be thine.

United Methodist Hymnal, 1989 (taken from

When I was in first grade, we lived in Columbia, MO while my dad was finishing up his doctoral work. We went to a large Methodist church, well it was large by 1960s standards anyway! (As an aside, the pastor there later went on to become a bishop.) One of the highlights for me was that I was able to sing in the primary youth choir, made up of first, second, and third graders. This was one of the songs that we would sing and it became one of my favorite hymns. I've also heard it called Beautiful Savior instead of Fairest Lord Jesus, like the first line of the fourth stanza.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

A hymn for Wednesday

864 C. M.
I shall be satisfied when I awake in thy likness.

JESUS, the all—restoring Word,
   My fallen spirit’s hope,
   After thy lovely likeness, Lord,
   Ah! when shall I wake up?

2 Thou, O my God, thou only art
   The Life, the Truth, the Way;
   Quicken my soul, instruct my heart,
   My sinking footsteps stay.

3 Of all thou hast in earth below,
   In heaven above, to give,
   Give me thy only love to know,——
   In thee to walk and live.

4 Fill me with all the life of love;
   In mystic union join
   Me to thyself, and let me prove
   The fellowship divine.

5 Open the intercourse between.
   My 1onging soul and thee,
   Never to be broke off again
   To all eternity. (Charles Wesley)

Tuesday, November 15, 2022

Citing a YouTube video

This was a first for me. I needed to know how to cite a YouTube video!

According to Chicago Manual of Style, it gets cited as follows:

Hays, Richard B. “Did All the Gospel Writers Believe Jesus Was Divine?” Streamed live on Dec 4, 2014. YouTube video, 52:41.
To get the short YouTube url, you need to click on the Share button and then copy that.

Simple, isn't it? But note that this is in their FAQ, not in the actual CMS17 itself.

Use this url to access the CMS site for questions: I use it all the time to find the paragraph numbers and then consult the physical book. You need a subscription to access the online version of the manual.

See all the copyediting stuff here.

Monday, November 14, 2022

Vain attempt

“People who present themselves as the embodiment of order become the embodiment of nothingness and ‘emptiness.’” John Goldingay, The Message of Isaiah 40–55: A Literary-Theological Commentary (London: T&T Clark, 2005), 57

Sunday, November 13, 2022

A hymn for the second Sunday in November

Yes, I'm on a hymn kick right now. Here's one that came to mind as I was brewing a pot of tea this morning:
1 God of grace and God of glory,
   on the people pour thy power;
   crown thine ancient church's story,
   bring her bud to glorious flower.
   Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
   for the facing of this hour,
   for the facing of this hour.

2 Lo! the hosts of evil round us
   scorn thy Christ, assail his ways!
   Fears and doubts too long have bound us;
   free our hearts to work and praise.
   Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
   for the living of these days,
   for the living of these days.

3 Cure thy children's warring madness,
   bend our pride to thy control;
   shame our wanton, selfish gladness,
   rich in things and poor in soul.
   Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
   lest we miss thy kingdom's goal,
   lest we miss thy kingdom's goal.

4 Save us from weak resignation
   to the evils we deplore;
   let the search for thy salvation
   be our glory evermore.
   Grant us wisdom, grant us courage,
   serving thee whom we adore,
   serving thee whom we adore.

The United Methodist Hymnal #577

You can find more info, including author and alternate wording at

This hymn seems appropriate for the strife-ridden culture consuming the US right now. May all who name the name of Christ, whether right or left, allow God to "cure [his] children's warring madness, bend our pride to thy control; shame our wanton, selfish gladness, rich in things and poor in soul" and "Grant us wisdom, grant us courage, lest we miss thy kingdom's goal."

Saturday, November 12, 2022

Tempest in a teapot

Aparently there has been a big dust up on Twitter about translators not being named on the cover of a book. Jim West has a post on it and I posted a comment. Because Jim moderates his comments (wise choice), it may or may not be posted, so I provide it here:
As Jim Eisenbraun pointed out to you on Twitter, it is normal for publisher not to display the translator on the cover. And, I'd like to point out that K.C. is an editor at W&S, so he might have had some input on that.

The cover is for selling the book. The title page is where the important stuff is. Worldcat, the librarians tool, usually only displays the translator in the (now hidden) details screen.

The only exception is where the translator is in some way a "big name" and having his/her name on the cover will help sell the book. Because that's what covers are for—to catch people's eyes so that they will buy the book. Period. Actually, exclamation point. Covers are a selling point—which is why the old-style stamped cloth cover is not around much anymore. It's usually on over-priced books that only need to sell 100 copies to libraries to make money. Popular-priced books need a cover to attract the nonlibrarians. If having the translator on the cover helps sell the book, then it will probably appear there. If not, too bad, so sad.

Sorry if I sound cynical, but with the proliferation of illegal sharing sites and people just not buying books, selling the few that a publisher does is what the cover is all about. (And note, too, that libraries are cutting way back on buying books.)

Sorry if you don't like my comment, but it's the truth. Not dissing translators in any way, shape, or form. They do difficult and necessary work, but if the book doesn't sell, their work will be in vain. And publisher will go away, which some of you may think is a good thing, but when I look at some self-pub stuff, with egregious factual, grammatical, and other obvious errors, I suspect the wild, wild west of self-pubs might not be the utopia that some seem to think it is.

Tell me I'm wrong…

Just an
</idle musing>

Friday, November 11, 2022

Hymn for a Friday

I woke up with this hymn on my mind:
1 All glory, laud, and honor
  to you, Redeemer, King,
  to whom the lips of children
  made sweet hosannas ring.
  You are the King of Israel
  and David's royal Son,
  now in the Lord's name coming,
  the King and Blessed One.

2 The company of angels
  is praising you on high;
  and we with all creation
  in chorus make reply.
  The people of the Hebrews
  with palms before you went;
  our praise and prayer and anthems
  before you we present.

3 To you before your passion
  they sang their hymns of praise;
  to you, now high exalted,
  our melody we raise.
  As you received their praises,
  accept the prayers we bring,
  for you delight in goodness,
  O good and gracious King!

This is an old hymn, written around 800 (in Latin, of course). You can read about the author and the translator at I might note that I remember it in the Methodist hymnal version, which is a bit different (you can use to compare and see).

Another year

I put the garden to bed for the winter the other day. After a cool fall, the last few weeks were unseasonally warm. We had a hard frost in September, two weeks earlier than normal and a month earlier than last year. Then, it stayed cold for a while before warming up.

They say that Halloween was the warmest in 22 years! And my Brussels sprouts loved it, as did my kale. I had forgotten to pull out the growing tip on the Brussels sprouts at the end of August. You do that to stop the plant from putting all its energy into growing taller; it redirects that energy into fattening up the existing sprouts. I didn't do it until the frost, so three-to-four weeks late. I figured I wouldn't get very many this year. But, the warmer weather in late October and early November sure helped! I ended up with over double what I thought I was going to get! (You can leave them on the stock until late December–early January, but I usually harvest them in early November in case of snow—the garden gate won't open once it snows.)

The only thing in the garden now is some late-planted kale that I'll keep harvesting for my soup each day until snow blocks the garden gate. It might survive the winter and be around for early spring; that's happened before. But, I don't count on it and start some in the basement in March to transplant in April. Meanwhile, I've frozen enough to keep me supplied until May.

In general, it was a good garden year. I froze sufficient broccoli, beans, tomatoes, summer squash, and bok choi for the winter. We ate more than our fill of peas fresh off the vine; the raspberries gave us enough to eat, but not enough to freeze. I have onions and garlic enough for most, if not the whole winter. We ended up with around twenty delicata, so we'll be eating that until the end of December. I have rhubarb in the freezer, too, for some nice tart rhubarb sauce on a cold winter morning.

So, the garden to bed, last night I started looking through the latest Johnny's catalog, making a list of stuff I need to try or reorder. Next, I'll go through Fedco's catalog and compare. I like to order my seeds before January—for two reasons: (1) to avoid stock-outs in the spring (this year my green beans were back-ordered until just before planting date; I was concerned), and (2) so I can start stuff in the basement in March.

I also like to order from other seed companies, like Baker Creek, and a few others I can't recall right now.

Thursday, November 10, 2022

A hymn for a Thursday in November

I'm having a lot of fun randomly reading through this 1870 Methodist hymnal. Here's one that jumped out at me today, under the heading of "His Priesthood and Intercession":
158 C. M.
King of kings and Lord of lords.

THE head that once was crown’d with thorns,
   Is crown’d with glory now;
   A royal diadem adorns
   The mighty Victor’s brow.

2 The highest place that heaven affords,
   Is to our Jesus given;
   The King of kings, and Lord of lords,
   He reigns o’er earth and ‘heaven—-

3 The joy of all who dwell above,
   The joy of all below,
   To whom he manifests his love,
   And grants his Name to know.

4 To them the cross, with all its shame,
   With all its grace, is given;
   Their name—an everlasting name,
   Their joy—the joy of heaven.

5 They suffer with their Lord below,-——
   They reign with him above;
   Their everlasting joy to know
   The myst’ry of his love.

Monday, November 07, 2022

The more things change

The more they stay the same. Take, for example, these verses from Revelation 16:
and they cursed the name of the God who had power over these plagues. But they didn’t change their hearts and lives and give him glory.… and they cursed the God of heaven because of their pains and sores; but they didn’t turn away from what they had done.… They cursed God… (Rev 16:9b, 11, 21b, CEB)
Nope, nothing has changed. Blame God, but don't change your life. How's that working for you? Yeah, that's what I thought. It never has worked.

Consider repenting—changing your heart and mind, as the Common English Bible translates it.

Friday, November 04, 2022

Friday's hymn

As I mentioned the other day, I've been randomly reading in an 1870 Methodist hymnal lately. You can see why most of them haven't survived in today's hymnals, but there are some real gems of theology in most of them. Today's is one of them.
483 C. M.

The good pleasure of his will.

I KNOW that my Redeemer lives,
And ever prays for me:
A token of his love he gives,—
A pledge of liberty.

2 I find him lifting up my head;
He brings salvation near;
His presence makes me free indeed,
And he Will soon appear.

3 He wills that I should holy be!
What can withstand his will?
The counsel of his grace in me
He surely shall fulfil.

4 Jesus, I hang upon thy word;
I steadfastly believe
Thou wilt return, and claim me, Lord,
And to thyself receive.

5 When God is mine, and I am his,
Of paradise possess'd
I taste unutterabie bliss,
And everlasting rest.

By the way, in case you don't know what the notations are next to the hymn number: In the old hymn books they don't have music, just lyrics. Nowadays a hymn usually has become attached to a particular tune, but back then, they would just use one that had the same meter. And the tunes also had names (even in today's hymnals, you can usually see the tune name and composer listed). So, to use today's as an example: It is C.M., which means common meter, so the music leader would say, let's sing hymn number 483 to (some tune with a common meter, like "O, For a Thousand Tongues to Sing"). Another common one is L.M., which means long meter, or S.M., which means short meter. You can find a short explanation on this Wiki page, explaing what the poetic feet are, if you're into that. The hymnbook I'm reading has about thirty "peculiar meters." I'm not sure where they list what those are, but an experienced music leader in those days would know them.

Lord, haste the day!

Reading in Revelation this morning and this verse jumped out at me:

And I heard every creature in heaven and on earth and under the earth and in the sea—I heard everything everywhere say,

“Blessing, honor, glory, and power
belong to the one seated on the throne
and to the Lamb
forever and always.” Rev 5:13 (CEB)

Note that it says "everything, everywhere" is praising God. Lord, haste the day!

Thursday, November 03, 2022

Necessary but not sufficient

There's a saying that I learned while I was a manager, "Necessary, but not sufficient." It means that without that quality/substance/whatever, the business won't function. But, that by itself is not sufficient. You need that plus something else.

Scot McKnight posted a devotional excerpt on John 2 from his next book. He ends with this paragraph:

Why did Jesus refuse to commit himself to these people? Because he perceived like no other what was in humans (2:25). His signs divide the audiences (9:16; 11:45-48; 12:37). Some surrender to him because of signs (2:11; 3:2; 6:2; 20:30-31); others accept the reality of the miracle but do not see through it to the identity of Jesus; yet others repudiate him completely. To see his miracles as signs one must perceive the identity of Jesus beyond the material miracle itself. One could say then that sign-faith is a first but not final step in the journey of true faith (Thompson, John, 67–68). True faith abides over time in trusting Jesus who abides over time in nurturing the believer.
In other words, necessary, but not sufficient. I fear that's where a lot of "signs and wonders" Christians are at. They see the signs and wonders, and they believe them, but don't press on further to the point of abiding in Christ. They sit by the door, admiring, but don't go "further up and further in" to quote from The Last Battle.

It would make an intersting DMin project for someone to follow up on those who were converted via a signs and wonders presentation and see what percentage stuck with the faith. And then compare it with a control group who were converted via a mass presentation like a Billy Graham crusade.

The Billy Graham people used to say that less than 5 percent of the "decisions" made at a crusade stuck. Do you think the number would be higher in a signs and wonders presentation?

I honestly don't know.

Tuesday, November 01, 2022

Both or neither

Written well over a century ago, but still true (sadly, and not just England!). From Wilde's A Woman of No Importance:
if a man and woman have sinned, let them both go forth into the desert to love or loathe each other there. Let them both be branded. Set a mark, if you wish, on each, but don’t punish the one and let the other go free. Don’t have one law for men and another for women. You are unjust to women in England. And till you count what is a shame in a woman to be an infamy in a man, you will always be unjust, and Right, that pillar of fire, and Wrong, that pillar of cloud, will be made dim to your eyes, or be not seen at all, or if seen, not regarded.

Hymn for a Tuesday

484 C. M.
The believer's rest.

LORD, I believe a rest remains
To all thy people known;
A rest where pure enjoyment reigns,
And thou art loved alone:

2 A rest where all our soul’s desire
Is fix’d on things above;
Where fear, and sin, and grief expire,
Cast out by perfect love.

3 O that I now the rest might know,
Believe, and enter in:
Now, Saviour, now the power bestow,
And let me cease from sin.

4 Remove this hardness from my heart;
This unbelief remove:
To me the rest of faith impart,—
The Sabbath of thy love.
(Charles Wesley, 1840)

Sunday, October 30, 2022

Hymn for "the Lord's day"

701 C. M.
Safety in union

JESUS, great Shepherd of the sheep
To thee for help we fly:
Thy little flock in safety keep,
For O! the wolf is nigh.

2 He comes, of hellish malice full,
To scatter, tear, and slay;
He seizes every straggling soul
As his own lawful prey.

3 Us into thy protection take,
And gather with thine arm;
Unless the fold we first forsake,
The wolf can never harm.

4 We laugh to scorn his cruel power,
While by our Shepherd’s side;
The sheep he never can devour,
Unless he first divide.

5 O do not suffer him to part
The souls that here agree;
But make us of one mind and heart,
And keep us one in thee.

6 Together let us sweetly live,—
Together let us die;
And each a starry crown receive,
And reign above the sky.
(Charles Wesley; from Methodist Hymns, 1870)

Saturday, October 29, 2022

Hymn for the day

I have a small, saddlebag-sized Methodist hymnal from 1870 (the 1848 edition) that the local bookstore gave me a while back. I've been reading a hymn or two a day out of it for about a week. Today I ran across this one. I hope you enjoy it.

126 26th P. M. '76, '76, 76, 76.
The glory of His kingdom.

HAIL, to the Lord’s anointed,
Great David’s greater Son!
Hail, in the time appointed,
His reign on earth begun!
He comes to break oppression,——-
To set the captive free;
To take away transgression,
And rule in equity.

2 He comes, with succour speedy
To those who suffer wrong;
To help the poor and needy,
And bid the Weak be strong;
To give them songs for sighing,——
Their darkness turn to light,
Whose souls, condemn’d and dying,
Were precious in his sight.

3 He shall descend like showers
Upon the fruitful earth,
And love and joy, like flowers,
Spring in his path to birth:
Before him, on the mountains,
Shall peace, the herald, go,
And righteousness, in fountains,
From hill to Valley flow.

4 To him shall prayer unceasing,
And daily vows ascend;
His kingdom still increasing,-—
A kingdom without end:
The tide of time shall never
His covenant remove;
His name shall stand forever;
That name to us is Love.
(by James Montgomery, 1821)

Friday, October 28, 2022

Morning praise

The other day I woke up with this hymn running through my mind:
1 When morning gilds the sky,
our hearts awaking cry:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
in all our work and prayer
we ask his loving care:1
May Jesus Christ be praised!

2 To God, the Word on high,
the hosts of angels cry:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Let mortals too upraise
their voices in hymns of praise:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

3 Let earth's wide circle round
in joyful notes resound:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Let air and sea and sky
from depth to height reply:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

4 Be this, when day is past,
of all our thoughts the last:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
The night becomes as day
when from the heart we say:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

5 Then let us join to sing
to Christ, our loving King:
May Jesus Christ be praised!
Be this the eternal song
through all the ages long:
May Jesus Christ be praised!

1 The United Methodist Hymnal has "To Jesus I repair," which I like better, but maybe that's because I grew up singing it that way. My favorite hymnal is The Book of Hymns, copyright 1964, 1966 and published by the Board of Publication of The Methodist Church, where it occurs as #91. (This is the hymnal that has "O for a Thousand Tongues to Sing" as #1; the hymnal I remember the most has "Holy, Holy, Holy" as #1, but I don't have that one anymore; it fell apart many years ago.)

There's a bit of history on this translation here. The lyrics shown above are from, which also offers a bit of background on the translator.

As an aside, this time of year, morning gilds the sky pretty late; today the sun rose at 7:41, and according to my weather app, dawn was at 7:13. But because of the bluff out our back window, it doesn't actually start looking like dawn until about 7:30.

Thursday, October 27, 2022

James 1:5

The word order in the Greek of James 1:5 has always fascinated me. It just doesn't come across very well in any English translation. But, today I was reading it in the Common English Bible and it jumped out at me. I've read it in the CEB multiple times, but for some reason today I realized it did the best job of any of catching the nuance of the Greek word order. Enjoy!
But anyone who needs wisdom should ask God, whose very nature is to give to everyone without a second thought, without keeping score. Wisdom will certainly be given to those who ask.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Jesus loves me, but…

I follow Seedbed. Among other things, they have a daily devotional. Today's really spoke to me. Here's the relevant paragraph that I found the most meaningful, but as always, do read the whole thing.
Jesus’s awareness of and attention to us precedes our awareness of and attention to him. In fact, the former is what germinates and generates the latter. His love for us precedes our love for him and for others. This is perhaps the most fundamental place of our brokenness. We can imagine Jesus’s awareness of, attention to, and love for someone else, just not for ourselves. This is what fuels all striving—the deep-seated, distorted belief that we must do something to generate Jesus’s awareness of us and to win his attention to us. Most, if not all, of this comes from our broken family systems. We carry a deeply ingrained and even generational belief that the attention, affection, and secure attachment of our parents is the fruit of our striving, achievement, and advancement in life.
<idle musing>
That hits pretty close to home, doesn't it? God loves everyone unconditionally, but… God is in control, but…

I read somewhere, many years ago, about the "holy but"—where we state a scriptural truth, and then immediately qualify it with "but…" That's just plain unadulterated unbelief.

There's other good stuff in that little post, so do go and read it. Just an
</idle musing>

Monday, October 24, 2022

A Warning

Seedbed has been excerpting from Jack Deere’s new book. Today’s pointed out something I never noticed before in 1 Sam 18.10.
The next day an evil spirit from God came forcefully on Saul. He was prophesying in his house, while David was playing the lyre, as he usually did. Saul had a spear in his hand and he hurled it, saying to himself, “I’ll pin David to the wall.” But David eluded him twice. 1 Samuel 18:10–11
Did you catch that? I had to check the Hebrew and other translations to make sure he got it correct. He did. Saul was prophesying in a bad/evil spirit!

The excerpt also has some good advice on other stuff, even if you don’t especially believe in the way modern “prophets” act, which would be yours truly. I firmly believe in the gift of prophecy and that it is active today; I think I’ve even experienced it personally. But, the more I see it being used/weaponized today, the more I think 1 Sam 18.10 is a good warning...

By the way, the first time I experienced the Spirit give me a prophetic word, the Lord also directed me to Jeremiah 28, specifically Jer 28:17 (look it up). It was a warning that I've never forgotten. Hananiah gave a false prophecy with national ramifications—and he died for it later that year. May today's crop of "prophets" take heart.

Seventeen years!

Saturday marked seventeen years of blogging, all on Blogger, all under "Idle musings of a bookseller." I've posted over six thousand times; deleted only two of the posts that I put up (although I probably should have deleted a lot more!), and seen most bloggers that I followed either quit or migrate to either Facebook or Twitter, which is too bad. I miss their voices (I don't do social media).

And I've been less consistent in blogging this year. For a while I even considered quitting. I still might. My posts get read by fewer and fewer. But, if that's why I'm blogging, then I should quit! It shouldn't be about who reads or doesn't read them. Plus, I find it a handy "day book" for thoughts. And I, at least, refer to my copyediting post quite frequently. It's sometimes easier than consulting and digging through CMS or SBLHS2.

Promise for some, trouble for others

Those who pay close attention to the poor are truly happy!
    The Lord rescues them during troubling times.
2 The Lord protects them and keeps them alive;
    they are widely regarded throughout the land as happy people.
    You won’t hand them over to the will of their enemies.
3 The Lord will strengthen them when they are lying in bed, sick.
    You will completely transform the place where they lie ill. Ps 41:1–3 CEB

<idle musing>
And that's not an isolated example, either. The Bible is full of concern for the poor, the widow, and the orphan. But, if you listen to the spokepeople for the modern US evangelical movement, you wouldn't know it, would you?

Fear, while it might sell and motivate people to your cause, clouds your vision. You start seeing enemies where there aren't any. You start closing people out and excluding them. Fear consumes you and doesn't give anything back. Fear will kill you.

Love, on the other hand, sees needs and meets them. Sees problems and helps solve them. Love cares about people—yes, even "those" people, whoever "those" might be. As John says, love casts out all fear. And, as Paul says, love never fails and never passes away.
</idle musing>

Monday, October 17, 2022

Writing history

Ancient history is a messy, uncertain enterprise. We cannot claim to be revealing the definitive, objective truth about the past. Rather, as my graduate mentor Bill Murnane told me, we are having an ongoing conversation, offering up a “best guess” about what may have been and how it might have occurred. We must accept that most of the distant past is lost to us, and be thankful for what we have.—Ramesses II, Egypt's Ultimate Pharaoh, x–xi (forthcoming)

Monday, October 10, 2022

Differences between CMS and SBLHS in multiple authors

This is a reminder to myself more than anything, but you might find it helpful. This is for bibliographies, not notes!

First, CMS (§14.76):
1. For books/articles with up to six authors/editors, list them all.
2. For books/article with more than six authors/editors, list the first three and then et al.

SBLHS2 handles things a bit differently (§6.2.3):
1. All names are generally listed in the bibliography—but…
2. Using et al. following the first author's name is permissible.

With some of these archaeological articles that have forty-two or more authors, I think I'll go with option 2 if I'm following SBLHS2!

Table of contents for copyediting stuff.

Updated as an afterthought:
One publisher I work for has a general rule of thumb that if the list of authors is more than ten, they use et al. I think that's a handy one and I use it when following SBLHS2, regardless of the publisher, unless their style sheet says otherwise.

Am I Balaam?

Recently, I was given the opportunity to copyedit a manuscript that they were willing to pay me almost double my normal rate. I heard the Lord say that it wasn't for me. It wasn't that the manuscript was bad or wrong, and it was even in an area that I have an interest in. It was just not for me.

But, I struggled to turn it down. Why? Because of the pay. Bottom line. Was I going to follow the example of Balaam, and go for the gold? Or would I obey?

Again, let me say that the analogy is not direct. Balaam was asked to do something wrong. There was nothing "wrong" with the manuscript. It was a matter of obedience, nothing more (this sentence is doing a lot of work!).

Long story short: After a bit of struggle, I said no.

I hadn't become Balaam, but I can now understand his struggle a bit better.

Thursday, October 06, 2022

Another reason to restrict hand guns

I haven’t even mentioned the biggest example of how our inability to understand suicide costs lives: roughly 40,000 Americans commit suicide every year, half of whom do so by shooting themselves. Handguns are the suicide method of choice in the United States—and the problem with that, of course, is that handguns are uniquely deadly. Handguns are America’s town gas. What would happen if the U.S. did what the British did, and somehow eradicated its leading cause of suicide [coal gas/town gas]? It’s not hard to imagine. It would uncouple the suicidal from their chosen method. And those few who were determined to try again would be forced to choose from far-less-deadly options, such as overdosing on pills, which is fifty-five times less likely to result in death than using a gun. A very conservative estimate is that banning handguns would save 10,000 lives a year, just from thwarted suicides. That’s a lot of people.—Talking to Strangers, 276 note

Wednesday, October 05, 2022

No real conflict

That means, however, that there are points of conflict between Christian faith, understood as a worldview, a metaphysical vision of reality, and certain theories proposed and even claimed as knowledge by scientists and philosophers. None of those, however, are necessary, provable, or certain. And Christian scholars, working within Christian organizations dedicated to Christian faith as a worldview, ought to avoid teaching them as truth insofar as they actually do conflict with and undermine it. What it does not mean is that every interpretation of the Bible or traditional belief held by Christians is sacrosanct and impervious to criticism and need for revision in light of the material facts of science and logic. Faith-learning integration depends on Christians holding lightly to traditional beliefs and interpretations that are not crucial to the metaphysical vision of reality required by the biblical story.—The Essentials of Christian Thought, 248 (emphasis original)

<idle musing>
And therein lies the rub, doesn't it? Far too many people hang onto their interpretation of the Bible as what the Bible must say, little realizing how culturally conditioned it is. And that's where a liberal arts education is so important—as is the willingness to be instructed. And, most importantly, to listen to the Holy Spirit in a humble, teachable way.
</idle musing>