Going back to my time at Dallas, I’ve been interested in the discussion about the doctrine of justification. It was at that time that John Piper’s The Future of Justification came out, as well as N. T. Wright’s response Justification: God’s Plan, Paul’s Vision (which if you’re keeping score, is a response book to a response book). It was also during that time (fall of 2010) that Wright and Piper were supposed to have a showdown at the national ETS conference in Atlanta. Instead, earlier that year Piper took a ministry sabbatical and Thomas Schreiner presented instead. His address was subsequently published in the March 2011 edition of JETS, and having missed the conference, that’s when I read it. I was conveniently taking fifth semester Greek, which is exegesis of Romans. My final paper was a triperspectival view of justification, which combined Schreiner, Wright, and Thielman’s points of view into a (hopefully) coherent whole.

Hard to believe that was almost 5 years ago. But, here we are nearing the 500th anniversary of the Reformation and Zondervan is conveniently publishing a series called The 5 Solas to celebrate. The very first volume came out earlier this month and not only got my hands on it, I spent the weekend reading it. While highly theological in content, it’s certainly a very readable volume, which is I suppose makes it trademark Schreiner. The chapters aren’t overwhelming because the water doesn’t get too deep, but for most people it probably would be a slower read than I made it.

A big reason for this the importance of the topic, especially in recent biblical scholarship. To his credit, Schreiner doesn’t avoid these issues. Before getting to them though, he begins with a brief historical survey. These first six chapters establish the importance of the doctrine in church history. Schreiner acknowledges in the first chapter that we don’t find a direct parallel in the early church to what the Reformers taught regarding sola fide (36). However, “we find that a number of the fathers endorsed teachings that are similar to what we know today as the doctrine of justification by faith” (36). From here, the following two chapters profile Luther and Calvin respectively. Chapter 4 briefly touches on the doctrine in The Council of Trent before tracing it into later Reformed writers like Owen and Turretin. The historical section ends with a comparison of Edwards and Wesley on the issue, the latter being slightly uncomfortable with the doctrine because it might lead to antinomianism (same issue Richard Baxter had with it, more or less).

The next section, “A Biblical and Theological Tour of Sola Fide” is the heart of the book. Schreiner begins with a chapter on human sin and ends with one on the role of works in the final judgment. Along the way he covers faith, as well as the debate over “faith in Christ” or “faith of Christ,” and spends the several consecutive chapters on righteousness from all kinds of angles. We read about the importance of justification in Paul (chapter 10) as well as the imputation of righteousness (chapter 15). Those who have read Schreiner’s other works, either his book on Paul, his commentaries, or his NT theology, or even his whole Bible biblical theology won’t be surprised at many of his conclusions. However, I found it helpful to have a distilled form of Schreiner’s understanding of justification in just over 100 pages.

In the final section, Schreiner takes up contemporary challenges to the doctrine. Here he brings his address at ETS into play, splitting it across two chapters and updating it slightly in light of Wright’s most recent Paul book (which doesn’t feature much in the main text, but Schreiner directs readers to his review). He also interacts with challenges posed by the Roman Catholic church, and in particular, leaders like Francis Beckwith who have converted to Catholicism. Between the two, I think Schreiner covers the major doctrinal issues related to the Reformers understanding of justification.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and only have a minor complaint, which may actually just be something I’m working through theologically. In the chapter on justification in Paul, Schreiner says this just before the conclusion:

I would finally note that there is no need to play justification off against participation. As Michael Allen has rightly argued, justification is the ground of our fellowship with God and participation with God is its goal. Another way to put this is to say that justification is the ground of sanctification. This is certainly Paul’s argument in Romans 6. Those who are justified have also died with Christ. The verdict of being right with God is an effective one, and thus the forensic is the basis of the transformative (140).

He references Allen’s book which I’ve also reviewed and brought up the same issue there. I think it is better to see union with Christ as the ground of both justification and sanctification rather than grounding the latter in the former. Maybe I’m wrong on this. I suppose I should talk with Dr. Allen about it next time we have coffee (it hasn’t come up yet). In any case, this pushed me to want to reconsider the argument, especially in light of Romans 6.

That however hardly amounts to a serious criticism of the book itself or Schreiner’s specific argument in that chapter. There is an intimate connection between sanctification and justification, but I don’t think one is grounded in the other. Or, that understanding one will lead the other to flourish. However, this is definitely a subject I need to study more myself and I’m glad I had the chance to read this book to prod me along the journey.

Thomas Schreiner, Faith Alone – The Doctrine of Justification: What The Reformers Taught…and Why It Still Matters (The 5 Solas Series)Grand Rapids: Zondervan, September 2015. 288 pp. Paperback, $19.99.

Buy itAmazon | Westminster

Visit the publisher’s page

Thanks to Zondervan for the review copy!

It’s been a while since we’ve had an episode of philosophy Friday. Might as well get back into the swing of things by pondering whether Batman is figure of justice or not. I tend to think taking the law into your hands, violence included or not, is not the path of justice. You’re no longer an agent of the state authorized to administer punishment for crimes. However, Batman tends to let the police actually take care of that part. All of this though is what makes the Dark Knight trilogy fascinating to me. That is probably a post for another day.


It’s a bit of a stretch to think of myself as a professor. I am a teacher, and while I do have graduate education in my field, I don’t have a terminal degree yet. I’m actually kind of in limbo while I’m getting experience teaching and thinking about dissertation ideas. Although I don’t have concrete plans for starting a Ph.D, I at least have an idea what kind of program I’ll do. In the meantime, I’m trying to devote time and energy to professional development and so I thought it would be useful to read Gary Burge’s Mapping Your Academic Career: Charting the Course of a Professor’s Life.

It’s a short book, very conversational and lightly anecdotal. Rather than chapters, Burge divides his discussion after the introduction into three cohorts. These cohorts represent the stages of professional development in a professor’s life, each of which is framed by a question:

  • Cohort 1: Will I find security?
  • Cohort 2: Will I find success?
  • Cohort 3: Will I find significance?

Each of these cohorts has a threshold to cross. The first is getting hired post-Ph.D and situated into a teaching career. The second is moving from simply being a teacher to contributing to your field. The last is establishing a legacy as you move toward retirement years. Burge draws from insights in psychology about how our identities are formed in order to inform his writing. Within each chapter he lays out the traits of someone who is navigating well and highlights the risks that need to be avoided. He also writes as someone who is either late in cohort 2 or early in cohort 3 in his own teaching career. Having successfully navigated most of his own academic career allows Burge to offer readers very sage advice for their own journey.

It was interesting reading through this as someone on the fringe of the academy. I’m still age-wise and career-wise in cohort 1 of Burge’s typology. However, my path to cohort 2 would be non traditional to say the least. While it might seem like the next step is a Ph.D, it seems more profitable at the moment to focus on developing a research focus and starting some preliminary writing. It would be hard to go from where I am in reading and writing to doing a dissertation. Obviously seminars in the North American model are aimed at helping you make that transition, but since I don’t want to do a Ph.D at a seminary or have seminars, I’m kind of doing that part of it on my own. It’s cheaper and easier to fit into my current teaching position, but it is better to read critically in community.

All of that to say, Burge’s book helped me think through some issues and actually provided good motivation for wanting to eventually do that Ph.D and to take seriously some kind of research program in the interim. If you are on the pathway to becoming a scholar, this book is worth checking out. It would be ideal for those currently doing their Ph.D, but with all the other reading that comes with that, it might be better for someone considering a Ph.D program (me), or someone in their first few years of teaching (also me) post Ph.D (not me). If you fit anywhere along that spectrum, give this book a quick read. Also, check out this video of Burge explaining it better than I probably just did:

Gary M. Burge, Mapping Your Academic Career: Charting the Course of a Professor’s Life. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, July 2015. 144 pp. Paperback, $16.00.

Buy itAmazon

Visit the publisher’s page

Thanks to IVP Academic for the review copy!


Every now and then, my reading choices coincide on certain topics. Recently, thanks to three different publishers, I had review copies of books about pastors in the public square. The first was The Pastor Theologian: Resurrecting an Ancient Vision by Gerald Hiestand and Todd Wilson (thanks Zondervan!) 1 The authors makes the case that being a pastor is an intellectual calling that can alleviate the ecclesial anemia of the academy as well as the theological anemia of the church. In other words, the pastor theologian is able to bring local church concerns into the academic theological discussion while also boosting the theological literacy of the local church. As they say,

Our hope is that this book will serve as a clear call to an emerging generation of theologians to consider the pastorate as a viable vocational calling for serious theological leadership, by which we do not simply mean that pastors ought to take theology more seriously (as true as that may be). Rather, we mean that some pastors must take up the mantel of theologian by providing solid thought leadership to the church and its theologians, even as they tend the garden of their own congregations (15).

To help accomplish this, Hiestand and Wilson need to recover a holistic vision of the pastor as a theologian in his own right. After the introductory chapter, readers are taken on a historical survey showing that up until the mid 1700’s, most theologians were pastors in the local church. The following chapter takes the survey into the present, showing how the division between church and academy developed. The fourth and fifth chapters defend the idea of the academy being eccleisally anemic and the church being theological anemic. Then, the final two chapters offer a constructive proposal for pastors to be three different kinds of theologians: local, popular, or ecclesial.


In very much related book, Kevin Vanhoozer and Owen Strachan write about The Pastor as Public Theologian: Reclaiming a Lost Vision (thanks Baker Academic!). 2 Unlike The Pastor Theologian, there is a clear division of labor with Vanhoozer authoring the introduction, chapters 3 and 4, and then offering 55 theses on pastors as public theologians. Strachan authored chapters 1 and 2, and then twelve pastor theologians (including Hiestand and Wilson) offer testimonies from everyday life in ministry supporting the vision that Vanhoozer and Strachan are articulating.

As far as the actual content goes, Strachan’s chapters offer first a biblical theology of the pastorate. Though not blatantly triperspectival, focusing on pastors as prophets, priests, and kings fits nicely into that framework. He then gives a brief history of the pastorate, somewhat overlapping with the first two chapters of The Pastor Theologian but not identical to them. I think because I had already read the other book, I didn’t find these chapters as helpful or insightful, although the first chapter does cover territory (biblical theology) that is not a focal point of The Pastor Theologian. In any case, I think the idea that a pastor should be prophet, priest, king and how that interfaces with being a theologian is something I already intuitively grasped.

Vanhoozer’s chapters focus on the purpose of being a pastor theologian and then what that actual practice looks like. I wouldn’t necessarily say these chapters overlap with Faith Speaking Understanding, but they do resonate in a similar key signature. At the very least, readers who have also read that book will find much of Vanhoozer says here to be a logical extension when applied to the pastorate. Also, since we are comparing, it extends the insights of Hiestand and Wilson’s work into a very practical direction (not that their work isn’t practical) and overlays signature Vanhoozerian harmonies to their tune. If you really to get more of a feel, take 10 minutes and watch these videos.


A related book, both in terms of author and concept is Owen Strachan’s The Colson Way: Loving Your Neighbor and Living With Faith in a Hostile World (thanks Thomas Nelson!). 3 It is one part biography and one part pathway of Christian cultural engagement. Since it has been written after Colson’s death, it offers a unique perspective on his later years that other works haven’t included. The thrust of Strachan’s brief biography is how we can learn from Colson’s approach to public square Christianity. In that sense, it fits nicely with the other books I’ve mentioned as far as helping pastors fulfill their calling as public intellectual.

Although Colson wasn’t a pastor, he took apologetics and theology very seriously. Strachan tells the narrative of his life and conversion well, taking didactic asides along the way. To me, those were the weaker spots of the book and ultimately why this might not be the best book to check out on the subject. In a short space, Strachan is trying to tell Colson’s story and use that as a means to articulate a way of approaching Christian cultural engagement. The asides explaining cultural engagement feel preachy and make the book seem like it should have just focused on developing those ideas and using Colson as an example here and there. But, because Strachan tells Colson’s story better than he explains cultural engagement, the book would have been better as just a biography. A better choice for cultural engagement (and an approach not necessarily at odds with Strachan) is Russell Moore’s Onward.

That criticism aside, reading The Colson Way in tandem with the other two books I’ve mentioned gave it some depth it might not have had on its own. At the very least, I was reading an example of a lay person being a public theologian with the idea of pastors being public theologians in the back of mind. It helped to prove that point that the other authors were making because if someone like Colson, with everything he juggled, was able to be a stable public theologian/intellectual, so can the average local church pastor. Colson never went to seminary and it is common today for many church planting pastors to not do that either. The vision that the other books recover more or less requires that kind of training, but Colson’s story shows that one can faithfully follow that calling without necessarily going to seminary, so long as one is committed to being a life-long learner.

At the end of the day, I think this is highly important topic and fully support the idea of pastors as public theologians. Being a pastor is an intellectual calling and knowing how to do that well in the public square and in the local church is a necessary knowledge to obtain. Hopefully seminaries will train pastors to fit this vision, but reading books like these will also go a long way. That latter point is supported well by Strachan’s book, which also helps to show that other leaders within the church can take on some of the roles that the solo lead pastor used to have and help build up the body together.


  1. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, June 2015. 192 pp. Paperback, $18.99. Visit the publisher’s page.
  2. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, August 2015. 240 pp. Hardcover, $19.99. Visit the publisher’s page.
  3. Nashville: Thomas Nelson, July 2015. 240 pp. Hardcover, $22.99. Visit the publisher’s page.

This Friday, the new album from Scale The Summit comes out. V is aptly named given that it is their fifth studio album. They’ve basically been putting one out every two years or so, which makes this one right on schedule.Below you can see the first two videos from the album.

Praying The Bible

September 13, 2015 — 1 Comment


How many of you all would say you have a dynamic, enjoyable prayer life? If you’re like me, it’s not really either one of those adjectives. Instead, it’s something you feel like you should do, but it’s not necessarily something you’re excited about. If you know me well, you know I’m not exactly an extrovert. I can do well in conversation, but I can’t carry a conversation if you’re more introverted than I am. So, when it comes to prayer, it can feel like I’m carrying the conversation, and so I tend to not pursue it as much as I know I should.

In family gatherings, I tend to sit and listen. When it comes to my relationship with God, I tend to do the same. Bible study comes easy because reading comes easy. Talking, not so much. Also, I feel like a lot of times I say the same old things about the same old things when I pray. When I was younger, and prayed way more consistently, my prayers were pretty rote. By that I mean I prayed every night but I basically prayed the same prayer every night. Being older, doing that feels, well, boring. This is a problem since prayer is essentially “talking to the most fascinating Person in the universe about the most important things in our lives,” as Donald Whitney puts it in Praying The Bible.

He goes on to say,

Indeed, why would people become bored when talking with God, especially when talking about that which is most important to them? Is it because we don’t love God? Is it because, deep down, we really care nothing for the people or matters we pray about? No. Rather, if this mind-wandering boredom describes your experience in prayer, I would argue that if you are indwelled by the Holy Spirit— if you are born again— then the problem is not you; it is your method (Kindle Loc. 102-105).

Whitney’s book then is offering readers a new method for praying. Well, it’s not really new. It basically comes down to using the words of Scripture to shape the language of your prayers. Whitney observes that we all tend to pray about the same half dozen things: our family, future, finances, work, Christian concerns, and current crises. Praying about these things isn’t bad or problematic in the least. But, because that’s what we tend to always pray about, we tend to often say the same things about these same things.

By praying through a passage of Scripture, specifically psalms and prayers of Paul, we are “taking words that originated in the heart and mind of God and circulating them through your heart and mind back to God” (Kindle Loc., 299-300). To put this into action, “you simply go through the passage line by line, talking to God about whatever comes to mind as you read the text. See how easy that is? Anyone can do that” (Kindle Loc. 305-306).

Praying The Bible is ultimately a pretty quick read. But, it’s probably the most important “short” book I’ve read in a long time. I immediately used the material in a chapel message at school and then put it into practice when we take prayer requests in class on Friday. I am implementing it into my devotional life and so far am enjoying Whitney’s approach to Psalms of the day. He suggests taking the Psalm that matches the day (so Psalm 11 on the 11th) and then add 30 (so Psalm 41), and repeat until you have 5 Psalms. You quickly scan each and then pray using those Psalms for however much time you have. It could be 5 minutes or 50. Regardless, you won’t exhaust the text of Scripture and you’ll avoid needless repetition in your prayer life. If you’re like me, this is something you’ll want to take, read, and implement sooner rather than later.

Donald S. Whitney, Praying The BibleWheaton: Crossway, July 2015. 112 pp. Hardcover, $13.99.

Buy itAmazon | Westminster

Read an excerpt

Visit the publisher’s page

Thanks to Crossway for the review copy!


If you look closely at the background of the book cover, you can see all seven intellectual virtues. I’ve already talked about carefulness and intend to hit on all of them. After the last post, a friend corresponded with me offline about how it might not have been as clear as it could be. Specifically, I don’t think I laid out how to distinguish well between intellectual carefulness and intellectual honesty. Or, on the flipside, intellectual carelessness and intellectual dishonesty. Since I was strongly critiquing assumptions made on a lack of information, it could look as if I’m suggesting dishonesty on Carl Trueman’s part.

First, it might help to clarify what intellectual honesty looks like. Philip Dow makes an important distinction in the way intellectual honesty relates to the other virtues:

Unlike the other intellectual character traits, intellectual honesty is not primarily about the process of getting knowledge but rather about how we choose to use or present the knowledge we already have. In that sense, intellectual honesty is the link between the rest of our thinking and our actions (61).

He then describes the intellectually honest person this way:

[T]he aim of intellectually honest people is to communicate what they know with integrity. Because their main objective is to help others get at the truth, they are consistently careful not to use information taken out of context, to distort the truth by describing it with loaded language or to otherwise mislead through the manipulation of statistics or any other type of supporting evidence (61).

Dow adds an additional point about intellectually honest people citing their sources so as to not take credit for ideas not their own. From this, we could then say that intellectual dishonesty would come down to:

  • Intentionally taking information out of context in order to exaggerate or distort
  • Intentionally using information in a biased way
  • Intentionally taking credit for evidence or ideas not your own

The key word in the list is “intentionally.” In the Trueman situation, I’d have to know for sure that he knew all the relevant information related to the situation and then chose to only use the information that was helpful to the point he was trying to make. Suggesting he over-looked accessible information is pointing to a lack of carefulness. Suggesting he intentionally ignored information he already had would be pointing to a lack of honesty. While the latter is possible, I doubt that’s the case, and if it were, I don’t think I’d be able to know.

I realize looking at it now that my post could be read as suggesting that Trueman was being biased in the way he approached the situation. He does have a history of criticism when it comes to Tchividjian, so that is entirely possible. However, I specifically focused on his overlook of available evidence rather than misuse of the evidence he had. He made a judgment about the situation on an improper basis. One could still argue that it was unwise to hire Tchividjian, but not necessarily for the reasons Trueman cited. Rather than suggesting Trueman went about things in a biased manner and took things out of context, I just want to suggest he rushed to judgment and did a lot of assuming instead of researching. After the research, I imagine he’d come to similar conclusions, but at least they would be well grounded at that point.

In this light, to suggest that assuming a lack of carefulness when someone gets their facts wrong is giving them the benefit of the doubt. It is a way of practicing a charitable interpretation of their mistake. To directly suggest that they misused evidence is to charge them with dishonesty and in most cases goes beyond what you can know. In a culture that encourages a hermeneutics of suspicion it may be hard to go against the grain. I don’t always find it easy to do myself (see the comments on the last post). But learning to practice charity in interpreting other people’s mistakes is a discipline worth investing in.

As a recent example, I was listening to a sermon where the pastor made three pretty elementary mistakes in setting up the background of the passage he was going to preach. It would have been easy for me to mentally assume rather negative things and to discount or tune out the rest of the sermon. I fought against it and tried to just assume that in this instance, the pastor didn’t have enough time to study the passage well and so made some assumptions that were entirely reasonable, but factually inaccurate. He was either hasty or lazy, and I chose to assume the former since the latter is going beyond what I could actually know for sure. I assumed he overlooked the available correct information about the passage, or overlooked the correct information in his notes while he was speaking. Had he been more careful, he wouldn’t have made the mistake.

If I had assumed some level dishonesty on his part, it would have cast a long shadow over the rest of the sermon. It is particularly easy to think that if I can’t trust someone to get basic background details right, that I shouldn’t trust them with the rest of what they have to say. On the one hand, that can be reasonable. But on the other, it could be an assumption of dishonesty coming into play. At the very least, you may doubt that they are using the information reliably even they are not intentionally trying to deceive. Or, you could assume that in getting some background details wrong early in the sermon, that means more time was spent crafting and developing the latter part, which was the case in my recent experience. Those early background details could have gone unmentioned and it wouldn’t have affected the remainder of the sermon. In fact, for me, it would have strengthened it.

At the end of the day, there is much overlap in the virtues as well as the vices. It can seem that charging someone with intellectual hastiness may also suggest dishonesty, or even laziness. In some cases, they may coalesce. In the previous case I discussed, I think it just simply a matter of hastiness to pass judgment on the matter. That is someone a result of the age we live in and the culture the internet encourages. But, it is much better to be quick to listen, slow to speak, and slow to anger as someone once said. And like all things, that is easier said than done.


In terms of a theology of the Christian life, I’m not particularly a fan of Tullian Tchividjian. I don’t think he articulates well how grace and obedience relate under the new covenant and wouldn’t recommend his books as resources. I don’t think he’s a heretic, or that he teaches full blown antinomianism. I am however a fan of his preaching, and after he preached one weekend when we were at The Village, I completely understand why he has such a following.

I am going to assume you’re loosely familiar with the ways he has made the news in the last few months. He resigned from Coral Ridge because of adultery, both on his and his wife’s part, the sequence of events not being relevant (for what I’m writing about). Then you probably saw a few weeks back that he is getting divorced. There is much more to the whole story, especially when you throw Paul Tripp’s involvement into the mix. But again, details are not relevant for the point I’d like to make.

I’m more interested in the response to Tchividjian being hired by Willow Creek PCA. This happens to be a local church for us (in good old Winter Springs), and we have friends that go there. I know the associate pastor (via Starbucks) and even applied for a youth pastor position there a while back. It’s a decent sized church. Not a mega church by American standards, but not necessarily a small church either.

Somewhat predictably, within the Reformed evangelical neck of the woods there was not a positive response to Tchividjian’s hiring. As a representative sample, consider the posts at Mortification of Spin by Todd Pruitt and my favorite, by Carl Trueman. Tullian has been a favorite whipping boy of Carl’s for a while, so like I said, I could almost guess the response before reading it.

While there is wisdom in warning against restoring a pastor to ministry too soon, there are also a clear lack of intellectual carefulness in assessing the situation and then passing judgment. I think I noticed this because of teaching a new class I’m teaching at school called Creative Problem Solving. Really, it’s a class on critical thinking and as part of our foundational section, we’ve been covering the intellectual virtues. I’ve found Philip Dow’s book Virtuous Minds to be particularly helpful. There, he defines intellectual carefulness as follows:

Those who are intellectually careful earnestly want to know the truth and so consistently make sure not to rush to hasty conclusions based on limited evidence. They are patient and diligent in their thinking, careful that they do not overlook important details (34).

Given this definition, the opposing vice would be intellectual hastiness. Returning back to Trueman, here is the first part of his final paragraph:

No one begrudges a man the chance to earn a living.  Further, I doubt that WillowCreek PCA has done anything wrong at a technical level with regard to the PCA’s Book of Church Order.  Tchividjian has been defrocked and has not been restored to ordained office.  Morally, however, the situation is this: a man deemed unfit to hold teaching office just three weeks ago is now occupying a position of teaching influence in the same denomination.  Maybe not illegal, but certainly irresponsible towards both him and those he will influence.  At the very minimum it is also most discourteous towards the Presbytery which acted to remove him and whose informed judgment in the matter has been for all practical purposes rejected.

His points here would be valid, if his underlying information were accurate. However, it’s not.

For one, he does not now hold a position of teaching influence within the PCA. One might guess that’s what his job entails simply from the title on the church’s website, but then again, that’s just guessing. The title “Director of Ministry Development” is ambiguous for sure, but an intellectual careful response wouldn’t assume what the job description is in absence of more details. If you were curious what exactly this job title entailed, you might do well to ask the pastor of the church.

In addition, Trueman presumes to know that this hiring was either circumventing the South Florida Presbytery’s censure, or directly flaunting it. Rather, it seems that there was a clear transfer of Tchividjian’s care at work (see previous link). Trueman might be assuming, based on his previous erroneous assumption of the nature of the job, that a church couldn’t possibly hire Tchividjian without rejecting the South Florida Prebytery’s decision. But then again, that is the lack of carefulness compounding itself.

Elsewhere, I’ve seen people have either directly lament Tchividjian being restored to ministry too soon, or indirectly pointing out how unwise such a thing would be. However, this rests on the wrong assumption that this constitutes restoration to ministry. Likewise, it may be assuming that this hiring is celebrity driven. It overlooks the fact that this was Tchividjian’s old church home during his time at RTS Orlando and that he has had an on-going relationship with members there during his pastorate at Coral Ridge. It also confuses a church staff position with being a minister, and again, assumes too much about what the job entails (again, see previous link).

Speaking too soon and too authoritatively without enough information also fails to display intellectual humility. Many people don’t really need to comment on this situation one way or the other. Many people also aren’t making much of an effort to understand all the information. Many people do not have intellectual virtues when it comes to how they analyze a situation like this, and so once again, we have a lot of sound and noise on Twitter, but most of it signifying nothing.

In the past, I’ve certainly been guilty of contributing to the noise. But, as I’m studying the intellectual virtues more, I’m finding myself drawn to recommitting myself to not only thinking critically, but thinking carefully. It’s easy to rush to judgment. It’s much harder to hold a tentative opinion until you’ve gather the necessary facts to draw sound conclusions. I’d like to pursue more growth in this area myself and I hope you’re interested in doing the same.


Long ago, in many times and many ways, I spoke to you about the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. As volume as have been released, I’ve posted about each one:

Then I was able to review how two of the volumes worked in Logos. Now, I’m letting you know about the remaining volumes in the set. The actual full available set can be found here, but I’m commenting on a slightly earlier version of the bundle.

Because you can read my reviews of the individual volumes by following the links above, I won’t be commenting as much about the contents. Instead, I’m focusing on the usability in Logos. However, one thing to note content-wise is that if you get the Acts volume in Logos, it is an expanded digital edition. As the author, Eckhard Schnabel explains:

I thank Clint Arnold and the members of the editorial team for their invitation to write the commentary on Acts, for their comments on the manuscript, and for their willingness to work out a solution when the submitted manuscript was twice as long as contracted. While allowing the print edition of the commentary to be longer than originally anticipated, they arranged with Zondervan that the electronic version of the commentary will contain the full manuscript, with a large number of In Depth sections that had to be omitted from the print edition and with fuller documentation of and interaction with the work of other Acts scholars.

The print edition runs 1168 pages, so I’m not sure if that means Schnabel submitted a manuscript closer to 2500 pages, or if he contracted for a lesser amount and the 1168 was the max for the print and you’re getting a few hundred (or less) bonus pages in the digital edition. In any case, the only downside in this is that the Acts volume doesn’t have page numbers in the Logos edition like the other ZECNT volumes do.

While we’re talking about those “In Depth” sections that are in the Acts volume, I like how they cease to be sidebars in the digital edition. It would be helpful if they were indexed so they could be more easily accessed, but I like how they integrate into the flow of the main text more easily reading scrolling through the digital edition. On the downside, when it comes to scrolling through these volumes, say on your iPhone (even a 6), the The Translation and Structural Layout sections get cut off and can’t be fully seen. In the previous review I showed you what they look like on an iPad. Usually those are fine, but they’re almost worthless when accessing the titles on your phone.

Luckily, I don’t primarily use Logos on my phone. Instead, I do my main reading and highlight on the iPad, but then do more serious study and cross-referencing on the computer. As you can see in this screenshot, I have several commentary series in the New Testament and I’ve integrated the ZECNT volumes into my New Testament studies layout (click to enlarge):

Logos Screen Grab

(see full size)

Within the left panel, you can see, from left to right, TNTC, ZECNT, PNTC, BECNT, and NICNT. If you notice also, there is a small “A” next to the book cover icon. That means I’ve linked the panels so if I change the reference in one, it adjusts the other. So right now it’s set for Acts. But if I change the ESV to Ephesians 4, all the linked commentary panels will also change. With a few clicks I can not only read a section of Scripture, I can toggle over to see what a half dozen different commentaries offer. Also, as a sidenote, you’ll notice I have both the ESV Study Bible and NIV Zondervan Study Bible notes under the biblical text.

When it comes to actually studying the text, I like to read through it a few times and with several translations (you can see which in the enlarged version). Then, the translation/layout in the ZECNT is the next thing I’ll look at. One thing I really appreciate with the ZECNT is the commentary proper breaks down by verse and offers both the Greek and English before comments. From there, I’ll compare comments between commentaries, and ZECNT is a valuable series to be able to use in this regard. While it only has 10 volumes, it’s a good split between Gospels, Paul, and General Letters at the moment. I’m looking forward to more volumes being released and will plan to add them to my Logos library once that becomes an option. As you build your own Logos commentary library, you ought to take advantage of the Zondervan/Thomas Nelson sale and get this bundle today!

Visit the product page

Thanks to Logos for the review copy!

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