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Volume 20 Issue 2

I purchased a book the other day, On the Incarnation by Athanasius (trans. Sister Penelope Lawson, Pantianos Classics), on the recommendation of Christianity Today. To my surprise and delight I opened up the first page to find that the Introduction to this reprint publication is by C. S. Lewis. Having read all of his fiction and nonfiction in my college and graduate school days, I had not read anything of his since then other than the plethora of quotes from him that still appear in books and magazine articles. I had forgotten just how insightful he is. It was like hearing from a long lost friend. In this case for a few pages he is touting the value of teachers encouraging students to read primary material of a significant author versus secondary interpretations and explanations. His observation is that students will often choose to read multiple books about Platonism, for instance, saying, "the very last thing he thinks of doing is to take a translation off the library shelf and read the symposium." Instead, he will read "some dreary modern book ten times as long, all about the isms and influences and only once in twelve pages telling him what Plato actually said" (4). He is so wise, isn't he?

Many of us have likely read key "primary" material to our discipline within our masters programs and PhD research projects. Me? I read Plato, for instance, and Plutarch, and Hesiod. I read the Mishnah and Talmud, I read Sirach and Bel and the Dragon and Testaments of the Twelve Patriarchs. I read Philo. I read the Wisdom of Amen-em-Opet. Thinking of more recent important primary material, I have read lots of Luther and much of Calvin, including the Institutes. Almost no Aquinas, but I have read Pascal. I wonder what the primary reading list for those of you reading this might be? How are we doing in encouraging primary reading by students in their syllabuses? 

Recently, I have also hovered over Ecclesiastes alongside reading the Two Horizons commentary (Eerdmans, 2011). What always hits me is just how insightful ancient people like the author of Ecclesiastes or Plato or Plutarch or the rabbinic writers can be about God, about life. Have we advanced beyond them? I suppose, yes, but no. Wherever we have gotten to in our thinking, we stand on their shoulders. And, however we cut it, the Old and New Testaments remain our primary material to be treasured, yes, to be studied with commentators, yes, but also to be read in Greek and Hebrew by those of us who still retain this skill. 

One other beauty by C. S. Lewis in this introduction that voices the experience of many SCJ readers I just can't pass by. I'll let the "primary" author, C. S. Lewis, speak for himself: 

For my own part I tend to find the doctrinal books often more helpful in devotion than the devotional books, and I rather expect that the same experience may await many others. I believe that many who find that nothing happens when they sit down, or kneel down, to a book of devotion, would find that the heart sings unbidden while they are working their way through a tough bit of theology, with a pipe in their teeth and a pencil in their hand (9).

Boy, I resonate with that—except for the pipe—well, and I guess I would replace the lead pencil with a yellow, dry-accent pencil. 

After reading Athanasius I think I just might make my next read a re-read of something by that other writer of classics, C. S. Lewis himself. 

In this issue two articles examine colleges and universities associated with the Stone-Campbell Movement. Bill Thompson conducts interviews with administrators in a variety of schools to get a grasp on the marketing challenges that lay ahead for all schools in this tradition. Paul Anthony focuses on examining documents and publications of one school, Abilene Christian University, as an example to show the gradual change of stance toward Darwin's views of evolution from the earliest stages to today. 

Three articles enlighten understanding of the New Testament. Danny Yencich explains how the "apocalyptic" discourse of Mark 13 provides clues to foreshadow Mark's passion narrative. Zane McGee explains the form and function of Paul's farewell speech to the Ephesians in Acts 20. Jeff Miller explains the conundrum interpreters face with the "childbearing" phrase in 1 Tim 2:15. 

The last article comes from Ellen Davis and is based on her 2017 SCJ Conference presentation at Johnson University in which she explains what she has learned about how to approach Scripture from exegesis to practical impact. 

The issue concludes with a tribute to Robert Hull, long time Professor of New Testament at Emmanuel School of Religion. Bob was recently honored at the 20 th Anniversary of SCJ Celebration and Awards Dinner during the 2017 SCJ Conference on April 7. In a surprise, he was honored as the winner of the first SCJ Lifetime Achievement Award. Lee Magness, colleague of Bob's, was asked to write this fitting tribute for this issue. 

The 2018 SCJ Conference heads back to Emmanuel Christian Seminary at Milligan, Johnson City, Tennessee, on April 6-7 (Friday, 8:00 AM–8:00 PM; Sat, 8:00 AM– 1:00 PM). The theme is: Theology of Others: Judaism, Islam, and "None-of-the-Aboves." Featured speakers include: Ellen Charry, Margaret W. Harmon Professor of Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary, who will present "'The Wall of Hostility Has Come Down': Reconstructing the Theological Relationship between Judaism and Christianity"; Evertt Huffard, Dean, Harding School of Theology, who will present "Allah Is God: A Theological Challenge for Muslims and Christians"; and Richard Knopp, Professor of Philosophy & Christian Apologetics, Lincoln Christian University, who will present "Understanding and Engaging the 'Nones.'" Related papers or papers on other biblical, theological, or historical topics are sought for parallel sessions. Titles are due January 20th, with the first 35 submissions being guaranteed a slot. Student paper contest papers are due December 15th as are study group submissions to any of our 15 study groups. See details about everything at our website: 

William R. Baker, Editor

Discovery Christian Church


This study used a qualitative approach to assess the current challenges facing six colleges and universities affiliated with Christian churches (independent) associated with the Stone-Campbell Movement. The chief academic officers (CAOs) for these schools were interviewed to determine the greatest market challenges facing their schools, how they were meeting these challenges, and the impact these challenges were having on the Bible and ministry programs at their schools.

Abilene Christian University


Few issues have presented so succinctly the tension faced by colleges and universi- ties affiliated with the Stone-Campbell Movement than Charles Darwin’s theo- ry of evolution. Among those institutions, Abilene Christian University has expe- rienced a remarkable evolution of its own in dealing with the subject. As viewed through the writings of its faculty and other affiliated voices, the university’s sixty-year struggle with Darwinism provides an example of how one academic institution attempted to balance its faith tradition with its academic calling.

The University of Denver and Iliff School of Theology


Against a longstanding tendency to read Mark 13:1-37 as a prophetic dis- course concerning a future eschaton beyond Mark’s story, this essay argues that the so-called “Apocalyptic Discourse” functions narratively in Mark to fore- shadow particular events in the Markan passion. Building on the exegetical insights of Mary Ann Tolbert and the narratological theory of Mieke Bal, four parallels between chapter 13 and the Markan passion are explored: Mark’s use of paradidómi; darkness; named hours; and Jesus’ imperative to “keep awake.”

Emory University


Paul’s discourse in Acts 20 contains many elements of the ancient farewell address, but with one glaring exception—the actual death of the apostle. This forces the question, why does the speech take on the form of a farewell address only to eliminate the most distinct feature? An examination of Jewish farewell addresses reveals that a fundamental aspect of these discourses is to signal the transition of authority and this function explains the usage of the form in Acts 20.

Milligan College


Paul’s infamous statement in 1 Tim 2:15 about being “saved through child- bearing” is as universally recognized as it is exegetically difficult. Similarly, the need for biblical theology to rest on texts that invite, rather than defy, under- standing is also widely affirmed. Regrettably, Paul’s prior statement in 1 Tim 2:13-14 (“Adam was formed first, then Eve. . . .”), though also quite difficult, is regularly cited as a pillar of complementarian theology. Interpreters would do well to approach such texts with humility rather than dogmatism.

Duke University Divinity School


Practical exegesis means reading the biblical story for the good of both church and society. Two practices of reading Scripture are explored here: 1. African and North American Christians reading together as a learning community, in order to ask more adequate questions of the text and thus develop a richer understanding of truth; and 2. biblical interpretation as political ethics, with particular attention to how the Bible focuses on the daily economic lives of ordinary people, “the poor and vulnerable.”

Milligan College


Robert Hull emerged from the deep valleys of the coalfields of southern West Virginia to stand at the pinnacle of his profession in biblical scholarship. Bob arrived at Milligan College as its first National Merit Scholar and graduated in 1965 with an A.B. in Bible and History and with his dear and devoted wife, Loretta. He entered Emmanuel School of Religion with its first class of students, graduating with his M.Div. in 1971. Bob earned his PhD from Princeton Seminary, studying under Dr. Bruce Metzger and beginning a lifelong fascination with the textual crit- icism of the New Testament. While pursuing his graduate studies, he served local churches in Kentucky and Maryland. Returning to Emmanuel in 1977, Bob began a career spanning thirty-three years as Professor of New Testament and Greek, years marked by faithful service to the academy and the church. During his long career at Emmanuel, Bob also served two fruitful terms as the Dean of the Seminary. He retired from full-time teaching in 2010.

Download book reviews for this issue.

List of Books Reviewed in this Issue

Bruce W. Longenecker, The Crosses of Pompeii: Jesus Devotion in a Vesuvian Town
(Robert W. Smith, Mid-Atlantic Christian University)

Greg Peters, The Story of Monasticism: Retrieving an Ancient Tradition for Contemporary Spirituality
(Brandon Reeves, Middletown, Ohio)

Mark A. Noll, In the Beginning Was the Word: The Bible in American Public Life, 1492–1783
(James L. Gorman, Johnson University, Tennessee)

Carl J. Richard, The Founders and the Bible
(Steven C. Hunter, Murray Kentucky)

Gordon L. Heath, ed., American Churches and the First World War
(Joshua Ward Jeffery, University of Tennessee)

John D. Wilsey, American Exceptionalism and Civil Religion
(Lee Blackburn, Milligan College)

Martin E. Marty, October 31, 1517: Martin Luther and the Day That Changed the World (Richard J. Cherok, Cincinnati Christian University)

Scott W. Sunquist and Amos Yong, eds., The Gospel and Pluralism Today: Reassessing Lesslie Newbigin in the 21st Century
(Brady Kal Cox, Abilene Christian University)

Katherine Sonderegger, Systematic Theology Volume 1, The Doctrine of God
(J. Tyler Campbell, University of Dayton)

Alister E. McGrath, ed., The Christian Theology Reader
(J. Robert Ross, St. Petersburg, Florida)

Darrell Bock with Benjamin Simpson, Jesus the God-Man: The Unity and Diversity of the Gospel Portrayals
(Joe Grana II, Hope International University)

Andrew Purves, Exploring Christology and Atonement: Conversations with John McLeod Campbell, H. R. Mackintosh and T. F. Torrance
(Steven D. Cone, Lincoln Christian University)

Matthew Barrett, God’s Word Alone: The Authority of Scripture
(Jeff Miller, Milligan College)

John C. Peckham, Canonical Theology: The Biblical Canon, Sola Scriptura and Theological Method (Jordan Kellicut, Portage, Michigan)

J. Gary Millar, Calling on the Name of the Lord: A Biblical Theology of Prayer
(Les Hardin, Johnson University, Florida)

Norman Wirzba, From Nature to Creation: A Christian Vision for Understanding and Loving Our World (Jared R. Wortman, Atlanta, Georgia)

Walter Brueggemann, Money and Possessions
(Craig D. Bowman, Rochester College)

Scot McKnight, The Real Mary: Why Protestant Christians Can Embrace the Mother of Jesus
(Carl Bridges, Johnson University)

Jonathan Klawans, Josephus and the Theologies of Ancient Judaism
(John C. Poirier, Germantown, Ohio)

Christopher A. Stephenson, Types of Pentecostal Theology: Method, System, Spirit
(John C. Poirier, Germantown, Ohio)

John Shelby Spong, Biblical Literalism: A Gentile Heresy
(David W. Hester, Faulkner University)

David E. Alexander and Daniel M. Johnson, Calvinism and the Problem of Evil
(Joshua Butcher, Pensacola, Florida)

Peter J. Leithart, The End of Protestantism: Pursuing Unity in a Fragmented Church
(Sean Johnson, Pensacola Florida)

Michelle Lee-Barnewall, Neither Complementarian nor Egalitarian: A Kingdom Corrective to the Evangelical Gender Debate
(Laura McKillip Wood, Nebraska Christian College)

Andreas J. Köstenberger and Richard D. Patterson, For the Love of God’s Word: An Introduction to Biblical Interpretation
(Jackson T. Moser, Johnson University)

Paul Copan and Kenneth D. Litwak, The Gospel in the Marketplace of Ideas: Paul’s Mars Hill Experience for Our Pluralistic World
(Brandon Hamilton, Faulkner University)

Charles E. Farhadian, Introducing World Religions: A Christian Engagement
(Steven D. Cone, Lincoln Christian University)

Jeffrey W. Barbeau and Beth Felker Jones, Spirit of God: Christian Renewal in the Community of Faith
(John R. Kern, Boston College)

Doug Koskela, Calling and Clarity: Discovering What God Wants for Your Life
(Laura McKillip Wood, Nebraska Christian College)

E. Ray Clendenen and Jeremy Royal Howard, eds., Holman Illustrated Bible Commentary
(Carl B. Bridges, Johnson University)

John Goldingay, Do We Need the New Testament? Letting the Old Testament Speak for Itself
(Holly J. Carey, Point University)

John H. Walton, The Lost World of Adam and Eve: Genesis 2–3 and the Human Origins Debate
(Rob O’Lynn, Kentucky Christian University)

Peter H. W. Lau and Gregory Goswell. Unceasing Kindness: A Biblical Theology of Ruth
(Jeff Miller, Milligan College)

Alan Ross, A Commentary on the Psalms: Volume 3 (90–150)
(Ryan J. Cook, Moody Theological Seminary)

Katy E. Valentine, “For You Were Bought with a Price”: Sex, Slavery, and Self-Control in a Pauline Community
(Carl B. Bridges, Johnson University)

Verlyn D. Verbrugge and Keith R. Krell, Paul and Money: A Biblical and Theological Analysis of the Apostle’s Teachings and Practices
(K.C. Richardson, Hope International University)

Elmer L. Towns and Ben Gutierrez, eds., The Essence of the New Testament: A Survey
(Heather M. Gorman, Johnson University)

David J. Downs, The Offering of the Gentiles: Paul’s Collection for Jerusalem in Its Chronological, Cultural, and Cultic Contexts
(Margaryta Teslina, Fuller Theological Seminary)

G. Scott Gleaves, Did Jesus Speak Greek? The Emerging Evidence of Greek Dominance in First-Century Palestine
(John C. Poirier, Germantown, Ohio)

Charles Lee Irons, A Syntax Guide for Readers of the Greek New Testament
(Matthew Crowe, Faulkner, University)

Steven E. Runge and Chris J. Fresch, eds., The Greek Verb Revisited: A Fresh Approach for Biblical Exegesis
(James E. Sedlacek, University of Manchester)

Laurent ̧iu Florentin Mot, Morphological and Syntactical Irregularities in the Book of Revelation: A Greek Hypothesis
(Garrett Best, Asbury Theological Seminary)

Leland Ryken, Jesus the Hero: A Guided Literary Study of the Gospels
(Sean C. Hadley, Faulkner University)

Brian Neil Peterson, John’s Use of Ezekiel: Understanding the Unique Perspective of the Fourth Gospel
(Ron Peters, Great Lakes Christian College)

Cynthia Long Westfall, Paul and Gender: Reclaiming the Apostle’s Vision for Men and Women in Christ
(Dawn Gentry, Milligan College)

Duane Litfin, Paul’s Theology of Preaching: The Apostle’s Challenge to the Art of Persuasion in Ancient Corinth
(Nathan D. Babcock, Buchanan Christian Church)

Stanley E. Porter, The Apostle Paul: His Life, Thought, and Letters
(Randall K. J. Tan, Global Bible Initiative)

Richard N. Longenecker, The Epistle to the Romans: A Commentary on the Greek Text
(David H. Warren, Faulkner University)

Anthony C. Thiselton. Discovering Romans: Content, Interpretation, Reception
(Randall K. J. Tan, Global Bible Initiative)

Beverly Roberts Gaventa, When in Romans: An Invitation to Linger with the Gospel according to Paul
(David Lertis Matson, Hope International University)

Andy Johnson. 1 & 2 Thessalonians
(Jeff Painter, Cincinnati, Ohio) 

20.2 Quotables

Chosen by Kate Blakely
Great Lakes Christian College
SCJ 20.2 Quotables

Featured Quote:

 Doing practical exegesis means reading for the good of the community, with a view to human need in this time and place, and that is necessarily a political act.”

Ellen F. Davis, "The Practical Value of Old Testament Exegesis" (SCJ 20.2:233)


 “While the challenges of higher education have changed greatly over the years, the need for hard work, ingenuity, and selfless service continue.” 

Bill Thompson, "Charting a Course through Choppy Seas: Challenges to Higher Education in the Independent Christian Churches" (SCJ 20.2:171)


Bill Thompson, "Charting a Course through Choppy Seas: Challenges to Higher Education in the Independent Christian Churches" (SCJ 20.2:170)

“Chief academic officers from both Bible colleges and universities also admit to serious challenges connecting with churches in their regions, which has led to a decline in both giving and in student recruits.”

Danny Yencich, "Sowing the Passion at Olivet: Mark 13-15 in a Narrative Frame" (SCJ 20.2:198)

“The Markan audience—the ‘all’ to whom Jesus speaks in 13:37—are thus folded into Mark’s story. Their fate is inextricably bound up with Jesus: what he forecasts for them, he himself will soon undergo.”

Danny Yencich, "Sowing the Passion at Olivet: Mark 13-15 in a Narrative Frame" (SCJ 20.2:199)

“Critical scholarship and the church’s lectionary have trained readers of biblical materials to be atomistic, taking the texts periscope by periscope. The connective tissue of Mark 13—15, at the very least, presses that Mark be read as an explicitly narrative text.”

Ellen F. Davis, "The Practical Value of Old Testament Exegesis" (SCJ 20.2:227)

“Becoming better, slower, more patient readers is a practical aspiration… Reading and exegeting texts is the most important and the most practical intellectual work that scholars and pastors do.”

Ellen F. Davis, "The Practical Value of Old Testament Exegesis" (SCJ 20.2:229)

“We are not trying to take in a set of historical or literary facts or to frame a set of ‘right answers’ to the teacher’s questions. Rather, we are listening together in order to ask more adequate questions of the text and thus develop a more capacious sense of truth.”

Ellen F. Davis, "The Practical Value of Old Testament Exegesis" (SCJ 20.2:233)

“…doing practical exegesis means reading for the good of the community, with a view to human need in this time and place, and that is necessarily a political act.” 233

Jeff Miller, "Saved through Childbearing? 1 Timothy 2:15 as a Hermeneutical Caveat" (SCJ 20.2:220)

“And in no case does ‘saved from sin’ mean women are saved from sin by bearing children as opposed to saved from sin by grace through faith apart from works of the law… To be blunt, no interpreter takes 2:15 at face value—even those who claim they do.”

Jeff Miller, "Saved through Childbearing? 1 Timothy 2:15 as a Hermeneutical Caveat" (SCJ 20.2:224)

“…the appropriate approach to an especially difficult text is not to ignore the difficulty.”

Paul Anthony, "An Evolving Approach: The Public Response to Darwinism at Abilene Christian University, 1935-1989" (SCJ 20.2:174)

“Hopefully, this study will be useful in helping university faculty and administrators across the movement explore potential avenues of public response when confronted with questions involving perceived conflict between academic and religious priorities.”

Paul Anthony, "An Evolving Approach: The Public Response to Darwinism at Abilene Christian University, 1935-1989" (SCJ 20.2:186)

“Science now stood condemned for failing to answer questions posed by religious texts.”

Zane B. McGee, "Transitioning Authority and Paul’s Farewell Address: Examining the Narrative Function of Acts 20" (SCJ 20.2:214)

“The church faces the inevitable future of living without the direct guidance of the apostles, who through either persecution or natural causes will all depart this world. In the fact of such a transition, Luke seeks to reassure the church that the present leadership has been rightly established.”

Zane B. McGee, "Transitioning Authority and Paul’s Farewell Address: Examining the Narrative Function of Acts 20" (SCJ 20.2:205)

“While various elements of the farewell address are readily recognized in Paul’s speech, there remains one glaring omission—the actual death of the speaker.”





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Volume 26 Issue 1

Current Issue:
VOLUME 26, No. 1
Spring 2023



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