A Word in Edgewise

Home » Uncategorized

Category Archives: Uncategorized

Be Perfect?

Dr. Jonathan Pennington, Associate Professor of New Testament Interpretation at Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, reflects upon a clause often translated as “be perfect” in Matthew 5:48. He suggests that “Be whole” is a better interpretation of the Greek.pennington-jonathan

You can cut and past the following URL to your web browser:


or click here.

My New Job: The Lanier Theological Library

Over the summer I changed jobs.  I had been the Dean of the School of Biblical and Theological Studies at Wheaton College.

As of July 1, 2019 or, for my European friends, 1 July 2019, I became the Senior Research Fellow at The Lanier Theological Library.  I will have a host of duties there, primarily to help the library interface with the academic community. aaa download

If you have not seen it, it is a little piece of Cambridge and Oxford let down into the sylvan landscape of northwest Houston.  We host five to seven academic lectures, symposia, and panel discussions that attract thousands of interested people every year.  For a link to the library website click here.

A formal announcement will be made soon.  I am looking forward to working with Mark and Becky Lanier to press on toward the mission of the library.

Hobby Lobby, Dirk Obbink, and Missing Manuscripts

The Egypt Exploration Society (EES) recently posted a statement that it was working with the Museum of the Bible to determine whether texts from the Oxyrhynchus collection had been sold to Hobby Lobby organization. Apparently, some manuscripts had gone missing and a contract between Professor Dirk Obbink, of Oxford University, and Hobby Lobby was discovered and released.  There were six items in all,  including four NT fragments dug up earlier in the 20th century in Egypt.

I met Dr. Dirk Obbink a few years ago at a conference for scholars at Baylor University.  All the scholars were working on and seeking to identify texts written on papyri.  Obbink is one of the world’s foremost authorities on papyri.  He is often called upon to comment on ancient manuscripts.  His name and reputation are well known in papyrological studies. 

The Museum of the Bible had in its possession thirteen texts from the Egypt Exploration Society.  Twelve on papyrus and one on parchment (animal skin).  All had biblical or related content.  It seems the texts were taken without permission.  Not only were the manuscripts missing but so were catalogue cards and photographs (ways the EES identifies, tracks and evaluates manuscripts).  Someone, it seems, was trying to cover up the fact they were missing. Fortunately, the EES had other records which allowed them to identify the missing manuscripts.
I am pleased to report that the trustees of the Museum of the Bible are cooperating with the investigation and have agreed to return the manuscripts to the EES.

in 2010 Professor Obbink, according to the Museum of the Bible, sold eleven manuscripts (fragments) to Hobby Lobby Stores.  Obbink was later “discharged” from his duties as general editor of the Oxyrhynchus papyri because of unsatisfactory  performance and suspicions that he was seeking to sell ancient manuscripts.  Obbink denied the charges but today no longer has access to these manuscripts.  The investigation into his actions and the state of the missing manuscripts is going to continue.


Dirk Obbink

For more information about the publication of some of the manuscripts check here.

Daniel Ryan Capes Endowed Scholarship in Writing

Since our son, Daniel, died ten weeks ago, Cathy and I have established  The Daniel Ryan Capes Endowed Scholarship in Writing at his alma mater, Houston Baptist University.  It will be available to worthy junior or senior writing majors beginning fall semester 2020.  To fund the scholarship we will need to raise a minimum of $75,000 over the next three years.

Daniel and Toby 2

Daniel and his son, Toby (Summer 2018)

Daniel graduated from HBU in 2006 with a degree in writing.  His first job was as a technical writer on NASA’s Constellation project.  But his real passion was to become a story-writer for video games. His dream came true when he was able to use his writing skills to work with TimeGate, SixFoot, and Cryptic Studios creating story lines for various games.  Daniel loved a good story and a good movie; he knew the power of stories to instruct us, entertain us, and express our deepest longings.

We wanted to let you know about our plans now so you could decide whether you would like to join us in honoring Daniel in this way.  Many of you have already expressed a desire to help.

Here are the details on how to donate:

Donate on-line:

1.  Go to www.hbu.edu/giving

2.  Scroll down and click on box “Give Now”

3.  Scroll down and fill in your name, email, amount of the gift, and if your company matches donations.

4.  Scroll down and click on button “Additional giving opportunities”

5.  There will be a search box on the next screen (top right corner).  Type in “Daniel Ryan Capes” and his scholarship name will appear.

6.  Select the scholarship: “Daniel Ryan Capes Endowed Scholarship in Writing”

7.  Then “Next/Continue”

8.  Review the next screen (may need to scroll down) to check all the information

9.  If all is correct, click “Next”

10. If this is your first donation to HBU, you may receive the message “No Matching Profile” but the screen will advance to the next step

11. Fill in credit card information

12. Review the details

13. Select “Make your gift”

14. You will receive a confirmation page to print out for your records.

To Give by mail:

Alternatively, you may send a check made out to Houston Baptist University.  In the memo line write “Daniel Ryan Capes Endowed Scholarship in Writing.”  Mail to:

Tommy Bambrick
Houston Baptist University
7502 Fondren Rd.
Houston, TX 77074

All donations are tax-deductible. 

Team Hurtado

I am a proud, mug-carrying member of Team Hurtado.Team Hurtado

I continue to think that students who want a PhD in New Testament need to learn Greek and read the texts in their original language. I don’t think it is elitist or asking too much of any student.  I have met students from the Majority World who are dedicated to learning Greek even though they have to learn it through the resources of English or German.  They do not feel put upon by western scholars.  They are excited to do it.

The same standard could be applied to any literature or field of study.  If you want to be considered an expert in Spanish literature of the 19th century, you need to be able to read Spanish. In the image above I have obscured a word on the mug which might be considered offensive; but astute readers may be able to figure it out. It is not in Greek.

Hurtado refers to Larry Hurtado, retired Professor of New Testament at the University of Edinburgh.  He is a close, personal friend and a mentor of mine for 30 years.  He writes a popular blog you can find here.



%d bloggers like this: