What Does Luke Think He’s Doing? (Luke 1:1) with Jeremiah Coogan

Jeremiah Coogan,
University of Oxford

Dr. Jeremiah Coogan is an alumnus of Wheaton College’s Classical Languages major. He earned his Ph.D. at the University of Notre Dame. His work there, soon to be published by Oxford University Press, focused on Eusebius of Caesarea’s fourth-century reconfiguration of the Gospels as a window into broader questions of technology and textuality in early Christianity and the late ancient Mediterranean. Presently, he is a Marie Skłodowska-Curie Fellow in the Faculty of Theology and Religion at the University of Oxford. He is also the 2021 Paul J. Achtemeier Award for New Testament Scholarship Recipient. In this episode, he talks about his beginnings in Greek and the beginning of Luke’s Gospel: What does Luke’s use of the word translated as “undertaken” signify about the background and purpose of his work?

To hear the podcast (8 minutes) click here.

“Exegetically Speaking” is a weekly podcast of the friends and faculty of Wheaton College, IL and The Lanier Theological Library. Hosted by Dr. David Capes, it features language experts who discuss the importance of learning the biblical languages—Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek—and show how reading the Bible in the original languages “pays off.” Each podcast lasts between seven and eleven minutes and covers a different topic for those who want to read the Bible for all it is worth.

If you’re interested in going deeper, learn more about Wheaton’s undergraduate degree in Classical Languages (Greek, Hebrew, and Latin) and our MA in Biblical Exegesis

You can hear Exegetically Speaking on SpotifyStitcherApple Podcasts, and YouTube. If you have questions or comments, please contact us at exegetically.speaking@wheaton.edu. And keep listening. 

Son-of-God-in-power, Romans 1:3-4 with Matthew Bates

Dr. Matthew Bates, Quincy University

Dr. Matthew Bates is Associate Professor of Theology at Quincy University. He recalls how, having majored in physics as an undergraduate, he learned beginning Greek independently before jumping into second-year Greek in seminary. Among his several publications are The Birth of the Trinity (Oxford, 2015) and Salvation by Allegiance Alone(Baker, 2017). In this episode he reveals how Paul’s choice of verbiage in an important summary of the gospel indicates his conceptions of Christ’s nature and history, especially both his divine pre-existence and his exaltation.

To listen to the podcast click here.

“Exegetically Speaking” is a weekly podcast of the friends and faculty of Wheaton College, IL and The Lanier Theological Library. Hosted by Dr. David Capes, it features language experts who discuss the importance of learning the biblical languages—Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek—and show how reading the Bible in the original languages “pays off.” Each podcast lasts between seven and eleven minutes and covers a different topic for those who want to read the Bible for all it is worth.

If you’re interested in going deeper, learn more about Wheaton’s undergraduate degree in Classical Languages (Greek, Hebrew, and Latin) and our MA in Biblical Exegesis

You can hear Exegetically Speaking on SpotifyStitcherApple Podcasts, and YouTube. If you have questions or comments, please contact us at exegetically.speaking@wheaton.edu. And keep listening. 

Reckoning with Race–Vince Bacote

Dr. Vincent Bacote, Wheaton College

Dr. Vince Bacote, Associate Professor of Theology and Director of the Center for Applied Christian Ethics at Wheaton College, joins David Capes to talk about his new book, Reckoning with Race and Performing the Good News: In Search of a Better Evangelical Theology (Brill, 2020).  Dr. Bacote is interested in rehabilitating the evangelical movement when it comes to how racial minorities fit into its life.  For too long the good news, while central to evangelical theology and life, has not always been good for minorities.  The polarization now in the west is due in large part because majorities and minorities are speaking past each another rather than finding a place at the table for one another.  According to Bacote, theology and ethics belong together and are not separate spheres of life and thought.  After discussing the meaning of “racism” and “critical race theory,” Bacote offers concrete proposals for what serious Christians and a thoughtful church can do next.  To learn more about Dr. Vince Bacote and his work, go to his website http://www.vincentbacote.com.

To hear the podcast (22 minutes) click here.

The Stone Chapel is a podcast of the friends and staff of the Lanier Theological Library in Houston, Texas.  It is hosted by Dr. David Capes, Senior Research Fellow at the library and former faculty member at Houston Baptist University and Wheaton College.  The purpose of the podcast is to bring to our audience great conversations from the world’s leading experts in theology, biblical studies, archaeology, Church history, the Dead Sea Scrolls, ethics, ministry, and a host of other topics close to the mission of the library.

The Lanier Theological Library is a magnet for scholars, church leaders and influencers.  For the last ten years, it has welcomed hundreds of academics and church leaders from across the globe for public lectures, study, panel discussions, consultations, and encouragement.

These podcasts as well as the Lanier library and the Stone Chapel are generously underwritten by Mark and Becky Lanier and the Lanier Theological Library Foundation.  If you have questions or comments, please be in touch: Email david.capes@lanierlibrary.org

Gospel Allegiance

Matthew Bates

Dr. Matthew Bates, (PhD Univ of Notre Dame) is associate professor of theology at Quincy University in Quincy, IL.  He is the author of several books and hosts a popular podcast along with Matt Lynch and others entitled “OnScript.”  Dr. Bates joins David Capes to talk about his recent book, Gospel Allegiance: What Faith in Jesus Misses for Salvation in Christ (BrazosPress, 2019).  Often the word pistis, translated most often “faith” in the New Testament, is misunderstood because our understanding of the gospel is deficient.  So, what is the gospel? “Jesus is the saving king.”  So, what is our response?  Allegiance to the king.

To hear the podcast (24 minutes) click here.

The Stone Chapel is a podcast of the friends and staff of the Lanier Theological Library in Houston, Texas.  It is hosted by Dr. David Capes, Senior Research Fellow at the library and former faculty member at Houston Baptist University and Wheaton College.  The purpose of the podcast is to bring to our audience great conversations from the world’s leading experts in theology, biblical studies, archaeology, Church history, the Dead Sea Scrolls, ethics, ministry, and a host of other topics close to the mission of the library.

The Lanier Theological Library is a magnet for scholars, church leaders and influencers.  For the last ten years, it has welcomed hundreds of academics and church leaders from across the globe for public lectures, study, panel discussions, consultations, and encouragement.

These podcasts as well as the Lanier library and the Stone Chapel are generously underwritten by Mark and Becky Lanier and the Lanier Theological Library Foundation.  If you have questions or comments, please be in touch: Email david.capes@lanierlibrary.org

The (W)right Way to Read Paul

My coauthors (Rodney Reeves and Randy Richards) and I are working on the second edition of our book Rediscovering Paul: An Introduction to His World, Letters and Theology (InterVarsity, 2007).  It is a substantial rewrite, not just a cosmetic upgrade. Rediscovering Paul cover

Chapter 10 is our chapter on Paul’s theology and, as I’m rewriting, I’m (re)reading N. T. Wright’s two volume Paul and the Faithfulness of God (Fortress, 2013).  At the beginning of the second big volume he lays out his agenda.  His central argument is that Paul’s worldview and his theology must be understood together.  They are interdependent.  When you grasp Paul’s theology correctly and faithfully, you “do justice to the whole and the parts;” you understand the shifting historical contexts in which he lived, the forces and factors that influenced him, and you read his letters a bit more faithfully.

The (W)right way to read Paul holds together and in tension the various themes of his letters which scholars often pit against one another.  There is, he says, an “inner coherence” which emerges when you try to understand the sequence of his arguments. The letters are not a collection of detached sayings; they are robust arguments.  They are grounded in the larger themes and narratives of his Scripture and Jewish heritage.

Wright cites with approval Kasemann (Romans, 1980) when he noted that Paul’s letters do have a central concern, a coherent, inner logic which can be investigated and known.

So Wright builds his project on three platforms:

First, he begins with Paul’s Jewishness as a given, expressed in a framework of three major aspects of second temple Jewish thought: monotheism, election and eschatology.  For Wright, these elements are integrated not detached.  You cannot, for example, understand Paul’s soteriology in isolation from election, theology and eschatology.  These three elements cover the wide, gaping central concern of Paul who remained a thoroughly Jewish thinker.

Second, this framework had to be rethought, reimagined, and recast around Jesus and the Spirit.  Paul had a new understanding of what God had been up to in the Messiah and the gift of the Spirit.  He could no longer continue to think about these central categories in the same way.  The cataclysmic event of the cross and resurrection of the Messiah had changed everything.

Third, Paul’s christologically and pneumatologically redefined categories (monotheism, election, and eschatology) were deployed through the Gentile mission in three ways.

  1. They became the major aims of his letters. His letters were part of his missionary strategy, that is, to establish Jesus-infused and Spirit-directed communities across the Mediterranean.  His letters reflect this radically reworking.
  2. Paul’s own charismatic readings of Scripture were not based on proof-texting; they were grounded in reading large swaths of Scripture and attuning his mind to the great narratives of Israel which reached their appropriate climax in the Messiah. It is Paul’s full intention that his Jesus-infused and Spirit-directed communities inhabit these stories.
  3. Even as Paul’s own theology demands the formation of “churches,” he is also engaging the pagan world of his day (again in three ways).
  • the philosophers’ quest for the good life is upstaged by the good news of the gospel
  • the religious quest of late antiquity for salvation (broadly understood) with its obsession with gods and spiritual powers finds its final destination in the church
  • the imperial quest of empire is outmaneuvered by the acclamation of Jesus’ lordship, Israel’s true Messiah

Paul, according to Wright, draws from paganism everything which he thinks is true.  But pagan idolatry had ruined any chance for the wise of this age to achieve their human potential.  The human-happiness project of pagan philosophy never achieved what it promised.

But the gospel made people more human not less because, among other things, it placed in the center the only human whose life was worth imitating.

In the end Wright believes there is a coherence to Paul’s thought.  It is a coherence which holds together all the parts, uniting the disparate elements of his arguments even thought each letter is written over against a contingent situation.

An early generation of scholars was fond of talking about “the center” of Paul’s theology.  It was identified by some as justification by faith, by others reconciliation, and still by others participation in Christ.  Each of these were different ways of dealing with the broad theological category, soteriology.  Wright does not utilize the language of “center,” but his discussion of what is central, coherent appears to operate along a similar track.