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Theological Term of the Week

source criticism
The field of biblical studies that seeks to “establish the literary sources the biblical author/editor drew upon.”1

  • From 40 Questions About Interpreting the Bible by Robert L. Plummer:
    Source criticism seeks to establish the literary sources the biblical author/editor drew upon. For example, Julius Wellhausen (1844-1918), a liberal Old Testament scholar, argued that the Pentateuch was composed of four literary strands: the Yahwist or Jehovist (J), Elohistic (E), Priestly (P), and Deuteronomistic (D) sources. The evidence for the JEPD construction is actually quite tenuous. The data support traditional Mosaic authorship of the Pentateuch, while obviously allowing for some gathering and editing of the Mosaic material. 
    In the New Testament, source criticism is especially applied to Matthew, Mark, and Luke (the Synoptic Gospels) because of their close similarity in wording and order. The majority of New Testament scholars believe that Luke and Matthew used two main sources in their composition—the written gospel of Mark and “Q.” “Q” is an abbreviation for the German word Quelle (source) and stands for a collection of written and oral sources that Matthew and Luke had in common. Indeed, Luke explicitly indicates that he drew upon multiple sources in the composition of his Gospel (Luke 1:1-4). As many early church fathers comment on the literary sources behind the Gospels (i.e., which Gospel author(s) were dependent on others), source criticism is truly an ancient discipline. 

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Heidelberg Catechism

Question 55. What do you understand by “the communion of saints”?

Answer: First, that all believers, as members of Christ, have communion with him and share in all his riches and gifts; (a) and second, that everyone has a duty to use his gifts readily and cheerfully for the advantage and well-being of the other members. (b)

(Scriptural proofs after the fold.)

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Sunday's Hymn: Oh, How Good It Is

Oh how good it is 
When the family of God
Dwells together in spirit 
In faith and unity. 
Where the bonds of peace, 
Of acceptance and love 
Are the fruit of His presence 
Here among us.

So with one voice we’ll sing to the Lord 
And with one heart we’ll live out His word 
Till the whole earth sees 
The Redeemer has come
For He dwells in the presence of His people. 

Oh how good it is 
On this journey we share 
To rejoice with the happy 
And weep with those who mourn. 
For the weak find strength 
The afflicted find grace 
When we offer the blessing 
Of belonging. 

Oh how good it is 
To embrace His command 
To prefer one another
Forgive as He forgives. 
When we live as one 
We all share in the love 
Of the Son with the Father 
And the Spirit. 

Keith Getty, Kristyn Getty, Ross Holmes, and Stuart Townend (© 2012 Gettymusic and Parakeet Boots Music and Townend Music)

Other hymns, worship songs, prayers, sermons excerpts, or quotes posted today:

Have you posted a hymn (or sermon, sermon notes, prayer, etc.) today and I missed it? Let me know by leaving a link in the comments or by contacting me using the contact form linked above, and I’ll add your post to the list.


Linked Together: Questions Answered

A little recommended weekend reading.

What If the Worst Happens?
I have to admit it: I’m a “what if?” woman. I do more than my fair share of worrying about what could happen.

Vaneetha Rendall suggests replacing “what if” with “even if.”

In the Bible, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego were not guaranteed deliverance. Just before Nebuchadnezzar delivered them to the fire, they offered some of the most courageous words ever spoken. “If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God we serve is able to deliver us from it … But even if he does not, we want you to know that we will not serve your gods … ” (Daniel 3:17–18).

Even if.

Even if the worst happens, God’s grace is sufficient. Those three young men faced the fire without fear because they knew that whatever the outcome, it would ultimately be for their good and for God’s glory. They did not ask “what if” the worst happened. They were satisfied knowing that “even if” the worst happened, God would take care of them.

Read the rest at Desiring God Blog.

What Does Repentance Look Like?
David shows us in Psalm 51 (R. C. Sproul).

Why Are You Here on Earth?
The answer is in a George Herbert poem (John Piper).

Why Is Propitiation Important?
Because it’s what we need (Kim Shay).


With and Within

J. I. Packer on the relationship of Holy Spirit and Jesus Christ, the incarnate Son:

The Spirit, whose creative power effected the conception of Jesus in Mary’s womb (Luke 1:35), was with and within the incarnate Son throughout his life on earth. He disclosed his presence to Jesus, to John, and perhaps to others by the apparition of the dove at Jesus’s baptism (Matt. 3:16-17; John 1:32-33), which convinced John that “this is he who baptizes with the Holy Spirit.” The Spirit bearer, so John was told, would in due course be the Spirit giver. The Spirit at once led Jesus into the wilderness “to be tempted by the devil” (Matt 4:1); he participated in all the Savior’s ministry (Luke 4:14), empowering his miracles (Matt 12:28), prompting his joy (Luke 10:21), and sustaining him through the agony of Gethsemane for the greater agony of his atoning death (Heb. 9:14). As we Christians are upheld by the Holy Spirit in the life that we live with God and for God, so was our Savior before us. As we live in a simultaneous relationship with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit, who are always together and never apart from each other, so were the Father and the Spirit together with the Son when he was on earth, as they are still and always will be.

Quoting from Taking God Seriously: Vital Things We Need to Know (page 114).