19 December 2011

Zeal without Knowledge

"There is nothing that belongs to Christian experience," wrote Edwards, "so liable to a corrupt mixture as zeal." After three years studying Paul's references to zeal against the backdrop of his Jewish upbringing I've concluded that the apostle would agree. Those conclusions and the exegetical arguments that led to them will be published next year in this volume. Yours for the low low price of $110.

My argument runs somewhat against the grain of the direction NT scholars are increasingly going in understanding the heart of Paul's concerns as an apostle. More and more I discern in NT scholarship an unhealthy over-horizontalization of the core of what animated Paul, prioritizing human reconciliation (Jew-Gentile) over vertical reconciliation (God-human). Zeal-language in Paul is a slice of his thought world that clarifies the priority of the apostle's concerns.

To the degree I've explained Paul rightly I hope students of the Bible will consider and be persuaded. It is not irrelevant to the gospel itself. I believe Paul will be better understood, and therefore Christ and his gospel more deeply cherished, and therefore God more reverently adored, if my arguments are read with genuine openness and textual submissiveness.

So it is gratifying to see three years' work come to fruition in this way. Glory to God.

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