Month: July 2019

KEDS Essays — New Testament Survey

The Epistle of James and the First Epistle of John

The Epistle of James

Introduction. Scholars have proposed dozens of disparate solutions to the most basic questions regarding the epistle of James (Edgar, 2001). It is indeed difficult to assess genre, audience, message, purpose, and social, historical and cultural setting of this epistle. This is specially so when faced with the challenge of dating this book; though out of scope for this essay, we must at least acknowledge that opinions ranging from mid 30s (Hodges, 2015) to mid second century (Allison, 2015) must be taken into consideration.

Popular views that see James as mere wisdom literature (Bauckham, 1999, as cited in Baker, 2002), as paraenesis (Dibelius, 1976 as cited in Moo, 2015), or as diatribe (Ropes, 1916 as cited in Edgar, 2001), and generally lacking logical structure, have been challenged in the past few decades (Jackson-McCabe, 2003; Reiher, 2013; Moo, 2015). James cannot be taken as a discourse in a vacuum without neglecting the socio-historical background and impacting our understanding of message and purpose. However, Moo’s (2015) suggestion that James is a homily then transcribed in epistolary form allows to retain both exhortation and wisdom characteristics, now underpinned by a historical setting providing us with occasion, motive, audience, and social situation, and thus shedding new light on the message.

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KEDS Essays — Old Testament Survey

Introduction to the book of Exodus and the book of Haggai


Until the 19th century the historicity and traditional authorship of the Pentateuch was widely accepted. Nowadays, however, Exodus is a controversial book (Seiglie, 2003). The Documentary Hypothesis constituted the first substantial shift, rejecting Mosaic authorship (Allis, 2001). The biblical minimalists went much further, denying archaeological evidence exists in support of biblical Israel (Thompson, 1999). Yet Exodus is “the most significant historical and theological event of the Old Testament” (Merrill, 1996, p. 57-58), thus of critical importance (Hayes, 2009).

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KEDS Essays — Introduction to the Bible

The formation of the Bible text is wholly the product of divine dictation, rather than human input. Discuss.


Divine revelation is seen as essential to Christianity across the spectrum. Ball (2012) says that any knowledge one may have of God is solely “the outcome of God’s gracious initiative and of his will to be known” (p. 13), while Bahnsen (1996) goes as far as saying that God’s revelation is the very foundation of knowledge. Of all forms of divine revelation, written revelation—the Scripture—was ultimately necessary to preserve all we need to know in order to relate properly to God (Erickson, 1985).

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Is God blackmailing people?

One of the greatest misconceived statements I often see from professed atheists is this one:

A God that commands you “Either believe in me or go to hell” is not giving you free will: he’s blackmailing you.

(Actual quote from someone I know, but seen in different forms many times)

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Truth is absolute

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There is no such thing as “your truth” or “my truth”. There is the truth, and then there is opinions. One’s opinion may or may not align with the truth. When it does, it means one is right, when it does not, it means one is wrong. Take the absoluteness of truth away, and you have taken away the ability to judge any claim of any nature right or wrong.