A Couple of Interesting Books

This book is incredibly important to biblical studies today, and has now (finally!) been reprinted. This book is important for the study of Alvin Plantinga’s thought.

On True Scholarship

There is an interesting discussion going on over at the PB on the question of how to preach, and what constitutes good scholarship. I have some fairly settled views on this.

First of all, scholarship is not evidenced by a huge vocabulary. Maybe, as one sign of scholarship, the scholar understands a huge vocabulary. However, the scholar should wear this kind of learning lightly. Anyone can spout off a whole ream of polysyllabic words and try to look impressive. True scholarship is shown in clarity of expression and clarity of thought. This is why Boice was completely correct in his article in this book. In this article, Boice laments the wrong-headed view we have of scholarship. Today, we think that the worst minds get a small church, the better minds get a larger church, and the best minds teach in seminary. Boice argues (quite convincingly) that our best minds need to be in the church. In my opinion, the reason for this is that the true mark of scholarship is the ability to take the most difficult subjects and explain them in such a way that anyone can understand them. It takes a true master of the material to be able to do that.

Please note here that I do not advocate a dumbing down of the message. By no means should we avoid biblical words like propitiation, imputation, justification, expiation, etc. These are biblical words. Rather, we should explain these words to our congregations in easier-to-understand words so that they are brought up to understand the non-dumbed-down message of the Bible. The Bible is written so that we can understand. Don’t get me wrong. However, there is a vocabulary that the Bible uses with which many people are not familiar. There are places difficult to understand. These are for our benefit every bit as much as the Scriptures that are easy to understand. The true scholar can make the child understand these things without confusion. That is the ideal of scholarship, and to that I aspire.