Monday, April 22, 2024

"I'm Too Tired to Work Out"

Last night I stayed up a bit too late listening to great music. So when I got up this morning I knew I should go the gym but did not FEEL like it. 

Here's what usually helps. Go and lift for a few minutes. Tell yourself, "If I still want to quit after that, I can." Ninety-nine percent of the time I keep going. As with most things in life, the first step is usually the hardest.

Incidentally, the "I'm too tired/busy/unmotivated" excuse is usually pure hogwash because you'll end up doing other (often less important) things. Of course, sometimes you actually ARE too busy for something.

I hope you have a wonderful day either way!

P.S. Here are some videos from my workout today. This will probably be totally boring to most of you so feel free to skip!

1. Warm up/stretching. 

2. Lat pull downs. 5 sets of 15. 

3. Waiter curls. 3 sets of 10. 

4. Single (one at a time) neutral grip pull ups, focusing on the eccentric (lowering). 10 sets. 

Let me know how I can improve! 

Introducing the Douay-Rheims Bible

Here's a Bible translation you may not have ever heard of. It's called the Douay-Rheims Bible. Check it out on the Bible Gateway website! It's a translation of the Latin Vulgate into English for service in the Catholic Church. It is a formal equivalence translation produced by members of the English college in Douai (Douay), France. The New Testament portion was completed in the city of Reims (Rheims). The Douay-Rheims translation is one of several Bibles used by Roman Catholics in addition to the New American Bible (NAB) and the RSV Catholic Edition. It usually presents what has traditionally been called the Western text. Here are 2 examples:

1. In Rom. 7:25, most English translations read "I thank God/Thanks be to God" (essentially meaning the same thing). But here the DR reads "The grace of God." This is the reading of the Latin-speaking church of the earliest centuries of Christianity (D, it, vg, Jerome, Pelagius, Augustine). 

2. A more well-known example is 1 Tim. 3:16. Here there are three different readings. 

Once again, we see these differences in our modern English Bibles. 

  • The ESV follows the Alexandrian text: "He was manifested in the flesh."
  • The DR follows the Western text: "which was manifested in the flesh." 
  • And the NKJV follows the Byzantine text: "God was manifested in the flesh."

What, you ask, are the "Alexandrian," Western," and "Byzantine" texts? These terms refer to three families or streams of witnesses originating mainly in:

  • Alexandria, Egypt (hence "Alexandrian" text).
  • Greece and Asia Minor, which later became known as the Byzantine Empire (hence "Byzantine" text).
  • The Latin-speaking world of the day, including North Africa, Spain, Gaul (France), and Italy (hence "Western" text).

In places of textual variation, each of these families is represented by modern English translations, as in:

  • Alexandrian = ESV, CSB, NASB, etc.
  • Western = DR, NAB, etc.
  • Byzantine = KJV, NKJV, etc.

Which Bible is the best? Should I use the ESV? Should I use the NAB? Should I use the NKJV? The answer is "Yes!" Use any you want or all of them together. Where there are variant readings in the Greek text, these will be noted in the footnotes. 

The NKJV has the best notes, though!

Sunday, April 21, 2024

Should Everybody Become a Runner?

Sometimes when I blog about what running has meant to me, I think I may come across as someone who thinks that everyone should run. I apologize if that's been the case.

As I reflect on my life as a runner, I am so thankful to God for this sport. I have run for charity. I have run for fitness. I have run for health. I have run for the comradery it provides. The simple act of putting one foot in front of the other can have a profound effect on so many areas of life. Yes, running can hurt -- running a marathon isn't painless -- but it can also heal. As you know, I began to run after my wife passed away. I know many runners who have overcome seemingly insurmountable obstacles in their lives because they became runners. 

That said, there is no activity in life that works for everyone. Walkers are athletes too. So are cyclists. Some people at my gym do water exercises in the pool. They are mostly the elderly. They are no less athletes than anyone else. 

As humans, we were created to do, not just to be. Each of us must have our own mountain to climb, even if it's no bigger than an anthill. I don't believe that running is the only option out there. You simply need something that challenges you. 

Just wanted to make that clear :-)

That Little Word "All" in Rom. 8:28

Do you ever ask yourself the "What if ...?" question?

What if I wasn't born and raised in Hawaii?

What if my parents never got a divorce?

What if I had studied in high school?

What if I didn't go to college?

What if I married someone else?

What if I never decided to follow Jesus?

Generally speaking, I think I've made mostly wise decisions. But not all of them have been so. Nevertheless, God used even those bad decisions in a positive way. 

As I type these words, I know that even as a 71-year old I still have many major decisions to make in life. I will face forks in the road that I could never have imagined having to face 5 or 10 years ago. I will have to decide which way to go. 

In Rom. 8:28, God promises to work all things for good, even the bad things in life. This is a promise he makes to everyone who loves him and is called according to his purpose. Notice that word "all." 

God means it. "Every detail in our lives of love for God is worked into something good" (The Message). In other words, I know that with every decision I face in the future, God will be there to help me. He will be there to direct my steps and he will be there to pick me up if I fall. 

Let's never forget that little word "all." 

Have a wonderful Lord's Day my friend. 

Saturday, April 20, 2024

Today I Joined the Police Department

But only for about 20 minutes.

As everyone knows, the largest 10K race in North America is the Bolder Boulder (obviously) in Boulder, Colorado. I ran that race last year and hope to run it again next month. The second largest 10K race takes place in my own backyard practically -- the Ukrop's Monument 10K in Richmond, Virginia. The Bolder Boulder averages 50,000 runners each year, while the Monument 10K averages a measly 25,000. I ran that race today.

I had four goals going into today's 10K:

1. Run the whole race without stopping.

2. Finish within the top two thirds of runners.

3. Place in the top half of men in my age group (70-74).

4. Complete the race without my legs looking like a newborn giraffe trying to stand for the first time.

The race began at 8:30. Up first were the elite runners. I see that the guy who won the race finished in 30:18. His name is Jordan Bendure. I've never met Jordan, but I'm pretty sure he's an amazing runner. Us lesser mortals began the race after the elites did. There were about a dozen waves, each based on your average 10K finish time. Each wave, as you see, was crowded. 

I guess we had to wait about 35 minutes for our wave to be launched due to the size of the event. We were a bit giddy to get started to say the least. 

I managed to run with the pack for the first 3 miles of the race. 

But I knew I'd need some extra motivation to finish the last 3 miles strong. Then it happened. I saw ahead of me just the thing I needed to get the job done -- a group of Richmond police recruits undergoing training. Impudently (and without even applying!) I joined myself to their ranks. 

They paced me for the rest of the race, at which point I unceremoniously resigned my appointment to the police academy. 

It felt so good to finish. (By the way, we love the volunteers at these races. I cannot thank this dear woman enough!) 

I checked my watch to see how I'd done. 

Over 23,000 runners had registered for today's race. I was disappointed to finish 11,769 out of 18,399 who finished the race. I was even more heartbroken to miss out on 11,768th place. It still haunts me. However, the good news is that after I finished the race, my walk looked nothing at all like that of a newborn giraffe. Instead, I gave the tin man from The Wizard of Oz a run for his money. 

As for my other goals, I ended up finishing in the top two-thirds of runners and even managed to place 48th in my age group (out of 134). Thankfully, the level of joy you are able to have at a race isn't determined by when you finish. Nobody else cares about your finishing time, and even you won't care in a year's time. What will stick with you five years from now are the times you said to yourself while running, "Lord, I can't believe how wonderful this is. Thank you, thank you, thank you!" 

Have a wonderful weekend! 

Friday, April 19, 2024

Chorizo: Me Gusta!

Here's my new go-to meal at the local Mexican restaurant. It's called pollo chorizo or chori pollo. 

It's chicken topped with spicy and delicious sausage. Have I died and gone to heaven? By the way, chorizo is NOT considered a health food. High calories, high fat, high sodium. Low carbs though. There's even a vegan version of chorizo. It's called soyrizo :-) 

Me gusta!

Seven Hopes for My Greek Students

It's been over two years now that I began serious strength training at the Y. I've learned so many lessons through these months and years, not least from my own mistakes and failures. 

As I lifted today, I thought about my Greek students, past, present, and future. Some of them have even gone on to get their doctorates in New Testament. What hopes do I have for them? Here are seven that come to mind:

1. I hope you will wear your considerable learning lightly once you leave the halls of academia because that will make you accessible to everyday people.

2. I hope you will experience abject failure on at least one Greek quiz or exam because that will teach you humility and compassion for your fellow strugglers.

3. I hope you will wrestle with difficult passages for yourself and not just consult the commentaries because that will teach you the value of forming your own personal convictions.

4. I hope you will experience rejection when you submit that article or book for publication because that will shatter your self-confidence and drive you to your knees.

5. I hope you will be forced to deal with an unreasonable and harsh professor in your seminary career because that will help you discover the importance of discernment when scheduling classes.

6. I hope you will be overwhelmed by the magnificence of the Greek text from time to time because that will remind you that its author is equally magnificent.

7. I hope you will realize that once you have attained a reading knowledge of your Greek New Testament you will now have a chance to live it.

Have a wonderful day! 

Thursday, April 18, 2024

Happy National Exercise Day!

On this "National Exercise Day" -- it's also "National Get to Know Your Customers Day," "National Animal Crackers Day," and "National Garlic Day" -- I am so grateful to the Lord that I was able to get in a run at the High Bridge Trail in Farmville today. Care to join me? 

I am now in my 70s. I'm still squeezing myself into wetsuits and signing up for marathons. 

Sometimes I'm the only one in my age group -- which fits perfectly into my winning strategy. I'm not fast enough to get on the podium, but my plan is to keep competing until everyone else quits. 

Running has taught me it's never too late to pursue your dreams. 

You don't have to be the fastest or the best athlete. But you can possess the best attitude -- gratitude for the good health that allows you to finish a race and then to sign up for the next one. 

I may be too old for some things in life, but I can still squeeze every drop of happiness out of life and stay active as long as I can. 

Happy National Exercise Day!

Wednesday, April 17, 2024

Good Evening!

Lovely evening here in SoVa. 

Hope your evening is going well! 

Little Round Top to Reopen!

I just recently began rereading my favorite novel of the Civil War, Gettysburg

I simply can't put it down. As you know, I visit Gettysburg each year, and this year will be no exception. I'm especially curious to see what changes the National Park Service has made to Little Round Top. 

The site is scheduled to reopen to the public this summer.

I hope to either bike or run the battlefield again this year, though probably not on July 1-3, when the park is overrun with tourists. 

We study history because history helps us to understand how past events made things the way they are today. That's as true as when I visited Masada in Israel as when I visited the Great Wall in China or Persepolis in Iran. Hopefully, we can develop the ability to avoid the mistakes of the past. A civilization that disregards history is like a person who has no long term memory. It's when we remember why we disliked touching a hot stove as a child that we don't do that today. My favorite prof at the University of Hawaii was my history prof. He asked questions like, "Why did the people of a certain era think and act the way they did? What influences motivated them to do so?" Most of the history classes I took in high school or college got hung up on names and dates. Those are not unimportant, but what's more important is understanding causes and effects,. It's the difference between knowing that the Roman Empire collapsed and why it collapsed. I am glad to hear that Little Round Top is reopening. You can't understand the present without understanding the past. Just try and understand the modern-day borders of France and Germany without Charlemagne! 

Let's Retire "Retirement"

Just thinking out loud here. But I'm wondering if it isn't time to retire a few "Christian" terms.

  • "Pastor." That's a metaphor, not a title, in Eph. 4:11. You're an elder
  • "Reverend." Nope. That's reserved for the Lord (Psalm 111:9). 
  • "Master of Divinity." I have one and I have certainly NOT mastered divinity.
  • "Sanctuary." Your church building is just that. A building. God does not live there (John 4).
  • "Lay person." We are all ministers/clergy.
  • "Lay elder." An elder is an elder, whether he is paid or not.

Here's one more: "Retirement." Why in the world should Christians want to use this term? 

In his book Stepping Up, Dennis Rainey writes how he once met with 12 gray-headed executives, now retired, who had been highly successful leaders. They had been risk takers who had led big lives. For 45 minutes the men peppered him with questions. Why do I feel so unnecessary? Why are my adult children so distant from me? Why does our culture make me feel so emasculated? Why am I treated as though I have nothing more to give?

As Rainey looked into their pained expressions, he thought they resembled broken antiques, collecting dust in an attic. They seemed to be without purpose. Each longed to fill his nostrils again with the smoke of the battlefield. They didn't want to trade their swords in for a five iron and a golf cart. They felt that they were created for something far greater than falling asleep in their lounge chairs while watching Fox News. Rainey described them as "men robbed of their glory, no longer dreaming because of a complicity of forces that had cruelly swindled them out of their courage. These men had been left behind." 

Retirement. What a stupid word. What a stupid way to live life. Thank goodness, it doesn't have to be this way. But you have to work at it. Retire? Just don't go there. Don't ever go there. Press on. Regardless. If you're not careful, people will become a bother to you. If you're not vigilant, you will stop living. You will stop reading. You will stop doing. Life will become wearisome. You will feel left behind.

Let me encourage you to rid your vocabulary of the word "retirement" once and for all. Go against the tide. Resist the temptation to live a life robbed of its glory. Stay close to your family, even though they may be geographically distant. Enter their lives and allow them to enter yours. Your job as parent and grandparent never ends. Cultivate friendships. Stop letting difficult people drain you. Don't feel you have to answer every email you get. If you want to start exercising for fun, fitness, weight loss, or any other reason, do it. Almost everyone would prefer to be physically fit than not. No one wakes up in the morning thinking, "I'm so glad to be overweight. I love getting out of breath when I climb stairs." What's keeping you from achieving this goal of health and fitness? I'm pretty sure there's an activity out there that's both fun and will get you in good shape. When we're firing on all cylinders we have the greatest level of life quality and happiness. 

Today's workout. 

Awaken the champion that is within you. The most important thing is to train smart, be safe, and have fun. Remember that you can make adjustments down the road if need be. 

The main thing is not to quit on yourself. Even if you're no longer a knight on a white horse, that's no excuse for going through life as though it were one long funeral. Never forget that "It is the old trees who have all the beauty and grandeur" (Emerson). 

Tuesday, April 16, 2024

A Day at the Beach

Studies have shown that spending time at the beach can be uniquely rejuvenating. I agree!

Today I drove my son to Virginia Beach to pick up his new van. While there, I did what every guy who was raised in the islands would do -- donned my wetsuit and hit the beach.

The day was lovely. 

The waves weren't exactly huge. (It was more of a boogie board day.) 

But that didn't stop me. Afterwards I sat on the beach soaking up the sun. 

I hope you can get to the beach this year. Or maybe the lake. You'll walk back to the car feeling completely refreshed! 

Have a wonderful evening! 

Moving Beyond Facts

When people are having trouble affirming the inspiration of Scripture, we often point them to 2 Tim. 3:16. However, most of that verse (and the following one) speaks about the usefulness of Scripture. It is to be used for "teaching, rebuke, correction, and training in righteousness." For example, if your elders understand 1 Cor. 11:3-15 to prohibit women from going to church without a head covering, this interpretation affects what they will teach the congregation. Or if your elders interpret certain passages in the New Testament as permitting remarriage after divorce, then that interpretation will influence how they counsel divorcees. But not only elders and pastors are responsible to understand the truth of Scripture. In our own spiritual lives, how we understand the Bible will definitely affect us and others. 

Just a friendly reminder that we always need to move beyond facts to application! 

Antidotes to Bitterness

Just an additional thought to my post yesterday about aging.

Bitterness and discouragement are always of the devil. Their antidote comes not only through Christ but through perennial habits. Don't forget these three:

1. The Bible. Soak yourself in the Scriptures daily. Pursuing spiritual equanimity without the Bible is like wanting to gain weight without eating.

2. Prayer. There is nothing that opens our lives up to the Spirit of God like prayer. 

3. Relationships. Success in aging is found in faithful relationships. Develop a trustworthy spiritual network if you can. (I realize this may be difficult for some.)

Markers like these keep us alert to God's unexpected blessings in our later years. They are the protection we need as we face declining health and eventual death. 

Enjoy this beautiful day! 

Monday, April 15, 2024

Different Approaches to Exercise

I know there are different approaches to exercise, but I try to keep things simple.

You should be able to exercise four times a week for 30 minutes. Your pace should be comfortable. As for the activity, choose the one you enjoy the most that involves your legs -- walking, jogging, biking, swimming, racquetball, etc. Try this for 4 months. After that, your ability to exercise should improve. 

I'd like to elaborate more but I think you get the drift! 

Lemma Wins Boston!

Sisay Lemma of Ethiopia won today's Boston Marathon. Note the gray hair. 

Let's hear it for dem old guys! 

Bitter Or Better?

There's a word we've borrowed from German that refers to the pleasure we take in the bad fortune of others. That word is Schadenfreude. It's what lies behind reality TV, the Law & Crime Network, and the show COPS. The opposite is envy -- a specific kind of jealousy that leads you to become depressed at the good fortune of others. "Youth," it is said, "has its passion. Age has its bitterness." I don't know any sin more characteristic of aging than envy. You'll fight it constantly. The fact is: Your lack of success is in no way caused by the success of someone else. Their success takes nothing away from you. 

I want to practice contentment till the day I die. I want to practice that at my school, in my home, at church, and elsewhere. Bitter or better. The choice is indeed ours. 

The Passive Voice

Can't wait to introduce the passive voice in Greek class today! There would be no Beatitudes without the passive:

"They will be comforted."

"They will be satisfied."

"They will be shown mercy."

"They will be called sons of God."

Incidentally, I love how Williams renders Matt. 5:6:

"Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for being and doing right, for they will be completely satisfied."

His footnote on "completely" reads:

"Gorged, as a calf on clover."

This is precisely why I teach Greek! I want my students to so study their Greek New Testaments that they leave each session in the word feeling gorged, stuffed, glutted, satiated, filled to capacity! I want them to read the text greedily, craving the pure spiritual milk of the word (1 Pet. 2:2). As Richard Foster puts in his excellent book Celebration of Discipline, "The desperate need today is not for a greater number of intelligent people or gifted people, but of deep people." 

Oh, I also love how Williams writes "hungry and thirsty for being and doing right." As we begin to exegete 1 John, my students will see that the heretics were engaged in the perverse teaching that you could "be" righteous without bothering to "practice" righteousness. John roundly condemns this error. The only person who is righteous is the one who does righteousness, like Jesus (1 John 3:7). "Doing is the best test of Being" (Robert Law). 

Have a superb week! 

Sunday, April 14, 2024

I LOVE Spring!

Spent 5 hours out in the sun today. Maybe it shows. 

I worked in the yard and mowed. 

I have a guest arriving tomorrow and I wanted the farm to look fresh. 

Meanwhile, my son began bush hogging the hay fields. 

Hard to believe that in only a few weeks their haying season will begin in earnest. 

I love spring. The warm days make me feel more energetic and cheerful. I love the blooming of the flowers and trees. I wake up every morning to the singing of birds. Outdoor activities pick up after the winter. I actually like to feel sweaty and sticky. I like wearing the minimum of clothing (like I did back in Hawaii). I like being able to sleep with the windows open. Everything seems more colorful. Today was 78 and sunny. I LOVE the warmer weather and temps. I think I'm an even-tempered person with a very positive attitude toward life. But I have preferences as well as like and dislikes. I love the longer days and shorter nights of spring and simmer. I absolutely ADORE surfing at Virginia Beach. I can't get enough of wearing shorts and flip flops. 

Summer is good. 

But spring is great. 

Spring is my favorite, definitely!

The Difference a Mentor Can Make

It was back in 1971 that I moved to Southern California at the age of 19 to enroll as a biblical studies major at Biola College. I didn't know it at the time, but the Lord was calling me into the ministry of full-time teaching. My arrival in California happened to coincide with the rise to fame of the head basketball coach at UCLA. His was soon a household name as people watched with amazement as he won championship after championship. It was called the Wooden Touch. He was a great coach but an even greater human being. He won 88 straight games between 1971 and 1974 yet his success never went to his head. Quiet as a March snow, he taught his players as much about the game of life as the game of basketball. Of all the axioms he was famous for -- "discipline yourself so that others don't have to," "never lie," "earn the right to be confident," "treat your opponents with respect" -- perhaps my favorite was, "Never score without acknowledging a teammate."

When I got to Biola, my goal was to play basketball under head coach Lyons. I hoped he would mentor me even as I hit the books hard. I soon realized, however, that I couldn't excel at both sports and academics. I had to make a choice. In high school I had never applied myself to my studies. My life consisted of surfing, volleyball, and basketball. But college was different. To succeed, I'd have to change. I'd have to learn how to become a student. I knew it would be like turning the Queen Mary around with a teaspoon, but I was determined to make it work. Dr. Harry Sturz, Biola's Greek prof, became my teacher, my mentor, and eventually my colleague at Biola. Like John Wooden, Harry Sturz was eminently gifted but remarkably unassuming. He never knew how great he was. He never had a bad word to say about Westcott and Hort or Bruce Metzger. But in his unassuming greatness he made an indelible impact on my life. 

I'd like you to know that. I'd like you to know that his influence was THE turning point in my life. If he were here today I would write him and tell him so. 

Regardless of how much you learn or however greatly the Lord blesses your life and ministry, I hope you will never forget the words of Coach Wooden:

"Never score without acknowledging a teammate." 

Saturday, April 13, 2024

In Praise of the Passive Hang

"When you do nothing, something always happens." So true! 

Just don't change the oil in your car or mow your lawn. Just don't tend to your marriage and see where that gets you. Just don't use the languages you once worked so hard to acquire. 

In lifting, you're usually doing something. But with the passive hang, you're actually not. There's nothing you have to do except let gravity do its work. The passive hang can transform your body. It improves strength, mobility, and posture. 

The result will be a gorilla grip, straighter arms, and stronger shoulders. This is an ideal exercise for people who are strong but inflexible. I can hang for about a minute now and the difference it's made in my ability to reach overhead has been amazing. Your spine will love it as well. The passive hang really helps to relieve any back issues I have and helps my stiffness to improve. 

Just don't forget to breathe! 

Never Just an "Ordinary" Run

One of the greatest moments in the annals of sports occurred when Joan Benoit of Maine won the race in the first-ever women's marathon in Olympic history in 1984. 

It was the union of body and mind at its height. In the sport of running, no one else need understand your struggle. That doesn't matter. Everyone who runs can achieve greatness simply by doing the best they can. 

My run today was nothing spectacular. It was just another ordinary run by a non-descript 71-year old widower. 

I never have and I never will win a race. And yet I know exactly the feeling that Joan Benoit had when she crossed the finish line in Los Angeles. For me, running has lessened the distance between what I am and what I can be. Winning has nothing to do with it. Trying is everything. My story will not be your story. Running is simply about the business of being the best version of "me." 

In the game that is life, this means everything. 

Friday, April 12, 2024

My Day

Lovely day with family. 

Life is good! 

Take care my friends! 

Thursday, April 11, 2024

Hawaii I Love you

In December of 2003, a month after Becky went home to heaven, I decided to visit the place of my birth and youth. I was obviously at a major crossroad in life. I had spent the first 19 years of my earthly existence on the island of Oahu. I felt like I needed to tap the brakes and slow my pace a little. So I returned to Hawaii. I've been doing that annually ever since. I spent time driving roads I had driven hundreds of times in my teenage years. I drove to the campuses where I had gone to school. I drove to the church where I had come to know Christ when I was 8. I visited the place where Becky and I had spent our honeymoon in Kailua and the beaches we swam in together. I loved it. I felt like I was 24 again as I lingered in places where my bride and I had spent the first weeks of our married life together. Memories engulfed me. It was a trip down nostalgia street. I'll never forget those days with Becky. 

As I walked along Kailua Beach, I thought about how long we'd shared our lives together and all we had been through. The heartbreaks. The disloyalty of those we thought we were exceptionally close to. The ugly criticism of those who didn't even know us. The heartbreak of cancer. All that begins to take a toll on you. Then I thought about all we had been able to accomplish together. When you mix the good and the bad together you come up with a thing called "marriage." For 37 years, Bec and I had a love relationship. It was remarkable. Our marriage wasn't based on how many acres we farmed or how many trips we had made to Ethiopia together. It was based solely on how deep was our love for each other. I knew B so well that I could finish her sentences, and vice versa. 

Today I finalized this year's trip back to my home state. My visits to Hawaii have not ameliorated the trauma of losing Becky. Only God can do that. Still, on every visit to Kailua, I find myself enriched by rehearsing our marriage journey and reflecting on all the good that came out of that experience. All losses are difficult. Each inflicts a unique kind of pain. What makes each loss so unbearable is its irreversible nature. Losing Becky 10 years ago was and will remain a difficult chapter in my life. But the whole of my life has been enriched by it. As it turned out, God had indeed meant it for good. I have found a new life that is truly amazing and filled with lovely memories. 

Training Yourself

Had a wonderful workout this morning. 

I do what works for me at the gym. I love the journey of training. I'm doing it right (mostly) and enjoy it. Feeling the pump. Seeing the fibers firing. Switching things up from quick reps to time under tension. It's the best time of my life when I'm training myself spiritually (in the word) and physically (at the gym). When I walk through either door, the outside world doesn't exist. Bible study and strength training are my portals to peace and serenity. 

You can stumble through an average life. But you've got to plan to have a great one.

Have a wonderful day everyone! 

Leaders Who Care

Before you can serve a cake you have to bake it. Exegesis always precedes exposition. Exegesis is personal and private. It takes place in the workshop. Exposition is shared and public. Not every detail of exegesis is shared when we teach, of course. In the end, we want people to see not the fine details but the whole patterns and how the parts are related. Sometimes (not always) a detail sticks out. That happened to me this morning as I was reading Romans 12. I noticed how "leadership" comes smack dab in the middle of caring ministries. 

Likewise, in 1 Tim. 3:5, "leading" and "caring" are combined:

If anyone does not know how to lead his own family, how can he take care of God's church?

Bo Reicke, my Doktorvater in Basel, wrote in TDNT that the verb proistÄ“mi originally meant to "put oneself at the head" or "go first in line." Then it came to mean (1) "preside" in the sense of ruling or leading and (2) "protect" in the sense of caring for. Pastoral ministry combines both of these meanings. It is essentially parental ministry (see 1 Thess. 2-3). The emphasis is not so much on rank and authority but on their care for the spiritual well-being of others. 

In theory? Doable. In practice? Difficult to say the least. I am thankful for the pastor-teachers I have known who have truly cared for their flocks. Even as a teacher, this is my high calling: to train students to do exegesis even as I serve and care for them in love. If my students aren't deeply touched by my Christ, then I must be doing a miserable job of representing him. 

Wednesday, April 10, 2024

The Source of Our Power (Eph. 6:10)

It's about time I committed this verse to memory:

I love how the Living Bible puts it:

"Last of all I want to remind you that your daily strength must come from the Lord's mighty power within you."


Beyond the Impasse in NT Textual Criticism

The 21st century interlude in New Testament textual criticism continues. There are four pathways forward:

1. Byzantine priority (Byzantine exclusivism).

2. Thoroughgoing eclecticism.

3. Reasoned eclecticism (Alexandrian priority).

4. Reasoned eclecticism that uses manuscripts from all textual traditions. 

I like the latter! 

Greek for Dummies

Alternative title for my beginning grammar Learn to Read New Testament Greek: "Greek for Dummies." A good example is how we explain everything. No "This is how it works in Latin, so this is how it works in Greek." After all, I wrote the book for people like me -- language dummies. 

Try it! (You can find the book through a quick Google search.) 

Stay the Course!

Consistency is necessary for progress in almost anything!

If you're having trouble staying consistent, then it might help to practice "adaptive excellence." Aim high, but always appropriately. Listen to your body. Often, less is more. You don't have to run all the time. Run-walk builds fitness too.

Consistency is not so much a physical challenge as a mental one. The brain rules all. It's not your calves that will get your body moving. It's your thoughts.

Stay the course, my friend. Run long and run healthy! 

My run today :-)