Thursday 2 November 2017

Crucible 8, 2 (November 2017)

The latest issue of Crucible, published by the Australian Evangelical Alliance, is now available online here, with the below articles (abstracts included, where available).

The issue is themed on the book of Psalms, flowing out of a ‘Young Scholars Summit’, convened at Tyndale House, Cambridge, in the summer of 2014, where the goal was to pursue the question, ‘How are we as Christians to understand the Psalms messianically?’

The Cauldron: peer reviewed articles

Kathy Maxwell
Experiencing Psalm 22: A Literary Approach
Jesus’ cry from the cross, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?” has a rich history that began long before Golgotha. Who first voiced this question and in what context? When was it put to paper? Why does Jesus cry out these particular words? How should we understand this heart-rending question from Jesus’ mouth? Whose words are these: the psalmist’s, Jesus’, or someone else’s? What do the gospel writers mean to communicate when they include so many allusions to Psalm 22 in the passion narratives? Is Jesus’ crucifixion the climactic use of the Cry of Dereliction? Is it, and if so, when is it appropriate for others to echo these same words? These questions and more arise from the synoptic Passion narratives. To answer them, one must return to the “original” source of Psalm 22. When practiced in isolation, however, historical- and literary-critical methods suffer from the frustrating ambiguity found in much of poetic literature, including that of the Bible. This study involves a close reading of Psalm 22, with a particular eye to the gospels’ use of that psalm in the Passion narrative. Historical-critical methods are useful when formulating ideas for the referent of the psalm and the original audience. Literary-critical methods are particularly helpful when studying the structure of the psalm, a fascinating study in and of itself. Drawing on insights from these two fields of research, this study attempts to move beyond their limitations to celebrate the ambiguity revealed by both. Embracing the ambiguity of Psalm 22 encourages solidarity of experience and faith among the people of God across the centuries, including the ancient Israelite, ancient Christian, and modern Christian contexts.

A.J. Culp
Of Wedding Songs and Prophecies: Canonical Reading as the Clue to Understanding Psalm 45 as Prophecy
How do the Psalms prophesy the Messiah? The New Testament writers like to cite the Psalms to show Jesus of Nazareth is Israel’s Messiah, but they do so in ways that surprise us. This has caused a long-standing interpretive problem, for while the reasoning may have been clear to them it is not clear to us. This article therefore speaks to that issue. It makes a case for a canonical approach to the Psalms as a window into the interpretive practices of the New Testament writers. Psalm 45, an Israelite wedding song cited in Hebrews 1 as evidence of Christ’s exalted nature, is used as test case.

Bryan C. Babcock
Who is “My Lord” in Psalm 110?
Psalm 110 begins “A Psalm of David. YHWH says to my lord: ‘Sit at my right hand, until I make your enemies your footstool.’" The first verse includes an ambiguous phrase “my lord” which might be interpreted to mean David as sovereign. David, as the speaker, may also be referring to his son Solomon. A final option is that David is prophetically identifying a messianic figure who will sit at the right hand of God. 

This study is the outcome of a summit held at Cambridge University sponsored by The International Reference Library for Biblical Research (IRLBR). The program offered a small community of young evangelical scholars the opportunity to pursue solutions to a current academic debate within evangelical biblical studies to the benefit of the Church. As such, the discussions centered on answering “What qualifies a psalm as messianic?” To answer this question, the team of four young scholars debated various positions while exploring Psalms 2, 22, 45, and 110. To identify the intended meaning of the psalms it was essential to understand the answers to several questions, including:

• What is the historical context for the writing of the psalm?
• How do the details of the psalm fit into its larger Old Testament context?
• How would an Old Testament reader most likely have understood these texts?
• What interpretational trajectories surface in early Jewish interpretation of these psalms?
• What hermeneutical steps have the New Testament authors taken to understand the meaning of the psalm?

This analysis works through the hermeneutical process establishing the historical context of Psalm 110 at the time of its authorship. The study then follows the interpretive trajectory through the Old Testament and into the New Testament finding three ways to support the association of the psalm with the Messiah: eschatological-typology, rhetorical-typological, and realized-typology. Finally, the project offers four applications for the modern Church.

The Test-tube: ministry resources

Jeff Brannon
Psalm 2 in the History of Redemption
Psalm 2 is a kingship psalm that represents not only the ideals, hopes, and aspirations of Israel, but also the Lord’s purposes and plans for the Kingdom of God. While many psalms focus on either the Lord’s heavenly kinship or the earthly kinship of Israel’s king, Psalm 2 emphasizes both realities and demonstrates the close relationship between the two. The themes of God’s sovereign purposes and kingship permeate the psalm. Psalm 2 also figures prominently in the New Testament as New Testament authors frequently quote or allude to the psalm in order to demonstrate its fulfillment in Jesus Christ. In light of these themes, Psalm 2 is essential to investigate in any study of messianic psalms. In this investigation, I answer a number of questions related to Psalm 2 and the topic of messianic psalms. How should Psalm 2 be understood in its Old Testament context? How do the New Testament authors apply Psalm 2 to Jesus Christ? Is Psalm 2 predictive of the Messiah, or is it only messianic in hindsight? What is a messianic psalm? How is Psalm 2 messianic? In order to answer these questions, I discuss how the redemptive-historical method benefits Bible interpreters in understanding Psalm 2 both in its Old Testament context and in its New Testament references. Additionally, this essay serves as an example of the redemptive-historical approach to Scripture, and demonstrates how this method benefits Bible interpreters as they investigate Old Testament passages and their fulfillment in Jesus Christ.

Andrew Brown
Lift Us Up Where We Belong

David J. Cohen
Using the Psalms in Ministry

Stan Nickerson
Preaching from the Psalms: A Suggested Approach

Andrew Sloane
When Theology Sings: Reflections on the Theological Significance of Poetry

Lindsay Wilson
How to Preach Different Psalm Types in the Light of the New Testament

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