Outgrowing the Ingrown Denomination

Christian Living, The Church, Uncategorized

(By: Matt Foreman)

I grew up in an old school Southern Baptist church – by which I mean: everything in church life revolved around the SBC.  All the literature and Sunday School curriculum were written by the Home Mission Board.  Wednesday night programs revolved around Royal Ambassadors and Girls in Action.  The Lottie Moon Christmas offering was the biggest Missions and fundraising event of the year.  Attend any SBC Church around the country and you would find the same programs and same culture of church life.  There was very little public acknowledgement or even consciousness of Christianity, it seemed, beyond those boundaries.

Eventually, I was converted while attending a Reformed campus ministry and Reformed Baptist Church in college.  The church culture was very different.  Theology, Christian literature and church history were all very important.  There was a much broader awareness and fellowship across denominational lines by virtue of a shared theology.  In fact, there seemed actually a closer affinity with believers from other Reformed denominations than even with other Baptists.  I ultimately attended a Reformed Presbyterian seminary.  Most of the students were themselves Presbyterian, but there were also Episcopalians, Congregationalists, non-denominational types, and other Baptists.  While I remained a Baptist and actually grew in my ecclesiological convictions, I still appreciated and valued this broader fellowship and cooperation.  To this day, I appreciate groups like the Alliance of Confessing Evangelicals or conferences like Together for the Gospel that affirm the importance of ecclesiology, don’t downplay ecclesiological differences, but still recognize and share fellowship on the basis of a unity around the Gospel.

Several years ago, Al Mohler wrote an influential essay entitled, “A Call for Theological Triage and Christian Maturity”, in which he delineated three levels of theological priority.  First order issues are Gospel issues, doctrinal beliefs that are essential to the Christian faith, that make someone a Christian or not.  Second order issues are issues that divide denominations – like baptism and church government.  Mohler writes, “Believing Christians may disagree on the second-order issues, though this disagreement will create significant boundaries between believers.”  Meanwhile, third order issues, Mohler says, “are doctrines over which Christians may disagree and remain in close fellowship, even within local congregations.”

Three Tiers of Ecclesiological Cooperation
Taking these distinctions in reverse, I would like to propose that Reformed Baptists should have three tiers of closer ecclesiastical cooperation and interest.  Tier 1 is the work of your own church.  Tier 2 is working with other churches who share your own ecclesiastical commitments and with whom you can work most closely for the work of planting other churches, cooperation in missions, etc.  Tier 3 is working with those from other Reformed denominations who agree with you theologically on the basics of the Gospel, the authority of Scripture, etc.  (Some might add a fourth tier for looser fellowship with broad evangelicals.)

It is my conviction that a healthy interchange needs all three tiers.  Some very independent churches may only have Tier 1.  Some denominationally-focused churches may only have Tiers 1 and 2.  Some looser affiliated churches may only have Tiers 1 and 3.  But I think we need and benefit from all 3.

Put another way, my thesis is this: As a Baptist, while I believe in the independence of the local church, I also believe (with historical precedent) that Baptists should be involved in formal Associations.  But in addition, those churches and Associations should also have an outward impulse, an open hand to broader fellowship across denominational lines, seeking to humbly contribute to the larger Reformed communion.

First, we should recognize that our ecclesiological convictions are important and have implications for the long-term health and discipleship of individuals and churches.  On this basis, when it comes to cooperation with other churches – if we are clear on our convictions (on the sacraments, on church government, on church membership), and believe that these are important for the long-term health of the church – it makes sense that we will be able to work most freely and closely with those who share those same convictions.  Associations also provide a certain level of healthy accountability.  Put bluntly: it can keep you from being overly weird and idiosyncratic.  It provides a larger communion for counsel, for fellowship, for help and resources.  And there is an agreed upon theological and ecclesial basis for trust and freedom to work together.

But in addition, in our present culture that is increasingly hostile to Christianity, it is important to stand with true Christians from other camps – strategically and purposefully.  (The early Particular Baptists, in a time of persecution from the State church, very publicly announced their theological unity and stood with their Congregationalist and Presbyterian cousins when they published the London Confession of Faith, based on the Westminster and Savoy Confessions.)  It is important to affirm God’s work among these other churches, to teach our people to appreciate and value God’s sovereign work of grace in other churches.  Without giving up our convictions, it is important to express that we are not in competition, that the Gospel is central, that the kingdom is bigger than our small corner, that we are working together for the spread of Christ’s kingdom, and that we can even learn from (and pray for) others who may not share all our convictions, but still affirm the same Gospel and love the same Savior.

In other words, Reformed Baptists should seek to be actively engaged in the larger Reformed communion.  We should have an open hand to the Reformed Resurgence and even the New Calvinists.  We should be seeking to be involved and to add our voice in groups like the Alliance, like Together for the Gospel, like the Gospel Coalition.  God has been working among these groups.  We do well to listen.  And Reformed Baptists have an important voice to add.

Jesus prays for his people to be one.  The unity of the Body of Christ is a significant concern in the New Testament.  Local churches are “sanctified in Christ Jesus, called to be saints together with all those who in every place call upon the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, both their Lord and ours” (1 Cor.1:2).  For the sake of the Gospel and the work of the Holy Spirit and the good of the church, churches need to explore and express this unity broadly within the theological boundaries of the Gospel.

**The Title of this article is deliberately borrowed from C. John Miller’s book, “Outgrowing the Ingrown Church.”

The Rhino Room | Christians and Politics

Christian Living, Rhino Room

Rhino Room

Curious about the Rhino Room? Read our introduction here.

Are Christians morally obligated to participate in the political process of their local community or nation?

Nicolas Alford (Pastor, Grace Baptist Church of Taylors, South Carolina)

No, because of two words in the question– obligated and participateObligated is too strong, and participate is too vague for me to affirm this without heavy qualification.
To say that political participation is morally obligated would be to say that there is a moral command to do so, indeed that a Christian would be sinning if they did not participate. This goes beyond 1 Thess 4:11-12 and infringes on Christian liberty of the conscience (LBCF 21:2).

And what does participate mean in this context? Participation on what level? Voting? Signing petitions? Working on a campaign?

It’s vital to keep the mission of the church clear- and our mission is not political. However, Christians have every right to get involved in politics individually.

Furthermore– the church itself should speak to cultural issues that God’s moral law speaks to, such as abortion, sexual identity, and racism.

Samuel Barber (Pastoral Assistant, Ephesus Church of Rincon, Georgia)

There are several principles to remember while discussing the role of Christians in political processes, though the Bible does not explicitly address the issue. First, Jesus does not ask his Father to take Christians out of the world (Jn. 17:15), implying that Christians are expected to interact with the world around them. Second, while the Israelites were exiles in Babylon, God commanded them to seek the city’s welfare (Jer. 29:11). The pertinent principle in this text is that while exiles in the world, God’s people should seek the welfare of their societies; therefore, Christians should not only exist in the world, but seek its welfare. Third, Paul says the sword-bearer is God’s servant (Rom. 13). Who better to do this than Christians? Lastly, Paul commands prayer for authorities (1 Tim. 2:1-4). At a minimum, Christians should participate by praying, though God does also call us to action.

Wayne Brandow (Pastor, Bible Baptist Church of Galway, New York)

This is a question concerning the will of God for one’s life. Though Christians are citizens of another world, they live in the present one. They are called by God to love their neighbor and do him good. This entails civic responsibilities that would promote the public welfare, like voting or making their voice known. Being community minded and working with others in a worthy cause conveys that you genuinely care.

A word of caution is needful however.  A person can be so caught up in a worthy cause that one’s primary calling is neglected. Jesus focused on a kingdom that was not of this world. On the other hand, Joseph, Daniel, Mordecai, and Esther were providentially called by God to be political. Though, it is not the will of God for all to be politicians, it is the will of God to love your neighbor.

Matt Foreman (Pastor, Faith Reformed Baptist Church of Media, Pennsylvania)

Christians have a moral responsibility to do good, to uphold life and honor and human dignity, justice and truth, to be faithful in the situations God has providentially called them to. In general, this means Christians will be engaged in the lives of those around them and the normal structures of society. In a democratic government (or Constitutional republic), the government relies on the participation of its citizens. ‘Respect to the governing authorities’ will then imply, at the least, a general participation in the political process for Christians.

Marc Grimaldi (Pastor, Grace Reformed Baptist Church of Merrick, New York)

In 1 Timothy 2:2, Paul exhorts us to “pray for kings and all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceable life in all godliness and reverence.” Furthermore, the Scriptures tell us to be subject to the rulers and authorities, whom God places over us (Rom. 13:1-7; 1 Pet. 2:13-17).

As Americans, we have been blessed to live within the confines of a democratic republic. This being the case, providentially, we have the ability to help determine the makeup of our government, by taking part in the political process of electing our leaders. For the sake of restraining evil, securing a righteous atmosphere, maintaining a peaceful environment for the growth and fellowship of the church, it is our duty to help elect leaders, who would best help to serve these ends.

While the Gospel alone is the power, which is ultimately used to change a nation (from the inside out), Christians are morally obligated to participate in the political process for the above stated reasons.

Nicholas Kennicott (Pastor, Ephesus Church of Rincon, Georgia)

Throughout the history of the church, Christians have lived under the authority of different kinds of government. Some allow for the participation of individual citizens (e.g. constitutional republic), while others do not (e.g. monarchy). Therefore, the ability for Christians to be involved in a political process is oftentimes limited or non-existent. However, for Christians living under governments that allow for open debates, campaigning, and voting, they should take the right seriously for the sake of the gospel.

The most political action anyone can take is to educate their children. The most important action a Christian can take is to work to preserve religious freedom. Christians are concerned about justice and social issues, but gospel preaching is ultimate. Christians, therefore, ought not take a “pass” on the political process if for no other reason than to help protect our legal right to proclaim Christ in the public square.

Chris Marley (Pastor, Miller Valley Baptist Church of Miller Valley, Arizona)

I know this is a delicate subject for those who are struggling with degrees of theonomy, but I think the answer is fairly straightforward. It is wise, good, and even important for Christians to be involved in politics. My associate pastor is a mayor. Action and inaction have repercussions. Yet I cannot say that it is morally obligatory, because I don’t see that command given to the church in Scripture. We tread on quicksand to ever assume legislative authority on what is sin or good works, and to declare something as morally obligatory when Scripture doesn’t is to do exactly that.

Douglas Van Dorn (Pastor, Reformed Baptist Church of Northern Colorado)

Part of me wants to be snarky: “What political process?” meaning I wonder what political process we even have to participate in anymore that resembles what our Founding Fathers gave us. That would beg the question, but actually causes me to expand my thinking beyond some dreamy political ideal that many of us still live with, to any political situation that any Christian living in any country at any time in history might find him or herself.

My answer would therefore be, “It depends.” How much freedom would a Christian legally have in said nation to do anything about the process? In a republic, we have freedoms and therefore, I believe, responsibilities to be involved in some way, since this is (supposed to be) government of the people, by the people, and for the people. In a totalitarian dictatorship or a monarchy, there might not be any freedom to use.

The Rhino Room | What is Common Grace?

Rhino Room

Rhino Room

What is common grace and how is it manifest?

Nicolas Alford (Pastor, Grace Baptist Church of Taylors, South Carolina)

Common grace is the doctrine that God has a universal love for all mankind, and we who affirm it shouldn’t be afraid to say so. Similar to how I have different sorts of love for different things (how I love my favorite sandwich, compared to how I love my wife), God has different sorts of love for different people as well. He loves his elect in a special and redemptive way, but he still loves all mankind-elect and non-elect included.

It is manifest in his indiscriminate benevolence, his restraint of sin, and the reality of many blessings in the lives of people who will never confess faith in Jesus Christ (Gen 9:8-17, Matt 5:43-48). Common grace also is intended to lead men to repentance (Romans 2:4-5), a powerful argument for the Well-Meant Offer of the Gospel.

Also, bacon is common grace.

Samuel Barber (Pastoral Assistant, Ephesus Church of Rincon, Georgia)

Common grace is the reason why good things happen to bad people. Common grace is that undeserved favor, which God freely bestows upon all of fallen, sinful mankind (hence the word common). In Genesis 8:20-9:7, God makes a covenant with all of creation after the flood (with Noah as the federal head) where he promises general blessings for life to all of mankind. Jesus also addresses this concept in Matthew 5:45; here he tells his disciples that God gives good gifts both to wicked and to righteous men. The point is that God’s benevolence and kindness are not restricted simply to his elect people. God does not withhold good even from his enemies. Common grace is not saving grace, but it does reveal God’s general love for all of his creation, and it urges men to turn to God in repentance (Romans 2:4).

Wayne Brandow (Pastor, Bible Baptist Church of Galway, New York)

Common Grace is none other than the universal good that God manifests towards all men. In the Sermon on the Mount, God’s grace to both the evil and the good is clearly expressed in Mathew 5:44-45: “But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, so that you may be sons of your Father who is in heaven. For he makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust.”

Common Grace reveals to us that God is not a malevolent God, but He is characterized by benevolence. This is even seen in the fact that He “does not take pleasure in the death of the wicked” (Ezekiel 33:11). That God is said to repent in Genesis 6 is best explained by common grace.

Robert Cole (Pastor, Berean Baptist Church of Modesto, California)

To witness and experience common grace, one need only to spend 15 minutes in your local Walmart. There you will find a wide array of people enjoying common grace. All people, regardless of their standing with God, are enjoying the fruits of their labor as they spend it on items both of necessity and pleasure. Many of these people live blatantly as if the God who has provided these things does not exist while others who do know Him (This observer included) either honor him there or live as if He has not given to them for His own glory. Like common grace, all of the items on the shelves have an expiration date. “And the world is passing away along with its desires, but whoever does the will of God abides forever” (‭1 John‬ ‭2‬:‭17, ESV).

Matt Foreman (Pastor, Faith Reformed Baptist Church of Media, Pennsylvania)

Common Grace is God’s general goodness, loving care, and providential influence for all of His creation, especially in humanity.  By common grace, God retains his image in humanity, influences their consciences, restrains their sin, and manifests his goodness and gifts in their lives, irrespective of their faith or its lack.  God can be at work, manifesting goodness, in and through even unbelievers and unbelieving cultures.  However, God only shows special, saving grace to his elect.

Dr. Bob Gonzales (Dean, Reformed Baptist Seminary)

The basic meaning of grace-vocabulary in Scripture is kindness or favor. Some favor is shown by God or man to the deserving and is, therefore, merited (Luke 2:52). More often, though, the favor God shows toward humanity is unmerited. To the elect he shows an exclusive favor that may be called “saving grace” (Eph 2:8). To fallen humanity in general God bestows an indiscriminate favor that may be called “common grace” (Luke 6:35).

Theologians usually classify the manifestations of common grace as (1) God’s restraint of human sin (Gen 11:6-9), (2) God’s conferral of temporal blessings upon humans (Matt 5:45), and (3) God’s endowment of humans with knowledge, capacities, and skills (Gen 4:20-22). While common grace by itself cannot effect the sinner’s salvation, it can serve to reveal God’s saving posture toward sinful men. In that sense, we may say common grace has a saving design (Rom 2:4).

Marc Grimaldi (Pastor, Grace Reformed Baptist Church of Merrick, New York)

Especially as a cursed, fallen and condemned people, under the judgment of God, mankind is never entitled to any form of benevolence from God.  And yet, God has chosen to exercise grace — His free favor and unmerited kindness — toward unworthy sinners.  This grace meets fallen man, in two ways:

  1. God exercises “special” or salvific grace toward His elect children, whom He has chosen to redeem, adopt and sanctify in Christ, before the foundation of the world (Eph. 1).
  2. God exercises “common” grace toward all of mankind, in that He provides man with various temporal blessings, in accordance with their needs.  In this sense, God exercises a general benevolence toward all, making “His sun rise on the evil and on the good, sending rain on the just and on the unjust (Matt. 5:45).”

God’s common grace also serves as a restraint for evil.  Without it, the world would immediately devour itself.

Nicholas Kennicott (Pastor, Ephesus Church of Rincon, Georgia)

Common grace is God’s unmerited favor and kindness shown to both believers and non-believers alike. My garden doesn’t grow any better than my non-Christian neighbor’s garden simply because I’m a Christian. God “makes his sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust” (Matthew 5:45). We all depend on common grace every day, usually without recognizing it, and should give thanks for things like doctors and medicine, beautiful music and art, and the restraint of evil. Cultures that place a higher value on biblical morality have greater measures of common grace, while those under God’s judgment experience very little. Unfortunately, many Christians seek to live all of life upon God’s common grace instead of partaking of the abundant riches of that which is only available to the Christian in God’s special, sovereign grace.

Chris Marley (Pastor, Miller Valley Baptist Church of Miller Valley, Arizona)

Common grace is really one of the most underrated doctrines we have, and its displacement has caused serious errors, like trying to make Plato or Confucius Christians. We have to acknowledge the reality of God giving good, temporal things to reprobates. There are two connections that I have not seen in writing that have always hung in the back of my mind. First, the concept of common grace is connected to God’s unique interplay between justice and mercy as he gives reward (their best life now, if you will) to the lost, because our best life is next. This is all the reprobate ever gets. The second connection that I see common grace as connected to or even a sub-category of secondary causes. Wealth, wisdom, talent, etcetera are given to the unregenerate as part of the secondary cause system that God works together for our good and his glory.

Chris Okogwu (Church Plant Coordinator, Sovereign Grace Bible Church of Abuja, Nigeria)

In God’s holy and wise oversight in ruling over all His creation in His exhaustive providence, “the Lord is good to all, and His mercy is over all that He has made. . .the eyes of all look to You, and You give them food in due season. You open Your hand; You satisfy the desire of every living thing” (Psa. 145:9, 15-16); this is a glimpse of His common grace.

Common grace speaks of God’s indiscriminate or general benevolence/kindness to all (Matt. 5:45). It is God’s gracious bestowal of natural gifts, such as the breath of life (Isa. 42:5), intelligence and ability to make wealth (Deut. 8:18, Ecc. 5:19), food for consumption (Acts 14:17), and all perceivable and imperceivable good which men richly enjoy is received from Him (Psa. 85:12, 1Cor. 4:7, 1Tim. 6:17).

Douglas Van Dorn (Pastor, Reformed Baptist Church of Northern Colorado)

Common Grace is grace, just like Special Grace is grace. Same grace. This grace (either Common or Special) is not a “thing,” not a “substance,” much less are they two separate “things.” Grace is a disposition of kindness, love, and a willingness to save. Common Grace is “the tastes of God’s love” upon sinners.[1] It is the way God is operating towards unbelievers as he restrains their evil, preserves them, works through government, shows them mercy, patience, and favor with a view of winning them to repentance (Romans 2:4) through a well-meant offer of the Gospel. It is distinguished from God’s disposition towards the elect at a particular point in their lives on the earth when he operates in a special way because of his love of election via the Holy Spirit who quickens them and effectually brings them to saving faith in Jesus Christ.

[1] See Thomas Manton“A Practical Commentary, Or An Exposition with Notes on the Epistle of Jude,” in The Complete Works of Thomas Manton (London: James Nisbet & Co. 1871), 5:62-63.

New to The Decablog | The Rhino Room

Rhino Room

Rhino Room

We are kicking off a new weekly feature at the Decablog called The Rhino Room. Each week, we will ask a question of a panel of ministry leaders from different parts of the world, and they will have 150 words or less to answer. We hope the varied perspectives will provide a comprehensive overview of each question, and offer ample material for discussion in the comment section of the blog.

The questions will cover a wide spectrum to include systematic and biblical theology, culture, history, pastoral theology, etc. Each week’s question and answers will be posted on Tuesdays and, we hope, the remainder of the week will be filled with discussion.

Do you have a burning question? We would love to hear from you! If you have a question you want us to consider, feel free to add it in the comment section below, or contact one of the blog admins.

Non-Biblical Literature and the Bible: An Annotated Bibliography


In this Appendix to the series on Non-Biblical Literature and the Bible, we want to give you a brief annotated list of books that can help you get started reading some of the material we have discussed. The lists are in order of the posts, with priority given to more general resources first. Any alphabetizing occurs only after we put books in our own personal order of importance. Let’s get to it.

Many book icons are clickable. Of course, it goes without saying that you should shop around if you want to buy something.

GENERAL (introductions to various writings and authors)

1565634098Craig A. Evans, Noncanonical Writings and New Testament Interpretation (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Pub., 1992). My favorite brief introduction to the Apocrypha, OT Pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo and Josephus, the Targums, Rabbinic Literatures, NT Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha, Early Church Fathers, and Gnostic Writings. This book has a little introduction to just about everything. Evans has an updated version of this book called Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies: A Guide to the Background Literature.

41cSFlCwvaL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Joseph A. Fitzmyer, A Guide to the Dead Sea Scrolls and Related Literature (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2008)From Amazon: This aid to navigating the Dead Sea Scrolls lists specifically where readers can find each of the scrolls and fragmentary texts from the eleven caves of Qumran and all the related sites. The book includes a fully searchable CD-ROM.

51xeQcOtovL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Introduction and Biographical Information, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2005). Brief biographies for nearly every Church Father. This resource comes with the complete Ancient Christian Commentary series, but I cannot find it available in a single volume online.

9781601780003Joel R. Beeke and Randall J. Pederson, Meet the Puritans: With a Guide to Modern Reprints (Grand Rapids, MI: Reformation Heritage Books, 2006). From Amazon: This encyclopedic resource provides biographical sketches of all the major Puritans as well as bibliographic summaries of their writings and work. Meet the Puritans is an important addition to the library of the layman, pastor, student and scholar.

APOCRYPHA (Read Post Here)

The Apocrypha Online. http://apocrypha.org/. Read the Apocrypha free in different English translations here.

51ianemELDL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_The New Oxford Annotated Apocrypha: Augmented Third Edition, ed. Michael D. Coogan (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2007). This is a short but good collection of the Apocrypha that gives a bare-bones introduction to each of the books for readers that know little to nothing about them. The English text follows the RSV translation of the Apocrypha.


Pseudepigrapha Online. http://www.pseudepigrapha.com/. A great online resource for texts of the pseudepigrapha (both OT and NT), as well as the Apocrypha and a few other things.

OT Pseudepigrapha Studies. http://www.4enoch.org/wiki3/index.php?title=OT_Pseudepigrapha. This page is a reference site, billed as an encyclopedia of the pseudepigrapha.

old-testament-pseudepigraphaJames H. Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: 2 Vols (New York;  London: Yale University Press, 1983). This has become the standard introduction to around seventy different Pseudepigrapha texts. Each book comes with an introduction and notes. This work is a upgrading of Robert Henry Charles, ed., Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament: 2 Vols (Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2004). Originally published by Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1913, which was the first major collection of Pseudepigrapha into English. This links to the cheaper paperback version, but it is available in hardcover and from Logos.

9780802827395Richard Bauckham, James Davila, Alex Panayotov, Old Testament Pseudepigrapha: More Noncanonical Scriptures, Volume 1 (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing,  2013). This new collection includes many texts not found in Charlesworth. Like Charlesworth, each book has a helpful introduction and notes. Volume 2 is not yet out. This is also available at Logos, but is super expensive.

scripture-index-to-charlesworth-s-old-testament-pseudepigraphia-Steve Delamarter, A Scripture Index to Charlesworth’s The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2002). A fascinating index! “This book is a complete index to the nearly 8000 references to the protestant scriptures in the margins and footnotes of James Charlesworth’s 2-volume work, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. The information in the index will assist those studying the influence of the Hebrew Bible on the pseudepigrapha and the influence of the pseudepigrapha on the New Testament.” (From the blurb on Google Books, which this link takes you to. It can also be purchased at Amazon).

51gNF6gFDAL._SX258_BO1,204,203,200_Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, eds., The Ante-Nicene Fathers Volume 8 (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1886). Many NT pseudepigrapha or apocrypha were put into the great Ante-Nicene Church Father’s collection that many have in book form and can be found for free on the internet. They are contained in Volume 8. This links to the CCEL free online version.


0333.dead-sea-scrolls-bibleMartin Abegg Jr., Peter Flint, and Eugene Ulrich, The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English (New York: HarperOne, 1999). This is the definitive English translation of the Hebrew Scriptures as found at Qumran. A great resource. It is available as a book or on Logos platform.

44936_1_ftc_dpFlorentino Garcı́a Martı́nez and Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar, The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition [translations] (Leiden; New York: Brill, 1997–1998). This collection has many of the texts found at Qumran translated into English. It is a great starter collection and is available in book or on the Logos platform along with the transcriptions edition, if you want to read the original language.

book_r483F51rKdkmmjaL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_lavius Josephus and William Whiston, The Works of Josephus: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody: Hendrickson, 1987) and Charles Duke Yonge with Philo of Alexandria, The Works of Philo: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1995). These volumes speak for themselves. Read the Jewish historian and philosopher in their collected works. These are invaluable first century complements to the New Testament culture and worldview.

The Mishnah: A New Integrated Translation and commentary: http://www.emishnah.com/

the-aramaic-bible-seriesTargum Wikipedia. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Targum. Targums are expensive, but the wiki on Targums has a list of a few available in English online. If you are super crazy, you can buy the full set at Logos. Click the link and gasp. Then be good and beg Santa for a Christmas present, unless of course you don’t believe in Santa or don’t like Christmas.


9780801034688Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, 3rd Edition (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2007). This text has short introductions to each of the books in the collection as well as both Greek and Holmes’ English translation. An earlier edition is available at Logos. You can also find an older version of the Apostolic Fathers in the Ante-Nicene Fathers collection Volume 1.


nicenefathersAlexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, eds., The Church Fathers in 38 Volumes (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1886). This is the classic (and cheapest) version of the Church Fathers. The collection includes the Apostolic Fathers and various NT apocrypha/pseudepigrapha, and Church Fathers both prior to and after the Council of Nicaea. The link (on the picture) will take you to the CCEL free version online.

fathers-of-the-church-seriesFathers of the Church Series (127 Vols.) (Catholic University of America Press). For the uber-ambitious (and insanely rich), check out this mega series of Church Fathers. It contains vast amounts of information and is available from Logos so that you don’t have to buy a new house (though you may have to take out a mortgage on the one you already own).

GNOSTIC TEXTS (Read Post Here)

the-nag-hammadi-library-in-english-4th-rev-edMalcolm L. Peel The Nag Hammadi Library in English, ed. James M. Robinson, 4th rev. ed. (Leiden; New York: E. J. Brill, 1996). This collection of Gnostic texts comes with short introductions to each of the various books. There are other translations of the collection available, and some of the books can be found for free in the internet.


the-context-of-scriptureWilliam W. Hallo and K. Lawson Younger, The Context of Scripture in 3 Vols. (Leiden;  New York: Brill, 1997–). This is a fantastic starter collection of ANE literature. It also comes standard in many base packages of Logos Software. It contains many writings from the Egyptians, Hittites, Sumerians, and Akkadians.

k1754James Bennett Pritchard, ed., The Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, 3rd ed. with Supplement (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 1969). As the title suggests, it contains many ANE texts, but its introductions focus on their relationship to biblical material. It also comes with many Logos base packages.

downloadMark S. Smith and Simon B. Parker, Ugaritic Narrative Poetry: English Translations and Introductory Material (Atlanta, GA: Scholars Press, 1997). This has many of the epics found at Ugarit, including the Baal Cycle. The Baal Cycle can also be read online. I’m pretty sure that Smith’s two volume Baal Cycle commentary is the most expensive modern set of any literature ever made.

World Literature (Read Posts Here and Here)

section_under_construction This section is under construction.