Saturday, December 17, 2011


I would like to thank Dr. Todd Beall for giving corrections to this paper. Errors are mine alone.


The Queen of Sheba is never named in the Bible. Though her country is named as Sheba, we do not know its geographic location definitively. Three major views of where Sheba is located are: in the northern Arabian Peninsula called Wadi Es-Seba; southern Arabian Peninsula in what is now Yemen; and in Ethiopia.[1] While there are many, some fanciful, proposals for Sheba's location, this paper will confine its discussion to southern Arabian Peninsula and Ethiopia. Justification for this approach is that in the NT Jesus calls this queen the "Queen of the South." (Matt 12:42, Luke 11:31) This gives a cardinal direction from the land of Israel: south. The idiom used by Jesus suggests a lengthy distance from which the Queen came. The idiom use support an argument to preclude the northern Arabian Peninsula view.[2] This paper will examine the two primary texts concerning the Queen of Sheba, 1 Kgs 10 and 2 Chr 9, for clues as to the location of the Queen's home country. Also by way of method, this paper will look at other Biblical texts, extra-biblical texts, cultural features, and archeological evidence relevant to identifying the geographic location of Sheba. The evidence points to Sheba being located in what is now Yemen east of Sana'a, but quite possibly certain elements of cultural heritage of Sheba may have been transferred to what is now Ethiopia.

1 Kings 10 and 2 Chronicles 9 and Other Passages

The two passages in 1 Kgs 10 and 2 Chr 9 speak of the laudable attributes of Solomon. The first is his wisdom which is recognized internationally by the Queen of Sheba and unnamed parties from other nations (1 Kgs 10: 24; 2 Chr 9: 22, 23). The second laudable attribute was building of wealth from international relations through gifts, tribute, and trade (1 Kgs 9:28; 10:10-12, 14-22, 25-29; 2 Chr 8:18; 9:9-11, 13-21, 24-28). These glories are summarized by the inspired writer, who says: "Thus King Solomon excelled all the kings of the earth in riches and in wisdom" (2 Chr 9:22 ESV).

The explicit motivation for the Queen of Sheba to visit Solomon was to learn of his wisdom, but the text also suggests that international trade related to the royal visit. Solomon sent out men on ships that acquired gold, apparently from some sort of international trade (1 Kgs 9:26-28; 2 Chr 8:17,18). The Queen of Sheba brought gold and spices in abundance to give as gifts Solomon (1 Kgs 10: 2, 10; 2 Chr 9: 1, 9). Solomon also gave to the Queen of Sheba whatever she desired (1 Kgs 10: 13; 2 Chr 9: 12).[3] Strictly speaking the Scriptures says that the goods which were transferred were gifts. Werner Keller says that the Queen of Sheba's expedition was to secure access to trade routes. Keller believes that her purpose was ensure that the ascending position of Israel in the international trade scene did not negatively affect her country's trade.[4] As this paper examines 1 Kgs 10 and 2 Chr 9 for clues regarding the location of Sheba it would be compelling to find a land which is involved in international trade of spices, precious gems and gold, had a high regard for wisdom, records a female monarch, and was called Sheba.

Other passages in the Bible discuss Sheba as an area occupied by the descendents of a patriarch called Sheba. Gen 10:7 places Sheba, along with his brother Dedan, as the grandson of Cush and the son of Raamah. The Gen 10:7 reference groups Sheba with Egypt, Cush, and Put, all descendents of Ham. The Allen Ross places the location of these descendent tribes on both sides of the Red Sea, on both the Arabian western coast and in Africa in the areas of southern Egypt, Sudan, and northern Ethiopia.[5] However in Genesis 10:28 a different Sheba is a distant descendent of Shem. This Semitic Sheba lived, along with the other sons of Joktan, in the territory from Mesha extending toward Sephar. Unger's Bible Dictionary places Mesha as a place in Arabia Petraea, on the east side of the Dead Sea and south toward the Arabian Peninsula.[6] Unger's places Sephar on the southwest corner of the Arabian Peninsula, on the western part of modern Yemen. The modern name for the site is called Zhafar (ظفار) and is located over sixty miles south of the Yemen capital Sana'a.[7] Genesis 25:3 is a third place where a patriarch is named Sheba, this time the grandson of Abraham and his concubine Keturah. Strangely, Sheba is once again paired with a brother Dedan. Scholars who hold to a late, Babylonian exile period for the composition of the Pentateuch would hold that these are three different traditions that explain the origin of the nation of Sheba. However, it is also possible that the pairing of the names Sheba and Dedan fit together in the ancient world, so that it was common to give brothers or twins these two names. Some have called names that seem to fit together for twins, twin names. The practice of pairing certain names by sound or other cultural features is common in the American culture.[8] The name Sheba in Hebrewשְׁבָ֖א has the same vowels as Dedanדְּדָ֑ן producing assonance.[9] This second set of brothers called Sheba and Dedan, grandsons of Abraham, the Bible Knowledge Commentary places along the western coast of the Arabian Peninsula.[10] All three Genesis references of the three Shebas suggest the Red Sea region is the location of Sheba. The Gen 10:7 leave the option open for either side of the Red Sea, while Gen 10: 28 and Gen 25:3 points to Arabia. More particularly, Gen 10:28 points to the southern Arabian Peninsula as the best location for Sheba.

The book of Job 1:15 mentions the Sabeans שְׁבָא֙ plundering Job's livestock. The Hebrew word is the same, though the English form of Sabea does seem different. Job 6:9 talks about the traveling merchants from Sheba. Job seems to re-enforce the idea that international trade was important to the inhabitants of Sheba via caravans, but also at least some of the time the people of Sheba took to raiding other nations.

Psalm 72 mentions Sheba twice. In Ps 72:10 the kings of Seba and Sheba are discussed. The spelling of Seba and Sheba are easy to distinguish in the Hebrew text though they sound very much the same (שְׁבָ֥א וּ֜סְבָ֗א ). Interestingly, the translators of the LXX chose to use the word Ἀράβων (Arabia) to designate the location of Sheba and used the word Σαβα for Seba. This would suggest that the land of Sheba is on the Arabian Peninsula in the eye of the LXX translator of Ps 72. The HarpersCollins Concise Atlas of the Bible places Seba on the west side of the Red Sea in what is now Sudan, while it places Sheba on the east side of the Red Sea in what is now the Southern Arabian Peninsula.[11] Ps 72:10 suggests that the king from Sheba brought gifts to Solomon. Perhaps Ps 71:10 use of the male form of the word for royalty is to represent both genders, or perhaps the Queen was an emissary for both her and her husband. The poetic language of the passage is probably best understood to mean that the male gender is representing the kingdoms of the two sides of the Red Sea. Ps 72: 15 seems to indicate that Sheba is a source of gold.

Isaiah 60:6 tells of camels coming from several nations including Sheba. It also indicates that camels will bring both gold and frankincense. The scholar seeking to properly locate Sheba should be looking for a land that has these three items: camels, frankincense, and gold. The mention of the camel is in agreement with the Queen of Sheba bringing a camel train with her in 1 Kgs 10:2 and 2 Chr 9:1. Joseph P. Free says that camels had come into use just prior to the time of the Queen of Sheba. The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser (circ. 827 B.C.) shows a camel with a saddle and rider.[12] Keller says that camels changed how trade from the Arabian Peninsula was carried out. Prior to circa 1000 B.C. donkeys had to travel a circuitous route from watering hole to watering hole. Camels could take a more direct route, saving time due to their ability travel greater distances with less watering stops.[13] Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman state that the trading relationship with southern Arabia to be an important trading relationship.[14] Though camels' range of habitation includes both locations, Southern Arabian Peninsula and Ethiopia, the trading caravans coming to and from southern Arabia are more famous.

Jeremiah 6:20 indicates that frankincense was exported from the land of Sheba. The ancient trade of frankincense came from cities and regions in both what is present day Yemen and Oman. The trade of frankincense went historically east by ship to various ports. However, the trade heading west went via camel train over land.[15] Frankincense can be and is grown in Africa today.[16] Though both sides of the Red Sea are able to grow frankincense, the trade of this aromatic resin is better known from the southern Arabian Peninsula.

Ezekiel 27: 22, 23 characterize Sheba as a trading partner who dealt in all kinds of spices, all kinds of precious stones and gold. Later in Ez 38:13 Sheba is listed among other nations who would accuse Gog and Magog of plundering them. The best information from Ezekiel is that the land of Sheba traded in spices, precious stones, and gold. This characterization points slightly toward Southern Arabian Peninsula being the location of Sheba.

Extra-Biblical Text

The Greek geographer Strabo (64/63 BC – ca. AD 24) places Sabea in the southern Arabian Peninsula. He calls their capital city Mariaba (Marib). He says that there are four principle tribes of southern Arabia; by the Minaeans, on the side towards the Red Sea, whose largest city is Carna or Carnana; next to these, by the Sabaeans (sic), whose metropolis is Mariaba; third, by Cattabanians, whose territory extends down to the straits and the passage across the Arabian Gulf, and whose royal seat is called Tamna; and, farthest toward the east, the Chatramotitae, whose city is Sabata.[17]

Further he quotes Eratosthenes describing the products of the land of Sabea as being myrrh, frankincense, and balsam. He confirms an abundance of gold and silver in the land. He discusses close the Sabean economic relationship with Ethiopia and how the Sabeans sail across Red Sea to obtain spices from the Ethiopia. Strabo describes Sabean trading relationship with Syria and Mesopotamia.[18]

The Jewish historian Josephus places the kingdom of Sheba as being in Egypt and Ethiopia.[19] Keller says that when the Romans came to Palestine they found a balsam plantation near Jericho. Josephus said that the balsam seeds were a gift to Solomon from the Queen of Sheba. The seeds were then cultivated so that balsam became a product of Judah and Israel (Ez 27:17).[20] While he says Sheba is in Ethiopia, his explanation of the balsam plantation points more to Arabia.

The Qur'an contains a surah (chapter) which mentions directly the story of the Queen of Sheba. In surah 27:22-44 there is a discussion of the Queen and Solomon, however, the story deviates from the Biblical account in many ways. The emphasis is primary about conversion to the true religion. This section does not support a specific location for Sheba; however, the Arabic word Saba (سَبَإٍ) is used in another surah called by Saba (Sheba) (سَبَإٍ). The surah called سَبَإٍ (Saba) describes Allah's judgment on the people of Saba (Sheba) who had enjoyed agricultural production from a dam they used to store seasonal rains. Allah causes the dam to fail and disaster comes on the region. This location is known by historians and archeologists as the Marib Dam in Yemen.[21]

The Ethiopians claim to have their own extra-biblical story of Sheba called The Kebra Nagast. The Kebra Nagast text clearly identifies Queen as being from Ethiopia. The Kebra Nagast also says that she had a son fathered by Solomon. This son, named BAYNA-LEḤKEM, came to his father Solomon. He showed himself by his looks and a ring to be the son of Solomon. It says that custom of Ethiopia was to be ruled by a virgin queen until the son of Solomon.[22] Today Ethiopians count that the royal family of Haile Selassie I to be a descendent of this union.[23] By Ethiopian tradition the city of Axum is the home of the Queen of Sheba and the Ark of the Covenant resides in Axum. A monastery in Lake Tana claims to have artifacts from the Temple from Jerusalem. They believe that Solomon gave these items as gifts to his son.[24] These traditions show present-day cultural artifacts that attempt to connect the Queen of Sheba with Ethiopian history. However, the weakness of these claims is that it seems difficult to understand how Solomon would give items from the Temple in Jerusalem to his son in Ethiopia. The Scripture says that Solomon loved many foreign women but it does not say that he had a liaison with the Queen of Sheba (1 Kings 11:1).[25] Lastly, there seems to be no linguistic connection between Axum and the name Sheba.

Archeological Evidence

The Marib area of Yemen has been hostile to archaeological digs. A pioneering work was done in 1950 by Wendell Phillips and W.F. Albright in Marib. They wrote a book called Qataban and Sheba. However, their work did not directly expose ruins of a civilization from the time of Solomon but a later civilization. An assassination plot against the archaeological team cut the work short as they fled for safety.[26] Rather than revealing directly the kingdom of the Queen of Sheba, archeology has been able to establish a connection between ancient Israel and the Sabea and its capital city Marib. André Lemaire discusses in his 2010 article an inscription made on bronze from circa 600 B.C. that has been discovered which show a trading relationship with the "towns of Judea". The words "towns of Judea" is written in the Sabean language. Besides this find from Yemen, he also notes evidence of Sabean (south Arabian) writing on several artifacts found in modern Israel.[27]


The location of Sheba cannot be proven beyond a shadow of doubt. However the most plausible answer is shown to be Sabea kingdom with its capital city of Marib. The name Sabea fits better linguistically to be Sheba than the Ethiopian city of Axum. The trade of frankincense, other spices, precious stones and gold fit better with Saba on the southwest Arabian Peninsula than Ethiopia. Camel trains from the southern Arabian Peninsula are well known, but camels are native to Ethiopia as well. The camel train better fits with Arabia. Though Josephus and The Kebra Nagast clearly state that Sheba is Ethiopia, the evidence from LXX, the Qur'an, and Strabo give strong evidence for southern Arabia. The Kebra Nagast connects a female leader with Ethiopia, but this fact does not preclude the nation in the southern Arabian Peninsula from having a ruling matriarch. No evidence points to either Ethiopia or the southern Arabian Peninsula having a culture that particularly values wisdom. Of course it may be that seeking wisdom was peculiar to the Queen and not her culture. Alternatively, perhaps evidence of a culture valuing wisdom a great deal is yet to be revealed. Historically there was a close association between the two shores of the southern end of the Red Sea. Before Arabic became the language in Sabea after the rise of Islam, there was a linguistic affinity between Sabea and Ethiopia. In some periods of history kingdoms stretched to include land on both sides of the Red Sea. Jewish communities reside in both regions and share many pre-Talmudic features.[28] Ethiopia historically shared cultural tradition with Yemen. The evidence shows that Sheba was in the southern Arabian Peninsula, in what is modern day Yemen.


[1] D. A. Hubbard, "Queen of Sheba," The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, 9.

[2] Ibid.

[3] Though the word חָפֵץ is used in some places, for instance Gen 34:19, to denote romantic attraction, the phrases "whatever she asked besides what was given her by the bounty of King Solomon" clarifies that the things given were of economic value vice sexual pleasure.

[4] Werner Keller, The Bible as History (New York: William Morrow, 1969) 211.

[5] Allen Ross "Genesis" The Bible Knowledge Commentary (2 vols.; ed John F. Wolvoord and Roy B. Zuck; Colorado Springs: David C. Cook, 1983) 1:43.

[6],Merrill F. Unger, "Mesha", The New Unger's Bible Dictionary (Chicago: Moody, 1988) 837.

[7] Ibid., "Sephar", 1159.

[8] "Popular Names for Twins in 2011" [cited 28 October 2011] October 29, 2011.

[9] In my own family, my brother and I share a common sounding middle name in order to pair us as brothers though we have three years separating us by age. He is Alva Glen while I am Terry Lynn. I have uncles named Max and Rex.

[10] Ross, "Genesis," 1:68.

[11] James B. Pritchard ed., The HarpersCollins Concise Atlas of the Bible (London: HarpersCollins, 1991) 59.

[12] Joseph P. Free, Archaeology and Bible History (Wheaton: Van Kampen, 1950) 170.

[13] Keller, Bible as History, 209.

[14] Israel Finkelstein and Neil Asher Silberman, The Bible Unearthed (New York: Simon and Schuster, 2011) 41.

[15] The History of Frankincense [cited 28 October 2011]

[16] F. Nigel Hepper "Arabian and African Frankincense Trees" The Journal of Egyptian Archeology 55 (1969), 66-72 [cited 28 October 2011]

[17] Strabo, Geography, Book XVI, Chapter 4 par. 2 [cited 28 October 2011]*.html

[18] Ibid., par. 19.

[19] Josephus, Antiquities of the Jews - Book VIII, Chapter 6 Paragraph 5 Christian Classics Ethereal Library [cited 28 October 2011]

[20] Keller, Bible as History, 214-215.

[21] Marib Dam - The Greatest Dam of Antiquity [cited 28 October 2011],45.268736&spn=0.011461,0.029311&z=16

[22] E.A. Wallis Budge tran., The Kebra Nagast (1932) [cited 28 October 2011]

[23] Edith Deen, All the Women of the Bible (New York: Harper & Row, 1955) 123.

[24] Josh Bernstein host, Digging for the Truth: Hunt for the Lost Ark. The History Channel. 2005.

[25] Deen, 123.

[26] Howard F. Vos, Archaeology in Bible Lands (Chicago: Moody, 1977) 377-78.

[27] André Lemaire, "Solomon & Sheba, Inc. New inscription confirms trade relations between 'towns of Judah' and South Arabia" BAR 36:01, Jan/Feb 2010 [cited 28 October 2011]

[28] D. A. Hubbard, 9.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Just Four More Classes (Okay may be five really)

I have just four more classes until I can finish seminary. That sounds like not a lot, but in reality, it is not four consecutive semesters. Timing is a part of landing graduation. I have to hit those four classes as they are offered. Also, I am reviewing my first year of biblical Hebrew so that I am ready for that second year of Hebrew. So I will probably be taking first year, semester two a second time. That means it is really five classes until I'm finished.

Fall 2011 Critical Issues in Biblical Studies
Spring 2012 Retake second semester Hebrew
Summer 2012 unknown
Fall 2013 2nd Year Hebrew
Spring 2013 2nd Year Hebrew
Summer 2013 unknown
Fall 2013 Bibliology and Theism

If I could take Bibliology and Theism in the Summer of 2012 that could move graduation up by six months.

Classes I would like to take if I can get in some electives. Preaching and counseling is what I want to take. I think I could use both.

Tuesday, July 05, 2011

Lean Into the Storm

I was privileged to preach the Sunday before last on Matthew 11:1-19. The text tal about how John the Baptist sent messengers to Jesus to ascertain whether he was the "coming one." It seems John was doubting whether Jesus was the Christ. Here is a link to get to the sermon on Sermon Cloud.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

In The Hours

In The Hours
Words by Helen L. Parmelee
Music by Kevin Twit

This song by Indelible Grace is one that really moves me. I think it moves me because it reminds me of my own story. The words remind me of God's work in my life through the blessing of suffering. A lot of my best days walking with my Lord has actually been days of suffering.

Verse one reminds me of growing up when I felt rejected by others but God was my song.

1. In the hours of pain and sorrow,
When the world brings no relief
When the eye is dim and heavy,
And the heart oppressed with grief
While blessings flee, Savior Lord we trust in Thee!
While blessings flee, Savior Lord we trust in Thee!

Verse two talks about my drifting from the Lord when I was caught up in pride and the sin of self-sufficiency.

2. When the snares of death surround us,
Pride, ambition, love of ease
Mammon with her false allurements,
Words that flatter, smiles that please
Then ere we yield, Savior Lord be Thou our shield
Then ere we yield, Savior Lord be Thou our shield

Verse three talks to me about the season of being adrift in the storms of life when my precious wife got so sick and I was such an angry man.

3. When forsaken in distress,
Poor despised and tempest-tossed
With no anchor here to stay us,
Drifting, sail and rudder lost
Then save us Thou, who trod this earth with weary brow
Then save us Thou, who trod this earth with weary brow

Verse four talks about how Jesus' suffered and I want to share in his sufferings. His story of suffering transcends my earthly story.

4. Thou the hated and forsaken,
Thou the bearer of the cross
Crowned of thorns and mocked and smitten,
Counting earthly gain but loss
When scorned are we, We joy to be the more like Thee
When scorned are we, We joy to be the more like Thee

Finally verse five looks to the time when our heavenly joys will subsume all suffering.

5. Thou the Father¼s best beloved,
Thou the throned and sceptered King
Who but Thee should we adoring,
All our prayers and praises bring?
So blessed are we, Savior Lord in loving Thee
So blessed are we, Savior Lord in loving Thee

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Pray for Corrie Going to Ethiopia

My daughter Corrie is going to Ethiopia for a short term missions trip. Pray for her as she goes to relieve suffering and encourage the spread of the good news of Jesus Christ.

MTW Ethiopia ACT Project from Go Global on Vimeo.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Hymns Again

Recently Christianity Today had some articles on music for the worship service. Notice that if one simply says worship music, it might refer to a contemporary style of music which may or may not be used during a worship service. The article that has given me the most to think about is Pop Goes the Worship. Author T. David Gordon mentions in the interview that music for the worship service should be folk music in the sense the it should be singable by the people, rather than music designed for performance. I grew up singing in a choir, not that I excelled at music, but I learned to love the hymns, though I also like much in the contemporary Christian music. A point that Gordon makes though is that we of sing contemporary Christian music with just words, though it is often more sophisticated and difficult to sing. We sing hymns with notes written out.

Another article about hymns is in on the webzine By Faith Online which discusses Indelible Grace's recent documentary.

Monday, February 21, 2011

The Heart Of The Matter: Another Look At The New Perspective On Paul

The Heart Of The Matter:
Another Look At The New Perspective On Paul

By Terry L. Pruitt

Table Of Contents

* Introduction
* Method of Study
* Syllogism: The Method Of Systematic Theology
* Description: The Method Of Biblical Theology
* Questions Asked and Answered
* Issues of the New Perspective
* Who Are The Judaizers?
* What Does Paul Mean By Justification?
* Conclusion


An anachronism is something or an idea that is placed outside its time. In recent years, re-enactors of medieval history have developed an organization called the Society for Creative Anachronisms. This society purposely creates hand made items and events (i.e. jousts) from another time. At other times people stumble in writing a story and place an anachronism in it unintentionally. Some classical scholars believe that some of the cultural items written in Homer's Odyssey are anachronisms. One history scholar claims to find it difficult to enjoy the mystery books and subsequent television series Brother Cadfael because of the anachronistic use of the scientific methods, especially forensic science, which would have been out of character and world view of a medieval monastery. Examples of unintentional anachronisms abound. At one Bible conference the speaker constantly referred to his trip to Israel, and then made the mistake of calling the Jewish civil government of Jesus' day Israel. His loops of mentioning the days of the kingdom period then backtracking to the patriarchal period then the New Testament period and equating them all to the modern nation-state of Israel probably confused anyone there who lacked a clear understanding of the time-line of biblical history. While he may have made some blunders in his terminology, no heresy was propagated, nor was anyone truly misinformed about history. It is just a blunder in terminology that could use some clarification. One recent issue in Pauline studies claims an anachronism developed during the Reformation that the reformers read into Paul's letters the problems of the church during the Reformation era. That is the issue of justification by faith alone, sola feda . The proponents of this view are not merely correcting terminology; they actually are discounting the theological underpinnings of the Reformation. This school of thought in biblical studies, though not unified in its theological outlook, has become known as the New Pauline Perspective. The New Pauline Perspective is diverse in its theological backgrounds and includes those who are self-professed liberals to those who are evangelicals. There are few, if any, who would be considered staunch conservatives in the camp. Often debate about the issue dissipates into name-calling and accusations that a person defending the New Perspective is a liberal, a heretic or a papist. While the labels may or may not be accurate, this paper will examine the merits and flaws of the New Pauline Perspective based on the exegesis of the principle passages addressing justification in Paul's writings. This paper will attempt to show that Paul wrote on two levels, one addressing the local context of the audience and another addressing transcending and universal issues in the Christian life. Finally, the New Pauline Perspective has done a good job of highlighting some cultural and historical issues in Paul's writings, but they have over simplified that culture resulting in their own reading into the text meaning that were not present for the original readers. While the New Perspective has some interesting insights, it fails as a whole to understand a central teaching of the New Testament, justification.

Method of Study
Syllogism: The Method Of Systematic Theology

Assumptions of the nature of New Testament study are the starting points of the conflict between the New Perspective and those who hold to a traditional Reformed position. The traditional Reformed position recognizes the discipline of systematic theology. Systematic theology rightly understood is a culminating academic discipline that unifies the other means of examining the scripture such as examining chronology, historical background, textual criticism, linguistic study, exegesis and simply outlining a passage. It gives a global, unified view of the message and content of scripture. Systematic theology is a discipline that looks at scripture and using the thought processes of deductive reasoning, puts all scripture in one coherent picture. Deductive reasoning relies on clear definitions and logical syllogisms to build this coherent picture. The Westminster Confession affirms deduction as a means of fully understanding scripture by saying, ”6. The whole counsel of God concerning all things necessary for His own glory, man's salvation, faith and life, is either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequence may be deduced from Scripture: unto which nothing at any time is to be added, whether by new revelations of the Spirit or traditions of men.”[1] A subtle danger area is that systematic theology makes assessments about the importance of one passage of scripture over another. Because the line of reasoning starts with foundational principles, one must ask what are those foundational principles. When one asks this question, one must then identify the passage of scripture the principle is articulated within. Are the genealogies of Christ more important than the story of the crucifixion or is it the other way around? The origins of the Christ are important, but so is his purpose. The Reformation held that the doctrine of justification is a foundational doctrine for systematic theology.

Description: The Method Of Biblical Theology

The average laymen who act as biblical interpreters would find it hard to place themselves in either role of systematic theologian or biblical theologian. But inevitably as they read and interpret the scripture, they in fact do the work of both a systematic theologian and a biblical theologian. The juxtaposition of the systematic and biblical theologian is somewhat artificial, however, in examining the New Perspective, the academic disciplines emphasized by the various parties involved in the debate make unable to hear what each other are saying. Those who adhere to the New Perspective often are using a biblical theology model for discussion while adherents of the traditional Reformed view by and large are using a systematic theology model. What are the contrasting methods and pictures? Biblical theology as expressed in the later half of the twentieth century, and by the advocates of the New Perspective, is somewhat of a means of stepping back from theological conflicts of the past. Instead of articulating a unified picture of the whole scripture, the biblical theologian attempts to articulate a picture of a particular author, period, genre, or prophet. For instance, the biblical author John continually compares the heavenly realm and the earthly realm in his writings. A biblical theologian will attempt to articulate the school of thought of John and his way of thinking about the heavenly and earthly. Rather than build a coherent, unified picture, many will build a collage that is faithful to the complexity that the biblical text portrays. Rather than focusing on establishing clear definitions, there is an emphasis on description. Rather than ranking passages and looking for foundational passages, there is an emphasis on letting the text speak for its self. The same methods of linguistic study, textual criticism, gathering historical background, and biblical exegesis are used. The main difference between a systematic theologian and a biblical theologian is the scope of picture they attempt to picture. The mere fact that someone would attempt to describe Paul's thinking independent of the whole counsel of scripture becomes a subtle but important issue. The assumption is whether Paul's thinking should be looked at in contrast or in conjunction with other biblical writers. If we contrast Paul with Moses, Isaiah, John, and Peter, we end up with a different picture than if we unify them all.

Questions Asked and Answered

The two approaches to the discussion frame different debates, not just different answers. The issue at question for the New Perspective seems to be more intellectual honesty and that we should not read into a passage theology that is not there. The issue at question for the traditional Reformed position seems to be faithfulness and accuracy in interpretation. Regardless of the approach whether systemizing in a unified way or describing the contents of a passage, the questions raised by the New Perspective must be answered. The New Perspective on Paul questions who were Paul's opponents. According to Sanders, Paul was objecting to Second Temple Judaism. Also under question is the meaning of "justification" as used by Paul. Whether we want to unify the answers under the whole of scripture or merely describe the thoughts of Paul, we must look the language and historical context of the passages to accurately interpret them. Rather than attempt to pick one school or the other, this paper will focus on the grammatical-historical method of examining the passages key to understanding Paul's teaching on justification.
Issues of the New Perspective
Who Are The Judaizers?

In Paul's day, there were advocates that said a new Gentile Christian should be circumcised. Paul argues against this position in Galatians 1-3 and one could say this was the occasion of his writing. Sanders claims that Paul was actually attacking a straw man in his arguments against circumcision since Second Temple Judaism actually did not advocate a gospel of entering the covenant with God through works.
Second Temple Geographic Limits

Sanders claims that under Second Temple Judaism one entered the covenant by grace but remained in the covenant by being faithful to that covenant. [2] While Sanders has a point about the nature of his description of the Second Temple Judaism, there are two assumptions regarding the nature of Paul's opponents. The first assumption is that the religion described as Second Temple Judaism is the same with which Paul is debating in Galatia and in Rome. The Jewish religion in the Roman world was not a homogenous religion in Palestine; let a lone in the Diaspora. Jewish religion, in Asia Minor in particular, had a component that was mystical and magical. The religion practiced near the institutional center often is close to that same institution position. However, the Galatia and Rome are far from the institutional center in Jerusalem. Such variety is not isolated to historical situations.I had first hand experience by growing up in The Cumberland Presbyterian Church that has its institutional center in Memphis, Tennessee. The institution is urban and neo-orthodox (or even liberal). The vast majority of the rural congregations in Missouri, where I grew up, have traditionally been evangelical in outlook. I eventually distanced myself from the denomination because of the differences. Another example, today in the Middle East components of Islam, which are tied to the Islamic Institutions of higher learning (i.e. Al-Azhar University in Cairo), are dubbed to be high Islam while the Islam from more rural areas are dubbed folk Islam by some scholars. The adherents of high Islam view Allah as very philosophical while the adherents of low Islam combine the religion of the Koran with a type of animism that believes in a spiritual world that is mystical and must be dealt with through spells, talismans and incantations.[3] Some archeological evidence point to the Jewish community in Asia Minor being of a more a folk religion than the formal religion as found in Jerusalem. [4] This is especially true of the church at Colossia. While Galatia and Colossia are two different locations within Asia Minor, both are distant from the institutional center of Jewish religion to which both would have connections and distinctions. While Sanders argues that the position of the Jewish community is not that which Paul portrays[5] , it is quite possible that the Judiazers do not hold to the official position held by the leadership in Jerusalem. We don't know the connections and distinctions between the two, but it is likely that the phenomena of disconnection of distant community from the institutional center existed.
Galatian Church Both Jewish and Gentile

Sanders sees Paul's opponents as Jewish, but the Galatian church was a mixture of both Jews and Gentiles. (Galatians 4:8-11) While we do not know the background of the Judiazers for sure in Galatia, we do know that the book of Titus identifies the Judiazers in Crete as Gentile. (Titus 1:10-12) These Gentile converts not only teach circumcision for impure motives, but they also have a fascination with Jewish myths. (Titus 1: 14) Of course many who come from the New Perspective school of thought also doubt the veracity of Paul being the author of the book of Titus. While this is a different debate and centers on the higher criticism of Titus, one cannot deny that the book of Titus, Pauline or Pseudo-Pauline, indicates that the Judiazers in Crete were Gentile. Even if one does not hold that Titus is Pauline, one must answer the question as to why a Pseudo-Pauline document would identify the Judiazers as Gentile.[6] Through out the NT Paul had his adversaries. Some who taught, taught heresy; others simply taught from false motives. (Philippians 1:15-18) Regardless, the competition between preachers was an ugly reality, possibly connected with teaching practices from both Jewish and Roman civilization. The competitive spirit between teachers would naturally cause some to show distinction in their teaching. Esoteric teachings, mystical teachings, myths and complicated ceremonial law seems to be the distinction that some sought to use to build their own following. (1 Timothy 1:3-7, 4:7; 2 Timothy 2:23; Titus 1:14) Some Gentiles, those in Crete, were responsible for teaching on circumcision as requirement for Gentile believers. It is often the case that a new competitor will attempt to out do his opponent at his opponent's own game. Gentiles being the social force to embrace circumcision explains the disconnect between the institutional position of Second Temple Judaism and also the errors Paul sought to correct.
Transcendent Issue – Folly Of Human Works

All Paul's letters have a decidedly earthly occasion. Paul's writings are woven into a fabric of what was the here and now; feasts, leadership development, family relationships, inter-cultural relationships, worship services, or worldview. That is not to say that the way Paul dealt with these issues that were earth bound. The assumption that Paul was merely wrestling with institutional doctrine speaks of only an earthly occasion for the writings and fails to see the revelatory divine occasion for the letter. The nature of revelation as recorded in the scripture shows the God who is sovereign over history and shows his glory in and over history. Just as the events of the Exodus and the Resurrection speak through and over history, so the struggle against the Judiazers was and is a part of God's revelation. In some sense, the Exodus and Resurrection are more foundational in revealing the saving nature of God, but Paul's struggle against the Judiazers is not merely about earthly institutional clashes. If one sees Paul's struggles with Judiazers as a mere earthly power struggle, the writings of Paul are reduced to merely a record of history (or worse as fable). While Second Temple Judaism might have emphasized grace as a means of getting into the covenant community, the error of the Judiazers speaks of a universal problem. While we may speak about grace, it is the human condition to want to justify ourselves using works, regardless of our institutional doctrines. Many conservative Christians today know the doctrines of grace, and yet outward signs of piety still abound as a means of earning merit for the Christian. For instance, the discipline of personal devotions is a great means of grace. For myself, this means of grace became a work. My perceived standing with God became contingent upon my faithfulness as to whether I had participated in my devotions or not. This type of thinking did not originate with my teachers at church, any book or any person, but within my heart's desire to be sufficient and worthy. In other words, institutions were not the cause; my sinful heart was the cause. Likewise, pitting Paul against the institution of Second Temple Judaism fails to see the struggle of each heart to be self-righteous. Some institutions do articulate doctrines which reinforce the hearts desire to earn merit, however there is a tendency of the human heart to seek merit even when the institution articulates doctrines of grace. It is not unusual though for the institutional teaching to be grace and yet at the same time an emphasis on outward signs of piety coming into conflict with the grace being taught. The deceit of the human heart always embraces duplicity and often shows up in our human institutions. While the Reformers had the luxury of opposing an institution which overtly taught works mixed with grace, most of the time, preachers of the gospel must come in conflict with a subtler mixing of works and grace. Paul may have been opposing some institutional teaching, but there is evidence that it was more of an inadvertent mixing of works and grace. In Galatians 1:6-12 Paul takes a considerable amount of time to convince his hearers that the gospel they have embraced is a different gospel from the one he preached. In Galatians 2:12 Paul does not declare an error in Peter's institutional teaching but that fear of man had influenced him to not eat with the Gentiles. This personal issue of the heart was in conflict with the gospel. (Galatians 2:13) While it could be argued that Paul is arguing "against the party of the circumcision”, it seems more likely that Paul is pointing out the destructive subtlety of acquiescing to them. (Galatians 2:15,16) His opposition is not against an overt teaching but against an undetected slipping into a logical inconsistency between teaching and practice. The teaching was the gospel of grace and the practice was separation of Jewish believers from uncircumcised Gentile believers. If Paul was justified in his opposition to this unintentional, subtle mixing of grace and works, surely the Reformers were justified in opposing an overt mixing of grace and works. The transcending issue of human merit deposing the rightful place of grace in the Christians walk makes Paul's writing universal for every age and cultural context. Surely the Reformers addressed their own context with passages from books of Galatians and Romans in regard to justification, but in no age should one dissect the meaning of the passage from the application. In a sense, the Reformers saw the message as a message for themselves, and not one merely limited to the context of Paul and the congregations to which he wrote.

The Judaizers were most likely teachers who were not tightly bound with Second Temple Judaism. These teachers were likely to have been Christians from a Gentile, Jewish proselyte, or a Folk-Jewish background. They quite possibly were not trying to be logically consistent in their teaching but were using an outward sign of piety, circumcision, to build a merit system into Christian practice. While precise identification is not explicit in Galatians or Romans, the human tendency to mix works with grace transcends the 1st century context, the context of the Reformation or our own context. While the historical evidence shows significant disconnections between Second Temple Judaism and the Judaizers, particularly in Galatia, the historical context is less important than the universal, transcendent issue of human depravity.
What Does Paul Mean By Justification?
More Than Consulting The Right Dictionary

The language of the New Testament (NT) is not the technical language of modern science or systematic theology. That is not to say the language used in the NT is imprecise or that it is not theological in content. However, when one looks at the usage of the word "justification" in the books of Romans or Galatians, there is no simple technical definition that comes to us in an authorized glossary of the NT. Frequently theological discourse, both conservative through liberal, falls into the fallacy of quoting definitions from lexicons and Bible dictionaries to find define the terms which are useful for debunking the opposition. (The most well known is those who hold to immersion as the only mode of baptism say baptism means immersion. And there is some truth in their argument, however, is their mode of immersion the type of immersion meant in the NT.)[7] So if there is no magical dictionary to solve these battles, how does one address the issue of word meaning without digressing into vague generalities about lack of precision? The context of the passage, the historical usage, and the ways that ancient translators translated a word help lexographers come to solid definitions in their dictionaries. While a proper treatment of examining the words "justify" and "justification" would have to be exhaustive, this paper will merely touch upon the context and historical usage of these words in biblical times. The words "justify" and "justification" both are translated the same in both in the New International Version (NIV) and King James Version (KJV). Justify appears in Romans 3:30, Galatians 3:8 while justification appears in Romans 4:25, 5:16, & 5:18. These verses are not exclusively the ones that deal with the topic of justification. One must not overlook the dozens of verses that have the words "just”, "righteousness”, "righteous” or "righteousness of God”. But again for the sake of brevity, this paper merely deals with the words "justify" and "justification”.
Justification In The Context Of Galatians 3:8

"The Scripture foresaw that God would justify the Gentiles by faith, and announced the gospel in advance to Abraham: "All nations will be blessed through you." Galatians 3:8 (NIV)

N.T. Wright looks at this passage and sees the faith as a means of entry into the covenant community. [8] Obviously, the passage gives reference to Genesis 12:3 where Abraham is called into covenant with God. While one must acknowledge that Paul is saying that the Gentiles have entered into the same covenant as Abraham had with God (Galatians 3:7), but that does not mean that the Reformers were wrong saying that justification meant obtaining a right standing with God. N.T. Wright may be right in pointing out the covenant nature of justification, but in saying that faith is a badge into the covenant community puts the primary relationship between the person with faith and the community of faith. Paul was not oblivious to the relationship between believers, but the primary relationship is between the believer and God. He even starts out Galatians by saying he is not merely repeating what men have taught him. As an apostle, his responsibility and message comes from God (Galatians 1:1). In fact, by his example, he would have the Gentile believers not seek the approval of men (Galatians 1:10). He did not want to be without the accountability of the leaders of the community (Galatians 2:2), but they were a check against self-deception, not the primary entities to which he had a relationship. While there is a comparison of Jewish and Gentile in Galatians 2:11-16, the question is never community membership, but "works of the Law”. The "works of the Law" is a phrase that has been a topic of debate as to its meaning, and therefore colors the meaning of "justify" as used by Paul. Martin Abegg points out one of the few usages of this term in ancient Jewish literature as being in the Miqsat Ma'ase Ha-Torah –MMT from the Dead Sea Scrolls. [9] In the MMT, the phrase "works of the Law” means obtaining ceremonial righteousness through the ceremonial law. Paul is not explicit in his letter to the Galatians that "works of the Law" means fulfilling the ceremonial law but is alluded to through issue of circumcision (Galatians 2:7-12, 5:6, 5:11, 6:15) and Jewish ceremonial cleanness practiced during meals (Galatians 2:11). The phrase "works of the Law" gives way to simply the "law" (Galatians 3:15-24). The transition is from addressing their particular context to a more universal context. Transcending of particular cultural mix (Jewish and Gentile for the Galatians), period of history (1st Century), and geographic area (Asia Minor) is particularly important in aspect of interpreting the letter to the Galatians or any other scripture. Community membership is dealt with as an issue that is seen as a distracter (Galatians 3:26-29) from the transcending and primary issue: one's status before God. The issue of the law is also dealt with as a transcending issue because of the human predisposition, due to the sin nature, to gravitate to a merit system which is in contrast with God's answer. God's answer is the work of Christ on the cross (Galatians 2:20). The right standing with God is what determines community membership, not the ability to fulfill the ceremonial law or other law. N.T. Wright and other proponents of the New Perspective may have some relevant points to make, however, reading the modern emphasis on religious tolerance into Galatians actually obscures the passage. In fact, the New Perspective accuses the Reformers of reading their own context into the works of Paul, the New Perspective has read the context of the Post-modern world into the 1st Century document. The word "justify”, as in Galatians, is linked with faith because faith is how one receives justification. Faith is contrasted with "works of the law" (KJV) or the alternate translation of "observing the law" (NIV). The primary issue again is one's standing with God in contrast to one's standing to a particular community. That right standing with God comes through the gift of faith.
The Context of Justify and Justification In The Letter To The Romans

"since there is only one God, who will justify the circumcised by faith and the uncircumcised through that same faith." Romans 3:30 (NIV)

"He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.” Romans 4:25 (NIV)

"Again, the gift of God is not like the result of the one man's sin: The judgment followed one sin and brought condemnation, but the gift followed many trespasses and brought justification.” Romans 5:16 (NIV)

"Consequently, just as the result of one trespass was condemnation for all men, so also the result of one act of righteousness was justification that brings life for all men.” Romans 5:18 (NIV)

The New Perspective believes that "community boundaries" are the main issue that Paul is addressing in Romans 4 and 5. While it is indeed true that differences between Jew and Gentile are a major theme, Paul works to show a level playing field between Jew and Gentile, both stand sinful before God (Romans 3:23). In fact much the first three chapters of Romans is dedicated to describing this universal need for salvation due to human depravity. The starting point for both Jew and Gentile is just that, showing their need, not the answer to that need. A lot of discussions about tolerance during our current generation points toward a level playing field as the answer. Recognizing that both Paul and our post-modern discussion on equality have similar themes, it is easy to see how Paul's set-up and question are over-interpreted as his main theme. The need of mankind is expressed as a universal need, (Romans 3:23) and the answer to that need is justification based on grace, the atoning work of Jesus Christ (Romans 2:24). Clearly the atonement is meant to show God's justice. He is just in punishing sin (Romans 3:25-26). Starting in chapter four, Paul points out how Abraham was justified by faith, not by works. We can safely connect the solution of faith to the problem of sin. Some of the New Perspective see the problem as a lack of unity in the church. Again we must determine whether Paul is addressing a universal issue, like sin and atonement or if he is addressing a local contextual issue. Since Paul has a limited knowledge of the Roman believers having never been to Rome, and in other letters when Paul is addressing local contextual issues, he is explicit. He does have some knowledge of the Roman church through news and through his prayers. The arguments in chapter four are proposed more as a means of examining an issue rather than addressing someone's personal question. All of Paul's other letters are written after he had ministered in the church. Certainly when Paul "What shall we say that Abraham, our forefather, discovered in this matter?” (Romans 3:1) Paul is not directly addressing someone else's teaching but is looking to Abraham as the beginning of Abrahamic covenant. He looks at the foundation in order to deal with a universal principle. This justification is clearly seen in terms of the sin problem (Romans 3:5) and not a lack of unity. The blessing of God's solution is also in terms of the sin problem, not in terms of a "community boundary [10] ”. Paul re-addresses a universal issue again, this time though it is the blessing that comes through faith. Instead of universally applying the blessing of faith on both Jew and Gentile, he now applies it to both circumcised and uncircumcised. There is at least one reason he choose this new category. He argues from Abraham's uncircumcised state. Abraham received the covenant blessing while uncircumcised. In Romans 4:13-15, Paul is arguing not against Jewish or Gentile discrimination, rather that the law is not the means of the covenant. The law brings transgression and wrath (Romans 4:14,15). The contrast is between the law and faith. Faith is the example that is portrayed in the life of Abraham (Romans 4:18-25). The ideas of righteousness and justification are tightly linked in Romans 4:24,25. The concept of righteousness is clearly something that we do not possess and yet God "will credit" (Romans 4:24) us as having it. Jesus is delivered for our sin (Romans 4:25). If Jesus' work on the cross brings us into righteousness from Romans 4:25 clearly teaches that justification is in relation to sin, not a "community boundary”. Right standing before God is primary; right standing with the community of faith is incidental. Romans 5:1 addresses this primary relationship by saying that we have "peace with God" vice the "wrath” (Romans 4:15) brought by the law. Since we have peace with God, we should not misinterpret that this will cease all suffering. Rather, we transcend suffering, it becomes an aid in our growth of character (Romans 5:2-5). Paul returns to the concept of right standing before God by saying we were powerless to restore the relationship and in fact we were enemies of God. At that time God reconciled us to himself (Romans 5:6-11). Of course, building a community is a part of God's plan, but we come together in the "one man, Jesus Christ" (Romans 5:17). Adam's trespass (of the law) is contrasted with Christ's grace. This state of grace is described in terms that contrast it with the law. By saying it is the "provision of grace" it shows that he grace is the work and plan of God. By saying it is the "gift of righteousness” it shows that it is not righteousness inherent in man himself. The overwhelming theme is the nature of justification.

While the Reformers may have failed to be explicit about the differences between their own context and that of Paul, the universal principles discussed in Paul's letter did address both situations. When Paul addresses issues with a complex contextual background, he describes the problem and addresses it fairly directly. But on the issue of justification by faith and not by the law, he transcends the immediate context by talking about how we obtain a right standing with God by the work of Christ on the cross. The work of Christ on the cross is realized in our lives through the gift of faith. The New Perspective On Paul, while being difficult to tie down in a formative stance, their general contention is that the Reformers misread Paul and have caused much of the church after them to misread Paul, too. The idea that Second Temple Judaism was the competitor that Paul faced misreads the audience of Galatia and Rome. His audience was far from Jerusalem, and besides that, he was not battling an institution but a tendency of the human heart.


Abegg, Martin. "Paul, ‘Works Of The Law' And MMT" Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 1994, Volume 20 Number 6, Page 52-55, 82.

Berkhof, Louis, Systematic Theology, Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co.: Grand Rapids, MI, 1996

Hamilton, Edward, The "Righteousness" of Romans and Galatians, and the Gospel of Christ, March 2004, .

Kelly, Douglas F. Dr., The New Perspective on Paul and Justification New Approaches of Biblical Theology to Justification, 4 March 2004, .

Larkin, William, New Testament Survey: Acts – Revelation Study Guide, 1997, Columbia International University: Columbia, SC.

Lusk, Richard, A Short Note On N.T. Wright And His Reformed Critics, 2002, .

Matteson, Mark, Confronting Legalism or Exclusivism?
Reconsidering Key Pauline Passages, 4 March 2004, .

McGrath, Alister E., Justification By Faith, Zondervan Publishing House Academic and Professional Books: Grand Rapids, MI, 1988.

Musk, Bill, The Unseen Face Of Islam: Sharing The Gospel With Ordinary Muslims, 1989, MARC Publications: Great Britain

Venema, Cornelius P., Introducing the "New Perspective On Paul”, September 2002, .

---, The "New Perspective On Paul”: The Contributions of E P Sanders (Part One), September 2002, < >.

---, The "New Perspective On Paul”: The Contributions of E P Sanders (Part Two), September 2002, .

---, The "New Perspective On Paul”: The Contributions of James D. G. Dunn , December 2002, .

---, The "New Perspective On Paul" The Contributions of N.T. Wright, 2003, .

---, The "New Perspective On Paul" The Contributions of N.T. Wright (2), 2003, .

---, Evaluating the "New Perspective On Paul”: Scripture, Confessions, and Historical Reconstruction, 2003, .

---, Evaluating the New Perspective on Paul: Questions Regarding Sanders' View of Second Temple Judaism, 2003, .

---, Evaluating the New Perspective on Paul: Questions Regarding Sanders' View of Second Temple Judaism (2), 2003, .

---, Evaluating the New Perspective on Paul: Questions Regarding Sanders' View of Second Temple Judaism (3): Is there a distinction between Old Testament and Second Temple Judaism?, September 2002, .

---, Evaluating the New Perspective on Paul: What Does Paul Mean By "Works of the Law?” (1), 2003, .

---, Evaluating the New Perspective on Paul: What Does Paul Mean By "Works of the Law?” (2), 2003, .

---, Evaluating the New Perspective on Paul: What Does Paul Mean By "Works of the Law?” (3) "Works" and "Works Of The Law" In Romans, 2003, .

---, Evaluating the New Perspective on Paul: What Does Paul Mean By "Works of the Law?” (5) "Works Of The Law" Human Inability and Boasting, 2003, .

---, ., Evaluating the New Perspective on Paul: (6) Did Paul Oppose "Legalism" or "Boasting" In Human Strength, 2003, .

---, Evaluating the New Perspective on Paul (6) "The ‘Righteousness of God' and the Believer's ‘Justification (Part 1), 2003, .

---, Evaluating the New Perspective on Paul (6) "The ‘Righteousness of God' and the Believer's ‘Justification (Part 2), 2003, .

---, Evaluating the New Perspective on Paul (6) "The ‘Righteousness of God' and the Believer's ‘Justification (Part 3), 2003, .

[1] Westminster Confession of Faith, Chapter 1, Paragraph 6

[2] Venema, Cornelius P., The "New Perspective On Paul”: The Contributions of E P Sanders (Part Two), September 2002, .

[3] Musk, Bill, The Unseen Face Of Islam: Sharing The Gospel With Ordinary Muslims, (MARC Publications: Great Britain, 1989) 197-205.

[4] Larkin, William, New Testament Survey: Acts – Revelation Study Guide, (Columbia International University: Columbia, SC, 1997) 92-93.

[5] Venema, Cornelius P., The "New Perspective On Paul”: The Contributions of James D. G. Dunn , December 2002, >

[6] Just to clarify, I hold that Titus as truly Pauline in its authorship.

[7] Pruitt, Terry L. Frequently Asked Questions About Baptism, August 2002,

[8] Venema, Cornelius P., The "New Perspective On Paul" The Contributions of N.T. Wright, 2003, .

[9] Abegg, Martin. "Paul, ‘Works Of The Law' AndMMT" Biblical Archaeology Review, November/December 1994, Volume 20 Number 6, Page 52

[10] Hamilton, Edward, The "Righteousness" of Romans and Galatians, and the Gospel of Christ, March 2004, .

Sunday, January 16, 2011


I had a dream last night regarding my calling. It has been an ongoing tension most of my adult life. Here are single sentences that summarize times of my walk.

1982 - I am called by God and I am invincible.
1985 - I am called by God and I have a hope for future ministry.
1990 - I am called by God but I am not able to fulfill it now.
1992 - I have a call but how can I fulfill it?
1995 - I have a call and I will prepare for it.
2005 - I am cursed with a call that I am not able to fulfill.
2011 - I am called by God.