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Monday, October 25, 2021

Class Assignment: Genre Analysis: Gospels, Epistles and Apocalyptic Literature

Genre Analysis: Gospels, Epistles and Apocalyptic Literature

The King’s University, Southlake, Texas

Biblical Background and Interpretation (2021FA-BIBL-2301-ONL)

Professor: Dr. J. Wallace

Due: 10/31/2021

By Darrell Wolfe

Gospels, Epistles and Apocalyptic Literature

Early Jesus communities considered themselves to be the fullness of the covenants of Israel and used the Tanakh, or often the Greek Septuagint, as their scriptures. These communities began to produce literature themselves to supplement and augment their new way of life. These writings supported their origins (Gospels), helped flesh out what had changed and how they should conduct themselves as a community going forward (Epistles), and provided one final encouragement (Revelation).

The word Gospel comes from the Greek word “euangelion”, which had firm roots in the Imperial Religion.[1] By producing the four accounts of Jesus, the early church not only made Jewish claims about the promised Messiah but counter-cultural claims about the real Lord and who brought peace (the not-Caesar). These gospels made claims that set this community apart from both the Traditional-Jewish and Roman worlds. The authors also took the opportunity to arrange information carefully, highlighting the points they wanted to make by which stories they included, and in which order. Each of the four gospels carries through its own theme.

The books known as the Epistles (letters) were written by Apostles to the churches they over-saw, and they were intended to be read aloud to the entire community (and often shared).[2] Although many were written by Paul; Peter, John, James and Jude (Jesus’ biological brothers), and the unknown author of Hebrews (along with their scribes) each make a showing. These books provided pastoral oversight and theologically significant claims, often quoting from the Tanakh/Septuagint, about who Jesus was and how his body should conduct their lives because of his coming. Often, questions or issues in the community provided the occasion for the writing.[3]

Finally, John gave us the Apocalypse (Revelation), which provided comfort to the persecuted church while offering a compelling vision of final things.[4] As things began to get dark for the early church (as Jesus’ said they would), it would be easy to bow to the pressure and leave the faith behind. Following in the schema of other Jewish Apocalypses, John writes a visionary narrative promising that one day, Heaven and Earth will be made new, united again as it was “In the Beginning”.



Duvall, J. Scott, J. Daniel Hays, and Mark L. Strauss and Kevin J Vanhoozer. Grasping God’s Word, Fourth Edition: A Hands-On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible, 2020.

Fee, Gordon D., and Douglas K. Stuart. How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth. 3rd ed. Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2003.

The Lexham Bible Dictionary - Barry, J. D., Bomar, D., Brown, D. R., Klippenstein, R., Mangum, D., Sinclair Wolcott, C., … Widder, W. (Eds.). (2016). In The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press. Billingham, WA: Leham Press, 2016.


[1] The Lexham Bible Dictionary - Barry, J. D., Bomar, D., Brown, D. R., Klippenstein, R., Mangum, D., Sinclair Wolcott, C., … Widder, W. (Eds.). (2016). In The Lexham Bible Dictionary. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press. (Billingham, WA: Leham Press, 2016), Gospel Genre > Backgrounds to the New Testament Usage of Gospel > Imperial Relgion,; || J. Scott Duvall, J. Daniel Hays, and Mark L. Strauss and Kevin J Vanhoozer, Grasping God’s Word, Fourth Edition: A Hands-On Approach to Reading, Interpreting, and Applying the Bible, 2020, 280. What are the Gospels?

[2] Duvall, Hays, and Vanhoozer, Grasping God’s Word, Fourth Edition, 263.

[3] Gordon D. Fee and Douglas K. Stuart, How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, 3rd ed (Grand Rapids, Mich: Zondervan, 2003), 58.

[4] Duvall, Hays, and Vanhoozer, Grasping God’s Word, Fourth Edition, 333.


Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ

Monday, October 18, 2021

Given the New Perspective on Paul (NPP), how would you present the Gospel today?

Q: Given the New Perspective on Paul (NPP), how would you present the Gospel today?

A: My distillation from a year (so far) of listening to NT Wright and Tim Mackie and Michael Heiser:

God created a good world with the intention of being with his humans as co-rulers of that world. 

Rebellions of various kinds have gotten that project off track, and are the source of all the evil and brokenness we see. 

God began restoring the world to himself through Jesus. His spirit filled body are called to work with him to create pockets of heaven right in the middle of all that brokenness. 

One day, Jesus will return and restore all things fully to God's good order. 

In the meantime, we are invited to participate in God's good world by becoming new kinds of humans, being changed from the inside out, to Love God and Love our Neighbor.

If you can feel that something inside of you is broken, even if you cannot identify what it is, God has an offer for you.

Give yourself to Him. Allow him to prune the brokenness out and place a new heart inside and make you into a new kind of human from the inside out. 

He demands your absolute loyalty but not your perfection. 

He will do all the changing, he asks you to let him do it. 

And when he's done some work on you, he'll ask you to start working with others to bring them into this new way of being human. 

Saturday, October 16, 2021

Class Assignment: Obadiah: A structural outline, commentary, and its ties to Divine Council imagery.

Structural Outline: Obadiah

The King’s University, Southlake, Texas

Biblical Background and Interpretation (2021FA-BIBL-2301-ONL)

Professor: Dr. J. Wallace


By Darrell Wolfe

Structural Outline: Obadiah 1:1-21

Note: Obadiah only has one chapter, the entire book is included in 1:1-21.

Background: Edom is comprised of Esau’s descendants. Esau was Jacob’s (aka Israel) brother, from whom Jacob stole the birthright and blessing. Therefore, the people of Edom are cousins to the people of Israel. There are other details, but this is sufficient to understand the family references in this prophecy. See also Jeremiah’s mirror prophecy against Bozrah, a major city in Edom, using much of the same language as Obadiah (Jeremiah 49:7-22).

  • I. Introduction: The following is a vision the Prophet Obadiah saw, and the words Adonai YHWH says about Edom (the descendants of Esau) (Ob 1:1a NET).(1)
  • II. YWHW’s judgment of Edom’s arrogance (1b-9).
    • A. The announcement encourages the nations to war against Edom.
    • B. YHWH sends a report via a messenger that he will make war on Edom and make them weak (1b-2).
    • C. He announces the first just-cause he has for this decision, which could read more like the underlying issue that lead to the real offense in III.
      • 1. They have pride in their heart and became self-deceived, thinking themselves invincible and safe (3).
      • 2. But YHWH says that there is no place they can go that would be safe from him (not even the stars, a common biblical reference to the fallen Divine Council, members of the fallen Elohim) (4).
      • 3. He introduces a comparison: If normal calamity struck, they could survive, but since YHWH is performing Judgement, it will result in their total destruction (5).
      • 4. Their belongings will be taken (6).
      • 5. The people they partnered with and trusted will be the ones to take them down (7).
      • 6. The wise and the warriors alike among them will be removed from their stronghold and destroyed (8-9).
  • III. YWHW’s judgment of Edom’s failure to honor family (10-14).
    • A. He announces the second just-cause he has for this decision:
      • 1. The people of Edom played a role in harming their relatives, resulting in judgment. The offense was bad enough, that YHWH determines it will be a permanent status “forever”. This is an escalation from the language used in section II (10).
      • 2. Edom is portrayed as sometimes distant and unmoved by Israel’s destruction (as though a passive observer that should have come to her aid) as a foreign invader takes the city, but is then cast as a participant. This is worse than not coming to their aid, but contributing to their harm (11).
      • 3. Edom is portrayed as “gloating”, “rejoicing”, and “boasting” as their cousins suffered at the hands of enemies (12).
      • 4. Edom then decides to help the enemies beat up Israel, looting the city (13).
      • 5. Edom rubs salt in the wound by standing at the fork in the road, killing anyone who escaped (14).
  • IV. YWHW’s judgment expands to include all nations via “The Day of the Lord” (15-21a).
    • A. An unspoken question seems implicit in the following statement. That question: “Why should we care?”
    • B. The answer to the unspoken question:
      • 1. “For the Day of the Lord is approaching for all nations”. There is judgment coming not just to one nation, not just for these actions, all nations are going to stand before YHWH and be judged. In light of this pending end-times judgment, Edom should have known better and done better. Pulling on that ultimate Day of the Lord motif, Obadiah/YHWH lay into Edom’s impending judgment in the here and now. What was done by Edom, will be repaid in full (15).
      • 2. YHWH/Obadiah uses a metaphor about drinking on the holy mountain (16).
        • a. Given the context, it could be that drinking here refers to the idea that Edom drank from victory and now will drink from YWHW’s cup of wrath.(2) In the “now and not yet” fashion of biblical prophetic literature, Edom will suffer a Day of the Lord now, followed later by The Day of the Lord in an age to come.
        • b. It is also relevant that “holy mountain” is yet another core biblical theme referring to God’s Space. Eden is the Garden of God, his Holy Mountain. So too, is Jerusalem. Typically, “the nations” refers to the Table of Nations and the rebel Elohim that rule them. Stars (referenced earlier) are quite often a reference to these fallen Elohim. Given the multiple coded references, “nations”, “stars”, “holy mountain”, and “Day of the Lord”, “the nations” is not likely a generic reference to earth’s inhabitants but a specific reference to these rebel-led nations that often came into conflict with God’s Holy People (Genesis 10-11; Deuteronomy 32:8; Psalms 82, 89). (3) This could be a veiled threat not only to Edom and the nations around them but to the rebel Elohim who rule them and cause chaos.
      • 3. YWHW brings the final hammer down on his judgment (17-21a).
        • a. In contrast to the utter destruction promised to Edom and the fallen nations (and their Elohim), YHWH promises to restore Israel from the remnant (17).
        • b. He then compares Israel to fire and Edom to left-over yard clippings or food waste that will be burned so completely by Israel that they will cease to exist. Here again, escalating the language a third time, and in contrast to the remnant he promises Israel, Edom is promised to be wiped out so completely, that not a single survivor will be left to create an Edomic remnant (18).
        • c. YHWH concludes by saying that other nations will take Edom’s spot in the mountains (another Divine Council reference as well as physical space reference) and that Israel will return and rule over it all (19-21).
  • V. YWHW announces his kingship (21b). With one final line, YHWH announces he will be king, and it serves as the punctuation on the whole prophetic word. This, again, has the taste of a threat not only to Edom, not only to “the nations”, but to the Divine Council members who rebelled. YHWH will have the last word, he will be King.


Heiser, Michael. The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible. First edition. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015.

NET Bible®New English Translation (NET). Online Notes Edition. HarperCollins Christian Publishing; Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C., n.d.

The NET Bible First Edition Notes. Biblical Studies Press, 2006.


(1) NET Bible®New English Translation (NET), Online Notes Edition (HarperCollins Christian Publishing; Biblical Studies Press, L.L.C., n.d.), Obadiah,

(2) The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Notes for 1:16-#79.
(3) Michael Heiser, The Unseen Realm: Recovering the Supernatural Worldview of the Bible, First edition (Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2015), *See the work(s) of Dr Heiser for more details on these themes.*.

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Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!

Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ

Wednesday, October 6, 2021

How should we understand Biblical Interpretation?

How should we understand Biblical Interpretation? 

Especially as it relates to The Gospels or Salvation.

While some dispute this, the preponderance of evidence says that: Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John were individuals who each wrote according to their knowledge and ability to gather testimony and witnesses. Matthew and John were eye witnesses. Mark was Peter's interpretor and assistant. Luke was a researcher and associate of Paul. 

The evidence demonstrates the Mark wrote his gospel early, possibly within the mid century. Matthew and Luke each used Mark's version which was already in circulation and added to it as they saw fit using their own experience and other resources and documents to make their own unique theological statements and claims. 

John, writing much later at the end of his life decided to record his theology and biography of Jesus, choosing details not already accounted for in several instances.

Each author had a theological point to their letter and a reason for choosing and organizing the details they did. 

In each case, you have a representative sampling of the words and interactions of Jesus. 

In no case was a camera following Him around. These are the theological reflective biographical essays presented as the written preservation of oral traditions.

As to interpretation:

All scripture is inspired, so, we SHOULD add as much wait to Ruth, Leviticus, and Job as we do Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John... And Paul's letters... And Revelation. 

And we SHOULD allow each to correlate and add interpretive value to the other. 

Also, Jesus and all early Christians like Peter, Paul, etc. used the Hebrew Bible as their primary meditative text. 

The gospels and letters were a supplement for the new covenant, but not a replacement for the Hebrew Bible. 

Christianity, in its purest form, is a Jewish sect, not a Lutheran or Calvanist one. 

The context for biblical interpretation is the context of its authors (Ancient Near East and Second Temple Period). The context is not Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Tyndale, Wesley, or any other thinker that came after. The context is the authors. So anything said after should be screened out and we should do our best to make sure we understand what the author is saying, not what our "Systematic Theology" tells us it says. 

I would go further, and say that anything from the Systemic Theology bucket is basically trash and to throw it all out. Anything from Augustine to Parham, 300s to 1900 AD, just junk it all. That's probably just an overreaction on my part. I tend to take extreme positions and flow back to the middle after pondering it a while. So I reserve the right to say something different tomorrow, but, that's where I stand today. 

That being said, unless you have the ancient Israelite in your head, you'll never understand the Bible and always Eisegete meanings into the text that aren't there (as so many Theologians did between 300-1900 AD. 

Christianity is a Jewish sect. Period. Gentiles are grafted into Israel, not out away from it. If you miss that point, you run in danger of missing all the points. Most of the wrong headed and silly things modern Christianity says about the "Old Testament" (including labeling it the old testament to begin with) are from a lack of having our Jewish roots firmly in tact. 

And yet, as a further overreaction to that truth, the Jewish Roots movement has people becoming Torah Observant in ways Jesus never intended. But, they are often more right than wrong, and I have some common ground with such people. Almost all the things people learn about Judaism and the Hebrew Bible from western American Christianity are wrong. Including, and especially, our understanding of "The Law". 

The Bible Project has done a great job of breaking this down for us and helping people deconstruct these poor understandings. 

Therefore, as a Jewish sect, any and all interpretation should work from Genesis to Revelation first, before working backward from Revelation to Genesis. In other words, the OT gives us understanding of the NT BEFORE the NT gives us understanding of the OT. 

Most of the NT authors, including the gospels, are making heavy use of the OT theology and passages. 

So much more to say, but that's what I'm getting the need to say today.

The dangers of western American Christianity... and the real Gospel of the Kingdom of God.

*I'm oversimplifying, it's a blog post and I'm just jotting a few ideas down to ponder.

This morning I saw yet another post that derives (whether the author knows it or not) from broken reformation thinking. The poster asks: "Will God save any person that God does not want to save?" 

I don't know if the poster is seriously asking or if they're trolling the Calvinists with such a question, but it prompted me to write the following.


Western American Christiany's "Gospel":

When we present the gospel as something akin to "believe these statements, say the magic password, and go live any way you want because you have your ticket to go to heaven when you die"... we basically misrepresent the entire package start to finish. 

Note: God works through imperfect people and imperfect representations of his real offer. Introduce someone to Yahway and Yeshua, and the Ruach will take over and do the rest. But... if we know better, we should do better. 


When/How it went off the rails:

As the church grew increasingly full of gentile believers, they eventually lost touch with their Jewish roots. Some late-early church fathers began asking all the wrong questions about a Greek idea of disembodied afterlife in which we leave this mortal coil for the "real thing". 

Side note: Did you see a new Matrix movie is coming out? It asks these questions too. 

To make matters worse, around 312AD the church received a huge blessing, which became its downfall. They went from persecution to favored status. While the relief from persecution was a blessing, various leaders received political power which was not a blessing but a trap. As it is today, which anyone awake should know by surveying the American Christianity landscape in 2019-2021.

And in the transition from the early Jewish+Gentile Sect called The Way or Christians to a Greek/Gentile movement later called Christianity, we lost our moorings and went from being a movement of Jesus Communities quietly loving their neighbor and looking forward to the Kingdom of God, to a religion with priests and temples who did all the wrong things asking all the wrong questions. 

This religion called Christianity (not to be confused with biblical the biblical Christians) took on Greek and Roman questions about a disembodied afterlife. These events, set up the later reformers of the 1500s to start asking all the wrong questions about "who goes to heaven and who doesn't". 

These developments started having us asking questions about "who's in and who's out". Reformers rightly gave us the truth about salvation by grace through faith, but then misdefined all the terms for us.

Today, in chat-rooms all over Christian Middle Earth, people ask "will so and so still go to heaven if", argue about free will vs sovereignty, and debate whether someone who's "in" can become "out". All of this is largely based on the wrong paradigm.

The fact is, the biblical hope has very little to say about "going to heaven when we die". More on that:

What IS the Gospel, then?

Read the book of Matthew and you will find a fascinating theme:  

Jesus went throughout all of Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the gospel of the kingdom, and healing all kinds of disease and sickness among the people. (Mat 4)  

And this gospel of the kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations; and then shall the end come. (Mat 24) 

You know what you won't find? You won't find "Believe on me, say a magic prayer, and go to heaven when you die". You'll find a teacher who is very concerned with this world, not another disembodied world. The entire Jewish hope, which is the Christian hope, is The Kingdom of God. It's themes bleed through every page of the Bible from Genesis to Revelation. 

This Kingdom is about a New Heaven and New Earth implemented by the Day of the Lord. 

The Gospel is this:  

  • God made a good world to live in with the humans he created to rule beside him as his co-rulers. 
  • This project was delayed by several rebellions, but God has begun to make things right through a man called Abraham and his seed called Jesus. 
  • Jesus defeated death and now reigns as King of Kings and Lord of Lords from Yahweh's throne. 
  • One day, he will return to judge all those who rejected Yahweh (spirit and human). 
  • At that time, he will create a New Heaven and New Earth, and the Kingdom of God will reside on Earth as it was always intended. 
  • Anyone who chooses this Kingdom is invited, free of charge. One cannot earn their place in this kingdom, it's a free invitation. 
  • Accepting Citenship in the Kingdom of God is similar to accepting Citenship in the United States of America, or Canada, or any other large nation. It means learning the culture of this citizenship, and being a good citizen. This invitation will require you die to your old life and allow the Spirit to begin giving you a new heart and making you into a new kind of human. The fact this process is taking place will be reflected by changes in attitude and behavior. But those are fruit of the change only. They are not how you earn or keep your membership in the Kingdom. 
  • All are welcome but only those who remain loyal to Yahweh are welcome to stay. Loyalty does not mean perfection in action but loyalty in believing. You attempt to live rightly before him because it's how you love him. You will make mistakes and they are welcome. What is not welcome is outright rebellion.

Simply Put: You are invited to become a member of the Kingdom of God, it will cost you everything, even your life, but the rewards are membership in a Kingdom that has no end. Even after you die, you will receive a renewed body on a renewed earth in which Jesus is Lord and King. All who join this Kingdom will be there, including anyone you loved who is also a member. Come, join the Kingdom, and look forward to new creation.


Subscribe Now - Pursue a No Hiding Lifestyle

Shalom: Live Long and Prosper!
Darrell Wolfe (DG Wolfe)
Storyteller | Writer | Thinker | Consultant @

Clifton StrengthsFinder: Intellection, Learner, Ideation, Achiever, Input
16Personalities (Myers-Briggs Type): INFJ


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