Jonah: Beyond the Tale of a Whale

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Many individuals are intrigued with the biblical account of Jonah. Unfortunately, readers usually only view it as a fable—a fish story; a children’s tale.  Even in Christian circles, the perpetuated belief of its simplistic moral teachings and ethical presentation lead many to see it on par with a spiritual Humpty Dumpty or Hansel and Gretel.

Why is it viewed this way? Is it because we relinquished the story to the nursery, Sunday school, and Children’s Church? Or is it that we last embraced it through the bewildered eyes of our youth? Ironically, that’s also why we still are intrigued with the story of Jonah.  But if we seriously engage the text, we find much more than a fish story. It is a highly structured account with a purposeful message to ancient Israel, yet with application for readers throughout time. Yes, it is full of puns, word-plays, and irony. It is a beautiful Hebrew narrative, rich with linguistic artistry. But like all books of the Bible, the author of the text is clearly doing something with what he is saying. This account of a historically bound Old Testament prophet is not written to satisfy our curiosity about survival in the bowels of an Orca. It is written to change our lives.


How to Read the Bible Like a Seminary Professor: A Practical and Entertaining Exploration of the World’s Most Famous Book

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Many people admire and even revere the Bible, but they simply do not understand what they read, much less how to study Scripture. Yet they wish they could. In this insightful and alternately amusing guide, Professor Mark Yarbrough shows how easy and gratifying it is to unlock the hidden truths of God’s Word and to discover a world where reading the Bible doesn’t just satisfy our curiosity, but changes our life.

To do this, the reader will step into the seminary classroom and observe the practical principles-the tricks of the trade-for becoming a more effective student of the Bible. But Yarbrough has made sure that his writing style and general approach will be appealing to both academic students and those involved in lay-level Bible study.

Real life is whacky and in-your-face. Studying Scripture should be too.

paul's utilization of preformed traditions in 1 timothy

Paul’s Utilization of Preformed Traditions in 1 Timothy: An evaluation of the Apostle’s literary, rhetorical, and theological tactics

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Mark Yarbrough assesses the question of whether traditional ‘preformed’ material contributes to the message and understanding of Paul’s first letter to Timothy. The issue is addressed in three sections. Part one evaluates previous works interacting with ‘traditional’ material in the New Testament. Through a critique of historically proposed criteria, Yarbrough identifies eight criteria as the primary tools by which to discern units of preformed material.

In the second part of the book Yarbrough evaluates nineteen passages in 1 Timothy according to the criteria previously determined. From this base he embraces twelve of the nineteen passages as preformed material. These passages are subsequently examined in depth according to the author’s distinct methodology. Part three demonstrates four functions of the preformed traditions in 1 Timothy. Firstly, that they may be seen as strengthening the literary cohesion of the letter. Secondly, that the traditional units afford the author rhetorical leverage which may be best identified as the provision of authority, the establishment of an instant rapport with the primary audience, and the assistance conferred in addressing this implied audience. Thirdly, they present theological directives that confront the character and belief of the false teachers.

Finally, Yarbrough asserts that the preformed traditions exist as a combatant against counter-mission doctrine. In conclusion, this study displays that the traditional material which may be discerned within the letter contributes significantly to the overall message and understanding of 1 Timothy.