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Friday, September 22, 2006

My new hero: Waltke explains the Psalms and sticks up for TNIV

He also critiqued C.S., which I was glad to hear. No offense to Clive. But he has some bad theology sometimes.
I am still processing the word I just heard from Bruce Waltke on The Psalms.

He expained the purpose of subscripts and postscripts in The Psalms and gave a convincing argument for their credibility. Subscripts give the genre, the author, and often the historical background. Does this not help us in our exegesis? They are found all over the Old Testament (Isa. 38:9, 2 Sam 22, Hab 3). They also conform to the Ancient Near Eastern practice. He taught on the whole of the Psalms as a royal psalter for the king. 78 of them actually, are about the king. That is why many are Messianic and so often fantastically prophetic. Most of the Psalms weren't written for the everyman. If there was no Christ, they would have no significance for us. But now, since we serve with the great king Jesus, the royal interpretation is extended to every saint. Cool.

Another awesome thing he said (and cleared up in my mind) had to do with the 'Form Critical Approach' to the Psalms. I can't explain it all. I have to order the CDs tomorrow. One thing I found incredibily profound was his explanation thanksgiving. The word apparently does not appear in the original text, at least in the way that we think of it. So often, I think of thanksgiving as a contented inward reflection on the faithful provision of God. He said that the word really implies a "public confession of God's particular deliverance, what God has done for you." Cool. I think we could use more (filtered) 'confession' time in Church: Real live public confession of specific things God has done for you to bring glory to himself.

And now, anti-climactically, I want to mention that he tastefully criticized C.S. and claimed that he was a great writer but not a theologian. His beef was Clive's problem with the "punish" motif in the Psalms (like when the writer calls upon God to punish his enemies). For Bruce's take go here.

Finally, I was intrigued and happy to hear him stand up for the TNIV which has taken a ton of bashing from all over the place from people that we love and trust (and still love and trust). I'm not going to state the explanation here but I will say that I think we Reformed people jump on and criticize stuff quite quickly. I like Bruce because he really values, builds into, and respects young people. I saw the sincerity in his eyes that gave witness to the burden on his heart for young people to know their God. He said something like, I can't stand the thought of young men and women being alienated from God and his Word because some old guy like me was more concerned with being literal than giving a relevant (faithful and exegetical) interpretation of the original text.

Anyhoo, I had a terrific night.

Serve your king.


Anonymous Lisa said...

oohhh, this is the kind of stuff I wish I could sit around at talk about all day. Thank you for sharing, it brought something fresh and wonderful to my morning.

8:02 AM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

by 'sit around at talk' I mean 'sit around AND talk.'

PS - I'm still really picky about Bible translations/version

8:04 AM  
Blogger JLF said...

Josh, we should talk sometime about translations. ;)

4:02 PM  
Blogger Kirsten said...

I have some FABULOUS Waltke sermons on Proverbs from winter conference out West a couple of years ago. I will copy them for you. It's neat to hear a dude preach on the book of the Bible he translated. No fear that his thoughts will be shallow.

6:33 PM  
Blogger Jonathan P said...

Ah translations. I've recently come to a conclusion about that.

1 Timothy 1:3bish-4
"...command certain persons not to teach false doctrines any longer or to devote themselves to myths and endless genealogies. Such things promote controversial speculations rather than advancing God's work—which is by faith."

So maybe translations are not exactly genealogies and myths, but we can very quickly make them into things that spur unnecessary controversial speculations... and if you sit and read them side by side, basic points of faith do not differ. It's not like different translations start getting all heretical (except maybe the KJV in 1 John about the Trinity in Chapter 5)

But wait, that huge rant was a complete aside from my main point :P My main point was that I agree with your statement about Clive's theology being a bit sketcho sometimes. I read "The Problem of Pain" recently. He's got some funny things to say about the Bible.

10:35 PM  
Blogger Loco said...

i was about 2 say i'd luv 2 talk translations wid u (esp. TNIV) but it seems u already got dem.

p.s. i'd luv 2 hear wat u have 2 say about TNIV in a post one day.

10:08 PM  
Anonymous Andy said...

I came upon this by accident, but good post about the Psalter. The book Waltke may have gotten his view on thanksgiving from is by Claus Westermann called "Praise and Lament in the Psalms". He does a whole section on the difference between praise and thanksgiving in the Psalter. It was a fairly influential book.

Give ole' CS a break, we've all got some weird theology tucked up our sleeves. He'd be the first to say he wasn't a theologian either - he was a English literature critic. His work in that area is right on spot.


9:02 PM  
Anonymous jason said...

It's easy to tell that Waltke pours his whole heart and mind into his work, which is exactly what makes it so genuine and appealing.
He's my hero too.
His upcoming commentary on the Psalms will be killer!

7:41 PM  
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