How the Bible Came into Being

This year’s HBU Theology Conference takes up the issue of canon on March 2-4. Our plenary speakers are James Charlesworth (Princeton Theological Seminary) and Lee McDonald (formerly of Acadia Divinity College). Both are well-known for the contributions on this topic. We also have a great line-up of speakers on Friday who will speak on canonical criticism, various figures in church history and their views of canon, textual problems relevant to the question of canon, among other topics. There will be something for everyone.

You can find more information about the conference and registrar at

The conference is jointly hosted with Lanier Theological Library ( If you haven’t been to the chapel and library before, you certainly want to attend Saturday night’s double lecture. You can register for the Saturday lecture at

The conference is also partly sponsored by Faithlife, makers of Logos Bible Software. They will have a display booth at the conference where you can preview and purchase Logos or upgrade your present version.

How the Bible Came into Being. HBU Spring Theology Conference

On March 2-4, 2017 the Department of Theology at HBU, in conjunction with Lanier Theological Library, is hosting the conference How the Bible Came into Being. The conference will consider the formation of the biblical canon, the literature included and excluded, and its theological significance. Our keynote speakers are James Charlesworth (Princeton Theological Seminary) and Lee McDonald (formerly of Acadia Divinity College). The plenary talks are free and open to the public.

We also invite proposals for short papers from scholars and graduate students from a wide array of topics related to how the Bible came into being, for example:

  • The formation of the canon (including its establishment and later discussions)
  • The canonical process of individual texts
  • Comparisons of canonical traditions
  • The theology of the canon
  • Canonical criticism

Anyone who is interested should submit a 300 word abstract on any relevant topic by December 8, 2016. Papers should be 25 minutes long with 5 minutes for questions. Decisions will be announced in late December. Send proposals to Daniel Streett.

We will be publishing some of the conference papers. If you would like your paper considered for inclusion, please indicate this on your proposal. You must also provide a full version of the paper at the time of the conference.

You can find out more details and register for the conference at the Theology Conference webpage.

This year’s conference is partially sponsored by Faithlife, the makers of Logos Bible software. At the conference they will give a demonstration of the Logos software and offer significant discounts on purchases.

Upcoming Theology Events

There are several upcoming events that I want to bring to everyone’s attention.

First, on October 29th at 7:30pm Nick Perrin, from Wheaton College, will deliver this year’s A.O. Collins Lectures. His title is “From Stories to Scriptures: When Did the Gospels Become Authoritative?” Prof. Perrin is an internationally recognized expert in the Gospels. He has written on the Gospel of Thomas and the historical Jesus. The lecture is free and open to the public. (See the tap at the top for more details.)

Second, we are very excited about this year’s Theology conference: “Ad Fontes, Ad Futura: Erasmus’ Bible and the Impact of Scripture.” The conference marks the 500th anniversary of Erasmus’ Greek text and the Reformation. Our keynote speakers are Craig Evans (Houston Baptist University), Timothy George (Beeson Divinity School, Samford University), Herman Selderhuis (Theological University Apeldoorn) and Daniel Wallace (Dallas Theological Seminary). The plenary talks are free and open to the public.

As with previous conferences, we invite short papers. The call for papers can be found at the Conference webpage: You can also find a schedule and registration information there.

Thinking about God and Loving God

Well, I’m only a few days behind with this post. But given that I’m the new guy who is still trying to get settled, I’m going to claim that as an excuse. So now I’ve finally find a few minutes to put some thoughts together. At the beginning of any semester, it can be helpful to think about why we study theology. One might claim, ‘Isn’t it sufficient to just love Jesus?’ Why do we need to think about topics like how the New Testament fits into the ancient world, or Trinity, or how salvation is accomplished? Loving God is all that is needed.

Claiming that all we need is to love God is of course true. But we must ask how it is that one loves God, and here Jesus’ words are very helpful. When asked by an expert in the law ‘which is the greatest commandment in the law?’, Jesus answered:

Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. (Matt 22.36-37; cf. Mark 12.28-31; Luke 10.25-28).

Notice here that loving God involves the mind. That is, in order to love God to the fullest, we must engage our minds in reflection and study on who he is and what he has done. Of course, Jesus doesn’t mean that everyone should become a paid theologian or teacher. Nevertheless, failure to engage our minds as an act of love and worship is to fail in the act of becoming a disciple of Jesus.

So the challenge at the beginning of every new semester is to remind ourselves that in our studies we are worshiping, serving and indeed loving God. Studying shouldn’t led to a separation of the mind from the heart, but rather a full integration of who we are in the process of becoming disciples of the crucified one. The final word can be given to J.A. Bengel, an 18th century scholar, who wrote:

Apply yourself wholly to the text; apply the text wholly to yourself.

(This quote has been made well-known particularly through the NT scholar Douglas Moo.)

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