Biblical Studies Carnival 170 (April 2020)

Each month, Phil Long (from Reading Acts) organizes a host for the Biblical Studies Carnival. Basically, the goal is to showcase some of the blog posts of the month in the area of biblical studies. Last month (March) Brent Niedergall did a great job of hosting it, and this month (April) I have the privilege of hosting the 170th edition of the Biblical Studies Carnival. The May 2020 Biblical Studies Carnival will be hosted by Bobby Howell at The Library Musings. Phil is also looking for hosts for June through the end of the year, so if you have been a host in the past, now is the time to volunteer again.

This carnival is a collection of blog articles from a variety of sources. Some came from the news feed on Nerdy Language Majors and Nerdy Theology Majors, two academically oriented discussion groups on Facebook. Some of the articles were brought to my attention by Charles Savelle and Todd Bolen. Both are consistently posting about interesting blog articles. Some links were submitted to me, and others I found through various feeds I have followed over the years. I am sure I’ve missed some interesting ones, so if you care to share any links you found helpful this month, feel free to post them in a comment.

Coronavirus and the Church’s Response

Because so much of the world is still impacted by stay-at-home orders and shut downs, Coronavirus is still a popular topic on the blogs. Here are some of the highlights of articles that relate to Coronavirus or the Christian response during this trying time.

To kick us off, you can check out this visual representation of the impact of Coronavirus on flights around the world. It is pretty amazing to see the difference.

Gunner Gundersen wrote, “Is the Church an ‘Essential Service?’” and discussed the role of the church in staying home or meeting.

Jack Hughes had a lengthy discussion on what the Christian response should be to the COVID-19 crisis.

Combining the current situation with a bit of history, Charles Helmer wrote, “Bonhoeffer and COVID-19: ‘Life Together’ in Isolation.”

James Street wrote, “Fasting was Made for Days Like These,” and although it was written at the very end of March, I wanted to include it here because fasting is a fascinating topic, and I thought James did a great job with it. 

Michael Kruger posted an excellent reminder about why thinking eschatologically is important with the post, “Is Everything Sad Going to Come Untrue? Why We Need Eschatology Now More than Ever.” I think Christians from every eschatological persuasion can agree with this post.

John Biegel wrote, “Quarantined Discipleship,” drawing some analogies from Paul’s prison ministry to how believers might minister during a coronavirus quarantine.

Bobby Howell, next month’s carnival host, posted “Ministering in COVID-19.

Al Mohler helpfully discussed some of the serious assaults on religious liberty during the coronavirus shut downs.


One of the highlights of the month of April was commemorating Easter—highlighting the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. True to form, there were a variety of blogs that discussed issues related to this season.

Andreas Köstenberger had an article on the MBTS website about why he (and Justin Taylor) hold to April 3, AD 33 as the day of Jesus’ crucifixion.

Fred Sanders discussed the uniqueness of the Easter story compared to other dramas, and how the story ends in a surprise.

George Lawson posted “50+ Results of Jesus’ Resurrection from the Dead.” Although he listed 52, I’m sure we could come up with a few more.

Brian Rosner also posted a list, detailing “2 Reasons Jesus Died on the Cross.”

Denny Burk posted, “The Innermost Meaning of the Cross,” illustrating through Scripture as well as quotes from past and present theologians.

Challies posted about how the Pilate Stone helps tell the story of Easter.


Due to the social distancing guidelines, there have been quite a few posts related to the issue of education and how that will look going forward. I’ve tried to highlight just a few of those.

Perry Glanzer and Ted Cockle wrote, “The Coming Storm for Christian Higher Education,” discussing the Christian response in higher education to COVID-19.

Kristen Ferguson posted, “Getting Online Students Offline,” talking about making sure online education involves real world experience.

Spencer MacCuish wrote, “Biblical Education in the COVID-19 Era,” talking about possible solutions to some of the problems made evident in this era.

Al Mohler posted, “Higher Education and the COVID-19 Crisis: The Determination of Southern Seminary and Boyce College In the Present Hour.

Old Testament

Geoffrey Khan posted, “How was the Hebrew of the Bible Originally Pronounced?” It is a helpful discussion of the history of pronunciation, and although this is clearly not exhaustive, it is a helpful introduction.

Dr. Rabbi Zev Farber posted, “Postpartum Impurity: Why Is the Duration Double for a Girl?” It is a well written survey of the various options for understanding the difference between male and female purification timing in Leviticus 12.

Over at the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog, John Meade published an article arguing for the reading, “He will see light,” in Isaiah 53:11.

David Frankel posted about the circumstances and considerations involved in Joshua 5 and the circumcision of Israel.

Marek Dospěl provided a brief discussion about the issue of women at Qumran. He points the reader to the Spring 2020 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review for a full discussion.

Brent Nongbri posted, “Qumran Cave 1 Questions, Part 3: Is Cave 1 Really Cave 1?” He discusses whether Cave 2 materials could have been confused with Cave 1 materials.

Charles Savelle continued posting about online Psalms resources while working on his Psalms commentary. This month he posted links to resources for Psalm 19 and Psalm 18.

Speaking of Psalms, Dale Ralph Davis posted about “Why We Need the Psalms.”

Thanks to Mark Hoffman for pointing out the open access version of The Qumran Texts Composite Edition by Elisha Qimron.

I also contributed with two posts: “Was Caleb the Son of Jephunneh an Israelite?” and “Did the Prophets Understand their Prophecies?

New Testament

Marg Mowczko posted, “Hyperbole and Divorce in the Sermon on the Mount (Matt 5:31-32).”

Nijay Gupta posted his list of Best NT Background resources currently available. This list focuses on print resources.

Brad Cooper also provided his list of resources for NT Background study. This list includes a mix of online and free resources.

Phil Long has been busy this month blogging reviews and also continuing through Revelation. Here are his Revelation posts from April which deal with the ninth chapter:

Sam Parkison wrote a thought-provoking post about Romans 14 and the issue of cultural assimilation versus engagement.


Carl Rasmussen published a post on how the coins minted by Pilate demonstrate his support of the Imperial Cult. Rasmussen also posted about the Gentile influence in the Galilee region and what it would have looked like in Jesus’ day.

Heritage Daily posted a brief overview of Masada, including some really nice pictures!

The blog for the dig at Gath released some research on fingerprint studies related to pottery finds at Tell es-Safi. The real juice is found in the write-up done by Haaretz. Sadly, the 2020 summer digging season at Tell es-Safi will be canceled.

Although posted at the end of March, I thought the discussion by Erin Thompson on “The True Cost of Museum Fakes” was particularly insightful.

Bryan Windle also began a new series this month called, “Discussions with the Diggers.” His first interview was with Dr. Bryant Wood (from ABR).

Christopher Eames wrote, “Sisera v. Deborah: Evidence of the Biblical Account?” There are some interesting archaeological considerations here.

Sadly, the coronavirus situation has brought a new boldness to those who would plunder the archaeological sites in Israel. This is obviously a travesty.


John MacArthur announced this month that the Master’s Seminary and University would be working on an updated translation of the NASB. This effort is spearheaded by men who have influenced me greatly, such as Abner Chou and Will Varner. Peter Gurry also posted his thoughts on the project.

Over at Biblical Studies and Technological Tools, Mark Hoffman discussed the Palestine Open Maps project. I have played with this just a little, and I love it! Lots of maps of Israel to use for free. Similarly, there is also a resource for digital maps of the ancient world. Hoffman also also listed a link to the Original Bibles site which gives a scanned copy of some pretty famous Bibles (e.g., Erasmus Greek NT, etc.). Of special note as well is the mention of Unicode Fonts for Ancient Scripts. Handy if you are doing some work in Akkadian! Finally, if you antsy to see some things outside of your house, Hoffman also posted a link to some 3D models for virtual touring.

Fred Sanders had an interesting post on “Psalmtooning”—read the post to see what it is. I am thinking about trying it with my own kids.

Here is a self-guided tour of the Mount of Olives (special thanks to Todd Bolen for pointing it out).

Since there are so many who are now preaching online, perhaps Peter Mead’s “7 Tips for Preaching Online” could be helpful.

Mike Aubrey posted about the difference between teaching biblical languages to seminary students vs. teaching them to translators.

Book Reviews

Phil Long reviewed, Justin W. Bass, The Bedrock of Christianity: The Unalterable Facts of Jesus’ Death and Resurrection (Lexham Press, 2020).

David Bomar. Journeys of the Apostle Paul (Lexham Press, 2019).

Jared Compton and Andrew David Naselli. Three Views on Israel and the Church: Perspectives on Romans 9-11. (Kregel Academic, 2019).

Matthew D. Kim, A Little Book for New Preachers: Why and How to Study Homiletics (IVP Academic, 2020).

Ben Witherington III, Who God Is: Meditations on the Character of Our God. Bellingham, Wash.: Lexham Press, 2020

Brent Niedergall has been hard at work reviewing some books:

Michael Kruger reviews two new books on Covenant theology: The Fulfillmentof the Promises of God: An Introduction to Covenant Theology (Mentor, 2020), and Covenant Theology: Biblical, Theological and Historical Perspectives (Crossway, 2020).


I wanted to add a final section with a few interesting biblical studies podcast episodes from this month. The good news is, nobody can stop me from adding them! So here are some of the podcasts if you are tired of reading.

Faith in Times of Plague – Luther (Five Minutes in Church History). Stephen Nichols looks at Luther’s advice to the church during one of the outbreaks of the bubonic plague.

A Major Seminary Just Shut Down Its Biblical Archaeology Program (Quick to Listen Podcast – Christianity Today). Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary is trimming its archeology program. This episode features an interview with John Monson, associate professor of OT and Semitic languages at TEDS about the value of archeology, and why SWBTS is closing its program.

Pontius Pilate Reconsidered with Dr. Doug Bookman (Learn the Word Podcast). I have the privilege of being on faculty with Doug Bookman, Prof of NT and Bible Exposition at Shepherds. He is so fun to listen to, and he is one of the premier experts on the Gospel accounts of the life of Christ. In these two episodes he gives a positive take on Pontius Pilate (part 2 is here).

Benjamin Gladd on Teaching Luke (TGC Podcast). Nancy Guthrie interviews Ben Gladd themes in Luke’s Gospel.

Christianity in the Second Century (Center for Biblical Studies at Midwestern). Jimmy Roh and Andreas Köstenberger interview Mike Kruger on Christianity in the second century. As Kruger says in the interview, this is one of the areas that is often neglected in Christian studies.

Divorce and Remarriage in the New Testament (Naked Bible Podcast). Mike Heiser interviews Dr. David Instone-Brewer. They had previously done an episode in March on the OT.

Will Varner on the Passion Week (Bible Sojourner Podcast). I interview Will Varner on the Passion Week and his new book which talks about it.

Concluding Note

As a reminder, you can find next month’s Biblical Studies Carnival at The Library Musings. I hope you enjoy some of the links! Thanks to Phil Long for putting the carnivals together.

Photo in the article by Becky Phan on Unsplash

Peter serves at Shepherd's Theological Seminary in Cary, NC as the professor of Old Testament and Biblical Languages. He loves studying the Bible and helping others understand it. He also runs The Bible Sojourner podcast and Youtube channel.

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