Win a Copy of The Biblical Canon Lists by John Meade

Next up in our Faculty Book Giveaway is the co-authored book by John Meade, The Biblical Canon Lists from Early Christianity: Texts and Analysis published by Oxford University Press. In this one book are all the earliest lists that show which books early Christians acknowledged as canonical. See the description below and read more about canon lists from an earlier post by Dr. Meade.

Canon Lists book on a shelf

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About the Book

The Biblical Canon Lists from Early Christianity provides an accessible presentation of these early canon lists. With a focus on the first four centuries, the volume supplies the full text of the canon lists in English translation alongside the original text, usually Greek or Latin, occasionally Hebrew or Syriac. Edmon L. Gallagher and John D. Meade orient readers to each list with brief introductions and helpful notes, and they point readers to the most significant scholarly discussions. The book begins with a substantial overview of the history of the biblical canon, and an entire chapter is devoted to the evidence of biblical manuscripts from the first millennium. This authoritative work is an indispensable guide for students and scholars of biblical studies and church history.


"The major benefit of this book is that, for each list included, the authors give a brief introduction, and the actual text in the original language and with an English translation, plus copious notes.  In one handy volume, you have pretty much all the key evidence, which makes this volume a unique contribution."

Larry Hurtado, former Professor of New Testament Language, Literature & Theology, University of Edinburgh

"I think the volume is completely worth the reader’s time. ... Fortunately, here, readers find all the essential lists in one location and don’t have to waste a lot of time trying to track them down in various places and volumes.  For that alone our authors are to be thanked."

Jim West, Lecturer in Biblical and Reformation Studies, Ming Hua Theological College / Charles Stuart University

About John Meade

Dr. John Meade joined the Phoenix Seminary Faculty in 2012. He teaches courses in Hebrew Language and Old Testament Literature. He also teaches elective courses on the Septuagint, the Apocrypha, the Canon of Scripture, and Biblical Theology. You can learn more about him at his faculty page.

Win a Copy of A New Approach to Textual Criticism by Peter Gurry

Next up in our Faculty Book Giveaway is a book co-authored by Dr. Peter Gurry, A New Approach to Textual Criticism: An Introduction to the Coherence Based Genealogical Method. This book introduces a new method of New Testament textual criticism that is influencing the text of our Greek New Testament. Read more about it in Dr. Gurry's blog post or watch the video from our Night with the Professors.

A New Approach to Textual Criticism by Peter Gurry and Tommy Wasserman on a bookshelf

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About the Book

With the publication of the widely used twenty-eighth edition of Nestle-Aland's Novum Testamentum Graece and the fifth edition of the United Bible Society Greek New Testament, a computer-assisted method known as the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method (CBGM) was used for the first time to determine the most valuable witnesses and establish the initial text. This book offers the first full-length, student-friendly introduction to this important new method. After setting out the method's history, separate chapters clarify its key concepts such as genealogical coherence, textual flow diagrams, and the global stemma. Examples from across the New Testament are used to show how the method works in practice. The result is an essential introduction that will be of interest to students, translators, commentators, and anyone else who studies the Greek New Testament.


"For anybody who cares about the text of the New Testament, there will be few books published in biblical studies over the next decade that will be more important than this one. Tommy Wasserman and Peter Gurry describe some of the tectonic shifts that are currently occurring in the way that New Testament text critics are reconstructing the earliest recoverable form of the Greek text of the New Testament. With great care and clarity, the authors explain the intricacies of the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method in ways that both scholars and non-specialists can readily understand. For anybody who wishes to know how the text of latest printed scholarly editions of the Greek New Testament has been determined, and why it differs from earlier editions then this is the book to read."

Prof. Paul Foster, Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity School of Divinity, University of Edinburgh

“Writing an introduction to the Coherence-Based Genealogical Method for the uninitiated must be akin to trying to teach the Amish how to drive a Ferrari. CBGM is a complex method that Wasserman and Gurry have simplified with a rather humane writing style, but this does not mean that those who have minimal exposure to this method will jump at the chance to understand it. They should, and Wasserman and Gurry are the right guides to gently bring them into the realm of 21st century NT textual criticism. This book is a welcome addition to the library of anyone (not just the neophyte) who wants to understand this arcane, yet foundational, discipline that has grown in intricacies and subtleties in recent years.”

—Daniel B. Wallace, Executive Director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts and Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

About Peter Gurry

Peter Gurry joined the Phoenix Seminary faculty in 2017. He teaches courses in Greek Language and New Testament literature. His research interests range across Greek grammar, New Testament textual criticism, the General Epistles, and the history of Biblical scholarship. Learn more about Peter at his faculty page.

Win a Copy of Theistic Evolution edited by Wayne Grudem

First up in our Faculty Book Giveaway is a book co-edited by our own Wayne Grudem. It's a substantial critique of theistic evolution with contributions from theologians, Biblical scholars, scientists, and philosophers. See below for details on how to enter and for more info on the book.

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About the Book

Many prominent Christians insist that the church must yield to contemporary evolutionary theory and therefore modify traditional biblical ideas about the creation of life. They argue that God used—albeit in an undetectable way—evolutionary mechanisms to produce all forms of life. Featuring two dozen highly credentialed scientists, philosophers, and theologians from Europe and North America, this volume contests this proposal, documenting evidential, logical, and theological problems with theistic evolution—making it the most comprehensive critique of theistic evolution yet produced.


“This volume fills a wide and expanding gap for Christians who continue to struggle with the relationship of evangelical Christianity to the claims of science. Specifically, for those who have rightly rejected the claims of unguided evolution, this book takes on the similar challenge of the possibility of theistic evolution. Scholarly, informative, well-researched, and well-argued, this will be the best place to begin to ferret out reasons for conflict among Christians who take science seriously. I highly recommend this resource.”
K. Scott Oliphint, Professor of Apologetics and Systematic Theology and Dean of Faculty, Westminster Theological Seminary

Theistic evolution means different things to different people. This book carefully identifies, and thoroughly debunks, an insidious, all-too-commonly accepted sense of the phrase even among Christians: that there is no physical reason to suspect life was designed, and that evolution proceeded in the unguided, unplanned manner Darwin himself championed.”
Michael J. Behe, professor of biological sciences, Lehigh University; author, Darwin’s Black Box and The Edge of Evolution

About Wayne Grudem

Dr. Grudem has been Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary since 2001 and has served as the President of the Evangelical Theological Society (1999) and as a member of the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version of the Bible. Learn more about Dr. Grudem on his faculty page


Phoenix Seminary Faculty Book Giveaway

With the weather warming up, it's time for vacations, cookouts, and making summer reading lists. Whether you're in seminary or not, summer is a great time to catch up on books that you wanted to read but just couldn't find the time. At Phoenix Seminary, we want to help with our Faculty Book Giveaway.

Over the next twelve weeks, we'll be giving away free copies of seven of our faculty's newest books! We will announce each one right here on the seminary blog as well as on Facebook and Twitter. So, follow along for a chance to win some great books from our fantastic faculty. Here's a peek at what we'll be giving away. Good luck!

Summer Seminary book giveaway from Phoenix Seminary

Books and Authors

  1. Theistic Evolution (Crossway) edited by Wayne Grudem and others.
  2. Cyprian of Carthage (Christian Focus) by Brian Arnold
  3. A New Approach to Textual Criticism (SBL) by Tommy Wasserman and Peter Gurry
  4. The Biblical Canon Lists from Early Christianity (OUP) by Edmon Gallagher and John Meade
  5. Engaging Ephesians (GlossaHouse) by John DelHousaye
  6. Justification in the Second Century (Baylor) by Brian Arnold
  7. Christian Ethics (Crossway) by Wayne Grudem

An Evening with the Professors

On April 19th from 7–9 PM, join us as we celebrate the published work of Dr. Brian Arnold and Dr. Peter Gurry. We want to celebrate them and their achievements, even as they present to us on the significance of their books.

Dr. Arnold will present "The Need for Cyprian Today" and Dr. Gurry will present "How your Greek New Testament is Changing." There will be a Q & A session following their talks.

The event is free and open to the public. Please register here.

On this evening, we will feature Cyprian of Carthage: His Life and Impact by Dr. Arnold and A New Approach to Textual Criticism by Dr. Gurry. You will receive a complimentary T-shirt with your purchase.

There will be a light dessert reception to follow.

A New Approach to Textual Criticism cover

Musings on The Intellectual Life

The Intellectual Life: Its Spirit, Conditions, Methods by A. G. Sertillanges (repr. CUA Press, 1998) is a classic of which the seminarian should be aware. I draw attention to a few of the salient points made by Sertillanges in hopes that the reader will pursue matters further by reading the whole book. Its preliminary chapters treat matters of vocation and virtue, and later chapters offer practical advice for how to carry out the work of the mind.

The Intellectual Vocation

At the beginning, Sertillanges defines the intellectual vocation as follows:

When we speak of vocation, we refer to those who intend to make intellectual work their life” (3).

How is this vocation related to the seminarian? Much of what we do at seminary is related to the mind. After all, we are commanded to love God with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength (cf. Mark 12:30). The activities of reading and writing will fill the time of the seminarian and also the future pastor. If this is so, then how will our intellectual work deepen?

He continues saying:

I say the deepening [that is, the calling to the intellectual life], in order to set aside the idea of a superficial tincture of knowledge. A vocation is not fulfilled by vague reading and a few scattered writings. It requires penetration and continuity and methodical effort, so as to attain a fullness of development which will correspond to the call of the Spirit, and to the resources that it has pleased Him to bestow on us” (pg. 3).

A seminarian as intellectual is called to the deep things of the study of God and his Word. Not only are these good and right objects of study in themselves, but deep study of them will lead to a faithful ministry of the Word (2 Tim. 2:15).

The Virtues of an Intellectual

Lest one think that the intellectual life is merely a matter of the mind, Sertillanges unpacks the intellectual life in the next chapter with a clear discussion of virtue. He says:

The qualities of character have a preponderant role in everything. The intellect is only a tool; the handling of it determines the nature of its effects....Life is a unity: it would be very surprising if we could give fullest play to one of its functions while neglecting the other, or if to live our ideas should not help us to perceive them (17–9).

Sertillanges argues, "virtue in general is necessary for knowledge, and that the more moral rectitude we bring to study, the more fruitful the study is" (24–5). He illustrates this point earlier:

How will you manage to think rightly with a sick soul, a heart ravaged by vice, pulled this way and that by passion, dragged astray by violent or guilty love? ... Think it out. On what, first and foremost does all the effort of study depend? On attention, which delimits the field for research, concentrates on it, brings all our power to bear on it; next, on judgment, which gathers up the fruit of investigation, Now, passions and vices relax attention, scatter it, lead it astray; and they injure the judgment in roundabout ways...(21).

Right and fruitful thinking essentially depends on right and virtuous living.

The Work of Direct Meditation: Piety

But what fuels the soul? Devotion or piety is the source of a flourishing intellectual. There will be a temptation to lay personal devotion aside in the name of study. The reality is that disregarding devotion will dry up one's ability to study rightly and to discover the truth because it neglects the basic order that study of things is an indirect meditation while devotion is a direct meditation on the Creator of all things.

Sertillanges captures this reality well:

But study must first of all leave room for worship, prayer, direct meditation on the things of God...Study carried to such a point that we give up prayer and recollection, that we cease to read Holy Scripture, and the words of the saints and of great souls—study carried to the point of forgetting ourselves entirely, and of concentrating on the objects of study so that we neglect the Divine Dweller within us, is an abuse and a fool’s game. To suppose that it will further our progress and enrich our production is to say that the stream will flow better if its spring is dried up” (28–29).

The cultivation of the virtue of studiousness depends on devotion and piety. We will not succeed in the work of the mind if we neglect the Triune God. When we read Holy Scripture, worship, pray, and directly meditate on the things of God, we return to the source of all good and truth, to the source of the matters with which we are engaged. In short, we should devote ourselves to God and then to the work God has called us.


Sertillanges challenges the reader to conceive of the work of the mind as a vocation. The book calls the reader to the deeper things of the intellectual life, and the seminarian must be acquainted with aspects of that life. Later in the book, Sertillanges provides a clear treatment of the organization of life and the various aspects of the work he envisions. Above, I have attempted only to show something of the vocation and virtues of the intellectual life. This life is a unity, and its depth of knowledge depends on its source in piety and devotion to God.

About the Author

Dr. John Meade joined the Phoenix Seminary faculty in 2012 and he teaches Old Testament and Hebrew. You can learn more about him at his faculty page here.

John DelHousaye on Praying the Nunc Dimittis

Simeon in the Temple, by Rembrandt van Rijn, 1631

Luke has given us three prayers for Advent—the Magnificat, the Benedictus, and the Nunc Dimittis. This meditation focuses on the third; I intend to offer context for the focus (kavanah) we bring to the prayer.

This section in Luke’s birth narrative of Jesus has four chiastic subunits:

A         Piety of Parents (2:21–24)

B          Simeon’s Piety (2:25–28a)

B′         Simeon’s Prayer (2:28b–32)

A′        Piety of Parents (2:33–35)

Luke frames the unit by emphasizing Mary and Joseph’s obedience to the Law of the Lord. In the first subunit, Jesus is circumcised and presented to the Lord in the temple. This was the first shedding of his blood. When God covenanted with Abraham, he commanded, “He who is eight days old among you shall be circumcised” (Gen 17:12 ESV). God goes on to promise the birth of Isaac (vv. 15–27), and then paradoxically commands his sacrifice, although the son is ultimately spared (ch. 22). The presentation evokes the exodus when God killed all the first-born males in Egypt. Now God the Father will sacrifice his only Son.

At the center of the unit, Simeon “takes up” (dechomai, δέχομαι) the body of Christ (2:28a). The verb describes receiving something like a gift (see Phil 4:18). At the Lord’s Supper, “After taking up (dechomai) the cup and giving thanks,” Jesus said: “Take this and divide it among yourselves” (Luke 22:17).

Simeon had been yearning “for the comforting of Israel,” a motif in Isaiah. The prophet looks forward to the end of exile and a Davidic Messiah. After the first call for comfort (40:1), the ministry of the Baptist is foretold (vv. 3–5), a passage that is cited in the next chapter (Luke 3:4–6), and then we find this meditation on God’s promises and life’s brevity:

All flesh is grass,
and all its beauty is like the flower of the field . . .


The grass withers, the flower fades,
but the word (rēma, ῥῆμα) of our God will stand forever. (Isa 40:6–8 ESV)

Simeon “blessed God and said:

‘Now you are releasing your servant, Master,
according to your word (rēma, ῥῆμα) in peace. [Isa 40:8]
For my eyes saw your salvation
that you prepared before (the face of) all the peoples,
a light for the revelation of the peoples
and glory of your people Israel.’”

The Nunc Dimittis (“Now as you dismiss”) has been sung or recited in the evening before sleep, a kind of death, since the fifth century and following the Lord’s Supper. Like the characters in the story, we bring our weariness of life to the Nunc Dimittis. T. S. Eliot expresses this suffering in A Song for Simeon (1928):

Lord, the Roman hyacinths are blooming in bowls and
The winter sun creeps by the snow hills;
The stubborn season has made stand.
My life is light, waiting for the death wind,
Like a feather on the back of my hand.
Dust in sunlight and memory in corners
Wait for the wind that chills towards the dead land.

Yet God offers personally redemptive moments in a fallen world. We see the pattern with Jacob and Simeon, and we have all been given the Holy Spirit in the new covenant. Until then, as part of the body of Christ, we take up the bread and wine and pray expectantly. Instead of competing with other disciples or trying to control circumstances, we serve joyfully until our release. We have seen God’s intervention, and may go in peace.

About the Author

Dr. John DelHousaye joined the faculty of Phoenix Seminary in 2001 and predominantly teaches the books and language of the New Testament. Dr. DelHousaye serves the local church through preaching and teaching, as well as through the development of discipleship materials. His academic interests include Jesus, Judaism, the Church Fathers and Mothers, gender, justice, non-Western expressions of Christianity, and spiritual formation. He has taught at Seminario Evangelico de Lima and Arizona Christian University, also serving on the Advisory Council for Hope Women’s Center in Phoenix.

A Tribute to R. C. Sproul from Wayne Grudem

Yesterday, the popular Christian author, speaker, and founder of Ligonier Ministries, R. C. Sproul, passed into glory. Posted here is a note of gratitude for his life and ministry from Wayne Grudem.

R. C. Sproul

R. C. Sproul was a tireless, ever-courageous defender of the inerrancy of the Bible and the unfathomable greatness of our sovereign God. He had an influential leadership role in producing the 1978 Chicago Statement on Biblical Inerrancy. Throughout his life, he was a major voice promoting a resurgence of Reformed theology as the system of doctrine most consistent with Scripture and most conducive to deep trust in God every moment of every day. My interaction with R. C. was primarily related to his long-time agreement with the ministry the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, especially in our opposition to the gender-neutral changes in the TNIV Bible, and most recently in his willingness to be one of the first signers of the Nashville Statement on Biblical Sexuality.

I am thankful to God for his life and ministry. His death makes me think of this promise of Scripture: “And I heard a voice from heaven saying, ‘Write this: Blessed are the dead who die in the Lord from now on.’ ‘Blessed indeed,’ says the Spirit, ‘That they may rest from their labors, for their deeds follow them!’” (Rev. 14:13)​.

Further Reading

A look back at Sproul's ministry by Justin Taylor
R. C. Sproul's website

About the Author

Dr. Grudem became Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary in 2001 after teaching at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School for 20 years. He has served as the President of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, as President of the Evangelical Theological Society (1999), and as a member of the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version of the Bible. He also served as the General Editor for the ESV Study Bible (Crossway Bibles, 2008).

John Meade on The Biblical Canon Lists

"What is a biblical canon list," you ask? It is an ancient list of biblical books usually drafted by a church father or synod to specify those books churches recognized as authoritative for doctrine. For example, St. Gregory of Nazianzus drafted a canon list of books (381–90 AD) that promoted piety on the one hand and defended from heterodoxy on the other. At the end of his list, he made clear, at least in his mind, that this list was final and exclusive, "You have all. If there is any book outside of these, they are not among the genuine ones." Gregory was aware of "many, strange books" and "interpolated evils" that had come into being, and his list specified the genuine books so that the reader might also be able to recognize the spurious ones.

Sometimes in the context of a canon list, a father would also draft another list that included other books of a secondary status or position; that is, books not recognized as canonical but books to be read to new converts or useful and beneficial books (e.g. Wisdom of Solomon or the Shepherd of Hermas).

Why are these canon lists important? They provide the clearest, most specific information regarding the Bible's contents in antiquity and therefore will be of interest to anyone who has wondered how they got their Bible.

Until now, access to these ancient biblical canon lists was a challenge for the student and scholar alike. Ed Gallagher and John Meade wrote the The Biblical Canon Lists from Early Christianity: Texts and Analysis (Oxford University Press, 2017) to make these sources available in one volume. After a substantial opening chapter on the evidence and views of the early period, they provide a chapter on Jewish lists (Josephus; Babylonian Talmud); three chapters on Greek, Latin, and Syriac Christian lists respectively; a substantial chapter on the contents of early Christian manuscripts; and finally, an Appendix which treats the disputed and more common apocryphal books. The famous canon lists of Eusebius, Athanasius, Jerome, and Augustine along with many others are now included in one volume. The book presents each list in two columns, the first containing the list in its original language, while the second contains an English translation with commentary in footnotes.

About the Author

Dr. John Meade joined the Phoenix Seminary faculty in 2012. He teaches courses in Hebrew Language and Old Testament Literature along with elective courses on the Septuagint, the Apocrypha, the Canon of Scripture, and Biblical Theology. He and his wife and four kids attend Trinity Bible Church where he serves as community group leader and Sunday School teacher.

Wayne Grudem on Theistic Evolution

Theistic evolution is the view that God did not directly act in the world to create plants, animals, or human beings, but instead that He simply created inanimate matter at the beginning of the universe and then allowed completely naturalistic mechanisms such as random mutation and natural selection to produce all forms of life, including the first living cells and human beings.

Mainstream (secular) evolutionary theories offer a view of biological origins that excludes any role for a designing intelligence or Creator of any kind—affirming instead that “evolution works without plan or purpose.” And now many Christian theologians, scholars, and pastors have felt obligated to accept the evolutionary account of human and biological origins because of the presumed scientific authority of the evolutionary biologists. Consequently, many Christians leaders have thought that they must interpret the Bible to make it conform to evolutionary claims about the origin of life and human beings.

This book challenges this approach and the concept of theistic evolution. The editors J. P. Moreland (philosopher), Stephen Meyer, (philosopher of science), Ann Gauger (protein evolution specialist), Christopher Shaw (molecular endocrinologist), and Wayne Grudem (theologian) have assembled two-dozen highly credentialed scientists (including specialists in molecular and cell biology, organic chemistry, bioprocess engineering, developmental biology, mathematical statistics, zoology, and paleontology) as well as philosophers and theologians from Europe and North America to marshal a formidable interdisciplinary critique of theistic evolution.

The argument presented by Theistic Evolution: A Scientific, Philosophical, and Theological Critique (Crossway, November 2017) is divided into three parts: a scientific critique of theistic evolution, including the claim that human beings descended from sub-human animals; a philosophical critique of the idea that “science” must be limited to materialistic explanations of the origins of living things; and a biblical and theological critique of the idea that the Bible can be interpreted in a way that is compatible with Darwinian evolution. The contributors not only document many scientific and evidential problems with contemporary evolutionary theory, they also show that the prominent versions of theistic evolution deny specific historical events in the biblical account of creation, undermining several basic Christian doctrines. Consequently, this volume provides the most comprehensive scientific and Christian critique of theistic evolution yet produced.

[Editor: If this article interests you, check out the Phoenix Seminary January conference based on this book. Wayne Grudem, J. P. Moreland, and Stephen Meyer will be speaking. Click this link for more information.]

About the Author

Dr. Grudem became Research Professor of Theology and Biblical Studies at Phoenix Seminary in 2001 after teaching at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School for 20 years. He has served as the President of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood, as President of the Evangelical Theological Society (1999), and as a member of the Translation Oversight Committee for the English Standard Version of the Bible. He also served as the General Editor for the ESV Study Bible (Crossway Bibles, 2008).