• Murray J Harris is a master teacher able to communicate and unpack difficult texts. Read anything he writes.
    1. I wanted to write a review when LA 151 came out but didn’t. Now that LA 171 is out I just feel as though someone should review this product. First of all, Michael Heiser is to be commended on his effort producing this resource. I believe Dr. Heiser is exceptionally qualified to undertake producing this mobile ed. course. It is hard to rate this product without qualifying my rating. If this course was intended for new believers still doing word studies with a Strongs Concordence book then I would have no problem rating this course as a “4 star”. I just feel as though Faithlife has missed an opportunity to produce an exceptional product that would appeal to a much larger market if it had done things a little different. I suppose the main reason I am writing this review is because after watching both LA 151 and LA 171 many times I just don’t understand Michael Heiser’s comment on Dr. John Walton’s article in NIDOTTE. I don’t understand Faithlife allowing it in the first place nor letting it stand in the new version. If anyone would care to check the facts you would see that John Walton was correct in his statement, “There is no basis in the context, however, for identifying any of these as a nuance of עַלְמָה.” Dr. Walton qualifies this statement later in the article saying, “It is evident that the primary meaning of the word has to do with sexual maturity and, by extension, the age of the young woman, not with sexual experience or the lack of it. That the word may be used of a virgin is evident: it is not used, however, to define her virginity, but to define her capacity for marriage.” Faithlife should apologize to Dr. Walton for letting this go on for this many years.
      1. Rod, I think your review would be much more helpful- to someone like me who does not know the original languages of the Bible-if you would have explained what it was like taking this course. Rather than focusing on one particular issue you had with an article, that to a beginner like me would not find much interest in. (Perhaps one day we may find it insightful) Such a review that would be beneficial to a beginner is, would this course be helpful for beginners, or would it be just for intermediate and and advanced level Bible students? What are the advantages of using this course? Would a course like this be good for Logos users just looking to do word studies? Even if you had nothing else to compare it to, your experience with it can be helpful to a lot of people. I just wanted to share this with you.
      2. Honestly, JesusisKing, I thought it was obvious that I was not writing my review to cover all scenarios of those who would benefit from this course. My intent mainly was to expose what I believe to be a travesty. In my opinion Dr. Heiser made an unnecessary pot-shot at Dr. Walton. That may be insignificant to you but it doesn’t sit well with me. Beyond all this I just happen to agree with that which Dr. Walton says. I believe Dr. Walton is spot on in which he comments on. I believe it is Dr. Heiser who has misunderstood the situation here. I hope I have not been misunderstood either. I am not judging why Dr. Heiser made his comment; all I am doing is expressing my feelings for what I feel is unwarranted and in error.             Maybe I can be of some help to you. I did state that “If this course was intended for new believers still doing word studies with a Strongs Concordence book then I would have no problem rating this course as a “4 star”.” You say that you are a beginner and yet “beginner” covers a pretty wide area of where you might actually be. Here is my advice to you, if you can access this course as a free mobile ed course from a Faithlife account then I say go for it. Will you profit from it? I think you could and yet I’m not sure you are up for the extent of grammar and syntax which is introduced in this course. I just happen to believe we as Christians rely too much on commentaries. If you are going to read commentaries at least read exegetical commentaries dealing with the original language. If you plan on doing that, then yes you need to take a class like Dr. Heiser’s.             Here again there is more to this story. I have studied the Virgin Birth doctrine and the Incarnation for 11 years now and while I am no “theologian” I think I have been around the block at lease once. I find profit in all kinds of literature and theological articles, not just the ones that I agree with. You know the old saying, “Keep your friends close and your enemies closer”. Don’t make more of that than is necessary. You just need to know what you believe and why you believe it. I think you also need to know why you disagree with some other doctrines. That is a well rounded Christian who can give a reason for the hope that lies within him at a moments notice.             I would ask a favor of you if you do decide to take this course. Pay attention to what Dr. Heiser says. I mean real close attention. As he goes through his word study I believe his methodology is sufficient to get the job done. I would ask you one question when you get done, “Did Dr. Heiser follow his own methodology in the end?” Let me explain. Dr. Heiser is doing a word study on the word עַלְמָה (ALMAH) and is attempting to come to the correct translation of Isaiah 7:14. In doing so he makes reference to the passage in Genesis 24 and the search for the wife for Isaac. Dr. Heiser states that עַלְמָה may legitimately be translated as virgin in verse 43 because Rebecca is said to be virgin in verse 16. Excuse me but that is exactly where Dr. Heiser and Dr. Walton part company. Dr. Walton believes in a virgin birth and yet he is honest enough to admit that he cannot grammatically/exegetically prove this.             Dr. Heiser is wrong to state that עַלְמָה can be legitimately translated as “virgin” and Dr. Walton is correct when he says, “It is evident that the primary meaning of the word has to do with sexual maturity and, by extension, the age of the young woman, not with sexual experience or the lack of it. That the word may be used of a virgin is evident: it is not used, however, to define her virginity, but to define her capacity for marriage. So … it may also refer to a married young woman (until the birth of her first child) (Bratcher, 98).”. Dr. Heiser should apologize to Dr. Walton for his comment. That is what a Christian should when he is shown to be wrong. Sorry, that is my opinion. I hope this helps.
    2. I felt compeled to write a brief review in light of Jason’s post: Jason 3 days ago Fails to see Scripture in its context. I believe what Jason is trying to say is that Dr. Ryken does not address the relationship of the biblical story to the larger context of scripture, except where the story is the entire corpus of the book (Ruth, Jonah, Esther). Dr. Ryken does not address how, let’s say, the story of Joseph or Cain relate to the book of Genesis. I believe Jason should read the book again. The purpose of: How Bible Stories Work: A Guided Study of Biblical Narrative is to take the biblical narrative, the Story as a whole, and exegete that text in a micro (Not a macro) sense. Dr. Ryken states that every plot has a beginning, middle and end. Every biblical story fits into that framework. When you understand what the book is about, Dr. Ryken explains well the process of unpacking the story and understanding that which the author intended us to see. I give Dr. Ryken 5 stars for the same reason Jason should have; We read the text (Story) to cavalierly not taking the time to understand what the author is trying to say and how he develops his story. If you are interested at all in exegesis I would think this book is indispensable.
      1. Thank you Rod for your follow-up to my post. I am glad I happen to come across your rebuttal. You are indeed correct in clarifying what I meant by my short post. I am certainly willing to take another look at the book. I have a personal conviction at seeing books and passages in light of Scripture as a whole and I was disappointed in the fact that this seemed to be missing. I would look at a passage beginning from the macro and then work down to the micro. Thank you for both clarifying and rebutting in a kind and honest way.
    3. Zondervan should be praised for their willingness to produce resources which enable those who are not able to attend bible college or seminaries to learn with confidence the material required to achieve a working knowledge of the languages. Bill Mounce is owed a lot of gratitude from multitudes of those who learned Greek from home. Although when I watch the videos now, I watch them at 1.3 - 1.4 speed, I think these videos are what a lot of us were waiting for. Thank you, Bill Mounce, Miles Van Pelt.