Monday, August 26, 2013

Thessalonian Letters - Bibliography - Miscellaneous

Since I'm teaching a paper on the Thessalonian letters, I'd thought I'd blog the bibliography that I've compiled.  Please let me know if I've missed anything. 

 Conference Papers on the Thessalonian Letters
Harrison, James R. “‘The Ultimate Sinner’: Paul & the Antichrist in Political Context,” Delivered at the 125th SBL Annual Meeting 2005, Philadelphia, in the “Paul and Politics’ section. Available Online:
Johnson, E. Elisabeth. “Paul’s Reliance on Scripture in 1 Thessalonians,” Paper presented at Society of  Biblical  Literature, New Orleans, 2009.  Accessed, 24 September, 2010-09-25:'s_Reliance_on_Scripture_in_1_Thessalonians.pdf

Websites and Online Commentaries
John Chrysostom on Thessalonians:
John Calvin on Thessalonians:

Downloadable Commentaries at Internet Archive:
Denney, James. The Epistles to the Thessalonians. Expositor’s Bible. Hodder & Stoughton, 1897.
Eadie, John. A Commentary on the Greek Text of the Epistles of Paul to the Thessalonians. London: Macmillan,  1877.
Ellicott, Charles J. St. Paul’s Epistles to the Thessalonians. London: Longman, 1866.
Frame, James E. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles of St. Paul to the Thessalonians. ICC.  Edinburgh: T. & T. Clark, 1912.
Jowett, Benjamin. The Epistles of St. Paul to the Thessalonians, Galatians, Romans. London: J. Murray, 1859.
Milligan, George. St. Paul’s Epistles to the Thessalonians. London: Macmillan, 1908.
Plummer, Alfred. A Commentary on St. Paul’s First Epistle to the Thessalonians. London: R. Scott, 1914.

Online Audio Sermons
1 Thessalonians from the Gospel Coalition:

2 Thessalonians from the Gospel Coalition:

Other Web Resources

Other Articles of Interest
Barclay, John M. G. “Mirror Reading a Polemical Letter: Galatians as a Test Case,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament. 31 (1987): 73-93.
Funk, R. W. “The Apostolic Parousia: Form and Significance,” in Christian History and Interpretation: Studies  Presented to John Knox, ed. W. R. Farmer, C. F. D. Moule, R. R. Niebuhr. Cambridge: University Press, 1967, 249-68.
Harding, J. K. “Decrees and Drachmas at Thessalonica: An Illegal Assembly in Jason's House (Acts 17.1–10a)”  New Testament Studies 52 (2006), 29-49.
Hock, R.F. “The Workshop as a Social Setting for Paul's Missionary Preaching,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 41 (1979): 438-50.
Judge, E. A. “The Decrees of Caesar at Thessalonica” Reformed Theological Review 30 (1971), 1-7.
Lassen, Eva Maria. “The Use of the Father Image in Imperial Propaganda and 1 Corinthians 4:14-21,” Tyndale Bulletin 42.1 (1991), 127-136.
Pahl, Michael W. “The ‘Gospel’ and the ‘Word’: Exploring Some Early Christian Patterns” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 29.2 (2006), 211-227. 
Stowers, S. K. “Social Status, Public Speaking and Private Teaching: The Circumstances of Paul’s Preaching Activity.” Novum Testamentum 26 (1984), 59-82.
Sumney, Jerry L. “Paul’s ‘Weakness’: An Integral Part of His Conception of Apostleship,” Journal for the Study of  the New Testament 52 (1993), 71-91.
Weima, Jeffrey A. D. “The Pauline Letter Closings: Analysis and Hermeneutical Significance,” Bulletin for Biblical Research 5 (1995), 177-198.
Weima, Jeffrey A. D. “What does Aristotle Have to do with Paul? An Evaluation of Rhetorical Criticism” Calvin Theological Journal 32 (1997): 458-68.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Thessalonian Letters - Bibliography - Foreign Language Commentaries

Since I'm teaching a paper on the Thessalonian letters, I'd thought I'd blog the bibliography that I've compiled.  Please let me know if I've missed anything. 

Bickmann, J. Kommunikation gegen den Tod. Studien zur paulinischen Briefpragmatik am Beispiel des Ersten  Thessalonicherbriefes. FzB 86; Würzburg: Echter, 1998.
Dewailly, L.-M. La jeune Église de Thessalonique. Les deux premières épîtres de saint Paul. LeDiv 37; Paris: Cerf, 1963.
Dibelius, M. An die Thessalonicher I, II, an die Philipper. HNT 11; Tübingen: Mohr, 31937.
Haufe, G. Der erste Brief des Paulus an die Thessalonicher. ThHK 12/1; Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 1999.
Holtz, T. Der erste Brief an die Thessalonicher. EKK 13; Zürich – Neukirchen-Vluyn: Benziger – Neukirchener, 1986.
Légasse, S. Les épîtres de Paul aux Tessaloniciens. LeDiv Commentaires 7; Paris: Cerf, 1999.
Marxsen, W. Der erste Brief an die Thessalonicher. ZBK.NT 11/1; Zürich: Theologischer Verlag, 1979; tr. it. La  prima lettera ai Tessalonicesi. Guida alla lettura del primo scritto del Nuovo Testamento. Parola per l’uomo d’oggi 6; Torino: Claudiana, 1988.
Marxsen, W. Der zweite Brief an die Thessalonicher. ZBK.NT 11/2; Zürich: Theologischer Verlag, 1982.
Müller, P.-G. Der erste und zweite Brief an die Thessalonicher. RNT; Regensburg: Pustet, 2001.
Schürmann, H. Die erste Brief an die Thessalonicher. GSL.NT 13; Leipzig: St. Benno, 1961.
Staab, K. Die Thessalonicherbriefe, Die Gefangenschaftsbriefe. RNT 7/1; Regensburg: Pustet, 51969.
Trilling, W. Der zweite Brief an die Thessalonicher. EKK 14; Zürich: Benziger, 1980.
von Dobschütz, E. Die Thessalonicher-Briefe. KEK 10; Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 71909, 1974.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Thessalonian Letters - Bibliography - Chapters in Books

Since I'm teaching a paper on the Thessalonian letters, I'd thought I'd blog the bibliography that I've compiled.  Please let me know if I've missed anything. 

Donfried, Karl P. “The Imperial Cults of Thessalonica and Political Conflict in 1 Thessalonians” in Paul and  Empire:  Religion and Power in Roman Imperial Society. Eds. R. A. Horsley. Pennsylvania: Trinity  Press International, 1997, 215-223.
Fee, G. D. “Christology in the Thessalonian Correspondence” Pauline Christology: An Exegetical-Theological Study. Peabody: Hendrickson, 2007, 31-83.
Fee, G. D. “The Thessalonian Correspondence” in God’s Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul. Peabody: Hendrickson, 1996, 39-80.
Furnish, V. P. “The Spirit in 2 Thessalonians” in The Holy Spirit and Christian Origins: Essays in Honour of J. D.  G. Dunn.  Edited by G. N. Stanton; B. W. Longenecker & S. C. Barton. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2004, 229-240.
Jervis, L. A.  “1 Thessalonians” in At the Heart of the Gospel: Suffering in the Earliest Christian Message.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007, 1-36.
Koester, Helmut “Imperial Ideology and Paul’s Eschatology in 1 Thessalonians” in Paul and Empire: Religion and Power in Roman Imperial Society  Edited by R. A. Horsley. Pennsylvania: Trinity Press International, 1997, 158-166.
Manson, T. W. “The Letters to the Thessalonians” in Studies in the Gospels and Epistles. Ed. M. Black.  Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1962, 259-278.
Marshall, I Howard. “Pauline Theology in the Thessalonian Correspondence” in Paul and Paulinism: Essays In honour C.K. Barrett. Edited by M. D. Hooker, and S. G. Wilson, London: SPCK, 1982, 173-183.
Rosner, B. “Seven Questions for Paul’s Ethics: 1 Thessalonians 4:1-12 as a Case Study” in Understanding Paul’s Ethics: Twentieth-Century Approaches. Edited by B. Rosner.  Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1995, 351-360.
Wiles, G. “Function of the wish-prayers in I Thessalonians” in Paul’s Intercessory Prayers: The Significance of  the Intercessory Passages in the Letters of St. Paul.  Cambridge: CUP, 1974  45-71.

Friday, August 23, 2013

Thessalonian Letters - Bibliography - Journal Articles

Since I'm teaching a paper on the Thessalonian letters, I'd thought I'd blog the bibliography that I've compiled.  Please let me know if I've missed anything. 
Adams Jr., E. Randall  “Preaching from 1 and 2 Thessalonians,” South Western Journal of Theology 42 (1999), 66-78.
Adams, Sean A. “Evaluating 1 Thessalonians: An Outline of Holistic Approaches to 1 Thessalonians in the Last 25  Years,” Currents in Biblical Research 8:1 (2009), 51-70.
Ascough, Richard S. ‘The Thessalonian Christian Community as a Professional Voluntary Association,” Journal of Biblical Literature 119 (2000), 311–28.
Ascough, Richard S. “A Question of Death: Paul’s Community-Building Language in 1 Thessalonians 4:13-18,” Journal of Biblical Literature 123:3 (2004), 509-530.
Aus, Roger. “The Litrugical Background of the Necessity and Propriety of Giving Thanks According to 2 Thes 1:3,” Journal of Biblical Literature 92 (1972-3), 432-438.
Barclay, John M. G. “Conflict in Thessalonica,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 55 (1993), 512–30.
Barclay, John M. G. “Thessalonica and Corinth: Social Contrasts in Pauline Christianity,” Journal for the Study of  the New Testament 47 (1992), 49–74.
Bassler, Jouette M. “The Enigmatic Sign: 1 Thessalonians 1:5,” Catholic Biblical Quarterly 46 (1984), 496-510.
Black, David Alan. “The Literary Structure of 1 and 2 Thessalonians,” Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 3.3 (1994), 46-57.
Black, David Alan. “The Weak in Thessalonica: A Study in Pauline Lexicography” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 25:3 (1982), 307-321.
Bockmuehl, Markus. “1 Thessalonians 2:14-16 and the Church in Jerusalem,” Tyndale Bulletin 52.1 (2001), 1-31.
Burke, Trevor J. “Pauline Paternity in 1 Thessalonians,” Tyndale Bulletin 51.1 (2000), 59-80.
Criswell, W. A. “Make it a Matter of Prayer: 1 Thessalonians 5:17,” Criswell Theological Review 1:1 (2003), 105-10.
Currie, Thomas W. “1 Thessalonians 5:12-24,” Interpretations (2006), 446-449.
DeSilva, David A. “‘Worthy of His Kingdom’: Honour Discourse and Social Engineering in 1 Thessalonians,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 64 (1997), 49-79
Donfried, K. P. “The Cults of Thessalonica and the Thessalonian Correspondence,” New Testament Studies 31 (1985), 336–56.
Edson, Charles. “Cults of Thessalonica,” Harvard Theological Review 41:3 (1948), 153-204.
Fowl, Stephen. “A Metaphor in Distress: A Reading of NEPIOI in 1 Thessalonians 2:7.” NTS 36 (1990), 469-473.
Fredrickson, David. “Passionless Sex in 1 Thessalonians 4:4-5,” Word & World 23:1 (2003), 23-30.
Fudge, Edward. “The Final End of the Wicked,’ Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 27:3 (1984), 325-334.
Gieschen, Charles A.. “Christian identity in a pagan Thessalonica: the imitation of Paul's cruciform life” Concordia Theological Quarterly, 72:1 (2008), 3-18.
Goulder, Michael D. “Silas in Thessalonica,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 48 (1993), 87-106.
Gregory, Andrew. “A Theological Approach to Thessalonians,” Expository Times 117 (2006), 411-412.
Gundry, Robert H. “A Brief Note on “Hellenistic Formal Receptions and Paul’s Use of APANTHSIS  in 1 Thessalonians 4:17,” Bulletin of Biblical Research 6 (1996), 39-41.
Gupta, Nijay. “An Apocalyptic Reading of Psalm 78 in 2 Thessalonians 3,”  Journal for the Study of the New Testament 31 (2008), 179-194.
Harrison, James R. “Paul and the Imperial Gospel at Thessaloniki” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 25.1 (2002), 71-96.
Heath, Jane M. F. “Absent Presences of Paul and Christ: Enargia in 1 Thessalonians 1-3,” Journal for the Study of  the New Testament 32:1 (2009), 3-8.
Hendrix, Holland “Benefactor/Patron Networks in the Urban Environment: Evidence from Thessalonica,” Semeia 56 (1991), 39-58.
Johnson, E. Elizabeth. “Preaching in 1 Thessalonians,” Journal for Preachers 28:3 (2005), 20-26.
Kaye, B. N. “Eschatology and Ethics in 1 and 2 Thessalonians” Novum Testamentum 17:1 (1975), 47-57.
Koester, Helmut “1 Thessalonians – Experiment in Christian Writing” in Continuity and Discontinuity in Church History: Essays presented to G. H. Williams (Leidin: Brill, 1979), 33-44.
Krentz, Edgar. “Evangelism and Spirit: 1 Thessalonians 1” Currents in Theology and Mission 14:1 (1987), 22-30.
McKinnish Bridges, Linda. “Terms of Endearment: Paul’s Words of Comfort in First Thessalonians,” Review and  Expositor 96 (1999), 211-232.
Malbon, Elizabeth Struthers. ““No Need to Have Any One Write”?: A Structural Exegesis of 1 Thessalonians,” Semeia 26 (1983), 56-83.
Malherbe, A. J. “Exhortation in First Thessalonians,” Novum Testamentum 25 (1983), 238–56.
Malherbe, A. J. ““Gentile as a Nurse”: The Cynic Background to 1 Thess 2,” Novum Testamentum 12 (1970), 204-217.
Malherbe, A. J. “Paul: Hellenistic Philosopher or Christian Pastor?” Anglican Theological Review, 68:1 (1986), 3- 13.
Martin, M. “‘Example’ and ‘Imitation’ in the Thessalonian Correspondence,” South Western Journal of Theology 42 (1999), 39-49.
May, David. ““You Cannot Hide the Soul”: 1 Thessalonians 5:12-22,” Review and Expositor 96 (1999), 277-85.
Mearns, C. L. “Early Eschatological Development in Paul: The Evidence of I and II Thessalonians,” New  Testament Studies 27 (1980–1), 137–57.
Menken, M. J. J. “Paradise Regained or Still Lost? Eschatology and Disorderly Behaviour in 2 Thessalonians,” New  Testament Studies 38 (1992), 271–89.
Otey, Rush. “An Invitation to 1 Thessalonians,” Pentecost (1995), 39-41.
Patte, Daniel. “Method for a Structural Exegesis of Didactic Discourses: Analysis of 1 Thessalonians,” Semeia 26 (1983), 85-136.
Polhill, John B. “Hope in the Lord: Introduction to 1-2 Thessalonians,” South Western Journal of Theology 3:3 (1999), 22-44.
Polythress, Vern S. “‘2 Thessalonians 1 Supports Amillenianism,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 37:4 (1994), 529-538.
Porter, Stanley, E. “Developments in German and French Thessalonians Research: A Survey and Critique,” Currents in Research 7 (1999), 309-34.
Powell, Charles E. “The Identity of the “Restrainer” in 2 Thessalonians 2:6-7,” Bibliotheca Sacra 154 (1997), 320-32.
Quarles, Charles L. “The APO of 2 Thessalonians 1:9 and the Nature of Eternal Punishment,” Westminster Theological Journey 59 (1997), 201-11.
Reinhartz, Adele. “On the Meaning of the Pauline Exhortation: ‘mimētai mou ginesthe – become imitators of  me’,” Studies in Religion 16 (1987), 393-403.
Roose, Hanna. “‘A Letter as by Us’: Intentional Ambiguity in 2 Thessalonians 2.2,” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 29.1 (2006), 107-124.
Richards, E. Randolph. “Ministering in a Tough Place: Paul's Pattern in Thessalonica,” South Western Journal of Theology 42 (1999), 17-38.
Seifrid, Mark A. “Faith, Hope, and Love: Paul’s Message to the Church at Thessalonica,” Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 3:3 (1999), 58-64.
Skeen, Judy. “Not as Enemies, But Kin: Discipline in the Family of God—2 Thessalonians 3:6-10,” Review and Expositor 96 (1999), 287-294.
Smith, Jay E. “1 Thessalonians 4:4: Breaking the Impasse,” Bulletin of Biblical Research 11.1 (2001), 65-105.
Smith, Jay E. “Another Look at 4Q416 2 ii.21, a Critical Parallel to First Thessalonians 4:4,’ Catholic Biblical Quarterly 63 (2001), 499-504.
Stacy, R. Wayne. “Introduction to the Thessalonian Correspondences,” Review and Expositor 96 (1999), 175-194.
Still, Todd D. “Eschatology in the Thessalonian Letters,” Review and Expositor 96 (1999), 195-210.
Still, Todd D. “Interpretive Ambiguities and Scholarly Proclivities in Pauline Studies: A Treatment of Thee Texts from 1 Thessalonians 4 as a Test Case,” Currents in Biblical Research 5.2 (2007), 207-219.
Still, Todd D.  “Paul's Thessalonian Mission,” South Western Journal of Theology 42 (1999), 4-16.
Vang, Preben  “Sanctification in Thessalonians,” South Western Journal of Theology 42 (1999), 50-65.
Walton, Steve. “What has Aristotle to do with Paul? Rhetorical Criticism and 1 Thessalonians,” Tyndale Bulletin 46.2  (1995), 229-250.
Wanamaker, Charles. ““Like A Father Treats His Own Children”: Paul and the Conversion of the Thessalonians,” Journal of Theology for Southern Africa 92 (1995), 46-56.
Ware, James “The Thessalonians as a Missionary Congregation: 1 Thessalonians 1:5-8” Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 83 (1992): 126- 31.
Waternman, G. Henry. “The Sources of Paul’s Teaching on the 2nd Coming of Christ in 1 and 2 Thessalonians,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 18:2 (1975), 105-113.
Weima, Jeffrey A. D. ‘An Apology for the Apologetic Function of 1 Thessalonians 2.1-12” Journal for the Study of  the New Testament 68 (1998), 73-99.
Weima, Jeffrey A. D. “Infants, Nursing Mother, and Father: Paul’s portrayal of a Pastor,” Calvin Theological Journal 37 (2002), 209-229.
Weima, Jeffrey A. D. “The Slaying of Satan’s Superman and the Sure Salvation of the Saints: Paul’s Apocalyptic Word of Comfort (2 Thessalonians 2:1-17),” Calvin Theological Journal 41 (2006), 67-88.
Weima, Jeffrey A. D. “‘How You Must Walk to Please God': Holiness and Discipleship in 1 Thessalonians” in Patterns of Discipleship in the New Testament (ed. Richard N. Longenecker; Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), 98-119.
Winter, Bruce W. “‘If a man does not wish to work…’ A Cultural and Historical Setting for 2 Thessalonians 3:6-16,”Tyndale Bulletin 40 (1989), 303-315.
Winter, Bruce W. “The Entries and Ethics of Orators and Paul (1 Thessalonians 2:1-12),” Tyndale Bulletin 44.1 (1993), 55-74.
Yarbrough. Robert W. “Sexual Gratification in 1 Thess 4:1-8” Trinity Journal 20.2 (1999), 215-232.

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Thessalonian Letters - Bibliography - Monographs

Since I'm teaching a paper on the Thessalonian letters, I'd thought I'd blog the bibliography that I've compiled.  Please let me know if I've missed anything. 
Ascough, Richard Paul’s Macedonian Associations: The Social Context of Philippians & 1 Thessalonians. Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen Zum Neuen Testament, 2003.
Beutler, J. and K. P. Donfried, The Thessalonians Debate: Methodological Discord or Methodological Synthesis? Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000.
Burke, Trevor J. Family Matters : A Socio-Historical Study of Fictive Kinship Metaphors in 1 Thessalonians. New York: T & T Clark International, 2003.
Collins R. F. (ed.), The Thessalonian Correspondence. BEThL 87; Leuven: Peeters, 1990.
Collins, R. F. Studies on the First Letter to the Thessalonians. BEThL 66; Leuven: Peeters, 1984.
Donfried, K. P. Paul, Thessalonica and Early Christianity. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.
Donfried, Karl P., and I. Howard Marshall. The Theology of the Shorter Pauline Letters. New York: Cambridge University Press, 1993.
Donfried K. P. and J. Beutler, Eds., The Thessalonians Debate: Methodological Discord or Methodological Synthesis?Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000.
Holland, G. S. The Tradition that You Received from Us. 2 Thessalonians in the Pauline Tradition. HUTh 24; Tübingen: Mohr, 1988.
Huges, F. W. Early Christian Rhetoric and 2 Thessalonians. Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplemant 30; Sheffield: JSOT, 1989.
Jewett, R. K. The Thessalonian Correspondence: Pauline Rhetoric and Millenarian Piety. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1986.
Malherbe, A. J. Paul and the Thessalonians. Philadelphia, PA: Fortress, 1987.
Nicholl, Colin R. From Hope to Despair in Thessalonica: Situating 1 and 2 Thessalonians. Society for New  Testament Studies Monograph Series 126. Cambridge: CUP, 2003.
Pahl, Michael W. Discerning the 'Word of the Lord': The 'Word of the Lord' in 1 Thessalonians 4:15. Library of New Testament Studies 389. London: T. & T. Clark, 2009.
Still, Todd D. Conflict at Thessalonica: A Pauline Church and Its Neighbours.  Journal for the Study of the New Testament Supplement Series 183. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1999.
Walton, Stephen J. Leadership and lifestyle: the portrait of Paul in the Miletus speech and I Thessalonians.  Cambridge: CUP, 2000.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Thessalonian Letters - Bibliography - Commentaries

Since I'm teaching a paper on the Thessalonian letters, I'd thought I'd blog the bibliography that I've compiled.  Please let me know if I've missed anything. 

Beale, Gregory K. 1-2 Thessalonians. IVP New Testament Commentary. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2010.
Best, Earnest. 1 & 2 Thessalonians. Black's New Testament Commentary. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1995.
Bruce, F.F. 1 & 2 Thessalonians. Word Biblical Commentary vol. 45. Waco: Word Books, 1982.
Calvin, John. 1, 2 Thessalonians. Calvin's Commentaries.  n.p.: Crossway Books, 1999.
Elias, Jacob W. 1 & 2 Thessalonians.  n.p.: Herald Press, 1995.
Ellingworth, P. & Nida, Eugene A. A Handbook on Paul's Letters to the Thessalonians. UBS Handbooks Helps for  Translators. United Bible Society, 1994.
Fee, Gordon D. The First and Second Letters to the Thessalonians. New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009.
Frame, James E. A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistles of St Paul to the Thessalonians.  International Critical Commentary. London: T&T Clark, 1960.
Furnish, V. P.  1 & 2 Thessalonians, Abingdon New Testament Commentaries.  Nashville: Abingdon Press, 2007.
Gaventa, Beverly Roberts. First and Second Thessalonians.  Interpretation Commentary. Louisville: John Knox, 1998.
Green, G. L.  The Letters to the Thessalonians. Pillar New Testament Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.
Holmes, Michael. 1 & 2 Thessalonians. The NIV Application Commentary.  Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1998.
Jensen, Irving L. 1 and 2 Thessalonians: A Self-Study Guide. Chicago: Moody Press, 1999.
Martin, D. Michael. 1 & 2 Thessalonians, New American Commentary. Nashville: Broadman/Holman, 1995.
Malherbe, A. J. The Letters to the Thessalonians: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. Anchor  Bible  Commentary 32B; New York: Doubleday, 2000.
Marshall, I. Howard. 1 and 2 Thessalonians. New Century Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1983.
Morris, Leon. 1 & 2 Thessalonians, New International Commentary on the New Testament. Rev. ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994.
McKinnish Bridges, L.  1 & 2 Thessalonians. Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary.  Georgia: Smyth & Helwys, 2008.
Neil, William. The Epistle of Paul to the Thessalonians. Moffatt Commentary. Harper and Brothers, 1950.
Richard, Earl J. First and Second Thessalonians. Sacra Pagina 11. Collegeville: Liturgical Press, 1995.
Stott, John R. 1 and 2 Thessalonians: Living in the End Times Downers. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1998.
Wanamaker, Charles A. The Epistles to the Thessalonians, New International Greek Text Commentary. Grand  Rapids: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1994.
Williams, David J., and Gasque, Ward.  1 & 2 Thessalonians, New International Biblical Commentary.  Peabody,  Massachusetts: Hendrickson, 1994.
Witherington, Ben. 1 and 2 Thessalonians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006.
Woolsey, Warren. 1 and 2 Thessalonians: A Bible Commentary in the Wesleyan Tradition. Wesley Press, 1997.

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Worship and Theology

Sean du Toit :: Alphacrucis :: 2013

There is a necessary relationship to the theology that we have and the worship to God that we give.  Theology shapes and informs our worship of God.  All authentic worship assumes a theology.  I wish to go further and suggest that theology itself is a form of worship.  Listen to what Jesus says in John’s gospel: 
John 4:23-24   But the hour is coming, and is now here, when the true worshipers will worship the Father in Spirit and truth, for the Father seeks such as these to worship him. 24 God is Spirit, and those who worship him must worship in Spirit and truth.”
Every time we declare truth about God, it is an act of worship.  In the verbal and, ethical, individual and communal proclamation of the truth about who God is and what God has done for humanity, we are engaged in acts of worship.  John’s gospel is itself a theological reflection on the truth about the identity of God revealed in Jesus through the revelatory agency of the Spirit to the community gathered to worship and encounter God.  John’s gospel is thus a declaration of worship, enticing those who hear to enter into communion with God.  The vivid metaphors employed throughout are possibly strongest in the Eucharistic sections of John 6 where hearers are instructed to feast on the very body of Jesus, a feast of intimacy with God.  However, that intimacy is developed and maintained through theological reflection on the Christ event revealed throughout John’s gospel and Jesus’ teaching.  There is therefore a dynamic interplay between theology and worship throughout the gospel that invites those with ears to hear to come and taste and see that the Lord is good.  As N. T. Wright has perceptively noted that,
When you begin to glimpse the reality of God, the natural reaction is to worship him.  Not to have that reaction is a fairly sure sign that you haven’t yet really understood who he is or what he’s done.[1]
John’s explicit purpose in this gospel is to evoke a continued relationship of trust in Jesus. 
John 20:31      This is written so that you may [] trust that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, and that through trusting you may have life in his name.
The subjunctive πιστεύ[σ]ητε may either suggest “come to trust” or “continue to trust” that Jesus is who this gospel declares he is.  We need not quibble over the options as it is probably both.  But that means that an explicit purpose of this gospel is to feed the faithfulness, memory and imagination of God’s people with the truth about God so that they may continue to trust him and rely on him for life through him.  Worship sustains the community of God by facilitating an encounter with God and declaring truth about God.  Furthermore, lyrical theology, i.e., the words of the songs we sing, should give voice to the theology that shapes the life and practices of the church.  It is for this reason that Karl Barth declares that,
Theology is a particularly beautiful discipline.  Indeed, we can confidently say that it is the most beautiful of all disciplines.  To find academic study distasteful is the mark of the philistine.  The theologian who labours without joy is not a theologian at all.  Sulky faces, morose thoughts and boring ways of speaking are intolerable in this field.[2]
Joy and exciting thoughts must accompany the theologian for it is upon reflection of God given in Scripture that the theologian must wrestle with theology and construct imaginative portraits of this encountering God that remain in sync and faithful to the revelation of God throughout Scripture.  Vanhoozer aptly notes that “To witness to the love of God is the Christian theologian’s supreme privilege and supreme responsibility.”[3] 
Declaring truths about God which are faithful and in sync with the Scriptural revelation, are themselves an act of worship to the One who is worthy of our attention, affection and allegiance.  The very act of theology must be an act of worship because God is no object to be studied but rather as humble subjects we contemplate the supreme excellency of the divine nature (to echo Jonathan Edwards).  This God who came for us, and revealed Himself to us in many and varied ways of love and salvation, healing and compassion is worthy of our worship.  Stating that God is loving, saving, healing and compassionate is in sync with the truth of the Scriptural revelation, and thus reaffirms the character of God which is thus an act of worship itself. 
If we return to John 4:23-24 we notice the central role of the Spirit.  In John’s gospel, it is the role of the Spirit to reveal to us the identity of God and ourselves, but it is also the role of the Spirit to connect us to God (John 20:22).  The Spirit facilitates an encounter with God as the revealing God.  And truth about God is a medium through which God speaks and encounters his people.  The Spirit thus reveals truth, declares truth and inspires truth. 
There is therefore a dynamic interplay between theology and worship.  Theology not only inspires worship, but is itself an act of worship.  This worship causes us to further reflect on the God who is worthy of our worship, and thus inspires further theological reflection. 

[1] N. T. Wright, Simply Christian, (New York: HarperCollins, 2006), 123.
[2] Barth, Church Dogmatics II/1, 656.

[3] Kevin J. Vanhoozer, “The Love of God: Its Place, Meaning and Function in Systematic Theology” in First Theology: God, Scripture and Hermeneutics (Illinois: IVP, 2002), 95.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Letter Carriers - Bibliography

Here's a bibliography I'm compiling on Letter Carriers, as they relate to early Christianity, early Judaism and the Graeco-Roman world.  Feel free to add any items I've missed. 
Botha, Pieter. “The Verbal Art of the Pauline Letters: Rhetoric, Performance and Presence” in Rhetoric and the New Testament: Essays from the 1992 Heidelberg Conference, edited by Stanley Porter and T. H. Olbricht (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 1993) 409-428.
Epp, Eldon Jay “New Testament Papyrus Manuscripts and Letter Carrying in Greco-Roman Times,” in The Future of Early Christianity: Essays in Honor of Helmut Koester, Ed. Birger A. Pearson (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1991), 35-56.
Head, Peter M. “Letter Carriers in the Ancient Jewish Epistolary Material” in Jewish and Christian Scripture as Artifact and Canon Eds. C.A. Evans & H.D. Zacharias LNTS 70; (London: T & T Clark, 2009), 203-219.
Head, Peter. “Named Letter Carriers among the Oxyrhynchus Papyri” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 31.3 (2009): 279-299.
Keyes, C. W. “The Greek Letter of Introduction,” AJP 56 (1935), 28-44.
Llewelyn, S. R. “The Christian Letters of Recommendation”, NewDocs, 8:170.
Mcquire, M. “Letters and Letter Carriers in Christian Antiquity,” CW 53 (1960): 148-53, 184-85.
Mitchell, Margaret M. “New Testament Envoys in the Context of Greco-Roman Diplomatic and Epistolary Conventions: The Example of Timothy and Titus.” JBL 111 (1992): 641-662.
Murphy-O’Connor, J.  Paul the Letter-Writer: His World, His Options, His Skills Minnesota: The Liturgical Press, 1995.
Richards, E. Randolph. Paul and First-Century Letter Writing: Secretaries, Composition and Collection.  Illinois: IVP, 2004.

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

1 Peter Among Early Christian Writers

Lee Martin MacDonald notes the following use of 1 Peter among writers in the early Church:
Although there are several parallel phrases in Barnabas and 1 Peter (Barn. 5.6 and 1 Pet 1:20), it is only with Polycarp that clear use of 1 Peter is found (e.g., Pol. Phil. 1.3 and 1 Pet 1:8; Pol. Phil. 10:2 and 1 Pet 2:12).  The author of 2 Pet 3:1 (ca. 100-125, or possibly as late as 180) refers to the existence of an earlier letter by the Apostle Peter.  Eusebius claimed that Papias (ca. 100-150) knew and used 1 Peter (Hist. eccl. 3.39.17), and he includes it in the list of the recognised books (3.25.2 and 3.3.1).  Irenaeus was the first to use 1 Peter by name (Haer. 4.9.2; 4.16.5; 5.7.2), and thereafter many references are made to the book by the early church fathers.  Early witnesses validate the use of the book in the church, and it does not appear to have been seriously questioned in the fourth century, even though it is missing in the Muratorian Fragment.

Lee Martin MacDonald, The Biblical Canon: Its Origins, Transmission, and Authority (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2007), 395-396.

Tuesday, May 07, 2013

Detailed Exposition

It is not in the interest of extravagant ambition that we trouble ourselves with this detailed exposition, but we hope through such painstaking interpretation to train you in the importance of not passing over even one slight word or syllable in the Sacred Scriptures.  For they are not ordinary utterances, but the very expression of the Holy Spirit, and for this reason it is possible to find great treasure even in a single syllable. – John Chrysostom 

Saturday, April 27, 2013

The Intentional Fallacy and Authorial Intent

It is sometimes suggested that the article of William K. Wimsatt, and Monroe C. Beardsley, ‘The Intentional Fallacy’ Sewanee Review 54 (1946): 468-488, reprinted in William K. Wimsatt, The Verbal Icon. (Lexington: University of Kentucky Press, 1954), 3-18, has advocated the view that authorial intention is unknowable or irrelevant in understanding a text.  However, a careful reading of this piece notes that these authors are not suggesting that authorial intention be dismissed in reading any kind of text, but more specifically in reading poetry.  In fact, regarding the reading of other texts, they specifically state that “poetry differs from practical messages, which are successful if and only if we correctly infer the intention.”  They thus agree that authorial intention is important for the understanding of texts generally, with the noted exception of poetry.  It is thus ironic that some authors have missed their communicative intent and thus misrepresented their thesis. 
The irony is delicious.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Seneca on Household Management

Seneca, Ep. 94:1-2

That department of philosophy which supplies precepts appropriate to the individual case, instead of framing them for mankind at large — which, for instance, advises how a husband should conduct himself towards his wife, or how a father should bring up his children, or how a master should rule his slaves — this department of philosophy, I say, is accepted by some as the only significant part, while the other departments are rejected on the ground that they stray beyond the sphere of practical needs — as if any man could give advice concerning a portion of life without having first gained a knowledge of the sum of life as a whole!  But Aristo the Stoic, on the contrary, believes the above-mentioned department to be of slight import…

Translation by Gummere in Loeb.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

Hecaton on Household Management

Seneca, De beneficiis 2.18.1-2

Any duty involving two people makes equal demands on them both. Having examined what a father should be like, you will know that just as much work remains in order to make out what a son should be like.  If a husband has a role to play, the wife has no less of one. (2) The reciprocity in making demands and fulfilling them requires a rule which applies to both alike - and that, as Hecatonn says, is a difficult matter. Moral goodness, indeed anything approaching moral goodness, is always uphil1.   It requires not merely action, but rational action. Reason must be our guide throughout our life; all things, from the smallest to the greatest, must be performed on its instructions; gifts must be given in whatever manner reason suggests.

Seneca, Moral and Political Essays. Eds. John M. Cooper and J. F. Procopé (Cambridge: CUP, 1995), 226.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Aristotle on Household Management

Aristotle Pol. 1.1253b.1–14. 

And now that it is clear what are the component parts of the state, we have first of all to discuss household management; for every state is composed of households. Household management falls into departments corresponding to the parts of which the household in its turn is composed; and the household in its perfect form consists of slaves and freemen. The investigation of everything should begin with its smallest parts, and the primary and smallest parts of the household are master and slave, husband and wife, father and children; we ought therefore to examine the proper constitution and character of each of these three relationships, I mean that of mastership, that of marriage (there is no exact term denoting the relation uniting wife and husband), and thirdly the progenitive relationship (this too has not been designated by a special name).  Let us then accept these three relationships that we have mentioned.[1]
ἐπεὶ δὲ φανερὸν ἐξ ὧν μορίων ἡ πόλις συνέστηκεν, ἀναγκαῖον πρῶτον περὶ οἰκονομίας εἰπεῖν: πᾶσα γὰρ σύγκειται πόλις ἐξ οἰκιῶν. οἰκονομίας δὲ μέρη ἐξ ὧν πάλιν οἰκία συνέστηκεν: οἰκία δὲ τέλειος ἐκ δούλων καὶ ἐλευθέρων. ἐπεὶ[5]δ᾽ ἐν τοῖς ἐλαχίστοις πρῶτον ἕκαστον ζητητέον, πρῶτα δὲ καὶ ἐλάχιστα μέρη οἰκίας δεσπότης καὶ δοῦλος, καὶ πόσις καὶ ἄλοχος, καὶ πατὴρ καὶ τέκνα, περὶ τριῶν ἂν τούτων σκεπτέον εἴη τί ἕκαστον καὶ ποῖον δεῖ εἶναι. ταῦτα δ᾽ ἐστὶ δεσποτικὴ καὶ γαμική ἀνώνυμον γὰρ ἡ γυναικὸς καὶ ἀνδρὸς[10]σύζευξις καὶ τρίτον τεκνοποιητική καὶ γὰρ αὕτη οὐκ ὠνόμασται ἰδίῳ ὀνόματι. ἔστωσαν δὴ αὗται τρεῖς ἃς εἴπομεν. ἔστι δέ τι μέρος ὃ δοκεῖ τοῖς μὲν εἶναι οἰκονομία, τοῖς δὲ μέγιστον μέρος αὐτῆς: ὅπως δ᾽ ἔχει, θεωρητέον: λέγω δὲ περὶ τῆς καλουμένης χρηματιστικῆς.[2]


[1] See also N. E. 8.1160a.23-1161a.10; 5.1134b.9-18.  This tradition was common around the inception of early Christian thinking.  See D. L. Balch, “Neopythagorean Moralists and the New Testament Household Codes.” ANRW. II.26.1 (1992): 380–411.
[2] Aristotle, Aristotle's Politica Ed. W. D. Ross Oxford, Clarendon Press. 1957.

Monday, April 22, 2013

Philodemus, Concerning Household Management

XII.2–XVI.12; XXI.28–35; XXVII.42–47, XXVIII.3–539

Now that the views concerning these people [Xenophon (Socrates) and ps.-Theophrastus] have been sufficiently indicated, one must sketch our doctrines in a concise fashion (col. XII.2–5). Accordingly, we will discuss, not how to live nobly in a household, but how one must take a stand regarding the acquisition and preservation of property, with which [the terms] “household management” and “household manager,” it is agreed, are strictly concerned, although we do not continue to dispute in any way with those who choose to assign other [concerns] to these terms; and [how one must take a stand] regarding acquisition [of property] that is needed by the philosopher, not just by anybody (XII.5–17).
A philosopher has a [moderate] measure of wealth, a view which we have handed on in accord with our teachers in the book On Wealth, so that we might explain the management of the acquisition and preservation of this measure [of wealth]. (XII.17–25). Well then, in Metrodorus’ book On Wealth this sort of thing is found on the topic in the argument against those who say fairly that Cynic philosophers have chosen a way of life that is much too frivolous and easy. [Cynics] as far as possible remove everything from themselves which does not provide a simple life that ends peacefully and especially without confusion and with the least anxiety and trouble—precisely what the one who merely gathers for himself daily has (XII.25–41). For this also applies to a philosopher, but more than this is already entirely empty (XII.41–43). Therefore he [Metrodorus] has written that it is acceptable to say that this life is the best, with which the greatest tranquility and peace as well as the least annoying worry are associated (XII.44–XIII.3).
This does not seem, however, to be the goal, if we should flee everything in relation to whose possession we might at some time have troubles or might be distressed (XIII.3–8). For many of these matters produce some distress when they are possessed, but many more distresses when they are not present (XIII.8–11). Therefore bodily health involves some care and laborious toil, terrible distress [in body] nevertheless rather, whenever [health is] absent (XIII.11–15). Similarly the true friend also produces distress (l[E]p[aw]) to some degree when present, but causes more distress when absent (XIII.15–19). In this manner, the earnest person is able to distinguish clearly many things into what is advantageous and disadvantageous and to choose some rather than others. [The earnest person] does this not courteously, not because he is able to live “nobly” (against Socrates; see XII.6–7) and be in need of many things which, by not possessing, he will live miserably and lacking some he will be distressed (XIII.19–29).
Accordingly one must not flee everything by whose possession it is possible at some time to have troubles, worries and anxieties of such and such a kind, as I have said above (XIII.29–35; cp. XIII.3–8). One must accept some things, among which also is wealth, since one has less misery when it is present, rather for the whole of life but not (only) for some crisis; XIII.35–39). It is not safe to use the same rule with regard to toil. Indeed, there are toils for the one who provides for himself daily and even the one with plenty will have some troubles at some time (XIII.39–44). Similarly, even for the one who has acquired a moderate amount, it is not just to reject it on account of such a [possible] change of fortune (XIII.44–XIV.2).
But one must consider this for the most part as contributing to the best way of life (XIV.2–5). Wealth does not seem to produce unprofitable annoyances by itself, but (only) through the evil ( of those who use it (XIV.5–9). For the care and preservation [of wealth], as is fitting for one who is customarily in charge, sometimes produces trouble, but not more than occurs with earning a living day by day (XIV.9–15). And even if it [wealth] [produces] more [trouble], it is not more than the others which set free from difficulties (XIV.15–17). If someone cannot show that natural wealth does not yield much greater revenues than the toils which derive from a life of little . . . (XIV.17–23).
For I consider that wealth is rightly managed in this way: not to be grieved by what is lost nor on account of intemperate zeal in matters of profit and loss to be involved with “slave treadmills” by oneself (XIV.23–30). For toil in acquisition involves both dragging oneself by force and being anxious over losses since they will immediately lead to present and expected pain (XIV.30–37). But if someone can remove such difficulties from himself and neither attempt to accumulate and to gain as much property as possible by toil nor even that authority which wealth provides, nor prepare to preserve money with difficulty or to accumulate easily, the mode of life and readiness for acquisition would be precisely similar to sharing [with others] through it [wealth] (XIV.37–XV.3). For administering these things in this way follows on the fact that the wise person has acquired and is acquiring friends (XV.3–6). Besides, if 41 these things are not disposed in this manner, since, if these things are wasted, although others will not be found, much ease occurs regarding household management; otherwise, for those requiring speech more than the many agonies in war (XV.6–14).
But if they cannot somehow fall into this manner of life since they are unable to have a single friend . . . (XV.14–21). For it is possible to say that such a person has easier daily acquisition, since he is relaxed in this way about the things said by one who has no money (XV.21–26). For we see that the property preserved by such men is not less than the property of intense people, but if not, it is not thus quickly destroyed and not insecure property (XV.26–31).
Therefore a wise man will at no time be bound by wealth in such a way that he, for the sake of preserving it, endures great toils that are equivalent to nothing (XV.31–37). For this must cause use [of a property] to be without pain and the delight through this use to be unalloyed, a delight which does not add to the acquisition of wealth an oppressive anxiety for wise men; how will it be possible to be preserved, even when the most perilous times prevail (XV.37–45)? For a person who is prudent and confident about the future is not distressed by a humble and penurious mode of life, since he knows that the physical [body] is provided for by this [mode of life]; and he inclines willingly to the more abundant [mode of life]. Nor is what is sufficient for him to be found to be evil, the one for whom life is moderate and ordinary, and speech is healthy and true, even if he does not readily welcome any chance [life that happens to come along] (XV.44–XVI.12).

David L. Balch, “Philodemus, “On Wealth” and “On Household Management:” Naturally Wealthy Epicureans Against Poor Cynics” in Philodemus and the New Testament World  Eds. John T. Fitzgerald, Dirk Obbink, and Glenn S. Holland (Leiden: Brill, 2004), 177-196, here, 189-192.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Thoughts on the Widow's Offering in Luke 20:1-4

This narrative episode begins in 19:45 and carries through to 21:38.  It is thus important to hold together the various scenes and how they are related to one another, and not isolate them from the narrative co-text or episode in which they occur.  So let us take a brief look at the scenes before our episode and establish the contextual features that may shape the way we understand the rest of this section.  An overview of the chapter with its various narrative scenes looks something like this:
Conflict with the Jerusalem Leadership (19:45-21:4)
  1.     The Prophetic Demonstration in the Temple (19:45-48)
  2. The Question of Jesus’ Authority (20:1-8).  See especially 20:8.
  3. Jerusalem’s Unfaithful Leadership (20:9-19).  See especially 20:19.
  4. The Question of Caesar’s Authority (and the Priority of the Temple) (20:20-26).
  5. The Question of Moses’ Authority (20:27-40).
  6. The Question of the Messiah’s Authority (20:41-44).
  7. Warning to the Disciples (20:45-21:4)
  8. Prophecy of Judgement on the Temple (21:5-6)
We are now ready to take a closer look at 20:45-21:6

Vs. 45 In the hearing of all the people he said to the disciples:

Vs. 46 “Beware of the scribes, who like to walk around in long robes, and love to be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, and to have the best seats in the synagogues and places of honour at banquets.

The teaching is directed specifically at the disciples because they are not to emulate fellow teachers in certain respects.  They provide a counter-example for what Jesus is advocating.  This is seen in Jesus’ stringent critique of their quest for status and honour in the community at the expense of faithfulness to the heart of Torah. 
“Long robes,” like refers to “the outer garment by which a person is noted for his or her status.”[1]  This is in keeping with a Lukan theme where clothes note social status (cf. 7:25; 8:26-35; 16:19).
“‘Best seats’ [πρωτοκαθεδρία] and ‘places of honour’ [πρωτοκλισία] translate parallel Greek terms, both signifying the location of the seats reserved for the “first” among the gathered assembly.”[2]  This teaching is echoed in other places of Luke’s gospel (11:43; 14:7-11), suggesting an emphasis on religious leaders who want to be treated as wealthy benefactors.[3]
The four phrases used in 20:46 to characterise the teachers of the law are all ways of indicating claims to advanced social position through nonverbal behaviour.  Each illuminates the attempt of the teachers of the law to lay claim to exalted social status. 

Vs. 47 They devour widows’ houses and for the sake of appearance say long prayers. They will receive the greater condemnation.

The scribes have been shown to be inadequate interpreters of scripture (20:41-44).[4]  This failure of interpretation is now illustrated in their lives as they engage in activities that are not faithful to the scriptures. 
How exactly do they devour widows’ houses?  Fitzmyer lists several options.[5]
a)      Scribes accepted payment for legal aid to widows, even though such payment was forbidden.
b)      Scribes cheated widows of what was rightly theirs; as lawyers, they were acting as guardians appointed by a husband’s will to care for the widow’s estate.[6]
c)      Scribes sponged on the hospitality of these women of limited means, like the gluttons and gourmands mentioned in Ass. Mos. 7:6.
d)     Scribes mismanaged the property of widows like Anna who had dedicated themselves to the service of the Temple.
e)      Scribes took large sums of money from credulous old women as a reward for the prolonged prayer which they professed to make on their behalf.
f)       Scribes took the houses as pledges for debts which could not be paid.
 Jesus' response to this treatment of the poor widows is a pronouncement of greater condemnation.  The poor widow, a symbol of all those vulnerable in socieity, has been taken advantage of by the very system that was supposed to care for her.  As Green notes,
Jesus has gone on the offensive against them, and the ultimate charge he can lay against them is their participation in behaviours and their perpetuation of a system that victimizes widows, counted among the weakest members of society, whom both the law and leadership were to protect.[7]

Vs. 1   He looked up and saw rich people putting their gifts into the treasury;

Vs. 2   he also saw a poor widow put in two small copper coins.  

A λεπτός was a small copper coin.  A usual day’s wages was 120 lepta.  The offering was insignificant. The widow is described as “poor” but this is not the usual word πτωχοί (Lk. 4:18; 6:20; 7:22; 14:13, 21; 16:20, 22; 18:22; 19:8; 21:3) but another rare word, πενιχρός (Exod. 22:24; Prov. 28:15; 29:7; Lk. 21:2).  BDAG defines the word as “pertaining to being in need of things relating to livelihood).[8]  This women therefore has no income.  She is destitute.  What happens to her now that she has given all that she has?  How will she support herself?  Where will she get money for food, shelter and other necessities?  What are her options?  Slavery?  Prostitution?  Death? 
The scene deliberately contrasts the giving of the wealthy verses the giving of the poor.  The wealthy give with no consequence, but this poor widow has now sacrificed everything she has.  The wealthy thus give to a corrupt system, but with no real negative consequence to themselves.  The poor give to a corrupt system, but at great negative cost to themselves. 

Vs. 3   He said, “Truly I tell you, this poor widow has put in more than all of them;

Vs. 4   for all of them have contributed out of their abundance, but she out of her poverty has put in all she had to live on.”

Is Jesus’ offering this widow’s giving as an exemplary paradigm to be embraced and imitated?  Or, is Jesus offering a decisive and lament worthy illustration of the result of crooked scribes “devouring widows’ houses”? 
The inner disposition and outward bearing of the widow are not described or hinted at in the text, and nothing is said about divine vs. human measuring of gifts, because those are not the point of the story. And finally there is no praise of the widow in the passage and no invitation to imitate her, precisely because she ought not to be imitated.[9]
Thus, it is contextually more appropriate to read this narrative as specifically related to the warning Jesus is giving to the disciples.  Here, as so often in the gospels, we have a real illustration of the teaching/warning Jesus has just given concerning the scribes and those associated with the templ. 
The poverty of the widow, who gave her last pennies to the temple, illustrates what Jesus meant when he said that the teachers devour widows’ houses.  The poor are robbed, and the oppressive deeds are covered up with a show of prayer and religiosity.[10]

Vs. 5   And they were speaking about the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and gifts dedicated to God, he said

Vs. 6   “As for these things that you see, the days will come when not one stone will be left upon another; all will be thrown down.”

If, indeed, Jesus is opposed to the devouring of widows’ houses, how could he possibly be pleased with what he sees here?[11]
And the evidence that Jesus is not pleased with what has happened to the widow, is seen here in his pronouncement of judgement.  This beautiful temple, dedicated to God, has become a symbol of oppression and abuse, and therefore does not represent God faithfully. 
And thus does Luke draw attention to a system, the temple treasury itself, set up in in such a way that it feeds off those who cannot fend for themselves.  What is worse, because it is the temple treasury, it has an inherent claim to divine legitimation.  How could it be involved in injustice?  It is God’s own house!  This widespread assumption about the temple only highlights the necessity of Jesus’ criticism of the temple, a criticism already began in 19:41-48.  Because it has fallen into the hands of those who use it for injustice, Jesus must comport himself and his message over against the temple and its leadership in prophetic judgement.[12] 
So this narrative episode begins with a prophetic utterance of judgement noting that the temple is filled with "robbers", it ends with a prophetic utterance of judgement, "not one stone will be left standing."  Throughout the various scenes in this episode, there is conflict between Jesus and the scribes, those associated with the temple.  Just before the pronouncement of judgement, Jesus offers his disciples a stark warning: The scribes are selfish and corrupt, and they are taking advantage of poor widows, and they will receive the greater condemnation.  Jesus then notes a specific example of a poor widow being taken advantage of, and walks out of the temple and announces one last time that the temple, along with those associated with it, will be judged. 

Many, including myself, have been guilty of using this text in a manner not faithful to the context and intent of Jesus.  With this passage we have a stark indication that sometimes our traditional understandings of Scripture are utterly misguided and mistaken, and perhaps driven by pragmatic or contemporary concerns. 
Critical exegesis is supposed to inform preaching, piety, and church thinking; but one wonders to what extent preaching, piety, and church interests have affected critical exegesis in the history of the interpretation of this text.[13]
This is why it is so important to always examine the narrative context in which we read specific stories.  The context must help us determine the intent of the author. 
What is the significance of this story for Churches and Christians today?

[1] Joel Green, The Gospel of Luke, 726.  See E.g., Gen 41:14, 41-42; Esth 6:8; 1 Chr. 15:27; 2 Chr 5:12; 1 Macc 6:15. 
[2] Green, 727.
[3] Green, “Good News,” 66-67.
[4] Green, 725.
[5] Fitzmyer, Luke X-XXIV, 1318.
[6] See J. D. M. Derrett, “‘Eating Up the Houses of Widows’: Jesus’s Comment on Lawyers?” NovT 14 (1972): 1-9.
[7] Green, 725.
[8] BDAG #5776.
[9] A. G. Wright, “The Widow’s Mite: Praise or Lament? – A Matter of Context,” CBQ 44 (1982): 256-65, here, 262-63.
[10] Evans, Luke, 302.
[11] Wright, The Widow’s Mite,” 262.
[12] Green, 728-29.
[13] Wright, “The Widow’s Mite,” 65.