Saturday, December 16, 2023

ALS and Hope of Glory

When Paul pauses to catch his breath at the beginning of Romans 5, he exclaims, “we boast in the hope of the glory of God,” and then quickly adds, “What’s more, we also boast in our sufferings.” As a follower of the crucified Messiah, Paul can’t bring himself to boast directly in the hope of glory, so he backs up and starts over, tracing a sequence that leads from suffering to hope:

Suffering produces endurance,

    endurance produces character,

        and character produces hope.

Suffering does not always produce hope, of course; it often ends in despair. But, Paul says, for us it leads to hope. These are assertions, not arguments, no doubt based on Paul’s own experience: Those who cry “Abba Father,” co-heirs with the crucified Messiah, find that suffering leads to hope, not despair, that all creation’s groaning goes hand-in-hand, somehow, with the love of God poured into our hearts.

It is a remarkable thing when you see this truth confirmed before your eyes.

My sister, Karen, was diagnosed with ALS not quite a year ago, on Jan 6 2023, just a few days before her 54th birthday. She died on Wednesday, 29 November, leaving behind her husband of 27 years, and two young adult children.

As the terrible disease took its terrible toll - the rapid loss of mobility, the loss of speech, the loss of the ability to eat -  my sister lived life and faced death with courage and steadfast trust in the goodness and love of God.

A few months after her diagnosis Karen began chronicling her experience and expressing her faith on a blog she called “Sufficient Grace.”

The entry for April 11 is a typical example that sandwiches the unvarnished reality of her suffering between a Bible verse and a confession of faith: 

“For his anger endureth but a moment; in his favour is life: weeping may endure for a night, but joy cometh in the morning. (Psalm 30:5) 
“Grief is the companion of ALS. It rises with every loss, sometimes with great tears and sobs, sometimes with just a lingering sadness and a sense that what used to be is no more. … Joy cometh in the morning! While I am still here, there are plenty of reasons to get up in the morning–sunrises, singing birds, laughter as my husband or daughter gets me dressed, the warm smile of each of my family members, a cup of sweet hot tea, and friends. And there are many more things I could list. God’s blessings are indeed rich and infinite!”

May 6: “The Rock that is Higher than I” (from Psalm 61:2) 

“It’s been a grieving week. As my hands weaken and I can hardly carry my phone, let alone lift anything else, and my legs weaken, and I struggle with the stairs, and my voice weakens, and I struggle to speak, it is so easy to get discouraged. I have become nearly completely dependent on my family. The tears of sadness and frustration have been very near the surface. But there have been good things too. With every loss, there are blessings and mercy….”

May 31 Promise

“ALS is a thief. It takes and takes, and takes some more. But it can’t take my faith, and it can’t take the promises of God.”

Sept 5: Frustration

“I think I have more questions than answers about why God allows such difficult situations to happen to us. All I know is that He is not done writing my story just like I am not done writing my own story.”

Oct 6: Loss to Gain

“One of the recent losses has been that of intelligible speech. … The hardest loss has been the loss of the ability to swallow food. I really miss my morning tea and the ability to take on active part in meals with family. In my family food has been a way of showing love. We cook favorite meals because we love. This subject has taken me a while to write about because the loss has been so painful. Yes you can blend foods and push them through a tube but it isn’t the same. As these losses grow bigger the thought of heaven grows sweeter and I am reminded of Paul when he says, in Philippians 3 ... ‘I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord....’”

Oct 16: Patience in Suffering

“I am faint and weary, weary of this body that no longer works. But I look forward with hope to the One who never is faint or weak or weary. And I look forward to one day having a new body that has strength to be able to walk and talk.” 

Karen’s last post, a reflection on Jesus as the bread of life - “he that cometh to me shall never hunger” - was published on Oct 21

The blog’s final post is her obituary. You can read it here.

Wednesday, September 27, 2023

Whose praise is from God? Matthew Thiessen and Kevin Grasso on Romans 2:28-29

Technical post alert: I am using this space to work out and invite feedback on my response to Kevin Grasso’s response to Matthew Thiessen’s interpretation of Romans 2:28-29. Due to time constraints, I am going to drop right into an ongoing and fairly technical discussion of the syntax of Romans 2:28-29, which reads as follows:

28 οὐ γὰρ ὁ ἐν τῷ φανερῷ Ἰουδαῖός ἐστιν οὐδὲ ἡ ἐν τῷ φανερῷ ἐν σαρκὶ περιτομή, 29 ἀλλ’ ὁ ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ Ἰουδαῖος, καὶ περιτομὴ καρδίας ἐν πνεύματι οὐ γράμματι, οὗ ὁ ἔπαινος οὐκ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων ἀλλ’ ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ.

Most English translations render Romans 2:28-29 much like the NRSVue does:

For a person is not a Jew who is one outwardly, nor is circumcision something external and physical. Rather, a person is a Jew who is one inwardly, and circumcision is a matter of the heart, by the Spirit, not the written code. Such a person receives praise not from humans but from God.

Those who translate the passage this way often conclude that Paul here redefines the term “Jew” as a reference to believers in Jesus regardless of their ethnicity.

In the fall of 2017, I was persuaded by Matthew Thiessen’s defense of a translation proposed earlier by Hans Arneson:

For it is not the outward Jew, nor the outward circumcision in the flesh, but the hidden Jew, and the circumcision of the heart in spirit and not in letter, whose praise [is] not from humans but from God.

I am not convinced by Thiessen’s larger argument that Rom 2:17-29 refers to a Gentile who calls himself a Jew, but Arneson’s translation seemed to offer a straightforward reading of a puzzling text, and to cohere well with a view that I find persuasive on other grounds: In this passage, Paul is not redefining who is and who is not a “Jew”; he is stating which Jews receive praise from God.

I offered a variation on the Thiessen - Arneson translation when I taught Romans in the fall of 2017, 2019, and 2021, and I would have been happy to continue doing so if Kevin Grasso had not argued on linguistic grounds that the Thiessen - Arneson translation is untenable. Here is my summary of Grasso’s argument:

(1) The negative particle οὐ at the beginning of verse 28 must negate what immediately follows. If the verb were negated, as required by Arneson's translation, the negative particle should come immediately before the verb ἐστιν rather than before ὁ ἐν τῷ φανερῷ Ἰουδαῖός. (2) The verb ἐστιν in verse 28 requires a predicate not just the dummy subject “it is,” and the relative clause that Arneson assigns to the verb as its predicate (a) is too far away at the very end of verse 29, (b) never appears as a predicate when it is used as a relative pronoun in the Greek New Testament and, (c) outside the NT, the relative pronoun οὗ always occurs before the verb when it is used as a predicate. (3) The linguistic principle of contrastive focus leads us to expect a positive statement in 29a corresponding to the negation in v. 28. 

(You can watch Grasso’s own explanation on YouTube or read it in this Biblingo blog post.)

As a result, Grasso concludes, we have to take verses 28 and 29 as two contrasting statements about who, according to Paul, is a “Jew.” Grasso offers this translation:

“For it is not the outward one who is a Jew, nor is it the outward one in the flesh that is circumcision, but the one in secret is a Jew, and circumcision is circumcision of the heart by the spirit, not the letter, whose praise is not from humans, but from God.”

I find Grasso’s argument mostly compelling ... with one major exception. According to Grasso, the relative clause, “whose praise is not from humans, but from God” (οὗ ὁ ἔπαινος οὐκ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων ἀλλʼ ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ), “is best taken as ... describing the internal Jew”:

The assertion of the clause is not ‘It is the internal Jew whose praise is from God.’ Rather, the assertion is ‘The internal one (or Jew), whose praise is from God, is a Jew.'

My question has to do with the word order of the Greek text. Grasso concludes that the relative clause should go with “the internal one” and not with “Jew,” but he does not explain why the antecedent of the relative pronoun, οὗ, is ὁ ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ (“the internal one” or “the one in secret”) and not Ἰουδαῖος (“Jew”).

I suggest that the antecedent is more likely to be Ἰουδαῖος (“Jew”), the word that follows ὁ ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ, and which Grasso — correctly, I think — takes as the predicate of the verbless clause, ὁ ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ Ἰουδαῖος (“the one in secret is a Jew”). 

This way, we have a parallel structure in vv. 28 and 29, with Ἰουδαῖος standing in predicate position in both verses:

28 οὐ γὰρ ὁ ἐν τῷ φανερῷ Ἰουδαῖός ἐστιν / For not the one in the open is a Jew ...

29 ἀλλ’ ὁ ἐν τῷ κρυπτῷ Ἰουδαῖος, / but the one in secret [is a] Jew.

(Scholars who argue that Ἰουδαῖος is the subject in v. 28 and the predicate in v. 29 are influenced by the requirements of modern German and English translation more than by Greek syntax.)

Since the relative pronoun is more likely to refer back to its nearest antecedent, the final relative clause “whose praise is not from humans, but from God” (οὗ ὁ ἔπαινος οὐκ ἐξ ἀνθρώπων ἀλλʼ ἐκ τοῦ θεοῦ) will qualify what Paul means by “Jew”: Paul is not speaking of Jews in general but of those who receive praise from God. 

The repetition of “Jew” as the predicate in both verses suggests that it qualifies the assertions in both: The only Jews who will receive praise from God, according to Paul, are those who, as verse 29 explains in the clause I have skipped, are circumcised in the heart not merely in the flesh. (I take the contrast between the spirit and letter in v. 29 as a rhetorical rather than an absolute opposition. Paul is not denying that one physically circumcised can be circumcised in the heart.)

In then end, then, Thiessen is still correct to claim that “The central focus of Rom 2:28-29 is the praise of God, not true Jewishness or true circumcision” (2014: 377). With John Barclay, I take it that Paul is not redefining Jewishness as a category that now includes Gentile Christians rather than ethnic Jews. Paul’s point instead is that Jews who receive praise from God are those who have been circumcised in the heart not merely in the flesh.

Further Reading:

Barclay, John M. G. Paul and the Gift. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2015. (See pp. 469-471.)
Grasso, Kevin. The Inward Jew: Romans 2:28-29 and Biblical Greek Syntax.
Thiessen, Matthew. “Paul’s Argument against Gentile Circumcision in Romans 2:17-29.” NovT 56 (2014): 373–91.
Thiessen, Matthew. Paul and the Gentile Problem. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016.
Yours Truly: Retrospective Multivalence in Romans 2.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Ancient Greek Picture Flashcards in Anki

I completed a set of 500 ancient Greek picture flashcards just in time for the beginning of Briercrest's third intensive Greek semester. The cards are designed to help create a direct link between Greek words and their meaning. On one side of each card is an image:

On the other side is the lexical form of the Greek word along with additional information about the word:

The top line notes the chapter in which the word appears in our course textbook and identifies the word's semantic domain category (τάξις), in this case πάθος, ἦθος. The bottom line provides details about the word's grammatical form, beginning with its part of speech (μέρος λόγου), in this case ῥῆμα. Verbs are classified into their ancient Greek verbal pattern (συζυγία), e.g., βαρύτονα δ'. Principal parts are also included for about 100 verbs.

The format for nouns is similar. Here, for instance, is an ἄμαξα: 

On the back of the card, the bottom line informs you that the word is a feminine noun in the first declension declined with η, and that the genitive singular form is ἁμάξης: 

There is no English on the cards because our goal is reading fluency in Greek. Bypassing English wherever possible and avoiding the habit of mentally translating as one reads speeds up the reading (and language learning) process.

The 500 words include classroom vocabulary, common semantic domains such as animals, fruits and vegetables — θρίδαξ anyone? — as well as words that appear in the Italian version of Ἀθήναζε, our main textbook. 

My colleague, Wes Olmstead, is responsible for coming up with authentic ancient Greek ways of categorizing Greek grammatical forms, for carefully tagging the grammatical information that appears on the back of the cards, and for compiling an initial list of words for our students to learn. 

My job was to find useable images that suit the words, to set up the mail merge process, and to produce the finished product:
Printing, cutting, and sorting multiple sets of 500 cards is a bit of a massive undertaking (even with the whole family involved), so I was relieved to find that — thanks to my work with Hebrew picture flashcards earlier this summer — the process of importing the Excel file and images into a digital version of the flashcards went smoothly:

Anki's spaced-repetition flashcard app has several advantages to printed cards, not least of which is the ability to make them freely available online.
Production notes:
Comments and feedback are welcome.

Thursday, June 29, 2023

Using Anki to Review Biblical Hebrew and Ancient Greek Picture Flashcards

Anki is one of the most well-known and possibly the best available spaced repetition flashcard apps. It is free, it is powerful ... and it can be complicated to use. What follows is a brief set of instructions to help you get up and running with the app, and with a deck of Biblical Hebrew or Ancient Greek picture flashcards:

(1) Download, install, and load the computer version of Anki at

(2) Download the Biblical Hebrew Picture Flashcards or the Ancient Greek Picture Flashcard shared decks:

(a) Biblical Hebrew Picture Flashcards: For the Biblical Hebrew Picture Flashcards, click on "Get Shared" at the bottom of the main Anki screen:

This will take you to Ankiweb (, the free web-based version of the app, and Anki's repository of free shared decks. The first time you use Ankiweb you will need to create an account by clicking "signup" in the top right corner:
Once you have registered, click on "Get Shared Decks":

Search for "Biblical Hebrew Picture Flashcards" (or anything else you like). Scroll down to the bottom of the screen, and download the Flashcard deck(s):

(b) Ancient Greek Picture Flashcards: The Ancient Greek Picture Flashcard decks are too large for Anki's free hosting service, so you will need to download the files directly from my Google Drive account. You can do that here:   

(3) Back in the Anki computer program, click on "Import File" at the bottom right of the screen:

Navigate to your "download" folder and select the appropriate Anki deck file.

(4) Optional: Review Flashcards on the go with Ankidroid or Ankimobile

If you have not already done so in step 3, go to Ankiweb (, the free web-based version of the app, and create an account by clicking "signup" in the top right corner.

Now you can Sync your decks to Ankiweb, and then, if you like, install and review flashcards on-the-go with the free Android Ankidroid app or the not free iOS Ankimobile app. (Note: There are many knock-off apps that use the Anki name. My advice is to stick with Ankidroid or Ankimobile.)

(5) Begin to take advantage of Anki's spaced-repetition system: By default Anki selects 20 cards from each deck to learn or review each day. The system is designed to bring up cards that you have trouble with for review more often than cards you know well. For more information, see the manual or this handy tutorial. The system works automatically. All you need to do is click on the deck and then click on "Study Now":

(6) Learn to Cram: Unfortunately, Anki tries to force everyone into the same review system. I don't question the effectiveness of the spaced-repetition formula, but sometimes — for example, when you are studying for a quiz on words in chapter 4 or all Piel verbs in chapters 8-10 or all Greek verbs for days 5-7 — you need to cram. The next two videos demonstrate two ways of selecting specific chapters or tagged cards for review. (The videos use the Hebrew decks, but the same steps apply to Greek):

Video 1: Using Custom Study to review a single chapter or category:

Video 2: Using Custom Study and Browse to review multiple categories:

For more information on creating custom filtered decks, see the Anki Manual or this Anking YouTube video. For more on Anki deck organization, take a look at this post. I also found this Reddit post on Anki search syntax to be helpful.

Saturday, June 24, 2023

Biblical Hebrew Picture Flashcards in Anki

Update: See links to the corrected Flashcard files below.

Last summer I made a set of 270 Biblical Hebrew picture flashcards for our introductory Hebrew students:

The images help create a direct link between Hebrew words and their meaning. There is no English on the cards because our goal is reading fluency in HebrewBypassing English wherever possible — and avoiding the habit of mentally translating as one reads — speeds up the reading (and language learning) process. 

The cards are designed to be accessible to beginners and still useful to more advanced students. Students who have learned the alphabet can practice reading words they have already been introduced to in class, and ignore the smaller print around the borders of the cards. Some cards appear twice, first in the participle / qotel form (the normal Biblical Hebrew way of conveying present time):

After the qatal / perfect form has been introduced in class, the same picture can be reintroduced with the standard dictionary form and more grammatical information in small print:

In the top right corner, we learn that the word is a verb (פֹּעַל) that occurs in the Qal Binyan (קַל) and belongs to a class of weak verbs with an aleph in the first root letter (פ׳א). 

The bottom right corner draws on the method Randall Buth uses in his 500 Friends Hebrew word list to indicate succinctly what the verb looks like in a variety of verb patterns. (If you have studied Hebrew, you will see what I mean.)

The bottom left corner classifies the word in one of several semantic domains—in this case, food (מַאֲכָל). 

The cards can, of course, be sorted and reviewed in categories (e.g., all words in the piel Binyan or all words in a particular semantic domain).

Noun cards are similar:

In the top right corner we learn that the word is a feminine (נְקֵבָה) noun (שֵׁם עֶצֶם). The bottom right corner provides singular and plural absolute and construct noun forms.

Now that the school year is over, I have had time to complete a digital version of the flashcards for use in Anki's spaced repetition flashcard app. Here is an example:

The back looks like this:

Among other benefits, the digital version makes it far easier to sort and review specific kinds of cards. The digital version also makes it possible for me to share the cards freely online. You can download them here:

Update: This post now links to a corrected version of the Anki Flashcard files. (Due to an error in my Excel spreadsheet, the tags on the original card decks were misaligned; the image filenames have also been simplified in this version.)

In this follow-up post I provide a brief set of instructions for those who are new to Anki:

Tuesday, May 23, 2023

Josephus and Jewish Ethnonyms: Evaluating Jason Staples's Idea of Israel in Second Temple Judaism

I'm on to present a paper at the Canadian Society of Biblical Studies annual meeting at Congress in Toronto next Monday. I put the abstract together in January on a hunch, in the hopes that a deadline would force me to finish a book I wanted to read, and prime the writing pump. Since I didn't make nearly as much progress as I wanted over the semester, it also made a gauntlet of a winter-spring that much more demanding. Right now, however, I'm grateful because at least in a few moments over the last intense week of research and writing, the chance to concentrate on a single intellectual puzzle long enough to make headway has felt strangely like a mental vacation. 

The abstract is not quite what I would say now that I have a more-or-less complete rough draft in hand, but it is close enough to what the paper is still trying to do that I will post it here in case anyone is interested:

In The Idea of Israel in Second Temple Judaism (CUP, 2021), Jason Staples argues that instead of being mutually interchangeable terms for the same group, “Israel” referred to the “tribes of the biblical northern kingdom” or to “the twelve-tribe covenantal people,” while Ioudaios (and cognates) designated a “subset” of this larger group associated with the southern tribes and the biblical kingdom of Judah. This paper will test Staples’s proposal against the evidence in Josephus. I will consider Josephus’s explanation for his own shift in terminology within the narrative context of the Antiquities; reevaluate the dueling claims of Ioudaioi and Samaritans in Antiquities books 9 and 11; and examine the labels Josephus uses to designate both those who returned from exile and those who remained “beyond the Euphrates.” We will see that within Josephus Ioudaios could still serve as a label for the people as a whole, including descendants of the northern tribes.

I may have more to say once the draft is revised and the paper is presented.

Saturday, March 18, 2023

Briercrest's Fall 2023 Ancient Greek Semester

I am pleased to report that we will be running our third immersive Greek semester this coming fall on the Briercrest College & Seminary campus. As I wrote last time,

Our intensive series of five three credit-hour courses is designed to take students from the Greek alphabet to a reading knowledge of ancient Greek, including the Koiné Greek of the New Testament. In our immersive classroom context on the Briercrest College & Seminary campus, students have the opportunity to learn ancient Greek in ancient Greek, as they would any modern language. Because it is geared to the way people naturally learn languages, an active communicative approach to learning Greek leads to deeper and longer-lasting learning than the conventional grammar-translation approach used in most North American academic settings; it also appeals to a wider range of learning styles (and is more fun!) 

As far as I know, our immersive, semester-long approach to teaching Ancient Greek in Ancient Greek is unique in North America. (For more detail, see this post and follow the links.)

Our Immersive Greek Semesters run every second year. Almost four years after the first iteration, we have begun to see the payoff:

  • There's the graduating student who took Greek Semester 1.0 in the fall of 2019, who tells me she still regularly reads her Greek New Testament.

  • Six students from Greek Semester 2.0 (fall 2021) elected to read through the Greek text of Acts last semester as part of their course requirements in my English-Bible Acts class. I sat down with each student twice during the semester to have a conversation in Ancient Greek about selected passages from Acts. None of us would claim fluency, but I was uniformly impressed at how much they understood from the text of Acts and how well they could make themselves understood in Greek.

  • I am currently sitting in on my colleague Wes Olmstead's Greek VII course, partly to see how he runs advanced classes, and partly because I wanted to read the extrabiblical texts he assigned. So far this semester, the seven students in the class have read Galatians, they are about halfway through Matthew's Gospel, we recently finished Plato's Apology--a text I had never read before in Greek--and we have started on Melito of Sardis's 2nd century Easter homily, Peri Pascha, a text I'm afraid I was totally unfamiliar with. Need I mention that the class is taught in Greek? 

In short, it's working. Care to join us? 

Friday, January 20, 2023

A 2022 "Reading" (and Listening) Retrospective

A modest discovery—prompted initially by the need to squeeze in as much Hebrew listening as I could—paid "reading" dividends last year: I realized that even a five minute commute is enough to make real headway in an audiobook or podcast, especially when the commute is multiplied by four and the playback speed is turned up to 1.5. When you add in the time it takes to put on and take off boots, toque, and jacket to prevent frostbite during our Saskatchewan winters, the amount of "reading" doubles. 

Thanks to multiple daily mini-commutes, a couple longer road trips, household chores, and a decent set of Bluetooth earbuds, almost one third of the books I "read" in 2022 were audiobooks. For the glass-half-empty folks out there, the fact that nine out of thirty books "read" in 2022 were audiobooks means that I only completed a paltry twenty-one conventional books. Ten of the thirty were completed in December, which says something about the reading I was not doing the rest of the year. Twelve of the thirty were published in the last three years—surely a record. Aside from textbooks, I only made it through one monograph that can be said to be directly related to (one of) my primary research interests. On the other hand, the other reading was rich, rewarding, and often refreshing. Listening too: In addition to audiobooks and Greek and Hebrew audio, I (finally) subscribed to the excellent Onscript and Biblingo podcasts. 

Without further ado, here is a lightly annotated list in reading sequence, with links to blog posts:

Shelley, Mary Wollstonecraft. Frankenstein. New York: Dover, 1818. 
Bolt, Robert. A Man for All Seasons: A Play in Two Acts. London: Samuel French, 1960. [Followed a viewing of the Academy Award-winning movie, when trucking convoys were in the news.]
Bauckham, Richard. Jesus: A Very Short Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 2011. [A textbook, re-read for at least the 3rd and 4th times]
Barr, Beth Allison. The Making of Biblical Womanhood. Brazos, 2021. [The first audio book of the year, followed in succession by Kirsten Kobes du Mez (see below)]
Bradbury, Ray. Fahrenheit 451. New York: Simon and Schuster, 1967. [Last read during high school]
Keefer, Kyle. The New Testament as Literature: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008. [A textbook, re-read for at least the 3rd and 4th times]
Zimmermann, Jens. Hermeneutics: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015. [I expect to use this as a textbook the next time I teach undergraduate hermeneutics.]
Longenecker, Bruce W. The Lost Letters of Pergamum: A Story from the New Testament World. 2d ed. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2016. [A textbook; read multiple times previously]
Brown, Peter. The World of Late Antiquity: AD 150-750. New York: Norton, 1989. [Read aloud to the family; a classic I should have read years ago.]
Frank, Anne. Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl. Garden City, NT: Doubleday, 1952. [Maybe it was the play rather than the diary that I read 30+ years ago.]
Nayeri, Daniel. Everything Sad Is Untrue. Montclair, New Jersey: Levine Querido, 2020. [See this post for my recommendation.]
Du Mez, Kristin Kobes. Jesus and John Wayne: How White Evangelicals Corrupted a Faith and Fractured a Nation. Liveright, 2020. [Audiobook]
Dinesen, Isak. Out of Africa and Shadows on the Grass. New York: Vintage, 1989. [Audiobook; see this post for my recommendation.]
Stanley, Christopher D. A Rooster for Asklepios: A Slave’s Story, Book 1. 3rd edition. NFB Publishing, 2020. [A fun historical novel written by a NT scholar; especially enjoyable if you have spent time in the historical sites in Turkey where the story is set.]
Stroup, Christopher. The Christians Who Became Jews: Acts of the Apostles and Ethnicity in the Roman City. Yale University Press, 2020. [A reminder not to trust dust jacket blurbs.]
Buechner, Frederick. The Alphabet of Grace. New York: Seabury Press, 1970. [I gradually realized I had read it before; still good the second time]
Jennings, Willie James. After Whiteness: An Education in Belonging. Eerdmans, 2020. [influenced this post; recommended]
Buechner, Frederick. Telling the Truth: The Gospel as Tragedy, Comedy, and Fairy Tale. New York: HarperCollins, 1977. [First read almost 30 years ago as a homiletics textbook; re-read aloud to the family.]
Holland, Tom. Dominion: How the Christian Revolution Remade the World. Basic Books, 2021. [Audiobook]
Kuhn, Thomas S., and Ian Hacking. The Structure of Scientific Revolutions: 50th Anniversary Edition. 4th edition. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2012. [Audiobook; a classic I've been thinking about (without reading it) for 25 years]
Jipp, Joshua W. Reading Acts. Cascade Companions. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2018. [Textbook; re-read multiple times]
Skinner, Matthew L. Intrusive God, Disruptive Gospel: Encountering the Divine in the Book of Acts. Grand Rapids: Brazos Press, 2015. [Textbook; read for the first time but will probably do so again]
Birkett, Kirsten. Living Without Fear: Using The Psalms To End Your Worry And Anxiety. Self-published, 2022. [Recommended by my former colleague, Eric Ortlund; read aloud]
Rowling, J. K. The Christmas Pig. New York: Scholastic Inc., 2021.
Johnson, Luke Timothy. The Mind in Another Place: My Life as a Scholar. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2022. [Audiobook; thought-provoking enough to generate several blog posts (herehere, and here)]
Plass, Adrian. The Horizontal Epistles of Andromeda Veal. London: Marshall Pickering, 1988. [Re-read]
Strawn, Brent A. Lies My Preacher Told Me: An Honest Look at the Old Testament. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 2021. [Audiobook; "read" while crossing the Rockies on Dec 26]
O’Donovan, Oliver. Resurrection and Moral Order: An Outline for Evangelical Ethics. 2d ed. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994. [The book I'm most proud of finishing this year (see here and here for why)] 
Marsh, Charles. Evangelical Anxiety: A Memoir. San Francisco: HarperOne, 2022. [Audiobook. The tagline could be, 'Of course, I needed Jesus; I also needed therapy.' James K. A. Smith calls it "a bold, beautiful memoir, at once transgressive and faithful," which seems about right, though one should underscore transgressive. This is Marsh unfiltered. Not rated for a general audience.]
Hill, Wesley. Washed and Waiting: Reflections on Christian Faithfulness and Homosexuality. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2010. [Audiobook; "read" while crossing the Rockies on my way back to Saskatchewan on Dec 31]

The first and only book I've completed so far in 2023 is a re-read of Adrian Plass's hilarious The Theatrical Tapes of Leonard Thynn, surely an auspicious start to the year. I'm also slowly digesting Jason Staples's Idea of Israel in Second Temple Judaism, about which I hope to say more in due course.