Review: The Tony Payne Collection

Matthias Media sent me a copy of The Tony Payne Collection to review late last year. It was a great Christmas present! I spent the summer break reading it and tweeting some of my favourite bits ( It's a great little collection worth getting hold of.

Tony was one of the people who discipled me. Not that we met up and read the Bible or anything like that. I didn't even have a face to face conversation with him until last year. But in addition to those who met with me in person, one of my mothers in the faith, Jo, gave me her backlog of The Briefing—all the way back to the black and white #1 issue—and I binge-read them the way I binge-watched Stranger Things 2 recently. Along with other favourite authors like Don Carson and John Stott, Tony Payne helped form my Christian mind and ministry.

So it's great to have to have a Best Of anthology to put Tony's articles back into circulation. I know The Tony Payne Collection is going on the list of books we give away during the year to students at the University Fellowship of Christians (we give away 2 different books a month to one guy and one girl). It would also be great to dip into to read and discuss with a ministry team or an individual you are training. The articles are varying sizes, on a vast range of topics, so that you can cover a series of great, biblical ideas that suits the occasion.

Personally, I even found it refreshing for me to check back in on some core ideas that matter to me in life and ministry. A reminder about what things I might be in danger of assuming and forgetting to explicitly teach.

The Tony Payne Collection is also a fun historical artefact. Many of the articles are editorial pieces responding to the issues of the day, and even the more 'timeless' pieces bear the marks of particular issues, errors and fads of Australian Christianity in the last 30 years. It was surprising to me how little this large collection of articles manifested some of what I consider to be the fair critiques of the 'conservative camp of the Sydney Anglicans'. Tony wrote positively and openly about emotions, for example; about doing church well even in aesthetic matters; and his critiques of other movements struck me as even-handed. There are of course other criticisms of thef 'conservative camp of the Sydney Anglicans' that I don't consider to be criticisms at all, and this volume probably gives further fuel to those who would be critical. It is interesting to note that the issue of women in ministry is absent, although there are a couple of articlces on manhood.

The one thing that is curious in retrospect is the sheer amount of energy put into clarifying whether or not we should call what we do on Sunday 'worship'. Although I agree with the guts of the argument, the amount of energy that is expended on it stirkes me as a little quaint now.

So grab a copy and buy another one to give to someone else. It really is a great volume!

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Mirrors 26th January 2018

  1. Have trouble sleeping? Or power-napping? Try an hour of rollerblading skating and grinding noises. Can be downloaded off iTunes/Stitcher etc too.
  2. Scroll down and check out the Virtual Tour. What do you think?
  3. Have you thought how to make attending and serving at your church accessible to those with disabilities?
  4. Sandy Grant on domestic abuse by Christian ministers 
  5. Origin of expression 'going gangbusters'
  6. Gotten back into a @managertools binge. So good. Don't email for urgent things, bad news, building relationships or to follow up on emails already sent...
  7. My year in podcasts, films, blogs and books

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The horribly confusing and archaic epexegetical ‘even’ in the NIV

This came up in staff Bible study time yesterday, as we looked at Acts 3. There's plenty that's interesting about Acts 3, including the last verse—when is Peter referring to? Jesus' earthly ministry, his resurrection appearances or his coming through the apostolic preaching? But one thing that caused some confusion for us was verse 20:

and that he may send the Messiah, who has been appointed for you—even Jesus.

Not only our Nepali staff member who speaks English as a second language, but even our native speakers were confused. What does the 'even Jesus' clause MEAN? It doesn't mean flat and smooth, or divisible by 2... but it doesn't work as an adverb of emphasis, because what verb is it qualifying? 

I said I thought it was the more rare meaning of 'even' that translates as something like 'namely' or 'that is'—an epexegetical 'even', you could say. So the verse can be translated something like:

and that he may send the Messiah who has been appointed for you—namely, Jesus.

Immediatley one of our staff said: "So is THAT what is going on in Ephesians 1:10?

to be put into effect when the times will have reached their fulfillment - to bring all things in heaven and on earth together under one head, even Christ.

Big Aha Moment follows. So this verse isn't a parallel text to 1Cor 15:28, saying that all things, including Christ, will be brought together under one head. After all, the rest of Ephesiasn emphasises that Christ is the Head. No the one head is Christ—'namely, Christ'.

I knew this was a rare and clumsy, but I didn't realise quite how rare. Most online dictionaries don't even mention this definition at all! And the Oxford English Dictionary lists it as 'archaic':

(under "even" adv 8a) says: Prefixed to a subject, object, or predicate, or to the expression of a qualifying circumstance, to emphasize its identity. Obs. exc. arch. Also in 16–17th c. (hence still arch. after Bible use) serving to introduce an epexegesis; = ‘namely’, ‘that is to say’.

So what's an archaic use of 'even' doing in the New International Version? Thankfully the NIV11 has removed the 'even' in Ephesians 1:10... but oddly kept it in Acts 3?! It's even stranger, because this clusmy use of 'even' doesn't even reflect any word in the Greek of either passage:

So they didn't even need to find a more common adverb like 'namely'. They could have just used a comma! It's not like Galataisn 6:10 which possible has a (rare in Greek) epexegetical 'kai', which the NIV84 uses the archaic 'even':

Peace and mercy to all who follow this rule, even to the Israel of God. (see interlinear here)

Although interestingly the NIV11 swaps out the 'even' here for an em-dash. So peculiar. Anyway, the moral to the story is: if in doubt: check the Greek. If you don't know Greek, check the Greek interlinear, or just check the Holman and ESV.

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