Monthly Archives: October 2009

A Delirious? Ending

Delirious? - Stew Smith, Jon Thatcher, Stu Garrard, Tim Jupp, Martin Smith

Since the early nineties, Stew Smith, Jon Thatcher, Stu Garrard, Tim Jupp, and Martin Smith have been travelling the world, and writing music to capture the vision of the church and to ignite its heart. For more than fifteen years they have shaped and reshaped the worship genre, and have tried to blur the lines between “Christian” and “mainstream” music. And now their time together is soon coming to a close. Next month Delirious? launches its final tour, “History Makers – Farewell Tour,” in Europe and the British Isles. Unfortunately they aren’t including North America in their final tour. I’ve been a big fan since 1995 or so, so there will be a big D? shaped hole in my fandom when November is over… I’ve had the chance to see them twice, in Edmonton and Ottawa; it’s always a treat. If you find yourself in Europe next month, be sure to catch a show if tickets are still available!

Below is Delirious? playing “Investigate” at Willow Creek in Chicago as part of their Now is the Time tour. I’ve always thought it to be one of their most reaching, desperate sort of songs; straining to allow God to tear into the heart and purify what he finds.

Investigate my life and make me clean
Shine upon the darkest place in me
To you my life’s an open book
So turn the page and take a look
Upon the life you’ve made
Always, my days, I’ll praise

Fly away, where heaven calls my name
Fly away, I’ll never be the same
Investigate, I can’t wait
Excavate, recreate

Investigate my life and take me through
Shine upon the road that leads to you
I know you’d heard the words I’d say
Before I’d even lived one day
You knew the life you’d made
Always, my days, I’ll praise

Investigate my life and make me clean
Shine upon the darkest place in me
When I go, when I return you’ve seen your holy fire burn
Upon the life you made
Always, I’ll praise

This song appears originally on their Glo album (short for “Glory”), from 2000. About its writing, Stu Garrard says,

“Psalm 139 is one of my favorites. Whenever I read it, I’m struck by the words “God, investigate my life; get all the facts first hand.” I really do want to be an ‘open book’ and often think about God exploring my thoughts and motives, searchlight in hand. Reading this psalm gives me a feeling of being totally surrounded by God – not being able to escape and not wanting to, either. He knows my thoughts; He knows the words on my lips before I speak. He is before and me behind me; there is nowhere I can go to flee from His presence. He formed me and knew who I was even before I was born. If I could fly away to the ends of the earth, He’d be there waiting for me. The thing is, I don’t feel hemmed in – I feel liberated. Psalm 139 closes with the words:

‘Investigate my life, O God, find out everything about me; cross-examine and test me, get a clear picture of what I’m about; See for yourself whether I’ve done anything wrong – then guide me on the road to eternal life (vv. 23-24, THE MESSAGE).’

Determined words of a psalmist on a journey, flavored with introspection and perhaps a little melancholy . . . perfect for the key of D minor, don’t you think?”

I Could Sing of Your Love Forever: stories, reflections and devotions. Ventura, CA: Regal Books, 2007; pages 43-44



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Living Offline – perhaps not a bad idea

The other day I watched the fairly new movie, “Surrogates,” in which everyone in the world experiences life through these machine-bodied surrogates, while the ‘operators’ remain in the safety of their homes.

I watched it because 1) I like science fiction and 2) Bruce Willis stars. I liked the movie. It had enough twists to keep you guessing, and the action was fairly strong throughout.

The most impacting line of the whole film, for me anyway, was spoken by the antagonist after he reveals his sinister plan to destroy the machines. He says, “Human beings weren’t meant to experience life through machines!”

How very true! When computers were created, they were to save us time (and paper), but nothing seems to consume our time each day quite so much as our many electronic devices. When I think about how many hours I spend on a computer when I have some spare time or a day off, I think I’d be embarrassed to reveal the number. I’m grateful for much of what I can accomplish from my home computer, like communication with people far away, online banking, purchasing books and other items, and even searching for journal articles and things like that. But everything in moderation. The ease with which anyone can administrate their life on a computer, on the internet, is helpful. But if a person’s use of these things isn’t managed or moderated, it can easily become a colossal waste of time.

No wonder people back a century had such greater knowledge of things like philosophy, Latin, and Greek. They had no ‘time saving devices’ to eat up their every day.

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Grammatical Diagram of Luke 14:28-30

As promised, I went through Luke 14:28-30 and completed a grammatical diagram. Click here to see the PDF. (I used unicode with SBL Greek font, so hopefully it will show up properly for you! If you don’t have SBL Greek, you can download it here. It’s free, and is fun to type in.)

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The Grammatical Structure of Luke 14:29

Another quandary brought to you by Greek Tutorial. This week I was reading through Luke 14:25-30 with a couple of students, and verse 29 proved to be, shall we say, especially interesting. I’d like to examine the grammatical structure of the pericope to get a feel for what’s going on in Luke 14:29. Here’s 14:28-30:

[28] Τίς γὰρ ἐξ ὑμῶν θέλων πύργον οἰκοδομῆσαι οὐχὶ πρῶτον καθίσας ψηφίζει τὴν δαπάνην, εἰ ἔχει εἰς ἀπαρτισμόν; [29] ἴνα μήποτε θέντος αὐτοῦ θεμέλιον καὶ μὴ ἰσχύοντος ἐκτελέσαι πάντες οἰ θεωροῦντες ἄρξωνται αὐτῷ ἐμπαίζειν [30] λέγοντες ὅτι οὗτος ὁ ἄνθρωπος ἤρζατο οἰκοδομεῖν καὶ οὐκ ἴσχυσεν ἐκτελέσαι.

In verse 28, τὶς (nom masc sg) is matched by the participle θέλων (nom masc sg pres act ptc), and is modified by the genitive phrase ἐξ ὑμῶν to read, “For, who among you desiring”. The participle θέλων belongs to the infinitive οἰκοδομῆσαι which gives us the content of the desire, “to build.” The direct object of οἰκοδομῆσαι is the accusative masculine singular πύργον, “a tower.”

This phrase so far: “For anyone from among you desiring to build a tower”.

Next, οὐχὶ negates ψηφίζει, “does he not calculate,” which takes τὴν δαπάνην as its object, “does he not calculate the cost.”  ψηφίζει is modified by the attendant circumstance participle καθίσας, which describes the action that goes on as the person calculates the cost: “does he not, sitting down, calculate the cost”. The next clause, εἰ ἔχει εἰς ἀπαρτισμόν, appears to be a purpose clause (though this verse is missing an infinitive like “to see” or “to determine” to nicely shape this into a recognizable purpose clause), indicating why he calculates: “if he has [what is needed] for completion”.

This whole first verse is a question, noted by the interrogative form of τίς (which is anarthrous when it functions as an indefinite pronoun), and the Greek question mark ; at the end: “For who among you, desiring to build a tower, does not first sit down [and] calculate the cost [to determine] if he has [what is needed] for completion?” (Feel free to quibble with these conclusions; there is lots of room to move here in my understanding of the syntax!)

Moving on to verse 29. ἴνα starts this verse, which always introduces the subjunctive mood. The arrangement of this verse is a little odd, though, because the subjunctive verb, ἄρξωνται, is almost at the end of the verse. Immediately after ἴνα, the clause μήποτε θέντος αὐτοῦ θεμέλιον καὶ μὴ ἰσχύοντος ἐκτελέσαι is inserted before the ἴνα is completed. However, this arrangement may not be so strange, considering that ἴνα and μήποτε can function together as “a strengthened form of ἴνα μή” (Marshall [1978], “The Gospel of Luke,” 594). And according to BDAG, this ἴνα μήποτε combination is often used for denoting purpose, “(in order) that . . . not, often expressing apprehension” (BDAG, 648-2b).

With this in mind, verse 29 looks a little friendlier. (If I had thought to look at BDAG last night with those Greek students, I could have been a little more helpful!) After the ἴνα μήποτε construction we find a genitive absolute θέντος αὐτοῦ θεμέλιον, “he placed a foundation,” followed by the participle ἰσχύντος, negated by μή, “not being able,” and its complementary infinitive ἐκτελέσαι, which completes the thought, “not being able to complete [it]”.

So far in verse 29 we have: “In order that he does not place a foundation, and, not being able to complete it”.

The consequence of this ill-conceived plan is that “all who see it should begin to mock him.” πάντες is modified by the adjectival participle οἰ θεωροῦντες, “all who see,” and is the subject of  ἄρξωνται. ἄρξωνται takes ἐμπαίζειν as its complementary infinitive, “begin to mock.” αὐτῷ likely refers to the uncompleted tower, rather than the builder.

This verse all together states, “In order that he does not place a foundation, and, being unable to complete it, all who see it should begin to mock him”.

Verse 30 tells us the content of their mocking, “This man began to build and was not able to finish.” (You can hear Nelson from The Simpsons in the background saying his customary, “Hah hah!”)

I was going to do a grammatical diagram of this as well, but I’ve run out of time! Tune in next time for that.

There are many details I didn’t focus on — again, time being the issue. There is just never enough time for exegesis!

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Luke 14:18, πάντες ἀπὸ μιᾶς (update)

According to Liddell-Scott-Jones’ Greek-English Lexicon, ἀπὸ μιᾶς means “with one accord,” as found in Eu. Luc 14.18 (LSJ 492, εἷς entry). This is very similar to Marshall’s “unanimously.” I’m pretty satisfied now.


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Luke 14:18, πάντες ἀπὸ μιᾶς

In Jesus’ story in Luke 14:18, a servant is sent to invite the guests for a feast, but none of them want to come. In response, Luke writes, καὶ ήρξαντο πάντες ἀπὸ μιᾶς παραιτεῖτσθαι (“and all unanimously began to make excuses”). The use of the feminine singular genitive μίας is confusing. There is no syntactical reason for it. According to I. Howard Marshall, “ἀπὸ μιᾶς is probably a Greek phrase (sc. γρώμης) meaning ‘unanimously’ . . . rather than a literal translation of [the Aramaic] min hada, ‘all at once, immediately'” (p. 588 from Marshall, The Gospel of Luke, NIGTC, Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1978).

At Greek tutorial last night, students were asking about μίας, and I had no clue what to say other than, “Check BDAG and see if πάντα or ἀπό works with μία in any idiomatic ways.” If Marshall is write, that appears to be the case.

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Pocket Paradigms for Biblical Greek


It’s been a few weeks, and I’m finally finished. In my spare time I’ve been putting together a little book of Greek paradigms to aid me in reading through the Greek New Testament. For a few years I’ve been looking for a pocket handbook for paradigms, similar to Mark Futato’s Pocket Paradigms for Biblical Hebrew, but haven’t found anything comparable. And since it’s annoying to lug around textbooks all the time, I compiled charts from a few standard textbooks, and with the magic of Microsoft Publisher, produced a Pocket Paradigms for Biblical Greek. (This confirms my descent into extreme nerdom.) If anyone has come across a paradigms book for Greek, I’d be very interested to take a look at it, to compare what it includes, and all that.


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