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My Giants

Bernard of Chartres used to compare us to dwarfs perched on the shoulders of giants.
He pointed out that we see more and farther than our predecessors, not because we have keener vision or greater height, but because we are lifted up and borne aloft on their gigantic stature.
—John of Salisbury

Library of Congress print

From the Library of Congress: the blind giant Orion carries his servant Cedalion on his shoulders. (Click to see close-up of the calligraphy.)


Any accuracy or insight found in these small essays of mine must, of course, be credited to God our Father and to Christ His Son.

Unlike the Disciples and Paul, we have not had the luxury of personal, face-to-face teaching by Christ. But I have absolutely no doubt that He has led me to the teachers and pastors who have filled the cup of my Biblical education to overflowing.

The “giants and shoulders” metaphor in John of Salisbury’s quote above is absolutely true for me. Any knowledge or clarity of vision I may be able to provide here, I owe thankful reverence to God, and sincere appreciation to my teachers and pastors — my giants.

Below, then, are many of my personal giants, on whose shoulders I gratefully (if sometimes shakily) stand:

Paul mosaic
Paul — Almost no one disputes that Paul was the supreme Christian theologian, perhaps ever, but certainly of the first centuries of the early church. His 13 epistles (14, if one includes Hebrews) are the greatest apologetic and doctrinal collection available. His letters are usually among the first sources I go to when I’m beginning a research project.
Ronald L. Dart
Ronald L. Dart — I have learned more about the Bible from Ron Dart (1934-2016) than any of my pastors and professors — and quite possibly than all of them combined. Author of three books (The Lonely God, The Thread: God’s Appointments with History, and Law and Covenant ), he has a 30-minute daily nationally syndicated radio program, Born to Win.
Samuele Bacchiocchi
Dr. Samuele Bacchiocchi — “Dr. Sam” was an amazing scholar, and there is no finer book on the seventh-day Sabbath than his From Sabbath to Sunday. He also wrote books on God’s Festivals In Scripture and History: Part 1, The Spring Festivals and Part 2, The Fall Festivals, and a classic titled Immortality or Resurrection? A Biblical Study.
C. S. Lewis
C. S. Lewis — Lewis has been called the most important Christian writer of the 20th century, and few would argue the huge influence his books have had. Mere Christianity is the gold standard of Christian apologetics. Also from his prolific output are The Four Loves, Miracles, The Problem of Pain, and the spirit-moving A Grief Observed.
Francis Schaeffer
Francis Schaeffer — Francis Schaeffer emphasized God’s personhood, 20th-century human culture’s descent into despair, and Christianity’s ability to stand up to “scholarly” philosophical attacks. The keystone of his work is The God Who is There, along with He is There and He is Not Silent, True Spirituality, and A Christian Manifesto.
Dr. Bernard Boyd
Dr. Bernard Boyd — One reason I went to UNC was to study with the legendary Dr. Boyd, where I literally took every one of his undergrad courses. Back when NC educational television could do so, they ran his three lecture series “Bernard Boyd and the Bible,” “The Origin and Significance of the Bible,” and “Introduction to the New Testament Literature.”
Dr. E. W. Bullinger
Dr. E. W. Bullinger — Bullinger’s The Companion Bible is a thoroughly and richly annotated KJV study Bible, with 198 Appendices on myriad Biblical topics that are worth the (modest) cost of the book. Theologian Bullinger was also known for his commentaries on Job, Hebrews, and Revelation and his exhaustive Word Studies on the Holy Spirit.
Dr. Kyle Yates
Dr. Kyle Yates — Dr. Yates ended his long career (pastor, scholar, author, theologian) as Distinguished Professor of Old Testament at Baylor University. He was a translator for the Revised Standard Version of the Bible, he wrote many books for pastors, and his volumes on learning Biblical Hebrew have been used in both Christian and Jewish Seminaries.
Zola Levitt
Zola Levitt — Zola was not a theologian or scholar, but this Jewish convert to Christianity had his own ministry, and (often with Dr. Thomas McCall) he wrote books such as The Bible Jesus Read, Dateline Jerusalem, and Once Through the New Testament. His broadcasts always ended “Sha’alu shalom Yerushalayim. Pray for the peace of Jerusalem.”
Joel C. Rosenberg
Joel Rosenberg — “Ripped from the headlines” describes Rosenberg’s novels, all with a strong Christian subtext set in apocalyptic times. His 5-book The Last Jihad series, 3-book The Twelfth Imam series, and the new first-of-series The Third Target are all hair-raising, eerily predictive of current events, and soothingly Christian.
( Image of Paul, late 5th century mosaic from the Archiepiscopal Chapel of Pietro II, Ravenna, Italy. )

 

As this essay site grows, it is my intention to explore with you
much more of the work of these and other giants.
—Grover

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