Sundoulos - Spring 2013

Talbot Authors

by Andy Draycott

Darian Lockett, An Introduction to the Catholic Epistles, T&T Clark, 2012

S: Could you provide a key quote from your writing that communicates the heart of the book?

DL: Though much of this book considers the standard historical issues of author, audience, and setting, the work also offers a unique contribution in asking “whether these seven letters should be read in isolation from each other, taking their individual historical situations as the guiding principle for their interpretation, or whether their literary (and theological) placement within the New Testament specifically and within the Christian canon generally, should constitute the context within which they are interpreted.” In the final chapter I make a brief argument that the Catholic Epistles were read as a discrete collection in the early church and further that this reality should influence our reading of this collection today.

S: What in your life of ministry and teaching made you think this book needed to be written?

DL: Teaching through the Catholic Epistles several times, I’ve found that there are surprisingly few introductory texts that focus on these seven letters. Whereas a few texts take up the rest of the NT or from Acts to Revelation, just a handful focus on the Catholic Epistles per se. Thus there seemed to be a need for such an introduction.

S: How did the process of writing help you grow in discipleship?

DL: Though this is not a commentary, the process of writing forced me to think through the structure and message of each of these texts. Such sustained interaction with Scripture has challenged me especially in the areas of Christian suffering, holiness, and social justice. 

S: How might Talbot alumni benefit and help others to benefit from this book?

DL: I would hope that this little book might spark an interest in a group of NT letters that often hide in a Pauline shadow. If alumni or others find this book a helpful guide through these immensely practical and confrontational letters I would consider it a great success. 

S: What pathways of thinking, acting or loving are opened out to you and others in moving through and then beyond the book?

DL: There are several ways in which I’ve been challenged to think and act differently because of writing this book, or more, because of closely reading the Catholic Epistles. For example, reading James at close range challenges me to be whole before God avoiding double-mindedness; 1 Peter reshapes the way I think about suffering and challenges my love of comfort and ease; Jude’s short letter surprisingly demonstrates a great concern for mercy--even for one’s enemies.

Kenneth Berding, Walking in the Spirit, Crossway, 2011.

S: Could you provide a key quote from your writing that communicates the heart of the book?

KB: ‘Life in the Spirit is a journey. It isn’t sitting in a comfortable deck chair on the veranda of a cruise ship. Neither is it a sprint toward a finish line you can see just ahead. Granted, your journey in the Spirit will sometimes include periods of sitting, and sometimes you will have to sprint. And there are many other good analogies for Christian living. But for the apostle Paul, life in the Spirit is best compared to walking.’(16)

S: What in your life of ministry and teaching made you think this book needed to be written?

KB: I can point to three things. 1) I became increasingly aware that walking is Paul’s most basic description for living the Christian life. I was so often trying to sprint and I needed to learn pacing in the Christian life. 2) I was helped to this end since my favorite prayer posture is walking. On my prayer walks I sometimes found myself comparing the physical act of walking (especially while praying) with the biblical descriptions of the Christian life as “walking.” 3) I encountered many Christians who were aware that the Holy Spirit was important but didn’t seem to have any idea of what to do next. This book is really a roadmap for people who understand the importance of the Holy Spirit and who desire to live out their beliefs about the Holy Spirit in their daily lives but aren’t really sure how to do it.

S: How did the process of writing help you grow in discipleship?

KB: As I wrote this book, I tried to envision people in the church in which I worship and serve as an overseer and teacher. I actually thought about individuals and subgroups as I wrote particular sections of the book and tried to make connections with these people as I wrote. So this book--at least in my mind--is closely connected with my Christian community. And Christian community, of course, is key to discipleship. As it turned out, our church decided to encourage everyone in the church to read the book during a six week focus on the Holy Spirit. Four hundred or so people did, and it seems to have really made a difference in many people’s lives.

S: How might Talbot alumni benefit and help others to benefit from this book?

KB: I think Talbot alumni will find personal help in living out their Christian lives by reading this book. Since so much of ministry comes through modeling, others will sit up and take notice that they are people who deeply desire to be walking Spirit-ual walks.

Talbot alumni might also think about doing something such as was done at our church and plan a six week focus on the Holy Spirit in their churches. A lot of people are hungry for more teaching on the Holy Spirit. I realize that many (of us) are concerned about the extremes of some who over-emphasize the Holy Spirit. I would just encourage all of us to stay close to the biblical text. Follow carefully the emphases found in the letters of Paul (such as Romans 8), John (esp. the Upper Room Discourse), and Luke and be careful that side issues (like particular approaches to spiritual gifts) aren’t allowed to overtake those main emphases.


Andy Draycott Assistant Professor of Biblical and theological studies

Biola University
13800 Biola Ave. La Mirada, CA 90639
1-562-903-6000