Archive for the 'gospels' Category
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 14th January 2013
The recto of Rylands Library Papyrus P52 from the Gospel of John. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
Introducing The Gospel According To John
Of primary importance when reading the Bible is the answer to the question, “What is this about?” That is the thing we need to consider when reading John’s presentation of the gospel of Jesus Christ.
John 1 see testimony, witness, and acts of testifying :
1:1 The Word of God is testimony of God, and much more.
1:4-5 Life gives light to men- the very fact that we have a rational existence testifies of Christ (See Romans 1:18-20).
1:6-9 John sent to testify
1:9-10 Jesus testifies of Himself to every man.
1:15 John bare witness
1:18 The Son bare witness of God.
1:19-28 John testifies to the Pharisees.
1:29-34 John’s testimony at Jordan
1:35-42 John’s testimony sends disciples after/with Jesus.
1:43-46 Brothers testifying to brothers.
1:47-49 Nathanael’s testimony to Jesus.
1:50-51 Jesus promises that God will testify of Him.
20:30-31 testimony that we might believe.
21:24-25 True, eyewitness testimony of which John is sure.
Refusing to give us hearsay, John instead gives us the strong witness of one who was there and saw and heard Jesus.
1John 1:1-5;5:9-13 eye witness/ witness of God. A witness which we must believe.
Considering these things , it is important to place first things first. Many people live their lives focusing on trivial things. The most important of all things is to believe and know Jesus. We must grow in this knowledge, also. There is simply no time for us to be gagging on gnats and swallowing camels. We MUST believe and know Christ!
Tags: Gospel of John, John
Posted in exegesis, gospels, New Testament | Comments Off
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 10th February 2012
On 1 February 2012, I debated Bart Ehrman at UNC Chapel Hill on whether we have the wording of the original New Testament today. This was our third such debate, and it was before a crowd of more than 1000 people. I mentioned that seven New Testament papyri had recently been discovered—six of them probably from the second century and one of them probably from the first. These fragments will be published in about a year.
These fragments now increase our holdings as follows: we have as many as eighteen New Testament manuscripts from the second century and one from the first. Altogether, more than 43% of all New Testament verses are found in these manuscripts. But the most interesting thing is the first-century fragment.
It was dated by one of the world’s leading paleographers. He said he was ‘certain’ that it was from the first century. If this is true, it would be the oldest fragment of the New Testament known to exist. Up until now, no one has discovered any first-century manuscripts of the New Testament. The oldest manuscript of the New Testament has been P52, a small fragment from John’s Gospel, dated to the first half of the second century. It was discovered in 1934.
Not only this, but the first-century fragment is from Mark’s Gospel. Before the discovery of this fragment, the oldest manuscript that had Mark in it was P45, from the early third century (c. AD 200–250). This new fragment would predate that by 100 to 150 years.
via Dr. Wallace: Earliest Manuscript of the New Testament Discovered? – Daniel B. Wallace.
This is exciting news, and I look forward to hearing more in the days to come.
Tags: Daniel B. Wallace, Gospel of Mark, Manuscript, New Testament
Posted in gospels, misc, New Testament, news | Comments Off
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 20th December 2011
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Over at Triablogue, there is a post discussing James McGrath’s article on The Bible And Interpretation. In that article McGrath says,
Perhaps it is those who insist that the only way to really celebrate and appreciate Christmas is to treat the infancy stories as factual, historical accounts, who are posing the biggest threat to faith, if what we mean is a mature faith.
The Grinch discovered that Christmas in Whoville wasn’t something that could be stolen. I wish those reading this a Merry Christmas, and the discovery of a meaning to Christmas that does not disappear as a result of historical or other scholarly analysis.
Note that McGrath seems to think that those of us who accept the Gospel accounts of the birth of Christ as historical are immature in our faith.
The reply on Triablogue ends in this manner,
McGrath puts forward a highly unlikely reading of Luke’s gospel, one that’s contradicted by a large amount of internal and external evidence. He keeps referring to scholarship in the process, even though the view of Luke he’s describing is rejected by most scholars. He then appeals to dubious readings of passages like Matthew 2:1 and Luke 2:39, which require reading unsupported assumptions into the text. Then, without addressing counterarguments to his objections or the arguments for a conservative view of the infancy narratives, he refers to the immaturity of the people he’s criticizing.
This reminds me of a discussion last year regarding Quirinius and the census of his day. Yes, the ghost of Christmas past has reared his ugly head again, only to remind us that there are those out there who seem to glory in denying the truthfulness of the Scriptures.
Not only is there a problem in that McGrath denies the veracity of God’s Word, but there’s the problem of scholarship in that McGrath doesn’t interact with the fact that there are plausible explanations for the alleged problems that he sees.
I would recommend that Dr. McGrath consider the words of B.B. Warfield, who said,
…it is a reasonable principle, recognized among critics of secular historians, that two writers must not be held to be contradictory where any natural mode of harmonizing can be imagined. Otherwise it amounts to holding that we know fully and thoroughly all facts of the case, – better even than eye-witnesses seem ever to know them.
Warfield, Works vol 1 pg 417
There is nothing immature about accepting the truthfulness of God’s Word. Nothing at all.
Tags: Christmas, nativity
Posted in Bible, biblical criticism, gospels, Inerrancy, liberalism, Scripture | Comments Off
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 1st June 2011
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Ken Ham on the brouhaha about the historicity of Adam and Eve:
The interesting point is that this quote actually does deal with the real issue, and sadly, atheists understand this better than the majority of Christian academics these days. And in this instance, as shocking as it may seem, I agree with the atheists, not the majority of Christian academics. The following is what the atheists say (now I don’t agree with the first paragraph of course, but I agree with the essence of their points as you read them): Chances are, if you’re reading this, you don’t believe in the fable of Adam and Eve and the talking snake. You probably think it’s a story, created out of ignorance, to explain the origin of life. You probably don’t believe that Adam literally ate a fruit, resulting in God expelling him and Eve out of the idyllic Garden of Eden. In other words, you know that’s a myth. Right so far? So if Adam and Eve and the Talking Snake are myths, then Original Sin is also a myth, right? Well, think about it. Jesus’ major purpose was to save mankind from Original Sin. Original Sin makes believers unworthy of salvation, but you get it anyway, so you should be grateful for being saved (from that which does not exist) Without Original Sin, the marketing that all people are sinners and therefore need to accept Jesus falls moot. All we are asking is that you take what you know into serious consideration, even if it means taking a hard look at all you’ve been taught for your whole life. No Adam and Eve means no need for a savior. It also means that the Bible cannot be trusted as a source of unambiguous, literal truth. It is completely unreliable, because it all begins with a myth, and builds on that as a basis. No Fall of Man means no need for atonement and no need for a redeemer. You know it. (http://atheists.org/atheism/Christmas)
via I Agree with the Atheists! | Around the World with Ken Ham.
Tags: Adam, Adam Eve, Answers in Genesis, atheism, creation, Eve, evolution, Garden of Eden, God, historical Adam, Jesus, Ken Ham
Posted in apologetics, Bible, biblical criticism, creation, depravity, doctrinal issues, doctrine, exegesis, Genesis, gospels, hermeneutics, higher criticism, history, Inerrancy, Jesus, liberalism, misc, New Testament, Old Testament, origins, Preaching, Scripture, theology, Uncategorized | Comments Off
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 19th May 2011
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What collected, affirmed, confirmed, and tells you how to interpret Scripture?
Joel will probably say that the “what” is tradition, but is it?
Is it merely tradition to recognize, accept, treasure, and preserve Scripture?
Perhaps it is moreso a reverence for God that leads to a reverence for Scripture.
Let me hear from ya’.
Tags: Bible, Christ, Christianity, God, holy spirit, Jesus, Religion and Spirituality, Religious text, Scripture, Tradition
Posted in Bible, biblical criticism, doctrine, exegesis, extreme fundamentalism, Fundamentals, gospels, hermeneutics, higher criticism, liberalism, misc, New Testament, Old Testament, pastoral issues, Scripture, textual issues, theology, Uncategorized | 5 Comments »
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 4th May 2011
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The status of the canon has undergone a drastic shift in modernity. The precise boundaries of the canon, and the relation of canonical writings to nonbiblical tradition, remained matters of confessional dispute after the Reformation. Yet, precritical Christian theology was largely agreed that Christian faith and practice are governed by a set of inspired texts whose antiquity, orthodoxy, and wide usage entitle them to be recognized as prophetic and apostolic Scripture. With the rise of the critical history of Christianity in the eighteenth century, a different account of the status of the canon and the lengthy processes of canonization came to prominence.
On this critical account, canonization is not so much an aspect of the providential ordering of the history of the church, but a set of contingent human undertakings. The effect of this is the “naturalization” of the canon, so that it comes to be regarded as an arbitrary or accidental feature of the Christian religion, to be explained, not transcendentally, but simply in terms of the immanent processes of religious history. This means that the texts of the canon cease to be viewed as categorically different from other noncanonical texts. It means, further, that canonicity is to be defined as the result of an act of choice and authorization on the church’s part, apart from any supposed divine warrants for such an act.
Moreover, the processes of canonization are not viewed as the church’s gradual perception of the inherent status of the biblical texts, but as a product of, and medium for, social and political relations, to be analyzed in terms of the functioning of ideology as a means of social control. Canon, like “orthodoxy,” is a product, not recognition. Both in giving an account of the history of early Christianity, and in giving a theological account of the Bible, therefore, canon has been subsumed into the history of religion, and so it has become a concept both more arbitrary and less innocent.
Kevin J. Vanhoozer, Craig G. Bartholomew, Daniel J. Treier and N. T. Wright, Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible, 98-99 (London; Grand Rapids, MI.: SPCK; Baker Academic, 2005).
While I’m not convinced that we should through out all critical scholarship, it is certainly instructive to see that there is a subtle (and sometimes not so subtle) anti-supernatural element in it. Precritical scholarship accepted that canon as the result of providence. Critical scholarship has led many to view the canon as the result of human decisions. One views God as involved in it, the other views Him as not so involved.
What is the issue in it all? Presuppositions. One has a presupposition regarding the providential involvement of God in the church. The other has a presupposition that there is a more human element to the Scriptures and the canon. This is the same issue that we see in the inerrancy debate.
The question is not, “how shall we prove our point” The question is, “What shall we believe about God? Is He involved in this world? Is He even there? Are we to hold to a Deistic view of God and Scripture, or are we to hold to a providential view?”
Are there other options?
What are your thoughts?
Tags: Bible, Canon, christian theology, Christianity, Dictionary for Theological Interpretation of the Bible, God, Religion and Spirituality
Posted in Bible, biblical criticism, Fundamentals, gospels, higher criticism, history, Inerrancy, Jesus, liberalism, misc, New Testament, Old Testament, Preaching, Scripture, synoptic problem, textual issues, theology | Comments Off
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 3rd May 2011
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“And unto him that smiteth thee on the one cheek offer also the other; and him that taketh away thy cloke forbid not to take thy coat also. ” (Luke 6:29)
This passage seems to be a problem to most of us. There are probably a number of reasons for that, and I won’t presume to think that I know the hearts of others. Let it suffice to say that we have problems enough that we have differing views such as non-resistance and non-retaliation. Then again, it seems it is often ignored altogether. We struggle with passages such as this, don’t we?
It was instructive to me to read the following:
To the one who strikes you on the cheek offer also the other (cheek). What did he mean? That his words were not intended to be taken literally follows from his own reaction when he was struck in the face (John 18:22, 23). In fact, those who insist on interpreting every saying of Jesus literally get into difficulty again and again (Matt. 16:6–12; John 2:18–21; 3:3–5; 4:10–14; 6:51–58; 11:11–14).
What, then, did Jesus mean? When his words are read in the light of what immediately precedes in verses 27, 28, and when Matthew’s parallel (5:39 f.) is read in the light of what follows in verses 43–48, it becomes clear that the key passage, identical in both Gospels, is, “Love your enemies” (Matt. 5:44; Luke 6:27). In other words, Jesus condemns the spirit of lovelessness, hatred, yearning for revenge. He is saying, “Do not resist the evildoer with measures that arise from an unloving, unforgiving, unrelenting, vindictive disposition.” Once this is understood it becomes clear that “turning the other cheek” means to show in attitude, word, and deed that one is not filled with the spirit of rancor but with the spirit of love. Rom. 12:19–21 presents an excellent commentary.
William Hendriksen and Simon J. Kistemaker, vol. 11, New Testament Commentary : Exposition of the Gospel According to Luke, New Testament Commentary, 349 (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1953-2001).
Note the concluding sentence,
Once this is understood it becomes clear that “turning the other cheek” means to show in attitude, word, and deed that one is not filled with the spirit of rancor but with the spirit of love. Rom. 12:19–21 presents an excellent commentary.
Very well said, I think.
Tags: Bible, Christianity, gospel, Gospel of Matthew, Jesus, Religion and Spirituality, Turn the Other Cheek
Posted in Bible, exegesis, gospels, Jesus, misc, New Testament, pastoral issues, political, Scripture, theology | 2 Comments »
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 10th March 2011
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If we are to be true and serious students of the Scripture we must take seriously its claims for itself. We cannot a priori rule out inspiration. Neither can we rule out it truly being a coherent book of books. We must study to see if this is so. In doing so, we must seek to see whether there are indeed common themes that run throughout the whole. If we refuse to do so, no matter what our education and intelligence, we shall have failed in our efforts to learn what the Bible is about.
The essence of Scripture is Jesus. Scripture points to Him from the beginning, and finds in Him its end.
Jesus said that Scripture spoke of Him:
“And he said unto them, These are the words which I spake unto you, while I was yet with you, that all things must be fulfilled, which were written in the law of Moses, and in the prophets, and in the psalms, concerning me. Then opened he their understanding, that they might understand the scriptures, And said unto them, Thus it is written, and thus it behoved Christ to suffer, and to rise from the dead the third day: And that repentance and remission of sins should be preached in his name among all nations, beginning at Jerusalem. ” (Luke 24:44–47)
The Revelation tells us that the eschatalogical prophecy points us to Jesus:
“.. the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy. ” (Revelation 19:10)
If this reality is missing, all is missing.
Tags: Bible, Christ, eschatology, Jesus, Moses, revelation
Posted in Bible, Bible Themes, Fundamentals, gospels, hermeneutics, higher criticism, Jesus, liberalism, misc, New Testament, Old Testament, Preaching, Scripture, theology | Comments Off
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 23rd February 2011
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I like Erik’s way of describing Ehrman as one who is a hyper-literalist.
What annoys me about Ehrman is the way he uses rapid fire statements as if they are affirmations of his views and uses statements like “scholarly consensus” and “overwhelming majority of Biblical scholars” to state his views while painting the rest of us as (at the least) naive or (at the worst) deliberate liars.
I am reading his book Jesus, Interrupted and it is amazing to see the narrow way that he interprets the Scriptures. In many ways, Ehrman is far more literal in his reading of the Gospels than most fundamentalists are. He is what I refer to as a restrictive literalist. He allows for only one way of reading the text. That way, it is easy to point and say, “See! Contradition!”
Now, go read Allow me to interrupt your interruption | Unorthodox Faith.
Tags: Bart D. Ehrman, Bible, Christianity, Ehrman, gospel, Jesus, Jesus Interrupted, New Testament
Posted in apologetics, Bible, exegesis, Fundamentals, gospels, hermeneutics, liberalism, misc, New Testament | 1 Comment »
Posted by Pastoral Musings on 9th January 2011
.. the more microscopically we examine the Gospel narratives, the more we become impressed with their truthfulness.
R.A. Torrey, The Fundamentals
Tags: Bible, gospels, historical Jesus, Jesus, John, Luke, Mark, Matthew
Posted in Bible, gospels, New Testament | Comments Off