August 31, 2010
I just spent the past half hour trying to find an online version of Tragelles’ An Account of the Printed Text of the Greek New Testament. I couldn’t find it anywhere. Before giving up, I decided to check one more place: Google books. They had it! What a handy tool! Tragelles says in his preface,
It is of great importance to be thoroughly and fundamentally instructed in subjects of [textual] criticism, for this is a department of biblical learning which can never be safely neglected; and if Holy Scripture is valued as being the revelation of God concerning his way of salvation through faith in the atonement of Christ, then whatever is needed for wisely maintaining its authority even though at first sight it may seem only to bear on the subject indirectly, will be felt to be of real importance.
August 30, 2010
Christians are “the people who share in a heavenly call… it must mean a vocation which has a spiritual and not a material direction…. There is no support for the view that the call comes from within a man, for in all cases the call comes from God. Man’s part is to become a co-operator by responding to it…. To share in a heavenly call is to become closely identified with the caller, i.e. God. No wonder such people are called ‘holy’. The New Testament implies that this is the norm for Christians. They are a called out people.”
-D. Guthrie, Hebrews, 97.
August 30, 2010
These verses explain Christ’s supremacy over Moses,
1 Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, participants in the calling of all callings, the heavenly one, continually fix your minds on the pioneer and high priest of our confession–Jesus. 2 He was always faithful to the one who appointed him, as Moses was in all His house. 3 Jesus is forever worthy of more glory than Moses, just as the builder deserves more honor than the house he builds. 4 For every house has a builder, but the one who builds everything is God. 5 And “Moses was faithful in all his house as a servant,” testifying of the future things that would be spoken. 6 But Christ was faithful as a son over his house–by which I mean us–if we hold onto hope boldly, yes even boastfully.
And for comparison, the NASB reads:
1 Therefore, holy brethren, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider Jesus, the Apostle and High Priest of our confession;
2 He was faithful to Him who appointed Him, as Moses also was in all His house.
3 For He has been counted worthy of more glory than Moses, by just so much as the builder of the house has more honor than the house.
4 For every house is built by someone, but the builder of all things is God.
5 Now Moses was faithful in all His house as a servant, for a testimony of those things which were to be spoken later;
6 but Christ was faithful as a Son over His house–whose house we are, if we hold fast our confidence and the boast of our hope firm until the end.
And the Message:
1-6 So, my dear Christian friends, companions in following this call to the heights, take a good hard look at Jesus. He’s the centerpiece of everything we believe, faithful in everything God gave him to do. Moses was also faithful, but Jesus gets far more honor. A builder is more valuable than a building any day. Every house has a builder, but the Builder behind them all is God. Moses did a good job in God’s house, but it was all servant work, getting things ready for what was to come. Christ as Son is in charge of the house. 6 Now, if we can only keep a firm grip on this bold confidence, we’re the house!
August 29, 2010
“A recent study showed that 50% of Christians admit they have not shared their faith a single time in the past six months”
Listen to the whole message HERE. We were also challenged to share our faith once a week and to aim for one sacrificial act of love for the next five weeks. Tedious homework? Not at all, simply a basic reminder of what following Jesus is all about.
August 28, 2010
You’ve probably been hearing the same news that I have: the public school system is in huge financial trouble. The local paper reported this week that Franklin county school system’s budget shortfall will most likely be $6 million. Since the recession, the funding has been in shortage. The money that was lacking, however, was supplied by the federal stimulus. Stimulus funds will expire this year, and then schools once again will have to reckon with their shortages. Now, if just this local county faces a $6 million dollar deficit, what about the system at large? How many counties are there in North Carolina facing shortages just as large? Or put it at the national level; think of how many counties there are, multiply by a couple million dollars per county and….
The local paper writes, “There will be a day of reckoning and it is approaching rapidly.” The problem “gets larger and meaner daily. Brace yourself. Our big yellow school bus is headed for a financial cliff and no one seems to be in the driver’s seat!” If the article is right, then I think there will be several implications. First, I think the economic “recovery” is more wishful thinking than fact. If the public school system takes a big hit, a lot of teachers could be without jobs and that would have a serious impact. Second, I wonder how many other limping institutions are being held up by the stimulus crutch and will likewise flounder when the government money disappears. Third, I hope that with the school system in such straits, people will seriously reconsider the necessity of the public school system, and will give serious thought to private and home education.
August 27, 2010
I’ve been reminded of some verses lately. Although they are paraphrased, they have encouraged me to both meditate and obey:
” Wisdom is supreme; get you some!”
I Thessalonians 5:17
“Pray, pray, pray.”
August 25, 2010
Now that I’ve been blogging for nearly 10 months, I am beginning to feel more comfortable with the process. In a sense, blogging has been beneficial for several reasons. I’ve learned when I tend to be in a writing mood and when I’m not. I’ve learned what things tend to catch my attention. I’ve learned what can really fire me up and inspire a new post. I’ve become more familiar with my own writing tendencies and peculiarities. I’ve also learned how to better cope with what we all experience-writer’s block. In such cases, simply putting the blog down for a few days and doing something else seems the best remedy. Pick up a couple of books, study something you don’t normally find interesting, go on an adventure.
I often come across bloggers that explain their own reasons for blogging. I’ve been contemplating adding to the discussion for a while. Reading THIS post finally motivated me to put thoughts into words.
I’ll be honest, there are two things at play when I blog. One is more noble than the other. First, I hope that something I write will be beneficial to the reader. I hope the reader comes away encouraged, challenged, inspired, or curious. If I merely blogged for personal reasons and not for others then I would not make this blog readable to the public. I would simply keep it as a personal diary.
Yet, as I blog, I find that one of the greatest benefits is what I gain in the process. And what do I gain? Well I find that whatever I write about is stored away, almost like a personal file which can always be accessed, added to, and become beneficial for a future, unforeseen purpose. When I fail to write about a topic, I find it is forgotten and lost in the midst of life’s busyness. So, for me, writing creates a sort of “tag” that can be remembered and come in handy. Blogging is the outlet for such writing. I’ve tried journals and sermon files and note card systems, but they never last. Blogging, however, does. Maybe it’s because blogging is not merely a private affair, there’s the extra motivation of knowing others may read and interact with my thoughts. But even if no one reads or responds, there is still reason to blog. And I’ll be honest, there are times when the numbers of those who visit this blog are lower than I would like. But I keep blogging because, beyond the numbers, there is the personal benefit of storing my thoughts away and being able to remember.
My blog, among other things, is like a personal filing system, storing thoughts away with the hopes they’ll be remembered and useful in the future.
August 25, 2010
This semester is off to a great start. I’m taking three classes: Greek linguistics, NT text criticism, and Septuagint. I really wanted to also take a Hebrews book study and Psalms, but that will have to wait for another time.
Between Septuagint class and NT text criticism, it seems that this semester will be one of learning to discern the value and credibility of both Old and New Testament textual sources. We will be pouring over many manuscripts, much like the monk pictured above. Maybe if I get a gown and a cap, as seen in the picture, my studies will be all the more effective.
NT text criticism class began yesterday with a guest speaker. His name was Andrew Wilson, coming from Cambridge’s Tyndale House–the evangelical wing of Cambridge University. I was immediately struck by Wilson’s humble demeanor. He was eager, neither to promote himself, nor to point out any of his credentials, but rather to direct our attention solely to the goodness of God’s word. Our professor, however, informed us that Wilson has examined more singular text variants than anyone else in the world. These singular variants, explained Wilson, are extremely valuable for text criticism. When one has, say, 5000 manuscripts that all read exactly the same, and finds only 1 that varies from the rest, it is logical to conclude that the 1 is incorrect and the 5000 are the true, original reading. Wilson examined 4000 of these cases and arrived at some very interesting observations. His findings seem to undermine the traditional rules guiding text criticism, which state,
1. Prefer the shorter reading
2. prefer the more difficult reading
3. prefer the non-harmonized reading
4. prefer the harsher reading
Wilson found that most of the time the singular readings which strayed from the many in agreement were shorter, more difficult, harsh, and non-harmonized. In other words, the evidence suggests that scholars have been basing their textual evaluations on faulty standards. The shocking thing is that the scholarly world is virtually silent regarding these and other findings, almost as if they do not exist.
August 25, 2010
I knew it was hot this summer, but I didn’t know it was this hot. According to the article, Raleigh NC was the fourth hottest city in the nation.
August 24, 2010
On Saturday morning we gathered around Nana’s gazebo to have a time together in the word. Nana and Poppop have been leading us grandkids in this way since we were young kids. They helped teach us how to discuss the word together, how to pray together, and then how to live what we learned. This weekend we read and discussed John 15 together. One of the big questions was about glory. How do you define it?
Rebecca insightfully pointed out that one cannot nail down an exact definition that fits each verse of Scripture. Rather, she argued, the definition depends on the context of each usage. Regarding the question of what it means to bear much fruit, Hannah-Joy pointed out that in vv.7-16, Jesus seems to define it as prayerfullness (v. 7), sacrificial love (v. 9), obedience to Jesus (v. 10), and joy (v. 11). We also noticed that perhaps there is a connection between vv. 1-18 which talk about fruitfulness for God’s glory, and vv. 18-27 which talk about being hated as disciples. Perhaps in vv. 18-27 Jesus implies that fruitfullness does not mean you will be liked, but rather should expect persecution, nor should disciples expect their message to be heeded, but as Jesus said, “If they obeyed my teaching, they will obey yours also” (15:20).
I “roasted” Nathaniel. We were cousins and best buds growing up, so I had a lot I could’ve said about him. But most of all, he loves the Lord and is wise beyond his years. As young teenagers, I remember many times I spoke rashly while Nathaniel always seemed to have a tight reign on his tongue. Many times we would spend the night together and he would say, “Let’s read the Bible together.”