Saturday, April 21, 2018

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (An Emphasis on Divine Comfort)

2 Corinthians 1:3-7 (SBLGNT): Εὐλογητὸς ὁ θεὸς καὶ πατὴρ τοῦ κυρίου ἡμῶν Ἰησοῦ Χριστοῦ, ὁ πατὴρ τῶν οἰκτιρμῶν καὶ θεὸς πάσης παρακλήσεως, 4 ὁ παρακαλῶν ἡμᾶς ἐπὶ πάσῃ τῇ θλίψει ἡμῶν, εἰς τὸ δύνασθαι ἡμᾶς παρακαλεῖν τοὺς ἐν πάσῃ θλίψει διὰ τῆς παρακλήσεως ἧς παρακαλούμεθα αὐτοὶ ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ. 5 ὅτι καθὼς περισσεύει τὰ παθήματα τοῦ Χριστοῦ εἰς ἡμᾶς, οὕτως διὰ τοῦ Χριστοῦ περισσεύει καὶ ἡ παράκλησις ἡμῶν. 6 εἴτε δὲ θλιβόμεθα, ὑπὲρ τῆς ὑμῶν παρακλήσεως καὶ σωτηρίας· [a]εἴτε παρακαλούμεθα, ὑπὲρ τῆς ὑμῶν παρακλήσεως τῆς ἐνεργουμένης ἐν ὑπομονῇ τῶν αὐτῶν παθημάτων ὧν καὶ ἡμεῖς πάσχομεν, 7 καὶ ἡ ἐλπὶς ἡμῶν βεβαία ὑπὲρ [b]ὑμῶν· εἰδότες ὅτι [c]ὡς κοινωνοί ἐστε τῶν παθημάτων, οὕτως καὶ τῆς παρακλήσεως.

"Note that the word 'comfort,' as a noun or a verb, occurs ten times in this passage. It has the connotations of encouragement and strength as well as consolation" (Philip B. Harner, An Inductive Approach to Biblical Study, 100).

Also notice how Paul elsewhere uses words for comfort in his second letter to the Corinthians.

Monday, April 16, 2018

The Attributive Genitive (Wallace)

Daniel B. Wallace (Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics, pp. 78-88) explains that in the case of the attributive genitive, "The genitive substantive specifies an attribute or innate quality of the head substantive. It is similar to a simple adjective in its semantic force, though more emphatic: it 'expresses quality like an adjective indeed, but with more sharpness and distinctness.'"

The last part of that quote is taken from A.T. Robertson's big grammar.

As Wallace points out, the genitive itself (whether possessive or descriptive, etc.) is grammatically substantival, but semantically adjectival; that is, the genitive functions like an adjective, although it is formally a substantive (i.e., a noun).

See Luke 16:9; Romans 6:6 for potential examples.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Joel Green on Luke 17:21

Joel B. Green explains:

Attempts to read Luke's ἐντὸς ὑμῶν as a reference to the inward, spiritual dynamic of the kingdom of God (e.g., Caragounis, “Kingdom of God?” 423–24) find ready adherents in this age of psychology and individualism here in the West. But they falter especially on the grounds that (1) nowhere else in Luke-Acts is the dominion of God regarded as an inner, spiritual reality; and (2) the notion that the Pharisees contain within themselves the kingdom of God is inconsistent with the Lukan portrayal of persons from this Jewish group. For the usage of ἐντός + plural object with the sense “among,” see the survey in Mattill, Last Things, 203–7. Cf. Lebourlier, “Entos hymōn”; Maddox, Purpose, 134; Carroll, End of History, 79. An alternative translation is grammatically possible and makes sense within this co-text—namely, “within your purview” (cf. the related views of Darr, Character Building, 11314; Beasley-Murray, Kingdom of God, 102–3).

See The Gospel of Luke, page 1607.

Source: https://www.scribd.com/book/276704356/The-Gospel-of-Luke

The Baker Compact Dictionary of Biblical Studies (A Review)

Tremper Longman III and Mark L. Strauss. The Baker Compact Dictionary of Biblical Studies. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2018.

I'm amazed at how useful this concise dictionary is. One usually encounters numerous technical terms in academic biblical studies: many of the words tend to perplex unseasoned readers. Even those of us who have become acclimated to reading professional biblical studies may find ourselves confounded by theological vocabulary or termini technici associated with scriptural studies.

The new work written by Longman III and Strauss provides definitions for unfamiliar terms and it contains entries for place names, personal names, academic specialties, and the definitions are clear and specific. Not only do the authors discuss strictly biblical topics or words, but even words that apply to the ancient world at large are found in the dictionary. For example, an informative paragraph about the Epicureans not only defines the word, but says that Epicurus was a materialist who believed that matter and space exist--bodies and motion--but nothing else.

There is not much written about Shekinah, other than the term is rabbinic and derives from a Hebrew verb meaning "to dwell." The book provides more information for the word "Ketuvim." An acronym for the Hebrew Bible is Tanakh (also spelled Tanach or Tanak): these letters stand for Torah (the first five books of the Hebrew Bible), Nevi'im (the Prophets), and Ketuvim refers to "the Writings." Which books comprise the Nevi'im and the Ketuvim? The Baker Compact Dictionary supplies accurate and helpful definitions for each one of these words.

While I by no means endorse everything that this dictionary asserts, readers of academic biblical literature will be hard pressed to find a resource that has this much content for such a low price. I also want to thank Baker Books for sending me a review copy of this publication; I was not under obligation to give a favorable review.

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

DOXA in Exodus and Ezekiel LXX

Exod. 16:10 proclaims that Jehovah's glory "appeared" in the cloud--it was some kind of visible manifestation. Compare Exod. 13:21; 16:7; 24:16; 40:34-35; Numbers 16:42; Ezekiel 3:23. Ezekiel 43:2 states that the earth shone because of God's glory.

It's hard for me to understand how one can deny that YHWH's glory in Ezekiel 1:28 is visible, bright, and overwhelming to the prophet. I also do not necessarily see the brilliance restricted to lightning in the verse: "The meaning is, In the brightness, or light, that was about what I saw, was the appearance of the rainbow" (Benson Commentary).

2 Cor. 3:18 mentions beholding the Lord's glory-DOXA "as in a glass" (KJV) which again connotes visibility on some level. Furthermore, Paul urges that "we" are changed "into the same image from glory to glory" by the spirit of God.

This page contains plenty of information on DOXA: https://www.studylight.org/lexicons/greek/gwview.cgi?n=1391

The rendering "glory" is vague, but the basic idea is still conveyed that the word DOXA potentially refers to external splendor, an outward manifestation of brilliance, etc.

Sunday, April 08, 2018

John 1:29 and "Sin"

Τῇ ἐπαύριον βλέπει τὸν Ἰησοῦν ἐρχόμενον πρὸς αὐτὸν καὶ λέγει· ἴδε ὁ ἀμνὸς τοῦ θεοῦ ὁ αἴρων τὴν ἁμαρτίαν τοῦ κόσμου. (John 1:29 NA28)

" The next day he saw Jesus coming toward him, and said, “Behold, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!" (ESV)

Why does 1:29 say τὴν ἁμαρτίαν (singular) instead of the plural form "sins"?

Robert Mounce: Temple, 1:24, writes that John uses the singular (“sin”) because there is only one sin and it is characteristic of the entire world, “the self-will which prefers ‘my’ way to God's— which puts ‘me’ in the centre where only God is in place.”

See Mounce, Robert H.. John (The Expositor's Bible Commentary) (Kindle Locations 1758-1760). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Stanley Porter believes that 1:29 uses the singular form "to represent sin in its collective sense" (John, His Gospel, and Jesus, page 210). Compare Westcott (John, 1:40).

Rogers and Rogers claim the singular form appears in 1:29 in order to reference "the mass of sin and the subsequent guilt incurred (Godet; Hoskyns)."

On the other hand, before reading too much into the singular, maybe one should compare 1 John 3:5 and other texts that speak of the Lamb (Jesus) taking "sins" away.

Friday, April 06, 2018

David Stewart and Arguments for God's Existence

David Stewart and Arguments for God's Existence

1. William Paley uses the complexity of a watch and its parts along with order and motion to suggest an intelligent designer.

2. The world and its order are being compared to artifacts that exemplify design, intelligence and mechanical skill.

3. A watch or another artifact might be imperfect; for example, a watch might seldom tell the correct time or sometime fail to work properly. Nevertheless, one might still arrive at the conclusion that watches have designers, albeit imperfect ones. (p. 145)

4. Most people would not be inclined to believe that a watch just came to be organized in the form of a watch by an impersonal "principle of order" (p. 146); watches do not assume their respective forms by chance or random events (p. 146). Compare Heb. 3:4.

5. Another way to confront secular views of God is by emphasizing problematic features of things that infinitely regress (p. 148). See the first and second "way" of Aquinas' cosmological argument. If the universe has always existed and did not have a beginning, it would be an example of infinite regression. However, what are the chances that the cosmos infinitely regresses?

6. Immanuel Kant possibly makes a case for God or a supreme being by appealing to the existence of morality and ethics (p. 154). Is it possible for morality to exist without God? See Romans 2:14-15.

See David Stewart, Exploring the Philosophy of Religion, Seventh Edition (London and Toronto: Prentice Hall, 2010), ISBN: 978-0-205-64519-0.

Wednesday, April 04, 2018

John 14:1-Interacting with Scholarship and the Greek Text

Μὴ ταρασσέσθω ὑμῶν ἡ καρδία· πιστεύετε εἰς τὸν θεόν, καὶ εἰς ἐμὲ πιστεύετε. (John 14:1 SBLGNT)

This verse is part of the Upper Room Discourse given by Jesus to his apostles on the night before his sacrificial death. Jesus encouraged his disciples not to let their hearts be troubled although he possibly meant "stop being troubled" (Robert H. Mounce). What would help the disciples of Jesus to avoid becoming faith of heart? His next words provide the answer:

"Trust in God, trust also in me." Moreover, according to Mounce:

Jesus is saying to his disciples, “You do trust in God; therefore trust also in me [pisteuete, “trust,” GK 4409, can be taken as indicative or imperative in either clause]. Have I not yet convinced you that I and my Father are one [10:30; cf. 17: 21– 23]? If the Father is worthy of your trust, so also is the Son.” In light of this, then, Jesus urges, “You must not let yourselves be distressed” (Phillips).

Mounce, Robert H. John (The Expositor's Bible Commentary) (Kindle Locations 6942-6944). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Mounce understands the first πιστεύετε to be indicative while he thinks the second πιστεύετε is imperative although he points out that either occurrence of the verb could be indicative or imperative. What difference does the verb's mood make?

Again, quoting Mounce:

The interpretation of v. 1b adopted above takes the first πιστεύετε (pisteuete, GK 4409) as indicative and the second as imperative. Since both can be indicative or imperative in either location (plus the fact that the first may be taken as a question), a rather confusing number of possibilities are available. Jesus is about to be rejected by the nation’s leaders as the promised Messiah, and this event will expose the disciples’ faith to an extreme test. So he encourages them that since they do believe in God they are also to maintain their belief in him, regardless of his coming rejection and death.

Mounce, Robert H.. John (The Expositor's Bible Commentary) (Kindle Locations 7048-7052). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Mounce, Robert H.. John (The Expositor's Bible Commentary) (Kindle Locations 7052-7053). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

W. Harris Hall offers these comments on the grammatical questions in John 14:1

"The translation of the two uses of pisteuete is difficult. Both may be either indicative or imperative, and as Morris points out, this results in a bewildering variety of possibilities.118 To complicate matters further the first may be understood as a question: 'Do you believe in God? Believe also in me.' Morris argues against the AV (KJV) translation which renders the first pisteuete as indicative and the second as imperative on the grounds that for the writer of the Fourth Gospel, faith in Jesus is inseparable from faith in God."

See https://bible.org/seriespage/17-exegetical-commentary-john-14#P2669_459385

D.A. Carson also discusses the Upper Room Discourse although he calls it, "the Farewell Discourse." One thing I like about Carson's treatment of John 14:1 is that he links Philippians 4:6-7 with the verse: we might also associate Colossians 3:15 in this case. On the other hand, I must offer some critical remarks regarding Carson's exposition of this passage.

Carson believes the indicative/imperative question is "incidental" from one perspective since "in either case Jesus is linking himself directly with God" (page 20). He reckons that John 14:1 constitutes a transparent "claim to deity." His reasoning is that all first-century Jews knew they had to trust in God, but what Jew would put trust in a man the same way that he/she trusted in God (YHWH)? Besides, at some point, a man is going to disappoint us and dash our hopes somehow. But Jesus would never let us down or disappoint us (1 Peter 2:6).

See D.A. Carson, The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus: An Evangelical Exposition of John 14-17. Grand Rapids: Baker Books, 1980; Repackaged Edition published in 2018.

Response: Carson imports large assumptions into his exposition of John 14:1. The verse doesn't exactly declare, "trust in me like you trust in God." Christ just urges his disciples to trust in God and his Son. The verse could be read from the perspective of agency, that is, one could reason that Christ is the agent of God sent to accomplish the divine will. He is the holy one of God (the Messiah), but not necessarily God himself (John 6:69; 17:3). Yes, I'm aware of John 1:1c. But that verse needs to be exegeted with care. Carson and Mounce will not agree, but I see a conceptual parallel between John 14:1 and 2 Chronicles 20:20:

καὶ ὤρθρισαν πρωὶ καὶ ἐξῆλθον εἰς τὴν ἔρημον Θεκωε καὶ ἐν τῷ ἐξελθεῖν ἔστη Ιωσαφατ καὶ ἐβόησεν καὶ εἶπεν ἀκούσατέ μου Ιουδα καὶ οἱ κατοικοῦντες ἐν Ιερουσαλημ ἐμπιστεύσατε ἐν κυρίῳ θεῷ ὑμῶν καὶ ἐμπιστευθήσεσθε ἐμπιστεύσατε ἐν προφήτῃ αὐτοῦ καὶ εὐοδωθήσεσθε (LXX).


Note on Rhetorical Devices:

It appears that John 14:1 employs a rhetorical device. Notice the syntax, πιστεύετε εἰς τὸν θεόν, καὶ εἰς ἐμὲ πιστεύετε.

I might reword the structure like this: "trust in God (A) and in me (B) trust." Observe that "trust" (a verb) begins and ends the clause. We apparently have a chiastic arragement in 14:1 that not only begins and ends with "trust, but uses verbs and prepositional phrases in a rhetorical manner. See https://www.academia.edu/9686371/Chiastic_Structures_in_Hebrews_A_Study_of_Form_and_Function_in_Biblical_Discourse



Monday, April 02, 2018

Thomas Aquinas on Lying

Here is a passage from Thomas Aquinas taken from the Summa Theologica (Second part of the second part, question 110):

"As regards the end in view, a lie may be contrary to charity, through being told with the purpose of injuring God, and this is always a mortal sin, for it is opposed to religion; or in order to injure one's neighbor, in his person, his possessions or his good name, and this also is a mortal sin, since it is a mortal sin to injure one's neighbor, and one sins mortally if one has merely the intention of committing a mortal sin. But if the end intended be not contrary
to charity, neither will the lie, considered under
this aspect, be a mortal sin, as in the case of a
jocose lie, where some little pleasure is intended, or
in an officious lie, where the good also of one's
neighbor is intended. Accidentally a lie may be
contrary to charity by reason of scandal or any other
injury resulting therefrom: and thus again it will be
a mortal sin, for instance if a man were not deterred
through scandal from lying publicly."

Sunday, April 01, 2018

Galatians 4:6-Potential Readings

Ὅτι δέ ἐστε υἱοί, ἐξαπέστειλεν ὁ θεὸς τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ εἰς τὰς καρδίας ἡμῶν κρᾶζον· αββα ὁ πατήρ. (Galatians 4:6 NA28)

"And because you are sons, God has sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, crying, 'Abba! Father!'" (ESV)

Ὅτι δέ ἐστε υἱοί ἐξαπέστειλεν ὁ θεὸς τὸ πνεῦμα τοῦ υἱοῦ αὐτοῦ εἰς τὰς καρδίας ὑμῶν κρᾶζον Αββα ὁ πατήρ (TR)

"And because ye are sons, God hath sent forth the Spirit of his Son into your hearts, crying, Abba, Father." (KJV)

Hence, should the verse read "our hearts" or "your hearts"?

Douglas J. Moo explains:
"The one variant worthy of comment in this verse is the variation in pronoun after εἰς τὰς καρδίας. This variant is one of the more common ones found in the NT, the difference being of only one letter, with both pronouns often making perfectly good contextual sense. The earliest and best MSS (𝔓⁴⁶ א B et al.) read the first-person plural ἡμῶν, 'into our hearts.' But other MSS (𝔐 along with D², Ψ, 33) have the second-person plural ὑμῶν, 'into your hearts.' In addition to having the stronger external support, the former reading, because it involves a shift in person in midverse—'because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts'—is the more difficult reading. It is rather clear, then, that it should be preferred (Metzger 1994: 526; for the contrary opinion, see Witherington 1998: 289–90)."

See Moo, Galatians, 519-520.

P46 just states that God has sent "his spirit into our hearts." It omits τοῦ υἱοῦ. See Howard Eshbaugh, "Textual Variants and Theology: A Study of the Galatians Text of Papyrus 46," JSNT 3 (1979): 60-72.

The potential date for P46 is ca. 200-225 CE.

See http://www.bible-researcher.com/links19.html

The link above contains images of P46.



Friday, March 30, 2018

Augustine, Anselm, and the Divine OLAM

Augustine of Hippo writes:

"Let them see than [sic] that there can be no time apart from creation, and let them cease to talk such nonsense. Let them stretch forth to the things that are before,and let them realize that before all times You are the Eternal Creator of all times, and that no times are co-eternal with You, nor is any creature, even if there were a creature above time" (Augustine, Confessiones 11.XXX).

We also have these words from Anselm of Canterbury:

"Thou wast not, then, yesterday, nor wilt thou be tomorrow; but yesterday and today and tomorrow thou art; or, rather, neither yesterday, nor today nor tomorrow thou art; but, simply, thou art, outside all time. For yesterday and today and tomorrow have no existence, except in time; but thou, although nothing exists without thee, nevertheless dost not exist in space and time, but all things exist in thee" (qt. in Stephen T. Davis' Logic and the Nature of God, p. 9).

But I am inclined to believe that God exists from OLAM to OLAM (Psalm 90:2) in that he exists sempiternally, that is, always in time. The verse found in Psalms indicates that God possibly exists in boundless time. If time has existed forever, then it is possible that God has existed for a temporal eternity: time might be an inherent feature or aspect of God's nature. As Garrett Deweese says, it may be the case that time resides in God.

Furthermore, it is possible that God's time-strand is not exactly conterminous with ours. Our time-strand is part of the created order. Yet it seems that time is ultimately time qua tempus. If the views I have set forth here are correct, then it is possible that "before" and "after" (two successive temporal states) occur in God. Conversely, if God does not somehow work in human history, then it would seem that he is not the Redeemer God. However, I am not espousing some pantheistic or panentheistic vision of Almighty God.

Yet does one want to say that God exists in the space-time continuum which he created? Let us suppose that time is everlasting (it has always existed and always will exist) but was not capable of being counted prior to God's creation of the material universe or his creation of humanity (a suggestion discussed by Stephen T. Davies). That is to say, there could have been a point at which time became discrete or countable. Given these assumptions, it might be said that the same deity is able to act in the now discrete form of time that has been created without being adversely affected by the vicissitudes of time (i.e., the divine experience of time does not result in God's growing old or becoming decrepit). I humbly submit these ideas without being overly dogmatic about any of them.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Revelation 14:3 (NWT 2013)

And they are singing what seems to be a new song before the throne and before the four living creatures and the elders, and no one was able to master that song except the 144,000, who have been bought from the earth.

NWT 2013 is apparently translating ὡς as "what seems to be."

"And they sung as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four beasts, and the elders: and no man could learn that song but the hundred and forty and four thousand, which were redeemed from the earth" (American KJV).

"and they sing as it were a new song before the throne, and before the four living creatures and the elders: and no man could learn the song save the hundred and forty and four thousand, even they that had been purchased out of the earth" (ASV)

Compare the Douay-Rheims and the ERV.

Henry Alford writes: "And they sing [as it were] a new song (i. e. if the ὡς be retained, they sing what sounded like a melody unheard before."

But some think ὡς should be omitted; NA28 places ὡς in brackets.

Prayer of Joseph (Images of Fragment A with Notes)



Wednesday, March 28, 2018

John Chrysostom on Wine

Taken from Homily XIX of Chrysostom's Homilies on Galatians and Ephesians:

Wouldest thou know where wine is good? Hear what the Scripture saith, "Give strong drink unto him that is ready to perish, and wine unto the bitter in soul." (Prov. xxxi. 6.) And justly, because it can mitigate asperity and gloominess, and drive away clouds from the brow. "Wine maketh glad the heart of man" (Ps. civ. 15.), says the Psalmist. How then does wine produce drunkenness? For it cannot be that one and the same thing should work opposite effects. Drunkenness then surely does not arise from wine, but from intemperance. Wine is bestowed upon us for no other purpose than for bodily health; but this purpose also is thwarted by immoderate use. But hear moreover what our blessed Apostle writes and says to Timothy, "Use a little wine for thy stomach's sake, and thine often infirmities."

Monday, March 26, 2018

Apollos of Alexandria

I've always found it interesting that Luke the physician wrote about "a certain Jew named Apollos," who was "a native of Alexandria" and an eloquent man well-versed in the Scriptures (Acts 18:24-28).

Alexandria, for one, was the hub of higher learning in the first century. The famed Alexandrian Library was located in that city; hence, a number of well-known scholars conducted rigorous investigations there, such as Aristarchus (he formulated a heliocentric theory of the cosmos) and brilliant Hypatia along with Philo Judaeus and Eratosthenes (he calculated the circumference of the earth thereby ascertaining that it was round). The Alexandrian Library, which was eventually burned down, housed 400,000 volumes according to Seneca. Others estimate that anywhere from 500,000 to 700,000 volumes were in the great library at one time. Indeed, Alexandria was a center of learning (sophia).

More important than what the library of Alexandria contained, however, was the fact that a number of Jewish scholars lived in this sophisticated city of Egypt. Therefore, it is fitting that the LXX (Septuagint version of the Bible) was produced in Alexandria. This Greek translation was probably completed sometime between the years ca. 285-150 BCE. Work on the LXX commenced during the reign of Ptolemy II Philadelphus, but the story about the LXX found in the Letter of Aristeas is probably a legend, although the name Septuaginta (in Latin) meaning "seventy" eventually stuck.

Apollos likely gained his eloquence, knowledge of the Scriptures, and secular learning in this academic and scriptural center. Certain scholars have debated whether we should translate LOGIOS in Acts 18:24 as "eloquent" or "learned." The NWT settled on "eloquent" while others favor "learned." With a tinge of humor, Ralph Earle says that Apollos was no doubt both "eloquent" and "learned." Nevertheless, he seems to have placed scriptural learning first in his life. That is probably why Apollos was humble enough to accept correction from others, who did not share his erudition (Acts 18:26). Paul was probably thinking of Apollos (inter alios) when he wrote:

"For you behold his calling of you, brothers, that not many wise in a fleshly way were called . . ." (1 Cor. 1:26)

Sunday, March 25, 2018

Augustine of Hippo and the Arians (De Trinitate VI.1.1)

Some think themselves hindered from admitting the equality of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, because it is written, "Christ, the power of God, and the wisdom of God;" in that, on this ground, there does not appear to be equality; because the Father is not Himself power and wisdom, but the begetter of power and wisdom. And, in truth, the question is usually asked with no common earnestness, in what way God can be called the Father of power and wisdom. For the apostle says, "Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God." And hence some on our side have reasoned in this way against the Arians, at least against those who at first set themselves up against the Catholic faith. For Arius himself is reported to have said, that if He is a Son, then He was born; if He was born, there was a time when the Son was not: not understanding that even to be born is, to God, from all eternity; so that the Son is co-eternal with the Father, as the brightness which is produced and is spread around by fire is co-eval with it, and would be co-eternal, if fire were eternal. And therefore some of the later Arians have abandoned that opinion, and have confessed that the Son of God did not begin to be in time. But among the arguments which those on our side used to hold against them who said that there was a time when the Son was not, some were wont to introduce such an argument as this: If the Son of God is the power and wisdom of God, and God was never without power and wisdom, then the Son is co-eternal with God the Father; but the apostle says, "Christ the power of God, and the wisdom of God;" and a man must be senseless to say that God at any time had not power or wisdom; therefore there was no time when the Son was not.

Augustine, De Trinitate VI.1.1.

Friday, March 23, 2018

Revelation and Warfare

Have you ever noticed all that Revelation (Apocalypse) has to say about war, in particular, divine warfare?

Rev. 1:16, 2:20-23; 6:1-8; 12:1-17; 14:19-20; 16:13-16; 19:11-21; 20:1-10.

This element of the book has often unsettled those who opt to be pacifists. Or people wonder why this book dwells on war since Jesus taught that those who live by the sword will die by the sword (Matt. 26:52).

However, Revelation deals with divine justice or righteous warfare as the book describes history's culmination. The Bible's last book emphasizes that God will exact judgment from the wicked but he will deliver his people, the righteous (Rev. 6:-11; 11:15-18; 17:1-7). One portion of Revelation which vividly foretells the eventual fate of the wicked is Rev. 14:19-20:

"The angel swung his sickle on the earth, gathered its grapes and threw them into the great winepress of God’s wrath. 20 They were trampled in the winepress outside the city, and blood flowed out of the press, rising as high as the horses' bridles for a distance of 1,600 stadia" (NIV).

What is this account possibly foretelling? Why does John write about the final battle in this way?

The NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible offers this perspective:

blood flowed out of the press. Wine was sometimes called the “blood of grapes” (Ge 49:11; Dt 32:14); here red wine evokes the gruesome image of human blood crushed out of maimed flesh. rising as high as the horses’ bridles. Ancient descriptions of wars spoke of blood flowing in streams or of rivers flowing with blood when people were slain in them. In poetic depictions the blood obstructed ships, or trees dripped with gore dropped on them when satiated birds grew weary of feasting on corpses. Apocalypses amplified further: in the pre-Christian work 1 Enoch, sinners’ blood covers chariots; horses walk up to their chests in the blood. Some later rabbis lament horses drowning in blood and blood rolling huge boulders some 40 miles (65 kilometers) out to the sea. Sometimes the more extreme descriptions were merely figurative ways of expressing the horrific bloodshed (e.g., Eze 32:5 – 6). 1,600 stadia. Revelation again rounds to a square number: 1,600 is 40 x 40 (see NIV text note). The figure especially underlines the awful grotesqueness of the image: none of the beast’s army will survive. Whereas the river of paradise flows from God's throne (22:1 – 2) to a significant height (Eze 47:4 – 5), the wicked would drown in a river of their own blood.

The 1600 stadia means the distance (figuratively speaking) is about 180 miles or 300 kilometers.

J.B. Phillips NT:

Then the angel swung his sickle upon the earth and gathered the harvest of the earth's vineyard, and threw it into the great winepress of the wrath of God. The grapes were trodden outside the city, and out of the winepress flowed blood for two hundred miles in a stream as high as the horses' bridles.

The Greek stadion was about 600 feet or 1 furlong (circa 1/8 of a mile).

Sunday, March 18, 2018

Justin Martyr and Immortality

There seems to be no doubt that Justin Martyr understands the soul to be immortal. But when I say that Justin affirms the immortality of the soul, I am not claiming that he believes the soul exists immortally in the Platonic sense because he clearly rejects the Platonic view of the soul in most respects--despite the fact that he was a Neoplatonist. However,
Justin does believe that wicked souls are punished after death which requires that the soul live on post mortem. See Arthur J. Droge, "Justin Martyr and the Restoration of Philosophy," Church History 56.3 (1987): 303-319. He provides textual evidence that Justin retains certain Platonic doctrines in a mutated form, particularly, that the wicked will be punished after death. Compare Plato's Republic and the Myth of Er.

Admittedly, there is a passage in Dialogue with Trypho 80, wherein Justin denigrates those so-called Christians who believe their souls will ascend to heaven in the flesh after death. However, while Justin does appear to believe that the prophecies foretold in Isaiah will be fulfilled through the Christian congregation, he nonetheless argues that the ungodly will be consigned to eternal torment. Maybe such texts can be interpreted differently, but I would humbly submit that Justin affirms there is an immortal soul in some sense of the term--At least there is for the wicked.

See Dialogue with Trypho 130.

Friday, March 16, 2018

Some Definitions for Logic Terms

I've compiled a list of definitions for terms commonly employed by logicians since logic is an essential part of academic theology. For without logic, there is no theo-logic:

Logic Definitions

(1) Ostensive Definition: Pointing toward an entity in order to signify a term (e.g., pointing toward a car in order to signify what "car" means).

(2) Extension: The set of individuals, objects, or events to which one can correctly apply a term (e.g., "boat"). Logicians also classify a set of individuals, objects or events as the denotation.

(3) Intension: The set of all and only those properties that a thing must possess in order for a term to have applicability for it (= connotation).

(4) Theory: Refers to a general approach to or belief about some subject matter that is expressed in a set of interrelated statements concerning the nature of the subject.

Secondly, theory may refer to a set of general but precise claims about the nature of society or the physical world.

(5) Epistemology: The branch of philosophy that concerns itself with theories regarding the sources, nature, and limits of knowledge (i.e., theory of knowledge). One writer defines "epistemology" as the critical analysis of cognition.

(6) Validity: If the premises of an argument happen to be true, then the conclusion of the argument has to be true.

(7) Conditional: A statement of the form "If P then Q," asserting that Q is, or will be, the case, so long as P obtains.

(8) Sound: Both the conclusion and premises are true. So the conclusion necessarily follows from the premises: a sound argument has all true premises and is valid.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Romans 8:5 (NWT 2013)-Work in Progress

Greek: οἱ γὰρ κατὰ σάρκα ὄντες τὰ τῆς σαρκὸς φρονοῦσιν, οἱ δὲ κατὰ πνεῦμα τὰ τοῦ πνεύματος. (NA28)

"For those who are in accord with the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those in accord with the spirit on the things of the spirit" (Romans 8:5 NWT 1984).

"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the spirit, on the things of the spirit" (2013 Revision).

"For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit" (ESV).

Comments: George Carraway (Christ Is God Over All: Romans 9:5 in the Context of Romans 9-11, page 41) demonstrates that κατὰ σάρκα in Rom. 8:5; Eph. 6:5 and Col. 3:22 functions attributively by modifying a participle or a noun. On the other hand, compare Rom. 9:5.

κατὰ σάρκα-"in accord with the flesh" (NWT) or "according to the flesh" (NWT 2013; ESV).

"In accordance with the flesh" (J.D.G. Dunn).

Rogers and Rogers on Rom. 8:5:

ὄντες pres. act. part. εἰμί to be. Part. as subst. φρονοῦσιν pres. ind. act. φρονέω to think, to set one's mind or heart upon something, to employ one's faculty for thoughtful planning, w. the emphasis upon the underlying disposition or attitude (LN, 1:325). It denotes the whole action of the affections and will as well as of the reason (SH).

τὰ-definite article, accusative neuter plural.

φρονέω-"to incline to, be set upon, mind, Mt. 16:23; Mk. 8:33; Rom. 8:5; Phil. 3:15, 19; Col. 3:2" (William Mounce)

"think, concentrate on, be devoted to" (Zerwick-Grosvenor)

According to the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology:

φρόνησις (phronēsis), way of thinking, frame of mind, intelligence, good sense (G5860); φρονέω (phroneō), think, judge, give one's mind to, set one's mind on, be minded (G5858); φρόνημα (phronēma), way of thinking, mentality (G5859); φρόνιμος (phronimos), intelligent, discerning, sensible, thoughtful, prudent (G5861).

δὲ is adversative here: "but."

Supply ὄντες with the second οἱ (= "those who live/are")

Henry Alford writes:

but those (who live) according to the Spirit (= οἱ πνευματικοί, see above), (mind) the things belonging to the Spirit (the higher aims and objects of desire of the spiritual life).

Asbury Bible Commentary:

V. 5 begins with "for" in Greek and places vv. 4 and 5 in the causal relationship. To live according to the Spirit (v. 4) is the result of having their minds set [phroneō] on what the Spirit desires (v. 5). Vv. 5-8 contrast the mind of the flesh and the mind of the Spirit. To have their minds set (phroneō) includes the elements of thinking, willing, pursuing, and doing (cf. Php 2:5). The mind of the flesh is hostile to God and consequently cannot submit to God's law. This leads to death. To have their minds set on the things of the Spirit is to pursue what pleases God, which leads to doing the requirements of the law as expressions of God's will. This results in life and peace.

The second τὰ is also a definite article, accusative neuter plural.

τοῦ πνεύματος is genitive neuter singular and so is τῆς σαρκὸς. D. Moo consequently writes:

"It is better, therefore, to translate 'regard things with an attitude characteristic of the flesh/Spirit,' taking the genitives as descriptive" (The Epistle to the Romans, page 1404).

The Expositor's Greek Testament:

οἱ κατὰ σάρκα ὄντες are those whose nature is determined simply by the flesh; their “mind,” i.e., their moral interest, their thought and study, is upon τὰ τῆς σαρκός: for which see Galatians 5:19 f. οἱ κατὰ πνεῦμα are those whose nature is determined by the spirit: for τὰ τοῦ πνεύματος see Galatians 5:22.

Compare 1 Cor. 2:10-14.

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

The Significance of Redness and Revelation 6:4

Is the color red inherently connected with sin, anger or prostitution? Revelation 6:4 mentions a HIPPOS PURROS that admittedly is associated with death, warfare and destruction in John's apocalypse, but the fiery-red horse of Zech. 1:8; 6:2 evidently is not. The color "red" also seems to have been viewed from somewhat of a dualistic perspective in ancient Egypt. It was associated with life and death, peril and quickening, preservation and destruction. What red signifies metaphorically or symbolically will greatly depend on the speech context in which it appears.

Saturday, March 10, 2018

Rogers and Rogers Comments on Anwqen--John 3:3


Source: The New Linguistic and Exegetical Key to the Greek New Testament by Cleon L. Rogers, Jr., and Cleon L. Rogers III.

Friday, March 09, 2018

The Greek "Pistis" Used in a Wider Context (Platonic Usage)

πίστις can be translated "faith" or "faithfulness" (Galatians 5:22-23) but in Plato, it's more commonly rendered "belief" although C.D.C. Reeve offers the rendering "folk-wisdom." Plato famously makes a distinction between opinion/εἰκασία (at the lower epistemic level) and belief/folk-wisdom (πίστις) at the higher epistemic level of knowing--the via cognoscendi. Conviction would also be a good way to render πίστις.

In this case, I'm discussing supposed logical movement from epistemic darkness to epistemic light (based on the Greek ἐπιστήμη). Plato seems to argue that some individuals perceive things at the level of opinion (εἰκασία) whereas others apprehend things mentally at the level of πίστις: yet πίστις is not knowledge since knowledge for Plato is likely (maybe) "justified true belief." Knowledge only materializes (according to the Republic) when one begins to reflect on abstract/intelligible objects. Therefore, one only begins progressing towards genuine knowledge when contemplating mathematical objects and subsequently reflecting on the Forms (εἶδος). Unless someone has passed through the various stages of knowing (the epistemic ladder) discussed by Plato, then one is only perceiving shadows or identifies objects via πίστις instead of apprehending those objects by dint of genuine knowledge (i.e., νόησις).

My understanding is that the cave and divided line in Plato's Republic should be read as close parallels. Granted, there are differences between the two analogies, but from what I recall, we should understand progression to be occurring in the divided line as one moves up the epistemic ladder.

Richard Hays' 1 Corinthians 11:3 Remarks

The following quote is taken from Richard Hays' commentary on 1 Corinthians. This material is just for general informational purposes:

"Another strategy would be to begin with the clause 'God is the head of Christ' (v.3) and to ask what such headship means concretely within a Trinitarian understanding of God. Paul, of course, did not have an explicit doctrine of the Trinity, and he often appears to operate with a subordinationist christology (cf. 15:28). If, however, we now read 11:3 through the lens of a theological tradition that affirms Christ's full participation in the Godhead, then we must ask ourselves how this affects our understanding of the analogy between 'God is the head of Christ' and 'man is the head of woman.' The subsequently developed orthodox doctrine of the Trinity actually works against the subordinationist implications of Paul's argument about men and women: it presses us to rethink the way in which 'in the Lord' men and women participate together in a new identity that transcends notions of superiority and inferiority. Such suggestions move us beyond simplistic arguments about whether Paul was right or wrong and enable us to rethink more deeply the substantive theological issues raised by his treatment of hairstyles in the worship
of the Corinthian church" (Richard Hays, 1
Corinthians
, page 192).

Saturday, March 03, 2018

Our Weapons Are Not Carnal (2 Cor. 10:3-5): Clement of Alexandria on War According to the Flesh

Paul specifically professes that Christians do not wage war carnally. Our weapons, he contends, are not fleshly but spiritual (2 Cor. 10:3-5). The inspired apostle seems to allow no room for Christians participating in wars that result in the taking of human life, whether such life can be termed innocent or not. Clement of Alexandria appears to believe that Paul's words in 2 Cor. 10:3-5 apply to carnal warfare. He reports:

"For we do not train our women like Amazons to manliness in war; since we wish the men even to be peaceable. I hear that the Sarmatian women practise war no less than the men; and the women of the Sacae besides, who shoot backwards, feigning flight as well as the men" (Stromata IV.VIII).

Elsewhere, Clement insists that Christians do not even "draw an outline" of bows or swords since they opt for peace. If Christ's professed disciples in Clement's time (generally speaking) would not even trace outlines of war armaments, then how could they actually pick them up and kill their enemies in polemic activity? Furthermore, Clement quotes Paul's words when delineating his apparently pacifistic stance. So, at least Clement, Justin and other pre-Nicenes (including Origen, Arnobius and Lactantius) thought Paul's words applied to carnal warfare and they fittingly encouraged disciples of Christ to eschew such activities.

Friday, March 02, 2018

Bruce Metzger on Revelation 20:2 (Brief Note)

Metzger's textual commentary on the GNT brings attention to a variant in Revelation 20:2. He reports that the Textus Receptus (following Aleph, 046 and P) reads TON OFIN TON ARXAION, "thus avoiding the inconcinnity of the nominative hO OFIS hO ARXAIOS" (page 687).

Word Biblical Commentary Sale Until 3/4/2018

https://media.harpercollinschristian.com/page/word-biblical-commentary-ebook-sale?spMailingID=56090312&spUserID=MjI0MTI0MzI3MTY3S0&spJobID=1360144129&spReportId=MTM2MDE0NDEyOQS2

Thursday, March 01, 2018

Isaiah 14:4 and Literary Tropicality

Isaiah 14:4 (Latin Vulgate): sumes parabolam istam contra regem Babylonis et dices quomodo cessavit exactor quievit tributum

Knox Translation: "it will be thy turn to have thy say against the king of Babylon. Can it be (thou wilt say) that the tyranny is over, the exactions at an end?"

I don't think there is any doubt that Isa. 14:4 (LXX) can be rendered with the use of "parable" although I will admit there are other ways parabolam may be handled or understood in the passage. But the Douay-Rheims treats the verse as follows: Thou shalt take up this parable against the king of Babylon, and shalt say: How is the oppressor come to nothing, the tribute hath ceased?

See the definitions given for parabola at http://www.perseus.tufts.edu/hopper/text?doc=Perseus:text:1999.04.0059:entry=parabola

In any event, the literary context causes me to believe the words found in Isa. 14:12-20 are symbolic, poetic--not to be taken literally.

The language "Yet thou shalt be brought down to Sheol, to the uttermost parts of the pit" (ASV) are echoed elsewhere in the Tanakh and appear to be clearly tropical (i.e., non-literal). Compare Ezek. 31:1-2,15-17.

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Translating the Greek Word Sarx ("flesh")--A Screen Shot


I am totally on board with this translational approach.

Scattered Notes on Judges 5: Song of Deborah and Barak

Judges 5:1: The song of Deborah and Barak begins (Compare Judges 5:3, Ellicott Commentary). Was Deborah the sole writer of the song or did Barak share in crafting it?

See Exodus 15:1-6 for the Song of Moses, the Israelites and Miriam singing with the women of Israel.

Judges 5:2-Compare Ps. 93-97; Ps. 110:3. See Deut. 32:42; Judges 5:9; 2 Chron. 17:16.

Compare Judges 5:7

Judges 5:9-the people offered themselves willingly.

Judges 5:12-Ps. 68:18; Daniel 11:33; Eph. 4:8-11; Rev. 13:10.

Judges 5:18-Possibly a connection with Rom. 16:1-4:

Ζαβουλων λαὸς ὠνείδισεν ψυχὴν αὐτοῦ εἰς θάνατον καὶ Νεφθαλι ἐπὶ ὕψη ἀγροῦ (Judges 5:18 LXX)

οἵτινες ὑπὲρ τῆς ψυχῆς μου τὸν ἑαυτῶν τράχηλον ὑπέθηκαν οἷς οὐκ ἐγὼ μόνος εὐχαριστῶ ἀλλὰ καὶ πᾶσαι αἱ ἐκκλησίαι τῶν ἐθνῶν (Romans 16:4)

Judges 5:31-Ps. 83:1-18; Daniel 12:3; Mt. 13:43. Ps. 19:4-6; 68:2-3; 97:10; 145:20. Exod. 20:6; Deut. 5:10.










Monday, February 26, 2018

The Gospels and Source/Form Criticism

GNT scholars are inclined to view Matthew and Luke as expansions of Mark, a Synoptic Gospel which numerous scholars believe was the first one written. Statistically, twenty percent of Matthew does not appear in either Mark or Luke, but two hundred verses in both Luke and Matthew are similar to one another like the Beatitudes and the Lord's Prayer (Matthew 5-7; Luke 6:20-26; Matthew 6:9-13; Luke 11:2-4). This parallel material is often identified as the hypothetical Q source (Quelle) and those who investigate such potential founts of the GNT Gospels are said to practice source criticism (source Geschichte).

On the other hand, form criticism (form Geschichte) claims that one can identify oral sources of the Gospels by means of occurrent parables, sayings, miracles, and pronouncement stories that appear in the Gospels: so-called Gattungen. Reconstructing how the accounts of Jesus' life might have existed in oral form seems to involve a good measure of speculation. That is why Paul Anderson has been particularly good at demonstrating the limitations of Bultmannian form-critical constructs. Rudolf Bultmann seems to be Anderson's primary target when he critiques form criticism; furthermore, Anderson has written an introduction for Bultmann's Johannine commentary, which offers constructive feedback on Bultmann's work.

Speaking of John's Gospel (the Fourth Gospel), Daniel B. Wallace reports that GJohn is also ninety-two percent unique. Why is John so different from the other Gospels? Why did Clement of Alexandria call GJohn the "spiritual Gospel"? Robert Mounce writes:

Because the fourth gospel is so different from the Synoptics, its authenticity is sometimes called into question. Many of the major themes and events of the first three gospels are missing in John, while at the same time it includes many significant episodes not mentioned by the others. The argument is that if the Synoptics present a clear picture of Jesus, then John's portrayal can hardly be accepted. Such criticisms overlook the varying purposes for which the four gospels were written. It was not John's purpose to supplement or correct the Synoptics. His gospel is a later, more reflective presentation of major themes in Jesus' life and ministry. If it is true, as many assert, that John's gospel grew out of his preaching ministry, its various differences from the Synoptics would not come as a surprise; they would, in fact, be expected.

Mounce, Robert H.; Mounce, Robert H. John (The Expositor's Bible Commentary) (Kindle Locations 1227-1229). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Mounce, Robert H.; Mounce, Robert H. John (The Expositor's Bible Commentary) (Kindle Locations 1224-1227). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

For more information, see https://www.georgefox.edu/journalonline/spring10/paul-anderson.html

Sunday, February 25, 2018

Matthew 16:19 Through A Rabbinic Lens?

GRB-Murray notes that the majority of commentators interpret Matthew 16:19 through the rabbinic uses of "binding" and "loosing." This appeal to the aforesaid utilizations of "loosing" and binding are supposed to buttress the Roman Catholic notion of a magisterial office that is able to make decisions which are subsequently ratified in heaven. But B-Murray writes that "the terms [loose and bind] were also applied to imposing or relieving the 'ban' on offenders, i.e., their exclusion from or readmittance to the synagogue" (John. GRB Murray. Page 383).

In the final analysis, B-Murray opts for understanding Matt. 16:19 in a forensic sense, so that we are to understand Peter being given the authority to forgive those who respond to the Gospel of Jesus Christ and condemn those whom he sees fit to condemn (those who do not respond favorably to the good news of God). But this conclusion is also by no means certain.

BAGD (page 178) indicates that one way to interpret DEW in Matt. 16:19; 18:18 is by appealing to the Aramaic uses already delineated heretofore. But this lexical source says that the rabbinic terms in question could mean "to forbid" or "to permit." And while certain scholars emphasize this aspect of the rabbinic terms, others see the binding and loosing of Matthew 16:18; 18:18 as somehow connected with magic practices (which admittedly seems highly doubtful in light of the GNT).

Before discussing the rabbinic background of Matthew 16:19, however, BAGD points out that Matt. 16:19; 18:18 may be understood from a Greek vantage standpoint (apart from invoking the rabbinic background). Matthew's language may well be reflecting the Greek declaration made about Prometheus: hOSA DHSEIEN hO ZEUS, TAUT' EXON 'HRAKLEI LUSAI (BAGD 178). So it is quite possible that we need not resort to the rabbinic tradition at all.

Interestingly, Spiros Zodhiates writes that "believers can never make conclusive decisions about things, but can only confirm those decisions which have already been made by God Himself as conclusive in the general context of his kingdom" (The Complete Word Study: New Testament. Page 60). Zodhiates' words appear to be supported by Deuteronomy 1:17, where we are told that the OT judges were not to be influenced by man because "the judgment belongs to God." Jehoshaphat similarly reminded the judges of his time that they were
judges for Jehovah (2 Chron. 19:6, 7). Christian "judges," therefore, can
only allow or forbid what has already been permitted or forbidden in heaven.
God does not follow the dictates of mere men on earth; they submit themselves
to his judicial decisions. Put another way--heaven dictates to earth, not earth to heaven

Friday, February 23, 2018

Foundation Stone: The Apostles or Christ?

Jesus is the foundation of the Christian ecclesia. While I have always taken Eph. 2:20 as a reference to the apostles and prophets as "secondary foundation stones" with Jesus as the "primary foundation stone" or cornerstone of the Christian communitas fidelis--it must be admitted that there is another possible (grammatical) understanding of this verse.

Ralph Earle notes that while it is "often assumed that Paul here declares 'the apostles and the prophets' (probably NT prophets) to be the foundation on which the Church is built," this conclusion does not necessarily follow from the syntax and grammar of the text. Earle refers to Meyers' observation that the foundation in Eph. 2:20 is Christ. Meyers writes: "The apostles and prophets are not the foundation, but have laid it."

Indeed it is possible to construe the genitive in this way ("TWN APOSTOLWN KAI PROFHTWN"), namely as a genitive of possession (not as a genitive of apposition). Nevertheless, I have no problem with viewing the apostles as secondary rather than primary foundation stones.

David Aune also maintains that while Eph. 2:20 can be taken as a genitive of apposition, Paul speaks of Jesus Christ "as the basic QEMELIOS, "foundation" (1 Cor 3:11)." See Aune's Word commentary on Revelation (page 1157). While the apostles are called foundation stones of New Jerusalem (the glorified EKKLHSIA TOU QEOU)--this appellation in no way conflicts with the verses that declare Christ to be the foundation anymore than do those passages which speak of both Christ and his ecclesia as "the seed of Abraham" (Gal. 3:16, 29):

"Peter applies Isaiah's prophecy concerning the cornerstone to Christ. It is noteworthy that a cornerstone controls the design of the building and holds the structure together. In the NT, the symbol of the foundation stone is used both of Christ (1 Cor 3:11) and of the apostles and prophets (Eph 2:20). But only Christ combines the functions of both foundation stone and cornerstone" (1 and 2 Peter, Jude. Norman Hillyer. P. 62-63).

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

Book Review: D.A. Carson's "The Farewell Discourse"

The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus: An Evangelical Exposition of John 14-17. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1980; Repackaged Edition published in 2018.

The Gospel of John 13-17 like other parts of the Fourth Gospel is the subject of many books, dissertations, blogs, conference papers, and journal articles: these chapters are known as the upper room or farewell discourse. D.A. Carson (author of Exegetical Fallacies and a notable Johannine commentary) sets out to exposit John 14-17 for those who are not scholars, but this work does contain material that deals with textual issues and Greek syntax. Carson's book is unabashedly "evangelical" and consequently Trinitarian. Carson does not shy away from problem verses and he frequently calls attention to the deity of Christ. Moreover, this study openly affirms that John 14-17 faithfully represents the historical words and deeds of Jesus, not mere redactional material produced by some Johannine editor. The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus also helpfully points readers to more advanced works in order to access fuller explanations of Carson's hermeneutical presuppositions respecting historical-critical matters.

Carson is a talented writer: his manner of expression is clear, the examples he uses to establish main ideas are stark, and he is a perceptive exegete in many cases. For instance, this book places the reader in the very midst of Jesus' farewell meal with his disciples and we are treated to textual possibilities that might be easy to overlook, if reading the text alone; for scholars, the author's familiarity with secondary literature is quite apparent, and fortunately, Carson is far from being predictable when he attempts to explain Johannine verses. Of course, his Trinitarian presuppositions are quite evident throughout the book. Nevertheless, his penchant for locating a reader within a Biblical narrative is striking and useful.

When discussing John 13 and Jesus' conversation with Peter and the other disciples, Carson writes: "The atmosphere instantly became stultifying again. The silence returned, an engulfing blanket, as the disciples stared at each other. This time there was no doubt what the Master meant" (page 13).

Who would betray Jesus? Which follower of Christ would it be? The exposition of John 13-17 captures the tension that Jesus' disciples must have felt among themselves. Carson elevates the suspense as he makes us wonder, what must the followers of Christ have experienced that fateful night? Jesus later signaled who the treacherous apostle would be. But were his actions completely transparent to those men reclining with him at the farewell event? Did they really get the import of what Jesus did in his interaction with Judas Iscariot? Carson uses this backdrop to introduce the discussion of John 14-17 as he immediately begins a discussion of John 14:1-2--both its textual issues and expositional ones. For this reason and more, Carson's commentary made me think about many of the Fourth Gospel's discrete components and their uniqueness. I loved the challenge of this study, but the book is not without some problems in my estimation.

Admittedly, The Farewell Discourse and Final Prayer of Jesus is a popular treatment of four Johannine chapters, but it should not give the impression that scholarly consensus exists regarding John 14:1-2 or 14:28. In what I consider to be an unjustified embellishment of the text, Carson (although he is not alone) takes John 14:28 as evidence of Christ's deity (pages 94-95): the Father is greater than I am. He believes the verse does not make sense unless one reads the passage as indicative of proof for the divinity of Christ; however, other possibilities exist for 14:28 that make better sense of the account than Carson's interpretation does. Compare the thoughtful commentary of R.E. Brown and Paul Anderson's study on John, both of whom are Trinitarians. Neither of these works reject Jesus' "deity," but at least their explanations of 14:28 are more plausible than Carson's.

While Carson sets out to defend Trinitarianism throughout this book and does not give other views equal time, the book is worth reading for ardent students of John's Gospel, its doctrine of God, and interesting Christology.

I was provided a review copy of Carson's work from Baker Books in exchange for my review. However, the viewpoints I have given represent my own impressions of his study.

See https://www.christianbook.com/farewell-discourse-prayer-jesus-repackaged-edition/d-a-carson/9780801075902/pd/075902

Monday, February 19, 2018

Judges 3:12 (ASV and NWT 2013)

The ASV renders Judges 3:12. : And the children of Israel again did that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah: and Jehovah strengthened Eglon the king of Moab against Israel, because they had done that which was evil in the sight of Jehovah."

But NWT Rbi8 says: "At that Jehovah let Eglon the king of Moab grow strong against Israel"

NWT 2013: "And once again the Israelites began doing what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes. So Jehovah let Egʹlon the king of Moʹab prevail over Israel, because they did what was bad in Jehovah’s eyes."

So "let" versus "strengthened" or "gave" as others render the Hebrew. Did Jehovah permit Eglon and other armies to dominate Israel or was his role a more active one?

Every commentator I read takes the view that Jehovah actively strengthened Eglon. K-D have this comment:

When the Israelites forsook the Lord again (in the place of וגו את־הרע ... ויּעשׂוּ, Judges 3:7, we have here the appropriate expression ... הרע הרע לעשׂות, they added to do, i.e., did again, evil, etc., as in Judges 4:1; Judges 10:6; Judges 13:1), the Lord made Eglon the king of the Moabites strong over Israel. על חזּק, to give a person strength to overcome or oppress another. כּי על, as in Deuteronomy 31:17, instead of the more usual אשׁר על (cf. Jeremiah 4:28; Malachi 2:14; Psalm 139:14).

In my estimation, Rotherham is good on this subject of "do" versus "let do."

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Thomas Dozeman Offers Commentary Regarding Exodus 33:11

Only he [Moses] speaks to God, and he does so "face-to-face;" as friends speak to each other. All cultic activity takes place before the face of God (see the priestly blessing in Num 6:22-26). But the phrase "face-to-face" expresses a more intimate encounter of a direct and charismatic inspiration. Jacob realizes that he has seen God "face-to-face" only after he physically wrestles with God all night at the Jabbok River (Gen 32:30). Gideon comes to the same realization after his commission by the Messenger of Yahweh (Judg 6:22). Deuteronomy 5:4 attributes the same experience to the Israelite people, stating that they heard God speak the Decalogue to them "face-to-face," which is qualified in the following verse (5:5). It is Moses, however, who most clearly embodies the experience of speaking to God face-to-face, always within the tent of meeting. Deuteronomy 34:10 uses this experience to separate Moses from all other prophets, while Num 12:6-8 provides further commentary on Moses' unique status. God states: "With him [Moses] I speak face-to-face [lit. `mouth-to-mouth'], clearly and not in riddles; he sees the form of Yahweh."

Thomas B. Dozeman. Exodus (Eerdmans Critical Commentary) (Kindle Locations 10671-10675). Kindle Edition.

Thomas B. Dozeman. Exodus (Eerdmans Critical Commentary) (Kindle Locations 10669-10671). Kindle Edition.

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Very Short Note on Acts 2:36

It's increasingly becoming weirder to me how Jesus was "made Lord" (i.e., Jehovah) if he was already Jehovah in his preexistent life (Acts 2:36). While Incarnation advocates may argue that he emptied himself, thus making glorification by the Father necessary, they still want to claim that nothing was subtracted by the Incarnation--only humanity was assumed with his divinity. So would he not have remained Lord in that case when he became flesh? Why the need to make him Lord after his resurrection? That is, make him YHWH? Makes no sense to me. How can someone who is already Lord (YHWH) be made Lord by another?

Moses and the Sight of Jehovah's "Form" (Exodus 33:19-20) and John 1:18

How Moses saw Jehovah's form has befuddled Jewish and "Christian" commentators. The expression is likely figurative in view of Exodus 33:19-20; Deuteronomy 4:15-16; 5:4-5; John 1:18 and 1 John 4:12. See also Exodus 24:9-11. The last Pentateuchal account likely refers to a divine vision if we examine the context--not to the act of literally seeing God.

Another way that exegetes have tried to explain accounts regarding Jehovah's form is by making some kind of distinction between God as he reveals himself to us (quoad nos) and God in his essence (quoad essentiam). Some then place the Son qua angel in the first category, but locate the tripersonal God as he exists "immanently" in the second category. However, even apart from the untenable Trinity doctrine, I wonder about the lexical basis for interpreting John 1:18 as a reference to the divine essence rather than construing the language as referentially about the Father.

It is common to say that God = the Father in John 1:1b and the Son/Logos in 1:1c; yet some like M.J.. Harris contend that "God" means the divine essence in 1:18 although the Logos/Son is called "QEOS" in 1:18 and is said to exegete (explain) the Father. Cf. 1 John 4:12.

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

1 Corinthians 13:12 and Numbers 12:8, Etc.

1 Corinthians 13:12 has some connection to Numbers 12:8 and other related scriptures, but some verses possibly are more intimately connected: e.g., Genesis 32:30-31; Judges 6:22-23.

βλέπομεν γὰρ ἄρτι δι' ἐσόπτρου ἐν αἰνίγματι, τότε δὲ πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον· ἄρτι γινώσκω ἐκ μέρους, τότε δὲ ἐπιγνώσομαι καθὼς καὶ ἐπεγνώσθην. (1 Corinthians 13:12 WH)

Gen 32:31: εἶδον γὰρ θεὸν πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον, καὶ ἐσώθη μου ἡ ψυχή. (LXX)

Judges 6:22: καὶ εἶδεν Γεδεων ὅτι ἄγγελος κυρίου ἐστίν, καὶ εἶπεν Γεδεων ῏Α ἆ, κύριε κύριε, ὅτι εἶδον τὸν ἄγγελον κυρίου πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον. (LXX)

Both accounts involve angels (spirit beings) manifested as dynamic agents of YHWH, and notice the expression πρόσωπον πρὸς πρόσωπον.

Numbers 12:8 has στόμα κατὰ στόμα λαλήσω αὐτῷ ἐν εἴδει καὶ οὐ δ αἰνιγμάτων καὶ τὴν δόξαν κυρίου εἶδεν καὶ διὰ τί οὐκ ἐφοβήθητε καταλαλῆσαι κατὰ τοῦ θεράποντός μου Μωυσῆ

Sunday, February 11, 2018

Notes on Humans as the Image of God in Sibylline Oracles

Lactantius quotes Orac. Sib. 8.402: "Man is an icon of me, possessing true reason." I.e., humans are icons of God insofar as we possess "true reason."

See Bowen and Garnsey, Divine Institutes, 150-151. Cf. Divine Institutes 2.10.4.

The Greek of the Orac. Sib. reads: EIKWN EST' ANQRWPOS EMH LOGON ORQON EXOUSA.

Milton Terry offers this reading: "Man is my image, having upright reason." In Terry, the numbering is 8.533. See http://www.sacred-texts.com/cla/sib/sib.pdf

Notice how MORFH and EIKWN are used conjunctively in Orac. Sib. 3.8.

Saturday, February 10, 2018

Quotation from 1QM 17.4-8 (Qumran War Scroll)

(4) But, as for you, take courage and do not fear them [... for] their end is emptine and their desire is for the void. Their support is without st[rength] and they do not [know that from the God] of
(5) Israel is all that is and that will be. He [...] in all which exists for eternity. Today is His appointed time to subdue and to humiliate the prince of the realm
(6) of wickedness. He will send eternal support to the company of His redeemed by the power of the majestic angel of the authority of Michael. By eternal light
(7) He shall joyfully light up the covenant of Israel peace and blessing for the lot of God, to exalt the authority of Michael among the gods and the dominion
(8) of Israel among all flesh.

See https://www.qumran.org/js/qumran/hss/1qm

See also http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/war

Paul Rainbow Discusses Michael the Archangel--Part II from His Thesis

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Paul Rainbow: Michael the Archangel (Part I)-From His Doctoral Thesis


This evidence points toward Michael being identified as an angel early in Judaic history.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Hebrews 12:16--'Not Appreciating Sacred Things'

"and watch that among you there is no one who is sexually immoral* nor anyone who does not appreciate sacred things, like Eʹsau, who gave up his rights as firstborn in exchange for one meal" (Hebrews 12:16 NWT 2013).

μή τις πόρνος ἢ βέβηλος ὡς Ἠσαῦ, ὃς ἀντὶ βρώσεως μιᾶς ἀπέδετο τὰ πρωτοτόκια ἑαυτοῦ. (NA28)

βέβηλος occurs 1 time in the GNT; βεβήλοις occurs 1 time (1 Tim. 1:9) and βεβήλους is found 3 times (1 Tim. 4:7; 1 Tim. 6:20; 2 Tim. 2:16).

As you can see, the adjectival form of the word occurs 4 times in Timothy and once outside those letters. Why is that the case? Why does Hebrews use βέβηλος like the Pastorals do?

Victor C. Pfitzner (Hebrews, 180) states that βέβηλος "has cultic connotations, suggesting the distinction between the holy and the profane." In other words, Esau spurned what is holy/sacred by bartering an item that possessed the divine benediction.

David Allen writes: "Esau's rejection of his birthright was tantamount to spiritual prostitution and de facto adultery" (Deuteronomy and Exhortation in Hebrews, 136).

Allen also believes that apostasy is "the dominant heuristic motif in 12:16-17" (ibid.).

Older commentators did not want to apply πόρνος to Esau, but more recent works do, even if it is not clear why 12:16 gives him that designation. William Lane (Word Biblical Commentary) relates that "Elliott" tried contending that ἢ in 12:16 is disjunctive--separating πόρνος from βέβηλος and distinguishing two kinds of people. Lane reckons that the suggestion is less than convincing since ἢ "is never strictly disjunctive" (although he sees no reason to think Esau was a literal fornicator). βέβηλος is understood here as "irreligious," "secular" or profane.

According to Westcott, "The word describes a character which recognises nothing as higher than earth: for whom there is nothing sacred: no divine reverence for the unseen" (The Epistle to the Hebrews, 408). He consider Esau to be "the embodiment" of βέβηλος.

Compare Leviticus 10:10; 1 Samuel 21:4 (LXX).


Thursday, February 01, 2018

Note for John 3:13 in the Zondervan Bible Commentary (One Volume)

(who is in heaven [margin] though omitted by a number of early MSS should probably be left in the text. Jesus revealed the life of God, which exists in heaven, whilst He was upon earth. His permanent dwelling place is there; He only ‘dwelt among us . . .’ [cf. 1:14].)

I will let the quote speak for itself.

Preverbal Uses of QEOS and Periphrastic Constructions: Philippians 2:13 and 2 Corinthians 5:19

Certain scholars contend that QEOS in Phil 2:13 is
both predicative and emphatic. Moreover, Stanley
Porter suggests that 2 Cor 5:19 serves as an example
of a periphrastic construction, although he adds: "there
is much controversy among grammarians and
commentators" concerning this text (Stanley Porter,
Idioms of the GNT, page 47).

I also find it interesting that Porter wants to render
2 Cor 5:19, "in Christ, God was reconciling the world
to himself." He thus seems to place emphasis on EN
XRISTWi, rather than the preverbal QEOS. And while it
seems that QEOS in 2 Cor 5:19-20 is possibly
predicative and emphatic, I think Colwell's rule is a
plausible explanation of the anarthrousness of QEOS,
which is evidently definite here and not qualitative.

On page 109 of Idioms, Porter discusses Greek
articular usage with linking verbs and suggests that
the construction IHSOUS ESTIN hO XRISTOS in Jn 20:31
should be construed "the Christ is Jesus" (taking
Christ as the subject). He makes this decision based
on McGaughy's rule, but 1 Jn 2:22 might serve as a
counter-example to Porter's argument.

Sunday, January 28, 2018

John Courtney Murray Discusses the hOMOOUSION Formula

These comments by John C. Murray (S.J.) are taken from his book The Problem of God (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1964, page 50). He is referring to the purported (as he thinks) contradiction that seems to arise from triune formulae:

"The hOMOOUSION resolves the seeming contradiction. If, as the hOMOOUSION asserts, the Son is all that the Father is, except for the Name of Father, then the Son is Pantokrator as the Father is, but he is not the Father. But here intelligence has reached its limit. The problem is solved, to the limits of solution. The mystery remains intact, adorable."

William Mounce-"Make Yourself God" (John 10:33)-Draft Version

1 Peter 3:15 encourages Christians to defend the faith with mildness and deep respect toward those who oppose Christianity (cf. 1 Peter 3:2). My approach is normally mildness and respect toward others: I don't like calling people names or putting down their abilities or intelligence. However, I must say that William Mounce's tone, stuffiness and rudimentary errors on one of his Greek Mondays got my attention. See https://billmounce.com/monday-with-mounce/%E2%80%9Cmake-yourself-god%E2%80%9D-john-10-33

My comments: I am not a Greek grammarian or a noted NT scholar although I have a classical languages degree. Nevertheless, the errors committed by Mounce are clear to me.

1) John 10:33 reads (WH): ἀπεκρίθησαν αὐτῷ οἱ Ἰουδαῖοι Περὶ καλοῦ ἔργου οὐ λιθάζομέν σε ἀλλὰ περὶ βλασφημίας, καὶ ὅτι σὺ ἄνθρωπος ὢν ποιεῖς σεαυτὸν θεόν.

Mounce claims that the Jews wanted to stone Jesus because the Son of God asserted that he and the Father are one (John 10:30). In 10:33, his listeners accuse him of blasphemy, ὅτι σὺ ἄνθρωπος ὢν ποιεῖς σεαυτὸν θεόν.

Mounce writes: "The Jewish response shows clearly that Jesus was making a claim to be God, the God, Yahweh."

For the sake of argument, even if we assume that Jesus was claiming to be God (Yahweh or Jehovah), it's by no means "clearly" shown that he was undertaking this action when we read the Jewish reply since there are other ways to understand the response, even if one is a Trinitarian. We don't have to infer that Jesus was claiming divine prerogatives. In fact, Novatian of Rome concluded that John 10:30 demonstrates the Son may be "God," but he is still the Father's inferior. See De Trinitate XXVII.16ff. Tertullian's understanding of the verse is also noteworthy.

2) Mounce continues: "First of all, 'a god' is highly interpretive. Anyone who knows Greek knows that there is no indefinite article, 'a.'"

I find two surprising utterances in this sentence. Firstly, Mounce has to know that "a god" is a possible translation--not "highly interpretive--for the anarthrous θεόν at 10:33. Compare 1 Kings 18:27: ἐπικαλεῖσθε ἐν φωνῇ μεγάλῃ ὅτι θεός ἐστιν. Secondly, while there may be no indefinite article in Greek, we sometimes use one anyway when translating Greek as the famous example of Acts 28:6 illustrates. Compare "a god" for that verse in NIV, ESV, NASB, NET, KJV, and more.

3) Another observation sallied forth by Mounce: "Secondly, these are Jews speaking, who do not have a concept of multiple 'god[s]'; if Jesus claimed to be a pagan deity, one among many, we would expect a different response."

It is less than clear what Mounce possibly means by the Jews not possessing a concept of many gods. If he means that they were not conceptually aware of other gods recognized/venerated by the nations, then he's starkly wrong. He probably means to say that the Jews understood references to "God" or a god as applicable to Yahweh (Jehovah). They would have interpreted Jesus to mean that he was Yahweh--not a competitor deity like the nations revered or some demigod. However, other scholars have rightly pointed out (in my estimation) that the Jews recognized existent deities who were subordinate to YHWH. That is to say, elohim or qeos could be applied to lesser beings like angels without breaching the unique oneness of God. Men were possibly given the appellation elohim too as we may find with human judges. See Ralph L. Smith, Old Testament Theology, page 232ff. Compare D.S. Russell, The Method and Message of Jewish Apocalyptic:

"There is ample evidence to show that [the OT] conception of monotheism was held in conjunction with a belief in a spiritual world peopled with supernatural and superhuman beings who, in some ways, shared the nature, though not the being, of God" (page 235).

Besides, who thinks Jesus would have claimed to be a pagan deity? He could have been calling attention to his divine qualities as a member of the elohim class. In a different vein, Charles C. Ryrie makes this pronouncement about the biblical use of elohim, writing that man is "lower than angels since they belong to a class of superhuman beings (elohim) who are stronger than man by nature and, unlike man, not subject to death" (Basic Theology, p. 127).

So John 10:33 could be translated "God," but I don't think that is the only possible translation or necessarily the default rendering.

4) After discussing object-complements, Mounce states: "So the default translation is, 'make yourself to be God.'"

How about "make yourself to be a god"? The rendering could be mistaken, but how Mounce can rule it out is beyond me. For the NEB translates 10:33, "You, a mere man, claim to be a god."

Compare John 19:7; Psalm 82:1-6; John 10:34-36.



Friday, January 26, 2018

John 3:13 in the MSS (Ralph Earle and Bruce Metzger)

With regard to John 3:13, translator Ralph Earle expresses this view: "This clause in the KJV is not found in any Greek manuscript earlier than the ninth century. We now have two papyrus manuscripts of John's Gospel from close to A.D. 200--only about 100 years after that Gospel was written (probably about A.D. 95). Also, both our great Greek manuscripts from the fourth century do not have it. It seems obvious that no reasonable-minded person would argue that this clause was in John's Gospel as originally written, when it is not in the third and fourth-century manuscripts that we have" (Word Meanings in the NT, p. 84).

For information on the aforementioned MSS, see Bruce Metzger's The Text of the NT (pp. 53f).

See https://archive.org/stream/TheTextOfNewTestament4thEdit#page/n71/mode/2up/search/son+of+man

An opposing point of view is given by D.A. Black: https://faculty.gordon.edu/hu/bi/ted_hildebrandt/ntesources/ntarticles/gtj-nt/black-jn3-gtj-85.pdf

However, I do not find his argument all that compelling. See pages 64-66 of this dissertation: https://deepblue.lib.umich.edu/bitstream/handle/2027.42/63842/jhellens_1.pdf?sequence=1

Here is the NET Bible Note for this part of 3:13:

tc Most witnesses, including a few important ones (A[*] Θ Ψ 050 Ë1,13 Ï latt syc,p,h), have at the end of this verse “the one who is in heaven” (ὁ ὢν ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ, Jo wn en tw ouranw). A few others have variations on this phrase, such as “who was in heaven” (e syc), or “the one who is from heaven” (0141 pc sys). The witnesses normally considered the best, along with several others, lack the phrase in its entirety (Ì66,75 א B L T Ws 083 086 33 1241 pc co). On the one hand, if the reading ὁ ὢν ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ is authentic it may suggest that while Jesus was speaking to Nicodemus he spoke of himself as in heaven even while he was on earth. If that is the case, one could see why variations from this hard saying arose: “who was in heaven,” “the one who is from heaven,” and omission of the clause. At the same time, such a saying could be interpreted (though with difficulty) as part of the narrator’s comments rather than Jesus’ statement to Nicodemus, alleviating the problem. And if v. 13 was viewed in early times as the evangelist’s statement, “the one who is in heaven” could have crept into the text through a marginal note. Other internal evidence suggests that this saying may be authentic. The adjectival participle, ὁ ὤν, is used in the Fourth Gospel more than any other NT book (though the Apocalypse comes in a close second), and frequently with reference to Jesus (1:18; 6:46; 8:47). It may be looking back to the LXX of Exod 3:14 (ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν). Especially since this exact construction is not necessary to communicate the location of the Son of Man, its presence in many witnesses here may suggest authenticity. Further, John uses the singular of οὐρανός (ourano", “heaven”) in all 18 instances of the word in this Gospel, and all but twice with the article (only 1:32 and 6:58 are anarthrous, and even in the latter there is significant testimony to the article). At the same time, the witnesses that lack this clause are very weighty and must not be discounted. Generally speaking, if other factors are equal, the reading of such mss should be preferred. And internally, it could be argued that ὁ ὤν is the most concise way to speak of the Son of Man in heaven at that time (without the participle the point would be more ambiguous). Further, the articular singular οὐρανός is already used twice in this verse, thus sufficiently prompting scribes to add the same in the longer reading. This combination of factors suggests that ὁ ὢν ἐν τῷ οὐρανῷ is not a genuine Johannism. Further intrinsic evidence against the longer reading relates to the evangelist’s purposes: If he intended v. 13 to be his own comments rather than Jesus’ statement, his switch back to Jesus’ words in v. 14 (for the lifting up of the Son of Man is still seen as in the future) seems inexplicable. The reading “who is in heaven” thus seems to be too hard. All things considered, as intriguing as the longer reading is, it seems almost surely to have been a marginal gloss added inadvertently to the text in the process of transmission. For an argument in favor of the longer reading, see David Alan Black, “The Text of John 3:13,” GTJ 6 (1985): 49-66.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

The Philo Index: A Helpful Work for Philo Scholars

Check out The Philo Index: A Complete Greek Word Index to the Writings of Philo of Alexandria by Peder
Borgen (et al.). You can find out more about the book here:

http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0802838839/qid=1079054363/sr=1-4/ref=sr_1_4/104-1479853-4204769?v=glance&s=books

Richard Young Offers Comments on the Granville Sharp Rule

Questions about the GS rule often come my way. Here is one perspective given concerning the famed rule.

On pp. 62-64 of his linguistic and exegetical grammar, Richard A. Young has a useful discussion of the Granville Sharp rule. Concerning his much discussed rule, Sharp stated:

"When the copulative KAI connects two nouns of the same case, if the article hO, or any of its cases, precedes the first of the said nouns or participles, and is not repeated before the second noun or participle, the latter always relates to the same person that is expressed or decribed by the first noun or participle."

Of course there are possible exceptions to this rule such as plural elements, non-personal nouns and proper names.

One hotly disputed passage that involves Sharp's rule is Titus 2:13. Young comments on this passage:

"In Titus 2:13 the construction TOU MEGALOU QEOU KAI SWTHROS hHMWN (our great God and Savior) means that our savior, Jesus Christ, is God. Since both nouns refer to the same person, the pronoun 'our' modifies both nouns. To make it modify only the second tends to separate the nouns, 'the great God and our Savior"'(AV, Phillips). The NWT separates the two nouns even more, 'of the great God and of our Savior Christ Jesus.' This removes any thought of Christ being God. For other examples, see 2 Peter 1:1, 2:20 (Cf. Robertson 1977:61-68; Kuehne 1973-1974)" (Young 62-64).

Monday, January 22, 2018

Quote from Babylon the Great Has Fallen Book: A Personal Favorite

"Just as Jehovah's Shekinah light illuminated the Most Holy of the ancient tabernacle and temple, so his glory directly lights up the New Jerusalem. Ancient Babylon on the Euphrates River needed oil lamps for lighting at night; but, if there were any night around the heavenly New Jerusalem, the Lamb of God would be its lamp. This explains why 'the city has no need of the sun nor of the moon to shine upon it.' But men on earth will need such lights. The invisible heavenly city will shed a spiritual light upon the inhabiters of the 'new earth.' A complete clarification of the Bible will be given to them, together with all the righteous, enlightening, guiding rules, laws and instructions that will be given to them. So the nations on earth, that is, those not of the 144,000 spiritual Israelites, will walk in the spiritual light coming from the city and will see how to walk in the way that leads to everlasting life without stumbling. All the families and nations of the earth will thus be blessed. — Genesis l2:3; 22:18."

"Babylon the Great Has Fallen", pages 660-1.

Sunday, January 21, 2018

Book Recommendation: Marian Hillar's "The Case of Michael Servetus"

I encourage you to read The Case of Michael Servetus: The Turning Point in the Struggle for Freedom of Conscience (Lewiston/Queenston/Lampeter: Edwin Mellen Press, 1997) written by Marian Hillar. This work is part of the Texts and Studies in Religion series. It is volume 74.

Hillar's book is well documented, being 426+ pp. But this study is costly with Amazon having a used copy for almost $400.00. See if you can obtain this study through interlibrary loan.

Hillar is mostly concerned with issues surrounding the freedom of conscience and religious coercion. He examines Servetus as a case example of how religion has tried to suppress individuals not considered orthodox by the majority.

The book is divided into three parts, it contains an appendix and has a select bibliography. I've found Hillar's study to be informative and helpful for learning more about antitrinitarianism, Socinianism, repression of freedoms and the case of Servetus.

While Hillar's examination of Servetus is generally well-written, there appear to be numerous typos in the book. Ergo, it could have probably been edited better. Hillar is an intelligent, deep thinking individual who is erudite and studious. However, his study contains some non-standard English, but I do not make this statement to demean his contribution in any way. I well know my own capability to employ non-standard English at times. All the more reason to enlist a good editor when one is composing an important scholarly contribution. In any event, Hillar's book is worth perusing

Thursday, January 18, 2018

De Trinitate Preface (Book II) by Augustine of Hippo

When men seek to know God, and bend their minds according to the capacity of human weakness to the understanding of the Trinity; learning, as they must, by experience, the wearisome difficulties of the task, whether from the sight itself of the mind striving to gaze upon light unapproachable, or, indeed, from the manifold and various modes of speech employed in the sacred writings (wherein, as it seems to me, the mind is nothing else but roughly exercised, in order that it may find sweetness when glorified by the grace of Christ);— such men, I say, when they have dispelled every ambiguity, and arrived at something certain, ought of all others most easily to make allowance for those who err in the investigation of so deep a secret. But there are two things most hard to bear with, in the case of those who are in error: hasty assumption before the truth is made plain; and, when it has been made plain, defense of the falsehood thus hastily assumed. From which two faults, inimical as they are to the finding out of the truth, and to the handling of the divine and sacred books, should God, as I pray and hope, defend and protect me with the shield of His good will, and with the grace of His mercy, I will not be slow to search out the substance of God, whether through His Scripture or through the creature.

Source: Translated by Arthur West Haddan. From Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, First Series, Vol. 3. Edited by Philip Schaff. (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Publishing Co., 1887.) Revised and edited for New Advent by Kevin Knight. .


Picture Source: Thanks to https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/e/ea/Saint_Augustine_by_Philippe_de_Champaigne.jpg

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Does the NIV Mistranslate Verses? Genesis 4:1 As a Test Case

A friend recently posted a long entry about the NIV's proclivity for mistranslation. Far be it from me to defend the NIV, but I like exploring translation issues and being fair to all parties involved. Therefore, I take Gen. 4:1 as a test case and this is one verse some insist is mistranslated in the NIV.

New International Version
Adam made love to his wife Eve, and she became pregnant and gave birth to Cain. She said, "With the help of the LORD I have brought forth a man."

New Living Translation
Now Adam had sexual relations with his wife, Eve, and she became pregnant. When she gave birth to Cain, she said, "With the LORD's help, I have produced a man!"

English Standard Version
Now Adam knew Eve his wife, and she conceived and bore Cain, saying, “I have gotten a man with the help of the LORD.”

New American Standard Bible
Now the man had relations with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain, and she said, "I have gotten a manchild with the help of the LORD."

King James Bible
And Adam knew Eve his wife; and she conceived, and bare Cain, and said, I have gotten a man from the LORD.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Adam was intimate with his wife Eve, and she conceived and gave birth to Cain. She said, "I have had a male child with the LORD's help."

New World Translation 2013
Now Adam had sexual relations with his wife Eve, and she became pregnant.a When she gave birth to Cain,b she said: “I have produced* a male child with the help of Jehovah.”

It has been contended that adding "help" as NIV does is unwarranted because that adds to what the Hebrew text actually states. Compare YLT for example. However, is the addition of this word a deliberate mistranslation? Not in my estimation because part of translation involves making things clear for one's receptor audience: translating is going from the source language to the receptor language. Producing a stilted "literal" translation may actually be misleading. Note how many translations above use the word "help." The fact is that "help" is an understood/implicit element of the utterance.

Cambridge Bible offers this explanation for why "help" might be used:

I have gotten a man with the help of the Lord] Literally, “I acquired (or, have acquired) man, even Jahveh.” Eve’s four words in the Hebrew (ḳânîthi îsh eth-Yahveh) are as obscure as any oracle.

(i) The difficulty was felt at a very early time, and is reflected in the versions LXX διὰ τοῦ θεοῦ, Lat. per Deum, in which, as R.V., the particle êth is rendered as a preposition in the sense of “in conjunction with,” and so “with the help of,” “by the means of.”

König, who holds an eminent position both as a commentator and as a Hebrew grammarian and lexicographer, has recently strongly defended the rendering of êth as a preposition meaning “with,” in the sense here given by the English version “with the help of” (see Z.A.T.W. 1912, Pt i, pp. 22 ff.). The words will then express the thanksgiving of Eve on her safe deliverance of a child. It is a pledge of Divine favour. Child-birth has been “with the help of the Lord.”

(ii) The Targum of Onkelos reads mê-êth = “from” (instead of êth = “with”), and so gets rid of the difficulty: “I have gotten a man from Jehovah,” i.e. as a gift from the Lord. But this is so easy an alteration that it looks like a correction, and can scarcely be regarded as the original text. Praestat lectio difficilior.

From NET Bible:

tn Heb “with the Lord.” The particle אֶת־ (’et) is not the accusative/object sign, but the preposition “with” as the ancient versions attest. Some take the preposition in the sense of “with the help of” (see BDB 85 s.v. אֵת; cf. NEB, NIV, NRSV), while others prefer “along with” in the sense of “like, equally with, in common with” (see Lev 26:39; Isa 45:9; Jer 23:28). Either works well in this context; the latter is reflected in the present translation. Some understand אֶת־ as the accusative/object sign and translate, “I have acquired a man – the Lord.” They suggest that the woman thought (mistakenly) that she had given birth to the incarnate Lord, the Messiah who would bruise the Serpent’s head. This fanciful suggestion is based on a questionable allegorical interpretation of Gen 3:15 (see the note there on the word “heel”).


Sunday, January 14, 2018

Followup on Luke 1:75; Ephesians 4:24

I've had a chance to research the issue of the word order for Luke 1:75 and Ephesians 4:24:

Ellicott's Commentary: In holiness and righteousness.—The same combination is found, though in an inverted order, in Ephesians 4:24. “Holiness” has special reference to man’s relations to God; “justice” to those which connect him with his fellow men; but, like all such words, they more or less overlap.

Expositor's GT: Luke 1:75. ὁσιότητι: the Godward, religious aspect of conduct (Ephesians 4:24).—δικαιοσύνῃ: the manward, ethical aspect.

Cambridge Bible: 75. In holiness] towards God,

and righteousness] towards men. We have the same words contrasted in 1 Thessalonians 2:10, “how holily and righteously;” Ephesians 4:24, “in righteousness and holiness of the truth.” Ὅσιος, ‘holy,’ is the Hebrew Châsîd, whence the ‘Chasidîm’ (Pharisees); and δίκαιος the Hebrew Tsaddik, whence ‘Sadducees.’

Bengel's Gnomon: Luke 1:75. Ἐν ὁσιότητι καὶ δικαιοσύνῃ, in holiness and righteousness) The same combination of words occurs, Ephesians 4:24; 1 Thessalonians 2:10. Righteousness expresses conformity to the law: holiness, conformity to nature.—πάσας) on every day [all the several days]: Hebrews 2:15.

Vincent's WS: Hence ὁσιότης is concerned primarily with the eternal laws of God. It is "the divine consecration and inner truth of righteousness" (Meyer). Throughout the New Testament its look is godward. In no case is it used of moral excellence as related to men, though it is to be carefully noted that δικαιοσύνη, righteousness, is not restricted to rightness toward men. Compare Ephesians 4:24; true holiness; literally, holiness of the truth.



Christmas and Sun Worship

Looking back at Grecian philosophical and mythological history, we find that the Presocratic philosophers were keenly interested in finding which substance constitutes the primordial cosmic substrate. Thales posited water as the ARXH of the universe, while Pythagoras asserted it was numbers; on the other hand, Heraclitus felt that fire was the primeval substance that was the ever-changing and governing force of the cosmos. "Everything is in a state of flux," Heraclitus is often quoted as stating. This "flux" consisted of fire and the "strife of opposites." In this way, Heraclitus accounted for all of the diversity manifest in nature. Certain scholars have called Heraclitus a "fire priest," indicating that he worshiped or at least reverenced the sun. While not every classicist will agree, I think there is some merit to this view and there might be evidence that the Presocratics were also prototypical theologians who were endeavoring to formulate a primitive doctrine of God (as they understood him). Now the significant point to note is that Heraclitus and other early thinkers may have participated in a rudimentary form of sun worship: this point is also evidenced by the myths written about Apollo, Helios, and Hyperion.

One excellent source that I have found for dealing with the history of Greek religion is Gilbert Murray's Five Stages of Greek Religion. On p. 134 of this invaluable reference work, Murray writes that worship of the Sun is implicit, "if not explicit," in a number of ancient Greek documents. It is "idealized by Plato in the Republic, where the Sun is the author of all good light and life in the material world, as the Idea of the Good is in the ideal world. This worship came gradually into contact with the traditional and definite Sun-worship of Persia. The final combination took place curiously late. It was the Roman conquests of Cilicia, Cappadocia, Commagene, and Armenia that gave the decisive moment. To men who had wearied of the myths of the poets, who could draw no more inspiration from their Apollo and Hyperion, but still had the habits and the craving left by their old Gods, a fresh breath of reality came with the entrance of HLIOS ANIKHTOS MIQRAS, 'Mithras, the Unconquered Sun.' But long before the triumph of Mithraism as the military religion of the Roman Frontier, Greek literature is permeated with a kind of intense language about the Sun, which seems derived from Plato"(Murray 134).

Will Durant also provides this information: "In 354 [This date may be off. Others have calculated the time at circa 332 C.E.] some Western churches, including those of Rome, commemorated the birth of Christ on December 25; this was then erroneously calculated as the winter solstice, on which the days begin to lengthen; it was already the central festival of Mithraism, the NATALIS INVICTI SOLIS, or birthday of the unconquered sun" (Caesar and Christ 558).

So I would trace the potential development of Christmas from Greece through Persia to Rome.