Wednesday, March 31, 2021

20-foot ice volcano, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Tuesday, March 30, 2021

Apocrypha again

There seems to be many misconceptions about the Bible and the Apocrypha. Some KJV-Detractors either think or pretend to think that the King James translation was the first English Bible to include it, and that supporters of the King James translation do not know that the Apocrypha was in the 1611 King James Version.
Yes, the 1611 edition of the King James Bible (as well as some later printings) included the Apocrypha, 14 books between the Old and New Testaments – I Esdras, II Esdras, Tobit, Judith, The Rest of the Chapters of the book of Esther (usually called Additions to Esther), The Wisdom of Solomon, Ecclesiasticus, Baruch (the Epistle of Jeremiah appears as Chapter Six of Baruch), The Song of the Three Holy Children, The History of Susanna, The History of the Destruction of Bel and the Dragon, The Prayer of Manasseh King of Judah, I Maccabees, and II Maccabees.

So did the 1382 Wycliffe Bible
So did the 1535 Coverdale Bible
So did the 1537 Matthew Bible
So did the 1539 Taverner Bible
So did the 1541 Great Bible
So did the 1560 Geneva Bible
So did the 1568 Bishops Bible
So did the English Revised Version (the 1901 ASV did not)
Based on my limited research, William Tyndale did not finish the translation of the Old Testament before his death. Thus, we do not know whether or not he would have included the Apocrypha. This Apocrypha was also found in other language Bibles, such as Luther’s translation, the Zürich Bible, and the Spanish Reina-Valera. The Codex Vaticanus contained most of the Apocrypha and the surviving Codex Sinaiticus contains some of the Apocrypha. 
According to F. F. Bruce, Coverdale’s Bible of 1535 separated the apocryphal books from the Old Testament and placed them after Malachi (with the exception of Baruch which came after Jeremiah until it was moved after Tobit in the 1537 edition of Coverdale). (The Books and the Parchments: How We God Our English Bible, Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell, 1950, p. 163)
As best I can tell, both the Puritans and High-Church Anglicans subscribed to “Article VI on the Holy Scriptures” from the Book of Articles which was “agreed upon by the archbishops and bishops of both provinces and the whole clergy in the convocation holden at London in the year 1562...” Referencing the Apocrypha, Article VI stated, “And the other books (as Hierome saith) the Church doth read for example of life and instruction of manners; but yet doth it not apply them to establish any doctrine...”
The Second Cambridge Company of King James translators, under the leadership of John Duport, were tasked with translating the Apocrypha. Alexander McClure lists the following reasons for not admitting the apocryphal books into the canon. Some people take this to mean the reasons of the Second Cambridge Company, but it might be an explanation by McClure (it is not clear to me which he meant).
“The reasons assigned for not admitting the apocryphal books into the canon, or list, of inspired Scriptures are briefly the following. 1. Not one of them is in the Hebrew language, which was alone used by the inspired historians and poets of the Old Testament. 2. Not one of the writers lays any claim to inspiration. 3. These books were never acknowledged as sacred Scriptures by the Jewish Church, and therefore were never sanctioned by our Lord. 4. They were not allowed a place among the sacred books, during the first four centuries of the Christian Church. 5. They contain fabulous statements, and statements which contradict not only the canonical Scriptures but themselves; as when in the two Books of Maccabees, Antiochus Epiphanes is made to die three different deaths in as many different places. 6. It inculcates doctrines at variance with the bible, such a prayers for the dead, and sinless perfection. 7. It teaches immoral practices, such as lying, suicide, assassination and magical incantation. For these and other reasons, the Apocryphal books, which are all in Greek, except one which is extant only in Latin, are valuable as ancient documents, illustrative of manners, language, opinions and history of the East.” (The Translators Revived: a Biographical Memoir of the Authors of the English Version of the Holy Bible, by Alexander Wilson McClure, pp. 185-186)

Newer Bible translations such as the Revised Standard Version also included the Apocrypha. The New Testament translation was first published in 1946, the Old Testament in 1952, and then the Apocrypha in 1957.

Monday, March 29, 2021

When good and evil sit down, and other quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources. (I try to confirm the sources that I give, but may miss on occasion; please verify if possible.)

“When good and evil sit down to work out a compromise, it’s always good which does the compromising.” -- Robert McKay (maybe original, or maybe paraphrasing Ayn Rand, below)

“In any compromise between food and poison, it is only death that can win. In any compromise between good and evil, it is only evil that can profit.” -- Ayn Rand, in Atlas Shrugged

“Faith is not contrary to reason; it is beyond reason.” -- Adrian Rogers (and probably others; I have also seen “Faith is beyond reason but it is not contrary to it.”)

“I’ve done made a deal with the devil. He said he’s going to give me an air-conditioned place when I go down there, if I go there, so I won’t put all the fires in hell out.” -- Red Adair, famous oil-well firefighter

“Justice without force is powerless; force without justice is tyrannical.” -- Blaise Pascal

“The bridge of the cross spanned the chasm of sin.”

“In rejecting our Christian roots we will end up rejecting our Christian fruits.” -- David Robertson

“Christianity, if false, is of no importance, and if true, of infinite importance. The only thing it cannot be is moderately important.” -- C. S. Lewis

The Fellow Traveler

As we stand in King James Plaza and admire The Grand Old Book, our King James Bible, we become aware of a fellow traveler on the freeway heading towards town. However, this fellow seems to be a bit confused…

How should we react to this fellow traveler who has arrived at the same place we are at, but by an entirely different route? In my opinion he is a fellow traveler who has arrived at the right place by all the wrong methods. We may not admire his navigation abilities, but we have to agree with his final destination. In my not-entirely-humble opinion this man is by far more in agreement with our position then the fellow who got off the freeway at the rest stop before ever arriving at Providential Preservation Point, and never got back on the freeway. In other words, he stopped to think and forgot to start again!
The believer who has full confidence in his King James Bible as the preserved word of God in the English language is my fellow traveler – considerably more so then the believer who refuses to see God’s marvelous Providential Preservation of our King James Bible.

Sunday, March 28, 2021

A state of nature and of grace

HYMN 104. Common Meter.
A state of nature and of grace. 1 Cor. 6:10,11.

1. Not the malicious or profane,
The wanton or the proud,
Nor thieves, nor sland’rers, shall obtain
The kingdom of our God.

2. Surprising grace! and such were we
By nature and by sin,
Heirs of immortal misery,
Unholy and unclean.

3. But we are washed in Jesus’ blood,
We’re pardoned through his name;
And the good Spirit of our God
Has sanctified our frame.

4. O for a persevering power
To keep thy just commands
We would defile our hearts no more,
No more pollute our hands.

This hymn by Isaac Watts (1674-1748) appeared in Hymns and Spiritual Songs, published 1707 in London.

Saturday, March 27, 2021

In other words, paella and pialla

  • anent, preposition. In regard to; about; concerning. (British) Beside; in line with.
  • aperitif, noun. An alcoholic drink taken before a meal to stimulate the appetite.
  • archaic, adjective. (Of a word or a style of language) No longer in everyday use but sometimes used to impart an old-fashioned flavour.
  • beard-stroking, adjective. Given to or characterized by the stroking of one’s beard, esp. while deliberating or reflecting on a question. Hence: over-intellectual, pretentious. (Cf. chin-stroking)
  • breadthening, noun. The action or process of increasing the breadth of something; broadening, widening.
  • chin-stroking, noun. Given to or characterized by the stroking of one’s chin, esp. while deliberating or reflecting on a question. Hence: deep discussion or contemplation that is seen as self-important or pretentious. (Cf. beard-stroking)
  • code duello, noun. An established set of rules or conventions followed by duellists.
  • dæġ, noun (pl. dæges). Old English for day, as in the time from sunrise to sunset, or a 24-hour day.
  • jinx, interjection. Originally and chiefly in children’s speech: an exclamation used after two people utter the same word or phrase in the same moment.
  • kern, noun. (archaic) A peasant; a rustic.
  • Missio Dei, noun. A theological phrase in the Christian religion meaning “the mission (or sending) of God” (Latin).
  • notwithstanding, preposition. In spite of.
  • obsolete, adjective. (Of a word or a style of language) No longer produced or used; out of date.
  • paella, noun. A Spanish dish of rice, saffron, chicken, seafood, etc., cooked and served in a large shallow pan.
  • pialla, verb (transitive). Esp. in Australian Aboriginal usage: to tell, relate (news, etc.); to speak to, entreat (someone). Also (intransitive) To talk.
  • Sisyphean, adjective. Endlessly laborious and fruitless, or futile. (After Sisyphus, a king in Greek mythology whose punishment was to push a large stone to the top of a hill, only to watch it roll back down – and so to repeat this forever.)
  • sopa de gato, noun. A very thick Spanish soup, served hot, usually prepared with water, bread, oil, garlic and salt.

Friday, March 26, 2021

Congregational Singing

Congregational singing versus music that excludes the congregation

“The people in the pews have become spectators enjoying a show rather than worshipers entering into the spiritual activity of praising God and admonishing brethren.” – Ken Green in “Balancing Faith and Tradition: Congregational Singing”[i]

Command, principle, and example all favor congregational singing as the normal way churches should sing in gathered worship. This should be a three-fold cord not easily broken.

The command to sing in Ephesians 5:18-19 and Colossians 3:16 is addressed to churches (congregations). In the immediate context of both texts, a plurality of individuals is commanded to be filled and let dwell. The participles further address this plurality (the congregation) – speaking, singing, making melody, teaching, admonishing. Taken together this indicates the participation of the whole church.

The terms to yourselves and one another (heautou) are reciprocal, reflexive pronouns. According to Dana and Mantey’s Grammar (in which they give Ephesians 5:19 and Colossians 3:16 as examples), this is “When a plural subject is represented as affected by an interchange of action signified by the verb...”[ii]  If an individual or select group of singers are active and the rest of the church is passively listening, then there is no interchange of action as Dana and Mantey suggest – and the “speaking one to another” is not happening as Paul intended.

Besides the Bible command for the churches to sing, we have an example of the disciples singing together. This is found in Matthew 26:30 (Cf. Mark 14:26). The apostles sang an hymn with Jesus after the institution of the Lord’s Supper before going out to the Mount of Olives. The context and construction of the sentence leave no doubt that they sang together. They sang. They went out. The participle humnasantes (translated “they had sung an hymn”) is plural as well as the 3rd person plural verb exelthon (translated they went out). The people who went out to the Mount of Olives are the same ones who had sung an hymn. This incident is alluded to in Hebrews 2:12.

In addition to both command and example, congregational singing is supported by a New Testament worship principle – New Covenant believers are an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God through Jesus Christ (1 Peter 2:5). The spiritual sacrifices include the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips (Hebrews 13:15). Our worship is a personal spiritual sacrifice to God offered up by a priesthood of believers – not a few believers who offer up worship for others.

The New Testament holds forth the ideal of congregational singing. Perhaps we can never ideally achieve it, but that does not mean we should not try.[iii]

Sing praises to God, sing praises: sing praises unto our King, sing praises. (Psalm 47:6)

[i] From Biblical Insights, June 2004; not available online as far as I can tell.
[ii] Dana, H. E. and Julius R. Mantey, A Manual Grammar of the Greek New Testament, Toronto, ONT: The Macmillan Co., 1955, pp. 131-132.
[iii] For example, a few people may not be physically able to sing, and some people choose not to sing.

Thursday, March 25, 2021

A Second Cainan

Comments on the second Cainan in Luke 3.
Luke 3:36-37: which was the son of Cainan, which was the son of Arphaxad, which was the son of Sem, which was the son of Noe, which was the son of Lamech, which was the son of Mathusala, which was the son of Enoch, which was the son of Jared, which was the son of Maleleel, which was the son of Cainan,

Luke 3. v. 36
This insertion of the name of a second Cainan, (besides the Cainan in verse 37,) is one of the hardest things to explain and account for, in the Holy Gospels; for the name does not occur in Genesis xi. 12, between the names of Arphaxad and Salah, where we should, of course, expect to find it; nor indeed elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible. It is found, however, in a Greek Translation of the Pentateuch, which was made before the time of our
Lord; and which (because it was commonly read in the Synagogues, and therefore familiarly known to the people,) the Evangelists and Apostles are found to have freely used and quoted.

The humble student of the Gospels will do well to believe, on the testimony of St. Luke, that there actually was such a person as Cainan,—-the son of Arphaxad and father of Sala; while, at the same time, he may cheerfully admit that, as yet, he sees not how the fact is to be reconciled in a satisfactory manner with the particulars (of age and of descent) which Moses was divinely moved to record. It does not, of course, prove, that when he has occasion to reason concerning the early generations of mankind, he need in the least degree distrust the statements which the Hebrew text supplies. The “Spirit of Truth, ;”(q) by whom Moses and St. Luke were alike inspired, may well be deemed his sufficient guarantee on this head.
(q) St. John xvi. 13.

Wednesday, March 24, 2021

A False Kind Of Unity, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.
  • A False Kind of “Unity” Sought by a Typical Evangelical -- “Diversity is when you have different genders, ethnicities, gifts, abilities, and socio-economic levels. They work together, but the togetherness is the doctrine and practice based on the truth of scripture.”
  • A Slew of Blue -- “You don’t have to speak Latin or be a horticulturist to fully appreciate Texas bluebonnets, which aren’t even always blue anymore.”
  • Altar Call Evangelism -- “The altar call too easily confuses the physical act of ‘coming forward’ (walking an aisle) with the spiritual act of “coming to Christ” (repentance and belief).”
  • Flower Power -- “Nature’s palette captivates Texans every spring. Sapphire blue, lemony yellow, crimson red, golden orange, lavender purple and ivory white.”
  • Focus on Texas: Diners -- “The grub is good and the charm couldn’t be finer at these stops around the state.”
  • Our Mayflower Bible, by John B. Thomas III -- “My final sally captured the prize–certainty as to whether or not this Bible had actually come over on the Mayflower–although not at all in the way that I thought it would.”
  • Tacos -- “We turn to Austin food advocate and community coordinator Héctor González, who has been sharing his recipes since moving from Mexico.”
  • The “Altar Call” Is it helpful or harmful? -- “The altar call is for a man to physically move from one point to another. The gospel call is for a man to flee to Christ.”
  • The Eyes of Texas History Committee Report -- “The surviving contemporary accounts don’t allow a direct, definitive answer. Neither the printed program for the show nor reviews afterward identified cast members as specifically wearing blackface or not. No photographs from the show have been found.”
  • The Media Got It Wrong: Police Captain Didn’t Say the Atlanta Spa Killer Was Having a ‘Bad Day’ -- “The full video (the relevant section starts at about 13:50) makes clear that Baker was not providing his own commentary, but rather summarizing what Long had told the investigators.”
  • The Misleading Narrative about Anti-Asian Racism, by Pradheep J. Shanker -- “The Left deceptively uses data and ignores its own actions in an attempt to incite a politically useful panic.”
  • There Is No Such Thing as “White” Math -- “In my position as a professor of mathematics at Princeton, I have witnessed the decline of universities and cultural institutions as they have embraced political ideology at the expense of rigorous scholarship.”
  • Warfield’s Redefinition of Inspiration -- “He erred, however, in adopting a false choice — a simple error in logic, which is rather surprising in a scholar of his ability.”
  • Where Artistry Congregates -- “I started my own churchgoing road trip with an apricot kolach because that’s what you do when visiting Texas Czech country.”
  • Woke educators release letter declaring objective math a form of ‘white supremacy’ -- “Attempts to ‘deconstruct’ mathematics, deny its objectivity, accuse it of racial bias, and infuse it with political ideology have become more and more common — perhaps, even, at your child’s elementary school.”

Tuesday, March 23, 2021

More “Enemy” Testimony and KJVO

By “Enemy Testimony” I mean those who did not hold a “King James Only” type of position themselves, yet in writing acknowledged that someone else did.

“With many persons there is no medium between perfection and worthlessness; what is not infallible cannot be trustworthy. The general excellence of the English Version being admitted, its perfection is assumed, and therefore all preceding and subsequent versions must be unworthy of notice; nay, even the original text need not be consulted. The steps by which the present excellence of our version was attained are wholly forgotten.” (Thomas Kingsmill Abbott, The English Bible, and Our Duty with Regard to It: a Plea for Revision, 2nd edition, Dublin: Hodges, Foster, & Co., 1871, p. 2; 1st ed., 1857).

A Wisconsin Supreme Court decision includes, “…the practice of reading the King James Version of the Bible, commonly and only received as inspired and true by the Protestant religious sects, is…” (Decision of the Supreme Court of the State of Wisconsin Relating to the Reading of the Bible in Public Schools, Madison, WI: Democrat Printing Company, 1890)

“A hundred years ago the Authorized Version, which had been in our fathers’ hands for nearly two hundred years, was no longer a version. It had come to have all the significance of an original book. Outside the pulpit and the university no one dreamed that it was translated from another language. The rugged simplicity and meatiness of its thought had smitten themselves into our thought-forms as a prime elemental literary power. The Hebrew idioms and turns of phrase, nay, even the awkward straits of translation, which once must have had a strange alien sound, had become English idiom; or rather, we may say, the English-thinking mind, in all its religious phrase and syntax, had become Hebrew. To a profounder extent than any were aware the language of Canaan was a western people’s mother-tongue; and this largely because the Authorized Version had naturalized it into a mould for men’s every-day thinking. When our fathers, as they did, stoutly maintained the doctrine of verbal inspiration, the inspired words they really had in mind were not Hebrew or Greek, but English words; the words of that version which Selden called ‘the best translation in the world,’ and of which the late Master of Balliol once remarked, ‘In a certain sense, the Authorized Version is more inspired than the original.’ Their English Bible had wrought itself into the inmost texture of their minds and speech.” (“A Century With Versions and Editions,” John Franklin Genung, Minutes of the Ninety-Fifth Annual Meeting of the General Association of the Congregational Churches of Massachusetts, Boston, MA: Congregational Sunday School and Publishing Society, 1897, pp. 90-91.)

“the KJV...was not the only Bible version in print, but for the vast majority of Evangelical Christians in Britain, for all practical purposes, it was viewed as the Bible.” (The King James Bible and Baptists over 400 Years, Brian R. Talbot, Paper delivered at Baptist World Alliance Heritage and Identity Commission, Thursday, July 7, 2011, p. 11.)

Monday, March 22, 2021

A Bible man, and other quotes

The posting of quotes by human authors does not constitute agreement with either the quotes or their sources. (I try to confirm the sources that I give, but may miss on occasion; please verify if possible.)

“I am a Bible man. The Bible first, last, and all the time.” -- J. H. Grime

“The quickest way to slay error is to proclaim the truth.” -- C. H. Spurgeon

“Life is not worth living for which a man is not prepared to die at any moment.” -- Whittaker Chambers

“The Bible is the Word of God in such a way that when the Bible speaks, God speaks.” -- B. B. Warfield

“Common sense is now so rare, having it is like having a superpower.” -- Dave Ramsey

“The world is passing away - like a dream of the night; like the mist of the morning; like a shadow; like a wave of the sea. It’s all passing away.” -- Tim Challies

The Lord shut him in

“And the Lord shut him in.” Genesis 7:16 

It was a sweet invitation to the patriarch Noah, when the Lord called him to the ark. Jehovah did not say, go thou into the ark; but, “Come.” So saith Jesus to his people: “Come with me, from Lebanon, my spouse; with me, from Lebanon.” Yes, precious Jesus, to be with thee is heaven; for thou thyself art the heaven of the soul. But observe further, my soul: when Noah had entered the ark, what kept him there? “The Lord shut him in.” Yes, neither bolts nor bars were his security; but God himself, in his covenant engagements, kept him. The patriarch could no more get out, than the unbelieving carnal throng (who perhaps hung about the ark when they saw the flood arise, and felt its power) could get in. Precious Jesus! and what is it keeps thy people now? Is it not thyself? Are not thy redeemed eternally secure in thee, and thy blood and righteousness, as Noah in the ark? Yes, thou who hast the key of all things; “thou openest, and none shutteth; thou shuttest, and none openeth.” In thee my soul is kept secure; for the Lord Jehovah hath shut me in: and I shall ride out all the storms, and floods, of sin and Satan; and, Noah-like, rise above the fountains of the greatest deeps, being shut in in the ark Christ Jesus.

Robert Hawker (1753-1827)

Sunday, March 21, 2021

And can it be that I should gain

Charles Wesley (1707-1788) called the following hymn “Free Grace.” It appeared in his Hymns and Sacred Poems (London: Strahan, 1739) in six stanzas in meter 88.88.88. It explores the mystery of “free grace,” the “strange design” of love divine that sounds the depths and reaches the heights of heaven. Salvation is in Christ alone. In church hymnals, it seems most often paired with Sagina by Thomas Campbell – in which the last lines of the hymn are repeated. In David’s Harp it accompanies a tune called Nashville, which matches its six lines.
1. And can it be that I should gain
An Int’rest in the Saviour’s blood?
Dy’d He for me?— who caus’d his pain?
For me?— who him to Death pursu’d?
Amazing Love! how can it be
That Thou, my God, shouldst die for me?
2. ’Tis Myst’ry all! th’Immortal dies!
Who can explore his strange Design?
In vain the first-born Seraph tries
To sound the Depths of Love Divine!
’Tis Mercy all! let Earth adore;
Let Angel Minds enquire no more.
3. He left his Father’s Throne above,
(So free, so infinite his Grace!)
Empty’d himself of All but love,
And bled for Adam’s helpless Race:
’Tis Mercy all, immense and free!
For, O my God! it found out me!
4. Long my imprison’d spirit lay,
Fast bound in Sin and Nature’s Night;
Thine Eye diffus’d a quick’ning Ray,
I woke; the Dungeon flam’d with Light;
My Chains fell off, my Heart was free,
I rose, went forth, and follow’d Thee.
5. Still the small inward Voice I hear,
That whispers all my Sins forgiv’n;
Still the Atoning Blood is near,
That quench’d the Wrath of hostile Heav’n:
I feel the Life his Wounds impart;
I feel my Saviour in my Heart.
6. No Condemnation now I dread,
Jesus, and all in Him, is mine:
Alive in Him, my Living Head,
And cloath’d in Righteousness Divine,
Bold I approach th’Eternal Throne,
And claim the Crown, thro’ Christ, my own.

Saturday, March 20, 2021


The words friend, friends, friendly, and friendship are found in 18 verses in the book of Proverbs.

A friend is a person who is attached to another by feelings of affection or personal regard; a person who gives assistance and support; a person with whom one has a bond of mutual affection. In common use, by “friend” we most often mean someone outside of familial or sexual relationships.

Friendship can be superficial (on the surface, shallow).
  • Proverbs 14:20 The poor is hated even of his own neighbour: but the rich hath many friends.
  • Proverbs 19:4 Wealth maketh many friends; but the poor is separated from his neighbour.
  • Proverbs 19:6 Many will intreat the favour of the prince: and every man is a friend to him that giveth gifts.
  • Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
Friendship can be beneficial (resulting in good).
  • Proverbs 27:6 Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful.
  • Proverbs 27:17 Iron sharpeneth iron; so a man sharpeneth the countenance of his friend. 
Friendship can be substantial (genuine, tangible).
  • Proverbs 17:9 He that covereth a transgression seeketh love; but he that repeateth a matter separateth very friends.
  • Proverbs 27:9 Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart: so doth the sweetness of a man’s friend by hearty counsel.
Friendship can be perpetual (continuous, ongoing). 
  • Proverbs 17:17 A friend loveth at all times, and a brother is born for adversity.
  • Proverbs 18:24 A man that hath friends must shew himself friendly: and there is a friend that sticketh closer than a brother.
Jesus is a friend. 
The Bible says so. 
  • Luke 7:34 The Son of man is come eating and drinking; and ye say, Behold a gluttonous man, and a winebibber, a friend of publicans and sinners!
  • Luke 12:4 And I say unto you my friends, Be not afraid of them that kill the body, and after that have no more that they can do.
  • John 15:15 Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth: but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my Father I have made known unto you.
We often sing about it.
  • He dies, the friend of sinners dies (Isaac Watts)
  • Jesus, Thou art the sinner’s friend, As such I look to Thee (Richard Burnham)
  • What a friend we have in Jesus, all our sins and griefs to bear! (Joseph Scriven)
  • I have found a friend in Jesus—He’s everything to me, He’s the fairest of ten thousand to my soul. (Charles W. Fry)
  • There’s not a friend like the lowly Jesus, No, not one. (Johnson Oatman, Jr.)
  • Jesus is all the world to me, My life, my joy, my all...He’s my friend. (Will L. Thompson)
  • Now I have a dear friend, Jesus is mine; His love shall ever end, Jesus is mine. (H. J. M. Hope)
  • In thee do we trust...our Maker, Defender, Redeemer, and Friend. (Robert Grant)
  • Come life, come death, come, then what will, Jesus is my Friend. (Unknown)
  • I’ve found a Friend, oh, such a Friend! He loved me ere I knew Him; He drew me with the cords of love, And thus He bound me to Him. (James Grindlay Small)
It is good to have true friends in this world. If a person lives long enough, his or her close friends are likely to change (perhaps several times). Jesus is our friend who loves at all times, that sticks closer than a brother, our “forever friend” – Jesus Christ the same yesterday, and to day, and for ever (Hebrews 13:8). 

Friday, March 19, 2021

King James’s Translation Rules

The translation of the Bible we know as the King James or Authorized Version was conceived in 1604. The translators were given 15 Translation Rules. They are as follows:

1. The Ordinary Bible read in the Church, commonly called the Bishop’s Bible, is to be followed, and as little altered as the Truth of the originals will permit.

2. The names of the Prophets, and the Holy Writers, with the other Names of the Text, to be retained, as nigh as may be, accordingly as they were vulgarly used.

3. The Old Ecclesiastical Words to be kept, viz. the Word Church not to be translated Congregation &c.

4. When a Word hath divers Significations, that to be kept which hath been most commonly used by the most of the Ancient Fathers, being agreeable to the Propriety of the Place, and the Analogy of the Faith.

5. The Division of the Chapters to be altered, either not at all, or as little as may be, if Necessity so require.

6. No Marginal Notes at all to be affixed, but only for the explanation of the Hebrew or Greek Words, which cannot without some circumlocution, so briefly and fitly be expressed in the Text.

7. Such Quotations of Places to be marginally set down as shall serve for the fit Reference of one Scripture to another.

8. Every particular Man of each Company, to take the same Chapter or Chapters, and having translated or amended them severally by himself, where he thinketh good, all to meet together, confer what they have done, and agree for their Parts what shall stand.

9. As any one Company hath dispatched any one Book in this Manner they shall send it to the rest, to be considered of seriously and judiciously, for His Majesty is very careful in this point.

10. If any company, upon Review of the Book so sent, doubt or differ upon any Place, to send them Word thereof; note the Place, and withal sent the Reasons, to which if they consent not, the Difference to be compounded at the general Meeting, which is to be of the chief Persons of each Company, at the end of the Work. 

11. When any Place of special Obscurity is doubted of, Letters to be directed by Authority to any Learned Man in the Land for his Judgment of such a Place.

12. Letters to be sent from every Bishop to the rest of his Clergy, admonishing them of this Translation in hand; and to move and charge as many skilful in the Tongues; and having taken pains in that kind, to send his particular Observations to the Company, either at Westminster, Cambridge, or Oxford.

13. The Directors in each Company, to be Deans of Westminster and Chester for that Place; and the King’s Professors in the Hebrew or Greek in either University.

14. These translations to be used when they agree better with the Text than the Bishop’s Bible: Tindoll’s, Matthew’s, Coverdale’s, Whitchurch’s, Geneva.

15. Besides the said Directors before mentioned, three or four of the most Ancient and Grave Divines, in either of the Universities, not employed in Translating, to be assigned by the vice-Chancellor, upon Conference with the rest of the Heads, to be Overseers of the Translations as well as Hebrew as Greek, for the better observation of the 4th Rule above specified.

I found the above text online with several slight variations (e.g., here, here, and here). I did not find anything that could be considered original. I chose to use the transcription from In The Beginning: The Story of the King James Bible and How It Changed a Nation, a Language, and a Culture by Alister Edgar McGrath, (New York: Random House, Inc., 2001, pp. 173-175), presuming it is well researched.

According to Arthur Farstad, “For the Old Testament, the translators used the rabbinic Hebrew Bibles of 1519 and 1525 and the Hebrew texts found in the Complutensian and Antwerp Polyglots. For the New Testament, printed Greek texts by Erasmus, Stephanus, Beza, and the Complutensian Polyglot were used. They also ‘diligently compared’ and revised all of the available English Bibles, the Septuagint, the Vulgate, the Targum, and versions in other modern languages. In short, these learned men left no stone unturned to produce an accurate, beautiful, and complete Bible.” (Arthur Farstad, The New King James Version: In the Great Tradition, Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1989, p. 23.)

Thursday, March 18, 2021

Anglo-Saxon Gospels and Easter

William Tyndale was not the first English Bible translator to use ester/easter to translate the Greek word πασχα.[i] The West Saxon (or Wessex) Gospels are believed translated around AD 990. They use “Easter” (ēasterdaeges, ēastro, ēastron). This provides a bit of insight into the use of the word “Easter” to translate what we now more commonly (in English) call Passover. Below are selections of a verse from each Gospel, with the Anglo-Saxon, Wycliffe, and King James translations, respectively.

Matthew 26:2

  • Wite gē þæt æfter twām dagum bēod ēastro, and mannes Bearn byþ geseald þæt hē sī on rōde āhangen.
  • Ye witen, that aftir twei daies pask schal be maad, and mannus sone schal be bitakun to be crucified.
  • Ye know that after two days is the feast of the passover, and the Son of man is betrayed to be crucified.

Mark 14:16

  • Pā fērdon his leorningcnihtas, and cōmon on þā ceastre, and fundon hit eall swā hē sǣde, and gegearwodon þā ēastron.
  • And hise disciplis wenten forth, and camen in to the citee, and founden as he hadde seid to hem; and thei maden redy the pask.
  • And his disciples went forth, and came into the city, and found as he had said unto them: and they made ready the passover.

Luke 2:41-42

  • And his māgas fērdon ǣlce gēre tō Hierusalem on ēasterdaeges frēolstīde. And þā hē wæs twęlfwintre, hӯ fōron tō Hierusalem tō þām ēasterlīcan frēolse æfter hyra gewunan;[ii]
  • And his fadir and modir wenten ech yeer in to Jerusalem, in the solempne dai of pask. And whanne Jhesus was twelue yeer oold, thei wenten vp to Jerusalem, aftir the custom of the feeste dai.
  • Now his parents went to Jerusalem every year at the feast of the passover. And when he was twelve years old, they went up to Jerusalem after the custom of the feast.

John 2:13

  • And hit wæs nēah Iudea ēastron, and sē Hǣlend fōr tō Ierusalem.
  • And the pask of Jewis was nyy, and Jhesus wente vp to Jerusalem.
  • And the Jews’ passover was at hand, and Jesus went up to Jerusalem,

James Wilson Bright, an English professor at Johns Hopkins University and author of An Anglo-Saxon Reader, et al., edited the four editions of the Wessex Gospels that are found on Bright explained, “The first English version of the Gospel [preceded] the Wiclifite Bible by four hundred years...”

For any who wish further investigate the Anglo-Saxon Gospels, you will be interested in the Bosworth-Toller Anglo-Saxon Dictionary Online, which can be found HERE.

[i] Though these Gospels were probably translated from Latin rather than Greek. James Wilson Bright says that “the Latin manuscript used by the translator of this Gospel has not yet [1904] been identified...” However, it struck me that on one passage above – Luke 2:41-42 – it looks more like the KJV translated from the Greek, than Wycliffe translated from the Latin. (That is certainly only an impression, and contains no scholarship or research behind it.)
[ii] ēasterdaeges frēolstīde might be “transliterated” Easterday feast-tide or translated feast of Easter/Passover.

Wednesday, March 17, 2021

A Sniff Test, and other links

The posting of links does not constitute an endorsement of the sites linked, and not necessarily even agreement with the specific posts linked.

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

Priscillian of Avila and the Johannine Comma

The Johannine Comma[i] is a clause found in 1 John 5:7-8 in many older Bibles but omitted from many newer ones. Detractors claim it is a late addition. Yet circa AD 250 in Treatise 1, On the Unity of the Church, Cyprian of Carthage seems to quote it, attaching the formula “it is written.”

The Johannine Comma is also attested in Priscillian’s Liber Apologeticus, written circa 380 in Latin:

sicut Iohannes ait: Tria sunt quae testimonium dicunt in terra  aqua caro et sanguis et haec tria in unum sunt, et tria sunt quae testimonium dicunt in coelo pater verbum et spiritus et haec tria unum sunt in Christo Iesu.[ii]

One English translation is:

As John says, “and there are three which give testimony on earth, the water, the flesh, the blood, and these three are in one, and there are three which give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, and these three are one in Christ Jesus.”[iii]

Liber Apologeticus is usually ascribed to Priscillian of Avila, though sometimes to an unknown protégé of his. Some writers try to affix the origin of the Johannine Comma to Priscillian. However, it is clear that Priscillian attributes it to the apostle John. One may choose to reject the witness of Priscillian, but one should not deny that he wrote “sicut Iohannes ait,” or “As John says.”

Who was Priscillian? Little is known of his life.  The primary sources are Catholic, who opposed his faith and practice. Though considered a heretic by Catholics, historian Edmund Hamer Broadbent’s research – especially the writings of Priscillian discovered in 1885 – led him to conclude that Priscillian was an “evangelical reformer” rather than a “Manichaean heretic.”[iv]

The reading of these, Priscillian’s own writings, shows that the account handed down of him was wholly untrue, that he was a man of saintly character, sound in doctrine, and an energetic reformer, and that those associated with him were companies of men and women who were true and devoted followers of Christ. Not content with murdering these people, exiling them, confiscating their goods, the Church authorities have persistently calumniated their memory.[v]

Compared to our common version (King James), a translation from Priscillian’s Latin exhibits a few differences.

King James translation: For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

Priscillian translation: And there are three which give testimony on earth, the water, the flesh, the blood, and these three are in one, and there are three which give testimony in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, and these three are one in Christ Jesus.

  • Priscillian’s version reverses the order, placing the record in earth first, and the record in heaven afterward.
  • Priscillian’s version of the testimony on earth has flesh instead of Spirit.
  • Priscillian’s version adds “in Christ Jesus” after the end of the testimony in heaven.

From Priscillian’s writing, we may conclude that he was a Trinitarian who held the divinity of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit. We may further understand that he possessed in writing (or had read) the first epistle of John, and that source with which he was familiar contained the much-disputed “Johannine Comma.” Perhaps he had a Latin translation, or translated it himself from the Greek, or quoted it as he remembered it. Nevertheless, he had some knowledge of the text, and believed it was written by John.

[i] Also called “The Comma Johanneum,” “The Heavenly Witnesses,” and “The Trinitarian Formula.”
[ii] Priscilliani, Tractate I, Liber Apologeticus (Book of Apology), Priscilliani Quae Supersunt. Maximam Partem Nuper Detexit Adiectisque Commentariis Criticis et Indicibus Primus Edidit Georgius Schepss. Priscillian (Bishop of Avila, ca. 350-385); Vindobonae: F. Tempsky, 1889, p. 6.
[iii] In his Study Notes on the Holy Scriptures, Gary H. Everett appears to cite this translation as F. F. Bruce, The Books and the Parchments (Old Tappan, NJ: Fleming H. Revell Company, 1963, 210-211).
[iv] Another suggested reference on Priscillian is “Priscillian of Avila: Heretic or Early Reformer?”, Brian H . Wagner, Chafer Theological Seminary Journal 12, Fall 2006, pp. 87-97. “Yet for those who desire to trace a nonmagisterial, nonsacramental, free church testimony down through the ages since Pentecost, it appears the Priscillianists provided in themselves, or at least under the cover of their influence, such a testimony for at least two hundred years in Spain and southern France.” Wagner, p. 95.
[v] The Pilgrim Church, Edmund Hamer Broadbent, p. 38

Monday, March 15, 2021

Ten Baptists Everyone Should Know

The following links constitute a series at Credo Magazine, written by Steve Weaver. The list of ten is somewhat SBC-centric. Steve is a Southern Baptist. The list might be different compiled by others with different interests and different priorities. Nevertheless, you readers who like Baptist history will find the ten stories enlightening and enjoyable.

A Very Singular Providence

“Cities fall, kingdoms come to nothing, empires fade away as the smoke. Where are the Numa, Minos, Lycurgus? Where are their books? and what is become of their laws? But that this book [The Holy Bible] no tyrant should have been able to consume, no tradition to choke, no heretic maliciously to corrupt; that it should stand unto this day, amid the wreck of all that is human, without the alteration of one sentence so as to change the doctrine taught therein,—surely there is a very singular providence claiming our attention in a most remarkable manner.”
John Jewel, as quoted in Homage to the Book, pp. 94-95