Friday, April 30, 2021

New categories for the Bible Versions Debates

Continuing the thoughts begun yesterday in Recategorizing “KJV Only”

There is a crying need to categorize the various views about the Bible in a way that is accurate, clear, concise, consistent, complete, and equitable. It appears that much of the previous categorization is either designed for or at least lends itself to polemic purposes.[i] There are problems with the categorizations that have been foisted upon us. These should be addressed.
  • accurate – the designations should be precise, with as little room for error as possible
  • clear – the designations should be easy to understand rather than confusing
  • concise – the designations should be simple rather than complex
  • consistent – the designations should adhere to similar principles of description for all views
  • complete – the designations should encompass the range of differing views [ii]
  • equitable – the designations should fairly represent opposing and differing views [iii]
In categorizing the views that people hold about which Bible version or versions to use, some have created categories or lists of so-called “King James Onlyism.”[iv] This focus while ignores other possibilities and other views. More recently, Christian McShaffrey has written (perhaps only a bit tongue-in-cheek) about ESV-Onlyism. Talk of “Onlyism” has mostly morphed into a polemic device, should probably be jettisoned. Any strict or exclusive view about Bible versions and textual criticism could be described as some form of “Onlyism.” However, this term (for the most part) does not provide light on the issue, and tends to add heat.
What information should be prioritized in order to properly understand different approaches and beliefs about Bible versions? I look forward to any irenic and intelligent input of ideas that might be informative. Here are some ideas that came to mind as I thought about the subject. I do not claim these are exhaustive, or that my own biases do not affect how I express these things. I hope they might be a catalyst towards building more useful categories. This all presupposes that anyone actually wants to understand and accurately demonstrate the various views about Bible versions.
Primary considerations underlying a system of categorization should be, or include, first::
  • views concerning the first writing, autographa
  • views concerning copies of the first writing, apographa
  • views concerning translations of the writings, allographa
Views concerning the first writing, or autographa, may include:
  • the first writings are inspired and inerrant
  • the first writings are inspired, but not inerrant
  • the first writings are neither inspired nor inerrant
Views concerning copies of the first writing, or apographa, may include:
  • We have copies of the originals that contain scribal errors
  • We cannot reliably know what copies contain the original writing[v]
  • We can reconstruct and know substantially what is the original from collating and comparing existing manuscripts
  • We have copies that faithfully represent the word of God in the first writings
Views concerning translations of the writings, or allographa, may include:
  • all translations reproduce scribal errors and introduce translation errors
  • translations may reproduce some scribal errors and introduce translation errors, but can be considered essentially the word of God as originally written
  • translations can accurately and faithfully reproduce the original words, representing the word of God as originally written
In addition to these considerations, another will be the difference between preference and dogmatism (as “I prefer this” vs “this is right”).  Perhaps these approaches could be distinguished as “Exclusive,” “Semi-Exclusive,” and “Open.” Exclusive would limit itself to one designated view, dismissing the claims of other views. . Semi-Exclusive would make some exclusive claims, limiting itself to a similar range while allowing for some diversity with that range. Open would remove most barriers, allowing for openness to and the correctness of other views (such as saying it does not matter which Bible translation one uses; use whatever you prefer).

[i] I once thought their categorizations were useful, but have since decided that they do not give a fair representation of the views included – as well as not giving any other views. If everyone held KJV views, there would be no King James Version Debate! 
[ii] For example, the categorizations primarily referenced in discussions only relates to the King James Version. 
[iii] Names like “Burgonism” and “Ruckmanism” might serve some legitimate purpose, yet are more likely to stymie rather than further discussion. 
[iv] Categorizations like those of Bob Griffin and James White or John Ankerberg and John Weldon suffer from including people who prefer the King James Version and those who call for its exclusive use under the broad banner of “KJV Only” – when in fact their approaches and views are completely different. 
[v] “We do not have now—in our critical Greek texts or any of our translations—exactly what the authors of the New Testament wrote. Even if we did, we would not know it.” – Daniel B. Wallace, “Foreword,” Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism, Elijah Hixson, Peter J. Gurry, editors, Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2019, p. xii.

Thursday, April 29, 2021

Recategorizing “KJV Only”

In categorizing the views that people hold about which Bible version or versions to use, some have primarily created categories of so-called “King James Onlyism.” This, in fact, seems to be the focus while ignoring other possibilities (see, for example, the categories of Bob Griffin and James White, John Ankerberg and John Weldon, and Bob Teachout).

Awhile back, I posted on the Baptist Board about denominations other than Baptist who held some form of a “King James Only” view. One commenter objected that some of the groups were not truly “King James Only,” according to his view of “King James Only.” His objection was irrelevant in relation to the purpose of the thread, as well as what I explained in the opening post. Nevertheless, I did then and do still agree that there are problems that need to be addressed in the generally accepted categorizations. I suggested that it would be good for folks with different views on the Bible version issue to work together and come up with something better. Lord willing, I intend to embark on a few posts exploring that possibility. Expressly, such re-categorization should be for education and illumination, rather than polemic purposes.

As a refresher, I paste below the categorizations of Bob Griffin and James White (essentially the same categorization). Men who do not hold any “King James Only” position developed these. In the past this was what was available. I thought they were acceptable, but have concluded that they actually contribute to the confusion we have surrounding the issue. They serve more for polemic purposes than educational ones.

Bob Griffin’s list
James White’s list
  • Group #1 “I Like the KJV Best”
  • Group #2 “The Textual Argument”
  • Group #3 “Received Text Only”
  • Group #4 “The Inspired KJV Group”
  • Group #5 “The KJV as New Revelation”

Wednesday, April 28, 2021

The Autographa

Q. What does “autograph” or “autographa” mean, in reference to the Bible?
A. Autograph, original autographs, autographa, etc. are terms used to refer to Scripture – particularly, in reference to the Bible, the first manuscript penned (or dictated) by the author.[i] Biblical discussions often reference one of more of these terms to distinguish types of Scripture – the original or first writing (autographa), copies of the original writing (apographa), and translations of the original writing (more specifically, translations of copies of the original writing; allographa).
The majority of evangelicals and fundamentalists affirm that the Bible is without error in the original writings (autographa). Most liberals deny that the Bible is without error, even in the original writings. A minority of evangelicals and fundamentalists affirm that the Bible has been preserved in some fashion without error even in copies and translations.
Three things worthy of note:
  • None of the original writings (autographa) of any book of the Bible are extant.
  • The autographs are the original or first writing, but God’s word exists prior to and apart from the original writing. “For ever, O Lord, thy word is settled in heaven.” Psalm 119:89
  • The above explanation reckons how scholars presently speak of the originals or autographs, but not necessarily how Christians have always spoken. “By the original texts, we do not mean the autographs written by the hand of Moses, of the prophets and of the apostles, which certainly do not now exist. We mean their apographs which are so called because they set forth to us the word of God in the very words of those who wrote under the immediate inspiration of the Holy Spirit.” (Francis Turretin, Institutes of Elenctic Theology, Vol. I, p. 106)

[i] For example, says “something written in a person’s own hand, as a manuscript or letter,” or “a manuscript in an author’s own handwriting.”

Tuesday, April 27, 2021

“Baptism” in the King James Version, 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.

Monday, April 26, 2021

History of Anzac Day, 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.

Divine Source of Scripture

According to Scripture, God gave his word perfectly and without error to those who wrote it down (e. g. 2 Timothy 3:16-17; 2 Peter 1:19-21; Deuteronomy 8:3; Psalm 119:89; Proverbs 30:5-6; John 17:8,17; 1 Thessalonians 2:13; Hebrews 1:1; 1 Peter 1:10-11; Revelation 21:5). By observation we think that the writers wrote in a way that reflects what we assume is their own language, backgrounds, and personalities. Our teaching should not emphasize that observation over the plain statements of Scripture.

Of course, there is a human factor to the writing of Scripture. Very few if any Bible-believers deny that, even if they do not agree altogether on the how that it happened. All of the writers-down of Scripture were humans. None were aliens, animals, or automatons, so far as I can tell. We know God can speak through an animal – Numbers 22:28-30 – but none of which I am aware ever put anything in writing.

In my opinion, the more and more people talk and write emphasizing the human factor, the more and more it sounds like they are saying the Bible is a human writing rather than a Divine one.

Sunday, April 25, 2021

The King of love, my Shepherd, will my need supply

The following poetical rendering of the 23rd Psalm is by Henry Williams Baker. The son of Admiral Sir Henry Loraine Baker, H. W. Baker was born in London, May 27, 1821. He served as the vicar of Monkland, Herefordshire from 1851 unto his death, on Monday, Feb. 12, 1877. Hymns Ancient & Modern includes 33 hymns, translations, etc. by Baker. The London Mission Hymn Book, contains three hymns that are not in Hymns Ancient & Modern. According to John Julian, the last words Baker spoke when dying were the third stanza of this hymn, “The King of Love, my Shepherd is.”

Written in 6 stanzas of 8s.7s. meter, this hymn often appears with the tunes Dominus Regit Me (by J. B. Dykes) and St. Columba, usually considered a traditional Irish tune.

1. The King of love my shepherd is, 
Whose goodness faileth never. 
I nothing lack if I am his, 
And he is mine forever.

2. Where streams of living water flow, 
My ransomed soul he leadeth; 
And where the verdant pastures grow, 
With food celestial feedeth.

3. Perverse and foolish, oft I strayed, 
But yet in love he sought me; 
And on his shoulder gently laid, 
And home, rejoicing, brought me.

4. In death’s dark vale I fear no ill, 
With thee, dear Lord, beside me; 
Thy rod and staff my comfort still, 
Thy cross before to guide me.

5. Thou spreadst a table in my sight; 
Thy unction grace bestoweth; 
And oh, what transport of delight 
From thy pure chalice floweth!

6. And so through all the length of days, 
Thy goodness faileth never; 
Good Shepherd, may I sing thy praise 
Within thy house forever.

Another paraphrase based on Psalm 23 is by Isaac Watts. The following text he included in his 1719 collection, The Psalms of David Imitated in the Language of the New Testament. It appears in The Southern Harmony with the tune Resignation. (Adaptations of this tune in The Sacred Harp are Irwinton (1991 Denson, 229) and Joyful News (2012 Cooper, 244). Sidney Whitfield Denson used this text with his tune Sidney.

1. My Shepherd will supply my need;
Jehovah is his name;
In pastures fresh he makes me feed,
Beside the living stream.
He brings my wandering spirit back,
When I forsake his ways,
And leads me, for his mercy’s sake,
In paths of truth and grace.

2. When I walk through the shades of death
Thy presence is my stay;
One word of thy supporting breath
Drives all my fears away.
Thy hand, in sight of all my foes,
Doth still my table spread;
My cup with blessings overflows,
Thine oil anoints my head.

3. The sure provisions of my God
Attend my all my days;
O may thy house be mine abode,
And all my work be praise!
There would I find a settled rest,
(While others go and come,)
No more a stranger, nor a guest;
But like a child at home.

Saturday, April 24, 2021

Mountains and Molehills

  • Based on their own testimony, Modern Versionists make mountains out of molehills.
  • Based on their own testimony, Modern Versionists are spending millions for almost zero sum gain.
I may write more on this later, but for now...

It struck me that one tack used by supporters of modern versions ultimately means that they make mountains out of molehills. Why the drive to create more and ever newer versions of the Bible? A passive aggressive attack against the King James Version and King James Onlyists says that there really is little to no difference in any of the English Bibles. 
Concerning differences in English translations, Luke Wayne tells us they are minor and do not affect doctrine:
Such differences are far more insignificant than these discussions make them sound. If you approach any English translation and read it fairly, you will walk away with the same body of fundamental Christian doctrine from any of them.
Another person wrote:
The simple truth is that the vast majority of such “differences” involve little words that do not change the meaning of the Biblical text in the no case is any doctrine of the Christian faith affected by any of these variant readings.
It seems to me that King James Onlyists who say the differences matter are more consistent on this point. If there is little difference, is it not making a mountain out of a molehill to condemn those who hold on to their King James translations rather than accept the newest and latest model? If there is little difference, why spend millions of dollars to create hundreds of translations that ultimately will say basically the same thing in somewhat diffferent words? What am I missing?

Friday, April 23, 2021

A cappella singing, bits of history

Singing in the churches is “as ancient as the apostles,” as proper as preaching, and as sure as the scriptures. Instrumental music in churches, however, is a more recent and tentative innovation. Below are random comments regarding singing and musical instruments that I have run across and collected.

Novatian (circa AD 200–258) did not countenance musical instruments (perhaps not even outside worship): “Even if these things were not consecrated to idols, faithful Christians ought not to frequent and observe them, for even if there were nothing criminal about them, they have in themselves an utter worthlessness hardly suitable from believers.” (Novatian, “De Spectaculis,” as quoted in various writings online) 

“Plain singing is not childish, but only the singing with lifeless organs, with dancing and cymbals, etc. Whence the use of such instruments and other things fit for children is laid aside, and plain singing only retained.” (Pseudo-Justin, Answers to the Orthodox)

Clement of Alexandria (circa AD 150–215) appears to spiritualize the Old Testament musical instruments for New Testament purposes. “‘Praise Him on the chords and organ.’ Our body He calls an organ, and its nerves are the strings, by which it has received harmonious tension, and when struck by the Spirit, it gives forth human voices. ‘Praise Him on the clashing cymbals.’ He calls the tongue the cymbal of the mouth, which resounds with the pulsation of the lips. Therefore He cried to humanity, ‘Let every breath praise the Lord,’ because He cares for every breathing thing which He hath made. For man is truly a pacific instrument; while other instruments, if you investigate, you will find to be warlike, inflaming to lusts, or kindling up amours, or rousing wrath.” (Clement, Paedagogus, or The Instructor, Book II, Chapter 4)

Eusebius of Caesarea (AD 269–339) from his commentary on Psalm 91:4, writes: “When formerly the people of the circumcision worshipped through symbols and types, it was not unreasonable that they raised hymns to God on psalteries and cithara, and that they did this on the days of the Sabbath, thus clearly violating the required rest and transgressing the law of the Sabbath. We, however, maintain the Jewish law inwardly, according to the saying of the Apostle: ‘For he is not a real Jew who is one outwardly,’...and it is upon a living psaltery and an animate cithara and in spiritual songs that we render the hymn. And so more sweetly pleasing to God than any musical instrument would be the symphony of the people of God, by which, in every church of God, with kindred spirit and single disposition, with one mind and unanimity of faith and piety, we raise melody in unison in our psalmody.” (as quoted in Music in Early Christian Literature, edited by James McKinnon, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1987, pp. 97-98)

Sing praise to the Lord on a lyre, with the voice of a psalm ([Psalm 98] v. 5). You can see this law constantly fulfilled in the churches: we strike up the divine music on the spiritual lyre. We turn our bodies into rational lyres, and use our teeth for strings and our lips for an instrument, while our tongues moves more keenly than any plectrum and produces the harmonious sound of the plucking, the mind moving the tongue like a musician skillfully observing the intervals. Such a lyre is more acceptable to God than a lifeless one; he himself bears testimony [to this] in crying out to Jews through the prophet, ‘Take away from me the sound of your songs, I shall not listen to the sound of your instruments.’” (Theodoret of Cyrus: Commentary on the Psalms, 73-150, Theodoret of Cyrus (circa AD 393-458/466), translated by Robert C. Hill. Washington, DC: Catholic University of America Press, 2001, pp. 137-138)

Mosheim describes certain “mystics” in England (circa AD 1060) who “declared the use of instrumental music in the churches, and other religious assemblies, superstitious and unlawful.” (An Ecclesiastical History, Antient and Modern, Volume II, John Lawrence Mosheim, translated by Archibald MacLaine, London: T. Cadell, p. 584)

Thomas Aquinas, circa 1270, answering the objection that under the law God was praised with musical instruments, but in his church they did not, agreed that they did not use them. He thought instruments move the soul to pleasure, were carnal, and ultimately figures of something else. (“Question 91,” The Summa Theologiæ, Thomas Aquinas, translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province, Second and Revised Edition, 1920)

“And if these knackeris [musicians?] excuse themselves by the song in the old law; then see that Christ, who best kept the old law as it should be afterward, taught not nor charged us with such bodily [carnal] song nor any of his apostles, but with devotion in heart and holy life and true preaching, and that is enough and the best. But who should then charge us with more, over the freedom and lightness of Christ’s law?” (John Wycliffe (circa AD 1330-1384) in “Of Feigned Contemplative Life” in The English Works of Wyclif Hitherto Unprinted, edited by F. D. Matthew, London: Trübner & Son, 1880; spelling modernized, rlv)

Adam Blair cites a book against the Waldenses (dated 1395) which claimed “the Waldenses reprobate the songs, the chanting, organs, and musical instruments of the churches, and quote Ephesians v. 19.” Blair further notes that the author answered the Waldenses with verses from the Old Testament, but that “the Waldenses only objected to the use of the instruments under the New Testament.” (History of the Waldenses, Volume I, Adam Blair, Edinburgh: Adam Black, 1832, p. 441)

“If the apostle justly prohibits the use of unknown tongues in the church, much less would he have tolerated these artificial musical performances which are addressed to the ear alone, and seldom strike the understanding even of the performers themselves.” (Theodore Beza (1519-1605), as quoted in John Girardeau’s Instrumental Music in the Worship of the Church, Chapter 5, Richmond, VA: Whittet and Shepperson, 1888). Girardeau gives as the source “In Colloq. Mompelg.,” that is, The Mompelgard Colloquium)

John Bunyan (1628-1688) saw the old instrumental worship under the law as a type of the singing done in the churches, with spirit and understanding. “These songs were sung with harps, psalteries, cymbals, and trumpets; a type of our singing with spiritual joy, from grace in our hearts. 1 Ch. xxv. 6; 2 Ch. xxix. 26-28; Col. iii. 16.” (The Works of John Bunyan, Volume 3, George Offor, editor. Glasgow: Blackie & Son, p. 496)

“make use of all these musical instruments in singing, and so make an agreeable melody: these were used in the times of the Old Testament, and were typical of the spiritual joy and melody in the heart, expressed by vocal singing, under the New Testament” (John Gill, in his commentary on Psalm 81:2; see also “Of Singing Psalms, As A Part of Public Worship” in A Complete Body of Doctrinal and Practical Divinity, Volume 3, pp. 714-715, 1796)

“In my earliest intercourse among this people [Baptists, rlv] congregational singing generally prevailed among them...The Introduction of the Organ among the Baptists. This instrument, which from time immemorial has been associated with cathedral pomp and prelatical power, and has always been the peculiar favorite of great national churches, at length found its way into Baptist sanctuaries, and the first one ever employed by the denomination in this country, and probably in any other, might have been seen standing in the singing gallery of the old Baptist meeting house in Pawtucket, about forty years ago, where I then officiated as pastor; and in process of time, this dernier resort * in church music was adopted by many of our societies which had formerly been distinguished for their primitive and conventicle plainness. The changes which have been experienced in the feelings of a large portion of our people has often surprised me. Staunch old Baptists in former times would as soon have tolerated the Pope of Rome in their pulpits as an organ in their galleries, and yet the instrument has gradually found its way among them, and their successors in church management, with nothing like the jars and difficulties which arose of old concerning the bass viol and smaller instruments of music.” (Fifty Years among the Baptists, David Benedict, Boston, MA: Gould & Lincoln, 1860, Chapter XXII, pp. 281-283)

dernier resort means a last resort or expedient.

Rusk County Singing Convention

Our Rusk County Singing Convention will be held this weekend, Saturday April 24 and Sunday April 25. Starts at 10:00 a.m. Saturday. Sacred Harp and Christian Harmony. For more information, see here:
12th Annual Rusk County Convention

Detailed directions for getting to Pine Grove.
Directions from Mt. Enterprise, Texas and other points south
(Cefco Travel Center is at the Y of this intersection)
[For GPS, this begins at approximately 31.924451, -94.682775]
At the intersection of US 59 N and SH 315 E, turn east toward Carthage.
Travel 8-3/10 miles on SH 315, and turn left on FM 840 N
Travel 3 miles on FM 840 N, and turn right on FM 1798 E
Travel 4-9/10 miles on FM 1798 E, and turn left on FM 2867 W
Travel 3-1/10 miles on FM 2867 W, and turn left on County Road 364 S
Travel 6/10 of a mile on CR 364 S. Old Pine Grove church house and cemetery is on the left.
[For GPS, this ends at approximately 32.102037, -94.653320]

Directions from Henderson, Texas, at the intersection of U.S. Hwy 79/259 South and East Main St/FM 840 and other points north
(Stores on the corners of this intersection are Gateway Travel Plaza, CVS Pharmacy, Jucy's Tacos, and Chicken Express)
[For GPS, this begins approximately 32.151042, -94.785695]
Travel east on East Main/FM 840 for about 4/10 of a mile and stay to the right on FM 840.
Travel on FM 840 for about 3-8/10 miles and turn left on FM 2867.
Travel east on FM 2867 for 4-6/10 miles and turn right on County Road 364 South. 
The Old Pine Grove church house and cemetery is 6/10 of a mile down CR 364 (on the left). 
[For GPS, this ends at  approximately 32.102037, -94.653320]

Y’all come!

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Some English Bibles published between 1611 and 1885

The new 1611 translation of the Holy Bible (Authorised/King James) became the prevailing English Bible translation for nearly four centuries. There was no major translation/revision done until the Revised Version of 1885. Nevertheless, in the intervening years, a number of minor (and sometimes nearly forgotten) translations of the Bible were published. Below is a resource of some Bibles translations printed after the 1611 translation commissioned by King James and the Revised Version completed in 1885.
Here are some related resources:

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

1909 Cambridge KJV reprint

William Aldis Wright prepared an edition of the original text of the first edition of the new translation of 1611 (Authorised/King James). This was published by Cambridge in 1909 in five volumes, in modern type, including a list of variations between the two 1611 printings. These five volumes are scanned and available for perusal at

Tuesday, April 20, 2021

Some Biblical Symbols of the Word

The word of God is food to nourish.
  • Milk for babes, 1 Peter 2:2; Hebrews 5:12-14
  • Solid food for adults, 1 Corinthians 3:1-2
  • Bread for the hungry, Amos 8:11; Matthew 4:4; John 6:35; 
  • Dessert to the taste, Psalm 119:103
  • Necessary food, Deuteronomy 8:3; Luke 4:4
It is the sword of the Spirit, Ephesians 6:17

It is a refining fire, Jeremiah 20:9

It is a powerful hammer, Jeremiah 23:29

It is a reflecting mirror, James 1:23-25

It is seed to plant, Luke 8:11; 1 Peter 1:23
It is a guiding light, Psalm 119:105

It is precious metal, Psalm 12:6; Psalm 19:10

It is testimony, Isaiah 8:19-20
It is the breath of God, Psalm 33:6; 2 Timothy 3:16-17

It is a shield of protection, Proverbs 30:5

It is cleansing and refreshing water, Isaiah 55:10-11; John 4:14; Ephesians 5:26

Can Texas Legally Secede, 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.

Monday, April 19, 2021

Handling an Inspired Work

There are not a few readers who seem to approach the Gospels, for instance, in a purely critical spirit. From the style of their inquiries, it would scarcely be supposed that they are handling an inspired Work. They treat it exactly as if it were an ordinary narrative. To be warned against some popular mistake: to be furnished with a correct translation; to have the events it records, reduced to true historical order; and to understand the allusions to manners, and natural phenomena:--such seem to be the chief objects of their desire. Readers of this class find writers of their own mental complexion: writers, who can be eloquent enough about the Pharisees and Sadducees; indeed, who have much to say on the subject of Jewish antiquities generally; are very exact in speaking of the Herods; very communicative concerning the geography of Palestine, and the observations of modern travelers; but who have little to communicate besides. They seem to make it a point of honor to be very dry on points of living interest.
John William Burgon, A Plain Commentary on the Four Holy Gospels, Intended Chiefly for Devotional Reading, p. iii

Sunday, April 18, 2021

See the destined day arise

“See the destined day arise” is a translation of the Latin “Lustra sex qui jam peregit” by Venantius Fortunatus (AD 530–607).[i] Richard Mant (1776-1848) made the loose translation or paraphrase, which appeared in his Ancient Hymns, from the Roman Breviary as “Hymn for Good Friday.”[ii] Written in 7s. meter, I like the tune Solid Comfort as a vehicle for this hymn.

1. See the destin’d day arise!
See, a willing sacrifice,
To redeem our fatal loss,
Jesus hangs upon the Cross.

2. From a tree our loss began
Fatal to primeval man:
Health attends us from a tree,
God and man, vouchsafed by Thee.

3. Jesus, who but Thou had borne,
Lifted on that tree of scorn,
Every pang and bitter throe,
Finishing Thy life of woe!

4. Who but Thou had dared to drain,
Steep’d in gall the cup of pain;
And with tender body bear
Thorns, and nails, and piercing spear?

5. Thence pour’d forth the water flowed,
Mingled from Thy side with blood,
Sign to all attesting eyes
Of the finished Sacrifice.

6. Holy Jesus, grant us grace
In that sacrifice to place
All our trust for life renew’d,
Pardon’d sin, and promised good.

7. Grant us grace to sing to Thee
In the trinal Unity,
Ever with the sons of light,
Blessing, honour, glory, might.

[i] “Lustra sex qui jam peregit” is a beginning line of a stanza in the hymn “Pange lingua.”
[ii] No. 43, page 52; London: J. G. & F. Rivington, 1837.

Saturday, April 17, 2021

Education without a moral compass, 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.)

“Education without a moral compass is like a cancerous tissue. It will grow, but only to the eventual destruction of its host.” -- John Asquith

“Worship must be regulated by God’s Word. Silence is not permission.” -- Kent Brandenburg

“If we’re not ready to die, we’re not ready to live.” -- Gary Chapman

“Much better it is to be humble with Christ in a barren desert, than to be proud with Adam in a delicious paradise.” -- John Hacket

“Were it not for temptations, we should be concealed from ourselves; our graces, as unexercised, would not be so bright, the power of God should not appear so in our weakness, we would not be so pitiful and tender towards others, nor so jealous over our own hearts, nor so skillfully of Satan’s method and enterprises, we should not see such a necessity of standing always upon our guard.” -- Richard Sibbes

“Trust and faith do not mean that you don’t think, or that you don’t examine the evidence – but it does mean that you know enough to trust the Creator for all you do not know.” -- David Robertson

“I used to be paid to be good; now I am good, for nothing.” -- Steve Brown

“Jesus was tempted in every way that man is, excepting by that class of temptations that are sinful because originating in evil and forbidden desire.” -- W. G. T. Shedd

“God’s word meets every condition in the world which confronts us.” -- S. Franklin Logsdon

“There is no education in the second kick of a mule.” -- credited to Mark Twain, L. Mendel Rivers, et al.

Friday, April 16, 2021

Sadducees and the Resurrection

About the Sadducees
In connection with the Pharisees
  • They were also religious leaders, Acts 4:1, Acts 5:17
  • They spuriously came to John’s baptism, Matthew 3:7
  • They tempted Jesus for a sign, Matthew 16:1
  • They espoused religious leaven, Matthew 16:6, 11-12
In distinction from the Pharisees
  • They denied the resurrection, Matthew 22:23, Mark 12:18, Luke 20:27
  • They denied angels and spirits, Acts 23:6-8
  • They filled the high priestly offices, Acts 5:17

Matthew 22:23-33 (See also Mark 12:18-27 and Luke 20:27-38)

The same day came to him the Sadducees, which say that there is no resurrection, and asked him, saying, Master, Moses said, If a man die, having no children, his brother shall marry his wife, and raise up seed unto his brother. Now there were with us seven brethren: and the first, when he had married a wife, deceased, and, having no issue, left his wife unto his brother: likewise the second also, and the third, unto the seventh. And last of all the woman died also. Therefore in the resurrection whose wife shall she be of the seven? for they all had her. Jesus answered and said unto them, Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, nor the power of God. For in the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage, but are as the angels of God in heaven. But as touching the resurrection of the dead, have ye not read that which was spoken unto you by God, saying, I am the God of Abraham, and the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob? God is not the God of the dead, but of the living. And when the multitude heard this, they were astonished at his doctrine.

The Sadducees make a phony inquiry. They did not believe in the resurrection, yet posed a fanciful question based on harmonizing the law of levirate marriage with the resurrection.[i] Their assumption was that Jesus would be confused by and unable to answer the question.

The Sadducees provide a legal foundation for their query, “Moses said or wrote.” These instructions may be found in Deuteronomy 25:5-6. History indicates the practice existed before the law (Genesis 38:6-10). The appeal to Moses would strike fear into the average person, but Jesus is great than Moses!

Jesus gives an unexpected answer. Their question is fictional in their own minds, and in truth! They err both in understanding the scriptures and the power of God (cf. Hosea 4:6). “In the resurrection they neither marry, nor are given in marriage.” God has the power to resurrect, but marriage is irrelevant in the resurrection.

Jesus gives them an additional explanation (Old Testament scripture for the resurrection, again more than they bargained for). Concerning the resurrection itself, God “is not the God of the dead, but the God of the living.” Read Exodus 3:6a, Moreover he said, I am the God of thy father, the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac, and the God of Jacob. Intriguingly, the point made hinged on the tense of a verb. The liberals Sadducees here were silenced and could say no more.

[i] The levirate marriage preserved the name and inheritance of a man who died childless. “Levirate” comes from the Latin word levir, meaning a husband’s brother, or brother-in-law. Despite its sound, the word is unrelated to the tribe of Levi, or their ancestor. |

Thursday, April 15, 2021

Mute donkey

Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness...but was rebuked for his iniquity: the dumb ass speaking with man’s voice forbad the madness of the prophet.

Proper decorum–and the avoidance of an unnecessary distraction–demands that we substitute “illegitimate” for “bastards” in Hebrews 12:8, and “mute donkey” for “dumb ass” in 2 Peter 2:16.
When I read this comment of Doug Kutilek, I thought “mute donkey” sounds really weird. However, I have since found that several Bibles have that rendering in 2 Peter 2:16 (including the New American Standard Bible). Intriguingly, according to a few dictionaries that I checked, both “dumb” and “mute” are now considered offensive, when referring to a person incapable of speech. (It is hard to keep up.) That may account for newer Bibles going with words like “speechless.”
  • Dumb, noun or adjective. Offensive. Of a person incapable of or lacking the faculty of speech.
  • Mute, noun or adjective. Dated, offensive. Of a person incapable of lacking the faculty of speech.
I suppose the donkeys and asses do not mind!