Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Near Misses

This bevy of books includes those never quite so successful as their classic cousins. Still, you might something readable here.
  • A Confederacy of Dances (All the Dances against the Other One)
  • A Kale of Two Cities (How Greens’ Farms can be Profitable)
  • A Midsummer Night’s Scream (a Texas Heat Wave Tragedy)
  • And Then There were Nine (Agatha Christie’s Baseball Tale)
  • Chicken Slop for the Soul (101 Stories to Open the Palate and Rekindle the Stovetop)
  • Grime and Punishment (a Warning Book for Dirty Children)
  • Gulliver’s Gavels (After Lemuel became Judge of Several Remote Nations of the World)
  • Hairy Potter; or, Why is there so much clay stuck to your arms?
  • Hamwet (a Lispy Interpretation of Shakespeare)
  • Less Miserables (Not as Many Miserable Ones as Usual)
  • Little Mouse on the Prairie (Daring Days and Frightening Nights)
  • Mess of the d’Urbervilles (the d’Urbervilles’ Lesser-Known Messy Daughter)
  • Nine, Ten, Eighty-Four (a Quarterback’s Story)
  • O, dip us the King! (a Tragic Drowning)
  • One Hundred Fears of Solitude (a Pilgrim’s Guide to Loneliness)
  • One Thousand and One Arabian Knights (Why Catholics Lost the Crusades)
  • Rise and Fall of the Woman Empire (subtitle that, if you will!)
  • Show Gun (a Gun Show Memoir)
  • Tar Man (a Road Worker’s Memoir)
  • The Bobbsey Twits (the never-ending tale of the silly Bobbsey family)
  • The Bond Collector (How to know you have all the 007 movies)
  • The Call of the Mild (To Be or Not to Be Gentle, that is the Question)
  • The Diary of Anne. Frank! (Nothing Vague Here)
  • The Old Man and the Pea (Unlucky Problems of the Elderly)
  • The Purpose Driven Wife (a Husband’s Guide to Doing Household Repairs on Time)
  • The Quotations From Chairman Mousy Tongue (Meeker than Uncle Mao )
  • The Scrapes of Wrath (How the Depression rubbed people the wrong way)
  • The Sound of the Baskervilles (a Dog-gone Good Musical)
  • To Bill a Mockingbird (Veterinary Surgery for the Small and Famous)
  • Zen and the Parts for Motorcycle Maintenance (An Inquiry into the Value of Keeping your Motorcycle Running)
  • 20,000 Leaks Under the Sink (A Homeowner’s Plumbing Guide)

Tuesday, June 29, 2021

Tower of Babel

The city and tower of Babel, Genesis 11:1-9

The statement of the builders indicates a twofold reasoning for their purpose:
  • let us build us a city and a tower, whose top may reach unto heaven
  • let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth
This statement of purpose does not give any indication of reaching up high above possible flood waters (as some have suggested), but rather of a unifying city with a unifying purpose. The city would be a place to live. A tower in the heavens would be a beacon to all. They wanted to have a name (which may suggest the desire for power and fame, and perhaps putting their name in place of God’s name), and they did not want to scatter across the whole earth – in contrast to God’s command, Genesis 9:1.

God’s judgment broke up their plans. In contrast to the building of the city, the work was abandoned. In contrast to banding together and making a name, God scattered them (Genesis 11:8). So it seems that God’s judgment addressed the two things of their intent, with no hint of anything about a flood.

Acts 17:26-27 provides a succinct commentary on the confusion of Babel. God, not man, determines the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation.

The city and tower have spawned various stories, which are not necessarily consonant with the biblical history but might prove an interesting curiosity to readers.
  • The Book of Jubilees 10:18-26 gives when it was built, how long it took, how high the tower was, etc.
  • Mishnah Sanhedrin 10:3 says those who were scattered were excluded from life in the world to come. “The members of the generation of the dispersion have no share in the World-to-Come, as it is stated: ‘And the Lord scattered them from there upon the face of all the earth’ (Genesis 11:8), and it is written: ‘And from there did the Lord scatter them upon the face of all the earth’ (Genesis 11:9). ‘And the Lord scattered them’ indicates in this world; ‘and from there did the Lord scatter them’ indicates for the World-to-Come.”
  • Antiquities of the Jews — Book I, Chapter 4 Josephus suggests that Nimrod was the instigator of the work, and that the people, generally, wanted to dwell higher than the water level of the flood.
  • Mishnah Sanhedrin 109a mentions some Rabbinic teachings about the tower of Babel, including they built “the tower for the sake of idol worship” and that “The uppermost third of the tower was burned, the lowermost third of the tower was swallowed into the earth, and the middle third remained intact.”

Monday, June 28, 2021

John W. Burgon on the Received Text

XIII. The one great Fact, which especially troubles him and his joint Editor [i.e. Westcott & Hort],—(as well it may)—is The Traditional Greek Text of the New Testament Scriptures. Call this Text Erasmian or Complutensian,—the Text of Stephens, or of Beza, or of the Elzevirs,—call it the ‘Received,’ or the Traditional Greek Text, or whatever other name you please;—the fact remains, that a Text has come down to us which is attested by a general consensus of ancient Copies, ancient Fathers, ancient Versions. This, at all events, is a point on which, (happily,) there exists entire conformity of opinion between Dr. Hort and ourselves. Our Readers cannot have yet forgotten his virtual admission that,—Beyond all question the Textus Receptus is the dominant Græco-Syrian Text of A.D. 350 to A.D. 400.

Obtained from a variety of sources, this Text proves to be essentially the same in all. That it requires Revision in respect of many of its lesser details, is undeniable: but it is at least as certain that it is an excellent Text as it stands, and that the use of it will never lead critical students of Scripture seriously astray,—which is what no one will venture to predicate concerning any single Critical Edition of the N. T. which has been published since the days of Griesbach, by the disciples of Griesbach’s school.
John William Burgon, in The Revision Revised (1883)

Sunday, June 27, 2021

John Fawcett and the Tie that Binds

The Story of John Fawcett and “Blest Be the Tie that Binds”

1. Blest be the tie that binds 
Our hearts in Christian love; 
The fellowship of kindred minds 
Is like to that above. 

2. Before our Father’s throne 
We pour our ardent pray’rs; 
Our fears, our hopes, our aims are one, 
Our comforts and our cares. 

3. We share our mutual woes, 
Our mutual burdens bear, 
And often for each other flows 
The sympathizing tear. 

4. When we are called to part, 
It gives us inward pain; 
But we shall still be join’d in heart, 
And hope to meet again. 

5. This glorious hope revives 
Our courage by the way; 
While each in expectation lives 
And longs to see the day. 

6. From sorrow, toil, and pain, 
And sin, we shall be free; 
And perfect love and friendship reign 
Thro’ all eternity.

Wainsgate, in the West Yorkshire countryside of Northern England sets the scene for this story. Hymnologist Albert Bailey described it as “a straggling group of houses on the top of a barren hill.” The people were farmers, hardworking, but mostly poor and illiterate. The Baptists had sent an itinerant preacher there and he had made a start. John Fawcett (1739-1817) and his wife Mary Fawcett went to live there in 1765 after he was ordained. He met with great success and friendships in Wainsgate.

In 1772, Carter Lane Baptist Church in London extended a call and Fawcett accepted. Over a period of time Fawcett announced this to the church, preached a farewell sermon, sold their large items (such as furniture), prepared to depart. The rest of their belongings were loaded on a cart, and the church members came to say good-by. The crowd was moved tears. According to the hymnologist Bailey, Mary said, “I can’t stand it, John! I know not how to go.” John responded, “Lord help me, Mary, nor can I stand it! We will unload the wagon.” To the crowd, Fawcett said, “We’ve changed our minds! We are going to stay!”

This hymn was published ten years later, in 1782, in Fawcett’s hymn book Hymns: Adapted to the Circumstances of Public Worship and Private Devotion (Brotherly Love, Hymn CIV, page 188). The original had six stanzas, but many songbooks only reproduce the first four. It is believed that his feelings and expression derive from this parting experience, regardless of exactly when the hymn was written. Some apocryphal material may have attached to the story, but we know Fawcett wrote the hymn, and that he did change his mind and stay at Wainsgate. In fact, John Fawcett stayed in Wainsgate and nearby Hebden Bridge for another 45 years. He is buried at the Wainsgate Baptist Church Graveyard in Hebden Bridge, Calderdale, West Yorkshire, England.

The Carter Lane Baptist Church in London was pastored by John Gill. The call to Fawcett was extended after Gill’s death in 1771. After the withdrawal of Fawcett, John Rippon accepted that pastorate. Carter Lane eventually became the Metropolitan Tabernacle.

Information not original; copied from various public domain sources

Saturday, June 26, 2021

In other words, autopistic and axiopistic

  • autopistic, adjective or noun. Related to looking inside of the text of the Bible to prove its merit; the self-authentication of Scripture.
  • axiopistic, adjective or noun. Related to looking outside of the text of the Bible to prove its merit (e.g. historical evidence).
  • comport, verb. (used with object) To bear or conduct (oneself), behave; (used without object) to be in agreement, harmony, or conformity (usually followed by with).
  • conjectural, adjective. Of, of the nature of, or involving conjecture; problematical; given to making conjectures.
  • debacle, noun. A general breakup or dispersion, sudden downfall or rout; a complete collapse or failure. Also, a breaking up of ice in a river.
  • embacle, noun. An accumulation of broken ice in a river.
  • fait accompli, noun. (French) An accomplished fact; a thing already done.
  • folly-largesse, noun. Reckless wastefulness of one’s property or means; foolish generosity; profligacy.
  • hebdomad, noun. A group of seven.
  • histrionics, noun. Exaggerated dramatic behavior designed to attract attention. Histrionic (singular) can mean an actor.
  • hygiene theater, noun. (most particularly related to COVID-19) The use of symbolic tactics or efforts that do little to prevent the spread of disease but may make some people feel safer.
  • internecine, adjective. Of, relating to, or involving conflict within a group; deadly; mutually destructive.
  • nexus, noun. A connection or series of connections linking two or more things; a connected group or series; the central and most important point or place.
  • nidus, noun. A place or situation in which something develops or is fostered; nest; breeding place.
  • oppugn, verb. To call into question the truth or validity of.
  • pluriformity, noun. Diversity or variety of forms.
  • pluviosity, noun. The quality of being rainy or of bringing rain; rainfall.
  • pogonotrophy, noun. The cultivation or growing of a beard.
  • prebend, noun. The portion of the revenues of a cathedral or collegiate church formerly granted to a canon or member of the chapter as his stipend.
  • prebendary, noun. An honorary canon.
  • relict, noun. A thing which has survived from an earlier period or in a primitive form; also, less commonly, a widow.

Friday, June 25, 2021

The Battle of Athens, Tennessee

A very interesting bit of obscure American history:
On August 1, 1946, a group of Southern World War Two veterans in Athens, Tennessee, fought and won the only successful armed insurrection in the United States since the War of Independence...

Knox Henry was sworn in as Sheriff, declaring: “We have accomplished what we started out to do. We’ve broken the grip of the political machine that has ruled McMinn County for ten years without regard as to the wishes of the people in how their government was to be run. When I say we, I mean the other GIs on the nonpartisan cleanup ticket and the citizens of McMinn County who helped us win the battle. We regret that the gunfight at the jail had to happen...Our only alternative was to use force...there will be no trouble of this kind at the next election. Any person who can qualify for an office may run with the full assurance of an honest election and the people will have nothing to fear when they go to the polls on Election Day.”
The Battle of Athens, Tennessee

Thursday, June 24, 2021

Church Discussion: Baptists and Disciples, 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.

Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Scrivener’s Appendix

The Appendix in Scrivener’s Greek Text suggests nine sources that are behind the 1611 translation

Containing a list of the passages (marked *) in the Greek text of this volume, wherein the readings of Beza’s N. T. 1598 are departed from, to agree with those adopted by the Authorised Version on the authority of certain earlier Greek editions.
Compl. Complutensian N. T. 1514.
Er.       Erasmus’ (1516, 1519, 1522, 1527, 1535).
Ald.     Aldus’ 1518.
Col.     Colinæus’ 1534.
St.        Stephanus (1546, 1549, 1550, 1551).
Plant.   Plantin (Antwerp Polyglott) 1572.
Bez.     Beza’s (1560, 1565, 1582, 1589, 1598).
Vulg.   Vulgate Latin.
Tynd.   Tyndale’s English 1526.
A. V.   Authorised Vers. 1611.
N. B. The readings of the Greek Text of this volume are placed first, followed by the authorities on which they rest: next come the readings of Beza 1598, and the authorities (if any) which support them. If no numerals follow Er. St. Bez., the reading given is the same in all the editions of their respective works.

“Appendix,” The New Testament in the Original Greek, according to the Text Followed by the Authorised Version, together with the Variations Adopted in the Revised Version, F. H. A. Scrivener, Editor. Cambridge: University Press, 1881

Monday, June 21, 2021

In other words, isms and more isms

  • adiaphorism, noun. A Christian belief which holds that certain religious doctrines or practices are matters of indifference because they are neither commanded nor forbidden in the Bible.
  • atheism, noun. The belief that there is no God or gods.
  • deism, noun. The belief in the existence of a supreme being, specifically of a creator who does not intervene in the universe (as distinguished from theism).
  • exvangelical, noun. A person who was once an Evangelical Christian but has since left the movement (combines ex- + evangelical).
  • geocentrism, noun. The belief that Earth is the center of the universe.
  • gymnobiblism, noun. (obscure, rare) The belief that the text of the Bible, without commentary, is a sufficient guide to the unlearned to religious truth.
  • monotheism, noun. A belief in only one God (Cf. polytheism).
  • nihilism, noun. An extreme form of skepticism: the denial of all real existence or the possibility of an objective basis for truth. Nothingness or nonexistence.
  • polytheism, noun. A belief in more than one god or in many gods (Cf. monotheism).
  • prioritism, noun. (Christianity) A belief that distinguishes and emphasizes the primary mission of the church (spiritual transformation) over secondary or supporting ministries (social transformation).
  • pronominal, adjective. Relating to or serving as a pronoun.
  • solecism, noun. A grammatical mistake in speech or writing; an ungrammatical combination of words in a sentence, or a minor blunder in speech.
  • theism, noun. The belief in one God as the creator and ruler of the universe, without rejection of revelation (as distinguished from deism); or, the belief in a supreme being or beings (as distinguished from atheism).
  • theocentrism, noun. The belief that God is the focal point of thoughts, interests, and feelings.

Forgeries and Counterfeits

2 Thessalonians 2:2 That ye be not soon shaken in mind, or be troubled, neither by spirit, nor by word, nor by letter as from us, as that the day of Christ is at hand.
nor by letter, as from us; by forging a letter and counterfeiting their hands, for such practices began to be used very early; spurious epistles of the Apostle Paul were carried about, which obliged him to take a method whereby his genuine letters might be known; see 2 Thessalonians 3:17 or he may have respect in this clause to his former epistle, wherein he had said some things concerning the Coming of Christ, which had been either wrongly represented, or not understood; and as if his sense was, that it would be while he and others then living were alive and on the spot: wherefore he would not have them neither give heed to any enthusiastic spirits, nor to any plausible reasonings of men, or unwritten traditions; nor to any letters in his name, or in the name of any of the apostles; nor even to his former letter to them, as though it contained any such thing in it
John Gill’s Exposition of the Entire Bible

Sunday, June 20, 2021

We have a gospel to proclaim

“We have a gospel to proclaim” is a hymn recent enough, I think, that it is still under copyright. Here are two stanzas. The entire hymn may be seen in Singing the Faith: Words Edition (The Methodist Church, 2011, No. 418).

1. We have a gospel to proclaim 
Good news for men in all the earth; 
The gospel of a Saviour’s name: 
We sing His glory, tell His worth. 
2. Tell of His birth at Bethlehem, 
Not in a royal house or hall 
But in a stable dark and dim: 
The Word made flesh, a light for all. 

The author, Edward Joseph Burns was born in 1938 in Nelson, Lancashire, England. He is a priest or canon in the Church of England. This hymn is Long Meter. In the music edition of Singing the Faith, it is presented with the tune Walton or Fulda by William Gardiner (1770-1853), found in his Sacred Melodies, 1815.

Saturday, June 19, 2021

10-year-old South Dakota boy, 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.

Friday, June 18, 2021

Erasmian Myths

In debates and discussions about Bible versions, Greek manuscripts, and such like, sometimes certain tall tales about Erasmus come up. Perhaps there are some tall tales that should be told about Erasmus. However, the tallest Pinocchio-nosed tales most often contributed are resurrections of tales that have long since been debunked. Like a bad penny, they keep coming back!

Chris Thomas, an Administrator at Confessional Bibliology, has compiled a four-part series on the four most persistent “Erasmian Myths.” It is worth the read.
  • Erasmian Myths: The Comma Wager -- “In conclusion, whenever you hear someone repeating the story that Erasmus only included the Comma Johanneum as part of a “rash wager” and was presented with a “made to order text” by a Froy or Roy, keep in mind that it has no foundation in the writings of Erasmus himself, nor his opponents such as Edward Lee, nor in men who criticized the inclusion of 1 John 5:7 such as the Roman Catholic Priest Richard Simon or the writings of John Mills who also specifically dealt with the Comma Johanneum.”
  • Erasmian Myths: Codex Vaticanus -- “...we see that not only did Erasmus have access to readings of Vaticanus, but through his correspondence with Bombasius he could have requested readings of any portion of the codex. And we see that Erasmus did not consider Codex Vaticanus equal to the texts with which he worked, but instead considered the codex inferior because he believed it had been back-translated in portions and because it did not follow the Scripture citations of the orthodox church fathers.”
  • Erasmian Myths: The Rush to Print -- “One of the more pernicious myths circulating about Erasmus concerns the quality of his Greek New Testament. The story goes that it was filled with errors because Erasmus was rushing to print. This myth was decimated by the eminent scholar Dr. M. A. Screech back in 1986 in his introduction to the Annotations of Erasmus.”
  • Erasmian Myths: Revelation Back Translated from the Vulgate? -- “One of the more notorious myths about Erasmus is that he backtranslated the last 6 verses of the book of Revelation. There are many articles on the internet purporting to prove conclusively that Erasmus did in fact back translate from the Latin Vulgate the last few verses of Revelation.”
In addition to the blogs by Thomas, Jeffrey T. Riddle deals with the rash wager and rush to print in Erasmus Anecdotes, Puritan Reformed Journal Vol. 9, No. 1 (January 2017): 101-112. You probably have to have an account to access it.

Thursday, June 17, 2021

Scrivener’s “Preface” to the 1881 New Testament

References to the New Testament Greek Textus Receptus Bible edited by F. H. A. Scrivener often appear in the Bible Versions Debate. It seems to me that both sides often portray Scrivener and/or the edition as something they are not. I have read a KJVO rate Scrivener as near the top of KJVO advocates. I have read an anti-KJVO act as if Scrivener took the King James Bible and back translated it into Greek to create The New Testament in the Original Greek, according to the Text Followed by the Authorised Version. Both beliefs are basted in baloney butter. In contrast, I post here the “Preface” of The New Testament in the Original Greek so that you may read it for yourself and come to some of your own conclusions.


 The special design of this volume is to place clearly before the reader the variations from the Greek text represented by the Authorised Version of the New Testament which have been embodied in the Revised Version. One of the Rules laid down for the guidance of the Revisers by a Committee appointed by the Convocation of Canterbury was to the effect “that, when the Text adopted differs from that from which the Authorised Version was made, the alteration be indicated in the margin.” As it was found that a literal observance of this direction would often crowd and obscure the margin of the Revised Version, the Revisers judged that its purpose might be better carried out in another manner. They therefore communicated to the Oxford and Cambridge University Presses a full and carefully corrected list of the readings adopted which are at variance with the readings “presumed to underlie the Authorised Version,” in order that they might be published independently in some shape or other. The University Presses have accordingly undertaken to print them in connexion with complete Greek texts of the New Testament. The responsibility of the Revisers does not of course extend beyond the list which they have furnished.

The form here chosen has been thought by the Syndics of the Cambridge University Press to be at once the most convenient in itself, and the best fitted for giving a true representation of the Revisers’ work. In their Preface the Revisers explain that it did not fall within their province to construct a continuous and complete Greek text. Wherever a variation in the Greek was of such a nature that it could properly affect the English rendering, they had to decide between the competing readings: but in most other cases they refrained from spending time on work not needed for the purposes of an English translation. It was therefore impossible to print a continuous Greek text which should include the readings certified as adopted by the Revisers, without borrowing all the intervening portions from some printed text which had not undergone their revision, and in which, to judge by analogy, they would doubtless have found many readings to disapprove. It is true that all variations in this unrevised part of the text must from the nature of the case be comparatively unimportant: but they include many differences of order and grammatical form expressive of shades and modifications of meaning which no careful reader would neglect in studying the Greek original. The Cambridge Press has therefore judged it best to set the readings actually adopted by the Revisers at the foot of the page, and to keep the continuous text consistent throughout by making it so far as was possible uniformly representative of the Authorised Version. The publication of an edition formed on this plan appeared to be all the more desirable, inasmuch as the Authorised Version was not a translation of any one Greek text then in existence, and no Greek text intended to reproduce in any way the original of the Authorised Version has ever been printed.

In considering what text had the best right to be regarded as “the text presumed to underlie the Authorised Version,” it was necessary to take into account the composite nature of the Authorised Version, as due to successive revisions of Tyndale’s translation. Tyndale himself followed the second and third editions of Erasmus’s Greek text (1519, 1522). In the revisions of his translation previous to 1611 a partial use was made of other texts; of which ultimately the most influential were the various editions of Beza from 1560 to 1598, if indeed his Latin version of 1556 should not be included. Between 1598 and 1611 no important edition appeared; so that Beza’s fifth and last text of 1598 was more likely than any other to be in the hands of King James’s revisers, and to be accepted by them as the best standard within their reach. It is moreover found on comparison to agree more closely with the Authorised Version than any other Greek text; and accordingly it has been adopted by the Cambridge Press as the primary authority. There are however many places in which the Authorised Version is at variance with Beza’s text; chiefly because it retains language inherited from Tyndale or his successors, which had been founded on the text of other Greek editions. In these cases it is often doubtful how far the revisers of 1611 deliberately preferred a different Greek reading; for their attention was not specially directed to textual variations, and they might not have thought it necessary to weed out every rendering inconsistent with Beza’s text, which might linger among the older and unchanged portions of the version. On the other hand some of the readings followed, though discrepant from Beza’s text, may have seemed to be in a manner sanctioned by him, as he had spoken favourably of them in his notes; and others may have been adopted on independent grounds. These uncertainties do not however affect the present edition, in which the different elements that actually make up the Greek basis of the Authorised Version have an equal right to find a place. Wherever therefore the Authorised renderings agree with other Greek readings which might naturally be known through printed editions to the revisers of 1611 or their predecessors, Beza’s reading has been displaced from the text in favour of the more truly representative reading, the variation from Beza being indicated by *. It was manifestly necessary to accept only Greek authority, though in some places the Authorised Version corresponds but loosely with any form of the Greek original, while it exactly follows the Latin Vulgate. All variations from Beza’s text of 1598, in number about 190, are set down in an Appendix at the end of the volume, together with the authorities on which they respectively rest.

Wherever a Greek reading adopted for the Revised Version differs from the presumed Greek original of the Authorised Version, the reading which it is intended to displace is printed in the text in a thicker type, with a numerical reference to the reading substituted by the Revisers, which bears the same numeral at the foot of the pages. Alternative readings are given in the margin by the Revisers in places “in which, for the present, it would not in their judgement be safe to accept one reading to the absolute exclusion of others,” provided that the differences seemed to be of sufficient interest or importance to deserve notice. These alternative readings, which are more than 400 in number, are distinguished by the notation Marg. or marg. In the Revised Version itself the marginal notes in which a secondary authority is thus given to readings not adopted in the text almost always take the form of statements of evidence, and the amount of evidence in each instance is to a certain extent specified in general terms. No attempt however has in most cases been made to express differences in the nature or the amount of this authority in the record of marginal readings at the foot of the page. For such details the reader will naturally turn to the margin of the Revised Version itself.

The punctuation has proved a source of much anxiety. The Authorised Version as it was originally printed in 1611, rather than as it appears in any later edition, has been taken as a primary guide. Exact reproduction of the English punctuation in the Greek text was however precluded by the differences of grammatical structure between the two languages. It was moreover desirable to punctuate in a manner not inconsistent with the punctuation of the Revised Version, wherever this could be done without inconvenience, as punctuation does not strictly belong to textual variation. Where however the difference of punctuation between the two Versions is incompatible with identical punctuation in the Greek, the stops proper for the Authorised Version are given in the text, with a numerical reference, without change of type, to the other method set forth in the foot-notes. Mere changes in punctuation, not consequent on change of reading, are discriminated from the rest by being set within marks of parenthesis ( ) at the foot of the page. The notes that thus refer exclusively to stops are about 157.

The paragraphs into which the body of the Greek text is here divided are those of the Revised Version, the numerals relating to chapters and verses being banished to the margin. The marks which indicate the beginning of paragraphs in the Authorised Version do not seem to have been inserted with much care, and cease altogether after Acts xx. 36: nor would it have been expedient to create paragraphs in accordance with the traditional chapters. Manifest errors of the press, which often occur in Beza’s New Testament of 1598, have been silently corrected. In all other respects not mentioned already that standard has been closely abided by, save only that, in accord not been represented as part of the speech or quotation which it introduces, and the aspirated forms αὐτοῦ, αὐτο, αὐτόν, &c. have been discarded. In a very few words (e. g. μαργαρίται) the more recent and proper accentuation has been followed. Lastly, where Beza has been inconsistent, the form which appeared the better of the two has been retained consistently: as νηφάλιος not νηφάλεος, οὐκέτι not οὐκ έτι, ἐξαυτῆς not ἐξ αυτῆς, ἵνα τί not ἵνατί, but τὰ νῦν not τὰνῦν, διὰ παντὸς not διὰ παντός, τοῦτ ἔστι not τουτέστι.


F. H. A. S.

Christmas, 1880.

“Preface,” The New Testament in the Original Greek, according to the Text Followed by the Authorised Version, together with the Variations Adopted in the Revised Version, F. H. A. Scrivener, Editor. Cambridge: University Press, 1881, pp. v-xi

Wednesday, June 16, 2021

God Knows

O tired heart!
God knows.
Not you nor I.
Who reach our hands for gifts
That wise love must deny.
We blunder where we fain would do our best
Until aweary, then we cry, “Do Thou the rest.”
And in His hands the tangled thread we place
Of our pour, blind weaving, with a shamed face.
All trust of ours He sacredly will keep.
So, tired heart – God knows – go thou to work or sleep.

O tired heart!
God knows.
Where we but guess,
Of unknown future years,
Their joys or bitterness.
For we are finite, limited, enfurled,
His vision in its sweep reaches from world to world.
Our hidden, complex selves, His eye doth see,
And with exceeding tenderness, weighs equally.
O wisdom infinite! O love naught can o’erwhelm!
Rest, tired heart – God knows – give unto Him the helm.

“Resignation,” or “God Knows,” was written by Hannah Coddington. I did not find any biographical information on the author, but poetry under her name appears a good bit in the late 1800s. The above poem can be found in Life of Charles Haddon Spurgeon, the World’s Great Preacher (1892), Songs for the Shut-in (1893), and The Year Book of American Authors (1894). The latter book certainly suggests she was an American.

Tuesday, June 15, 2021

King James translation and the Textus Receptus

Q. How can the King James Version of 1611 be translated from the Textus Receptus, since it didn’t appear until 1633?
A. This is a misunderstanding about a name or title that became popular after 1611. The Elzevir Brothers published three editions of the Greek New Testament. Their publisher’s preface in the 1633 edition included the statement “Textum ergo habes, nunc ab omnibus receptum: in quo nihil immutatum aut corruptum damus” (Then you have the text now received by all, in which nothing we give is changed or corrupted). From this sprang the use of “Textus Receptus” or “Received Text” to describe a certain family of printed Greek New Testaments. The current use of Textus Receptus is not limited to the 1633 Elzevir Greek NT, but to an entire line of Greek Testaments, most of which preceded the Textus Receptus terminology – 5 by Desiderius Erasmus (1466-1536) in 1516, 1519, 1522, 1527, 1535; 4 by Robert Estienne, or Stephanus (1503–1559) in 1546, 1549, 1550, 1551; 9 by Theodore Beza (1519-1605) in 1565 (2), 1567, 1580, 1582, 1589, 1590, 1598, 1604; 3 by Abraham (1592-1652) and Bonaventure Elzevir in 1624, 1633, 1641, and 1 by F. H. A. Scrivener (1813-1891) in 1881; and perhaps others.[i]
Perhaps some people just misunderstand the time sequence of the terminology. Perhaps others wish to detach the King James Bible from the Textus Receptus for some reason. However, it is simply a matter of folks using the terminology that is most common. For example, most contemporary Christians always refer to “Abram” to “Abraham,” even when speaking of him before God changed his name.

[i] For example, includes the 1514 Complutensian Polyglot, a 1534 edition by Simon de Colines, a later printing by Elzevir Brothers(1679), 1825 by the Oxford Press, and an 1841 edition by Scholz. I have not investigated the status of any of these.

Monday, June 14, 2021

Before You Renew Amazon Prime, 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.

John Rice on Abortion

After a male sperm cell has united with a female ovum and the body of the child thus conceived begins to develop in the womb of the wife, to destroy that little life and so prevent a normal birth of a child is called abortion, not birth control. And abortion is murder. Until recent years, very few people in the world, we believe, would have justified this destruction of an unborn child after conception has taken place. At least they would not have justified it under normal circumstances. Abortion, that is the willful murder of the little one where conception has already taken place and life has already begun, was, until recently, a crime prohibited by the law and condemned by all decent people.
John R. Rice in The Home: Courtship, Marriage, and Children

Sunday, June 13, 2021

Hosannah to Jesus on high

Hymn III in Funeral Hymns by John and Charles Wesley. 8s. Doubled.

1. Hosannah to Jesus on high!
Another has entered his rest,
Another escaped to the sky,
And lodged in Immanuel’s breast:
The soul of our sister is gone
To heighten the triumph above,
Exalted to Jesus’s throne,
And clasped in the arms of his love.

2. What fullness of rapture is there,
While Jesus His glory displays,
And purples the heavenly air,
And scatters the odours of grace?
He looks—and his servants in light
The blessing ineffable meet;
He smiles—and they faint at the sight,
And fall overwhelmed at his feet!

3. How happy the angels that fall,
Transported at Jesus’s name!
The saints, whom he soonest shall call
To share in the feast of the Lamb!
No longer imprisoned in clay,
Who next from the dungeon shall fly,
Who first shall be summoned away?
My merciful God—Is it I?

4. O Jesus, if this be thy will
That suddenly I should depart,
Thy council of mercy reveal,
And whisper the call to my heart:
O give me a signal to know
If soon Thou wouldst have me remove,
And leave this dull body below,
And fly to the regions of love.

Saturday, June 12, 2021

The spirit of complaint, 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.)

“The spirit of complaint is born out of an unwillingness to trust God with today.” -- Priscilla Shirer

“In his life Christ is an example showing us how to live; in his death, he is a sacrifice satisfying for our sins; in his resurrection, a conqueror; in his ascension, a king; in his intercession, a high priest.” -- Martin Luther

Paradoxes are “actually the heart of our vibrant faith, and that it’s only by continually wrestling with them – rather than trying to pin them down or push them away – that we can really worship God, individually and together.” -- Krish Kandiah

“God may give you a steak, but he usually does not cut it up and feed it to you!” -- Heard

“The public reading of Scripture is an essential element of Christian worship for the covenant people of God.” -- Justin Borger

“Scholars are quiet about facts that do not fit their own narratives.” -- Michael Hollner

“Is the alternative to an inspired (living) Bible not an expired (dead) one?” -- Heard

“The church teachers are inconsistent, pliable and constantly err, especially regarding the structure with bishops and the pope at their head, whereas the Scripture is inerrant and truthful.” -- Stanko Jambrek, discussing the teachings of Matthias Flacius Illyricus

“There is a strange hatred toward the KJV.” -- Pastor Scott Ingram

“Providence gains the same end in different ways, that men may attend its motions with an implicit faith.” -- Matthew Henry

“Evil doesn’t have a color. Neither does a victim’s grief.” -- Read on Facebook

“Everywhere I go, there I am.” -- Ben Davis, a TV character, and probably others

“Pleasure whispers to us and pain screams at us.” -- Kent Brandenburg

“What do you get when you mix politics and Christianity? Politics!” -- an old saying

Friday, June 11, 2021

Longer-Shorter, Difficult-Easy Readings

Random stuff
The strange and sometimes contradictory views about longer and shorter, easier and more difficult readings. These Latin expressions are used to indicate the principles some hold in textual criticism:
  • lectio difficilior potior, or lectio difficilior lectio potior – the more difficult reading is the stronger
  • lectio longior potior, or lectio longior lectio potior – the longer reading is the stronger/more probable
  • lectio brevior potior, or lectio brevior lectio potior – the shorter reading is the more probable reading
In general, the more difficult reading is to be preferred, particularly when the sense, on the surface, appears to be erroneous but, on more mature consideration, proves to be correct. (Here, “more difficult” means “more difficult to the scribe,” who would be tempted to make an emendation. The characteristic of most scribal emendations is their superficiality, often combining “the appearance of improvement with the absence of its reality.” Obviously, the category “more difficult reading” is relative, and a point is sometimes reached when a reading must be judged to be so difficult that it can have arisen only by accident in transcription.)
“The shorter reading, if not wholly lacking the support of old and weighty witnesses, is to be preferred over the more verbose.”
Found in Kurt and Barbara Aland, The Text of the New Testament; Bruce Metzger, in The Text of New Testament, and A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament; Johann Jakob Griesbach (Originally Latin, quoted by Alford in the introduction of his Greek Testament, London, 1849, and found quoted in numerous sources).

In a study of “Lectio Brevior Potior and New Testament Textual Criticism,” Jeff Miller concluded “that the maxim lectio brevior potior not only should not be, but in fact is not, a factor in the current practice of the textual criticism of the New Testament.”

Maurice Robinson, in his article “The Case for Byzantine Priority” writes, “Neither the shorter nor longer reading is to be preferred. The reasoned eclectic principle here omitted is the familiar lectio brevior potior, or giving preference to the shorter reading, assuming all other matters to be equala principle which has come under fire even from modern eclectics. Not only can its legitimacy be called into question, but its rejection as a working principle can readily be justified.”

Thursday, June 10, 2021

One Race

The Bible’s teaching on “race” is simple. Someone has said three fundamental truths about it are that we are (1) one in creation; (2) one in the church; and (3) one in eternity. Notice the following biblical texts.

One in creation
  • Genesis 1:26-27. And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.
  • Genesis 3:20 And Adam called his wife’s name Eve; because she was the mother of all living.
  • Acts 17:26-28. and hath made of one blood all nations of men for to dwell on all the face of the earth, and hath determined the times before appointed, and the bounds of their habitation; that they should seek the Lord, if haply they might feel after him, and find him, though he be not far from every one of us: for in him we live, and move, and have our being; as certain also of your own poets have said, For we are also his offspring.
  • Malachi 2:10 Have we not all one father? hath not one God created us?
One in the church
  • John 10:16 And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.
  • Galatians 3:28. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.
  • Ephesians 2:19-22 Now therefore ye are no more strangers and foreigners, but fellowcitizens with the saints, and of the household of God; and are built upon the foundation of the apostles and prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone; in whom all the building fitly framed together groweth unto an holy temple in the Lord: in whom ye also are builded together for an habitation of God through the Spirit.
  • Colossians 3:11. where there is neither Greek nor Jew, circumcision nor uncircumcision, Barbarian, Scythian, bond nor free: but Christ is all, and in all.
One in eternity
  • Galatians 3:8 And the scripture, foreseeing that God would justify the heathen through faith, preached before the gospel unto Abraham, saying, In thee shall all nations be blessed.
  • Revelation 7:9. After this I beheld, and, lo, a great multitude, which no man could number, of all nations, and kindreds, and people, and tongues, stood before the throne, and before the Lamb, clothed with white robes, and palms in their hands;
  • Revelation 21:22-26 And I saw no temple therein: for the Lord God Almighty and the Lamb are the temple of it. And the city had no need of the sun, neither of the moon, to shine in it: for the glory of God did lighten it, and the Lamb is the light thereof. And the nations of them which are saved shall walk in the light of it: and the kings of the earth do bring their glory and honour into it. And the gates of it shall not be shut at all by day: for there shall be no night there. And they shall bring the glory and honour of the nations into it.

Wednesday, June 09, 2021

Advice for Homeschool Dads, 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.
  • Advice for Homeschool Dads -- “A homeschooling father should also offer support to his wife in her role as a teacher. Since Mom will likely be doing the majority of the instruction...”
  • Beyond What Is Written: Erasmus and Beza as Conjectural Critics of the New Testament, Jan Krans -- “At the origin of this study lies simple curiosity. Sometimes, in the critical apparatus of a Greek New Testament or in commentaries, one comes across instances in which critics 'go beyond what is written' by proposing a conjecture.”
  • Covid: Wuhan lab leak is ‘feasible’, say British spies -- “British intelligence agencies now believe it is “feasible” that the global pandemic began with a coronavirus leak from a Chinese research laboratory.”
  • Evidences for the Inspiration of the Hebrew Vowel Points -- “The fact that the Lord Jesus states that a single dot, the smallest Hebrew vowel, would not pass from the Law, and His evident recognition of the equality of the Hebrew vowels and consonants, evidences the equal inspiration of both the consonants and the vowels of the Hebrew text, while also clearly evidencing that the Hebrew vowels were already extant...”
  • How To Think About Israel -- “Given all the controversy, Christians sometimes wonder how they should think about Israel.”
  • How To Turn Complementarians into Egalitarians -- “As Tom Schreiner has shown, narrow complementarians...take Paul’s statement, ‘I do not allow a woman to teach or exercise authority’ to mean ‘I DO allow a woman to teach and exercise authority.’”
  • My Conversations with Numerous Exvangelicals -- “just because your church or group went off or way off the rails, that doesn’t mean that the Bible or Christianity itself are not true.”
  • Rand Paul Says He Won’t Get COVID-19 Vaccine: ‘Show Me Evidence’ -- “Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) announced this weekend that he won’t get vaccinated against COVID-19, explaining that he already contracted the virus last year and has ‘natural immunity.’”
  • Reina-Valera-Gómez? Over 20 reasons why I cannot endorse the Reina-Valera “Gómez” -- “While these different groups are spending so much time and energy and money producing so many different Spanish Bibles and fighting amongst each other over them, only 426 of approximately 6,000 languages have the entire Bible translated in their language. The focus is not where it should be.”
  • The 1769 Blayney Edition -- “Oxford...enlisted the services of Benjamin Blayney who undertook his own seven year project. He had been commissioned to collate three sources.”
  • The Absurdity of Anti-KJV Rhetoric -- “Who am I kidding though, it might pain a modern critical text advocate to be overly charitable to people who read the KJV or admit that a gap-toothed KJVO might be correct about something.”
  • The King James Version and Old Testament Punctuation -- “The fact that the Authorized, King James Version takes the Hebrew accents seriously is another way in which the KJV is superior to modern English versions.”
  • The most spoken languages worldwide in 2021 -- “In 2021, there were around 1.35 billion people worldwide who spoke English either natively or as a second language, slightly more than the 1.12 billion Mandarin Chinese speakers at the time of survey. Hindi and Spanish accounted for the third and fourth most widespread languages that year.”
  • What About the Gomez Bible? -- “ I am going to list right here 8 verses where Gomez’ bible does not match the KJB. Eight verses where the KJB equivalent was already present in the original Spanish Bible in 1865 or even further back in 1602.”
  • WM 117: Conjectural Emendation, White, Beza, and Rev 16:5 -- “...based on Beza’s notes, a question might be raised as to whether his reading at Revelation 16:5 was, in fact, a true conjectural emendation.”

Tuesday, June 08, 2021

Achan’s Sin

Q. The Law of Moses states in Deuteronomy 24:16, “The fathers shall not be put to death for the children, neither shall the children be put to death for the fathers: every man shall be put to death for his own sin.” Why was Achan’s entire family put to death for the sin of their father (Joshua 7)? Was the entire family complicit in Achan’s sin?

A. Complicity might be a slight possibility, since the stuff was hid in the tent, and the whole family might have been aware of it. On the other hand, there is nothing in the text of Joshua 7 that suggests they were aware of the hidden stuff. In addition, Achan’s “oxen, and his asses, and his sheep, and his tent, and all that he had” were destroyed. None of these things would have been complicit in any moral way, yet they were destroyed. Another answer best fits the context.

The law in question (Deuteronomy 24:16) only dealt with the punishment of ordinary criminals and the human deliberation of such cases. Therefore, it was not applicable in the case of Achan. The command that Achan disobeyed was given immediately and directly by God for this time and place (Joshua 6:18). God exposed the sin and the sinner (Joshua 7:16-18). The Lord himself directed the punishment (Joshua 7:10-15).

Joshua 7:10,15 And the Lord said unto Joshua...And it shall be, that he that is taken with the accursed thing shall be burnt with fire, he and all that he hath: because he hath transgressed the covenant of the Lord, and because he hath wrought folly in Israel.

This was not a general case of a criminal punished under the law of Moses, but rather a case of sin exposed by God and punishment directed by God to a man who had brought his family (indeed, all of Israel) under a curse.

The association of a man’s children and the curse of rebuilding Jericho is also worthy of note. This fate was ordained by God rather than a punishment under the law of Moses – as is true in the initial sin with Achan. Compare Joshua 6:26 and 1 Kings 16:34. An incidental reference in Joshua 22:20 observes “That man perished not alone in his iniquity.” See also 1 Chronicles 2:7, where Achan’s line is not continued.

So this is best understood as a special case of God’s specific dealing. God placed a curse (Joshua 6:18). God pronounced the punishment (Joshua 7:10-15). Achan and his household suffered the fate of the inhabitants of Jericho (Cf. Joshua 7:15, 25 with Joshua 6:24). Their curse became his curse. Since God directly declared the proper sentence, the Israelites did not execute Achan and his family under the law of Moses, and they did not violate Deuteronomy 24:16.

“But our God is in the heavens: he hath done whatsoever he hath pleased.”