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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

How to treat entreat

In a recent video, the producer, our friend and now self-styled “apostle to the ‘King James Only’,” condemned “condemned” and “entreat” as “false friends.” In the video, this speaker “shamefully entreated” readers who sincerely wish to read and understand the King James Bible. In his usual manner, he invites them to Flee the KJV; It is no good for thee; look unto the ESV.

Two things directly about the video itself. First, though “condemned” and “entreat” are “false friends” (so-called), the interview itself shows that they do not meet the standard. False friends, according to Mark Ward, are “words you don’t know that you don’t know. Yet the reader (the interviewee, one of the great unwashed who cannot read Greek) knew that he did not know and that he needed to study the words to know what they meant. Second, he also knew a way or ways to find out what they meant! Amazing!

Additionally, this video brought to mind a brief comment I made to someone about “entreat” in the context of a discussion of variant spellings in different printings of the King James Version – specifically “entreat” and “intreat.” Nic Kizziah uses Genesis 23:8 as a check point to determine which KJV is a “real Bible.” According to Nic this verse should have intreat and not entreat (as found in some of what he calls “counterfeit Bibles).

One beef I have with Nic Kizziah is that he makes a Bible an offender for a spelling that he determines. One beef I have with Mark Ward is he offers his reasons to abandon the KJV, but no tools to promote understanding it – even though he says, “If you want to read the King James the rest of your life and believe it, wonderful, praise God.”

Here’s a hint. The tools one uses to search out and prove “false friends” can also be used to understand the meaning of words in the KJV (or any Bible, for that matter). [i] Context is a friendly instructor, which should make condemn in 2 Chronicles 36:3 readily understandable (punish by exacting a fine). Comparing scripture with scripture is never outdated. Have we forgotten it in our quest for higher authorities? Find “entreat” in 1 Thessalonians 2:2 a bit confusing? How is it used elsewhere in the Bible? How about Genesis 12:10-20? Abram (Abraham) was afraid in Egypt, but Pharaoh “entreated” him well. Did he ask him a bunch of questions? No, he was enamored with Sarai (Sarah) and gave Abram lots of stuff.  In Matthew 22:6 the king’s servants were “entreated” spitefully. Did they ask them hard questions? No, they killed them! A comparison of the 12 verses in the King James Bible will teach that “entreat” does not mean ask, implore, beg, or beseech – but to treat in a certain way (how treated being found in the context).

In the English language “entreat” and “intreat” can be variant word spellings with the meaning “to ask earnestly.” However, in the King James Bible the two words (“entreat” and “intreat”) are distinct and used to mean different things. [ii]

“Entreat” is found in 12 verses in the King James translation (5 in OT and 7 in NT), where it is a verb meaning “to treat in a certain way.” [iii]

“Intreat in found in 34 verses in the King James translation (27 in OT and 7 in NT), where it is a verb meaning “to beseech; implore; beg; to ask earnestly.” [iv]

Sometimes a printer may typeset “entreat” instead of “intreat,” or vice-versa. This does not make a Bible “counterfeit.” However, it is best to leave “intreat” and “entreat” as they are in the King James translation. The difference in spelling functions to cue to the difference in meaning. It is best to persist in using the tried-and-true King James translation for reading and Bible study. It is no novice; it has a long track record of trustworthiness.


[i] If one is able to endure the misery of listening to someone constantly trying to get you to leave the KJV alone and use a different translation, you can learn some things about words from Mark Ward’s video. I have chosen not to link to this video.
[ii] entreat (v.). “c. 1400, ‘to enter into negotiations,’ especially ‘discuss or arrange peace terms;’ also ‘to treat (someone) in a certain way,’ from Anglo-French entretier, Old French entraiter ‘to treat,’ from en- ‘make’ (see en- (1)) + traiter ‘to treat’ (see treat (v.)). Meaning ‘to beseech, implore, plead with (someone)’ is from early 15c.; meaning ‘to plead for (someone)’ is from mid-15c.”
[iii] Entreat: Genesis 12:16: Exodus 5:22; Deuteronomy 26:6; Job 24:21; Jeremiah 15:11 | Matthew 22:6; Luke 18:32; Luke 20:11; Acts 7:6; Acts 7:19; Acts 27:3; 1 Thessalonians 2:2.
[iv] Intreat: Genesis 23:8; 25:21; Exodus 8:8-9; 8:28-30; 9:28; 10:17-18; Judges 13:8; Ruth 1:16; 1 Samuel 2:25; 2 Samuel 21:14; 2 Samuel 24:25; 1 Kings 13:6; 1 Chronicles 5:20; 2 Chronicles 33:13; 33:19; Ezra 8:23; Job 19:16-17; Psalm 45:12; 119:58; Proverbs 18:23; 19:6; Isaiah 19:22 | Luke 15:28; 1 Corinthians 4:13; 2 Corinthians 8:4; Philippians 4:3; 1 Timothy 5:1; Hebrews 12:19; James 3:17.

Monday, September 26, 2022

A few honest men, 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.)

“A few honest men are better than numbers.” -- Oliver Cromwell

“There are no great men, just great challenges which ordinary men, out of necessity, are forced by circumstances to meet.” -- Admiral William Frederick Halsey Jr.

“Bad officials are elected by good voters who do not vote.” -- Unknown

“Take your job seriously, but never yourself.” -- Unknown

“Every person is a poem waiting to be written.” -- Lou David Allen

“Never criticize a man who fell from a tree you were afraid to climb.” -- Unknown

“The differences between the contemporary American gospel and the biblical gospel are vast, deep, and profound...The biblical gospel starts with God. The American gospel starts with me.” -- Michael Brown, in The American Gospel Vs. The Biblical Gospel (“The American Gospel vs. The Biblical Gospel” is behind a paywall, so I am not sure with how much of the entire article I agree. Nevertheless, I agree with this initial statement.)

“Men are undoubtedly more in danger from prosperity than from adversity. For when matters go smoothly, they flatter themselves, and are intoxicated by their success.” -- John Calvin

“Goodness and godliness come from the ultimate Standard of morality – the Word of God.” -- Caleb Garraway

“Suffering from truth decay? Brush up on your Bible! -- Unknown

“Deny the world, defy the Devil, and despise the flesh, and delight yourself only in the Lord.” -- Lady Jane Grey

“All men have feet of clay, and I learn from a wide variety of men with whom I may disagree on some issues.” -- Brett Mahlen

“If there’s one thing I’ve learned it’s a couple things.” -- Unknown

The tremendous risk of Biblical Revision

“Whatever may be urged in favour of Biblical Revision, it is at least undeniable that the undertaking involves a tremendous risk. Our Authorized Version is the one religious link which at present binds together ninety millions of English-speaking men scattered over the earth’s surface. Is it reasonable that so unutterably precious, so sacred a bond should be endangered, for the sake of representing certain words more accurately,—here and there translating a tense with greater precision,—getting rid of a few archaisms? It may be confidently assumed that no ‘Revision’ of our Authorized Version, however judiciously executed, will ever occupy the place in public esteem which is actually enjoyed by the work of the Translators of 1611,—the noblest literary work in the Anglo-Saxon language. We shall in fact never have another ‘Authorized Version.’”

John W. Burgon (1813-1888), The Revision Revised, p. 113

Sunday, September 25, 2022

The sons of God believe it right

I found the Long Meter hymn (below) as Number 464 in The Christian Hymnary. The words are by John Winebrenner, altered by John J. Overholt, 1970. Overholt was the editor/compiler of The Christian Hymnary. In Winebrenner’s hymnbook, it was hymn No. 299, with the heading “I have given you an example,” referenced to John 13:15.

1. The sons of God believe it right,
To think and do as Jesus bade;
When on that dark and doleful night
He gave his law and plainly said:

2. Mark the example which I give
And keep it; show your mutual love;
My precepts do and you shall live
In bliss below and heaven above.

3. My brethren, do we love the Lord?
And are we bound in union yet?
If so, like Jesus let us bow,
And let us wash each other’s feet.

4. Now, Lord, we’ll wash thy people’s feet,
And here enjoy their fond embrace;
Each with a kiss of friendship greet,
And love in love to see they face.

Differences in the original and the alteration by Overholt include:
The first line of the first stanza was: “The Church of God believes it right.”

The first two lines of the 3rd stanza were: “Then do you love our brethren now? And are we bound in union sweet? ”

The fourth and six stanzas are omitted:

4. Let no one be ashamed of this—
Or, Peter-like, turn, and say, no;
But as we aim for heav’nly bliss,
We’ll in our Master’s footsteps go.

6. and then we’ll feast on heav’nly love, 
And find our joys to be complete:
Yes, then we’ll sing thy praise above,
And bow, with angels, at thy feet.
This hymn is often sung to the tune Retreat by Thomas Hastings.

Saturday, September 24, 2022

Was Roger Williams Really a Baptist, 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.

Dwight Eisenhower quotes

The following quotes are from Dwight David “Ike” Eisenhower, U.S. General and 34th President of the United States.

“Farming looks mighty easy when your plow is a pencil, and you’re a thousand miles from the corn field.”

“The general limits of your freedom are merely these: that you do not trespass upon the equal rights of others.”

“It is only as we govern ourselves that we are well-governed.”

“Politics have become far too important to entrust to the politicians.”

“A people that values its privileges above its principles soon loses both.”

“What counts is not necessarily the size of the dog in the fight – it’s the size of the fight in the dog.”

“War is the deadly harvest of arrogant and unreasoning minds.”

Friday, September 23, 2022

Things I thought

...I think.

“If contempt of Congress is a crime, how will the average American citizen stay out of jail?”

“There is nothing wrong with the Law of Moses. There is nothing wrong with the Sermon on the Mount. There is something wrong in the heart of man.”

“God is either the I AM or he is not at all.”

“It is curious how people who are fine all week long develop strange supernatural sicknesses on Sundays.” 

“The hardest texts to preach are not those that are most difficult to interpret. The hardest texts to preach are those that make the hearers uncomfortable or upset.”

“Some say that, biblically speaking, we miss the forest looking at the leaves. However, concerning the Bible, it is important to understand that its ‘forest’ teachings and its ‘leaves’ teachings are both true. In other words, God would not lie about the ‘leaves’ in order to teach us about the ‘forest’.”

“If we cannot trust that God has kept his word, which says he keeps our souls, how can we trust that he keeps our souls?”

“Yes, abortion is a choice – a choice that results in the death of another human being.”

Thursday, September 22, 2022

Bois-Casaubon translation correspondence, 1610

Nicholas J. S. Hardy has written interestingly on the correspondence between Huguenot scholar Isaac Casaubon and KJV translator John Bois. Casaubon also consulted with some other of the translators. All of this occurred after October 30, 1610, when he arrived in London from France. This suggests that the translation process was still ongoing at that time. As far as I know, there is not a fixed date of when the work was finalized. We know the new translation was printed in 1611. Based on the period letters, Hardy concluded, “...the letters confirm that serious, if not extensive, revision was still being undertaken at a very late stage of the whole process, and that this process of revision extended to the Apocrypha as well as to the canonical books of the Bible.” (Revising the King James Apocrypha: John Bois, Isaac Casaubon, and the Case of 1 Esdras, p. 3) [Note: this is Chapter 8 in Labourers in the Vineyard of the Lord: Scholarship and the Making of the King James Version of the Bible, Mordechai Feingold , editor. Scientific and Learned Cultures and Their Institutions, Volume 22. Leiden: Brill, 2018, pp. 266-327.]

The correspondence is undated. According to Hardy, none of the Bois-Casaubon correspondence could have occurred until after Casaubon arrived, and that these two met in person as well. Hardy determined the general dating based on the content of the letters – for example, the reference that he was in London, etc. Hardy writes, “The terminus post quem for this correspondence must be October 31, 1610” and “As for their terminus ante quem, the letters must predate Casaubon’s death on 12 July 1614.”

Since Richard Bancroft died on November 2, 1610 – only 3 days after Casaubon arrived – this, to me, also puts a question mark on the second hand reports of Bancroft making 14 changes after the translation process was completed.

Both might be explained harmoniously, such as the New Testament translation being complete, but not the Old Testament and Apocrypha. It seems that Bois was engaged to some degree in the translation of all three – OT, NT, and Apocrypha.

Wednesday, September 21, 2022

The Scriptures Superior to All Spiritual Manifestations

Thoughts below from Benjamin Keach (1640-1704), a Baptist preacher in London, England.

If the Holy Scriptures be not the certain way and means of faith and practice, or of faith and repentance, then God hath left us no certain rule or means. And be sure that can not stand consistent with the wisdom, goodness, mercy, honor and faithfulness of the holy God. If any say God hath left a certain rule for our faith besides the Scriptures, let them prove it by such evidences as are infallibly certain; that no man led thereby can be deceived. I deny not that God may convert men by afflictions, etc.; yet He makes use still of the written word in the light and promises thereof.

If no man or spirit is to be regarded, unless they speak according to the written word of God, then the Holy Scripture is the only rule and ordinary means answering the great end pleaded for. But that this is so, see Isaiah, “And when they shall say unto you, Seek unto them that have familiar spirits, and unto wizards that peep and mutter; should not people seek unto their God? To the law and to the testimony. If they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.”

If the Holy Scriptures are every way sufficient in respect of faith, practice and salvation, then the Holy Scriptures have the only efficacy in them for this great end. That this is so, see what the Apostle says to Timothy, “From a child thou hast known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation, through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect, thoroughly furnished with all good works.”

I might add that the personal ministry of our Saviour, could it be enjoyed again, would be ineffectual to them on whom the written word hath none effect. He Himself says: “Had you believed Moses, you would have believed Me, for he wrote of Me; but if you believe not his writings, how shall you believe My words?” O how doth our Lord magnify the written word! There is the same reason why Christ’s word should not be believed by such as believed not Moses’s writings, who confirmed his mission by miracles, as our Saviour did His. You, therefore, that despise the written word of God, should Christ come again and preach to you in such a state and condition as He appeared when on earth, you would not believe on Him.

Let us then highly prize the word of God, and beware of Satan’s designs in laboring to render it of little worth, by stirring up some to magnify natural religion above that holy religion revealed in the blessed Gospel of our dearest Lord; and in stirring up others to cry up the light in all men, as the only rule of faith and practice, and their foolish and erroneous books above the blessed Bible. “God hath magnified His word above all His name.” Though perhaps the incarnate word may be chiefly meant thereby, yet what way of revelation of God to His creatures hath God magnified as He hath His written word, as above all manifesting God’s name, by which He is made known? For all other ways by which He is made known to us fall short of that revelation we have of Him in His word.

Let us all learn from hence to bless God that He hath afforded us the best and most effectual means to believe in Him, and to turn our souls from our evil ways that so we might be eternally saved. And let none once think in their hearts that if God would raise one from the dead to preach unto them, that they should be persuaded to leave their sinful ways and receive Jesus Christ, or that that would be a more effectual means to awaken them, and work upon their hearts and consciences. “For if they will not believe Moses and the prophets (or Christ’s written word) neither will they be persuaded though one rose from the dead.”

Benjamin Keach, The Scriptures Superior to All Spiritual Manifestations, Luke xvi. 31, pp. 303-305

Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Italics in Bibles (revisited)

The italicized words in the King James Bible are simply words included by the translators in places where it took more words to translate into the target language than there is an exact correspondence to words in the source language (i.e., “inserted into the text to complete the meaning”). These italicized words have no direct equivalent in the Greek or Hebrew text, but are needful for the English for correct understanding. Therefore, the translators supply them. The original text implies them, though they are not there, strictly speaking. For example, the Spanish word “Yo” is the first person singular pronoun (“I” in English). One can simply say, “Quiero comer” instead of “Yo quiero comer.” The verb carries or implies the information for the pronoun “I.” In English, we would properly translate “quiero comer” as “I want to eat,” even though the pronoun “Yo” technically is not there. This may be an oversimplification, but illustrates the idea nevertheless.

The Geneva 1557 New Testament and 1560 Old and New Testaments became the first English Bible translations to introduce italics for words added by the translators (they used Roman as the main type).[i] William Whittingham explains it this way in 1557:

“I...sometyme have put to that worde, which lacking made the sentence obscure, but have set it in such letters as may easely be discerned from the commun text.”

When the Authorized or King James Version of the Bible was printed in 1611, it was in Blackletter type. The printer used Roman type to signify words supplied by translators. Later, Roman type became common and the KJV printers switched to it as the main typeface. In order to distinguish words supplied by the translators, that type style was changed to italics.

At the Synod of Dort’s seventh session on November 20, 1618, the English delegates gave a report on the new Bible translation of 1611. Concerning putting text “with another kind of letter” they reported, “...that words which it was anywhere necessary to insert into the text to complete the meaning were to be distinguished by another type, small roman.” (This says “small roman” rather than “italics” because that was the original distinguishing font. See paragraph above.)

In succeeding years, editors of the Authorized Version thought that the printing of different type to indicate supplementary words was not always consistent (or at least they did not understand it). Therefore, various editors set out to revise the use of italics. Rufus Wendell writes:

“In the earliest editions of the Authorised Version the use of different type to indicate supplementary words not contained in the original was not very frequent, and cannot easily reconciled with any settled principle. A review of the words so printed was made, after a lapse of some years, for the editions of the Authorised Version published at Cambridge in 1629 and 1638. Further, though slight, modifications were introduced at intervals between 1638 and the more systematic revisions undertaken respectively by Dr. Paris in the Cambridge Edition of 1762 and Dr. Blayney in the Oxford Edition of 1769. None of them however rest on any higher authority than that of the persons who from time to time superintended the publication. The last attempt to bring the use of italics into uniformity and consistency was made by Dr. Scrivener in the Paragraph Bible published at Cambridge in 1870-73.”[ii]

The revisions changing the amount of italicized words in the King James Bible was not without resistance.

“In 1832 a sub-committee of three Dissenters issued a short report complaining that ‘an extensive alteration has been introduced into the text of our Authorized Version, by changing into Italics innumerable words and phrases, which are not thus expressed in the original editions of the King James’s Bible printed in 1611’ and that ‘the alterations greatly deteriorated our vernacular version.’”[iii]

In a recent video, YouTube enthusiast Mark Ward opposed the use of italics in his video 3 Reasons Italics in Bibles Are Bad (and 2 where they are good).[iv] The first objection comes across as anomalous, in my experience. I cannot dispute what Mark has experienced, but I have been around a good bit longer than he has, and know (and have known) many people across the U.S. and other English speaking countries. I have never encountered the first person who regards the italicized words in the King James Bible as “magical.”[v] The other two objections can be considered as one – the reason for using italics can be misunderstood. Certainly, this is true. King James users and King James promoters have been guilty of not explaining their purpose. This can be alleviated by actually doing what we are supposed to do – teach! The last explanation of misunderstanding likely is the most common problem. In modern English writing the purpose served by italics is often emphasis or contrast (i.e., to draw attention to that part of a text).[vi] Emphasis is not their purpose in the King James Bible. Nevertheless, education is key – although some very educated people seem to object to this solution!! Many styles and symbols of modern English usage serve more than one purpose, so that the reader must learn to distinguish the ways they are used. For example, quotation marks (“”) commonly set off dialogue. But they are also “used to set off certain titles, ironic language, or specific terms.”[vii] The reader has some responsibility to learn the difference!

I have encountered some folks who supposed that, since the italicized words were “added,” that they might as well simply be “subtracted” or “removed” if the reader does not like them there. Here are a couple of examples of the tragedy of this mistake.

  • Colossians 1:19 For it pleased the Father that in him should all fulness dwell;
  • Colossians 1:19 For it pleased that in him should all fulness dwell;

In Colossians 1:19 the object Father is “understood” in the context, and removing these two words would make the sentence difficult to comprehend in English.

  • Philippians 1:21 For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.
  • Philippians 1:21 For to me to live Christ, and to die gain.

In Philippians 1:21 the verb “is” is “understood” in the Greek text, but these are needed to structure the sentence in good English grammar.

In The King James Only Debate: Can you trust the modern scholars? author Michael Hollner has compiled some excellent information to demonstrate that italics are important and cannot just be deleted as “uninspired” additions. To do so, he shows where inspired New Testament authors write the understood word that is in/not in their Old Testament reference (See The King James Only Debate, Hollner, pp. 143-144.) Here are two examples.

  • Deuteronomy 8:3 And he humbled thee, and suffered thee to hunger, and fed thee with manna, which thou knewest not, neither did thy fathers know; that he might make thee know that man doth not live by bread only, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of the Lord doth man live.
  • Matthew 4:4 But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God.

In the book of Deuteronomy, the Spirit inspires a sentence with the understood word/meaning “word” in Hebrew, which must be understood in the context, and is therefore in italics. In Matthew’s Gospel, the Spirit inspires Matthew to write down the word “word” in Greek and it therefore is not in italics there. And he is in fact quoting Jesus, who used “word” in speaking with reference to Deuteronomy. Same word. Same meaning.

  • Deuteronomy 25:4 Thou shalt not muzzle the ox when he treadeth out the corn.
  • 1 Corinthians 9:9 For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen?

In Deuteronomy “the corn” (i.e., grain; study the KJV) is in italics, so not directly in the Hebrew. However, when Paul, writing in Greek, refers to what Moses wrote, says Moses wrote corn! Why? Because it is there in the context, though not in the specific word.

It is either dishonest or ignorant for anyone who uses any English Bible to attack the King James Bible for its italicized words. All English Bible translations supply words that have no Greek or Hebrew equivalent, whether or not they identify them with different type. Learn what they mean. Learn why they are there.


[i] Geneva translator William Whittingham probably got the idea directly from Theodore Beza’s Latin New Testament, which in turn built on the ideas of Sebastian Münster’s Latin Old Testament and Pierre Robert Olivétan’s French Bible. See The Use of Italics in English Versions of the New Testament, by Walter F. Specht, 1968, pp. 89-92.
[ii] “Preface” (to the New Testament), The Holy Bible, Containing the Old and New Testaments (The Revision of 1881 and 1885 Compared with the Version of 1611), Rufus Wendell, editor. Albany, NY: Revised Bible Publishing Company, 1886, p. xiii..
[iii] On a Fresh Revision of the English Old Testament, Samuel Davidson, Edinburgh: Williams and Norgate, 1873, p. 129. This was also addressed by Thomas Turton in 1833 in The Text of the English Bible as Now Printed by the Universities: Considered with Reference to a Report by a Sub-committee of Dissenting Ministers.
[iv] The three reasons are: 1. They contribute to viewing the words as magical (a collection of magic words); 2. They are often misunderstood or misused; 3. They mean emphasis in modern English (or headings or book titles). This, then, in the KJV, violates the rules, according to Mark. He suggests the use of italics provides one more reason for more “Bible tribalism.” The good he finds is 1. For people studying biblical Hebrew and Greek; and 2. They communicate the care translators go through to get the Bible into someone’s language.
[v] Again, I am not saying Mark has not experienced this phenomenon. I am just incredulous that it could approach anywhere near common enough to mention it in this video.
[vi] Perhaps this problem could be alleviated by changing italics to some other typeface. For the purposes of italics in modern English, see “Using Italics.”
[vii] See “Using Quotation Marks.”

Monday, September 19, 2022

The same advice

In his book The Salt-cellars, one of the early proverbs quoted by Charles H. Spurgeon is:
Maidens should be mild and meek,
Swift to hear and slow to speak.
He adds, “The same advice will apply to men also; but the men like advising the women, better than doing right themselves.”

“Relatively” Orthodox

In my seminary teaching I appeared to be relatively orthodox, if by that one means using an orthodoxy vocabulary. I could still speak of God, sin and salvation, but always only in demythologized, secularized and worldly wise terms. God became the Liberator, sin became oppression and salvation became human effort. The trick was to learn to sound Christian while undermining traditional Christianity.

Thomas C. Oden, in A Change of Heart: A Personal and Theological Memoir (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2014, p. 81); see also The Remaking of a Modern Mind: A Conversation with Thomas Oden

[Also interesting from Oden: My first real encounter with conservative evangelicals did not go well for them or for me...In the austere atmosphere of that most conservative Baptist seminary [SWBTS, rlv], I proceeded to set for an appeal to “worldly theology” as a new and promising basis for seminarians of different viewpoints to come together...As I finished my presentation, President Naylor rose, quieted the restless audience and expressed polite appreciation for the intent of my address. He then began extemporaneously and with genuine rhetorical elegance to take on point by point the substance of my speech. In his warm, congenial and pastoral way, he deftly refuted practically every argument I had made. After the service, with great charm President Naylor again grasped my hand warmly and expressed his gratitude for my presence on Seminary Hill. I went away feeling trounced by an aging wise man of gracious and articulate Southern culture. That encounter helped me realize that conservative evangelical thinking was capable of real intellectual force, contrary to all my previously fixed stereotypes of it. Oden, A Change of Heart, pp. 81-82]

Sunday, September 18, 2022

Pilgrims, we are marching home

The song And Live Through Endless Day appears in The Sacred Harp, 2012 Revised Cooper Edition, on pages 552 and 553a. George L. Beck wrote the very nice minor fuging tune, and it was added to the book in 1927.

The words are as follows:

Should earth against my soul engage, 
And fiery darts be hurled, (original = “hellish darts”)
Then I can smile at Satan’s rage, 
And face a frowning world.

So pilgrims, we are marching home
On earth no more to stay,
Long for the welcome call to come,
And live thro’ endless day.

Isaac Watts wrote the first four lines of the Common Meter hymn. These words are the second stanza of his well-known hymn “The Hopes of Heaven our Support under Trials on Earth” (“When I can read my title clear”). It first appeared in Watts’s Hymns and Spiritual Songs in 1707. The Christian can face a frowning world, bid farewell to every fear, and wipe tears from weeping eyes – knowing of a clear title to a future home in heaven.

The author of the second four lines of the Common Meter hymn is unknown. They seem to appear mysteriously – and only – in connection with Beck’s song. The words are not part of the other hymn (“The Hopes of Heaven our Support under Trials on Earth”). I have not found them in any of Watts’s material that I can access. I have not found them anywhere – other than in this particular Sacred Harp book. It may be that G. L. Beck wrote them for his tune, or found them somewhere and used them with the tune. These words complement the Watts stanza, recognizing that we through God’s grace can face a frowning world, and also that we are pilgrims on a journey home. For that reason, we long for God’s call to that time when we will “live through endless day.”

Saturday, September 17, 2022

As of today, 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.)

“As of today, you have 100% of your life left.” -- Tom Landry

“God tests the righteousness, but detests the wicked.” -- D. L. Moody, Psalm 11:5

“Never let us be guilty of sacrificing any portion of truth on the altar of peace.” -- J. C. Ryle 

“Expositors have a habit, like sheep, of going in flocks, and sometimes it may be said of them, ‘All we like sheep have gone astray.’” -- G. Campbell Morgan, Hosea: The Heart and Holiness of God, Eugene, p. 31

“He who rides to be crowned will not mind a rainy day.” -- John Trapp

“Learning is the only thing the mind never exhausts, never fears, and never regrets.” -- Attributed to Leonardo Da Vinci

“Biblical predestinarianism is a continuous non-segmented, flowing, falling out of God’s own eternal mind and purpose – a constant creating of causes and effects, constantly and actively directed toward a predetermined end.” -- Stanley Phillips

“To keep gospel truth in the church is even of greater importance than to keep peace...Unity without the gospel is a worthless unity; it is the very unity of hell.” -- J. C. Ryle

“It is not that we don’t have enough scoundrels to curse; it is that we don’t have enough good men to curse them.” -- G. K. Chesterton

“A Bible that’s falling apart usually belongs to someone who isn’t.” -- Credited to Charles H. Spurgeon

“Sin kisses, but kills.” -- Old proverb

“Three things go to making a proverb – shortness, sense and salt.” -- Unknown

In other words, efflorescent sinecure

  • altaltissimo, noun. The very highest point (a borrowing from Italian).
  • atavistic, adjective. Of, relating to, or characterized by atavism; reverting to or suggesting the characteristics of a remote ancestor or primitive type.
  • capisce (also capiche or capeesh), exclamation. (Informal US, borrowed from Italian) Do you understand?
  • complementary, adjective. Forming a complement, or completing; complementing each other; forming a whole.
  • complimentary, adjective. Of the nature of, conveying, or expressing a compliment, often one that is politely flattering; given free as a gift or courtesy.
  • curatorium, noun. A group of curators (in various senses), typically acting as an advisory body.
  • effloresce, verb. (used without object) To burst into bloom; blossom.
  • Evidentialist, noun. One who takes nothing for granted without evidence. In Christian apologetics, the evidentialist asserts that one is justified in believing something only if that person has evidence to support that belief.
  • Presuppositionalist, noun. One who takes for granted in advance. In Christian apologetics, the presuppositionalist  presupposes that the Bible is divine revelation. What one knows or can know is based on what God reveals. 
  • savant, noun. A person of profound or extensive learning; learned scholar.
  • sinecure, noun. A position requiring little or no work but giving the holder status or financial benefit.
  • tots, noun. Bite-sized croquettes of shredded potato, fried or baked (often tater tots).
  • verset, noun. (Prosody) a brief verse, especially from Scripture; (Music) a brief piece for pipe organ, formerly used as part of the music for the Catholic Mass; (Archaic) versicle.
  • votum, noun. A vow or promise made to a deity.
  • wabi-sabi, adjective and noun. Relating to or designating a Japanese aesthetic or world view characterized by finding beauty in imperfection, impermanence, or simplicity; also, designating a style, appearance, etc., reflecting this aesthetic.
  • wasabi, noun. An Asian plant, Eutrema wasabi, of the mustard family; also, the pungent, greenish root of this plant, which can be grated and used as a condiment.

Friday, September 16, 2022

Its Relevance Among The Young, 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.

Thursday, September 15, 2022

Is it sinful to build new barns?

When I was a young teenager, I began to work summers for a contractor who built (mostly, but not only) residential homes. I persevered in the trade and became a master carpenter (that is mainly a union term, but we were not union). Sometimes we built new barns, and so this question is close to home. We never thought we were sinning building new barns. No, I do not think we were. However, could building new barns be sinful, and if so, when?

Barns filled with plenty and the need of more storage space might be a sign of God’s blessing: Honour the Lord with thy substance, and with the firstfruits of all thine increase: so shall thy barns be filled with plenty, and thy presses shall burst out with new wine (Proverbs 3:9-10). On the other hand, a rich and thoughtless fool brought the building of new barns into the realm of the sinful. See Luke 12:16-21.

And he spake a parable unto them, saying, The ground of a certain rich man brought forth plentifully: and he thought within himself, saying, What shall I do, because I have no room where to bestow my fruits? And he said, This will I do: I will pull down my barns, and build greater; and there will I bestow all my fruits and my goods. And I will say to my soul, Soul, thou hast much goods laid up for many years; take thine ease, eat, drink, and be merry. But God said unto him, Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? So is he that layeth up treasure for himself, and is not rich toward God.

The Thoughtless Fool

Learn ye of a man now dead—
What he did not think about,
Why he did not think ahead,
And how it all turned out.

Yes, building new barns can be sinful. Whatsoever is not of faith is sin (Romans 14:23).

When it is with the self-conception that ignores God’s power, providence, and governance.

The life and breath of all mankind is in the Lord’s hand (Job 12:10). The earth is the Lord’s, and the fulness thereof; the world, and they that dwell therein (Psalm 24:1). He that built all things is God (Hebrews 3:4). He maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust (Matthew 5:45). God gives seed to the sower, and bread to the eater (Isaiah 55:10). A life lived without faith toward God and without recognition of God’s power, providence, and governance in all things is a life lived in sin. The experience of the rich and thoughtless fool demonstrates one who “thought within himself” and did not think about God in all his ways. See also Deuteronomy 8:18; Judges 17:6b; Psalm 10:4; 2 Corinthians 5:7; and 2 Corinthians 10:12.

When it is with the self-glorification that rests in one’s own accomplishments.

No flesh should glory in God’s presence (1 Corinthians 1:29). Yet man by nature praises the work of his own hands, and is snared in the work of his own hands (Psalm 9:16). Pride goeth before destruction, and an haughty spirit before a fall (Proverbs 16:18). That the rich man would pull down his old barns, and build greater barns – rather than keep the old barns and build more as needed – suggests a pride that looked not only inward, but also outward to show the world, “Look at me. Look what I have done.” Yet his pride caused him to dwell careless, at ease, to see life going forward as only the enjoyment of his success. See Job 4:19-20; Ezekiel 16:49-50; Amos 6:1; Zephaniah 2:15; Matthew 24:37-39; and 1 John 2:16.

When it is with the self-deception that disdains the eternal perspective.

The rich fool viewed the rest of life as a constant source of pleasure, in which he had much goods laid up for many years, could concentrate on “taking it easy,” – in order to “eat, drink, and be merry.” However, he had not taken all into account. The things which are seen are temporal; but the things which are not seen are eternal (2 Corinthians 4:18). He had ignored his appointment with the inevitable (Hebrews 9:27). He had not prepared to meet his God (Amos 4:12). Thou fool, this night thy soul shall be required of thee: then whose shall those things be, which thou hast provided? See Ecclesiastes 5:15; Isaiah 40:6-8; Matthew 6:219ff; Romans 14:11-12; Colossians 3:2; 1 Timothy 6:6-10; and 1 John 2:15-17.

2 Kings 6:27 …If the Lord do not help thee, whence shall I help thee? out of the barnfloor, or out of the winepress?

John 3:15 that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

John 17:3 And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent.

Tuesday, September 13, 2022

Book Review: Why I Preach from the Received Text

Jeffrey T. Riddle & Christian M. McShaffrey, editors. Why I Preach from the Received Text: An Anthology of Essays by Reformed Ministers. Winter Springs, FL: The Greater Heritage Christian Publishing, 2022. 280 pp. $15.99. Paperback and Hardcover; also available in eBook, PDF and EPUB formats.

Since I discovered his Word Magazine, I listen regularly and profitably to Jeffrey Riddle, pastor of Christ Reformed Baptist Church in Louisa, Virginia. He is a leading spokesman for Confessional Bibliology and often uses Word Magazine to support the traditional original language texts of the Bible against the ravages of the modern critical text. For that reason, I was excited when he teamed up with Christian McShaffrey (Editor-in-Chief of Text and Translation) to produce a book – Why I Preach from the Received Text – promoting some of the very things he promotes on his YouTube Channel.

This book is available from all the usual suspects (e.g. Amazon), but I chose to order it from the publisher. The Greater Heritage is a conservative Christian publishing company that issues original articles, books, Bible studies, and church resources. I purchased it, read it, and now give you my thoughts.

Why I Preach from the Received Text expands and extends the available resources confronting the modern text criticism and its associated texts and translations. A supporting cast of 22 Reformed ministers and 1 deacon joins editors McShaffrey and Riddle. The editors build this work with a simple design around a simple question to the contributors – “Why do you preach from the Received Text?” The answers furnish the chapters of the book. The answers have both simple significance and complex contents.

Why I Preach from the Received Text is a valuable contribution to the field of Bibliology. The editors launch the book with an “Editorial Introduction” (pp. 13-19), which demonstrates why this book matters. There is an attacking foe. “Modern academic textual criticism rejects divine preservation, and therefore proceeds to pursue reconstruction of the text based on human reasoning” (p. 15). There is a position to defend. “The primary purpose of this book is a defense of the traditional original Hebrew and Greek text of the Bible” (p. 17). The goal of testifying, teaching, and encouraging is soaked in prayer, “May the Lord use this book as an instrument to stimulate, revive, confirm, and defend intelligent and effective usage of the traditional text of the Word of God” (p. 19).

This book is a collection of writings by various authors. The contributors are “men who were gladly laboring in the trenches of local church ministry” (p. 16) – connecting to the work of God in the “highways and hedges” of church houses rather than the ivory towers of scholars in academia. These authors exhibit both unity and diversity – unity on the text of the Bible and Reformed theology, with diversity of denominational affiliations and geographical locations. Twenty-four of the chapter authors are preachers. One essay displays a non-pastoral perspective – a Baptist deacon explains why he wants to be preached to from the Received Text! The choice of introducing the essays in alphabetical order suggests that all these essays are equally important. The reader can fruitfully follow the established order, or may read them in any order. The essays not only complement each other, but also are capable of standing alone. The book’s style (conversational, with short chapters) and little larger than usual print makes it easy to read.

In his review of this work, Mark Ward “wondered how [he could] fairly describe a book that has more than two dozen authors,” writing, “There is, indeed, a spectrum of views represented here. The contributions do not all perfectly cohere.” I question that he succeeded in describing it fairly (here and elsewhere). A reader must understand the purpose of the book in order to understand whether the views expressed do or do not cohere. Yes, these chapters present the various views of 25 different authors. However, they do cohere (hold together, unite) at the place of the purpose of the book – defending and promoting preaching from the traditional text of Scripture.

Following the 25 essays, the editors return with a practical “Appendix” which offers “Steps Toward Change.” The book testifies and teaches, but also propels and persuades. The approach of “Steps Toward Change” is not academic, but pastoral, geared to local church ministry. May these steps be used and be successful.

An “Annotated Bibliography” on pages 261-276 rounds out the work. Rather than give a bare list, the editors chose brief descriptions and evaluations of each work – providing not only possible resources, but also guidance in selecting them. The bibliography is divided into 13 sections, beginning with “Books, Pamphlets, and Tracts” and concluding with “Websites that Defend the Traditional Text.” Though I consider myself well informed on this subject, I found two books of which I had never heard! (Historical Criticism of the Bible, by Eta Linneman, and Clash of Visions by Robert Yarbrough.) This bibliography will help the reader who will use it.

Why I Preach from the Received Text balances testimony and theology. Some authors “from a child” knew the traditional text, and some “fetched a compass” to get there. The authors are English speakers (residing in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, and the United States). Consequently, they preach from the Received Text (usually) via the Authorized Version, or (sometimes) the New King James Version. Though expressing consistent support for the Authorized or King James Bible, the writers are not King James Version Onlyists. They arrive at their common positions from their confession that original language copies of the Scripture have been “kept pure in all ages.” Supporters of the traditional original language texts and/or the King James translation who are not confessional may find the continuing appeal to the Confessions off-putting. If they will persevere, however, they will find much agreement with and support for their own viewpoint.

The authors present the positive and negative – what is right with the received text and what is wrong with the critical text – through testimonial, theological, and historical approaches. Positively, they believe that they have “scripture, theology, reason, and history on our side” (p. 259). The angles of approach allow each individual author to focus on the traditional text in his own way. For example, Pooyan Mehrshahi notes the value of a definitive text, “The TR-based historic translations [in various languages] give the church a standard and unifying text of the Holy Scriptures” (p. 171). Christopher Sheffield relates his journey, “I did not set out to disprove the claims of the modern Critical Text, only to understand them; but as time went on, I became increasingly convinced that the modern Critical Text and the philosophy which undergirded it, was an affront to the honor of God, the glory of Christ, and the good of the Church” (p. 206). Robert Truelove focuses on the canonical question of the text of the books of the Bible (pp. 225-233).

Due to the number of contributors, the essays are necessarily short. Some readers may find themselves wishing for more. Nevertheless, the brevity and autonomy of the chapters have an intrinsic sufficiency, and well suits the reader with a busy schedule. Due to the testimonial nature of the essays, there is an inevitable amount of repetition. However, that repetition can edify rather than annoy the reader. Good variety with repetition, unified on a central theme, is not inherently a bad thing. It helps us absorb and remember the points and their purpose.

The synopsis of the book is succinctly summed up in Scott Meadows’s chapter title “Why [do I preach from the Received Text (TR)]? It’s the Word of God” (p. 160). The theological position promoted by the contributors to this book sets their view above and apart from supporters of the modern Critical Text and Bibles translated from it. For the latter, there must always be some question whether all of it is the word of God. The contributors to this book do not settle for a gospel that is mostly good news, spiritual food that is mostly good food, or a spiritual sword that is mostly sharp. From what do they preach? The Received Text. It’s the word of God!

I highly recommend this book. This book can help us find answers to questions raised by the modern text critics. You will be better informed for having read it. Why I Preach from the Received Text is solid, accessible, and practical. It emanates from a biblical theology of the providential preservation of God’s inspired writings. It provides personal, thoughtful, and reasoned support for the traditional texts. It challenges, with personal, thoughtful, and reasoned objections, the modern critical texts. “To those who believe that God has providentially preserved his Word, the question of the veracity and tenacity of Scripture has been asked and answered. God has spoken” (p. 252). Those who favor the traditional texts of the Bible will find support, strength, and encouragement. King James “English Only” Defenders will find the book extremely respectful and supportive of the King James Bible, but also find that it does not directly support their position. Those who deny the traditional texts and favor the modern critical ones will be surprised, confronted, and challenged – perhaps even halt a little!

Why I Preach from the Received Text supports the time-honored traditional texts and offers a new vision for the old paths – a scriptural and suitable way forward in the original texts and Bible translations debates. Buy it. Read it.

A more technical theologically driven work would make an excellent sequel to Why I Preach from the Received Text.

Other related resources include: 

Monday, September 12, 2022

“Why I Preach from the Received Text” quotes

Below find 25 quotes by 25 authors from 25 chapters of Why I Preach from the Received Text.

“The Bible teaches that the triune God is the primary author of the Scripture, and he never makes a mistake.” Archibald Allison, p. 27

“There is a sad and distressing discrepancy in the very supposition that no exact superintending or peculiar providence has watched over the inspired books of Scripture and the text contained in those books.” Jonathan Arnold, p. 41

“The purity of God’s words within creation is a testimony of God himself unto his creation.” Doug Barger, p. 51

“God did not donate or reveal his Word into the hands of a group of random secular academics, but he gave it to his Church.” Gavin Beers, p. 57

“The Bible itself teaches that God himself preserves the Scriptures by means of his covenant people…(Romans 3:2)…(I Timothy 3:15)…” Poul de Gier, p. 66

“If the reliability of holy Scripture is in question, we have no solid ground for our faith.” Tanner Dikin, p. 78

“Textual criticism has never been, and never will be, a neutral enterprise carried out by scholars who just want to know the ‘facts.’” William O. Einwechter, p. 88

“It is the written Word of God that is able to search our hearts (Hebrews 4:12), not we who are able to search the hearts of those that copied it.” Brent C. Evans, p. 97

“I was delighted when I received my first copy of the NIV, but was soon disappointed when reading the book of Job. Simply having a modern translation did not make that book any easier to understand!” Philip Gardiner, p. 102

“We can confidently say that no document in the history of the world has been more commented upon, picked through, preached, examined, or critiqued than the Received Text of the Bible via the Authorized Version [of the Bible].” Dane Johannsson, p. 112

“Some argue that no doctrine has been compromised by the differences [between the ‘stable TR’ and ‘unstable Critical Text’ rlv] One could remove the texts of Genesis 1:1 or John 3:16 and argue that no doctrine is compromised when considering the Bible as a whole, but this is unpersuasive.” Howie W. Owen Jones, p. 121

“God never promised to preserve the manuscripts upon which the text was written; rather, he promised to preserve the words. This is an important principle which is too often overlooked.” Trevor Kirkland, p. 126

“In ministry...I had to preach the text, but before I could preach it, I had to be sure what it was.” Brett Mahlen, p. 136

“In his opening salvo, the devil focused his attack on undermining the Word of God and nothing has changed since.” Robert McCurley, p. 143

“…I preach from the Received Text through the Authorized Version.” Christian McShaffrey, p. 160

“In certain respects, the Christian academy has devasted by wicked unbelief parading as scientific objectivity, and the churches have largely followed suit.” D. Scott Meadows, p. 164

“I have found that having a standard, textually stable, theologically faithful, accurate Bible is necessary in a faithful pulpit and evangelism ministry.” Pooyan Mehrshahi, p. 170

“The New King James was being recommended to me as a good translation, so it gave me cause to ask, ‘Why not try the King James Version itself?’ After all, it has stood the test of time...” Mark L. R. Mullins, p. 181

“The Word of God is invincible.” Christopher Myers, p. 185

“If the preaching of the Word was to be at the center of my ministry, I had to have confidence and certainty as to what the Word of God is.” Jeff Riddle. pp. 200-201

“I did not set out to disprove the claims of the modern Critical Text, only to understand them; but as time went on, I became increasingly convinced that the modern Critical Text and the philosophy which undergirded it, was an affront to the honor of God, the glory of Christ, and the good of the Church.” Christopher Sheffield, p. 206

“Surely God’s people want a Bible that they know is God’s Word in its entirety, not one that has parts of its New Testament either excised, or accepted in a qualified fashion.” John Thackway, p. 223

“‘Is this Scripture?’ is a canonical question, whether we are asking it of a book, or even of a particular reading within a canonical book. Under the term canon, we recognize what is (and what is not) authoritative Scripture.” Robert Truelove, p. 225

“I simply do not understand how evangelicals can defend German rationalism and an approach to Scripture that dishonors the sovereign providence of God.” J. D. “Doc” Watson, p. 238

“I became convinced that a significant shift had take place in the doctrine of scripture...No longer was the church serving as the proper curator of holy writ, but this task had been subcontracted out to those who were unorthodox.” Joshua White, pp. 248-249