Tuesday, October 31, 2023

I am bound by the Scriptures

God’s Word Endures Forever: Martin Luther & the 500th Anniversary of the Reformation -- “Five hundred [and six] years ago, in 1517, Martin Luther, a German monk and university professor, posted 95 theses to the door of the Castle Church in Wittenberg, Germany.”

Martin Luther got it right when he left the Roman Catholic Church, though unfortunately he never went so far as to find the genius of full biblical New Testament Christianity. Below are some quotes of Luther from the above-linked article.

“A simple layman armed with Scripture is to be believed above a pope or cardinal without it.” (Roland H. Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther, Nashville. TN: Abingdon Press, 1978, p. 182)

“Unless I am convinced by the testimony of the Scriptures or by clear reason (for I do not trust either in the pope or in the councils alone, since it is well known that they have often erred and contradicted themselves), I am bound by the Scriptures I have quoted, and my conscience is captive to the Word of God.” (Roland H. Bainton, Here I Stand: A Life of Martin Luther, Nashville. TN: Abingdon Press, 1978, p. 182)

“The neglect of Scripture, even by spiritual leaders, is one of the greatest evils in the world.  Everything else, arts or literature, is pursued and practiced day and night, and there is no end of labor and effort; but Holy Scripture is neglected as though there were no need of it…But its words are not, as some think, mere literature; they are words of life, intended not for speculation and fancy but for life and action…May Christ our Lord help us by His Spirit to love and honor His holy Word with all our hearts.  Amen. (Luther’s Works, eds. Jaroslav Pelikan and Helmut Lehmann, eds. Luther’s Works. (American edition)  Minneapolis: Fortress, 1960, Vol. 14, p. 46)

“I greatly fear that the universities, unless they teach the Holy Scriptures diligently and impress them on the young students, are wide gates of hell.” (Martin Luther, “To the Christian Nobility,” Luther’s Works, Vol. 44, p. 206)

Monday, October 30, 2023

The Comfort of God’s Sovereignty

This golden truth becomes most precious to the soul, when, in the midst of losses and crosses, by the Holy Spirit’s influence, the power of it is felt in the soul. A confident belief in the fact that Jesus is not an unconcerned spectator of our tribulation, and a confident assurance that he is in the furnace with us, will furnish a downy pillow for our aching head. When the hours limp slowly along, how sweet to reflect that he has felt the weariness of time when sorrows multiplied! When the spirit is wounded by reproach and slander, how comforting to remember that he also once said, ‘Reproach has broken my heart!’ And, above all, how abundantly full of consolation is the thought that now, even now, he feels for us, and is a living head, sympathising in every pang of his wounded body. The certainty that Jesus knows and feels all that we endure, is one of the delicacies with which afflicted souls are comforted. More especially is this a cheering thought when our good is spoken of as evil, our motives misrepresented, and our zeal condemned. Then, in absence of all other balms, this acts as a sovereign remedy for decay of spirit. Give us Christ with us, and we can afford to smile in the face of our foes.

From “Jesus in the Hour of Trouble,” Charles H. Spurgeon (1834-1892)

Sunday, October 29, 2023

The Sinner’s Plea

The hymn below was written in 1995 by David I. Lee, a Sacred Harp singer from southeastern Georgia. It takes a personal look at the sinfulness of man and the righteous judgment of God. It recognizes that the atonement of Jesus Christ on Calvary and God’s grace from that atonement is the only plea a sinner has before the judgment bar of God. The hymn is Common Meter Doubled ( and might be sung to any good C.M.D. tune. However, when David wrote the hymn, he also composed a good tune to go with it. The tune is named Marthasville, and this text & tune combination may be found in The Sacred Harp 2012 Cooper Revision on page 273.

1. Before the judgment bar of God,
I soon must trembling stand.
My worthless soul must answer all
Thy holy laws demand.
Thy justice, Lord, condemns my soul
For all eternity;
Yet I would plead a Saviour’s grace
To set a sinner free.

2. Behold how great my need, O Lord,
And how extreme my case.
My doom pronounced would flash like fire
And drive me from thy face.
But yet I call upon thy Son
Who died on Calvary;
Again I plead a Saviour’s grace
To set a sinner free.

David Lee comes from a family of Sacred Harp singers, and is the son of David J. “Johnny” Lee and Delorese Conner. He and his wife have 3 children. In addition to singing and songwriting, David is also a singing school teacher, and serves on the Board of Directors of the Sacred Harp Book Company. He is a member of the Mars Hill Primitive Baptist Church. With his cousin W. Clarke Lee, David owns and operates The Primitive Hymns, LLC. This corporation publishes The Primitive Hymns, Spiritual Songs, and Sacred Poems, by Benjamin Lloyd (more commonly called “Lloyd’s Hymn Book”).

Saturday, October 28, 2023

Trust the Science, 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, October 27, 2023

This versus that

Some of you probably aren’t as crazy about various odd details concerning words as I am. I was fascinated noticing the usage of my/mine and thy/thine in the King James Bible – also O/Oh.

Thine and Thy.

“Thy” and “thine” are the singular possessive case of thou/thee (used as an attributive adjective before a noun). For example, thy seed, thy table, thine eyes, thine heart.

Thy = Possessive (usually used before a noun that begins with a consonant, as in “thy brother”)

Thine = Possessive (usually used before a noun that begins with a vowel or vowel sound, as in “thine eyes”; or in place of a noun, as in “this is thine”)


  • In Isaac shall thy seed be called.
  • in thy mouth, and in thy heart
  • I will not take any thing that is thine
  • Lift up now thine eyes
  • What is that in thine hand?
  • thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever (thine = that which belongs to thee)

Interesting – both thine heart and thy heart are used

“Thy heart” is found in 19 verses of the King James Bible – 14 in the OT and 5 in the NT.

All (19)

Old Testament (14)

  • Genesis (1)
  • Deuteronomy (4)
  • 1 Samuel (2)
  • 2 Kings (1)
  • Proverbs (1)
  • Ecclesiastes (2)
  • Isaiah (2)
  • Daniel (1)

New Testament (5)

  • Matthew (1)
  • Mark (1)
  • Luke (1)
  • Acts (1)
  • Romans (1)

“Thine heart” is found in 103 verses in the King James Bible – 97 in the OT and 6 in the NT.

All (103)

Old Testament (97)

  • Exodus (1)
  • Leviticus (1)
  • Deuteronomy (19)
  • Judges (5)
  • 1 Samuel (4)
  • 2 Samuel (2)
  • 1 Kings (3)
  • 2 Kings (3)
  • 1 Chronicles (1)
  • 2 Chronicles (5)
  • Job (5)
  • Psalm (2)
  • Proverbs (19)
  • Ecclesiastes (2)
  • Song of Solomon (1)
  • Isaiah (6)
  • Jeremiah (6)
  • Lamentations (1)
  • Ezekiel (8)
  • Daniel (2)
  • Obadiah (1)

New Testament (6)

  • Acts (4)
  • Romans (2)

Numbers of verses based on searching for “thy heart” and “thine heart” in the “Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)” at

Mine and My.

“My and Mine indicate a type of right to something or any possession of anything.”

Usually (possibly) “my” is a possessive adjective (a form of the possessive case of “I” used as an attributive adjective; my car, my sweater) and “mine” is a possessive pronoun (a form of the possessive case of “I” used as a predicate adjective; the yellow sweater is mine, mine is the red car). Or, stated another way, “my” is a possessive adjective that comes before a noun, while “mine” is a possessive pronoun that can stand alone. However, this seems to be a more modern definition that does not always align with the use of “mine” in the King James Bible. Many dictionaries will likely say that “mine” used as a possessive adjective is “archaic.” In the KJV “mine” is used instead of “my” before a word beginning with a vowel or a silent h, or following a noun). For example, mine eyes.

Interesting – both mine heart and my heart are used

“My heart” is found in 180 verses of the King James Bible – 166 in the OT and 14 in the NT.

All (180)

Old Testament (166)

  • Genesis (3)
  • Exodus (4)
  • Deuteronomy (5)
  • Joshua (1)
  • Judges (2)
  • 1 Samuel (3)
  • 2 Samuel (3)
  • 1 Kings (7)
  • 2 Kings (1)
  • 1 Chronicles (5)
  • 2 Chronicles (4)
  • Nehemiah (2)
  • Esther (1)
  • Job (9)
  • Psalm (57)
  • Proverbs (9)
  • Ecclesiastes (9)
  • Song of Solomon (2)
  • Isaiah (9)
  • Jeremiah (14)
  • Lamentations (3)
  • Ezekiel (7)
  • Daniel (1)
  • Hosea (3)
  • Zechariah (1)
  • Malachi (1)

New Testament (14)

  • Matthew (3)
  • Luke (1)
  • John (1)
  • Acts (2)
  • Romans (2)
  • Philippians (1)
  • Colossians (1)
  • Hebrews (3)

“Mine heart” is found in 50 verses in the King James Bible – 48 in the OT and 2 in the NT.

All (50)

Old Testament (48)

  • Genesis (1)
  • Deuteronomy (2)
  • Joshua (1)
  • Judges (1)
  • 1 Samuel (3)
  • 1 Kings (2)
  • 2 Kings (2)
  • 1 Chronicles (3)
  • 2 Chronicles (2)
  • Nehemiah (1)
  • Job (2)
  • Psalm (8)
  • Proverbs (1)
  • Ecclesiastes (8)
  • Isaiah (1)
  • Jeremiah (7)
  • Lamentations (2)
  • Hosea (1)

New Testament (2)

  • Acts (2)

Numbers of verses based on searching for “my heart” and “mine heart” in the “Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)” at

O and Oh.

“O” is addressive, used at the beginning of a line to show a direct address to a person, object, or idea. Some call it “a poetic apostrophe.”

“Oh” is expressive, an interjection we use to express a bunch of different emotions, like a sense of surprise, excitement, or even disappointment.

“O” occurs over a thousand times in the King James Bible.

  • “O Lord” occurs in 335 verses.
  • “O Father” occurs in 3 verses.
  • “O son of ...” occurs in 6 verses.
  • “O man ...” occurs in 9 verses.
  • “O men ...” occurs in 1 verse.
  • “O foolish ...” occurs in 3 verses.
  • “O wicked ...” occurs in 2 verses.
  • “O righteous ...” occurs in 1 verse.
  • “O king ...” occurs in 48 verses.
  • “O prince’s...” occurs in 1 verse.
  • “O woman ...” occurs in 1 verse.
  • “O Zion” occurs in 6 verses.
  • “O Jerusalem...” occurs in 16 verses.
  • “O Samaria ...” occurs in 1 verse.
  • “O Israel ...” occurs in 35 verses.
  • “O Jacob ...” occurs in 11 verses.

“Oh/oh” occurs in 37 verses in the King James Bible, all in the OT.

Old Testament (37)

  • Genesis (5)
  • Exodus (1)
  • Judges (2)
  • 1 Samuel (1)
  • 2 Samuel (2)
  • 1 Chronicles (2)
  • Job (9)
  • Psalm (11)
  • Isaiah (1)
  • Jeremiah (3)

Numbers of verses based on searching for “O” and “Oh” in the “Authorized (King James) Version (AKJV)” at

Thursday, October 26, 2023

Repent, and be baptized

Acts 2:38 - Two imperatives (“repent,” “be baptized”) and a promise (“ye shall receive”). Those who teach baptismal regeneration – that is, that obedience in the baptismal waters gains eternal salvation – use this text as a primary support for their view. If an interpretation of Acts 2:38 does not match the teachings of the New Testament (or even the rest of the book of Acts), then something is wrong with that interpretation. In the next recorded sermons following Pentecost, Peter connects repentance with blotting out of sins (3:19-20), proclaims salvation in Christ alone (4:11-12), and associates repentance and the forgiveness of sins with the acts of the crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus (5:30-31).

Repentance in Acts 

  • Acts 3:19 Repent ye therefore, and be converted
  • Acts 5:31 to give repentance to Israel, and forgiveness of sins.
  • Acts 8:22 Repent therefore of this thy wickedness
  • Acts 13:24 John had first preached before his coming the baptism of repentance
  • Acts 17:30 commandeth all men every where to repent
  • Acts 19:4 John verily baptized with the baptism of repentance
  • Acts 20:21 Testifying...repentance toward God, and faith toward our Lord Jesus Christ
  • Acts 26:20 they should repent and turn to God, and do works meet for repentance

Some interpreters labor to unite “for the remission of sins” with both “repent” and “be baptized.” Others labor to separate “for the remission of sins” from “be baptized” to modify only “repent.” However, the grammatical structure of Acts 2:38 shows that “for the remission of sins” only modifies “be baptized” and not “repent.” Peter commands his hearers, “Repent, and be baptized.” In both Greek and English, the verb μετανοησατε/ “repent” is in the second person plural; the verb βαπτισθητω/ “be baptized” is in the third person singular. The words that follow “be baptized” – “every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ for the remission of sins” – match the singular tense of “be baptized.” The final verb, “shall receive,” returns to the second person plural.

The question “in what sense does baptism remit sins is the real core of the controversy on Acts 2:38.”  Is baptism for the remission of sins? Yes, baptism is for (eis) the remission of sins, according to Acts 2:38. In what sense does baptism remit sins, or, in what way is it “for” the remission of sins? Those who find eternal salvation here assume “for” means “in order to obtain” the remission of sins. However, “in order to” does not exhaust the range of meaning of either the Greek preposition eis (εις) or the English preposition “for.” Baptism answers to the remission of sins because it is a sign of it. The words in Acts 2:38 are “eis aphesin ton hamartion/for the remission of sins.” Matthew 26:28 includes the same phrase: “for this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins (eis aphesin ton hamartion).” The similarities are compelling.  It is not the blood of the grape in the cup that gives remission of sins, but the shed blood of Jesus on the cross that the cup represents. We metaphorically receive the body and blood of Jesus in the elements of the Lord’s Supper. We metaphorically receive the death and resurrection of Jesus in the element of water baptism. Paul uses “likeness” (ομοιωματι, a figure, image, likeness, representation; cf. Hebrews 9:24) in Romans 6:5. He says we are baptized “into death” and then raised to “walk in newness of life.” Baptism does not literally put us in the death and resurrection, but “in the likeness.” Peter uses “like figure” (αντιτυπον, a thing resembling another, counterpart, antitype) in I Peter 3:21. Baptism saves similarly to the way the water saved Noah and his family. Water saved Noah by the ark, and baptism saves us by the resurrection. The conscience calls and baptism answers (επερωτημα).

Jesus actually, literally, and really put away sin by his sacrifice on the cross. Sins are remitted literally, in the death of Jesus Christ (Hebrews 9:22); experimentally, in the exercise of faith (Acts 10:43); and ceremonially, in baptism (Acts 2:38). 

Wednesday, October 25, 2023

What is Textual Criticism?

Bart Ehrman usually isn’t my “go-to” guy to quote. He is theologically on the other side of the world from me. However, in some of my recent reading I saw that he made a comment I felt worth repeating. I often mention text criticism (textual criticism) and text critics (textual critics). However, I am not sure it has occurred to me to define it, just assuming my readers are familiar with the term! Ehrman replied to a question he received about textual criticism, and, unlike me, began by clarifying what the term meant. Here is what he wrote:

“Textual criticism is the attempt to establish what an author originally wrote whenever there is some uncertainty about it. For example, if Dante wrote the Inferno by hand, and we don’t actually have the hand-written copy he produced, and different surviving copies of the work have differences among them – which one is most like what he actually wrote? That is especially a big issue, for example, for Shakespeare (massively important for Hamlet and other plays) and … well, and the New Testament.”

So, textual criticism in the biblical context is the branch of textual scholarship that attempts to establish what is the original reading of the Bible. The textual critic engages in the work of textual criticism, using evidence in the attempt to recover the original text. This, then, is what these guys are doing, whether or not we agree with their purpose or their research.

[Note: much of biblical textual criticism has now devolved into speaking of determining (rather than the text of the original autograph) the Ausgangtext – “a hypothetical, reconstructed text, as it presumably existed, according to the hypothesis, before the beginning of its copying.” Additionally, we providential preservationists believe we have God’s word and that it does not need recovering.]

Tuesday, October 24, 2023

A Little Maid: a Note in Passing on God’s Providence

Luke 4:27 And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian.

2 Kings 5:1-3 Now Naaman, captain of the host of the king of Syria, was a great man with his master, and honourable, because by him the Lord had given deliverance unto Syria: he was also a mighty man in valour, but he was a leper. And the Syrians had gone out by companies, and had brought away captive out of the land of Israel a little maid; and she waited on Naaman’s wife. And she said unto her mistress, Would God my lord were with the prophet that is in Samaria! for he would recover him of his leprosy.

From the story of 2 Kings 5, we hang three large portraits on the wall. Elisha, of course. And Naaman. And Gehazi. God is not there – simply because images are not to be made of him. We won’t display Benhadad’s and Jehoram’s pictures, since we don’t really like them! When we come to the end of the chapter and see his deceit, we decide to remove Gehazi’s picture. As we take it down, we notice a small previously unnoticed frame in the corner. “Who is that,” we ask? “I don’t know her name,” comes the answer. “She’s just a little maid from Israel.” A little unnamed maid out of the land of Israel.

Naaman is a primary and noteworthy figure throughout the chapter. The little maid is mentioned in passing. Naaman was a captain; she was a captive. Naaman was a great man; she was a little maid. Naaman is accentuated by name; her name is unknown. Is it nothing to you, all ye that pass by? Let us not rush past, but stop and linger here. Look here. Learn here.

Doubtless a man in Naaman’s position had tried the doctors, tried the experiments, and even tried the quacks. Nothing worked. Despite his position of honour and power, he was a diseased dying man, afflicted by the uncurable leprosy. Whatever he might have tried for healing had failed. “So death will soon disrobe us all, of what we here possess.”

In his providence and by his special aid, God used Naaman the captain to bring deliverance to Syria, expanding their power and prosperity. Why, God? O, why? They are Israel’s enemy. Syria’s armies had gone out in companies, raiding the coasts of Israel. In one particularly successful raid, a little maid was taken, separated from father and mother. Did she know what happened to them? Did they know what happened to her? We know what happened to her. Of all the families in all the houses of all the people of Syria, she landed in just one house, the house of Naaman – the captain of the host, the great man in the eyes of his king, the mighty man of valour – who was also a leper. A little maid; a prominent household; a grand providence.

The little maid was brought into captivity because of God’s judgment on Israel. At this time Jehoram was king in Israel. “He wrought evil in the sight of the Lord” (but not like his father and mother – Ahab and Jezebel). Jehoram sanctioned, promoted, and stood by “the sins of Jeroboam” – the worship of the golden calves that Jeroboam installed in Dan and Bethel (2 Kings 3:3; 1 Kings 12:28-33). This serious breach of God’s law was an invitation of God’s judgment. God had begun to lay Israel low, and he would lay them lower. If Israel would not hearken to the voice of the Lord in keeping his commandments, “the Lord shall cause thee to be smitten before thine enemies,” and “thy sons and thy daughters shall be given unto another people” (Deuteronomy 28:15, 25, 32). Through no direct fault of her own, but through the fault of her national leaders, a little maid in Israel is now a captive in Syria.

The little maid received her cup and allowed no root of bitterness to spring up. Perhaps this little maid saw her parents slain before her eyes; perhaps she was ripped from their arms never to know what happened to them. A sad fate, either way. In our society, we excuse bad behavior because of bad circumstances that decimate one’s life. In our mindset we would concede her every right to be angry, to nurse a grudge, to become bitter, to wish the worst for her captors. Yet the little maid let no root of bitterness spring up within her. She obeyed the New Testament exhortation, “Let all bitterness, and wrath, and anger, and clamour, and evil speaking, be put away from you” (Ephesians 4:31). It seems she dutifully went about her business, serving the mistress of the house, Naaman’s wife.

The little maid loved her enemies, blessed them that cursed her, and did good to them that hated her. It is likely that this little maid did not consider her master and mistress as enemies who hated her. What God would do for Naaman and how Naaman received the God of Israel as the true God suggests God was working a work in his heart. However, the Syrians and Israelites were enemies who hated one another. They were at odds, and at war. Nevertheless, the little maid did not withhold the good news she could impart in her household. Out of the mouth of babes – and of little maids – hath God perfected praise. The little maid believed in God, his power, his miracles, and his prophet. Surely, she testifies of what she has seen? Nay, O man, she testifies of what she knows! How many lepers had the little maid seen cleansed? None! (Luke 4:27) She withholds not the good. She withholds not the good news. There is a prophet in Samaria of a God in Israel (yea, in all places) who heals. If the master could just get to him. The simple words of a simple child, so beautiful in their simplicity, were not dismissed by the wife or household of Naaman. The hearing ear, and the seeing eye, the Lord hath made even both of them. How miraculous in itself is their submission to the words of this child! Naaman had no were else to turn.

The providence of God rules over all – the just and the unjust, in good times and in bad times. God hath done whatsoever he hath pleased (Psalm 115:3). Often, we speak of providence of the good things of our life, of how God works all things for our good. Truth! On the other hand, the way we speak of God’s providence might lead the unknowing to believe that God wakes up betimes and then realizes he needs to take care of us. How unlike the God of mercy and grace. Speaking of this, George MacDonald acknowledged, “God’s care is more evident in some instances of it than in others to the dim and often bewildered vision of humanity.” For this reason, “Upon such instances men seize and call them providences.” But how much “gloriously better if they could believe that the whole matter is one grand providence.”

These things were written for our learning. May we learn:

  • To not despise the day of small things – or small people, for God hath chosen the weak things of the world to confound the things which are mighty.
  • To trust God and believe him in all our circumstances. Trust in him at all times.
  • To act in faith, for who knoweth whether thou art come for such a time as this?
  • To do good to them that hate you, for all things whatsoever ye would that men should do to you, do ye even so to them. 
  • To speak out in all circumstances. Speak the truth, in Christ, in love, always.

Monday, October 23, 2023

What a man believes

...But ye have not so learned Christ; if so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus... Ephesians 4:20-21

“Is Christianity a system of articles of belief, let them be correct as language can give them? Never…to hold a thing with the intellect, is not to believe it. A man’s real belief is that which he lives by; and that which the man I mean lives by, is the love of God, and obedience to his law, so far as he has recognized it…What a man believes, is the thing he does.”

George MacDonald, from The Truth in Jesus

Sunday, October 22, 2023

The Ninety and Nine - and the One

Matthew 18:11-13 For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost. How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray? And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. (See also Luke 15:3-7.)

A song connected to these texts uses the hymn below, by Elizabeth C. Clephane.The title and tune name most commonly used is The Ninety and Nine, but sometimes it is titled by the first line, There Were Ninety and Nine.

1. There were ninety and nine that safely lay
In the shelter of the fold,
But one was out on the hills away,
Far off from the gates of gold–
Away on the mountains wild and bare,
Away from the tender Shepherd’s care
2. “Lord, Thou hast here Thy ninety and nine;
Are they not enough for Thee?”
But the Shepherd made answer: “This of mine
Has wandered away from me;
And although the road be rough and steep,
I go to the desert to find my sheep.”

3. But none of the ransomed ever knew
How deep were the waters crossed;
Nor how dark was the night the Lord passed thro’
Ere He found His sheep that was lost.
Out in the desert He heard its cry–
So sick and helpless and ready to die.

4. “Lord, whence are those blood-drops all the way
That mark out the mountain’s track?”
“They were shed for one who had gone astray
Ere the Shepherd could bring him back.”
“Lord, whence are Thy hands so rent and torn?”
“They are pierced tonight by many a thorn.”

5. And all through the mountains, thunder-riven,
And up from the rocky steep,
There arose a glad cry to the gate of heaven,
“Rejoice! I have found my sheep!”
And the angels echoed around the throne,
“Rejoice, for the Lord brings back His own!”

In singing, the last line is repeated, so that it is sung twice for emphasis.

This song was not part of my repertoire growing up. Old Prospect called me as pastor in 1983. They had a book that includes this song. A family member who lived away but often visited the church loved this song, and often sung it. So I became familiar with it in that manner. All these years later, this man lives nearby. He leads the song for us sometimes when our regular song leaders are not present.

According to John Julian, the author of the hymn is Elizabeth Cecilia Clephane. She was a daughter of Andrew Clephane, Sheriff of Fife, and Anna Marie Douglas. Elizabeth was born at Edinburgh, June 18, 1830, and died in her 39th year, at Bridgend House, near Melrose, Feb. 19, 1869. She was a member of the Church of Scotland, and was buried at the Saint Cuthbert’s Churchyard in Edinburgh, Scotland. Julian says almost all of her hymns appeared in the periodical Family Treasury. Nine of them were published over a two year period, under the general title Breathings on the Border. Of these, the hymn below and “Beneath the cross of Jesus” are the best known. William Arnot of Edinburgh, editor of the Family Treasury, wrote this concerning her hymns when first publishing some of them—

“These lines express the experiences, the hopes, and the longings of a young Christian lately released. Written on the very edge of this life, with the better land fully, in the view of faith, they seem to us footsteps printed on the sands of Time, where these sands touch the ocean of Eternity. These footprints of one whom the Good Shepherd led through the wilderness into rest, may, with God’s blessing, contribute to comfort and direct succeeding pilgrims.”

Some sources say the hymn was written in 1868, but other sources give as early as 1851. It was published posthumously in the Family Treasury around 1873 or 1874. The meter of the hymn is irregular, and (so far as I know) only sung with the tune written for it by Ira D. Sankey.

Ira David Sankey was a colleague of Dwight L. Moody, serving as a song leader and soloist in Moody’s revival campaigns. He was also a songwriter and music publisher. Sankey was born in Pennsylvania in 1840, the son of David Sankey and Mary Leeper. He served in the Union Army during the War Between the United and Confederate States. Sankey married Frances Victoria Edwards in 1863, and they had several children. Ira Sankey first discovered the poetry “The Ninety and Nine” in a London religious newspaper, and clipped it for his musical scrapbook. He first sang the song after a sermon by Moody on “The Good Shepherd” (A Full History of the Wonderful Career of Moody and Sankey in Great Britain and America, pp. 256-257). Ira D. Sankey died in New York on August 13, 1908. After funeral services, his body was laid to await the resurrection in Green-Wood Cemetery of Brooklyn, New York.

Saturday, October 21, 2023

A collection of “more than” verses

  • Genesis 3:1 Now the serpent was more subtil than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made.
  • Genesis 34:19 And the young man deferred not to do the thing, because he had delight in Jacob's daughter: and he was more honourable than all the house of his father.
  • Genesis 38:26 And Judah acknowledged them, and said, She hath been more righteous than I
  • 1 Samuel 24:17 And he said to David, Thou art more righteous than I: for thou hast rewarded me good, whereas I have rewarded thee evil.
  • 2 Samuel 23:23 He was more honourable than the thirty, but he attained not to the first three.
  • 1 Chronicles 4:9 And Jabez was more honourable than his brethren: and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, Because I bare him with sorrow.
  • 1 Chronicles 11:21 Of the three, he was more honourable than the two; for he was their captain: howbeit he attained not to the first three.
  • Psalm 119:99 I have more understanding than all my teachers: for thy testimonies are my meditation.
  • Proverbs 12:26 The righteous is more excellent than his neighbour
  • Isaiah 13:12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold
  • Ezekiel 16:52 Thou also, which hast judged thy sisters, bear thine own shame for thy sins that thou hast committed more abominable than they: they are more righteous than thou
  • Matthew 10:31 Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.
  • Acts 17:11 These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so.
  • Hebrews 1:4 Being made so much better than the angels, as he hath by inheritance obtained a more excellent name than they.
  • Hebrews 11:4 By faith Abel offered unto God a more excellent sacrifice than Cain

Friday, October 20, 2023

Fulgentius of Ruspe and Comma Johanneum

Fulgentius of Ruspe (circa AD 465 – 530) was a bishop in the 6th century in the city of Ruspe, in the Roman province of North Africa, in what is modern day Tunisia. His doctrinal writings include the polemic against the Arian doctrines of the Vandal rulers of Africa.

Responsio contra Arianos, or Against the Arians, replies to ten questions proposed by the Arian ruler King Thrasamund. Part of his response, below, seems to (1) say that John the apostle wrote, “There are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, and these three are one,” and (2) that Cyprian believed that was authoritative Scripture.

In the Father, therefore, and the Son, and the Holy Spirit, we acknowledge unity of substance, but dare not confound the persons.

For St. John the apostle, testifieth saying, “There are three that bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit, and these three are one.” Which also the blessed martyr Cyprian, in his epistle de unitate Ecclesiae (Unity of the Church), confesseth, saying, Who so breaketh the peace of Christ, and concord, acteth against Christ: whoso gathereth elsewhere beside the Church, scattereth. And that he might shew, that the Church of the one God is one, he inserted these testimonies, immediately from the scriptures; The Lord said, “I and the Father are one.” And again, “of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, it is written, ‘And these three are one.’ (1 John 5:7).”

In the book on the Lord’s Prayer as well, to show that the Trinity is of one divinity and does not have any separateness among itself, he mentioned Daniel and the three boys who would say a prayer every three hours. Thus, by the course of three hours and the service of one prayer, he evidently showed that the Trinity is one God. We, therefore, do not worship one God, [consisting] of three parts; but retaining without beginning, of the perfect and eternal Father, not unequal in power, and equal in nature; and we also confess, that the Holy Spirit is no other than God, neither different from the Father, nor the Son, nor confounded in the Son, nor in the Father. (Fulgentius, Against the Arians; Translated by Thomas Hartwell Horne,1825; Horne, “IV. Sect. V. On the First General Epistle of John” in Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, 1825, Volume 4, page 448.

In Latin:

In Patre ergo et Filio et Spiritu sancto unitatem substantiae accipimus, personas confundere non audemus.

Beatus enim Ioannes apostolus testatur, dicens: Tressunt qui testimonium perhibent in coelo, Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus; et tres unum sunt (I Ioan. V, 7) . Quod etiam beatissimus martyr Cyprianus, in epistola de Unitate Ecclesiae confitetur, dicens: Qui pacem Christi et concordiam rumpit, adversus Christum facit; qui alibi praeter Ecclesiam colligit, Christi Ecclesiam spargit. Atque ut unam Ecclesiam unius Dei esse monstraret, haec confestim testimonia de Scripturis inseruit. Dicit Dominus: Ego et Pater unum sumus. Et iterum: De Patre et Filio et Spiritu sancto scriptum est: Ettres unum sunt. 

Nam et in libro de Oratione dominica, ut ostenderet Trinitatem unius deitatis,esse nec inter se aliquam diversitatem habere, Danielem et tres pueros, ternarum horarum circulis revolutis, orationem fundere solitos memoravit. Ubi et in trium horarum curriculo, et inunius orationis officio, unum Deum esse Trinitatem evidenter ostendit. (0224C) Non ergo extribus partibus unum colimus Deum, sed apostolicae fidei regulam retinentes, perfectum et consempiternum Filium, de perfecto et sempiterno Patre, sine initio genitum, et potestate non imparem, et natura fatemur aequalem. Sanctum quoque Spiritum non aliud fatemur esse quam Deum, nec a Filio nec a Patre diversum, nec in Filio nec in Patre confusum. (Fulgentius, Responsio contra Arianos; Migne Latina, PL 65.224)

De Trinitate ad Felicem, or, Of the Trinity to Felix, also mentions the three heavenly witnesses.

See, in short you have it that the Father is one, the Son another, and the Holy Spirit another, in Person, each is other, but in nature they are not other. In this regard He says: “The Father and I, we are one.” He teaches us that “one” refers to Their nature, and ”we are” to Their persons. In like manner it is said: “There are three who bear witness in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Spirit; and these three are one.” Let Sabellius hear “we are” [plural], let him hear “three", and let him believe that there are three Persons.

Let him not blaspheme in his sacrilegious heart by saying that the Father is the same in Himself as the Son is the same in Himself and as the Holy Spirit is the same in Himself, as if in some way He could beget Himself, or in some way proceed from Himself. Even in created natures it is never able to be found that something is able to beget itself. Let also Arius hear one; and let him not say that the Son is of a different nature, if one cannot be said of that, the nature of which is different.” (Fulgentius, On the Trinity, chapter 4; Translated by William A. Jurgens, 1970, vol 3, p. 291-292)

In Latin:

En habes in brevi alium esse Patrem, alium Filium, alium Spiritum sanctum: alium etalium in persona, non aliud et aliud in natura; et idcirco Ego, inquit, et Pater unum sumus (Ioan. X, 30). Unum, ad naturam referre nos docet, Sumus, ad personas. Similiter et illud: Tres sunt, inquit, qui testimonium dicunt in coelo, Pater, Verbum, et Spiritus, et hitres unum sunt (I Ioan. V, 7). Audiat Sabellius sumus, audiat tres, et credat esse tres personas, et non sacrilego corde blasphemet, dicendo ipsum sibi esse Patrem, ipsum sibi Filium, ipsum sibi Spiritum sanctum: tanquam modo quodam seipsum gignat, aut modo quodam a seipso ipse procedat; cum hoc etiam in naturis creatis minime invenire possit, ut aliquid seipsum gignere valeat. Audiat scilicet et Arius, Unum, et non differentis Filium dicat essenaturae, cum natura diversa unum dici nequeat. (Fulgentius, De Trinitate, chap iv; Migne Latina, PL 65.500)

Other notes about Fulgentius of Ruspe.

  • Fulgentius wrote frequently against Arianism and Pelagianism.
  • Eight of the doctrinal treatises ascribed to him are solidly considered to be authentic (i.e., ascribed correctly).
  • Pseudo-Fulgentius, by an anonymous Nicene author, was incorrectly attributed to Fulgentius of Ruspe in the17th century.
  • De fide ad Petrum was formerly attributed to Augustine, but now understood to be by Fulgentius.

The important point to take away from Fulgentius of Ruspe is not whether he was “doctrinally sound all around,” but that he, in the 6th century, knew of and is witness to Scripture (manuscripts) that contained what we call the Johannine Comma, Comma Johanneum, or the Three Heavenly Witnesses.

Thursday, October 19, 2023

Comparing verses missing from the KJV, using the TR and CT

AN APPENDIX – MISSING TEXTS, TR (Received Text) vs. NA (Critical Text)

Unless otherwise noted, the variant listed represents an omission from the Traditional Text.[1] The King James wording, based on the Received Text, is in [brackets]. This represents the text as translated in the King James Version, which is usually missing in modern English translations based on the Critical Text. In instances of an addition of a word or words not in the KJV/TR reading, the addition from the critical text is in {braces} with the English as found in the NIV. Some differences are matters of translation, and not listed here. For example, though both underlying Greek texts in Acts 7:2 have ανδρες αδελφοι και πατερες, the KJV has “Men, brethren, and fathers” while the NIV has “Brothers and fathers...”

1:4                   [with them]

1:14                 [and supplication]

1:15                 [disciples] (vs. brethren)

1:25                 [part]

2:1                   [with one accord]

2:7                   [all]

2:7                   [one to another]

2:23                 [have taken]

2.30                 [according to the flesh, he would raise up Christ]

2:31                 [his soul]

2:33                 [now]

2:38                 {your}

2:41                 [gladly]

2:42                 [and] [the 2nd “and”]

2:47                 [the church]

3:1                   [together]

3:6                   [rise up and]

3:11                 [the lame man]

3:20                 [text, Jesus Christ vs. Christ, Jesus] {translation, preached vs. appointed}

Note: verses 19-20 are arranged somewhat differently in each text

3:21                 [all] [the “all” before “his holy prophets”]

3:22                 [unto the fathers]

3:24                 [foretold; προκατηγγειλαν vs. κατηγγειλαν]

3:26                 [Son Jesus]

4:8                   [of Israel]

4:17                 [straitly threaten]

4:24                 [thou art God] (2nd use)

4:25                 {our father} {through the Holy Spirit}

4:27                 {in this city}

5:5                   [these things]

5:23                 [without]

5:24                 [the high priest and] 

5:25                 [saying]

5:32                 [his]

5:33                 [took counsel]

5:34                 [apostles] (vs. men)

5:41                 [his name] (vs. the name)

6:3                   [Holy]

6:8                   [faith]

6:13                 [blasphemous]

7:11                 [land of]

7:16                 [the father of ]

7:17                 [sworn]

7:18                 {in Egypt}

7:30                 [of the Lord]

7:31                 [unto him]

7:32                 [the God] [2nd and 3rd uses]

7:37                 [the Lord your]

7:37                 [him shall ye hear]

7:46                 [the God of Jacob] (vs. the house of Jacob)

7:48                 [temples]

8:10                 [the great power of God] (vs. the power of God that is called great)

8:13                 [the things]

8:18                 [Holy]

8:22                 [God] (vs. the Lord)

8:37                 [And Philip said, If thou believest with all thine heart, thou mayest. And he answered and said, I believe that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.] i.e., the entire verse is omitted.

9:5-6                [it is hard for thee to kick against the pricks. And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him]

9:19                 [Saul] (vs. he) [2]

9:20                 [Christ] (usually changed to {Jesus})

9:29                 [Jesus] (and this is part of verse 28 in the CT)

9:31                 [churches] (vs. singular “church”)

10:6                 [he shall tell thee what thou oughtest to do]

10:7                 [Cornelius]

10:11               [unto him] [knit] [and]

10:12               [and wild beasts]

10:21               [which were sent unto him from Cornelius]

10:23               [Peter] (vs. he) 233

10:30               [I was fasting until this hour; and]

10:32               [who, when he cometh, shall speak unto thee]

10:33               [God] (vs. the Lord)

10:48               [of the Lord] (vs. of Jesus Christ)

11:9                 [me]

11:12               [doubting nothing] (vs. making no distinction)

11:28               [Caesar]

12:5                 [without ceasing] (vs. earnestly/fervently)

12:23               [the] in “the glory”

12:25               [to Jerusalem] (vs. from Jerusalem)

13:6                 {the whole island} (vs. the isle)

13:20               [And after that] [3]

13:26               [to you] (vs. to us)

13:42               [the Jews]

                        [out of the synagogue, the Gentiles]

13:44               [to God] (vs. of the Lord)

14:17               [gave us; our hearts] (vs. gave you; your hearts)

15:7                 [among us] (vs. among you)

15.11               [Lord Jesus Christ] (vs. Lord Jesus]

15:18               [unto God are all his works] 

15:24               [saying, Ye must be circumcised and keep the law]

15:33               [unto the apostles] (vs. to those who had sent them)

15:34               [Notwithstanding it pleased Silas to abide there still] i.e., this verse is omitted

15:40               [of God] (vs. of the Lord)

16:7                 [the Spirit] (vs. the Spirit of Jesus)

16:13               [the city] (vs. the gate)

[where prayer was wont to be made] (vs. where we supposed there was a place of prayer)

16:17               [unto us] (vs. to you)

16.31               [Lord Jesus Christ] (vs. Lord Jesus)

17:5                 [which believed not]

17:14               [to go as it were to the sea] (vs. to go as far as to the sea)

17:18               [unto them]

17:26               [blood]

                        [hath determined the times before appointed] (vs. having determined appointed seasons)

17:27               [the Lord] (vs. God)

18:5                 [in the spirit] (vs. by the word)

18:7                 [Justus] (vs. {Titus} Justus)

18:17               [the Greeks]

18:19               [he came] (vs. they came/arrived]

18:20               [with them]

18:21               [I must by all means keep this feast that cometh in Jerusalem]

18:25               [the Lord] (vs. Jesus)

19:4                 [Christ Jesus] (vs. Jesus)

19:10               [Lord Jesus] (vs. Lord)

19:13               [We adjure] (vs. I adjure)

19:29               [whole]

19:35               [goddess]

19:37               [your] (vs. our)

19:40               [there being no cause whereby we may give an account] (vs. no cause for it, on account of which we will not be able)

20:1                 [embraced them] (vs. encouraged them)

20:4                 [into Asia]

[Sopater of Berea] (vs. Sopater {son of Pyrrhus} from Berea)

20:7                 [the disciples] (vs. we)

20:8                 [they] (vs. we)

20:15               [and tarried at Trogyllium]

20:21               [Christ]

20:24               [But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself] (vs. But I do not account my life of any value nor as precious to myself)

[with joy]

20:25               [of God]

20:32               [brethren]

20:34               [Yea]

21:4                 [disciples] (vs. {the} disciples)

21:8                 [that were of Paul’s company]

21:15               [we took up our carriages] (vs. we got ready)

21:20               [Lord] (vs. God)

21:22               [the multitude must needs come together]

21:25               [that they observe no such thing, save]

22:9                 [and were afraid]

22:16               [the name of the Lord] (vs. his name)

22:20               [unto his death]

22:26               [Take heed what thou doest] (vs. What are you about to do?)

22:30               [from his bands]

23:9                 [the scribes] (vs. {some of} the scribes)

                        [let us not fight against God]

23:11               [Paul]

23:12               [certain of the Jews] (vs. the Jews)

23.15               [to morrow]

23:30               [how that the Jews]


24:1                 [the elders] (vs. {some of} the elders]

24:2                 [worthy deeds] (vs. reforms)

24:6-8              [and would have judged according to our law. But the chief captain Lysias came upon us, and with great violence took him away out of our hands, commanding his accusers to come unto thee] i.e., the last part of verse 6, all of verse 7, and the first part of verse 8 are omitted

24:9                 [assented] [συνεθεντο] (vs. συνεπεθεντο)

24:13               [prove] (vs. prove {to you})

24:15               [of the dead]

24:20               [if they found] (“if” is changed to “what”]

24:22               [heard these things]

24:23               [or come unto him]

24:26               [that he might loose him]

25:6                 [more than ten days] (vs. not more than eight or ten days)

25:7                 [round about] (vs. round about {him})

                        [Paul] (vs. him)

25:16               [to die]

25:18               [such things] (vs. evils/evil deeds)

26:7                 [King Agrippa] (vs. O king)

26:17               [now I] (vs. I)

26:18               [to turn them] (vs. that they may turn)

26:30               [when he had thus spoken]

27:14               [Euroclydon, i.e., a southeast wind] (vs. Euraquilo, i.e., a northeast wind)

27:16               [Clauda] (vs. Cauda)

27:17               [the quicksands] (vs. the Syrtis) [4]

27:19               [we cast out] (vs. they threw/cast out)

27:34               [hair fall] (vs. hair perish)

28:1                 [they were escaped, then they knew] (vs. we escaped & we knew)

28:16               [the centurion delivered the prisoners to the captain of the guard: but]

28:25               [our] (vs. your)

28:29               [And when he had said these words, the Jews departed, and had great reasoning among themselves] i.e., all of this verse is omitted

[1] Some sources for comparison include Anderson, G. W. & S. E. A Textual Key, pp. 9-10; “Textual Variants in The New Testament,” Gary F. Zeolla |, and KJV Parallel, Differences between Scrivener’s Textus Receptus/the KJV, and the Critical Text | 
[2] The noun/pronoun difference is common in the texts of Acts, and many more could be listed.
[3] The different placement of και μετα ταυτα seems to make the translations refer to a different events.
[4] την συρτιν in both TR and CT, but KJV translates it into English while many modern versions do not.