Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Which Bible 1 & 2

Which Bible 1 & 2?

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

What Happened to Which Bible 1 & 2?

They were removed because of major errors.  I did not mean to cause any more confusion than I already have.  I should have left an explanation in their place: here is that explanation, although somewhat belated.

Since 1971 I have been mentored and taught by Zane Clark Hodges and Arthur Leonard Farstad.  Mr. Hodges taught my first course in Greek.  Dr. Farstad, whom I met later, was an elder at Christ Congregation, a small Brethren church meeting in Dallas, Texas, which my wife and I also attended.  We lost our second child, Saul, during that period and Christ Congregation supported us through the loss.  I also graduated from seminary in 1976, and it was members of Christ Congregation that attended my graduation, gave me my only graduation present, sustained me through struggles with Calvinism, loved me, and sent me on my way with God’s rich blessing.

Art, Zane, and others were then working on The Majority Text edition of the Greek New Testament for Thomas Nelson publishers, and I would frequently have time to drive Art to the new Dallas/Fort Worth International Airport which had recently replaced Love Field.  Art was off to Nashville to work with the edition team.  The New King James translation was also in the works, and I had the privilege of knowing Winifred G. T. Gillespie, direct descendant of W. H. Griffith Thomas, and Don Von Dohlen who were both on The New King James translation team for Thomas Nelson.

These friendships in the love of Christ, were in no small part reinforced by my growing commitment to, and conviction that The Majority Text was the text of the Greek New Testament.  We all shared this view with many of you.  This view has been seriously undermined by the convincing arguments of Dr. Daniel Baird Wallace found in the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (JETS), “The Majority-Text Theory: History, Methods, and Critique.”[1]

It is no small matter that I now turn away from my former conviction that The Majority Text is the text of the Greek New Testament.  How does one change a conviction without feeling that he has turned away from his friends in an act of betrayal and treachery?  Moreover, almost all of these friends have now fallen asleep in the Lord.  So it is with deep regret that I abandon The Majority Text viewpoint.  Yet, I wish to do this in honor of these precious friends.

In my apology, I need to examine each issue, brick-by-brick if necessary.  This is the subject matter of “Which Bible 3” and following.  It simply will not do to move away from one, so foundational an issue, only to embrace some heretical, liberal, modernist fad.  We are on dangerous ground now, and each step must be chosen carefully.  Even so, we are confident that God the Holy Spirit will lead us in the right path, according to the promise of Scripture, and we shall discover that, because of the Holy Spirit’s faithful guidance we are not as far off that path as we first thought: we are simply experiencing a little patch of fog along our journey.  If we stumble we shall discover that God has purpose, even in our stumbling.

God bless you all, and thank you for your patience.

What follows immediately is our original statement of purpose.  It is still our valid and worthy objective.

The Source of the Question

More than one denomination has struggled with choosing an “approved” Bible translation: for pulpit reading, for a study Bible, for whatever reason.

This quest may be presented in some sort of position or study paper, all very necessary and well-intended.  Such papers are frequently written for the novice so as not to exclude young people or others from the decision process with complicated theological language, equally necessary and well-intended.  A paper might even be apropos for beginning seminary students, who may be approaching serious theological studies for the first time.

However, many Christians and theologians will find this kind of presentation tedious.  They will know that we are just scratching the surface.  A well informed decision requires much more information: more profound and more in quantity.

Yours in Christ,

[1] http://www.etsjets.org/files/JETS-PDFs/37/37-2/JETS_37-2_185-215_Wallace.pdf

Monday, September 23, 2013

Which Bible 8

Which Bible 8

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Answering Questions

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.  So far, we have covered the first four of the following questions.  These questions aim at discovering principles to help us find a new set of text criticism rules.

“Some suggestions about where the rules should be headed.  A few of the subjects we should explore include:

·       What is an accurate definition of Autographa and where are they located?

·       How were Autographa historically accessed and how do we access them today?

·       Are the Autographa a single collection of unchanging documents, or can they be changed?  Are there possibly multiple Autographa?

·       What is Inspiration?

·       What is Inscripturation and how does it relate to Transcription?

·       What is Canonization and who has authority to Canonize?  Is Canonization fundamentally: an act of God, an act of the Jews, an act of the Church, or an act of man?

·       How shall evidence be handled?

·       How do we focus on real translatable differences, and not on meaningless trivia, or on mere document counting?

·       What Bible(s) can we recommend to the Church?”

Before we move on to Inscripturation and Transcription, let’s see if we can put a sharper point on Inspiration.

Mediate and Immediate Inspiration

When I was a very small boy I thought that immediate and instant meant the same thing.  I had no functional idea of a go-between, and would not develop one for many years.  Even after I began to get a handle on the idea of an advocate, it never occurred to me that this was very similar to a mediator: someone or something that stands in the middle, someone who prevents direct contact between two other persons or things, often adversarial to each other.  Such mediation can obstruct, it can stop fights; but usually it exists to enhance some sort positive of action, such as making peace or reconciliation.  Of course Christ is our Great Mediator.  For another example, theologians discuss immediate and mediate revelation.[1]

When we speak of the special knowledge of God, such as that found in the Bible it is common to find a sharp distinction drawn between immediate and mediate revelation; immediate and mediate inspiration.  If we learn about dirt from handling dirt, that is immediate.  If we learn something about God from handling dirt, that is mediate: the dirt mediates between God and us.  Everything we learn about God from the created universe is mediate.  If we learn something about God from handling a Bible, that is mediate: the Bible mediates between God and us.  There are some folks who insist that all knowledge of God is mediated: God cannot be known outside of the Bible, the church, saints, and so forth.  Is this true?  Is there another way to know God?

Don’t let this use of the word, know, throw you.  God’s inner nature cannot be known at all.  We only know about God’s inner nature because of what He has Created and Said: these two things teach us what God is like.  Here, we are using the word, know, to mean something that is experienced, not something that is absolutely understood.  No matter how intimate a relationship develops, we can never know any other person’s inner nature.  There is considerable doubt that we can even know our own inner nature.  Only God Himself knows, and understands our inner nature.  What we know is external: actions, behavior, the trail of works that another person has done.  All this is beside the point.  The question we raise is, “Can it be possible for ordinary Christians like us to know God, to experience direct or immediate communication with God?”  Many say, “No.”

Mad scientists occasionally conclude that if one has conversations with secret invisible friends,[2] one is not rowing with both oars in the water.  This sort of scientist overlooks how much of science is dependent on the invisible: atomic and nuclear science for example.  They have forgotten about the philosophical immensity of human ignorance.  For such short sighted scientists, God cannot be seen, therefore He does not exist, they conclude.[3]  They suppose it is scientifically impossible for anyone to have the immediate experience of God: that which is not observable, is not provable, hence not believed.  People that believe in God are in the advanced stages of lunacy, these myopic scientists (fail to) think.[4]  Such scientists have forgotten that in all the universe, man is especially blind.[5]

On the other hand, theologians sometimes conclude that it is impossible for anyone to have the immediate experience of God.  They reason that such immediate experience was limited to the Apostles and Prophets: now that we have a completed Bible, that ship has sailed, in their view.  They have determined that we can only have the mediate experience of God through the Bible.  If we’re not careful, Sola Scriptura can be pressed to mean that our knowledge of God is exclusively a mediate experience of God through the Bible.[6]

Others have claimed that such immediate experience was limited to them personally, or to their special group.  The Gnostics: for example claimed to have a special inside knowledge of God, wherein one must become a gnostic to receive their secrets.  If we’re not careful, the idea of a Magisteria can be pressed to mean that our knowledge of God is exclusively a mediate experience of God through that Magisteria.

We, on the other hand, are claiming that the immediate experience of God in the gift of the Holy Ghost is the normal experience of every Christian.[7]  Moreover, we claim that such a gift is available to the whole human race, just for the sincerity of asking.[8]  However, this immediate experience of God comes to us, only because Jesus Christ has risen from the dead, and we are consequently made partakers of and are indwelled[9] by the Trinity;[10] so that we joyously cry, “God became man, so that man might become god.”[11]

We are also claiming that the mediate experience of God in the gift of the Bible is the normal experience of every Christian.  Moreover, we claim the God is mediately known through history, sacraments, and the preaching of The Church, which includes dogma.

Because this immediate experience of God, in the gift of the Holy Ghost, is the normal experience of every Christian, we also believe several corollaries:

·       The keys of the kingdom are given to The whole Christian Church on earth, not to an individual, or class of individuals.

·       The laity is the highest ranking office in The Christian Church on earth: all other offices are offices of humiliation and service.[12]

·       The Church is collegial in its nature: the Spirit’s voice to the lowliest, uneducated peasant is equal to that of the greatest theologian.[13]

·       Apostolic succession is an important and treasured gift, it is not a license to lord it over a church.[14]

Inscripturation.  What is Inscripturation?

The idea of Inscripturation is simple enough: it means writing the Super-Ordinary Inspiration down for the first time, making the Inspiration into the Autographa.  That’s easy enough to say.  It was easy enough to preserve too, for a mere eight hundred sixty years or so.  The Israelites surely knew how to preserve documents with oil and store them in sealed clay vessels.  They also must have known how to repair damage to precious documents.[15]

The problem is that we don’t know much about what ancient scribes[16] used for writing tools: tables, chairs, brushes, charcoal, chisels, pens, scribes (sharp needlelike instruments); what they used for writing surfaces: likely velum, but no samples have survived to the best of our knowledge; how surface preparation was completed: possibly some sort of pumice or grain flour talcum; how erasure was accomplished: probably scraping and washing.  We don’t know how they split and tanned the leather, or if it was rawhide.  We don’t know what inks, paints, or other writing materials were used.  Worst of all we don’t know what their writing really looked like, or what the Hebrew language was like in the days of Moses.

Inscripturation itself was a prodigious task: all done manually.  If Moses did all the writing himself, he was a very busy man to complete five large books, all by hand, in the space of forty years.  Besides that enormous pile of writing, he also had an ungrateful nation to run: he was incessantly pestered to preside in judgment, even for trivial issues.  Fortunately, Moses’ father-in-law had a sensible solution for administrative problems.[17]  In addition to all this, Moses had to defend against Pharaoh, divide a sea, purify the water, feed two and a half million people, organize spies, wage war with Amalekites, march around aimlessly, and spend time with God.[18]  Moses had an incredible work load.

This is the sort of problem we are trying to unravel in search of a high quality archetype that is reasonably representative of the Autographa.  These Autographa, it would seem, have now been moved to heaven, beside the throne of Jesus Christ.  This presents another problem: for Jesus Christ is the only one capable of opening and reading the Autographa.[19]

The Autographa, as Moses and subsequent Prophets wrote them, were all lost or destroyed at the start of the Babylonian Captivity (586 BC).  We have no idea how these came to be the Scroll in Jesus’ hands.  One possibility would be that God took the Autographa with Him to heaven when the Glory of God abandoned Solomon’s Temple, as Ezekiel tells us.  This may also explain the disappearance of the Ark, Decalogue, Mercy Seat, Urim, and Thummim.  Such details present considerable and weighty problems for us, but they are no problem at all for God.

We have no access to the Autographa in Jesus’ hands, so it is absolutely impossible for us to verify a single manuscript shred from it.

Transcription.  What is Transcription?

Transcription is another concept that is simple to talk about.  Our mountain of ignorance prohibits our knowing or saying very much.  Transcription is simply the process and technology of making and distributing copies.

All the unknowable issues that apply to writing the original also apply to making hand written copies, plus a few new ones.  In one method, a scribe worked from a single master,[20] copied what he saw, one letter at a time.  In another method, a leader read from the master document, while any number of scribes copied what they heard, one letter at a time.[21]

Both methods had the potential for introducing scribal errors.  As long as access to the Autographa was possible the copies could be authenticated from the Autographa.  Moreover, God was always present: any unresolved questions could be settled with Urim and Thummim.

After the Babylonian Captivity (516 BC), when the Autographa was gone from earth, such copies were used to reconstruct the basic Old Testament text.  Nevertheless, this text was not the Hebrew of the Mosaic era: over the eight hundred ninety years since Moses’ death the Hebrew language transitioned, as all languages do.  The Jews went to Babylon speaking a more modern Hebrew than that of Moses; they returned speaking Aramaic.[22]  The reconstructed text was what we know of the Hebrew language written in Aramaic block letters.  Some of the newer books, like Daniel, were written directly in the Aramaic language.  The Glory never returned to the Second Temple and the reconstructed text was never authenticated by God.  Books like Daniel were never laid up in God’s presence.  In spite of this we have every reason to believe that the scribes responsible for this reconstruction, labored faithfully and produced a good but less than perfect archetype.[23]

Such transcription work, both before and after the Babylonian Captivity, necessitates a rather large library operation.  This would have been located near or even within the Tabernacle or Solomon’s Temple.  As with any modern county seat, public records had to be filed, maintained, researched, and copied.  Some of those public records were kept in Scripture.  Once the synagogue system developed, the demand for accurate copies of Scripture only increased.

By no later than 132 BC the complete Aramaic Old Testament was translated into Greek,[24] which is by now the vernacular language of the Jewish people.[25]  Scholars, scribes of the Pharisees and Sadducees, no doubt retained command of the Aramaic, some perhaps even held some knowledge of Hebrew.  For the ordinary Jewish peasant or proselyte, Greek was the first language.  Then Latin became necessary for trade with the Romans; but, even ranking Romans preferred Greek.  Everybody remembered a few favorite words or phrases from the ancient language.  Most likely, everyone learned the Shema.  However, several of the Dead Sea Scrolls are written in Greek, which establishes common Greek use, if not dominance in Palestine.[26]

After the Crucifixion of Christ, the Apostles continued the work of Inscripturation.[27]  Christian scribes carried on the faithful transcription of the Greek Old and New Testaments.  The Jews, in their rejection of Christ, in jealousy returned to the Hebrew language.

It is these transcriptions with which we must work.  We do not have the Autographa, there is every reason to believe they are in heaven with Christ.  We do not have an archetype, this is something which we must try to reconstruct from the evidence.  What we have is these surviving manuscripts: written in Greek, Aramaic, Latin, and numerous other languages.  It is these manuscripts we must date, evaluate, sort, and untangle: easy to say, hard to do.

When Adam was young, before he had a wife, the Lord paraded the animals in front of Adam to see what he would call them.  God did not say to Adam, “This is this, and that is that.”  What God said, in effect was, “Adam, Figure it out.”  This is the dominant question that God has set before all mankind, “Figure it out.”  This question lies behind all learning and all science, “Figure it out.”  When Jesus promised the Holy Ghost to The Church, He will lead you into all truth, He did not say, “Here it is.  This is how the cow ate the cabbage.”  Rather, Jesus showed us His ubiquitous presence in the Old Testament and said,[28] “Figure it out.  The Holy Ghost will help you figure it out.”[29]  The Truth of God does not come to us without human sweat.  To be sure, it is a gift of which we are unworthy, an unattainable gift of which we are incapable.  Nevertheless, God loves us and has given us the Holy Ghost and that is all we need to begin.  If we are failing, we need to pray more, trust more, hope more, love more.  “Figure it out.”

If text-types truly exist we shall discover them in these manuscripts, and in the manuscript history.

[1] This distinction between immediate and mediate general revelation sets the stage for where we are going.  Knowledge of creation may be immediate or mediate.  When we experience dirt by touching it with our bare hands, this is an immediate experience.  If we mediate by examining the dirt with a microscope, we would not find great value in the distinction.  However, if we had no sense of touch or sight, but learned all about the nature of dirt, second hand, from the description of another person; that would be an important use of the term mediation.  http://www.ligonier.org/blog/general-and-special-revelation-reformed-approach-science-and-scripture/
[2] Casper: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casper_the_Friendly_Ghost and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Casper_(film)  Harvey: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey_(play) and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harvey_(film)
[3] How frequently have we heard the inane, “Prove to me that God exists.”
[4] This is not thinking.  Man’s scope of observation is limited to the edge of the universe, which appears to be growing.  Every minute we can see more deeply into this universe, because fresh light is arriving all the time.  But we can never see outside of this universe, so it is a scientific absurdity to draw conclusions about what cannot be observed.  We think we have discovered the Higgs, and we may have learned one new thing.  However, in learning that one new thing we have uncovered thousand more of unresolved questions.  We may have stumbled upon a new analogous explanation of the ubiquity of Deity, but we have not by experimentation or sight tripped over His Person.  Why should science stoop to idle speculation about that which is unknown?  Why should puny man believe that he can scale this larger than Everest mountain.
[5] http://swantec.blogspot.com/2012/09/the-absolute-existence-of-god-1.html, and http://swantec.blogspot.com/2012/ 11/the-absolute-existence-of-god-2.html
[6] We would contend that Sola Scriptura can never and has never meant this.  For us, Sola Scriptura simply means that if difficulty arises in a point of theology the final authority for human arbitration must be the Bible.  We are not free to contradict the plain meaning of the Bible with some man made dogma.  Nevertheless, most dogma is easily substantiated from the Bible, and it has stood the test of time: namely, that Christians over many centuries, even millennia have believed most dogma to be an accurate summary of what the Bible teaches.
[7] Romans 8:16 for example, we cannot find one indication in the Bible that this gift of the Holy Ghost has become inoperative, removed, or otherwise closed.  Luther in, On The Bondage of the Will, takes great pains to emphasize the absolute necessity of this gift: frequently asserting that he has it, while suggesting that his adversaries do not.
[8] Luke 11:9-13
[9] God’s indwelling must be differentiated from God’s omnipresence or ubiquity.  First of all, ubiquity does not mean that there is a little piece of God here, and another little piece of God there, so that God is spread all over the universe in every rock, tree, and star: that would be pantheism.  Ubiquity means that all of God is present at every point in the universe.  God is always present in us.  The difference between ubiquity and indwelling is that with God’s indwelling, He initiates a developing conversation, a friendship, a relationship with us.  “God Himself is the Fountain of Truth.  He is the Sole Source of all Light, Life, and Love.  Everything we are and have stems from His relationship with us.”  God has repeatedly approached us, inviting this conversation: in creation, in the flood, in the Law, in David and Solomon, in all the prophets, and now, finally, in His Son (Hebrews 1:1-3).  Those who are turning to God will discover that He has never been far away.
[10] 2 Peter 1:4
[11] Theosis or Glorification: Εἰρηναῖος (d. 202), Ἀθανάσιος (d. 373), and Augustine (d. 430) all taught this.  We are probably indebted to Ἀθανάσιος for its fullest development.  Not simply a future promise, but as Peter notes, that of which we have already partaken.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Divinization_(Christian)
[12] John 13:12-17, this means that we hear each other’s confessions, forgive, grant absolution, and reconcile.  Although the process is carried out in reverse in the following example, it would have sent the wrong message if done in the usual order: the victims did not need cleansing, the priesthood did.  In spite of this we must applaud the act.  This is what leadership in The Church is about: humble service.  We sincerely regret the circumstances that prompted this act of humility and service: the circumstances are not the point being illustrated.  The humility of the service is what is noteworthy here.  http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1359091/Irish-archbishop-Diarmuid-Martin-washes-feet-sexual-abuse-victims.html
[13] Amos 1:1; 7:14, What Amos shows is that the lawfully appointed leadership (see Apostolic succession) were defective and derelict in their service, so God sternly rebuked them using the voice of a peasant, called from outside of the legal channels.  We are reminded that God is the Great covenant lawgiver, who speaks, even when normal legal channels fail.  It was necessary to rebuke Balaam from the mouth of a dumb donkey, because he refused to listen to the messages sent by angels (Numbers 22).  God is not limited, even to His own appointed instruments, such as those possessing Apostolic succession.
[14] 1 Peter 5:1-4, unfortunately, The Church sometimes seems to have more bosses, than it has shepherds.
[15] The opposing assumption is ludicrous, this would mean that we cannot possibly have any credible evidence of Moses or most ancients.  The reality is that many artifacts remain from 3000 BC, nearly 1500 years before Moses was born.  We have writing from long before 2000 BC.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ancient_literature, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_the_oldest_buildings_in_the_world, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sphinx, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Sphinx_of_Giza, and http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Pyramid_of_Giza
[16] 1446 BC
[17] Exodus 18
[18] Exodus 14; 15:23-25; 16; Numbers 13-14; Exodus 17; Numbers 32:13; Exodus 33:11
[19] Revelation 5
[20] There is also the possibility that a single scribe worked from more than one master, producing a conflated text.  This presents us with still other problems.  Yet, at the first, we hope that there was only one master to copy from.  This is not necessarily true either: for example, in the New Testament, circular letters may have been customized for each receiving church.  We always have the possibility that the author issued a second edition as well: this is what we believe to be the actual case.  One master document, one scribe, one copy is merely the simplest possible copying situation.  An even more complex situation would exist for one master document, one scribe, making several copies at a time: for example, a scribe making seven new documents could make seven copies of page one before proceeding to page two.  This appears to be the way Peter Paul Rubens made paintings, so there is no reason to ignore the possibility of considerable complexity in the copying process.
[21] One master document and reader, several scribes, one copy per scribe is merely the next to the simplest possible copying situation.  Conflation and other complexities of copying are possible here as well.  Each variation introduces a new set of potential errors and problems for us to unravel.
[22] Chaldean
[23] The absence of the visible physical presence of The Glory from Israel between the tears 586 and 4 BC remains among the most alarming and mysterious facts of Biblical history.  Obviously, The Glory was invisibly and secretly among them in and after the exile or we would not possess several books, such as Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, or Malachi.  There is no evidence that The Glory ever entered the Second Temple.  When He finally arrived in 4 BC it was to enter Herod’s Temple, and condemn it.  Even more mysterious and significant is the fact that the Temple, which concerns Him most, the most significant Temple, which He enters, is the Temple of His own body, entered by incarnation.  Seeking temples made of mere stone misses God’s primary point.
[24] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint_manuscripts, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Septuagint, http://www.bibliahebraica.com/the_texts/septuagint.htm, http://orthodoxwiki.org/Septuagint
[25] The following article maintains that Greek was not favored by rural Jews, but by metropolitan Jews.  While the politicians doubtless maneuvered their Greek alliances (see Simon), the dominant religious force was Pharisaism, not known for its rural character.  The Jews of Galilee were considered to be ignorant and uneducated, implying that they were not especially religious, did not know the law, and failed to practice it.  This suggests that they were more interested in eking out a minimum survival and disinterested in fending off encroaching Greek culture.  The widespread evidence of Greek names and words (συνέδριον, βασιλέως) used in the article favors a Greek dominant culture.  Note also the blending of Jewish and Greek names (Alexander Jannaeus, Salome Alexandra).  If this dominant Hellenization were not the case for wide segments of the Jewish population, the Pharisees would not have raised such a fuss over it.  Philo (Φίλων, 20 BC-50 AD) the well-known Jewish scholar may not have known Hebrew at all.  The evidence supports the idea that Josephus himself wrote in Greek and Latin.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hasmonean_dynasty, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Judas_ Maccabeus, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jonathan_Maccabaeus, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Simon_Maccabaeus, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/John_Hyrcanus, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Aristobulus_I, http://en.wikipedia.org/ wiki/Alexander_Jannaeus, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salome_Alexandra, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hyrcanus_ II, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Philo, http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/12116-philo-judaeus#anchor8, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Josephus
[26] A total of 132 documents; 4Q: fragments of Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy; 7Q: fragments of Exodus, Epistle of Jeremiah; 8Hev: Minor Prophets; MUR: Christian Liturgical Text (http://www.deadseascrolls.org.il/explore-the-archive/search#q=script_language_en:'Greek', http://dss.collections.imj.org.il/dss_video), http://www.auburn.edu/ ~allenkc/openhse/deadsea.html
[27]However, the Dead Sea discoveries do not support the early dates that we maintain, especially for the Gospels.  Our stance is dependent on Church tradition, and the internal testimony of the Bible itself.  http://www.bib-arch.org/ online-exclusives/dead-sea-scrolls-13.asp, http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/religion/portrait/ scrollmeaning.html
[28] Luke 24:27, 44-48
[29] Luke 24:49; John 16:13

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Which Bible 7

Which Bible 7

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Answering Questions

Dear brothers and sisters in Christ.  A few days ago, we covered the first three of the following questions.  These questions aim at discovering principles to help us find a new set of text criticism rules.  This is just the start of the process.  Please help point out errors, problems, and questions that you see.  Please help find what is missing.

“Some suggestions about where the rules should be headed.  A few of the subjects we should explore include:

·       What is an accurate definition of Autographa and where are they located?

·       How were Autographa historically accessed and how do we access them today?

·       Are the Autographa a single collection of unchanging documents, or can they be changed?  Are there possibly multiple Autographa?

·       What is Inspiration?

·       What is Inscripturation and how does it relate to Transcription?

·       What is Canonization and who has authority to Canonize?  Is Canonization fundamentally: an act of God, an act of the Jews, an act of the Church, or an act of man?

·       How shall evidence be handled?

·       How do we focus on real translatable differences, and not on meaningless trivia, or on mere document counting?

·       What Bible(s) can we recommend to the Church?”

Today, let’s talk about Inspiration.

Inspiration.  What is Inspiration?

One approach to Inspiration,[1] common among some conservative Christians, is called Verbal, Plenary Inspiration.[2]  This view is so tenaciously and tightly held by some that, in their opinion, anyone rejecting it is branded a liberal, a modernist, a heretic, even an apostate.  I want you to know that I have no intention of becoming a liberal, or imitating liberals in any way.  We hope to show that Verbal, Plenary Inspiration is not what the Bible teaches about itself: therefore, Verbal, Plenary Inspiration cannot be a conservative viewpoint.

One use of the term Verbal, Plenary Inspiration states that plenary relates to the whole Bible: all the words of the whole Bible are inspired by God.  We have no particular contention with this statement, providing it means that all the words of the scroll in Jesus’ hands are inspired by God.[3]  However, if this statement applies to anything more or less than the words of the scroll in Jesus’ hands, then we cannot agree.  Moreover, the words of the scroll in Jesus’ hands are obviously inerrant, perfect in every way.

We have a problem.  No mere man has the power or the authority[4] to open the scroll in Jesus’ hands.  Since this is the case, it is more than a bit presumptuous, on the basis of an Autographa alone, for us to claim that we know what books make up the Bible, or what their contents are.  We do not know and cannot know unless the Son of God and the Holy Ghost are pleased to teach us.

We intend to say much less than what the proponents of Verbal, Plenary Inspiration say; and we intend to say much more than what the adversaries of Verbal, Plenary Inspiration commonly say.  What we have protested thus far is the use of Matthew 5:17 and Luke 16:17 to create a doctrine of Verbal, Plenary Inspiration that guarantees perfection of the letter forms and spelling of the text.  Except in special circumstances, as in the Decalogue, the handwriting on the wall in Daniel, Jesus’ writing with His finger in the dirt, and like specific cases, this simply cannot be true.

Inspiration, as it is commonly used by conservative Christians, applies only to the Autographa, the scroll in Jesus’ hands.  This is really Super-Ordinary[5] Inspiration.  It does not apply to archetypes, ancient manuscripts,[6] translations, or the Bible in our hands.  We intend to show from Scripture that Inspiration means far more than this, but Inspiration is not the same as the term inspiration commonly used in society.  What society commonly calls inspiration is really Sub-Ordinary Inspiration.  We need to discover what Ordinary Inspiration is.

Inspiration as it is used in theology (Super-Ordinary), and inspiration of a beautiful work of art (Sub-Ordinary) seem to be a lot alike, and many people do confuse or equate them.  We will show that they may be similar, but that they are really quite different.  Finally, we will examine the Bible guidelines for knowing the difference between Inspiration (Super-Ordinary), and inspiration (Sub-Ordinary); then discover how Ordinary Inspiration fits in.

Where do great ideas come from?  We commonly say that they are inspired, and so they are.  We do not believe that men, in and of themselves, come up with such brilliance.  Man is simply not that smart.[7]  We believe that such brilliance comes from outside of man, either from demons, or from God and His holy angels.  We do not believe that any mere man is deserving of any title, copyright, or patent: all of these are gifts from God.  Whenever, such brilliance is inspired in unbelievers, we believe that it is the work of God’s Common Grace.[8]  Characteristically, we like to take credit for such things as though they were our own, but that is simply stealing; and the failure to give the Glory to God, where it belongs.  We do have crowns, but we will cast all of them at the feet of Jesus Christ our King: for He is the giver of every single crown and human glory.[9]  Inspiration is much more than Common Grace in action.

Finding a Biblical Definition

“The Lord spoke to Moses face to face, as a man speaks to his friend.”[10]

“I will take the Spirit which is on you [Moses], and will put it on them … The Lord came down in a cloud … and took of the Spirit that was on him [Moses], and gave it to the seventy elders: and … when the Spirit rested on them, they prophesied, and did not cease.  But … Eldad and … Medad … the Spirit rested on them … and they prophesied in the camp … ‘Eldad and Medad prophesy in the camp.’  Moses said … ‘Would God that all the Lord’s people were prophets,[11] that the Lord would put His Spirit on them!’ ”[12]

“I say to you, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks it shall be opened.  If a son asks for bread from any of you fathers, will he give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?  Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Ghost to those who ask Him?’ ”[13]

“Verily, verily,[14] I say to you, ‘He who believes on Me, the works that I do, he shall also do; and he shall do greater works than these; because I go to My Father ... He shall give you another Comforter, that He may abide with you forever; even the Spirit of truth … you know Him: for He dwells with you, and shall be in you ... I will not leave you comfortless: I will come to you … you shall know that I am in My Father, and you in Me, and I in you … We will come to him [you], and make Our dwelling with him [you]. … The Comforter, Who is the Holy Ghost, Whom the Father will send in My name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatever I have said to you.”[15]

“It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I don’t go away, the Comforter will not come to you; but if I depart, I will send Him to you … when He comes, He will reprove the world of sin, righteousness, and judgment … when He, the Spirit of truth, comes, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will show you things to come.  He shall glorify Me: for He shall receive of Mine, and shall show it to you.  All things that the Father has are Mine: therefore I said, that He shall take of Mine, and shall show it to you.[16]

“I have given them Your Word.”[17]

“He breathed on them, and said to them, ‘Receive the Holy Ghost.’ ”[18]

“When … Pentecost came … suddenly a sound came from heaven as a mighty rushing wind … and they were all filled with the Holy Ghost, and began to speak with other tongues, as the Spirit gave them utterance … [about] the wonderful works of God ... God says, “In the last days I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh: and your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, and your young men shall see visions, and your old men shall dream dreams … I will pour out My Spirit on My servants and handmaids in those days and they shall prophesy … I will show wonders in heaven above, and signs in the earth beneath; blood, and fire, and smoke vapor … the sun shall be turned to darkness, and the moon to blood, before the great and notable day of the Lord comes … Jesus of Nazareth …  you have taken, … crucified, and slain: Whom God has raised up … David … being a prophet, and knowing that God … would raise up Christ to sit on his throne … spoke of the resurrection of Christ … being exalted by the right hand of God, and having received the promise of the Holy Ghost from the Father, He has shed forth this, which you now see and hear ... they … said … ‘What shall we do?’ … Peter said … ‘Repent, and be baptized every one of you in the name of Jesus Christ … and you shall receive the gift of the Holy Ghost’ ... and fear came upon every soul: and many wonders and signs were done by the apostles.”[19]

“There is … no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who walk … after the Spirit … the law of the Spirit of life in Christ Jesus has made me [you] free … so that the righteousness of the law might be fulfilled in us [you], who walk … after the Spirit … those who… are after the Spirit [mind[20]] the things of the Spirit ... to be … spiritually minded is life and peace ... you are … in the Spirit, if the Spirit of God dwells in you ... if any man does not have the Spirit of Christ, he is none of His ... if Christ is in you … the Spirit is alive because of righteousness ... if the Spirit of Him Who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He Who raised Christ from the dead shall also bring your mortal bodies to life by His Spirit Who dwells in you ... if you through the Spirit mortify the deeds of the body, you shall live ... as many as are led by the Spirit of God, are the sons of God ... you have not received the spirit of bondage … you have received the Spirit of adoption, whereby we cry, Abba, Father.  The Spirit itself bears witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God … if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ … we also, who have the firstfruits of the Spirit, even we ourselves groan within ourselves, waiting for the adoption: namely, the redemption of our body … likewise the Spirit also helps our infirmities: for we do not know what we should pray for … but the Spirit … makes intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered.  And He Who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to God’s will … for whom He foreknew, He predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.”[21]

“No man speaking by the Spirit of God calls Jesus accursed.  No man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost ... there are diversities of gifts, but the same Spirit ... the manifestation of the Spirit is given to each man for the profit [of all] ... to one is given the word of wisdom by the Spirit; to another the word of knowledge by the same Spirit; to another faith by the same Spirit; to another the gifts of healing by the same Spirit … all these work by the one and selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man as He wishes ... by one Spirit we are all baptized into one body … and all have been made to drink into one Spirit ... that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another ... when one member suffers, all … suffer … when one member is honored, all … rejoice … you are the body of Christ, individual members of it ... God has set [apart] apostles, prophets, teachers, miracles, gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues … covet earnestly the best gifts: and yet I show you a more excellent way ... though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity,[22] I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal ... though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I can move mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing … though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profits me nothing ... charity never fails … prophecies fail … tongues cease … knowledge vanishes ... we know in part, we prophesy in part ... when … the perfect comes … the part shall be done away ... When I was a child, I spoke, understood, and thought as a child … when I became a man, I put away childish things ... now we see … dimly; but then face to face: now I know in part; but then I shall know even as also I am known ... now faith, hope, and charity abide … but the greatest of these is charity ... pursue charity, and desire spiritual gifts, but rather that you may prophesy ... he who speaks in an unknown tongue does not speak to men, but to God: for no man understands him; although in the Spirit he speaks mysteries … if I pray in an unknown tongue, my spirit prays, but my understanding is unfruitful ... I will pray with the Spirit, and I will pray with the understanding also: I will sing with the Spirit, and I will sing with the understanding also … if any man think himself to be a prophet, or spiritual, let him acknowledge that the things that I write to you are the commandments of the Lord.  Let all things be done decently and in order.”[23]

“Endeavoring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.  There is one body, and one Spirit, even as you are called in one hope of your calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, One God and Father of all, who is above all, and through all, and in you all.  But to every one of us is given grace according to the measure of the gift of Christ ... He gave some: apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors, and teachers: for the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ.  Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ.  That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine … speaking the truth in love, may grow up in Him in all things, which is the head, even Christ … be renewed in the spirit of your mind; and put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness ... and grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby you are sealed until the day of redemption ... for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth … be not drunk with wine, wherein is excess; but be filled with the Spirit; speaking to yourselves in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody in your heart to the Lord; giving thanks always for all things unto God and the Father in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ; submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God ... Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil: for we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, powers, the rulers of the darkness of this world, and against spiritual wickedness in high places.  Wherefore take unto you the whole armor of God, so that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.  Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth; having on the breastplate of righteousness; your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; above all taking the shield of faith wherewith you shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked; take the helmet of salvation; and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God: praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints.” [24]

It is a shame that we needed to condense these wonderful verses to emphasize the work of the Spirit, and develop the meaning of Inspiration.  We beg the reader to return to these passages again and again: please read them through from one end to another until they are carved into your soul — Exodus 33; Numbers 11; John 14; 17; 20; Acts 2; Romans 8; 1 Corinthians 12-14; and Ephesians 4-6.  There are, of course, many other verses on this same subject, but to quote them all would require a quote of the entire Bible.

Inspiration in Broad Strokes

We use the word inspiration with at least three distinct meanings: Super-Ordinary Inspiration, Ordinary Inspiration, and Sub-Ordinary Inspiration.

Super-Ordinary Inspiration

Super-Ordinary Inspiration is a real observable conversation between YHWH and a man or woman.  It is not merely a voice in the head, an inner dialog with God.  It may begin with such inner dialog but until it reaches the level of real observable conversation it has not attained to the fullness of what we mean by Super-Ordinary Inspiration.[25]

Super-Ordinary Inspiration requires that the human partner in the conversation have the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Without this gift we expect that man has no more ability to speak with God than a dumb animal has to speak with man.  However, this gift of the Holy Ghost is the necessary, but not the sufficient condition of Inspiration: conversation does not have to take place.  Conversation is the sufficient condition, if conversation takes place the gift of the Holy Ghost will always be present and active.[26]

Super-Ordinary Inspiration is used to describe God’s primary authorship of Scripture, most commonly through the means of conversation with a prophet, who is also inspired.

“Inspiration:[27] There can be no doubt that Scripture is θεόπνευστος; Exhaled might have been a better term for the Holy Ghost’s activity.[28]  However, we believe that Exodus 33:11 best describes the normative nature of this Inspiration and there is nothing verbal or plenary about it.  A better description would be inspired conversation or inspired prophetic utterance.  This conversation was a two way street between the parent and the child, which leaves room for the child’s inability to fully grasp eternal thoughts and for the child to express himself freely in his own words.  Nor was it limited to one man, Moses.”[29]

In Super-Ordinary Inspiration, both sides of the conversation are inspired: God’s side, because He is God; man’s side, because he is elevated to a wisdom that is above the ordinary.  Such inspired persons are commonly called Prophets in the Old Testament, and Apostles in the New Testament.  This is why The Church is “built on the foundation of the Apostles and Prophets, Jesus Christ himself being the chief corner stone.”[30]  In both Testaments these human instruments are also titled, The Slaves of God.[31]

Ordinary Inspiration

Ordinary Inspiration is called ordinary because it is the ordinary experience[32] of all Baptized Christians.[33]  If this is not your experience, perhaps you will consider examining yourself from the words of Doctor Luke.

“I say to you, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks it shall be opened.  If a son asks for bread from any of you fathers, will he give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?  Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Ghost to those who ask Him?’ ”[34]

Ordinary Inspiration may involve inner dialog, Bath Kol (secondary revelations or private inspirations), meaning a real gift of the Holy Ghost.  The gift of the Holy Ghost commonly, but not exclusively, results in prophesying or proclamation.  Such prophesying may be characterized by predictions of future events, but more frequently it has to do with proclamation of truth or preaching.  There is no way to verify these Bath Kol (secondary revelations or private inspirations) and so they rarely become Super-Ordinary Inspiration.  To become Super-Ordinary Inspiration they must be verified.  Such verification would ordinarily require public recognition (witnesses) and official reception by God in His Tabernacle or Temple (God completes the conversation after the fact).[35]

The gift of the Holy Ghost finds its fulfillment on the Day of Pentecost, 33 AD, when the gift of the Holy Ghost is given to every member of The Church, and from that point forward at baptism.

Jesus promised the future indwelling of the Holy Ghost, of Himself, and of the Father (“We will … make our dwelling”).  This indwelling includes the teaching ministry of the Holy Ghost, which will guide The Church into all truth: we note that this is a growth process and not a single completed and finished act.  It includes giving God’s Word to The Church.  It is associated with the Resurrection.  It is made effective beginning with the Day of Pentecost in 33 AD where it is associated with the Glory of God in tongues of fire, the miraculous ability to speak foreign languages without learning them, prophesy, visions, dreams, and various signs.  Specific to this prophecy is that Jesus of Nazareth is seated on the throne of David by His Resurrection from the dead, from which throne He receives the Father’s promise of the Holy Ghost, Given to The Church.[36]

The Holy Ghost gives a wide variety of inspired gifts.  These gifts are Bath Kol unless they are verified by understanding in the church.[37]

Ordinary Inspiration is used to describe secondary revelations.  In the case of the seventy these appear to be personal.  In the case of Jonah, his personal Todah becomes a matter of Temple record.

We are most concerned with the manner in which these Ordinary Inspirations, secondary revelations relate to the preaching, study, and teaching of Scripture.  We conclude that these activities are impossible without the special gift of the Holy Ghost.  It is the Holy Ghost Who opens the Bible for us.  It is the Holy Ghost Who guides The Church as a whole into all truth.  If this is not true then all Bible preaching, study, and teaching are absurd works of human vanity.  Not only is the human preacher or teacher dependent on the gift of the Holy Ghost, but he trusts that he acts as the voice of Jesus, and that the Holy Ghost will take his words and apply them to the hearts of the congregation as He, the Holy Ghost sees fit.  Hence all Bible preaching, study, and teaching are sacramental, coming only as the gifts of God.  Since we are so dependent on the gift of the Holy Ghost, it is absurd to conclude that such inspiration and gifts have ceased.

Should the preacher take credit for such art or give the glory to God for it?[38]  Is it for St. John’s glory that he could preach with a golden mouth?

Moreover, both the Old and New Testaments speak of a wide variety of other Ordinary[39] Inspirations activities coming from the same inspiration of the Holy Ghost: visions, dreams, miracles, the unity of The Church, apostles, healing, tongues, charity, faith, hope, prayer, singing, blessing, thanksgiving, evangelism, and shepherding: to name a few.  Pentecostals, by-and-large claim all of these gifts; they appear to be correct in this view.  We have no warrant to call Pentecostals wrong in such matters.  When such things occur in private, they are for that individual, almost exclusively.  This is not to say that they can never become of public interest.  If my brother or sister claims that God told him or her to give one thousand dollars to such-and-such a need, who am I to question his or her faith.  The Scripture does not condemn these things, but rather praises them as the norm of Christian life.

We have every right to hope the Bible will be obeyed concerning the orderly use of such gifts within the public meetings of The Church.  The Scripture does not approve of parading these things about in pride.  If they can be used to help a brother or sister, so be it, let them be used modestly, quietly, even secretly.  Paul takes great pains, both in Corinthians and in Ephesians to condemn childish behavior in the use of the gifts of the Holy Ghost.  The Holy Ghost is fully God and we must take great care that we never offend Him by treating Him frivolously, or by trivializing His gifts.  This is a serious life and death matter.

Is the iconographer who spends countless hours in Bible study and prayer justified in believing that his or her work is written, not painted, and that it was inspired by the Holy Ghost?  Should the iconographer take credit for such art or give the glory to God for it.

Not one of these things can be claimed as our own.  They are all the gifts of God, and to Him belongs all the glory.

Sub-Ordinary Inspiration

Sub-Ordinary Inspiration is called sub-ordinary because it falls so far short of what God wishes us to be.  We are designed to be free.  We are designed to fly.  Please.  Come.  Fly with us.

“I say to you, ‘Ask, and it shall be given you; seek, and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened to you.  For everyone who asks receives; and he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks it shall be opened.  If a son asks for bread from any of you fathers, will he give him a stone?  Or if he asks for a fish, will he give him a serpent instead of a fish?  Or if he asks for an egg, will he offer him a scorpion?  If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Ghost to those who ask Him?’ ”[40]

Why should we continue to limp through life, when the gifts of God are ours for the sincerity of our asking?  Come, discover the purposes God has in our suffering.  Learn how trial develops our true character.  Oh Yes, we’ll crash a few times while we’re learning to use our new wings; but for all that pain we’ll never regret it.  Please.  Come.  Fly.

“They that wait on the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint.[41]

Sub-Ordinary Inspiration rarely involves inner dialog.  It is a work of Common Grace.  “It is the goodness of God that brings men to repentance.”[42]

Sub-Ordinary Inspiration is also used to describe the gifts of Common Grace.  These are gifts of God’s glory, as well.  However, they fall far short of the gifts of the Holy Ghost, which are exclusively given to The Church.

Shall the creative engineer, inventor, or scientist claim credit for such work, or shall, being bought to ones knees, will one be driven to cry out for the gift of the Holy Ghost.  Herod made his choice.[43]

Yours in Christ,


[1] http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biblical_inspiration, http://www.opc.org/new_horizons/Inspiration.html, inspiration of scripture, http://home.earthlink.net/~ronrhodes/Inspiration.html, http://carm.org/bible-inspired, and http://www.theopedia.com/Inspiration_of_the_Bible
[2] Literally, every word: but typically every letter and serif on a letter (Matthew 5:17; Luke 16:17).  Greek ἰῶτα ἓν ἢ μία κεραία and μίαν κεραίαν do not correspond exactly with Hebrew yod and those marks that distinguish daleth or nun from resh.  Indeed, there is no exegetical reason to seek a Hebrew meaning at all.  Iota and yod might have a crude correspondence.  Keras, on the other hand, means horn, and is far more conspicuous than tittle, usually counting the number of kings in a nation: hence, indicating the individual laws in the Decalogue.  Pressing Jesus’ declaration to details of spelling minutia is at best dubious.  More likely, His meaning is that each of the ten “words”, which are really ten sentences, in the Decalogue will stand exactly as they are written.  There is no disagreement or doubt about what they mean.  Even though we will draw a conservative and strict view of Inspiration, we doubt that Jesus intended His words about ἰῶτα and κεραία to be pressed to all Scripture, or even beyond the Decalogue at all.  The focus of the Gospels and the New Testament is on the defense of the Decalogue, and not on legal minutia such as dietary requirements.  Plenary simply refers to all the words, without condition or qualification: we suspect that it is untrue that God is always so concerned about the exact wording in every passage.
[3] Revelation 5
[4] είτε ἡ δύναμις ή ἡ ἐξουσία
[5] Linguists appear to prefer supra and infra, but those terms seem obscure, who would know what we were talking about.  Hyper and extra might also work, but in ordinary use super and sub are easier to grasp.
[6] Unless, of course, the particular manuscript accidentally happened to be a lost Autographa fragment, in which case we would be ignorant of what we held anyway.
[7] 1 Corinthians 1:26
[8] Unless, of course, it is demonic in origin: diabolical or evil genius, and the like.  Such demonic works are real enough, but they are counterfeits of and stolen from God’s true genius.  They exist in the world because it is not yet time in God’s plan for them to be cast into the Lake of Fire (Revelation 19:20; 20:10, 14-15; 21:8).  The Lake of Fire is prefigured in the Brazen Altar, where sin is confessed and symbolically destroyed.  In our sincere confession, we cast our sins into the Lake of Fire in abhorrence of them, and longing for their absolute annihilation.  However, sinful beings are not annihilated in the Lake of Fire.
[9] Revelation 4:10-11
[10] Exodus 33:11
[11] Moses’ words are prophetic, being fulfilled in Acts 2
[12] Selections from Numbers 11:16-17, 24-29
[13] Luke 11:9-13, all the children of creation are invited to ask.  No son of Adam or daughter of Eve is excluded from this great invitation.  People are condemned because they never ask, seek, or knock.  The invitation is open, none are turned away.
[14] not “truly, truly;” but rather “in all reality:” ἀμὴν emphasizes the realistic nature of the thing, often an unseen thing, nevertheless very real.
[15] Selections from John 14:12-26
[16] Selections from John 16:7-15
[17] John 17:14
[18] John 20:22
[19] Selections from Acts 2
[20] φρονοῦσιν, here, and φρόνημα in verses 6 2x, 7 and 27, which are related to the noun for diaphragm, emphasize the focused activity of the νοῦς, the mind (see Romans 1:28; 7:23, 25).  Paul writes about the rigorous employment of the intellect; the vigorous, yet humble, use of the mind.  This is not about the emotions or about the will; this is about hard thinking, and thinking hard (Romans 12:3 2x, 16 2x; 14:6 4x; 15:5 — such repetition is always emphatic).  TDNT, Volume 9, page 220-235: Georg Bertram (1896-1979) has a fascinating word study on this topic.
[21] Selections from Romans 8:1-25
[22] Love is a very inadequate rendering of this word in American society, where love has come to mean anything and everything.  This word αγάπην is best defined by the Law and the Gospel.  In the Law we see that we are forbidden to be slaves, especially of idols; or to enslave our fellow men.  This is what it means to love God and love our neighbor.  This is what it means to honor Father and mother.  In the Gospel we see Jesus lay down His life for us, and we should lay down our lives for the brotherhood.  The kingdom of God is the kingdom of absolution, debtlessness, faith, forgiveness, freedom, healing, hope, kindness, justification, mercy, reconciliation, restoration, and sinlessness.  No one may enter this kingdom who hates these things.  This word αγάπην is far more than a warm fuzzy emotion.  It has a price, the blood of Jesus.  At least charity conveys the notion that αγάπην is something given.
[23] Selections from 1 Corinthians 12-14
[24] Selections from Ephesians 4-6
[25] Exodus 33:11
[26] Numbers 11:17
[27] Breathed out, not breathed in, we simply avoid the term expiration because of its negative connotation in the English language.
[28] Acts 1:16; 2:4; Ephesians 3:5; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Timothy 3:16; 2 Peter 1:21
[29] from Which Bible 5
[30] Ephesians 2:20
[31] We believe that this title, The Slave of God is the highest human dignity possible.  Invariably The Slave of God is a bearer of the Word.  We cannot conceive of a higher honor.
[32] for example, 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
[33] Numbers 11:29; Acts 2, this is the baptism of Jesus or the baptism of the Holy Ghost, which are one and the same thing.  There are a wide variety of views about water baptism and its association with the baptism of Jesus.  We are not here debating any of these views.
[34] Luke 11:9-13, all the children of creation are invited to ask.  No son of Adam or daughter of Eve is excluded from this great invitation.  People are condemned because they never ask, seek, or knock.  The invitation is open, none are turned away.
[35] Numbers 11:25, 26, the prophecies of the seventy are not Super-Ordinary, we have no idea what they were.  However, the prophecies of Daniel and Jonah were later recognized by the Jews.  Jonah is received in Solomon’s Temple.  Daniel is received by Jesus.
[36] John 14:26; 16:13; 17:14; 20:22; Acts 2
[37] 1 Corinthians 12-14; Ephesians 4:7-16; the panoply in Ephesians 6:10-20 may also speak of inspired gifts.
[38] One cannot give glory to God without confessing that it was God’s inspiration that made the work, whatever it may be, possible.
[39] These were not ordinary in the Old Testament, they were rare.  The single major difference between the Old Testament Church and the New Testament Church is that the New Testament Church has been given the fullness of the Holy Ghost.
[40] Luke 11:9-13, all the children of creation are invited to ask.  No son of Adam or daughter of Eve is excluded from this great invitation.  People are condemned because they never ask, seek, or knock.  The invitation is open, none are turned away.
[41] Isaiah 40:31
[42] Romans 2:4
[43] Acts 12:23