This is a small DB posting in my NT class with the main text being Blomberg’s book (which we are to read). Enjoy.
Week 5 Discussion Post
Is The New Testament Historically Reliable?
Blomberg begins his discussion of this question by briefly discussing three categories of topics that are written about that is “beyond the mainstream of serious, biblical scholarship.” Afterwards, he moves into a discussion regarding textual criticism. This is an area that I enjoy and am fascinated at the staggering numbers presented.
Rightly so, Blomberg states that “the standard starting point for investigating the trustworthiness of an ancient document… asks if we can even be confident we have anything close to what the author of that document originally wrote.” One cannot begin to simply gather documents relating to a subject and label them as authoritative. One must determine if what is contained in the document obtained is close to what the original was. The oldest copy of a book is what is to be compared to; however, in most cases it is centuries later where copies of the original show up. This is one factor, the time frame, in considering the reliability of a given text.
Another factor for consideration is the number of copies of a given text. Blomberg notes there are only “thirty-five of Livy’s 142 books of Roman history.” Story notes that Iliad “has only 643 surviving manuscripts.” He goes further to note that, “the History of Thucydides, the History of Herodotus, Caesar’s Gallic War, Tacitus’ Histories and Annals, and many other ancient documents have fewer than two dozen surviving copies.”
When considering just these two factors when coming to the New Testament manuscripts, the results are overwhelming. Blomberg notes that in the original Greek there are “over five thousand manuscripts and manuscript fragments.” Ryrie agrees noting additionally that this “makes the New Testament the best-attested document in all ancient writings.” Story further notes, “More than 24,000 partial and complete copies of the New Testament are in existence today.” He goes on to state that, “there are over 86,000 early patristic (church fathers’) quotations from the New Testament and several thousand Lectionaries (early church-service books containing selected Scripture readings) dating to the early centuries of the church. The only other closest manuscript in number of copies is Iliadwith 643 copies.
The next area that was of particular interest was Blomberg’s discussion on hard saying and missing topics. He notes there are two pieces of this type of internal evidence that should be looked at. The first is what Blomberg calls “hard sayings.” He gives an example in Luke 14:26 of where Jesus told his would-be followers, “If anyone comes to me and does not hate father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters – yes, even life itself – such a person cannot be my disciple.” “Such a claim would have scandalized a Jewish audience,” states Blomberg, “that took seriously the Mosaic commandment to honor father and mother, a commandment which Jesus elsewhere himself affirms.” After several more examples, Blomberg lastly notes how Paul when to great lengths to distinguish from Jesus ‘earthly sayings and what Paul believed Jesus was “saying to him as he wrote his letters under divine inspiration.”
Besides the staggering number of manuscripts mentioned above, the next largest area that shows evidence is that of non-Christian writers or outside sources. When discussing the Bible to a non-Christian, it is wonderful to be able to point to sources outside the Bible that point back to the reliability of the Bible. The most “extensive” information from an outside source comes from Josephus. Story states, “Flavius Josephus wrote about John the Baptist and mentioned Jesus by referring to James “the [half] brother of Jesus, the so-called Christ.”  More evidence for Jesus, states that Josephus, “has one brief account of Jesus, which is generally agreed to have been rewritten by Christians.” Josephus remained Jewish and would not have named Jesus as the Messiah; however, this is to be expected being an outside source. Wood also notes, “A number of rather obscure passages in the Talmud…” reference Jesus.
While this very brief look at evidence of answering Blomberg’s question, one can see quickly the overwhelming evidence. Blomberg has presented the evidence in a logical progression, and very readable format. One can read through this chapter, slowly and more than once, and have a much better understanding and confidence in the life changing Word.
Blomberg, Craig L. Making Sense of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic,
Ryrie, Charles Caldwell. A Survey of Bible Doctrine. Chicago: Moody Press, 1972.
Story, Dan. Defending Your Faith. Grand Rapids, Mich: Kregel Publications, 1997.
Wood, D. R. W. and I. Howard Marshall. New Bible Dictionary. 3rd ed. Leicester, England;
Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996.
 Craig L. Blomberg, Making Sense of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2004), 17.
 Dan Story, Defending Your Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1997), 38.
 Charles Caldwell Ryrie, A Survey of Bible Doctrine (Chicago: Moody Press, 1972).
 D. R. W. Wood and I. Howard Marshall, New Bible Dictionary, 3rd ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 563.
This has been a busy year for my family and I. Both the wife and I are still in college and hope to be done at the end of next year.
We started bowling again at the beginning of the year and have been having fun with that. We finished the farm-house remodel and moved in about seven months ago.
Once we moved into the house, I more or less claimed the basement area for woodworking projects. I have built a few items that have been needed in the house, but nothing major.
A couple of months back I noticed that I have no way of making something to give to people. If there is an auction for charity or some other need, there is nothing for me to give. I cannot exactly give networking in an auction or field target. I decided that I would try my hand at carving in wood. Since I now had the space to carve and I already had a Dremel, I looked for my first item to carve.
I had just made an oak desk for my wife and I. On my desk I made a keyboard tray cover that flipped up. I decided to replace the cover and poplar and try my hand at carving on it. Here is the result of my first carving with a Dremel.
I bought a 1×12 piece of shelving board and began brain storming. I asked my oldest son what he would like me to try to carve for his room. He stated, “The tomb where Jesus was raised from.” We searched on the internet for images that are more realistic of what would have been. Here is the result of what we found and I drew on the wood.
Next, I asked my youngest what he would like me to attempt to carve. He said, “Dad, I want a guy riding a bull!” So after much looking on the internet I found an image I could use as a sort of template. By this point I had purchased a new tool that has very small bits and turns the tiny bits at 400,000 RPMs. This is the tool I used to carve Dalton’s picture. Here is the result.
My neighbor’s birthday was coming up, so I decided to make a sign for him. Here is what I made.
The tool I bought states it can also carve on glass. I gave glass engraving a try and gave this to the pro shop owner we had come to know from bowling.
This tool I bought it used quite a bit for gunstock carvings. I am not completely done with my gunstock on my .223, but here is what I have done so far.
I have a few more pictures of other items I have put on the stock. I will upload them later.
Here is a family sign that I made for a friend of mine. I thought it turned out pretty nice.
For now, that is all I have. Christmas is right around the corner and the semester is about over for my wife and I. We are looking forward to the break from homework.
Until next time, Merry Christmas and may God bless your day
I am not been writing much here lately due in part to other responsibilities that have been keeping me busy. In reading Proverbs everyday I find it amazing how it still shows me something else to watch for and let God handle.
I wrote this on my Facebook:
When a wise man has a controversy with a foolish man, the foolish man either rages or laughs, and there is no rest. Prov. 29:9 Which are you, the foolish or wise?
A fool always loses his temper, but a wise man hold it back. Prov. 29:11
Which are you, the foolish or wise?
Be wise and trust God in your steps today.
I read a few verses in Proverbs this morning and those are the questions I posed to myself. To which, the questions can also be posed to yourself.
On a different note, I am ready for winter to be over. I am glad to be able to hunt coyotes (especially since we have four new calves on the ground), but I am ready to get back to FT. I have a Theoben MFR now and won the TN state match with it. I really would like to start practicing more with it. We are planning on going to a match in March and hopefully be wrapping up the remodel on the farm house and of course moving in.
However, we (the wife and I) picked up an old hobby from over ten years ago. Before we were married I use to go with Dawn and her family to a bowling league during the week. I ended up working at two bowling lanes while I was working on my associate degree. We both loved bowling but just got out of it over time. In January we picked it up again and bought new gear. It has been fun bowling again and finally getting a 600 series (209, 224, 207) again after all these years.
I hope to put some of my writings from my master’s degree on my blog. I usually receive a good grade but I have to put in some work. Once I make it through this class (Systematic Theology 1) I will post my research paper.
As you can see, I stay busy! Perhaps when I am done with college I can slow down some.
Until next time,
It has been a while since my last post. There has been a lot happening around this house. I have changed out airguns again and I think I found a winner. Dawn is now shooting with me at the matches and having fun. My graduate degree is harder than expected and I found out the other day that Liberty has been accepted to “increase the bar” for academic requirements – which will put them on the same level as Harvard and Yale. The boys are growing up fast and continue to entertain both Dawn and I.
Well, apart from the day-to-day items, I found this image today and it reminded me of something.
There are Christians, some I have talked with, who feel that one should not be humours. The serious Christian should always be serious about all topics and subjects. However, this is not the case. I do not wish to go into the various scripture that shows humor in the Bible, but know that we are not to be stiff about everything.
This point comes with knowledge and understanding about when is good and when is poor humor. The preacher who prayed the “funny” prayer at the Nashville Super Speedway this year is an example of poor humor and very poor judgment. When a Christian tells horrible jokes (not suitable for children or women), that is an example of poor humor.
There are many, many facets to this discussion, but know this – God made a “funny bone” for a reason. I make jokes and do silly things quite frequently.
That is it… just wanted to remind everyone ( the two people who read this blog ) to have some humor!
I finished the video of the FT Nationals. It is fairly short, but I wanted to give someone the feel or idea about what the Nationals are and what happens.
Of course, being the serious individual that I am – there is very little humor in the video.
It was a wonderful time for my family and I. There was good food, good conversations, and of course good shooting.
Today at my farm we had a nice fun practice FT match. Pat, Harold, and I setup 10 lanes. The match was a standard 10 lanes, two targets per lane, 3 shots per target for a total of 60 shots. To add to the fun Roz and Cliff came over also. There was one lane we decided to split between kneeling (1 per) and standing (2 per target).
With the Nationals just around the corner, we all wanted to get in some more practice. Roz brought a TX200 that he had been cleaning and testing out. The TX had a beautiful stock and seemed to shoot well.
My wife shot with me with her pistol but since the kill zones where much smaller than what a pistol match would be, she shot just for extra practice.
Pat was having some problems with his USFT, drove back home, grabbed his EV2, and shot the match with his EV2. He had been having problems with his EV2, but he stated it seemed to be shooting better.
Well, it was a wonderful day for shooting; however, the wind was very gusty. Just guessing I would say the winds varied from 5 to 20 or 25 mph. Given it was an open field this made the difficulty rise quite a bit. Also, the wind was constantly shifting. On some shots I would have to change my wind correction two or three times. So a great day for wind practice! J
After all was over my wife ordered some pizza and we sat around a talked a bit. It was a great day of shooting with a great bunch of guys (and my wife – of course .
Jeff AA S400 JSB 8.4 Bushnell 8-32 40
Pat EV-2 JSB 8.4 Nikko 10-50 33
Cliff TX200 CPL B/L 6-24 41
Roz TX200 CPL B/L 4200 32
Harold EV-2 JSB Express Leupold 35x 52
Afterwards we setup a few lanes for a pistol match. My wife and Harold shot 5 lanes with two targets at each lane. My wife asked me to leave off her score; however, given that this is her first real practice match ever with a pistol I think she did great – especially with the crazy wind conditions today. It was a great day of fun. I am glad everyone could make it out. Hopefully next time perhaps Steve Vines and John B. can make it. They were missed.
Here are a few pictures from today.
Setting Up Lanes
Look at the wind flag on Harold’s gun. It was that much wind.
Until next time,
I decided to make a quick video describing the process of range finding a target with your scope and clicking (changing the elevation). This process, when actually shooting, does not take that long, but when describing the process it seems like it does.
Here is the video.
Please let me know if you have questions.