Archive for the ‘Bible’ Category

Is The New Testament Historically Reliable?   Leave a comment

This is a small DB posting in my NT class with the main text being Blomberg’s book (which we are to read). Enjoy. 🙂

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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.”[1] 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.”[2] 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.[3] 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.”[4] 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.”[5]

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.”[6] Ryrie agrees noting additionally that this “makes the New Testament the best-attested document in all ancient writings.”[7] Story further notes, “More than 24,000 partial and complete copies of the New Testament are in existence today.”[8] 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.[9] 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.”[10] 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.”[11] 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.”[12]

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.” [13] More evidence for Jesus, states that Josephus, “has one brief account of Jesus, which is generally agreed to have been rewritten by Christians.”[14] Josephus remained Jewish and would not have named Jesus as the Messiah;[15] however, this is to be expected being an outside source. Wood also notes, “A number of rather obscure passages in the Talmud…”[16] 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.

 

 

BIBLIOGRAPHY

Blomberg, Craig L. Making Sense of the New Testament. Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic,

2004.

 

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.


[1] Craig L. Blomberg, Making Sense of the New Testament (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Academic, 2004), 17.

[2] Ibid, 22.

 

[3] Ibid.

 

[4] Ibid.

 

[5] Dan Story, Defending Your Faith (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel Publications, 1997), 38.

[6] Blomberg, 22.

 

[7] Charles Caldwell Ryrie, A Survey of Bible Doctrine (Chicago: Moody Press, 1972).

[8] Story, 38.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Blomberg, 43.

[11] Ibid, 44.

[12] Ibid, 45.

[13] Story, 45.

[14] D. R. W. Wood and I. Howard Marshall, New Bible Dictionary, 3rd ed. (Leicester, England; Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1996), 563.

[15] Blomberg, 47.

[16] Wood, 563-64.

Posted February 12, 2013 by avv604 in Bible

Winter – go away!   Leave a comment

Greetings All,

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,
In Christ,
Jeff

 

Posted February 17, 2012 by avv604 in Bible, General

Humor – Don’t forget about it   Leave a comment

Greetings All,

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!

 

In Christ,
Jeff

Posted December 20, 2011 by avv604 in Bible, General

Camping’s Prediction Shown to Be False   Leave a comment

Greeting All,
As expected nothing happened over the weekend but more day-to-day activities. One may quickly state how the false Camping prediction is some thing negative toward Christianity and the claims of Christianity. This is both true and false.

While Camping may wear a coat of Christianity, underneath is something else all together. Camping is similar to many others who are part of a cult simply claiming to be equal with Christianity. This is nothing new as there are many cults who state the same (Mormons, Jehovah’s Witness, Church of Christ, etc.).

I for one find this event to be something else that gives a testament to foundation of Christianity. One may state that such a claim is absurd. Consider this, there are many cults that have an appearance of Christianity but try to replace or update the doctrines of Christianity. For example the Catholics replace several items found in the Bible with their own way or tradition. Jesus states He is the Christian’s high priest (Hebrews 4:14-16) and He alone is able to forgive sins. The priest in Catholicism is who the individual goes to for the confession of sins. The priest then will take the sins and petition God. However, the Bible states Jesus is going on the Christian’s behalf (Hebrews 9:23-25). Here is an example of a group who holds to the traditions of men over the Bible (Matthew 15:1-9).

So why do I state this Camping prediction and other cult activities give testament to real Christianity? When training individuals how to spot a counterfeit U.S. currency bill, the individual is trained thoroughly on what the authentic dollar bill looks like. Thus when a counterfeit shows up it is easily spotted. But why make a copy of a twenty or hundred-dollar bill to begin with (besides the obvious)? Because the original is worth that much and it worth copying. How many sects and cults have spun off of Taoism or perhaps Buddhism? Now think of how many different sects and cults who have claims back to Christianity but have made changes or “revisions.”

It is unfortunate, however, that Camping carries such a vast audience. His website boasts of sixty-six radio stations owned and broadcasting to millions (Family Radio’s Site). As stated in my previous post, I have always encouraged individuals (Christian and non-Christian alike) to think, search, and objectively look at the information presented. Consider the source of the information from which it is presented. In the case of Camping, as well as others, one should look at education and background to begin to understand and know their stance. Camping’s website states,

Mr. Camping has been a tireless student of the Bible for over five decades. The tens of thousands of hours he has spent analyzing the Bible has given him a unique perspective of the entirety of Scripture. He has dedicated his life to prepare himself to answer questions raised concerning God’s Word to man.

With only these few sentences to give a background on Camping and his education, one should be suspect to his teachings.

Given all of these things, does this mean that the Christian should begin to have a Harold Camping “bash-fest?” Of course not. The Bible and its teachings are about peace, balance in life, truth, and following the correct path. It is not about forming a new enemy and putting him/her on the fire (Romans 12:19-21). In fact, Proverbs states to not rejoice over such an event as Camping’s false prediction (Proverbs 24:15-18). One should love upon Camping and continue to move forward sharing Christ’s love.

And remember, no one knows the day or the hour of Christ’s return. Study the Bible and know what true Christianity is so you are able to spot the counterfeits.

Until next time…

In Christ,
Jeff

Posted May 23, 2011 by avv604 in Bible

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The End is Coming? Not Saturday Anyways.   2 comments

Greetings All,

Many people by today, Thursday, May 19th 2011, have either seen or heard about the billboards claiming May 21st is the rapture or “Judgment Day.” It is alarming and stunning to read how many individuals believe this date to be true. I have made a statement for many years and continue to say it. I implore you to think about the claims and test them, not just believe them (1 John 4:1). Please think, use the brain God gave you.

Harold Camping is warning the world that the Day of Judgment will begin at about 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, May 21, 2011. Does this align with some mystical code in the Bible as Camping claims? Has the vast number of very intelligent individuals who spent a great number of years studying the Bible some how miss this? If you are confused by these statements of Camping then you are in good company.

It would seem I am not the only one who sees the flaws in Camping’s thinking. Albert Mohler wrote an article on his blog about the issue. Mohler states, “Harold Camping believes that God has revealed to him the exact dates of biblical events and the timeline of the judgment. He says that God revealed some “exquisite proof” that enabled him to determine a “finished product” timeline that ends on May 21, this coming Saturday.” However, the Bible states that not even the angels in heaven know the time (Matthew 24:36). Furthermore, the Bible states it will come like a thief in the night (1 Thessalonians 5:2).

So how is it that Camping knows? According to Camping’s website,

However, it was not until a very few years ago that the accurate knowledge of the entire timeline of history was revealed to true believers by God from the Bible. This timeline extends all the way to the end of time. During these past several years God has been revealing a great many truths, which have been completely hidden in the Bible until this time when we are so near the end of the world.

Mohler states, “These “true believers” turn out to be Harold Camping and his disciples. Others, even professing Christians, will be in big trouble when Saturday comes, he believes.” This type if false teaching is nothing new. Mohler aptly notes, “William Miller and his Adventist followers (known, surely enough, as Millerites) believed that Christ would return on March 21, 1844. In the 1970s, popular Christian preachers and writers predicted that Christ would return on various dates now long in the past.” It is embarrassing for such events to occur; however, I know that some individuals choose to be prideful (Proverbs 13:10) about the Bible regardless if  what he/she believes is right or wrong. Some toss reason, intelligence, and objectivity out and hold-fast to what a persuasive speaker stated.

I choose to follow what John wrote and test what I see and hear. After years of asking questions and following where the data leads, I stand upon the balanced and true Word of God. That path does not lead me to belief in Camping’s statements.

In other words, see you on Sunday for worship.

Blessings,
Jeff

Posted May 19, 2011 by avv604 in Bible

C&Q #1 – Evil and Worship   Leave a comment

Q: (This question was posed by Dave here) If somebody has the ability and the opportunity to save the life of a child who is buried beneath the rubble after a natural disaster and is starving to death slowly, and yet does not save the child, then why is that somebody still worthy of worship? Would the outright neglect of that child’s life not be deemed evil?

Greetings Dave,

First and foremost I would like to thank you for your question. I also want to apologize for the time-lapse in which I have not answered. To begin to answer your question, first I would like to clarify. Since an individual is not worthy to be worshipped, I will continue under the presupposition that the end of the question is meant to be, “…is that somebody still worthy to worship [God]?”

This question has a basis of an individual who does something wrong and then putting that action into degrees of wrong. For the Christian, this idea of doing wrong things is known as sin. One must understand that sin in and of itself has no degrees of greater or lesser sin. However, there are greater and lesser consequences of the poor choice to sin. If one chooses to go over the speed limit then he/she has sinned. However, the consequences of speeding increase as the speed increases.

Now, regarding the question at hand – it indeed is a horrible situation. Is it evil in this situation posed? Yes. Yet, this is the reason Jesus Christ died for our sins – so that all might have unconditional love and the promise of eternal life.  Humans will always fall short of being perfect – either in word or deed. Christ accepts who you are just as you are. There are no prerequisites for accepting Christ. One must only accept His gift.

The question does not specify whither it is a Christian or not (although implied), so I will presume it is a Christian that had left the child to die.

Why would the Christian still be able to worship God after leaving the child to die? Because Christ dying for our sins is unconditional and what an individual chooses does not sever the relationship. One is not able to complete enough good works and hope that on the “scales of justice,” when standing before God, the good works overcomes the bad decisions. One bad deed or decision does not revoke the relationship with Christ as we are but the receiver of the gift. The Christian is not the one who maintains the relationship and remains faithful as he/she is still imperfect and will still make poor decisions. Christ is the great maintainer and provider. Jesus is the one who continues to love the individual even when everyone else would deem them unworthy and toss them out with the trash.

I hope this will at least begin to answer your question.
Thank you for allowing me to serve you.

In Christ,
Jeff

Posted April 24, 2011 by avv604 in C&Q

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Christianity and Questions   3 comments

Greetings All,

While driving to work this morning I was listening to a local Christian radio station. The radio station DJ stated that many people are afraid or ashamed of asking questions about Christianity or other things related. I have seen this all too often. When I was a young Christian I had many, many questions. Questions about evolution. Questions about religions and cults.

There were, however, some individuals who would state, “You don’t question God.” Could this be true? Any question that one has about Christianity or religion is to now be discarded under the general blanket of not questioning God? Of course this is not true and thus far I have found it to be an improper use of the Bible verse Matthew 4:7. This is not the case in every situation but in a general sense, in my occurrences, I have found it to be true.

What is a Christian, or non-Christian searching for that matter, to do then? After the years of my own searching and studying, many of the questions I had have since been answered. Have I answered all of my questions? No. With this in mind, I would like to extend an offer. Granted a limited offer, but an offer nonetheless. Email me or post comments regarding questions you have. As the questions come in, and of course I will screen them, I will post the questions and the answer I have found.

Of course this is nothing new. I am not breaking ground on questions and Christianity. However, I know that sometimes someone can word the same answer in a different manner and it now makes sense.

The questions I receive, and ones that I have personally, will be posted under the title “C&Q” and the category “C&Q” so one can search for the questions easier.

In Christ,

Jeff
themeanderingsatgmaildotcom

Posted April 5, 2011 by avv604 in Bible, C&Q, General

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