Friday, November 28, 2014

Text Note: Luke 24:42

The Issue:

The question here is whether or not the phrase “and of a honeycomb [kai apo melissiou keriou]” should be included.  The traditional text includes the phrase, while the modern critical text omits it.  Compare (emphasis added):

KJV Luke 24:42 And they gave him a piece of a broiled fish, and of an honeycomb.

NIV Luke 24:42 They gave him a piece of broiled fish,

External evidence:

The traditional text is supported by the following Greek manuscripts:  K, N, Gamma, Delta, Psi, family 1, 33, 565, 700, 892, 1241, 1424, and Lectionary 2211.  It also is the reading if the majority of extant Greek manuscripts.  In addition, the close alternate traditional reading with the final noun in the accusative rather than the genitive case [kai apo melissiou kerion] is found in Theta, family 13, and Lectionary 844.

As for the versions, it appears in the Vulgate and some Old Latin mss., the Syriac (Curetonian, Peshitta, Harklean * *).  In addition, the reading is found in the Church Fathers Cyril of Jerusalem and Epiphanius of Contantia.

The modern critical text, on the other hand, is supported by the following seven Greek manuscripts: p75, Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, D, L, W, and 579.   It is also found in the following versions:  Latin manuscript e (5th century), Syriac Sinaiticus, Coptic Sahidic, and some Coptic Bohairic.  It is also the reading found in Clement of Alexandria.

Internal evidence:

In his Textual Commentary, Metzger concludes that the witnesses for the traditional text, occurring in the “later manuscripts,” are “an obvious interpolation, for it is not likely that they would have fallen out of so many of the best representatives of the earlier text-types” (pp. 187-188).  He then adds the speculation that the phrase might have been included due to the use of honey “in parts of the ancient church” in its Eucharistic and baptismal liturgy, adding, “copyists may have added the reference here in order to provide scriptural sanction for liturgical practices” (p. 188).  Again, Metzger is a master of introducing speculative possibilities which “may” have happened and which justify the editorial decisions of the modern critical text.

There are, however, at least two other credible possibilities:

First, the omission could have occurred due to an unintentional parablepsis as the eye of the copyist skipped from the kai of the opening phrase in question to the kai which begins b. 43:  kai labon enopion auton ephagen (“And taking before them he ate”).

Second, the omission might have occurred due to the unique mention of honey.  This might have come from docetic tendencies to minimize the risen Jesus’ eating of food or from an effort to harmonize the text with John 21:9, 13, which describes the risen Jesus eating fish and bread, but not honey.  One might also turn Metzger’s speculation on its ear and suggest the phrase was removed by those in the ancient church who did not use honey in their Eucharistic and baptismal liturgy.

Conclusion:

The phrase “and of honey” is omitted in seven Greek manuscripts, including codex A, which typically supports the Majority reading.  It clearly has origins in ancient times, however, and became the dominant reading in the Greek manuscripts and in the versions.

There is no conclusive, non-speculative internal evidence that rules out inclusion and many reasonable, though speculative, reasons to explain how and why omission might have occurred.


The fuller reading of Luke 24:42 was accepted as the authoritative reading of the traditional text, as reflected in its appearance in the majority of Greek manuscripts.  There is no compelling or convincing reason to remove it.

Thursday, November 27, 2014

The Vision (11.27.14): Happy Thanksgiving!


Image: CRBC Leaf Raking at Bells Grove in Louisa (11.22.14)

Saturday, November 22, 2014

New "Reformed Baptist Trumpet" (Vol 5. No. 3) is now available online


The latest edition of the Reformed Baptist Trumpet (Vol. 5. No. 3), the quarterly e-journal of the Reformed Baptist Fellowship of Virginia has been posted online.

In this issue:

  • Jim Savastio's article "The Glory of the Mediator" (pp. 3-9).
  • W. Gary Crampton's article "The Knowledge of God" [chapter one from his book The Bible:  God's Word] (pp. 10-15).
  • A Review of John D. Currid's Against the Gods by Jeffrey T. Riddle (pp. 15-18).
  • An excerpt from Benjamin Keach's sermon "The Blessedness of Christ's Sheep" (pp. 18-22).
This issue and past issues can also be found online at the Reformed Baptist Fellowship of Virginia website.


Grace and peace, Jeff Riddle RBT Editor

Thursday, November 20, 2014

The Vision (11.20.14): Why did Christ not have to undergo eternal suffering?


Several weeks ago after I preached from Luke 24:1-12 on the resurrection of Jesus from the dead, someone in the congregation approached me with an intriguing question.  Here is a summary of her question:

The Bible teaches that the unsaved who die apart from saving faith in Christ are under the wrath of God for eternity in hell.  If Jesus stood in our place and died for our sins, why did he not have to undergo eternal suffering?  Why was the duration of his suffering under the wrath of God limited in time?

The response I gave in the moment to this question went something like this (with Scripture proofs):

Yes, the Bible does indeed teach that those who die apart from saving faith in Christ are under the wrath of God for eternity in hell.  See, for example:

John 3:36:  He that believeth on the Son hath everlasting life; and he that believeth not the Son shall not see life; but the wrath of God abideth on him.

Matthew 25: 41:  Then he shall say unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into the everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels.

It further teaches, however, that Jesus’ suffering on the cross and his sacrificial death, though of a limited duration, made perfect atonement for those who would be saved.  See, for example:

Romans 5:8-9:  8 But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. 9 Much more then, being now justified by his blood, we shall be saved from wrath through him.

1 Corinthians 15:3:  For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures;

Hebrews 10:12:  But this man, after he had offered one sacrifice for sins for ever, sat down on the right hand of God;

The resurrection of Jesus is evidence of the fact that God the Father was satisfied by the suffering and death of Jesus for sinners.  God the Father accepted the perfect atoning work of Christ and vindicated him by raising him from the dead.  See, for example:

Acts 2:23-24:  23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: 24  Whom God hath raised up, having loosed the pains of death: because it was not possible that he should be holden of it.

Romans 1:3-4:  3 Concerning his Son Jesus Christ our Lord, which was made of the seed of David according to the flesh; 4 And declared to be the Son of God with power, according to the spirit of holiness, by the resurrection from the dead:

1 Thessalonians 1:10:  And to wait for his Son from heaven, whom he raised from the dead, even Jesus, which delivered us from the wrath to come.

We must also remember that Jesus was no ordinary man but the God-man and the Second Adam who, in himself, knew no sin but was made sin for us (see 2 Cor 5:21).  He could satisfy God’s righteous wrath through suffering of limited temporal duration which a sinful, unregenerate man, apart from Christ, can never satisfy even in suffering for an unlimited, eternal duration.

This question also sent me to look through some of my books on systematic theology.  I discovered that not every systematic theology addresses this question, but I did find a few who did.  Here are some insights into how others have addressed this question:

The Puritan Jeremiah Burroughs (c. 1600-1646) addresses this issue in his treatise titled Hope, as seen in this passage:

The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead is the cause of true lively hope in the hearts of the saints.  By the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, God has declared that He is fully satisfied for the sins of man, and that the work of redemption is fully wrought out; otherwise Christ must have been held in the prison of the grave forever.

The Calvinistic Baptist pastor John Gill (1697-1771) addresses the question in his A Complete Body of Doctrinal and Practical Divinity (1767-1770; The Baptist Standard Bearer reprint, 2007) under his discussion of the passive obedience of Christ.  He concludes with these words:

Eternity is not of the essence of punishment; and only takes place when the person punished cannot bear the whole at once; and being finite, as sinful man is, cannot make satisfaction to the infinite Majesty of God, injured by sin, the demerit of which is infinite punishment : and as that cannot be borne at once by a finite creature, it is continued ad infinitum; but Christ being an infinite Person was able to bear the whole at once; and the infinity of his Person, abundantly compensates for the eternity of the punishment (p. 404).

In his Systematic Theology (original 1938; Eerdmans New Combined Edition, 1996), Louis Berkhof addresses the question under his overall discussion of Christ’s “State of Humiliation.”  Following the Heidelberg Catechism, he notes that Christ’s sufferings began during his earthly life.  He then observes:

These sufferings were followed by his death on the cross.  But this was not all; He was subject not only to physical, but also to eternal death, though He bore this intensively and not extensively, when He agonized in the garden and when He cried out on the cross, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?”  In a short period of time He bore the infinite wrath against sin to the very end and came out victoriously.  This was possible for Him only because of His exalted nature (p. 339).

Contemporary New Calvinist theologian Wayne Grudem also provides an extended discussion of this question in his Systematic Theology (Zondervan, 1994) in his chapter on the Atonement.  Under the heading, “Not Eternal Suffering but Complete Payment,” Grudem begins:

If we had to pay the penalty for our own sins, we would have to suffer eternally in separation from God.  However, Jesus did not suffer eternally.  There are two reasons for this difference:  (a) If we suffered for our own sins, we would never be able to make ourselves right with God again.  There would be no hope because there would be no way to live again and earn perfect righteousness before God, and there would be no way to undo our sinful nature and make it right before God.  Moreover, we would continue to exist as sinners who would not suffer with pure hearts of righteousness before God, but would suffer with resentment and bitterness against God, thus continually compounding our sin.  (b) Jesus was able to bear all the wrath of God against our sin and to bear it to the end. No mere man could ever have done this, but by virtue of the union of divine and human natures in himself, Jesus was able to bear all the wrath of God against sin and to bear it to the end (pp. 577-578).

In the end we must confess that we will never be able to touch the bottom of the depths of what God has accomplished for us in Christ.  Still, it is worth the effort to meditate on how in a limited amount of time Christ took our eternal punishment upon himself.  We can thus say with Paul, “But thanks be to God, which giveth us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ” (1 Cor 15:57).


Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Psalm Singing Recording Resource




I recently ran across this site on soundcloud.com collected by Connor S. Quigley, which offers a treasure trove of psalm singing recordings.  This is a great place to listen and explore.  In addition to recordings that appear to come from congregational singing in the kirk, there are also pieces that come from professional singers, and psalms in other languages (e.g., Hebrew, French, Japanese, and even a Polynesian chant!).  Update:  Jason D. called to my attention (see comments below) that this site is even easier to navigate, with the Psalms in numerical order, though this site does not seem to have all the selections on the soundcloud site (like the non-English psalms).

Here are a few samples:



Mt. Zion Bible Church Conference: Music, Text, Family

Image:  JTR, Scott Brown, Jeff Pollard (left to right) at 2014 MZBC Family Conference

I had the privilege of giving three messages on the topic of New Testament text criticism last Friday-Saturday (November 14-15) at a family conference hosted by Mt. Zion Bible Church in Pensacola, Florida.  Mt. Zion is also home to Chapel Library, a tremendous non-profit,literature distribution ministry that has blessed and continues to bless many.

The conference had an eclectic theme.  In addition to my messages on text criticism, Scott Brown gave four messages on Christian family, and Jeff Pollard, the host pastor, gave three messages on music. Jeff's messages were particularly timely given that he was a professional rock musician before his conversion and call to the ministry.  Confessingbaptist.com did a nice wrap-up post on the conference with links to all the messages for those who might be interested.

JTR

Monday, November 17, 2014

"For David speaks concerning him....": Christ in the Psalms



While preaching last evening at Bells Grove on a section from Peter’s Pentecost sermon (Acts 2:22-31) wherein Peter exposits Psalm 16 as a prophesy of Christ’s resurrection, I was struck by these words, “For David speaks concerning him….” (v. 25).

This statement is a reminder:

1. That the Old Testament speaks about Christ.  We do not have to limit our preaching to the New Testament to speak explicitly of Christ.  He is the focus of both testaments.
 
2.  The Psalms, in particular, speak of Christ.  I thought of this especially with regard to the singing of Psalms.  We have two explicit commands in the New Testament which instruct believers to sing canonical psalms (Eph 5:19; Col 3:16).  I am an advocate for inclusive psalmody.  We should include the singing of Psalms in our corporate worship.  Sometimes one will hear the objection, “But the Psalms do not explicitly name the name of ‘Jesus.’”  Though the name “Jesus” is not found in the Psalms, this does not mean that the Psalms do not speak of Christ. Christ saturates the Psalms!  In them we find his nativity (Psalm 107:19-20), his teaching (e.g., Psalm 37:11), his miracles (e.g., Psalm 107:29), his death (see Psalms 22, 69), burial (Psalm 16:10), resurrection (Psalm 16:8-11), ascension (Psalm 47:5), session (Psalm 110:1), and second coming (Psalm 96:13).


Rightly then, does Peter say, “For David speaks concerning him….” (Acts 2:25).  

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Confessing Baptist Podcast Interview # 69: Michael Barrett on the KJV Study Bible


It's here!  Reformation Heritage's KJV Study Bible is being released this month.  You can read about this resources on the KJV Study Bible website.

I did an interview with Michael Barrett, the Old Testament Editor for the KJV Study Bible, for Interview # 69 on the Confessingbaptist.com podcast.  I have also uploaded this podcast to sermonaudio.com (listen here).

You can also watch this video: