Friday, June 14, 2019

The Vision (6.14.19): Introduction to 1 Kings

Image: Modern view of traditional site (since Middle Ages) of David's tomb in foreground with the Benedictine Abbey of the Dormition in background, Jerusalem.

We began last Sunday at CRBC a new Lord’s Day morning sermon series through the book of 1 Kings.

It is important for us to return from time to time to the Old Testament. This too is part of our Bible and, as Paul wrote, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: that the man of God may be perfect. Thoroughly furnished unto all good works” (2 Tim 3:16-17). This is part of God’s word, and so it is for our profit.

1 Kings is a historical work. It continues the history of Israel’s kings that had begun in 1-2 Samuel (with the prophet Samuel and the kings Saul and David) and is continued by 2 Kings.

If you go to our site you will find a previous 25-part sermon series through 1 Samuel and a 27-part sermon series through 2 Samuel.

If we think of the books of 1-2 Kings as one book, we can divide it into three sections:

1.    The rule of King Solomon (1 Kings 1—11);

2.    The divided kingdom up till the time of the fall of the Northern Kingdom of Israel to Assyria (1 Kings 12—2 Kings 17);

3.    The continuation of the Southern Kingdom of Judah until its fall to Babylon (2 Kings 18—25).

We call it the book of Kings, because it tells the history of Israel largely through her rulers, from King David on his death bed in 1 Kings 1, to King Jehoiachin of Judah, living in exile in Babylon in 2 Kings 25:27-30.

But it is also the story of God’s prophets, including Nathan, Elijah, and Elisha.

The author is never directly named. We might call him the historian. He lives during the time of the exile, since this is the last thing he records in 2 Kings.

Some Jewish traditions have attributed 1-2 Kings to Jeremiah (cf. the last chapter of Jeremiah (52) and the last chapter of 2 Kings (25), which are nearly the same in content).

Whoever the human author was, we know he was inspired by the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is the true author of 2 Kings, as all of Scripture.

One of the questions we will come back to throughout this series will be: Where is Christ? How are we pointed toward Christ?

May we learn more of Christ as we work out way through 1 Kings.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Eusebius, EH.2.24-16: Nero: "a fighter against God"

Image: Marble bust of Nero, c. AD 64-68, Worcester Art Museum.

Another episode has been posted to the series on Eusebius of Caesarea’s The Ecclesiastical History: Book 2, chapters 24-26. Listen here.

Notes and Commentary:

These final chapters of book 2 focus on the atrocities of the Roman Emperor Nero against both Christians and Jews.

Chapter 24 is a brief note on how Annianus succeeded Mark the Evangelist in Alexandria during Nero’s time.

Chapter 25 goes into greater detail as to Nero’s cruelty. Aside from his treacherous behavior toward his own family he is described as “the first of the emperors to be pointed out as foe of the divine religion.” Here he cites Tertullian.

He further describes Nero as “a fighter against God” and as one who slaughtered the apostles.

Eusebius conveys the tradition that Paul was beheaded and Peter crucified in Rome by Nero at the same time.

He cites an early Christian writer named Caius who describes “the sacred relics ofn the apostles” deposited in Roman cemeteries associated with Peter and Paul near the Vatican or Ostian Way.

He also cites Dionysius bishop of Corinth as confirming that Peter and Paul were martyred at the same time in Rome.

Chapter 26 also notes Josephus’s record of the persecution of Jews by Florus, procurator of Judea, during the twelfth year of Nero’s reign in the early days of the Jewish revolt.


Tuesday, June 11, 2019

Eusebius, EH.2.23: The Piety and Martyrdom of James the Just

Image: A depiction of the martyrdom of James the Just in the Menologian of Basil II, an illuminated liturgical manuscript, c. AD 1,000.

A new episode has been added to the series on Eusebius of Caesarea’s The Ecclesiastical History: book 2, chapter 23. Listen here.

Notes and Commentary:

This chapter draws on several sources (Clement of Alexandria, Hegessipus, and Josephus) on the life, ministry, and death of James the “Just”, the brother of the Lord.

James is described as having been allotted by the apostles “the bishopric in Jerusalem.”

He is said to have been put to death during the transition of the Roman governorship from Festus (who had died) to Albinus.

James is described as having reached great heights of righteousness through study of religion and philosophy.

According to Hegessipus his knees were hardened by his constant kneeling in worship and prayer.

He was called “the Just” or Oblias, which is interpreted as “a rampart of the people and righteousness.”

His death is described in detail. He was taken to “the battlements of the temple” to explain “what is the gate of Jesus”, but when he confessed Jesus he was thrown down and began to be stoned. James is said to have prayed for his attackers (as Jesus did in Luke 23:34). His life was finally taken when he was struck with a laundryman’s club.

He is said to have been buried by the temple, and it is noted that his unjust death was believed by Christians and Jews to be the reason for the Roman siege of Jerusalem which soon followed.

Josephus’s account is cited as laying much of the blame for James’s death on the machinations of the high priest Ananus.

At the close of the chapter Eusebius notes that the first Catholic epistle is attributed to James but that its authenticity is denied, as is the epistle of Jude, which is also among the seven catholic epistles. Despite the challenge to the authenticity of these works, however, Eusebius notes they “have been used publicly with the rest in most of the churches.” Here we see the organic process of canon recognition at work.


Sunday, June 09, 2019

Audio and Video available from SEBTS's 2019 "Linguistics and New Testament Greek" Conference

Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary (SEBTS) hosted a conference on the theme "Linguistics and New Testament Greek: Key Issues in the Current Debate" on April 26-27, 2019.

There were eleven lectures presented in the conference. I took the opportunity to listen to audio of all the sessions on itunes last week. The videos can also be viewed on SEBTS's vimeo site.

Some of the lectures I found most helpful (with vimeo links):


Saturday, June 08, 2019

WM 124: Review and Rejoinders to Dirk Jongkind's An Introduction to the Greek NT

Note: I have posted WM 124: Review and Rejoinders to Dirk Jongkind’s An Introduction to the Greek NT (listen here).

Here are some notes:

Dirk Jongkind, An Introduction to the Greek New Testament Produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge (Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2019): 124 pp.

This work is a brief introduction to the Tyndale House Greek New Testament (THGNT, Crossway, 2017) from its editor, Dirk Jongkind. For my audio review of the THGNT see WM 84. For my written review in PRJ see here.

This introduction has eight chapters. I will offer some summary and comments on each chapter:

1: Your Greek New Testament and the Manuscripts (17-26):

2: Practicalities (27-39):

3: Manuscripts (41-64):

4. How Decisions Are Made (65-85):

5. Why not the Textus Receptus? (87-91):

6. Why not the Byzantine Text? (93-100):

7. Biblical Theology and the Transmission of the Text (101-108):

8. Where to Go from Here? (pp. 109-110).

This is just a brief conclusion pointing readers to further resources, especially online one.

The book ends with acknowledgements (111-112) and a glossary of terms (113-116).

Final Thoughts:

This book will be welcomed by those who desire to use and understand better the THGNT. I described it in my earlier review as a “boutique edition,” but its promotion by Crossway will no doubt spur its use among many evangelicals, especially Calvinistic ones.

DJ is to be commended, in particular, for providing a theological rationale for his approach and for his charitable interaction with those who hold to differing views (namely, the TR and Byzantine Priority positions).


Friday, June 07, 2019

Eusebius, EH.2.22: Festus and Paul's Roman Imprisonments

Image: Coin minted while Porcius Festus was procurator of Judea (AD 59-62).

Another installment has been added to the series on Eusebius of Caesarea’s The Ecclesiastical History: book 2, chapter 22 (listen here).

Notes and Commentary:

Eusebius here describes the things that transpired under the Roman governor Festus (succeeding Felix).

At this time Paul was sent as a prisoner to Rome, accompanied by Aristarchus (Col 4:10), where, as Luke records in Acts 28, he remained for two years, under arrest but freely preaching.

Eusebius adds that tradition holds that Paul was then released after this first Roman imprisonment and had his ministry extended until he was brought a second time to Rome.

It was during this second imprisonment, according to Eusebius, that Paul wrote 2 Timothy where he makes reference to his “first defense” and his release from “the lion’s mouth” (Nero).

Eusebius takes Paul’s reference in 2 Timothy to no one, including Luke, standing with him in this first imprisonment to indicate that Luke wrote Acts at that time.

Paul’s martyrdom came not at his first Roman imprisonment (when Nero might have been more lenient to the Christian movement) but at his second.


The Vision (6.7.19): His testimony is true

Image: Five young believers confessed "Jesus is Lord,"  were baptized, and admitted to membership and the Lord's table at CRBC last Sunday (6.2.19).

Note: The devotion is taken from last Sunday's sermon on John 21:20-25. This message was the ninety-first and concluding sermon in a series through the Gospel of John which began on May 21, 2017 with a sermon on John 1:1-5. Listen to the complete series here.

This is the disciple which testified of these things, and wrote these things: and we know that his testimony is true (John 21:24).

Some have held that the apostle John completed his writing of this Gospel at John 21:23 and another inspired author penned the last two verses retrospectively (vv. 24-25). One extra-biblical tradition suggests that John had a scribe named Prochorus and that he perhaps wrote these final words.

I am more inclined, however, to think that John is the human author of every word in this Gospel. Here, under the guidance of the Spirit, he simply wrote of himself in the third person, just as Moses described even his own death in Deuteronomy 34.

John tells us here that he is the beloved disciple, the author of this Gospel. And more importantly he tells us that what he has written is true.

This testifies not only to the inerrancy (“truth without any mixture of error”) and infallibility of Scripture generally but also to the truth of this Gospel in particular. Its witness to Christ and all he said and did is true.

When he said, “I am the bread of life” (6:35), it was true;
When he said, “I am the light of the world” (8:12), it was true;
When he said, “I am the door” (10:9), it was true;
When he said, “I am the good shepherd” (10:11), it was true;
When he said, “I am the resurrection and the life” (11:25), it was true;
When he said, “I am the way, the truth, and life” (14:6), it was true;
When he said, “I am the true vine” (15:1), it was true.

In his High Priestly Prayer Christ prayed for his disciples, “Sanctify them through thy truth: thy word is truth” (17:17).

Pilate cynically asked Christ: “What is truth?” (18:38). And John here answers: Christ is truth. His word is truth. This Gospel is truth.

In the end, John wants us, the readers, to know that this is truth. This is not some fanciful concoction of a deluded mind, but the reality of realities. His testimony is true.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Saturday, June 01, 2019

WM 123: Text Note: The Doxology of the Lord's Prayer (Matt 6:13b)

I have recorded and posted WM 123: Text Note: The Doxology of the Lord's Prayer (Matt 6:13b) (Listen here).

Here are my notes:

When illustrating the differences between the modern and traditional text of the NT the doxology of the Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6:13b) proves an important example, since this passage is so well known and loved in liturgy and personal piety.

The key questions: What did the Lord Jesus teach his disciples to pray? What did Matthew record when he included this prayer in his Gospel in the Sermon on the Mount?

Part One: An email exchange on the Doxology of the Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6:13b):

Back on March 31 a listener wrote (exchange slightly edited):

Hello again Pastor,

I was wondering if you have done anything like a podcast on the ending of the Lord’s Prayer?

I was in a conversation the other day with someone from church and the authenticity of the ending of the Lord’s Prayer came up.  They said “it’s not in Erasmus”

I just said well I didn’t know that and that is interesting.

I wasn’t really looking for a debate.

I do see it in almost all the printed texts it seems from Beza, Steph.... but…I don’t see it in Erasmus from what I can tell at least.

But all my old Reformed commentaries have it from John Calvin to John Gill.

My response (a month later on May 1):

Sorry to be so long in getting back.

I'd love to do a WM on Matt 6:13b sometime. Hopefully, I'll get to it eventually.

I checked my digital copy of Erasmus's first edition (1516), and it is there in both Greek and Latin. I'll attach a picture.

You may know that the doxology also appears in the Lord's Prayer when cited in chapter 8 of the Didache (but omitting "the kingdom"), which dates to c. 100, so it is the earliest attested reading.

Hope this helps, JTR

Image: Erasmus 1516 Greek and Latin NT (including Matt 6:13b):

To which he responded the next day (May 2):

Thanks for the response. It does help.

Oddly it was my Pastor that said it wasn’t in Erasmus. He probably just heard someone blabbering nonsense about the ending one day. There is so much! bad information out there on this issue of the text.

Have a great day

Part Two: Tyndale and the Doxology of the Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6:13b):

I thought of that exchange recently when someone pointed me to a blog article on text criticism that appeared on the Gospel Coalition website on April 11, 2019. The article is by Justin Dillehay, pastor of Grace BC in Hartsville, TN, and titled “4 Ways to Shepherd Your Flock Through Textual Variants” (read it here), and it also addresses the doxology of the Lord’s Prayer (Matt 6:13b).

In the article he makes reference to Tyndale’s omission of Matt 6:13b in the first edition of his English Bible (1526).

So, I wondered if the earlier writer’s pastor had confused Tyndale with Erasmus (or the if the writer had confused his pastor’s words).

I also wanted to be sure this was factually accurate, so I checked a digital copy of Tyndale’s 1526 online, and it does, indeed, omit Matt 6:13b. Here is an image from Tyndale's 1526 NT:

I then, however, checked my copy of David Daniell’s modern spelling edition of Tyndale's 1534 NT (Yale, 1989, 1995) and found it includes the doxology: “For thine is the kingdom and the power, and the glory for ever. Amen.” So, I searched for a digital copy of the original of Tyndale's 1534 NT also:

In his introduction to his edition of Tyndale’s 1534 NT, David Daniell writes:

“Tyndale translated the New Testament twice, and continually revised. His 1534 New Testament was his greatest work.”

We are left to ponder why Tyndale omitted Matthew 6:13b in his 1526 edition. It is possible that he did so in order to bring his translation of the prayer into conformity with the Latin Vulgate which also omits it. This is one of many examples  of places where the modern critical text adopts readings in line with the Vulgate. The Clementine Vulgate concludes the Lord’s Prayer: “Et ne nos inducas in tentationem. Sed libera nos a malo. Amen.” (Matt 6:13). The Lord’s Prayer which includes the doxology might therefore be considered a distinctively Protestant understanding of the prayer.

It is important to remember that it was the 1534, not the 1526 edition, which is considered to be Tyndale’s “greatest work.” The fact that he omitted the doxology of the Lord’s Prayer in the preliminary 1526 NT, therefore, should not be used as a justification for its omission today, especially since upon later consideration Tyndale determined to include it.

Part Three: A Brief Look at the External Evidence:

In support of the modern critical text’s omission: Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, along with D, Z, 1070, family 1, Lectionary 2211. Among versional support we have the Latin tradition, Middle Egyptian (Mesokemetic), and some Bohairic Coptic mss. Among the Fathers Origen is cited.

In support of the traditional text we have K, L, W, Delta, Theta, family 13, 33, etc. and the Majority tradition. Among the versions we have some individual Latin mss. like f and q, the Harklean Syriac, some Boharic Coptic mss., etc.

Most interesting is the reading in chapter 8 of the Didache (c. 100) which includes the doxology but omits “the kingdom” reading: “thine is the power and glory forever.” It also omits the “Amen” and is followed by the injunction: “Pray thus three times a day.”

The NA 28 puts a thumb on the scale by prefacing the textual variants by a reference in parenthesis to the prayer of David in 1 Chronicles 29:11-13. The implication apparently being that later scribes would have tried to make David’s doxology part of the prayer of Jesus, the Son of David. But this begs the question as to whether Christ himself appropriated these words in order intentionally to echo David.

NA 28 also adds to the apparatus an obscure variant from the fifteenth century ms. 1253 which reads: “for thine is the kingdom of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Spirit forever. Amen.” This suggests that the ending was malleable and open to orthodox “improvement.” But the ending in 1253 is clearly late while the doxology is very early (cf. Didache, W, etc.).

Metzger’s textual commentary (second edition) offers more insight on the modern text critical assessment.

Part Four: Conclusion:

The doxology (including the Amen) is the fitting ending to the Lord’s Prayer. It’s appearance in the Didache proves it to be the earliest attested reading. Clearly, it is not a late development. It was the reading affirmed in the majority of Greek manuscripts, including some of the earliest age (like W) and is only excluded by a handful of Greek mss. Though omitted in the Latin tradition, it was nevertheless, preserved in the West, with the printing of the TR and distinctively affirmed by various Protestant translations, including Tyndale’s definitive 1534 English translation.