Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Tuesday Miscellany (1/8/13)

  • Today I ordered my copy of D. Scott Meadows' new booklet God's Astounding Grace: The Doctrines of Grace (Pillar & Ground Publications).   Meadows is pastor of Calvary Baptist Church in Exeter, New Hampshire.  I think there's a need for such a brief booklet from an RB perspective, so I look forward to reading and reviewing Meadows' work.
  • Someone on the RB Pastors' list posted a link to this article which cites Philip Ryken (citing James Barr) in arguing that the Aramaic phrase "Abba" does not mean "Daddy" (something I've probably said in sermons more than once).  He (they) note that it was not only the term used by children of their father but also a term of respect used by adults of their father.  In the NT it is always accompanied by Pater, so the suggestion is made that it be translated more appropriately as "Dear Father" or even "Dearest Father."
  • I preached Sunday from Luke 7:1-17, including the healing of the centurion's servant (or slave, doulos) in vv. 1-11.  I noted that the passage is parallelled in Matthew 8:5-13.  Some skeptics have seized on the fact that Luke describes the centurion sending two delegations to Jesus ("the elders of the Jews" [v. 3] and "friends" [v. 6])  to convey messages; whereas, Matthew describes what appears to be the centurion directly speaking to Jesus (cf. v. 5:  "and there came unto him a centurion beseeching him"; and v. 8:  "The centurion answered and said...").  I noted Sunday that those who go looking for contradictions in Scripture usually find contradictions, while those who look for harmony find harmony.  How do we reconcile this discrepancy in Matthew and Luke?  Matthew's account is shorter and simpler.  He leaves out reference to the delegations (elders and friends) and simply reports the messages as they would have been received, as coming directly from the centurion himself.  Godet reaches a similar conclusion (while also advocating for his view that the Gospels emerged independently of each other), asking, "But how could Luke exaggerate in this way the plain statement of Matthew, or Matthew mangle the description of Luke?" (p. 215).  An editor's footnote adds:  ""What can be more natural than the reporting that as said by one's self which is said by an authorized deputation, where the object of the writer is to condense?  This is what Matthew has done" (p. 215).

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