Saturday, April 29, 2023

TBS Video on Upcoming Trinity & Text Conference (June 16, 2023)



WM 278: Broken Wharfe Interview


This interview was conducted with Darren Gilchrist and John-Mark Allmand-Smith, co-founders of the Broken Wharfe publishing ministry, on Friday, April 28, 2023 in Ramsbottom, England.

Find Broken Wharfe books here:


Back2theWord Review of Why I Preach from the Received Text


Friday, April 21, 2023

The Vision (4.21.23): Watch and Pray


Image: North Garden, Virginia, April 2023.

Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 26:36-46.

Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation” (Matthew 26:41a).

In Matthew 26:36-46, the Evangelist records Christ’s wrestling in prayer in the garden of Gethsemane before he is arrested and taken to the cross. Spurgeon wrote of this passage, “Here we come to the Holy of Holies of our Lord’s life on earth.” He added, “No man can rightly expound such a passage as this; it is a subject for prayerful, heart-broken meditation, more than for human language” (Commentary on Matthew, 405).

At Gethsemane the Lord Jesus was speaking with the Father, expressing his complete resolution to the Father’s will, declaring, “thy will be done” (v. 42).

He also speaks to his disciples on that terrible night. After commanding Peter, James, and John to watch with him (v. 38), he returns three times to find them sleeping. Sleeping here is, no doubt, not just a sign of physical tiredness but also of spiritual sluggishness.

On Christ’s first return to find the disciples sleeping, he exhorted them, “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation” (v. 41).

The first command to “watch” is the same verb as in the Olivet Discourse, when he told his disciples, “Watch therefore: for ye know not what hour your Lord doeth come” (24:42). This is a call to be spiritually alert, to be vigilant, to be active in the faith, as we live in “this present evil world,” between Christ first advent and his second coming.

The second command is to pray. Christ assumes that his disciples will be committed to prayer. In the Sermon on the Mount, he said, “And when thou prayest, thou shalt not be like the hypocrites…” (6:5).

The sense we get is that the two things are related. The spiritual discipline of prayer feeds and nourishes spiritual watchfulness over our souls. Give up prayer and you fall into spiritual slumber.

Every homeowner knows that having a house in decent working order means you have to do the basic maintenance that is required. This includes everything from basic cleaning and changing lightbulbs and filters to replacing shingles or siding, and all manner of other things.

To maintain our spiritual house, we must engage in basic maintenance. We need worship. We need intake of the Word. We need the ordinances. We need prayer, both private and corporate.

So, let us watch and pray, attending to the spiritual disciplines, including prayer, to keep us alert and active in the faith till Christ returns with power and great glory.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Thursday, April 20, 2023

Letis book reprint: Today's Christian & The Church's Bible: A Time to Return to the Authorized Version


The Greater Christian Heritage announced today the upcoming release of this booklet by Theodore P. Letis. It will be available in July 2023. You can find pre-order info here.

This work originally appeared in 1978 under the title A New Hearing for the Authorized Version inn 1978.

I was also happy to offer an endorsement blurb for the book:

The influence of Theodore Letis’ winsome and scholarly defense of the traditional Greek text of the New Testament continues to be felt decades now after his untimely death. In this essay, Letis offers a corresponding defense of the Authorized Version, the classic Protestant translation of the Bible in English based upon the Received Text. Its republication in this attractive new edition will serve as a welcomed resource for those who continue to seek out the “old paths.”

-Jeffrey T. Riddle, Pastor Christ Reformed Baptist Church, Louisa, Virginia


Saturday, April 15, 2023

Renihan Review: Riddle, Davidson, Clevenger, & Loomis


Here are my notes from the Presbyterion meeting (4.14.23):

Welcome to the 2023 Presbyterion

Welcome to the 2023 Presbyterion, the Spring Pastors’ Fraternal of the Reformed Baptist Fellowship of Virginia.

For our program today we decided to offer a selective review of James M. Renihan’s work, To the Judicious and Impartial Reader: A Contextual-Historical Exposition of the Second London Baptist Confession of Faith, Baptist Symbolics, Volume II (Cape Coral, Florida: Founders Press, 2022).

This work has already been welcomed and acknowledged as a landmark exposition of the Confession which will likely serve as an interpretive standard for decades to come among Reformed or Confessional Baptists.

Dr. Renihan serves as President of the International Reformed Baptist Seminary in Mansfield, Texas and previously directed the IRBS at Westminster Seminary in California.

Rather than attempt to review the entire book, four of us will today offer a brief review (c. 15 minutes, or as I like to call it, the time it takes to do a short introduction to the sermon!) of four different sections of the book, covering the exposition of five chapters in the Confession.

Jeff Riddle, Christ RBC: Confession ch. 1 on Scripture


Ryan Davidson, Grace Baptist Chapel: Confession ch. 22 on Worship and the Sabbath


Steve Clevenger, Covenant RBC: Confession 26 on Church Officers


Van Loomis, Redeeming Grace BC: Confession chs. 28-29 on Baptism




Before, we move to look at the exposition of chapter one, let me make a couple of observations on the Introduction (1-20):


Renihan begins by noting that though we call this the 1689 Confession, “there is no extant evidence that the Confession was published in 1689. It seems to have acquired this designation because it was subscribed at the 1689 London General Assembly” (2).


He declares that locating this confession “as a species within the genus of Reformed theology is straightforward” (4). So, Reformed Baptists are reformed.


Further on he states, “The aim of this book is not primarily polemic but rather explanatory.” For Renihan the “key question is what did the Confession mean to its readers in its own context” (7).


He also tells us, “There are times when I must express my enthusiasm” (7).


Finally, he suggests the confession bears an “internal structure” and can be divided into “four main units” (11). It is a “woven document” which must be read “back and forth” (11).


Renihan’s outline:


Unit 1: First Principles (chs. 1-6).


Unit 2: The Covenant (chs. 7-20).


Unit 3: God-Centered Living: Freedom and Boundaries (chs. 21-30).


Unit 4: The World to Come (chs. 31-32).


Finally, at the end of each chapter Renihan incorporates devotional material. So, there is an emphasis on piety and doxology in this exposition.


Chapter 1: Of the Holy Scriptures


After an explanation and presentation of the Epistle or Preface to the Confession whose beginning supplies the book’s title (“To the Judicious and Impartial Reader”) (21-26), Renihan begins his exposition of chapter one (Unit One) (29-78).


Time will not allow today for a thorough review of the chapter, so I will just offer seven observations about or highlights from the exposition in this opening chapter.


First: Renihan acknowledges that by addressing Scripture in this opening chapter the confession follows “the traditional method of expressing theological loci” in Puritan confessions by beginning with Scripture as “the principium cognoscendi, the principle of knowing” (epistemology) (29).


Second: Renihan notes that the opening sentence in paragraph one “is not found in the WCF or Savoy and had been added by Baptists” (30). That sentence reads: “The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience….” He gives three reasons why it was added: () polemics against Quakers; (2) polemics against RCC; and (3) polemics against paedobaptists.


Third: Renihan insists that the framers of the confession held a high view of the Scriptures as inerrant and infallible, contrary to interpretations of their Bibliology given by moderate SBC scholars of the past like William Lumpkin and James Leo Garrett, Jr. He even offers a quote from Keach in which Keach “advocates a dictation theory of inspiration,” as opposed to “the better concursive theory” (37).


Fourth: In his discussion of the confession’s emphasis on the insufficiency of natural (general) revelation in 1:1, Renihan notes that “this was a disputed point among seventeenth century Baptists” and offers an extended contrasting citation from the General Baptist Thomas Grantham’s work St. Paul’s Catechism (39-41). The wording of the Confession “refutes the doctrine of religious sincerity and the virtuous heathen. According to the Confession, there is no salvation apart from the grace of faith in Christ” (42).


Fifth: Renihan addresses the change of the wording in 1:6 from the WCF and the Savoy’s which affirms that the whole counsel of God is “either expressly set down in Scripture, or by good and necessary consequences may be deduced from Scripture” to the Baptist Confession’s wording that this counsel “is either expressly set down or necessarily contained in the Holy Scripture.” Renihan argues that the Particular Baptists did not explicitly deny the general concept of “good and necessary consequences” being deduced from Scripture. He even cites  a quotation from Nehemiah Coxe’s (in Vindiciae Veritatis) that appears explicitly to affirm it (55). The reason for the change, according to Renihan, was the Baptist framers' “logic in interpretation” as they made a distinction between necessary consequences and merely good consequences (55). He concludes, “They could accept necessary consequences as binding, but not good consequences” (56). So, they were trying to ground their theology more closely to Scripture and not to human reason alone (57).


Sixth: Also in his discussion of 1:6 Renihan draws on the distinctions made by Heiko Oberman between Tradition 1 (Scripture and its truths) and Tradition 2 (Scripture supplemented by church tradition) to suggests that the framers of the confession warmly affirmed sola Scriptura, and yet they were not “biblicists.” He writes, “They were not biblicists who required an explicit text for every doctrine; they were churchmen who viewed themselves as part of that long line of believers stretching back through the millennia” (60).


Seventh: Perhaps the most refreshing and insightful exposition of this chapter comes in Renihan’s treatment of 1:8. Under the influence of Richard Muller, he notes the distinction made by the framers between the autographs and the apographs. He approvingly cites Richard Brash’s observation that the framers saw a “‘practical univocity’ between the immediately inspired autographa and the providentially preserved apographa” (67). He paraphrases the view of William Bridge, a member of both the Westminster Assembly and the Savoy Synod, as saying, “We have the word of God in our texts. God has always preserved it” (69). With respect to translations, Renihan also draws upon Muller’s discussion of the Authoritas Divina Duplex, noting that the originals are authoritative in both matter (content) and form, while translations are authoritative only in matter (content) and not in form.


In closing, I think Renihan has provided our generation and ones to come an outstanding survey, analysis, and framework for understanding the Confession’s affirmation of Scripture as the preeminent authority for our doctrine and practice.



The Vision (4.14.23): The Meaning of the Cup


Note: Vision devotional article taken from last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 26:26-35.

For this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins (Matthew 26:28).

In the upper room, on the night Christ was betrayed, he instituted the Lord’s Supper, with its two elements of the bread and the cup (see Matthew 26:26-28).

We can take away at least four conclusions from Christ’s words regarding the cup:

First: The meaning of the cup. The cup was a spiritual figure of the blood of Christ that would be shed upon the cross.

Second: The consequence of the cup. It was by this shed blood of Christ that a new covenant (testament) would be made between God and man.

This new covenant was prophesied by the prophet in Jeremiah 31, “I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel, and with the house of Judah… for I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more” (vv. 31, 34).

Third: The extent of the cup. This new covenant would not be for all men without exception, but it would be for many men from all nations, tribes, and tongues. What is being indicated here is not universal redemption but what the old theologues called “particular redemption.” The old Reformed Baptists were called “Particular Baptists.”

Christ likewise affirmed in Mark 10:45 that he came “to give his life a ransom for many.”

Fourth: The benefit of the cup. The benefit is the remission or the forgiveness of sins. Christ teaches that we are not forgiven of our sin due to some outward actions by us. We are forgiven by the shed blood of Christ.

This is what Isaiah was talking about when he prophesied, “and with his stripes we are healed” (Isaiah 53:5).

This is what John the Baptist was speaking about when he saw Christ and said, “Behold the Lamb of God which taketh away the sin of the whole world” (John 1:29).

This is what the apostle Paul spoke of when he wrote that in Christ God set forth “a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past” (Romans 3:25; cf. Romans 5:8-9; Ephesians 2:13).

Some modern theologians have denounced the Biblical view of forgiveness by the shed blood of Christ as primitive, with one calling it “a slaughterhouse religion.” But this is what Christ and his apostles taught. Through his shed blood we have remission of sins.

As the old gospel song puts it, “What can wash away my sin? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. What can make me whole again? Nothing but the blood of Jesus. Oh precious is the flow, that makes me white as snow. No other fount I know. Nothing but the blood of Jesus.”

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Wednesday, April 12, 2023

TBS Conference Video: The Case for the Received Text (Luke 23:34a)


TBS has released the video version of the message I gave at the Text & Translation Conference in London in September 2022.


Tuesday, April 11, 2023

Sermon: Pastor Christian Khanda on Mark 16: "Christ is Risen!"


Pastor Christian Khanda of the Holy Trinity OPC in Ft. Lauderdale, Florida provided a model for how to preach with confidence the traditional ending of Mark in this exposition of Mark 16 last Sunday (4.9.23). Pastors should not stop their sermons at 16:8 nor should they add spurious verses like "the shorter ending" (inserted between vv. 8-9 in the New Living Translation or tacked on to v. 20 in the Legacy Standard Bible).


Friday, April 07, 2023

The Vision (4.7.23): Lessons from Judas' Betrayal of Christ


Image: Molin Le Baiser, Judas et Satan, c. 1840, Musée des Beaux-Arts (Chambéry)

Note: Devotion taken from last Sunday's sermon on Matthew 26:14-25.

And [Judas] said unto them, What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?” (Matthew 26:15a).

“The Son of man goeth as it is written of him” (Matthew 26:24a).

According to the criterion of embarrassment, the betrayal of the Lord Jesus by Judas is one of the most historically reliable facts recounted in the Gospels. If it did not really happen, it would never have been invented. Beyond its historical reality, this account also plays a spiritual role in this Gospel.

Here are at least two applications:

First, Judas is the epitome of a type that Christ repeatedly warned against, the “false professor,” one who says he know and follows Christ but does not, and instead, even works against him.

Christ warned against many who will say, “Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? and in thy name cast out devils? and in thy name done many wonderful works?” but to whom he will say, “I never knew you” (Matthew 7:22-23). Judas had indeed been sent out with the apostles to preach and minister in Christ’s name (see Matthew 10:7-8).

A friend recently noted that Judas was there to see the miracles of our Lord (feeding the five thousand, opening blinded eyes, etc.). Still, he did not believe and even betrayed Christ. From this we can conclude that miracles alone do not produce genuine faith.

A sober and serious warning is being conveyed. Avoid the way of Judas.  Have we said to the world, the flesh, and the devil, “What will ye give me, and I will deliver him unto you?” (cf. Matthew 26:15)? What is the thirty pieces of silver for which you would forfeit your faith and trust in Christ?

The real scandal is not merely the sin of Judas but the warning that comes against the potential of a Judas spirit in each of our hearts.

Second, even the evil of Judas’s betrayal was used of the Lord for good.

Christ declared, “The Son of man goeth as it is written of him.” We are reminded again that all things, even the worst of things, are used of God to magnify his glory and to bless his people. The Lord used the betrayal of Judas to bring about the salvation of many. We might paraphrase here Joseph’s words concerning his brethren who sold him into slavery: “Judas meant it for evil; but God meant it for good” (cf. Genesis 50:20).

This is the spirit of Romans 8:28, where Paul will say that God works all things together for good to those who love him, to those who are the called according to his purpose.

There is a video making the rounds on social media of a little girl with some obvious visual impairment being fitted with a new pair of glasses. She fights and tussles about till the glasses are placed on her, and then she can see. She stops fighting and her mouth drops open as she looks around and realizes the details in things that previously had been but a blur.

That is a picture of us at conversion. We once were blind, but now we see. Most importantly, we see the grace of God through Christ. We might also be able to see the hand of God at work in our lives even in the worst of things. We trust in him, not based on our faithfulness or the faithfulness of any other man, but based on the faithfulness of Christ alone.

Grace and peace, Pastor Jeff Riddle

Wednesday, April 05, 2023

Jots & Tittles 19: Five Book Recommendations for Young Pastors


Had a phone conversation last week with a young man who has just accepted a pastoral call to serve in his first church. He asked if I could recommend a few practical books related to the pastoral ministry.

I’ve created this brief list to share with him. Many more might be added but here are five with a brief annotation that I have found helpful (listed In a-b-c order by author):

Charles Bridges, The Christian Ministry with An Inquiry into the Causes of its Inefficiency (Banner of Truth, 1830, 2006).

Bridges (1794-1869) was an evangelical leader in the Church of England. This book shares valuable practical pastoral wisdom in everything from preaching sermons to pastoral work with various kinds of people. It is also filled with pithy aphoristic statements that will lodge in the mind. Example: “Believe—wait—work—are the watchwords of the Ministry” (179).

John Keith Davies, The Local Church: A Living Body (Evangelical Press, 2001).

Davies (d. 1991) served for over thirty-seven years as a Baptist pastor and church planter in Wales. This is technically a book on ecclesiology or even a practical manual on church order, but it also has much, necessarily, to say about the work of pastoral ministry. Davies extols especially the advantages of ministry within the small church. For my full review of this book, look here.

Charles Spurgeon, Lectures to My Students, Complete and Unabridged (Zondervan, 1954 reprint).

These lectures were delivered by Spurgeon (1834-1892), the “Prince of Preachers,” to the students at the Preachers’ College in London. Though the content is sometimes uneven, it includes classic essays addressing topics like dealing with personal discouragement and despondency (“The Minister’s Fainting Fits”) and dealing with both praise and criticism (“The Blind Eye and the Deaf Ear”).

William Still, Dying to Live (Christian Focus, 1991).

William Still (1911-1997 was the “bachelor minister” at the Gilcomston Church of Scotland in Aberdeen from 1945-1997. This autobiography addresses the lows (the week seven of his elders resigned and attendance plummeted) and highs (the joys of seeing fruit and spiritual growth driven through expository preaching, alongside work with students and children) of his unusually long and fruitful ministry in one congregation. Though I list only this work of autobiography (or biography) I commend this genre to aspiring pastors.

William Still, The Work of the Pastor (Christian Focus, 1984, 2001).

This book consists of five lectures presented by Still at an Intervarsity Christian Fellowship student conference in 1964. It is easy to digest and brimming with sagacious insights. Example: “We are so eager, we want a short training and a long ministry. Jesus has thirty years’ training and three years’ ministry” (143).


2023 TBS Trinity & Text Conference: June 14 and June 16


Looking forward to speaking at the TBS Trinity & Text Conference in Lisburn, Northern Ireland on Wednesday, June 14 and in London on Friday, June 16.


Tuesday, April 04, 2023

WM 276: The Legacy Standard Bible (LSB) and the "Shorter Ending" of Mark



I added these notes to the description for this episode's video:

As noted in the podcast, since I don’t yet have a hard copy of the LSB for this episode I was using the online version of the LSB, from the official LSB website (, which does not include any footnotes with the text. I discovered after I posted the video that LSB footnotes are included with the text on So, here are the LSB notes for the passages which I cited in this episode: For the doxology of the Lord’s Prayer at Matthew 6:13b a note reads, “Early mss omit bracketed portion”. For Acts 8:37, a note reads: “Early mss omit this v”. For 1 John 5:7-8, a note reads, “A few late mss add heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one. And there are three that testify on earth, the Spirit”. For 2 Peter 3:10, no note addresses the omission of the negative particle in NA28. For Mark 16:9-20, a note at v. 9 reads, “Later mss add vv 9-20”; a note at v. 20 regarding the “shorter ending” reads, “A few late mss and versions contain this paragraph, usually after v 8; a few have it at the end of ch”. The statement, “a few have it at the end of ch” is confusing. If I have read the apparatus of the NA28 correctly, it lists no Greek mss. or versions which have the “shorter ending” after v. 20. Bruce M. Metzger in his Textual Commentary, Corrected edition (1975) discusses the shorter ending in Greek mss. and versions and concludes, "All of these witnesses except it-k also continue with verses 9-20" (124). He makes no mention of the "shorter ending" appearing after v. 20 in any extant ms. In D. C. Parker’s discussion of this ending in The Living Texts of the Gospels (Cambridge, 1997) he presents the pattern as, “verses 1-8 – but they reported … eternal salvation – verses 9-20” (127) Parker lists no examples of either Greek mss. or versions which include the “shorter ending” after Mark 16:20. Nicholas P. Lunn, likewise, in The Original Ending of Mark (Wipf and Stock, 2014) lists as a variant “ending with both the shorter ending after 16:8 and the longer ending” (22), but he makes no reference to a Greek ms. or version which includes the “shorter ending” after v. 20.