Thursday, December 25, 2014

The Text of the New Testament - Lecture 3 Part 2

At the Family Conference 2014, Pastor Jeff Riddle presented three lectures on the text of the New Testament.  His third teaching was on 11/15/2014 and titled "The Text: Postmodern Challenges to the Text of the New Testament."  Pastor Riddle opened his talk by reading Psalm 11:3.  His teachings on the Traditional Text are highly important for all Christians, so I'm posting my notes from his lectures.  You can read my notes from Pastor Riddle's first lecture here & here and his second lecture here & here.  You can read my notes for the first part of Pastor Riddle's third lecture here.  The following notes conclude his third lecture:
This new diversity view is beginning to be seen in some of our modern English translations already.  For example, the New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) prints the ending of the Gospel of Mark as such:
The Shorter Ending of Mark
[[All that they had been commanded them they told briefly to those around Peter.  And afterward Jesus himself sent out through them from east to west the sacred and imperishable proclamation of eternal salvation.]]
If this sounds unfamiliar it is because this verse has never appeared in a printed copy of the Bible until 1989.  It's a reading that appears in a handful of Greek manuscripts (7 Greek, 1 Latin).  It is never part of the Traditional Text of Scripture, but it's now included in the NRSV alongside the text that has always been received by faithful Christians.

The NRSV also includes the longer ending of Mark, but there's a footnote on verse 14 that includes another verse called the Freer Logion which appears in only 1 Greek Manuscript, Codex W.  According to the editors, there are multiple texts and each must be given equal validity and authority.

This is not just a movement of liberal mainline Protestants.  The English Standard Version (ESV) also has the shorter ending of mark in the footnotes (rather than being placed in the text), which leads the careful reader to question whether or not the footnote should be part of Scripture.

This shift is a problem for many evangelical text critics who are still attempting to use modern methods to reconstruct the original autographs of Scripture, such as Dan Wallace and James White.  They are aware of the shift in secular academic text criticism, but they haven't come to grips with it.  For postmodern critics, people who are still trying to recover the autographic text of Scripture are using 20th century methods in a 21st century world.  It is these postmodern academics, like Professor Parker, who are the real gatekeepers and custodians of the modern critical editions of the text of Scripture, NOT evangelicals who make use of modern translations based on those modern Critical Texts.

It is these secular academics who will determine what future editions of the modern Critical Text will look like; thus, it is they who will determine what future modern translations of the Bible will look like.  This is why we need to sound a warning now--to stand for the Traditional Text in a fixed and standard form as has been held by Christian historically through the ages before we reach a period when that text is corrupted by postmodern methodology.

What are the key theological issues at stake with abandoning the Traditional Text?  Contrary to popular belief, vital Christian doctrines ARE affected.

1. Modern text criticism affects the doctrine of the providential preservation of Scripture (2 Kings 22 & 23; Jer. 36; Psalm 119:89; and Deut. 4:2).  The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith (Chapter 1, para. 8) states that (1) the Bible was immediately inspired in the original languages of Hebrew & Greek.  (2) The Bible in these languages has been providentially preserved in all ages.  (3) Translations are to be made from these providentially preserved texts.  The texts referred to by the LBCF are the copies or apographa that had been faithfully preserved and NOT autographs that were reconstructed in some scholar's study.

Pastor Riddle summarizes John Owen's position:  The Scriptures have been faithfully preserved by the providence of God in the extant copies of Scripture.  The vulgar copy or the Received Text achieved a fixed form with the invention of printing and now serves as the standard text for God's people.

This is in stark contrast to the postmodern perspective.  To embrace modern text criticism is to depart from the classic, reformed, and biblical view of the doctrine of the preservation of Scripture as articulated in the reformed Confessions.

2. Modern text criticism affects the doctrine of the canon of Scripture.  This is not just an issue of which books should be part of the Bible, but also which texts make up those books.  To embrace the modern critical approach is to abandon any notion of textual, and thereby, canonical stability.

We are already seeing problems with the canonical text of Scripture in the pulpits of evangelical churches today.  A couple of years ago John MacArthur completed his exposition through the books of the NT, and the last book he handled was the Gospel of Mark.  When he got to the ending of Mark he preached a sermon on Sunday morning at his church on Mark 8:1-8, and then in his Sunday evening service he did a message on Mark 16:9-20.  He doesn't believe verses 9-20 are part of the Word of God; he doesn't believe it is Scripture.

In 2012 John Piper preached a sermon on John 7:53-8:11 about the woman caught in adultery. He ends the message by saying that it's a true story, whether it happened or whether it belongs in the Gospel of John.  John Piper doesn't believe that the passage should be part of Scripture.  Christians should believe that the Scriptures are true and everything described in the Scriptures truly happened.

Every preacher has to have a view on the text of Scripture.  If he preaches expositionally, he has to decide if Mark 16:9-20 and John 7:53-8:11 are part of the Word of God.

3. Modern text criticism affects the doctrine of the authority and reliability of Scripture.  If the text of Scripture is constantly up for grabs based on the findings and conjectures of modern critical scholars, what does this do for the average readers and their confidence in the authority and reliability of the Bible?  What does it do for the average hearer in the pew?  It undermines our confidence in the authority and the reliability of Scripture.

The danger of embracing the modern critical text is that it leads to seeing the Bible as a jumble of puzzle pieces, including many stray pieces that do not fit.  Those who embrace the Received Text see the Bible as an intact, beautiful picture that has been expertly framed by our Protestant and reformed for-bearers and preserved by our heavenly Guardian.  The modern critical Bible texts are the scientific, artificial productions of the "Word of God."

The old, organic, natural Word of God is better.  It was given by the Lord to the men who wrote it down.  It was faithfully copied by God's people.  Under providential circumstances it came into a standard, printed form.  It is still read, preached, and taught by God's people today.

"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3).  We can hold fast to the Word of Truth.

~~This ends Pastor Riddle's third lecture~~
My 6-part series on the Text of the New Testament has undoubtedly shown that holding to the Traditional Text is extremely important for all Christians now and in the future.  This is not just a question of translation preference.  The crucial, underlying issue is the text used in translation.  I read, study, and memorize from the King James Bible because it is the only English version still in print that is based on the Traditional Text (both OT and NT without modern Critical Text footnotes) which God has providentially preserved for His Church.

"The Holy Scripture is the only sufficient, certain, and infallible rule of all saving knowledge, faith, and obedience," (LBCF, Chap. 1, para. 1).  This statement can only be true for a Bible that is based on a fixed, standard text--the Traditional Text.  All other modern Bible translations that are based on the modern Critical Text are built on shifting sand.  When the rain descends, the floods come, the winds blow, and these man-made Bibles will fall; and great will be the fall of them (Matt. 7:26-27).

God's warning is clear: "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord GOD, that I will send a famine in the land, not a famine of bread, nor a thirst for water, but of hearing the words of the LORD," (Amos 8:11).

"All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness," (2 Tim. 3:16).

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

Holiday Delight

A holiday or holy day is a religious day set apart to cease from work and to observe something else.  How many people work on Christmas Day?  Very few people.  What kind of works are usually done on Christmas Day?  Works of necessity and mercy (i.e. doctors & nurses).  People who abhor such a standard being held for the Lord's Day do not say anything against such a standard on Christmas Day.  God set apart the first holy day at Creation (one day in seven).  It is not burdensome; it was given for man's benefit and should be his delight.  However, Christmas and Easter (man-made set apart holy days of the post-church calendar from Romanist tradition) has become man's delight.
"If thou turn away thy foot from the sabbath, from doing thy pleasure on my holy day; and call the sabbath a delight, the holy of the LORD, honourable; and shalt honour him, not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words: Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD; and I will cause thee to ride upon the high places of the earth, and feed thee with the heritage of Jacob thy father: for the mouth of the LORD hath spoken it," (Isa. 58:13-14).

Tuesday, December 23, 2014

The Text of the New Testament - Lecture 3 Part 1

At the Family Conference 2014, Pastor Jeff Riddle presented three lectures on the text of the New Testament.  His third teaching was on 11/15/2014 and titled "The Text: Postmodern Challenges to the Text of the New Testament."  Pastor Riddle opened his talk by reading Psalm 11:3.  His teachings on the Traditional Text are highly important for all Christians, so I'm posting my notes from his lectures.  You can read my notes from Pastor Riddle's first lecture here & here and his second lecture here & here.
For text criticism, the modern age came to end and the postmodern age began with the publication of a book just a few years after the fall of the Berlin Wall.  In 1993, Bart Ehrman published his book titled, The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture.  Ehrman says he used to be a born-again, evangelical believer.  He went to Wheaton, Moody Bible Institute, and Princeton Seminary.  He pursued a PhD under Bruce Metzger in text criticism.  While he was studying the diversity of the manuscript tradition and being steeped in modern text criticism, he decided that he did not believe that the Bible was authoritative or that it had been faithfully preserved.  He went from being an evangelical to a mainline Protestant to agnostic.  Those of us who hold to reformed doctrine believe that he was a false professor of faith and that he never understood the Gospel because if he had truly been converted, he would not have fallen away, (1 John 2:19).

In his 1993 book Ehrman argues that it is the orthodox Christians who had corrupted the transmission of the texts of the Bible in order to fight against those that they perceived to be heretical.  He also says that the heretical groups in early Christianity were just as legitimate as the orthodox groups.  The Christian movement from the beginning was diverse with many competing interests.  Therefore, we should not speak of early Christianity (singular), but of early Christianities (plural).  In addition, his argument meant that it was impossible to discover the original or autographic text of Scripture because we can never have certainty about what the original authors wrote.  He notes that we can only study the transmission of the text of Scripture to learn what early Christianity was like and what each of these diverse groups within Christianity apparently held.  Such a view reflects the postmodern age of relativism where certainty and conviction is suspect, and where diversity is upheld as the ultimate.

In the world of text criticism, that landmark work in 1993 came only to be expanded by other scholars.  Currently the best know New Testament text critic in the English speaking world is Professor David C. Parker who works in the Department of Theology & Religion at the University of Birmingham in the UK.  He's responsible for digitizing many of the ancient manuscripts including Codex Sinaiticus.  Parker argues that there is not one static text of Scripture, but there are many living texts, all of which are equally valid and authoritative.  Professor Parker published his book An Introduction to the New Testament Manuscripts and their Texts in 2008 (the plural notations are on purpose).

Remember Bruce Metzger's title to his book: The Text of the New Testament: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration.  The 19th and 20th century way of looking at text criticism was that we can take the text that's been corrupted and use scientific methodology to correct it and get back to the original.  The postmodern 21st century scholars are now saying that there is no original text--that we can't find an original text (that would be a fool's errand).  The current scholars say that we have living texts that are all legitimate.

In 2011 Professor Parker presented the Lyle Lectures at Oxford University.  These lectures appeared in book form in 2012 under the title Textual Scholarship and the Making of the New Testament.  He reviewed the state of postmodern text criticism and noted in particular that modern text critics no longer believe that it is neither possible nor profitable to reconstruct the original text of Scripture.  Parker argued against the modern concept of a single, authoritative original text calling it a hopeless anachronism.  Scholars must not think of the Critical Text as the original, but only as the recovery of the form of text from which the surviving copies are descended.  This is the initial text, not the original text of the NT writers.  The task of the NT philologist is not to recover an original, authorial text, but simply to recover the oldest form of the text beneath the manuscript copies.

Professor Parker also conveyed a great deal of excitement about the latest technological revolution that we are currently living under--the digital age.  Right now there are persons who are the gatekeepers and custodians of the text of Scripture.  These custodians are thinking about the ways in which the texts of Scripture will be conveyed to the generations that are to come and how they will be read.  The most significant event in modern day humanity's research is the development of mass digitization.  The result of this digital revolution will be the democratization of fields which have only been accessible to a few people with the resources and opportunities.

In the digital age, Parker speculates that users will be able to build their own Critical Text.  The Brave New World that these scholars envision is that just about every individual at some point will be able to create their own text of Scripture in a digital format and personalize it by laying out the textual variants and picking & choosing which readings they prefer.  Pastor Riddle warns that this will produce a world of chaos where there is no standard, fixed, normative text of Scripture from which God's people in all places read and from which God's ministers preach, exposit, and expound.

~~This ends the first half of Pastor Riddle's third lecture~~
I usually prefer to read from a physical book, especially when I read and study my Bible.  However, I do like the convenience of reading from my iPad and smart phone, especially when I'm away from home.  I never considered how the digital age will affect not only how I read in the future, but also what I read.

Moving toward a digital, personalized Bible (a la the Build-A-Bear model) is not how Scripture defines the Word of God.  Without a standard, fixed form, no two Bibles will be alike because of the unlimited combinations based on the available variant readings.

The Bible is a sure Word of prophecy that is not of any private interpretation (2 Peter 1:19-20).  The Word of the Lord endures forever (1 Peter 1:25), and God's Word is forever settled in heaven (Psalm 119:89).  Adding to and/or subtracting from the preserved Word of God is strictly prohibited and has dire consequences:  "For I [Jesus] testify unto every man that heareth the words of the prophecy of this book, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book," (Rev. 22:18-19).

The slippery slope of striving to construct the ever elusive original Hebrew and Greek texts has blinded many influential evangelical leaders of today.  As noted by Pastor Riddle, this goal has been abandoned by the text criticism scholars of today.  Nevertheless, current leading pastors continue to promote the modern Critical Text by serving on committees, financing its publication, and/or putting their name of the front cover.  James gives a sober warning to them: "My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation," (James 3:1).

In my next post on the Text of the New Testament, I'll share my notes on the second half of Pastor Riddle's third lecture.

"If the foundations be destroyed, what can the righteous do?" (Psalm 11:3).

Sunday, December 21, 2014

The Offices of Christ

From John L. Dagg's Manual of Theology, p. 231:
"We are, by nature, ignorant, guilty, and depraved.  As ignorant, we need Christ, the prophet to teach us; as guilty, we need Christ, the priest, to make atonement for us; and as depraved, we need Christ, the king to rule over us, and bring all our rebellious passions into subjection.  These offices of Christ are also adapted to the graces which distinguish and adorn the Christian character.  The chief of these, enumerated by Paul, are faith, hope, and love; in the exercise of faith, we receive the truth, revealed by Christ, the prophet; in the exercise of hope, we follow Christ, the priest, who has entered into the holiest of all, to appear before God for us; and we submit to Christ, the king, in the exercise of love, which is the fulfilling of the law, the principle and sum of all holy obedience."
"For there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus," (1 Tim. 2:5).

Saturday, December 20, 2014

Heavenly Conversation - Chapters 9 through 13

I'm continuing my look at Jeremiah Burroughs' Second Treatise on "A Heavenly Conversation" found in his book Earthly-Mindedness.  Please see my introduction and Chapter 1 summary here, Chapters 2-4 summary here, Chapters 5 & 6 summary here, and Chapters 7 & 8 summary here.

In Chapter 9 Jeremiah Burroughs gives four reasons why the saints have their conversations in heaven:
  1. Their souls are from heaven.  The soul is from God, of a divine nature, and is, therefore, capable of communion with Father, Son, and Holy Ghost.
  2. By grace the soul has a divine nature put into it.  Unregenerate man as a creature can only relate to God as Creator.  Regenerate man can now relate to God as being made one with Jesus Christ and so one with the Father.
  3. Their most choice things are in heaven.
  4. God orders it to wean their hearts from the world.
In the next four chapters he looks at the four uses of having your conversation in heaven.

Chapter 10 - Use 1: To reprove such as have their conversations in hell.

Chapter 11 - Use 2: To reprove hypocrites.

Chapter 12 - Use 3: Not to find fault with the strictness of God's ways.

Chapter 13 - Use 4: To reprove such as are truly godly, yet fail much in having their conversation in heaven.

Mr. Burroughs exhorts his readers:  "You are not to content yourselves in a mere profession, doing some little matter in the way of religion, or being somewhat better than others, you are to aim at heaven, look up there and make that to be your pattern."

In my next post for this series, I will look at definitions of a heavenly conversation in Chapters 14 through 21.

"For our conversation is in heaven; from whence also we look for the Saviour, the Lord Jesus Christ," (Phil. 3:20).

Thursday, December 18, 2014

The Text of the New Testament - Lecture 2 Part 2

At the Family Conference 2014, Pastor Jeff Riddle presented three lectures on the text of the New Testament.  You can see my notes from his first teaching here & here.  His second lecture was given on 11/15/2014 and titled "The Text: From the Enlightenment to Critical Text."  His teachings on the Traditional Text are highly important for all Christians, so I'm posting my notes from his lectures.  Pastor Riddle opened his talk by reading Col. 2:8.  You can read my notes for the first part of Pastor Riddle's second lecture here.  The following notes conclude his second lecture:
In 1859, Charles Darwin published his Origins of Species.  There are parallel thoughts of evolution by the text criticism scholars who want to strip away the accretions and get back to the originals because the texts have evolved and become flawed.  Scholars believe that they can use modern science to restore the NT to its primitive original.  Unlike the Reformation Fathers, modern text scholars do not believe in the preservation of the Scriptures in the vast majority of existing manuscripts.

The new Bible translation of 1881 based on a different text caused an uproar in England and America.  John Burgon wrote against the modern Critical Text and against the English Revised Version. In 1901 an American version of the English Revised Version was published called the American Standard Version.

In 1952 another committee was put together to produce another modern translation called the Revised Standard Version.  In 1989, the New Revised Standard Version was published.  Today's ESV is a daughter version of the 1881 Revised Version.

The real issue of translation is the underlying text.  This is what has lead to the various modern translations.  Dean Burgon won the battle, but lost the war, even among conservative Christians.  Today, the modern Critical Text has been embraced by scholars and pastors alike.

B.B. Warfield accommodated the modern science of text criticism and the modern Critical Text through his defense of a new concept, the idea of the inerrant, original autograph of the Bible.  This represented a significant shift in interpretation of the reformed confessions.  No longer was the emphasis on the providential, preservation of the Word of God in the extant copies or apographs of Scripture, but in the elusive inerrancy of the autographs.  The autographs of Scripture no longer exist; therefore, they have to be reconstructed by the modern text critics.

In 1899, Vincent offered this definition of text criticism: the process by which it is sought to determine the original text of the document or of a collection of documents and to exhibit it free from all errors, corruptions, and variations which it may have accumulated in the course of transmission by successive copying.  This is NOT the same viewpoint as the London Baptist Confession of Faith (LBCF), Chapter 1, paragraph 8.

The 20th century leading text critic was Bruce Metzger.  He was a tireless promoter of the modern Critical Text, of modern translations, and of the method that came to be known as reasoned eclecticism.  He influenced evangelical scholars and wrote The Text of the New Testament.  His doctrinal student Bart Ehrman co-edited the 4th edition of this book in 2005.  The subtitle is Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, which shows a 19th century Enlightenment mindset.  Text criticism was promoted as a confessionally neutral academic discipline.  Metzger influenced D.A. Carson, James White, and Dan Wallace.
Protests of text criticism did come from Reformed Christians. In 1956, Edward F. Hills published The King James Version Defended based on his belief of the divine preservation of Scripture.  Hills influenced Theodore Letis who argued for the ecclesiastical text of Scripture.  Also, the Trinitarian Bible Society in the UK has stood firm for the Traditional Text.
Scholars Arthur Farstad, Zane Hodges, & Wilbur Pickering from Dallas Theological Seminary defended the Majority Text or Byzantine Text over against the modern Critical Text.  In 1985 they published The Majority Text of the New Testament in Greek.  In 1979 & 1982, they were behind the printing of the New King James Version which based the NT on the Textus Receptus (but had problems with the OT).  In 2005 Maurice Robinson produced The Byzantine Text in Greek.
The Fundamentalist reaction was the King James Only movement which promoted an inspired status for the King James Bible itself.  Although Pastor Riddle is sympathetic with their desire to use the King James Bible, the movement can be cultish and contradicts the LBCF which teaches that the Scriptures were immediately inspired in the original languages of Hebrew and Greek, not in translations.
The Traditional Text was attacked and toppled.  What has been the fruit of the embrace of the modern Critical Greek Text of the NT?  And what has been the fruit of all the modern translations that have flowed from the presses?  Has it produced a vigorous, confident Church?  Has it provided unity and cohesion?

~~This ends Pastor Riddle's second lecture~~
Pastor Riddle's ending rhetorical questions are of course answered in the negative.  The plethora of Bibles that have flooded Christian bookstores has not produced a vigorous, confident church that is united and cohesive.
The issue is not which English translation is best based on the correct translation philosophy.  As succinctly summarized by Pastor Riddle:  "The real issue of translation is the underlying text."

In my next post on the Text of the New Testament, I'll share my notes on Pastor Riddle's third lecture.

"Beware lest  any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ," (Col. 2:8).

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

The Text of the New Testament - Lecture 2 Part 1

At the Family Conference 2014, Pastor Jeff Riddle presented three lectures on the text of the New Testament.  You can see my notes from his first teaching here & here.  His second lecture was given on 11/15/2014 and titled "The Text: From the Enlightenment to Critical Text."  Pastor Riddle opened his talk by reading Col. 2:8.  His teachings on the Traditional Text are highly important for all Christians, so I'm posting my notes from his lectures.
The Traditional Text includes the Masoretic Text in Hebrew (OT) and the Textus Receptus in Greek (NT).  These texts should be defended against the modern Critical Text which is the fruit of the Enlightenment and of Protestant liberalism.  The Critical Text has contributed to undermining the integrity and authority of the Scripture in our day.

Do you want a Bible based in the Enlightenment, or do you want a Bible based in the Reformation?  Do you want Bart Ehrman's Bible, or do you want John Owen's Bible?

The Enlightenment of the 18th century was a philosophical movement in Europe.  It threw off the hindrances of orthodoxy and applied reason to faith; the Age of Faith gave way to the Age of Reason.  Attacks started on the historicity of the Bible.  An overflow of the Enlightenment included the critical and rational study of the Bible.  The modern period of the 19th century gave rise to modern historical criticism.  The Bible was studied like any other piece of ancient literature, and scholars did not accept as a presupposition that the Bible was the Word of God; that it was the revelation of God's Truth.

Paraphrasing Edgar Krentz: From 1820-1920, modern historical criticism secularized the Scriptures.  Biblical books became historical documents to study and question like any other ancient source.  The Bible was no longer the criterion for the writing of history; history became the criterion for understanding the Bible.  The Bible stood before criticism as defendant before judge.

The Traditional Text dominated for 300 years.  Eventually, attacks upon it primarily came from Germany where higher criticism and rationalism caught hold.

Johann Albrecht Bengel formulated the dictum used by modern textual critics that the difficult reading is to be preferred over the easier reading (because scholars assumed that primitive Christianity did not have as high a view of Jesus as later Christianity; therefore, 1 Tim. 3:16 should read 'he' and not 'God').  Bengel also said that we can look at the variants of the NT, but they do not affect any cardinal doctrine of Christianity.

German scholar Johann Jakob Griesbach developed a list of rules for text criticism, including the rule that the shorter reading is to be preferred over the longer reading (because the tendency would be to expand the text rather than take things away).

Another 19th century rule for text criticism was that manuscripts are to be weighed rather than counted.  For example, Mark 16:9-20 is omitted in the modern Critical Text, but it is only missing from 3 Greek manuscripts; it is included in over 1,000 manuscripts.

For the first time in 1831, a copy of the New Testament (NT) that diverged from the Traditional Text was produced by the German scholar Karl Lachmann, who relied primarily on readings he found in early manuscripts (called Uncials) that omitted the longer passages (discussed in the first lecture).  He believed that the Uncials were better texts of the NT.  Lachmann quote: "I am confronted with a sacred task, the struggle to regain the original form of the New Testament."  He thought that with new resources and rationalistic thought, he could take the "inflated" Traditional Text and use the powers of his mind to get back to what the original text really said.

The more recently discovered manuscripts (Codex Sinaiticus and Codex Vaticanus) are the bases for the 19th century modern critical scholars who want to change and overthrow the Traditional Text of the NT.

Modern text critic Eldon Epp said that "Karl Lachmann created a beachhead for the eventual assault upon and overthrow of the Traditional Text by modern scholarship...Another leading general in the battle against the Textus Receptus was the German scholar Tischendor who published his own Greek NT."

The last update of the King James Bible was the 1769 Benjamin Blaney revision (an update of spelling for modern usage).  In 1870 a committee met to revise the language of the King James.  Instead, they decided to produce their own critical edition of the NT.  In 1881, British scholars Westcott & Hort published their landmark edition of the modern critical Greek NT.  They also published an entirely new modern English translation based on their new Critical Text called the English Revised Version, which was the first modern translation to challenge the King James Bible.

~~This ends the first half of Pastor Riddle's second lecture~~
For me and my house, we choose the Bible of the Reformation and of John Owen: the King James Bible based on the Traditional Text.

In my next post on the Text of the New Testament, I'll share my notes on the second half of Pastor Riddle's second lecture.

"Beware lest  any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ," (Col. 2:8).

Monday, December 15, 2014

Book Review: Discovering Delight

In her book Discovering Delight: 31 Meditations on Loving God's Law, Glenda Mathes examines various passages from Scripture that express sensory delight in the Word of God.  These passages include Psalm 119, five other Psalms, two passages from the Old Testament prophets, and two New Testament texts (Kindle location 61).

I appreciate the fact that Scripture quotations are taken from the King James Bible because it's the Bible that I use in daily Bible reading and study.  Therefore, I found it easy to meditate on passages discussed due to familiarity.

Right from the start, Ms. Mathes stresses the importance of spending time in Scripture so that a Christian's thoughts are saturated with the Word and his daily activities are accompanied by it (Kindle location 95).  The author does a great job of balancing law and grace.  She states: "Being covered with His [Jesus'] righteousness doesn't mean we can do whatever we want.  These verses [cited earlier from Romans, Isaiah, and Revelation] show that we need to make an effort to live godly lives, keeping his testimonies and refraining from sin as we walk in God's ways," (Kindle location 374).

The author also describes the synergistic process of sanctification as we read and obey God's law: "Those who love God's law do begin to obey all of His commands...God is the only one who can turn our eyes from vain pursuits.  Only His Spirit can enliven us to walk in a godly way," (Kindle locations 590, 608).

At the end of each selection, the author provides three thought-provoking questions for reflection.  These open-ended questions give structure to the reader's thoughts after each daily reading and provide guidance for personal application.  I was particularly challenged by the question at the end of Day 3 "Heart's Desire", which prompted me to think about how I can move beyond dutiful responsibility to a delightful relationship with the Lord.  The author's commentary provided a whole new outlook on Psalm 37 that I had not previously considered.

Once a Christian realizes that "[t]he more we immerse ourselves in God's Word, the more love it.  And the more we love it, the more we love God and want to live for Him," (Kindle location 662).  Discovering Delight stresses the importance of God's Word in the life of a Christian; therefore, I highly recommend it for all Christians.

Full Disclosure:  I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.