Monday, 28 December 2020

Monday quote

Christmas is a time when kids tell Santa what they want and adults pay for it. Deficits are when adults tell the government what they want and their kids pay for it.

Richard Lamm

Monday, 21 December 2020

Monday quote

As difficult as the concept is for males to understand, feminine weakness is not a weakness.

Douglas Wilson, Federal Husband.

Monday, 14 December 2020

Monday quote

The cross is not the reason we ask for forgiveness daily. It's the reason we are confident that the answer is yes.

John Piper

Monday, 7 December 2020

Monday quote

The "Austrian" economic insight that money is a claim on resources, and that two people cannot hold the same claim on a resource at the same time, needs to be relentlessly rammed home.

Johnathan Pearce

Monday, 30 November 2020

Monday quote

Lies by omission are far more pernicious and damaging than people think. It’s like, ‘Oh, I just won’t pay attention to that’. Anything that you don’t pay attention to turns into a dragon.

Jordan Peterson

Monday, 23 November 2020

Monday quote

He, I apprehend, does the best service to truth, who hinders it from being supported by falsehood. To use a weak argument in behalf of a good cause, can only tend to infuse a suspicion of the cause itself into the minds of all who see the weakness of the argument. Such a procedure is scarcely a remove short of pious fraud.

Richard Porson (1759–1808)

Monday, 16 November 2020

Monday quote

Although sexual pluralism has no rational grounds-theologically, historically, or scientifically-it might be useless to resist with rational argument. For a view which rises to prominence by abandoning reason can hardly be defeated through the use of reason.

Jim Spiegel.

Sunday, 15 November 2020

Paul's call to self emasculation

In Leviticus and Deuteronomy God commands that those who have deformities of their genitals are not be part of God's assembly. Now this was likely related to the concept of clean and unclean, holy and profane. As part of the Mosaic Law it was important for Israelites to make a distinction between such things, in part to appreciate God's holiness.

In Leviticus the command is to the priests
And the LORD spoke to Moses, saying, "Speak to Aaron, saying, None of your offspring throughout their generations who has a blemish may approach to offer the bread of his God. For no one who has a blemish shall draw near, a man blind or lame, or one who has a mutilated face or a limb too long, or a man who has an injured foot or an injured hand, or a hunchback or a dwarf or a man with a defect in his sight or an itching disease or scabs or crushed testicles. No man of the offspring of Aaron the priest who has a blemish shall come near to offer the LORD’s food offerings; since he has a blemish, he shall not come near to offer the bread of his God. He may eat the bread of his God, both of the most holy and of the holy things, but he shall not go through the veil or approach the altar, because he has a blemish, that he may not profane my sanctuaries, for I am the LORD who sanctifies them." (Leviticus 21:16-23)
The priests interceded to God for the people. They were to be without blemish to represent holiness. As such, the reference to crushed testicles, while an absolute requirement, appears to relate to accident and disease; compare to the other blemishes listed.

In Deuteronomy the context may be distinct.
No one whose testicles are crushed or whose penis is cut off shall be admitted to the assembly of the LORD.

Those born of an illicit union shall not be admitted to the assembly of the LORD. Even to the tenth generation, none of their descendants shall be admitted to the assembly of the LORD. (Deuteronomy 23:1-2 NRSV)
The second paragraph refers to banned relationships (such as incest, or possibly cultic prostitution). Thus the context here may relate to disobedience. The next command forbids the involvement of the Moabites and the Ammonites because of their refusal to treat Israel well and their desire to curse. While it is not mentioned specifically here, note that the Moabites also enticed Israel into disobedience through sexual sin.

So the reference to crushed testicles here may imply eunuchs, and the mention of an amputated penis could refer to pagan practices for some men involved in temple worship.

The construction of verse 1 is
No one (lo') whose testicles are crushed or whose penis (shofkah) is cut off (karath) shall be admitted to the assembly of the LORD. (Deu 23:1)
In the Greek it says
Neither a eunuch nor one who has been castrated (apokoptō) shall enter into the assembly of the Lord.
"Apokoptō" is a verb meaning to "cut off" or "amputate" with the implication of "cutting off genitals" in the appropriate context.

Compare this with Galatians
But if I, brothers, still preach circumcision, why am I still being persecuted? In that case the offense of the cross has been removed. I wish those who unsettle you would emasculate (apokoptō) themselves! (Galatians 5:11-12)
The similarity in terms raises the possibility of an allusion here to Deuteronomy. The immediate connection within Galatians is the hyperbolic comparison of circumcision to penile amputation. However a possible allusion of amputation in Galatians to ritual amputation in Deuteronomy suggests that such persons are similar to the pagan worshippers. In the same way that such persons were barred from the holy assembly in Israel, so those who add earning salvation to grace are denied fellowship with Christ.

Monday, 9 November 2020

Monday quote

'If bad things were true of her, and I knew it,' said Curdie, 'I would not hesitate to say them, for I will never give in to being afraid of anything that's bad. I suspect that the things they tell, however, if we knew all about them, would turn out to have nothing but good in them; and I won't say a word more for fear I should say something that mightn't be to her mind.'

George MacDonald, The Princess and Curdie

Monday, 2 November 2020

Monday quote

If you ever catch me being passive aggressive toward you, please alert me so that I can clarify my intentions and remove the passive part.

Jane Dunsworth.

Monday, 26 October 2020

Monday quote

We are told to forgive, up to seven times daily, which actually means four hundred ninety times, and this applies even though all of us would have our suspicions that the repentance wasn't genuine after about the third or fourth time.

Douglas Wilson, Hebrews Through New Eyes.


Monday, 19 October 2020

Monday quote

If the Bible is in any sense God’s Word, as it repeatedly claims (2 Timothy 3:16) then it carries his authority. And to deny that authority is not to let God out of a human box but to let humans out of a divine one.

Mark Ward

Monday, 12 October 2020

Monday, 5 October 2020

Monday quote

Many women cry when they're angry; many men yell when they're hurt.

Keith Schooley.

Monday, 28 September 2020

Monday quote

A leader can be said to be doing his best—when he is willing to surrender tasks to those who are more adept.

Kenneth Boa

Monday, 21 September 2020

Monday quote

There is something fascinating about science. One gets such wholesale returns of conjecture out of such a trifling investment of fact.

Mark Twain

Monday, 14 September 2020

Monday quote

Never forget that bachelors turn into old maids faster than women do.

Doug Wilson

Monday, 7 September 2020

Monday quote

I had already been waist-deep in Romanticism; and likely enough, at any moment, to flounder into its darker and more evil forms, slithering down the steep descent that leads from the love of strangeness to that of eccentricity and thence to that of perversity.

CS Lewis

Monday, 31 August 2020

Monday quote

Civilization—safe, peaceful, and merciful—breeds smaller, duller men than barbarism, which perhaps is why civilization never survives for long.

Peter Hitchens

Monday, 24 August 2020

Monday quote

The society that puts equality before freedom will end up with neither. The society that puts freedom before equality will end up with a great measure of both.

Milton Friedman.

Sunday, 23 August 2020

Referencing day counts in Acts

Acts gives a good example of inclusive reckoning of days when reporting Peter's visit to Cornelius. After Cornelius's vision of an angel he sends messengers to Peter who returns with them to preach the gospel. Note the day count in Acts 10.

Day A B C D
Event Cornelius's vision Peter's vision Leave Joppa Arrive Caesarea
Comment About the 9th hour of the day The next day The next day the following day
Reference 10:3 10:9 10:23 10:24
Exclusive reckoning 0 1 2 3
Inclusive reckoning 1 2 3 4
Example Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday

All the days are accounted for from the time Cornelius first saw the vision. Peter talks with Cornelius about the same time of day as when Cornelius first saw the vision—the 9th hour.
About the 9th hour of the day he saw clearly in a vision an angel of God come in and say to him, "Cornelius."
"4 days ago, about this hour, I was praying in my house at the 9th hour, and behold, a man stood before me in bright clothing..."
Our culture uses exclusive reckoning. Let's say Day A was a Monday. When referencing Monday we would say
  • on Tuesday: yesterday or 1 day ago;
  • on Wednesday: the other day (though this is non-specific) or 2 days ago; and
  • on Thursday: 3 days ago.
But Cornelius says 4 days ago. This means the counting starts with 1 not 0 in this instance. Presumably the use of "next day" and "following day" allows for "previous day" ie. yesterday. Referencing Monday we have
  • on Tuesday: previous day;
  • on Wednesday: 3 days ago; and
  • on Thursday: 4 days ago.
This is a legitimate way of numbering days. However I am not certain that this is a consistent feature when referencing days, months and years throughout the Bible. Compare Mark and Luke.
And after 6 days Jesus took with him Peter and James and John, and led them up a high mountain by themselves. (Mark 9:2)
Now about 8 days after these sayings he took with him Peter and John and James and went up on the mountain to pray. (Luke 9:28)
The important thing is to be aware of it and allow for variable accounting of time in Scripture.

Monday, 17 August 2020

Monday quote

If the Bible is in any sense God’s Word, as it repeatedly claims (2 Timothy 3:16) then it carries his authority. And to deny that authority is not to let God out of a human box but to let humans out of a divine one.

Mark Ward.

Monday, 10 August 2020

Monday quote

Everywhere, except in theology, there has been a vigorous growth of scepticism about scepticism itself.

C.S. Lewis, "Modern Theology and Biblical Criticism", Christian Reflections.

Monday, 3 August 2020

Monday quote

Those mothers who aborted their baby girls are now looking for a girl for their son? They don't deserve us.

Tian Hong Bu

Monday, 27 July 2020

Friday, 24 July 2020

Numbering the 10 Commandments

God gives the ten commandments in Exodus and reiterates them in Deuteronomy. They are alluded to elsewhere in Scripture but they are not further listed, nor numbered.

Various people and groups have enumerated the commandments differently. A defense can be made for the Protestant divisions based on how the commandments are documented in the Bible.

God first gives his commandment to the Israelites at Mount Sinai after they had come out from Egypt. God had been speaking to Moses on the mountain and told the Israelites to consecrate themselves ready for God but not touch the mountain.
And God spoke all these words, saying,
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
“You shall have no other gods before me.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them, for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and the fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
“Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days you shall labor, and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you, or your son, or your daughter, your male servant, or your female servant, or your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates. For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that is in them, and rested on the seventh day. Therefore the Lord blessed the Sabbath day and made it holy.
“Honor your father and your mother, that your days may be long in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
“You shall not murder.
“You shall not commit adultery.
“You shall not steal.
“You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
“You shall not covet your neighbor's house; you shall not covet your neighbor's wife, or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.” (Exo 20:1-17)
Later in Deuteronomy Moses reiterates these commandments. Moses states that God made a covenant at the mountain and Moses tells a new generation the commandments that God had given.
He [God] said
“I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
“You shall have no other gods before me.
“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is on the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth. You shall not bow down to them or serve them; for I the Lord your God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers on the children to the third and fourth generation of those who hate me, but showing steadfast love to thousands of those who love me and keep my commandments.
“You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold him guiltless who takes his name in vain.
“Observe the Sabbath day, to keep it holy, as the Lord your God commanded you. Six days you shall labor and do all your work, but the seventh day is a Sabbath to the Lord your God. On it you shall not do any work, you or your son or your daughter or your male servant or your female servant, or your ox or your donkey or any of your livestock, or the sojourner who is within your gates, that your male servant and your female servant may rest as well as you. You shall remember that you were a slave in the land of Egypt, and the Lord your God brought you out from there with a mighty hand and an outstretched arm. Therefore the Lord your God commanded you to keep the Sabbath day.
“Honor your father and your mother, as the Lord your God commanded you, that your days may be long, and that it may go well with you in the land that the Lord your God is giving you.
“You shall not murder.
“And you shall not commit adultery.
“And you shall not steal.
“And you shall not bear false witness against your neighbor.
“And you shall not covet your neighbor's wife. And you shall not desire your neighbor's house, his field, or his male servant, or his female servant, his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's.” (Deu 5:5-21)
After speaking these commandments from God Moses says,
These words the Lord spoke to all your assembly at the mountain out of the midst of the fire, the cloud, and the thick darkness, with a loud voice; and he added no more. And he wrote them on two tablets of stone and gave them to me. (Deu 5:22)
From this we know that these words direct from God were written on tablets and that they end with his commands against coveting. And they clearly start with “I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.”

Elsewhere Moses notes the covenant and refers to the tablets as containing the ten commandments (ten words).
And the Lord said to Moses, “Write these words, for in accordance with these words I have made a covenant with you and with Israel.” So he was there with the Lord forty days and forty nights. He neither ate bread nor drank water. And he wrote on the tablets the words of the covenant, the Ten Commandments. (Exodus 34:27-28)
These two passages in Exodus and Deuteronomy contain the words spoken by God, and they also tell us that the commandments that were written on tablets, and that there are 10 of them.

There are a limited number of ways that these commands can be divided up. Several of the commands are brief and are not variants of the commands either side. The prohibition against murder is distinct from the prohibition against adultery which is distinction from the prohibition against stealing.

The potential divisions proposed, in order, are:
  1. I am the Lord your God
  2. You shall have no other gods before me
  3. You shall not make for yourself a carved image
  4. You shall not bow down to them or serve them
  5. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain
  6. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy
  7. Honor your father and your mother
  8. You shall not murder
  9. You shall not commit adultery
  10. You shall not steal
  11. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
  12. You shall not covet your neighbor's house
  13. You shall not covet your neighbor's wife
  14. [You shall not covet] or his male servant, or his female servant, or his ox, or his donkey, or anything that is your neighbor's
It seems clear that of the above items #6, #7, #8, #9, #10, #11 are 6 separate commands. All other proposals also separate #5 as a single command. The various proposals concern whether coveting is one or two commands (#12, #13, #14), and how to separate the first few commands (#1, #2, #3, #4).

The command not to covet specifies the verb "covet" twice in Exodus; it is prior to both neighbour's house and neighbour's wife; the other items of one's neighbour are also prohibited by inference of the prior verb. In Deuteronomy the order of the first two prohibitions is reversed. The command is first not to covet a neighbour's wife, then a neighbour's house; again the other items are inferred by the prior verb. Of note, the verb for "covet" in Exodus is "khamod." In Deuteronomy the same verb is used for coveting a wife, but a different verb for coveting a house: "ʾavah."

The command is: do not covet. Coveting is the primary issue. And Paul says that the vice is effectively the vice of idolatry; interestingly earlier prohibited.
Put to death therefore what is earthly in you: sexual immorality, impurity, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. (Col 3:5)
Further, the order in Exodus, which was when the commandments were first given by God, has the coveting of a wife after that of a house. If we are to enumerate coveting as two different commands then God is saying,
  1. Command 9: Do not covet a house
  2. Command 10: Do not covet a wife
  3. Corollary: And command 9 also includes other items that belong to one's neighbour.
While God gives reasons for a command within the command, it seems less likely that he would return to an earlier command after given a subsequent one.

Not coveting along with the other commands already mentioned totals 8 commands. Divisions #1 through #4 are also variously divided. Making images to act as gods and bowing to those same gods is in principle a similar action. While one can worship a false god without an image, the command is assuming images that are made in order to be worshipped. It was not against God's law to draw, sew or carve pictures of creatures. So the question is whether having no other god is distinct from setting up a physical idol to worship. One could group the command into a general anti-idolatrous command: Don't worship foreign gods; don't make images of gods; don't worship images. Nevertheless, these commands are more distinct than commands not to covet various things. If we group the directly idolatrous commands as a single commandment then we have a total of 9 commandments. The tenth commandment is variously identified as coveting or as the preamble. We have discussed coveting, and the preamble is hardly a commandment.
I am the Lord your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt, out of the house of slavery.
The ten commandments are therefore as follows:
  1. You shall have no other gods before me
  2. You shall not make for yourself a carved image; you shall not bow down to them or serve them
  3. You shall not take the name of the Lord your God in vain
  4. Remember the Sabbath day, to keep it holy
  5. Honor your father and your mother
  6. You shall not murder
  7. You shall not commit adultery
  8. You shall not steal
  9. You shall not bear false witness against your neighbor
  10. You shall not covet

Monday, 20 July 2020

Monday quote

People have a strange tendency to accept bramble-leadership, a fact which continues to baffle us.

Dale Ralph Davis, Such a Great Salvation.

Monday, 13 July 2020

Monday quote

A science that still accepts exclusively force and matter at the start of the information age is medieval.

Reinhard Eichelbeck, The Darwin Conspiracy. Rise and fall of a pseudo-scientific worldview. (Das Darwin-Komplott. Aufstieg und Fall eines pseudowissenschaftlichen Weltbildes.)

Monday, 6 July 2020

Monday quote

Call me old fashioned, but I still maintain there is a critical difference between climbing out of stupid and climbing into it.

Doug Wilson

Monday, 29 June 2020

Monday quote

When being the most oppressed victim gives you the highest status, then it’s a race to the bottom.

Jordan Peterson

Monday, 22 June 2020

Monday quote

As regards sexual morality, we have reached a point at which it is no longer sufficient for us to criticize modernity’s poor answers. Like our Lord in the gospel narratives, we must also correct its terribly impoverished questions.

Michael W. Hannon

Monday, 15 June 2020

Monday quote

‘What is truth’ to ‘There is no absolute truth’ to ‘It’s true if it’s true for you’ to ‘If you deny this is true you are a hater’

Matthew Hoiser.

Monday, 8 June 2020

Monday quote

You don’t get to assume his intent and chastise him for your imagination.

Justin Parris

Tuesday, 2 June 2020

Zayit stone abecedary

In 2005 an abecedary was found on the Zayit Stone at Tel Zayit. It is believed to date from about 1000 BC. Below is the order of letters as inscribed on the stone. I have included the early Hebrew glyphs in the table as they most closely match the stone glyphs. There are some caveats as mentioned below.



Modern order Zayit stone
Order Name square early Latin Name square early Latin Comment
1 Alef א 𐤀‎ ʾ Alef א 𐤀‎ ʾ
2 Bet ב 𐤁‎ b Bet ב 𐤁‎ b
3 Gimel ג 𐤂‎ g Gimel ג 𐤂‎ g
4 Dalet ד 𐤃‎ d Dalet ד 𐤃‎ d
5 He ה 𐤄‎ h Waw ו 𐤅‎ w
6 Waw ו 𐤅‎ w He ה 𐤄‎ h
7 Zayin ז 𐤆‎ z Het ח 𐤇‎ kh
8 Het ח 𐤇‎ kh Zayin ז 𐤆‎ z
9 Tet ט 𐤈‎ t Tet ט 𐤈‎ t
10 Yod י 𐤉‎ y Yod י 𐤉‎ y
11 Kaf כ 𐤊‎ k Lamed ל 𐤋‎ l ?
12 Lamed ל 𐤋‎ l Kaf כ 𐤊‎ k ?
13 Mem מ 𐤌‎ m Mem מ 𐤌‎ m
14 Nun נ 𐤍‎ n Nun נ 𐤍‎ n
15 Samekh ס 𐤎‎ s Samekh ס 𐤎‎ s
16 Ayin ע 𐤏‎ ʿ Pe פ 𐤐‎ p faint
17 Pe פ 𐤐‎ p Ayin ע 𐤏‎ ʿ faint
18 Tsadi צ 𐤑‎ ts Tsadi צ 𐤑‎ ts faint
19 Qof ק 𐤒‎ q Qof ק 𐤒‎ q faint
20 Resh ר 𐤓‎ r Resh ר 𐤓‎ r faint
21 Shin ש 𐤔‎ s Shin ש 𐤔‎ s
22 Tav ת 𐤕‎ t Tav ת 𐤕‎ t faint

  • Letters he and waw are reversed, this has not been seen previously.
  • Letters zayin and het are reversed, this may have been noted elsewhere.
  • Letters kaf and lamed are reversed. The authors believe this to be a mistake because there is a gap following the kaf and what appears to be a cross (X) suggesting an error was made then recognised by the scribe.
  • Letters ayin and pe are reversed. The letters are faint and difficult to see. This inversion has been seen elsewhere.


Tappy et al. An Abecedary of the Mid-Tenth Century B.C.E. from the Judaean Shephelah. Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research. 2006.

Monday, 1 June 2020

Monday quote

If man had his way, the plan of redemption would be an endless and bloody conflict. In reality, salvation was bought not by Jesus' fist, but by His nail-pierced hands; not by muscle but by love; not by vengeance but by forgiveness; not by force but by sacrifice.

AW Tozer.

Friday, 29 May 2020

Early oral tradition about Jesus

It has been said that Paul includes an early oral tradition about Jesus in his first letter to the Corinthians. Paul reiterates in his letter what he had already told them in person
  • That Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
  • And that he was buried,
  • And that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
  • And that he appeared to Cephas,
  • Then to the twelve,
  • Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time, most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep,
  • Then he appeared to James,
  • Then to all the apostles. (1 Corinthians 15:3-5)
Paul concludes with his own encounter
Last of all, as to one untimely born, he appeared also to me. For I am the least of the apostles, unworthy to be called an apostle, because I persecuted the church of God.
Paul's encounter is probably his addendum to the prior account. Note also that the parenthetical comment, "most of whom are still alive, though some have fallen asleep," may also be an addition. Some place all of the material from the 500 brothers onward as Paul's addition.

Paul prefaces this list with
For I delivered (paradidomi) to you as of first importance what I also received (paralambano) (1 Corinthians 15)
Apparently the combination of paradidomi with paralambano was understood by a the ancients to mean that the speaker is passing on an oral tradition that has been received from others. I am uncertain as to whether there is an implied expectation in these two words for the hearer to also memorise. The earlier use of this phrase by Paul directly to the Corinthians, and then his repetition in the letter seems to suggest so in this instance.

1 Corinthians was authored in the early 50s. However there are apparently clues that this phrase maybe an oral history originating several years earlier. Paul was writing in Greek though he also knew Hebrew and Aramaic*. The saying as recorded in 1 Corinthians has marks of translation from Hebrew/ Aramaic into Greek as it is written. Paul likely had the saying memorised in Hebrew/ Aramaic and translated it to his secretary.

These clues are possibly the use of the Semitic "Cephas" rather than the Greek "Peter", though Paul does use "Cephas" consistently in 1 Corinthians and uses it more than "Peter" in his other letters. And the construction "And that" (kai hoti), which is the Greek translation of the waw consecutive, a Semitic construction.

So recorded in 1 Corinthians is a very early oral tradition about Jesus that antedates all the New Testament documents probably within a few years of the resurrection of Jesus, in the Hebrew/ Aramaic language.
Christ died for our sins in accordance with the Scriptures,
And that he was buried,
And that he was raised on the third day in accordance with the Scriptures,
And that he appeared to Cephas,
Then to the twelve,
Then he appeared to more than five hundred brothers at one time,
Then he appeared to James,
Then to all the apostles.


*Many scholars suggest that the language in Judea at the time of Christ was Aramaic, a language from Babylon (and Assyria) closely related to Hebrew. Others claim they spoke Hebrew.

Thursday, 28 May 2020

The Word became flesh and dwelt among us

God gives Habakkuk a vision, he says
“Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so he may run who reads it.” (Hab 2:2 ESV)
The last line being difficult to translate: make the vision plain on the tablets:
  • so that it might be read quickly. (LEB)
  • so he may run who reads it. (ESV)
  • so that a herald may run with it. (NIV)
  • so the one who announces it may read it easily. (NET)
  • That the one who reads it may run. (NASB)
more literally
  • so that one who reads in it may run; or
  • it might run reading/proclaiming upon it; or
  • so the one who reads/proclaims it might run; or 
  • so that he running, he reading/proclaiming, from this [tablet]
The NET gives the meaning that it is easy to read such that one can run his eyes through the text. Another interpretation is that it is easy enough to read so that someone can read from the tablet even while he is running. One could paraphrase the last line: so that he can read it while he is running. I side with a person running interpretation which is the meaning given in the ESV and NASB. The ancients usually read out loud so the idea is probably that of one proclaiming, that is a herald as per the NIV.

But note 3 aspects:
“Write the vision;
make it plain on tablets,
so that he who proclaims it may run.”
This describes a message: the vision; a medium: tablets; and a messenger: the person proclaiming. All information has this: content, a carrier medium, and communication (speaking, reading, etc).

Compare John's introduction to his gospel.
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us. (Joh 1:14)
We have a message: the Word; a medium: flesh (the incarnation); and a messenger: him dwelling with us. Yet Jesus is all these 3 things. Jesus is the message; Jesus is what the message is written on, that is, the incarnation; and Jesus is the messenger.
Jesus stood up and cried out, “If anyone thirsts, let him come to me and drink.” (Joh 7:37).

Tuesday, 26 May 2020

Jude and 2 Peter

The similarities in content between the letters of Jude and 2 Peter are well known.

Further, some dispute that 1 Peter and 2 Peter were written by the same individual due to differences in vocabulary, grammar, and style.

In his Redating the New Testament Robinson makes an argument that Peter's comment about his departure (2Pe 1:15) references a literal departure from a region rather than his impending death. He also notes that Jude takes off from writing another letter to mention other urgent issues (Jud 1:3). Further 2 Peter makes mention of an earlier letter. Johnson argues that if Jude was Peter's agent in writing the letter of 2 Peter then the "I" of 2 Peter 3:1 refers to Jude and not Peter; and the letter Jude left off to write the Epistle of Jude was the letter he was writing for Peter. Consequently he dates both Jude and 2 Peter early and makes 2 Peter antedate 1 Peter!

I think the reconstruction by Robinson is faulty. The ESV translates Jude 1:3 thus,
Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
This does not require leaving off another actual letter, rather that the circumstances require that Jude's original topic needs to be deferred by reason of more urgent matters.

Further, Peter's departure is clearly his death,
Therefore I intend always to remind you of these qualities, though you know them and are established in the truth that you have. I think it right, as long as I am in this body, to stir you up by way of reminder, since I know that the putting off of my body will be soon, as our Lord Jesus Christ made clear to me. And I will make every effort so that after my departure you may be able at any time to recall these things. (2Pe 1:12-15)
But if the similarity of style between Jude and 2 Peter remains strong this could have authorship implications. There is clearly similarity of topic such that 2 Peter is dependent on Jude or vice versa (or both dependent on a common source). But there are enough differences to suggest borrowing of concepts rather than a quotation. If the same author wrote both Jude and 2 Peter this would both explain the similarity and allow for the variation of a person writing about the same topic on different occasions.

Assuming this solution, which was written first? It seems to me that the better style would reflect the later version and I will need to defer to Greek readers as to whether Jude or 2 Peter is more polished (at least in the parts of the letters that overlap). If, however, Jude was writing 2 Peter very near the end of Peter's life, were Jude to write a second letter to another church in the months following Peter's martyrdom to warn of the same dangers, he would write in his own name.

Further, Jude's reference to being James' brother means Jude was likely written prior to James' death c. 69*.

Interestingly, Jude is thought to be less likely to be pseudonymous than 2 Peter because why would an anonymous author attach the name "Jude" of all options? Only Jude would use Jude. However, if Jude also wrote 2 Peter as an amanuensis it would increase the authenticity of 2 Peter as Jude had no reason to attach Peter's name unless Peter were the author. Were Jude to falsely add Peter's name to 2 Peter then why would he write a different letter in his own name?

If we accept that Jude was the amanuensis for 2 Peter then he subsequently wrote his letter after Peter's death, then 2 Peter and Jude would be written c. 64†.


*This is dispute concerning when James was put to death. It may have been as early as 62.
†Peter was put to death during Nero's reign 54–68. Exact date is uncertain but c. 64–67.

Monday, 25 May 2020

Thursday, 21 May 2020

Kings of the divided kingdom

When Rehoboam became king of Israel the northern tribes rebelled and followed Jeroboam. The kingdom remained split. The northern kingdom was subsequently exiled to Assyria. The southern kingdom was exiled to Babylon about 150 years later.

The southern kingdom is referred to as Judah and it included the tribe of Benjamin and some of Levi. Through the book of Chronicles it is often referred to as Israel.

The northern kingdom incorporated the other tribes and was referred to as Israel or Ephraim after the largest tribe. Ephraim is a half tribe of Joseph.

# King of Judah King of Israel
1 Rehoboam Jeroboam
2 Abijah Nadab
3 Asa Baasha
4 Jehoshaphat Elah
5 Jehoram Zimri
6 Ahaziah Tibni/ Omri
7 Athaliah Omri
8 Joash Ahab
9 Amaziah Ahaziah
10 Azariah (Uzziah) Joram
11 Jotham Jehu
12 Ahaz Jehoahaz
13 Hezekiah Jehoash
14 Manasseh Jeroboam
15 Amon Zechariah
16 Josiah Shallum
17 Jehoahaz Menahem
18 Jehoiakim Pekahiah
19 Jehoiachin Pekah
20 Zedekiah Hoshea

The list above does note correspond chronologically between Judah and Israel.

Judah had 19 kings. They were all sons or relatives of the previous king. Athaliah the queen mother usurped the throne and declared herself queen.

Israel had 20 (or 19) kings. There were several different dynasties. Note that Tibni and Omri ruled different regions of Israel until Omri defeated Tibni.

Israel lasted ~250 years until exile, Judah lasted ~400 years.

Monday, 18 May 2020

Monday quote

Liberty is the right to choose. Freedom is the result of the right choice.

Anonymous

Friday, 15 May 2020

The Calvinist big 3

Leighton Flowers has written a long post addressing Calvinist proof texts.
Let us begin with “the big three.” Calvinistic apologist, Dr. James White, refers to Ephesians 1, Romans 9 and John 6 as the “classicus locus,” in an article seeking to defend the TULIP systematic. I contend that if any one of these passages did not exist in the canon of scripture that Calvinism would have never even existed.
Of these 3 passages, 2 are by Paul. John’s dialogue is not obviously Calvinist.

The grand theme of both Romans and Ephesians is that the Gentiles are included God’s salvation plans. The kingdom is not restricted to the Jews, it is for everyone. This is the revealed mystery in the last days (Eph 3:6).

But note the irony. Calvinists take a few verses from these books, books about how the kingdom is so much more inclusive and expansive than the Jews ever imagined, and they teach that salvation is restricted to the few that God selectively chooses.

Monday, 11 May 2020

Monday quote

The usual character of human testimony is substantial truth under circumstantial variety.

William Paley (1743–1807).

Monday, 4 May 2020

Monday quote

There are no solutions; there are only trade-offs.

Thomas Sowell

Monday, 27 April 2020

Monday quote

Pertness and ignorance may ask a question in three lines, which it will cost learning and ingenuity thirty pages to answer. When this is done, the same question shall be triumphantly asked again the next year, as if nothing had ever been written upon the subject.

George Horne (1730–1792).

Monday, 20 April 2020

Monday quote

Of all the things that God has made, the human heart is the one that shines brightest—and blackest, alas!

Victor Hugo, Les Misérables

Sunday, 19 April 2020

Passover Feast

John and the synoptic gospels discuss the death and resurrection of Jesus which occurred at the time of the Passover. The chronology around these events can be difficult to work out in part due to the use of the terms Passover, Passover Feast, and Feast of Unleavened Bread.

The Feast of Unleavened Bread was instituted at the time of Passover during the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. Luke clearly states that the festivals are celebrated together
Now the Feast of Unleavened Bread drew near, which is called the Passover. (Lk 22:1).
Matthew, Mark and Luke clearly state that the Passover Lamb was to be sacrificed on the (first) day of Unleavened Bread (Mat 26:17; Mar 14:12; Luk 22:7). The disciples asked Jesus where they were to eat the Passover during that same day and Jesus instructed them on his plans. The disciples prepared the Passover (Mar 14:16; Luk 22:13) and Jesus ate the Passover meal with his disciples that evening (Mat 26:20; Mar 14:17). This Passover meal that Jesus ate with his disciples became known as the Last Supper.

I have previously discussed the days of crucifixion and resurrection of Jesus. The eating of the Passover with the disciples occurred on Thursday evening after sunset. It is thought that during the first century the Jews started a new day at sunset. This means that the Passover lamb is sacrificed during the day, and the Passover meal occurs after sunset which is the next day.

John uses different terminology to the synoptics. John mentions the Passover (pascha) several times in his gospel, though John never mentions the festival of Unleavened Bread (azymos).

Here are John's uses of the word "Passover" during Passion Week.
Now the Passover of the Jews was at hand, and many went up from the country to Jerusalem before the Passover to purify themselves. They were looking for Jesus and saying to one another as they stood in the temple, “What do you think? That he will not come to the feast at all?” Now the chief priests and the Pharisees had given orders that if anyone knew where he was, he should let them know, so that they might arrest him.

Six days before the Passover, Jesus therefore came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. So they gave a dinner for him there. Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those reclining with him at table. (Joh 11:55–12:2)

Now before the Feast of the Passover, when Jesus knew that his hour had come to depart out of this world to the Father, having loved his own who were in the world, he loved them to the end. During supper, when the devil had already put it into the heart of Judas Iscariot, Simon’s son, to betray him, Jesus, knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he had come from God and was going back to God, rose from supper. He laid aside his outer garments, and taking a towel, tied it around his waist. Then he poured water into a basin and began to wash the disciples’ feet and to wipe them with the towel that was wrapped around him. (Joh 13:1–5)

Then they led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the governor’s headquarters. It was early morning. They themselves did not enter the governor’s headquarters, so that they would not be defiled, but could eat the Passover. (Joh 18:28)

After he [Pilate] had said this, he went back outside to the Jews and told them, “I find no guilt in him. But you have a custom that I should release one man for you at the Passover. So do you want me to release to you the King of the Jews?” (Joh 18:38–39)

Now it was the day of Preparation of the Passover. It was about the sixth hour. He said to the Jews, “Behold your King!” They cried out, “Away with him, away with him, crucify him!” (Joh 19:14–15)
In describing the Last Supper John says, "Before the Feast of the Passover" (Joh 13:1).  It is not immediately clear what the Feast of the Passover refers to here. John may just mean that Jesus washed his disciples feet before the meal, though it appears that the washing occurred during the meal (Joh 13:4). It is interesting that John adds the word "feast" here. The synoptics referring to the Last Supper just say Passover. John says Passover elsewhere, but he uses the word "feast" in this context: that is they eat the Passover lamb before the feast. This suggests that John is referring to a separate meal.

In Leviticus God lists the feasts for the Israelites. Concerning Passover and Unleavened Bread we read,
In the first month, on the fourteenth day of the month at twilight, is the LORD’s Passover. And on the fifteenth day of the same month is the Feast of Unleavened Bread to the LORD; for seven days you shall eat unleavened bread. On the first day you shall have a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work. But you shall present a food offering to the LORD for seven days. On the seventh day is a holy convocation; you shall not do any ordinary work.” (Lev 23:5–8).
And in Numbers we read,
On the fourteenth day of the first month is the LORD’s Passover, and on the fifteenth day of this month is a feast. Seven days shall unleavened bread be eaten. On the first day there shall be a holy convocation. You shall not do any ordinary work, but offer a food offering, a burnt offering to the LORD. (Num 28:16–19).
Both Leviticus and Numbers specify a feast on the 15th day which is distinct from the Passover meal. There is a distinction in Leviticus between Passover and Unleavened Bread; yet they are both part of the same festival. And even though Numbers was written only several years later, by that time the phraseology had already become less distinct than Leviticus.

So it is likely that the Jews of the first century ate the Passover Lamb on the first day and had a feast on the next day, the day after the Passover lamb was eaten. And this latter meal is what John means by the term Passover Feast. This is especially so as the Passover meal was not a feast. It was a remembrance meal, a meal where God had specified a fixed menu.

At the time of Jesus' crucifixion the Passover meal was eaten on Thursday evening (after sunset) and there was to be a feast on Friday.

Monday, 13 April 2020

Monday quote

Jesus Christ our Lord surrendered in order that He might win; He destroyed His enemies by dying for them and conquered death by allowing death to conquer Him

AW Tozer. Preparing for Jesus' Return: Daily Live the Blessed Hope.

Monday, 6 April 2020

Monday quote

Few of the great tragedies of history were created by the village idiot, and many by the village genius.

Thomas Sowell

Monday, 30 March 2020

Monday quote

But the point of childrearing is not order or disorder but rather love. Order that serves love is a delight. Disorder for the sake of others is also a delight. Wisdom alone establishes the point of equipoise.

Douglas Wilson, My Life for Yours.

Monday, 23 March 2020

Monday quote

If you correct a bad attitude with a bad attitude, the lesson the child learns is not that bad attitudes are wrong. He learns that bad attitudes are wrong unless you have the upper hand. So then the kid clings sinfully to his bad attitude, and commences work on getting the upper hand.

Douglas Wilson, My Life for Yours.

Saturday, 21 March 2020

The twelve apostles

The twelve disciples of Jesus, who are also called apostles, are named in the 3 synoptic gospels and Acts. There are minor differences in these lists (and some minor manuscript variations). The comparison of the passages reveals several insights.

Matthew lists the names of the disciples at the time Jesus sent them out, not at the time of their calling.
And he called to him his twelve disciples and gave them authority over unclean spirits, to cast them out, and to heal every disease and every affliction. The names of the twelve apostles are these: first, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

These twelve Jesus sent out, instructing them, “Go nowhere among the Gentiles and enter no town of the Samaritans, but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel. (Mat 10:1-6)
Mark writes of the calling of the disciples.
And he went up on the mountain and called to him those whom he desired, and they came to him. And he appointed twelve (whom he also named apostles) so that they might be with him and he might send them out to preach and have authority to cast out demons. He appointed the twelve: Simon (to whom he gave the name Peter); James the son of Zebedee and John the brother of James (to whom he gave the name Boanerges, that is, Sons of Thunder); Andrew, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus, and Simon the Zealot, and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.

Then he went home, and the crowd gathered again, so that they could not even eat. (Mar 3:13-20)
Luke also writes of the calling, and notes that this was after a night of prayer.
In these days he went out to the mountain to pray, and all night he continued in prayer to God. And when day came, he called his disciples and chose from them twelve, whom he named apostles: Simon, whom he named Peter, and Andrew his brother, and James and John, and Philip, and Bartholomew, and Matthew, and Thomas, and James the son of Alphaeus, and Simon who was called the Zealot, and Judas the son of James, and Judas Iscariot, who became a traitor.

And he came down with them and stood on a level place, with a great crowd of his disciples and a great multitude of people from all Judea and Jerusalem and the seacoast of Tyre and Sidon, who came to hear him and to be healed of their diseases. (Luk 6:12-18)
Luke again lists the disciples when they were choosing a replacement for Judas
Then they returned to Jerusalem from the mount called Olivet, which is near Jerusalem, a Sabbath day's journey away. And when they had entered, they went up to the upper room, where they were staying, Peter and John and James and Andrew, Philip and Thomas, Bartholomew and Matthew, James the son of Alphaeus and Simon the Zealot and Judas the son of James. All these with one accord were devoting themselves to prayer, together with the women and Mary the mother of Jesus, and his brothers.

In those days Peter stood up among the brothers (the company of persons was in all about 120) and said, “Brothers, the Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke beforehand by the mouth of David concerning Judas, who became a guide to those who arrested Jesus. (Act 1:12-16)
The disciples are listed in this order in the various books:

MatthewMarkLukeActs
Simon(1) (Peter)Simon(1) (Peter)Simon(1) (Peter)Peter
AndrewJames(1)AndrewJohn
James(1)JohnJames(1)James(1)
JohnAndrewJohnAndrew
PhilipPhilipPhilipPhilip
BartholomewBartholomewBartholomewThomas
ThomasMatthewMatthewBartholomew
MatthewThomasThomasMatthew
James(2)James(2)James(2)James(2)
ThaddaeusThaddaeusSimon(2)Simon(2)
Simon(2)Simon(2)Judas(1)Judas(1)
JudasJudasJudas(2)Judas(1)

Rearranging the table so the names align with Matthew we get

MatthewMarkLukeActs
Simon(1) (Peter)Simon(1) (Peter)Simon(1) (Peter)Peter
AndrewAndrewAndrewAndrew
James(1)James(1)James(1)James(1)
JohnJohnJohnJohn
PhilipPhilipPhilipPhilip
BartholomewBartholomewBartholomewBartholomew
ThomasThomasThomasThomas
MatthewMatthewMatthewMatthew
James(2)James(2)James(2)James(2)
ThaddaeusThaddaeusJudas(1)Judas(1)
Simon(2)Simon(2)Simon(2)Simon(2)
Judas(2)Judas(2)Judas(2)Judas(2)

Not unlike today, some people had more than one name. Matthew is also called Levi in Luke 5. Simon is renamed Peter by Jesus. Comparing the lists it is clear that Thaddaeus is Judas the son of James. We are not told why Judas also went by the name Thaddaeus, though the other Judas went on to betray Jesus and the son of James would not wish to be confused with him. Judas is the Greek form of the name Judah, a common name at the time.

This leads to another noteworthy aspect of the list. There are 2 Simons, 2 James', and 2 Judas'. They were common names. There are 11 different men named Simon mentioned in the New Testament*.

The top male names in first century Israel were:
  1. Simon
  2. Joseph
  3. Lazarus
  4. Judah
  5. John
  6. Joshua (Jesus)
  7. Ananias
  8. Jonathan
  9. Matthew
The top nine female names were:
  1. Mary
  2. Salome
  3. Shelamzion (related to Salome)
  4. Martha
  5. Joanna
  6. Sapphira
  7. Berenice
  8. Imma
  9. Mara
To prevent confusion disambiguators were used. The 4 lists of the disciples include disambiguators as the gospels also do elsewhere.
  1. Simon who is called Peter
  2. Simon the Zealot
  3. James the son of Zebedee
  4. James the son of Alphaeus
  5. Judas the son of James
  6. Judas Iscariot
Mark names all the disciples in a continuous list: Simon... and James... and John... and Andrew.... Luke does the same. But Matthew lists them in pairs.
First, Simon, who is called Peter, and Andrew his brother; [and] James the son of Zebedee, and John his brother; Philip and Bartholomew; Thomas and Matthew the tax collector; James the son of Alphaeus, and Thaddaeus; Simon the Zealot and Judas Iscariot, who betrayed him.
Some manuscripts have an extra "and".

Matthew is pairing the names.
  • Simon and Andrew
  • James and John
  • Philip and Bartholomew
  • Thomas and Matthew
  • James and Thaddaeus
  • Simon and Judas
Matthew lists the disciples and pairs them within the pericope of Jesus sending out his twelve disciples to the Jews. While Matthew does not mention pairing specifically, we know from Mark that Jesus sent them out in pairs.
And he called the twelve and began to send them out two by two. (Mar 6:7)
This also explains why Matthew puts Andrew next to Peter: Andrew was Peter's brother and were sent out together; but Peter, James and John are listed first in the other 3 lists as they were the inner circle of the disciples (consider the transfiguration).

In the pairing of Thomas and Matthew, Matthew writes his own name second. Yet in Mark and Luke Thomas is mentioned first. Matthew also calls himself Matthew the tax collector but this is not required as a disambiguator in this list nor is it included in the other 3 lists. These two aspects of Matthew's list are interesting: he is paired with Thomas yet names Thomas first (unlike Mark and Luke), and he adds an unnecessary descriptor which has very negative connotations (Mat 21:31; Luk 18:9). Tax-collectors were despised and considered (with good reason) to be dishonest. It would be like a woman labeling herself "Rachel the prostitute." The choice to list himself second in a specific pairing, and the use a derogatory label which was arguably unnecessary is suggestive that the author of the gospel was indeed humble Matthew.


*Simon and the variant Simeon in the New Testament
  1. Simon Peter (the disciple)
  2. Simon the Zealot (another disciple )
  3. Simon the brother of Jesus
  4. Simon the leper
  5. Simon of Cyrene (who carried Jesus’ cross)
  6. Simon the Pharisee
  7. Simon Iscariot
  8. Simon the sorcerer
  9. Simon the tanner
  10. Simeon (who blessed Jesus)
  11. Simeon called Niger

Monday, 16 March 2020

Monday quote

Not even one mutation has been observed that adds a little information to the genome.

Lee Spetner

Monday, 9 March 2020

Monday quote

So the question isn’t “If God is perfectly loving, why would he allow all those people to die?”. Rather, we should marvel at the amazing love of God to save anyone, especially when the price was the death of the Son of God.

Lita Cosner.

Monday, 2 March 2020

Monday quote

The only lasting monuments of atheism are the gulags, Stalin’s execution lists, China’s Movement, the guillotine and French river of blood, the attempted Mexican extermination of Catholicism and other such monuments.

This is what groups that are explicitly atheist have done—these are their monuments. It is a fact so obvious that I knew it as such even when I was an atheist.

RJ Wizard

Monday, 24 February 2020

Monday quote

It’s pretty clear that he’s upset anyone is trying to understand his position—which must be a first for debate anywhere!

scrubone

Monday, 17 February 2020

Monday quote

Still less am I asking why petitions, and even the fervent petitions of holy men, are sometimes not granted. That has never seemed to me to be, in principle, a difficulty at all.  That wisdom must sometimes refuse what ignorance may quite innocently ask seems to be self-evident.

C.S. Lewis, "Petitionary Prayer: A Problem without an Answer", Christian Reflections.

Thursday, 13 February 2020

What does saved through childbearing mean?

In his letter to Timothy Paul writes,
For Adam was formed first, then Eve; and Adam was not deceived, but the woman was deceived and became a transgressor. Yet she will be saved through childbearing—if they continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control. (1Ti 2:13-14)
The context of this passage is praying in church with decorum. The outline of chapter 2 is,
  1. Pray for all people including secular leaders;
  2. in order that Christians may lead a quiet life;
  3. God desires everyone to be saved and come to a knowledge of the truth;
  4. men are to pray without quarreling;
  5. women are to dress and behave modestly;
  6. women should learn quietly and not exercise authority over a man.
Paul then writes the above statement and then discusses qualifications for elders and ministers.

It is not clear what Paul means. There have been several interpretations of what this passage means. Neither is it certain who the pronouns refer to. "She" is implicit in the verb "to save" and "they" is implicit in the verb "to continue." "She" may refer to a generic woman, such as those in the Corinthian church, or to Eve. "They" could refer generically to women, or to Adam and Eve, or to a husband and wife.

The NET Bible states,
“But she will be delivered through childbearing,” or “But she will be preserved through childbearing,” or “But she will be saved in spite of childbearing.” This verse is notoriously difficult to interpret, though there is general agreement about one point: Verse 15 is intended to lessen the impact of vv. 13-14. There are several interpretive possibilities here, though the first three can be readily dismissed (cf. D. Moo, “1 Timothy 2:11-15: Meaning and Significance,” TJ 1 [1980]: 70-73).
  1. Christian women will be saved, but only if they bear children. This view is entirely unlikely for it lays a condition on Christian women that goes beyond grace, is unsupported elsewhere in scripture, and is explicitly against Paul’s and Jesus’ teaching on both marriage and salvation (cf. Matt 19:12; 1 Cor 7:8-9, 26-27, 34-35; 1 Tim 5:3-10).
  2. Despite the curse, Christian women will be kept safe when bearing children. This view also is unlikely, both because it has little to do with the context and because it is not true to life (especially life in the ancient world with its high maternal mortality rate while giving birth).
  3. Despite the sin of Eve and the results to her progeny, she would be saved through the childbirth—that is, through the birth of the Messiah, as promised in the protevangelium (Gen 3:15). This view sees the singular “she” as referring first to Eve and then to all women (note the change from singular to plural in this verse). Further, it works well in the context. However, there are several problems with it:

    1. The future tense (σωθήσηται, sōthēsētai) is unnatural if referring to the protevangelium or even to the historical fact of the Messiah’s birth;
    2. that only women are singled out as recipients of salvation seems odd since the birth of the Messiah was necessary for the salvation of both women and men;
    3. as ingenious as this view is, its very ingenuity is its downfall, for it is overly subtle; and
    4. the term τεκνογονία (teknogonia) refers to the process of childbirth rather than the product. And since it is the person of the Messiah (the product of the birth) that saves us, the term is unlikely to be used in the sense given it by those who hold this view.

    There are three other views that have greater plausibility:
  4. This may be a somewhat veiled reference to the curse of Gen 3:16 in order to clarify that though the woman led the man into transgression (v. 14b), she will be saved spiritually despite this physical reminder of her sin. The phrase is literally “through childbearing,” but this does not necessarily denote means or instrument here. Instead it may show attendant circumstance (probably with a concessive force): “with, though accompanied by” (cf. BDAG 224 s.v. δία A.3.c; Rom 2:27; 2 Cor 2:4; 1 Tim 4:14).
  5. “It is not through active teaching and ruling activities that Christian women will be saved, but through faithfulness to their proper role, exemplified in motherhood” (Moo, 71). In this view τεκνογονία is seen as a synecdoche in which child-rearing and other activities of motherhood are involved. Thus, one evidence (though clearly not an essential evidence) of a woman’s salvation may be seen in her decision to function in this role.
  6. The verse may point to some sort of proverbial expression now lost, in which “saved” means “delivered” and in which this deliverance was from some of the devastating effects of the role reversal that took place in Eden. The idea of childbearing, then, is a metonymy of part for the whole that encompasses the woman’s submission again to the leadership of the man, though it has no specific soteriological import (but it certainly would have to do with the outworking of redemption).
The Lexham Study Bible states,
saved through the bearing of children The exact meaning of this statement is uncertain. Paul may mean that women will be saved because Jesus, the savior of the world, was born of a woman (see Gal 4:4). Alternatively, he may be arguing that women will be saved because a woman helped bring about the defeat of the devil (see Gen 3:15). Or, he may be saying that women will be saved from doing evil things by bearing children. Some of the Ephesian women may have been behaving in a manner that led them to neglect what was commonly viewed at the time as their household responsibilities. These women may have been influenced by new cultural trends about women and the false teachers’ negative views on marriage (1 Tim 4:3; compare 5:14; note on vv. 8–15; note on vv. 11–15). If these factors are in view, Paul’s reference to childbirth may represent a woman’s acceptance of what was considered her proper role within the household unit.
The ESV Study Bible states,
This is a notoriously difficult-to-understand verse. Paul clearly does not believe people can be saved in the sense of earning justification through childbearing or any other means (e.g., Eph. 2:8–9). But the NT can also use the term “saved” (Gk. sōzō) in the sense of progressively coming to experience all the aspects of salvation. In that sense, “salvation” is ongoing (see note on Phil. 2:12–13). A similar view is that “saved” can be understood as referring especially to the endurance and perseverance in faith that is necessary for eternal salvation (cf. Matt. 10:22; 24:13; etc.). People are saved as they persevere (continue) in the faith to carry out the Lord’s calling in their life, one example being the unique role of women in childbearing. (The change from singular she to plural they is a literal rendering of the Gk. text.)
Childbearing is likely a synecdoche, if refers to all the roles of motherhood. I think it possible that Paul is reassuring women here. He is not so much stating that childbearing is a means to salvation, rather that a mother may think that raising children is not overtly spiritual and thus question whether she is doing the activities appropriate for one who is saved. A mother may be taking care of what appears to be the mundane, bearing and raising children, not something that seems more spiritual like ministering or teaching within the church. Paul is reassuring such a woman that even if she is only involved in raising her children she still will be saved. Though he reminds women that within this role they must remain faithful to God: they must continue in faith and love and holiness, with self-control.

Monday, 10 February 2020

Monday quote

The philosophy that you should come to the evidence without a philosophy is itself a philosophy.

Jason Lisle

Tuesday, 4 February 2020

English translation of Genesis 1 and 2

Below is my translation of Genesis 1 and 2. It is quite a literal translation with an attempt to use the same word when the construct is the same, or within a sentence of phrase where the word repetition is obvious in the Hebrew.

It is based on the LEB and ESV, with aspects of NASB, NIV, and occasionally the Greek Old Testament (LES). It follows the Hebrew text rather than the Greek text. I do not speak Hebrew or Greek so have attempted to ensure that my translation is in line with the above translations.

Word order follows English usage; Hebrew may place the verb before the subject, or the adjective after the noun. Although I have tried to match longer phrases to the Hebrew word order. I have not attempted to include the definite article every time, though I have tended to use "the" rather than "a" if an article is needed and the definite article is present in the Hebrew. I have tried to maintain consistent singulars and plurals in the nouns as much is possible given the constraints of English phraseology. "You" is second person singular and "you*" is second person plural.

I have used the word "flyer" as the Hebrew encompasses winged creatures, not just birds.

Paragraphing is based on previous posts identifying the parallels between Genesis 1 and 2.
I think structure is of use; during this process I noticed a parallelism on the seventh day which I have not seen mentioned previously (though it may be noted in commentaries). This is formatted as poetry.


Monday, 3 February 2020

Monday quote

Universally condemned, envy is nonetheless widely practiced.

Lawrence W. Reed

Saturday, 1 February 2020

What is baptism for the dead?

In his first letter to the Corinthians Paul writes
Otherwise, why do they do it, those who are being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why indeed are they being baptized on behalf of them? (1Co 15:29)
This is a much debated passage. What does Paul mean here? And is baptism for the dead a valid practice?

I am not aware of any translation issues here. It appears that Paul is referring to a practice where some people are being baptised on behalf of other people who have already died.

There are several things worth noting about this phrase.
  1. Paul uses the pronoun "they"
  2. The Greek for "baptism" means "dipped" or "immersed". Though baptism as a ceremony is probably meant, immersion could have another meaning in the passage.
  3. Paul is using this practice to illustrate his point.
On point 3, Jesus, Paul, and others may refer to a concept to illustrate a truth without approving of the concept.

Prior to these verses Paul summarises they gospel he taught them (1Co 15:1-11). Within this summary he mentions that Christ was raised on the third day then appeared to many. Following this Paul addresses the issue of resurrection, specifically that some of the Corinthians were denying the resurrection.
Now if Christ is preached as raised up from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? (1Co 15:12)
Paul then argues for the truth of the resurrection from the dead. Firstly by arguing the consequences if the resurrection is not true; then affirming the truth of the resurrection and what that means. It is following Paul's defense of the resurrection that Paul makes this statement of baptism on behalf of the dead.

It is possible that Paul here is showing up the inconsistency of being baptised on behalf of the dead yet denying the resurrection.
Now if Christ is preached as raised up from the dead, how do some among you say that there is no resurrection of the dead? ...Otherwise, why do they do it, those who are being baptized on behalf of the dead? If the dead are not raised at all, why indeed are they being baptized on behalf of them? (1Co 15:20,29)
If this is the case, then Paul is showing the inconsistency of those denying the resurrection by illustrating that they are baptised on behalf of the dead, a practice that logically implies that the resurrection is true. If there is no resurrection from the dead then it is pointless to be baptised on behalf of an already dead person.

Further, if the people who deny the resurrection whom Paul is addressing are the same people who are practicing baptism on behalf of the dead, they are not people whom we should emulate.

Monday, 27 January 2020

Monday quote

The more numerous the laws, the more corrupt the government.

Tacitus

Thursday, 23 January 2020

The conclusions of Genesis 1 and 2

Recent posts have discussed the structure of Genesis 1 and 2 as proposed by Doukhan. The structure of Genesis 1 is quite clear. There is an introduction, 6 days clearly delineated by God finishing his creating at the end of the day, and a conclusion which is the seventh day. The frequency of the phrase, "And spoke Elohim" using the grammar of the waw-consecutive indefinite is 1,1,2,1,1,3 over the 6 days of creation.

Questions still remain around the conclusions to both pericopes. Where does the conclusion end for each pericope And where does the Genesis 2 pericope begin?

As shown previously, the introductions to both pericopes follow very similar structures, that is the introduction of the second pericope starts with,
In the day that Yahweh God made the earth and the heaven,... (Gen 2:4b)
which is highly parallel to
In the beginning, God created the heavens and the earth. (Gen 1:1)
Doukhan places Genesis 2:4a with the conclusion of the first pericope. He supports this with the claim that the word "create" occurs 7 times in the first pericope and the word "earth" 7 times in the second; assuming this division.

In contrast however, the toledoth structure acts as an introduction elsewhere in Genesis. Using Genesis 2:4a as a conclusion does not match toledoth use elsewhere; and further, it leaves Genesis chapters 2 to 4 without a toledoth introduction. Secondly, does Genesis 2:4a act as a conclusion to Genesis 1, or does the seventh day purpose this? Genesis 2:3 reads as an appropriate conclusion on its own. Thirdly, there is no parallel to verse 2:4a at the end of the second pericope. So if verse 2:4a is a conclusion, it is a second conclusion to the creation account in Genesis 1, and one without parallel in Genesis 2.

Currently my preference is to consider verse 2:4a as an introduction to the next major section of Genesis: verse 2:4b through to the end of chapter 4.

We will now consider the conclusion of the second pericope. Genesis 2 finishes,
And Yahweh God fashioned the rib, which he had taken from the man, into a woman and brought her to the man. And the man said,
“This one, this time;
bone from my bones
and flesh from my flesh;
she shall be called ‘Woman,’
for she was taken from man.”
Therefore a man shall leave his father and his mother and shall cling to his wife, and they shall be as one flesh.

And both of them were naked, the man and his wife, and they were not ashamed. (2:22-25)
The beginning of chapter 3 has the serpent tempting the woman.
And the serpent was more crafty than any other beast of the field which Yahweh God had made. (3:1)
There is a play on words between "naked" (arom) and "crafty" (arum), so the last verse of chapter 2 could be the beginning of the next pericope, or the author may just be joining the pericopes by means of this.

The man's speech concerning the woman seems to be closely bound up with the sixth section. No animal was found to correspond to the man; but the woman did—this one, this time. So contrary to Doukhan, I would not place the conclusion at the beginning of verse 23.

Verse 24 seems to be a conclusion relating to the creation of the woman, and not a conclusion to the entire pericope: the reason a man is to leave his parents, who made him, is because he gets a wife and the first wife was made from the first man. Verse 24 ends section 6.

So the conclusion to the pericope seems to be the man and his wife, together in the garden, naked, and unashamed.

In summary, the structure of Genesis 1 and 2 considering grammatical issues and parallelisms.


Creation universeCreation mankind
Toledoth
Genesis 2:4a
IntroductionGenesis 1:1-2Genesis 2:4b-6
Section 1Genesis 1:3-5Genesis 2:7
Section 2Genesis 1:6-8Genesis 2:8
Section 3Genesis 1:9-13Genesis 2:9-15
Section 4Genesis 1:14-19Genesis 2:16-17
Section 5Genesis 1:20-23Genesis 2:18
Section 6Genesis 1:24-31Genesis 2:19-24
ConclusionGenesis 2:1-3Genesis 2:25

There is a further question which this raises. Which of the two accounts is derivative? Not in terms of content as the content is not derivative, in terms of structure.

The content source of the second account probably relates to family records and the toledoth structure of Genesis supports this. The content source of the first account is more elusive.

Although both pericopes follow a similar outline, Genesis 1 is more highly organised. While both accounts as they are may have been written at a similar time, which one was structured based on the other? Was Genesis 2 written first and Genesis 1 written in a more highly organised form? Or does the nature of creation in Genesis 1 clearly lead to a more organised narrative and then was Genesis 2 written to emulate the structure of Genesis 1?

Lastly, I suspect that translations should format Genesis 2 so that its correspondence to Genesis 1 is more obvious. That will mainly involve paragraphing the sections appropriately.

Wednesday, 22 January 2020

Grouping the themes of Genesis 2

Previously I posted on the similarities that Doukhat identifies concerning Genesis 1 and 2, specifically the 9 times that the waw consecutive is used with an imperfect verb and the name of God: Elohim in Genesis 1 and Yahweh Elohim in Genesis 2. The frequency of this phrase in Genesis 1 is apparent as the days are clearly delineated. "And God said", is used over the 6 days in the frequency 1,1,2,1,1,3. Doukhat claims that this is the same frequency in the sections of Genesis 2. However the end of each section in Genesis 2 is not clearly delineated like Genesis 1. Below is the text from each pericope with discussion on the section divisions of Genesis 2 to follow.

Tuesday, 21 January 2020

On the structure of Genesis 2

Jacques Doukhan is the author of The Genesis Creation Story: Its Literary Structure. I have not read the book but assume it is based on his thesis, The Literary Structure of the Genesis Creation Story. In it he claims that Genesis 2 is parallel in structure to Genesis 1. Both pericopes have a sixfold structure with an introduction and conclusion either side. Doukhan sees parallels between the introductions, the sections, and the conclusions. Though I am not convinced of the parallels between the two pericopes, the argument on structure is more convincing.

Genesis 1 to 2:3 has the introduction of the creation of heaven and earth followed by 6 days of creating, followed by the conclusion of the seventh day of rest. There is debate whether Genesis 2:4a is the end of the first pericope or the beginning of the second.
These are the generations of heaven and earth when they were created. (Gen 2:4a)
Doukhan includes this phrase with pericope starting in Genesis 1, not the second creation pericope. He calls the creation account in Genesis 1 C and the account in Genesis 2 C'. He has several arguments for including verse 2:4a with C based around the parallels he identifies between Genesis 1 and Genesis 2. More convincing is that the word "create" appears 7 times in C if we include Genesis 2:4a. Further the word earth occurs 7 times in C' if we exclude Genesis 2:4a (both words "create" and "earth" are included in Genesis 2:4a). Thus dividing the pericopes after 2:4a gives 7 occurrences of each word and 7 is a common symbol in these passages.

I currently place Genesis 2:4a with what follows based on my understanding of the toledoth phrases throughout Genesis. If the other toledoth are introductory then it seems unusual that Genesis 2:4a would be a conclusion or colophon for the preceding verses.

Doukhan has the following passages parallel.


Creation CCreation C'
IntroductionGenesis 1:1-2Genesis 2:4b-6
Section 1Genesis 1:3-5Genesis 2:7
Section 2Genesis 1:6-8Genesis 2:8
Section 3Genesis 1:9-13Genesis 2:9-15
Section 4Genesis 1:14-19Genesis 2:16-17
Section 5Genesis 1:20-23Genesis 2:18
Section 6Genesis 1:24-31Genesis 2:19-22
ConclusionGenesis 2:1-3; 4aGenesis 2:23-24

He finds parallels between the first 3 sections and the second 3 sections of C' (this has been previously noted in C).


First halfSecond half
C


1. Light4. Luminaries

2. Firmament5. Birds

3. Plants6. Plants as food
C'


1. Dust4. Death

2. Garden for man5. Companion for man

3. Dominion over garden6. Dominion over animals

And he contrasts the introductions

CC'
In the beginningIn the day 
createdmade
GodYahweh God
Heavens and the earth.earth and heavens, 
And the earth was formless and empty,and not yet any plant of the field was on the earth, 
and darkness was upon the face of the deep.and not yet any herb of the field had sprung up (because Yahweh God had not caused it to rain upon the earth, and there was not yet a man to till the ground).
And the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.And a mist would rise from the earth and water the whole face of the ground.

His comparison of the conclusions is less convincing.

Part of the reason for seeing a similarity between the two pericopes is the use of a similar phrase in both. During the 6 days of creation the term "And God said" appears 9 times. Each time the word Elohim is used for God. And the construction of the phrase is a waw (or vav) consecutive. This is the use of the letter waw (or vav) in Hebrew, which means "and", before a verb; in this case the verb "to speak".The verb is grammatically in the imperfect (which makes the action perfect with a waw-consecutive, and following the previous phrase temporally). Thus the phrase: And spoke Elohim. As mentioned, this phrase occurs 9 times in Genesis 1. Doukhan notes that in Genesis 2 a similar phrase occurs 9 times. The waw-consecutive with an imperfect verb (different verbs) and the name Yahweh God. Example: And planted Yahweh God (Gen 2:8).

This phrase in Genesis 1 only occurs during the days of creation, it does not occur in the introduction or the conclusion, though the word "God" occurs in them. Because Genesis 1 is highly structured, it is clear when the days start, and especially when they finish. The phrase, "And spoke Elohim" occurs once each on days 1 and 2 and twice on day 3; it occurs once each on days 4 and 5, and thrice on day 6; the pattern being 1,1,2,1,1,3.

Doukhan claims this same pattern occurs in Genesis 2 with the 9 occurrences of, "And verb Yahweh Elohim". Which is why he states that Genesis 2 has 6 sections like Genesis 1 does. We will review this in the next post.

Monday, 20 January 2020

Monday quote

The covers of this book are too far apart.

Ambrose Bierce

Monday, 13 January 2020

Monday quote

She is always married too soon who gets a bad husband, and she is never married too late who gets a good one.

Daniel Defoe, Moll Flanders.

Monday, 6 January 2020

Monday quote

Never allow an exception to occur till the new habit is securely rooted in your life.

William James (Selected Papers on Philosophy)

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