Monday, July 6, 2015

When The Greek Didn't Match The Vulgate

One of the interesting things about the Complutense is when the Greek doesn't match the Latin. The editors of the Complutensian Greek New Testament, the first printed Greek New Testament, recognized the issue when they were working on this historic volume. One of the men who participated in the project really wanted to see more work done on giving priority to the Greek. There's been some criticism about whether or not they've done as much as they could have. There's no doubt more could have been done. But it's interesting to see when the editors left the Greek column in conflict with the Latin column. One of those cases is Matt. 3:11. The Greek column does not have the words καὶ πυρί, while the Latin does have the words et igni. One of the documents that goes along with the Complutensian Polyglot–a sort of notes tracking such textual issues between the Greek and the Latin columns–is featured below. More might have been possible when it comes to the fifth volume of the polyglot, but they definitely didn't make the Greek say something for which they probably had either no witness to a reading or no witness that they felt credible. Here's one example of them letting the text read as the evidence so led them, though presented with an opportunity to let the Greek say what their evidence favored, even when in conflict with the Latin. The criticism really deals with "correcting" the Latin to match what the Greek says. As you can see, they let the Vulgate stand as it was.

Studying The Parables

My hermeneutics class has been looking into parables this week. What a very important study. In Matthew 13 alone we find eight. They are very important units of teaching in Jesus' ministry. Well, the class has a discussion that they have to work on this week. Care to see? Here it is:
"Okay, so I don't know very much about Uganda. It's sort of like how the disciples were in the first century; they didn't know a lot about what the Kingdom of Heaven was like. With that in mind, I would like you to create a 'parable' that tells me what Uganda is like. Using what you know about parables, create your own about Uganda. In the discussions, let's see if the class can identify what you are trying to tell us about Uganda. Post the parable and ask people to see if they can find the meaning of that parable. Later in the week, you could post your 'meaning' of the parable to clarify it for everyone." 
This class is the best I've ever had when it comes to the discussions online. I cannot wait to see what we get into with this one!!!!

Heading To Spain Shortly

Lesly and I are heading out to Spain soon. Keep us in your prayers as we go abroad. So looking forward to this trip. Lots of people we are looking forward to seeing. One of the highlights for me is going to be celebrating our anniversary abroad! I can't wait!!!!

"He Brought Him To Jesus"

John makes a point to tell us how Andrew and Peter (and probably himself) came to meet Jesus for the first time. We can find the account in John 1:35-42. There is an interesting statement that might be really easy to read over, but one that we need to make sure we pause to reflect on. In John 1:42 we read, "He brought him to Jesus." . . . Andrew brought his brother Peter to Jesus. I had the opportunity to teach on John 1:35-42 yesterday over at Riva Trace. One of the points I made is there is a difference–a huge difference–between bringing someone to a place where they can hear about Jesus and bringing that person directly to Jesus. There is a difference between bringing someone to someone else who can tell them about Jesus, and just telling that person directly who Jesus is. When I read this statement in John 1:42, I'm reminded just how important a role I play in people coming to know the Lamb of God. I don't want to be derelict in my own duties, a sort of pseudo-ambassador who slides appointments across the table and hopes someone else will represent the God who sends me. I want to represent Jesus to those with whom he has me scheduled to meet. There's nothing wrong with inviting someone to church or a Bible study or a conference or anything like that. But inviting someone somewhere isn't the most or best we can do. The absolute greatest thing we can do–and should–is explain to people the significance of what Jesus has done for us on the cross. Andrew didn't run off and get Peter and say, "Hey, Peter, come quick! You gotta hear what this guy John just told us (i.e., 'Behold, the Lamb of God.')." Nope, there was no reason to do that. As soon as we know who Jesus is, we know what we need to know to bring others to him ourselves. We don't need a seminary class on the subject, we don't need a Sunday School class on how to do it, etc. All we need is one simple word–obedience. What would the Lord do in our communities if we were living with this one focus, intent on accomplishing this one goal, and fully convinced that all we need to do what we are going to do is given to us by the one who upholds all things by his powerful word. What say you, friends? Will you attempt to bring someone to Jesus this week?

Thursday, July 2, 2015

Got The Hotel!

Lesly found the hotel of all hotels for a steal of a deal today. We booked it earlier today. We actually stayed at this hotel back in October for a couple of nights. They were exceptional. When you can find a 5-star hotel for less than a hundred dollars, that's a steal!!!! This hotel is definitely the best and nicest one I have ever stayed at in my entire life. I'm looking forward to staying there again. Kudos to Lesly for finding that deal. I was hoping we might get a chance to stay there again. Just an FYI: Sometimes waiting until the next to last minute pays off (at least when you're looking for a hotel). That's how we got that deal at this hotel last time. We booked it the night before we left Rome to head back to Madrid.

What's Going On Today?

Lots of things to get done today like booking our hotel in Spain for the first night we are there; scheduling a maintenance request for our apartment; printing up my Complutense notes to share with my advisor next week; Skyping with a couple of the students from Uganda; meeting with a student about doctoral studies overseas; finishing up my teaching points for Sunday's message at Riva Trace; grading some assignments; responding to lots of emails; etc. Today will be a busy day. There's no question. 

One thing you can be praying for me about is I feel a cold coming on. It would be great if that would get knocked out before it even got here. I really need to be as close to a 100 percent as possible when we are overseas. 

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Skyping With Uganda This Morning

This morning I had the opportunity to speak with one of my students in Uganda. These students have such tender hearts. They are so very thankful for the partnership we have with the Pastor's Discipleship Network there. Africano shared with me what his group is working on this week for the hermeneutics class they're building. It thrilled me to listen to what they are learning. In addition to the class, Africano talked about what's going on in his country–theologically, spiritually, and politically. Those are not isolated frames for thinking about the "climate" of where we live. They all intersect. Recently, we've seen how they intersect here in America with one of the latest Supreme Court decisions. The Ugandans are watching America. The whole world is. Hopefully, what they'll see is Christians strengthening themselves in the Lord, being committed to his Word, and intent, with a resolve that has never been greater, on showing people (not just telling people about) the greatest and purest love of all–God's love–which is demonstrated to us now and forever by Jesus' death on the cross for the sins of the world. That's the greatest message ever told. That's the biggest news every day of the week, every year on the calendar, in every nation of the world. We let the news stations tell us what news is. We talk, blog, and worry about the moments of this world, when instead we should be living in the single most important event in human history. The biggest news last week and this week is still the news that Jesus died on the cross for our sins. Let's make sure no matter what goes on in this world, we stay focused on that message and living with the single purpose of sharing it with everyone, all the time, everywhere.

Matthew, Matthew, Matthew

I've got this week to push through a number of Greek manuscripts with the Gospel of Matthew, before I head over to Spain. I'll be meeting with my major advisor while I'm over there. I'm looking forward to updating him on the path I'm moving down for this research. It should be some very interesting conversation. Here's to pushing through! One more week to get as much data together as I possibly can, then I'll print it all, and be prepared to present what I'm doing once in Spain.

Monday, June 29, 2015

Calling My Greek Students In Indy

This morning I reached out to the students who are signed up for my beginning Greek class in Indianapolis. I got in touch with a few of them today, and I'll probably connect with some more as the week moves forward. I always love to call the students before the class starts. I find that it helps ease their nerves; after all, learning another language can be intimidating. Calling them also gives me an opportunity to talk about any number of tangents that I'm famous for going on. Today, somehow, one of our conversations went to missions and how we can't wait for after we graduate to start living for the Great Commission. The Great Commission isn't something that we graduate into.

My students are often surprised to get a phone call from the professor. Truth be told, I would be as well. It's not unusual for them to think something is wrong. It's always nice to see how the call means so much to them, when they realize I'm just calling to say hey and get to know them. God used our conversations today too. There were a couple of syllabus questions, but there were a handful of life questions. God has this amazing way of using us in others' lives. A simple phone call just might not be that simple. I've found after two years now that my students remember the phone calls a lot. I wonder why that is. It's interesting though. I remember a lot of things that were covered in my favorite professor's classes. Seems like I remember those more spontaneous conversations about life and ministry more than anything else, though. God works with the content on the syllabus. But there's more to education that just creating and grading quizzes and assignments. I want the Lord to be able to use me beyond conveying the significance of tense, voice, and mood, and other grammatical features of the Greek language. Those things are important and they have their place in our class. There's no doubt (just ask previous students). But there's more. The phone call when I call my students is an introduction. It says to each student, "Your professor cares about you, and he has every intention of seeing God do big things in your life through this class. You'll get some Greek, but he'll only be satisfied if you become more like Jesus while you're getting that Greek."

Class, I'm looking forward to seeing you in Indy next month!!!! I can't wait.

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Greg Harris Teaching At Grace Tomorrow Evening

One of the teachers who made a huge impact in my life and ministry is Greg Harris. His class was the first one that I took at Southeastern way back in 2002. He now teaches at TMS in Los Angeles. Tomorrow night he'll be teaching in the evening service at Grace Community Church. If you're free tomorrow night, let me encourage you to watch the live stream of the service. Starts at 9:00 EST, and you can watch it here.

Students Teaching Greek!

One of my former Greek gladiators sent me a wonderful email this morning. It meant a lot to me. Here's what he wrote:
"I must have done something right last year, because the Greek students returned for more. And this time they brought their friends (so we started back at the beginning). Every Saturday morning when we study Greek together I am reminded of my great appreciation for you and your godly influence in my life."
Thank you for encouraging me, Alex. To God be all the glory. I wish more of our students would take what they're learning with Greek and teach it in their local churches. Is there any subject one studies in seminary that they couldn't do in the churches right where they serve? I don't think so.

Here are eight recommendations I can give you if you want to teach Greek in your local church. First, open it up to anyone and everyone! Encourage pastors around the community to get involved (even the ones that aren't part of your denomination or non-denomination denomination). You know what I'm saying? Don't be cliquey.

Second, think about how you can maximize the course. Think about when the class should be offered. There might be a time or day that is better for all of the students. Consider sending out a survey and figuring out when the best options are. This might help you get a better response. Don't think exclusively about your own calendar.

Third, broadcast the class live over the Internet. You speak the most-spoken language in the world (if it's English). You might be surprised who would benefit from "sitting" in the class.

Fourth, offer the classes for free (with a small exception). Be clear about the expectations you have for the students. If you want them to memorize vocabulary and do all the translations, tell 'em so up front. In fact, give them your desired expectation for how much time outside of the class that they ought to be investing in this study. Charge them the time they invest outside the class plus prayers. If you ask me, I found the prayers to be a nice non-monetary remuneration using a spiritual commodity (don't tell my boss!).

Fifth, teach them how to do things using Greek (e.g., word study, analyze a syntactical issue, biblical and theological analyses, etc.).

Sixth, count the cost. Are you going to teach the Greek course even if there is one student? What if they all drop out or dwindle away?

Seventh, spend more time in class doing quick practices and cooperative learning!!!! Spend less time lecturing and sharing what students got for their translation exercise homework!!!!

Eighth, if you give quizzes, make sure you go over them in class and incorporate them into your teaching time.

Here's a couple of pics from Alex's class in Virginia. One thing he didn't learn from me–to write legibly on the whiteboard. I write on the whiteboard like Russell Crowe in "A Beautiful Mind." Well, not quite that bad (I hope).

Friday, June 26, 2015

ALGNT Estará Disponible En Software Bíblico Logos

El libro Aprenda a leer el griego del Nuevo Testamento estará disponible en un tremendo recurso para los estudios bíblicos, Software Bíblico Logos. Está ofrecido ya antes de su publicación y por un precio muy cómodo. Puedes leer las noticias aquí. Y aquí está su reseña: 
"Esta gramática introductoria escrita por David Alan Black es tremendamente útil y fácil de usar. Con su ayuda aprender griego es más sencillo que nunca, poniendo al alcance de cualquiera la gran bendición que supone poder interpretar el lenguaje original del Nuevo Testamento. En sus páginas se mantiene la discusión sobre la gramática lo más básica posible. Las explicaciones son simplificadas, y se incluyen los vocabularios esenciales. Tiene muchos ejercicios que están diseñados para preparar al estudiante para los cursos prácticos subsiguientes en la exégesis, mientras que el énfasis lingüístico sienta las bases para cursos posteriores en la gramática. Si quieres estudiar el Nuevo Testamento con un nuevo enfoque y profundidad, este libro te ayudará en gran manera."

ALGNT Pre-Pub On Logos Bible Software

Logos Bible Software just announced Aprenda a leer el griego del Nuevo Testamento on Logos. It's available for a special pre-pub price. If you speak Spanish, want to learn Greek, and have Logos Bible Software, you'll want to check it out. If you ask me, this is just another of the many reasons to get Logos. My own study of the Bible wouldn't be the same without my Logos library.

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Teaching The Word On July 4th Weekend

I'll be speaking at Riva Trace Baptist Church on Sunday, July 5th. I'm looking forward to walking our church through a portion of the Gospel of John that is near and dear to my heart. John 1:35-42 really ministered to me last month. I've been working through different parts of the Gospel for the book I'm writing on Peter and discipleship. I've been asking the Lord for an opportunity to share what I learned, and here's the perfect opportunity. I can't wait.

That's One Beautiful Sunset!

It stormed like crazy up here this evening. We didn't get a rainbow. No reminder tonight that God will not destroy the earth again by way of flood. But we did get a beautiful reminder of his grandeur and wonderful power and creativity with this most beautiful sky. We live in a day of technology. When we want to see a sunset, many of us will Google "sunset." I'll say this: Nothing on Google, absolutely nothing, compares to being outside and seeing a sky like the one we saw tonight. It's different to look into a screen and see what was; it's better to be underneath and look up at the heavens with all of their beauty.