Monday, July 17, 2017

Have You Been Reading Antonio's Posts On Paul And Eschatology?

Have you been reading Antonio's latest posts over at Across the Atlantic? He discussing his view on Paul and the last days. How would you respond to what Antonio is saying about Paul's view? One of the points he makes is that Jesus and Paul had two different views about the end times. Hmmm. Is that true? How would you respond to that claim? And does it even matter? I think it does. A lot. And I do not think there are two different eschatologies in the New Testament.

Here's the link to Part 3 of Antonio's series. You can find links to the first two at the beginning of that post.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

An Interview With Dave Black On Some Marks Of The Church

So I just sent a link to this interview to a friend who is preparing to teach a group of believers about the church. I've watched it at least three times since Henry did the interview. It's 33 minutes and worth every second, trust me. Spend some time today and think about the "marks" of the church. The book Seven Marks of a New Testament Church is available in English here and Spanish here. If you know some people in Latin America, consider getting them a copy. You can't beat the price and Yadín did a phenomenal job on the translation. Here's my "blurb" in case you want to know why I think you should read the book:
"Just when I thought I had read my favorite book by Dave Black, out comes this one! Whether God just saved you or you’ve been walking with Jesus for many years, this book is for you. Jesus says in Matt. 16:18, 'I will build my church.' From Jesus' perspective the church was future, it was his possession, and he was its architect! Today, we are tempted to forget about its inception, to view it as someone else's possession, and to build it with human minds and hands. Second to a wrong view of the gospel, nothing can hurt the Great Commission more than a wrong view of the church. Black's Seven Marks of a New Testament Church is a necessary reminder that we are to 'do' church on God's terms, not our own. I, for one, have greatly benefited from Black's careful study of Acts 2:37–47. Believe me when I say, we can't afford to neglect these eleven verses if we hope to see God turn the world 'upside down' in our day (Acts 17:6)."

Tuesday, July 11, 2017

First-Century Letters Discovered

My friend Carl Sanders forwarded me a link to an interesting article over at the Daily Mail. It discusses the discovery of twenty-five letters written in Greek in the first century. They were found near Hadrian's Wall in Northumberland. You can read more here. Looks like we'll have to wait at least a few months (probably more) before we get more of the content.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Someone Else Is Reading Our Greek Grammar

I just saw that Juan Sánchez mentioned our Greek grammar in his "What Are You Reading" interview with the The Gospel Coalition. Here's what he said:
"Tambien estoy leyendo el Nuevo Testamento en griego. Por ahora estoy terminando Apocalipsis. Y hoy empecé a leer Learn To Read New Testament Greek ["Aprende a leer el griego del Nuevo Testamento"] por David Alan Black. El propósito es leer este libro de gramática básica para mejorar mi entendimiento del griego."
Exciting news, Juan. I hope the book helps you get into the New Testament better––with more accuracy, greater depth and efficiency, etc.

You can read the whole interview here.

Tuesday, July 4, 2017

Rolling Discussion: How Did Paul Use Amanuenses, And How Does That Impact Our Understanding Of Inspiration?

Romans 16:22 is a pretty clear indication that Paul used an amanuensis at least once. But how did he use them? Were they given freedom to write and arrange his letters for maximum rhetorical bang? Or did Paul dictate what he wanted to say word-for-word in such cases? And one final question: How does all of this impact our understanding of inspiration?

Join the discussion below or by clicking here.

Over At Across The Atlantic

If you haven't seen, there are some pretty interesting posts over at Across the Atlantic:
"Matthew 16:18 and Whether Jesus Was the Founder of a Church" is pretty self-explanatory. Antonio and I disagree on this. Read and find out how.
"The Library in Alcalá de Henares and Manuscripts for the Polyglot" deals with the famous six-volume Complutensian Polyglot Bible produced by Cardinal Cisneros and a team of philologists at the beginning of the sixteenth century. I've actually translated a very important section of a book dealing with the library in Alcalá de Henares. This is important because almost no one quotes or references the data the authors cite in their book.
"Paul and the Use of Amanuenses" discusses Paul's practice of writing letters. Did he write them himself? Well, certainly not all of them based on the content of certain letters. Did he dictate them word for word or did he allow ghost writing, specifying only what he hoped to address in the letter and leaving it up to his amanuensis to write it all out? I think you'll enjoy this one. 
"Neither Philo nor Justus Say Anything about Jesus: Why?" talks about two contemporaries of Jesus. If Jesus was as popular and influential in his own day as the authors of the Gospels say, then why didn't these two men say anything about him? Great question. 
"Προσέρχομαι, Presence/Absence, And Context" deals with that Greek word that can mean "I come to, draw near to." What's interesting though is the word can be used to indicate that a person is present and just comes to the front of a narrative (or group of people) or that a person is absent and shows up. There's nothing earth shattering here, but it is an important observation regarding how this lexeme functions.
"The Change From Saul To Paul" Part 1 and Part 2 is taken from Antonio's book on the apostle Paul. You've probably heard someone discuss Paul's name change before. Antonio will give you way more information than you've read in the past though. Paul didn't just change his name so that he could better relate to the Gentiles. Nope. There's a better answer and one that tells us a lot about how Paul thought about himself and the God who called him to preach the gospel. 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

And The Author Of Hebrews Is . . .

Well, the number of those (of us) who believe Paul wrote Hebrews is one more than I thought it was. My friend Carl sent over the pages from American Covenant by Philip Gorski, and there it was . . . a quote attributing authorship to Paul. I've blown it up below. "Later, Paul echoes Jesus' words: 'Without the shedding of blood . . .'" (p. 20).  Thanks, Philip. I too introduce Hebrews with reference to its author, the apostle Paul. You rarely see it done these days. If you're interested in Philip Gorski's book, you can view and purchase a copy here. If you want plenty of evidence to support Pauline authorship of Hebrews, you need look no further than right here.

Monday, June 19, 2017

What's Being Discussed At Across The Atlantic?

If you haven't seen the discussions at Across the Atlantic recently, here's a few of the recent posts:

1. "Believers and Seeing the Glory of God (John 17:22, 24)"
Someone asked me the following question: Did Jesus tell his disciples in John 17:22 that they had been given his glory, and, therefore, it can be said that they see the glory of God? See my answer here.

2. "Matthew 16:18 and Whether Jesus Was the Founder of a Church"
Antonio addressed the historicity of that famous passage in Matthew where he mentions for the very first time his intent and the future existence of this thing called the "church." Find out what Antonio says here. How would you respond to his argument?

3. "The Library in Alcalá de Henares and Manuscripts for the Polyglot"
I translated a section in a book titled La casa de Protesilao. Reconstrucción arqueológica del fondo cisneriano de la Biblioteca Histórica “Marqués de Valdecilla” (1496-1509) Manuscrito 20056/47 de la Biblioteca Nacional de España by Elisa Ruiz García and Helena Carvajal González. That section deals with the library acquisitions at the college founded by Cardinal Cisneros and the one whose professors were responsible with producing the Complutensian Polyglot. Very interesting stuff here, and most people never get connected to Elisa and Helena's book––which is terribly unfortunate. I went through a lot of books and, honestly, I can't think of a single one that was written in English that referenced their book!!!! So, hopefully my translation of this section will wet some people's appetite and get them interested in this really important volume on one of Spain's most important libraries. You can read my translation here.

4. "Paul and the Use of Amanuenses"
Did Paul use an amanuensis, and if so, what impact did that have on the words of the New Testament? Find out my answer––or at least part of it––here.

Colossians 2:14 And The Certificate Of Debt

Certificate of debt? Record of debt? Debt? Written code? Handwritten certificate? Etc. What exactly did Jesus "cancel out"? What was it that Paul says was hostile against us? When we talk about this word as we are teaching through this passage, what should we emphasize and what should we not emphasize?

I wanted to show you what some people have written in the commentaries concerning this word.

John MacArthur writes: "Certificate of debt translates cheirographos, which literally means 'something written with the hand,' or 'an autograph.' It was used to refer to a certificate of indebtedness handwritten by the debtor in acknowledgement of his debt" (Colossians and Philemon, 112)

Richard Melick writes: "Literally, the handwriting is a certificate of indebtedness written in one's own hand. Taken this way, this means that there is a pronouncement that the personal note which testifies against us is canceled" (Philippians, Colossians, Philemon, NAC, 263).

Allan Bevere writes: "Several different interpretations have been given by scholars: a certificate of debt, a heavenly book of deeds, and the Mosaic law...[I]t is my contention that the χειρόγραφον refers to the Mosaic law...I simply want to make a couple of internal arguments from the text of Colossians itself to support this view. To my knowledge it has not been noticed by commentators that there may be a play on words taking place in ch. 2 between ἀχειροποιήτῷ (2.11) and χειρόγραφον (2.14). The believer in Christ has been circumcised with περιτομῇ ἀχειροποιήτῳ which means, implicitly, among other things, that a circumcision 'done with hands' is no longer essential because the 'hand-written document' which requires such circumcision has been erased in the cross of Christ. This would, of course, make the χειρόγραφον a reference to the law of Moses...[Referring to τοῖς δόγμασιν,] the law was known as 'decrees' and 'regulations' in the Judaism of the first century" (Sharing in the Inheritance: Identity and the Moral Life in Colossians, 139-140).

Murray Harris writes: "A χειρόγραφον (-ου, τό) was a handwritten document or note of any description, and in particular a signed certificate of debt in which the signature legalized the debt (cf. Phlm 18-19), a promissory note signed by the debtor...'certificate of indebtedness'...'bill of indictment'...'record of debt'...[The χειρόγραφον was] an accusation of guilt; it also constituted a threat of penalty because the human inability to discharge the debt" (Colossians and Philemon, 96).

Jerry Sumney points out that this word appears nowhere else in the New Testament (Colossians: A Commentary, 146).

Daniel Durken writes: "'The bond' is the legal document listing human failures. The image is like the slave with the impossible debt in Jesus' parable (Matt. 18:21-35)" (NCBC: New Testament, 644).

BDAG has this: "a hand-written document, specif. a certificate of indebtedness, account, record of debts."

The UBS has this: "record of one's debts."

Louw-Nida has this: "A handwritten statement, especially a record of financial accounts (similar in meaning to γράμμα 'account,' but perhaps with emphasis upon the handwritten nature of the document)."

N. Walter writes: "But the assumption that χειρόγραφον is being used in its literal, legal-technical sense for indebtedness also makes good sense here...[The readers] recognize, as it were 'by their own hand,' their own guilt as binding, since it exists according to norms (δόγματα) that they in this fear consider valid" (EDNT).

I didn't provide all of the commentaries, of course. And, I didn't quote them entirely on this section of Scripture. But, out of those quoted above (excluding BDAG and those below it), which author at least tries to wrestle with the word in its context? It doesn't mean he is right, but it does show us that exegesis, especially lexical exegesis, has to involve more than looking up a word in a dictionary.

Let me add this really fast...Some have said that this word "literally means" something written with the hand. With what then is a γράμμα written, or a γραφή? Feet? How far does this χειρ- need to be emphasized, if at all really? Be careful with defining a compound word based on the root meaning of its different parts (a+b=ab; instead of a+b=c).

I can't tell you how many people I have heard say something like, "This word is formed by the two words . . . meaning "hand" and "writing." Therefore, this is the "handwriting." Therefore, God wrote it himself . . . or something like that. This is crazy exegesis, and we should do better than woo people with stuff that is not built into the text. What is more important, folks? --A connection to "handwritten" or the fact that this is canceled out? I think some preacher/teachers get lost in the etymology and never get their people to understand that this is an image of debt being cancelled out.