Archives For Bible

In my time studying the Bible some of the things I have learned is the Bible has been “transferred” and copied from its originals documents thousands of years ago. I have sometimes heard people make the following statements about the Bible:

The Bible is nothing but fiction!

The Bible is full of errors!

There’s no way that what we have in the Bible matches the original.

In my studies over the last couple of years I have been grateful to read and learn more about the field of study called, “textual criticism.”

Textual Criticism is a discipline that focuses on discovering what the original writings said. When describing New Testament textual criticism Daniel Wallace writes, “textual criticism is the study of the copies of any written document whose autograph (the original) is unknown or nonexistent, for the primary purpose of determining the exact wording of the original” (Interpreting the New Testament Text, edited by Darrell Bock and Buist Fanning, p. 33).

With this statement and definition of textual criticism it is important to note that there are different manuscripts of the Bible that contain different readings. Meaning, there are different wordings, different arrangements, and differences among the different biblical manuscripts that have survived over the years. However, among these differences very very few are significant differences. For example, most differences in the New Testament are different spellings of words (for example, John can be spelled Ιωαννης  or  Ιωανης), contractions and abbreviations, the and word order changing (Greek does not depend on the word order in sentences like English does). For some commentary on Old Testament textual criticism go here

As an example of just one of the differences of the supposed “changes” in the New Testament is in Ephesians 2:8. Below I will examine the different pieces of evidence to determine which reading is authentic and what the significance might be for each.

Textual Criticism and its Significance to the New Testament

Ephesians 2:8 Textual Criticism Problem
δια πισεως (text) vs. δια της πισεως (variant)

I.    EXTERNAL EVIDENCE

Continue Reading…

I regularly hear from blog readers that my posts about Bible charts are very helpful for people attempting to study and understand the Bible.

On this blog I have shared charts and studies on the books of:

Even though some of my methods of creating Bible charts have slightly changed since I wrote those posts (the main change is that I try to keep everything on one page), I still find it helpful for me to create a chart of a Bible book when I study it.

In today’s post I share a chart for the book of Acts (below), but first I would like to point you to some great blog posts I found around the web about leadership and the book of Acts. Here’s a brief compilation: Continue Reading…

One of the most fruitful things I do is read the entire Bible every year. In this post I share with you four ways you can read the entire Bible in a year as well as which method I prefer.

4 Ways to Read the Bible in a Year

Photo Credit: Steve Spinks

4 Ways to Read the Bible in a Year

1. 4 Chapters a Day

Reading four chapters a day as a way to read through the Bible in a year was the original “challenge” from Dr. Jeff Harrington while I was a student at Fresno Pacific University working on my Christian Ministry & Leadership degree. In our Spiritual Formation class Dr. Harrington suggested that we have a regular schedule for reading through the Bible every year. His basic suggestion was that we read four chapters a day. Continue Reading…

As a book that was written and compiled from 15th century B.C. until the 3rd century A.D., the Bible can be difficult to interpret and teach.  Yet, the Bible is God’s inspired and authored Word. As the manual and rulebook for Christians to follow it must be taught effectively.

10 Essential Tips for Effective Bible Teaching

Photo Credit: The National Guard

I recently read the book, Effective Bible Teaching by Jim Wilhoit and Leland Ryken. It was a fantastic book written to help any Christian teach the Bible effectively. Here’s the ten things I found most helpful in the book.

10 Essential Tips for Effective Bible Teaching

1. Charisma does not always equal effective Bible teaching (p. 19).
Research shows that students are poor at assessing the effectiveness of Bible teaching. Students will sometimes rate a Bible teacher as effective even if the Bible teacher only entertains the audience instead of instructing. This is important because a Bible teacher’s job is to focus on teaching truth, not on how to be entertaining and charismatic. Continue Reading…

The study of biblical chronologies is viewed as one of the most difficult subjects of Old Testament studies. This is because the Old Testament books are arranged in chronological and theological order. Because these books were organized according to theological themes, perhaps it was not the intention of the authors of these books to provide perfectly chronological records, but instead to tell the history of Israel from a theological point of view.

Why Establishing a Chronology of the Old Testament is so Difficult

Photo Credit: Ryk Neethling

Therefore the task of a chronologist, according to the Tyndale Bible Dictionary,  is to “examine the pertinent biblical and non-biblical information, note areas of correlation among all the data, and finally establish a working system into which the most facts can be fitted.” With this careful (and even scientific) process an accurate chronology of Old Testament events can be reconciled.

This blog post will share a few dates which are known with certainty in the Old Testament while at the same time sharing why establishing a chronology of the Old Testament is difficult.

I. Firm Dates Known with Certainty in the Old Testament

Bible scholars can identify specific Old Testament events is with good accuracy most of the time. Continue Reading…

Senior Professor of Bible Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary, Elliott Johnson, believes that accurate study of Bible verses and passages can only be done after the overall message of a biblical book has been determined. Similar to my last two blog posts, I am presenting a “synoptic study” of the book of Judges in order to help people better understand individual parts of the book.

This is my study of the overall message and meaning of the book of Judges.

I. Chart of the Content and Structure of the book of Judges

Synoptic Study Chart of Judges (Chapters 1-12)

Synoptic Study Chart of Judges (Chapters 1-12)

Synoptic Study Chart of Judges (Chapters 13-21)

Synoptic Study Chart of Judges (Chapters 13-21)

II. Summary Statement of the Meaning of Judges as a Whole

A. Theological Themes

1. What does the book say about God?

It is important to note that the book of Judges says that the people of Israel were evil and disobedient. This is reflected by the last verse in the book which summarizes the book’s message, “In these days Israel had no king; all the people did whatever seemed right in their eyes” (21:25, New Living Translation). Continue Reading…

Senior Professor of Bible Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary, Elliott Johnson, believes that accurate study of Bible verses and passages can only be done after the overall message of a biblical book has been determined. Similar to my last week, I am presenting a “synoptic study” of the book of Joshua in order to help people better understand individual parts of the book.

This is my study of the overall message and meaning of the book of Joshua.

I. Chart of the Content and Structure of the Book of Joshua

Synoptic Study of the Book of Joshua Chart Ch. 1-12

Synoptic Study Chart of Joshua (Chapters 1-12)

Synoptic Study of the Book of Joshua Chart Ch. 13-24

Synoptic Study Chart of Joshua t (Chapters 13-24)

II. Summary Statement of the Meaning of Joshua as a Whole

A. Theological Themes

1. What does the book say about God? Continue Reading…

Senior Professor of Bible Exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary, Elliott Johnson, believes that accurate study of Bible verses and passages can only be done after the overall message of a biblical book has been determined. In an effort help people better understand the meaning of the book of Deuteronomy, I am presenting a “synoptic study” of the book of Deuteronomy.

This is my study of the overall message and meaning of the book of Deuteronomy.

I. Chart of the Content and Structure of the Book of Deuteronomy

A Synoptic Study of the Book of Deuteronomy (Ch.1-12)

A Synoptic Study of the Book of Deuteronomy (Ch.1-12)

A Synoptic Study of the Book of Deuteronomy (Ch.13-24)

A Synoptic Study of the Book of Deuteronomy (Ch 13-24)

A Synoptic Study of the Book of Deuteronomy (Ch. 25-34)

A Synoptic Study of the Book of Deuteronomy (Ch. 25-34)

II. Summary Statement of the Meaning of Deuteronomy as a Whole

A. Theological Themes

1. What does the book say about God? Continue Reading…

Perhaps the best reason to argue for religion is not a deep and scientific one but instead a basic philosophical position based on the universal laws all people understand. This philosophical reason for believing in God is outlined in the book, The Case for Christianity written by C.S. Lewis.

Religion is Not for Superstitious Buffoons

Photo Credit: Roebot

CS Lewis’ book argues that all human beings understand and adhere to a basic standard of human behavior Lewis calls the Law of Nature or the Law of Human Behavior. These laws (which are the same law, just described using different words) are a standard of good and fair behavior every man knows about and attempts to adhere to or at least expects others to adhere to in their treatment of him. Lewis argues that people from different countries and different cultures are not as different as they may think. Continue Reading…

Some people propose that,

Only superstitious buffoons believe in religion. All evidence suggests that atheistic naturalism is the most compelling worldview.

Thinking through this statement has led me to criticize it and show its lack of cogent reasoning.

Religion is Not for Superstitious Buffoons

Photo Credit: Roebot

Based on my experience and research, there are two main reasons that this statement does not follow the cogent reasoning standards of presenting relevant information and providing good reasons to believe what is believed. 1

  1. Some of the most educated, intelligent, and successful people have believed in God. 2
  2. One can deduce that God exists from a philosophical point of view.

These two critiques of the statement that “only superstitious buffoons believe in religion. All evidence suggests that atheistic naturalism is the most compelling worldview” will be shared in today’s blog post and my next post in order to shed light on the topic of God and belief in Him. Continue Reading…

Notes:

  1. Howard Kahane and Nancy Cavender, Logic and Contemporary Rhetoric: The Use of Reason in Everyday Life, 10th ed. (Belmont, CA: Thomas Higher Education, 2006), 6.
  2. Because of my faith as a Christian, when I write of “religion,” I will have particular focus on Christianity. My goal is to show that there is a Christian God through the two reasons I outline in this paper, but these reasons might also be applicable to the reader who believes in a god other than the Christian God.