The Gospel of Matthew was the church’s most popular Gospel in the decades up to the time of Irenaeus (ca. A.D. 180). After an extensive analysis of Matthew’s influence on early Christianity, Massaux relates,
Of all the New Testament Writings, the Gospel of Mt. was the one whose literary influence was the most widespread and the most profound in Christian literature that extended into the last decades of the second century. . . .
Until the end of the second century, the first gospel remained the gospel par excellence . . . .
The Gospel was, therefore, the normative fact of Christian life. It created the background for ordinary Christianity.
Moreover, the unanimous and unquestioned consensus of the Church Fathers was that Matthew was the first gospel written, and almost without exception, the early church placed the Gospel of Matthew first in the canon of the New Testament. Petrie observes, “Until the latter half of the eighteenth century, the apostolic authorship of ‘the Gospel according to Matthew’ seems to have been generally accepted.”
However, the Enlightenment and its spawning of historical-critical methodologies—particularly that aspect of the system called “Source Criticism”—marked the beginning of the end of that viewpoint. Most New Testament scholars at the turn of the twenty-first century resoundingly reject the unanimous testimony of the early church regarding Matthean priority in favor of the Two- or Four-Source Theory of how the Synoptic Gospels came into existence. That rejection characterizes not only those of a liberal-theological perspective. It also extends to include many who probably would classify themselves as conservative evangelicals, men such as Hill, Carson along with Moo and Morris, Martin, and France who explain away the evidence from Papias and church tradition regarding Matthean priority in deference to a theory of modern vintage that requires the priority of Mark. Few conservative evangelicals today dare to challenge the “findings” of Source Criticism.
The theory of Mark’s being written first flies in the face of what is quite clear from the writings in the early church, as Massaux has pointedly demonstrated:
The literary influence of the Gospel of Mk. is practically nil of these writings [i.e., the church writings of the first two centuries up to Irenaeus]. This characteristic of the early tradition constitutes a strange phenomenon. How can we explain this silence of tradition, if, as is generally believed, Mk. was the first of the canonical gospels? How can we explain the first Christians hardly resorted to it, so that it appeared almost nonexistent? Did it not respond, perhaps to the exigencies and concrete needs of the community of the time? Or have we been wrong to elevate it to the detriment of the Gospel of Mt.?
Someone besides Massaux needs to set the record straight. The church fathers must have their hearing, apart from a dogmatism that bases itself on a late-blooming theory regarding gospel sequence. They lived much closer to the composition of the gospels than anyone associated with the Enlightenment. Also, they were scholars in their own right, so it is a grave mistake to dismiss their testimony so casually as moderns have tended to do. They bear a unified testimony against critical assumptions of the last two centuries that have supported the priority of Mark and the associated Two- (or Four-) Source Theory. The discussion of their writings will also evidence the shortcomings of the avenue of Source Criticism that results in the Two-Gospel Theory.
Early in the first half of the second century A.D., Papias was bishop of Hierapolis in the Phrygian region of the province of Asia—a city about 20 miles west of Colosse and 6 miles east of Laodicea. Nothing much is known of Papias’s life beyond the comment of Irenaeus that he was “one of the ancients” (ἀρχαῖος ἀνήρ, archaios aner). His writing activity dates between ca. A.D. 95 and 110. That early dating makes his works crucial, for he is one of only a few witnesses to a very early period of church history.
Papias (along with his friend and contemporary, Polycarp) was a disciple and personal acquaintance of the Apostle John because Irenaeus wrote that Papias was “the hearer of John.” Unfortunately, Papias’s writings are no longer extant. Only fragments of his works remain and are largely known through quotations by later Fathers, especially Eusebius. Papias wrote a series of five treatises entitled Interpretation of the Oracles of the Lord (Λογίων κυριακῶν ἐξηγήσεως, logiōn kuriakōn exēgēseōs) in which he draws information from the remaining, living-eyewitness sources, i.e., the Apostle John himself and another original disciple of Jesus named Ariston, concerning what the apostles had said or done. In essence, Papias’s assertions had their foundation in direct “eyewitness” (i.e., firsthand) reports. If Papias wrote ca. A.D. 95-110, then the information that he imparts reaches well back into the first century and is an invaluable source of information regarding the gospels.
Papias included a brief account in his Expositions regarding the composition of Matthew: “Matthew collected (συνετάξατο, sunetaxato) the oracles (τὰ λόγια, ta logia) in the Hebrew language (Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ, Hebraidi dialektōi) and each interpreted them (ἡρμήνευσεν, hērmēneusen) as best he could.” (bold publisher) A great deal of conflict, however, has raged around this short statement, especially regarding the meaning and significance of the words “the oracles” (ta logia) and the phrase “in the Hebrew language” (Hebraidi dialektōi). An understanding of the latter expression has some impact on how one interprets the former.
Ta logia as an independent collection of Jesus’ sayings. Regarding the meaning of “the oracles” (ta logia), Scholars exhibit several major interpretations. Some think that it refers to an independent collection of Jesus’ sayings, perhaps Q. T. W. Manson popularized the view:
In Eusebius we find a quotation from Papias stating that “Matthew composed the oracles (ta logia) in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as he was able.” This obviously cannot refer to the first Gospel, which is essentially a Greek work based on Greek sources, of which Mark is one. It is, however, possible that what is meant is the document which we now call Q.
Adding support to this conclusion was the fact that ta logia is not the usual way of referring to a “gospel” and would be rather unique, for the normal descriptive term already seen by the time of Papias and evidenced in early manuscripts of the gospels would be το εὐαγγελιον (to euaggelion, “the gospel”).
That explanation of ta logia, however, is dubious for several reasons. First, Papias does not use ta logia to refer only to sayings but also to the deeds of Jesus. The title of Papias’ work, Interpretation of the Oracles of the Lord (Λογίων κυριακῶν ἐξηγήσεως, logiōn kuriakōn exēgēseōs) implies that more than Jesus’ words are encompassed in its meaning, for enough is known regarding this work that he did not restrict it in scope to an exposition merely of Jesus’s words.
Second, in Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History 3.39.15-16, Papias commented that in composing his gospel, Mark, being Peter’s interpreter, “wrote accurately all that he remembered . . . of the things said or done by the Lord” [emphasis added] and immediately after this spoke of Peter as “not making, as it were, an arrangement of the Lord’s oracles (σύνταξιν τῶν κυριακῶν ποιούμενος λογίων, suntaxin tōn kuriakōn poioumenos logiōn), so that Mark did nothing wrong in thus writing down single points as he remembered them.” Since Mark’s gospel included deeds as well as words, the expression τῶν. . . λογίων (tōn . . . logiōn, “the oracles”) must include both too.
Third, the parallelism between these two phrases—”the things said or done” (τά … ἢ λεχθέντα ἢ πραχθέντα, τά … ē lechthenta ē prachthenta) and “the oracles of the Lord” (τῶν κυριακῶν … λογίων, tōn kuriakōn … logiōn)—in immediate juxtaposition demonstrates that the latter expression, i.e. “the oracles of the Lord” (i.e. tōn kuriakōn … logiōn), can encompass both the deeds as well as the words of Jesus.
Fourth, immediately after these statements regarding Mark’s gospel, Papias applies the term ta logia to Matthew’s work, thus making it hard to avoid the conclusion that he refers to Matthew’s gospel rather than some hypothetical sayings source like Q. Therefore, the ta logia is most naturally understood as a synonym for the gospel.
No evidence exists that such a document as “Q” ever existed at Papias’ time or any other time. The increasing skepticism of a wide spectrum of NT scholars regarding the nature (e.g., make-up and extent) of Q and whether such a document ever really existed in church history make this suggestion highly dubious.
Ta logia as a collection of OT proof texts.
A second view similar to the first is that ta logia refers to an OT testimonia collection (i.e., a book of OT proof texts) compiled by Matthew from the Hebrew canon for use in Christian apologetics, one that eventually was incorporated into canonical Matthew. Hunt forcefully argues,
[Λ]όγια has nothing to do with the title of any book, but is a technical term meaning O.T. oracles. That is to say that λόγια was not the name of a book composed by St. Matthew, or by anyone else, but was a description of the contents of the book; it was composed of lovgia, which had been arranged by St. Matthew.
For Hunt, those who would see the term lovgia as meaning “gospel” most likely “have been hypnotized by tradition” and “for whatever ta; lovgia may have been taken as meaning at a later period, it could not have meant The Gospel according to St. Matthew when originally written; since nobody will maintain that a gospel was ever called τὰ λόγια.” Similarly, Grant asserts that that τῶν κυριακῶν … λογίων predominately refer to “divine utterances” like those contained in the OT. Therefore, Papias seems to refer to Matthew’s collection of OT prophecies of the Messiah, “a collection of the kind embedded in the Gospel of Matthew.”
Yet, this view seems unlikely for significant reasons. First, a similar criticism applies to this view as to the first view above, i.e., in the context of Papias’ writings, ta; lovgia most likely refers to both deeds and sayings of Jesus and not to a hypothesized collection of OT proof-texts. This view, therefore, supplies an aberrant meaning to Papias’ words. It also makes Grant’s assumption regarding τῶν κυριακῶν … λογίων as referring to OT oracles tenuous since Papias, in the context of Eusebius’ discussion, refers to Jesus’ sayings and deeds rather than OT sayings, the latter not being in view at all in that context.
Second, the view cannot account for the diversity of text forms in OT quotations in Matthew and for the way he often parallels the LXX rather than the Hebrew OT (e.g., Matt. 1:23; 5:21, 27, 38, 43; 13:14-15; 21:16).
Third, the most likely understanding of the term hJrmhvneusen refers to “translation” of a language, especially in light of his phrase “in the Hebrew language” (Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ), rather than “interpretation” of OT sayings, the latter being the sense required under this view. Furthermore, this Hebrew (i.e., Aramaic) testimonia collection may not need to be “translated” especially since the LXX would have been well-established.
Ta logia as an error by Papias. Yet, if some scholars find neither of these two views satisfactory regarding ta; lovgia, then they often envision two alternatives in their discussion of its meaning: either Papias was inaccurate and his testimony should be discounted, or Papias was referring to some other composition of Matthew which is not now extant.
Carson, Moo, and Morris prefer the idea that Papias’ statement was partially in error when he asserted a Semitic (i.e. Aramaic) original of Matthew, labeling it as “an intelligent, albeit erroneous, guess.” From their point of view Papias spoke from ignorance, especially if he “had no real knowledge of just how much Greek was spoken in first-century Palestine, especially in Galilee.” At times, they are ambivalent as to who wrote the gospel bearing Matthew’s name, for after discussing the evidence, both pros and cons, for apostolic authorship of the gospel, they conclude “at one level very little hangs on the question of the authorship of this [Matthew’s] gospel. By and large, neither its meaning nor its authority are greatly changed if one decides that its author was not an apostle.” For them, apostolic, eyewitness origin ultimately carries little weight for the validity of this gospel. Martin holds the same perspective.
Harrison deprecates Papias in a fashion similar to Carson, Moo and Morris, arguing that “Papias, like Jerome, confused the Gospel according to the Hebrews or something like it with an Aramaic Matthew.” Similarly, Hill comments, “[T]he tradition of Matthean priority rests . . . on a misinterpretation of Papias’ statements, or on Papias’ misunderstanding of the actual matter to which he was referring.”
Significantly, most of these evangelicals who dismiss the testimony of Papias apparently do so because of their acceptance of the historical-critical conclusion that Mark was the first gospel, as expressed in the Two- or Four-Source hypothesis. For them, current (and dogmatic) source-critical conclusions are sufficient to override strong and ancient historical testimony. Yet, in reply, apostolic origin of the gospels is vital for a document that purports to be a record of Jesus’ historical ministry on earth. The anonymity of the Matthean gospel argues strongly for the validity of tradition that attached Matthew’s name to it because such anonymity is inexplicable apart from its direct association with the apostle Matthew. Matthew was a relatively obscure figure among the Twelve, so no adequate reason exists to explain why the early church would have chosen his name rather than a better-known apostle if he had not indeed written it.
Furthermore, the more reasonable explanation is that Papias, possessing information from highly placed apostolic and eyewitness testimony regarding Matthew, was correct, and that attempts at deprecating Papias border on intellectual presumptuousness. Petrie describes such a casual dismissal of the evidence: “This is the kind of unintentional belittling guess that easily hardens from ‘may be’ to a firm statement and then becomes a dogmatic basis for further adventures in criticism.” Since Papias is not relating his own opinion but citing information derived from firsthand reports of the apostle John and the disciple Ariston, a supposition of Papias’ confusion is unlikely. For as Gundry observes, “Possibilities of confusion decrease the closer we approach the time of writing. It is especially hard to think that one of the twelve apostles, John himself, fell into such an error.” Interestingly, Papias uses the imperfect tense (e[legen, elegen‑”he was saying”) to depict how John repeatedly transmitted information to him about Mark’s arrangement of topics. Theirs was not just a one-time conversation. Petrie best summarizes Historical Criticism’s attack on Papias’ credibility well:
This testimony is on much firmer ground than the best speculative guesses of the twentieth century, and it must be fairly and fully reckoned with in the quest for Gospel backgrounds. Failing substantial evidence to contradict it or to turn its meaning, it is not to be dismissed because of its inconvenience for current hypotheses. If it does not accord with these hypotheses, it is the hypotheses that must be considered anew. For the one is tangible evidence from a competent, informed, and credible witness; the rest, however attractive or even dazzling they appear, lack its substantiality.
Ta logia as a canonical Greek Matthew.
A fourth view of Papias’ meaning takes ta; lovgia to refer to the canonical Greek version of Matthew’s gospel and exonerates Papias as an accurate reporter, but says his readers misunderstood him. Reflecting a concept similar to Kürzinger, Gundry asserts that rather than a linguistic sense Papias’ expression “in the Hebrew dialect” ( Ἑβραΐδι διαλέκτῳ) has a literary sense, referring to a Semitic style: “In describing Matthew, then, ‘a Hebrew dialect’ means a Hebrew way of presenting Jesus’ messiahship.” With this approach, the verb ἡρμήνεύσεν had the sense of “explain” rather than “translate.”
Moreover, Kürzinger points out that immediately before Papias’ statement regarding Matthew, he describes Mark’s composition of his gospel as reflecting Peter’s testimony. There Papias calls Mark the “interpreter” (ἡρμήνευτες;”, hermneuts [—Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.39.15]) of Peter. Kürzinger insists that this cannot mean that Mark was Peter’s “translator,” but must have been the “interpreter” of that preached or spoken by Peter. Thus, Papias’ statement regarding Matthew must mean that everyone “passed on” or “interpreted” Matthew’s Greek gospel to the world as he was able.
A first response to that analysis notes that although the sense of argumentational style is a possible meaning of διαλἐκτῳ /, it is a more remote and secondary sense. The most natural understanding of διαλἐκτος (dialektos) is “language,” not “interpretation.” Also, the term in combination with the noun JEbrai?di (Hebraidi, lit. “Hebrew” but most likely a reference the Aramaic language) and the verb eJrmhneuvein (hermneuein, “to interpret”) points to the latter’s natural meaning of “translate (a language)” rather than to an alleged Semitic style.
Second, the church fathers understood Papias’ statement as referring to language. Without exception they held that the apostle Matthew wrote the canonical Matthew and that he wrote it first in a Semitic language.
Third, all six occurrences of the word διαλἐκτος in the NT refer to human languages rather than to a particular style of argument (Acts 1:19; 2:6, 8; 21:40; 22:2; 26:14). These arguments render the view of Kürzinger and Gundry as very improbable.
A significant observation notes that the common thread of all four viewpoints of Papias’ words discussed so far is an a priori assumption of validity of the Two-Document Hypothesis. As a result, they all attempt to find a way either to diminish the force of Papias’ words, dismiss his information as inaccurate or wrong, or superimpose a totally foreign understanding. Survival of the cherished synoptic hypothesis drives them to pursue such tactics as Gundry illustrates in his discussion of Papias’ words: “[I]t is the currently prevalent and well-substantiated opinion that our Greek Matthew shows many signs of drawing in large part on the Gospel of Mark, also written in Greek.”
Gundry goes one step further in his analysis of Papias’ words. He takes them to indicate that Matthew deliberately corrected Mark. Immediately before Papias’ comments about Matthew (Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.39.16), Eusebius quotes Papias’ description of the composition of Mark:
“And the Presbyter [John] used to say this, ‘Mark became Peter’s interpreter and wrote accurately all that he remembered, not, indeed, in order, of the things said or done by the Lord. For he had not heard the Lord, nor had he followed him, but later on, as I said, followed Peter, who used to give teaching as necessity demanded but not making, as it were, an arrangement of the Lord’s oracles, so that Mark did nothing in wrong in writing down single points as he remembered them. For to one thing he gave attention, to leave out nothing of what he had heard and to make no false statements in them.'” This is related by Papias about Mark.
Since the statements come before Papias’ comments about Matthew’s gospel, Gundry contends that they prove that Mark wrote before Matthew. In a nutshell, he argues that the sequence and nature of discussion in this section indicate that Matthew should be understood as a deliberate corrective to Mark. He notes that Papias’ statements that Mark’s gospel was written “not, indeed, in order” and “not making . . . an arrangement of the Lord’s oracles” comes immediately before Papias’ discussion of Matthew and how he “collected” (συνetὰξaτο, sunetavxato) his oracles. Gundry contends, Matthew did it “for the precise purpose of bringing order out of the chaos in Mark.”
However, a few observations show Gundry’s contentions to be tenuous. First, Eusebius is quoting detached statements of Papias regarding Mark and Matthew so that the sequence of the gospels means nothing nor does any alleged dependence among the gospels surface in the order of discussion in the text.
Second, such a theory indicates the absolute paucity of evidence for the Two-Document Hypothesis in ancient tradition. Its proponents must attempt to make something out of nothing in a desperate attempt at proving their a priori and dogmatic assumption that colors everything they analyze.
Papias’ words (and Eusebius’ citation and discussion) do not constitute any type of proof for Markan priority or literary dependence between Matthew and Mark. They add absolutely nothing to an understanding of any relationship between Matthew or Mark (or the other gospels for that matter). Eusebius’ disjointed citation of Papias’ words about Mark coming before that same historian’s citation of Papias’ words about Matthew’s gospel have no relevance to that issue. Such alleged evidence goes far beyond what the statements indicate and is blatantly non sequitur. As a matter of fact, Papias’ statements here actually constitute evidence against an assumed literary dependence, for he remarked that Mark depended on Peter for the contents of his gospel!
Ta logia as an early edition of Matthew’s gospel.
A final view, distinct from the others (and also from their synoptic hypotheses) is that Papias referred to an earlier edition of Matthew written entirely in Hebrew (i.e., Aramaic) that Matthew wrote first. That was perhaps a proto-Matthew, i.e., a shorter version that eventually came to be incorporated into (not necessarily translated from but contained within) an expanded Greek version, i.e., the canonical Gospel of Matthew. Thus, Papias indicated that Matthew wrote first (prior to the other gospels) and that in so doing, he produced an initial Aramaic edition. The Aramaic edition served as a model and/or source for some of the contents of his Greek edition that he most likely produced as a fresh work soon after he wrote the Aramaic one.
Several arguments support this proposal. First, it permits Papias to speak for himself and allows for an understanding of his words in their natural sense. Since he was closest to the events and relied on excellent sources, his information must have priority over speculative modern hypotheses.
Second, an expanded Greek version would have been quickly helpful among Matthew’s targeted Jewish audience, especially those hellenized Jews who no longer spoke Hebrew (the Diaspora [Acts 6:1]). Although Matthew concentrated his efforts at first among Hebraistic Jews who spoke Aramaic, such a gospel would have limited appeal outside of the land of the Jews. Tradition has it that Matthew eventually left the environs of Jerusalem to minister among non-Aramaic-speaking peoples. The dominance of Greek in the Hellenistic world would have impelled him to produce another edition. Because he was a former tax-collector for the Romans, he would most likely have been conversant in Greek as well as Aramaic, thus facilitating the writing of both versions. Once the Greek Matthew became current in the church, the limited appeal of Aramaic caused that edition to fall into disuse. Papias’ statement that “each interpreted” Matthew’s gospel [Aramaic version] “as best he could” probably hints at the reason why Matthew would have quickly produced a Greek version: to facilitate the understanding of his gospel in the universal language of Greek.
Third, this view accords with the very early and consistent manuscript ascription of the Gospel to Matthew (KATA MAQQAION, KATA MATHTHAION, “According to Matthew”). The title is not a part of the original text, but no positive evidence exists that the book ever circulated without this title. Moreover, the ascription has a very early date, approximately A.D. 125. As Guthrie notes, “the title cannot be dismissed too lightly, for it has the support of ancient tradition and this must be the starting point of the discussion regarding authorship.” Very early and consistent ascription of the Greek gospel to Matthew would indicate that the transfer of connection from Matthew’s Aramaic version mentioned by Papias to the Greek gospel occurred at a very early stage well into the first century. Such a very early stage would have placed Greek Matthew into a period when people, such as surviving apostles, eyewitnesses and other who possessed first-hand knowledge regarding the Gospel would have linked the Aramaic and Greek versions together as coming from the hand of Matthew. Moreover, during this strategic early period the prevention of such linkage could also have occurred if such attempts at linkage were inaccurate.
This early ascription coordinates well with the very early and widespread influence of Greek Matthew in the early church in the period before Irenaeus. Significant Matthean influence can be seen in such early second century works as 1 Clement (ca. A.D. 81-96), Barnabas (ca. A.D. 70-135), the Letters of Ignatius of Antioch (ca. A.D. 98-117), 2 Clement (ca. A.D. 138-142), Polycarp (to the Philippians ca. A.D. 98-117; d. ca. 156 or 167), Aristedes of Athens (fl. A.D. 123), Justin Martyr (d. ca. 165), Tatian (fl. ca. A.D. 160-170) and the Didache (ca. A.D. late first century to mid-second century), to mention only a few. Such influence finds its most reasonable explanation in Matthean authorship of the Greek Gospel as well as the Aramaic version discussed by Papias. Furthermore, this unbroken stream of tradition indicates that Matthew was responsible for both versions of the Gospel that bears his name. While the Aramaic version was helpful for Matthew’s work among Jews, his departure to work with gentiles resulted in his issuance of the Greek version in the lingua franca of the day in order to facilitate the spread the good news regarding Messiah among gentiles.
Fourth, though patristic witnesses like Papias uniformly spoke of an Aramaic original for the gospel, they accepted the Greek Matthew as unquestionably authoritative and coming from the apostle Matthew himself. They offered no explanation concerning the change in language. Most likely, that indicates their regard for the Greek Matthew as authoritative and substantially representative of the Hebrew ta logia. Besides, all references to the Gospel of Matthew in the early church fathers reflect the Greek Matthew rather than the Hebrew. They never viewed the Greek Gospel of Matthew as inferior but as equal or better than the other Greek canonical gospels in terms of its authority and influence.
The Matthean authorship of both the Greek and Aramaic versions is strengthened by the unlikelihood of such a transfer occurring between documents that differed significantly in language and in content unless Matthew himself did produce both versions. The traditions of Matthean authorship for both versions are so significantly early and consistent that authorship by Matthew himself constitutes the most reasonable explanation for both streams of tradition.
Fifth, the universal ascription of the Greek Matthew to the apostle Matthew and the failure of tradition to mention any other possible author except Matthew renders unconvincing any suggestion that the early church forgot the true author of the work. Only a brief span of 50 to 60 years passed between its composition and the statements of Papias. A less-prominent apostle such as Matthew would not have been a likely candidate to receive credit for such an important and influential document as the Greek Matthew unless he did indeed write it. As indicated earlier in this chapter, “of all the New Testament Writings, the Gospel of Mt. was the one whose literary influence was the most widespread and the most profound in Christian literature that extended into the last decades of the second century. . . . [T]he first gospel remained the gospel par excellence. . . . The gospel was, therefore, the normative fact of Christian life. It created the background for ordinary Christianity.”
The only adequate explanation for the gospel’s influence and overwhelming popularity in the early church is its apostolic authorship. That one of the Twelve wrote it soon after writing his Aramaic ta logia and before Mark and Luke wrote their gospels is far and away the most satisfactory explanation for the facts that remain from early church history.
In light of the evidence, unless someone feels compelled to embrace historical-critical scholarship’s a priori assumption of Markan priority, the testimony of Papias is credible and supportive of Matthean priority and Matthean authorship of the gospel that bears Matthew’s name.
Irenaeus (b. ca. A.D. 115-120 and martyred ca. A.D. 200), an immigrant from Asia Minor, was presbyter of the church at Lyons in Gaul. He was one of the early church’s most able apologists and theologians, writing against Marcion and the Gnostics with His work Refutation and Overthrow of Knowledge Falsely So-called which tradition has more conveniently labeled Against Heresies (completed ca. A.D. 185).
In his youth he claims to have been a disciple of Polycarp (b. ca. A.D. 70 and d. ca. A.D. 155-160). He writes, “Polycarp . . . was not only instructed by apostles and conversed with many who had seen the Lord, but was also appointed bishop by apostles in Asia in the church in Smyrna.” Irenaeus continues, “We also saw him [i.e., Polycarp] in our childhood. . . . He [i.e., Polycarp] constantly taught those things which he had learnt from the apostles, which also are the tradition of the church, which alone are true.” As reported by Eusebius, Polycarp, in turn, was a disciple of the Apostle John:
“I [i.e. Irenaeus] remember the events of those days more clearly than those which happened recently, for what we learn as children grows up with the soul and is united to it, so that I can speak even of the place in which the blessed Polycarp sat and disputed, how he came in and went out, the character of his life, the discourses which he made to the people, how he [Polycarp] reported his intercourse with John and with the others who had seen the Lord, how he remembered their words, and what were the things concerning the Lord which he had heard from them . . . and how Polycarp had received them from the eyewitnesses of the word of life.”
Besides Polycarp, Irenaeus also had met and conversed with many apostolic and sub-apostolic fathers of Asia Minor and obtained information from them about the life and teachings of the Lord and the activities of the early church. He thus reflected information from many sources and not only from his own childhood memories. He also had traveled extensively (e.g., from Asia Minor to Gaul and also the church in Rome), so that his information is not from an isolated region but widespread.
Irenaeus writes the following regarding the gospels:
Now Matthew published among the Hebrews a written gospel also in their own tongue, while Peter and Paul were preaching in Rome and founding the church. But after their death, Mark also, the disciple and interpreter of Peter, himself handed down to us in writing the things which were preached by Peter, and Luke also, who was a follower of Paul, put down in a book the gospel which was preached by him. Then John, the disciple of the Lord, who had even rested on his breast, himself also gave forth the gospel, while he was living in Ephesus in Asia.
Proponents of the Two-Document Hypothesis dismiss Irenaeus’ assertion as useless because they assert, he was merely repeating Papias. Filson argues, “But note this: Papias is the key witness. Irenaeus, for example, obviously knows and uses Papias as an authority. No tradition demonstrably independent of Papias exists.” Nineham does the same: “The testimony of early Christian writers subsequent to Papias, such as Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, and Jerome, need not be discussed at length, for it is not clear that these writers had any trustworthy source of information other than the Papias tradition.” Streeter, the great advocate of the Four-Document Hypothesis, deprecates Irenaeus’ ability to testify regarding Polycarp’s connection to John, dismissing the evidence because of Irenaeus’ youth. He says he was too young to tell to which “John” Polycarp referred.
Petrie drives to the heart of their problem, noting, “There is in the document [i.e., the writings of Irenaeus] no hint of dependence [i.e., on Papias]. Indeed, Irenaeus was sufficiently close to the authorities of Papias to have gathered this information on his own.” In addition, Irenaeus was more than likely at least 15 years old, old enough “to understand the meaning of Polycarp’s words and also to distinguish between the Apostle John and any other John.” As Lightfoot reasoned, “A pupil of Polycarp, at all events, was not likely to be misinformed here.” Besides nullifying the Two- or Four-Source Theory’s view of Markan priority, Irenaeus’ testimony also negates literary dependence of Mark on Matthew as proposed by the Two-Gospel Hypothesis, because it states that Mark depended on Peter’s preaching, not on the other written gospels of Matthew or Luke, for his information.
In sum, proponents of Two-Document Hypothesis must either reject, ignore, or explain away much of the evidence by any means possible, because acceptance of its credibility would reinforce the fact of Matthew’s gospel being written prior to the other gospels. That constitutes a strong testimony either against their assumption of the priority of Mark or, for that matter, against the idea that Mark depended on Matthew instead of Peter’s preaching as held by the Two-Gospel Hypothesis. The belittling of Irenaeus by advocates of the Two-Document Hypothesis notwithstanding, Irenaeus’ testimony is credible and important in its own right, constituting an independent and reliable witness for information regarding Matthew as the first gospel.
Worthy of observation also in this section is Irenaeus’ failure to make a substantial distinction between the Aramaic and Greek versions as coming from Matthew. For example, in Against Heresies 3.1.1 Irenaeus discusses all four gospels. In this discussion, he mentions only the Hebrew Matthew. Yet, in the work he shows a close familiar with Greek Matthew by referring to it frequently. That indicates that he equated the Aramaic Matthew with the Greek Matthew and intimately connected them with each other.
Although the statement cited follows the order Matthew, Mark, Luke and John, the sequence in this passage is unique to Irenaeus. He generally follows the order of Matthew, Luke, Mark and John at other places which, as Campenhausen notes, “would seem therefore to be the order most familiar to Irenaeus himself.” Yet, in another place, he follows the sequence John-Luke-Matthew-Mark (Against Heresies 3.2.8) perhaps because of theological rather than historical, reasons. Since Irenaeus follows a variety of sequences when mentioning the gospels, he is not of much help in establishing a sequence of composition, but he does offer support for the priority of Matthew as first to be composed and apparent support for the composition of Luke before Mark.
CLEMENT OF ALEXANDRIA
The origins of Christianity in Alexandria are obscure. The movement must have appeared there at a relatively early date since it appears firmly established at least as early as ca. late second century. According to Eusebius, Pantaenus was the earliest leader of the catechetical school in Alexandria ca. A.D. 185. He as a converted Stoic philosopher whom Eusebius describes as “especially eminent.” Eventually, Pantaenus was “appointed as a herald for the gospel of Christ to the heathen in the East, and was sent as far as India.” Upon arrival, Pantaenus allegedly discovered that the Hebrew version of Matthew’s gospel had preceded him there, being left by the Apostle Bartholomew. That tradition corroborates information from both Papias and Irenaeus about Matthew writing originally in Hebrew (or Aramaic).
Clement of Alexandria (ca. A.D. 150-215) located in Alexandria and became a pupil of Pantaenus. In time, he distinguished himself as a scholar and became a teacher for over twenty years in Alexandria, succeeding Pantaenus as the leader of the school. At the outbreak of persecution under Severus in A.D. 202, he left Alexandria, never to return. In spite of periods of intense persecution, the school gained great prominence and importance. Beyond that, few facts regarding Clement are available. Nothing certain is known concerning his parentage or early training. Most likely, he was not a Christian during his early years. According to Eusebius, however, he was “the namesake of the pupil of the apostles who had once ruled the church of Rome” while his name reflects his connection with the Egyptian city of Alexandria where he accomplished all his important works. His extant works are Exhortation to the Greeks, Pedagogue, Stromateis or Miscellanies, Who is the rich man that shall be saved? and some fragments from Selections from the Prophets which is a brief commentary on portions of the Scripture.
Information from Clement is of basic importance in determining the order of composition of the gospels, for not only was he a preeminent early church scholar as head of the Alexandrian school but was also in personal contact with a number of church elders from different parts of the Mediterranean world and their information regarding that order. The following quotation of Clement by Eusebius reveals Clement’s widespread network of information:
This work [i.e. Stromateis] is not a writing composed for show, but notes stored up for my old age, a remedy against forgetfulness, an image without art, and a sketch of those clear and vital words which I was privileged to hear, and of blessed and truly notable men. Of these one, the Ionian, was in Greece, another in South Italy, a third in Coele-Syria, another in Egypt, and there were others in the East, one of them an Assyrian, another in Palestine of Hebrew origin. But when I had met the last, and in power he was indeed the first, I hunted him out from his concealment in Egypt and found rest.
The last elder in Egypt referred to is most likely Pantaenus. Since he probably met Pantaenus in the latter part of the second century, the testimony that the various elders passed on would reflect well back into the first half of that century.
What is important for the present study is that Clement’s widespread information furnishes important additional information about the order of the synoptics. Eusebius quotes him as follows regarding this order:
And again in the same books Clement has inserted a tradition of the primitive elders with regard to the order of the Gospels, as follows. He said that those Gospels were first written which include the genealogies, but that the Gospel according to Mark came into being in this manner: When Peter had publicly preached the word at Rome, and by the Spirit had proclaimed the Gospel, that those present, who were many, exhorted Mark, as one who had followed him for a long time and remembered what had been spoken, to make a record of what was said; and that he did this, and distributed the Gospel among those that asked him. And that when the matter came to Peter’s knowledge he neither strongly forbade it nor urged it forward. But that John, last of all, conscious that the outward facts had been set forth in the Gospels, was urged on by his disciples, and, divinely moved by the Spirit, composed a spiritual Gospel. This is Clement’s account.
Several important features emerge from those words. First, Clement supplies unique information when revealing that the gospels with genealogies (Matthew and Luke) originated before Mark. A scholar of his stature was not likely merely to repeat information without careful investigation. Though Clement does not reveal whether Matthew was first and Luke second or Matthew second and Luke first, he does clearly indicate Mark’s third position after Matthew and Luke and not before them as modern historical-critical theories such as Two- and Four-Document Hypotheses maintain.
Moreover, the information from Clement does not contradict Matthew’s being first but is an important supplement to information gleaned from other church fathers (e.g., Papias, Irenaeus, Tertullian). The others make plain that Matthew was first, thereby placing Luke second in sequence when combined with Clement’s information. Like Irenaeus, Clement places the apostle John’s gospel last, saying John wrote it with full awareness of the other three and designed it to supplement the “synoptic” accounts as a “spiritual Gospel.” The order of composition, then, was Matthew first, Luke second, Mark third, and John last.
Third, very important in evaluating Clement’s information in regard to any proposed solution to the Synoptic Problem is that the tradition he passed on did not come just from a single elder in a single locality but from “a tradition of the primitive elders” (paravdosin tw’n ajnevkaqen presbutevrwn, paradosin tn anekathen presbutern) scattered widely throughout the Christian community. That indicates that it was a tradition known and received in different places some time in the early to mid-second century. Clement’s wide travels made this information all the more significant, because it represents a strong tradition in the early church, not merely a fanciful whim of Clement and a few others. As a result, one cannot easily dismiss such information.
Fourth, according to Eusebius in Ecclesiastical History 2.16.1, Mark helped found the church at Alexandria and was its first overseer. For Clement to place Mark’s gospel third in order of composition is, therefore, all the more important. Gamba notes, “He [Clement] would have no reason at all to place Mark’s gospel after the other two that contain a genealogy of Jesus, unless it was for a definite and grounded persuasion of historical nature.” That reinforces the strength and reliability of Clement’s testimony.
Tertullian (ca. A.D. 160-ca. 225), an exact contemporary of Clement of Alexandria, constitutes a prime witness to the faith of the African church regarding the authenticity of the gospels. Despite his eventual Montanist proclivities, he was the outstanding apologist of the Western church of his time.
Little is known of his life except that he was a native of Carthage whose father had been a Roman centurion on duty in that city. He knew and used both Latin and Greek and loved the classics. He became a proficient lawyer and taught public speaking and law in Rome, where he became a convert to Christianity. His goal was the development of a sound Western theology and the defeat of all false philosophical and pagan forces opposed to Christianity.
Tertullian’s importance for gospel study lies especially in the fact that he witnessed to the tradition of all Western Christianity, especially the tradition of Rome. His treatise, Against Marcion (ca. A.D. 207-212), is especially relevant to the composition of the gospels, because he affirms that apostles wrote Matthew and John, that Mark’s gospel reflects Peter’s preaching, and that Paul was the sponsor of Luke.
Regarding the four gospels, Tertullian reported that “the evangelical Testament has Apostles as its authors.” Here Tertullian makes no distinction between an Aramaic and Hebrew Matthew but considers the Greek Matthew has come from the apostle Matthew himself. Since Tertullian was a lawyer and orator by profession and an outstanding apologist against the heretic Marcion in his Treatise Against Marcion where he mentions the gospels’ composition, he most probably had his information correct concerning the traditions behind the four gospels. He saw no grounds at all for setting aside this tradition as he attacked Marcion’s stance. Any possibility of the facts being wrong would have weakened his attack against Marcion. That his comments corroborate as well as supplement the traditions of Papias, Irenaeus, and Clement strengthens his case even more.
Origen (ca. A.D. 185-253) was born into a Christian family in Alexandria. At the age of eighteen, because of his renowned scholarship, he became Clement of Alexandria’s successor as the principal Christian teacher in that city after Clement left due to the persecution under Septimus Severus in A.D. 202. Although an eclectic Middle Platonism that was prevalent in Alexandria and in the East adversely affected his thought and gave him a strong propensity toward an allegorical hermeneutic, he was the most remarkable scholar of his time in depth and breadth of learning.
Origen’s extant works evidence his profound scholarship. Unfortunately, most of his writings have perished, but he may have written over six thousand works. Several salient examples of his scholarship are representative of the rest. His Hexapla, in which several Hebrew and Greek versions of the OT are arranged in parallel columns, constitutes the beginnings of textual criticism. One of his greatest contributions was his work De Principiis (ca. A.D. 230), which exists only in a Latin version by Rufinus. It is the first Christian treatise of systematic theology. In the fourth book of that work, he set forth his allegorical method of interpretation. In Against Celsus he devised an apologetic defense against the anti-Christian Platonist Celsus. Yet, the majority of his writings took the form of an exegetical commentary on Scripture.
Origen was also widely traveled, having visited Rome (ca. A.D. 211-212), where he met Hippolytus, and Arabia (ca. A.D. 213-214). In ca. A.D. 215 when emperor Caracalla drove all teachers of philosophy from Alexandria, Origen traveled to Caesarea in Palestine. He resumed his teaching in Alexandria ca. A.D. 216 and continued there until ca. AD. 230-231. Therefore, the information that he imparts regarding the Synoptic Gospels is from a man not only of great learning and research but also one who was widely traveled.
Eusebius records the following from Origen’s Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew:
But in the first of his [Commentaries] on the Gospel According to Matthew, defending the canon of the Church, he gives his testimony that he knows only four Gospels, writing somewhat as follows: “. . . as having learnt by tradition concerning the four Gospels, which alone are unquestionable in the Church of God under heaven, that first was written that according to Matthew, who was once a tax-collector but afterwards an apostle of Jesus Christ, who published it for those who from Judaism came to believe, composed as it was in the Hebrew language. Secondly, that according to Mark, who wrote it in accordance with Peter’s instructions, whom also Peter acknowledged as his son in the catholic epistle. . . . And thirdly, that according to Luke, who wrote, for those who from the Gentiles [came to believe], the Gospel that was the praise of Paul. After them all, that according to John.
Here Origen’s statement reflects an order of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, but nothing in the context requires this to be an assumed chronological order for Mark and Luke. His explicit statement is that Matthew wrote first and John last, but otherwise Eusebius’ discussion centers in Origen’s view of the exact number of the gospels rather than in the order of their composition. Most likely, Eusebius included Origen’s statement because of its bearing on the number (not the order) of gospels in the canon of the church. He probably accepted Origen’s order as reflecting the canonical order of appearance in NT manuscripts. On the other hand, Eusebius included Clement’s statement cited earlier in this chapter because it related directly to the chronological sequence of composition of the gospels (i.e., Matthew, Luke, Mark, and John).
In another place, Origen stressed the apostolic origin of the four gospels and rejected numerous apocryphal gospels as spurious. Origen accepted only four gospels: “For Matthew did not ‘take in hand’ but wrote by the Holy Spirit, and so did Mark and John and also equally Luke.” In this quotation, he does not distinguish between Greek and Aramaic versions of Matthew but includes the Greek Matthew as written by the apostle himself along with the other three gospels (i.e., John, Mark, and Luke). Though he was aware that Matthew originally wrote in Hebrew (see earlier quotation from his Commentary on the Gospel of Matthew), this latter statement implies that he made no distinction between the Aramaic and Greek versions but included the Greek as equally authoritative with the other three gospels and also stressed its origin from the Holy Spirit.
Just as with Tertullian and Clement, to doubt Origen’s assertions that Matthew and John were written by apostles and that men associated with the apostles wrote the gospels that bear their names (i.e., Luke and Mark) would be to repudiate Origen’s intelligence as a preeminent, careful scholar and also to question his integrity.
Eusebius of Caesarea (ca. A.D. 260-ca. 340), bishop of Caesarea in Palestine, was a pupil of the presbyter Pamphilus, who was himself a student of Origen. Many look to him as the Father of Church History, especially in light of his most famous work Ecclesiastical History, which surveyed the history of the church from apostolic times until A.D. 324. His purpose was to compose a record of past trials of the church at the end of its long struggle and the beginning of its era of prosperity. The work is particularly valuable since Eusebius had access to the excellent library housed at Caesarea and also the imperial archives. He also records that he exerted great effort, to be honest and objective in using the best and most reliable of the primary sources available to him. Therefore, in many respects, Eusebius is an invaluable source of knowledge concerning the history of the church during her first three centuries of existence. Eusebius was also a participant in the Council of Nicaea (A.D. 325).
Much of the earlier information in this chapter has come from Eusebius’ Ecclesiastical History. Much of Ecclesiastical History is a record of what others said and did, but at times, Eusebius appears to give his own personal views. He mentions that only two apostles, Matthew, and John, left their recollections and that they wrote under the pressure of necessity: “[T]hey took to writing perforce.” Though he mentions that Matthew first wrote in the Hebrew language, he also considers Greek Matthew to have come from the apostle’s hand. He notes that John was aware of Matthew, Mark, and Luke, and confirmed their accuracy when he composed his gospel. He refers to sections of the Greek Matthew and ascribes them to the apostle as their author.
In addition, according to Eusebius, Mark composed his gospel on the basis of Peter’s preaching, while Luke’s gospel came about through his association “with Paul and his [Luke’s] conversation with other apostles.”
Augustine (ca. A.D. 354-430) was a younger contemporary of Jerome, who while young, studied grammar, Latin classics, and rhetoric with parental hopes for his becoming a lawyer or a high civil servant in the imperial government. After his conversion, he became a priest in A.D. 391 and in A.D. 396 the bishop of Hippo in North Africa. Some have acclaimed him as the greatest of the church fathers. He left over one hundred books, five hundred sermons, and two hundred letters. His influence became pervasive not only in the African church but in the Western Church, even surpassing that of Jerome. His most widely known work is probably his Confessions, one of the great autobiographical works of all time. His City of God may be his greatest apologetic work. He also wrote many other significant works including The Harmony of the Gospels and Christian Doctrine.
Augustine’s position on the order of gospels composition appears in his Harmony of the Gospels: “Now, these four evangelists . . . are believed to have written in the order which follows: first Matthew, then Mark, thirdly Luke, lastly John.” Augustine here passes on a tradition of the order of composition as in the present NT canon. His assignment of Matthew as first and John as last is in overall harmony with earlier tradition as reviewed above in this chapter.
Yet, the Augustinian order conflicts with Clement’s sequence in reversing the order of Mark and Luke. Militating against assigning too much weight to the aspect of Augustine’s order of Mark being prior to Luke is that he, in contrast to Clement, does not clearly identify the origin of his information or show how widespread or general was the acceptance of his sequence. He merely states that they “are believed to have written in the order which follows.” Significant questions remain unanswered as to who held the views he espouses, how widespread was the belief, and what evidence was available for the information he imparts.
In contrast, Clement’s information has better documentation, for it is much earlier, reaching back into the early part of the second century and reflecting a widespread consensus. Augustine’s is much later and unspecified as to source. Overall, such factors make Clement’s information decidedly more weighty in molding a decision regarding the order of composition of the synoptics.
Within the same context, Augustine continues,
[A]s respects the task of composing that record of the gospel which is to be accepted as ordained by divine authority, there were (only) two, belonging to the number of those whom the Lord chose before the Passover, that obtained places,—namely, the first place and the last. For the first place in order was held by Matthew and the last by John. And thus the remaining two, who did not belong to the number referred to, but who at the same time had become followers of the Christ who spoke in those others, were supported on either side by the same, like sons who were to be embraced, and who in this way were set in the midst between these twain.
Here Augustine implicitly accepts that the Greek Matthew came from the apostle Matthew as its author and that John was written by the apostle John. This latter quotation, however, appears most likely to deal with the order of the gospels within the canon and is not necessarily helpful for giving the order of composition. Neither does it specify whether Luke was prior to Mark or Mark prior to Luke.
Augustine goes on to note that prior to the Greek version of Matthew the Apostle wrote first in the Hebrew language, once again confirming the tradition set forth by the other church fathers: “Of these four, it is true, only Matthew is reckoned to have written in the Hebrew language; the others in Greek.” Yet as with other church fathers, he does not explain the transition from Aramaic to Greek but accepts without question that the Greek version was from the apostle. He confirmed that latter point by following up his comments on the order of the gospels and on Matthew’s composition of his gospel in Greek before the others with his analysis of the Greek Matthew (as well as the other Greek gospels) as to their themes and character, thereby leaving the strong impression that he saw no significant difference between the Aramaic and Greek versions of Matthew’s gospel.
At another place, Augustine commented that “Mark follows him [i.e. Matthew] closely and looks like his attendant and epitomizer.” That statement, however, appears not to be based on tradition but on Augustine’s personal analysis of Matthew in comparison with Mark. Hence, no reveal significance attaches to it beyond the fact of reflecting Augustine’s personal reflections and observations in explaining agreements between Matthew and Mark. Moreover, as the next section of this chapter will reveal, the church fathers viewed the gospels as being composed independently of one another. Augustine’s Harmony of the Gospels evidences no indications to the contrary. As a matter of fact, it indicates just the opposite.
At another place, Augustine discusses the canonical order as follows:
Now the whole canon of Scripture on which we say this judgment is to be exercised, is contained in the following books. . . . That of the New Testament, again, is contained within the following:—Four books of the Gospel, according to Matthew, according to Mark, according to Luke, according to John.
Here again, he apparently reflects the compositional order of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John.
One other place deserves mention as possibly significant, for Augustine relates the following distinguishing characteristics of the contents of the gospels:
[I]t is a clearly admitted position that the first three—namely, Matthew, Mark and Luke—have occupied themselves chiefly with the humanity of our Lord Jesus Christ. . . . And in this way, Mark . . . either appears to be preferentially the companion of Matthew . . . or else, in accordance with the more probable account of the matter, he holds a course in conjunction with both [the other synoptists]. For although he is at one with Matthew in a large number of passages, he is nevertheless at one rather with Luke in some others.
Peabody, who favors the Two Gospel Hypothesis, argues from this statement that Augustine has changed his mind regarding his relegation of Luke to third position in order of composition, reasoning that after Augustine’s extensive analysis of the gospels “Augustine’s new, more probable view of Mark is that Mark is literarily dependent upon both Matthew and Luke” and “Augustine had not one but two views of the relationships among the Gospels.” That conclusion is not warranted, however. Peabody has a strong desire to explain away the apparent Augustinian order of composition of Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John in hopes of establishing him as supportive of the Two-Gospel Hypothesis and its order of Matthew, Luke, Mark, and John. As a result, he reads too much into Augustine’s statement. Augustine, in context, is merely describing the similarities and differences between the Gospel of John and the three Synoptic Gospels. Furthermore, in the immediate context, he refers to the gospels in the order Matthew, Mark, and Luke, thus giving a strong indication that he has not changed his mind regarding his assumed order of composition. Another explanation for Augustine’s assertions is that he may have identified any established canonical order (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) with the order of composition, but demonstrating that beyond a reasonable doubt is impossible.
Above all, one point is important. Regardless of the difference of opinion between Clement and Augustine on the order of composition of the gospels, neither Augustine nor Clement place Mark first in order of composition as the Two-Document Theory supposes. Virtually all church fathers place Matthew earliest. Although they may mention a Hebrew or Aramaic original of Matthew, the fathers accepted without any serious question that the Greek Matthew came from the apostle Matthew, the Gospel of Luke from Luke’s association with Paul, Mark from his association with Peter’s preaching, and the apostle John’s Gospel came last in order of composition.
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CONCLUSION REGARDING ORDER OF COMPOSITION
An analysis of data from the church fathers results in one conspicuous conclusion: they do not support either the Two-Document Hypothesis or the Two-Gospel Hypothesis. The assumed dependence of Matthew and Luke on Mark is totally without historical foundation as is the assumed dependence of Mark on Matthew and Luke instead of on Peter’s preaching. Strained and desperate interpretations by proponents of the Two-Document Hypothesis as well as by those of the Two-Gospel Hypothesis stand as a monumental testimony to their dismal failure in mustering any support among the fathers.
Papias’ testimony answers the question as to whether Mark was in any sense dependent on Matthew as the Two-Gospel Theory would require, for Mark wrote on the basis of Peter’s preaching, not on the basis of literary dependence on Matthew. Besides, the church fathers were not merely unthinkingly reflecting Papias, because they (e.g., Irenaeus, Clement, Tertullian, Origen) were renowned scholars in their own right who had information from widespread and independent sources. They did not need to rely solely on Papias for their information.
A newly released work, Mark, vol. II from the Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture buttresses these contentions. This work, by appealing to the ancients, circumnavigates such sacrosanct, as well as highly erroneous, historical-critically cherished icons originating out of source, form, tradition and redaction criticism, revealing some interesting contradictions with post-Enlightenment assertions. For instance, the volume on Mark reveals that the early church fathers overwhelmingly neglected Mark, rarely produced a sustained commentary on Mark. Instead, Matthew and John received the most attention. While one could argue that they held Matthew and John in high esteem because they were apostolic, one still wonders why, if Mark was really the first written gospel as so ardently maintained by source criticism (contra the Two-Document Hypothesis), did the fathers so persistently neglect it. Moreover, the volume also reveals that the fathers consistently maintained that Mark actually wrote Mark (not some unknown “evangelist” as maintained by historical criticism) and that it reflected Peter’s preaching rather than being a condensation of Matthew and Luke (contra the Two-Gospel Hypothesis). The conclusion the work reaches is astoundingly refreshing: “It had always been evident that Mark presented a shorter a shorter version of the gospel than Matthew, but the premise of literary dependency was not generally recognized. The view that Matthew and Luke directly relied on Mark did not develop in full form until the nineteenth century,” Such a perspective also indicates that the fathers regarded Matthew, not Mark, as the first gospel to be written. From this reviewer’s perspective, only by a priori reading into the church fathers of these two recent synoptic hypotheses move from acute speculation to enslaving dogma.
Far from contradicting each other, the information that these fathers supply is largely complementary, consistent, and congruent: the apostle Matthew wrote first, the apostle John last, with Luke and Mark writing between these two. Some difference of opinion exists as to whether Luke or Mark wrote second, but the probability is on the side of Luke’s being second. Mark derived his material from the preaching of Peter, not from Matthew and Luke.
Sadly, the overarching reason why modern scholarship rejects or explains away their testimony is adherence to an assumed hypothesis of literary dependence, which is the basic assumption of Historical Criticism (hereafter HC). The church fathers stand solidly against the stultifying dogma of modern Source Criticism that blindly upholds the Two- (or Four-) Document Hypothesis and the Two-Gospel Hypothesis, theories that suppress, dismiss, or ridicule any evidence contrary their assumed tenets. Instead of being blindly rejected, explained away, or enervated by a pre-conceived agenda or predilection toward a particular synoptic hypothesis, the statements of the fathers should have their full weight in any discussion of the synoptic issue. Their voices objectively analyzed constitute a united witness against the concept of the priority of Mark based on literary dependence, and in turn, provide a cogent testimony for the chronological priority of the writing of Matthew. Could it be that Enlightenment-spawned historical-criticism has so systematically ignored the early fathers because they stand as manifest contradictions to its cherished dogmas or might it also reflect intellectual arrogance displayed by much of modern scholarship?
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The theme of Andrews’ new book is “YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.” As a Christian, you touch the lives of other people, wherein you can make a positive difference. Men and women of ancient times such as David, Nehemiah, Deborah, Esther, and the apostle Paul had a positive influence on others by caring deeply for them, maintaining courageous faith, and displaying a mild, spiritual attitude. Christians are a special people. They are also very strong and courageous for taking on such an amazingly great responsibility. But if you can make a difference, be it with ten others or just one, you will have done what Jesus asked of you, and there is no more beautiful feeling. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE with joy.
Many have successfully conquered bad habits and addictions by applying suggestions found in the Bible and by seeking help from God through prayer. You simply cannot develop good habits and kick all your bad ones overnight. See how to establish priorities. Make sure that your new habits work for you instead of your old bad habits against you. It is one thing to strip off the old habits, yet quite another to keep them off. How can we succeed in doing both, no matter how deeply we may have been involved in bad habitual practices?
It may seem to almost all of us that we are either entering into a difficult time, living in one, or just getting over one and that we face one problem after another. This difficulty may be the loss of a loved one in death or a severe marriage issue, a grave illness, the lack of a job, or simply the stress of daily life. As Christians, we need to understand that God’s Word will carry us through these times, as we maintain our integrity whether in the face of tremendous trials or the tension of everyday life. We are far better facing these hurdles of life with the help of God, who can make the worst circumstances much better and more bearable.
The world that you live in today has many real reasons to be fearful. Many are addicted to drugs, alcohol, bringing violence into even the safest communities. Terrorism has plagued the world for more than a decade now. Bullying in schools has caused many teen suicides. The divorce rate even in Christian households is on the rise. Lack of economic opportunity and unemployment is prevalent everywhere. Our safety, security, and well-being are in danger at all times. We now live in a prison of fear to even come outside the protection of our locked doors at home. Imagine living where all these things existed, but you could go about your daily life untouched by fear and anxiety. What if you could be courageous and strong through your faith in these last days? What if you could live by faith not fear? What if insight into God’s Word could remove your fear, anxiety, and dread? Imagine a life of calmness, peace, unconcern, confidence, comfort, hope, and faith. Are you able to picture a life without fear? It is possible.
John 3:16 is one of the most widely quoted verses from the Christian Bible. It has also been called the “Gospel in a nutshell,” because it is considered a summary of the central theme of traditional Christianity. Martin Luther called John 3:16 “The heart of the Bible, the Gospel in miniature.” The Father had sent his Son to earth to be born as a human baby. Doing this meant that for over three decades, his Son was susceptible to the same pains and suffering as the rest of humankind, ending in the most gruesome torture and execution imaginable. The Father watched the divine human child Jesus grow into a perfect man. He watched as John the Baptist baptized the Son, where the Father said from heaven, “This is my Son, the beloved, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17) The Father watched on as the Son faithfully carried out his will, fulfilling all of the prophecies, which certainly pleased the Father.–John 5:36; 17:4. …
This commentary volume is part of a series by Christian Publishing House (CPH) that covers all of the sixty-six books of the Bible. These volumes are a study tool for the pastor, small group biblical studies leader, or the churchgoer. The primary purpose of studying the Bible is to learn about God and his personal revelation, allowing it to change our lives by drawing closer to God. The Book of James volume is written in a style that is easy to understand. The Bible can be difficult and complex at times. Our effort herein is to make it easier to read and understand, while also accurately communicating truth. CPH New Testament Commentary will convey the meaning of the verses in the book of Philippians. In addition, we will also cover the Bible background, the custom and culture of the times, as well as Bible difficulties. …
SECTION 1 Surviving Sexual Desires and Love will cover such subjects as What Is Wrong with Flirting, The Pornography Deception, Peer Pressure to Have Sexual Relations, Coping With Constant Sexual Thoughts, Fully Understanding Sexting, Is Oral Sex Really Sex, …SECTION 2 Surviving My Friends will cover such subjects as Dealing with Loneliness, Where Do I Fit In, Why I Struggle with Having Friends, …SECTION 3 Surviving the Family will cover such subjects as Appreciating the House Rules, Getting Along with My Brothers and Sisters, How Do I Find Privacy, … SECTION 4 Surviving School will cover such subjects as How Do I Deal With Bullies, How Can I Cope With School When I Hate It, … SECTION 5 Surviving Who I Am will cover such subjects as Why Do I Procrastinate, … SECTION 6 Surviving Recreation will cover such subjects as … SECTION 7 Surviving My Health will cover such subjects as How Can I Overcome My Depression, …
Who should read THIRTEEN REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD KEEP LIVING? Anyone who is struggling in their walk as a young person. Anyone who has a friend who is having difficulty handling or coping with their young life, so you can offer them the help they need. Any parent who has young ones. And grade school, junior high or high school that wants to provide an, in touch, anti-suicide message to their students. … Many youths say that they would never dream of killing themselves. Still, they all have the deep feeling that there are no reasons for going on with their lives. Some have even hoped that some sort of accident would take their pain away for them. They view death as a release, a way out, a friend, not their enemy. …
The purpose of Waging War is to guide the youth of this program from start to finish in their therapeutic efforts to gain insight into their patterns of thinking and beliefs that have led to the current outcomes in their life thus far and enable them to change the path which they are on. Waging War is a guide to start the youth with the most basic information and work pages to the culmination of all of the facts, scripture, and their newly gained insight to offer a more clear picture of where they are and how to change their lives for the better. Every chapter will have work pages that Freeman has used and had found to be useful in therapy, but most importantly, this workbook will teach the Word to a population that does not hear it in its’ most correct form. What is the significance of controlling ones’ thoughts and how does that apply to you? Doubts, fears, and insecurities come from somewhere, especially when they are pervasive. Understanding this idea will help one to fight those thoughts and free them from the shackles their mind puts around their hearts, preventing them from achieving their dreams and the plans God had intended for them when they were created.
There are many reasons the Christian view of humanity is very important. The Christian view of humanity believes that humans were created in the image of God. We will look at the biblical view of humanity. We are going to look at the nature of man, the freedom of man, the personality of man, the fall of man, the nature of sin and death, as well as why God has allowed sin to enter into the world, as well as all of the wickedness and suffering that came with it. Andrews will answer the following questions and far more. How does the Bible explain and describe the creation of man and woman? Why is it imperative that we understand our fallen condition? What does it mean to be made in the image of God? …
In FOR AS I THINK IN MY HEART – SO I AM, Edward D. Andrews offers practical and biblical insights on a host of Christian spiritual growth struggles, from the challenge of forgiveness to eating disorders, anger, alcoholism, depression, anxiety, pornography, masturbation, same-sex attraction, and many others. Based on Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV): “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he,” Andrews’ text works from the position that if we can change the way that we think, we can alter the way we feel, which will modify the way we behave. FOR AS I THINK IN MY HEART – SO I AM offers far more than self-help to dozens of spiritual struggles, personal difficulties, and mental disorders. It will benefit Christian and non-Christian alike. The Scriptural advice and counsel coupled with cognitive behavioral therapy will be helpful even if every chapter is not one of your struggles. For As I Think in My Heart enables readers to examine the lies and half-truths …
THERE IS A GENUINE HAPPINESS, contentment, and joy, which come from reading, studying and applying God’s Word. This is true because the Scriptures offer us guidance and direction that aids us in living a life that coincides with our existence as a creation of Almighty God. For example, we have a moral law that was written on our heart. (Rom. 2:14-15) However, at the same time, we have a warring against the law of our mind and taking us captive in the law of sin, which is in our members. (Rom. 7:21-25) When we live by the moral law, it brings us joy, when we live by the law of sin; it brings about distress, anxiety, regrets to both mind and heart, creating a conflict between our two natures. In our study of the Bible, we can interact with a living God who wants a personal relationship with us. And in APPLYING GOD’S WORD MORE FULLY, we will learn how to engage His words like never before. Andrews helps his readers …
THERE IS ONE MAJOR DIFFERENCE between Christian living books by Andrews and those by others. Generally speaking, his books are filled with Scripture and offer its readers what the Bible authors meant by what they penned. In this publication, it is really God’s Word offering the counsel, which is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17) From the moment that Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, humans have been brought forth in sin, having become more and more mentally bent toward evil, having developed a heart (i.e., inner person) that is treacherous, and unknowable to them, with sin’s law dwelling within them. Sadly, many of us within the church have not been fully informed …
A clean conscience brings us inner peace, calmness, and profound joy that is seldom found in this world under the imperfection of fallen flesh that is catered to by Satan, the god of the world. Many who were formerly living in sin and have now turned their life over to God, they now know this amazing relief and are able today to hold a good and clean conscience as they carry out the will of the Father. WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD, has been written to help its readers to find that same joy, to have and maintain a good, clean conscience in their lives. Of course, it is incapable of covering every detail that one would need to consider and apply in their lives …
This book is primarily for WIVES, but husbands will greatly benefit from it as well. WIVES will learn to use God’s Word to construct a solid and happy marriage. The Creator of the family gives the very best advice. Many have been so eager to read this new publication: WIVES BE SUBJECT TO YOUR HUSBANDS. It offers wives the best insights into a happy marriage, by way of using God’s Word as the foundational guide, along with Andrews’ insights. WIVES learn that marriage is a gift from God. WIVEStake in information that will help them survive the first year of marriage. WIVES will be able to make Christian marriage a success. WIVES will maintain an honorable marriage. WIVES will see how to submit correctly to Christ’s headship. WIVES will learn how to strengthen their marriage through good communication. …
This book is primarily for HUSBANDS, but wives will greatly benefit from it as well. HUSBANDS will learn to use God’s Word to construct a solid and happy marriage. The Creator of the family gives the very best advice. Many have been so eager to read this new publication: HUSBANDS LOVE YOUR WIVES. It offers husbands the best insights into a happy marriage, by way of using God’s Word as the foundational guide, along with Andrews’ insights. HUSBANDS learn that marriage is a gift from God. HUSBANDS take in information that will help them survive the first year of marriage. HUSBANDS will be able to make Christian marriage a success. HUSBANDS will maintain an honorable marriage. …
Technological and societal change is all around us. What does the future hold? Trying to predict the future is difficult, but we can get a clue from the social and technological trends in our society. The chapters in this book provide a framework as Christians explore the uncharted territory in our world of technology and social change. Some of the questions that Anderson will answer are: What are the technological challenges of the 21st century? How should we think about the new philosophies like transhumanism? Should we be concerned about big data? What about our privacy in a world where government and corporations have some much information about us? How should we think about a world experiencing exponential growth in data and knowledge? What social trends are affecting baby boomers, baby busters, and millennials?
Government affects our daily lives, and Christians need to think about how to apply biblical principles to politics and government. This book provides an overview of the biblical principles relating to what the apostle Paul calls “governing authorities” (i.e., government) with specific chapters dealing with the founding principles of the American government. This includes an examination of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Federalist Papers. The thirteen chapters in this book not only look at the broad founding principles but also provide an in-depth look at other important political and governmental issues. One section explains the history and application of church and state issues. Another section describes aspects of political debate and discourse. A final section provides a brief overview of the Christian heritage of this nation that was important in the founding of this country and the framing of our founding documents.
Economics affects our daily lives, and Christians need to think about how to apply biblical principles to money, investment, borrowing, and spending. They also need to understand the free enterprise system and know how to defend capitalism. Chapters in this book not only look at broad economic principles, but a section of the book is devoted to the challenges we face in the 21st century from globalization and tough economic times. A section of the book also provides an in-depth look at other important social and economic issues (gambling, welfare) that we face every day …
Do you desire to follow Jesus Christ and transform the culture around you? Are you sure you know what it means to be a disciple and follow a dangerous revolutionary who often comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable? Jesus Christ is not the mild status quo rabbi you may have been taught in your local church. He is dangerous and anyone who follows him is on a dangerous journey. The demands he places upon you and the challenges you will encounter are necessary on the journey. The journey with Jesus Christ is not for the fainthearted. If you are really serious about joining Jesus Christ in the transformation of the culture around you, here is a raw outlook on what to expect on this DANGEROUS JOURNEY.
Each of the twenty-five chapters in the POWER THROUGH PRAYER provides helpful methods and suggestions for growing and improving your prayer life with God through the power of prayer. So, what can we expect if we make prayer a part of our life? Prayer can give you a peace of mind. Prayer can comfort and strength when facing trials. Prayer can help us make better life choices. The Bible says: “If any of you lacks wisdom [especially in dealing with trials], let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5) Prayer can help to avoid temptation. Prayer is the path yo forgiveness of sins. Your prayers can help others. You will receive encouragement when your prayers are answered.
DOZENS OF QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED: Why is prayer necessary? What must we do to be heard by God? How does God answer our prayers? Does God listen to all prayers? Does God hear everyone’s prayers? What may we pray about? Does the Father truly grant everything we ask for? What kind of prayers would the Father reject? How long should our prayers be? How often should we pray? Why should we say “Amen” at the end of a prayer? Must we assume a special position or posture when praying? There are far more than this asked and answered.
What forms of prayer do you personally need to offer more often? Who benefits when you pray for others? Why is it important to pray regularly? Why should true Christians pray continually? To whom should we pray, and how? What are proper subjects for prayer? When should you pray? Does God listen to all prayers? Whose prayers is God willing to hear? What could make a person’s prayers unacceptable to God? When Jesus says, “whatever you ask in prayer, you will receive if you have faith,” an absolute guarantee that we will receive it? HOW TO PRAY by Torrey and Andrews is a spiritual gem that will answer all of these questions and far more. HOW TO PRAY is a practical guidebook covers the how, when, and most importantly, the way of praying. An excellent devotional resource for any Christian library.
Christian Apologetics and Evangelism
Was the Gospel of Mark Written First? Were the Gospel Writers Plagiarists? What is the Q Document? What about Document Q? Critical Bible scholars have assumed that Matthew and Luke used the book of Mark to compile their Gospels and that they consulted a supplementary source, a document the scholars call Q from the German Quelle, or source. From the close of the first century A.D. to the 18th century, the reliability of the Gospels was never really brought into question. However, once we enter the so-called period of enlightenment, especially from the 19th century onward, some critical Bible scholars viewed the Gospels not as the inspired, inerrant Word of God but rather as the word of man, and a jumbled word at that. In addition, they determined that the Gospels were not written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, saying the Gospels were written after the apostles, denying that the writers of the Gospels had any firsthand knowledge of Jesus; therefore, for these Bible critics such men were unable to offer a record of reliable history. Moreover, these critical Bible scholars came to the conclusion that the similarities in structure and content in the synoptic (similar view) Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), suggests that the evangelists copied extensively from one other. Further, the critical Bible scholars have rejected that the miracles of Jesus and his resurrection ever occurred as recorded in the Gospels. Lastly, some have even gone so far as to reject the historicity of Jesus himself.
Inside of some Christians unbeknownst to their family, friends or the church, they are screaming, “I doubt, I doubt, I have very grave doubts!” Ours is an age of doubt. Skepticism has become fashionable. We are urged to question everything: especially the existence of God and the truthfulness of his Word, the Bible. A SUBSTANTIAL PORTION of REASONABLE FAITH is on healing for the elements of emotional doubt. However, much attention is given to more evidenced-based chapters in our pursuit of overcoming any fears or doubts that we may have or that may creep up on us in the future.
How can you improve your effectiveness as teachers? Essentially, it is by imitating THE GREAT TEACHER: Jesus Christ. You may wonder, ‘But how can we imitate Jesus?’ ‘He was the perfect, divine, Son of God.’ Admittedly, you cannot be a perfect teacher. Nevertheless, regardless of your abilities, you can do your best to imitate the way Jesus taught. THE GREAT TEACHER: Jesus Christ will discuss how you can employ all of his teaching methods.
How can you improve your effectiveness as teachers? Essentially, it is by imitating THE TEACHER the Apostle Paul. You may wonder, ‘But how can we imitate Paul?’ ‘He was an inspired author, who served as an apostle, given miraculous powers.’ Admittedly, Paul likely accomplished more than any other imperfect human. Nevertheless, regardless of your abilities, you can do your best to imitate the way Paul taught. THE TEACHER the Apostle Paul will discuss how you can employ all of his teaching methods.
How true is the Old Testament? For over two centuries Biblical scholars have held to the so-called documentary hypothesis, namely, that Genesis – Deuteronomy was not authored by Moses, but rather by several writers, some of whom lived centuries after Moses’ time. How have many scholars questioned the writership of Isaiah, and are they correct? When did skepticism regarding the writership of Isaiah begin, and how did it spread? What dissecting of the book of Isaiah has taken place? When did criticism of the book of Daniel begin, and what fueled similar criticism in more recent centuries? What charges are sometimes made regarding the history in Daniel? Why is the question of the authenticity of the books of Moses, the Book of Isaiah and the Book of Daniel an important one? What evidence is there to show that the books of Moses, the Book of Isaiah and the Book of Daniel is authentic and true? Do these critics have grounds for challenging these Bible author’s authenticity and historical truthfulness? Why is it important to discuss whether Old Testament Aurhoriship is authentic and true or not?
Agabus is a mysterious prophetic figure that appears only twice in the book of Acts. Though his role is minor, he is a significant figure in a great debate between cessationists and continualists. On one side are those who believe that the gift of prophecy is on par with the inspired Scriptures, infallible, and has ceased. On the other side are those who define it as fallible and non-revelatory speech that continues today in the life of the church. Proponents of both camps attempt to claim Agabus as an illustration of their convictions. This study defends the position that Agabus’ prophecies are true in every detail. Beginning with a survey of major figures in the debate, the author conducts an exegetical analysis of passages where Agabus appears in defense of the infallible view.
Islam is making a significant mark on our world. It is perhaps the fastest-growing religion in the world. It has become a major obstacle to Christian missions. And Muslim terrorists threaten the West and modern democracies. What is the history of Islam? What do Muslims believe? Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? Why do we have this clash of civilizations? Is sharia law a threat to modern democratic values? How can we fight terrorists in the 21st century? These are significant questions that deserve thoughtful answers. This book provides practical, biblical answers so Christians can understand Islam, witness to their Muslim friends, and support efforts by the government to protect all of us from terrorism.
IS THE QURAN THE WORD OF GOD? Is Islam the One True Faith? This book covers the worldview, practices, and history of Islam and the Quran. This book is designed as an apologetic evangelistic tool for Christians, as they come across Muslims in their daily lives, as well as to inform them, as a protection again the misleading media. The non-Muslims need to hear these truths about Islam and the Quran so they can have an accurate understanding of the Muslim mindset that leads to their actions. Islam is the second largest religion in the world. Radical Islam has taken the world by storm, and the “fake media” has genuinely misled their audience for the sake of political correctness. This book is not a dogmatic attack on Islam and the Quran but rather an uncovering of the lies and describing of the truths. The reader will be introduced to the most helpful way of viewing the evidence objectively. We will answer the question of whether the Quran is a literary miracle, as well as is there evidence that the Quran is inspired by God, along with is the Quran harmonious and consistent, and is the Quran from God or man? We will also examine Islamic teachings, discuss the need to search for the truth, as well as identify the book of truth. We will look at how Islam views the Bible. Finally, we will take up the subjects of Shariah Law, the rise of radical Islam, Islamic eschatology, and how to effectively witness to Muslims.
The average Christian knows somewhat how dangerous radical Islam is because of the regular media coverage of beheadings of Christians, Jews, and even young little children, not to mention Muslims with which they disagree. However, the average Christian does not know their true beliefs, just how many there are, to the extent they will go to carry out these beliefs. Daily we find Islamic commentators on the TV and radio, offering up misleading information, quoting certain portions of the Quran while leaving other parts out. When considering Islamic beliefs, other Islamic writings must be considered, like the Hadith or Sunnah, and the Shariah, or canon law. While Islam, in general, does not support radical Islam, the vast majority do support radical beliefs. For example, beheadings, stoning for adultery or homosexuality, suicide bombings, turning the world into an Islamic state, and far too many other heinous things. THE GUIDE TO ISLAM provides Christians with an overview of Islamic terminology. The reader will learn about Muhammad’s calling, the history of the Quran, how Islam expanded, the death of Muhammad and the splinter groups that followed. In addition, the three sources of their teaching, six pillars of belief, five pillars of Islam, the twelfth Imam, and much more will be discussed. All of this from the mind of radical Islam. While there are several books on Islam and radical Islam, this will be the first that will prepare its readers to communicate effectively with Muslims in an effort toward sharing biblical truths. …
If you have the desire to become better equipped to reach others for the lost or to strengthen your faith, Judy Salisbury’s guide—written specifically to meet the needs of Christian women today—offers you a safe, practical, and approachable place to start. In her lively, … If you have the desire to become better equipped to reach others for the lost or to strengthen your faith, Judy Salisbury’s guide—written specifically to meet the needs of Christian women today—offers you a safe, practical, and approachable place to start. In her lively, straightforward style, Salisbury covers such issues as: Does God exist? Can I trust the Bible? Does Christianity oppress women? Can we know truth? Why would God allow evil and suffering? Was Jesus God and did He really rise from the dead? How does or should my faith guide my life?
A Time to Speak: Practical Training for the Christian Presenteris a complete guide for effective communication and presentation skills. Discuss any subject with credibility and confidence, from Christian apologetics to the sensitive moral issues of our day, when sharing a testimony, addressing a school board, a community meeting, or conference. This exceptional training is the perfect resource for Christians with any level of public speaking ability. With its easy, systematic format, A Time to Speak is also an excellent resource for home-schooled and college students. The reader, in addition to specific skills and techniques, will also learn how to construct their presentation content, diffuse hostility, guidance for a successful Q&A, effective ways to turn apathy into action, and tips on gaining their speaking invitation.
Historical Criticism of the Bible got started in earnest, known then as Higher Criticism, during the 18th and 19th centuries, it is also known as the Historical-Critical Method of biblical interpretation. Are there any weakness to the Historical-Critical Method of biblical interpretation (Historical Criticism), and why is historical criticism so popular among Bible scholars today? Its popularity is because biblical criticism is subjective, that is, based on or influenced by personal feelings or opinions and is dependent on the Bible scholar’s perception. In other words, biblical criticism allows the Bible scholar, teacher, or pastor the freedom to interpret the Scriptures, so that God’s Word it tells them things that they want to hear. Why is this book so critical for all Christians? Farnell and Andrews will inform the reader about Biblical criticism (historical criticism) and its weaknesses, helping you to defend God’s Word far better.
Biblical criticism is an umbrella term covering various techniques for applying literary historical-critical methods in analyzing and studying the Bible and its textual content. Biblical criticism is also known as higher criticism, literary criticism, and historical criticism. Biblical criticism has done nothing more than weaken and demoralize people’s assurance in the Bible as being the inspired and fully inerrant Word of God and is destructive in its very nature. Historical criticism is made up of many forms of biblical criticism that are harmful to the authoritative Word of God: historical criticism, source criticism, form criticism, redaction criticism, social-science criticism, canonical criticism, rhetorical criticism, structural criticism, narrative criticism, reader-response criticism, and feminist criticism. Not just liberal scholarship, but many moderate, even some “conservative” scholars have …
APOLOGETICS: Reaching Hearts with the Art of Persuasion by Edward D. Andrews, author of over seventy books, covers information that proves that the Bible is accurate, trustworthy, fully inerrant, and inspired by God for the benefit of humankind. The reader will be introduced to Christan apologetics and evangelism. They will learn what Christian apologetics is. They will be given a biblical answer to the most demanding Bible question: Problem of Evil. The reader will learn how to reach hearts with are the art of persuasion. They will use persuasion to help others accept Christ. They will learn to teach with insight and persuasiveness. They will learn to use persuasion to reach the heart of those who listen to them.
REVIEWING 2013 New World Translation of Jehovah’s Witnesses is going to challenge your objectivity. Being objective means that personal feelings or opinions do not influence you in considering and representing facts. Being subjective means that your understanding is based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or ideas. If the reader finds these insights offense, it might be a little mind control at work from years of being told the same misinformation repeatedly, so ponder things objectively. We can also have preconceived ideas that have been a part of our thinking for so long; we do not question them. Preconceived is an idea or opinion that is formed before having the evidence for its truth. If we are to be effective, we must season our words, so that they are received well. Then there is the term preconception, which means a preconceived idea or prejudice. Seasoned words, honesty, and accuracy are distinctive features of effective apologetic evangelism.
Use of REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES should help you to cultivate the ability to reason from the Scriptures and to use them effectively in assisting others to learn about “the mighty works of God.” – Acts 2:11. If Christians are going to be capable, powerful, efficient teachers of God’s Word, we must not only pay attention to what we tell those who are interested but also how we tell them. Yes, we must focus our attention on the message of God’s Word that we share but also the method in which we do so. Our message, the Gospel (i.e., the good news of the Kingdom), this does not change, but we do adjust our methods. Why? We are seeking to reach as many receptive people as possible. “You will be my witnesses … to the End of the Earth.” – ACTS 1:8.
Why should we be interested in the religion of others? The world has become a melting pot of people, cultures, and values, as well as many different religions. Religion has the most significant impact on the lives of mankind today. There are only a few of the major religions that make up billions of people throughout the earth. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world. God’s will is that “all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) God has assigned all Christians the task of proclaiming the Word of God, teaching, to make disciples. (Matt. 24:15; 28:19-20: Ac 1;8) That includes men and women who profess a non-Christian religion, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam to mention just a few. If there are Hindus, Buddhist or Muslims are in your community, why not initiate a conversation with them? Christians who take the Great Commission seriously cannot afford to ignore these religions. …
Evangelism is the work of a Christian evangelist, of which all true Christians are obligated to partake to some extent, which seeks to persuade other people to become Christian, especially by sharing the basics of the Gospel, but also the deeper message of biblical truths. Today the Gospel is almost an unknown, so what does the Christian evangelist do? Preevangelism is laying a foundation for those who have no knowledge of the Gospel, giving them background information, so that they can grasp what they are hearing. The Christian evangelist is preparing their mind and heart so that they will be receptive to the biblical truths. In many ways, this is known as apologetics. Christian apologetics [Greek: apologia, “verbal defense, speech in defense”] is a field of Christian theology which endeavors to offer a reasonable and sensible basis for the Christian faith, defending the faith against objections. It is reasoning from the Scriptures, explaining and proving, as one instructs in sound doctrine, many times having to overturn false reasoning before he can plant the seeds of truth. …
MOST Christian apologetic books help the reader know WHAT to say; THE CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST is HOW to communicate it effectively. The Christian apologist’s words should always be seasoned with salt as he or she shares the unadulterated truths of Scripture with gentleness and respect. Our example in helping the unbeliever to understand the Bible has been provided by Jesus Christ and his apostles. Whether dealing with Bible critics or answering questions from those genuinely interested, Jesus referred to the Scriptures and at times used appropriate illustrations, helping those with a receptive heart to accept the Word of God. The apostle Paul “reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving” what was biblically true. (Ac 17:2-3) The material in THE CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST can enable us to do the same. Apologist Normal L. Geisler informs us that “evangelism is planting seeds of the Gospel” and “pre-evangelism is tilling the soil of people’s minds and hearts to help them be more willing to listen to the truth (1 Cor. 3: 6).”
THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK is a practical guide (for real-life application) in aiding all Christians in sharing biblical beliefs, the Good News of the Kingdom, how to deal with Bible critics, overturning false beliefs, so as to make disciples, as commanded by Christ. (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20; Ac 1:8) Why do Christians desire to talk about their beliefs? Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed in the whole inhabited earth for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt 24:14) This is the assignment, which all Christians are obligated to assist in carrying out. Jesus also said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:39) Jesus commanded that we “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them” and “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19-20) If one failed to be obedient to the great commission of Matthew 28:19-20, he or she could hardly claim that they have genuine faith. All true Christians have a determination to imitate God, which moves us to persist in reflecting his glory through our sharing Bible beliefs with others.
“Absorbing, instructional, insightful. Judy Salisbury’s book Divine Appointments embodies examples of truly speaking the truth in love. The stories she weaves together provide perfect examples of how to relate to others through conversational evangelism… Divine Appointments is an apt companion to any apologetics book, showing how to put principles into practice. It’s an apologetics manual wrapped in a warm blanket. Snuggle up with it.”— Julie Loos, Director, Ratio Christi Boosters
The reader will receive eight small introductory books in this one publication. Andrews’ intention is to offer his reader several chapters on eight of the most critical subject areas of understanding and defending the Word of God. This will enable the reader to lay a solid foundation for which he can build throughout his Christian life. These eight sections with multiple chapters in each cover biblical interpretation, Bible translation philosophies, textual criticism, Bible difficulties, the Holy Spirit, Christian Apologetics, Christian Evangelism, and Christian Living.
“‘Deep’ study is no guarantee that mature faith will result, but shallow study guarantees that immaturity continues.”(p. xiii)—Dr. Lee M. Fields.
The Culture War. How the West lost its greatness and was weakened from within outlines how the West lost its values, causing its current decline. It is a forceful attack on the extreme liberal, anti-religious ideology which since the 1960’s has permeated the Western culture and weakened its very core. The West is now characterized by strict elitist media censorship, hedonism, a culture of drug abuse, abortion, ethnic clashes and racial divide, a destructive feminism and the dramatic breakdown of the family. An ultra-rich elite pushes our nations into a new, authoritarian globalist structure, with no respect for Western historical values. Yet, even in the darkest hour, there is hope. This manifesto outlines the remedy for the current malaise and describes the greatness of our traditional and religious values that once made our civilization prosper. It shows how we can restore these values to bring back justice, mercy, faith, honesty, fidelity, kindness and respect for one another. Virtues that will motivate individuals to love one another, the core of what will make us great again.
EARLY CHRISTIANITY IN THE FIRST CENTURY will give its readers a thrilling account of first-century Christianity. When and how did they come to be called Christians? Who are all obligated to be Christian evangelists? In what way did Jesus set the example for our evangelism? What is the Kingdom of God? What was their worship like and why were they called the Truth and the Way? How did 120 disciples at Pentecost grow to over one million within 70-80-years? What was meant by their witness to the ends of the earth? How did Christianity in its infancy function to accomplish all it did? How was it structured? How were the early Christians, not of the world? How were they affected by persecution? How were they not to love the world, in what sense? What divisions were there in the second and third centuries? Who were the Gnostics? These questions will be answered, as well as a short overview of the division that grew out of the second and third centuries, pre-reformation, the reformation, and a summary of Catholicism and Protestantism. After a lengthy introduction to First-Century Christianity, there is a chapter on the Holy Spirit in the First Century and Today, followed by sixteen chapters that cover the most prominent Christians from the second to fourth centuries, as well as a chapter on Constantine the Great.
Inside of some Christians unbeknownst to their family, friends or congregation, they are screaming, “I doubt, I doubt, I have very grave doubts!” OURS is an age of doubt. Skepticism has become fashionable. We are urged to question everything: especially the existence of God and the truthfulness of his Word, the Bible. A half brother of Jesus warned us against doubting: “the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind.” (Jam. 1:6) When insidious doubts begin to creep into the mind and the heart, it is only a matter of time before a CRISIS OF FAITH gives way spiritual shipwreck. Since we have been warned that “some will fall away from the faith,” we should be ready “to save some,” even ourselves. …
The intention of this book is to investigate the biblical chronology behind Jehovah’s Witnesses most controversial doctrinal position that Jesus began to rule invisibly from heaven in October 1914. This biblical chronology of the Witnesses hinges upon their belief that the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, which they say occurred in 607 B.C.E. The Witnesses conclude that Chapter 4 of the book of Daniel prophesied a 2,520 year period that began in 607 B.C.E. and ended in 1914 C.E. They state, “Clearly, the ‘seven times’ and ‘the appointed times of the nations’ refer to the same time period.” (Lu 21:24) It is their position that When the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem, the Davidic line of kings was interrupted, God’s throne was “trampled on by the nations” until 1914, at which time Jesus began to rule invisibly from heaven. …
In order to overcome and church problems, we must first talk about the different problems of the church. Many of the church problems today stem from the isms: liberalism, humanism, modernism, Christian progressivism, theological liberalism, feminism, higher criticism, and biblical criticism. Moreover, many are simply not a biblically grounded church regardless of how much they claim to be so. The marks of a true Christian church would be like the different lines that make up a church’s fingerprint, a print that cannot belong to any other church. The true Christian church contains their own unique grouping of marks, forming a positive “fingerprint” that cannot belong to any other church. William Lange Craig wrote, “Remember that our faith is not based on emotions, but on the truth, and therefore you must hold on to it.” What truth? Jesus said to the Father in prayer, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17) Are you doing the will of the Father? Is your church doing the will of the Father? – Matthew 7:21-23; 1 John 2:15-17.
Evangelist Norman Robertson claims that “Tithing is God’s way of financing His kingdom on the earth.” He asserts that “It is His system of economics which enables the Gospel to be preached.” Not bashful about telling his followers of their duty to give, he flatly states: ‘Tithing isn’t something you do because you can afford it. It is an act of obedience. Not tithing is a clear violation of God’s commandments. It is embezzlement.’ Most likely you accept that giving should be part of Christian worship. However, do you find continuous demanding appeals for money disturbing, perhaps even offensive? FLEECING THE FLOCK by Anthony Wade is an exhaustive examination of all of the popular tithing arguments made from the pulpit today. …
DECEPTION IN THE CHURCH by Fred DeRuvo asks Does It Matter How You Worship? There are 41,000 different denominations that call themselves “Christian” and all would claim that they are the truth. Can just any Christian denomination please God? Can all be true or genuine Christianity if they all have different views on the same Bible doctrines? DeRuvo will answer. He will focus on the largest part of Christianity that has many different denominations, the charismatic, ecstatic Signs and Wonders Movements. These ecstatic worshipers claim … DeRuvo will answer all these questions and more according to the truth of God’s Word.—John 8:31-32; 17:17.
Plunkett exposes the errors corrupting the Christian church through the Word of Faith, New Apostolic Reformation, and extreme charismatic movements. LEARN TO DISCERN, by author Daniel Plunkett highlights how an encounter with a rising star in the Word of Faith / “Signs and Wonders” movement was used by God to open his eyes to the deceptions, false teachings, and spiritual abuses running rampant in the charismatic movement today. These doctrines are thoroughly explored as taught by some of today’s most prominent speakers and evangelists and contrasted with the clear teachings of Scripture. LEARN TO DISCERN is an invaluable resource …
Translation and Textual Criticism
The King James Bible was originally published in 1611. Some have estimated that the number of copies of the King James Version that have been produced in print worldwide is over one billion! There is little doubt that the King James Version is a literary masterpiece, which this author has and will appreciate and value for its unparalleled beauty of expression. This book is in no way trying to take away from what the King James Version has accomplished. The King James Version is a book to be commended for all that it has accomplished. For four centuries, when English-speaking people spoke of “the Bible,” they meant the King James Version. The question that begs to be asked of those who favor the King James Bible is, Do You Know the King James Version? What do most users of the King James Bible not know about their translation? Whether you are one who favors the King James Version or one who prefers a modern translation, Andrews will answer the questions that have long been asked for centuries about the King James Bible and far more.
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO BIBLE TRANSLATION (CGBT) is for all individuals interested in how the Bible came down to us, as well as having an insight into the Bible translation process. CGBT is also for those who are interested in which translation(s) would be the most beneficial to use. The translation of God’s Word from the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek is a task unlike any other and should never be taken lightly because it carries with it the heaviest responsibility: the translator renders God’s thoughts into a modern language. It is CGBT’s desire to take challenging and complex subjects and make them easy to understand. CGBT will communicate as clearly and powerfully as possible to all of its readers while also accurately communicating information about the Bible. …
We have come a long, long way from the time that the KJV was The Bible in English and the many translations available today. Finding the right Bible for the right person can be daunting, with almost too many choices available. However, it is still possible to divide the options into two broad categories: literal translations and dynamic equivalents. What is the difference, and why should you care? Bible publishers used to say that literal translations are good for study purposes, and dynamic equivalents are better for reading. So literal translations were advertised with terms like “accurate,” “reliable,” and, of course, “literal.” For dynamic equivalent translations, terms like “contemporary,” “easy to read,” and “written in today’s English” were used. Naturally, publishers do not advertise the negatives, so they did not point out that the literal translations might be a little harder to read, or that the dynamic equivalents might not be entirely faithful to the original languages of the Bible. However, more recently, some scholars have been taking this analysis in a new direction, assessing literal translations as less desirable than dynamic equivalents even for accuracy and reliability.
There are more than 150 different Bible translations in the English language alone. Some are what we call literal translations, which seeks to give the reader the exact English equivalent of what was written in the original language text, thus allowing the reader access to the actual Word of God. Then, there are dynamic equivalents, where the translator determines what the author meant by the original language text, and this is what they give the reader. There is also a paraphrase translation, which is an extremely interpretive translation. Exactly what are these differences? Are some translations better than others? What standards and principles can we use to determine what makes a good translation? Andrews introduces the readers to the central issues in this debate and presents several reasons why literal translations are superior to dynamic equivalent and paraphrase translations. We do not need to be a Bible scholar to understand these issues, as well as the importance of having the most accurate and faithful translation that is reflective of the original text. …
THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT (TTNT) is an introduction, intermediate and advanced level coverage of the text of the New Testament. Andrews introduces the new and relatively new reader to this subject in the first few chapters of the TTNT. Andrews deepens his handling of the material, while still making it easy to understand in the next few chapters of the TTNT, all the while being very informative in both sections. All of this prepares the reader for Wilkins’ advanced chapters. THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT was copied and recopied by hand for 1,500 years. Regardless of those scribes who had worked very hard to be faithful in their copying, errors crept into the text. How can we be confident that what we have today is the Word of God? Wilkins and Andrews offer the reader an account of the copying by hand and transmission of the Greek New Testament. They present a comprehensive survey of the manuscript history from the penning of the 27 New Testament books to the current critical texts. What did the ancient books look like and how were documents written? How were the New Testament books published? Who would use secretaries? Why was it so hard to be a secretary in the first century? How was such work done? What do we know about the early Christian copyists? What were the scribal habits and tendencies? Is it possible to establish the original text of the NewTestament? …
THE EARLY CHRISTIAN COPYISTS OF THE NEW TESTAMENT intends to examine and evaluate the making of New Testament books, the book writing process of the New Testament authors and early Christian Scribes, the original or earliest text of the New Testament, and the secretaries in antiquity and their materials. We will also assess the early Christian copyists, the reading culture of early Christianity and their view of the integrity of the Greek New Testament, scribal tendencies or habits, as well as the sources of New Testament textual criticism, which would include a lengthy chapter on ancient versions of the New Testament. We will also look into how paleographers date the ancient manuscripts and how did textual variations and manuscript families arise? Just how many textual variants are there and how are they to be counted? All of this to determine what guarantee do we have as to the reliability of the Greek text. What sort of changes did scribes make to the text and can we restore the Greek New Testament to its original state. NOTE: If you have read THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT by Andrews and Wilkins, you need not read this publication, as it is select chapters from TTNT.
Edward D. Andrews boldly answers the challenges Bart D. Ehrman alleges against the fully inerrant, Spirit-inspired, authoritative Word of God. By glimpsing into the life of Bart D. Ehrman and following along his course of academic studies, Andrews helps the reader to understand the biases, assumptions, and shortcomings supporting Ehrman’s arguments. Using sound reason, scholarly exegesis, and the Historical-Grammatical method of interpretation, as well as New Testament textual criticism, Andrews helps both churchgoer/Bible students, as well as scholars, overcome the teachings of biblical errancy that Ehrman propagates.—Easy to read and understand. …
CALVINISM VS. ARMINIANISM goes back to the early seventeenth century with a Christian theological debate between the followers of John Calvin and Jacobus Arminius, and continues today among some Protestants, particularly evangelicals. The debate is centered around soteriology, that is, the study of salvation, and includes disputes about total depravity, predestination, and atonement. While the debate has developed its Calvinist–Arminian form in the 17th century, the issues that are fundamental to the debate have been discussed in Christianity in some fashion since the days of Augustine of Hippo’s disputes with the Pelagians in the fifth century. CALVINISM VS. ARMINIANISM is taking a different approach in that the issues will be discussed as The Bible Answers being that it is the centerpiece.
A comprehensive book on HOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE by observing, interpreting, and applying, which will focus on the most basic Bible study tools, principles, and processes for moving from an in-depth reading of the Scriptures to application. What, though, if you have long felt that you are not studiously inclined? Realize that the primary difference between a serious Bible student and a less serious Bible student is usually diligence and effort, not being a gifted student. Being a gifted Bible student alone is not enough. Efficient methods of Bible study are worth learning, for those seeking to become serious Bible students. The joy missing from many Bible students is because they do not know how to study their Bible, which means they do not do it well. Perhaps you dislike Bible study because you have not developed your study skills sufficiently to make your Bible study enjoyable. Maybe you have neglected your Bible study simply because you would rather be doing something else you enjoy.
How can we find more enjoyment in studying the Bible? How can we make our study periods more productive? What circumstances contribute to effective personal study? How can we derive real benefit and pleasure from our Bible reading? From what activities can time be bought out for reading and studying the Bible? Why should we watch our spiritual feeding habits? What benefits come from reading and studying the Scriptures? There is a great and constantly growing interest in the study of the English Bible in these days. However, very much of the so-called study of the English Bible is unintelligent and not fitted to produce the most satisfactory results. The authors of this book already have a book entitled “HOW TO STUDY: Study the Bible for the Greatest Profit,” but that book is intended for those who are willing to buy out the time to put into thorough Bible study.
Why is personal and family Bible study so important in our life now? How can we apply the Word of God in our lives? How can we use the Bible to help others? How can we effectively use the Scriptures when teaching others? How can we make decisions God’s way? How can Bible principles help us to decide wisely? Why should we have faith in God and his word? The Psalmist tells us, God’s Word “is a lamp to my foot, and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105) Since the Bible is a gift from God, the time and effort that we put into our personal Bible Study is a reflection of how much we appreciate that gift. What do our personal Bible study habits reveal about the depth of our appreciation of God’s Word? Certainly, the Bible is a deep and complex book, and reading and studying are not easy at times. However, with time and effort, we can develop a spiritual appetite for personal Bible study. (1 Peter 2:2)
Correctly interpreting the Bible is paramount to understanding the Word of God. As Christians, we do not want to read our 21st-century worldview INTO the Scriptures, but rather to takeOUT OF the Scriptures what the author meant by the words that he used. The guaranteed way of arriving a correct understanding of God’s Words is to have an accurate knowledge of the historical setting, cultural background, and of the people, governments, and religious leaders, as well as the place and time of the New Testament writings. Only with the background, setting, and context can you grasp the author’s intended meaning to his original readers and …
The life of Christ is an exhaustless theme. It reveals a character of greater massiveness than the hills, of a more serene beauty than the stars, of sweeter fragrance than the flowers, higher than the heavens in sublimity and deeper than the seas in mystery. As good Jean Paul has eloquently said, “It concerns Him who, being the holiest among the mighty, and the mightiest among the holy, lifted with His pierced hands empires off their hinges, turned the stream of centuries out of its channels, and still governs the ages.” …
Stalker’s Life of St. Paul became one of the most widely read and respected biographies of the Apostle to the Gentiles. As an insightful compendium on the life of Paul, this work is of particular interest to pastors and teachers who desire to add realism and vividness to their account of one of the greatest Christians who ever lived. Stalker’s work includes a section at the back entitled “Hints for Teachers and Questions for Pupils.” This supplement contains notes and “further reading” suggestions for those teaching on the life of St. Paul, along with a number of questions over each chapter for students to discuss. In addition, seventeen extra chapters have been added that will help the reader better understand who the Apostle Paul was and what first-century Christianity was like. For example, a chapter on the conversion of Saul/Paul, Gamaliel Taught Saul of Tarsus, the Rights, and Privileges of Citizenship, the “Unknown God,” Areopagus, the Observance of Law as to Vows, and much more.
With solid scholarship and exceptional clarity, beginning in Gethsemane, Stalker and Andrews examine Jesus’ trial and crucifixion. Their work is relevant, beneficial and enjoyable because they cover this historical period of Jesus’ life in an easy to understand format. Stalker’s expressive and persuasive style provides a great resource to any Bible study of the events leading to the death of Jesus Christ. THE TRIAL AND DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST is an academicish book written with a novelish style.
Delving into the basics of biblical interpretation, Edward D. Andrews has provided a complete hands-on guide to understanding what the author meant by the words that he used from the conservative grammatical-historical perspective. He teaches how to study the Bible on a deep, scholarly level, yet making it understandable to all. He has sought to provide the very best tool for interpreting the Word of God. This includes clarification of technical terms, answers to every facet of biblical interpretation, and defense of the inerrancy and divine inspiration of Scripture. Andrews realizes that the importance of digging deeper in our understanding of the Bible, for defending our faith from modern-day misguided scholarship. Andrews gives the reader easy and memorable principles and methods to follow for producing an accurate explanation that comes out of, not what many read into the biblical text. The principal procedure within is to define, explain, offer many examples, and give illustrations, to help the reader fully grasp the grammatical-historical approach. …
Anybody who wants to study the Bible, either at a personal level or a more scholarly level needs to understand that there are certain principles that guide and govern the process. The technical word used to refer to the principles of biblical interpretation is hermeneutics, which is of immense importance in Biblical Studies and Theology. How to Interpret the Bible takes into consideration the cultural context, historical background and geographical location in which the text was originally set. This enables us to obtain clarity about the original author’s intended meaning. Linguistic and literary factors are analyzed so that the various genres of Scripture are examined for their true meaning. The importance of having sound principles of interpretation cannot be overstated as …
Once upon a time, Postmodernism was a buzzword. It pronounced Modernism dead or at least in the throes of death. It was a wave that swept over Christendom, promising to wash away sterile, dogmatic and outmoded forms of church. But whatever happened to postmodernism? It was regarded as the start of a major historical transition to something new and promising and hailed as a major paradigm shift. Is it a philosophy that has passed its “sell-by” date? No! The radical fringe has become the dominant view and has been integrated into all aspects of life, including the Christian church. With the emergence of multicultural societies comes interaction with different belief systems and religions. Values like tolerance and a dislike of dogmatism have become key operating concepts, which reflect a change in worldview. …
In an age obsessed with physical and psychological health the author emphasizes the importance of spiritual well-being as an essential element of holistic health for the individual Christian and for Christian communities. This work constitutes a template for a spiritual audit of the local church. It offers an appointment with the Great Physician that no Christian can afford to ignore. Developing Healthy Churches: A Case-Study in Revelation begins with a well-researched outline of the origins and development of the church health movement. With that background in mind the author, aware that throughout the history of the church there have been a number of diverse views about how Revelation ought to be interpreted, presents the reader with four distinct interpretive models. These are the idealist, preterist, historicist, and futurist. Beville explains these interpretive approaches simply and critiques them fairly.e …
This is a comprehensive study of euthanasia and assisted suicide. It traces the historical debate, examines the legal status of such activity in different countries and explores the political, medical and moral matters surrounding these emotive and controversial subjects in various cultural contexts. The key advocates and pioneers of this agenda-driven movement (such as the late Jack Kevorkian, popularly known as “Dr. Death” and Philip Nitschke, founder of Exit International) are profiled. Not only are the elderly and disabled becoming increasingly vulnerable but children, psychiatric patients, the depressed and those who are simply tired of life are now on a slippery slope into a dystopian nightmare. The spotlight is brought to bear on the Netherlands, in particular, where palliative care and the hospice movement are greatly underdeveloped as a result of legalization. These dubious “services” are now offered as part of “normal” medical care in Holland where it is deemed more cost-effective to be given a lethal injection. The vital role of physicians as healers in society must be preserved and the important but neglected spiritual dimension of death must be explored. Thus a biblical view of human life is presented. …
Journey with Jesus through the Message of Mark is an insightful and engaging survey of Mark’s Gospel, exploring each major section of the text along with key themes. It is a work that can be enjoyed by laypersons as well as pastors and teachers. Pastors will find the abundant use of illustrations to be helpful in preparing their own messages and as such, it will find a welcome place in the preacher’s library. Simply, powerfully, with great precision, and exegetical accuracy, Kieran Beville masterfully brings us on a life-transforming journey. Readers will be both inspired and challenged as they hear the words of Jesus speaking afresh from the page of Scripture and experience the ministry of Jesus in a spiritually captivating way. The author has a pastor’s heart, a theologian’s mind, and a writer’s gift. His style is gripping, as he beautifully explains and illustrates Mark’s Gospel. Kieran Beville has done a great service to the church, and especially to true believers, who desire to grow in grace, increase in their knowledge of truth, and experience the intimacy, joy, and underserved and unspeakable privilege of walking, as disciples, with Jesus. This book is ideal as a study companion for Mark’s Gospel. One can read a section from the gospel and then read the corresponding section to receive a fresh viewpoint and a practical application. …
What are angels & demons? Can angels help us? What does the Bible say about angels? What is the truth about angels? Can Angels affect your life? Who were the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2? Who were the Nephilim in Genesis 6:2? Who is Michael the archangel? Can Satan the Devil control humans? How can we win our struggle against dark spiritual forces? How can you resist the demons? Do evil spirits exercise power over humankind? Is Satan really the god of this world and just what does that mean? What did Jesus mean when he said, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one [i.e., Satan]”? Andrews using the Bible will answer all of these questions and far more. …
Donald T. Williams learned a lot about the Christian worldview from Francis Schaeffer and C. S. Lewis, but it was actually Tolkien who first showed him that such a thing exists and is an essential component of maturing faith. Not only do explicitly Christian themes underlie the plot structure of The Lord of the Rings, but in essays such as “On Fairie Stories” Tolkien shows us that he not only believed the Gospel on Sunday but treated it as true the rest of the week and used his commitment to that truth as the key to further insights in his work as a student of literature. “You can do that?” Williams thought as a young man not yet exposed to any Christian who was a serious thinker. “I want to do that!” His hope is that his readers will catch that same vision from this book. An Encouraging Thought elucidates the ways in which Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are informed by and communicate a biblical worldview. This book will help readers appreciate the ways in which a biblical worldview informs Tolkien’s work, to the end that their own faith may be confirmed in strength, focused in understanding, deepened in joy, and honed in its ability to communicate the Gospel.
People grow old, get sick, and die. Even some children die. Should you be afraid of death or of anybody who has died? Do you know what happens if we die? Will you ever see your dead loved ones again? “If a man dies, shall he live again?” asked the man Job long ago. (Job 14:14) Did God originally intend for humans to die? Why do you grow old and die? What is the Bible’s viewpoint of death? What is the condition of the dead? Are the dead aware of what is happening around them? What hope is there for the dead?
Herein Andrews will give the reader exactly what the Bible offers on exposing who the Antichrist and the Man of Lawlessness are. If we look at the texts that refer to the antichrist and the man of lawlessness, we will have lines of evidence that will enable us to identify them. Why is it important that we know who the antichrist and the man of lawlessness are? The antichrist and the man of lawlessness have had a greater impact on humanity and Christianity over the past centuries than many know. Moreover, the influence on the true worshipers of Christianity today has been even more significant and will only go from bad to worse as we come closer to the second coming of Christ. …
Throughout the Scriptures, God is identified as the Creator. He is the One “who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it.” (Isa 45:18) He is the One “who forms mountains and creates the wind” (Am 4:13) and is the One “who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them.” (Ac 4:24; 14:15; 17:24) “God . . . created all things.” (Eph. 3:9) Jesus Christ tells us that it is the Father who “created them [humans] from the beginning made them male and female.” (Matt. 19:4; Mark 10:6) Hence, the Father is fittingly and uniquely called “the Creator.” (Isa 40:28) It is because of God’s will that we exist, for He has ‘created all things, and because of his will they existed and were created.’―Revelations 4:11 …
Eschatology is the teaching of what is commonly called the “Last Things.” That is the subject of Andrews’ book, which will cover, Explaining Prophecy, Explaining Clean and Pure Worship, The New Testament Writers Use of the Old Testament, Explaining the Antichrist, Explaining the Man of Lawlessness, Explaining the Mark of the Beast, Explaining Signs of the End of the Age, Explaining the Rapture, Explaining the Great Tribulation, Explaining Armageddon, Explaining the Resurrection Hope, Explaining the Millennium, Explaining the Final Judgment, Explaining the Unevangelized, Explaining Hell
The information herein is based on the disciples coming to Jesus privately, saying, “Tell us, (1) when will these things be, and (2) what will be the sign of your coming, and (3) of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3) What will end? When will the end come? What comes after the end? Who will survive the end? These questions and far more will be answered as Andrews delves into The SECOND COMING of CHRIST. In chapters 1 and 2, we must address why Jesus is saying there would be an end to the Jewish age. In chapter 3, we will take a deep look at the signs that establish the great tribulation is closing in, and when is it time to flee. In chapter 4, we will go over the signs of the end of the Jewish age. In chapter 5, we will walk through the events leading up to the end of the Jewish age from 66 – 70 C.E., and how it applies to our Great Tribulation in these last days. In chapter 6, we will cover the second coming of Jesus where the reader will get the answers as to whether verses 3-28 of Matthew Chapter 24 apply to Christ’s second coming. We will close out with chapter 7, and how we should understand the signs, and how we do not want to be led astray, just as Jesus warned even some of the chosen ones would be misled. We will also address what comes after the end.
What Really Is Hell? What Kind of Place is Hell? What Really Happens at Death? What Did Jesus Teach About Hell? How Does Learning the Truth About Hell Affect You? Who Goes to Hell? What Is Hell? Is It a Place of Eternal Torment? Does God Punish People in Hellfire? Do the Wicked Suffer in Hell? What Is the Lake of Fire? Is It the Same as Hell or Gehenna? Where Do We Go When We Die? What Does the Bible Say About Hell? Andrews Shares the Truth on WHAT IS HELL From God’s Word.
Miracles were certainly a part of certain periods in Bible times. What about today? Are miracles still taking place? There are some very important subjects that surround this area of discussion that is often misunderstood. Andrews will answer such questions as does God step in and solve every problem if we are faithful? Does the Bible provide absolutes or guarantees in this age of imperfect humanity? Are miracles still happening today? Is faith healing Scriptural? Is speaking in tongues evidence of true Christianity? Is snake handling biblical? How are we to understand the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? The work of the Holy Spirit. Andrews offers his readers very straightforward, biblically accurate explanations for these difficult questions. If any have discussed such questions, without a doubt, they will be very interested in the Bible’s answers in this easy to read publication.
Today there are many questions about homosexuality as it relates to the Bible and Christians. What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Does genetics, environment, or traumatic life experiences justify homosexuality? What is God’s will for people with same-sex attractions? Does the Bible discriminate against people with same-sex attractions? Is it possible to abstain from homosexual acts? Should not Christians respect all people, regardless of their sexual orientation? Did not Jesus preach tolerance? If so, should not Christians take a permissive view of homosexuality? Does God approve of same-sex marriage? Does God disapprove of homosexuality? If so, how could God tell someone who is attracted to people of the same sex to shun homosexuality, is that not cruel? If one has same-sex attraction, is it possible to avoid homosexuality? How can I as a Christian explain the Bible’s view of homosexuality? IT IS CRUCIAL that Christians always be prepared to reason from the Scriptures, explaining and proving what the Bible does and does not say about homosexuality, yet doing it with gentleness and respect. Andrews will answer these questions and far more.
If you’ve struggled in the world of difficulties that surround you, you’re not alone. Maybe you have looked for help, and you have been given conflicting answers. 40 DAYS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS: Coming-of-Age In Christ, can help you. Its advice is based on answers that actually work, which are found in the Bible. God’s Word has helped billions over thousands of years to face life’s challenges successfully. Find out how it can help you! 40 DAYS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS includes seven sections, with several chapters in each. It includes the following sections: Sexual Desires and Love, your friends, your family, school, recreation, your health. You need advice you can trust! 40 DAYS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS will give you that. This author has worked with thousands of youths from around the world. The Bible-based sound advice helped them. Now you can discover how it can help you.
Young ones and teens, you are exposed to complex problems that your parents may not understand. Young Christians, you are bombarded with multiple options for solving everyday problems through social media. Where do you turn to find answers? Where can you look to find guidance from Scripture? In order to provide a Christian perspective to problem-solving, the author of this devotional book decided to take a different approach. Terry Overton was determined to find out what problems middle school children and teens were worried about the most. While visiting her grandchildren one weekend, she asked her granddaughter to send topics to her so that she could write a devotional about the topic. In a matter of weeks, not only did her granddaughter send her topics, but the other grandchildren and their friends sent topics of concern. Once the author wrote a devotional for a topic, it was sent to the teen requesting the devotional. Soon, these requests were happening in real time. Students sent text requests about problems happening in school and asked what the student should do? How should this be handled?
This devotional book follows the author’s own faith journey back to God. Significant life events can shake our world and distort our faith. Following life’s tragedies, a common reaction is to become angry with God or to reject Him altogether. Examples of tragedies or traumas include life-changing events such as physical or sexual assault, destruction of one’s home, the tragic death of a loved one, diagnoses of terminal diseases, divorce, miscarriages, or being a victim of a crime. Tragedies or traumas can cause feelings of anxiety, depression, shame, and guilt.
Throughout the book, common themes emerge to support caregivers. The reader will find interesting Bible Scriptures, offering a Christian perspective, for handling issues that may arise. These inspiring passages will assist the caregiver in finding peace and faith as they travel their journey as a caregiver. Although caregivers may not know how long they will play this role, they take on the responsibility without any question. Taking care of others is often mentioned in the Bible and, as noted in this devotional, this self-sacrificing, highly valued, and often challenging service will ultimately be rewarded.
Humans must breathe in the air of our atmosphere to survive. Many cities because of pollution face a dangerous level of contamination in their air. However, an even more deadly air affects both Christians and nonChristians. Ordinary methods or devices cannot detect this poisonous air. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, spoke of the “air,” when he said that Satan was “the ruler of the authority of the air.” (Eph. 2:2) In that, very same verse Paul said the “air” is “the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience.” If we breathe in this “air,” we will begin to adopt their attitude, thoughts, speech, and conduct.
Humans must breathe in the air of our atmosphere to survive. Many cities because of pollution face a dangerous level of contamination in their air. However, an even more deadly air affects both Christians and nonChristians. Ordinary methods or devices cannot detect this poisonous air. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, spoke of the “air,” when he said that Satan was “the ruler of the authority of the air.” (Eph. 2:2) In that, very same verse Paul said the “air” is “the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience.” If we breathe in this “air,” we will begin to adopt their attitude, thoughts, speech, and conduct.
BREAD OF HEAVEN helps the reader to have a greater understanding of the timeless truths of Scripture and a deeper appreciation of the grandeur of God. It offers meditations on selected Scriptures which will draw the reader’s attention upwards to the Savior. Kieran Beville’s daily devotional combines down-to-earth, unstuffy humanity in today’s world with a biblical and God-centered approach, and draws on rich theology in a thoroughly accessible way. He addresses not just the intellect and the will but gets to the heart, our motivational center, through the mind. If your Christian life could benefit from a short, well-written daily blast of Christ’s comfort and challenge, get this book and use it! These short Bible-based meditations are fresh and contemporary. Beville gives to the twenty-first-century reader what earlier authors have given to theirs. Here is practical wisdom that is a helpful guide to stimulate worship and set you thinking as you begin each day with God.
The Conversation: An Intimate Journal of the Emmaus Encounter is a unique and riveting reconstruction from the unnamed disciple’s account found in Luke 24 regarding his journey with Cleopas on the road to Emmaus after witnessing Jesus’s crucifixion and burial, along with hearing claims of His empty tomb. Suddenly, a Stranger begins walking with them. With their eyes “prevented” from recognizing Him as the risen Lord Jesus Christ—Yeshua the Messiah, their new, wise Traveling Companion correlates the Old Covenant Scriptures, by way of Moses and the prophets, with what they witnessed.
This “journal” is your opportunity to eavesdrop and learn what that conversation might have been like, as pertinent prophecies unfold revealing evidence that the Messiah’s suffering, death, burial, and resurrection were, in fact, specifically foretold.
Unique and life-changing, More Than Devotion, through a melding of accounts from both the Old Covenant and New, proves that our trustworthy God truly is the same yesterday, today, and forever. All fifty convicting devotions draw from a rich scriptural context, concluding with a practical, achievable call to action, plus journaling space for personal reflection. New believers and veteran followers of our Lord can grow in the innermost areas of their lives and enjoy a more intimate walk with the Savior.
AN APOCALYPTIC NOVEL: As you are no doubt are aware, Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye in 1995 wrote a novel entitled “Left Behind.” Jerry and Tim had some prior success with a major publisher and were able to get their novel published. The Left Behind novel was published by Tyndale House beginning in 1995 within a multiple volumes Left Behind series resulting in sales exceeding 60 million books. In 1992 Don Alexander wrote the storyline embedded in Left Behind. He copyrighted the novel in 1992 under the title “Oren Natas” [who is the Anti-Christ in his storyline]. The entire novel is contained in a single volume. It is a novel written depicting a colorful and witty cast of characters who live through all the “end time” Bible prophecies.
A routine classified telepathic interrogation of a potential terrorist, followed by an assignment that doesn’t go as planned thrusts Tabatha – the world’s only telepathic human – into the public eye. The exposure leads an evil neuro-scientist requesting a meeting with her in hopes of luring her to his cause as well as unveiling a deadly creative work that has spanned three decades of research and development.
ONLINE REVIEW: “Very fun read. Fast paced and honest. Tons of evolution occurs during the process thru the story. Wonderful girl trying to become an adult Christian in a world that also pits her superpowers against terrorists with the help of her own special forces team. Buy this book and just enjoy!”
In June 1985, an excavation project was undertaken by The British Antiquities Volunteers (BAV) at a plot of rocky land where the Kidron and Hinnom Valleys meet near the eastern side of Old Jerusalem. That year many hundreds of (mostly redundant) ‘small finds’ were recovered in the Judean desert but none of such significance as a handful of scrolls retrieved from a buried Roman satchel (presumed stolen) at this site. The discovery has since come to be known as ‘The Diary of Judas Iscariot.’ In The Diary of Judas Iscariot Owen Batstone relates the observations and feelings of Judas, a disgruntled disciple, as he accompanies Jesus of Nazareth during His ministry, and uses this fable and allegory to explore some of the ways a person might resist becoming a Christian.
Kevin Trill struggles with the notion that he may have missed the Rapture. With nothing but the clothes on his back and a solid gold pocket watch, he sets off towards Garbor, a safe haven for those who haven’t yet taken the mark of the beast. While on his way to Garbor, he meets up with an unlikely trio who befriends him. Together, they set out towards Garbor. Unfortunately, however, they are soon faced with their first major catastrophe, which sparks debate among them as to whether or not they really are in the Great Tribulation. On their journey, the group meets up with many people, some of them good and some of them evil. …
There grew an element in the valley that did not want to be ruled by the Light of the Word. Over time, they convinced the people to reject it. As they started to reject this Light, the valley grew dim and the fog rolled in. The people craved the darkness rather than the Light because they were evil. They did not want to embrace the Light because it exposed their wickedness. They rejected the Light of the Word and ruled themselves. Those few who had embraced the Light and hated the darkness were killed. Since that time anyone who embraced the Light of the Word, pursued or talked about it were arrested. Those arrested were sentenced to death by stoning. The last prophet gave a prophecy before he was martyred. “The whisperer will come and empower three witnesses that will make manifest the works of darkness and destroy it, and deliver my people from the grip of darkness to the freedom found in the light.” All the Children of the Light were killed off or went into hiding living among the Children of Darkness in secret, not mentioning the Light for fear of death. Generations grew up being ignorant of the Light of the Word and never knowing the difference. No one ever mentioned the Light or dared to even talk about the Light. …
When an ancestor saddles them with the responsibility to purge Australia of a demon threatening to wipe out humanity with black flames, fraternal siblings Amber and Michael Hauksby lay their lives on the line. As the world crumbles around them into chaos, and ancient marsupials wreack havoc in their hometown, they must journey into the treacherous wild lands of the outback to extinguish the black flames that loom on the horizon. First, Amber must seek the counsel of a mysterious being, who calls himself the light spirit. …
“Write Place, Right Time” follows the pre-apocalyptic misadventures of freelance journalist Don Lamplighter. While on what he expects to be a routine Monday night trip to a village board meeting, Lamplighter’s good nature compels him to help a stranded vehicle. Little does he know that by saving one of the car’s occupants, he sets forth a chain of what to him seem to be unrelated events where he must use his physical and social skills to save himself and others from precarious situations.
 This appeared in the Master’s Seminary Journal, vol 10/1 (Spring 1999) 53-86 as a Festschrift for Robert L. Thomas.
 Édouard Massaux, The Influence of the Gospel of Saint Matthew on Christian Literature Before Saint Irenaeus, trans. by Norman J. Belval and Suzanne Hecht, Arthur J. Bellinzoni, ed., 3 vols. (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University, 1993), 3:186-87.
 C. Steward Petrie, “The Authorship of ‘The Gospel According to Matthew’: A Reconsideration of the External Evidence,” New Testament Studies 14 (1967-1968): 15. Stonehouse, a leading advocate of Markan priority, admitted, “[T]he tradition concerning the apostolic authorship of Matthew is as strong, clear, and consistent and . . . the arguments advanced against its reliability are by no means decisive . . . the apostolic authorship of Matthew is as strongly attested as any fact of ancient church history” (Ned B. Stonehouse, The Origins of the Synoptic Gospels [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1963], 46-47, cf. 76-77).
 Bernard Orchard and Harold Riley, The Order of the Synoptics, Why Three Synoptic Gospels? (Macon, Ga.: Mercer, 1987), 111.
 The Two-Source Theory contends that Mark was written first, then Matthew and Luke wrote in dependence on Mark and a document called “Q,” which contained material common to Matthew and Luke but not found in Mark. The Four-Source Theory adds documents called “M”—used by Matthew in addition to the others—and “L”—used by Luke in addition to the others.
 See Bernard Orchard and Thomas R. W. Longstaff, J. J. Griesbach: Synoptic and text-critical studies 1776-1976 (Cambridge: Cambridge University, 1978), 134; William R. Farmer, The Synoptic Problem (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University, 1976), 48-49; Burnett Hillman Streeter, The Four Gospels, A Study of Origins (Macmillan and Co., 1924), 151-98. Orchard and Longstaff cite Griesbach as an example of one who criticized the early fathers. Farmer cites the lack of evidence supporting the Two- (or Four-Source) Theory.
 David Hill, The Gospel of Matthew, in The New Century Bible Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1972), 28; D. A. Carson, Douglas J. Moo, and Leon Morris, An Introduction to the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992), 70-71; R. T. France, Matthew, Tyndale New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1985), 34-38; Ralph P. Martin, New Testament Foundations, vol. 1 of The Four Gospels (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1975), 139-60, 225.
 Massaux, Gospel of Saint Matthew, 3:188.
 The Two-Gospel Theory holds that Matthew was written first, then Luke wrote depending on Matthew, and finally Mark wrote in dependence on Matthew and Luke.
 See Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.36.1-2.
 Irenaeus Against Heresies 5.33.3-4; cf. Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.39.1-2.
 Yarbrough gives five convincing arguments supporting this date: First, Papias’s position in Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History (Book 3) places him with young Polycarp, Ignatius and even Clement, i.e. those who were the immediate successors to the apostles. Moreover, in Book 3 Eusebius catalogues no matters latter than Trajan’s reign (97-117), and Book 4 opens with the twelfth year of Trajan (ca. 109), indicating that Eusebius viewed Papias as flourishing before A.D. 109. Second, Eusebius’s Chronicon places the aged Apostle John, Papias, Polycarp and Ignatius (in that order) in the same entry with the year “100” placed next to this entry as part of his running table of dates [see Helm, Die Chronik des Hieronymus, 7:193-194]; Third, Irenaeus called Papias “one of the ancients” (ajrcai’o” ajnhvr‑Irenaeus Against Heresies 5.33.3-4; cf. Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.39.1-2). Since Irenaeus most likely had personal contact with Polycarp, who was a companion of Papias (Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 5.20.4-8; Irenaeus Against Heresies 5.33.4; cf. Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.39.1), he is not liable to be mistaken in his opinion of Papias’s connections with earliest apostolic origins. Fourth, Irenaeus confirms that Papias was a hearer of John (Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.39.1). Fifth, neither Eusebius nor Irenaeus identifies Papias as an anto-gnostic witness, thus placing Papias much earlier than such gnostics as Valentinus, Basilides and Marcion. whose teachings both Irenaeus and Eusebius were trying to refute. See Yarbrough, “The Date of Papias,” 186-187. For a more complete review of the strong evidence linking Papias to the date of ca. 95-110, see Robert W. Yarbrough, “The Date of Papias: A Reassessment,” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 26 (June 1983): 181-91; Robert H. Gundry, Matthew, A Commentary on His Handbook for a Mixed Church Under Persecution, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994), 611-13.
 See Irenaeus Against Heresies 5.33.4; also quoted by Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.39.1. Regarding Eusebius’ skeptical attitude about whether Papias ever heard the apostle John (Ecclesiastical History 3.39.1-2) see William R. Schoedel, Polycarp, Martyrdom of Polycarp, Fragments of Papias, vol. 5 of The Apostolic Fathers, Robert M. Grant, ed. (Camden, N. J.: Thomas Nelson, 1967), 89-92; Rudolf Helm, Eusebius Werke, vol. VII of Die Chronik des Hieronymus, in Die Griechischen Christlichen Schriftsteller der Ersten Jahrunderte (Akademie-Verlag: Berlin, 1956): 193-94; 412-13. For persuasive evidence that Papias did have direct contact with the apostle, see Robert H. Gundry, Matthew, A Commentary on His Handbook for a Mixed Church under Persecution, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994), 611-613. Eusebius’ skepticism may have stemmed from his anti-chiliastic view as opposed to that of Papias (and Irenaeus) who strongly affirmed a physical reality of the millennium (see Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3.39.12-13). Or, it may have resulted from Papias’ alleged preference for oral tradition rather than authorized books as his sources (see Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 3.39.4; cf. also Robert M. Grant, ed., “An Introduction,” in vol. 1 of The Apostolic Fathers, A New Translation and Commentary [New York: Thomas Nelson and Sons, 1964], 86).
 Eusebius denied that Papias was a direct hearer of the Apostle John by inferring that another John, John the Elder who was different from John the Apostle, lived in Ephesus at the time (Ecclesiastical History 3.39.5-6). A close reading of Papias’s words, however, reveals that he neither affirmed nor denied that he was hearer or eyewitness of the apostles. He does not mention it in the passage. Petrie argues, “[T]here is nothing to justify the careless confidence with which Eusebius contradicts Irenaeus” (C. Stewart Petrie, “Authorship of ‘The Gospel According to Matthew’,” 15-32 [esp. 17-18]). Furthermore, even if Papias was not a personal disciple of John, as Lightfoot contended, “still his age and country place him in more or less close connection with the traditions of the Apostles; and it is this fact which gives importance to his position and teaching” (J. B. Lightfoot, Essays on the Work Entitled Supernatural Religion [London: Macmillan and Co., 1889], 142).
 Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.39.15-16. Papias’s statement regarding John the disciple and the Elder John probably referred to one and the same person, i.e. John the Apostle (Petrie, “Authorship,” 18-24; Gundry, Matthew, 611-13).
 Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.39.16. All quotes of Papias and Eusebius in Part 1 of this chapter are taken from the Loeb Classical Library Series. See Eusebius, The Ecclesiastical History, with an English translation by Kirsopp Lake, 2 vols. (London: William Heinemann, 1926).
 According to most, the designation “Q” stands for the first letter of the German word for “source,” Quelle. That position, however, is debated. See the discussion in John J. Schmitt, “In Search of the Origin of the Siglum Q,” Journal of Biblical Literature 100 (1981): 609-11.
 T. W. Manson, The Teaching of Jesus (London: SCM Press, 1957), 18-20; cf. also idem, The Sayings of Jesus (London: SCM Press, 1949), 18-19; idem, “The Gospel of Matthew,” in Studies in the Gospels and Epistles, Matthew Black, ed. (Manchester: Manchester University, 1962), 82-83.
 Lampe cites only two examples of this phrase referring to “the gospels” contained in the Chronicon Paschale (seventh century A.D.) (see “lovgion, tov” in G. W. H. Lampe, A Patristric Greek Lexicon (Oxford: At the Clarendon, 1961), 806.
 Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.39.1.
 Kittel argues that Papias’ use of the term lovgia (logia) cannot be confined to mere sayings or collections of sayings, but more likely has reference to the whole gospel, i.e., words and deeds of Jesus: “[I]t is just as clear and indisputable that in the light of the usage of the LXX, NT and early Church the more comprehensive meaning is also possible” Gerhard Kittel, “lovgion,” TDNT, 4:141.
 See Lightfoot, Essays on Supernatural Religion, 172-76.
 See Stewart Petrie, “Q is Only What You Make It,” Novum Testamentum 3 (1959): 28-33. Petrie points out that the wide variety and conflicting hypotheses concerning the nature and extent of Q have cast great suspicion on the validity of the hypothesis for its existence. Farrar, though holding to the idea that Matthew and Luke utilized Mark, nonetheless, argues that against the existence of Q (A. M. Farrar, “On Dispensing with Q,” in Studies in the Gospels, Essays in Memory of R. H. Lightfoot, D. E. Nineham, ed. [Oxford: Blackwell, 1955]: 55-88). After an extensive analysis, Linnemann, a former post-Bultmannian who at one time was a staunch advocate of the Two-Source Hypothesis, concludes that any idea of Q is a “fantasy, is “based in error,” and “proves untenable” (Eta Linnemann, “Gospel of Q,” Bible Review XI [August 1995]: 19-23, 42-43).
 B. P. W. Stather Hunt, Primitive Gospel Sources (London: James Clarke & Co., 1951), 184; cf. also Rendel Harris, Testimonies, 2 vols. (Cambridge: University Press, 1920), 1:118-123, 130-131, 2:1-11, and F. C. Grant, The Gospels: Their Origin and Their Growth (New York: Harper, 1957): 65, 144.
 Hunt, Primitive Gospel Sources, 184.
 Grant, Gospels, Their Origin and Growth, 65, 144; cf. Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.39.1, 14.
 Grant, Gospels, Their Origin and Growth, 65.
 Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.39.1, 14.
 Gundry notes, “Of the twenty formal quotations peculiar to Mt, seven are Septuagintal. Seven are non-Septuagintal. In six there is a mixture of Septuagintal and non-Septuagintal” (Robert H. Gundry, The Use of the Old Testament in St. Matthew’s Gospel [Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1967], 149).
 Martin, New Testament Foundations, 1:239.
 Carson et al., Introduction to the New Testament, 70.
 Ibid., 71.
 Ibid., 74; cf. D. A. Carson, “Matthew,” vol. 8 of Expositor’s Bible Commentary. Frank E. Gaebelein, gen. ed. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1984), 19.
 Martin, New Testament Foundations, 1:240.
 Everett F. Harrison, Introduction to the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1971), 169.
 Hill, Gospel of Matthew, 29.
 E.g., Carson, Moo and Morris, Introduction to the New Testament, 61-85 (esp. 68-69); Martin, New Testament Foundations, 1:139-60; 224-43; Hill, Matthew, 29-34.
 E.g., Carson, “Matthew,” 13.
 Petrie, “Authorship of ‘The Gospel According to Matthew,'” 29.
 Gundry, Matthew, A Commentary, 618.
 Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.39.15.
 Petrie, “The Authorship of Matthew,” 32. Strangely, Hagner, a Markan prioritist, agrees: “[I]t seems better to take this early piece of evidence seriously rather than to dismiss it as being dead wrong. Papias had reason for saying what he did . . . we do well to attempt to make sense of his testimony” (Donald A. Hanger, Matthew 1-13, vol. 33A of Word Biblical Commentary, David A. Hubbard and Glenn W. Barker, eds. (Waco, Tx.: Word, 1993), xlvi.
 Josef Kürzinger, “Das Papiaszeugnis und die Erstgestalt des Matthäusevangeliums,” Biblische Zeitschrift 4 (1960): 19-38; cf. idem, “Irenäus und sein Zeugnis zur Sprache des Matthäusevangeliums,” New Testament Studies 10 (1963), 108-15.
 Gundry, Matthew: A Commentary, 619-20.
 Cf. Kürzinger, “Das Papiaszeugnis,” 22-23, 27-30.
 E.g., cf. Liddell and Scott, A Greek English Lexicon, rev. and augmented by Henry Stuart Jones, with a 1968 Supplement (Oxford: At the Clarendon, 1940), 401.
 E.g., BAGD, 185; James P. Louw and Eugene A. Nida, Clarendon Press of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains (New York: United Bible Societies, 1988), 1:389 (33.1).
 E.g., Irenaeus Against Heresies 3.1.1 (quoted in Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 5.8.2); Tertullian (Against Marcion 4.2); Pantaenus, cited by Eusebius (Ecclesiastical History 5.10.3); Origen (quoted by Eusebius in Ecclesiastical History 6.25.3-6); Eusebius himself (Ecclesiastical History 3.24.5-6); and Jerome Preface to the Commentary on Saint Matthew; Lives of Illustrious Men 2.3.
 Gundry argues that these NT occurrences of diavlekto” (dialektos, “language” or “dialect”) are articular (and thus definite) so that human language is clearly in mind in these passages. In contrast, Papias’s reference does not have the article (i.e. JEbrai?di dialevktw/, Hebraidi dialekti, “Hebrew dialect”). He concludes that Papias’s reference should be considered indefinite (“a Hebrew way of presenting Jesus’ messiahship” or Semitic style of argument) rather than definite (“the Semitic language”). See Gundry, Matthew, 629-20. Yet, in reply, the article is not necessary for Papias to mean “language.” The force of JEbrai?di (“Hebrew”) with dialevktw/ is sufficient to make the term definite without the article. For instances where the article is not necessary to make a noun definite, consult Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996), 245-54.
 Gundry, Matthew: A Commentary, 618.
 Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.39.15.
 Gundry, Matthew: A Commentary, 614.
 Gundry contends that the ou\≥n in Ecclesiastical History 3.39.16 refers back “to the statement about Mark” and therefore ties the thought about Mark and Matthew together. As a result,” ou\≥n contains an immmensely important implication for synoptic studies . . . Matthew’s reason for writing is in view . . . Matthew wrote his gospel for the precise purpose of bringing order out of the chaos in Mark.” Gundry, Matthew: A Commentary, 614. However, contrary to Gundry, his contention of a link through ou\≥n is dubious. The ou\≥n grammatically draws an inferential conclusion to the discussion about Mark, going back by 3.39.14. Furthermore, peri; de; occurs after the ou\≥n and functions to introduce a new, unrelated information concerning Matthew’s gospel (cf. Paul’s introduction of new subject matter in 1 Cor. 7:1, 25; 8:1; 12:1; 16:1, 12), thus demonstrating that these two thoughts of Papias about Mark and Matthew most likely are not linked together nor in any way indicative of Gundry’s contention for Matthew as a corrective of Mark.
 The canonical Greek Version shows no signs of being translated from Aramaic. For example, in certain places it transliterates Aramaic into Greek before giving a Greek translation—e.g., Matt. 1:23, ∆Emmanouh/l, o¢ e˙stin meqermhneuo/menon meq∆ hJmw◊n oJ qeo/ß (Emmanoul, ho estin methermneuomenon meth’ hmn ho theos—”Immanuel, which is interpreted ‘God with us'”); Matt. 27:33, Golgoqa◊, o¢ e˙stin Krani÷ou To/poß lego/menoß (Golgotha, ho estin Kraniou Topos legomenos, “Golgotha, which is called ‘the Place of the Skull'”); cf. also Matt. 27:46. Also, the Greek Matthew provides explanations of local customs among the Jews that would have been unnecessary for an Aramaic-speaking audience (e.g., Matt. 27:15). Though the Greek Matthew is not a translation, Matthew may have produced an expanded version of the life of Christ that incorporated much of the original Aramaic without being a direct translation of it. Such an entirely reworked version would have suited the needs of the Diaspora Jews and others.
 Louis Berkhof, New Testament Introduction (Grand Rapids: Eerdman-Sevensma, 1915), 64-71; Henry Clarence Thiessen, Introduction to the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1943), 137.
 Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 3.24.5-6; Hippolytus On the Twelve Apostles 7; cf. D. A. Hagner, “Matthew,” in vol. 3 of ISBE, Geoffrey W. Bromiley, gen. ed. (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1986), 280.
 Matt. 9:9-14; Mark 2:13-17; Luke 5:27-32; cf. Gundry, Use of the Old Testament, 183; Edgar J. Goodspeed, Matthew, Apostle and Evangelist (Philadelphia: John C. Winston, 1959), 42-47.
 Davies and Allison try to explain away the title in light of their assumption of that Mark wrote first and the Matthean gospel could not have been written by an apostle. Their case lacks persuasiveness in light of consistent manuscript evidence, however (cf. W. D. Davies and Dale C. Allison, The Gospel According to Matthew, International Critical Commentary [Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1988], 1:58).
 Ropes reasons, “Probably as early in the second century as the year 125, someone, in some place, or some group of persons, assembled for the use and convenience of the churches the only four Greek books describing the life and teachings of Jesus Christ which were then believed to be of great antiquity and worthy of a place in such a collection” (J. H. Ropes, The Synoptic Gospels, 2nd Impression with New Preface [Cambridge, Ma.: Harvard University, 1960], 103).
 Donald Guthrie, New Testament Introduction, 2nd Edition (Downers Grove, Ill.: InterVarsity, 1990), 156-57.
 The reader is once again directed to Massaux’s excellent cataloguing of Matthew’s extensive influence in Christian literature during this early period (consult Massaux, The Influence of the Gospel of Saint Matthew, Books 1-3. For the composition dates of some of these works, consult Robert M. Grant, gen. ed. The Apostolic Fathers. A New Translation and Commentary (New York: Thomas Nelson & Sons, 1964): 1:38, 46-48, 64, 71; 3:42-43, 76-77; 5:4.
 See note 48 for a list of fathers who supported this.
 Jerome who wrote, “who afterwards translated it into Greek is not certainly known,” is a possible exception (Jerome Lives of Illustrious Men 2.3).
 Hiebert, Introduction to the New Testament, 1:53.
 Massaux, Influence of the Gospel of Saint Matthew, 3:186-187.
 Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 5.7.1. Two major writings of Irenaeus have survived. In addition to Against Heresies, he also wrote Demonstration of the Apostolic Preaching, the latter being an instructional book demonstrating that the Christian faith fulfills the OT, first published in the twentieth century.
 Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 4.14.3.
 Ibid., 4.14.3-4; 5.20.5-6; cf. Irenaeus Against Heresies 3.3.4.
 Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 5.20.5-6
 Irenaeus Against Heresies 2.22.5; 4.27.1; 4.32.1; 5.36.2.
 Ibid., 3.1.1-4; cited also in Eusebius’s Ecclesiastical History 5.8.1-4.
 Floyd Filson, A Commentary on the Gospel According to Matthew, 2nd ed. (London: Adam & Charles Black, 1971), 16.
 D. E. Nineham, St. Mark (Philadelphia: Westminster,1963), 39 n.
 Streeter apparently held that the Apostle John and the Elder John to whom Papias referred were two different individuals (Streeter, Four Gospels, 444).
 Petrie, “Authorship of ‘The Gospel According to Matthew,'” 29.
 A. C. Perumalil, “Are not Papias and Irenaeus competent to report on the Gospels?,” Expository Times 91 (August 1980): 336.
 J. B. Lightfoot, Supernatural Religion, 142.
 Irenaeus Against Heresies 3.1.1; also cited by Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 5.8.2.
 To cite only a few random examples, cp. Irenaeus Against Heresies “Preface” 2 with Matt. 10:26; cp. 1.1.3 with Matt. 20:1-16; cp. 1.3.5 with Matt.10:21, 34; cp. 1.6.1 with Matt. 5:13-14; cp. 1.8. with Matt. 26:38-39; 27:46; cp. 3.8.1 with Matt. 6:24.
 Irenaeus in this context appears to be setting forth an apologetic regarding the content of each gospel as being inspired by the Holy Spirit and united in testimony about the true contents of the gospel in contrast to the teaching of heretics. He is not necessarily setting forth a strict compositional order (cf. Against Heresies 3.2.1).
 Hans von Campenhausen, The Formation of the Christian Bible (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1972), 195 n. 243; cf. e.g., Irenaeus Against Heresies 3.9.1-11.8; 4.6.1.
 Campenhausen explains this order of John-Luke-Matthew-Mark as corresponding “to the various epochs of salvation history” from Irenaeus’s perspective (Campenhausen, Formation of the Christian Bible, 195 n. 243.
 Williston Walker and Richard A. Norris, David W. Lotz and Robert T. Handy, A History of the Christian Church, 4th ed. (New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1985), 87.
 Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 5.10.1-2.
 Ibid., 5.10.2.
 Ibid., 5.10.2-3.
 Ibid., 5.11.1-2.
 Butterworth says he may have been an Athenian by birth (G. W. Butterworth, “Introduction,” Clement of Alexandria, trans. by G. W. Butterworth, The Loeb Classical Library [London: William Heinemann, 1919], xi).
 Eusebius, Ecclesiastical History 5.11.1
 Ibid., 5.11.3-4; Clement Stromateis 18.104.22.168; cf. also J. Stevenson, The New Eusebius, rev. by W. H. C. Frend (London: SPCK, 1987), 180 [Stromateis 22.214.171.124-3; Ecclesiastical History 5.11.3-5].
 William R. Farmer, “The Patristic Evidence Reexamined: A Response to George Kennedy,” in New Synoptic Studies, William R. Farmer, ed. (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University, 1983), 7.
 Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 6.14.5-7; Clement Hypotyposeis 6. The quotation comes from Eusebius, The Ecclesiastical History, Volume II, trans. by J. E. L. Oulton, The Loeb Classical Library (Cambridge, Ma.: Harvard University Press, 1932), 46-59.
 Giuseppe Fiov. Gamba, “A Further Reexamination of Evidence from Early Tradition,” in New Synoptic Studies, William R. Farmer, ed. (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University, 1983), 21 n. 10. For further discussion of other ancient documents that suppor Clement’s tradition, see ibid., 21-29.
 Tertullian became a Montanist in the very early part of the third century A.D. (cf. Earle E. Cairns, Christianity Though the Centuries [Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1996], 106-7].
 Cairns, Christianity Through the Centuries, p. 106.
 Tertullian Against Marcion 4.5.3; cf. ibid., 4.2.1-5.
 Cf. Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 6.1-8, 16, 29, 23-27, 32.
 Ibid., 6.25.3-6.
 The larger context deals with Origen’s view of the number of sacred writings in the OT and NT (ibid., 6.25.1-14).
 Farmer, “Patristic Evidence Reexamined,” 14.
 Origen Homily in Luke I; cf. also Orchard and Riley, Order of the Synoptics, 137.
 Ecclesiastical History consists of ten books, the first seven of which recount the history of the church from the beginning to A.D. 303 and the last three some events in Eusebius’s own lifetime until the Council of Nicaea in A.D. 325. He wrote in a strict chronological order.
 Eusebius Ecclesiastical History 1.1.1-8
 Ibid., 3.24.6
 Ibid., 3.24.5-7
 Ibid., 3.24.7-8
 Ibid., 3.24.9-10
 Ibid., 2.15.1-2
 Ibid., 3.24.15
 Augustine’s Confessions 1-10 give the story of his life until shortly after his conversion. He gives an account of his conversion in 8.12.
 Augustine The Harmony of the Gospels 1.2.3. Quotations from Augustine’s Harmony come from Philip Schaff, ed., vol. 6 of The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers, here after designated NPNF.
 Cf. David Peabody, “Augustine and the Augustinian Hypothesis: A Reexamination of Augustine’s Thought in De Consensu Evangelistarum,” in New Synoptic Studies, William R. Farmer, ed. (Macon, Ga.: Mercer, 1983), 38.
 Augustine The Harmony of the Gospels 1.2.4. Augustine refers to the Hebrew Matthew at least two other times in his Harmony (2.66.128 and 2.80.157), in both of which places he refers to or quotes the Greek Matthew while talking about a Hebrew original. He never denies that the Greek version came from Matthew himself.
 Ibid., 1.2.5-6
 Ibid., 1.2.4.
 Ibid., 2.8.13.
 Ibid., 4.10.11
 Peabody, “Augustine and the Augustinian Hypothesis,” 61-62.
 Thomas C. Oden & Christopher A. Hall, Mark, vol. II of Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1998), xxix.