HOW WE GOT The Greek Text of the New Testament

The Reading Culture of Early Christianity THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT 400,000 Textual Variants 02 4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUS
Edward D. Andrews
EDWARD D. ANDREWS (AS in Criminal Justice, BS in Religion, MA in Biblical Studies, and MDiv in Theology) is CEO and President of Christian Publishing House. He has authored ninety-two books. Andrews is the Chief Translator of the Updated American Standard Version (UASV).

Below is a short overview of the copying process of the Greek text of the New Testament. We will cover its transmission in the Greek of the time, as well as other languages that it has been translated into; not to mention the trustworthiness of the critical text that we have today.

The first-century Christians, at Pentecost 33 C.E., had Holy Spirit come upon about 120 disciples waiting in Jerusalem, resulting in their speaking in many languages about “the mighty works of God.” (Ac 2:1-4, 11) On that same day, about 3,000 were baptized. (Ac 2:37-41) Within a short time, the Jewish religious leaders were complaining of these disciples, “You have filled Jerusalem with your teaching.” (Ac 5:27-28, 40-42) With what result? “The number of the disciples multiplied greatly in Jerusalem.” (Ac 6:7) The early Christians spread throughout the then known world.

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Areas of Intense Activity Areas Touched by Activity
Rome Spain
Macedonia Italy
Greece Malta
Black Sea Mediterranean Sea
Asia Illyricum
Bithynia Mesopotamia
Pontus Media
Galatia Parthia
Cappadocia Caspian Sea
Pamphylia Elam
Syria Arabia
Jerusalem Cyrene
Cyprus Libya
Crete Egypt
Babylon Ethiopia
Persian Gulf Red Sea

spread-of-christianity

The early Christian congregations were not isolated from one another. The Roman roads and maritime travel connected all the regions from Rome to Greece, to Asia, to Syria and Palestine and Egypt.[1] From the days of Pentecost 33 C.E. onward, Jewish or Jewish proselyte Christians returned to Egypt with the good news of Christ. (Acts 2:10) Three years after that, the Ethiopian eunuch traveled home with the good news as well. (Acts 8:26–39). Apollos of Alexandria, Egypt, a renowned speaker, came out of Egypt with the knowledge of John the Baptizer and arrived in Ephesus in about 52 C. E. (Acts 18:24-25) The apostle Paul traveled approximately 10,282 miles throughout the Roman Empire establishing congregations.[2] The apostles were a restraint to the apostasy and division within the whole of the first-century Christian congregation. (2 Thess. 2:6-7; 1 John 2:18) It was not until the second century that the next generation of Christian leaders gradually caused divisions.[3] However, the one true Christianity that Jesus started and the apostles established was strong, active, and able to defend against Gnosticism, Roman persecution, and Jewish hatred.

It is conceivable that by 55 C.E., there would have been a thriving congregation in Alexandrian Egypt, with its huge Jewish population.[4] “Now those who had been scattered because of the persecution that arose over Stephen went through as far as Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except Jews.” (Acts 11:19) While this indicates a traveling north to Antioch, it does not negate traveling south to Egypt. Antioch is obviously mentioned because it played a significant role as a commencement for first century Christianity, in particular for the apostle Paul.

The Coptic Church claims the Gospel writer Mark as its founder and first patriarch. Tradition has it that he preached in Egypt just before the middle of the first-century. At any rate, Christianity spread to Egypt and North Africa at an early date. In fact, it became a prominent religious center, with a noted scholar named Pantaenus, who founded a catechetical school in Alexandria, Egypt, about 160 C.E. In about 180 C.E. another prominent scholar, Clement of Alexandria, took over his position. Clement put this religious, educational institution on the map as a possible center for the whole of the Christian church throughout the Roman Empire. The persecution that came about the year 202 C.E. forced Clement to flee Alexandria, but one of the most noted scholars of early Christian history, Origen, replaced him. In addition, Origen took this scholarly environment to Caesarea in 231 C.E. and started yet another prominent school and scriptorium (i.e., room for copying manuscripts).

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What does all of this mean? Of course, we cannot know absolutely, but textual scholar Philip W. Comfort[5] and others believe that the very early Alexandrian manuscripts that we now possess are a reflection of what would have been found throughout the whole of the Greco-Roman Empire from about 125–300 C.E. If we were to discover other early manuscripts from Antioch, Constantinople, Carthage, or Rome, they would be very similar to the early Alexandrian manuscripts. This means that these early papyri are a primary means of establishing the original text, and we are in a far better position today than were Westcott and Hort in 1881.

First-Century Manuscripts: All of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament were penned between 45 C.E. and 98 C.E. Yes, it has been discussed that there were likely changes made to some of the authors’ books before it was released for publication. After looking at the rough draft of the book of Romans for example, likely both Paul and Tertius made some corrections, with Tertius producing the master copy after that to be the authorized publication, which would have been used to make other copies. Another example would be the Gospel of John. The last verse of chapter 20 seems to close the Gospel of John, which reads, “but these are written so that you may believe that Jesus is the Christ, the Son of God and that by believing you may have life in his name.” The style of chapter 21 is that of the apostle John, and he clearly added it before publishing the authoritative copy to be used to make copies. This is not suggesting that there are two editions of John. It is suggesting that before John published the authoritative edition, he decided himself to add chapter 21. On this Andreas J. Köstenberger writes,

Throughout the Johannine narrative, Jesus is repeatedly identified as Christ and Son of God. If the Gospel were to conclude with 20:30–31, this purpose statement would, at least on those grounds, provide sufficient closure. In fact, it has been conjectured that John originally planned to finish his Gospel at this point and only later appended an additional chapter. Alternatively, it has been suggested that someone other than John, perhaps some of his disciples, added chapter 21 after the apostle’s death (e.g., Roberts 1987). This is possible. However, the presence of an epilogue seems required by the opening prologue in order to preserve balance and symmetry of structure. The prologue, in turn, is tied in so closely with the remainder of the Gospel that its composition cannot be easily relegated to a later follower of John. Hence, both prologue and epilogue frame the Gospel in such a way that they form an integral part of the theological and literary fabric of the entire narrative. Particularly notable is the way in which the relationship between Peter and the beloved disciple is resolved in terms of noncompetition. Another crucial element of resolution is the identification of the beloved disciple as the Fourth Evangelist. What is more, not only do language and style in chapter 21 not differ significantly from chapters 1–20, but also there are actually positive terminological links between this final chapter and the rest of the Gospel. Also, there is no textual evidence that the Gospel ever circulated in any form other than the present, canonical one (Ellis 1992: 18; Mahoney 1974: 12 [cited in Minear 1983: 86]). Finally, ending the Gospel immediately after Jesus’ encounter with Thomas would have seemed rather abrupt. For these reasons it must be maintained that the epilogue constitutes an integral part of John’s Gospel.  It is part of John’s overall literary plan and provides the culmination of various strands carefully woven earlier in the Gospel. In fact, both the prologue and the epilogue can be shown to be integrally connected to the body of the Gospel by way of anticipation and resolution.[6]

Again, while there may have been some corrections and even some additions, it was done under the authority of the author himself before the authorized publication of the book. Once the official publication was released, there were no more changes by the author. Moreover, it is highly unlikely that anyone would have made any substantial changes to these documents while the authors were alive, or even during the lives of their coworkers and traveling companions. This is not to say that absolutely no copyist errors would have crept in during this period. However, it is highly unlikely that anyone would have been so bold as to alter the text of the author while he or his coworkers were around and could have challenged any such alterations. The New Testament authors had coworkers, such as Apollos, Barnabas, Silas, Timothy, Titus, Sopater, Secundus, Gaius, and Trophimus, to mention just a few. They also had secretaries, such as Tertius and Silvanus (or Silas), as well as Timothy possibly serving as Paul’s secretary, as Timothy appears in the six letters that also bear his name in the greeting.[7] Then, there were also the 70 intimate disciples of Jesus Christ, who were with him throughout his ministry, as well as the 500 that saw the resurrected Jesus. The apostle John himself did not die until about 100 C.E.

In addition, the authors themselves spoke of their writings as being authoritative and that no one should alter the copy that they had published. The apostle Paul wrote to the Galatians that they should consider as “accursed” anyone (even angels) who proclaimed a gospel contrary to the one they had preached. (Gal. 1:6-9) Paul went on to write, “the gospel that was preached by me is not according to man [i.e., human origin]. For I neither received it from man, nor was, I taught it, but I received it through a revelation [Lit., uncovering; disclosure] of Jesus Christ.” (Gal. 1:11-12) The apostle Paul charged that ‘the Corinthian Christians had put up with false teachers, readily enough, who proclaim another Jesus and another gospel.’ (2 Cor. 11:3-4) Paul and Silas wrote to the Thessalonians that they continually thanked God that when the Thessalonians received the Word of God, which they had heard from them, they accepted it not as the word of men, but for what it really is, the Word of God. (1Thess. 2:3) Paul then closed that letter by commanding them “by the Lord, have this letter read aloud to all the brothers.” (1 Thess. 5:27) In 2 Thessalonians Paul ‘requested that they not be quickly shaken from their composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a word or a letter as if from us.’ (2:2) Paul closed the letter with a greeting in his own hand, to authenticate it. (3:17) Lastly, John closed the book of Revelation with a warning to everyone about adding to or taking away from what he had written therein. (Rev. 22:18-19) The New Testament authors were well aware that future scribes could intentionally alter the Word of God, so they warned them of the consequences.

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We pause a moment to look at yet another author of the New Testament. The apostle Peter wrote about 64 C.E.,

2 Peter 1:12-18 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

12 Therefore, I will always be ready to remind you of these things, even though you already know them, and have been established in the truth which is present with you. 13 I consider it right, as long as I am in this earthly dwelling, to stir you up by way of reminder, 14 knowing that the laying aside of my earthly dwelling is imminent, as also our Lord Jesus Christ has made clear to me. 15 And I will also be diligent that at any time after my departure you will be able to call these things to mind.

16 For we did not follow cleverly devised tales when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of His majesty. 17 For when He received honor and glory from God the Father, such an utterance as this was made to Him by the Majestic Glory, “This is My beloved Son with whom I am well-pleased”—18 and we ourselves heard this utterance made from heaven when we were with Him on the holy mountain.

Peter was making it clear that he was sharing firsthand accounts and not devised tales. Here again, like the other New Testament authors, Peter warns his readers of false teachers, who corrupt the truth and distort the Scriptures, such as Paul’s letters. Again, like Paul and John, warning that this would be to their own destruction.

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2 Peter 3:15-16 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

15 and regard the patience of our Lord as salvation; just as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given him, wrote to you, 16 as also in all his letters, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which the untaught and unstable distort, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures, to their own destruction.

Yes, “It is especially interesting that Peter writes of the distortion of Paul’s letters along with ‘the other Scriptures.’ The implication is that the letters of Paul were already regarded as Scripture at the time Peter wrote.”[8] Verse 16 shows that Peter “is aware of several Pauline letters. This knowledge again raises the dating issue. We know that Paul himself on one occasion had requested that churches share his letters: ‘After this letter has been read to you, see that it is also read in the church of the Laodiceans and that you, in turn, read the letter from Laodicea’ (Col 4:16). However, it is a big jump in time from Colossians to the first concrete evidence we have of people who know more than one letter. This evidence shows up in 1 Clement, who not only knows Romans but can also write to the Corinthians, ‘Take up the epistle of the blessed Apostle Paul’ (1 Clem.[9] 47:1). It appears later in 2 Clement and in Ignatius’s Ephesians.[10] Thus, we are on solid ground when we accept that a collection of the Pauline letters existed by the end of the first century.[11] It is also likely that some Pauline letters circulated independently of a collection (which is what one would expect as one church hears that another has a letter that might prove helpful in their situation),[12] and that there were collections of a few Pauline letters before there was a collection of all of his letters.[13] All of this is quite logical since Paul was a valued teacher in his circle of communities and, as he left an area and especially as he died, his letters were his continuing voice. Thus, churches would share letters and, as they obtained funds (a few hundred dollars to a couple of thousand dollars in today’s money), they would make copies. Copies would turn into collections, particularly as it was possible to use one scroll for several of the shorter letters. Probably by the end of the first century, the complete collection (i.e., all extant letters) was circulating to at least a limited degree (remember, these copies did not come cheap). The issue is which stage in this process 2 Peter is indicating.”[14]

This author would argue that the stage Peter was referring to was when “there were collections of a few Pauline letters before there was a collection of all of his letters.” It is most likely that Peter’s first letter was written about 62-64 C.E., while Peter’s second letter was written about 64 C.E.[15] At the time Peter penned his second letter, several of Paul’s letters from the 50s were available to Peter. (Romans [56], 1 & 2 Corinthians [55], Galatians [50-52], and 1 & 2 Thessalonians [50, 51]) He could have had access to those from the early 60s as well. (Ephesians [60-61], Philippians [60-61], Colossians [60-61], Titus [61-64], Philemon [60-61], and Hebrews [61]) The only ones that were clearly unavailable would have been 1 & 2 Timothy [61, 64] and possibly Titus [61-64]. Thus, Peter’s reference to “in all his [Paul’s] letters, speaking in them of these things,” we garner several insight. It highly suggests (1) there were collections of Paul’s letters, (2) Peter and the early church viewed them as “Scripture” in the same sense as the Old Testament Scriptures, (3) which were not to be changed, and that (4) apostolic author’s written works were being collected and preserved for posterity.

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Second-Century Manuscripts: Once we enter the second-century almost all firsthand witnesses of Jesus Christ would have died, and most of the younger traveling companions, fellow workers and students of the apostles would be getting up there in age. However, there were some, like Polycarp, who was born to Christian parents about 69 C.E. in Asia Minor, in Smyrna. As he grew into a man, he was known for his kindness, self-discipline, compassionate treatment of others, and thorough study of God’s Word. Soon enough he became an elder in the Christian congregation at Smyrna. Polycarp was very fortunate to live in a time, where he was able to learn from the apostles themselves. In fact, the apostle John was one of his teachers. “By any standard, Polycarp must be reckoned as one of the more notable figures in the early postapostolic church. Already bishop of Smyrna in Asia Minor when his friend and mentor, Ignatius of Antioch [c. 35 C.E. – c. 108 C.E.], addressed one of his letters to him (ca. A.D. 110; cf. above, p. 131), he died a martyr’s death (see the Martyrdom of Polycarp) several decades later at age eighty-six (ca. 155–160), having served as bishop for at least forty and possibly sixty or more years. Irenaeus (who met Polycarp as a child) and Eusebius both considered him a significant link in the chain of orthodox apostolic tradition. His life and ministry spanned the time between the end of the apostolic era and the emergence of catholic [i.e., universal] Christianity, and he was deeply involved in the central issues and challenges of this critical era: the growing threat of persecution by the state, the emerging Gnostic movement (he is particularly known for his opposition to one of the movement’s most charismatic and theologically innovative teachers, Marcion), the development of the monepiscopal form of ecclesiastical organization, and the formation of the canon of the New Testament. Polycarp’s only surviving document[16] is a letter to the Philippians, written in response to a letter from them (cf. 3.1; 13.1). It reveals, in addition to a direct and unpretentious style and a sensitive pastoral manner, a deep indebtedness to the Scriptures (in the form of the Septuagint) and early Christian writings, including 1 Clement (with which Polycarp seems to be particularly familiar).[17] While apparently no New Testament books are cited as “Scripture” (the reference to Ephesians in 12.1 is a possible exception), the manner in which Polycarp refers to them indicates that he viewed them as authoritative documents.[18]

Christ “gave gifts to men.” “He gave some as apostles, and some as prophets, and some as evangelists, and some as pastors and teachers.” (Eph. 4:8, 11-13, NASB) The Father moved these inspired ones along by Holy Spirit, as they set forth God’s Word for the Christian congregation, “to stir [them] up by way of reminder,” repeating many things already written in the Scriptures. (2 Pet. 1:12-13; 3:1; Rom 15:15) Thus, then, we have internal New Testament evidence from Second Peter of about 64 C.E. that “there were collections of a few Pauline letters before there was a collection of all of his letters.” Outside of Scripture, we find evidence of a collection of at least ten of Pauline letters that were collected together by 90-100 C.E.[19] We can be certain that the early Christians were collecting the inspired Christian Scriptures as early as the middle of the first century C.E. to the early second century C.E.

Clement of Rome (c. 96 C.E.) was acquainted with Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth, saying Paul wrote under the inspiration of the Spirit. We have Clement of Rome (c. 30-100 C.E.), Polycarp of Smyrna (69-155 C.E.), Ignatius of Antioch (c. 35 C.E. – c. 108 C.E.), who wove Scripture of the Greek New Testament in with their writings, showing their view of them as inspired Scripture. Justin Martyr, who died about 165 C.E., used the expression “it is written” when quoting from Matthew. Theophilus of Antioch who died about 181 C.E., declared “concerning the righteousness which the law enjoined, confirmatory utterances are found both with the prophets and in the Gospels because they all spoke inspired by one Spirit of God.”[20] Theophilus then uses such expressions as “says the Gospel” (quoting Matt, 5:28, 32, 44, 46; 6:3) and “the divine word gives us instructions, in order that “we may lead a quiet and peaceable life.”[21] And it teaches us to render all things to all,[22] “honour to whom honour, fear to whom fear, tribute to whom tribute; to owe no man anything, but to love all.”[23]

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Once we get to into the middle to the end of the second century C.E., it now comes down to whether those who came before would stress the written documents as Scripture by

  • the apostles, who had been personally selected by Jesus (Matthew, John, and Peter),
  • Paul, who was later selected as an apostle by the risen Jesus himself,
  • the half-brothers of Jesus Christ (James and Jude),
  • as well as Mark and Luke, who were close associates and traveling companions of Paul and Peter.

We can see from the above that this largely was the case. We know that major church leaders across the Roman Empire had done just that. We know that Irenaeus of Asia Minor (180 C.E.) fully accepted 25 of 27 books of the New Testament but had some doubt about Hebrews and uncertain about James. We know that Clement of Alexandria (190 C.E.) fully accepted 26 of 27 books of the New Testament but may not have been aware of 3 John. We know that Tertullian of North Africa (207 C.E.) fully accepted 24 of 27 books but may not have been aware of 2, 3 John, or Jude. We know that Origen of Alexandria (230 C.E.) and Eusebius of Palestine (320 C.E.) fully accepted 27 of 27 books of the New Testament books. It has been estimated that by the close of the second century C.E., there were over 60,000 copies of major parts of the Greek New Testament in existence. This is an enormous number, even if it was only one in every fifty professing Christians, who possessed a copy.

However, would there be evidence that these church leaders running back to the days of the apostles would influence the copyists? In addition, were the copyists professionals? In other words, even if some of the copyists did not see the documents as Scripture, would the church leaders and long-standing traditions motivate them to copy them with accuracy? In addition, would the professional scribe copy accurately even if he did not view them as Scripture? Additionally, if the scribe did view the texts as Scripture, the inspired Word of God, was it plenary inspiration (every word), or that the meaning was inspired? Generally, speak, from what we know about the Alexandrian scribes, they would have sought to reproduce an accurate copy regardless of their views. We can say that there were other scribes, who saw the message as inspired; thus, their focus was not on retaining every single word, nor word order. It seems that they felt they could alter the words without damaging the intended meaning of the author. These copyists added and removed words here and there, rearranged words, and substituted words, all in the name of improving the text but not intending to alter the meaning. It has to be mentioned that there were some untrained copyists, who simply produced inaccurate copies, regardless of how they viewed the text.

Then, there are those scribes who willfully altered the text, with the intention of improving the text. Some were seeking to harmonize the gospel accounts. An extreme example would be Tatian, a noteworthy, apologetic writer of the second century C.E. In an account of his conversion to nominal Christianity, Tatian claims, “I sought how I might be able to discover the truth,” which gives us his intent. About 170 C.E., Tatian compiled a harmonized account of the life and ministry of Jesus Christ, combining the four Gospels into a single narrative (Diatessaron means “of the four”). Another one who willfully revised the New Testament was Lucian of Antioch (c. 240-312 C.E.). Lucian produced the Syrian text, renamed Byzantine text. About 290 C.E., some of his associates, made various subsequent alterations, which deliberately combined elements from earlier types of text, and this text was adopted about 380 C.E. At Constantinople, it became the predominant form of the New Testament throughout the Greek-speaking world. The text was also edited, harmonizing parallel accounts, grammar corrections, modifying abrupt transitions, to produce a smooth text. Nevertheless, this was not a faithfully accurate copy. Still, others willfully altered the text to have it support their doctrinal position. Marcion (c. 85-c. 160 C.E.), a semi-Gnostic of the second century C.E. is a leading example. In fact, the idea of forming a catalog of authoritative Christian writings did not come to mind until Marcion. One such catalog was the Muratorian Fragment, Italy (170 C.E.) The list shows 24 books of the New Testament as being accepted without question as Scriptural and canonical, some uncertainty of 2 Peter, and Hebrews and James was not listed, possibly unaware. In the end, we must admit that there were heretics that altered the text to get it to align with their doctrinal positions, but also orthodox Christians who also altered the text to strengthen their doctrinal positions.

Encouraged to action, these disciples of Jesus Christ sprang into a teaching (Gk katecheo), i.e., an instruction that ultimately spread out into every corner of the then known world. (Col. 1:23) You would have had a teacher practicing and preparing Jesus’ life and teachings, with his congregation orally, repeating, memorizing what had been taught by Jesus himself. The congregation would have then taken that from house to house while others like Paul and his other 100+ traveling companions, took the same message from city to city, and from country to country, preaching “the good news!” (Rom. 10:15) The good news was three-fold: (1) Christ’s ransom sacrifice, (2) his resurrection and hope for others, and (3) the Kingdom of God. – 1 Corinthians 15:1-3, 20-22, 50; James 2:5

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Scripture under Attack

Jesus had told his followers, “‘a slave is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will also persecute you. If they kept my word, they will keep yours also.’” (John 15:20) Certainly, the growth of Christianity from 120 disciples on Pentecost 33 C.E. to over one million by the middle of the second century was a frightening thought to the pagan mind as well as Judaism. Thus, shortly after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ, the pagan population, Judaism and the Roman government began the very persecution of which Jesus had warned. However, it was in the fourth century, under the Roman Emperor Diocletian, a program of persecution began with the intent of wiping out Christianity. In 303 C.E., Diocletian spread a series of progressively harsh edicts against Christians. This brought about what some historians have called “The Great Persecution.”

Diocletian’s first edict ordered the burning of copies of the Scriptures and the destruction of Christian houses of worship. Harry Y. Gamble wrote, “Diocletian’s edict of 303 ordering the confiscation and burning of Christian books is itself important evidence, in both its assumptions and results. At the start of the fourth century, Diocletian took it for granted that every Christian community, wherever it might be, had a collection of books and knew that those books were essential to its viability.” (Gamble 1995, 150) Church historian Eusebius of Caesarea, Palestine, in his Ecclesiastical History, reported, “all things in truth were fulfilled in our day, when we saw with our very eyes the houses of prayer cast down to their foundations from top to bottom, and the inspired and sacred Scriptures committed to the flames in the midst of the market-places.” (Cruse 1998, VIII, 1. 9-11.1) The Christians who were most affected by the persecution lived in Palestine, Egypt, and North Africa. In fact, just three months after Diocletian’s edict, the mayor of the North African city of Cirta, which was destroyed in the beginning of the 4th century and was rebuilt by the Roman Emperor Constantine the Great, is said to have ordered the Christians to give up all of their “writings of the law” and “copies of scripture.” It is quite clear that the intent of Diocletian and local leaders was to wipe out the Word of God.

The authorities had many Christians who obey the decrees by handing over their copies of the Scriptures. Nevertheless, some refused to give up their copies of God’s Word. Bishop Felix of Thibiuca (d. 303 C.E.) in Africa was martyred during the Great Persecution alongside Audactus, Fortunatus, Januarius, and Septimus.[24] Felix resisted the command of the local magistrate Magnillian (Lat. Magnillianus) to surrender his congregation’s copies of the Christian Scriptures. One account has Felix and the others being taken to Carthage and decapitated on July 15, 303 C.E. Other Christian leaders deceived the leaders by handing in their pagan writings, safeguarding their Scriptures.

The Diocletian persecution was, in the end, unsuccessful. Many Christian libraries escaped the persecution of Diocletian. Two of our best collections today, the Beatty and Bodmer papyri survived the fires. Alfred Chester Beatty (1875-1968), at the age of 32 had amassed a fortune. As a collector of books, he had Over 50 papyrus codices, both religious and secular, which are dated earlier than the fourth century C.E. There are seven consisting of portions of Old Testament books, three consisting of portions of the New Testament (P45 c. 250, P46 c. 175–225, and P47 c. 250-300). Martin Bodmer (1899-1971) was also a wealthy collector, who discovered twenty-two papyri in Egypt in 1952, which contained parts from the Old and New Testaments, as well as other early Christian literature. Particularly noteworthy are the New Testament Bodmer papyri, which consists of P66 dating to c. 200 C.E. and P75 dating to c. 175 C.E. Many in rural Egypt would have heard of the persecution in Alexandria, likely making great efforts to remove their manuscripts from their congregations, hiding them until the persecution lifted.

The men known as the readers in the early Christian congregations, who read from the Scriptures during the meeting, carried the burden of preserving the Word of God beyond preserving accurate copies.[25] They also would have guarded them during times of persecution. Because of the mass persecution against Alexandria, Egypt,[26] we owe the primary preservation of our New Testament manuscripts to those congregations within rural Egypt. During times of persecution, manuscripts would not have been housed in the congregation but rather would have been hidden in homes. Because of the dry sands of Egypt, the professional scribal practices, the courage of the Christians, we not only owe the Egyptian Christians for the preservation of the New Testament but also for the original words that made up the New Testament. If we look at the manuscripts copied right after the Diocletian persecution (codex Vaticanus and Sinaitic c. 350 C.E.), they are reflective of the manuscripts from rural Egypt that survived, such as P4, 64, 67 from Coptos, P13 from Oxyrhynchus, and P46 from Fayum and P75 from Abu Mana. (P. W. Comfort 1992, 16-17)

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Literacy in the First Century

In recent years, a number of scholars have suggested that Jesus could not read, that in all likelihood none of his disciples could read either. They say this because of studies that have concluded that rates of literacy in the Roman Empire were quite low and that Jesus and his earliest followers were probably not exceptions.[27]

Now let us offer some basic comments about the literacy level in the first century. Literacy in the first century was determined by being able to read, not write. The need for writing today is far greater than antiquity. Richards offers a great analogy in that ‘I am right handed, so to pen a long paper with my left hand would be quite difficult, and not very legible. The man of antiquity would write with the same difficulty because there was seldom a need to write.’ (Richards 2004, 28) Some scholars argue that the lower class was almost all illiterate. However, this is not really the case, as literacy was more every day than they are suggesting.[28] Nevertheless, let us give them the benefit of the doubt, and say that illiteracy was very high among the lower class, and even relatively high among the upper class, which might pay for that service.

What does that say about individual Christians throughout the Roman Empire? It is believed that more than one hundred million people lived in the combined eastern and western Roman Empire (100 C.E.). Now, let us say that statistically, the literacy rate is low in a certain region, or in a certain city, like Rome. Does that mean that everyone is illiterate in that region or city? Do we equate the two? If we accept these Bible scholar’s belief that the lower class were likely to be illiterate, meaning they cannot write, or struggle to write; what does this really mean for Christianity? Nothing. Because if 100 million people are living throughout the Roman Empire and only one million of them was Christian in 125 C.E., we are only talking one percent of the population. There is no way to judge the level of literacy for this tiny selection, because of a statistic, in a time period when history focused on the prominent. If a person that lived in that period writes about the lower class and their literacy level, this is only based on the sphere of who he knows or what he has seen in his life, which would be very small when compared to the whole. Textual and early Christianity scholar, Phillip Comfort informs us that:

Thousands and thousands of people heard the word from Jesus himself. In ancient times, the method of oral publication was far more effective than written publication. Books were expensive to make, and many people did not read. Most relied on oral proclamation and aural reception to receive messages. Indeed, most education was based upon oral delivery and aural reception/ memorization to transmit texts. Thus, Jesus taught his disciples orally, and they committed his teachings to memory. … Each New Testament disciple considered himself or herself to be like the kerux—a herald and publisher of the Good News.

Paul called himself “a herald and an apostle” (1 Tim. 2:7; 2 Tim. 1:11), for it was his function as an apostle to be a herald. Paul and the other New Testament apostles had a common proclamation (kerygma) to take to the world. This proclamation was a “publishing” of the death, resurrection, and exaltation of Jesus. At first, the publishing was oral—via preaching in various cities throughout the Greco-Roman world. Eventually, the publishing was both oral and written—via the writings of the apostles, which were proclaimed in churches throughout the world. As can be gathered from the book of Acts and the writings of Paul, the basic kerygma always focused on Jesus’ resurrection.

The early apostles proclaimed this kerygma to all the believers. At the same time, they rehearsed the deeds and words of Jesus. Thus, the first-century Christians initially received an oral presentation of the gospel from the apostles who had been with Jesus (see Acts 2:42) and then, written documents that preserved the oral and perpetuated the apostolic tradition (see Luke 1:1–4). The oral proclamation was considered a form of catechetical instruction (from the Greek word katecheo; see BAGD, 423)—a teacher rehearsing Jesus’ words and deeds, with the congregation orally repeating what was taught and committing it to memory. (This was the way nearly all teaching occured in hellenistic times.) According to Galatians 6:6, the teachers in the early church were considered the catechists, the oral proclaimers of the word (see also 1 Cor. 14:19). According to the preface to his Gospel (1:1–4), Luke wanted to affirm, via the written word, what Theophilus had already been taught by catechism—i.e., oral recitation. Thus, the written word in Luke’s Gospel was the inscribed replication of the oral proclamation. (P. Comfort, Encounterring the Manuscripts: An Introduction to New Testament Paleography and Textual Criticism 2005, pp. 3-4)

Codex Vaticanus
Codex Vaticanus (“Book from the Vatican”), Facsimile, Fourth century. It is one of the earliest manuscripts of the Bible, which includes the Greek translation of the bulk of the Hebrew Scriptures as well as most of the Christian Greek Scriptures.

The early Christians saw a need almost immediately as they wanted to distribute the Scriptures to the far-flung areas, as well as have them in a format that would make them convenient for reference. Thus, the early Christians popularized the codex form of manuscripts, as opposed to the scrolls. A codex is similar to our modern-day book form, in which the leaves are made into a bundle of sheets folded together for binding into a book, especially a four-sheet bundle, folded once to make eight leaves or sixteen pages. Several of these would be sewn together, depending on the size of the book needed. Several benefits came with the transition from scroll to codex. First, it would have been far easier to reference a portion of text by turning into a book, as opposed to unrolling a large scroll. If the New Testament books had been in scroll form, the Bible books would have remained separate. Because they were in codex form, the four gospels were joined, and later the book of Acts to the gospels, the fourteen books by Paul was joined, and eventually, all twenty-seven books were joined. The early Christians were innovators in the use of the codex. They may even have devised it. While non-Christian writers only gradually embraced the codex, the vast majority of Christian papyri of the second and third centuries are in codex form.

How can we, modern-day readers, know so much about letters from the ancient Roman Empire? We have two different sources that provide us some insight into the writer and his letters. Lucius or Marcus Annaeus Seneca, known as Seneca the Elder (54 B.C.E.-39 C.E.), who was a Roman rhetorician and writer, born of a wealthy equestrian family of Cordoba, Hispania. Seneca lived through the reigns of three significant emperors; Augustus, Tiberius, and Caligula. Why are we interested in such a man from so long ago? It is his letters that interest us. These letters of Seneca were published, which meant that someone paid to have a scribe produce a copy of them. As was the case with many works of antiquity, the process was repeated over and over again throughout the centuries. Today, we have critical editions of them.

Our other source for insight into the development of the letter writing process comes from letters of ordinary people, uncovered by archaeologists. These were never published as they were simply discarded after they served their purpose. In many cases, in order to save on costs, these ones would simply flip a letter over and use the other side for something else. Nevertheless, many ended up in garbage dumps. However, some recipients of these letters valued them, so they stored them away like some treasure. Therefore, when archaeologists uncovered homes, these letters would be found within the ruins of the home. In some cases, they were even buried with the person because they were so valued. Hundreds of thousands of letters have been discovered over the past century by archaeologists. These were simply common folk, writing about everyday things.

Most of us have likely heard of Marcus Tullius Cicero, or simply as Cicero (106 B.C.E.–43 B.C.E.), who was a Roman philosopher, politician, lawyer, orator, political theorist, consul, and constitutionalist. He came from a wealthy municipal family in Rome. In his everyday affairs, he penned letters in order to correspond with others. However, Cicero was writing letters to one person but knew that others would be reading them as well. Therefore, he chose to use this opportunity to use his writing, so that it communicated its point persuasively, such as logic and reason, philosophical arguments, and the like. His letters grew from very short letters, too far longer intricate rhetorical letters.

We find yet another famous Roman named Seneca in the days of the apostle Paul. He was the second son of Seneca the Elder. Lucius Annaeus Seneca, or simply Seneca the Younger (c. 4 B.C.E.–65 C.E.), who was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, and dramatist, i.e., a very famous, skilled and capable speaker. As for written works, Seneca is known for twelve philosophical essays, one hundred twenty-four letters to Lucilius Junior, nine tragedies,  and a satire, which is uncertain. Seneca was a famed Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, of the Silver Age of Latin literature. Like his two predecessors of letter writing, he developed this new pattern even more so. In his letters to his friend Lucilius, dealing with moral issues, he too delved into philosophical ideas, setting aside the simple and bare letters of the day, for something far more complex.

In a similar way, the apostle Paul likely came to the same conclusion, as he could not be everywhere all the time. Therefore, Paul used personal letters and personable carriers as a substitute until he could visit. He produced through his scribe Tertius about 433 verses, 7,111 words in the book of Romans, which would have taken two days to make a copy. Then, again, he also penned a personal letter to Philemon, which was only about 25 verses, 335 words, and likely would have fit on one papyrus sheet. Like the skilled rhetoricians before him, Paul knew that many others would be reading his letters. In fact, he exhorted them to do so. – Colossians 4:16.

We should also note that the level of literacy in the first century is somewhat subjective, because of the limited evidence that is available, as well as one’s interpretation of that evidence. Let us take a moment to look at the historian today, as compared to the historian during the first few centuries of Christianity. Today, we are capable of covering almost anything that goes on in life, from the most insignificant to the most noteworthy. We in the United States may watch live on CNN as some firefighters in New Zealand rescue a puppy that had been trapped in a storm drain. Then again, we can observe a 9.0 earthquake as it hits Japan, causing the deaths of over 15,000 people.

English Bible Versions English Bible Versions English Bible Versions English Bible Versions

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What about the first few centuries of Jesus, the Apostles, and the earliest Christians? The coverage of people, places, and events are not even remotely comparable. The coverage at that time was of the most prominent people, like Seneca the Elder, Cicero, Seneca the Younger, Mark Antony, and Augustus, i.e., the emperor of Rome, senators, generals, the wealthy, with very little press being given to the lower officials, let alone the lower class. We do not have much on Pontius Pilate at all, but what we do have is an exception to the rule.

History from antiquity, then, is recoverable but incomplete due to the limited extent and frequently tendentious nature of the sources. Ancient historiography, more than its modern counterpart, is to a greater degree approximate or provisional. A new discovery may alter previous perceptions. Until the discovery of Claudius’s Letter to the Alexandrians, written on his accession in 41 but lost until modern times, that emperor’s steely resolve could not have been guessed. In short, evidence from Greco-Roman antiquity is fragmentary, generally devoted to “important” people and events and its texts overtly “interpreted.” (Barnett 2005, 13)

Literacy in the first century was determined by being able to read, not write.[29] The need for writing today is far greater than antiquity. Apologies for being repetitive, but Richards offers a great analogy when he says, “I am right handed, so to pen a long paper with my left hand would be quite difficult, and not very legible. The man of antiquity would write with the same difficulty because the need to write was so seldom.”[30] This author finds this to be true of himself, now that we have entered an era of texting and typing. I have not written a paper by hand in years. When I fill out a form or even sign my name, I struggle to write, because it is so seldom. Many have argued that the lower class was almost all illiterate. However, recent research shows that this was not the case,[31] as literacy was more every day than they had been suggesting.[32] However, let us give them the benefit of the doubt, and say that literacy was very low among the lower class, and even relatively low among the upper class, which had the ability to pay for the service.

What does that say about individual Christians throughout the Roman Empire? It is believed that more than 30–40 million people lived in the combined eastern and Western Roman Empire (50–200 C.E.). Now, let us say that statistically, the literacy rate is low in a certain area, or in a certain city, like Rome (slave population). Does that mean that everyone is illiterate in that region or city? Do we equate the two? If we accept the belief that the lower class were likely to be illiterate, meaning they cannot write, or struggle to write; what does this really mean for Christianity? Very little. Because if there are 100 million people living throughout the then known world and one million of them were Christian by 125-150 C.E., we are only talking one or two percent of the population. There is no way to arrive at an exact statistical level of literacy for this tiny selection, in a time period when history focused on the prominent. If a person from that period says anything about the lower class, this is only based on the sphere of who he knows or what he has seen in his life, which would be very small when compared to the whole. The last 20 years or so has seen many new directions in the field of literacy in the Ancient world. Johnson and Parker offer the following,

The moment seems right, therefore, to try to formulate more interesting, productive ways of talking about the conception and construction of ‘literacies’ in the ancient world―literacy not in the sense of whether 10 percent or 30 percent of people in the ancient world could read or write, but in the sense of text-oriented events embedded in particular sociocultural contexts. The volume in your hands [ANCIENT LITERACIES] was constructed as a forum in which selected leading scholars were challenged to rethink from the ground up how students of classical antiquity might best approach the question of literacy, and how that investigation might materially intersect with changes in the way that literacy is now viewed in other disciplines. The result is intentionally pluralistic: theoretical reflections, practical demonstrations, and combinations of the two share equal space in the effort to chart a new course. Readers will come away, with food for thought of many types: new ways of thinking about specific elements of literacy in antiquity, such as the nature of personal libraries, or the place and function of bookshops in antiquity; new constructivist questions, such as what constitutes reading communities and how they fashion themselves; new takes on the public sphere, such how literacy intersects with commercialism, or with the use of public spaces, or with the construction of civic identity; new essentialist questions, such as what “book” and “reading” signify in antiquity, why literate cultures develop, or why literate cultures matter. (Johnson and Parker 2011, 3-4)

REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES REASONING WITH OTHER RELIGIONS APOLOGETICS

Literacy and Early Jewish Education

The first seven years (29-36 C.E.), three and a half with Jesus’ ministry and three and a half after his ascension, only Jewish people became disciples of Christ and formed the newly founded Christian congregation. In 36 C.E. the first gentile was baptized, Cornelius.[33] From their forward Gentiles came into the Christian congregations. However, it still was largely Jewish persons leaving Judaism, and becoming Christians. What do we know of the Jewish family, as far as education? Within the nation of Israel, everyone was strongly encouraged to be literate. The texts of Deuteronomy 6:8-9 and 11:20 were figurative, not to be taken literally. However, figurative language is to be taken literally. We are to ascertain what was meant by the figurative language, and that meaning is what we take literally.

Deuteronomy 6:8-9 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

You shall bind them [God’s Word] as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontlets bands between your eyes.[34] You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates.

Deuteronomy 11:20 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

20 You shall write them on the doorposts of your house and on your gates,

The command to bind God’s Word “as a sign on your hand,” denoted constant remembrance and attention. The command that the Word of God was “to be as frontlet bands between your eyes,” denoted that the Law should be kept before their eyes constantly, so that wherever they looked, whatever was before them, they would see the law before them. Therefore, while figurative, these texts implied that Jewish children grew up, being taught how to read and to write. The Gezer Calendar (ancient Hebrew writing), dates to the 10th-century B.C.E., is believed to be a schoolboy’s memory exercise by some scholars.

Philo of Alexandria (20 B.C.E.–50 C. E.) was a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher, whose first language was Greek, had this to say about Jewish parents, and how they taught their Children the Law, as well as how to read it. Philo stated, “All men guard their own customs, but this is especially true of the Jewish nation. Holding that the laws are oracles vouchsafed by God and having been trained [paideuthentes] in this doctrine from their earliest years, they carry the likenesses of the commandments enshrined in their souls.” (Borgen 1997, 187) This certainly involved the ability to read and write to a competent level. Josephus (37-100 C.E.), the first-century Jewish historian, writes,  “Our principal care of all is this, to educate our children [paidotrophian] well; and we think it to be the most necessary business of our whole life to observe the laws that have been given us, and to keep those rules of piety that have been delivered down to us.” (Whiston 1987, Against Apion 1.60) Even allowing for an overemphasis for apologetic purposes. Clearly, Jesus was carefully grounded in the Word of God (Hebrew Old Testament), as was true of other Jews of the time. Josephus also says,

“but for our people, if anybody do but ask any one of them about our laws, he will more readily tell them all than he will tell his own name, and this in consequence of our having learned them immediately as soon as ever we became sensible of anything, and of our having them, as it were engraven on our souls. Our transgressors of them are but few; and it is impossible, when any do offend, to escape punishment.” (Whiston 1987, Against Apion 2.178) He also says: “[the Law] also commands us to bring those children up in learning [grammata paideuein] and to exercise them in the laws, and make them acquainted with the acts of their predecessors, in order to their imitation of them, and that they may be nourished up in the laws from their infancy, and might neither transgress them, nor yet have any pretense for their ignorance of them.” (Whiston 1987, Against Apion 2.204) Again, this is clearly involving at a minimum the ability to read and write to a competent level.

From the above, we find that the Jewish family education revolved around the study of the Mosaic Law. If their children were going to live by the Law, they must know what it says, as well as understand it. If they were going to know and understand the Law, this would require the ability to read it, and hopefully apply it. Emil Schurer writes: “All zeal for education in the family, the school and the synagogue aimed at making the whole people a people of the law. The common man too was to know what the law commanded, and not only to know but to do it. His whole life was to be ruled according to the norm of the law; obedience thereto was to become a fixed custom, and departure therefrom an inward impossibility. On the whole, this object was to a great degree attained.” (Schurer 1890, Vol. 4, p. 89) Scott writes that “from at least the time of Ezra’s reading of the law (Neh. 8), education was a public process; study of the law was the focus of Jewish society as a whole. It was a lifelong commitment for all men. It began with the very young. The Mishnah[35] requires that children be taught ‘therein one year or two years before [they are of age], that they may become versed in the commandments.’ Other sources set different ages for beginning formal studies, some as early as five years.”[36] (Scott 1995, 257)

It may be that both Philo and Josephus are presenting their readers with an idyllic picture, and what they have to say could possibly refer primarily to well-off Jewish families, who could afford formal education. However, this would be a bit shortsighted for the Israelites had long been a people that valued the ability to read and write competently. In the apocryphal account of 4 Maccabees 18:10-19, a mother addresses her seven sons, who would be martyred, reminding them of their father’s teaching. There is nothing in the account to suggest that they were from a well-off family. Herein the mother referred to numerous historical characters throughout the Old Testament and quoted from numerous books. – Isaiah 43.2; Psalm 34:19; Proverbs 3:18; Ezekiel 37:3; Deuteronomy 32:39.

Jesus would have received his education from three sources. As was made clear from the above, Joseph, Jesus’ stepfather would have played a major role in his education. Paul said that young Timothy was trained in “the sacred writings” by his mother, Eunice, and his grandmother Lois. (2 Tim. 1:5; 3:15) Certainly, if Timothy received education in the law from his mother because his Father was a Greek (Acts 16:1), no doubt Jesus did as well after Joseph fell asleep in death.

Jesus would have also received education in the Scriptures from the attendant at the Synagogue. In the first-century C.E., the synagogue was a place of instruction, not a place of sacrifices. The people carried out their sacrifices to God at the temple. The exercises within the synagogue covered such areas as praise, prayer, recitation, and reading of the Scriptures, in addition to expository preaching. – Mark 12:40; Luke 20:47

Before any instruction in the holy laws and unwritten customs are taught… from their swaddling clothes by parents and teachers and educators to believe in God, the one Father and Creator of the world. (Philo Legatio ad Gaium 115.)

The Mishnah tells us the age that this formal instruction would have begun, “At five years old one is fit for the scripture… at thirteen for the commandments.” (Mishnah Abot 5.21.) Luke 4:20 tells of the time Jesus stood to read from the scroll of Isaiah in the synagogue in Nazareth, once finished, “he rolled up the scroll and gave it back to the attendant.” An attendant such as this one would have educated Jesus, starting at the age of five. As Jesus grew up in Nazareth, he “increased in wisdom and in stature and in favor with God and man.” (Lu 2:52) Jesus and his half-brothers and sisters would have been known to the people of the city of Nazareth, which was nothing more than a village in Jesus’ day. “As was his custom, [Jesus] went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day,” each week. (Matt. 13:55, 56; Lu. 4:16) While Jesus would have been an exceptional student, unlike anything that the Nazareth synagogue would have ever seen, we must keep in mind that the disciples would have been going through similar experiences as they grew up in Galilee. A strong emphasis was laid on the need for every Jew to have an accurate knowledge of the Law. Josephus wrote,

for he [God] did not suffer the guilt of ignorance to go on without punishment, but demonstrated the law to be the best and the most necessary instruction of all others, permitting the people to leave off their other employments, and to assemble together for the hearing of the law, and learning it exactly, and this not once or twice, or oftener, but every week; which thing all the other legislators seem to have neglected. (Whiston 1987, Against Apion 2.175)

The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching. Jesus answered him, “I have spoken openly to the world. I have always taught in synagogues and in the temple, where all Jews come together. I have said nothing in secret.” (John 18:19-20) We know that another source of knowledge and wisdom of Jesus came from the Father. Jesus said, “My teaching is not mine, but his who sent me,” i.e., the Father. – John 7:16.

Mark 1:22 English Standard Version (ESV)

22 And they were astonished at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.

Mark 1:27 English Standard Version (ESV)

27 And they were all amazed, so that they questioned among themselves, saying, “What is this? A new teaching with authority!

At first, in the days of Ezra and Nehemiah, the priests served as scribes. (Ezra 7:1-6) The scribes referred to here in the Gospel of Mark are more than a copyist of Scripture. These ones were professionally trained scholars, who were experts in the Mosaic Law. As was said above, a great emphasis was laid on the need for every Jew to have an accurate knowledge of the Law. Therefore, those who gave a great deal of their life and time to acquire an immense amount of knowledge were looked up to, becoming scholars, forming a group separate from the priests, creating a systematic study of the law, as well as its exposition, which became a professional occupation. By the time of Jesus, these ones were experts in more than the Mosaic Law (entire Old Testament actually) as they became experts on the previous experts from centuries past, quoting them as opposing to quoting Scripture. In other words, if there was any Scriptural decision to be made, these scribes quoted previous experts in the law, i.e., their comments on the law, as opposed to quoting applicable Scripture itself. These scribes were among the “teachers of the law,” also referred to as “lawyers.” (Lu 5:17; 11:45) The people were astonished and amazed at Jesus’ teaching and authority because he did not quote previous teachers of the law but rather referred to Scripture alone as his authority, along with his exposition.

THE GREAT TEACHER Jesus Christ THE APOSTLE PAUL CONVERSATION EVANGELISM

Jesus’ Childhood Visits to Jerusalem

Only one event from Jesus’ childhood is given to us, and it is found in the Gospel of Luke. We have addressed it earlier, so what lies below can serve as a refresher. It certainly adds heavy circumstantial evidence to the fact that Jesus could read and was literate.

Luke 2:41-47 Updated American standard Version (UASV)

41 Now His parents went to Jerusalem every year at the Feast of the Passover. 42 And when he [Jesus] was twelve years old, they went up according to the custom of the feast. 43 And after the days were completed, while they were returning, the boy Jesus stayed behind in Jerusalem. And his parents did not know it, 44 but supposing him to be in the company, they went a day’s journey; and they began looking for him among their relatives and acquaintances. 45 and when they did not find him, they returned to Jerusalem, looking for him. 46 Then, it occurred, after three days they found him in the temple, sitting in the midst of the teachers and listening to them and questioning them47 And all those listening to him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.

This was no 12-year-old boy’s questions of curiosity. The Greek word erotao is the Greek word for “ask,” “question,” and is a synonym of eperotao. The latter of the two was used by Luke and is much more demanding, as it means, “to ask a question, to question, interrogate someone, to questioning as used in judicial examination” and therefore could include counter questioning. Therefore, Jesus, at the age of twelve did not ask childlike questions, looking for answers, but was likely challenging the thinking of these Jewish religious leaders.

This incident is far more magnificent than one might first realize. Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament helps the reader to appreciate that the Greek word eperotao (to ask, to question, to demand of), for “questioning” was far more than the Greek word erotao (to ask, to request, to entreat), for a boy’s inquisitiveness. Eperotao can refer to questioning, which one might hear in a judicial hearing, such as a scrutiny, inquiry, counter questioning, even the “probing and cunning questions of the Pharisees and Sadducees,” for instance those we find at Mark 10:2 and 12:18-23.

The same dictionary continues: “In [the] face of this usage it may be asked whether . . . [Luke] 2:46 denotes, not so much the questioning curiosity of the boy, but rather His successful disputing. [Verse] 47 would fit in well with the latter view.” Rotherham’s translation of verse 47 presents it as a dramatic confrontation: “Now all who heard him were beside themselves, because of his understanding and his answers.” Robertson’s Word Pictures in the New Testament says that their constant amazement means, “they stood out of themselves as if their eyes were bulging out.”

After returning to Jerusalem, and three days of searching, Joseph and Mary found young Jesus in the temple, questioning the Jewish religious leaders, to which “they were astounded.” (Luke 2:48) Robertson said of this, “second aorist passive indicative of an old Greek word [ekplesso]), to strike out, drive out by a blow. Joseph and Mary ‘were struck out’ by what they saw and heard. Even they had not fully realized the power in this wonderful boy.”[37] Thus, at twelve years old, Jesus, but a boy, is already evidencing that he is a great teacher and defender of truth. BDAG says, “to cause to be filled with amazement to the point of being overwhelmed, amaze, astound, overwhelm (literally, Strike out of one’s senses).[38]

Some 18 years later, Jesus again, hit the Jewish Pharisees with these types of interrogative questions, so much so that not “anyone [of them] dare from that day on to ask him any more questions.” (Matthew 22:41-46) The Sadducees fared no better when Jesus quieted them when the resurrection was brought up, “And no one dared to ask him any more questions.” (Luke 20:27-40) The Scribes were silenced just the same after they got into an exchange with Jesus, “And from then on no one dared ask him any more questions.” (Mark 12:28-34) Clearly, this insight into Jesus’ life and ministry provide us with evidence that he had the ability to read very well and likely write. There is the fact that Jesus was also divine. However, he was also fully human, and he grew, progressing in wisdom, because of his studies in the Scriptures.

Luke 2:40, 51-52 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)

40 And the child continued growing and became strong, being filled with wisdom. And the favor of God was upon him.

51 And He went down with them and came to Nazareth, and He continued in subjection to them; and His mother treasured all these things in her heart.

52 And Jesus kept increasing in wisdom and stature, and in favor with God and men.

Jesus was often called ‘Rabbi,’ which was used in a real or genuine sense as “teacher.” (Mark 9:5; 11:21; 14:45; John 1:38, 49 etc.), ‘Rabbo(u)ni’ (Mark 10:51; John 20:16) as well as its Greek equivalents, ‘schoolmaster’ or ‘instructor’ (epistata; Luke 5:5; 8:24, 45; 9:33, 49; 17:13) or ‘teacher’ (didaskalos; Matt. 8:19; 9:11; 12:38; Mark 4:38; 5:35; 9:17; 10:17, 20; 12:14, 19, 32; Luke 19:39; John 1:38; 3:2). Jesus uses these same terms for himself, as well as his disciples, even his adversaries, and those with no affiliation.

Another inference that Jesus was literate comes from his constant reference to reading Scripture, when confronted by the Jewish religious leaders: law student, Pharisees, Scribes and the Sadducees. Jesus said, “said to them [Pharisees],“Have you not read what David did when he was hungry, and those who were with him … Or have you not read in the Law how on the Sabbath the priests in the temple profane the Sabbath and are guiltless? (Matt. 12:3, 5; Reference to 1 Sam 21:6 and Num 28:9) Again, Jesus answered,“Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female.” (Matt. 19:3; paraphrase of Gen 1:27) Jesus said to them, “Yes; have you never read, “‘Out of the mouth of infants and nursing babies     you have prepared praise’?” (Matt. 21:16; Quoting Psa. 8:2) Jesus said to them, “Have you never read in the Scriptures: “‘The stone that the builders rejected has become the cornerstone; this was the Lord’s doing, and it is marvelous in our eyes’? (Matt. 21:42; Reference to Isaiah 28:16) Jesus said to him,“What is written in the Law? How do you read it?” (Lu. 10:26) Many of these references or Scripture quotations are asked in such a way to his opponents; there is little doubt Jesus himself has read them. When Jesus asks in an interrogative way, “have you not read,” it was taken for granted that he had read them. Jesus referred to or quoted over 120 Scriptures in the dialogue that we have in the Gospels.

The data that have been surveyed are more easily explained in reference to a literate Jesus, a Jesus who could read the Hebrew Scriptures, could paraphrase and interpret them in Aramaic and could do so in a manner that indicated his familiarity with current interpretive tendencies in both popular circles (as in the synagogues) and in professional, even elite circles (as seen in debates with scribes, ruling priests and elders). Of course, to conclude that Jesus was literate is not necessarily to conclude that Jesus had received formal scribal training. The data do not suggest this. Jesus’ innovative, experiential approach to Scripture and to Jewish faith seems to suggest the contrary.[39]

How did Jesus gain such wisdom? Jesus, although divine was not born with this exceptional wisdom that he demonstrated at the age of twelve and kept increasing. It was acquired. (Deut. 17:18-19) This extraordinary wisdom was no exception to the norm, not even for the Son of God himself. (Luke 2:52) Jesus’ knowledge was acquired by his studying the Hebrew Old Testament, enabling him to challenge the thinking of the Jewish religious leaders with his questions at the age of twelve. Therefore, Jesus had to be very familiar with the Hebrew Old Testament, as well as the skill of reasoning from the Scriptures.

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Were the Apostle Peter and John Uneducated?

Acts 4:13 English Standard Version (ESV)

13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated, common men, they were astonished. And they recognized that they had been with Jesus.

Acts 4:13 New American Standard Bible (NASB)

13 Now as they observed the confidence of Peter and John and understood that they were uneducated and untrained men, they were amazed, and began to recognize them as having been with Jesus.

How are we to understand the statement that Peter and John were uneducated? (ESV, NASB, HCSB, LEB, and others) [unlettered (YLT) or unlearned (ASV)] This did not necessarily mean that they could not read and write, as the letters that were penned by these apostles (or their secretary) testify that they could. What this means is that they were not educated in higher learning of the Hebrew schools, such as studying under someone like Gamaliel, as was the case with Paul (Ac 5:34-39; 22:3).[40] The Greek words literally read καταλαβομενοι [having perceived] οτι [that] ανθρωποι [men] αγραμματοι [unlettered] εισιν [they are] και [and] ιδιωται [untrained]. This means that the disciples were not educated in the rabbinic schools. It did not mean that they were illiterate. In other words, they lacked scribal training. In addition, ιδιωται [untrained], simply means that in comparison to professionally trained scribes of their day, they were not specialists, i.e., were not trained or an expert in their scribal duties. This hardly constitutes the idea that they were illiterate.

It was the same reason that the Jewish religious leaders were surprised by the extensive knowledge that Jesus had. They said of him, “How is it that this man has learning when he has never studied?” (John 7:15) This is our best Scriptural evidence that Jesus could read. Let us break it down to what the religious leaders were really saying of Jesus. They asked πως [how] ουτος [this one] γραμματα [letters/writings] οιδεν [has known] μη [not] μεμαθηκως [have learned]. First, this is a reference to the fact that Jesus did not study at the Hebrew schools, i.e., scribal training. In other words, ‘how does this one [Jesus] have knowledge of letters/writings, when has not studied at the Hebrew schools. This question means more than Jesus’ ability to read because as we saw in the above Jewish children were taught to read.

Another example, Luke 4:16-30 says that Jesus “came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up. And as was his custom, he went to the synagogue on the Sabbath day, and he stood up to read. And the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him. He unrolled the scroll and” (Lu 4:16-17) Jesus was able to take the scroll of Isaiah and read what is now known as Isaiah 61:1-2. While the parallel account in Mark 6:1-6 does not refer to Jesus reading this text, scholars have long known; the Gospel writers shared the events through their eyes, i.e.; they drew attention to what stood out to them, and what went with their purpose for writing their Gospel accounts. In addition, while many Christians may want to mention the adulteress passage of John 7:53-8:11, where Jesus wrote something in the dust, it is not in the original but is simply an early tradition of something that may have happened.

Within the Roman Empire from the first to the fourth century, we find public writings in and throughout all of the cities. It encompasses inscriptions, which are “dedications, lists of names, imperial decrees, statements or reminders of law, quotations of famous men and even rather pedestrian things, such as directions. Many gravestones and tombs are inscribed with more than the name of the deceased; some have lengthy, even poetic obituaries; others have threats and curses against grave robbers (literate ones, evidently!). The impression one gains is that everybody was expected to be able to read; otherwise, what was the point of all of these expensive inscriptions, incised on stone?”[41] This impression does not end with inscriptions, because archaeology can extrapolate that between the fourth and sixth centuries C.E., millions upon millions of document came out of Oxyrhynchus, one city, based on the more than 1.5 million documents found in their garbage dumps. Of these five hundred thousand have been recovered.

The Library of Celsus (45-ca. 120 C.E.) is an ancient Roman building in Ephesus (completed in 135 C.E.), which contained some 12,000 scrolls. The library was also built as a monumental tomb for Celsus. He is buried in a stone coffin beneath the library. The Ancient Library of Alexandria, Egypt (third-century to 30 B.C.E.), was one of the largest and most significant libraries of the ancient world. Most of the books were kept as papyrus scrolls. King Ptolemy II Philadelphus (309–246 B.C.E.) is believed to have set 500,000 scrolls as a goal for the library. Apparently, by the first century C.E., the library contained one million scrolls. The Library of Pergamum (Asia Minor) was one of the most significant libraries in the ancient world. It is said to have housed roughly 200,000 volumes. Historical records say that the library had a large main reading room. We have not even mentioned Rome, Athens, Corinth, Antioch (Syria), and the rest. The Mediterranean world from Alexander the Great (356-323 B.C.E.) to Constantine the Great (272-337 C.E.), some 700 years, saw hundreds of major libraries, with thousands of moderate to minor ones, with hundreds of millions of documents being written and read. Certainly, this does not suggest illiteracy but literacy.

Some point to secular historians like “Celsus,[42] the first writer against Christianity, makes it a matter of mockery, that labourers, shoemakers, farmers, the most uninformed and clownish of men, should be zealous preachers of the Gospel.”[43]  Paul explained it this way: “For consider your calling, brothers: not many of you were wise according to worldly standards, not many were powerful, not many were of noble birth. But God chose what is foolish in the world to shame the wise; God chose what is weak in the world to shame the strong” (1 Cor. 1:26-27) It seems that these so-called illiterate Christians were able to go from 120 in Jerusalem about 33 C.E., to some one million by 100 C.E., a mere 67 years. This growth in the Christian population, all came about because they effectively evangelized, using the Septuagint (Greek Old Testament). They were so effective with the Septuagint; the Jews abandoned it and went back to the Hebrew Old Testament.

Celsus was an enemy of Christianity. In addition, as was stated above, what Celsus observed is only within the sphere of his personal experiences. How many Christians could he have known out of almost a million at the time of his writing? Moreover, although not highly educated in schools, it need not be assumed that most or all of the early Christians were illiterate, in that they could read and write (with difficulty).

Let us return to Peter and John. We will give the historian the benefit of the doubt, who says that literacy was between five and ten percent, with most being men. We will accept that Peter and John were illiterate in the sense the historian believes it to be true (even though they likely were not). At the time of this statement in Acts about being “uneducated” (i.e., unlettered) it was about 33 C.E.[44] Peter would not pen his first letter for about 30 more years. Throughout those 30 years, Peter progressed spiritually, maturing into the position of being one of the leaders of the entire first-century Christian congregation. A few years later, Peter and John are viewed as developing and growing into their new position, as leaders in the Jerusalem congregation, as Paul said of them, “James and Cephas and John, who seemed to be pillars” of the community. John, on the other hand, did not pen his books until about 60 years after Acts 4:13. Are we to assume that he too had not grown in 60 years? What made education in the first century more universal?

After the conquests of Alexander the Great and the extension of Macedonian rule in the fourth-century B.C.E., a transferal of people from Greece proper to the small Greek communities in the Middle East took place. Throughout what became known as the Hellenistic period, the Attic dialect, spoken by the educated classes as well as by the traders and many settlers, became the language common to all the Middle East. From about 300 B.C.E. to about 500 C.E. was the age of Koine, or common Greek, a combination of divergent Greek dialects of which Attic was the most significant. Koine fast became the universal language. It had a tremendous advantage over the other languages of this period, in that it was almost unanimously known. Koine means the common language, or dialect common to all. The Greek vocabulary of the Old Testament Translation, the Septuagint was the current Koine of Alexandria, Egypt, from 280 to 150 B.C.E. Everett Ferguson writes,

A higher level of education. Literacy became more general, and education spread. Both abstract thought and practical intelligence were enhanced in a greater proportion of the population. This change coincided with the spread of Greek language and ideas, so that the level and extent of communication and intelligibility became significant. (Ferguson 2003, 14)

Education was voluntary, but elementary schools at least were widespread. The indications, especially on the evidence of the papyri, are that the literacy rate of Hellenistic and early Roman times was rather high, probably higher than at any period prior to modern times (see further see here). Girls as well as boys were often included in the elementary schools, and although education for girls was rarer than for boys, it could be obtained. The key for everyone was to get what you could on your own. (Ferguson 2003, 111)

By the time we enter the first-century C.E., the era of Jesus and the apostles, Koine Greek had become the international language of the Roman Empire. The Bible itself bears witness to this, as when Jesus was executed by the Roman Pontius Pilate, the inscription above his head was in Hebrew, the language of the Jews, in Latin, the official language of Rome, and in Greek, which was the language spoken in the streets of Alexandria, to Jerusalem, to Athens, to Rome. (John 19:19, 20; Acts 6:1) Acts 9:29 informs the reader that Paul was preaching the in Jerusalem Greek-speaking Jews. As we know, Koine, a well-developed tongue by the first-century C.E., would be the tool that would facilitate the publishing of the twenty-seven New Testament books.

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Biblical Greek (Koine or Common Greek)

The Greek language was in use for centuries before the era of recorded history. Prehistoric peoples who migrated from Central and northern Asia to the more lush lands to the south settled in various sections of Greece, in each of which a distinct dialect arose; the four main dialects were Arcado-Cyprian, Doric, Aeolic, and Ionic.

From the Ionic, dialect grew the Attic, the common form of classical Greek. It was the language of Athens and the nearby district of Attica and was unlike the other Ionic forms primarily in its contraction of vowels. Because of the political power of Athens throughout and after the fifth-century B.C.E. and the leading role of philosophy, Athenian art, and drama, the Attic language far surpassed all others and became the principal literary language. Its impact was heightened by way of its use of such intellectuals, namely, the playwrights Aeschylus, Euripides, and Sophocles, the orator Demosthenes, Plato, and the historians Thucydides and Xenophon.

After the conquests of Alexander the Great and the extension of Macedonian rule in the fourth-century B.C.E., a transferal of people from Greece proper to the small Greek communities in the Middle East took place. Throughout what became known as the Hellenistic period, the Attic dialect, spoken by the educated classes as well as by the traders and many settlers, became the language common to all the Middle East. From about 300 B.C.E. to about 500 C.E. was the age of Koine, or common Greek, a combination of divergent Greek dialects of which Attic was the most significant. Koine fast became the universal language. It had a tremendous advantage over the other languages of this period, in that it was almost unanimously known. Koine means the common language, or dialect common to all. The Greek vocabulary of the Old Testament Translation, the Septuagint was the current Koine of Alexandria, Egypt, from 280 to 150 B.C.E.

Greek Empire

By the time we enter the first-century C.E., the era of Jesus and the apostles, Koine Greek had become the international language of the Roman Empire. The Bible itself bears witness to this, as when Jesus was executed by the Roman Pontius Pilate, the inscription above his head was in Hebrew, the language of the Jews, in Latin, the official language of Rome, and in Greek, which was the language spoken in the streets of Alexandria, to Jerusalem, to Athens, to Rome. (John 19:19, 20; Acts 6:1) Acts 9:29 informs the reader that Paul was preaching the in Jerusalem Greek-speaking Jews. Koine, a well-developed tongue, would be the tool that would facilitate the publishing of the twenty-seven New Testament books.

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The Transmission of the Greek New Testament

Earlier you read of the great lengths the Hebrew copyist went to for the preservation of the Old Testament. You know that we can trust the Old Testament that came down to us from ancient times. Now we must ask the same question about the transmission of the Greek New Testament, the books penned by Matthew, Mark, Luke John, Peter, Paul, James, and Jude. Has the Greek New Testament come down to us in such a way that we can trust it to be the Word of God? Textual scholar, Bruce M. Metzger has referred to this period in the subtitle of his book THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, as “Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration.” In other words, the twenty-seven New Testament books were transmitted, penned, in the first century of our common era (between 45 C.E. and 98 C.E.). Both unintentional and intentional copyist errors crept into the text from the outset until the 16th century. However, the restoration is from the 16th century to the present, when thousands of textual scholars have given their lives to restore the text.

 The Treasure House of Greek Manuscripts

Matthew was written first in Biblical Hebrew, about 45-50 C.E., for the sake of the Jewish people, but was later translated into Greek by Matthew. Papias (about 135 C.E) comments on the Gospel of Matthew: “He wrote the sayings in the Hebrew language, and each one interpreted them as best he could.” The twenty-seven books of the canonical New Testament were written in the common Greek of the day. However, Dr. Daniel B. Wallace makes three qualifying points about the Greek of the New Testament:

a. For the most part, the Greek of the NT is conversational Greek in its syntax–somewhat below the refinement and sentence structure of literary Koine, but above the level found in most papyri (though, to be sure, there are Semitic intrusions into the syntax on occasion).

b. Its style, on the other hand, is largely Semitic–that is, since almost all of the writers of the NT books are Jews, their style of writing is shaped both by their religious heritage and by their linguistic background. Furthermore, the style of the NT is also due to the fact that these writers all share one thing in common, faith in Jesus Christ. (This is analogous to conversations between two Christians at church and the same two at work: the linguistic style and vocabulary to some extent are different in both places.)

c. The NT vocabulary stock, however, is largely shared with the ordinary papyrus documents of the day, though heavily influenced at times by the LXX and the Christian experience.

There are exceptions to each of these areas, as they are not neatly compartmentalized. Not only this, but since the NT was written by authors with various linguistic backgrounds and abilities, it is quite impossible to view their Greek as merely one kind. Nevertheless, it is possible to gain an overall impression of NT Greek.

Individual NT Authors

Generally speaking, the range of literary levels of the NT authors can be displayed as follows:[45]

Semitic Vulgar-Conversational Literary Koine
Mark Most of Paul Hebrews
John Matthew Luke-Acts
1-3 John James
2 Peter Pastorals
1 Peter
Jude
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A Storehouse of Over 25,000 Manuscripts

Unlike ancient secular writings, the amount of manuscript copies of all twenty-seven books of the Greek New Testament is overwhelmingly numerous. Some of these manuscripts cover whole books, or multiple books, even the entire New Testament while others are mere fragments. The latest calculations of all known Greek manuscripts are about 5,750, written from as early as 110 C.E. (the John Ryland’s manuscript, P52;[46] oldest copy of John fragments), to as late as the end of the fifteenth-century. Moreover, there are over 10,000 Latin manuscripts and 9,300 manuscripts in various other ancient languages including Syriac, Slavic, Gothic, Ethiopic, Coptic, and Armenian. Another source used in determining which reading is original is what is known as Patristic Quotation or quotations of the New Testament by the early church fathers. When we compare that with the texts of classical authors, there is no comparison. They merely have a few manuscripts that are accessible, and these are rarely within centuries of the original writings. Therefore, we can see that the New Testament textual scholar has a storehouse treasure of evidence to support his arriving at the critical text (authoritative text) of the Greek New Testament.

Papyrus Manuscripts

Papyrus was a writing material used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks, and Romans that was made from the pith of the stem of a water plant. The first manuscripts of the Greek New Testament were written on papyrus. It is likely that the Bible writers used papyrus when they sent letters to the Christian congregations. One of the world’s leading authorities, Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, can offer us the latest information on the earliest papyrus manuscripts:

These manuscripts now increase our holdings as follows: we have as many as eighteen New Testament manuscripts (all fragmentary, more or less) from the second century and one from the first. Altogether, about 33% of all New Testament verses are found in these manuscripts. Up until now, no one has discovered any first-century manuscripts of the New Testament. The oldest manuscript of the New Testament has been P52, a small fragment from John’s Gospel, dated to the first half of the second century. It was discovered in 1934. The oldest manuscript that had Mark in it was P45, from the early third century (c. 200–250 CE). 

How do these manuscripts change what we believe the original New Testament to say? We will have to wait until they are published next year, but for now, we can most likely say this: As with all the previously published New Testament papyri (127 of them, published in the last 116 years), not a single new reading has commended itself as authentic. Instead, the papyri function to confirm what New Testament scholars have already thought was the original wording or, in some cases, to confirm an alternate reading—but one that is already found in the manuscripts. As an illustration: Suppose a papyrus had the word “the Lord” in one verse while all other manuscripts had the word “Jesus.” New Testament scholars would not adopt and have not adopted, such a reading as authentic, precisely because we have such abundant evidence for the original wording in other manuscripts. But if an early papyrus had in another place “Simon” instead of “Peter,” and “Simon” was also found in other early and reliable manuscripts, it might persuade scholars that “Simon” is the authentic reading. In other words, the papyri have confirmed various readings as authentic in the past 116 years, but have not introduced new authentic readings. The original New Testament text is found somewhere in the manuscripts that have been known for quite some time. These new papyri will no doubt continue that trend. [47]

Many of the papyrus manuscripts have been discovered in the province of Fayum, in Egypt. The first discovery of a papyrus manuscript was in 1778. In the late nineteenth-century, a number of Biblical papyri were brought to light. One of the most vital of all modern-day manuscript finds was, P45, P46, and P47 of the Chester Beatty Library Collections, a discovery made public in 1931. It consisted of parts of 11 codices, containing the Gospels and Acts, the Pauline Epistles, and Revelation.

Papyri of another outstanding collection were published in Geneva, Switzerland, from 1956 to 1961. Known as the Bodmer Library, they include P66 containing the book of John, P72 containing Jude and 1 and 2 Peter, and P74, a seventh-century containing Acts, James, 1 and 2 Peter, Jude and all three epistles of John. We can learn much about the books of the New Testament by these papyrus manuscripts. First, they establish that the Bible canon was being generated even before the issue of what books should be included had ever been raised. P45 having the Gospels and Acts combined, as well as P46 having nine of Paul’s fourteen letters, establishes that the books were being gathered together by the beginning of the second century. P52, a mere fragment, helped to restore John’s Gospel back into the first century,

First, archaeological evidence has come to light in form of the John Rylands papyrus (P52), an Egyptian fragment containing John 18:31-33 and 37-38 which is dated around A.D. 125. Allowing for time for John’s original manuscript to be copied and to make its way from Ephesus in Asia Minor to Egypt, this pushes the date of writing of John’s Gospel back to the late first century. So much for Baur’s hypothesis that the Gospel was not published until after A.D. 150![48]

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Parchment Manuscripts

Parchment is a creamy or yellowish material made from dried and treated sheepskin, goatskin, or other animal hide, formerly used for books and documents. It began to be used in place of papyrus in writing manuscripts from about the fourth century to the fifteenth century C.E. The skins of the animals were soaked in quicklime water, and the hair was scraped off. After that, both sides were scraped, it was dried, and rubbed with chalk and pumice stone. Ironically, parchment was considered an inferior writing material for a time. For the longest time, papyrus was used for penning literary works while parchment was used for business papers, notebooks, as well as the first drafts of an author’s works.

Some very significant Bible manuscripts extant today were originally penned on parchment. Those of the Greek New Testament was written completely in capital letters and are referred to as Uncials. The Institute for New Testament Textual Research (INTF) reports 322 uncial manuscripts of the Greek New Testament, dating from the fourth century C.E. to the tenth century C.E. Then there are nearly 2,900 cursive, or minuscule, manuscripts, made in running style of writing. These, also on vellum, were written during the period from the ninth century C.E. to the start of printing in 1455. In addition, there are more than 2,400 known lectionaries. A lectionary is a schedule of readings from the Bible for Christian church services during the course of the year, or book containing such readings. As was stated earlier, we have about 5,750 Greek manuscripts dating from the early second century C.E. to the fifteenth century C.E.

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Textual Criticism[49] and Restoration

The Importance and scope of New Testament textual criticism could be summed up in the few words used by J. Harold Greenlee; it is “the basic biblical study, a prerequisite to all other biblical and theological work. Interpretation, systemization, and application of the teachings of the NT cannot be done until textual criticism has done at least some of its work. It is, therefore, deserving of the acquaintance and attention of every serious student of the Bible.” (Greenlee, Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism 1995, 7)

We do not have the original 27 books by the New Testament authors. Why God would miraculously use the Holy Spirit, to produce 27 fully inerrant texts, and then allow human imperfection into the copies is not spelled out for us in Scripture. Imperfect humans have had the tendency of worshiping items that have been touched by the miraculous powers of God or were in direct contact with one of his servants. This, of course, is speculation, and all we know is that God had his reasons for allowing them to be worn out by repeated use. It must be remembered that there was a recent discovery of a fragment of Mark, which has preliminarily been dated to the first century by one of the world’s leading paleographers. Therefore, while this fragment of Mark will become the earliest evidence, it also lets us know that the original published copy may be just waiting out there, to be discovered.

What we can say is that the vast majority of the Greek text is not affected by variants at all. Of the small amount of the text that is affected by variants, the vast majority of those are minor slips of the pen, misspelled words, substituting one synonym for another, using a pronoun as a noun, and the like, and we are certain what the original reading is in these places. Of a minute portion of our small amount of our Greek text, we can be very certain what the original reading was. However, of our small amount, an infinitesimally insignificant number of variants are difficult in establishing the original reading. Lastly, there is but a handful of variants where we would say we are uncertain as to the original reading. Nevertheless, these latter two affect no doctrine; moreover, variant readings can be placed in a footnote, giving the reader the original.[50]

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The Text of Erasmus (c. 1466–1536)

Dutch scholar; first editor of the Greek New Testament

Born a priest’s son out of wedlock, Erasmus knew nothing of normal family life and was in that sense a deprived child. His schooling was largely at Deventer (Netherlands) under the auspices of the Brethren of the Common Life. Those followers of what was called the “Modern Devotion” movement sought a deepening of spiritual life. Under the Brethren, who produced some of the fifteenth century’s best teachers, Erasmus acquired an enthusiasm for Bible study. In 1486, evidently under pressure from his guardians, he became an Augustinian canon at Steyn (Netherlands). In spite of his reluctance to enter the monastery, his six or seven years of study there produced in him a love for classical literature and thought.

About 1493 Erasmus was ordained and became Latin secretary to the bishop of Cambrai (France). The bishop’s continuing interest allowed Erasmus in 1495 to pursue theological studies at Paris. Erasmus took a lasting dislike to the dogmatic theologians there, with their partisanship, intolerance, and hostility to new ways of thinking.

In 1516 Erasmus became a royal counselor in the Brussels (Belgium) court of the future Holy Roman Emperor Charles V. Between that year and 1518 Erasmus also published a nine-volume edition of the works of Jerome, Erasmus’s favorite church father. Less ambitious editions of other fathers including Irenaeus, Augustine, Chrysostom, and Origen followed in the succeeding eighteen years.[51]

The Dark Ages is the period of European history between the fall of the Roman Empire in ad 476 and about 1000 C.E., for which there are few historical records and during which life was comparatively uncivilized. This was followed by the Middle Ages, the period in European history between antiquity and the Italian Renaissance, often considered to be between the end of the Roman Empire in the fifth century and the early fifteenth century C.E. Throughout this period, the Bible was locked up in the Latin language, and the church was under the control of Roman Catholic Church, with scholarship and learning at a low ebb. However, all of that was to change at the inception of printing in 1455, combined with the Reformation of the 16th-century C.E.

Additional self-determination overcame, and there was a reawakening of awareness in the Greek language. It was throughout this initial revival of learning that the famous Dutch scholar Desiderius Erasmus produced his first edition of the Greek text of the New Testament. This first edition was printed in Basel, Switzerland, in 1516, one year prior to the start of the Reformation in Germany. The first edition had many errors, with minor improved texts presented in succeeding editions in 1519, 1522, 1527, and 1535. Erasmus had only a few late cursive manuscripts accessible to him for comparing and preparing his Greek Text.

So much in demand was Erasmus’s Greek Testament that the first edition was soon exhausted and a second was called for. It was this second edition of 1519, in which some (but not nearly all) of the many typographical blunders of the first edition had been corrected, that Martin Luther and William Tyndale used as the basis of their translations of the New Testament into German (1522) and into English (1525).[52]

The Introduction of Chapters and Verses

Robert Etienne (commonly known under the Latin form of his name, Stephanus), was well known as a printer and editor in the sixteenth century in Paris. His being an editor moved him to see the useful advantage of using a system of chapters and verses for being able to reference any text. Therefore, he introduced this system in his Greek-Latin New Testament in 1551. It was the Masoretes, who first made verse division for the Hebrew Old Testament, but it was Stephanus, who in 1553 brought about such divisions in the entire Bible. The English Bibles soon followed, which in return brought about the Bible concordances, such as the one by Alexander Cruden in 1737 and the two exhaustive concordances to the King James Version–Robert Young’s, first published in Edinburgh in 1873, and James Strong’s, published in New York in 1894.

Textus Receptus

Stephanus is best known among textual scholars for his multiple editions of the Greek New Testament. These were based on the Erasmus text, the Complutensian Polyglot of 1522 and about fifteen cursive manuscripts. It was Stephanus’ third edition of 1550, which was close to the fourth and fifth editions of Erasmus, which became known as the Textus Receptus, (Latin for “received text”), which is the basis for the King James Version of 1611 and all the main Protestant translations in languages throughout Europe up until 1881. Textual scholar Bruce M. Metzger offers some insights on this,

So superstitious had been the reverence accorded the Textus Receptus that in some cases attempts to criticize or amend it has been regarded as akin to sacrilege. Yet its textual basis is essentially a handful of late and haphazardly collected minuscule manuscripts, and in a dozen passages, its reading is supported by no known Greek witness. [53]

The Critical Text

As time passed, more manuscripts came to light, enabling textual scholars to publish increasingly refined critical texts. Exceptional was that published by Johann Jakob Griesbach, who had access to the hundreds of Greek manuscripts that had become accessible toward the end of the eighteenth century. Griesbach is one of the most important textual scholars, who published three editions of the New Testament between 1774 and 1806; the best edition was published 1796-1806. His critical text was the basis for Sharpe’s English translation in 1840 and is the Greek text printed in The Emphatic Diaglott, first published completely in 1864. Karl Lachmann (1793-1851), Friedrich Constantin von Tischendorf (1815-74) and Samuel Prideaux Tregelles (1813-75) published other outstanding texts.

Westcott and Hort Text

The Cambridge University scholars B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort published a Critical text that would end the reign of the corrupt Textus Receptus in 1881. The leading scholars in this field recognize this critical text and what it has accomplished. Here is just a small sample of what has been said,

It was the corrupt Byzantine form of text that provided the basis for almost all translations of the New Testament into modern languages down to the nineteenth century. During the eighteenth century scholars assembled a great amount of information from many Greek manuscripts, as well as from versional and patristic witnesses. But, except for three or four editors who timidly corrected some of the more blatant errors of the Textus Receptus, this debased form of the New Testament text was reprinted in edition after edition. It was only in the first part of the nineteenth century (1831) that a German classical scholar, Karl Lachmann, ventured to apply to the New Testament the criteria that he had used in editing texts of the classics. Subsequently other critical editions appeared, including those prepared by Constantin von Tischendorf, whose eighth edition (1869–72) remains a monumental thesaurus of variant readings, and the influential edition prepared by two Cambridge scholars, B. F. Westcott and F. J. A. Hort (1881). It is the latter edition that was taken as the basis for the present United Bible Societies’ edition. (B. M. Metzger 1964, 1968, 1992, xxiv)

The climax of this third period of the printed text comes in the joint labor of two Cambridge University scholars who rank with Tischendorf for their fame in the field of textual criticism, Brooke Foss Westcott and Fenton John Anthony Hort. For twenty-eight years they worked together on a critical edition of the Greek NT together with a volume setting forth with meticulous care their textual principles. (Greenlee 1995, 70)

It is scarcely possible to overstate the significance of this new text. Westcott and Hort gave nearly thirty years of exacting labor to this project. Their achievement was revolutionary not so much because of new ideas but rather because of the deliberate thoroughness of their work and the unquestioned principles which backed it up. No piece of evidence had been passed over unnoticed; no authority had been put aside until it was brought into proper perspective. (Lightfoot 1963, 1988, 2003, 111)

In the late nineteenth century two Cambridge University scholars, Brooke F. Westcott (1825–1901; Regius Professor of Divinity at Cambridge, and later bishop of Durham) and Fenton J. A. Hort (1828–1892; Hulsean Professor of Divinity at Cambridge) gained renown for their studies of New Testament manuscripts and the publication of their critical edition of the New Testament.

In 1881, after twenty-eight years of work, Westcott and Hort published the text of the Greek New Testament (with an introduction and appendixes) titled The New Testament in the Original Greek. Not being interested in simply supplying a textual apparatus with all the variant readings, they refined and applied textual principles from earlier scholars to determine what they believed to be the original Greek text, as Epp explains: “The very title of their work, The New Testament in the Original Greek, shows that their goal was far more ambitious than those of Bentley or Lachmann—who wanted to establish the 3d-and 4th-century texts, respectively—for Westcott and Hort sought and claimed to be reproducing the original text itself.”[54] (Wegner 2006, 214-215)

Eberhard Nestle (1851–1913) was a German biblical scholar, textual critic, editor of Novum Testamentum Graece,[55] and the father of Erwin Nestle. Erwin Nestle (1883–1972), continued editing his father’s “Nestle Edition” of Greek New Testament, adding a full critical apparatus in the thirteenth edition. Kurt Aland (1915–1994) was also a German Theologian and Professor of New Testament Research and Church History. He founded the Institute for New Testament Textual Research in Münster and served as its first director for many years (1959–83). He was one of the principal editors of Novum Testamentum Graece and The Greek New Testament for the United Bible Societies. Today the designation Novum Testamentum Graece normally refers to the Nestle-Aland editions, named after the scholars who led the critical editing work. The text, edited by the Institute for New Testament Textual Research is currently in its 27th edition, abbreviated as NA27. The NA27 is used as the basis of most modern translations of the New Testament, as well as being the standard for academic work in New Testament studies. Then, there is the United Bible Societies Edition of the Greek New Testament that is now in its fourth edition, abbreviated as UBS4. There are also critical texts by the Catholic Jesuit scholars José M. Bover (1943) and Augustinus Merk (1948).

English Bible Versions English Bible Versions English Bible Versions English Bible Versions

Textual Variants

First, we should underscore a few important points raised: 1) we have so many variants because we have so many manuscripts. 2) We do not count the manuscripts; we count the variants. 3) A variant is any portion of the text that exhibits variations in its reading between two or more different manuscripts. This is more precisely called a variation unit. It is important to distinguish variation units from variant readings. Variation units are the places in the text where manuscripts disagree, and each variation unit has at least two variant readings. Setting the limits and range of a variation unit is sometimes difficult or even controversial because some variant readings affect others nearby. Such variations may be considered individually, or as elements of a longer single reading.

Before a translator can concern himself with the process of rendering the original language into a modern language, he must consider the variants within the critical text, i.e. textual criticism. Harold Greenlee writes, “textual criticism is the basic study for the accurate knowledge of any text. New Testament textual criticism, therefore, is the basic biblical study, a prerequisite to all other biblical and theological work. Interpretation, systemization, and application of the teachings of the NT cannot be done until textual criticism has done at least some of its work.” (Greenlee 1995, p. 7)

Variant Matthew

Textual criticism is both an art and a science. It is a science because it has principles or guidelines that must be followed. Additionally, it is an art because it is all about balance in applying those principles. It is the careful comparison of all known original language manuscripts (including lectionaries) and versions of the Bible in other languages (for example, Latin, Syriac, Coptic, and Armenian), as well as patristic quotations in order to determine the original reading. This would include the elimination of any additions that may have crept into the text, as well as restoring any portion removed by accident or knowing what rightly belongs in the text. This work is often referred to as “lower criticism,” which is constructive criticism; it should be set apart from “higher criticism,” which is typically destructive criticism.

Manuscript copying prior to the invention of the printing press in 1455 was done by hand. As all are imperfect humans, it was inevitable that some minor mistakes began to creep into the text. The earliest copyists were accomplishing a far greater task than can be imagined. If you find it difficult to grasp just how difficult, imagine copying 138,020 words in which there are no breaks between words and sentences, and all written in capital letters, as well as no punctuations. For example, [ZDVHRIUJFHKJGUYGKNHUGRL] This could cause confusion at times, and then, there are variants.[56] For an English example, consider GODISNOWHERE. Does it read, “God is nowhere” or “God is now here”? The variations within the Greek manuscripts are not as extensive as some would like you to think. (e.g., agnostic NT scholar Bart D. Ehrman) As this chapter is a summary, we are unable to go into detail, but we will recommend

THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: The Science and Art of Textual Criticism by Don Wilkins and Edward D. Andrews, ISBN-13: 978-0692255575. This publication will lay the groundwork of textual criticism. Then, we would highly recommend MISREPRESENTING JESUS Debunking Bart D. Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus by Edward D. Andrews.

English Bible Versions English Bible Versions English Bible Versions English Bible Versions

For now, let us say that we can rate these variations on three different levels: insignificant, significant without effect, and significant.

Insignificant

 These variations are too small and irrelevant to be considered important. These variants are unintentional blunders that even a professional scribe might make at times. For example, the wrong division of words (because there were no spaces between them), mistaking one letter for another, as the scribe’s eyes move to a similar ending further down the page (leaving out all in between). Another unintentional error might be writing the same word or letter twice or writing it once when it should have been twice. Another example would be switching letters or words around. Additionally, copyists without awareness substituted a synonym in place of the actual word. A couple of other examples of unintentional errors would be overlooking an abbreviation, as well as spelling and grammar. To offer an example, we turn to Matthew 1:18. Is it “the birth of [the] Jesus Christ” or “the birth of the Christ” or “the birth of the Christ Jesus” or “the birth of [the] Jesus”? Another example can be found in Matthew 27:2. Is it “Pilate the governor” or “Pontius Pilate, the governor”? Still, another example can be found in Acts 15:40. Is it “the grace of the Lord” or “the grace of God”? These insignificant variations are by far the vast majority of variants to be found, and we have such evidence that makes them so negligible that they are not even mentioned in the footnotes of our study Bibles.

Significant Without Effect

What makes these variants without effect is that we have such strong manuscript evidence that establishing the correct reading is of no concern. Our first example would be the familiar story of the adulterous woman at John 7:53–8:11. Certainly, so many verses are significant, and the story is ancient. Almost all modern translations make an effort to highlight the doubt of this story as being original. Why? The woman caught in adultery does not have the support of our earliest and most reliable Greek manuscripts, nor any of the early versions. Another example comes from 1 Timothy 3:16. Is it “who was manifested in the flesh” or “which was manifested in the flesh” or “God was manifested in the flesh”? As any reader can see, this one had grave consequences for the Trinity doctrine; thus, it is significant, but again the manuscript evidence has spoken. Some ambitious scribes changed Ος (“he who”) to Θς (“God”). Another intentional alteration that has no manuscript evidence prior to the fourteenth century of our common era is found in 1 John 5:7: “The Father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one.” This interpolation is not cited by any of the early Greek Church Fathers, not even during the great Trinity controversy of the fourth-century C.E.

Significant

We will look at only one significant reading here, which is the long common ending of Mark chapter 16, verses 9–20. There are multiple endings for the Gospel of Mark, which it ended abruptly with these words: “And they went out and fled from the tomb, for trembling and astonishment had seized them, and they said nothing to anyone, for they were afraid.” While I see verses 9–20 as an interpolation, it is not so easy for some textual scholars to accept this.

First, there is the telling fact that two of the oldest and most highly respected Bible manuscripts, the Vaticanus 03 and the Sinaiticus 01, do not contain this section; they conclude Mark’s Gospel with verse eight. This is true of the early versions as well: Syriac, Coptic, Armenian, and Georgian. The early church fathers, Clement, Origen, Cyprian, and Cyril of Jerusalem had no knowledge of anything beyond verse eight. There is little wonder that the noted manuscript authority Dr. Westcott states, “the verses which follow [9-20] are no part of the original narrative but an appendage.” Among other noted scholars of the same opinion are Tregelles, Tischendorf, Griesbach, Metzger, and Comfort, to mention just a few.

Adding weight to this evidence of the Greek manuscripts, versions and church fathers are the church historian Eusebius and the Bible translator, Jerome. Eusebius wrote that the longer ending was not in the “accurate copies,” for “at this point [verse 8] the end of the Gospel according to Mark is determined in nearly all the copies of the Gospel according to Mark.” In addition, Jerome, writing about 407 C.E. said, “nearly all Greek MSS have not got this passage.”

The vocabulary and style of Mark 16:9-20 vary so drastically from the Gospel of Mark that it scarcely seems possible that Mark himself wrote those verses. Mark’s style is plain, direct; his paragraphs are short, and the transitions are simple. However, in this ending, there is a well-arranged succession of statements, each of them having proper introductory expressions.

Then there is the consideration of the vocabulary of Mark. Verses 9 through 20 contain words that do not appear elsewhere in Mark’s Gospel, and some that do not appear in any of the Gospels, and some still that do not appear in the whole of the Greek New Testament. Verses 9 through 20 contain 163 Greek words, of which, 19 words, 2 phrases do not occur elsewhere in the Gospel of Mark. Looking at it another way, in these 12 verses there are 109 different words, and, of these, 11 words and 2 phrases are exclusive to these 12 verses. Moreover, the doctrinal thesis of Joseph Hug showed that when compared with the vocabulary of the other Gospels, the Apostolic Fathers, and the apocryphal literature, you have 12 verses in “an advanced state of tradition.” The note at the end of Metzger’s The Text of the New Testament, where I found a summary of Hug’s thesis, states:

The vocabulary suggests that the composition of the ending is appropriately located at the end of the first century or in the middle of the second century. Those who were responsible for adding the verses were intent, not only to supply a suitable ending for the Second Gospel, but also to provide missionary instruction to a Christian Hellenistic community that participated in charismatic activities… (Metzger 1964, 1968, 1992, 297)

The content of these verses also removes them from being considered as original. There is nothing within the whole of the New Testament, which would support the contention in verse 18 that the disciples of Christ were able to drink poison, having no harm come to them. In addition, within this spurious text, you have eleven apostles refusing to believe the testimony of two disciples whom Jesus had come across on the way and to whom he made himself known. However, when the two disciples found the eleven, their reaction was quite different, stating, “The Lord has risen indeed, and has appeared to Simon!” Luke 24:13-35

In summary, Mark 16:9-20 (1) is not found in two of the oldest and most highly regarded Greek manuscripts as well as others. (2) They are also not found in many of the oldest versions. (3) The early church fathers had no knowledge of anything beyond verse eight. (4) Such ancient scholars as Eusebius and Jerome marked them spurious. (5) The style of these verses is utterly different from that of Mark. (6) The vocabulary used in these verses is different from that of Mark. (7) Verse 8 does not transition well with verse 9, jumping from the women disciples to Jesus’ resurrection appearance. Jesus does not need to appear because Mark ended with the announcement that he had. We only want that because the other Gospels give us an appearance. So we expect it. (8) The very content of these verses contradicts the facts and the rest of the Greek New Testament. With the textual scholarship, being very well aware of Mark’s abrupt style of writing, and abrupt ending to his Gospel does not seem out of place. Eusebius and Jerome, as well as this writer, agree.

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Evaluation of Textual Variants

With this abundance of evidence, what can we say about the total number of variants known today? Scholars differ significantly in their estimates–some say there are 200,000 variants known, some say 300,000, some say 400,000 or more! We do not know for sure because, despite impressive developments in computer technology, no one has yet been able to count them all. Perhaps, as I indicated earlier, it is best simply to leave the matter in comparative terms. There are more variations among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament. Misquoting Jesus by atheist Bible scholar Bart D. Ehrman (pp. 89-90)

Agnostic Bible scholar Ehrman has some favorite layman ways of expressing the problems that he uses without qualification, in every interview this author has seen of him before a lay audience (which includes seminary students), he presents one or more of his favorites, without qualifying them:

  • Scholars differ significantly in their estimates—some say there are 200,000 variants known, some say 300,000, some say 400,000 or more!
  • There are more variations among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.
  • We have only error-ridden copies, and the vast majority of these are centuries removed from the originals and different from them, evidently, in thousands of ways.
  • We don’t even have copies of the copies of the originals, or copies of the copies of the copies of the originals.
  • In the early Christian centuries, scribes were amateurs and as such were more inclined to alter the texts they copied.
  • We could go on nearly forever talking about specific places in which the texts of the New Testament came to be changed, either accidentally or intentionally.
  • The Bible began to appear to me as a very human book.

It is true that Ehrman has said that, ‘the majority of the manuscript variants are not substantial.’ However, from this author’s observation, this comes when he is in front of scholars who would know otherwise. I would argue that in the larger number of cases he is focusing the laypersons on a large number of variants and they’re being substantial. Each of the above favorite snippets by Ehrman left unexplained are an exaggeration, misinformation, misleading, and just a failure to be truthful. Many layperson-churchgoers have been spiritually shipwrecked in their faith by such unexplained hype. What the uninformed person hears is that we can never get back to the originals or even close, that there are hundreds of thousands of significant variants that have so scarred the text, we no longer have the Word of God, and it is merely the word of man. How such a knowledgeable man cannot know the impact his words are having is beyond this writer.

How to Count Textual Variants

Some Bible critics seem to start with the belief that if the originals were inspired of God and fully inerrant, it must remain that way, in order to remain inerrant. They seem to be asking, ‘if only the originals were inspired, and the copies were not inspired, and we do not have the originals, how are we to be certain of any passage in Scripture?’ In other words, God would never allow the inspired, inerrant Word to suffer copying errors. Why would he perform the miracle of inspiring the message to be fully inerrant, and not follow up with the miracle of inspiring the copyist, to keep it inerrant? First, we must note that God has not given us the specifics of every decision he has made in reference to humans. If we start the, ‘why did God not do this or do that,’ where would it end? For example, why did God just not produce the books himself, and miraculously deliver them to persons such as Moses? Why did he not use angelic messengers to pen the message, or produce the message miraculously? God has chosen not to tell us why he did not inspire the copies, so it remains an unknown. However, it should be noted that if one can restore the text to its original wording through the science of textual criticism, to an exact representation thereof, you have, in essence, a reproduction of the originals.

In the end, what we do know is that the Jewish copyists and later Christian copyists were not infallible like the original writers. The original writers were inspired by “Holy Spirit,” while the copyists were guided by “Holy Spirit.” However, do we not have a treasure-load of evidence from centuries of copies? Regardless of the recopying, do we not have the Bible in a reliable critical text and trustworthy translations, with both improving all the time? It was only inevitable that imperfect copyists, who were not under inspiration, would have errors creep into the text. However, the thousands of copies that we do have, these enable the textual scholars to trace these errors. How? Different copyists made different errors. Therefore, the textual scholar compares the work of different copyists. He is then able to identify their mistakes.

A Simple Example

What if 100 persons were asked or hired to make a handwritten copy of Matthew’s Gospel, with 18,345 words. These persons making our handwritten copy, fit in one of four categories as writers: (1) struggles to write, and has no experience as a document maker, (2) a skilled document maker [recorder of events, wills, business, certificates, etc.], (3) a trained copyist of literature, and (4) the professional copyist. There is little doubt that these copyists would make some copying errors, even the professional. However, it would be impossible that they would all make the same errors. If a trained textual scholar with many years of religious education, including textual studies, and decades of experience, were to compare these 100 documents carefully, he could determine which are erroneous, and restore the text to its original form, even if he had never seen that original.

The textual scholars of the last 250 years, especially the last 70 years have had over 5,800 Greek manuscripts at their disposal. A number of these dating to the second and third centuries C.E. Some of these textual scholars were/are very skilled in their field of expertise. Moreover, if we took the time to study the life of any of the hundreds that have lived throughout this era, it would impress on us that we have nothing short of a mirror reflection of the original in our current critical text, which is, in essence, an exact representation. However, even an exact representation is not 100 percent like the original. Yet, it is the next best thing. Moreover, more manuscripts are always becoming known; technology is ever advancing, and improvements are always being made.

Hundreds of scholars throughout the last three centuries have produced what we might call a master text, by way of lifetimes of hard work and careful study. Are there a few places where we are not 100 percent certain? Yes, of course. However, we are considering merely a handful of locations in the text of the Greek NT that contains about 138,020 words, which would be considered difficult in arriving at what the original reading was. In addition, in these places, the alternative reading is in the footnote. Bible critics, who over exaggerate the errors within our extant copies is a bit misplaced, and certainly misleading indeed, because we have some manuscripts that were copied by professional copyists that are just the opposite, almost error free. The Bible critics are misleading us on two fronts. First, some copies are almost error free and negate the Bible critics, who claim, “We have only error-ridden copies.” (Bart D. Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why 2005, 7) Second, the vast majority of the Greek New Testament has no scribal errors. Third, textual scholarship can easily identify and correct the majority of the scribal errors. In addition, of the remaining errors, we can say most of them are solved with certainty. Of the tiny number of scribal errors left, we can say most of them are solved with some difficulty, and there are just a minuscule amount of errors that textual scholarship is uncertain about the original reading, at this time.

400,000 to 500,000 Variants in the Manuscripts

With this abundance of evidence, what can we say about the total number of variants known today? Scholars differ significantly in their estimates—some say there are 200,000 variants known, some say 300,000, some say 400,000 or more! We do not know for sure because, despite impressive developments in computer technology, no one has yet been able to count them all. Perhaps, as I indicated earlier, it is best simply to leave the matter in comparative terms. There are more variations among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.[57]

Ehrman has some favorite nonprofessional ways of expressing the problems, which he stresses without qualification, in every interview he has had for a lay audience (which includes seminary students). Below are several of his favorites:

  • Scholars differ significantly in their estimates—some say there are 200,000 variants known, some say 300,000, some say 400,000 or more!
  • There are more variations among our manuscripts than there are words in the New Testament.
  • We have only error-ridden copies, and the vast majority of these are centuries removed from the originals and different from them, evidently, in thousands of ways.
  • We don’t even have copies of the copies of the originals or copies of the copies of the copies of the originals.
  • In the early Christian centuries, scribes were amateurs and as such were more inclined to alter the texts they copied.
  • We could go on nearly forever talking about specific places in which the texts of the New Testament came to be changed, either accidentally or intentionally.
  • The Bible began to appear to me as a very human book.

While Dr. Bart D. Ehrman openly admits that, the majority of the manuscript variants are not substantial. However, it seems this comes, when he is in front of scholars, who would know otherwise. It appears that, in the larger number of cases, Ehrman is focusing the laypersons on a large number of variants and there being substantial.[58] Each of the above favorite snippets by Ehrman left unexplained are an exaggeration, misinformation, misleading, and just a failure to be truthful. Many layperson-churchgoers have been spiritually shipwrecked in their faith by such unexplained hype. What the uninformed person hears is that we can never get back to the originals or even close, that there are hundreds of thousands of significant variants that have so scarred the text, we no longer have the Word of God, and it is merely the word of man. How such a knowledgeable man cannot know the impact, his words is having is beyond this author.

Miscounting Textual Variants

In 1963, Neil R. Lightfoot penned a book that has served to help over a million readers, How We Got the Bible. It has been updated two times since 1963, once in 1988, and another in 2003. There is a “miscalculation” in the book, which has contributed to a misunderstanding in how textual variants are counted. In fact, there are several other books repeating it in their works. A leading textual scholar Daniel B. Wallace has brought this to our attention in an article entitled The Number of Textual Variants an Evangelical Miscalculation.[59] A world-renowned Bible apologist Norma L. Geisler repeated it as well.

Dr. Norman L. Geisler writes,

Some have estimated there are about 200,000 of them. First of all, these are not “errors” but variant readings, the vast majority of which are strictly grammatical. Second, these readings are spread throughout more than 5300 manuscripts, so that a variant spelling of one letter of one word in one verse in 2000 manuscripts is counted as 2000 “errors.”―Baker Encyclopedia of Christian Apologetics, by Norm Geisler (Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998; p. 532)

Dr. Neil R. Lightfoot writes,

From one point of view, it may be said that there are 200,000 scribal errors in the manuscripts. Indeed, the number may well considerably exceed this and obviously will grow, as more and more manuscripts become known. However, it is wholly misleading and untrue to say that there are 200,000 errors in the text of the New Testament. (Actually, textual critics consciously avoid the word “error;” they prefer to speak of “textual variants.”) This large number is gained by counting all the variations in all of the manuscripts (over 5,800). This means that if, for example, one word is misspelled in 4,000 different manuscripts, and it amounts to 4,000 “errors.” Actually in a case of this kind only one slight error has been made and it has been copied 4,000 times. But this is the procedure which is followed in arriving at the large number of 200,000 “errors.”―How We Got the Bible (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003; p). Lightfoot says (53-54)

Dr. Daniel Wallace made this observation in his article,

In other words, Lightfoot was claiming that textual variants are counted by the number of manuscripts that support such variants, rather than by the wording of the variants. This book has been widely influential in evangelical circles. I believe over a million copies of it have been sold. And this particular definition of textual variants has found its way into countless apologetic works.” He goes on to clarify just what a textual variant is, “The problem is, the definition is wrong. Terribly wrong. A textual variant is simply any difference from a standard text (e.g., a printed text, a particular manuscript, etc.) that involves spelling, word order, omission, addition, substitution, or a total rewrite of the text. No textual critic defines a textual variant the way that Lightfoot and those who have followed him have done.

Lightfoot erred in that he was counting the manuscripts, not the variants. Let me offer the reader a fictional, but true like example. In other words, it is a true textual problem, but I am adjusting it to suit our purposes. First, let us observe a few important points.

Important Point: We have so many variants because we have so many manuscripts.

Variant Rule: We do not count the manuscripts. We count the variants.

Variant: “A textual variant is simply any difference from a standard text (e.g., a printed text, a particular manuscript, etc.) that involves spelling, word order, omission, addition, substitution, or a total rewrite of the text.” – Daniel Wallace

Important Point: In addition, it should be noted that, generally speaking, in most instances there are usually hundreds of manuscripts for a single reading, with the rest split in various directions.

We begin by choosing our ‘standard text.’ We are using the standard text (critical or master text), Nestle-Aland (NA) Greek Text (28th edition) and the United Bible Society (UBS) Greek Text (5th edition). Those two critical texts are the same.

Note: When one uses the acronym NU, the N stands for the Nestle-Aland, the U for the United Bible Society, since the texts in both are the same. The apparatuses are different.

The critical text is as close as we can get to what the original would have been like.[60] Therefore, we can use the reading in the critical text as the original reading, and anything outside of that in the manuscript history is a variant: ‘spelling, word order, omission, addition, substitution, or a total rewrite of the text.’

Before going to our example, let it be said that, Bible critics, who grumble, dwell on, repeat over and over again how there are 400,000 variants in the text of the New Testament, have only one agenda. They wish to discredit the Word of God; using this misrepresented excuse for their having lost their faith, having shipwrecked their faith, or having had no faith from the start. These Bible critics are no different from those religious leaders Jesus dealt with in the first century. Jesus said of them, “Blind guides! You strain out a gnat, yet gulp down a camel!” (Matt. 23:24) These Bible critics thrust aside 99.95 percent because 0.05 of one per cent is in not absolutely certain! Now, our example comes from the Apostle Paul’s letter to the Colossians.

Example of a Textual Variant

Colossians 2:2 Updated American Standard Version

that their hearts may be comforted, having been knit together in love, and into all riches of the full assurance of understanding, and that they may have a complete knowledge[61] of the mystery of God, namely Christ [tou theou Christou], – See the chart on below.

Variants Variant MSS or Versions
NU[62] of the God of Christ Standard Text
01 of the God 10 MSS[63]
02 of the Christ 01 MS
03 of the God who is Christ 04 MSS
04 of the God who is concerning Christ 02 MSS
05 Of the God in the Christ 02 MSS
06 of the God in the Christ Jesus 01 MS
07 of the God and Christ 01 MS
08 Of God the father Christ 04 MSS
09 Of God the father of Christ 05 MSS
10 Of God and Father of Christ 02 MSS
11 Of God father and of Christ 04 MSS
12 Of God father and of Christ Jesus 03 MSS
13 Of God father and of Lord of us Christ Jesus 02 MSS
14 Of God and father and of Christ 38 MSS
Total 14 14 Variants in 79 MSS 79 MSS

These variants are found in 79 MSS. Thus, we have 14 variants in 79 manuscripts, not 79 variants. We do not count manuscripts, as many textual scholars know. In trying to paint a picture about the trustworthiness of the text, this author does not think talking about variants is really helpful, and can confuse the layperson. It is important for the churchgoer to know what a variant is, the extent of the variants but in the long run, it is the places in the text that are affected by a variant, which is more conducive to getting at, what can we get back to, and what do we have in the end.

The United Bible Society’s “A” “B” “C” and “D” ratings are fine and the definitions by UBS, i.e., [A] certain, [B] almost certain, [C] difficulty in deciding, and [D] great difficulty in arriving at, are a great start but should be better qualified, with some numbers of what percentage of the text, places, fall under each area.

All Variant Places

What we need to talk about is how many places are there where we find variants. What percentage is this of the entire New Testament text?

We can then talk about

  • How much of a percentage of a text is untouched by variants
  • Of the percentage affected, how much can we say is an “A” Rating
  • Of the percentage affected, how much can we say is an “B” Rating
  • Of the percentage affected, how much can we say is an “C” Rating
  • Of the percentage affected, how much can we say is an “D” Rating

Bruce M.  Metzger’s general statement about “D” occurring “only rarely”[64] makes more sense to a reader if we have how many times sitting alongside how many verses and words we have. Then, when we consider the lifetime work of hundreds of textual scholars since Griesbach up unto the present, it does not bother this author that those learned men are making the choice of the reading for the “D” level, knowing too that the best alternative readings are in a footnote as well. [65]

For a far more detailed faith-building article on this subject see

How to Count Textual Variants

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Translation and Textual Criticism

King James BibleTHE KING JAMES BIBLE: Do You Know the King James Version?

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-2THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO BIBLE TRANSLATION: Bible Translation Choices and Translation Principles [Second Edition]

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. …

DO WE STILL NEEDA LITERAL BIBLE_DO WE STILL NEED A LITERAL BIBLE?: Discover the Truth about Literal Translations

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.

KING JAMES BIBLE IITHE KING JAMES BIBLE Why Have Modern Bible Translations Removed Many Verses That Are In the King James Version?

Many have asked Edward D. Andrews as a Chief Translator, “In studying the modern Bible translations, I have come across some verses that are left out but that are in my King James Version or even my New King James Version, such as Matthew 18:11; 23:14; Luke 17:36. I have gotten conflicting opinions on social media. Can you please clear this up for me?”

Have you experienced this? The book of Revelation warns: “if anyone takes away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God will take away his share in the tree of life and in the holy city, which are described in this book.” Yes, removing a true part of the Bible would be a serious matter. (Rev. 22:19) But had this happened? Do you know why these verses are omitted from modern translations? You might wonder, ‘Is my modern Bible translation lacking something that the King James Version has?’ The reader of the King James Version may feel that they have something that the modern Bibles do not. Andrews will help the reader find the answers to whether verses are being omitted and far more when it comes to the differences between the King James Bible and the Modern Bible translations.

English Bible VersionsHISTORY OF ENGLISH VERSIONS OF THE BIBLE

The fascinating story of how we got the English Bible in its present form starts 1,120 years ago. HISTORY OF ENGLISH VERSIONS OF THE BIBLE covers the fascinating journey of the Bible from the 9th century AD to the beginning of the 20th-century. The chief translator of the Updated American Standard Version Edward D. Andrews invites readers to explore the process of from the early manuscripts to contemporary translations today.

And so, it was that translators like William Tyndale were martyred for the honor of giving the people a Bible that could easily be understood. What a price they had paid, however; it was a priceless gift! Tyndale and others before and after him had worked with the shadow of death towering over their heads. However, by delivering the Bible to many people in their native tongue, they opened up before them the possibility, not of death, but life eternal. As Jesus Christ said in the Tyndale Bible, “This is lyfe eternall that they myght knowe the that only very God and whom thou hast sent Iesus Christ.” (John 17:3) May we, therefore, know the value of what we can now hold in our hands, and may we diligently study God’s Word.

Choosing Your BibleCHOOSING YOUR BIBLE: Bible Translation Differences

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 TESTAMENTTHE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: The Science and Art of Textual Criticism

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? …

Introduction to New Testament Textual CriticismINTRODUCTION TO THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: From The Authors and Scribe to the Modern Critical Text

INTRODUCTION TO THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT is a shortened 321 pages of Andrews and Wilkins 602 page TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT without losing the value of content. The foremost thing the reader is going to learn is that the Greek New Testament that our modern translations are based on is a mirror-like reflection of the original and can be fully trusted. The reader will learn how the New Testament authors made and published their books, the secretaries in antiquity and their materials like Teritus who helped Paul pen the epistle to the Romans, and the book writing process of the New Testament authors and early copyists. The reader will also discover the reading culture of early Christianity and their view of the integrity of the Greek New Testament. The reader will also learn how textual scholars known as paleography determine the age of the manuscripts.

The reader will learn all about the different sources that go into our restoring the Greek New Testament to its original form. Then, Andrews will cover the ancient version, the era of the printed text, and the arrival of the critical text. After that, the reader will be given a lengthy chapter on examples of how the textual scholar determines the correct reading by his looking at the internal and external evidence. Finally, and most importantly, the reader will find out the truth about the supposed 400,000 textual errors within the Greek New Testament manuscripts. The last chapter will be faith-building and enable you to defend the Word of God as inerrant.

The Reading Culture of Early ChristianityTHE READING CULTURE OF EARLY CHRISTIANITY: The Production, Publication, Circulation, and Use of Books in the Early Christian Church

THE READING CULTURE OF EARLY CHRISTIANITY provides the reader with the production process of the New Testament books, the publication process, how they were circulated, and to what extent they were used in the early Christian church. It examines the making of the New Testament books, the New Testament secretaries and the material they used, how the early Christians viewed the New Testament books, and the literacy level of the Christians in the first three centuries. It also explores how the gospels went from an oral message to a written record, the accusation that the apostles were uneducated, the inspiration and inerrancy in the writing process of the New Testament books, the trustworthiness of the early Christian copyists, and the claim that the early scribes were predominantly amateurs. Andrews also looks into the early Christian’s use of the codex [book form], how did the spread of early Christianity affect the text of the New Testament, and how was the text impacted by the Roman Empire’s persecution of the early Christians?

400,000 Textual Variants 02400,000+ SCRIBAL ERRORS IN THE GREEK NEW TESTAMENT MANUSCRIPTS: What Assurance Do We Have that We Can Trust the Bible?

The Bible has been under attack since Moses penned the first five books. However, the New Testament has faced criticism like no other time over the 50-70-years. Both friend and foe have challenged the reliability of our New Testament. Self-proclaimed Agnostic textual scholar Dr. Bart D. Ehrman has claimed that there are 400,000+ scribal errors in our Greek New Testament manuscripts. A leading textual scholar, Greek grammarian, and Christian apologist Dr. Daniel B. Wallace has stipulated that this is true. This is of particular interest among all Christians, who have been charged with defending the Word of God. – 1 Peter 3:15.

In this volume, textual scholar Edward D. Andrews offers the churchgoer and textual student a defense against this specific attack on the New Testament. Andrews offers the reader a careful analysis of the relevant evidence, giving his readers logical, reasonable, rational assurances that the New Testament can be trusted more than ever before. He will explain the differences between the older Bible translations and the newer ones. Andrews will explain why we do not need the original manuscripts to have the original Word of God. He will reveal how reliable our manuscripts are, how they survived the elements and the persecution of early Christianity, as well as withstanding careless and even deceitful scribes. Finally, Andrews will deal with the 400,000+ scribal errors in the Greek New Testament manuscripts extensively. The author takes a complicated subject and offers his readers an easy to understand argument for why they can have confidence in the Bible despite various challenges to the trustworthiness of Scripture, offering an insightful, informed, defense of God’s Word.

4th ed. MISREPRESENTING JESUSMISREPRESENTING JESUS: Debunking Bart D. Ehrman’s “Misquoting Jesus” [Fourth Edition]

This fourth edition will be dealing with the Greek text of our New Testament, through the Eyes of Dr. Bart D. Ehrman, in his New York Times bestseller: Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why (2005). First, in the introduction, we will look into Bart D. Ehrman’s early life and spiritual decline as he moved from being an evangelical conservative Christian to becoming an agnostic skeptic. Second, we will open with chapter one covering the book writing process of the New Testament authors and early Christian scribes. Then, we will spend three lengthy chapters covering the reading culture of early Christianity because of Ehrman’s claim of just how low the literacy rates were in early Christianity. After that, we will take one chapter to investigate the early Christian copyists because of Ehrman’s claim that most of the scribal errors come from the first three centuries. Following this will be one of the most critical chapters examining Ehrman’s claim of 400,000 textual variants [errors] and what impact they have on the integrity of the Greek New Testament. We will then investigate Bible Difficulties and what they mean for the trustworthiness of God’s Word. After that, we will give the reader the fundamentals of some of Ehrman’s complaints, debunking them as we investigate each one throughout seven chapters.

Christian Apologetics and Evangelism

FIRST TIMOTHY 2.12FIRST TIMOTHY 2:12: What Does the Bible Really Say About Women Pastors/Preachers?

The role of women within the church has been a heated, ongoing debate. There are two views. We have the equal ministry opportunity for both men and women (egalitarian view) and the ministry roles distinguished by gender (complementarian view). This biblically grounded introduction will acquaint the reader with the biblical view: what does the Bible say about the woman’s role in the church? Both views mention the teachings of the apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 2:12 in order to support their viewpoint. Andrews will furnish the reader with a clear and thorough presentation of the biblical evidence for the woman’s role in the church so we can better understand the biblical viewpoint.

Young ChristiansTHE YOUNG CHRISTIAN’S SURVIVAL GUIDE: Common Questions Young Christians Are Asked about God, the Bible, and the Christian Faith Answered

Some of the questions asked and answered in THE YOUNG CHRISTIAN’S SURVIVAL GUIDE are “You claim the Bible is inspired because it says it is, right (2 Tim. 3:16)? Isn’t that circular reasoning?” “You claim the Bible was inspired, but there was no inspired list of which books that is true of. So how can we know which ones to trust?” “With so many different copies of manuscripts that have 400,000+ variants (errors), how can we even know what the Bible says?” “Why can’t the people who wrote the four Gospels get their story straight?” These questions and many more will be asked and answered with reasonable, rational, Scriptural answers.

HOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELSHOW RELIABLE ARE THE GOSPELS?

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.

REASONABLE FAITHREASONABLE FAITH: Saving Those Who Doubt

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.

JesusJESUS CHRIST: The Great Teacher

How can you improve your effectiveness as teachers? Essentially, it is by imitating JESUS CHRIST The Great Teacher 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. JESUS CHRIST The Great Teacher will discuss how you can employ all of his teaching methods. What a privilege it is to be a teacher of God’s Word and to share spiritual values that can have long-lasting benefits!

PaulTHE APOSTLE PAUL: The Teacher, Preacher Apologist

How can you improve your effectiveness as teachers? Essentially, it is by imitating THE APOSTLE PAUL: The Preacher, Teacher, Apologist. 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 APOSTLE PAUL: The Preacher, Teacher, Apologist will discuss how you can employ all of his teaching methods. When it comes to teaching, genuine Christians have a special responsibility. We are commanded to “make disciples of all nations . . . , teaching them.” (Matt. 24:14; 28:19-20; Ac 1:8)

DEFENDING OLD TESTAMENT AUTHORSHIPDEFENDING OLD TESTAMENT AUTHORSHIP: The Word of God Is Authentic and True

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?

Mosaic AuthorshipMOSAIC AUTHORSHIP CONTROVERSY: Who Really Wrote the First Five Books of the Bible?

Who wrote the first five books of the Bible? Was it Moses or was it others centuries later? If Moses wrote the first five books of the Bible, then how was his own death and burial written in Deuteronomy Chapter 34? Many mainstream Bible scholars argue that Moses could not have written the Pentateuch since he likely existed many centuries earlier than the development of the Hebrew language. When was the origin of the Hebrew language? Popular scholarship says that if Moses had written the Pentateuch, he would have written in the Egyptian language, not the Hebrew. Moreover, most of the Israelites and other people of the sixteenth century B.C.E. were illiteral, so who could have written the Torah, and for whom would it be written because the people of that period did not read?

Finally, analysis of the first five books demonstrates multiple authors, not just one, which explains the many discrepancies. Multiple authors also explain the many cases of telling of the same story twice, making the same events appear to happen more than once. The modern mainstream scholarship would argue that within the Pentateuch we see such things as preferences for certain words, differences in vocabulary, reoccurring expressions in Deuteronomy that are not found in Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, and Numbers, all evidence for their case for multiple authors.

What does the evidence say? What does archaeology, linguistic analysis, historical studies, textual analysis, and insights from Egyptologists tell us? Again, who wrote the first five books of the Bible? Was it Moses or was it others centuries later? Andrews offers his readers an objective view of the evidence.

Agabus CoverDEFENDING AGABUS AS A NEW TESTAMENT PROPHET: A Content-Based Study of His Predictions In Acts by Sung Cho

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.

UNDERSTANDING ISLAM AND TERRORISM-1UNDERSTANDING ISLAM AND TERRORISM: A Biblical Point of 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-godIS THE QURAN THE WORD OF GOD?: Is Islam the One True Faith?

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 guide to answering islamTHE GUIDE TO ISLAM: What Every Christian Needs to Know About Islam and the Rise of Radical Islam by Daniel Janosik

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. …

Reasons for FaithREASONS FOR FAITH: The First Apologetic Guide For Christian Women on Matters of The Heart, Soul, and Mind

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-judy-salisburyA TIME TO SPEAK: PRACTICAL TRAINING for the CHRISTIAN PRESENTER Authored by Judy Salisbury, Foreword by Josh McDowell

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.

BIBLICAL CRITICISMBIBLICAL CRITICISM: What are Some Outstanding Weaknesses of Modern Historical Criticism

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 - Beyond the BasicsBIBLICAL CRITICISM: Beyond the Basics

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 …

Feminist CriticismFEMINIST CRITICISM: What is Biblical Feminism?

FEMINIST CRITICISM will offer the reader explicitly what the Bible says. Feminist criticism is a form of literary criticism that is based on feminist theories. The worldview of feminism uses feminist principles to interpret the word of God. Biblical feminists argue that they are merely focused on creating equal opportunities to serve. They say that they want the freedom to follow Jesus Christ as he has called them. They assert that they merely want to use the gifts that he has given them in God’s service. Biblical feminists maintain that Scripture clearly states the worth and value of men and women equally when it comes to serving God. Biblical feminists also say that they want to partner with the men when it comes to taking the lead in the church and parenting in the home. They seek mutual submission and subjection in the church leadership and the home headship, not what they perceive to be a male hierarchy. FEMINIST CRITICISM will gently and respectfully address these issues with Scripture.

APOLOGETICSCHRISTIAN APOLOGETIC EVANGELISM: Reaching Hearts with the Art of Persuasion

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 TranslationREVIEWING 2013 New World Translation of Jehovah’s Witnesses: Examining the History of the Watchtower Translation and the Latest Revision

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.

REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURESREASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES: Sharing CHRIST as You Help Others to Learn about the Mighty works of God

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.

REASONING WITH OTHER RELIGIONSREASONING WITH THE WORLD’S VARIOUS RELIGIONS: Examining and Evangelizing Other Faiths

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. …

CONVERSATION EVANGELISMCONVERSATIONAL EVANGELISM, [Second Edition]

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. …

THE CHRISTIAN APOLOGISTTHE CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST: Always Being Prepared to Make a Defense [Second Edition]

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 HANDBOOKTHE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK: How All Christians Can Effectively Share God’s Word in Their Community, [SECOND EDITION]

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.

divine-appointmentsDIVINE APPOINTMENTS: Spontaneous Conversations on Matters of the Heart, Soul, and Mind

“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

YOUR GUIDE FOR DEFENDING THE BIBLE_Third EditionYOUR GUIDE FOR DEFENDING THE BIBLE: Self-Education of the Bible Made Easy [Third Edition]

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-1THE CULTURE WAR: How the West Lost Its Greatness & Was Weakened From Within

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-1EARLY CHRISTIANITY IN THE FIRST CENTURY Jesus’ Witnesses to the Ends of the Earth

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.

INVESTIGATING JEHOVAH'S WITNESSESINVESTIGATING JEHOVAH?S WITNESSES: Why 1914 Is Important to Jehovah?s Witnesses

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. …

THE CHURCH CURETHE CHURCH CURE: Overcoming Church Problems

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.

FLEECING THE FLOCK_03FLEECING THE FLOCK: Setting the People of God Free From the Lies of Tithing

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 ChurchDECEPTION IN THE CHURCH: Does It Matter How You Worship?

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.

LEARN TO DISCERNLEARN TO DISCERN: Recognizing False Teaching In the Christian church Today

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 …

Biblical Studies

CALVINISM VS. ARMINIANISMCALVINISM VS. ARMINIANISM: The Bible Answers

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.

How to Study Your BibleHOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE: Rightly Handling the Word of God

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 to Study by TorreyHOW TO STUDY: Study the Bible for the Greatest Profit [Updated and Expanded]

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.

Deep Bible Study Cover_Torrey-1DEEP BIBLE STUDY: The Importance and Value of Proper Bible Study [Updated and Expanded]

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)

THE NEW TESTAMENTTHE NEW TESTAMENT: Its Background, Setting & Content

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 JESUS CHRIST by Stalker-1THE LIFE OF JESUS CHRIST: What Do You Know About Jesus? [Updated and Expanded]

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.” …

THE LIFE OF Paul by Stalker-1THE LIFE OF THE APOSTLE PAUL: The Apostle to the Nations [Updated and Expanded]

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.

The TRIAL and Death of Jesus_02THE TRIAL AND DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST: Jesus’ Final Ministry at Jerusalem [Updated and Expanded]

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.

INTERPRETING THE BIBLEINTERPRETING THE BIBLE: Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics

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. …

How to Interpret the Bible-1HOW TO INTERPRET THE BIBLE: An Introduction to Hermeneutics

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 …

The Church Community_02THE CHURCH COMMUNITY IN CONTEMPORARY CULTURE: Evangelism and Engagement with Postmodern People

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. …

Developing Healthy ChurchesDEVELOPING HEALTHY CHURCHES: A Case-Study in Revelation

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 …

Dying to KillDYING TO KILL: A Christian Perspective on Euthanasia and Assisted Suicide

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_ebook-onlyJOURNEY WITH JESUS THROUGH THE MESSAGE OF MARK

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.  …

ANGELSANGELS & DEMONS The Bible Answers

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. …

AN ENCOURAGING THOUGHT_01AN ENCOURAGING THOUGHT The Christian Worldview

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.

Christian Living

ADULTERYADULTERY: The Biblical Guide to Avoid the Pitfalls of Sexual Immorality

Andrews has written The Biblical Guide to Avoid the Pitfalls of Sexual Immorality. This tool is for both man and woman, husband and wife, all Christians who will marry one day and those who have been married for some time. The fallen world that we live in is fertile ground for immorality. The grass always seems greener somewhere away from one’s own spouse. Adultery is something everyone should avoid. It destroys more than just marriages, it destroys a person’s life, family and most importantly their relationship with God. Such is the danger of adultery that the Bible strongly warns every man and woman against it. The world that we currently live in is very vile, and sexual morality is no longer a quality that is valued. What can Christians do to stay safe in such an influential world that caters to the fallen flesh? What can help the husband and wife relationship to flourish as they cultivate a love that will survive the immoral world that surrounds them? We might have thought that a book, like God’s Word that is 2,000-3,500 years old would be out of date on such modern issues, but the Bible is ever applicable. The Biblical Guide to Avoid the Pitfalls of Sexual Immorality will give us the biblical answers that we need.

Satan

SATAN: Know Your Enemy

How could Satan, Adam, and Eve have sinned if they were perfect? How much influence does Satan have? How does Satan try to influence you? What do you need to learn about your enemy? How can you overcome Satanic influences? Can Satan know your thoughts? Can Satan control you? How can you overcome Satanic Influences? How does Satan blind the minds of the unbelievers? How you can understand Satan’s battle for the Christian mind. How you can win the battle for the Christian mind. How you can put on the full armor of God? All of these questions and far more are dealt with herein by Andrews.

MIRACLESMIRACLES: What Does the Bible Really Teach? 

WHAT IS A MIRACLE? It is an event that goes beyond all known human and natural powers and is generally attributed to some supernatural power. Why should YOU be interested in miracles?

“Miracles, by definition, violate the principles of science.”—RICHARD DAWKINS.

“Belief in miracles is entirely rational. Far from being an embarrassment to religious faith, they are signs of God’s love for, and continuing involvement in, creation.”—ROBERT A. LARMER, PROFESSOR OF PHILOSOPHY.

SHOULD YOU believe in miracles? As we can see from the above quotations, opinions vary considerably. But how could you convincingly answer that question?

Some of YOU may immediately answer, “Yes, I believe.” Others might say, “No, I don’t believe.” Then, there are some who may say, “I don’t know, and I really don’t care! Miracles don’t happen in my life!” Really, why should YOU be interested in miracles? The Bible promises its readers that in the future some miracles far beyond all ever recorded or experienced is going to occur and will affect every living person on earth. Therefore, would it not be worth some of your time and energy to find out whether those promises are reliable? What does God’s Word really teach about miracles of Bible times, after that, our day, and the future?

GODLY WISDOM SPEAKSGODLY WISDOM SPEAKS: FORTY DEVOTIONALS FROM THE BOOK OF PROVERBS FOR MANEUVERING THROUGH LIFE

Andrews, an author of over 100 books, has chosen the 40 most beneficial Proverbs, to give the readers an abundance of wise, inspired counsel to help them acquire understanding and safeguard their heart, “for out of it are the sources of life.” (4:23) GODLY WISDOM SPEAKS sets things straight by turning the readers to Almighty God. Each Proverb is dealt with individually, giving the readers easy to understand access to what the original language really means. This gives the readers what the inspired author meant by the words that he used. After this, the reader is given practical guidance on how those words can be applied for maneuvering through life today. GODLY WISDOM with its instruction and counsel never go out of date.

THE POWER OF GODTHE POWER OF GOD: The Word That Will Change Your Life Today

Yes, God will be pleased to give you strength. He even gives “extraordinary power” to those who are serving him. (2 Cor. 4:7) Do you not feel drawn to this powerful Almighty God, who uses his power in such kind and principled ways? God is certainly a “shield for all those who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 18:30) You understand that he does not use his power to protect you from all tragedy now. He does, however, always use his protective power to ensure the outworking of his will and purpose. In the long run, his doing so is in your best interests. Andrews shares a profound truth of how you too can have a share in the power of God. With THE POWER OF GOD as your guide, you will discover your strengths and abilities that will make you steadfast in your walk with God. You can choose to rise to a new level and invite God’s power by focusing on The Word That Will Change Your Life Today.

Herein Andrews will answer the “why.” He will address whether God is responsible for the suffering we see. He will also delve into whether God’s foreknowledge is compatible with our having free will. He will consider how we can objectively view Bible evidence, as he answers why an almighty, loving and just God would allow bad things to happen to good people. Will there ever be an end to the suffering? He will explain why life is so unfair and does God step in and solve our every problem because we are faithful? He will also discuss how the work of the Holy Spirit and the indwelling of the Holy Spirit should be understood in the light of wickedness. Lastly, Andrews will also offer biblical counsel on how we can cope when any tragedy strikes, …

Let God Use You to Solve Your PROBLEMSLet God Use You to Solve Your PROBLEMS: GOD Will Instruct You and Teach You In the Way You Should Go

GOD knows best. Nobody surpasses him in thought, word, or action. As our Creator, he is aware of our needs and supplies them abundantly. He certainly knows how to instruct us. And if we apply divine teaching, we benefit ourselves and enjoy true happiness. Centuries ago, the psalmist David petitioned God: “Make me to know your ways, O Lord; teach me your paths. Lead me in your truth and teach me” (Psalm 25:4-5) God did this for David, and surely He can answer such a prayer for His present-day servants.

PROMISES OF GODS GUIDANCEPROMISES OF GOD’S GUIDANCE: God Show Me Your Ways, Teach Me Your Paths, Guide Me In Your Truth and Teach Me

Whom do we lean upon when facing distressing situations, making important decisions, or resisting temptations? With good reason, the Bible admonishes us: “Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In all your ways know him, and he will make straight your paths.” (Prov. 3:5-6) Note the expression “do not lean upon your own understanding.” It is followed by “In all your ways know him.” God is the One with a truly sound mind. Thus, it follows that whenever we are faced with a decision, we need to turn to the Bible to see what God’s view is. This is how we acquire the mind of Christ.

Powerful Weapon of PrayerTHE POWER OF GOD: The Word That Will Change Your Life Today

Yes, God will be pleased to give you strength. He even gives “extraordinary power” to those who are serving him. (2 Cor. 4:7) Do you not feel drawn to this powerful Almighty God, who uses his power in such kind and principled ways? God is certainly a “shield for all those who take refuge in him.” (Psalm 18:30) You understand that he does not use his power to protect you from all tragedy now. He does, however, always use his protective power to ensure the outworking of his will and purpose. In the long run, his doing so is in your best interests. Andrews shares a profound truth …

BLESSED IN SATAN'S WORLD_02BLESSED BY GOD IN SATAN’S WORLD How All Things Are Working for Your Good

All of us will go through difficult times that we may not fully understand. The apostle Paul wrote, “in the last days difficult times will come.” (2 Tim. 3:1) Those difficulties are part of the human imperfection (Rom. 5:12) and living in a fallen world that is ruled by Satan (2 Cor. 4:3-4). But when we find ourselves in such a place, it’s crucial that we realize God has given us a way out. (1 Cor. 10:13) Edward Andrews writes that if we remain steadfast in our faith and apply God’s Word correctly when we go through difficult times, we will not only grow spiritually, but we will …

AMERICA IN BIBLE PROPHECY_UNITED STATES OF AMERICA IN BIBLE PROPHECY: The Kings of the North & South of Daniel and the Seven Kings of Revelation 

Why should you be interested in the prophecy recorded by Daniel in chapter 11 of the book that bears his name? The King of the North and the King of the South of Daniel are locked in an all-out conflict for domination as a world power. As the centuries pass, turning into millenniums, first one, then the other, gains domination over the other. At times, one king rules as a world power while the other suffers destruction, and there are stretches of time where there is no conflict. But then another battle abruptly erupts, and the conflict begins anew. Who is the current King of the North and the King of the South? Who are the seven kings or kingdoms of Bible history in Revelation chapter 17? We are living in the last days that the apostle Paul spoke of, when he said, “difficult times will come.” (2 Tim. 3:1-7) How close we are to the end of these last days, wherein we will enter into the Great Tribulation that Jesus Christ spoke of (Matt. 24:21), no one can know for a certainty. However, Jesus and the New Testament authors have helped to understand the signs of the times and …

YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCEYOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE: Why and How Your Christian Life Makes a Difference

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.

HOW TO OVERCOME YOUR BAD HABITS-1TURN OLD HABITS INTO NEW HABITS: Why and How the Bible Makes a Difference

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?

GOD WILL GET YOU THROUGH THISGOD WILL GET YOU THROUGH THIS: Hope and Help for Your Difficult Times

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.

FEARLESS-1FEARLESS: Be Courageous and Strong Through Your Faith In These Last Days

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_05JOHN 3:16: For God So Loved the World

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. …

THE BOOK OF JAMESTHE BOOK OF JAMES (CPH New Testament Commentary 17)

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. …

THE OUTSIDERTHE OUTSIDER Coming-of-Age In This Moment

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, …

thirteen-reasons-to-keep-living_021THIRTEEN REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD KEEP LIVING: When Hope and Love Vanish

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. …

Waging War - Heather FreemanWAGING WAR: A Christian’s Cognitive Behavioral Therapy Workbook

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.

Human ImperfectionHUMAN IMPERFECTION: While We Were Sinners Christ Died For Us

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? …

For As I Think In My Heart_2nd EditionFOR AS I THINK IN MY HEART SO I AM: Combining Biblical Counseling with Cognitive Behavioral Therapy [Second Edition]

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 …

APPLYING GODS WORD-1APPLYING GOD’S WORD MORE FULLY: The Secret of a Successful Christian Life [Second Edition]

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 …

Put Off the Old PersonPUT OFF THE OLD PERSON: Put On the New Person [Second Edition]

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 …

Walking With Your God_Second EditionWALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD: Putting God’s Purpose First in Your Life [Second Edition]

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 …

Wives_02WIVES BE SUBJECT TO YOUR HUSBANDS How Should Wives Treat Their Husbands?

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. 

HUSBANDS - Love Your WivesHUSBANDS LOVE YOUR WIVES: How Should Husbands Treat Their Wives?

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. 

Technology and Social Trends-1TECHNOLOGY AND SOCIAL TRENDS: A Biblical Point of View

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?

Christians and GovernmentCHRISTIANS AND GOVERNMENT: A Biblical Point of View

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.

Christians and EconomicsCHRISTIANS AND ECONOMICS A Biblical Point of View

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 …

A Dangerous JourneyA DANGEROUS JOURNEY: Those Who Become Jesus’ Disciples

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.

Prayer Life

Power Through PrayerPOWER THROUGH PRAYER A Healthy Prayer Life

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.

Powerful Weapon of PrayerTHE POWERFUL WEAPON OF PRAYER: A Healthy Prayer Life

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.

How to Pray_Torrey_Half Cover-1HOW TO PRAY: The Importance of Prayer [Updated and Expanded]

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 the 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.

Bible Doctrines

ezekiel, daniel, & revelationEZEKIEL, DANIEL, & REVELATION: GOG OF THE LAND OF MAGOG, KINGS OF THE NORTH AND SOUTH, & THE EIGHT KINGS OF REVELATION

The Bible describes the events that will occur before and after the destruction of Gog of Magog. Who is Gog of Magog mentioned in the book of Ezekiel? Why should we be interested in the prophecy recorded in Daniel chapter 11? Find out in a verse-by-verse explanation of Daniel Chapter 11, as you discover who the kings of the North and the South are from before Jesus’ day throughout the last days. You will benefit from paying attention to Daniel’s prophecy about the battle between the two kings? Taken together, the Bible books of Daniel and Revelation not only identify eight kings but also show the sequence in which they would appear. We can explain those prophecies.

WHAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU DIEWHAT WILL HAPPEN IF YOU DIE?: Should You Be Afraid of Death or of People Who Have Died?

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?

Identifying the AntiChristIDENTIFYING THE ANTICHRIST: The Man of Lawlessness and the Mark of the Beast Revealed

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. …

Understaning Creation AccountUNDERSTANDING THE CREATION ACCOUNT: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

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 …

Explaining the Doctrine of the Last ThingsEXPLAINING the DOCTRINE of LAST THINGS Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

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

second coming CoverThe SECOND COMING of CHRIST: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

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 Is HellWHAT IS HELL? Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

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.

miraclesMIRACLES – DO THEY STILL HAPPEN TODAY? God Miraculously Saving People’s Lives, Apparitions, Speaking In Tongues, Faith Healing

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.

Homosexuality and the ChristianHOMOSEXUALITY – The BIBLE and the CHRISTIAN: Basic Bible Doctrines of the Christian Faith

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.

Daily Devotionals

40 day devotional (1)40 DAYS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS Coming-of-Age In Christ

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.

DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHSDEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS: Growing Up In Christ

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?

DEVOTIONAL FOR TRAGEDYDEVOTIONAL FOR THOSE COPING WITH TRAGEDY: A Journey Back to God

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.

DEVOTIONAL FOR CAREGIVERSDEVOTIONAL FOR CAREGIVERS: Finding Strength Through Faith

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.

Daily_OTDAILY DEVOTIONAL Daily Musings From the Old Testament

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.

Daily Devotional_NT_TMDAILY DEVOTIONAL: Daily Musing From the New Testament

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.

Daily Devotional_DarkerBREAD OF HEAVEN: Daily Meditations on Scripture

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.

theconversationcoverTHE CONVERSATION: An Intimate Journal of the Emmaus Encounter

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.

More Than DevotionMORE THAN DEVOTION: Remembering His Word, Apply It to Our Lives

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.

Christian Fiction

02 Journey PNGTHE ROAD TO REDEMPTION: A Young Girl’s Journey and Her Quest for Meaning

Stella Mae Clark thought she had a wonderful life. She idolized her father, a military man who raised her to love Christ with all of her heart. She had a mother who loved her father and their example of true love gave her the sparkle in her eyes. That is until the unimaginable happens and her life is completely shattered. One decision at the age of sixteen would again turn her world completely upside down. Stella Mae makes the decision to leave her life and her family behind to seek refuge from her painful past. She desperately seeks solace, answers, and for something to fill the aching void within her heart. Just as she thinks she has settled into a new life with Christ, tragedy once again strikes and shatters any hope she had for a normal life. She abandons Christ and turns to a life of sin before it ultimately consumes her and breaks her down. Will it take nearly losing her life to find her way back to God or will her shame and regret keep holding her back? Join Stella Mae on her journey to find meaning and purpose in the midst of all her tragedy as she seeks to find the One her heart has been missing. The story of her past is one of loss, shame, heartbreak, and fear. With the help of those who see her for more than her past, she is able to become the person she always wanted to be and a new creature.

Oren Natas_JPEGOREN NATAS: Satan Incarnate As the Antichrist

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.

Sentient-FrontTHE SENTIENT a Novel

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!”

Judas DiaryTHE DIARY OF JUDAS ISCARIOT: How to Keep Jesus at Arm’s Length

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.

The RaptureTHE RAPTURE: God’s Unwelcomed Wrath

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. …

Seekers and DeceiversSEEKERS AND DECEIVERS: Which One are You? It Is Time to Join the Fight!

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. …

[1] People of the first three centuries sent and received letters and books from all over the Roman Empire. Hurtado has given us two examples: the Shepherd of Hermas was written in Rome and found its way to Egypt within a few decades; Irenaeus’ Against Heresies was written in Gaul and made it to Egypt (Oxyrhynchus) within short order.

[2] http://orbis.stanford.edu/

[3] This apostasy and divisiveness did not just come into the Christian congregation out of nowhere. It started developing in the first-century, but was restrained by apostolic authority.

[4] Macquarie University, Ancient History Documentary Research Center (AHDRC), Papyri from the Rise of Christianity in Egypt (PCE),

http://www.anchist.mq.edu.au/doccentre/PCEhomepage.html.

[5] Philip W. Comfort, The Quest for the Original Text of the New Testament (Eugene, Oregon: Wipf and Stock Publishers, 1992).

[6] Andreas J. Köstenberger, John, Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2004), 583–586.

[7] 1 & 2 Thessalonians 1:1 (NASB) Paul and Silvanus and Timothy, To the church of the Thessalonians …

2 Corinthians 1:1 (NASB) Paul, an apostle of Christ Jesus by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, To the church of God which is at Corinth …

Philippians 1:1 (NASB) Paul and Timothy, bond-servants of Christ Jesus, To all the saints in Christ Jesus who are in Philippi …

Colossians 1:1 (NASB) Paul, an apostle of Jesus Christ by the will of God, and Timothy our brother, …

Philemon 1 (NASB) Paul, a prisoner of Christ Jesus, and Timothy our brother, To Philemon …

[8] Allen Black and Mark C. Black, 1 & 2 Peter, The College Press NIV Commentary (Joplin, MO: College Press Pub., 1998), 2 Pe 3:16.

[9] 1 Clem. First Epistle of Clement to the Corinthians

[10] Ignatius, Eph. 12:2, refers to Paul, “who in all his Epistles makes mention of you in Christ Jesus.” (Although one wonders how Ignatius thought the Ephesians were mentioned in every Pauline letter he knew.) On the evidence for 2 Clement’s knowledge of a collection, see Karl P. Donfried, The Setting of Second Clement in Early Christianity (NovTSup 38; Leiden: E. J. Brill, 1974), 93–95.

[11] Jack Finegan, “The Original Form of the Pauline Collection,” HTR 49 (1956) 85–104. See also Walter Schmithals, “Zur Abfassung und ältesten Sammlung der pauli nischen Hauptbriefe” [“On the Composition and Earliest Collection of the Major Epistles of Paul”], ZNW 51 (1960) 225–45.

[12] Harry Gamble, “The Redaction of the Pauline Letters and the Formation of the Pauline Corpus,” JBL 94 (1971) 403–18.

[13] Mary Lucetta Mowry, “The Early Circulation of Paul’s Letters,” JBL 63 (1944) 73–86.

[14] Peter H. Davids, The Letters of 2 Peter and Jude, The Pillar New Testament Commentary (Grand Rapids, MI: William B. Eerdmans Pub. Co., 2006), 302–303.

[15] Clinton E. Arnold, Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: Hebrews to Revelation., vol. 4 (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2002), 153.

[16] The attempt by H. von Campenhausen (“Polykarp und die Pastoralen,” repr. Aus der Frühzeit des Christentums [Tübingen: Mohr/Siebeck, 1963], 197–252) to show that Polycarp also authored the pastoral Epistles has met with little acceptance.

[17] Schoedel (Polycarp, 4–5) suggests that it is “fairly certain” that the letter “reflects more or less direct contact” with the following writings: Psalms, Proverbs, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Tobit, Matthew, Luke, Acts, Romans, 1–2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, 1–2 Timothy, 1 John, 1 Peter, and 1 Clement. Metzger (Canon, 61–62) adds to the New Testament list 2 Thessalonians and Hebrews while deleting Acts and 2 Corinthians.

[18] Michael William Holmes, The Apostolic Fathers: Greek Texts and English Translations, Third ed. (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 2007), 272–273.

[19] Jack Finegan, “The Original Form of the Pauline Collection,” HTR 49 (1956) 85–104. See also Walter Schmithals, “Zur Abfassung und ältesten Sammlung der pauli nischen Hauptbriefe” [“On the Composition and Earliest Collection of the Major Epistles of Paul”], ZNW 51 (1960) 225–45.

[20] Theophilus of Antioch, “Theophilus to Autolycus,” in Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria (Entire), ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, trans. Marcus Dods, vol. 2, The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885), 114.

[21] 1 Tim. 2:2

[22] Rom. 13:7, 8

[23] Theophilus of Antioch, “Theophilus to Autolycus,” in Fathers of the Second Century: Hermas, Tatian, Athenagoras, Theophilus, and Clement of Alexandria (Entire), ed. Alexander Roberts, James Donaldson, and A. Cleveland Coxe, trans. Marcus Dods, vol. 2, The Ante-Nicene Fathers (Buffalo, NY: Christian Literature Company, 1885), 115.

[24] These men may have been deacons but, apart from their joint martyrdom with Felix, their identities are unknown at the time of this writing.

[25] Some may have been scribes as well but not all. Retaining accurate, fresh copies for the congregation entailed reaching out to scribes or scriptoriums, to acquire copies for their congregation.

[26] This is not to say that no manuscripts survived the persecution in Alexandria, it is possible that some got through the flames.

[27] Craig A. Evans (2012-03-16). Jesus and His World: The Archaeological Evidence (Kindle Locations 1403-1406). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.

[28] Exler, Form. P. 126, warns “The papyri discovered in Egypt have shown that the art of writing was more widely, and more popularly, known in the past, than some scholars have been inclined to think.” For example, see PZen. 6, 66, POxy. 113,294, 394, 528, 530, 531 and especially 3057.

[29] (Richards, Paul And First-Century Letter Writing: Secretaries, Composition and Collection 2004, 28)

[30] (Richards, Paul And First-Century Letter Writing: Secretaries, Composition and Collection 2004, 28)

[31] “Throughout the Hellenistic and Roman world the distinction prevailed in that there were educated people who were proficient readers and writers, less educated ones who could read but hardly write, some who were readers alone, some of them only able to read slowly or with difficulty and some who were illiterate.”–Millard, Alan Reading and Writing in the Time of Jesus (Sheffield, Sheffield Academic Press, 2000), p. 154

[32] Exler, Form. P. 126 warns, “The papyri discovered in Egypt have shown that the art of writing was more widely, and more popularly, known in the past, than some scholars have been inclined to think.” For example, see PZen. 6, 66, POxy. 113,294, 394, 528, 530, 531 and especially 3057.

[33] Cornelius was a centurion, an army officer in charge of a unit of foot soldiers, i.e., in command of 100 soldiers of the Italian band.

[34] I.e. on your forehead

[35] The Mishnah was the primary body of Jewish civil and religious law, forming the first part of the Talmud.

[36] Mishnah Yoma 8:4

[37] A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), Lk 2:48.

[38] William Arndt, Frederick W. Danker and Walter Bauer, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature, 3rd ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2000), 308.

[39] (Evans, Jesus and His World: The Archaeological Evidence 2012)

[40] Gamaliel was a Pharisee and a leading authority in the Sanhedrin, as well as a teacher of the law, of which Acts says, Paul was “educated at the feet of Gamaliel according to the strict manner of the law of our fathers.” (Ac 22:3)

[41] (Evans, Jesus and His World: The Archaeological Evidence 2012)

[42] This Celsus was a second-century Greek philosopher and opponent of Early Christianity, who should not be confused with the previously mentioned Celsus, Roman Senator Tiberius Julius Celsus Polemaeanus.

[43] The History of the Christian Religion and Church, During the Three First Centuries, by Augustus Neander; translated from the German by Henry John Rose, 1848, p. 41

[44] B.C.E. means “before the Common Era,” which is more accurate than B.C. (“before Christ”). C.E. denotes “Common Era,” often called A.D., for anno Domini, meaning “in the year of our Lord.”

[45] Daniel B. Wallace, Greek Grammar Beyond the Basics – Exegetical Syntax of the New Testament (Zondervan Publishing House and Galaxie Software, 1999; 2002), 29-30.

[46] The symbol “P” stands for “Papyrus.”

[47] The Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts.

http://csntm.org/News/Archive/2012/2/10/EarliestManuscriptoftheNewTestamentDiscovered

[48] Köstenberger, Andreas (2002-02-01). Encountering John: The Gospel in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective (Encountering Biblical Studies) (Kindle Locations 4558-4562). Baker Academic.

[49] Briefly stated, textual criticism is the science and art that seeks to determine the most reliable wording of a text.* It is a science because specific rules govern the evaluation of various types of copyist errors and readings, but it is also an art because these rules cannot rigidly be applied in every situation. Intuition and common sense must guide the process of determining the most plausible reading. Informed judgments about a text depend on one’s familiarity with the types of copyist errors, manuscripts, versions and their authors. It is a complex process with few shortcuts, but one that can be learned through systematic effort. (Wegner 2006, p. 24)

* See P. Kyle McCarter, Textual Criticism: Recovering the Text of the Hebrew Bible, GBS:OTS (Philadelphia: Fortress, 1986), p. 18.

[50] Leading textual scholar Daniel Wallace tells us, after looking at all of the evidence, the % of instances where reading is uncertain and a well-attested alternative reading could change the meaning of the verse is a quarter one percent, i.e., 0.0025%

[51] J.D. Douglas, “Erasmus, Desiderius,” ed. J.D. Douglas and Philip W. Comfort, Who’s Who in Christian History (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 1992), 234.

[52] Bruce Manning Metzger and United Bible Societies, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition a Companion Volume to the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament (4th Rev. Ed.) (London; New York: United Bible Societies, 1994), xxii.

[53] Bruce Manning Metzger, THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT: Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, Third Enlarged Edition (New York: Oxford University Press, 1992), 106.

[54] Epp, “Textual Criticism,” 6:429.

[55] Novum Testamentum Graece is the Latin name of the original Greek-language version of the New Testament.

[56] Merriam-Webster, Inc: Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary. Eleventh ed. Springfield, Mass.: Merriam-Webster, Inc., 2003: variant  ver-ē-ənt adj varying usu. slightly from the standard form 〈variant readings〉〈variant spellings〉

[57] (B. D. Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why 2005, 89-90)

[58] When the term “layperson” is used here, it also includes seminary students, who may even have a 93-hour M.Div., as textual criticism is almost never a part of the curriculum.

[59] http://bible.org/article/number-textual-variants-evangelical-miscalculation

[60] While it is true that some scholars, like Philip Comfort, argue that, the NU could be improved upon, because in many cases it is too dependent on internal evidence, when the documentary evidence should be more of a consideration as to the weightiness of the matter. It should be pointed out, this is in only a handful of places, when one considers 138,020 words in the Greek New Testament, and it is hardly consequential. I would also mention that this writer would agree with Comfort in the matter of giving more weight to the documentary evidence.

[61] Epignosis is a strengthened or intensified form of gnosis (epi, meaning “additional”), meaning, “true,” “real,” “full,” “complete” or “accurate,” depending upon the context. Paul and Peter alone use epignosis.

[62] NU is an acronym for two critical manuscripts: (1) Nestle-Aland Greek Text (28th ed.) and (2) United Bible Societies Greek Text (5th ed.)

[63] This is only a partial list of the manuscripts, as we are just offering an example, to see how we count the variants. In addition, it should be noted that, generally speaking, most places there are usually hundreds of MSS for a single reading, with the rest split in various directions.

[64] Bruce Manning Metzger and United Bible Societies, A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament, Second Edition a Companion Volume to the United Bible Societies’ Greek New Testament (4th Rev. Ed.) (London; New York: United Bible Societies, 1994), XXIX.

[65] Dr. Danial Wallace’s insight have added to the above discussion:

The Number of Textual Variants: An Evangelical Miscalculation, http://danielbwallace.com/2013/09/09/the-number-of-textual-variants-an-evangelic (accessed September 10, 2015).

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