Before delving into the discussion, we should mention the severe difficulty of defining what literacy was in the ancient Roman Empire of the first three centuries of Christianity and just how literate was the populace.
Full Illiteracy: This one has no reading or writing skills, no math skills, and is incapable of signing his name for daily living and employment beyond fundamental manual labor. He would work as fruit and vegetable picking, handling materials or low-level tools, manual digging or building, farming, or working in large workshops that produced items such as dishes or pots, as well as household slaves.
Fragmentary Literacy: (inconsistent or incomplete in some areas) The very basic ability to understand spoken words, a very basic grasp of written words, very basic math skills (buying in the marketplace), and the ability to sign one’s name for daily living and employment. He would work as a manual laborer in the marketplace not requiring math, a shop assistant that performs manual labor, or a soldier.
Fundamental Literacy: The basic ability to understand spoken words, an elementary grasp of written words, basic math skills and the ability to sign one’s name and the ability to read and write simple words for daily living and employment, such as work as a craftsman, works in the marketplace, or soldier.
Functional Literacy: This one has the competent ability to understand spoken words, a beginner-intermediate level grasp of written words, and the ability to prepare basic documents for daily living and employment tasks that require reading skills beyond a basic level. He is a semiliterate writer who is untrained in writing but has the ability to read or write simple sentences and can take on some basic jobs, such as a copyist or scribe.
Proficient Literacy: This one is a highly skilled person, who can understand spoken words, and has an intermediate-advanced level grasp of written words. He has the proficient ability to prepare short texts for daily living and employment tasks that require reading skills at the intermediate level. He is a literate writer who is trained in writing and can take on jobs, such as a copyist or scribe, a tax collector or clerk.
Full Literacy: This one is a highly skilled expert, who can understand spoken words, an advanced level grasp of written words. He has the professional ability to prepare long texts for daily living and employment tasks that require reading skills at the advanced level. He is a fully literate writer who is professionally trained in writing and can take on jobs, such as a copyist or scribe, a tax collector, teacher, lawyer, or a clerk to high-ranking positions like Senators.
Rome was a complex society. Levels of literacy were fluid because of the conditions of the day being as culturally and ethnically diverse as it was. The Roman Empire from the first century to the fourth century was as culturally and ethnically diverse as New York City and its five boroughs: the Bronx, Brooklyn, Manhattan, Queens, and Staten Island. A person’s literacy level to carry out different job functions and skills for daily living and employment would not be the same in Nazareth as would have been the case in Rome. The need or desire for literacy would not be as important in Nazareth as it would have been in Rome. As we will see, the need or desire for literacy was likely not as important to the pagan as it would have been to the Jew or the Christian.
Therefore, when we look at all of the evidence over the next two chapters, we will discover that literacy on all levels was more prominent than has long been held by historians, who have felt literacy in ancient Rome was no greater than 10-20 percent. It is clear that a far greater proportion of the population of the Roman Empire from the days of Jesus Christ to the time of Constantine the Great could make use of their skills in understanding the spoken word, grasping the written word, math skills, and writing. The Roman world was in this time that we speak of overflowing with documents, a range of literacies as we can see from above, as well as different literary genres: historical, religious, military, commercial, poetry, and so on. These were distinguished by the social location of those who possessed them, by the method in which they were produced, the material used to receive the writing, the publication, and circulation, as well as the languages, the kinds of text, and those who used them.
The city of Rome is founded in 753 B.C.E., some 750 years before Jesus was born. The Roman citizens had long believed that reading and writing strengthened them. It gave them confidence that their rulers were not going to take advantage of them. It is a given that as an empire grows, what is expected out of their subjects grows exponentially as well. When a state bureaucracy develops, the use of documents grows right alongside it and the people have no choice but to become functionally literate.
Based on what you will learn from our section Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism consider the accuracy of the following quote from Dr. Bart D. Ehrman, who is a prominent scholar of early Christianity and the history of the Greek manuscripts of the New Testament.
The best and most influential study of literacy in ancient times, by Columbia University professor William Harris, indicates that at the very best of times and places—for example, Athens at the height of the classical period in the fifth century B.C.E.—literacy rates were rarely higher than 10–15 percent of the population. To reverse the numbers, this means that under the best of conditions, 85–90 percent of the population could not read or write. In the first Christian century, throughout the Roman Empire, the literacy rates may well have been lower. (B. D. Ehrman, Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why 2005, 37-38)
On this, Larry Hurtado writes, “A few decades ago, it became fashionable in some scholarly circles, including NT/Christian Origins, to hold the view that in the Roman period there was an extremely low level of literacy, and that only elite levels of society had that skill. One still sees this view touted today (typically by those echoing what they believe to be authoritative pronouncements on the matter by others). But a number of studies show that such generalizations are simplistic, and that “literacy” was both more diverse and much more widely distributed than some earlier estimates. The earlier claims of an extremely low level of literacy resurfaced in some comments, so I take the time to draw attention to some previous postings on the subject. Likewise, the older (early 20th century) notion that early Christian circles were composed of slaves and unlearned nobodies has rightly been corrected by various studies. The pioneering study by Edwin Judge, The Social Pattern of Christian Groups in the First Century (1960), was followed by a number of works focused on the social description of early Christian groups.” – Larry Hurtado’s Blog
Literacy in the First Century
Craig A. Evans writes, “In recent years, a number of scholars have suggested that Jesus could not read and that in all likelihood none of his disciples could read either. They maintain 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.” We will see this is not the case below but for now let it be said that we cannot take aggregate data and apply it to individuals. In other words, we cannot say that the literacy level in the Roman Empire of the first four centuries of our Common Era is less than ten percent; therefore, Jesus, the apostles, and the New Testament authors were illiterate. This is especially true when we can extrapolate from the data that we have, that this is not the case. This would be like saying the average income for Columbus, Ohio is 52,000 dollars a year, so John Smith who lives in Columbus makes 52,000 dollars a year. You cannot apply that aggregate data to individuals unless you have direct information, such as tax records.
How can we, modern 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.), 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. For our purpose here we are particularly interested in his letters, which were published; i.e., 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 is found in the 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 costs, these writers would simply flip a letter over and use the other side for something else. Many such letters ended up in garbage dumps. However, some recipients of these letters valued them, so they stored them as though they were a 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 deceased because they were so valued. Hundreds of thousands of letters have been discovered over the past century by archaeologists. These were the work of common folk, writing about everyday things. On the subjects of an empire learning a language so as not to be exploited by a powerful kingdom, Gregory Wolf writes,
This is wonderfully illustrated by the Roman Empire by the personal archive of the Jewish woman named Babatha, found in the Cave of Letters on the shore of the Dead Sea and dating to the early second century C.E. Babatha’s papers comprised thirty-five documents written in Greek, Nabatean, and Aramaic or a mixture of these languages, with occasional transliterated Latin terms for Roman institutions. The archive included documents relating to the sale of land, dates and probably also wine, various marriage contracts and probably details of a dowry, a bequest, a court summons, various notices of deposits and loans, a court summons and a deposition, petitions, and an extract from the minutes of the council of Petra relating to the guardianship of her son. Much of this was generated by private transactions-both commercial and disputes arising from her complicated family life. But it was the recourse to law, and to civic and provincial administration, that generated this mass of material, which she kept with her until her death in the disturbances arising from the Bar Kokhba war.
Most of us have heard of Marcus Tullius Cicero, or simply 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, while Cicero was writing letters to one person, he knew that others would be reading them as well. Therefore, he took advantage of these opportunities to use writing to communicate points persuasively, using logic and reason, philosophical arguments, and the like. His letters grew from very short letters to 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.), was a Roman Stoic philosopher, statesman, and dramatist, i.e., a very famous, skilled, and effective speaker. As for written works, Seneca is known for twelve philosophical essays, 124 letters to Lucilius Junior, nine tragedies, and an uncertain satire. Seneca was a representative of the Silver Age of Latin literature. In his letters to his friend Lucilius, dealing with moral issues, he delved into philosophical ideas, setting aside the simple and bare letters of the day for something far more complex.
The apostle Paul, as we have seen, used personal letters and letter carriers as a substitute until he could visit churches and key people. He produced through his scribe Tertius 433 verses, 7,111 words in the book of Romans, which would have taken two days to copy. 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 note that the level of literacy in the first century is a somewhat subjective measurement, because of the limited available evidence, as well as one’s interpretation of that evidence. Consider as an analogy 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 television or a laptop 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.
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 information 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)
According to E. Randolf Richards, 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 an excellent 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.” 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 many years. When I fill out a form or even sign my name, I struggle to write, because it is so seldom required. Many have argued that the lower class of antiquity was almost entirely illiterate. However, recent research shows that this was not the case, as literacy was more of an everyday need than they had thought.
Richard’s definition of literacy is too simplistic because defining literacy among historians has been plagued by many different definitions. It is also relative to the person determining how the word should be defined. For some historians of the first three centuries of Christianity under the Roman Empire, literacy could refer to any ancient person who merely had the ability to write one’s name. For another, it might be as Richard’s suggested, one who can read but cannot write. Then, again, it could be a semiliterate writer who is untrained in writing but could prepare short documents, to a literate writer who has had experience in making lengthy documents and has an understanding of what he is writing, to the professional who is paid to write for others. The levels of literacy that was laid out at the beginning of this chapter cover the different levels of literacy in early Christianity.
In passing, I will mention something that few historians or textual scholars will address, the gift of languages. An extraordinary gift conveyed through the Holy Spirit to a number of disciples starting at Pentecost 33 C.E. that made it possible for them to speak or otherwise glorify God in a tongue in addition to their own. Therefore, the ability to be miraculously able to speak a foreign language in the Roman Empire would have been greatly appreciated. In conjunction with this, we must also remember that Christianity grew out of a melting pot of languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, Coptic, and Syriac (an Aramaic dialect). Thus, when we think about it, the first and second century Jewish Christian in Palestine may be quite familiar with Hebrew, Greek, and even Aramaic but be illiterate when it comes to Latin. On the other hand, the Gentile Christian may be very familiar with Greek, somewhat familiar with Hebrew and a little familiar with Aramaic but possess the very basic ability to understand spoken words and have an elementary grasp of written words when it comes to Latin. Then, in Rome, the Gentile and Jewish Christian might be literate when it comes to Latin and also be quite familiar with Greek, and yet be wholly illiterate when it comes to Hebrew and Aramaic.
Even though Greek was very much used in Egypt, in time, the need to have a translation in the native language of the growing Egyptian Christian population would come. Coptic was a later form of the ancient Egyptian language. In the late first or early second century C.E., a Coptic alphabet was developed using somewhat modified Greek letters (majuscules and seven characters from the demotic, representing Egyptian sounds the Greek language did not have). At least by the end of the second or the beginning of the third century (c. 200 C.E.), the first translation of parts of the New Testament had been produced for the Coptic natives of Egypt. Various Coptic dialects were used in Egypt, and in time, different Coptic versions were made. Therefore, In the Egyptian part of the Roman Empire, the Christian may be literate when it comes to Coptic but struggles with Greek. And whether the Egyptian Christian is Gentile or Jew, he may or may not have any working knowledge when it comes to Hebrew or Aramaic.
Syria was a region with the Mesopotamia to its East, with the Lebanon Mountains on the West, the Taurus Mountains to it’s North, and Palestine and the Arabian Desert to its south. Syria played a very prominent role in the early growth of Christianity. The city of Antioch in Syria was the third-largest city in the Roman Empire. Luke tells us of “those who were scattered because of the persecution that occurred in connection with Stephen [shortly after Pentecost, yet just before the conversion of Paul in 34 or 35 C.E.] made their way to Phoenicia and Cyprus and Antioch, speaking the word to no one except to Jews alone. But there were some of them, men of Cyprus and Cyrene, who came to Antioch [of Syria] and began speaking to the Greeks also, preaching the Lord Jesus.” (Ac 11:19-20, bold mine) Because of the thriving interest of the Gospel manifested in Antioch, where many Greek-speaking people were becoming believers, the apostles in Jerusalem sent Barnabas, who then called Paul in from Tarsus to help. (Ac 11:21-26) Both Barnabas and Paul remained there for a year, teaching the people. Antioch became the center for the apostle Paul’s missionary journeys.
Moreover, “the disciples were first called Christians in Antioch.” (Ac 11:26) While the New Testament letters were written in Koine Greek, the common language of the Roman Empire, Latin being the official language, it was thought best to translate the New Testament books into Syriac in mid-second century C.E. as Christianity spread throughout the rest of Syria.
However, let us assume for the sake of discussion that literacy was very low among the lower class, and even relatively low among the upper class, who had the ability to pay for the service. What does this 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, assume that statistically, the literacy rate is low in a specific area, or a particular city, like Rome (slave population). Does this 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 could not write, or struggled to write; what does this really mean for individuals or Christianity? Very little, because if there are 40-100 million people living throughout the Roman Empire and one million of them were Christian by 125-150 C.E., we are only referring to one or two percent of the population. There is no way to arrive at a specific statistical level of literacy for this small selection, in a time when history focused on the prominent. If a person from that period said anything about the lower class, this was only based on the sphere of whom he knew or what he had seen in his life, which would be very limited 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)
Books, Reading, and Writing; Literacy and Early Jewish Education
The priests of Israel (Num. 5:23) and leading persons, such as Moses (Ex. 24:4), Joshua (Josh. 24:26), Samuel (1 Sam 10:25), David (2 Sam. 11:14-15), and Jehu (2 Ki 10:1, 6), were capable of reading and writing. The Israelite people themselves generally could read and write, with few exceptions. (Judges 8:14; Isa. 10:19; 29:12) Even though Deuteronomy 6:8-9 is used figuratively, the command to write the words of the Law on the doorposts of their house and their gates implied that they were literate. Yes, it is true that even though Hebrew written material was fairly common, few Israelite inscriptions have been discovered. One reason for this is that the Israelites did not set up many monuments to admire their accomplishments. Thus, most of the writing, which would include the thirty-nine books of the Bible were primarily done with ink on papyrus or parchment. Most did not survive the damp soil of Palestine. Nevertheless, the Hebrew Old Testament Scriptures were preserved throughout the centuries by careful, meticulous copying and recopying.
During the first seven years of Christianity (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. From that time forward Gentiles came into the Christian congregations. However, the church still consisted mostly of Jewish converts. 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, 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)
8 You shall bind them [God’s Word] as a sign on your hand and they shall be as frontlets bands between your eyes. 9 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 always, 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), dated to the 10th-century B.C.E., is believed by some scholars to be a schoolboy’s memory exercise.
The Jewish author Philo of Alexandria (20 B.C.E.–50 C. E.) a Hellenistic Jewish philosopher, whose first language was Greek, had this to say about Jewish parents and how they taught their Children the Law and 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 at a competent level. Philo also wrote, “for parents, thinking but little of their own advantage, think the virtue and excellence of their children the perfection of their own happiness, for which reason it is that they are anxious that they should obey the injunctions which are laid upon them, and that they should be obedient to all just and beneficial commands; for a father will never teach his child anything which is inconsistent with virtue or with truth.” In the nation of Israel some 1,550 years before Philo, everyone was strongly encouraged to be literate. (Deut. 4:9; 6:7, 20, 21; 11:19-21; Ps 78:1-4) Not only the father to the children but also prophets, Levites, especially the priests, and other wise men served as teachers. Fathers taught their sons a trade, while mothers taught their daughters the domestic skills. Fathers also taught their children the geography of their land, as well as the rich history. As Philo informs us of the Jewish people of his day, saying that it is the father, who is responsible for educating the children academically, philosophically, physically, as well as moral instruction and discipline.
Josephus (37-100 C.E.), the first-century Jewish historian, writes, “Our principle 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 clearly involves at a minimum the ability to read and write at 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 needed to 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 to all men. It began with the very young. The Mishnah 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.” (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 wealthy Jewish families who could afford formal education. However, this would be shortsighted, for the Israelites had long been a people who 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 wealthy 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 died.
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, and 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, and 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. Great 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 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
22 And they were astounded at his teaching, for he taught them as one who had authority, and not as the scribes.
|Mark 1:27 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
27 And they were all astonished, 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 copyists of Scripture. They 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 admired, 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 scribes 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 in addition 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. The 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.
Jesus’ Childhood Visits to Jerusalem
Only one event from Jesus’ childhood is given to us, and it is found in the Gospel of Luke. It certainly adds weighty circumstantial evidence to the fact that Jesus could read and, therefore, 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 them. 47 And all those listening to him were amazed at his understanding and his answers.
As we pointed out earlier in chapter 2, this was no 12-year-old boy’s questions of curiosity. The Greek indicates that 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, at 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.” Thus, at twelve years old, Jesus, only 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).
Some 18 years later Jesus again confronted the 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 responded to them on the subject of the resurrection: “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.) We find “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 used these same terms for himself, as did 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 students, Pharisees, Scribes and the Sadducees. Jesus said, “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 responded, “Have you not read that he who created them from the beginning made them male and female.” (Matt. 19:3; a 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 were asked in such a way to his opponents; there is little doubt Jesus himself had read them. When Jesus asked 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.
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.
Books, Reading, and Writing; the Literacy Level of the Apostle Peter and John
|Acts 4:13 Updated American Standard Version (UASV)
13 Now when they saw the boldness of Peter and John, and perceived that they were uneducated and untrained 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, UASV, 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 secretaries) 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). 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 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 expert in the 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 he 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 found” (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 that the gospel writers shared the events through their separate viewpoints, i.e., they drew attention to what stood out to them, and what served their purpose for writing their Gospel accounts.
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?” This impression does not end with inscriptions, because archaeology can extrapolate that between the fourth and sixth centuries C.E., millions upon millions of documents came out of Oxyrhynchus, just 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 important 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 central 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, as well as 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 out that “Celsus, 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.” 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 grow from 120 in Jerusalem about 33 C.E., to some one million by 125 C.E., a mere 92 years later. 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 that the Jews abandoned it and went back to the Hebrew Old Testament.
In any case, Celsus was an enemy of Christianity. Also, as was stated above, what Celsus observed was 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 entirely illiterate, but rather a good number of them could read and write (with difficulty). Many had a very basic ability to understand spoken words, a very basic grasp of written words, very basic math skills (buying in the market place), and the ability to sign one’s name for daily living and employment.
Let us return to Peter and John. We will assume for the sake of argument that literacy was between five and ten percent, with most readers being men. We will accept that Peter and John were entirely illiterate in the sense the modern historian believes it to be true (even though they likely were not). The time of the statement in Acts about the two apostles’ being “uneducated” (i.e., unlettered) was about 33 C.E. 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 were 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 Christian 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? Could education in the first century have become more accessible?
The Birth of Koine Greek
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 different Greek dialects of which Attic was the most significant. Koine soon became the universal language. It had a tremendous advantage over the other languages of this period, in that it was almost universally used. “Koine” means the “common” language, or dialect common to all. The Greek vocabulary of the Old Testament translation, the Septuagint, was the Koine of Alexandria, Egypt, from 280 to 150 B.C.E. Everett Ferguson writes,
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. 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; e.g. when Jesus was executed by the Roman Pontius Pilate, the inscription above his head was in Aramaic, the language of the Jews, in Latin, the official language of Rome. It was also in Greek, which was the language spoken on the streets of Alexandria to Jerusalem, to Athens, to Rome and the rest of the Empire. (John 19:19, 20; Acts 6:1) Acts 9:29 informs us that Paul was preaching in Jerusalem to 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 27 New Testament books.
Books, Reading, and Writing; Archaeological Evidence for Literacy In Early Christianity
Graffiti and Literacy in Early Christianity
Pompeii was a prosperous, populace (15,000), economically diverse ancient Roman city near modern Naples in the Campania region of Italy. Over 11,000 graffiti samples, etched into the plaster or painted on the walls, in both public and private places, have been uncovered in the excavations of Pompeii. Archaeologists have been studying and recording graffiti in Pompeii since the 1800s.
Mount Vesuvius blew a column of gas, magma, and debris for thirty-six hours that literally darkened the sky as though it were night, which caused a dreadful rain of ash and lapilli (small lava rock fragments ejected from a volcano). It only took two days until Pompeii and an enormous area of rural area were covered with a thick layer, with the average depth of about eight feet [2.5 m]. The earth continued to be shaken by violent tremors that released into the air a huge cloud of poisonous gases. These gases were invisible but deadly, which covered the city, bringing death. As Pompeii was being buried, the small Roman town Herculaneum vanished instantly, being preserved more or less intact. “Lava flowed down on Herculaneum, submerging that town under a mass of mud and volcanic debris to a depth that reached twenty-two meters [72 feet] near the shore.” (Dell’Orto 1990, 131)
It is these buried cities that have helped us to understand the ancient Roman world better and specifically it’s Graffiti that has enabled us to understand its literary level better. The Graffiti of the ancient Roman world was writing in charcoal, scratched with a stylus or stick, painted with a brush, or drawings scribbled, scratched, or painted with a brush on a wall or other surface in a public place. In the ancient world of the first-century Roman Empire, graffiti was a valued form expression, which was even interactive, and should not be confused with the modern-day criminal defacement we now see in most of our modern cities.
Some scholars as we have already seen from above and others not mentioned herein have attempted to downplay the importance of the texts of the Greek New Testament within early Christianity. Instead, they argue that the oral gospel played a far more important, dominant role. This is largely supported by the long-held belief that the vast majority of those in the ancient Roman world was unable to read and write. Many scholars throughout the twentieth century have argued that the low literacy level is evidence that the early Christians did not place a significant value of the texts of the New Testament. On this Alan Millard, professor of Hebrew and ancient Semitic languages, writes, “Another authority stated, ‘there was a gap of several decades between the public ministry of Jesus and the writing down of his words by the authors of the Gospels. During this time what was known about Jesus was handed on orally.’” The Jesus Seminar, fifty critical Biblical scholars and one-hundred laymen founded in 1985 by Robert Funk, even argue that Jesus’ early disciples “were technically illiterate.” (Millard 2000, 185)
From the last forty to fifty years, the evidence supports that people of all sorts knew how to read and write in the first century. The Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek languages were common at all levels of society during Jesus’ life and ministry and the apostle’s lifetime. The argument that the Gospels came out of an utterly illiterate society is a false narrative because the evidence tells another story entirely, as reading and writing would be quite common throughout the Roman Empire. In almost every circumstance there would be people who could write something that someone tells them, be it for their personal use, or the benefit of another.
For example, consider the commonness of the graffiti in Pompeii and throughout the Roman Empire. The elites that argue for orality do not include this kind of evidence into the discussion, which they should because it would detract from their theme of literacy impacting the production, publication, and distribution of a written text. Think about graffiti by its very nature cannot be derived from the wealthy, prominent members of Roman society. Who would argue that such memorable writers as Vergil (or Virgil), Horace, Catullus, Propertius, Tibullus, and Ovid were found scribbling on the side of some public building? On this, Kristina Milnor writes, “The corpus of Pompeian wall writings, moreover, has been seen as a window onto the language of everyday life in the ancient Roman world, one of our few opportunities to read words written by ordinary people performing an activity (writing graffiti) that we in the modern-day do not associate with the cultural elite.”
As Milnor rightly points out, the graffiti is not by the hands of elite writers but rather common everyday people. She makes the acute observation that the prominent Latin poets of the day had mixed feelings and concerns about the production of their book that they knew would be read and reread, which meant being copied and copied. They knew this also meant that human error would creep into the work and copyist may even take liberties. Moreover, these published authors knew that they also faced public criticism, while the authors of the graffiti knew their work was an autograph and never had to face any production, publication, and distribution issues. The author of a graffito simply concerned himself with the technical aspects of his written work: its properties and techniques as seen from a literary and language perspective. In many cases, the Latin poet’s work may become known throughout the entire empire, while the graffito author is simply a local phenomenon.
We need to view graffiti in the light of all written works that had an impact on the ancient Roman culture of the day. Some might mistakenly believe that graffiti was at the bottom of the written record spectrum. However, we might place the graffiti above the daily writings of advertisements for rental properties, shopping lists, or signs throughout the city offering public information to the passerby. We might even place the graffiti on the same level as the local newspaper or rather something like the tabloid magazine of the first century C.E., with writers showing much interest in the classics, who dabbled in poetry and mythology, as well as local gossip, with a mixture of advertisements. While it is true that the messages were likely more impactful on the urban level, let’s not think the elites were any less impacted by the graffiti than the elites of today and TMZ. The readers were incidental in nature, happening upon the graffiti, not seeking it out like a published book. However, the workers of the elites likely communicated these things to their employers or masters if the subject or context was relevant, and there is nothing to say that when a wealthy person walked the streets through the shops, they never paused to read the graffiti. The general conclusion being “It seems clear that a significant percentage of wall writers and readers were literate in Greek, although the common practice of transliteration suggests that there may have been more speakers than writers/readers.”
While we have focused on the public places of Pompeii and the Roman empire as a whole, graffiti can also be found in the catacombs and on various early Christian monuments. Throughout the Roman Empire of the first three centuries of Christianity, graffiti could have been in the millions engraved into or painted on walls, floors and engraved on tombstones. Craig A. Evans informs us that Israel was not exempt from graffiti, stating, “There are many examples in Israel too, though not nearly as ‘colourful’ as those preserved on the scorched walls of Pompeii and Herculaneum. At the very least these graffiti and inscriptions attest to a crude literacy that reached all levels of society.” Evans sites Rock Inscriptions and Graffiti Project (3 vols, SBLRBS 28, 29, 31; Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1992-4), “Stone and his colleagues catalogued some 8,500 inscriptions and graffiti found in southern Israel: the Judean desert, the desert of the Negev and Sinai. The inscriptions are in several languages, including Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Latin, Nabatean, Armenian, Georgian, Egyptian hieroglyphs and others. Not many date to late antiquity, because, unlike the graffiti and inscriptions of Pompeii and Herculaneum, the graffiti and inscriptions in the deserts of Israel were exposed to the eroding elements.” The graffiti help us to illustrate literacy and the literary sources of the life of the early Christians.
Theodotus Inscription to Greek-Speaking Jews: The inscription reads: “Theodotus son of Vettenus, priest and synagogue-president, son of a synagogue-president and grandson of a synagogue-president, has built the synagogue for the reading of the Law and the teaching of the Commandments, and (he has built) the hostelry and the chambers and the cisterns of water in order to provide lodgings for those from abroad who need them—(the synagogue) which his fathers and the elders and Simonides had founded.” (Biblical Archaeology, by G. Ernest Wright, 1962, p. 240)
The text was carved on a limestone slab measuring 72 cm (28 in.) in length and 42 cm (17 in.) in width. It was discovered early in the 20th century on the hill of Ophel in Jerusalem. The inscription, written in Greek, refers to a priest, Theodotus. It has been dated to shortly before the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E. It is evidence that there were Greek-speaking Jews in Jerusalem in the first century C.E. (Ac 6:1) Some believe that the writing is referring to “the synagogue of the Freedmen (as it was called),” The inscription also references that Theodotus, as well as his father Vettenus and his grandfather, had the title archisynagogos (leader of a synagogue, local ruler of the community), a title that used a number of times in the Greek New Testament. (Mark 5:22, 35-36, 38; Lu 8:49; 13:14; Ac 13:15; 18:8, 17, etc.).
There has been a countless number of archaeological finds that seem to suggest that many within the Roman Empire could read. Literally, throughout the Roman Empire, we find literally hundreds if not thousands of public inscriptions like the Theodotus Inscription shown above. These inscriptions range from a list of names, general public information, imperial decrees, laws and regulations, quotations from famous people, as well as directions, or distances from one place to another. In addition, even in the graveyards and the tombs, we find far more inscribed on the gravestones then merely the names of the deceased. On these tombstones, we find graffiti as mentioned above but also an inscription on the stone itself, such as threats and curses against any suspecting grave robbers who might happen upon their burial site. Indeed, it seems that they believed that the lowest criminal elements of the day could read. The impression from all of this public writing is that the public as a whole could read; otherwise, what is the point of spending all of the time and money so that a mere 5-10 percent of 100 million people could read it.
Literacy and the Literature from Egyptian Garbage Heaps
Beginning in 1778 and continuing to the end of the 19th century, many papyrus texts were accidentally discovered in Egypt that dated from 300 B.C.E. to 500 C.E., almost 500 thousand documents in all. About 130 years ago, there began a systematic search. At that time, a continuous flow of ancient texts was being found by the native fellahin, and the Egypt Exploration Society, a British non-profit organization, founded in 1882, realized that they needed to send out an expedition team before it was too late. They sent two Oxford scholars, Bernard P. Grenfell and Arthur S. Hunt, who received permission to search the area south of the farming region in the Faiyūm district. Grenfell chose a site called Behnesa because of its ancient Greek name, Oxyrhynchus. A search of the graveyards and the ruined houses produced nothing. The only place left to search was the town’s garbage dumps, which were some 30 feet [9 m] high. It seems to Grenfell and Hunt that all was lost but they decided to try.
In January of 1897, a trial trench (excavation or depression in the ground) was dug, and it only took a few hours before ancient papyrus materials were found. These included letters, contracts, and official documents. The sand had blown over them, covering them, and for nearly 2,000 years, the dry climate had served as a protection for them.
It took only a mere three months to pull out and recover almost two tons of papyri from Oxyrhynchus. They shipped twenty-five large cases back to England. Over the next ten years, these two courageous scholars returned each and every winter, to grow their collection. They discovered ancient classical writing, along with royal ordinances and contracts mixed in with business accounts private letters, shipping lists, as well as fragments of many New Testament manuscripts.
Of what benefit were all these documents? Foremost, the bulk of these documents were written by ordinary people in Koine (common) Greek of the day. Many of the words that would be used in the marketplace, not by the elites appeared in the Greek New Testament Scriptures, which woke scholars up to the fact that Biblical Greek was not some special Greek, but instead, it was the ordinary language of the common people, the man on the street. Thus, by comparing how the words had been used in these papyri, a clearer understanding of Biblical Greek emerged. As of the time of this writing, less than ten percent of these papyri have been published and studied. Most of the papyri were found in the top 10 feet 93 m] of the garbage heap because the other 20 feet [6 m] had been ruined by water from a nearby canal. If we look at it simply, this would mean that the 500 thousand documents found could have been two million in total. Then, we must ponder just how many documents must have come through Oxyrhynchus that were never discarded in the dumps.
We have almost a half-million papyrus documents (likely there were millions more that did not survive) in garbage dumps in the dry sands of Oxyrhynchus, Egypt. This is but one city in the entirety of the Roman Empire. Are we to believe that Oxyrhynchus is the exception, and some of the biggest cities, such as Rome, Corinth, Athens, Pergamum, Ephesus, Smyrna, Antioch, Jerusalem, Alexandria, and Carthage, which numbered anywhere from one hundred thousand to over a million in their population, did not have equal or greater writings discarded in their dumps? Then we should consider the temples and the libraries that boasted of having tens of thousands of books. Reportedly, by the first century C.E., the Alexandrian library housed one million scrolls. In fact, Mark Antony took 200,000 scrolls from the library at Pergamum to replenish the Alexandrian library for Cleopatra. Because of moisture damage and they’re being written on perishable material, we cannot discover the documents of these centers of education as we have in the dry sands of Egypt. Yet, should we for a moment believe that their garbage dumps saw any fewer books that were discovered at Oxyrhynchus, Egypt?
Clearly, the tremendous amount of document discoveries begs for widespread literacy not low levels. We are not trying to overturn the apple cart here. The common consensus of the historians is that in the Roman Empire of the first three centuries of Christianity were 5-10 percent literate and they were male. We are not trying to suggest that widespread means the 80-90 percent literacy but instead at least 40-50 percent, if not more. We think of the immense production of the twenty-seven New Testament books of the first century and the Apostolic Fathers in the late first and early second centuries, as well as the Apologists from near the middle of the second century through its end. Then, we consider the publication of these books, the copying of these books, as well as their circulation, and we conclude that the use of these books in the early Christian Church are apparent. They, along with all else that has been discussed in this chapter give us clear visible proof of some level literacy within Christianity, but it cannot offer us the exact extent. We would argue the percentage be broken down instead of trying to suggest a one size fits all.
Full Illiteracy (20%): This one has no reading or writing skills, no math skills, and is incapable of signing his name for daily living and employment beyond fundamental manual labor. He would work as fruit and vegetable picking, handling materials or low-level tools, manual digging or building, farming, or working in large workshops that produced items such as dishes or pots, as well as household slaves.
Fragmentary Literacy (40): (inconsistent or incomplete in some areas) The very basic ability to understand spoken words, a very basic grasp of written words, very basic math skills (buying in the market place), and the ability to sign one’s name for daily living and employment. He would work as a manual laborer in the market place not requiring math, a shop assistant that performs manual labor, or a soldier.
Fundamental Literacy (20): The basic ability to understand spoken words, an elementary grasp of written words, basic math skills and the ability to sign one’s name and the ability to read and write simple words for daily living and employment, such as work as a craftsman, works in the marketplace, or soldier.
Functional Literacy (15%): This one has the competent ability to understand spoken words, a beginner-intermediate level grasp of written words, and the ability to prepare basic documents for daily living and employment tasks that require reading skills beyond a basic level. He is a semiliterate writer who is untrained in writing but has the ability to read or write simple sentences and can take on some basic jobs, such as a copyist or scribe.
Proficient Literacy (3%): This one is a highly skilled person, who can understand spoken words, and has an intermediate-advanced level grasp of written words. He has the proficient ability to prepare short texts for daily living and employment tasks that require reading skills at the intermediate level. He is a literate writer who is trained in writing and can take on jobs, such as a copyist or scribe, a tax collector or clerk.
Full Literacy (2%): This one is a highly skilled expert, who can understand spoken words, an advanced level grasp of written words. He has the professional ability to prepare long texts for daily living and employment tasks that require reading skills at the advanced level. He is a fully literate writer who is professionally trained in writing and can take on jobs, such as a copyist or scribe, a tax collector, teacher, lawyer, or a clerk to high-ranking positions like Senators.
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Translation and Textual Criticism
The King James Bible was originally published in 1611. Some have estimated that the number of copies of the King James Version that have been produced in print worldwide is over one billion! There is little doubt that the King James Version is a literary masterpiece, which this author has and will appreciate and value for its unparalleled beauty of expression. This book is in no way trying to take away from what the King James Version has accomplished. The King James Version is a book to be commended for all that it has accomplished. For four centuries, when English-speaking people spoke of “the Bible,” they meant the King James Version. The question that begs to be asked of those who favor the King James Bible is, Do You Know the King James Version? What do most users of the King James Bible not know about their translation? Whether you are one who favors the King James Version or one who prefers a modern translation, Andrews will answer the questions that have long been asked for centuries about the King James Bible and far more.
THE COMPLETE GUIDE TO BIBLE TRANSLATION (CGBT) is for all individuals interested in how the Bible came down to us, as well as having an insight into the Bible translation process. CGBT is also for those who are interested in which translation(s) would be the most beneficial to use. The translation of God’s Word from the original languages of Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek is a task unlike any other and should never be taken lightly because it carries with it the heaviest responsibility: the translator renders God’s thoughts into a modern language. It is CGBT’s desire to take challenging and complex subjects and make them easy to understand. CGBT will communicate as clearly and powerfully as possible to all of its readers while also accurately communicating information about the Bible. …
We have come a long, long way from the time that the KJV was The Bible in English and the many translations available today. Finding the right Bible for the right person can be daunting, with almost too many choices available. However, it is still possible to divide the options into two broad categories: literal translations and dynamic equivalents. What is the difference, and why should you care? Bible publishers used to say that literal translations are good for study purposes, and dynamic equivalents are better for reading. So literal translations were advertised with terms like “accurate,” “reliable,” and, of course, “literal.” For dynamic equivalent translations, terms like “contemporary,” “easy to read,” and “written in today’s English” were used. Naturally, publishers do not advertise the negatives, so they did not point out that the literal translations might be a little harder to read, or that the dynamic equivalents might not be entirely faithful to the original languages of the Bible. However, more recently, some scholars have been taking this analysis in a new direction, assessing literal translations as less desirable than dynamic equivalents even for accuracy and reliability.
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.
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.
There are more than 150 different Bible translations in the English language alone. Some are what we call literal translations, which seeks to give the reader the exact English equivalent of what was written in the original language text, thus allowing the reader access to the actual Word of God. Then, there are dynamic equivalents, where the translator determines what the author meant by the original language text, and this is what they give the reader. There is also a paraphrase translation, which is an extremely interpretive translation. Exactly what are these differences? Are some translations better than others? What standards and principles can we use to determine what makes a good translation? Andrews introduces the readers to the central issues in this debate and presents several reasons why literal translations are superior to dynamic equivalent and paraphrase translations. We do not need to be a Bible scholar to understand these issues, as well as the importance of having the most accurate and faithful translation that is reflective of the original text. …
THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT (TTNT) is an introduction, intermediate and advanced level coverage of the text of the New Testament. Andrews introduces the new and relatively new reader to this subject in the first few chapters of the TTNT. Andrews deepens his handling of the material, while still making it easy to understand in the next few chapters of the TTNT, all the while being very informative in both sections. All of this prepares the reader for Wilkins’ advanced chapters. THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT was copied and recopied by hand for 1,500 years. Regardless of those scribes who had worked very hard to be faithful in their copying, errors crept into the text. How can we be confident that what we have today is the Word of God? Wilkins and Andrews offer the reader an account of the copying by hand and transmission of the Greek New Testament. They present a comprehensive survey of the manuscript history from the penning of the 27 New Testament books to the current critical texts. What did the ancient books look like and how were documents written? How were the New Testament books published? Who would use secretaries? Why was it so hard to be a secretary in the first century? How was such work done? What do we know about the early Christian copyists? What were the scribal habits and tendencies? Is it possible to establish the original text of the NewTestament? …
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 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?
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.
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
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.
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.
Was the Gospel of Mark Written First? Were the Gospel Writers Plagiarists? What is the Q Document? What about Document Q? Critical Bible scholars have assumed that Matthew and Luke used the book of Mark to compile their Gospels and that they consulted a supplementary source, a document the scholars call Q from the German Quelle, or source. From the close of the first century A.D. to the 18th century, the reliability of the Gospels was never really brought into question. However, once we enter the so-called period of enlightenment, especially from the 19th century onward, some critical Bible scholars viewed the Gospels not as the inspired, inerrant Word of God but rather as the word of man, and a jumbled word at that. In addition, they determined that the Gospels were not written by Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John, saying the Gospels were written after the apostles, denying that the writers of the Gospels had any firsthand knowledge of Jesus; therefore, for these Bible critics such men were unable to offer a record of reliable history. Moreover, these critical Bible scholars came to the conclusion that the similarities in structure and content in the synoptic (similar view) Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke), suggests that the evangelists copied extensively from one other. Further, the critical Bible scholars have rejected that the miracles of Jesus and his resurrection ever occurred as recorded in the Gospels. Lastly, some have even gone so far as to reject the historicity of Jesus himself.
Inside of some Christians unbeknownst to their family, friends or the church, they are screaming, “I doubt, I doubt, I have very grave doubts!” Ours is an age of doubt. Skepticism has become fashionable. We are urged to question everything: especially the existence of God and the truthfulness of his Word, the Bible. A SUBSTANTIAL PORTION of REASONABLE FAITH is on healing for the elements of emotional doubt. However, much attention is given to more evidenced-based chapters in our pursuit of overcoming any fears or doubts that we may have or that may creep up on us in the future.
How can you improve your effectiveness as teachers? Essentially, it is by imitating 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!
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)
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?
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 is a mysterious prophetic figure that appears only twice in the book of Acts. Though his role is minor, he is a significant figure in a great debate between cessationists and continualists. On one side are those who believe that the gift of prophecy is on par with the inspired Scriptures, infallible, and has ceased. On the other side are those who define it as fallible and non-revelatory speech that continues today in the life of the church. Proponents of both camps attempt to claim Agabus as an illustration of their convictions. This study defends the position that Agabus’ prophecies are true in every detail. Beginning with a survey of major figures in the debate, the author conducts an exegetical analysis of passages where Agabus appears in defense of the infallible view.
Islam is making a significant mark on our world. It is perhaps the fastest-growing religion in the world. It has become a major obstacle to Christian missions. And Muslim terrorists threaten the West and modern democracies. What is the history of Islam? What do Muslims believe? Do Christians and Muslims worship the same God? Why do we have this clash of civilizations? Is sharia law a threat to modern democratic values? How can we fight terrorists in the 21st century? These are significant questions that deserve thoughtful answers. This book provides practical, biblical answers so Christians can understand Islam, witness to their Muslim friends, and support efforts by the government to protect all of us from terrorism.
IS THE QURAN THE WORD OF GOD? Is Islam the One True Faith? This book covers the worldview, practices, and history of Islam and the Quran. This book is designed as an apologetic evangelistic tool for Christians, as they come across Muslims in their daily lives, as well as to inform them, as a protection again the misleading media. The non-Muslims need to hear these truths about Islam and the Quran so they can have an accurate understanding of the Muslim mindset that leads to their actions. Islam is the second largest religion in the world. Radical Islam has taken the world by storm, and the “fake media” has genuinely misled their audience for the sake of political correctness. This book is not a dogmatic attack on Islam and the Quran but rather an uncovering of the lies and describing of the truths. The reader will be introduced to the most helpful way of viewing the evidence objectively. We will answer the question of whether the Quran is a literary miracle, as well as is there evidence that the Quran is inspired by God, along with is the Quran harmonious and consistent, and is the Quran from God or man? We will also examine Islamic teachings, discuss the need to search for the truth, as well as identify the book of truth. We will look at how Islam views the Bible. Finally, we will take up the subjects of Shariah Law, the rise of radical Islam, Islamic eschatology, and how to effectively witness to Muslims.
The average Christian knows somewhat how dangerous radical Islam is because of the regular media coverage of beheadings of Christians, Jews, and even young little children, not to mention Muslims with which they disagree. However, the average Christian does not know their true beliefs, just how many there are, to the extent they will go to carry out these beliefs. Daily we find Islamic commentators on the TV and radio, offering up misleading information, quoting certain portions of the Quran while leaving other parts out. When considering Islamic beliefs, other Islamic writings must be considered, like the Hadith or Sunnah, and the Shariah, or canon law. While Islam, in general, does not support radical Islam, the vast majority do support radical beliefs. For example, beheadings, stoning for adultery or homosexuality, suicide bombings, turning the world into an Islamic state, and far too many other heinous things. THE GUIDE TO ISLAM provides Christians with an overview of Islamic terminology. The reader will learn about Muhammad’s calling, the history of the Quran, how Islam expanded, the death of Muhammad and the splinter groups that followed. In addition, the three sources of their teaching, six pillars of belief, five pillars of Islam, the twelfth Imam, and much more will be discussed. All of this from the mind of radical Islam. While there are several books on Islam and radical Islam, this will be the first that will prepare its readers to communicate effectively with Muslims in an effort toward sharing biblical truths. …
If you have the desire to become better equipped to reach others for the lost or to strengthen your faith, Judy Salisbury’s guide—written specifically to meet the needs of Christian women today—offers you a safe, practical, and approachable place to start. In her lively, … If you have the desire to become better equipped to reach others for the lost or to strengthen your faith, Judy Salisbury’s guide—written specifically to meet the needs of Christian women today—offers you a safe, practical, and approachable place to start. In her lively, straightforward style, Salisbury covers such issues as: Does God exist? Can I trust the Bible? Does Christianity oppress women? Can we know truth? Why would God allow evil and suffering? Was Jesus God and did He really rise from the dead? How does or should my faith guide my life?
A Time to Speak: Practical Training for the Christian Presenteris a complete guide for effective communication and presentation skills. Discuss any subject with credibility and confidence, from Christian apologetics to the sensitive moral issues of our day, when sharing a testimony, addressing a school board, a community meeting, or conference. This exceptional training is the perfect resource for Christians with any level of public speaking ability. With its easy, systematic format, A Time to Speak is also an excellent resource for home-schooled and college students. The reader, in addition to specific skills and techniques, will also learn how to construct their presentation content, diffuse hostility, guidance for a successful Q&A, effective ways to turn apathy into action, and tips on gaining their speaking invitation.
Historical Criticism of the Bible got started in earnest, known then as Higher Criticism, during the 18th and 19th centuries, it is also known as the Historical-Critical Method of biblical interpretation. Are there any weakness to the Historical-Critical Method of biblical interpretation (Historical Criticism), and why is historical criticism so popular among Bible scholars today? Its popularity is because biblical criticism is subjective, that is, based on or influenced by personal feelings or opinions and is dependent on the Bible scholar’s perception. In other words, biblical criticism allows the Bible scholar, teacher, or pastor the freedom to interpret the Scriptures, so that God’s Word it tells them things that they want to hear. Why is this book so critical for all Christians? Farnell and Andrews will inform the reader about Biblical criticism (historical criticism) and its weaknesses, helping you to defend God’s Word far better.
Biblical criticism is an umbrella term covering various techniques for applying literary historical-critical methods in analyzing and studying the Bible and its textual content. Biblical criticism is also known as higher criticism, literary criticism, and historical criticism. Biblical criticism has done nothing more than weaken and demoralize people’s assurance in the Bible as being the inspired and fully inerrant Word of God and is destructive in its very nature. Historical criticism is made up of many forms of biblical criticism that are harmful to the authoritative Word of God: historical criticism, source criticism, form criticism, redaction criticism, social-science criticism, canonical criticism, rhetorical criticism, structural criticism, narrative criticism, reader-response criticism, and feminist criticism. Not just liberal scholarship, but many moderate, even some “conservative” scholars have …
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.
APOLOGETICS: Reaching Hearts with the Art of Persuasion by Edward D. Andrews, author of over seventy books, covers information that proves that the Bible is accurate, trustworthy, fully inerrant, and inspired by God for the benefit of humankind. The reader will be introduced to Christan apologetics and evangelism. They will learn what Christian apologetics is. They will be given a biblical answer to the most demanding Bible question: Problem of Evil. The reader will learn how to reach hearts with are the art of persuasion. They will use persuasion to help others accept Christ. They will learn to teach with insight and persuasiveness. They will learn to use persuasion to reach the heart of those who listen to them.
REVIEWING 2013 New World Translation of Jehovah’s Witnesses is going to challenge your objectivity. Being objective means that personal feelings or opinions do not influence you in considering and representing facts. Being subjective means that your understanding is based on or influenced by personal feelings, tastes, or ideas. If the reader finds these insights offense, it might be a little mind control at work from years of being told the same misinformation repeatedly, so ponder things objectively. We can also have preconceived ideas that have been a part of our thinking for so long; we do not question them. Preconceived is an idea or opinion that is formed before having the evidence for its truth. If we are to be effective, we must season our words, so that they are received well. Then there is the term preconception, which means a preconceived idea or prejudice. Seasoned words, honesty, and accuracy are distinctive features of effective apologetic evangelism.
Use of REASONING FROM THE SCRIPTURES should help you to cultivate the ability to reason from the Scriptures and to use them effectively in assisting others to learn about “the mighty works of God.” – Acts 2:11. If Christians are going to be capable, powerful, efficient teachers of God’s Word, we must not only pay attention to what we tell those who are interested but also how we tell them. Yes, we must focus our attention on the message of God’s Word that we share but also the method in which we do so. Our message, the Gospel (i.e., the good news of the Kingdom), this does not change, but we do adjust our methods. Why? We are seeking to reach as many receptive people as possible. “You will be my witnesses … to the End of the Earth.” – ACTS 1:8.
Why should we be interested in the religion of others? The world has become a melting pot of people, cultures, and values, as well as many different religions. Religion has the most significant impact on the lives of mankind today. There are only a few of the major religions that make up billions of people throughout the earth. According to some estimates, there are roughly 4,200 religions in the world. God’s will is that “all sorts of men should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of truth.” (1 Tim. 2:4) God has assigned all Christians the task of proclaiming the Word of God, teaching, to make disciples. (Matt. 24:15; 28:19-20: Ac 1;8) That includes men and women who profess a non-Christian religion, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, and Islam to mention just a few. If there are Hindus, Buddhist or Muslims are in your community, why not initiate a conversation with them? Christians who take the Great Commission seriously cannot afford to ignore these religions. …
Evangelism is the work of a Christian evangelist, of which all true Christians are obligated to partake to some extent, which seeks to persuade other people to become Christian, especially by sharing the basics of the Gospel, but also the deeper message of biblical truths. Today the Gospel is almost an unknown, so what does the Christian evangelist do? Preevangelism is laying a foundation for those who have no knowledge of the Gospel, giving them background information, so that they can grasp what they are hearing. The Christian evangelist is preparing their mind and heart so that they will be receptive to the biblical truths. In many ways, this is known as apologetics. Christian apologetics [Greek: apologia, “verbal defense, speech in defense”] is a field of Christian theology which endeavors to offer a reasonable and sensible basis for the Christian faith, defending the faith against objections. It is reasoning from the Scriptures, explaining and proving, as one instructs in sound doctrine, many times having to overturn false reasoning before he can plant the seeds of truth. …
MOST Christian apologetic books help the reader know WHAT to say; THE CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST is HOW to communicate it effectively. The Christian apologist’s words should always be seasoned with salt as he or she shares the unadulterated truths of Scripture with gentleness and respect. Our example in helping the unbeliever to understand the Bible has been provided by Jesus Christ and his apostles. Whether dealing with Bible critics or answering questions from those genuinely interested, Jesus referred to the Scriptures and at times used appropriate illustrations, helping those with a receptive heart to accept the Word of God. The apostle Paul “reasoned with them from the Scriptures, explaining and proving” what was biblically true. (Ac 17:2-3) The material in THE CHRISTIAN APOLOGIST can enable us to do the same. Apologist Normal L. Geisler informs us that “evangelism is planting seeds of the Gospel” and “pre-evangelism is tilling the soil of people’s minds and hearts to help them be more willing to listen to the truth (1 Cor. 3: 6).”
THE EVANGELISM HANDBOOK is a practical guide (for real-life application) in aiding all Christians in sharing biblical beliefs, the Good News of the Kingdom, how to deal with Bible critics, overturning false beliefs, so as to make disciples, as commanded by Christ. (Matthew 24:14; 28:19-20; Ac 1:8) Why do Christians desire to talk about their beliefs? Jesus said, “And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed in the whole inhabited earth for a testimony to all the nations, and then the end will come.” (Matt 24:14) This is the assignment, which all Christians are obligated to assist in carrying out. Jesus also said, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matt. 22:39) Jesus commanded that we “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them” and “teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you.” (Matt. 28:19-20) If one failed to be obedient to the great commission of Matthew 28:19-20, he or she could hardly claim that they have genuine faith. All true Christians have a determination to imitate God, which moves us to persist in reflecting his glory through our sharing Bible beliefs with others.
“Absorbing, instructional, insightful. Judy Salisbury’s book Divine Appointments embodies examples of truly speaking the truth in love. The stories she weaves together provide perfect examples of how to relate to others through conversational evangelism… Divine Appointments is an apt companion to any apologetics book, showing how to put principles into practice. It’s an apologetics manual wrapped in a warm blanket. Snuggle up with it.”— Julie Loos, Director, Ratio Christi Boosters
The reader will receive eight small introductory books in this one publication. Andrews’ intention is to offer his reader several chapters on eight of the most critical subject areas of understanding and defending the Word of God. This will enable the reader to lay a solid foundation for which he can build throughout his Christian life. These eight sections with multiple chapters in each cover biblical interpretation, Bible translation philosophies, textual criticism, Bible difficulties, the Holy Spirit, Christian Apologetics, Christian Evangelism, and Christian Living.
“‘Deep’ study is no guarantee that mature faith will result, but shallow study guarantees that immaturity continues.”(p. xiii)—Dr. Lee M. Fields.
The Culture War. How the West lost its greatness and was weakened from within outlines how the West lost its values, causing its current decline. It is a forceful attack on the extreme liberal, anti-religious ideology which since the 1960’s has permeated the Western culture and weakened its very core. The West is now characterized by strict elitist media censorship, hedonism, a culture of drug abuse, abortion, ethnic clashes and racial divide, a destructive feminism and the dramatic breakdown of the family. An ultra-rich elite pushes our nations into a new, authoritarian globalist structure, with no respect for Western historical values. Yet, even in the darkest hour, there is hope. This manifesto outlines the remedy for the current malaise and describes the greatness of our traditional and religious values that once made our civilization prosper. It shows how we can restore these values to bring back justice, mercy, faith, honesty, fidelity, kindness and respect for one another. Virtues that will motivate individuals to love one another, the core of what will make us great again.
EARLY CHRISTIANITY IN THE FIRST CENTURY will give its readers a thrilling account of first-century Christianity. When and how did they come to be called Christians? Who are all obligated to be Christian evangelists? In what way did Jesus set the example for our evangelism? What is the Kingdom of God? What was their worship like and why were they called the Truth and the Way? How did 120 disciples at Pentecost grow to over one million within 70-80-years? What was meant by their witness to the ends of the earth? How did Christianity in its infancy function to accomplish all it did? How was it structured? How were the early Christians, not of the world? How were they affected by persecution? How were they not to love the world, in what sense? What divisions were there in the second and third centuries? Who were the Gnostics? These questions will be answered, as well as a short overview of the division that grew out of the second and third centuries, pre-reformation, the reformation, and a summary of Catholicism and Protestantism. After a lengthy introduction to First-Century Christianity, there is a chapter on the Holy Spirit in the First Century and Today, followed by sixteen chapters that cover the most prominent Christians from the second to fourth centuries, as well as a chapter on Constantine the Great.
The intention of this book is to investigate the biblical chronology behind Jehovah’s Witnesses most controversial doctrinal position that Jesus began to rule invisibly from heaven in October 1914. This biblical chronology of the Witnesses hinges upon their belief that the destruction of Jerusalem by the Babylonians, which they say occurred in 607 B.C.E. The Witnesses conclude that Chapter 4 of the book of Daniel prophesied a 2,520 year period that began in 607 B.C.E. and ended in 1914 C.E. They state, “Clearly, the ‘seven times’ and ‘the appointed times of the nations’ refer to the same time period.” (Lu 21:24) It is their position that When the Babylonians conquered Jerusalem, the Davidic line of kings was interrupted, God’s throne was “trampled on by the nations” until 1914, at which time Jesus began to rule invisibly from heaven. …
In order to overcome and church problems, we must first talk about the different problems of the church. Many of the church problems today stem from the isms: liberalism, humanism, modernism, Christian progressivism, theological liberalism, feminism, higher criticism, and biblical criticism. Moreover, many are simply not a biblically grounded church regardless of how much they claim to be so. The marks of a true Christian church would be like the different lines that make up a church’s fingerprint, a print that cannot belong to any other church. The true Christian church contains their own unique grouping of marks, forming a positive “fingerprint” that cannot belong to any other church. William Lange Craig wrote, “Remember that our faith is not based on emotions, but on the truth, and therefore you must hold on to it.” What truth? Jesus said to the Father in prayer, “Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth.” (John 17:17) Are you doing the will of the Father? Is your church doing the will of the Father? – Matthew 7:21-23; 1 John 2:15-17.
Evangelist Norman Robertson claims that “Tithing is God’s way of financing His kingdom on the earth.” He asserts that “It is His system of economics which enables the Gospel to be preached.” Not bashful about telling his followers of their duty to give, he flatly states: ‘Tithing isn’t something you do because you can afford it. It is an act of obedience. Not tithing is a clear violation of God’s commandments. It is embezzlement.’ Most likely you accept that giving should be part of Christian worship. However, do you find continuous demanding appeals for money disturbing, perhaps even offensive? FLEECING THE FLOCK by Anthony Wade is an exhaustive examination of all of the popular tithing arguments made from the pulpit today. …
DECEPTION IN THE CHURCH by Fred DeRuvo asks Does It Matter How You Worship? There are 41,000 different denominations that call themselves “Christian” and all would claim that they are the truth. Can just any Christian denomination please God? Can all be true or genuine Christianity if they all have different views on the same Bible doctrines? DeRuvo will answer. He will focus on the largest part of Christianity that has many different denominations, the charismatic, ecstatic Signs and Wonders Movements. These ecstatic worshipers claim … DeRuvo will answer all these questions and more according to the truth of God’s Word.—John 8:31-32; 17:17.
Plunkett exposes the errors corrupting the Christian church through the Word of Faith, New Apostolic Reformation, and extreme charismatic movements. LEARN TO DISCERN, by author Daniel Plunkett highlights how an encounter with a rising star in the Word of Faith / “Signs and Wonders” movement was used by God to open his eyes to the deceptions, false teachings, and spiritual abuses running rampant in the charismatic movement today. These doctrines are thoroughly explored as taught by some of today’s most prominent speakers and evangelists and contrasted with the clear teachings of Scripture. LEARN TO DISCERN is an invaluable resource …
CALVINISM VS. ARMINIANISM goes back to the early seventeenth century with a Christian theological debate between the followers of John Calvin and Jacobus Arminius, and continues today among some Protestants, particularly evangelicals. The debate is centered around soteriology, that is, the study of salvation, and includes disputes about total depravity, predestination, and atonement. While the debate has developed its Calvinist–Arminian form in the 17th century, the issues that are fundamental to the debate have been discussed in Christianity in some fashion since the days of Augustine of Hippo’s disputes with the Pelagians in the fifth century. CALVINISM VS. ARMINIANISM is taking a different approach in that the issues will be discussed as The Bible Answers being that it is the centerpiece.
A comprehensive book on HOW TO STUDY YOUR BIBLE by observing, interpreting, and applying, which will focus on the most basic Bible study tools, principles, and processes for moving from an in-depth reading of the Scriptures to application. What, though, if you have long felt that you are not studiously inclined? Realize that the primary difference between a serious Bible student and a less serious Bible student is usually diligence and effort, not being a gifted student. Being a gifted Bible student alone is not enough. Efficient methods of Bible study are worth learning, for those seeking to become serious Bible students. The joy missing from many Bible students is because they do not know how to study their Bible, which means they do not do it well. Perhaps you dislike Bible study because you have not developed your study skills sufficiently to make your Bible study enjoyable. Maybe you have neglected your Bible study simply because you would rather be doing something else you enjoy.
How can we find more enjoyment in studying the Bible? How can we make our study periods more productive? What circumstances contribute to effective personal study? How can we derive real benefit and pleasure from our Bible reading? From what activities can time be bought out for reading and studying the Bible? Why should we watch our spiritual feeding habits? What benefits come from reading and studying the Scriptures? There is a great and constantly growing interest in the study of the English Bible in these days. However, very much of the so-called study of the English Bible is unintelligent and not fitted to produce the most satisfactory results. The authors of this book already have a book entitled “HOW TO STUDY: Study the Bible for the Greatest Profit,” but that book is intended for those who are willing to buy out the time to put into thorough Bible study.
Why is personal and family Bible study so important in our life now? How can we apply the Word of God in our lives? How can we use the Bible to help others? How can we effectively use the Scriptures when teaching others? How can we make decisions God’s way? How can Bible principles help us to decide wisely? Why should we have faith in God and his word? The Psalmist tells us, God’s Word “is a lamp to my foot, and a light for my path.” (Psalm 119:105) Since the Bible is a gift from God, the time and effort that we put into our personal Bible Study is a reflection of how much we appreciate that gift. What do our personal Bible study habits reveal about the depth of our appreciation of God’s Word? Certainly, the Bible is a deep and complex book, and reading and studying are not easy at times. However, with time and effort, we can develop a spiritual appetite for personal Bible study. (1 Peter 2:2)
Correctly interpreting the Bible is paramount to understanding the Word of God. As Christians, we do not want to read our 21st-century worldview INTO the Scriptures, but rather to takeOUT OF the Scriptures what the author meant by the words that he used. The guaranteed way of arriving a correct understanding of God’s Words is to have an accurate knowledge of the historical setting, cultural background, and of the people, governments, and religious leaders, as well as the place and time of the New Testament writings. Only with the background, setting, and context can you grasp the author’s intended meaning to his original readers and …
The life of Christ is an exhaustless theme. It reveals a character of greater massiveness than the hills, of a more serene beauty than the stars, of sweeter fragrance than the flowers, higher than the heavens in sublimity and deeper than the seas in mystery. As good Jean Paul has eloquently said, “It concerns Him who, being the holiest among the mighty, and the mightiest among the holy, lifted with His pierced hands empires off their hinges, turned the stream of centuries out of its channels, and still governs the ages.” …
Stalker’s Life of St. Paul became one of the most widely read and respected biographies of the Apostle to the Gentiles. As an insightful compendium on the life of Paul, this work is of particular interest to pastors and teachers who desire to add realism and vividness to their account of one of the greatest Christians who ever lived. Stalker’s work includes a section at the back entitled “Hints for Teachers and Questions for Pupils.” This supplement contains notes and “further reading” suggestions for those teaching on the life of St. Paul, along with a number of questions over each chapter for students to discuss. In addition, seventeen extra chapters have been added that will help the reader better understand who the Apostle Paul was and what first-century Christianity was like. For example, a chapter on the conversion of Saul/Paul, Gamaliel Taught Saul of Tarsus, the Rights, and Privileges of Citizenship, the “Unknown God,” Areopagus, the Observance of Law as to Vows, and much more.
With solid scholarship and exceptional clarity, beginning in Gethsemane, Stalker and Andrews examine Jesus’ trial and crucifixion. Their work is relevant, beneficial and enjoyable because they cover this historical period of Jesus’ life in an easy to understand format. Stalker’s expressive and persuasive style provides a great resource to any Bible study of the events leading to the death of Jesus Christ. THE TRIAL AND DEATH OF JESUS CHRIST is an academicish book written with a novelish style.
Delving into the basics of biblical interpretation, Edward D. Andrews has provided a complete hands-on guide to understanding what the author meant by the words that he used from the conservative grammatical-historical perspective. He teaches how to study the Bible on a deep, scholarly level, yet making it understandable to all. He has sought to provide the very best tool for interpreting the Word of God. This includes clarification of technical terms, answers to every facet of biblical interpretation, and defense of the inerrancy and divine inspiration of Scripture. Andrews realizes that the importance of digging deeper in our understanding of the Bible, for defending our faith from modern-day misguided scholarship. Andrews gives the reader easy and memorable principles and methods to follow for producing an accurate explanation that comes out of, not what many read into the biblical text. The principal procedure within is to define, explain, offer many examples, and give illustrations, to help the reader fully grasp the grammatical-historical approach. …
Anybody who wants to study the Bible, either at a personal level or a more scholarly level needs to understand that there are certain principles that guide and govern the process. The technical word used to refer to the principles of biblical interpretation is hermeneutics, which is of immense importance in Biblical Studies and Theology. How to Interpret the Bible takes into consideration the cultural context, historical background and geographical location in which the text was originally set. This enables us to obtain clarity about the original author’s intended meaning. Linguistic and literary factors are analyzed so that the various genres of Scripture are examined for their true meaning. The importance of having sound principles of interpretation cannot be overstated as …
Once upon a time, Postmodernism was a buzzword. It pronounced Modernism dead or at least in the throes of death. It was a wave that swept over Christendom, promising to wash away sterile, dogmatic and outmoded forms of church. But whatever happened to postmodernism? It was regarded as the start of a major historical transition to something new and promising and hailed as a major paradigm shift. Is it a philosophy that has passed its “sell-by” date? No! The radical fringe has become the dominant view and has been integrated into all aspects of life, including the Christian church. With the emergence of multicultural societies comes interaction with different belief systems and religions. Values like tolerance and a dislike of dogmatism have become key operating concepts, which reflect a change in worldview. …
In an age obsessed with physical and psychological health the author emphasizes the importance of spiritual well-being as an essential element of holistic health for the individual Christian and for Christian communities. This work constitutes a template for a spiritual audit of the local church. It offers an appointment with the Great Physician that no Christian can afford to ignore. Developing Healthy Churches: A Case-Study in Revelation begins with a well-researched outline of the origins and development of the church health movement. With that background in mind the author, aware that throughout the history of the church there have been a number of diverse views about how Revelation ought to be interpreted, presents the reader with four distinct interpretive models. These are the idealist, preterist, historicist, and futurist. Beville explains these interpretive approaches simply and critiques them fairly.e …
This is a comprehensive study of euthanasia and assisted suicide. It traces the historical debate, examines the legal status of such activity in different countries and explores the political, medical and moral matters surrounding these emotive and controversial subjects in various cultural contexts. The key advocates and pioneers of this agenda-driven movement (such as the late Jack Kevorkian, popularly known as “Dr. Death” and Philip Nitschke, founder of Exit International) are profiled. Not only are the elderly and disabled becoming increasingly vulnerable but children, psychiatric patients, the depressed and those who are simply tired of life are now on a slippery slope into a dystopian nightmare. The spotlight is brought to bear on the Netherlands, in particular, where palliative care and the hospice movement are greatly underdeveloped as a result of legalization. These dubious “services” are now offered as part of “normal” medical care in Holland where it is deemed more cost-effective to be given a lethal injection. The vital role of physicians as healers in society must be preserved and the important but neglected spiritual dimension of death must be explored. Thus a biblical view of human life is presented. …
Journey with Jesus through the Message of Mark is an insightful and engaging survey of Mark’s Gospel, exploring each major section of the text along with key themes. It is a work that can be enjoyed by laypersons as well as pastors and teachers. Pastors will find the abundant use of illustrations to be helpful in preparing their own messages and as such, it will find a welcome place in the preacher’s library. Simply, powerfully, with great precision, and exegetical accuracy, Kieran Beville masterfully brings us on a life-transforming journey. Readers will be both inspired and challenged as they hear the words of Jesus speaking afresh from the page of Scripture and experience the ministry of Jesus in a spiritually captivating way. The author has a pastor’s heart, a theologian’s mind, and a writer’s gift. His style is gripping, as he beautifully explains and illustrates Mark’s Gospel. Kieran Beville has done a great service to the church, and especially to true believers, who desire to grow in grace, increase in their knowledge of truth, and experience the intimacy, joy, and underserved and unspeakable privilege of walking, as disciples, with Jesus. This book is ideal as a study companion for Mark’s Gospel. One can read a section from the gospel and then read the corresponding section to receive a fresh viewpoint and a practical application. …
What are angels & demons? Can angels help us? What does the Bible say about angels? What is the truth about angels? Can Angels affect your life? Who were the “sons of God” in Genesis 6:2? Who were the Nephilim in Genesis 6:2? Who is Michael the archangel? Can Satan the Devil control humans? How can we win our struggle against dark spiritual forces? How can you resist the demons? Do evil spirits exercise power over humankind? Is Satan really the god of this world and just what does that mean? What did Jesus mean when he said, “the whole world lies in the power of the evil one [i.e., Satan]”? Andrews using the Bible will answer all of these questions and far more. …
Donald T. Williams learned a lot about the Christian worldview from Francis Schaeffer and C. S. Lewis, but it was actually Tolkien who first showed him that such a thing exists and is an essential component of maturing faith. Not only do explicitly Christian themes underlie the plot structure of The Lord of the Rings, but in essays such as “On Fairie Stories” Tolkien shows us that he not only believed the Gospel on Sunday but treated it as true the rest of the week and used his commitment to that truth as the key to further insights in his work as a student of literature. “You can do that?” Williams thought as a young man not yet exposed to any Christian who was a serious thinker. “I want to do that!” His hope is that his readers will catch that same vision from this book. An Encouraging Thought elucidates the ways in which Tolkien’s The Hobbit and The Lord of the Rings are informed by and communicate a biblical worldview. This book will help readers appreciate the ways in which a biblical worldview informs Tolkien’s work, to the end that their own faith may be confirmed in strength, focused in understanding, deepened in joy, and honed in its ability to communicate the Gospel.
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.
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.
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?
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.
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, …
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.
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.
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 …
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 …
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 …
The theme of Andrews’ new book is “YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE.” As a Christian, you touch the lives of other people, wherein you can make a positive difference. Men and women of ancient times such as David, Nehemiah, Deborah, Esther, and the apostle Paul had a positive influence on others by caring deeply for them, maintaining courageous faith, and displaying a mild, spiritual attitude. Christians are a special people. They are also very strong and courageous for taking on such an amazingly great responsibility. But if you can make a difference, be it with ten others or just one, you will have done what Jesus asked of you, and there is no more beautiful feeling. YOU CAN MAKE A DIFFERENCE with joy.
Many have successfully conquered bad habits and addictions by applying suggestions found in the Bible and by seeking help from God through prayer. You simply cannot develop good habits and kick all your bad ones overnight. See how to establish priorities. Make sure that your new habits work for you instead of your old bad habits against you. It is one thing to strip off the old habits, yet quite another to keep them off. How can we succeed in doing both, no matter how deeply we may have been involved in bad habitual practices?
It may seem to almost all of us that we are either entering into a difficult time, living in one, or just getting over one and that we face one problem after another. This difficulty may be the loss of a loved one in death or a severe marriage issue, a grave illness, the lack of a job, or simply the stress of daily life. As Christians, we need to understand that God’s Word will carry us through these times, as we maintain our integrity whether in the face of tremendous trials or the tension of everyday life. We are far better facing these hurdles of life with the help of God, who can make the worst circumstances much better and more bearable.
The world that you live in today has many real reasons to be fearful. Many are addicted to drugs, alcohol, bringing violence into even the safest communities. Terrorism has plagued the world for more than a decade now. Bullying in schools has caused many teen suicides. The divorce rate even in Christian households is on the rise. Lack of economic opportunity and unemployment is prevalent everywhere. Our safety, security, and well-being are in danger at all times. We now live in a prison of fear to even come outside the protection of our locked doors at home. Imagine living where all these things existed, but you could go about your daily life untouched by fear and anxiety. What if you could be courageous and strong through your faith in these last days? What if you could live by faith not fear? What if insight into God’s Word could remove your fear, anxiety, and dread? Imagine a life of calmness, peace, unconcern, confidence, comfort, hope, and faith. Are you able to picture a life without fear? It is possible.
John 3:16 is one of the most widely quoted verses from the Christian Bible. It has also been called the “Gospel in a nutshell,” because it is considered a summary of the central theme of traditional Christianity. Martin Luther called John 3:16 “The heart of the Bible, the Gospel in miniature.” The Father had sent his Son to earth to be born as a human baby. Doing this meant that for over three decades, his Son was susceptible to the same pains and suffering as the rest of humankind, ending in the most gruesome torture and execution imaginable. The Father watched the divine human child Jesus grow into a perfect man. He watched as John the Baptist baptized the Son, where the Father said from heaven, “This is my Son, the beloved, in whom I am well pleased.” (Matt. 3:17) The Father watched on as the Son faithfully carried out his will, fulfilling all of the prophecies, which certainly pleased the Father.–John 5:36; 17:4. …
This commentary volume is part of a series by Christian Publishing House (CPH) that covers all of the sixty-six books of the Bible. These volumes are a study tool for the pastor, small group biblical studies leader, or the churchgoer. The primary purpose of studying the Bible is to learn about God and his personal revelation, allowing it to change our lives by drawing closer to God. The Book of James volume is written in a style that is easy to understand. The Bible can be difficult and complex at times. Our effort herein is to make it easier to read and understand, while also accurately communicating truth. CPH New Testament Commentary will convey the meaning of the verses in the book of Philippians. In addition, we will also cover the Bible background, the custom and culture of the times, as well as Bible difficulties. …
SECTION 1 Surviving Sexual Desires and Love will cover such subjects as What Is Wrong with Flirting, The Pornography Deception, Peer Pressure to Have Sexual Relations, Coping With Constant Sexual Thoughts, Fully Understanding Sexting, Is Oral Sex Really Sex, …SECTION 2 Surviving My Friends will cover such subjects as Dealing with Loneliness, Where Do I Fit In, Why I Struggle with Having Friends, …SECTION 3 Surviving the Family will cover such subjects as Appreciating the House Rules, Getting Along with My Brothers and Sisters, How Do I Find Privacy, … SECTION 4 Surviving School will cover such subjects as How Do I Deal With Bullies, How Can I Cope With School When I Hate It, … SECTION 5 Surviving Who I Am will cover such subjects as Why Do I Procrastinate, … SECTION 6 Surviving Recreation will cover such subjects as … SECTION 7 Surviving My Health will cover such subjects as How Can I Overcome My Depression, …
Who should read THIRTEEN REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD KEEP LIVING? Anyone who is struggling in their walk as a young person. Anyone who has a friend who is having difficulty handling or coping with their young life, so you can offer them the help they need. Any parent who has young ones. And grade school, junior high or high school that wants to provide an, in touch, anti-suicide message to their students. … Many youths say that they would never dream of killing themselves. Still, they all have the deep feeling that there are no reasons for going on with their lives. Some have even hoped that some sort of accident would take their pain away for them. They view death as a release, a way out, a friend, not their enemy. …
The purpose of Waging War is to guide the youth of this program from start to finish in their therapeutic efforts to gain insight into their patterns of thinking and beliefs that have led to the current outcomes in their life thus far and enable them to change the path which they are on. Waging War is a guide to start the youth with the most basic information and work pages to the culmination of all of the facts, scripture, and their newly gained insight to offer a more clear picture of where they are and how to change their lives for the better. Every chapter will have work pages that Freeman has used and had found to be useful in therapy, but most importantly, this workbook will teach the Word to a population that does not hear it in its’ most correct form. What is the significance of controlling ones’ thoughts and how does that apply to you? Doubts, fears, and insecurities come from somewhere, especially when they are pervasive. Understanding this idea will help one to fight those thoughts and free them from the shackles their mind puts around their hearts, preventing them from achieving their dreams and the plans God had intended for them when they were created.
There are many reasons the Christian view of humanity is very important. The Christian view of humanity believes that humans were created in the image of God. We will look at the biblical view of humanity. We are going to look at the nature of man, the freedom of man, the personality of man, the fall of man, the nature of sin and death, as well as why God has allowed sin to enter into the world, as well as all of the wickedness and suffering that came with it. Andrews will answer the following questions and far more. How does the Bible explain and describe the creation of man and woman? Why is it imperative that we understand our fallen condition? What does it mean to be made in the image of God? …
In FOR AS I THINK IN MY HEART – SO I AM, Edward D. Andrews offers practical and biblical insights on a host of Christian spiritual growth struggles, from the challenge of forgiveness to eating disorders, anger, alcoholism, depression, anxiety, pornography, masturbation, same-sex attraction, and many others. Based on Proverbs 23:7 (NKJV): “For as he thinks in his heart, so is he,” Andrews’ text works from the position that if we can change the way that we think, we can alter the way we feel, which will modify the way we behave. FOR AS I THINK IN MY HEART – SO I AM offers far more than self-help to dozens of spiritual struggles, personal difficulties, and mental disorders. It will benefit Christian and non-Christian alike. The Scriptural advice and counsel coupled with cognitive behavioral therapy will be helpful even if every chapter is not one of your struggles. For As I Think in My Heart enables readers to examine the lies and half-truths …
THERE IS A GENUINE HAPPINESS, contentment, and joy, which come from reading, studying and applying God’s Word. This is true because the Scriptures offer us guidance and direction that aids us in living a life that coincides with our existence as a creation of Almighty God. For example, we have a moral law that was written on our heart. (Rom. 2:14-15) However, at the same time, we have a warring against the law of our mind and taking us captive in the law of sin, which is in our members. (Rom. 7:21-25) When we live by the moral law, it brings us joy, when we live by the law of sin; it brings about distress, anxiety, regrets to both mind and heart, creating a conflict between our two natures. In our study of the Bible, we can interact with a living God who wants a personal relationship with us. And in APPLYING GOD’S WORD MORE FULLY, we will learn how to engage His words like never before. Andrews helps his readers …
THERE IS ONE MAJOR DIFFERENCE between Christian living books by Andrews and those by others. Generally speaking, his books are filled with Scripture and offer its readers what the Bible authors meant by what they penned. In this publication, it is really God’s Word offering the counsel, which is “profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, for training in righteousness.” (2 Tim. 3:16-17) From the moment that Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden, humans have been brought forth in sin, having become more and more mentally bent toward evil, having developed a heart (i.e., inner person) that is treacherous, and unknowable to them, with sin’s law dwelling within them. Sadly, many of us within the church have not been fully informed …
A clean conscience brings us inner peace, calmness, and profound joy that is seldom found in this world under the imperfection of fallen flesh that is catered to by Satan, the god of the world. Many who were formerly living in sin and have now turned their life over to God, they now know this amazing relief and are able today to hold a good and clean conscience as they carry out the will of the Father. WALK HUMBLY WITH YOUR GOD, has been written to help its readers to find that same joy, to have and maintain a good, clean conscience in their lives. Of course, it is incapable of covering every detail that one would need to consider and apply in their lives …
This book is primarily for WIVES, but husbands will greatly benefit from it as well. WIVES will learn to use God’s Word to construct a solid and happy marriage. The Creator of the family gives the very best advice. Many have been so eager to read this new publication: WIVES BE SUBJECT TO YOUR HUSBANDS. It offers wives the best insights into a happy marriage, by way of using God’s Word as the foundational guide, along with Andrews’ insights. WIVES learn that marriage is a gift from God. WIVEStake in information that will help them survive the first year of marriage. WIVES will be able to make Christian marriage a success. WIVES will maintain an honorable marriage. WIVES will see how to submit correctly to Christ’s headship. WIVES will learn how to strengthen their marriage through good communication. …
This book is primarily for HUSBANDS, but wives will greatly benefit from it as well. HUSBANDS will learn to use God’s Word to construct a solid and happy marriage. The Creator of the family gives the very best advice. Many have been so eager to read this new publication: HUSBANDS LOVE YOUR WIVES. It offers husbands the best insights into a happy marriage, by way of using God’s Word as the foundational guide, along with Andrews’ insights. HUSBANDS learn that marriage is a gift from God. HUSBANDS take in information that will help them survive the first year of marriage. HUSBANDS will be able to make Christian marriage a success. HUSBANDS will maintain an honorable marriage. …
Technological and societal change is all around us. What does the future hold? Trying to predict the future is difficult, but we can get a clue from the social and technological trends in our society. The chapters in this book provide a framework as Christians explore the uncharted territory in our world of technology and social change. Some of the questions that Anderson will answer are: What are the technological challenges of the 21st century? How should we think about the new philosophies like transhumanism? Should we be concerned about big data? What about our privacy in a world where government and corporations have some much information about us? How should we think about a world experiencing exponential growth in data and knowledge? What social trends are affecting baby boomers, baby busters, and millennials?
Government affects our daily lives, and Christians need to think about how to apply biblical principles to politics and government. This book provides an overview of the biblical principles relating to what the apostle Paul calls “governing authorities” (i.e., government) with specific chapters dealing with the founding principles of the American government. This includes an examination of the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, the Bill of Rights, and the Federalist Papers. The thirteen chapters in this book not only look at the broad founding principles but also provide an in-depth look at other important political and governmental issues. One section explains the history and application of church and state issues. Another section describes aspects of political debate and discourse. A final section provides a brief overview of the Christian heritage of this nation that was important in the founding of this country and the framing of our founding documents.
Economics affects our daily lives, and Christians need to think about how to apply biblical principles to money, investment, borrowing, and spending. They also need to understand the free enterprise system and know how to defend capitalism. Chapters in this book not only look at broad economic principles, but a section of the book is devoted to the challenges we face in the 21st century from globalization and tough economic times. A section of the book also provides an in-depth look at other important social and economic issues (gambling, welfare) that we face every day …
Do you desire to follow Jesus Christ and transform the culture around you? Are you sure you know what it means to be a disciple and follow a dangerous revolutionary who often comforts the afflicted and afflicts the comfortable? Jesus Christ is not the mild status quo rabbi you may have been taught in your local church. He is dangerous and anyone who follows him is on a dangerous journey. The demands he places upon you and the challenges you will encounter are necessary on the journey. The journey with Jesus Christ is not for the fainthearted. If you are really serious about joining Jesus Christ in the transformation of the culture around you, here is a raw outlook on what to expect on this DANGEROUS JOURNEY.
Each of the twenty-five chapters in the POWER THROUGH PRAYER provides helpful methods and suggestions for growing and improving your prayer life with God through the power of prayer. So, what can we expect if we make prayer a part of our life? Prayer can give you a peace of mind. Prayer can comfort and strength when facing trials. Prayer can help us make better life choices. The Bible says: “If any of you lacks wisdom [especially in dealing with trials], let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him.” (James 1:5) Prayer can help to avoid temptation. Prayer is the path yo forgiveness of sins. Your prayers can help others. You will receive encouragement when your prayers are answered.
DOZENS OF QUESTIONS WILL BE ANSWERED: Why is prayer necessary? What must we do to be heard by God? How does God answer our prayers? Does God listen to all prayers? Does God hear everyone’s prayers? What may we pray about? Does the Father truly grant everything we ask for? What kind of prayers would the Father reject? How long should our prayers be? How often should we pray? Why should we say “Amen” at the end of a prayer? Must we assume a special position or posture when praying? There are far more than this asked and answered.
What forms of prayer do you personally need to offer more often? Who benefits when you pray for others? Why is it important to pray regularly? Why should true Christians pray continually? To whom should we pray, and how? What are 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.
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.
People grow old, get sick, and die. Even some children die. Should you be afraid of death or of anybody who has died? Do you know what happens if we die? Will you ever see your dead loved ones again? “If a man dies, shall he live again?” asked the man Job long ago. (Job 14:14) Did God originally intend for humans to die? Why do you grow old and die? What is the Bible’s viewpoint of death? What is the condition of the dead? Are the dead aware of what is happening around them? What hope is there for the dead?
Herein Andrews will give the reader exactly what the Bible offers on exposing who the Antichrist and the Man of Lawlessness are. If we look at the texts that refer to the antichrist and the man of lawlessness, we will have lines of evidence that will enable us to identify them. Why is it important that we know who the antichrist and the man of lawlessness are? The antichrist and the man of lawlessness have had a greater impact on humanity and Christianity over the past centuries than many know. Moreover, the influence on the true worshipers of Christianity today has been even more significant and will only go from bad to worse as we come closer to the second coming of Christ. …
Throughout the Scriptures, God is identified as the Creator. He is the One “who created the heavens (He is the God who formed the earth and made it, He established it.” (Isa 45:18) He is the One “who forms mountains and creates the wind” (Am 4:13) and is the One “who made the heaven and the earth and the sea, and all that is in them.” (Ac 4:24; 14:15; 17:24) “God . . . created all things.” (Eph. 3:9) Jesus Christ tells us that it is the Father who “created them [humans] from the beginning made them male and female.” (Matt. 19:4; Mark 10:6) Hence, the Father is fittingly and uniquely called “the Creator.” (Isa 40:28) It is because of God’s will that we exist, for He has ‘created all things, and because of his will they existed and were created.’―Revelations 4:11 …
Eschatology is the teaching of what is commonly called the “Last Things.” That is the subject of Andrews’ book, which will cover, Explaining Prophecy, Explaining Clean and Pure Worship, The New Testament Writers Use of the Old Testament, Explaining the Antichrist, Explaining the Man of Lawlessness, Explaining the Mark of the Beast, Explaining Signs of the End of the Age, Explaining the Rapture, Explaining the Great Tribulation, Explaining Armageddon, Explaining the Resurrection Hope, Explaining the Millennium, Explaining the Final Judgment, Explaining the Unevangelized, Explaining Hell
The information herein is based on the disciples coming to Jesus privately, saying, “Tell us, (1) when will these things be, and (2) what will be the sign of your coming, and (3) of the end of the age?” (Matthew 24:3) What will end? When will the end come? What comes after the end? Who will survive the end? These questions and far more will be answered as Andrews delves into The SECOND COMING of CHRIST. In chapters 1 and 2, we must address why Jesus is saying there would be an end to the Jewish age. In chapter 3, we will take a deep look at the signs that establish the great tribulation is closing in, and when is it time to flee. In chapter 4, we will go over the signs of the end of the Jewish age. In chapter 5, we will walk through the events leading up to the end of the Jewish age from 66 – 70 C.E., and how it applies to our Great Tribulation in these last days. In chapter 6, we will cover the second coming of Jesus where the reader will get the answers as to whether verses 3-28 of Matthew Chapter 24 apply to Christ’s second coming. We will close out with chapter 7, and how we should understand the signs, and how we do not want to be led astray, just as Jesus warned even some of the chosen ones would be misled. We will also address what comes after the end.
What Really Is Hell? What Kind of Place is Hell? What Really Happens at Death? What Did Jesus Teach About Hell? How Does Learning the Truth About Hell Affect You? Who Goes to Hell? What Is Hell? Is It a Place of Eternal Torment? Does God Punish People in Hellfire? Do the Wicked Suffer in Hell? What Is the Lake of Fire? Is It the Same as Hell or Gehenna? Where Do We Go When We Die? What Does the Bible Say About Hell? Andrews Shares the Truth on WHAT IS HELL From God’s Word.
Miracles were certainly a part of certain periods in Bible times. What about today? Are miracles still taking place? There are some very important subjects that surround this area of discussion that is often misunderstood. Andrews will answer such questions as does God step in and solve every problem if we are faithful? Does the Bible provide absolutes or guarantees in this age of imperfect humanity? Are miracles still happening today? Is faith healing Scriptural? Is speaking in tongues evidence of true Christianity? Is snake handling biblical? How are we to understand the indwelling of the Holy Spirit? The work of the Holy Spirit. Andrews offers his readers very straightforward, biblically accurate explanations for these difficult questions. If any have discussed such questions, without a doubt, they will be very interested in the Bible’s answers in this easy to read publication.
Today there are many questions about homosexuality as it relates to the Bible and Christians. What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Does genetics, environment, or traumatic life experiences justify homosexuality? What is God’s will for people with same-sex attractions? Does the Bible discriminate against people with same-sex attractions? Is it possible to abstain from homosexual acts? Should not Christians respect all people, regardless of their sexual orientation? Did not Jesus preach tolerance? If so, should not Christians take a permissive view of homosexuality? Does God approve of same-sex marriage? Does God disapprove of homosexuality? If so, how could God tell someone who is attracted to people of the same sex to shun homosexuality, is that not cruel? If one has same-sex attraction, is it possible to avoid homosexuality? How can I as a Christian explain the Bible’s view of homosexuality? IT IS CRUCIAL that Christians always be prepared to reason from the Scriptures, explaining and proving what the Bible does and does not say about homosexuality, yet doing it with gentleness and respect. Andrews will answer these questions and far more.
If you’ve struggled in the world of difficulties that surround you, you’re not alone. Maybe you have looked for help, and you have been given conflicting answers. 40 DAYS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS: Coming-of-Age In Christ, can help you. Its advice is based on answers that actually work, which are found in the Bible. God’s Word has helped billions over thousands of years to face life’s challenges successfully. Find out how it can help you! 40 DAYS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS includes seven sections, with several chapters in each. It includes the following sections: Sexual Desires and Love, your friends, your family, school, recreation, your health. You need advice you can trust! 40 DAYS DEVOTIONAL FOR YOUTHS will give you that. This author has worked with thousands of youths from around the world. The Bible-based sound advice helped them. Now you can discover how it can help you.
Young ones and teens, you are exposed to complex problems that your parents may not understand. Young Christians, you are bombarded with multiple options for solving everyday problems through social media. Where do you turn to find answers? Where can you look to find guidance from Scripture? In order to provide a Christian perspective to problem-solving, the author of this devotional book decided to take a different approach. Terry Overton was determined to find out what problems middle school children and teens were worried about the most. While visiting her grandchildren one weekend, she asked her granddaughter to send topics to her so that she could write a devotional about the topic. In a matter of weeks, not only did her granddaughter send her topics, but the other grandchildren and their friends sent topics of concern. Once the author wrote a devotional for a topic, it was sent to the teen requesting the devotional. Soon, these requests were happening in real time. Students sent text requests about problems happening in school and asked what the student should do? How should this be handled?
This devotional book follows the author’s own faith journey back to God. Significant life events can shake our world and distort our faith. Following life’s tragedies, a common reaction is to become angry with God or to reject Him altogether. Examples of tragedies or traumas include life-changing events such as physical or sexual assault, destruction of one’s home, the tragic death of a loved one, diagnoses of terminal diseases, divorce, miscarriages, or being a victim of a crime. Tragedies or traumas can cause feelings of anxiety, depression, shame, and guilt.
Throughout the book, common themes emerge to support caregivers. The reader will find interesting Bible Scriptures, offering a Christian perspective, for handling issues that may arise. These inspiring passages will assist the caregiver in finding peace and faith as they travel their journey as a caregiver. Although caregivers may not know how long they will play this role, they take on the responsibility without any question. Taking care of others is often mentioned in the Bible and, as noted in this devotional, this self-sacrificing, highly valued, and often challenging service will ultimately be rewarded.
Humans must breathe in the air of our atmosphere to survive. Many cities because of pollution face a dangerous level of contamination in their air. However, an even more deadly air affects both Christians and nonChristians. Ordinary methods or devices cannot detect this poisonous air. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, spoke of the “air,” when he said that Satan was “the ruler of the authority of the air.” (Eph. 2:2) In that, very same verse Paul said the “air” is “the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience.” If we breathe in this “air,” we will begin to adopt their attitude, thoughts, speech, and conduct.
Humans must breathe in the air of our atmosphere to survive. Many cities because of pollution face a dangerous level of contamination in their air. However, an even more deadly air affects both Christians and nonChristians. Ordinary methods or devices cannot detect this poisonous air. The apostle Paul, in his letter to the Ephesians, spoke of the “air,” when he said that Satan was “the ruler of the authority of the air.” (Eph. 2:2) In that, very same verse Paul said the “air” is “the spirit now working in the sons of disobedience.” If we breathe in this “air,” we will begin to adopt their attitude, thoughts, speech, and conduct.
BREAD OF HEAVEN helps the reader to have a greater understanding of the timeless truths of Scripture and a deeper appreciation of the grandeur of God. It offers meditations on selected Scriptures which will draw the reader’s attention upwards to the Savior. Kieran Beville’s daily devotional combines down-to-earth, unstuffy humanity in today’s world with a biblical and God-centered approach, and draws on rich theology in a thoroughly accessible way. He addresses not just the intellect and the will but gets to the heart, our motivational center, through the mind. If your Christian life could benefit from a short, well-written daily blast of Christ’s comfort and challenge, get this book and use it! These short Bible-based meditations are fresh and contemporary. Beville gives to the twenty-first-century reader what earlier authors have given to theirs. Here is practical wisdom that is a helpful guide to stimulate worship and set you thinking as you begin each day with God.
The Conversation: An Intimate Journal of the Emmaus Encounter is a unique and riveting reconstruction from the unnamed disciple’s account found in Luke 24 regarding his journey with Cleopas on the road to Emmaus after witnessing Jesus’s crucifixion and burial, along with hearing claims of His empty tomb. Suddenly, a Stranger begins walking with them. With their eyes “prevented” from recognizing Him as the risen Lord Jesus Christ—Yeshua the Messiah, their new, wise Traveling Companion correlates the Old Covenant Scriptures, by way of Moses and the prophets, with what they witnessed.
This “journal” is your opportunity to eavesdrop and learn what that conversation might have been like, as pertinent prophecies unfold revealing evidence that the Messiah’s suffering, death, burial, and resurrection were, in fact, specifically foretold.
Unique and life-changing, More Than Devotion, through a melding of accounts from both the Old Covenant and New, proves that our trustworthy God truly is the same yesterday, today, and forever. All fifty convicting devotions draw from a rich scriptural context, concluding with a practical, achievable call to action, plus journaling space for personal reflection. New believers and veteran followers of our Lord can grow in the innermost areas of their lives and enjoy a more intimate walk with the Savior.
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.
AN APOCALYPTIC NOVEL: As you are no doubt are aware, Jerry B. Jenkins and Tim LaHaye in 1995 wrote a novel entitled “Left Behind.” Jerry and Tim had some prior success with a major publisher and were able to get their novel published. The Left Behind novel was published by Tyndale House beginning in 1995 within a multiple volumes Left Behind series resulting in sales exceeding 60 million books. In 1992 Don Alexander wrote the storyline embedded in Left Behind. He copyrighted the novel in 1992 under the title “Oren Natas” [who is the Anti-Christ in his storyline]. The entire novel is contained in a single volume. It is a novel written depicting a colorful and witty cast of characters who live through all the “end time” Bible prophecies.
A routine classified telepathic interrogation of a potential terrorist, followed by an assignment that doesn’t go as planned thrusts Tabatha – the world’s only telepathic human – into the public eye. The exposure leads an evil neuro-scientist requesting a meeting with her in hopes of luring her to his cause as well as unveiling a deadly creative work that has spanned three decades of research and development.
ONLINE REVIEW: “Very fun read. Fast paced and honest. Tons of evolution occurs during the process thru the story. Wonderful girl trying to become an adult Christian in a world that also pits her superpowers against terrorists with the help of her own special forces team. Buy this book and just enjoy!”
In June 1985, an excavation project was undertaken by The British Antiquities Volunteers (BAV) at a plot of rocky land where the Kidron and Hinnom Valleys meet near the eastern side of Old Jerusalem. That year many hundreds of (mostly redundant) ‘small finds’ were recovered in the Judean desert but none of such significance as a handful of scrolls retrieved from a buried Roman satchel (presumed stolen) at this site. The discovery has since come to be known as ‘The Diary of Judas Iscariot.’ In The Diary of Judas Iscariot Owen Batstone relates the observations and feelings of Judas, a disgruntled disciple, as he accompanies Jesus of Nazareth during His ministry, and uses this fable and allegory to explore some of the ways a person might resist becoming a Christian.
Kevin Trill struggles with the notion that he may have missed the Rapture. With nothing but the clothes on his back and a solid gold pocket watch, he sets off towards Garbor, a safe haven for those who haven’t yet taken the mark of the beast. While on his way to Garbor, he meets up with an unlikely trio who befriends him. Together, they set out towards Garbor. Unfortunately, however, they are soon faced with their first major catastrophe, which sparks debate among them as to whether or not they really are in the Great Tribulation. On their journey, the group meets up with many people, some of them good and some of them evil. …
There grew an element in the valley that did not want to be ruled by the Light of the Word. Over time, they convinced the people to reject it. As they started to reject this Light, the valley grew dim and the fog rolled in. The people craved the darkness rather than the Light because they were evil. They did not want to embrace the Light because it exposed their wickedness. They rejected the Light of the Word and ruled themselves. Those few who had embraced the Light and hated the darkness were killed. Since that time anyone who embraced the Light of the Word, pursued or talked about it were arrested. Those arrested were sentenced to death by stoning. The last prophet gave a prophecy before he was martyred. “The whisperer will come and empower three witnesses that will make manifest the works of darkness and destroy it, and deliver my people from the grip of darkness to the freedom found in the light.” All the Children of the Light were killed off or went into hiding living among the Children of Darkness in secret, not mentioning the Light for fear of death. Generations grew up being ignorant of the Light of the Word and never knowing the difference. No one ever mentioned the Light or dared to even talk about the Light. …
 Hopkins, K. (1991) ‘Conquest by book’, in Humphrey (1991) 11.
 Retrieved Tuesday, March 26, 2019 (Larry Hurtado’s Blog Comments on the New Testament and Early Christianity (and related matters)
 Craig A. Evans (2012-03-16). Jesus and His World: The Archaeological Evidence (Kindle Locations 1403-1406). Westminster John Knox Press. Kindle Edition.
 A rhetorician is a speaker whose words are primarily intended to impress or persuade.
 N. Lewis 1989.
 William A Johnson; Holt N Parker. Ancient Literacies: The Culture of Reading in Greece and Rome (Kindle Locations 655-659). Kindle Edition.
 (Richards, Paul And First-Century Letter Writing: Secretaries, Composition and Collection 2004, 28)
 (Richards, Paul And First-Century Letter Writing: Secretaries, Composition and Collection 2004, 28)
 “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
 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.
 Demotic is a simplified form of Egyptian hieroglyphics. Hieroglyphics is a writing system that uses symbols or pictures to denote objects, concepts, or sounds.
 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.
 I.e. on your forehead
 Charles Duke Yonge with Philo of Alexandria, The Works of Philo: Complete and Unabridged (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1995), 590–591.
 The Mishnah was the primary body of Jewish civil and religious law, forming the first part of the Talmud.
 Mishnah Yoma 8:4
 Astounded: (Gr. ekplēssō) This is one who is extremely astounded or amazed, so much so that they lose their mental self-control, as they are overwhelmed emotionally.–Matt. 7:28; Mark 1:22; 7:37; Lu 2:48; 4:32; 9:43; Ac 13:12.
 Astonished: (Gr. thambeō; derivative of thambos) This is one who is experiencing astonishment, to be astounded, or amazed as a result of some sudden and unusual event, which can be in a positive or negative sense.–Mark 1:27; 10:32; Lu 4:36; 5:9; Acts 3:10.
 A.T. Robertson, Word Pictures in the New Testament (Nashville, TN: Broadman Press, 1933), Lk 2:48.
 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.
 (Evans, Jesus and His World: The Archaeological Evidence 2012)
 Or unlettered (YLT) that is, not educated in the rabbinic schools; not meaning illiterate.
 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)
 (Evans, Jesus and His World: The Archaeological Evidence 2012)
 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.
 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
 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.”
 William A. Johnson; Holt N. Parker, Ancient Literacies: The Culture of Reading in Greece and Rome (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 291.
 William A. Johnson; Holt N. Parker, Ancient Literacies: The Culture of Reading in Greece and Rome (Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2011), 295.
 Craig A. Evans, Jesus and His World: The Archaeological Evidence (Westminster: John Knox Press, 2012), Section 3317, KDP.
 James Swanson, Dictionary of Biblical Languages with Semantic Domains: Greek (New Testament) (Oak Harbor: Logos Research Systems, Inc., 1997).