2/18/15

From Jim McGuiggan... Promise, Prophecy and Prediction

Promise, Prophecy and Prediction

The "promised" land is not the "predicted" land. "I promised your fathers that…" is not the same as "I predicted to your fathers that…" "As I promised your fathers…" is not the same as, "As I predicted to your fathers…"
The words intersect at various points in some contexts but to equate them is to confuse them—they're very distinct in meaning. A teacup-reader can predict without promising and a lover can promise without predicting. One who predicts, "Princess Diana will be killed in an airplane crash" is not promising; he is predicting. A girl who says to her young man, "I will love only you until I die" is not predicting; she is promising.
One who predicts speaks only of conditions of the future but one who promises engages the present while embracing the future. That is, a prediction may be completely independent of the one predicting but a promise inescapably involves the one promising. The character and integrity of one making a prediction is irrelevant but the character and integrity of one making a promise is far from irrelevant. The one who merely predicts is not involved in bringing about what it is that he predicts but the one who promises is very much involved in fulfilling the promise.
The two words unavoidably have a future reference—you don't predict the past or promise what has already occurred. It's because the two words do have a future reference that they're often confused.
We characteristically use the word "prophesy" as equivalent to the word "predict"; that is, to prophesy is to tell of future things. This is a legitimate modern use of the word since that's what the populace has chosen to do, but that use is also found in the OT. For examples, see Ezekiel 12:27 and 2 Chronicles 18:5, 11, 14, 16-17.
But while that is one legitimate use of the word a "prophet," one who "prophesies," is much more than a foreteller. The Hebrew word suggests a forthteller, one who speaks forth the word of God or a god and as you can see from the characteristic usage of the word in the Bible it has little to do with prediction.
Ezekiel is told to prophesy to a valley filled with dry bones and then to the wind (which in the text stands for the Spirit of God). What he prophesies (speaks forth) is the command of God with the result that the bones come together, they are clothed with flesh and the wind comes breathing life into the corpses (Ezekiel 37:4-10). But in that section he isn't predicting or even promising—he as God's spokesman is commanding. When the vision is interpreted it turns out to be God's promise of national restoration at some time in the future.
Often the prophets prophesied of the condition of the nation's heart and of the repentance to which God was calling them. Zechariah 1:4; 7:4-14 and Haggai 1:2-11 illustrate. It's true, of course, that the prophetic rehearsal of God's past goodness and faithfulness related to the future as well as the present but the future element is often left unexpressed and in the background.
Nevertheless, because prophetic teaching and speech related to the nation's ongoing life with the God who made promises within the covenant, the future was always implied or taken for granted. Since God's changeless purpose was to come to its completion in and under Jesus Christ the entire movement of history had a future goal. And since that completion was the promise of God then all prophetic teaching is to be understood as part of and contributing to the fulfilment of that overarching purpose. Therefore prophecy has an underlying promissory element and a future look.
Suppose a prophet in the OT said, "This is what Yahweh says, 'Many years from now I will raise up a virgin-born child called Jesus of Nazareth and in and through him I will begin a new creation.'" It would make sense to say this was a prophecy and a promise and therefore predictive in nature but to call it a prediction—end of story—reduces and can distort it. To do that takes a consequential truth and makes it central. What is central is that someone speaking by the Spirit of God delivers God's promise which, because it is a promise has a predictive element.
The same would be true about a threat of judgment. The judgments of God must be taken within the parameters of a single plot and purpose, they serve God's final goal even while they deal with current moral, social and political situations. God's judgment on Assyria (see the book of Nahum) is part of God's dealing with the human family in light of his ultimate goal. When a prophet prophesies the fall of Nineveh it is no mere prediction, it is the inevitable outworking of God's overarching commitment to the human family as he rescues the oppressed from Nineveh and demonstrates his righteous purpose. To say the prophecy has a predictive element is manifestly true but to call it a prediction strips the entire picture of essential elements and (depending on how we present our case) suggests something like crystal-ball gazing and teacup-reading.
©2004 Jim McGuiggan. All materials are free to be copied and used as long as money is not being made.
Many thanks to brother Ed Healy, for allowing me to post from his website, theabidingword.com.

Was Jesus Unkind to the Syrophoenician Woman? by Eric Lyons, M.Min. Kyle Butt, M.A.

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=10&article=3797

Was Jesus Unkind to the Syrophoenician Woman?

by Eric Lyons, M.Min.
Kyle Butt, M.A.

Testing, proving, or trying someone can be a very effective teaching technique. A teacher might effectively test the honesty of her students by giving them a difficult closed-book exam over a chapter they had not yet studied. Those who took their “F” without cheating would pass the test. Those who opened up their books when the teacher left the room and copied all of the answers word for word, would fail the test, and learn the valuable lesson that honesty is always the best (and right) policy, even when it might appear that it means failure.
Teachers test their students in a variety of ways. Good parents prove their children early on in life in hopes that they learn the virtues of honesty, compassion, and obedience. Coaches may try their players in attempts to instill in them the value of being disciplined in all phases of their game. Bosses test and challenge their employees in hopes of assembling the best team of workers who put out the best products possible. Indeed, mankind has understood the value of tests for millennia.
It should come as no surprise that God has used this same teaching technique various times throughout history. He tested Abraham on Mount Moriah (Genesis 22:1-2; Hebrews 11:17), and hundreds of years later He repeatedly tested the Israelites in the wilderness (Exodus 20:20; Deuteronomy 8:2; Psalm 81:7). King David declared how the Lord “tested” and “tried” him (Psalm 17:3), while his son Solomon wrote: “The refining pot is for silver and the furnace for gold, but the Lord tests the hearts” (Proverbs 17:3). Roughly 1,000 years later, the apostle Paul declared the same inspired truth—“God…tests our hearts” (1 Thessalonians 2:4). Even when God revealed Himself in the person of Jesus, He tested man. For example, once when Jesus saw “a great multitude coming toward Him, He said to Philip, ‘Where shall we buy bread, that these may eat?’” John revealed, however, that Jesus asked this question to “test” Philip (John 6:5-6).
There are certain tests administered by God that some find cold and heartless, partly because they fail to recognize that a test is underway. One such event is recorded in Matthew 15:21-28.
Then Jesus went out from there and departed to the region of Tyre and Sidon. And behold, a woman of Canaan came from that region and cried out to Him, saying, “Have mercy on me, O Lord, Son of David! My daughter is severely demon-possessed.” But He [Jesus] answered her not a word. And His disciples came and urged Him, saying, “Send her away, for she cries out after us.” But He answered and said, “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.” Then she came and worshiped Him, saying, “Lord, help me!” But He answered and said, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs.” And she said, “Yes, Lord, yet even the little dogs eat the crumbs which fall from their masters’ table.” Then Jesus answered and said to her, “O woman, great is your faith! Let it be to you as you desire.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
In this passage, the reader learns that Jesus: (1) initially remained silent when a Canaanite woman cried out for mercy (vss. 22-23); (2) informed her that He was “not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (vs. 24); and (3) told her that it was not fitting to take that which was meant for the “children” and give it to the “little dogs” (vs. 26). In addition, Jesus’ disciples urged Him to “send her away, for she cries out after us” (vs. 23).
Although Jesus eventually healed the Canaanite woman’s demon-possessed daughter, some believe that Jesus’ overall encounter with the woman indicates that He was unkind and intolerant. For example, the prolific infidel Steve Wells documented hundreds of cases of alleged intolerance in the biblical text. Jesus’ encounter with the Syrophoenician women is number 529 on his list. Of the episode, Wells wrote: “Jesus initially refuses to cast out a devil from a Syrophoenician woman’s daughter, calling the woman a ‘dog’. After much pleading, he finally agrees to cast out the devil” (2010).
Even many religious writers and speakers view Jesus’ statements to the woman as unkind, intolerant, offensive, or a racial slur. Dean Breidenthal, in a sermon posted under the auspices of the Princeton University Office of Religious Life, said concerning Jesus’ comment: “I suspect we wouldnot be so bothered by Jesus’ unkind words to the Syrophoenician woman if they were not directed against the Gentile community. Those of us who are Gentile Christians have less trouble with Jesus’ invectives when they are directed against the Jewish leadership of his day” (2003, emp. added). Please do not miss the implication of Breidenthal’s comment. If the statement made by Jesus actually could be construed as unkind, then Jesus would be guilty of violating one of the primary characteristics of love, since love “suffers long and is kind” (1 Corinthians 13:4). Any unkindness on Jesus’ part would cast doubt on His deity. Is it true that Jesus exhibited an unkind attitude in His treatment of the Syrophoenician woman?

TO THE JEW FIRST AND ALSO TO THE GREEKS

In order to understand properly Jesus’ statement, one must recognize the divinely appointed order in which the Gospel would spread. Jesus was passing through the land of the Gentiles (Greeks) and was approached by a woman who was not a Jew. While Jesus’ message would eventually reach the Gentile world, it is evident from the Scriptures that the Jewish nation would be the initial recipient of that message. In his account of Jesus’ encounter with the Syrophoenician woman, Matthew recorded that Jesus said: “I was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (15:24). When Jesus sent the twelve apostles on the “limited commission,” He told them: “Do not go into the way of the Gentiles, and do not enter a city of the Samaritans. But go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Matthew 10:5-6).
Just before Jesus ascended to heaven after His resurrection, He informed the apostles: “[A]nd you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth” (Acts 1:8). The sequence of places where the apostles would witness manifests the order in which the Gospel would be preached (i.e., the Jews first and then the Gentiles). In addition, in his epistle to the church at Rome, the apostle Paul stated: “For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ, for it is the power of God to salvation for everyone who believes, for the Jew first and also for the Greek” (1:16). Jesus’ statement to the Syrophoenician woman indicated that the Jewish nation was Jesus’ primary target for evangelism during His earthly ministry.

HOW FAR CAN AN ANIMAL ILLUSTRATION BE TAKEN?

To our 21st-century ears, the idea that Jesus would refer to the Gentiles as “little dogs” has the potential to sound belittling and unkind. When we consider how we often use animal terms in illustrative or idiomatic ways, however, Jesus’ comments are much more benign. For instance, suppose a particular lawyer exhibits unyielding tenacity. We might say he is a “bulldog” when he deals with the evidence. Or we might say that a person is “as cute as a puppy” or has “puppy-dog eyes.” If someone has a lucky day, we might say something like “every dog has its day.” Or if an adult refuses to learn to use new technology, we might say that “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks.” In addition, one might say that a person “works like a dog,” is the “top dog” at the office, or is “dog tired.” Obviously, to call someone “top dog” would convey no derogatory connotation.
For Jesus’ statement to be construed as unkind or wrong in some way, a person would be forced to prove that the illustration or idiom He used to refer to the Gentiles as “little dogs” must be taken in a derogatory fashion. Such cannot be proved. In fact, the term Jesus used for “little dogs” could easily be taken in an illustrative way without any type of unkind insinuation. In his commentary on Mark, renowned commentator R.C.H. Lenski translated the Greek term used by Jesus (kunaria) as “little pet dogs.” Lenski further noted concerning Jesus statement: “In the Orient dogs have no owners but run wild and serve as scavengers for all garbage and offal.... It is an entirely different conception when Jesus speaks of ‘little pet dogs’ in referring to the Gentiles. These have owners who keep them even in the house and feed them by throwing them bits from the table” (1961, p. 304). Lenski goes on to write concerning Jesus’ statement: “All that Jesus does is to ask the disciples and the woman to accept the divine plan that Jesus must work out his mission among the Jews.... Any share of Gentile individuals in any of these blessings can only be incidental during Jesus’ ministry in Israel” (pp. 304-305). In regard to the non-derogatory nature of Jesus’ comment to the Gentile woman, Allen Black wrote: “The form of his statement is proverbial. And the basis of the proverb is not an antipathy for Gentiles, but the necessary Jewish focus of Jesus’ earthly ministry” (1995, p. 137).

A TEST OF FAITH

Given other information in Matthew’s gospel account as well as the overall context of Matthew chapter 15, it appears that more was going on in these verses than Jesus simply wanting the Gentile woman to understand that He was “not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (15:24). Consider that Matthew had earlier recorded how a Roman centurion approached Jesus on behalf of his paralyzed servant. Jesus did not respond in that instance as He did with the Syrophoenician woman. He simply stated: “I will come and heal him” (8:7). After witnessing the centurion’s refreshing humility and great faith (pleading for Christ to “only speak a word” and his servant would be healed—vss. 8-9), Jesus responded: “I have not found such great faith, not even in Israel” (vs. 10, emp. added).
If Jesus so willingly responded to a Gentile in Matthew chapter eight by miraculously healing his servant of paralysis, why did He initially resist healing the Gentile woman’s demon-possessed daughter in Matthew chapter 15? Consider the immediate context of the chapter. The scribes and Pharisees had once again come to criticize and badger Jesus (15:1-2). The Son of God responded with a hard-hitting truth: that His enemies were hypocrites who treasured tradition more than the Word of God, and whose religion was heartless (vss. 3-9). What was the reaction of the Pharisees? Matthew gives no indication that their hearts were pricked by the Truth. Instead, Jesus’ disciples reported to Him that “the Pharisees were offended” by Jesus’ teachings (vs. 12, emp. added), to which Jesus responded: “Every plant which My heavenly Father has not planted will be uprooted. Let them alone. They are blind leaders of the blind. And if the blind leads the blind, both will fall into a ditch” (vss. 13-14). Unlike many modern-day preachers who water down the Gospel and apologize for the Truth, Jesus did not sugar coat it. It may be a difficult pill to swallow, but sincere truth-seekers will respond in all humility, regardless of being offended.
Being offended is exactly what many people would have been had they initially been turned down by Jesus as was the Canaanite woman. While she pled for mercy, at first Jesus remained silent. Then, after being informed that Jesus “was not sent except to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (vs. 24), she worshiped Him and begged Him for help (vs. 25). Even after being told, “It is not good to take the children’s bread and throw it to the little dogs” (vs. 26), this persistent, humble woman did not allow potentially offensive remarks to harden her heart. Unlike the hypocritical Jewish scribes and Pharisees who responded to Jesus with hard-heartedness, this Gentile acknowledged her unworthiness, while persistently pursuing the Holy One for help (15:27). Ultimately, her faith resulted in the healing of her daughter and served as an admonition to those witnessing the event about the nature of true faith.
What many people miss in this story is what is so evident in other parts of Scripture: Jesus was testing this Canaanite woman, while at the same time teaching His disciples how the tenderhearted respond to possibly offensive truths. The fact is, the truth can hurt (cf. Acts 2:36-37). However, we must remember to respond to God’s tests and teachings of truth with all humility, rather than haughtiness (James 4:6,10).
Before people “dog” Jesus for the way He used an animal illustration, they might need to reconsider that “their bark is much worse than their bite” when it comes to insinuating that Jesus was unkind and intolerant. In truth, they are simply “barking up the wrong tree” by attempting to call Jesus’ character into question. They need to “call off the dogs” on this one and “let sleeping dogs lie.”

REFERENCES

Black, Allen (1995), The Book of Mark (Joplin, MO: College Press).
Breidenthal, Dean (2003), “The Children’s Bread,” http://web.princeton.edu/sites/chapel/Sermon%20Files/2003_sermons/090703.htm.
Lenski, R.C.H. (1961), The Interpretation of Mark’s Gospel(Minneapolis, MN: Augsburg).
Wells, Steve (2010), Skeptic’s Annotated Bible, http://www.skepticsannotatedbible.com/int/long.html.

From Mark Copeland... "CAN WE TRUST THE BIBLE?" Regarding Its Canonicity? (New Testament)


                       "CAN WE TRUST THE BIBLE?"

               Regarding Its Canonicity? (New Testament)

INTRODUCTION

1. We are examining the canonicity of the Bible...
   a. The word "canon" means a rule or standard for anything
   b. For early Christians, it meant the rule of faith, what is 
      accepted as authoritative Scripture

2. Our previous study considered the canonicity of the Old 
   Testament...
   a. Why Christians accept the Hebrew canon as Scripture
   b. Why the Old Testament Apocrypha is not accepted as Scripture

3. The canon of the New Testament is more universally accepted...
   a. Its 27 books are viewed as Scripture by both Catholics and Protestants
   b. Though other books (over 300) have been proposed by some as Scripture

4. This naturally raises some questions...
   a. Did the early church acknowledge its own canon (Scriptures)?
   b. If so, upon what basis were some writings accepted and others not?

[To answer such questions, let's first consider...]

I. THE RECOGNITION OF THE NEW TESTAMENT CANON

   A. THE EARLY CHURCH ADOPTED APOSTOLIC WRITINGS AS CANONICAL...
      1. They continued steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine - Ac 2:42; cf. 2Pe 3:2; Jude 17
      2. They received their words as the Word of God - 1Th 2:13; cf. 1 Co 14:37
      3. Paul quoted the gospel of Luke as Scripture - 1Ti 5:18; cf. Lk 10:7
      4. Paul's letters were designed to be circulated among the churches - Col 4:16
      5. Peter equated Paul's letters with "Scripture" - 2Pe 3:15-16
      -- The church accepted the apostles' writings because to accept
         their teaching was to accept Jesus Himself - cf. Jn 13:20

   B. THE CRITERIA FOR ACCEPTING A BOOK AS CANONICAL...
      1. Written by an apostle (e.g., Matthew, John, Paul, Peter)
      2. Written by a close associate of an apostle (Mark, Luke, James, Jude)
      -- Thus the writing had to be "apostolic" in addition to showing evidence of inspiration

   C. WHEN AN APOSTOLIC WRITING WAS CONSIDERED AS SCRIPTURE...
      1. It was read publicly - e.g., 1Th 5:27
      2. It was circulated widely - e.g., Col 4:16; Re 1:11
      3. Copies of it were collected - e.g., 2Pe 3:15-16
      4. It was often quoted in other writings - e.g., 1Ti 5:18

   D. BOOKS ACCEPTED AS CANONICAL BY ALL CHRISTIANS...
      1. Include the 27 books of our New Testament
      2. Most books were acknowledged from the very beginning
      c. Seven books (Hebrews, James, 2nd Peter, 2nd & 3rd John, Jude,
         Revelation) were disputed by some at first, but eventually
         accepted as authentic and apostolic

[Thus all professing Christians accept the 27 books of the New Testament
as canonical.  But what about other books supposedly written by or about
the apostles?  Why are they not accepted?  It may therefore be of interest to note...]

II. THE PSEUDEPIGRAPHA

   A. BRIEF DESCRIPTION...
      1. Otherwise called "false writings"
      2. There are over 280 of these writings
      3. More than 50 are accounts of Christ
      4. The more well-known of these are:
         a. The Gospel of Thomas
         b. The Gospel of Peter
         c. The Gospel of Hebrews
         d. The Protevangelium of James
      4. Their value is limited, but they do illustrate:
         a. Some of the ascetic and Gnostic attitudes opposed by the apostles
         b. The popular desire at that time for information beyond the Scriptures
         c. The tendency to glorify Christianity by fraudulent means

   B. REASONS FOR REJECTION...
      1. They were never considered canonical by respectable leaders
      2. Mainly produced by heretical groups
      3. Containing exaggerated and mythical religious folklore
      4. Most known only through citation or quotation by another author
      5. Thus their historical connection to the apostles is suspect

[Similar to the Pseudepigrapha is...]

III. THE NEW TESTAMENT APOCRYPHA

   A. BRIEF DESCRIPTION...
      1. Not to be confused with the OT Apocrypha
      2. These were books written after the time of Christ
         a. Which were accepted at first by some in the church
         b. Which appeared at times in collections and translations of Scripture
         c. They had acceptance in some areas for a temporary period of time
         b. They never enjoyed acceptance by the Church in general
      3. The NT Apocrypha include:
         a. The Epistle of Pseudo-Barnabas (70-79 A.D.)
         b. The Epistle to the Corinthians (96 A.D.)
         c. The Ancient Homily, also known as the Second Epistle of
            Clement of Rome to the Corinthians (120-140 A.D.)
         d. The Shepherd of Hermas (115-140 A.D.)
         e. The Didache, also known as the Teaching of the Twelve (100-120 A.D.)
         f. The Apocalypse of Peter (150 A.D.)
         g. The Acts of Paul and Thecla (170 A.D.)
         h. The Gospel According to the Hebrews (65-100 A.D.)
         i. The Epistle of Polycarp to the Philippians (108 A.D.)
         j. The Seven Epistles of Ignatius (110 A.D.)
      4. These are more valuable than the Pseudepigrapha
         a. They provide early documentation of the existence of NT books
         b. They fill in the gap between the teaching of the apostles
            and the writings of the early church of the third and fourth centuries
         c. They provide clues to the practices, policies and future teachings of the church

   B. REASONS FOR REJECTION...
      1. They never enjoyed more than a temporary and local recognition
      2. Those that advocated their acceptance considered them at best to be "semi-canonical"
      3. No major church council or New Testament collection included them as inspired books
      4. The reason they had some acceptance was because they wrongly
         attached themselves to references in canonical books (cf. Co 4:16) or alleged apostolic authorship          (e.g. the Acts of Paul)

CONCLUSION

1. Christians believe that God has spoken...
   a. First, through prophets in OT times - cf. He 1:1
   b. Then, through His Son Jesus Christ - cf. He 1:2
   c. Now, through the apostles and inspired writers of the NT - e.g., 1Co 14:37
   -- The record of God's revelation is now contained in the Bible, both the OT and NT

2. Of course, this belief often raises related questions...
   a. How do we know the Bible is inspired of God?
   b. Can one even understand the Bible as we have it?
   c. Is the Bible an all-sufficient guide?

We shall examine these questions as we continue this series, "Can We Trust The Bible?"...

Please note:  Much of this material was gleaned from the following sources...

How the Canonicity of the Bible was Established, By Wilbert R. Gawrisch
Theology Survey: The Bible (Canonicity), Valley Bible Church

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

eXTReMe Tracker 

From Mark Copeland... "CAN WE TRUST THE BIBLE?" Regarding Its Canonicity? (Old Testament)


                       "CAN WE TRUST THE BIBLE?"

               Regarding Its Canonicity? (Old Testament)

INTRODUCTION

1. The Bible consists of 66 books...
   a. The Old Testament contains 39
   b. The New Testament contains 27

2. Why these 66 books and not others...?
   a. What about the additional books in Catholic versions of the 
      Old Testament?
   b. What about the so-called "lost books of the Bible?"

3. Such questions pertain to the canonicity of the Bible...
   a. The word "canon" means a rule or standard for anything
   b. For early Christians, it meant the rule of faith, what is accepted as authoritative Scripture

4. The inclusion of any book into the canon follows two basic steps...
   a. Inspiration by God - God determined the canon by co-authoring it
   b. Recognition by men - Man recognized what God revealed and accepted it as the canon
   c. "A book is not the Word of God because it was accepted by the
      people, it was accepted by the people because it was the Word of God."

[So why 66 books and not others?  Let's first consider the question as it relates to the OT...]

I. THE HEBREW CANON

   A. RECOGNIZED BY JESUS...
      1. Anyone who accepts the authority of Jesus will accept what He acknowledged as Scripture
         a. He pointed people to the Scriptures - cf. Jn 5:39
         b. He spoke of the faithfulness of Scripture - cf. Jn 10:35
      2. Jesus recognized three major divisions of the OT, which included 39 books  - cf. Lk 24:44
         a. The Law (Torah) - the five books of Moses (Genesis - Deuteronomy)
         b. The Prophets (Nebhiim) - "the former prophets" (Joshua,
            Judges, Samuel, and Kings) and "the latter prophets"
            (Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and a book containing the 12 minor prophets).
         c. The Writings (Kethubhim) - three poetical books (Psalms,
            Proverbs, and Job), five rolls (the Song of Solomon, Ruth,
            Lamentations, Esther, and Ecclesiastes), and several
            historical books (Daniel, Ezra, Nehemiah and Chronicles)
      3. Jesus followed the arrangement of the OT books that was customary among the Jews
         a. We see this from His comments in Lk 11:49-51
         b. There he speaks of the persecution of the prophets from the
            murder of Abel (Gen 4:8) to the slaying of Zechariah (2 Chr 24:20,21)
         c. This arrangement is the one that is followed in the Hebrew OT today also
      4. "Jesus does not quote from every book of the Old Testament, but
         he does quote from all three of the main divisions, showing
         that he accepted the entire Old Testament as canonical."
         - Wilbert R. Gawrisch (How The Canonicity Of The Bible Was Established)

   B. RECOGNIZED BY THE APOSTLES...
      1. Paul acknowledged the Hebrew canon
         a. As written for our learning - Ro 15:4
         b. As written for our admonition - 1Co 10:11
         c. As profitable for doctrine, etc.- 2Ti 3:14-17
      2. The apostles frequently quoted from those books in the Hebrew canon
         a. In their gospels - e.g., Mt 1:22-23; 2:17-18; Jn 12:37-41
         b. In their efforts to evangelize - e.g., Ac 17:2-3
         c. In their epistles - e.g., Ro 3:9-10; 4:3; 1Pe 2:6

[It is evident that Jesus and His apostles accepted the authority
(canon) of the Hebrew scriptures which include the 39 books in the Old
Testament.  But what of the extra books found in the Catholic Old Testament...?]

II. THE OLD TESTAMENT APOCRYPHA

   A. THE APOCRYPHA DESCRIBED...
      1. These books were written after Malachi (400 B.C), prior to the coming of Jesus
      2  These books include:
         a. The Wisdom of Solomon (30 B.C.), known as the Book of Wisdom
         b. Ecclesiasticus (132 B.C.), also known as Sirach
         c. Tobit (200 B.C.)
         d. Judith (150 B.C.)
         e. 1 Maccabees (110 B.C.)
         f. 2 Maccabees (110 B.C.)
         g. Prayer of Azariah (100 B.C.) placed as Daniel 3:24-90
         h. Susanna (100 B.C.) placed as Daniel 13
         i. Bel and the Dragon (100 B.C.), placed as Daniel 14
         j. Baruch (150-50 B.C.), placed as Baruch 1-5
         k. Letter of Jeremiah (300-100 B.C.) placed as Baruch 6
         l. Additions to Esther (140-130 B.C.), placed as Esther 10:4-16:24
         m. 1 Esdras (150-100 B.C.), also known as 3 Esdras
         n. 2 Esdras (150-100 B.C.), known as 4 Esdras
         o. Prayer of Manasseh (100 B.C.)

   B. THE APOCRYPHA ACCEPTED...
      1  The Council of Trent accepted the Old Testament Apocrypha as canonical in 1546
         a. With the exception of 1 and 2 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh
         b. While there are 15 total books in the Apocrypha, Roman Catholic Bibles count only 11
            because they combine the Letter of Jeremiah with Baruch and
            omit 1 and 2 Esdras and the Prayer of Manasseh
         c. The teaching of 2 Esdras 7:105 in opposition to prayer for
            the dead may have led to its exclusion by the Roman Catholic Church
      2  Reasons suggested for the Old Testament Apocrypha as Scripture include:
         a. Some church fathers accepted these books (Irenaeus,Tertullian, Clement of Alexandria)
         b. The Syriac church accepted them in the fourth century
         c. The Eastern Orthodox church accepts them
         d. The Roman Catholic Church proclaimed them as canonical in 1546
         e. The Apocrypha was included in Protestant Bibles, including the original KJV of 1611
         f. Some have been found among other OT books with the Dead Sea Scrolls

   C. THE APOCRYPHA REJECTED...
      1. Jesus and His apostles did not accept these books as part of the Scripture
         a. There are no NT references to any of the Apocrypha as being authoritative
         b. The NT writers quote not one part of the Apocrypha
      2. Judaism never accepted these books as part of the Scriptures
         a. Ancient Jewish leaders specifically rejected the Apocrypha (Josephus, Philo)
         b. While included in the Septuagint (Gr. OT), they were never accepted as canonical
         c. The New American Bible, the new Catholic translation, in a
            footnote to the Story of Susanna and Bel and the Dragon
            frankly admits: "They are excluded from the Jewish canon of Scripture..."
      3. While a few early church leaders appear to take some material
         from them, most were opposed to the inclusion of the Apocrypha
         into the canon of Scripture (Athanasius, Cyril of Jerusalem, Jerome, Origen)
      4. The Apocrypha itself recognizes our OT canon as a distinct
         twenty-four books, which corresponds to the Hebrew Bible as it is known today
         a. In 2 Esd 14:44-48, 70 books are distinguished from 94,
            leaving 24, or the exact number of the Hebrew canon, which became our 39 OT books
         b. Not only does the Apocrypha not claim inspiration for
            itself, it actually disclaims it when 1 Mac 9:27 describes an existing cessation of prophecy
      5. They include unbiblical teaching, such as praying for the dead (2 Mac 12:46)
      6. They contain demonstrable errors; for example:
         a. Tobit was supposedly alive when Jeroboam led his revolt (931 B.C.)
         b. He was still living at the time of the Assyrian captivity (722 B.C.)
         c. Yet the Book of Tobit says he lived only 158 years - Tob 1:3-5; 14:11
      7. The first official adoption of the Apocrypha by the Roman
         Catholic Church came at the Council of Trent in 1546, over
         1,500 years after the books were written
      8. When the Apocrypha appeared in Protestant Bibles:
         a. It was normally placed in a separate section since it was
            not considered of equal authority
         b. Luther included the Apocrypha in his German Bible, but he
            introduced them with the comment, "These are books that are
            not to be considered the same as Holy Scripture, and yet are
            useful and good to read."
      9. No Greek manuscript contains the exact collection of the books
         of the Apocrypha as accepted by the Council of Trent
     10. While the Syrian church accepted the Apocrypha in the fourth
         century, the translation of the Bible into Syrian in the second
         century A.D. did not include it
     11. The Qumran community had hundreds of books in its library beyond the Scriptures
         a. While the library had some of the Apocrypha, it did not have
            commentaries on the Apocrypha it did with OT books
         b. The OT books had special script and parchment, unlike the Apocrypha
         c. Qumran clearly considered the Apocrypha as different from Scripture

CONCLUSION

1. While the Apocrypha of the OT may be of historical value and in some
   ways supplement God's truth, they are not canonical

2. Those who accept the authority of Jesus and His apostles will be
   content with those books found in the Hebrew OT

3. In one sense, the issue might be regarded as irrelevant...
   a. The Apocrypha relates to the Old Testament
   b. Christians are under the New Covenant of Christ, not the Law of Moses - Ro 7:6; Ga 5:4
   c. Therefore we are to continue steadfastly in the apostles' doctrine - cf. Ac 2:42

But then that raises another question:  What about the canonicity of the
New Testament?  This we shall address in our next study...


Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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From Gary... Bible Reading February 18



Bible Reading  

February 18

The World English Bible

Feb. 18
Genesis 49

Gen 49:1 Jacob called to his sons, and said: "Gather yourselves together, that I may tell you that which will happen to you in the days to come.
Gen 49:2 Assemble yourselves, and hear, you sons of Jacob. Listen to Israel, your father.
Gen 49:3 "Reuben, you are my firstborn, my might, and the beginning of my strength; excelling in dignity, and excelling in power.
Gen 49:4 Boiling over as water, you shall not excel; because you went up to your father's bed, then defiled it. He went up to my couch.
Gen 49:5 "Simeon and Levi are brothers. Their swords are weapons of violence.
Gen 49:6 My soul, don't come into their council. My glory, don't be united to their assembly; for in their anger they killed men. In their self-will they hamstrung cattle.
Gen 49:7 Cursed be their anger, for it was fierce; and their wrath, for it was cruel. I will divide them in Jacob, and scatter them in Israel.
Gen 49:8 "Judah, your brothers will praise you. Your hand will be on the neck of your enemies. Your father's sons will bow down before you.
Gen 49:9 Judah is a lion's cub. From the prey, my son, you have gone up. He stooped down, he crouched as a lion, as a lioness. Who will rouse him up?
Gen 49:10 The scepter will not depart from Judah, nor the ruler's staff from between his feet, until he comes to whom it belongs. To him will the obedience of the peoples be.
Gen 49:11 Binding his foal to the vine, his donkey's colt to the choice vine; he has washed his garments in wine, his robes in the blood of grapes.
Gen 49:12 His eyes will be red with wine, his teeth white with milk.
Gen 49:13 "Zebulun will dwell at the haven of the sea. He will be for a haven of ships. His border will be on Sidon.
Gen 49:14 "Issachar is a strong donkey, lying down between the saddlebags.
Gen 49:15 He saw a resting place, that it was good, the land, that it was pleasant. He bows his shoulder to the burden, and becomes a servant doing forced labor.
Gen 49:16 "Dan will judge his people, as one of the tribes of Israel.
Gen 49:17 Dan will be a serpent in the way, an adder in the path, That bites the horse's heels, so that his rider falls backward.
Gen 49:18 I have waited for your salvation, Yahweh.
Gen 49:19 "A troop will press on Gad, but he will press on their heel.
Gen 49:20 "Asher's food will be rich. He will yield royal dainties.
Gen 49:21 "Naphtali is a doe set free, who bears beautiful fawns.
Gen 49:22 "Joseph is a fruitful vine, a fruitful vine by a spring. His branches run over the wall.
Gen 49:23 The archers have sorely grieved him, shot at him, and persecute him:
Gen 49:24 But his bow remained strong. The arms of his hands were made strong, by the hands of the Mighty One of Jacob, (from there is the shepherd, the stone of Israel),
Gen 49:25 even by the God of your father, who will help you; by the Almighty, who will bless you, with blessings of heaven above, blessings of the deep that lies below, blessings of the breasts, and of the womb.
Gen 49:26 The blessings of your father have prevailed above the blessings of your ancestors, above the boundaries of the ancient hills. They will be on the head of Joseph, on the crown of the head of him who is separated from his brothers.
Gen 49:27 "Benjamin is a ravenous wolf. In the morning he will devour the prey. At evening he will divide the spoil."
Gen 49:28 All these are the twelve tribes of Israel, and this is what their father spoke to them and blessed them. He blessed everyone according to his blessing.
Gen 49:29 He instructed them, and said to them, "I am to be gathered to my people. Bury me with my fathers in the cave that is in the field of Ephron the Hittite,
Gen 49:30 in the cave that is in the field of Machpelah, which is before Mamre, in the land of Canaan, which Abraham bought with the field from Ephron the Hittite as a burial place.
Gen 49:31 There they buried Abraham and Sarah, his wife. There they buried Isaac and Rebekah, his wife, and there I buried Leah:
Gen 49:32 the field and the cave that is therein, which was purchased from the children of Heth."
Gen 49:33 When Jacob made an end of charging his sons, he gathered up his feet into the bed, and yielded up the spirit, and was gathered to his people.


Feb. 18, 19
Matthew 25

Mat 25:1 "Then the Kingdom of Heaven will be like ten virgins, who took their lamps, and went out to meet the bridegroom.
Mat 25:2 Five of them were foolish, and five were wise.
Mat 25:3 Those who were foolish, when they took their lamps, took no oil with them,
Mat 25:4 but the wise took oil in their vessels with their lamps.
Mat 25:5 Now while the bridegroom delayed, they all slumbered and slept.
Mat 25:6 But at midnight there was a cry, 'Behold! The bridegroom is coming! Come out to meet him!'
Mat 25:7 Then all those virgins arose, and trimmed their lamps.
Mat 25:8 The foolish said to the wise, 'Give us some of your oil, for our lamps are going out.'
Mat 25:9 But the wise answered, saying, 'What if there isn't enough for us and you? You go rather to those who sell, and buy for yourselves.'
Mat 25:10 While they went away to buy, the bridegroom came, and those who were ready went in with him to the marriage feast, and the door was shut.
Mat 25:11 Afterward the other virgins also came, saying, 'Lord, Lord, open to us.'
Mat 25:12 But he answered, 'Most certainly I tell you, I don't know you.'
Mat 25:13 Watch therefore, for you don't know the day nor the hour in which the Son of Man is coming.
Mat 25:14 "For it is like a man, going into another country, who called his own servants, and entrusted his goods to them.
Mat 25:15 To one he gave five talents, to another two, to another one; to each according to his own ability. Then he went on his journey.
Mat 25:16 Immediately he who received the five talents went and traded with them, and made another five talents.
Mat 25:17 In like manner he also who got the two gained another two.
Mat 25:18 But he who received the one went away and dug in the earth, and hid his lord's money.
Mat 25:19 "Now after a long time the lord of those servants came, and reconciled accounts with them.
Mat 25:20 He who received the five talents came and brought another five talents, saying, 'Lord, you delivered to me five talents. Behold, I have gained another five talents besides them.'
Mat 25:21 "His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'
Mat 25:22 "He also who got the two talents came and said, 'Lord, you delivered to me two talents. Behold, I have gained another two talents besides them.'
Mat 25:23 "His lord said to him, 'Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a few things, I will set you over many things. Enter into the joy of your lord.'
Mat 25:24 "He also who had received the one talent came and said, 'Lord, I knew you that you are a hard man, reaping where you did not sow, and gathering where you did not scatter.
Mat 25:25 I was afraid, and went away and hid your talent in the earth. Behold, you have what is yours.'
Mat 25:26 "But his lord answered him, 'You wicked and slothful servant. You knew that I reap where I didn't sow, and gather where I didn't scatter.
Mat 25:27 You ought therefore to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I should have received back my own with interest.
Mat 25:28 Take away therefore the talent from him, and give it to him who has the ten talents.
Mat 25:29 For to everyone who has will be given, and he will have abundance, but from him who doesn't have, even that which he has will be taken away.
Mat 25:30 Throw out the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.'
Mat 25:31 "But when the Son of Man comes in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then he will sit on the throne of his glory.
Mat 25:32 Before him all the nations will be gathered, and he will separate them one from another, as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats.
Mat 25:33 He will set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
Mat 25:34 Then the King will tell those on his right hand, 'Come, blessed of my Father, inherit the Kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world;
Mat 25:35 for I was hungry, and you gave me food to eat. I was thirsty, and you gave me drink. I was a stranger, and you took me in.
Mat 25:36 I was naked, and you clothed me. I was sick, and you visited me. I was in prison, and you came to me.'
Mat 25:37 "Then the righteous will answer him, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry, and feed you; or thirsty, and give you a drink?
Mat 25:38 When did we see you as a stranger, and take you in; or naked, and clothe you?
Mat 25:39 When did we see you sick, or in prison, and come to you?'
Mat 25:40 "The King will answer them, 'Most certainly I tell you, inasmuch as you did it to one of the least of these my brothers, you did it to me.'
Mat 25:41 Then he will say also to those on the left hand, 'Depart from me, you cursed, into the eternal fire which is prepared for the devil and his angels;
Mat 25:42 for I was hungry, and you didn't give me food to eat; I was thirsty, and you gave me no drink;
Mat 25:43 I was a stranger, and you didn't take me in; naked, and you didn't clothe me; sick, and in prison, and you didn't visit me.'
Mat 25:44 "Then they will also answer, saying, 'Lord, when did we see you hungry, or thirsty, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and didn't help you?'
Mat 25:45 "Then he will answer them, saying, 'Most certainly I tell you, inasmuch as you didn't do it to one of the least of these, you didn't do it to me.'
Mat 25:46 These will go away into eternal punishment, but the righteous into eternal life."

From Gary... Fascination can be a pathway to God


What a wonderful world this is!!!  It seems to me that the sheer number of "Things to be seen" is almost limitless!!! This table fits nicely into the "Things to be seen" category. In a way it reminds of of a Kaleidoscope I used to play with as a boy, but now has been redone in an upscale furniture motif. And the possibilities!!!  Imagine how the colored prismatic reflections will change throughout the day!!! Fascinating, simply fascinating!!!  However, consider the following verses from the book of 1st John and BEWARE!!!

1 John, Chapter 2 (WEB)
 16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, isn’t the Father’s, but is the world’s.  17 The world is passing away with its lusts, but he who does God’s will remains forever. 

Recently, someone commented that I use a lot of pictures in producing my blog; they are quite correct.  I do this because it is foundational to the basic premise of this work, that is; to reflect upon the world around us and relate our lives to the Scriptures for guidance.  While the picture is wonderful (as most of the thousands I post are), remember to focus on what is genuinely important- namely, GOD!!! And enjoy the pictures as well!!!