From Meröe (in Sudan) to Jerusalem is a long way but the black gentleman made the trip. Overland it’s something more than 1,800 miles via Cairo. He would have begun his journey in the highlands of central Africa and sailed down the longest river on earth for more than 1,300 miles to Cairo. Then he would have got off the boat and traveled overland more than four hundred additional miles to Jerusalem. The story’s told in Acts 8:26-40.
What a journey! And why does he make it? We’re told he wanted to worship! But, bless me, he could have worshiped just about anywhere; he could have done that at Meröe, without leaving home! On both banks of the Nile there were green strips of fertile land made possible by the life-giving river, but immediately beyond them in the wilderness areas with their intimidating cliff formations dwelled the gods of Egypt. He could have worshiped at Luxor or Karnack or Thebes; he could have worshiped at shrines in numerous places; there were plenty of priests and temple servants around but he would have none of it—he sailed by them because his heart was set on the one true God whose central place of public worship was Jerusalem! It wasn’t a place he sought—it was a Person!
No one seeing him would have pitied him because he was the Finance Minister to one of the famed queens of Nubia—the Kandake. Look at him, an educated, accomplished, esteemed and God-hungry man who didn’t mind confessing he needed help to glorify God. “I need help to understand what I’m reading,” he said at a critical moment in his life. When the man asked him if he understood what he was reading he didn’t sneer or take offense; he didn’t let his education and grand status go to his head. “I need help,” he said!
He’s never named but he’s called the “eunuch” five times.1 In some sense a eunuch, along with foreigners, was excluded from membership in the People of Israel. The idea that God despised eunuchs (or anyone else) is simply not true but eunuchs were not permitted to live and function as a part of Israel.2
Whatever happened at Jerusalem, however exclusion showed itself, it might well have been that among all the thousands of God-worshipers there the purest heart present was the heart of that eunuch who despite his devotion to God was to stay on the outer fringe. One of the beauties of this man is that despite his knowing that he was in some sense not permitted into the “inner circle” his devotion to the God who knew about Deuteronomy 23:1 was profound and pure and God must have been pleased.
It would help us to understand what is going on here in this story if we keep all this in mind. The man’s social or intellectual status is not in question; his religious convictions are not disputed and certainly his religious sincerity and practice are examples we all would be pleased to follow.
So what’s the central message of the event? He’s an “outsider,” he’s been excluded! For all his accomplishments society would see him as “damaged goods”; for all his sincere religious devotion he was “excluded” from fellowship in the People of Israel. 3
As Isaiah tells the story (52:13—53:12) Israel itself was misunderstood. It too was abused by nations as wicked and more powerful than them and they would have been despised but the abusive kings would be startled when they learned that Israel’s sufferings were the way to the abuser's blessing. Apostate Israel as a whole would come to understand that the faithful remnant within them was sharing their suffering in order to bring them blessings (Isaiah 49:1-9 and Acts 13:46-47, note the “us”). And the faithful would come to know that Jesus shared the suffering of his own nation that salvation might come to all the nations of the world, that all the “outsiders” could experience the full salvation and fellowship of God.
That’s what the eunuch heard! He found himself spoken of in the Bible and couldn’t wait to be done with exclusion and distance. In a very real sense he had found his name written!
No miracle happened! A faithful messenger and runner for God (8.29-30) spoke the wondrous truth about Jesus to a faith-filled and hungry heart that read God's scriptures as truth and the rejected one found himself only a faith-filled step away from full acceptance in Jesus Christ. (Isn't it marvelous?!)
One of the central themes of Luke’s writings as he tells the Story of God as it climaxes in Jesus Christ is this: God has come to embrace all those who are clearly “outsiders”; he has come to offer them fellowship in the person of Jesus Christ. Jews. Gentiles, women, the truly poor, the despised rich, those who wander the earth on the moral outer fringes, Samaritans and all those who in one way or another and for one reason or another are imprisoned and enslaved, the abused and the despised. (See Luke 4:15-21 where Jesus lays out his Spirit-given program for life and note the stress on the Holy Spirit throughout the book of Acts and in this story—8:29, 39.)
Once more, the man in Acts 8 would not be pitied and Luke shows no interest in making him appear pitiful. Just the same, this person without a name, especially in light of his devotion to God and his reading OT Scripture would have been aware of the “distance” between God and him, would have been aware of the “distance” between society (even religious society) and him. There's no sign of resentment in him but he was hungry for more, more of God and more intimacy of fellowship. Listen how he explodes in eagerness in claiming the privilege of baptism.
Now from the very Bible that spoke of that “distance,” he hears about Jesus who is central in the very section he is reading (Isaiah 53). He hears of Jesus, who is the revelation of God—the God who has come to obliterate “distance” and to give childless people like him a name that is better than children (Isaiah 56:3-4). In hearing about Jesus he knows he is being offered more than a grudging “tolerance”.
No wonder he wants to know, “Well, then, that means I can be baptized too, doesn’t it?” He’s claiming the privilege! He isn’t asking if he must be baptized! That question never occurs in the entire NT and it certainly isn’t being asked here. This is an excited man who wants fully “in”! In various ways and from various perspectives, despite his moral decency, his religious sincerity and loving grasp of truth he has been classed as an “outsider”. Now he knows that in Jesus he can find all that God offers and so heclaims the right to be baptized.
[Holy Father, so many for one reason or another are required to live on the outer fringe of society and religious life though they love you with all their hearts. There are people behind bars who can only vainly beg, “Let me out” and there are those who live in isolation and are dying as they ask, “Let me in.” Come near to them to bless them and convince them that you keep them near to your heart and that you seek them as you sought out the noble heart of the nameless man on Gaza’s road. And in the light of that truth, Holy Father, wherever they are—in prison for a just cause, in terminal wards, in jobs that crush their spirits, in poverty that kills hope, as people without physical grace or beauty and so forced to live in loneliness, childless and with ceaseless tears, or in being uneducated they are insolently sent to the back of some line—assure them by someone and in some way of your love for them; with a smile, a word that brings hope, a look that speaks not of scorn but of sincere respect, an offer of a job, an opportunity to become equipped for something better. And bless them Loving Father with courage, even gallantry, as they search for you because by abuse and loss and being unforgiven by people around them they are led to doubt you, though you are looking for them even as you went looking for this outsider. Help them Father to embrace with faith and joy the privilege of baptism into the Lord Jesus and complete freedom when it comes to them from your loving hand through your ministers. In Jesus this prayer, Amen]

1. There’s good reason to believe that the biblical words behind “eunuch” should all be understood as someone who’s been castrated. It seems clear that lexical work can’t settle the issue.
2. “Exclusion” in such situations has nothing to do with “discrimination” in a hostile sense. Note that God takes responsibility for the blind and the deaf in Exodus 4.11. Deuteronomy 23:1 does not say, “He that has been castrated is not loved by God!” It’s the case that we’re all “excluded” from certain functions. It’s a part of daily living and we all live happily with that unless it’s clear that the “exclusion” is unjust or due to spite, cruelty, arrogance or some such thing. In the OT the exclusion of the deformed or the mutilated is not without a loving purpose. I mean to develop this matter. Had you asked the eunuch in Acts 8 about his exclusion, whatever he might have said he would not have thought it evil for he knew GOD and was pleased to worship him even in his exclusion.
3. You’ll remember in Alice Walker’s marvelous book Color Purple that Celie who through no fault of her own has been badly abused by her wicked father is called and sees herself as “damaged goods.” Sigh.
4. There's simply no good reason for the NIV's ambiguous rendering of the man's question. "...shouldn't I be baptized?" That's not what the man said. Only the NIV leaves it so ambiguously.
5. God enabling this piece will be developed in a forthcoming book called Privilege, Power & Promise {Reflections on God & Baptism}.
©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.

The Historical Christ--Fact or Fiction? by Kyle Butt, M.A.


The Historical Christ--Fact or Fiction?

by Kyle Butt, M.A.

Most children and adults easily recognize the name of Jesus Christ. Many even can recount the story of His life. Also easily recognizable are the names of Peter Pan and Rumpelstiltskin. And most people can relate the “facts” of these fairy tales as well. Is Jesus of Nazareth a fictional character who deserves to be included in a list containing mystifying magicians, daring dragon slayers, and flying boy heroes? The world-famous medical doctor and lifelong critic of Christianity, Albert Schweitzer, answered with a resounding “yes” when he wrote:
The Jesus of Nazareth who came forward publicly as the Messiah, who preached the ethic of the Kingdom of God, who founded the Kingdom of Heaven upon earth, and died to give His work its final consecration, never had any existence. He is a figure designed by rationalism, endowed with life by liberalism, and clothed by modern theology in an historical garb (1964, p. 398).
In more modern times, former-preacher-turned-atheist Dan Barker has suggested that “the New Testament Jesus is a myth” (1992, p. 378). Are such views based upon historical evidence and therefore worthy of serious consideration? Or do they represent merely wishful thinking on the part of those who prefer to believe—for whatever reason—that Christ never lived? Was Jesus Christ a man whose feet got dirty and whose body grew tired just like the rest of humanity? Fortunately, such questions can be answered by an honest appeal to the available historical evidence.
What is a “historical” person? Martin Kahler suggested: “Is it not the person who originates and bequeaths a permanent influence? He is one of those dynamic individuals who intervene in the course of events” (1896, p. 63). Do any records exist to document the claim that Jesus Christ “intervened in the course of events” known as world history? Indeed they do.


Interestingly, the first type of records comes from what are known commonly as “hostile” sources—writers who mentioned Jesus in a negative light or derogatory fashion. Such penmen certainly were not predisposed to further the cause of Christ or otherwise to add credence to His existence. In fact, quite the opposite is true. They rejected His teachings and often reviled Him as well. Thus, one can appeal to them without the charge of built-in bias.
In his book, The Historical Figure of Jesus, E.P. Sanders stated: “Most of the first-century literature that survives was written by members of the very small elite class of the Roman Empire. To them, Jesus (if they heard of him at all) was merely a troublesome rabble-rouser and magician in a small, backward part of the world” (1993, p. 49, parenthetical comment in orig.). It is now to this “small elite class of the Roman Empire” that we turn our attention for documentation of Christ’s existence.
Tacitus (c. A.D. 56-117) should be among the first of several hostile witnesses called to the stand. He was a member of the Roman provincial upper class with a formal education who held several high positions under different emperors such as Nerva and Trajan (see Tacitus, 1952, p. 7). His famous work, Annals, was a history of Rome written in approximately A.D. 115. In the Annals he told of the Great Fire of Rome, which occurred in A.D. 64. Nero, the Roman emperor in office at the time, was suspected by many of having ordered the city set on fire. Tacitus wrote:
Nero fabricated scapegoats—and punished with every refinement the notoriously depraved Christians (as they were popularly called). Their originator, Christ, had been executed in Tiberius’ reign by the governor of Judea, Pontius Pilatus. But in spite of this temporary setback the deadly superstition had broken out afresh, not only in Judea (where the mischief had started) but even in Rome (1952, 15.44, parenthetical comments in orig.).
Tacitus hated both Christians and their namesake, Christ. He therefore had nothing positive to say about what he referred to as a “deadly superstition.” He did, however, have something to say about it. His testimony establishes beyond any reasonable doubt that the Christian religion not only was relevant historically, but that Christ, as its originator, was a verifiable historical figure of such prominence that He even attracted the attention of the Roman emperor himself!
Additional hostile testimony originated from Suetonius, who wrote around A.D. 120. Robert Graves, as translator of Suetonius’ work, The Twelve Caesars, declared:
Suetonius was fortunate in having ready access to the Imperial and Senatorial archives and to a great body of contemporary memoirs and public documents, and in having himself lived nearly thirty years under the Caesars. Much of his information about Tiberius, Caligula, Claudius, and Nero comes from eye-witnesses of the events described (Suetonius, 1957, p. 7).
The testimony of Suetonius is a reliable piece of historical evidence. Twice in his history, Suetonius specifically mentioned Christ or His followers. He wrote, for example: “Because the Jews at Rome caused continuous disturbance at the instigation of Chrestus, he [Claudius—KB] expelled them from the city” (Claudius, 25:4; note that in Acts 18:2 Luke mentioned this expulsion by Claudius). Sanders noted that Chrestus is a misspelling of Christos, “the Greek word that translates the Hebrew ‘Messiah’” (1993, pp. 49-50). Suetonius further commented: “Punishments were also inflicted on the Christians, a sect professing a new and mischievous religious belief” (Nero, 16:2). Again, it is evident that Suetonius and the Roman government had feelings of hatred toward Christ and His alleged mischievous band of rebels. It is equally evident that Suetonius (and, in fact, most of Rome) recognized that Christ was the noteworthy founder of a historically significant new religion.
Along with Tacitus and Suetonius, Pliny the Younger must be allowed to take a seat among hostile Roman witnesses. In approximately A.D. 110-111, Pliny was sent by the Roman emperor Trajan to govern the affairs of the region of Bithynia. From this region, Pliny corresponded with the emperor concerning a problem he viewed as quite serious. He wrote: “I was never present at any trial of Christians; therefore I do not know the customary penalties or investigations and what limits are observed” (as quoted in Wilken, 1990, p. 4). He then went on to state:
This is the course that I have adopted in the case of those brought before me as Christians. I ask them if they are Christians. If they admit it, I repeat the question a second and a third time, threatening capital punishment; if they persist, I sentence them to death (as quoted in Wilken, p. 4).
Pliny used the term “Christian” or “Christians” seven times in his letter, thereby corroborating it as a generally accepted term that was recognized by both the Roman Empire and its emperor. Pliny also used the name “Christ” three times to refer to the originator of the “sect.” It is undeniably the case that Christians, with Christ as their founder, had multiplied in such a way as to draw the attention of the emperor and his magistrates by the time of Pliny’s letter to Trajan. In light of this evidence, it is impossible to deny the fact that Jesus Christ existed and was recognized by the highest officials within the Roman government as an actual, historical person.
Celsus, a second-century pagan philosopher, produced a vehement attack upon Christianity by the title of True Discourse (c. A.D. 178). In that vile document, Celsus argued that Christ owed his existence to the result of fornication between Mary and a Roman soldier named Panthera. As he matured, Jesus began to call himself God—an action, said Celsus, which caused his Jewish brethren to kill him. Yet as denigrating as his attack was, Celsus never went so far as to suggest that Christ did not exist.
Some have attempted to negate the testimony of these hostile Roman witnesses to Christ’s historicity by suggesting that the “Roman sources that mention him are all dependent on Christian reports” (Sanders, 1993, p. 49). For example, in his book, The Earliest Records of Jesus, Francis Beare lamented:
Everything that has been recorded of the Jesus of history was recorded for us by men to whom he was Christ the Lord; and we cannot expunge their faith from the records without making the records themselves virtually worthless. There is no Jesus known to history except him who is depicted by his followers as the Christ, the Son of God, the Saviour to the World (1962, p. 19).
Such a suggestion is as outlandish as it is outrageous. Not only is there no evidence to support such a claim, but all of the available evidence militates against it. Furthermore, it is an untenable position to suggest that such upper class Roman historians would submit for inclusion in the official annals of Roman history (to be preserved for posterity) facts that were related to them by a notorious tribe of “mischievous,” “depraved,” “superstitious” misfits.
Even a casual reader who glances over the testimony of the hostile Roman witnesses who bore testimony to the historicity of Christ will be struck by the fact that these ancient men depicted Christ as neither the Son of God nor the Savior of the world. They verbally stripped Him of His Sonship, denied His glory, and belittled His magnificence. They described Him to their contemporaries, and for posterity, as a mere man. Yet even though they were wide of the mark in regard to the truth of WhoHe was, through their caustic diatribes they nevertheless documented that He was. And for that we are indebted to them.


Even though much of the hostile testimony regarding the existence of Jesus originated from witnesses within the Roman Empire, such testimony is not the only kind of hostile historical evidence available. Anyone familiar with Jewish history will recognize immediately the Mishnah and the Talmud. TheMishnah was a book of Jewish law traditions codified by Rabbi Judah around the year A.D. 200 and known to the Jews as the “whole code of religious jurisprudence” (Bruce, 1953, p. 101). Jewish rabbis studied the Mishnah and even wrote a body of commentary based upon it known as the Gemares. The Mishnah and Gemares are known collectively as the Talmud (Bruce, 1953, p. 101). The completeTalmud surfaced around A.D. 300. If a person as influential as Jesus had existed in the land of Palestine during the first century, surely the rabbis would have had something to say about him. Undoubtedly, a man who supposedly confronted the most astute religious leaders of His day—and won—would be named among the opinions of those who shared His rabbinical title. As Bruce declared:
According to the earlier Rabbis whose opinions are recorded in these writings, Jesus of Nazareth was a transgressor in Israel, who practised magic, scorned the words of the wise, led the people astray, and said that he had not come to destroy the law but to add to it. He was hanged on Passover Eve for heresy and misleading the people. His disciples, of whom five are named, healed the sick in his name (1953, p. 102).
First-century Judaism, in large part, refused to accept Jesus Christ as the Son of the God. Yet it did not refuse to accept Him as a historical man from a literal city known as Nazareth or to record for posterity crucial facts about His life and death.
Josephus is another important Jewish witness. The son of Mattathias, he was born into a Jewish upper class priestly family around A.D. 37. His education in biblical law and history stood among the best of his day (Sanders, 1993, p. 15). At age nineteen, he became a Pharisee. When Jerusalem rebelled against the Roman authorities, he was given command of the Jewish forces in Galilee. After losing most of his men, he surrendered to the Romans. He found favor in the man who commanded the Roman army, Vespasian, by predicting that Vespasian soon would be elevated to the position of emperor. Josephus’ prediction came true in A.D. 69 at Vespasian’s inauguration. After the fall of Jerusalem, Josephus assumed the family name of the emperor (Flavius) and settled down to live a life as a government pensioner. It was during these latter years that he wrote Antiquities of the Jewsbetween September 93 and September 94 (Bruce, 1953, pp. 103-104). Josephus himself gave the date as the thirteenth year of Domitian (Rajak, 1984, p. 237). His contemporaries viewed his career indignantly as one of traitorous rebellion to the Jewish nation (Bruce, 1953, p. 104).
Twice in Antiquities, Jesus’ name flowed from Josephus’ pen. Antiquities 18:3:3 reads as follows
And there arose about this time Jesus, a wise man, if indeed we should call him a man; for he was a doer of marvelous deeds, a teacher of men who receive the truth with pleasure. He led away many Jews, and also Greeks. This man was the Christ. And when Pilate had condemned him to the cross on his impeachment by the chief men among us, those who had loved him at first did not cease; for he appeared to them on the third day alive again, the divine prophets having spoken these and thousands of other wonderful things about him: and even now the tribe of Christians, so named after him, has not yet died out.
Certain historians regard the italicized segments of the section as “Christian interpolation.” There is, however, no evidence from textual criticism that would warrant such an opinion (Bruce, 1953, p. 110). In fact, every extant Greek manuscript contains the disputed portions. The passage also exists in both Hebrew and Arabic versions. And although the Arabic version is slightly different, it still exhibits knowledge of the disputed sections (see Chapman, 1981, p. 29; Habermas, 1996, pp. 193-196).
There are several reasons generally offered for rejecting the passage as genuine. First, early Christian writers like Justin Martyr, Tertullian, and Origen did not use Josephus’ statement in their defense of Christ’s deity. Habermas observed that Origen, in fact, documented the fact that Josephus (although himself a Jew) did not believe Christ to be the Messiah (1996, p. 192; cf. Origen’s Contra Celsum, 1:47). However, as Habermas also pointed out, the fourth-century writer Eusebius, in hisEcclesiastical History (1:11), quoted Josephus’ statement about Christ, including the disputed words. And he undoubtedly had access to much more ancient sources than those now available.
Furthermore, it should not be all that surprising that such early Christian apologists did not appeal to Josephus in their writings. Wayne Jackson has suggested:
Josephus’ writings may not have been in extensive circulation at that point in time. HisAntiquities was not completed until about 93 A.D. Too, in view of the fact that Josephus was not respected by the Jews, his works may not have been valued as an apologetic tool (1991, 11:29).
Such a suggestion possesses merit. Professor Bruce Metzger commented: “Because Josephus was deemed a renegade to Judaism, Jewish scribes were not interested in preserving his writings for posterity” (1965, p. 75). Thomas H. Horne, in his Critical Introduction to the Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures, referred to the fact that the main source of evidence frequently used by the so-called “church fathers” was an appeal to the Old Testament rather than to human sources (1841, 1:463-464). The evidence substantiates Horne’s conclusion. For example, a survey of the index to the eight volumes of the multi-volume set, The Ante-Nicene Fathers, reveals only eleven references to Josephus in the entire set.
The second reason sometimes offered as to why the disputed passage in Josephus’ Antiquities might be due to “Christian interpolation” is the fact that it seems unlikely that a non-Christian writer would include such statements as “this man was the Christ” or “if indeed we should call him a man.” But while such might be unlikely, it certainly is not beyond the realm of possibility. Any number of reasons could explain why Josephus would write what he did. For example, Bruce allowed for the possibility that Josephus might have been speaking sarcastically (1953, p. 110). Howard Key suggested:
If we assume that in making explicit statements about Jesus as Messiah and about the resurrection Josephus is merely conveying what Jesus’ followers claimed on his behalf, then there would be no reason to deny that he wrote them [i.e., the supposed interpolated phrases—KB] (1970, p. 33).
It also should be noted that Josephus hardly qualifies as the sole author of such statements made about Christ by those who rejected His deity. Ernest Renan, for example, was a nineteenth-century French historian whose book, The Life of Jesus, was a frontal assault on Christ’s deity that received major attention throughout Europe (see Thompson, 1994, 14:5). Yet in that very volume Renan wrote: “It is allowable to call Divine this sublime person who, each day, still presides over the destinies of the world” (as quoted in Schaff and Roussel, 1868, pp. 116-117).
Or consider H.G. Wells who, in 1931, authored The Outline of History. On page 270 of that famous work, Wells referred to Jesus as “a prophet of unprecedented power.” No one who knew Wells (a man who certainly did not believe in the divinity of Christ) ever would accuse his account of being flawed by “Christian interpolation.” The famous humanist, Will Durant, was an avowed atheist, yet he wrote: “The greatest question of our time is not communism vs. individualism, not Europe vs. America, not even the East vs. the West; it is whether men can bear to live without God” (1932, p. 23). Comments like those of Renan, Wells, and Durant document the fact that, on occasion, even unbelievers have written convincingly about God and Christ.
Furthermore, even if the material containing the alleged Christian interpolation is removed, the vocabulary and grammar of the section “cohere well with Josephus’ style and language” (Meier, 1990, p. 90). In fact, almost every word (omitting for the moment the supposed interpolations) is found elsewhere in Josephus (Meier, p. 90). Were the disputed material to be expunged, the testimony of Josephus still would verify the fact that Jesus Christ actually lived. Habermas therefore concluded:
There are good indications that the majority of the text is genuine. There is no textual evidence against it, and, conversely, there is very good manuscript evidence for this statement about Jesus, thus making it difficult to ignore. Additionally, leading scholars on the works of Josephus [Daniel-Rops, 1962, p. 21; Bruce, 1967, p. 108; Anderson, 1969, p. 20] have testified that this portion is written in the style of this Jewish historian (1996, p. 193).
In addition, Josephus did not remain mute regarding Christ in his later sections. Antiquities 20:9:1 relates that Ananus brought before the Sanhedrin “a man named James, the brother of Jesus who was called the Christ, and certain others. He accused them of having transgressed the law, and condemned them to be stoned to death.” Bruce observed that this quote from Josephus “is chiefly important because he calls James ‘the brother of Jesus the so-called Christ,’ in such a way as to suggest that he has already made reference to Jesus. And we do find reference to him in all extant copies of Josephus” (Bruce, 1953, p. 109). Meier, in an article titled “Jesus in Josephus,” made it clear that rejecting this passage as actually having been written by Josephus defies accurate assessment of the text (1990, pp. 79-81). Meier also added another emphatic defense of the historical reliability of the text in Antiquities concerning Christ.
Practically no one is astounded or refuses to believe that in the same book 18 of The Jewish Antiquities Josephus also chose to write a longer sketch of another marginal Jew, another peculiar religious leader in Palestine, “John surnamed the Baptist” (Ant. 18.5.2). Fortunately for us, Josephus had more than a passing interest in marginal Jews (p. 99).
Regardless of what one believes about the writings of Josephus, the simple fact is that this well-educated, Jewish historian wrote about a man named Jesus Who actually existed in the first century. Yamauchi summarized quite well the findings of the secular sources regarding Christ:
Even if we did not have the New Testament or Christian writings, we would be able to conclude from such non-Christian writings as Josephus, the Talmud, Tacitus and Pliny the Younger that: (1) Jesus was a Jewish teacher; (2) many people believed that he performed healings and exorcisms; (3) he was rejected by the Jewish leaders; (4) he was crucified under Pontius Pilate in the reign of Tiberius; (5) despite this shameful death, his followers, who believed that he was still alive, spread beyond Palestine so that there were multitudes of them in Rome by 64 A.D.; (6) all kinds of people from the cities and countryside—men and women, slave and free—worshiped him as God by the beginning of the second century (1995, p. 222).


Although the above list of hostile and Jewish witnesses proves beyond the shadow of a doubt that Jesus actually lived, it is by no means the only historical evidence available to those interested in this topic. The gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John), and the other 23 books that form the New Testament, provide more information about Jesus than any other source(s) available. But may these records be viewed as historical evidence, or are they instead writings whose reliability pales in comparison to other types of historical documentation? Blomberg has explained why the historical question of the Gospels, for example, must be considered.
Many who have never studied the gospels in a scholarly context believe that biblical criticism has virtually disproved the existence [of Christ—KB]. An examination of the gospel’s historical reliability must therefore precede a credible assessment of who Jesus was (1987, p. xx).
But how well do the New Testament documents compare with additional ancient, historical documents? F.F Bruce examined much of the evidence surrounding this question in his book, The New Testament Documents—Are They Reliable? As he and other writers (e.g., Metzger, 1968, p. 36; Geisler and Brooks, 1990, p. 159) have no-ted, there are 5,366 manuscripts of the Greek New Testament in existence today, in whole or in part, that serve to corroborate the accuracy of the New Testament. The best manuscripts of the New Testament are dated at roughly A.D. 350, with perhaps one of the most important of these being the Codex Vaticanus, “the chief treasure of the Vatican Library in Rome,” and the Codex Sinaiticus, which was purchased by the British from the Soviet Government in 1933 (Bruce, 1953, p. 20). Additionally, the Chester Beatty papyri, made public in 1931, contain eleven codices, three of which contain most of the New Testament (including the Gospels). Two of these codices boast of a date in the first half of the third century, while the third slides in a little later, being dated in the last half of the same century (Bruce, 1953, p. 21). The John Rylands Library boasts of even earlier evidence. A papyrus codex containing parts of John 18 dates to the time of Hadrian, who reigned from A.D. 117 to 138 (Bruce, 1953, p. 21).
Other attestation to the accuracy of the New Testament documents can be found in the writings of the so-called “apostolic fathers”—men who wrote primarily from A.D. 90 to 160 (Bruce, 1953, p. 22). Irenaeus, Clement of Alexandria, Tertullian, Tatian, Clement of Rome, and Ignatius (writing before the close of the second century) all provided citations from one or more of the Gospels (Guthrie, 1990, p. 24). Other witnesses to the early authenticity of the New Testament are the Ancient Versions, which consist of the text of the New Testament translated into different languages. The Old Latin and the Old Syriac are the most ancient, being dated from the middle of the second century (Bruce, 1953, p. 23).
The available evidence makes it clear that the Gospels were accepted as authentic by the close of the second century (Guthrie, p. 24). They were complete (or substantially complete) before A.D. 100, with many of the writings circulating 20-40 years before the close of the first century (Bruce, 1953, p. 16). Linton remarked concerning the Gospels:
A fact known to all who have given any study at all to this subject is that these books were quoted, listed, catalogued, harmonized, cited as authority by different writers, Christian and Pagan, right back to the time of the apostles (1943, p. 39).
Such an assessment is absolutely correct. In fact, the New Testament enjoys far more historical documentation than any other volume ever known. There are only 643 copies of Homer’s Iliad, which is undeniably the most famous book of ancient Greece. No one doubts the text of Julius Caesar’sGallic Wars, but we have only 10 copies of it, the earliest of which was made 1,000 years after it was written. To have such abundance of copies for the New Testament from within 70 years of their writing is nothing short of amazing (Geisler and Brooks, 1990, pp. 159-160).
Someone might allege that the New Testament documents cannot be trusted because the writers had an agenda. But this in itself does not render what they said untruthful, especially in the light of corroborating evidence from hostile witnesses. There are other histories that are accepted despite their authors’ agendas. An “agenda” does not nullify the possibility of accurate historical knowledge.
In his work, The New Testament Documents—Are They Reliable?, Bruce offered more astounding comparisons. Livy wrote 142 books of Roman history, of which a mere 35 survive. The 35 known books are made manifest due to some 20 manuscripts, only one of which is as old as the fourth century. We have only two manuscripts of Tacitus’ Histories and Annals, one from the ninth century and one from the eleventh. The History of Thucydides, another well-known ancient work, is dependent upon only eight manuscripts, the oldest of these being dated about A.D. 900 (along with a few papyrus scraps dated at the beginning of the Christian era). The History of Herodotus finds itself in a similar situation. “Yet no classical scholar would listen to an argument that the authenticity of Herodotus or Thucydides is in doubt because the earliest MSS of their works which are of any use to us are over 1,300 years later than the originals” (Bruce, 1953, pp. 20-21). Bruce thus declared: “It is a curious fact that historians have often been much readier to trust the New Testament records than have many theologians” (1953, p. 19). As Linton put it:
There is no room for question that the records of the words and acts of Jesus of Galilee came from the pens of the men who, with John, wrote what they had “heard” and “seen” and their hands had “handled of the Word of life” (1943, pp. 39-40).


When someone asks the question, “Is the life of Jesus Christ a historic event?,” he or she must remember that “If we maintain that the life of our Lord is not a historical event, we are landed in hopeless difficulties; in consistency, we shall have to give up all ancient history and deny that there ever was such an event as the assassination of Julius Caesar” (Monser, 1961, p. 377).
Faced with such overwhelming evidence, it is unwise to reject the position that Jesus Christ actually walked the streets of Jerusalem in the first century. As Harvey has remarked, there are certain facts about Jesus that “are attested by at least as much reliable evidence as are countless others taken for granted as historical facts known to us from the ancient world.” But lest I be accused of misquoting him, let me point out that Harvey went on to say, “It can still be argued that we can have no reliable historical knowledge about Jesus with regard to anything that really matters” (1982, p. 6).
Harvey could not deny the fact that Jesus lived on this Earth. Critics do not like having to admit it, but they cannot successfully deny the fact that Jesus had a greater impact on the world than any single life before or after. Nor can they deny the fact that Jesus died at the hands of Pontius Pilate. Harvey and others can say only that such facts “do not really matter.” I contend that the facts that establish the existence of Jesus Christ of Nazareth really do matter. As Bruce stated, “The earliest propagators of Christianity welcomed the fullest examination of the credentials of their message” (1953, p. 122). While Paul was on trial before King Agrippa, he said to Festus: “For the king knoweth of these things, unto whom also I speak freely: for I am persuaded that none of these things is hidden from him; for this hath not been done in a corner” (Acts 26:26).
As the earliest apologists of Christianity welcomed a full examination of the credentials of the message that they preached, so do we today. These credentials have been weighed in the balance and not found wanting. The simple fact of the matter is that Jesus Christ did exist and live among men.
It is impossible to say that no one has the right to be an agnostic. But no one has the right to be an agnostic till he has thus dealt with the question, and faced this fact with an open mind. After that, he may be an agnostic—if he can (Anderson, 1985, p. 12).


Anderson, J.N.D. (1969), Christianity: The Witness of History (London: Tyndale).
Anderson, Norman (1985), Jesus Christ: The Witness of History (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press), second edition.
Barker, Dan (1992), Losing Faith in Faith (Minneapolis, MN: Freedom From Religion Foundation).
Beare, Francis Wright (1962), The Earliest Records of Jesus (New York: Abingdon).
Blomberg, Craig L. (1987), The Historical Reliability of the Gospels (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press).
Bruce, F.F. (1953), The New Testament Documents—Are They Reliable? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), fourth edition.
Bruce, F.F. (1967), The New Testament Documents—Are They Reliable? (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans), fifth edition.
Chapman, Colin (1981), The Case for Christianity (Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans).
Daniel-Rops, Henri, (1969), “Silence of Jesus’ Contemporaries,” The Sources for the Life of Christ, ed. Henri Daniel-Rops (New York: Hawthorn).
Durant, Will, ed. (1932), On the Meaning of Life (New York: Long and Smith).
Geisler, Norman L. and Ronald M. Brooks (1990), When Skeptics Ask (Wheaton, IL: Victor).
Guthrie, Donald (1990), New Testament Introduction (Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press).
Habermas, Gary R. (1996), The Historical Jesus (Joplin, MO: College Press).
Harvey, A.E. (1982), Jesus and the Constraints of History (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster).
Horne, Thomas H. (1841), An Introduction to the Critical Study and Knowledge of the Holy Scriptures(Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), 1970 reprint.
Jackson, Wayne (1991), “Josephus and the Bible [Part II]” Reason & Revelation, 11:29-32, August.
Josephus, Flavius (1957 reprint), The Life and Works of Flavius Josephus, trans. William Whitson (Philadelphia, PA: John Whitson).
Josephus, Flavius (1988 reprint), Josephus: The Essential Writings, trans. Paul L Maier (Grand Rapids, MI: Kregel).
Kähler, Martin (1896), The So-called Historical Jesus and the Historic, Biblical Christ, trans. Carl E. Braaten (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress), 1964 reprint.
Key, Howard Clark (1970), Jesus in History (New York: Harcourt, Brace and World).
Linton, Irwin H. (1943), A Lawyer Examines the Bible (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker), sixth edition.
Meier, John P. (1990), “Jesus in Josephus: A Modest Proposal.” The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 52:76-99.
Metzger, Bruce M. (1968), The Text of the New Testament (New York: Oxford University Press).
Monser, J.W. (1961), An Encyclopedia on the Evidences; or Masterpieces of Many Minds (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker).
Rajak, Tessa (1984), Josephus: The Historian and His Society (Philadelphia, PA: Fortress).
Sanders, E.P. (1993), The Historical Figure of Jesus (New York: Lane-Penguin).
Schweitzer, Albert. (1964), The Quest for the Historical Jesus (New York: Macmillan).
Suetonius (1957 reprint), The Twelve Caesars, trans. Robert Graves (London: Penguin).
Schaff, Philip & N.M. Roussel (1868), The Romance of M. Renan and the Christ of the Gospels (New York: Carlton & Lanahan).
Tacitus, Cornelius P. (1952 reprint), The Annals and the Histories, trans. Michael Grant (Chicago, IL: William Benton), Great Books of the Western World Series, vol. 15.
Thompson, Bert (1994), “Famous Enemies of Christ—Ancient and Modern,” Reason & Revelation, 14:1-7, January.
Wells, H.G. (1931), Outline of History, Being a Plain History of Life and Mankind (Garden City, NY: Garden City Publishing).
Wilken, Robert L. (1990), “The Piety of the Persecutors,” Christian History, 9:16.
Yamauchi, Edwin M. (1995), “Jesus Outside the New Testament: What is the Evidence?,” Jesus Under Fire, ed. Michael J. Wilkins and J.P. Moreland (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan).

From Mark Copeland... "CHALLENGES CONFRONTING THE CHURCH" Introduction




1. The church in the first century often experienced grave 
   a. Persecution - Ac 8:1-3; 9:1-2
   b. False teachers - Ac 15:1-2; 2Pe 2:1-3; Re 2:14,20
   c. Apostasy - Ac 20:29-31; 1Ti 4:1-3; Jude 3

2. Today we see similar challenges confronting the church...
   a. False teachers leading many astray
   b. Churches apostatizing, resulting in new religious 
   c. With more than 38,000 denominations now existing!

3. In this series of lessons, I would like for us to examine challenges
   we face today...
   a. Certainly not every challenge, for there are many
   b. But a few of the more common ones faced by many churches of Christ

[But first, it might be helpful to carefully distinguish between the
universal church and local church as revealed in the Bible.  Let’s begin
with describing...]


      1. The church to which Jesus referred in Mt 16:18
      2. Made up all the saved, both living and dead - cf. He 12:22-24

      1. The universal church is called the "body" of Christ - Ep 1:22-23
      2. There is only "one body"; therefore, only one church! - Ep 4:4

      1. In Jerusalem, following the death, resurrection and ascension
         of Christ - Ac 2:1-47
      2. As Peter later referred to this day, it was the  "beginning"
         - cf. Ac 11:15

      1. One cannot "join" the church by their own volition
      2. Rather, they are "added" by the Lord Himself when saved - Ac 2:41,47

      1. There is no agency on earth that keeps the registry of true members
      2. Enrollment is in heaven; only the Lord knows those who are
         truly His - He 12:23; 2Ti 2:19

      1. The Lord is presenting to Himself a church holy and without
         blemish - cf. Ep 5:25-27
      2. Individuals in the church who sin and refuse to repent are "cut
         off", "cast out", "spewed out" - cf. Jn 15:2,6; Ro 11:19-22; Re 3:16

      1. For the Lord is the Savior of the body (which is His church)
         - Ep 5:23
      2. Since the Lord adds one to His church when they are saved, one
         cannot be saved and not be in the church universal!

      1. The church universal does have organization - cf. Ep 2:19-22;1Pe 2:5
         a. What organization exists is spiritual in nature
         b. Christ is the cornerstone, together with His apostles and
            prophets as the foundation
         c. All Christians are "living stones" built upon that foundation
      2. But there is no earthly headquarters for the church
         a. E.g., no telephone number to call to speak with the "head"
            of the church
         b. For the Head and His headquarters are in heaven!

      1. For there is no earthly organization to divide!
      2. If division appears to exist...
         a. Some unscriptural organization of churches must have been created
         b. Such organizations can have division, but not the Lord’s
            church universal!
      3. Those who would seek to divide the church through doctrine,
         conduct, etc., are simply cut off by the Lord Himself!
         a. As seen before, individual Christians are "cut off", "cast
            out", "spewed out"
         b. Local churches can have their "candlestick removed" - cf. Re 2:5
         c. We need to make sure we are remaining faithful to be in it!
      4. Thus there is and always will be, "one body"! - Ep 4:4
         a. Death cannot prevail against it - Mt 16:18
         b. It is a kingdom that will last forever - cf. Dan 2:44; Lk 1:32-33; Re 17:14

      1. The church universal is made up of the saved, both living and
         dead - He 12:22-23
      2. When one dies, they are still with Christ! - Php 1:21-23; 1Th 5:10

      1. No one exclusive name or term is used to describe the universal church
      2. Various terms used include church of God, body, kingdom, etc.
         - 1Co 10:32; Ep 1:22-23; Col 1:13

[Such are some of the defining characteristics of the church universal.
In contrast, consider...]


      1. A local church is made up of Christians in one geographical
      2. E.g., the church at Corinth, the church of the Thessalonians
         - 1Co 1:2; 1Th 1:1
      -- In contrast, the church universal is made up of Christians everywhere!

      1. Paul had reference to local churches when he wrote Ro 16:16
      2. And again when he wrote Ga 1:2
      -- When it comes to the church universal, though, there is just one!

      1. As the gospel spreads and people respond to it, those in a
         particular area start a local church when they agree to work
         together as one
      2. Just as the church in Antioch began later than the church in
         Jerusalem - Ac 11:19-26
      -- Whereas the church universal began in Jerusalem on Pentecost,
         local churches have begun at different places and different times!

      1. When one wishes to become an accepted member of the local
         church, they must "join themselves" to that church
      2. As Paul sought to do when he came to the church in Jerusalem
         - Ac 9:26-28
      -- Whereas one is "added" by the Lord Himself to the universal
         church, we can seek to "join" a local congregation (if its
         members are willing to accept us)

      1. Whether we are accepted into a local church is a decision made
         by the leaders or members of that church
      2. Sometimes people are rejected when they should be received
         - 3Jn 5-9
      3. Other times they are accepted when they should be removed - 1Co 5:1-13
      -- Evil men may succeed in kicking one out of a local church, but
         only the Lord determines who stays in the universal church!

      1. Since enrollment occurs through human judgment, fallible
         decisions can be made
      2. A local church may therefore have some who are Christians in
         name only - cf. Re 3:1-4
      -- Hypocrites may become members of a local church; but they don't
         sneak by the Lord to become members of the universal church!

      1. One can be saved, and not belong to any local church
      2. Such was the case of the Eunuch immediately following his
         conversion, and of Paul when he was in transit between Antioch
         and Jerusalem - cf. Ac 8:39; 9:26
      -- Of course, this should be temporary; in the universal church,
         it is impossible!

      1. A local church when scripturally organized will have bishops
         and deacons - Php 1:1
      2. These bishops were also called elders and pastors, whose role
         was to oversee and feed the local congregation - Ac 14:23;20:17,28
      -- The only role or position ever given men over the universal
         church on earth was the apostles and they were not replaced
         when they died - e.g., James in Ac 12:2

      1. Local churches can easily be divided over doctrine or personalities
      2. Such was the case with the church at Corinth - 1Co 1:10-13;3:3,4
      -- While we can’t divide the universal church, we can be
         responsible for dividing local churches!

      1. When we die, our membership in a local congregation ends
      2. When Stephen died, he was no longer a member of the Jerusalem
         church - Ac 8:1-2
      -- But our membership in the church universal continues on after death!

      1. Showing relationship to God or Christ - 1Co 1:2; Ro 16:16
      2. Identifying the location of the members - 1Th 1:1; 2Th 1:2
      -- There is no one official name, but we should use scriptural names!


1. Understanding the distinction between the church universal and local is important...
   a. Failure to do so can lead to faulty thinking about the church
   b. Failure to do so can make one susceptible to many challenges
      facing the church

2. Understanding the distinction between the church universal and local is encouraging...
   a. Most challenges confronting the church today do not affect the
      church universal per se
   b. Most challenges confronting the church today involve how local
      churches respond to them

The church of Christ universal is in good hands (those of Jesus
Himself).  Whether we remain in His church universal is greatly
determined by how we face challenges that affect us as members of local
churches of Christ!

The first challenge we shall examine may be the most important, for it
determines how we respond to all other challenges we may confront:
Authority In Religion!

Executable Outlines, Copyright © Mark A. Copeland, 2011

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From Gary... Bible Reading March 9

Bible Reading  

March 9

The World English Bible

Mar. 9
Exodus 19

Exo 19:1 In the third month after the children of Israel had gone forth out of the land of Egypt, on that same day they came into the wilderness of Sinai.
Exo 19:2 When they had departed from Rephidim, and had come to the wilderness of Sinai, they encamped in the wilderness; and there Israel encamped before the mountain.
Exo 19:3 Moses went up to God, and Yahweh called to him out of the mountain, saying, "This is what you shall tell the house of Jacob, and tell the children of Israel:
Exo 19:4 'You have seen what I did to the Egyptians, and how I bore you on eagles' wings, and brought you to myself.
Exo 19:5 Now therefore, if you will indeed obey my voice, and keep my covenant, then you shall be my own possession from among all peoples; for all the earth is mine;
Exo 19:6 and you shall be to me a kingdom of priests, and a holy nation.' These are the words which you shall speak to the children of Israel."
Exo 19:7 Moses came and called for the elders of the people, and set before them all these words which Yahweh commanded him.
Exo 19:8 All the people answered together, and said, "All that Yahweh has spoken we will do." Moses reported the words of the people to Yahweh.
Exo 19:9 Yahweh said to Moses, "Behold, I come to you in a thick cloud, that the people may hear when I speak with you, and may also believe you forever." Moses told the words of the people to Yahweh.
Exo 19:10 Yahweh said to Moses, "Go to the people, and sanctify them today and tomorrow, and let them wash their garments,
Exo 19:11 and be ready against the third day; for on the third day Yahweh will come down in the sight of all the people on Mount Sinai.
Exo 19:12 You shall set bounds to the people all around, saying, 'Be careful that you don't go up onto the mountain, or touch its border. Whoever touches the mountain shall be surely put to death.
Exo 19:13 No hand shall touch him, but he shall surely be stoned or shot through; whether it is animal or man, he shall not live.' When the trumpet sounds long, they shall come up to the mountain."
Exo 19:14 Moses went down from the mountain to the people, and sanctified the people; and they washed their clothes.
Exo 19:15 He said to the people, "Be ready by the third day. Don't have sexual relations with a woman."
Exo 19:16 It happened on the third day, when it was morning, that there were thunders and lightnings, and a thick cloud on the mountain, and the sound of an exceedingly loud trumpet; and all the people who were in the camp trembled.
Exo 19:17 Moses led the people out of the camp to meet God; and they stood at the lower part of the mountain.
Exo 19:18 Mount Sinai, all it, smoked, because Yahweh descended on it in fire; and its smoke ascended like the smoke of a furnace, and the whole mountain quaked greatly.
Exo 19:19 When the sound of the trumpet grew louder and louder, Moses spoke, and God answered him by a voice.
Exo 19:20 Yahweh came down on Mount Sinai, to the top of the mountain. Yahweh called Moses to the top of the mountain, and Moses went up.
Exo 19:21 Yahweh said to Moses, "Go down, warn the people, lest they break through to Yahweh to gaze, and many of them perish.
Exo 19:22 Let the priests also, who come near to Yahweh, sanctify themselves, lest Yahweh break forth on them."
Exo 19:23 Moses said to Yahweh, "The people can't come up to Mount Sinai, for you warned us, saying, 'Set bounds around the mountain, and sanctify it.' "
Exo 19:24 Yahweh said to him, "Go down and you shall bring Aaron up with you, but don't let the priests and the people break through to come up to Yahweh, lest he break forth on them."

Exo 19:25 So Moses went down to the people, and told them.

 Mar. 9, 10
Mark 7

Mar 7:1 Then the Pharisees, and some of the scribes gathered together to him, having come from Jerusalem.
Mar 7:2 Now when they saw some of his disciples eating bread with defiled, that is, unwashed, hands, they found fault.
Mar 7:3 (For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, don't eat unless they wash their hands and forearms, holding to the tradition of the elders.
Mar 7:4 They don't eat when they come from the marketplace, unless they bathe themselves, and there are many other things, which they have received to hold to: washings of cups, pitchers, bronze vessels, and couches.)
Mar 7:5 The Pharisees and the scribes asked him, "Why don't your disciples walk according to the tradition of the elders, but eat their bread with unwashed hands?"
Mar 7:6 He answered them, "Well did Isaiah prophesy of you hypocrites, as it is written, 'This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me.
Mar 7:7 But in vain do they worship me, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.'
Mar 7:8 "For you set aside the commandment of God, and hold tightly to the tradition of men-the washing of pitchers and cups, and you do many other such things."
Mar 7:9 He said to them, "Full well do you reject the commandment of God, that you may keep your tradition.
Mar 7:10 For Moses said, 'Honor your father and your mother;' and, 'He who speaks evil of father or mother, let him be put to death.'
Mar 7:11 But you say, 'If a man tells his father or his mother, "Whatever profit you might have received from me is Corban, that is to say, given to God;" '
Mar 7:12 then you no longer allow him to do anything for his father or his mother,
Mar 7:13 making void the word of God by your tradition, which you have handed down. You do many things like this."
Mar 7:14 He called all the multitude to himself, and said to them, "Hear me, all of you, and understand.
Mar 7:15 There is nothing from outside of the man, that going into him can defile him; but the things which proceed out of the man are those that defile the man.
Mar 7:16 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear!"
Mar 7:17 When he had entered into a house away from the multitude, his disciples asked him about the parable.
Mar 7:18 He said to them, "Are you thus without understanding also? Don't you perceive that whatever goes into the man from outside can't defile him,
Mar 7:19 because it doesn't go into his heart, but into his stomach, then into the latrine, thus making all foods clean?"
Mar 7:20 He said, "That which proceeds out of the man, that defiles the man.
Mar 7:21 For from within, out of the hearts of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, sexual sins, murders, thefts,
Mar 7:22 covetings, wickedness, deceit, lustful desires, an evil eye, blasphemy, pride, and foolishness.
Mar 7:23 All these evil things come from within, and defile the man."
Mar 7:24 From there he arose, and went away into the borders of Tyre and Sidon. He entered into a house, and didn't want anyone to know it, but he couldn't escape notice.
Mar 7:25 For a woman, whose little daughter had an unclean spirit, having heard of him, came and fell down at his feet.
Mar 7:26 Now the woman was a Greek, a Syrophoenician by race. She begged him that he would cast the demon out of her daughter.
Mar 7:27 But Jesus said to her, "Let the children be filled first, for it is not appropriate to take the children's bread and throw it to the dogs."
Mar 7:28 But she answered him, "Yes, Lord. Yet even the dogs under the table eat the children's crumbs."
Mar 7:29 He said to her, "For this saying, go your way. The demon has gone out of your daughter."
Mar 7:30 She went away to her house, and found the child having been laid on the bed, with the demon gone out.
Mar 7:31 Again he departed from the borders of Tyre and Sidon, and came to the sea of Galilee, through the midst of the region of Decapolis.
Mar 7:32 They brought to him one who was deaf and had an impediment in his speech. They begged him to lay his hand on him.
Mar 7:33 He took him aside from the multitude, privately, and put his fingers into his ears, and he spat, and touched his tongue.
Mar 7:34 Looking up to heaven, he sighed, and said to him, "Ephphatha!" that is, "Be opened!"
Mar 7:35 Immediately his ears were opened, and the impediment of his tongue was released, and he spoke clearly.
Mar 7:36 He commanded them that they should tell no one, but the more he commanded them, so much the more widely they proclaimed it.
Mar 7:37 They were astonished beyond measure, saying, "He has done all things well. He makes even the deaf hear, and the mute speak!"