Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Bible and Church Conference: Saturday 20 June, 10:30am - 4:45pm

Venue: Westminster Chapel, London

Cost: Admission is free but a Free-will offering will be taken to help with expenses. A donation of £5 would be appreciated.

Conference Context
Society is being bombarded with misinformation about the Bible. It has allegedly been corrupted by power-hungry Christians who are charged with having omitted books they did not like. They changed the original message of Jesus.
When these wide-spread claims are made in the media, most Christians don't know how to respond or what to say in support of the trustworthiness of the New Testament. Some have their faith shaken.

This day conference brings together experts who will:

Expose false claims about the New Testament

Show how the New Testament can be trusted

Equip ordinary Christians to share their faith with confidence
For more information click here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Where were the nail-prints in Jesus’ hands - in his wrists or his palms?

This question was raised last Saturday during a day conference on biblical archaeology at Tyndale House in Cambridge. Put simply the problem was stated as follows:

Crucifixion normally involved nailing the victim to a horizontal beam through the wrist between the radius and the ulna (the two bones of the forearm). The nail was then firmly trapped by the carpals from ripping out of the hand between the fingers. If the victim were nailed through the palm of the hand the weight of the suspended body would simply cause the nail to pull through the flesh between the metacarpals (see here for an illustration of the bones involved). That much seems clear. However, in John 20:27 Jesus commands Thomas to:

“…See my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” [Italics mine]

Surely, the argument goes, if the nail marks where in Jesus’ wrists then he would have told Thomas to look there for them and not in his hands?


I think the answer to the problem is fairly straightforward, once we look at the Greek text. The Greek word for hand – χειρ – which is used twice in the passage cited above means “A hand or any relevant portion of the hands, including, for example, the fingers.” (Nida & Louw, Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament Based on Semantic Domains, Vol. 1, p. 98.). The question is whether the word “hand” in Greek also included the wrist. The word “wrist” or “wrists” appears only in Acts 12:7 in the NIV New Testament. In the Old Testament it appears twice in the Genesis 38:27 & 30, in Jeremiah 40:4 and Ezekiel 13:18. In Acts 12:7 and in the Septuagint of the OT verses the “wrist” is a translation of χειρ. So, it would seem that “wrist” was included within the semantic range of χειρ and so the problem seems to be solved. John 20:27 could quite accurately be translated: “…See my wrists. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.”

Nida & Louw note that there is a precedent for using a specific body part in place of the general term “hand”. Luke 15:22 reads “…Put a ring on his χειρ…” χειρ here is to be translated finger, not hand.

Roger Nicole on the New Testament's Use of the Old Testament

The following article is now available in both iPaper and PDF:

Friday, April 17, 2009

Andrew C. Clark on Apostleship: Evidence From the New Testament and Early Christian Literature

The following article is now available on-line in PDF:

Andrew C. Clark, "Apostleship: Evidence From the New Testament and Early Christian Literature," Vox Evangelica 19 (1989): 49-82.

An interesting an wide-ranging study of what it the term "apostle" meant in the early church. The summary reads:
W Bauer comments that in early Christian literature generally, ‘the number twelve stands so fast that exceedingly often twelve disciples are spoken of where actually only eleven can be meant eg Gospel of Peter 5:9; Ascension of Isaiah 3:17; 4:3; 11:29; Kerygma Petrou’. Much is said in the apocryphal Acts and Epistles of the various views and activities of the apostles after the ascension, especially of their missionary work throughout the world. Paul is not deliberately excluded from the number, but ‘it was only when Marcion and later Jewish Christianity began to play Paul against the earliest apostles that thought was given to the circle of apostles, and the Early Catholic Church maintained that “the twelve and Paul” qualified as apostles’. As regards the apostolic writings, it was probably the rise of Montanus, who advocated ‘the new prophecy’, that is the continuing revelation of the Holy Spirit as in apostolic times, that raised the hermeneutical question of the status of apostolic and post-apostolic writings respectively. Gerald Bray comments that ‘Tertullian is the first Christian writer to regard the apostolic age as definitely over, and to quote the writings of the apostles on a par with the Old Testament Scriptures as a matter of course’. He points out, however, that ‘the fact that he could do this without argument shows that the apostolic writings must have been regarded as Scripture even before his time’.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Carl F.H. Henry, ed., Revelation and the Bible - first section now-on-line

I asked at the beginning of the month for visitors to vote on which article from this volume would be most useful to them as at the time I planned only to place one of them on-line before returning to work on Vox Evangelica articles. Such was the level of interest that I have decided to spend the month placing all of them on-line. The first 11 or so can be found linked from this page. The most popular articles according to your votes are included. Scheduled blog posts will announce each in turn and new ones as these are completed - enjoy!

Winner of April (and March) Giveaways

The Winner of the April Giveaway is Nick Norelli - congratulations Nick!

The winner of the hitherto unclaimed March Giveaway is Μωσεύς - please let me have your postal address via email to rob(at)biblicalstudies.org.uk and it's yours.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Michael Parsons on Slavery and the New Testament Equality and Submissiveness

The following article is now on-line in PDF:

Michael Parsons, "Slavery and the New Testament Equality and Submissiveness," Vox Evangelica 18 (1988): 90-96.

Michael Parsons concludes:

First, we can see that the apostles used the contemporary form of house codes in their ethical instruction with creative and imaginative pastoral insight. Keeping the idea of order and submission, the New Testament writers show by their motivation and expectations that slaves and masters are equal in standing in Christ and are equally responsible to him. Paul employs the Haustafeln to emphasize that liberty does not mean disordered and unruly behaviour. It may mean the transforming of the relationships within hierarchical structure. Peter draws the church together in unity within the context of suffering. Second, there is a need to begin with the Haustafeln and then to proceed to Galatians 3:28. We thereby see that the ideas of equality and hierarchy are not incompatible within the influence of the gospel.

Friday, April 03, 2009

New Site on the Gospels under Development by Tyndale House

Tyndale House is developing a new website exploring the history of gospels, both canonical and non-canonical. Given the amount of popular misinformation there is on the subject this site promises to be of great help to both scholars and lay-people. The site will provide - as far as possible - access to the original texts and an English translation, as well as discussion and analysis. This site will certainly be worth adding to your collection of Biblical Studies links. Visit the site by clicking here.

Wednesday, April 01, 2009

"Revelation and the Bible" to be placed online

Carl F.H. Henry, editor, Revelation and the Bible: Contemporary Evangelical Thought. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1958 / London: The Tyndale Press, 1959.

With the help of members of the Theology on the Web Facebook Group I have been able to contact the literary executor of the late Dr Carl F.H. Henry and I am delighted to be able to report that I have been granted permission to place the entire contents of this book on-line.

As you will see from the Table of Contents (below) all the articles look really interesting. I have added them to my long "to do" list, but would like to place one of them online straight away. I am therefore going to ask my readers to vote on which one they would most like to read by leaving a comment below. The closing date for suggestions is 12th April.

Table of Contents

Preface by Carl F.H. Henry, pp.7-10
1 G.C. Berkouwer - General and Special Divine Revelation, pp.11-24
2 Gordon H. Clark - Special Divine Revelation as Rational, pp.25-41
3 Paul K. Jewett - Special Revelation as Historical and Personal, pp.43-57
4 William J. Martin - Special Revelation as Objective, pp.59-72
5 N.B. Stonehouse - Special Revelation as Scriptural, pp.73-86
6 James I. Packer - Contemporary Views of Revelation, pp.87-104
7 Alan M. Stibbs - The Witness of Scripture to its Inspiration, pp.105-118
8 Pierre Ch. Marcel - Our Lord's Use of Scripture, pp.119-134
9 Roger Nicole - New Testament Use of the Old Testament, pp.135-151
10 Edward J. Young - The Canon of the Old Testament, pp.153-168
11 G. Douglas Young - The Apocrypha, pp.169-185
12 Herman Ridderbos - The Canon of the New Testament, pp.187-201
13 Geoffrey W. Bromiley - The Church Doctrine of Inspiration, pp.203-217
14 R.A. Finlayson - Contemporary Ideas of Inspiration, pp.219-234
15 Everett F. Harrison - The Phenomena of Scripture, pp.235-250
16 Bernard Ramm - The Evidence of Prophecy and Miracle, 251-263
17 J. Theodore Mueller - The Holy Spirit and the Scriptures, pp.265-281
18 Ernest F. Kevan - The Principles of Interpretation, pp.283-298
19 Donald J. Wiseman - Archaeological Confirmation of the Old Testament, pp.299-316
20 F.F. Bruce - Archaeological Confirmation of the New Testament, pp.317-331
21 N.H. Ridderbos - Reversals of Old Testament Criticism, pp.333-350
22 Merrill C. Tenney - Reversals of New Testament Criticism, pp.351-367
23 J. Norval Geldenhuys - Authority and the Bible, pp.369-386
24 Frank E. Gaebelein - The Unity of the Bible, pp.87-401

April Giveaway - Vox Evangelica Vol. 25

This month's Giveaway is Volume 25 of Vox Evangelica. You can view the table of contents by clicking here. To enter the competition just leave a comment below saying which of the articles in the volume you would most like to read (and why - optional). I will chose a winner at random from these entries on the evening of Sunday 12th April.

The March Giveaway still remains unclaimed, so this is the last call for ChrisEisbrenner to do so. If I don't hear from you by the 12th April I will chose another winner from the entries already received.