Sunday, July 29, 2012

my daughter's song

Helena, my four year old, just told me she wrote a song and wanted to sing it for me. Here it is.

Sent via VR+

Thursday, May 19, 2011


Below is a seminar paper I wrote recently. I did not know how to format the footnotes for this blog. When I cut and pasted from Word, the superscript numbers disappeared. If you would like for me to send you a copy via e-mail, just let me know. That copy will include the proper formatting so that one can follow the sources more easily. Hope you enjoy.



Dr. Greg Spears once said, “One of the greatest dangers facing local churches today is passive men and aggressive women.” Thomas Schreiner said, “Women in ministry is the most divisive issue in evangelicalism today.” A recent book, Misquoting Jesus, published by Dr. Bart Ehrman, Distinguished Professor at the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill sought to point out errors, which Ehrman saw in various texts. One issue Ehrman dealt with was the role of women in the early scriptural texts. The three passages that Ehrman examined came from the Pauline corpus. The author of this paper thought it better to deem his work “misquoting Paul.” He entitled another popular book The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture. In the case of this paper, the author felt it better to deem Ehrman’s construal of the orthodox view of the Pauline corpus, “the heterodox corruption of Scripture.”

A need exists to write in opposition to men like Bart Ehrman. Ehrman, a self-described former-evangelical, recently took his aberrant views of Scripture on several cable television programs. During the Christmas of 2010, Ehrman appeared as a scholar on the historical Jesus on CNN. He appeared on the Daily Show with Jon Stewart and the Colbert Report with Stephen Colbert, both on the cable television channel Comedy

“Stewart said that seeing the Bible as something that was deliberately corrupted by orthodox scribes made the Bible ‘more interesting . . . almost more godly in some respects. . . . I really congratulate you. It's a helluva book!’ Within 48 hours, Misquoting Jesus was perched on top of Amazon, if only for a moment.”

While evangelical Christians read Ehrman’s work and shake their heads in dismay that anyone would buy, and yet more, believe his conclusions, mainstream United States of America continues to believe his arguments, if the popularity of his books is any indicator. Evangelical scholars must combat Bart Ehrman’s lies about Scripture with the truth of Scripture and apologetically sound research. This paper will demonstrate that Bart Ehrman’s interpretation of Galatians 3:27-28, 1 Timothy 2:11-15, and 1 Corinthians 14:33-36 in Misquoting Jesus corrupts the truth of the passages significantly. In this endeavor, the author will include an evaluation of each passage with Ehrman’s interpretation, the text-critical features, and an exegetical evaluation.


Ehrman’s Analysis
Ehrman offered his own analysis of Galatians 3:27-28 in Misquoting Jesus. The following is the overview of his analysis, argument, and many of his opinions. The author of this paper must note that often Ehrman’s thoughts swerve off any logical path and into his sensational opinions. For instance, when speaking of Galatians, he made very broad statements about Paul’s teaching, often out of context, which occur in other New Testament writings in order to exegete the text, while citing his idea of context. Exegesis is a term one must use lightly when determining Ehrman’s methodology. The author of this paper seeks to provide pertinent commentary on Ehrman’s analysis also.

Women, Ehrman contended, played an important, if not primary, role in the early churches in general. It is interesting that Ehrman did not mention in which churches this was true. He attributed this supposed truth to the general collection of local churches. While His statement was very broad in its application, his argument was only threefold.

First, Ehrman argued that the mention of women in the Romans’ salutation weighs in favor or their believed primary role in a local church.

Second, Ehrman agreed with Karen Torjessen that the message of the coming Kingdom of God that Jesus preached (e.g. Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John) and the New Testament writers discussed (e.g. First and Second Thessalonians, 1 Peter, etc.) amounts to evidence of the prominent role of women in local churches. Ehrman made the case that one of the central themes of the Kingdom of God was equality for men and women. While a certain kind of gender equality undeniably exists in the Kingdom of God, though not in role, one makes a difficult case to present it as a major theme. The writers themselves did not even deal with the theme of equality in the Kingdom of God in great detail, and they recorded their statements normally in brief texts, such as Galatians 3:27-28.

Third, Ehrman specifically cited Galatians 3:27-28 as evidence of the outstanding role of women in the early local churches. Ehrman focused on Galatians 3:28, which states, “. . . there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.” He believed that this passage signaled a possible change to the early church worship service. No longer, according to Ehrman, did women have to participate as silent listeners of the word in the worship service. This Pauline command taught women that they ought to participate actively in worship.

Ehrman argued this point as if modern-day evangelical inerrantists believed that women should not worship actively. He defined active worship differently, for sure, than would an evangelical; he slanted his argument so that the reader feels negatively toward those in the modern day, in which churches apparently teach women that they are not to worship actively. The truth is that women cannot actively worship in man’s role any more than a man worships through the outplay of a woman’s role in the church. Praying and prophesying, Ehrman indicated, sufficed as participatory worship. One who seeks to define a theology of worship in the New Testament hopefully would constitute worship as much more than praying and prophesying. Ehrman implied that a woman worships, who prophesies, teaches, and preaches. For Ehrman, in order for there not to be male and female in Christ, women must function as men.

In Misquoting Jesus, Ehrman asserted that Paul taught a reasoned-change, from chauvinism to feminism, deeming it equality. First, the evidence of Paul’s method, according to Ehrman is that he instructed women to pray and prophesy with their heads covered. The head covering evidently was a sign of authority of men over the women, which was a social barrier too controversial and socially unacceptable to traverse. Paul’s motive was not to create a revolution toward socio-familial relationships. In support of his own contention, Ehrman pointed out that Paul preached that equality existed between slaves and free, yet he did not call for the abolishment of slavery. His statement, accusing Paul of favoring slavery is quite inappropriate and offensive. In verity, Paul called for Philemon to receive Onesimus, the runaway slave no longer as a slave, but a fellow brother and worker in Christ’s Kingdom. Ehrman vied that Paul believed in the imminent return of Christ, and thus, the time was short; he taught that the culture in many ways should merely remain as it was.

Two major outcomes arose from Paul’s theology and practice: 1) some churches emphasized equality in Christ, while 2) others emphasized submission to the authority of men. In the former, women held very important leadership roles, and in the latter, they remained downcast. Ehrman discussed apparent later documents, which supported rising conflicts concerning the issue of women’s role in the local church. Interestingly, Ehrman failed to provide a single document in favor of his view, which he claimed as his main evidence. Based on the evidence that remained a mystery to his reader, he concluded that eventually an unnamed party, probably men in the local churches, made an effort to “ . . . suppress the role of women in the churches altogether.” Ehrman made this conclusion even though Irenaeus of the middle to late AD second century interpreted Scripture in a way that limited the role of women in local churches.

Irenaeus’ conclusion came well before Christendom’s official recognition of the canon.

Text-Critical Analysis

The purpose of the text-critical task in this paper is to determine what the text of the original author is. Additionally, this study seeks to examine any evidence that compromises the authenticity of traditional authorship. Concerning Galatians 3:27-28, Ehrman concluded that it indeed belongs in the text of the Bible. Consequently, if one adduces that Paul indeed was the author of Galatians, and the text at hand indeed belongs in Galatians as the original words he penned, then one must examine the significance of the passage in the Bible.

Exegetical Interpretation

Ehrman gave absolutely no weight to his argument from a purely exegetical standpoint because he himself does not hold that God inspired the text of Scripture. Thus, he did not waste his time with the idiosyncrasies of the text. The author will deal with a number of other credible sources in order to add to the weight of the argument and refute Ehrman’s corruption of Galatians 3:27-28.

Galatians 3:27, ὅσοι γὰρ εἰς Χριστὸν ἐβαπτίσθητε, Χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε, “For as many as have been baptized into Christ, have put on Christ,” The explanatory conjunction γὰρ “for” sets the new phrase, beginning the end of Paul’s previous thought about the faith, which the believers showed in Christ in the last sentential element of verse 26. The new explanation continues through verse 29. The correlative pronoun ὅσοι “as many as” functions as the subject of the relative clause. The prepositional phrase εἰς Χριστὸν “into Christ” modifies the verb ἐβαπτίσθητε “have been baptized,” signifying that, in which the believers entered in baptism. The relative clause proves that the audience consisted of baptized, that is immersed, believers.

At the very least, the community, which Paul addressed, held their experience of water baptism in common. While Paul used ὅσοι “as many as,” the obvious thrust of the text causes the reader to believe that those to whom he writes are a part of this particular plural noun. To be sure, he did not create two categories. Because the recipients fell into the category of those who previously experienced baptism, a certain unity existed among them. James Montgomery Boice wrote that “[b]aptism signifies this transforming identification with Christ. . . . No one is saved by baptism. Indeed, Paul mentions baptism only once in the paragraph, but faith five times. Rather baptism is an outward sign of the union that already exists through faith.”

Paul tells the new believers what their common baptism means in the juxtaposed segment clause, Χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε “have put on Christ.” The same plural noun, ὅσοι “as many as,” acts as the subject for both clauses. The ones who ἐβαπτίσθητε “have been baptized,” also Χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε “have put on Christ.” The crux of the verses under discussion is not the baptism they shared as much as it is what the baptism stood for in this context, their unity in Christ. Because of this close unity, which existed among the believers, they all were heirs to the promise in Abraham, which was the conclusion of the argument in verse 29. Martin Luther viewed Χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε “have put on Christ” as a two-fold act: 1) by the law, and 2) by the gospel. He wrote in his commentary on Galatians,

“By the law we clothe ourselves with Christ by following his example, doing what he did and suffering what he suffered. . . . We see in Christ a singular patience, an inestimable mildness and love, and a wonderful modesty in all things. We must put on this goodly clothing—that is, follow these virtues. But clothing ourselves with Christ by the Gospel does not consist in imitation but in a new birth and a new creation—that is, putting on Christ’s innocence, his righteousness, wisdom, power, saving health, life, and spirit. We are naturally clothed with Adam’s leather coat, which is a mortal garment, a garment of sin; we are all subject to sin, all sold to sin. There is in us horrible blindness, ignorance, contempt for and hatred of God, and moreover evil concupiscence, uncleanness, covetousness, and so on. . . . We must take this off, together with all its deeds (Ephesians 4:22; Colossians 3:9), so that out of the children of Adam we may be made the children of God.”

While Luther affirmed the unity of the children of God, he held quite a different view than Boice concerning the importance of baptism. Luther wrote, “[Χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε] is not done by changing our clothes or by any laws or actions, but by a new birth and by the renewing of the inner person, which happens in baptism.” While Luther clearly did not hold to baptismal regeneration, he affirmed that Χριστὸν ἐνεδύσασθε, the putting on of Christ, happens at baptism, even though it is not directly the cause of it. More importantly, Luther and Boice both agreed on the context of Galatians 3:27: Unity of salvation in Christ, symbolized through the commonality of baptism, wrought by common faith in Christ.

One must first determine the context, which Paul wrote the verses at hand. Do the verses fit into this context, or is there an instance of interpolation? Timothy George argued that many people in the modern day use verse 28 purely in a socio-political manner. One who uses it in the manner George suggests misses the immediate context. Boice, Luther, and George’s views of the context of the passage at hand radically contrast with that of Bart Ehrman. Ehrman only viewed verse 28 positively, so long as it fit his tainted worldview, in which women have equal offices of authority in local churches. Ehrman practically used verse 28 as a proof-text for his errant view of Scripture. Furthermore, he corrupted Paul’s original thought of the beauty of the unity and equality, though not synonymic functionality, which came to those who Christ saved, symbolized in baptism.

Galatians 3:28, οὐκ ἔνι Ἰουδαῖος οὐδὲ Ἕλλην, οὐκ ἔνι δοῦλος οὐδὲ ἐλεύθερος, οὐκ ἔνι ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ• πάντες γὰρ ὑμεῖς εἷς ἐστε ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ, “There is not Jew or Greek. There is not slave or free. There is not male and female. For, you all are one in Christ Jesus,” On the basis of Ehrman’s argument one assumes he viewed verse 28 as socio-political in nature. When Paul stated οὐκ ἔνι Ἰουδαῖος οὐδὲ Ἕλλην “there is not Jew or Greek,” did he make a political statement or a spiritual statement? This is the heart of interpreting verse 28. Existing on its own, one reading the statement may assume it is political. Whereas one possibly views οὐκ ἔνι δοῦλος οὐδὲ ἐλεύθερος, οὐκ ἔνι ἄρσεν καὶ θῆλυ “there is not slave or free, there is not male and female” as a radical social statement. Without the context of verses 26-27, Paul’s statement takes on a much different meaning than it seems he intended. To be sure the statement concerning the destruction of various seemingly opposing groups is not an interpolation in the text, the following context affirms just the opposite: πάντες γὰρ ὑμεῖς εἷς ἐστε ἐν Χριστῷ Ἰησοῦ for, you are all one in Christ Jesus.” In both verses 27-28 Paul taught unity, again not synonymic functionality, in Christ. The Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary stated that “. . . the focus here is on spiritual equality in Christ. Equality of spiritual position and privilege does not necessitate that there be identical secular or spiritual activity (cf. Eph. 5:22, 27; 6:1, 5). Even Gentiles could be Abraham’s spiritual offspring and heirs of God’s promise by faith in the person of Christ (3:29).”

Ehrman’s entire view of the passage was errant from the beginning. He deliberately seemed to ignore the context of the verses in order to support his socially acceptable, politically correct, view of Scripture. Finally, Bart Ehrman’s heterodox interpretation of Galatians 3:27-28 corrupted the clear meaning of authorial intent, effectively misquoting Paul.

1 TIMOTHY 2:11-15

Ehrman’s Analysis
Concerning 1 Timothy 2:11-15 in Misquoting Jesus, Bart Ehrman holds that while the author of 1 Timothy affixed Paul’s name to the epistle, the words do not necessarily reflect Paul’s view. In odd irony, Ehrman came across as seeking to “protect” Paul by not attributing particular views to him, while utterly seeking to destroy many sections of his epistolary corpus in his other works. In his comments on 1 Timothy, Ehrman wrote, “Scholars today are by and large convinced that 1 Timothy was not written by Paul, but by one of his later second-generation followers.”

The first major problem with this statement is Ehrman’s citation practice. In citing “scholars,” he referenced his own work, under his own name. While he possibly included pertinent discussion in another of his works, his argument remained inadequate as long as he did not mention those “scholars” in his footnote. In his discussion on pseudonymity in chapter one of Misquoting Jesus, Ehrman also cited his own work deeming that “scholars” held that Paul did not author 1 Timothy. While there are surely scholars who hold the same opinion of the authorship of 1 Timothy as Ehrman, all he needed to do was provide their names/works. The argument, in terms of formal support, lacks credibility. Ehrman interpreted 1 Timothy 2:11-15, which Paul apparently did not write, to mean that women were not allowed to teach men since God created them substandard, indicating it in the Law by creating Adam before Eve. Since God created women inferior, a woman should not rule a man. Ehrman interpreted the author of the passage as proclaiming, “. . . everyone knows what happens when a woman does assume the role of teacher: she is easily duped (by the devil) and leads the man astray.”

Ehrman further asserted that according to the author of 1 Timothy, women must 1) remain at home, 2) uphold moral characteristics of a woman, 3) produce offspring for their spouses, and 4) maintain their reticence. In Ehrman’s observation, this passage opposes Galatians 3:27-28 directly. Two sides of argument come to play in this apparent argument: 1) Churches that emphasize the value of women, allowing them to engage in noteworthy roles, and 2) churches that suppose women must be silent and in submission to males in the society.

Text-Critical Analysis

The purpose of the text-critical task in this document is to establish what the text of the original writer is. Additionally, this study seeks to look at any evidence that compromises the validity of established authorship. First, neither the United Bible Societies Greek New Testament 4, or Novum Testamentum: Graece et Latine, more importantly, make any reference to the following verses as omitted in any of the ancient manuscripts. One reasonably assumes that the author wrote the current passage as part of the original document as far as one knows from the manuscripts that survive today. No reason exists to call into question the validity of 1 Timothy 2:11-15.

Four arguments arose in the past centuries, which attempt to undermine the genuineness of Pauline authorship of the Pastoral Epistles. The argument is fourfold: 1) historical, 2) ecclesiastical, 3) doctrinal, and 4) linguistic. However, even those in agreement with Ehrman historically, namely Werner Kümmel, realized the view is far from certain. He stated, “The Pauline origin of the Pastorals was not challenged from the time of their recognition as canonical writings toward the end of the second century till the beginning of the nineteenth century.” Concerning the author’s apparent advanced understanding of ecclesiological structures, Earle wrote, “. . . a careful reading of Titus 1:5–9 shows that ‘elders’ and ‘bishops’ are terms used interchangeably. And in Philippians 1:1 Paul addresses the ‘bishops and deacons’ in the church at Philippi.” The Pulpit Commentary argued doctrinally that the pastorals have a similar emphasis, which is practical concern for the church, specifically the expression of the love of God. Finally, linguistically, one infers that, “. . . these pastoral Epistles were written later than the other Epistles; (2) that in the interval the writer had enlarged his acquaintance with Greek classics; (3) that, as his two correspondents were Greeks, he wrote to them in the purest Greek he could command.” Inexplicable problems do not exist concerning Pauline authorship. One must assume that Paul was the author of 1 Timothy and not another writer using a pseudonym. If one embraces that Paul undeniably was the writer of 1 Timothy, and the content at hand certainly fits in 1 Timothy as the original words he wrote, then one must study the impact, importance, and sense of the verses in the Bible.

Exegetical Interpretation

The current exegesis focuses on 1 Timothy 2:11-12 as key to the pericope’s teaching of women’s role with the discussion including verses 13-15.

1 Timothy 2:11, Γυνὴ ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ μανθανέτω ἐν πάσῃ ὑποταγῇ, “A woman ought to learn in silence in all submission,” One may also choose to translate the first word γυνή “woman” as “wife.” Specifically, γυνή denotes an adult female of marrying age. Paul intended women as the subject in general in this passage. The author emphasized ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ “in silence” by placing it before the main verb in the sentence. Placing the prepositional phrase in the first part of the sentence, Paul highlighted the manner (here ἐν a preposition denoting manner) in which a woman should learn (μανθανέτω). While nonetheless important, the prepositional phrase ἐν πάσῃ ὑποταγῇ “in all submissiveness” adds another component to the manner in which women should learn. Paul instructed the women that they should submit their learning wholly (πάσῃ).

Gillian Beattie understood that the thrust of the current pericope concerns the prohibition of teaching. While teaching is an important component to Paul’s argument, it does not seem to be the underlying theme. Beattie came to this conclusion by way of a supposed chiasm that Joette Bassler recognized.

“A. Γυνὴ ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ μανθανέτω
B. ἐν πάσῃ ὑποταγῇ
C. διδάσκειν δὲ γυναικὶ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω
B. οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός [the opposite of ὑποταγῇ above]
A. ἀλλʼ εἶναι ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ.”

The chiasm in this instance is very ambiguous. Any scholar who diagrams a sentence with any length is able to create such a chiasm. The author lacks the evidence needed in order to prove a chiasm. One must conclude that no chiasm actually exists in 1 Timothy 2:11-12.

The underlying theme of 1 Timothy 2:11-15 is not silence or submissiveness either, although the author teaches both practices clearly. When examining the subject and verb of the opening sentence, the command becomes clear: Γυνὴ . . . μανθανέτω “A woman . . . ought to learn.” Therefore, Ehrman’s implication that the passage was an offensive, second-century, patriarchal, proto-orthodox epistle is essentially fallacious. Paul did not contradict his previous statement in Galatians 3:28 or lessen its emphasis. When one views Scripture even at its most basic sentential elements of the subject and verb, God’s command is for a woman to learn. God, through Paul, qualified His commands by applying it to the hearers’ lives so that they might understand the manner in which they ought to learn. In this case, Paul instructed a woman to learn 1) in silence and 2) in complete submissiveness. Another qualifier as to how a woman ought to learn is located in verses 12 through 15.

1 Timothy 2:12, διδάσκειν δὲ γυναικὶ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω οὐδὲ αὐθεντεῖν ἀνδρός, ἀλλʼ εἶναι ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ, “And I do not permit a woman to teach or to control a man, but to be in silence,” Emphasizing women’s role in learning, Paul contrasted μανθανέτω “ought to learn” in verse 11 with διδάσκειν δὲ γυναικὶ οὐκ ἐπιτρέπω “I do not permit a woman to teach” in verse 12. The opposite of learning is teaching; if a woman is teaching, no one is instructing her. Inherent in the text is the idea that if one teaches, he/she also holds authority over the student. In no way does this contradict with Galatians 3:28, which emphasizes the unity males and females have in salvation through Christ. Even evangelical scholars who hold to the inspiration of Scripture often miss the context of 1 Timothy 2:12 and write in a politically correct manner. In his commentary on 1 Timothy, Thomas Lea and Hayne Griffin wrote,

“Teaching involved official doctrinal instruction in the Scriptures (1 Tim 5:17) and was a task delegated to the pastor-teacher (Eph 4:11). The heavy emphasis in the Pastorals on proper doctrine (1 Tim 1:10; 4:6, 13, 16; 6:1, 3; didaskalia) implies the need for a trusted source of doctrine. The fact that Paul next discussed the elder/overseer (3:1–7) who needed to be “able to teach” may have indicated that he viewed the occupant of the position as the official declarer of doctrine. Doubtless, the immediate occasion for Paul’s prohibition against teaching by the Ephesian women was due to their gullibility and instability (1 Tim 5:11–13; 2 Tim 3:6–7). However, Paul consistently refrained from appointing a woman to a place of authoritative teaching responsibility in a congregation.”

Did Paul merely see the elder/overseer as the official preacher, so he did not appoint a woman to teach? Verses 13-15 clearly teach that there is an order dating back to the fall of man at the time of creation in which God placed man in sacrificial authority over the woman. Lea and Griffin allowed for too much latitude contextually. Ralph Earle also, missed the points of verse 12 writing,

“Paul speaks appreciatively of the fact that Timothy himself had been taught the right way by his godly mother and grandmother (2 Tim 1:5; 3:15). The apostle also writes to Titus that the older women are to train the younger (Titus 2:3, 4). Women have always carried the major responsibility for teaching small children, in both home and church school. And what could we have done without them!”

Amazingly, Earle chose to look over the word ἀνδρός “a man.” Paul did not disallow a woman to teach and instruct in every manner. He qualified his statement about teaching with the word ἀνδρός “man.” It is a man who a woman is not to teach. No record exists of Timothy’s godly mother and grandmother teaching him once he became an elder, let alone an adult!

One question that still looms is of the phrase εἶναι ἐν ἡσυχίᾳ “to be in silence.” When one is speaking, he/she is not learning in the assembly. In Misquoting Truth, which is an apology in opposition to Ehrman’s Misquoting Jesus, Timothy Paul Jones advocated that Paul emphasized “that he expected women to follow the same guidelines as everyone else in being silent while others were teaching and by learning from wiser believers.” Jones did not deal specifically with authority or the fact that the passage particularly deals with women, not “everyone else.” Kenneth Wuest argued for the traditional understanding, which seems to conflict with Lea, Griffin, and Earle, and unquestionably with Ehrman. Wuest also argued that Paul’s intent was to maintain “quiet in the assembly, and did not forbid a woman to take an active part in the work of the church in her own sphere and under the limitations imposed upon her in the contextual passage (I Tim. 2:12).” He further commented that Paul’s view is “in the sphere of doctrinal disputes or questions of interpretation, where authoritative pronouncements are to be made, the woman is to keep silence.“ Wuest correctly noticed that the passage deals with women, not everyone else, as Jones retorted. The silence Paul advocated is not absolute silence at all times, but rather one that does not 1) hinder learning, a) teach man, b) control man, or c) cause congregational disruption. This command Paul gave stems directly from God’s design. Just as God created Adam first (1 Tim. 2:13) and Eve was the culprit of gullibility, so “the context here has to do with church order, and the position of the man and woman in the church worship and work” not equality. Men and women remain equal in that God saves both by His grace as heirs to the promise. Yet God designed men and women to fulfill different roles.

Yet again, Ehrman’s whole examination of the section is wayward from the foundation. He purposely seems to disregard the framework of the verses in order to maintain his socially tolerable, politically acceptable, analysis of Scripture. Finally, Bart Ehrman’s heterodox construal of 1 Timothy 2:11-15 corrupts the obvious meaning of authorial intent, successfully misquoting Paul.

1 CORINTHIANS 14:33-36

Ehrman’s Analysis
Concerning 1 Corinthians 14:33-36, one must examine Ehrman’s presuppositions. First, he contended in Misquoting Jesus that, at some point, scribes who copied the current texts involved themselves in the debate over women’s roles in the local church and Christianity at large. Second, Ehrman presupposed that sometimes the particular debates concerning women’s roles affected the text of Christian Scripture. Ehrman wrote that scribes changed the texts in order to “. . . reflect the views of the scribes who were reproducing them.” Last, when this particular change occurred, scribes diminished the importance of women’s roles. This proved to be a weakness in his argument since he did not offer adequate support for his line of reasoning as to why scribes tended to change texts to diminish women’s roles rather than embolden them. He did offer what he believed to be examples of “. . . textual alterations involving women.”
Ehrman vied that 1 Corinthians 14:33-36 is possibly the most important passage dealing with women. He believed that two statements in it undoubtedly are examples of an interruption in the text: 1) for women to keep silence, or 2) even teach, just as the 1 Timothy passage also affirms. “Scholars” agree that Paul did not write 1 Timothy. Again, Ehrman cites his own work! Consistent with Ehrman, the passage “appears . . . to have been written . . . by a second-generation follower of Paul in his name.” Again, while failing to city anyone, he argued that 1 Corinthians is doubtless original to Paul. Even though he held to the validity of 1 Corinthians as Pauline, apparently the interruption of 1 Corinthians 14:33-36 represents the hand of a theological editor.

Apparently, there are some scholars who doubt the validity of Pauline authorship with particular respect to verses 34-35. Is Bart Ehrman’s evaluation so important to the scholarly community that he no longer needs any other agreement but his own? He failed to cite one person who doubted it, and provided no citation whatsoever. Ehrman wrote, “For as it turns out, the verses in question (vv. 34-35) are shuffled around in some of our important textual witnesses.” Once more, he failed to cite any individual texts, which deemed the particular textual witnesses important. While the textual witnesses themselves may hold a level of apparent importance to one familiar with the field of textual criticism, it remains unattainable as long as the one purporting the argument remained silent as to his evidence. He mentioned, “. . . three Greek manuscripts and a couple Latin witnesses,” but he failed to give any indication of which specific witnesses he had in mind. He concluded, based upon untraceable evidence, that since some scribes listed verses 34-35 after verse 40 instead of verse 33, Paul did not write them! They existed originally as a marginal note. Predisposed to 1 Timothy 2:11-15, a scribe added them later. Ehrman’s argument is preposterously illogical. Verses 34-35 appear in two places, after verse 33 and after verse 40. In order to follow his argument, one must assume that two separate scribes at separate times and locations, both apparently under the influence of 1 Timothy 2:11-15, attempted to alter the genuinely Pauline text of 1 Corinthians 14 for doctrinal reasons. Ehrman, without citing another scholar who agreed with his opinion, also argued that Paul did not write verses 34-35 because they “do not fit well in their immediate context.” He concluded that verses 26-33 and 36-40 address how true prophets behave in worship and not the role of women in worship.
Bart Ehrman recommended removing verses 34-35, which he deemed out of context. He held that the other verses “seem to flow seamlessly as a discussion of the role of Christian Prophets.” He further concluded, “The discussion of women appears, then, as intrusive to its immediate context, breaking into instructions that Paul is giving about a different manner.” The problem is that Ehrman continually failed to see the context in which Paul wrote. Paul made the same point about prophesying, when he instructed women to first be under the authority of their husbands’ teaching at home so that they would not devise foolish thoughts on their own about which they did not previously discuss. The contention of Ehrman was that at a previous point in 1 Corinthians, Paul taught women to speak in church (1 Corinthians 11:2-16), but in the “disputed passage of chapter 14 Paul forbids women from speaking at all. . . . [I]t seems unreasonable to think that Paul would flat out contradict himself within the short space of three chapters. . . so the verses in question do not derive from Paul.” Ehrman concluded,

“One would have to assume that theses verses are a scribal alteration of the text, originally made, perhaps, as a marginal note and then eventually, at an early stage of the copying of 1 Corinthians, placed in the text itself. The alteration was no doubt made by a scribe who was concerned to emphasize that women should have no public role in the church, that they should be silent and subservient to their husbands.”

The major problem of Ehrman’s argument is the combination of evidence upon which he based his conclusion. His evidence consisted of “several manuscripts that shuffle the verses around, the immediate literary context, and the context within 1 Corinthians as a whole. . .” Ehrman only cited Gordon Fee as supporting his view. The main problem with the evidence is that Ehrman offered none! He failed to mention any specific manuscripts either in the body of his text or in the notation, which supported his conclusions. Ironically, and in hypocritical fashion, Ehrman wrote against what he considered sloppiness of early Christian scribes in The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture. As for the immediate literary context and the context within 1 Corinthians, his logic was highly subjective, and one cannot credibly consider it as definitive evidence that would cause the removal of text from the body of Scripture.

Text-Critical Analysis

Almost no one doubts the authenticity of the authorship of 1 Corinthians. Ehrman, as previously stated, held to Pauline authorship of 1 Corinthians, just not to the verses concerning role of women in the local church in 14:34-35. The United Bible Societies Fourth Edition did not list any variants that change translation as far as what one should include in the text. One must ask why the UBS remains silent. It seems clear that the vast scholarship of the UBS committee found no reason to call in question the validity of Pauline authorship of the verses. Since the verses themselves are somewhat controversial in today’s culture, the committee certainly would make note of a possible omission of verses 34-45 if they questioned the authenticity of them as being part of the autographs. By holding a different view other than that of evangelicals and Roman Catholics, and some of the best text-critical minds, who publish the UBS, Ehrman pitted himself directly against all three. For one to place himself/herself in such a controversial spot, he/she would seemingly hold rather strong evidence to retain credibility. This is not
to say that no one agrees with him. Ehrman lost all credibility for his claim that 1 Corinthians is Pauline, while the two verses, which he felt are sexist, are not since he failed to give any credible evidence in favor of his conclusion. The UBS lists the manuscripts that include the verses after verse 40. The committee did not list one manuscript that omitted the verses. The {B} rating the committed gave verses 34-35 concern its location in the text not its addition or deletion. In support of including the verses in the text after verse 33, the committee listed papyri support (46), uncial support (א, B, K . . . ), minuscule support (33, 81, 88, 104, 181, 326 . . . ), lectionary support, Byzantine support, and the support of Ambrosiaster and Sedulius-Scotus among others. In Metzger’s Commentary on the UBS Fourth Revised Edition, he wrote that the change of position of verses 34-35 signals the debate about where the verses should stand rather than if they should stand. Metzger wrote, “Such scribal alterations represent attempts to find a more appropriate location in the context for Paul’s directive concerning women.” He saw the moving of the verses as alterations rather than additions to the text. The critical apparatus of Nestle-Aland’s Novum Testamentum Graece 27 lists the variants, which place verses 34-35 in a different location in the text, but the editors fail to mention a single omission, which leads one to suspect that the verses originally were a part of the text. D. A. Carson wrote, “Some commentators get round the problem by stating that this section is a later addition and not by Paul. But every manuscript includes this passage.” Ehrman’s notion that verses 34-35 are not original to the text is outlandish and fallacious. If one concludes that Paul certainly was the author of 1 Corinthians, and the current passage in fact belongs in Galatians as the original words he recorded, then one must inspect the meaning of the text in the Bible.

Exegetical Interpretation

1 Corinthians 14:34, αἱ γυναῖκες ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις σιγάτωσαν• οὐ γὰρ ἐπιτρέπεται αὐταῖς λαλεῖν, ἀλλὰ ὑποτασσέσθωσαν, καθὼς καὶ ὁ νόμος λέγει, “Let your women in the assemblies be silent; for, it is not allowed for them to speak; but to be in subjection just as also the law says,” Scholars hold different opinions as to which part of ὁ νόμος “the law” Paul referred. William John Conybeare held that Paul referred to the command in Genesis 3:16, “. . . he shall rule over thee.” Hughes and Laney wrote that it “reflects Numbers 30 (on vows), which sets forth the principle of subjection of wives and daughters.” Either way, the command for the husband to be the head of the wife came from the creation/fall. The prepositional phrase ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις “in the assemblies” refers to the public meetings of worship. Men were to lead in worship. Paul reserved the primary teaching/preaching role for men, not women who were to remain in subjection (ὑποτασσέσθωσαν). John Chrysostom wrote in his sermon on the passage,

“. . . [concerning] the disorder which arose from the women, [Paul cut] off their unseasonable boldness of speech: and that very opportunely. For if to them that have the gifts it is not permitted to speak inconsiderately, nor when they will, and this, though they be moved by the Spirit; much less to those women who prate idly and to no purpose. Therefore he represses their babbling with much authority, and taking the law along with him, thus he sews up their mouths; not simply exhorting here or giving counsel, but even laying his commands on them vehemently, by the recitation of an ancient law on that subject.”

The context, which Chrysostom revealed, was prophecy, or the proclamation of truth. Prophecy speaks of the special urge of the proclamation of truth, which happened more spontaneously than teaching and exhorting, which a pastor-teacher planned. The role of women is not to teach/preach primarily in the assemblies (ἐν ταῖς ἐκκλησίαις); women may teach women, but not exercise authority over men in the group meetings, which God ordained for worship, in which He expects men to lead. According to Paul, God established this truth at the fall of man into sin. This did not mean that a woman in a certain context could not speak at all (cf. 1 Cor. 11:5). Women/wives were not to weigh in on doctrine and the exposition of prophecy/truth, and that was the context concerning the time when a woman should remain silent (οὐ γὰρ ἐπιτρέπεται αὐταῖς λαλεῖν, ἀλλὰ ὑποτασσέσθωσαν). Carson wrote, “While there is no absolute certainty, the present writer takes the view that wives, in this public gathering, are not to engage in the public weighing of prophecy which involved the interrogation of its content.”

1 Corinthians 14:35, εἰ δέ τι μαθεῖν θέλουσιν, ἐν οἴκῳ τοὺς ἰδίους ἄνδρας ἐπερωτάτωσαν• αἰσχρὸν γάρ ἐστιν γυναικὶ λαλεῖν ἐν ἐκκλησίᾳ, “But if they wish to learn anything, let them learn to ask their own husbands at home; for it is dishonorable for women to speak in the assembly,” Paul recognized the God-given leadership role of the husband. The primary segment of the independent clause reserved the verb for the last place (ἐπερωτάτωσαν). Paul emphasized the place where women should learn, presumably if she does not understand and needs further instruction at home (ἐν οἴκῳ). Women are not to ask another woman’s husband, but her own (τοὺς ἰδίους ἄνδρας), of which the proper place to do so Paul already mentioned. Underlying is the assumption that women caused disorder in the worship by asking questions. The issue in this passage is order in worship, not women, primarily. The manner in which one ought to worship is in an orderly manner. Paul’s statements in verses 34-35 merely state the practical nature of that order. The Apostle speaks of a woman being dishonorable (αἰσχρὸν) if she speaks in the assembly of worship. Taking on “. . . a man’s role in the church” disgraces a woman’s femininity.” Paul, again affirmed equality in Christ, while differentiating the role in which men and women play in the church, as God Himself established.
Ehrman completely misconstrued the pericope from the beginning of his assessment. He knowingly ignored the background of the text in order to preserve his publicly supportable, politically suitable, misinterpretation of Scripture. Finally, Bart Ehrman’s heterodox explanation of 1 Corinthians 14:33-36 corrupted the plain meaning of authorial intent, successfully misquoting Paul.


The author of this paper sought to examine the three passages that Ehrman used in Misquoting Jesus in order to judge his analysis, examine whether his text-critical work was valid, and interpret the passages based upon their clear contextual meanings in the Bible. The study showed that Ehrman hardly cited any evidence in favor of his views concerning the validity or lack thereof concerning the three texts. Ehrman began his interpretation with a presupposition that women did hold major leadership positions in the earliest churches. From this presupposition onwards, Ehrman consistently used any avenues of thought, logical or illogical, in order to feed the views which he already held. Consistently, Ehrman corrupted the sense of the traditional interpretation of Paul, using weak text-critical arguements. Often, he provided no evidence, and one must assume he did not have any. Ehrman’s interpretation of the author’s intent lacked a pattern of logical thought. Ehrman misconstrued the basic meaning of clear passages concerning the role of women in the early church.
While the Bible affirms the equality of men and women in Christ, it disaffirms male and female roles as synonymic in function. The issue of women’s roles in local churches continues as a major issue among Roman Catholics and Protestant denominations. Churches that recognize the Bible as the inspired Word of God must not waver on the clear meaning of Scripture, no matter how culturally insensitive, politically incorrect, or socially unacceptable the truth is. Ehrman wrote his books in a popular and convincing style. Yet, pastors and academics alike must not give in to that which tickles the ears, namely Ehrmanian theology, tossed by every wave of the sea. True teachers of the Word of God continue to have the great responsibility of rightly dividing the Word of Truth, which is profitable for teaching, rebuking, correcting, and training in righteousness, so that men of God may be fully equipped for every good work (2 Tim. 3:16).


Aland, Barbara, Kurt Aland, and Bruce Metzger. Novum Testamentum: Graece et Latine. Twenty-Seventh ed. Münster, Germany: Deutsche Bibelgesellschaft, 2005.
Aland, Kurt, Matthew Black, and Bruce Metzger. The Greek New Testament. Third ed. Münster, West Germany: United Bible Societies, 1975.
Beattie, Gillian. Women and Marriage in Paul and His Early Interpreters. New York, NY: T & T Clark, 2005.
Clark, Elizabeth. Women in the Early Church: Message of the Fathers of the Church. Wilmington, DE: Glazier, 1987.
Conybeare, William John, and J. S. Howson. The Life and Epistles of St. Paul. New York, NY: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1893.
Ehrman, Bart. Forged: Writing in the Name of God—Why the Authors of the Bible Are Not Who We Think They Are. New York, NY: Harper One, 2011.
_____. Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why. New York, NY: Harper San Francisco, 2005.
_____. The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture: The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament. New York, NY: Oxford, 1993.
Jones, Timothy Paul. Misquoting Truth. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2007.
Kümmel, Werner. Introduction to the New Testament. Nashville, TN: Abingdon, 1966.
Schreiner, Thomas R. “Women in Ministry” In Two Views on Women in Ministry. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2001.
Torjessen, Karen. When Women Were Priests: Women’s Leadership in the Early Church and the Scandal of Their Subordination in the Rise of Christianity. New York, NY: Harper San Francisco, 1993.


Boice, James Montgomery. Galatians. In The Expositor's Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1976.
Carson, D. A. New Bible Commentary. Fourth Ed. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 1994.
Earle, Ralph. 1 Timothy. In The Expositor's Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1981.
George, Timothy. Galatians. In The New American Commentary. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2001.

Hughes, Robert B., and J. Carl Laney. Tyndale Concise Bible Commentary. Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House, 2001.
Lea, Thomas D. and Hayne P. Griffin. 1, 2 Timothy, Titus. In The New American Commentary. Nashville, TN: Broadman & Holman, 2001.
Luther, Martin. Galatians. In The Crossway Classic Commentaries. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1998.
Metzger, Bruce Manning. A Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament: Second Edition a Companion Volume to the United Bible Societies' Greek New Testament. New York, NY: United Bible Societies, 1994.
Wuest, Kenneth S. Wuest's Word Studies from the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1997.


Allison, Robert. “Let Women Be Silent in the Churches (1 Cor. 14:33b-36): What Did Paul Really Say, and What Did It Mean?” Journal for the Study of the New Testament 32 (1988): 27-60.

Borchert, Gerald. “A Key to Pauline Thinking—Galatians 3:23-29: Faith and the New Humanity.” Review and Expositor 91 (1994): 148.

Greenbury, James. “1 Corinthians 14:34-35: Evaluation of Prophecy Revisited.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 51, no. 4 (2008): 721-731.

Heidebrecht, Doug. “Reading 1 Timothy 2:9-15 in Its Literary Context.” Direction 33, no. 2 (2004): 171-184.

Hurley, James. “Did Paul Require Veils or the Silence of Women: A Consideration of 1 Cor. 11:2-16 and 14:33b-36.” Westminster Theological Journal 35, no. 2 (1973): 190-220.

Ingolfsland, Dennis. “An Evaluation of Bart Ehrman’s ‘Historical Jesus.’” Bibliotheca Sacra 158 (2001): 187-197.

Lienemann-Perrin, Christine. “The Biblical Foundations for a Feminist and Participatory Theology of Mission.” International Review of Mission 93, no. 368 (2004): 17-34.
Mappes, David. “The Heresy Paul Opposed in 1 Timothy.” Bibliotheca Sacra 156, no. 624 (1999): 452-458.

Mare, W. Harold. Romans Through Galatians. In The Expositor's Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 1976.

Merkle, Benjamin. “Paul's Arguments From Creation in 1 Corinthians 11:8-9 and 1 Timothy 2:13-14: An Apparent Inconsistency Answered.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 49, no. 3 (2006): 527-548.

Murphy-O’Connor, Jerome. “Interpolations in 1 Corinthians.” The Catholic Biblical Quarterly 48, no. 1 (2004): 81-94.

Patterson, Dorothy Kelley. “Why I Believe Southern Baptist Churches Should Not Ordain Women.” Baptist History and Heritage 23, no. 3 (1988): 56-62.

Roberts, J. W. “The Preposition eis After the Verbs pisteuo and baptizo.” Restoration Quarterly 5, no. 3 (1961): 157-159.

Smith, Susan. “Biblical Interpretation: A Power for Good or Evil.” International Review of Mission 94, no. 375 (2005): 524-534.

Wallace, Daniel. “The Gospel According to Bart: A Review Article of ‘Misquoting Jesus’ By Bart Ehrman.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 49, no. 2 (2006): 327-349.

Electronic Documents

Liddell, H.G. A Lexicon: Abridged from Liddell and Scott's Greek-English Lexicon. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos 4 Scholars Library Silver, 1996.

Lukaszewski, Albert L., Mark Dubis and J. Ted Blakley. The Lexham Syntactic Greek New Testament: Expansions and Annotations. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos 4 Scholars Library Silver, 2010.
Schaff, Philip. The Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers. Vol. 12. Oak Harbor, WA: Logos 4 Scholars Library Silver, 1997.
Spence-Jones, H. D. M. The Pulpit Commentary: 1 Timothy. Bellingham, WA: Logos 4 Scholars Library Silver, 2004.
Vincent, Marvin Richardson. Word Studies in the New Testament. Vol. 4. Bellingham, WA: Logos 4 Scholars Library Silver, 2002.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

AGAINST EHRMAN: Misquoting Paul and the Heterodox Corruption of Scripture

Recently I have been researching in the field of Textual Criticism. Much of my reading has led me again and again to Bart Ehrman of UNC. He is a renowned New Testament Textual-critic, albeit a theologically rank-liberal one. His two popular books, which he wrote largely for what he calls a "lay audience," are titled: "Misquoting Jesus" and "The Orthodox Corruption of Scripture." Therefore, my title is a play-on-words. Misquoting Paul instead of Jesus, since the three passages I'll be dealing with are Pauline. Instead of the Orthodox Corruption, I've called Ehrman's analyses the Heterodox Corruption (Heterodox- not in accordance with established or accepted doctrines or opinions, especially in theology It doesn't take long to realize you're dealing with someone who does not hold Scripture in very high regard. In some areas of Textual Criticism, Ehrman is brilliant. However, his humanistic bent has skewed his understanding of truth. Below is an outline of a paper I am writing in order to research three Pauline passages, which Ehrman believes were not in the original autographs, even though multiple times he claims that no one knows that could have been in the autographs. However, in this case, dealing with the rold of women in the church, he apparently knows what was in the autographs (the original manuscripts written by New Testament writers). His research is highly subjective and he picks and chooses the passages he would like to use and exlude very convieniently for his position. I will attempt to use text-critical principles in order to refute what I have termed the Ehrmanian Heresy of Ecclesiology.

p.s. my outline below


A Seminar Paper
Submitted to Dr. David Shackelford

In Partial Fulfillment
of the Requirements for the Seminar
New Testament Textual Criticism (GR 9383)

Kelly A. Seely
March 9, 2011



Ehrman in Popular Life

Purpose of This Study


Ehrman’s Analysis

Text-critical Analysis

Biblical Significance

Exegetical Interpretation

1 TIMOTHY 2:11-15

Ehrman’s Analysis

Text-Critical Analysis

Biblical Significance

Exegetical Interpretation

1 CORINTHIANS 14:33-36

Ehrman’s Analysis

Text-Critical Analysis

Biblical Significance

Exegetical Interpretation


Negative Outcomes of Ehrmanian Interpretation upon Ecclesiology

Positive Outcomes of Orthodox Interpretation upon Ecclesiology



Tuesday, February 1, 2011

SFBC Website

It doesn't look good here. Just click on the link above for the SFBC Website.


Free website - Powered By

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

How great must the God be who made the beings of this world!

God's creation, including the 'beautiful minds' he constructed is amazing.  Oh how amazing  the creator must be!

Sunday, February 28, 2010

for fun...

I self-published my a paper I wrote for Mid-America Seminary for fun.  Here is a preview. 

Thursday, February 11, 2010


As I was studying this evening, I came across a section of a passage and commentary worth typing for you here:

1 Thessalonians 4:11-12 ESV (11) and to aspire to live quietly, and to mind your own affairs, and to work with your hands, as we instructed you, (12) so that you may walk properly before outsiders and be dependent on no one.

"They had learned very well that the Lord would be returning in mighty power, and evidently they felt that it would be very soon. Accordingly there was no point in continuing in some steady job. It was much more realistic, they evidently thought, to be about the business of proclaiming the near end of the world. If they had need of this world's goods in the meantime, why, there were others, Christian brethren, who could be relied upon to come to their rescue. This kind of thing can be done from a sense of serious purpose. But, human nature being what it is, it can easily degenerate into downright laziness and idleness. Men can be so taken up with the spectacular, with excitements over the near approach of the Lord, that they pass over the important things of everyday life. So Paul gives his attention to such matters, and counsels these brethren to mend their ways."

Morris, Leon. The First and Second Epistles to the Thessalonians. The New International Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans Publishing, 1979, 132.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

I hope everyone will read this

I just posted.  However, I'm posting again.  I have just read this on Kevin DeYoung's website.  The title of the article is "Mugged by and Ultrasound: Why so many abortion workers have turned pro-life."  Thanks to Pastor Keith Blessing of New Life Church in Eads, TN for sharing it with me.

Be Strong

Haggai 2:4 ESV Yet now be strong, O Zerubbabel, declares the LORD. Be strong, O Joshua, son of Jehozadak, the high priest. Be strong, all you people of the land, declares the LORD. Work, for I am with you, declares the LORD of hosts

The LORD uses the command “Be Strong” three times. He first tells Zerubbabel, the highest ranking governmental leader; then, Joshua, the highest ranking religious leader; and lastly all the people of the land. All the people were discouraged and afraid of failing. God left no excuse for anyone to not be strong when he said it to even the highest officials. Of course, then, it would apply to the rest of the people. 

Anytime a prophet/biblical author uses the command be strong, one is reminded immediately of the call to the Hebrews (Deuteronomy 11:8), then to Joshua and the call of the Lord on him, which he passed on to the people God called him to lead:

Deuteronomy 31:23 ESV And the LORD commissioned Joshua the son of Nun and said, "Be strong and courageous, for you shall bring the people of Israel into the land that I swore to give them. I will be with you."

Joshua 1:6-7 ESV Be strong and courageous, for you shall cause this people to inherit the land that I swore to their fathers to give them. Only be strong and very courageous, being careful to do according to all the law that Moses my servant commanded you. Do not turn from it to the right hand or to the left, that you may have good success wherever you go.

Albert Barnes wrote,
"Yet now be strong ... and work - They are the words with which David exhorted Solomon his son to be earnest and to persevere in the building of the first temple 1 Ch. 28:10. “Take heed now, for the Lord hath chosen thee to build an house for the sanctuary: be strong and do” 1 Ch. 28:20. “Be strong and of good courage, and do.” This combination of words occurs once only elsewhere 2 Ch. 19:11, in Jehoshaphat’s exhortation to “the 2 Ch. 19:8 Levites and priests and chiefs of the fathers of Israel,” whom he had set as judges in Jerusalem. Haggai seems then to have adopted the words, with the purpose of suggesting to the down-hearted people, that there was need of the like exhortation, in view of the building of the former temple, whose relative glory so depressed them. The word “be strong” (elsewhere rendered, “be of good courage”) occurs commonly in exhortations to persevere and hold fast, amid whatever obstacles…"
Be strong. Be of good courage as the phrase is also spoken other places in the Old Testament. When you have the fear of failing and being inadequate for any situation whether it concern family, work, or church, BE STRONG!

Today we are also in a rebuilding process. Many of our lives are being rebuilt. Your life may have been destroyed by divorce. Your job may have been destroyed by lay-off. Your church may have been destroyed by conflict. Whatever the LORD is rebuilding in you, remember that you must be strong and of good courage.

Understand that this is not your own strength. Your strength is not a mere physical or mental strength. This is not the sort of strength that a world chess champion uses when strategizing against the opponent. This is not the sort of strength that an offensive linemen uses to keep the defender out of the backfield. This is not the sort of strength that Mark McGuire used to belt balls out of stadiums …not even Mark McGuire on steroids describes this kind of power.

Zechariah 4:6 ESV Then he said to me, "This is the word of the LORD to Zerubbabel: Not by might, nor by power, but by my Spirit, says the LORD of hosts."

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Shedding Tears

Acts 20:18-19 ESV ..."You yourselves know how I lived among you the whole time from the first day that I set foot in Asia, serving the Lord with all humility and with tears and with trials that happened to me through the plots of the Jews..."

Possibly, Paul shed tears over the unbelief of some who he may have previously respected in the local synagogue (Acts 19:8-9). Paul may have been brokenhearted because of the unbelief of those whom he first respected in the synagogue. Concerning the Jewish background of the Torah, the rejection of the truth and the grace of God via such a beautiful bridge may have been much to bear emotionally. Separation not only showed a lack of belief in the truth which Paul bore; rather, it was a sign of ultimate rejection of those who accepted Jesus as the Messiah.

The tears that are have said to be shed were not a product of an empty emotionalism. The tears spoken of represented a true love of the Apostle for the people God had given him. Thus, Paul by the example of his tears, shows his utter devotion to the Lord’s glory by loving the people to whom he had been entrusted. What/Whom has a value worth shedding tears? As the Pauline letters are examined, it becomes clear as to the issues which were of great importance. As the Elders had personal contact with Paul, it is reasonable to believe they would have been acutely concerned about similar issues as listed below.

  • The Gospel is preached and one is fixed in his/her unbelief (Romans 9:3)
  • One within/without the church suffers physically and/or emotionally (Romans 12:15)
  • One within the church experiences spiritual hardship (Philippians 4:2)
  • A professing Christian’s walk turns indecent (1 Corinthians 11:17-19)
  • Wolves attack the people of God for whom one is under-shepherd (Colossians 1:28-2:1)
  • A professing Christian forsakes the assembling of the saints (Hebrews 10:24-25)
  • One falls away giving evidence of a false profession of faith (Hebrews 6:13)
When is the last time you served the Lord with this level of intensity on a regular basis?

Friday, January 15, 2010

Whose Role Is It Anyway?

John 17:17-19 ESV Sanctify them in the truth; your word is truth. (18) As you sent me into the world, so I have sent them into the world. (19) And for their sake I consecrate myself, that they also may be sanctified in truth.

Recently, Brent Wells (bio), pastor at Lakewood Baptist Church (website) in Somerville, TN, responded to a group of pastors concerning the verses above.  I received permission to post his comments here.  Hopefully, you will be edified/encouraged by his remarks.

"I can't remember where I read this, but a long time ago I came upon this: In regeneration, it is all the work of God and we are passive. In sanctification, it is all the work of God and we are active. 

This has helped me to not be, on the one side fatalistic (if He's going to sanctify me He's going to sanctify me...until then, eat, drink, and be merry) and on the other side, not neglect grace (it's up to me, I must do it, I did it, I get the glory...or maybe the opposite--I can't do it, depression, undue pressure and lack of assurance).

God has given us many means of grace, all of which can be means by which He sanctifies us (make us more like Christ): prayer, fasting, assembling of saints, word--memorization/meditation, confession of sin, church discipline, etc.

We must be active in all of these, but we must honestly confess that it was the grace of God that led us to participate/be faithful in these means of grace. AND if sanctification occurs through these (because sometimes it doesn't--when we are going through the motions, cold, sluggish), then it was all from the God who alone sanctifies us (1 Thess 5.23-24)."

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Straight And Narrow

Proverbs 3:5-6 ESV Trust in the LORD with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding. (6) In all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make straight your paths.

acknowledge Him;” it is not a mere theoretic acknowledgment that is meant, but earnest penetrating cognizance, engaging the whole man. (Keil and Delitsch)

Acknowledge God in your jobs, in your classes, in your relationships, in your dwelling places, in your extracurricular activities, in a local church, in ministry, to your friends, to your parents, to your children, and to your teachers. Acknowledge Him by reading your Bible, by meditating on His truth, by memorizing Scripture, by practicing truth, by teaching scripture, and by letting your light shine.  Acknowledge Him by truly following him on the straight and narrow path.

Luke 9:61-62 ESV Yet another said, "I will follow you, Lord, but let me first say farewell to those at my home." (62) Jesus said to him, "No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of God."

Men often say, I want to follow You Lord


Lord, let me see if my parents approve
Lord, let me get married...Once I have a family, I will follow You
Lord, let me first raise my kids...Then I’ll follow You
Lord, let our kids graduate high school...We work so much and are
     so busy...They have so many activities...When that's over we'll
     follow You then we’ll we’ll follow You
Lord, I want to follow now, BUT I want my boyfriend/husband or
     girlfriend/wife to follow as a pre-condition
Lord, I will follow You, BUT let me retire first
I would like to follow You Lord, BUT it’s too late now.
Lord, If I haven't followed YOU wholeheartedly already,
     what's the use?

Matthew 7:21 ESV "Not everyone who says to me, 'Lord, Lord,' will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven."

True acknowledgement of God is following the Lord.  True faith results in true following.  God's path is straight, His path is narrow, and He enables us to walk on the straight and narrow.  On which path are you?  What does your path say about your relationship to God?

How Should I Answer Temptation?

1 John 2:16 ESV For all that is in the world--the desires of the flesh and the desires of the eyes and pride in possessions--is not from the Father but is from the world.

  • Jesus answered the desire of the flesh with Scripture
Matthew 4:4 ESV But he answered, "It is written, "'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that comes from the mouth of God.'"

Deuteronomy 8:3 ESV And he humbled you and let you hunger and fed you with manna, which you did not know, nor did your fathers know, that he might make you know that man does not live by bread alone, but man lives by every word that comes from the mouth of the LORD.

We ought to follow Jesus’ example when we deal with a fleshly desire, whether it be a sexual temptation, substance abuse temptation, or a temptation to overeat. Use Scripture. How would your life be different if instead of succumbing to temptation you quoted Scripture to the tempter?
  • Jesus answered the desire of the eyes with Scripture
Matthew 4:10 ESV Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! For it is written, "'You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.'"

Deuteronomy 6:13-14 ESV It is the LORD your God you shall fear. Him you shall serve and by his name you shall swear. (14) You shall not go after other gods, the gods of the peoples who are around you-

We ought to follow Jesus’ example when we deal with the desire of the eyes, whether it be a job that seems like it will give us, fame, fortune, or glory. Use Scripture. How would your life be different if instead of succumbing to temptation you quoted Scripture to the tempter?
  • Jesus answered the pride of life with Scripture
Matthew 4:7 ESV Jesus said to him, "Again it is written, 'You shall not put the Lord your God to the test.'"

Deuteronomy 6:16 ESV You shall not put the LORD your God to the test, as you tested him at Massah.

We ought to follow Jesus’ example when we deal with the pride of life, whether it be a gimmick in which we seek to pull the wool over someone else’s eyes for our own glorification or combating a misrepresentation of Scripture/faith . Use Scripture. How would your life be different if instead of succumbing to temptation you quoted Scripture to the tempter? Tell the tempter to “Go away!” as Jesus did.

Matthew 4:10 ESV Then Jesus said to him, "Be gone, Satan! ..."

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

With All Wisdom

Col 1:28 ESV Him we proclaim, warning everyone and teaching everyone with all wisdom, that we may present everyone mature in Christ.

Col 1:9 ESV And so, from the day we heard, we have not ceased to pray for you, asking that you may be filled with the knowledge of his will in all spiritual wisdom and understanding,).

This is in direct opposition to worldly wisdom. There is a major difference between the two.  Worldly wisdom relies on self to use purely our own reasoning to teach.  However, spiritual wisdom relies on the Holy Spirit and purely His reasoning to teach.

When you are discipling someone you need to lead them to the word. This happens in a small group situation where they can see how you live your life. When I have discipled others and a question comes up about life…about marriage, about parenting, about salvation, about anything…I go to the word. What do the Scriptures say about it? When we go to the Scriptures, we are teaching them with all Spiritual wisdom.

They also learn this spiritual wisdom from seeing your life.

1Co 11:1 ESV Be imitators of me, as I am of Christ.

So to teach spiritual wisdom we must know the word first so we can show others the word. Then, we must live our lives by the wisdom we have personally received from the word.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Make Me a Blessing

1 Peter 3:8-12 ESV Finally, all of you, have unity of mind, sympathy, brotherly love, a tender heart, and a humble mind. (9) Do not repay evil for evil or reviling for reviling, but on the contrary, bless, for to this you were called, that you may obtain a blessing. (10) For "Whoever desires to love life and see good days, let him keep his tongue from evil and his lips from speaking deceit; (11) let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it. (12) For the eyes of the Lord are on the righteous, and his ears are open to their prayer. But the face of the Lord is against those who do evil."

Peter has a hold of our sinful nature…in and of ourselves…OUR OWN VERY WILL

Man says...
     Pay back evil for evil
     Pay back insult for insult

1 Peter 2:21-25 ESV For to this you have been called, because Christ also suffered for you, leaving you an example, so that you might follow in his steps. (22) He committed no sin, neither was deceit found in his mouth. (23) When he was reviled, he did not revile in return; when he suffered, he did not threaten, but continued entrusting himself to him who judges justly. (24) He himself bore our sins in his body on the tree, that we might die to sin and live to righteousness. By his wounds you have been healed. (25) For you were straying like sheep, but have now returned to the Shepherd and Overseer of your souls.

God says to a believer, who has been born again...
    Pay back evil with a blessing
    Pay back insult by being a blessing

Make me a blessing, make me a blessing;
Out of my life may Jesus shine.
Make me a blessing, O Saviour I pray,
Make me a blessing to someone today.


From Sunday's message...

You may feel at times especially during tax season, that the government is not for you. You may feel like your boss is not for you at times. You may feel afraid because of the state of the world and that it  too  is not for you. Remember that God is more powerful than the “most powerful”.

Jesus demonstrated this:
John 19:10-11 ESV
(10) So Pilate said to him, "You will not speak to me? Do you not know that I have authority to release you and authority to crucify you?" (11) Jesus answered him, "You would have no authority over me at all unless it had been given you from above. Therefore he who delivered me over to you has the greater sin."

Romans 8:31 ESV
(31) What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us?