Daily Bible Nugget #603, Isaiah 8:20

The Nugget:

Isaiah 8:20  To the law and to the testimony: if they speak not according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.

My Comment:

For those who read the Bible seriously, an interesting problem arises when others claim to have a contrary or at least different understanding about what it teaches. How can we be sure we are correct in our own understanding? If we do our study carefully, sometimes we will find out we were mistaken and need to change our view on what the Bible says. But as we do further study, our understanding will become more accurate to the point we can be quite certain our view is correct. Studying the Bible by means of extensive cross references is one of the best ways to grow in our understanding of the Bible.

The Lesson:

SERIES TITLE:  Getting Hooked on the Book
SUBJECT:  New Treasury Introduction

SESSION THREE:  By What Authority?

MATERIALS NEEDED:  Furnish each student with a Bible and a New Treasury.

LESSON OBJECTIVE:  Learn and accept the concept that the Bible alone and in its entirety is our authoritative source for faith and practice.

SCRIPTURE TEXT:  Isaiah 8:20

  1. the law.  ver. +16 (+Is 8:16).  Ezr 10:3.  Mt 4:7.  *Lk 10:26.  *Lk 16:29, 30, 31.  **Jn 5:39, 46, 47.  **Ac 17:11.  Ro 4:3.  Ga 3:8, etc.  Ga 4:21, 22.  **2 Tim 3:15, 16, 17.  *2 P 1:19.  if they speak not.  +**Ps 119:63.  +*Pr 19:27.  Mt 24:4.  +Mk 4:24.  +Lk 8:18.  *Ac 20:28, 29, 30, 31, 32.  2 Cor 4:2.  Ga 1:6, 7.  3:1.  Ep 4:14.  +2 Tim 3:5.  2 P 2:1.  3:16.  2 J 9, 10.  according. Here we learn the absolute importance of basing every doctrine, every belief, on the written word of God.  No error is more fundamental, nor more disastrous, than depending upon some external source of authority, whether extra-Biblical writings, or an organization claiming to dispense God’s truth.  The only source of authority is the written word of God.  This word is declared in many ways to be perspicuous—that is, understandable (Dt 30:11 note;  +Ps 102:18, T#49;  +*Pr 8:9) to the ordinary person, who, with the assistance of the Holy Spirit, together with careful study, may be trusted to come to just and sound conclusions as to the meaning of Scripture.  Otherwise how could spiritual truth be made known to “babes and sucklings” (Ps 8:2.  Mt 11:25), and how could ordinary listeners be commended for checking up on the accuracy and truthfulness of an apostle (**Ac 17:11), and be charged with the responsibility of judging the message of an apostle, to determine that it was the true gospel (Ga 1:8)?  Note that the great doctrinal epistles are specifically addressed to the “saints,” that is, the ordinary believers, not to the pastors, bishops, theologians, or authorities of the church (Ro 1:6, 8;  1 Cor 1:2;  Ep 1:1;  Phil 1:1;  Col 1:2).  We shall be judged on the basis of our belief or disbelief in the written word of God (Jn 5:24-47. 12:48);  in that day we will not be able to excuse our wrong belief, if such it should prove to be, by an appeal claiming “But I believed what my church, pastor, organization, etc., taught me” (**Ezk 14:10.  Mt 7:21, 22, 23;  Mk 12:24, 27.  **Ro 14:12).   T#46.  Is 29:11, 12, 13.  Mt 15:3, 4, 5, 6, 9.  *Mk 7:7, 8, 9.  *Jn 12:48.  Ro 2:16, 18.  2 Cor 10:12.  11:4.  Col 2:8.  to this word.  +*Dt 4:2.  *Pr 30:5, 6. **Je 23:28, 29.  **Mk 12:24.  *Jn 8:31, 32.  it is.  Is 30:8, 9, 10, 11.  **Ps 19:7, 8.  **Ps 119:130.  *Je 8:9.  Mic 3:6.  **Mt 6:23.  **Mt 22:29.  *Mk 7:7, 8, 9.  Ro 1:22.  *2 P 1:9.  light.  Heb.  morning.  lit.  ‘darkness,’  either of morning or of evening (Young).  +*Is 17:14.  Ge 32:25, 27.  Jsh 6:15.  1 S 9:26.  Jb 24:16.  38:12.  *Ps 101:8.  *Ps 119:105, 130.  139:9.  +*Pr 4:18, 19.  20:20.  Ho 6:3.  *Ml 4:2.  *Mt 6:23.  *Mt 8:12.  Jn 1:9.  3:19.  8:12.  *2 Cor 4:3, 4.  *2 P 1:19.  1 J 1:5, 7.  2:11.  *Jude 1:13.

 

PROCEDURE:

  1. Read the Scripture text aloud to the class.

 

  1. Raise the issues:

 

1)        Have you ever been confronted by a Jehovah’s Witness at your door, and wondered what is the correct interpretation of a Bible text the Witness confidently misused?

 

2)        If two authorities differ in their interpretation of a Bible text or doctrine, on what basis can a determination be made as to who, if either, is correct?

 

  1. Consult the references and notes in the New Treasury provided at Isaiah 8:20.

CONCLUSION:

  1. After consulting the references supplied to EACH clause of this lesson’s Scripture text, answer the question:

 

What is the common thread of meaning which underlies all the references gathered for this word, phrase, or clause?

 

  1. What conclusions do you draw about the Bible’s own teaching regarding the subjects dealt with in this lesson’s Scripture text?

 

  1. What instruction or encouragement do you derive from the insights received from this comparison of related Bible texts?
Posted in Bible Study Tools, Christian Living, Daily Bible Nuggets, How to Interpret the Bible Correctly, How to Study the Bible | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Daily Bible Nugget #602, Colossians 1:10

The Nugget:

Col 1:10  That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God;

My Comment:

I discovered that the cross references given for Colossians 1:10 are among the most inspiring and encouraging in all of God’s Word as they are presented in the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. I have shared this with others, and they have thanked me for doing so. Some were motivated enough to immediately purchase their own copy of this cross reference Bible study resource. I have since expanded the original Treasury of Scripture Knowledge three times:  (1) The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge; (2) Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible; (3) The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury. All told, those resources represent 50 years of Bible study and research on my part to create these resources.

I share below Lesson 2 of a 13 lesson series I have titled “Getting Hooked on the Book.” I lost track of these files, but discovered the folder on my computer this morning where they are all stored.

The Lesson:

SERIES TITLE:  Getting Hooked on the Book
SUBJECT:  New Treasury Introduction

SESSION TWO:  Getting hooked on Bible study:  another dose of encouragement.

SCRIPTURE TEXT:  Colossians 1:10, whole verse

  1. walk worthy.  T#1740.  +*Col 2:6.  *Col 4:5.  +*Ps 1:1, 3.  *Ps 119:3.  128:1.  *Mic 4:5.  +**Lk 21:36.  Ro 4:12.  +*Ro 6:4.  *Ep 4:1.  *Ep 5:2, 15.  *Phil 1:27.  *1 Th 2:12.  all pleasing.  *Col 3:20.  Ps 147:11.  149:4.  +*Pr 16:7.  2 Cor 5:9.  Ep 5:10.  Phil 4:18.  *1 Th 4:1.  *2 Tim 2:4.  *He 11:5.  *He 13:16, 21.  *1 J 3:22.  fruitful.  T#1503.  ver. 6 (Col 1:6).  +*Ps 1:3.  +*Jn 15:8, 16.  2 Cor 9:10.  +*Ga 5:22, 23.  **Ep 2:10.  *Phil 1:9, 10, 11.  4:17.  *Titus 3:1, 14.  *He 13:21.  *+1 P 2:2.  **2 P 1:8.  good work.  +Ac 9:36.  *2 Cor 9:8.  *Titus 3:1, 8, 14.  increasing.  Col 2:19.  *Is 53:11.  +*Da 12:4.  *Hab 2:14.  **Jn 17:3.  2 Cor 2:14.  *2 Cor 4:6.  **2 Cor 9:8.  *Ep 1:17.  4:13.  2 P 1:2, 3.  +*2 P 3:18.  1 J 5:20, 21.  knowledge.  +*Ps 51:6.  +*Pr 15:14.  *Ho 6:3, 6.

MATERIALS NEEDED:  Furnish each student with a Bible and a New Treasury.

OBJECTIVE:  Experience how the Bible explains itself.

PROCEDURE:

  1. Read the Scripture text aloud to the class.

 

  1. Consult the references in full to each clause of this verse furnished in the New Treasury. To do this, have individual class members take turns reading aloud to the class the consecutive Bible passages suggested by the New Treasury references.

 

CONCLUSION:

 

  1. After consulting the references supplied to each clause of this lesson’s Scripture text, answer the question: “What common thread of truth ties this set of references together?”

 

  1. What conclusions do you draw about the Bible’s own teaching regarding the subjects dealt with in this lesson’s Scripture text?

 

  1. What instruction or encouragement do you derive from the insights received from this comparison of related Bible texts?
Posted in Bible Study Tools, Christian Living, Daily Bible Nuggets, How to Study the Bible | Tagged , , | 2 Comments

Daily Bible Nugget #601, 2 Timothy 1:7

The Nugget:

2Ti 1:7  For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.

My Comment:

A number of years ago I devised a series of lessons suitable for Sunday school teaching to help others learn how to use The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. These lessons will work equally well with Nelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible and especially The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury.

Any Bible teacher, Sunday school teacher, home school parent, small group Bible study leader, or pastor will find it easy to adopt the format I share below using any Bible passage and its cross references as the basis for lessons or sermons as needed.

Here is the first lesson in its outline form:

SERIES TITLE: Getting Hooked on the Book

SUBJECT: 13‑week Teacher Guide for introducing the New Treasury for a one‑quarter series of Sunday school lessons for an adult class.

 

SESSION ONE: Getting hooked on Bible study

MATERIALS NEEDED: Furnish each student with a Bible and a New Treasury.

 

LESSON OBJECTIVE: Learn how the Bible explains itself.

 

SCRIPTURE TEXT: 2 Timothy 1:7, “sound mind”

 

  1. a sound mind. ver. +*13 ( 2 Tim 1:13). *Ps 119:80. *Pr 2:7. * Pr 8:14. *Is 59:15 mg. Je 29:26. Ho 9:7. *Lk 8:35. *Lk 15:17. *Ac 26:11, 25. 2 Cor  5:13, 14.

 

PROCEDURE:

A. Read the lesson Bible text (2 Timothy 1:7) aloud to the class.

B. Let each of several members of the class turn to, then read in turn to the class, the related passages specified in the cross references given for the phrase “sound mind” in the New Treasury.

 

FOR DISCUSSION:

  1. What is included in the concept “sound mind” as reflected by these related Bible passages?

 

  1. What result does Scripture attribute to a strong interest in spiritual things? How does this contrast to the common opinion of interest in spiritual things in society at large?

 

CONCLUSION:

  1. After consulting the references supplied to the clause of this lesson’s Scripture text, answer the question: “What common thread of truth ties this set of references together?”

 

  1. What conclusions do you draw about the Bible’s own teaching regarding the subjects dealt with in this lesson’s Scripture text?

 

  1. What instruction or encouragement do you derive from the insights received from this comparison of related Bible texts?

 

 

 

 

 

1

 

Posted in Bible Study Tools, Daily Bible Nuggets, How to Study the Bible | Tagged , , | Leave a comment

Daily Bible Nugget #600, 2 Peter 1:16

The Nugget:

2Pe 1:16  For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty.

My Comment:

I did a search of this site today for Leslie’s Four Reasons, using his name, and found I have written three previous articles here where I mention him, but I have apparently never shared his argument directly in full. I have modernized the language, since Leslie wrote some time ago. So far as I know as of this date, no one has refuted his argument for the truth of the Bible and the historicity of the events it contains. This material I took from Irwin H. Linton, A Lawyer Examines the Bible. Read to learn. Refute it if you can or wish. Study it carefully or you will miss the point. I take this information from my work, The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury, where I placed this information as a note on 2 Peter 1:16.

We now come to an argument for the credibility of the facts contained in Scripture which has never been answered and never can be. Infidels have repeatedly been challenged to answer it but they have never even made the attempt. It is the argument of Leslie in his Short and Easy Method with the Deists.

This argument rests solely upon the peculiarity of Christian evidence, already mentioned, by which the truth of the religion is indissolubly connected with certain matters of fact which could originally be judged of by the senses, and also upon the fact that there exist in the Church certain ordinances commemorative of those facts. Thus the truth of our religion seems to be embodied in institutions that now exist, and in observances that pass before our eyes.

The object of Leslie is to show, from the nature of the case—for here we make very little reference to written testimony—that the matters of fact stated could not have been received at the time unless they were true, and that the observances could never have been originated except in connection with the facts. In showing this, he lays down four rules, and asserts that any matter of fact in which these four rules meet must be true, and challenges the world to show any instance of any supposed matter of fact, thus authenticated, that has ever been shown to be false. Leslie’s four rules are these:

Four Rules of Historicity

How can matters of fact be absolutely certain to have happened, when such matters of fact and the incidents which they reflect, happened ever so long ago?

Any asserted matter of fact may be certainly known to be true if such matter of fact meets the following four conditions:

1. The matter of fact must be something that observers who were there at the time could have known reliably as something they witnessed by means of their outward senses—eyes and ears, and so could be judges of it.

2. The matter of fact or incident must have been done publicly, in the face of the world.

3. The matter of fact or incident must have had some kind of public monument kept up in memory of the event, in regard to which some outward actions continue to be performed.

4. That with regard to the incident or matter of fact, not only public monuments be kept up in memory of it, but that such monuments and actions, or observances, began and were instituted from the time that the matter of fact was done, or happened.

Any matter of fact in which these four rules of historicity meet must be true; no such matter of fact, thus authenticated, has ever been shown to be false.

The first two rules make it impossible for any such matter of fact to be imposed upon men at the time, because every man’s eyes and ears, and senses, would contradict it. At the time, this would be a matter respecting which the unlearned and the young could judge as well as the learned and experienced.

An application to the Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament: It would be impossible for the children of Israel, in that generation, to have believed that they passed through the Red Sea, or went out and gathered manna every morning, or drank water from the rock, or that the Mosaic Law was given with the terror and solemnity described in the Bible, if these things did not happen.

An application to the Greek Scriptures or the New Testament: It is just as impossible that five thousand men should have believed they were fed by Christ; or that the relatives of Lazarus, and the Jews who knew him, as well as hostile scribes and Pharisees on the scene (who subsequently conferred how Jesus might be put to death for such an unanswerable miracle), should have believed that Lazarus was raised from the dead, or the parents and friends of the man born blind, that he was made to see; or that the multitudes before whom Jesus healed the lame, and the sick of every description, should have believed that these events took place, if they did not. These miracles are of such a nature that, unless they were really wrought, it is impossible they should have been believed in at the time.

Therefore, it only remains that such matter of fact might have been invented some time after, when the men of that generation wherein the thing was said to be done are all past and gone; and the credulity of subsequent ages might be imposed upon to believe that things were done in former ages which were not.

For this, we invoke the last two rules:

The last two rules secure us as certainly as the first two rules in the former case. For, whenever such a matter of fact came to be invented, if not only monuments or records were said to remain of it, but likewise public actions and observances were constantly used ever since the matter of fact was said to be done, the deceit must be detected by no such monuments or records appearing, and by the experience of every man, woman, and child, who must know that no such actions or observances were ever used by them.

Application to the books of Moses: At whatever time it might have been attempted to impose the books of Moses upon a subsequent age, it would have been impossible, because they contain the laws and civil and ecclesiastical regulations of the Jews, which the books affirm were adopted at the time of Moses, and were constantly in force from that time. They contain an account of the Passover, which they assert to have been observed in consequence of a particular fact.

If, then, a book had been put forth at a particular time, stating that the Jews had obeyed certain very peculiar laws, and had a certain priesthood, and had observed the Passover from the time of Moses, while they had never heard of these laws, or of this priesthood, or of a Passover, it is impossible the book should have been received. Nothing could have saved such a book from scorn or utter neglect.

Application to the New Testament. But what the Levitical law, and the priesthood, and the Passover were to the Jews, baptism, and the Christian ministry, and the Lord’s Supper are to the Christians. It is a part of the record of the Gospels that these were instituted by Christ; that they were commanded by Him to be continued until the end of time, and were actually continued and observed at the time when the Gospels purport to have been written—that is, before the destruction of Jerusalem.

But if these books were fictions invented after the time of Christ, there would have been at that time no Christian baptism, nor order of Christian ministers, nor sacrament of the supper, thus derived from His appointment; and that, alone, would have demonstrated the whole to be false.

Our books of the New Testament suppose these institutions to exist; they give an account of them; and it is impossible they should have been received where they did not exist.
It is impossible, therefore, that these books should have been received at the time the facts are said to have taken place, or at any subsequent time, unless those facts really did take place.

We now regard the sacrament of the supper as an essential part of the religion; it was so regarded by our fathers; nor can we conceive that it should have been otherwise back to the very time when the religion was founded.

Thus we have a visible sign and pledge of the truth of the New Testament accounts, handed down, independently of written testimony, from age to age; and the force of which age has no tendency to diminish.

The strength of this evidence: Notice the great strength which Christian evidences derive from this proof. Notice the contrast in strength of evidence for the facts of Christianity and those of ordinary history.

Not only is it impossible to point out any statement of fact, substantiated by these four rules or marks of historicity, that can be shown to be false, but none of the best authenticated facts of ancient history have them all.

Consider the Fourth of July, as observed by us, to illustrate the effects of such commemorative ordinances as guarding against false historical accounts.

For any person to have invented the New Testament after the time of Christ, and to have attempted to cause it to be received, would have been as if a man had written an account of the American Revolution, and the celebration of the Fourth of July from the first, when no revolution was ever heard of, and no one had ever celebrated the Fourth of July. Nor, when such a festival was once established, would it be possible to introduce any account of its origin essentially different from the true one.

But the case of the historicity of the New Testament accounts and the Christian religion based thereon is much stronger because there are several different institutions and observances which must have sprung up at its origin; because baptism and the Lord’s Supper have occurred so much more frequently, and because the latter has always been considered the chief rite of a religion to which men have been more attached than to liberty or to life.

Credible because no others. But again: our books are credible because there are no others. That such a movement as Christianity must have been, involving the origin of so many new institutions, and such ecclesiastical and social changes should have originated at such a time and in such a place, and that no written documents should have been drawn forth by it, is incredible. And that the true account should have perished, leaving not a single vestige behind it, and that false ones, and such as these, should have been substituted, is impossible. Of the origin of such institutions we should expect some account. That of our books is adequate and satisfactory. There is nothing contradictory to it, for even spurious writings confirm the truth of our books, and there is no vestige of any other (Modified for easier reading from Linton, pp. 161-164, citing Mark Hopkins, who is citing Leslie).

Posted in Apologetics Issues--Agnosticism, Apologetics Issues--Atheism, Apologetics--Christian, Bible Historicity and Validity, Daily Bible Nuggets | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Daily Bible Nugget #599, Psalm 116:15

The Nugget:

Psalm 116:15  Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints. ( KJV)

Psa 116:15  Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his faithful ones. (GW, God’s Word Translation)

Psa 116:15 You are deeply concerned when one of your loyal people faces death. (CEV, Contemporary English Translation)

My Comment:

On this date last year, December 4, 2020, my brother Martin Smith died of complications related to stage 4 cancer. He was remembered by many friends in the southwest Detroit area and elsewhere in metropolitan Detroit. He was remembered for his faithful attendance at and participation in group Bible studies. He was remembered by his former Sunday school pupils. He was remembered by home school groups and families whom he helped in mathematics and science. He was remembered even by his landlady who has been of much gracious help to me. He was remembered by the elders at the Christian Fellowship Church, as well as neighborhood pastors, many of whom contacted me personally with their condolences as well as direct help to me, for which I am thankful.

My brother and I did not agree on political matters, for the most part, but he motivated me to explore many Bible subjects related to justice for the poor and related themes. These studies, over many years, are reflected in many additional cross references provided in The New Treasury of Scripture KnowledgeNelson’s Cross Reference Guide to the Bible, and especially The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury.

I autographed my brother’s copy of The New Treasury of Scripture Knowledge as follows:

Dear Mark,

Thank you for your many questions and insights over the years. One instance of many is a note on “only begotten.” May this volume help you to dig more deeply into the treasures of God’s Word.

Your brother,

Jerome Smith
March 5, 1992

The note referred to is found at John 3:16,

begotten. Gr. monogenes, S# G3439, +Luk 7:12, lit. the only one of a family, unique of its kind. Monogenes, applied to Jesus, expresses the unique and eternal relationship of the Son to the Father. As firstborn does not mean born first (Col 1:15 note), neither does only begotten imply a begetting, birth, or origin in time. In His pre-existence, Jesus was always uniquely the Son of God (Psa 2:7, +*Isa 9:6, Heb 1:8). When used of Christ, only begotten speaks of “unoriginated relationship.” Only begotten “indicates that as the Son of God He was the sole representative of the Being and character of the One who sent Him” (Vine, Expository Dictionary, vol. 3, p. 140). It is a word picture which portrays the relationship of the Father to the Son in the terms of a Middle Eastern patriarchal family (**Gen 21:12; Gen 22:2; Gen 22:12; Gen 22:16, Heb 11:17). Isaac, termed Abraham’s only begotten son (Heb 11:17), though Abraham had a prior son Ishmael by Hagar (Gen 16:15) and later sons by Keturah (Gen 25:1, 2, 3, 4, 1Ch 1:32, 33), sustains a unique relationship to Abraham as the son of promise (Gal 4:23). The same picture, portrayed in parable (Mat 21:37), emphasizes the unique authority of Jesus as sent by the Father (Joh 20:21, 1Jn 4:9), and our responsibility to receive the truth declared by Him (Joh 1:14; Joh 1:18; Joh 3:18, Mat 17:5). Pro 8:24, Col 1:15, Heb 1:6; Heb 11:17, %1Jn 5:18.

Mark mentioned to me that he had encountered a number of individuals of the Muslim faith as he rode the bus in southwest Detroit area which borders on Dearborn. I suspect that many Christians have never considered these issues in connection with their reading or even study of John 3:16.

Here are the notes and cross references as now given in The Ultimate Cross Reference Treasury for Psalm 116:15 for your further study:

Psa 116:15  Precious in the sight of the LORD is the death of his saints.

Psalms 116:15

Precious. Note: That is, the Lord accounts the death of His saints of so much importance, that he will not suffer their enemies cut them off before His appointed time; all the circumstances of their death being regulated by infinite wisdom and love for their final and eternal benefit. William Kay notes: “Precious;”—not lightly permitted:—and, when permitted, prized by Him as the final act of self-surrender, in which their souls are made partakers of Christ’s atonement,—sprinkled at their exodus with the blood of the Paschal Lamb. “The Apostolical Constitutions recommend this (among other passages from the Psalms) for use at the funerals of the faithful. In the Decian persecution, Babylas, Bishop of Antioch, sang these words cheerfully on his way to martyrdom” (Delitszch). Psa 9:12; Psa 31:15; *Psa 37:32; *Psa 37:33; Psa 49:7, 8; *Psa 72:14; Psa 126:5, 6; Psa 139:17, 1Sa 3:1; *1Sa 25:29; 1Sa 26:21, 2Ki 1:14, *Job 5:26, Pro 20:15, Isa 28:16, Hos 11:4, Mat 26:7, *Luk 16:22, *Rev 1:18; **Rev 14:13.
the death. Gen 4:10, Num 23:10, +**1Co 15:55.
of his saints. or, separated ones (CB). Psa 4:3; Psa 16:3; Psa 31:23; Psa 37:28, 1Sa 18:30, 2Ki 20:6, Isa 38:5, Act 12:17, Eph 3:18.

Careful readers here will notice that for the key words “the death” I have supplied the emphasis marking “+**” for the reference to 1 Corinthians 15:55. At 1 Corinthians 15:55 I have collected an especially complete set of cross references for that verse. I have used those references to prepare a message of comfort (Romans 15:4) for those who have just experienced the loss of a loved one. Pastors and others may wish to take note of this.

1Co 15:55  O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?

1 Corinthians 15:55
O death. T853, 1Co 15:26, *Psa 23:4; *Psa 37:37; *Psa 48:14; *Psa 49:15; *Psa 73:26, *Pro 14:32, *Isa 25:8, *>Hos 13:14, +**Rom 8:38; +**Rom 8:39, 2Co 4:16, *2Ti 1:12, *Heb 2:14; *Heb 2:15, Rev 6:8.
where is. Job 41:22, Psa 16:10, Isa 51:13, +*Luk 6:48, 2Ti 1:10, Rev 6:2.
sting. 1Co 15:56, Act 9:5; +Act 26:14 g. Rev 9:10 g.
grave. or, hell. Gr. hades, +Mat 11:23, Hades is the New Testament Greek equivalent of the Hebrew sheol. Its meaning is not merely the grave, as a reference to the notes on sheol will prove. +*Gen 37:35 note. Job 17:13, **+Psa 9:17; Psa 49:15; Psa 141:7, +*Ecc 9:10, Isa 14:9 note. Mat 16:18, Luk 16:23, Act 2:27, Rev 20:13, 14 g.
is thy victory. Job 18:13, 14, Psa 49:8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15; Psa 89:48, Ecc 2:15, 16; Ecc 3:19; Ecc 8:8; Ecc 9:5, 6, Rom 5:14.

Posted in Daily Bible Nuggets, Doctrinal Discussions | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Daily Bible Nugget #598, 1 Timothy 2:1

The Nugget:

1Ti 2:1  I exhort therefore, that, first of all, supplications, prayers, intercessions, and giving of thanks, be made for all men; (KJV)

1Ti 2:1  First of all, I encourage you to make petitions, prayers, intercessions, and prayers of thanks for all people, (GW, God’s Word translation)

1Ti 2:1 First of all, I ask you to pray for everyone. Ask God to help and bless them all, and tell God how thankful you are for each of them. (CEV, Contemporary English Version)

My Comment:

Very often, in Paul’s writings in the New Testament, thanksgiving or thankfulness is mentioned in connection with prayer. 1 Timothy 2:1 is an example of this. Paul actually spells out several different kinds of prayer in this verse, which is clearer in the King James Version than in the Contemporary English Version cited above.

Paul encourages us all to pray without ceasing (1 Thessalonians 5:17), and in the very next verse he encourages us to give thanks in everything (1 Thessalonians 5:18).

It would be a very interesting study to uncover the extent of Paul’s prayer life as reflected by his incidental comments about who he prays for and what he prays for as reflected in his letters in the New Testament. On this topic, one place to start would be Ephesians 1:16.

Using the cross references for Ephesians 1:16 will get you started on this important and interesting theme:

Eph 1:15  Wherefore I also, after I heard of your faith in the Lord Jesus, and love unto all the saints,
Eph 1:16  Cease not to give thanks for you, making mention of you in my prayers;

Ephesians 1:16
Cease not. *Rom 1:8; *Rom 1:9, 1Sa 7:8; +*1Sa 12:23, **Php 1:3; **Php 1:4, Col 1:3; Col 1:9, +*1Th 5:17, 2Th 1:3, *2Ti 1:3.
give thanks. Gr. eucharisteō (S# G2168, 2Co 1:11). Eph 5:4, Rom 6:17; Rom 16:19, Php 1:3, 2Ti 1:3, *Phm 1:4.
making mention of you. Gen 40:14, Isa 62:6, *+Rom 1:9, *1Th 1:2; *1Th 1:3, *Phm 1:4.
in my prayers. Gr. proseuchē (S# G4335, Mat 17:21). *Eph 3:14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19; Eph 6:18, Joh 16:24, Act 6:4, Php 1:4, Col 1:9, 2Th 1:11, 2Ti 1:3.

Paul encourages his readers to “be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.”

1 Corinthians 4:16
16  Wherefore I beseech you, be ye followers of me.
King James Version

1 Corinthians 11:1
1  Be ye followers of me, even as I also am of Christ.
King James Version

This Thanksgiving, we can all be thankful to God for all the blessings He has given to us.

Posted in Bible Study Tools, Daily Bible Nuggets, How to Study the Bible, Practical Application Bible Studies | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Daily Bible Nugget #597, Hebrews 5:12

The Nugget:

Heb 5:12  For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. (KJV)

Heb 5:11  We have a lot to explain about this. But since you have become too lazy to pay attention, explaining it to you is hard.
Heb 5:12  By now you should be teachers. Instead, you still need someone to teach you the elementary truths of God’s word. You need milk, not solid food.
Heb 5:13  All those who live on milk lack the experience to talk about what is right. They are still babies.
Heb 5:14  However, solid food is for mature people, whose minds are trained by practice to know the difference between good and evil. (GW, God’s Word translation)

Heb 5:11 Much more could be said about this subject. But it is hard to explain, and all of you are slow to understand.
Heb 5:12 By now you should have been teachers, but once again you need to be taught the simplest things about what God has said. You need milk instead of solid food.
Heb 5:13 People who live on milk are like babies who don’t really know what is right.
Heb 5:14 Solid food is for mature people who have been trained to know right from wrong. (CEV, Contemporary English Version)

My Comment:

The best way to learn something better is to teach it to others.

Of course, it helps to know something about a subject before you attempt to teach others.

When it comes to getting to know the Bible, the process of becoming a qualified teacher is actually quite simple to understand and then do.

In my experience, after becoming saved on November 7, 1953, I met a man, Fred Hicks, who was a painter by profession. He had outfitted one of his trucks as a mobile pulpit, which he drove to places where he could stop to preach the Word of God. He invited me to come with him several times to Campus Martius in downtown Detroit where he had a permit to conduct his street preaching. That was a new experience for me. I had the opportunity to talk to people about the Bible, about our Lord Jesus Christ, and about salvation.

About the same time I was encouraged to take a class under Mrs. Florence Key in teacher training so I could become a Sunday school teacher. I was given a class of junior boys in my own classroom. We were studying the book of Genesis. We had a lesson about the flood of Noah. I remember teaching the lesson, then studying the subject further using some books I checked out of the Highland Park Baptist church library. I learned enough from those books that I realized I needed to re-teach the lesson to my class. I believe that even fourth grade boys can become interested in the Bible and learn much more than most adults would suspect.

I continued to attend the Holiness Youth Crusade monthly meetings and was encouraged by the president of the local Methodist Youth Fellowship (MYF) to become a counselor to help those who came forward to give their lives to Christ. This became further training in the subject of soul winning and witnessing.

In the summer of 1954 I attended a vacation Bible school class for high school students taught by Miss Ellen Groh, then a student at the Detroit Bible College (later named Tyndale College) who became a missionary to Africa. This was a class about how to study the Bible. I was introduced to such Bible study tools as Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament WordsStrong’s Exhaustive ConcordanceThe New Topical Textbook, and The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge. I was taught various Bible study methods as we studied the book of 2 Timothy. I have placed many of those lessons on this site under the category found on the right hand side of this page, “How to Study the Bible.”

At high school, I was encouraged by the MYF president to join her in attending the Voice of Christian Youth (VCY) Bible club which met each Tuesday after school in room 666. I became a member of the quiz team, and our team won the city championship in the final quiz held at the VCY rally at the Masonic Temple. Our team decided to parcel out the Bible books to be studied which were to be the subject of the final quiz. I was given the book of James to study thoroughly. I think I just about memorized the whole book in preparation for the quiz. When I  recognized the question pertained to James, I immediately jumped up to answer the question. When the question was about 1 Peter, I sat back in my chair and relaxed to let another team member answer. The audience and the quiz master, Paul Veenstra, caught on. He stopped to encourage me to be ready for whatever question came next. A little embarrassing, but we still won!

By way of direct application, I must warn that Bible teaching comes with great responsibility. James warns us:

Jas 3:1  My brethren, be not many masters, knowing that we shall receive the greater condemnation. (KJV)

Jas 3:1  Brothers and sisters, not many of you should become teachers. You know that we who teach will be judged more severely. (GW)

Jas 3:1 My friends, we should not all try to become teachers. In fact, teachers will be judged more strictly than others. (CEV)

In today’s world, with access to the Internet and Facebook, many are posting Bible teaching for others to benefit from. This is a very good thing. But I have noticed from time to time that some are not entirely open to careful instruction and correction. Be very careful about this. If someone cares enough about your message to others to correct you when you are mistaken in your understanding, as I have sometimes done, take extreme care on your part to learn from the correction.

I am always open to correction. How about you? Don’t be afraid to leave a comment here!

Posted in Christian Living, Daily Bible Nuggets, Education Issues, How to Study the Bible, Principles of Christian Living | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Primary Source Evidence from the First Century and a Half from Non-Christian Sources for Christianity

There are some who deny that Jesus did the things recorded of Him as they are reported in the New Testament.

In a discussion thread in a Facebook group I was very recently invited to join, the question of the historicity of the New Testament accounts was raised. I claim the New Testament is comprised of 27 documents that are primary source evidence that document the history they record.

They come from the pens of authors who were there and observed those events, or authors who were closely acquainted with those who were there, or who carefully compiled the evidence available to them from others who in that day had written about these events or who participated in the events and told their story to the New Testament author (Luke, for example).

The claim sometimes made is that there are no books that Jesus wrote, and the New Testament books were written long after the events they record by persons who were not there to witness the events.

Back in 2007 I participated in a discussion about these same issues. Back then I cited a source I have in my personal library by C. R. Haines titled Heathen Contact with Christianity during its First Century and a Half.

Below is the record of what I posted in that discussion. At the time I typed a portion of this book so others could read it. This was a laborious task. I just discovered that I still have some of those files, so I am posting them here so others can learn about what this great Classics scholar, C. R. Haines, has written.

11/8/07 To Hopetx re C. R. Haines

Dear Hopetx,

I cited C. R. Haines as a reputable, scholarly source for information on the subject of his book titled [I]Heathen Contact with Christianity during its First Century and a Half[/I].

I gave a full physical description of the book and its contents in detail to demonstrate I was not dreaming up a source which does not exist.

While I used the common term “Xerox” to describe my copy, it was actually made by an earlier process which leaves a mottled background to each page, though the print is readable. It might not be scannable, though I have the (new, as yet uninstalled) software and scanner to put it in electronic format.

I have not had the time to check the Internet to see if this source is already on line somewhere.

I may have learned of this book through the bibliographical writings of Wilbur Smith. I asked Mr. Alec R. Allenson (a major library bookseller in Napier, Illinois) to find me a copy. He said he had a copy, and would loan it to me so I could make a copy of it. This was back in the late 1960s or early 1970s.

 

The Preface of the book states:

[quote]The present book is put forward as the first in a projected series of little works on early Christianity up to the end of the second century. They are intended to provide the student with convenient materials for the proper understanding of the relations that progressively subsisted between it and the Roman Empire.

If this volume is found satisfactory, and meets with success, it will be followed by a reconstruction of the anti-christian polemic of Celsus, to be succeeded by other volumes on the Early Apologists, the first authentic martyrdoms, and a General Sketch of the attitude of the Roman Administration towards the Christian religion, and in particular a separate treatment of the reign of Marcus Aurelius in this respect.

My best thanks are due to the Rev. F. A. Haines for kindly reading the proofs of this little work and making most valuable criticisms and suggestions.

C. R. HAINES

Petersfield,

September 1923

[/quote]

 

Dr. Wilbur M. Smith mentions this book by Haines very briefly in his 1973 book, The Minister in His Study, on page 48:

 

[quote]HEATHEN CONTACT WITH CHRISTIANITY

All theological professor and many ministers are asked if there were any references in secular literature to Christ and the Christian faith within the one hundred years during and following the apostolic period? There is one small volume of 120 pages that, as far as I know, is the only one that records all such references, in Greek and Latin literature, down to 150 AD. It is significantly entitled, [I]Heathen Contact with Christianity During Its First Century and a Half[/I], with the informing subtitle, [I]Being All References to Christianity Recorded in Pagan Writings During that Period[/I]. The author was C. R. Haines. Here you have both the original Latin and Greek texts, with excellent translations and adequate footnotes.[/quote]

I hope to come back to this thread and share more specifics from the book by C. R. Haines.

 

11/8/2007 Citation from C. R. Haines Introduction

 

I have just a little time to provide more information from Mr. C. R. Haines’ book. The nature of the copying process used for my copy makes it unlikely that it can be scanned. Its use of multiple languages, even in the discussion of the sources presented, makes it unlikely that I can transcribe into a post much of the content itself.

 

Nevertheless, from the section “Prefatory Notes on the Authors Cited Below,” which begins on page 7, I can cite the list of ancient authors whose material Mr. Haines provides:

 

  1. Lucius Annaeus Seneca (circa B.C. 5-65 A.D.)

 

  1. Epictetus (circa 45-120 A.D.), page 10

 

  1. Gaius Plinius Secundus, the Younger (circa 61-113 A.D.), page 11

 

  1. Marcus Ulpius Traianus (Emperor, 98-117), page 13

 

  1. Marcus Cornelius Tacitus (circa 55-120 A.D.), page 13

 

  1. Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus (circa 70-150 A.D.), page 15

 

  1. Publius Aclius Hadrianus (Emperor 117-138), page 16

 

  1. Phlegon (circa 80-140 A.D.), page 18

 

  1. Marcus Cornelius Fronto (circa 95-167 A.D.), page 18

 

  1. Titus Antoninus Pius (Emperor 138-161), page 20

 

  1. Marcus Aurelius Antoninus (Sub-emperor 147-161; Emperor 161-180), page 21

 

  1. Titus Flavius Domitianus (Emperor 81-96 A.D.), page 24

 

  1. Dio Cassius Cocceianus of Nicaea (circa 155-235 A.D.), page 26

 

  1. Publius Aelius Aristides (circa 120-189 A.D.), page 27

 

  1. Lucianus (Lycinus) of Samosata (circa 120-190 A.D.), page 28

 

  1. Apuleius of Madaura in Africa (circa 120-190 A.D.), page 31

 

  1. Claudius Galenus of Pergamos (circa 130-210 A.D.), page 31

 

  1. Graffito on the Palatine at Rome (circa 180 A.D.), page 33

 

  1. Numenius of Apamea (circa 170 A.D.)

I have given the page numbers to convey some indication of the amount of introductory discussion Haines provides for each author.

For number 18, which I selected because of its brevity, Haines states (as far as I can transcribe it on this keyboard, since I can’t transcribe the Greek, etc.):

[quote]The inscription, which was found in 1856, is scrawled on the plaster beneath a caricature which represents a figure with an ass’s head crucified, and a man raising his hand in adoration as he gazes upon it.(2) The caricature is supposed to have been made by one of the royal pages quartered on the spot and directed against a fellow page. Tertullian (3) tells us of a caricature showing a figure with ass’s ears and hooves, holding a book, with the inscription [in Greek, theos anokoitees] beneath it, which was exhibited by a renegade Jew in Carthage.

(1) In the Demus Gelatiana, where stood the quarters for the royal pages.

(2) Near by was found another graffito [I]Alexamenos fidelis[/I].

(3) [I]Apol[/I]. 16. See, for a similar figure, Champfleury [I]Hist. of Ancient Caricature[/I] p. 284 (1867) and Duruy [I]Hist. Rom[/I]. V 752 (Engl. Transl.)

[/quote]

11/9/07 Citation from CR Haines pp 7-9.

 

Just another tidbit for C. R. Haines from a website detailing potentially expired copyright:

 

http://www.kingkong.demon.co.uk/ccer/1923x.htm

 

[quote]Charles Reginald HAINES [M: c1867 – 1935 Aug 4]

Heathen Contact With Christianity During Its First Century… [n|1923]

 

[/quote]

 

I note on that website that a few titles are provided links to where they are available on line. No link provided for this C. R. Haines title.

 

Let me hand-transcribe just a bit from the first entry of the “Prefatory Notes on the Authors Cited Below” from page 7:

 

[quote][B]1. Lucius Anaeus Seneca (1)[/B] ([I]circa[/I] B.C. 5-65 A.D.).

 

The high morality of Seneca’s writings and their resemblance here and there in expressions and sentiments to the N.T. [New Testament] disposed certain of the Fathers to regard this Stoic moralist as almost a Christian. Tertulian, writing in the third century, does not scruple to style him [I]Seneca sepe noster[/I] (2), and Jerome (3) two hundred years later echoes his words. In consequence it has become a pleasing fancy that Seneca may have known St. Paul personally at the very end of their lives, which ran almost exactly parallel in time. It has been supposed that he gathered from St. Paul some knowledge of Christ and His teaching before they both perished at the hands of the same tyrant within a year or two of each other.

 

At first sight it seemed quite possible that he might have heard of the Apostle from his favourite brother M. Annaeus Novatus, who on being adopted into the family of the Gallios took the names L. Junius Gallio, and is the very proconsul of Achaia mentioned in the [I]Acts[/I](4). But on reflection it appears highly unlikely that

 

(1) Though Seneca’s knowledge of Christianity cannot be said in any sense to be established, yet the intrinsic interest of the question as to whether he was acquainted with it, and the striking personality of the writer must justify his insertion in this section of the Testimonies.

 

(2) [I]De anima[/I] 20.

 

(3) [I]Adv. Iovin[/I]. I 49

 

(4) xviii 12-18.

 

[end of page 7]

 

Gallio, who as an official took no cognizance of these things, whould have interested himself in the doings of an obscure and despised Jew.

 

However when St. Paul was brought as a prisoner to Rome and placed under the charge of Burrus, the prefect of the Praetorian Guard and Seneca’s close friend, it is not wholly impossible, though it cannot be called likely, that the philosopher and the prisoner were brought into contact. As Nero’s adviser Seneca may also have been present at St. Paul’s first trial and acquittal, in which case he could scarcely have failed to be struck with so remarkable a personality. It has further been suggested that Acte (according to Chrysostom a convert of St. Paul), whose amour with Nero was promoted, it is said, by Seneca, may have been the means of bringing the two men together. This is all that can be adduced in favour of the possibility of any personal contact between the Apostle and the philosopher. But it must never be forgotten that Seneca detested the Jews and called them a [I]gens scleratissima[/I]. (1)

 

Nevertheless it is undeniable that Seneca’s works contain a number of passages which recall parallel sayings in the N.T. A few of the most striking are here given (2). But in spite of their great superficial resemblance it is difficult to believe that Seneca could have been so familiar with Christian teaching and phraseology as these would seem [I]prima facie[/I] to imply. Moreover the vital question of priority in writing has to be considered, and few of Seneca’s works can be accurately dated. But while it is practically certain that in some

 

(1) See Augustine De Civitate Dei VI 2, from which passage it would seem that Seneca had never even heard of the Christian colony at Rome.

 

(2) The cumulative effect of quoting [I]all[/I] the parallel passages makes a much greater impression. See Lightfoot, [I]Philipp[/I]. pp. 268ff.

 

[end of page 8]

 

of the instances generally adduced Seneca was the earlier writer, yet it is noticeable, as Lightfoot (1) points out, that the resemblances become more frequent in his later works, a fact which calls for explanation. Ramsay thinks that “it is plain from his writings that Seneca had some slight acquaintance with Christian teaching,” but he overlooks the possibility that the diction and phraseology of philosophy, especially that of the Stoics, may have coloured St. Paul’s ideas and his mode of expressing them, and so assimilated them to those of Seneca. Still, besides the longer passages, the little similarities of expression are more frequent than we should expect under cover of this or any like explanation: as, for instance, [I]Isti ques pro felicibus aspicitis, si non qua occurrunt sed qua latent videritis, miseri sunt sordidi turpes ad similitudinem parietum suorum extrinsecus culti,[/I] compared with the “whited sepulchres” of St. Matthew (2), and further illustrated by Seneca’s subsequent words, “the counterfeit splendour covers a deep and real foulness”; and, again, [I]in ipso usu sui periturum[/I], by the side of [Greek,] [I]esti panta eis phthoran tee apoxreesei[/I]. The supposed reference to the Trinity is a mere coincidence of language, the work in which it occurs having been written too early to be indebted to Christian sources. The unfamiliar use of [I]caro[/I] (4) in the Christian sense of “flesh” as opposed to “spirit,” as in [I]omne animo cum hac carne grave certamen est[/I], derives from Epicurus (5). As the Christians were

 

(1) See his Essay quoted above p. 289. Professor W. M. Ramsey in The Church in the Roman Empire, p. 273.

 

(2) [I]De Provid[/I]. 6; Matt. xxiii 27.

 

(3) Seneca, [I]De Vita Beata[/I] 7; Coloss. ii 21.

 

(4) [I]Ad Marciam[/I] 24; see also [I]Epist[/I]. 65: cp. Galatians v 17.

 

[end of page 9][/quote]

 

I think the objectivity of C. R. Haines is very evident even in this short citation I have transcribed from his work.

11/11/07 More from CR Haines, Post 76 Thread 262851

 

Since the volume I have by C. R. Haines is not readily available, I trust no one will think it amiss if I transcribe more from this source. You will recall that I left off on page 9 in my Post 57, the last sentence of which continues on page 10. To make reading the text easier, let me cite the last partial sentence at the end of page 9 before giving material from page 10:

 

[quote]As the Christians were not[/quote] (end of page 9)

 

Page 10:

 

[quote]persecuted till the last year of Seneca’s life, the references to the [I]tunica molesta[/I] (1) and to the man who could smile under hideous torments (2) cannot point to the Christians.

 

That some of the [I]Gens Annaea[/I], to which Seneca belonged, became Christians in later times may be inferred from an inscription found at Ostia on the [I]Via Severiana[/I] (3) in 1887, the reference to the [I]Di Manes[/I] not militating against this.

 

[B]2. Epictetus[/B] ([I]circa[/I] 45-120 A.D.

 

As reported by Arrian, this Stoic writer does not use the term Christians, but he calls them “Galileans,” and perhaps in one place, like Plutarch and Lucian, “Syrians.” In some of his words and phrases he recalls the N.T.; but here again, as in the case of Seneca, it is not clear how far the Stoic background and the philosophic terminology generally were responsible for this. Besides the more important parallelisms there are many thoughts and turns of expression which echo familiar Scripture sayings, as for instance [Greek, my transliteration] kurie ele-ee-son (4), ei nomimos eethleesas (5), with which compare ean mee nomimous athleesee, and tis soi tauteen teen exousian edoke (6), oudeis amartanon eleutheros (7), and orkon paraiteesai (8).

 

There is [I]a priori[/I] much more likelihood that Epictetus, the slave of Epaphroditus, Nero’s freedman and

 

(1) [I]Epist[/I]. 14.

(2) [I]Epist[/I]. 78

(3) ‘D(is) M(anibus) M Annio Paulo Petreo M Anneus Paulus Flio Carissimo’

(4) Epict. II 7 12.

(5) [I]Ibid[/I]. III 10 8 and II Timoth ii.5.

(6) Epict. I 29 11 and Matt. xxi.21.

(7) Epict. II 1 23 and John viii.34.

(8) Epict. [I]Encheir[/I]. 33 5 and James v.12. See also Epict. III.1 26 = I Peter iii.3, 4; III 22 3 = Matt xxiv. 48-51; III 24 86 = Mark xi 12.

 

[end of page 10]

 

secretary, living too as he did to so much later a period, should have been brought into contact with Christianity than Seneca the [I]dives[/I] and courtier. If he was brought to Rome before 64, he as well as Seneca may have witnessed the cruelties suffered by the Christians in the Vatican gardens. (1)

 

(1) On the expulsion of the philosophers in 89 A.D. he retired to Nicopolis where Paul had perhaps passed the last winter of his life (Titus iii 12).

[/quote]

 

11/11/07 Still more from Haines, p 11-12, Post 79 Thread 262851

 

Dear Hopetx,

 

Thank you for your continuing patience and graciousness. You stated (post 76):

 

[quote]You think my concerns are ‘ludicrous” [/quote]

 

I know you read what I wrote most carefully. I did not say your concerns were ludicrous, only that your dismissing of the validity of C. R. Haines’ writing as not good enough evidence to be counted valid is ludicrous. I buttressed my assertion with direct links (to Amazon) to the fact that his writings are still published, even as you yourself had mentioned in a prior post. I pointed out that for anyone to get his writing or translation of classic literature admitted to the publication list of the Loeb Classical Library clearly establishes that person as a credible scholar. If you clicked on the book cover display that lets you view a portion of the book on Amazon, you would have noticed that the subject matter, the style, and the very page formatting is identical to what I have been posting from the out of print book, Heathen Contact with Christianity during its First Century and a Half, subtitled “Being all references to Christianity recorded in Pagan writings during that Period.”

 

Now for more actual discussion of the evidence from Mr. C. R. Haines, continuing with page 11:

 

[quote][B]3. Gaius Plinius Secundus, the Younger[/B] ([I]circa[/I] 61-113 A.D.)

 

With the famous correspondence between Trajan and Pliny we get the first clear reference to the Christians by name. Pliny had been sent out by the Emperor as [I]Legatus[/I] of Bithynia and Pontus to restore order in a province that had been suffering from lax administration. He was a lawyer, a financier, a polished Roman gentleman, and an intimate friend of the Emperor’s.

 

The Christians at that time were ranked in the category of brigands and disturbers of the peace, members of a body that set themselves in deliberate opposition to the unifying policy of the State. Pliny’s primary duty of restoring discipline in the province brought him before long into conflict with the Christian community of Amisus. He did not hesitate, naturally humane though he was, to deal summarily, in his capacity of Roman administrator, with the situation that arose there. A sudden outbreak of public feeling, caused apparently by the effect of a decay of temple worship upon certain trades, brought the whole question of the legality of Christianity to the front in an [end of page 11]

 

[page 12]

abrupt and violent manner. Pliny’s letter explains pretty fully what occurred.

 

It is quite a mistake to suppose that Trajan’s answer to Pliny established any new principle in dealing with the Christians. It only explained clearly for Pliny’s guidance what the standing law and usage were. But Trajan, as Pliny had evidently hoped and desired, without shewing the slightest intention of altering the legal status of the Christians, was at the same time unwilling to press the law against them. The mere admission that the accused was a Christian was sufficient, so long as a responsible accuser was forthcoming, to bring about his condemnation and death; but inconsistently enough, as Tertullian (1) later on was not slow to point out, the Emperor ruled that Christians must not be hunted out, as brigands and other malefactors, with whom they were graded, habitually and necessarily were. Yet the mere fact of their disobedience to authority and opposition to the imperial system was enough to justify the extreme penalty.

 

The account Pliny gives us of the Christian worship and manner of life is the earliest we have from the heathen side and, though ambiguous in one or two points, it is full of interest for us. We do not know how many persons suffered in this persecution. Some were sent toRome to be dealt with by the Emperor as Roman citizens, others were degraded from their rank (2), and many more were executed by Pliny. Probably there were between 100 and 200 martyrs (3), more,

 

(1) [I]Apol[/I]. I.

(2) Tertullian [I]Apol[/I]. I.

(3) The [I]Acts of Phocus[/I] bishop of Sinope place his martyrdom under Trajan, but the Governor of the Province is named Africanus.

 

[page 13:]

 

possibly, than under Nero or in the whole reign of Marcus.[/quote]

 

11/18/07 CR Haines p13-16 post 93 thread 262851

 

I did not mean for my last posts to be “thread killers”!

 

Now to continue from my last citation from C. R. Haines, Heathen Contact with Christianity during its First Century and a Half: Being all references to Christianity recorded in Pagan writings during that Period.

 

I left off, back in my Post 79, with the start of page 13. I continue transcribing the text from page 13:

 

[quote][B]4. Marcus Ulpius Traianus[/B] (Emperor 98-117).

 

Though we can gather from his letters to Pliny that neither by character nor principle was Trajan a persecutor of the Christians, yet we have much reason to suppose that Ignatius, bishop of Antioch, was thrown to the beasts by his authority in Rome itself. The prisoners sent by Pliny to Rome to be dealt with by the Emperor were doubtless beheaded by his orders. Nor were these the only martyrs under Trajan. Symeon bishop of Jerusalem and cousin of our Lord, fell a victim a few years before. Polycarp in his Letter to the Philippians (1) mentions Zosimus and Rufus in association with Ignatius. The martyrdom of Phocas above referred to is more doubtful. The Acts of Sharbil and Barsamya (2) evidently belong to the reign of Traianus Decius, as the mention of Fabianus the Roman bishop shews.

 

[B]5. Marcus Cornelius Tacitus[/B] ([I]circa[/I] 55-120 A.D.).

 

As we know from Pliny’s letter to Tacitus describing the elder Pliny’s death, they were on friendly terms and Pliny assisted the historian with materials for his work. We may therefore with some confidence suppose that Tacitus heard of his predecessor’s experience with the Christians in the Province, where it appears that Tacitus succeeded Pliny in the command. Moreover, as [I]consul suffectus[/I] in the year of Domitian’s death, he must have known all about his persecution of the Christians and Nerva’s milder policy towards them (3).

 

(1) Ch. 9.

(2) Lightfoot [I]Ignat. and Polycarp[/I] I 66 f.

(3) It has been thought by some that Tacitus may have drawn upon the [end of page 13] elder Pliny’s [I]Histories[/I] (from Claudius to Vespasian) now lost. See Batiffol [I]The Credibility of the Gospel[/I] 36. Engl. Trans.

 

[page 14:]

 

But in what he has to say about the Christians under Nero he is noticeably hard and unsympathetic. He takes their guilt for granted, terms their religion a pernicious superstition, calls them enemies of the human race, and implies they deserved their fate. Unless he had more and better things to say of them in his lost Books, we cannot credit him with any real knowledge of them or their belief. Nor in what he does say can be we sure that his account has not been coloured by the standpoint of the Roman world towards Christianity when he wrote at the end of Trajan’s reign.

 

From what we learn from Pomponia Graecina in the extract given here it seems pretty clear that she must have been a Christian (1), though this cannot be said to be absolutely established. We know that several of the [I]Gens Pomponia[/I], holding high positions in the State, were Christians by the end of the second century. De Rossi has suggested that Pomponia Graecina may have received the name [I]Lucina[/I] at her baptism, and be in fact the Lucina, on whose property was situated a cemetery on the Quirinal Hill near the Catacomb of Callixtus, where members of the [I]Gens Pomponia[/I] and the [I]Gens Caccilia[/I] were buried.

 

The third passage, relative to the Council of War held by Titus at the siege of Jerusalem, has been recovered from the pages of Sulpicius Severus by the acumen of Bernays. It gives the substance, though [end of page 14]

 

(1) Wandinger in his tract on Pomponia suggests that her acquittal in her husband’s court was due to the [I]flagitia[/I] laid to the charge of Christians not being proved against her, and that, as Christianity was not yet distinguished from Judaism, she escaped under the privilege accorded to the latter as a [I]religio licita.[/I]

 

[page 15:]

 

doubtless not the precise words, of what Tacitus wrote, and is valuable as shewing that the distinction between Jew and Christian was clearly recognized by that time.

 

[B]6. Gaius Suetonius Tranquillus[/B] ([I]circa[/I] 70-150 A.D.).

 

Critics are not agreed whether in the first extract [I]Chresto[/I] stands for [I]Christo[/I] or not. Chrestus was a common name, especially among slaves. On the other hand [I]Chrestiani[/I] was the vulgar form of [I]Christiani[/I] (1). The Sinaitic MS ([I]pr. manu.[/I]) spells it so in Acts xi 26, and we have seen above that the word was probably so spelt by Tacitus.

 

Orosius (2) quoting this passage of Suetonius says “ait hoc modo, [I]Claudius Iudaeos impulsore Christo adsidus tumultuantes Roma expulit[/I], quod ultrum contra Christum tumultuantes coerceri et comprimi iusserit, an etiam Christianos (3) simul velut cognatae religionis homines voluerit expelli, nequaquam discernitur.”

 

The second extract given below is of some importance owing to its position among sumptuary and police regulations, such as a prohibition against disorders among charioteers, made by Nero. It is clear from this that action against the Christians, which must have followed closely upon the fire, was not based on any regular judicial process by means of a [I]quaestio[/I], but was of the nature of summary jurisdiction ([I]cognito[/I]). Such remained still the case under Trajan and after. The trial of Christians did not come before a constituted Court, but was conducted, in right of his power of [I]coercitio[/I],

 

(1) See Justin, [I]Apol[/I]. I 4.

(2) VII. 15.

(3) It is unlikely there were many Christians in Rome so early as 50 A.D. There were probably a few. [end of page 15]

 

[page 16:]

 

by the [I]legatus[/I] or proconsul of a province, or by the [I]praefectus urbi[/I] at Rome.

 

The rest of the quotations from Suetonius refer to Domitian’s persecution, and though the Christianity of the victims is not expressly stated, it is fairly certain that Flavius Clemens, and possible that Acilius Glabrio also, were converts to Christianity, and that Clemens was put to death not only for suspected treason but also for his adoption of a new religion. As his sons were heirs designate to the Empire (1), this must have opened out an unwelcome prospect for the future. With respect to Cerialis and Orfitus, mentioned with Clemens, the case is not so clear. Some converts from Judaism of the humbler classes (2), by being counted as Jews owing to their being circumcized, may have suffered incidentally under the harsh and degrading regulations of the [I]Fiscus Iudaicus[/I] (3).

 

(1) Suet. [I]Dom[/I]. 15.

(2) See Juvenal below p. 98.

(3) Suet. [I]Dom[/I]. 12.

 

Posted in Apologetics Issues--Agnosticism, Apologetics--Christian, Bible Historicity and Validity | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Daily Bible Nugget #596, Acts 16:31

The Nugget:

Act 16:31  And they said, Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved, and thy house.

My Comment:

On Saturday, November 7, 1953, this Bible verse (Acts 16:31) was indelibly written on my memory. I was participating in a regional Bible quiz contest, and the question I answered wrong was “The words ‘Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved’ are found in the Gospels.” I answered, “True.” The correct answer was “False.” So I did not win the Bulova watch that evening at the Detroit Institute of Arts auditorium monthly meeting of the Holiness Youth Crusade.

Earlier that day, though, while delivering my Detroit Shopping News paper route, I was thinking about all the things I had read about in the New Testament in preparation for the contest that evening.

I suddenly realized that I had never personally directly come to Jesus Christ in faith believing for my own salvation. I crossed the street in the middle of the block and paused to pray while folding my next newspaper under a young oak tree in front of a home on Lumpkin street. After a short moment in prayer, with no one in sight that gray, cool November morning, I continued my route, whistling the tune of the Gospel song, “Now I belong to Jesus, Jesus belongs to me, not for the years of time alone, but for eternity.”

I did not then know the location in the Bible of the words “Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved,” but I did understand and knew the location of the words from John’s Gospel found in John 5:24,

Joh 5:24  Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that heareth my word, and believeth on him that sent me, hath everlasting life, and shall not come into condemnation; but is passed from death unto life.

It took me from August, 1953, until November, 1953, to read through the New Testament two and a half times. Reading the New Testament daily for that length of time totally changed my life.

If this has not happened to you as of yet, I invite you to do as I did, and come to a full assurance of faith in our Lord Jesus Christ such that you, too, know for sure that you now have eternal life and will be with Christ forever.

Posted in Bible Promises, Daily Bible Nuggets, Practical Application Bible Studies | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Should we expand the Supreme Court and eliminate the Electoral College?

The Nugget:

Proverbs 29:2  When the righteous are in authority, the people rejoice: but when the wicked beareth rule, the people mourn.

My Comment:

A. What the wicked intend (in their own words):

(1) Expand the Supreme Court

“The Senate just confirmed Trump’s far-right nominee to the Supreme Court. I won’t lie, this is a dark day for our country. But there is a way out: we have to expand the court.

The stakes are enormous. Just yesterday Mitch McConnell made it explicit when he said “A lot of what we’ve done over the last four years will be undone sooner or later by the next election. They won’t be able to do much about [confirming Barrett] for a long time to come.”1

But he’s wrong. Expanding the Supreme Court is the way we can protect our democracy, our rights, and our way of life. It is how we stop Trump’s values and policies from dominating our country long after he’s left office. And done right, it can prevent Republicans from responding in kind. Now is the time to tell Congress they must expand the court.” (email from Demand Progress.org, Tuesday, 10-27-2020 at 12:17 pm)

More from the letter:

The constitution gives Congress the power to decide the size of the federal courts. In the past, the Supreme Court has varied in size, sometimes having less than nine members and sometimes having more.2

When Jimmy Carter was president, he signed into law the largest expansion of the federal courts in history.3

With a 6-3 majority, the far right is lining up cases that they will push to the Supreme Court. Barrett is poised to be part of a new majority that will rule on abortion rights, corporate power, contraception, immigration, gerrymandering, and the 2020 election itself.

We cannot just sit back and watch as the Trump majority on the Supreme Court destroys decades of case law and reinterprets the constitution in a far-right way.

Expanding the courts doesn’t mean Republicans will automatically do the same thing — and can help end partisan fighting over the courts. As Jamelle Bouie wrote in the New York Times recently:

“The promise of retaliation can bring a new equilibrium. Expand the court, nullify the conservative advantage — show that all of the games and scheming were in vain — and you may create the space for an acceptable compromise around the scope and power of the judiciary.”4

If Congress doesn’t fight back, they will let Trump and Mitch McConnell tilt our federal court system to the radical right for a generation or more. But after the election, Congress can tip the scale back into balance by adding more seats to the Supreme Court.

Congress needs to do its job — and its duty — to stop the right-wing assault on our courts and prevent Trump and McConnell from sabotaging the next president.”

Sources:
1. The Guardian, “‘They won’t be able to do anything about this’: McConnell revels in Barrett supreme court vote,” October 25, 2020.
2. KIRO, “Supreme Court: Changing number of justices not a new idea,” October 9, 2020.
3. The American Prospect, “What Joe Biden Can Learn From Jimmy Carter,” June 28, 2020.
4. New York Times, “Oh, Now You Believe in Norms,” October 13, 2020.

 

(2)  The Electoral College

I received an email on Monday, October 26, 2020, from Adam Schiff regarding the electoral college with the heading: “If you’re ready to change our current Electoral College system and work towards implementing a national popular vote, add your name to Adam Schiff’s petition.”

In the letter, he writes:

“Donald Trump has upended our democratic norms, dismantled the guardrails meant to protect our democracy, and broken laws left and right.

And when Trump is out of office, we’ll need to work to restore and protect our democracy so that there is never another president this destructive. We also need a different GOP, that will not enable such lawlessness and will end it’s cult of personality around the president.

That’s why I’m in favor of doing away with the Electoral College system.

This antiquated system of determining the winner of our presidential elections is as outdated as it is deeply flawed. Since 2000, two winners of the popular vote — both Democratic candidates — lost the presidential election due to the Electoral College. And Donald Trump’s chances at reelection depend on eking out another Electoral College victory, while losing the popular vote by millions.

There’s something fundamentally wrong with the fact that a person who achieves less votes can go on to win and govern 330 million Americans.

There is a growing movement across the country to replace the Electoral College with a national popular vote. In the new system, the winner would be the one who gets the most votes.

It’s that simple: One person. One vote. Winner has the most votes. Period.

Change like this won’t be easy, and won’t come overnight. But if we build enough public pressure for a national compact or constitutional amendment, we can come closer to a more perfect union.

— Adam Schiff
U.S. Congressman, CA-28”

B. What the righteous must know and do:

It is clear to me that the Democrats want to change the United States of America from a Republic to a Democracy. Democrats must have forgotten their high school civics and American history lessons. Our founding fathers were absolutely against democracy. Expressing the problem of a democracy in modern terms and simple language, a democracy is two wolves and one sheep voting what to have for dinner. Note that in a pure democracy the rights of minorities are subject to the whim of the majority.

In the first letter cited above, democrats openly state that they want to “pack” the Supreme Court. They must be somewhat ignorant of American history, for this was tried before, and ultimately not well-received. I see it as yet another instance of the Democrat political party revealing publicly their continuing “sore loser” status.

One of the things I remember from the civics class I took was the principle that “To the victor belong the spoils.”

That is why winning elections is important.

That is why every vote counts.

That is why if you stay home and do not vote you are by default voting for what you do not want—the “other team.”

The letter from Adam Schiff contains a number of logical errors–mistakes in thinking. I’ll call attention to just one:  what President Carter did has no relevance to packing the Supreme Court. He did not pack the Supreme Court.

The Electoral College was instituted by the framers of our Constitution for a reason: it ensures that voters who live in less populous states still have a vital say about policies that affect them. At the time, this remarkable innovation was necessary to secure the cooperation of the southern states as well as the smallest and least populous states. Without the Electoral College, politics would be controlled by two or three of the largest or most populous states and the rest of the country would not have a voice in the election of the President or anything else.

Sound reasoning requires that we not change our fundamental institutions as set up by our founders in the Constitution lest we lose even more of our liberties they were most anxious to secure against the overreach of a large central government. Even the Bible reminds us, “remove not the old landmark” (Proverbs 23:10).

The Constitution is not a “living document.” The Constitution is meant to be understood literally and in conformity to what its words meant at the time of its writing and in terms of the intentions of the founders. I just lately finished reading a book by Richard Proctor, Saving the Constitution. Available from or in bookstores everywhere in the US, this remarkable volume expounds each word and line in the Constitution in plain English. I consider this a “must read.”  At this time, the most recent appointment to the Supreme Court is a person who is known to agree with what is sometimes known as the “originalist” principle of interpretation of the Constitution and of law in general. Judges are not entitled to legislate from the bench. With this appointment, those who rightly favor the rule of law not the rule of men may rightly rejoice.

By the way, the principle of original intent and literal interpretation applies to interpreting the Bible as well! I discuss this in detain in the October 2010 Archive found listed to the right. There you will find my important listing of 24 rules of correct interpretation to guide your study of God’s Word. The Bible is indeed a “Living Document” (Hebrews 4:12) that will bring life to the believing reader, but God’s Word never changes.

 

 

Posted in Politics and the Bible | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments