Monthly Archive for August, 2009


Anthropology – the study of man saying, “I’m sorry.”*

Ephesians 5:28
In the same way, husbands ought to love their wives as they love their own bodies. For a man who loves his wife actually shows love for himself.

Ephesians 6:4
Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger by the way you treat them. Rather, bring them up with the discipline and instruction that comes from the Lord.

*Shallow Thoughts brought to you by Jeff at Scripture Zealot

R.T. France On Translating Gender In Matthew

Matthew 4:19 NIV
“Come, follow me,” Jesus said, “and I will make you fishers of men.”

Matthew 4:19 France
He said to them, “Come and follow me, and I will send you out to fish for people.”

This famous verse is one of the most difficult in the NT to translate satisfactorily in a way which reflects modern sensitivity to the ‘exclusive’ effect of a generic masculine. Not only has the traditional masculine phrase ‘fishers of men’ become firmly entrenched in Christian usage, but any nonmasculine rendering also loses the echo (in English, not in Greek) of the preceding clause, ‘for they were fishermen.’ Nevertheless, the attempt must be made if we are to avoid the sort of misunderstanding which reputedly caused Fishing for Men (a paperback on evangelism) to be listed among recent publications in the Angling Times, while a young woman of my acquaintance was disappointed to discover that the same paperback was not a guide to dating. Simply to add ‘and women’ invites the response, ‘What about children?’ I adopt the TNIV rendering as the least unsatisfactory.

–R.T. France, Matthew, footnote on pg 144

Matthew 5:22-24 TNIV
But I tell you that anyone who is angry with a brother or sister will be subject to judgment. Again, anyone who says to a brother or sister, ‘Raca, ‘ is answerable to the Sanhedrin. And anyone who says, ‘You fool!’ will be in danger of the fire of hell.
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you,
24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to that person; then come and offer your gift.

The ‘brother or sister’ (adelphos) of vv. 22-24 is probably to be understood as a fellow disciple rather than a literal family member, a similar concern with good relationships among fellow disciples will be the theme of the fourth discource in ch. 18, where the term adelphos will recur in Matthew 18:15, 21, 35; cf. Matthew 12:46-50 for the concept of Jesus’ ‘family’ of disciples. It would, however, be pedantic to suggest that Jesus’ ruling applies only to relations with fellow disciples and not to people in general; Matthew 5:44-47 suggest otherwise.

–R.T. France, Matthew, pg 200

How To Be A Cool Biblioblogger

  1. The title of your blog should be in Greek or Hebrew. Preferably Greek. Then most people can’t read it and you feel superior.
  2. Call people out. If you disagree with something someone said on another blog, make a post of your own and write about all the things you disagree with. This gives you the upper hand and makes you feel superior.
  3. Call scholars by their casual first names. Even if you know them, this is cool.
  4. Talk about how awful sinners are. Then you can be glad you aren’t like them.
  5. Switch themes often. This is the opposite of brand awareness. It gives you something to do when you need to waste time and keeps your readers on their toes because they forget who’s blog they’re reading until they look at the title again.
  6. Write very short posts. Most people have the attention span of a gnat. This make things easier for you and doesn’t burden your readers with anything substantial.

Antelope Sticking Tongue Out

Photo © Jeff at Scripture Zealot

Going Dark Today

Today I’m off the Internet. I have scheduled posts to show up today ahead of time. So I won’t be able to respond to any comments if there are any. See you tomorrow.

Do you think Matt. 18:19-20 is about corporate prayer?

I think it’s about church discipline, as does Adam Clarke (old) and R.C. Sproul.

so a number of persons united together in warm, earnest, cordial prayer, is highly pleasing in the sight and ears of the Lord. Now this conjoint prayer refers, in all probability, to the binding and loosing in the preceding verse; and thus we see what power faithful prayer has with God!

–Adam Clarke on Matthew 18:19

Some think it’s an idea that breaks off the context into a wider scope like Matthew Henry (old) and Bryan Chapell for example. What do you think? If you think it’s about general prayer, how is it relevant? If you don’t, are there other passages that would convey this idea? I think James 5:16 would be the closest I can think of.

In any case I don’t think there are necessarily “strength in numbers” aside from the other benefits of group prayer like being encouraged, learning of new ideas of how to pray for the person you’re praying for, getting to know other people by how they pray, etc.

Matthew 18:15-20 HCSB
“If your brother sins against you, go and rebuke him in private. If he listens to you, you have won your brother.
16 But if he won’t listen, take one or two more with you, so that by the testimony of two or three witnesses every fact may be established.
17 If he pays no attention to them, tell the church. But if he doesn’t pay attention even to the church, let him be like an unbeliever and a tax collector to you.
18 I assure you: Whatever you bind on earth is already bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth is already loosed in heaven.
19 Again, I assure you: If two of you on earth agree about any matter that you pray for, it will be done for you by My Father in heaven.
20 For where two or three are gathered together in My name, I am there among them.”

Sunday Photo: Anchors


Hebrews 6:17-20
17 God also bound himself with an oath, so that those who received the promise could be perfectly sure that he would never change his mind.18 So God has given both his promise and his oath. These two things are unchangeable because it is impossible for God to lie. Therefore, we who have fled to him for refuge can have great confidence as we hold to the hope that lies before us.19 This hope is a strong and trustworthy anchor for our souls. It leads us through the curtain into God’s inner sanctuary.20 Jesus has already gone in there for us. He has become our eternal High Priest in the order of Melchizedek.

Photo © Jeff at Scripture Zealot

Quote of the Day: Biblical Analysis

When I read commentaries I often wonder if the commentator sometimes goes too far in analyzing what the Biblical author was saying and the form and structure they were supposedly using to say it.

I always keep in mind the idea below. It was nice to see it articulated in this way as I read it a few days ago. I like the part at the end about amazing its author.

There is a sense that any analysis of any book of the Bible is an imposition. The biblical writers did not use headings and sub-headings, let alone chapters and verses. They present their material with no modern aids. Presumably, however, they knew what they wanted to say, and, evidently, did not write in a totally random manner. By all means let us seek to illumine the main shape of their argument. but let us constantly beware of the danger of imposing on any book a rigid pattern that would amaze its author.

–Michael A. Eaton, Ecclesiastes

Ecclesiastes by Eaton

Good News Bible Online

I found a web site with the Good News Bible. This is an often neglected  translation. Gordon Fee referred to it fairly often as is “other” go to translation as did F.F. Bruce with the NEB.

For looking up passages I find it easiest to browse using the left column. This site has book introductions, cross references where you see the arrow and a note where you see a star (*). Plus it’s formatted as it would be in a paper version. I would like to get a paper version of this translation since BibleWorks doesn’t have it. Not that I need another Bible.

If you’re unfamiliar, the GNB is also often referred to as the GNT (Good News Translation) and was formerly the TEV.

“In 1992 the ABS issued a revision of the Good News Bible with gender neutral language, and in 1995 it published the Contemporary English Version, a very similar version which is apparently meant to replace the Good News Bible.”

Good News Bible

Professor Horner’s Bible Reading Plan

I’m not familiar with this system. I’m passing along the links to the explanation of the system and a two part interview with a couple of guys named Tom and Rick who are friends of a guy named Brett. Even if you aren’t serious about using the plan, the posts are very interesting.


He is on Facebook and I found this link to a PDF file which you can download that has all the information on the reading plan.

Tim Challies wrote an encouraging post titled Ten Chapters Per Day if you’re interested in reading more about it.

Also read:
Professor Horner’s Bible Reading Plan by Pastor Brett

Santa is mean

“You better not pout, you better not cry, you better not shout I’m tellin’ you why, Santa Claus is coming to town!”

What terrible news! What kid is not going to do these things? According to this no kid deserves any presents.*

The good news is:

John 3:16-17 HCSB
For God loved the world in this way: He gave His only Son, so that everyone who believes in Him will not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world that He might judge the world, but that the world might be saved through Him.

John 6:37b HCSB
the one who comes to Me I will never cast out.

*Shallow Thoughts brought to you by Jeff at Scripture Zealot

I need constructive criticism

I hope this isn’t too much and isn’t confusing. What I’m asking is for suggestions on how I could have responded to Emily at 12:24 in a more constructive way. I thought I did but then I was told she is the one who knows what people should do and that my tongue is death. I get so tired of people responding to suffering in this way and I thought I was being half way decent.

I’d like to know how I might better handle these people. (Emily just replied today.)



In the comments to the post

Scripture of the Day

we have:


god is good,how quickly we forget.i,m out of a job due 2 the economy,i just need for my basics to be met, lightbills husband is doing the best he can it is not enough


Then there are other comments which weren’t very helpful which I replied to. I think wrote this post:

Am I being too harsh?

Then back to the original post I get another comment with a platitude.


The name of the Lord is a strong tower. He is our provider…no job that you could ever have will provide like he will. He will never leave us nor forsake us and he knows our needs and situations before we ever do. Start speaking those things that are not as though they are and you will see what he is capible of. Instead of telling God how big your situation is….start telling your situation how big your God is. He is faithful all the time.

God Bless

to which I replied:

Scripture Zealot

Emily, nice comment but again I wouldn’t assume what people are or aren’t doing.


Here is the rest:

  1. Emily


    I was not assuming at all just trying to encourage and after reading the very first posting:

    god is good,how quickly we forget.i,m out of a job due 2 the economy,i just need for my basics to be met,housenote/trucknote/lightbills husband is doing the best he can it is not enough

    The part that says “my husband is doing the best he can it is not enough” basically is saying what her situation is so I was just saying instead of speaking that it is not enough….tell her situation how big her God and start speaking that he needs are met. Be careful what you speak out of your mouth because the power of life & death is in the tongue and we can cause damage if we are not careful.

    Jeff I was speaking to myself also in saying this, it should go for all of us. So before you blast somebody that is trying to be of encouragement to someone else, think before you speak and remember once again…life & death are in the tongue!

  2. 13 Scripture Zealot

    ” Instead of telling God how big your situation is….start telling your situation how big your God is.”

    You were reading a lot into her situation and what she is and isn’t doing. All she was saying is that financially her husband’s job isn’t enough right now. She also said that God is good. A platitude isn’t going to do much good for her right now. Job’s friends had plenty of them.

    See this post:

    Am I being too harsh?


  3. 14 Emily

    Jeff – I am not going to argue with you. Once again it was not an attack on anyone just simply trying to encourage another child of God and I don’t understand why you felt like I was calling her out in a negative manner or see fit to start a dispute with me. You should take that encouragement to, as well as her, & even myself. Everyone should take that and use it, it is very helpful and speaks volume in reminding us that God is greater than any situation we may face whether it be financial, relationship, family…etc and he is in control if we allow him to be.

  4. 15 Scripture Zealot

    OK then. I know you were trying to help.


Marketing Slogans for the TNIV Translation

TNIV – the bad boy Bible. Hated by Piper, Sproul and MacArthur enough for them to mention it in their sermons!

TNIV – not your father’s Bible

TNIV – we like chicks

TNIV – the best Bible you’ve never heard of

TNIV – Christianity’s best kept secret

TNIV – we catch the flack so the NLT doesn’t have to

The NIV is yesterday’s Bible; use the TNIV

TNIV marketing: work smarter, not harder

Any others?

Book Aquisitions

I’m going through France’s commentary on Matthew. There is a very truncated introduction because the commentary is already 1200 pages long and he wrote a previous book called Matthew: Evangelist and Teacher which he expects you to read. So I checked out An Introduction to the New Testament: Contexts, Methods and Ministry Formation by David A. deSilva from the library for the second or third time. Since I had book money I decided to finally just buy it. My little library is sorely lacking in reference materials. This came highly recommended by Mike Aubrey and others and since I was able to take a look at it I knew I would like it. It was “A 2005 Gold Medallion finalist!” One of the things I really like about it is it “integrate[s] instruction in exegetical and interpretive strategies with their customary considerations of authorship, dating, audience and message”. (added emphasis)

deSilva New Testament Introduction

Our group Bible study is going to be studying Ecclesiastes, which was my suggestion so I’m very glad about that. I already had Eaton’s Ecclesiastes and decided to spend another whole $6 and by Kidner’s (used) just to get another look. I may do a brief comparison at some point. I found that I like the NLT Study Bible’s treatment of Ecclesiastes better than the ESVSB mainly because the NLTSB is more thorough with more quantity of helpful information. I love Ecclesiastes and love it even more now.

I’ve been “learning” Greek using Croy’s beginning grammar book. I had been thinking it might be nice to get Black’s and/or Mounce’s just to get a well rounded treatment and possibly help me learn some things better by having them explained differently. I’m a NetGalley reviewer and requested Black’s Learn to Read New Testament Greek. After I requested it I saw that it’s only for teachers. But they sent it to me anyway. And not a galley but the book with the workbook! So I thought in order to do a good review of it, I might as well get Mounce’s Basics of Biblical Greek Grammar to do a good comparison of all three. In reading some of the Amazon reviews of the Mounce I see that it’s good for people who are self teaching. I did not know that as Johnny Carson would say. So I’m looking forward to all of this. I’ll say that the Black book is beautiful. You’ll see a review of that in the future.

Learn To Read New Testament Greek by Black

After Matthew I’ll be going through John with the help of Carson’s The Gospel According to John: An Introduction and Commentary (Pillar New Testament Commentary).

I think that brings my slowly growing library to well over a hunderd (sic) books. I bet you’re jealous. My library is smaller than yours and I’m content (Phil 4:11-13).

Philippians 4:13

One of the most overused, misquoted verses. I notice athletes quote this all the time. By itself of course. And it’s always the successful ones.

I came across this and liked it.

My Top 10 Reasons for Philippians
Matt Chandler

9. It gave me a chance to remind everyone that Philippians 4:13 isn’t about playing sports, making the team, or being successful in business.

Philippians 4:11-13 TNIV
I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. 12 I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. 13 I can do all this through him who gives me strength.

Couldn’t the elders and angels in Revelation do something useful?

In Revelation we read over and over again about how those in heaven fall down and worship God. When I was reading Revelation I was sarcastically thinking, “Couldn’t they do something useful? (See the recent post on doing and serving.)

Doing and serving is important. TC talks about actions in a legitimate way. Knowing TC, he’s not talking about this as the main thing without putting the utmost importance on knowing God through Bible reading and prayer.

To know that God gave us the Bible and to say that doctrine and theology aren’t important is the height of arrogance.

I have a collection of quotes on the importance of doctrine, theology, Bible reading, prayer and the benefits of spending time with God. Some of them may be repeats.

The growth of ignorance in the Church is the logical and inevitable result of the false notion that Christianity is a life and not also a doctrine; if Christianity is not a doctrine then of course teaching is not necessary to Christianity.

–Gresham Machen, Christianity and Liberalism

THIS BOOK contains the mind of God, the state of man, the way of salvation, the doom of sinners and the happiness of believers. Its doctrines are holy, its precepts are binding, its histories are true, and its decisions are immutable. Read it to be wise, believe it to be safe and practice it to be holy. It contains light to direct you, food to support you and comfort to cheer you. It is the traveller’s map, the pilgrim’s staff, the pilot’s compass, the soldier’s sword and the Christian’s charter. Here paradise is restored, heaven opened and the gates of hell disclosed. Christ is its grand object, our good is its design and the glory of God its end. It should fill the memory, rule the heart, and guide the feet. Read it slowly, frequently, and prayerfully. It is a mine of wealth, a paradise of glory, and a river of pleasure. It is given you in life, will be opened in the judgement, and will be remembered forever. It involves the highest responsibility, will reward the greatest labour, and will condemn all who trifle with its sacred contents.


It was only yesterday, after laying down the Bible, that I wondered what kind of mind I would have had if I had not the Book of God, the Book containing the astounding idea of ‘from everlasting to everlasting,’ the development of all that is worth knowing … One would think, that as I have critically and, I think, devoutly read and examined every verse, every word in the Bible, some a score of times over, I should not require to open the pages of that unspeakable blessed Book. Alas, for the human memory! I read the Bible today with the same feeling I ever did, like the hungry when seeking food, the thirsty when seeking drink, the bewildered when seeking counsel and the mourner when seeking comfort. Don’t you believe all this? For alas, I read it sometimes as a formal thing, though my heart condemns me afterwards … I am yet astonished at my own ignorance of the Bible!

–Robert Moffat


There is something about the Bible that can instill confidence in God in a way that nothing else can. God speaks to our hearts through his Spirit, and we come into closer relation to him.

–G.K. Beale, 1-2 Thessalonians

We can accomplish more by time and strength put into prayer (and bible study) than we can by putting the same amount of time and strength into anything else.

–R.A. Torrey

Make up your mind that you will put some time every day into the study of the Word of God. That is an easy resolution to make, and not a very difficult one to keep; if the one who makes it is in earnest. It is one of the most fruitful resolutions that any Christian ever made. The forming of that resolution and the holding faithfully to it, has been the turning point in many a life. Many a life that has been barren and unsatisfactory has become rich and useful through the introduction into it of regular, persevering, daily study of the Bible. This study may not be very interesting at first, the results may not be very encouraging; but, if one will keep pegging away, it will soon begin to count as nothing else has ever counted in the development of character, and in the enrichment of the whole life. Nothing short of absolute physical inability should be allowed to interfere with this daily study.

–R. A. Torrey, introduction to the New Topical Textbook.

When I really enjoy God, I feel my desires of Him the more insatiable, and my thirstings after holiness the more unquenchable. And the Lord will not allow me to feel as though I were fully supplied and satisfied, but keeps me still reaching forward.

–David Brainerd

If you approach the Scriptures with all humility and with regulated caution, you will perceive that you have been breathed upon by the Holy Will. It will bring about a transformation which is impossible to describe. You will perceive the delights of the Blessed Bridegroom; you will see the riches of Solomon. The hidden treasures of eternal wisdom will be yours. Yet I would caution you. The entrance to this abode of wisdom is narrow. The doorway is low, and there is danger in not stooping when you enter.

–Erasmus, The Handbook of the Militant Christian