Coptic is a form of Egyptian written using Greek letters with some letters brought in from Demotic. It is important for the textual criticism of the New Testament because it (along with Latin and Syriac) is one of the earliest languages into which the New Testament was translated. In addition, there is a rich history of early Christian sources that were either written in or translated into Coptic. (For example, my own interest in Coptic stems from the fact that one of the earliest manuscripts of the Didache is a Coptic Fragment from around the 5th century.) Continue reading
Here is a short review of Roland Allen’s classic book, Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours? (Paternoster, 1912). (You can find it for free on archive.org.)
Allen (1868-1947) was an Anglican missionary to China who was forced to leave because of the Boxer Rebellion. He subsequently wrote several books on the topic of missions, including Missionary Methods: St. Paul’s or Ours?, and The Spontaneous Expansion of the Church and the Causes which Hinder It (1927). In both of these books he looks to the church in the book of Acts for inspiration for modern missions. Continue reading
A few months ago I re-read Seven Marks of a New Testament Church, by David Alan Black. Since he is my doctoral supervisor and I worked for him for four years, this was not my first time hearing his ideas. However, I was looking for some reading on the church, and thought I would read it since I hadn’t yet read the book from beginning to end. Here are a few brief thoughts: Continue reading
I recently had a conversation with a few brothers about the relationship between the Holy Spirit and education in biblical interpretation, and wanted to follow up on it with a few thoughts.
The Scriptures teach that because of our sinfulness, we need the Holy Spirit to help us understand the Scriptures rightly. This teaching comes from 1 Cor 2:14: “The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit” (NIV). The question is, how does the Holy Spirit help us understand the Bible? Continue reading
The world’s a pretty big place, that’s for sure. There’s so much we don’t know. I believe that. However, I do think you have to make a choice at some pretty important junctures because the ways of thinking and living diverge. Some ways of living and thinking sharpen one’s grasp on reality and lead to well-being, and other ways of living and thinking lead to confusion and a decrease in well-being (if not for ourselves, than at least for those around us).
For me, one important juncture is whether reality is out there to be discovered, or whether it’s all just our own interpretation. If it’s really there, if meaning and purpose are really there, then we can adjust ourselves to be more receptive to it. If it’s all just an interpretation, then there’s no standard outside of myself to which anything I can do can be judged. Continue reading
You’ve worked your way through most of your introductory grammar and will be moving on to reading the Greek New Testament soon. Congratulations!! You’ve really come a long way in the past year!
You will probably find it helpful at this point to have access to some online Greek NTs that have parsing available so that you can reference them as you get started diving into the text. Here are the three best ones that I am aware of:
GNTReader.com is my own go-to. It is the simplest to use and looks the best. You can get parsing by clicking on each word, and for most words there are some limited definitions and cross references. Continue reading
[May 17th, 2018 marked 10 years since Lois and I were married. What follows is some reflections that I jotted down while we were away celebrating.]
We found an absolutely fantastic little cabin near Youngsville, NC, and have had the very best time simply spending time together without the kids. I don’t think it’s an exaggeration to say that this is even better than our honeymoon (which was really nice), and that leads to what I want to write today, namely some reflections on our ten years of marriage. God has blessed me beyond what I deserve, and I want to make a big deal about all of his kindness to us, as well as to set down some thoughts that might be encouraging to those who are looking forward to marriage, or are closer to the beginning of their marriages. Continue reading
The meaning of the Greek perfect tense has become a matter of huge debate in recent years. When I began my Greek studies with Mounce’s grammar (2nd ed.) about ten years ago, I learned that “The Greek perfect describes and action that was brought to completion and whose effects are felt in the present” (p. 225). This is a pretty standard explanation, and represents something of a “traditional” view among Greek grammarians. For example, BDF say that “[t]he perfect combines in itself, so to speak, the present and the aorist in that it denotes the continuance of completed action” (§340; cf. A. T. Robertson, Grammar, 892–3). Continue reading
Just a thought: one can be a good pastor despite his ignorance of the Biblical languages. However, no one can be a good pastor because of his ignorance of the biblical languages.