Do We Have the Original Text? Some Optimism in Textual Criticism

textual criticism

Over the last few decades, the world of textual criticism has had a less than an optimistic feel about it.  While the central purpose of textual criticism has traditionally been the recovery of the “original” text (regardless of whether one is dealing with the New Testament or any ancient text), some are now suggesting that it should not necessarily be the goal of the discipline.  Bart Ehrman, commenting on the attempts to recover the original text, declares, “It is by no means self-evident that this ought to be the goal of the discipline…there may indeed be scant reason to privilege the ‘original’ text over forms of the text that developed …

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Does the Entire Biblical Canon Have Seven Sections?

biblical canon

There are so many historical details to manage in the study of the NT and OT canon, that it is often difficult to step back and get the big picture. Scholarly energies are typically preoccupied with whether a certain church father cited a certain biblical book, and thus the entire biblical collection is rarely viewed as a completed whole.

In short, we tend to study the canon one book at a time.  But, as Walter Brueggemann observed regarding this approach, “That is problematic because one never gets a sense of the whole of the Bible” (Creative Word, 5).

When we take that step back, and examine the overall …

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No Holy Spirit, No Scripture

Holy Spirit

There is an abiding perception in the Christian world that Reformed folks do not talk much about the Holy Spirit.  If you want to be in a church where the Holy Spirit plays a key role, so it is argued, then you will need to go in a charismatic or pentecostal direction.

If one is interesting in speaking in tongues or hearing modern-day prophecies, then I suppose this perception may be somewhat accurate.  But, this does not mean that Reformed folks do not talk about the Spirit.  On the contrary, the history of Reformed theology demonstrates a keen interest in the work and ministry of the third person of the …

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The Most Important Passage in the Whole of Scripture

Book of Romans

As I mentioned in a prior post here, I have been teaching a weekly Bible study on the book of Romans to women in the Charlotte community.  For the last several months, we have been plodding our way through the first three chapters as Paul has laid out his case that all mankind–Jew and Gentile–are sinful and rightly under the judgment of God.  Paul finishes this section of his letter with this monumental statement: “For by works of the Law no human being will be justified in his sight” (Rom 3:20).

You can almost hear the gavel fall with a boom.

Thankfully, Paul does not end his …

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