Friday, May 27, 2022

Hitting the Wall in the Marathon and in Your Greek Studies

It's not a myth. I'm talking about the famous "wall" you hit during a marathon race. You encounter it normally around mile 20 or 21. It's been my experience in almost every single one of the 18 marathons I've run to this date. The wall is not a myth. And it hurts. It really hurts. 

This means that you have to mentally prepare yourself for it. Ya gotta be ready for it so that you can push through it and finish well. 

Well, this summer my students have been running a marathon of their own as they navigate the 26 chapters of my beginning grammar. Today we will be in "mile" 22. 

My message to them?

  • It's okay to hit the wall.
  • It's okay to feel tired.
  • It's okay to feel some pain.
  • It's okay to slow down a bit.
  • It's okay to rest.

But it's NOT okay to quit unless you absolutely have to.

I think the wall is related more to mental preparation than to anything else. After my first marathon in Cincinnati, I realized I could push through the discomfort and fatigue. You just have to prepare for discomfort and be ready to fight.

Thus far my students are absolutely nailing their race. I could not be prouder of them. Only one more week to go and they will have learned everything they need to know in order to be able to translate their Greek New Testaments. What a prize. 

Keep your eyes on the goal, my friends!

Thursday, May 26, 2022

Upcoming Apologetics Conference

 So this week I asked my Greek students to read a short little book on textual criticism. 

There's no point in pretending that the book is anything but the briefest of introductions to an extremely important topic. I really don't recommend it to anybody unless you're really having a very hard time falling asleep. Much better would be to attend if possible a discussion of such matters in person, and this very thing you can do this fall at the Clearview Apologetics Conference, in which we will take up the question, "Can we truly recover the 'original text' of the New Testament?" Details may be found here. Hope to see you there. 

Right Here, Right Now

What a wonderful day and age in which to be living. We have abundant opportunities to eat well, to breathe clean air, to exercise and be active. This morning I enjoyed an hour workout at the local Y here in Wake Forest. Then this afternoon I got in a 4 mile run at the local park that now boasts this new civic center. 

Raleigh ranks as the healthiest city in North Carolina and is number 38 nationwide. In 2021 it was ranked number 12 as the best place to live in America. What a blessing I so often take for granted. 

While running I was thinking about the state of the nation and the state of the church and how this is a day and age that calls for tremendous courage. To honor and love someone, even a fellow Christian, doesn't mean that you always have to be in relationship with them. Sometimes one has to detach -- with love. Sometimes the loving thing to do is to close the door. This does not dishonor the relationship. It is to honor it. And it doesn't mean that we don't pray for them. If we really believe in intercessory prayer, we can fast and pray for somebody. We still love them in the truth of Jesus Christ. 

Again, I feel so HONORED and BLESSED and HAPPY to live in this great country of ours. I don't want to live anywhere else. I want to live right here, right now, along with all of you who are living out your faith in the midst of a perverse and corrupt generation and who, despite the tremendous confusion in culture and even in the church, are living wisely and well and are being to faithful to the life Christ calls you to. My simple prayer is this: 

O Father, help us to let Christ into the muck and mire of this world. For only he can pull us out of it. 

Bless you, each one of you. In Christ you have everything you need. 

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Supper Time

More farm fresh gifts from the fam.

Bok choy and green onions plus some more broccoli. Time to cook me up some stir fry! 

Tuesday, May 24, 2022

Yet Another Book Endorsement

This time by Peter Gurry. Dr. Gurry teaches New Testament at Phoenix Seminary. Thank you, Peter!

For years I have searched in vain for an affordable copy of Sturz's work on the Byzantine text. It was an important contribution to the field when written and is still referenced. Its arguments need to be taken seriously especially with the renewed appreciation for the Byzantine text in our day. I am delighted to see this reprint and look forward to reading it. 

Joyner Park Run (for My Sanity)

Been sitting down in my office all day. Not good. Time to run a few miles at Joyner Park. 

I had a rush of gratitude wash over me. It was delish. Hope your week is going well!

Tomorrow in Greek Class: Participles!

Tomorrow is a very big day. We will learn the Greek participle! There are 6,662 participles in the Greek New Testament. Of the 7,941 verses in the New Testament, 4,277 of them contain participles. 1 Cor. 7:30 has 6 of them! Participles affect exegesis in numerous ways, not least in the interpretation of this famous warning passage. 

Can't wait to discuss! 

Bill Warren on Harry Sturz's Book

Bill Warren directs the Center for New Testament Textual Studies at New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary. We have now received his endorsement of Harry Sturz's forthcoming reprint. 

When considering how the Byzantine text stream should be analyzed within New Testament textual criticism, Harry Sturz is one of the primary advocates for a more balanced weighing of the textual stream, with his work serving as a great primer on the arguments in favor of a thorough weighing of the Byzantine readings. This work likewise serves as a good introduction to the overall views of those who support the Majority text, although Sturz actually calls more for an equal weighing of the different textual streams versus only picking one of the options, even if that means not picking the Majority text reading. His case is against what is often the practice of New Testament textual critics, namely the dismissal of Byzantine readings as secondary. Whether one agrees with Sturz's arguments or not, his call for a fairer evaluation of the Byzantine readings is very appropriate. This is the case especially since the application of the Coherence Based Genealogical Method has shown the wisdom of a fairer evaluation of the Byzantine readings as some of those readings are now being accepted into the modern critical text. 

Thank you, Bill! 

Sunday, May 22, 2022

Marine Corps Historic Half 2022 Race Report

Hey guys! Do you have time for a quick race update? This was the third time I've run the Marine Corps Historic Half Marathon in Colonial Fredericksburg. It was the best ever! If it wasn't clear before how much I love half marathons, I think it will be after this report. With everything else going on in the world these days, I felt extra grateful for this blessing today.

The event kicked off last night with, of course, some carbo loading at a restaurant just south of Fredericksburg. 

It was called "Angela's Italian Restaurant" and I was served by Angela herself. Olive Garden, eat your heart out! Then it was off to the convention center to pick up my race packet and bib. 

To say that excitement was in the air would be a major understatement. Most of us were soooo ready to be back to "quasi-normal" when it came to our race schedules that it isn't even funny. I was up bright and early this morning to get in a warmup before the race. 

The temps were not nearly as bad as I thought they would be, but the humidity was off the charts. I knew then and there it would be a long day. After a while, everyone began to descend upon the starting line. 

I can't give you an exact figure, but there were literally hundreds and hundreds of runners in today's race. Once in place, it was "hurry up and wait." 

Time always seems to drag when you are ancy to get moving! Despite the humidity we all started out faster than I think was very wise. 

It wasn't long before we were dripping wet from head to toe. 

I slowed my pace to accommodate the weather, and before long I had fallen into a relaxed and rhythmic pace along with a couple dozen other runners who were going about as fast as I was. 

This was my view after 6 miles. 

We were still running strong though we were really feeling the humidity. Not to worry -- the Marines to the rescue just in the nick of time!

Before long we were running through Fredericksburg proper. 

The oldest surviving structure in Fredericksburg dates to 1737. It was fun running through the city's 40-block National Historic District. If only we could have stepped into one of its shops and cooled off a bit!

Here's what's called the "Blue Mile." 

It commemorates service men and women who were killed in action. At this point you're probably losing more water in tears than in sweat. The "Blue Mile" ensures that America's military heroes are honored and remembered. Amen!

Next, you ask? Yessiree, the dreaded Hospital Hill. This is where it starts. 

I ended up racing this guy to the top. (He won.) 

After that, there were only a couple more miles to the finish. These two Marines jumped in and paced me to the end. 

You guys were AWESOME! THANK YOU! 

After you cross the finish line, you're met with a bunch of (SEMPER) High (FI)ves! 

Thank you for being out here! 

At this point there was only one thing left to do. Never did a sirloin taste better.

Overall, I had a great race and a reminder that:
  • You can't control the weather but you can control your pace.
  • Not every race has to be a PR.
  • Bad things like Covid happen but they don't last.
  • Starting out too fast is way too easy. 
  • The Marines are awesome.
I can't thank the Lord enough for making all of this possible.

Saturday, May 21, 2022

Happy (Hot) Summer!

Hey guys! Just wanted to wish all of you a wonderful (and sunny) start to the weekend. Y'all have any fun plans coming up? This morning, after my Bible time, I went to the gym and had a light workout. 

After all, tomorrow is the big race. A couple of days ago I got a text from the race director. 

This is NOT the kind of text message you want to get right before a half marathon. Since my half marathon PR is 2:27, I had planned to go out with the 2:30 pace group. However, looks like I might not even finish under 3 hours. Which is A-OKAY. That's just part of life. 

Does the summer heat ever affect your plans? Don't forget to take in water and electrolytes! 

Friday, May 20, 2022

The End of a Perfect Week

Got back to the farm and saw we have two new baby goats. Welcome to the farm y'all!

The last load of hay for the day. 

And thus a perfect week comes to an end. 

Thanks be to God. 

Getting Older

Is not an option. Becoming elderly is. 

Third Declension Nouns Are Amazing!

Today we will learn the third (and final) declension in the Greek language.

Whoop whoop. Many of my favorite Greek nouns belong to this declension, including my all-time favorite: charis ("grace"). 

Years ago, after I had had bought Becky a new Honda Odyssey, we were at the DMV to get her a personalized licence plate. Although she was struggling with cancer at the time, she wanted a license that said:


Of course, this is an allusion to the great hymn "It Is Well with My Soul." Because that hymn was so popular, the best we could do was:


But I think most people got the point. While we were at the DMV, I decided I would also get a personalized license plate for my car. So I spelled out the Greek word for "grace" on a slip of paper and handed it to the receptionist. She scratched her head when she saw the following five English letters:


She said, "You really want ex, ay, pee, i, and cee?" I said, "Yes, if that's possible." I couldn't believe it when she did a search in her database and told me, "I'm sorry, sir, but that licence is already taken." No way! What to do now? "Okay," I said, "let's try XAPITOC." (That's the word "grace" in the Greek genitive case.) She looked down at her computer, then looked up at me and said, "I'm sorry, but that's also taken." Not to be deterred, I said, "Well, then, let's try XAPITI (the dative case)." Amazingly, that word was taken too.

At that point I gave up :-) 

Today our vocabulary will include such words as blood, Spirit, name, mouth, body, water, light, hope, flesh, hand, husband, witness, father, nation, mercy, end, high priest, scribe, resurrection, knowledge, faith, woman, and mother. Not a bad selection, eh? 

Thursday, May 19, 2022

Today's 10K Run

Today's workout was at the Neuse River Greenway again. 

I did an easy-peazy 10K (6.2-mile) run. 

I would have gone farther but the Real Feel was 95 and I thought it best to turn around after 3 miles. 

The heat didn't seem to phase the local deer. 

Or this family of geese. 

Anyhoo, I had the BEST run today. Yes, it was hot, but that's exactly the kind of weather needed for this week's half and next month's ultra. Both races will be in the heat. The key is to (1) wear light-colored clothing, (2) pick a shady route if possible, (3) accept the fact that your pace will be slower than usual, (4) drink often and early, and (5) avoid the heat of the day -- which I didn't do. I will run in almost any kind of weather, though ice and lightening are deal-breakers for me. I'll try to tough out most anything! 

Course Map for the Marine Corps Half This Weekend

I admit it. I am super excited about this weekend's Marine Corps Half Marathon in Fredericksburg. I'm joining the ranks of those who will completely ruin their quads on the downhill before struggling up Hospital Hill to the finish line. 

I know I'll be delirious to be done. Let me know if you're running this race. I'll look for you at the starting line. 

Stanley Porter on Harry Sturz's Book on the Byzantine Text-Type

Stanley Porter is President, Dean, and Professor of New Testament at McMaster Divinity College. 

Recently he sent along his endorsement of our forthcoming book:

The Byzantine text-type has again come to the fore in text-critical discussion, so it is also time to consider again the arguments of Harry Sturz for its independence and early date. Sturz's book provides a clear and methodically precise argument for the viability of the Byzantine text-type as one of the early text-types of the Greek New Testament. As a result, he threads his way between those who have too quickly dismissed it and those who have heralded it as the earliest and most reliable. Sturz's arguments deserve to be read and considered. I applaud the publishers for bringing this book back into print. 

My thanks to Stan for his kind endorsement. The book should be available May 31. 

Wednesday, May 18, 2022

Big Day in Greek Class!

Big day today in Greek class! We finished the entire indicative mood! 

Time for a review and an exam, then we move on to participles, infinitives, etc. To all students who are taking summer school wherever you may live:

  • Rejoice in the Lord's faithfulness.
  • Praise him for what he has accomplished thus far.
  • Thank him that he is able to do what you cannot do.
  • Entrust your every care to him today. 

It's not eloquence he seeks. It's faithfulness.