Friday, September 30, 2022

Peter Gurry's Post on Byzantine Priority

Peter Gurry's latest blog post about the Byzantine text is phenomenal. 

Let the conversation continue! 

And yes -- in answer to several queries -- Abidan Shah and I do plan on publishing the papers from the conference. 

Heart Wrenching News from Milwaukee

As you know, today I would have been in Milwaukee getting ready for the Milwaukee Marathon on Sunday but the race was cancelled at the last minute. Seeing how I was going to be in the area, my former doctoral student and now colleague Paul Himes invited me to speak at his school near Milwaukee. I would have been speaking there twice today had not my travel plans changed. Hopefully I can visit his school at some other time. Meanwhile, Paul shared with me the tragic news that Benjamin Reimers, one of his former students, was killed in a traffic accident when a vehicle sped into a crowd of pedestrians. 

His sister Emily miraculously survived. This Sunday their church will be holding what Paul is calling a Community Outreach where Emily and her father will speak and the gospel will be presented. Emily and her parents have already met with the young lady (and her parents) who struck and killed their son and offered their forgiveness. Also, a GoFundMe page has been set up to help the family defray the costs associated with their son's death and their daughter's hospitalization. Will you please join me in praying for God to use this tragedy for his glory and for the church to be able to clearly share the love of God with those who do not yet know Christ? Here is a link to the newspaper report about the accident. And here is the link to the GoFundMe page should the Lord lay it on your heart to support the family at this time. Thank you. Dave 

New Poll

Do you love Greek? Choose one:

1) YES


Book Announcement: Paul's Thorn in the Flesh

Forthcoming this year from Lexham Press:

I really like this book. Just sent them this endorsement:

Some problems of New Testament interpretation are difficult. Others seem intractable. The identity of Paul's thorn in the flesh is an example of the latter. Churchill might have called it a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma. But not to fear. In his latest book, Kenneth Berding has left no stone unturned in his quest to discover the most probable solution to this mystery -- and his conclusion might well surprise you. With Churchillian bulldogedness, Berding has faced a perennial crux of interpretation head on and has succeeded magnifectly. Don't miss this book! 

Reflections on Lifting by a Septuagenarian

Am I ready for the Allalinhorn next summer in the Alps? No. But I'm getting there. Now that I'm 70, my main goal/philosophy is to do what I can and not get injured. "Train harder than last time" is not always an option in the simplistic way some coaches on YouTube espouse, although clearly the principle of progressive overload is a well-established, scientifically-proven approach that I follow. Remember, you get fitter and stronger when you are resting, not when you're exercising. I usually get a solid 8 hours of sleep every night. Last night, however, I slept for 8.5 hours. The night before I slept for 9.5. Your body knows how much sleep it needs. Sleep is just as important as getting bigger or getting ripped. I just wish I had started this process 40 years ago. Thankfully the Lord didn't allow me to abuse my body all these years. My goal these days is to go hard but make sure that I stop before complete failure so I don't mess myself up. I also know that I will never be the bodybuilder type, so just being semi-lean is my total goal. There are too many variables on why I can't get big -- genes, age, height, lower testosterone levels, constant cardio, etc. You have to train hard even at 70, but you also need to know your limitations or any injuries from the past that might affect your workouts. I know that my goals will change over time. But the Allalinhorn? Haven't given up on that dream yet. I also enjoy running, racing, sports in general, plus guitar and piano playing, farming, reading, writing, teaching , etc. I can't thank God enough for his help. I really liked today's upper body workout. 

It's no nice that the Lord has given us bodies to care for. 

That gives me motivation and reassurance to continue what I'm doing and to refine it down to an art form. 

No need to overcomplicate things. Just keep plugging away at it. It might take a few years to achieve your goals. That's okay. 

Thursday, September 29, 2022


If you could sit down for an hour with one New Testament scholar, famous or not, who would it be? 

Who Is Your Closest Friend?

Who is the first person you call with good news? 

Weight Training Versus Cardio? Or Both/And?

Been watching YouTubes on the subject of lifting versus cardio. One guy in particular has me rolling on the floor. There's something about a massive dude speaking passionately about doing cardio that makes me happy. I'm not sure about the science. All I know is that cardio workouts are healthy even if they are really not that effective at weight loss. I have been running for 7 years now and I feel so much better than before. Higher strength levels, higher energy levels. I don't think I could ever go back to just not exercising. I do think that diet is the primary thing you have to work on when losing weight. But exercise -- strength training, endurance training, cardio training -- these are the keys to a long life that feels good. This afternoon I played basketball for 2 hours with this guy at a local park. We tried to beat each other at the most consecutive baskets made. 

Ty works at the Y that I attend. He is a basketball freak. I have never seen anybody do what he can do with a basketball. Here's a shot he made by throwing the ball under his legs. 

We both had a great workout. 

Weight control is all about long term consistency, and in the vast majority of cases the best "cardio workout" for you is simply the one you're most likely to stick with over the long term. This could mean traditional cardio training like the treadmill or the exercise bike, or it could mean outdoor exercises like walking, hiking, running, cycling, tennis, basketball, etc. Just use your common sense to make sure your cardio is not interfering with your recovery between weight training workouts. Just choose whatever activity you enjoy! 

"Anonymous" Does NOT Equal "Unknown"

"The beginning of wisdom is the definition of terms." -- Socrates.

You may have wondered why so many people are utterly confused about the subject of the authorship of Hebrews. Often you'll hear them say, "We can never know who the author is because, after all, the letter is anonymous." 

Well, so are the four Gospels. And yet we call them "Matthew," "Mark," "Luke," and "John" do we not? There are two letters in the New Testament that are formally anonymous. They are Hebrews and -- can you guess? First John. First WHAT?? If the letter is anonymous, how in the world can we refer to it as First John

Hebrews always circulated in the early church as a Pauline epistle. It was never considered a general epistle. Our earliest manuscripts place it right after 2 Thessalonians and before Paul's pastoral epistles and Philemon. Finally, just read Hebrews chapter 13. You will discover that the readers knew exactly who the one writing to them was. 

The point? Just because a writing is formally anonymous does not mean that we can't know who the author is. "Anonymous author" does not necessarily mean "unknown author"! 

The opening of Hebrews in p46. 

My New Cardio Workout

Today I tried something brand new at the gym. I did a dumbbell cardio workout. I am really looking forward to doing more of these. Here's the routine:

  • Arm circles (warmup)
  • Dumbbell goblet squat
  • Dumbbell running in place
  • Dumbbell deadlift
  • Dumbbell bent over row
  • Dumbbell swing between legs

I am loving this 40-minute workout! 

Have a lovely Thursday everybody.

P.S. A few pics:

Wednesday, September 28, 2022

Heb. 2:3-4 and the Authorship of Hebrews

Hebrews 2:3-4 is often used as a proof text against the Pauline authorship of Hebrews. However, "confirmed to us by those who heard them" is no argument against Pauline authorship inasmuch as Paul had not heard Jesus during the latter's earthly ministry. Hebrews 2:3-4 does not speak of initial impartation of the message (cf. Gal. 1:12) but of confirmation. Thus Paul, an apostle himself, could refer to specific traditions that he had received secondhand (please see 1 Cor. 11:2 and 15:1). Andrew Pitts and Joshua Walker ("The Authorship of Hebrews," Paul and His Social Relations, eds. Stanley E. Porter and Christopher D. Land [Leiden: Brill, 2013] p. 182) write, "So, on the assumption of a Pauline original for the speech to the Hebrews, Paul seems to be communicating that after having received his message from Jesus, it was confirmed by the apostles and also through signs and wonders."

The argument against the Pauline authorship of Hebrews based on Heb. 2:3-4 should be put to rest permanently. 

Why Is It?

That weeds grow faster than grass. Ugh. 

Tolle Lege

The aim of this blog is that of William Tyndale -- "to cause the plowboy to know the Scriptures." 

I hope to convince you that the Bible can be understood by anyone willing to put in the work. What a difference it would make if all God's people could get a hold of some basic techniques and principles of Bible study. The Bible is practical, readable, and applicable. I know of nothing else like it. 

Take up and read. 

Wednesday Is for Weights

Just a few pics from today's easy workout. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2022


Focus on progress, not perfection. 

The "Consensus" View

During my seminary days at Talbot, and well into my teaching career, I adhered to the Alexandrian Priority View (also called Reasoned Eclecticism). All of my Talbot profs held to this view. Moreover, as I recall, very little was said in my New Testament classes about the different approaches to textual criticism. The consensus view was the consensus view. All one needed to do to retain favor with the academy was to adhere to this consensus. 

There is nothing wrong with a consensus view per se. But "majority rule" in New Testament studies can be a very dangerous thing. Don't stop thinking for yourself. 

Spews for Views

The fitness industry on YouTube is out of control. "Get Bigger Arms in 22 Days!" How about we tell people the TRUTH: "Get Bigger Arms in 22 Weeks." Or, "Here Are Some Good Exercises to Train Your Arms." But nobody clicks on those videos. 

More honesty in training advice would be really, really nice. 

The Price of Ignorance Is Too High

Today I'm writing the introduction to my essay on textual criticism for the conference book. 

Don't think that it's easier to ignore textual problems than to deal with them. It's not. Did Jesus forbid all anger or only unjustified anger? Did he claim to be on heaven and on earth at the same time? Did he command us to "Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature"? Is the story about Jesus forgiving the adulterous woman authentic? Should 1 Tim. 3:16 read "God was manifested in the flesh" or "He who was manifested in the flesh"? 

It requires strength and daring to face these questions head on. I think we pay a huge price for ignorance in such matters.

Thank God for the Holy Spirit

The Williams New Testament knocks it out of the park again. 

This was my morning reading. I was in Gal 5:1-6. 

And how does Williams render verse 6? "For in union with Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor the lack of it counts for anything; but only faith that is spurred on to action by love." Notice: "that is spurred on to action." This represents the voice of the Greek perfectly. Christianity is not only a life of faith. It is a life in the Spirit. And it is the Holy Spirit in us -- and the Holy Spirit alone -- who produces good works of love. 

The faith that saves is a faith that issues forth in love -- always!

Today Was Leg Day

This was today's workout. 

You don't have to exercise like anyone else. Just find your own routine and stick with it. For me, this means upper body strength training every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. Tuesdays and Thursdays are for leg training. Today I also ran 5 miles on our local trail. 

After I got home I cooked this meal for lunch. 

No single workout can change your life. But a whole series of them can. 

Monday, September 26, 2022

Application Is the Crowning Step

If there's one thing every speaker at this weekend's conference emphasized it was this: We need to follow through with application

We need to ask the Lord to give us the desire and determination to put our knowledge of textual criticism into practice. 

Dear friend, ask for the Lord's enabling. Applying the Scriptures in our lives should not be attempted in our own strength. Our walk as Christians must be lived in the power of the Holy Spirit. We must be sure that in the entire process of doing textual criticism we are relying on the Spirit to guide us. 

We need to ask him to show us areas in our lives where application is needed and then ask him to work in us to bring about changes in our lives that will make us more Christlike. Application is the crowning step in exegesis. 

Knowing which reading is original is essential, but blessing comes from doing what the Bible says. As Johann Bengel wrote in 1742:

"Apply yourself wholly to the text, and apply the text wholly to yourself." 

Physical Stamina

Creates mental stamina. We are psychosomatic creatures. Work both body and mind. 

One Strike of the Chisel at a Time

Had a great workout at the gym this morning. Every day is not a new day. It's the culmination of our habits and routines. Greek student, it's one strike of the chisel at a time. Don't ever give up. 

Sunday, September 25, 2022

He Did It!

Today at the Berlin Marathon, Eliud Kipchoge lowered his marathon record to 2:01:09. 

That is completely amazing. Kipchoge is possibly the best athlete who ever lived. I am not worthy of sharing the marathon course with him. What an inspiration, our greatest hero in the marathon! 

The 2022 Clearview Apologetics Conference

As you all know, the Clearview Apologetics Conference was held yesterday and today in Henderson, NC. 

In all honesty, it was one of the most delightful conferences I've ever had the privilege of attending and participating in. It was like having your cake and eating it too. I really did enjoy the presentations by my colleagues Abidan Shah, Maurice Robinson, and Peter Gurry. 

Here's Maurice promising to never again make a joke about beardless men. 

For me, the best part of the conference was chatting with people during the breaks, as with this young man who was so passionate about the study of the Greek New Testament it put me to shame. 

I also appreciated the fact that so many really good questions were asked doing the Q & A sessions. I love the idea of having people text their questions to the moderator who then passed them on to us. 

All in all, the speakers and presentations were informative and touched on subjects that are important to all followers of Christ. There was a ton of great info, but what stuck with me the most were:

1. New Testament Textual Criticism is as much an art as it is a science. 

2. If God's word is to be "a lamp to my feet and a light to my path" (Ps. 119:105), I need to to able to discern whether the better attested reading is found above or below the line in my Greek New Testament.

3. Now more than ever I want to leave behind as my legacy a generation of Bible students armed with the ability to "correctly handle the word of truth" (2 Tim. 2:15).

4. I was so excited to see that John Meade and Peter Gurry's new book is now out. May it have a long and happy life! 

5. Every speaker emphasized the fact that the only way to experience authentic Christianity is through a firsthand acquaintance with the Bible. Don't just let a friend or a YouTube video tell you what the Bible says. Read it and study it for yourself. 

That is exactly my prayer now that the conference is over. Each of the speakers is now preparing his talk for publication, because the hope is that one day these papers will see the light of day as a published book. Each of us will try to explain what we believe is the best approach to the subject of textual criticism, but in the end our prayer is that this conference -- and the book to come -- will open the door to a deeper understanding and more obedient application of the word of God, not only for this generation, but for all that are to come. 

I want to offer my deepest thanks to Clearview Church and it magnificent staff for being such great hosts. An extra-large bundle of gratitude goes to pastor Abidan Shah for leading his congregation with such courage and humility. Pastors never lose face by telling their people, "I don't know. But I'll try to find out." 

Friday, September 23, 2022

Pre-Conference Dinner

Tomorrow's conference actually began tonight with a pre-conference steak dinner in Middleburg, NC, hosted by Clearview Church. 

It was so good to see my old friends Maurice Robinson and Peter Gurry again, as well as my former assistant Abidan Shah. 

Each of these three scholars has a Ph.D. in New Testament Textual Criticism. I am so eager to sit at their feet tomorrow. I have much to learn from them. "As iron sharpens iron, so one man sharpens another."

John 1:1 in English and Spanish

This morning my English version of choice was Wuest. His paraphrase of John 1:1 is simply magnificent:

In the beginning the Word was existing. And the Word was in fellowship with God the Father. And the Word was as to His essence absolute deity.

In the Greek, the verb usually translated "was" occurs three times but each time with a slightly different nuance, which Wuest brings out nicely. My go-to Spanish version -- La Biblia de las Américas -- does so as well. 

I'm so impressed with the Spanish here.

Off to work outdoors all day on this perfect fall day! 

Don't Shy Away From It

I'm not a huge fan of pullups, which is why I've started doing them. 

The funny thing is that after doing them for a while you really start liking them. What in your life are you learning to like or even love because you didn't shy away from it?

Thursday, September 22, 2022

All Is Well

After all these years of living on the farm, the night sky still amazes me. 

The animals have been fed and all is well with the world. Enjoy your evening wherever you are! 

Chasing Down Your Dreams

Stay present. Chase down your dreams. Enjoy the beautiful challenge. It's all a part of the journey. 

When a Small Decision Turns Out to Be a Major One

Have you ever made a "small" decision that turned out to be one of the most important decisions you ever made with the most significant consequences? Here's a photo taken when I was about to become a student at Biola. 

As you know, it was in my senior year that I dropped out of my beginning Greek class after just 3 weeks. I had left Hawaii 4 years previously because I had wanted to major in Bible. But because I couldn't handle Greek, it looked like that dream was coming to an end. As I began contemplating changing my major to Christian Education (where Greek was not required), I stumbled upon Moody Bible Institute's correspondence Greek course. Apparently something clicked, because 4 months later I had passed both Greek 1 and 2 and was able to take Greek 3 and 4 that summer. A year later I was hired to teach Greek at Biola.

When I dropped my Greek class, I could have easily dismissed my desire to graduate as a Bible major. I am so grateful I didn't. Sometimes we tell ourselves that the little decisions in life don't matter when actually they turn out to be extremely important ones. If I hadn't explored other options, I probably never would have had the opportunity to become a Greek teacher. The more I look back on that decision, the more I see the hand of God in it. Above all, I learned that God is a good Father who is intensely interested in the desires of our heart and the dreams that reside deep inside of us. 

Are you facing an important decision in your life? Be sure to take it to the Lord in prayer, and don't overlook the fact that his answer might well come in the form of a decision that you think is a minor one at the present time.