Saturday, May 20, 2023

Open Our Eyes, Lord!

Two brief thoughts about my time in 1 Cor. 9 this morning. This is the famous passage where Paul says that he becomes "all things to all men." 

1) Some read this passage and claim that Paul was an unprincipled compromiser. Paul was nothing of the sort. Paul would never surrender his theology or ethical principles to anybody. But even though he was as tough as nails in his convictions, he was as pliable as a reed in his love for others. He was willing to identify himself with other people in all things indifferent. Why? For the sake of the gospel.

2. In 1 Cor. 9:22, did Paul write "so that by all means I might save some," or "so that I might save all"? This is one of several significant textual variants in the New Testament that I will talk about in Monday's Greek class, where the topic will be New Testament textual criticism. In my opinion, the best attested reading is the former. The support for the latter reading ("so that I might save all") has very limited, Western attestation. (The Latin Vulgate reads "ut omnes facerem salvos.") Moreover, the internal evidence seems to favor the reading "so that by all means I might save some." A scribe's eye simply skipped 4 letters. See? 

It's funny how the little things so often make a difference in biblical interpretation. The facts are there, but it seems that only a master sleuth notices them. One of my teachers used to say to his students, "You see, but you're not observing." May we all pray, "Open my eyes, that I may see wonderful things from your law" (Psalm 119:18)!