• Apologetics,  Scripture

    Should Christians Quote the Bible to Unbelievers?

    I remember reading an article by Matt Walsh, conservative blogger and devout Catholic, entitled, “When Christians Shouldn’t Quote the Bible.” In his article, he made a fairly bold statement: I contend that Christians should not appeal to the Bible when arguing with unbelievers about political and cultural topics. There is no need to quote Scripture when trying to explain, for example, why it’s wrong to kill babies. You don’t need to pull out Genesis to convince someone that a man in a dress isn’t a woman. It’s not necessary to mine the Epistles in order to advocate for free speech rights. And if your interlocutor doesn’t believe in the Bible, then this appeal to authority is not only unnecessary but counterproductive. You have now turned a conversation about logic, reason, or science, into a theological debate with a person who rejects the entire premise of your theology (emphasis added). Walsh…

  • Apologetics,  Scripture,  Textual Criticism

    New Evidence for the Validity of the Text in Our Bibles

    Two days ago, the New York Times published an article entitled, “Modern Technology Unlocks Secrets of a Damaged Biblical Scroll.” The sum of the story is as follows. Archaeologists found a badly damaged ancient scroll in En-Gedi around the Dead Sea in the 1970s. Until recently have been unable to read it due to its fragile condition. However, there is now a computer technology (spearheaded by the University of Kentucky) which allows this scroll (and others like it) to be read. This particular scroll has now been analyzed and contains the first two chapters of Leviticus. What is most amazing about the find, however, is that the experts who examined the scroll claim it is an exact match with the Masoretic text. The Mastoretic text refers to the Hebrew manuscripts which certain scribes, called the Masoretes, copied from the 6th to the 11th centuries. In other words, this En-Gedi scroll…

  • Scripture

    Bible Translations and the Myth of a Literal Translation

    Bible translations are traditionally classified as literal-formal or dynamic equivalence. Dynamic equivalence is normally used to refer to translations which attempt to emphasize the meaning of phrases rather than each individual word (NIV is often used as an example). Literal-formal equivalence is touted as emphasizing a word-for-word approach, and trying to be more objective in its translation (KJV and NASB are common examples). Although Bible versions are often referred to as either dynamic or literal-formal, I think it is too simplistic to refer to translations in an “either/or” kind of way. The truth is, there is no such thing as a completely literal-formal translation. Any time you have one language being translated into another, you have idioms, grammatical irregularities, and vocabulary discrepancies that are impossible to translate in a one-for-one correspondence. In addition to that, you also have certain cultural oddities that can be confusing. One such example of cultural…

  • Biblical Languages,  Misc,  Scripture

    Calvin and Luther on Greek and Hebrew

    Almost two weeks ago I had the privilege of being a part of our Far West Regional ETS conference. I presented a paper on the importance of Greek and Hebrew for Martin Luther and John Calvin. It was a lot of fun researching, and I hope it encourages those thinking about ministry. In essence, the paper proposes that without attention to the original languages of Greek and Hebrew, the Reformation would never have happened. It was the return to attention to detail in the original languages that prompted the break from the Church of Rome, which had drifted into stark heresy. Although not everyone has the opportunity to learn Greek and Hebrew, those who can should learn it. It is a tremendous blessing from God to have all the resources for learning Greek and Hebrew available for us today. To get the full paper, look at the publications part of…