• Hermeneutics,  Old Testament,  Textual Criticism

    Bible Codes and Secret Messages in Scripture?

    I will periodically interact with groups that believe in bible codes and secret messages in Scripture, or be asked about them at church. Looking for a secret message in the Bible is seductive and has a long history with many Christian and Jewish advocates. Is there any evidence that the Bible contains a secret message or a hidden code? One individual who would answer in the affirmative was Chuck Missler (1934–2018). Missler was a very intelligent man who had a background in information sciences (computers, cryptography, etc.). In some of his written works and lectures on bible codes he taught there is a secret message in Scripture. Chuck Missler provides a good template for explaining some of the faulty thinking behind the idea that the bible contains a secret message. We will focus on two of many problematic ways of searching for a secret message in the Bible. First, we…

  • Scripture,  Textual Criticism

    Charles Spurgeon and Textual Criticism

    Normally when Charles Spurgeon is spoken of he is hailed as the Prince of Preachers. He is especially appreciated with regard to his public preaching skill. Undoubtedly, Spurgeon was a very skilled preacher who loved the Lord and proclaimed Scripture boldly. Much of Spurgeon’s life serves as a tremendous example that Christians (generally) and preachers (specifically) ought to follow. One often-neglected aspect of Spurgeon’s preaching capability was his attention to the original language as far as ascertaining to the original text. In other words, Spurgeon regularly practiced textual criticism. Spurgeon was very concerned with making sure he was preaching what was truly God’s Word. Although Spurgeon preferred using the AV (KJV), he was not bound to it. Read to what Spurgeon says: Do not needlessly amend our authorized version. It is faulty in many places, but still it is a grand work taking it for all in all, and it is…

  • New Testament,  Textual Criticism

    Why James Translates Jacob in the New Testament

    In James 1:1 we read, “James, a bond-servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes who are dispersed abroad: Greetings.” James is the English word for Ἰάκωβος in the Greek. However, Ἰάκωβος is simply a Greek form for the name of Jacob in the OT (יַעֲקֹב). Why do we use the name James for the name Jacob in the New Testament? Why James Rather than Jacob? One theory is that during that translation of the King James Bible, the king forced the translators to substitute the king’s name for Jacob in the New Testament because he wanted his name in the Bible. This view is assuredly incorrect, especially since the name James was used by the Wycliffe translation in the 14th century. One cannot be dogmatic on the issue, but the following seems to be the best reconstruction we can do as to why James…

  • Old Testament,  Textual Criticism

    How Tall was the Giant Goliath?

    David killing Goliath with a sling is one of the most beloved and well-known Bible stories. In fact, sports announcers will still sometimes use the phrase, “It is a David versus Goliath story” to describe an underdog taking down the favorite. Those who grew up in church quickly became familiar with the story of the little boy David killing the mighty Philistine giant, Goliath. However, some of the details of the David vs. Goliath story need fleshing out. For one thing, it is likely that although he fought for the Philistines, Goliath likely was a descendant of Anak. Another issue is whether Goliath would qualify as a giant or not. This is actually a bit of a text-critical issue in the book of Samuel! Compare the following English translations. CSB Then a champion named Goliath, from Gath, came out from the Philistine camp. He was nine feet, nine inches tall. NET Then a champion came out…

  • New Testament,  Scripture,  Textual Criticism

    Does it Burn, or is it Exposed? (2 Peter 3:10)

    Does it burn, or is it exposed in 2 Peter 3:10? Depending on which Bible translation you are reading, you could come away with a different perception. Note, for example, the way various translations treat 2 Peter 3:10. ESV But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, and then the heavens will pass away with a roar, and the heavenly bodies will be burned up and dissolved, and the earth and the works that are done on it will be exposed. NASB But the day of the Lord will come like a thief, in which the heavens will pass away with a roar and the elements will be destroyed with intense heat, and the earth and its works will be burned up. HCSB But the Day of the Lord will come like a thief; on that day the heavens will pass away with a loud noise, the…

  • 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…

  • Hermeneutics,  Textual Criticism

    The Use of Amos 9 in Acts 15 in JODT

    I recently became aware that The Journal of Dispensational Theology published one of my articles in October. The bibliography information is as follows: Peter J Goeman, “The Role of the LXX in James’ Use of Amos 9:11-12 in Acts 15:15-18” Journal of Dispensational Theology (Summer/Fall 2014): 107-25. Although the article itself requires a certain proficiency in Greek and Hebrew, I will try to summarize the main point of the article here. First, notice the comparison between Amos 9 and Acts 15: Amos 9:11-12 (MT) Amos 9:11-12 (LXX) Acts 15:16-18 In that day I will raise up the fallen booth of David, And wall up its breaches; I will also raise up its ruins And rebuild it as in the days of old; that they may possess the remnant of Edom and all the nations who are called by My name,” declares the Lord who does this. (Amos 9:11-12, NASB)   On that day I will raise up the tent…