Join us in reading through the whole Good News Bible (GNT) in 365 24-minute-long podcasts!
Hi there, and welcome to this bonus podcast for day 115. I will be discussing the two main types of Bible translations I recommend for most people. As a Bible translator since 1983, I feel that most Christians in the USA are not given enough information about why Bible translations differ in wording, and which kinds of Bible translations will be better for different kinds of readers. This is an important topic, so I am surprised at myself: I can't believe that I haven't released a dedicated podcast about this topic every year since 2014. ALSO, please stay tuned for the end of the podcast, because I want to recommend a fantastic new real-book Bible. Because of more difficult content in this podcast, if you are not driving a car, it would be a great idea to open the episode notes so you can visually follow along and make sure you don't miss something important. Look especially at the words I have made bold. There are actually five types of Bible translations, but I will mainly discuss the two most-used types in this podcast. But let's start with showing the two types with a translation example that is not from the Bible. Consider this sentence: Jill looked like a deer caught in the headlights when she heard Jack's proposal. Now let's imagine a word-for-word translation for some language in Africa. Since we don't know a language like that, let's pretend we do and make a word-for-word translation into English. Here is my suggestion for that: Jill appeared like a trapped gazelle in bright light upon hearing Jack's desire. What we have in this example (caught in the headlights) is a figure of speech. Americans rather frequently use this figure of speech. But a word-for-word translation for the hypothetical African audience would very likely be tricky for them to understand. They might not know what a gazelle would do if a bright light shone upon them. (For that matter, I don't know if gazelle's act like deer do when meeting with bright lights.) I think an African might understand “Jill appeared like a gazelle trapped in bright light” to be a gazelle trapped with a metal trap, in pain, and struggling to get loose when the bright light suddenly shines upon it. Our hypothetical African listener will probably get a very different idea about what is meant. For our second hypothetical translation, let's try giving the plain meaning like we would if we were explaining to an 8-year-old child. We might translate, “Jill was stunned by Jack's proposal.” Or we might say, Jill was caught off guard and totally surprised by Jack's offer.” In this example, I've dropped the figure of speech entirely and gone straight for the meaning. These are the two main translation types that I want to explain: The first was what we call a literal translation, or a word-for-word translation. And the second is what I will call a meaning-based translation. Literal: Jill appeared like a trapped gazelle in bright light … Meaning-based: Jill was stunned by Jack's proposal. Which translation is ‘right'? Actually both translations can be considered right. But the word-for-word translation is difficult to understand for our hypothetical African listeners, because there are cultural factors involved in interpreting the figure of speech in this example. The listeners would likely come up with various interpretations about the poor, defenseless gazelle being trapped. Whereas, if Jill likes Jack, she may be thrilled at his proposal. The meaning based translation is right too: “Jill was stunned by Jack's proposal.” That translation is easy to understand, but if you remember the original sentence, you will miss the richness of the figure of speech. The two main types of Bible translations have exactly the same problems as what I have shown in the two examples above. The advantage of a literal, word-for-word translation is that it mirrors the form of the original text. The disadvantage of a literal translation is that it cannot always clearly give the meaning in the target language. The meaning-based translation is just the opposite: The advantage of a meaning-based translation is that it shows the meaning clearly. The disadvantage of a meaning-based translation is that it cannot mirror the form of the original text. Every Bible translator starts out thinking, “I will be able to translate word-for-word and still clearly enough show the meaning.” For two languages that are strongly related to each other, a literal translation can often still be clear. But if we are thinking of translating ancient Hebrew and Greek into modern English, there is a huge gulf between the ancient and modern languages and cultures. My first example involved an English figure of speech. But let me give you a chance to experience decoding an Indonesian figure of speech: Yakobus adalah kacang yang sudah lupa kulitnya. A word-for-word translation is this: Jack is a peanut that has forgotten his shell. Now it is your turn to wonder what that could mean. You won't guess, so I will tell you. Here's a meaning-based translation of “Jack is a peanut that has forgotten his shell.” That means, Jack left his rural village to get an education in the city, and now has a good job with a high salary, but he has forgotten his humble beginnings. He never helps any of his friends and relatives in his home village. There are many literal (or word-for-word) Bible translations in English. That kind of translation is easier to make. And not all literal translations are equally literal. Some fudge to be slightly more meaning-based. But for the purposes of this discussion, I will choose what I think is the most popular literal translation today: It is the ESV (English Standard Version). It is the translation that would translate, “Jill appeared like a trapped gazelle in bright light.” It is great at showing the word-for-word form of the original text, but not so good at giving you the meaning clearly. A literal translation I like better than the ESV is the WEBBE (World English Bible British Edition). Meaning-based Bible translations are much rarer, because they require the translator to work much harder to accurately translate the meaning. For English language readers, I recommend the Weymouth New Testament in Modern Speech of 1901, The Good News Bible (TEV 1966), and the New Living Translation. There are a few more, but those are my favorites, and I will focus in this podcast on the NLT. The NLT would translate our example as “Jill was stunned by Jack's proposal.” The KJV is a literal translation, and an unfortunate part of the continuing legacy of the KJV, is that pastors often prefer using literal translations from the pulpit. But unfortunately this means that many ordinary people in the pew wind up using something like the ESV for their daily Bible reading at home. This means that many Christians who read their Bibles at home often struggle with hard-to-understand passages. If you normally read the ESV Bible and think you understand everything in it, well, I bet you haven't yet read all of it! Here is one of my most important recommendations for you: Make sure you have access to both kinds of translations. In other words, use both an ESV and an NLT Bible. That way you can quickly see the meaning (in the NLT), and you get a window into the word-for-word shape of the original text with the ESV. My Daily Bible Reading podcasts have only been of two meaning-based translations. Why? Because they can be understood by people just listening to the recordings. It would be useless to record the ESV, because listeners would often miss the meaning. Now I want to illustrate what I have been saying with a Bible passage. I wish I could spend an hour doing this, but I feel I must limit myself to only one example. I have chosen the topic statement for the book of Romans, chapter 1, verses 16-17. In the ESV verse 16 says, For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. If I had all the podcast listeners in front of me as a group, I would say to you, “Raise your hand if you are a Jew.” Usually in my audiences, no one raises their hand. At that point I say, “Raise your hand if you are a Greek.” Usually again, no one raises their hand. But then my question is, “Where do you fit in to Romans 1:16?” This verse says that the gospel is “the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek. Sounds like you people who didn't raise your hands are not able to be saved! So which one are we?” The answer is that Paul is contrasting Jews with everyone else. Greek was the universal language of culture and commerce at that time, even under the Roman government. Now let's compare the same verse in the NLT: For I am not ashamed of this Good News about Christ. It is the power of God at work, saving everyone who believes— the Jew first and also the Gentile. Now let's look at verse 17 in the ESV: For in it (referring back to the Gospel) the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith, as it is written, “The righteous shall live by faith.” No English reader will suspect that there is anything kind of strange about the phrase ‘the righteous of God'. The problem is that ‘of God' is a genitive in Greek, and genitives have a dozen different options for the meaning. ESV nearly always uses the word ‘of' to translate genitives. But in this verse, ‘righteousness of God' will mean that the Gospel is about revealing that God is righteous. Wait a minute! If God is righteous and I am not righteous, that is not Good News. He will punish me. Rather, in this verse, the genitive is one showing source. Just wait a moment and I will read the NLT. A second significant problem in verse 17 is a grammatical construction that forms an idiom in Greek: For in it the righteousness of God is revealed from faith to faith. So the literal translation has zero meaning or leaves the reader to guess at meanings, which will probably be wrong. Finally, because of the first two problems I just mentioned, it seems like the final quote from Habakkuk 2:4 doesn't fit with what came before it. So we ask, why did Paul quote, “The righteous shall live by faith.” Now let me read the NLT to you: 17 This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. This is accomplished from start to finish by faith. As the Scriptures say, “It is through faith that a righteous person has life.” Many years ago, I had a phone conversation with a woman who was a new believer. She liked reading her KJV, and I used Romans 1:16-17 to try to show her that she would be better off reading the NLT. The KJV has the same problem in v.17: “For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith.” So I asked her what that means, and she quickly replied, “Oh, you know, the Catholic faith, the Mormon faith, the protestant faith.” Hello! None of those things existed when Paul wrote Romans. I give that story to show that a dangerous thing that happens when many people read the Bible: If we don't understand something, we may just make up a meaning that sounds plausible to us. And as time goes on, we can get more and more convinced that our guesses are true. Going back to the advantages and disadvantages of the two translation types, the ESV has made a very good literal translation of 1:17. The ESV closely mirrors the form of the Greek text, but the problem is that readers won't grasp the meaning, unless perhaps there are study notes to guide them. On the other hand, the NLT has the disadvantage that it doesn't match the word-for-word form of the Greek, but it nails the meaning. God is the source of our righteousness. NLT translates: This Good News tells us how God makes us right in his sight. And the Greek idiom ‘from faith to faith' means, “This is accomplished from start to finish by faith.” Finally, if you take the time to read verse 17 again, you will see that the quote at the end of the verse supports what Paul claims about the Good News about Christ. I am passionate about people having access to at least one Bible that is a literal translation, and one that is a meaning-based translation. Recently an elder in our church shared that he was struggling hard to read and understand Isaiah, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel. He was rather bitter in his complaints, saying, “Why did Jeremiah write like this? I can't penetrate this stuff!” This is just one example of many I could share. Normal Christians like you and me who try to use a literal translation for devotional reading, and attempt to read every book in the Bible, will not enjoy the experience. This can clearly be seen in Indonesia, where the people have only had wide access to one literal translation since 1974. Indonesian Christians have been discouraged from reading their Bibles for too long, and that has seriously weakened the church throughout that country. Now, with our Plain Indonesian Translation, thousands of people have discovered that they enjoy reading the Bible. But now, through our 90-day Bible reading challenge, teenage kids and adults are rejoicing to find that they enjoy reading the New Testament, finishing it in 90 days, and many immediately start over to read it again. Any Christian who wants to glorify God should read the whole Bible. And if we really want to glorify God, then we should read a translation that we understand. Reading a translation that you don't understand fully will not help you or encourage you. I need to give two important clarifications: Some people think that the NLT is a paraphrase because the first edition still contained some words or phrases that sounded like the Living Bible. The Living Bible deserves to be called a paraphrase, because it occasionally adds ideas not found in the original text, or fails to translate other things. But the New Living Translation is a highly researched and revised meaning-based translation. My second clarification is that The Message is an extreme paraphrase. Please don't think it is a faithful translation. Please don't quote it. Please don't give it to a new Christian to read. Here is the information about real-book Bibles I mentioned at the beginning of the podcast. I want you to know that no one at Tyndale House asked me to promote their products, and I am not getting paid anything for giving out this information. Gale decided to give NLT Bibles to members of her Bible study groups, and I decided to give them to my small group. It has been a long time since we bought Bibles, and so we made some delightful discoveries. Tyndale House has several cool NLT Bibles right now. The NLT Illustrated Study Bible is incredible! Beautifully illustrated with maps and charts and many study notes and supplemental information. The hardcover edition is only $36.66. You might like the leather-like edition which is a bit more. However, at more than 2,500 pages, you won't want to carry this Bible around. Here's what I am giving to some young people in our church, including our grandkids: There is a new kind of Bible developed by Tyndale House, called a Filament Enabled NLT Bible. This real-book Bible comes without study notes and maps, making it practical to carry and providing an uncluttered reading experience, but it has a companion cell phone app that gives you all the stuff you would get in a study Bible and even much more. You download the Filament app for your phone or tablet, and then you can take a picture of the page number or type in the page number for which you want to get more information. The app then gives you study notes, charts, timelines, and devotional material, including videos and even worship songs. There is a premium-value edition with a leather-like cover for just $15. For the person who wants to make notes, there is a beautiful wide margin edition available for $38. A large print Filament enabled Bible is about that same price. A genuine leather thin-line edition of the NLT Filament Bible is only $35. I highly recommend an article linked at the very end of the episode notes entitled How Not to Argue About Which Bible Translation Is Best by Andy Naselli. And may the Lord bless you ‘real good'. LINKS: https://sites.google.com/clarinetpages.net/read-the-bible-in-a-year/read/start-with-a-good-plan See the second part of this page: Recommended Bible translations for devotional reading Blog post: https://dailybiblereading.libsyn.com/website/more-about-bible-translations Fantastic article: How Not to Argue About Which Bible Translation Is Best June 13, 2017 | Andy Naselli
After being directly involved in Bible translation since 1983, I have wanted to share with younger generations about the things I have learned from my experiences as a Bible translator— the things that made the most impact on me through my years. I have now decided to put a few of my most important stories in this JoySightings podcast. I know that I am never going to write a book. But now if anyone ever asks about my experiences, I will have a place to send them: Go to JoySightings.info and start at episode 52. I hope to add several other stories this year. Today I will also read one more parable of Safed the Sage. When we were about 7-8 years into the Orya translation project, back around 1991, Nahe asked one Sunday morning to have a private conversation with me. Nahe and I had never had much communication, so I felt it was an unusual request. I knew him mainly as a young guy who made his income by cutting trees into lumber with his chainsaw. He was strong and athletic, but a man of few words. He came that evening and we sat down together in my candle-lit rustic cabin's front room. He said, “You wouldn't have heard this, because it happened in another village. I got very sick and died. When I came back to life, the men were already building my coffin. But while I was dead, I went to heaven and saw wonderful things. The people in heaven are so happy and rejoicing.” He ended his story with tears in his eyes saying this, “I cry every single day because I know that someone like me can't go to heaven. What do I have to do to be saved?” I thought, “Oh boy! A chance to be a real missionary! This will make a good prayer letter.” (But I was in for a surprise!) I immediately answered his question from the book of Acts chapter 16, “Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” (Acts 16:31) Nahe answered, “That's just it! How can I tell if I have believed?” I responded incredulously, “Can't you tell if you've believed something?” And he said, “We Orya people don't think so.” That's how the conversation went according to my understanding of it in those moments. But what we said really meant this: I answered wrongly from the book of Acts, “Have faith in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.” Nahe's answer made sense, “That's just it! How can I tell if I have faith?” I responded incredulously, “Can't you tell if you have faith?” And he said, “We Orya people don't think so.” The difference is between ‘believe' and ‘faith'. It took a little while in the conversation before I figured out what Nahe was saying. This was a heavy moment for me, because I realized that the word for ‘believe' that we had used in all our translation work for six years was wrong, including verses in Scripture booklets we had carefully checked and distributed. Long before we arrived in Guay, the word that the Orya people used to translate ‘faith' was ei gwen, or to have ‘inner fruit'. By ‘inner fruit' the Orya meant the inside part that you eat when you take off the skin. It's the inside of the papaya or watermelon. The situation might be compared to buying a papaya at the market. You don't know whether the inside is red or yellow until you take it home and cut it open. Nahe told me that the Orya people assumed that you couldn't know if you had this inner fruit (or faith) inside you until you died. They thought that at the door of heaven, God would somehow do an operation to reveal if you had any of the right stuff inside you. It was clear that if we used ‘have inner fruit' to translate ‘believe', then no Orya person could tell if they had done the required action to be saved. No one could have assurance of salvation! After that Sunday evening conversation with Nahe, all day Monday Boas and I and several others worked to make sure we found exactly the right word for ‘believe' in Orya. The word for believe in Orya is not ei gwen, but taïblïblan. There is a weird twist that has happened with the words for faith and believe in several languages that is not like the Greek words pisteuo and pistis. The Greek words have the same root, so they sound alike. Greek English Indonesian Orya verb pisteuo I believe Saya percaya taïblïblan noun pistis faith iman ei gwen visually clearly related dissimilar dissimilar dissimilar If only pisteuo (I believe) and pistis/pisteos (noun/possesive noun) were translated into English with similar looking words like ‘I'm confident' and ‘confidence', we wouldn't have so many false teachings being spread around! But because ‘believe' and ‘faith' share no visible or audible root relationship, the English noun faith has been allowed to wander— so to speak. The cohesion between pisteuo and pistis that was obvious for the original readers in Grrek has been lost in translation. Perhaps because of the influence of the KJV on Indonesian translations, the same thing has happened in Indonesian. The result is that the Indonesian word iman (like ‘faith' in English) is used for all sorts of things, including inner fortitude, vague hope, blind trust, denominational faith, and a force for good luck. Notice what happens in verses like Ephesians 2:8: “For by grace you have been saved through faith. …” If you want to be saved, it would be a good idea to understand ‘faith'. But so many people who ask Nahe's question, “How can I tell if I have faith,” will get all sorts of misleading answers. Dear friend, anytime you want to understand what ‘faith' means in a verse in the New Testament, just remember that you can substitute the word ‘believe', ‘believed', or ‘believing' (whatever form fits) in place of the word ‘faith'. NLT translates Ephesians 2:8 as “God saved you by his grace when you believed. …” If you substitute the word ‘believe' for ‘faith' in translations that use that word, you will probably find that you want to add an object. You can choose an object from the context such as these: ‘believe in Christ', ‘believe in the gospel', ‘believe true teachings', or ‘believe God's promises'. Now you know why in the Daily Bible Reading podcasts that I always substitute the word ‘believe' or ‘fully believing' for ‘faith' in the NLT or GNT. It all stems from my conversation with Nahe. You see, I want people to know how to be saved. Note that believing is a volitional act. We decide to believe, and we better hope our decisions are based on good logic and evidence. That is what makes it so different from the word ‘faith'. People believe that ‘faith' just sort of happens. False teachers make money by promoting all sorts of things that they claim will increase your faith. But remember that in Greek, faith is the noun form for the verb believe. So if God gives you clear evidence of his power and love for you, like He did when he led the people of Israel out of Egypt, and then you refuse to believe in his good will for you, that is called stubborn disobedience. Believing is a volitional act. Deciding to believe what God says equals increasing your faith. I wish I could tell you that Nahe followed through with my advice to fully believe in Jesus. Nahe's widow goes to close friend Boas' church, and I happened to meet her in his village two years ago. We both feel that Nahe never believed in Jesus to the point that it changed his life. But, interestingly, on that same visit to Boas' village, two old friends there told me stories of their dying, going to heaven, and being told to return to this world. (If you ever experienced malaria, you would know how easy it would be to nearly die!) I am encouraged that both of my two old friends show signs of true new life in Christ. Friends, I want everyone to get a clear answer to the question, “How can I be sure I am saved?” I want you to not get confused by the fuzzy word ‘faith'. Remember, faith is fully believing what the Bible says. Every time you read God's Word and decide that you believe what you find there, you have increased your faith.
Today I would like to give pointers for understanding Jesus' parables. I consider the parable to be one of the greatest of all teaching devices, and a legacy of the Greatest Teacher. I will end this episode by sharing about one of my favorite writers of non-Biblical parables. One little detail to understand is that the word ‘parable' (Greek paraboles) had a wider meaning than we normally think of in English, and you may see this sometimes in the New Testament. In English, we normally think of a parable as a story that points to some deeper meaning. However, as an example, the word ‘parable' is used for a one-sentence figurative teaching in Mark 7:17 where it refers back to Jesus' statement in verse 15: GW “Nothing that goes into a person from the outside can make him unclean. It's what comes out of a person that makes him unclean.” In verse 17, the disciples ask Jesus to explain that ‘parable'. With that footnote, I want you to know that I will really just be talking briefly about what we normally think of as parables, the story type. In the episode notes, I give links to more complete and scholarly information than what I will present to you. In particular, I recommend viewing the 6 minute video from bibleproject.com entitled The Parables of Jesus. Also in the episode notes, I have links to both a video and a good summary about Interpreting Parables by Bob Utley. ======= Bob Utley's Special Topic page on Interpreting Parables: http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/special_topics/parable_interpretation.html Bob Utley's video on Luke 15: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f76EvjGy7Jw Don't miss the cool video from BibleProject.com! Title: The Parables of Jesus I appreciated the original thinking and humorous examples in this short article: https://www.1517.org/articles/understanding-jesus-parables ======= As I was thinking about what to mention to you, I was reading a historically-interesting commentary by Christopher Wordsworth from 1856, and I almost stumbled into a common error in interpreting parables, which is thinking of them as allegories. An example of this is Luke chapter 15, where we have the parable of the Lost Sheep, the Lost Coin, and the Lost Son. Wordsworth gives an allegorical interpretation, assigning an identity to all the characters. In this case, the shepherd is Christ, who searches for his lost sheep. That's not too bad. But seeing the woman who loses one of her coins as a picture of the church, is definitely stretching things. Similarly in the Parable of the Lost Son, the father is interpreted as God, the younger son as the Gentiles who repent, and the older son as the Jews. One of the things that leads people to take an overly allegorical approach to the parables has to be Jesus himself, in his foundational teaching about the parables found in Mark 4, Mat. 13, and Luk. 8. In Jesus' explanation of the Parable of the Sower, He might almost contradict my last point about allegorical interpretation. It just happens that the Parable of the Sower (also called the Parable of the Different Kinds of Soil) has clear allegorical elements (the birds, path, rocky soil, etc), whereas for many other parables it doesn't help to seek an allegorical identity for the various participants. A second thing that is unusual in the Parable of the Soils is that it has clear multiple teaching points, whereas most parables have a single, simple point. I have mentioned all this heavy stuff to bring us around to this simple point: When we get too fancy in our interpretation of parables, we tend to miss the main point, which is to ask, “How does this apply to me?” The cool thing about parables is that Jesus intended them to be multi-purpose. People who were ready to believe in Jesus would get one interpretation, and the religious leaders criticizing Him would understand Jesus' meaning very differently. Both groups got a correct interpretation, as Jesus intended, even though the interpretations were different. This propensity of parables to be interpreted differently has a plus side and a negative side. On one hand, we must remember that parables are not good for determining doctrine. Let's not decide the timing of Jesus' second coming based on parables, but some of the parables clearly illustrate something about Jesus' second coming. The plus side is that the Holy Spirit may use Jesus' parables to say something very pointedly appropriate for you. I have been amazed that in the Parable of Different Kinds of Soil I sometimes find that I am dangerously close to living amongst thorns, way too concerned with the cares of this life. But in a few months when I come across the parable again, I find that I have moved over to the rocky soil, meaning that I might glibly say that I love God's Word, but on that day if I am honest, I have to admit that my roots are dangerously shallow. Another illustration of a personal application for me is this, which I don't think I have ever shared with anyone before: When I read the story of the prodigal son, I am reminded that I acted like the prodigal son, when I was young and thoughtless, by asking for part of my inheritance early. I didn't realize that this was tantamount to wishing my father dead. How this must have hurt him! I wish I could tell him how sorry I am that I ever did that. Don't look to parables for decisions about moving to another city, quitting your job, or selling your house. That's not what I mean by a personal application. Finally, here are three final pointers: Understanding the context and the audience Jesus was speaking to is key to understanding what Jesus was saying. You can see a progression in Luke's Gospel that leads from more general parables about the Kingdom of God, to Jesus' identity as the king who will return, and to whom everyone will give an account. Look to see if the Gospel writer or Jesus himself tells what He was driving at. And also take note of any surprising twist in the story. Such twists often give an important clue to the meaning. Let me illustrate that idea of a surprising twist found in some parables. One of my favorite booklets that we printed to display our translation in Indonesia is a collection of 25 parables. If I am in Indonesia, I like to have that booklet handy in my bag. There was one devout Islamic taxi driver that took me to my home at least six times. Because of frequent traffic jams in Jakarta, a 20 minute trip can take two hours on bad days. So I started reading the parables to him. He was interested, and it was way better than trying to debate with him about our religions. After many of the parables he would say, “OK, yeah. I think we Muslims could agree with that one.” That continued until we got to the Parable of the Vineyard owner in Matthew 20. That's the one where the vineyard owner gives all the workers the same pay for a full day's work, even though some workers only worked for one hour. He responded, “What?! He did that? That's crazy. That's unfair!” This gave me an opportunity to talk about God's kindness. We call it grace. God wants to be generous with us, because none of us can manage to earn our salvation. God designed this counterintuitive situation so that all glory would go to our Savior, and none would go to us. As I will not be living in the same place in Jakarta when I go back in July, it is not likely that I will take that route again with the same taxi driver. It is not appropriate for me to share his name. But you can join me in praying for that taxi driver that I read parables to. One of my spiritual fathers (Richard Burson) introduced me to the parables of Safed the Sage. Safed was the pen name of William E. Barton, who lived from 1861 to 1930. William Barton was a highly regarded Congregational pastor, and also a published expert on the life of Abraham Lincoln. Barton also edited a Sunday School newsletter (and in his day, Sunday School included adult classes). In the newsletters he first published his Parables of Safed the Sage. These were picked up by newspapers who republished them, and around 1919 the parables were published in several books. Happily, you can find Barton's parables of Safed the Sage as free downloads at the Library of Congress website. They are in the public domain. Barton's writing style is humorous because he used an affected old-fashioned style of English, mixing in expressions like in the King James Bible. And he heightened the effect by using capital letters in strange places, for words that he wanted to highlight. So I feel that often his parables are better when read, rather than in audio form. I have so appreciated Barton's parables that I have recorded many of them for a podcast that I call JoySightings, found at joysightings.info. You can subscribe to this podcast in any podcast player. I will give you two short examples of the parables of Safed the Sage in this podcast. They are different than Jesus' parables in that Safed usually gives the meaning of his parable at the end. I think you will enjoy the experience of hearing a new parable. Think of how engaging Jesus' parables would have been, and still are, for people hearing them for the first time! The Gravity Trolley I journeyed unto a distant State, even to California, and I rode upon a Trolley that ran Six miles back from the Railway Station into the hills. And I observed that all the way as we Ascended, the Motorman consumed Electric Current, but when we Descended, then did he shut off the Juice, and controlled our speed by means of the Brake, with an Emergency Brake at hand, and I spake unto certain of those with whom I rode, of the Trolley, and of how the Roadbed was all Up-Hill one way, and all Down-Hill the other way; and how they used two kinds of power, even Electricity and Gravitation, and each of them in one direction only. And one of them spake unto me, saying, Thus it was intended when this Road was Surveyed, and before they had Electric Power; for in that day did they haul the cars Up-Hill with Mules; and there was a Platform upon the Rear of the Car, and the Mules Ascended the Platform and rode down. And they told me how the Mules soon learned the trick, so that as soon as they were unhitched they hastened to the rear of the car and climbed up. And others told me many things about those Mules; and a certain Woman procured for me a Picture of the Car with the Passengers riding Inside and the Mules riding Outside, and the Mules enjoying it as much as the Passengers. And it pleased me much. Now it came to pass in time that the Electric Current Emancipated the Mules, and the Owners of the Trolley sold the Mules. And farmers bought them at a good price, for the Mules were fat and strong. But it was a Bad Buy for the farmers. For those Mules would pull the Plow Up-Hill to the end of the Furrow, and then turn around and seek to climb up on the rear end of the Plow in order to ride down! And when they found no Platform, then were they Troubled in their Mind and much Bewildered. Neither was it Possible ever to teach them to pull any load Down-Hill. Now I know many people with whom this System worketh the other way, and who are very willing to be hitched up to a job that runneth down hill by Gravity or the labor of others, but who insist upon riding or being Unhitched when the Trolley hitteth the up-grade. For the work of the Lord hath its Up-Hill and its Down-Hill aspects, and if there be any Platforms provided for those who would ride, thou shalt find them already occupied by kindred souls who have beaten you to it. On Rising Above the Clouds I rode upon a Railway Train; and we were in the Rocky Mountains. And we awoke in the morning, and the Train was climbing, with two Engines pulling us, and one pushing behind. And we were nigh unto Twelve Furlongs above the sea. And it came to pass as we ascended, that there were clouds below us, and Clouds upon the sides of the Mountains, but there were no clouds above us, but the clear shining of the Morning Sun. And there came unto me a small Girl and her younger Brother, who were riding upon the Train, and we talked about the clouds. For so did John Ruskin, and Aristophanes, and the little lad was very happy, and said, I have never been above the Clouds before. And his sister was worldly wise. And she said, A Cloud ain't nothing but just fog. And he said, Nay, but it is more. And behold now, how then is a cloud just under us, and we ride on top of it? And she said, We are on the Rails, just as we always have been; and there can't nobody ride on a Cloud. And the boy said, Jesus can ride upon a Cloud; For I saw a Picture of Him. And the little girl said, Yes but that ain't us. Now the little girl may have been right; but I thought within myself that this world hath too many people who look out on Life through her windows. For they see no sunlit Clouds, but only Fog; and they have little faith in rising above Clouds, but have confidence only in the Rails. And I do not despise Rails, nor advise people to discard them and ride upon Clouds. Nevertheless, I have seen people rise above Clouds, and live in the sunlight of God. But I have known others who, whenever it is said unto them, Thus have other men done, or thus did the good Lord Jesus, make reply, Yes, but that ain't us. And if it is spoken concerning the House of God, Thus did the Synagogue in Jonesville, and thus was it done by the Church in Smithville, they answer, Yes, but that ain't us. And if it be said, Thou shouldest be a better man; for other men have risen above thy Clouds and thine Infirmities, they say, Yes, but that ain't us. And when it is said, Thus hath the grace of God abounded in other lives, they say, Yes, but that ain't us. But if it ain't, why ain't it? For this cause did God dwell in human flesh: That men should never count any good thing impossible that they behold in the dear Lord Jesus. For he is our peace, who hath broken down all middle walls, that men should no longer say, But that ain't us. May the Lord bless you ‘Real Good'! Phil
I have prepared this Every Word podcast to discuss the ending of Mark 16, verses 9-20. Those are the verses that are bracketed in most translations made in the last century. The brackets indicate that the compilers of the Greek text used by the translators did not think those verses are part of the authentic inspired text. I am going to try to convince you today that the verses shouldn't have brackets around them, and that they are authentic Scripture inspired by God. The NLT, has this: Mark 16:8 NLT 8 The women fled from the tomb, trembling and bewildered, and they said nothing to anyone because they were too frightened.[c] c The most reliable early manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark end at verse 8. Other manuscripts include various endings to the Gospel. A few include both the “shorter ending” and the “longer ending.” The majority of manuscripts include the “longer ending” immediately after verse 8. [The most ancient manuscripts of Mark conclude with verse 16:8. Later manuscripts add one or both of the following endings.] [Shorter Ending of Mark] Then they briefly reported all this to Peter and his companions. Afterward Jesus himself sent them out from east to west with the sacred and unfailing message of salvation that gives eternal life. Amen. [Longer Ending of Mark] verses 9-20 I did not read the shorter ending for the podcast. That ending has extremely thin support in ancient manuscripts, and where the words occur, the manuscripts often also have the longer ending, verses 9-20. In my preparation to be a Bible translator, I was given virtually zero preparation about different Greek texts of the NT or the manuscript evidence supporting them. We were expected to simply follow the lead of the main English translations as we translated into the Orya language (an ethnic language of Papua Province) and later in our translation into Indonesia's national language. So the Orya translation and the first editions of our Indonesian translation include the brackets and a footnote. But our 3rd edition Plain Indonesian Translation (TSI) has no brackets for verses 9-20. I want to tell you why I changed my mind, and why the decision is important. Some experts today think that Mark intended to end his Gospel with the words, “they said nothing to anyone because they were too frightened.” But this defies imagination. I don't think authors started using the type of endings where you leave-the-audience-hanging until centuries later, like perhaps just two centuries ago. Remember that Mark starts with the words, “This is the Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God.” Mark shows a pattern of telling the outcome for every miracle. He is not about to leave his main thesis of his story without its fulfillment. The fulfillment of the starting thesis is found in the next to last verse (16:19), which says, “19 When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God's right hand.” Verse 19 also is an important doctrinal statement, since no other Gospel includes those words as part of the story after Jesus' resurrection. And the same verse also very appropriately links the book of Mark with Peter's teaching in 1Pet. 3:22. Please check yourself. Do you believe what Moses and Jesus said?: “Man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word of God.” (Deut. 8:3; Luk. 4:4) If we are to live by ‘every word', do you believe that God would preserve every word for us? I hope you respond, “Why yes, of course.” I believe that God has preserved His Word for us. Therefore it is unacceptable for me to say that the Holy Spirit would leave a whole book of the NT without a clear ending. We have two choices for the ending: One says the ladies didn't tell anyone because they were afraid. The other ends with Jesus at the right hand of God. Which one seems to be the proper ending to you?! The NLT has words in bold italics before Mark 16 verses 9-20 which say, “[The most ancient manuscripts of Mark conclude with verse 16:8. Later manuscripts add one or both of the following endings.]” How many manuscripts are we talking about with the words ‘most ancient manuscripts'? Then the footnote says ‘later manuscripts add' the last 12 verses. What are the real numbers? Two of the very oldest manuscripts plus one other do not have the last 12 verses of Mark. But the manuscripts that include the last 12 verses number more than 1,650! 99.99% of ancient manuscripts contain the longer ending of Mark. The NLT also has a footnote that starts with “The most reliable early manuscripts of the Gospel of Mark end at verse 8.” But this statement is actually false. The two manuscripts they are talking about (Codex Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) cannot be said to be ‘reliable'. They are, however, recognized as the very earliest, dated at 325 and around 345. For Codex Sinaiticus and Vaticanus to be considered reliable, one would hope they would be reasonably consistent with one another. Instead they differ from one another in 3,036 places. I believe that early scribes recognized that they were defective, and this offers a plausible explanation for why there are no extant copies made from them. I do not agree with the practice of writing vague footnotes in our Bibles as seen above. Many of the footnotes in your Bible will talk about what ‘some manuscripts' say. It has actually been recommended to translators to keep such footnotes vague. I do not have the time to adequately explain why this has been done. It is time to give people better information. I will explain more about this in another podcast. Many old-school ‘experts' (by that I mean seminary teachers from the mid-20th century) will say that the two oldest manuscripts outweigh all of the 1,650 other ancient manuscripts. But many of today's informed experts will not agree with the people I just called the ‘old-school experts'. Here are some points to consider: Both of the two oldest manuscripts (Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) have an odd blank space at the end of Mark, showing that the scribe realized the manuscript he was copying had something left out. This is called a ‘memorial space'. Such memorial spaces are found in various places in other ancient manuscripts. So even though the two manuscripts do not have the last 12 verses of Mark, the scribes telegraphed to us that they knew such an ending existed. Remember that Codex Sinaiticus and Vaticanus are from the early 4th century. There are quotes of verses from Mark 16:9-20 by church fathers that predate Codex Sinaiticus and Vaticanus. Earlier support for the longer ending of Mark include “four second-century witnesses, and 99.9% of the [other ancient] Greek manuscripts, and 99.99% of the [ancient] Latin manuscripts, and 99.5% of the [ancient] Syriac manuscripts, and 40 Roman-era patristic writers.” (Quote from Dr. James Snapp: https://www.thetextofthegospels.com/2013/08/robert-stein-and-ending-of-mark.html) Codex Sinaiticus was discovered in 1844. This touched off a lot of excitement, and a revolutionary new text of the NT was published by Westscott and Hort in 1881. Please consider that there are multiple examples in history where excitement over new discoveries resulted in mistaken theories. For example, Darwin's theory of evolution from the same time period is now discredited. Just like you have university teachers still bone-headedly holding on to the theory of evolution, so the theories of Westscott and Hort are no longer upheld by many of today's experts but are still being repeated by seminary teachers. Westscott and Hort's faulty decisions about what verses are not authentic are still seen in today's Bibles. I'm sure that you will hear someone claim that the last 12 verses of Mark use non-Markan vocabulary, but that assertion has been repeatedly disproved. In my January 4 news and information podcast, I mentioned that the GotQuestions web site often included very good answers to questions Bible readers bring up. Generally I believe that is true. But evidently it is NOT true when it comes to textual issues like the long ending of Mark. The GotQuestions article I refer to is entitled Should Mark 16:9-20 be in the Bible? https://www.gotquestions.org/Mark-16-9-20.html But please don't read that one unless you also read Dr. James Snapp's refutation of it linked here: https://www.thetextofthegospels.com/2013/07/the-got-questions-website-and-mark-169.html I would be very happy for you to read both articles, as this would show you how untruths are passed on by people who should know better. Please consider supporting the work of James Snapp by buying and reading his 400-page book entitled Authentic: The Case for Mark 16:9-20: 2016 Edition. The Kindle book is only 99 cents. https://www.amazon.com/Authentic-Case-Mark-9-20-2016-ebook/dp/B01EU1OR9O Some of you might be interested in listening to my 2020 podcast entitled EveryWord005 Mark 16. Please follow that last link to find the supplemental PDF for that episode containing an essay on the ending of Mark by Dr. Wilbur Pickering. What I have said about the ending of Mark is important. Let me illustrate: About six years ago, the pastor at our church in Siloam Springs preached an expository series of sermons on the Gospel of Mark. Our pastor does an excellent job of preaching straight through books of Scripture, even through some of the hardest material in the Bible. So I was shocked that on the Sunday when we were all expecting to hear a message about Mark 16, the pastor began by telling us he would not be preaching about that chapter. Before he launched into the totally new topic he had chosen for that Sunday, he rather quietly said this, “I decided that I would not preach on the ending of Mark, because, after all, we don't know whether it is part of inspired Scripture or not.” Our pastor said, “after all, we don't know whether it is part of inspired Scripture or not.” He didn't say “I don't know.” He said ‘we' don't know if it is inspired. What a terrible thing for a pastor to say from the pulpit! If 12 whole verses could disappear and marr the conclusion of a book of Scripture, how many other corruptions might there be in the New Testament? This semester my wife (Gale) is teaching a morning and evening Bible study for women based on the Gospel of Mark. The same pastor (whom I highly respect) very nicely supplied four commentaries to help her. Three of the four do not discuss the last 12 verses of chapter 16. But none of them have a good explanation as to why they do not discuss it. Two of them hold to the idea that Mark intentionally left readers hanging with the words ‘because they were too frightened'. One of the books gushes, “What a perfect ending!” The footnotes and the brackets in our Bibles don't just confuse believers in Christ, but they confuse people who are wondering if the Bible is true. And opponents of Christianity seize on such things to say that the Bible text is not reliable. The answer to this problem is to base our Bible translations on the Majority Text of the New Testament, also called the Byzantine Textform. I will give more information about that later. Until then, the bottom line is that 1650 ancient manuscripts found all over the ancient world, all made by an army scribes each copying the text of an earlier manuscript, could not have the last 12 verses of Mark if the verses had not come from the first papyrus copy written by Mark. Until next time, may the Lord bless you ‘real good'.
Hey there! It seems like we are off to a good start this year in the Daily Bible Reading Podcast. I have already gotten one email indicating some confusion on the part of one listener, so I will explain about that in just a few moments. First I want to ask you to share the DBRP NOW with your friends. If you started listening to the podcasts just a few days ago, then perhaps it has occured to you, “Hey, this podcast would be perfect for” this or that friend. If so, please share with them right away. This first week of the yearly plan is a great time to start listening, and if your friend wants to, he/she can easily catch up with you. Then you can discuss the readings together. If you visit the Read This First pages linked in the header of dailybiblereading.info, you can find the Sharing page, which has images that you can use for sharing on social media posts. I will give you some reasons for contacting me below, so let me share now that my favorite way for you to contact me is via the Contact button at dailybiblereading.info. It's in the upper right hand corner of the screen. I have recently revised much of the information found in the Read This First pages linked in the banner of dailybiblereading.info. That's the place to go for information about Bible apps, podcast apps, Bible sites useful for digging deeper. and also information about me. Last year, I followed the 3D reading plan again, but did not listen to any of the podcasts. This year, I am going to listen to all of them again in a concentrated way, looking for things to improve. And already I have made improvements to some podcasts from episode 1 through 26. I always want to know if you find a mistake in something I have said in one of the recordings. Here is the item of confusion mentioned above that I wanted to share with you: YouVersion now has an audio play button at the bottom of the page for the Digging Deeper Daily reading plan. Because that reading plan is sponsored by the Daily Bible Reading Podcast, some people will think that the play button is giving them the recordings for the podcasts. It does NOT. If you hit the play button, you get a Siri/Alexa-like voice that reads the devotional content page, and after that page, the app will play whatever voice is bundled with the translation you have selected. If any of the people who have recently subscribed to the Digging Deeper Daily reading plan in the YouVersion app are confused like that, then they won't get the message about their mistake, since they will never see the extra podcast that I release like this one. However, when the voice pronounces the name of Job as job, I hope that they will figure out that they are not listening to a podcast. Actually following the 3D reading plan that way is not too bad. I'm just sorry that those who do this will miss out on some of the extra information that I can give in podcasts and also the prayers at the end of each podcast. For more information about my two full-Bible reading plans in the YouVersion app, please visit the Read This First pages linked at dailybiblereading.info, and look for the page that is about Listening to podcasts. I want to close this podcast with a selection of quick tips. For all of these items, you can find more complete information in the Read This First pages. If you have any questions about why I have recorded the NLT and the GNT for the DBRP, please see the Read This First pages. Those two are the most understandable English translations for those consuming Scripture in audio form. If you started listening to episode 1 podcast on January 1st, if you don't want to install a podcast app, you can simply go to dailybiblereading.info or dailygntbiblereading.info. Your daily episode will be near the top. This is also a great method if you want to use a computer instead of a smaller device. If you are somewhere in the middle of the year or are irregular in your listening, a good podcast app will make it easy to select the next episode without having to remember the day number or search for it. If my reading is too slow for you, a good podcast app will let you choose to speed up the audio. My favorite speed is 1.25. I don't recommend listening to Scripture at 1.5 speed if your aim is to understand it and think about it. When I was reading the 3D plan last year and not listening to the audio, I enjoyed using the MyBible app, which works on both Apple and Android devices. It has MANY options for customization. A simpler app that allows you to follow the 3D plan is called Quick Bibles. The Indonesian version of that program is the most popular Bible app in Indonesia. For listening to the 3D plan using smart speakers, please see the Read This First pages at dailybiblereading.info. Please, if you are listening to the DBRP on your commute to work, have things set up with your podcast app so you do not need to touch your phone. I want to repeat my appeal from the top of this episode: Please share with your friends about the 3D reading plan and the Daily Bible Reading Podcasts. Any day of the year is a good day to start listening to the Bible. The Holy Spirit will never tell you not to read the Bible. That message comes from someone else. Expect the Holy Spirit to speak to you each time you read or listen to the Bible. Please forget about me and listen to Him. Gale and I send you our New Year's greetings, and as always, I say, May the Lord bless you ‘real good'.
Hey, happy New Year to you all! If you happen to be one who started the DBRP at the beginning of 2021, you have surely noticed that our readings have contained one prophetic figure of speech or metaphor after another that all say that, “In the end, Jesus, the Son of God and Lion of Judah WINS. Blessed are you if you faithfully endure as a believer and follower of Him. The times that we are living through will be increasingly tough. Stand firm in holy living and in doing good works that glorify God. You will not be disappointed in the results!” In 2022 my prayer is that we believers become better ambassadors of the basic beliefs taught in the Bible. How can we help our friends, family, or casual acquaintances to see the errors in the pagan worldview that is being promoted in the media today? I recommend the videos, podcasts, and books by Greg Koukl. His organization is called Stands to Reason, and his website is str.org. In particular, I recommend his book called Tactics. Be sure to get the 10th Anniversary Edition, which is available also as a Kindle book/audio book. The great thing that Koukl teaches is how to use questions in discussions with people holding different views, so that your conversations don't turn into arguments. (All the links for things I mention today are found in the episode notes.) At this time every year I give suggestions for other audio Bible podcasts, so that after listening to me for a year, you can listen to another voice. The great granddaddy of daily Bible reading podcasts is the Daily Audio Bible. Another good one is the Daily Radio Bible. As you choose a reading program for next year, I urge you to remember the basics that I give in my How to Study the Bible video, https://youtu.be/sPyAp8ZxDBE. Be sure to pick a plan that will have you reading some of the NT every day, not zipping through the NT starting in September or October. Some of you who listened to the NLT podcasts this year may want to listen to my GNT podcast series next year. If so, the site is dailyGNTBiblereading.info. If you want to use the YouVersion Bible app for your daily Bible readings, my 365-day plan is called ‘Digging Deeper Daily'. You can search in the YouVersion plans for Digging Deeper Daily, or find the direct link in the episode notes. Digging Deeper Daily: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/1314-digging-deeper-daily If you would like to listen to David Suche reading the NIV Bible (as I did in 2020), I suggest that you follow the YouVersion plan named ‘Read to Me Daily'. If you select the NIV UK edition as your Bible, then David Suche is the reader. You can search in the YouVersion plans for ‘Read to me daily'. Read to Me Daily: https://www.bible.com/reading-plans/13707-read-to-me-daily This 365-day reading plan is presented in four semesters. For information about other apps you can use for Bible reading or listening to the Daily Bible Reading podcasts, please see the Read This First pages that are linked in the top bar of the dailybiblereading.info site. If the app you are using does not show you the episode notes with clickable links and paragraph formatting, there are many other apps that will do a better job of that. For people following the Daily Bible Reading podcasts in 2022, I will not be starting a new Facebook group or sending our special emails next year. But if any of you will be starting groups on some social media platform for a small group following the Digging Deeper Reading plan, I would like to offer my help and encouragement. If your group has questions that I might answer from a Bible translator's viewpoint, you can invite me to join your group. I won't have time to be active in multiple groups, but I would be glad to answer questions and encourage your group. I will continue sending out news or informational podcasts at random times, like this one. Finally, I want to remind you that these 4-5 days are the peak times when people make resolutions to read the Bible. Please share with your friends about the Digging Deeper Daily reading plan and the DBRPs. Please give them the link: dailybiblereading.info. Gale and I wish you a joyous year in 2022. May the Lord bless you ‘real good'!
Hi friend, I'm so glad you're listening to this update. I will share a very useful tip today. Before I tell you about that, I want to ask for your help: Are you one who made a New-Year's resolution last year to read the whole Bible? Well, how did that go for you? Would you be willing to share a word of testimony from your year reading the Bible to encourage others? If so, please use your voice memo app on your cell phone to record your message. You might share a verse that meant a lot to you this year, or share some way God used his Word in your life. I will post your comments at the dailybiblereading.info website. I will tell you how to make and send your audio file to me at the end of this episode. If you are one of those who made that decision a year ago and have kept up your reading since January 1, you know that we are now in the big Prophecy binge-reading time at the end of the year, reading minor prophets, Isaiah, and Revelation. The possibility of seeing correspondences between your three daily readings goes up to about 95%. Some people find the prophetic genre difficult. Recently I had a conversation with one of our church's elders. He had undertaken to do a thorough study through the book of Jeremiah, and found it very difficult. More than that, he complained about his frustration in understanding the book of Revelation. I want to offer a little help in this area that I re-discovered recently. Here's the tip I mentioned: Dr. Bob Utley's Free Bible Commentary (http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/) Note the word Free! What you get in Utley's commentary is expert information that is gleaned from a lifetime of research. Dr. Utley has dedicated himself to making a high-quality commentary on every book in the Bible. His work is scholarly, yet written so that it is easy to understand. So, in view of our current prophecy-reading binge, I would like to share some thoughts on the prophetic genre, which is also called the Apocalyptic genre. Many of us recently read the book of Daniel. You may recall that chapter 11 is filled with incredible details prophesied to Daniel by an awesome angelic messenger. I am not going to go into any of the details now. What I will do is to give you some introductory material from Bob Utley's commentary on Daniel 11. I will summarizing some general points about the prophetic genre that Bob Utley quoted from D. Brent Sandy's book Plowshares and Pruning Hooks: Rethinking the Language of Biblical Prophecy and Apocalyptic. From Daniel 2, "What Makes Prophecy Problematic?" "the question is whether emotional language is necessarily exact language," p. 41 "hyperboles, in effect, stretch the truth in order to increase the impact of the words," p. 41 "a prophet's intent may be to express emotion more than exactness," p. 41 "at what level are readers supposed to understand the prophetic visions—every detail? The overall picture?" p. 48 From Daniel 3, "How Does the Language of Prophecy Work?" "if we fail to grasp the inherent metaphorical nature of language, we fail to understand prophecy," p. 59 From Daniel 5, "How Does the Language of Apocalyptic Work?" Are the details in the vision allusive and symbolic or precise and explicit? Generally, the images lack precision," p. 117 "anticipating the details of political events of the fourth through the second centuries raises the issue whether the point of the vision is the details or the overall impact," p. 119 "but we must not begin with the specific lest we fail to grasp the global!" p. 122 "it is also expected with the nature of apocalyptic language that some details may simply be for effect; stated another way, some details may be make-believe," p. 124 "details may have no particular significance other than to give the account more emotive power," p. 126 "there is a certain amount of futility; therefore, in trying to determine the significance of all the details of apocalyptic visions," p. 126 "to read the Apocalypse with a microscope, even striving to decipher the significance of the most minute detail, defrauds the genre of it intended function," p. 127 "understanding the orality of the Apocalypse underscores the point that correct interpretation pays more attention to the overall impression of the visions than to the individual details," p. 127 "from the vision in Daniel 8 we learn that while apocalyptic may seem on the surface to describe the future in detail, in point of fact, it does not. Some details may in the end match up with a precise event, but it would have been impossible to see that in advance," p. 128 From Daniel 6, "How Have Prophecies Been Fulfilled?" "the already fulfilled prophecies demonstrate a pattern of translucence rather than transparency. The intent was apparently not to give specific information about the future," p. 146 "figures of speech abound in the poetry of prophecy. That should suggest that correct understanding of prophetic poetry is often not possible until after the fulfillment," p. 150 "if we grasp the intent of prophecy as primarily prosecution and persuasion, we will not expect it to reveal details of the future," p. 154 Daniel 7, "How Will Prophecies Be Fulfilled?" "because prophecy is poetic, it is inherently ambiguous and in some ways less precise," p. 158 "given the nature of prophecy, we should probably deduce that it offers panorama, not close-up details," p. 163 "prophecy and apocalyptic: it is a stained-glass window, not a crystal ball," p. 184 "the function of the prophets' language was to draw attention to basic ideas about the future, not to reveal precisely what will happen and when it will happen," p. 184 Conclusion "the fundamental question is, does the language of prophecy intend to give us details from which we can preconstruct how the future will unfold?" p. 206 "biblical prophecies were generally not understood before they were fulfilled," p. 199 This perspective has helped me as I struggled with Dan. 9:24-27. It is less helpful with chapter 11 because there are so many corroborated historical details from Dan. 11:2 to 11:35. Daniel 11:36-45 parallel Dan. 7:7-8,11,24-25 and 9:24-27. These seem to fit into Jesus' words in Matthew 24; Mark 13; Luke 21; Paul's words in 1 and 2 Thessalonians; and John's words in the Revelation. However, as the NT authors saw fulfilled OT prophecy only after Jesus' life, these end-time events are not all literal, historical predictions. Only time will tell. But for those last generation of hurting and dying believers, many (but not all) of them may be very literal to encourage them to faith and hope (which is the purpose of all apocalyptic literature). It was actually my Bible translation team in Indonesia who re-introduced me to the Free Bible Commentary series. They described the commentaries like this: “Utley doesn't promote only his own interpretation of a passage. Instead he equips the reader with all the information needed to weigh the strengths and weaknesses of differing opinions, giving you the tools needed to make good interpretive decisions.” My wife, Gale, has been leading two groups of women at our church every week in studying Isaiah 40-66. It used to be that I would find post-it notes on the dining room table with questions for me to answer. Ever since I showed her Bob Utley's commentary, I seldom find post-it notes on the breakfast table. Now, to let Bob Utley help us with the book of Revelation, I would like to read a couple of paragraphs from his Introduction to that book: Most of my adult academic/theological life I have had the presupposition that those who believe the Bible take it "literally" (and that is surely true for historical narrative). However, it has become more and more obvious to me that to take prophecy, poetry, parables, and apocalyptic literature literally is to miss the point of the inspired text. The author's intent, not literalness, is the key to a proper understanding of the Bible. To make the Bible say more [than the original writer intended] (doctrinal specificity) is as dangerous and misleading as to interpret it in such a way as to make it say less than was intended by the original, inspired writer. The focus must be the larger context, the historical setting, and the intention the author expressed in the text itself and in his choice of genre. Genre is a literary contract between the author and the reader. To miss this clue is surely to lead to misinterpretation! The book of Revelation is surely true, but not historical narrative, not meant to be taken literally. The genre itself is screaming this point to us if we will only hear it. This does not mean that it is not inspired, or not true; it is just figurative, cryptic, symbolic, metaphorical, and imaginative. The first century Jews and Christians were familiar with this type of literature, but we are not! The Christian symbolism in The Lord of the Rings or the Chronicles of Narnia might possibly be modern parallels. … These apocalyptic works were never presented orally; they were always written. They are highly structured, literary works. The structure is crucial to a proper interpretation. A major part of the planned structure of the book of Revelation is seven literary units, which parallel each other to some extent (e.g., the seven seals, seven trumpets, and seven bowls). With each cycle the judgment increases: seals, 1/4 destruction; trumpets, 1/3 destruction; bowls, total destruction. Within each literary unit the Second Coming of Christ or some eschatological event occurs: (1) sixth seal, Rev. 6:12-17; (2) seventh trumpet, Rev. 11:15-18; an end-time angel judgment in Rev. 14:14-20; (3) seventh bowl, Rev. 16:17-21 and again in Rev. 19:11-21 and still again in Rev. 22:6-16 (also note the three-fold title for God in Rev. 1:4,8 and Christ in Rev. 1:17,18, "who is, who was, and who is to come," notice the future aspect is left out in Rev. 11:17 and Rev. 16:5 which means the future has come [i.e. second coming]). This shows that the book is not chronologically sequential, but a drama in several acts which foresees the same period of time [expressed] in progressively violent OT judgment motifs (cf. James Blevins, Revelation as Drama and "The Genre of Revelation" in Review and Expositor, Sept. 1980, pp. 393-408). There is so very much more that I could share. Here again is the link to Dr. Utley's commentary on Revelation: http://www.freebiblecommentary.org/new_testament_studies/VOL12/VOL12.html Once again, if you have been blessed by reading the Digging Deeper Daily reading plan this year (no matter where you are in year's readings), please share your blessing by recording a voice memo for me. This request is for anyone who has been following the Digging Deeper Daily plan, no matter if you have been reading in a Bible, or listening to the daily podcasts. To send your audio file, use the contact button at dailybiblereading.info. Please write a short message to me saying that you have recorded a message for me. You won't be able to attach the file. But I will reply to that email, and then you can attach your audio file to your reply to me. May the Lord bless you ‘real good'! Phil & Gale
I hope that it will be interesting to you to share 14 verses that rang a bell for me this year. In collecting these verses, until recently I didn't plan on sharing these with you. Rather, this is more like letting you see verses I wanted to use to preach to myself. Stay tuned at the end. I would like YOU to share your favorites with me! Random:GW'20 Proverbs 29:2 2 When righteous people increase, the people ⌞of God⌟ rejoice, but when a wicked person rules, everybody groans. I've heard many groans this year. Remember, by the way, that when the nations of Israel and Judah sinned, one way that the Lord repeatedly punished them was by giving them bad kings. GW'20 2 Chronicles 26:16 16 But when he became powerful, his pride destroyed him. … My thought here is that some things have gone well in my life and ministry this year. But I pray that I can avoid pride, because it is such a trap and so dangerous. How King Uzziah must have regretted going into the temple to burn his own incense during all the remaining years of his life, excluded from visiting the temple, living in a separate house, and receiving reports of how his son was ruling in his place! PCF Ecclesiastes 10:1 1 One dead fly can make a whole bottle of perfume stink. Even so, a little foolishness can outweigh great wisdom and honor. I am at the place in my life where I want to finish well. I want to leave behind a good smell (so to speak) when people remember me. The word ‘foolishness' in Proverbs refers to bone-headed refusal to obey God. The last thing I want to do is to mess up at the finish line. A little stupidity at the end can leave a stench that obliterates a God-honoring testimony. GW'20 Proverbs 14:14 14 A heart that turns ⌞from God⌟ becomes bored with its own ways, but a good person is satisfied with God's ways. When I struggle with impure thoughts, it helps me to think that if I gave myself up to follow the cravings of my lower nature, my joy in that kind of a lifestyle would last about 10 minutes. Boredom would come so quickly, and eventually I am sure I would repent. But the resulting wound of remorse in my heart would never totally heal. Faith: PCF/GW Proverbs 23:17-18 17 Do not envy sinners in your heart. Instead, continue to fear the LORD.18 There is indeed a future for you, and your hope will not be crushed. I picked this verse to use in preaching to myself. I don't often envy sinners, but just the good fortunes of others. A powerful thing to remember when tempted to envy or lust is that I have a really fantastic future promised by God. The hoped for outcomes there are safe, in that place where moths and rust don't ruin things. Don't look back. Keep looking forward! The next verse tells us what we are gazing at. PCF/NLT 1 Peter 1:8-9 8 You love him,even though you have never seen Him.And even though you do not see Him,you believe in Himand celebrate with glorious joythat goes beyond anything words can say, 9 since you are receiving the proper goal of your faith,namely, the rescue of your lives. Love Him. Don't forget your rescue, and the privilege you have in knowing Jesus through all of God's Word. Keep hold of joy! PCF/GW Matthew 12:39 39A He responded, “The people of an evil and unfaithful era demand miraculous signs. … There is a reason why the Lord gives miracles sparingly. Miracles may help give someone's belief an initial nudge, but miracles never grow mature faith. People who seek to go from one miracle to another (if the Lord permits that to happen) continue to need to be spoon-fed. Most of the heroes of faith in chapter 11 of Hebrews did not receive what they trusted God for. They developed a faith that could stand any test Planning: NET Luke 14:28 28 Which of you, wanting to build a tower, doesn't sit down first and compute the cost? … This verse is leading up to Jesus' teaching about counting the cost of being his disciple. However, let me make a tangential point: Some people have gotten the idea that Christians shouldn't plan anything, but just be led by God without planning. I believe that this is totally false. A parent doesn't want to always have to tell his child to take a bath or to go to bed. God wants his children launched into this world prayerfully making their plans and moving ahead to complete them. GW'20 Proverbs 16:3 3 Entrust your efforts to the LORD, and your plans will succeed. Read that several times. So I ask you: What will happen if you don't make any plans? It's a good idea to pray! NET/PCF Matthew 7:11 11 If you then, though you are so sinful, know how to give good gifts to your children, just think how much more your Father in heaven will give good gifts to those who ask him! So I ask again: What will happen if you don't ask God for good gifts? (And by ‘gifts' I mean the answer to prayers about plans you have made for glorifying God in your life.) This is like NET Matthew 7:7 7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened for you. I'll pause in order for you to answer out loud. So what happens if you don't knock, don't seek, and don't ask?! ESV Hebrews 11:6 6 And without faith it is impossible to please him, for whoever would draw near to God must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who seek him. This is the foundation for receiving what you ask God for in prayer. GW'20 Matthew 6:6 6 Whenever you pray, go to your room and close the door. Pray privately to your Father who is with you. Your Father sees what you do in private. He will reward you. After those other verses, I might as well follow the same pattern and ask: What will happen if you DON'T go into your private place and pray? There is a big promise there that I don't want to fail to cash in on! Consider: We are going before the Almighty King of the Universe. Through Christ Jesus, we have the wonderful privilege to be able to appear before God the Father and make our requests. I take this verse literally and urge you to do so also. That is, actually go into a private room, actually close the door. Realizing that you are entering the throne room of God, do what people did throughout the pages of the Bible: Humble yourself and be reverent! Get down at least on your knees (if you are physically able to do this) or even bow down lower. Pray. Then rejoice in that promise. ESV/PCF Psalms 145:18 18 The LORD is near to all who cry out to Him, to all who cry out sincerely. The ESV says, ‘to all who cry out in truth.' To me this means that we will not be just going through the motions, saying the right words, but not really meaning them. This is why I translate ‘in truth' as ‘sincerely'. Sincere prayer is also believing prayer, like James 1 tells us. I wrap up all that I have shared with this verse, Eccl 12:11. The ‘wise advisor' in this verse is Solomon, and definitely not me. However we can extend the idea to the Lord being the wisest advisor. The translation of this verse is my translation of how this verse comes out in the Plain Indonesian Translation. PET Eccl. 12:11 The teaching of a wise advisor is like a shepherd's stickthat is used to guide and direct his sheep.May every saying given by this advisor and shepherd be nailed into the mind of every learner and guide them in living rightly. Please pray for my visa to Indonesia to be granted, so that I can go there on November 2. If it is granted, I will need to quarantine for eight days in a hotel before being released to live like I normally do in Jakarta. Exciting things are happening there with the use of the Plain Indonesian New Testament. Sometime before the end of the year I want to publish a podcast with YOU reading your favorite verse from this year. Here's what to do: Use a voice recording app on your phone to record your favorite verse. Then say something about why that verse spoke to you. Try to limit your explanation to 3-5 sentences. I recommend going into an echo-free room, like maybe your clothes closet, and hold the phone away from where it will catch explosions of air when you say some words. Send the audio file to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. May the Lord bless you ‘real good'. Phil
I have been back from Indonesia for over a month now, and my life has slowly calmed down to the point where I can make a podcast again. If you listened to my last update, sent from my hotel room in Jakarta, and prayed for me, I want to say Thank You! The Lord answers prayers! If you would like to see a follow-up to my prayer requests from my last update, a link to our recent prayer letter is here in the episode notes. LINK Heads up, people: I have some cool downloads for this episode. You can see all the links to those in the episode notes. In my last update, I mentioned that I would share something about my article in Indonesian which started out with the title, The Heritage of the King James Version. After John Wycliffe, the first famous English Bible translator, I learned a bit more about William Tyndale. He fled for his life, and finally was betrayed and cruelly martyred in 1536. But his work greatly influenced Bible translations after him. One estimate says that 84% of the KJV shows influence from Tyndale. Beyond that, through subsequent translations, Tyndale's influence is still felt. Bringing this home to the present day, if you read the ESV, Tyndale's influence is discernible in that Bible. How amazing and I think this shows God's fingerprints: The first Bible translator martyred is still influencing our Bible translations. Before the KJV, there were two English translations of note: The first is the Great Bible, authorized by Henry the VIII. This was translated by Miles Coverdale. It was called ‘great' because of its size. King Henry's Secretary of State, Thomas Cromwell, directed the clergy to provide “one book of the Bible of the largest volume in English, and the same set up in some convenient place within the said church that ye have care of, whereas your parishioners may most commodiously resort to the same and read it.” Note that this means that Cromwell and the king did not consider that parishioners might want their own copy! Coming only three years after Tyndale's incomplete translation, Coverdale primarily revised and corrected Tyndale's work. Coverdale translated the remaining books of the OT from the Latin Vulgate, not from the Hebrew. The second precursor to the KJV that I want to mention is the Geneva Bible. It was published in 1560, 51 years before the KJV. Under the reign of Mary Queen of Scotts, when protestants were persecuted and more than 300 were martyred, many protestant theologians fled to various places in Europe. In particular, many fled to Geneva, where John Calvin was in the later years of his life. In 1557 they formed a committee to translate the Bible. Just a year later, Queen Elizabeth I gained the throne of England, and the dedication of the Geneva Bible was addressed to her. The Geneva Bible scored an amazing number of FIRSTS: It was the first English Bible translation that was translated entirely from the original languages, Hebrew and Greek. It was the first Bible translated by a committee instead of by a lone individual. The Geneva Bible was the first to be printed in an easy to read Roman font. The Geneva Bible was the first study Bible, with Bible maps, and explanatory notes on every page. Note also that these notes were written by leading scholars of the Reformation. This was the first printed Bible with chapter and verse numbers. The Geneva Bible was the first one to use italic font for words that were added to complete English grammar, differentiating those words from all those that were direct translations of the source text. This Bible was printed in versions that were small enough to be easily carried and inexpensive enough that ordinary believers could own a copy. The Geneva Bible (and not the KJV) is the Bible that was used by William Shakespeare, Oliver Cromwell, John Knox, John Donne, and John Bunyan (the writer of The Pilgrim's Progress, 1678). This is the Bible that in 1620 was carried to America on the Mayflower. Twenty-four copies of this Bible are housed in libraries and museums in America. If you are interested in the Puritans and what the protestant reformers believed, get the Geneva Bible. Facsimile copies of the Geneva Bible are available to buy, one of the 1560 edition, and the second of the 1591 edition. I have already given away my facsimile of the 1560 edition. However I have found a complete PDF that contains the complete 1560 edition, and the link for downloading it is here in the episode notes. (This PDF is only 259 MB because it is a black and white scan.) If you don't want to learn to read the antique font in the PDF, Biblegateway displays the Geneva Bible complete with its footnotes. However, when King James came to the throne of England, he did not like the Geneva Bible. One of the issues was those excellent study notes I mentioned above. You see, some of the notes contain critical remarks about what ‘kings or queens shouldn't do'. (This is no wonder, seeing what the authors had been through!) James decreed that the new translation would not have any study notes. It is an odd quirk of history, that the KJV has so dominated in its influence, because in its time it was not considered the most exact translation, not considered poetic in its style, not considered as the only authoritative Bible. But it became the dominant Bible in England and eventually in the USA partly because its printing was authorized by the Crown, thereby suppressing the printing of the Geneva Bible. However, beyond doubt, the King James Bible has been, and still is, the world's most influential book. I will not take the time here to list its many influences over our English language and culture (as such praises can be found all over the Internet), but I highlight one influence not normally mentioned: The KJV has exerted a huge influence over Bible translations into the world's languages. Most of the time, Bible readers of this time do not realize that what is sold as a King James Version they use is not really the same as the original KJV. That is why a better name for the modern editions of the KJV is the Authorized Version. You can download a PDF of the whole KJV 1611 first edition here. (The whole Bible is 1.8 GB because this scan is in color.) [naked link: https://archive.org/details/1611TheAuthorizedKingJamesBible/page/n5/mode/2up] One of the differences between the normal Authorized Version and the real 1611 KJV is that the Authorized Version won't contain the Preface entitled The Translators to the Reader. If you think that you're good at understanding King James English, I challenge you to read the original Preface. To make it easier to download, I have linked a copy of just the preface HERE. When you discover how difficult it is to read the original font and spelling, I have linked a PDF that contains the KJV Preface with modern spelling HERE. Unfortunately, what we need is a modern language translation of this important document, with footnotes explaining references to events, literary figures, or customs common to that era that leave modern readers in the dark. Back in the 1980s, I wrote a letter to a special friend and supporter because he and his family had joined the King James Only movement. My short article with quotes from the Preface was later reprinted and used by Wycliffe Bible Translators. The letter is linked HERE, and it explains why the King James translators themselves would not have agreed with the King James Only movement. There is so much more to discuss about the history of Bible translation up to our times, which will someday be in the article I was writing in Indonesian. For now I want to jump to a notable Bible translator who is now largely forgotten. His name is Richard Francis Weymouth (1822-1902). Weymouth was a school teacher, an authority on literature, a published linguist, and a published Greek scholar. His NT in Modern Speech was published posthumously by his secretary in 1903. Weymouth was WAY ahead of his time. He realized that all the English translations published up to 1900 retained the wooden literalisms of Tyndale, making them hard to understand. He set out to make the first ever natural-sounding English translation, that is a translation that would make it sound like Paul and other NT writers had written in English, instead of Greek. So Weymouth made the first ‘meaning based translation', although that term and terms like ‘dynamic equivalence' had not yet been coined. His NT in Modern Speech is wonderfully accurate and still sounds amazingly modern, given that it was first published in 1903. It was not until 1966 that the Good News Translation appeared. The Weymouth NT was published in two forms, one with footnotes, one without. If you are going to read this NT, be sure to get a copy with the footnotes. It is not hard to find used copies. You can download a copy here for free (9.7 MB), complete with the footnotes. (It is available in the MyBible app, but without the footnotes.) A prettier copy, evidently in higher resolution is found here (48.2 MB). Recordings of ten books of the Weymouth NT are read quite dramatically and available for free download through LibreVox. Now turning to news about the NLT side of the Daily Bible Reading Podcast: Tyndale House Foundation changed their years-old copyright policies, so that they now have a policy for podcasts. I am thrilled that they have granted permission for my NLT Daily Bible Readings to still be made available. As per their request, the complete copyright notice has been placed at the end of the episode notes for every podcast. I will read it here: Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations in these podcasts are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved. I will be slowly adding brief audio summaries of the notice to every podcast. I give a shout out to my volunteer secretary, Vicky Pool, who has done the job of putting that copyright notice at the end of 365 episode notes. She's also the one who makes sure that episodes are published every single day. So thank you to Vicky! I have been thinking about the wonderful privilege God gives us in listening to our prayers. Here are some verses that I have been thinking about: Hebrews 11:6 Without faith, it is impossible to please God, for anyone who approaches Himmust believe that He existsand that he rewards those who seek Him. Psalm 145:18 The LORD is near to all who call out to Him,to all who call out to Him sincerely. Matthew 6:6 When you pray, go into your room and shut the door and pray to your Father who is in secret. And your Father who sees in secret will reward you. Psalm 95:6 Oh come, let us worship and bow down; let us kneel before the LORD, our Maker! The Bible also tells us to “pray without ceasing.” So we can't always be praying in our secret room and can't always be kneeling while praying. However, when we have important things to pray about, I think it is a good idea to do just what these verses say. Our God is awesome, and we should approach Him in full reverence and with the utmost honor and respect. Gale and I send our greetings to you and say:May the Lord bless YOU ‘real good'!
Hello! I’m sending this update to you from Jakarta, where I am in my third day of five in quarantine after arriving here. This audio update is for any of you listeners to the Daily Bible Reading Podcast who would like to hear about my work as a Bible translator. This is not one of the Reader Take Note series where I discuss various topics in God’s Word. For those of you who are new DBRP listeners who don’t know much about our ministry as Bible translators in Indonesia, here is the back story: Gale and I came to Indonesia as aspiring Bible translators in 1983. After learning the Indonesian language for 6 months, in mid-1984, we chose to work among the Orya language group. That project lasted for 21 years. The Orya New Testament was dedicated in 2005. But even before completing that project, I was convinced that Indonesia’s national language needed a better Bible translation. So in that same year, 2005, we started what eventually was named the Plain Indonesian Translation. In order to publish a Bible translation for Indonesia’s national language, I found it necessary to start a non-profit Bible translation organization. The OurLanguage Bible Organization (which I will refer to as Albata) was started in 2012. Then in 2014, the Plain Indonesian Translation NT was published in its first edition. Skipping to the present: It is not fun to have to wade through the list of requirements to do international travel these days. One bright spot, however, was that this time the planes were quite empty. All the passengers had extra room on the 12 ½ hour flight from Dallas to Narita (Japan), and the 7 hour flight from Narita coming here. Once on the ground in Jakarta, all the passengers were herded through 8 different checking stations. Normally it would take me around half an hour to get through the immigration check and pick up my luggage. This time it took 2 ½ hours. At the end of the line, in a process supervised by the police, all foreigners coming into the country have to quarantine in a hotel for 5 days at their own expense. During the 5 days I will get two PCR Covid tests. At least, as one fellow passenger observed, the good thing in all this is that Indonesia’s government is trying their best to limit new strains of the Covid virus from entering the country. So here I am on the 16th floor of a 4-star hotel, all alone, getting 3 very good meals per day, and finding it hard to stay awake and even harder to force myself to exercise in my room. In November of last year, I started working with four members of our translation team here to revise our Plain Indonesian New Testament. I finished my main part in that revision process just before starting this trip. I am looking forward to what God will do through his Word in this new edition and ask for your prayers. For the first time ever, in this third edition, the New Testament will be published using high quality Bible paper and with a more durable cover. Instead of looking like a fat paperback book, this time the New Testament will look like a sacred book should look. I am certain that readers will enjoy our more concise and more precise translation with added footnotes. Much enthusiasm for the Plain Indonesian Translation has come through a partnering group called the Good Seed Network, which is challenging people to read the whole NT in 90 days. People have been participating from all over Indonesia. We will be giving away thousands of New Testaments this year to people who are in this program. About a month ago, Balazi, the director of our organization here in Indonesia, brought it to my attention that many Indonesians use the KJV as their final authority when confused by Indonesian Bible translations. Two things have bothered me about that: Indonesian students of the Bible need better tools to be able to discover what the Hebrew and Greek source texts actually say. The source language of the Bible is not the English of the KJV. And secondly, students of the Bible in Indonesia need better information about how we got our Bible, including information about how the original language texts were preserved for us and what happened in the history of Bible translations, including the far-reaching influence of the KJV. So I started writing a short history of Bible translation which is now about 80% finished. I have enjoyed discovering so many things I never knew about all this, and I hope to share them with you in one or two Reader Take Note series podcasts, sometime after I get back home (at the end of June). If you have listened to this so far, I ask you to pray for my time in Indonesia. Here are three prayer requests: In four to eight years our Bible translation organization here (Albata) will be able to publish the Plain Indonesian Bible with a complete Old Testament. I hope to live to see that day. But our six team members here are looking farther into the future and asking, “After that, what will we do?” We will be having meetings starting next week to discuss that topic. The answer to that question will tell Albata’s leaders what they need to do in the next few years to prepare for the future. My main concern now is to set operating principles and establish an organizational culture that will help Albata continue as a ministry that the Lord will be pleased to use in the future. Please pray that the Lord will give us his wisdom. One of our partner organizations is called Faith Comes By Hearing. They do many of the audio Bible recordings all over the world. They have given us 100 audio Bible players (called Proclaimers) that are for the Orya people. I look forward to being among the Orya people when we start distributing those in June. Now FCBH have promised to give us 400 more Proclaimer units which we will give to people who are unable to read or those who have vision problems. I hope to be present when we distribute a few of those during my trip. The solar powered Proclaimer units are expensive, and we never would be able to afford so many of them. We are so grateful for FCBH’s support! Please give thanks to the Lord for the gift of the 500 Proclaimer units, and pray that the Lord will lead us to those who need and will cherish these. Please pray for me in many divine appointments, that I can be the Lord’s representative, speaking with the help of the Holy Spirit. In family news, our daughter, Hannah, with Brandon and three kids will soon be leaving Jakarta. Brandon has accepted a job directing a ministry to refugees in Greenville, SC. I will only get to eat dinner with them a couple of times before they leave. Gale will travel from Arkansas to Greenville to see them shortly after they arrive there. Then Gale will drive a rented car from there to visit her Mom in Georgia. Her Mom has been under hospice care for over 6 months now. She is so ready to be in the presence of her Savior. Thank you for praying for us, and we pray for you that the Lord will bless you ‘real good’. Phil
Greetings and welcome to this third edition of the Reader: Take Note series. This is an occasional series of podcasts aimed at providing extra commentary and encouragement for those following the Digging Deeper Daily reading plan. No matter where you are in the reading calendar, I hope that the things I share in this episode will support the idea that God’s Word has many treasures for us, and it always pays to dig deeper. In this episode I will discuss * my mistake in the last Take Note podcast, * things modern readers may miss in the story of the 10 plagues in Egypt, * why the descriptions of the construction of the Tabernacle are so hard to visualize, * which order were the synoptic Gospels written in? * and two verses that are difficult to translate in Luke. Did you catch my mistake in the last Take Note podcast? I said that John the Baptist’s father (Zechariah) quoted from Malakai 4, about ‘NLT'07 Malachi 4:6: 6 His preaching will turn the hearts of fathers to their children, and the hearts of children to their fathers. … Zechariah actually said, GW'20 Luke 1:76:76 “You, child, will be called a prophet of the Most High. You will go ahead of the Lord to prepare his way. His words are reminiscent of Malachi 3-4. But the one who actually quoted Malakai 4:6 was the angel Gabriel, who (speaking to Mary about Jesus) said, GW'20 Luke 1:17:17 He will go ahead of the Lord with the spirit and power that Elijah had. He will change parents’ attitudes toward their children. He will change disobedient people so that they will accept the wisdom of those who have God’s approval. In this way he will prepare the people for their Lord.” If you have questions or comments, or corrections to what I have said, my favorite way for you to send messages to me is via the contact button at dailybiblereading.info. I’m always interested to hear your thoughts. Let’s open to Exodus 3— if you happen to have a Bible handy and are not listening to this while driving. When we were checking our translation of Exodus with a consultant (Norm Mundhenk by name), he showed us several things I had never noticed. In the story of the burning bush: NLT'07 Exodus 3:2-4:2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. 3 “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.” 4 When the LORD saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!” “Here I am!” Moses replied. So who is in the bush, the angel or God? The interesting observation here is that Moses seems not to like having the Lord do things that are physical or visible, such as making a bush be on fire. In this story, the angel messenger never speaks, but GW'20 Exodus 3:5-6:5 God said, “Don’t come any closer! Take off your sandals because this place where you are standing is holy ground. 6 I am the God of your ancestors, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.” Moses hid his face because he was afraid to look at God. Another example is found in chapter 14: NLT'07 Exodus 14:19-20:19 Then the angel of God, who had been leading the people of Israel, moved to the rear of the camp. The pillar of cloud also moved from the front and stood behind them. 20 The cloud settled between the Egyptian and Israelite camps. As darkness fell, the cloud turned to fire, lighting up the night. But the Egyptians and Israelites did not approach each other all night. The angel of the Lord made the very visible pillar of cloud and fire, but just a few verses later: NLT'07 Exodus 14:23-25:23 Then the Egyptians— all of Pharaoh’s horses, chariots, and charioteers— chased them into the middle of the sea. 24 But just before dawn the LORD looked down on the Egyptian army from the pillar of fire and cloud, and he threw their forces into total confusion. 25 He twisted their chariot wheels, making their chariots difficult to drive. “Let’s get out of here— away from these Israelites!” the Egyptians shouted. “The LORD is fighting for them against Egypt!” There are Bibles that capitalize the word for Angel in these cases where God is so closely connected with some physical manifestation. In Genesis the same thing happens. When angels appear, they most often speak God’s words directly using the first person for God. Now the word in both Hebrew and Greek that we translate as ‘angel’ means messenger. In later OT books (and especially Daniel) angels are indeed just that, messengers, and sometimes even with names, who speak about the Lord in the third person. Now let’s look at the 10 plagues that God wreaked upon Egypt. Our consultant, Norm, had us compare the similarities and differences in * location, at the river, or more likely at the palace? * Whose staff was used, Moses’ or Aaron’s? Or did God say to lift up their hands, or did Moses just pray? * the magicians’ reaction, or the reaction of Pharaoh’s officials * Pharaoh's reaction, in particular, Did Pharaoh harden his own heart, or did God do that? If you do the analysis, you will notice patterns and a crescendo building toward the 10th plague. Then there is something I only recently learned from a different source: I perhaps heard in a sermon, but never remember looking into the claim that each of the 10 plagues showed that God is more powerful than Egypt’s gods. Rather than repeating information penned by others, let me suggest that you search on the Internet for ‘ten plagues of Egypt’ and choose the article by GotQuestions.org, or find the link here in the episode notes: https://www.gotquestions.org/ten-plagues-Egypt.html This site also has a beautifully done video with the same information as their excellent article. I find the 9th plague particularly interesting: “The ninth plague, darkness, was aimed at the sun god, Re, who was symbolized by Pharaoh himself. For three days, the land of Egypt was smothered with an unearthly darkness, but the homes of the Israelites had light.” “The tenth and last plague, the death of the firstborn males, was a judgment on Isis, the protector of children.” Remember that Pharaoh’ own son and heir to his throne died on that night. (Ex. 11:5) Next, have you ever had trouble visualizing the sacred tent or tabernacle? I certainly have! Let’s concentrate on chapter 26:1-6. Exo 26:1-6: "“Moreover, you shall make the tabernacle with ten curtains of fine twined linen and blue and purple and scarlet yarns; you shall make them with cherubim skillfully worked into them. The length of each curtain shall be twenty-eight cubits, and the breadth of each curtain four cubits; all the curtains shall be the same size. Five curtains shall be coupled to one another, and the other five curtains shall be coupled to one another. And you shall make loops of blue on the edge of the outermost curtain in the first set. Likewise you shall make loops on the edge of the outermost curtain in the second set. Fifty loops you shall make on the one curtain, and fifty loops you shall make on the edge of the curtain that is in the second set; the loops shall be opposite one another. And you shall make fifty clasps of gold, and couple the curtains one to the other with the clasps, so that the tabernacle may be a single whole." One of the problems is that the Lord (or Moses) didn’t organize the material to make it easy to understand for those who didn’t get to see the virtual guided tour or YouTube shown to Moses up on Mount Sinai. (Actually, I am sure that Moses was shown something much better than a YouTube.) First we are told to make ten curtains of linen that are 42 feet by 6 feet. These sheets are called ‘curtains’ by both ESV and NLT. So I ask you, when I say ‘curtain’ do you envision something laying horizontally or hanging vertically? My problem in understanding started here, because these are not curtains that hang vertically, but would be better called sheets of cloth that lay over something. These sheets will lay over a framework to make the roof and hang down over the walls on the north and south, and also on the west. The front door faces east. Then the text says that the curtains were joined together on ‘one side’. Because of the word curtain, I always imagined joining the long sheets on the short side, and imagined we were making the curtain fence that was made to surround the Tabernacle. That is wrong again. The Hebrew text never clearly says, but these 42 foot long sheets were actually joined on the long side. That's why joining them required 50 clasps. To me, it helps a lot to simply say right from the beginning of the description that all this is to make the roof of the Tabernacle. There are also other things that are not clear. The Hebrew text doesn’t specifically say that they were to ‘sew’ the 10 sheets into two sets. The Hebrew says they would be ‘joined’ or ‘attached’. The ten sheets were probably sewn together, with five in each set, sewn along the long edge. Each set would then measure 42 feet by 30 feet. Above the linen layer, there was a slightly bigger goat's hair layer. Over those two layers of cloth, they made a ram’s skin leather layer. The skins were dyed red. Think how many male lambs were sacrificed to make that?! Then a mysterious final layer was placed on top of that. We really don’t know how to translate the material for the top layer. It has been translated as fine goat’s skin, or as sea cow hide. The way we translated it (since no one knows what it was made of) is to say that it was ‘water proof leather’. Now that you understand about the 4 layers of the roof and walls, let’s take another look at the linen cloth. The NLT says, NLT'07 Exodus 26:1:1 “Make the Tabernacle from ten curtains of finely woven linen. Decorate the curtains with blue, purple, and scarlet thread and with skillfully embroidered cherubim. The Hebrew text is not clear that the pattern was applied by embroidering. Think of the 42 by 30 foot long sheets being spread out over a frame that is 15 feet high. Inevitably there would be a lot of rubbing and friction on the decorated surface of the cloth due to frequent disassembly and reassembly. If the design was embroidered, it would quickly become abraded. Instead, I propose that the beautiful designs of blue, purple, and scarlet were woven directly into the fabric. As we worked on this book with our translation consultant, we found evidence that Egyptians of this period had linen cloth with elaborate woven designs. The Hebrew slaves would likely have been involved in this art. Note also, whether or not the design was woven into the material, it would take a seriously big loom to make 6 foot wide bolts of cloth. Where would the Israelites have gotten all the tools to make bronze castings, and to engrave gemstones, and to weave cloth? Think how magnificent the visual result would have been! Someone with the initials R W has created 12 wonderful Youtube videos of the Tabernacle construction. You can find them by searching for ‘Youtube 3D Tabernacle The boards’ and especially see ‘Youtube 3D Tabernacle The curtains’. This is a series of 12 videos. Now I want to shift our attention to the Gospel of Luke. In the last episode in the Take Note series, I mentioned that I was reading a book entitled Perspectives on the Ending of Mark. The last chapter in that book is by David Alan Black. He defended his position supporting the longer ending of Mark based on evidence for the order of the writing of the first three Gospels. Let me very briefly summarize. According to some ancient sources, Mattew was written first, and written at a time when most believers were from a Jewish background. That Gospel was carried far and wide as Christianity spread. However, as Paul spread the Gospel among the non-Jews in far away places, the need became increasingly apparent for a Gospel to be told from a Greek world view, instead of the Jewish world view. Luke came with Paul to Jerusalem as one of those who brought financial help to the believers. (Acts 20) He evidently stayed in the area during Paul’s two year imprisonment, which is the most likely time for him to pen his Gospel. One wonders how often Luke came to Caesarea to visit Paul and share about his research, such as interviewing Mary the mother of Jesus, and other early followers of Jesus. It might be that Paul was the one who asked Luke to write his own well-researched account. All the exact details that Luke included would appeal to Greek readers. Luke followed much of the outline of events as given by Matthew, with a notable exception in the accounts of John the Baptist’s and Jesus’ birth. If Luke took the draft of his Gospel on the voyage to Rome, I wonder how he kept it dry in the shipwreck at Malta! Somehow he must have. The problem, as Black reconstructs the situation, is that a Gospel from a non-witness like Luke would not have been accepted well, so Luke delayed the release of his Gospel. During some part of the time that Paul was in Rome, Peter was there as well, along with Mark. So Black further posits that Paul arranged with Peter to have public lectures in Rome where Matthew’s account of a portion would be read, then Luke’s account, and afterward Peter would give his recollections of the same event. I would have loved to be present at those lectures! Evidently in Rome, there were scribes that were experts at shorthand. Black again posits that one such person was employed to write down Peter’s words. That account, then could be used by Mark to write his Gospel, which everyone recognizes shows Peter’s influence. This explains why events where Peter was not present (like the birth of Jesus) are not told in Mark’s Gospel. The ordering of Matthew first, Luke second being based on Matthew, and Mark third based on Peter’s reactions to both Matthew and Luke— does a fair job of answering why various details are differently related between the three accounts. Well, you may remember that I started the Digging Deeper Reading plan with Mark as the first NT book in the year because I said that it was written first. It turns out that there are various theories. A remark by Augustine of Hippo at the beginning of the fifth century presents the gospels as composed in their canonical order (Matthew, Mark, Luke, John), with each evangelist thoughtfully building upon and supplementing the work of his predecessor. (https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Synoptic_Gospels#:~:text=A%20remark%20by%20Augustine%20of,hypothesis%20(Matthew%E2%80%93Mark).) However another wikipedia article under the title of Marcan priority, states that The tradition handed down by the Church Fathers regarded Matthew as the first Gospel written. This view of Gospel origins, however, began to be challenged in the late 18th century, when Gottlob Christian Storr proposed in 1786 that Mark was the first to be written. Gottlob Storr’s opinion was largely ignored for a while, and then picked up and debated. And by the time of the last century, the Wikipedia article states: Many scholars in the twentieth century regarded Marcan priority as no longer just a hypothesis, but an established fact. So it turns out that the theory I took as ‘an established fact’, which I picked up from various sources, was really 20th century opinion. But that opinion was strongly influenced by the scepticism of the late 1800s and early 1900s. Dr. Black’s reconstruction of the order of writing is supported by writings of Eusebius, who is a far earlier source than the experts of just 170 years ago. Eusebius of Caesarea (260/265—339/340 AD), EH6.14.5–7, speaking of (*?no longer extant) writings of Clement (35-99 AD) states 5 Again, in the same books, Clement gives the tradition of the earliest presbyters, as to the order of the Gospels, in the following manner: 6 The Gospels containing the genealogies, he says, were written first. The Gospel according to Mark had this occasion. As Peter had preached the Word publicly at Rome, and declared the Gospel by the Spirit, many who were present requested that Mark, who had followed him for a long time and remembered his sayings, should write them out. And having composed the Gospel he gave it to those who had requested it. 7 When Peter learned of this, he neither directly forbade nor encouraged it. … I think Eusebius is right, and probably Dr. Black has perhaps filled in too many details, but is pointing us in the right direction. It just goes to show: In the realm of historical information circulating about the Bible, ideas regarded as established facts in our time are often just opinions currently in vogue. Because I have mentioned reading a book or two, I want to admit that I seldom sit down to read books. But wonder of wonder, I am actually in the process of reading another book. It is How People Grow, by Dr Henry Cloud and Dr. John Towns. I have been so impressed with this book that a few days ago I ordered 5 copies to give away. Lots of authors share how to make your life better or how to become a more effective person. But these two authors have a breadth of counselling experience and they have learned Biblical principles that actually work. It turns out that how people grow is related to how our Creator has made us, plus other principles found in God’s Word. Even at 71 years old, I want to keep growing. I hope you do too. GW’20Luk 11:34-36: "Your [eyes are//eye is] the lamp of your body. When your [eyes are//eye is] healthy, your whole body is full of light, but when [they are//it is] bad,** your body is full of darkness. 35 Therefore be careful lest the light in you [become//be] darkness. 36 If then your whole body is full of light, having no part dark, it will be wholly bright, as when a lamp with its rays gives you light.”" **Translation note: The Greek use the singular eye (ὀφθαλμός), but there is no reason to not use plural in our translation, as this is more natural, and Luke would have used plural had he been writing in English. Footnote in our Indonesian translation: eyes are bad Literally, “your eyes are evil/diseased.” Jesus was speaking to the Jewish leaders, including the members of the Pharisees and the Law experts. In the context of this chapter, we see that they had seen many miracles which proved that Jesus was sent by God, but it’s as if they became blind to all of those miracles. (11:29-30) In fact, they say that He worked by the devil’s power. Bad eyes are also frequently interpreted as meaning greedy for money, as in Matt. 6:19-24. See Luke also 16:14. GW'20 Luke 14:34-35:34 “Salt is good. But if salt loses its taste, how will you restore its flavor? 35 It’s not any good for the ground or for the manure pile. People throw it away. “Let the person who has ears listen!” Many people can’t fathom how salt could lose its flavor. Modern pure white salt crystals never lose their flavor. But when we were living with the Orya people, they had salt that could lose its flavor. Out in the forest, around a hundred miles from the coast, there are salt springs. Back in the early 1980’s when we first were there, the people would still go out to the spring and boil salt water in pans until the water would evaporate and salt would be left. The water was not clean and smoke went into the pan, so the resultant salt was black and gritty with impurities. They kept it wrapped in leaves hanging over their cooking fire, so that it would stay dry. They called it ‘black salt’. In the tropical climate, black salt that wasn’t kept dry would collect moisture and the salt water would drip out. If that happened, all that was left was slightly salty black sand. Just like Jesus said, it is good for nothing and people throw it away. But what’s the point? Why did Jesus give this teaching about salt? For people groups who have trouble figuring out why Jesus would talk about salt (and who don’t figure out that He is speaking figuratively), translators can explicitly give a hint: “You are like salt.” ESV Colossians 4:6:6 Let your speech always be gracious, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how you ought to answer each person. Jesus finished his teaching with a favorite saying of his, and I have found it very hard to translate. ESV Luke 14:35b:He who has ears to hear, let him hear.” This memorable saying always comes at the end of something Jesus is teaching. It is pointing backwards. In other words: “Listen to that, what I just said.” Here’s how we translated those verses in Orya and Indonesian: 34 “Each of you who follows Me is like salt. Of course, salt is used to make food tastier. But if its taste has disappeared, the salt won’t be useful at all, 35 either for the field or as fertilizer. In the end such salt is just thrown out. “Don’t let that last teaching of mine go in your right ear and out your left! Meditate on it.” Let’s pray: Truly, Father, please transform us so that we might be called the salt of the earth and lights in this world. Please help us to keep our spiritual eyes clear. When we have opportunities to give a word of testimony about You or don’t know what to say to people, we pray that you would bring to mind what we have read from your Word. Teach us how to keep your Word in mind and to meditate on it. We pray that we would have the joy of feeling your presence as we lean and rely on You. Amen. May the Lord bless you ‘real good’.
Reader: take note, for days 15-37 Greetings and welcome to this second edition of the Reader: Take Note series. This is an occasional series aimed at providing extra commentary and encouragement for those following the Digging Deeper Daily reading plan. No matter where you are in the reading calendar, I hope that the things I share in this episode will support the idea that God’s Word has many treasures for us, and it always pays to dig deeper. If you have questions or comments, my favorite way for you to send messages to me is via the contact button at dailybiblereading.info. I’m always interested to hear your thoughts. On day one of our journey I mentioned Solomon in connection to Job. I challenge you to find similarities to Solomon’s writings in Job, in particular, I am most often thinking of Ecclesiastes. Actually, not all commentators think that Solomon was the writer of Ecclesiastes. But that need not concern us. As for Job, I found in a Wikipedia article that scholars consider that Job was written surprisingly late, from the 7th to 4th century BC. However Solomon lived in the 10th century BC. Other writers think the writing of Job to far predate Soloman. So far I have found no one who supports my hypothesis that Solomon wrote the book of Job. Nevertheless, let’s look at some parallels. Job hated his life and so did Solomon.GW'20 Job 7:16: 16 I hate my life; I do not want to live forever. Leave me alone because my days are so brief. GW'20 Job 9:21: 21 If I am a man of integrity, I have no way of knowing it. I hate my life! GW'20 Job 10:1: 1 “I hate my life. I will freely express my complaint. I will speak as bitterly as I feel. GW'20 Ecclesiastes 2:17: 17 So I came to hate life because everything done under the sun seemed wrong to me. Everything was pointless. ⌞It was like⌟ trying to catch the wind. GW'20 Ecclesiastes 2:18: 18 I came to hate everything for which I had worked so hard under the sun, because I will have to leave it to the person who replaces me. Both Job and Solomon complained that life is hard and futile. GW'20 Job 7:1-4: 1 “Isn’t a mortal’s stay on earth difficult like a hired hand’s daily ⌞work⌟? 2 Like a slave, he longs for shade. Like a hired hand, he eagerly looks for his pay. 3 Likewise, I have been given months that are of no use, and I have inherited nights filled with misery. 4 When I lie down, I ask, ‘When will I get up?’ But the evening is long, and I’m exhausted from tossing about until dawn. GW'20 Ecclesiastes 1:2-3: 2 “Absolutely pointless!” says the spokesman. “Absolutely pointless! Everything is pointless.” 3 What do people gain from all their hard work under the sun? Job chapter 9 is full of the idea that it is futile to argue with God, which agrees with Solomon’s complaints. GW'20 Job 9:14-22: 14 “How can I possibly answer God? How can I find the right words ⌞to speak⌟ with him? 15 Even if I were right, I could not answer ⌞him⌟. I would have to plead for mercy from my judge. 16 If I cried out and he answered me, I do not believe that he would listen to me. 17 He would knock me down with a storm and bruise me without a reason. 18 He would not let me catch my breath. He fills me with bitterness. 19 If it is a matter of strength, then he is the mighty one. If it is about justice, who will charge me with a crime? 20 If I am righteous, my own mouth would condemn me. It would declare that I am corrupt even if I am a man of integrity. 21 If I am a man of integrity, I have no way of knowing it. I hate my life! 22 It is all the same. That is why I say, ‘He destroys ⌞both⌟ the man of integrity and the wicked.’ GW'20 Ecclesiastes 7:13-15: 13 Consider what God has done! Who can straighten what God has bent? 14 When times are good, be happy. But when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one time as well as the other so that mortals cannot predict their future. 15 I have seen it all in my pointless life: Righteous people die in spite of being righteous. Wicked people go on living in spite of being wicked. Unique in Job: The need for a mediator Job 9:32-33: "A human like me cannot answer God, ‘Let’s take our case to court.’ There is no mediator between us to put his hand on both of us." Uncertainty of an afterlife Job 14:10,14: "But a human dies and is powerless. A person breathes his last breath, and where is he? … “If a person dies, will he go on living? I will wait for my relief to come as long as my hard labor continues." Eccl 3:19-22: "Humans and animals have the same destiny. One dies just like the other. All of them have the same breath ⌞of life⌟. Humans have no advantage over animals. All ⌞of life⌟ is pointless. All ⌞life⌟ goes to the same place. All ⌞life⌟ comes from the ground, and all of it goes back to the ground. Who knows whether a human spirit goes upward or whether an animal spirit goes downward to the earth? I saw that there’s nothing better for people to do than to enjoy their work because that is their lot ⌞in life⌟. Who will allow them to see what will happen after them?" The wicked often have seemingly blessed lives Job 21:7-8,13: "“Why do the wicked go on living, grow old, and even become more powerful? They see their children firmly established with them, and they get to see their descendants. … They spend their days in happiness, and they go peacefully to the grave." Eccl 8:10: NLT "I have seen wicked people buried with honor. Yet they were the very ones who frequented the Temple and are now praised in the same city where they committed their crimes! This, too, is meaningless." Eccl 8:14: NLT "And this is not all that is meaningless in our world. In this life, good people are often treated as though they were wicked, and wicked people are often treated as though they were good. This is so meaningless!" Where is wisdom found? Job 12:12,16: "“Wisdom is with the ancient one. The one who has had many days has insight. … “God has power and priceless wisdom. He owns ⌞both⌟ the deceiver and the person who is deceived." Job 28:28: "So he told humans, ‘The fear of the Lord is wisdom! To stay away from evil is understanding.’ ”" See all of chapter 28. There are many verses like that in Proverbs 1-9. I will quote only the most famous: Prov 9:10: "The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom. The knowledge of the Holy One is understanding." We see in these examples that Job is a book to display the author’s struggle with accepting the boundaries that have been placed on human existence by God. This book is much more than just a debate on why God allows good people to suffer. For any of my listeners who actually say, “I hate my life,” I beg you to remember these points: God has given these books of wisdom to help you, and particularly to tell you that He understands your struggles. The writers of the wisdom literature in the Bible did not yet have the wonderful knowledge and promises revealed through Christ. I encourage you to be in close fellowship with believers, and especially with older, experienced believers, who will take the time to listen and pray with you. Turning to Mark I found some interesting ideas about Mark’s Gospel while doing some other reading. Maurice Robinson reports that Warren A. Gage discovered an Elijah sub-theme in Mark. Unfortunately, Gage’s unpublished research was only summarized by Robinson, and I have not been successful in getting a response from Dr. Gage to get his complete article. According to Gage, we could say that Mark presents Jesus as the new Elijah. (Evidently there is a similar sub-theme in John’s Gospel with Moses.) Not only does Mark overtly use Elijah’s name 9 times, but he alludes to Elijah around nine more times. Allusions to Elijah frame the beginning and the end of Mark, and the overt mentions occupy a long stretch in the middle of this Gospel. Mark 1:2 (Mal. 3:1; 4:5) WEBBE Mark 1:2: 2 As it is written in the prophets, “Behold, I send my messenger before your face, who will prepare your way before you: WEBBE Malachi 3:1: 1 “Behold, I send my messenger, and he will prepare the way before me; and the Lord, whom you seek, will suddenly come to his temple; and the messenger of the covenant, whom you desire, behold, he comes!” says the LORD of Armies. WEBBE Malachi 4:5-6: 5 Behold, I will send you Elijah the prophet before the great and terrible day of the LORD comes. 6 He will turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the hearts of the children to their fathers, lest I come and strike the earth with a curse.” When Mal 3:1 and 4:5 are paired together, we see that the messenger prophesied to come is identified as Elijah. By the way, Mal 4:6 should remind you of what John’s father (Zechariah) said a week after John’s birth. 1:6 GW'20 Mark 1:6: 6 John was dressed in clothes made from camel’s hair. He wore a leather belt around his waist and ate locusts and wild honey. In our Indonesian translation, we have a footnote at this verse which says that John’s clothes and food choices would have reminded Jews of his day of Elijah. After all, Elijah spent a long time living alone in the wilderness. 12–14 GW'20 Mark 1:12-13: 12 At once the Spirit brought him into the desert, 13 where he was tempted by Satan for 40 days. He was there with the wild animals, and the angels took care of him. This can remind us of when Elijah was in the wilderness and ravens brought him food (1Kings 17), and chapter 19 when an angel fed him before Elijah took the long journey to Mt. Horeb. 7:24–25 GW'20 Mark 7:24: 24 Jesus left that place and went to the territory of Tyre. He didn’t want anyone to know that he was staying in a house there. However, it couldn’t be kept a secret. This can remind us of Elijah, when the stream dried up, and when he then went and a widow in this same area took care of him. Both stories take place in the same Gentile territory. In the case of the widow of Zerephath (1Kings 17), Elijah raised her son from death. In Jesus’ case, He expelled a demon from a Greek woman’s daughter. ————Explicit mentions of Elijah GW'20 Mark 6:15: 15 Others said, “He is Elijah.” Still others said, “He is a prophet like one of the other prophets.” GW'20 Mark 8:28: 28 They answered him, “Some say you are John the Baptizer, others Elijah, still others one of the prophets.” GW'20 Mark 9:4: 4 Then Elijah and Moses appeared to them and were talking with Jesus. Note that Elijah is mentioned first by Mark. Both Matthew and Luke put Moses first. GW'20 Mark 9:5: 5 Peter said to Jesus, “Rabbi, it’s good that we’re here. Let’s put up three tents—one for you, one for Moses, and one for Elijah.” GW'20 Mark 9:11-13: 11 So they asked him, “Don’t the experts in Moses’ Teachings say that Elijah must come first?” 12 Jesus said to them, “Elijah is coming first and will put everything in order again. But in what sense was it written that the Son of Man must suffer a lot and be treated shamefully? 13 Indeed, I can guarantee that Elijah has come. Yet, people treated him as they pleased, as Scripture says about him.” ————Another allusion to Elijah 12:1–7 Jesus tells this parable: GW'20 Mark 12:1,7: 1 Then, using this illustration, Jesus spoke to them. He said, “A man planted a vineyard. He put a wall around it, made a vat for the winepress, and built a watchtower. Then he leased it to vineyard workers and went on a trip. … 7 “But those workers said to one another, ‘This is the heir. Let’s kill him, and the inheritance will be ours.’ This reminds us of 1Kings 21 where Jezebel connived to murder Naboth in order that Ahab could confiscate Naboth’s vineyard. Naboth had refused to sell the property because it was his inheritance. ————————Explicit mention of Elijah GW'20 Mark 15:34-36: 34 At three o’clock Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lema sabachthani?” which means, “My God, my God, why have you abandoned me?” 35 When some of the people standing there heard him say that, they said, “Listen! He’s calling Elijah.” 36 Someone ran and soaked a sponge in vinegar. Then he put it on a stick and offered Jesus a drink. The man said, “Let’s see if Elijah comes to take him down.” ————————Two more allusions to Elijah 16:19 GW'20 Mark 16:19: 19 After talking with the apostles, the Lord was taken to heaven, where he received the honored position— the one next to God the Father on the throne. GW'20 2 Kings 2:11: 11 As they continued walking and talking, a fiery chariot with fiery horses separated the two of them, and Elijah [was taken up/went] to heaven in a windstorm. LXX+ Βασιλειών Δ 2:11: 11 καὶ ἐγένετο αὐτῶν πορευομένων ἐπορεύοντο καὶ ἐλάλουν, καὶ ἰδοὺ ἅρμα πυρὸς καὶ ἵπποι πυρὸς καὶ διέστειλαν ἀνὰ μέσον ἀμφοτέρων, καὶ ἀνελήμφθη Ηλιου ἐν συσσεισμῷ ὡς εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν. RP'2018 Κατά Μάρκον 16:19: 19 Ὁ μὲν οὖν κύριος, μετὰ τὸ λαλῆσαι αὐτοῖς, ἀνελήφθη εἰς τὸν οὐρανόν, καὶ ἐκάθισεν ἐκ δεξιῶν τοῦ ϑεοῦ. Gage (reported by Robinson) includes the allusions to Malachi 3:1 and 4:5 at the beginning of Mark's Gospel; the placing of Elijah ahead of Moses in 9:4; and the question whether Elijah will come down to rescue Christ from the cross in 15:36, where the latter text “anticipates the conclusion of the Gospel wherein Jesus is translated into heaven in a manner remarkably like Elijah (16:19).” ———— Residue: I can’t see why Gage (via Robinson) listed these verses: **3:22 and 4:41; 14:12–14; 15:25, 31–39 ———— GW'20 Mark 16:15-19: 15 Then Jesus said to them, “So wherever you go in the world, tell everyone the Good News. 16 Whoever believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned. 17 “These are the miraculous signs that will accompany believers: They will use the power and authority of my name to force demons out of people. They will speak new languages. 18 They will pick up snakes, and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them. They will place their hands on the sick and cure them.” 19 After talking with the apostles, the Lord was taken to heaven, where he received the honored position— the one next to God the Father on the throne. Jesus passes on his mantle, so to speak, as Elijah did. The apostles and other followers will work miraculous signs like Elijah’s successor (Elisha) did. Jesus was taken up to heaven like Elijah was, using the same turn of phrase. Now before I bring an important point about all this, I would like to point out that one of the characteristics of Mark’s Gospel is that he likes to not leave loose ends. As Robinson says, Mark's consistent habit is to demonstrate the reliability of Jesus' words by narrating their fulfillment, even when that narration is incidental to the flow of the main story. In Mark 7:29, for example, Jesus tells the Syrophoenician woman who comes seeking healing for her daughter, “You may go—the demon has left your daughter.” The reader can trust Jesus' words; the pericope can conclude. But it doesn't. Mark 7:30 says, “So she went home, found the child lying on the bed, and the demon gone.” Similarly, in Mark 10:46–52, Jesus heals blind Bartimaeus. In verse 52a Jesus says, “Go; your faith has made you well.” Surely Jesus' words will come to pass. Yes, we know they come to pass because Mark tells us they do in 52b: “Immediately he regained his sight and followed him on the way.” Following the same pattern of tying up loose ends, the fulfillment of Mark 14:62 (being seated at God’s right hand) is recorded in other places in the NT, but of the 4 Gospels, only Mark contains the fulfillment. (16:19) Mk 14:62: NLT "Jesus said, “I AM. And you will see the Son of Man seated in the place of [honor//power] at God’s right hand and coming on the clouds of heaven. ”" Mk 16:19: NLT "When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand." (Matt 22:44; 26:64; Luke 20:42; 22:69; Acts 2:33–34; Rom 8:34; Eph 1:20; Col 3:1; Heb 1:3, 13; 8:1; 10:12; 12:2; 1 Pet 3:22; cp. the hints in Rev 5:1, 7.) I didn’t tell you above that the book that I have been reading is Perspectives On The Ending Of Mark, which gives the text of four presentations from a seminar that was given at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in 2007. The first presentation was given by Dr. Daniel Wallace. I was shocked that this eminently respected scholar, and the driving force behind the New English Translation, represented the view that Mark intended his Gospel to end with chapter 16, verse 8. I will remind you what Mark 16:8 says: NET Mark 16:8 NET: 8 Then they went out and ran from the tomb, for terror and bewilderment had seized them. And they said nothing to anyone, because they were afraid. I can’t imagine anyone thinking that could be the ending intended by Mark! Robinson says, “A Markan intention to end at 16:8, expecting the reader(s) to supply what is “missing” on the basis of subjective reflection, and thereby intuitively filling in gaps in light of a community-based “resurrection faith” or some such concept, requires a sophisticated postmodern viewpoint not typically found within ancient classical literature (even the short Fables of Aesop required moralia to explain the point).” Remember what I showed above. Mark doesn’t like to leave loose ends. And he is not intending to present a bunch of stories and leave the reader to decide. Had he been doing that, he would not have started his book with GW'20 Mark 1:1: 1 This is the beginning of the Good News about Jesus Christ, the Son of God. Since Mark was presenting a case for Jesus being the Son of God, certainly he would end with Jesus at the place of honor beside the Father (as shown above). And if Mark were presenting Jesus as the new Elijah, then it is a nice touch to say that Jesus was taken up to heaven in words recalling Elijah’s being taken up. And just like Elijah leaving behind his mantle and miraculous gifts for Elisha, Jesus leaves miraculous gifts for his apostles in chapter 16:17-18. Many other reasons for the authenticity of Mark 16:9-20 are found in my 5th EveryWord podcast from last year. This is where my reading and study intersected with my desire to give you extra insights to think about in Job and Mark. Before I pray to close this session, I think it fitting to read the last verse of Mark: NLT Mark 16:20: 20 And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs. I’m thankful that Mark tied up that final loose end, telling us what happened to the disciples. The exciting thing is that this process is still continuing. The Lord Jesus is still working through people who go and preach the Good News. He is still confirming the Gospel in human hearts, bringing people to repentance and new birth, and working in many other miraculous ways. If you tell me that you haven’t seen this happening, then I encourage you to go and start preaching. Let’s pray: Our Lord and our God, through your Word which You have preserved for us, we almost are taken up on the holy mountain where we can still hear the echo of your words, “This is my Son, whom I love and in whom I delight.” In our spirits we feel the confirmation of the treasure you have given us in your Word. So our desire is to pay attention to it, as to a light that shines in a very dark place, and we wait with increasing confidence for the day of your coming, when the morning star will fully rise in our hearts. Amen. And may the Lord bless you ‘real good’.
Greetings and welcome to this first edition of an occasional series of podcasts that I am starting to add extra commentary for those following the Digging Deeper Daily reading plan. I hope that the things I share in this episode will be relevant to those who have arrived at day number 14. I have taken the title for this series from Mark 13:14 (GW). As Jesus is prophesying in that chapter about the destruction of Jerusalem, he says, “When you see the disgusting thing that will cause destruction standing where it should not (let the reader take note), those of you in Judea should flee to the mountains.” [God’s Word Translation] The parenthetical note, “let the reader take note” probably was addressed to the one who read out loud to others. In Mark’s day, not many people in a congregation would know how to read. The Greek word for ‘read’ in this verse actually means ‘to read out loud’. Because of that, some commentators feel that this warning to understand was not just for the reader, but was intended as a plea to the reader to explain to his listeners about Daniel’s prophecy that mentions ‘the disgusting thing that will cause destruction’. So here I am, your reader (for the whole Bible, not just Mark’s Gospel). I thought it might be helpful to you to give some information that doesn’t fit in the daily podcasts, but I still, of course, will not have time to answer all questions. My intent is to encourage you to dig deeper by sharing things I find to be interesting and inspiring in the passages you have read or listened to already in the 3D plan. If you have questions or comments, my favorite way for you to send messages to me is via the contact button at dailybiblereading.info. Incidentally, from now on I will quote a lot from the translation called God’s Word for the Nations, because I am personally reading that version in my own devotional readings this year. And this year I personally am reading a real-book Bible. See the godsword.org site linked in the episode notes for information on how you can get a gorgeous GW Bible at a great price. And the newest edition is available in YouVersion and the MyBible app. (GW'20) The first verse I would like to share about is Genesis 1:1 (NLT). “In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.” Some translations say ‘heaven’ singular, but the Hebrew is actually plural, ‘heavens’. When my team and I translated that into Indonesian, because Indonesians haven’t previously known a concept of plural heavens, we translated this verse as, “… God created the levels of heaven and the sky.” When Scripture talks of plural heavens, the sky is the lowest layer, and ancient people had the concept that there were three or perhaps seven layers of heaven. Some of you will recall that Paul was caught up to the ‘third heaven’ in 2 Corinthians 12. It is for this reason that I see verse one as not being a summary of what is to come in Genesis 1-2, but as a hint of acts of creation that we are not told about which happened before the creation of this world. There were principalities and powers and myriads of angels in the heavenly places that were put there before God started counting the six days of creation. To me, it is kind of awesome to think about that. Now quoting from Genesis 1:14 (NLT), “Then God said, “Let lights appear in the sky to separate the day from the night. Let them be signs to mark the seasons, days, and years.” Instead of ‘seasons’ the God’s Word translation translates ‘religious festivals’. The word that can mean ‘seasons’ as NLT translated it is normally translated ‘religious festivals’ all throughout the rest of the OT. In our Indonesian translation, we translated it as ‘seasons’ but we provided a footnote to tell readers that this word often is translated as ‘religious festivals’. Here’s the thing I think that is neat about this: Translators have frequently chosen to translate ‘seasons’ because it is kind of strange to talk of religious festivals when there are not yet any people on earth on the 4th day of creation. BUT consider this: God was preparing all of creation, including the sun and moon, to support humans who would worship Him. We can say that the love and worship of Himself was God’s ultimate goal in the creation of the universe. We exist for his worship. In Genesis 4:19-21 we read that, “Lamech married two women, one named Adah and the other Zillah. Adah gave birth to Jabal. He was the first person to live in tents and have livestock. His brother’s name was Jubal. He was the first person to play the harp and the flute.” Isn’t it interesting that the harp and flute are mentioned so early in human history! Certainly Jubal not only played the flute and harp, but he invented and constructed the first ones as well. I think this little story shows that God wanted to provide for glorious worship of Himself. Did you realize that when you hear an instrument play a note, that you don’t just hear that note, but harmonic frequencies above that note. It is the relative strength and weaknesses of the harmonics that lets us hear the difference between the sounds of a harp, flute, trumpet, and all the other instruments. As I play a low D on the piano, I will help you hear the harmonics. Fundamental note D, octave D, 5th above that, then the octave again, and then another D, and the last that I will play is a third, F#. That forms a D major chord. This happens to be the same overtones that can be gotten with a simple flute made of PVC pipe keeping all my fingers down. The natural harmonics of the strings of a harp or piano or guitar, form a major chord. The natural harmonics of well-constructed flutes form a major chord. God built this system right into the atmosphere and physics of our world. There is a reason why people think songs in major keys are happy sounding. Our ears like the resonance that naturally occurs due to the reinforcement of overtones. I think God intended this beautiful resonance. God created the human ear, in order to give the delight of hearing beautiful music. Note also that God designed the human hand so that simple instruments like a harp and flute can be played easily with our fingers, like when I play a scale on a flute with just 6 finger holes. Then consider how beautiful our voices are when we sing. My friend Arie Scholten says, “When people sing in unison together, we each coordinate 26 muscles together in unity, and the devil hates both the sound and that unity.” Our Creator is awesome and deserves awesome praise. Ps 66:1-2: "Shout happily to God, all the earth! Make music to praise the glory of his name. Make his praise glorious." Now let me explain something that people always ask about: NLT Genesis 6:1-4: 1 Then the people began to multiply on the earth, and daughters were born to them. 2 The sons of God saw the beautiful women and took any they wanted as their wives. 3 Then the LORD said, “My Spirit will not put up with humans for such a long time, for they are only mortal flesh. In the future, their normal lifespan will be no more than 120 years.” 4 In those days, and for some time after, giant Nephilites lived on the earth, for whenever the sons of God had intercourse with women, they gave birth to children who became the heroes and famous warriors of ancient times. NLT Genesis 6:5: 5 The LORD observed the extent of human wickedness on the earth, … So who are these sons of God? There are many interpretations of what kind of ‘sons’ are intended. Most interpretations can be classified into two alternatives: 1) The children of God intended are fallen angels— those who sided with the devil in his rebellion, then they were punished by God and thrown into this world. Those angels are now called evil spirits or demons. If so, maybe the spirits possessed male humans, and in that way married the girls. 2) Or, the children of God intended are descendants of Seth. This is in accordance with many verses in the OT that call the Israelites— all of whom were descendants of Seth— as ‘sons of God’. In Ex. 4:22, the nation of Israel is also called the ‘firstborn son’ of God. Personally the 2nd choice seems fanciful and naive to me. It seems that something ugly and evil is implied, so I go with the first choice. I think that we must admit that we do not always have enough information to interpret things like this. GW'20 Deuteronomy 29:29: 29 Some things are hidden. They belong to the LORD our God. But the things that have been revealed in these teachings belong to us and to our children forever. We must obey every word of these teachings. The two interpretations I have shared are not harmonious with Job 1:6 and 2:1 where ‘sons of God’ are also mentioned. I don’t think you will find one totally satisfactory conclusion about this that will explain this for both contexts. Whoever the supermen were in Genesis, they were wiped out in the flood. The two interpretations I just mentioned are not harmonious with Job 1:6-8 or 2:1. I don’t think a harmonious interpretation exists for the ‘sons of God’ in both Genesis and Job. And so, let’s segue to Job. GW'20 Job 1:6-8: 6 One day when the sons of God came to stand in front of the LORD, Satan the Accuser came along with them. 7 The LORD asked Satan, “Where have you come from?” Satan answered the LORD, “From wandering all over the earth.” 8 The LORD asked Satan, “Have you thought about my servant Job? No one in the world is like him! He is a man of integrity: He is decent, he fears God, and he stays away from evil.” GW'20 Job 2:1: 1 One day when the sons of God came to stand in front of the LORD, Satan the Accuser came along with them. The ‘sons of God’ here seem to be angelic princes who never lived on earth and did not participate in the fall. But whatever they are, it makes no difference because they play no part in the story. We just get the impression that the heavenly nobility have assembled for a meeting of the court around God’s throne. These heavenly nobility are part of the principalities and powers, like what I mentioned talking about Genesis 1:1. Satan makes a crashing entrance here in Job. His name comes up only 14 times in the OT, and all but three times are here in the first 2 chapters of Job. His name means adversary or accuser. He is pictured without a name in other places, such as the ‘serpent’ in the garden of Eden, or is pictured as like the ‘king of Tyre’ in Ezekiel 28, etc. In the NT he is spoken of with his Hebrew name and also with his Greek name, διαβόλου, or the devil. That title or name means the same as the Hebrew name: false accuser, or slanderer. Considering what an important role Satan plays, it is kind of amazing that his name comes up so infrequently. Our adversary has many names! And actually, he likes to stay anonymous. From start to finish, the Bible portrays a prolonged battle between the forces of Satan and God’s forces. We are living right in the middle of the battle field right now. In the Garden of Eden the serpent incited Eve to distrust God’s good intent. What we see in Job is Satan acting according to his name. He accuses Job to God. Then God allows Satan to act, but only with limitations. GW'20 2 Corinthians 4:4, we see another way of referring to Satan. 4 The god of this world has blinded the minds of those who don’t believe. As a result, they don’t see the light of the Good News about Christ’s glory. It is Christ who is God’s image. Satan does not work all by himself, of course. There are the fallen angels (or demons) working at his command. They are working overtime now to spread spiritual blindness. In believers, they love to whisper accusations against us and to cast doubt on God’s good intentions for us. Let’s keep our spiritual armor on according to Ephesians 6. The spiritual battle is real, but God supplies our armor, and it is powerful and effective. It is important that we don’t start relying on our own power or trusting in our own supposed maturity in this battle. To some listeners, I may seem really naive to believe that there is a being named Satan, or that demons exist. Let me tell you one of my experiences: I think it was the beginning of the summer of 1970. I was 20 years old, and driving home to Hutchinson, Kansas, from Wichita State University. It was an hour long trip which I made frequently while I was in school there, but on that day, it was the last trip home before the summer vacation. On campus, I was president of Intervarsity Christian Fellowship, and probably people thought I had my act together. I was coming home to help out at Kansas Bible Camp, just outside of my hometown. But something very strange happened that made this trip to my hometown different from any other trip on that road. I had a deep sense of shame because I couldn’t control my thought life, and of course that means lust. Girls liked me, and I liked them … too much. So all during that trip I prayed out loud, crying out to God with tears. I couldn’t live with the hypocrite I had become. How could God forgive me when I had to keep asking for forgiveness for the same sins every single day? Pulling myself together, when I got into town, I stopped to go into a supermarket to buy a couple of things, like soap and shampoo. When I came out, a woman met me, a long-time family friend. This was a woman I had enjoyed looking at since I was old enough to notice women. She had seen me go in and had waited for me to come out. She hugged my arm repeatedly and invited me to come to her house where we could be alone. What a thing to happen! One might make jokes about the timing, but I won’t. What could I do?! I couldn’t bring myself to go back on all that I had prayed to God. After bearing my soul to God so deeply, how could I take advantage of the perfect opportunity to make a plunge into sin. I stupidly mumbled something about being on my way to the Bible Camp, and turned her down. Too politely, I might add. In fact, I walked her to her car and said, “I’ll come another time.” When I got back in my car, I couldn’t believe it! First, I was overwhelmed because I knew that this wasn’t just a coincidence. I said to God right there, “I should never doubt that You answer my prayers or that you are watching me!” And then it occured to me also, “Hey, wait a minute! Did God know that I was going to meet a big temptation and move me to pray? Or did Satan know that I was praying and set me up with that temptation to destroy any spiritual progress I was making?” That summer I certainly had the time to visit that woman at her house, but I never did. God had so clearly forbidden it. For me to do that would be to totally leave any relationship with Him. So I leave you with these thoughts: Do not doubt that Satan and his dark forces exist. Satan is out to get you. God is watching over YOU more intimately than you realize! God hears your prayers. Keep asking for God to forgive you. Confess your sins explicitly, not just saying, “Please forgive my sins.” After saying exactly what you have done, ask for insight on how to overcome persistent sin problems. Look for God to help you at just the right time. Let me pray for you now. Our Lord God and our King Jesus, thank you for my friend who has listened to me in this podcast. Lord, I ask You to prove yourself to my listener and help him or her to find treasures in your Word that will be like keys unlocking spiritual growth and transformation. Please help us to confess our sins and keep our consciences clear in your sight. Amen.
Greetings friends to this end of the year podcast! Before I share my own stories, I want to give you our last two Listener Stories for 2020, one from Tom and another from Tammy. I think Tammy’s story is especially interesting because the Coronavirus pandemic had a big impact on her. I think her story will resonate with many of you. Hello, my name is Tammy. I recently retired from being a principal and before that a school teacher, a job I had done and loved for over 30 years. I had oodles of plans for what I was going to do, places I was going to go and things I was really looking forward to doing- like working with children at our church this summer. When COVID hit and closed down school as we knew it on March 13, 2020, my life really changed. I didn’t get to say goodbye to my students, parents and staff, it just all ended that Friday in March. I was really struggling with what to me felt like a major loss. (This is in no way to disrespect those that have had greater losses due to COVID.) I was talking to my husband explaining how I was feeling such an absence of being needed and like I was just wandering looking for what I was supposed to be doing with my life at this time. My sweet husband said some very wise words to me. He said, “Tammy, I believe God is just giving you this down time to recharge you and prepare you for what He has planned next for you to do for Him. Take this time and use it to its best.” While I knew he was right, I have to say I DON’T do down time well. When you work 60 hours a week for oodles of years and have people consistently needing things from you, to have that come to a screeching halt, really put me off kilter. I was struggling trying to figure out what God wanted me to do. Then one morning in my devotion time God put on my heart that I have been wanting to complete a read through the Bible in a year program for a long time. Even though it was August, I thought, this doesn’t have to wait until January to be a New Year’s Resolution, it can be my New Life Resolution. What a blessing this decision has been! I looked at all different types of programs. I found Digging Deeper Daily and liked the explanation of how this program was laid out. I wanted to learn about the “threads that unify the message of the Old and New Testaments”. I also like the fact that there were brief devotional notes that I thought would help me see the connections clearer. I started this journey on August 20th and upon hearing the first reading, I fell in love with this journey. Phil’s voice was so calming and yet assured in what he was saying and reading. The brief stories he shares of his work as a Bible translator make me feel like I have a new friend. This adventure has helped me grow daily in my understanding of God’s word. Being a Christian since a child, I had heard many stories from the bible, now I understand more deeply what was happening before, during and after those isolated events. It has really helped make the Bible come to life for me. Phil explains how he started this project as a gift to leave his grandchildren. He wanted to read the entire bible to them. I feel his love each morning as I listen to him read and explain the daily passage, its as if for those brief moments I have been adopted into his family. This has not only been a way for me to learn more about the Bible, grow closer to God, but also to feel like I am being gathered into the fold each morning. The brief explanations at the end of the readings are so helpful. I always look forward to the prayer Phil delivers to close the devotional time. Often, I will replay the prayer a time or two more. At the end of “our time together” I try to conclude with a prayer for Phil and all those doing God’s work to bring His word to the nations that don’t have the Bible yet. This reminder of what a gift the Bible is to us, that I often take for granted because I haven’t known a time without it, has made my daily time with God even more precious. Early on in the program, Phil was reading to us from Matthew. When He read Matthew 11:28 which says, “Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” I cried. This to me reiterated what my husband told me. I was in need of this passage. When Phil read this verse, with such love in his voice, I felt as if it was God speaking it to me. I needed rest, yet I wouldn’t let myself admit it. Now, each morning I consider my time listening to Phil read God’s word as a time of rest, connection and recharging. I can’t wait to find out what great adventure God has in store for me next, or where He needs me in this stage of life, what I do know though is that Phil Fields and Digging Deeper Daily will be on that amazing ride with me. Thanks so much, Tammy, for your story! And with a sincere blush, I also say thanks for your kind words. I am so pleased— more than that— filled with joy, when people are able to look through the kind of one-way mirror that podcasting is, to become my friends and even adopted family. Thanks to Tom giving me this next story. Tom is mainly a reader (not a regular podcast listener). The 3D YouVersion plan he has followed for 2020 is called Read To Me Daily. (Link given in the episode notes.) Tom is a long time friend, dating back to my music teaching days. There is one odd, totally unplanned, similarity between his story and Tammy’s. I think you will catch it. My name is Tom and I am a sixty-year-old Arkansan. I have read through the Bible several times using different plans. The last few times, using electronic media, such as Digging Deeper Daily, has aided me greatly through ease of access. Reading the Bible entirely in one year gives one little time for Bible study, but I value the discipline of daily reading which stirs my thoughts and continually whets my appetite to, what else, dig deeper. I read through the Bible this year using the Amplified Bible, Classic Edition. In the past I have used various translations and even some paraphrases and I may have been wiser to use the recommended New Living Translation or Good News Translation. Instead, however, I wanted to use the AMPC this year to slow me down. The many bracketed words and phrases in the AMPC which are used to further describe a translated word or passage, forced me to ponder over a word or passage and think about how an idea was being explained. I did enjoy the New Living Translation as well as the Good News Translation versions referenced most often in the devotionals. I found multiple translations of the same verses to be quite helpful. Most years when using a daily reading plan I plowed right past the devotional passages and read only the scripture. This year I was determined to include reading the devotionals, again, to slow me down and to help me think about what I was reading. I enjoyed reading the Digging Deeper Daily devotionals which often gave the translator’s perspective of a passage, citing examples of difficult passages to translate and including real-life examples of working with an indigenous people group to help them understand the Bible. In addition to translation notes, I appreciated the occasional summaries from prior days, reminding me of an important passage, even to the point of repeating some passages over consecutive days for emphasis. I also appreciated being prodded by the devotional to live up to its title to, here it is again, dig deeper into particular passages. I appreciated how the daily readings were divided up between Old and New Testaments, particularly saving Isaiah for the end of the calendar year with so many relevant passages for the advent season. My favorite passage, personally, occurred late in the calendar year on September 21. Matthew 11:28-30, “Come to me, all of you who are weary and carry heavy burdens, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you. Let me teach you, because I am humble and gentle at heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy to bear, and the burden I give you is light.” (NLT) I am never more at peace than when I surrender to Christ’s yoke. Finally, while I spent the year in the daily reading plan rather than listening to the daily podcasts, I did enjoy utilizing the audio podcasts through the Old Testament genealogies.
Today I am sharing four listener stories. Before I do that, I want to respond to Sunny and Nate, who commented on my pronunciation of Bible names in the podcasts. Surely others have wondered about this, so let me explain. Some may, like Sunny, assume that I am saying the names right. (Well after all, one would think a Bible translator ought to know the right pronunciation!) So here’s my (somewhat embarrassed) explanation of what I have done. After studying a few other languages, I consider the standard English pronunciations of the letters a, i, and e, in many Bible names to be ugly. I really wish I could start a trend to pronounce Bible names differently! Basically, what I have done is to take the English spellings and pronounce them with the pure phonetic vowels of the Indonesian language. I don’t like pronouncing the letter a or e in multiple ways like English, so instead of pronouncing the two a’s differently in ‘Ray-h@b’s name, I say her name ‘Rahab’. And instead of Heze’kEYEya, I pronounce his name He’ZEKya when reading the Bible text. When reading my introductions, I try to give the correct English pronunciation. So my pronunciations cannot be called ‘right’ or even consistent, but pronouncing names with the pure vowels of the Indonesian language happens to make some names more like the Hebrew or Greek pronunciation. I strived to be more consistent in my pronunciation choices in the GNT podcast series. I send my thanks to Catherine and Luisa, who have given us our first two listener stories. Here they are: Before I play the next two listener stories, I have some listener feedback from Joy. She had a story like Julie from my last podcast with listener stories, but she added this little PS: Along with following another whole reading plan this year, she also read the YouVersion plan named Day by Day with Billy Graham. This is a 366 day reading plan, which often gives a reading of only one verse and a very short and interesting and pointed devotional thought. This has got to be a good one, because it has 50,000 completions. The link to this reading plan is in the episode notes. Our next story is from Iryna. I couldn’t place her accent, and when I took a guess, I was way wrong. She is from Crimea, which became a Russian territory in 2014. She writes that her name (Iryna) derives from Greek, which is true for many names in Russia and the Ukraine. Her name means peace. Iryna is married to an Australian and they live in Australia. Many thanks to Iryna. She sent pictures of two of the verses she has illustrated for the walls of their home. These can be seen at the bottom of the home page of the Read This First site. The link for that site is in the program notes, and it is the first link found at dailybiblereading.info. Next I want to send my thanks to Nicole for this last listener story today. Her testimony wins the prize for being the best recommendation the Daily Bible Reading Podcast has ever received. So thanks, Nicole, for your very kind words. If you have questions or comments, my favorite way for you to contact me is via the Contact link at dailybiblereading.info. As I said in the podcast a couple of days ago (Three 3D Stories from Listeners), I will publish a podcast on December 31 which will contain my personal story including insights from my own Bible reading and Bible translation work. 1Ths 5:23-24: GNT “May the God who gives us peace make you holy in every way and keep your whole being — spirit, soul, and body — free from every fault at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. He who calls you will do it, because he is faithful.” May the Lord bless you ‘Read Good’!
I am sharing three audio listener stories in this podcast in preparation for a Special Podcast that will be released on December 31. If you started the Digging Deeper Daily reading plan on January 1st this year, I hope you have remembered that this is a leap year. Some of you heard a Christmas day greeting today, that was one day early. Because of leap year, there would be no podcast released for December 31st, so I will release a special edition for that day. I have received 8 encouraging listener and reader testimonies that I will share in the next days, and these will all be linked on the Read This First site that is linked at dailybiblereading.info. You can easily share these stories by using the share buttons, or all of them will be available all year on the home page of the Read This First site. Before playing the first listener story, I would like to tell you that my YouTube video entitled How to Study the Bible — for beginners is back on the same page, the home page of the Read This First site. It is also linked in the episode notes for this podcast: https://youtu.be/sPyAp8ZxDBE Beth started listening to the Daily Bible Reading podcast this year, and she contacted me early in the year. I later enjoyed a video call with Beth and her husband Steve, as they are interested in Beth getting involved in Bible translation. She sent me this message: Our next listener story is from Julie. I will expand on some of the things Julie mentions. First let’s listen to her message: Julie is correct, even though some people seem to listen to me for more than one year at a time, I don’t encourage anyone to do this. (Hey, you can always come back after a few years, like Julie will.) I am listing links to the three Bible reading plans I usually mention: Daily Audio Bible with Brian Hardin Bible in One Year 2021 by Nicky Gumbel Daily Radio Bible by Hunter (and I don’t easily find his last name). If you decide to still follow the Digging Deeper Reading plan, but would like to listen to a different voice for the Bible readings, Julie was right. My favorite option for the audio for the plan is to sign up for the Read To Me Daily YouVersion reading plan, listen to the NIVUK version, which is read by the famous actor David Suche. Then Julie gives me the opportunity to say this also: There are two meaning-based translations that I hope every Christian reads all the way through at least in their lifetime. They are the New Living Translation (NLT) and the Good News Translation (GNT or GNB, also previously known as the Today’s English Version TEV). Many people fail in their plans to read the Bible in a year if they use a literal translation. Literal translations are great for study, especially when paired with a meaning-based translation. But literal translations are not friendly especially in audio form. That is why I have recorded the Digging Deeper Daily Bible reading plan in two translations: the NLT and the GNT. If you go to dailybiblereading.info, the GNT podcast site is right in the top bar. Here is the link: dailygntbiblereading.info. Our last listener story is from Laura. I want to say a big Thank You to Beth, Julie, and Laura. The podcast on December 31 will contain my own story of things that have been meaningful to me this year, both in my reading and Bible translation work. I also have five more listener stories that I will publish like this in the next few days.
The year has been flying by for Gale and me. For the most part, we have not been too inconvenienced by the pandemic and are healthy. I hope the same for you! How has it gone with you in listening to the Daily Bible Reading podcast, or following the Digging Deeper Daily reading plan? I would be very interested in hearing back from you, and for you to tell me about things like this: If you are a listener, what podcast app are you using to listen, or do you use our website? If you have a favorite app that you would recommend to others, please tell me what you like about it. Have you experienced difficulties in finding your next day's podcast? Have you experienced any difficulties while using the YouVersion Bible app? To share with me, just reply to this message. Just before the beginning of next year, I will report back on what I learn from your responses. If you have enjoyed this year's readings or podcasts, please give our website address to your friends: dailybiblereading.info. Many of you who started 2020 with day 1 of our Digging Deeper Daily reading plan have just started an intensive course in Bible prophecy that will run to the end of this year— with readings in Ezekiel, Isaiah, minor prophets and Revelation. I want to touch on just a few important points. One is that human teachers never get their interpretations of prophecy correct. The prophets in Jerusalem didn't know what God was going to do in Ezekiel's day, The Jews didn't get it right about what the Messiah would do. Just the other day I heard a radio preacher teaching an ordering of events for the end times that I think will be proved way wrong. Remember, God possesses all wisdom, and humans predicting what God will do based on prophecy have gotten it wrong time after time. (So I will only dare give a few major points below!) If you are like me, we have joined Paul and John in praying "Come, Lord Jesus!" For a lot of my life, I have wished that I could see the Lord fulfill some prophecies signalling a quickening of the pace toward the return of Jesus. Guess what folks! Things are happening, and now we're saying, "Oh Lord, please stop it!" We all know that we are to avoid any marks on our hands and foreheads that could resemble any interpretation of 666. Those who refuse to receive the mark of the beast won't be able to buy or sell. But I sort of missed the implication that we who don't follow the beast's party line will one day be locked out of social media, sources of impartial news, and probably even the whole Internet. Let's not miss this often-repeated warning: We must learn to trust the Lord and endure in faithfulness to Him no matter what happens. Please consider what God has done in the past. He told Abraham what would happen to the Jews. Then it happened: They were enslaved in Egypt, and then God brought them back to the promised land, just as He said He would. No other God has done something like that! Then God told Moses, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Isaiah (and others) about a similarly big thing that would happen. Over and over we read that the Jewish people would be unfaithful and would be exiled to far-away country— to Babylon, as it turns out. But God promised to return them to their country. Then in Isaiah, God even tells the name of the king who would allow the Jews to return to Israel, some hundreds of years before it happened. In that same passage God Himself asks the readers, "What other God has ever done something like that?!" God told the exiled people that he would take care of them in exile, and He did. So, I am sure that God will take care of us in whatever suffering (even tribulation) that we face. “This means that God's holy people must endure persecution patiently and remain faithful.” (Rev. 13:10) We will see in our prophecy readings that many things that God predicts eventually get fulfilled multiple times. One of the chief examples of this is Daniel's prophecy about a king who would oppose the people of God. "The king will do as he pleases, exalting himself and claiming to be greater than every god, even blaspheming the God of gods." Extending from Roman kings, to Hitler, and now into our time, the closer we come to the end, the more like the antichrist our rulers will become. We hate to see this happen! But there is a comforting side: God is in control. He is not surprised by what is happening. The best thing we can do to prepare for the times to come is to study His Word. Use God's Word to answer those who do not know the truth. More and more I pray for God to open minds. 2Cor. 4:3 says that “Satan, who is the god of this world, has blinded the minds of those who don't believe. They are unable to see the glorious light of the Good News. …” In verse 6 Paul says, “For God, who said, ‘Let there be light in the darkness,’ has made this light shine in our hearts so we could know the glory of God that is seen in the face of Jesus Christ.” Just so, I am confident that as YOU lovingly share the simple Good News with people, God will turn on the lights in the minds of some to behold the glory. But as Paul says in verse 7, “We now have this light shining in our hearts, but we ourselves are like fragile clay jars containing this great treasure.” That's how God wants us to be at this time. Join the club feeling fragile! If you are in the USA, I urge you to know the issues and vote. In Revelation, Jesus' saying, "He that has and ear let him hear," is repeated eight times. And of course, there are many times in the Gospels where Jesus says that. I have been amazed as a Bible translator at how many times I have needed to revise that saying. It is very hard to get that one right! Recently we revised all those verses in our Indonesian translation. Let me tell you that that saying always points backward. Jesus is not telling people to listen to what He's going to say. He's telling people to pay attention to what He's just said. In our Indonesian translation, the problem was that— the way we had expressed it— Jesus was coming off as angry or impolite. We had translated like what I have given as the meaning in the Daily Bible Reading podcast: "Ya got ears, don't ya?! Well listen!" So in searching for an answer, Balazi (the head of our translation program) said, "Ya know, there's something that Indonesian teachers and pastors say frequently, and here it is: Don't let what I've said go in your right ear and straight out your left." In English we say, "Don't let what I said just go in one ear and out the other!" That's our translation of Jesus' saying, except there needs to be one last command: "Meditate on it!" Yes, meditate on it! That's what we need to be doing with all our Bible readings at the end of this year. The Daily Bible Reading podcast has done well in 2020. Our daily downloads are about 50% higher than around February, or on many days are 90% higher than they were last year at this same time. Amazing things are happening in Indonesia. I normally would be there now, but not this year. My next trip will happen the spring of next year, Lord willing. You on this list did not get my updates about our work, but you can see our August letter here and our October letter here. May the Lord bless you ‘real good’! Phil
Welcome to the FIFTH episode of the Every Word Podcast. This is a podcast series for those who enjoy studying details found in God’s Word. In every episode I will read from Dr. Wilbur Pickering’s fresh-sounding translation of the New Testament, which he named, “The Sovereign Creator Has Spoken.” In today’s episode, I will read and comment on Pickering’s translation of Mark chapter 16. Dr. Pickering’s translation is based on the Majority Text of the Greek New Testament, which is also called the Byzantine Text. Beginning in 1881 there was a shift in the Greek text used for English Bible translations, caused by the influence of the Wescott and Hort Greek New Testament, which was based on a very small sampling of manuscripts of the Alexandrian Text Type, that is from Egypt. [The main two manuscripts they relied on are Codex Sinaiticus (abbreviation א [Aleph] or 01) and Codex Vaticanus (abbreviation B or 03). Those are dated at 330-360 AD and 300-325 respectively.] At the time Wescott and Hort were working, it was anticipated that research into the most ancient manuscripts newly discovered in Egypt would reveal a coherent textual stream that would point to the authentic initial form of the Greek text. Now, over a century later, those ancient Egyptian manuscripts have been analyzed, but they do not reveal a coherent textual stream that can be followed. Instead they reveal that Egyptian scribes very freely edited the texts they copied. However the myth continues to be taught that Alexandrian manuscripts are better despite evidence to the contrary, and despite that only the first two picked by Wescott and Hort are still the only ones that are given priority. In contrast, the Majority Text of the New Testament was made by copyists who lived in the same places as the original recipients of the apostles’ writings. Individual scribal errors have been weeded out, since this text type is based on the majority reading of thousands of Greek manuscripts. The Majority Text has been stable over the centuries and is the best academically defendable text of the Greek New Testament that we have today. It is my hope that these podcasts will build awareness of the faulty Greek text that underlies almost all of the English Bible translations of the last century, starting with the ASV (1901), and including RSV, NASB, NIV, GNT, NLT, NET, and ESV. If you have questions you would like me to try to answer, please write. Aside from questions, please let me know where I have made mistakes. My favorite way for you to send your comments is via the Contact button at dailybiblereading.info. If you would like to send me a recording of your comments, it is very possible that I will play it. About 4-5 years ago, the pastor at our church in Siloam Springs preached an expository series of sermons on the Gospel of Mark. Our pastor does a great job of preaching through books of Scripture, even through some of the hardest material in the Bible. So I was shocked that on the Sunday when we were all expecting to hear the last message in Mark’s Gospel, the pastor started his message by telling us that he would not be preaching on chapter 16. Before he launched into the new topic he had chosen for that Sunday, he said something like this, “I decided that I would not preach on this passage, because, after all, we don’t know whether it is part of inspired Scripture or not.” I want you to know that my pastor believes in the inspiration of God’s Word. Was the pastor right to doubt if Mark 16:9-20 was written by Mark? Is he being inconsistent in his belief in the inspiration of the Bible if he doubts that the long ending of Mark is the correct text? What’s the evidence? This is an important point, and that’s what we will deal with today. After I read Pickering’s translation of Mark 16, I will read Pickering’s article, entitled Mark 16:9-20 and the Doctrine of Inspiration. This is the Appendix E in his book entitled The Identity of the New Testament Text. (See the Resources section of the episode notes for information on where you can download this book, or purchase it. The complete text of the article I will read parts from is in the PDF file attached to this podcast. To download the PDF, find the podcast entitled EveryWord005 at dailybiblereading.info.) I think some of you will be disappointed that Pickering doesn’t put the overwhelming textual evidence for the inclusion of the last 12 verses of Mark right at the front of his article. So if you don’t have time 45 minutes of interesting discussion that leads up to that info, you can skip to minute xxxx. I think it is good for us to start out considering the impact that the ending of Mark has upon our attitude toward the reliability of all of Scripture. I think Pickering’s article is a faith builder. ---------------------------------- My (PCF) comment at minute 33:54 Let me discuss briefly one of the ‘poison passages’ that Pickering mentioned, the one found in Luke 3:33. LUKE 3.33Majority Text: The son of Aminadab, the son of Aram, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah, Eclectic Text: The son of Aminadab, the son of Admin, the son of Arni, the son of Hezron, the son of Perez, the son of Judah Dr. Timothy Friberg says in his What is what article:The reading of the Traditional Text is consistent with the known Old Testament account of Jesus’ ancestors (1Chronicles 2) and also Matthew 1, while the text of the Bible Society Text has no known Old Testament support. For a link to Friberg’s article, see the Resources section, at the bottom of the episode notes. PCF: Of new Bible translations, only NIV sort of follows the BT and harmonizes with 1Chronicles 2. All the others contain the fictitious Arni. I am surprised by this. It must be that most translators felt that most people would not notice a little change in Jesus’ genealogy. As I show in my Playing Follow the Leader article, in important places where readers will notice a difference, the translators for versions of the last century departed from the Eclectic Text about 30% of the time. Whenever translators do this, they show they are ashamed of the Eclectic Text. No one should deny that it contains the kind of ‘poison’ Pickering speaks of. ------------------------------- Dr. Pickering named his NT, “The Sovereign Creator Has Spoken.” That title contains three concepts that were not believed by Wescott, Hort, and the succeeding managers of the Eclectic Text. They did not believe that our Creator created humans as described in Genesis. They did not believe in the sovereignty of God. Nor did they believe that God actively inspired and has preserved every word of Scripture for us. Moses and Jesus said, “Man shall not live on bread alone, but by every word of God.” (Deut. 8:3; Mat. 4:4; Luk. 4:4) May the Lord bless you ‘real good’! Resources: Fields, Philip: Playing Follow the Leader in Bible Translation, 2019, by Phil Fields. See the Resources list in that article for many more helpful articles on the superiority of the Majority Greek Text. Friberg, Timothy: On the text of the Greek New Testament that also happens to be the right one for cousin audiences Although the title of this four-page paper refers to translating for Muslims, the principles and summary is widely applicable. I suggest reading this paper before reading Friberg’s other articles listed below. Layman’s Guide — A modest explanation for the layman of ideas related to determining the text of the Greek New Testament, 2019. What is what? — Differences between the Traditional Text and the Bible Society Text of the Greek New Testament. Some data for the reader to weigh, 2019. Pickering, Wilbur: New Translation of the New Testament: The Sovereign Creator has Spoken Greek Text of the New Testament based on Family 35 The Identity of the NT Text IV This book is available as a free download for the Kindle reader app, and also can be purchased from Amazon. All of Pickering’s articles and books are freely available for download at PRUNCH.net. All are released under the Creative Commons license. Additionally, his second edition (2016) NT translation is available for a free download via the Kindle app. It is also freely available as a module in the MyBible program for Android and Apple devices. Robinson, Maurice: The New Testament in the Original Greek: Byzantine Textform, 1991, 2005, 2018. This is available in free digital form in the MyBible Bible app, and in other ways. Article: Full Text of the 105 verses lacking overall Greek Manuscript Support in the NA edition 27
I’m really thankful for all of you Bible readers and listeners! I hope that you are staying healthy. Gale and I are fine. I am thankful to see that DBRP listeners are a faithful bunch. I can tell from the download statistics that many of you have kept on listening daily even in the worst of the Covid19 epidemic. Some of you skip listening on the weekends because you listen while commuting to work, but you catch up again during the work week. Keep it up, friends! In our troubled times, knowing God’s Word is the rock and anchor we need. For some DBRP listeners, especially for any listeners who are not in sync with those who started listening on January first, you might have difficulty finding your next episode at certain times of the year. (This has to do with how episodes are rescheduled for broadcasting.) If it ever happens that you can’t find the day number you want, you should always be able to find that day’s episode at our website, dailybiblereading.info. Another cause of the problem could be the podcast app you are using. It will help if you choose a podcast app that allows you to track your position in the calendar and automatically download a certain number of episodes in advance. Please share your favorite app for that with me, so that I can add the information to our website. I want to express thanks to my volunteer secretary, Vicky Pool, who does the queuing up DBRP episodes every week. After I have my Bible reading time in the morning, I listen to a podcast I hope you have heard about called The World And Everything In It. It gives world news from a Biblically-based world view. If you haven’t listened to it, I recommend that you give it a try. I want to apologize to all those who are listening to the NLT Daily Bible Reading Podcasts. I have been listening to those again this year, one day ahead of people who started on January first. I keep finding mistakes and have fixed quite a few of them, and I have made notes for fixing some episodes later. But here is the main problem: The NLT series was recorded when I was new to podcasting. The initial recording quality was awful for half of the year. So when I now record little improvements (perhaps a sentence or two), the voice quality is significantly different. Some episodes have become a patchwork quilt, with corrections or improvements made over time, which make me sound like five different men. Oh, and by the way, back in 2014 when I first made those podcasts, I was using an older edition of the NLT. This leaves me with a problem: I am very focused now on my Bible translation work for Indonesia. I cannot take the time this year or next to re-record the NLT Bible series, either in part or all of it. Someday, I hope to record the whole Bible again, but not now. But I have thought of the solution! How about if YOU record a 20 minute podcast episode for one of the days in 2021?! How about if there were voices from all around the globe that would do this, and we could look forward to hearing from different people every day? We have time to make this happen for 2021 if we start now. But I will need several volunteers who will be willing to act as editors and organizers for this. If you want to hear more about this opportunity, I will give more information after the close of this podcast. Some of you have been interested in what I have shared in the EveryWord podcast series, for which I have published just 4 episodes and will soon publish the 5th. This is the podcast where I read from Wilbur Pickering’s translation of the NT which is entitled The Sovereign Creator Has Spoken. I have had a difficult time making the 5th episode, making several starts, then scraping that material and starting over. After praying about it, I have decided to cover the ending of Mark 16 in this next episode. Verses 9-20 of Mark 16 are enclosed in brackets in most Bibles today, but should they be?! Recently a fellow missionary serving in Indonesia heard me mention that we support using the Majority Text for Bible translations, and he fired back the question, “Do you think that Mark 16:9-20 was part of the original text?” I feel that the answer to that question is vitally important. Here are a few verses that have stood out to me in Ps 119 recently: Ps 119:89: Lamedh Your eternal word, O LORD, stands firm in heaven. Now I wasn’t thinking of textual variants in Greek when I marked that. We can be comforted in our time that there is one thing that can be an anchor for our hearts and minds in this troubled time. God is in control and He is causing his purposes to be fulfilled. Let’s recommend God’s unchanging Word as the answer and source of truth for this world which has lost its moorings. Ps 119:105: Nun Your word is a lamp to guide my feet and a light for my path. These verses comfort me in a time when we all seem so vulnerable and the world seems to be falling apart: Ps 119:114,116: 114 You are my refuge and my shield; your word is my source of hope. 116 LORD, sustain me as you promised, that I may live! Do not let my hope be crushed. Ps 119:123: 123 My eyes strain to see your rescue, to see the truth of your promise fulfilled. Let’s pray: Lord, we call out to You, and we seek at this time to more sincerely put all our hope in You. Be our strong tower, our place of refuge, and the source of our quiet confidence. Please open our minds to be able to find treasures in your Word that will give us new hope, not just for ourselves, but also to share with others. At this time our eyes strain to see your rescue, especially to see Jesus coming back again. No matter how You choose to rescue us today, please let your Word and your presence with us be our source of joy. May the Lord bless you, ‘real good’! Now if you are staying around to hear more about what I am hoping for next year, here is what I hope some of you will want to participate in. I love the way the podcasts for The World and Everything In It start, with a new voice giving a greeting, telling who they are and perhaps a sentence about where they are and what they do. I would like opening greetings to be like that for each episode recorded by you and other listeners next year, and your voice would continue to read the day’s Bible readings. You could base your introductory comments and the prayer at the end on mine, or you could embroider and improve on what I have written down. If you want to, feel free to involve other members of your family in your recording. Another difference for next year: You can choose which version you would like to read from a list I will provide. To do these recordings, we hope that you are someone who can read in such a way that listeners can follow the meaning. I freely admit that I often have to record some sentences three or more times before I get them down without mistakes and carrying the intonation I am aiming for. So if you are someone who makes mistakes like me, then I hope that you can edit your audio file yourself, or be willing to learn that skill. It isn’t hard, and someone else will help polish the file you give us. I hope that next year we will hear old and young voices, voices that reveal different ethnicities, and speaking with accents from various regions and countries. I need several people who will be able to help me put all this together. One would be someone who could manage the audio polishing process I just mentioned. We will give more pointers about how to make good recordings to people who express interest. The best way to contact me is to use the contact button at dailybiblereading.info. And again, Gale and I say, May the Lord bless you ‘real good’!
2SAMUEL 5-6:General Abner defected to David, but it cost him his life on the same day at the hands of Joab, the commander of David's forces and the brother of the slain Asahel. One result was also that Ishbosheth was murdered by two army captains who thought that they would be rewarded for doing David a favor. PSALM 109a:If you feel that you are surrounded by people who gang up against you and slander you, then this is the psalm for you. One of the verses in this psalm was quoted by Peter about Judas in Acts 1. You are certainly given permission by this Psalm to pray for vindication and justice, but contrast this with what Romans 12 says about praying for your enemies— which we also read today. Note this: In the NLT, verses 6 through 19 contain a very long quote of slander against the Psalm-writer, David. Or, in GNT, these verses are part of David’s prayer for vindication. Re-reading ROMANS 12:Chapter 12 marks the beginning of the practical part of Paul’s letter to the Roman Christians. This part packs a big punch, and verses 1-2— which form the topic sentence for this section, are must-memorize verses. If everything that Paul said before now is true, then THIS is the logical and appropriate response of how we are to live. This is how we ought to respond to God's wonderful kindness to us. And these two verses reveal a major truth about how the transformation of our minds takes place, and what must happen if we are to discern God's will in our decisions. GNT Translation notes: [God works a miracle in us by renewing our minds. What must we do first? Our PET translation helps readers make the connection:] Rom. 12:1 PET-Based on all I have said before now about the various ways God has been so kind to us, it is only proper that we return His kindness! We should all think like this, “Lord, I give my body to you as a sacrifice”— even though we actually continue to live. A decision like that amounts to a holy sacrifice which pleases the Lord. 2 PET This means that we can no longer follow a bad lifestyle like what has become the habit of worldly people. But let's surrender our bodies as sacrificial offerings to God, and He will renew our minds— so that we can know what God's will for us is, and what is best in every situation. By that I mean we can understand and choose what is good and what is most proper for us, along with whatever pleases the Lord.