Archive for July 1st, 2012

1) Session 1, by John MacArthur: Session 1

2) Session 2, by Austin Duncan: Session 2

3) Session 3, by Steve Lawson: Session 3

4) Men’s Breakout Session, Session 4, by John MacArthur: Session 4

5) Session 5, by Al Mohler: Session 5

6) Session 6, by Jonathan Rourke: Session 6

7) Session 7, by Rick Holland: Session 7

8) Women’s Breakout Session, Session 8, by Carolyn McCulley: Session 8

9) Session 9, by C.J. Mahaney: Session 9

10) Session 10, by Rick Holland: Session 10

11) Session 11, by Steve Lawson: Session 11

12) Session 12, by Al Mohler: Session 12

13) Session 13, by C.J. Mahaney: Session 13

Please let me know if there are any technical difficulties.  Also some of the links will direct you to free resources.  Enjoy.

On another note, here are some powerful quotes from Charles Haddon Spurgeon to meditate on:

A church in the land without the Spirit is rather a curse than a blessing. If you have not the Spirit of God, Christian worker, remember that you stand in somebody else’s way; you are a fruitless tree standing where a fruitful tree might grow.”

A church that does not exist to reclaim heathenism, to fight evil, to destroy error, to put down falsehood, a church that does not exist to take the side of the poor, to denounce injustice and to hold up righteousness, is a church that has no right to be. Not for yourself, O church, do you exist, any more than Christ existed for Himself.”

Alas! Much has been done of late to promote the production of dwarfish Christians. Poor, sickly believers turn the church into an hospital, rather than an army. Oh, to have a church built up with the deep godliness of people who know the Lord in their very hearts, and will seek to follow the Lamb wherever he goes!”

I do not think the devil cares how many churches you build, if only you have lukewarm preachers and people in them.”

I well remember how I joined the church after my conversion. I forced myself into it by telling the pastor, who was lax and slow, after I had called four or five times and could not see him, that I had done my duty, and if he did not see me and interview me for church membership, I would call a church meeting myself and tell them I believed in Christ and ask them if they would have me.”

In proportion as a church is holy, in that proportion will its testimony for Christ be powerful.”

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Lesson 2:  I have titled this section, Circulation of the Canonical Writings.  This lesson will focus on the development of the writings in the New Testament.  Dates will be mentioned and also the significant aspects of each book will be discussed.  Understanding its development will help the student of God’s Word be more accurate and precise when communicating the circulation of the New Testament writings and the significant aspects and the details of the autographical materials. 

A)  The rise of the writings:[1]

1)  The NT consists of 27 books which are written by 8 or 9 known authors.  When categorized, the New Testament consists of:

4 gospels 1 history 21 epistles 1 apocalypse

i)  The period of these books when written, covers about two generations which is approximately A.D. 45 to A.D. 95.

2)  We must also understand that apart from the Old Testament, Christianity had no authoritive writings for the first 15 years of its existence.  The truth of Christianity was manifested in proclamation during this period by word-of-mouth, which based many of its truths upon the Old Testament, and the tradition of the eyewitness reports about Jesus that was done orally.  During this time, doctrinal and practical issues became a reality.  Therefore, it created a need for the epistles, which first started with James in the late forties.[2]

Epistle of James: Written somewhere around A.D. 47-49 See Acts 13-14 for first missionary journey.  His first missionary journey was in A.D. 47-49.
Galatians:  Paul writes this somewhere around A.D. 50. Acts 15: Jerusalem Council (A.D. 49).See Galatians 2 for his first second missionary journey (A.D. 50-52).
Paul’s time in Ephesus (53-56) Third missionary journey.  See Acts 16-18 and Acts 19-21.
1 and 2 Thessalonians Paul spends 18 months in Corinth while writing 1 and 2 Thessalonians.
Paul is arrested in Jerusalem (A.D. 56/57) Acts 21-26
1-2 Corinthians and Romans (A.D. 56-57) Acts 21-26
Philippians; Colossians; Philemon; Ephesians; and 1 Peter (A.D. 61-62) Significance: James, the brother of Jesus dies around A.D. 62.
2 Peter; Mark; 1-2 Timothy; Titus; and Jude (62-67) During this time, you see Paul’s final travels (Spain?) (62-65). See Romans 15:23-24.Note:  Mark writes down the memoirs of Peter.  Also he was executed under Nero.  His execution occurred before Nero’s death in A.D. 68
Pastoral Epistles from Paul: Paul writes his pastoral epistles to Timothy who is the pastor at Ephesus; and he writes to Titus who is the church planter at Crete (A.D. 62-66). Reasons for the Pastoral Epistles: Paul writes them to encourage the believers and to warn them of false teachers within the body of Christ.  Also during this time, Jude was also written.  These writings took place during A.D. 62-66.
Death of Peter and Paul A.D. 65-67. See 2 Timothy 4:6, 21
Hebrews: Written around mid/late 60s During this time, Timothy was released from prison (Hebrews 13:23).  The destruction of Jerusalem takes place during this time (A.D. 70).

3) Eyewitnesses of Jesus’ earthy life and resurrection.

a) When eyewitnesses of Jesus’ earthy life and resurrection became scarcer, and when the Christianity started to permeate outside of Israel and into different countries, the Gospel writings came into the picture.  This tremendously helped the spread of the Gospel message.  These writings augmented the power of Christianity because it communicated important, crucial, and fundamental doctrines such as the life, death, and resurrection of the God-man, Christ Jesus.  Please see table for the timeline of the Gospel writings:[3]

Matthew: This book was the first written out of the four gospels.  This was written in the mid- fifties. Luke: This book was followed after Matthew.  Luke was written in about A.D. 60-62. Mark: The book of Mark was written in the late sixties. John: The Gospel of John appeared somewhere during the late eighties/nineties.

*Adapted from Dr. Thomas

4)  Besides the Gospel writings, the church also needed another authoritative text that would cover the first thirty years of its activity and also the activity of the Holy Spirit.  As a result, the book of Acts met this need when it was written:

Acts: This book was written somewhere in A.D. 60-62 (Acts 27-28). Luke completes the book of Acts during Paul’s first Roman imprisonment in A.D. 60-62.
Revelation: To complete the writings of the New Testament, John was privileged to write Revelation.  This was written at around A.D. 95/96. Significance: This writing had an apocalyptical feature to it.  John wrote this from exile on Patmos.  He was the only apostle out of the twelve that was not martyred.  He died sometime around A.D 100.

5)  The Christian writings written by the apostles and disciples of Christ gradually came into existence.  They did not all appear at once.  Therefore, it took time before we ever received the New Testament as a canonized book.[4]

6) The autographs: There is no longer any trace to the original autographs.  Some scholars have speculated that they may have perished in its early days.  If they did not perish during the early persecutions that befall the Christians, then there was probably ordinary wear and tear.  Some have said that the nonexistence of the autographs maybe due to the sovereign will of God so that humans would not worship such autographs.[5]

7) Although we are no longer able to have the privilege of obtaining the original autographs of the New Testament as a whole, we can still be thankful because of the findings of the contemporary documents in Egypt.[6]  Because of the art and science of textual criticism and the myriads of manuscripts available, scholars are placed in a better position than before in trying to date back to manuscripts closest to the original compositions.[7]  Moreover, we may also conclude that it is amazing that the Bible, after being translated over and over, still bear harmony and consistency.  This goes to show that God’s hand is behind this process.

8)  Some of the Old Testament writings by this time was written on vellum or parchment.  The writing material was made by processing animal skins.  However, this was too expensive for the NT writers to use.[8]  Although the Old Testament use of skins were mentioned as a writing material, the letter of the Pseudo-Aristeas, expressly states that the copy of the Law that was sent from Jerusalem to Egypt was written on difqe,raiõ[9]

9)  There is little doubt that the NT was written on papyrus.  This was known to be the ordinary paper or writing material of the day.  There is scriptural proof that the New Testament was written on a sheet made of papyrus strips.

2 John 12: χαρ’του
  • This refers to a writing sheet made of papyrus strips.  In the same verse you have µéλανος.  In the original, this is a substantive derived from µéλας.  This is the Greek adjective which means “black.”  As a result, the concluding factor produces the logical reasoning that this became the name given to the “ink” which the NT writers used in that day.
  • In order for us to get a good overall picture of the writing materials, it is enough to recognize that the ink (τó  µéλαν: cf. 3 John 13) was made of shoot that was mixed with gum and diluted with water.  This resulted in lasting power.  This can be witnessed by examining any of the recently recovered texts.  Moreover, because the ink did not sink into the fibers of the papyrus, it was easily washed out or could be scraped off while it was still fresh.
  • This was a point that led to an emphasis to the language or in other words, alluded to the language of Colossians 2:14 and Revelation 3:5 by the use of the verb ε’ξαλεíφω.[10][11]

10)  There are more details of the physical format of the papyrus.  For example, see καλáμου.  This refers to the pen that was used in writing.  The pen that was used in the ordinary use for papyrus consisted of a ‘calamus’ or reed.  This pen was first prepared for use by first being softened by the mouth.  But during the Greco-Roman times, it was split after the same types of pens we have such as quills or steel pens[12]

Unused sheet of papyrus:  This material was called χáρτης. After being used, it was called βυ′βλος or βíβλος.  A short writing was called to, βíβλíον.  The collection of short writings was called τá βíβλια, the neuter plural of the same noun.  Out from this neuter plural, evolved the feminine singular noun η’ βíβλíα.  In Old Latin, we get the understanding that this came from what we have received, that is, our English word: Bible.[13]

*Adapted from Dr. Thomas

11)  Moreover the autographs were circulated in a scroll form.  The codex or book form of the Bible did not come into use until the second century A.D.  To make a scroll, the sheets of the papyrus would have to be pasted together end to end and then rolled up into a roll.  After that, then be tied with a string or thread that would hold the roll.  In terms of sealing it with wax, that was implemented only for official documents.  There is also an abundant of autographical evidence in the literature of the day where you have the signature in a different side from the body of the document.  The signature that was used to address the addressee was written outside the roll being used; whereas the scroll normally had writing only on one side.[14][15]

12)  Some NT books were not written by the authors themselves.  Some of the writings were given to secretaries or amanuenses (singular: “amanuensis”).  For example, in Romans 16:22, Tertius was the amanuensis Paul used to write Romans.  But on the other hand, in Galatians 6:11, “See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand, (ESV)” indicates that Galatians was written by Paul himself.  On another note, in 2 Thess. 2:2, Paul warns against letters that are not from him.  His signatures identify the authenticity of his letters.  Please see these verses for support:[16][17][18]

1 Cor. 16: 21 The greeting is in my own hand—Paul.
2 Cor. 10:1 Now I, Paul, myself urge you by the meekness and gentleness of Christ—I who am meek when face to face with you, but bold toward you when absent!
Gal. 5:2 Behold I, Paul, say to you that if you receive circumcision, Christ will be of no benefit to you.
Gal. 6:11 See with what large letters I am writing to you with my own hand.
Eph. 3:1 For this reason I, Paul, the prisoner of Christ Jesus for the sake of you Gentiles.
Col. 1:23 If indeed you continue in the faith firmly established and steadfast, and not moved away from the hope of the gospel that you have heard, which was proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, was made a minister.
Col. 4: 18 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand Remember my imprisonment. Grace be with you.
1 Thess. 2: 18 For we wanted to come to you—I, Paul, more than once—and yet Satan hindered us.
2 Thess. 2:2 That you not be quickly shaken from your composure or be disturbed either by a spirit or a message or a letter as if from us, to the effect that the day of the Lord has come.
2 Thess. 3:17 I, Paul, write this greeting with my own hand, and this is a distinguishing mark in every letter; this is the way I write.
Philem. 19 I, Paul, am writing this with my own hand, I will repay it (not to mention to you that you owe to me even your own self as well).

*Some  scholars say that 2 Thessalonians iii. 17, 18; cf. also 1 Cor. xvi. 21, Col. iv. 18 were dictated to a secretary.[19]

13)  Besides the writings of Paul, there is also much discussion about the First Epistle of St. Peter.  It seems that, the words, …”by Silvanus…” in c. v. 12, are best understood as an implication that Silvanus was not only the bearer, but he was the actual scribe of Peter’s epistle.[20]

1 Peter 5:12 Through Silvanus, our faithful brother (for so I regard him), I have written to you briefly, exhorting and testifying that this is the true grace of God Stand firm in it!

14)  We must note another interesting aspect regarding the the postal service during that time.  The postal service was available in that day for official government use only.  Because of that, the NT books were delivered by a messenger who had sympathy and a zeal for the letter (cf. 2 Cor. 2:13; 7:6, 13; Eph. 6:21; Phil. 2:27; Phile. 12).[21]

2 Cor. 2:13 I had no rest for my spirit, not finding Titus my brother; but taking my leave of them, I went on to Macedonia.
2 Cor. 7:6 But God, who comforts the depressed, comforted us by the coming of Titus;
2 Cor. 7:13 For this reason we have been comforted.  And besides our comfort, we rejoiced even much more for the joy of Titus, because his spirit has been refreshed by you all.
Ephesians 6: 21 But that you also may know about my circumstances, how I am doing, Tychicus, the beloved brother and faithful minister in the Lord, will make everything known to you.
Phil. 2:27 For indeed he was sick to the point of death, but God had mercy on him, and not on him only but also on me, so that I would not have sorrow upon sorrow.
Phile. 12 I have sent him back to you in person, that is, sending my very heart.

15)  Internal structures of the autograph

a)  The words inside the autographs when it was written did not have extra space between.  Because it did not have extra space between, it is difficult for the modern reader to decipher where one word starts or begins.  On another note, sometimes a writer of the autographs might leave a slight space.  This slight space indicates a break in thought; however the general rule was to have no space at all because of the expense of writing materials at the time.  Writing materials were scarce, which does not characterize the modern world.

[1] Robert Thomas, “Canon of the New Testament” (unpublished syllabus, 2009), 8.

[2] Ibid, 2.

[3] Ibid, 2.

[4]George Milligan, The New Testament Documents: Their Origin and Early History (London, England: Macmillan and Co, 1913), 6.

[5] Ibid, 6.

[6] Ibid, 7.

[7] Robert Thomas, “Canon of the New Testament” (unpublished syllabus, 2009, 2.

[8] Ibid, 2-3.

[9] George Milligan, The New Testament Documents: Their Origin and Early History, 8.

[10] Ibid, 16.

[11] Robert Thomas, “Canon of the New Testament” (unpublished syllabus, 2009), 3.

[12] George Milligan, The New Testament Documents: Their Origin and Early History, 17.

[13] Robert Thomas, “Canon of the New Testament” (unpublished syllabus, 2009), 3.

[14] George Milligan, The New Testament Documents: Their Origin and Early History,  24.

[15] Robert Thomas, “Canon of the New Testament” (unpublished syllabus, 2009), 3.

[16] George Milligan, The New Testament Documents: Their Origin and Early History,  24.

[17] Robert Thomas, “Canon of the New Testament” (unpublished syllabus, 2009, 3.

[18]According to tradition concerning the mediaeval manuscripts of the Fourth Gospel, Milligan says that St. John dictated his Gospel to a disciple of his, named Prochorus. (pg. 22-23).

[19] George Milligan, The New Testament Documents: Their Origin and Early History, 22.

[20] Ibid, 22.

[21] Robert Thomas, “Canon of the New Testament” (unpublished syllabus, 2009), 3.

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