Outside the walls of the church, companies constantly placard plastic surgery and age-defying creams before our eyes, in magazines and on commercials, to convince us that they will make us look at least as attractive as we did when we were in our early 20s. Bank commercials tell us that if we just make the right… Read More
Source: Grass Growing On Roofs
With utmost confidence we see that God superintended the preservation of His record through the Apostles what we have today: The New Testament. Even shortly after Paul and other apostles wrote their epistles, the letters were recognized as the word of God: I want you to recall the words spoken in the past by the holy prophets and the command given by our Lord and Savior through your apostles (2Peter 3.2, see also 3.15-16).
Here is a post about lists of the canon. Even if we don’t have a list from the 1st century, only apostolic writers were ever considered authoritative which agrees with Jesus’ statement of the Spirit’s ministry: When the Advocate comes, whom I will send you from the Father—the Spirit of truth who goes out from the Father—he will testify about me, and you also will testify, because you have been with me from the beginning. (John 15.26-7)
Individual Christian participation today in assembly comprises mostly singing. This was not originally the case. Instead individual expression of faith was “in remembrance” as portrayed in The Lord’s Supper. If it is “a remembrance” then we can conclude this is not an actual sacrifice. Instead, just as the O.T. sacrifices never took away sins (Heb.10.4) so we ‘testify’ that Christ’s sacrifice is our hope. Taking part in the LS then is like a ‘confession’ since we “proclaim Christ’s death until He returns” (1Cor. 11.26). Though this observance can be a witness to non-Christians who observe, primarily this ‘individualized stance’ when we participate functions as an encouragement to other Christians.
Here is some history of the practice from the early years after it was instituted. This seems to continue the original practice: “they devoted themselves to the apostles teaching, the breaking of bread (LS), fellowship, and prayer” (Acts 2.42).
Source: Sheaves in the field
The history of modern (1900) scholarship of these matters.
Source: Titles of Psalms (5)
A tantalizing thought is brought up in this post: the personal use of the Psalms as indicated from the superscription.
We know that the tribe of Levi was scattered in many different cities in the territories of the other 11 tribes and was commissioned to instruct the ‘everyday people.’ Dt. 33.10: They shall teach Jacob your rules and Israel your law. 2Chron. 35.3: And he said to the Levites who taught all Israel and who were holy to the Lord. Neh.8.7b-8: the Levites, helped the people to understand the Law, while the people remained in their places. They read from the book, from the Law of God, clearly, and they gave the sense, so that the people understood the reading.
This was vastly different it seems from the wise men of Babylon and the Egyptian Scribes who were more centralized and served the ruler. Israel was unique in the ancient world in having more ‘everyday people’ know the Bible. To teach the people The Law the Levites needed copies of it and so scribes meticulously copied and preserved it.
Jesus’ appeal to sections in The Psalms indicates that these texts was well-known and therefore points to literate bible readers or hearers who may have used these superscriptions and postscripts in specific or recurring readings.
Source: Titles of Psalms (4)
Installment 3 of Stephen Cook’s examination:
Source: Titles of Psalms (3)
Part two of Stephen Cook’s analysis of Hebrew superscripts and postscripts. It should be noted that none of the ‘outcomes’ of these analyses materially changes any fundamental doctrine, instead it exposes in part the process of translating and interpreting the text. Also, how the text came to future generations is fascinating.
A significant problem confronting Christians today is reading the bible anachronistically as somehow it was written to us. It was certainly written for us in a sense and being able to distinguish relevant portions in application constitutes much of our task in “trying to find out what pleases the Lord” (Eph. 5.10).
source: Titles of Psalms (2)
Stephen Cook explores Hebrew superscriptions and postscripts in Psalms and Habakkuk. An enlightening and fascinating topic for Bible readers.
Source: Titles of Psalms (1)