Ignorant Christians

“Because gospel preaching is rare, because the radical demands of Christ are ignored, because preachers are growing churches by catering to carnal desires, we have an almost innumerable crowd of people who identify themselves with Christianity, but have little knowledge of Christ!” – Paul Washer

Quote of the Day — Zwinglius Redivivus

The Church Telling the Pastor What to Do

“Tell Archippus: ‘See to it that you complete the ministry you have received in the Lord'” (Col. 4.17)

Colossians was written to the church whom Paul previously ministered to and no pastors are mentioned. If the Colossians did have a pastor, it was probably Archippus who was located in Laodicea, it seems. The churches of Colossae, Hierapolis, and Laodicea were located relatively close to each other with the Colossian Epaphras probably being sent to Paul on all their behalf to support him while in prison.

Epaphras was also interceding to God for the churches and Paul writes to commend his ministry and assure the Colossians of his benefit to Paul (see Col. 4.12-13). It also seems that Epaphras was somehow also imprisoned at the time of writing and Paul wanted to vouch for him that he was not misbehaving on his mission (Philemon 23). Perhaps Paul was anticipating his release, as well as his own, when he wrote the wealthy and devout Philemon to prepare a guest room for him (Philemon 22).

Archippus is called a “fellow soldier” in Philemon 2 and is probably the designated pastor of the three churches in that area. This would involve a circuit ministry where each church would, in turn, be served by him. This may have worn on Archippus, as can be imagined, and, therefore, Paul tells the Colossians to encourage him to fulfill his ministry in Col. 4.17.

David Owen Filson Interviews Vern Poythress in Westminster Magazine — Frame-Poythress.org

This interview broadly traces Dr. Poythress’s development firstly as a Christian, and secondly as a thinker. Listen in to hear Poythress explain how the providence of God in all wisdom guided and directed him in such a way that he was well-equipped for the calling God placed on his life. In this interview, Poythress also…

David Owen Filson Interviews Vern Poythress in Westminster Magazine — Frame-Poythress.org

No Music in Either Synagogue or Early Church

Is it important what we do and how we do it when thinking about church services? I think its vitally important or we will slip into either mysticism or hypocrisy. The Jerusalem Temple had music to accompany its mysterious symbolism and redemptive themes expressed in shadows but not the synagogue. Both the synagogue and early church service were devoid of congregational singing and musical instrumentation. Some, no doubt, will see in the N.T. reference to “songs” and “melodies” but these are different than most Christians’ current practice. The reference in 1 Cor. 14.26 is to a Psalm as recitation not to a musical song. Also, in Eph. 5.19 it is unclear whether the singing is from the heart or in the heart. What is clear is that Paul is not speaking of doing the singing in assembly. No evidence has been found of a music component in the early church service. Instead, discipleship in the form of reading, teaching, and applying the message to others was the pattern laid down by Paul in 1 Tim. 4.13.

Apart from the first century Synagogue of Capernaum, the only other known synagogues from this period were found at Masada, Herodium, Gamla and Magdala. In Jerusalem, the  Theodotus Synagogue inscription, dating from the same time, was found, but no remains of the actual synagogue have been found.  The inscription reads: “Theodotos son of Vettenus, priest and head of the synagogue…

The Synagogue of Capernaum — Ritmeyer Archaeological Design

A Technique of Indirect Communication — The Scriptorium Daily

I just noticed an author using a technique for communicating very difficult subject matter, and I wanted to make a note of it. I’ve seen it employed in various kinds of writing, but my main interest in it is as a way of teaching theology. Here’s the example. It’s from Frederick Faber’s Bethlehem, a book-length…

A Technique of Indirect Communication — The Scriptorium Daily

Moses Marries a Cushite

The whole chapter of Numbers 12 deals with the incident where Aaron and Miriam speak against Moses because of his Cushite wife. She was a black woman who had presumably attached herself (or her family attached themselves) to the Israelites after witnessing the contest between the Lord and the Egyptians.

Here is a study of the biblical Cushites: http://www.asor.org/anetoday/2020/12/cushites-hebrew-bible

Miriam was struck with a condition which made her skin a sickly white. Why Aaron was not struck with this malady may have been due to his position as Israel’s High Priest. Alternately, it may have been that Miriam, the oldest sibling, was the instigator. Regardless, Moses prays for his sister to be healed and she is restored immediately. We know the healing is instantaneous since the quarantine requirement of seven days is after a person is symptom free (see Lev. 13. 1-5).

Discussions with the Diggers: Dr. Leen Ritmeyer — Bible Archaeology Report

One of the things I love about Discussions with the Diggers, is learning from experts about different biblical sites. My next guest is the world’s leading authority on the Temple Mount. Dr. Leen Ritmeyer is an archaeological architect who has been involved in all of Jerusalem’s major excavations. He was chief architect of the Temple […]

Discussions with the Diggers: Dr. Leen Ritmeyer — Bible Archaeology Report

Not Knowing Anyone According to the Flesh

From now on, therefore, we regard no one according to the flesh. Even though we once regarded Christ according to the flesh, we regard him thus no longer. (2Cor. 5.16)



So, “to know someone according to the flesh,” really means to know them from the perspective of my natural thinking – which would be to view them from the perspective of myself as the center of my universe. It would also mean that I know them based on their natural traits, personality, and fleshly characteristics. In other words, Paul is talking about relationships that exist fully in the NATURAL realm, rather than ones that are based on the new creation in Christ.

But Paul tells us that all of that is wrong – it is a wrong way of looking at things because of Jesus Christ. We are not the center of the universe. Christ is. And the REAL person we are, and the REAL person that someone else is, is NOT the natural man that we see, or think we see. No. The REAL person is found only in Christ Jesus.

Were Early Christian Scribes Untrained Amateurs? — Canon Fodder

In the ongoing debates about the reliability of early Christian manuscripts, and whether they have been transmitted with fidelity, it is often claimed that early Christian scribes were amateurs, unprofessional, and some probably couldn’t even read. In Michael Satlow’s book, How the Bible Became Holy (Yale, 2014), this same sort of argument appears (for my…

Were Early Christian Scribes Untrained Amateurs? — Canon Fodder

182. The Dogma of the Bodily Assumption of Mary, 70 Years After — Vatican Files

The 70th anniversary of the day that the dogma of the bodily assumption of Mary was promulgated passed almost unnoticed. It was November 1, 1950 that Pius XII, with the apostolic constitution Munificentissum Deus, solemnly pronounced the latest Marian dogma, which is also the last dogma of the Roman Catholic Church. In it, Roman Catholicism…

182. The Dogma of the Bodily Assumption of Mary, 70 Years After — Vatican Files

Seneca: The Fate of an Unused Bookroll — The Textual Mechanic

There has been a lot of talk in recent years on the length of time an ancient book, or even “autograph” may have been in use. I briefly addressed this topic in “Myths and Mistakes in New Testament Textual Criticism,” Chapter two “Myths About Autographs.” In that chapter I cite a comment from the second…

Seneca: The Fate of an Unused Bookroll — The Textual Mechanic

Hating Vain Thoughts — The Scriptorium Daily

Just a quick note here on the blog, to hold a link to a helpful sermon from Richard Chenevix Trench, “On the Duty of Hating Vain Thoughts.” It’s from an 1886 collection of sermons freely available at various places online, but I excerpted the sermon itself and am sharing it (along with my own highlighting)…

Hating Vain Thoughts — The Scriptorium Daily

Atonement in Heaven

This article argues effectively that Christ presented Himself in heaven for the forgiveness of humanity’s sins. The only quibble I have is that no ancient Jewish or early Christian source labels the high priest’s inner-sanctum blood manipulation an “offering.” 


Lev. 6.30 explains: But any sin offering whose blood is brought into the tent of meeting to make atonement in the Holy Place must not be eaten; it must be burned up. Here is mention of the sin offering’s blood to be brought into the Holy Place for atonement of sins.

Lev. 10.18 also notes aspects of the different sacrifices and instructs that the animal’s blood that is presented in the Holy Place makes atonement: “Since its blood was not taken into the Holy Place, you should have eaten the goat in the sanctuary area, as I commanded.”

Finally, Lev. 16.11-17 gives the mechanics where first Aaron (or his sons) makes propitiation for their own sins and then the animal’s blood for the congregation’s sins are brought into the inner sanctuary for sprinkling upon the atonement cover of the ark:

“Aaron shall bring the bull for his own sin offering to make atonement for himself and his household, and he is to slaughter the bull for his own sin offering. He is to take a censer full of burning coals from the altar before the Lord and two handfuls of finely ground fragrant incense and take them behind the curtain. He is to put the incense on the fire before the Lord, and the smoke of the incense will conceal the atonement cover above the tablets of the covenant law, so that he will not die. He is to take some of the bull’s blood and with his finger sprinkle it on the front of the atonement cover; then he shall sprinkle some of it with his finger seven times before the atonement cover.

“He shall then slaughter the goat for the sin offering for the people and take its blood behind the curtain and do with it as he did with the bull’s blood: He shall sprinkle it on the atonement cover and in front of it. In this way he will make atonement for the Most Holy Place because of the uncleanness and rebellion of the Israelites, whatever their sins have been. He is to do the same for the tent of meeting, which is among them in the midst of their uncleanness. No one is to be in the tent of meeting from the time Aaron goes in to make atonement in the Most Holy Place until he comes out, having made atonement for himself, his household and the whole community of Israel.

All the bolded quotes are from the NIV. Perhaps the Hebrew does not mention an “offering” but I am at a loss for what else they could be if they were not some kind of presentation or offering. This is nevertheless a good article which explains the scene as described in the book of Hebrews.

Salt Losing Its Savor (Part 2)

Here is Part 1: https://beliefspeak2.net/2014/09/22/salt-losing-its-savor-luke-14-34-35-matthew-513/

The first post was produced nearly 6 years ago and additional thoughts about the reference to “salt” in the scriptures have occurred to me while studying the bible as a whole.

Probably the greatest impediment to find meaning in the text is to treat it atomistically, that is to divide or view parts of the bible as unconnected fragments. Instead, the reader should meditate upon what the text is saying, as Psalm 1 instructs. This helps the reader to find concepts in scripture and not just focus on the words by themselves. Salt, in the New Testament, for instance, has the same conceptual range in all its usages.

Salt is Figurative in the New Testament

The term “salt” (halas) is used 8 times by the N.T. writers to convey the same idea each time. Only 4 verses contain its usage. Mk. 9.50 has 3 instances of the term “salt” spoken by The Master which cover the way “salt” is used in all the other places in scripture:

Salt is good, but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again? Have salt in yourselves, and be at peace with one another (ESV)

Here, Mark employs a different term than Matthew or Luke for the idea “lost its saltiness.” (Analon), which means “unsalted,” or “lacking salt.” In my first post, I discussed how Luke and Matthew should be literally translated, “become foolish” (morantha), since that is what the term means. It is employed to show the contrast to the Holy Spirit’s fruits of meekness, peace and love in Matthew 5.13. Luke 14.34-35, on the other hand, uses the term in context of counting the cost of discipleship, continually turning from foolishness.

Having “salt,” in the New Testament, means having a Godly goodness which reflects and comes from God. This goodness is expressed to other Christians as well as spiritual outsiders. Conversely, if someone or some action is unsalted, then it probably will be without goodness. If the person becomes foolish (morantha), then Godly goodness will be absent as well. Perhaps The Master defined “salt” when He said it was “good” in Mk. 9.50 and Lk. 14.34.

Paul and Jesus Disclaim a Divine Council

In him we were also chosen,  having been predestined according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will (Eph. 1.11 NIV)

In this verse, Paul affirms God’s working in all things, solely by His own will. This, of course, does not mean He cannot teach and interact with angelic beings. It seems appropriate that The Divine would have relational interactions with other beings not human as He has with the children of Adam. However, here in Ephesians, Paul informs us that God’s purpose is entirely His own.

Jesus Interprets Psalm 82

It seems that some biblical scholars ignore Jesus’ teaching of the meaning of statements found in Psalm 82. Here is Psalm 82 in full:

A psalm of Asaph. God presides in the great assembly; he renders judgment among the “gods”: “How long will you defend the unjust and show partiality to the wicked? Defend the weak and the fatherless; uphold the cause of the poor and the oppressed. Rescue the weak and the needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. “The ‘gods’ know nothing, they understand nothing. They walk about in darkness; all the foundations of the earth are shaken. “I said, ‘You are “gods”; you are all sons of the Most High.’ But you will die like mere mortals; you will fall like every other ruler.” Rise up, O God, judge the earth, for all the nations are your inheritance.

In John 10.34-35, Jesus gives the meaning regarding the reference to “gods” from Psalm 82:

Jesus answered them, “Is it not written in your Law, ‘I have said you are “gods” ’  ? If he called them ‘gods,’ to whom the word of God came—and Scripture cannot be set aside— (NIV)

Therefore, what Psalm 82 speaks about is humans who are connected with God by a relationship. The Old Covenant (The Mosaic Law), established a relationship where God would forgive their sins through sacrifice. The heads of the Old Covenant were the Aaronic Priests and Levites who taught and ruled the Israelites in spiritual matters. These are the “gods to whom the word of God came.”

Commentary on Psalm 82

Though some want to render verse one where the Hebrew “the congregation of El” means “divine council,” this translation is impossible from the context. The verses that follow all refer to human judges and rulers. Therefore the text is about how they will be judged according to the way they ruled God’s people. The judges are not counseling God on how to rule but will be on the receiving end of judgment themselves based on their actions.

The words of Jesus and Paul show there is no such thing as a divine council. It is not needed. Instead, God will hold accountable those who are set over His people during this earthly life.

181. “All Brothers”: The Unbearable Cost of Roman Catholic Universalism — Vatican Files

L’articolo 181. “All Brothers”: The Unbearable Cost of Roman Catholic Universalism sembra essere il primo su Vatican Files.

181. “All Brothers”: The Unbearable Cost of Roman Catholic Universalism — Vatican Files

The World’s Easiest Theological Question — Canon Fodder

For those who love to talk about theology, a good head-scratching question can really be fun. It allows us to stay up late in deep conversations with our friends over the mysteries of God and his Word. Indeed, Jesus was known for asking some pretty tough theological questions . Sometimes the answer seemed obvious when…

The World’s Easiest Theological Question — Canon Fodder

Paul’s Preaching of God’s Word and the Corinthian Community — The Textual Mechanic

In a recent issue of the Journal for the Study of the New Testament is published a new article which is freely available as Open Access.Timothy Mitchell, “Exposing Textual Corruption: Community as a Stabilizing Aspect in the Circulation of the New Testament Writings during the Greco-Roman Era.” Journal for the Study of the New Testament…

Paul’s Preaching of God’s Word and the Corinthian Community — The Textual Mechanic

Troublechurch Browne — 5 Minutes in Church History with Stephen Nichols

Meet “Troublechurch” Browne, the man who was arrested for his views 32 times over the course of his ministry. On this episode of 5 Minutes in Church History, Dr. Stephen Nichols surveys the life and work of this English separatist. Read the transcript: https://www.5minutesinchurchhistory.com/troublechurch-browne/ A donor-supported outreach of Ligonier Ministries. Donate: https://www.5minutesinchurchhistory.com/donate/

Troublechurch Browne — 5 Minutes in Church History with Stephen Nichols

King Jehu: An Archaeological Biography — Bible Archaeology Report

The subject of our next bioarchaeography is King Jehu a man who had served for years as a commander in the army of Israel (2 Kings 9:5), and was infamous for the ferocious way he drove his chariot (2 Kings 9:20).  One day, while in a council of war, a prophet arrived and anointed him […]

King Jehu: An Archaeological Biography — Bible Archaeology Report