Welcome message

Dear friends,

Welcome to my blog. I am honored to have you visit. I hope you'll find my articles a blessing. I welcome your input and especially comments and questions.

I write as a Christian from Jerusalem, Israel about Biblical subjects.

I am particularly interested in the subjects of children, families, women's issues, corporal punishment, science and nature as these subjects relate to the Holy Scriptures.

For more information, see my website: www.biblechild.com

With every good wish - Samuel Martin

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Christmas Narratives in the Bible

Christmas is a wonderful time. It is the a time when we remember and reflect on the fact that God became man being born of a virgin just some ten miles from where I am writing this.

However, every Christmas I have to admit that what is often displayed as "fact" associated with Jesus' birth shows just how mixed up we all can be.

Just today in watching a particular broadcast of a major religious leader, I noted some of these "facts". Here was a display of the baby Jesus with his mother and father in a manger and who were around Him? Yes, of course, the three wise men.

But wait a minute isn't this the Biblical teaching? No, it is not.

The fact is, the story of the wise men visiting Jesus in Bethlehem took place some 15 months after He was born. St. Luke tells us that the shepherds found a baby lying in a manger (Luke 2:16) St. Matthew tells us that the wise men found a little child in a house (Matt. 2:11).

The wise men did not visit the manger and they did not visit a baby that was just born. However, this is what the vast majority of Christians believe.

Talking about this very subject, Fr. John Warburton, of the Shrine of St. Joseph in California talked about this very issue. Fr. Warburton gives the common view held by many and how even he had to change his mind based on the plain teachings of the Holy Scriptures.

"For most of my life, I comfortably presumed that Jesus was born on December 25, right at the juncture between B.C. and A.D The Gospel of Luke tells us that Jesus was "about thirty years of age" (Luke 3:23) in the 'fifteenth year of Tiberius' (Luke 3:1). The sixth century Roman monk Dionysius Exiguus, trusted St. Luke's report. He subtracted 29 from the fifteenth year of Tiberius in order to establish Jesus' birth as the center point of human history. This is the calendar we use today.
     Each year in the Church's Liturgy and in traditions using crib sets at home, I became accustomed to imagining the birth of Jesus in a stable just past midnight on Christmas Eve, the visit of the angels and shepherds later that night, and then, after twelve days the visit of the three kings. Imagine my consternation when I began to study the Gospels more carefully and became aware of some vexing problems and seeming contradictions. For instance, St. Luke writes that the holy Family returned to Nazareth after the presentation of the child Jesus in the Temple (Luke 2:39). Whereas St. Matthew informs us that the Holy Family fled in haste from Bethlehem to Egypt just after the visit of the Magi (Matthew 2:13-15). St. Luke tells is that the shepherds found a baby lying in a manger (Luke 2:16). St. Matthew tells us that the magi found a child in a house ((Matthew 2:11)." (Guardian of the Redeemer, 2000th Anniversary of the Nativity, Oblates of St. Joseph - Santa Cruz, CA: 2000)

Yes, the Bible is clear. Jesus was born in Bethlehem and the shepherds came to visit him in a manger after He was just born. Then, some 15 months later, the wise men came to see, not a baby, but the child Jesus living in a house in Bethlehem.

For more information on this subject, please see - http://www.hillsdale.edu/news/imprimis/archive/issue.asp?year=1996&month=12

But wait, these are just little innocent mistakes. Minor confusions. Not a big deal.

No. It is a big deal because we are dealing with the facts and we should get them right. I mean don't we want to know the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth, so help us God?

The point is, if we (I include here those religious leaders I saw broadcasting their mistaken message today to the whole world) can't even get these simple little things right, what about more complex issues?

What is interesting is the fact that if a person will do a tiny bit of research, they will note that there are two different Greek words referenced in Matthew and Luke which describe two different phases of life for a child, in this case talking about our Lord Jesus.

As the article in the above link shows and if one will examine any more advanced translation or a Bible concordance, one can find that the words describe two phases of life: one for a baby in arms and one for a toddler, who walks and talks. See the article for a more in depth discussion on these issues. This is really a science meets faith article written by a research astronomer which features a book written by my late father, Dr. Ernest L. Martin, on the Star of Bethlehem. - See http://www.amazon.com/The-Star-That-Astonished-World/dp/0945657889/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1396032451&sr=8-1&keywords=The+star+that+astonished+the+world.

This, in fact, relates to the whole argument of who is being discussed in those texts found in the book of Proverbs which many use to advocate for corporal punishment of children, with no definition of what phase of life of that of a "child" is under discussion.

I have a whole chapter in my book "Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy." See - http://www.amazon.com/Thy-Rod-Staff-They-Comfort/dp/0978533909/ref=sr_1_2?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1324834969&sr=1-2 - which talks about the importance of this issue.

Because of the misunderstanding related to this issue, we have well intentioned but seriously misinformed individuals advocating the corporal punishment of children starting at 6 months of age or less using the Bible as the authority for the same.

Just as it is important to remember that there is accurate information in the Gospels to help us better understand the circumstances and facts associated with Jesus' birth and how the nuance of language can help us have a more accurate understanding, so it is that we can also have a greater understanding of the texts in Proverbs which describe children and the various phases of life that starts at birth going up to adult hood..

If we do this, I think we are going to have a greater chance to know the truth and the facts and not be confused.

Merry Christmas

Samuel Martin - Jerusalem - 12.25.2011


A guest post on Dulce's Blog

I've contributed a guest post to Dulce de Leche, one of my favorite blogs.

http://www.dulcefamily.blogspot.com/2011/12/was-jesus-married-some-thoughts-by.html

I have been so blessed by her writings. Check them out. I know you'll enjoy them.

Merry Christmas

Samuel Martin



Monday, December 19, 2011

Books that I cannot live without


Bible Study Aids – Books that I cannot live without
I got a comment from a friend recently in Canada expressing an interest in getting some solid resources for Bible study. My father, Dr. Ernest L. Martin, provided a nice outline many years ago (Foundation for Biblical Research Exposition October 1976), which I still find to be very relevant so I want.to share it with you.

Your Research Library

“The two most important books that everyone ought to have in his library are:

The Englishman's Greek Concordance and the Englishman's Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance.

Both are published by Samuel Bagster and Sons in London, England. But I understand they can be obtained through Zondervan Press in Grand Rapids, Michigan, whom, I understand, bought out Samuel Bagster. [Please note that new editions of these are available and they have added the Strong's numbering system which makes them all the more effective.]

These books give a concordant treatment to all of the words of the New and Old Testament. By studying the words in their context, we can find God's meaning of them much better. I highly recommend these two books.

It is not enough just to buy these concordances. You really must read the introductions carefully to understand how they have been developed in the first place and to appreciate how to use them properly. 

The best Greek-English Lexicon is that of Arndt and Gingrich.  This is published by the University of Chicago Press.  The best Hebrew Lexicon is that of Brown-Driver-Briggs, published by Oxford University Press.

The best general Encyclopaedia, though it is somewhat old now, is that of M'Clintock and Strong. This set has 31,000 articles and while it is over 100 years old, it is an important part of my own library. [Carol: This is my recommendation for your son.]

The best one-volume Encyclopaedia (and this is one you must have at all cost) is the New Bible Dictionary published by the Inter-varsity Fellowship in London, England. This could be obtained from any religious bookstore.

There are two other essential Encyclopaedias you ought to have. One is the Dictionary of Christ and the Gospels, two volumes, and the Dictionary of the Apostolic Church, two volumes. Both of these were edited by James Hastings.

Another excellent little volume which is indispensable to me, is one which has over 500,000 scriptural references and parallel passages in it. It is called The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge and is also published by Samuel Bagster and Sons.

The best King James Bible is the Newberry Edition. This has copious internal and marginal notes which help make the Hebrew and Greek far clearer.” (Ernest  L. Martin, FBR Expositor October 1976)

My favorite Bible version for modern study is the ESV. See www.esvstudybible.org. 

Please keep in mind that all modern English versions of the Bible position the order of the books wrongly. Please see www.originalbible.com.  

Concordant Word Study from the Hebrew Bible Using “The Englishman’s Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament.”

This data is taken from the invaluable and timeless work produced under the leadership of Mr. George Wigram titled: “The Englishman’s Hebrew and Chaldee Concordance of the Old Testament.” It is mentioned in the previous list.

I have even referred to this information in my own book "Thy Rod and Thy Staff, They Comfort Me: Christians and the Spanking Controversy." Many peope who rely on the King James Version of the Bible will find this information eye opening. 

There is, of course, nothing wrong with studying from the King James Version of the Bible as long as we know its limitations. 

The following is taken from page 1220. The word in the various texts below that appears in italics is the English word that is translated from the Hebrew original “sh’ol.” (שאול) This shows the power of studying using this concordant method to see what is really underneath our English texts. Note that most of these resources use the King James Version as a standard template for their reference as they were produced more than 160 years ago.

Word study on the Hebrew word “sh’ol” (שאול)

Genesis 37:35 I will go down into the grave.
Genesis 42:38 my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.
Genesis 44:29 my gray hairs with sorrow to the grave.
Genesis 44:31 gray hairs of thy servant…to the grave.
Numbers 16:30 they go down quick into the pit;
Numbers 16:33 went down alive into the pit,
Deuteronomy 32:22 shall burn unto the lowest hell,
I Samuel 2:6 he bringeth down to the grave,
II Samuel 22:6 The sorrows of hell compassed me about;
I Kings 2:6 his hoar head go down to the grave in peace.
I Kings 2:9 hoar head bring thou down to the grave
Job 7:9 he that goeth down to the grave
Job 11:8 deeper than hell; what canst thou know?
Job 14:13 wouldest hide me in the grave,
Job 17:13 the grave is mine house:
Job 17:16 They shall go down to the bars of the pit,
Job 21:13 in a moment go down to the grave.
Job 24:19 (so doth) the grave those which have
Job 26:9 Hell (is) naked before him,
Psalm 6:5 in the grave who shall give thee
Psalm 9:17 The wicked shall be turned into hell
Psalm 16:10 thou wilt not leave my soul in hell;
Psalm 18:5 The sorrows of hell compassed me
Psalm 30:3 brought up my soul from the grave:
Psalm 31:17 let them be silent in the grave.
Psalm 49:14 sheep they are laid in the grave;
Psalm 49:14 their beauty shall consume in the grave
Psalm 49:15 my soul from the power of the grave:
Psalm 55:15 let them go down quick into hell:
Psalm 86:13 delivered my soul from the lowest hell.
Psalm 116:3 the pains of hell gat hold of me:
Psalm 139:8 if I make my bed in hell,
Psalm 141:7 bones are scattered at the grave’s mouth,
Proverbs 1:12 swallow them up alive as the grave;
Proverbs 5:5 her steps take hold on hell.
Proverbs 7:27 Her house (is) the way to hell,
Proverbs 9:18 her guests are in the depths of hell.
Proverbs 15:11 Hell and destruction (are) before the
Proverbs 15:24 depart from hell beneath.
Proverbs 23:14 deliver his soul from hell.
Proverbs 27:20 Hell and destruction are never full;
Proverbs 30:16 The grave; and the barren womb;
Ecclesiastes 9:10 no work, nor device, … in the grave,
Song of Songs 8:6 jealousy (is) cruel as the grave:
Isaiah 5:14 hell hath enlarged herself,
Isaiah 14:9 Hell (marg. or, the grave) from beneath is moved for thee
Isaiah 14:11 Thy pomp is brought down to the grave,
Isaiah 14:15 thou shalt be brought down to hell,
Isaiah 28:15 with hell are we at agreement;
Isaiah 28:18 your agreement with hell shall not stand;
Isaiah 38:10 I shall go to the gates of the grave:
Isaiah 38:18 the grave cannot praise thee.
Isaiah 57:9 didst debase (thyself even) unto hell.
Ezekiel 31:15 he went down to the grave
Ezekiel 31:16 I cast him down to hell
Ezekiel 31:17 They also went down into hell
Ezekiel 32:21 speak to him out of the midst of hell
Ezekiel 32:27 gone down to hell with their weapons
Hosea 13:14 ransom them from the power of the grave;
Hosea 13:14 O grave, I will be thy destruction:
Amos 9:2 Though they dig into hell,
Jonah 2:2 out of the belly of hell (marg. or, the grave),
Habakkuk 2:5 enlargeth his desire as hell,

It must be pointed out that there is no other word in the Hebrew Bible translated as “hell.” Because of this, one has to ask: Why it was deemed necessary by the translators of the King James Version to translate this word “hell” in one place and the “grave” or “pit” in another? If you look at the texts, which feature the word “hell”, it is clear that in some cases the translators themselves put the word “grave” as a marginal reference. See Jonah 2:2 and Isaiah 14:9. The reason for this was that Jonah was obviously not in “hell” when he cried from the belly of the fish.

I hope that in this short example you can see the value of this type of concordant studying approach. To be sure, untold riches await the student who uses this method of Bible study.

Friday, December 09, 2011

Christian Scholars and Preachers Disagree on Spanking Children

http://ezinearticles.com/?Christian-Scholars-and-Preachers-Disagree-on-Spanking-Children&id=6290943

Link to a new article I've just posted on www.ezinearticles.com.

Hope you find it valuable.

Samuel Martin

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Behind every Church Father is a Mother

Behind every Church Father is a Mother

In response to a comment left by Crystal on my blog, http://samuelmartin.blogspot.com/2011/11/if-king-james-version-was-good-enough.html, Crystal mentioned the following:

"My 4th child was born peacefully, painlessly, and calmly at home- blowing the pain-filled woman's curse out the window. "

First of all, do yourself a favor and visit Crystal's blog. http://piscessunleomoon.blogspot.com and see her really interesting experience with raising diaper less children (among other things).

Crystal's experimentation is in fact giving us all a glimpse into the past: a past which did not have diapers or any of the other so called modern 'conveniences' that, as Crystal has aptly demonstrated, help disconnect parents from the rhythm of life and the communications that even little infants can give. This is really amazing stuff and eye opening information that working daddies may miss, but attentive mommies know all too well. Thanks Crystal.

Her blog in fact was one of the most instructive things I have read in a while because I have been thinking about writing a major article on family life and her experience is so helpful because researchers often have so little to go on.

I mean when it comes to the Bible, often times, we just don't know what was going on in ancient times and this affects how we relate to the texts.

I know one scholar (Dr. Stephen Pfann of www.UHL.ac) who uses a grading system to help put things in perspective.

A. 100% sure were know about the issue
B. Somewhat certain
C. Less certain
D. Speculation or educated guesses

You'd be surprised how many times honest scholars will tell you that they simply do not know what was happening in the Biblical period (designating things grade 'D') because we just don't have enough evidence.

Family life is one of these. There is just so little information about all of this because most of the information we do have is passed down to us mostly from the perspective of men if we get anything at all. It is really hard to find a mother's voice sometimes and this is where Crystal's example is so helpful for the researcher.

Her experience allows us anthropologically to see how things may have been in ancient times in daily life of caring for little infants in particular. The Bible has a paucity of information on this and other sources are also equally sparse.

This is especially important to my research because I am seeking a better understanding of how to relate to the biblical texts relating to child rearing.

I'll have much more to say about this later because this has not only the potential to be a major paper, it could end up in fact being a small book, but I am asking for more inputs from mothers who have experience in this area.

But before I forget, let me say something about that child birth curse.

I am currently studying for my higher Theology degrees here in Jerusalem and I am seriously considering in the future doing my Ph.D. on the subject of equality between men and women in the Bible. This inspiration for this, in fact, comes from Karen Campbell at www.thatmom.com. Thanks Karen. Her question to me really touched a nerve. (The answer to her question is currently almost 50,000 words and counting.)

In fact, I have already started working on a dissertation in this regard with the hope that I will be able to move forward with this suggested subject for a doctorate. All in good time. Rest assured though that I will bring this material out in the future at the right time, but it is not ready yet.

However, Crystal's comment on my blog does raise a point which is important and it concerns the common conception that there is some awful curse associated with child birth. It goes back to Genesis 3:16 & 3:17. Here is a small excerpt from my possible future dissertation.

Now, after they both arrived, here is where we can thank our dear male scholars for starting us off on the wrong path of gender inequality. It starts right here in the third chapter of Genesis. Look at it here from the perspective of multiple versions. Here we want to home in two sections of Genesis 3:16 and 3.17.

Version
Text from Genesis 3:16
(about woman - Eve)
Text from Genesis 3:17
(about man - Adam)
NIV
pains in childbearing”
through painful toil you will eat of it all the days of your life.”
NLT
pain of your pregnancy,”
“All your life you will struggle to scratch a living from it.”
ESV
pain in childbearing”
in pain you shall eat of it”
NASB
pain in childbirth”
“in toil you will eat of it”
God’s WORD Translation
pain and your labor when you give birth to children”
“Through hard work you will eat”
KJV
“in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children”
“in sorrow shalt thou eat”
NKJV
“in sorrow you shall bring forth children”
“in sorrow shall you eat of it”
ASV
“in pain thou shalt bring forth children”
“in toil shalt thou eat of it”
Bible in Basic English
“in sorrow will your children come to birth”
“in pain you will get your food”
Douay-Rheims Bible
“in sorrow shalt thou bring forth children
“with labour and toil shalt thou eat”
Darby Bible Translation
“with pain thou shalt bear children”
“with toil shalt thou eat of it”
English Revised Version
“in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children”
“in sorrow shalt thou eat of it”
Webster’s Bible Translation
“in sorrow thou shalt bring forth children”
“in sorrow shalt thou eat of it”
World English Bible
“In pain you will bring forth children
“In toil you will eat of it”
Young’s Literal Translation
“in sorrow dost thou bear children”
“in sorrow thou dost eat of it”

Now, in the above referenced table, you can see that the italicized words relative to the woman are: pain, pains or sorrow. However for the men, the words italicized are: painful toil, struggle, pain, toil, hard work, labour and sorrow.

Now, when we compare these two columns, we can note that the language that describes what happens to woman really looks harsher on the surface and these above referenced language differences highlight this issue. Here, on the surface, we see that woman is getting a seemingly greater punishment. This is how it has been framed by theologians down through the centuries until now. 

Modern versions correct this. For example, note my favorite, the ESV: (see http://www.esvbible.org)

    To the woman he said,
    “I will surely multiply your pain in childbearing;
        in pain you shall bring forth children.
    Your desire shall be for your husband,
        and he shall rule over you.”
    And to Adam he said,
    “Because you have listened to the voice of your wife
        and have eaten of the tree
    of which I commanded you,
        ‘You shall not eat of it,’
    cursed is the ground because of you;
        in pain you shall eat of it all the days of your life;
    thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you;
        and you shall eat the plants of the field.
    By the sweat of your face
        you shall eat bread,
    till you return to the ground,
        for out of it you were taken;
    for you are dust,
        and to dust you shall return.”
(Genesis 3:16-19 ESV)

What we can see though when we look at these verses in light of an accurate Biblical understanding what is here being conveyed in the original Hebrew language, a different picture presents itself.

What we must understand is that the words italicized in the first column, which are designated towards woman and the words found in the second column which are associated with man are in fact in Hebrew the very same word!

Yes, that is correct. In Hebrew, we find in these two verses the exact same Hebrew word (עצבוןgitz-tzah-vohn) is used! There is no difference in the intensity or stress, the force or level: No! Not at all. What woman was to suffer in child birth, man was to suffer by working the ground. Not more for one and less for the other. Equality by using the same term.

There is no greater degree or intensity of punishment on woman or women in this text of Scripture at all, but were one to rely on these many Bible versions, mostly created by men, one would decidedly not get this opinion.

This is really where many well intentioned people get off on the wrong foot concerning gender relations in Scripture. In this verse, the gender relations are equal! There is no greater punishment for the one over the other in the original language.

In closing, thanks again Crystal for your really important capacity building. I hope that others will give some of your ideas a go.

 











Thursday, November 17, 2011

Should we preach? publish?, or proclaim the Gospel - Yes? No? Maybe?

Should we preach? publish?, or proclaim the Gospel - 
Yes? No? Maybe?

I just got my copy of Michael Pearl's book in the post sent from a new friend in North Carolina (thanks TJ - your book is on the way). In reviewing the book, I opened up the front cover and saw a little box which says:

"All Scripture quotations are from the King James Holy Bible"

So, I went to page 35 and found Mr. Pearl's references to 'prove' his arguments in favor of spanking children. The texts he quoted were very familiar to me and to many of us. They are commonly known as the 'rod' verses. They were:

Proverbs 19:18
Proverbs 13:24
Proverbs 22:15
Proverbs 23:13,14
Proverbs 29:15
Proversb 29:17

So there it was - Case Closed. The Bible advocates spanking children. End of story. Well, not quite so fast.

I got to thinking about this whole issue once again and thought about this book and its assertions.

Here is a well intentioned Christian brother living thousands of miles away from the region where the Bible was written, using a 400 year old Bible version attempting to bring information which in some cases is over 3,000 years old into our modern day.

When I look on the front cover of the book, I saw the following page and you can review it at the following link.

http://www.newreleasetuesday.com/bookdetail.php?book_id=851

The front cover of the book shows a family riding in a horse drawn cart with a father at the reins with a wife at his side carrying a babe in arms with four other children in the wagon.

When I thought about this book and its teachings, I thought this cover was really appropriate because the information that you find in this book represents a type of a theological perspective which reflects a time about 400 years ago when people moved around by horse and buggy.

The good news is, theologically speaking, we no longer move around with horses and buggys. Today, we have airplanes that take us around the world to libraries where we can study thousands of Bible manuscripts; where online resources are the fingertips that even the non-expert can reach into the treasure troves of Bible scholarship and study at the feet of modern day Gamliels.

The bad news though is that many dear people like Michael Pearl, God bless him, continue to drive around the same old tired arguments which are based on a Bible translation, which was a monument to great scholarship in 1611, but today, it represents one of the biggest obstacles to understanding God's messages to mankind, especially concerning what the Bible means in the book of Proverbs.

And here is where we come to the title of my blog post -Should we preach? publish?, or proclaim the Gospel - Yes? No? Maybe?

I remember once my father telling of an experience he had when he first got into researching the Bible and in fact it relates to this issue we are here discussing. It concerned the issue of preaching, publishing and proclaiming the Gospel of Christ to the world.

My father was a minister as well as a college professor. The church that he was a member of was lead by a very charismatic leader. The Bible of choice in that particular denomination was the King James Version of the Bible.

The Church had a wide ranging ministry with numerous methods of outreach. They had a 'preaching' ministry and a 'publishing' ministry. Yes, the Church used all different types of outreach methods to get the Gospel message out to the world including radio and televsion.

The head of the Church not only insisted, however, in the 'preaching' ministry, but he made a big deal about the need for the Church to also engage in a 'publishing' ministry. This meant a top quality, slick four color magazine, books, booklets, pamphlets, newsletters, etc.

Now, these methodologies were used to 'proclaim' the Gospel. Anything wrong with that? No, not at all.

However, when Dad began to just do a bit of study in the New Testament, he learned that the Greek word keerusso is translated in the King James Version by several different English words: preach, preached, proclaim, proclaimed, proclaiming, publish, and published.

So when we read in Mark 13:10 in the King James Version saying: "And the gospel must first be published among all nations" we can compare this to another section in the Gospel of Matthew which describes the same event and time period. It is found in Matthew 24:14 saying: "And this gospel of the Kingdom shall be preached in all the world for a witness unto all nations;"

So, Dad quickly found out that the words "published" and "preached" in these two verses are from the exact same word in the Greek language, which is the original one for the New Testament. Therefore, to say that one must have a "preaching" and or "publishing" ministry on the basis of these verses is really not justified in Scripture at all. Of course, that message is not one that Church leaders want to hear. This is because they often gain great power and influence through their "preaching" and "publishing" ministries.

There is of course nothing wrong with preaching, publishing or proclaiming the Gospel. On the contrary. What is wrong, however, is misusing the Holy Scriptures to attempt to prove that a particular Church or religious leader must engage in preaching and publishing and that Church members should pay to see that these things take place. Preaching and publishing ministries are fine and excellent things in and of themselves, but one should not use these passages as justification for demanding that Church members pay the bills for these ministerial elements based upon a wrong understanding of Scripture.

But here we get to the crux of the matter.  If these well intentioned ministers of the Gospel will use the modern tools that we have available instead of continuing to drive our Christian brethren around in the theological equivalents of horses and buggys, we might be able to avoid some of these nonsensical teachings promoted by many well intentioned but misguided religious leaders. Look at the ESV, which makes this whole issue clear.

    And the gospel must first be proclaimed to all nations. (Mark 13:10 ESV)

    And this gospel of the kingdom will be proclaimed throughout the whole world as a testimony to all nations.
(Matthew 24:14 ESV)

So, the answer to my blog question is. Yes! We should proclaim the Gospel.

But, this all helps to contextualize something which I have dealt with in much greater detail in my book and that concerns the interpretation of those six verses that Michael Pearl uses to open and close his arguments on spanking children.

The question we have to ask Mr. Pearl and many other dear brethren in Christ is this: Should we spank? chasten? hit? switch? strike? our children in the way you tell us? Yes? No? Maybe?

Michael Pearl and many others say "Yes."

After reading my book, I think you'll agree that the answer to this question is a resounding:

No!

Note: Some of the material in this post is referenced in audio cassette tape which my father produced in the Foundation for Biblical Research in 1976 called: "A Brief Background of the Director."












Thursday, November 03, 2011

“If the King James Version was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me” & Newsletter for November


The Newsletter of the
“New Foundation for Biblical Research.”

A project of the Century One Foundation, Inc. (www.centuryone.org)
© Samuel Martin

Samuel Martin – Project Director – www.facebook.com/byblechyld

 

November 2011


  1. “If the King James Version was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me”
  2. The results of my first drawing on my blog are in
  3. Rev. Kenneth Bailey – Bringing a Middle Eastern perspective to Biblical studies

If the King James Version was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me

I can always remember my father telling me about his uncle Virgil. He never told me too much about where he lived, but I always understood that he had migrated out of Oklahoma with my father’s family in the period of 1935 known to those migrants as the ‘Dust Bowl,’ where central eastern Oklahoma was a severely affected area of soil degradation and a severe drought situation during that time.

During that time, some 2.5 million people left the Plains States and many of them left for the West. My dad’s family was a part of this migration of peoples during that time.

Dad’s Uncle Virgil was a Nazarene preacher. He came from this very conservative mind set which was fiercely independent, honest as the day is long, people who were ready to give to their country and did not like to take anything back, people who took care of their own, worked hard and only wanted a fair day’s pay for their work, were exceedingly fair, loved God and neighbour and who had the Bible as ‘God’s Word.’

Of course, when we speak about these dear people, who are my own relatives, when we are talking about the Bible, we are talking about the King James Version of the Bible.

Let me add something here about my own view of the King James Version of the Bible. I love this version. Today it is not my favourite one (everyone who reads anything I write probably knows that my favourite these days is the ESV). The King James Version is something that I grew up with. It was the first Bible my grandmother gave me. Two of my most special Bible’s I have are King James Bibles. They are my Thomas Newberry Study Bible and The Companion Bible by Dr. E. W. Bullinger.

Speaking about the Newberry Study Bible, the late British Emeritus Professor F.F. Bruce said:

"Thomas Newberry, the editor of The Newberry Study Bible, was born in 1811 and died in 1901. For most of his life he belonged to the Open wing of the Brethren movement. He resided for many years at Weston-super-Mare, England, and from there he exercised a long and fruitful expository ministry, both oral and written. He was a careful student of the Bible in Hebrew and Greek. Evidence of his minute attention to the sacred text lies before me as I write, in a beautiful copy of Tischendorf's transcription of the New Testament according to the Codex Sinaiticus, presented to him by friends in London in 1863, which is annotated throughout in his neat handwriting. It was after twenty-five years devoted to such study that he conceived the plan of putting its fruits at the disposal of his fellow-Christians in The Newberry Study Bible." - F.F. Bruce[4]

Bruce also added:
"Newberry had no axe to grind. He was a careful and completely unpretentious student of Hebrew and Greek texts, whose one aim was to make the fruit of his study available as far as possible to Bible students whose only language was English. His procedure tended to make the Biblical text self-explanatory as far as possible; he had no thought of imposing on it an interpretive scheme of his own."- F.F. Bruce[6]
After almost 150 years passing, Newberry’s Study Bible is still one of the best. They are not so easy to find, but my friends at www.archivesbookshop.com (ask for Chris) may be able to help you find one.

Of course, my most treasured possession from a Biblical point of view is my late father’s Bible, which is a King James Version National Bible.

The Bible in my family was, is and always will be simply “God’s Word.”

So, it is this King James Version of the Bible that for my family (and millions of other families around the globe, but particularly in the Western world) growing up was unquestionably known as “God’s Word.” Anytime my relatives talked about Scripture, this is how it was referred to with no ifs, ands or buts and it was always the King James Version that they had in mind.

Let’s also not kid ourselves. The King James Version may no longer be the best selling Bible version in America (in 2010), but today it still occupies the number two (New King James Version) and three (King James Version) positions on the list of best selling Bibles in the USA according to the Christian Booksellers Association figures for 2010.

However, starting around the time that my own father was starting to become a young adult (1950), changes were on the horizon concerning the Bible in America. The foundations for this had been laid some 50 years earlier.

In 1901, the American Standard Version had come out and had become a standard Bible used particularly in the seminary or university settings, but due to developments in Bible scholarship at that time (for example, the Dead Sea Scrolls were found offering some new insights into the field of Bible translation), a fresh revision of Scripture to take into account all of the latest developments was proposed. After a long period of development covering some 25 years, this new version came out officially in 1952. It was known as the Revised Standard Version.

This new version was certainly applauded by many in the academic world. Here now we had the Bible being “revised” and brought up to date reflecting the best and latest scholarship by the world’s top religious scholars (who were the very top experts assembled from around the world to undertake this ground breaking project). New readings of Scripture from the discoveries found in the Dead Sea Scrolls and in other Bible manuscripts were included in this new version. The academic world was abuzz with excitement.

During this time, I can remember the recollections of my father about this issue. At that time, he had finished two years of community college and had joined the US Air Force with the plan to become a weather forecaster. Two weeks after joining the service, the Korean war broke out. My dad’s plans were thrown into uncertainty as it looked now that airmen were not the priority, but rather infantry soldiers were needed for the war.

Because my father had had two years of community college prior to enlisting, he was tested and then selected to go to the University of New Mexico for one year at government expense to undertake an accelerated course in meteorology. While he was in New Mexico, he and a distant relative of his (who was coincidentally also serving as a weather forecaster in the same unit) started to attend church services at a Baptist church in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

My father at that time had no specific interest in going into the ministry, but as he and his relative began to be known at the church as the “university crowd”, they began to receive assignments from the church leadership to conduct Bible studies for youth and to take part in what they called “Training Union” courses.

For my dad, this was a time when he was about 20 years old and with these new duties in his mind came responsibilities. So he began to purchase some books about the Bible. I can remember rehearsing this story in a lecture he once gave where he talked exactly about this time in his life. These included a Bible Dictionary and Encyclopaedia (his first one was the International Standard Bible Encyclopaedia – ISBE for short).

He then began to take an interest in the Bible in a much greater way at this time. Shortly thereafter, dad was sent to Greenland for one year to learn arctic meteorology and was left in great isolation and this gave him a great deal of time to study the Bible independently.

During this period, we began to note that communications were beginning to become more common place. Radio was still the main media source of news for most people. Newspapers were very important sources as well and the subject of the Bible was now in the media, especially this new “Revised Standard Version” of the Bible. Yes, there was great excitement surrounding this new Bible for many academics and scholars of Scripture, but for the common everyday man on the street, this development represented a threat. One such person was my dad’s Uncle Virgil.

Uncle Virgil and the King James Version

Uncle Virgil as I said earlier was a Nazarene preacher. From all the stories I have heard about him, he was a very tall man and had a commanding presence. Nazarene church teachings were very, very conservative and oriented around the ideas of Pentecostalism and Holiness. The Nazarene Church was strongly oriented around the teachings of John Wesley. [Comment: I am by the way not singling out the Nazarene Church in this article. I only mention this story because it is a factual part of my own upbringing and I imagine that many reading this article will immediately substitute their own denominational experience for my own herein referenced. My Uncle Virgil was a dear God fearing Christian man who was doing the best that he could to live a “Christ-like” life. The values and virtues espoused by the Nazarene Church are very close to my own and the purpose of this article is only to illustrate the ongoing influence of the King James Version on our culture in the Western World].

Make no mistake about it, the Nazarene Church in this period was very conservative when it came to the Bible, which in their mind was simply “God’s Word.” The Church in general did not question too much the origin of God’s Word, they just basically accepted it as they had received it and the Bible that occupied this position was the King James Version of Scripture.

Uncle Virgil was a part of this system. It was a system which did not question Scripture, but rather focused on adhering more to the existing teachings that were found in the Holy Bible. It was this system that my dad was going to find a very hard time engaging with from an academic point of view.

“Don’t confuse us with all these new fangled ideas about God’s Word”

In 1954, my father finished his military service and was discharged and returned home to the central region of California where he grew up. During this time at one family gathering, he had an opportunity to share with some of his family members (including his own mother) some of his new found information about what was taking place in the academic world associated with the Bible. On one day, this exchange included his Uncle Virgil.

After opening up the subject for discussion, dad was given a good scolding by Uncle Virgil for introducing such silly and nonsensical information about “God’s Word.” The discussions, which were very short, ended with the following statement said in all seriousness from Uncle Virgil saying: “All of your new information does not impress me. In fact, if the King James Version was good enough for Jesus, it’s good enough for me.”

This by the way is not an isolated statement said by a one off person. Oh no! Anyone who has grown up in this type of a fundamentalist Christian environment may be very familiar with this type of talk and thinking. In fact, in rehearsing this article with one dear friend, she commented that she had heard the exact same phrase come from her parents who were also a part of another very conservative American denomination.

Let’s stop and think about that statement because it was said in all seriousness. Never mind if prior to 1611 (four hundred years ago now), the King James Version did not exist!

This statement to some is called on numerous websites as an “old joke.” But for those of us who have grown up in these fundamentalist type households, we know the truth. Anytime you were talking about the Bible, you were talking about it as “God’s Word.” And up until fifty years ago in America, the King James Version of the Bible was the only Bible really in mainstream America (and really in Western civilization) that was so universally accepted as “God’s Word.”

I love the King James Version

The King James Version, I reiterate here, is one that is so special and close to my heart, but it, like all English Bibles today, has its limitations. This is especially the case concerning many of the texts relating to corporal punishment of children in the book of Proverbs. But, to my dad’s Uncle Virgil, God rest his soul, this Bible had no limitations and certainly no deficiencies! After all, it was God’s Word, which means that it is perfect. Yes, perfect!

I challenge any person to pick up a Gideon Bible and in the beginning there is a section which says: “What the Bible Says about Itself.” You can read the passages quoted. One of them in Psalm 19:7 which in the KJV says: “The Law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul…”

[Now I have to say here and everyone who knows me and reads my material knows that I am very conservative when it comes to Scripture. However, I am not bound by a particular Bible version especially in today’s English speaking world where in my humble opinion, all Bible versions have serious issues that force a closer reliance on the original languages as best as we can understand them. Thank God, today we, more than any other time in history, have the most powerful tools of understanding available to help us all better understand that good Old Book known as the Holy Scriptures.]

To him and many dear pastors and peoples trained up in seminaries sponsored or affiliated with certain Christian denominations, church leaders promote the King James Version because it is a part of their Church’s individual history and to see change in such structures is often a slow process that moves like molasses in Minnesota in the winter time. Churches, seminaries and church structures are often not generally amenable to change. They are certainly not interested in seeing “revised” Bible versions. This for some people is just too much. They are much more focused on preserving the old line! Hence, after almost 60 years since the RSV first came out in 1952, the KJV and NKJV still occupy the number two and three slots of best selling Bibles in the USA today.

As I said earlier, I love the King James Version and I read from it regularly, but we really need to embrace modern tools that help us to understand Scripture better. We are in an age of discovery, knowledge sharing and information and many advances have been made in Scriptural understanding in the last 150 years.

Just as today we are now communicating with I-Phones and the Internet and are no longer communicating with tin cans connected by a piece of string, let us also embrace the very best 21st century Biblical scholarship when it comes to Scripture and hold the King James Version in the proper reverence that it deserves.

Of course, we are not talking here about fundamental doctrines of Christianity which every Christian shares, but Bible knowledge is increasing and we need to use the modern tools we have today to help us better understand that good Old Book.

We, I believe, need to embrace these changes and to realize that change is a good thing relative to the increases in understanding we have about points of Scripture which may need illuminating for us. These changes are for good and are only going to help us better understand that good old book: The Holy Bible.

Note: The historical reconstruction in this post above utilized an audio cassette taped lecture by may late father from the Foundation for Biblical Research from 1976 titled: "A Brief Background of the Director."

2. The results of my first drawing on my blog are in

I am pleased to announce that the results of the first drawing I held on my blog (www.samuelmartin.blogspot.com) are in.

I was giving away two books. The first book is:

Corporal Punishment in the Bible: A Redemptive Movement Hermeneutic for Troubling Texts by Professor William Webb

I have really rejoiced in first learning of this book (thanks Doug) and then reading it myself. I am so pleased to give it my most positive unqualified endorsement.
It has been such a blessing for me to get to know Prof. Webb in several personal contacts and I do look forward to reading all of his other books.
I do hope it will be very soon where we will hear a small communication from his wife, whose spirit I feel is really close at hand in Professor Webb’s book. I hope to post that on my blog very soon. http://samuelmartin.blogspot.com/2011/10/v-behaviorurldefaultvmlo.html
 
For more links, reviews and other information about Professor Webb and his book see: http://redemptivechristianity.com &                                http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/review/code=2761

I really think this is a wonderful book and I hope you will support it. I know you will be blessed by it as I have been Get your copy here - https://shop.ivpress.com/epages/IVP.storefront/en/addtobasket/0-8308-2761-7

Congratulations to B.C. from Eastern Oregon who won this book by Prof. Webb.

Congratulations also to G.S from South Carolina who won a copy of my own book

Stay tuned for more drawings of great books via my blog and newsletter.

3. Rev. Kenneth Bailey – Bringing a Middle Eastern perspective to Biblical studies

I’ve been talking lately about Rev. Kenneth Bailey’s books and here is a link to all of them from Inter Varsity Press on one page. http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/author.pl/author_id=1185.

Rev. Bailey’s books bring a very unique perspective to New Testament studies: a Middle Eastern one. Do yourself a favour. Consider adding these wonderful books to your library. Honestly, you will be so glad you did. His studies on the Prodigal Son, Jesus and Paul through Middle Eastern eyes are so eye opening. I know that most of you who read my newsletter will rejoice in these books. I am so please to be mentioning them because I know they will bless you in your study of that good old book: The Holy Scriptures.

Until Next Month,

Samuel Martin