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.


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


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

Hope you find it valuable.

Samuel Martin