Finding Fragments…Fueling Fact or Fantasy?

Earlier this week, various news and media outlets buzzed with the reports of the discovery of what appears to be a fragment from a 4th-century codex, written in Coptic (Sahidic).  What is the reason this 4cm x 8cm sampling of antiquity is gaining so much air time?  Well, at one point, it appears to read, “Jesus said to them, ‘My wife . . . she will be able to be my disciple.'”  Of course, this is red meat for another media blitz that claims, once again, that there is a possibility Christians have never had the full story about the person of Jesus Christ.

Dr. Michael Kruger, professor of New Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary (Charlotte) and author of Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books (Crossway, 2012), has written an excellent piece over at The Gospel Coalition’s site that is well worth reading in its entirety. When it’s all said and done, Kruger points out one simple and often overlooked fact in the discussion of authentic and apocryphal manuscript studies, saying:

…of all the gospels in early Christianity, only Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are dated to the first century.  Sure, there are minority attempts to put books like the Gospel of Thomas in the first century—but such attempts have not been well received by biblical scholars. Thus, if we really want to know what Jesus was like, our best bet is to rely on books that were at least written during the time period when eyewitnesses were still alive. And only four gospels meet that standard. (emphasis original)

**You may also want to check out Al Mohler’s article, “The Gospel of Jesus’ Wife? When Sensationalism Masquerades as Scholarship”.

(HT: Carlton Wynne)

Advertisements

$10 Tabletalk Subscription

Order at WTSBooks.com

WTSBooks.com is one of my favorite online booksellers.  They provide excellent resources at extremely reasonable prices.  You’ve likely noticed a link to their bookstore near the top, right sidebar of my blog for awhile now.  Here’s why I turn the focus to WTSBooks.com today…For a limited time, they are increasing their discounts on resources by J.I. Packer and R.C. Sproul.  One offer to take note of is a 6-month subscription to Tabletalk Magazine for ONLY $10.

Tabletalk Magazine is the monthly educational devotional published by Ligonier Ministries.  I have used Tabletalk as a devotional and it is not only an excellent guide, but each issue is an enduring resource.  Ligonier.org lists 6 reasons to subscribe to Tabletalk on their site, each of which I wholly agree!

Six Reasons to Subscribe to Tabletalk

1. A Bible Study For Each Day
Tabletalk’s daily Bible studies offer structure for your devotional life. Bringing the best in biblical scholarship together with down-to-earth writing, Tabletalk helps you understand the Bible and apply it to daily living.

2. Great Authors, Thought-Provoking Topics
Each issue contains challenging, stimulating articles on a wide variety of issues related to theology and Christian living, written by eminently trustworthy authors—names like Sinclair Ferguson, John MacArthur and R.C. Sproul.

3. True to Historic Christian Faith
Tabletalk avoids trends, shallow doctrine and popular movements to present biblical truth simply and clearly, in keeping with historical Christian faith and orthodoxy.

4. Friendly, Approachable and Convenient
Readers find Tabletalk approachable and inviting, with many saying it’s like having coffee each morning with their favorite teachers. Its compact size means it fits right in your Bible.

5. A Valuable Guide
Beyond the daily Bible studies, Tabletalk includes carefully selected daily readings to take you through the Bible in a year.

6. It’s Affordable
An annual subscription is just $23 ($37 international), more than 36% off the cover price and only $1.92 per month. And you can try it out for three months absolutely free.

NOW, IT’S EVEN MORE AFFORDABLE…If you take advantage of the offer at WTSBooks.com, each issue is only $0.60!  CLICK HERE for more information, or to subscribe!

Tim Brister’s New Blog & Giveaway

Just a quick note about a blog you’ll want to subscribe to if you haven’t already…

PROVOCATIONS & PANTINGS: a blog by Tim Brister

Tim Brister is a baptist pastor, founder/director of the PLNTD Network, director of The Haiti Collective, organizer for Band of Bloggers, and creator of P2R (Partnering to Remember) and the Memory Moleskine.  He is thoughtful, gospel-centered, and a great writer.

Tim recently made the transition from a WordPress.com hosted blog to a self-hosted blog and hit some glitches with his subscriptions along the way.  In an effort to “jumpstart” his blog subscriptions at the new site, he’s offering some pretty great incentives (in the form of a giveaway) for those who will help him out.

CLICK HERE to be redirected to Tim’s blog and get the lowdown on the giveaway…

*notable. [3/9/11]

NAME CHANGE.

If you’ve been visiting my blog for any time at all, it’s likely you’re familiar with the title, already&notyet.  That name arose from my NT Theology class with Dr. Greg Beale during my graduate studies at Wheaton College Graduate School.  I was deeply intrigued with the concept of inaugurated eschatology, and it seemed like a good title for a blog.  But that’s about all the thought that went into it.

Lately, I’ve been struck by the resurgence of gospel-centeredness among Reformed evangelicals.  Both the emphasis on declaring the good news of the gospel to unbelievers, and the reality that believers depend upon the same glorious message every day has been deeply challenging and encouraging to me.

With a clearer focus on the message of the gospel, its abounding implications for our lives, and knowing how much I need to move more deeply into the message myself…the blog will now be titled, For The Gospel. It’s my goal to provide and point to resources that are rich in the gospel, with the hope that those who visit the site will be edified and that Jesus will be glorified!  I pray the blog will be a blessing to you.

For the gospel!

Kevin

ON READING WISELY…

Inside Pages, the newly launched blog of Moody Publishers, posted an adaptation of several posts by Trevin Wax on how to read wisely for the glory of God…I found it particularly helpful…

By: Trevin Wax, Editor at LifeWay and author of Holy Subversion (2010 – Crossway) and Counterfeit Gospels (2011 – Moody)

You probably have more books in your home or office than 18th century pastor Jonathan Edwards came across in his lifetime. If you are able to read this post, you are part of an elite group of people known throughout history as “the literate.” And since you are on the internet, you have access to the information contained in millions of books. If you are an English-speaker, you are even more privileged, since the vast majority of the world’s great books have been translated into your native tongue.

As Christians, we ought to think carefully about how we steward all that God has given us – including the gift of reading. How can we read wisely? How can we read to the glory of God?

Here are ten ways to get started:

1. Set a reading goal.

Goal-setting is a method of holding yourself accountable. If you set a goal of 12 books, you will average one a month. If you set a goal of 25, you will read one book every two weeks. You may not make your goal, but it’s likely you’ll read more if you read with intention.

2. Read everywhere.

Waiting for a haircut? Read. Waiting at the doctor’s office? Read. Going on a trip? Read. Getting dressed in the morning? Listen to an Audio Book while you’re combing your hair, brushing your teeth, taking a shower. Get in the habit of reading anywhere and everywhere. (Note: Some books require too much concentration to read this way, but many books are easily read in different places.)

3. Read and READ

There are some books you read, and then there are other books you READ. You cheat yourself if you read some books too quickly. Some books need to be lived in for a time in order to fully come to grips with the glorious truths contained therein. Works by Augustine, Luther, Calvin, Edwards and Barth are not for speed-readers and the doctor’s waiting room. On the other hand, there are plenty of good books that can be digested quickly. You cheat yourself if you read them too slowly. Come to grips with the main point, consider the author’s perspective, and then move on.

4. Read Old Books

Don’t succumb to the temptation to read only the current bestsellers. They may tell you some important things about our culture, but they rarely help you look at the culture “from the outside” and critique it correctly. C.S. Lewis is famous for encouraging the reading of “old books,” at least 1 out of every 3, so that the reader can see the perspective of other generations.

5. Read Bestsellers

Even if you don’t read just bestsellers, you ought to know what other people are reading. Check out the best-selling historical biographies. You might occasionally dip into a recent choice from Oprah’s Book Club. Clearly, you aren’t going to like a lot of what you read here, so if you don’t want to spend the money, go check it out at the library. But the wide-reader who reads from Calvin’s Institutes will also be able to talk with his neighbor about Malcolm Gladwell’s Blinkwithout “blinking” an eye.

6. Read Book Reviews

Let’s face it. We don’t have enough time to read everything we want. So find good book-review websites, blogs and magazines that provide helpful summaries of all kinds of books.

7. Read Widely.

Read authors you know you will probably disagree with. And don’t just read them so you can tear apart their arguments. Read graciously. Read with a willingness to learn.

8. Read smarter.

If you’re reading an intellectual work, read the introduction and conclusion of the chapter first. Glance at the subtitles and get an idea for where the author is going. Then go back and read the chapter. You’ll work your way through the book faster and you’ll retain more information.

9. Read what interests you.

Find books on topics that interest you. If you start a book and don’t like it at all, put it down.

10. Stretch yourself.

Don’t read just what you like. Push yourself to read important books and not fluff. Take a look at what great Christian thinkers are reading and read those books too. Read famous authors. Read hard books. Read classics. Just make sure you read hard books in between more enjoyable books so you don’t lose your passion for reading. Who knows? You might start liking the books that stretch you.

In conclusion: Be a good steward. Read to the glory of God. Thank Him for giving you access to so many good resources. Use the mind He has given you. Ask God for wisdom regarding the books you choose to read. Once you’ve made your choice, maximize the time (whether short or long) you spend in those books.

Adapted from several individual posts on from Trevin’s blog, Kingdom People (www.trevinwax.com)

Be sure to visit InsidePages this week for some great giveaways celebrating their recent launch!

(HT: InsidePages)

$5 Fridays Are Back!

Don’t miss out on the return of Ligonier’s $5 Friday Sale (8am Friday – 8am Saturday EST)!  The sale features great resources by R.C. Sproul, Reformation Trust Publishers, and more!

CLICK HERE to be redirected to the sale!

Some of this week’s featured resources include…

The Unwavering Resolve of Jonathan Edwards by Dr. Steven Lawson

SALE $5; RETAIL $16. Jonathan Edwards is well known as perhaps the greatest theologian the United States has ever produced. He is equally noted for his preaching and writing. But in this Long Line Profile, Dr. Steven J. Lawson considers the unique focus and commitment with which Edwards sought to live out the Christian faith.  Lawson examines Edwards’ life through the lens of the seventy resolutions he penned in his late teens, shortly after his conversion, which cover everything from glorifying God to repenting of sin to managing time. Drawing on Edwards’ writings, as well as scholarly accounts of Edwards’ life and thought, Lawson shows how Edwards sought to live out these lofty goals he set for the management of his walk with Christ. In Edwards’ example, he finds helpful instruction for all believers.

The Holiness of God: Extended Version (Audio Download) by R.C. Sproul

SALE $5; RETAIL $30. In the year King Uzziah died, the prophet Isaiah saw a vision of the Holy One of Israel that made him understand the horror of sin and gave him a passion to proclaim the hope of restoration to all who would turn from their wickedness. In like manner, if we truly understand God’s holiness, we too will be motivated to flee from evil and to cling to Him for salvation.

Our understanding of the Lord’s transcendent holiness impacts how we view worship and how we will acknowledge the depth of our sin. In this expanded edition of his classic series The Holiness of God, Dr. R.C. Sproul provides a comprehensive, biblical survey of God’s holy character and demonstrates how the demands of His holiness are met in Christ.

The Intimate Marriage by R.C. Sproul

SALE $5; RETAIL $12. In The Intimate Marriage, Dr. R.C. Sproul shows that if we follow God’s principles, marriage can be a celebration of joyous intimacy and one of life’s greatest delights. Dr. Sproul examines not only the theology of marriage but also its sociology and psychology, covering such topics as communication, gender roles and sex.

*All product summaries taken from Ligonier.org

ASK R.C. LIVE…IN CASE YOU MISSED IT.

On November 30, 2010, Ligonier Ministries held the first session of Ask R.C. Live. Dr. Sproul answered a variety of questions, including “What is the biblical way to leave a church?”, “What are your thoughts on the second commandment?”, and “When did deep-fried frog legs become your favorite food?”  If you missed it, you can check out the video or audio here.

*Above text adapted from www.ligonier.org

ESV.TO….WHAT’S THAT?

In 1 Timothy 4:13, Paul instructs Timothy to give himself to the “public reading of Scripture.”  With the ever-increasing use and impact of social media within our culture, one helpful way to publicly encourage those around you (often in 140 characters or less) is with the ESV.to URL.  I’ve found it super helpful, as of late, when including Scripture in my tweets.  Visit the ESV.to main site to learn how easy it is to use.

“The great thing about ESV.to, however, is that by remembering a few simple, logical rules (detailed on the site) you can create the link yourself without having to use the generator.

For example: If you wanted to read Matthew 5 online you could visit www.esvonline.org and search for Matthew 5 or you could use the service’s easy-to-remember format and simply type “esv.to/Mt5″ into your web browser to navigate directly there. Likewise, to shorten a link in a tweet you could either visit http://www.esv.to and type “Matthew 5″ into the generator or simply use “http://esv.to/Mt5″.” (From the ESV.org blog)

2 GREAT OFFERS FROM INTERVARSITY PRESS.

I appreciate InterVarsity Press and have profited greatly from many of the books they publish, both during my undergrad/grad school days and on into the present.  Given the recent trend in posts regarding books on my blog, I thought I’d make you aware of some great opportunities to benefit from the wide range of books that IVP publishes.

FIRST, A CONTEST FOR A FREE BOOK ON THE REFORMATION!

“Most students of history know that Martin Luther nailed his ninety-five theses to the Wittenberg Church door and that John Calvin penned the Institutes of the Christian Religion. However, the Reformation did not unfold in the straightforward, monolithic fashion some may think. It was, in fact, quite a messy affair.” [from ivpress.com]

IVP has a contest happening now that features a quiz to test your knowledge of the Reformation.  They’ll pick 3 winners from those who correctly answer all the questions to receive a free copy of James R. Payton Jr.’s new book Getting the Reformation Wrong.  There’s also a chance to win via Twitter through tomorrow!  Click here to be redirected to the IVP contest page!


SECOND, JOIN THE IVP BOOK CLUB, GET 5 BOOKS FOR $1, AND A FREE MESSENGER BAG!

“Join the IVP Book Club today, and the Book Club Digest will come to you once a month featuring the newest releases from InterVarsity Press. You’ll save at least 30% on every title! You’ll automatically receive the Main Selection title(s) by mail, and you can easily decline online or by mail. And you’ll get a free messenger bag that’s yours to keep forever!  …

Also, GET 5 BOOKS FOR A BUCK! That’s right, choose five books from these specially selected titles, and we’ll send them to you for only $1 plus postage and handling when you become a member of the IVP Book Club.

Choose from a large selection of reference books, devotional guides and Bible studies that will help you learn from Scripture. Or select from the many timely titles that give solid Christian answers to the pressing issues of our day—leadership, the environment, culture clashes, science, success, church growth, women and men, prophecy, money and more.” [from ivpress.com]

I’ve taken advantage of both of these great opportunities, and actually won the Reformation book yesterday via Twitter…so, thanks IVP!

Don’t miss out!