Category Archives: Old Testament

Home Library/Office Tour

I wanted to do this for a while. I had some time today. One day I’ll get a good camera and give this thing some real production value.

B”H

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Moses or God?

At about 6:20 in the above video Brant Pitre says that the feeding of the multitude account in the Gospels would remind first century Jewish readers of Moses. I’m not denying that but he said, “If you’re a first century Jew and you have a prophet who takes out a great crowd into the wilderness and feeds them with bread, who’s that gonna make you think of?”

I can see why Moses might be the connection that someone makes, but why not think of God instead? It was “the LORD, the God of Israel [who said]: ‘Let my people go, so that they may hold a festival to me in the wilderness'” (Exod 5:1 cf. 7:16). It was the LORD who parted the Red Sea so that Israel could pass through on dry land (Exod 14:21) into the desert. It was the LORD who rained down bread from heaven (Exod 16:4).

So yes, Moses was a type of Christ, I agree. And it is easy to make the association with Moses. But I think it’s just as easy to make the association with the LORD, and perhaps even more appropriate. As Sigurd Grindheim pointed out in a couple of books (reviewed here & here) a few years back, Jews certainly had messianic expectations, but they were primarily waiting for God to come into his kingdom.

B”H

In Which I Wax Eloquent on Bible Software (@emschumacher)

Eric Schumacher asked for some advice on Twitter about whether he should go with BibleWorks or Logos since he’s just switched over to a Mac. To complicate things I threw Accordance into the mix. The reality is that all of these programs are great and they can all run on either Windows or OS X nowadays. This wasn’t always the case. There was a time when Accordance was the only game in town for exegesis on a Mac. Then Logos crossed over and from what I understand, the early version of Logos 4 for OS X was buggy and not a great joy to use. They’ve come a long way. I’m still using Logos 5 even though 6 is out and I love it for the things I use it for.

And that’s the issue. Logos, for me at least, is a great searchable digital library. I mainly use it for reading and searching the texts that I’m reading as well as it’s fantastic cross referencing features (you don’t know the joy that it brings me to be able to hover over a footnote in one of Craig Keener’s commentaries to an ancient writing and have the Greek or Latin version of the writing along with an English translation [thanks to the Perseus collection!] ready to be referenced at the click of a button). I know that it’s capable of doing intense exegetical work but compared to Accordance and BibleWorks it takes too long. To be honest, the mobile app is what I love most about Logos, and when I say love, I mean it! That app is fantastic and if ever I do use Logos for exegesis it’s when I’m out of the house and have the app handy.

But Accordance and BibleWorks both fly through even the most difficult tasks. Sure, over the years they’ve built up respectable book packages, but nothing that comes close to rivaling Logos’ massive library options. But that’s not a problem since they’re both great for—you guessed it—exegesis! Now a couple weeks back I noted how I’m just getting back into BibleWorks 9 even though it’s the reason I put a virtual machine on my MacBook Pro in the first place. The reason I stepped away is because I’ve been using Accordance. Honestly, they’re both equal in my eyes, but Accordance offers a little more customization in terms of the user interface. I like that. I like it a lot.

But this is all stuff I’ve said before. Just search through the technology category on this blog and you can find my thoughts on all of these programs as I’ve used them throughout the years. The bottom line—and this seems to be the sentiment of most that I’ve discussed this with—is that Accordance & BibleWorks are preferable for exegesis; Logos is preferable for building a strong digital theological library.

B”H

Late to the Game: Some Scattered Thoughts on BibleWorks 9 (Mostly about NT Manuscripts)

Introduction

I know that BibleWorks 10 has been out for a little while now and from all I’ve seen it looks fantastic. My introduction to BibleWorks came with version 8 and it was incredible. I used the program daily in my study of the Bible and ended up writing a series of review posts sharing some of my thoughts on the features I used most. Then came BibleWorks 9 and I was provided with a copy for review… 2+ years ago!

My apologies for this delayed response. I’d love to say that the cares of life kept me from using the program but that just wouldn’t be true. The truth is that I had installed BW9 on my Toshiba Satellite Pro and after doing one of the routine updates it began to crash every time I opened it. This went on for quite a while and I tried to fix the problem by doing multiple system restores in Windows Vista. That didn’t work.

It took quite a bit of deliberation for me to finally decide to do a fresh install. The main issue was that my laptop’s screen had given up the ghost and I had it hooked up to an external monitor. The laptop was, for all intents and purposes (not intensive purposes!), a desktop. But it was situated in a spot behind the monitor in the dark recesses of my desk that made the disc drive difficult to access. A reinstall would mean more work for me than I had really wanted to do.

But a fresh install I did, and I ended up loading the program on an external hard drive since my Toshiba’s hard drive was nearly full and slowing daily. So onto the 1TB Seagate it went. I was finally able to open the program without issue but then I became gun-shy with updates, refusing to install any. The truth is that after the reinstall I really didn’t take advantage of any of the new features of the program. I used BW9 just like I used BW8. And then I got a Mac.

When I got the MacBook Pro I installed Logos 5 on it and that was my go-to Bible software in the earliest stages. Then I contacted Accordance because I wanted to see how well their software worked on the machine it was designed for. It works great by the way. But I still wanted to use BibleWorks and it was now a possibility on OS X. There are three options: native, virtual, dual boot. I opted for running it in a virtual machine so I installed Parallels, Windows 8.1, and finally BibleWorks 9.

I will note that BibleWorks 9 was the sole reason that I put a virtual machine and Windows on my MacBook. It’s also the sole reason that I bought Apple’s overpriced Superdrive since I had the installation DVDs and needed to get them onto the laptop without a disc drive. That’s how much I cared about this program!

Scattered Thoughts

So how does BW9 work on my Mac? It works great! It’s fast as ever once opened but it does take a moment to load initially (longer than Accordance but that shouldn’t be a great shock). But it seems to me that the real difference between BW9 and BW8 is the addition of the fourth window and all of the manuscript features (pictured in part below).

Screenshot 2015-05-19 07.33.11(2)

The addition of transcribed versions of Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, Bezae, Washingtonianus, Boernerianus, and GA 1141 including high resolution images of the actual manuscripts is a boon to those engaged in textual criticism. I don’t do much textual criticism these days and in the interest of saving precious space on my limited hard drive I have opted to install Sinaiticus alone (which can be seen in the above screenshot).

I was somewhat surprised to find that only the NT portions of Sinaiticus appear in the program. It would have been desirable for the OT portions to have been transcribed and images included as well. One might argue that much of the OT material is fragmentary, which is quite true, but there are entire books (e.g., Jeremiah) that do appear in the manuscript, and access to those portions of Scripture would have been quite helpful.

There are a number of image processing options that are designed to allow the user to alter things such as the color or sharpness of the manuscript in order to get a better look at hard to read portions. I haven’t found that any of the alterations I’ve tried have made the text any easier to read, in fact, I think the original image provided is probably the best quality I’ve seen.

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The transcriptions themselves are what I find most useful though. It’s immensely satisfying to have a searchable text that includes the nomina sacra (which can be copied from BW9 and pasted into MS Word, Pages, or even a WordPress blog post in unicode – Χ̅Ω̅ Ι̅Υ̅ – by the way!) and does the work for me in separating the scriptio continua. I’m well aware that there are people who enjoy working through manuscripts and deciphering such things but I’m not one of them. I also enjoy reading the occasional transcription note that appears below the manuscript image (see below).

Screenshot 2015-05-19 22.00.28

The Center for New Testament Textual Studies’ New Testament Critical Apparatus appears, as far as I can tell, to be a powerful tool. I’ll admit that it frightens me a bit and I don’t quite know how to use it to its full potential just yet. Thankfully, the BibleWorks website has a page explaining just what it is, what it does, and how to use it.

Screenshot 2015-05-19 22.13.47

There are undoubtedly thousands of other features that I’ve yet to discover, and I’m pleased to report that everything I loved about BW8 (e.g., the diagramming, the lightning fast searches, the ability to create custom parallel texts, etc.) has been carried over into BW9. I look forward to getting back to my roots and using this program more in the days, weeks, months, and years to come. Who knows, maybe I’ll get proficient in it one day and make the move to BW10. More anon, I’m sure.

B”H

Baptismal Remembrance

I’ve started a series on the sacraments at church. The first class was on baptism in preparation for baptizing three members (which we did yesterday). One of the things I wanted to focus on, and which I believe will be a major focus of the entire series, is that the sacraments are about what God has done, is doing, and will do. God should be the focus. Scott Hahn has noted that when God cuts covenant he marks it with physical signs (e.g., a rainbow, circumcision, blood). The sacraments, Hahn says, are physical signs of God’s covenant. I agree.

When I spoke on baptism the other night I noted the many “types” and “shadows” that appear in the Old Testament. There is the Spirit hovering over the waters when God begins to create. The death/new life of the flood. The deliverance from bondage/sin as Israel passes through the Red Sea. The entry into God’s promises as they pass through the Jordan. And while not quite so obvious, the end game of Israel’s “new exodus,” which in the Prophets takes up the language of the exodus from Egypt, to include plenty of talk about water.

But as I recounted this information I asked the congregation to remember the word “recapitulation.” These important events of salvation history were all recapped in Jesus’ own baptism. To start, why would Jesus, who was without sin, need to be baptized? John’s baptism was a baptism of repentance. But Jesus said that it was necessary to fulfill all righteousness. Jesus is the representative Israel, and more fundamentally, the last Adam. Where they failed Jesus succeeded. Matthew recounts Jesus’ baptism thusly:

As soon as Jesus was baptized, he went up out of the water. At that moment heaven was opened, and he saw the Spirit of God descending like a dove and alighting on him.  And a voice from heaven said, “This is my Son, whom I love; with him I am well pleased.”

We have the creation recapped in the Spirit descending over the water. We have the death/new life of the flood recapped in the dove imagery. The identification of Jesus as God’s Son recalls the identification of Israel as God’s son when he called for their exodus from Egypt. Jesus was baptized in the Jordan, which was passed through to enter into the Promised Land. These are not subtle allusions and I don’t think they were meant to be.

But armed with this knowledge I asked if we should view the events of Israel’s history as “types” and “shadows” of baptism (well aware that Peter calls the flood a type of the baptism that now saves)—with the understanding that types and shadows point to a greater reality—or view baptism as an event that recalls God’s saving acts throughout history? I prefer the latter. It’s not that baptism is a greater reality, but rather baptism is a recapitulation of an already great reality, namely the salvation of God. On this understanding it isn’t (or at least shouldn’t be) controversial to say that “baptism saves.”

B”H

NIV 50

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the existence of the convening of the Committee on Bible Translation to discuss the production [thanks to David McKay for the correction] of the New International Version of the Bible. I have a long history with this translation spanning a little more than ¼ of this time. I confessed Christ as Lord in 2002 but was given an NIV Couples’ Devotional Bible by my friend and now pastor before I was a believer. It was the first Bible that I really read and thought about. It was certainly the first I had ever written in. The blank pages in the back are littered with verses I wanted to memorize and meditate on. The blank pages up front have my thoughts on the interpretation of certain passages. But after I started attending worship gatherings regularly I adopted the KJV because it was what the congregation used. I still held on to my trusty NIV though.

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I would eventually begin to teach the 8-14 year old boys in Sunday school and was given an NIV Revolution Bible for Teen Guys. To date this is the only Bible that I have read cover to cover. There aren’t nearly as many markings in this one as in my Couples’ Devotional Bible but it was perfectly designed for reading with its single column layout. Along the way there were plenty of sidebars, summaries, questions & answers, as well as book introductions to keep things interesting. This Bible served me well alongside my others.

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When the NIV was updated a few years ago my friend Robert Jimenez graciously sent me a beautiful decorative Italian Duotone edition. This is the Bible that I preach and teach from primarily at church. Throughout the years I have acquired many NIVs and they’ve all served me well, but more than the physical artifacts, I value the translation itself. In the video below Bruce Waltke summarizes my feelings exactly when he says that the NIV is “simple, clear, precise.” I loved the 1984 edition and I love the 2011 update. I pray that it serves me just as well for the next 50 years of its existence should the Lord keep me around that long to use it.

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B”H

Sacred Name

I was asked to comment on a Facebook post last night by a friend and fellow elder. The topic of the post was Jesus’ name. The writer said that the reason people aren’t seeing results to their prayers is because they’ve been calling on the wrong name. You see, his name isn’t Jesus, which is manmade, it’s Yahweh. If we call on Yahweh rather than Jesus we should see results.

The comments that followed proceeded to call Jesus “Yahshua” and take Hosea 4:6 out of context, suggesting that if people continued to call him Jesus then they’d perish for their lack of knowledge. A couple of people from my church were arguing that it doesn’t much matter what variation of his name we use so long as we know him. I just came in and added a little background to that claim.

I noted how the Hebrew name is Yehoshua. How in the Aramaic bits of the Bible we read Yeshua. How in the NT—which I’d think would be paramount in such a discussion—it’s Iesous. In Latin it’s Iesvs. And finally English translates it as Jesus. We’re English speakers. Why wouldn’t we use the English name? If we were speaking Italian we’d say Jesu. If we were speaking Spanish it would be Jesús.

In any event, I did note that we’d never call him Yahshua for reasons I didn’t want to bore anyone with. But readers of this blog don’t mind being bored. In short, people have this weird penchant of finding out that the Hebrew name for God YHWH and its shortened form YH exist and all of a sudden they want to insert it where it doesn’t belong. It’s not that Yah never appears in Hebrew names; it just never appears at the beginning of them. For example:

Ma’aseYah = Maaseiah (Neh. 12:42)
MichaYah = Micaiah (Neh. 12:42)
Z’charYah = Zechariah (Neh. 12:42)
MalkiYah = Malchiah (Neh:12″42)
AzarYah = Azariah (Neh. 12:33)
Sh’maYah = Shemaiah (Neh. 12:34)
MatanYah = Mattaniah (Neh. 12:35)
SherevYah = Sherebiah (Neh.12:24)
ChashavYah = Hashabiah (Neh. 12:24)
BakbukYah = Bakbukiah (Neh. 12:25)
OvadYah = Obadiah (Obadiah 1:1)
AchazYah = Ahaziah (1 Kings 22:50)
S’raYah = Seraiah (2 Sam. 8:17)

At times Yah also appears in combination with hu making the form Yahu as in:

YeshaYahu = Isaiah (Salvation of the Lord)
YirmiYahu = Jeremiah (The Lord casts)
EliYahu = Elijah, and (My God is the Lord)
YoshiYahu = Josiah (The Lord rescues me)
Chizkiyahu = Hezekiah (My strength is the Lord)

Now when the shortened form of YHWH does appear at the beginning of a personal name it’s used in combination with a verb and we see Yeho, not Yah, so:

Yehoshua = Joshua
Yehoachaz = Jehoahaz (2 Kings 10:35)
Yehoyachin = Jehoiachin (2 Kings 24:6)
Yehoyakim = Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:34)
Yehoshafat = Jehoshaphat (2 Chr. 17:3)
Yehochanan, which is a longer form of Yochanan = John (Neh. 12:42)
Yehoram = Jehoram (1 Kings 22:51)
Yehoyada = Jehoiadah (2 Sam. 818)
Yehotzadak = Jehozadak (1 Chr. 6:14 [1 Chr. 5:40 MT])

But the point is that the “Sacred Name” movement is built on some bad information. And more to the point, the referent is more important than the name by which he’s referred. As long as he knows us and we know him then he’ll answer however we call. Jesus is as much Lord over language as anything else.

B”H