Monthly Archives: March 2010

The Lexham English Bible

Logos have just released The Lexham English Bible (LEB) which will be very helpful to any Christian seeking a deeper understanding of the New Testament.

The key benefit of the LEB is that it reveals the decisions made by translators in the bible text itself, allowing you to discern which of the text is (what the preface describes as) ‘a fairly literal translation’ of the original (NA27) Greek, and what are:

  • supplied words –  words that the translators added so that the Greek meaning made sense in English, and
  • idioms – phrases that are modified for English meaning (as a literal translation of the Greek would make no sense to us).

In other words, the LEB helps English speakers like you and I get one step closer to the original Greek, rather than be susceptible to any translator’s bias. Logos call it ‘your second bible’, intended to support your understanding of your primary translation – NIV, ESV, etc – and I look forward to using it in this way.

Best of all, the LEB is made available under a very generous license and is available as a free download.

Unworthy of the universe?

It’s not new, but the Dawkins-Lennox debate on The God Delusion is compelling viewing. 

 

In his closing remarks, Professor Lennox explains the central tenet of the Christian faith, the historical event of Christ’s resurrection. In response, Professor Dawkins says: 

 

“Yes, well that concluding bit rather gives the game away, doesn’t it? All that stuff about science and physics and the complications of physics and things … all it comes down to is the resurrection of Jesus. There’s a fundamental incompatibility between the sort of sophisticated scientist which we hear part of the time, from John Lennox, and it’s impressive and we are interested in the argument about multiverses and things. And then, having produced some sort of a case for a kind of a deistic god perhaps, some god the great physicist who adjusted the laws and constants of the universe, that’s all very grand and wonderful and then suddenly we come down to the ressurection of Jesus. It’s so petty, so trivial, it’s so local, so earthbound, it’s so unworthy of the universe.”

 

Professor Dawkins then compares this with Darwin’s achievement:

 

“… [that] wherever you see the organised complexity that we call life, that it has an explanation which can derive from simple beginnings by comprehensible, rational means. That is possibly the greatest achievement that any human mind has ever accomplished.”

 

Is this not an unusual juxtaposition? Jesus’ death and resurrection is so simple we can ignore it, but Darwin’s thesis is so simple, it’s possibly the greatest achievement that any human mind has ever accomplished. Clearly Professor Dawkins has little time for matters that do not require human intellectual achievement to arrive at them, regardless of whether they are historically accurate. Judging from Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, this is not a new argument:

Where is the wise man? Where is the scholar? Where is the philosopher of this age? Has not God made foolish the wisdom of the world? For since in the wisdom of God the world through its wisdom did not know him, God was pleased through the foolishness of what was preached to save those who believe. Jews demand miraculous signs and Greeks look for wisdom, but we preach Christ crucified: a stumbling block to Jews and foolishness to Gentiles, but to those whom God has called, both Jews and Greeks, Christ the power of God and the wisdom of God. For the foolishness of God is wiser than man’s wisdom, and the weakness of God is stronger than man’s strength.  1 Corinthians 1:20–25 (NIV)

 

As for the charge that Christ’s death and resurrection is unworthy of the universe, Professor Dawkins misses the point. The point is that Christ’s death on a cross is unworthy of God:

 

Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus:

Who, being in very nature God,

     did not consider equality with God something to be grasped,
but made himself nothing,

     taking the very nature of a servant,

     being made in human likeness.
And being found in appearance as a man,

     he humbled himself

     and became obedient to death –

         even death on a cross!
Therefore God exalted him to the highest place

     and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,

     in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord,

     to the glory of God the Father.

     Philippians 2:5–11 (NIV)

 

Jesus, in spite of being God, humbled himself for us and died on the cross in our place! This is the single most important event in all of history, far outstripping the creation of the universe and all that Professor Dawkins holds dear. He who has ears, let him hear. 

Jars of clay

But we have this treasure in jars of clay to show that this all-surpassing power is from God and not from us. We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed. We always carry around in our body the death of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus may also be revealed in our body. For we who are alive are always being given over to death for Jesus’ sake, so that his life may be revealed in our mortal body. So then, death is at work in us, but life is at work in you.

 

It is written: “I believed; therefore I have spoken.” With that same spirit of faith we also believe and therefore speak, because we know that the one who raised the Lord Jesus from the dead will also raise us with Jesus and present us with you in his presence. All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.

 

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.  2 Corinthians 4:7-18

 

The nature of being a Christian is to experience suffering and joy at the same time. The purpose of our lives is to be a weak vessel (the jar of clay) containing the glory of the gospel of Christ – not for our glory but for His. And at the end of the day, all we have is Christ.

 

Josh Patterson of The Village Church gave an excellent sermon on this topic – it can be found on this podcast (entitled ‘Jars of Clay’) or can be listened to online or read

Who was Jesus?

Easter is coming and inevitably with it comes new claims (and typically new books for sale) that promise fresh and controversial revelations about Jesus. 

 

It’s therefore a good time to remind ourselves of the historical accuracy of our accounts of Jesus and to look again at his identity. This excellent article from the archives of The Briefing does just that.