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Genesis  46 - 47

Genesis 46

Joseph Brings His Family to Egypt

Genesis 46     1 So Israel took his journey with all that he had and came to Beersheba, and offered sacrifices to the God of his father Isaac. 2 And God spoke to Israel in visions of the night and said, “Jacob, Jacob.” And he said, “Here I am.” 3 Then he said, “I am God, the God of your father. Do not be afraid to go down to Egypt, for there I will make you into a great nation. 4 I myself will go down with you to Egypt, and I will also bring you up again, and Joseph’s hand shall close your eyes.”

5 Then Jacob set out from Beersheba. The sons of Israel carried Jacob their father, their little ones, and their wives, in the wagons that Pharaoh had sent to carry him. 6 They also took their livestock and their goods, which they had gained in the land of Canaan, and came into Egypt, Jacob and all his offspring with him, 7 his sons, and his sons’ sons with him, his daughters, and his sons’ daughters. All his offspring he brought with him into Egypt.

8 Now these are the names of the descendants of Israel, who came into Egypt, Jacob and his sons. Reuben, Jacob’s firstborn, 9 and the sons of Reuben: Hanoch, Pallu, Hezron, and Carmi. 10 The sons of Simeon: Jemuel, Jamin, Ohad, Jachin, Zohar, and Shaul, the son of a Canaanite woman. 11 The sons of Levi: Gershon, Kohath, and Merari. 12 The sons of Judah: Er, Onan, Shelah, Perez, and Zerah (but Er and Onan died in the land of Canaan); and the sons of Perez were Hezron and Hamul. 13 The sons of Issachar: Tola, Puvah, Yob, and Shimron. 14 The sons of Zebulun: Sered, Elon, and Jahleel. 15 These are the sons of Leah, whom she bore to Jacob in Paddan-aram, together with his daughter Dinah; altogether his sons and his daughters numbered thirty-three.

16 The sons of Gad: Ziphion, Haggi, Shuni, Ezbon, Eri, Arodi, and Areli. 17 The sons of Asher: Imnah, Ishvah, Ishvi, Beriah, with Serah their sister. And the sons of Beriah: Heber and Malchiel. 18 These are the sons of Zilpah, whom Laban gave to Leah his daughter; and these she bore to Jacob—sixteen persons.

19 The sons of Rachel, Jacob’s wife: Joseph and Benjamin. 20 And to Joseph in the land of Egypt were born Manasseh and Ephraim, whom Asenath, the daughter of Potiphera the priest of On, bore to him. 21 And the sons of Benjamin: Bela, Becher, Ashbel, Gera, Naaman, Ehi, Rosh, Muppim, Huppim, and Ard. 22 These are the sons of Rachel, who were born to Jacob—fourteen persons in all.

23 The son of Dan: Hushim. 24 The sons of Naphtali: Jahzeel, Guni, Jezer, and Shillem. 25 These are the sons of Bilhah, whom Laban gave to Rachel his daughter, and these she bore to Jacob—seven persons in all.

26 All the persons belonging to Jacob who came into Egypt, who were his own descendants, not including Jacob’s sons’ wives, were sixty-six persons in all. 27 And the sons of Joseph, who were born to him in Egypt, were two. All the persons of the house of Jacob who came into Egypt were seventy.

Jacob and Joseph Reunited

28 He had sent Judah ahead of him to Joseph to show the way before him in Goshen, and they came into the land of Goshen. 29 Then Joseph prepared his chariot and went up to meet Israel his father in Goshen. He presented himself to him and fell on his neck and wept on his neck a good while. 30 Israel said to Joseph, “Now let me die, since I have seen your face and know that you are still alive.” 31 Joseph said to his brothers and to his father’s household, “I will go up and tell Pharaoh and will say to him, ‘My brothers and my father’s household, who were in the land of Canaan, have come to me. 32 And the men are shepherds, for they have been keepers of livestock, and they have brought their flocks and their herds and all that they have.’ 33 When Pharaoh calls you and says, ‘What is your occupation?’ 34 you shall say, ‘Your servants have been keepers of livestock from our youth even until now, both we and our fathers,’ in order that you may dwell in the land of Goshen, for every shepherd is an abomination to the Egyptians.”

Genesis 47

Jacob’s Family Settles in Goshen

Genesis 47 1 So Joseph went in and told Pharaoh, “My father and my brothers, with their flocks and herds and all that they possess, have come from the land of Canaan. They are now in the land of Goshen.” 2 And from among his brothers he took five men and presented them to Pharaoh. 3 Pharaoh said to his brothers, “What is your occupation?” And they said to Pharaoh, “Your servants are shepherds, as our fathers were.” 4 They said to Pharaoh, “We have come to sojourn in the land, for there is no pasture for your servants’ flocks, for the famine is severe in the land of Canaan. And now, please let your servants dwell in the land of Goshen.” 5 Then Pharaoh said to Joseph, “Your father and your brothers have come to you. 6 The land of Egypt is before you. Settle your father and your brothers in the best of the land. Let them settle in the land of Goshen, and if you know any able men among them, put them in charge of my livestock.”

7 Then Joseph brought in Jacob his father and stood him before Pharaoh, and Jacob blessed Pharaoh. 8 And Pharaoh said to Jacob, “How many are the days of the years of your life?” 9 And Jacob said to Pharaoh, “The days of the years of my sojourning are 130 years. Few and evil have been the days of the years of my life, and they have not attained to the days of the years of the life of my fathers in the days of their sojourning.” 10 And Jacob blessed Pharaoh and went out from the presence of Pharaoh. 11 Then Joseph settled his father and his brothers and gave them a possession in the land of Egypt, in the best of the land, in the land of Rameses, as Pharaoh had commanded.

( The care that we take of our parents in their old age is an expression of godliness (1 Timothy 5:8). So we’re told in Genesis 47:11, “Joseph settled his father and his brothers in Egypt and gave them property in the best part of the land.” Joseph was delighted to settle his dad in a prime site. )  The Hand of God: Finding His Care in All Circumstances
12 And Joseph provided his father, his brothers, and all his father’s household with food, according to the number of their dependents.

Joseph and the Famine

13 Now there was no food in all the land, for the famine was very severe, so that the land of Egypt and the land of Canaan languished by reason of the famine. 14 And Joseph gathered up all the money that was found in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, in exchange for the grain that they bought. And Joseph brought the money into Pharaoh’s house. 15 And when the money was all spent in the land of Egypt and in the land of Canaan, all the Egyptians came to Joseph and said, “Give us food. Why should we die before your eyes? For our money is gone.” 16 And Joseph answered, “Give your livestock, and I will give you food in exchange for your livestock, if your money is gone.” 17 So they brought their livestock to Joseph, and Joseph gave them food in exchange for the horses, the flocks, the herds, and the donkeys. He supplied them with food in exchange for all their livestock that year. 18 And when that year was ended, they came to him the following year and said to him, “We will not hide from my lord that our money is all spent. The herds of livestock are my lord’s. There is nothing left in the sight of my lord but our bodies and our land. 19 Why should we die before your eyes, both we and our land? Buy us and our land for food, and we with our land will be servants to Pharaoh. And give us seed that we may live and not die, and that the land may not be desolate.”

20 So Joseph bought all the land of Egypt for Pharaoh, for all the Egyptians sold their fields, because the famine was severe on them. The land became Pharaoh’s. 21 As for the people, he made servants of them from one end of Egypt to the other. 22 Only the land of the priests he did not buy, for the priests had a fixed allowance from Pharaoh and lived on the allowance that Pharaoh gave them; therefore they did not sell their land.

23 Then Joseph said to the people, “Behold, I have this day bought you and your land for Pharaoh. Now here is seed for you, and you shall sow the land. 24 And at the harvests you shall give a fifth to Pharaoh, and four fifths shall be your own, as seed for the field and as food for yourselves and your households, and as food for your little ones.” 25 And they said, “You have saved our lives; may it please my lord, we will be servants to Pharaoh.” 26 So Joseph made it a statute concerning the land of Egypt, and it stands to this day, that Pharaoh should have the fifth; the land of the priests alone did not become Pharaoh’s.

27 Thus Israel settled in the land of Egypt, in the land of Goshen. And they gained possessions in it, and were fruitful and multiplied greatly. 28 And Jacob lived in the land of Egypt seventeen years. So the days of Jacob, the years of his life, were 147 years.

29 And when the time drew near that Israel must die, he called his son Joseph and said to him, “If now I have found favor in your sight, put your hand under my thigh and promise to deal kindly and truly with me. Do not bury me in Egypt, 30 but let me lie with my fathers. Carry me out of Egypt and bury me in their burying place.” He answered, “I will do as you have said.” 31 And he said, “Swear to me”; and he swore to him. Then Israel bowed himself upon the head of his bed.

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Why Shouldn’t We Trust the Non-Canonical “Trimorphic Protennoia”?

By J. Warner Wallace 1/12/2018

     There are a number of ancient, non-canonical texts used by sect leaders or heretical groups in the early history of Christianity. One of these is a gnostic document called The Trimorphic Protennoia. Is this non-biblical text reliable? Was it written by an eyewitness who accurately captured the actions and statements of Jesus? There are four attributes of reliable eyewitness testimony, and the first requirement is simply that the account be old enough to actually be written by someone who was present to see what he or she reports. The Trimorphic Protennoia was written too late in history to have been written by anyone who could have actually seen the ministry of Jesus, and like other late non-canonical texts, this errant document was rejected by the Church. In spite of this, The Trimorphic Protennoia may have contained small nuggets of truth related to Jesus.  Although it is a legendary fabrication altered by an author who wanted to craft a version of the Jesus story that suited the purposes of his religious community, it likely reflected many truths about Jesus:

     The Trimorphic Protennoia (120-180AD)

     Only one copy of The Trimorphic Protennoia has survived, and it comes to us from the Gnostic collection of documents at the Nag Hammadi Library in Egypt (discovered in 1945). The title means literally “The Three Forms of the First Thought”, and the text is written in the first person, as if it had been written by God. It is an extremely mystical text and was intended to be difficult to understand; another hidden mystery intended for a select few (consistent with Gnosticism). The Trimorphic Protennoia is one of several early Gnostic documents that have been deeply influenced by Sethianism. Sethians existed before the appearance of Jesus and believed that Seth (the third son of Adam and Eve), was a divine incarnation and that his offspring and descendants were superior to other humans. They also believed that Jesus was simply another incarnation of God who came to release people’s souls from the prison of creation.

     Why Isn’t It Considered Reliable?

     The Trimorphic Protennoia is dated to the 2nd century and appears far too late in history to have been written by an eyewitness to the life of Jesus. In addition, there is only one copy of the text, indicating that it may not have been widely accepted, even in its own time. It is clearly Gnostic in origin and emerged from the Gnostic community at Nag Hammadi. The Trimorphic Protennoia is a late, Gnostic (and therefore unreliable) text.

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James "Jim" Warner Wallace (born June 16, 1961) is an American homicide detective and Christian apologist. Wallace is a Senior Fellow at the Colson Center for Christian Worldview and an Adjunct Professor of Apologetics at Biola University in La Mirada, California. He has authored several books, including Cold-Case Christianity, God’s Crime Scene, and Forensic Faith, in which he applies principles of cold case homicide investigation to apologetic concerns such as the existence of God and the reliability of the Gospels.

The #1 Question I’ve Been Asked As A Pastor

By Landon Coleman 11/7/2016

     What is the #1 question I’ve been asked as a pastor? It’s not a philosophical question about the problem of evil (why bad things happen to good people). It’s not a tricky Bible question about hotly debated issues. Here it is: “Pastor, can you recommend a good devotional book.” Honestly, I’m amazed how many times I’ve been asked that question.

     Here’s what I hope most people are asking me … “Pastor, can you recommend a book that will help me grow and learn? I’m intimidated by the Bible, and I need some bite-sized guidance that won’t totally overwhelm me and frustrate me.”

     Here’s what I fear some people are asking me … “Pastor, can you recommend a book that is simple, easy-to-read, and quick? I don’t have time to read the Bible, but I need something light and encouraging to make my day better.”

     That’s the #1 question I’ve been asked as a pastor. Here are my top 3 recommendations.

     Recommendation One: Read the Bible. That’s not a “Jesus-juke.” It’s just the honest truth. If you want to read something that will help you learn and grow, read the Bible. Read through Psalms and Proverbs. Read through Matthew and John. You don’t have to tackle the entire Bible, but you should read the Bible. You can even buy a quality study Bible that has maps, pictures, articles, and notes. Try the ESV Study Bible or the Reformation Study Bible.

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     Landon serves as the teaching pastor of Immanuel Baptist Church in Odessa, Texas, where he lives with his wife Brooke. They have four children, Emma, Noelle, Amelia, and Clayton. Landon is a graduate of West Texas A&M University (BBA), and a two-time graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (MDiv and PhD). He is the author of Pastor to Pastor: Practical Advice for Regular Pastors and Pray Better: Learning to Pray Biblically. Landon has pastored churches in Kentucky and Oklahoma, and he has taught for Oklahoma Baptist University and BH Carroll Theological Institute. You can contact Landon via email at landon@regularpastor.com.

10 Misconceptions about the NT Canon: #7: “Christians Had No Basis to Distinguish Heresy from Orthodoxy Until the Fourth Century.”

By Michael J. Kruger 7/13/2012

     This is the seventh installment of a blog series.. First 6 are here.

     Ever since Walter Bauer published his now famous Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity there has been a widespread obsession amongst modern scholars with the theme of early Christian diversity. Study after study has explored how different, contradictory, and divergent early Christian beliefs were. And it is on this basis that the terms “heresy” and “orthodoxy” are declared to be unintelligible prior to the fourth century. After all, we are told, there was no Christianity (as we know it) prior to this time period, but only a variety of different Christianities (plural) all claiming they are the true and original version. Thus, on what basis could the earliest followers of Jesus have ever adjudicated such varied claims? How could they ever have known who was right and who was wrong? It wasn’t until the fourth century, when a particular version of Christianity “won” the theological wars and declared their books were declared to be canonical, that we really can begin to speak of heresy and orthodoxy in a meaningful way.

     But is it really the case that pre-fourth century Christians had no basis or standard by which they could distinguish heresy from orthodoxy? Were they really wandering around blind without a reliable guide? There are good reasons to doubt these claims. On the contrary, we shall argue here that early Christians would have had three solid guideposts as they navigated the doctrinal complexities of their faith:

     a. The Old Testament. | Routinely overlooked by those in the Bauer camp—ironically in a Marcionite fashion—is the decisive role played by the Old Testament amongst the earliest Christians. M.F. Wiles once declared, “There was never a time when the Church was without written Scriptures. From the beginning she had the Old Testament and it was for her the oracles of God.” Aside from the numerous examples of Old Testament usage within the New Testament itself, quotations from the Old Testament are abundant within the writings of the apostolic fathers and other early Christian texts. Thus, right from the outset, certain “versions” of Christianity would have been ruled as out of bounds. For example, any quasi-Gnostic version of the faith which suggested the God of the Old Testament was not the true God but a “demiurge”—as in the case of the heretic Marcion—would have been deemed unorthodox on the basis of these Old Testament canonical books alone. As Ben Witherington has observed, “Gnosticism was a non-starter from the outset because it rejected the very book the earliest Christians recognized as authoritative—the Old Testament.” So, the claim that early Christians had no Scripture on which to base their declarations that some group was heretical and another orthodox is simply mistaken. The Old Testament books would have provided that initial doctrinal foundation.

     b. “Core” New Testament Books. | Although all New Testament books are orthodox, not all of them needed to have this expressly established prior to their recognition by the early church (or at least portions thereof). As we discussed in a prior blog post, some New Testament books, especially Paul’s major epistles and the four gospels, would have been recognized as authoritative from a very early time period. They were received not so much because they measured up to some standard of orthodoxy but primarily on the basis of their obvious apostolic origins—these were the books that were “handed down” from the apostles. Gamble notes, “The letters of Paul and the Synoptic Gospels…had been valued so long and so widely that their orthodoxy could only be taken for granted: it would have been nonsensical for the church to have inquired, for example, into the orthodoxy of Paul!” Thus, there appears to have been a collection of core New Testament writings that would have functioned as a norm for apostolic doctrine at quite an early point. This explains why the vast majority of later “disagreements” about the boundaries of the New Testament canon appear to be focused narrowly on only a handful of books; apparently the core of the New Testament was intact from a very early time period.

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     Michael J. Kruger, President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC.  For more on my background and research interests, see here. Michael J. Kruger Books

Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books
The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate
A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized
The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity
The Early Text of the New Testament

10 Misconceptions about the NT Canon: #8: “Early Christianity was an Oral Religion and Therefore Would Have Resisted Writing Things Down”

By Michael J. Kruger 8/22/2012

     Recent years have seen a flurry of scholarly activity focused on the oral transmission of Jesus material within early Christianity. Scholars (ranging from Gerhardsson to Dunn to Bauckham) have explored different models for how this oral tradition would have been preserved and delivered to each new generation.

     Out of this discussion, however, a new objection to the origins of the New Testament canon has arisen. The earliest Christians are now portrayed as being so committed to oral modes of delivery that they would have had an aversion to the written text. Indeed, this entrenched resistance to the written word is used as an argument for why the idea of a NT canon must have been a late one—something that really didn’t take shape until the middle/end of the second century. Robert Funk uses this argument to push the date of the canon further and further back, “The aversion to writing persisted in the early [Christian] movement well into the second century.”

     Although the perception that Christians were averse to writing may be widespread amongst some scholars, we must ask whether there is sufficient evidence to justify such a position. What are the reasons that scholars think Christians resisted the written word? Let me mention three:

     1. Early Christians were (largely) illiterate.

     The most common argument that Christians were averse to written texts is based on their socio-historical background, namely that most of them were unable to read or write. Such claims are based on the seminal study of William Harris which argues that the average extent of literacy in the Greco-Roman world of the first century was 10-15%,[2] and some have suggested that for Jewish Palestine the rate was actually lower.

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     Michael J. Kruger, President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC.  For more on my background and research interests, see here. Michael J. Kruger Books

Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books
The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate
A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized
The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity
The Early Text of the New Testament

Read The Psalms In "1" Year

Psalm 9

I Will Recount Your Wonderful Deeds
9 To The Choirmaster: According To Muth-Labben. A Psalm Of David.

1 I will give thanks to the LORD with my whole heart;
I will recount all of your wonderful deeds.
2 I will be glad and exult in you;
I will sing praise to your name, O Most High.

3 When my enemies turn back,
they stumble and perish before your presence.
4 For you have maintained my just cause;
you have sat on the throne, giving righteous judgment.

5 You have rebuked the nations; you have made the wicked perish;
you have blotted out their name forever and ever.
6 The enemy came to an end in everlasting ruins;
their cities you rooted out;
the very memory of them has perished.

ESV Reformation Study

10 Misconceptions about the NT Canon: #9: “The Canonical Gospels Were Certainly Not Written by the Individuals Named in Their Titles”

By Michael J. Kruger 11/14/2012

     One of the most commonly made claims regarding the canonical gospels is that they were not written by the individuals named in their titles. Instead, we are told that these gospels were written later in the first century by anonymous individuals outside of Palestine who were not eyewitnesses of any of the events that they record. After all, the text of the gospels themselves offers no indication of their authorship. And the gospel titles, it is argued, were added at a later point—probably the middle of the second century—in order to bolster the credibility of these anonymous texts.

     Now it should be noted from the outset that we have too little space here to offer a full scale investigation into the authorship of these four gospels. Moreover, the authorship of ancient books is a tricky matter and not always easy to ascertain. So, we will narrow our focus here on the issue of the gospel titles themselves. Although the titles themselves don’t guarantee the authorship of a book, they are key piece of historical evidence about who early Christians understood the authors to be. So, were the titles added late in the second century as some scholars maintain? We shall argue here that there are good reasons to think the titles were included at a very early point

     1. The manuscript evidence. Although we possess a limited number of gospel manuscripts from the second and third centuries that preserve the title pages, the ones we do possess have the title present. In other words, we do not find “title-less” gospel manuscripts from this time period. Examples of early gospels manuscripts with titles are P66 (John), P4-64-67 (Matthew and Luke) and P75 (Luke and John). Put simply, as far back as we can see in the manuscript tradition the titles are present.

     2. The uniformity of the titles. Perhaps one the most compelling reasons to think the titles were added early is the fact that there is such uniformity in these titles within the early centuries of the faith. If the titles were added late, we would have expected a substantial amount of diversity to have developed. After all, the users of these gospels had to have called them something (especially if they had more than one gospel), and since they were anonymous it is reasonable to think they would have called these gospels by different names. In fact, when the ancient writer Galen published his works without a title, he acknowledges that “everyone gave them a different title.” But, incredibly, the titles of these four gospels are consistent—Mark is always called “Mark,” Luke is always called “Luke,” etc. Such uniformity cannot pop into existence over night. It suggests these titles had been there a while.

     3. The inclusion of Mark and Luke. If the titles were added in the late second century, as some suppose, then it is difficult to imagine that Mark and Luke’s names would have been included. If names were arbitrarily chosen, we would hardly expect these two. If one wanted to get quick credibility for a gospel, it would have been named after an apostle—indeed, this is what happened with so many of our apocryphal gospels (e.g., Thomas and Peter). Yet, here we have two gospels named after non-apostles. It would have been especially easy to name Mark’s gospel after Peter, given the historical connections between the two men, but the early church resisted. This, I would suggest, is a sign of authenticity.

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     Michael J. Kruger, President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC.  For more on my background and research interests, see here. Michael J. Kruger Books

Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books
The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate
A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized
The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity
The Early Text of the New Testament

10 Misconceptions about the NT Canon: #10: “Athanasius’ Festal Letter (367 A.D.) is the First Complete List of New Testament Books”

By Michael J. Kruger 12/11/2012

     When it comes to the study of the New Testament canon, few questions have received more attention than the canon’s date. When did we have a New Testament canon? Well, it depends on what one means by “New Testament canon.” If one is simply asking when (some of) these books came to be regarded as Scripture, then we can say that happened at a very early time. But, if one is asking when we see these books, and only these books, occur in some sort of list, then that did not happen until the fourth century. To establish this fourth-century date, most scholars will appeal to the well-known canonical list of Athanasius, included in his Festal Letter in 367 A.D.

     But, is Athanasius really the first complete New Testament list? Despite the repeated claims that he is, we have a list by Origen more than a century earlier (c.250), that seems to include all 27 books. Origen, in his Homilies on Joshua, writes:

     "So too our Lord Jesus Christ…sent his apostles as priests carrying well-wrought trumpets. First Matthew sounded the priestly trumpet in his Gospel, Mark also, and Luke, and John, each gave forth a strain on their priestly trumpets. Peter moreover sounds with the two trumpets of his Epistles; James also and Jude. Still the number is incomplete, and John gives forth the trumpet sound through his Epistles [and Apocalypse]; and Luke while describing the deeds of the apostles. Latest of all, moreover, that one comes who said, “I think that God has set us forth as the apostles last of all” (1 Cor 4:9), and thundering on the fourteen trumpets of his Epistles he threw down, even to their very foundations, the wall of Jericho, that is to say, all the instruments of idolatry and the dogmas of the philosophers."

     This is a fascinating passage. A reasonable interpretation of Origen’s words would leave us with a list of 27 books (he obviously puts the book of Hebrews with Paul’s letters). There is the question of whether the book of Revelation was original to this list—some manuscripts have it, some do not. But even if we assume it was not original, this list is remarkably complete at such an early date.

     Of course, some have objected to this list, arguing that Rufinus (who made the Latin translation of Origen’s homilies) simply changed it to fit his own preferences. However, there are few reasons to think this list is the result of Rufinus’ tampering. On the contrary, Rufinus has been shown to be quite reliable in his representation of Origen’s positions.

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     Michael J. Kruger, President and Samuel C. Patterson Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC.  For more on my background and research interests, see here. Michael J. Kruger Books

Canon Revisited: Establishing the Origins and Authority of the New Testament Books
The Question of Canon: Challenging the Status Quo in the New Testament Debate
A Biblical-Theological Introduction to the New Testament: The Gospel Realized
The Heresy of Orthodoxy: How Contemporary Culture's Fascination with Diversity Has Reshaped Our Understanding of Early Christianity
The Early Text of the New Testament

The Inspired Order of the Bible

By Dr. Judd W. Patton, Professor of Economics Bellevue University

     The Bible contains 66 books, thirty-nine in the Old Testament and twenty-seven in the New Testament. While there is no doubt or question that the Bible is complete, the entire Word of God, nevertheless there is a question about the actual number of books and their arrangement or order.

     Would God design His Word with the mark of man on it?  That is, man was created on the sixth day of creation week. Six is the mark of man. This theomatic design is seen throughout the Bible. Six and especially sixty-six, which amplifies the element of man, seems, therefore, an unlikely number of books for God to include in His Word.

     Sixty-six books, however, is just a hint of a possible problem. The evidence from the Bible itself is that there are in fact forty-nine books of the Bible arranged in seven divisions. No scripture is lost, or added, by counting them as God does, so don’t get shook up!

     The most dramatic concern is that many of the books of the Bible have been “scrambled,” so to speak, from the order or arrangement as originally canonized and seen in the earliest manuscripts.

     These truths may seem shocking, but they are easily proven. God has, for His own purposes and reasons, permitted this re-arrangement to occur. Nevertheless, the historical evidence and most importantly, the internal evidence of the Bible itself, irrefutably demonstrate the actual number of Bible books and the God-ordained order or sequence of those forty-nine books.

     Again, to state our conclusion up front, there are forty-nine books in seven divisions in a God-inspired order. God has put each book in a special position. He did not flip a coin, for example, to decide which book was to be the final one in the Old Testament or which book was to be the first in the New Testament! God could not have designed His Word in a haphazard manner!

     That is because God is not the author of confusion ( 1 Corinthians 14:33 ). The traditional arrangement of the books of the Bible, when contrasted to the Inspired Order, as the author likes to phrase it, will be seen as just that – confusing. The Bible is indeed fitly joined together, God-breathed and ordered.

     Throughout this paper the author will refer to the contemporary arrangement of the Bible that all of us are familiar with as the Traditional Order and the original God-ordained order as the Inspired Order.

     This paper seeks to demonstrate and prove this Inspired Order by letting the Bible itself speak about its own order and principles for arrangement. When the correct book order is restored, we’ll discover a marvelous and eye-opening series of insights and a series of connected subjects and organizational logic from  Genesis to  Revelation. All of the teachings in the Bible become clearer and plainer.

The Influence of Jerome

     The man most responsible for what became our traditional Bible of sixty-six books was the Catholic theologian, Jerome. His Latin Vulgate translation, written between A.D. 382 and 405, with his “new” arrangement of the books for both the Old and New Testaments, became the standard for Protestant scholars and translators. Of a truth once a tradition becomes established, it is difficult to change. Yet Jerome knew better. He had a rationale, a wrong rationale, for making these changes! Regardless, the Tradition lives on today.

     In A.D. 391 Jerome said the following, “As, then, there are twenty-two elementary characters by means of which we write in Hebrew … so we reckon twenty-two books, by which, as by the alphabet of the doctrine of God, a righteous man is instructed…” 1 Yes, Jerome understood that the Hebrew Old Testament contained 22 books coinciding with the 22 letters in the Hebrew alphabet, not 39. And to this day the Jewish translations contain 22 Old Testament books. The books and arrangement or order of the books has never been lost. Even Josephus, in Book 1, Section 8 of his famous work, Antiquities of the Jews, recognized “only 22 books.”

     Concerning the New Testament, E.W. Bullinger in his Companion Bible made this bold statement: “Our English Bibles follow the order as given in the Latin Vulgate. This order, therefore, depends on the arbitrary judgment of one man, Jerome. All theories based on this order rest on human authority, and are thus without any true foundation.” 2 Dr. Bullinger has hit the nail on the head!

     The scholar, now deceased, who has done the most research, in the author’s assessment, on the issue of Bible book order, is Earnest Martin. His 1994 book entitled, Restoring the Original Bible, is the most systemic, documented, referenced and scholarly work on the Inspired Order of the Bible. It’s available from his Web site: http://www.askelm.com.

     Now, while Jerome is the primary figure responsible for the Traditional arrangement of the books of the Bible, there is more to the historical story. Earnest Martin details other “players” besides Jerome. Briefly, sometime in the second or third centuries A.D., the Septuagint version of the Bible, a Greek translation of the Old Testament, was put into book form by Egyptian Christians, replacing the twenty-two separate and independent scrolls of the Hebrew Bible. Simultaneously they abandoned the Hebrew order of the books or scrolls as maintained at the Temple, and rearranged the books into a more subject-oriented or topical arrangement. 3

     That is, they grouped the historical books together ( Genesis through  Esther ). Then the poetic books were placed together ( Job, Psalms and  Proverbs ) followed by the poetic works of Solomon ( Ecclesiastes and  Song of Solomon ). Finally, the prophetic books were grouped together ( Isaiah through  Malachi ).

     Check it out in your own Bibles. Perhaps some Bible students were unaware of this organizational three-part rationale for this Traditional Bible book order - historical, poetic and prophetic?

     Jerome was well aware of both the Hebrew Bible order and the relatively new Septuagint book order in his day. 4 He had a choice to make. What should he do for his own translation? Well, he decided to use the Septuagint order in his Latin Vulgate version of the Bible. The rest is history, as the saying goes!

     The point is that while Judaism did not lose the original Bible arrangement of twenty-two books, Christianity did, primarily through the influence of the Catholic theologian Jerome. Again, the Protestant translators, with few exceptions, relied on the Latin Vulgate version of Jerome in their translations and thereby the Protestant world lost the original book order.

Christ’s Comment on the Hebrew Scriptures

     The whole issue about the arrangement of Bible books in the Old Testament is easily resolved. Did Christ reveal His inspired order? Indeed He did!

     Turn to  Luke 24:44-45. “Then He said to them,  ‘These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning me.’ And He opened their understanding, that they might comprehend the scriptures.”

     Christ identified the three great divisions of the Old Testament Hebrew Scriptures in this New Testament passage. The Divisions consist of the Law (also called the Torah or Pentateuch), the Prophets, and the Writings. The latter section begins with the book of  Psalms and has also been identified in Judaism as the Hagiographa, meaning inspired writings. It became known as the Royal Division since it was written by kings, under the inspiration of God, of course, for priestly rulers and leadership instruction.

The Law, Prophets and the Writings

     Romans 3:2 states that, “Unto them (the Jews) were committed the oracles of God.” Yes, they were God’s instruments in preserving the Old Testament scriptures, and what they have preserved are twenty-two books, from the twenty-two original scrolls. Let’s review these books.

     The First Division is the Law consisting of  Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers and  Deuteronomy. As an interesting side-note, the original Hebrew titles of these books were taken from the first verse of each book. Thus the real God-inspired book titles are: “In the Beginning,” “These are the Names,” “The Lord Called,” “In the Wilderness,” and “These are the Words.” 5

     Read these book titles as a sentence. Interesting, isn’t it? The titles give a good sense of the content and God’s purpose for the Torah. The Traditional titles, by contrast, that we have become accustomed to are the Greek titles originating from the Septuagint version, translated into Latin and English thereafter.

     The Second Division of the Old Testament is the Prophets. It consists of only six books, though there may seem to be many more than that! The first book is  Joshua - Judges. It is counted as two separate books by Traditional reckoning but only as one in the Hebrew Inspired Order. The second book consists of  1&2 Samuel -1&2 Kings. It is one book or scroll known historically as the Book of  Kingdoms. Together these two books are known as the Former Prophets because they are the upfront or first books in the Division.

     The next three books,  Isaiah, Jeremiah and  Ezekiel, are called the Major Prophets because they are larger in size or contain more pages than the books of the Minor Prophets, not because of importance. Lastly, the Minor Prophets are one book in Hebrew but consist of twelve prophets:  Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah, Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, and  Malachi. Together, and in that historical, chronological order, they contain roughly the same number of pages as any one of the Major Prophets.

     It’s also important to distinguish the Latter Prophets, which refer to  Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel and the twelve books of the Minor Prophets, from the Former Prophets,  Joshua-Judges and the Book of  Kingdoms.

     Finally, the Third Division, according to Christ as recorded in  Luke 24:44 and in Hebrew tradition, is the  Psalms, the first book of the division and undoubtedly the reason Christ used it rather than the “Writings” appellation. All books within this division were composed by kings and leaders like  David, Solomon, Daniel, Nehemiah, Ezra and  Hezekiah and written for kings and priestly rulers. Again, these books contains leadership principles.

     The Hagiographa consists, then, of eleven books in three sub-categories. These categories include three Poetic or Wisdom books ( Psalms, Proverbs and  Job ); five Festival Books also called the Megillot ( Song of Solomon, Ruth, Lamentations, Ecclesiastes, and  Esther ); and three Restoration Books ( Daniel, Ezra-Nehemiah, and  1&2 Chronicles ).

     Count them, please! There are a total of eleven books in the Writings Division with  Ezra-Nehemiah counted as one book and  1 and 2 Chronicles counted as one book.

     The five Megillot (meaning scroll) books, as they were called in Hebrew, were designated by  Ezra to be read on specific Festival or commemorative days. That is, the  Song of Solomon was to be read on the Passover.  Ruth was to be read on the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost.  Lamentations was to be read on the tenth day of the month Ab (in August) commemorating the destruction of Solomon’s Temple.  Ecclesiastes was to be read on the Feast of Tabernacles, and  Esther was to be read on the Feast of Purim. 6 Understanding  Ezra’s directive adds context for the meaning of these annual Festivals or Feast days (see  Leviticus 23 ), these commemorative days (Temple destruction and Purim), and for the books themselves!

     There is also a distinct feminine aspect of note to the Megillot books that is significant and readily apparent 7. The  Song of Solomon is about a woman who wishes to court King Solomon or be courted by him.  Ruth is the grandmother of King David  ( grandmother or great grand mother? ) and the events surrounding her experience relate to the meaning of the Feast of Weeks or Pentecost.  Lamentations is written in a style of a mother weeping for her children who have been destroyed.  Ecclesiastes deals with wisdom and understanding which are feminine attributes, and  Esther is about Queen Esther and her role in saving her nation of Judah from destruction.

     All of the Holy Day and feminine aspects to these five books are lost when the books are scattered and dispersed in our Traditional arrangement of the Old Testament. If God indeed placed these five Megillot books together and inspired  Ezra to have them read on specific Festival occasions, which the author is convinced He did, then clearly knowledge and insights are lost by dispersing them throughout the Old Testament.

Quick Comparison

     Let’s notice some of the similarities and differences between the Traditional 39 books and the Inspired Order of 22 books. First, the similarities: the Law is the same in both orders –  Genesis through  Deuteronomy, or perhaps more correctly stated as, In the Beginning through These Are the Words.  Joshua - Judges is the same in both orders positioned after  Deuteronomy, though split into two books by the Traditional Order. Likewise, each book within the Minor Prophets are in the same order from  Hosea to  Malachi, but they are positioned or pulled as a group to the end of the Old Testament and counted as eleven separate books instead of reckoned as one book in the Inspired Order.

     Beyond those similarities, Jerome’s Septuagint - inspired order really scatters the remainder of the books. The Restoration books are pulled forward and split up with  1 and 2 Chronicles and  Ezra-Nehemiah positioned after  2 Kings, while  Daniel is positioned just before the Minor Prophets. The Megillot books are widely dispersed, with  Ruth and  Esther placed in the Traditional Historical division,  Ecclesiastes and  Song of Solomon are grouped together after  Proverbs in the Traditional Poetic division while  Lamentations, authored by  Jeremiah, is placed within the Major Prophets after the book of  Jeremiah. Finally, the Inspired Order poetic books are rearranged so that  Job precedes  Psalms and  Proverbs.

     Such are some of the differences caused by replacing the Law, Prophets and  Psalms divisions in the original Inspired Order of the Bible with three new groupings of the Traditional order: Historical, Poetic and Prophetic books.

     With these changes came a loss of spiritual understanding. That’s our point! Asking why  Malachi, for example, is the last book of the Bible is a nonsense question. Obtaining an answer is really nonsense! Failure to grasp the Festival nature of the five Megillot books, for example, really limits and hides knowledge contained within these books. These examples just indicate the “tip of the iceberg” of the loss of meaning and confusion caused by the Septuagint - inspired order adopted by Jerome. Stayed tuned!

Fitly Joined Together: Insights Derived from the Inspired Order

     Let’s notice two examples. First, the Inspired Order is  Psalms, Proverbs, and  Job. It is not  Job, Psalms, and  Proverbs! Proverbs concludes with Chapter  31 about the virtuous woman. Then  Job begins with righteous, upright  Job Job 1:1 ). What a perfect and logical lead into the book of  Job and the theme of becoming righteous before God. This fit is lost in the Traditional Order.

     What is the last book of the Old Testament? It’s  Chronicles, not  Malachi. The book of  Chronicles focuses on the lives and reigns of the righteous line of King David, that is, the Kings of Judah: David, Solomon, Asa, Jehoshaphat, Joash, Hezekiah, and Josiah. Yet it ends without getting to the King of kings, the King of the Jews, the only truly righteous King, Jesus Christ.

     That is where  Matthew picks up the incomplete Davidic line by detailing the genealogy of Jesus Christ, the son of David. In  Matthew 2:2 he identifies Christ as “King of the Jews.” What a beautiful fit! It doesn’t exist with  Malachi as the last book of the Old Testament.

     Also, notice how  2 Chronicles 36:23, the last verse of the Old Testament, correlates with and is the perfect lead into New Testament theology. That is, Cyrus, a type of Christ, was given all power ( Matthew 28:18 ) and was commanded to build a house or spiritual temple. That is precisely what Christ is now doing, building the New Testament Church and Temple of God. Is there any question that  Chronicles is the last book of the Old Testament?

New Testament Order

     There is very little argument about the order of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament. To quote Dr. Bullinger once again, “Our English Bibles follow the order as given in the Latin Vulgate. All theories based on this order rest on human authority.” That’s right, on the authority of Jerome!

     Scholars generally recognize four Divisions in the New Testament, though some suggest five sections by letting  Acts stand alone as a separate division. The four Divisions are: The Gospels and  Acts, the General Epistles, the Pauline Epistles, and the Book of  Revelation.

     There are just two basic questions to answer about the New Testament order. Do the General Epistles come before or after Paul’s epistles? And secondly, where does the book of  Hebrews fit, as the tenth book within Paul’s Epistles, or as the final book, i.e., the fourteenth? The answers are not difficult to obtain.

     In virtually all the early manuscripts the General Epistles precede the Pauline letters or books. The General epistles consist of seven books:  James, 1 Peter, 2 Peter, 1 John, 2 John, 3 John, and  Jude. And the fourteen books of Paul include  Romans, 1 Corinthians, 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 Thessalonians, 2 Thessalonians, Hebrews, 1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, and  Philemon.

     Here is what Jerome did for his Latin Vulgate version. It is so easy to understand his reasoning.

     He left  Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and  Acts in place, along with  Revelation as the last book of the Bible. He simply “pulled,” as a group, the seven General Epistles down below Paul’s letters. And then he “pulled”  Hebrews down to be the final or 14th book of Paul’s letters. His rationale was simply to enhance or give preeminence to Paul as the Apostle to the Gentiles and to diminish or reduce the Jewish apostles and simultaneously downgrade Jerusalem relative to Rome. 8 After all, Jerome was an early Roman Catholic.

It’s just that simple!

     Notice the conclusion of Biblical scholar Dr. Scrivener who analyzed over 4,000 New Testament manuscripts: “Whether copies contain the whole or a part of the sacred volume, the general order of the books is the following: Gospels,  Acts, Catholic Epistles, Pauline Epistles, Apocalypse.” 9 Catholic, of course, refers to general or universal books, not the Catholic Church. These General Letters were not written to specific congregations but were written by the “Jewish” apostles James, Peter, John, and Jude. Jude was a half brother of Jesus.

     Quick summary: There are twenty-seven books of the New Testament and twenty-two Old Testament books. Do the math. The Bible contains a grand total of forty-nine books. Forty-nine is seven times seven, reflecting completeness. Moreover, there are a total of seven Divisions within the Bible: The Law, Prophets, Writings, Gospels and  Acts, General Epistles, Pauline Epistles, and  Revelation. That seems reasonable and complete too, with seven, the Biblical number of completeness as God finished His work on the seventh day of creation, the Sabbath ( Genesis 2:1-3 ).

Logic of the New Testament Order

     There is an obvious logic to the New Testament Inspired Order that is easy to spot, especially by any teacher. It is organized in a systematic manner from basic or elementary subjects and doctrines to the “weightier matters” and deeper understanding of Christian doctrine. As the apostle Paul might put it, “From the milk of the Word to the meat of the Word.” This progressive doctrinal approach would not be true in the Traditional order. Quite the contrary as will be seen.

     Using an education analogy, 10 the Gospels and  Acts can be likened to elementary school. These five books reveal fundamental Christian Principles as well as the life and works of Christ.  Matthew emphasizes Christ as King while  Mark’s theme is Christ as servant.  Luke emphasizes Christ as Man while  John’s theme is Christ as God.

     The General Epistles represent or can be likened to the high school level. The General Epistles deal with faith ( James ), hope ( 1 and 2 Peter ) and love ( John ).  James teaches how to live as a Christian, and  Jude concludes the General Epistles by admonishing Christians to contend for the faith once delivered.

     Paul’s Epistles, from  Romans through  Hebrews, can be likened to college level work. Here we see the ABC’s and XYZ’s of Christian doctrine in detail and depth.  Romans focuses on the basic doctrines of repentance, faith, baptism, laying on of hands, resurrection from the dead, and eternal judgment.  Hebrews however is for mature Christians going on to perfection by building on the foundational principles covered in the immediately preceding epistles. Lastly, Paul’s pastoral epistles of  1 and 2 Timothy, Titus and  Philemon, a clear sub-group of Paul’s letters, can be likened to Master’s level studies in leadership instruction for Christians.

     Finally, the Book of  Revelation has to be at the Ph.D. level of education with all its symbolism and prophetic utterances. Moreover, it brings the Bible to a conclusion with end time events, the return of Christ and the New Jerusalem.

     By contrast in the Traditional order, Paul’s Epistles are positioned before the General Epistles. Notice, though, in  2 Peter 3:16, Peter tells us that Paul’s epistles contain subject matter that is “hard to understand.” Thus the “hard matters” are positioned before the more basic exposition of love, faith and hope. No teacher would approach any subject or discipline in this manner!

Principle: “To the Jew First”

     There is a second reason why the General Epistles must be positioned before Paul’s epistles. In  Romans 1:16, Paul states that the gospel of Christ is, “the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes, to the Jew first and also to the Greek.” Likewise, in  Acts 13:46 we see Paul and Barnabas telling the Jews that, “It was necessary that the Word of God should first have been spoken to you, but seeing you put it from you… we turn to the Gentiles.”

     Paul was the apostle to the Gentiles ( Romans 11:13 ), but he always went to the Jews first whenever he taught ( Acts 11:19; 13:14; 14:1; 17:1,10; 18:4; 19:8; 28:17 ). 11 Even Christ Himself sent His twelve disciples (apostles) to the Jews first. In  Matthew 10:5-6 Christ commanded the twelve, “Go not into the way of the Gentiles… but go rather to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.”

     Surely God had and has an order or priority in preaching the gospel, just has he had in designing His Word. He is consistent. Thus one would expect the precept “To the Jew first” to be seen in the Inspired Order of the books of the Bible as well. And that is exactly what we discover!

     That is, the General Epistles were authored by James, Peter, John and Jude who were commissioned to preach the gospel of the Kingdom of God to the Jewish people, as Galatians 2:9 shows. Therefore, the epistles of these Jewish apostles must precede Paul’s epistles, the apostle to the Gentiles.

     Notice the contrast of the Inspired Order verses the Traditional order.

     The very first verse of the book of  James validates the principle of going to the Jews first: “James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes scattered abroad, greeting.” But Paul’s greeting in  Romans, his first book  ( Romans Paul's 1st Book?? ) begins with, “Paul, a servant of Jesus Christ, called to be an apostle, separated unto the gospel of God…to all that be in Rome” ( Romans 1:1,6 ). To place Paul’s epistles prior to the General Epistles is to clearly contradict the Biblical principle of “To the Jew first.” The Traditional Order of the Bible by Jerome therefore follows the unbiblical proposition “To the Gentles or Romans first.”

Principle: Eldership and Rank

     There is yet another reason that the Bible demands that the General Epistles come before Paul’s Epistles. It is the principle of eldership and rank. 12 In  Galatians 2:9 we find that James, Peter and John were the pillar apostles. Yet in  1 Corinthians 15:9 Paul identifies himself as “the least of the apostles” because he persecuted the Church of God. It would be a contradiction to place the works of “the least apostle” before the works of “pillar apostles.” Eldership and rank demand otherwise. God, nevertheless, honored Paul by using him to author the most books in the New Testament, fourteen.

     Conclusion: Paul’s Epistles must follow the General Epistles based on Biblical evidence and precept, let alone the historical evidence. The principles of: (1) eldership and rank, (2) to the Jew first, and (3) “milk to meat” progressive doctrinal teaching are sufficient to establish this truth.

Book of Hebrews

     Another truth that is readily established is that the book of  Hebrews should not be positioned as the last book of the Paul’s epistles, and thus the book that precedes the General Epistles. Why?

     The historical record, Dr. Bullinger informs us, is that, “In the best and oldest Codices,  Hebrews follows  2 Thessalonians instead of  Philemon.” 13 Again, the Bible itself removes any doubt.

     The first seven books of Paul expound the ABC’s and XYZ’s of Christian theology,  Romans through  Colossians. These letters were written to six specific churches with the  Corinthians receiving two letters. The seventh church letter, the eighth and ninth of Paul’s fourteen, is  Thessalonians, which also gets two letters apiece. It is interesting that the letters of the seventh church area address end-time events ( 1 Thessalonians 4:13-17 and  2 Thessalonians 2:1-3 ).

     Bible students know that Christ will return at the seventh trumpet. “Then the seventh angel sounded: And there were voices in heaven, saying, ‘The kingdoms of this world have become the kingdoms of our Lord and of His Christ, and He shall reign forever and ever!’” ( Revelation 11:15 ). After Christ returns to the earth, He reigns forever, but He reigns for a thousand years before the second resurrection ( Revelation 20:5 ).

     Interestingly, in the book of  Hebrews the millennium is addressed. Paul speaks of “the world to come” in  Hebrews 2:5, the millennial rest in Chapter  4, the New Covenant in Chapter  8, and in  Hebrews 11:16 the City of God, the New Jerusalem.

     The millennium, of course, follows the end-times or latter days and the return of Christ. Likewise, the Feast of Tabernacles (picturing the 1000 year reign of Christ) follows the Feast of Trumpets as seen in  Leviticus 23.

     Let’s connect the dots.  1 and 2 Thessalonians, covering the doctrine of the end-times and the second coming of Christ, must logically precede the book dealing with the millennium -  Hebrews! Hebrews, therefore, follows  2 Thessalonians without a doubt.

     Jerome should not have let his prejudice for Rome and Gentiles over Jews prevail in his Latin Vulgate translation by pulling  Hebrews to the end of Paul’s books.

     Once this order is recognized, another small but significant insight emerges. Paul introduces Timothy in the last few verses of  Hebrews. “Know that our brother Timothy has been set free, with whom I shall see you if he comes shortly. Greet all those who rule over you, and all the saints.”

     The first letter to  Timothy is the book that follows  Hebrews in the Inspired Order. Thus Paul introduces the young minister Timothy at the end of  Hebrews and even leads into the book’s purpose of ministerial leadership principles and proper rulership. This fit does not occur when  Hebrews is shifted to the end of Paul’s books, i.e., after  Philemon.

     One final point, the last four books of Paul’s epistles, known as the pastoral epistles, are:  1 Timothy, 2 Timothy, Titus, and  Philemon. They obviously go together as books providing ministerial instruction. These four books of the Bible provide information on church government, encouragement to maintain pure doctrine, and principles to be effective leaders in the congregations of God. They are fitly joined together in purpose. By contrast the book of  Hebrews is doctrinal in nature, not pastoral. Here is another proof that it does not belong as the last book of the Pauline epistles, as the Traditional Order maintains.


     There is indeed an Inspired Order of the books of the Bible. Historical and Biblical evidence reveals that there are forty-nine books divided into seven divisions. These divisions are the Law, Prophets, Writings, Gospels and  Acts, General Epistles, Paul’s Epistles and  Revelation.

     The Traditional order of sixty-six books owes its origin to the ideas and prejudices of Jerome contained in his Latin Vulgate translation. Jerome’s arrangement of the books of the Bible, as shown in this paper, are contrary to the historical record and Biblical precepts that God gives us in His Word.

     Earnest Martin had it right: “All the teachings in the Bible become clearer and plainer when the Biblical books are placed back in their correct order. It is truly amazing what the books of the Bible have to tell us when we read the Holy Scriptures in the context that was first intended by God and those who officially canonized the Bible.” 14

     It’s time to recognize this truth and reject a tradition of man. Any publishers who want to break with an erroneous tradition and publish the Bible in the God-ordained Inspired Order?

1 Earnest Martin, Restoring the Original Bible (Ann Arbor, Michigan: ASK Publications, 1994), p. 20.
2 E.W. Bullinger, The Companion Bible (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan Bible Publishers, 1974), p. 139 (Appendix).
3 Martin, Restoring the Original Bible, pp. 17-18.
4 For additional proof and quotes from numerous Bible scholars, see Chapter 1 of Martin’s book.
5 The Introductory remarks of the New King James Bible also point out this relatively unknown fact about the Hebrew titles of the books of the Torah (Law).
6 Martin, Restoring the Original Bible, pp. 477-478.
7 Ibid., pp. 130-131.
8 Ibid., pp. 9-10.
9 Ibid., p.8.
10 I owe this analogy to Earnest Martin.
11 Martin, Restoring the Original Order, pp. 346-347.
12 Ibid., pp. 348-350.
13 Bullinger, The Companion Bible, p. 139 (Appendix).
14 Martin, Restoring the Original Bible, p.6.

Source of this article      here

 I wrote Dr. William Warren back in 2018 trying to get some clarity on this subject. Below is his reply.

I assume you’re addressing the order in both the Hebrew Bible and the Greek manuscripts of the NT. For the Hebrew Bible, we generally follow the order of the Greek OT, the LXX (Septuagint), minus the books of the Apocrypha. That order is found in the Greek OT manuscripts like codices Sinaiticus, Vaticanus, Alexandrinus, and others. Also it is found in the Latin copies of the OT. So when Bibles were printed, that was the logical order to follow since it was the best known order.

On the NT, the dominant order in the Greek MSS through the year 1000 is to have the 4 Gospels, Acts and the General Epistles, the Pauline Epistles (including Hebrews), and then Revelation (most MSS that have all or almost all of the NT actually don’t include Revelation since it was not read in the public reading cycles of the Greek-speaking churches, but the order is as above for the other NT books, so if Revelation was included, it would have been at the end of the NT books that these MSS do include. This order has not been used in many printed Greek NT at all, although the new Tyndale House Greek NT (Cambridge) does indeed place the NT books in this order and there are discussions about making the next editions of the United Bible Societies’ Greek NT and the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum with this order.

The main fear of changing the order in English Bibles I suspect is that a change would not be well received and so sales would be negatively affected of any translation that did so. Hope this helps some.

Gracia y paz,

Bill Warren, Ph.D.
Director of the Center for New Testament Textual Studies
Landrum P. Leavell, II, Professor of New Testament and Greek
New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary

The Institutes of the Christian Religion

Translated by Henry Beveridge

     3. Moreover when comfort is promised in affliction, especially when the deliverance of the Church is described, the banner of faith and hope in Christ is unfurled. "Thou wentest forth for the salvation of thy people, even for salvation with thine anointed," says Habakkuk (3:13). And whenever mention is made in the Prophets of the renovation of the Church, the people are directed to the promise made to David, that his kingdom would be for ever. And there is nothing strange in this, since otherwise there would have been no stability in the covenant. To this purpose is the remarkable prophecy in Isaiah 7:14. After seeing that the unbelieving king Ahab repudiated what he had testified regarding the deliverance of Jerusalem from siege and its immediate safety, he passes as it were abruptly to the Messiah, "Behold, a virgin shall conceive and bear a son, and shall call his name Emmanuel;" intimating indirectly, that though the king and his people wickedly rejected the promise offered to them, as if they were bent on causing the faith of God to fail, the covenant would not be defeated--the Redeemer would come in his own time. In fine, all the prophets, to show that God was placable, were always careful to bring forward that kingdom of David, on which redemption and eternal salvation depended. Thus in Isaiah it is said, "I will make an everlasting covenant with you, even the sure mercies of David. Behold, I have given him for a witness to the people," (Isa. 55:3, 4); intimating, that believers, in calamitous circumstances, could have no hope, had they not this testimony that God would be ready to hear them. In the same way, to revive their drooping spirits, Jeremiah says, "Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, that I will raise unto David a righteous Branch, and a King shall reign and prosper, and shall execute judgment and justice in the earth. In his days Judah shall be saved, and Israel shall dwell safely," (Jer. 23:5, 6). In Ezekiel also it is said, "I will set up one Shepherd over them, and he shall feed them, even my servant David; he shall feed them, and he shall be their shepherd. And I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David a prince among them: I the Lord have spoken it. And I will make with them a covenant of peace," (Ezek. 34:23, 24, 25). And again, after discoursing of this wondrous renovation, he says, "David my servant shall be king over them: and they all shall have one shepherd." "Moreover, I will make a covenant of peace with them; it shall be an everlasting covenant with them," (Ezek. 37:24-26). I select a few passages out of many, because I merely wish to impress my readers with the fact, that the hope of believers was ever treasured up in Christ alone. All the other prophets concur in this. Thus Hosea, "Then shall the children of Judah and the children of Israel be gathered together, and appoint themselves one head," (Hosea 1:11). This he afterwards explains in clearer terms, "Afterward shall the children of Israel return, and seek the Lord their God, and David their king," (Hosea 3:5). Micah, also speaking of the return of the people, says expressly, "Their king shall pass before them, and the Lord on the head of them," (Micah 2:13). So Amos, in predicting the renovation of the people, says "In that day will I raise up the tabernacle of David that is fallen, and close up the breaches thereof; and I will raise up the ruins, and I will build it as in the days of old," (Amos 9:11); in other words, the only banner of salvation was, the exaltation of the family of David to regal splendour, as fulfilled in Christ. Hence, too, Zechariah, as nearer in time to the manifestation of Christ, speaks more plainly, "Rejoice greatly, O daughter of Zion; shout, O daughter of Jerusalem: behold, thy King cometh unto thee: he is just, and having salvation," (Zech. 9:9). This corresponds to the passage already quoted from the Psalms, "The Lord is their strength, and he is the saving health of their anointed." Here salvation is extended from the head to the whole body.

4. By familiarising the Jews with these prophecies, God intended to teach them, that in seeking for deliverance, they should turn their eyes directly towards Christ. And though they had sadly degenerated, they never entirely lost the knowledge of this general principle, that God, by the hand of Christ, would be the deliverer of the Church, as he had promised to David; and that in this way only the free covenant by which God had adopted his chosen people would be fulfilled. Hence it was, that on our Saviour's entry into Jerusalem, shortly before his death, the children shouted, "Hosannah to the son of David," (Mt. 21:9). For there seems to have been a hymn known to all, and in general use, in which they sung that the only remaining pledge which they had of the divine mercy was the promised advent of a Redeemer. For this reason, Christ tells his disciples to believe in him, in order that they might have a distinct and complete belief in God, "Ye believe in God, believe also in me," (John 14:1). For although, properly speaking, faith rises from Christ to the Father, he intimates, that even when it leans on God, it gradually vanishes away, unless he himself interpose to give it solid strength. The majesty of God is too high to be scaled up to by mortals, who creep like worms on the earth. Therefore, the common saying that God is the object of faith (Lactantius, lib. 4 c. 16), requires to be received with some modification. When Christ is called the image of the invisible God (Col. 1:15), the expression is not used without cause, but is designed to remind us that we can have no knowledge of our salvation, until we behold God in Christ. For although the Jewish scribes had by their false glosses darkened what the Prophets had taught concerning the Redeemer, yet Christ assumed it to be a fact, received, as it were, with public consent, that there was no other remedy in desperate circumstances, no other mode of delivering the Church than the manifestation of the Mediator. It is true, that the fact adverted to by Paul was not so generally known as it ought to have been--viz. that Christ is the end of the Law (Rom. 10:4), though this is both true, and clearly appears both from the Law and the Prophets. I am not now, however, treating of faith, as we shall elsewhere have a fitter place (Book 3 Chap. 2), but what I wish to impress upon my readers in this way is, that the first step in piety is, to acknowledge that God is a Father, to defend, govern, and cherish us, until he brings us to the eternal inheritance of his kingdom; that hence it is plain, as we lately observed, there is no having knowledge of God without Christ, and that, consequently, from the beginning of the world Christ was held forth to all the elect as the object of their faith and confidence. In this sense, Irenæus says, that the Father, who is boundless in himself, is bounded in the Son, because he has accommodated himself to our capacity, lest our minds should be swallowed up by the immensity of his glory (Irenaeus, lib. 4 cap. 8). Fanatics, not attending to this, distort a useful sentiment into an impious dream, [185] as if Christ had only a share of the Godhead, as a part taken from a whole; whereas the meaning merely is, that God is comprehended in Christ alone. The saying of John was always true, "whosoever denieth the Son, the same has not the Father," (1 John 2:23). For though in old time there were many who boasted that they worshipped the Supreme Deity, the Maker of heaven and earth, yet as they had no Mediator, it was impossible for them truly to enjoy the mercy of God, so as to feel persuaded that he was their Father. Not holding the head, that is, Christ, their knowledge of God was evanescent; and hence they at length fell away to gross and foul superstitions betraying their ignorance, just as the Turks in the present day, who, though proclaiming, with full throat, that the Creator of heaven and earth is their God, yet by their rejection of Christ, substitute an idol in his place.


[185] French, "reverie infernale."


     Christian Classics Ethereal Library / Public Domain

     Institutes of the Christian Religion

Skip Resolutions in 2019—Make a Rule of Life

By Jeremy Linneman 12/27/2018

     Deuteronomy 4:9 “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children—   ESV

     I used to love making New Year’s resolutions—in fact, I loved making them far more than I enjoyed keeping them. But about eight years ago, I was introduced to the old tradition of creating a Rule of Life, and since then, it has proved to be a much better use of time and energy.

     A Rule of Life contains spiritual, relational, and vocational rhythms needed to sustain the life in Christ we’ve been called to, and it doesn’t change much year in and year out. For anyone who is unfamiliar with the Rule or hasn’t created one, January 1 provides the perfect time to establish your own Rule of Life.

     This year, skip resolutions—make a Rule of Life instead.

Why Create a Rule of Life?

     Every Christian has a well-established pattern of living, whether it’s an intentionally developed set of commitments or an unstated set of values and practices, like praying before meals and going to church twice a month. But many of us aren’t as deliberate with our spiritual development as we are with our time and priority management at work, and our lives and relationships suffer as a result.

     Amid our busy schedules, we’re constantly juggling relationships and responsibilities and often feel like we’re dropping more balls than we’re keeping in the air. When we lack a consistent and thoughtful way of doing life well, we will end up distracted and overwhelmed by life, and our spiritual and emotional growth will plateau. Few of us want to take this approach to life, but it just seems to happen. We wind up:

     Scattered: Our schedule is full but doesn’t reflect our purpose and priorities.
     Hurried: We’re busier than we want to be, but don’t know what to change.
     Reactive: It seems we’re never in charge, always responding to demands.
     Exhausted: We end each day weary and discouraged, unsure if we’ve spent it well.

     My experience as a pastor has shown me that many of my friends and church members aren’t undone by poor theology or a lack of biblical information. Instead, we often fail to grow spiritually because we haven’t planned and made space for a deep, abiding fellowship with God.

     The lack of spiritual planning may be rooted in a lukewarm heart toward Christ, but at other times, we genuinely want to go deeper with God but  don’t know how to make time and space to simply be with him and gain spiritual strength for each day’s challenges.    and thus the reason for Lean-into-God

What Is a Rule of Life?

     A Rule of Life is “an intentional, conscious plan to keep God at the center of everything we do. . . . The starting point and foundation of any Rule is a desire to be with God and to love him” (Scazzero, 196).

     The Rule is a way to “begin with the end in mind” — to envision a sustainable, thriving walk with the Lord, in his Word, in prayer, in community, in our family, and in our work, then work backward to a set of commitments. It’s not about detailed to-do lists that must be maintained. A Rule of Life instead gives you the opportunity to prayerfully discern what roles and responsibilities the Lord has given you, and to organize your life in the manner most conducive to spiritual growth and depth in him.

     The Rule of Life has a rich history in Christian tradition. The Rule has been traced back to the early monastic movement in the fourth century, and the most well-known Rule was written by Benedict in the sixth century. The Rule of Saint Benedict has influenced Eastern and Western Christians for roughly 1,500 years, and many Reformers and evangelical patriarchs have practiced similar spiritual routines without the title. Lately, many Christian traditions have returned to the Rule as an antidote to our Western culture’s lonely and fragmented lives. (Yes, Christians were doing 12 Rules for Life way before it was cool.)

Five Basic Elements of a Rule

     When helping others create a Rule of Life, I suggest five basic elements: Relationship with God, Personal Life/Health, Relationships, Church, and Work.

     The goal of life is to dwell in deep communion with Christ and to be firmly anchored in our union with him. But how and when and where we practice these blessed realities will depend greatly on many factors, including our life stage, work, and physical capacity. If you have multiple jobs or small children, your Rule should reflect those responsibilities. In the words of Clint Eastwood in Dirty Harry, “A man’s got to know his limitations.” Here are a few subcategories, and you’ll certainly want to prayerfully think of your own components.

     Relationship with God
     Scripture reading
     Silence and solitude
     Study and reflection

     Personal Life/Health
     Rest and Sabbath
     Physical health and fitness
     Recreation and hobbies
     Money and possessions

     Neighbors and coworkers
     Children and parenting
     Extended family

     Participation and worship
     Friendships and community
     Service and mission

     Current position and responsibilities
     Workplace relationships
     Education, personal development, and coaching

     In each of these five areas of life, I write out one key verse, a vision statement, and four to eight commitments. For example, under Personal Life/Health, I might write:

     Verse: (Dt 4:9) “Only take care, and keep your soul diligently, lest you forget the things that your eyes have seen, and lest they depart from your heart all the days of your life. Make them known to your children and your children’s children—   ESV

     Vision: I am a human being, created in the image of God, with limits and needs; I am a steward of the health and life God has given me, and I honor him by refreshing myself spiritually, physically, and emotionally.

     I sleep an average of eight hours every night (9:30 p.m. to 5:30 a.m.).
     I work no more than 50 hours weekly, including only two evenings each week.
     I exercise five days each week (Mon—Fri from 4 to 5 p.m.).
     I review our expenses each Friday and discuss our finances with my wife at the end of each month.
     I reflect on my past week and plan the week ahead each Sunday (1 to 3 p.m.).

How to Create Your First Rule of Life

     When writing a rule of life for the first time, I recommend a certain way of doing things. Many of these ideas were recommended to me originally by my pastor-friend Brian Howard and spiritual director Rich Plass.

1. Plan Ahead

     Ideally, set aside an entire eight- to ten-hour day to focus entirely on writing a Rule of Life.

     Goals are overrated; commitments are underrated.

     The best thing you can do right now, if you’re interested in writing a Rule, is to get out your calendar and pick an entire day away for this. If you’re married, coordinate with your spouse to trade off days away.

2. Get Away

     My family has a small cabin in the woods about an hour away—one of the benefits of moving back home. When I lived in Louisville, I’d spend a day at the nearby Abbey of Gethsemane. You could also spend the day at a public library or park, or even at home if it’s not too distracting. Go somewhere life-giving!

3. Be Prepared

     I suggest taking with you only a Bible and a blank notebook. Don’t bring your laptop or smartphone. Type up your notes later and resist listening to music, if possible.

4. Start with God’s Word

     Consider spending the first few hours of your day simply reading through passages of Scripture that help quiet and center your heart.

     When re-writing or reviewing my own Rule, I usually read a few dozen Psalms and pick another book of the Bible to read in its entirety.

     Also, take some time to pick a key verse for each of your five main categories. You’re not in a hurry!

5. Pray through Your Five Areas

     Prayerfully reflect on the five main areas of your life, and you may get a good sense of which area to focus your attention. I have found it easy to ignore the area of my life that needs the most attention.

     Often, our family finances are the last thing I want to spend time thinking and praying about, but it’s an area where my heart is easily moved to sin, and I need to practice regular submission to God with our money and possessions.

6. Write Out Your Commitments

     There is a big difference between goals and commitments. A goal is something you want to achieve, such as running a marathon. A commitment is a rhythm of life that puts you in a place to get there, such as running four miles five days a week.

     Goals are overrated; commitments are underrated.

     When your retreat day is complete, and you are back in the world of technology, translate each of your commitments into your calendar.

Deep Living

     In the words of General George S. Patton, “A good plan violently executed now is better than a perfect plan next week.” You don’t have to get it right. In everything, remember the purpose of the Rule of Life: to intentionally create time and space to enjoy deep fellowship with God, so that he can reorient and direct your days to increasingly glorify him along the way.

     Since creating my first Rule in 2010, my life circumstances have changed significantly, but my weekly rhythms have been remarkably consistent—morning prayer and reading, Sunday afternoon reflection and planning, two work evenings weekly, Sabbath on Monday, semi-annual retreats, and so on. My roles have shifted, and my responsibilities have increased, but the Rule and its practice have grounded me in a set of commitments and habits that have consistently facilitated peace, joy, and growth.

     Creating and living by a Rule may not be for everyone, but in our busy and fragmented world, it’s a helpful, time-honored resource for deep, wise living.

     Creating and living by a Rule may not be for everyone, but in our busy and fragmented world, it’s a helpful, time-honored resource for deep, wise living. In my own congregation and across many others, I long to see believers slowing down, planning prayerfully, and creating space to focus on God, his Word, and his calling on their lives. Imagine a whole church—even a whole movement of churches—stepping into the lives of their neighbors and the burdens of their communities from positions of rest, renewal, and spiritual strength.

     This winter, you may want to make resolutions or pick a word for the year. But consider that your life in Christ may be even more substantially transformed by creating and living by a Rule of Life. In the spirit of Ephesians 3:16, may your inner being be strengthened in Christ!

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     Jeremy Linneman is lead pastor of Trinity Community Church, a church he planted in Columbia, Missouri. Prior to planting Trinity, he was a staff pastor of Sojourn Community Church in Louisville, Kentucky, for seven years. He is author of  Life-Giving Groups: "How-To" Grow Healthy, Multiplying Community Groups: Jeremy and his wife, Jessie, have three sons and spend most of their free time outdoors.

The Continual Burnt Offering

By H.A. Ironside - 1941

January 16
Leviticus 17:11 For the life of the flesh is in the blood, and I have given it for you on the altar to make atonement for your souls, for it is the blood that makes atonement by the life.   ESV

     Year after year as the blood was shed at the altar and carried into the holiest, God was telling out the story of redeeming grace. It is the precious blood of Christ poured forth at Calvary which alone has settled the sin question to the divine satisfaction. By that mighty sacrifice iniquity has been put away and in the value of that blood the believer stands before God justified — cleared of every charge. Blood shed is life poured out. and it is through the life He gave up in death for us that we now live eternally.

How often do I wonder
That Christ should love me so;
But never can I answer
Why He such love should show;

It passeth understanding,
Out-reaching human thought.
That He, the Lord of glory
My soul with blood hath bought.
--- E. G. K. Wesley

The Continual Burnt Offering: Daily Meditations on the Word of God

Lower Criticism of the Old Testament

By Gleason Archer Jr.

     IN CONTRADISTINCTION to higher criticism, which deals with questions of the authorship and integrity of the text of Bible books, the science of lower criticism (or textual criticism) is concerned with the task of restoring the original text on the basis of the various copies which have been preserved to us. It attempts to work through the evidence provided by the variants, or different readings, where the surviving manuscripts disagree with each other, and by the use of a scientific system, arrive at what was most probably the wording used by the original author.

Types of Manuscript Error

     It is a well-known fact that certain characteristic types of error are apt to accompany the copying out of any written document. Sometimes the copyist would substitute a word of similar sound for the one used in the original (e.g., whole for hole, or there for their); he might inadvertently write the same word twice (e.g., and and); or he might switch the order of letters (e.g., seige instead of siege). The types of error which could be listed in this connection are very numerous indeed. They can usually be detected from the context itself, and the intelligent reader can easily tell what the copyist really meant to write.

     But there are some types of scribal inadvertence which could be explained in any one of several different ways, and some standard method or system is needed to arrive at that correction which is most likely to have been the word or expression used in the original. In the transmission of the sacred text of Holy Scripture, we find that the same types of scribal slip as appear in secular works have crept into the copies of Bible books. As has already been suggested, it would take nothing short of a miracle to make possible an infallible copy of an infallible original. God has not seen fit to perform such miracles as the Scriptures have been handed down from copy to copy between the time of original composition and the invention of the printing press. There is no particular reason why He should have. Therefore we have to deal intelligently with the problems presented by transmissional errors and deal with them in as objective and systematic fashion as possible. This, then, is the special task of biblical lower criticism.


  • Haplography—Singular entry of a letter which should have been written twice.
  • Dittography—Writing twice what should have been written once.
  • Metathesis—Transposing of letters or words.
  • Fusion—Combining all or part of two words into a single word.
  • Fission—Division of a single word into two words.
  • Homophony—Substitution of one homonym for another.
  • Misreading similar letters—Confusion of one letter for another of similar shape.
  • Homoeoteleuton—Omission of an intervening passage due to having a similar ending (such as between two sentences).
  • Homoeoarkton—Omission of an intervening passage from the beginning of two similar sentences.
  • Accidental omission—Loss of a single word or letter.
  • Vowel misreading—Misreading vowel letters as consonants.
  • Vowel point variations—Misreading a weak vowel as an actual consonant or, a discrepancy in added vowel points giving a change in word meaning.

  •      First of all it is necessary to analyze the various types of error which copyists were apt to commit, and observe the contexts in which such errors were most likely to occur. This is necessary preparation before proceeding to their correction. Some of the commonest classes of error are listed below, and are illustrated for the most part from the First Qumran Isaiah Scroll (1QIsa).

         1. Haplography—the writing of a letter, syllable, or word only once, when it should have been written more than once. For example, Isa. 26:3, BeKāBāṮeHåuW (or BiṬeḤuW), meaning “in thee they trusted” (or “in thee; trust ye”), instead of BeKā BāṬuWaḤ BiṬeḤuW (“trusting in thee; trust ye”). As written in consonants only (as of course all Hebrew was before A.D. 800), it would be merely the difference between the scroll’s BK BṬḤW and the MT’s BK BṬWḤ BṬḤW. Such haplography has probably crept into the MT of Judg. 20:13, BNYMN (“Benjamin”) being written for BNY BNYMN (“the children of Benjamin”). The latter reading has been preserved by the LXX, and indicates the original wording (as we can tell from the plural verb ˓ābû which goes with this noun, for a simple BNYMN would demand a singular verb). The accidental omission of a letter is also known as haplography even when no doubling is called for. For example, the Isaiah Scroll reads BḤZQT YD (“with strength of hand”) in Isaiah 8:11, instead of the MT’s BḤZQT HYD (“with the strength of the hand”).

         A Survey of Old Testament Introduction

    The Problem Of The Old Testament

    By James Orr 1907

    The above results are obtained from the simple considerations that our assumed documents antedate the age of written prophecy, and that they are two in number. From the vantage-ground thus gained, we may now push our inquiry into the value of the Hebrew tradition a good way further back. Obviously there is need for doing this. Grant that we have a rich, and in the main coherent, tradition as a possession of the people of Israel in North and South as early as the ninth or eighth century, it will be felt that we are still a long way from the events themselves to which the tradition relates, and the question may properly be asked whether an earlier date can be assigned to the tradition than that which we have yet reached? Conjecture here is of little value; but there are some very definite stepping-stones, to which we may, we think, trust ourselves with great confidence.

    1. It is first to be noted that the facts already ascertained about the tradition of themselves carry us a good way beyond the dates assumed for the reduction of the tradition to writing. The point here is, that, whatever the date of authorship of the supposed documents, the tradition itself, from its fixed and settled character in both branches of the kingdom, must be much earlier. The tradition which J and E found did not come into existence in that year, or that century. It had a definite, stable form, which it must have possessed for a considerable time before, and which took a much longer time to grow into its settled shape. It must have had substantially the shape in which we find it before the division of the kingdom,—only thus can we account for its being found in practically the same form in both North and South,—and for the absence of all allusions to the division. This means that it was the possession of Israel in the days of Solomon and David: there is no great stretch of imagination in saying, even in the days of Samuel. If it be urged that this is incompatible with its mode of transmission by vague popular repetition, it may with great cogency be replied that the coherence, consistency, and persistence of the tradition may be itself a proof that it was not left to depend entirely on this mode of transmission, but already existed, in some form, in written shape, or was at least the subject of careful and continuous instruction.

    2. With this has to be taken into account another fact of great importance. We have hitherto, in deference to prevailing views, accepted the ninth and eighth centuries as the periods of the composition of the J and E narratives. These dates, however, it is now necessary to remind the reader, are at most the termini ad quem for the writing of these histories. They were not later than 850–750 B.C., but it does not follow that they were not much earlier. “The terminus a quo,” says Dr. Driver, “is more difficult to fix with confidence: in fact, conclusive criteria fail us.” The statement that J and E originated at about the dates named has settled down into a kind of commonplace in the critical schools; yet it is far from being a secure result of criticism: we should be disposed to say it is one of the most insecure. If the reader will consult the list of dates formerly given, he will see that critics like Dillmann, Riehm, Kittel, carry back the date of E as far as 900–850 B.C.; Schrader to 975–950 B.C.; Nöldeke puts J about 900 B.C.; Schultz puts J in the reign of Solomon, etc. Writers of older standing went back still further. Bleek, e.g., put the Jehovist in the reign of David; Colenso, in the age of David and Solomon. But many recent writers also uphold a very early date. König, e.g., thinks that E can be placed with greatest certainty in the time of the Judges; J is put by him in the reign of David. Köhler gives similar dates: E in the time of the Judges (c. 1100 B.C.) and J in the reign of David (c. 1000 B.C.).3 Klostermann, from an independent standpoint, attributes to the old Pentateuchal history a very high antiquity, the upper limit of which cannot be determined.

    If, in surprise, the reader asks on what grounds the dates have undergone so remarkable a lowering in the Wellhausen school, the answer is not far to seek. It is not that any new and revolutionary discoveries have been made as regards the language, text, or contents of the books. The really determining factor will be found generally to lie in a new theory of religious development, combined with assumptions as to the reflections of later events (e.g., the wars of Syria with Israel) in the patriarchal stories. But here again, as we shall see more fully below, the newest school of all—that of Gunkel—comes in with a weighty caveat. Gunkel argues strongly for the “pre-prophetic” character of the narratives; finds the formation of patriarchal legends concluded as far back as 1200 B.C.; is clear that their after working-up is not later than the early kings; rejects the mirroring of the Syrian wars, and (with one exception due to later addition) can discover no indication of political conditions after 900 B.C. It need not be said that if dates such as those preferred by the above-mentioned writers be admitted, the whole state of the question is revolutionised, and we are brought within measurable distance of a period from which sound tradition could easily be preserved. The argument from the firmness and consistency of the tradition acquires in that case enhanced importance.

    3. The supposition is made above that the J and E histories, if the dates assigned to them by the critics are correct, were not based wholly on oral tradition, but may rest on older written material as well. Is this entirely conjecture? Let us see.

    (1) The history of the language affords the best grounds for believing that the history of the people must have existed in some earlier written form. We have argued that the existence of the tradition in a fixed and settled form in the ninth and eighth centuries implies its existence at a long anterior period. But what shall we say of the works J and E themselves, and of the language in which they are written? That language belongs, as we have seen, “to the golden age of Hebrew literature.” It was a fully-formed literary language—a language with the finest capabilities of historical narration already developed. How did that language come into being? Whence did it derive its literary capabilities? Whence the literary art and skill to produce these books we are dealing with? These are questions which seem often strangely ignored. The language of Shakespeare was not Shakespeare’s creation; neither was the language of Chaucer, Chaucer’s creation. But here are two historians—according to some, “schools” of historians—expert to the highest degree in the use of the pen. The men who wrote the 24th chapter of Genesis—that “charming idyll, the captivating picture of the wooing and bringing home of Rebekah”—the story of Joseph, the dramatic scenes between Moses and Pharaoh, the narrative of the crossing of the Red Sea, were authors of the first rank. How were they created? On what models did they work? Is it not necessary to assume earlier literature, and that, too, of a highly developed kind,—not songs merely, or dry court chronicles, but historical compositions,—to explain the existing productions?

    (2) But here, again, it is important to note, we are not left wholly to inference or conjecture. The productions of J and E are not, on the current view of their dates, the earliest specimens of Hebrew literature we possess. We need not go further than the pages of Dr. Kautzsch, whose devotion to criticism will not be doubted, in proof of this statement. According to this authority, the language was already highly developed, and the art of writing disseminated among the common people, in the time of the Judges. The Song of Deborah in Judges 5 —“a poem of priceless worth,” “genuine, splendid poetry”—is ascribed by him to about 1250 B.C., and the fable of Jotham (Judg. 9:7 ff.), the artistic finish of which, he says, is so high, and the delicate satire so great, “as again to suggest the conjecture that this form of composition must have been long and diligently cultivated, is referred to the same period.” Between this and the reign of David fall other pieces, as the Song of Miriam, the poetical fragments in Numbers, the address to the sun and moon in Joshua. To David’s reign (1020–980 B.C.) belong the elegies of David on Saul and Abner, and to the same age, or that of Solomon, a number of other highly finished productions. The speech of Solomon at the dedication of the temple, 1 Kings 8:12 ff. (how much?) is held to be “an authentic monument of the reign of Solomon.” Then we come to the so-called “Hero-Stories” of the Book of Judges, and to the “Jerusalem-Stories,” the “David-Stories,” and the “Saul-Stories,” which make up a large part of the Books of Samuel. These are placed between 933–911 B.C.—the “Saul-Stories” a few years later. The “Jerusalem-Source” is assigned “to the period immediately after Solomon,” and is described as “one of the most complete, truthful, and finished products of historical writing which have come down to us from the Hebrews, and indeed from the whole ancient world.”

    Here then we have the language nearly in its prime carried back to the thirteenth century B.C., with a long cultivation necessarily preceding,—are brought, in short, almost to the verge of the Exodus. Are we to suppose that all this while nothing was done to produce some records of the people’s history, of the events of the Exodus, which admittedly so deeply moved them, and, beyond that, of the traditions of the fathers? To us this appears so incredible, that, even if no literature existed which seemed to require such records for its explanation, we should be forced to suppose that they once existed, but had unfortunately become lost. Much more are we driven to assume them, if regard is had to the mass of the tradition, and to the clearness, coherence, and religious importance of its contents, so different from what forms the staple of popular oral legend. It is not a conclusive answer to this to say that we have no direct evidence of the existence of such records. If the essential parts of such records are incorporated in the works we have, it can readily be understood why they should drop out of memory and use; or it may turn out in the end that the so-called J and E are themselves such records, —that is, we may be compelled by the internal character of the history to antedate its written form, and to revise our conceptions of the literary capabilities of an earlier age.

    (3) A third consideration under this head remains. The use of earlier records in the composition of J and E is not a hypothesis opposed to critical science: it is one to which adherents of the critical school in perhaps increasing number are coming back. Not to speak of others more conservative, such writers as Delitzsch always insisted on the use of ancient material, part of it Mosaic, in the Pentateuch; but, as representing a newer position, we may instance Kittel. “Certain it is,” this writer says, “that such sources, probably even in documentary form, to some extent, lay before E as well as J.… In many cases it seems demonstrable that E worked in accordance with sources that were ancient, and in part very ancient. And further, where this cannot now be discerned, we may accept his descriptions as resting on older material, oral or written, except where there are conclusive reasons of a special kind to the contrary.”

         The Problem of the Old Testament

    • Fights and Quarrels
    • Submitting to God 2
    • Lsten Rich Men

         Devotionals, notes, poetry and more

    UCB The Word For Today
         Start a journal of your spiritual journey
         1/16/2018    Bob Gass

         ‘Moses wrote all the words of the LORD. And he rose early in the morning, and built an altar.’

    (Ex 24:4) And Moses wrote down all the words of the LORD. He rose early in the morning and built an altar at the foot of the mountain, and twelve pillars, according to the twelve tribes of Israel. ESV

         One of the secrets of Moses’ great success in life was this: he spent time each day with God, and he wrote down what God told him. And you should do that too. Here’s why. Writing a) clarifies your thoughts; b) gives you a permanent record you can refer back to; c) allows you to measure your progress. We only remember what we take time to record. One of the best-known American missionaries was Jim Elliot, who became a martyr for Christ in 1956 in Ecuador. He kept a spiritual journal, and it makes interesting reading: ‘My devotional reading pattern was broken. I have never restored it…prayer as a single man was difficult…now it’s too hard to get out of bed in the morning…I’ve made resolutions on this score before now, but not followed them up.’ Such writings become a mirror that reflects your true spiritual condition – a condition it’s easy to forget unless it’s staring you in the face each day. Elliot, like all of us, struggled with the spiritual disciplines. But unlike most of us, he kept a written record of his spiritual defeats as well as his spiritual victories. Keeping such a journal will force you to reflect on your heart’s true condition, record your progress, regain your lost momentum, reject your bad habits, reinforce your good habits, and help you to reach your spiritual goals. Do you know any other discipline that offers such benefits? No? Then start a journal of your spiritual journey today.

    Genesis 33-35
    Matthew 10:1-16

    UCB The Word For Today

         January 16, 2016

         I like Lily to sleep in on weekends. Sometimes she does and sometimes she doesn’t. How do you get up? Are you one of those people who wakes with a start? Do you know the kind of person I’m talking about? The alarm goes off and they jump up as though someone threw cold water on them. I have a son and daughter-in-law who have several alarms because the first and second don’t do it. I usually wake up about the same time each day and waking up is a slow process for me. By the time I get to my second cup of coffee I’m feeling fully awake.

         I look back on my life and all the stupid things I thought, said and did and I wonder if I was going through life half asleep. I think losing my job and going to seminary was like that second cup of coffee. I was finally waking up and taking note of what’s really important.

         I can’t remember ever not believing in God, but believing in God and loving God are worlds apart. When I lost my job I expected God to metaphorically show up on a white horse and make my unjust treatment right, but justice never came. What did come was my first grandchild and a long, slow process of recovery. My identity had been wrapped up with my career, but now I was discovering who I was through my relationship with my wife. In the intimate relationship of husband and wife I began to understand my relationship with God. It’s great to be alive.

         … suffering comes in many other forms, too: illness, depression, bereavement, moral dilemmas, poverty, tragedy, accidents, and death. Nobody reading the New Testament or any of the other Christian literature from the first two or three centuries could have accused the early Christians of painting too rosy a picture of what life would be like for those who follow Jesus. But the point is this: it is precisely when we are suffering that we can most confidently expect the Spirit to be with us. We don’t seek, or court, suffering or martyrdom. But if and when it comes, in whatever guise, we know that, as Paul says toward the end of his great Spirit-chapter, “in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us” (Romans 8:37). --- N. T. Wright

    Simply Christian: Why Christianity Makes Sense

    American Minute
         by Bill Federer

         Thomas Jefferson had it commemorated on his tombstone, along with the Declaration of Independence. What was it? It was Jefferson’s Article of Religious Freedom, passed this day, January 16, 1786, in the Virginia Assembly. In it, Jefferson wrote: “Well aware… that Almighty God hath created the mind free… all attempts to influence it by temporal punishments… tend only to begat… hypocrisy… and are a departure from the plan of the Holy Author of religion, who being Lord both of body and mind… chose not to propagate it by coercions… as was in his Almighty power to do, but to extend it by… reason alone.”

    American Minute

    A Testament Of Devotion
         Thomas R. Kelly

         The Kelly family arrived in Haverford early in September 1936. They swiftly found their place in the Quaker community. Thomas Kelly's gifts of ministry made themselves felt in Haverford Meeting. His sense of humor, however, did not desert him in coming among Eastern Quakers who called him from far and near to speak to their forums, commencements and classes. He wrote to a friend at this period, "An increasing number of speaking engagements come along, most of them highly unremunerative. Quakers with their unpaid ministry are well grounded in their Biblical persuasion that the Gospel is free." Nor was he uncritical of the annual gathering of Quakers that takes place in Philadelphia each spring, "Being a relative newcomer, I have no very good background for judging the Yearly Meeting at Arch Street. In the midst of a lot of historical lumber, I felt some life. But only a few have the vivid sense of the freshness and the newness of the Quaker discovery and emphasis. Was it not Gerald Heard who described Friends as reminding him of delicate chased silver. The explosive ruggedness of Luther and Fox is not found."

    A Testament of Devotion

    Lean Into God
         Compilation by RickAdams7

    My theology,
    is that the universe was dictated
    but not signed.
    --- Christopher Morley

    I’ll praise my maker while I’ve breath
    And when my voice is lost in death,
    Praise shall employ my nobler powers.
    My days of praise shall ne’er be past.
    --- John Wesley (His last hymn)

    How did we get to a day when stress and fatigue are almost a badge of success? --- Gordon MacDonald
    The one cornerstone of belief upon which the Society of Friends is built is the conviction that God does indeed communicate with each one of the spirits He has made, in a direct and living inbreathing of some measure of the breath of His own Life; that He never leaves Himself without a witness in the heart as well as in the surroundings of man; that the measure of light, life, or grace thus given increases by obedience; and that in order clearly to hear the Divine voice speaking within us we need to be still; to be alone with Him, in the secret place of His Presence; that all flesh should keep silence before Him. --- Caroline Stephen, 1834-1909

    ... from here, there and everywhere

    Proverbs 3:25-35
         by D.H. Stern

    25     Don’t be afraid of sudden terror or destruction
    caused by the wicked, when it comes;
    26     for you can rely on ADONAI;
    he will keep your foot from being caught in a trap.
    27     Don’t withhold good from someone entitled to it
    when you have in hand the power to do it.
    28     Don’t tell your neighbor, “Go away! Come another time;
    I’ll give it to you tomorrow,” when you have it now.
    29     Don’t plan harm against your neighbor
    who lives beside you trustingly.
    30     Don’t quarrel with someone for no reason,
    if he has done you no harm.
    31     Don’t envy a man of violence,
    don’t choose any of his ways;
    32     for the perverse is an abomination to ADONAI,
    but he shares his secret counsel with the upright.
    33     ADONAI’s curse is in the house of the wicked,
    but he blesses the home of the righteous.
    34     The scornful he scorns,
    but gives grace to the humble.
    35     The wise win honor,
    but fools win shame.

    Complete Jewish Bible : An English Version of the Tanakh (Old Testament) and B'Rit Hadashah (New Testament)
    My Utmost For The Highest
         A Daily Devotional by Oswald Chambers

                    The voice of the nature of God

         I heard the voice of the Lord saying, Whom shall I send? ---
    Isaiah 6:8.

         When we speak of the call of God, we are apt to forget the most important feature, viz., the nature of the One Who calls. There is the call of the sea, the call of the mountains, the call of the great ice barriers; but these calls are only heard by the few. The call is the expression of the nature from which it comes, and we can only record the call if the same nature is in us. The call of God is the expression of God’s nature, not of our nature. There are strands of the call of God providentially at work for us which we recognize and no one else does. It is the threading of God’s voice to us in some particular matter, and it is no use consulting anyone else about it. We have to keep that profound relationship between our souls and God.

         The call of God is not the echo of my nature; my affinities and personal temperament are not considered. As long as I consider my personal temperament and think about what I am fitted for, I shall never hear the call of God. But when I am brought into relationship with God, I am in the condition Isaiah was in. Isaiah’s soul was so attuned to God by the tremendous crisis he had gone through that he recorded the call of God to his amazed soul. The majority of us have no ear for anything but ourselves, we cannot hear a thing God says. To be brought into the zone of the call of God is to be profoundly altered.

    My Utmost for His Highest
    The Cones
         the Poetry of R.S. Thomas

                    The Cones

    But why a thousand? I ask.
      It is like breaking off
      a flake from the great pyramid
      of time and exalting the molecules
      into wholes. The pyramid
      is the hive to which
      generation after generation
      comes with nectar for the making
      of the honey it shall not eat.
      Emperors and their queens? Pollen
      blown away from forgotten
      flowers. Wars? Scratches upon earth's
      ageless face. He leads us to expect
      too much. Following his star,
      we will find in the manger
      as the millenium dies neither
      the child reborn nor the execrable
      monster, but only the curled-up
      doll, whose spring is the tribute
      we bring it, that before we have done
      rubbing our eyes will be back
      once more in the arms of the maternal
      grass in travesty of the Pieta.

    The Poems of R.S. Thomas
    Take Heart
         January 16

         But a Samaritan… took pity on him. --- Luke 10:33.

         Our Lord, true poet that he was, had a great liking for pictorial teaching. (Highways of the Heart (Morrison Classic Sermon Series, The) ) The scene, familiar to them all; the robbery, an occurrence they all dreaded; the ecclesiastics, [those] whom they knew so well; the Samaritan, [he] whom they all despised—these made a glowing, vivid picture that nobody but a master could have painted, and nobody but the Master ever did. It is a beautiful etching of benevolence, and as such it is immortal. But people have loved to find in this Samaritan a delineation of the Lord himself in his infinite compassion for humankind.

         The Samaritan came just where the man was and handled him where he lay battered. How perfectly that touch applies to the Lord, the teller of the story!

         Think of the Incarnation. It was the Son of God seeing human need and coming in mercy where humans were. Not speaking from high heaven, not casting down a scroll out of eternity. No, this is the glory of the Incarnation, that when people were bruised and battered by their sin, Christ, the Son of God, the good Samaritan, came just where they were. Show me where folk are lying ill at home, and I can show you Jesus there. Show me where hearts are crying out in darkness, “My God, why have you forsaken me?” and I can show you Jesus there. Where people have suffered, Jesus Christ has suffered. Where people have toiled, Jesus Christ has toiled. Where people have wept, Jesus Christ has wept. Where people have died, Jesus Christ has died. He took up our infirmities and carried our sorrows and made his grave with the wicked.

         Christ was genial, kindly, and accessible, a lover of human haunts, the friend of publicans and sinners. Simon Peter was busy with his nets, and Christ came where he was. Matthew was seated at the tax collector’s booth, and Christ came to him. The poor demoniac was in the graveyard and our good Samaritan came exactly where he was.

         That is exactly what he is doing still. “Just As I Am” is a very gracious hymn, but I want someone to write me another hymn: “Just where I am, O Lamb of God, you come.”
    --- George H. Morrison Take Heart: Daily Devotions with the Church's Great Preachers

    On This Day   January 16
         “Young Man …”

         On a cold Sunday in 1873, a dignified woman and her portly companion trudged across Clark Street Bridge in Chicago. College administrator Emma Dryer and evangelist D. L. Moody were discussing a Christian school for Chicago. Dryer insisted that such a school be coeducational, but Moody disagreed.

         Miss Dryer decided to raise the money herself, and in 1882 her institute opened with 50 students. Moody, watching from afar, was impressed and agreed to lend his support if Chicagoans could raise $250,000. I will tell you what I have on my heart. I would like to see $250,000 raised at once; $250,000 for Chicago is not anything. Take $50,000 and put up a building that will house 75 or 100 people, where they can eat and sleep. Take $200,000 and invest it at 5 percent, and that gives you $10,000 a year to run this work. Then take men that have the gifts and train them for this work of reaching the people.

         Men, he finally agreed, and women. It happened, and Emma Dryer, who had kept the vision before Moody for years and provided educational and organizational expertise to the school’s beginnings, resigned to make room for his leadership. Land and buildings were acquired, and on January 16, 1890, Moody Bible Institute was dedicated.

         Two years later, William Evans became MBI’s first graduate. Evans, a New York journalist, had first heard Moody in New York City. Preaching from Luke 5, Moody had challenged young people to give themselves for Christian service. Suddenly the evangelist had looked down at young Evans. “Young man, I mean you.”

         Afterward Moody found Evans and said, “Young man, somehow or other God told me He meant you. Have you never been called to give your life to the service of Jesus Christ?” When Evans mentioned his comfortable salary, Moody retorted, “Pack up your trunk and go to my school in Chicago. Never mind about money.”

         Evans went. And he became the first of thousands who, for over a century, have spanned the globe for Christ from the Moody Bible Institute of Chicago.

         Timothy, my child, Christ Jesus is kind, and you must let him make you strong. You have often heard me teach. Now I want you to tell these same things to followers who can be trusted to tell others.
    --- 2 Timothy 2:1,2.

    On This Day 365 Amazing And Inspiring Stories About Saints, Martyrs And Heroes

    Morning and Evening
         Daily Readings / CHARLES H. SPURGEON

              Morning - January 16

         “I will help thee, saith the Lord." --- Isaiah 41:14.

         This morning let us hear the Lord Jesus speak to each one of us: “I will help thee.” “It is but a small thing for me, thy God, to help thee. Consider what I have done already. What! not help thee? Why, I bought thee with my blood. What! not help thee? I have died for thee; and if I have done the greater, will I not do the less? Help thee! It is the least thing I will ever do for thee; I have done more, and will do more. Before the world began I chose thee. I made the covenant for thee. I laid aside my glory and became a man for thee; I gave up my life for thee; and if I did all this, I will surely help thee now. In helping thee, I am giving thee what I have bought for thee already. If thou hadst need of a thousand times as much help, I would give it thee; thou requirest little compared with what I am ready to give. ’Tis much for thee to need, but it is nothing for me to bestow. ‘Help thee?’ Fear not! If there were an ant at the door of thy granary asking for help, it would not ruin thee to give him a handful of thy wheat; and thou art nothing but a tiny insect at the door of my all-sufficiency. ‘I will help thee.’ ”

         O my soul, is not this enough? Dost thou need more strength than the omnipotence of the United Trinity? Dost thou want more wisdom than exists in the Father, more love than displays itself in the Son, or more power than is manifest in the influences of the Spirit? Bring hither thine empty pitcher! Surely this well will fill it. Haste, gather up thy wants, and bring them here—thine emptiness, thy woes, thy needs. Behold, this river of God is full for thy supply; what canst thou desire beside? Go forth, my soul, in this thy might. The Eternal God is thine helper!

              “Fear not, I am with thee, oh, be not dismay’d!
              I, I am thy God, and will still give thee aid.”

              Evening - January 16

         “The Messiah shall be cut off, but not for himself.”
    --- Daniel 9:26.

         Blessed be his name, there was no cause of death in him. Neither original nor actual sin had defiled him, and therefore death had no claim upon him. No man could have taken his life from him justly, for he had done no man wrong, and no man could even have lain him by force unless he had been pleased to yield himself to die. But lo, one sins and another suffers. Justice was offended by us, but found its satisfaction in him. Rivers of tears, mountains of offerings, seas of the blood of bullocks, and hills of frankincense, could not have availed for the removal of sin; but Jesus was cut off for us, and the cause of wrath was cut off at once, for sin was put away for ever. Herein is wisdom, whereby substitution, the sure and speedy way of atonement, was devised! Herein is condescension, which brought Messiah, the Prince, to wear a crown of thorns, and die upon the cross! Herein is love, which led the Redeemer to lay down his life for his enemies!

         It is not enough, however, to admire the spectacle of the innocent bleeding for the guilty, we must make sure of our interest therein. The special object of the Messiah’s death was the salvation of his church; have we a part and a lot among those for whom he gave his life a ransom? Did the Lord Jesus stand as our representative? Are we healed by his stripes? It will be a terrible thing indeed if we should come short of a portion in his sacrifice; it were better for us that we had never been born. Solemn as the question is, it is a joyful circumstance that it is one which may be answered clearly and without mistake. To all who believe on him the Lord Jesus is a present Saviour, and upon them all the blood of reconciliation has been sprinkled. Let all who trust in the merit of Messiah’s death be joyful at every remembrance of him, and let their holy gratitude lead them to the fullest consecration to his cause.

    Morning and Evening
    Amazing Grace
         January 16


         William Cowper, 1731–1800

         Oh, the depth of the riches of the wisdom and knowledge of God! How unsearchable His judgments … .
    (Romans 11:33)

         Good when He gives, supremely good,
         nor less when He denies.
         Even crosses from His sovereign hand
         are blessings in disguise. --- Unknown

         The hymn “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” has been acclaimed as one of the finest songs ever written on the theme of God’s providence. This label is made all the more amazing by the fact that the hymn text was written by an English poet who lived a lifetime of mental distress. William Cowper’s emotional upsets included an 18-month stay in an insane asylum and later several attempted suicides. During his time in the asylum, Cowper began reading the Bible. At the age of 33 he had a genuine conversion experience. Yet he was periodically haunted by deep depressions, voices, and visions, and the overwhelming thought that God had forsaken him and would doom him to hell.

         But between these times of mental melancholia, William Cowper was a gifted writer. Several of his secular works achieved great literary fame. For nearly two decades he worked closely with John Newton in Olney, England, and eventually their combined talents produced the famous Olney Hymns hymnal. In this ambitious collection of 349 hymns, 67 were written by Cowper, including such favorites as “O For a Closer Walk With God” and “There Is a Fountain.”

         “God Moves in a Mysterious Way” was originally titled “Conflict: Light Shining Out Of Darkness.” It is thought to be Cowper’s final hymn text and a reflection of God’s leading throughout his own lifetime. There is even speculation that it was written following a failed attempt at suicidal drowning. Regardless of the original motivation for their writing, these words have since been used to bring much comfort to God’s people for nearly two centuries:

         God moves in a mysterious way
         His wonders to perform;
         He plants His foot-steps in the sea
         and rides upon the storm.
         You fearful saints, fresh courage take:
         The clouds you so much dread
         are big with mercy, and shall break
         in blessings on your head.
         Judge not the Lord by feeble sense,
         but trust Him for His grace;
         behind a frowning providence
         faith sees a smiling face.
         Blind unbelief is sure to err
         and scan His work in vain;
         God is His own interpreter,
         and He will make it plain.

         For Today: Proverbs 23:30; Matthew 11:25, 26; 2 Corinthians 1:9.

         Pause to thank God for the various and perhaps unusual ways He has directed your life to this very moment. Resolve to trust Him more fully in the days ahead. Sing this hymn as you remember that ---

    Amazing Grace: 366 Inspiring Hymn Stories for Daily Devotions
    Ill Gotten Gain
         Alistair Begg

    Pt 1

    Pt 2

         Alistair Begg

    Providence Defined

    Providence in Christ's Death

    Genesis 46-47
         Dr. Andy Woods


    Video to come, God willing, at future date


    Video to come, God willing, at future date


    Video to come, God willing, at future date


    Video to come, God willing, at future date


    Video to come, God willing, at future date


    Video to come, God willing, at future date


    Video to come, God willing, at future date


    Video to come, God willing, at future date


    Video to come, God willing, at future date


    Video to come, God willing, at future date

    Andy Woods of Sugar Land Bible Church
    Genesis 46-47
         Jon Courson

    Genesis 47:7-10
    Being And Bestowing A Blessing
    Jon Courson

    click here

    Genesis 46
    Jon Courson

    click here

    Genesis 47
    Jon Courson

    click here

    Genesis 43-48
    Jon Courson

    click here

    Jon Courson

    Genesis 46-47
         Skip Heitzig

    Genesis 46 - 47
    Calvary Chapel NM

    Skip Heitzig | Calvary Chapel NM

    Genesis 46-47
         Paul LeBoutillier

    Genesis 46-47
    Joseph's Family Comes to Egypt
    10-25-2012 | Paul LeBoutillier

    Paul LeBoutillier | Calvary Chapel Ontario, Oregon

    Genesis 46-47
         Brett Meador | Athey Creek

    The Ultimate Pessimist
    Genesis 47:8-10, 45:25-28
    s2-069 | 6/01/2014

    Genesis 46, 47:1-11
    m2-028 | 6-04-2014

    Bread From Heaven
    Genesis 47:11-13
    s2-030 | 6-08-2014

    Genesis 47:11-31, 48:1-22
    m2-029 | 6-11-2014

         ==============================      ==============================

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