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Study books on discoveries in Biblical Archaeology PDF Print E-mail

Recently I made a video on YouTube about various reading resources on the topic of history and archaeology in the Bible. I wanted to make the video about some of the books in my personal library that I have used to educate myself about various discoveries in Biblical Archaeology and other topics. There are many works of biblical scholarship which still remain faithful to the text of the Bible and uphold its fidelity, accuracy, and reliability and I believe that realizing that is mostly a matter of being informed and educating one's self about such scholarly works that are out there.

The video is embedded below for your viewing convenience. Please feel free to comment on the video and leave some feedback on YouTube. I apologize for the occasional slips of the tongue in this video. I have some notes below on things that are referenced and discussed the video.

 

[source: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qE5xhU3wjw0]

The oldest Hebrew Scripture writing that I refer to in the video was written on two small silver amulets, rolled up like a scroll, that had the passage Numbers 6:24-26 inscribed upon them. They were discovered at Ketef Hinnom in the southwest of Jerusalem, and thus are referred as the Ketef Hinnom Amulets. The amulets were written paleo-Hebrew and date to the 7th century B.C., some 400 years earlier than the oldest of the Dead Sea Scrolls! I found a video here which discusses it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IMIDCN8iErQ

Information on the Tel Dan Inscription/Stele: http://teldan.wordpress.com/house-of-david-inscription/

The books referenced in this video are listed below:

James K. Hoffmeier, "The Archaeology of the Bible" (Lion UK, 2008)

Kenneth Kitchen, "On the Reliability of the Old Testament" (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003)

Walter C. Kaiser Jr. & Duane Garrett, "NIV Archaeological Study Bible: An Illustrated Walk Through Biblical History and Culture" (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005)

Thomas V. Brisco, "Holman Bible Atlas: A Complete Guide to the Expansive Geography of Biblical History" (Nashville: B&H Publishing Group, 1999)

Kendell H. Easley, "Holman Illustrated Guide to Biblical History" (Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers: 2003)

Anson F Rainey & R. Steven Notley, "The Sacred Bridge: Carta's Atlas of the Biblical World" (Jerusalem: Carta, 2006)

Martin G. Abegg, Peter Flint & Eugene Ulrich, "The Dead Sea Scrolls Bible: The Oldest Known Bible Translated for the First Time into English" ( San Francisco: HarperCollins, 1999)

 
Martin Luther's Sense of Sin and Why We Should Take Sin Seriously PDF Print E-mail

Martin Luther for many years early in his life was tormented in mind and soul, constantly sensing his sin before God and yet seeing only the heavy hand of a righteous God who must judge sin and execute justice.

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Because Luther percieved that his own situation before God was utterly dire and its indictments inescapable, of being condemned under God's judgment against sin, and in fact due to his biblical realization of sin, he actually hated God for many years since he knew that he stood condemned. He discovered, to his great dismay, that it was actually impossible to confess every little sin; especially when sometimes our sins are imperceptible to our undiscerning mind (the Bible refers to these as "hidden faults" Psalm 19:12).

Luther was almost driven mad by a pressing urgency to confess his sins immediately - at all times throughout the day - and in entirety to his mentor Johann von Staupitz. After he had confessed and gone away he would think of yet another sin that he had forgotten to repent of and would turn back around, retrace his steps, and go to confess again. Martin had a conscience that constantly pricked him and it seemed sometimes that he didn't know why God wouldn't just leave him (and his conscience) alone.

He joined a strict monastic order and subjected himself to bodily injury and deprivation, as many monks at that time did in the hope of expunging the fleshly desires from one's self. And yet Martin at that time did not realize what the Apostle Paul meant when he said, "These are matters which have, to be sure, the appearance of wisdom in self-made religion and self-abasement and severe treatment of the body, but are of no value against fleshly indulgence" (Colossians 2:23). But he knew something was missing and kept pressing on.

Dr. Timothy George (Dean of Beeson Divinity School, Samford University) gave an excellent lecture at Dallas Theological Seminary on this topic of how Luther's theology developed over time, which is recorded in the following video:

Source: www.youtube.com/embed/PKR00uH8nmM

Dr. George speaks about the story regarding Luther's constant repenting between 11:00-14:15 in the video. He also points out elsewhere in the lecture that Luther had a realization from Scripture, long before Carl Jung, that the human psyche has depths and layers - things that are even unconscious to us - and that all of it needs to be redeemed. Luther realized that it is not enough to just confess the sins that we are conscious of but that everything must be forgiven us else we are still in sin. As Luther learned, if redemption is based on our own confession and penitence alone it is impossible to attain it.

Luther eventually came to the knowledge that we are utterly sinful and cannot be made right apart from the grace and work of God. But Luther did not see God as gracious at first, or how he could be reconciled to a just God, as Dr. George explains. It was not until Luther had his monumental breakthrough in his understanding of how we are justified in Jesus through faith alone that he saw that God's atonement for sins is all-sufficient toward those who have true faith in Him. But in the course of his journey to discovering that truth the burden of the seriousness of sin and the biblical certainty of final judgment had sunk in with Luther.

We, I think, should all take sin just as seriously and make sure that we act in accordance with what Paul wrote to the Corinthians about our coming judgment before Christ: "Knowing therefore the terror of the Lord, we persuade men" (2 Corinthians 5:11). Hence we should "work out our salvation with fear and trembling" (Philipians 2:12). If we don't take the responsibility of departing from sin seriously then we are not doing our duty as a Christian. As it says in the Scripture: "Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity" (2 Timothy 2:18).

Let us put all of our faith in Jesus Christ as Savior to save us from the consequences of our sin, since He is the only remedy. And thereafter let us make sure to apply the mortifying power of the Holy Spirit against the flesh and walk in His life-giving power in our lives, so that we walk in sanctification and diligently ensure that we do not "receive the grace of God in vain" (2 Corinthians 6:1). Yet, as even Martin Luther realized, we are at the mercy of our loving Father to supply us with the grace that we need to accomplish all those things as those who are "poor in spirit" (Matthew 5:3) and needy of God's kindness - which Luther confessed in his last words before dying: Wir sind Bettler, das ist Wahr. ("We are beggars, this is true".)

Soli Deo Gloria.

 
Good and Bad Apologetic Techniques PDF Print E-mail

Have you ever seen a Christian and a non-Christian get in a debate where they are getting exactly zero miles from nowhere, and they both are throwing out bad arguments left and right while the spectators who may be viewing the whole fracas just shake their heads in disapproval? Such debates often devolve into petty, or at the very least impotent, wastes of time, and people end up leaving confused, frustrated, or thinking that the other is rather crazy - glancing at them with a raised eyebrow. Kind of like the "self-defense" techniques shown in the following video:

(No one is paying me to post this video, I promise. I just think it is funny).

[Source: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j16Hjy2LB5Q]

So what can we learn from that video? Let's analogize it and perhaps have some fun along the way. Well if we take the "frozen yogurt" to mean one's closely held belief and someone assails you while indulging in said belief (even in a sneaky way from behind when you weren't expecting it) then we can see the common origin of such silly debates. A lot of these debates can just be avoided by taking a right approach to begin with, by not using sneaky or underhanded ways to pounce on one's opponent. But let's move on to the reactions. The natural (perhaps visceral) reaction to the untrained and unprepared person is to lash out in defense of your belief when it is assailed, often striking out forcefully with a blunt instrument - as it were - and to "defend" blindly from a position of ignorance. The other participant, if also untrained, will react back in the same manner and thus the "slap fight" ensues.

I've seen atheists do that. I've seen Christians do that. I've seen Muslims do that. I've seen Mormons do that. I've seen Republicans do that. I've seen Democrats do that. It doesn't take much imagination to say that representatives from all world views and inclinations do that at one time or another. That is because it's easy to do that. We may potentially take the message on the sign outside of the building, "Self-defense classes: For Le$$!" to stand for sloppy defense training which results from engaging in "less" effort. The reason that anyone can get into a slap fight is because it is effortless. It doesn't require thinking, and often it rather evidently demonstrates of its own accord that thinking is not much involved.

Eventually one of the two slap mates will tire of the ridiculous sparring and leave the conversation (or perhaps run away), as does the assailant of the man who was (supposedly) eating frozen yogurt in the video. Either way, in this scenario, one of the two - if not both - will probably raise their hands in victory and claim that they won the argument fair and square, despite there not having really been any good points made. Now let's up the stakes a bit, and let's further suppose that this slap fight, the limp and ineffectual verbal sparring of two individuals, was on a public stage with many spectators, say in a formal debate setting. The would-be victor claims to have a "powerful technique" after engaging in a slap fest, and the uncritical spectators then split up into their own debate circles sometime later and spar with the same ineffectual techniques (as in the video). Thus bad techniques are not only occuring occasionally, but are even proliferating systemically. This happens often when people repeat bad arguments and (re)use poor techniques in presenting their positions.

Some people see debates like this and choose to simply not engage at all and just write off the debate as hopeless, as if it were the subject matter that was irrelevant and not rather the techniques of the people who were discussing it poorly. But that is not a right way to address and react to discussions about important issues. The way to stop the silliness, the ineffectualness, and the madness is to step into the midst of the fray and to start talking some sense in a respectful manner. However, I have seen some self-styled "non-argumentative" Christians who say they just don't want to cause a fight, by which they mean that they don't want to have to really take a stand on a biblical belief in the face of real opposition, and therefore they retreat and end up yielding important ground to unbelievers. Yet we cannot be timid as Christians! We must put on our armor in preparation for the evil or challenging day, "and having done all, to stand" (Ephesians 6:13). This does not mean that you are to come off as crass or haughty, but rather you should possess a sincere and calm confidence and conviction in the face of opposition, keeping in mind that you are endeavoring to defend the actual truth (and not just a subjective proposition) of God to someone.

As Christians, what we rather need to do is engage our mind and our heart together in seeking God's truth, to partner thinking with faith and reasoning with conviction, so that we may first be built up in our own understanding in order that we may then go on to share it with others. Engaging in what we call "apologetics" is in fact a biblical command. We take the word from 1 Peter 3:15 which says, "But sanctify Christ as Lord in your hearts, always being ready to make a defense to everyone who asks you to give an account for the hope that is in you, yet with gentleness and reverence" (NASB). The word "defense" (sometimes also translated "answer" or "reason") is from the Greek word apologia, from which we get the word apologetics. It has absolutely nothing to do with apologizing in the sense of saying that you are sorry. That is actually a stock joke among those who know what the term really means, but the joke can get old after a while (though we retain our good humor about it).

The New Defenders Study Bible takes note on this verse (in part):

3:15 answer. “Answer” is the Greek apologia, from which we get our word “apologetics,” meaning the careful, logical defense of the Christian faith against the attacks of its adversaries and showing its validity as the true saving gospel of God, our Creator and Savior. In effect, Peter is admonishing believers to be always prepared to give an apologetic for the faith, especially when confronted by those who deny it and would destroy it if they could. This surely means that there is an effective apologetic that can be given, and it is each Christian’s responsibility to study (II Timothy 2:15) and be ready to give it when needed.

Notice also how the command in Scripture ends with "yet with gentleness and reverence". As I said before our defense does not need to be crass, haughty, or disrespectful. We should genuinely care about a person, even an enemy, so much that we would put forth careful and sincere effort to correctly represent the truth to them. Understanding that the other person who you are speaking with is made in the image of God like you are, and also shares in the same common need of humanity for a savior along with you, is a good starting point. In that way, even when another disagrees with us it is not due to us coming at them with wildly flung arguments, as with slapping hands, but with inviting and ready hands eager to engage another sincerely and intelligently; knowing what we believe, speaking with conviction, and most importantly speaking from the authority of Scripture. That is why we must study to show ourselves approved, so that in all things we may glorify God. Jesus said in Matthew 5:16, "Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven" (NASB).

So how can you develop better techniques to be able, and indeed ready, to give an answer/reason/defense for the hope that is in you? Firstly, read God's Word, which is His revelation to us, and communicate back to God in prayer. Be firmly rooted in God and His Word. Then also take advantage of as many tools and opportunities as you can to build up your faith. Find someone who can sharpen your mind as iron sharpens iron. Listen to talks or debates with strong Christian representatives in them who are engaged in apologetics in the public sphere, such as people like William Lane Craig, Ravi Zacharias, Frank Turek, John Lennox, Alvin Plantinga, Alister McGrath, Michael Brown, and James White to name just a few. Read books on apologetics. Discuss apologetics in online forums or social media. Discuss apologetics with your friends and family. Check out organizations like Stand to Reason, Ratio Christi, Tactical Faith, and the Christian Apologetics Alliance (many of which have a social media presence) and get plugged in where you can. Attend apologetics conferences if there are any in your region.

In my region (the southeastern United States) there is the annual SALT Apologetics Conference in partnership with Tactical Faith. There's even an organization in Dallas called the Bible & Beer Consortium (no, seriously) that actively engages the community on issues of apologetics and invites people to come and ask questions while sipping on pale ale and listening to apologetics talks. Engage the culture, but first engage yourself. Jump in and learn. Seek the Scriptures diligently and think of effective ways to communicate your faith and the realities - seen and unseen - of this universe that God has created.

Don't take defense classes (apologetics lessons) from the slap masters. Go to the warriors who know how to wield the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God (Ephesians 6:17), who rightly divide the word of truth, and honor God with all of their mind - as intelligently and responsibly yielded to God - along with all their heart, soul, and strength (Luke 10:27), and do likewise (1 Corinthians 11:1; Philippians 4:8-9).

Soli Deo Gloria.

 
Terminology study around the use of Baptize in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, Galatians 3:27-28, and Romans 6:3-4 PDF Print E-mail


In a book I read not too long ago on the Holy Spirit there was a discussion about the baptizing ministry of the Holy Spirit in a volume in the NAC series, and on one of the pages I saw a footnote which suggested that 1 Corinthians 12:13 was irrelevant to the discussion since it "looks" like it refers to water baptism. However, I have good reason to believe that it does not refer to water baptism, and would like to here explain my reasoning on that. I also believe that Galatians 3:27-28 and Romans 6:3-4 are relevant to the discussion based on their similarity to 1 Corinthians 12:13, so they will receive due attention as well.

A Look at 1 Corinthians 12:13

I would like to start by discussing 1 Corinthians 12:13 briefly below. I think it is most instructive and enlightening to compare side-by-side the terminology used in 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 and 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 since they are written in the same epistle, by the same writer, are in relatively close proximity to one another (even in the same thematic context - as I will show), and both use similar terminology (some of which is seldom used elsewhere).

I conducted a careful terminological study of 1 Corinthians chapter 12 and noticed a few of the following things.

First, the recurrence of the word "same" and occasionally "one" (indicating unity) as in:

  • "same Spirit" (vs. 4)
  • "same Lord" (vs. 5)
  • "same God" (vs. 6) Side note: Who can miss the Trinitarian overtones at this point with Spirit, Lord, and God used like this?
  • "same Spirit" (vs. 8)
  • "same Spirit" x2 (vs. 9) Now Paul really starts emphasizing the Spirit in connection with this "sameness".

Then we see vs. 11 using the same terminology: "But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills." There we now see the use of "one" and "same" together.

Then comes vs. 12-13: "For as the body is one and has many members, but all the members of that one body, being many, are one body, so also is Christ. For by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body—whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free—and have all been made to drink into one Spirit." In these verses we see the use of "one" recurring and a baptism that is "by (Greek: εν [en]) the Spirit", by which we are baptized into the Body. The language here is evident enough that this is not a literal baptism being spoken of, since you cannot be physically baptized into a 'soma' (Greek for 'body'), but rather that it is speaking of a spiritual action here of the Holy Spirit spiritually baptizing us into the collective Church and Body of Jesus Christ.

But let's compare this terminology to 1 Corinthians 10:1-4:

1 Moreover, brethren, I would not that ye should be ignorant, how that all our fathers were under the cloud, and all passed through the sea;
2 And all were baptized unto Moses in the cloud and in the sea;
3 And did all eat the same spiritual meat;
4 And did all drink the same spiritual drink: for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ.

First let us note that the subject is the collective of Israel "all our fathers" just as the subject in 1 Corinthians 12:12 is "one body" with "all the members" (cf. "as the body is one and has many members"). 1 Corinthians 12:12 is obviously referring to the members of the Church as being placed together into a metaphorical "body" with the body's "members" standing for the individuals united together into that single entity.

Next we see something that happens to "all" in both groups:

  • "all were baptized unto Moses" (1 Cor. 10:2) - 'unto' = Greek: εἰς [eis] (into)
  • "by one Spirit we were all baptized into one body" (1 Cor. 12:13) - 'into' = Greek: εἰς [eis] (into)

Just as the Israelites were metaphorically "baptized" into Moses (many individuals being baptized "into" a singular entity) so Christians are metaphorically baptised "by the Spirit" (meaning by means of the Spirit) "into" (eis) a singular body. See the parallel?

You can see the parallels side by side in the table below:


1 Corinthians 10 1 Corinthians 12
Israel

Church
(many members - "whether Jews or Greeks, whether slaves or free")
Moses One Body (Jesus' body)
"all were baptized" (1 Cor. 10:2) "we were all baptized" (1 Cor. 12:13)
"into Moses" (1 Cor. 10:2) "into one body" (1 Cor. 12:13)


Oh, but the parallelism doesn't stop there! There are even further observations which seal the understanding that the terminology between chapters 10 and 12 is parallel.

1 Corinthians 10:3-4a "And did all eat the same spiritual meat; And did all drink the same spiritual drink".

Firstly, note the word "same" here (same meat, same drink) as also occurs often in chapter 12 as noted above. Paul is trying to illuminate the commonality of the things which God's people have experienced and partaken of together in both chapters. Essentially the "all", in each passage, partake of the "same" in both chapters 10 and 12.

But note even further that there is additional similarity in the metaphorical terminology for partaking: drinking! 1 Corinthians 10:2 also includes eating, but we see the basic similarity of theme in the sharing and use of the term "drinking" in 10:3 and 1 Corinthians 12:13. And it is not just ordinary drink, but drink that is connected to what is spiritual in nature:

  • "and did all drink the same spiritual drink " (1 Cor. 10:4)  
  • "all been made to drink into one Spirit" (1 Cor. 12:13)

The "Spirit"/"spiritual" word-coupling with this word "drink" is no accident! It indicates that the partaking of the baptism into 'one' is experienced THROUGH THE HOLY SPIRIT. The Holy Spirit communicates to us the life of Jesus, whose body we are if we are united through spiritual baptism by the Spirit into Him. And 1 Corinthians 10:4 says that most clearly: "for they drank of that spiritual Rock that followed them: and that Rock was Christ".

So Paul sets the stage for understanding this spiritual partaking of Christ in Israel in chapter 10 only to later take up the same terminology, and line of thought, in chapter 12 to apply to the Church. This is also why the warning in chapter 10 about how God was "not well pleased" with them, because of their conduct afterwards, most certainly is an applicable warning to the Church and not just the Israelites! In short the terminology Paul uses sets these two passages up for parallel reflection about the two congregations that believed in God for salvation and whom God had called out as His own people. Their experiences were similar in many ways and Paul draws on those similarities thematically in his epistle.

The terminological parallels are utterly undeniable, and just as 1 Corinthians 10:1-4 is not speaking of water baptism but a spiritual baptism that enabled them to partake of "spiritual drink", so too 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 is not referring to a water baptism but a Baptism of the Holy Spirit.

So why this spiel on those two passages? I believe that once you understand that 1 Corinthians 12:13 is speaking of a spiritual baptism that it becomes clearer that Galatians 3:27 and Romans 6:3-4 use the term in a similar fashion - speaking of spiritual realities.

A Look at Galatians 3:27

Galatians 3:27 says "For as many of you as were baptized into Christ have put on Christ."

This "baptized into" parallels 1 Corinthians 12:13 quite closely:

  • "baptized into Christ" - Galatians 3:27
  • "baptized into one body" - 1 Corinthians 12:13

We know that the body is Christ's body as 1 Corinthians 12:12 tells us (if it wasn't evident already), so "one body" and "Christ" have the same referent. But wait! There is another similarity to these passages. What comes right after Galatians 3:27? We read that vs. 28 says "There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus." Wow! Have we seen that terminology before? Well, let's see:

  • "neither Jew nor Greek" - Galatians 3:28
  • "whether Jews or Greeks" - 1 Corinthians 12:13
  • "neither slave nor free" - Galatians 3:28
  • "whether slaves or free" - 1 Corinthians 12:13
  • "for you are all one in Christ Jesus" - Galatians 3:28
  • "For as the body is one, and hath many members, and all the members of that one body, being many, are one body: so also is Christ." - 1 Corinthians 12:12 && "all baptized into one body" && "been all made to drink into one Spirit" (vs. 13)

These two passages obviously have the exact same topical context of uniting Jew and Greek and Slave and Free into "one" in Jesus - and mean the same thing - so it manifestly makes sense to see the "baptism" in both passages as referring to the same thing: Baptism of the Spirit.

A Look at Romans 6:3-4

Once we see the linkage between those two passages then perhaps we can see Romans 6:3-4 clearer I believe:

"Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death? Therefore we were buried with Him through baptism into death, that just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, even so we also should walk in newness of life."

We have here a somewhat different context that is not focusing as much on unity of believers in the body of Christ, nor do we see mention of the Spirit explicitly. However, the truths discussed here are spiritual in nature and "baptize" is also used in a non-literal, metaphorical manner. Death is not a substance one can be physically immersed in, so we know then that the use is metaphorical. Paul's limited use of this term "baptize" in a metaphorical sense obligates us to compare it to the few other instances in which he does the same: 1 Corinthians 10:1-4, 1 Corinthians 12:13, and Galatians 3:27. When we do, if I am not mistaken, we can see this as a more forensic and "zoomed in" description (magnified specifics) of what happens spiritually for the believer when they are associated with Christ's work on the cross through faith.

Believers are described as having been "baptized into his death" which means our old self, which is judged under God's condemnation of sin, is made dead with Christ through his burial and then we are given his resurrection life because of Jesus being raised from the dead. These are spiritual truths which are not communicated by ritual water immersion but by identification with Jesus through faith to regenerate us (the "new life" [birth] image that is present here - through Christ's resurrection). Such new birth and eternal life only come through the Spirit, as Jesus made clear in the full context of John 3, and regeneration itself comes by the Spirit as shown in Titus 3:5.

I believe the baptism indicated here is the spiritual Baptism of the Spirit that brings new life and regeneration, and which identifies a person as belonging to God and the body of Christ (Romans 8:9). Ultimately the possession of the Spirit and not water baptism identifies a person as belonging to God, and is what God's seal and mark of ownership is based on (2 Corinthians 1:22, Ephesians 1:13) as with a spiritual signet ring. That baptism by the Spirit is the true and essential baptism.

Concerns and Concluding Thoughts

I will lastly try to address one concern here that such an interpretation of these verses unduly leaves out consideration of a reference to water baptism being present.

Thomas Schreiner in his contribution to the collection of papers collated into the NAC Studies in Bible & Theology book Believers Baptism: Sign of the New Covenant in Christ in the chapter titled "Baptism in the Epistles: An Initiation Rite for Believers" says on 1 Corinthians 12:13:


"Baptism, as in Gal 3:28 and 1 Cor 12:13, is mentioned to underscore the unity of believers" (pg. 71)

"Paul is almost certainly speaking of the time of conversion here, for Jesus immerses in the Spirit so that his people are incorporated in the body of Christ. The second half of v. 13 expresses the same reality. At conversion, believers drink of one Spirit. The gift of the Spirit is the mark of induction into the people of God (Gal. 3:1-5), and hence Jesus' work of baptizing with the Spirit occurs at the threshold of the Christian life." (pg. 72)

On Galatians 3:27:

"Paul's main theme here is not baptism. His point is that all believers are clothed with Christ. We see incidentally, however, that baptism was universal in the church (and hence central!), since all those who are clothed with Christ (i.e., all Christians) are baptized." (pg. 74)

And on Romans 6:3-4:

"To say that those who are baptized have died with Christ is just another way of saying that all Christians have died with Christ. There was not a serious problem, as there is today, with Christians being unbaptized in the NT period... Those who restrict the reference to Spirit baptism in Romans 6 truncate the baptismal message, for separating water baptism and Spirit baptism introduces a false dichotomy into the Pauline argument. Paul does not drive a wedge between Spirit baptism and water baptism, as if the former is what really matters and the latter is superfluous. Such a viewpoint may suffer from reading the text through modern experiences in which water baptism often occurs significantly before or after conversion." (pg 74-75; emphasis his)

Now, Schreiner is right to see the clear terminology of the Spirit baptism in Romans 6:3-4 (as well as 1 Corinthians 12:12-13 and Galatians 3:27) but he in the rest of the chapter argues for a kind of synechdoche (where a part of something stands for the whole) for the implied inclusion of water baptism, since it seems he feels that leaving out a reference to it is harmful to developing a doctrine for water baptism. In other words, he notes that "Jesus' work of baptizing with the Spirit occurs at the threshold of the Christian life", and yet is not satisfied if he cannot additionally find a reference to water baptism in those same verses. The NAC commentary, in the same series, on 1 Corinthians explicitly states that 1 Corinthians 12:13 should not be read as a reference to water baptism (contrary to the comment found in the other NAC volume that I mentioned at the beginning of the article): "The baptism here should not be equated with water baptism, although water baptism depicts what Paul describes. Paul's emphasis on baptism into one body in one Spirit strongly emphasizes the unity of the body."

Also Schreiner is no doubt correct that probably all Christians at the time were water baptized, such that there was no occasion for Paul to really mention it. I, however, would put the burden of proof on Schreiner to show where the emphasis lies in Paul's usage in each case of the verses examined above: the water rite or the spiritual accomplishment and reality? He is justifiably trying to (in general) defend the importance of water baptism doctrinally, but at the cost of diffusing the clear emphasis on the spiritual accomplishment in these passages.

Paul is not trying to drive a wedge between water and Spirit baptism, but Paul's usage of "baptize" in those passages is clearly - as determined by their context and terminology - metaphorical, since he is emphasizing the spiritual realities. I am afraid that reading into these passages a simultaneous reference to water baptism here misses Paul's emphasis. You may draw your own conclusions from scripture, but my main concern in this study has been to show the spiritual reference of "baptism" in 1 Corinthians 12:12-13, Galatians 3:27, and Romans 6:3-4. I hope that overall these observations will bring you closer to a true understanding of the meaning of the scriptures as you diligently search them!

Soli Deo Gloria

 
The Dayspring of Salvation PDF Print E-mail


The Dayspring of Salvation

by Joshua Nielsen

Praise be to Yeshua ben David whose star has risen upon mankind:
The dayspring whose light has been cast upon the vale of deathshade.
Seated Zebulun and Naphtali – beholding a great light – jubilantly cried,
Rising when the dawn of brilliance to industrious Capernaum was made.

He came a child – raised as a horn of salvation in the house of David.
By so ennobled an epithet he was known as the salvation of Yah.
At mercy's visitation, Israel's Redeemer their bondage for freedom traded;
His oil-smeared head bespoke to Greeks the Christos – to Jews, Meshiach.

Because God's beloved creation hurled itself without hope beyond the pale,
In Satan's clutches by accusing adversary they found themselves ensnared.
Yet for oath's sake to Abraham the dayspring descended to lowest vale:
So appeared the kindness of God to ransom the flock for whom he cared.

Sheol's welcoming depths against covenanted people could have never prevailed,
Since vanquished is death for those who in the promised christchild do believe.
And by consequence of Yeshua's life, death, and resurrection it faintingly quailed,
That now the believing he may into everlasting fellowship with himself receive.

Blessed be Yeshua ben David! May forever his name be magnified:
His great deeds forever to be confessed upon the lips of the nations.
Even seated at the Father's right hand, by surrounding angels his fame is cried,
And 'Holiness unto Yahweh' shall be the heart-brand of his people brought salvation.

The Dayspring of Salvation

Praise be to Yeshua ben David whose star has risen upon mankind:
The dayspring whose light has been cast upon the vale of deathshade.

Seated Zebulun and Naphtali – beholding a great light – jubilantly cried,

Rising when the dawn of brilliance to industrious Capernaum was made.

He came a child – raised as a horn of salvation in the house of David.
By so ennobled an epithet he was known as the salvation of Yah.

At mercy's visitation, Israel's Redeemer their bondage for freedom traded;
His oil-smeared head bespoke to Greeks the Christos – to Jews, Messiah.


Because God's beloved creation hurled itself without hope beyond the pale,

In Satan's clutches by accusing adversary they found themselves ensnared.

Yet for oath's sake to Abraham the dayspring descended to lowest vale:

So appeared the kindness of God to ransom the flock for whom he cared.

Sheol's welcoming depths against covenanted people could have never prevailed,

Since vanquished is death for creatures who in the promised christchild do believe.
And in consequence of Yeshua's life, death, and resurrection it faintingly quailed,
So that now for all may he into everlasting fellowship with himself receive.

Blessed be Yeshua ben David! May forever his name be magnified:

His great deeds forever confessed upon the lips of the nations.

Even seated at the the Father's right hand, by surrounding angels his fame is cried,
And 'Holiness unto Yahweh' shall be the heart-brand upon his people brought salvation.

 
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