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Shelby Foote on Hard Work

In a letter to Walker Percy, Shelby Foote exhorted Percy to get to work on his desire to write fiction, saying something that is true about any craftsman pursuing any craft:

“But the most heart-breaking thing about it is: the better you get, the harder youll have to work–because your standards will rise with your ability. I mentioned ‘work’–it’s the wrong word: because if youre serious, the whole creative process is attended with pleasure in a form which very few people ever know. Putting two words together in a sequence that pleases you, really pleases you, brings a satisfaction which must be kin to what a businessman feels when he manages a sharp transaction–something like that, but on a higher plane because the businessman must know that soon he will have spent the dollars he made; but those two words which the writer set together have produced an effect which will never die as long as men can read with understanding.

So much for execution. I cant even begin to speak of conception–it comes from God.”

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Spanish Translation of “The Skull Crushing Seed of the Woman”

I just keep cheering Saul Sarabia’s translation work into Spanish. I’m so grateful for the work he is doing on behalf of his fellow Spanish speakers, and so impressed with his industry. He has rendered yet another one of my essays, this time “The Skull Crushing Seed of the Woman,” into Spanish:

LA SIMIENTE DE LA MUJER -SIMIENTE APLASTADORA DE CRÁNEOS: UNA INTERPRETACIÓN INTRABÍBLICA DE GÉNESIS 3:15

Please point any Spanish brothers and sisters interested in the Bible to Saul’s labors on their behalf.

Here are the other essays Saul has translated into Spanish:

Discipulado Familiar en el Antiguo Testamento: Que la Generación venidera Alabe al Señor

Una Teología Bíblica de la Maternidad

La Teología Bíblica y Predicación

La Gloria de Dios en la Salvación a través del Juicio: ¿El Centro de la Teología Bíblica?

El Centro de la Teología Bíblica en Hechos: La Liberación y la Condenación ponen de Manifiesto lo Divino

La Simiente de la Mujer y la Bendición de Abraham

¿Estaba el Espíritu Santo dentro de los creyentes en el Antiguo Pacto?

La Iglesia Militante y su Guerra: No Somos Otro Grupo de Interés

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Unsung Heroes: People Who Made the Response Possible

I think the best people in the world are probably the ones whose names you never hear. These are the people who live and serve like Jesus did. He wasn’t in big cities all the time, didn’t write any books, made no headlines, networked with no one important.

He was with fishermen and no-counts, prostitutes and sinners.

Why am I reflecting on these realities this morning? Because of the little glimpse I had into how hard the dedicated Communications team at Southern Seminary worked to bring out God and the Gay Christian? A Response to Matthew Vines.

I’m not aware of all the details, but they had a very short turnaround time to meet the deadline of having that project ready to go when the Vines book released last night at 3am. They worked nearly until that time, some of them having started almost 24 hours earlier. While the rest of the world was watching the NBA Playoffs or sleeping, this team was re-reading, editing, fixing, and fussing over that last detail.

They left it all on the court.

So if you are helped by this book that Heath Lambert, Owen Strachan, Denny Burk, myself, and Dr. Mohler wrote the words of, let me encourage you to thank God and pray for the people who made sure those words were grammatical, made sure the references were right, made sure the cover looks sharp, and did a thousand other things that we would never imagine such a project would entail.

I give praise and thanks to God for the quiet, behind the scenes work of Jim Smith, Steve Watters, Aaron Hanbury, Eric Jimenez, RuthAnne Irvin, Matt Damico, Jason Thacker, Jason Coobs, and I probably haven’t gotten them all. Unsung heroes. Thank you guys. I’m praising God for you.

If you know these folks, you know they are talented people who each have important stuff going. Know, too, that like their Master, Jesus, they can serve when there won’t be any recognition, when they won’t get so much as a mention on a masthead. But when you see a phrase like “SBTS Press,” know that there are hardworking people making that happen. Pray for them. Thank God for them. Where would we be without them?

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What the Resurrection Does

Thirteen points in yesterday’s sermon. Here they are:

The resurrection makes

  1. frightened cowards bold Apostles;
  2. enigmatic mysteries plain teaching (Luke 24; John 20:9);
  3. proof against proof for (Acts 2:23–24; 3:15; 4:10; 5:30–32; 10:39–40; 13:28–30);
  4. guilty sinners justified saints (Rom 4:25);
  5. slaves to sin slaves of righteousness (Rom 6);
  6. present suffering hopeful joy (Rom 8:18, 24–25, 34);
  7. those who believe and confess justified and saved (Rom 10:9);
  8. mercied sinners gospel preachers (10:14–15);
  9. vain futility meaningful significance (1 Cor 15:14, 17, 58);
  10. the doomed and discouraged reliant and hopeful (2 Cor 1:9–10);
  11. the weak things where the power is shown (Eph 1:19–20);
  12. the humble servant highly exalted (Phil 2:6, 9; 3:10–11, 20–21; 1 John 3:2);
  13. a killable savior have indestructible life (Heb 7:15, 24; Rom 6:9–10).

Audio: What the Resurrection Does

He is risen!

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Softly and Tenderly, Jesus Is Calling

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The Stone by The Gray Havens

Just in time for Easter, check out this creative lyric video from The Gray Havens:

Available at Bandcamp (where they would prefer you get it) and Amazon.

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Charles Barkley’s Golf Swing

Wikipedia’s description of Charles Barkley’s golf swing must be quoted in full:

Barkley is well known for his fondness of golf. However, his swing is often regarded as one of the most bizarre and broken swings in the sport. Barkley’s swing unravels after he brings his club back. He starts to take it forward then jerks to a stop, throwing his body off balance, before wildly striking at the ball.

You have to see it to believe it:

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John 7:53–8:11 Should Be in a Footnote, Not in the Text

Have you noticed the double brackets in the ESV that surround John 7:53–8:11? Those double brackets mean that the ESV’s translation committee does not consider this passage to be original to John’s Gospel. You also find double brackets around Mark 16:9–20.

Do you know what it means that these passages are marked off–correctly–as not coming from the authors of these respective Gospels? If John did not write what is enumerated as 7:53–8:11, that means it doesn’t belong between John 7:52 and 8:12 because it does not come from the author who was “carried along by the Holy Spirit.” If John did not write this passage, it isn’t Scripture because it was not “breathed out by God.” If it isn’t Scripture, it shouldn’t be in the text, and pastors shouldn’t preach it.

That’s what those double brackets mean about these passages. I submit that if a translation committee has come to the conclusion that they should put double brackets around these texts, they would serve pastors and Bible teachers better by putting these texts in a footnote rather than in the text. Those double brackets are too easy not to notice. The ESV puts John 5:4 in a footnote because the editors do not think John wrote that verse. The same should be done with Mark 16:9–20 and John 7:53–8:11.

What is the evidence for such a conclusion? In what follows I will only present the evidence for John 7:53–8:11, evidence that comes from the New Testament manuscripts (external evidence) and from the flow of thought in John’s Gospel (internal evidence). [If you’re interested in the Mark 16 issue, I discussed that passage also from the pulpit].

The Manuscripts

We are dealing with books written long before the printing press and long copied by hand. John 7:53–8:11 is not in any of the earliest manuscripts, and Bruce Metzger notes that “No Greek Church Father prior to Euthymius Zigabenus (twelfth century) comments on the passage, and Euthymius declares that the accurate copies of the Gospel do not contain it.” That means that at some point a scribe copied this passage into a manuscript of John’s Gospel, and then that got perpetuated. The fact that we have enough evidence to determine this to be the case should increase our confidence in the text of the New Testament. That there is a consensus on this point should make us more confident in the Scriptures not less.

John 7:53–8:11 is not in any of the best texts: P66, P75, Codex Sinaiticus, Codex Vaticanus, etc. As the note above the passage in the ESV states, the earliest manuscripts do not include it. As the footnote in the ESV text states, some manuscripts contain this passage, but not following John 7:52. Some have it after John 7:36 or 21:25 or even Luke 21:38. Again, the fact that we have enough manuscript evidence to arrive at this conclusion shows that we can be practically certain about the original contents of the text of the New Testament.

The Flow of Thought in John’s Gospel

In addition to the manuscript evidence indicating that John the author of the Gospel did not put this passage here, we can also observe that the passage interrupts the flow of thought in this section of the Gospel. The opponents of Jesus are ready to kill him (John 5:18; 7:19–20, 25). They seek to arrest him (7:30, 32), and they are frustrated when the officers don’t bring him in (7:45–47). Their minds are made up. They have just rejected Nicodemus’s counsel that they investigate Jesus (7:51). They are past the point of testing Jesus or seeking charges to bring against him, as the interpolated passage has them doing in 8:6. They do not need charges against Jesus. He has called “God his own Father, making himself equal with God” (John 5:18), so they can bring him up on charges of blasphemy.

There are accounts in other Gospels similar to this one about the woman caught in adultery, but there are no accounts like this one in John. The passages most similar to this interpolated passage are the ones that depict the scribes and Pharisees disputing directly with Jesus over someone who is in need. Interestingly, the two accounts closest to this one involve the healing of the paralytic and the man with the withered hand. Mark places both of those incidents (Mark 2:1–12; 3:1–5) prior to the Pharisees’ fateful decision to seek to kill Jesus (Mark 3:6).

John Doesn’t Talk This Way

Have you noticed that John always refers to the opponents of Jesus as “the Jews”? Did you notice that John never refers to the scribes? The only instance of the word “scribes” in John’s Gospel is in the interpolated passage at 8:3. In fact there are 14 words in John 7:53–8:11 passage that occur nowhere else in John’s Gospel.

Continuity Between John 7 and 8

If we pass over 7:53–8:11, we find that the setting and situation in the rest of John 8 matches the setting and situation of John 7. As we move to John 8:12, John continues to present Jesus speaking at the temple (7:28; 8:20) on the last and greatest day of the feast (7:37).

Not only is the setting of John 8 the same as that of John 7, the points under discussion are the same. Jesus claimed to be the fulfillment of the water pouring ceremony of the Feast of Tabernacles in 7:37–39. That water pouring ceremony likely commemorated the water from the rock in the wilderness (Exod 17:1–7; Num 20:2–13). In addition to the water pouring ceremony there was a ceremonial lighting of candles, likely commemorating the way the Lord lit Israel’s way through the wilderness by the pillar of cloud and flame. In John 8:12, Jesus will assert that he is the light of the world. Other points of contact between John 7 and 8 include the following:

  • Testimony, 7:18, 28; 8:13
  • Where Jesus comes from and where he goes, 7:25–30, 31–36; 8:14, 21–22 (cf. esp. 7:34–35 and 8:21–22)
  • Righteous judgment, 7:24; 8:15
  • The Jews don’t know God, 7:28; 8:19, 55
  • The seeking of glory, 7:18; 8:50, 54

A Plea to Translation Committees

Bible translation committees responsible for the ESV, CSB, NIV, NAS, and any other translation preached from pulpits should do pastors a favor and put these texts in footnotes. Mark 16:9–20 was not written by Mark, and John 7:53–8:11 was not written by John. Those passages do not belong in the text and should not be preached from pulpits. The snake-handlers are woefully mistaken. They should not think there is any warrant in the New Testament for such a practice. Similarly, those who cry that no one should throw stones anytime sinners are called to repentance have misunderstood this interpolated passage (Jesus does tell the woman to stop sinning in 8:11), but still the passage has no business in the text. It was not written by John, and it should not be there interrupting the flow of though between 7:52 and 8:12. Put it in a footnote.

[it was my privilege to preach John 7:53–8:29 at Kenwood Baptist Church today, and for any who may be interested in the way I addressed this issue from the pulpit, the sermon audio is online].

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Check Out Books at a Glance

Jim Zaspel writes:

Why didn’t someone think of this sooner? If you love books, your greatest frustration is keeping up – “So many books; So little time!” we say. Books At a Glance is a new online service designed to relieve this frustration, and in doing so it provides a much-needed service.

“Executive summaries” is a familiar concept in the business world, and this is what Books At a Glance now does for Christian readers. Their book summariescondense the leading argument(s) of a book, chapter by chapter, into a mere 7 – 10 pages. This enables you to keep informed and up to date and widen your learning in minutes, without infringing on your schedule. And of course it will help you know which books you want to purchase for a deeper understanding of the book’s topic. You can check them out at www.BooksAtaGlance.com.

In addition to book summariesBooksAtaGlance.com also offers book reviews, author interviews, and a blog, and their list of resources grows daily.

You will see on their Board of Reference that Books At a Glance comes with rich endorsements, and I am impressed with the excellent staff of Review and Assistant Editors that have teamed up for the work. I’ve been aware of the development of this website for some time, and now that it has launched I expect this to be a very useful tool for many.

Check them out at www.BooksAtaGlance.com.

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“The Legend of the Sunken Mountains” by Andrew Peterson

We’re fans around here of Andrew Peterson’s Wingfeather Saga, and in the run-up to the real release of Book Four, The Warden and the Wolf King, we are reading back over the first three volumes. We just finished volume one, On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness, which includes this poem, “The Legend of the Sunken Mountains.” The rhyme scheme is clear, there are internal rhymes, and the meter is well paced and fits the message.

Along with its technical competence, this poem captures that haunting, suggestive quality. It’s a bit mysterious, hinting at a back story, tantalizing the reader with the suggestion of an old story high and beautiful. The poet novelist has intrigued us with his first three volumes, and we’re eager to read the fourth. Without further ado, here’s

“The Legend of the Sunken Mountains” by Andrew Peterson

Come forth from sunken mountain calls the sundered summer moon
The eyrie’s fallen dragon king hath groaned his grievous tune
The halls that rose in cloudy steeps now lie beneath the waves
And Yurgen’s fallen kingdom sleeps in bouldered ocean graves

Yurgen’s son, the dragon fair, met Omer son of Dwayne
And so the knight and Yurgen’s heir did battle in the rain
And lo, the dragon wounded lay from Omer’s mortal blow
The knight, in grief, did haste away to save his mortal foe

And Omer, bent with sorrow, bowed in Yurgen’s mountain hall
And told the ancient dragon how his only heir did fall
So Yurgen, mighty dragon king, atop his mountain keep
Asunder tore the glistening and rocky mountain steep

He summoned every dragon for to burrow through the ground
And find at last the fabled ore that makes the maiméd sound
But Yurgen’s heir was cold and killed, and buried in the mount
As dragons tunneled deeper still below the ocean fount

And then at last with thund’rous din the misty mountain climbs
Collapsed upon the beasts within the darkness of the mines
From ocean then did Yurgen rise to seek his dying son
But where his mountain once arrayed a half-moon golden hung

His dragon kingdom moldered, his dragon scion slain
King Yurgen’s sorrow smoldered and he sank away again
The halls that towered in cloudy steeps now lie beneath the waves
And Yurgen’s fallen kingdom sleeps in murky ocean graves

The summer dusk hath split in twain the gilded summer moon
And all who come shall hear again the dragons’ lonesome tune

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Spanish Translation of “Family Discipleship in the Old Testament”

All families of all nations need to know what the Scriptures say about the training and discipling of children, so I rejoice that Saul Sarabia L. has rendered my essay, “That the Coming Generation Might Praise the Lord,” into Spanish:

Discipulado Familiar en el Antiguo Testamento: Que la Generación venidera Alabe al Señor

And here are Saul’s previous translations:

The Glory of God in Salvation through Judgment

The Church Militant and Her Warfare

A Biblical Theology of Motherhood

Were Old Covenant Believers Indwelt by the Holy Spirit?

The Center of Biblical Theology in Acts

Biblical Theology and Preaching

The Seed of the Woman and the Blessing of Abraham

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