Archive for October, 2015

Here are several articles you should check out:

Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 10.02.39 AM1. 7 Great Study Bibles (Infographic) – Tim Challies has produced a great infographic comparing seven different study bibles: ESV Study Bible, Reformation Study Bible, NIV Study Bible, Zondervan Study Bible, MacArthur Study Bible, HCSB Study Bible, KJV Study Bible.

2. What is the Earliest Complete List of the Canon of the New Testament – Michael OrigenJ. Kruger, expert on the canon of the New Testament, provides the earliest list of the New Testament and why it is significant.  Here is a taste of the article:

In the study of the New Testament canon, scholars like to highlight the first time we see a complete list of 27 books.  Inevitably, the list contained in Athanasius’ famous Festal Letter (c.367) is mentioned as the first time this happened.

As a result, it is often claimed that the New Testament was a late phenomenon.  We didn’t have a New Testament, according to Athanasius, until the end of the fourth century.

But, this sort of reasoning is problematic on a number of levels.  First, we don’t measure the existence of the New Testament just by the existence of lists.

3. Argument for Traditional Gospel Authorship – Keith Reich at his Know Thyself Screen Shot 2015-10-23 at 10.13.19 AMblog has provided as quick series of articles debating for the traditional authorship of the gospels.  Dr. Reich is Chair of the Religion Department at Chowan University with a Ph.D. from Baylor.  While there are seven articles in the the series, they are quick and to the point, and you don’t have to read a whole book to get caught up on the issue.  It is worth the extra time to read.

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Screen Shot 2015-10-12 at 9.04.26 PMKyle Dillon, a minister in the Presbyterian Church in America and theology and Latin instructor at Westminster Academy in Memphis, has written a nice concise article on five false beliefs about Jesus at The Gospel Coalition.  He briefly examines the popular alternative theories about Jesus, and provides some guidelines in responding to them.  It is definitely worth the quick read.  Here is a sample:

  1. Jesus the Pagan Myth

Though this theory has very little support among scholars today, it’s still quite popular on atheist websites (a student is therefore more likely to hear it from a classmate than a professor). The theory claims Jesus never existed as a historical figure. Rather, the stories of his birth, life, death, and resurrection were all

myths the early Christians borrowed from pagan mystery religions—such as the cults of Dionysus and Mithras—which allegedly predated Christianity by centuries.

The roots of the Christ-myth theory go back to 19th-century German scholars like David Strauss (1808–1874), who argued the New Testament (NT) is simply a collection of mythical retellings of Jesus’s life, and Bruno Bauer (1809–1882), who made the more radical claim Jesus never existed. The theory gained prominence for a time in the “History of Religions School” at the University of Göttingen, but began to decline during the 20th century as scholars examined the evidence more closely. (Richard Carrier and Robert Price still make this claim today, but even non-Christian scholars like Bart Erhman refute it.)

The general consensus today is that most of the alleged parallels between Christianity and the mystery religions are either non-existent (sometimes pure fabrications), coincidental, or anachronistic. In fact, there is no evidence pagan mystery religions existed in first-century Israel, and much of our evidence for them elsewhere dates to after the rise of Christianity. So if any borrowing did happen, it was probably the other way around.  . . . Though there is no shortage of rival theories about Jesus, Christians need not feel threatened by them. With adequate preparation, engaging with the critics can actually deepen our faith and strengthen our relationship with the Lord who truly walked among us.

He covers four other popular false theories about Jesus including: the failed prophet, the moral philosopher, the violent revolutionary, and the ahistorical existentialist.  He then concludes with how “Christian scholars have developed several credible ways of responding to these counterfeit portraits of Christ.” (Got to love the alliteration in that sentence).