Ask Your Preacher
In your post titled "Cross-Referencing", you mentioned that some Catholic printers do reference apocryphal books. My original 1611 King James also has multiple cross-references to the apocryphal books… also, my Geneva Bible printed fifty years earlier. The reason for this was that the New Testament authors were quoting the Septuagint. Greek-speaking Jews in the Diaspora, and therefore, also the ancient church, used the Septuagint as authoritative Scripture. The New Testament writers used and quoted the Septuagint, which included what modern Protestants call apocryphal books. If a person says, “Our church is just like the first-century church,” then for that to be true, they’d have to use Bibles that include the Apocrypha. My question is: under what authority did printing companies remove the apocryphal books found in all christian Bibles up to the 1800's?
Dear Book Worm,
The Greek-speaking Jews never treated the apocryphal books as divinely inspired Scripture. Even though some apocryphal books were included in the Septuagint, they were never considered God-breathed Scripture. Printed Bibles include maps, commentaries, and footnotes… and yet, we don’t consider those things to be Scripture; in the same way, the Septuagint included apocryphal books that were never viewed as the Word of God.
It is well documented that Jews didn’t consider the apocryphal books to be authored by God. Josephus, a venerated Jewish historian, specifically stated that the apocryphal books weren't from God in his writing Against Apion. The Manual of Discipline in the Dead Sea Scrolls stated that the Apocrypha wasn’t inspired. To further prove the point, the Apocrypha itself says that it isn’t Scripture! The apocryphal book, 2 Maccabees, specifically says that it isn’t inspired by God in 15:38-39, and the author apologizes for any inaccurate information he might have provided. Though the apocryphal books are unique historical accounts, they are never quoted in the New Testament, and they were never accepted by the church or the Jewish community as divinely inspired text. That is exactly why it isn’t necessary that they be included in modern translations of the Bible – they aren’t Bible, just secular history.
Are Jews Jesus' chosen people? And why?
Yay For Yarmulke
Dear Yay For Yarmulke,
The Jews are not Jesus’ chosen people; the church is. Jesus says that christians are His royal priesthood and chosen race (1 Pet 2:9). Under the Old Testament, the Jewish people were God’s nation (Deu 7:6). The Jewish nation was warned that if they rejected God’s Son, they would be rejecting God, and God would make a new nation out of those who believed in Christ (Jesus explained this to the Jews in the parable of the vineyard – Lk 20:9-19). The vast majority of Jews didn’t believe in Jesus, and therefore, they never became a part of Jesus’ kingdom. Jesus’ chosen people are those that love Him and keep His commandments (Jhn 14:15). The Jewish people rejected God because they would rather have their traditions than God’s Son (Mk 7:9).
In a previous post titled "Big Dreams", you said "there are no more prophets since we have the perfect and complete Word of God (1 Cor 13:8-10)". How do we know that 1 Cor 13:8-10 is talking about the Bible? What are some other things people think perfect/complete is?
Dear Incomplete Understanding,
The perfect that is described in 1 Cor 13:8-13 is typically thought to be one of two things. It is either perfect knowledge of God’s Will (also known as the completed Bible) or the Second Coming of Christ. So, let’s look at the details we are given about ‘the perfect’ and see which one fits better.
- ‘The perfect’ is something that would replace partial knowledge (1 Cor 13:9).
- ‘The perfect’ would remove the necessity for prophecy and new knowledge (1 Cor 13:8).
- When ‘the perfect’ comes, christians will still be expected to have faith, hope, and love (1 Cor 13:13).
The third item on that list is proof that ‘the perfect’ isn’t the Second Coming of Christ. When Christ returns, we will no longer need hope or faith. Faith is trusting in something you can’t see (Heb 11:1); when Jesus comes, we won’t need to have faith in Him – everyone will see Him and every knee will bow (Rom 14:11). Hope is also something that ceases to exist when Jesus returns. Hope is always in something you haven’t attained yet (Rom 8:25). For example, if a child is told by his parents that they will take him to Disneyland, the child has faith in the parents’ promise and hopes to see Disneyland… until the day that he walks into the Magic Kingdom. Hope and faith only exist because Christ hasn’t returned yet. ‘The perfect’ has to be something that happened after prophecy and miracles ended, but before Jesus’ return. The most logical explanation is that Paul is discussing the perfect and complete knowledge that can be found in the completed Bible. Today, with a finished Bible, the church still needs faith, hope, and love, but we no longer have a need for prophecy, and we no longer have only partial knowledge of God’s Will (Jude 1:3).
When Jesus talked to His disciples, He said, "When you fast..." Later, in Pauline epistles, we read about the early church, and fasting is still referred to sometimes. As christians, my understanding is that today we are to follow the Word by its commands, inferences, or practices. So when it comes to fasting, are we as christians to be fasting? It's interesting to me that we are told what to do when we sing and why, what day of the week to gather together by example, but nothing that I have found has made it clear to me details about fasting. So should we be regular "fasters" today?
Dear Snack Time,
Fasting is a Biblical practice, but there are no specific guidelines for when to do it. Fasting is the practice of not eating for a designated period of time. Jesus once fasted for forty days (Matt 4:2). Fasting is often associated with times of grief and difficult decisions (Joel 2:12). The New Testament doesn’t require fasting, but it also shows the benefits of fasting during times of difficulty or when important decisions needed to be made (Acts 14:23). Jesus’ disciples were noted for not fasting as often as the rest of the Jewish community (Matt 9:14), an indication that fasting doesn’t have the same level of emphasis in the New Testament. There is a time for fasting, but it is purely up to personal discretion.
Is their definitive proof that Mary Magdalene and Mary, the sister of Martha and Lazarus, were two different people? I say they were different people.
Dear Positive Identification,
Mary Magdalene received her name from her hometown. Mary was from the town or area of Magdala – this is an important distinction because we know where Mary, the sister of Martha, was from. Jhn 11:1 says that Mary (Martha’s sister) was from the town of Bethany. This clearly shows that they are two different people.