Saturday, February 04, 2012

Must Christians Always Forgive?


  1. I would be interested to learn if he deals with luke 23:34a

    “And Jesus said, “Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.”” (Luke 23:34).

    In my final paper on NT Textual Criticism at Harvard Divinity I argued that Luke 23:34a was an interpolation in the second century and thereby not original.

    Accordingly, I believe that the act of forgiveness must involve a transaction (i.e., it is conditional).


  2. Alan, where can I find a good explanation of the textual evidence against Luke 23:34a? Metzger's Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament has a disappointingly brief opinion on it (he is against it being original).

  3. David,

    I can send you my unpublished paper via email if you contact me, and/or in James White's most recent edition of _The King James Controversy_ he has a short discussion on it.

  4. David,

    Here is some bibliography on this:

    Bolin, Thomas M. “A Reassessment of the Textual Problem of Luke 23:34a,” Proceedings: Eastern Great Lakes and Midwest Biblical Societies 12 (1992) 131-44.

    Daube, David. “For they know not what they do’: Luke 23,34,” StPatr 4 (1961) 58-70.

    Delobel, Joël. ‘Luke 23:34a: A Perpetual Text-Critical Crux,” Sayings of Jesus: Canonical and Non-Canonical: Essays in Honour of Tjitze Baarda (ed. W. L. Petersen, J. S. Vos, and H. J. de Jonge; NovTSup 89; Leiden: Brill, 1997) 25-36.

    Petzer, Jacobus H. “Anti-Judaism and the textual problem of Luke 23:34”, Filogogia neotestamentaria. 5 no 10 N 1992.

    The American and British Committees of the International Greek New Testament Project. Edited., The Gospel According to St. Luke: Part Two Chapters 13-24. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1987.

    Whitlark, Jason A., Mikeal C. Parsons. “The ‘Seven’ Last Words: A Numerical Motivation for the Insertion of Luke 23:34a,” NTS 52 (2006) 188-204.

    Wilkinson, John. "The Seven Words from the Cross," Scottish Journal of Theology 17 (1964): 69-82.

  5. "And Jesus said, 'Father, forgive them, for they know not what they do.'" (Luke 23:34).

    They didn't actually believe they were crucifying the Son of God but rather a blasphemer, heretic and/or insurrectionist. Good intentions, wrong implementation.

    Of course, this assumes that crucifying heretics, blasphemers and rabble-rousers is a good thing.

  6. James,

    Aside from the assumption you're reading into that verse, I can't think of anywhere the NT presents Jesus' opponents as having good intentions.

    Quite the opposite:

    John 3:19–20 "And this is the judgment: the light has come into the world, and people loved the darkness rather than the light because their works were evil. For everyone who does wicked things hates the light and does not come to the light, lest his works should be exposed."

  7. This is just personal opinion since I do not have the book nor intend on buying it.

    But to the question.

    No, Christians must obey Christ.

    The Apostle Paul clearly showed intent in developing the issue "within" the Church and the man who had his father's wife.

    Also, we see him turning over to Satan some rebells.

    God Himself doesn't always forgive when you think about it!