Thursday, September 14, 2023

First-Century Identifications Of The Gospel Authors

Michael Jones (InspiringPhilosophy) recently posted a video that makes a lot of good points against the popular claim that the gospels originally circulated anonymously. He's covering a lot of ground in a short video, though, so he doesn't bring up everything that could be mentioned. The video can be supplemented with the information here, which includes some sources not addressed in the video. For example, I've discussed some evidence that Papias not only attributed the fourth gospel to John, but also specified the son of Zebedee rather than some other John or just leaving the issue ambiguous. There are many other relevant posts in our archives. See this one on the significance of the location of some early gospel attributions, like the Roman location of sources commenting on the third gospel, and see here on the evidence for Matthew's authorship of the gospel attributed to him, for example. Michael's video mentions Richard Bauckham, who's done a lot of good work on gospel issues, including the authorship of the documents. However, there are some problems with his views on some of the gospels, and I've addressed those here (on Matthew) and here (on John). A commentary on Matthew's gospel that recently came out argued that the gospel titles were added at the time when all four gospels were gathered in a collection. Here's my explanation of why that's unlikely.

Tuesday, September 12, 2023

Conversations That Are So Light And Unprofitable

"Why is their discourse so light and unprofitable when they meet, but because their hearts are earthly and vain? But now, if Christians would study their hearts more and keep them better, the beauty and glory of communion would be restored." (John Flavel, Keeping The Heart [Great Britain: Christian Focus Publications, 2019], 115-16)

Sunday, September 10, 2023

We Must Give Pain To Our Hearers

"I know that a chill comes over you on hearing these things; but what am I to do? For this is God's own command, continually to sound these things in your ears, where He says, 'Charge this people;' and ordained as we have been unto the ministry of the word, we must give pain to our hearers, not willingly but on compulsion. Nay rather, if you will, we shall avoid giving you pain. For saith He, 'if thou do that which is good, fear not:' [Romans 13:3] so that it is possible for you to hear me not only without ill-will, but even with pleasure….The argument is irksome and pains the hearer: were it only by my own feelings, I know this. For indeed my heart is troubled and throbs; and the more I see the account of hell confirmed, the more do I tremble and shrink through fear. But it is necessary to say these things lest we fall into hell." (John Chrysostom, Homilies On First Corinthians, 9:1-2)

He refers to church leaders and hell, but his comments also have a broader application. There are a lot of subjects that get discussed much less than they should. People are overly interested in short-term comforts and conveniences and being liked and respected and having a higher rather than lower social status, especially among their relatives. If you love people, you'll bring some pain into their lives in these contexts.