Friday, November 24, 2023

Christmas Resources 2023

For suggestions about how to begin the process of arguing for a traditional Christian view of Jesus' childhood, see the collection of approaches that can be taken here.

One of the most important issues to inform yourself about is how much Matthew and Luke agree concerning Jesus' childhood. They agree much more than people typically suggest. See here for a discussion of forty examples of the agreements between Matthew and Luke. For a collection of posts on agreement about Jesus' childhood among other early sources, see here.

Isaiah 9:1-7 is important not only in the context of prophecy fulfillment, but also for other reasons, such as understanding Jesus' self-perception, demonstrating continuity between the accounts of his childhood and the accounts of his adulthood, and understanding why he carried out his public ministry as he did. Here's a collection of posts addressing the passage and its significance across many contexts.

And we've addressed a lot of other Christmas issues over the years. Here are some examples:

Tuesday, November 21, 2023

Thank God For Scripture

Last Thursday I gave a lecture on William Tyndale to a group in Washington, D. C. Tyndale translated the New Testament for the first time from the original languages into English in 1526. He paid for this with his life. He was strangled and then burned at the stake at age forty-two. There was one point where I did not expect to be moved as deeply as I was. I was listing passages in the English Standard Version that we use here at Bethlehem which trace their origin back through the Revised Standard Version to the American Revised Version to the King James Version to the Geneva Bible to the Coverdale Bible to William Tyndale.

And when I got to the blessing of Numbers 6:24-26, I realized that I use these words almost every weekend to close our services. “The Lord bless you and keep you; the LORD make his face to shine upon you and be gracious to you; the Lord lift up his countenance upon you and give you peace.” And it hit me, I am using the very words that William Tyndale chose five hundred years ago to translate these verses (with two tiny changes, thee to you, and merciful to gracious), and he paid for this translation with his life. He died to put these words in English….

So I will say to you what I said to those folks: Let’s not play with these precious words. These are the words of God. Christ died to confirm them and make it possible for sinners to understand them and embrace them. And thousands have died to preserve them for us to this day. Thank God this Thanksgiving for the inspired Bible.

(John Piper)

Sunday, November 19, 2023

How The Afterlife Completes And Makes More Sense Of This Life

"Many murderers have died in their beds unpunished; where then is the righteousness of God? Yea, ofttimes a murderer guilty of fifty murders is beheaded once; where then shall he suffer punishment for the forty and nine? Unless there is a judgment and a retribution after this world, thou chargest God with unrighteousness. Marvel not, however, because of the delay of the judgment; no combatant is crowned or disgraced, till the contest is over; and no president of the games ever crowns men while yet striving, but he waits till all the combatants are finished, that then deciding between them he may dispense the prizes and the chaplets. Even thus God also, so long as the strife in this world lasts, succours the just but partially, but afterwards He renders to them their rewards fully." (Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures, 18:4)