A Conversation With Peter Williams, Ph.D. of Tyndale House

„One of the things we’ve got to do is not be scared by that [future] but to dig really deep roots into the Scriptures to find out what exactly the Scripture teaches – not to try to adapt it to make it more trendy and palatable, but to think what exactly it’s teaching us with the questions we are facing today.”

Peter Williams, Ph.D. is a well-known apologist and author. He is the Warden at Tyndale House, Cambridge in the UK. In this interview Peter discusses Church oneness, finding our roots in Scripture, being witnesses of Christ, his thoughts about why Jesus was a carpenter, and much more.

A Conversation With Peter Williams, Ph.D. from Future of the Church on Vimeo.

Can We Trust the Gospels? Lecture by Dr. Peter Williams of Tyndale House

photo credit www.st-helens.org.u

When were the Gospels written? Were they written by eyewitnesses? Why are the other gospels not included? Is there good

manuscript evidence? Is what we have now what they wrote then? These and other questions will be answered by Dr. Peter Williams. Dr. Williams is the CEO of Tyndale House, Cambridge, England and is a lecturer at a the University of Aberdeen and Cambridge University. He is recognized as one of the foremost Old and New Testament language scholars in the world. For centuries skeptics have attempted to destroy Christianity by attacking the reliability of the Gospels thus reinventing Jesus. How do we answer these attacks and build up our faith? Join us to hear Dr. Williams build a strong case for the reliability of the Gospels! The lecture will include handouts and Q&A.

Special thanks go out to: Assistant Pastor Scott Susong & Second Baptist Church Woodway Dr. Houston, TX. for more info http://www.second.org/woodway.aspx
Phillip Evans & American Friends of Tyndale House for more info http://friendsoftyndalehouse.com/
Dr. Peter Williams & Tyndale House for more info http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/
VIDEO by fleetwd1 from Second Baptist Church, Woodway April 2, 2014

 

In Ghana schools, they are handing out Bibles to first year highschoolers

PSALM 33:12

Blessed is the nation whose God is the LORD

Photo credit http://www.christianretailing.com

The Ghana Student Bible Campaign by Tyndale House Publishers

  • English: Map of Ghana Español: Mapa de GhanaGhana, which is in West Africa is an independent country which used to be a British colony, they have free and independent elections- just like the United States. Unlike the US, they have religion classes in high school and they actually study the Bible. Several years ago the first lady of Ghana visited Tyndale House Publishers (UK) and told them that the students need Bibles. Through a program in local book stores, Tyndale House set up a program where customers could sponsor a Bible to a student in Ghana and as a result of this effort they shipped off 200,000 Bibles to high schools students in Ghana last year.
  • In Ghana 50% of the population is under 18 years of age (with a life expectancy of 60 yrs.). The official language is English (although most also speak several of the 5 local languages) and Christianity is the country largest religion (2000 census shows 69% Christian and 15.6% muslim) Schools in the West African nation are allowed to read and teach the Bible as well as share the gospel with students.
  • Scripture Union Ghana distributes Christian literature in 95% of the schools in the nation.

„While the door of opportunity remains open to the gospel in Ghana, we must act,” said Mary Chapman, brand and product director at Tyndale, who recently traveled to Ghana to kick off the Bible distribution with Scripture Union. „We cannot take this open door for granted. Seeing the faces of the young people who were anxious and excited about receiving the Word of God was truly a sight to behold.”

In the past five years, Tyndale’s Christian retail channel exclusives have distributed nearly 2 million Bibles to those in the military, prison and crisis pregnancy centers through various Bible campaigns.

VIDEO by Tyndale House Publishers (Map photo via Wikipedia)

Wayne Grudem – Which Bible Translation to use – commentary on the ESV & NIV

One of the most frequently asked questions related to the Bible is, „Which Bible translation should I use?” People often wonder what is the all-around best English Bible translation available. In this book, Douglas Moo, Wayne Grudem, Ray Clendenen, and Philip Comfort make a case for the Bible translation he represents: the NIV 2011 (New International Version), the ESV (English Standard Version), the HCSB (Holman Christian Standard Bible), and the NLT (New Living Translation) respectively.

In each case, the contributors explain the translation philosophy under- lying these major recent versions. They also compare and contrast how specific passages are translated in their version and other translations.

Which Bible Translation Should I Use? is ideal for anyone who is interested in the Bible and wants to know how the major recent English translations compare. After you’ve read this book, you will be able to answer the title question with confidence. You will also learn many other interesting details about specific passages in the Bible from these top experts.

Some examples from:

  • Psalm 1:1 (in first 3 min video)
  • Luke 17:3 (gender issues with the NIV, specifically using ‘brothers and sisters’ where the greek word specifically means ‘brother’ – this is in the second, 4 min video)
  • Nahum 3:13 (problematic translation in the NIV- changing the word ‘women’ to ‘weaklings’ – in 3rd video)
  • 1 Timothy 2:12 (in 4th video)

In this playlist (all videos under 5 min each):
~Videos 1-4 Wayne Grudem (from ESV translation committee)
~Video 5 Douglas Moo (from NIV translation committee)
~Video 6 ESV panel debating the 4 instances of word ‘slave’ in 1 Corinthians 7:17-24 passage at Tyndale House UK

 

David Platt – …son, you don’t ever have to worry about hell again…

a great video form Tyndale House at Tyndale House Publishers. For all of our no English speaking friends who use Google translate to read this blog, the transcript follows below the video. David Platt is a humble (though he possess many doctorates in theology) young pastor who boldly preaches the Gospel at the Church of Brook Hill in Alabama. Listen to David Platt sermons here-  David Platt Sermon Page.

Follow Me by David Platt – Tyndale House Publishers

David Platt:

david plattSo I’ve got this friend, I’ll call him ‘John’. John’s first exposure to the whole concept of hell was when he was watching a Tom & Jerry cartoon, when he was younger. And what was intended to be this humorous cartoon, all of a sudden turned into this nightmare, where Tom did something to Jerry and was thrown into hell, end result. And later, John was at his church and he was talking with an older man about what he had seen. And, the older man looked at John and said, „John, you don’t want to go to hell, do you?” John said, „No.” The man looked back at him and said, „Pray this prayer after me. Dear Jesus…” John kind of paused, there was some awkward silence and then he realized he was supposed to say exactly what the man had said. So, he said, „Dear Jesus….” and the man continued, „I know that I’m a sinner, and believe that Jesus died for my sins, I ask you to come into my heart and save me.” And then, when they were finished, the man looked at John and said, „Son, now you can know that you are saved from your sins, and you don’t ever have to worry about hell again.”

Is that true? Is this really what it means to become a disciple of Jesus? Is this really what it means to follow Him? You look back at the first disciples in the Bible, and when Jesus came up to them and said, „Follow me,” that was not an invitation to pray a prayer. That was a summons for these men to lose their lives. Somewhere, along the way, 2,000 years later, amid varying cultural ties and popular church trends, we have virtually missed that call. With good intentions, with sincere desire to reach as many people as possible for Jesus, we’ve taken challenging words from Christ and turned them into trite phrases in the church. And, in the process, we’ve drained the lifeblood out of Christianity, and replaced it with a watered down version of the Gospel that’s so palatable that it’s not even real anymore.

And the consequences are catastrophic. Scores of men, women, and children, culturally identify themselves as Christians, yet biblically they are not followers of Christ. Is that possible? Absolutely, it is. In fact, according to Jesus, it’s probable. He said, at the end of His most famous sermon, „Many will say to Me, on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in Your name, and in your name drive out demons, and perform many miracles?'” And, I will tell them, „I never knew you. Away from Me, you evil doers.”  Those are the most frightening words in all the Bible. And, as a Pastor, I stay awake some nights, haunted by the thoughts that many people, many people, who are sitting in church on Sunday will be shocked to stand before Jesus one day, and hear Him say to them, „I never knew you. Away from Me.” We desperately need to take a look at our lives and our churches, and ask the question, „Are we really biblically, personally, following Jesus? Eternity is dependent on how we answer that question.

Tyndale House on the 3rd century (estimated) newly discovered papyri fragment referencing Jesus’s wife

YOU CAN READ THE FULL ARTICLE here- http://www.tyndale.cam.ac.uk/ReJesusWife?

This is starting to snowball in the news, so I thought I would post this email (Tyndale House encourages the forwarding of it) for clarification. Please read it carefully and be informed, this will most likely become as big as the DaVinci code heresy in the West, with the ‘marriage issue’ being at the forefront today.

Did Jesus have a wife?

The Web is by now awash with stories of an ancient text in which Jesus says ‘my wife’. The story which broke yesterday in the New York Times and some other sources, is being carried today by outlets too numerous to list. Some of the reporting is responsible, but not all. Consider this extract from The Daily Mail:

“If genuine, the document casts doubt on a centuries old official representation of Magdalene as a repentant whore and overturns the Christian ideal of sexual abstinence.”

We are of course in a context where there is so much ignorance of basic facts about Christianity that even when the media properly relay facts they get completely distorted and misunderstood in popular perception. This can be seen in the way derivative media put spin on the story and in the online comments below the news items.

Here we try to establish a few facts.

The scholarly article upon which almost all knowledge of the fragment is based is here.

What do we know from this?
What’s in a name?

First, let’s start with the name. The scholar involved, Professor Karen King of Harvard, has decided to call this The Gospel of Jesus’s Wife. However, it might more appropriately be named The Fragment about Jesus’s Relations, since there’s no evidence that it was called a gospel and the text mentions at least two family members. Of course, such a name would not generate the same publicity. Despite this unfortunate choice of name, Professor King is to be commended for publishing a good photograph and detailed scholarly analysis of the fragment simultaneously with the press release. Usually in the case of controversial text the media hype comes long before the availability of the text.

Genuine or forgery?

Professor King has provided pictures of the papyrus, but it is not publicly known who owns it, or where it came from. If genuine, it almost certainly came from Egypt because that is where papyri like this are found.

Because it was not found in situ it is obviously possible to doubt its genuineness. Scholars at Tyndale House think that, on the basis of the limited evidence currently available, it is possible it is genuine, though there are good reasons for scepticism – see the comments of Dr Christian Askeland, an expert in Coptic manuscripts here.

It is written in Coptic, the language of Egypt which descended from the even earlier language of the Hieroglyphs. Coptic is Egyptian written in the Greek alphabet with a few extra letters. Because Coptic was only emerging as a written language in the third century and papyrus went out of use in the seventh century the 8 cm x 4 cm fragment has to be dated some time from the third to the seventh century and the scholars involved with this fragment have stated that it is fourth century on the basis of the handwriting.

Since we have virtually no firmly dated Coptic handwriting, this date is just an educated guess.

Then we turn to the date of the contents. Here Professor King puts the text in the late second century, but all that we really know is that the text is at least as old as the manuscript.

What does it say?This is King’s translation of the text, with square brackets used where the text does not survive:FRONT:1 ] “not [to] me. My mother gave to me li[fe…”
2 ] The disciples said to Jesus, “.[
3 ] deny. Mary is worthy of it[
4 ]……” Jesus said to them, “My wife . .[
5 ]… she will be able to be my disciple . . [
6 ] Let wicked people swell up … [
7] As for me, I dwell with her in order to . [
8] an image [BACK:1 ] my moth[er
2 ] three [
3 ] … [
4 ] forth which … [
5 ] (illegible ink traces)

We believe this to be a largely reliable translation. But is it evidence that Jesus had a wife? The answer is an emphatic ‘no’. Not even Karen King is claiming that it is, though it’s inevitable that some of the news outlets will present it otherwise.

What we have here is a typical sort of text which arose after Christianity had become very popular and when derivatives of Christianity began to emerge. The language of the text is very similar to the Gospel of Thomas, sayings 101 and 114, and the Gospel of Thomas saying 101 shows influence of Luke 14:26, as the Gospel of Thomas does elsewhere. This way of speaking belongs to the mid-second century or later, in other words generations later than the books of the New Testament.

We asked Dr Simon Gathercole, an expert on apocryphal gospels and Senior Lecturer in New Testament in the University of Cambridge, for his comments.

He concluded: „Harvard Professor Karen King, who is the person who has been entrusted with the text, has rightly warned us that this does not say anything about the historical Jesus. She is correct that “its possible date of composition in the second half of the second century, argues against its value as evidence for the life of the historical Jesus”. But she is also right that this is a fascinating discovery which offers us a window into debates about sex and marriage in the early church, and the way Jesus could be adapted to play a part in a particular debate. If it is genuine.

You can read his fuller analysis here

Please feel free to forward this email.

Best wishes,

Peter Williams,
Warden, Tyndale House, Cambridge.

Are These the Actual Words of Jesus’ Crucifixion Charge Sheet? (via Justin Taylor)

Are These the Actual Words of Jesus’ Crucifixion Charge Sheet?.

Interesting analysis here from David Instone-Brewer (of Tyndale House in Cambridge) looking at the Munich Talmud, the earliest full Talmud containing the earliest manuscripts reflecting ancient Jewish tradition:

Munich Talmud comes to Tyndale

We were delighted to win a New York auction to acquire one of only 400 facsimile copies of the Munich Talmud for the library – we are aware of only one other copy in the UK. This is the only full manuscript of the Talmud with all the sections of text about Jesus which were censored from subsequent Talmuds by Papal authority in the 1400’s. Even in this copy you can see where someone has tried to erase the words „Jesus of Nazareth” and the names of disciples.

Details:

On the Eve of Passover they hung Jeshu the Nazarine. And the herald went out before him for 40 days [saying]: “Jeshu the Nazarine will go out to be stoned for sorcery and misleading and enticing Israel. Any who knows [anything] in his defence must come and declare concerning him.” But no-one came to his defence so they hung him on the Eve of Passover.

This is followed by a late discussion about the names of his disciples, which was also censored.

The bold bits are likely to be older than the rest because they have independent witness elsewhere. The phrase “they hung him on the Eve of the Passover” occurs also in the censored passage about Ben Stada at b.San.67a. The charges “sorcery and enticing Israel” occur twice in other censored portions of the Talmud (b.San.107b and b.Sot.47a) and in Justin Martyr who said that the Jews „dared to call him a magician and an enticer of the people” (ma&gon.. kai\ laopla&non) – Dial.69.

The addition of “misleading” came from Dt.13.5-10(6-11). This was perhaps added to cast doubt on Jesus’ miracles which this charge regards as genuine. Mishnah makes a clear distinction between sorcery which is merely an illusion and real magic (m.San.7.11) and death only applies for the latter. For example, Talmud records the story which Rab told to R. Hiyya: ‘I myself saw an Arabian traveller take a sword and cut up a camel; then he rang a bell, at which the camel arose.’  R. Hiyya replied, ‘But after that, was there any blood or dung? If not, it was merely an illusion.’” (b.San.67b). The implication of this charge is that Jesus did real miracles by evil power.

The Earliest Manuscript Evidence for the New Testament (via Justin Taylor)

The Earliest Manuscript Evidence for the New Testament.

Dr. Dirk Jongkind, a Research Fellow at Tyndale House in Cambridge, England, shows how the earliest manuscript evidence for the New Testament tells the story of Jesus’ trial before Pontius Pilate:

 

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