Friday, December 30, 2022

Planned Topics for Debate with Nick Sayers

The following are the KJV Errors that I plan to address in my debate with Nick Sayers.

1. Printing Errors in the 1611

Matthew 26:34 Iesus said vnto him, Uerily I say vnto thee, that this might before the cocke crow, thou shalt denie me thrise.

The word "might" should be "night" as later editions of the KJV corrected.

2. Misleading Translation

Psalm 29:6

He maketh them also to skip like a calf; Lebanon and Sirion like a young unicorn.

(together with the other references to unicorns)

3. Dynamic Equivalent Rather than Literal

Joshua 22:29
God forbid that we should rebel against the LORD, and turn this day from following the LORD, to build an altar for burnt offerings, for meat offerings, or for sacrifices, beside the altar of the LORD our God that is before his tabernacle.

Romans 9:14 
What shall we say then? Is there unrighteousness with God? God forbid.

"God Forbid" both in the Old Testament (9x) and the New Testament (15x) 

4. Translation Error Corrected by the 2016 KJV

Mark 6:20 - (KJV) For Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just man and an holy, and observed him; and when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.

Note “or, kept him or saved him” as the marginal note.

Mark 6:20 - (‘16) because, Herod feared John, knowing that he was a just and holy man, and protected him. And when he heard him, he did many things, and heard him gladly.

Mark 6:20 (TR) ὁ γὰρ Ἡρῴδης ἐφοβεῖτο τὸν Ἰωάννην εἰδὼς αὐτὸν ἄνδρα δίκαιον καὶ ἅγιον καὶ συνετήρει αὐτόν καὶ ἀκούσας αὐτοῦ πολλὰ ἐποίει, καὶ ἡδέως αὐτοῦ ἤκουεν

5. Translation Error in Old Testament (not covered by 2016 KJV) but correct in 1611 Margin

Isaiah 65:11 But ye are they that forsake the LORD, that forget my holy mountain, that prepare a table for that troop, and that furnish the drink offering unto that number.

In general, this illustrates the value of having marginal readings.  

6. Translation Errors Not Corrected by the 2016 KJV nor the 1611 margin

Acts 12:4 - And when he had apprehended him, he put him in prison, and delivered him to four quaternions of soldiers to keep him; intending after Easter to bring him forth to the people.

The annual Christian celebration of Christ's resurrection was not yet established at that time, and even if it were, there is no reason Herod would be interested in observing it.  

The correct translation here is Passover.  

7. Errors due to Greek Text - Beza's "Conjecture" at Revelation 16:5

Revelation 16:5 (KJV) And I heard the angel of the waters say, Thou art righteous, O Lord, which art, and wast, and shalt be, because thou hast judged thus.

Revelation 16:5 (ESV) And I heard the angel in charge of the waters[a] say, “Just are you, O Holy One, who is and who was, for you brought these judgments.

8. Errors due to Greek Text - Scribal Addition of Doxology at Matthew 6:13

Matthew 6:13 And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from evil: For thine is the kingdom, and the power, and the glory, for ever. Amen.

9. Errors due to Greek Text - Late Scribal Copying Error at Ephesians 3:9

Ephesians 3:9 And to make all men see what is the fellowship of the mystery, which from the beginning of the world hath been hid in God, who created all things by Jesus Christ:

10. Errors due to Latin Corruption - 1 John 5:7-8

1 John 5:7-8
For there are three that bear record in heaven, the Father, the Word, and the Holy Ghost: and these three are one. And there are three that bear witness in earth, the Spirit, and the water, and the blood: and these three agree in one.

Friday, December 16, 2022

Major Biblical Commentators on 1 Timothy 4:10

 Matthew Henry (source)

II. The encouragement which we have to proceed in the ways of godliness, and to exercise ourselves to it, notwithstanding the difficulties and discouragements that we meet with in it. He had said (v. 8) that it is profitable for all things, having the promise of the life which now is. But the question is, Will the profit balance the loss? For, if it will not, it is not profit. Yes, we are sure it will. Here is another of Paul's faithful sayings, worthy of all acceptation—that all our labours and losses in the service of God and the work of religion will be abundantly recompensed, so that though we lose for Christ we shall not lose by him. Therefore we labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, v. 10. Observe,

1. Godly people must labour and expect reproach; they must do well, and yet expect at the same time to suffer ill: toil and trouble are to be expected by us in this world, not only as men, but as saints.

2. Those who labour and suffer reproach in the service of God and the work of religion may depend upon the living God that they shall not lose by it. Let this encourage them, We trust in the living God. The consideration of this, that the God who has undertaken to be our pay-master is the living God, who does himself live for ever and is the fountain of life to all who serve him, should encourage us in all our services and in all our sufferings for him, especially considering that he is the Saviour of all men. (1.) By his providences he protects the persons, and prolongs the lives, of the children of men. (2.) He has a general good-will to the eternal salvation of all men thus far that he is not willing that any should perish, but that all should come to repentance. He desires not the death of sinners; he is thus far the Saviour of all men that none are left in the same desperate condition that fallen angels are in. Now, if he be thus the Saviour of all men, we may hence infer that much more he will be the rewarder of those who seek and serve him; if he has such a good-will for all his creatures, much more will he provide well for those who are new creatures, who are born again. He is the Saviour of all men, but especially of those that believe; and the salvation he has in store for those that believe is sufficient to recompense them for all their services and sufferings. Here we see, [1.] The life of a Christian is a life of labour and suffering: We labour and suffer. [2.] The best we can expect to suffer in the present life is reproach for our well-doing, for our work of faith and labour of love. [3.] True Christians trust in the living God; for cursed is the man that trusts in man, or in any but the living God; and those that trust in him shall never be ashamed. Trust in him at all times. [4.] God is the general Saviour of all men, as he has put them into a salvable state; but he is in a particular manner the Saviour of true believers; there is then a general and a special redemption.

John Gill (source)

For therefore we both labour

Not in the word and doctrine, though they did; nor in the exercise of internal godliness, though there is a work in faith, and a labour in love; nor with their own hands, at their trades and business, to support themselves, and others; but by enduring hardships and afflictions, as stripes, imprisonment, weariness, pain, watchings, fastings, hunger, thirst, cold, and nakedness; see ( 2 Corinthians 11:23-27 ) . 

And suffer reproach;

with patience and cheerfulness. The Alexandrian copy, and another manuscript, read, "we strive"; or contend even to an agony, combating with sin, Satan, and the world, with profane men, and with false teachers; and to all this they were animated by the promises made to godliness; and therefore they showed it by their practices, or rather by their sufferings, that they believed it to be a true and faithful saying; and which is further conferred by what follows: 

because we trust in the living God;

for the accomplishment of the said promises, who has power, and therefore can, and is faithful, and therefore will, make good what he has promised; and since it is life he has promised, faith is the more encouraged to trust in him, since he is the living God, in opposition to, and distinction from, lifeless idols; he has life in himself, essentially, originally, and independently, and is the author and giver of life, natural, spiritual, and eternal, unto others. Wherefore there is good reason to trust in him for the fulfilling of the promises of the present and future life, made unto godliness. 

Who is the Saviour of all men;

in a providential way, giving them being and breath, upholding them in their beings, preserving their lives, and indulging them with the blessings and mercies of life; for that he is the Saviour of all men, with a spiritual and everlasting salvation, is not true in fact. 

Specially of those that believe;

whom though he saves with an eternal salvation; yet not of this, but of a temporal salvation, are the words to be understood: or as there is a general providence, which attends all mankind, there is a special one which relates to the elect of God; these are regarded in Providence, and are particularly saved and preserved before conversion, in order to be called; and after conversion, after they are brought to believe in Christ, they are preserved from many enemies, and are delivered out of many afflictions and temptations; and are the peculiar care and darlings of providence, being to God as the apple of his eye: and there is a great deal of reason to believe this, for if he is the Saviour of all men, then much more of them who are of more worth, value, and esteem with him, than all the world beside; and if they are saved by him with the greater salvation, then much more with the less; and if he the common Saviour of all men, and especially of saints, whom he saves both ways, then there is great reason to trust in him for the fulfilment of the promises of life, temporal and eternal, made to godliness, and godly persons. This epithet of God seems to be taken out of ( Psalms 17:7 ) where he is called ([Hebrew text did not copy]) , "the Saviour of them that trust", or believe.

John Calvin (source)

10 For in this we both labor and suffer reproaches This is an anticipation by which he solves that question, "Are not believers the most miserable of all men, because they are oppressed by tribulations of every kind?" In order to show, therefore, that their condition must not be judged from outward appearance, he distinguishes them from others, first in the cause, and next in the result. Hence it follows, that they lose nothing of the promises which he has mentioned, when they are tried by adversity. The sum is, that believers are not miserable in afflictions, because a good conscience supports them, and a blessed and joyful end awaits them.

Now, since the happiness of the present life consists chiefly of two parts, honor and conveniences, he contrasts them within two evils, toils and reproach, meaning by the former words, inconveniences and annoyances of every kind, such as poverty, cold, nakedness, hunger, banishments, spoliations, imprisonments, scourgings, and other persecutions.

We have hope fixed on the living God This consolation refers to the cause; for so far are we from being miserable, when we suffer on account of righteousness, that it is rather a just ground of thanksgiving. Besides, our afflictions are accompanied by hope in the living God, and, what is more, hope may be regarded as the foundation; but it never maketh ashamed, (Romans 5:5,) and therefore everything that happens to the godly ought to be reckoned a gain.

Who is the Savior [76] This is the second consolation, though it depends on the former; for the deliverance of which he speaks may be viewed as the fruit of hope. To make this more clear, it ought to be understood that this is an argument drawn from the less to the greater; for the word soter [77] is here a general term, and denotes one who defends and preserves. He means that the kindness of God extends to all men. And if there is no man who does not feel the goodness of God towards him, and who is not a partaker of it, how much more shall it be experienced by the godly, who hope in him? Will he not take peculiar care in them? Will he not more freely pour out his bounty on them? In a word, will he not, in every respect, keep them safe to the end?

[76] "The word Savior is not here taken in what we call its proper and strict meaning, in regard to the eternal salvation which God promises to his elect, but it is taken for one who delivers and protects. Thus we see that even unbelievers are protected by God, as it is said (Matthew 5:46) that "he maketh his sun to shine on the good and the bad;" and we see that all are fed by his goodness, that all are delivered from many dangers. In this sense he is called "the Savior of all men," not in regard to the spiritual salvation of their souls, but because he supports all his creatures. In this way, therefore, our Lord is the Savior of all men, that is, his goodness extends to the most wicked, who are estranged from him, and who do not deserve to have any intercourse with him, who ought to have been struck off from the number of the creatures of God and destroyed; and yet we see how God hitherto extends his grace to them; for the life which he gives to them is a testimony of his goodness. Since, therefore God shows such favor towards those who are strangers to him, how shall it be with us who are members of his household? Not that we are better or more excellent than those whom we see to be cast off by him, but the whole proceeds from his mercy and free grace, that he is reconciled to us through our Lord Jesus Christ, since he hath called us to the knowledge of the gospel, and then confirms us, and seals his bounty toward us, so that we ought to be convinced that he reckons us to be his children. Since, therefore, we see that he nourishes those who are estranged from him, let us go and hide ourselves under his wings; for, having taken us under his protection, he has declared that he will show himself to be a Father toward us." -- Fr. Ser.

[77] "Le mot Grec que nous traduisons Sauveur." -- "The Greek word which we translate Savior."

Matthew Poole (source)

1 Timothy 4:10

For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of those that believe.

If we did not believe this as a faithful saying, that godliness is profitable for all things, and trust in God, who liveth for ever, to see to the fulfilling of it, to what purpose should

we labour and suffer reproach as we do; labouring in the work of God, suffering reproach in the cause of God, and for living godly lives, worshipping God according to his will, and denying ourselves in sensual satisfactions and sensible enjoyments, that we might fulfil the law of Christ?

Objection. But, will some say: how then is godliness profitable for all things, how doth the faithfulness of the promises for this life annexed to godliness appear, if those that profess it must labour and suffer reproach?

Solution. Labour for God is a reward to itself, our honour, not our burden, his service is perfect freedom: the promises of this life, annexed to godliness, are not promises of sensual rest and ease, but of inward peace, satisfaction, and support of other things, only with a reserve to the Divine wisdom and judgment, so far forth as our heavenly Father shall see it fit for his glory and our good; yet they are not vain, for God,

who is the Saviour, that is, the Preserver,

of all men, the Preserver of man and beast, as the psalmist speaketh, is in a more especial manner the Saviour

of those that believe, Psalm 33:18,19. This seemeth rather to be the sense of the text, than to understand it of eternal salvation, for so God is not the actual Saviour of all; besides that the text seemeth to speak of a work proper to the Father, rather than to the Son.

Other interesting commentary:

John Samson at (source)

Thomas Aquinas the Commentator - comments on 1 Timothy 2:4-6 and 4:10

Much better than Thomas' handling of 1 Timothy 4:10 in the Summa is Thomas' handling of the same text in his commentary on 1 Timothy (source)

Chapter 2, Lecture 1, "Prayers for All Men"

62. Also on the side of God, and acceptable in the sight of God: then you shall accept the sacrifices of justice (Ps 50:21), which could be offered only under charity. And he says, our Savior, because God alone saves: there is no savior besides me (Isa 43:11).

And he proves that it is acceptable, when he says, who wills that all men be saved: not willing that anyone should perish (2 Pet 3:9).

But something contrary to this is found in the Psalms: he has done all things whatsoever he would (Ps 113:11). Therefore, he saves everyone. But if you say that he does not, because man does not will it, then it seems that the omnipotent is frustrated by a will that is not omnipotent.

The answer is that willing refers sometimes to the will of his good pleasure and sometimes to the signified will. By his signified will he wills to save all, because he offers to all the precepts, counsels and remedies required for salvation.

As to the will of his causal utterance, this is explained in four ways. First, as when God is said to make something because he makes others do it: the Spirit asks for the saints (Rom 8:26), i.e., he causes them to ask. In this way God wills this, because he makes his saints will that all men be saved. This type of willing should be found in the saints, because they do not know who are predestined and who are not.

Second, when it is applied to a limited number, i.e., to all who are saved, because no one is saved except through his will; just as in one school the teacher teaches all the boys of this city, because no one is taught by anyone but he.

In a third way, when it is applied to the species of each individual but not to the individual of each species, i.e., no species of men are excepted from salvation; because formerly it was offered to the Jews only, but now to all men.

Fourth, according to Damascene, so that it is understood to be about his antecedent will, and not the consequent. For in God’s will, although there are no prior things and subsequent things, his will is nevertheless described as antecedent and consequent. Likewise, according to the order of things willed, according to which the will can be considered in two ways: namely, in general or absolutely, and according to certain circumstances, and in particular. Here the absolute and general consideration is considered prior to the particular and relative consideration. Then the absolute will is, as it were, antecedent, and the will of anything in particular is, as it were, consequent. For example, a merchant who absolutely wills to save all his goods, and this by his antecedent will; but if he considers the safety factor, he does not will all his goods to be saved, through comparison to others, namely, when the sinking of his ship follows the saving of all his goods. And this will is consequent. Similarly, in God’s case, the salvation of all men considered in itself has a reckoning so that is might be desirable; which is what the Apostle means here: therefore, he is speaking of his antecedent will. But if the good of justice is considered, and that sins be punished, thus he does not want; And this is his consequent will.

And he adds, and come to the knowledge of the truth, because salvation depends on knowing the truth: you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free (John 8:32).


(Chapter 4) (Lecture 2) "Exercise Holiness"

164. He says, therefore: the saying that godliness has a promise is faithful.

Why? Because in this we labor, i.e., to reach eternal life: the farmer who labors must first partake of the fruits (2 Tim 2:6); and also to do good, even though we suffer evil; hence he says, we labor and are reviled: patience has a good work (Jas 1:4); patience works trial (Rom 5:4).

And we endure because of the hope of life: because we hope in the living God, who is the Savior of the present and of the future life;

and because of God’s work which is to save: for I am your Savior (Isa 43:2). This is God become incarnate and called Jesus: for he shall save his people from their sins (Matt 1:21); Jesus is the same as Savior, because he saves with a bodily salvation that extends to all; hence he says, of all men, and with a spiritual salvation that extends only to the good; hence he says, especially of the faithful.

Thomas Aquinas Misinterprets 1 Timothy 4:10 to Deny the Immaculate Conception

The following selection comes from Thomas Aquinas' "Treatise on the Incarnation," a section of Summa Theologica (source).  In this selection, Thomas argues from 1 Timothy 4:10 that Jesus would not be the "Saviour of all men" if Mary did not contract original sin.  This is one of those interesting cases where Thomas was fairly clearly wrong in his interpretation of 1 Timothy 4:10, yet correct in denying that Mary was immaculately conceived.  In fact, on this matter, Thomas is right for (mostly) the wrong reasons.  This section is also interesting in terms of the arguments over the celebration of the Feast of the Immaculate Conception (today observed by Rome on December 8), but not observed by Rome in Thomas' day.     

P(3)- Q(27)- A(2) Whether the Blessed Virgin was sanctified before animation?

P(3)- Q(27)- A(2)- O(1) —

It would seem that the Blessed Virgin was sanctified before animation. Because, as we have stated ( A(1) ), more grace was bestowed on the Virgin Mother of God than on any saint. Now it seems to have been granted to some, to be sanctified before animation. For it is written ( Jeremiah 1:5): “Before I formed thee in the bowels of thy mother, I knew thee”: and the soul is not infused before the formation of the body. Likewise Ambrose says of John the Baptist (Comment. in Luc. i, 15): “As yet the spirit of life was not in him and already he possessed the Spirit of grace.” Much more therefore could the Blessed Virgin be sanctified before animation.

P(3)- Q(27)- A(2)- O(2) —

Further, as Anselm says (De Concep. Virg. xviii), “it was fitting that this Virgin should shine with such a purity that under God none greater can be imagined”: wherefore it is written (Canticles 4:7): “Thou art all fair, O my love, and there is not a spot in thee.” But the purity of the Blessed Virgin would have been greater, if she had never been stained by the contagion of original sin. Therefore it was granted to her to be sanctified before her flesh was animated.

P(3)- Q(27)- A(2)- O(3) —

Further, as it has been stated above, no feast is celebrated except of some saint. But some keep the feast of the Conception of the Blessed Virgin. Therefore it seems that in her very Conception she was holy; and hence that she was sanctified before animation.

P(3)- Q(27)- A(2)- O(4) —

Further, the Apostle says ( Romans 11:16): “If the root be holy, so are the branches.” Now the root of the children is their parents. Therefore the Blessed Virgin could be sanctified even in her parents, before animation.

P(3)- Q(27)- A(2) —

On the contrary, The things of the Old Testament were figures of the New, according to 1 Corinthians 10:11: “All things happened to them in figure.” Now the sanctification of the tabernacle, of which it is written ( Psalm 45:5): “The most High hath sanctified His own tabernacle,” seems to signify the sanctification of the Mother of God, who is called “God’s Tabernacle,” according to Psalm 18:6: “He hath set His tabernacle in the sun.” But of the tabernacle it is written ( Exodus 40:31,32): “After all things were perfected, the cloud covered the tabernacle of the testimony, and the glory of the Lord filled it.”

Therefore also the Blessed Virgin was not sanctified until after all in her was perfected, viz. her body and soul.

P(3)- Q(27)- A(2) —

I answer that, The sanctification of the Blessed Virgin cannot be understood as having taken place before animation, for two reasons. First, because the sanctification of which we are speaking, is nothing but the cleansing from original sin: for sanctification is a “perfect cleansing,” as Dionysius says (Div. Nom. xii). Now sin cannot be taken away except by grace, the subject of which is the rational creature alone.

Therefore before the infusion of the rational soul, the Blessed Virgin was not sanctified.

Secondly, because, since the rational creature alone can be the subject of sin; before the infusion of the rational soul, the offspring conceived is not liable to sin. And thus, in whatever manner the Blessed Virgin would have been sanctified before animation, she could never have incurred the stain of original sin: and thus she would not have needed redemption and salvation which is by Christ, of whom it is written ( Matthew 1:21): “He shall save His people from their sins.” But this is unfitting, through implying that Christ is not the “Saviour of all men,” as He is called ( 1 Timothy 4:10). It remains, therefore, that the Blessed Virgin was sanctified after animation.

P(3)- Q(27)- A(2)- RO(1) —

The Lord says that He “knew” Jeremias before he was formed in the womb, by knowledge, that is to say, of predestination: but He says that He “sanctified” him, not before formation, but before he “came forth out of the womb,” etc.

As to what Ambrose says, viz. that in John the Baptist there was not the spirit of life when there was already the Spirit of grace, by spirit of life we are not to understand the life-giving soul, but the air which we breathe out [respiratus]. Or it may be said that in him as yet there was not the spirit of life, that is the soul, as to its manifest and complete operations.

P(3)- Q(27)- A(2)- RO(2) —

If the soul of the Blessed Virgin had never incurred the stain of original sin, this would be derogatory to the dignity of Christ, by reason of His being the universal Saviour of all. Consequently after Christ, who, as the universal Saviour of all, needed not to be saved, the purity of the Blessed Virgin holds the highest place. For Christ did not contract original sin in any way whatever, but was holy in His very Conception, according to Luke 1:35: “The Holy which shall be born of thee, shall be called the Son of God.” But the Blessed Virgin did indeed contract original sin, but was cleansed therefrom before her birth from the womb. This is what is signified ( Job 3:9) where it is written of the night of original sin: “Let it expect light,” i.e. Christ, “and not see it” — (because “no defiled thing cometh into her,” as is written Wis. 7:25), “nor the rising of the dawning of the day,” that is of the Blessed Virgin, who in her birth was immune from original sin.

P(3)- Q(27)- A(2)- RO(3) —

Although the Church of Rome does not celebrate the Conception of the Blessed Virgin, yet it tolerates the custom of certain churches that do keep that feast, wherefore this is not to be entirely reprobated. Nevertheless the celebration of this feast does not give us to understand that she was holy in her conception. But since it is not known when she was sanctified, the feast of her Sanctification, rather than the feast of her Conception, is kept on the day of her conception.

P(3)- Q(27)- A(2)- RO(4) —

Sanctification is twofold. one is that of the whole nature: inasmuch as the whole human nature is freed from all corruption of sin and punishment. This will take place at the resurrection.

The other is personal sanctification. This is not transmitted to the children begotten of the flesh: because it does not regard the flesh but the mind.

Consequently, though the parents of the Blessed Virgin were cleansed from original sin, nevertheless she contracted original sin, since she was conceived by way of fleshly concupiscence and the intercourse of man and woman: for Augustine says (De Nup. et Concup. i): “All flesh born of carnal intercourse is sinful.”

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Commentaries on 1 Timothy 4:10

David Dickson (1583?-1663) An exposition of all St. Paul's epistles ... (source)(spelling modernized by me)

Vers. 10. For therefore we both labor, and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, especially of those that believe.

Reas. 4. Confirming the former Reasons. Because we suffer afflictions and straights, labors and reproach enough from unjust persecutors, for rejecting the inventions of men, and defending of true godliness, which consists in the exercises of Faith and Obedience, and those afflictions wee bear valiantly, from the hope of the promises, which are made to us that walk in this way of godliness: Therefore rejecting the inventions of men, follow after godliness.

Living] He amplifies this Reason, and confirms it from two properties in God, in whom we trust: The first is, God is the Living God, not only subjectively, or as to the subject Actuous, but also effectually, or in respect of us, he that gives life, who so performs his promises, that we know him to bee the author of truth and life. Secondly, God is the Savior of all men, as it is said, Psal. 36. Thou preservest man and beast, by his general goodness nourishing and supporting all men, making his Sun to rise upon the just and unjust: But chiefly and upon a more special ground, the Savior of believers, who relying upon his promises concerning the happiness of the life to come, renounce and reject humane inventions and opinions even in the dangers of persecution, and follow after the exercises of godliness.

Patrick Fairbairn The Pastor Epistles (1874) (source)

Bernard, John Henry – The Pastoral Epistles  in The Cambridge Greek New Testament, with Introduction and Notes  1922 (Source)

Bernard notes Wisdom 16:7.  Here is the KJV translation of that (not canonical) text:

Wisdom 16:5-10

5For when the horrible fierceness of beasts came upon these, and they perished with the stings of crooked serpents, thy wrath endured not for ever: 6But they were troubled for a small season, that they might be admonished, having a sign of salvation, to put them in remembrance of the commandment of thy law. 7For he that turned himself toward it was not saved by the thing that he saw, but by thee, that art the Saviour of all. 8And in this thou madest thine enemies confess, that it is thou who deliverest from all evil: 9For them the bitings of grasshoppers and flies killed, neither was there found any remedy for their life: for they were worthy to be punished by such. 10But thy sons not the very teeth of venomous dragons overcame: for thy mercy was ever by them, and healed them.

I note that "τὸν πάντων σωτῆρα" in Wisdom 16:7 is similar to, but not identical to, "σωτὴρ πάντων ἀνθρώπων" in 1 Timothy 4:10. 

Patristic References to 1 Timothy 4:10

 So far, these are the patristic references to 1 Timothy 4:10 that I have been able to find:

And, indeed, the old Hebrew wanderers in the desert received typically the end of the threatening; for they are said not to have entered into the rest, because of unbelief, till, having followed the successor of Moses, they learned by experience, though late, that they could not be saved otherwise than by believing on Jesus. But the Lord, in His love to man, invites all men to the knowledge of the truth, and for this end sends the Paraclete. What, then, is this knowledge? Godliness; and “godliness,” according to Paul, “is profitable for all things, having the promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.”967 If eternal salvation were to be sold, for how much, O men, would you propose to purchase it? Were one to estimate the value of the whole of Pactolus, the fabulous river of gold, he would not have reckoned up a price equivalent to salvation.

Do not, however, faint. You may, if you choose, purchase salvation, though of inestimable value, with your own resources, love and living faith, which will be reckoned a suitable price. This recompense God cheerfully accepts; “for we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, especially of those who believe.”968 [1 Timothy iv. 10]

Clement of Alexandria, Exhortation to the Heathen, Chapter IX (Source)

And to speak comprehensively, all benefit appertaining to life, in its highest reason, proceeding from the Sovereign God, the Father who is over all, is consummated by the Son, who also on this account “is the Saviour of all men,” says the apostle, “but especially of those who believe.”3494 But in respect of its immediate reason, it is from those next to each, in accordance with the command and injunction of Him who is nearest the First Cause, that is, the Lord.

Clement of Alexandria, Stromata, Book VI, Chapter XVII (Source)

“But,” say they, “God is ‘good,’ and ‘most good,’715 and ‘pitiful-hearted,’ and ‘a pitier,’ and ‘abundant in pitiful-heartedness,’716 which He holds ‘dearer than all sacrifice,’717 ‘not thinking the sinner’s death of so much worth as his repentance’,718 ‘a Saviour of all men, most of all of believers.’719  And so it will be becoming for ‘the sons of God’720 too to be ‘pitiful-hearted’721 and ‘peacemakers;’722 ‘giving in their turn just as Christ withal hath given to us;’723 ‘not judging, that we be not judged.’724  For ‘to his own lord a man standeth or falleth; who art thou, to judge another’s servant?’725  ‘Remit, and remission shall be made to thee.’”726  Such and so great futilities of theirs wherewith they flatter God and pander to themselves, effeminating rather than invigorating discipline, with how cogent and contrary (arguments) are we for our part able to rebut,—(arguments) which set before us warningly the “severity”727 of God, and provoke our own constancy?  Because, albeit God is by nature good, still He is “just”728 too.  

Tertullian, On Modesty, Chapter II (Source)

But since he has represented those whom he regards as worms, viz., the Christians, as saying that “God, having abandoned the heavenly regions, and despising this great earth, takes up His abode amongst us alone, and to us alone makes His announcements, and ceases not His messages and inquiries as to how we may become His associates for ever,” we have to answer that he attributes to us words which we never uttered, seeing we both read and know that God loves all existing things, and loathes3786 nothing which He has made, for He would not have created anything in hatred.  We have, moreover, read the declaration:  “And Thou sparest all things, because they are Thine, O lover of souls.  For Thine incorruptible Spirit is in all.  And therefore those also who have fallen away for a little time Thou rebukest, and admonishest, reminding them of their sins.”3787  How can we assert that “God, leaving the regions of heaven, and the whole world, and despising this great earth, takes up His abode amongst us only,” when we have found that all thoughtful persons must say in their prayers, that “the earth is full of the mercy of the Lord,”3788 and that “the mercy of the Lord is upon all flesh;”3789 and that God, being good, “maketh His sun to arise upon the evil and the good, and sendeth His rain upon the just and the unjust;”3790 and that He encourages us to a similar course of action, in order that we may become His sons, and teaches us to extend the benefits which we enjoy, so far as in our power, to all men?  For He Himself is said to be the Saviour of all men, especially of them that believe;3791 and His Christ to be the “propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but also for the sins of the whole world.”3792  And this, then, is our answer to the allegations of Celsus.  Certain other statements, in keeping with the character of the Jews, might be made by some of that nation, but certainly not by the Christians, who have been taught that “God commendeth His love towards us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us;”3793 and although “scarcely for a righteous man will one die, yet peradventure for a good man some would even dare to die.”3794  But now is Jesus declared to have come for the sake of sinners in all parts of the world (that they may forsake their sin, and entrust themselves to God), being called also, agreeably to an ancient custom of these Scriptures, the “Christ of God.”

Origen, Against Celsus, Book IV, Chapter XXVIII (Source)

37. We have lingered over this subject of the martyrs and over the record of those who died on account of pestilence, because this lets us see the excellence of Him who was led as a sheep to the slaughter and was dumb as a lamb before the shearer. For if there is any point in these stories of the Greeks, and if what we have said of the martyrs is well founded — the Apostles, too, were for the same reason the filth of the world and the offscouring of all things, 1 Corinthians 4:13 — what and how great things must be said of the Lamb of God, who was sacrificed for this very reason, that He might take away the sin not of a few but of the whole world, for the sake of which also He suffered? If any one sin, we read, 1 John 2:1-2 We have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for ours only, but for those of the whole world, since He is the Saviour of all men, 1 Timothy 4:10 especially of them that believe, who Colossians 2:14-15 blotted out the written bond that was against us by His own blood, and took it out of the way, so that not even a trace, not even of our blotted-out sins, might still be found, and nailed it to His cross; who having put off from Himself the principalities and powers, made a show of them openly, triumphing over them by His cross. And we are taught to rejoice when we suffer afflictions in the world, knowing the ground of our rejoicing to be this, that the world has been conquered and has manifestly been subjected to its conqueror. Hence all the nations, released from their former rulers, serve Him, because He saved the poor from his tyrant by His own passion, and the needy who had no helper. This Saviour, then, having humbled the calumniator by humbling Himself, abides with the visible sun before His illustrious church, tropically called the moon, from generation to generation. And having by His passion destroyed His enemies, He who is strong in battle and a mighty Lord required after His mighty deeds a purification which could only be given Him by His Father alone; and this is why He forbids Mary to touch Him, saying, John 20:17 Touch Me not, for I am not yet ascended to My Father; but go and tell My disciples, I go to My Father and your Father, to My God and your God. And when He comes, loaded with victory and with trophies, with His body which has risen from the dead — for what other meaning can we see in the words, I am not yet ascended to My Father, and I go unto My Father, — then there are certain powers which say, Who is this that comes from Edom, red garments from Bosor; this that is beautiful? Isaiah 63:1 Then those who escort Him say to those that are upon the heavenly gates, Lift up your gates, you rulers, and be lifted up, you everlasting doors, and the king of glory shall come in. But they ask again, seeing as it were His right hand red with blood and His whole person covered with the marks of His valour, Why are Your garments red, and Your clothes like the treading of the full winefat when it is trodden? And to this He answers, I have crushed them. For this cause He had need to wash His robe in wine, and His garment in the blood of the grape. Genesis 49:2 For when He had taken up our infirmities and carried our diseases, and had borne the sin of the whole world, and had conferred blessings on so many, then, perhaps, He received that baptism which is greater than any that could ever be conceived among men, and of which I think He speaks when He says, Luke 12:50 I have a baptism to be baptized with, and how am I straitened till it be accomplished? I enquire here with boldness and I challenge the ideas put forward by most writers. They say that the greatest baptism, beyond which no greater can be conceived, is His passion. But if this be so, why should He say to Mary after it, Touch Me not? He should rather have offered Himself to her touch, when by His passion He had received His perfect baptism. But if it was the case, as we said before, that after all His deeds of valour done against His enemies, He had need to wash His robe in wine, His garment in the blood of the grape, then He was on His way up to the husbandman of the true vine, the Father, so that having washed there and after having gone up on high, He might lead captivity captive and come down bearing manifold gifts — the tongues, as of fire, which were divided to the Apostles, and the holy angels which are to be present with them in each action and to deliver them. For before these economies they were not yet cleansed and angels could not dwell with them, for they too perhaps do not desire to be with those who have not prepared themselves nor been cleansed by Jesus. For it was of Jesus' benignity alone that He ate and drank with publicans and sinners, and suffered the penitent woman who was a sinner to wash His feet with her tears, and went down even to death for the ungodly, counting it not robbery to be equal with God, and emptied Himself, assuming the form of a servant. And in accomplishing all this He fulfils rather the will of the Father who gave Him up for sinners than His own. For the Father is good, but the Saviour is the image of His goodness; and doing good to the world in all things, since God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself, which formerly for its wickedness was all enemy to Him, He accomplishes His good deeds in order and succession, and does not all at once take all His enemies for His footstool. For the Father says to Him, to the Lord of us all, Sit on My right hand, until I make Your enemies the footstool of Your feet. And this goes on till the last enemy, Death, is overcome by Him. And if we consider what is meant by this subjection to Christ and find an explanation of this mainly from the saying, 1 Corinthians 15:26 When all things shall have been put under Him, then shall the Son Himself be subjected to Him who put all things under Him, then we shall see how the conception agrees with the goodness of the God of all, since it is that of the Lamb of God, taking away the sin of the world. Not all men's sin, however, is taken away by the Lamb of God, not the sin of those who do not grieve and suffer affliction till it be taken away. For thorns are not only fixed but deeply rooted in the hand of every one who is intoxicated by wickedness and has parted with sobriety, as it is said in the Proverbs, Thorns grow in the hand of the drunkard, and what pain they must cause him who has admitted such growth in the substance of his soul, it is hard even to tell. Who has allowed wickedness to establish itself so deeply in his soul as to be a ground full of thorns, he must be cut down by the quick and powerful word of God, which is sharper than a two-edged sword, and which is more caustic than any fire. To such a soul that fire must be sent which finds out thorns, and by its divine virtue stands where they are and does not also burn up the threshing-floors or standing grain. But of the Lamb which takes away the sin of the world and begins to do so by His own death there are several ways, some of which are capable of being clearly understood by most, but others are concealed from most, and are known to those only who are worthy of divine wisdom. Why should we count up all the ways by which we come to believe among men? That is a thing which every one living in the body is able to see for himself. And in the ways in which we believe in these also, sin is taken away; by afflictions and evil spirits and dangerous diseases and grievous sicknesses. And who knows what follows after this? So much as we have said was not unnecessary — we could not neglect the thought which is so clearly connected with that of the words, Behold the Lamb of God that takes away the sin of the world, and had therefore to attend somewhat closely to this part of our subject. This has brought us to see that God convicts some by His wrath and chastens them by His anger, since His love to men is so great that He will not leave any without conviction and chastening; so that we should do what in us lies to be spared such conviction and such chastening by the sorest trials.

38. The reader will do well to consider what was said above and illustrated from various quarters on the question what is meant in Scripture by the word world; and I think it proper to repeat this. I am aware that a certain scholar understands by the world the Church alone, since the Church is the adornment of the world, and is said to be the light of the world. You, he says, Matthew 5:14 are the light of the world. Now, the adornment of the world is the Church, Christ being her adornment, who is the first light of the world. We must consider if Christ is said to be the light of the same world as His disciples. When Christ is the light of the world, perhaps it is meant that He is the light of the Church, but when His disciples are the light of the world, perhaps they are the light of others who call on the Lord, others in addition to the Church, as Paul says on this point in the beginning of his first Epistle to the Corinthians, where he writes, To the Church of God, with all who call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Should any one consider that the Church is called the light of the world, meaning thereby of the rest of the race of men, including unbelievers, this may be true if the assertion is taken prophetically and theologically; but if it is to be taken of the present, we remind him that the light of a thing illuminates that thing, and would ask him to show how the remainder of the race is illuminated by the Church's presence in the world. If those who hold the view in question cannot show this, then let them consider if our interpretation is not a sound one, that the light is the Church, and the world those others who call on the Name. The words which follow the above in Matthew will point out to the careful enquirer the proper interpretation. You, it is said, are the salt of the earth, the rest of mankind being conceived as the earth, and believers are their salt; it is because they believe that the earth is preserved. For the end will come if the salt loses its savour, and ceases to salt and preserve the earth, since it is clear that if iniquity is multiplied and love waxes cold upon the earth, Matthew 24:12 as the Saviour Himself uttered an expression of doubt as to those who would witness His coming, saying, Luke 18:8 When the Son of man comes, shall He find faith upon the earth? then the end of the age will come. Supposing, then, the Church to be called the world, since the Saviour's light shines on it — we have to ask in connection with the text, Behold the Lamb of God, which takes away the sin of the world, whether the world here is to be taken intellectually of the Church, and the taking away of sin is limited to the Church. In that case what are we to make of the saying of the same disciple with regard to the Saviour, as the propitiation for sin? If any man sin, we read, we have an advocate with the Father, Jesus Christ the righteous; and He is the propitiation for our sins, and not for our sins only, but for the sins of the whole world? Paul's dictum appears to me to be to the same effect, when he says, 1 Timothy 4:10 Who is the Saviour of all men, especially of the faithful. Again, Heracleon, dealing with our passage, declares, without any proof or any citation of witnesses to that effect, that the words, Lamb of God, are spoken by John as a prophet, but the words, who takes away the sin of the world, by John as more than a prophet. The former expression he considers to be used of His body, but the latter of Him who was in that body, because the lamb is an imperfect member of the genus sheep; the same being true of the body as compared with the dweller in it. Had he meant to attribute perfection to the body he would have spoken of a ram as about to be sacrificed. After the careful discussions given above, I do not think it necessary to enter into repetitions on this passage, or to controvert Heracleon's careless utterances. One point only may be noted, that as the world was scarcely able to contain Him who had emptied Himself, it required a lamb and not a ram, that its sin might be taken away.

Origen Commentary on John Book VI, 37-38 (Source)

Ver. 10. “For therefore we both labor and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Saviour of all men, specially of them that believe.”

This in effect is to say, wherefore do we mortify ourselves, unless we expect future blessings? Have we endured so many evils, submitted to so many reproaches, suffered such insults and calumnies, and such numerous calamities in vain? For if we did not trust in the living God, on what account did we submit to these things? But if God is here the Saviour1223 of the unbelieving, much more is He of the faithful hereafter. What salvation does he speak of? That to come?1224 “Who is the Saviour,” he says, “of all men, specially of them that believe.” At present he is speaking of that which is here. But how is He the Saviour of the faithful? Had he not been so, they must long since have been destroyed, for all men have made war upon them. He calls him here to endure perils, that having God for his Saviour he may not faint nor need any aid from others, but willingly and with fortitude endure all things. Even those who eagerly grasp at worldly advantages, supported by the hope of gain, cheerfully undertake laborious enterprises.

John Chrysostom, Homilies on 1 Timothy, 1 Timothy 4:1-10, at 1 Timothy 4:10 (Source)

There is also reference in the longer version of Ignatius, Epistle to the Ephesians, Chapter VIII (source) as well as a reference in the spurious Epistle to the Philippians (source) and in the pseudographic "Apostolic Constitutions" from the "Two Ways" section thereof (source)

(This post to be updated if/when needed.)

Tuesday, December 06, 2022

A thought on Acts 4

Acts 4:23-20 

And being let go, they went to their own company, and reported all that the chief priests and elders had said unto them.  And when they heard that, they lifted up their voice to God with one accord, and said, 

    Lord, thou art God, which hast made heaven, and earth, and the sea, and all that in them is: who by the mouth of thy servant David hast said, 

Why did the heathen rage, and the people imagine vain things? The kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers were gathered together against the Lord, and against his Christ. (Psalm 2:1-2)

    For of a truth against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed, both Herod, and Pontius Pilate, with the Gentiles, and the people of Israel, were gathered together, for to do whatsoever thy hand and thy counsel determined before to be done.

    And now, Lord, behold their threatenings: and grant unto thy servants, that with all boldness they may speak thy word, by stretching forth thine hand to heal; and that signs and wonders may be done by the name of thy holy child Jesus.


Notice here that "For of a truth ..." (γὰρ ἐπ᾽ ἀληθείας) explains the fulfillment of the second Psalm (also cited in Acts 13:33) by Jesus Christ.

"the kings of the earth stood up, and the rulers" | " Herod, and Pontius Pilate,"

"why did the heathen rage" | "with the Gentiles"

"and the people imagine vain things" | "and the people of Israel"

"were gathered together" | "were gathered together"

"against the Lord, and against his Christ" | "against thy holy child Jesus, whom thou hast anointed"

Friday, December 02, 2022

Index Page for Responses to Ken Wilson's "Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to 'Non-Free Free Will'"

Dr. Kenneth M. Wilson wrote a book (2018), which is apparently an edition of a doctoral thesis he defended at Oxford (2012).  The book, published by the respected publisher Mohr Siebeck as part of the reputable series, Studien und Texte zu Antike und Christentum (vol. 111), has a number of issues.  Among the issues are the title: Augustine's Conversion from Traditional Free Choice to "Non-Free Free Will," which has been abbreviated to "Augustine's Conversion" for the spine of the book.

Others have been responding for longer than I have.  My own responses so far have focused on Section A of Chapter 3 of the book, in a section on Origen.  The format of the following index is to link the Youtube version of the review episode, together with a brief description of the discussed matter.  After that I have identified the Origen source material discussed in the episode, for those interested in Origen studies.

Episode 1 - First Three Paragraphs (p. 65)

Princ., Pref. 5; cf. 1.6.2

Episode 2 - Next Few Paragraphs (pp. 65-66)

P. Arch. 3.1.6

P. Arch. 3.1.7; cf. 3.1.10

Philoc. 27.10-12

Episode 3 - Philocalia Discussion (p. 66)

Somewhat tangential to the discussion, this is an episode just discussing the work, Philocalia, which was composed by others repurposing Origen's work.

Episode 4 - "Saturates His Writings"? (p. 66)

Hom. Jer.20.2

Philoc. 27.2

De Princ.2.9.6-7

Episode 5 - "Grace as Merit"? (p. 66)

Comm. Rom. 3.9

P. Arch. 3.1.12; Cels. 6.68

Episode 6 - "Grace vs. Rewards" (p. 66)

Comm. Rom. 4.4-5

Episode 7 - "Higher Honor and Rewards" (p. 66)

Comm. Rom. 8.7.4; 8.7.7

Exhort. 14

Episode 8 - "Unilateral Divine Infusion" (p. 66)

P. Arch. 3.1.5 

Episode 9 - "Scheck concludes without warrant ... Quite to the Contrary" (pp. 66-67)

Scheck (2001), 31 (we considered 30-32)

Comm. Rom. 4.5.3

Comm. Rom. 4.5.1

von Harnack (1886; repr., 1990), 551, fnt. 2

Harnack Material, Lehrbuch der Dogmengeschichte, Bd.1, Die Zeit der Alten Kirche (English version) (1886 German version)

Episode 10 - "Contra heretics claiming God directly influences minds or 'wills,' Origen ..."

First Principles, Book Three, Chapter 1 (From Latin) (From Greek)

P. Arch. 3.1.16; cf. 3.1.21 on 2 Tim 2.20

P. Arch 3.1.17

P. Arch 3.1.21 

Episode 11 - "In context, Origen refutes the idea that foreknowledge is a causative ..." (pp. 67-68)

Cels. 6.45

Cels. 2.20

Philoc. 23.7  (Commentary III on Genesis, II, 3; but Philoc. 23.12 and following are from Cels. 2) (Sources of the Philocalia) (via

Episode 12 - "Origen also corrects an error in the prevailing pagan and heretical beliefs ..." (p. 68)

Princ. 3.2.3

P. Arch. 3.1.14 (From Latin) (From Greek)

Philoc. 25.2

Episode 13 - "Concurring with prior Christian authors ..." (p. 68)

O'Leary (2004), 115 (Alternative Online edition); cf. Cels. 6.55. (Internal Citations: ComMt 10.11; PArch 3.3.5; Philoc. 23; CCel 3.66-69 (Ch. 66, Ch. 67, Ch. 68, Ch. 69)

McIntire (2005), vol.5, 3206-3209  (Online edition)

Episode 14 - "Heretics had proof texted Phil 2.13 ..." (p. 69)

P. Arch.3.1.20 (Latin here)

P. Arch.3.1.21 (Latin here) (Previously Discussed in Episode 10)

P. Arch.3.1.18 (Latin here)

Planned Material

Episode 15 - "Foreknowledge of human choice results in predestination. ..." (p. 69)

Comm. Rom.7.8.6
Comm. Rom.7.8.2-3
Comm. Rom.7.8.7
Comm. Ev. Jo.6.59
Comm. Rom.3.8.13
Comm. Rom.4.11.1
Comm. Rom.8.11.5
Comm. Rom.7.16.8
Alviar (1993), 39 -- Alviar, J. Jose Klesis: The Theology of the Christian Vocation according to Origen. Dublin: Four Courts Press, 1993.

Episode X - Tangent Episode for Discussion of Material Relied upon by Harnack (discussed in Episode 9) in the section relied on by Wilson

In Ezech. hom. I., c. II

Orig. in Matth. series 69, Lomm. IV

in Rom. IV. 5, Lomm. VI 

in Rom. IX. 3, Lomm. VII

Thursday, December 01, 2022

Origen on the Gift of Faith

Commentary on the Gospel According to John, Books 13-32, Book 13 (at John 4:42), section 354  trans. Ronald E. Heine, p. 144, Catholic University of America Press (1993) (Based on Greek)

For this reason, those who walk by sight, as it were, would be said to be engaged in those gifts which come first, "the word of wisdom" given by the Spirit of God, and the "word of knowledge according to the same Spirit." Those who walk by faith, on the other hand, are inferior to the former in rank, although faith is a gift according to the saying, "And to another, faith in the same Spirit."

Commentary on the Gospel According to John, Books 13-32, Book 20 (at John 8:46), section 285 trans. Ronald E. Heine, p. 264, Catholic University of America Press (1993) (Based on Greek)

But when we contemplate what believing is in the proper sense, insofar as "everyone who believes that Jesus is the Christ has been born of God," and when we perceive how far short we fall of believing in this manner, let us respond as follows, exhorting the Physician of the eyes of soul by his wisdom and beneficence to do everything to uncover our eyes, which are still covered by the shame we feel because of evil, according to what is said somewhere, "Our shame has covered us." For he will listen to us when we confess the reasons we do not yet believe, and help us as those who are sick and in need of a physician, and work with us that we receive the gift of believing, which is placed third in Paul's catalogue of gifts, after the word of wisdom and word of understanding, to which he adds, "To another, faith in the same Spirit." He says of this gift also in other passages, "For it has been given to you by God not only to believe in Christ but also to suffer for him." 

Origen, Homilies on Luke, Fragments on Luke, Fragment 232 (on Luke 19:26), trans. Joseph T. Lienhard, S.J., p. 220, Catholic University of America Press (1996) (N.B. "the Greek fragments are not always trustworthy.  Most of them come from catenae ... The editors of the catenae often shortened, condensed, or rearranged the passages from the Fathers that they used." p. xxxvi) 

The Savior says, "He who has a virtue as the fruit of his labors and sweat also receives something more from God, just as the one who has the faith that we can muster will be given the gift of faith. And simply, if someone has one of those things that come to be by effort, and that are bettered by attention and care, God will give what is lacking. But, the one who is useless and does not pass the Word on to many will be deprived of what he had, and punished.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Hebraism in Ephesians 1:11?

Earlier today, I was considering Ephesians 1:11 and my friend, Dan, pointed out that the word for "obtained an inheritance" is derived from a word that means to select by lot.  This came up because we had been discussing Ezekiel 24 and the non-choice there:

Ezekiel 24:6 Wherefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Woe to the bloody city, to the pot whose scum is therein, and whose scum is not gone out of it! bring it out piece by piece; let no lot fall upon it.

In the English Standard Version, the translation for "let no lot fall upon it" was something like "without making any choice."  

In the first chapter of Ephesians, Paul uses a Greek word that has a "lot" connotation to it:

Ephesians 1:11 In whom also we have obtained an inheritance (ἐκληρώθημεν), being predestinated according to the purpose of him who worketh all things after the counsel of his own will:

The verb ἐκληρώθημεν (eklerothemen) comes from the verb, κληρόω (klero'o), which is thought to come from κλῆρος (kleros) which in its most literal sense refers to lot.  

However, κλῆρος (kleros) is translated as heritage or inheritance in a few places:

Acts 26:18

To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me.

Colossians 1:12

Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:

1 Peter 5:3

Neither as being lords over God's heritage, but being ensamples to the flock.

The same Greek word has similar usage in the Septuagint:

Genesis 48:6

And thy issue, which thou begettest after them, shall be thine, and shall be called after the name of their brethren in their inheritance.

Exodus 6:8

And I will bring you in unto the land, concerning the which I did swear to give it to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob; and I will give it you for an heritage: I am the LORD.

In reading the various translations of Ephesians 1:11, one caught my eye.  It was an "Orthodox Jewish Bible" translation, but what was interesting was that it cross-referenced Psalm 16.

Psalm 16:5-6 

The LORD is the portion of mine inheritance and of my cup: thou maintainest my lot. The lines are fallen unto me in pleasant places; yea, I have a goodly heritage.

I don't know how a word about casting lots became linked with the concept of inheritance.  The most obvious connection to me in light of Psalm 16 was the division of Canaan.

Numbers 26:55 Notwithstanding the land shall be divided by lot: according to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit.

However, when I checked the LSJ lexicon, I found that apparently Greek already had a similar usage, even outside Septuagint usage (link to entry).

So, in the end, while I thought this might be an example of a Hebraism, now I'm thinking it is interesting parallel in linguistic development, but not necessarily a Hebraism.

Interesting food for thought.

Tuesday, October 25, 2022

Are Conditional Abilities "Real"?

In a recent video, my friend Dan Chapa and I, discussed a Conditional Analysis argument from Guillaume Bignon's book Excusing Sinners and Blaming God (link to video).  During our discussion, one of the disconnects seemed to center on whether conditional abilities are something real or not.  

We speak of conditional abilities all the time.  When someone asks a teenager, "can you drive," they typically mean something like, "have you learned to drive," "do you have a license," or "do you have a car at your disposal."  An affirmative answer describes a real ability of the teenager, even if that ability isn't presently being actualized.

It's not an ability off in some hypothetical world, it's an ability in the real world.

Likewise, we can speak of conditional disabilities.  These are also real absences of ability.  For example, if the teen responds, "I can't drive, I'm grounded," we understand the implication that the teen knows how to drive, has a license, but is currently under a parental restriction that prevents the teen from driving.  The way that the teen has expressed this disability has also informed us about an underlying ability.

Such a response is different from, "I can't, I haven't learned yet," or "I can't, I failed the driver's license exam."  These statements of disability express the absence of different kinds of abilities.  "I haven't learned yet," may express something about the cognitive and motor skills aspects, whereas "I failed the driver's license exam" may express (at least) a legal obstacle.  

If that's too abstract, consider the adjective, "flammable" (or "inflammable," which means the same thing).  A pool of gasoline is "flammable" even if there is no match nearby.  We say the same about lots of abilities of physical things.  Copper is ductile, even if no one draws it out into wire.  Granola is crunchy, even before you place it into your mouth.

Let's bring this back to the subject of the discussion.

When we say, "He could if he wanted to," we are describing a conditional ability.  When we say, "He couldn't, even if he wanted to," we are describing a conditional disability. These are real abilities, even though they are conditional abilities.  

In our discussion, we mentioned the case of a daughter whose father orders her to carry an item upstairs and she fails to do so.  We care about the answer to the question, "Could she have done what he asked, if she wanted to?" or more broadly to the question of "What stopped her from doing what he asked?"  In other words, we want to know the answer to the question, "What's the condition that would have to be removed such that on a conditional analysis, she could have done what he asked?"

If the answer is, "well if she didn't hate her dad so much, she could have," or "well if she weren't so stubborn, she could have," we have one evaluation of the situation, but if the answer is, "if the item weighed less, she could have," or "if she had heard his request, she could have," or "if the item actually existed, she could have," we have different analysis.

In the discussion, there was also a misunderstanding of the conditional analysis as suggesting that the conditional analysis implies that the past is not fixed or implying that a person has the ability to change the past.  That's not the implication of a conditional analysis that evaluates a different past.  

In fact, God himself provided a conditional analysis that involved a different past:

Numbers 12:14  And the LORD said unto Moses, If her father had but spit in her face, should she not be ashamed seven days? let her be shut out from the camp seven days, and after that let her be received in again.

God's conditional analysis, "If X had occurred, then Y would have followed," is true, even though it would involve a different past.  This is not so much about an ability, per se, but it is nevertheless about a causal chain that proceeds from a different past than the actual past.

Likewise, in Scripture, humans likewise use a conditional analysis involving a different past, to describe human ability/inability:

Judges 14:18  And the men of the city said unto him on the seventh day before the sun went down, What is sweeter than honey? and what is stronger than a lion? And he said unto them, If ye had not plowed with my heifer, ye had not found out my riddle.

Here, Samson's conditional analysis is "If X had not occurred, then Y would not have occurred."  He's accusing them of cheating, saying that without cheating they did not have the ability to guess his riddle.

Jonathan has a similar conditional analysis of Saul's requirement for fasting during battle:

1 Samuel 14:30 How much more, if haply the people had eaten freely to day of the spoil of their enemies which they found? for had there not been now a much greater slaughter among the Philistines?

In Jonathan's analysis, "if the people had done X, then they could have done Y."  He's explaining that the decisive factor for the people failing to more thoroughly exterminate the Philistines was not the people's lack of resolve or strength, but a lack of food. 

This is not an exhaustive look at the Scriptural use of conditional analysis, but I thought I would add a few from the New Testament as well:

Matthew 24:43 But know this, that if the goodman of the house had known in what watch the thief would come, he would have watched, and would not have suffered his house to be broken up.

This conditional analysis example is interesting because Jesus is not speaking about a different actual past, but a different past in the world of parables.  That said, the same conditional analysis applies.  "If the man knew X, he would have done Y." 

This example is also interesting because Jesus is not saying that it was possible for the man to know X.  How could he know when the thief would come?!  Rather, Jesus is explaining what the result would have been had the man known.  He's saying (among other things) something about the character of the man, that he's not apathetic about burglary nor powerless to stop a burglary that he's aware of.

An example that should spring to mind is this one, as it was recently discussed in another episode:

Luke 10:13 Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works had been done in Tyre and Sidon, which have been done in you, they had a great while ago repented, sitting in sackcloth and ashes.

Once again, Jesus is providing a conditional analysis, even if it is hyperbole.  The conditional analysis is not suggesting that it is possible for the past to change, such that the same works could now have been done, but rather it is describing the relative character of the hearts of the men of Chorazin and Bethsaida, that it is even harder than the hearts of those of Tyre and Sidon.

Finally, we have a conditional analysis from Martha: 

John 11:21 Then said Martha unto Jesus, Lord, if thou hadst been here, my brother had not died.

Martha is not saying that Jesus has the ability to change the past.  She is saying that Jesus has the ability to heal.  Thus, she believes that the decisive factor in her brother's death was not a lack of healing power in Jesus but instead was Jesus' personal absence. 

Conditional abilities are real abilities.  They are real abilities when it comes to healing the sick, they are real abilities when it comes to being able to be wowed by miracles, they are real abilities when it comes to the ability to resist burglars, they are real abilities when it comes to warfare, they are real abilities when it comes to solving puzzles, or even to suffer shame.  Conditional analysis is valid, even when it implies a different past than the actual past. The necessity of the past is not violated by the use of conditional analysis, but it's simply set aside for the purpose of conditional analysis.

Thursday, October 20, 2022

Does Pro Pastor Answer Objections?

Jordan Steffaniak tweeted (link to thread) the following, which I've taken the liberty of reformatting for space here.  Go to the link for the original formatting: 

JS (October 18): PSA: If you’re curious about the value of medieval sources, the nature of sola scriptura, etc. Don’t waste your time reading this. They don’t interact with their opponents. They ask questions no one is asking. They refute views no one is espousing. YW.
JS (October 19): I've been informed that I'm a biased, bigoted, scholastic snob that lied in my statement that GBTS failed to w/ their opponents on medieval theology, sola scriptura etc. I'm more than willing to retract my claims if proven wrong. But I'm unable to see where my claim is false.
TF (October 19): Are you willing to be shown?
JS (October 19): Yep. But no one is willing to provide any evidence besides snarky replies, apparently. 🤷🏼‍♂️

Since Jordan says he is willing to be shown, here is the evidence that his claims are wrong.

First, how can it really be both ways?  Either they don't have opponents because they answer(?  -- I suppose "ask" was just a twitter-o) questions no one is asking and refute views no one is espousing, or they "don't interact with their opponents."   If they are really just off discussing questions no one cares about, so be it.  There are a vast array of journals I have never read, and will never read.  

Of course, no one has to warn me off.  No one has to tell me to actively ignore such uninteresting journals (to me).  Instead, I just naturally gravitate away from such topics.

On the other hand, Jordan seems to recognize that the issue presents itself as being related to the value of medieval sources.  Jeff Moore, the editor, characterizes the issue this way: "Our inaugural issue addresses a contemporary question that is raging, regrettably, among evangelicals: Is Thomas Aquinas a helpful guide for Protestants?"  We will come back in a moment to the question of whether this is a question people are asking.  Suffice to say that this question is provided right on the cover of the issue, surrounded by images of Calvin and other early Reformers.

It's unclear from Jordan's tweet whether he read beyond that title page.  Maybe he read the whole issue thoroughly, maybe not.  There is only so much one can discern from 140 characters or whatever the current limit is. 

Second, Jordan linked to a page that provides only the first volume, first issue of "Pro Pastor:  A Journal of Grace Bible Theological Seminary."  The print release date for this issue is October 31, 2022, which is still future as of the writing of this post.  To say, "they don't interact with their opponents," is a strange claim to put it mildly.  Shouldn't there minimally be an opportunity for opponents to the journal to arise?  How much opposition can a journal expect before its very first issue of its first volume?

Nevertheless, of course, the journal didn't spring up in a vacuum.  It's the publication of a seminary, and the publication of the individual authors.  I note that the fourth page of the digital edition has the caveat: "The views expressed in the following articles and reviews are not necessarily those of the faculty, the administration, or the trustees of Grace Bible Theological Seminary."  That said, though, perhaps Jordan means that the seminary, as such, doesn't interact with "their" opponents.  A better interpretation, though, is that Jordan meant to refer to the authors of the articles.

This issue has articles from: James R. White (two articles), Jeff Moore (an introduction and one article), Jeffrey D. Johnson (one article), and Owen Strachan (one article).  There is also an uncredited "Summary Chart," but presumably the chart's author is not on the hook.

Do the authors interact with their opponents?  James White has conducted numerous debates (over 150 at last count), many of which are online.  To suggest that White doesn't interact with his opponents must, at best, come with some heavy qualification.  I'm less familiar with Owen Strachan and Jeffrey Johnson.  I found what appears to be an interaction between Owen Strachan and Jermaine Marshall (link to video).  Jeffrey Johnson is an incredibly common name, but I believe I found an interaction between Jeffrey Johnson and Michael Horton (link to video).  I didn't find anything debate-related with Jeff Moore, so I don't know whether he does debates or not.  Perhaps he does not.

So, at least most of these authors may have some experience with actual debate, and James White, the biggest contributor to this issue, has an overwhelming abundance of experience with debate.  That said, none of James White's debates have been specifically on Thomas Aquinas.  James White has had an informal dialog with William Lane Craig on Calvinism vs. Molinism and a formal debate with Tim Stratton on "Is Molinism Biblical," which have some connection to Thomas, but no debates specifically on the topic of "Is Thomas Aquinas a helpful guide for Protestants?"

Nevertheless, White has responded to opponents on Thomas Aquinas on his program, The Dividing Line (here is an example), numerous times.   Again, I'm less familiar with the others, and I don't know whether they have similarly responded or not.

Giving Jordan the benefit of the doubt, though, perhaps Jordan just meant that this issue itself, in the issue, doesn't respond to opponents.

On page 1, Jeff Moore identifies John Gerstner's article, "Aquinas was a Protestant," and Matthew Barrett's article, "What is Eternal Generation? (and Interview)," and asks whether the claims of those articles are true.

White's first article, in fairness to Jordan, simply sets up a definition of Sola Scriptura.  White's second article then aims to answer the question of whether Thomas held to Sola Scriptura.  I suppose that for a lot of advocates of Thomism, this question is not one they are asking.  It is a question seemingly raised by Tabletalk Magazine, May 1994: Should Old Aquinas Be Forgot? (and similarly posed by Travis James Campbell in the Aquila Report).

However, again, the focus even of White's second article is on analyzing Thomas' writings, not responding to a particular competing interpretation of Thomas.

Like White's two articles, Moore's article is similarly mostly a positive presentation on whether pagan philosophy should be understood as being in collaboration or conflict with Christianity, with the underlying argument being that Thomas was wrong to try to supplement Aristotle, rather than discarding Aristotle in favor of Scripture.  While this is not a direct response to opponents, one can surely see the relevance to the question of the usefulness of Thomas to Protestants today.

Jeffrey Johnson's article, "Is Platonism a Part of the Great Tradition," is clearly a shot across the bow of Craig Carter, and Craig Carter is identified in the first footnote of the article.  It's hard not to see the article as a challenge to Craig Carter's concept of Christian Platonism.  For example, Carter writes:

Now, if Jordan were simply saying that Johnson did not quote Carter and interact with those quotations, ok.  But it is hard to see Johnson's conclusion as not being in conflict with Carter's position:

Owen Strachan tackled the topic of whether Thomas taught monergism, and concluded that Thomas did not.  While Strachan's article does not directly interact with John Gerstner's article arguing that Thomas taught Sola Fide, it is once again hard to see this as anything other than a correction to it.

I suppose that what Jordan may have meant to say, instead of what he actually said, was that this issue does not address questions of the doctrine of divine simplicity, eternal functional subordination, or theology proper.  The first two topics are not mentioned at all in the issue.

The phrase, "theology proper," appears twice each at pp. 34 and 40, all of which are in Owen Strachan's article.  For those interested, I provide the relevant paragraphs:

Broadly speaking, the “great tradition” movement downplays soteriological differences and focuses attention on supposed ecumenical agreement over the doctrine of God (theology proper). It finds this common ground in the Nicene tradition, as it is often called, which took shape in the four ecumenical creeds, continued to be developed in the medieval period, and came to full flower under Thomas Aquinas.
In the present hour, Aquinas is supposedly the theological hero who can rescue us from theological drift. The neo-Reformed project, it is alleged, platformed soteriology, but divested itself of sound classical theology proper. Now, by a return to a certain version of Reformed scholasticism, we can right the ship. If we will embrace Doctor Angelicus (Aquinas, per the Catholics); if we will learn extensively from Catholic theologians and philosophers; if we will root out the biblicists with their supposedly “solo scriptura” method; if we will exchange the Reformational paradigm carved loosely by diverse voices and works like old Princeton, Spurgeon, early Westminster, Lloyd-Jones, and the neo-Reformed movement for a “great tradition” paradigm knit together by an ecumenical band of thinkers, we will save the church from its fundamentalist capsizing.
Some tell us in our time that we can chart a middle way here. We can love Thomas but avoid his errors. We can avoid his doctrine of salvation, even while we embrace his doctrine of God. We may share many commitments with some who make these claims. We desire no doctrinal war with them, and we pray for peace in the body. But we cannot constrain ourselves from warning the church today: Thomas was not a proto-Reformer. Considered in widescope view, with his body of teaching taken into account, Thomas is not a sound guide. 
But perhaps, even after this treatment of Thomas, someone will say in response to me, “But Thomas has all this rich theology proper that you’re ignoring! He’s orthodox as I read him. How can you charge him with not knowing the true God, even if he does get some things wrong on soteriology?” My reply is simple. Just as Thomas might have seemingly orthodox theology proper, so too may a prosperity gospel preacher have a seemingly correct Trinitarianism. Let’s say that on paper, he holds to Nicene theology, and even honors the “great tradition.” But what if that preacher proclaims a false gospel, one in which sin has no place, and the gospel as he presents it is actually about God making all your biggest dreams come true? Clearly, even technical orthodoxy on the Trinity does not change the fact that such a preacher does not honor or know the true God.

So, perhaps Jordan's underlying disappointment was that Strachan and the rest don't debate Thomas' theology proper.  

If one wanted to debate the soundness of Thomas' theology proper, this issue would look like a gigantic ad hominem argument.  Such an analysis misses the point of the issue.  The point of the issue, aptly summarized by the title of the issue, was this: "Is Thomas Aquinas a helpful guide for Protestants?" The answer provided is that Thomas is not, because of positions the authors say he held, including on important issues like Sola Scriptura, the relevance of Aristotle, the relevance of Denys and other Platonists, and Monergism.  

I hate having to put a caveat on an article like this, but I don't trust *some* of the readers' ability to understand negative implications.  I'm not saying I fully agree with any of the authors about anything they wrote.  I don't agree with Craig Carter's label of the historical Francis Turretin as a Christian Platonist.