Which Old Testament?

On the central importance of the Septuagint

Timothy’s scriptures

from a child thou hast known the holy scriptures, which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus. All scripture is given by inspiration of God 2 Timothy 3:15-16 KJV

Paul commends the spiritual heritage of Timothy, noting his childhood education provided him a solid grounding in Scripture. Occasionally we might be prompted to ask – what Scripture? It is self-evidence to most Protestants today that Paul is referring to the Hebrew bible, or Old Testament (OT) reflected in the Protestant canon. However, this is making assumptions, quite a few assumptions but we will explore only one – which text was scripture? Continue reading “Which Old Testament?”

How tall was Goliath and why it matters

How the giant of Gath grew in the telling

Goliath. The giant champion of the Philistines is a well known figure in western culture. The image of David taking on Goliath is a common metaphor for unlikely victories by underdogs. In addition to having entered into popular culture, the incident remains a regular staple of bible lessons for all ages. One aspect of the passage provides a simple example of the value of textual criticism. Continue reading “How tall was Goliath and why it matters”

Samuel: Levite or Ephraimite?

Dealing with difficulties in endless genealogies

There are two passages that mention Samuel the Prophet’s ancestry. They are 1 Sa 1:1, and 1 Ch 6:16-29. The latter claims he was a Levite, but the first, at least in all modern translations other than the ESV (and the KJV) states that he was an Ephraimite. What is to be made of this? Continue reading “Samuel: Levite or Ephraimite?”

A pagan version of Psalm 20

An example of a text that moved around the Ancient Near East

While the Internet has made sharing of information trivial, we should not forget that the ancient Near East was in its own way no less cosmopolitan. Information may not have been shared instantaneously across thousands of kilometres, but texts from one culture certainly made their way across considerable distances. One fascinating examples is a pagan version of Psalm 20 dating to the second century BCE and of Egyptian provenance. Continue reading “A pagan version of Psalm 20”

“They changed the Bible – RSV removes entire verses”

How Metzger’s “Textual Commentary on the Greek New Testament” helps us identify insertions into the Biblical text

The shocking headline above recently featured on a meme alongside a list of verses that the RSV is said to have removed from the Bible. Other such memes exist for other translations like the NIV and with different lists, but the complaint is one that has abounded since well before the existence of the Internet. Continue reading ““They changed the Bible – RSV removes entire verses””