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Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Sovereign Conflict

So Much to Say too Little Time
There are two things that I want to share the first is a summary of 1st and 2nd Timothy, I will do that tomorrow unless something else comes up…  The second is another observation from the development of the curriculum for Pakistani and Ugandan pastors…
Sovereign Conflict
Growing Conflict
It is hard to encapsulate the notion in one passage but take a look at Acts 17:11, which is the positive side of what is going on the background of the negative.  As you know on Paul’s missionary journeys (Acts 16:1 - 21:26) it was his habit to go to the synagogue in the city first and share about Christ from the Scripture, which was the Old Testament.  In Thessalonica, the Jews were not receptive, they challenged Paul, drove him out.  In Berea, they went and checked out what Paul was saying.  I won’t repeat all that I have said previously about Acts 17:11, type “17:11” in the “Search This Blog” box on the right to see that…

Quickly Spreading Gospel
In preparing this curriculum as I said yesterday I have been reviewing notes and textbooks on the transmission and codification of both the Old and New Testaments.  At the time Paul was being challenges and was in turn challenging the Jewish leaders, essentially following Christ’s example of using what we call the Old Testament to prove Christ’s claims, there was more than one version of the Old Testament Scripture in circulation.  The Jews had not been as careful with the text as they could have been.

Some Rejected But…
The use of the Scripture by Jesus, Paul, and the other apostles, challenged the Jews understanding of the texts they had studied.  Look at John 5:37 – 47 and Mark 12:24 – 27.  Christ flat tells them they don’t get it.  This had an impact on the Jews.  One of the impacts is they began to look closely at the different variants of the text that were in circulation to piece together through rudimentary text criticism, a more accurate text for their study.  One reason was to see if they could refute this upstart.

Think about that for a moment.

God’s Used Their Rejection
The Jews had got complacent and a bit sloppy about the transmission of the Word of God.  Along comes Jesus, and after Him, His apostles and those whom they brought to faith, and they are making claims that did not align with the current Jewish view of the Scripture.  That conflict forced the Jews to rekindle their interest in making sure that they had the most accurate Old Testament text, thus providing them and by extension us, with a better foundation for our Bibles.

God sovereignly used the conflict between the embryonic Church and His chosen people to bring needed attention to making sure the text was accurate and transmitted more effectively.

Overwhelming Breadth of God’s Sovereign Grace…
He did a lot more than that, but when I consider this, it is yet another example of how when things do not seem to be going well, when we are being attacked, when our message is being challenged, we do not know what God is doing in the lives of the people attacking.  Nor do we know how He is using their negative reactions for His glory.

We may not see it, but He is at work in and through those who reject us for His purpose.

2 comments:

  1. The Pharisees made it impossible to follow the law of Moses hanging stones on all the Jews that tried to follow the law. Didn't the Pharisees sit at the best tables and sat in the front of the synagogues. And when Moses came down the mountain with the ten commandments. Who was worshipping the golden bull? That became a secret society or satanic cult. Sorry I may be off track again. Have a beautifully blessed week inthe name of our Lord and saviour Jesus Christ AMEN

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    1. Not sure about the calf thing and secret society thing. The Pharisees were lawyers so in that sense they were a secret society much like our lawyers today ;-). kidding of course...

      Regardless of their behavior, the point is that God is not only in control of that behavior but used and uses it for His purpose. In the case of their hostile reaction to the message of the gospel as it was shared by the new structure God had formed, the Church, it forced those leaders to begin to turn back to the Scripture. Though they did not necessarily apply it correctly in the sense that they came to faith in Christ, John 5:37 - 47, it did give them incentive to make sure that they had a common text, that benefited the Church as well as us in that, the text that they assembled from the variants that were in circulation is what we have, in large part, now.

      God used their anger to solidify the Hebrew text that supports our Bibles today.

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