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All scripture is inspired of God. A small prophecy ?


JOHN BUTLER

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9 hours ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

 So where is one supposed to start ? If you are saying that the Bible might not be the book it should be. 

The Bible is the perfect book it should be. But we should discern the spirit of the Christian message and not be distracted with so many lower-priority details that we miss the forest for the trees. As brought up in the post to @Outta Here we need to be alert to what we are being taught. If we understand the "spirit" of the message and the "priorities" we will not be quickly shaken from our reason in believing a message has apostolic authority when it really was just some speculation over less important details:

  • (2 Thessalonians 2:1, 2) . . .we request of YOU 2 not to be quickly shaken from YOUR reason nor to be excited either through an inspired expression or through a verbal message or through a letter as though from us. . .

I think most of us would agree that the idea of priority of the objective has been perfectly met in the Bible, and is perfectly encapsulated in 1 Timothy:

  • (1 Timothy 1:5-7) . . .Really, the objective of this instruction is love out of a clean heart and out of a good conscience and out of faith without hypocrisy. 6 By deviating from these things, some have been turned aside to meaningless talk. 7 They want to be teachers of law, but they do not understand either the things they are saying or the things they insist on so strongly.
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Further to all the earlier postings and your original point.  Yes, I can see what you mean. In the context of Paul's words having been written prior to John's writings, and to the consensus on wh

The Bible is the perfect book it should be. But we should discern the spirit of the Christian message and not be distracted with so many lower-priority details that we miss the forest for the trees. A

True. Also, it was an accusation from outsiders and therefore not necessarily an accurate reflection. But there is also the fact that it is not rebutted in Acts, and it fits what Jesus said about reve

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5 hours ago, JW Insider said:

most of the apostles were evidently unlettered (illiterate) and required second-hand "secretaries" to record their first-hand experiences and memories.

The only portion of your excellent post that I would take issue with due to the possibility of an ambiguity.

The reference is to Acts 4:13 where this description of the apostles Peter and John appears: "unlettered and ordinary". The use of the word agrammatoi could be understood as "illiterate" in respect of it's literal meaning  of being "without letters". But this would only be done  by someone figuratively so. To take such a line of reasoning, in the face of scholarship on the application of this word to the apostles, would be as reasonable  as applying a similar "rule" to the use of the word idiotai, (rendered ordinary), which appears in the same verse. Then we could render Luke's description of the religionists' view of Peter and John as being "illiterate idiots".

Now, this might fit the religious leaders'general perception of those outside their social circle as being "accursed", eparatos,  (am haarets elsewhere). But it has long been held that the phrase has reference to those who are "unlettered"  in the sense of not having had formal religious training in a Rabbinic school of the day. The sense of the other word rendered as "ordinary" should be understood as one not having had the level of formal professional training necessary to become a State official of the day. So in more modern mode, their words, their speech and demeanor did not reflect them to be public school (UK version) educated, university graduates with degrees in theology and social policy.  The description could apply to most of us today, but, as then,  in no way would it be a relevant assessment either of our literacy, or IQ.

Interestingly, many "highly placed, public school (UK version) educated, university graduates with degrees in theology and social policy" also require "second-hand "secretaries" to record their first-hand experiences and memories", and indeed, much else of what they produce.  ?

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4 hours ago, Outta Here said:

The reference is to Acts 4:13 where this description of the apostles Peter and John appears: "unlettered and ordinary". The use of the word agrammatoi could be understood as "illiterate" in respect of it's literal meaning  of being "without letters".

True. Also, it was an accusation from outsiders and therefore not necessarily an accurate reflection. But there is also the fact that it is not rebutted in Acts, and it fits what Jesus said about revealing truths not to the wise and intellectual. 

  • (Matthew 11:25) . . .At that time Jesus said in response: “I publicly praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth, because you have hidden these things from the wise and intellectual ones and have revealed them to young children."

Paul recognized the same point, and even spurned his own educational training as worthless.

We can also combine this with the fact that of the original 12 apostles, only two of them, Matthew and John, were ever credited with writing a gospel account. But even this is based on later traditions. Nowhere, in any of the gospels do we even see the names of the writers, whether Matthew, Mark, Luke or John. There was an early tradition that Matthew had written a gospel and that it was originally in Hebrew (Aramaic), but this gospel could not have been the one we now call Matthew. There was also a well-known gospel called the "Gospel of Peter" that probably originated in the second century, but might have even been written in the first century while the apostles were still alive. In spite of the name, it was not taken seriously after the second century, and the "Gospel of Mark" was seen as Peter's gospel through a "second" hand.

4 hours ago, Outta Here said:

But it has long been held that the phrase has reference to those who are "unlettered"  in the sense of not having had formal religious training in a Rabbinic school of the day.

Yes. The Watchtower has referenced this view.

*** w09 7/1 p. 4 1. Ask the Author for Help ***

  • Jesus’ apostles were considered “unlettered and ordinary” because they had not attended rabbinic schools for religious training. (Acts 4:13) Nevertheless, Jesus assured them that understanding God’s Word was within their reach.

Although the very next year, the Watchtower moved back to the idea of illiteracy in language education.

*** w10 10/1 p. 30 Speaking in Tongues—Is It From God? ***

  • Spreading the good news to that extent would require the use of many tongues other than Hebrew.  However, many of those early disciples were “unlettered and ordinary.” (Acts 4:13) How, then, would they be able to preach in distant lands where languages were spoken that they may never have heard of, let alone learned to speak? Holy spirit empowered some of those zealous preachers with the miraculous ability to preach fluently in languages they had never before learned to speak.

I have read the view that many Judeans of this time and even many more Galileans and Samaritans never learned Greek, but knew and spoke only their form of Aramaic (sometimes called "Hebrew" as in the above quote from the 2010 Watchtower). Being unlettered (illiterate) in the sense of not knowing how to read and write in your language even if you spoke it fluently, is considered an insult to one's intelligence in most societies today. But illiteracy was very common in the first century, and no one expected anyone to be able to read and write except a certain level of soldier required to send reports, certain types of merchants, and the rabbis who would need to learn to read for the synagogue services. Not even the average tax collector needed to know how to read and write, even though we now tend to think of some kind of accountant/scribe.

Because we anachronistically consider it to be such an insult, we think we are coming to the defense of the apostles by saying that this was only referring to a special level of illiteracy and a technical meaning of "ordinary."  We forget that "rabbinical schools for religious training" were precisely where persons learned to read and write. This is why even the persons we would today call civil lawyers came out of this same class of education (Pharisees, scribes). Josephus, for example, rose in military rank in Galilee due to his rabbinic training, i.e., literacy. After his capture by the Romans, he maneuvered quickly into Roman acceptance due in large part to literacy.  

I'm glad you pointed out one of the meanings of idiotai, as it would be easy for English readers to only see the insulting cognate when the original term did not have the meaning "idiot."

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23 hours ago, JOHN BUTLER said:

How many JW's ever think of the fact that Paul wrote that information before the other scriptures were written and long before a Bible was composed ? 

Further to all the earlier postings and your original point. 

Yes, I can see what you mean. In the context of Paul's words having been written prior to John's writings, and to the consensus on what constituted the canon of the Christian Greek Scriptures, then, yes, Paul's statement might be viewed as a mini-prophecy as you state.

However, it is entirely unlikely that Paul meant specifically that his words should be understood that way. Rather, the purpose of his writing  was to instruct Timothy in what should form the basis for his own faith and that which he would teach to others, namely "the holy writings", or "All Scripture", as opposed to the ear-tickling teachings he refers to at 2 Tim.4:3.

He may well have had in mind at this time the coming conclusions to be made regarding his own writings, as well as the other completed letters and gospels, especially in view of the spiritual gifts he undoubtedly enjoyed. Also, as the book of Revelation confirms, further written communication is to be expected from Jehovah, so it seems unlikely that Paul felt the "All" was done in his day. In fact more likely that what was to be termed "All" would be expanded.

There is prudence in terming the holy writings as "All Scripture". If he had said the "Jewish Scriptures", or some other time-rooted descriptor, then there would have been room for dispute over what constituted those writings, perhaps falling into the hands of the Judaizers, or some other apostatisers and their time-wasting definition debates. This is, however a hindsight observation of practicality of expression, not unlike the embedded wisdom we can now see in the injunction to "cleanse ourselves of every defilement of flesh and spirit", which circumvents the need for listing every possible combination of the same.  ?

 

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13 minutes ago, Outta Here said:

There is prudence in terming the holy writings as "All Scripture". If he had said the "Jewish Scriptures", or some other time-rooted descriptor, then there would have been room for dispute over what constituted those writings, perhaps falling into the hands of the Judaizers

Good points, especially from our current vantage point in time. On the latter point in the above quote, Paul could be said to have dealt with that issue, by the admission that Scripture was "Jewish Scripture" in the following verse:

  • (Romans 3:1, 2) . . .What, then, is the advantage of the Jew, or what is the benefit of circumcision? 2 A great deal in every way. First of all, that they were entrusted with the sacred pronouncements of God.

Yet the immediate context, plus the entire book as further context, provides the explanation against misuse of this statement by Judaizers:

  • (Romans 2:29) . . .But he is a Jew who is one on the inside, and his circumcision is that of the heart by spirit and not by a written code. . . .
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1 hour ago, JW Insider said:

But illiteracy was very common in the first century,

Somebody blogged a few points on this which I found quite thought-provoking. "

 "...the Bible expected the common people to be able to read and write. For example, when Moses led Israel out of Egypt, they were told to write the laws upon their door posts (Deuteronomy 6:6-9; 11:18-20). Isaiah predicted that Nebuchadnezzar would destroy the land to such a degree that a child could write the number of the trees left standing (Isaiah 10:19). This Scripture would make no sense at all unless children were customarily educated by either their parents (implying family literacy) or through an organized school presumably conducted through the Levitical ministry.

Concerning the 1st century, one of the favorite sayings of Jesus in rebuttal to his accusers was: “Have you not read…” This not only implied literacy to his opponents, but also to himself and to his apostles whom he taught, for why would he use the phrase against his accusers, if they could turn around and cast his own words in his teeth to point out the illiteracy of his followers?

Jesus’ parable of the unjust steward (Luke 16:6-7) also implies literacy in the normal course of business in the Jewish society. This is also borne out in some archeological finds dating to the 12th century BC where Israelite inscriptions are found on pottery and artifacts showing literacy was not exclusive to the elite. Moreover, just before the Jewish revolt, the high priest Joshua ben Gamala (cir. 64 AD) declared that teachers would be appointed in every town of every province throughout Palestine. Their purpose was to provide an education for every male of the age of six or seven and upward. One teacher would serve a community of up to 25 students. A teacher’s assistant would be added for communities having up to 50 students and for communities having more than 50 students two teachers would be provided.

All of our modern opinions, scholarly or otherwise, concerning the low literacy rate of the Jews of the 1st century AD, are based upon subjective guesswork. There is not an ounce of hard evidence to support their conclusions."

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Excellent research. We have long used the "inculcate them in your sons" phrase to teach that literacy was high among the Jewish population. This would have been the ideal if everyone followed the Law. But there are as many pieces of opposing "evidence." And I agree that there is no hard evidence on either side.

2 hours ago, Outta Here said:

Concerning the 1st century, one of the favorite sayings of Jesus in rebuttal to his accusers was: “Have you not read…” This not only implied literacy to his opponents

Expressions like, "have you not read?" are actually found very rarely in the Bible. And if you note the context, it's always with reference to Pharisees and Sadducees which fits the previous points made.  To more common people, such as those who heard Jesus' Sermon on the Mount, the expression, even when quoting written scripture, is: "You heard that it was said. . ." It's found six times in the Sermon on the Mount alone. There are no examples of Jesus mentioning "reading" except when chief priests, scribes, Pharisees and Sadducees were the focus of attention. (Even Jesus' question about "Whose inscription was on the coin?", by the way, was directed at Pharisees.) So the same point made by the blogger could be taken as evidence against the literacy of the common man.

2 hours ago, Outta Here said:

why would he use the phrase against his accusers, if they could turn around and cast his own words in his teeth to point out the illiteracy of his followers?

But apparently they did!

Certain kinds of merchants, including house stewards who were the ones required to trade with merchants for foodstuffs and household supplies, might require a knowledge of money and writing. That is acknowledged. (Luke 16:6-7) And Joshua ben Gamala's potential reforms, as a chief priest married to a wealthy woman from the priestly Boethos family, were precisely because education --even of 16 and 17 year olds-- had been an exclusive privilege of the rich. The very fact that he hoped for a change in this regard could be used as more evidence of common illiteracy.

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@JW Insider "Although the very next year, the Watchtower moved back to the idea of illiteracy in language education."

Though still using the same scripture ?

You're not suggesting that the GB twisted scripture one way then the other are you ? Just for their own purpose 

'Moved back to' seems to mean that they first used a scripture one way, then another way, then back to the first way.  Wow how reliable is that folks ?

 

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2 hours ago, JW Insider said:

So the same point made by the blogger could be taken as evidence against the literacy of the common man.

Good point, along with the second quote.

But I can't think of a single instance where Jesus "walked into one" when dealing with the Pharisees and scribes, or anyone else for that matter.

So I think I'll stick with the view that Jesus argued from safe ground here, and that the apostles were sufficiently numerate to at least count to 50 (Mk.6:20), and had enough of a grasp of letters to carry out something of the advice of Ps.1:2.

So the patronisingly arrogant and self-agrandising view of the apostles, as held by the Pharisees and scribes, remains .....just that........ for now, anyway.?

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