Thursday, 2/27/20 – Discipleship – The Bible

Nature’s Signs

close up photo of woman wearing golden ring

Look straight ahead. Now, making a fist extend your right arm straight forward. Align the thumb side of your extended fist before the center point of some fixed object in front of you. As you look at the back of the fist you have made the distance from its thumb side to its pinky side will be a fairly accurate 10°. If you change your fist to a “Y” shape by spanning thumb and pinky as far apart as you can the distance between thumb and pinky will be doubled to a fairly accurate 20°. Moving your arm two “Y” shaped lengths plus 1 three middle finger spans (see chart) to the right will result in your arm pointing 45° to the right of the center point from which you began.

20200226_060553Three middle finger spans = 5°. A pinky span = 1°. Nine fist spans = 90°. Eighteen “Y” spans = 360° and so on… You can use these “human sextant” tools to determine heights of trees, buildings or other objects, and by using triangulation even distances across rivers and such.

I learned all this from reading in a fascinating book called The Lost Art of Reading Nature’s Signs, by Australian writer and navigator Tristan Gooley.

gray small bird on green leaves

God’s creation holds many secrets and speaks to us in many ways if we listen. In fact, scripture tells us that “God’s invisible qualities—his eternal power and divine nature—have been clearly seen, being understood from what has been made” (Rom. 1:20). Jesus Himself often pointed to creation in His parables explaining the Love and Nature of God the Father.

In the beginning God spoke… and created (Gen. 1). Some 2,000 years ago this same Word became flesh in the Person of Jesus Christ. Later the Word became text as holy men of God were inspired by the Spirit thereby creating the written Word of God, the Holy scriptures to guide us. Creation, Flesh, Book. But we must apply our ears and hearts, minds and spirit to grow. We must “have ears to hear,” as Jesus put it.

white printer book page

Dig into the Word of God today. As Peter writes, “desire the pure milk of the Word, that you may grow” (1 Pet. 2:2). Jesus Himself pleads, “learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart” (Matt. 11:29).

Press on…

Are you interested in being discipled one-on-one in the fundamentals of new life in Christ? Or, perhaps you would you like to know how to begin this journey by turning from your current path and committing your path to Christ? — Use the Contact page and we’ll get you started.

Friday, 2/7/20 – Friday Tough Question

“Pseudipig–” what?

photo of a person kneeling in front of book

“How important are the writings from Jewish tradition? Such as 1 Enoch should we steer clear or read with knowing that only scripture has ultimate authority?”

I’ll have to back up and start running toward this question in order to set it in a context that will help with understanding.

gray concrete post tunnel

It was not until some 30 to 60 years after the resurrection of Christ that the first apostles began to write. Their gospels and epistles circulated amongst the early churches and served as a basis for testimony and teaching. There were many such writings circulating about at this time… including many spurious writings by shysters or persons pretending to be one of the Apostles… Early “fake news,” or “spam” if you like. (Such is fallen human nature!)

To deal with the confusion it eventually became necessary to create a biblical Canon, a grouping of writings recognized as genuine….inspired by God. But how was this determination to be made? Key questions were considered:

  • Was the document written by a known apostle or prophet?

  • Was the document quoted or referenced by Christ as authentic?

  • Did the teaching of the document agree with previously canonized writings?… etc.

silhouette photo of person standing in cave

Finally after much discussion, research, and debate the current 66 book Canon was agreed upon. (39 books of the Old Testament, 27 books of the New Testament).

Writings that did not meet the requirements of the canon fell into one of two groupings: Apocryphal writings, and Pseudipigraphal writings.

The 14 Apocryphal books* that you may find inserted between the Testaments in some Bibles are historical records of the 400 year period between the Old and New Testaments. They are fine historical records, but not deemed inspired. Martin Luther’s translation of 1534 was the first widely-used Bible to include these apocryphal books.

man wearing black crew neck shirt reading book

The Pseudipigraphal writings are those which are most questionable. Some of these more spurious writings include the Gospel of Thomas, the Shepherd of Hermas, the Apocalypse of Peter, and the Epistle of Barnabas. In such pseudo-gospels you will find stories such as Jesus making birds out of clay for fun as a boy, and a Jesus who is totally out of character with the Jesus portrayed in the canonical Gospels. Though I tend to shy away from Wikipedia as a resource the highlighted link below** may be of interest.

Pseudipigraphal writings, which include the three books of Enoch mentioned above, should always be approached great caution– if approached at all –and only by a mature believer firmly established in the Truth of Scripture. So today’s questioner has rightly presumed their own answer: “…steer clear or read with knowing that only scripture has ultimate authority.”

Press on…

*The 14 Apocryphal books: 1 Esdras (Vulgate 3 Esdras), 2 Esdras (Vulgate 4 Esdras), Tobit, Judith (“Judeth” in Geneva), Rest of Esther (Vulgate Esther 10:4 – 16:24), Wisdom, Ecclesiasticus (also known as Sirach), Baruch and the Epistle of Jeremy (“Jeremiah” in Geneva) (all part of Vulgate Baruch), Song of the Three Children (Vulgate Daniel 3:24–90), Story of Susanna (Vulgate Daniel 13), The Idol Bel and the Dragon (Vulgate Daniel 14), Prayer of Manasseh (Daniel), 1 Maccabees, 2 Maccabees
**Link here to Wickipedia list of O.T. Pseudipigraphal writings

Got a question? Use the Contact page and send It to me. We’ll search the Word for God’s answer.