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Issue No. 37 20 - 26 Sep 2010
Who saved the people out of the land of Egypt? By Quek Tze-Ming

Papyrus 72A funny thing happened along the way in the transmission of the text of Jude 5. According to most English bibles, the author wants to remind his readers that “the Lord, who ... saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe” (NRSV, and so also KJV, REB, NASB, NIV, TNIV). But some translations say, instead, that it is “Jesus, who saved a people out of the land of Egypt, afterward destroyed those who did not believe” (ESV, so also NET, NLT). Who exactly saved the people out of Egypt:? Was it “the Lord” or “Jesus”? Why is there this difference in the translations?

As with all good investigators – and this is so whether you are investigating a dead body as a “CSI” or an ancient text as a reader – we start with the hard data, the manuscript evidence. In this case, the hard data tells us that while the reading “the Lord” is found in the majority of manuscripts, the reading “Jesus” appears in many of the oldest and best manuscripts, the Latin, Coptic and Ethiopic translations, and quotations from some early church fathers. In addition to these manuscripts that have “Lord” or “Jesus,” some other manuscripts have “God,” and one intriguing one has “God Christ”! To quote from the “CSI” TV show: “Follow the evidence. Where does the evidence lead?” Well, if we go by the hard data, it would seem that “Jesus” is the best reading.

 

Explanation 1: “Lord” is original

However, some interpreters/translators think that the reading “Jesus” is so difficult that it cannot be original since it involves the idea that Jesus had dealings with historic Israel. Nowhere else in Jude does the author mention “Jesus.” It is always “Jesus Christ” elsewhere. The reading “Jesus” probably arose because an early scribe mistook KC (a common abbreviation for “Lord”) for IC (“Jesus”) in his exemplar (the text he was copying from). Therefore, “Lord” is the original reading (so NRSV, KJV, REB, NASB, NIV, TNIV).

Explanation 2: “Jesus” is original

But is the reading “Jesus” really so difficult that it cannot be original? After all, different NT authors do variously speak of the second person of the Trinity being active from the beginning of creation (John 1.3; 8.56-8; Col. 1.16; Heb. 11.26). Especially relevant is 1 Cor. 10.4, where Paul speaks of Christ as being present in some way with historic Israel during the wilderness wanderings. The epistle of Jude is one of the last books in the NT to be completed, so these ideas of the Son’s pre-incarnate activity were already “in the air” by the time Jude wrote. Furthermore, the reading, “Jesus,” accords with v. 4 which ends with a reference to the only “Master and Lord, Jesus Christ.”

Finally, although the concept of the Son’s pre-incarnate activity may be found in the NT, the use of the name “Jesus” in the context of the Exodus redemption has no parallel (cf. 1 Cor 10.4, which has “Christ”). This explains why some scribes may have found the reading “Jesus” odd and substituted “Lord” or “God” instead, giving rise to those readings in the other manuscripts. Therefore, “Jesus” is the original reading (so ESV, NET, NLT).

What do you think? Which explanation do you find more convincing? Or perhaps you have another one (maybe “Jesus” here = “Joshua,” successor to Moses)? How would deciding one way or another in this case affect your understanding of God or Jesus? Or does it? Is your confidence in God’s Word shaken? Why or why not?

If you are interested in these issues and in learning to be a “CSI” for texts such as Jude 5, do consider taking the course BG253 New Testament Textual Criticism (1.5 credits, Group Tutorial, with Lecturer Dr Quek Swee Hwa and Tutor Mr Quek Tze-Ming) which will commence on 4th October 2010 (Mon). Please refer to this link on our website for further information.

CHAPEL NOTES

Last Wednesday, Dr Aquila Lee led chapel and shared from 1 Kings 12:25-33 on the topic, “Who is Your Real Enemy? Lessons from Jeroboam the Idolater.” This passage of only nine verses narrates what Jeroboam did when he became the first king of the northern kingdom. From a modern secular perspective, everything he did was impeccable and a great success for this nascent nation as he was able to see beyond the horizon and introduce preventive measures that otherwise could be devastating for his kingdom.

However, the writer of the book of Kings helps us to see his actions from God’s point of view by pointing out the very wrong side of it. The writer devotes his precious two verses out of nine just to tell us what he said in his heart (vv.26-27). Here lies his major problem. In these verses we see that fear permeates his whole being. He was afraid of losing what he had (his kingdom and his life) and he was afraid of his archrival (full of references to him and his name in these 2 verses). But, most importantly, he forgot that God’s promise was on his side.

Earlier (ch.11) we read about an acted prophecy (in which Ahijah tears his new garment into twelve pieces and gives him ten, symbolizing that he will be the king of Israel) as well as a specific promise given by God (11:37-38). But, his unbelief led him to idol making and idol worship. Although his unbelief and disobedience led to idolatry, in reality he was already an idol worshipper in his heart even before he made the two golden calves. Idol worshippers treasure their idols more than anything else, just as Jeroboam treasured his kingdom and his life more than anything else. This is idol worship! Today, no sane Christian would make golden calves to worship them. But it is also true that today’s narcissistic world is full of idol worshippers whether they are believers or non-believers. We have our own idols.

Dr Lee then drew out applications from the message (both at personal and community levels) with his personal testimonies and anecdotes. The full sermon is available on our website.

Mr Chong Ser Choon will be leading Chapel on 29 September 2010 (Wednesday). Chapel begins at   12 pm. You are most welcome to join us.

Staff Movement

  • Mr Quek Tze-Ming will be preaching at both the 8.30am and 10.45am services on 26 September 2010 at The Bible Church. The topic is "Resistance to the New Kingdom: Son, Stone, and Warning-Sign" (Matt. 21:28-22:14).
  • Dr Philip Satterthwaite will be preaching at Bethesda Chapel on 26 September 2010 on Acts 7.
  • Dr Edwin Tay will be preaching at Mt Hermon Bible Presbyterian Church on 26 September 2010 at the 11am service on the topic “Discerning Love” (Phil. 1:3-11).
BGST OPEN HOUSE AND THANKSGIVING

BGST warmly invites friends, supporters, students, and alumni to the BGST Open House and Thanksgiving Service on 22 September 2010. Since June this year, BGST has been functioning from our new premises at Jalan Pemimpin. We are conscious of God’s leading in this move and would like to invite you to join us as we renew our vision and commit to God our needs as a community. Please take note of the following highlights on that day:

12 to 1 pm : Thanksgiving Service
1 to 2pm  : Lunch ( for catering purposes, please email kohmf@bgst.edu.sg by  21 Sept noon).                       
  2 to 6pm  : Open House

SPECIAL BOOK SALE
In conjunction with BGST Open House, there is a one-day special book sale on 22 September 2010 from 9am to 8.30pm. The discounts are attractive and apply to everyone. Hurry while stocks last!

Recommended Reading
There is an interesting article on the importance of practiced theology in our Sunday worship. It is by H. Wayne Johnson, "Practising Theology on a Sunday Morning: Corporate Worship as Spiritual Formation" Trinity Journal 31 (2010), 27-44. It is a critique of the Concert/Sermon type of service, widely adopted by many Evangelical churches today, and offers some good suggestions on how our corporate worship may reflect a theology of worship that is powerfully connected with our theology and Christian formation. Dr Johnson serves as the director of the MDiv Program at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. The journal is available for you in our BGST library. (AL)
TENT Module Courses Commencing in September

Tentmakers & Ethical Issues (Tent Module)
Oct 5, 12, 19 (Tue 7.20 - 10.00pm)
Venue: Union Industrial Building
Facilitator: A Former Singaporean Tentmaker

Biblical Hebrew: Basic Research Tools (BH214, 1.5cr)
Sep 20, 27; Oct 4, 11, 18, 25; Nov 1, 8 (Mon 7.30 - 9.30pm)
Venue: Zion Bishan BP Church
(4 Bishan St 13, Level 3, Room 3-08)
Lecturer: Dr Philip Satterthwaite

*The Counsellor as a Person: Self Awareness & Maturity in Christ (CO101, 3cr)
Sep 29; Oct 6, 13, 20, 27; Nov 3, 10, 24;
Dec 1, 8 (Wed 7.15 - 9.45pm)
Venue: Prinsep Street Presbyterian Church
Lecturer: Mr Yam Keng Mun

Old Testament Foundations I (OT101, 3cr)
Sep 28; Oct 5, 12, 19, 26; Nov 2, 9, 16, 23, 30
(Tue 7.15 - 9.45pm)
Venue: Union Industrial Building
Lecturer: Dr Augustine Pagolu

Courses marked with an asterisk are not offered on audit basis.

For more information on courses visit our website: http://bgst.edu.sg/courses-and-events

New Students

BGST would like to welcome two new students who have been accepted for the Dip C.S. program:

Mr Kenneth Chan worships in an Independent Church and he is a Senor Program Manager.  His purpose to study at BGST is to gain a better understanding of the Bible and its application for Christian living and ministry to others.

Miss Makiko Okada is from Japan. She worships at Covenant Evangelical Free Church and is actively involved as a Disciplemaking Group Leader and Covenant (Cell) Group Leader.  She has the desire to serve the Lord by ministering  to her own people by encouraging them read the Bible and know God deeply.


37 Jalan Pemimpin, #06-05 Block B, Union Industrial Building S(577177).
Tel: 6227-6815 Fax: 6255-3686 Email: bgst@pacific.net.sg
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