Category Archives: Spirituality

Is Your Bible Missing Verses?

Hey hey.  Blessed Sunday everyone.  I know I haven’t posted in forever–I’ve been using my (limited) writing energy at my “work-related” site, phahpa.org (trying to catch up with regional and state history, preservation laws, doing projects, etc . . . ).  But I’ve been wanting to do this for a while.  That is, the graphic below . . . but as  I’m not graphics-program savvy, I did it in Word, printed it, then scanned it (not the highest quality I wished) in order to put it on here.   The quality actually came out pretty well, considering, and if you click on it you can view it in its large format.  I hope you like this and share it with those who might seem to need it (the title is sarcastic, yet)–even atheists who cherry pick or only actually read other atheists who cherry pick.   It’d just be nice if you cited the source and creator (this site).

Which Bible are You Reading?
By Vicki Priest

 

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Christian Poems XIV: Kenyon, Spires, and Donne

Sunset with road.
Sunset, toward west, but road may traveled east or west. Which way to go? Source: http://newartcolorz.com/images/2014/3/country-sunset-wallpaper-5351-5667-hd-wallpapers.jpg

Let Evening Come

by Jane Kenyon

Let the light of late afternoon
shine through chinks in the barn, moving
up the bales as the sun moves down.

Let the cricket take up chafing
as a woman takes up her needles
and her yarn.  Let evening come.

Let dew collect on the hoe abandoned
in long grass.  Let the stars appear
and the moon disclose her silver horn.

Let the fox go back to its sand den.
Let the wind die down.  Let the shed
go black inside.  Let evening come.

To the bottle in the ditch, to the scoop
in the oats, to air in the lung
let evening come.

Let it come as it will, and don’t
be afraid.  God does not leave us
comfortless, so let evening come.

In The Best American Poetry 1991.  Mark Strand, editor; David Lehman, series editor (Collier Books 1991, p 119).  From Kenyon’s 1990 book of the same title (Graywolf Press 1990).

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Continue reading Christian Poems XIV: Kenyon, Spires, and Donne

Who Will Enter God’s Kingdom?

bad trees don't produce good fruit
Bad fruit — it can look good on the outside while it’s rotting on the inside. With God’s help in discernment, we should be able to recognize bad fruit. “A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit” (Jesus, in Matthew 7:18).

I was reading Matthew today and came across the below group of verses.  It made me think about my own salvation and if I’m on the right track.  I have these times where I wonder if God expects more of me, if I’m letting Him down, and if He’s really paying attention to me anymore.  I think all believers go through times with thoughts like that.  I do believe I’m saved, as Paul wrote: “The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children” (Romans 8:16).   But I also think Paul wrote his passages about persevering  for a reason, that people can indeed fall away from the faith (become apostate).  One example from Hebrews (12:1-3):

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.  Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

The following passages from the end of Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, consisting of three paragraphs and concepts, is a good reminder to consider:  where we’re at in our faith; if our faith is matched by our actions; and, if our righteous-looking actions are hiding unrighteous motives.  It is that last bit that is the scariest.  Those persons who do NOT enter God’s Kingdom, even though they seemed like they were powerfully working for God, seem to be surprised.  Perhaps it is yet just another deception they are trying to pull off, or, they are so deluded they can’t even tell the difference.

Continue reading Who Will Enter God’s Kingdom?

Site Update: “About Me” Page and Others edited, moved

An earlier me during an archaeological survey.
An earlier me during an archaeological survey.

I’ve changed pages and updated With Christian Eyes in the past, but there’ve been more changes lately and I also wish to better connect with my followers.  I edited and updated my biographical information in  the About the Author page (formerly “About Me”), and moved a bit of what was in the “Let Me Write for You” page to there and deleted the rest.   I added two table of contents pages for ease of finding articles; there are two instead of one in order to keep the number of links on each page down.

In case you didn’t know, there is a second blog run by my husband here,  Lingering Trees, although I’m going to see about how to transfer it to him to make it separate (for his ease and distinct online presence).  He is trying to promote his and my son’s YouTube account so as to eventually make some money off of it.  This is not to get rich, by any means, but only to make extra money since he is ill so much.  Eventually, unless God chooses to heal him, he’s not going to be able to work a regular job.  It’s too bad Christians don’t support other Christians in this way as much as the worldly folk do–if you don’t know about people making a living off of YouTube, just know that some do extremely well.  We’re not expecting to live off of YouTube income (!), but are working at it with the hope of earning money to go toward living expenses and gifts.

I’ve appreciated the likes and follows so much!  Thanks for the time you’ve spent here.  As we prepare to end homeschooling and move across the country, we’ll still be here!  After that’s all done, we’ll see how God guides us, but I may be able to write more.  I should have more time and ability to focus–maybe I’ll even work on a book or two.  The Lord hold you and smile at you.

Contemplating.  Author photo.
Contemplating. Author photo.

 

Thanks, WordPress, for reminding me of the Noahic Covenant

Imposed and inappropriate symbol at WordPress
Imposed and inappropriate symbol at WordPress

 

So I’m working at my WordPress site today (June 26), and when I view the stats page this colorful banner confronts me.  Huh.  Looks kind of tacky.  I don’t go around imposing my Christian symbolism on sites that are public and have users from all different backgrounds, beliefs, creeds, and whatnot, but hey, I guess WordPress can do what it wants.

Anyway, thanks for putting up a reminder of God’s covenant with humankind, given through Noah, after God destroyed the Earth and most that was in it by water.  God had judged the Earth’s inhabitants to be too far along in their selfish and evil desires.  But instead of destroying humankind altogether, He chose Noah and his family to start the human race all over again.  It’s a good thing they could all have kids.  While we’re all descendants of Adam and Eve, we’re also all descendants of Noah and his wife, too.

Continue reading Thanks, WordPress, for reminding me of the Noahic Covenant

The Disadvantaged and the Pharisees of Our Day

This piece was an experiment.  I wrote it for a Christian periodical that normally prints articles that are non-fiction, for individual and group contemplation.  The subject is pharisees of our day (a sub-subject related to humility), and I thought a more creative piece like this could cover more, or lead to more understanding, anyway, with the limited amount of words allowed; however, it was not accepted and so I decided to post it here.  Perhaps I’ll add references/recommended reading later, but suffice it to say now that everything in the piece is based on personal experience, information from nonprofits, published articles, and governmental reports.  (The low amount provided for Disability is based on the deduction they normally make for support from other household members or other sources; the starting base amount is around $700.)  ______________________________________

Angel contemplatingBecca fed dollar bills into the laundry’s money changer. While expertly flattening out creases and bent corners, she noticed the “In God We Trust” slogan. “Who is it referring to?” she mumbled. She believed in God—in Jesus—but the savior she knew . . . well, it didn’t seem like her country knew Him. “Clank, clank, clank!” She scooped up the quarters and headed to the washers.

“Trusting God. That means seeking to know Him and please Him, right?” she asked herself. As she loaded the clothes, she searched her mind for examples of the U.S. demonstrating that kind of faith and commitment. Nothing came to mind. “Well, helping the poor and elderly through Medicaid and Medicare was something,” Becca thought.

Continue reading The Disadvantaged and the Pharisees of Our Day

Broadchurch (Season 1): Christianity, Male Affections, and What the Slug Said

And so did Christianity fall.   Detective Alec Hardy

I passed the word. Maybe the word was good.   Vicar Paul Coates

Christianity is a dirty word. Trying to find the Christian history of things, or the Christian basis of science, or information on Christian scientists, philosophers, etc., seems to be getting harder by the day. Christianity is being erased from history, and you’d be hard-pressed to find entertainment industry professionals who discuss their faith openly. There are some who do, like Denzel Washington, Sean Astin, Patricia Heaton, and John Rhys-Davies, and it was easier to find out Broadchurch AusDVDabout their faith than any direct information about the religious aspects of the BBC TV show Broadchurch. Considering that Broadchurch is chock full of things Christian, this lack of discussion still seems surprising.

Despite the (seeming) decline of Christianity in the United Kingdom,[1] or perhaps because of it, the 8-part murder mystery contains more on the Christian faith than many people no doubt experience in a year. Hearing actors quote bible passages was happily shocking. These days, when show business types are generally afraid to mention their faith, how did this show even get made? In an interview (Ng 2013) with one of the main actors, Arthur Darvill, he responded to a question with what may be a partial explanation:

It was written because [Chris] wanted to write it and he wrote it the way that he wanted to write it. It’s a real testament to people having ideas and people not interfering with those ideas. You can see it hasn’t been meddled with by people who are pulling purse strings, if that makes sense. I think a lot of TV you see is made in a way that’s quite cynical because it’s made to make money or made to be a hit, and this wasn’t.

There’s absolutely no reason to think Darvill was referring to the murder mystery part of the story, since that is a very ordinary, accepted, and desirable show genre. But besides Christianity, there are other meaningful issues, or themes, in Broadchurch that aren’t obviously discussed in mainstream media either. You’d think that the murder mystery was the only aspect of the 8-week long story, but my impression is that the story (which was interesting but not great)[2] was written solely to express these themes: Christianity; the supernatural; male affection vs. male perversion; grief; and, the question of how or why people closest to criminals don’t know about the criminal activity. Below is commentary on themes and subthemes, excepting that on grieving (the family slug shows up near the bottom, in “How could you now know?”).

Continue reading Broadchurch (Season 1): Christianity, Male Affections, and What the Slug Said

Escape from Internet Savagery; Heal and Laugh

Hello!  We (my family and I) started a new forums board for the internet weary, and we’d love to have you visit and join if you like.

It’s a fun place, a place to find encouragement and stories showing the amazing goodness possible in the human being.  Ordinary conversation can be had, too, and we even have a shout box (live chatting).  It does not have the same domain name as here since we wanted it open to all people, and if any non-Christians there want to know more about Christ, all the better.  We had a forums board associated with “withchristianeyes” and it just didn’t get much traffic.  There are other Christian boards on the internet and sadly, there is a lot of aggression there.  Ours was to be aggression-free, but people just didn’t like that!

So, why am I doing another board that is also a save haven from aggressive trolls and the like?  Well, I want a place like that, so it seems very likely that others want that too.  I’m on
Twitter and it’s sad how many absolutely unpleasant people there are on there.  I don’t try to follow such people, but even many everyday tweets by people are mean-spirited.  Christ calls us to love and respect people, not hammer morality* into them or tell them they’re stupid simply for being in another political party (!).  There are incredibly close-minded and vicious people in whatever party.

So, the forum is called Nice World, A Narcissist-Free Environment.  As you might surmise, we like things a bit tongue-in cheek, and the language isn’t all proper there.  We hope you enjoy being at the place!  Here is an image of what a small part of it looks like right now.  We made it only a couple of days ago, so more boards (thread groups, not necessarily sections) are sure to come.  Thanks for checking it out!

Nice World Forums

* When someone accepts Christ and is reborn, the Holy Spirit will change them to be more in alignment with God’s will.  Christ and rebirth comes first, then change.

New Testament Views of Women: Paul’s Female Co-workers

1171414 girl jumping, freeimages.comFor an introduction to this subject, please see New Testament Views of Women: Overview.

For a discussion of this subject relating to 1 Corinthians, see New Testament Views of Women: 1 Corinthians 14:34-36

Considering that there were no women that had any kind of leadership role in the religion of Israel at the time of Christ, it is truly radical that there are so many women mentioned in the New Testament who promoted the faith and who in fact had leadership roles. Jesus led the way for women to not only find salvation and comfort in him, but to realize what Galatians 3:28 says: “There is neither Jew nor Greek; there is neither slave nor free; there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.” That the latter church chose, for the most part, to forget Jesus’ lifting up of women and change words in the translation of Paul’s writings – some are shown below – is unfortunate (to say the least) and makes arguing for the accuracy of many translations more difficult.

But who were Paul’s co-workers, and what level of leadership did they really have? For right now, let’s focus on three: Priscilla, Phoebe, and Junia. There is so much that could be covered that information on their roles is presented in a concise list format:

Priscilla. Apparently well-educated, and thus from an influential Roman family.

  • Priscilla and Aquila, her husband, taught Apollos more about Christianity after they had heard him speak publicly (Act 18:26). Priscilla was the primary teacher, as evidenced by her name being given first. Of the six times she and her husband are mentioned in the NT, she is first four times. “The order of names in ancient times indicated priority of role and importance” (Schmidt 178). St. Chrysostom (AD 347-407) confirmed that Paul placed Priscilla first for good reason. Significantly, whether ahead of her husband or not, she taught a man.
  • She is acknowledged as being well known by the gentile churches (Romans 16:4). She would not have been well known unless she had leadership functions. Paul refers to her as synergos (Romans 16:3), the same word he used for Timothy and Titus, who preached and taught. She was a “fellow worker” (synergos) with Paul, not a silent and passive female.
  • One of the oldest and largest catacombs in Rome bears her name, as do several monuments.
  • No one really knows who wrote the Book of Hebrews, and the suggestion that Priscilla wrote it is not discounted even in the Archaeological Study Bible (Garrett); some suggest, too, that she “polished up” Paul’s letter to the Romans.

Phoebe. Carrier of the Roman epistle to Rome from Corinth, a 400 mile journey.

  • In Romans 16:1-2, Phoebe is referred to as a diakonos, or deacon. “Deaconess” was not a word at that time and was first used in AD 375. The common word “deacon” is most often translated “minister” in the King James Version, though it is rendered “deacon” three times; however, when that word is used with Phoebe, the KJ translators used “servant” instead. Amazingly, the slightly earlier Miles Coverdale bible had kept the word “minister” for Phoebe, but recent translations still use “servant.”
  • Paul called himself a deacon (diakonos) in 1 Corinthians 3:5, and it is used for Timothy in Acts 19:22. Deacon is used with “co-worker” (synergos) and commonly meant someone who teaches and preaches; the person would have some authority in the church. Another thing to consider is that the term deacon was masculine and only males functioned as deacons in Greek culture. Paul very well knew what he was doing when he used that term for Phoebe.
  • Paul not only said Phoebe was a deacon, but a prostatis (Romans 16:2) as well. Prostatis “meant ‘leading officer’ in the literature at the time the [NT] was written” (Schmidt 181). To us it would mean something like “superintendent.”
  • Origen (AD 185-254), who was not a feminist, wrote that based on Romans 16:1-2 Phoebe had apostolic authority.

Junia

  • Junia is found in Romans 16:7, where the name is still often mistranslated “Junias.” The name “Junias” was non-existent at that time. The Archeological Study Bible (Garret, p 1860) notes that “the more common” reading in Greek is “Junia.” She probably was the wife of Adronicus, the other person mentioned in that verse. For the greater part of church history—the first 1300 years—all acknowledged that the person was a female! Why did bible translators in the last several hundred years change Adronicus’ companions name? Because Paul referred to them both as apostles, and outstanding ones at that. St. Chrysostom, St. Jerome, and Peter Abelard all considered the person to be a woman.
  • Paul did not restrict the word “apostle” to the twelve only (he called James an apostle and interchanged it with the word diakonos), as is common today. Origen wrote that women had “apostolic authority” in the church based on Romans 16.

The note on Romans 16:7 in the Apologetics Study Bible (ASB) goes almost as far as what Origen wrote and thought, but why can’t our Christian culture acknowledge what Paul actually wrote?  Interesting, isn’t it?  I, the author of this paper, am female, yet I have a bit of a hard time personally accepting female church leaders.  I believe my view is based on both personal and cultural factors, but knowing what Paul wrote and what Christ did, I would not argue that a congregation is wrong in having a female leader. This is the note from the ASB (Cabal, p 1704):

Many claim that Junia (or Junias), designating one of Paul’s relatives, could be either a man’s or a woman’s name. In fact, the masculine form, Junias (as a contraction of Junianus), has not been located elsewhere, whereas the feminine Junia is common. Of course, if this person was a woman, this would be an intriguing fact, particularly since Paul called Andronicus and Junia “apostles.” J.D. G. Dunn suggests they were husband and wife—a reasonable assumption. The precise status of all who are called apostles isn’t clear. Some were close associates of the apostles, such as Barnabas (Ac 14:14) and James (Gl 1:19), but also see the Greek term apostolos in 2 Co 8:23 and Php 2:25.

 

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Works Cited and Recommended Reading

Anonymous. “Women in Ancient Israel.” Bible History Online. n.d. http://www.bible-history.com/court-of-women/women.html (accessed June 2011).

Cabal, Ted, General Editor.  The Apologetics Study Bible.  Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2007.

Cowles, C.S. A Woman’s Place? Leadership in the Church. Kansas City : Beacon Hill Press, 1993.

Dunn, James, General Editor. Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003.

Faulkes, Irene Bonney. “Question of Veils in India.” Dr. Irene Faulkes Articles. 2011. http://revirene.org/Question%20Of%20Veils.htm (accessed June 2011).

Garrett, Duane A, General Editor. NIV Archaeological Study Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005.

Schmidt, Alvin John. How Christianity Changed the World. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001.

—. Veiled and Silenced: How Culture Shaped Sexist Theology. Macon: Mercer University Press, 1989.

Zondervan. “Interview with Alvin J. Schmidt.” Zondervan. n.d. http://www.zondervan.com/media/interviews/product/pdf/0310264499_authintrvw.pdf (accessed June 2011).

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© Vicki Priest 2014, 2012  (This is an edited version of a series of articles first posted at Examiner.com, 2011, and transferred from withchristianeyes.com)

New Testament Views of Women: 1 Corinthians 14:34-36

For an introduction to this subject, please see New Testament Views of Women: Overview.

When it comes to the question of women in Christian leadership, 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 and 1 Timothy 2:11-15 are used to show God’s disfavor of women having such roles. In light of both the whole New Testament and of all of Paul’s extant writings, we know that these passages are contradictory; they at least seem so without looking deeper into the social contexts or possible translation issues. Some scholars even propose that 1Timothy was not written by Paul, and therefore not genuine. However, in this article we will explore some possible reasons for Paul having written 1 Corinthians 14:34-36, even though he acknowledged females praying and prophesying in chapter 11 of the same epistle.

1 Corinthians 14:34b-35 states: “women should remain silent in the churches. They are not allowed to speak, but must be in submission, as the Law says. If they want to inquire about something, they should ask their own husbands at home; for it is disgraceful for a woman to speak in the church” (NIV 1984).

Why would Paul say this when he commended many women who had house churches? These include Mary (mother of Mark), Nympha, Priscilla (with Aquila), and Apphia. These house churches did not follow sexist synagogue rules. Also, Mary, Jesus’ mother, prayed with the other disciples. Women apparently spoke at Pentecost (even though “men” are mentioned, the text states that the Holy Spirit rested on all who were there, and Peter quotes Joel concerning women prophesying as well as men) and Tabitha was a disciple. Considering that Paul writes of women praying and prophesying in church earlier in the same letter, why would he then write verses 14:34-35?

One explanation is that these verses were added later—called an interpolation–and there is a possibility of this. These verses are commonly found at the end of the chapter in various manuscripts and seem to have been added by scribes early on (but later than Paul). However, since no early manuscripts have been found that do not entirely omit the verses, the interpolation explanation remains only a hypothesis.  Another thing to consider, however, is the command for women, or wives, to ask explanations of their husbands at home later.  At the time 1 Corinthians was written, there were many more women in the church than men, so were they to ask their unbelieving husbands about Christian truth?

Katherine Bushnell, a conservative scholar, agrees with the interpolation theory: “[Bushnell] buttressed her argument by saying that it was not like Paul to use the laws and traditions of the Jews ‘as a final authority on a matter of controversy in the church. He spent a large share of energy battling against these very “traditions” of the Jews, as did his Master, Jesus Christ’” (Schmidt 188-189).

CS CowlesWhile the interpolation theory seems like a plausible explanation, not all those who dismiss the direct but contradictory message of 1 Corinthians 14:34-35 agree with it. Another explanation is provided C.S. Cowles.  She provides a word study showing that some women were being referred to, not all women; that the “silence” was that of voluntary restraint; and that the “speak” referred to—and there are 30 different Greek words for “speak”—has the meaning of “talk” or “chatter.” Paul wasn’t saying that women could not pray or prophesy, only that the women who were talking during service needed to not be disruptive. She defends the use of the word “law” as Paul’s way of appealing to social convention.

Regarding the admonition for wives to consult with their husbands at home, Cowles believes that the women had felt free to ask questions during service since the early services were not formal, but quite social, and it had gotten out of hand. She does not try to explain why women with husbands are the only ones referred to here, nor the related criticism of them having to possibly rely on unbelieving husbands.

Another explanation, which is highly possible and thought by many to be most likely, is that Paul is quoting from a letter (or stating an argument) from the Judaizers.  Judaizers wanted traditional oral law enforced in other ways and places as well (for example, they wanted males to be circumcised), and these verses are very similar to the actual Jewish oral law prohibiting women to speak during services. Considering how the law is cited in this passage–which would be highly out of character for Paul, the explanation that those verses are a quote makes perfect sense.  Also, the verse immediately following is a rebuke: “Did the word of God originate with you? Or are you the only people it has reached?” (14:36). Is Paul rebuking the Judaizers for trying to silence women, when Paul already acknowledged that women can speak and prophesy in church (11:5), and when Paul so often commended the women co-workers, deacons, and even ministers or apostles that he knew and worked with? It seems so.

But why don’t we know for sure that verses 34-35 are a quote? Quotation marks of any kind were not used in these ancient writings. However, it is accepted by many NT scholars that 1 Corinthians has many quotes within it, but not all agree that 34-35 is a quote. One of the scholars who does believe that it is a quote from Jewish oral law, however, is Neal Flanagan, a Catholic. He has written that since it is a quote and that Paul rebukes those who would silence women, it is then a text that reaffirms 1 Corinthians 11:5 as well as Galatians 3:28.

To read further, please see:  New Testament Views of Women: Paul’s Co-workers and New Testament Views of Women: 1 Timothy 2:11-15 (Part 2)

[edited on 10-8-2014]

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Works Cited and Recommended Reading

Anonymous. “Women in Ancient Israel.” Bible History Online. n.d. http://www.bible-history.com/court-of-women/women.html (accessed June 2011).

Cabal, Ted, General Editor.  The Apologetics Study Bible.  Nashville: Holman Bible Publishers, 2007.

Cowles, C.S. A Woman’s Place? Leadership in the Church. Kansas City : Beacon Hill Press, 1993.

Dunn, James, General Editor. Eerdmans Commentary on the Bible. Grand Rapids: William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, 2003.

Faulkes, Irene Bonney. “Question of Veils in India.” Dr. Irene Faulkes Articles. 2011. http://revirene.org/Question%20Of%20Veils.htm (accessed June 2011).

Garrett, Duane A, General Editor. NIV Archaeological Study Bible. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2005.

Schmidt, Alvin John. How Christianity Changed the World. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2001.

—. Veiled and Silenced: How Culture Shaped Sexist Theology. Macon: Mercer University Press, 1989.

Zondervan. “Interview with Alvin J. Schmidt.” Zondervan. n.d. http://www.zondervan.com/media/interviews/product/pdf/0310264499_authintrvw.pdf (accessed June 2011).

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© Vicki Priest 2014, 2012  (This is an edited version of a series of articles first posted at Examiner.com, 2011, and transferred from withchristianeyes.com)