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MoominDave

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« Reply #3240 on: Oct 12, 2017, 06:22AM »

Mark 7 text

Highlights

 - Jesus teaches on defilement and earns praise.

Summary

 - The Pharisees challenge Jesus on why his disciples don't keep the traditions of the elders, but eat with defiled hands
- Jesus quotes Isaiah and tells them that they use their traditions to void the Law.
- Jesus explains that people are defiled by their heart (thoughts) rather than what they touch.
- A Gentile woman asks for Jesus to heal her daughter. At first Jesus refuses but when she presses him, he does so.
- Jesus heals a deaf mute and asks the witnesses to keep it quiet.  They don't.

Questions and Observations

1) Traditions v Law and Defilement: Mark 7 qv Matt 15.  Matt skips unnecessary detail in the story, which puts more weight on Jesus teaching about what defiles people.
2) The SyroPhoenician woman. Matt repeats Mark
3) Mark tells of the healing of a deaf mute while Matt tells us of the healing of many.  In Matt the result is that the God of Israel is glorified.  In Mark everyone says that Jesus does all thing well. 
4) He doesn't sound like a false prophet to me.  (My conclusion is that his teaching, actions and the outcomes are inconsistent with those of a false prophet from within the biblical world view)

Here's the comparisons with explicit links:

Unclean hands
Mark 7:1-13 vs. Matthew 15:1-9
Mark has an additional section on how the Pharisees are subverting 'Honour your parents', which Matthew omits.
Defilement
Mark 7:14-23 vs. Matthew 15:10-20
Matthew adds the disciples telling Jesus that the Pharisees are offended by this.
Syrophoenician woman
Mark 7:24-30 vs. Matthew 15:21-28
These differ fairly substantially. The account in Mark has Jesus seeking to put her off, then giving her what she wants in response to some wordplay - an action which seems hard to understand. Matthew, perhaps also finding it unhelpfully obscure, has reworked it; he adds the disciples urging her away, he adds a theologically confusing sentence in Jesus's mouth ("I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel"), and he uses this context to make the woman's remark and Jesus's response make more narrative sense.
Question: Should one worry about Jesus here not wanting to minister to gentiles?
Deaf-mute healing
Mark 7:31-37 only seems to occur here in Mark; although perhaps its content was folded in to the combined healings section in Matthew 15:29-31?
There are activists that would not be happy with the idea that being deaf is a universal disability requiring healing. A different perspective, one that one doesn't tend to think about. Then - we live in a very different world now, a much safer one.
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« Reply #3241 on: Oct 12, 2017, 07:35AM »

Mark 8 text

Highlights

 - Jesus cares for people, is the Messiah, and will die and be raised.

Summary

 - Jesus feeds 4,000: he takes 7 loaves of bread and a few fish and creates enough food to feed the crowd and have 7 baskets of scraps left over.
 - the Pharisees demand a sign: Jesus asked them why they wanted one and said they wouldn't get one.
 - The Leaven of the Pharisees and Herod:
    - the disciples grizzled about not having any bread
    - Jesus tells them to beware of the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod, reminds them of what he had just done to feed the crowd, and asks them if they don't yet understand.
 - Jesus heals a blind man at Bethsaida: this is done in 2 stages
 - Peter confesses that Jesus is the Christ
 - Jesus foretells his death and resurrection

Questions and Observations

1) Its not really clear what point Mark is making about Jesus' comment on the leaven of the Pharisees and Herod. In Matt 16 Jesus explains that he is talking about the teaching of the Pharisees and Herod.  Mark doesn't include that explanation.  ISTM that the context suggests that it must also have something to do with the disciples not believing that Jesus was able to care for their needs even though they had forgotten bread. (Bread is often symbolic of spiritual food which includes the gospel which gives life.)
2) Healing the blind man: Jesus taking 2 stages to heal the man is striking.  I think that its a parable about understanding the gospel and probably about Israel in particular.  They didn't understand it/Jesus the first time, but when he comes again the will see and understand clearly.  I infer this because the story leads into the next 2 paragraphs.
3) Matthew 16 follows Mark fairly closely in this chapter except Mark doesn't have the paragraph on what it takes to follow Jesus.
4) We could almost use the paragraph headings for our summaries

Shh! You're giving away my secrets... ;-)

Comparisons with explicit links:

Feeding 4,000
Mark 8:1-10 vs. Matthew 15:32-39
Interesting that the duplicate feedings are in Mark too, one of Matthew's hypothesised sources. Looking ahead, I see that both Luke and John include only the 'feeding 5,000' episode. Perhaps they too felt that it was an obvious duplication - or weren't working from Mark, perhaps the source of it? Mark has Jesus departing at the end for the unattested place Dalmanutha, where Matthew has the equally-hard-to-be-certain-of Magadan.
Sign for Pharisees
Mark 8:11-13 vs. Matthew 16:1-4
Matthew adds an illustration to the admonishment.
Leaven of Pharisees
Mark 8:14-21 vs. Matthew 16:5-12
Matthew adds an explicit articulation of the subject of the metaphor.
Bethsaida blind man
Mark 8:22-26 is only in Mark, I think?
Peter/Christ
Mark 8:27-30 vs Matthew 16:13-20
Matthew adds some dialogue for Jesus.
Foretelling
Mark 8:31-38 vs. Matthew 16:21-28
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« Reply #3242 on: Oct 13, 2017, 06:40AM »

Mark 9 text

Highlights

 - Jesus allows others to use his name for good works
 - Other material duplicated in Matthew 16, 17, and 18

Summary

 - The Transfiguration
 - Jesus vs daemon
 - Foretelling of death/resurrection
 - Disciples bicker about their internal group statuses, but Jesus finds a way to slap them down
 - Jesus approves people appropriating his brand to do good work
 - Do not tempt away children that believe

Questions and Observations

1) A one-verse chapter break inconsistency between Mark and Matthew: Mark 9:1 compares with Matthew 16:28; it would make more sense at the end of Mark 8. Wonder what Archbishop Stephen Langton was thinking?
2) Transfiguration: Compare Mark 9:2-13 with Matthew 17:1-13. Matthew adds dialogue for the disciples. Mark has the disciples questioning Jesus why he talks of rising from the dead, which Matthew omits.
3) Boy/daemon healing: Compare Mark 9:14-29 with Matthew 17:14-21. Matthew omits context of disciples arguing with scribes, and also interaction with father where he swears belief. Matthew then inserts a rebuke to the disciples where Mark offers a practical lesson in daemon classification. Perhaps Matthew didn't like the statement that some were invulnerable to prayer?
4) Note that Matthew 17:21 does not exist in some editions, including ESV.
5) Foretelling: Compare Mark 9:30-32 with Matthew 17:22-23. Mark has the disciples not understanding; Matthew them "greatly distressed". Not exactly a contradiction, but the two passages give different senses.
6) Matthew here inserts the Temple Tax segment, which is only found in Matthew.
7) The Greatest: Compare Mark 33-37 with Matthew 18:1-6. Mark has a markedly different version from Matthew - in Mark, the disciples were arguing about which of them was "the greatest"; in Matthew, they ask Jesus "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?". The episode makes good sense in Mark, but seems a bit nonsensical in Matthew, due to this distortion. This is easy for me to resolve - Matthew was editing a long text, and attempted to mould this bit into something that conveyed his message better, but made a mess of it. Is this also easy for believers in gospel inerrancy to resolve?
8) For/Against: Not in Matthew. (But also in Luke)
9) This is interesting - it feels to me that Jesus recognises two things in not trying to be a brand enforcer: i) Good works are good works, full stop; ii) He cannot hope to control this.
10) Millstones: Compare Mark 9:42-50 with Matthew 18:6-9. Matthew adds the confusing sentence about it being necessary for temptation to come. They also omit Mark getting quite confusing about salt and hell.
11) The edition paragraph heading doesn't match up between Mark and Matthew in this last passage.
12) Jesus knows that the key to really getting someone on side is to get your ideas in their head young, then never let go. Special dislike for those that subvert their plans here. This is why, IMO, it is not right to try to introduce someone to worship at an early age.
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« Reply #3243 on: Oct 14, 2017, 02:18PM »

Mark 10 text

Highlights

 - Episodes duplicated in Matthew 19 and 20

Summary

 - Do not divorce; Moses was too permissive
 - Jesus ministers to children despite frowns
 - Example of the rich young man - righteous but too rich
 - Jesus foretells his death again
 - James and John ask for special preferment in heaven but don't get it
 - Jesus heals a blind man

Questions and Observations

1) Divorce: Compare Mark 10:1-12 with Matthew 19:1-12. Matthew adds the section about eunuchs and "Let the one who is able to receive this receive it", softening the message somewhat; Mark is the hardest possible line.
2) Children: Compare Mark 10:13-16 with Matthew 19:13-15.
3) Rich Young Man: Compare Mark 10:17-31 with Matthew 19:16-30. The young man is more modest in Mark than Matthew, where he says "All these I have kept".
4) I'm not really commenting on the implications of the content of Mark much bar comparatively to Matthew, as little is new, but this episode really is very striking. It's so clear in its message - "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God". A camel cannot do this; a rich person cannot enter heaven. It seems clear to me that maintaining anything else is to maintain a direct theological contradiction with the gospels.
5) Foretelling death: Compare Mark 10:32-34 with Matthew 20:17-19.
6) James and John: Compare Mark 10:35-45 with Matthew 20:20-28. In Mark, James and John make the request. In Matthew their mother does on their behalf (helicopter parenting?). Now this isn't a matter of great theological profundity (at least I suspect not?), but it is a direct factual contradiction between the two accounts. How do those that believe in gospel inerrancy reconcile this?
7) Blind healing: Compare Mark 10:46-52 with Matthew 20:29-34. Mark has one blind man, name of Bartimaeus; Matthew has two anonymous blind men.
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« Reply #3244 on: Oct 15, 2017, 03:55AM »

Mark 9 text

Highlights

 - Jesus allows others to use his name for good works
 - Other material duplicated in Matthew 16, 17, and 18

Summary

 - The Transfiguration
 - Jesus vs daemon
 - Foretelling of death/resurrection
 - Disciples bicker about their internal group statuses, but Jesus finds a way to slap them down
 - Jesus approves people appropriating his brand to do good work
 - Do not tempt away children that believe

Questions and Observations

1) A one-verse chapter break inconsistency between Mark and Matthew: Mark 9:1 compares with Matthew 16:28; it would make more sense at the end of Mark 8. Wonder what Archbishop Stephen Langton was thinking?

He may have been thinking that the transfiguration was the beginning of the coming of the Kingdom of God.

Quote

7) The Greatest: Compare Mark 33-37 with Matthew 18:1-6. Mark has a markedly different version from Matthew - in Mark, the disciples were arguing about which of them was "the greatest"; in Matthew, they ask Jesus "Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?". The episode makes good sense in Mark, but seems a bit nonsensical in Matthew, due to this distortion. This is easy for me to resolve - Matthew was editing a long text, and attempted to mould this bit into something that conveyed his message better, but made a mess of it. Is this also easy for believers in gospel inerrancy to resolve?

I don't think its a 'mess' but their accounts seem to be from different perspectives.  Rather than think of the account as two redactors edoting text I think of it as the accounts of 2 people that were involved in the episodes.  So maybe it reflects the different parts Matthew and Peter had in the discussion about who was going to be greatest.

Quote
9) This is interesting - it feels to me that Jesus recognises two things in not trying to be a brand enforcer: i) Good works are good works, full stop; ii) He cannot hope to control this.

But they unnamed others were casting out demons in Jesus name so it doesn't seem to me that they were representing the "other" brand, they were on Jesus team, just not on the main team.  (I'm seeing the two brands as Jesus (the good guy) and demons etc at the bad guys.)  ISTM that its another case of the disciples being concerned with who is important:  they think that they are and that outsiiders shouldn't be doing the mighty works that they can.  And we just had a paraqraph about demons that they couldn't drive out.  Maybe they were a bit sensitive on that point.  But kudo's to them for not brushing that one under the carpet and pretending it didn't happen.

Quote
10) Millstones: Compare Mark 9:42-50 with Matthew 18:6-9. Matthew adds the confusing sentence about it being necessary for temptation to come. They also omit Mark getting quite confusing about salt and hell.

So what don't you understand about salt and hell?  :) I don't understand all of the details but I think the last paragraph says something like:
- the kingdom of God is really important
- getting into it is worth significant cost and sacrifice
- take every opportunity to be purified (by salt) so that you don't disqualify yourselves
- and be at peace with one another (and don't argue about who is going to be the greatest.)


Quote
12) Jesus knows that the key to really getting someone on side is to get your ideas in their head young, then never let go. Special dislike for those that subvert their plans here. This is why, IMO, it is not right to try to introduce someone to worship at an early age.

But that technique works just as well for secular world views too.  Possibly even better because of their pervasiveness. 

So is it right to introduce a child to elements of a secular world view or is it that different?

In my experience with watching kids grow up in church: they have their own minds and its very common for them to rebel or just go through the motions when they become teenagers.
« Last Edit: Oct 15, 2017, 03:59PM by drizabone » Logged
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« Reply #3245 on: Oct 15, 2017, 04:26AM »

...

4) I'm not really commenting on the implications of the content of Mark much bar comparatively to Matthew, as little is new, but this episode really is very striking. It's so clear in its message - "It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God". A camel cannot do this; a rich person cannot enter heaven. It seems clear to me that maintaining anything else is to maintain a direct theological contradiction with the gospels.

Dave, I think you are missing the point of the text.

The rich man wanted to get into heaven and thought he had to earn his way there by doing good things and told Jesus about all the good things he had done and asked if this was enough.  Jesus basically said that you can't earn your way into heaven.  You've got as much chance of that as a camel has of going through the eye of a needle.

He explains this in the next paragraph: v23 ...
- who can be saved?
- with man it is impossible (agreeing with you)
- but not for God! fortunately!

I think the reason that he stated this in terms of a rich man was that the current teaching in the church/temple of the day was that wealth was a blessing from God for those who were on side with him.  Jesus was saying that this was not the case, and rather than the wealthy being a dead cert to get into heaven they were going to find that the expected order of things would be reversed.

and here's an interesting article on another translation of that phrase http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/camel-eye-needle-reading-bible-wrong/

Quote
6) James and John: Compare Mark 10:35-45 with Matthew 20:20-28. In Mark, James and John make the request. In Matthew their mother does on their behalf (helicopter parenting?). Now this isn't a matter of great theological profundity (at least I suspect not?), but it is a direct factual contradiction between the two accounts. How do those that believe in gospel inerrancy reconcile this?

I imagine that James and John got their mum to ask for them because Jesus had just told them off for this sort of thing in the last chapter.

So Matthew is reporting what happened (ie that it was the mum that actually asked) but Mark ( reporting Peter's view) goes behind the pretence and tells it as though the sons who had organised it were talking.

So my idea of inerrancy is not at a literal word basis.  Is that cheating?  I think that the gospel is infallible rather than inerrant but I may be wrong.
« Last Edit: Oct 15, 2017, 01:40PM by drizabone » Logged
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« Reply #3246 on: Oct 15, 2017, 04:02PM »

Matthew 7 text

Highlights

 - "The Sermon on the Mount", part 3

Summary

 - Jesus also says:
 - Don't be a hypocrite
 - Be generous, and don't be shy to ask when you are in need
 - Do as you would be done by
 - People saying harmful things are harmful people
 - Paying lip service to his religion is not enough
 - Found your positions on solidity
 - The crowds were much taken with all this

Questions and Observations

1) I hadn't realised that the Golden Rule shows up here. This (I have averred here before) is in my view the most basically helpful formalism of how to rub along; a one-sentence summary of how not to be a problem.
2) I don't recall it in the OT, but it is cited here as "for this is the Law and the Prophets". What's the reference?
3) "Beware of false prophets" is the phrase here, but this is a more generally applicable precept; treating it as a metaphor also alerts us to those that trickle poison into our ears on other subjects.
4) The famous 'build upon rock, not sand' precept reads as literal, but I choose to read more usefully as metaphorical - as it is usually read.
5) What does the contrast mean between "one who had authority" and "their scribes"?
6) All in all, in the "Sermon on the Mount", Jesus is playing a very strong game. From a secular viewpoint, I overlook the specifically Yahwist stuff (of which there is not much anyhow, and none that overdoes things in a good taste sense), and find all the general life stuff very sound.


The Narrow and Wide Gates
13 “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. 14 But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it."

I don't see where this was discussed? Very Important, talking about Salvation. It's kind of like a description of the reality of life, and how very few have Salvation.

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« Reply #3247 on: Oct 15, 2017, 08:46PM »

I'm sure we've missed lots of important points
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« Reply #3248 on: Oct 15, 2017, 09:00PM »

I mention that because I'm certain there is a parallel between that and the rich man can't go through the eye of a needle.

There is always such a discussion about rich people can't be Christians because they are rich, but it's the love of money that is the sin. Both rich and poor can suffer from the love of money, not just the rich. The real question is, how can we be sure that we are on the narrow path?
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« Reply #3249 on: Oct 15, 2017, 09:14PM »

I mention that because I'm certain there is a parallel between that and the rich man can't go through the eye of a needle.
 
There is always such a discussion about rich people can't be Christians because they are rich, but it's the love of money that is the sin. Both rich and poor can suffer from the love of money, not just the rich. The real question is, how can we be sure that we are on the narrow path?

One obvious counterindication might be if you're part of one of the popular franchises of the most popular religion in the world--if there's a pretty large population in your chosen franchise, basically, because that doesn't seem to be what the "narrow path" or "only a few" describes.
 
That would have to be the most obvious indication ... at least to anyone honestly interested in the truth about what the passage is saying--unless they think a whole helluvalot of people is what only a few might be describing, but then that would indicate problematic issues of a more personal nature.
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« Reply #3250 on: Oct 15, 2017, 10:22PM »

Mark 11 text
 
Highlights
 
- Jesus arrives in Jerusalem
 
Summary
 
- Jesus enters Jerusalem: Jesus arrives in Jerusalem and arranges for a donkey for his parade.  He is welcomed by the people as King and goes to check out his palace/home and then goes back to Bethany for the night.
 - Jesus curses the Fig Tree: The next day Jesus curses a fig tree that had leaves but no fruit, even though it wasn't the season for figs
- Jesus cleanses the Temple: Jesus comes back to the temple and cleans out the merchants and money-changers
- The lesson from the Fig Tree: Jesus explains what was going on with the Fig tree
- The authority of Jesus challenged: The chief priests and the scribes and the elders get together to demand that Jesus tell them what authority he had.  Jesus evades their question by asking if John's baptism was from heaven or not.  They chickened out so Jesus declined to answer their question.
 
Questions and Observations
 
1) The Triumphal Entry: Compare Mark 11:1-11 with Matthew 21:1-11,14-17 and Luke 19:29-44.
1a) We might note that Matthew reports a donkey and its colt while Mark and Luke just report a colt.  This is interesting but isn't a contradiction unless they said only one, which they didn't.
1b) But more importantly we note Zechariah 9:9.  Its not difficult to what statement Jesus was making when he chose this mode of entry into Jerusalem or to imagine what the temple authorites thought about it.  The people were happy to treat Jesus as if he were coming to claim the throne of David.
2) Jesus Curses the Fig Tree: Compare Matthew 21:18-19,12-13; Mark 11:12-18; Luke 19:45-48.
3) Jesus Cleanses the Temple: Compare Matthew 21:19-22; Mark 11:19-25; Luke 21:37-38.
- not only did Jesus come into Jerusalem like a king, but he had the hide to disrupt the lucrative trade in the temple. The authorities were not happy.  This was prophesied in Malachi 3:1-4 so Jesus is acting like he thought he was king here too.
4) The Lesson from the Withered Fig Tree: Compare Matthew 21:19-22; Mark 11:19-25; Luke 21:37-38.
While Matthew applies this to Israel, Mark makes it a lesson on answered prayer.  Most christians would understand this in the light of other statements on prayer where it is heard when it is in "the name of God" not just any desire we decide to think up.
5) The Authority of Jesus Challenged: Compare Matthew 21:23-22:14; Mark 11:27-12:12; Luke 20:1-19
- the chief priests asked Jesus what right he had to act in this way.  Jesus implied that he did it with the same authority as John baptised.  the chief priests who wanted to remain popular with the people, who liked John didn't dare answer.
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« Reply #3251 on: Oct 16, 2017, 03:52AM »

He may have been thinking that the transfiguration was the beginning of the coming of the Kingdom of God.

Maybe. But he wasn't thinking it consistently between Matthew and Mark. The abiding impression I'm left with is that he did the chapter-breaking work in a hurry...

I don't think its a 'mess' but their accounts seem to be from different perspectives.  Rather than think of the account as two redactors edoting text I think of it as the accounts of 2 people that were involved in the episodes.  So maybe it reflects the different parts Matthew and Peter had in the discussion about who was going to be greatest.

At this point we need to consider the authorships of these texts, I think, although making original deductions of our own is sadly beyond our current personal state of knowledge. In holding that these are eyewitness accounts by the disciple Matthew and Paul's assistant John Mark (as I think you do?), you go against all but the scholars who go out of their way not to challenge traditionalist beliefs. Who are a group who, as I've said here before, it is hard to trust unless one is as keen to preserve traditionalist interpretations as they are. Which is pretty extraordinarily keen!

I agree that if the gospels are eyewitness accounts, it isn't hard to point to human fallibility in resolving inconsistencies in general. I guess my general question here is: Doesn't Christianity tell us to hold these books to a higher standard than that?

But then - you use the independence of the two as supposed eyewitness accounts by different people to argue for omissions that weren't observed by one or the other. However, I don't think this can stack up - they share so many verses (by Wikipedia's count ~600 of Mark's 661 verses are found in Matthew). There's just no way that neither of these were compiled with reference to the other.

By the by, there's no particularly obvious place to drop these in, but here are a couple of interesting comparative lists on Wikipedia that I found while reading up for this segment of reply:
Comparative list of the twelve disciples/apostles
Comparative list of ordered gospel events between M, M, L, and J

Regarding the first, it is interesting to observe that there are a couple of disciples whose names are disagreed on by the gospel writers: Bartholomew (Nathanael in John) and Thaddaeus (Judas/Jude in Luke, John, Acts; Lebbaeus Thaddaeus in Matthew). How do fans of infallibility resolve this?

Regarding the second, it's most interesting to see how the different gospel writers have ordered their material.  No one gospel in this list has its contents listed in written order throughout, although in all four there is broad progression from start to finish as the list moves through time. Do fans of infallibility think that the gospels are chronological narratives? I'm not sure if they do or not. It's a basic assumption of any storytelling text unless explicitly stated otherwise, but we can see from this list that that isn't possible.

We see that the childhood of Jesus is only dealt with in Matthew and Luke, with Mark and John dropping in on proceedings with the start of his adult vocation. Then we see a complex pattern of shared material, with Matthew and Luke covering more than Mark and John being pretty different.

But they unnamed others were casting out demons in Jesus name so it doesn't seem to me that they were representing the "other" brand, they were on Jesus team, just not on the main team.  (I'm seeing the two brands as Jesus (the good guy) and demons etc at the bad guys.)  ISTM that its another case of the disciples being concerned with who is important:  they think that they are and that outsiiders shouldn't be doing the mighty works that they can.  And we just had a paraqraph about demons that they couldn't drive out.  Maybe they were a bit sensitive on that point.  But kudo's to them for not brushing that one under the carpet and pretending it didn't happen.

I think everyone comes out happy from this episode, including us :-)

So what don't you understand about salt and hell?  :) I don't understand all of the details but I think the last paragraph says something like:
- the kingdom of God is really important
- getting into it is worth significant cost and sacrifice
- take every opportunity to be purified (by salt) so that you don't disqualify yourselves
- and be at peace with one another (and don't argue about who is going to be the greatest.)

It's "but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again?" that is puzzling. It sounds like an admonition against overdoing something good, thus turning it into something bad ("Add the right amount of salt to your food, but not so much that you have to add more every day" style of thing). But how does it bear on the passage? Have I simply misread it somehow?

But that technique works just as well for secular world views too.  Possibly even better because of their pervasiveness.

Children are like a sponge. They soak up what they're told, and what they're told earliest goes in deepest. And so we seek to only tell them things that are certain at this stage. Of course, life and childrearing are not so simple in reality, but we aspire not to tell them things that they might need to get rid of later, at the cost of personal mental hardship.

An individual might be certain of their faith. Just as another individual might be certain of a completely different faith. It isn't responsible to tell them that either is true. Have confidence in the compellingness of your case - if it is compelling then the child will come to it when older without needing to have it inserted before their critical faculties have developed.

So is it right to introduce a child to elements of a secular world view or is it that different?

Just teach them how the world works. That's not ostentatiously secular, and there's plenty enough of it to keep them occupied through their sponge phase. Tell them that some people do this thing called religion, and explain what they believe; offer oneself up as an example of whatever one thinks; but be cautious about explaining one's own thoughts on the subject until they're old enough to start debating back and forth. 8 or 9 is a good age to introduce depth to the subject.

In my experience with watching kids grow up in church: they have their own minds and its very common for them to rebel or just go through the motions when they become teenagers.

Sure. Example A right here. Though I was dropped into it a little older than many - 8 or so. Still it felt a socially very difficult thing to step away from it as a teenager. If I'd been a less self-willed person, then I might still be there, though I'd have had to reconcile some sharp mental oppositions in the process, as many do.

I'm sure we've missed lots of important points

Yeah, we definitely have. But the point of this exercise wasn't to produce a comprehensive survey of Christian doctrine, it was to read this book, in any way that the posters engaging happen to see fit. I'm very happy with how it's turned out as a thread project - these days I keep finding myself pointing real-life friends to it as an example of internet forum co-operation on this particular contentious subject...
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« Reply #3252 on: Oct 16, 2017, 05:23AM »


One obvious counterindication might be if you're part of one of the popular franchises of the most popular religion in the world--if there's a pretty large population in your chosen franchise, basically, because that doesn't seem to be what the "narrow path" or "only a few" describes.
 
That would have to be the most obvious indication ... at least to anyone honestly interested in the truth about what the passage is saying--unless they think a whole helluvalot of people is what only a few might be describing, but then that would indicate problematic issues of a more personal nature.

I'm not sure what you're trying to say here. Are you suggesting this has to do with what franchise a given person would belong to?
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« Reply #3253 on: Oct 16, 2017, 05:42AM »

He's saying that if only a few are to be saved, then a great many people who think they're in that bunch are in for the disappointment of a lifetime. So many Christians.

"Narrow gate" was a good metaphor when Christianity was a small local concern struggling to establish itself. Not so much since it became a world-dominating thing.
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« Reply #3254 on: Oct 16, 2017, 06:14AM »

Dave, I think you are missing the point of the text.

The rich man wanted to get into heaven and thought he had to earn his way there by doing good things and told Jesus about all the good things he had done and asked if this was enough.  Jesus basically said that you can't earn your way into heaven.  You've got as much chance of that as a camel has of going through the eye of a needle.

He explains this in the next paragraph: v23 ...
- who can be saved?
- with man it is impossible (agreeing with you)
- but not for God! fortunately!

I think the reason that he stated this in terms of a rich man was that the current teaching in the church/temple of the day was that wealth was a blessing from God for those who were on side with him.  Jesus was saying that this was not the case, and rather than the wealthy being a dead cert to get into heaven they were going to find that the expected order of things would be reversed.

and here's an interesting article on another translation of that phrase http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/camel-eye-needle-reading-bible-wrong/

Good find on that link. That makes a lot of sense - assuming that they've got their linguistics, culture, and archaeology right. A rope through a needle is a much more sensible metaphor than a camel.

So we alter the phrase: "It is easier for a rope to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God"

It's still a blanket removal of wealthy people if taken either literally or as a normal metaphor. If it's taken as a hyperbolic metaphor, then we open up a window a crack - it's very very hard if you're rich, specifically because you are rich. No amount of uncomfortable wriggling makes this convincingly go away - all the gospels have this, and all make it staggeringly plain. Sorry. I have no skin in this game - I'm just reading it as I go, and this is what it says.

There is always such a discussion about rich people can't be Christians because they are rich, but it's the love of money that is the sin. Both rich and poor can suffer from the love of money, not just the rich.

I have bad news for you. This isn't what your holy book says. It's remarkably clear - being rich is bad news for your heavenly prospects. The rich young man is devout but unwilling to forego his lifestyle; the disciples are held up as the exemplars - people who abandoned all they had to follow Jesus around. Which of these are most devout people like?

Really, it is rather hard to see how almost any of the well-established series of churches that Christianity has spawned fit this at all. The big denominations in particular are fabulously wealthy, making great show of ornate ritual. Monks and nuns live simple lives - but they need people to manage the money for them. Jesus's aspiration is almost impossible to uphold. About the only people I can think who've convincingly managed to do so are hermit preachers, the Mediaevals who went to live on a rock perched out in the ocean.

I imagine that James and John got their mum to ask for them because Jesus had just told them off for this sort of thing in the last chapter.

So Matthew is reporting what happened (ie that it was the mum that actually asked) but Mark ( reporting Peter's view) goes behind the pretence and tells it as though the sons who had organised it were talking.

So my idea of inerrancy is not at a literal word basis.  Is that cheating?  I think that the gospel is infallible rather than inerrant but I may be wrong.

I don't know. Is it cheating? I imagine that some would disagree, but are those that would disagree of importance? Who are they?
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« Reply #3255 on: Oct 16, 2017, 06:30AM »

Mark 11 text
 
1) The Triumphal Entry: Compare Mark 11:1-11 with Matthew 21:1-11,14-17 and Luke 19:29-44.
1a) We might note that Matthew reports a donkey and its colt while Mark and Luke just report a colt.  This is interesting but isn't a contradiction unless they said only one, which they didn't.
1b) But more importantly we note Zechariah 9:9.  Its not difficult to what statement Jesus was making when he chose this mode of entry into Jerusalem or to imagine what the temple authorites thought about it.  The people were happy to treat Jesus as if he were coming to claim the throne of David.

A big tick on the bucket list for anyone claiming messiahship.

2) Jesus Curses the Fig Tree: Compare Matthew 21:18-19,12-13; Mark 11:12-18; Luke 19:45-48.
4) The Lesson from the Withered Fig Tree: Compare Matthew 21:19-22; Mark 11:19-25; Luke 21:37-38.
While Matthew applies this to Israel, Mark makes it a lesson on answered prayer.  Most christians would understand this in the light of other statements on prayer where it is heard when it is in "the name of God" not just any desire we decide to think up.

How could someone all-knowing forget when the fig season was?

The differing takes of Matthew and Mark make for something of an inconsistency.
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« Reply #3256 on: Oct 16, 2017, 07:22AM »

Good find on that link. That makes a lot of sense - assuming that they've got their linguistics, culture, and archaeology right. A rope through a needle is a much more sensible metaphor than a camel.

So we alter the phrase: "It is easier for a rope to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God"

It's still a blanket removal of wealthy people if taken either literally or as a normal metaphor. If it's taken as a hyperbolic metaphor, then we open up a window a crack - it's very very hard if you're rich, specifically because you are rich. No amount of uncomfortable wriggling makes this convincingly go away - all the gospels have this, and all make it staggeringly plain. Sorry. I have no skin in this game - I'm just reading it as I go, and this is what it says.

I have bad news for you. This isn't what your holy book says. It's remarkably clear - being rich is bad news for your heavenly prospects. The rich young man is devout but unwilling to forego his lifestyle; the disciples are held up as the exemplars - people who abandoned all they had to follow Jesus around. Which of these are most devout people like?

Really, it is rather hard to see how almost any of the well-established series of churches that Christianity has spawned fit this at all. The big denominations in particular are fabulously wealthy, making great show of ornate ritual. Monks and nuns live simple lives - but they need people to manage the money for them. Jesus's aspiration is almost impossible to uphold. About the only people I can think who've convincingly managed to do so are hermit preachers, the Mediaevals who went to live on a rock perched out in the ocean.

I don't know. Is it cheating? I imagine that some would disagree, but are those that would disagree of importance? Who are they?

I won't waste a lot of time discussing this with you because there are a lot of commentaries that have a better understanding at your disposal. I'll just disagree with you on this and move on.
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« Reply #3257 on: Oct 16, 2017, 09:30AM »

Dave, I think you are missing the point of the text.

The rich man wanted to get into heaven and thought he had to earn his way there by doing good things and told Jesus about all the good things he had done and asked if this was enough.  Jesus basically said that you can't earn your way into heaven.  You've got as much chance of that as a camel has of going through the eye of a needle.

He explains this in the next paragraph: v23 ...
- who can be saved?
- with man it is impossible (agreeing with you)
- but not for God! fortunately!

I think the reason that he stated this in terms of a rich man was that the current teaching in the church/temple of the day was that wealth was a blessing from God for those who were on side with him.  Jesus was saying that this was not the case, and rather than the wealthy being a dead cert to get into heaven they were going to find that the expected order of things would be reversed.

and here's an interesting article on another translation of that phrase http://www.patheos.com/blogs/formerlyfundie/camel-eye-needle-reading-bible-wrong/

I imagine that James and John got their mum to ask for them because Jesus had just told them off for this sort of thing in the last chapter.

So Matthew is reporting what happened (ie that it was the mum that actually asked) but Mark ( reporting Peter's view) goes behind the pretence and tells it as though the sons who had organised it were talking.

So my idea of inerrancy is not at a literal word basis.  Is that cheating?  I think that the gospel is infallible rather than inerrant but I may be wrong.

It depends on how you define the 2 words.  Most who hold to inerrancy will argue that what you call a "literal word basis" is not meant by the term.  What is meant is that the text actually shows an bona fide error and not just a different perspective that can be honestly reconciled. Some define infallible as quite similar to inerrant, while others define it as accomplishing it's purpose while allowing for actual errors.  I'm not sure which definitions you're using.

BTW, the text that you and Dave have been talking about here is not usually seen as an sort of serious inconsistency by most of the scholars, from a variety of POVs, that I've read.  I think you've explained it here well, Martin.
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« Reply #3258 on: Oct 16, 2017, 02:00PM »

Maybe. But he wasn't thinking it consistently between Matthew and Mark. The abiding impression I'm left with is that he did the chapter-breaking work in a hurry...

I agree

Quote
At this point we need to consider the authorships of these texts, I think, although making original deductions of our own is sadly beyond our current personal state of knowledge. In holding that these are eyewitness accounts by the disciple Matthew and Paul's assistant John Mark (as I think you do?), you go against all but the scholars who go out of their way not to challenge traditionalist beliefs. Who are a group who, as I've said here before, it is hard to trust unless one is as keen to preserve traditionalist interpretations as they are. Which is pretty extraordinarily keen!

I think that John Mark was Peter's assistant and was reporting his account.

I didn't think I was being that radical.  Maybe I just read different scholars than you're familiar with.

Here's an interesting discussion of "taking the bible literally" https://blogs.thegospelcoalition.org/justintaylor/2015/02/07/do-you-literally-interpret-the-bible-literally/
which refers to an older paper which I think is worth reading too.  It basically says that we normally use words in different ways, not just in its most concrete definition, and the bible reflects this.

I'm probably conservative in my understanding of the bible but not necessarily traditionalist, unless they are my traditions. :)

Quote
I agree that if the gospels are eyewitness accounts, it isn't hard to point to human fallibility in resolving inconsistencies in general. I guess my general question here is: Doesn't Christianity tell us to hold these books to a higher standard than that?

I don't mean they got it wrong, or mis-remembered, but that they were experiencing a different part of the conversation.  I see Jesus group, walking along the road, at least 13 of them, but probably more, having different converstations, overhearing parts of others and some going off onto related tracks, some only hearing part of the conversation...  So in the case of the discussion of 'who is the greatest' a few of the disciples may have been more ambitious than others and wanted to be top dog.  Others were just listening and wondering how it was going to work and talking about who in the top group (probably Peter, John and James) were more important.  So depending which group you were in you would have different perspective on the episode.  So I think that while each account was true account, they could also be true a bit different.  But I think that God is managing the whole thing so that no account tells something that is wrong.

Quote
But then - you use the independence of the two as supposed eyewitness accounts by different people to argue for omissions that weren't observed by one or the other. However, I don't think this can stack up - they share so many verses (by Wikipedia's count ~600 of Mark's 661 verses are found in Matthew). There's just no way that neither of these were compiled with reference to the other.

I think that Matthew used Mark's text and built on that.  Matthew added or changed some things where he wanted to emphasise a point differently to Mark.  But I don't think (in an a priori way) that his changes were incompatible with what happened or were said.  I think I'm being consistent, haven't done a formal analysis of me.

Quote
By the by, there's no particularly obvious place to drop these in, but here are a couple of interesting comparative lists on Wikipedia that I found while reading up for this segment of reply:
Comparative list of the twelve disciples/apostles
Comparative list of ordered gospel events between M, M, L, and J

Regarding the first, it is interesting to observe that there are a couple of disciples whose names are disagreed on by the gospel writers: Bartholomew (Nathanael in John) and Thaddaeus (Judas/Jude in Luke, John, Acts; Lebbaeus Thaddaeus in Matthew). How do fans of infallibility resolve this?

I'll take that question on notice.  Remind me if I forget about it.

Quote
Regarding the second, it's most interesting to see how the different gospel writers have ordered their material.  No one gospel in this list has its contents listed in written order throughout, although in all four there is broad progression from start to finish as the list moves through time. Do fans of infallibility think that the gospels are chronological narratives? I'm not sure if they do or not. It's a basic assumption of any storytelling text unless explicitly stated otherwise, but we can see from this list that that isn't possible.

I think your understanding that the gospels have a narrative flow but aren't in exact chronological order is right.

I don't think this is a problem, they were telling the gospel not primarily a chronological historical account, although the gospel is based in history.

Quote

It's "but if the salt has lost its saltiness, how will you make it salty again?" that is puzzling. It sounds like an admonition against overdoing something good, thus turning it into something bad ("Add the right amount of salt to your food, but not so much that you have to add more every day" style of thing). But how does it bear on the passage? Have I simply misread it somehow?


I don't think you have misread it.  I don't understand the detail either.

Quote
Children are like a sponge. They soak up what they're told, and what they're told earliest goes in deepest. And so we seek to only tell them things that are certain at this stage. Of course, life and childrearing are not so simple in reality, but we aspire not to tell them things that they might need to get rid of later, at the cost of personal mental hardship.

they don't just soak up what their told but what they see us do and to a great extent what they see in the world around them.  Society/tv/school has a huge influence on them, regardless what we tell them.

I read somewhere that a person learns half of their knowledge by the time they are 2.  It wasn't on the internet but it might still be right.

Quote

Sure. Example A right here. Though I was dropped into it a little older than many - 8 or so. Still it felt a socially very difficult thing to step away from it as a teenager. If I'd been a less self-willed person, then I might still be there, though I'd have had to reconcile some sharp mental oppositions in the process, as many do.

I remembered that.

Quote
Yeah, we definitely have. But the point of this exercise wasn't to produce a comprehensive survey of Christian doctrine, it was to read this book, in any way that the posters engaging happen to see fit. I'm very happy with how it's turned out as a thread project - these days I keep finding myself pointing real-life friends to it as an example of internet forum co-operation on this particular contentious subject...

interesting.  my friends eyes glaze over when I tell them about my trombone forum project
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« Reply #3259 on: Oct 16, 2017, 04:18PM »

He's saying that if only a few are to be saved, then a great many people who think they're in that bunch are in for the disappointment of a lifetime. So many Christians.

"Narrow gate" was a good metaphor when Christianity was a small local concern struggling to establish itself. Not so much since it became a world-dominating thing.

I agree, I think there are a lot of people who look like christians and may claim to be christians but aren't followers of Jesus. Its not my job to judge who is really in and who isn't, but we are told to help fellow travellers stay on track. 

We're reading now about a lot of the Pharisees, Saducees, High Priests, scribes etc, those who you would expect to be in the in crowd, who were opposed to Jesus, ie in christian terms they would not be "in".  I expect that the same has been the case throughout the history of christendom.
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