In Search of a Better Country

Annotations, January 2023

Look on My Works

Who among us in the West has not at times believed the myth of our society’s unceasing progress and influence? It’s only human to believe that the way things are is the way they are going to be – certainly for our lifetimes, if not for much longer. But a shockwave through society’s systems can function much like a personal health scare. It can awaken us to our own transience. Our lives are like a vapor (James 4:14). So are our civilizations.

Like Ozymandius, all the great boasts of this world will one day end up the equivalent of a monument buried in sand, abandoned and forgotten. Remembering our transience fosters humility.

A.W. Workman, When the City of Man Creaks

Like the author of this article, I’ve made the same connection to the boasts of Ozymandias and our own self-confidence. The crumbling of mountains, ice sheets, and civilizations begins with the slow erosion of the pillars that support it. We may not even notice at first. And then comes the collapse. That is why we are looking for the city with foundations.

Deeper Than a Newsletter Can Go

God and God alone has kept us focused on him and moving forward despite the hardships around us. We have struggled physically, mentally, emotionally and spiritually. We have been discouraged, angry and exhausted. But we know that God is with us, and we are clinging to that truth.

What Your Missionaries Mean When They Say…

Yeah, this feels real. Especially the part about kids. It’s not that newsletters try to be deceptive, nor that you need to read between the lines. Rather, it’s the nature of the medium. The update has to be brief, broad and general. But of course, as with all of us, there is so much more going on beneath the surface.

The Attitude of a Text Critic

Since God has not seen fit to give us procedures for determining which of two or more different readings in the manu­scripts represents the autographs, He apparently intends us to use the intelligence, common sense and Scriptural guidance available, which He has given to us. Sound principles must be developed.

Pierpont: Requisites and Basics for Textual Criticism of the Greek New Testament

A great starting place to understand why textual criticism is needed for the study of the New Testament. The most interesting highlight, I think, is that his first point is the character of the text (that there are evident differences), followed by the character of the text critic, who should be a student that has reverence for the Holy Word, and has no interest in novelty or game playing.

Take Your Time in the Text

Everything these days is about productivity and speed. Maybe someone needs to tell pastors, “It’s okay to slow down. Linger over words and phrases. Spend some unhurried time studying your passage in the original language.” You’re not neglecting your responsibility when you’re working hard to prepare meaningful, excellent sermons from the original languages. You might even find that your confidence in the pulpit soars when your sermon is the fruit of your own rigorous exegesis.

Matt Emadi, On Keeping Your Greek and Hebrew in Ministry

I’ve found in my own studies that this is true. We move quickly because of obligation and expedience, not because it benefits the end product of understanding the text. For our own souls, and for the souls of the hearers, it is worth our time to linger.