Tag Archives: Daniel Wallace

Responding to Textual Criticism

VilifyWhen someone confronts us in a particularly offensive manner or strikes at a deeply held conviction or belief, most of us have a natural inclination to fight back. Unfortunately, we have a tendency to let anger and emotions get the better of us.

Like it or not, we live in a world where there is little tolerance for people who think differently. From a purely cultural perspective, we are far less apt to listen and empathize than we are to attack and vilify. To win is to vanquish our enemies. Or is it?

“You have heard that it was said, ‘An eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth.’ But I tell you not to resist an evil person. But whoever slaps you on your right cheek, turn the other to him also. If anyone wants to sue you and take away your tunic, let him have your cloak also. And whoever compels you to go one mile, go with him two. Give to him who asks you, and from him who wants to borrow from you do not turn away. “You have heard that it was said, ‘You shall love your neighbor and hate your enemy.’ But I say to you, love your enemies, bless those who curse you, do good to those who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven; for He makes His sun rise on the evil and on the good, and sends rain on the just and on the unjust. For if you love those who love you, what reward have you? Do not even the tax collectors do the same? And if you greet your brethren only, what do you do more than others? Do not even the tax collectors do so?”
Matthew 5:38-47, NKJV

In our Personal Discipleship class we have been studying contemporary challenges to the Christian faith. One of the more prominent challengers is Bart Ehrman, a popular skeptic who calls himself an agnostic, but who more accurately fits the mold of an angry, deconverted Christian. (Ehrman has a big beef with God over the problem of evil and suffering.) His books achieve best-seller status, and he is quoted by atheists and skeptics as an authority on the unreliability of the Bible. He is revered by friend and foe alike for his skill in textual criticism. His research is largely undisputed, but his premises and conclusions are highly biased. Nevertheless, he strikes a chord with those seeking to discredit the trustworthiness of the Bible.

While it’s very difficult for some to listen to abrasive skepticism, it is encouraging to see how rigorous scholarship can turn back the skeptic’s wrath. Well-articulated truth is a powerful antidote to skepticism, particularly when it follows the apologetic ethic of gentleness and respect. Here is a debate you can buy (sorry, there is no good quality video currently being served online) between Ehrman and Dan Wallace on the reliability of the text of the New Testament. It was at the time the largest debate ever held on the reliability of the New Testament text. (For some interesting background, see the video in this post.)

Wallace Ehrman Debate
Dan Wallace is amazing in this debate. He is honest, well-informed, learned, respectful, humorous, and makes a convincing case for the reliability of the New Testament text. His response to Bart Ehrman is a model of what Jesus preached in the Sermon on the Mount (quoted above). Wallace’s response is not angry—although he is deeply concerned about the effects of Bart Ehrman’s influence on our culture. Wallace has the proper response to textual skepticism. He doesn’t vilify Bart Ehrman—he doesn’t need to. It is amazing what we can do when we take the time to study the facts and respond in obedience, with an appreciation of the right ethics.

And finally, for those following our Personal Discipleship class or otherwise interested in Textual Criticism, here are the class notes.

Personal Discipleship Class-Week 7
Click on the images inside this file to link to the online resources. (You may need to adjust your browser settings to allow the links to work, or open it in iBooks, or save it to your desktop and open it with Acrobat Reader.)

HT: Daniel B. Wallace, Marion Paine


Has the Bible Really Been Corrupted?

Among the most popular contemporary challenges to Christianity is the notion that our Bible has been corrupted over the millennia by copyists seeking to embellish or rewrite the original text for their self-serving purposes. The idea is nothing new, going back at least as far as 17th-century Dutch philosopher Baruch Spinoza.

CocktailBut modern skepticism has evolved into a new art form. Painstaking textual scholarship is mixed with wild, unfounded theories that have no historical support to make a cocktail that skeptics cannot resist.

The unfortunate part is that most Christians never study the reliability of biblical manuscripts. Most just accept the Bible without fully appreciating what it took to transcribe, transmit, and translate accurate and faithful copies. They don’t fully appreciate what translation committees and publishers go through to produce the book that we hold in our hands as the final authority for our faith and practice—the special revelation of God to us. The really unfortunate part is that they miss the great joy of discovering how miraculously, faithfully, and accurately the Bible has been handed down to us.

Here is a video every Christian should watch. Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, arguably one of the world’s foremost authorities on New Testament manuscripts and textual criticism, lays out the scholarship to refute claims that the Bible has been hopelessly corrupted in its copying and transmission.

For those following our Personal Discipleship class, here are this week’s slides and notes on the topic.

Personal Discipleship Class - Week 6

Click on the images inside this file to link to the online resources. (You may need to adjust your browser settings to allow the links to work, or open it in iBooks, or save it to your desktop and open it with Acrobat Reader.)

HT: Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, Judy Williamson, Spark Church


A New New Testament: Are You Serious?

Veracity is all about the Bible: what it is and is not, how it came to be, what it reports and claims, who it describes, and the difference it should make in our lives. Here’s another outstanding post by Dr. Daniel Wallace that gets to the heart of these issues, demonstrating solid scholarship and discipleship in response to yet another agenda to remake Christianity.

Daniel Wallace

Daniel B. Wallace

Just released from the giant publishing firm, Houghton Miflin Harcourt: A New New Testament: A Bible for the 21st Century Combining Traditional and Newly Discovered Texts, edited by Hal Taussig.

The advertisement from HMH distributed widely via email last week was not shy in its claims for the 600-page volume. The subject line read, “It is time for a new New Testament.” In the email blast are strong endorsements by Marcus Borg, Karen King, and Barbara Brown Taylor. Borg and King, like Taussig, were members of the Jesus Seminar (a group headed up by the late Robert W. Funk, which determined which words and deeds of Jesus recorded in the Gospels were authentic). King and Taylor are on the Council for A New New Testament. All of them share a viewpoint which seems to be decidedly outside that of the historic Christian faith, regardless of whether it is…

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Daniel WallaceDr. Dan Wallace has another outstanding post on Bible translation. His work and research are refreshingly real, and he clearly communicates what the Scripture tells us—and what it does not.

Daniel B. Wallace

There’s an old Italian proverb that warns translators about jumping in to the task: “Traduttori? Traditori!” Translation: “Translators? Traitors!” The English proverb, “Something’s always lost in the translation,” is clearly illustrated in this instance. In Italian the two words are virtually identical, both in spelling and pronunciation. They thus involve a play on words. But when translated into other languages, the word-play vanishes. The meaning, on one level, is the same, but on another level it is quite different. Precisely because it is no longer a word-play, the translation doesn’t linger in the mind as much as it does in Italian. There’s always something lost in translation. It’s like saying in French, “don’t eat the fish; it’s poison.” The word ‘fish’ in French is poisson, while the word ‘poison’ is, well, poison. There’s always something lost in translation.

But how much is lost? Here I want to explore…

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Can We Trust the Bible?

“The Bible says it, I believe it, that settles it.”  Really?!

Many theologians and pastors strongly disagree.  If there was such a thing as a fantasy theology team, my top (living) draft picks would include: Dick Woodward, William Lane Craig, Hugh Ross, Ravi Zacharias, Matt Slick, Tim Keller, John Yates, Michael Card, Ray Vander Laan, Andy Stanley, Lee Strobel—and Daniel Wallace.

Here’s a slightly irreverent, very funny, and spot-on lecture by Dr. Wallace given at Dallas Theological Seminary about the “worst Christian slogan ever concocted” (my apologies in advance to people from Arkansas).

Seriously, how much research is there to corroborate Dr. Wallace’s observations and conclusions?  How reliable are the Bibles we have today?

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