Be Careful What You Worship

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One of the most striking things in Psalm 115 are the following verses (4-8):

4 Their idols are silver and gold,
The work of man’s hands.
5 They have mouths, but they cannot speak;
They have eyes, but they cannot see;
6 They have ears, but they cannot hear;
They have noses, but they cannot smell;
7 They have hands, but they cannot feel;
They have feet, but they cannot walk;
They cannot make a sound with their throat.
8 Those who make them will become like them,
Everyone who trusts in them.

Psalm 115 depicts the false idols who have mouths, eyes, ears, noses, and hands; yet, they cannot speak, see, hear, smell, or feel. These idols are contrasted with the active and living God who is able to protect Israel (v. 9), the God who made heaven and earth (v. 15), and who belongs in the highest of heavens (v. 16).

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What Was the Population of Earth Before the Flood?

Depending on who you ask, the global population is currently anywhere between 7.1 to 7.4 billion people. That is a lot of people. However, in the spirit of investigation I want to consider whether during the time before the Flood there were more people living on the earth.

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To begin our investigation, we will use the genealogy of Genesis 5 to calculate how much time passed from creation until the flood. In doing so we arrive at 1,656 years (there may also be room in the genealogies for additional years).

How many people could have been born in 1,656 years? If we simply use the population growth percentage of today (1.13% growth rate in 2016), that would give us a population of around 241 million at the time of Noah. However, given the fact that the average age was much higher, and environmental conditions were much more stable and conducive to life, it seems that a higher rate of population growth would be expected. If we increase the rate even by the tiniest amount (from 1.13% to 1.30%) we would arrive at a population of around 3.9 billion. However, it is much more likely that the population increase would have been far greater than this.

Consider, for example, Israel’s population increase while in the land of Egypt. Israel came into Egypt as 70 persons (Gen 46:27), and yet when they leave Egypt 400 years later, their numbers conservatively estimate around 2 million. This is at least a 2.5650% growth rate per year. If we use this same growth rate for the pre-flood world, the numbers would be astronomical.

Even if we use a much smaller growth rate than the previous example for the pre-flood world (e.g., 1.5% per year) that would still get us to 122 billion people at the time of the flood. I have a hard time believing that there were that many people on the planet, but I also realize that the world was made to be a home for many people. Thus, it is quite possible there were many more people on the planet than even our “large” population today.

Concluding Thoughts  

  • Given the longer lifespans of pre-flood life (e.g., Adam 930 yrs, Jared 962 yrs, etc.), as well as the optimal living conditions, we should expect a faster population growth rate than we currently have today.
  • Taking into account that man was inherently bent on evil (as he is today) it is beyond doubt that there was much violence, war, and murder which impacted or slowed population growth. Thus, the actual number may be well below 122 billion.
  • However, given the above information, it is reasonable that the pre-flood world had a population that may have exceeded the current day. Perhaps even greatly so.

Why Does the Bible Allow Slavery?

Slavery is recognized as one of the great evils of our history. To many, this provides reason for rejecting what the Bible teaches. For example, some balk at the belief that Christians can put their faith in a book which, not only does not condemn slavery, but actually regulates it! Further, today people argue against the Old Testament and the Apostle Paul’s view of homosexuality because both sources include regulation of slavery rather than its abolition.

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Why does the Bible allow slavery? At first glance this seems an unredeemable blemish to the goodness of the Bible’s message.

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BHGNT Philippians Handbook Giveaway

Before I give the details of the giveaway, I want to write a brief note about Dr. Will Varner and his handbook on Philippians.

My first substantial interaction with Dr. Varner came in a Jude & 2 Peter class that he taught. Although I already had respect for him because of his reputation among my fellow students, taking that exegesis class was literally life-changing for me. Dr. Varner not only inspired me to learn Greek better, but he also modeled a genuine passion in caring for his students and for those in the church where he ministered. In Dr. Varner’s life I saw the academic and the pastoral come together in a special way that I will always seek to replicate in my life.

BHGNTOne evidence of Varner’s academic prowess is the newly released handbook on Philippians for the BHGNT (Baylor Handbook on the Greek New Testament). I believe this handbook on Philippians demonstrates Varner’s scholarly aptitude and is some of his finest work yet.

As some readers probably know, the BHGNT series is not an exhaustive commentary set. Rather, it is focused on commenting on the Greek text of a given book of the NT. The target audience of the series is the individual who has at least an introductory level of proficiency in Greek. The series seeks to give concise lexical and syntactical information on the Greek text underlying the NT book.

The goal of the series is not to be exhaustive, but to effectively limit the discussion to the essential grammatical and lexical elements found in the Greek text. Varner’s contribution on Philippians not only fulfills this purpose, but in a brilliant way. Not only does this handbook give exegetical guidance through Philippians, it also touches on the important textual critical issues that arise in various verses. Additionally, Varner comments on the structure of Philippians through discourse analysis. It truly amazes me that although the handbook is quite concise, it really speaks clearly and helpfully on many important exegetical and structural issues. I think this fact also testifies to Varner’s ability to write well (a talent much appreciated by his readers).

I cannot give this handbook any higher recommendation than that I look forward to using it for many years both as student and as a teacher of the book of Philippians.

Giveaway Rules

I am thankful for the opportunity to give away two free handbooks on Philippians. The handbooks for the giveaway have been generously provided by Baylor and will be given away to two random commenters on this post.

In order to enter the giveaway, simply comment below (multiple comments will only count as one entry). The contest will run from July 5th through July 8th. I will then contact the winners by email for their mailing address and ship the books to them (please ensure a working email for your username).

Postscript

For those who do not win the giveaway, I will be posting a 20% off discount code that you can use to order. Check back here for the code!

In full disclosure, I have received no compensation from Baylor or Dr. Varner for this review and giveaway. The sole purpose of this review and giveaway is to add my small voice of recommendation for this handbook on Philippians as a valuable tool for the student of the Greek NT.

Update: 7/12/2016

Congratulations to Jonathan Watson and Oddyseus Andres, the winners of the giveaway. They have been contacted by email.

For those who are interested in ordering any of the Baylor handbooks, Baylor University Press is generously offering a 20% + free US shipping discount on ALL Greek handbooks! Simply follow this link and use code BGHH at checkout. The code expires on July 31st!

Titus 1:6 – “Faithful” or “Believing” Children?

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Leadership is a high calling. The importance of leadership is magnified within the Church because of the importance of the Church as a unified witness of God’s plan of redemption to the watching world. For this reason, Paul clearly lays out two lists of leadership qualifications which give the standard of character for the would-be leader in the Church (1 Tim 3:1-7; Titus 1:5-9).

These lists are essentially the same, although a few differences exist. One potentially major difference is that, according to some translations, Titus 1:6 mandates that an elder have “believing” (i.e., Christian) children. Other translations choose the word “faithful” as their chosen adjective. A brief survey of translations may be helpful:

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