Three Unpublished Papyri of the New Testament

Mich papryi

It’s amazing to me how rich the textual history of the New Testament is, and it keeps growing! Read about a few recently discovered papyri fragments of 2 Timothy and Titus at Brent C. Jones’ blog:

Three Unpublished Papyri of the New Testament Discovered at the University of Michigan

The University of Michigan Papyrology Collection contains numerous Coptic biblical manuscripts that have been published over the years, not least of which is the famous Fayyumic codex of the Gospel of John (P.Mich. inv. 3521). There are, however, a number of Coptic fragments at Michigan that have never been published or identified…

via Three Unpublished Papyri of the New Testament Discovered at the University of Michigan – Brice C. Jones.


My Mom’s Eulogy

Here is the eulogy I gave at my mom’s funeral.

At the time of writing this, I have repeatedly pulled out my computer and stared a blank screen, not able to write anything, until I finally give up and write nothing. I suppose this is because my mom has meant so much to me over the years, the majority of my memories involve her, and she did and said so many things worth sharing. I could definitely recall many funny memories of the outrageous things my mom would do. One that comes to mind involves my mom and sister, Jeannie. They had been practicing for quite some time for a duet they were going to sing at a yearly mother daughter banquet. And when they finally got up on stage and my sister began to sing the first verse, my mom started pinching her rear while she was singing. And of course all the mothers and the daughters in the room began to laugh hysterically . Then, at the climax of the song, when the daughter is singing about how the mom is her hero and and causes her to “fly so high she touches the sky” my mom begins flapping her arms around on stage like an elegant bird. My sister is cracking up by now, as well as the whole room. Needless to say, what was no doubt intended to be a very serious and moving song became something our family and many others would always look back and laugh about. My mom had such a gift to make people smile, and her own smile would always light up the room.

But I guess the best way for me to summarize what I know about my mom is that she loved God and she loved others. When Jesus was asked the first and greatest commandment, he responded, “you shall love The Lord your God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. And the second one is like it: you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”

My mom’s love for God was seen so clearly seen in her desire to share the love of Jesus with others. I remember her telling a story about when her and my dad went out to visit a dying man in his home, and as they were leaving, my mom asked my dad to turn the car around because she hadn’t shared Christ with him, and if she didn’t, who would? She went back in and shared with this man the truth of the gospel. I can recount many other stories of my mom sharing God’s good news of Jesus Christ with those with whom she came into contact. How beautiful are the feet of those who bring the good news.

My mom also loved and cared for others, not only by sharing the gospel with them, but simply by loving them and listening to them and pointing them to Christ. Back when she taught in the youth group at fbc Seminole, I remember several occasions when she would have her class over for Bible study, or she would go over to their homes simply to talk and hang out…and they wanted her there. I remember thinking that it is not so common for teenagers in the youth group to trust and confide in an adult Sunday school teacher the way they would with my mom. This was confirmed just the other day, after I had learned of my mom’s death. I was in her and my dad’s home and I was looking at her ipad. Her facebook was still visible and I noticed a message she had received in the last week or so. It was from a girl formerly in her youth group, and out of curiosity I read it. She told my mom she was praying for her, and that she will always be grateful for the time my mom spent with her, and the advice that she gave her. She will always remember how my mom showed her that Christ’s love was the only love she truly needed. She thanked her for being a friend to her and she said that if it weren’t for my mom, she wasn’t sure if she’d be where she was today.

My mom also loved and cared for her kids. I remember every year in elementary school most of my classmates would miss a week of school to go to camp. My mom, knowing we would want to go, would always promise to take us out of school that week and we could do whatever we wanted. We would go to the mall, to movies and wherever else. This was of course to keep us away from all the germ infested lakes and other life threatening situations such camps entailed. If you knew my mom well you would probably agree that she had the gift of always seeing the worst case scenario when it came to the health of her kids. But now I am beginning to see that such was not a bad thing with two immune deficient boys. In such a household as ours the worst case scenario was probably the most likley! and there is no doubt in my mind that God used my mom’s sometimes overactive imagination to keep us alive much longer than we would have been otherwise. If it weren’t for the loving care of my mom, I certainly would not be standing before you today.

It is hard to describe my emotions over the last few days. I certainly grieve the loss of my mom. But this grief is not for my mom, but for myself and my family, who have lost someone so important to us and who we cannot imagine living without. But as the apostle Paul says, as believers “we do not grieve like those who have no hope.” For even stronger than my grief in this hour is an overwhelming sense of joy. Joy that my mom is no longer suffering; joy that she remained faithful to the very end; joy that she was greeted in heaven by her grandson Toby and her dad, whom she missed greatly; joy that I will soon see her again; but most of all, joy that she has now seen her Savior face to face, the one whom she lived for and who called her to salvation through is death on the cross for her sins. My mom could not be in a better place, and her joy we cannot begin to fathom, and so I rejoice with her. I leave you with the words of the apostle Paul that my mom treasured in her last days,

“Rom. 8:18-25 ¶ For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worth comparing with the glory that is to be revealed to us… For in this hope we were saved. Now hope that is seen is not hope. For who hopes for what he sees? But if we hope for what we do not see, we wait for it as we patiently endure.”

My mom patiently endured much suffering, and now her hope has given way to the glorious presence of her Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.


Statement of Belief: The Trinity

English: Scutum Fidei on Holy Trinity pulpit. ...

Scutum Fidei: a visual summary of the mystery of the Trinity.

Last week I posted a statement of belief about God (read it here). This week is the same subject but focuses on the nature of God as triune…

The Trinity describes the mysterious nature of God. He is one God for all eternity revealed in three eternally distinct persons. Each person shares in the divine nature yet are distinct in their work. God the Father is the transcendent immortal creator (Job 38:4-15). He sovereignly decrees and orchestrates all that comes to pass in time (Job 20:29; 28:26; 42:2; Ps. 2:7; 57:2; 93:5; 135:6; 148:6; Is. 14:24-27; Eph. 1:11; Heb. 1:3). He is utterly transcendent and holy and apart from special revelation we could never know him. God the Son is the second person of the Trinity (John 1:1). He was sent by the Father to reveal God to man and to secure the salvation of God’s people (1Tim. 1:15). In doing so the fully divine took on a fully human nature in the incarnation (John 1:14). This mystery is known as the hypostatic union and is essential for the work of redemption to have taken place. Finally, the Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity, unique from both Father and Son yet sharing in the one divine essence (Matt. 3:16-17; Acts 5:4). He was sent by the Son after his ascension into heaven in order to apply the finished work of Christ to God’s people, and to conform each of them into the image of the Son (2Thess. 2:13; 1Pet 1:2).

In the next post I’ll summarize the last two concerning God and his nature and try to answer the question: “So what?”

Grace and Peace!

Statement of Belief: God

Bible, Psalm 119

Bible, Psalm 119 (Photo credit: jason2917)

I recently drafted a statement of faith as part of an internship program I am doing at Clifton Baptist Church in Louisville, KY.  Over the next several weeks I will be posting portions of that here. The tops range from “God” to “the End Times” to “Spiritual Gifts” and even a Christian understanding of Alcohol. Each statement will be roughly a paragraph and will simply cite Scripture as references, rather than quote them at length. We’ll begin with the essentials:

God is the holy, triune, sovereign creator of all things. His holiness is his absolute otherness and encompasses all of his attributes, which include his righteousness and justice, his love and mercy, his grace, beauty, wrath and truth (Ex. 15:11; Num. 20:12; 1Sam 2:2; 6:20; Is. 5:16; 6:3; 57:17) . God’s triunity refers to his nature as God. He is one divine being revealed in three distinct persons, the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. Each person is distinct in their work, yet all share in the divine nature (Matt. 3:16-17; 28:19; John 1:1; 8:58; 10:30; 14:26; Acts 5:4) . God is also sovereign creator. By the word of his power he called the very fabric of time itself into being, and with it all of creation (John 1:1; Gen. 1:1). In his sovereignty he upholds and sustains the universe, and there is no atom therein that moves apart from his divine decree (Col. 1:17; Heb. 1:3).

There is much that could be unpacked here, but we’ll save that for another post. Up next, “The Trinity”…