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(0.15) (Job 1:6)

sn The word means “adversary” or with the article “the adversary” – here the superhuman adversary or Satan. The word with the article means that the meaning of the word should receive prominence. A denominative verb meaning “to act as adversary” occurs. Satan is the great accuser of the saints (see Zech 3 where “Satan was standing there to ‘satanize’ Joshua the priest”; and see Rev 12 which identifies him with the Serpent in Genesis). He came among the angels at this time because he is one of them and has access among them. Even though fallen, Satan has yet to be cast down completely (see Rev 12).

(0.15) (Jud 1:3)

sn The adverb once for all (ἅπαξ, Japax) seems to indicate that the doctrinal convictions of the early church had been substantially codified. That is to say, Jude could appeal to written documents of the Christian faith in his arguments with the false teachers. Most likely, these documents were the letters of Paul and perhaps one or more gospels. First and Second Peter may also have been among the documents Jude has in mind (see also the note on the phrase entrusted to the saints in this verse).

(0.14) (Jud 1:3)

sn I now feel compelled instead…saints. Apparently news of some crisis has reached Jude, prompting him to write a different letter than what he had originally planned. A plausible scenario (assuming authenticity of 2 Peter or at least that there are authentic Petrine snippets in it) is that after Peter’s death, Jude intended to write to the same Gentile readers that Peter had written to (essentially, Paul’s churches). Jude starts by affirming that the gospel the Gentiles had received from Paul was the same as the one the Jewish Christians had received from the other apostles (our common salvation). But in the midst of writing this letter, Jude felt that the present crisis deserved another, shorter piece. The crisis, as the letter reveals, is that the false teachers whom Peter prophesied have now infiltrated the church. The letter of Jude is thus an ad hoc letter, intended to confirm the truth of Peter’s letter and encourage the saints to ground their faith in the written documents of the nascent church, rather than listen to the twisted gospel of the false teachers. In large measure, the letter of Jude illustrates the necessity of clinging to the authority of scripture as opposed to those who claim to be prophets.

(0.14) (Eph 1:15)

tc Ì46 א* A B P 33 1739 1881 2464 Hier lack “your love” (τὴν ἀγάπην, thn agaphn), while various other groups of mss have different arrangements of the phrase “your love toward all the saints” (τὴν ἀγάπην τὴν εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους, thn agaphn thn ei" panta" tou" Jagiou"). Most witnesses, especially the later ones (א2 D1 Ψ Ï latt sa), read τὴν ἀγάπην τὴν εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους. Externally, the shorter reading is superior. Internally, the omission of τὴν ἀγάπην is a significantly harder reading, for the saints become an object of faith on par with the Lord Jesus. If this reading is authentic, however, the force of πίστις (pisti") is probably closer to “faithfulness,” a meaning that could perhaps be suitable toward both the Lord and the saints. Nevertheless, if the shorter reading is authentic, later scribes would no doubt have been tempted to alter it. With the parallel in Col 1:4 at hand, τὴν ἀγάπην would have been the most obvious phrase to add. (TCGNT 533 suggests that ἣν ἔχετε would have been added instead of the second τήν if the shorter reading were original, in conformity with Col 1:4, but this is not necessarily so: Scribes often altered the text as minimally as possible, and since the second τήν was already present, replacing it with ἣν ἔχετε, when the meaning was not significantly different from the second τήν, seems unlikely.) Further, ἀγάπην comes after “saints” (thus, τὴν εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους ἀγάπην) in some witnesses (81 104 326 365 1175), and the second τήν is lacking (thus, τὴν ἀγάπην εἰς πάντας τοὺς ἁγίους) in others (D* F G). Such a floating text normally indicates inauthenticity. On the other hand, τὴν ἀγάπην could easily have dropped out of the text by way of haplography, the Alexandrian scribes’ eyes skipping from τήν to τήν. The weak first declension feminine article-noun-article construction is common enough in the NT, occurring over 40 times, yet in four of these texts there is some ms evidence for an omission similar to Eph 1:15 (Rom 11:17; 2 Tim 3:10; Rev 11:2; 21:9). But in none of these places is the Alexandrian testimony united in the omission as it is here. Further, a wholesale Alexandrian omission of τὴν ἀγάπην presupposes a much stronger genealogical relation among the Alexandrian mss than many scholars would embrace. What seems to tip the scales in favor of the longer reading, however, is the intrinsic evidence: The question of whether πίστις could be used to mean faithfulness in the general sense toward both the Lord and the saints is quite problematic. All in all, a decision is difficult, but the longer reading is, with hesitation, preferred.

(0.12) (Exo 15:21)

sn This song of the sea is, then, a great song of praise for Yahweh’s deliverance of Israel at the Sea, and his preparation to lead them to the promised land, much to the (anticipated) dread of the nations. The principle here, and elsewhere in Scripture, is that the people of God naturally respond to God in praise for his great acts of deliverance. Few will match the powerful acts that were exhibited in Egypt, but these nonetheless set the tone. The song is certainly typological of the song of the saints in heaven who praise God for delivering them from the bondage of this world by judging the world. The focus of the praise, though, still is on the person (attributes) and works of God.

(0.12) (Eph 1:3)

sn Eph 1:3-14 comprises one long sentence in Greek, with three major sections. Each section ends with a note of praise for God (vv. 6, 12, 14), focusing on a different member of the Trinity. After an opening summary of all the saints’ spiritual blessings (v. 3), the first section (vv. 4-6) offers up praise that the Father has chosen us in eternity past; the second section (vv. 7-12) offers up praise that the Son has redeemed us in the historical past (i.e., at the cross); the third section (vv. 13-14) offers up praise that the Holy Spirit has sealed us in our personal past, at the point of conversion.

(0.12) (Col 1:9)

tn Or “heard about it”; Grk “heard.” There is no direct object stated in the Greek (direct objects were frequently omitted in Greek when clear from the context). A direct object is expected by an English reader, however, so most translations supply one. Here, however, it is not entirely clear what the author “heard”: a number of translations supply “it” (so KJV, NASB, NRSV; NAB “this”), but this could refer back either to (1) “your love in the Spirit” at the end of v. 8, or (2) “your faith in Christ Jesus and the love that you have for all the saints” (v. 4). In light of this uncertainty, other translations supply “about you” (TEV, NIV, CEV, NLT). This is preferred by the present translation since, while it does not resolve the ambiguity entirely, it does make it less easy for the English reader to limit the reference only to “your love in the Spirit” at the end of v. 8.

(0.12) (Rev 13:7)

tc Many mss omit the phrase “it was given to make war with the saints and to overcome them” (Ì47 A C 2053 ÏA sa). It is, however, found in Ì115vid א 051 1006 (1611) 1841 (1854) 2329 2344 2351 (ÏK) lat syph,(h) bo. Although the ms evidence is somewhat in favor of the shorter reading, the support of Ì115 (a recently-discovered ms) for the longer reading balances things out. Normally, the shorter reading should be given preference. However, in an instance in which homoioteleuton could play a role, caution must be exercised. In this passage, accidental omission is quite likely. That this could have happened seems apparent from the two occurrences of the identical phrase “and it was given to him” (καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτῷ, kai edoqh autw) in v. 7. The scribe’s eye skipped over the first καὶ ἐδόθη αὐτῷ and went to the second, hence creating an accidental omission of eleven words.

(0.12) (Rev 20:9)

tn On the phrase “broad plain of the earth” BDAG 823 s.v. πλάτος states, “τὸ πλάτος τῆς γῆς Rv 20:9 comes fr. the OT (Da 12:2 LXX. Cp. Hab 1:6; Sir 1:3), but the sense is not clear: breadth = the broad plain of the earth is perh. meant to provide room for the countless enemies of God vs. 8, but the ‘going up’ is better suited to Satan (vs. 7) who has recently been freed, and who comes up again fr. the abyss (vs. 3).” The referent here thus appears to be a plain large enough to accommodate the numberless hoards that have drawn up for battle against the Lord Christ and his saints.

(0.10) (Num 22:1)

sn The fifth section of the book (22:1-33:56) traces the Israelite activities in Transjordan. It is hard to determine how long they were in Transjordan, but a good amount of time must have elapsed for the number of moves they made and the wars they fought. There is a considerable amount of information available on this section of the book. Some of the most helpful works include: H. C. Brichto, The Problem of “Curse” in the Hebrew Bible (JBLMS); E. Burrows, The Oracles of Jacob and Balaam; G. W. Coats, “Balaam, Sinner or Saint?” BR 18 (1973): 21-29; P. C. Craigie, “The Conquest and Early Hebrew Poetry,” TynBul 20 (1969): 76-94; I. Parker, “The Way of God and the Way of Balaam,” ExpTim 17 (1905): 45; and J. A. Wharton, “The Command to Bless: An Exposition of Numbers 22:41–23:25,” Int 13 (1959): 37-48. This first part introduces the characters and sets the stage for the oracles. It can be divided into four sections: the invitation declined (vv. 1-14), the second invitation extended (vv. 15-21), God opposes Balaam (vv. 22-35), and Balaam meets Balak (vv. 36-41).

(0.10) (Luk 1:7)

sn Elizabeth was barren. Both Zechariah and Elizabeth are regarded by Luke as righteous in the sight of God, following all the commandments and ordinances of the Lord blamelessly (v. 6). With this language, reminiscent of various passages in the OT, Luke is probably drawing implicit comparisons to the age and barrenness of such famous OT personalities as Abraham and Sarah (see, e.g., Gen 18:9-15), the mother of Samson (Judg 13:2-5), and Hannah, the mother of Samuel (1 Sam 1:1-20). And, as it was in the case of these OT saints, so it is with Elizabeth: After much anguish and seeking the Lord, she too is going to have a son in her barrenness. In that day it was a great reproach to be childless, for children were a sign of God’s blessing (cf. Gen 1:28; Lev 20:20-21; Pss 127 and 128; Jer 22:30). As the dawn of salvation draws near, however, God will change this elderly couple’s grief into great joy and grant them the one desire time had rendered impossible.

(0.10) (1Jo 1:2)

tn In the Greek text the prologue to 1 John (vv. 1-4) makes up a single sentence. This is awkward in Greek, and a literal translation produces almost impossible English. For this reason the present translation places a period at the end of v. 2 and another at the end of v. 3. The material in parentheses in v. 1 begins the first of three parenthetical interruptions in the grammatical sequence of the prologue (the second is the entirety of v. 2 and the third is the latter part of v. 3). This is because of the awkwardness of connecting the prepositional phrase with what precedes, an awkwardness not immediately obvious in most English translations: “what we beheld and our hands handled concerning the word of life…” As J. Bonsirven (Épîtres de Saint Jean [CNT], 67) noted, while one may hear about the word of life, it is more difficult to see about the word of life, and impossible to feel with one’s hands about the word of life. Rather than being the object of any of the verbs in v. 1, the prepositional phrase at the end of v. 1 (“concerning the word of life…”) is more likely a parenthetical clarification intended to specify the subject of the eyewitness testimony which the verbs in v. 1 describe. A parallel for such parenthetical explanation may be found in John 1:12 (τοῖς πιστεύουσιν εἰς τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ, toi" pisteuousin ei" to onoma autou).

(0.09) (Eph 1:1)

tc The earliest and most important mss omit “in Ephesus” (Ì46 א* B* 6 1739 [McionT,E]), yet the opening line of this epistle makes little sense without the phrase (“to the saints who are and are faithful…”? or perhaps “to the saints who are also faithful,” though with this sense the οὖσιν [ousin] is redundant and the καί [kai] is treated somewhat unnaturally). What is interesting is Marcion’s canon list which speaks of the letter to the Laodiceans among Paul’s authentic epistles. This, coupled with some internal evidence that the writer did not know his audience personally (cf. 1:15; 3:2; absence of personal names throughout), suggests that Ephesians was an encyclical letter, intended for more than one audience. Does this mean that the shorter reading is to be preferred? Yes and no. A plausible scenario is as follows, assuming Pauline authorship (though this is strongly contested today; for arguments on behalf of Pauline authorship, see M. Barth, Ephesians [AB 34], 1:36-50; P. T. O’Brien, Ephesians, 4-47; and H. W. Hoehner, Ephesians, 2-61): Paul sent the letter from Rome, intending it first to go to Ephesus. At the same time, Colossians was dispatched. Going counterclockwise through Asia Minor, this letter would first come to Ephesus, the port of entry, then to Laodicea, then Colossae. Tychicus’ instructions may well have been for each church to “fill in the blank” on the address line. The church at Ephesus would have certainly made the most copies, being Paul’s home base for nearly three years. Hence, most of the surviving copies have “in Ephesus” in v. 1 (so א2 A B2 D F G Ψ 0278 33 1881 Ï latt sy co). But one might expect a hint of evidence that Laodicea also made a few copies: Both Marcion’s list and Col 4:16 may well imply this. What is to account for the early Alexandrian evidence, then? These mss were perhaps made from a very early copy, one reflecting the blank line before each church filled it in. Although it is of course only speculation (as is necessary in a historical investigation lacking some of the pieces to the puzzle), this scenario accounts for all of the data: (1) “in Ephesus” in most mss; (2) Laodicea in Marcion’s list and Col 4:16; (3) the lack of an addressee in the earliest witnesses; (4) why the earliest witnesses’ reading must be rejected as too hard; and (5) why the author seems not to know the readership. In sum, is “in Ephesus” original? Yes and no. Some address belongs there; ἐν ᾿Εφέσῳ (en Efesw) is the predominant address, but several other churches also received this circular letter as their own. For this reason the phrase has been placed in single brackets in the translation. NA27 also lists the words in brackets, indicating doubt as to their authenticity.

(0.09) (1Th 1:1)

tc The majority of witnesses, including several early and important ones (א A [D] I 33 Ï bo), have ἀπὸ θεοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν καὶ κυριοῦ Ιησοῦ Χριστοῦ (apo qeou patro" Jhmwn kai kuriou Ihsou Cristou, “from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ”) at the end of v. 1. The more abrupt reading (“Grace and peace to you”) without this addition is supported by B F G Ψ 0278 629 1739 1881 pc lat sa. Apart from a desire to omit the redundancy of the mention of God and Christ in this verse, there is no good reason why scribes would have omitted the characteristically Pauline greeting. (Further, if this were the case, why did these same scribes overlook such an opportunity in 2 Thess 1:1-2?) On the other hand, since 1 Thessalonians is one of Paul’s earliest letters, what would become characteristic of his greetings seems to have been still in embryonic form (e.g., he does not yet call his audience “saints” [which will first be used in his address to the Corinthians], nor does he use ἐν (en) plus the dative to refer to the location of the church). Thus, the internal evidence is overwhelming in support of the shorter reading, for scribes would have been strongly motivated to rework this salutation in light of Paul’s style elsewhere. And the external evidence, though not overwhelming, is supportive of this shorter reading, found as it is in some of the best witnesses of the Alexandrian and Western texttypes.

(0.09) (1Th 5:27)

tc Most witnesses, including some important ones (א2 A Ψ [33] 1739 1881 Ï ar vg sy bo), read “holy” before “brothers [and sisters]” (ἁγίοις ἀδελφοῖς, Jagioi" adelfoi"). It is possible that ἁγίοις dropped out by way of homoioteleuton (in uncial script the words would be written agioisadelfois), but it is equally possible that the adjective was added because of the influence of ἁγίῳ (Jagiw) in v. 26. Another internal consideration is that the expression ἅγιοι ἀδελφοί ({agioi adelfoi, “holy brothers”) is not found elsewhere in the corpus Paulinum, though Col 1:2 comes close. But this fact could be argued either way: It may suggest that such an expression is not Pauline; on the other hand, the unusualness of the expression could have resulted in an alteration by some scribes. At the same time, since 1 Thessalonians is one of the earliest of Paul’s letters, and written well before he addresses Christians as saints (ἅγιοι) in 1 Corinthians for the first time, one might argue that Paul’s own forms of expression were going through something of a metamorphosis. Scribes insensitive to this fact could well impute later Pauline collocations onto his earlier letters. The internal evidence seems to support, albeit slightly, the omission of ἁγίοις here. Externally, most of the better witnesses of the Alexandrian and Western texts (א* B D F G 0278 it sa) combine in having the shorter reading. Although the rating of “A” in UBS4 for the omission seems too generous, this reading is still to be preferred.

(0.07) (Phm 1:6)

tn Grk “that the fellowship of your faith might become effective in the knowledge of everything good that is in us in Christ.” There are numerous difficulties with the translation and interpretation of this verse: (1) What is the meaning of ἡ κοινωνία τῆς πίστεως σου (Jh koinwnia th" pistew" sou, “the fellowship of your faith”)? Several suggestions are noted: (a) taking κοινωνία as a reference to “monetary support” and τῆς πίστεως as a genitive of source, the phrase could refer to Philemon’s financial giving which he has done according to his faith; (b) taking κοινωνία as a reference to “sharing” or “communicating” and the genitive τῆς πίστεως as an objective genitive, then the meaning would be “sharing the faith” as a reference to evangelistic activity; (c) taking κοινωνία in a distributive sense referring to fellowship with other believers, and τῆς πίστεως as a reference to the common trust all Christians have in Jesus, then the meaning is Christian fellowship centered on faith in Jesus; (d) taking κοινωνία as a reference to “participation” and the genitive τῆς πίστεως as a reference to the thing participated in, the meaning would then be Philemon’s “participation in the faith”; (2) what is the meaning of ἐνεργής (energh"; Does it mean “active” or “effective”?) and ἐπιγνώσει (epignwsei; Does it refer to simply understanding? Or “experiencing” as well?); (3) what is the meaning of the phrase παντὸς ἀγαθοῦ (panto" agaqou)? and (4) what is the force of εἰς Χριστόν (ei" Criston)? It is difficult to arrive at an interpretation that deals adequately with all these questions, but given the fact that Paul stresses what Philemon has done for the brothers (cf. the γάρ [gar] in v. 7), it seems that his concern in v. 6 is on Philemon’s fellowship with other believers and how he has worked hard to refresh them. In this interpretation: (1) the phrase ἡ κοινωνία τῆς πίστεως σου is taken to refer to fellowship with other believers; (2) ἐνεργής is taken to mean “effective” (i.e., more effective) and ἐπιγνώσει involves both understanding and experience; (3) the phrase παντὸς ἀγαθοῦ refers to every spiritual blessing and (4) εἰς Χριστόν carries a locative idea meaning “in Christ.” The result is that Paul prays for Philemon that he will be equipped to encourage and love the saints more as he himself is brought to a place of deeper understanding of every spiritual blessing he has in Christ; out of the overflow of his own life, he will minister to others.

(0.07) (2Pe 3:9)

sn He does not wish for any to perish. This verse has been a battleground between Arminians and Calvinists. The former argue that God wants all people to be saved, but either through inability or restriction of his own sovereignty does not interfere with peoples’ wills. Some of the latter argue that the “any” here means “any of you” and that all the elect will repent before the return of Christ, because this is God’s will. Both of these positions have problems. The “any” in this context means “any of you.” (This can be seen by the dependent participle which gives the reason why the Lord is patient “toward you.”) There are hints throughout this letter that the readership may be mixed, including both true believers and others who are “sitting on the fence” as it were. But to make the equation of this readership with the elect is unlikely. This would seem to require, in its historical context, that all of these readers would be saved. But not all who attend church know the Lord or will know the Lord. Simon the Magician, whom Peter had confronted in Acts 8, is a case in point. This is evident in contemporary churches when a pastor addresses the congregation as “brothers, sisters, saints, etc.,” yet concludes the message with an evangelistic appeal. When an apostle or pastor addresses a group as “Christian” he does not necessarily think that every individual in the congregation is truly a Christian. Thus, the literary context seems to be against the Arminian view, while the historical context seems to be against (one representation of) the Calvinist view. The answer to this conundrum is found in the term “wish” (a participle in Greek from the verb boulomai). It often represents a mere wish, or one’s desiderative will, rather than one’s resolve. Unless God’s will is viewed on the two planes of his desiderative and decretive will (what he desires and what he decrees), hopeless confusion will result. The scriptures amply illustrate both that God sometimes decrees things that he does not desire and desires things that he does not decree. It is not that his will can be thwarted, nor that he has limited his sovereignty. But the mystery of God’s dealings with humanity is best seen if this tension is preserved. Otherwise, either God will be perceived as good but impotent or as a sovereign taskmaster. Here the idea that God does not wish for any to perish speaks only of God's desiderative will, without comment on his decretive will.

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