• Primary Verses

    by Published on 06-30-2016 03:32 AM     Number of Views: 273 
    1. Categories:
    2. Primary Verses

    Early Creedal Texts by Gary R. Habermas

    The New Testament contains dozens of very early texts that actually pre-date the epistles in which they were recorded. They may basically be thought of as the answer to the exciting question, “Of what did the very earliest apostolic and other preaching look like before even a single New Testament book was ever written?” The earliest forms of these texts were oral, where they usually served the purpose of briefly summarizing the essentials of Christianity (usually the factual essence of the Gospel data) including the deity of Jesus Christ, and could easily be memorized, even by those who were illiterate.

    Amazingly, scholars generally agree on the location of these traditions or creeds. These texts are recognized in many ways, but one of the clearest is when the New Testament writer explicitly tells us that he is repeating an early teaching, passing on a tradition, and so on. The chief examples include 1 Cor. 11:23-26; 15:3; 2 Thes. 2:15; 1 Tim. 1:15; 3:1; 4:9; 2 Tim. 2:11; Titus 3:8; Heb. 2:2-3. Others are identified by linguistic, syntactical, cadence, and other textual hints, and often concern the subject of Jesus occupying his heavenly place on the right side of God’s throne. Major examples include those in Rom. 1:3-4; 4:25; 5:8; 10:9; 1 Cor. 8:6; Phil. 2:6-11, and Heb. 1:3. Cf. many others such as Eph. 1:20; Col. 1:15-20; 3:1; 1 Tim. 2:5-6; 3:16; Heb. 1:1; 1:13; 8:1; 12:2; 1 Pet. 1:21; 2:21; 3:18; 3:22.

    While a bit different, it is widely agreed that there are also a number of brief sermon summaries within the Book of Acts which, like the other creedal materials, are much older than the book in which they appear. The most-commonly mentioned candidates for these sermon segments are in Acts 1:21-22; 2:22-36; 3:13-16; 4:8-10; 5:29-32; 10:39-43; 13:28-31; 17:1-3; 17:30-31. Those speaking of Jesus’ deity include Acts 2:33, 36; 5:31.

    Among other crucial topics, these early creeds often applied the loftiest titles of deity to Jesus Christ. Like Acts 2:36; Rom. 1:3-4; 10:9; 1 Cor. 8:6; 11:23; and Phil. 2:6-11. Intriguingly, this entire subject arose from studies by critical New Testament scholars rather than from evangelicals. This is one of those rare subjects where older studies are often seen as the most authoritative ones, such as what is often proclaimed as the classic work: Oscar Cullmann, The Earliest Christian Confessions, trans. by J.K.S. Reid (London: Lutterworth, 1943). Other major studies include Cullmann, “The Tradition” (59-99) and other essays in The Early Church, ed. by A.J.B. Higgins (London: SCM, 1956); C.H. Dodd, The Apostolic Preaching and its Developments (London: Hodder and Stoughton, 1936; Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 1980); Dodd, “The Primitive Catechism and the Sayings of Jesus,” in New Testament Essays: Studies in Memory of Thomas Walter Manson, 1893-1958, edited by A.J.B. Higgins (Manchester: Manchester University Press, 1959), 106-118; Joachim Jeremias, The Eucharistic Words of Jesus, trans. by Norman Perrin (London: SCM, 1966).

    Agnostic New Testament scholar Bart Ehrman both freely and often dates the earliest of these creeds to the 30s AD, sometimes within just 1-2 years after the crucifixion! Bart D. Ehrman, Did Jesus Exist? The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth (New York: Harper Collins, 2012), see pages 22, 27, 92-93, 97, 109-113, 130-132, 141, 144-145, 155-158, 164, 170-173, 232, 249-251, 254, 260-263; cf. 289-291.
    by Published on 02-22-2014 08:03 PM     Number of Views: 759 
    1. Categories:
    2. Primary Verses

    The Resurrection
    1 Saturday evening, when the Sabbath ended, Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James, and Salome went out and purchased burial spices so they could anoint Jesus’ body. 2 Very early on Sunday morning, just at sunrise, they went to the tomb. 3 On the way they were asking each other, “Who will roll away the stone for us from the entrance to the tomb?” 4 But as they arrived, they looked up and saw that the stone, which was very large, had already been rolled aside.
    5 When they entered the tomb, they saw a young man clothed in a white robe sitting on the right side. The women were shocked, 6 but the angel said, “Don’t be alarmed. You are looking for Jesus of Nazareth, who was crucified. He isn’t here! He is risen from the dead! Look, this is where they laid his body. 7 Now go and tell his disciples, including Peter, that Jesus is going ahead of you to Galilee. You will see him there, just as he told you before he died.”
    8 The women fled from the tomb, trembling and bewildered, and they said nothing to anyone because they were too frightened.
    [Shorter Ending of Mark]
    Then they briefly reported all this to Peter and his companions. Afterward Jesus himself sent them out from east to west with the sacred and unfailing message of salvation that gives eternal life. Amen.
    [Longer Ending of Mark]
    9 After Jesus rose from the dead early on Sunday morning, the first person who saw him was Mary Magdalene, the woman from whom he had cast out seven demons. 10 She went to the disciples, who were grieving and weeping, and told them what had happened. 11 But when she told them that Jesus was alive and she had seen him, they didn’t believe her.
    12 Afterward he appeared in a different form to two of his followers who were walking from Jerusalem into the country. 13 They rushed back to tell the others, but no one believed them.
    14 Still later he appeared to the eleven disciples as they were eating together. He rebuked them for their stubborn unbelief because they refused to believe those who had seen him after he had been raised from the dead.
    16:14 Some early manuscripts add: And they excused themselves, saying, “This age of lawlessness and unbelief is under Satan, who does not permit God’s truth and power to conquer the evil [unclean] spirits. Therefore, reveal your justice now.” This is what they said to Christ. And Christ replied to them, “The period of years of Satan’s power has been fulfilled, but other dreadful things will happen soon. And I was handed over to death for those who have sinned, so that they may return to the truth and sin no more, and so they may inherit the spiritual, incorruptible, and righteous glory in heaven.”
    15 And then he told them, “Go into all the world and preach the Good News to everyone. 16 Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved. But anyone who refuses to believe will be condemned. 17 These miraculous signs will accompany those who believe: They will cast out demons in my name, and they will speak in new languages. 18 They will be able to handle snakes with safety, and if they drink anything poisonous, it won’t hurt them. They will be able to place their hands on the sick, and they will be healed.”
    19 When the Lord Jesus had finished talking with them, he was taken up into heaven and sat down in the place of honor at God’s right hand. 20 And the disciples went everywhere and preached, and the Lord worked through them, confirming what they said by many miraculous signs.
    by Published on 04-30-2011 02:48 PM     Number of Views: 1200 
    1. Categories:
    2. Primary Verses

    Are Jesus' Claims Unique Among the Religions of the World?
    by Gary R. Habermas (with some changes by Troy Brooks)

    God is by nature totally apart from His creation. Humans do not reach godhood. In the Bhagavad-Gita (Hindu text), however, the process of enlightenment can be attained by those who return to the Godhead and achieve their own divinity (see 18:46-68). In a certain sense, all persons have divine natures in many cults in Christendom and other religions.

    Jesus claimed dual titles of divinity. Particularly, He said He was both the Son of God and the Son of Man.

    Jesus said, "All things are delivered unto me of my Father: and no man knoweth the Son, but the Father; neither knoweth any man the Father, save the Son, and he to whomsoever the Son will reveal him" (Matt. 11.27). If only Jesus can reveal the Father then Jesus must be in the Godhead logically speaking.

    Jesus said, "But that ye may know that the Son of man hath power on earth to forgive sins, (he saith to the sick of the palsy,) say unto thee, Arise, and take up thy bed, and go thy way into thine house" (Mark 2.10-11). Only Jesus can forgive sins and perform miraculous healing.

    He spoke of His Father in familiar ways ("Lest coming suddenly He find you sleeping," Mark 13.36) and even claimed to forgive sins, for which He was charged with blasphemy because in doing so He was claiming to be God.

    "When Jesus saw their faith, he said unto the sick of the palsy, Son, thy sins be forgiven thee. But there were certain of the scribes sitting there, and reasoning in their hearts, Why doth this man thus speak blasphemies? who can forgive sins but God only?" (Mark 2.5-7)

    In perhaps the clearest indication of His claims about Himself, when the high priest asked Jesus if He was the Christ, the Son of God, Jesus plainly declared that He was. Then He further asserted that He was also the Son of Man who would co-reign on God the Father's throne and come on the clouds of judgment. The high priest pronounced these claims as blasphemy.

    "But he held his peace, and answered nothing. Again the high priest asked him, and said unto him, Art thou the Christ, the Son of the Blessed? And Jesus said, I am: and ye shall see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven. Then the high priest rent his clothes, and saith, What need we any further witnesses? Ye have heard the blasphemy: what think ye? And they all condemned him to be guilty of death" (Mark 16.61-64). Imagine that! Condemning our Creator to death? How evil. But do not think those who simply state Jesus never existed or was not God are any less reviling. They are just more cunning in their hostility. God knows their hearts.

    These sayings of Jesus were recorded by the original disciples or close associates in ...
    by Published on 01-19-2011 04:58 PM     Number of Views: 2252 
    1. Categories:
    2. Primary Verses

    John wrote, "That which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon, and our hands have handled, of the Word of life. (For the life was manifested, and we have seen it, and bear witness, and shew unto you that eternal life, which was with the Father, and was manifested unto us; ). That which we have seen and heard declare we unto you, that ye also may have fellowship with us: and truly our fellowship is with the Father, and with his Son Jesus Christ" (John 1.1-3).

    John, placing himself at the cross when Jesus died, said, "Now there stood by the cross of Jesus his mother, and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Cleophas, and Mary Magdalene. When Jesus therefore saw his mother, and the disciple standing by, whom he loved, he saith unto his mother, Woman, behold thy son! Then saith he to the disciple, Behold thy mother! And from that hour that disciple took her unto his own home. After this, Jesus knowing that all things were now accomplished, that the scripture might be fulfilled, saith, I thirst. When Jesus therefore had received the vinegar, he said, It is finished: and he bowed his head, and gave up the ghost" (John 19.25-28,30). What was finished? The atoning sacrifice.

    Peter wrote, "For we have not followed cunningly devised fables, when we made known unto you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of his majesty" (2 Pet. 1.16).

    Paul wrote, "Moreover, brethren, I declare unto you the gospel which I preached unto you, which also ye have received, and wherein ye stand; By which also ye are saved, if ye keep in memory what I preached unto you, unless ye have believed in vain. For I delivered unto you first of all that which I also received, how that Christ died for our sins according to the scriptures; And that he was buried, and that he rose again the third day according to the scriptures: And that he was seen of Cephas, then of the twelve: After that, he was seen of above five hundred brethren at once; of whom the greater part remain unto this present, but some are fallen asleep. After that, he was seen of James; then of all the apostles. And last of all he was seen of me also, as of one born out of due time" (1 Cor. 15.1-8).

    Paul also wrote, "Neither went I up to Jerusalem to them which were apostles before me; but I went into Arabia, and returned again unto Damascus. Then after three years I went up to Jerusalem to see Peter, and abode with him fifteen days. But other of the apostles saw I none, save James the Lord's brother (Gal. 1.17-19).

    After more than a decade setting up the churches, Paul wrote, "Then fourteen years after I went up again to Jerusalem with Barnabas, and took Titus with me also. And when James, Cephas, and John, who seemed to be pillars, perceived the grace that was given unto me, they gave to me and Barnabas the right hands of fellowship; that we should go unto the heathen, and they unto the circumcision. But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews? Knowing that a man is not justified by the works of the law, but by the faith of Jesus Christ, even we have believed in Jesus Christ, that we might be justified by the faith of Christ, and not by the works of the law: for by the works of the law shall no flesh be justified" (Gal. 2.1,9,11,12-14,16).