BibleWorks 10

Like many of you, I’ve used Bible software for many years in numerous iterations–eSword, Bible Navigator, Libronix, Logos, Accordance, BibleWorks, et al. Each has their strengths and weaknesses and each one’s usefulness boils down to your purpose for using it and your personal preferences for an interface.

For me, I have preferred BibleWorks since I first began using it at version 7. I upgraded to version 8, but did not upgrade to version 9. When I found out I would be receiving a review copy of BW10, I was quite giddy. Well, it arrived in the mail yesterday and I am eager to install, customize, and use it! Since I didn’t upgrade to version 9, the jump from 8 to 10 should be quite noticeable.

11350457_10152778181276502_4666262690007985017_nOnce I’ve used it a while and have familiarized myself with the changes, I’ll post a review. Until then, happy researching!

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John’s Use of Gematria

One among many issues in the book of Revelation concerns the mark of the beast–666. While I have my own interpretation/understanding of what that means, it’s been the subject of intense debate over the years. A plethora of candidates have been offered–Muhammad, the Roman Catholic Church, the papacy, various individual popes, Emperor Frederick II Hohenstaufen, Martin Luther, Napoleon Bonaparte, Napoleon III, Mussolini, Gorbachev, Henry Kissinger, Ronald Reagan (each of his three names had six letters—666), Anwar Sadat, Muammar Gadhafi, Saddam Hussein, and I’m sure Obama has been added to this list by some.[1]

One common suggestion for figuring out who the beast is (many scholars point to Nero) is the use of gematria, the practice of assigning numerical value to letters in cultures thad had no distinct numerals (used by both Jewish and Greco-Roman writers). Much of the discussion about this circles around the transliteration of Nero’s name in Greek into Hebrew and, via gematria, you come out with a numerical value of 666.

I was recently involved in a discussion of this and it was suggested that one reason it was unlikely to be Nero is the fact that one would have to transliterate the name (and title) of Nero into Hebrew. My question is this–why would this evidence be considered to weigh against identifying Nero as the beast? It is well known and quite obvious that John assumes his audiences’ familiarity with the OT, so why should we not assume they would have been familiar enough with Hebrew to know what John meant? He has cloaked his rebuke of the empire in the imagery of the OT (and be extension the ANE; he also uses imagery familiar to the Greco-Roman world), so why would this be any exception?

Just a thought–what say ye?

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[1] Mitchell G. Reddish, Revelation, Smyth & Helwys Bible Commentary (Macon, GA: Smyth & Helwys, 2001), 268.

Thought for the Day

Donald Hagner writes

But no more than Genesis provides details about precisely how God created the world does Revelation provide details about how all things will come to an end.

– Donald A. Hagner, The New Testament: A Historical and Theological Introduction (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2012), 746.

So, there you go.

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On Revelation and Empire

Stephen Moore writes,

Parody of the Roman imperial order permeates Revelation, reaching a scurrilous climax in the depiction of the goddess Roma, austere and noble personification the urbs aeterna, as a tawdry whore who has had a little too much drink.

Stephen D. Moore, “The Revelation to John,” in A Postcolonial Commentary on the New Testament Writings, ed. Fernando F. Segovia and R. S. Sugirtharajah (London: T&T Clark, 2009), 436.


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Caird on Sin

I like G. B. Caird and I think his synopsis of the evil in the world is spot on. This quote come from his commentary on Revelation, specifically his discussion of the locusts of chapter nine and their human-like faces (p. 120). He writes

Evil may take many sinister forms and ramify far beyond the immediate implications of individual sin; but in the last analysis it has a human face, for it is caused by the rebellion of human wills against the will of God.

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Jay Smith on Paul

Jay E. Smith, professor of NT Studies here at DTS, is the coeditor of the new collection Studies in the Pauline Epistles (buy it here). In this brief video, he talks briefly about “the connectedness of the biblical documents” and how that inspired his study of Paul and the NT. Watch it here.

I’ve had the privilege to study with and get to know Dr. Smith over the years, perhaps more so than other profs. I was his grader for a time and he’s been a help to me on the road to my dissertation, so I am glad to know him as both prof and friend.

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Random Apocryphal Verse of the Day

Just for fun, I thought I’d see what verse/text I could find by opening J. K Elliott’s The Apocryphal New Testament to a random page and randomly selecting a text to share. There are some real gems in this book, so there’s no telling what will come up. Could be inspirational, could be revolting–there’s only one way to find out!

And the randomly chosen text is….from The Arabic Infancy Gospel, 40. The texts reads (at the end of the section)

The Lord Jesus therefore said, ‘Come, boys, let us go and play.’ And immediately, while these women were standing by, the kids were changed into boys.

The dating of this texts probably goes back to the fifth-sixth century and is reminiscent of The Gospel of Thomas. Like many texts, this one makes little sense without context. The kids here are not children–they are goats. So, what we have is Jesus transforming kids, i.e., young goats, into people. Now that’s quite a feat! Ah apocryphal works–you never cease to entertain!

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