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Thread: John 7.53-8.11--How to Handle from the Pulpit (as Opposed to the Seminary Class)

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  1. #1

    John 7.53-8.11--How to Handle from the Pulpit (as Opposed to the Seminary Class)

    Josh Walker, over at Bring the Books, has an interesting post on this notorious passage.

    He follows Carson/Moo in saying it is not Scripture, a position I am unwilling to take for a variety of reasons. My question to you preaching types out there is, how do you handle issues like this when preaching verse-by-verse?

    Back in the "glory days," when everyone had a KJV, issues like this were not issues. But now, when you have various translations relegating the passage to a footnote or, worse, set off by brackets and reader advisories, it seems that you cannot ignore the textual problem.

    I found Calvin helpful:

    It is plain enough that this passage was unknown anciently to the Greek Churches; and some conjecture that it has been brought from some other place and inserted here. But as it has always been received by the Latin Churches, and is found in many old Greek manuscripts, and contains nothing unworthy of an Apostolic Spirit, there is no reason why we should refuse to apply it to our advantage.
    Thoughts?
    Rev. Kevin Carroll
    Pastor
    Grace Reformed Church
    Mitchell, SD

  2. #2
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    Some of your people will (likely) be holding in their laps a version which calls the passage into question. Saying nothing about the dispute will tend to leave them unsettled in their hearts. State as briefly as possible your convictions and then let the Word of God have free course.
    Bob, RBC Louisville. 1689 LBCF

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  3. #3
    That's kind of my thought too, Bob. Thanks.
    Rev. Kevin Carroll
    Pastor
    Grace Reformed Church
    Mitchell, SD

  4. #4
    I would just say something along the lines of Calvin and get on with it. Until the church as a whole comes to a different conclusion, I don't think we need to apologize for trusting in the same Scripture that the writers of our confession trusted in.


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  5. #5
    Here's my simple course: Do I hear the Voice of my Shepherd in it? We may receive the Word on abundant witnesses and testimonies, but the infallible assurance that we are in possession of the Word of God is the Holy Spirit himself (who bears witness with our spirit), speaking IN Scripture, that it IS Scripture.
    Rev. Bruce G. Buchanan
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  6. #6
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    Kevin,

    I would mention in passing while expositing the passage that the evidence thoroughly convinces me the modern critics have it wrong, and I would be glad to meet with anyone later to discuss it.

    Here, for instance, are some (but not all) of the defenses of it that I would bring to enquirers' attention.
    Steve Rafalsky
    Member, Queens Presbyterian Church, Astoria (PCA)
    Queens, New York
    USA

    "I am set for the defense of the gospel" (Philippians 1:17)

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    power, unto all patience and longsuffering with joyfulness...
    " (Colossians 1:11)

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  7. #7
    Though I am a CTer...

    I would simply state that the passage has been disputed and the dispute goes all the way back to the first few centuries. Due to the antiquity of the dispute, I receive it as authentic due to the lack of conclusive evidence to the contrary. I would say the same thing about the last 12 verses of Mark.

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Truelove View Post
    Though I am a CTer...

    I would simply state that the passage has been disputed and the dispute goes all the way back to the first few centuries. Due to the antiquity of the dispute, I receive it as authentic due to the lack of conclusive evidence to the contrary. I would say the same thing about the last 12 verses of Mark.
    Mark has a lot more evidence for it's inclusion where it is than John does.

    I think, context-wise, it (John 7:53-8:11) fits in much better at Luke 21:38. 7:53-8:2 are almost a perfect parallel of 21:37-38.
    KG
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  9. #9
    Quote Originally Posted by Robert Truelove View Post
    Though I am a CTer...

    I would simply state that the passage has been disputed and the dispute goes all the way back to the first few centuries. Due to the antiquity of the dispute, I receive it as authentic due to the lack of conclusive evidence to the contrary. I would say the same thing about the last 12 verses of Mark.
    Is that anything like the conclusive proof in the instant replay rule?
    Gregg
    East Texas
    Member Heritage Baptist Church
    "I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way
    be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so
    that now, as always, Christ will be exalted in my
    life." Phil 1:20

  10. #10
    My pastor recently just skipped it, saying that it wasn't included in the best manuscript evidence. As such, he tied v. 13ff back into 7:37ff as part of Jesus' speech on the last day of the feast. This makes a very smooth transition. In any case, I don't think that a pastor can just ignore the textual issue, since many of his congregants Bibles mention it. He has to explain it simply and then preach it according to his best understanding and personal conviction.
    Charlie Johnson
    PCA
    M. A. Greenville Presbyterian Theological Seminary
    M. A. Villanova University
    PhD Candidate, Church History, Princeton Theological Seminary
    Blog: [url]http://dearreaderblog.com/[/url]

  11. #11
    IMO, it's better to preach it, with a brief explanation of the issue. God has preserved it.
    Rev. Kevin Carroll
    Pastor
    Grace Reformed Church
    Mitchell, SD

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The PuritanBoard exists to promote robust discussion of theology in a Confessionally Reformed context. The modern trend of short statements of faith belies the many places where the Scriptures teach with great clarity. Though our respective Reformed confessions sometimes disagree, we believe that Churches have been given the gifts of teachers and elders to lead to the unity of the faith and the result of that unity is a Confessional Church confessing together: "This is what the Scriptures teach." The Confessions are secondary to the authority of Scripture itself but they arise out of Scripture as a standard exposition of the Word of God.