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DD1-6: Verb Voices and Violent Versions

This entry is part 12 of 12 in the series The John the Baptist Experience: Book 1

The John the Baptist Experience
Book 1: The Exceptional Messenger
Deeper Dive 6:
Verb Voices and Violent Versions

Copyright © 20221

by
Jim Kerwin

Matthew 11:12 —
A Thorny Translation Challenge

As we have seen, Matthew 11:1-19 is that wonderful passage in which Jesus teaches about John the Baptist.2 First, He sends a message of encouragement to the imprisoned John. Then Jesus uses the opportunity to point the crowd to John’s fulfillment of the prophecies in Malachi 3:1 and 4:5-6 (the latter being the “Elijah prophecy”).

Matthew’s account of the events and teaching that day is very clear — except for one verse that has proven to be something of a thorny challenge to translate and interpret. That verse is Matthew 11:12—

“From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and violent men take it by force.”

What makes it “thorny”? Because [continue reading…]

DD1-5: “Malachisaiah”?

This entry is part 11 of 12 in the series The John the Baptist Experience: Book 1

The John the Baptist Experience
Book 1: The Exceptional Messenger
Deeper Dive #5: “Malachisaiah”?

Copyright © 20221

by
Jim Kerwin

Two Prophecies, Two Readings

Please let me share Mark 1:1-3 from two translations, the King James Version and the New American Standard Bible:

The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God; 2As it is written in the prophets,

“Behold, I send My messenger before Thy face,
which shall prepare Thy way before Thee.
3The voice of one crying in the wilderness… etc.
[kjv]

1The beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. 2As it is written in Isaiah the prophet:

“Behold, I send My messenger ahead of You,
Who will prepare Your way;
3The voice of one crying in the wilderness…’ ” etc.
[nasb]

As we can see, Mark introduces “the beginning of the gospel of Jesus Christ,” by immediately [continue reading…]

In the Secret of His Presence

Ellen Lakshmi Goreh
(1853-1937)

In the secret of His presence
How my soul delights to hide!
Oh, how precious are the lessons
Which I learn at Jesus’ side!
Earthly cares can never vex me,
Neither trials lay me low;
For when Satan comes to tempt me,
To the [continue reading…]

Honduran Encounters

5 April 2022

Answered Prayer for the Honduras Trip!

Dear Friend,

A Honduran worship band with guitar and an accordianThe La Joya church-plant worship band warming up on Sunday evening, 13 March1

Consider this communique a praise report! While you were praying for last month’s Honduras trip, God was answering and blessing. Maybe it’s just because I’ve been Covid-restricted in my travel for two years, but it really seems like this trip took the prize for the number of God-timed and God-ordained arrangements.

Plus, the Lord kept me in the best of health, and He preserved us on the road — we witnessed (but didn’t participate in!) two head-on collisions. All thanks to God and many thanks to you all for your prayers.

I fired off many pages of narrative to my wife Denise while I was gone — way too much to condense here.

Perhaps the story can best be [continue reading…]

Open My Eyes That I May See

Clara Scott
(1841-1897)

Open my eyes, that I may behold
Wonderful things from Your law.

—Psalm 119:18 nasb

Open my eyes that I may see
Glimpses of truth Thou hast for me.
Place in my hands the wonderful key
That shall unclasp and set me free.
Silently now I wait for Thee,
Ready, my God, Thy [continue reading…]

DD1-4: Peter as “Mr. Euthus-iasm”

This entry is part 10 of 12 in the series The John the Baptist Experience: Book 1

The John the Baptist Experience
Book 1: The Exceptional Messenger
Deeper Dive #4:
Peter as Mr. “Euthus-iasm”
1

Copyright © 20222

by
Jim Kerwin

In a footnote in chapter 4 (Jesus Reveals John in Malachi), we mentioned that the unanimous testimony of the Early Church Fathers was that Mark’s Gospel is the faithful recounting of the preaching of the Apostle Peter.

Peter’s Favorite Adverb

Adding weight to this historical testimony is the energetic brevity of the accounts in Mark’s Gospel, and Mark’s frequent use of the adverb εὐθύς (eu-thús). The word appears in the New Testament 59 times; of those occurrences, it functions 51 times as an adverb, and is rendered (depending on your translation) as immediately or as soon as. Mark (or Peter, if you prefer) uses εὐθύς / euthús adverbially 41 of those 51 times, and it seems like we can almost listen through Mark’s ears to Peter’s animated and [continue reading…]

DD1-2: Jesus Message to John in Matthew 11

This entry is part 8 of 12 in the series The John the Baptist Experience: Book 1

The John the Baptist Experience
Book 1: The Exceptional Messenger
Deeper Dive #2:
Jesus’ Message to John
in Matthew 11
1

Copyright © 20222

by
Jim Kerwin

In the first Deeper Dive we introduced the “Mnemonic Trigger Principle.”3 We saw that for ancient peoples, educated through the discipline of rote memorization, the quotation of a line of text could elicit the entire context of the quote from memory. But our familiarity with Scripture, the Old Testament in particular, is not as great. Thus to grasp the full contextual message of an Old Testament quotation, we need to free ourselves of our verse-and-chapter shackles, return to the original passage, and ask, [continue reading…]

4: Jesus Reveals John in Malachi

This entry is part 4 of 12 in the series The John the Baptist Experience: Book 1

The John the Baptist Experience
Book 1: The Exceptional Messenger
Chapter 4: Jesus Reveals John in Malachi

Copyright © 20221

by
Jim Kerwin

Cellmates in Solitary

John the Baptist was finding that even a man in solitary confinement has cellmates. For months, he had been the “guest” of Herod Antipas, Tetrarch2 of Galilee and Perea, in the latter’s hot, dusty desert fortress of Machaerus. Perched atop a Perean mountain over 3,500 feet above sea level, the palace of Machaerus had a breathtaking view to the west of the expanse of the Sea of Tiberius (what you and I know as the Sea of Galilee). Not so John’s dark, windowless cell. No, at this point, all John could see were his four cellmates [continue reading…]

Honduras, Ho!

6 March 2022

¡Buen Viaje!

Dear Friend,

A family dinner One nice thing about returning to Honduras annually is nurturing relationships. Here’s a pre-birthday-party dinner to which I was invited in Tegucigalpa, Honduras. (The honoree is the young lady in polka dots at the far corner of the table, a youth leader in the church.) The folks were sheepish about asking me to the actual party afterwards, but were very pleased when I accepted the invitation.1

Buen viaje is the Spanish equivalent of bon voyage. The clock is ticking down to my “o’dark thirty” departure on Thursday this week (3/10/22). Destination: Honduras! When I last left Honduras, almost exactly two years ago, the borders were closed just a few days later because of COVID restrictions. This is my first going “anywhere” outside the States since those lockdown measures went into effect.

I mentioned in the last newsletter that Denise and I had just celebrated our 50th wedding anniversary. It’s a happy, heavenly “coincidence,” then, that the requested subject of the pastors’ teaching seminars (three in two places) will be the challenges of husband-wife ministry.

We certainly aren’t the [continue reading…]

At Calvary

William Newell
(1868-1956)

Years I spent in vanity and pride,
Caring not my Lord was crucified,
Knowing not it was for me He died
On Calvary.

Chorus:
Mercy there was great, and grace was free;
Pardon there was [continue reading…]

Jesus Calls Us O’er the Tumult

Cecil Frances Alexander
(1818-1895)

Jesus calls us o’er the tumult
Of our life’s wild, restless, sea;
Day by day His sweet voice soundeth,
Saying, “Christian, follow Me!”

As of old Saint Andrew heard it [continue reading…]

All to Jesus I Surrender

Judson Van DeVenter
(1855-1939)

All to Jesus, I surrender,
All to Him I freely give;
I will ever love and trust Him,
In His presence daily live.

Chorus:
I surrender all, I surrender all,
All to Thee, my blessèd Savior,
I surrender all.

All to Jesus I surrender,
Humbly [continue reading…]

O Love That Wilt Not Let Me Go

George Matheson
(1842-1906)

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering [continue reading…]

Give of Your Best to the Master

Howard Grose
(1851-1939)

Give of your best to the Master;
Give of the strength of your youth;
Throw your soul’s fresh, glowing ardor
Into the battle for truth.
Jesus has set the example,
Dauntless was He, young and brave;
Give Him your loyal devotion;
Give Him the best that you have.

Chorus:
Give of your best to the Master;
Give of the strength [continue reading…]