Purpose of Gospel Harmonies

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Posts 1523
Josh | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 22 2013 3:04 AM

Jim Wait:

Harmonizing anything can be very destructive. Harmonizing two poems does not make either one better, but different. Harmonizing two Gospels is to create something different than the original.  Matthew, Mark, Luke and John each have a beautiful portrait of Jesus Christ that becomes different when any two of them are amalgamated into one. The picture of Jesus in John is of Him who carries his own cross, whereas in Mark Simon of Cyrene carries it. John doesn't need a Gethsemane scene, a Transfiguration, a Sermon on  the Mount, parables, etc. Mathew, Mark, and Luke although called the Synoptics, and agree in many ways at the same time are distinctively differ in important other ways.  These are not contradictions, but distinctions that were meaningful and helpful in portraying Jesus as the One through God was acting in restoring God;s Kingdom.  To see God in Jesus is primarily what it means for a person in the Gospel stories to have faith. When we harmonize these beautiful and awesome Gospel Narratives we lose that powerful distinction which allows us to hear that Gospel Story in such a way for us to experience that faith creating recognition.  Synopsis, Yes; Harmony Never!  Synopsis is a powerful tool for comparison and contrast. Harmonizing is a way destroying the distinctiveness and creating something different! Our four Gospels are awesome and sufficient to see Jesus as fully God and Fully Human. They don't need changing,which harmonizing or amalgamation does.

This was certainly my sentiment when I wrote the OP. However, someone brought up a good question that I've been wrestling with. What do you do with children's Bibles? They must both harmonize and simplify the text for young readers. This certainly destroys the distinctiveness of each individual Gospel. But the overall purpose of such Bible's appears to be necessary and good. What do you think? 

Posts 14
John Hill | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 22 2013 4:41 AM

 

Who do you think the "you" in both John 14:26 and John 16:13 refer to? Since you like to see all Scripture in a prophetic light, I'd suggest that this makes most "prophetic" sense if this was being directed to a select group of early church disciples (as opposed to all Christians throughout time). It was this Spirit-guided revelation of "all truth" that allowed this select group to be the ones to produce the inspired writings of the New Testament.

I'd say the true quandary is this: Why will your book not be labeled as an "inspired" work equal to Luke's gospel? Don't you claim that the same Spirit that directed Luke to "all truth" has, also, personally directed you to "all truth"?

 

 

Along with this, it seems like the suggestion is to jettison the clear purpose statements of Luke and John in favor of some esoteric interpretation.  Sounds a lot like Gnosticism.  Just because some inspired NT writers use a pesher method, doesn't mean that we can do the same.

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 22 2013 9:13 AM

John Hill:

Along with this, it seems like the suggestion is to jettison the clear purpose statements of Luke and John in favor of some esoteric interpretation.  Sounds a lot like Gnosticism. 

So does this: Dan. 12:3, 4, 9, 10; Hos. 14:9; Jn. 7:17; Jn. 8:47 ...to name just a few.

John Hill:

Just because some inspired NT writers use a pesher method, doesn't mean that we can do the same.

Far be it from you to follow the example of someone who was inspired...is that your credo?

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David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Sep 22 2013 9:33 AM

Josh:

Who do you think the "you" in both John 14:26 and John 16:13 refer to? Since you like to see all Scripture in a prophetic light, I'd suggest that this makes most "prophetic" sense if this was being directed to a select group of early church disciples (as opposed to all Christians throughout time). It was this Spirit-guided revelation of "all truth" that allowed this select group to be the ones to produce the inspired writings of the New Testament.

I'd say the true quandary is this: Why will your book not be labeled as an "inspired" work equal to Luke's gospel? Don't you claim that the same Spirit that directed Luke to "all truth" has, also, personally directed you to "all truth"?

You ask fair questions. Unfortunately, sufficient answers would take too long for me to write. However, I will say this. 'Elohhiym is not limited by the apparent incapacity of most humans to think about more than one thing at a time. There are many books about the types of the tabernacle and the priestly activities. Every one of the elements has a symbolic purpose in addition to the important but mundane practical purpose that was germane for those on site at that particular point in time. Few people today would insist "there's nothing prophetic about the sacrifices, or the furniture of the tabernacle, or the priestly garments". For the life of me, I can't understand why anyone would insist that YHWH forgot how to do that when Malachi closed his eyes for the last time.

I find it baffling and bizarre that my suggestion that folks think and view Scripture prophetically is met with reactions that indicate people think I'm trying to feed them some poisoned pill. However, if someone were looking for evidence of "the famine of the hearing of the words of YHWH", this is precisely the kind of attitude that would produce that circumstance. Be assured, most of the people affected by this prophesied condition will have Bibles laying open on their laps.

...

DP: Think prophetically.

...: Why should I? I don't wanna. You can't make me!

DP: Alright, then...don't.

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Posts 1523
Josh | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 23 2013 5:14 AM

David Paul:
I find it baffling and bizarre that my suggestion that folks think and view Scripture prophetically is met with reactions that indicate people think I'm trying to feed them some poisoned pill. However, if someone were looking for evidence of "the famine of the hearing of the words of YHWH", this is precisely the kind of attitude that would produce that circumstance. Be assured, most of the people affected by this prophesied condition will have Bibles laying open on their laps.

Not everything in Scripture requires a prophetic interpretation. From what I can gather from your position, it appears you have taken this idea to the furthest extreme possible based on debatable presuppositions. Please forgive me for being underwhelmed by your assertions.

For instance, Luke is explicit in his purposes for writing his Gospel. The primary purpose being listed in the first four verses - that Thephilus specifically (and believers generally) "may have certainty concerning the things [they] have been taught." I see no reason to suppose other purposes that are not obviously advertised by Luke. In fact, to state the opposite would be quite presumptuous.

Posts 1776
JoshInRI | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 23 2013 6:05 AM

I am responding to this post:

Milford Charles Murray wrote the following post at Sat, Sep 21 2013 1:15 PM:

Peace, Jim!              Even if I were not to agree with you -- which I do indeed! -- I would still be beholden to you for the sheer beauty of a great post!

          *smile*         Thank you very kindly!

 

From Joshua Lieder:

I enjoyed Jim and your responses...and, for the most part, am finding this string and the original post very interesting.

I always wonder about these new Chronological Bibles too.  How do they land on the right order?  (I looked and Mark did not come first in the Bible I held up in my local Christian bookstore).  Sorry if I am muddying the waters or this has already been covered in the string elsewhere.

I am glad for all 4 gospels and their distinctives and their similarities.  I might use a "harmony" in a sermon to help me understand and convey the orginal meaning of a text or central theme...but thats it.  I would never purchase a whole Bible that did it.  Thats just too "Jesus Seminar" with the marbles for me personally.

It might be interesting to see this https://www.logos.com/product/3580/a-simplified-harmony-of-the-gospels but I would not purchase it.

Posts 5650
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 23 2013 7:21 AM

Josh:

Who do you think the "you" in both John 14:26 and John 16:13 refer to? Since you like to see all Scripture in a prophetic light, I'd suggest that this makes most "prophetic" sense if this was being directed to a select group of early church disciples (as opposed to all Christians throughout time). It was this Spirit-guided revelation of "all truth" that allowed this select group to be the ones to produce the inspired writings of the New Testament.

TRANSLATION: This was directed to a select group, NOT to all believers. Josh has spoken!

Josh:

Not everything in Scripture requires a prophetic interpretation. From what I can gather from your position, it appears you have taken this idea to the furthest extreme possible based on debatable presuppositions. Please forgive me for being underwhelmed by your assertions.

For instance, Luke is explicit in his purposes for writing his Gospel. The primary purpose being listed in the first four verses - that Thephilus specifically (and believers generally) "may have certainty concerning the things [they] have been taught." I see no reason to suppose other purposes that are not obviously advertised by Luke. In fact, to state the opposite would be quite presumptuous.

TRANSLATION: This was directed to a single individual, PLUS all believers. Josh has spoken!

Hmm

MORAL: It's perfectly alright to make rules to suit your whims.

Ick!

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Posts 14
John Hill | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 23 2013 7:53 AM

 

TRANSLATION: This was directed to a single individual, PLUS all believers. Josh has spoken!

Hmm

MORAL: It's perfectly alright to make rules to suit your whims.

Ick!

 

 

Not to speak for Josh, but one of the interpretive questions we might ask about a passage is, "To whom is this addressed?"  There are a great many who would understand, that since the words of John 16:13 were spoken to the circle of disciples who were to become apostles, that this promise is to them specifically.

Posts 5650
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 23 2013 8:20 AM

John Hill:
 

Not to speak for Josh, but one of the interpretive questions we might ask about a passage is, "To whom is this addressed?"  There are a great many who would understand, that since the words of John 16:13 were spoken to the circle of disciples who were to become apostles, that this promise is to them specifically.

That's your interpretive guide? Seriously? For prophecy?? Roll Eyes

Wow...

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Posts 1523
Josh | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 23 2013 8:27 AM

David Paul:

Josh has spoken!

More like...

Josh looks at context!

Posts 5650
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 23 2013 9:26 AM

But don't ya'll get it? The context of prophecy is the whole Bible...or to put it another way, prophecy has no limit of context. Like YHWH Himself, prophecy is not time-bound, though it may be time specific. Prophecy is as elastic as YHWH wants it to be. 

I think the problem most people have with interpreting Scripture prophetically is the hand-wringing worry they harbor that "allowing" prophetic interpretation suddenly means it's open season and anything goes. While that is an issue--there are always going to be loose cannons where prophecy is concerned--throwing out the baby with the bath water helps no one.

John Hill:
 

Not to speak for Josh, but one of the interpretive questions we might ask about a passage is, "To whom is this addressed?"

This is a context-driven assumption. Unfortunately for this prejudicial viewpoint, Dan.12:8, 9, 10 completely eviscerate this erroneous assertion. This was ADDRESSED to Daniel, but he didn't and COULDN'T understand it. It is explicitly stated that it is for a much later time. So much for context.

Prophecy is timeless and elastic, designed to mean precisely what YHWH wants it to mean, regardless of any perceived human context. That's just the way it is.

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Posts 1523
Josh | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 23 2013 1:30 PM

David Paul:
But don't ya'll get it? The context of prophecy is the whole Bible...or to put it another way, prophecy has no limit of context. Like YHWH Himself, prophecy is not time-bound, though it may be time specific. Prophecy is as elastic as YHWH wants it to be.

I'm afraid your methodology might make prophecy as "elastic as [David] wants it to be."

I think the problem most people have with interpreting Scripture prophetically is the hand-wringing worry they harbor that "allowing" prophetic interpretation suddenly means it's open season and anything goes. While that is an issue--there are always going to be loose cannons where prophecy is concerned--throwing out the baby with the bath water helps no one.

I'm not trying to toss the baby out with the bath water. I'm certainly not rejecting prophecy outright. I believe Scripture is filled with prophecy. What concerns me is that you appear to subscribe to some subjective hermeneutical rules - one of which relies on having the Spirit help you come to the correct interpretation. But the Spirit's illumination is not about "understanding the text properly" (a non-believer [in contrast to a believer] can just as easily discern what a particular text means); however, without the Spirit they will not be convicted by it. The Spirit's illumination brings to the believer a blessed assurance of the truthfulness of the biblical teachings. Please forgive me for being brazen here, but you seem to be substituting proper Bible study with this idea that with enough prayer and meditation the Spirit will give you all the answers.

Posts 5650
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 23 2013 2:03 PM

For now, we are at a dead end. But once prophecies are made known, a few of the legs on your chair won't be there anymore. At that point, with the log jam busted...

...well, time will tell. Good thing is, it won't be too long.

Oh, and regarding prophecy, I generally believe in overkill (where inescapable trumps debate) . Ironic, since in a somewhat different way, so does YHWH.

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Posts 397
John | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Sep 23 2013 8:44 PM

David Paul:

I find it baffling and bizarre that my suggestion that folks think and view Scripture prophetically is met with reactions that indicate people think I'm trying to feed them some poisoned pill.

I think it is pretty much common knowledge that scripture is composed of many different Genres, and thus your suggestion that this be ignored and it all be treated as prophecy makes little sense.

Posts 5650
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 24 2013 5:07 AM

Actually, it makes perfect sense. You think prophecy is a genre? Honestly?? I've addressed the "genres" canard on here before, but you possibly weren't here for that based on your post count. Case in point--I'm sure you are familiar with the divisions of the Bible, right? Law, History, Prophets, Writings, right? No, wrong. In the Hebrew breakdown, the "Histories" are called the Former Prophets, and for good reason. There is probably more prophecy in Samuel than there is in Isaiah. Even if that is a slight exaggeration, many of the most important prophecies in the Bible are found in Samuel. In fact, unless you are pretty solid on what the Samuel prophecies are, the prophecies of Isaiah make little sense, including many of the most famous ones about Yeishuu`a that most people consider to be well-known old friends. In fact, Isaiah actually has prophecies that say the time will come (it is obviously upon us with a vengeance!) that people will consider talk about prophecy and its importance to be nonsense.

Ruth is a cute little story, huh? Packed with prophecy. Proverbs are little snippets of "practical advice" for daily living? Almost PURE prophecy. Psalms, a sweet collection of songs? Yeah, and probably the most densely packed balls of prophecy in the Bible...except maybe for Job, and Ecclesiastes, and Esther...and the Gospels, and the Epistles, and Acts--there are sections of Acts so packed and steeped in prophecy that they're practically packed in like sardines in oil. A few months back, someone challenged me to find prophecy in Nehemiah. I did, without even having to stretch. Even that tender little love poem, Song of Songs is a prophecy magnet.

Let's go back to Psalms. Genre? Songs, right? Ever, heard of Asaph? As in the Psalms of Asaph? There are about a dozen of them, and 1 Chr. 25:1 points out that the sons of Asaph were "to prophesy with lyre, harps, and cymbals". That makes the psalms of Asaph prophecies. So much for the discrete genre of "psalms".

Some people call the Protoevangelion the first prophecy in the Bible. The problem is, Genesis 3 is waaaay too late in the game to earn that title. The first verse of the Bible is one of the most densely packed nuggets of prophecy in the Bible, a fact that was ridiculed to scorn on this forum 2-3 years back. Of course, bumblers have been handling prophecy for centuries, much as a toddler might a loaded gun. It's easy to decry that crime, and rightly so. But don't think that the common antipathy toward the widespread malfeasance of past and current prophecy-handlers hasn't calloused most minds where prophecy is concerned. If you take that position, you have just set yourself against prophecy and become a prophetic object lesson.

No prophecy in the Gospels? Is that the consensus here? I'm sorry for not falling into line with that silliness...I'm too busy reading Deut. 18:15, 16, 17, 18, 19. By the way, if you insist that there is no prophecy in the Gospels ("read the stated purpose statement in John!" Angry ), you have just denied "that Prophet" (you know...the "Savior") and cast yourself in place of the words of verse 19 as one who "will not listen to the words spoken in YHWH's name". Make no mistake, if you do not readily SEE His words as prophetic, the words of Mt. 13:13, 14, 15 regarding Isa. 6:10 have enveloped you in a massive stranglehold. Excuse me while I take a few extra steps away from the spot where you are standing.

You can stand on the newly enlarged beach and wag your imprecating finger at the encroaching tsunami wave of prophecy if you so choose. It will nevertheless proceed unhindered and swallow you whole as surely as the fact that you just read this sentence. Prophecy is inescapable; no genre is immune to it...and in the Bible it is everywhere, touching everything.

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Josh | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 24 2013 9:43 AM

Tell me...how do you determine what is prophetic and what is not? Especially those texts that aren't "blatantly" prophetic in nature.

Posts 14
John Hill | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 24 2013 9:53 AM

Prophecy in the Former Prophets is for the most part "forth telling" rather than "foretelling,"

Posts 70
james e snow | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 24 2013 10:51 AM

Josh, you are missing his point.  But it is his point so up to him to respond if he wishes.

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Matthew C Jones | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 24 2013 11:07 AM

Y'all got it settled yet?Coffee

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Posts 5650
David Paul | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Sep 24 2013 6:10 PM

Josh:

Tell me...how do you determine what is prophetic and what is not? Especially those texts that aren't "blatantly" prophetic in nature.

I've thought about that a lot. I'm not sure if this will register or not...but you CANNOT think about prophecy from a human perspective. If you do, you are lost, and probably in more ways than one. I am well-aware that most Christians think they might "get" the gist of what I'm saying, but their own words betray them. Most Christians' perspective is from-themselves-outward. Unfortunately, even if one's outward perspective is God-focused, it is a view which can do little more than leave a person dead in the water (make a baptism pun if you see fit). My favorite verse in the Bible is Phil. 2:5. Per NKJV, "Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus." That can be condensed to "Adopt the mind of Yeishuu`a." It can be distilled to "Think like God."

Thinking like a human, aka thinking like a typical Christian, allows a person to honestly believe that handing someone a pocket NT is a great and generous Spirit-led blessing instead of an outrageous blasphemous heresy. The irony is that the decapitated corpse that is a pocket new testament is incapable of providing anyone the salvation that the human-focused, salvation-focused mindset is so intent on attaining. Prophecy actually pictures this exact process in its numerous permutations. It is the strong delusion of 2 Thessalonians. It is the famine of the hearing of the words of YHWH. It is why many are called but few are chosen. It is why so many who call Him "Lord, Lord" will hear the words "depart from Me". It's why He talks in parables so that those listening CAN'T understand. And get this...it's WHY he chose "a devil" as one of His disciples--it wasn't just to fulfill the need for a betrayer...it goes much, much deeper than that.

Of course, hardly anyone will believe any of what I just said. That's okay, though. Exactly enough will.

So, the beginning of "how" would be to stop thinking about saving your neck. That is not His prime concern. Think about the things that are on His mind. And whatever you do, please don't start in the book of John.

Oh, and one other thing. If you start from His perspective, and then start laying the pieces out, prophecies in the hundreds upon hundreds portray a complete picture that is undoubtedly from Him. It isn't familiar, but that is part of what makes it clearly from Him. No picture could have so many interlocking parts as this one Book has and not be of and from Him. Because though it isn't familiar, when heard, many know it is "that thing that was always missing". If you don't think anything is missing, it probably won't have that effect.

Btw, virtually any comment against this scenario can be addressed by a prophecy that clearly describes it.

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