Friday, April 25, 2014
Back in the late 1980s, after participating in discussions that took place in our Bible studies and meetings in which endless arguments and debates flared up over the interpretations of verses or religious doctrines, I created the BHC Bible Study Guideline.
Our Belief Systems must be large enough to include all the Facts;
Open enough to be tested; and,
Flexible enough to change when errors or new Facts are discovered!
It was amazing to witness the transformation that took place when the participants focused on identifying or finding the facts and then comparing them to their beliefs – especially when hardcore fundamentalists were involved.
It didn’t take long for participants to realize that –
people who ignore the Facts, refuse to be tested, and cling to errors –
are living lives & making important decisions based on illusions – not truths –
and that doesn’t really make any sense!
If the BHC Bible Study Guideline has benefited your life – or if its new to you, but you can see its value when used in Bible studies and discussions of religion -- please let us know by clicking here & “Liking” the BHC Facebook Page.
If you would like to show that you value & appreciate it by donating today –
Tuesday, April 22, 2014
Below are some notes from a study that I am working on now. In this section, Cain is burning with anger against his brother Abel. God had just provided Cain with the wisdom, that if Cain did it, would have given him power over his anger and revealed the image of God through his actions. But, the Bible has also revealed prior to this account, that through man’s freewill, he has the power to act like a wild predatory animal. In the scene below, Cain comes face-to-face with his brother Abel. What will he do?
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Cain, like a wild predatory animal, rose up and attacked his brother. Cain committed the first murder in the Bible – and it was brother against brother. Here, the Bible is expressing one of the most profound, if saddest, truths in the history of religions when it shows how an originally well-intentioned act of divine worship became the cause of the loss of human life.[i] Again, we do not know how much time passed between the murder and what took place next:
And YAHWEH said to Cain, "Where is Abel your brother?"[ii]
Cain’s answer has become one of the most famous verses of the Bible:
And he said, "I do not know. Am I my brother's keeper?"[iii]
As pointed out above, the word “brother” appears in the section seven times, a stylistic feature that focuses specifically upon the fraternal relationship. The biblical text clearly establishes emphatically this moral principle:
Man is indeed his brother’s keeper and all homicide is
at the same time fratricide – the act of killing one’s brother.
The culpability of Cain rests upon an unexpressed assumption of the existence of a moral law operative from the beginning of time as we saw in the first account – life is the highest value of the Creator. [iv] Now we learn YAHWEH values human life above religious rituals.
Cain’s famous answer to YAHWEH, in addition to originating the great tradition of answering a question with another question, its substance suggests that Cain realized he had done something so terrible that he would deny it even to YAHWEH.[v]
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SHALOM & Be Empowered!
Wednesday, April 16, 2014
Codex Sinaiticus was written in the 4th century between 325 and 360 CE. It could not have been written before 325 because it contains the Eusebian Canons and it could not have been written after 360 because of certain references to Church fathers in the margin. Some scholars believe that Codex Sinaiticus was one of the fifty copies of the Bible commissioned from Eusebius by Roman Emperor Constantine after his conversion to Christianity. Read the complete blog at -- http://bhcbiblestudies.blogspot.com/2014/04/use-one-of-oldest-ancient-manuscripts.html
Codex Sinaiticus was written in the 4th century between 325 and 360 CE. It could not have been written before 325 because it contains the Eusebian Canons and it could not have been written after 360 because of certain references to Church fathers in the margin. Some scholars believe that Codex Sinaiticus was one of the fifty copies of the Bible commissioned from Eusebius by Roman Emperor Constantine after his conversion to Christianity.
Codex Sinaiticus contains the earliest complete copy of the Christian New Testament. The hand-written text is in Greek. The New Testament appears in the original vernacular language (koine) and the Old Testament in the version, known as the Septuagint, that was adopted by early Greek-speaking Christians. In the Codex, the text of both the Septuagint and the New Testament has been heavily annotated by a series of early correctors.
Codex Sinaiticus was copied by more than one scribe. Constantine Tischendorf (the man who discovered the manuscript) identified four in the nineteenth century. Subsequent research decided that there were three, but it is possible that a fourth (different from Tischendorf’s fourth scribe) can be identified. Each of the three undisputed scribes has a distinctive way of writing which can be identified with practice.
The significance of Codex Sinaiticus for the reconstruction of the Christian Bible's original text, the history of the Bible and the history of Western book-making is immense. By the middle of the fourth century there was wide but not complete agreement on which books should be considered authoritative for Christian communities. Codex Sinaiticus, one of the two earliest collections of such books, is essential for an understanding of the content and the arrangement of the Bible, as well as the uses made of it.
The Greek Septuagint in the Codex includes books not found in the Hebrew Bible and regarded in the Protestant tradition as apocryphal, such as 2 Esdras, Tobit, Judith, 1 & 4 Maccabees, Wisdom and Sirach. Appended to the New Testament are the Epistle of Barnabas and 'The Shepherd' of Hermas.
The Codex Sinaiticus Project is an international collaboration to reunite the entire manuscript in digital form and make it accessible to a global audience for the first time. Drawing on the expertise of leading scholars, conservators and curators, the Project gives everyone the opportunity to connect directly with this famous manuscript.
The Codex Sinaiticus Project provides you with a very important cutting edge tool that you can use in your Bible studies. Keep in mind that prior to this tool, only scholars had access to this information. The website provides you with a way to view the actual manuscript along with a transcription and English translation of the text you are viewing when you click on “See The Manuscript” tab.
Go to The Codex Sinaiticus Project by clicking on -- http://codexsinaiticus.org/en/