Re: Beginning Grammars

Date: Mon Oct 09 1995 - 16:15:29 EDT

In a message dated 95-10-09 09:24:13 EDT, Larry Chouinard writes:

>I wonder if you could document an example of so-called "liberal
>scholarship's" dismissal of Dana and Mantey because they "stick with
>Scripture"? Personally, I have found some of your exegetical endeavors
>nothing more than a defense of your tradition with little interaction
>with competent Greek scholars who take an alternative position.
>Please show an example of how the use of extra-biblical Greek has
>distorted or twisted Scripture. Unless you are willing to demonstrate
>your accusations or document your evidence stop impugning the motives of
>BTW maybe you could change BibAnsMan to BibSeachingMan!

     Many today want to look first at the apocrypha and pseudepigrapha and
other extant extra-biblical literature before seriously considering the
context. If you look at the papers produced by many theologians today, you
will find a lot of work in the extra-biblical field with less and less in the
context of Scripture itself.
     Many of the more conservative tools that stick predominantly with
Scripture are being used less and less. I have not yet heard anyone besides
me quote A.T. Robertson for some time. And yet, he is probably the best
current authoritative source for Koine Greek. What about his Word Pictures
in the New Testament? What about his Grammar in the Light of Historical
Research? Is he too conservative? Does he limit himself too much to Koine
Greek and Scriptural usage? What about Trench's book, Synonyms of the New

     An example? I hear of them every day. When I read what many are
writing today, they spend the first half or more of their papers examining
extra-biblical occurrences and then touch on the context of Scripture to try
to prove that their interpretation is allowed. Instead, we ought to reverse
that process.
     A predominant professor and a predominant seminary that even leans
somewhat toward the conservative side recently wrote a paper on STOICHEIA TOU
KOSMOU in Colossians 2:8. More than the first half of the paper dealt
exclusively with extra-biblical context, finding an occurrence in some
testament of Solomon referring to an angel of the signs of the zodiac.
 Therefore, it was concluded that instead of the normal translation,
"elementary principles of the world," a better translation would be "angelic
beings of the world." Then, finally he goes to the context only to justify
his interpretation, not to let it rule.
     I talked with him later, asking him to consider letting context rule in
interpretation. He couldn't believe that we both had the same teacher, Dr.
Robert Thomas and I came up with that conclusion. And yet, that is
exclusively what Dr. Thomas has taught and continues to teach. Only when he
sought to gain a doctorate degree from Aberdeen Scotland, Dr. Thomas told him
not to go, they'll mess you up. But if you have to go, don't go in the
gospels or you'll really get messed up. At least just go in the epistles.
     He did just that. He was a student of I. Howard Marshall. And he came
back finding angels all over in every nuance of the epistles, including in
Colossians 2:8. This is all from an emphasis on extra-biblical research to
the sacrifice of context.
     I also talked with a predominant theologian whom I challenged to let
context rule. He merely said, "If you show me where in history they did
that, I would tend to believe you." I responded, "What about the
reformation? What about Sola Scriptura?" But that wasn't good enough.
     Just look at what liberal scholarship does with the gospels! Which part
do you want to throw out? Which passage receives the black marbles? This is
not a result of a reflection upon Scripture itself, because nothing in
Scripture indicates that any part of Scripture is less authoritative than any
other. Rather, this comes from their predominant emphasis on extra-biblical
documents and a desire to treat Scripture in the same manner. But Scripture
is not just another document. It is the inspired and inerrant Word of God.

     I was included in a small closed conference with Dr. I. Howard Marshall.
 For one and a half hours the 30-40 people there asked him any question they
wanted. And up to the very end, not one Bible verse was quoted and not one
verse reference was given. It was all philosophy, psychology, sociology,
experience, etc. I asked the first and only question that was asked which
referenced a Bible verse. Everybody else asked about where he thought the
world or church was moving today.
     Later, I talked directly person to person with him, asking him why our
methodology doesn't match our theology. We say we believe in the Bible and
yet our methodology goes to all kinds of extra-biblical sources to judge,
justify, and prove the Bible for the sake of the eyes of our secular
audiences. I have heard many times, "We can't assume the Bible to be true.
 We must prove it to be true, then we can use it." This philosophy doesn't
come from the Bible. Where does God say that we should prove the Bible is
true or that God exists before we use the Bible? The Bible starts out "In
the beginning God..." (Gen. 1:1) assuming God exists and says "The fool has
said in his heart there is no God..." (Psalm 14:1).

Jim McGuire
Professor at
Logos Bible Institute
13248 Roscoe Blvd.
Sun Valley, CA 91352

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