I haven’t seen wind like this in a long time, I really haven’t. This morning during breakfast I heard predicted gusts of 110km/hr, and I believe it! But, despite the somewhat inclement weather (at least it is not overly cold), I had a wonderful day today. But first…
The morning after I arrived in London I made the trek down to the Premier Radio studios in London to once again join Justin Brierley for the Unbelievable Radio Program. We had a discussion of the King James Bible with Kyle Paisley, a minister and son of Ian Paisley. You can listen to the dialogue when it airs on February 12th (and is posted on Justin’s podcast page). I always enjoy visiting with Justin, and hope the programs we do are helpful to a large audience.
That evening I was once again on the “Live at Nine” program on Revelation TV, this time to debate Pastor Jack Moorman on the King James Only position. We had a live studio audience. (Please see my personal note at the end of this blog entry about the comment made by the moderator at the beginning of the program). Someone recorded it off the web, and has already posted it on YouTube, though the video is at a very low frame rate and is a little difficult to watch. In any case, here’s the program:
Yesterday one of my hosts, Joe Reilly (you have heard him call in a number of times on the Dividing Line) took pastor Doug McMasters and I to the Trinity College here in Dublin. We were joined there by Chris Caughey, a brother I met over twenty years ago, who is now doing doctoral studies in history at Trinity College. We went to the library where we visited “the Long Room” which is, well, as you can see, just amazing. It really does look like this. Rows and rows, stacks and stacks, of books, most of which are quite old. The smell was amazing. I suppose if you are not a lover of old books, that is hardly of interest to you, but if you do, you know how awesome such a place can be. Makes me ponder what the library at Alexandria looked like (and smelled like!). But we could not stay long in the Long Room, as we had an appointment in the reading room. Chris Caughey had helped me prepare a manuscript request, and we needed to make our appointment with Codex Montfortianus!
Now while you can only see my arm (Pastor McMasters is a big man!), this is Doug, Joe, and myself, examining Codex Montfortianus, the text theorized by some to be the one used to force Erasmus to insert the Comma Johanneum into the third edition of his Greek text (assuring it a place in what is today called the Textus Receptus, and hence in the King James Bible). We took the time to examine the relevant text, as well as to check its reading at other places such as Luke 2:22 and Revelation 16:5. Remember that these hand-written manuscripts take a while to examine. Not only were they produced prior to the versification of the Bible, but the scribe of this particular text seemed to be in quite a hurry, and was not easy to read. I hope to make some more comments on the text in the future, hopefully putting up a YouTube video on the entire issue of 1 John 5:7. We also took the opportunity while there to examine the Book of Kells on display there at the library. It was a wonderful opportunity, for which I am very thankful.
This morning I fulfilled a hope that had been born last year when Doug McMasters and I first began considering coming up here to Dublin to visit the Chester Beatty Library, home of P45, P46, P47, and a small fragment of P66. We were joined once again by Joe and Chris. Unfortunately, the Museum’s manuscript reading room was closed (we are working on obtaining some high quality digital images of particular texts), but the display area is very impressive, and we spent a long period straining our eyes to examine the manuscripts that are available. So as to preserve them, the light is very low. This makes attempting to read 1800 year old uncial hand writing next to impossible, but we tried very, very hard. Since I have the Accordance Bible App on my iPod Touch, I have the papyri transcriptions available to me all the time. So, once we could identify some key terms or phrases, I could search and find them, and then we would have a transcript to follow in reading the texts. We read from P47 in Revelation chapter 9, for example.
Then we went to P46 and identified each of the pages on display. The last one we examined was from Philippians. I excitedly consulted my Accordance listing to see if possibly I might see any of the Carmen Christi (Philippians 2:5-11) in one of the earliest papyri sources for the book. Unfortunately, the text on display ended at Philippians 1:29! Which meant that the Carmen Christi began on the back of the page on display! But I did not mind not seeing it, as I knew I was looking at the very page that contains that glorious and sacred text. The page we saw is to the right.
It was probably a bit humorous for some of the visitors to see us kneeling on the ground before these pages. No, we were not worshipping them. The light reflected off of them from above, so the best vantage point for viewing the writing was at an angle from below. So the conversation would be like this:
James: “OK, the nomina sacra there on line three….is that hoti following? Can anyone make that out?”
Doug: “Could that be eis to?”
Chris: “That’s definitely wn before it…is there an wn in that text?”
James: “Ah, found it!”
And so on. What a great time we had. Well, until we ran into the small fragment of P66 on display. I don’t think my eyes will ever recover from the straining I did to decipher that tiny little fragment. I vow I shall not be defeated by this little thing, but I have not finished my work on it. Hopefully I will have time to blog something about that once I get home from this trip. We also saw the earliest papyri fragment of the Gospel of Mark as well.
What a tremendous privilege it was to see these great treasures, monuments of God’s providence and testimonies to the love of God’s people of His Word down through the years.
I will be speaking here in Dublin over the next two days, at the Arann Baptist Church. Tomorrow I will be speaking on the Trinity, and the preaching Sunday morning. Sunday evening I will be preaching at the Bray Gospel Hall, but I will not be speaking on The Potter’s Freedom. I will give a presentation on proclaiming the Cross to Muslims. Please note that change.
Now if I might provide a personal comment. The host of the Revelation TV program shocked me by starting off his introduction of me by noting the contents of a private conversation we had been having before the program began. You can see my amazement. And since it has been announced on television I am now forced to comment on the matter. Yes, I underwent a cardiac ablation procedure on Thursday morning, January 27th (hence the reason we didn’t have a DL that day!). The procedure was to correct a rhythm issue that had developed over the past six months or so. No, it was not brought on by exercise, the underlying condition was exposed by it, and by being in excellent cardio vascular condition. The doctor feels there is a very good chance that the issue was resolved, and I am thankful for the prayers of those brothers and sisters who were aware of the situation who prayed for me. I am clear to be on my bike as soon as I get home—in fact, the doctor wants me to get a flat ride or two in first, and then he wants me to go all-out and see where we are as far as the issue is concerned. However, we will not know with finality whether the issue has been resolved until early July. As I was told early on, the condition won’t kill me, but it might annoy me to death! In any case, I am thankful for the opportunity to avail myself of such amazingly advanced medical technology (I now have a full color, 3-D map of the electrical system of my heart, which proves that despite rumors to the contrary, I DO have one!). All rumors of my soon demise, as much as they might be desired by a wide variety of folks, are unfounded.