Using Greek Apocryphal Gospels in your Study (Part 2)

Greek Apocryphal Gospels

As the Greek Apocryphal Gospels, Fragments and Agrapha project is now in the “Under Development” stage of the pre-pub process, and since I’ve done some work on it, I thought it would be fun to write about some of the material.

Most folks aren’t familiar with this stuff, but it is very interesting and can even be helpful when looking at the events recorded in the New Testament.

In Part 1 of this two-part post, we talked about P.Vindob. 2325, an apocryphal fragment which has similarities with the gospel accounts of Jesus predicting Peter’s betrayal (Mt 26:30–35; Mk 14:26–30) .

There are also fragments of things that expand or add to canonical material, like P.Berol. 11710, two small fragments dating back to the sixth century that share a short interaction between Nathanael and Jesus, which perhaps expands a bit on Jn 1:47–51. One snippet from those small fragments: “The Rabbi also said, ‘Nathanael, walk in the sun.’ Nathanael answered him and said, ‘Rabbi Lord, you are the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world.’”

These additions should not be considered canonical. But the influence of the Johannine themes (the light/darkness motif via “walk in the sun”; Nathanael calling Jesus “the lamb of God who takes away the sins of the world,” see Jn 1:29) are notable. For whatever reason, the author of this expansion thought these things were important enough to frame in this manner.

Some fragments give accounts of things altogether unknown. P.Oxy 840, dated to the fourth century, tells the story of a Pharisee and high priest (named Levi?) talking with Jesus and his disciples in the temple complex about purity. This one even has Jesus giving this Levi a “woe” statement:

“Woe to you, blind ones who do not see. You have washed in these running waters in which dogs and pigs have been cast night and day, and have cleansed the outsides of your skin, which also the prostitutes and the flute-girls anoint and wash and scrub and beautify for the lust of men.”

Yikes! There are elements that the gospels use in railing against Pharisees (a “woe” statement, talking about cleansing the outside and neglecting the inside, see Mt 23:25-37) but the substance is altogether unknown outside of this fragment. We can see, perhaps, how a segment of early Christianity continued portray the Pharisees in a derogatory manner.

Does this stuff interest you at all? Then you should check out the Greek Apocryphal Gospels, Fragments and Agrapha. It will include the Greek of these fragments and other documents. The fragmentary papyri and agrapha will also have translations. The larger apocryphal gospels will have newly-written introductions along with bibliographies. Each fragment will also have a short introduction; the agrapha will probably have an introduction for each source of agrapha. These introductions will also discuss parallels/relationships with the New Testament.

All of these things add to the understanding we have of how scripture was used and even how it was mis-used in the early days of the development of Christianity. We learn more about what sorts of stories they told, what sorts of sermons they preached, and how they tried to understand the gospel and tell it to others. By understanding even a little more about the cultural milieu of those early days of the development of Christianity, we end up with more insight to the gospel itself and how it was received by those who heard it.

How to Pick the Perfect Graduation Gift for Your Grad

Run a Google search for “graduation gift ideas” and you’ll find all kinds of stuff: T-shirts, jewelry, picture frames, personalized candy tins—plenty of neat trinkets.

Unfortunately for grads that plan to enter vocational ministry, these have nothing to do with their future in Bible college, seminary, preaching, or teaching. But you can give them something that will set them up for lifelong ministry! We’ve put together four graduation gift ideas for the grad who wants the best in Bible study tools.

Then we reduced the prices on this list to make them more appealing.

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A Logos base package gives grads the tools they need to pursue their calling.

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This 900+ page collection deals with questions about God’s love—something that’s often distorted in today’s popular culture—by bringing together three books by noted evangelical scholar Donald A. (D. A.) Carson. The Difficult Doctrine of the Love of God looks at God’s love from a biblical perspective and really digs into this vitally important doctrine. For the Love of God volumes 1 and 2 each offer systematic 365-day plans that take readers through the New Testament and Psalms twice and the rest of the Old Testament once using the M’Cheyne Bible-reading schedule.

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Francis Schaeffer deeply affected a generation of readers; this is the definitive edition of his books. This set includes 22 titles divided into five areas of study: Christian views on philosophy and culture, the Bible’s truth, spirituality, the church, and the West.

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Most people slip by in life without a passion for God, living for comfort and pleasure. In this book, John Piper warns readers not to get caught up in a life that counts for nothing.
These deals end soon, so don’t wait—give your grad the world’s best Bible software today and set them up for future ministry! Check out all these deals and more graduation gift ideas at our graduation gifts page .

Moving On to Doctorate Studies?

If you and/or your grad are looking to enhance your ministry and get that “Dr.,” now’s the time to check out the new Doctor of Ministry in Preaching and Teaching from Logos and Knox Theological Seminary. If you apply by June 1, Logos will fly you to your first onsite class free!

All these deals end soon, so don’t wait—give your grad the world’s best Bible software today and set them up for future ministry! Check out all these deals and more graduation gift ideas at our graduation gifts page.

Kick Off Summer with These Special Deals

UPDATE: Get Memorial Day deals now through June 1!

We had some technical difficulties with our email system last weekend, so we’re extending the Memorial Day sale so everyone can get in on the opportunity to save big! 

Summer is nearly a month away. But for many, Memorial Day weekend means setting up lawn furniture, dusting off the barbecue, and pulling out the summer clothes.

And that means it’s time to get ready for summer reading, studying, and library building. Logos is here to help—with special Memorial Day weekend prices on some of our most popular products!

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Multiple items with more than one coupon code will need to be purchased separately; we apologize for any inconvenience. These coupon codes are only available for a limited time, so take advantage of these sales by midnight, June 1 (PST).

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Only 3 Days Left to Get May’s Free Book of the Month!

A. W. Pink’s The Godhood of God has been May’s Free Book of the Month, but the month is nearly over. If you haven’t downloaded this freebie, time’s running out!

What’s the Godhood of God? Pink explains this title as follows:

 “The Godhood of God! What is meant by the expression? This: the omnipotency of God, the absolute sovereignty of God. When we speak of the Godhood of God we affirm that God is God. We affirm that God is something more than an empty title: that God is something more than a mere figure-head: that God is something more than a far-distant Spectator, looking helplessly on at the suffering which sin has wrought. When we speak of the Godhood of God we affirm that He is ‘King of kings and Lord of lords.’ “

Biographer Iain H. Murrary says, “The widespread circulation of [Pink's] writings after his death made him one of the most influential evangelical authors in the second half of the twentieth century.”

When you visit the Free Book of the Month page, you can enter to win the 40-volume A. W. Pink Collection! Download the free book and enter to win the collection before June 1!

Logos 4: A Shortcut to the Harmony of the Gospels

Today’s post is from Morris Proctor, certified and authorized trainer for Logos Bible Software. Morris, who has trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos seminars, provides many training materials.

mp|seminars Tips Some events in the Bible are recorded in more than one place. For example, the Ten Commandments appear in both Exodus and Deuteronomy. Qualifications for church leadership are listed in both1 Timothy and Titus. Passages in the Bible describing the same event are called parallel passages and a book containing parallel passages is called a harmony.

Perhaps the most popular harmony is a harmony of the Gospels, displaying in parallel columns the Gospels writers’ accounts of the same historical event. To use this resource in print we would normally go to the table of contents and look up an episode in the life of Christ such as his temptations from Satan. The table of contents would direct us to Matthew’s, Mark’s and Luke’s descriptions of the incident.

As you can see, there’s a lot of page-turning involved in using a harmony in print. Logos, however, locates the same information with just one mouse click!

  • Type A Harmony of the Gospels in the Command box (1)
  • Drag the resource from the drop-down list that appears under the Command box to the Shortcuts bar (2)
  • Notice that Logos creates a shortcut icon to open A.T. Robertson’s A Harmony of the Gospels (all Logos base collections except the Christian Home Library contain this book) (3)
  • Open a Bible to a passage in the gospels such as Luke 4.1 (4)
  • Click the new shortcut icon to instantly open A Harmony of the Gospels right to the page displaying Matthew’s, Mark’s, and Luke’s accounts of the three temptations of Jesus!! (5)

To see the other harmonies you own:

  • Open the Library
  • Type this text into Library’s Find box: type:harmony
  • Drag from the Library to the Shortcuts bar harmonies that cover other parts of the Bible such as Synopsis of the Old Testament and Pastoral Epistles.

When you’re reading in the Old Testament or the pastoral letters, click the appropriate icon to open the resource to the page showing parallel passages!

If you like this explanation of a harmony, then you’ll enjoy the new training tool, Introduction to Bible Study with Logos Bible Software, in which I describe numerous Bible study resources and explain how to use them in Logos.

Using Greek Apocryphal Gospels in Your Study (Part 1)

Greek Apocryphal Gospels

Since the Greek Apocryphal Gospels, Fragments and Agrapha project made it to the “Under Development” stage of the Pre-Pub process, I’ve been spending part of my time working on it.

Specifically, I’ve been working on getting transcriptions of all of the fragmentary stuff and the agrapha together. It’s been fun, and I’ve been able to acquaint myself with these valuable fragments at a deeper level.

[Short aside: As I've worked on the transcriptions, I also translated them because I found it helpful for reference. So the resource will also include translations of the fragments and agrapha, which is new — not even mentioned on the Pre-Pub page yet!]

But, really, can this stuff be helpful and useful as you study the Bible? I think it can be, and that’s one reason why I wanted so much to start this project.

Let’s take a small fragment, P.Vindob. 2325 (aka “The Fayûm Fragment”) as an example.

This little guy, probably part of a larger scroll, was located in Vienna in 1885 among some papyri that Archduke Rainier had ferreted away. It probably dates to the early/middle third century (so, 200–250).

As you read it, it will sound very familiar. But the wording itself is different from other synoptic accounts of the same event. Here’s my provisional translation:

… and he brought out, as he said, that “In this night you will all fall away, as it is written: ‘I will strike the shepherd and the sheep will be scattered.’” Peter said, “Even if everyone else does, I will not.” Jesus said, “Before the rooster crows twice, today you will deny me three times.”

Sound familiar? Yup. Sounds like the same thing which is mentioned in Mt. 26:30–35; Mk. 14:26–30; see also Lk. 22:34 and Jn. 13:38. But, at the same time, it is a bit different. Jesus isn’t explicitly referred to at the beginning, at least in the portion of the text we have. It makes you wonder what happened before this event. The quote of Zech 13:7 is introduced slightly differently ([κατα] το γραφεν vs. γεγραπται γαρ), but the substance of the quote is pretty much the same. It is missing Mk 14:28/Mt 26:32, the part about the disciples meeting in Galilee after Jesus is raised. The dialogue between Peter and Jesus is a bit shorter and simpler. And the text agrees with the Markan reading, that the rooster will crow twice (Mt./Lk. just say “crow”), but says it will be “today” without Mark’s further “this night” clarification.

There are enough differences between the Greek of P.Vindob. 2325 and Mark 14:26–30 that we can pretty safely assume P.Vindob. 2325 is not directly related to the Gospel of Mark. A minority view is that it could be from the Gospel of Peter, but that relies on shaky ground (reading “Peter said” as “I, Peter, said” through an alternate reconstruction).

What P.Vindob. 2325 does tell is us that people were telling the story of Christ’s crucifixion (and resurrection) in all sorts of ways and that, at least in this instance, it sounds pretty much like what we’re familiar with. One common thought today is that P.Vindob. 2325 was a re-working and abridgment of the synoptic accounts.

There are all sorts of fragments like this, witnessing some portion found in the gospels—but not in completely the same way. While definitely not canonical, they are very interesting and enlightening.

There are also fragments that expand upon canonical material and fragments that give us completely new material. They  help us understand more about the sorts of tales and influences that were floating about in the early, early church. We’ll talk about these sorts of fragments next week!

Logos 4: Introduction to Bible Study with Logos Bible Software

Today’s post is from Morris Proctor, certified and authorized trainer for Logos Bible Software. Morris, who has trained thousands of Logos users at his two-day Camp Logos seminars, provides many training materials.

mp|seminars Tips

Surrounded by eager observers at a local church, a Logos representative gave a detailed and exciting demonstration of Logos Bible Software. He thoroughly explained the Home Page, the Passage Guide, the Exegetical Guide, Bible Word Study, searching, and more. Following the presentation, an attendee remarked—

This program looks powerful and wonderful! I do have one question, though—What is a commentary?

This event illustrates an important point. Sometimes within Christian circles we may innocently assume everyone is operating from the same knowledge base. Surely everyone is familiar with Christian vocabulary and resources. We all know what redemption means. We all know where the Bible came from. We all know what commentaries, study Bibles, and lexicons are.

Of course, when we stop and think about it, we know this isn’t true. We have to start at the beginning, then learn and grow in any field of study—including our Christian disciplines.

With this in mind, we created the training video  Introduction to Bible Study with Logos Bible Software. In this instruction, I assume no prior knowledge of either Logos or the Bible itself.

In understandable terms, I explain what the Bible is, where it came from, and what distinguishes the various available Bibles. I then briefly describe numerous Bible study resources: commentaries, Bible dictionaries, topical Bibles, and more.

In addition, I introduce you to various ways of approaching Bible study, including:

  • Book Study
  • Passage Study
  • Word Study
  • Topic Study
  • Devotional Study

Then, at the heart of the training, I show you how to incorporate many Logos features into the five methods of Bible study listed above. In other words, with this training you’ll not only learn what a book study is—you’ll learn how to use Logos to accomplish it. This instruction not only introduces you to Bible study, it gets you going with Logos.

After completing this training, you’ll no longer just open Logos and randomly click around the software. You’ll proactively and systematically move through the software to facilitate different types of Bible study.

So if you’re new to either Logos or Bible study itself (or even both), this product was created with you in mind.

Even if you’re beyond the introduction stage, perhaps you know someone who can benefit from this training. This is an excellent way to get people started in their study of Scripture.

Introduction to Bible Study with Logos Bible Software is now available to pre-order at Logos.com. For more information, please click here.

What is one area of your Bible study that you would like to improve in? Leave a comment and let us know!

Adolf Schlatter (1852-1938)

Adolf Schlatter in his study.

Do we know Jesus? If we no longer know him, we no longer know ourselves“—Do We Know Jesus? Daily Insights for the Mind and Soul (Kregel Academic, 2005).

As the world spiraled toward a second World War, Adolf Schlatter knew his time on earth was coming to a close. Schlatter had stood behind the lectern of some of Europe’s most prestigious universities, authored important scholarly monographs, and ministered to students and parishioners. But his final days were spent in prayer and agony for the German church, which he feared was being swallowed up by fascism. On the morning of May 19, 1938, at the age of 85, Adolf Schlatter entered into the eternal rest of his Savior, whom he treasured and proclaimed faithfully all his life.

Since his death in 1938, Schlatter’s contribution to biblical scholarship has remained relatively unknown to many English-speaking evangelicals. While the works of other important German scholars like Karl Barth—a student of Schlatter’s—have enjoyed a wider audience among English-language readers, Schlatter’s writings have remained largely untranslated. In the latter part of the 20th century, Schlatter’s contribution to New Testament theology and exegesis has experienced an awaking of sorts among American evangelicals—and this is a great thing for us all. Some of his most important works have since been translated into English and given a wider audience, bringing his contribution to New Testament studies into the foreground of mainline evangelicalism.

Faith in the New Testament by Adolf Schlatter: English and German

Logos has commissioned the first-ever English translation of Adolf Schlatter’s Der Glaube im Neuen Testament (Faith in the New Testament). We believe that good scholarship should be available to all, so we’ve placed Schlatter’s Faith in the New Testament on Pre-Pub. Once there’s enough interest, we will begin the translation process. So in honor of the 74th anniversary of Schlatter’s passing, why not pre-order a copy of Faith in the New Testament and help make Adolf Schlatter’s works more available than ever before!

What Did David Know about Suffering? Excerpt from New Pre-Pub

Looking for daily inspiration from devotionals that focus on a common theme for each year? The 13-volume Day by Day Collection may be exactly what you need. Produced by UK-based charity Precious Seed International, the Day by Day Collection delivers 13 devotionals, each centered on individual subjects like prayer or biblical promises.

The content in the Day by Day Collection blends instruction with edification. You’ll come away each day feeling informed, challenged, and uplifted. These volumes are not just invaluable resources for personal devotion; they provide powerful material that you can incorporate into Sunday School lessons, small group discussions, and more.

As an example of Day by Day’s significant content, here is the July 5 entry from Day by Day: Christ Foreshadowed by Ivan Steeds:

The Extremity of Suffering

Psalm 22:14–15; John 19:28

Here was extremity indeed, an extremity in which His life, deprived of its natural support, is in the act of dissolution and strength is decayed. The idea of desperate exhaustion and debility is conveyed in the terms used to describe the Lord’s physical suffering in these verses. The terms are graphic indeed; the reality excruciatingly agonizing in its pain.

The picture shows us a whole frame dissolving, and it retains no firmness, no stability; it utterly yields and flows away in weakness. ‘I am poured out like water’ conveys the idea of exhaustion and of debility. He says, ‘All my bones are out of joint’, literally ‘have separated themselves’, torn from their sockets, as of a man stretched upon a rock.

‘My heart is like wax; it is melted in the midst of my bowels’ conveys the idea of the inner turmoil; it may also indicate the collapse of strength of spirit. As wax softens and melts and offers no resistance to heat, so the heart lay prostrate beneath subduing misery.

‘My strength is dried up like a potsherd’, He cries, like the broken piece of pottery lying baking in the eastern sun, parched and intolerably dry. He continues ‘My tongue cleaveth to to my jaws’, so there is the resultant, unremitting thirst to which He would give expression in the cry ‘I thirst’, Jn 19:28.

What we have here is a poignant and accurate description of the physical effects of crucifixion. Here is a degree of suffering of which we have no record of anyone enduring in the Old Testament. The words were David’s words, by God inspired, but the thoughts, the extremity, the anguish, were those of another, a greater than David. We await the New Testament to find to whom those these sufferings referred.

Finally the Sufferer says, ‘thou hast brought me into the dust of death’. In all His anguish Jesus realizes His Father’s hand, Is. 53:10; Acts 2:23. So, as in Isaiah 53, verse 10, the death of the Lord Jesus appears not merely as something which befell Him, and not merely as something divinely permitted, but as purposed and determined by God. He died because His people were thus sentenced, and He died the death of the cross to bear their curse; ‘Unto dust thou shalt return’ was Adam’s sentence, Gen. 3:19. ‘Thou hast brought me into the dust of death’. v. 15.

Pick up the Day by Day Collection on Pre-Pub for only $99.95—that’s less than $8 a volume for 13 daily devotionals!

Hurry! This ECPA-Winning Title Ships Tomorrow

There’s only one day left to pick up the Zondervan Practical Theology Collection (4 vols.) while it’s still on Pre-Pub!

Included in this four volume set is the Dictionary of Christian Spirituality. Edited by Bethel Seminary professor Glen G. Scorgie, this dictionary won the
2012 ECPA Christian Book Award in the Bible Reference category.

By itself, the Dictionary of Christian Spirituality retails for $39.99—more than half the $61.57 Pre-Pub price tag—and it’s worth every penny.

Check out these endorsements:

“The very publication of this work speaks to the contemporary interest in spirituality. So much spirituality, however, is uninformed, shallow, and vague. All the more reason to welcome this important dictionary. It is impressive in its scope, wide in what is included, and deep in the intent to strengthen life in the Spirit of Christ. Scan a few entries, and it will be evident what a valuable resource this can be.”—Leighton Ford, president, Leighton Ford Ministries

“The combination of substantial reflective essays on major themes in Christian spirituality and sharply focused articles on major figures and topics provides a rich mixture of insight, information, and inspiration. ‘Spirituality’ can be a subject that wafts into the ether, but in this broadly ecumenical and very well-balanced work, it is presented with real substance and genuine edification.”—Mark A. Noll, professor of history, University of Notre Dame

“The Dictionary of Christian Spirituality is a well-researched, comprehensive study of Christian spirituality from a broad evangelical perspective. . . . I give the Dictionary of Christian Spirituality my highest recommendation.”—Richard J. Foster, professor of theology, Friends University

“Engaging, comprehensive, informative, broad in perspective. Who thinks it is fun to read a dictionary? This one is! This is a dictionary to be read for enjoyment as well as information. The essays and articles are freshly written, thorough but concise. The Dictionary of Christian Spirituality reflects the deep respect and appreciation the writers have for their topics. Reading this dictionary is like taking a finely tuned course in the topics included. . . . I was fascinated and drawn from article to article . . . appreciating the fine scholarship, depth of research reflected, and careful writing that make the Dictionary of Christian Spirituality an excellent resource.”—Jeannette A. Bakke, faculty associate, Bethel Theological Seminary

“This is not the only dictionary about Christian spirituality in town. There are many around and some of them are very good. But this one, with its global interests and spiritual zeal, has an energy and breadth that lifts it into a new league. Moreover, as well as making a very good job of expanding our knowledge of Christian spirituality and all the sources that have shaped it, this important volume steers the reader through the people, movements, and issues with a reliable, generous, and grace-focused wisdom. It is a source not just of information about Christian spirituality but of real formation, through the Spirit, in the life of Christ.”—Christopher Cocksworth, bishop of Coventry, Church of England

“The more I read in the Dictionary of Christian Spirituality, the more I wanted to read more! The initial essays provide a thoroughly excellent foundation, and the alphabetized entries that follow leave us intrigued to read others. I highly recommend this dictionary for all Christians, especially those who want to grow in their active practices of various spiritual disciplines, their devoted love for God and neighbor, and their fervent thanksgiving for global saints and the myriad ways God works in the world.”—Marva J. Dawn, teaching fellow in spiritual theology, Regent College

“Scholarship with a soul! This is a book like no other—scholarly breadth with spiritual depth in a dictionary. So many have written so much about Christian spirituality that it is difficult to connect the parts. Here is a readable resource that brings everything together. I kept turning the pages . . . not to read through, but to explore. Every article led me to another journey on a different page.”—Leith Anderson, president, National Association of Evangelicals

“The Dictionary of Christian Spirituality is a remarkable balance of broad, integrative essays and more than 700 succinct, informative dictionary entries. It combines a wide survey of the great movements in Christian spirituality while giving attention to the main contributors from all parts of the globe, past and present. The contributors include some of the great heavyweights of the movement while also incorporating significant voices from a variety of related disciplines and perspectives. The work is a must-have resource for every able scholar, pastor, and follower of Jesus.”—Gayle D. Beebe, president, Westmont College

Don’t wait: you’re going to want to add this collection to your resources today. Not only will you get this ECPA-winning book on spiritual formation—you’ll add three other powerful books on preaching and worship to your library as well. When it ships tomorrow, May 18, the price goes up. Order now!