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The resurrection of Christ is the fulcrum of everything we believe, and a turning point in history, no matter what you believe. If it's real, the implications are immense. If it didn't happen, the implications are immense. Let's talk.

Re: In what sense could the disciples "know"?

Postby Pree » Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:04 pm

>the New Testament comes as a unified set of 27 books. One of the first and primary rules of Bible interpretation is "Let the Bible explain itself." Since the Gospels are viewing the same individual from 4 vantage points, we do not separate them in interpretation.

I guess this just reveals a fundamental difference in the way we approach Scripture. The NT shouldn’t be looked at as a unified set of books. That’s how you end up with all kinds of serious errors in interpretation. The NT is a collection of 27 individual books with individual authors each with different beliefs, backgrounds, upbringings, and practices. We should treat it as such. It’s not about “letting the Bible explain itself”. It’s about letting each book explain itself.

Let me ask you this: If we take Matthew by itself without trying to harmonize it with other gospels, do you think that the disciples doubting would at least be a plausible interpretation?

> So it's easy to see how their heads are all in different places, and there are different degrees of understanding and digesting of what is going on.

Fair enough. I disagree with your conclusion, but it’s at least possible that that’s what Matthew is communicating here.
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Re: In what sense could the disciples "know"?

Postby jimwalton » Tue Nov 06, 2018 5:06 pm

> I guess this just reveals a fundamental difference in the way we approach Scripture.

Yep, I guess so. Each book is taken on its own, but definitely part of the whole. All Scripture is God-breathed. We let the Bible interpret the Bible. We take each book in its era, regarding its author, its intent and its audience, but we also take the entire Bible as coming from a single source: God (2 Tim. 3.16; 2 Pet. 1.21).

> The NT is a collection of 27 individual books with individual authors each with different beliefs, backgrounds, upbringings, and practices. We should treat it as such.

Yeah, I guess we will never come to agreement about this. The first sentence is not even true. 27 books, yes, and individual authors, of course, with different backgrounds, yes, but they all had the same belief. There's the key, and that's why they're integrated and mutually interpretable.

> It’s not about “letting the Bible explain itself”.

I don't know if you're a Christian or not, or what your training is, but this is a fundamental principle of biblical hermeneutics. i would guess you'd only deny this if you are not a Christian and you approach the Bible a just a collection of ancient (and therefore flawed, legendary, fictional) texts.

> Let me ask you this: If we take Matthew by itself without trying to harmonize it with other gospels, do you think that the disciples doubting would at least be a plausible interpretation?

I don't, because most of the evidence I gave you was from the Gospel of Matthew itself. My main list was: "What we know is...

    1. They all believed (Jn. 20.20) — but I could put Mt. 28.17 here.
    2. They all worshipped (Mt. 28.17)
    3. They all had different expectations about what would happen when the Messiah came (Mt 11.2-6; 24.3; Lk. 22.38, to name a few)
    4. When this word was used in Matt. 14.31, it doesn't indicate that they didn't believe what they just saw. It indicates that their faith was less than it should be.

They're Matthew texts. Even if you insist on staying in the narrow band of Matthew alone, I think my assertion stands.
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Re: In what sense could the disciples "know"?

Postby Pree » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:43 am

No I’m not a Christian.

1. Matthew doesn’t say they believed. It says they worshipped but some doubted. One can worship without believing that they’re looking at a physically resurrected Jesus. Even Saul ‘worshipped’ the ghost of Samuel (1 Sam 28:14). It wouldn’t be surprising for some of the disciples to worship what they perceive to be the ghost of Jesus.

2. Same point as above. Worship does not equate to believing in a bodily resurrection.

3. Sure.

4. “It indicates that their faith was less than it should be.” Exactly. So you agree then that the disciples’ faith was less than it should be when they saw Jesus?
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Re: In what sense could the disciples "know"?

Postby jimwalton » Wed Nov 07, 2018 11:44 am

It's a solid understanding that through all the Gospels the disciples are confused about the identity, purpose, and destiny of Jesus. Mark is particularly brutal on them. They don't come to understanding until Pentecost, when the Holy Spirit comes upon them. Then, and only then, do all things come clear.

ONE. Hmm. It's incredulous to think they would worship someone they didn't believe in. That they preached the physical resurrection of Jesus is unarguable (Acts 2.31-32; 3.13; 4.2; 1 Cor. 15, et al.).

> Even Saul ‘worshipped’ the ghost of Samuel (1 Sam 28:14).

The Hebrew word for worship is שׁחה (shahhah). That is not the term used here. Saul is bowing as a sign of respect, which was very common in their culture.

> It wouldn’t be surprising for some of the disciples to worship what they perceive to be the ghost of Jesus.

This is not possible. Remember that people had already seen Jesus and grasped him (Mt. 28.9), and those people reported to the disciples what they had seen and done. We know this for a fact because v. 16 has them going to the mountain to which the women had instructed them. Even if we take just Matthew's account, which isn't the whole story but is what you want to do, your theory doesn't hold. The word "clasped" is ἐκράτησαν: "to seize; to hold." And "feet" (πόδας) denotes not merely the foot, but also the leg. They knew he was no ghost.

TWO. Of course worship doesn't equate to their belief in a bodily resurrection. Worship is their act of veneration. But we can see from their future behavior that they clearly did believe in a bodily resurrection, and I showed above that the report that came to them would have been that of a bodily resurrection. You have to twist the text to deny a bodily resurrection.

FOUR. "So you agree then that the disciples’ faith was less than it should be when they saw Jesus?" Of course. Even my faith is still not where it should be. Faith is progressive. At this point they were still processing what had happened and what was still happening. C'mon. They're human. They know physical resurrection is impossible, and yet, here they were seeing it with their very eyes in an indubitable manner, just as they had seen him calm the storm, heal, raise the dead, and walk on the water. They had seen him transfigured (Mt. 17.1-13). Jesus was very disequilibrating. It took processing. Not until the Holy Spirit came in Acts 2 does it all come clear to them.

But that doesn't mean they're having second thoughts or think they're seeing a ghost. Those conclusions are non sequiturs. We don't have any evidence that would lead us in that direction.
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Re: In what sense could the disciples "know"?

Postby Pree » Wed Nov 07, 2018 2:16 pm

> ONE. Hmm. It's incredulous to think they would worship someone they didn't believe in. That they preached the physical resurrection of Jesus is unarguable (Acts 2.31-32; 3.13; 4.2; 1 Cor. 15, et al.).

I’m not arguing that they remained in permanent doubt. Clearly, they came to believe in a physical resurrection. In this moment, however, they had doubts.

> The Hebrew word for worship is שׁחה (shahhah). That is not the term used here. Saul is bowing as a sign of respect, which was very common in their culture.

In Matthew’s case, the word “worship” here can also mean bowing in respect (see Acts 10:25, Rev 3:9).

> The word "clasped" is ἐκράτησαν: "to seize; to hold." And "feet" (πόδας) denotes not merely the foot, but also the leg. They knew he was no ghost.

Who’s doing the clasping in this verse? It was the women. They told the disciples, but the disciples didn’t believe them. So this isn’t an argument.

> But that doesn't mean they're having second thoughts or think they're seeing a ghost. Those conclusions are non sequiturs. We don't have any evidence that would lead us in that direction.

Really? How about Luke 24:37 “They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.” Keep in mind this all takes place AFTER the women had already reported to them that they saw and touched Jesus. The disciples STILL believed he was a ghost. So even if we take other gospels into consideration, your argument still fails. The disciples didn’t believe even when the women told them they grasped Jesus.
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Re: In what sense could the disciples "know"?

Postby jimwalton » Sat Dec 01, 2018 7:55 am

> In Matthew’s case, the word “worship” here can also mean bowing in respect (see Acts 10:25, Rev 3:9).

Yes. The Greek word for worship is προσκυνέω. It means "to bow the knee." In Greek, when one bows the knee to God it is worship, and when one bows the knee to a ruler or another kind of master, it's a sign of respect. But you were saying that Saul worshipped Samuel in 1 Sam. 28.14, which is not true.

Never elsewhere in Matthew do we see the disciples greeting Jesus with a bow of respect. In the context of Matthew 28.17, moreover, it doesn't make sense to say that some bowed with respect but others were having second thoughts.

> Who’s doing the clasping in this verse? It was the women. They told the disciples, but the disciples didn’t believe them. So this isn’t an argument.

Where do you get that the disciples didn't believe them? You said we're sticking in Matthew alone. Where does it say the disciples didn't believe the women?

> Really? How about Luke 24:37 “They were startled and frightened, thinking they saw a ghost.”

I thought you said we were sticking with Matthew alone. It's what you been pressing me since the beginning: "No, only Matthew." You can't have your cake and eat it, too. You can't dip into other Gospels when it's convenient to you, but forbid me to do so.

So if we're allowed to dip into Luke, when they first see Jesus they consider that he may be a ghost since they have no paradigm by which to process a physical resurrection. But he immediately assures them he's not a ghost by eating something. That means by the time they get to the mountainside in Matthew, they are confident he's not a ghost, and wouldn't be having second thoughts about that. So not only does my argument not fail, but you bolstered it by referencing Luke.


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