Saturday, December 3, 2011

Standard or Fluid Texts

Sometimes a good modern example serves to remind us of the importance of the “big picture” when we study ancient documents.  In a JETS article from March 2009 (Volume 52, No. 1)  – I’m a little behind in my reading, Peter J. Gentry wrote an excellent article called “The Text of the Old Testament”.  In the article he examines the history of the Old Testament texts, scribal practices, Ancient versions, discoveries and history of interpretation among other things.  In section IV, “Assessing the Witnesses and Reconstructing the Text History” he addresses the texts from the Judean Desert.  In his critique of Sidnie White Crawford, he makes an excellent observation that caught my attention.  After a study of the Qumran texts Crawford concludes that “…both canon and text were fluid and not standardized at this time.”  She means during the late Second Temple period the Old Testament texts were still fluid.  Gentry does not agree, but also does not discount the evidence.  In footnote 66 on page 37 he says this:

In many ways, the history of the biblical text at this time is not dissimilar to a Christian or Jewish bookstore today.  One wonders what an archaeologist would conclude after excavating remains of a contemporary Christian bookstore some 2000 years hence.  The number and variety of translations of the Bible is bewildering to people today, not to mention some future historian of the text.  Here are some examples of what one may encounter:

  • The New Student Bible
  • Life Application Bible (Take the Next Step)
  • Psalty’s Kids’ Bible
  • NIV Young Discover’s Bible
  • The Adventure Bible
  • The Full Life Study Bible
  • Disciple’s Study Bible
  • Women’s Devotional Bible
  • The Family Worship bible
  • The Devotional Bible
  • Youth Bible
  • The Discover Bible
  • The Daily Bible
  • The One Year Bible
  • The Spirit-Filled Life Bible
  • The Orthodox Study Bible
  • Rainbow Bible
  • Precious Moments
  • Mother’s Love N.T. and Psalms
The same categories used to classify texts at Qumran exist in Bible editions currently published:  Bibles that offer a standard text unadorned and uninterrupted and Bibles that adorn and decorate, paraphrase, interpret, and re-arrange the text for the audience and culture of our times.  Do we conclude from this that both canon and text are fluid? Hardly.

His point is with reference to the development of the Old Testament text.  However, in my view, the principle can be applied to our study of any ancient text or tradition.  It is an excellent reminder that our analysis of historical texts, be they epistles, gospels, inscriptions or whatever, must be seen against the background of the historical and sociological context.  In other words, we must remember the big historical picture.  Thank you for the reminder professor Gentry!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

You Have Refreshed Julie Mosse'

Our letters of late have contained quite a bit of emotion this last year. This one will be no different...except that it will be a love letter.

We arrived in the US this June feeling very tired, discouraged, and confused. Our journey with God these last few years has tested us, revealed weakness, and challenged us to grow. As you all know, we wondered if we should or even could continue in cross-cultural ministry.

Well, we are back in Ukraine...arrived after 24 hours of travel on Julie’s birthday, August 24. And we want to thank you for the refreshment, the encouragement, and love you have shown us this summer.
We were able to see many of you in our travels, and you listened to us, encouraged us, gave us space, and got in our faces. Many of you told us your own stories as well… stories of trusting God when it got very hard for you.
Proverbs says, “ pleasant words are a honeycomb, sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.” Thank you for ministering to our souls with words of encouragement this summer. Proverbs also says, “the teaching of the wise is a fountain of life, to turn aside from the snares of death.” Thank you to many of you who have spoken into our lives with words of wisdom. We have so needed to continue to be sharpened by truth.

God also blessed us with His glory and presence in His creation. To gaze at the Pacific Ocean and realize He’s bigger… To admire Yosemite’s majestic mountain views and know that He is more wonder at old California Redwoods towering overhead and rejoice that He is ageless... THANK YOU, Lord, for Your mercies are new every morning, Your steadfast love never ceases...great is Your faithfulness!

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

We are in California!

This is our home from June 21 to July 21.

On July 5th, at 7:22 pm Pacific Standard time we crossed the border between Oregon and California.

Since we left Odessa we attended two excellent conferences in Germany, had a great reunion and fellowship with Dave and Teri and Grace Church in Utah. We traveled from Salt Lake City area to Portland Oregon are to be part of a VBS at Grace Point Baptist. This included new friends, fun interaction with staff and kids and a meaningful reunion with the McCracken family. Next we spent four days at Beverly Beach on the Oregon coast. What a joy to see the Pacific Ocean again. We have been enjoying some relaxing family vacation time. We stopped at a motel for some showers and laundry and its back to the tents. More later.

Our Fourth of July walk...Ahhh the Pacific Coast!!

Monday, June 20, 2011

Not That We Are Adequate…

By Julie Mosse

In the Friday morning quiet, the shimmering vista of Utah’s Wasatch Mountains is breathtaking. Sun’s just coming up, and its rays are flaming, bolts of joy. Sunrises are the absolute antithesis of sad or tired. The meeting of hearts and souls in good conversation with good friends is too. So begins our week with Dave and Terri Butts, our good friends in Salt Lake City.

Last week at a German Bible school, with 100+ of our fellow SEND Eurasia missionaries, we heard of God’s hand working in and through all of us in the former Soviet Union, and were encouraged in our spirits from II Corinthians. We were ministered to as we listened intently to Paul’s words about the deep pain he experienced as he labored to be salt and light, the deep enablement of God in ministry, and the messy interdependence of the minister and those ministered to. II Corinthians puts a poured-out life of ministry into the most sublime context of God’s joy filled sovereignty...even the broken, untied, perplexing loose ends which are the reality of serving in the cause of the Gospel. Consider...

“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction so that we will be able to comfort those who are in any affliction with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God”

“Not that we are adequate in ourselves to consider anything as coming from ourselves, but our adequacy is from God, who made us adequate as servants of a new covenant, not of the letter but of the spirit.”

“But we have this treasure in earthen vessels, so that the surpassing greatness of the power will be of God and not from ourselves; we are afflicted in every way, but not crushed, perplexed, but not despairing, persecuted, but not forsaken, struck down, but not destroyed; always carrying about in the body the dying of Jesus, so that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body.”

Ministry these last two years has cost us. But we are not alone. Sasha and Lyuba Abramov are counting the cost with us as they serve at Odessa Seminary. Andre Polylak is counting the cost as he begins fulltime village outreach after graduating from OTS. Ilina Podilok is counting the cost as she reaches out to her teaching colleagues with the good news. Svyetta Barabash is counting the cost as she raises her children to love Jesus without the support of a believing husband. We invite you too to count the cost with us and enter the joy of the poured-out life.

Monday, June 13, 2011

On the Road Again

This will be a short entry this time. The first part of our summer journey was to spend three days with other SEND leaders at a leadership training conference in Germany. It was a fruitful time of excellent instruction, lively discussion, superb fellowship and the best of German food and hospitality. Many of these people joined SEND about the same time we did and we haven’t seen each other in four to five years. It was a great time of learning and reunion.

The next five days were spent at Brake Bible School at the SEND Eurasia Conference. Here, we enjoyed more reunions, challenging teaching from II Corinthians, more fellowship, reports about God’s work in different parts of the world, training, networking, dreaming, planning and of course again the best of German food and hospitality.

But now our good-byes are said again and we will leave tomorrow to spend on night with good friends and then start our odyssey to Utah.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Trains, Planes and Automobiles

Today we are packing, cleaning and doing last minute shopping. Tomorrow night we will get on an overnight train to Kiev then head for the airport to fly to Germany. In Germany we will attend two conferences. These conferences will be filled with worship, teaching, training, fellowship, presentations, prayer, mission business and perhaps some fun. This will start our short summer home service. We have done all the planning we dare to do and our schedule is set. When I say set, I mean it in the Ukrainian sense. There is a saying here, “Plans are written on water with a pitchfork.” That means that we have plans but who knows what will happen. We will try to regular entries on the blog.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

March Highlights

March has been a busy month. Julie and I did a lot of traveling. We got to spend a week together in Austria – this was a pretty special time. Another great highlight was celebrating Jospeh’s 15th birthday. He is growing into a man so fast. We are proud, sad and happy all at the same time. Anyway, even though he has grown, he maintains some of his childlike ways and humor. Here is a short video glimpse into the last 15 years of life with Joseph.