Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Textual Variants in Preaching

What do you do with Textual Variants in preaching?

Last week I was preaching Mark 9:14-29, and there is a significant variant in v29, whether 'and fasting' is original or not. The UBS 4th I use marks it with an [A] for the certainty that 'and fasting' is an addition, presumably based on (1) the superior mss that omit it, (2) the likelihood that 'and fasting' preserves an addition reflecting early church practices, (3) possibly the influence of 1 Cor 7:5, where 'and fasting' is almost certainly an addition.

RT France's commentary makes a telling point though, that there are good arguments both that 'and fasting' was added, and that it was subtracted. He convinced me that the [A] confidence rating was probably not that warranted, and threw the issue open. So, I'm someone agnostic on whether 'and fasting' is original or not.

What do you do with that in a sermon though? I made the calculated decision to ignore it. I try and avoid mentioning greek, mentioning textual details, etc., in sermons because most people don't really need to hear it. I will bring things up if I think they're significant; for example, I think it's important to read the end of Mark 9:18 not as 'they were not able' but 'they were not strong (enough)'.

This week's text is Mark 9:30-50, which has whole verse-numbers that should be omitted (v44, v46), as well as a collection of sayings that probably existed as independent logia! Not to mention teaching on hell.

Preaching is a joyous labour...

Monday, May 19, 2008


Sometimes you just need to knock.

Today, after many months of not quite getting around to it, I went in for a meeting at our local high school, which has seen no regular or sustained Christian ministry in at least 8 years, and our meeting was incredibly positive. We met with the deputy principal, who was amazingly accommodating, and we walked out of the meeting with virtually everything we were hoping for. So, I'm feeling incredibly encouraged by how God just opened a huge door for gospel ministry in our local school.