måndag 5 oktober 2015

2 Timothy 3:16

1) Creation vs. Evolution : CMI and Reformers, *sigh* , 2) Great Bishop of Geneva! : 2 Timothy 3:16, 3) HGL's F.B. writings : With Matt Singleton on LXX/"Apocrypha" and on liquor in moderation, 4) Great Bishop of Geneva! : In defense of Jay Dyer's Objections from Back Then

First of all - "all Scripture" does not mean "all mistranslations of Scripture" like the two modifications Dr Martin Luther defended in his Sendbrief vom Dolmetzschen. Romans 3:28 and Luke 1:28 are indeed part of it, but Luther's versions of them are not.

Second, "all A is B" does NOT mean "all B is A". For example, "all dogs are mammals" does NOT mean "all mammals are dogs".

A statement like "all A is/are B" is unsymmetrical and should definitely NOT be symbolised by the symmetrical A = B.

Now, there is a third point, which is not so much directed against Protestantism in general as against a very Modernist type of it.

slacktivist : The symmetric property of 2 Timothy 3:16

It is that when the B of "all A is/are B" refers to a list, it does not reduce A to just one item on the list.

McGrath seems to have made a point that appealed to slacktivist. Here he gives the quote, including following verse:

All scripture is inspired by God and is useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in justice, so that everyone who belongs to God may be proficient, equipped for every good work.

Now, McGrath continues to be cited with approval:

That reinforces and amplifies McGrath’s point. This isn’t about doctrine or dogma, but about behavior — about “training people in living a particular way.”

Is that so?

First of all "every good work" might include also good works on the intellectual field, like today creationism or, as on this blog, apologetics against the Protestant errors (see my observations 1 and 2). But then it seems to be some kind of sloppy reading.

Justice is indeed about behaviour. And actually in many ways about the behaviour called righteousness. Not towsing before marriage is usually a rule neglected by people clamouring for justice, and yet it is eminently just. It is just towards God not to abuse intercourse by preventing conception. Since God had a specific goal in view, see Genesis 1:28. But it is also just towards the neighbour, the child one is possibly procreating, to make a good two-person and these of different sexes and also related to the child arrangement for its raising. It is called marriage.

Now, "justice" was one item on a list.

useful for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in justice

So, behaviour was one part of the list, but not all of it.

useful for teaching,
This means doctrine and dogma!

for reproof,
This means apologetics.

for correction,
This means pastoral and fraternal correction.

and for training in justice
Now, this last one actually means behaviour.

I looked up the Greek word for "training". Nestlé Aland is good. Here is the end of the verse: πρὸς παιδείαν τὴν ἐν δικαιοσύνῃ, and paideia does not quite as strongly as askesis suggest things like fasting and praying. But obviously Scripture is very useful for that too, at least if you count Gospels as part of it. Again, something like "righteousness" and not just sth like modern meaning range for "justice".

Note that paideia does suggest another thing. Scripture does not contain all the good works there are by description. It "inspires" every kind of them, and "inspires" most of those found in the lives of the saints, but some of the actual complexities of deeds, like founding monasteries, are not directly in Divine Scripture. This was a paideia, a propaedeutic, a paedagogy for them. Like playing études is for playing sonatas. Like learning multiplication tables are for doing useful maths, and so on.

But here too, we are once again confronted with doctrine. St Dominic and St Thomas were doing as good works precisely the kind which is concerned with teaching and reproof, mostly by converting or helping others to convert Albigensians. A k a Manichees. And the patron of this blog was doing the same when it came to the poor Calvinists in Chablais. 2 Tim 3:16-17 is indeed concerned with doctrine. McGrath got that all wrong.

Hans Georg Lundahl
Nanterre University Library
St Placidus and Companions*

* Messanae, in Sicilia, natalis sanctorum Martyrum Placidi Monachi, e beati Benedicti Abbatis discipulis, et ejus fratrum Eutychii et Victorini, ac sororis eorum Flaviae Virginis, itemque Donati, Firmati Diaconi, Fausti et aliorum triginta Monachorum, qui omnes a Manucha pirata, pro Christi fide, necati sunt.

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