Revelation 22, Curses, and Copy Protection

A medieval scribe. Jean le Tavernier, Public Domain

I first wrote this over 15 years ago, reposted it somewhere else, and both locations have now disappeared from the online ether. So, given that we’re studying Revelation right now, I thought I’d repost it, slightly edited but uncorrected or updated, and complete with my younger, brasher style.

What’s the best LDS response to the idea that Revelation 22:18-19 closes the canon? Continue reading “Revelation 22, Curses, and Copy Protection”

Come Follow Me: Revelation 1-2, 12

The final book! We’ve almost made it through! The end is nigh!
First, a note on names. This is the book of Revelation (singular) not the book of RevelationS (plural.) It’s a really common mistake in Hollywood and elsewhere, like the “books of the Bible” tie I have, above The title Revelation comes from Rev 1:1, with that ambiguous “of” preposition. “The revelation of Jesus” can mean “a revelation that is about Jesus,” “a revelation from Jesus,” or “the revelation belonging to Jesus.” Continue reading “Come Follow Me: Revelation 1-2, 12”

Come Follow Me: 1-3 John

1 John opens reminiscent of both the Gospel of John (thematically) and Luke/Acts (in contrast). That is, the vocabulary and ideas resemble John (the Word of life made visible, eternal life, light/darkness, etc). But the point-of-view contrasts Luke. Whereas Luke says he had to investigate and talk to witness, because he wasn’t a firsthand eyewitness himself, 1Jo 1:1 and 1Jo 1:3 strongly imply the opposite for the author (authors?) of 1 John. Note the plural “we” there, present from the first verses onwards. Is this a rhetorical “we” or a real “we”? Continue reading “Come Follow Me: 1-3 John”

Come Follow Me: James

I assume James gets his own Gospel Doctrine lesson because… Joseph Smith and James 1:5? Not sure, really.  But James is “the most socially conscious writing in the New Testament” (Brown, Introduction to the New Testament, 725), so it has that going for it.

Like Timothy and Titus, this epistle lacks a Big Picture woven throughout. Like Timothy and Titus, it contains very practical advice. Like Timothy and Titus, it doesn’t get a lot of attention. Continue reading “Come Follow Me: James”

Come Follow Me: Philemon

Philemon used to be covered with Philippians and Colossians, and consequently, it went ignored. (Do you remember the last time Philemon came up in Gospel Doctrine?)  However, Philemon merits our close attention. It’s short and it offers a great discussion point for something really relevant and important. So, I’ll go long on Philemon (and the bottom has some old-post leftovers about Philippians and Colossians.) Continue reading “Come Follow Me: Philemon”

Come Follow Me: Ephesians

My picture, from the Kidron Valley.

As always, it’s important to start with setting and context. Remember back in Acts 19, where the silversmiths who make Athena shrines start a riot and get Paul thrown out of the city? “Great is Diana of the Ephesians”? Paul met some disciples there and stuck around for three months, and now he writes to that congregation. Paul himself is now apparently in prison (Eph 4:1) and writing letters. Whether in Rome, Ephesus, or Caesarea, we don’t know.  Ephesians, Colossians, Philippians and Philemon are known collectively as The Captivity or Prison Letters. These are Paul’s Folsom Prison Concert, if you will. Continue reading “Come Follow Me: Ephesians”

2 Corinthians

2 Corinthians constitutes the first preserved “sequel” in Paul’s letters.  In fact, Paul wrote three or possibly four letters to Corinth. Some scholars speculate 2 Corinthians is actually an edited copy of two letters smushed together, based on differing tone and structure. (There’s a break in 2:14 that picks back up in 7:5). In fact, the whole thing is a bit confused. This is one of those letters that emphasizes the fact that we get only one side of the conversation, and have have to muddle through in trying to piece it together. We know Paul’s travel plans to revisit Corinth had changed, that something or things significant had happened since the last time he had written. Let’s look at a few things about the entirety of the letter, then some specifics. Continue reading “2 Corinthians”