Dr. Brown Interviews Dr. James White on the Reliability of the Text of the Scriptures

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.

[Download MP3]

Dr. Brown will discuss the reliability of the New Testament text with top apologist Dr. James White and then will discuss the reliability of the Old Testament text, dealing with common challenges to the veracity of the Scriptures. Listen live here 2-4 pm EST, and call into the show at (866) 348 7884 with your questions and comments.

 

Hour 1:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: I expect attacks, questions, cynicism, and skepticism to continue, but the word of our God will stand forever.

 

Hour 2:

Dr. Brown’s Bottom Line: For good reason Jesus said, “Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words (they’ve been preserved for us), they will never pass away.”

SPECIAL OFFER! THIS WEEK ONLY!

This week, Dr. Brown is offering a signed copy of his commentary on the book of Jeremiah consisting of 550 pages. Commentaries on Ezekiel and Lamentations will also be included which totals this entire resource to 928 pages! In essence, you will receive three commentaries for only $40. Order Online HERE!

Other Resources:

The Israel Debate

A Kingdom Perspective on the News; and, Should the Gospel be Popular?

Thoughts on the Sydney Hostage Crisis, the New Exodus Movie, and More from Malaysia

36 Comments
  1. I believe there is good reason to caution people about the accuracy of Matt chapter one. I say this especially for people who encourage the accuracy of our Bibles since they may be setting people up for a fall, unless they can number the generations the same as David did in Matt 1:17, and have every name correct and all the numbers add up.

    Then there’s also the matter of Matt 1:16 which would seem to say that this is Joseph’s genealogy
    while upon further study, understanding that there may have been a translation error in Matt 1:16, such that the man named Joseph here may have been the father of Mary, as it was a common name back then. There were many Josephs at the time.

    Furthermore, the Joseph who was the husband of Mary had a father named Heli according to Luke 3:23.

  2. I’m not at all saying that we should not trust what we can learn from our Bibles concerning history or salvation, we certainly can. However if our Bibles show us that there are contradictions in them, then let’s listen to what our Bibles are telling us, when that happens, which is likely rather rare.

    I believe we would do well to let the Bible tell us about itself more than let men tell us about it, especially when there are times they do not take heed to what the Bible is saying.

  3. Benjamin,

    Shouldn’t it be rather clear that Matthew shows Mary’s genealogy because she is the Lord’s genealogical mother, and that Luke gives Joseph’s genealogy?

    It seems to me that in Matthew, vs 16 the word “husband” should have been translated “father”.

    Matt 1:1 starts out “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ….What did Joseph contribute that that? Nothing. Jesus was generated through Mary, and she is listed in his genealogy.

    Isn’t it clear that Matthew gives Mary’s genealogy?

    It certainly seems that way to me.

  4. Not at all Ray. The prominent parent in Matthew is Joseph. It follows Joseph through the narrative of Jesus’s early life and birth. On the other hand Luke follows Mary through the early years.

    Verse 16 to the best of my knowledge is not once in any discovered manuscript stated to say “father” instead of “husband”. Plus look at the Holy Spirits careful attention to grammar in verse 16:

    16 And Jacob begat Joseph the husband of Mary, of whom was born Jesus, who is called Christ.

    It is ever so careful not to give any confusion about who Jesus’s father is by distancing Joseph by accurately stating he was the husband of Mary, but not the one who begat Jesus. It only includes Mary when speaking of His birth.

    So it seems clear that Matthew gives Joseph’s line and Luke gives Mary’s.

    And the Greek construction of Luke indicates that Luke has Mary in mind since he drops the definite article only when he mentioned Joseph. I will quote from the article:

    “In English, it is not good grammar to put the word “the” before a proper name. We do not use a definite article before a proper name; such as, the Matthew, the Luke, the Mary, the John; however, it is quite permissible in both Greek and Hebrew grammar. The Greek text of Luke’s genealogy is very interesting because of this. In the Greek text, every single name mentioned in the genealogy of Luke has the definite article “the,” with one exception, and that is the name of Joseph; his name does not have the definite article “the” in front of it. What that would mean to someone reading the original is this: when he saw the definite article missing from Joseph’s name while it was present in all the other names, it would mean that this was not really Joseph’s genealogy; rather, it is Mary’s genealogy. So, in keeping with Jewish law, it was the husband’s name that was used. We have two examples of this in the Old Testament: Ezra 2:61 and Nehemiah 7:63.”

  5. Benjamin,

    You have it all wrong. Matthew is Mary’s genealogy and Luke gives Joseph’s.

    Joseph is not a parent of Jesus. Mary and God are the parents of Jesus. Joseph is NOT a part of Jesus’ genealogy. He had 100% nothing to do with generating Jesus, which is why Luke says “as was supposed” in Luke 3:23 KJV.

  6. Benjamin,

    It’s obvious as our Bibles are written that both Matthew and Luke tell of Joseph the husband of Mary, and his ancestry. (as our Bibles are clearly written)

    And so comparing the two records (as interpreted and written in our Bibles) we have the two accounts as thus:

    Luke ………Matt

    Joseph Joseph
    Heli Jacob
    Matthat Matthan
    Levi Eliazar
    Melchi Elud
    Janna Achim
    Joseph Sadoz
    Mattathias Azor
    Amos Eliakim
    Naum Abuid
    Esli Abuid
    Nagge Salathiel
    Matha Jeconias
    Mathaias Josias
    Semei Amon
    Joseph Mannases
    Juda Ezekias

    And the contradictions go on and on, (as our Bibles are written)

    But notice which name begins to appear most often.
    It’s the name of Joseph.
    Apparently a common name.
    Easily, apparently, there likely was a Joseph in Mary’s genealogy right next to her name. That would be a father, a father of hers.

    Otherwise, look at all the contradictions in our Bibles.

    How many is that already? Easily quite a bit over a dozen, and we barely got started.

    Have you ever in your life seen someone’s genealogy get so messed up? I never have.

    And this is taking our Bibles just as it is written!

    So, are our Bibles without any error?

    Well, our Bibles are without a whole lot less error if it turns out that Mary had a father named Joseph in her genealogy which is given in Matthew.

    So that’s what it looks like to me. I believe I have a responsibility to go with the path that is about the fewest Bible contradictions. Don’t I?

    Our Bibles are not a complete joke you know.

  7. There was supposed to be a space between the names but the computer didn’t do it that way when I posted it. The names may have some misspellings because I just jotted them down on a piece of paper quickly, but you can do the same to see what I mean.

    Look at all the differences between Matthew’s account and Luke’s! Same genealogy, that is of the same person….or somebody else’s ?

    I say Matthew gives Mary’s and Luke gives Joseph’s.

  8. If ever a man tells us that the Bible doesn’t have any contradictions, maybe we should ask them how long they have been a liar, and what does the Bible say about lying.

    Here’s what my dictionary says about contradiction: …3. a condition in which things tend to be contrary to each other.

    I think I know what a contradiction is, a little bit anyway.

  9. So it looks like from the time of David on back, both Mary and Joseph had the same genealogy, when we compare Matthew’s and Luke’s genealogies.

  10. Ray,

    Did you read the link that Benjamin posted? Or are you judging without hearing the matter again?

    Pr 18:13 He that answereth a matter before he heareth it, it is folly and shame unto him.

  11. Benjamin – Here’s another angle on the Jeconiah (Jehoiachin) problem mentioned in the Fruchtenbaum article you linked. I thought you might enjoy it. (Interestingly, the Jews for Jesus article also links to an article by Fruchtenbaum as another possible solution – see the very last sentence in the article at this link.)

    Dr. Brown, if you follow these comments, which approach do you take to the Jeconiah “problem” in Matthew?

    http://www.jewsforjesus.org/answers/prophecy/jeconiah

  12. Benjamin Warkentin,
    Thank you for sharing that link. I haven’t seen much of the person’s ministry’s website (Ariel), but I get the feeling this guy is just the sort of person I like to learn from.

  13. Benjamin Warkentin,
    Then again, he believes in the pre-trib rapture and OSAS. I knew there’d be a “catch”. LOL

  14. Bo,
    Did you read what I wrote, study it out, or did you post without taking heed to Proverbs 18:13, as you have also been doing on the other thread?

  15. Benjamin,

    According to the article you posted, Luke gives Mary’s genealogy.

    Q. How in the world could anyone understand what’s given in Luke 3, as being Mary’s genealogy….unless, they assume the “Joseph” in Luke 3:23 to be the father of Mary, not her husband?

    He’s backwards.
    Matthew is giving Mary’s ancestry, and Luke is giving Joseph’s (the husband of Mary)

  16. Paul T,

    Thanks for the article posted. The reversal of the curse is the position I have held longer than the more recent consideration I have given to the position that Matthew is actually proving Messiah is not the natural born child of Joseph. The curse reversal position I am very open to, as well as the other. Either way I think the Jewish objection is answered.

  17. Daniel,

    I know the difficulty of listening to someone when they come from a differing camp on particular topics. The church I attend is a Calvinistic church, and I am not. I have often considered trying to find a new church, but I havent yet. The fellowship among believers is great, though I always have to analyze carefully what is being taught by the pastors. But they do have things that I can learn from.

    I understand that knowing someone is pre-trib, or that they believe in Eternal Security (which I hold to both myself) can be a turn off if you don’t hold to it, but there is much else that can be found and learned from in their writings or expositions of the Scriptures.

    I differ on these subjects often with Dr. Brown, but I love his ministry and listen just about daily.

    Thanks Daniel.

  18. Benjamin Warkentin,
    I agree that people who hold to views I do not can be edifying to me (as long as the Spirit uses them), and I do listen to people I don’t agree with at times (e.g., Chris Rosebrough); but, on the intellectual side of things, (and I mean no offense, but) I question the rigor with which anyone who holds to either pre-trib or OSAS studies the Scriptures. No offense intended.

    Personally, I can’t have a position on OSAS, because it is Scripturally unclear, and I’ve never seen anyone (be my guest and to the first–I’d like to come to a conclusive understanding of it)–Dr. Brown included–satisfactorily reconcile the verses seeming to teach OSAS with the verses seeming to teach the opposite; since I’m not willing to settle for anything less than absolute clarity, I’m waiting on the Spirit to show me the answer (He has shown me many answers I had no power of understanding to attain to myself in the past).

    That being said, I actually took the time and listened to some of his audio teachings, hoping it would be edifying, and I honestly felt it was a little dry and passionless for my tastes. To me, it was sort of rambling. No offense intended. I’d actually prefer for him to have been more to my liking. I like to learn relevant things that strengthen my relationship with God.

    Thanks for sharing and please do not take offense.

  19. No offense taken my friend,

    I understand the feeling as those who do hold to pre-trib etc. can also often feel the same as you about those who do not. I have changed my views on many things, I am sure we all try to go where Scripture leads us. And through my discussions with differing view points I understand that both sides of most issues feel that the other side is not reading Scripture. It most likely boils down to hermeneutics or differing connecting passages.

    But I hear you Daniel 🙂

    Regarding the audio and such, yes, it can come across dry. Specially with the odd speech patterns and accent. He found himself in many varying places as a young person growing up, thus has a very mixed combination of accents.

  20. Benjamin Warkentin,
    1. Thanks for understanding.

    2. I actually like different accents: my grandmother has a Spanish accent (she is from Ecuador), my step father’s was Arabic/Londoner; and I grew up in Miami, which is a cultural melting pot with accents from around the world (not unlike New York). It wasn’t his accent.

  21. I’d like to talk a bit about the reason why we see the generations numbered in Matthew, while there is no numbering of generations in Luke.

    I see a very good reason for the numbering in Matthew, and no reason to number generations in Luke, and I say so for the sake of only one word.

    Can anyone here guess at this time what that word might be?

    In English, that same word appears in both Matthew and in Luke, but as I said, I see no reason for the numbering of generations in Luke as I do in Matthew.

    So why the numbering of the generations in Matthew but not in Luke?

    That one word I talked a bit about earlier is the reason I see, and it’s occurrence in Matthew gives reason for the numbering because of the associated words around it.

    Allow me to explain.

    Thinking now of word association, what might you think of when I mention George, John, and Paul?

    What if I said “Fill in the blank”, and you had a 1960’s mentality, and here’s what I offered you to fill in: George, John, Paul, and ________.

    What was the popular music in the ’60 like?

    Sometimes I hear people talk about a British invasion.

    Anyone here thinking “Ringo”?

    Now what if I said, “Jesus, Joseph, and Mary”?

    Do you know by association, who I am talking about?

    Well…..You might think you do.

    But what if I was talking about Mary, Jesus, and a father Mary had who may very well have been known as “Joseph”.

    Entirely possible isn’t it?

    Now if we assume Mary had a father named Joseph (which by the way may be a very common name among Jewish people, for looking at Joseph’s ancestry as given in Luke, I noticed more than one Joseph listed.) and we were to number the generations given in Matthew, what might it look like?

    Before I start numbering, let me say that I once saw a magazine, which was an order magazine for ordering tobacco and tobacco products, cigars and pipes and tobacco, and related items, and on the cover of this particular issue, there was a picture of four males all together of different ages, some of them with a cigar, and on the cover it said, “Four generations of fathers and sons.”, and this particular copy came out around Father’s Day.

    So there they were three men, and the baby made four, all males, four generations of fathers and sons.

    If that’s how people number generations today, perhaps people used to number generations back when, counting everyone once and usually leaving no one out.

    Let’s start counting like that:

    1. Abraham
    2. Isaac
    3. Jacob
    4. Judas
    5. Phares
    6. Esrom
    7. Aram
    8. Aminadab
    9. Naasson
    10. Salmon
    11. Booz
    12. Obed
    13. Jesse
    14. David

    So all (everyone counted, no one left out) the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations. (see Matthew 1:17)

    1. Solomon
    2. Roboam
    3. Abia
    4. Asa
    5. Josaphat
    6. Joram
    7. Ozias
    8. Joatham
    9. Achaz
    10. Ezekias
    11. Manasses
    12. Amon
    13. Josias
    14. Jechonias

    About the time they were carried away unto Babylon (see Matthew 1:11,17)

    1. Salathiel
    2. Zorobabel
    3. Abiud
    4. Eliakim
    5. Azor
    6. Sadoc
    7. Achim
    8. Eliud
    9. Eleazar
    10. Matthan
    11. Jacob
    12. Joseph (father of Mary)
    13. Mary
    14. Jesus (the Christ)

    Matthew 1:17
    So all the generations from Abraham to David are fourteen generations; and from David until the carrying away into Babylon are fourteen generations; and from the carrying away into Babylon unto Christ are fourteen generations.

    …..Everyone mentioned once, nobody left out.

    That’s one way of counting and it makes sense to me.

    Now just before we think we have everything all worked out about this chapter, there is something I want to mention, and that is that about the time of the carrying away into Babylon, there is this one man named Jechoniah, or Jechonias, or also known as Coniah. (see Jeremiah 37:1)

    Now Jeremiah 37:1 says that this Coniah, or Jechonias, or Jechoniah, or whatever, was the son of Jehoiakim. And so it seem a generation here was left out, for whatever reasons.

    So should this listing in Matthew have read that Josias begat Jehoiakim, and that Jehoiakim begat Jechoniah? ….or is this Jehoiakim the same person as Josias?

    At any rate, I am not clear on this part and will have to look at what some have offered here for me.

    But the point I wanted to make is rather clear and that is if indeed this genealogy in Matthew is about Christ coming through Mary, then this would be Mary’s ancestry we are looking at also, and because of the name “Joseph” being seen next to Mary’s name, there is an association people get used to, which might cause an error in our understanding of who this Joseph is, if indeed this Joseph is the father of Mary.

    Verse one of the New Testament I have in front of me begins with “The book of the generation of Jesus Christ, the son of David, the son of Abraham, and then it gets right on with the counting from Abraham, so I believe this is indeed a telling of how Jesus was generated through this line, which quite naturally would include Mary.

    I suppose that some might try to make the argument that this in Matthew is really the genealogy of the husband of Mary, and he did have something to do with the generating of Christ, not by biological contribution, but by his faith, (or something) and that picks up later in the story, but this kind of argument seems rather weak to me, for the Old Testament begins with God creating the heaven and the earth, and he didn’t wait till later in the story for that to develop.

    He simply got right down to it and did the work, immediately right away.

  22. Something does come up as a question for me here about our Bibles, and that is, that all of our Bibles read the same here about this matter we’ve been discussing, the generations, and there indeed appears some contradiction as our Bibles are written.

    So, how is that?

    How did it happen that all of our Bibles would have the same contradiction?

    It’s almost as if all were made from the same manuscript, or as if all manuscripts were copied from the same one, or something.

    Does anyone here have any possible explanation as to how this happened?

  23. Something came to mind about something someone once said. What they said was, “What is in the head invariably comes out the nub of the pen.”

    And so I think about some scribe and the strong association that comes with the words, Jesus, Mary, and Joseph, or Joseph, Mary, and Jesus.

  24. Benjamin,

    About that article you suggested in post 4 ,where it’s put forth that Luke is Mary’s genealogy, it reminds me of something from the movie Christine, something Will Darnell said to the young man who brought the car into his garage to fix it up.

    If you want you can find it by looking up Christine-Movie Quotes-Rotten Tomatoes, and go about 60% of the way down. He said, “Ya know Pepper,…

  25. Ray, what baffles me if that when (what seems to me, I may be wrong) the majority of scholars agree that Matthew presents Josephs line and Luke traces Mary’s, showing that we do not have error in the gospels: You prefer to say “Ya know Pepper, you can’t polish a turd” and proclaim gospel errancy.

    I understand that it can be confusing trying to figure out the lines and formats. But in light of the last quote, I will leave it with this:

    “Historical Jewish thought indicates that Heli was Mary’s father, not Joseph. “we meet with the first “contradiction”: namely, that Joseph was the son of Heli, whereas Matthew says that Joseph was the son of Jacob. Although some of the early Church Fathers perceived that this was Mary’s pedigree, they did not apparently make the discovery that in the Talmud, Jewish tradition held that Mary was the daughter of Heli (Beth-Heli). (28) Early Christian writers held that Mary was the daughter of Joiakim and Anna. But the name Joiakim is interchangeable with Eliakim, as 2 Chronicles 36:4 shows, and Eli or Heli is an abridgment of Eliakim. It is thus quite possible that the early Christian tradition is in perfect harmony with that of the Jewish people themselves whose knowledge would be based on temple records.”

    – Is the above concrete? No, but it does show that according to Jewish tradition it was held that Heli was Mary’s father.

  26. I am just wondering why Ray would quote an R rated movie that is full of foulmouthed dialogue or even point us to the site to search for the quote and have to wade through the filth.

  27. I am hoping that Ray just remembered the quote from long ago and has not watched the movie recently. I am hoping he does not recommend watching such things or that he is in the habit of watching such things.

  28. Benjamin,

    Correct me if I’m wrong but if I were to believe that Matthew gives Joseph’s ancestry, and Luke gives Mary’s ancestry, then not only do the counting of the generations in Matthew not add up, but we also then say that Luke is wrong, for we say that it is Mary’s ancestry rather than Joseph’s as the Bible clearly states.

    Therefore that way promotes more Bible error than the way I suggested.

    It seems to me that some people work to make the Bible explode into pieces, while others work to see it fit with integrity, while they make the fewest changes.

  29. Benjamin,

    I’m wondering about word association again.

    For example, Who are the most important “Joseph”s in the Bible? What comes to mind?

    Who I think of first is the Joseph who was the son of Jacob, who became as a Pharoah in Egypt, and the other one that comes to mind is Joseph the husband of Mary of whom was born Jesus.

    So, which sounds more “spiritual”, Joseph the son of Jacob, or Joseph the son of Heli?

    If you were a Jew what would you think? Which is more fun to say, “Joseph the son of Jacob” or “Joseph the son of Heli”, if you wanted to sound spiritual, or if you so much cherished a rich heritage?

    Who is Heli in the Bible? Does anybody know a famous Heli in the Bible?

    No surprise to me I guess, if old tradition has it that way.

  30. So now I’m thinking …”What did they do with Mary?….just shove her over there into Luke?”

    So, Like Paul Harvey used to say, Now we know the rest of the story? I don’t know. I really don’t,
    But I’m just thinking, maybe.

  31. Benjamin,

    In answer to your question in post 27, I believe the underlying reason we will find so many Biblical scholars going with something like Jewish tradition saying that Mary’s genealogy is under the name of Joseph her husband in Luke, is because they are unbending when it comes to the accuracy of our present day Bibles, something that I do not hold to.

    I believe that to be the underlying reason.

    The way that I propose to go, all the generations in Matthew add up as they should, Matthew gives the Lord’s genealogy as it says (with naturally would have to go through Mary his biological mother) and we also have Joseph’s genealogy clearly understood as simply as it is written in Luke, without having to say that, “well, it’s really Mary’s but under her husbands name”, which thing to me seems utterly ridiculous.

    But this crazy kind of interpretation comes about because men have it in their minds, that the Bibles we have today, can not be with any such kind of error, as what I have proposed.

    We do not have any scripture verse that says that the Bibles we have today are without any error, not a single verse.

    I really wanted to not go in any way such that I would have to say that my Bible has what looks like a translation error, such that it says husband when it should say father. I really did not want to go that way, and so I laid down on my couch letting the Lord know that there is nothing I can do to fix this sort of thing, and a little bit later, in the still small voice of the spirit, I heard, “It is evident that our Lord sprang out of Judah.”, and I got up and looked at my list of three columns of 14, and under the second column of 14, I noticed how many good kings were there, good kings out of the kingdom of Judah (which also was a tribe earlier on) like the coils of a spring, each one providing something just like the spring that was coming loose and causing parts to fly as it pushed off the charging handle of my Ruger 10-22 as I had been cleaning it just as I was going through all of this.

    When we hear things from the Lord, it won’t matter so much what men say. It just doesn’t matter any more. It becomes a matter of personal faith, and I think we should allow for that, if it makes some sense, regardless of the doctrines of men.

  32. The things I have shared about this, I first read from a book published in the early 1980’s, and since then, I took it to be what likely was so.

  33. And what about Mary Magdalene? Have you read the two records of what Mary did that resurrection morning? How does what we read fit the actions of one person?

    I’ve heard it said that Mary was a common name and that Magdala was a place, hence Mary from Magdala.

    Couldn’t there be two Marys here? I don’t know for sure what happened here, but am thinking that there could have been two people both named Mary from Magdala.

Leave Your Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


*