Wish I Had Been There . . .
One of the truly amazing facts about Bible history is the phenomenal accuracy that characterizes the text. Take, for example, Luke’s two New Testament documents, Luke and Acts. These books combined constitute more than a quarter of the bulk of the New Testament. Within these narratives the author is very specific with reference to historical data including persons, places, and titles.
In the book of Acts, Luke mentions 32 countries, 54 cities, and 9 Mediterranean islands. He also lists 95 people by name, 62 of which are not named elsewhere in the New Testament (Bruce Metzger, The New Testament: Its Background, Growth, Content, p. 171). In addition, Luke is intimately familiar with the constantly changing political conditions of the Roman world. References to Augustus, Tiberius, Claudius, Quirinius, the Herods, Felix, and Festus are recorded. In not one of these citations is there a mistake.
Some early critics occasionally charged Luke with errors, a few of them even suggesting that he was quite careless. However, the discoveries of archaeology have vindicated him in every instance.
Sir William Ramsey, who initially doubted Luke’s reliability, did many years of “on-site” study of these matters. He eventually classified Luke as one of “the very greatest of historians” who ever lived (Luke the Physician, p. 222).
Noted scholar Philip Schaff once observed that the final two chapters of Acts have provided more information about the details of ancient sea navigation than any other document of antiquity (Theological Propaeduetic, pp. 132-133).
This uncanny accuracy puts the biblical record in a class of its own. Even the best historians cannot avoid an occasional slip, but the writers of Scripture, guided by the Spirit of God (2 Timothy 3:16-17), were protected from the inclusion of error into their works. If their credibility is established in such seemingly trivial matters, surely it may be trusted in the great theological themes it develops.
Trust your Bible; obey its precepts.
– Christian Courier
Too Late !
Thomas Carlyle, Scottish essayist and historian, married his secretary, and she continued to work with him in the production of his prolific writings. She became ill with cancer and was confined for some time before her death. Carlyle loved her dearly, but he was so absorbed in his work that he did not take time to be with her for very long.
The day of her funeral was a rainy day. After the service, Carlyle went home badly shaken, realizing he had not spent enough time with her during her illness. He went to her room and sat down next to her bed. There he found her diary and began leafing through it. His attention was caught by one page on which she had written: “Yesterday he spent an hour with me, and it was like being in heaven; I love him so.”
He turned a few more pages, and it nearly broke his heart when he read: “I listened all day to hear his steps in the hall, but now it is late, and I guess he won’t come today.” He read a few more pages, then threw the book down and rushed back to the cemetery through the rain.
His friends found him face down in the mud on his wife’s grave. He was weeping and saying over and over, “If I had only known, if I had only known.”
As we all know, Carlyle could not turn back the clock. Probably all of us can think of things that deserve our time and attention, but which we have been putting off until later when we are not “too busy.”
The apostle Paul twice admonishes us to “redeem the time.” Our lives are filled with ways in which we should heed that admonition. Sooner than we expect our time may be gone to:
- share the gospel with someone we know who is not a Christian,
- teach and train our children,
- visit someone who is lonely or needs encouraging,
- show someone how much we love them,
- etc., etc.
Don’t wait until it’s too late !
-- (Selected and adapted)
Wish I Had Been There . . .
The recent attention given to the profanity-laced monologue delivered at the White House Correspondents’ Association dinner reminds me of something I read a few years ago:
An after-dinner speaker was addressing an audience of over two hundred salesmen at their convention. He began, “Since there are no ladies present, let me tell you this one . . .” Immediately a man stood up in the middle of the banquet room and said, “There may not be any ladies present, but there is at least one gentleman here. If your story is vulgar, I would like to leave the room before you tell it.”
Several, then a few more, and finally practically the entire roomful of salesmen broke into loud applause for the man who had risen to voice his objection.
Yes, I wish I had been there to witness that.
One is made to wonder what the effect would be if we Christians would always display the courage to, “have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.” (Ephesians 5:11)
- Leonard White
He who gives should never remember,
He who receives should never forget.
The person who thinks it is permissible to tell
little “white lies” often becomes colorblind.