Wednesday, April 30, 2008
How do you use apocryphal texts?
I know, that title really makes you want to read the post, huh?
I hope to make this somewhat interesting and thought provoking.
This question comes from a couple of texts in the New Testament (John 8 and Mark 16) that do not appear in the earliest and most reliable manuscripts. That means that for the first several centuries of the church, no one knew about these passages.
But the problem is that John 8 tells of the woman caught in adultery where Jesus says: "Let he who is without sin cast the first stone." We love that passage! Preachers love to preach on that passage; Christian counselors love to teach from that passage.
In Mark 16 we get a favorite verse: "Anyone who believes and is baptized will be saved, but whoever does not believe will be condemned."
So do we throw out these passages because the historic and manuscript evidence does not support their place in the bible? Or do we use these passages because we have about 1500 years of Christian tradition supporting their use in the ministry of the church?
What do you think?