Monday, September 26th, 2011

JFK famously said, “Ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country.” Greg Koukl says something similar regarding God’s will for our life. Paraphrasing: ‘We should not ask what God’s plan is for our life, but how our life can be used for his plan.’ The distinction is subtle, but important. While God’s plan includes us, it is much bigger than us. If we are doing whatever we can to help fulfill his plan, we will be doing God’s will for our life.

The Israel Museum teamed up with Google to make high-resolution, searchable images of the Dead Sea Scrolls available online.  It even provides a translation for you.  To begin with, only five scrolls are available for viewing.  Two of them are Biblical documents: the Great Isaiah Scroll, the Habakkuk commentary.  This is really cool!

FYI, last month I posted a link to a site that allowed you to view the Great Isaiah Scroll.  That link is now connected to the Israel Museum/Google Dead Sea Scroll site.

The picture above is a picture of Isaiah 7:14 in the Great Isaiah Scroll.


Acts 14:5-6  When an attempt was made by both Gentiles and Jews, with their rulers, to mistreat them and to stone them, 6 they learned of it and fled [from Iconium] to Lystra and Derbe, cities of Lycaonia, and to the surrounding country. (ESV)

This passage was in historical dispute for many years because it says Lystra and Derbe were cities in the district of Lycaonia, implying that Iconium (from which Paul had just come) was not.  This conflicted with later Roman writers such as Cicero(106-43 BC), who said Iconium was in Lycaonia.  In the words of William Ramsay, this made as much sense as talk of leaving London to go to England.[1]

At this point in the story, many apologetic treatments of this will tell you that in 1910 Sir William Ramsay, the famed archaeologist, discovered an inscription which proved that Iconium was not part of Lycaonia, but part of Phrygia.  Some even add that it proved Iconium was in Phrygia between AD 37-72.  I have read this a million times.  In fact, I have even taught it.  But as I was preparing for this series I became skeptical of the claim for a few reasons.  First, I noticed that different sources provided different years for the discovery (1910 and 1911).  Secondly, no one ever quoted Ramsay himself.  If any footnotes were provided at all, it was always to some other source.  Thirdly, no one ever provided a translation of the inscription.  All of this made me think “urban legend.”  So I did some digging and discovered that the claim is a mixed back of truth and error.