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Monday, November 27th | Back From ETS

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah
The Truth Network Radio
November 27, 2023 6:00 am

Monday, November 27th | Back From ETS

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah

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November 27, 2023 6:00 am

In this episode of Clearview Today, Dr. Shah talks about ETS and the importance of the paper he presented.

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Can We Recover the Original Text of the New Testament?


Hello, everyone. Today is Monday, November the 27th. I'm Ryan Hill.

I'm John Galantis. And you're listening to Clearview Today with Dr. Abbadon Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can visit us online at If you have any questions for Dr. Shah or suggestions for new topics, send us a text to 252-582-5028, or you can always email us at contact at

That's right. You guys can help us keep this conversation going by supporting the show. You can share it online with your friends and family. Make sure you leave us a good five-star review.

Absolutely nothing less than five stars. And we'll be thankful for it. We will be thankful for it. We're coming out of this season of thankfulness, which means I'm slowly dropping in my gratefulness. My gratitude is draining as we speak. I'm becoming bitter.

I'm becoming miserly. I'm not hashtag grateful. I'm hashtag hateful. Oh, no. You already knew what it was.

Not hashtag hateful. But make sure you leave those five-star reviews. That's going to bump my gratefulness level back up to where it needs to be. And today's verse of the day is coming to us from Romans 16, 27. To God alone, wise, be glory through Jesus Christ forever.

Amen. Paul's letter to the Romans is one of the most beautiful pieces of literature. Not books of the Bible, but just literature in general.

It is one of the most beautiful pieces of literature that I think I have ever read. I think just the simplicity of it. God is glorified through Jesus Christ. Amen. That is Jesus' purpose on this earth. Yes, to bring us salvation, but also just his very existence, his nature being born and existing here on this earth brings ultimate glory to God. There's a simplicity to his words, but the concepts in the book of Romans are profound and they are deep. And they point to the vastness and the beauty and the majesty of who God is. And it's a good reminder for us, not just today, not just for the Romans in their day, but every day that God is alone wise. He is the one that deserves to be worshiped.

Because we mix that up a lot. We worship things other than God. Yeah, and it reminds me of the Gospel of John where it's like on its face you can read it and understand it and it's so simple. But then you really look past it and all the complexities and the interweaving theological truths that are in there.

Really, really fascinating stuff. And Romans is one of those books that I kind of, not neglected, but I just didn't really read when I first got saved. It was one of those books that I kind of skipped over because I wanted to get straight to the narrative, like all the Gospel and stuff. Well, it's one of those that, you know, we talk about the Romans road as like an evangelism tool. So you hit Romans road as someone's coming to faith.

Great, wonderful. And then you move on from that. You don't go back to the book of Romans. But there's so much richness there.

There's so much depth. Yeah, and I actually got saved in the book of Matthew. I got saved with the soable of the parable of the sower. So I was super, super into the Gospels.

But man, yeah, like you said, lots and lots of great theology there. Dr. Shaw is back. He's back from ETS. Dr. Shaw presented his paper on Ephesians 5.30 this past week. And now he's back in the studio this morning.

Not right this moment, but we're going to get him in a little bit. Have you ever been to a convention like that? Because I was seeing some of the pictures that he was sending from the convention hall.

And it looks like it could be a lot of fun, if not for the, I don't want to say the older guys, just kind of always. I saw Dr. Robinson. Dr. Robinson was there, but he also has that sort of playfulness that there was some chicanery going on, some tomfoolery. Have you ever been to like a convention like that? I have been to a couple conventions. You know, we went to one on like church procedures and, you know, how to make your church as safe and secure as possible.

Oh yeah, yeah. I've been to a couple conventions for like youth workers and youth ministry related. I would really love, like just in a not ministry setting, I'd really love to go to like a gaming convention. Like board games, card games, that kind of thing. I'm very into like playing table games. Do they have conventions for board games? Yeah, where like new games are being released and you can like play test them and stuff like that. Go and pay like a ticket. You'll pay like $120 for the ticket and you play like Clue or Sorry.

It's not Clue and Sorry, but yeah, I mean that's the idea. And if you are a fan of some of those games, you get, they have Catan. You get like promotional items that are exclusive to convention goers and stuff like that. So I did go to like a worship convention. Dr. Shaw sent me to like a worship leader's workshop convention. It was like a two-day thing. Oh gosh, I want to say that was in like Rocky Mount or something like that. It was a good bit away, but it was still in North Carolina. I also went to, not New York Comic-Con, but I went to Boston Comic-Con.

Wow. Yeah, I met Stan Lee, met Charlie Cox, who played Daredevil. I met Ming-Na Wen, who was the voice of Mulan, and was also, what was her name? And Agents of SHIELD. Agent May. Agent May. Yeah, yeah.

I met her. I often wonder like how great those conventions are for like local business around. Like, you know, hotels are like, oh man, restaurants making a killing. Waffle House loves conventions, especially Waffle Houses in cities.

They put themselves right near the hotel so that someone coming back from the hotel, they're like, oh my, let's get some Waffle House. I wonder what restaurants that Dr. Shaw and Dr. Robinson frequented. Definitely McDonald's. You think so?

100 percent, 100 percent. Dr. Robinson, I don't know what his deal is, but he loves McDonald's. That's so silly to me. He loves McDonald's. He's, he's, I don't want to say he's crazy, but he's, he's an eccentric. He's eccentric. I think it's because, I mean, as well known and respected in his field as he is, he's sort of like, he can afford to not really care about social, like, what people will think of him. So he can just kind of do what he wants. He's the Sheldon Cooper of New Testament textual criticism. I almost said theoretical physics. He's the Sheldon Cooper of New Testament textual criticism.

Yeah. He's like, he shows up and everyone's like, oh my gosh, that's Maurice Robinson. He's like, Dr. Robinson, I love your work. And he's like, where is lunch? Like, I'm trying to get a ham sandwich over here.

Can I get some lunch, please? He actually, I don't know if Paschal is going to talk about this, but he actually, for, I guess just for funsies, took his name tag out and put Abadan Shah in his name tag, so he could just walk around and get into places that he didn't pay for. As you do?

Why not? He's just like, I'm just going to make a fake ID. Speaking of conventions, Ryan and myself will be at NRB this February in 2024. We will, representing the Clearview Today show at NRB.

National religious, national religious broadcasters. Ryan and I are going to be there. We may be doing a live episode of Clearview Today. Come and join us. If you are nearby, you're planning to go to NRB, we would love to see you there. Stop by the Clearview Today show booth and say hi to us. Meet us in person.

That's right. February 20th to the 23rd. Clearview Today is going to be at NRB. We're going to see all the religious broadcasters. We're going to meet some of you guys. Maybe you guys are fellow content creators.

And so come by and say, hey, we want to meet you guys. Big thank you to Stu Epperson and the Truth Network for making that possible for us. And we are looking forward to that and very grateful for that partnership. Amen.

Amen. We're going to bring Dr. Shaw in and talk about his time at ETS and his paper and what that was like. But if you guys have any questions or suggestions for new topics, let us know by sending us a text, 252-582-5028.

Or you can visit us online at Stay tuned. We'll be right back. Hey, hey, you. Me?

No, not you. You, listening to the Clearview Today show. You're here right now because you love Christian talk radio, and I'm 100% down for that. But what if I told you that Clearview Church also produces original music?

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You can worship God in any situation. In the car, at home, in the gym, while cleaning your house, wherever you are, we'll be right there with you. You can check us out on Apple Music or on Spotify, anywhere digital music is consumed. We got a few singles out right now. We have an EP out as well. And right now, at this moment, actually, we are working on our first ever full length original album.

Hopefully, that's going to be out sometime this coming summer. Clearview Worship on iTunes and Spotify is your 24-7 place for inspiration and worship. Follow us today and let God's message of hope, love, and faith be a guiding light in your life.

Amen. Let's hop back into the show. Welcome back to Clearview Today with Dr. Abbadon Shah, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

You can visit us online at, or if you have any questions or suggestions for new topics, send us a text to 252-582-5020. That's right. We are here once again this Monday afternoon with Dr. Abbadon Shah, back from Texas. Dr. Shah, it's so good to see you. Welcome back. It's good to be back.

Good to be back. Stateside. You were never not stateside.

No, I was always here. I just never get to stay stateside. North Carolina stateside. There you go. There you go. This stateside. Postside. There you go. Postside. There it is.

Back on the East Coast. For those of you guys who don't know, Dr. Shah is a PhD in New Testament textual criticism, and you actually got to display that in San Antonio. You were at ETS.

That's right. For those of our audience who don't know, what is ETS? ETS is Evangelical Theological Society. This is an organization of like-minded people who believe, number one, that the Bible is inerrant in the original autographs, and they also believe in the Trinity, that Father, Son, Spirit, three and yet one.

Kind of a minimal statement, but we feel like this is where we need to stand. This organization was founded back, I want to say in the 40s, and been through ups and downs, and had controversies. Anytime you bring some evangelicals together, there's going to be controversies. There were many controversies at different times, like open theism, inerrancy, inerrancy is back again being discussed. Trinity was not part of the original statement, but in time they had to put it in there because that became a problem.

Some people were not Trinitarian, but they believed the Bible, so it's like, wait a minute, no, we've got to have Trinity in there. We've got to make sure this box is checked. I feel like that one might be kind of important.

Yeah, if we're going to be Evangelical, Evangel, this is the Gospel, we've got to have the Trinity in there. Right. True.

Very true. So anyways, I can go on and on, but it's a good organization, and a lot of wonderful scholars who are part of this organization, and I'm glad to be part of it. Was this your first time actually presenting a paper, like going and not just spectating, but you actually presented, was this the first year?

No, no, no, I've done it many times before. I did it, my first time was at a regional ETS. So there's a national ETS that is held in a big city like San Antonio or San Diego or Denver, Atlanta, Philadelphia, this is a big place, a DC. So I don't know if it's a DC or not, but anyways, but it's in a big city, so it's a national one.

And then they have the regional, like Southeast Regional, Southern Regional, Northern Regional, so these are regional ETS. My first paper was in 1990, oh my goodness, 1998. Wow. I was six years old. 1998. 98. I want to say 98, yeah, yeah, yeah.

It was 10 in 98. Yeah, and it was at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest. Wow. And my topic was inerrancy and textual criticism.

Wow, that's pretty interesting. And you said inerrancy is back around now, like it's a hot button issue again. And I was sitting there listening to one of the presenters, who I didn't agree with, but anyways, I was listening to this person and I was thinking, really? Because 25 years ago, I talked about those things, albeit it was in a very simple form. I was not as advanced in my thinking as I am today, but I thought I answered those issues you're bringing up.

But anyways. Yeah, it was kind of fun to follow your progress because you went with your mentor, Dr. Robinson, who you did your dissertation under, you got your PhD after him. And it's kind of funny because typically what you see is the mentor figure is like the strict, serious, all-business, kind of grizzled, I've seen the world, I've been there, I've done that. And the student is like the young, kind of quirky, got a lot more personality.

Not saying you don't have personality, but it's funny because it's kind of reversed where you're there and you're like, I'm here to present a paper, I'm here to contribute to the field. And he's just like, can I get like a ham sandwich? You were sending us videos of y'all kind of just walking around San Antonio, and he is like one of the goofiest guys. He is very silly. All the weight of the world is kind of off his shoulders in a sense.

Now, when it comes to discussing textual criticism, I mean, he is everything that you describe. He gets focused, he gets latched on, and all of a sudden the big motors start running and he is ready to go. But when it comes to where he is now, he is goofy. I also didn't know that he was a hardened criminal because he was making like a fake ID so that he could get in and just to mess with people.

Just to be like, hey, I'm Abadan Shah and there's two Abadan Shahs walking around ETS. Yeah, he is. And everybody knows him.

Oh yeah. That's what's funny to me is like, I mean, if anybody's going to get a pass to get in somewhere, it's more like Dr. Robinson. She's like, I mean, you're Dr. Robinson. Just come on in. Yeah, everybody knows him. I mean, he had so many people to walk him and say, hey, Dr. Robinson, didn't know you were here. Hello.

He's like, hey, no, I'm Abadan Shah today. So what was ETS like? How was the entire thing from the start?

This one was good. The topic always kind of throws me because, you know, when it comes to textual criticism, you're dealing with manuscripts, variants, what's happening, cutting edge. So sometimes the theologians are the ones who are setting the theme. So this year's theme was theological anthropology. Wow.

Some like theological anthropology. How do we bring that into textual criticism of the New Testament? Right.

But we did. I wrote a paper on Ephesians 5.30, as many of you know, where the shorter reading, which is found in some of the Alexandrian manuscripts, reads, we are members of his body. That's it. But the longer reading, which is found in Western manuscripts and Byzantine manuscripts and church fathers and other places, is we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones. So as a text critic, your job in finding what's in the original, your job is to find or determine, okay, what was more likely to be in the original text? That's what I believe should be the job of textual critics, which is not the way anymore. A lot of modern or postmodern textual critics believe that it's not your job to determine whether or not this reading is the original text or not.

Your job is just to debate about readings and find out what are the many reasons why a variant may have emerged. So why did the church, at some point in time, added, and I'm putting it in quotes, I don't think it was added. I think we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones was actually what left the pen of Paul when he wrote to the Ephesians.

But those who believe otherwise, they think that the longer reading of his flesh and of his bones was added, and so they come up with all kinds of scenarios. But it feels like the conversation got shifted to, no, we're not even discussing that. Of course it was added.

Let's find out why. Yeah. But it's like, no, I don't agree that it was added. It's like, no, that conversation is done. We've already decided it was added.

Yeah. And I'm okay with having that kind of conversation as long as the original text is still the primary goal, right? And unfortunately, it's not the primary goal. It's interesting to me that the original text is not the primary goal of textual critics. And it makes me wonder if most people in that field, if they would consider themselves to be believers.

I won't go as far as that. I would definitely question what they believe about scripture. Scriptures. Will they still consider the scriptures to be inspired by God? And a corollary doctrine, which is like a derivative doctrine of inspiration, is inerrancy. Then are they inerrantists? Yeah.

And guess what? Many of them will tell you to your face. No, I'm not an inerrantist. And no, I don't believe that scripture is inspired by God. So can that be the word of God in their minds? Well, if we begin to discuss that, then we have to define all these terms.

We'd have to do a little show. If you notice, just a few moments ago, I said scriptures instead of scripture. Okay, so there's a reason for that.

It's not, now don't misunderstand this. We're not talking about many different scriptures in the sense of, you know, Christians have their scripture, Hindus have their scripture, Muslims have their, we're not saying, I'm not saying the plural to accommodate other religions. Right. I use the plural, and I'm still talking in the context of Christianity, I'm using the plural to help understand that sometimes scripture is narrative. Sometimes scripture is poetic. Sometimes scripture is apocalyptic.

Right. Okay, so in that sense, I'm calling it scriptures. They're given at different times of different people in different ways, and scripture. So they don't all have a same exact machine from which they are just kind of produced and popped out. There's different genres.

There's not one homogenous thing. Right, so in that sense, I use the word scriptures. Okay. Again, the word of God, scripture, scriptures, Bible, all these things have to be defined. Maybe there's an episode we can do that.

I think that would be awesome. Because some of those I don't accept. Scripture versus scriptures, I'm okay with that. Word of God, I'm okay with that. But then there are those people who will say, word of God is also what God spoke to my heart. It's on the same level as the Bible. Man, God's word came to me the other day. Yeah, what do you do with God's word? Well, wait, wait, wait, what do you mean by God's word? Did you get some scripture come to your heart? Did you remember a memory verse? What do you mean by God's word? Yeah, did you just have a wild idea, and you feel really passionately about it? Right, because then that is not the word of God. But they will say, no, that's how God spoke to me. Oh, so is that inspired? Yeah, it's inspired for me. Well, that's not what 2 Timothy 3.16 is talking about, you see?

So there are different, and I want to talk about that. Yeah, that's a good point. Definitely, definitely. We've talked about textual criticism on the show before. And I know this is a, I'm fuzzy on the numbers, so correct me if I'm wrong, but I know one thing that you and Dr. Robinson, and I think even Peter Gray when he was on the show, pretty much all of you agree that among variants, I think it was like 95 to 99 percent of you 95 to 99 percent of them are inconsequential in that it's grammy, it doesn't affect court doctrine. Would you say that your paper is one of those few that do affect doctrine? I would say 94 percent of the text is intact, or issue. Okay, 94 percent of the New Testament text is non-issue. We're dealing with 6 percent when it comes to variants. Out of the 6 percent, how much is actually doctrinally consequential? Maybe 1 to 2 percent. So okay, so let me- And when I say doctrinally, I'm talking about core doctrines, like Trinity is on the line here, guys.

Salvation, soteriology is on the line, something very core, hardcore. Maybe 2 percent. So 94 percent is intact means- The text is intact. Means there's not even variants to discuss. There may be variants in the sense of word order or, you know, an alphabet escape, stuff like that, which is like, we know what happened then.

Yeah, there's no discrepancy, it's obvious what the original is. Then the remaining 6 percent are like actual variants to be discussed, and of that 6 percent, maybe 1 percent of that has anything to do with court doctrine. Yeah, orthodox faith.

Where would you put the paper on Ephesians 5-30? Is it in that 6 percent where it's like, this is important, but not core doctrine? Or would you say, no, that's even in that smaller percentage, too? So we are members of his body, of his flesh, and of his bones, okay? So that is, in a sense, the reason the paper got accepted is because it's under theological anthropology. We're talking about anthropology is like human characteristics applied to God, or something of that sort, okay?

So I'm just giving you one aspect of that definition, but it's so complex than that. All the gender identity stuff and all that also falls under theological anthropology. I just talked about God using anthropological means to reveal himself. But the verse that I chose, Ephesians 5-30, has the theological anthropology theme because it's talking about the body, the flesh, and bones of Jesus.

So the paper got accepted. Because it did have to do with human characteristics, like flesh and bones. Right. Now, it gets deeper than that. The deeper is in the sense of, is the verse talking about us being the physical flesh and bones of Jesus? Or is it talking about us being the spiritual flesh and bones of Jesus? What does that mean? So it gets kind of complex there.

Maybe we can talk about it as well. Yeah. But that doctrine is not in jeopardy. It's not in jeopardy because we know Jesus came and he was flesh and bones.

We know that. How many passages do you want to read from the Gospels? How many passages you want to talk about from 1 John?

Yeah. 1 John talks about, we touched him, we handled him. So plenty of references on the fact that Jesus actually came.

Peter talks about it as well. We saw him, we felt him, we sensed him, we touched him. He was real.

He ate. He touched people. He healed people.

Everything is real. So nothing is in jeopardy if we don't have of his flesh and of his bones. Is the doctrine of ecclesiology in jeopardy? No, what is, how would you... Ecclesiology is like doctrine of the church. We are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones. So we, Gentiles, Jewish people, are members of his body, of his flesh and of his bones.

Now, how is that in jeopardy? I mean, look at it. How many passages are there? Acts, Paul's letters, Peter's epistles, of course, the pastoral epistles.

Of course, the pastoral epistles of the apostle Paul. I mean, all these talk about membership. Corinthian letters talk about membership and how we should be in the body. You know, can the eye say to the ear or whatever.

You know, I'm forgetting that reference now. But, you know, no, we cannot do that. You cannot be hateful to each other. So that doctrine is there as well.

So if this longer reading is not in the text, does that lead me astray when it comes to ecclesiology? No, we can still have a very good church. We've had it for a long time. But it is part of the six percent. So it's not part of the one or two percent that is like, oh, my goodness, we are in jeopardy. Right. But it is part of the six percent.

It's still a significant variant to be talked about. And if you were to subdivide the six percent into like, okay, how about four percent being, three percent being, it's okay. But then three percent being, okay, these are important. Out of this three, two is core. Then I would put it in the three. In the three, yeah. Right.

How would you respond to a listener or just even someone who's thinking about the field, who wants to be in that one to two percent, but they're saying, okay, so it's a significant variant, but nothing's in jeopardy. Why do you care then? Why do you care if it was in the original or if it wasn't? Why should I care?

Because it's not going to affect anything. I'm putting that in quotes as well. Yeah. Well, if it's the Word of God, then it is imperative that we do everything possible and apply every tool possible so that we'd retrieve the original text. Yeah, amen. So if it's the Word of God, and we know it's out there, then we need to work as hard as we can and reason as hard as we can to retrieve the original text. Because it's precious. Yeah, because it's the Word of God. God's breath should not be left hanging out there.

You've got to bring it back. So all these manuscripts have it. And yes, there are differences in the manuscripts and comparing and understanding the weight of those manuscripts, understanding how scribes make mistakes, understanding how the text has been used throughout the centuries, whether by scribes or churches or church fathers, or has been translated by different versions, or used as lectionaries. We have to look at all these things so we can arrive at the original text. And if it's the Word of God, then it's important that we retrieve it.

The verse that I chose, Ephesians 5-30, I don't think it's like a core doctrine, it's in jeopardy verse, but I think it's close to that. Because look what we're losing when we don't have it. We're losing this beautiful imagery where Jewish people and Gentile believers are together, the arms and feet and body and flesh of Jesus. There's a togetherness that, without that reading, kind of almost separates it.

Yeah, we miss it. We miss an important doctrine. And keep in mind, it was also supposed to teach them about another disunity that was taking place in that church, which is division between a husband and a wife.

Yeah, that's a good point. Yeah, and Paul also addresses that. He compares the husband-wife relationship to the Christ-church relationship.

And then he uses the Christ-church relationship as a model for the husband-wife relationship. So we are members of his body, he is the head, we are bones and flesh and bones. So also with the wife-husband relationship, the husband is called to be the head of the wife, as also Christ is the head of the church, and the wife is, in a sense, the flesh and bones. Does that mean that she is less and she's not the head?

No, don't misunderstand that. No, the very next verse, verse 31, is quoting from Genesis 2.24, which is, for this cause a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. Yes, he is called to lead.

She is called to be a part of him, but together they become one flesh. When you don't have this understanding that we are members, he is the head. Well, why don't we become the head then?

Why don't we tell Christ how he's going to be? It cannot work. Yeah, that's true. So there is not a jeopardy, but definitely something significant is lost. True. Maybe we can dive into Ephesians 5.30 tomorrow. Absolutely. Let's have a look at this discussion. Stay tuned for tomorrow's episode, guys.

We're going to dig into this paper from Dr. Shaw a little bit more. If you guys have any questions, or maybe you have some interest in ETS for yourself, write in and let us know, 252-582-5028, or you can visit us online at Don't forget you can partner with us financially on that same website, become part of our Clearview Today Show family, and together with us, impact the nations with the gospel. We love you guys. We'll see you tomorrow on Clear View Today.
Whisper: medium.en / 2023-11-27 14:11:45 / 2023-11-27 14:24:36 / 13

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