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Biblical Scholarship

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah
The Truth Network Radio
October 26, 2022 9:00 am

Biblical Scholarship

Clearview Today / Abidan Shah

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October 26, 2022 9:00 am

In this show, Dr. Shah talks about the importance of biblical scholarship and how it can help in a ministry context. 

If you like this content and want to support the show you can visit us at Don't forget to rate and review our show! To learn more about us, visit us at If you have any questions or would like to contact us, email us at or text us at 252-582-5028. See you tomorrow on Clearview Today!

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Good morning slash afternoon slash evening, depending on what station you're listening on or when you're listening or watching the video podcast.

Today is Wednesday, October the 26th, 2022. I'm Ryan Hill. I'm John Galantis. And you're listening to Clearview Today with Dr. Abadonshaw, the daily show where we engage heart and mind for the gospel of Jesus Christ. You can find us online at, or if you have a question for Dr. Shaw, anything you'd like to write in and suggest that we talk about, you can send us a text at 252-582-5028.

You can follow Dr. Shaw on his website,, and you can support us here at Clearview Church at You'll find a donate button there so you can give to what we're doing. Every donation that you make goes to not only supporting our show here, but supporting our countless other ministries for building the kingdom of God. We are thankful for you. We're thankful for that partnership and the gifts that we've already received. Amen. Thank you guys for giving.

Thank you so much. It really does help every single bit that you do. It's not only helping us, but it's helping you spread the gospel as well, because that's our whole goal here at Clearview Today.

Absolutely. We really value you and that partnership that we've established and look forward to it in the days and weeks ahead. Before we start the show, we want to remind you that the upcoming elections are coming on November the 8th, 2022, and you're going to be voting for one U.S. Senate seat, 14 U.S. House seats, several state offices, including things like General Assembly, Supreme Court, Court of Appeals, local judges and prosecutors, and county offices like sheriff and county commissioners. It is very important that you go out on November the 8th and vote according to your conviction.

That's right. Get out there and vote. Do your civic duty.

That is our duty as citizens of this nation is to vote and to vote for your convictions, vote for your values. It's a beautiful Wednesday. It is a beautiful Wednesday. You know, my favorite thing about today is that the weather is colder. Why? I know that people are going to like, I'm going to get a lot of pushback against that. I'm thinking of pushing you out of the chair.

No, no. The crisp air, like you walk outside and just kind of like, ooh, like you brace against the cold. It's dry. It's arid. It's not pleasant at all.

There's no heat index. It's literally moving away from its source of life. It's entering its phase of death. It's fantastic. That's what you like. I love it. It's so comfortable. If you guys want to tell Ryan how wrong he is about the cold weather, send us a text at two five two five eight two five zero two eight. I just wanted to say that because I never get to say it on my side.

There's no way. There's no way anybody out there likes the cold better than the warm. Where's all my children of summer? I need you guys to sound off in the text.

Again that number is two five two five eight two five zero two eight. By the way, have you been in the gym? Not as much as I'd like because it's cold. No, no, just because I like sleep. What time you get up?

What time you get up in the morning? Well, I've got, for those of you who don't know, I have five kids. So in order to get them up, did that surprise you? No, I mean, I knew that.

I've known it for like what, 10 years. Sometimes it still surprises. Yeah. Sometimes it still surprises me. Honestly. I put like six 30 to start the getting ready for school process.

So what does that look like? Uh, so, I mean, honestly now the age that they are, our youngest is four and we have a twin 10 year olds. So they, they're pretty self-sufficient and they, I mean, they just get themselves dressed and come downstairs.

We fix some breakfast, um, make sure all lunches are packed, make sure anything that needs to be signed is signed and then pack them up and like little ducklings, they go out the door on their merry way. I'm in the stage where I'm trying to get my two-year-old to sleep through the night like he's been doing for the last two years. He's never had problems sleeping through the night and now for some reason at two years old, now that he's got a big boy bed, he wants to get out in Rome. That's going to happen.

Yeah. And if he can't get out of his room, Ellie, put some, um, Ellie, put these little door knob holders on the doors. So now he tries and I hear him rattling the door and like clockwork. He'll try it like two or three times instantly start crying and I'm like, I'm not doing this thing where we go back and forth and put him in the bed. So he's just been sleeping on the floor in front of his bedroom door. Sometimes you got to do that. Sometimes you got to do that. You know, when I was in, um, when I was in college, they actually had those, uh, those bunk beds where it was like the top bunk was the bed and the bottom bunk was like the, the drawer, like a desk, and I was always so afraid of like falling off the top bunk.

I honestly, a lot of times I would just sleep on the floor on my mattress. I like that you mentioned school though, you're talking about the kids going to school because I think a lot of today's topic is on school, biblical scholarship. It is biblical scholarship. We're going to bring Dr. Shawn in just a few minutes.

And if you didn't know this, Dr. Shaw is a PhD in New Testament textual criticism. And don't worry if you don't know what that means, we're going to explain it for you or not. I was going to explain it for us. It's a big deal. It's kind of important. It is very important in the following weeks. We'll probably dive deeper into what that means, but today we just want to look at biblical scholarship as a whole. And second, Timothy reminds us that if you belong to a local church, you're instructed to commit the doctrines of Jesus Christ to faithful men.

That's right. We're going to bring Dr. Shaw into the studio to talk about what all goes into that. But first we're going to take a quick break. As always, if you have any questions or any suggestions on new topics, you can text us at 252-582-5028. And that number is going to be very important because coming up on Friday's episode, we're going to be having a, uh, like a lightning round, lightning round for questions. We read questions that you all have submitted, the listeners and the viewers. So make sure that you are sending those questions in to 252-582-5028. We've already got a couple, but we do want to keep the conversation going. The more you guys converse with us, I guess converse is the right word, the more that you conversate or, or talk to us and text us, the more that we are able to get these episodes out and push the gospel even further. So the communication between us is very important. Tell them the phone number again, 252-582-5028.

That's it. Or you can visit us online at We'll be right back. Are you looking for some new worship music to go along with all these amazing shows here on the Truth Network? But today's your lucky day because Dr. Shaw and myself and a lot of the rest of the Clearview staff have been hard at work writing for the last few months. And we're very excited to share Clearview's new EP with you, Together Forward. Not only do these songs sound great, but each and every single one of them were born from a place of genuine worship and prayerfully written by our team right here at Clearview Church.

It's available right now on iTunes, Amazon, Spotify, anywhere digital music is sold. So make sure to pick up your copy today and let us know how these songs are helping you, whether they're helping your worship band in your church or just in the car or around in your everyday life, email us at info at You can also support the ministry here at Clearview Church by visiting us online.

That's forward slash give. Thanks for listening. Come back to the show. Welcome back to Clearview Today with Dr. Abaddon Shaw, the daily show that engages mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ.

You can visit us online at or send us a text at 252-582-5028. We have Dr. Shaw back with us in the studio today. Dr. Shaw, how are you doing today? Wednesday?

How are you doing? Absolutely. This is, I guess, hump day. Right?

I'm wearing a shirt. If I'm not mistaken, the 27th trunk treats is tonight, I believe, isn't it? Yes. You're right. It is.

It is. Trunk treats ready to go tonight. We're going to have a lot of kids out in the parking lot.

Absolutely. Lots of candy to be had. I'm going to be grabbing candy from little kids. Are you going to dress, grabbing candy from little kids? So they don't, I mean, so I'm not trying to protect them against cavities and stuff. Oh, I got you.

And by the way, the way we do it is we tell parents, no scary costumes. That's right. Yes. That's right. Keep it light up here.

Keep it fine. Yeah. I'll dress up as a pastor. That's the pastor.

Okay. There it is. Hey, listen, by the way, before we jump in, if you guys are new, if you're visiting with us, never seen the show before, Dr. Abaddon Shah is a PhD in New Testament textual criticism. We're going to talk about that here in a second. Professor at Carolina University, author, full-time pastor, and host of Today's Show. That's right. I hope you didn't know that. That's right.

So that actually leads us right into today's topic. We're talking about biblical scholarship today and Dr. Shah, as someone with a PhD, you are very well versed in the realm of biblical scholarship. I guess the question is, does the average person need to be a scholar when it comes to the Bible? I would say, no, you don't have to be a scholar, but for the sake of your people, you better do everything you can to be ready to help them. So no, you don't have to be a scholar as in go out and get a PhD.

If God has called you, by all means go, he will give you all the necessary help that you need, but be the expert for your people. What self-motivated you? I can understand being in school growing up and then being like, okay, I'm coming to America at 17, so my dad's sending me here to get educated.

I need to go ahead and do that, but why keep going? Even after the master's degree, why keep going to get the PhD? What was it that compelled you, I guess, to keep pursuing that? Well, I was always studious. Even in high school, I went to a Catholic school which had very high academics, so always motivated. We studied three languages there, so it was always my persona.

I was always academically driven, but when I came to America and went to college, of course, it was very easy for me in some sense, and I'm not trying to be arrogant here. That's how it was. So I decided to coast, and when I did, my GPA was below 1.29. So it was horrible.

Really? Yeah, yeah, I didn't study nothing. I would have never guessed that. I failed public speaking because I was working late night security, so I would get home, sleep, set the alarm, like I'm going to get up, like 7 o'clock, get to my room, and the class is at 9, so I'm like, oh yeah, I can do this.

Of course I didn't. Wow. I slept through horrible, but then when I realized that God was calling me in the ministry, which was the final year of college now, all of a sudden I am very motivated to study, and I'm sitting at 1.9 GPA. Wow. But for the next, I would say I had two semesters left, I mean I had straight 4.0, but it didn't make a difference.

So did it rock it up, or was it like I have to crawl out of this hole? Well, I mean the semester GPAs were 4.0, but now you compute that with 3 years of 1.9, that doesn't help much. That doesn't balance out quite as much. But there was motivation because I knew what God had called me to do. Now here's the bad part. When I came to seminary in 1996, I felt really dumb. Really? I did. Oh yeah, I felt really dumb.

I felt like other students were catching on, understanding things, understanding concepts, and I was just playing catch up. So here's a word to the wise. If God has given you gifts and talents, don't just put them in a corner or put them on a shelf. Use them.

Be excited about them because God wants to use you. So I had to actually pray and say, God, would you help me? Help my mind. I don't know what's wrong with me.

Help me. God did. I began that first semester with elementary Greek, and initially it was just a shock to the system trying to figure out what to do. But as I mentioned, I was very studious growing up, and then college I kind of fool around, didn't really study like I should have. And then I remember my dad, he had a huge library with Greek and Hebrew resources and all that he was teaching as a professor as well in the local Christian college. So I began to study with that intensity. And then from there, it just took on new life for me.

That became my life. Did being multilingual by the time you came here, did that help your Greek and Hebrew studies? Oh yeah, definitely. It helped a lot.

And I had students coming to our apartment to study with me, because I want to make sure I've got it right. Just for the listeners, you can speak English, Urdu, Hindi, Marathi, you can read Greek and Hebrew. Right. That's correct.

That's correct. I can read and write Hindi and Marathi. I can speak as well. Urdu, I can speak, I can read.

I can write. Really? Right. Okay.

So it is, yeah. But it helped. It helped. It helped me tremendously.

Okay. And then, you know, I had to study English grammar because we don't usually pay attention in English classes. So I had to study English grammar on my own and then really helped me a lot. Now, how does that compare with your dad's linguistic ability? How many languages did he know? Was he able to speak? Oh yeah. He could speak, read, write like nine to 13 different languages. Wow. Remember his dad was a police commissioner, so they moved to different places.

They were transferred. That's what, you know, under the British. So he knew a lot of languages.

He learned them growing up though. Oh yeah. Wow. They say, I think that this is what they say. Like if you can learn languages as a kid, do it. Yeah, I've heard that. Yeah.

The earlier you start, the better. But talking about Greek specifically, like how much can the average lay person really study the Bible without being able to read Greek? A lot. You can. Okay. Yeah, absolutely. You have an English Bible and you dig into the Word of God.

There's so many gems just sitting there to be mined. Okay. So much you can get. So I would never tell you that, oh, your English Bible is not good enough. Right. Okay, because all the deep stuff is in the Greek and Hebrew and Aramaic.

Not true. You have plenty to mine. You can have several lifetimes mining just English translation. But my encouragement to you is if you can, see if you can start studying Greek.

Okay. Maybe even Hebrew for the Old Testament. So if we have people who are listening or watching right now and they are like, okay, you know, I'd be willing to learn Hebrew, Greek. How do I get started?

What's the first step? Well, I mean, there are colleges, seminaries that are online now, Carolina University where I teach is online. I mean, you're welcome to come join. You probably end up teaching Greek right now, aren't you? I'm teaching Greek right now. When did that start? Because I knew you were teaching the gospels. Did that start a couple of weeks? Last night.

Last night. Last night was first Greek lesson. First Greek lesson. I've been teaching for several years. Right.

But last night was the first class of this semester. Got it. Got it. And I've been in the realm of languages and I guess this question is going to kind of take us back in the conversation a little bit, but what do we, what is good scholarship when we approach the Bible? Like, what does it look like to be a good student of, of the Bible, of God's word?

Well, it can't help, but go with Paul's statement study to show you that self-approved unto God a workman, not ashamed. Yes. Rightly dividing the word of truth. I mean, that's, that's the, the acronym behind Awana. I have my Awana shirt on. Yeah. That's what it is, by the way, folks, I hear people say Awanas, there's no S there, a worker approved, not ashamed. I don't know what the S is. I don't know.

I always wondered. See, I didn't grow up with Awana. I did not grow up with Awana until I came here and people were like, yeah, we're going to the Awanas. Yeah. I was like, okay.

I didn't, I didn't grow up with Awanas either. Is it two? Is it three of them? Yeah. Just think of it like the Kewanis or something like that.

It just gets rolled into one, I think, and pronunciation. The past couple of episodes we've been talking about, it's really been your story. And I have, I mean, on the calendar we have coming up, we're going to dive into what your PhD work is, but just, can you just tell, talk about how you got into PhD, the PhD field in the beginning or just how it got started?

Of course. So my first year at seminary, this is 1996. I had a job lined up through a mutual friend. Actually one of my father-in-laws charged members down in Georgia. He owned a tech company in Durham, a very big company. He was part of the whole southern bail lines back in the early days. And then he got into global communications. This was a company.

And so when we moved here, I began to work laying down cat fives when they were first coming out. And I needed a certain schedule so I can work and go to seminary and make a living. And I could not get into that Greek class. That morning Greek class is what I needed so I can do my Greek and then run off to work, work until eight, nine o'clock and come home and do that again. And so could not sign for any Greek class.

And there were some in the afternoon, but they were not good for me. The one class that I wanted was by Dr. Maurice Robinson. And so it was full. And so I was so kind of disheartened, I'm like, I don't know how I'm going to do this.

I'll have to find a way. And as I was leaving the race trials office, guess who I run into? Dr. Maurice Robinson. I had seen him at orientation.

So he's like, hey, how are you? I said, hey, Dr. Robinson, I tried to sign up for your class, but unfortunately it's already full. You want to sign up for my class? I said, yeah, it's the best for my work schedule. And so, but it's full. He said, come with me.

And he took me back to the race trial's office and told them to open the class and add me in. Wow. And I started taking Greek, but in the process, didn't realize at the time, didn't have a clue at the time, didn't know what textual criticism was, that he was a legend in the field of textual criticism.

Right. You know, Byzantine priority expert, the one who put the Byzantine text form together with William Pierpont is teaching me Greek. I didn't know, I have a clue. Can you take a second and just explain, if our listeners have never heard of the Robinson Pierpont text, can you just explain kind of what that is? Well, there are different texts out there when it comes to the Greek New Testament. There is the Nestle Island text, there is a UBS text, but Nestle Island and UBS texts are based on the Alexandrian text. They're coming on the basis of reason eclecticism.

Maybe one day we'll do a show on that. Right. They're coming from reason eclectic methodology, but primarily focused on the Alexandrian text type. Okay. But then there's another text type called the Byzantine text type, and then there's another one called the Western, and then maybe also a Caesarean. Byzantine text form is different than Alexandrian and Western.

Okay. And Dr. Maurice Robinson is a major proponent of the Byzantine text form. Now don't confuse that with Textus Receptus or King James Only View. Those are very different, albeit the text is quite similar.

Majority of it is similar. That's the majority of text, by the way, pun intended. But here, Byzantine text form is a whole different, very legitimate category.

And so that's what Dr. Robinson put together, the Byzantine text form, along with William Pierpont. So in the field of textual criticism, Dr. Robinson is a celebrity. Yeah. They disagree with him.

The reason eclecticism is probably the most popular methodology right now in textual criticism. So they will disagree with Robinson, but they definitely respect him. Right. And we are, just to put it out there for the listeners, we are going to have him on the show in a couple of weeks. Yes, we are. Yes, we are.

Yes, we are. So I'm very excited about that. You guys will get to listen to an interview. So there are people who are listening now that you've just completely blown their minds out of the water.

Like you're saying these terms of like, I didn't know what I was signing up for when I tuned into this show. And I just want to say like, we get to have you as a pastor, like that. That's huge. Thank you. No, thank you. I mean, thank you for all the work that you've put in. How do you feel like your PhD and your level of scholarship, how has that impacted and influenced your approach to ministry?

Oh, a lot. When I approach a text and when I approach a text for preaching or Bible study or just a small talk at some gathering, I always approach it as if I'm about to put a journal article together or an article that I will read or paper that I will read at an ETS, Evangelical Theological Society meeting. I make sure that I have looked into that text. What are the critical issues?

What are the points of controversy or debate? So I want to be very aware of what I'm writing or preaching about. So I approach it and I don't expect all pastors to do that. There are some who do it and do an amazing job with it, but I don't think every pastor has to do that.

But that's just how I approach it. Well, I think the difference is that people are reading your work. And so I think that pastors and maybe not biblical scholars, but definitely pastors, I feel like they give themselves an out too early.

They're like, well, I'm just pastoring a small town. No one's going to read my work. You have no clue and you don't know who you could impact by that because you are taking it with it's very possible and probable that other scholars are going to read this work.

I need to make sure I'm right. Oh, absolutely. I'm preaching the right word. I encourage pastors all the time who are geared that way because they will get discouraged because they feel like, you know, I'm not in seminary teaching and I don't think I'm going to teach, but I'm pastoring. But what I'm putting together is I feel like who's going to read this and I tell them, hey, don't don't think that way. Somebody somewhere will write.

So write it, put it on a blog site. Even if you don't publish that work, put it on the blog site and you never know what God will do through that. And my dad told me this years ago that that God will never let someone who is excellent in his work just sit on a shelf somewhere.

He will not do that. So if you're going to be excellent in your work, just know you're not going to sit on the shelf somewhere. So my encouragement to pastors is no matter how educated you are or what is your context or how the people are, where you are, whatever, hey, give your very best. Wow.

Give it very best. Do it unto the Lord. That's right. And one of the, one of the benefits of that for us is that week in and week out, you, you prepare sermons with that level of depth. I know in, in one of the later episodes, we're going to talk about what actually goes into how you prep a sermon, how you, how you research, how you craft that message.

But another byproduct of your level of scholarship is we get to do things like having apologetics conferences here at Clearview and we had one not too long ago. Can you just for the benefit of our listeners, can you just kind of briefly recap what that conference was about, who was here and why that was so significant? It was awesome. Can I begin with that? It was amazing.

It absolutely was. Our theme of the conference was the original text of the New Testament, which is your, which is the topic of your dissertation. That's my topic of dissertation. And the reason we felt like this is important is because in the past few decades, and I'm talking about almost three decades, four decades, where the text of the New Testament has been under attack and the claim is that we don't have the text. It has been lost forever.

We have too many variants like Ehrman, Bart Ehrman from UNC Chapel Hill likes to say it. We have error-ridden copies. There's no way you can get back to the original, abandon all hope. Like Dante's abandoned hope, all who enter here. And the doctrine of inerrancy or inspiration is ludicrous. You can't believe that.

How can you believe that this is God's breath when God's breath has been corrupted, or so they say? So the conference was to, and I gave the introductory lecture, as you know, and I talked about the importance of the original text and how the original text is not lost, albeit there are different methodologies to reach the original text. And that's fine. There is a reason-acclecting methodology that we see in behind Nestle Allen text or the UBS 5 text. Then there's a Byzantine text form, priority methodology that's behind, of course, the Robinson Pierpond text. And then there is, of course, the Western text.

We didn't have anybody as a proponent for the Western text. And then, of course, we also had one professor who gave his perspective from the Storzian view. Storzian view is somewhere in between the Alexandrian and Byzantine. It's kind of like a two out of three approach, that if the Byzantine and the Alexandrian come together, then that's the text. If the Western and the Byzantine comes together, then that's the text, the original text. And for those of you who are listening who are like, I have no clue what any of this means, this is a taste of everything that's to come, because in the coming weeks, we're going to dive into all of these topics individually and tackle them one by one, because that is kind of our goal, is that you would be able to understand what is a text type, you know, who was Harry Storz, what is reason to collecticism, all of these things are stuff that we're going to be talking about.

So don't get discouraged because this is something that's very exciting and it's necessary. I would definitely say it is necessary because if you take away the text of the New Testament, right, that there is no longer an original text, then what is our faith built on? Right. We don't have a faith. Faith then becomes whatever your opinion is, what would you like to believe?

I don't know. What do you like to believe? I think God is like this, or I think salvation is this, it is the text, the original text that was written, passed down through copies upon copies because the original text of autographs are lost, right, gone forever, but the text itself is well preserved in the thousands of copies we have and comparing them to the discipline of textual criticism is what this is all about. Right, right. You need that authoritative text. Absolutely. Especially where our culture is today, where everybody's making their own rules and that sin is not sin anymore.

It's just your opinion and truth is relative. We need to know that when we hold that Bible in our hand, that we are holding the Word of God. Yeah. And I think that's one of the reasons that I'm so excited about this show, that what we get to do, engage mind and heart.

There's a reason that we put those words in there, engage mind and heart for the gospel of Jesus Christ. If you guys enjoyed today's topic, you can follow Dr. Shah on his blog at Of course, you can visit us online at and we'll be back tomorrow at the same time where we talk with Dr. Shah about the Elijah syndrome. That's right. That's right. And don't forget, you can support us by visiting, what's the website, Ryan? Absolutely. Every time you guys give, you are making a contribution. You're making a huge impact in the building of God's kingdom. That's right. Right. We're coming up with the end of the show. Thank you so much, sharing your heart for biblical scholarship with us.

Can you give us some last minute advice as we head out? Oh, well, and let me thank you guys for all that you guys are doing, John and Ryan and behind the cameras and behind the desk is David Williamson and my own son, Nicholas Shah. That's right. So talking about the advice, I think Nicholas reminded me of an advice I gave him that if you ever borrow someone's vehicle, if they let you borrow it, they don't let you borrow it, it's called stealing. Yeah, that's grand theft auto.

That's grand theft auto. For sure. They don't do that.

You write to it. So if you do borrow and they let you borrow, make sure you fill it back up. Yeah. Oh yeah. That's just common courtesy.

That's great. Always fill it back up. It's always annoying when someone borrows your car and then it's, it comes back and it's on E. It's like, why did you, and you confirm you're like, why would you, why wouldn't you fill it up?

It's like, dude, if I had enough money to fill up your gas tank, I wouldn't be borrowing your car in the first place. Bruh, come on. Come on. At least fill it up. At least you can do.

Yeah. If you have any advice for us or topics you'd like us to discuss, you can text us at 252-582-5028. We love you guys. I'm going to see you tomorrow. See you tomorrow.
Whisper: small.en / 2022-11-06 01:39:57 / 2022-11-06 01:47:50 / 8

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