What fables, genealogies and other gospels were Paul talking about?

Monday Musings for May 17, 2021

Good morning, Musers,

Today’s musing is more about the study tool I used to solve the problem than it is about the content of the question. Most of you know that I am one of the writers for Got Questions Ministries. Today, I’d like to introduce you to one of their tools: BibleRef.

BibleRef is an online commentary developed by Got Questions Ministries. What makes this commentary noteworthy is that it is optimized for the internet: its content is direct and concise; it contains no fat… but they point you to other resources — so you can get as fat as you want!

About a dozen years ago, I was researching material online, and I happened upon one of Got Questions Ministries articles. I had never heard of them before, but when I read it I said to myself, “This is a perfect format for the internet, and they seem to be doctrinally orthodox.” But looking back, it was this “just right” format that drew me in more than anything else.

When I see a ministry doing something particularly well, I like to encourage them. So, I wrote to the staff and told them that I liked what they were doing — but also — how they were doing it. I asked them, “Who is writing this stuff?” because there were no bylines. They told me that most of their content was written by volunteers. That was my “call” to serve in that ministry.

My relationship with Got Questions Ministries is a little complicated because I don’t agree with them on many secondary and tertiary issues. But you know what? As long as I give a disclaimer, saying that my answer is a personal solution and does not necessarily represent the stand of the ministry, they let me write — and with about 250 volunteer writers, that is wise! There is sure to be disagreement on some non-essential issues of the faith given the diversity within Christianity.

But here’s the magic in apologetics — the thing that makes such diversity workable: to answer a challenge about God, the Bible or the Christian culture, you only need a plausible solution to the question, not a perfect solution. Furthermore, you only need one solution and not every possible solution… and it’s easy to find at least one plausible solution to almost any question.

I recently received a question from a man in Asia who wanted to know exactly what fables, genealogies and other gospels Paul was referring to in 1 Timothy and Galatians. This isn’t a complicated question or one that requires nuance; it’s encyclopedic. He just wanted to know what those passages were commonly understood to mean. This is the perfect job for a commentary.

Now, here’s the thing about commentaries: they are not the Bible! But they do tell us what people think the Bible is saying. The problem is that commentaries can be kind of heavy… especially those written by the older commentators, the ones who emphasized the original languages.

But if you just want to find out what’s happening in a passage — without sifting through more than you ever wanted to know about the aorist tense — try using BibleRef. Joe Friday would love this commentary! It gives you just the facts… which I’ll demonstrate today.

(Click here to read the article referenced above. For comments, or to join the Monday Musings mailing list, contact us at mainsailep@gmail.com. To submit a question about God, the Bible or the Christian culture, click here.)