How do you men handle difficult texts of Scripture like Jude 22-23? What do you do when you have 15-20 hours to finish your Sunday morning sermon and you encounter a text that has a number of diverse readings? How would you counsel someone who has seminary training but is not a “Dr. Randy linguist”? How much time should be spent trying to solve the following problems:
When you come to Jude 22-23 you realize that the conservative Greek scholars don’t agree on the original manuscript. One scholar notes “The most striking feature of the textual tradition is that some witnesses divide the text into two clauses, while other witnesses divide into three.” That is a somewhat signficant variant.
In addition to this one must determine if the main imperative should be “have mercy” (eleeite) or “reprove” (elenchete)? Also, should diakrino be translated “doubters” or “disputers”?
Even if i were a Greek scholar, like Dr. Thomas Schreiner, who spent numerous hours trying to sort out these problems for his commentary on Jude; at the end of the day Schreiner writes “certainty on whether the text should be divided into two or two clauses cannot be attained.” If Schreiner, a wonderful N.T. scholar, who probably sight reads the Greek text comes to this conclusion, where does that leave the seminary trained pastor?
How many hours would you recommend the typical pastor invest trying to sort out P72 and Vaticanus B and Codex Alexandrinus in addition to the numerous journal articles that are written on the subject (S. Kubo, J.M. Ross, etc)? One could spend his entire twenty hours on this issue and then come to the same conclusion as Dr. Schreiner….
What say you?