Byzantine Degradation of Qualifications for Elders: The Wilderness of 1 Timothy 3 – Lloyd Immanuel Acree

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Byzantine Degradation of Qualifications for Elders: The Wilderness of 1 Timothy 3

April 24, 2024 5:14 PM
Lloyd Immanuel Acree

April 24, 2024

The Byzantine / Western traditional (presumedly founding) manuscripts for the New Testament show signs of omissions.

In this example (1 Timothy 3), theirs would state that a bishop should not be a novice, neophyte: a new convert. Isn’t that a painfully obvious qualification, though?

The Aramaic manuscripts, according to Victor Alexander, tell a different requirement. And it is directly connected to having an anchor in the Holy Spirit.

“It is his duty, however, that he [a bishop] should also have a beautiful testimony from the wilderness, so as he will not fall into the worship and traps of satan.”

So there appears to be a streamlining, a watering down, and perhaps a political maneuver here visited against this prescriptive training phase for church leaders. Was there a deliberate deletion? We may never know, but this text below from Victor Alexander makes superior sense and is far more relevant and useful for instituting a godly office for church elders. We must agree with it at least for the fact that it perfectly matches the imitation of Christ, if not also because it carries its own weight in forensic, ancient ecclesiastical primacy.

Go deeper and check out the anchor we have in Aramaic! God has been faithful to protect His Word but we must pay attention:

“Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.” Hebrews 2:1

Lloyd Immanuel Acree

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