Contrasts: One Reads “The Palmist”; the Other “2 Corinthians”

The crickets are chirping so loudly I can’t hear myself think. I’m referring to the lack of Big Media coverage of Joe Biden’s gaffe in reading from “the palmist” on Thanksgiving Day. Now, I cannot know what was on the teleprompter he was struggling to read, but when Biden got to the actual quote from Psalm 28:7, surely he should have realized his error and corrected himself.

In any case, Big Media has, as usual it seems, given Biden a pass on this gaffe.

Contrast this to the Big Media lambasting then-candidate Trump received when he quoted 2 Corinthians 3:17. He was even chastised in Christian and “Christian” media for pronouncing it “2 Corinthians” instead of “Second Corinthians”. That’s wrong, right?

Isn’t it?

Go to your Bible—whether a physical book or an online version—and search for 2 Corinthians 3:17. Doesn’t it have a “2” in front of “Corinthians” either at the top of the page (physical book) or in front of/on top of the chapter and verse? Can you find one that actually reads “Second Corinthians” on the page or screen?

In the online criticisms of Trump I find many are printed as “Two Corinthians”. But why not “2 Corinthians”—as in the number 2—which is more likely what Trump was reading from?

Arguably, Trump was even correct from a technical perspective. Though it may be current convention to refer to the verse aloud as “Second Corinthians three seventeen”, this is not even the way the inscription reads in the Greek manuscript tradition.

Go here , select “Jump to Book” (left side of page under 1. Description of Manuscript) and select “2 Cor” from the drop-down menu. Then look at the top of the manuscript page, which reads:


The “B” represents the number 2 in Greek isopsephy (similar to Jewish/Hebrew gematria). Most literally, this translates “To [the] Corinthians, 2”. The first letter to the Corinthians is identical except it has “A” instead of “B” at the end of its inscription. This practice is the same in Paul’s two letters to the Thessalonians and Timothy.

However, Peter’s and John’s epistles have different inscriptions. Instead of a Greek “A” or “B” (or “C”), these spell out either “First” (prōtos), “Second” (deuteros), and, in John’s last brief letter, “Third” (tritos).

Thus, we might more correctly read Paul’s letters to the Corinthians, the Thessalonians, and Timothy with the appropriate number “1” or “2” in front, while prefacing Peter’s or John’s epistles with the corresponding “First”, “Second” or “Third”.

To conclude, an argument can be made that Trump was not incorrect in the way he cited the Scripture reference as “2 Corinthians 3:17”. Comparatively, there is no realm of possibility in which Biden was correct when he stated—twice—“the palmist” in his preface to reading Psalm 28. Why the Big Media disparity in the treatment of these two?

42 Responses to Contrasts: One Reads “The Palmist”; the Other “2 Corinthians”

  1. Jim says:

    Even If Biden had never read his script prior to delivering this speech (I saw that clip courtesy of sky news aus), you have to be pretty out to lunch to trip over such a word. And as a Catholic who, The Guardian media outlet stated the other day, would let his faith be the guiding force in his presidency! It’s so blatant but not unsurprising. Joe is the chosen winner Craig, but just not chosen by the voting populace.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Craig says:

    Right you are, Jim. On all fronts.


  3. I saw a clip of this yesterday and I actually laughed out loud! I said the same thing to Nathan and my mom that this will get no mainstream airtime. Listening to Joe speak is painful and it would be nice if Biden were held to the same standard and treatment as Trump but it won’t happen. I NEVER envisioned the plight/state of the USA as it is today. Our God is the ultimate “palmist” holding the whole world in His Hands.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Craig says:

    This morning as I pulled this post together, I tried to come up with a witty or an appropriately theological reference for “palmist” and came up empty; yours is quite good!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I am glad you approved! I wasn’t so sure how you would respond (if at all) after I sent it!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Craig says:

    I’m nearly as peeved by the Christian (and “Christian”) media’s treatment of Trump’s use of “2 Corinthians”. I saw one article in which Dr. Michael Brown–noted in the piece as one who is an expert in ANE languages–rightly exegeted the Scripture; however, why didn’t he point out that Trump was not wrong in his use of “2”?

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I missed that comment (or lack there of!) from Brown. I will be honest, I read his articles at times to get a different opinion on things.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Craig says:

    I came across the reference here:

    I’ve sourced Brown positively in some comments on various blogs over the years. He and James White did a very good job–though I thought White seemed condescending at times (in fairness, I may be misreading his mannerisms)–in their debate with Anthony Buzzard and Joseph Good for Trinitarianism over against unitarianism: Trinitarians vs. Unitarians debate (1/2)

    But I’ve also been very critical of how Brown makes apologies for those I call “hyper-charismatics”. See here, e.g.: Thoughts on Craig Keener’s Review of MacArthur’s ‘Strange Fire’. Apologizing for Bill Johnson is a bridge too far.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I’ll be honest, I don’t know what to make of Dr. Brown. At times he is sound and he handled the Todd Bentley situation well. Other times I am at total odds with Dr. Brown in regards to his views on Bethel, Jesus Culture and the NAR/prophetic voice at large.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Craig says:

    As for me, I’ll agree with him when he’s correct, and I’ll vehemently disagree with and criticize him when he goes off the hyper-charismatic cliff. He’s obviously very bright and educated, but he’s also–as I see it–deceived/blinded in some areas. I don’t trust him.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Agreed! I find myself at odds with Dr Brown far more than in agreement.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. If I may ask who are some voices you recommend reading or listening to?


  13. Craig says:

    That’s both an easy and a tough question! I’m certainly no authority–I have no theological ‘pedigree’ of any sort (no degree, etc.)–so why would anyone listen to me! The easiest way I can answer is to ask you (or anyone) to look at the footnotes in the articles I’ve written. Having stated that, I enjoy reading all different points of view, to include those whom I disagree with. This stretches my thinking, and, at times, has even induced me to change opinions on things. The key, I think, is reading those with different points of view and attempt to fully understand why they hold these different perspectives. This fosters critical thinking.

    I’m not married to any particular ideology. I suppose that’s the benefit of not having grown up with any real Christian background and coming to faith a bit late in life. In other words, I have few a priori prejudices. Since I seem to be a born skeptic, I always try to evaluate a particular ideology objectively–to the extent that is possible–before accepting or rejecting it.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. True enough about the footnotes!


  15. Craig says:

    I’ll add this: Years ago someone recommended F. F. Bruce. Having read a number of his works, I agree. That’s not to say I don’t occasionally disagree; but, by and large he’s as solid as an oak tree theologically.

    On the charismatic side–if that’s what you’re thinking–Craig Keener is very good to excellent, though I think he might be a bit naive in that he may too readily accept some I’d put in the hyper-charismatic camp. Also, Wayne Grudem–his Systematic Theology is excellent.

    Liked by 1 person

  16. Craig says:

    Let me add this. Regarding John’s Gospel–my primary interest in study–see the lengthy bibliography here: Probing the Prologue in The Gospel According to John: Introduction

    Liked by 1 person

  17. I haven’t read much by Bruce, great suggestion! I have a bunch of Keener’s works. He’s amazing in regards to NT background! I have Grudem’s systematic theo, I will admit I do NOT agree with Grudem and CBMW in regards to the Trinity and gender roles.


  18. Craig says:

    Sorry, I’m at a loss for “CBMW”. What does that mean, and does it have to do with the Trinity?

    Liked by 1 person

  19. It’s the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. long story short this council holds to strict complementarianism in which as the Son always submits to the Father so does woman submit to the man. Learning about this controversy in Seminary has been the ruin of me. I wish I had NEVER heard of this debate/controversy. Grudem’s systematic theology book advocates for this position which I never noticed before learning of said controversy! This is just a very brief summary. There is lots written on this. There are many complemantarians who reject the Trinity as an analogy for gender roles, praise the Lord!


  20. Craig says:

    I think it perilous to analogize the Trinity for ANY doctrine. The same sort of thing is done with the so-called Social Trinity. Assess the doctrine on it own Scriptural merits–not impose the Trinity on it or vice versa.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. Excellent, well said!


  22. SLIMJIM says:

    The media’s double standard is so disgusting

    Liked by 2 people

  23. Jim says:

    Sorry to press on the subject of complementarianism and gender roles in church and marriage. I’m a newbie to that organisation but a very quick read of the key statements seem pretty scripturally accurate to me.

    We’re you saying earlier, Blue Collar Theologian, that you agreed with the broad stance of CBMW but didn’t support a specific version of the Father Son relationship as evidence for their cause? Thanks very much for clarifying (and feel free to delete Craig if I’m off base/topic).


  24. Hey, Jim!
    Sorry I didn’t see this comment until now! So, I do not agree that the Trinity should be used as a type for gender. Personally, I do not see any hierarchy in the Trinity that would translate to gender roles. To me the Trinity transcends gender thus should not be tampered with. Regardless if one holds to the position that the Son is always in submission to the Father or the Son only submitted to the Father in the Incarnation does not depict gender roles. I hope I have said this well. Blessings, Mandy


  25. Jim says:

    Got it Mandy! Thanks for clarifying and agreed that the Father Son relationship has no bearing on male female or husband and wife roles (I think that’s what you said). There’s plenty of scripture making those things clear without getting dogmatic on the Godhead.

    Interesting article Craig. States taking other states to court! A legal civil war?

    Liked by 1 person

  26. Jim says:

    How are you going with the Ellen/Elliot Paige thing? So can you now identify as being another sex without actually transitioning? And if she was previously in a same sex relationship, does this now make ‘Elliot’ straight?

    I read an article in our Sydney morning herald today that a man who now wanted to be called by them/they would be offended by the word ‘preferred’ in front of ‘pronoun’. As in ‘it’s not my preference to be referred to as they/them, it IS me’. Gender descriptors and language is becoming ever more strident.


  27. Craig says:

    I’m staying out of that whole thing:

    Liked by 1 person

  28. Craig says:

    A legal civil war sounds good to me! It’s better than a physical one.

    Liked by 1 person

  29. Craig says:

    I’ve timestamped where the speaker provides the essence of the Texas suit against PA, et al:


  30. Jim, I asked this same question! My mom is a psychologist and I asked her how is transvestism a mental disorder but this is not. How is this not transvestitism if there’s no sexual reassignment?! I am not trying to be a jerk or offensive, this is so far past what my brain can comprehend.


  31. Craig says:

    I tend to think of this piece around Christmas time. Jim, I wonder if your son heard this one (it’s from 1963)–it features Herbie Hancock on piano:


  32. Craig says:

    Yes; it’s all about perspective:

    Liked by 1 person

  33. Jim says:

    I’ll ask him Craig. We went to see him and his jazz trio play recently. I wish I could post you some clips. They were excellent.

    Regarding the whole gender ‘variance’ push, I understand that in Victoria state here they are tabling a motion to become law that will prevent churches praying for children who are confused about whether to remain their actual biological sex. Further, it could be come illegal to prevent your, say 7 year old, from requesting a gender transition and the parent will be jailed or fined massively and the child taken from the family. These are real proposals that will cause huge consternation to Christian families.

    You’re not being offensive on challenging the cognitive dissonance required in this area, Mandy. I’ve been listening to quite a bit of Allie Beth Stuckey who does a great job of explaining the threats to living according to biblical faith if these (and many other liberal and new age) matters ride rough shod across society. Alisha Childers is another good voice out there, I think.

    Liked by 1 person

  34. SLIMJIM says:

    Hope you are doing well

    Liked by 1 person

  35. Craig says:

    It’s all relative.

    Liked by 2 people

  36. SLIMJIM says:

    I imagine the politics of things doesn’t help

    Liked by 1 person

  37. Craig says:

    On multiple levels.

    Liked by 2 people

  38. Craig says:


    In much better news, have you seen this?

    Liked by 2 people

  39. SLIMJIM says:

    Wow is this for a White House Christmas celebration Trump said that? Will watch it after our youth group which starts in 6 minutes…

    Liked by 1 person

  40. SLIMJIM says:

    That was sweet to hear…

    Liked by 2 people

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