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Saturday, May 19, 2012

In the Pink


If you’re at all shaky on the whole idea of the sovereignty of God, let Arthur W. Pink set you straight.


A.W. Pink


ἐν αὐτῷ ἐν ᾧ καὶ ἐκληρώθημεν προορισθέντες κατὰ πρόθεσιν τοῦ τὰ πάντα ἐνεργοῦντος κατὰ τὴν βουλὴν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ· εἰς τὸ εἶναι ἡμᾶς εἰς ἔπαινον τῆς δόξης αὐτοῦ τοὺς προηλπικότας ἐν τῷ Χριστῷ.
Ephesians 1:11-12



I didn’t really start to understand the Bible until about two years ago when I became convinced of three fundamental (and increasingly unpopular) doctrinal truths related to God’s sovereignty: God has predestinated those who will believe in Jesus; these Believers are God’s Chosen Elect; and God does NOT love everybody.

Upon first hearing a reasonable and compelling explanation of these three truths,1 I was only partially convinced they were true, but after deciding to read the New Testament over the next few days as though they were true, I never looked back. From that moment on, everything I read in the Bible just made way more sense.

Anyway, the only reason I mention that is because ever since then I’ve been something of a heresy-hunter; and there’s been no shortage of game. Even though these truths were historically very strongly held in most non-Presbyterian denominations, almost no one preaches them today (and those, like the Calvinists, that do, don't teach them correctly). So it’s always a pleasant surprise to come across a Christian preacher who does. It’s a particular pleasure when he can present them artfully in a few choice sentences. Of course, because of the aforementioned lack of mainline subscribers to these truths, most of these “eloquent Sovereignists” are dead and buried. One such man is Arthur W. Pink.

I found the following Pink quote, A Great Deception, posted on the Providence Baptist Ministries website.
One of the most popular beliefs of the day is that God loves everybody, and the very fact that it is so popular with all classes ought to be enough to arouse the suspicions of those who are subject to the Word of Truth. God's love towards all His creatures is the favorite tenet of Universalists, Unitarians, Theosophists, Christian Scientists, Spiritualists, Russellites, etc. . . . So widely has this dogma been proclaimed, and so comforting it is to the heart which is at enmity with God, we have little hope of convincing many of their error.

To tell the Christ-rejecter that God loves him is to cauterize his conscience as well as to afford him a sense of security in his sins. The fact is, the love of God is a truth for the saints only, and to present it to the enemies of God is to take the children's bread and to cast it to the dogs.
As for Predestination and Election, Pink refers to them while discussing 2 Thessalonians 2:13, in a short excerpt entitled Chosen to Salvation:
There are three things here which deserve special attention. First, the fact that we are expressly told that God's elect are "chosen to salvation". Language could not be more explicit. How summarily do these words dispose of the sophistries and equivocations of all who would make election refer to nothing but external privileges or rank in service! It is to "salvation" itself that God has chosen us.
It should be noted here that both the OT Hebrew word בָּחִיר (bachiyr) and the NT Greek word ἐκλεκτός (eklektos) were alternately translated “the chosen” and “the elect” in English Bibles; meaning that the Chosen and the Elect are the same people. Pink continues:
Second, we are warned here that election unto salvation does not disregard the use of appropriate means: salvation is reached through "sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth". It is not true that because God has chosen a certain one to salvation that he will be saved willy-nilly, whether he believes or not: nowhere do the Scriptures so represent it. The same God who "chose unto salvation", decreed that His purpose should be realized through the work of the spirit and belief of the truth.
Or, as the Apostle Paul put it in Romans 8:29, we are predestined to become like Christ.
For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate [to be] conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn among many brethren.
In Ephesians 1:5, Paul tells us that we believers—the Elect—were predestinated to become younger siblings of Christ, members of the family of God.
Having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.
In this, Paul echoes the words of John 1:3:
But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, [even] to them that believe on his name.
All of which, as Pink reminds us, is “cause for fervent praise”!
Third, that God has chosen us unto salvation is a profound cause for fervent praise. Note how strongly the apostle expresses this - "we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God hath from the beginning chosen you to salvation", etc. Instead of shrinking back in horror from the doctrine of predestination, the believer, when he sees this blessed truth as it is unfolded in the Word, discovers a ground for gratitude and thanksgiving such as nothing else affords, save the unspeakable gift of the Redeemer Himself.
Amen.









Footnotes:
1. It was Jim Brown, the pastor of Grace and Truth Ministries, who opened my eyes to the truth of Predestination, Election & the Sovereignty of God. You can watch one of Jim's 90 minute sermons on these doctrines here on YouTube.



Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Follow the Leader


If you think someone can choose to follow Jesus, think again.



τὰ πρόβατα τὰ ἐμὰ τῆς φωνῆς μου ἀκούει, κἀγὼ γινώσκω αὐτά καὶ ἀκολουθοῦσίν μοι.
John 10:27



There are still a large number of people out there who think that following Jesus is just a matter of one's choosing to do so. The field of Christian Apologetics would cease to exist if those populating it weren’t certain that all a person has to do is decide that the arguments for following Jesus are more convincing than the arguments against, then act on their new-found conviction. Unfortunately for them, unless Jesus commands that person to follow him, he won’t be able to do it.

Yeah, he should apologize.

The New Testament Gospels are full of accounts of those who try to follow Jesus, but are dissuaded from doing so by the Lord Himself. This is usually due to the person or persons having the wrong reasons for following Him—reasons Jesus always perceives. Several of these incidents spring to mind: the crowd who came to get fed again (John 6:26); the crowd who wanted to crown Him king (Luke 6:15). Jesus was a miracle-worker and drew huge crowds, but by the end of His ministry, there were only a few followers left willing to associate with Him. What false followers He hadn’t chased away personally, were soon sent packing by His arrest, conviction and crucifixion.

In the last six verses at the end of the ninth chapter of the Gospel of Luke (vv. 57-62), where Jesus encounters three different men on His way to Jerusalem, there is a succinct example of both the Lord’s winnowing of would-be followers and His (seemingly) random choosing of disciples. Here’s the full pericope as it appears in the New King James Version:
57Now it happened as they journeyed on the road, [that] someone said to Him, "Lord, I will follow You wherever You go." 58And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air [have] nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay [His] head."

59Then He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." 60Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God."

61And another also said, "Lord, I will follow You, but let me first go [and] bid them farewell who are at my house.". 62But Jesus said to him, "No one, having put his hand to the plow, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God."
Notice that the first man took it upon himself to become a follower of Jesus; notice, too, the Lord’s somewhat quixotic retort. In the Scriptures, both foxes and birds represent wicked people. In Luke 13:31-32, the fox is Herod; in Matt 13:19, Mark 4:15 and Luke 8:12, the birds of the air are the Wicked One, Satan and the Devil respectively. By introducing this contradistinction between the visible households of the wicked and the homelessness of the righteous in this world, is Jesus revealing something about the first man’s character and his unrighteous reason for following Him?

The answer to that question, it seems to me, would depend upon whether this reply was calculated to dissuade the man or not. If it was, then it should successfully repel him from following Jesus, suggesting strongly that the man is a fox or bird at heart. In the parallel verses of Matthew’s Gospel, where this man is identified as a scribe, we see that the Lord's parabolic reply did indeed stop the fellow from following Him.1
8:18And when Jesus saw great multitudes about Him, He gave a command to depart to the other side. 8:19Then a certain scribe came and said to Him, “Teacher, I will follow You wherever You go.” 8:20And Jesus said to him, "Foxes have holes and birds of the air [have] nests, but the Son of Man has nowhere to lay [His] head."

8:21Then another of His disciples said to Him, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." 8:22But Jesus said to him, "Follow Me, and let the dead bury their own dead."

8:23Now when He got into a boat, His disciples followed Him.
Clearly, since only disciples followed Jesus into the boat, the scribe didn’t. Another false follower, with the wrong motivation, was sent packing!

The experience of the third man whom Jesus encounters in Luke’s Gospel is similar to the first man. Like him (the scribe), the third man also takes it upon himself to announce that he will follow Jesus. Here, too, the context of the encounter, introduced by the man’s request and the analogy in Jesus’ reply, revolves around the differences between the households of the wicked and the righteous. These similarities between the two encounters indicate that Jesus’ reply was also calculated to repel the man from following Him. And although it is not stated in the text, as with the first reply, this one would've been just as effective.

The effect of these parabolic replies brings to mind the remarks Jesus made after delivering the Parable of the Sower. Although He delivered the parable to a gigantic crowd, it was only His disciples who later followed Him into the house where He had retreated. Only they asked Him what the parable meant and why He spoke to the crowd in parables; the crowd had dispersed in ignorance (cf Matt 13:10; Mark 4:10; Luke 8:9). Here’s how Mark records what Jesus told them:
4:11And He said to them, "To you it has been given to know the mystery of the kingdom of God; but to those who are outside, all things come in parables, 12"so that 'Seeing they may see and not perceive, And hearing they may hear and not understand; Lest they should turn, And [their] sins be forgiven them.' "
The word translated “outside” here is ἔξω [ekso], meaning “out of the house”. It is used figuratively in the NT for those who are outside the Household of God, unbelievers belonging to another family.

Here Jesus is echoing the words of Isaiah 6:9-10. What He is saying is that, if He doesn’t want someone who has come to Him to continue following Him, to join His family, He will speak to that person in parables that He’s made sure they cannot understand.

Now let’s compare the experiences of the first and last man of Luke’s Gospel with the experience of the second man.
9:59Then He said to another, "Follow Me." But he said, "Lord, let me first go and bury my father." 60Jesus said to him, "Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and preach the kingdom of God."
The most obvious difference with this exchange is that the second man does not put himself forward like the others did. In fact, he seems rather disinclined to get involved, trying as he does to beg off following by citing his duty to his father at home (his earthly lord)2. This time, it is Jesus who initiates the encounter by commanding the man to follow Him.

In the Greek, the verb translated “follow” is in the active imperative mood and, as we learned here in another post, every time Jesus delivers a commandment in the active imperative mood, it is obeyed. Every. Single. Time. Hence Matthew identifies the second man as a disciple who follows Jesus into the boat.

By the way, Matthew’s calling the man a disciple before Jesus orders him to follow Him, does not mean that he was a disciple prior to the call. The Gospel writers are not relating events the way we would narrate them in a fictional story. They are not revealing information sequentially for dramatic effect. Matthew is simply stating the final condition of the man by way of introduction, just as Judas is introduced as the betrayer of Jesus in each of the Gospels before the occasion of his betrayal is related (cf Matt 10:4; Mark 3:19; Luke 6:16; John 6:71).1

Notice that even in the encounter with the second man, the wicked/righteous household subtext of the pericope is maintained. However, this time, we see that this man is being adopted into the righteous household. This time, Jesus calls the man out of his “dead” family (“follow me”), orders him to stop serving a “dead” lord (“let the dead bury their dead”), and puts him to work telling others about his new living family and new living Lord (“go preach the Kingdom of God”).

And of course the man does follow Him, just like Jesus tells us, in John 10:27, that all His sheep will do:
My sheep hear My voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.
It's simple, sheep are the only ones who follow Jesus...and nobody gets to make himself a sheep!









Footnotes:
1. When cross-referencing events between the three Synoptic Gospels, it is important to remember that Luke alone states that his is laid out chronologically (v.1:3), therefore the order of events in the other two are not. This means that Matthew’s placement of the first man and his statement in another setting in no way suggests it is a different person.

2. The phrase “bury my father” is not intended literally. It was an idiom meaning to discharge ones duties as an eldest son; which was chiefly to serve the father until he died. The man is asking Jesus for permission to hold off serving Him until he has finished serving his father.



Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Model Citizen or Pariah?


How can a Christian be a model citizen and hated by the world at the same time?



15μὴ γάρ τις ὑμῶν πασχέτω ὡς φονεὺς ἢ κλέπτης ἢ κακοποιὸς ἢ ὡς ἀλλοτριο-επίσκοπος 16εἰ δὲ ὡς Χριστιανός μὴ αἰσχυνέσθω δοξαζέτω δὲ τὸν θεὸν ἐν τῷ μέρει τούτῳ.
1 Peter 4:15-16



The following incident of public persecution of Christians was recently cited by a guest on one of the Moody Radio current affairs programs, broadcast on KJNP, Alaska, as evidence of how the upsetting, rising trend in global persecution of Christians is being mirrored here in America. Everyone on the show was aghast that, in this country, someone could air such bigoted sentiments in a room full of children and not be punished. They were all equally adamant that every Christian in the nation had to “get involved” politically to stop this type of thing from ever happening again.


Gay-rights activist Dan Savage, leader of the “It Gets Better” project, a campaign offering support and encouragement to young gays facing rejection and discrimination, gave a speech at a Seattle anti-bullying event that caused quite a stir in the Christian media. Some students, presumably Christian, walked out, offended by hostile remarks Savage made against the Bible and Believers. It was reported that a few of the nearly 100 students who left were visibly upset and “in tears”. Here’s what he said:
People often point out that they can’t help it, they can’t help with the anti-gay bullying, because it says right there in Leviticus, it says right there in Timothy, it says right there in Romans that being gay is wrong. We can learn to ignore the [lies]1 in the Bible about gay people
A short time later, Savage, knowing that the students had left because of the vitriol he’d slung at Christians generally, decided to sling some at them directly.
You can tell the Bible guys in the hall they can come back now because I’m done beating up the Bible. It’s funny to someone who is on the receiving end of beatings that are justified by the Bible how [cowardly]1 people react when you push back.
I have to say, I find the reactions of both those students who left in tears and those commentators on the radio far more disturbing than anything Savage said. He’s a godless fool; I wouldn’t expect him to think or say anything else. But for people who call themselves Christians to react with anything other than elation at verbal persecution, particularly innocuous persecution like Savage’s, is nothing short of shameful. What Bible have they been reading, I wonder? Have they never read James 1:2?
My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers temptations...
The word translated “temptations” is the Greek noun πειρασμός [peirasmos]. It means a trial or testing of your faith in Christ. It doesn’t mean a piece of chocolate cake dangled in front of you when you’re on a diet. The same word is translated “to try” in 1 Peter 4:12-14.
12Beloved, think it not strange concerning the fiery trial which is to try you, as though some strange thing happened unto you: 13But rejoice, inasmuch as ye are partakers of Christ's sufferings; that, when his glory shall be revealed, ye may be glad also with exceeding joy. 14If ye be reproached for the name of Christ, happy [are ye]; for the spirit of glory and of God resteth upon you: on their part he is evil spoken of, but on your part he is glorified.
What kind of appallingly unsound doctrine have these Christians been taught? Don’t they know that unbelievers are supposed to hate us? That if they don’t, then we’re not being Christian enough? That it’s the mark of a Christian to suffer persecution for speaking and acting on the Lord’s behalf?
Isaiah 66:5: Hear the word of the LORD, ye that tremble at his word; Your brethren that hated you, that cast you out for my name's sake, said, Let the LORD be glorified: but he shall appear to your joy, and they shall be ashamed.

Matthew 10:22: And ye shall be hated of all [men] for my name's sake: but he that endureth to the end shall be saved.

Matthew 24:9: Then shall they deliver you up to be afflicted, and shall kill you: and ye shall be hated of all nations for my name's sake.

Mark 13:13: And ye shall be hated of all [men] for my name's sake: but he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved.

Luke 21:17: And ye shall be hated of all [men] for my name's sake.
His name’s sake, or, simply, for His, the Son of Man’s, sake:
Matthew 5:11: Blessed are ye, when [men] shall revile you, and persecute [you], and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

Luke 6:22: Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you [from their company], and shall reproach [you], and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.
Which is equivalent to “righteousness”:
Matthew 5:10: Blessed [are] they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
We are to expect nothing but persecution from non-Christians. We aren’t supposed to be model citizens, as another talking head on Moody Radio put it, beloved and respected by all and sundry. We are to be hated for telling the truth and becoming more like Christ everyday. It’s called denying ourselves, taking up our crosses and following Him.
Luke 14:27: And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

Matthew 16:24: Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Mark 8:34: And when he had called the people [unto him] with his disciples also, he said unto them, Whosoever will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me.

Luke 9:23: And he said to [them] all, If any [man] will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.
Yeah, that’s right, we have to take up our crosses daily. We are to welcome suffering and persecution, not collapse in a heap of tears under it and then have our parents force the government to make all the bad boys stop and pretend to like us. We are not supposed to be model citizens; we are supposed to be pariahs.

Why else do you think God birthed us the second time while we were still in a world full of persecutors?








Footnotes:
1. Expletive deleted. If you need to know exactly what he said, google it.



Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Heart of the Word


You will never understand the Bible properly until you replace the word “heart” with the word “brain” when you read it.



Isaiah 29:13



Present-day, English-speaking believers have more obstacles to understanding the Bible than they might think. Along with living in a language and culture alien to those for, to and about whom the Bible was first written, modern Christians are also disadvantaged by their radically different perception of the natural world. In our highly technical age, where the sciences of medicine and anatomy are well developed and the basic operations of the internal organs of the body are commonly known, without access to extra-biblical information, it is impossible to understand the meanings of words such as “bowels”, “liver” and “kidneys” in the pre-scientific way they were originally used. And, too often, this extra-biblical information is not being supplied in sermons and Bible studies, resulting in poorer, less enlightened hearers of the Word.
To get an idea of how much meaning can be lost to us modern readers, take a look at this short excerpt of an article by a Dr. Garabed Eknoyan, that I found in the online version of the JASN (Journal of the American Society of Nephrology), entitled The Kidneys in the Bible: What Happened?:
In the books of the [Hebrew] Bible that follow the Pentateuch, mostly in Jeremiah and Psalms, the human kidneys are cited figuratively as the site of temperament, emotions, prudence, vigor, and wisdom. In five instances, they are mentioned as the organs examined by God to judge an individual.
Ancient Israelites knew nothing about the unobservable operations of the organs in the human body. The brain, with no “moving parts”, was a particular mystery to them. In the absence of a neuroscientific model of the mind, they associated each of the various psychological activities and emotions, such as lust, with one of the abdominal organs; generally the one closest to the area of the body where the sympathetic response to the activity was felt. These organs were then thought to be the place where these mental functions, or states of mind, originated. Eventually, the names of the organs themselves were used figuratively to describe the state of mind.

As Dr. Eknoyan notes, the King James Bible translators took steps to differentiate between the literal and figurative occurrences of the word “kidneys” (Hebrew כִּלְיָה [kilyah]; Greek νεφροί [nephroi]), through the judicious use of the word “reins”1:
In the first vernacular versions of the Bible in English, the translators elected to use the term “reins” instead of kidneys in differentiating the metaphoric uses of human kidneys from that of their mention as anatomic organs of sacrificial animals burned at the altar. This initial effort at linguistic purity or gentility has progressed further in recent versions of the Bible, in which the reins are now replaced by the soul or the mind.
Along with these efforts at “linguistic purity or gentility”, the modern Bible editors were responding to society’s wholesale abandonment of the “metaphorical uses” of the bodily viscera. Due to the advances in physiology, psychiatry and neuroscience, and the rush to secularization in the public education systems of the industrial world, common knowledge of the figurative meanings attached to the organs mentioned in the Bible had largely faded; with one very notable exception. Despite all the neurosurgical and psychological development in the 20th Century, our self-styled sophisticated and rational societies have retained a metaphorical use of the word “heart”.
Unfortunately for the large swath of uninformed Christians in these societies, the reasons this non-anatomical use of the word “heart” was retained had more to do with romantic verse than biblical verses. The secular meaning of the figurative term “heart” quickly subsumed the biblical meaning. The modern translators, inexplicably content with this unbiblical metaphoric meaning of “heart”, chose not to follow either the KJV translators’ example with regards to the word “kidneys”, or their own with regards to the word “reins”, but simply let the direct translation stand, leaving the modern Christian to read the wrong metaphorical meaning into every Biblical occurrence of the word “heart”.

The OT word for “heart” is לֵב, lev (a form of levev). The NT word for “heart” is καρδία, kardia. In both ancient languages and cultures, because of its placement within the body, and its direct, detectible connection with the living body, the heart was considered the centre of all physical life. Because of this biological centrality, it was considered the seat of all spiritual life, too—what we call “mental” life. In other words, everything we classify today as psychological, as occurring in the brain, the ancients thought of as occurring in the heart. The heart, to them, contained the mind; which is why the word “mind” occurs in the Bible, but the word “brain” does not.

Notice that time and time again the heart is mentioned with all the words related to cogitation: “thoughts”, “to know”, “to understand” “to think”, “to perceive”, “to reason”, etc.
Genesis 6:5: ...every imagination of the thoughts of his heart...

Joshua 23:14: ...and ye know in all your hearts and in all your souls...

1 Kings 3:9: Give therefore thy servant an understanding heart to judge thy people...

Mark 7:21: For from within, out of the heart of men, proceed evil thoughts, adulteries, fornications, murders...

Mark 8:17: And when Jesus knew [it], he saith unto them, Why reason ye, because ye have no bread? perceive ye not yet, neither understand? have ye your heart yet hardened?

Luke 5:22: But when Jesus perceived their thoughts, he answering said unto them, What reason ye in your hearts?

Acts 8:22: ...the thought of thine heart...
In the OT, the word lev itself was translated “mind” twelve times, “understanding” ten times, and “wisdom” six times. In the NT, we have the parable of the sower, where the “heart” is what “heareth the word of the kingdom” (Matthew 13:19).

There can be no doubt that the primary metaphorical meaning of heart in the Bible is the mental faculty of understanding. It is not the shiny red valentine heart that immediately springs to our minds. Neither is it the seat of mercy, compassion or the tender affections, because, along with the kidneys, the Bible uses another organ (or collection of organs, to be precise) to reference those: the bowels—in Hebrew racham (רַחַם); splangchnon (σπλάγχνον) in the Greek—as in Genesis 43:30, 1 Kings 8:50, Nehemiah 1:11, Luke 1:78, Colossians 3:12, et al.

When Jesus talks of having a hardened heart, as in Mark 8:17 above, He isn’t talking about lacking feelings, He’s talking about lacking understanding, of being ignorant to the truth (cf Mark 6:52 & John 12:40). When He accuses the unbelieving Jews of honoring God with their lips, but having their hearts far from Him (see Matthew 15:8; cf Isaiah 29:13), He wasn’t complaining that they didn’t love Him, He was telling them that they are in complete ignorance as to the nature of God and His Messiah.

Of course, the very idea that emotions occur in a different place than the thoughts is an absurd, self-serving fiction, regardless of whether you believe the latter occur in the heart and the former in the bowels, like the ancients, or whether, like modern Christians, you talk as though you think with your brain but feel with your heart. There’s no desperately wicked heart beating at the command of a renewed mind. All of the emotions, feelings, desire, “love”2 and thoughts—the entirety of one’s inner being—occur in only one place: the mind, the spirit, the essential self. And, if you think about it, what is the mind, the essential self, but the understanding.

The Lord knew that, of course, which is why His Word is sown, and His Law written, in the hearts of men. It is why, for instance, He tells His disciples that the sin of adultery isn’t something you can avoid by simply being faithful to your spouse, because the will to do the action isn’t carnal, but spiritual (Matthew 5:28). It doesn’t originate from the body, but from the heart, the mind, the essential self. And the only thing that can change that, the only way to get a new heart (see Ezekiel 11:19, 18:31, 36:26), a new mind, is to have the mind of Jesus the Christ dwell in you (1 Cor 2:16, Col 1:27).

There’s no getting around it. If we modern Christians want to understand the Bible, we have to see the word “brain” every time we read the word “heart”.










Footnotes:
1. This is not the same “reins” you use to steer a horse. This “reins” comes to English from French via the Latin noun rēn, meaning “kidney”; the other “reins” come from the Latin verb retinēre, meaning “to hold back”.

2. I like to put the English word “love” in quotation marks because, like “heart”, the common meanings and associations conjured up by it are not the same as those of the NT Greek words (plural) that it translates.