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Sunday, November 17, 2013

Eligite Hodie 1


Before you hand-grenade the phrase “choose you this day” into an argument, you might want to read the whole verse.



οἵτινες μετήλλαξαν τὴν ἀλήθειαν τοῦ θεοῦ ἐν τῷ ψεύδει καὶ ἐσεβάσθησαν καὶ ἐλάτρευσαν τῇ κτίσει παρὰ τὸν κτίσαντα, ὅς ἐστιν εὐλογητὸς εἰς τοὺς αἰῶνας, ἀμήν.
Romans 1:25 2





Last post, I featured a YouTube video by Christian author, expositor, marathon debater and prolific vlogger, Dr James White. I’d been watching a lot of White’s videos since my recent conversion to the Critical Text Cult, gravitating to him the minute I’d exhausted all the videos of Daniel Wallace, because he is one of the best and more ubiquitous—well, on Youtube, anyway—apologists of the Critical Text of the New Testament and of Biblical Textual Criticism itself.

Along with discovering him to be a staunch defender of Textual Criticism, I was also extremely pleased to find out that Dr White is an impassioned proponent of Reform theology. Although I don’t consider myself a Reformer, per se, I do subscribe to the so-called Five Points of Calvinism and to the doctrines of Sovereignty and Election, albeit not in the classical sense, lacking as I do a classic theological education, but I’m definitely under the same, large tent and have been for some time.

Anyway, I only mention this because earlier today I was watching a video discussing the topic of being a servant of God (in it Dr White rebuts some nonsensical statements made by the late Christopher Hitchens) and it reminded me that, for some time, I've wanted to debunk an extremely common and persistent exegetical error made by believers in human free will on that very subject—an error which I'd made myself many, many times in the past: Namely, this bedrock conviction that when Joshua says to the Israelites “choose you this day whom ye will serve”, one of the choices before them is Yehovah. Nothing could be further from the truth!

The most amazing aspect of this erroneous idea is that it is so easily debunked. All one has to do is read the entire sentence where that phrase is found. You don’t even need to read it in Hebrew; the wrongness of the idea is clearly seen in any translation. Here’s Joshua 24:15 in English: 2
And if it is evil in your eyes to serve the LORD, choose this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your fathers served in the region beyond the River , or the gods of the Amorites in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the LORD.”
There are two points here that even the most ardent Arminian can't ignore (or miss, thanks to the yellow font):
1. That before choosing whom they would serve, they first had to find serving Yehovah “evil in their eyes”.

2. That the choice of whom they would serve is between two sets of false gods, not Yehovah.
Now, I don’t expect this little revelation to change anyone’s mind regarding the Free Will versus Predestination controversy, but I do expect it to stop those on the wrong side of the argument from misusing the phrase "choose you this day" to uncritically perpetuate their traditional—and erroneous—doctrine.







Footnotes:


1. Translation: Chose ye this day. I am currently learning Latin, using the 7th edition of Wheelock’s Latin along with multiple online resources. Putting my blog titles in Latin is pure self-indulgence—ignosce me!

2. Unless otherwise indicated, all English Scripture text is taken from the ESV2011 (the English Standard Version, 2011). Greek text is from NA28 (28th Edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece).




Sunday, November 3, 2013

De Texto Critico Novi Testamenti Graeci 1


The Nestle-Aland notes all the important variant readings; including the TR's.



ὃς καὶ ἱκάνωσεν ἡμᾶς διακόνους καινῆς διαθήκης, οὐ γράμματος ἀλλὰ πνεύματος• τὸ γὰρ γράμμα ἀποκτέννει, τὸ δὲ πνεῦμα ζῳοποιεῖ.
2 Cor 3:62






For most of last month, I was in Canada visiting my 81-year old father for the very last time3. While I was there, I purchased a copy of the 28th Edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece, the standard critical text of the Greek New Testament (NA28). Since my conversion from the TR Supremacy position that I mentioned in my last blog post, I’ve wanted a copy of this remarkable book.

The eclectic text of the Nestle Aland NT is its most important feature, certainly, but the critical apparatus accompanying the text has to be its defining feature. The listing of all the important variants, using an ingenious system of symbols and sigla, is the reason these editions of the critical text have become the standard Greek New Testaments for students and exegetes around the world.

The following video was made by Dr. James R. White, the director of Alpha & Omega Ministries, which Wikipedia describes as “an evangelical Reformed Christian apologetics organization based in Phoenix, Arizona”. Dr White is the foremost Christian Apologist in the United States today. What he has to say about the release of NA28 in particular, and textual criticism in general, is well worth hearing.



One of the main take home facts for me from this video is that, when a new edition of the NA comes out, nothing is lost. Even though the text is updated, no important readings from the previous versions have been left out of the NA28’s critical apparatus. In this sense then, the NA28 is technically not new, but better.

It is also important to realise that these important readings in the older versions have always including those of the Textus Receptus—a Majority Text type and the basis for the KJV. Every disputed word, verse or pericope that ties the critics of the modern Bible versions into knots is listed there. That’s because the editors of the NA have always considered the Majority Text to be a “consistently cited witness of the first order”; they could never ignore it.







Footnotes:


1. Translation: On the Critical Text of the Greek New Testament. I am currently learning Latin, using the 7th edition of Wheelock’s Latin along with multiple online resources. Putting my blog titles in Latin is pure self-indulgence—īgnōsce mē!

2. Unless otherwise indicated, all English Scripture text is taken from the ESV2011 (the English Standard Version, 2011). Greek text is from NA28 (28th Edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece).

3. He had just been diagnosed with terminal and aggressive small-cell cancer—with tumours in his lungs, liver, bones, et al, which were expected to spread quickly to his brain—and so I’d returned to see him whilst he was still “himself”. I was there for three weeks and in that short time he went from being fit and active, to being confused, bed-ridden and barely conscious. As I was touching down at Auckland airport, he passed away peacefully in his sleep. In all, from the day of diagnosis until the end, he lasted exactly five weeks. And, alas, he died unsaved.




Monday, September 30, 2013

Confession of an Ex-TR Evangelist


The plain truth of the matter is that the supremacy of the Textus Receptus text-type is not supported by the manuscript evidence.



ἀφαιρήσει ὁ Θεὸς τὸ μέρος αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ βίβλου τῆς ζωῆς
Rev 22:19, Textus Receptus


ἀφελεῖ ὁ θεὸς τὸ μέρος αὐτοῦ ἀπὸ τοῦ ξύλου τῆς ζωῆς
Rev 22:19, NA281






Over the last couple of weeks I’ve been doing a fair bit of reading about the science of Textual Criticism, the history of Greek New Testament translation, and the vast, manuscript evidence we have available to us today. As a direct result of this research, I have made a radical, 180° change in my thinking concerning the Greek New Testament.

Until now—and to my shame—I had ignorantly regarded every critical text as a warmed over version of the “damnable” Westcott & Hort text, and therefore apostate and inferior to the Textus Receptus, whilst arrogantly dismissing the entire field of Textual Criticism as an exercise in academic Nicolaitanism (see here and here to see just how convinced I was).

I no longer believe any of those things.

My belief in the supremacy of the Textus Receptus (TR) text-type began forming from the time I started to learn Koine Greek. It was, as I can see now, the typical opinion of Christians, like me, who are iconoclastic, distrustful of consensus and sceptical of any form of conventional wisdom. Being self-taught in Greek, in the cocoon of my own home, meant that I had never been personally exposed to the practitioners of NT Textual Criticism, or heard their side of the text-type debate. All of that, combined with my natural conservatism, ensured that I’d be drawn to the pro-TR message and its messengers.

So what happened to change my mind? Well, there was more than one thing, but it really began to change when I saw the following video of Dr. Daniel B. Wallace, professor of New Testament Studies at Dallas Theological Seminary and founder and executive director of the Center for the Study of New Testament Manuscripts (CSNTM)2, speaking about the reliability of the text of the New Testament. Listening to this man's reasoned and highly informed defence of the New Testament text was so exciting and inspiring I developed an instant respect and admiration for the field of Textual Criticism!

Needless to say, I highly recommend you watch it all:



By way of conclusion, I would like to draw your attention to the two different Greek readings of Revelation 22:19 at the top of this post. The words in yellow are book and tree respectively. The word book in the TR citation found its way into the KJV. Of all the Greek manuscripts around today, not one of them has the word book in this clause of this verse of Revelation. It was a Latin scribal error that made its way into the TR via Erasmus’ back-translation of the Vulgate for the last six verses of the Apocalypse in his Greek New Testament.

And there hasn’t been a genuine scholar for over 200 years who would defend it.







Footnotes:


1. Unless otherwise indicated, all English Scripture text is taken from the ESV2011 (the English Standard Version, 2011). Greek text is from NA28 (28th Edition of the Nestle-Aland Novum Testamentum Graece).

2. The purpose of the CSNTM is to digitize all known Greek manuscripts of the New Testament via digital photography.




Monday, September 16, 2013

Hearing the Logos in the Rhemata


When Apostles speak, only those who hear the Word in their words are saved.



Ἀπόστειλον εἰς Ἰόππην ἄνδρας, καὶ μετάπεμψαι Σίμωνα τὸν ἐπικαλούμενον Πέτρον, ὃς λαλήσει ῥήματα πρὸς σὲ ἐν οἷς σωθήσῃ σὺ καὶ πᾶς ὁ οἶκός σου.
Acts 11:13-141








In the 10th Chapter of the Book of Acts, we read of the events surrounding the first time in history that Gentiles are baptized with the Holy Spirit. There are many wonderful theological and doctrinal insights to be garnered from this passage of Scripture, but I just want to highlight one which I think most people overlook simply because they’re not reading the NT in Greek.

The insight I’m referring to can be found in Acts 10:44. Here is that verse as it’s rendered in various translations:
KJV: While Peter yet spake these words, the Holy Ghost fell on all them which heard the word.

NIV: While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit came on all who heard the message.

ESV: While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.

NASB: While Peter was still speaking these words, the Holy Spirit fell upon all those who were listening to the message.

RSV: While Peter was still saying this, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.

Reina-Valera 1960: Mientras aún hablaba Pedro estas palabras [these words], el Espíritu Santo cayó sobre todos los que oían el discurso [the speech].

The Vulgate: Adhuc loquente Petro verba haec [these words], cecidit Spiritus Sanctus super omnes qui audiebant verbum [word] 2.
Now compare the words in yellow and red to their counterparts in the Greek text:
Textus Receptus: Ἕτι λαλοῦντος τοῦ Πέτρου τὰ ῥήματα ταῦτα, ἐπέπεσεν τὸ πνεῦμα τὸ ἅγιον ἐπὶ πάντας τοὺς ἀκούοντας τὸν λόγον.
The yellow words in the Greek, ta rhemata tauta, are literally “the spoken-things these”; the ones in red, ton logon, are “the word”.

At first, there might not appear to be much difference between what the various translations say and what the Greek says. But if I tell you that “ton logon” is simply the direct object form of “the logos”, then throw in a capital “L” to give us The Logos, perhaps you’re now beginning to see a difference?

What if I was to show you John 1:1 with a helpful bit of editing?
In the beginning was the Logos, and the Logos was with God, and the Logos was God.
Yes, when reading the Greek, you can’t help but notice that the Holy Spirit fell on all those who heard The Word in Peter’s spoken words!












Footnotes:


1. Unless otherwise indicated, all English Scripture text taken from the King James Version (1769). Greek Text is from the Stephanus Edition of the Textus Receptus from 1550.

2. There are no articles in Latin; the context alone determines for the reader whether "a" word or "the" word was intended by the writer.




Sunday, September 1, 2013

“To Baptize” Can Not Mean “To Immerse”


Believers are covered by, not immersed into, the Holy Spirit.



Ἐγὼ μὲν βαπτίζω ὑμᾶς ἐν ὕδατι εἰς μετάνοιαν, ὁ δὲ ὀπίσω μου ἐρχόμενος…αὐτὸς ὑμᾶς βαπτίσει ἐν πνεύματι ἁγίῳ καὶ πυρί.
Matthew 3:111


The second argument on this subject is drawn from the usage of the word. In the Classics; in the Septuagint and the Apocryphal writings of the Old Testament; in the New Testament and in the writings of the Greek fathers, the words βάπτω [baptō], βαπτίζω [baptizō] and their cognates, are used with such latitude of meaning, as to prove the assertion that the command to baptize is a command to immerse, to be utterly unauthorized and unreasonable.




In the last post, citing heavily from the Baptism entry in McClintock & Strong’s Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature3, I examined the grammar of the Greek verb baptizō [βαπτίζω], “to baptize”, and proved to all but the irrepressibly disputatious that it does not mean “to immerse”.

In this post, I’ll give pagan and Scriptural examples of usage wherein the method of baptizing is such that baptizō cannot mean “to immerse”. These citations will be presented in this order: Classical Greek writers, the Septuagint (LXX) & Apocrypha, then, lastly, the New Testament.



Classical Greek Writers

The following is from the section of the Cyclopaedia entry on Baptism entitled “Philological Usage of the Word βαπτίζειν” [baptizein – the infinitive form of baptizō]:
By Classical Writers. — No instance occurs in these writers of the use of βάπτισμα, and only one in a very late author (Antyllus) of the use of its equivalent βαπτισμός; but the verb occurs frequently, especially in the later writers. It is used to designate:

The covering over of any object by the flowing or pouring of a fluid on it; and metaphorically (in the passive), the being overwhelmed or oppressed: thus the Pseudo-Aristotle speaks of places full of bulrushes and sea-weeds, which, when the tide is at the ebb, are not baptized (i.e. covered by the water), but at full tide are flooded over (Mirabil. Auscult. § 137, p. 50, in Westermann's edit. of the Script. Rer. Mir. Gr.); Diodorus Siculus (bk. 1) speaks of land animals being destroyed by the river overtaking them (διαφθείρεται βαπτιζόμενα); Plato and Athenaeus describe men in a state of ebriety [inebriation] as baptized (Sympos. p. 176 B.; and Deipnos.v.); and the former says the same of a youth overwhelmed with sophistry (Euthyd. 277 D.); Plutarch denounces the forcing of knowledge on children beyond what they can receive as a process by which the soul is baptized (De Lib. educ.); and he speaks of men as baptized by debts (Galbae, c. 21); Diodorus Siculus speaks of baptizing people with tears (bk. 1, c., 3); and Libanius says, “He who hardly bears what he now bears, would be baptized by a little addition” (Epist. 310), and “I am one of those baptized by that great wave” (Ep. 25).
Note that in every one of these forms of baptism, it is the medium that is “acting” on the object baptized, rather than the object entering into the medium.

There are other examples given in this section of the entry that are ambiguously3 said to be referring to “dunking”, “plunging” and “immersion”. They have been omitted here because of the ambiguous wording of the notations accompanying the examples, not because the examples themselves defeat my argument. Proof of that is the conclusion reached by the Cyclopaedia after considering all the examples found in the Classical writers:
From this it appears that in classical usage βαπτίζειν is not fixed to any special mode of applying the baptizing element to the object baptized; all that is implied by the term is, that the former is closely in contact with the latter, or that the latter is wholly in the former.
Furthermore, in Hodge’s Systematic Theology cited in the epigraph at the top of this post, we read:
As to the classic use of the words in question, it is clear that βάπτω means (1.) To dip. (2.) To dye by dipping. (3.) To dye without regard to the mode in which it is done; as a lake is said to be baptized (i.e., dyed) by the blood shed in it; a garment is spoken of as baptized by colouring matter dropping on it. (4.) It also means to gild; also to glaze, as when earthenware is covered with any vitreous matter. (5.) To wet, moisten, or wash. (6.) To temper, as hot iron is tempered; this may be done by plunging or pouring. “Tempered, ὑπὸ ἐλαίου,” does not mean plunged into oil. (7.) To imbue. The mind is said to be baptized with fantasies; not plunged into them, for it is ὑπὸ τῶν φαντασίων.

A man is said to be “imbued with righteousness.” This cannot mean “dipped.” It is obvious, therefore, that a command to baptize, made in the use of the word βάπτω, cannot be limited to a command to dip, plunge, or immerse.
We must not diminish the etymological link between baptō and baptizō. They are not two entirely different words. Since they share the same root, baptō, the latter is simply an intensive form of the former. Where baptō means “to dye”, baptizō means to “completely and utterly dye”.
As to the classic use of βαπτίζω, it means, (1.) To immerse4 or submerge. It is very frequently used when ships are spoken of as sunk or buried in the sea. They are then said to be baptized. (2.) To overflow or to cover with water. The sea-shore is said to be baptized by the rising tide. (3.) To wet thoroughly, to moisten. (4.) To pour upon or drench. (5.) In any way to be overwhelmed or overpowered. Hence men are said to be baptized with wine (οἱ βεβαπτισμένοι are the intoxicated), with opium, with debts, with puzzling questions. Wine is said to be baptized by having water poured into it.

The word βαπτίζω, as Dr. Dale so strenuously argues, belongs to that class of words which indicate an effect to be produced without expressing the kind of action by which that effect is to be brought about…there is a given effect to be produced, without any specific injunction as to the manner; whether by immersion, pouring, or sprinkling.

Septuagint and Apocrypha

The Septuagint is a Koine Greek translation of the OT, the last book of which was completed approximately 130 years before the Lord’s advent. The Apocrypha are a group of slightly newer, non-canonical books often included with the LXX. Regardless of the controversies surrounding their canonicity, for a host of reasons, the books of the LXX and the Apocrypha are invaluable tools to New Testament scholarship.

The verb baptizō is used only 4 times in all the books of the LXX. In Isaiah 21:4, where the KJV reads “fearfulness affrighted me”, the LXX has ἀνομία με βαπτίζει [anomia me baptizei], which is literally “lawlessness baptizes me”. Here again there is no “immersion” of the object into the medium, but rather the medium (lawlessness) covering the object (me).

In 2 Kings 5:14, Judith 12:7 and Ecclesiasticus 31:25 the verb denotes the washing of oneself. Of baptizō in the last two instances, the Cyclopaedia remarks:
…the word merely denotes washed, without indicating any special mode by which this was done, though in the former the circumstances of the case make it improbable that the act described was that of bathing.

The New Testament

In my first post on this subject, I mentioned those verses relating to the ritual washing of the Pharisees which did not involve immersion, but rather dousing. In this post, I will only discuss the New Testament usages of the verb baptizō which unambiguously preclude the definition “to immerse”.

First, Mark 10:38-9:
38 But Jesus said unto them, Ye know not what ye ask: can ye drink of the cup that I drink of? and be baptized with the baptism that I am baptized with?

39And they said unto him, We can. And Jesus said unto them, Ye shall indeed drink of the cup that I drink of; and with the baptism that I am baptized withall shall ye be baptized:
The subject and usage of baptizō here are identical to those in Matthew 20:22-23 and Luke 12:50. The Lord is speaking of His coming scourging and crucifixion. Here is a classical meaning of baptizō, that of being overwhelmed by affliction. There is no “immersion into” here.

It is said in several places in the NT that John the Baptist baptized with water, but the Lord baptizes with the Holy Spirit (the Holy Breath). In none of the examples of Holy Spirit baptism is the person being baptized immersed into the Spirit. The Holy Spirit—the medium of baptism—is said to descend, fall, fill, or be aspirated onto, over or into the one being baptized; it is never held down in order to be dunked into. The very idea is so self-evidently absurd, that there’s no need to present any evidence to refute it.

And with that I’ll conclude my examination of the grammar and usage of the verb baptizō. In a future post, I’ll tie everything up and explain what true Christian Baptism is and show why we shouldn’t be ritually dunking each other in H2O.

By way of conclusion, I’ll close with another quote from Hodge:
The fact is βαπτίζειν does not express any particular mode of action. As to dye, expresses any kind of action by which an object is coloured; to bury, any kind of action by which an object is hidden and protected; so to baptize, expresses any act by which a person or thing is brought into the state of being wet, purified, or even stupefied, as by opium or wine.








Footnotes:


1. All English Scripture text taken from the King James Version (1769). Greek Text is from the Stephanus Edition of the Textus Receptus from 1550.

2. Sytematic Theology, Volume III, Charles Hodge, D.D., WM. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co, Grand Rapids, MI. 1940 (original publishers); text here cited is from online publishers: Christian Classics Ethereal Library.

3. Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, John McClintock and James Strong, Harper & Brothers, NY, 1880.

4. All the other examples of usage by the Classical writers given imply exactly what the conclusion of this section of the Cyclopaedia's Baptism entry says, that “βαπτίζειν is not fixed to any special mode of applying the baptizing element to the object baptized”. In every case the idea is “be baptized by”, rather than “be baptized into”.




Monday, August 26, 2013

“To Baptize” Still Does Not Mean “To Immerse”

If it’s not a verb implying motion, then baptizo cannot mean “to immerse”.




βάπτισμα δὲ ἔχω βαπτισθῆναι καὶ πῶς συνέχομαι ἕως οὖ τελεσθῇ.
Luke 12:501

As to the meaning of βαπτίζω, it is allowed, on all hands, that it is (at least sometimes) applied to acts involving the process of immersion both by profane and sacred writers. But the best lexicographers agree that this is not its exclusive meaning, and none but a daring controversialist would assert that it is. The word βαπτίζω is derived from βαπτὸς, the verbal adjective of βάπτω, to wet thoroughly, and its etymological meaning is to put into a drenched or imbued condition.




The entire dispute that resulted in this examination of baptism revolves around the meaning of the Greek word baptizō [βαπτίζω]. My opponent in the debate insisted that it meant “to immerse”; I know that it does not and will now prove it.


All one has to do to prove that baptizō does not mean “to immerse” is to examine the grammar of the word, along with its usage in both pagan works and the Scriptures, and discover an established syntactical usage that precludes this definition entirely. Or, in other words, if there is an unambiguous example in ancient, secular Greek writings and the Scriptures of where the grammar and usage of baptizō can’t possibly mean “to immerse”, then it does not mean “to immerse”.

Okay, so in this post I’ll do the first of those two actions: examine the grammar of baptizō. In the next post, I’ll present pagan and Scriptural examples where baptizō cannot mean “to immerse”.

If you haven’t heard of McClintock & Strong’s Cyclopedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, then you’re missing out on one of the greatest resources ever compiled. Although it is unfortunately out of print, with only second-hand copies available, I’ve just discovered that The Word, a free Bible study tool similar to e-Sword, has an excellent, free downloadable version that is fully usable (rather than just a collection of screenshot PDF’s of the original books). I highly recommend you get The Word software and then download this marvellous compendium.

The Baptism entry of McClintock & Strong’s encyclopaedia begins in Volume 1, page 639, and carries on for some 23 pages. The amount of information on baptism is staggering, but what it says about baptizō is, to any Christian expositor sharing my opponent’s position, heart-stopping. I haven’t read it all yet, but have culled enough below to more than make my argument. The bracketed English transliterations &/or translations are mine3:
The word baptism is simply an Anglicized form of the Greek βαπτισμός [baptismos], a verbal noun from βαπτίζω [baptizo] (likewise Anglicized “baptize”), and this, again, is a derivative from βάπτω [bapto], the predominant signification of which latter is to whelm or “dye”, Lat. tingo.
An interesting little word whelm; these days it’s only found in what is essentially its intensive form, the compound overwhelm. With overwhelm in mind, you can more easily see what I was getting at in the last post with the analogy between baptizō and to paint. With to paint, baptō, and baptizō, it’s all a matter of perspective: the action is being done to the object by the medium. The paint “whelming” the object results in the object achieving the state of “being painted”. Similarly, in the case of baptizō, to say “be baptized” is the same as saying “be overwhelmed by the medium of baptism”, not “be immersed into the medium of baptism”.

Consider what distinguishes the English verb to dip from the verb to immerse. Isn’t it the idea of the medium dipped into adhering to the object dipped, whereas the medium is passive in the act of immersing an object? You can only call a potato chip “dipped” if the dip, the medium, sticks on the chip. Conversely, the chip can be said to have been “immersed” even if it comes out in the same state it went in.

Well, baptō (and by extension baptizō) works in a similar way. In the parable of Lazarus and the Rich Man (Luke 16:19-31), the rich man, tormented in Hades, tells Abraham to send Lazarus to “dip”, baptō, the tip of his finger in water “and cool my tongue”. In the clause from “that” to “tongue”, the only verb used is baptō—there is no “dip his finger and scoop up some water”, no “dip his finger and wet it”—because the idea of the water adhering to Lazarus’ finger is inherent in the meaning of baptō.

Also, in the Greek text of this clause, there is no preposition meaning “in”. The word “water”, hudōr, is simply rendered with a partitive genitive. The translators needed a preposition to go with their use of the word dip, so naturally they chose “in water” for their gloss. To the Greek ear, the instruction would’ve sounded more like: “that he should coat his finger tip with some water and cool my tongue”.

This idea is even more clearly seen after reading the following parts of the entry dealing with prepositions:
Not being a verb implying motion, βαπτίζω [baptizō] is properly followed in Greek by the preposition ἐν [en], denoting the means or method (with the “instrumental dative”), which has unfortunately, in the Auth. Engl. Vers., often been rendered by the ambiguous particle “in,” whereas it really (in this connection) signifies only with or by, or at most merely designates the locality where the act is performed.
I’m not too sure how many times the AV does translate baptizō en as “baptize in”—it is quite often translated correctly as “baptize with” (I.e. John 1:26, 33)—but the point is made that it is incorrect to say that the Evangelists were thinking “baptize into water”, when they wrote “baptizō en” followed by the medium water or the name of a body of water.
On these and other applications of the Greek word [baptizō], see Robinson's Lex. of the N.T. s.v.; where, however (as in some other Lexicons), the statement that the primary force of the verb is “to dip, immerse,” etc., is not sustained by its actual usage and grammatical construction. This would always require ἐν [en], “into,” after it; which occurs in 15 examples only out of the exhaustive list (175) adduced by Dr. Conant (Meaning and Use of Baptizein, N. Y. 1860);
So, in other words, if baptizō meant “to immerse”, it would have to appear with the preposition en exclusively, which it doesn’t; and when the preposition en does appear, it is followed by the medium of baptism, whether water or Holy Spirit, in the “instrumental dative” case—an indicator of agency meaning "with the water", or "by the Holy Spirit". So baptizō en does not mean “to baptize in”.

And what of the other prepositions used with baptizō?
The derivative verb and noun are sometimes used with reference to ordinary lustration, and occasionally with respect to merely secular acts; also in a figurative sense. In certain cases it is followed by the preposition εἰς [eis], with the meaning “to,” “for,” or “unto,” as pointing out the design of the act, especially in phrases (comp. πιστεύειν εἰς [pisteuein eis – to believe in]) expressive of the covenant or relation of which this rite was the seal. (In Mar 1:9, the εἰς depends upon ῏ηλθεν [ēlthen – he came] preceding; and in Mar 14:20, there is a constructio praegnans by which some other verb of motion is to be supplied before the preposition.)
Despite the imagery conjured up by the phrase “I fell into sin”, the preposition into found there does not have the same meaning as it does in the phrase “I walked into the door”; it is not one of actual direction and destination, but of metaphorical end or purpose. So too with the preposition eis when used with baptizō; which the AV translates “baptized into” (twice in Rom 6:3) and “unto” (1Cr 10:2). The Cyclopaedia explains what this means further in the entry on page 640:
Thus, to be baptized for Moses means to be baptized with a view to following or being subject to the rule of Moses; to be baptized for Christ means to be baptized with a view to becoming a true follower of Christ; to be baptized for his death means to be baptized with a view to the enjoyment of the benefits of his death; to be baptized for the remission of sins means to be baptized with a view to receiving this; to be baptized for the name of any one means to be baptized with a view to the realization of all that the meaning of this name implies, etc.
To sum up this short (comparatively) examination of the grammar of baptizō, let’s give the last word to the Cylopaedia and hope that my opponent is not a “daring controversialist”, but is rather a man capable of understanding the points made here and willing to accept the truth of them, and see that his understanding of baptism is the result of poor scholarship and even poorer discipleship.
[A]nd a closer and more critical examination will show that it is only the context and association of the word that in any case put this signification upon it, and it is therefore a mere gloss or inference to assign this as the proper sense of the term. The significations “plunge,” “submerge,” etc., are here strictly derived, as cognates, from the more general and primitive one of that complete envelopment with a liquid which a thorough wetting, saturation, or dyeing usually implies. In like manner, Dr. E. Beecher (in a series of articles first published in the Am. Bib. Repos. during 1840 and 1841) has mistaken the allied or inferential signification of purification for the primitive sense of the word, whereas it is only the result expected or attendant in the act of washing.




to be continued…









Footnotes:


1. All English Scripture text taken from the King James Version (1769). Greek Text is from the Stephanus Edition of the Textus Receptus from 1550.

2. Cyclopaedia of Biblical, Theological, and Ecclesiastical Literature, John McClintock and James Strong, Harper & Brothers, NY, 1880.

3. McClintock & Strong’s Cyclopaedia was produced at a time when the ability to read and understand Greek and Latin was taken for granted.



Saturday, July 20, 2013

“To Baptize” Does Not Mean “To Immerse”


The Greek NT uses the words baptize and baptism in ways that cannot mean “to immerse” and “immersing”.



καὶ ἀπό ἀγορᾶς ἐὰν μὴ βαπτίσωνται οὐκ ἐσθίουσιν καὶ ἄλλα πολλά ἐστιν ἃ παρέλαβον κρατεῖν βαπτισμοὺς ποτηρίων καὶ ξεστῶν καὶ χαλκίων καὶ κλινῶν
Mark 7:4





What follows stems from a rebuttal I’ve been asked to write for a friend. His (literal) brother and he were arguing over the ritual of baptism in water as it’s practised by so-called Christian churches. My friend’s brother was defending the ritual.

The reference I make in my second paragraph below is to the following note you can find on Blue Letter Bible here that my friend’s brother cited in his argument:
The clearest example that shows the meaning of baptizo is a text from the Greek poet and physician Nicander, who lived about 200 B.C. It is a recipe for making pickles and is helpful because it uses both words. Nicander says that in order to make a pickle, the vegetable should first be 'dipped' (bapto) into boiling water and then 'baptised' (baptizo) in the vinegar solution. Both verbs concern the immersing of vegetables in a solution. But the first is temporary. The second, the act of baptising the vegetable, produces a permanent change.

Let’s begin with definition. Scripturally, baptizō [βαπτίζω] does not mean “to immerse”.

The Greek poet and physician, Nicander, was writing about baptizing pickles around 200 years before Messiah's incarnation. He was a pagan and his use of the words baptizō and the word from which it is derived, baptō [βάπτω], were thoroughly pagan. While it is important to understand the Hellenic definition of any Greek word, we must be careful to defer to the Biblical meaning as revealed by its usage in Scripture. This is especially true with regards to words that are used doctrinally and figuratively. In the case of baptizō, we must understand that the 1st Century Hebraic-Greek usage of the word given in the Bible is the true definition.

We must also be careful of false conclusions drawn by careless expositors. For example, in the comment on Nicander’s recipe above, it is stated—or heavily implied—that the differences in usage between baptizō and baptō is proof that only with baptizō is there a permanent change to the object; which is a conclusion that fits neatly into a Baptist’s concept of water baptism. Unfortunately for the commenter, the very lexicon entry where his words are written proves that this is not so. The second definition of baptō, which is borne out by all the lexicons and much pagan literature, is “to dip into dye, to dye, colour”. Clearly there is nothing inherently impermanent about the change of an object once it is bapto-ed.

As a matter of fact, the distinguishing sense that baptō carries, which is retained in the NT use of baptizō, is of the medium into which an object is dipped adhering to the object even after it is removed from the medium, whereas the distinguishing sense that baptizō carries is of total inundation of the object by the medium.

Note that I did not say “immersion of the object into the medium”. That’s because grammatically, with baptizō, the activity is accomplished by the medium, not the object! Like the sense of the verb “to paint”, the state of being painted is accomplished by the paint, the stuff a thing is painted with, adhering to the object, not by the object adhering to the paint.

So let’s a take look at the ways baptizō is used in the NT. Here’s Mark 7:1-81:
Then came together unto him the Pharisees, and certain of the scribes, which came from Jerusalem. 2And when they saw some of his disciples eat bread with defiled, that is to say, with unwashen, hands, they found fault. 3For the Pharisees, and all the Jews, except they wash [their] hands oft, eat not, holding the tradition of the elders. 4And [when they come] from the market, except they wash, they eat not. And many other things there be, which they have received to hold, [as] the washing of cups, and pots, brasen vessels, and of tables.

5Then the Pharisees and scribes asked him, "Why walk not thy disciples according to the tradition of the elders, but eat bread with unwashen hands?"

6He answered and said unto them, "Well hath Esaias prophesied of you hypocrites, as it is written, 'This people honoureth me with [their] lips, but their heart is far from me.'

7"Howbeit in vain do they worship me, teaching [for] doctrines the commandments of men. 8For laying aside the commandment of God, ye hold the tradition of men, [as] the washing of pots and cups: and many other such like things ye do."

The washing of hands (and cups, pots, brazen vessels & tables) before eating is a “commandment of men” taught as doctrine (teaching) by the Pharisees; it came from the Halakah, the Oral Torah, and was a corruption and misappropriation of the washing rituals given to the priests by God in the written Torah of Moses.

As it was an empty, vain ritual, this washing of the hands also had nothing to do with hygiene. There was no washing going on, it was pure theatre. When the Pharisees washed their hands (and the other things), they did not dip or immerse them into water, but poured the water over each hand separately (and over the other things, too). There were two reasons for pouring instead of dipping: 1. If dipped, the entire pot of water would become defiled (which the Lord did when He turned the water in the pots into wine! See John 2:6-9); And 2, moving water was called “living water” and was considered spiritually pure and purifying.

In verses 3 & 4 of Mark’s Gospel cited above, the evangelist is explaining to his Gentile readers (there would be no point telling Jews something they already knew) about the Pharisees’ behaviour. In verse 3, the Greek word translated “wash” is niptō [νίπτω], the common Greek word for “to wash”. However, in verse 4, in describing their traditional response to being defiled from being in public (at the market), he uses the word baptizō, translated “wash”, and its noun-form baptismos [βαπτισμός], translated “washing”. In verse 8, speaking directly to the Pharisees and scribes, Joshua Messiah uses baptismos.

Now look at Luke 11:37-9:
And as he spake, a certain Pharisee besought him to dine with him: and he went in, and sat down to meat. 38And when the Pharisee saw [it], he marvelled that he had not first washed before dinner.

39And the Lord said unto him, "Now do ye Pharisees make clean the outside of the cup and the platter; but your inward part is full of ravening and wickedness."
Once again, the word translated “washed” is baptizō. Again, the baptising referred to is the ritual cleansing of the hands and eating utensils.

Hebrews 9:10 proves that this use of baptizō for ritual washing was not limited to references to unscriptural rituals. Here the author is referring to the ritual washing ordained by Jehovah in the Tanakh (OT). The word translated “washing” is the plural of baptismos:
[Which stood] only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed [on them] until the time of reformation.
Rather than the refusal to translate baptizō elsewhere in the NT, opting for the word “wash” instead of the transliteration “baptize” here in these verses was the real deception perpetrated by the KJV translators. In so doing, they intentionally hid how the word was used in the 1st Century and thereby obscured its full meaning. Clearly, baptizō does not mean to immerse or dunk, because neither the hands nor the utensils were immersed or dunked during these ritual cleansings.

No, in the case of the Pharisees and their hand-washing ritual, baptizō means “to ritually pour water over” or “to cover with living water in order to purify”. And that latter definition is actually closer to the mark, because it retains the doctrinally important lexical sense of baptō as covering with a dye.

It is also important to note why the Lord disapproves of the Pharisaic practice of baptizing; it does not “clean the inside”. In Matthew’s version of His rebuke, He tells them to cleanse first that [which is] within the cup and platter, that the outside of them may be clean also. Internal baptizing cleans both the inside and the outside; external baptizing is a useless practice of hypocrites.

And, of course, there is no amount of H20, or number of rituals, that can baptize the inside of a human being. Only God can do that.


to be continued…











Footnotes:


1. All English Scripture text taken from the King James Version (1769). Greek Text is from the Stephanus Edition of the Textus Receptus from 1550.




Friday, June 14, 2013

Loving the Neighbour


The Parable of the Good Samaritan is not a lesson on how to love the neighbour.

εἰ μέντοι νόμον τελεῖτε βασιλικὸν κατὰ τὴν γραφήν Ἀγαπήσεις τὸν πλησίον σου ὡς σεαυτόν καλῶς ποιεῖτε 9εἰ δὲ προσωποληπτεῖτε, ἁμαρτίαν ἐργάζεσθε ἐλεγχόμενοι ὑπὸ τοῦ νόμου ὡς παραβάται
James 2:8-9



Four posts ago, I embedded a video of David Pawson speaking about how John 3:16 is the most misunderstood and misapplied verse in the Bible. At the end of that post, after pointing out what I agreed with in the video, I mentioned that most of the things he said afterwards about God’s love were “unscriptural”. I was thinking specifically about his definition of agapē [ἀγάπη] “love” (the noun form of agapaō [ἀγαπάω] “to love”), and his mischaracterisation of the lesson being taught in the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Here’s another look at the video. Note what he says from the 4:37 mark—the point where he starts to go wrong—to about 5:44:



As this video was simply a commercial for his book, some might say that Pawson was just oversimplifying for the sake of time, that he didn’t actually mean it when he defined agapē as “the love of action, of doing something about someone that needs help”. But, if that’s true, how would they explain his bolstering this facile definition by saying it was “why Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan”?

Pawson sums up his definition with:
“Who loved the man who had fallen among thieves and been mugged?”

The answer is, not the one who sympathised with him or felt sorry for him, but the one who picked him up and took him home to look after him. That’s love. That’s agapē love.
No, we have to accept it, he said what he meant, and meant what he said; that agapē means “doing something to help someone in need” and that that is the point of the Parable of the Good Samaritan.

Let’s begin our examination by looking at where Pawson goes wrong with regards to the Parable of the Good Samaritan. And to be kind, we will take his misquotations as general citations—after all, the poor man has had a stroke, which is bound to affect his memory….

The Parable of the Good Samaritan is only found in Chapter 10 of Luke’s Gospel. The scene begins in verse 25, when a supposed expert of the Mosaic Law seeks to test1 Yeshua by asking Him what he should do to inherit eternal life. Notice that the basis of the question is what action is to be taken, what does he need to do. From the KJV:
25 And, behold, a certain lawyer stood up, and tempted him, saying, Master, what shall I do to inherit eternal life?

26 He said unto him, What is written in the law? how readest thou?

27 And he answering said, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy strength, and with all thy mind; and thy neighbour as thyself.

28 And he said unto him, Thou hast answered right: this do, and thou shalt live.
So, Yeshua has just made the man answer his own question. To inherit eternal life, one must love (agapaō) God and the neighbour: that is what is to be done. But then the man asks another question, the answer to which he believes will show how righteous he is—"he asked," the Greek text tells us, "wanting to show his own righteousness"—because he thinks he already knows the answer.
29 But he, willing to justify himself, said unto Jesus, And who is my neighbour?

30 And Jesus answering said…
It is in answer to this second question that Yeshua tells the Parable of the Good Samaritan. Therefore, it is an explanation of who a neighbour is, of how to recognise the neighbour you are to “love”; it is not an illustration of how to “love” the neighbour! That this is obviously the case, is seen in verse 36 where, again getting the lawyer to answer his own question, Yeshua asks:
36 Which now of these three, thinkest thou, was neighbour unto him that fell among the thieves?
The lawyer, no doubt shocked at the idea that a neighbour could be a Gentile2, had to concede that, appearances to the contrary, the neighbour was the Samaritan, the one who “showed mercy” (not agapē, Mr Pawson) on the injured man:
37And he said, He that shewed mercy on him. Then said Jesus unto him, Go, and do thou likewise.
Now, I realise that nearly everyone believes, like David Pawson, that that last commandment of the Lord’s, to go and do likewise, means “to go and be the neighbour and help everyone you see who is in trouble”. But that makes no sense at all given the two questions asked by the lawyer: “What to do to inherit eternal life?” and “Who is my neighbour?”.

In context, asking “who was the neighbour to the man?” was the same as asking "who would be the object of the injured man’s 'love'”? So what Yeshua was commanding the lawyer to do was to go and do the same as the injured man and “love” the merciful neighbour even though he was a non-Jew.

The point being that those who “love” God are also to “love” those who exhibit internal godly qualities, who behave like neighbours to us, even though they don’t look like us. It is a question of judging righteously, by judging the fruit a person produces, rather than judging unrighteously, by judging the appearance.

This is made even clearer when we look at the Greek epigraph at the top of this post. It’s from the Book of Jacob.3 Here are the verses from the KJV with the same words in yellow:
2:8If ye fulfil the royal law according to the scripture, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself, ye do well: 9But if ye have respect to persons, ye commit sin, and are convinced of the law as transgressors.
Notice that the “royal law” (meaning it comes from the King), “loving” your neighbour, is contrasted with “having respect to persons”. This means that the opposite of “loving” the neighbour is having respect to persons. If you look at the Greek text above, you’ll see that the phrase “having respect to persons” is a translation of just one word, prosōpolēmpteō [προσωπολημπτέω]. This is a compound word made up of the Greek word for “face” and the word for “receive” or “take”; it literally means “to receive the face of”, or, in other words, “to judge by the appearance”.

So, we now know that the Parable of the Good Samaritan is not a manual on how to “love”, but a way to judge who to “love”. But what about agapē? How do we agapaō?

Well, the best definition we have of agapē, the most relevant to Christians, is the one the Apostle John gives us in 2 John 1:6:
And this is love, that we walk after his commandments.
The Greek preposition translated “after” here can also mean “according to”, so the sense is of walking as per His commandments.Therefore agapē is a love of obedience to the Lord.

That’s how we “love” God; we follow His instructions, we do everything He says in order to keep on the narrow Way to eternal life. He “loves” us by giving us His commandments—He never tells those He hates, like the Pharisees, to follow Him—we love Him by doing them.

Therefore, once we identify a neighbour, we “love” him by sharing God’s commandments with him and showing him how to follow them. This is the very same thing we do for one another; which is the point. We treat a neighbour just like a member of the family.















Footnotes:


1. The word translated “tempted” in the KJV is ekpeirazō [ἐκπειράζω], meaning to prove or test thoroughly. Throughout the Gospels the religious leaders sought to test the Messianic claims about Joshua of Nazareth.

2. For a fuller explanation of what constitutes a Biblical neighbour, see the post Who Is My Neighbour.

3. As Jesus is to Joshua, so too is James to Jacob, Hebrew יעקב (Ya’aqov). See Wikipedia James (name): The name came into English language from the Old French variation James[1] of the late Latin name Iacomus. This was a dialect variant of Iacobus, from the New Testament Greek Ἰάκωβος (Iákōbos), from Hebrew יעקב (Ya’aqov)



Saturday, June 8, 2013

The Chosen of God


Are the Chosen of God the Jews only?



καὶ εἰ μὴ κύριος ἐκολόβωσεν τὰς ἡμέρας οὐκ ἂν ἐσώθη πᾶσα σάρξ ἀλλὰ διὰ τοὺς ἐκλεκτοὺς οὓς ἐξελέξατο ἐκολόβωσεν τὰς ἡμέρας
Mark 13:20



The words in yellow in the Greek text above are elect and to chose respectively. Here’s the verse in English:
And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect's sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.
The word translated elect here is the plural form of the adjective eklektos [ἐκλεκτός],1 which comes from the verb eklegomai [ἐκλέγομαι]; which just happens to be the word translated chosen in the same verse. The verb eklegomai means “to choose or prefer something or someone out of a group of similar things”; the noun eklektos means “the thing chosen or preferred”.

From this, we can conclude that, in the NT:
1. Wherever the nouns or adjectives elect and chosen are translations of some form of the Greek word eklektos, they are referring to the same thing(s).
2. Wherever the verbs to elect and to choose are translations of forms of eklegomai, they are referring to the same activity.
Now let’s look at I Peter 2:9-10:
9But ye [are] a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people; that ye should shew forth the praises of him who hath called you out of darkness into his marvellous light: 10Which in time past [were] not a people, but [are] now the people of God: which had not obtained mercy, but now have obtained mercy.
In verse 9, Peter is referencing Deuteronomy 7:6 and 14:2, the verses wherein the Jews are called “God’s Chosen”:
For thou [art] an holy people unto the LORD thy God, and the LORD hath chosen thee to be a peculiar people unto himself, above all the nations that [are] upon the earth.
However, in verse 10, Peter is referencing Hosea 2:23:
And I will sow her unto me in the earth; and I will have mercy upon her that had not obtained mercy; and I will say to [them which were] not my people, Thou [art] my people; and they shall say, [Thou art] my God.
The “people who were not God’s people” in Hosea are the children of God who were cut off because of the harlotry—the worship of other gods—of their parents (represented by Hosea’s children by the harlot Gomer). Their obtaining mercy is their being brought back into the family of God. That Peter says the believers he is writing to are these people prophesied about in Hosea means that it is faith in Joshua the Messiah that marks the people God has chosen to receive His mercy.

Or, in other words, the Chosen of God are Christians.

Now, in Romans 9, the Apostle Paul speaks about the two types of people in the world: The Vessels of Wrath and the Vessels of Mercy. In verse 9:23-24, he tells us who the Vessels of Mercy are:
23And that he might make known the riches of his glory on the vessels of mercy, which he had afore prepared unto glory, 24Even us, whom he hath called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles
He then cites the same prophesy in Hosea as Peter:
25As he saith also in Osee2, I will call them my people, which were not my people; and her beloved, which was not beloved. 26And it shall come to pass, [that] in the place where it was said unto them, Ye [are] not my people; there shall they be called the children of the living God.
So, the ones who are brought back to God after being cut off, the people who are not a people, the Vessels of Mercy, the Elect, the Chosen of God, are both Jewish and Gentile Christians!












Footnotes:


1. From which English gets the adjective “eclectic”, meaning something composed of elements chosen out of a wide range of sources.

2. Hosea: “Osee” is the transliteration of the Greek Ὡσηέ (Hōsēe), itself a transliteration of the Hebrew הוֹשֵׁעַ (Howshea`), meaning “salvation”.




Monday, June 3, 2013

A Christian is a Disciple; A Disciple is a Learner


English-only Bible study is an oxymoron: If it’s English-only, it’s not the Bible.



μάτην δὲ σέβονταί με διδάσκοντες διδασκαλίας ἐντάλματα ἀνθρώπων
Matthew 15:09



It is a fact that, because of the nature of language, a word-for-word translation can never perfectly capture the full meaning of any text; it will always be incomplete. This degree of incompletion is directly proportional to the degree of difference between the languages being translated. In other words, the more unalike the languages are, the more unalike a word-for-word translation from one to the other is bound to be.

The original biblical languages are very different to each other and, in there own ways, very, very different to English; which is why, when it comes to understanding the Bible and the Doctrines of Christ, there is a huge disadvantage in relying solely on an incomplete word-for-word translation.


Before I go any further, I want to be clear that I am not saying you have to learn Hebrew and Greek to be a believer. What I am saying is that you have to recognize that an English word-for-word translation of Scripture—even the King James Bible—is not the Word of God; it is at best a reasonable approximation, and it must never be used as the final basis for our doctrine. The doctrines of Christ were recorded in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek, the last of which was written at least 1,200 years before the English language even existed.

Now, the word doctrine, either didaskalia [διδασκαλία] or didachē [διδαχή] in Greek, simply means “teaching” or “that which is taught”. So the Doctrines of Christ are the Teachings of Christ. He is our Teacher, our didaskalos [διδάσκαλος]. As a matter of fact, nearly every time Joshua the Messiah is called “Master” in the KJV, it is a translation of the word didaskalos—being used then, not in the sense of “slave master”, but in the sense of “school master”; the Greek equivalent of the Hebrew word “rabbi”.1

These teachings are the very things we Christians are to learn. They are the sum total of what the Bible is: God’s commandments; His instructions; His Word. And, make no mistake, we are to learn them; if we call ourselves Christians, that is.


You might not have known this, but the Bible tells us that a Christian is a learner of Christ’s doctrine. How so? Well, in Acts 11:26, we read:
And the disciples were called Christians first in Antioch.
This tells us that a Christian is the same thing as a disciple. Now, what is a disciple?

Well, the word translated disciple is mathētēs [μαθητής] the Greek word for learner or pupil. It is the equivalent of the OT Hebrew word limmuwd [לִמּוּד], the word translated disciples in Isaiah 8:16; shown here highlighted in yellow:

Bind up the testimony, seal the law among my disciples.

Mathētēs comes from the Greek verb manthanō [μανθάνω], meaning to learn. It is what we who labour and are heavy laden are told to do in Matthew 11:29:
ἄρατε τὸν ζυγόν μου ἐφ᾽ ὑμᾶς καὶ μάθετε ἀπ᾽ ἐμοῦ
Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me
Therefore a Christian is a disciple, which is a learner, and is to learn doctrine, teachings, from2 Christ, the teacher.

And, again, none of His teachings were taught, or written down, in English.









Footnotes:


1. Matthew also tells us that “rabbi” carries the sense of “leader or guide” in verses 23:8 & 23:10 of his Gospel, when he uses the Greek word kathēgētēs [καθηγητής], meaning “the one who goes ahead of others”.

2. In Greek, the word of in Matt 11:29 is followed by the pronoun me in the genitive case, meaning a more accurate rendering in modern English would be "from me", rather than "of me".





Saturday, June 1, 2013

Messiah Joshua of Nazareth


Time to get real about the English name J-E-S-U-S.



συλλήψῃ ἐν γαστρὶ καὶ τέξῃ υἱόν καὶ καλέσεις τὸ ὄνομα αὐτοῦ Ἰησοῦν
Luke 1:31



Simply put, the name “Jesus” is an artificial construction developed from a Greek-to-Latin-to-English transliteration1 of the Hebrew name we write as “Joshua” (Yĕhowshuwa` [יְהוֹשׁוּעַ]). There is no such name as “Jesus” in any language of the Old or New Testament. “Yeshua”, what Messianic Jews commonly call Jesus, is a transliteration of the later, shortened form of Joshua (Yeshuwa` [יֵשׁוּעַ]), but the actual English pronunciation of His name is “Joshua”.

Here’s how Wikipedia puts it:
"Jesus" is the English of the Greek transliteration of "Yehoshua" via Latin. In the Septuagint , all instances of the word "Yehoshua" are rendered as "Ἰησοῦς" (Iēsoūs), the closest Greek pronunciation of the Aramaic "Yeshua" (Hebrew word #3443 in Strong's, Nehemiah 8:17).[9][10] Thus in Greek Joshua is called "Jesus son of Naue" (τοῦ Ναυή) to differentiate him from Jesus Christ. This is also true in the Slavic languages following the Eastern Orthodox tradition (e.g. "Иисус Навин" (Iisús Navín) in Russian).
Now let’s take a look at how this name is treated in our English Bibles:

The epigraph from the Gospel of Luke above is written in Koine Greek, the language in which most of the books of the New Testament were originally penned.2 The word in red is a conjugated form of Iēsous [Ἰησοῦς], the name translated “Jesus”. In the New King James Version of the Bible, this reads:
you will conceive in your womb and bring forth a Son, and shall call His name JESUS.3
Now let's go to the first part of the Greek version of Acts 7:45:
ἣν καὶ εἰσήγαγον διαδεξάμενοι οἱ πατέρες ἡμῶν μετὰ Ἰησοῦ ἐν τῇ κατασχέσει τῶν ἐθνῶν
Again, the word in red is a conjugated form of Iēsous, but this time, the NKJV translates it as “Joshua”—which isn’t a mistake, since it is clear from the context of the verse that Joshua, the son of Nun and successor of Moses, is meant. The NIV, the ESV and the RSV all translate the name Iēsous in this verse as “Joshua” and in Luke 1:31 as “Jesus”. Even the Spanish RVR gives us Josué (Joshua) in Acts 7:45, but JESÚS (in all-caps!) in Luke 1:31.

Tellingly, the KJV gives us “Jesus” for both—with all-caps only in Luke—which, although it is at least consistent, does still continue the practice of favouring the more artificial Latinate name over the correct English one.

The reason this use of two different names is a problem for us is because it not only perpetuates the early de-Judaizing of the Church by Constantine by turning the Messiah into a Gentile; it also breaks the correspondence between the two Joshuas: The faithful Joshua of Exodus leading God’s people into the Promised Land, rather than Moses (who represents the Law), is a shadow (Col 2:17, Heb 8:5; 10:1), a living picture, of Joshua the Christ leading believers into the spiritual Kingdom through His righteousness, not their ritual.

To our hurt, this vital doctrinal relationship between the OT and the NT has been entirely obscured by our not calling the Saviour by the same name as the successor of Moses: Joshua. It’s time we gave up our superstitious adoration of a false name—and all the apostasy that was brought in with it—and ejected this ancient error…in the name of Messiah Joshua of Nazareth.











Footnotes:


1. To transliterate a word means to take it from one language and represent the form and/or sound of it, not the meaning, in the corresponding characters of another alphabet or language (E.g. the Hebrew שַׁבָּת is transliterated into Greek as σάββατον and into English as “Shabbat”).

2. There is evidence, compelling in my opinion, but still controversial amongst scholars, that Matthew originally wrote his gospel in Hebrew. See also, Nehemia Gordon’s The Hebrew Yeshua vs. The Greek Jesus.

3. The NKJV's use of all-caps here preserves the KJV translators’ English rendering of the Nomina Sacra found in many Greek manuscripts.