Wednesday, March 04, 2015

John Sanders and Time (Short Reflection)

The minor quibble that I have with John Sanders (besides the relations between divine persons idea) is that "duration of consciousness" (i.e., awareness) may be a necessary but it's probably not a sufficient condition for defining what time possibly means in relation to God. It's possible that a subjective view of time doesn't do justice to time itself, much less God's relationship to time.

Thinking (intentional cogitating) is one form of awareness, but there are also forms of consciousness that do not involve thinking per se. The quibble is a small one since I agree with Sanders that time is uncreated. From what I understand, at least, he doesn't believe that time is a created thing.

Tuesday, March 03, 2015

DIA--How to Translate It (Revision of Post)

Rom 11:36 has διά + the genitive which can be translated "through" or "by." Either translation is able to communicate the notion of intermediate agency.

Col 1:16 is also διά + genitive and Heb 2:10 has this construction too (δι’ οὗ). Compare Heb 1:2.

What will determine how one renders the construction should be context or translator preference. But, as I see it, nothing is wrong with communicating agency with "through" or "by." BDAG shows that διά may be used as a "marker of instrumentality or circumstance whereby someth. is accomplished or effected, by, via, through" (224); διά can also be a "marker of pers. agency, through, by" (225).

In John 1:3, 10; 1 Cor 8:6; Col 1:16, διά is applied to "Christ as intermediary in the creation of the world" (225).

Thursday, February 26, 2015

Progressive Illumination

According to John 2:22, Jesus' disciples only comprehended the saying in Jn 2:19 when (ὅτε) Jesus was raised from the dead. Then they "called to mind" (ἐμνήσθησαν) the statement he made concerning his body.

Another interesting passage is John 12:16:

"These things his disciples took no note of at first, but when Jesus became glorified, then(τότε) they called to mind (ἐμνήσθησαν) that these things were written respecting him and that they did these things to him."

Or what about Acts 11:15-16, where Peter himself testifies that it was only when the holy spirit descended upon Cornelius and his household that Peter "called to mind the saying of the Lord" (ἐμνήσθην δὲ τοῦ ῥήματος τοῦ κυρίου) about Christians being baptized with spirit and water.

All such verses indicate that early Christians, including those who were circumcised Jews, progressively were guided into all the way of truth (John 16:12-13).

Michael Coogan's Remarks on the Divine Name (from His Introduction to the Old Testament)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

2 Samuel 13:15 (LXX/OG)-Use of Agapao

καὶ ἐμίσησεν αὐτὴν Αμνων μῖσος μέγα σφόδρα, ὅτι μέγα τὸ μῖσος, ὃ ἐμίσησεν αὐτήν, ὑπὲρ τὴν ἀγάπην, ἣν ἠγάπησεν αὐτήν. καὶ εἶπεν αὐτῇ Αμνων ᾿Ανάστηθι καὶ πορεύου (2 Samuel 13:15, LXX).

"Then Amnon hated her with very great hatred; for the hatred with which he hated her was greater than the love with which he had loved her, for the last wickedness was greater than the first: and Amnon said to her, Rise, and be gone" (Brenton).

Interesting uses of ἀγάπην and ἠγάπησεν.

D. A. Carson makes this observation: "even in the Septuagint it is far from clear that the αγα­-πάω word-group always refers to the 'higher' or more noble or less emotional forms of love. For example 2 Samuel 13 says that Amnon incestuously raped his half-sister Tamar: he 'loved' her — a vicious act, transparently sexual, emotional, and violent — and both αγαπάω and φιλέω are used."

See "God Is Love," BIBLIOTHECA SACRA 156 (April-June 1999): 131-2.

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Good Luck--Not!

The word "luck" can be defined many different ways. Some definitions are "the force that seems to operate for good or ill in a person's life, as in shaping circumstances, events, or opportunities," "good fortune; advantage or success, considered as the result of chance" or "a combination of circumstances, events, etc., operating by chance to bring good or ill to a person" (

I often hear people wish one another "good luck" or someone might say, "If it wasn't for back luck, I'd have none at all."

While scripture does teach that "time and chance" befalleth all (Ecclesiastes 9:11), the idea that we're subject to the forces of luck (destiny/fortune) is not scriptural. It also seems that positing luck as a causal factor of the universe clashes with the scientific account of causes and their effects. In simple terms, it's hard for me to understand how stepping on a crack has anything to do with my mom's back, or how encountering a black cat or breaking a mirror affects one's fate. Luck seems to be the kind of thing that dreams are made of.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Bishops and Overseers (More Dialogue)

The office of "bishop" was non-existent in the first century: number of sources demonstrate this fact. There were EPISKOPOI and DIAKONOI, but no "bishops" in the technical sense of the word. Francis Beare writes concerning Phil 1:1:

"The two words translated bishops and deacons have been much debated. In the second century they became specialized in ecclesiastical usage; the bishop as the head of the local Christian community, the deacons as his assistants in whatever duties he might assign them."

Beare then adds: "Negatively, it may be said that the use of the plurals [in Phil 1:1] rules out any possibility that the Philippian church is governed by a monarchical bishop."

After citing Polycarp and other sources, Beare concludes: "This passing reference [to EPISKOPOI and DIAKONOI in Phil 1:1] does not provide us with any crumb of information about the status or function of EPISKOPOI and DIAKONOI at Philippi; and we are not entitled to read into them in this context the significance which belongs to them in later Catholic usage" (Francis Beare, Epistle to the Philippians, 1959, pp 49-50).

So while the Primitive Congregation used EPISKOPOI and DIAKONOI, it does not follow that these "offices" were hierarchically arranged or that these men were leaders of the Church. The EPISKOPOI and DIAKONOI were "individuals designated for special service within the Church and perhaps subject to the Church" (Gerald Hawthorne, Philippians, Word Series, page 8).

Heinrich Meyer also reasons: "We may add that placing of the officials after the church generally, which is not logically requisite, and the mere subjoining of them by SUN, are characteristic of the relation between the two [the overseers, assistants and the flock], which had not yet undergone hierarchical dislocation" (Meyer, Philippians and
Colossians, page 14).

Jesus Christ issued this command: "Neither be called 'leaders,' [KAQHGHTAI] for your Leader [KAQHGHTHS] is one, the Christ [hO XRISTOS]" (Mt 23:10 NWT).

Admittedly, the term translated "Leader" can evidently mean either "leader, master, guide, teacher or professor." Certain scholars favor the sense "teachers" in this passage, but I think that "leader" is just as likely in view of Mt 23:6-8.

The Geneva Bible of 1599 has: "Neither be ye called masters: for one is your Master, [even] Christ."

"Neither be ye called masters: for one is your master,[even] the Christ" (ASV).

"nor may ye be called directors, for one is your director -- the Christ" (YLT).

One could argue that Jesus is saying that his followers should not be called "leaders" or "teachers" (i.e., they should not be given these titles). But I think such an argument, if valid, simply makes the important point.

Ellicott's Commentary: "Neither be ye called masters.—The word is not the same as in Matthew 23:8, and signifies 'guide,' or 'leader;' the 'director' of conscience rather than the teacher. (Comp. Romans 2:19.)"

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Greek Word APOFEUGW and 2 Peter 1:4

I'm undertaking a word study on APOFEUGW in 2 Peter 1:4. Here is part of what I've written so far:

Louw-Nida Greek and English Lexicon (21.14) states that APOFEUGW can mean-"to become safe from danger by avoiding or escaping" and "to escape, to avoid."

L-N points out that it's hard to adjudicate how EXFEUGW and APOFEUGW differ from FEUGW or from one another. It may be the case that EXFEUGW/APOFEUGW are "somewhat more emphatic than FEUGW" (21.14).

The same reference work notes that in the case of these related terms, "there is no special indication of movement, but simply the fact of not having to experience some particular difficulty or danger" (ibid). See Mt 23:33; Lk 21:36; Rom 2:3; Heb 11:34.

but here's what LSJ says about APOFEUGW:

APOPHEUGW/O: "flee from, escape . . . rarely c. gen. [2 Peter 1:4 example]" (p. 226) and "c. inf., avoid, LEGEIN Phlp. in Ph. 617.14: abs. get safe away, escape" and "go free" (used of manumitted slaves). Also utilized as a "law-term" in Hdt. 6.82, Pl. Lg. 94.6d and "abs. get clear off, be acquitted opp. hALISKOMAI, Hdt. 2.174." Also employed with reference to a woman giving birth to a child.

From Vincent's Word Studies:

"Having escaped (ἀποφυγόντες)

Only in this epistle. To escape by flight."

Robertson also tells us that this form of the verb (ἀποφυγόντες) in 2 Peter 1:4 is a second aorist active participle.