Saturday, January 14, 2017

Poverty and Jesus (Luke 2:22-24)

I have compared Luke 2:22-24 with the Hebrew text that prescribes the sacrifice mentioned by Luke in his first-century Gospel--a sacrifice that was to be given by a person of humble means, if he/she could not afford to offer a lamb to Jehovah:

"When the mother has completed her time of cleansing, she must come to the front of the sacred tent and bring to the priest a year-old lamb as a sacrifice to please me and a dove or a pigeon as a sacrifice for sin. After the priest offers the sacrifices to me, the mother will become completely clean from her loss of blood, whether her child is a boy or a girl. If she cannot afford a lamb, she can offer two doves or two pigeons, one as a sacrifice to please me and the other as a sacrifice for sin" (Lev. 12:6-8 CEV).

Furthermore, I still wonder about the Greek TEKTWN and what the "typical" socio-economic status of a carpenter, builder or craftsman was in the first century CE, especially in Palestine. These questions are probably not easy to answer.

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Colossians 2:2: Which Mystery?

Originally written 7/30/2003 and edited 1/9/2017; 1/11/17; 1/12/17.

While reading Col. 2:2 this week, I happened upon something that escaped my attention hitherto.

ἵνα παρακληθῶσιν αἱ καρδίαι αὐτῶν συμβιβασθέντες ἐν ἀγάπῃ καὶ εἰς πᾶν πλοῦτος τῆς πληροφορίας τῆς συνέσεως, εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν τοῦ μυστηρίου τοῦ θεοῦ, Χριστοῦ, (NA28)

The KJV and NKJV render the text similarly--to wit:

"that their hearts may be encouraged, being knit together in love, and attaining to all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the knowledge of the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Christ,"

The mystery of God (τοῦ μυστηρίου τοῦ Θεοῦ) is identified with both the Father and Christ. The Hebrew Names Version and Vulgate also read:

"that their hearts may be comforted, they being knit together in love, and gaining all riches of the full assurance of understanding, that they may know the mystery of God, both of the Father and of Messiah," (HNV)

"ut consolentur corda ipsorum instructi in caritate et in omnes divitias plenitudinis intellectus in agnitionem mysterii Dei Patris Christi Iesu" (Vg).

But the NASB translates:

"that their hearts may be encouraged, having been knit together in love, and attaining to all the wealth that comes from the full assurance of understanding, resulting in a true knowledge of God's mystery, that is, Christ Himself"

Metzger gives the reading τοῦ θεοῦ, Χριστοῦ, a [B] grade indicating that this lectio is highly certain. Explaining his position, Metzger writes:

"Among what at first sight seems to be a bewildering variety of variant readings, the one adopted for the text is plainly to be preferred (1) because of strong external testimony (P46 B Hilary Pelagius Ps-Jerome and (b) because it alone provides an adequate explanation of the other readings as various scribal attempts to ameliorate the syntactical ambiguity of τοῦ θεοῦ, Χριστοῦ."

[I need to check the Mextzger quote in order to make sure I'm quoting accurately.]

the Catholic NABRE translates Col. 2:2 as follows:

"that their hearts may be encouraged as they are brought together in love, to have all the richness of fully assured understanding, for the knowledge of the mystery of God, Christ,"

The New Jerusalem Bible also renders Col. 2:2-3:

"It is all to bind them together in love and to encourage their resolution until they are rich in the assurance of their complete understanding and have
knowledge of the mystery of God in which all the the jewels of wisdom and knowledge are hidden."

Finally, I quote NWT 2013: "This is so that their hearts may be comforted and that they may be harmoniously joined together in love and may have all the riches that result from the full assurance of their understanding, in order to gain an accurate knowledge of the sacred secret of God, namely, Christ."

From a textual perspective, as Metzger points out, the reading found in NA27 and UBS4 is contained in P46, B, VGms and Hilary. See also NA27 for MSS in which the reading of the KJV is found. But NA27 has now been updated to NA28.

Sunday, January 08, 2017

Scholarly Observations Regarding Galatians 5:22-23

"PRAUTHS: Meekness is the outcome of true humility,
the bearing towards others which results from a lowly
estimate of ourselves.--EGKRATEIA: Self-control
comprehends every form of temperance, and includes the
mastery of all appetites, tempers and passions" (The
Expositor's Greek Testament
, 3:188).

"The fact that self-control appears last in Paul's
list may indicate its importance as a summation of the
preceding virtues. It would also have particular
relevance for the Galatian setting: Antinomians
veering out of control desperately needing the
discipline of self-control reinforced by a new respect
for God's moral law" (Timothy George, Galatians, page

"Trench seems to have caught the true meaning of this
term [PRAUTHS]. He notes that it is not 'mere natural
disposition. Rather is it an inwrought grace of the
soul; and the exercises of it are first chiefly
towards God.' He continues: 'It is that temper of
spirit in which we accept his dealings with us as
good, and therefore without disputing or resisting;
and it is closely linked with the TAPEINOFROSUNH, and
it follows directly upon it (Ephes. iv.2; Col.
iii.12), because it is only the humble heart which is
also meek' (p. 152). Put in simplest terms, meekness
is submissiveness to the will of God" (Ralph Earle,
Word Meanings in the NT, pp. 310-311).

things there is no law.' Without doubt an
understatement of the apostle's thought for rhetorical
effect. The mild assertion that there is no law
against such things has the effect of an emphatic
assertion that these things fully meet the
requirements of the law (cf. v.14). The statement as
it stands is true of law in every sense of the word,
and NOMOS is therefore to be taken in its general
sense; yet probably Paul is thinking only of divine,
not of divine and human law" (Ernest De Witt Burton,
Galatians, 318).

Saturday, January 07, 2017

Biblical "Examples"

1 Peter 2:21-ἰς τοῦτο γὰρ ἐκλήθητε, ὅτι καὶ Χριστὸς ἔπαθεν ὑπὲρ ὑμῶν ὑμῖν ὑπολιμπάνων ὑπογραμμόν, ἵνα ἐπακολουθήσητε τοῖς ἴχνεσιν αὐτοῦ,

2 Peter 2:4-Εἰ γὰρ ὁ θεὸς ἀγγέλων ἁμαρτησάντων οὐκ ἐφείσατο ἀλλὰ σειραῖς ζόφου ταρταρώσας παρέδωκεν εἰς κρίσιν τηρουμένους

Jude 7-ὡς Σόδομα καὶ Γόμορρα καὶ αἱ περὶ αὐτὰς πόλεις τὸν ὅμοιον τρόπον τούτοις ἐκπορνεύσασαι καὶ ἀπελθοῦσαι ὀπίσω σαρκὸς ἑτέρας, πρόκεινται δεῖγμα πυρὸς αἰωνίου δίκην ὑπέχουσαι.

1 Corinthians 10:6, 11-Ταῦτα δὲ τύποι ἡμῶν ἐγενήθησαν, εἰς τὸ μὴ εἶναι ἡμᾶς ἐπιθυμητὰς κακῶν, καθὼς κἀκεῖνοι ἐπεθύμησαν.

ταῦτα δὲ τυπικῶς συνέβαινεν ἐκείνοις, ἐγράφη δὲ πρὸς νουθεσίαν ἡμῶν, εἰς οὓς τὰ τέλη τῶν αἰώνων κατήντηκεν.

Numbers 26:10-καὶ ἀνοίξασα ἡ γῆ τὸ στόμα αὐτῆς κατέπιεν αὐτοὺς καὶ Κορε ἐν τῷ θανάτῳ τῆς συναγωγῆς αὐτοῦ, ὅτε κατέφαγεν τὸ πῦρ τοὺς πεντήκοντα καὶ διακοσίους, καὶ ἐγενήθησαν ἐν σημείῳ,

All GNT citations derive from the online version of NA28.

Galatians 5:20 ("Spiritism")

Here is Abbott-Smith's Manual Greek Lexicon of the NT (p. 466) on φαρμακία (FARMAKIA):

administer drugs), poet. and late prose form of
FARMAKEIA, [in LXX: Ex 7:11, 22 8:7, 18 (3, 14) . . .
1. generally, the use of medicine, drugs or spells
(Xen.). 2. (a) poisoning (Plut., Polyb.); (b) sorcery,
witchcraft: Ga 5:20 (v. Lft., in 1.) Re 9:21 (WH,
txt., FARMAKWN) 18:23 (cf. LXX, 11. c)."

Timothy George gives these supplemental comments:

"As J.T. Noonan has written, 'Paul's usage here [Galatians 5:20] cannot be restricted to abortion, but the term he chose is comprehensive enough to include the use of abortifacient drugs.' In the early church both infanticide, often effected through the exposure of newborn babies to the harsh elements, and abortion, commonly brought about by the use of drugs, were regarded as murderous acts. Both are flagrant violations of Jesus' command to 'love your neighbor as yourself'" (Galatians, 394).

See also

Friday, January 06, 2017

Rhetoric and the New Testament/Christian-Greek Scriptures

Classical rhetoric acquired a bad name largely because of the Sophists, who also gave argumentation a bad reputation too. However, it seems hard to deny that the Bible, particularly the GNT, contains rhetorical devices. Granted, later church writers were trained rhetoricians and even they had some conflict with the profession (e.g., Tertullian, Tatian, Arnobius, Lactantius, Augustine). Nevertheless, one gainsays the presence of rhetorical devices in scripture at his/her own peril.

Craig R. Koester points to one literary device at Heb. 9:5. Remarking upon the Greek construction, PERI hWN OUK ESTIN NUN LEGEIN KATA MEROS, he writes:

"The author concludes his description of the furnishings [of the Tabernacle] by commenting that he cannot deal with these things in detail (cf. 11:32). Rhetorically, passing by something without detailed comment was called PARALEIPSIS (Rhet. ad Her. 4.27 Sec. 37' Lausberg, Handbook SS 882-886)." By identifying some aspects of a large topic while refusing to make detailed comment, the speaker alludes to his familiarity with the subject matter, while relativizing its importance. Here, Hebrews makes clear that what is most important is not the sanctuary, but the ministry that takes place within it" (Hebrews: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. Anchor Bible Commentary. New York: Doubleday, 2001), p. 404.

George Guthrie likewise supplies these details:

"Most importantly, he [Leon Vaganay] advanced discussion on the structure of Hebrews with his identification of mot-crochets, 'hook words,' in the book. Hook words were a rhetorical device used in the ancient world to tie two sections of material together. A word was positioned at the end of one section and at the beginning of the next to effect a transition between the two" (The Structure of Hebrews, page 12).

One example of a writer employing hook words is Heb. 1:4-5 (which evidently represents the start of a new section), where we find the author using TWN AGGELWN in both verses. TWN AGGELWN thus joins together Heb. 1:1-4 with the following section of Hebrews which begins with Heb 1:5.

According to Richard Lanham, an expert in literary devices, the word "hyperbole" denotes: "Exaggerated or extravagant terms used for emphasis and not intended to be understood literally; self-conscious exaggeration."

Heinrich Lausberg writes: "Hyperbole is an extreme, literally implausible onomastic surpassing of the verbum proprium." Furthermore, "hyperbole is a metaphor with vertical gradations" that stimulates the imagination (Handbook of Literary Rhetoric, section 579).

The September 1, 2002 WT notes that hyperbole is an intentional exaggeration that someone utters for the purpose of emphasis or to make a point. We see vivid examples of hyperbole in the Gospels and Pauline Epistles.

Friday, December 30, 2016

Thanks for Reading & 2017

Hi to everyone reading this blog. I want to express my sincere thanks for the fact that you have taken time from your day to peruse the contents herein. Years ago, when this blog started, I could not have imagined that it would still be going and expanding in readers.

For 2017, I will continue trying to produce content that will constitute worthwhile reading. The primary focus will continue to be theology/religion, but I will sometimes offer remarks on other issues that pertain to the aforesaid fields.

Lastly--my main computer (the desktop) is now down, so I am using tablets, and the dilapidated laptop of my wife. So my activity might be hampered for the next few weeks until I retrieve data from my hard drive and get up and running with a new machine soon.

Best to you all. Of course you know I do not celebrate holidays, but thanks again.


Tuesday, December 27, 2016

One Objection to Celebrating Christmas

John 4:24-those worshiping God must worship in spirit and in truth.

Psalm 31:5-"Into Thy hand I commit my spirit, Thou hast redeemed me, Jehovah God of truth" (YLT).

To put it simply, Christmas is based on false premises like Jesus was born on December 25, the three wise men, the star of Bethlehem, elves, Santa, flying reindeer, etc.