Wednesday, May 30, 2018

Aquinas, the Resurrection from the Dead, and Body Members

Thomas Aquinas believes that all of our body members will be restored in the resurrection, even if they are not used in the "afterlife." E.g., our kidneys, blood vessels, and genitalia. Now this restoration would present no problem for the righteous inhabiting the new earthly society of God's making (Rev. 21:1-5), but why heavenly creatures would have such members seems hard to comprehend. Of course, the pushback from the opposing side is that heaven and earth will unite one day--also that no one is going to heaven. But if some will be in heaven, as I believe, then human body parts appear to be redundant.

Reminds me of what one man said years ago in the field ministry: since flesh and blood cannot enter heaven, those who inherit the heavenly kingdom will just have fleshly bodies with no blood coursing through their veins. In any event, here are the sections from Aquinas:

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Mark 12:43 Notes

Greek: καὶ προσκαλεσάμενος τοὺς μαθητὰς αὐτοῦ εἶπεν αὐτοῖς· Ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν ὅτι ἡ χήρα αὕτη ἡ πτωχὴ πλεῖον πάντων ἔβαλεν τῶν βαλλόντων εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον· (SBLGNT)

Zerwick's Grammatical Analysis: προσκαλεσάμενος is the aorist middle participle nominative singular masculine of προσκαλέω (Mounce: "to call to one's self, summon").

πάντων ἔβαλεν τῶν βαλλόντων-"all those throwing," present participle for an imperfect.

Vincent's Word Studies: This poor widow (ἡ χήρα αὕτη ἡ πτωχὴ):

The Greek order is very suggestive, forming a kind of climax: this window, the poor one, or and she poor.

Constable's Notes: "The poor widow's offering was worth more than the others, because it cost her more to give it, and most of all because she gave it willingly. Since she gave two coins, she could have kept one for herself. Her sacrifice expressed her love for God and her trust in God to sustain her (cf. 1 Kings 17:8-16)."

NIDNTT: γαζοφυλάκιον-"In Mk. 12:41, 43 and Lk. 21:1, gazophylakion refers to one of the thirteen trumpet-shaped collection boxes in the temple, into which the Jews (including the widow lady noticed by Jesus) threw coins. These were marked to indicate the use to which the funds were put. Jn. 8:20 refers to the gazophylakion as the place where Jesus taught in the temple precincts; he was probably standing in the Court of the Women, where the collection boxes were placed."

Monday, May 28, 2018

Mark 12:42 Notes

Greek: καὶ ἐλθοῦσα μία χήρα πτωχὴ ἔβαλεν λεπτὰ δύο, ὅ ἐστιν κοδράντης. (WH)

Zerwick's Grammatical Analysis: ἐλθοῦσα-aorist participle feminine of ἔρχομαι; in this verse, Mark uses μία for τίς.


ἔβαλεν-aorist active indicative of βάλλω.

λεπτόν-a small coin.

EGF: κοδράντης-The lepton's value was 1/128th the value of a denarius, which amounted to a day's wage in the Roman world. So it would take one hundred twenty eight lepta to equal one denarius.

A lepton was apparently the smallest copper or bronze coin used in ancient Israel. Some Bible translations render Mark 12:42 with the word "mites" to describe the widow's contribution. The widow gave currency that amounted to 1/128th the value of a day's wage--an amount which was monetarily insignificant; two coins thus would have been 1/64th the value of a denarius. (Based on the NWT Study Bible Notes)

Larry Hurtado (Mark): 12:42 / Two very small copper coins, worth only a fraction of a penny: The two coins of the widow were the leptons, the smallest denomination in coinage in circulation at the time. The two coins together equaled a penny (Greek, a kodrantes), an almost equally insignificant coin. (See “Money,” IDB, vol. 3, pp. 423–35, esp. p. 428). If this amount was the widow’s whole economic means (all she had to live on, v. 44), she was indeed poor!

Carl Conrad Translation of Mark 12:42: "Then one poor widow came and put in two tiny bits of small change, a pittance."

Byington (The Bible in Living English): "And one poor widow came and dropped in two mites, that is, a farthing."

NET Notes: These two small copper coins were lepta (sing. “lepton”), the smallest and least valuable coins in circulation in Palestine, worth one-half of a quadrans or 1/128 of a denarius, or about six minutes of an average daily wage. This was next to nothing in value.

Further Reading:'s_Mites_A_Contextual_Reading_of_Mark_1241-44/links/575fcb9908ae414b8e54a5a6.pdf

Sunday, May 27, 2018

Mark 12:41 Notes

Greek: Καὶ καθίσας κατέναντι τοῦ γαζοφυλακίου ἐθεώρει πῶς ὁ ὄχλος βάλλει χαλκὸν εἰς τὸ γαζοφυλάκιον· καὶ πολλοὶ πλούσιοι ἔβαλλον πολλά·

Zerwick's Grammatical Analysis: καθίσας is an aorist participle ("he sat down . . . and"); κατέναντι ("opposite"), used with the genitive phrase τοῦ γαζοφυλακίου.

γαζοφυλακίου ("treasury, where boxes were put out to receive the coins of offerers")

βάλλει is present indicative active 3rd-person singular ("tense of [direct] speech")

EGF: I suggest that βάλλει might be rendered "throw, cast, drop"; ESV translates the verb "put"; NWT uses "dropping."

Rogers and Rogers: γαζοφυλακίου-"Probably a reference to the thirteen trumpet-like chests placed at intervals around the walls of the court of the women in the Herodian temple"

χαλκὸν-"copper, brass, bronze money."

πλούσιοι-"rich, very rich."

ἔβαλλον (imperfect indicative active)-"they were repeatedly casting."

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Notes on Matthew 10:29

Text: οὐχὶ δύο στρουθία ἀσσαρίου πωλεῖται; καὶ ἓν ἐξ αὐτῶν οὐ πεσεῖται ἐπὶ τὴν γῆν ἄνευ τοῦ πατρὸς ὑμῶν.

οὐχὶ, in a manner analogous to the Latin nonne, introduces a question with the expectation that the answer will be "yes." See Zerwick and Grosvenor, page 31.

ἀσσαρίου-diminutive form of Latin as (= 1/16th denarius or less than a half hour's wage).

ἀσσαρίου is a genitive of price (Zerwick-Grosvenor).

Genitive of price-"The genitive substantive specifies the price paid for or value assessed for the word to which it is related. This is relatively rare in the NT" (Daniel B. Wallace, GGBB, page 122).

Brooks and Winbery use the terminology "adverbial genitive of measure" which includes the genitive of price or genitive of measure.

ANEU TOU PATROS hUMWN is an example of the substantive with an adverbial preposition (see Brooks and Winbery,

KAI-"And yet."

NET Bible translates the latter portion of this verse:
"Yet not one of them falls to the ground apart from
your Father's will."

The NET Bible footnote, however, states: "Or 'to the
ground without the knowledge and consent of your

"nonne duo passeres asse veneunt et unus ex illis non cadet super terram sine Patre vestro" (Matthew 10:29 Biblia Sacra Vulgata).

Vincent's Word Studies:

Sparrows (στρουθία)

"The word is a diminutive, little sparrows, and carries with it a touch of tenderness. At the present day, in the markets of Jerusalem and Jaffa, long strings of little birds, sparrows and larks, are offered for sale, trussed on long wooden skewers. Edersheim thinks that Jesus may have had reference to the two sparrows which, according to the Rabbins, were used in the ceremonial of purification from leprosy (Leviticus 14:49-54)."

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

1 Timothy 5:23: Brief Notes

I like William Mounce's Pastoral Letters commentary in the Word series, but have quibbles with him over some issues. 1 Timothy 5:23 reads:

"Drink no longer water, but use a little wine for thy stomach's sake and thine often infirmities" (KJV).

Greek (SBLGNT): μηκέτι ὑδροπότει, ἀλλὰ οἴνῳ ὀλίγῳ χρῶ διὰ τὸν στόμαχον καὶ τὰς πυκνάς σου ἀσθενείας.

Mounce reasons that Paul's words to Timothy deal with drinking wine for medicinal purposes only--something like an "elixir" (a panacea) that cures colds and about everything else. But do we have reason to believe the use of wine in this verse is that circumscribed?

It has been observed that Paul was probably quoting a notable proverb from antiquity. After all, the ancients seem to have extolled the virtues of wine in moderation: they recognized its healing properties when used moderately. However, is 1 Timothy 5:23 limiting temperate drinking (particularly, the imbibing of wine) to health purposes alone? Here are some thoughts culled from biblegateway although I hope to build on these sources later:

NIV Cultural Backgrounds Study Bible: "use a little wine. Most people drank wine with their meals. It was watered down (often about two parts water to one part wine), and not distilled to a higher than natural degree of fermentation. Some have suggested that Timothy was abstaining from wine to avoid the criticism of the false teachers (4:3). your stomach. Wine was often used to settle stomachs and was thought to prevent dysentery; it could be used to disinfect water. Some restorative diets recommended water, others wine; wine was also used in some remedies (i.e., medicinally)."

Expositor's Bible Commentary (Abridged Edition): New Testament: Apparently for medicinal purposes, Timothy is told not to restrict himself to drinking water but to "use a little wine because of your stomach and your frequent illnesses." The word for wine is sometimes used in LXX for unfermented grape juice. Furthermore, it is generally agreed that the wine of Jesus' day was usually rather weak and, especially among the Jews, often diluted with water. Moreover, safe drinking water was not always readily available in those eastern countries.

Asbury Bible Commentary: "A little wine indicates moderation and probably is a comment on the local water. Perhaps Timothy may be interpreting purity more physically/ascetically than Paul intended."

Mounce's Complete Expository Dictionary:

For the most part in the NT, oinos is used literally, but occasionally it has symbolic meanings. In 1 Tim. 5:23, Paul exhorts Timothy to drink a little wine for his stomach's sake, and wine is a means of healing in Lk 10:34. John the Baptist abstains from drinking wine, perhaps following a Nazirite vow (Lk 1:15). However, Jesus, like most people, likely drank wine, as can be seen by the exaggerated accusation that he was a “glutton and a drunkard” (Mt 11:18–19), used by his opponents to mean that he did not fast nor abstain from wine (9:14–17; Mk 2:18–22; Lk 5:33–38). Additionally, Jesus’ first miracle was turning water into wine (Jn 2:1–11).

Symbolically, oinos is used negatively in Revelation, referring to the wine and cup of God’s wrath (14:10; 16:19; 19:15) and to the debauched ways of Babylon (14:8). Positively, oinos serves as a token of hope for the coming celebration for all believers at Jesus’ return. A picture of this coming new age is given in the creation of wine at the wedding in Cana (Jn 2:1–11) and in Jesus’ promise that he will not drink wine again until the great feast when the kingdom of God comes in all its fullness (Mt 26:29; Mk 14:25). See NIDNTT-A, 41–42.

Rhodian Geometric oinochoe by the Bird and Zigzag Painter, 740/720 BC. Paris: Louvre.

Thanks to Wikipedia Commons.

Monday, May 21, 2018

Notes Pertaining to the Book of Proverbs

1. What Is a Proverb?

While the English word "proverbs" conveys the idea of short maxims and pithy observations on life, the Hebrew misle (pl. of mashal) "refers to an apothegm that has currency among those who fear the LORD" (Bruce Waltke, page 56). Others suggest that "proverb" in the biblical sense refers to a brief comparison or representation (ibid.). See Prov. 10:26.

2. Proverbs juxtaposes destructive and healthy patterns of behavior. Proverbs 5:22-23; 14:12; 16:25; 29:3.

3. Authorship:

Proverbs claims Solomon as its writer and I accept what the text states. On the other hand, critical scholars usually want to question Solomonic authorship, and R.N. Whybray maintains that we cannot be sure whether all parts of the book can be traced back to David's son. Nevertheless, Whybray reckons that 1 Kings 4:32 must have some historical foundation; it seems unreasonble to suppose that it does not. He estimates that Proverbs may have been written or produced between the 10th-6th century BCE. See The Book of Proverbs, 4-5.

Robert B. Laurin believes Proverbs was probably edited around the 5th-4th century BCE as it eventually assumed its current shape.

4. The purpose of proverbs seems to be articulated in Prov. 1:7: "The fear of Jehovah is the beginning of knowledge; But the foolish despise wisdom and instruction" (ASV).

The fear of God is reverential awe--it is the fear of displeasing God and is expressed by observing his commandments. Compare Leviticus 19:3; Ecclesiastes 12:13; Malachi 3:5.

6. Specific proverbs and the wisdom they contain:

"Above all else, guard your heart, for everything you do flows from it" (Prov. 4:23 NIV).

"As iron sharpens iron, so one person sharpens another" (Prov. 27:17 NIV).

7. An exegesis of one proverb:

Commenting on Prov. 2:6, Fox explains: "Wisdom engenders mature piety because God is the source of wisdom, and in seeking it you are in effect seeking him."

See Michael V. Fox, "The Pedagogy of Proverbs 2," Journal of Biblical Literature, Vol. 113, No. 2 (Summer, 1994): pp. 233-243.

Image thanks to Wikipedia Commons

Friday, May 18, 2018

The Ontological Argument in Anselm and Descartes

Philosophy of Religion (Loosely based on David Stewart's text)

Arguments for God's Existence

1. Anselm of Canterbury made the ontological argument for God's existence famous: subsequent versions were posited by Rene Descartes, Kurt Gödel and by Alvin Plantinga. The starting point for Anselm's ontological argument is God's being or perfect being theology. This form of argumentation is a priori because it starts from the concept of God (a perfect being in the absolute sense). We might also consider the ontological argument to begin with premises that are deductive and that logically proceed from a possible divine being to an actual divine being (i.e., God).

2. Existence is a great-making property or perfection for Anselm and Descartes: they reason that existent beings take precedence over merely possible entities. The Anselmian and Cartesian form of argumention is a priori as well since it begins with a particular idea concerning God's essence, namely, that God necessarily exists.

3. Why the focus on divine being when formulating the ontological argument? God is called Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν (I am the being) in Exodus 3:14 (LXX). The Latin Vulgate has "ego sum qui sum" and also refers to God as "qui est." Both ways of treating the Exodus text seem to place emphasis on God's being: maybe 3:14 even identifies God as being itself (ipsum esse subsistens).

4. The medieval thinkers also tended to view essence and existence as distinct in relation to creatures but they argued that essence and existence in God's case are identical (the same thing), an idea known as absolute divine simplicity. So God exists necessarily because God is his own existence.

5. Descartes maintains that the very idea of God is "clear and distinct." Clear and distinct ideas are transparent, not obscure, self-evident, and easily distinguished from other ideas. The Euclidean postulate, "all right angles are equal to one another" is a clear and distinct idea. Another example is "all triangles are three-sided polygons." That proposition is clear and distinct like 2 + 2 = 4 is. What about the idea of God. Should it likewise be categorized as a clear and distinct idea?

To learn more about ontological arguments in general, see

See David Stewart, Exploring the Philosophy of Religion, Seventh Edition (London and Toronto: Prentice Hall, 2010), ISBN: 978-0-205-64519-0.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

The Milgram Experiment and Human Nature: Nothing New Under the Sun

Stanley Milgram wrote these words about his famous "shock" experiment:

"This is, perhaps, the most fundamental lesson of our study: ordinary people, simply doing their jobs, and without any particular hostility on their part, can become agents in a terrible destructive process. Moreover, even when the destructive effects of their work became patently clear, and they are asked to carry out actions incompatible with fundamental standards of morality, relatively few people have the resources needed to resist authority."

Milgram conducted his experiment back in the 1960s. He found that at least 60% of those participating as subjects of the experiment were willing to shock people (administering up to 450 volts), if they could be persuaded that the experimenter (the one conducting the experiment) would take full responsibility for what happened to those who were purportedly being shocked.

Milgram's work was undertaken some 40 years ago. I wonder how most people would respond if they participated in similar experiments today. Would 60-85% of people living in our time be willing to shock their fellow humans if an authority figure commanded them to carry out the action? Certain secular studies have asserted that the human race is getting better in terms of social values, moral practices and aggressive tendencies (e.g., Stephen Pinker). I wonder if a new Milgram study would refute or support these claims. My guess based on the Bible, scientific studies, and personal experience is that "nothing don't change much." Or as Qoheleth said in Ecclesiastes, there is nothing new under the sun (Ecclesiastes 1:9).

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

Wisdom Texts: the Book of Job (Work in Progress)

The term "wisdom texts" is a designation that has been given to the books of Job, Proverbs and Ecclesiastes. The description is common in professional Bible studies. So in harmony with this familiar way of designating certain Hebrew Bible texts, I want to discuss some general features of the so-called Wisdom texts and their contents. My comments are based on lecture notes I once used in tandem with Robert B. Laurin's Old Testament introductory work.

1. The wisdom texts contain instruction for living the "good life." What is the best way of living? Why are we here? Job, Proverbs, and Ecclesiastes seek to answer those questions and they show worshipers of God how to apply knowledge intelligently (Proverbs 27:11). For example, Proverbs 1:7 states that wisdom begins with fearing YHWH (Jehovah). Ps. 111:10, while not part of the wisdom texts, also repeats this truism: genuine wisdom begins with reverential fear of God. Job likewise emphasizes this point (Job 28:28).

2. Some aspects of life considered in the wisdom texts include living peacefully with others (Proverbs 15:1; 16:32); handling money wisely (Proverbs 22:7; 23:21); understanding the value of a godly wife (Proverbs 18:22; 31:10-31). But the most important consideration in the wisdom texts is one's relationship with God (Proverbs 6:16-19; Ecclesiastes 12:12-13).

3. One unique feature of Job is how the book wrestles with human suffering. Some question whether Job deals with this perennial issue, but the book certainly raises the question, Does God cause suffering? Furthermore, Job makes us wonder about our basis for faith in God. Some answers given in Job are that God does not bring about general human suffering and the book affirms that humans should worship God regardless of personal circumstances.

4. In Job, we equally learn about three "friends" or "comforters" of Job: Eliphaz, Bildad, and Zophar. These men purportedly visited Job to give him comfort, to be his friends. However, all they did was accuse Job of sin and they unwittingly misrepresented God's will, purpose, and nature. The men later repented as Job ministered in their behalf, but yet another character appearing in the book is Elihu. He was a wise young man, who patiently waited until the "comforters" of Job finished speaking. Job's wife plays a minor part in the book. She's known for telling Job to just curse God and die; he reprimands her by saying she speaks as one of the foolish women do. Job admonishes his wife to accept the good and bad which the true God allows. Regardless of his dire circumstances (loss of property, children, and diminishing health), he will not give up serving Jehovah. Job doesn't know why he's suffering; he even begins to justify himself instead of God. Nevertheless, in the end, Job is rewarded bountifully by God--even receiving twofold what he lost.

5. Job is a book filled with speeches by Job himself and the other characters mentioned above. However, the weightiest speech is given by God himself in Job 38-42. Jehovah reminds Job of his relative insignificance: he was not around when God founded the world. At that time, the morning stars applauded and the sons of the true God sang out with joy. This final speech is given in the midst of a windstorm as Jehovah makes it clear that he is God while Job is not. The book's epilogue is chapter 42, wherein Job is blessed, but also repents in dust and ashes.

6. A question lingering from the book of Job is whether God tempts humans or not. The book itself seems to deny that any injustice can exist alongside God. He is perfectly righteous and holy and just. One Bible writer would later affirm with utmost clarity that God himself does not try people with evil (James 1:13-17). The same Christian writer points to Job as a sterling example of patience and endurance. Additionally, James writes that we see Jehovah's compassion and mercy in his dealings with Job (James 5:10-11).

Thursday, May 10, 2018

1 Timothy 4:3 ("Foods")--Mounce's Remarks and NIDNTT

Greek: κωλυόντων γαμεῖν, ἀπέχεσθαι βρωμάτων ἃ ὁ θεὸς ἔκτισεν εἰς μετάλημψιν μετὰ εὐχαριστίας τοῖς πιστοῖς καὶ ἐπεγνωκόσι τὴν ἀλήθειαν.

ESV: "who forbid marriage and require abstinence from foods that God created to be received with thanksgiving by those who believe and know the truth."

βρῶμα, “food,” is used elsewhere with various shades of meaning. Paul uses it in his discussions of food being a stumbling block to “weaker” Christians (Rom 14:15, 20; 1 Cor 8:8, 13). Paul's contrasting of food with milk in his discussion of spiritual immaturity (1 Cor 3:2) suggests that βρῶμα is solid food. Paul interchanges it with κρέας, “meat,” in similar discussions (Rom 14:15, 20, 21; 1 Cor 8:13: “If food [βρῶμα] is a cause of my brother's falling, I will never eat meat [κρέα]).

William Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, Volume 46 (Word Biblical Commentary) (Kindle Locations 12386-12390). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Also from the New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology under the entry for βρῶμα

1. Lit. use. In the NT, as in the OT, food is a gift from God. We should ask for it daily (cf. Matt. 6:11) and receive it thankfully (cf. 1 Tim. 4:4). Ascetic and ritual tendencies, which classed certain foods as taboo, are rejected by the NT as false teaching (Col 2:16 - 17; 1 Tim 4:3 - 7; Heb. 13:9). No food is unclean as such (Mk 7:18 - 19; cf. Acts 10:14 - 15), and no food possesses any special significance for our relationship to God (1 Cor. 8:8; cf. 6:13). The kingdom of God is realized not in eating or drinking but in righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit (Rom. 14:17).

But Christians can be commanded to avoid a particular food (e.g., meat offered to idols) if a fellow Christian by eating will be plunged into a conflict of conscience (Rom. 14:15, 20; 1 Cor. 8:13). Out of love for that tempted believer for whom Christ died, the "strong" Christian must be willing to forego a particular food.

"for my name is in him": Exodus 23:21 and Later Reflections on YHWH and the Angels

"Be attentive to him and listen to him. Do not defy him, because he will not forgive your acts of rebellion, for my name is in him" (Exodus 23:21 CSB).

While the name of God is said to reside in the angel escorting Israel, it does not appear that any angel mentioned in the canonical literature of Judaism is exalted to the extent that Yahoel or Metatron are: the latter angel is called "the lesser YHWH" in 3 Enoch. And one encounters this passage in Apocalypse of Abraham 10:

"I am called Jaoel by him who moveth that which existeth with me on the seventh expanse upon the firmament, a power in virtue of the ineffable Name that is dwelling in me."

Andrei Orlov explains that "the peculiar designation 'Yahoel' (Slav. Иаоиль) in itself reveals unequivocally the angelic creature as the representation of the divine Name. It is no coincidence that in the text, which exhibits similarities with the Deuteronomic Shem theology, the angelic guide of the protagonist is introduced as the Angel of the Name."


Now the Apocalypse of Abraham was written after Philippians and Hebrews: its terminus ad quem is probably the end of the first century CE. Moreover, 3 Enoch is quite late in relation to the GNT although the ideas contained in the work must have an earlier inception date. Of course, the DSS are relevant since 11Q Melchizedek uses Elohim, but the exalted figures of apocalyptic Judaism still possibly exceed what the canonical Jewish texts allow ad litteram.

Sunday, May 06, 2018

Bible Translation: Some Complexities and Matthew 24:3

Translation is based on the needs of the target audience. I myself prefer an eclectic translation where both the literal and idiomatic method is used; others prefer a more literal approach to translation. While caution is needed when dealing with kernel clauses, I nonetheless see a place for analyzing such clauses when one is translating. One thing that might help us to determine what the text "really" says might be to compare translations so that we may discern what each translator is trying to accomplish. When undertaking this task, what one quickly discovers is that not all translators aim for literal renderings.

"What will be the SIGN of THY presence, and of the CONSUMMATION of the AGE?" (Matt. 24:3 Emphatic Diaglott)

"What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" (NIV)

"What will be the sign of your coming and of the end of the age?" (NRSV)

"Tell us when these things shall be,--And what the sign of thy presence and the conclusion of the age?" (Rotherham's Emphasized Bible)

"Tell us, when will these things be, and what will be the sign of your presence and of the conclusion of the system of things?" (NWT 2013)

"Tell us when this will be, and what will be the sign of your coming and of the final time." (Byington)

Nota Bene: Rotherham's Bible is described as "a literal word-by-word translation with added emphasis to further explain the hidden riches of the original languages."

Thursday, May 03, 2018

2 Timothy 3:14-15 and [τὰ] ἱερὰ γράμματα

In Martin Hengel's book on the LXX, he provides a quote from Josephus to demonstrate that γράμματα clearly seems to reference the scriptural text itself. Besides, γράμματαis is not all that uncommon for "writings" sacred or otherwise. Furthermore, we must understand this Greek word (γράμματα) within its unique literary context. Was Timothy made wise unto salvation by means of sacred letters of the Hebrew alphabet or was it by means of the sacred text itself? The former interpretation doesn't seem tenable especially when 2 Timothy 3:14-15 affirms that the holy writings can make someone wise for salvation through faith in Jesus Christ. So we're not talking about a study of the Hebrew Bible (Torah/Tanakh) divorced from a quest to know the Lord Jesus Christ (Philippians 3:7-11):

"Paul now spells out why the sacred writings are a source of confidence and instruction for Timothy. In them is the message that enables Timothy to be wise with a wisdom about salvation. However, Paul must add a qualifier: it is not the Hebrew Scripture alone that should instruct Timothy concerning salvation, but that Scripture understood through the faith of those who are 'in Christ Jesus.' This is implied in 3:14 and proclaimed in 4:2."

William Mounce, Pastoral Epistles, Volume 46 (Word Biblical Commentary) (Kindle Locations 22292-22294). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Mounce also writes:

"It may be concluded that the expression 'sacred writings' is drawn solely from the vocabulary describing the Hebrew Scripture, but since Paul is thinking about the culmination of the scriptural hope realized through faith in Christ Jesus, he chooses the anarthrous plural construction to develop his argument in the direction of joining the Hebrew Scripture and the gospel."

Pastoral Epistles, Volume 46 (Word Biblical Commentary) (Kindle Locations 22275-22278). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Pastoral Epistles, Volume 46 (Word Biblical Commentary) (Kindle Location 22275). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Translating John 1:3

"Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made" (John 1:3 NIV)

πάντα δι’ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν. ὃ γέγονεν (SBLGNT)

There is no doubt that ὁ λόγος in John 1:1 is grammatically masculine, but the issue is how one renders the pronoun αὐτοῦ. Most translate in accordance with the pronoun's antecedent, which in this case is masculine: ὁ λόγος. But αὐτός can be rendered "he/she/it" (3rd person singular). It is like qui est in Exodus 3:14 (Latin Vulgate). Some try to make the construction, "she who is," but in context, one should translate "He who is" and certainly not "it that is."