Sunday, December 29, 2019

Panim--Dual Noun in Hebrew

Most Hebrew dictionaries or commentaries I've checked don't say why panim ("face" or "faces") is dual (some call it plural, but dual is more specific). Here's something I found in one book:

"This particular word always occurs in the plural, perhaps indicative of the fact that the face is a combination of a number of features. As we shall see below, the face identifies the person and reflects the attitude and sentiments of the person. As such, panim can be a substitute for the self or the feelings of the self."

(Quoted from Theological Wordbook of the Old Testament, page 727)

Besides Genesis 1:2, other examples of panim are Genesis 2:6; Exodus 33:11, 19-20; Deut. 5:4 and Psalm 139:7.

Here is also the NET Bible translation note for Exodus 33:23:

tn The plural “my backs” is according to Gesenius an extension plural (compare “face,” a dual in Hebrew). The word denotes a locality in general, but that is composed of numerous parts (see GKC 397 §124.b). W. C. Kaiser says that since God is a spirit, the meaning of this word could just as easily be rendered “after effects” of his presence (“Exodus,” EBC 2:484). As S. R. Driver says, though, while this may indicate just the “afterglow” that he leaves behind him, it was enough to suggest what the full brilliancy of his presence must be (Exodus, 363; see also Job 26:14).

Friday, December 27, 2019

Demas' Love for this Aion (2 Timothy 4:10)

Five Reasons Not to Celebrate Christmas

I have to speak out about Christmas sometimes. Why not celebrate Christmas?

1. We don't know the exact day that Jesus was born (the Bible does not say).
2. These days, in the West, Christmas is mostly about crass commercialism. At least companies like Amazon and Walmart are happy. :)
3. Christmas has accrued numerous myths that parents often tell their children (e.g., Santa and his reindeer. Don't forget the elves.).
4. Christmas is ultimately pagan rather than being Christian.
5. Jesus likely never celebrated his birthday; nor did his early followers or apostles. Remember those two birthdays celebrated in the Bible? Things didn't go so well.

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Does Revelation 20:4 Contain an Inceptive Aorist?

Greek: Καὶ εἶδον θρόνους, καὶ ἐκάθισαν ἐπ' αὐτούς, καὶ κρίμα ἐδόθη αὐτοῖς, καὶ τὰς ψυχὰς τῶν πεπελεκισμένων διὰ τὴν μαρτυρίαν Ἰησοῦ καὶ διὰ τὸν λόγον τοῦ θεοῦ, καὶ οἵτινες οὐ προσεκύνησαν τὸ θηρίον οὐδὲ τὴν εἰκόνα αὐτοῦ καὶ οὐκ ἔλαβον τὸ χάραγμα ἐπὶ τὸ μέτωπον καὶ ἐπὶ τὴν χεῖρα αὐτῶν· καὶ ἔζησαν καὶ ἐβασίλευσαν μετὰ τοῦ χριστοῦ χίλια ἔτη.

I would humbly suggest that ἔζησαν in Revelation 20:4 is probably an occurrence of the inceptive aorist, but I would say that the "inceptive" is how the aorist is being used, not necessarily a grammatical feature of the aorist. See Wallace, GGBB, page 558ff.

It seems that the future was not used inceptively by ancient Greek writers/speakers. The aorist is imperfective aspect, but its Aktionsart will depend on lexical, grammatical and contextual features (i.e. its affected meaning). See

Another possibility is that Rev. 20:4 contains a constative aorist, which would depict activity in toto. See

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Anthony Thiselton's Remarks on 1 Corinthians 9:27--"Shadowboxing?"

I also like how Paul employs a mixed metaphor in 1 Cor. 9:27 by using both racing and boxing imagery.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Twenty Important Books

These are five books that I consider to be important. They are not my five favorite books of all time, and they're not what I consider to be the five greatest works of all time. These are just books that I've enjoyed reading in the past and I now commend them to you.

1. The Divine Comedy (Dante)
2. Divine Institutes (Lactantius)
3. Against Praxeas (Tertullian)
4. A Handlist of Rhetorical Terms (Richard A. Lanham)
5. Rhetoric (Aristotle)
6. A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament (Max Zerwick and Mary Grosvenor)
7. Intermediate New Testament Greek (Richard A. Young)
8. Early Jewish Hermeneutics and Hebrews 1:5-13 (Herbert Bateman IV)
9. An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek (C.F.D. Moule)
10. A Primer of Ecclesiastical Latin (John F. Collins)
11. De Oratore (Cicero)
12. Antigone (Sophocles)
13. Time and the Metaphysics of Relativity (W.L. Craig)
14. God and the New Physics (Paul Davies)
15. Summa Theologica (Thomas Aquinas)
16. An Introduction to Logic (Richard Arthur)
17. Dogmatics-Volume I (Emil Brunner)
18. A History of Christianity (Paul Johnson)
19. The Christian Tradition-5 Volumes (Jaroslav Pelikan)
20. A Greek Grammar (Herbert W. Smyth)

Honorable Mention: A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament (BDAG)-Frederick William Danker (editor)

Saturday, December 21, 2019

Introduction to Revelation (Modified Talk)

Play video that introduces Revelation

Revelation 1:20 (Read)

The “stars” represent the anointed overseers and, by extension, all the overseers in the seven congregations. Jesus can direct the “stars” in his hand as he deems appropriate. (Rev. 1:16, 20) So as Head of the Christian congregation, Jesus fully oversees all elder bodies. If an elder genuinely needs correction, Jesus will administer such discipline in His own time and way. (Rev. 1:14; 3:19-20)

In the meantime, we maintain proper respect for those appointed by holy spirit: “Be obedient to those who are taking the lead among you and be submissive, for they are keeping watch over your souls as those who will render an account; that they may do this with joy and not with sighing, for this would be damaging to you.”​ (Heb. 13:17)

Hebrews 13:7-We can also imitate the faith of those taking the lead among us, and avoid being overly critical of them.

Revelation 2:1-2 (read)

This passage reveals that Christ sees not just general trends but concrete situations in his ecclesia. In some verses of Revelation, Jesus Christ mentions individuals, but in each instance, he gives appropriate commendation or counsel as the need may be. Notice the contrast between his words to Philadelphia and Thyatira.

Regardless of what transpires among the figurative lampstands, we can be confident that Jehovah actively leads his people by means of his Son, the head of God's spirit-directed congregation.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Greek Homophones?

It's comparable to some American English dialects in which Ben, bin, and been sound alike. Or "pen" and "pin."

1 Corinthians 8:1

Greek: Περὶ δὲ τῶν εἰδωλοθύτων, οἴδαμεν ὅτι πάντες γνῶσιν ἔχομεν. ἡ γνῶσις φυσιοῖ, ἡ δὲ ἀγάπη οἰκοδομεῖ. (SBLGNT)

ESV: "Now concerning[a] food offered to idols: we know that 'all of us possess knowledge.' This 'knowledge' puffs up, but love builds up.

NWT 2013: "Now concerning food offered to idols: We know we all have knowledge. Knowledge puffs up, but love builds up."

Comment: We recently had one Governing Body member comment on this verse in the December broadcast for Jehovah's Witnesses. It reminded me of previous remarks I had encountered concerning the verse, specifically, that Paul was potentially discussing supposed knowledge instead of genuine knowledge. We might say so-called knowledge or "knowledge" in quotation marks. It's similar to what some have argued for 1 Cor. 8:5 and its use of "gods" and "lords."

Joseph Fitzmyer (Anchor Bible Commentary):

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Isaiah 11:3-5 (Minor and Major Fulfillments)--Based on a Talk

Bible prophecies have minor and major fulfillments: they are fulfilled in spiritual/physical or in lesser and greater senses. Isaiah 11 illustrates this principle since the prophecy applies to ancient Israelites, to our modern spiritual paradise, and to the coming earthly paradise.

Read Isaiah 11:3-5:

And he will find delight in the fear of Jehovah. He will not judge by what appears to his eyes, Nor reprove simply according to what his ears hear. He will judge the lowly with fairness, And with uprightness he will give reproof in behalf of the meek ones of the earth. He will strike the earth with the rod of his mouth And put the wicked to death with the breath of his lips. Righteousness will be the belt around his waist, And faithfulness the belt of his hips.

Isaiah chapter 11 is a messianic prophecy. It speaks about the glorious reign of Jesus Christ. Notice what kind of judge that Christ will be in the earthly paradise. Unlike human judges today, Jesus is impartial: he does not judge based on outward appearances or external factors. Rather, Christ judges the “secret person of the heart” (1 Peter 3:4). In this way, he sets an example for Christian elders, who must judge numerous matters in the congregation today. Christ gives reproof (correction) “with uprightness,” which serves as a model for how elders should offer counsel to erring sheep. Counsel should be given with mildness, and for the overall benefit of Jehovah’s people (Galatians 6:1).

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Genesis 18:22 and 19:27

A proposed emendation of Genesis 18:22 is that "Jehovah/YHWH stood before Abraham." Yet such a reading would contradict Gen. 19:27 and be problematic (seemingly) from a theological perspective.

Genesis 18:22 only contradicts Gen. 19:27 if the Masoretic text suggestion is accepted, but we have good reason to think the reading is fanciful. Robert Alter pans the suggestion, if memory serves me correctly, and the Targum Onkelos clearly says Abraham kept ministering/praying before YHWH. Textually, we also don't have reason to accept an emendation. So no emendation--no contradiction.

Victor P. Hamilton (The Book of Genesis 18-50, page 24)


Bill Mounce's Review of The Greek New Testament, Produced at Tyndale House, Cambridge

2 Corinthians 5:14--What Kind of Genitive?

What kind of genitive do we have in 2 Corinthians 5:14?

Greek: ἡ γὰρ ἀγάπη τοῦ χριστοῦ συνέχει ἡμᾶς, κρίναντας τοῦτο ὅτι εἷς ὑπὲρ πάντων ἀπέθανεν· ἄρα οἱ πάντες ἀπέθανον·

Grammarians usually set forth 3 possibilities for 2 Corinthians 5:14: subjective, objective, and plenary genitive. I personally take the verse to be saying that our love for Christ compels us (i.e., objective genitive), but we cannot be dogmatic.

George H. Guthrie (Baker Exegetical Series): Most commentators interpret τοῦ Χριστοῦ (tou Christou) as a subjective[1] rather than an objective[2] genitive, reading the phrase to refer to “the love Christ has for us,” rather than “our love for Christ,” and this seems to be the best interpretation on at least two primary grounds. First, the immediate context emphasizes Christ’s sacrificial death on the cross for his people. Later in this verse, Paul confesses “that Christ died for all,” and in the next verse, “he died on behalf of all,” and that act of giving himself in death for the benefit of “all” certainly constitutes Christ’s expression of love. Second, in Paul’s writings, when a personal use of the genitive follows on the heels of the word ἀγάπη (agapē), as it does here, the construction speaks of the person “having or showing love, not the one receiving it” (Harris 2005: 418).[3]

A.T. Robertson (Word Pictures) also suggest that 2 Cor. 5:14 contains a subjective genitive.

NET Bible: tn The phrase ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ Χριστοῦ (Jh agaph tou Cristou, “the love of Christ”) could be translated as either objective genitive (“our love for Christ”) or subjective genitive (“Christ’s love for us”). Either is grammatically possible, but with the reference to Christ’s death for all in the following clauses, a subjective genitive (“Christ’s love for us”) is more likely.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible: Love of Christ constraineth us ... Did Paul here refer to his own love of Christ, or to Christ's love of him? "It matters little whether this be interpreted as a subjective genitive, `Christ's love to men,' or as an objective genitive, `our love to Christ'; the two suppose and interfuse each other."[23]

Henry Alford GNT: Christ’s love (not, love to Christ, as Œc(6), Beza, al.,—but Christ’s love to men, subjective, as most Commentators; as shewn in His Death, which is the greatest proof of love, see Romans 5:6-8. Meyer remarks that the gen. of the person after ἀγάπη is with Paul always subjective,—Romans 5:5; Romans 5:8; Romans 8:35; Romans 8:39; ch. 2 Corinthians 8:24; 2 Corinthians 13:13; Ephesians 2:4; Philippians 1:9 al. (but see his own note on 2 Thessalonians 3:5, where he maintains the objective sense), whereas with John it is not always so, 1 John 5:3. Paul usually expresses love of, i.e. towards, by εἰς, Colossians 1:4; 1 Thessalonians 3:12)

Expositor's GT also understands the genitive to be subjective.

IVP NT Commentary: A further reason for preaching the gospel is found in verse 14: For Christ's love compels us. Conviction (4:14), fear (5:11) and now love motivate Paul to pursue his call. The text is literally, "the love of Christ." The genitive can be objective, "our love for Christ," or subjective, "Christ's love for us." Although we might instinctively incline toward the former, the latter is preferred by most modern translations. This is because Paul goes on in verses 14-15 to speak of Christ dying on our behalf--the ultimate demonstration of love. The basic sense of synecho (to compel) is to hold something together so that it does not fall apart. From this we get the meanings to "hold fast" (that is, to not allow to slip through one's fingers) and to "surround" or "hem in" (that is, to not let escape; Köster 1971:883). The idea is that Christ's love completely controls and dominates Paul so that he has no option but to preach. The hymn writer George Matheson knew of this kind of constraining love when he penned the words "O love that wilt not let me go, I rest my weary soul in Thee; / I give Thee back the life I owe, That in Thine ocean deptes its flow may richer, fuller be."


Mark A. Seifrid (Pillar NT Commentary): Paul is not speaking here of his love for Christ, but of the love of Christ that encompasses all human beings, including Paul himself (v. 16). This love of Christ overpowers the apostle and determines his life and actions.

Saturday, December 07, 2019

1 Timothy 2:4 and 2 Peter 3:9 (Universal Salvation?)

In 1 Tim 2:4, we read:

ὃς πάντας ἀνθρώπους θέλει σωθῆναι καὶ εἰς ἐπίγνωσιν ἀληθείας ἐλθεῖν.

Augustine of Hippo interpreted the "all" of 1 Tim. 2:4 as the predestined or elect. He believed that God wills for all the elect to be saved and he thus argued that "The passage did not say 'that there is no man whose salvation [God] does not desire, but that no one is saved unless God desires it.'" However, as Jaroslav Pelikan brings to our attention, this attempt to exegete 1 Tim. 2:4 is still attended by a number of logical and exegetical difficulties. Moreover, it does not answer the question, "Can we imagine without grieveous blasphemy that he [God] does not desire all men in general, but only some rather than all to be saved? Those who perish, perish against his will." See
Pelikan's Christian Tradition (1:321-327).

In the final analysis, if 2 Pet. 3:9 does not suggest universal salvation, then why should 1 Tim. 2:4. In 2 Pet. 3:9, we have:

οὐ βραδύνει Κύριος τῆς ἐπαγγελίας, ὥς τινες βραδυτῆτα ἡγοῦνται, ἀλλὰ μακροθυμεῖ εἰς ὑμᾶς, μὴ βουλόμενός τινας ἀπολέσθαι ἀλλὰ πάντας εἰς μετάνοιαν χωρῆσαι.

According to Peter, God does not desire (μὴ βουλόμενός) any to be destroyed, but wills that all (πάντας) repent. In 1 Tim. 2:4, God wills (πάντας) that all should be saved and come to an accurate knowledge of the truth. Even if we understand the "all" in 1 Tim. 2:4 as a reference to "all humans"without exception, how does it prove "universal salvation" if God wills that all men repent or be saved, but they still "perish against his will?"

Lastly, I'd like to offer some quotes on this topic from a few scholarly sources.

"And to say that God wants (not 'wills,' and therefore it must come to pass) all people to be saved, implies neither that all (meaning everybody) will be saved (against [1 Tim.] 3:6; 4:2; or 4:10, e.g.) nor that God's will is somehow frustrated since all, indeed, are not saved. The concern is simply with the universal scope of the gospel over against some form of heretical exclusivism or narrowness" (Gordon D. Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, page 64).

"God is, so far as His inclination or will is concerned, 'the Saviour of all men,' but actually, so far as we can affirm with certainty, 'of them that believe' (1 Tim 4:10)" (Expositor's Greek Testament, Vol. 4:104).

There are some formal or functional differences between βούλομαι and θέλω, but the two words appear to have possessed similar meanings in the first century (BDAG 182).

Wednesday, December 04, 2019

Colossians 2:9: A Parsing Sample by Cranford

Quoting from the work from which this sample parsing was taken:

Parsing of the Greek Text
The parsing of the Greek text below is based upon the system of Greek grammar analysis set forth in Appendix 2 of Lorin L. Cranford, Learning Biblical Koine Greek, 4th rev. edition (Boiling Springs, NC: C&L Publications, 2002). Some assessments may be subject to reevaluation. Please call attention to any errors by sending an email to

Monday, December 02, 2019

2 Corinthians 12:3-4 ("Unutterable Utterances"?)

Greek: ὅτι ἡρπάγη εἰς τὸν παράδεισον καὶ ἤκουσεν ἄρρητα ῥήματα ἃ οὐκ ἐξὸν ἀνθρώπῳ λαλῆσαι.

Richard Lenski calls ἄρρητα ῥήματα an "oxymoron," rendering the phrase as "unutterable utterances."

ESV: and he heard things that cannot be told, which man may not utter.

KJV: How that he was caught up into paradise, and heard unspeakable words, which it is not lawful for a man to utter.

NWT 2013: who was caught away into paradise and heard words that cannot be spoken and that are not lawful for a man to say.

Rogers and Rogers: ἄρρητος verbal adj., unspeakable, unutterable. The word was often used of divine secrets not intended for human beings (Windisch; Barrett). ῤῆμα word. ἐξὸν pres. act. part. nom. n. sing. ἔξεστιν it is allowed. The word is to be taken in connection w. ἀνθρώπῳ (s. v. 2); “which it is not lawful for a man to speak” (Plummer).

Zerwick and Grosvenor:

Friday, November 29, 2019

Revelation 5:10--"shall reign" or "reign"?

ESV: and you have made them a kingdom and priests to our God, and they shall reign on the earth.”

J.B. Phillips: "and we shall reign on the earth.”

Weymouth NT: "And they reign over the earth."

Grant Osborne (Baker Exegetical Commentary): 5:10. βασιλεύσουσιν: There are three readings for “they shall reign” here. The first plural βασιλεύσομεν is based on inferior readings (2432 idem et al.) and is unlikely. The other two have nearly equal manuscript support. The future βασιλεύσουσιν is supported by א P 1 94 1828 1854 et al., and the present βασιλεύουσιν is supported by A 046 1006 1611 et al. It is a difficult decision, because the present would probably be futuristic, “they are going to reign”; hence, it would have nearly identical force to the future. Due to the superiority of A and the others in 5:9, I tentatively side with the futuristic present here. Moreover, it is the most difficult reading, that is, a present force does not make sense, and so later scribes changed it to a future tense to make the future reign of the believers more evident.

Robert Mounce: Textual evidence is rather evenly divided between “they reign” (ASV) and “they will reign” (NIV), although the latter is favored both by the Nestle text (27th ed.) and the UBS text (3rd ed.). It seems unlikely that John is here referring to a present spiritual reign of believers.³⁶ The hymn of praise is not a cryptic reference to Christians as the true kings in spite of the apparent rule of the Caesars. The promise is that the church is to share in the eschatological reign of Christ and all that it will involve (2:26–27; 20:4; 22:5).

Mounce, Footnote 36: Even if βασιλεύουσιν is read instead of βασιλεύσουσιν, the reference is probably future, the verb serving as a futuristic present and imparting a tone of assurance (Moulton, Grammar, 3rd ed., 1.120). Krodel prefers the reading βασιλεύουσιν and concludes, “In short, the present tense, ‘they reign,’ also includes the future” (167).

Jon Morales: Christ, Shepherd of the Nations The Nations as Narrative Character and Audience in John's Apocalypse:

Craig Koester (Anchor Bible Commentary):

J.H. Moulton and the Greek Present of Past Action

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Larry Hurtado (1943-2019)

Thanks to Duncan for letting me know about the death of Larry Hurtado. Jim Davila provides a nice discussion of his work in the link above and illustrates the great loss that has about in NT studies. Despite theological differences with Hurtado, I express my condolences to Larry's friends and family.

What a comfort it can be to know that God "cares for us" (1 Peter 5:7).

Sunday, November 24, 2019

Gesenius and the Objective Genitive in Hebrew

Gesenius on the objective genitive.

Use the key term "objective genitive."

See also

Notice what's said about the construct state and the fear of God. Compare Genesis 20:11; 22:12.

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Lydia (Acts 16:14)--Jehovah Opened Her Heart

Expositor's GT on Acts 16:14:

διήνοιξεν τὴν καρδίαν, cf. Acts 17:3, Ephesians 1:18; in LXX, cf. Hosea 2:15 (17), 2 Maccabees 1:4. The verb is frequent in St. Luke, Luke 24:31-32; Luke 24:45, and in Acts 2:23 quotation, Acts 7:56; Acts 17:3; only once elsewhere in N.T., Mark 7:34. “To open is the part of God, to pay attention that of the woman,” Chrysostom: ὥστε καὶ θεῖον καὶ ἀνθρώπινον ἦν.— τοῖς λ. ὑπὸ τοῦ π.: C. and H. see an indication of St. Luke’s own modesty: “we spake” in Acts 16:13, but now only Paul is mentioned.

Rogers and Rogers Exegetical Key:

διήνοιξεν aor. ind. act. διανοίγω to open. Prep. in compound suggests, “to open up wide or completely,” like a folding door (RWP). “To open the heart” indicates that the Lord caused her to understand (BAGD; EDNT) or that He caused her to have an open mind w. a willingness to learn and evaluate fairly (LN, 1:332).

Zerwick-Grosvenor Grammatical Analysis:

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Translating Galatians 1:13 (Aktionsart Issues)

How might we translate Galatians 1:13? I could be mistaken here, but it seems that the conative or tendential Aktionsart (kind of action) of the verb, EPORQOUN, probably results from its lexical, grammatical and contextual features (Wallace GGBB, 499). It is what Wallace calls the "affected meaning" of the verb. So as I understand conativity or durativity (etc.), these features are not determined by the translator or outside observer, but by context or lexico-grammatical factors.

Speaking to some of these issues, Donald Mastronarde (Introduction to Attic Greek, 114) has this to say about the imperfect indicative:

"The Greek imperfect indicative refers to action in the past which is incomplete (hence the name from the Latin for 'unfinished'), in progress, or repeated or customary. It corresponds to the English past progressive (I was sending), verb phrases with used to (I used to send), and in some contexts the English simple past (I sent)."

James Brooks and Carlton L. Winbery classify EDIWKON and EPORQOUN in Galatians 1:13 as examples of the Greek descriptive imperfect, meaning that the verbs describe what has taken place at some time in the past. However, they note that EPORQOUN "could also be interpreted as a tendential imperfect" (Syntax of NT Greek, 91).

Compare the tendential imperfect HNAGKAZON at Acts 26:11. In the final analysis, I agree that it is a judgment call in translating Galatians 1:13, but it seems to me that Paul did not lay waste or destroy the congregation. Rather, he tried to lay waste God's congregation.

Here are the rest of my notes on Galatians 1:13. These comments are not designed to be dogmatic but just represent one of my inquiries:

Galatians 1:13 (NWT, 1984) reads: "You, of course, heard about my conduct formerly in Judaism, that to the point of excess I kept on persecuting the congregation of God and devastating it."

Other translations read similarly, but NKJV says: "For you have heard of my former conduct in Judaism, how I persecuted the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it."

On the other hand, NASB translates the passage: "For you have heard of my former manner of life in Judaism, how I used to persecute the church of God beyond measure and tried to destroy it"

Notice that the latter portions of NKJV and NASB have "tried to destroy it" instead of "devastating it."

The reason for rendering Galatians 1:13 in this way evidently lies in the fact that EPORQOUN (a form of PORQEW) apparently is an "imperfect conative" (Zerwick); hence, "tried to destroy/make havoc of."

Walter W. Wessel (in Mounce's grammar) states that EPORQOUN in Galatians 1:13 is a tendential imperfect, expressing attempted action (BBG, 176). Paul did not really devastate the congregation of God, but only attempted to do so. Moreover, EDIWKON appears to express repeated action in the past (customary action), which explains the NASB's "used to persecute . . . "

Ralph Earle also writes: "The imperfect tense would suggest that Paul 'was ravaging' the Church and trying to destroy it, but that he did not completely succeed" (Word Meanings in the NT, 271).

Hans D. Betz, Galatians, page 67--Hermeneia Series:

112 Bauer's tr. uses the imperfect de conatu: "I tried to destroy." So also BDR, § 326. Cf. the same term Gal 1:23; Acts 9:21, in the same.context. The term is common as a description of political oppression. See 4 Macc 4:23; 11:4; Philo Flacc. 54; Josephus BJ 4.405; Ant. 10.135. For passages see also LSJ, s.v., and Philippe- H. Menoud, "Le sens du verbe Porqein," in Apophoreta, Festschrift fur E. Haenchen (BZNW 30; Berlin: Topelmann, 1964) 178-86. G reads ἐπολέμουν ("I attacked") instead, perhaps an influence of the Latin expugnabam.

Douglas Moo, Galatians, page 100:

With a ὅτι (hoti, that), Paul elaborates on the specifics of that “former way of life in Judaism.” First, he was “intensely persecuting the church of God and trying to destroy it” (καθ᾿ ὑπερβολὴν ἐδίωκον τὴν ἐκκλησίαν τοῦ θεοῦ
καὶ ἐπόρθουν αὐτήν, kath’ hyperbolēn ediōkon tēn ekklēsian tou theou kai eporthoun autēn). Both verbs are in the imperfect tense, the former because it is a durative idea—“I was persecuting”—and the second because it is conative—“I tried to destroy” (Wallace 1996: 551).

Friday, November 15, 2019

1 John Introduction (Modified Talk)

Play video that introduces 1 John.

Why is it so important to avoid loving the world or the things in the world?

Read 1 John 2:15-16

Some might reason that not everything in Satan's world is wrong. However, the world and its many attractions can easily distract us from serving Jehovah. Furthermore, nothing in the world is usually made to help us develop a close relationship with Jehovah; therefore, if we develop a love for things in the world, although such things may not be wrong in themselves, we are still on a dangerous course. (1 Timothy 6:9, 10)

Yet much of the world's content is corrupting and spiritually defiling. For example, think of how movies or television programs that glorify violence, materialism or sexual immorality might affect us. And what if we associate with people whose main goals are improving their lifestyle or cultivating business opportunities?

Could they possibly affect our spirituality, and cause us to put material concerns ahead of Jehovah's interests?

(Matthew 6:24; 1 Corinthians 15:33.)

1 John 2:17 provides another reason to avoid loving the world. (Read)

Satan makes his system appear to be lasting and real. However, this world is temporary. It is passing away and so is its desire: nothing in Satan's world is permanent. If we remember that fact, we'll avoid being seduced by the Devil’s enticements.

Jeremiah 17:9 Comments

"The heart is treacherous and desperate"

Comments from J.A. Thompson (NICOT)

This segment has links with the preceding verses. The word heart (lēḇ) occurs in both vv. 9 and 10. The human heart is deceitful (v. 9) but Yahweh knows it (v. 10). Verse 9 was possibly a well-known proverb. So also was the first half of v. 11, and the mention of requiting each man according to his ways (v. 10) links with unjustly (lōʾ ḇəmišpāṭ) in v. 11. The three verses are thus linked together in thought. Underlying them all is a guarantee to Jeremiah that Yahweh knows all, assesses (ḇōḥēn, v. 10) all, and judges all. If the fruit of Jeremiah’s deed is good, he is in Yahweh’s safe care.
9–10 The heart of man (lēḇ) in the psychology of OT times refers frequently to the mind, the source of a man’s thinking and action.⁵ It is here described as deceitful above all.⁶ A picturesque translation is “The heart is rougher than anything and incurable; who understands it?”⁷ It is certainly a mystery to mankind, who does not understand (yāḏaʾ) it. Yahweh, however, “explores” or searches (ḥāqar] the human heart.

Hetty Lallemann (Tyndale OTC):

Again this is a ‘wisdom saying’, using a rhetorical question to describe the general nature of human beings. However, it fits in a prophetic context, since it emphasizes that no-one is without sin, and this applies to the prophet’s own time. This prophetic message of warning is in the context of analysing the nation’s situation. The people are 'incurably ill’ (see also 15:18). Only God knows what is really in people’s hearts, minds and thoughts, what are their deepest emotions. He gives them what they deserve. Judgment was deserved in Jeremiah’s day, and God also knew what his enemies had plotted against him (17:14–18). The word for [examine the] mind is literally ‘kidneys’ (see comment on 11:20).


Monday, November 11, 2019

Jesus Christ as the Intermediate Agent of Creation

I wrote the following a long time ago. That's why BDAG is not mentioned in the post; now edited on 11/9/2019.

ἀλλ’ ἡμῖν εἷς θεὸς ὁ πατὴρ
ἐξ οὗ τὰ πάντα καὶ ἡμεῖς εἰς αὐτόν,
καὶ εἷς κύριος Ἰησοῦς Χριστὸς
δι’ οὗ τὰ πάντα καὶ ἡμεῖς δι’ αὐτοῦ.
(1 Corinthians 8:6, NA28)

ἐκ may also be used to speak about "the efficient cause, or agent from which any action or thing proceeds, is produced, or effected from, or by" (Spiros Zodhiates).

The data would thus indicate that when ἐκ is applied to the Father's activities at 1 Cor. 8:6, it is describing His creative function, but Christ is the intermediate agent of creation.

In this regard, it would probably be worth one's time to reference the introduction of David Aune's three-volume commentary on Revelation. On p. CLXXIX-CLXXX of his introduction to volume I, Aune details the many uses of ἐκ in Revelation. The examples he gives for this Greek preposition are cases in which it signifies the action of a personal or impersonal agent: Rev. 2:9; 3:18; 8:11; 9:18. In my estimation, 2 Cor. 5:1 could be included as an example in which ἐκ describes a creation of God--a spiritual building in heaven.

As for διά, it seems difficult to construe the preposition as connoting that things were made by Christ in 1 Cor. 8:6 and Heb. 1:2; it is evidently more appropriate to understand διά here as suggestive of intermediate agency:

"Intermediate agency is normally conveyed by διά with the genitive. For example, God delivered the law to Moses by angels (Gal. 3:19) and John sent a message to Christ through his disciples (Matt. 11:2; cf. John 1:3; 3:17)" (Richard A. Young's Grammar, p. 91-92).

Dana-Mantey say that while "διά is occasionally used to express agency, it does not approximate the full strength of ὑπό."

They continue:

"This distinction throws light on Jesus' relation to the creation, implying that Jesus was not the absolute, independent creator, but rather the intermediate agent in creation" (D-M Section 109).

Tuesday, November 05, 2019

Anchor Bible Dictionary (Function and Appearance of Angels)

1. Functions and Appearance of Angels. The general function of the angel as the agent of God's will is widely attested. Retellings of OT narratives (especially Jubilees and Pseudo-Philo) tend to introduce angels where they did not occur in the OT, oftentimes as performing some act which the OT attributes directly to God (e.g., Jub. 38:10; 10:22–23; 14:20; 19:3; 32:21; 41:24; 48:2; Ps-Philo 11:5; 15:5; 19:12, 16; 61:5). In the book of Tobit the belief in a protecting angel (cf. Gen 24:7) is dramatized with all the ironic and humorous potential of the situation richly realized (HBD, 791–803). Angels help and protect the pious and bring their prayers before God (Dan 3:25, 28; 1 En. 100:5; 1QM 13:10; T. Jud. 3:10; T. Dan. 6:5; T. Naph. 8:4; T. Jos. 6:7; T. Benj. 6:1; Ps-Philo 38:3; 59:4; 3 Macc.6:18–19; Vita 21). Angels also decree and execute punishment in accordance with God's will (Dan 4:13–26; T. Naph. 8:6; 1 Enoch 56). An angelic scribe keeps records which are opened at the time of judgment (Dan 7:10; 1 En. 89:61–77; 90:14–20; 2 En. 19:5; Ap. Zeph. 3; 7).
The angel as teacher and mediator of revelation is a well-attested motif, even in nonapocalyptic texts (Joseph and Asenath 14–15; Jub. 1:27–29; 10:10–14 [cf. 1 Enoch 8]; T. Reu. 5:3; T. Levi 9:6; T. Iss. 2:1; T. Jos. 6:6). In apocalyptic writings, the angelic revealer, heavenly guide, and interpreter of mysteries and visions becomes a standard feature (e.g., Daniel 7–12; 1 Enoch 17–36; Apocalypse of Abraham 10–18; 4 Ezra 3–14). The appearance of the angel often evokes an acute emotional reaction from the person who sees it (Dan 10:7–9; 2 En. 1:3–8; Ap. Ab. 11:2–6).

One Volume Edition

Thursday, October 31, 2019

John C. Murray and the Homoousion of Nicaea

These comments by John C. Murray (S.J.) are taken from his book The Problem of God (New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1964. Page 50):

"The homoousion represents a limit in the understanding of the faith. As there is no stopping short of it on peril of archaist imprecision in the faith, so there is no going beyond it on peril of futurist adulteration of the faith. The homoousion is a limit in another sense. The three data of faith that it synthesizes are data of mystery that the one God the Father is Pantokrator, that the Lord Jesus Christ, the Son, is Pantokrator, and that the Son is from the Father and other than Father. The homoousion resolves the seeming contradiction. If, as the homoousion asserts, the Son is all that the Father is, except for the Name of Father, then the Son is Pantokrator as the Father is, but he is not the Father. But here intelligence has reached its limit. The problem is solved, to the limits of solution. The mystery remains intact, adorable."

I emphasize that these views are posted to facilitate understanding of opposing stances. I am not a Trinitarian.

Tuesday, October 29, 2019

Revelation 3:14 (Jurgen Roloff)

The message formula (II) consists of three parts. The first. "Amen," is the same Old Testament designation of God in Isa. 65:16, which appeared in the Greek form in 3:7. Like God himself, Jesus is absolutely truthful and dependable; he keeps his word. The two parts that follow refer back to 1:5 and simultaneously to the situation of the church. Jesus, "the faithful and true witness," who sealed his service with his life, finds such readiness to testify absent in Laodicea. His participation in creation is presented more sharply with the phrase "origin [or beginning] of God's creation" than in 1:4, where there was more emphasis on the majesty of Jesus Christ over history. Surely it is no accident that the tone sounded here resembles one found in Colossians (Col. 1:15-20). Apparently, Revelation also wishes to counter strongly the separation of Christ from the created world, which is represented by Gnosticism.

Jurgen Roloff. Revelation (Continental Commentary Series) (Kindle Locations 986-991). Kindle Edition.

Saturday, October 26, 2019

Kallistos Ware on What the Incarnation Means

The following snippet is taken from The Orthodox Way written by Bishop Kallistos Ware. I post this information in order to facilitate understanding between Trinitarians and non-Trinitarians. The language found in Trinitarian creeds is very difficult to fathom at first blush,m but it is my hope that the comments posted here will disambiguate the Trinity doctrine for non-Trinitarians:

"We are not to think of him [Jesus Christ] as 'half-in-half.' Jesus Christ is not fifty per cent [sic] God and fifty per cent man, but one hundred per cent God and one hundred per cent man. In the epigrammatic phrase of St Leo the Great, he is TOTUS IN SUIS, TOTUS IN NOSTRIS, 'complete in what is his own, complete in what is ours'" (page 73).

Introduction to 1 Peter (Modified Talk)

The Greek word translated "holy" appears 8 times in Peter's first inspired letter (1 Pet. 1:12, 15-16; 2:5, 9; 3:5). Therefore, 1 Peter clearly emphasizes our need to be holy. For example, notice 1 Pet. 1:14-16.

To be holy means to be clean or set apart for Jehovah's service. Holiness is not a choice, but an obligation: we must be holy in all our conduct as Jehovah our heavenly Father is holy. Yet how can we imitate God's holiness since we're imperfect, but he is not?

Although we're imperfect sinners, we manifest holiness by obediently preaching the kingdom good news and setting an example in our daily conduct (Philippians 2:15). However, when we unintentionally commit sin, we exemplify holiness by showing true remorse and shunning "practices that dishonor Jehovah.​" How fitting the prayer in Ps. 79:9:
Help us, O God of our salvation,

For the sake of your glorious name;

Rescue us and forgive our sins for the sake of your name. (Psalm 79:9)
Our worship cannot be clean if we do things that Jehovah hates, such as actions that are immoral, violent, or connected with demonism. (Romans 6:12-14; 8:13) However, it would also displease Jehovah if we allowed ourselves to be entertained by such things. Do we exercise caution when watching TV, listening to music or reading books?

The Bible encourages us to be morally, spiritually and physically clean. 1 Peter is one inspired source that exhorts us to be holy as Jehovah is holy.

Monday, October 21, 2019

Tatian the Assyrian and Romans 1:20

"Our God did not begin to be in time: He alone is without beginning, and He Himself is the beginning of all things. God is a Spirit, not pervading matter, but the Maker of material spirits, and of the forms that are in matter; He is invisible, impalpable, being Himself the Father of both sensible and invisible things. Him we know from His creation, and apprehend His invisible power by His works" (Tatianus Syriacus, Address to the Greeks 4).

For the Greek Migne edition of Tatian's Oratio (Address), see

Sunday, October 20, 2019

Richard Bauckham and Revelation 3:14 (Screenshot)

I admonish the readers that just because I post some writer's work does not mean I endorse everything the author says or believes.

Friday, October 18, 2019

Galaxie Subscription

I recently subscribed to the Galaxie database in order to download Bibliotheca Sacra articles. It might be something I do for six months or for a year. While my time is currently tight, if I can help anyone with articles from time to time, please let me know.


O'Collins Discussing Richard of St. Victor and the Trinity

This material is taken from The Tripersonal God (pages 143-144) by Gerald O'Collins:

"The divine persons are three incommunicable existents [for Richard of St. Victor]. The Father exists but is not the Son or the Spirit; the Son exists but is not the Father or the Spirit; the Spirit exists but is not the Father or the Son . . . We saw earlier how Richard of St. Victor pushed the analogy of love when expounding the tripersonal God in the light of St. John's lapidary confession: 'God is love' (1 Jn 4:8, 16). Self-love is not the truest and highest form of love. As gift and exchange, love is plural and requires fellowship with others. To be perfect, the human dialogue of mutual love must be open and, in fact, shared with a third person; the love of two persons is thus fused by a third. This version of love at its highest and best, if true of human beings, must be true also of God and in an infinitely greater way."

Comments: Richard of St Victor's argument seems to labor under the notion that the "God" mentioned in 1 Jn 4:8, 16 is the triune God. Maybe this interpretation of the Johannine scripture is not required, but it seems like this is how Richard and Augustine before him construe it. Secondly, the context of 1 Jn 4:8, 16 makes it clear that God the Father is being discussed and not the triune God. Thirdly, and I don't mean to be flippant here, but three is a crowd, IMO. How O'Collins can bring in the idea of three persons somehow completing or exalting love to its figurative apex is beyond me. Why stop with three divine persons other than because of special pleading?

"This Means My Body and My Blood" (Matthew 26:26-28)

(1) Matthew 26:26-28 reads in part:


ESTIN is present indicative active 3rd-person singular of EIMI. More importantly for our purposes here, as BDAG Greek-English Lexicon notes, EIMI or ESTI(N) is sometimes used in explanations "to show how [something] is to be understood is a representation of, is the equivalent of; EIMI here, too, serves as copula; we usually translate mean, so in the formula TOUT' ESTIN this or that means, that is to say . . ."

We observe this usage elsewhere in Matthew. Compare Mt. 13:19, 22, 38. Matthew 26:26-28 thus could be construed, "This means my body . . . For this means my blood." I.e., the bread and wine are symbols of the Lord's body and blood.

(2) Paul employs similar language (ESTIN) with regard to the Lord's Evening Meal. See 1 Cor 11:23-26. Yet, we in no way are implying that the Lord's Evening Meal is merely the consumption of wheat and wine. In our religious paradigm, the bread and wine symbolize precious and inestimable realities: the body and blood of Christ Jesus. Ergo, anyone despising the elements or partaking of them lightly or without awareness of their significance risks incurring the fear-inspiring anger of God. I emphasize this point again. The Memorial of Christ's death is a time to remember what Christ has done in our behalf. It is a time to thank God and His Son for the precious blood that was shed upon the STAUROS of Christ. Symbol does not = denigration of Jesus' death.

(3) One may only speculate that Jesus spoke Aramaic. Then, again, he could have spoken Hebrew and he likely knew Greek. The important factor for me is that the Gospel account was ultimately written in Greek, although Matthew may have originally been written in Hebrew. Paul also utilizes ESTIN as does Matthew. It is pretty difficult to base one's decision on an Aramaic substratum that may or may not be the Vorlage of the Matthean text. Neither the physical presence or mystical view seem likely interpretations of what happened on the night that Christ delivered himself up for the world of humankind. Are we to believe that Christ, while dining with his followers, was physically present in the bread he himself broke and handed to his disciples? Was he somehow mystically united with the apostles on the fateful night of Nisan 14? I seriously doubt it since he was physically present with them at that time. Whether you agree with my construal of ESTIN in Mt 26:26-28, BDAG shows that it is certainly a possible reading of the text. Zwingli and other Reformers also preferred this interpretation to the views that you have advanced in this email.

I also recommend consulting Paul Anderson's The Christology of the Fourth Gospel for an interesting and informative take on sacramental theology in the Gospel of John.

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Other Ways of Looking at Revelation 3:14 (Commentators)

Henry Alford: the beginning of the creation of God (= πρωτότοκος πάσης κτίσεως, ref. Col., where see note, as also Bleek on the Hebrews, vol. ii. 1, p. 43 note. In Him the whole creation of God is begun and conditioned: He is its source and primary fountain-head. The mere word ἀρχή would admit the meaning that Christ is the first created being: see Genesis 49:3; Deuteronomy 21:17; and Proverbs 8:22. And so the Arians here take it, and some who have followed them: e. g. Castalio,” chef d’œuvre:” “omnium Dei operum excellentissimum atque primum:” and so Ewald and Züllig. But every consideration of the requirements of the context, and of the Person of Christ as set forth to us in this book, is against any such view. Others, as Calov., Bengel, Whitby, al., make ἀρχή = ἄρχων, which is impossible: as it is also to interpret κτίσεως of the new spiritual creation, the church, as Ribera, Corn.-a-lap., Grot., Wetst., al. There can be little doubt that ἀρχή is to be taken in that pregnant sense in which we have it, e. g., in Wisd. 12:16, ἡ γὰρ ἰσχύς σου δικαιοσύνης ἀρχή,—ib. 14:27, ἡ γὰρ τῶν … εἰδώλων θρησκεία παντὸς ἀρχὴ κακοῦ καὶ αἰτία καὶ πέρας ἐστίν: and in the Gospel of Nicodemus, p. ii. cap. vii. Tischdf. Ev. Apoc. p. 307, where Satan is said to be ἀρχὴ τοῦ θανάτου καὶ ῥίζα τῆς ἁμαρτίας, viz. the incipient cause. So Andr., Areth. in Catena (ἡ προκαταρκτικὴ αἰτία τῆς κτίσεως), Lyra, Vitr., Wolf, Stern, Hengst., De Wette, Ebrard, Düsterd., al. The latter asks the questions, “How could Christ write if it were only this present Epistle, if he were himself a creature? How could every creature in heaven and earth adore him, if he were one of themselves (cf. ch. 19:10)? We need only think of the appellation of our Lord as the Α and Ω (ch. 22:13: cf. 1:8) in its necessary fulness of import, and we shall see that in the Α lies the necessity of his being the ἀρχή of the Creation, as in the Ω that of his coming to bring the visible creation to an end”)

William Burkitt: The other title given to Christ, is the beginning of the creation of God; that is, the beginner of the creation of God, the original and first cause, by which all the creatures of God had their beginning. Christ is not only principium principatun [sic], but principium principians; not the passive beginning, or he that first created, but the active beginning, or he by whom the creation was begun, both the old and new creation.

Peter Pett's Commentary: He is ‘the beginning of the creation of God’. As its beginning He is its source, the firstborn before the whole of creation (Colossians 1:15). But equally important is the fact that He is also the beginning of the new creation (Revelation 21:1 with Revelation 1:7). In that there is a land of riches beyond anything they have ever dreamed of. Thus all things belong to Him and are in His hands.

Expositor's Greek Testament: The resemblance of ἡ ἀρχή κ. τ. λ., to a passage in Colossians is noteworthy as occurring in an open letter to the neighbouring church of Laodicea (Philonic passages in Grill, pp. 106–110). Here the phrase denotes “the active source or principle of God’s universe or Creation” ( ἀρχή, as in Greek philosophy and Jewish wisdom-literature, = αἰτία origin), which is practically Paul’s idea and that of John 1:3 (“the Logos idea without the name Logos,” Beyschlag). This title of “incipient cause” implies a position of priority to everything created; he is the first in the sense that he is neither creator (a prerogative of God in the Apocalypse), nor created, but creative. It forms the most explicit allusion to the pre-existence of Jesus in the Apocalypse, where he is usually regarded as a divine being whose heavenly power and position are the outcome of his earthly suffering and resurrection: John ascribes to him here (not at Revelation 12:5, as Baldensperger, 85, thinks) that pre-existence which, in more or less vital forms, had been predicated of the messiah in Jewish apocalyptic (cf. En. xlviii.). This pre-existence of messiah is an extension of the principle of determinism; God foreordained the salvation itself as well as its historical hour. See the Egyptian hymn: “He is the primeval one, and existed when as yet nothing existed; whatever is, He made it after He was. He is the father of beginnings.… God is the truth, He lives by Truth, He lives upon Truth, He is the king of Truth.” The evidence for the pre-existence of messiah in Jewish Christian literature is examined by Dr. G. A. Barton, Journ. Bibl. Lit. 1902, pp. 78–91. Cf. Introd. § 6.

Sources: Alford, Henry. Greek Testament Critical Exegetical Commentary.

Burkitt, William. "Commentary on Revelation 3:14". Expository Notes with Practical Observations on the New Testament. https: 1700-1703.

Pett, Peter. "Commentary on Revelation 3:14". "Peter Pett's Commentary on the Bible ". https: 2013.

Nicol, W. Robertson, M.A., L.L.D. "Commentary on Revelation 3:14". The Expositor's Greek Testament. https: 1897-1910.

Monday, October 14, 2019

Hebrews 1:3 (Translate as "substance"?)

ὃς ὢν ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ, φέρων τε τὰ πάντα τῷ ῥήματι τῆς δυνάμεως αὐτοῦ, καθαρισμὸν τῶν ἁμαρτιῶν ποιησάμενος ἐκάθισεν ἐν δεξιᾷ τῆς μεγαλωσύνης ἐν ὑψηλοῖς, (Hebrews 1:3 WH)

ASV: "who being the effulgence of his glory, and the very image of his substance, and upholding all things by the word of his power, when he had made purification of sins, sat down on the right hand of the Majesty on high;"

The rendering "substance" is possibly not the best way to translate ὑπόστασις in the passage above. BDAG Greek-English Lexicon gives this observation for ὑπόστασις in Heb. 1:3:

"the essential or basic structure/nature of an entity, substantial nature, essence, actual being, reality . . ."
BDAG glosses Heb. 1:3 this way:

"a(n) exact representation of (God's) real being (i.e. as one who is in charge of the universe)"

NET Bible has:

"The Son is the radiance of his glory and the representation of his essence"

Commentator William L. Lane seems to prefer "nature" as a rendering of ὑπόστασις in Heb. 1:3.

David Ripley Worley has written an interesting monograph about this subject--God’s Faithfulness to Promise: The Hortatory Use of Commissive Language in Hebrews (2019). See

He writes (page 65)

It is not necessary in the first place to translate ὑπόστασις with the meaning it has elsewhere in Hebrews (1:3; 3:14); ὑπόστασις is polysemic and the sense appropriate in 11:l is constrained by the immediate context (‘syntagmatic relationship’).31 A leading question for us is whether πίστις and ὑπόστασις share a related sense (‘paradigmatic relationship’) as do πίστις and ἔλεγχος, and if so, whether such a related sense is appropriate in the immediate context. To answer our question we must turn to the use of ὑπόστασις in the papyri.32

A number of commentators insist that Heb. 1:3 uses ὑπόστασις philosophically or with a philosophical sense. One problem is that most read this word through a fourth-century prism.

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Nazarene Commentary on Revelation 3:14

I wanted to make one last observation concerning Rev. 3:14, for now. Duncan can reply if he'd like:

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Lupieri and Revelation 3:14 (Beginning of the Creation)

The Lord's Thigh

See Genesis 24:2, 9; 49:10; Psalm 45:3; Revelation 19:16. Compare Isaiah 63:1-6.

The Greek term that's rendered "thigh" is μηρός. See Rogers and Rogers, page 647.

Thigh could refer to the "bodily nature" that the Logos assumes (Edmondo Lupieri, A Commentary on the Apocalypse of John, 306). Names, attributes and dedications were traditionally inscribed on the legs or garments of those who worshiped gods in the Hellenistic sanctuary (idem., 307). The term could be alluding to military gear (ibid.).

For more on Greek statues with names on the thigh, see Aune, Revelation, 52C:1062.

Grant Osborne:

Fourth, the rider on the white horse (19:16) has a name written ἐπὶ τὸ ἱμάτιον καὶ ἐπὶ τὸν μηρὸν αὐτοῦ (epi to himation kai epi ton mēron autou, on his garment at his thigh), which could refer to two places, but most agree (e.g., Beckwith, Ladd, Mounce, Beale) that it is “on his robe, namely [epexegetical καί] his thigh.” In other words, the name is written on that part of his tunic that covered his thigh, the place where his sword would rest and where it would be conspicuous on a mounted warrior.

Osborne also mentions Charles.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

John I. Durham Remarks on Exodus 20:20

Exodus 20:20 (KJV): "And Moses said unto the people, Fear not: for God is come to prove you, and that his fear may be before your faces, that ye sin not."

John Durham: This awesome firsthand experience of the Presence of Yahweh and the speaking of Yahweh, Moses continues, is for the further purpose that Israel might have reverence () for Yahweh always before them as a constant preoccupation of mind and so might not sin. Having reverence for Yahweh is a basic emphasis of Israel’s teaching tradition (Becker, Gottesfurcht, 125–209; Stähli, "fürchten,” THAT 1:774– 78); Wolff (Int 26 [1972] 158–73) has claimed this “Fear of God” as “the most prominent theme of the Elohist.” What is meant by such “reverence” or “fear” is a respect for Yahweh/Elohim that will give a constant emphasis to his way for living and relationship, and so avoid the missing of the way () that is sin.

Source: Durham, Dr. John I. Exodus (Word Biblical Commentary) (p. 492). Zondervan Academic. Kindle Edition.

NET Bible Footnote 50 for Exodus 20:20: tn The suffix on the noun is an objective genitive, referring to the fear that the people would have of God (GKC 439 §135.m).

Wednesday, October 09, 2019

William Tyndale's Prologue "Upon the Gospel of John" (Screenshot)

Stanley Porter Assesses Westcott and Hort

Here's Stanley Porter's remarks about Westcott-Hort (See Porter's How We Got the New Testament):

Almost since the advent of modern textual criticism and efforts to establish the Greek text of the New Testament—that is, from the mid-nineteenth century to the present—there has been recognition of the possibility of changes to manuscripts that would indicate the theological and other contexts in which these texts were being copied. Thus, although Westcott and Hort, who published the first eclectic text based on early majuscule (capital letter) manuscripts from the fourth century, especially Codex Sinaiticus (01 ℵ),²⁶ asserted that “there are no signs of deliberate falsification of the text for dogmatic purposes,”²⁷ a claim that they subsequently attempted to defend,²⁸ this claim was scrutinized by a succession of textual scholars. This scrutiny came from at least two quarters. Westcott and Hort’s opponents who defended the Textus Receptus, a text based on the Greek text published first by Erasmus in the sixteenth century on the basis of several late minuscule (lowercase writing) manuscripts,²⁹ accused the transcribers of the early majuscule manuscripts, for example, of deleting the two longer endings of Mark’s Gospel (e.g., Mark 16:9–20, the longest, but usually referred to as the long ending) and of questioning the authenticity of the pericope of the woman caught in adultery (John 7:53–8:11).³⁰ Those who defended the kind of text advocated by Westcott and Hort also registered concern for due recognition of later theological and other textual changes.

Sunday, October 06, 2019

Parsing Gospel of John 1:10

SBLGNT: Ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἦν, καὶ ὁ κόσμος δι’ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ ὁ κόσμος αὐτὸν οὐκ ἔγνω.

1) Ἐν τῷ κόσμῳ ἦν- ἦν is imperfect indicative active 3rd person singular. Translate here "he was"; some prefer "it."

Bengel's Gnomon of the NT: ἐν τῷ κόσμῷ ἦν, He was in the world) The evangelist adds this, lest any one should so understand the expression, coming into the world, as if the Light had not been previously in the world at all. Three times in this verse world is repeated; three times it is said of the human race, as in the previous verse, but not to the exclusion of the other creatures, at least in the first place.

2) καὶ ὁ κόσμος δι’ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ ὁ κόσμος αὐτὸν οὐκ ἔγνω.

Westcott writes:

John Calvin:

The masculine pronoun αὐτόν, him, refers to the neuter term τὸ φῶς, the light, which proves that αὐτοῦ also must be taken as masculine. This grammatical anomaly arises from the fact that the apostle has now in view the light in so far as it had personally appeared in Jesus. This is, likewise, the reason why he substitutes the word ἔγνω knew, for κατέλαβε laid hold of (John 1:5), although the idea is fundamentally the same. One lays hold of a principle, one recognizes a person.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Adela and John Collins on Revelation 3:14

"As the Gospel of John does, Revelation associates Christ with wisdom (3:14) and with the word of God (19:13). These terms are used quite differently, however, in Revelation. The risen Jesus is associated with wisdom in 3:14 as 'the beginning of the creation of God.' This epithet clearly implies preexistence, but nothing in the work requires the inference that he is eternal. Rather, the implication seems to be that he is God's first creature." (King and Messiah as Son of God: Divine, Human, and Angelic Messianic Figures in Biblical and Related Literature, by Adela Yarbro Collins and John J. Collins), p. 211

[Supplied by a friend.]

Compare the entry in BDAG for arche.

Thursday, October 03, 2019

One Perspective on Exodus 34:29ff (Moses' Horns?)

"Spending an extended period of time in the Lord's presence has a telling effect on Moses: 'his face was radiant' (v.29). The verb qaìran (lit., 'he radiated') is sometimes related to the noun qeren ('horn'). The Vulgate confused these two, which thus led to the representation in medieval art of Moses wearing two horns! Moses’ radiant countenance is referred to three times (vv.29, 30, 35; cf. W. F. Albright, 'The Natural Face of Moses in Light of Ugaritic,' BASOR 94 [1944]: 32 – 35; J. Morgenstern, 'Moses with the Shining Face,' HUCA 2 [1925]: 1:27)."

Quote taken from THE EXPOSITOR'S BIBLE COMMENTARY: Genesis – Leviticus Genesis — Copyright © 2008 by John H. Sailhamer Exodus — Copyright © 2008 by Walter C. Kaiser Jr. Leviticus — Copyright © 2008 by Richard S. Hess.

Published by Zondervan.

One Important Book to read About Philippians 2:6ff

You readers may want to check out the book entitled Where Christology Began: Essays on Philippians 2; edited by Ralph P. Martin and Brian J. Dodd. Louisville, Kentucky: Westminster John Knox Press, 1998.

This work contains one essay by James Dunn, in which he argues that Philippians 2 does not focus on the preexistent Christ. This essay is followed by L.D. Hurst's study which contends that Paul does advocate the preexistence of Christ in Phil 2:6-8. Both of these studies, I believe, should be read in the light of C.A. Wannamaker's article ("Philippians 2:6-11: Son of God or Adamic Christology." NTS, Vol. 33, 1987, 179-193), which is referenced in my chapter on the
kenosis of Christ. See E. Foster, Christology and the Trinity.

Monday, September 30, 2019

Hebrews 1:2--"These Last Days"

The next verse of the Hebrews encomium reads: ἐπ’ ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων ἐλάλησεν ἡμῖν ἐν υἱῷ ὃν ἔθηκεν κληρονόμον πάντων δι’ οὗ καὶ ἐποίησεν τοὺς αἰῶνας.

One translation: “in these last days did speak to us in a Son, whom He appointed heir of all things, through whom also He did make the ages” (YLT). What is the referent or timing of “these last days” (ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων)? Goodspeed thinks that the author of Hebrews “conceives himself to be living at the end of an epoch” in the first century and he is anticipating the Messiah's yet future appearance. DeSilva also writes that ἐσχάτου τῶν ἡμερῶν τούτων in Hebrews 1:2 “signals the arrival of the end time.” Furthermore, the expression “last days” is used in Scripture with eschatological overtones that signify the “end of the days.” Note how Numbers 24:14; Jeremiah 23:20; 25:19; Daniel 10:14; Acts 2:17; 2 Timothy 3:1; Hebrews 9:26; James 5:3; 1 Peter 1:5, 20 utilize this expression. The writer evidently wants to say that the “last days” in this context arrives by means of God speaking through his enfleshed Son (John 1:14; 1 Timothy 3:16). The account is building up a cumulative argument for the preeminence or superiority of Christ. See Moffatt, The Epistle to the Hebrews, 4.

Sources: Edgar Johnson Goodspeed, The Epistle to the Hebrews (New York: Macmillan, 1908), 31.

David Arthur DeSilva, Perseverance in Gratitude: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on the Epistle “to the Hebrews” (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2000), 85.

Friday, September 27, 2019

Hebrews 1:1--Syntax and Rhetoric

Greek text (Hebrews 1:1): πολυμερῶς καὶ πολυτρόπως πάλαι ὁ θεὸς λαλήσας τοῖς πατράσιν ἐν τοῖς προφήταις.

The passage has been rendered: “God, who at sundry times and in divers manners spake in time past unto the fathers by the prophets” (KJV). The nominal phrase ὁ θεὸς is the subject. The alliterative construction πολυμερῶς καὶ πολυτρόπως is “a familiar literary figure” whose matter-of-fact sense could be understood as “in many parts and in many ways.” Bruce also opts for the translation, “at various days and in many ways” which preserves the alliteration found in the original text. The five-fold use of the phoneme π principally accentuates the rhetorical figure of Hebrews 1:1; the overall effect of the construction is to emphasize how ὁ θεὸς speaks to the forefathers of Israel. It is through the prophets (ἐν τοῖς προφήταις).

See Frederick Fyvie Bruce, The Epistle to the Hebrews (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1990), 44.

Paul Ellingworth, The Epistle to the Hebrews (Grand Rapids: W.B. Eerdmans, 1993), 91. Cf. Hebrews 5:8; 13:14.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

2 Peter 2:7 (Witherington Discusses "Righteous Lot")

In 2 Peter 2:7 Lot is called “righteous,” and here again certain popular Jewish traditions may be in mind, not in the Old Testament (cf. Wis 10:6; 19:17).¹⁷³ In any event, he was righteous by comparison to his contemporaries in Sodom and Gomorrah. Lot is portrayed here as one who was oppressed by all the wicked and especially the sexual sinning around him. One suggestion is that Lot is called “righteous” here due to his being hospitable.¹⁷⁴

Source: Ben Witherington III, Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians, Volume II.

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

1 Corinthians 4:6: Not Going Beyond the Things Written

I humbly submit that 1 Cor. 4:6 is speaking of the Old Testament (Hebrew Bible) when it warns us "not to go beyond the things written (GEGRAPTAI-perfect passive indicative 3rd singular). Now I would like to share what others have said about the subject.

"MH hUPER hA GEGRAPTAI (an idiom, literally 'not above what is written') to act sensibly in not violating written rules and traditions--'to act sensibly in keeping with rules, to observe rules properly.' hINA EN hHMIN MAQHTE TO MH hA GEGRAPTAI 'so that you may learn from us what it means to live according to the rules' or 'the saying means, Observe the rules' 1 Cor. 4:6" (Louw-Nida 89.95).

"The use of GEGRAPTAI, it is written, in the perf. tense refers absolutely to what is found written in Holy Scripture and denotes legislative act or enactment. In the sphere of revelation the written records hold this authoritative position, and GEGRAPTAI always implies an appeal to the indisputable and legal authority of the passage quoted (Matt. 4:4, 6, 7, 10; 11:10). It is completed by such as in the Law (Luke 2:23; 10:26); in the book of the words of Isaiah (Luke 3:4); in the prophets (John 6:45)" (Zodhiates).

"GEGRAPTAI (abundantly attested as a legal expr.: Dssm, B 109f, NB 77f [BS 112ff, 249f] . . .)" (BAGD 166).

"GEGRAPTAI . . . is a formula introducing quotations fr. the OT (cf. Jos., C. Ap. 1 154) Mt 4:4, 6f, 10; 21:13; Mk 11:17; 14:27; Lk 4:8; 19:46 . . . 1 Cor. 1:19" (BAGD 166).

Saturday, September 21, 2019

Revelation 1:1 and Signifying

"The revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave him to show to his servants the things that must soon take place. He made it known by sending his angel to his servant John," (ESV)

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave unto him, to shew unto his servants things which must shortly come to pass; and he sent and signified it by his angel unto his servant John:" (KJV)

"A revelation by Jesus Christ, which God gave him, to show his slaves the things that must shortly take place. And he sent his angel and presented it in signs through him to his slave John" (NWT 2013)

"The Revelation of Jesus Christ, which God gave to him, to point out unto his servants the things which must needs come to pass with speed,—and he shewed them by signs, sending through his messenger, unto his servant John;" (Rotherham EB)

See the NET footnote for Rev. 1:1.

Regarding Rev. 1:1: for σημαίνω, BDAG Greek-English Lexicon has

(1) to make known, report, communicate

(2) to intimate someth[ing] respecting the future, indicate, suggest, intimate

(3) to provide an explanation for someth[ing] that is enigmatic, mean, signify.

Rev. 1:1 is categorized under (1) in this lexicon.

Grant R. Osborne's Remarks Concerning Rev. 1:1b:

The process of revelation is further described with ἐσήμανεν (esēmanen, made it known), the third term in 1:1 (with “revelation” and “show”) with the connotation of “revealing” God’s message. This term has a special purpose, for it is the verb cognate of the Johannine term σημεῖον (sēmeion, sign) and yields the idea of “making known” by means of symbols. This is particularly apropos in light of the predominant symbolism of the book. It is questionable whether Christ (in keeping with the centrality of Christ in 1:1) or God is the subject of “made known” (if ἐσήμανεν parallels δεῖξαι above). While the latter is possible grammatically, Christ is the one who “shows” the revelation to the church and therefore the likely one who “signifies” it to John. The means by which these symbolic truths are to be communicated is “through his angel,” and, as stated above in the introduction, angelic mediation is one of the hallmarks of apocalyptic literature. Even a brief perusal of this book proves the extent to which angels feature in the action.
See Osborne, Revelation, Baker Books, 2002 (Ebook published in 2012).

These comments from G.K. Beale equally illuminate Rev. 1:1:
The roots of this verse are in Dan. 2:28-30, 45-47, where in the Greek translations of the OT the verb “revealed” appears five times, the verb “show” (“signify,” “communicate,” Greek sēmainō [only in OG]) twice and the phrase “what must come to pass” three times.

Friday, September 20, 2019

Two Themes in the Book of Hebrews

Two things that stand out to me in reading Hebrews lately are 1)Jesus' role as mediator; 2) the writer's focus on godly fear.

The Greek word μεσίτης (mesitēs) occurs six times in the GNT; out of those occurrences, Hebrews refers to Jesus as mediator of the new covenant three times:

νῦν δὲ διαφορωτέρας τέτυχεν λειτουργίας, ὅσῳ καὶ κρείττονός ἐστιν διαθήκης μεσίτης, ἥτις ἐπὶ κρείττοσιν ἐπαγγελίαις νενομοθέτηται. (Hebrews 8:6)

Καὶ διὰ τοῦτο διαθήκης καινῆς μεσίτης ἐστίν, ὅπως θανάτου γενομένου εἰς ἀπολύτρωσιν τῶν ἐπὶ τῇ πρώτῃ διαθήκῃ παραβάσεων τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν λάβωσιν οἱ κεκλημένοι τῆς αἰωνίου κληρονομίας. (Hebrews 9:15)

καὶ διαθήκης νέας μεσίτῃ Ἰησοῦ, καὶ αἵματι ῥαντισμοῦ κρεῖττον λαλοῦντι παρὰ τὸν Ἅβελ. (Hebrews 12:24)

Why does the author of Hebrews not only use μεσίτης but also explicitly identify Jesus as mediator of the new covenant, unlike 1 Tim. 2:5, which just calls Jesus the mediator with the implicit understanding that Christ mediates the new covenant?

Secondly comes the notion of godly fear:

ὃς ἐν ταῖς ἡμέραις τῆς σαρκὸς αὐτοῦ, δεήσεις τε καὶ ἱκετηρίας πρὸς τὸν δυνάμενον σώζειν αὐτὸν ἐκ θανάτου μετὰ κραυγῆς ἰσχυρᾶς καὶ δακρύων προσενέγκας καὶ εἰσακουσθεὶς ἀπὸ τῆς εὐλαβείας, (Hebrews 5:7)

Πίστει χρηματισθεὶς Νῶε περὶ τῶν μηδέπω βλεπομένων εὐλαβηθεὶς κατεσκεύασεν κιβωτὸν εἰς σωτηρίαν τοῦ οἴκου αὐτοῦ, δι' ἧς κατέκρινεν τὸν κόσμον, καὶ τῆς κατὰ πίστιν δικαιοσύνης ἐγένετο κληρονόμος. (Hebrews 11:7)

Διὸ βασιλείαν ἀσάλευτον παραλαμβάνοντες ἔχωμεν χάριν, δι' ἧς λατρεύωμεν εὐαρέστως τῷ θεῷ μετὰ εὐλαβείας καὶ δέους, (Hebrews 12:28)


Saturday, September 14, 2019

Cyrus Cylinder (Image and Link)

Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

See also

Friday, September 13, 2019

Some Notes for 2 Kings 2:23ff

2 Kings 2:23-25 (ESV): He went up from there to Bethel, and while he was going up on the way, some small boys came out of the city and jeered at him, saying, “Go up, you baldhead! Go up, you baldhead!” 24 And he turned around, and when he saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. And two she-bears came out of the woods and tore forty-two of the boys. 25 From there he went on to Mount Carmel, and from there he returned to Samaria.

Iain W. Provan writes (1 and 2 Kings):
Some youths: The Hb. is neʿārîm qeṭannîm, “children.” The use of naʿar alone would allow the NIV’s translation (cf. the additional note to 1 Kgs. 20:14), but the appearance of qāṭān, “small, young,” precludes it. The NIV in fact translates naʿar qāṭān in 1 Kgs. 3:7 and 11:17 (correctly) as “little child” and “boy” respectively (cf. also na‘arâ qeṭannâ, “young girl,” in 2 Kgs. 5:2). The translator has apparently had more difficulty than the authors here in coming to terms with the idea that young persons as well as old should be subject to divine judgment for their sins. Whether there is something more specific to the taunt you baldhead is not clear. It is possible that some prophets, like later Christian monks, shaved their heads as a mark of their vocation. We certainly cannot cite verses like Lev. 21:5 (addressed to priests) and Deut. 14:1 (concerning actions “for the dead”), as some commentators have recently done, against this possibility

NET Bible: tn The word נַעַר (naʿar), here translated “boy,” can refer to a broad age range, including infants as well as young men. But the qualifying term “young” (or “small”) suggests these youths were relatively young. The phrase in question (“young boy”) occurs elsewhere in 1 Sam 20:35; 1 Kgs 3:7 (used by Solomon in an hyperbolic manner); 11:17; 2 Kgs 5:14; and Isa 11:6.

Donald J. Wiseman (1 and 2 Kings: An Introduction and Commentary) pushes back against the usual criticism of the Elisha account. An extended quote from his work is merited:

It does, however, show the continuing opposition to a true prophet in Bethel, the chief centre of pagan calf-worship. The main objection lies in the curse … in the name of the LORD (v. 24). In the Deuteronomic doctrine of retributive justice (Deut. 7:10) this was a requirement against anyone mocking a prophet, an act which was the equivalent of belittling God himself (Deut. 18:19; Lev. 24:10–16). The word for jeered (NIV, REB, JB) occurs in Habakkuk 1:10; cf. ‘insult’ in Jeremiah 20:8. To deride God’s representative (cf. 2 Chr. 36:16) as God himself (Gal. 6:7) or his city (Ezra 22:5) inevitably incurs judgment. The youths (rather than ‘little children’, AV, or ‘small boy’, JB, for the Hebrew nĕ’ārîm is used of servants or persons in early life of marriageable age, cf. Absalom in 2 Sam. 14:21; 18:5) may have challenged Elisha to demonstrate that he was really the equivalent of Elijah by ascending (Go on up, ‘get along with you’, REB) and mocked him as a baldhead. Baldness, contrary to popular mythology, is not a sign of inferiority or infertility, for Elisha was still young, as opposed to the hairy Elijah (1:8), though long hair may have been thought a sign of strength (2 Sam. 14:26). ⁵⁰ He may have suffered from early loss of hair (alopecia). There is no external evidence that a tonsure was then a mark of a prophet. The youths may well represent Bethel as the headquarters of idolatry and the main seat of Baal worship in Israel at this time. Bears are attested in the hill ranges until mediaeval times. The forty-two may represent an organized mob attacking the prophet rather than signify a number for the ill fated (cf. 2 Kgs 10:14; Rev. 11:2; 13:5).

Thursday, September 12, 2019

Job 14:14 (KJV and NWT 2013)

A man has asked me why Job 14:14 (KJV) reads, "If a man die, shall he live again? all the days of my appointed time will I wait, till my change come." Yet NWT 2013 says, "If a man dies, can he live again? I will wait all the days of my compulsory service Until my relief comes."

So the issue for him is "change" versus "relief." Byington renders the passage: "If a man dies will he come to life? I would wait all the time I had to serve till my relief came;"

He also uses "relief" as opposed to "change."

NET Bible: "If a man dies, will he live again? All the days of my hard service I will wait until my release comes."

Footnote: tn The construction is the same as that found in the last verse: a temporal preposition עַד (ʿad) followed by the infinitive construct followed by the subjective genitive “release/relief.” Due, in part, to the same verb (חָלַף, khalaf) having the meaning “sprout again” in v. 7, some take “renewal” as the meaning here (J. E. Hartley, Alden, NIV, ESV).

Robert Alter (Hebrew Bible): "If a man dies will he live? All my hard service days I shall hope until my vanishing comes"

Alter's Comment on 14:14: until my vanishing comes. Some understand ḥalifati as “my relief,” but the primary sense of the verbal root is to be gone or slip away, with “change” as a secondary sense. Perhaps the poet is playing on both meanings of the term. See the comment on 10:17.

Comment on Job 10:17 in Alter: vanishings and hard service are mine. This entire clause is one of the notable puzzles in Job. The second of the two nouns is the same word used at the beginning of chapter 7 (and rendered there, because of the immediate context, as “fixed service”). The first noun, ḥalifot, derives from a verb that means “to slip away,” “to vanish,” or “to change.” What Job may be saying is that his existence has become durance vile (“hard service”) in which everything he would cling to slips between his fingers (“vanishings”).

Theological Oration 5.IX (Gregory Nazianzen)

What then, say they, is there lacking to the Spirit which prevents His being a Son, for if there were not something lacking He would be a Son? We assert that there is nothing lacking—for God has no deficiency. But the difference of manifestation, if I may so express myself, or rather of their mutual relations one to another, has caused the difference of their Names. For indeed it is not some deficiency in the Son which prevents His being Father (for Sonship is not a deficiency), and yet He is not Father. According to this line of argument there must be some deficiency in the Father, in respect of His not being Son. For the Father is not Son, and yet this is not due to either deficiency or subjection of Essence; but the very fact of being Unbegotten or Begotten, or Proceeding has given the name of Father to the First, of the Son to the Second, and of the Third, Him of Whom we are speaking, of the Holy Ghost that the distinction of the Three Persons may be preserved in the one nature and dignity of the Godhead. For neither is the Son Father, for the Father is One, but He is what the Father is; nor is the Spirit Son because He is of God, for the Only-begotten is One, but He is what the Son is. The Three are One in Godhead, and the One Three in properties; so that neither is the Unity a Sabellian one, nor does the Trinity countenance the present evil distinction.

Gregory Nazianzen's dates are circa 329-390 CE: he is one of the so-called Cappadocian Fathers.

Saturday, September 07, 2019

Johannine Papyri Link

Generally helpful resource:

Friday, September 06, 2019

Ancient Judaism and the Creation of All Things

Granted, the Bible as we know it was not complete even in the 5th century BCE, but the Jews still possessed, wrote, and collated holy writings before then. I've also tried going back as far as possible in the history of scriptural interpretation. Whether it is the DSS or LXX, writers consistently understand bara at Gen. 1:1 as "create" although other meanings might be affixed to different verses.

Maimonides, Rashi, Philo, and Nahmanides could only work backward, but these men--particularly the rabbis--were doing interpretation within a protracted stream of thought: they were interpreting in accord with received tradition.

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

"Love of God" (1 John 5:3)--Some Comments

Greek: αὕτη γάρ ἐστιν ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ θεοῦ ἵνα τὰς ἐντολὰς αὐτοῦ τηρῶμεν, καὶ αἱ ἐντολαὶ αὐτοῦ βαρεῖαι οὐκ εἰσίν, (WH)

NKJV: "For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments. And His commandments are not burdensome."

Does ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ θεοῦ refer to our love for God or his love for us? Here, the phrase likely means "our love for God." Contrast the usage with 1 John 4:9-11.

Begin quote from preceptaustin:

Wuest - The word (barus) speaks of that which is burdensome, severe, stern, violent, cruel, unsparing. Love for God makes the keeping of His commandments a delight rather than a burden. (Word Studies)

BDAG adds that barus alludes to "a source of difficulty or trouble because of demands made" as in Paul's letters (2Cor 10:10). Barus can pertain "to being important because of unusual significance. In positive affirmation of certain legal directives weighty, important (Herodian 2, 14, 3; Jos., Ant. 19, 362 of administrative responsibilities) and the more important provisions of the law (Mt 23:23) or serious charges (Acts 25:7)." BDAG adds that barus can pertain "to being of unbearable temperament, fierce, cruel, savage" (Acts 20:29).


Compare Job 6:3; Psalm 68:19; Galatians 6:2.

Quote from W. Hall Harris III:
The force of the genitive τοῦ θεοῦ (tou qeou, “of God”) in 5:3. Once again the genitive could be understood as objective, subjective, or both.642 Here an objective sense is more likely (believers’ love for God) because in the previous verse it is clear that God is the object of believers’ love.

From Stephen Smalley:

αὕτη γάρ ἐστιν ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ θεοῦ, “for this is love for God.” For the construction of the demonstrative αὕτη (“this”), followed later in the sentence by ἵνα (“that”), see 3:11; John 17:3 (cf. also 4:21). The context (note 4:2b) demands that in the phrase ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ θεοῦ (literally, “the love of God”) the genitive should be construed in a primarily objective sense (meaning, as in our translation, “love for God”).

Smalley, Dr. Stephen S. 1, 2, and 3 John, Volume 51: Revised (Word Biblical Commentary) (Kindle Locations 8765-8769). Zondervan. Kindle Edition.

Monday, September 02, 2019

Genesis 1:1 and Nahmanides

Maimonides is known as Rambam in Jewish circles (standing for Rabbi Ben Moses Maimonides). Another rabbi named Nahmanides is called Ramban instead: his approximate dates are 1194-1270 CE.

The link above shows that Nahmanides also understood bara to mean "create (ex nihilo)" in Gen. 1:1; of course, he employs plenty of mystical/philosophical elements in his reading of the text. That point aside, I am just focusing on what bara possibly means for Nahmanides in the relevant text.


Friday, August 30, 2019

Short Note on the Contingent Universe

I believe that the universe is contingent. One thing you need to ask yourself is whether the universe necessarily exists. Is its non-existence a logical possibility? Is it possible that the cosmos did not exist at one time? If the answer is "yes" then the universe is not metaphysically necessary, but it is contingent. So then, one could reason:

1) If it is possible that the universe did not exist at one time, then the universe is contingent. (If p, then q)
2) It is possible that the universe did not exist at one time. (p)
3) Therefore, the universe is contingent. (therefore, q)

This argument is logically valid.

Monday, August 26, 2019

Paul Ellingworth's Commentary Regarding Hebrews 1:5

I apologize that some of the characters became unintelligible because this file is an epub format:

On (b), angels are called sons of God collectively, not only in the MT (Jb. 2:1; 38:7) but even in the LXX (Gn. 6:2, 4; Dt. 32:43; Pss. 29[LXX 28]:1; 89[LXX 88]:7). The tendency to translate "sons" as "angels" is found both in the LXX (see especially the addition to Dt. 32:43; - Heb. 1:6) and in Philo (Gig. 6f.; Deus Imm. 1.2.3; Quaest. in Gn. 1.92; cf. Jos. Ant. 1.73). In such contexts, "angels" reflects the interpretation of "sons" in hellenistic settings in which Jewish monotheism needed to be protected. At an earlier stage in the Hebrew tradition, the concept of an assembly of divine beings, subordinate to Yahweh, may have been influential (Cooke 1964). In Dn. 3:92 MT 3:25), where the LXX has oµoutu. ayye)ov 9eov, Theodotion reproduces the MT more closely with oµoia vt4 eEov. Even if the writer of Hebrews was using a Theodotionic Vorlage, his argument would not be ruined by this text, since it is a simile and not a divine declaration. More difficult is Ps. 82(LXX 81):6, where the existence of pagan gods is assumed (cf. v. 1), and an unidentified speaker declares, in language similar to that of Ps. 2:7:

ἐγὼ εἶπα· θεοί ἐστε καὶ υἱοὶ ῾Υψίστου πάντες

Since the first line is quoted in Jn. 10:34, it is possible that the writer of Hebrews would have considered it. If so, he probably understood it ironically, as the context suggests. His argument may thus be considered valid within its own terms of reference: the OT contains no statement about any individual (τίνι) angel in which God on any occasion (ποτε) declared him to be his Son.