Sunday, July 31, 2022

John 17:3: "their taking in knowledge of you"

Greek (WH): αὕτη δέ ἐστιν ἡ αἰώνιος ζωὴ ἵνα γινώσκωσι σὲ τὸν μόνον ἀληθινὸν θεὸν καὶ ὃν ἀπέστειλας Ἰησοῦν Χριστόν.

Previously, John 17:3 in the NWT read this way: "This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ."

2013 Revision:
"This means everlasting life, their coming to know you, the only true God, and the one whom you sent, Jesus Christ."

Did the older translation mean to imply that head knowledge is all someone needs to have eternal life? Does head knowledge alone save us? Could someone get eternal life without knowing a lot about God?

We can answer the first two questions negatively, but the third question, affirmatively.

1) We need more than head knowledge in order to get everlasting life; a lot of people can memorize Bible scriptures, places, names, and even how the verse should be applied. However, that is not enough to obtain everlasting life.

Even back in the 2/15/1975 WT (pages 113-119), these remarks were made:

Getting to know God, then, involves knowing both him and his Son. Jesus Christ pointed this out when saying in prayer to his Father: “This means everlasting life, their taking in knowledge of [or, “knowing,” An American Translation] you, the only true God, and of the one whom you sent forth, Jesus Christ.” (John 17:3) Such “knowing” of God and his Son is not just head knowledge, acquired information. It actually means to recognize the authority of God and his Son and to submit to it.

Two points we can extract from the paragraph above is that "taking in knowledge" then meant, "knowing" God, not just knowing facts about him or his Son. Secondly, the WT clearly states that head knowledge is not sufficient: one must know God and his Son.

2) As a Witness, I've been taught that it's not just what someone knows but how much a person loves what he/she knows about God. We take in knowledge of God in order to know him, not just know about him. Furthermore, knowing God means obeying his commandments--putting into practice what we learn. See Hosea 4:6; Philippians 4:8-9.

To illustrate, a man might get to know facts about a woman, whom he wants to marry: he learns her likes, dislikes, facts about her family and how she feels about children, handling money and how she relates to her family. Without acquiring these facts, could the man ever come to know the woman? Yet the acquisition of facts would not be enough to know another person: it's necessary but not sufficient. We can say the same for our relationship with God.

While I think NWT 2013 improves the former translation since it captures the inceptive and telic aspect of the verb in John 17:3, I do not believe the older rendering meant that knowledge was sufficient without knowing God. That simply is not true.



Thursday, July 28, 2022

David's Loyal Love (Modified Talk)

Loyal love, what is it? How would you define it?

We've often heard the definition that loyal love (loving-kindness or chesed in Hebrew) is
"kindness that lovingly attaches itself to an object and does not let go until its purpose in connection with that object is realized."

Continuing in the same vein, Insight on the Scriptures (Vol. 2:153-156) provides this definition:

"It is an act that preserves or promotes life. It is intervention on behalf of someone suffering misfortune or distress. It is demonstration of friendship or piety."

Therefore, loyal love is more than a feeeling: it's shown by the way that we act.

David showed loyal love to Mephibosheth and now we'll consider 3 aspects of this loyal love.

1) Read 2 Samuel 9:1

David actively searched for someone to whom he could display loyal love, especially someone from the house of Saul. After all, he had once written in Psalm 41: "Happy is anyone who shows consideration to the lowly one"

While thinking of David's example, we might ask, Do we look for opportunities to help lowly ones? Whether with our time, energy or assets? We need to be proactive in this regard, not passive.

2) David acted immediately to help Mephibosheth, the disabled son of Jonathan. Read 2 Samuel 9:5-7. David promised Jonathan that he would always act with loyal love toward his household. Here we see how he kept that promise to his dear friend Jonathan. Notice too that David did not hesitate; he quickly rendered assistance to Mephibosheth.

3) David assigned Ziba to care for the inheritance of Mephibosheth (2 Sam 9:9-10). His actions likely mitigated the pain of Mephibosheth's disability. Today many of our friends are contending with a figurative thorn in the flesh: it could be a disability, the loss of a loved one, financial challenges or severe depression. Are we doing our best to mitigate their pain as they endure various trials?

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Whatever our friends are enduring, they will benefit immensely if we show them loyal love. May we render practical assistance by giving our time, energy, and assets to help lowly ones in our midst. Lending to the lowly one is like lending to Jehovah: he will repay your kind and tender acts of loyal love (Proverbs 19:17).

Wednesday, July 27, 2022

Revelation 14:3 ("redeemed from the earth")

Greek (WH): καὶ ᾄδουσιν ὡς ᾠδὴν καινὴν ἐνώπιον τοῦ θρόνου καὶ ἐνώπιον τῶν τεσσάρων ζῴων καὶ τῶν πρεσβυτέρων· καὶ οὐδεὶς ἐδύνατο μαθεῖν τὴν ᾠδὴν εἰ μὴ αἱ ἑκατὸν τεσσεράκοντα τέσσαρες χιλιάδες, οἱ ἠγορασμένοι ἀπὸ τῆς γῆς.

Stephen S. Smalley (The Revelation to John, page 357):

Robert L. Thomas (Revelation 8-22, page 194):

Craig R. Koester (Revelation, page 609):

Grant R. Osborne (Revelation):

"The substantival perfect participle ἠγορασμένοι (eḡorasmenoi, have been redeemed) emphasizes the resultant state, namely that these victorious saints are the redeemed by the blood of the Lamb (5:9). On the basis of aspect theory, this would also be the 'frontgrounding' (Porter 1994: 23) or important element in the discourse. These 'redeemed' saints are the focus of the statement."