Saturday, December 30, 2023

Samuel Clarke: Causality versus Design

"For to say a thing is produced, and yet that there is no cause at all of that production, is to say that something is effected, when it is effected by nothing; that is, at the same time when it is not effected at all.—Whatever exists, has a cause, a reason, a ground of its existence; (a foundation, on which its existence relies; a ground or reason why it doth exist rather than not exist;) either in the necessity of its own nature, and then it must have been of itself eternal; or in the will of some other being, and then that other being must, at least in the order of nature and causality, have existed before it" (Samuel Clarke).

Naturalists might argue that things in the cosmos have a cause, but were not designed. Yes, that's possible logically but how probable is it that all things in the cosmos and the cosmos itself were not designed? Again, it's logically possible that Biltmore House was not made by intelligent designers or that it did not have human builders, but how likely is it?

Friday, December 29, 2023

Beards (A Reflection Written Some Years Ago, But Now Edited Somewhat)

I personally have nothing against beards, depending on how they're groomed, etc. So I once undertook research on this question and concluded that "All things are lawful for me, but all things are not expedient: all things are lawful for me, but all things edify not" (1 Cor 10:23 KJV).Secondly, there are even some secular companies that do not allow their employees to have beards. When I used to clean at one local business (doing janitorial work), I noticed that the company would not allow employees to have beards. If a driver came to work unshaven, he would be given a razor before he could deliver parcels. That was back in the early 2000s: the company apparently later eased restrictions on beards.

Thirdly in this matter of beards, consider the example of Joseph: "Then Pharaoh sent and called Joseph, and they brought him hastily out of the dungeon: and he shaved himself, and changed his raiment, and came in unto Pharaoh" (Gen 41:14 Geneva Study Bible).
Pharaoh immediately sent for Joseph. As quickly as possible he was fetched from the prison; and after shaving the hair of his head and beard, and changing his clothes, as the customs of Egypt required (see Hengst. Egypt and the Books of Moses, p. 30), he went in to the king (Keil and Delitzsch Biblical Commentary on the Old Testament).
Joseph shaved although there was nothing inherently wrong with his beard: he adapted to the customs of Egypt that did not conflict with God's laws. It's interesting to think about how Paul handled the issue of wearing a beard; he was a Jew (a Benjaminite) and Roman citizen who lived in a Hellenistic milieu as a follower of Christ. Hence, Paul wrote that he became all things to all men (1 Corinthians 9:19-23). At the end of the day, we know that ancient Israelite men were commanded not to destroy "the edges" of their beard (Leviticus 19:27). Hence, Jesus likely had a beard and Paul probably would have worn one as a Jew. Whether someone chooses to wear or not wear a beard today is a matter of choice like many other areas of life in Christianity. As Paul wrote about eating meat once sacrificed to idols, 
"If I partake with thankfulness, why am I denounced because of that for which I give thanks?" (1 Corinthians 10:30)

See the surrounding context of 1 Corinthians 10:30. 

Monday, December 25, 2023

How the First English Bible Originated (Vos on Wycliffe)

"He [John Wycliffe] also engaged in Bible translation, and it was largely through his influence that the first English version was produced. Though he personally translated or supervised translation of parts of the Bible, his version was not completed until after his death, by Nicholas of Hereford and John Purvey. Without doubt, its widespread use had an influence on the development of the English language" (Howard Vos, Exploring Church History, page 78).

Sunday, December 24, 2023

Some Reasons Not to Celebrate Christmas

1. Jesus was not born on December 25 and his DOB is not made known by his early disciples. See

2. Christmas propagates a number of untruths (falsehoods) like Santa Claus, a man who travels around the world in one night leaving gifts for all the good children as he rides a sleigh pulled by flying reindeer. Furthermore, Santa supposedly plummets own the chimney to deliver toys, if you have one. See Ephesians 4:25; John 4:23-24.

Is it always wrong to tell a story or fable to one's child? No it is not, but the Santa Claus myth is told as though it were truly happening and it might be told for years before a child begins to see the falsity of it or is capable of knowing it's false. There is nothing wrong with telling a story but it's better told when both parties understand that the story should not be taken at face value or thought to be true.

3. The promotion of commercialism. The term "commercialism" here refers to "emphasis on the maximizing of profit" (Oxford Languages).
We need commerce in this world, in some form or fashion, but we don't need commercialism in this sense of the word. Is there anything with a business making a profit? No there is not: if a merchant does not run a profitable business, then he/she will not have a business for long. Yet when it comes to Christmas, people are often forced by guilt to buy things they cannot afford and go into needless and painful debt, thereby becoming slaves to the lender (Proverbs 22:7). 

4. Jesus never commanded his disciples to observe his birthday: such a command is not to be found in the Bible at all (compare John 14:15).  

5. Early Jews and Christians did not celebrate birthdays--the day of death was considered better than the day of one's birth (Ecclesiastes 7:1).

6. Christmas usually promotes greed and covetousness. The norm is that children mostly focus on what they can get, and so do adults. Poor people tend to feel bad when they can't get their child that much-coveted gift which all the kids want while uber-rich couples buy each other brand new matching trucks valued at $60,000 bucks apiece or more. Of course, there is nothing wrong with buying gifts for a loved one and we should not be jealous of others, but I find commercials that tout this idea of purchasing each other highly expensive gifts for the holidays (the birth of Jesus at that!) to be rather perverse. With all of the problems and suffering taking place in the world, those who have the means to help others are encouraged to buy expensive vehicles on the Lord's supposed birthday? Makes a lot of sense to me.

Latin and the Allative Case

Maybe some of you already know about the "allative case," but I only learned this term within the past year. According to the SIL Glossary of Linguistic Terms, "Allative case is a case that expresses motion to or toward the referent of the noun it marks."

Also from concerning "allative":
Mid 19th century; earliest use found in Quarterly Journal Education. From post-classical Latin allativus, designating the case expressing motion to or toward (1826 or earlier; earlier in sense ‘for bringing’) from classical Latin allāt-, past participial stem of afferre to bring to + -īvus.
It seems that Latin might not have the allative case or lost it over time, but the language possibly found ways to communicate similar ideas through merged cases. Early Greek apparently made use of the allative case, which is an extension of the locative case. I guess the difference is that motion towards an object is indicated by the case ending with the allative whereas the five-case system in Greek doesn't always do this explicitly. 

I also read section 427 in Allen and Greenough: it's provides some help. A & G give these examples inter alia for how Latin indicates motion to or toward an object:

bellī, mīlitiae, and domīterrā marīque is another good one.

Friday, December 22, 2023

One Evidence for Divine Creation: A Drop of Water

Numerous Bible verses portray Jehovah (YHWH) as the Creator of "all things" (ta panta) and the maker of heaven and earth (Ecclesiastes 12:1; Revelation 4:11). Just as a house needs a builder, Hebrews 3:4 proclaims that all things (i.e., the cosmos) were made by God. There are various examples that could be given, but one for now is a drop of water:

According to Michael Padilla, there are 2 sextillion atoms of oxygen and twice the number of hydrogen atoms in a drop of water. We can represent 2 sextillion exponentially as 2 x 10^21. That is 2 times 10 to the 21st power. Amazing!

Looked at from another perspective, there are 1.67 sextillion molecules in a drop of water, which on average is 0.05 mL. Did this composition merely happen by chance? 

Revelation 10:6 (KJV): "And sware by him that liveth for ever and ever, who created heaven, and the things that therein are, and the earth, and the things that therein are, and the sea, and the things which are therein, that there should be time no longer."

Compare Ecclesiastes 3:11.

Tuesday, December 19, 2023

2 Timothy 3:1 ("difficult times"?)

Greek (SBLGNT): Τοῦτο δὲ γίνωσκε ὅτι ἐν ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις ἐνστήσονται καιροὶ χαλεποί·

(LEB): "But know this, that in the last days difficult times will come,"

The NWT uses "critical times," so why the difference?

BDAG Entry: χαλεπός, ή, όν ⟦chalepós⟧ (s. next entry; Hom.+; ins, pap, LXX, TestSol, Philo; Jos., Ant. 4, 1 βίος, 13, 422 νόσος; Just., D. 1, 5; Tat.; comp. χαλεπώτερα Just., A II, 2, 6)
pert. to being troublesome, hard, difficult καιροὶ χ. hard times, times of stress 2 Ti 3:1. Of words that are hard to bear and penetrate deeply (Hes., Works 332; Dio Chrys. 49 [66], 19) Hv 1, 4, 2 (w. σκληρός). Of pers. (Od. 1, 198; Chion, Ep. 15, 1f; SIG 780, 31; EpArist 289; Jos., Ant. 15, 98) hard to deal with, violent, dangerous Mt 8:28. Of animals (Pla., Pol. 274b; Ps.-X., Cyneg. 10, 23; Dio Chrys. 5, 5) B 4:5 (comp.). In the sense bad, evil (Cebes 6, 2 of the πόμα of Ἀπάτη) τὰ ἔργα τοῦ ἀγγέλου τῆς πονηρίας χ. ἐστι the deeds of the angel of wickedness are evil Hm 6, 2, 10.—Subst. τὰ χ. (that which is) evil (X., Mem. 2, 1, 23; POxy 1242, 36) MPol 11:1 (opp. τὰ δίκαια). ἀρχὴ πάντων χαλεπῶν φιλαργυρία everything that is acrimonious begins with love of money Pol 4:1 (cp. 1 Ti 6:10).—B. 651. DELG. M-M. Spicq.

Spicq observes: When applied to things, chalepos can mean simply “difficult, hard,”1but sometimes it also takes on the nuance of “regrettable” (2Macc 4:4), “grievous” (Wis 3:19), “severe” (Plutarch, De sera 4), and “cruel” (Wis 19:13; 4Macc 7:24). It is used fairly often for dangerous circumstances,2 which is precisely the case in 2Tim 3:1, which announces the onset of the last days: there will be kairoi chalepoi, dangerous or perilous times for the faith and the existence of the church, harmful for Christians, with a nuance of violence and aggressiveness3 that befits calamities.4

The whole entry is worth reading. 

William Mounce (WB Commentary on the Pastorals): 

Τοῦτο δὲ γίνωσκε, ὅτι ἐν ἐσχάταις ἡμέραις ἐνστήσονται καιροὶ χαλεποί, “But take note of this, that in the last days there will be stressful times.” In an attempt to place Timothy and his conflict at Ephesus in historical perspective, Paul reminds Timothy that he is living in the last days. In vv 2– 5 Paul will describe in detail what χαλεποί, “stressful,” involves, and in vv 6–9 he will apply this description of “moral decadence” (Guthrie, 156) to Timothy’s opponents.

Mounce thinks 2 Timothy 3:1-5 delineates Timothy's current situation rather than the future: I tend to disagree. See his commentary for the grammatical arguments made in favor of a then present understanding. For a different analysis, see Raymond F. Collins. I &II Timothy and Titus in the NTL series. 

Monday, December 18, 2023

Anselm of Canterbury and the Preservation of God's Word

"And 'tis no small miracle how God has so long preserved and protected this book [the Bible]; for the devil and the world are sore foes to it" (Anselm of Canterbury)


Compare Isaiah 40:8.

Friday, December 15, 2023

Moderating the Next Few Days

 I will be busy for the next 3 days. Will try to approve posts the best I can. Thanks.

Wednesday, December 13, 2023

"If a man dies, shall he live again?"--Job and the Resurrection (Modified Talk)

The well-known "Collins Dictionary" defines death as "the permanent end of the life of a person or animal."

This definition ties in well with the title of our Treasures talk this week: If a man dies, can he live again?

That question, which comes from the book of Job, is a rhetorical question. As we know, rhetorical questions makes us think and they usually have a presupposed answer which is either yes or no. So what about the question, if a man dies, can he live again?

If we consider this question from the human angle, let's see what answer we get from Job 14:1,2, 4, 10. (Read)

Human life is temporary and uncertain like a shadow and it's filled with trouble; humans are powerless to prevent death and once a person dies, no mortal can restore his or her life.

The elixir of immortality: some alchemists in the past tried to produce elixirs that would produce immortality and the Chinese Taoists believed that they could change the body’s chemistry by means of meditation, breathing exercises, special dieting and thus produce human immortality or invulnerability. However, in harmony with the words of Job, none of these things worked. The miraculous fountain of life keeps eluding humanity's grasp, but does this mean that death is permanent as the Collins Dictionary says?

Looking at Job 14:7-9, we find a brighter prospect. (Read)

Maybe Job had the vibrant olive tree in mind when he spoke so assuredly about the dead coming back to life again. Job knew that Jehovah is the God who raises the dead (2 Cor. 1:9). However, not only will Jehovah raise the dead, Job 14:14-15 tells us something else about our God.

After reading

If a man dies, can he live again? Jehovah loves and deeply appreciates his loyal ones: he has a special yearning to raise them from the dead.

The Hebrew word rendered "a yearning" is “unquestionably one of the strongest words to express the emotion of longing desires,” says one scholar. Yes, not only does Jehovah remember his worshippers but he longs to raise them from the dead.

As we think about our picture for tonight and meditation question, I believe we all can give a vibrant "yes" to the rhetorical question that Job posed. Jehovah will call the dead through his Son and the dead will answer by rising to life again.

Tuesday, December 12, 2023

WoundedEgo Banned

Banned not because of "dissenting posts," but because he would not abide by this blog's rules and he continually insults Jehovah's Witnesses and calls me/us a cult. 

Plenty of readers have offered dissenting views and I did not block them, but continued disregard for this blog's purpose can result in the moderator showing you the door. Thanks.

Paula Fredriksen on Philippians 2:6 (Screenshot)


The Nazarene Commentary and "No part of the world" (Screenshot)


Duns Scotus and the Will

Duns Scotus scribit: "In potestate voluntatis nostrae est habere nolle et velle, quae sunt contraria, respectu unius obiecti" 

Hannah Arendt translates this Latin sentence: "It is in the power of our will to nill and to will, which are contraries, with respect to the same object."

Doctor Subtilis evidently advocates counterfactual freedom here. Is it possible that while a rational subject wills or nills in relation to one object, the contrary option remains possible such that one could have willed otherwise? 

The language of contraries reminds me of logic's square of opposition where two statements (a universal affirmative and a universal negative) cannot both be true but they can both be false. E.g., "All whales are marine mammals" (universal affirmative) versus "No whales are marine mammals" (universal negative). Therefore, it's fitting for Scotus to juxtapose nilling and willing as contraries with respect to the same object. 

See the discussion in John Duns Scotus 1265-1965 on page 88 (note 22), edited by John K. Ryan and Bernardine M. Bonansea (CUA Press, Mar 2, 2018).

Note 22 states in part:  Oxon., II, d. 25, q. un., n. 6; XIII, p. 201a: "In potestate voluntatis nostrae est habere nolle et velle, quae sunt contraria respectu unius obiecti"; Ord., I, d. I, n. 149 II, p. 100: "In potestate voluntatis est non tantum sic et sic velIe, sed etiam velle et non velle, quia libertas eius est ad agendum vel non agendum."

Monday, December 11, 2023

Is Wine a Gift from God? (Psalm 104:15)

Regarding alcohol: Psalm 104:15 exclaims that God created wine to make the heart of man rejoice. Paul also told Timothy to take a "little wine" for his stomach and frequent cases of illness, and Jesus both turned water into wine and imbibed moderately himself from time to time (1 Tim 5:21). He was accused of being a glutton and winebibber, which wouldn't make much sense unless he ate food of some kind and drank wine to some degree. Of course the charges were false, but teetotalers normally don't get accused of being winebibbers unless there is some ulterior motive for making the charge or it could just be a mistaken view of the individual suffering the calumny.

Christian elders are also told to drink in moderation--if they drink at all (1 Timothy 3:3). This is not to say that one has to drink alcoholic beverages, but the Bible indicates that wine or other fermented beverages are loving gifts from God. Even a biblical proverb says that strong drink should be given to those perishing, and wine should be provided to those heavy of heart (Prov 31:6). Yes, we have to guard against becoming hooked on alcohol or using it improperly: if we decide to drink, it needs to be in moderation. But doesn't that same principle apply to food, sleep, and using one's tongue? About any good thing can be abused, even the atom. but abuse does not vitiate use.

John Chrysostom once observed:

"Drunkenness then surely does not arise from wine, but from intemperance. Wine is bestowed upon us for no other purpose than for bodily health; but this purpose also is thwarted by immoderate use."

Sunday, December 10, 2023

Ecclesiastes 3:11-"eternity in their hearts"

What did Qoheleth mean when he wrote that God "put eternity" (הָעֹלָם֙) in the heart of man? And how does the last part of the verse connect with the preceding portion?

Robert Alter (The Hebrew Bible: A Translation): "Everything He has done aptly in its time. Eternity, too, He has put in their heart, without man’s grasping at all what it is God has done from beginning to end."

Alter's Footnote: "The Hebrew ʿolam means 'eternity' in the biblical language, though some interpreters argue that here it has the sense of 'world' that it carries in rabbinic Hebrew—that is, God has planted in the human heart the love of the world. It seems more likely that the intended meaning is: man is conscious of the idea of eternity (Qohelet as philosopher surely is), but that is the source of further frustration, for he is incapable of grasping 'what it is God has done from beginning to end.' Other interpreters reverse the second and third consonants of ʿolam to yield ʿamal, 'toil.' "

See also

Saturday, December 09, 2023

Philippians 2:6 in the Amplified Bible

"who, although He existed in the form and unchanging essence of God [as One with Him, possessing the fullness of all the divine attributes—the entire nature of deity], did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped or asserted [as if He did not already possess it, or was afraid of losing it];" (Philippians 2:6, Amplified Bible)

Sorry, but there is great overreach in this verse by the Amplified Bible. While this passage is a highly contentious verse in NT scholarship, rendering morphe as "unchanging essence" does not seem warranted here at all and the bracketed "amplification" isn't any better.

P. M. Casey writes:

"On a strict definition of 'incarnation,' Philippians 2:6-11 does not qualify because Jesus was not fully divine, in the view of the original author" (From Jewish Prophet to Gentile God [Cambridge, UK and Louisville, KY: James Clarke and Westminster/John Knox, 1991], 112-114).

While the NIV translates Phil. 2:6, "Who being in very nature God," Carolyn Osiek believes that this translation is not wholly faithful to the Greek text. Contra the NIV, she does not think 2:6 teaches the absolute Deity of Christ (See Osiek 2000:60ff).

C.A. Wannamaker's article on Phil. 2:6ff contains the following observation:

"In this passage Paul maintains that Christ's universal sovereignty derives from the Father and that ultimately the Son shall be subject to the Father when he returns his present sovereignty to God. The subordinationist character of 1 Cor. 15:24-28 demonstrates quite clearly that Paul did not believe in Christ's absolute equality with God" (Wannamaker 187-188).

Observations from Wannamaker's article are found in my Christology and Trinity book, which can be purchased on

See C.A. Wannamaker (NT Studies, Vol. 33, 1987, pp. 179-193).

The Catholic New Jerusalem Bible treats the Greek this way: "Who, being in the form of God, did not count equality with God something to be grasped."

The Catholic NABRE reads similarly and contains this footnote on Phil. 2:6:

"[2:6] Either a reference to Christ’s preexistence and those aspects of divinity that he was willing to give up in order to serve in human form, or to what the man Jesus refused to grasp at to attain divinity. Many see an allusion to the Genesis story: unlike Adam, Jesus, though…in the form of God (Gn 1:26–27), did not reach out for equality with God, in contrast with the first Adam in Gn 3:5–6."

In any event, the Catholic Bibles I've consulted don't translate the Greek phrase, morphe theou as "in very nature God"

Wednesday, December 06, 2023

Places Where Tertullian of Carthage Refers to God the Father As "Creator"

Adversus Praxean 3: "I prefer your exercising yourself on the meaning of the thing rather than on the sound of the word. Now you must understand the overthrow of a monarchy to be this, when another dominion, which has a framework and a state peculiar to itself (and is therefore a rival), is brought in over and above it: when, e.g., some other god is introduced in opposition to the Creator, as in the opinions of Marcion; or when many gods are introduced, according to your Valentinuses and your Prodicuses. Then it amounts to an overthrow of the Monarchy, since it involves the destruction of the Creator."

The context shows that he is referring to the Father.

Adv Prax 19: "But this very declaration of His they will hastily pervert into an argument of His singleness. I have, says He, stretched out the heaven alone. Undoubtedly alone as regards all other powers; and He thus gives a premonitory evidence against the conjectures of the heretics, who maintain that the world was constructed by various angels and powers, who also make the Creator Himself to have been either an angel or some subordinate agent sent to form external things, such as the constituent parts of the world, but who was at the same time ignorant of the divine purpose. If, now, it is in this sense that He stretches out the heavens alone, how is it that these heretics assume their position so perversely, as to render inadmissible the singleness of that Wisdom which says, When He prepared the heaven, I was present with Him? (Proverbs 8:27) — even though the apostle asks, Who has known the mind of the Lord, or who has been His counsellor? (Romans 11:34) meaning, of course, to except that wisdom which was present with Him. (Proverbs 8:30) In Him, at any rate, and with Him, did (Wisdom) construct the universe, He not being ignorant of what she was making. Except Wisdom, however, is a phrase of the same sense exactly as except the Son, who is Christ, the Wisdom and Power of God, (1 Corinthians 1:24) according to the apostle, who only knows the mind of the Father. For who knows the things that be in God, except the Spirit which is in Him? (1 Corinthians 2:11) Not, observe, without Him. There was therefore One who caused God to be not alone, except alone from all other gods. But (if we are to follow the heretics), the Gospel itself will have to be rejected, because it tells us that all things were made by God through the Word, without whom nothing was made. (John 1:3) And if I am not mistaken, there is also another passage in which it is written: By the Word of the Lord were the heavens made, and all the hosts of them by His Spirit. Now this Word, the Power of God and the Wisdom of God, must be the very Son of God. So that, if (He did) all things by the Son, He must have stretched out the heavens by the Son, and so not have stretched them out alone, except in the sense in which He is alone (and apart) from all other gods."

Adv Herm 22: "He confirms (by that silence our assertion) that they were produced out of nothing. In the beginning, then, God made the heaven and the earth. (Genesis 1:1) I revere the fullness of His Scripture, in which He manifests to me both the Creator and the creation. In the gospel, moreover, I discover a Minister and Witness of the Creator, even His Word. (John 1:3) But whether all things were made out of any underlying Matter, I have as yet failed anywhere to find. Where such a statement is written, Hermogenes' shop must tell us. If it is nowhere written, then let it fear the woe which impends on all who add to or take away from the written word. (Revelation 22:18-19)"

Tuesday, December 05, 2023

Ezekiel 41:11 and the Temple Vision

Hebrew (Leningrad Codex): וּפֶ֤תַח הַצֵּלָע֙ לַמֻּנָּ֔ח פֶּ֤תַח אֶחָד֙ דֶּ֣רֶךְ הַצָּפֹ֔ון וּפֶ֥תַח אֶחָ֖ד לַדָּרֹ֑ום וְרֹ֙חַב֙ מְקֹ֣ום הַמֻּנָּ֔ח חָמֵ֥שׁ אַמֹּ֖ות סָבִ֥יב ׀ סָבִֽיב׃

Ezekiel's temple vision is one of the most fascinating accounts in the Bible to me--it raises numerous questions and there is so much to learn from the vision. I've often tried to envision just what the prophet saw although our Pure Worship publication supplied some help.

NET: "There were entrances from the side chambers toward the open area, one entrance toward the north, and another entrance toward the south; the width of the open area was 8¾ feet[a] all around."

Ftn: tn Heb “5 cubits” (i.e., 2.625 meters).

The NA Commentary on Ezekiel (Lamar E. Cooper, Sr.) makes these remarks: 
 "The base extended away from the building for five cubits on every side (v. 11). Behind the temple was another building seventy by ninety cubits with a wall five cubits thick (v. 12). The exact function of this building is unknown (see Figs. 2 and 3),42 although it has been associated with the parbar (“court”) of 1 Chr 26:18, which probably was an open area. This open area may have been in front of the building, or it may refer to the open area of the large room inside the building, whose purpose is unclear."

Monday, December 04, 2023

2 Corinthians 1:9-'the God who raises up the dead"

Greek (NA28)-2 Corinthians 1:9: ἀλλ᾽ αὐτοὶ ἐν ἑαυτοῖς τὸ ἀπόκριμα τοῦ θανάτου ἐσχήκαμεν, ἵνα μὴ πεποιθότες ὦμεν ἐφ᾽ ἑαυτοῖς ἀλλ᾽ ἐπὶ τῷ θεῷ τῷ ἐγείροντι τοὺς νεκρούς·

In 2 Corinthians 1:8, after a discussion about Jehovah being the God of all comfort and the Father of tender mercies (1:3-4), the inspired apostle then recounts how that he and his co-workers faced perilous danger when they first entered Asia Minor. It sounds like Paul and his fellow laborers nearly died, but this happened with God's permission. Yet why did he allow them to hover over the abyss of death?

In order that their trust might be ἐπὶ τῷ θεῷ τῷ ἐγείροντι τοὺς νεκρούς

What does this part of the verse signify? Here are some possibilities.

Alfred Plummer (2 Corinthians in the ICC Series, page 19):

Ben Witherington III (2 Corinthians): "There is some question as to how we should translate apokrima in 1:9. The word occurs nowhere else in the NT. In secular Greek it refers to a decree, verdict, or decision that settles a matter.
4 Here we are told that it was a decree or verdict of death. But Paul says that he has received this verdict within himself, which leads to the suggestion that he is talking about some sort of illness. He knows that there is no cure, short of resurrection, for the terminal illness by which all, as fallen creatures, die. He believes in a God who raises the dead and so is able to talk of hope beyond and triumphing over death, not of a hope that seeks somehow to bypass death. Paul acquired this death sentence in himself (cf. the 'thorn in the flesh' in 12:7) so that he would not trust in his own strength but in God who raises the dead. But Paul has received a stay of execution. He has been rescued from imminent danger in Asia (1:8, 10), and he believes that ultimately God will rescue him, and so he fixes his hope on God. In v. 11 he speaks of the partnership he and the Corinthians have. They can both pray and give thanks for one another."

Despite making different things their focus, both commentators agree that Paul is referencing the God who raises up the dead. That precious resurrection gives us hope and keeps Christians steadfast especially when enduring severe trial. 

Saturday, December 02, 2023

Greek Information of the Day: Intensive Particles (Quote From Blackwelder)

Note the strong inferential force of with the aorist imperative denoting urgency in I Corinthians 6:20, “For you were bought with a price: now [or indeed, really, by all means therefore] glorify God in your body.” Findlay points out that the command to glorify God in, not with, the body, makes it the temple wherein each man serves as priest.[135] “Paul’s argument stands four-square for the dignity of the body as the sanctuary of the Holy Spirit united to the Lord Jesus.”[136]
The most common intensive particle in the New Testament is men. Its original function was “emphatic confirmation of single words, usually the weightiest word in the sentence.”[137] It may be translated surely, indeed, in truth, and the like. Sometimes men has a concessive force (e.g., II Cor. 11:4, “For if indeed he that comes proclaims another Jesus”), and there are instances where it implies contrast. “Its most common usage is to help differentiate the word or clause with which it occurs from that which follows.”

Blackwelder, Boyce W. Light from the Greek New Testament (Kindle Locations 2612-2623). Reformation Publishers. Prestonsburg, KY. Kindle Edition.

Friday, December 01, 2023

Words of the Month (December 2023)

1. The English word "agglutination" may denote the "Combination in which root words are united with little or no change of form or loss of meaning" (Webster Dictionary, 1913).

Definition given by AI: "Agglutination is a linguistic term that refers to languages where words are made up of easily distinguishable units, or morphemes. The meaning of a word in an agglutinative language can be understood by breaking it down into its base word and word endings"

Compare the Turkish word ev-ler-du ( evlerdu = from the houses). Here, the word contains a stem and two further morphemes.


2. Anomalous monism (English)-Collins Dictionary gives this definition: "the philosophical doctrine that although all mental states consist merely in states of the brain, there exist no regular correspondences between classes of mental and physical states, and so no psychophysical laws"

This terminology was first proffered by Donald Davidson in 1970: anomalous monism implies that mental states or events are reducible to physical states or events.

σοφία (Greek)-A Manual Greek Lexicon of the New Testament (Abbott-Smith) defines the word thus: "[in LXX chiefly for chokmah] skill, intelligence, wisdom, ranging from knowledge of the arts and matters of daily life to mental excellence in its highest and fullest sense"

See the entry for sophia to access the entire definition given in A-S; compare BDAG.