Wednesday, January 31, 2024

Peter Nagel and the Deity of Christ

Peter Nagel has written some interesting articles about Christ's "deity." I'm not sure what his religious background is, but I think he teaches at the Stellenbosch University in South Africa. If you read nothing else by Nagel, see "Problematising the Divinity of Jesus: Why Jesus Is Not θεός." Peter Nagel. Neotestamentica, Volume 53, Number 3, 2019, pp. 557-584 (Article).

Monday, January 29, 2024

Open Access Book About Ancient Greek

I have not read this entire book yet, but thought some might find this useful. It's open access:

Sunday, January 28, 2024

Brief Notes from John Lyons, "Language, Meaning and Context" (Pages 172-174)

Background to This Book: The linguist Sir John Lyons lived between 23 May 1932 – 12 March 2020 and he was a Fellow of the British Academy. His concentration was semantics: his peers considered him to be a "major semanticist" (Clark and Kempson). Out of the major work he did, one important study was Language, Meaning and Context, published in 1981. This book was written to outline and critique the status quo of semantics at the time. Since the field of linguistics has a significant impact on theology and speech act theory plays a role in contemporary theology, I want to comment briefly on this subject with help from the book by Lyons. 

On page 172, Lyons makes it clear that he does not truly like the terminology, "speech acts," so when he analyzes John Austin's inchoate theory of performative utterances, Lyons introduces personally-crafted distinctions while adhering somewhat closely to Austin's terminology the best that he can. Austin's famed work was How to Do Things With Words published in 1962. He lectured at Oxford and set forth thought-provoking ideas, but Austin did not leave an organized manuscript that his peers could publish. The lack of a suitable manuscript led to the imprecise articulation of his speech act theory, which John Searle later studied, propagated, and then offered his own ideas. 

On page 174, Lyons relates that Austin's theory was born in the midst of verificationist controversies: that is, some philosophers and linguists suggested that theological, metaphysical, moral, and aesthetic statements are emotive rather than communicators of truth or falsity. This would include statements like "Murder is wrong" and "Joe is a better singer than Barry." Austin criticized the verificationists and came up with his own counterexamples like "I promise to pay you five pounds on Tuesday." This statement is neither true nor false, but evidently obligates the one uttering the words to keep his/her promise or to act in a certain way. Hence, the terminology, "speech acts" (performative utterances). Linguists commonly articulate this theory in terms of the categories, locution, illocution, and perlocution. Kevin Vanhoozer has utilized speech act theory to explicate his theological thought. I also recommend Lyons' book if one wants to learn more about speech act theory, deixis/indexicality, semantics in general, Gricean implicature theory and much more. 

Sources: Lyons, John (1981). Language, Meaning and Context. Fontana.

Friday, January 26, 2024

1 Peter 4:8-"Have Intense Love"

Greek (WH): πρὸ πάντων τὴν εἰς ἑαυτοὺς ἀγάπην ἐκτενῆ ἔχοντες, ὅτι ἀγάπη καλύπτει πλῆθος ἁμαρτιῶν·

HCSB: "Above all, maintain an intense love for each other, since love covers a multitude of sins."

Peter Achtemeier (page 294) explains that the opening of verse 8 here likely reflects the language of verse 7, which mentions the "end of all things." Hence, πρὸ πάντων probably is a rhetorical turn of phrase that draws the reader's attention back to the previous verse, but more importantly, it emphasizes the importance and surpassing value of love--especially given the times.

Peter focuses on love for the Christian community (τὴν εἰς ἑαυτοὺς) but this does not mean a Christian can't love those outside of the local or universal ecclesia: Jesus taught that the second greatest command is to love one's neighbor and this does not seem to be limited to one's Christian brother or sister.

Achtemeier connects 1 Peter 4:8 with 1 Peter 1:22, which uses the adverbial expression "love one another intensely." By employing the words, ἀγάπην ἐκτενῆ ἔχοντες, Peter refers to the act of loving one's spiritual siblings fervently. Ceslas Spicq thinks Peter is referring to intensive love that Christians should have for one another. WT publications often have pointed to the meaning "outstretched" for the adjective ἐκτενῆ
 in 1 Peter 4:8 and the definition "outstretchedly" for 1 Peter 1:22. The act of stretching out fabric has been utilized to illustrate this concept.

BDAG Entry: ἐκτενής, ές ⟦ektenḗs⟧ (Aeschyl.; Polyb. 22, 5, 4; ins [s. on ἐκτένεια]; PTebt 24, 45; 3 Macc 3:10; 5:29; Philo; Just., D. 107, 2 ἐκτενοῦς ὀλολυγμοῦ) pert. to being persevering, with implication that one does not waver in one’s display of interest or devotion, eager, earnest, comp. ἐκτενέστερος (IGR IV, 293 II, 38) Ac 12:5 v.l. ἐκτενῆ τὴν δέησιν ποιεῖσθαι make earnest supplication 1 Cl 59:2 (UPZ 110, 46 [164 b.c.] τὴν ἐκτενεστάτην ποιήσασθαι πρόνοιαν). ἐκτενῆ ὑπὸ πάντων προσευχὴν γενέσθαι AcPl Ha 6, 6f. τὴν ἀγάπην ἐκτενῆ ἔχειν keep affection constant 1 Pt 4:8. μετ’ ἐκτενοῦς ἐπιεικείας w. constant gentleness 1 Cl 58:2; 62:2.—DELG s.v. τανυ- etc. E p. 1092. M-M. TW. Spicq.

Ralph Earle (Word Meanings in the New Testament): Fervent This English adjective is defined as: “Having or showing great emotion or warmth” (American Heritage Dictionary, 485). But the Greek word here, ektenēs (only here in NT) has a somewhat different connotation. It comes from the verb ekteinō, “stretch out”; so it literally means “stretched out.” C. E. B. Cranfield says that it “suggests rather the taut muscle of strenuous and
sustained effort, as of an athlete” (First Epistle of Peter, p. 95). A good translation is “unfailing” (RSV).

Reference: Achtemeier, Paul J. 1 Peter. Hermeneia – A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1996.

Wednesday, January 24, 2024

Eliphaz Was Not A Source of Comfort (Modified Talk)

Job was a man in need of comfort: he lost his wealth and property, all of his children were killed, and he was struck with an awful disease that covered his body. Furthermore, Job's family and friends turned against him as they blamed him for all the trouble he experienced.

You probably remember that one of the so-called comforters who came to visit Job was named Eliphaz. Yet did he provide the comfort that Job so badly needed?

Turn with me to Job 15:14-16

(After reading)

Eliphaz insisted that no matter what human servants of Jehovah do, they just can't please him. He claimed that not even the angels or the heavens are pure in Jehovah's eyes--how much less is man! In this way, Eliphaz blamed Job for the calamities he suffered and even worse, he put Jehovah in a bad light.

Today, we have to avoid the trap into which Eliphaz fell. Jehovah's servants must be on guard against thinking that God expects too much from us, and we surely would not want to try encouraging a depressed brother or sister by giving him/her the impression that Jehovah is never pleased with wholehearted service given to him.

Another way that Eliphaz failed to give proper counsel is found in Job 15:20

(After reading)

Did you notice what Eliphaz implied about Job? He indicated that the reason for Job's suffering was his wickedness? How discouraging such counsel must have been. Eliphaz and Job's other friends were supposed to be comforting him, but instead, Eliphaz offered only hurtful words. What a lesson we learn about the need for weighing our words carefully and not speaking thoughtlessly as Proverbs 12:18 warns. Yes, thoughtless words can injure like a sword.

In Job 16:1-2, we see the results that came from the discouraging words of Eliphaz.

Job referred to Eliphaz and the other two men who came with him as "troublesome comforters." Instead of making Job feel better, Eliphaz made him feel worse and he did not speak the truth about Jehovah. Suffering hardship does not necessarily mean that we have displeased God: even righteous people can expect to have tribulation in their life (Psalm 34:14).

While Eliphaz spoke words that did not upbuild or encourage, we on the other hand can speak consoling words to the depressed (1 Thessalonians 5:14). We can offer consolation by sincerely commending others and remind our brothers and sisters of how Jehovah drew them through his Son, so he must love them (John 6:44-45). Jehovah cares for those who are brokenhearted or crushed in spirit and it's good to let our brothers know that he does. In this way, we allow our words to be like soothing ointment that brings comfort in times of distress and we avoid the mistake of Eliphaz.

Sunday, January 21, 2024

Romans 10:13--Jehovah or Jesus?

Someone has asked me whether Romans 10:13 references Jehovah or does it apply to Jesus, thus identifying him as Jehovah (the Son). The verse is contentious: numerous theologians and Bible commentators take the position that Romans 10:13 is a proof-text for the Trinity doctrine or Deity of Christ. Therefore, I will quote two commentators on this passage:

Joseph Fitzmyer (Romans, page 593):  "13. 'For everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.' Paul quotes Joel 3:5 (2:32F) according to the LXX, which corresponds to the MT and where sothesetai renders Hebrew yimmalet. In the original context the prophet speaks of the awesome day of the Lord, when deliverance and survival will come to those who invoke Yahweh. Paul applies the title to his Kyrios. In the OT those who 'call upon the name of the Lord' denoted sincere and pious Israelites; in the NT it is transferred to Christians ( 1 Cor 1 :2). Verses 12-13 thus become an eloquent witness to the early church's worship of Christ as Kyrios. The adj. pas with which the quotation begins echoes that introduced by Paul into the quotation in [Romans] 10:11."

James D.G. Dunn (Did the First Christians Worship Jesus?, pages 104-105 ): "One striking example is the passage just cited - Romans 10.9-13. The passage concludes by quoting Joel 2.32:29 'for everyone who calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved' (Rom. 10.13 ). Now in Joel 2.32 'the Lord' is obviously Yahweh. But equally obviously in Romans 10.9-13 'the Lord' is the Lord confessed with the lips -'Jesus is Lord.' The salvation of which Joel spoke is promised to those who confess Jesus as Lord. He is the Lord upon whose name those who believe in Jesus call. As already pointed out in Chapter 1, the fact that Paul thought of his readership in these terms is confirmed by his description of believers in the opening of his first letter to the Corinthians, as 'all those who in every place call on the name of the Lord Jesus Christ' (1 Cor. 1.2). The calling of which Joel spoke is a calling on God to exercise his saving power on behalf of the remnant of Israel. So the fact that Paul refers the same verse to the exalted Jesus presumably means for Paul either that Jesus is Yahweh,30 or, more likely, that Yahweh has bestowed his own unique saving power on the Lord who sits on his right side,31 or that the exalted Jesus is himself the embodiment as well as the executive of that saving power."

Friday, January 19, 2024

Obversion of Categorical Statements in Logic

In logic, it's possible to convert, obvert or contrapose categorical statements. Obversion is done by changing the quality rather than the quantity of a categorical statement and by replacing the predicate term with its complement (i.e., everything that does not belong to the class of the predicate term).


Statement 1) "All Athenians are Greeks."

The obversion of statement 1) is "No Athenians are non-Greeks."

In this case, we have obverted a universal affirmative (A statement) by changing its quality to a negative and "Greeks" (the predicate term) has been replaced with its complement term ("non-Greeks").

A statements are universal affirmatives
E statements are universal negatives
I statements are particular affirmatives
O statements are particular negatives (i.e., "some S are not P" or "some S is not P")

Benjamin Merkle's "Exegetical Gems" (A Discussion)-Part XIIII-Perfect and Pluperfect Indicatives

Chapter 17 of Merkle's "Exegetical Gems" is about perfect and pluperfect indicatives. His sample scripture for this chapter is John 19:30:

Greek: ὅτε οὖν ἔλαβεν τὸ ὄξος ὁ Ἰησοῦς εἶπεν Τετέλεσται, καὶ κλίνας τὴν κεφαλὴν παρέδωκεν τὸ πνεῦμα.

Translators tend to render Τετέλεσται with "it is finished": this verb is the perfect passive form of τελέω. Merkle poses these questions concerning Jesus' words: "Is Jesus looking back over his life and making a claim about how he has fulfilled all that was prophesied about him? Or is Jesus looking ahead to the present blessings that would come as a result of his death and resurrection?"

I would add, does the perfect form of the verb used in John 19:30 shed any light on these queries?

The perfect tense-form depicts completed action and the present result of the action: Merkle reminds us that the perfect's verbal aspect is stative--signifying a state of affairs brought about by an action completed in the past. However, Richard A. Young maintains:
"The perfect is normally interpreted as expressing a completed act with continuing results. There are problems with this definition if time is not a function of form, for completed acts are always past. Contextually the perfect may refer to something past (Matt. 19:8), present (Matt. 27:43), possibly future (Matt. 20:23; John 5:24; Jas. 5:2-3), omnitemporal (Rom. 7:2), or timeless (John 3:18). It seems better to view the perfect and pluperfect as members of the stative aspect in which the speaker conceives the verbal idea as a condition or state of affairs" (Intermediate NT Greek, p. 126).
So Young takes a position that mirrors Stanley Porter: he wants to construe Greek verbs as timeless in se at least to some extent, but he reckons that Greek verbs get their temporality from the context of usage (usus loquendi). This is a controversial point that does not need to be nor probably will be settled anytime soon and the point won't detain us here. For further references, see

Getting back to Merkle's analysis, he encourages one reading Greek to focus on whether the perfect (in context) is making the action or the state of affairs it's depicting more prominent. It will usually be one or the other.

Like other tense-forms, Greek writers/speakers employ the perfect in various ways: consummative, intensive, dramatic, gnomic, etc. As for the pluperfect, it depicts: "a past state that was caused by a previous action." In other words, writers use the pluperfect to describe an event that preceded another occurrence (normally described with the aorist). Merkle's example is Matthew 7:25: καὶ κατέβη ἡ βροχὴ καὶ ἦλθαν οἱ ποταμοὶ καὶ ἔπνευσαν οἱ ἄνεμοι καὶ προσέπεσαν τῇ οἰκίᾳ ἐκείνῃ, καὶ οὐκ ἔπεσεν, τεθεμελίωτο γὰρ ἐπὶ τὴν πέτραν.

The verbs in the text are aorists while the verb τεθεμελίωτο is pluperfect. What is the significance of the pluperfect here? 

"The aspectual significance of the pluperfect emphasizes the resulting (past) state of a previous action or event. The pluperfect is not common, occurring only eighty-six times in the NT, and is found only in the indicative."

What about John 19:30? What can we possibly glean from the perfect form occurring there?

The two options Merkle lays out for Τετέλεσται are that it could be a consummative perfect or an intensive perfect. In other words, when Jesus uttered the word, was he looking backwards at the action/actions that brought about his current state or was he emphasizing the current state brought about by past action/actions? Merkle chooses the first option (the consummative perfect). He gives four reasons why, but he concedes that Τετέλεσται might be emphasizing the current state, that is, be an intensive perfect.

The footnotes in this chapter contain useful information and Merkle concludes with a quote:

“This one Greek word is the final statement of God, declaring that everything he wanted to accomplish has been completed to perfection in the person and work of his Son” (Klink, John, 811).

Edward W. Klink III thinks: “The nature of the completed action is magnified by the verb’s perfect tense, which describes a past action with continuingly present-tense force.” John, ZECNT (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2016), 811.

This quote is taken from one of Merkle's notes.

Wednesday, January 17, 2024

De + the Ablative Case (Brief Remarks About Latin)

Cyprian of Carthage uses patre (ablative singular of pater) with the preposition, de. I guess the whole expression is "De Patre et Filio et Spiritu Sancto scriptum est - Et hi tres unum sunt." So, a question arises concerning what kind of ablative this construction is.

De + the ablative is a standard construction in Latin and it frequently occurs among the ante/post-Nicene Fathers. I teach students about de re and de dicto utterances; many of the ecclesiastical works in Latin also have de + the ablative constructions. For instance, De Trinitate by Augustine of Hippo, Novatian of Rome and Hilary of Poitiers, also De Civitate Dei by Augustine and so forth. Other familiar constructs are de facto and de jure.

De + patre can be rendered "of, about, concerning or regarding the Father." Basil Gildersleeve calls this usage, an ablative of object (section 417.5), which he distinguishes from the ablative of reference ("according to"). Another source classifies de + the ablative as a figurative use of de since the preposition is used elsewhere to reference a literal place (e.g., dē caelō dēmissus). See

There is also a good explanation here:

Lewis and Short explain that de + the ablative eventually came to replace the genitive and its object: they write that de along with the ablative is able to "indicate the thing with reference to which any thing is done, with respect to, concerning."

Tuesday, January 16, 2024

Hebrews and the Holy Places/Holy Place (Greek Texts)

The Holy Places/Holy Place in Hebrews

Hebrews 8:2-τῶν ἁγίων λειτουργὸς καὶ τῆς σκηνῆς τῆς ἀληθινῆς, ἣν ἔπηξεν ὁ κύριος, οὐκ ἄνθρωπος.

9:1-Εἶχε μὲν οὖν καὶ ἡ πρώτη δικαιώματα λατρείας τό τε ἅγιον κοσμικόν.

9:2-σκηνὴ γὰρ κατεσκευάσθη ἡ πρώτη ἐν ᾗ ἥ τε λυχνία καὶ ἡ τράπεζα καὶ ἡ πρόθεσις τῶν ἄρτων, ἥτις λέγεται Ἅγια·

9:8-τοῦτο δηλοῦντος τοῦ πνεύματος τοῦ ἁγίου, μήπω πεφανερῶσθαι τὴν τῶν ἁγίων ὁδὸν ἔτι τῆς πρώτης σκηνῆς ἐχούσης στάσιν,

9:12-οὐδὲ δι' αἵματος τράγων καὶ μόσχων διὰ δὲ τοῦ ἰδίου αἵματος, εἰσῆλθεν ἐφάπαξ εἰς τὰ ἅγια, αἰωνίαν λύτρωσιν εὑράμενος.

9:24-οὐ γὰρ εἰς χειροποίητα εἰσῆλθεν ἅγια Χριστός, ἀντίτυπα τῶν ἀληθινῶν, ἀλλ' εἰς αὐτὸν τὸν οὐρανόν, νῦν ἐμφανισθῆναι τῷ προσώπῳ τοῦ θεοῦ ὑπὲρ ἡμῶν·

9:25-οὐδ' ἵνα πολλάκις προσφέρῃ ἑαυτόν, ὥσπερ ὁ ἀρχιερεὺς εἰσέρχεται εἰς τὰ ἅγια κατ' ἐνιαυτὸν ἐν αἵματι ἀλλοτρίῳ,

10:19-Ἔχοντες οὖν, ἀδελφοί, παρρησίαν εἰς τὴν εἴσοδον τῶν ἁγίων ἐν τῷ αἵματι Ἰησοῦ,

13:11-ὧν γὰρ εἰσφέρεται ζῴων τὸ αἷμα περὶ ἁμαρτίας εἰς τὰ ἅγια διὰ τοῦ ἀρχιερέως, τούτων τὰ σώματα κατακαίεται ἔξω τῆς παρεμβολῆς·

Wednesday, January 10, 2024

Benjamin Merkle's "Exegetical Gems" (A Discussion)-Part XIII-Aorist Indicatives

I'm finally getting back to discussing Merkle's "Exegetical Gems": I will post four more submissions about the book before concluding my discussion of his work. This post deals with chapter 16, which covers aorist imperatives.

Merkle begins by referencing the famed article by Frank Stagg on "The Abused Aorist" (published in JBL 1972). Stagg's goal was to refute suggestions that the aorist verbal form is inherently or necessarily punctiliar (Merkle 71). Rather, any punctiliarity associated with the aorist comes from "the lexical meaning of the verb and the context."

See Easley.

Merkle illustrates this point by invoking Ephesians 4:20: ὑμεῖς δὲ οὐχ οὕτως ἐμάθετε τὸν Χριστόν

The verb there (ἐμάθετε) is aorist indicative 2nd person plural and it's negated by οὐχ ("you did not learn"). HCSB: "But that is not how you learned about the Messiah"

With this verse in mind, Merkle asks the following questions:

"In using the aorist form, is Paul indicating that this verb should be viewed as a onetime action or a single event such as conversion? Or can the verb communicate a summary statement that would allow an undetermined period of time?" 

Before answering these questions, Merkle supplies an overview of Greek aorist indicatives. This verbal tense-form is the most frequently used in the New Testament: the aorist portrays action as a whole without respect "to its progress or duration." It is the default tense for narratives, and this tense-form occurs with a past reference 80% of the time. To find out more about various uses of the aorist (e.g., ingressive, constative, etc.), see

Getting back to the chapter's focus, Merkle addresses whether ἐμάθετε in his estimation is punctiliar or could allow for an extended period of time. He begins by reviewing and assessing the stance of Ernest Best, who argues that the aorist verb in Ephesians 4:20 is punctiliar: he thinks it refers to the time when the Ephesians became Christians. However, as we read the next verse, two other verbs come into play: ἠκούσατε and ἐδιδάχθητε. Both of these verbs are aorist ("heard" and "were taught"), so how should we construe them? Moreover, what impact do they have on Ephesians 4:20?

Best applies ἠκούσατε to "the time of conversion" and ἐδιδάχθητε to "a past period of teaching" since he reckons the verb does not appropriately fit with the depiction of ongoing action. This commentator concludes: “The two verbs of hearing and being taught may refer to the same event of becoming a Christian looked at from distinct angles." The bottom line is that Best believes the aorist verbs in Ephesians 4:20-21 depict punctiliar rather than ongoing action.

On the other hand, Harold Hoehner insists that ἐμάθετε is inceptive, portraying the action at its initial stage. This would mean that the verb in this context points to "the time of conversion. Gentiles and Jews who had previously opposed God, heard Christ preached and received him. This then is the beginning point of their ‘learning Christ’" (Merkle quoting Hoehner). 

While Hoehner doesn't agree in toto with Best, Merkle appears to be less than satisfied with either explanation. He invokes Wallace, Thielman, and Lincoln to make a case for construing ἐμάθετε as a constative aorist. He quotes Wallace, who writes that a constative aorist "describes the action in summary fashion, without focusing on the beginning or end of the action specifically."

Therefore, Merkle concludes that the aorist in Ephesians 4:20 delineates action as a whole: it is not punctiliar or depicting a one-time action. Another scholar invoked is William J. Larkin. To quote Merkle, "Thus Larkin is certainly correct in writing, 'A point in time event like conversion reads too much into the aorist tense."

The next chapter in his book is about perfect and pluperfect indicatives. 

Monday, January 08, 2024

Revelation 21:4 ("He will wipe away every tear")

Greek (WH): καὶ ἐξαλείψει πᾶν δάκρυον ἐκ τῶν ὀφθαλμῶν αὐτῶν, καὶ ὁ θάνατος οὐκ ἔσται ἔτι· οὔτε πένθος οὔτε κραυγὴ οὔτε πόνος οὐκ ἔσται ἔτι. τὰ πρῶτα ἀπῆλθαν.

ἐξαλείψει is the future active indicative 3rd singular of ἐξαλείφω.

Denotations for ἐξαλείφω: "to cause to disappear by wiping" or "wipe away" (both from BDAG).

Louw-Nida (Semantic Domain 47.18): "to remove a liquid by wiping off - ‘to wipe away.’"

EGF: It is possible that Revelation 7:17; 21:4 allude to Isaiah 25:8 although there are potential difficulties with trying to link these verses in terms of how John words them. Nevertheless, it seems clear that God is the subject of the verb "wipe away." See Dave Mathewson. A New Heaven and a New Earth: The Meaning and Function of the Old Testament in Revelation 21.1-22.5. LNTS. T&T Clark, 2003. Pages 57-58.

Saturday, January 06, 2024

Ex Nihilo Nihil Fit (Paul Davies and Whether the Cosmos is a Brute Fact or Not)

"Ex nihilo nihil fit"

It seems that just as every house must have a builder and every supernova explosion likely must have an antecedently sufficient cause, so all things must issue forth from an omnipotent and intelligent cause (Hebrews 3:4). At any rate, it's difficult to believe that the cosmos is a result of chance or some accident. 

To give some food for thought, I share this quote from physicist Paul Davies' text The Mind of God (page 16):

"I belong to a group of scientists who do not subscribe to a conventional religion but nevertheless deny that the universe is a purposeless accident. Through my scientific work I have come to believe more and more strongly that the physical universe is put together with an ingenuity so astonishing that I cannot accept it merely as a brute fact. There must,
it seems to me, be a deeper level of explanation. Whether one wishes to call that deeper level 'God' is a matter of taste and definition. Furthermore, I have come to the point of view that mind--i.e., conscious awareness of the world--is not a meaningless and incidental quirk of nature, but an absolutely fundamental facet of reality. That is not to say that we are the purpose for which the universe exists. Far from it. I do, however, believe that we human beings are built into the scheme of things in a very basic way" (Italicized word appears in the original).

Friday, January 05, 2024

Robert Alter Discusses the Literary and Syntactical Features of Genesis 2

"Now, after the grand choreography of resonant parallel utterances of the cosmogony, the style changes sharply. Instead of the symmetry of parataxis, hypotaxis is initially prominent: the second account begins with elaborate syntactical subordination in a long complex sentence that uncoils all the way from the second part of [Genesis] verse 4 to the end of verse 7" (Robert Alter, Genesis, comments on Genesis 2:4).

Genesis 2:7 in Alter's work now calls God "YHWH Elohim" rather than Elohim simpliciter.

"Elijah, Yahweh, and Baal" (by H. Gunkel)--For Sale

 Please see

Some of the Best Books About Greek Ever!

A lot of different books could have been included, but I wanted to give a sampling of the great instructional guides and aids out there as well as some of the lexica. 

N. Marinone. All the Greek Verbs. 2016. 1st ed. London: Bloomsbury Publishing PLC.

2. Herbert Weir Smyth. Greek Grammar. 1956. Revised by Gordon M. Messing. Cambridge: Harvard University Press.

3. A.T. Robertson. A Grammar of the Greek New Testament in the Light of Historical Research. 4th ed. Nashville: Broadman Press. ISBN: 9780805413083, 0805413081.

4. M. G. Balme, Gilbert Lawall, and James Morwood. Athenaze : An Introduction to Ancient Greek Book I-II. 2015 Third ed. New York: Oxford University Press.

5. James Hope Moulton, W. F. Howard and Nigel Turner. A Grammar of New Testament Greek. 4 vols. 1908–1976. Edinburgh: T&T Clark.

6. Donald J. Mastronarde. Introduction to Attic Greek. 1993. Berkeley and Los Angeles, CA: University of California Press.

7. James Morwood. The Oxford Grammar of Classical Greek. 2002. Oxford; New York. Oxford University Press.

8. Albert Rijksbaron. The Syntax and Semantics of the Verb in Classical Greek : An Introduction. 2006. 3rd ed. Chicago; London: The University of Chicago Press.

9. William D. Mounce. Morphology of Biblical Greek. 1994. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

10. James A. Brooks and Carlton L. Winbery. A Morphology of New Testament Greek: A Review and Reference Grammar. 1994. Lanham: University Press of America.

11. BDAG-Danker, Frederick W., Walter Bauer, William F. Arndt, and F. Wilbur Gingrich. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature. 2000. 3rd ed. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

12. Joint Association of Classical Teachers Greek Course. Reading Greek. 2007. 2nd ed. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

13. Hardy Hansen and Gerald M. Quinn. Greek: An Intensive Course. 1992. 2nd Revised Edition. 1992. Fordham University Press.

14. J.P. Louw and E.A. Nida. Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament: Based on Semantic Domains. 1999. 2nd Ed. 2 Volume Set. United Bible Societies.

Wednesday, January 03, 2024

Put Faith in Jehovah Your God! (Modified Talk)

What does it mean to put faith in Jehovah God? What benefits can we expect by placing our faith in the living God?

King Jehoshaphat and the people of ancient Judah provide answers to these questions.

They simultaneously faced three menacing groups of enemies: the Moabites, Ammonites, and the Ammonim. This "large crowd" (2 Chronicles 20:1-2) threatened Judah and King Jehoshaphat. How would they handle this threat? Please turn to 2 Chronicles 20:12-13.

Did you notice the attitude of Jehoshaphat when these forces came against him? He immediately turned to Jehovah in prayer.

There were men, little ones and wives standing before Jehovah at that time. Nevertheless, whether young or old, they strove to follow Jehovah’s direction, and he protected them from their enemies.

One way that Jehovah came to their aid was by raising up a Levite, Jahaziel. He spoke encouraging words to King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah. Please turn with me to 2 Chronicles 20:17 to find out more about this Levite.

Jehovah comforted his people by providing them with clear direction: the battle was not theirs, but Jehovah's. Their faith in him was rewarded, but the people of Judah must have wondered what would happen next since they were instructed to go out against their enemies without using weapons. Yet their comfort would be in the fact that Jehovah promised to be with them.

If we turn to 2 Chronicles 20:21-22, we see Jehovah's response to the Judeans' faith. (Read).

Jahaziel told God's people to "stand still and see the salvation of Jehovah."

That is not how armies normally fight battles, but those instructions did not come from a human: they originated with Jehovah. Therefore, with full trust in his God, Jehoshaphat implicitly followed divine instructions. When the king and his people went out to meet the enemy, he placed unarmed singers at the front of his troops, not the most skilled soldiers. Jehovah did not let Jehoshaphat down; He soundly defeated the Moabites, Ammonites, and the people from the region of Seir by making them strike one another down. Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah were rewarded for their faith in Jehovah.

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When Gog of Magog attacks Jehovah’s people during the great tribulation, those who put faith in Jehovah and who trust those whom he is using to take the lead will have nothing to fear (2 Chron. 20:20). Their faith in Jehovah God will be rewarded with an imperishable gift--everlasting life.

Plan for the Next Month or Two

Greetings all,

My plan for the next month is to finish my discussion of Benjamin Merkle's "Exegetical Gems" and to discuss another book or two for Jan-February. I appreciate all who read this blog, whether you agree with my posts or not. Thank you. 

Monday, January 01, 2024

Origen of Alexandria and Birthdays (Comm. on Matthew 10.22)

Origen writes about birthdays in a couple of places of which I'm aware: here is one place:

For Herod having laid hold on John bound him and put him in prison, not daring to slay him outright and to take away the prophetic word from the people; but the wife of the king of Trachonitis — which is a kind of evil opinion and wicked teaching — gave birth to a daughter of the same name, whose movements, seemingly harmonious, pleasing Herod, who was fond of matters connected with birthdays, came the cause of there being no longer a prophetic head among the people. And up to this point I think that the movements of the people of the Jews, which seem to be according to the law, were nothing else than the movements of the daughter of Herodias; but the dancing of Herodias was opposed to that holy dancing with which those who have not danced will be reproached when they hear the words, We piped unto you, and you did not dance. And on birthdays, when the lawless word reigns over them, they dance so that their movements please that word. Some one of those before us has observed what is written in Genesis about the birthday of Pharaoh, and has told that the worthless man who loves things connected with birth keeps birthday festivals; and we, taking this suggestion from him, find in no Scripture that a birthday was kept by a righteous man. For Herod was more unjust than that famous Pharaoh; for by the latter on his birthday feast a chief baker is killed; (Genesis 40:20) but by the former, John, than whom no one greater has risen among those born of women, (Matthew 11:11) in regard to whom the Saviour says, But for what purpose did ye go out? To see a prophet? Yea, I say unto you, and more than a prophet.

Words of the Month (January 2024)

1) The English word "geodesic" has the potential meaning: "relating to or involving the geometry of curved surfaces. noun. 2. Also called: geodesic line. the shortest line between two points on a curved or plane surface" (Collins English Dictionary).

2) Oxymoron (English)-According to Google's Generative AI: "An oxymoron is a figure of speech that combines contradictory words to create a new meaning. For example, 'old news,' 'deafening silence,' or 'organized chaos' are all oxymorons."

Oxford Languages: "a figure of speech in which apparently contradictory terms appear in conjunction (e.g. faith unfaithful kept him falsely true ).

'that fashionable rhetorical novelty, the humblebrag, is itself an oxymoron'"

חָרַף (Hebrew)-transliterated, the word is charaph. Michael V. Fox translates charaph as "insults" in Proverbs 27:11. William McKane (in his Proverbs commentary) uses the verbs "denigrate" and vilify" to communicate the idea behind the Hebrew. Another way to translate it would be "reproach" or "taunt."