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Question #1:  

Can you tell me what version of the Bible you use in your Bible studies on your Ichthys web site? Please and thank you!!

Response #1: 

Generally speaking, the citations at Ichthys include a standardized abbreviated reference (e.g., "KJV", "NIV", "NASB").  However, when no such designation occurs following the verse reference, it means that the translation is original to me, taken directly from the Greek or Hebrew texts. You can find out more about this at the following link:

Where do the translations of scripture that appear at Ichthys come from?

Would you explain the abbreviations and symbols used in the translations at Ichthys?

Read Your Bible: Protection against Cults

Hope this answers your question. Please feel free to write me back if you have any further questions.

In our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob Luginbill

Question #2:  

What was the language first bible was written in and why?

Response #2: 

The original language of the Old Testament is Hebrew – because that was the language spoken by the Israelites almost exclusively from the time they came out of Egypt until the Babylonian captivity. The original language of the New Testament is Greek, because that was the lingua franca of the ancient Mediterranean world in Jesus' and the apostles' day (spoken from Spain to Afghanistan), and the NT itself was the primary means of evangelism and spiritual growth after the passing of the apostles. Additionally, some small portions of the Old Testament are in Aramaic (e.g., about half of the book of Daniel), along with a few short phrases in the New Testament. Both testaments were translated into other languages at a fairly early (i.e., 3rd century B.C. Greek Septuagint version of the OT; 2/3 century A.D. Old Latin version of the NT and OT – along with many others at this time and later). In my considered though somewhat contrarian view, none of the versions are particularly helpful for figuring out the text. I have never gotten any serious help from the Latin Vulgate, and using the Greek Septuagint as a textual guidepost in my opinion does much more harm than good. We have the full Hebrew and Greek texts, so that the versions in other languages are somewhat superfluous in any case when it comes to exegeting the Bible.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #3:  

I have a translation question for you. A Roman Catholic I am debating says that in John 3:3, the word usually translated "born again" cannot be translated that way; that it means "born from above." I checked our BibleWorks 4.0, plus Stong's, and it appears that it can mean both "from above" and 'again." Or "anew." He says by saying we are "born again" it means we are born twice from God, which isn't true. I agreed, but told him that we Christians experience two births--one from our mothers, and the second one, from the Holy Spirit. That makes the second one being born "again." I even gave him dictionary meanings for "again", one of which is "anew", but he keeps insisting it means "repeat." And that only. I told him that it must have the meaning of a second time, or anew, judging from what Nicodemus said, about how could a man enter his mother's womb and be born "a second time." Nicodemus certainly understood that Jesus meant a rebirth of some kind. But I can't get through to this guy that nobody is saying we must be born twice of God. This guy uses a lot of pseudo-mystic scribbling to make his arguments sound Oh, so profound, when instead, he comes across as confusing. And confused. Good thing our Lord never talked like that. And he hints that because I don't always understand him, is for the same reason some of Jesus' listeners didn't understand His parables. That their minds had been closed to the truth. I told him there was a world of difference between Jesus' parables and his meanderings.

I pointed out that two Catholic Bibles have "again" in them--the Vulgate and the Douay-Rheims. He says he doesn't know why they have "again" in them; maybe they were really written by Protestants, or were trying to appease protestants. I reminded him there were no Protestants around, when Jerome wrote the Vulgate. His response to me was this:

I appreciate you trying to "edge-you-dedicate" me on the (2) subjects

(1). being born from my Mom, and

(2). being "born again" (or "anew")

In case you wonder if I am "born again"...

Rest assured that by your standards I am born again, ... you can also

Rest assured that by God's standards I am born from above.

You may not agree with this, but as I see it,

"born again" is a horizontal thing. (flesh begets flesh)...(repeating what has already occurred.)

"Born from Above" is a vertical thing. (Spirit begets spirit)

"All that matters is that one is CREATED ANEW. " Gal. 6: 15

and to be created new.......

requires death."

-------------

See that "edge-you-dedicate" part? He is always writing cutesy stuff like that. He writes very mystically, and when others besides just me don't understand what he is talking about, it's because God has closed our minds to the truth.....

Oh, yeah, he also believes Jesus' death is perpetual. He also wrote:

--------

If Christ had not made his death PERPETUAL.......

(1). How could we be Baptized into his death ?... Rom. 6:3

...If his DEATH is no longer among us.

(2). How could he die for us while we were yet sinners ? Rom. 5: 8

...If his death can not reach this far.

(3). How can we PROclaim the death of the Lord until he comes, by eating THIS BREAD and DRINKING THIS CUP ,

...If his death is not Risidual

(4). How can Christ's death be at work in us...? (2 Cor. 4: 10)

...if his death is not perpetual.

(5). On the Night of the Passover, Israel ate DEAD ROASTED LAMB . (Exod. 12: 8)

In Christ's New Covenant Passover Feast we eat DEAD ROASTED WHEAT (bread) and drink THE CUP OF SALVATION.

1 Cor. 5: 7,8 / Psalm 116: 12, 13 - 19

aka; THE MASS, THE EUCHARISTIC LITURGY (Acts 20: 7)

If Christ's death is NOT PERPETUAL... we are all still in our sins.

and only a few FAITHFUL present at his crucifixion were saved."

---------

See? Now I believe in the Real Presence in Communion, but also believe that the bread and wine remain bread and wine. I don't want to get into that, though. Just letting you know how this guy thinks. He actually wrote once that Jesus' actual death only covered those who were alive at the time of His crucifixion. That since then, He must be sacrificed anew, via the Mass, so everyone else can be covered by His death. Despite my and others putting on bible verses that say that Jesus died ONCE for ALL, and is never to die again. I do know RCCers have told me, variously, that the Mass sort of taps into the original sacrifice of Christ, in a sort of "time warp"!

Anyway, can't the word mean "again, anew" as well as "from above"? Thanks and have a nice break. God bless.

Response #3: 

The Greek adverb anothen means, literally, "coming from [the direction] up". So "from above" is the most natural way to take this word. However, it very frequently also does mean "from the beginning", with the "up" in question there being temporal "anew" (i.e., from the past, which is considered "up") rather than spatial. One always has to get which of these meanings is in view (i.e., local or temporal) from the context. Both this passage, John 3:3, and also very notably Luke 3:3 are, to my mind, somewhat ambiguous. Is Luke saying that he is taking a new look at the gospel story "from the beginning", or is he claiming divine inspiration for his gospel? Inasmuch as Greek very often makes use of apo koinou, i.e., a deliberate double application when both are appropriate, it is very possible that both ideas are present in both places even if one or the other is the main idea in view, especially since if the writers saw much of a difference between the two they certainly had ways of being precise about it, Greek being what it is. As you point out very persuasively, Nicodemus definitely misunderstood that this was a second physical birth which had to follow the first birth. But Jesus' explanation of the wind as a parallel to the dynamics of the new birth make it very clear that it is an unseen, spiritual experience which follows after the first birth, so that while the physical application is clearly refuted by anothen, any distinction between the two proposed translations here (i.e., "from above", or "anew") is pretty much lost in the Greek. What we are talking about is clearly a spiritual birth which must take place after and in addition to our common physical birth – whichever way one is inclined to translate anothen. In my view, this is a good example of a debate occasioned by English' necessity to choose between one translation or the other which would leave ancient Greek speakers scratching their heads since, as I say, in Greek in this context it is a distinction without any discernible difference (on account of the flexible anothen): to be born again, you must be born from above; and if you are born from above, you have been born again.

Yes, "once and for all" would seem to be dispositive on the other argument (not to mention that the idea of a perpetual death is non-biblical and downright weird: part of the false justification for this comes from a mistranslation of Revelation 13:8, whereas in fact it is the writing of the names which took place "before the foundation of the world", not the Lamb's sacrifice at the cross). It's very difficult to argue with people whose systems of theology trump scripture (in their minds). Of course that is the main problem with R.C. theology generally. Whenever one gets into that sort of debate, one inevitably finds that the assumption that scripture settles things is faulty from the R.C. point of view.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #4:  

Hi--Thanks for your answer. I just have a quick question on the "once for all." I have wondered, does it mean "once for all time" or "once for all people"? Can one tell from the context? I always thought it meant "once for all time." Thanks. God bless.

Response #4: 

The English phrase "once and for all" translates a single word, the Greek adverb ephapax, a combination word of temporal significance only: "for once only" (but of course that is gibberish in English so "once and for all" is the better translation). This adverb in both Romans 6:10 and Hebrews 7:27 is used to show that Christ's sacrifice took place at one single point in time (and yet sufficed for all time, past and present both). So this adverb doesn't bear the meaning of "for all people", but there are plenty of scriptures that prove unlimited atonement:

On the next day, [John] saw Jesus coming towards him and said, "Behold, the Lamb of God, the One who takes away the sin of the world".
John 1:29

But if anyone hears My words and does not hold on to them, I do not condemn him. For I did not come to condemn the world but to save the world.
John 12:47

For it is the love of Christ that constrains us, having brought us to this conclusion: One died for [us] all; so then we all have died [in Him]. And He died on behalf of all so that those who are [now] alive might no longer live for themselves but for Him who died for them and was raised [from the dead].
2nd Corinthians 5:14-15

For that God was [and is] in Christ making overtures of reconciliation between the world and Himself - not taking their transgressions into account - and has entrusted us with this message (lit., "word") of reconciliation.
2nd Corinthians 5:19

[God] who wants all men to be saved and come to accept the truth. For as God is One, so there is [only] One Mediator between God and Man, Christ Jesus in His humanity, who gave Himself as a ransom for all [mankind] . . .
1st Timothy 2:4-6a

But now we do see Jesus crowned with glory and honor on account of the death He suffered, even Him who became "a little lower than the angels" [for a brief span] so that by the grace of God He might taste death on behalf of us all.
Hebrews 2:9

Unlike the [human] high priests, [Jesus] has no need of making sacrifice day by day, first on behalf of His own sins, and then for the sins of the people. For this [latter] He did once and for all when He offered Himself [as a sacrifice].
Hebrews 7:27

And He Himself is the atonement for our sins, and not just for ours, but also for the entire world.
1st John 2:2

And you know that that One appeared to take away our sins, and sin is not in Him.
1st John 3:5

Please see the link: in BB 4A Christology: "Unlimited Atonement"

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #5:  

I have a question concerning this verse, and wanted your help:

KJV 1611 I John 5:12 "Hee that hath the Sonne, hath life; and hee that hath not the Sonne, hath not life."

KJV 1769 I John 5:12 "He that hath the Son hath life: and he that hath not the Son of God hath not life."

I have noticed the differences in the 2 versions with the inclusion of "of God" in 1769. Is this a copyist error in 1611? or is this an assumption? Thanks in advance!

Response #5: 

The full phrase "the Son of God" is there in the original. Not only does it occur in the best and most ancient manuscripts, but I was unable to find any evidence for the phrase not being present in any Greek ms. That doesn't mean that there aren't some late Byzantine mss. that don't have the phrase. But it does mean that no one today would be likely to argue against its inclusion in the text. I would guess that you are absolutely correct that the 1611 version accidentally left it out, but there is no way to tell for certain. The full phrase does occur in the so-called Textus Receptus, that is, the common text used by the original translators of the King James version.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #6:  

Dear Bob: What do you say about this? The so many versions of the HB changes some of its meaning and is penalized. (Rev. 22:18-19). "I am the LORD, I change not." Malachi 3:6; open Bible: God is unchangeable. God's word is unchangeable too. In Matthew 24:35, the Lord Jesus said, "Heaven and earth shall pass away, but my words shall not pass away."

Why then are we so ready to accept changes to God's word in the form of different Bible versions? The Authorized King James text has faithfully served the body of Christ for almost 400 years. During this time, and during its translation, Satan has viciously and relentlessly attacked it. I now hear Christians attacking it too! I've heard preachers and lay people say things like, "it's too hard to read" or "it doesn't properly reflect the true meaning of the original Greek". The issue about the original Greek sets my teeth on edge--which Greek? There are Greek manuscripts galore, including the corrupted manuscripts that the Roman Catholic religion uses. The snide remarks and attacks against this utterly reliable text are unfounded.

We must remember that the Bible is a spiritual book and is understandable to those who are led by God's Spirit. It is not possible for the natural man to understand it [I Corinthians 2:14], hence paraphrasing or simplifying it will do no good. The Bible is not supposed to read like a fairy tale--Peter said, "for we have not followed cunningly devised fables" [II Peter 1:16]. The words of the Authorized King James are not laborious to me, they are beautiful and full of God's power. Even the world knows it--the Authorized King James has been listed on Norton Anthology's list of "the world's best literature" for decades.

The new versions have come up with some dangerous changes to the scriptures. The Lord God gives us stern warnings about changing His Word--

Revelation 22:18-19, If any man shall add unto these things, God shall add unto him the plagues that are written in this book: And if any man shall take away from the words of the book of this prophecy, God shall take away his part out of the book of life, and out of the holy city, and from the things which are written in this book.

Proverbs 30:5-6, Every word of God is pure: he is a shield unto them that put their trust in him. Add thou not unto his words, lest he reprove thee, and thou be found a liar.

Look at this change in the NIV:

John 3:16, For God so loved the world that He gave his one and only Son...

The authorized King James says,

John 3:16, For God so loved the world that He gave his only begotten Son.

In this instance, the NIV changes the scriptures by saying that Jesus is God's "one and only" Son instead of His only begotten Son. This change causes a contradiction in the word of God because God has more than one son according to both the King James (Genesis 6:2, Job 1:6, John 1:12) and NIV (Genesis 6:2).

I do not buy the line that the inerrant word of God is found only in the originals-- which nobody has. I know that God has the power to preserve His word and that he wouldn't leave us out in the dark with an "imperfect" translation. In the authorized King James Version God assembled, and moved with His Spirit, a team of some of the world's best scholars to translate His word into the world's most popular language, English.

The complete translator's notes of the Authorized King James scholars are not included in today's publishings. This is unfortunate because these notes say a lot about these men-- they were humble, loved the word of God, loved the King, were berated by the Catholic religion, and they desired a translation for the common man who was kept in darkness. Some of the translators where killed for their faith. This book was forged in blood, sweat, and tears.

I've heard folks make a big to-do about the italics in the Authorized KJV. Well, unlike many of today's translators, the authorized KJV translators let us know which words they had to add in translating in order to give the full meaning of the original text (these are the words in italics in the KJV). Other translators have added words too--but they don't tell you what they've added. I speak a little Spanish and know that it is oftentimes necessary to rearrange or add words so that the translation makes sense. These men went through the extra trouble of identifying which words they added. That's real scholarship and integrity.

Let's fall in love with the Authorized KJV again and stand on it. Let's get down to business and read the Word and stop spending so much time reading what others have to say about the Word in commentaries, Greek lexicons, study bibles, etc. We want the Holy Ghost to talk to us.

How many classes have you been in where every student has a different textbook? None. It just doesn't make good sense on a very practical level. We all need to be on the same sheet of music so that we are in harmony. Let's not confuse our kids by teaching/preaching from the NKJV, NIV, NASV, LB, the Message, Phillips, GN, etc.

Let's not accept the premise that the tried and true Authorized King James is somehow outdated and is to be replaced by dozens of new translations. A standard test determined the Authorized KJV reading level to be 5th grade because it contains mostly one and two-syllablic words making it one of the easiest to read. People have been getting saved by reading it for a long, long time. We know that it contains the Word of life whereby we live and grow.

Satan knows that in a generation we won't uniformly quote the scriptures. Imagine ten people with ten different translations trying to recite a psalm together. Confusion. Satan knows that many newborn babes in Christ will not have the real milk that they need in order to grow because they'll have a watered down version of the truth. He figures that if he can't kill the babes, he'll do the next best thing-stunt their growth. At the same time the world will point to Christianity and say, "They don't even have a definitive word of God. Anybody can write a Bible." They already say that the Bible was "just written by men".

Being able to talk to a child of God and have our spirits commune on the parts of God's word that we've memorized is great. I now find people who are quoting scriptures that I know, but they are worded so differently that I have to ask the reference. This is confusion, and we know who authors confusion, the enemy of our souls, the Devil. I believe that the emergence of these many different "Bible" versions is Satan's most successful attempt to attack God's word. The Bible says that in the last days there's going to be a falling away of the church and I believe that these other versions are helping to usher it along.

Response #6: 

You have raised many issues here in a somewhat rhetorical way. For the sake of clarity of discourse, it is always best to keep to one point at a time (otherwise e-mail conversations of this sort have a tendency to quickly degenerate into non-responsive tirades).

So let me see if I understand your essential position. I would hope you that you understand that Jesus did not use the King James Bible. So are you saying that you believe the King James to be inspired by God and therefore the only appropriate source of truth today? If so, I would have to differ (what about Christians who don't speak English?). But if, on the other hand, as you seemed to be implying later, you think it is the Spirit's job to keep us from error and lead us to the truth through any imperfections in translation, then why are you resistant to other imperfect translations? Indeed, if it is not really that important what was really written and what it really meant when it was written, then why do you think we need a Bible at all (for in that case why couldn't the Spirit use sermons, inspirational books, the Church fathers et al., all to equal effect)?

If you wish to canonize the efforts of a number of 17th century Classical and biblical scholars (many of whom were doubtless not even believers), this in my opinion would in fact be very much like what the Roman catholics do with the pronouncements of the pope. It is always easier to declare something settled and to fixate on it. That is why many of the old line denominations have not grown in the truth since the Reformation. Believe me when I say that it would be much easier to throw out the Greek lexicons as you suggest – so why not really simplify things and throw out the Greek and Hebrew scriptures too? In fact, why not burn them, if they are just so much "magic" (Act 19:17-20), and if the KJV is the ultimate "truth"?

The KJV is a great translation – but that is all that it is, a translation. It is imperfect as all translations are. It was imperfect at the time, and less useful now some 400 years later since it has to be translated into English to be understood. I hope that on some level you understand this. Your zeal is admirable, but I fear that you are standing up for a bad cause when you equate the KJV with the Word of God. As to Malachi 3:6, you left out the first word, Hebrew ciy, translated by the KJV "for" – not bad, but "although" is more on the mark today. This statement is made by our Lord in the context of the religious traditionalists of Malachi's day persevering in their traditions which were, as it turned out, wrong, and not based upon fearing God (v.5): "They do not fear Me, although I do not change". God and His Word were the same long before the King James, and will be long after. Treasuring the Word and learning more about it, living it and helping others to do likewise is what the Christian way of life is all about. The KJV is a good tool for this, but it is not the only tool nor a perfect tool, and to suggest that it is a substitute for understanding the original languages upon which it was based is a notion that the men who translated it would have unanimously rejected out of hand. So do I.

Here are some other links which may prove helpful:

King James "onlyists"

The KJV and Inspiration

Who wrote the KJV?

In our Lord Jesus, the Word of God incarnate,

Bob Luginbill 

Question #7:  

I think you hit the nail on the head with your earlier reply about the needle and the camel ([see the link]). It took a long time, but the end result is the same. There is certain substance to YHVH's Word and so far man has not totally messed it up beyond all recognition. As I said before, I did not realize some of the intricacies of His Word until I started learning about the time, people, place and culture in which it was originally written. That knowledge is brings a fuller meaning to Scripture.

I never meant that anything was wrong with Scripture, just that some words can convey the substance of the Message but in a different way depending on the definition of some words. Like camel/animal and camel/rope, the substance is clear but in His divine way, two different definitions can get a beautiful point across. Another word like camel is the word "narrow" in Matthew 7:14. Is the definition narrow like skinny or is it suffer tribulation? Either way only a few will make it through, but for different reasons. Many rely on the get out of jail free card that comes from faith and avoid the tribulation that sometimes comes from the fruits of true Faith. Some don't want to know the difficult definition of "narrow" because they want it all to be easy. Another example of thinking you know the definition is the word "yoke" I think most think of it as what you use to hook one ox to a plow/workload and in context with Scripture, Yahshuah's yoke was connected to a light/easy workload because He abrogated the Commandments/Laws. Or was the yoke one that connects to oxen together in order to work together to make the workload easier to handle. In regards to Yahshuah's yoke, when connected to Him in His yoke, the Commandments/Laws are not a burden because He helps guide us in His actual intent of those Commandments/Laws not the way man distorted them. Look at the word law for that matter. Is it LAW as in a negative connotations or INSTRUCTION as in a positive connotation? There is some debate as far as that goes I guess(i.e. "Torah" and it's definition into English). I see YHVH's love in Instructing us on how to live our lives. If He didn't love us he wouldn't instruct us. Loving parents instruct their children on how to live their lives, unfortunately, children sometimes see the instructions as LAWS because it restricts them from what they want to do.

The words lead us to the substance of Scripture, but sometimes modern day thought and culture can cause us to miss some key understanding or at least further understanding.

Thanks again for your time Bob, and thank you for keeping me hungry for the Word.

Response #7: 

You're very welcome. By the by, as you may know, the word "Torah" comes from the root yarah, and means "teaching" - something which clearly has both exhortative as well as prohibitive aspects. And on names, you might want to consider 1st Corinthians 16:22 where, when Paul slips out of Greek, he uses an Aramaic form of an Indo-European word for the Lord, Maran.

In our Lord Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #8:  

Hey Bob.

You kind of lost me on the 1st Corinthians 16:22 passage. Anathema Maranatha, even when translated to a language I understand, I still don't understand. I also don't understand the point of pointing out that the Greek New Testament was not all Greek. Another example of that is the word Halleluyah. We know what it means in English and yet we still use the Hebrew, go figure. Most people use Halleluyah in day to day conversation and don't know what they are saying. I think most use it like they would use the words "Yee Ha" or "Right On" or "You go girl". I will try to study this one out. Any welcome any enlightenment you might have on this subject,

Response #8: 

To me, the implications of this passage are tremendous. I always appreciate these sorts of discussions because they often force me to look at things in different ways. And scripture, if you follow it carefully and believe it unswervingly, always confirms itself and offers answers.

The fact that Paul inserted an Aramaic phrase – and this is clearly a deliberate insertion – into this otherwise Greek letter, makes the position that the letter was originally written in Greek virtually incontrovertible: marana tha has to have been added for emphasis, in a similar way as you rightly compare people nowadays saying "halleluyah!". Of course the difference is that nowadays people might not know what either "halleluyah" or "marana tha" mean (the former, of course, is Hebrew for "praise the Lord!").

The proof of such confusion is that the words marana tha are often written as one word, and often (wrongly) connected with the preceding Greek word, anathema. In fact, anathema means "curse", and that is what Paul calls down upon those who don't love the Lord. The Greek NT editions have it right in seeing that marana tha is a separate sentence altogether – an all Aramaic phrase, meaning, "O our Lord, return!" Likewise, the Aramaic phrases salted into the gospels show in a similar way that these original texts are not translations from, say, Aramaic (otherwise one would have just translated everything and certainly would not have chosen out a few phrases to include and explain). One only intersperses an original language for effect when writing in another language. From a literary standpoint, I would say that these phrases are very strong evidence for what anyone reading the NT in the original Greek would come to assume anyway, namely, that the Greek is the original. As I say, that is just one of many proofs with no convincing evidence going the other way. It is not a question of "what might have happened" but of "what did happen", and on that score it is very safe to say that the NT Greek as we possess it is (with some small amount of latitude for the textual criticism necessary to correct minor infelicities in the manuscript transmissions) essentially what Paul and the others wrote at the time. Of course it still remains to translate it and interpret it correctly (and the two tasks can't be disentangled).

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #9:  

Hello again Bob, I don't mean to beat a dead horse, but as I read Acts 21 and 22 and here the comments about Paul's communication with the Romans, it causes some questions to arise. Acts clearly points out that Paul spoke the language most common to the people he talked to. Hebrew to the Jews, and Greek to the Romans. This seems wise to do in order to help the people be more comfortable and excepting of whatever he was saying. I live close to the Mexican border and we have a large Hispanic community. It is very common to hear both English and Spanish being spoken through out Tucson. Many Hispanics are fluent in both languages as are some of the Americans. When Hispanics speak to Americans, they speak English if they know how to speak it. But these same people when amongst Hispanics, they speak Spanish even though they are in America. If you go to South Tucson, and you are Caucasian, and know Spanish, most likely you will speak Spanish because of the high percentage of Hispanics that live there. Not all Hispanics living in Tucson speak both languages fluently so it would be even more important to communicate in their language when speaking to them. Even though a person is fluent in both languages, doesn't mean he will only speak his home language. On the other hand, if a person is fluent in both languages, he will almost certainly communicate in the language most common to the person he is trying to communicate with in order to have clear and comfortable communications, like what Paul was trying to do. This is why although it is perhaps called the Greek New Testament, it makes sense that letters written to Hebrews or Jews were written in Hebrew or Aramaic and letters written to Romans or Gentiles would be written in Greek. If you are speaking to someone's heart, wouldn't you want to be on there level and be as close to them as possible in order to get your point across? Communicating to someone in a way that is not natural to them makes thing more uncomfortable, awkward and sometimes unclear. If that was not the case, there would be no reason for Acts to point that out. Why is it so hard to accept that the New Testament may have Hebrew letters written to Jews and Greek letters written to Gentiles and that these letters were translated into Greek just as the Old Testament was translated into Greek. Then Divinely placed together in a way for the masses to learn from. No Gentile Christian wants to hear that the language of any of the Scriptures were written in the Jewish language, especially if it was the Jews that put their Messiah to death. Why do think there was such an uproar with the release of the movie "The Passion Of The Christ" between the Christians and the Jews? It is like Republicans and Democrats, neither side sees the big picture. They just hate because of different views, even though they agree, they disagree for spite. Is it inconceivable that a letter written to Jewish believers would be written in Hebrew? It is far more likely that they were written in the recipients native tongue than otherwise. Paul states that he became as a people for the purpose to bring Yahshuah to them. Did Paul only do that by way of what he ate or would it have been language also?

Just because you don't find the original documents does not mean the entire New Testament was written in Greek. Like wise, just because you don't find the original documents does not mean the entire Old Testament was written in Hebrew. Why would the entire form of communication suddenly change from one language to another because of Yahshuah's Crucifixion? It makes more sense that Gentile Christians wanted to distance themselves from the non-believing Jews. They wanted to remove the Jewishness of Messiah and language, culture, and YHVH's Covenants, sadly went with it.

It seams as though there is truly to different Bibles, ours and theirs. Hebrew and Christian. No Grafting in, just two divisions and an abandonment of the Root that sustains us. Both language and people were Grafted in, not replaced. If the New Testament is Greek only, the Graft isn't taking well or the Graft is delusional.

Response #9: 

On this please refer to the other response. I have no problem with a theoretical construct which posits that Paul (or whomever) might have wanted to write or might possibly have written to whomever in whatever language. I don't think I have ever made the argument that such a thing was unthinkable or even necessarily unlikely (although there are of course strong reasons for using Greek as well). But that is not at all the question. The question really is what language did he use to write the letters which are part of the canon of scripture, and on that score, all theory aside, what we have is Greek and we don't have anything else. Also, all internal indications in the letters, all manuscript evidence, all papyrus and ostraka evidence, all the evidence from the Church Fathers, etc., etc., points in the single direction of Greek being the NT language. You are certainly free to believe what you will, but it does make a difference for your faith, because as I said on a previous occasion to the extent that the text of the Bible is fluid in someone's opinion, to that extent the person is a "Bible unto himself". It's a subtle crack in the facade of orthodoxy, but gross error has resulted from less. Ultimately, we have to have a solid foundation for our faith, and the precise words of the scripture are that foundation. One last thought on Marana Tha: Here we have Paul getting emotional about the Lord and His return and, great former Pharisee that he was, he was nevertheless using an Aramaic phrase containing an Indo-European-derived word for Lord (Mara), one which bears no relation to the tetragrammaton.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #10:  

Hi again, Dr Luginbill,

I read your thoughts on the Genesis gap; http://ichthys.com/sr2-copy.htm and posted it on our messageboard.

The Administrator thought you decided to change the word "and" beginning verse 2 to "but", and could not find a credible enough reason in your answer for doing so. She looked it up in her Hebrew to English translation, which used the word "now", making it even more confusing for her. I told her there are other gaps in the Bible, giving the most obvious example (because Jesus points to it very clearly):

************************************************

This is another instance of a gap which is at this point in time, a couple thousand years wide, and fairly easy to discern:

Isa 61:1 The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, and the opening of the prison to them that are bound;

Isa 61:2 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD, and the day of vengeance of our God ; to comfort all that mourn...

Jesus quotes this verse when teaching at synagogue, but notice how He ends in the middle of the sentence....proclaiming that this has been fulfilled, but He did not finish the sentence....why?

Luk 4:18 The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised,

Luk 4:19 To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

Luk 4:20 And he closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.

Luk 4:21 And he began to say unto them, This day is this Scripture fulfilled in your ears.

******************************************

And this was my last post on that subject:

***********************************************

There's so much in the Bible that we only get hints of, in the book of Job, there are so many things that we only have a very vague understanding of, and would be only slightly clearer if we were able to read these in their original language. I know myself from knowing a second language, if you translate a sentence from one language to another, you can get close to the original meaning and intent, but it is not going to always be 100%.

What the article above states, as far as I understand it, is there is no word for either "but" or "and" between those two verses...the way the sentence is constructed, verse one and verse two are juxtaposed to each other in such a way, that often an "and" or a "but" is positioned in such a place to make it easier to understand in our English that there are two concurrent or seperate facts given, something that would be apparent from the sentence construction in the original.

At least that is how I understood what the article states....I'm going to ask the author if that is indeed what he was stating, and let you know his reply.... ;-) 

************************************************

But she has concluded that you are arbitrarily adding to the scriptures to support your revelations, and thinks it is dangerous, so she says she will no longer read anything from you because it will poison her mind....The entire thread (only 8 postings long) is at the above link, if you would like to see it in it's entirety. If there is anything I stated incorrectly, or if it can be better stated, please help! :-) But I'm thinking that perhaps she won't be convinced anyway, and that it isn't something that I should continue to pursue.....?

Your thoughts on this would be greatly appreciated! Thanks again!

In Jesus,

Response #10: 

Thank you for your posting. Translating the adversative waw as "now" in English is entirely acceptable. I don't have a problem with that. I chose "but" because this is a teaching ministry and so I tend to put things in ways that put clarity before elegance (and many people would not understand that "now" in English, in addition to being a temporal adverb, can also be an adversative conjunction, as in the case of the translation you cite). I do think it important to point out, however, that saying that I "changed" something is a mistake. Genesis is in Hebrew and neither the KJV or NIV or RSV or NASB or whatever version a person prefers is inspired by God. They are all translations too. My translation is also based upon the original Hebrew text and is no more a "change" than "and" or "now" or whatever choice may have been made in other translations. The word in question, waw, is the most common word in the Hebrew language and admits of a variety of translations into English as we use a much larger number of conjunctions and the like in similar circumstances. But "but" is certainly not an uncommon way to render the word, especially when it introduces an adversative clause as is the case in Genesis 1:2 (as any good Hebrew grammar or lexicon will attest; cf. 1Kng.22:38 for a particularly clear example).

The second thing to point out here is that Genesis 1:2 does in fact begin with the word waw, which I am translating "but". That is to say, if a version begins translating Genesis 1:2 simply with "The earth was . . .", that would be overlooking the word waw entirely. So the word is there in Hebrew. The question should not be if to translate it but only how to translate it. What I attempt to explain in SR #2: "The Genesis Gap", albeit this is perhaps a bit confusing for those who don't have any Hebrew, is that in Hebrew syntax when the waw is followed by a noun or other substantive, that always produces a strong contrast or adversative construction, that is to say, a "but", not a simple addition, that is to say, an "and". The use of "now" in English represents this, but not as clearly as "but". Using "and" in Genesis 1:2 is really a mistranslation, because to the non-Hebrew reader it fails to convey any distinction between the relatively rare and striking adversative construction found here and the far more common situation in which the next verb follows the waw and merely adds something (instead of introducing a strong contrast as we have here). In fact, in Hebrew, the occurrence of a non-verb following the waw is always jarring – it can't help but get your attention because it only occurs this way perhaps one out of a hundred times. So the word order here is highly significant, and overlooking that fact by translating "and" is really to engage in mistranslation. The reason why so many versions ignore, overlook, and deliberately downplay the actual Hebrew text is precisely because they fail to see the gap or wish to obliterate evidence of the gap (because it doesn't agree with their preconceived theology).

Finally, don't be surprised at the reaction of your moderator. The Genesis gap is one of those "litmus test" issues in the Bible which separate people who are really trying to find out what the Bible says from those who really aren't interested. It is a very important teaching, because without it so much of the supernatural conflict of the Satanic Rebellion and God's construction of the ages as the framework for human history is impossible to understand. I have always been amazed at the level and the intensity of the hostility I receive from seemingly straight-laced Christians on this issue, but, as I say, I have become used to it. I think the fact that your moderator is unwilling even to listen to a reasonable explanation of the interpretation speaks volumes. There are certain things that the devil is really unwilling to have people consider, because if and when they do they are likely to begin understanding scripture better, growing spiritually, and producing for the Lord. Here are some links which explore the phenomenon just discussed in more detail:

Opposition to the Genesis Gap from the Creation Research Institute et al.

The Shape of the Universe, Hominids, and the Genesis Gap.

The Grammar behind the Genesis Gap.

Questioning the Genesis Gap

Whatever Happened to the Genesis Gap?

Where Can I Find More Information on the Genesis Gap?

Ex Nihilo Creation

Tohu in Genesis 1:2
 

Thanks again for your interest in this ministry - keep on fighting the good fight of faith.

In Him who is our only truth, our dear Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.

Bob L.

Question #11:  

I posted this word for word to our thread and this as well:

Luginbill changes the "and" to "but". His analysis clearly shows the "waw" or "vav" beginning the word earth in verse two, where it is not present in the word for earth in verse one, and also posted this great site that teaches Hebrew (although I haven't gotten past the alphabet) but there's lots of other great articles here too: Ichthys.com

Also, about the rule of the waw before a noun....how did you come to learn that rule? Is it OK to translate this construction as "now ..."? Is there someplace that rule can be found, or is it something you came to understand through many years of study? Do you speak Hebrew fluently? Would an Israeli understand what you spoke to him in Hebrew? I'm curious, sorry if I'm being too intrusive...

In Jesus,

Response #11: 

Thanks for all your efforts! As to Hebrew, I had some Modern Hebrew but most of my training is in Biblical Hebrew (that was what I focused on in my first masters degree). I have been studying/reading/exegeting the Hebrew OT for getting close to 30 years now. The question of the differences between Modern and Biblical Hebrew is not an easy one to answer. A person who is born and grows up in Israel speaking Modern Hebrew as his/her first language but with no specialized work in Biblical Hebrew will have some advantages, but will not be able to understand much of what is in the Old Testament, and least not precisely. It's first of all a question of vocabulary: some of the words are the same today, but many have changed and many biblical words would be completely unknown to the Modern-only speaker. Secondly, it's a question of simplification: the Biblical Hebrew verbal system is quite complex and, while there are parallels to it in Semitic languages, is quite different from what we have in the West which is dominated by Indo-European languages. That is not as much of a non sequitur as it may seem, because the people who resurrected Hebrew were all first language Indo-European language speakers (of English, German, Spanish, French, Russian - even Yiddish is best described as a dialect of German, though it has a large Hebrew derived vocabulary). As a result, the Modern-only speaker will have a hard time with the verbal system and in many ways a harder time than you or I since he/she has preconceived ideas from Modern Hebrew about what things can do and can't do (that is also an issue in vocabulary in many cases where the same words exist in Modern but have changed meaning and nuance considerably - one can see that too in English reading, e.g., when we read the KJV, but it's a much more pronounced phenomenon in Hebrew). Also on this point, BH is filled with nominal suffixes on verbs and nouns, something entirely alien to the Modern-only speaker. Finally, Modern Hebrew has what is essentially an Indo-European syntax, so that the Modern-only speaker finds the grammatical structure of BH the biggest stumbling block. The grammar of BH is complicated, not highly parallel to what we are familiar with in terms of clausular structure (and so not what Modern-only speakers are familiar with), and has a number of peculiarities of construction which are unique to BH even among Semitic languages.

Probably for just these reasons, the grammar of BH has not been as well understood or described as the grammar of some other ancient languages such as Greek and Latin. And there is precious little interest in modern academia for precise and philological grammatical studies (that was "a 19th century thing"). What passes for grammar study today is something completely different (and completely useless for our purposes of understanding "what it says and what it means" - "linguistic/semantic" stuff, Chomsky stuff, et al.). As a result, when involving oneself in serious grammatical research of the OT, one has to turn to a variety of resources starting with the 19th century and becoming more sporadic with advancing time. There are some good things out there (for a start, see the link: "Hebrew Language Study Tools"). However, once a person has mastered the language, reading it day by day, translating it as a matter of one's exegetical program, and using the Hebrew concordance to find parallels in questionable cases is the approach that really pays off. As the Genesis gap issue shows, no matter how detailed one's explanation, people still aren't necessarily going to accept what they don't want to accept. Still, I find it important to provide the reasoning, exegesis, and scriptural/theological parallels and explanations for everything I teach – and stand ready to answer questions on all positions. That has always seemed to me the right way to go.

Hope this helps.

In Jesus,

Bob L.

Question #12:  

Hello Bob - I hope this message finds you well.

I am perplexed by something (what's new, eh?) that I am hoping you can help me understand.

In Dan 7:14 we see the word 'served' and I show the word there is pelach in Aramaic. When I look up that word it seems to mean minister, or religious service. But when I posted about this on a forum, this is the response I got:

יד וְלֵהּ יְהִב ש ָלְטָן, וִיקָר וּמַלְכוּ, וְכֹל עַמְמַיָּא אֻמַּיָּא וְלִשּ ָנַיָּא, לֵהּ יִפְלְחוּן; ש ָלְטָנֵהּ ש ָלְטָן עָלַם, דִּי-לָא יֶעְדֵּה, וּמַלְכוּתֵהּ, דִּי-לָא תִתְחַבַּל. {פ}

This is Daniel 7:14. It's not Hebrew, it's pure Aramaic. The word used for "serve" is יִפְלְחוּן (yiflehun), meaning work. Modern Hebrew took the Hebrew word 'Avodah for work, and adopted the Aramaic word "Falhan" for worship. In the original Aramaic it meant "Work" in all it's forms. Arabic "borrowed" the word and a well-known derivative "Falah" means "peasant." In short, the word used is "work" and not "service."

I'm trying to understand why his word is totally different in this place and what the word actually means. I know in some versions of the LXX this is rendered as LATREOUSA <sp? which is a form of LATREUO which does mean sacred service. I'm just confused on the conflict with this person and hoping you can help me understand. I know absolutely nothing about the languages of the OT.

I appreciate your time and effort my friend and pray the Lord bless you and your family.

Response #12: 

To begin, the Jewish Publication Society's translation in this passage is "serve" as well. I'm not sure what this fellow's agenda is. As you are I am sure aware, this passage is speaking of the Messiah's commissioning to rule the world. He receives "dominion, glory, and a kingdom . . . that all might serve Him". The verb cannot possible mean "work" here because "work" is an intransitive verb and here we have a direct object: "HIM". As to the meaning of palach, in Aramaic (which is indeed what we have in this section of Daniel), it can mean "serve" or "pay reverence to" according to the BDB lexicon, the KB lexicon, Gesenius' lexicon, and Jastrow's lexicon. It also frequently has this meaning in the Targums, the ancient Aramaic translations of the Hebrew Bible. On top of that, if we had no lexical help, the context here alone would demand something like "worship" by just filling in the blank: "The Father gave the Messiah glory, honor and the kingdom in order that all the nations and peoples of the world might ___________ Him".

It is true that both Gesenius and Jastrow admit of the possibility of "work" as a translation in some contexts, and that might indeed be the original idea behind the root. But while etymology is helpful to see how meanings are derived, it is not decisive in explaining the way words are actually used. That is to say, "usage is king" (to paraphrase Horace), and beyond any doubt the well-attested usage of palach allows us, and I would say requires us to translate something like "serve/worship/minister to", all of which in this context would be synonymous ideas. In Latin, the word for worship is colo, a verb which originally means to "work the soil" or "cultivate", but by extension it comes to mean serve/worship. That seems to be precisely what is going on here with palach. That is to say, by "working at something hard and scrupulously" we are essentially serving it, ministering to it, or worshiping it – when the object is a person rather than the soil, and, in the last case, where the Person is divine, "worship" seems just the right translation.

I hope this clarifies things for you. Please feel free to write back about any of this.

In our dear Lord Jesus who will rule forever.

Bob L.

 

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