Saturday, February 28, 2015

Why Do The Scholars Miss It?

     There are people who  have  immense  knowledge  of Hebrew, Aramaic, and
Greek, the languages in  which  Yahweh gave mankind the sacred writings. They
know the  meanings  of words, are  skilled  in  grammar, and are able to translate
from  those  languages  into  English. But  their practice often  contradicts  their
knowledge. Why? I would  suggest  the  following  insights as to why this is the

     First, in  the  words  of  Paul, "Knowledge  puffs  up." (1 Cor. 8:1) Pride and
arrogance are beasts that  fight against humility within the heart. When a person
thinks they have  reached  the  pinnacle of learning, they are not likely to admit
they  are  wrong, even  when  the  evidence  is  decidedly against them! Only a
person who is genuinely humble in spirit will unreservedly say and believe, "I
am wrong." "When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes
wisdom." (Prov. 11:2, NIV-2011)

     Second, in the words of Jesus, "You have let go of the command of God and
are holding on to human traditions." (Mk. 7:8) This is true of many scholars of
the biblical languages. They know what the text teaches but they are held by the
eagle like talons of human tradition. Human tradition is a formidable force, and
its grip is difficult to break, even when holding to it clearly violates the word of
the living God. Many scholars prefer tradition over apostolic precedent!

     Third, writing  about  the  Jewish  rulers, John the apostle said, "For  they
loved the praise  of  the people  more  than  the  praise  of God." (Jno. 12:43) 
This  is  also  true of some Bible scholars. They are aware of  what  scripture
teaches, but  to  stand  on  the  sacred word would put them  at odds with their
constituents, and  they choose to be accepted by people in darkness than by the
God of light.

     It  is  important  to remember  the  three  previous  points  as to why many
scholars  miss  it;  pride,  human  tradition,  and  acceptance  by  constituents.
Scholarship is excellent if the scholar never forgets the source and purpose of
their  knowledge. Scholarship  for  the  mere  sake  of  scholarship  is  like a
hammer in the hands of a wild man; but scholarship that crowns the head of a
wise man is like a hammer in the hands of a well-trained carpenter.

     These  things  assist  us  in  understanding  why  biblical  lexicographers,
grammarians,  and  linguists  admit  the Greek verb psallo in Ephesians 5:19
does not mean to play on mechanical instruments in New Testament worship,
yet  they  continue  worshiping  with  mechanical instruments. This gives us
insight   as  to  why  lexicographers  correctly  define  baptizo  as  immerse,
submerge, or dip, but they remain affiliated with denominations that practice
sprinkling and pouring as religious acts. It sheds light on why grammarians
acknowledge the phrase "eis aphesin ton hamartion humon" in Acts 2:38
means "into" or "unto"  the  forgiveness  of  your  sins,  but  they continue
denying that immersion is necessary for the forgiveness of past sins. One
Greek grammarian, A.T. Robertson, was so vehemently opposed to the facts
that he wrote, "One will decide the use (of eis in Acts 2:38, RD) according as
he believes baptism is essential to the remission of sins or not. My view is
decidedly against the idea that Peter, Paul, or any one in the New Testament
taught baptism as essential to the remission of sins or the means of securing
such remission." (Word Pictures In The New Testament, volume 3, pages
35,36) If he had read the words of Peter (1 Peter 3:21), and Paul (Romans
6:3-4) he would have known that both Peter and Paul taught and believed
immersion  is  essential  to  salvation  from  sin! Peter  and  Paul  have  left
professor Robertson lying on the "mounds."

     Our  faith  must  rest  in  God  and  we  must  be  diligent  students and
humble practitioners of his word. In this way, even when scholars miss it,
with God's help, we can get it.

                                                                                                       R. Daly
Copyright 2015



Monday, February 23, 2015

Was Job Patient?

     In James 5:11 the American Standard Version says,  "Ye  have  heard  of the
patience  of  Job"   This  reading  has  been  the  basis  of  many  sermons  and
discussions about the "patience" of Job. A careful  reading  of  the  book of Job
leaves a person with a radically different impression about the man Job. So, we
ask, "Was Job patient?"

     Patience  is   the   quality  of   bearing  with  pain,  trouble,  or  misfortune
without complaining. So, we ask, "Did Job complain?" Or, did he bear with his
catastrophic misfortune without complaint?

     Yahweh asked the adversary, Satan, twice, "Have you considered my servant
Job?" (Job 1:8; 2:3) The adversary was granted permission to bring calamity
upon Job's possessions and family, and finally upon Job himself. Job was "afflicted
with severe boils or skin inflammation from the soles of his feet to the crown of his
head." (Job 2:7) His suffering was so great that when his friends, Eliphaz, Bildad,
and Zophar went to comfort him, that they did not recognize him from far away,
and they raised their voices, and wept, and tore their robes and sprinkled dust on
their heads toward heaven." (Job 2:11-12) Furthermore, "they sat down with him
on the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spoke a word to him: for
they saw that his suffering was very great." (Job 2:13)

     After this Job speaks. The text says he "cursed the day of his birth." Job opened
his mouth, and among other things he said, "Let the day perish on which I was born;"
"Why did I not die from the womb? Why did I not die when my mother gave birth
to me?" "I am not at ease, neither am I quiet, neither do I have rest; but trouble
comes!" (Job 3:1, 11, 26) This clearly shows us that Job complained! Job was very
impatient. But what about James 5:11, where the ASV says, "Ye have heard of the
patience of Job?"

     Interestingly, the  ASV  gives  an  alternate reading in a footnote that says, "or
endurance." In  other  words,  the  "minority  judgment"  of  the   translators who
translated the letter of James for  the  ASV  New  Testament  committee  placed
the  accurate translation in a footnote. It should have been placed in the text.

     The Greek word in James 5:11 is hupomone. It means endurance, perseverance,
steadfastness. It describes the capacity for resolute continuance in a course of
action. James' point is  not that Job was patient, in that he did not complain; (he
did), but he endured great suffering. He did not give up! This is why translations
such as  the RSV, NASB, NIV, NRSV, and ESV speak of the steadfastness,
endurance, or perseverance of Job.

     Once  again  we  have  shown the  importance  of  comparing  several  good
translations when studying the scriptures. Perhaps the wisdom of the writer of the
Proverbs is applicable for those who lock themselves into using only one version
in Bible study: "Where there is no guidance, a people falls, but in the abundance
of counselors there is safety." (Proverbs 11:14, ESV)

                                                                                                              R. Daly
Copyright 2015


Friday, February 13, 2015

Lucifer, Son of the Morning

     In Isaiah 14:12 the KJV speaks of "Lucifer, son of the morning." This has led
many people through the centuries to surmise that the reference is to the devil,
Satan, who as they believe was cast out of heaven.

     Herein lies a threefold problem. (1) The word "Lucifer" was taken from the
Latin Vulgate, not the Hebrew text. (2) The word "Lucifer" even if it were correct
(which it is not) does not refer to Satan. To give it this reference ignores the
context. (3) This does not accurately reflect what the Hebrew text says.

     More modern English versions such as the ASV, RSV, NASB, NIV, NRSV,
and HCSB drop "Lucifer," and more accurately read, "Day star" "Star of the
morning" and "Shining morning star." Why do they depart from the rendering of
the KJV? Why have they abandoned the traditional rendering "Lucifer?" It is for
the sake of accuracy. When traditional translations are inaccurate they must be
abandoned for the sake of textual accuracy. Accuracy must always "trump"
tradition! (cf. Mark 7:8)

     The phrase in the Hebrew text is  helel ben-sahar.  The Brown-Driver-Briggs
Hebrew lexicon indicates the meaning helel to be "a shining one, epithet of king
of  Babylon." (page 237) Holladay's lexicon  defines it as "morning star." Other
Hebrew lexicons agree.

     Contextually, the "day star" or "morning star" does not refer to Satan, but
the king of Babylon. In verse 3, Isaiah said, "You will take up this taunt against
the king of Babylon." (NIV-2011) Briefly stated, the "taunt" or "proverb" was
against the king of Babylon because of his pomp, arrogance, and conceit! "Babylon,
the jewel of kingdoms, the pride and glory of the Babylonians, will be overthrown
by God like Sodom and Gomorrah." (Isaiah 13:19) Babylon would come to an
end. Her king would descend to Sheol, the place of departed spirits. He would
become as weak as the nations he has overthrown. Maggots would be his bed and
worms would be his covering! (Isaiah 14:11) The king of Babylon would fall from
heaven, that is, a high and exalted position. Cast down to the earth! Yes, he will
"bite the dust." He would be brought low! He who said "I will ascend to the
heavens...above the stars" would meet complete disaster.

     Yahweh hates pride. May we never forget, "Pride goes before destruction,
a haughty spirit before a fall." (Proverbs 16:18 NIV-2011)

                                                                                                               R. Daly

Copyright, 2015