Tuesday, February 22, 2011


     The word baptisma is a noun and it occurs 19 times in the Greek N.T.
The English translations represent it as "baptism" in the various passages
where it is found. The word "baptism" is actually a gloss, that is, a misleading
interpretation and not a true translation of baptisma. The translators drop
the "alpha" from the end of the word and bring it over as "baptism." The
problem is, baptisma does not mean "baptism." That is like saying, "theos"
means "theos" or "ekklesia" means "ekklesia."

     Baptisma means "immersion, submersion, plunging, or dipping." Most of
the older and modern Greek lexicons define it as such and most of them cite
evidence from the ancient Greek writings as proof. We will examine a notable
exception at the end of this study.

     Among the older lexicons are A Greek and English Lexicon Of The 
New Testament by Edward Robinson, 1879 edition, page 119; A Greek-
English Lexicon Of The New Testament (Clavis Novi Testamenti
Philologica of C.G. Wilke/C.L. Grimm), translated, revised, and enlarged by
Joseph Henry Thayer, 1889 edition, page 94; Greek-English Lexicon To 
The New Testament, a new edition with additions and alterations, revised by
Thomas Sheldon Green, page 29. 

     The more recent lexicons are Greek-English Lexicon With a Revised
Supplement, compiled by Henry George Liddell and Robert Scott, revised
and augmented by Henry Stuart Jones, Roderick McKenzie and many scholars,
1996 edition, pages 305-306; Theological Dictionary Of The New 
Testament, volume 1, page 945; A Patristic Greek Lexicon, edited by
G.W.H. Lampe, page 284; and A Greek-English Lexicon Of The New 
Testament And Other Early Christian Literature, Walter Bauer-Frederick
Danker-W.F. Arndt-F.W. Gingrich, third edition (2000), page 165.

     Baptisma is used literally in the N.T. regarding salvation in Christ when
water is the element. (1 Peter 3:20-21; cf. Acts 10:47 where the verb form  
baptizo is used.) It is also used figuratively in the N.T. Jesus speaks of being
"immersed with the immersion with which I am immersed." (Mark 10:38) This
refers to Jesus' sufferings and death. Jesus says, "I have an immersion to be
immersed with..." (Luke 12:50) The meaning is to be inundated, overwhelmed,
or immersed in suffering or persecution.

     The lexicons are correct in their definitions of baptisma. This is clear from
the complimentary metaphors that Paul uses in his letter to the Romans. He
speaks of  being "buried with him through immersion." (sunetaphemen oun 
auto dia tou baptismatos). There is no burial signified by sprinkling and pouring.
A burial is pictured in immersion. As Christ was raised from the dead through the
glory of the Father, so we rise from the act of immersion in water to walk in
newness of life. Paul says the same thing to the brothers and sisters in Colossae.
(Col. 2:12)

     The N.T. also records complimentary literal phrases that prove the action
is immersion. Acts 8:38-39 Luke says, "And they both went down into the 
water (kai katebesan amphoteroi eis to hudor), Philip and the eunuch, and
he immersed him. And when they came up out of the water (hote de anebesan 
ek tou hudatos), the Spirit of the Lord carried Philip away..." Notice that the text
says they "went down into the water and came up out of the water. Neither
sprinkling nor pouring necessitates these actions; immersion does.

     It is interesting to note that the Greek-English Lexicon Of The New 
Testament Based On Semantic Domains, by Johannes P. Louw and Eugene
A. Nida, volume 1, page 537, defines baptizo, baptisma, and baptismos as "to
employ water in a religious ceremony designed to symbolize purification and
initiation on the basis of repentance..." It is not without theological prejudice that
they use the generic phrase "to employ water in a religious ceremony." This allows
a broad range of interpretation that includes sprinkling, pouring, and/or immersion.
The N.T. use of baptizo, baptisma, or baptismos does not allow such a broad
range of interpretation. Their definition of those words is incorrect. Other lexical
evidence and more importantly N.T. contextual evidence shows the wisdom
of "not risking the family farm" on the testimony of prejudicial sources. Lexicons
are important tools for studying the original languages of sacred scripture, but
they must be used with discretion.

Copyright 2011

Thursday, February 10, 2011


     Doulos is found in several documents of Greek antiquity. It appears
in  Herodotus  (5th century B.C.),  the inscriptions,  the  papyri, Philo,
Josephus, etc.

     Doulos occurs more than 300 times in the Septuagint. It occurs
124 times in the Greek New Testament.  Doulos is a theologically
significant word. The Hebrew word 'ebed is a close correspondent to
doulos'Ebed carries a range of meaning such as servant, official,
slave. The Greek doulos literally means slave, one who is "owned
property totally and unquestionably at the behest of the   owner." 
(Concise Greek-English   Lexicon   of   the   New Testament,
F. W. Danker, page 101) 

     In  ancient  society  slaves  were  sometimes  captives  of  war.
(Deut. 20:10-18); sometimes foreigners who were bought and sold.
(Lev. 25:44-46); others  were  sold  into  slavery  because  they
defaulted   on   debts   they   owed.  (Ex. 21:2-4;  Deut. 15:12;
1 Sam. 22:3);  others  were  acquired  as  a  gift.  (Gen. 29:24).
Non-Hebrew slaves could be passed on from one generation to
the next. (Lev. 25:44-46). Others could become slaves by birth.
(Ex. 21:4; Lev. 25:54)

    In the N.T. doulos is sometimes used literally. (Eph. 6:5; Col. 4:1;
Philemon 16) The term is also used metaphorically to describe a
person who is under total obligation to surrender his will to the Lord
Christ. The person becomes the property of the deity. He has been
"immersed into the name of the Father and of the Son and of the
Holy Spirit." (Mat. 28:19)

     On  this  basis,  "Paul  is  a  slave  of  Jesus  Christ."  (Rom. 1:1)
Believers generally are slaves "of obedience that leads to righteousness."
(Rom. 6:16) The apostles were slaves of Christians for the sake of
Jesus. (2 Cor. 4:5) Paul's helpers were slaves of Christ Jesus. (Phil. 1:1)
James identifies himself as "a slave of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ."
(Jas. 1:1) Peter was "a slave and apostle of Jesus Christ." (2 Pet. 1:1)
Jude was "a slave of Jesus Christ." (Jude 1). John the apostle was the
Lord's slave. (Rev. 1:1) The apostles and all believers in the apostolic
age were not averse to being known as slaves. They  considered servility
to be a privilege!

     Most English translations of the scriptures have been reluctant to use
the word slave in such contexts. They have opted for the more palatable
word "servant."  The Holman Christian Standard Bible has broken
away from tradition in this regard. It correctly interprets doulos to mean

Copyright 2011

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


     2 Peter 2:4 in Greek says, "ei gar ho theos aggelon hamartesanton 
ouk epheisato alla seirais zophou tartarosas paredoken eis krisin
teroumenous." The translation is, "For if God did not spare angels when
they sinned, but cast them into Tartarus, and committed them to chains of
deepest darkness to be kept for judgment." What is "Tartarus?"

     Historically, in the ancient Greek writings, Tartarus is found in Acusilaus
Historicus in the 5th century B.C. ; Lydus, Joannes Laurentius Historicus
Mensibus 4.158 in the 6th century A.D. and other sources. (cf. Greek-
English Lexicon, 9th Edition, page 1759, H.G. Liddell, R. Scott, Henry
Jones, and Roderick McKenzie)  According to them it means to cast into
Tartarus or hell.

     Tartarus is also used in the patristic writings and covers a wide range
of meanings such as Hades, the nether world, , hell; as a place of torment
and abode of the Devil; metaphorically of this world, opposite heaven;
synonymously with the Devil. (cf. A Patristic Greek Lexicon, pages
1375, 1376, G. W. H. Lampe, editor)

     E. A. Sophocles informs us in his Greek-English Lexicon of the
Roman and Byzantine Periods, volume 2, page 1070, that tartaros
was one of the compartments of hell and that the verb tartaroo means
to cast into Tartarus.

     In Greek mythology Tartarus is the place of the Titans and of
disobedient gods and is conceived as a gloomy place deep under the
earth. Hesiod Theogonia 720ff ; Homer Illiad 14.279f.

     In the N.T. the word occurs only once and is used in the participle
form in 2 Pet. 2:4. It means to "hold captive in Tartarus ." (A Greek-
English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian
Literature, Walter Bauer and Frederick William Danker, page 991)

     It is sometimes stated that, according to the N.T. Tartarus is the place
where the incorrigibly wicked go between death and the resurrection.
That is not quite right and the reason is, the N.T. says Tartarus is the
place where God cast the angels who sinned. It is not viewed as the
place where all the wicked dead go.

     There is no doubt that the wicked are in a place of punishment
between death and the resurrection. Luke 16:23 teaches they are in
Hades, where they are being tormented in a flame. (Also see 2 Peter 2:9)
But, the only time that Tartarus is mentioned in scripture, it is said to
be the place where God cast the angels who sinned. Therefore, we may
conclude by saying, in the N.T. Tartarus is the place of punishment
where angels who sinned are being held till the day of judgment.

Copyright 2011