Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Gleukos: "Sweet Wine"

     According to Luke, on the day of Pentecost when the Jews heard the apostles
speaking  in  the  various dialects  of  the  Jews  from  every  nation under heaven
(Acts 2:5),   they   mocked   them  saying,  "They   are   filled   with   sweet wine."
(Acts 2:13)

     The phrase "sweet wine" translates gleukos. The question is, was gleukos only
used for unfermented wine, or can it also indicate fermented    wine?   If     it     is  
correct    that    gleukos  is only   unfermented wine, it  is  strange  that  they  used
an  idiom  for  drunkenness,  "They  are filled with gleukos." (Acts 2:13) So, it
seems that gleukos could have some degree of fermenting  properties, at  least  in
this  context. It was sweet immature wine, or partially fermented wine that had not
reached full strength. The context makes this clear. Otherwise how could they have
judged the apostles as acting like men who were intoxicated? Unless of course, one
can become intoxicated on unfermented grape juice. The NIV-2011 translates the
idiom in this way, "They have had too much wine." The Exegetical Dictionary  Of  
The  New  Testament,  volume  1, page  251,  interprets  the  phrase "full of sweet
wine" in this way; "incompletely fermented new wine." In view of the context I believe
this is correct.    

     If anyone is disposed to argue by saying, "Filled with sweet wine does not mean
drunkenness," then  look  at  Peter's  response,  "For these are not drunk as you
suppose; seeing it is the third hour of the day." (verse 15)

     The apostles were filled with something; they were "filled by the Holy Spirit."
(Acts 2:4)

                                                                                                             R. Daly
Copyright 2013

Friday, December 13, 2013

Categorizing Biblical Languages' Grammars

     Biblical    languages'   grammars,   like   biblical    languages'    lexicons   are
indispensable   research   tools   for  correctly   interpreting  the  word  of  truth.
(cf. 2 Timothy 2:15) Accurately teaching the truth is one  of  the most  important
responsibilities of the biblical exegete.  Therefore, the student of the text should
use the best available resources that assist with an indepth analysis of the text.

     As  noted  in  a  previous  post   titled  Categorizing  Biblical  Languages'
Lexicons, sacred scripture was originally written  in  three  languages. The Old
Testament was  primarily  written  in  Hebrew  with relatively small  portions in
Aramaic, and the New Testament was written in Greek.  

     The  grammars  of  biblical  Hebrew  and  Aramaic  fall  into  three  general
categories and  they are elementary, intermediate, and  advanced. The elementary
Hebrew grammars introduce the student to the alphabet and vowels, and they
delineate some of the basic "rules" of the language. A person must be extremely
careful not to build doctrinal theories  on  the  "rules"  listed  in  the  elementary
grammars  because  there  are  notable  exceptions  to  some  of  their   "rules."
     Examples of  elementary  Hebrew  and  Aramaic  grammars  are: A Practical 
Grammar For Classical Hebrew by J. Weingreen; Biblical Hebrew A Text
and Workbook by Bonnie Pedrotti Kittel, Vicki Hoffer, and Rebecca Abts
Wright; A Modern Hebrew Grammar For Classical Hebrew by Duane A.
Garrett; Basics of Biblical Aramaic by Miles V. Van Pelt; and An Introduction
To Aramaic, Second Edition, by Frederick E. Greenspahn. Examples of
Intermediate Hebrew grammars are: Linguistics And Biblical Hebrew edited
by Walter R. Bodine; A Biblical Hebrew Reference Grammar by Christo
H. J. van der Merwe, Jackie A. Naude and Jan H. Kroeze; and Introduction
To Biblical Hebrew Syntax by Bruce Waltke and Michael Patrick O'Connor. 
An example of an Advanced Hebrew grammar is: Gesenius' Hebrew Grammar,
Second English Edition, edited and enlarged by E. Kautzsch and A. E. Cowley   

     The grammars of biblical Greek are also categorized as elementary, intermediate,
and advanced. Th elementary Greek grammars introduce the student to the
alphabet, vowels, and some of the basic "rules" of the language. The student must
be be careful not to build a doctrinal system on the basic "rules" found in elementary
grammars because there are exceptions to the rules that are not explained in these
grammars. They are introductory and sometimes misguided in their approach to
the language. 

     Examples of elementary Greek grammars are: Beginner's Grammar of the
Greek New Testament by William Davis; An Introduction To The Study
Of New testament Greek by J. H. Moulton; Essentials Of New Testament
Greek by  Ray  Summers;  New  Testament  Greek,  and  A  Beginning and 
Intermediate Grammar by James Allen Hewett.  Hewett's grammar is probably
the most practical of those I have listed. Examples of intermediate Greek grammars
are: A Manual Grammar Of The Greek New Testament by H. E. Dana and
Julius R. Mantey; Basics Of Biblical Greek by William D. Mounce; and  
Handbook To The Grammar Of The Greek Testament by Samuel G. Green. 
Examples of advanced grammars of New Testament Greek are: A Treatise On 
The Grammar Of New Testament Greek by G. B. Winer; Greek Grammar 
Beyond The Basics by Daniel B. Wallace; A Grammar Of The Greek New 
Testament In The Light Of Historical Research by A. T. Robertson;
Grammar Of The New Testament And Other Early Christian Literature,
by F. Blass and A. Debrunner, translated  and  edited  by  Robert  Funk;  and   
Grammar  Of  New Testament Greek, 4 vols., by James Moulton and Nigel
Turner. Though it is not strictly a grammar of New Testament Greek, Greek 
Grammar by Hebert Weir Smyth, revised by Gordon M. Messing must be
mentioned because of its detail and it contains information that is relevant to the
study of New Testament Greek. It is an important reference grammar of ancient

     Hebrew, Aramaic,  and  Greek  grammars  are  generally  well  researched,
but they like lexicons were written by human beings and must be used with caution.
The "rules" they postulate are sometimes  formulated  by  theological  prejudices
instead of being substantiated by the facts. The truth-seeker will follow the road
where the facts lead because he doesn't have to hope for light at the end of the
tunnel. There is light in the path all along the way!
                                                                                                       R. Daly

Copyright 2013

Tuesday, December 10, 2013


     The word paradise occurs 3 times in most English translations of the
New Testament. (Luke 23:43; 2 Corinthians 12:4; Revelation 2:7) Paradeisos
is a Persian (Iranian) loanword. The Old Persian word  pairidaeza originally
meant "enclosure," then "park" or "garden." It occurs in Biblical Hebrew as
pardes. (Nehemiah 2:8; Song of Solomon 4:13, and Ecclesiastes 2:5) In
Jewish Aramaic the word is pardes(a) meaning "garden." In the Septuagint
(LXX) paradeisos denotes God's garden. (Genesis 2:8-10,16)  In  the  New
Covenant  the  word paradeisos is used to describe the realm of the blessed.
The word appeared  in  French as paradis, and  eventually  into  English
as paradise.

     Each  of  the  three  occurrences  of  the  word  paradeisos in the New
Testament sheds important light about paradise, its nature, and inhabitants.
Let us briefly examine the contexts and resultantly overflow with exuberance
as we anticipate life beyond the grave.

     Luke 23:43. This passage is set in the context of Jesus' conversation
with the repentant criminal while they hang on their crosses. Two criminals
were crucified with Jesus. One of them railed at the Lord," 'but the other
rebuked him saying, "Do you not fear God, since you are under the same
sentence of condemnation? And we indeed justly, for we are receiving the
due reward of our deeds; but this man has done nothing wrong.' And he said,
'Jesus remember me when you come into your kingdom.' And he said to him,
'Truly,  I   say   to   you,   today   you   will   be   with   me   in   Paradise.' "
(Luke 23:39-43; ESV) Interestingly, the Greek phrase is en to paradeiso
("in the paradise"). This is likely the par excellence use of the article. This
paradise is incomparable. It is the ultimate "paradise" unlike any other place
of happiness, pleasure, and blessedness. That  very  day  the  man would be
"with Jesus" in the Paradise. He would enjoy fellowship with Jesus! While the
criminal was crucified on the cross, he crucified his old self and took up his
cross to follow Jesus from death to life eternal! The suffering the criminal
would endure on his cross would pale in comparison to what awaited him
immediately after death!

     2 Corinthians 12:3. In  this  context, Paul  writes  about  "visions  and
revelations of the Lord." (v. 1) Then he speaks of himself as a "man in Christ
who fourteen years ago was caught up into the third heaven...caught up into
the paradise." The phrase "third heaven" (tritou ouranou) refers to the very
home of God. The highest of the heavens. "The paradise" (ton paradeison)
is used to identify the "third heaven" as a place of blessedness and release
from  earthly  struggles. (cf. 2 Corinthians 11:23-27)   Paul   needed   the
encouragement that resulted from this transcendent experience. He also
learned two great lessons: (1) A "thorn in the flesh" can be used as a positive
inducement to humility. (2) Divine grace is sufficient to give power to endure
weaknesses. Paul   said,   "For   when   I am  weakthen  am I  strong."
(2 Corinthians 12:10)

     Revelation 2:7. The congregation of Christ in Ephesus was told, " 'To
the one who conquers I will grant to eat of the tree of life, which is in the
paradise of God.' " The tree of life was in the garden of Eden. (Genesis 2:8-9)
Yahweh planted the garden in Eden. (Genesis 2:8) The tree of life is in the
paradise of God (to paradeiso tou theou). This is God's "garden" and the
most important "tree" (source of life) ever known is there. Those who conquer
are granted permission to eat from the tree of life. They have conquered sin
through Jesus the Messiah .  The "paradise of God" in this context is the
place for conquerors and the place of life. It is the place where the righteous
will  experience full  communion  with  God, the  author of  life, the  giver
of  blessedness, and the guarantor of immortality. It is in God himself that
these things become reality. (cf. Isaiah 51:3) The congregation had
abandoned the love it had at first. She had fallen and needed to undergo a
radical change. By doing so her fellowship with God would be restored.
Then she would be at home with God and have a place in his courts to rest!
                                                                                                  R. Daly
Copyright 2013




Wednesday, December 4, 2013

Categorizing Biblical Languages' Lexicons

     The Old Testament was primarily written in Hebrew with small sections of
Aramaic. The New Testament was written in Greek. It is called koine Greek.
Koine  was  the  common  dialect  as  it  was  spoken  when  the Mediterranean
world was Hellenized.

     Most mature students  of  the  sacred  writings  know  the value of biblical
languages' lexicons. They are indispensable tools for an in-depth study of God's
word. But  not  all  Hebrew  and  Greek  lexicons  are  of  equal  value in their
approach   to   word   usage   and   meaning.  Which  factors  are  worthy  of
consideration in determining the most useful lexicons?

     There  are  three  main   kinds  of    lexicons;   elementary,   intermediate,
and advanced. The elementary lexicons generally list the Hebrew, Aramaic, or
Greek words in alphabetical order with brief meanings or more often "glosses."
A gloss is a word that requires explanation. Elementary lexicons are generally
limited in usefulness and can lead to misleading interpretation. Examples of
elementary Hebrew and Aramaic lexicons are: The Analytical Hebrew and 
Chaldee Lexicon by Benjamin Davidson, and the Hebrew and Aramaic 
Dictionary of the Old Testament edited by George Fohrer. Examples of
intermediate Hebrew and Aramaic lexicons are: Theological Wordbook 
of the Old Testament, edited  by  Harris,  Archer,  and  Waltke;  Student's  
Hebrew Lexicon    by   Davies-Mitchell;  Theological Lexicon of the Old
Testament by Ernst Jenni and Claus Westermann; and  Student's  Hebrew  
and  Chaldee Dictionary by Alexander Harkavy.  Examples  of  advanced
Hebrew  and Aramaic  lexicons  are:   Hebrew-English Lexicon  by  William
Gesenuis;  Hebrew   and   English   Lexicon   of   the   Old   Testament,
by Brown-Driver and Briggs; The Hebrew and Aramaic Lexicon of the 
Old Testament by Ludwig Koehler and Walter Baumgartner; The Dictionary 
of Classical Hebrew edited by David J. A. Clines; and the Theological 
Dictionary of The Old Testament, edited by Botterweck, Ringgren, and Fabry.

     Examples of elementary Greek-English lexicons  or   wordbooks   are:  Vine's   
Expository  Dictionary  of   New Testament Words; A Pocket Lexicon to 
the Greek New Testament by Alexander Souter; A Greek-English Lexicon 
to the New Testament by Thomas Sheldon Green; and A Concise Dictionary 
of New Testament Greek by Warren C. Trenchard. Examples of intermediate
lexicons are: An Intermediate Greek-English Lexicon based on the seventh
edition  of  Liddell  and  Scott's  work;  Manual  Greek Lexicon of the New
Testament  by  G. Abbott-Smith;  Greek-English  Lexicon   of   the   New
Testament by  J.H.  Thayer;  Theological Lexicon of the New Testament,
by     Ceslas    Spicq;    and    most   of    the    Analytical    Greek-English 
Lexicons of the New Testament. Examples of advanced Greek-English lexicons
are: Greek-Lexicon, ninth edition with revised supplement, by Liddell-Scott,
Jones and McKenzie; A Patristic Greek Lexicon by G.W.H. Lampe; Greek
Lexicon   of   the   Roman   and   Byzantine   Periods  by   E. A. Sophocles;  
and A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Christian
Literature, by Bauer-Danker-Arndt-Gingrich.  

     What qualities should a person look for in lexicons of the biblical languages?
(1) Objectivity. The purpose of a lexicon is to cite the facts without an axe to 
grind or a heretical theological slant to promote. (2) Thoroughness. A lexicon
should cite the full range of meanings for its entries. Conjecture should be avoided.
(3) Voluminous original source material. A lexicon should cite as many of
the original sources as possible to illustrate word usage within ancient literature.
(4) Modernity. Some of the older lexicons are still useful, but they must be studied
with caution. A lot has been learned about the biblical languages within the last
200 years. The Dead Sea Scrolls, comparative literature, and languages (such as
Ugaritic, Hittite, Akkadian, Sanskrit, and Sumerian) have added immensely to our
understanding of linguistics and the vocabulary of biblical Hebrew. The discovery
of ancient  Greek  papyri   has   increased   our   knowledge  of   biblical   Greek.
(5) Accurate scholarship. The mere fact that a lexicon cites source material and
appears to be objective, thorough, and  modern  should   not   necessarily   lead
one to conclude that it accurately accesses the data, and thereby posits unflawed
information. We   appreciate  the  massive  amount  of   research   that undergirds
lexicographical work, but  we  must  remember  that  the  scholars  who compile
lexicons are human beings. They  are  not  guided  into all the truth by  the  Holy
Spirit of God, as the apostles were (John 16:13), therefore though we admire their
toil, we want to be sure the things said are true (Acts 17:11). It is incumbent on us
to think through the text. Safeguards must be in place to ensure accuracy.
                                                                                                           R. Daly
Copyright 2013   

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Does Baptizo mean to Baptize??

     The verb "baptize" in its various forms (baptized, baptizes, and baptizing) occurs
more than 70 times in English translations of the New Testament. Those words are
placed in the text as "translations" of the grammatical forms of the Greek verb baptizo
which is used 77 times  in  the  Greek  New  Testament. It  is  appropriate  to ask,
"Does baptizo mean  to   baptize?"  This  may  surprise  you, but  the answer is no.
Baptize is the Greek word itself with a slightly different spelling. Look at the word  
baptizo. Now look at the word baptize. Notice that they are almost identical except
the "o" (omega) in baptizo has been dropped and an "e" replaces it so we have the
word "baptize." What we have is almost a transliteration, that is, the  writing  or
spelling  of  a  word in corresponding characters of another language. The receptor
language in this case is English. So, when Greek-English lexicons  say  baptizo 
means  to  baptize,  they  are  not  only  inaccurate, but  they  are perpetuating a
grave linguistic inconsistency, and are partly responsible for the confusion that exists
as to the New Testament use of  the Greek word. When they list baptize as one of the
meanings of baptizo, they are saying, "baptizo means baptizo," or that the word itself
is the meaning of the word.  This kind of lexical methodology would be laughable if it
were   applied   to   other   words   in   the   Greek  New Testament, but it is tragic!
How would the scholarly community react if lexicons were to say, theos means theos,
pascha means pascha, ekklesia means ekklesia, parthenos means parthenos, etc.?
In that case we would have no need for lexicons. The words in the Greek New
Testament would be their own lexicographers.

     Is something else at play in this scenario? Actually there is. There is a theological
and polemical value to be gained by saying baptizo means to baptize. (Cf. Louw&
Nida's Greek-English lexicon, vol. 1, pages 537-538 as proof of this fact.) The word
"baptize" is defined by English dictionaries to mean, "to dip a person into, or sprinkle
with, water as a symbol of admission into Christianity or a specific Christian church."
(Webster's New World Dictionary, second college edition, page 111) So some
Greek lexicographers and translators who choose the word baptize to represent  
baptizo contradict  its  own  use  and  meaning.  To  "dip...or sprinkle?" The   fact
is, the verb baptize is used to "translate" baptizo because it is not a specifically
exclusive word, and it allows a person or religious group to choose the "mode" 
of "baptizing" that harmonizes with their practice, whether right or wrong. The use
of "baptize,"  in English translations is based on ecumenical grounds, not accurate
lexical grounds. The translators want to give a person or religious community the
right to decide the "kind" of "baptism" they prefer to practice. The New Covenant
gives no such right of choice.

     The use of the word baptizo in the New Testament in texts that relate to
salvation from sin, and  entering  into  a  state  in  which  one  partakes of the
blessings in Christ shows that  it  means  to  immerse,  plunge,  sink,  and submerge.
(cf. Acts 8:38-39; Philip and the eunuch "went down into the water" and when
the act was performed, "they came up out of the water;" Romans 6:4; "We were
buried therefore with him through the baptismatos;"  Colossians 2:12; "having
been buried with him in the baptismo." In passages where it is used  metaphorically
the connotation is to overwhelm, drench, cover, etc. (Mark 10:38-39)

     See the following resources for further research about baptizo: BAGD, pages
131-132; BDAG, pages 164-165; Liddell and Scott, pages 305-306; Sophocles,
vol. 1, page 297; Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, vol. 1, pages
529-546; Dictionary of New Testament Theology, vol. 1, pages 144-153;  
Thayer, pages 94-95; Vocabulary of the Greek New Testament, page 102;  
Abbott-Smith, pages 74-75
                                                                                                                      R. Daly
Copyright 2013