Wednesday, February 25, 2015

"Curse God and Die"

     Yahweh allowed the adversary, Satan, to afflict Job  with  severe  boils  or skin
inflammation from the soles of his feet to the crown of his head. It  was  so  severe
that  Job "took  a  piece  of  pottery  to  scrape  himself,  and   he  sat in the ashes."
(Job 2:7-8) Job's suffering was great!

     In   response  to  Job's  suffering,  his  wife  said, "Do  you  still  maintain  your
integrity? Curse  God  and  die." (Job 2:9)  The Hebrew  word translated "curse" or
"renounce"  (ASV)  is barak  used  in  the  Old Testament  in  the  sense  of  "bless."
"Bless" and "curse/renounce" are opposite in meaning, so why is it translated "bless"
in the KJV, ASV, RSV, NIV, NRSV, and the ESV?

     First, it is obvious that Job's wife was not "literally" saying "Bless God and die."
Job's response to her clearly indicates this. He said, "You speak as one of the foolish
women speaks. What? Shall we receive good from the hand of God, and shall we
not receive evil?" (Job 2:10) The word "foolish" translates  nabal. It is the strongest
Hebrew word for folly. It means more than merely the lack of discretion or wisdom.
It also means contemptible or impious. His wife's advice is utter foolishness! Her
suggestion was morally and religiously irresponsible!

     Second, based on Job's response to her, and the fact that his response was deemed
appropriate by Yahweh, shows that  she  was not using barak  in  the sense of bless.
After Job rebuked his wife, the text says, "In all this Job did not sin with his lips."
(Job 2:10, ASV)

     Job's wife uses barak euphemistically, therefore, it means to "curse or renounce"
in this context. It is important to think through the text, and to always pay careful
attention to the context in order to determine how words are used. Merely looking
in a Hebrew or Greek lexicon and assigning a definition to a word does not always
lead  to  accurate  interpretation. Most  words  have a range of meaning. The best
lexicons define words on the basis of how the words are used in the ancient literature.
Glossing is not necessarily defining.

                                                                                                               R. Daly
Copyright 2015


Friday, January 31, 2014

"Euthus" in Mark

     The adverb Euthus means "immediately, at once." It is translated "straightway"
in many of the older versions. It occurs 42 undisputed times in Mark's record of the
life of Jesus the Messiah. There is a textual variant in Mark 7:35. Most manuscripts
omit eutheos in 7:35, but due to Mark's fondness of the adverb it is highly probable
that it is original, and if it is the count becomes 43 occurrences of euthus. It is also
found      in      p45    (  a    3rd    century   manuscript ),    codex      Alexandrinus
(a 5th century manuscript), and codex Washingtonianus (a 5th century manuscript).
The New Revised Standard Version translates euthus in Mark 7:35).

     The frequency of euthus in Mark's account is apparently designed to "energize"
or add  "verve"  to  the  narrative. The  following  examples are notable: (1) When
Jesus  is  immersed  by  John  he  immediately  comes up out of the water. (1:10)
(2)  Immediately    the   Spirit   drives   Jesus   out   into    the   wilderness. (1:12)
(3) Jesus    calls   Simon    and    Andrew    to    become    fishers    of    people,
"and     immediately    they     left    their    nets     and     followed    him."  (1:18)
(4) A leper begs Jesus  to  make  him clean. Jesus touched him, and said " 'I will,
be     clean,'     and    immediately     the     leprosy          left    him."   (1:40-43)
(5) Jesus  said  to  the  man  who was paralyzed, " 'Get up, take up your mat and
go     home.'     And     he     got     up,     and     immediately     took     up     his
mat     and     walked     out      in     full    view    of     them     all."     (2:11-12)
(6) When     Jesus     entered      the      region      of       the     Gerasenes    and
got     out     of     the     boat,     "immediately     a     man     with    an    impure
spirit       came       from       the       tombs       to       meet       him."       (5:1-2)

     Euthus  in   used  inferentially  by  Mark  in  a  few  contexts  to  indicate  an
immediately following event in a  sequence; something  that  comes  next. (1:21)
It can mean right after that, then, so then. (1:23, 30)

     Mark's account  of  the  life  and times of Jesus the Messiah is exciting, vivid,
and keeps the readers on a fast track. Euthus is one of the key words employed
by the Holy Spirit through Mark to accomplish this literary feat.
                                                                                                           R. Daly

Copyright, 2014


Sunday, January 5, 2014


     In  the  book  of  Acts  Luke  introduces  "a  certain  Jew  named  Apollos."
(Acts 18:24) The way that he "bursts" onto the scene virtually sets the stage for 
something spectacular. He  was  endowed  with  terrific  qualities  that  would 
distinguish him from other men who were not apostles. He was an  "erudite"
man (logios), (18:24)   "mighty  in  the  scriptures"  (18:24)  i.e. competent or 
well-versed   (dunatos  on  en  tais  graphais).    He    was    speaking   with  
"burning   enthusiasm"  (18:25)   (zeon  to  pneumati).    He   was  "teaching
accurately  the  things  concerning  Jesus" (18:25) (edidasken akribos ta peri 
tou Iesou),  but  he  was  "acquainted  only  with   the  immersion   of   John "
(18:25)   (epistamenos   monon   ta   baptisma   Ioannou ).   Aquila   and 
Priscilla taught him  the way  of  God  more  accurately, and  he  became  an
unstoppable force in the defense of the gospel. 

     Luke tells us that after he was taught the way of God more accurately, 
the disciples encouraged him  to go to Achaia. When he arrived he "greatly
helped those who had believed through the grace." (18:27)  But how did he help
the believers in Achaia? Luke answers the question. "For he was diakatelencheto
the Jews in public, showing through the scriptures that Jesus is the Messiah."
(18:28) What does diakatelencheto (grammatical form) of diakatelenchomai 
(lexical-dictionary form)  tell  us  about  the  work  of  Apollos  in  Achaia?

     The word only appears once in the New Testament. A less intense form
dielencho is found in classical Greek, particularly in Plato, Aristotle, Lucianus.
The meaning in classical Greek was to refute or expose. Dielencho appears
in the Septuagint in Job 9:33; Isaiah 1:18 and Micah 6:2. In those texts it means
to discuss, to argue a case. 

     The preposition dia-(katelenchomai) serves to intensify the word. Luke
paints a picture of  Apollos' work that is memorable and encouraging. Apollos
thoroughly refuted his Jewish opponents. He overwhelmed them in argument.
He demolished their arguments. He completely refuted the Jews in public
debate. He used a mighty spiritual jackhammer to crush pebbles! Luke tells us
what the jackhammer was: he "showed from the scriptures that Jesus is the
Messiah." Nothing works better, lasts longer, or is more formidable than the
word of the living God! (Jeremiah 23:29; Hebrews 4:12) 
                                                                                                     R. Daly

Copyright 2013   

Wednesday, January 1, 2014

Thayer's Greek-English Lexicon Of The New Testament

     Joseph  Henry  Thayer,  born  1828  and  died  1901, was professor of New
Testament criticism and interpretation at Harvard Divinity School from 1884-1901.
His main interest was in the Greek language of the New Testament. His most widely
known work was A  Greek-English  Lexicon  of  the  New Testament. He was a
member of the  revision  committee, and appointed Secretary of the New Testament
committee that  issued the American Standard Version in 1901. A person, therefore,
should not be amazed to discover that the vocabulary of the ASV, generally concurs
with  the  definitions  assigned   to  the  words  in  the  Wescott-Hort  Greek  New

     What  is  commonly  known  as  Thayer's  Lexicon  is  not  Thayer's  lexicon.
It is Grimm's Wilke's Clovis Novi Testamenti.  Thayer translated, revised, and
enlarged the work. Grimm's work was completed in 1879. Thayer acknowledges in
the preface of the lexicon that "Both Professor Grimm and the publisher courteously
gave me permission to make such changes in his work as might in my judgment the
better adapt it to the needs of English speaking students." (Preface, page 6) So, it
should be kept in mind that by referring to this work as Thayer's Lexicon, it is his
role  in  translating,  revising,  and  enlarging  Grimm's  lexicon  that   is  primarily
in view.

     Even though Thayer's Lexicon is dated, it is still a valuable resource if it is used
with discretion, and if the user distinguishes Thayer's definitions from his comments.
There are instances when the definitions he assigns to words are unsubstantiated.

     For example, on  page  94  the  first  definition  given  to the word baptizo by
the lexicon in the classic period of the language is, "prop. to dip repeatedly..." No
literature is cited to support this definition, and the reason is the evidence does not
exist. In  classic  Greek  when  a  ship  sank  it  was  immersed. (Polybius 1,51,6;
8,8,4)  Did the ship sink repeatedly? On page 555 the word prototokos is defined
as "firstborn." Then he says "Christ is called prototokos pases ktiseos...who came
into being through God prior to the entire universe of created things..." This comment
reflects his Unitarian theology.

     On page 618 of the lexicon teleios is correctly defined as "brought to its end,
finished;  wanting   nothing  necessary  to  completeness; teleion,
substantively, that which is perfect...the perfect state of all things, to be ushered in
by the return of Christ from heaven, 1 Cor. xiii. 10." The latter reflects a misuse of the
context of 1 Cor. 13:10. To teleion refers to the state preceding the second coming
of the Messiah. It refers to the completion of God's revelation through those men who
were God's agents in revealing his written will.

     Thayer's Lexicon retains its usefulness, but  it  like all  other  religious  works of
human origin must be used with caution. Study the definitions, evaluate the comments.
Use such works like you eat fish; eat the meat and throw the bones away. It is wise
not to make the older pre-papyri lexicons your first court of appeal. A lot has been
learned about koine Greek grammar and lexicography since the 18th and 19th
centuries. If you are going to use the older lexicons, use them in conjunction with the
more modern scholarly lexicons.
                                                                                                           R. Daly

Copyright 2014




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