The oft quoted line from Hamlet, “To be or not to be, that is the question.” In William Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet is questioning the meaning of life. But what if the question is really to use ‘that’ or ‘a’ in order to have a more perfect exegetical argument? What if the exegete needs to use one or the other aforementioned words in order to point to a “Who?” Does the exegete decide, or does the Biblical text decide? This should be a truly easy question shouldn’t it?
So let us look at John 4:19
The woman saith unto him, Sir, I perceive that thou art a prophet.
The 1550 Stephens Text shows:
λεγει αυτω η γυνη κυριε θεωρω οτι προφητης ει συ
Th 1881 Westcott-Hort Text shows:
λεγει αυτω η γυνη κυριε θεωρω οτι προφητης ει συ
Both Greek texts have the identical wording and so the word in question is that little three letter word, οτι.
Follow the list items and the pictures to find out just how truly beautiful John 4:19 is, especially in the Greek, and if incorrectly translated into English it loses its unique flavor.
This is the Greek text of John 4:19 which shows the word in Greek “Hoti” which is pronounced “Hotty.”
The rough translation of this verse is such:
“The woman said to him, Lord I perceive that prophet you are”
In the Greek language, sometimes a word or words would be thrown to the front of a sentence or at the end for emphasis. Here it has been thrown to the end of the sentence and subsequently the translator can move them to their proper place in the English language. By putting them at the end of this sentence it has the same equivalent as the woman pointing her finger at Jesus and saying “YOU ARE!”
So a more correct rendering of this verse would be:
“The woman said to him, Lord I perceive YOU ARE THAT PROPHET!”
Why does the King James insert an indefinite article? Technically, in this writer’s opinion they should not have because simply there wasn’t any need.
In John 4:17 another usage of Hot-ti is found and here in this verse the KJV has omitted the Greek word due to the fact that it is being used with direct discourse.
Looking at the photo above one notices the entry marked (b.) “after verbs that denote mental or sense perception.” Thus Hot-ti should correctly be translated as ‘that.’ The KJV left it in the same order but positioned “you are” after ‘that’ instead of before ‘that’ which is why they necessitated the use of the indefinite article of ‘a’. But by placing ‘you are’ before ‘that’ it leads into the identification of which prophet the Lord Jesus truly was, is and will always be.
Here is the entry which indicates that Hot-ti was originally the neuter of Hos-tis, whereas we see that Hos-tis is translated as a ‘who’ or ‘what’, but Hot-ti being more neuter in nature merely points to “THAT.”
The Greek word Hot-ti was the neuter of Hos-tis which definitely points to a person or a thing as one can see from the photo which lists Whoever or whatever. This will also show why the Greek word Hot-ti points to Jesus Christ, thus pointing him out as ‘THAT’ prophet and not just ‘A’ prophet as the King James renders it. The Lord Jesus was not just ‘ANY’ prophet, but rather ‘THAT’ prophet.
I will raise them up a Prophet from among their brethren, like unto thee, and will put my words in his mouth; and he shall speak unto them all that I shall command him. And it shall come to pass, that whosoever will not hearken unto my words which he shall speak in my name, I will require it of him.
Here is the Pièce de résistance of this entire study. Why? Because the Samaritans were well aware that Messias was coming. They did not know when or who but they knew that one day He would come. What this writer sees happening in this passage is this: The Samaritan woman had just been told by the Lord Jesus that she had already had five husbands and she was living with the sixth man. She probably had never encountered someone like Jesus who could tell her everything that she had done. So without her own self quite realizing it, she prematurely uttered that HE was the ONE….THAT prophet… that had been prophesied in the book of Deuteronomy which she and her people would have been familiar with since the Samaritans had once been full-blooded Jews before the exile.
In v.25 the woman again utters her knowledge of Messias coming and finally in v.26 the Lord Jesus merely confirms for her that indeed He was THAT Messias and prophet.
Is that not just fantastic? This is why careful exegetical work must be done so that the true content of the Holy Scriptures are not lost. Amen.
Copyright 2013 Rev. Janice J. Robinson
If you would like to study more deeply the Gospel of John 3-4, I have written a book titled above that deals more on the subject of the Samaritans and their encounter with the Lord Jesus Christ.
You can go to
and order it for only $10.00
Social Media has and can be a wonderful positive avenue to promote those things that are worthy causes, however, in the last few years the world has been made aware that such social media sites as Facebook, MySpace and others that urge their subscribes to post their lives within their own “profiles” can sometimes be dangerous in more ways than just one. Some of the cautionary reminders is to not post your business or your “too-private” affairs on places that are open to the public view.
Then of course, there are some people who use their sites to do nothing more than gossip about other people or promote hate agendas. With the technology that is current today, social media sites have the ability to track everywhere you go, not only within the site itself, but they also work in unison with Google analytics and other tracking technologies. Of course, they say that it is only so that they can provide you with the type of ads that you would be most interested in etc.
So….instead of risking your privacy by posting your intimate thoughts….try this instead! If you must gossip…then Gossip the GOSPEL of Jesus Christ.
The following Scripture verses will help to define what gossip is and how to stay away from it entirely:
- Leviticus 19:16 (NIV) “Do not go about spreading slander among your people. Do not do anything that endangers your neighbor’s life. I am the Lord.”
- Exodus 23:1 (NIV) “Do not spread false reports. Do not help a wicked man by being a malicious witness.”
- Proverbs 18:8 (NIV) The words of a gossip are like choice morsels; they go down to a man’s inmost parts.
- Matthew 15:19 (NIV) “For out of the heart come evil thoughts… false testimony, slander. These are what make a man ‘unclean’….”
- Proverbs 18:8 (NAS) The words of a talebearer are like tasty trifles….
- 1 Peter 2:1 (NIV) Therefore, rid yourselves of all malice and all deceit, hypocrisy, envy, and slander of every kind.
- Ephesians 4:31 (NIV) Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander…
Gossip in the real sense of the word is not just talking about people because the Apostles “talked” about Jesus Christ and for that matter they were instructed to spread the news about Him and His resurrection all over the world. Gossip occurs when you add in the slander or LIES about a person.
SO GO AHEAD….GOSSIP THE GOSPEL OF JESUS CHRIST!
Acting as the roving reporter with my notepad and an ear for great Southern Gospel music, this writer attended the 2013 Manchester Southern Gospel Festival located in Manchester, Illinois just south of Jacksonville, Illinois. This is a three day event starting yesterday evening, August 16th and will be slating their performances until August 18th. Last night Clint Everetts opened the festival. Others Gospel groups such as the Joylanders, the Lesters and the Chosen Ones sang for an appreciative audience. They gave three great hours of great Southern Gospel music while still adding in some “plain old country music.”
Today, the music festival is continuing with groups and individual soloists such as:
- Becky Lercher
- One Voice
- Down East Boys
- Joe Arview
- The Chosen Ones
These groups will play their music starting at 1 p.m. and continuing until 8 p.m. They each will be entertaining their audiences twice. This is a free event but they are asking for Love Offerings to cover some of the costs.
Tomorrow on August 18th, they will be holding Sunday morning worship services with the Chosen Ones and the Soul’d Out Quartet. Then Pastor Steve Weber will preach the morning sermon. The time for this will be at 10 a.m. and will continue until 11:30 a.m.
Friday evening’s performance was attended by approximately 200 people enjoying good old Southern Gospel music as these talented groups and soloists performed, giving praise and glory to the Lord Jesus Christ.
In the last “How-to-list” this author discussed ten ways that a person could use so that they could stay in spiritual darkness and would never be able to teach others also. It was a tongue-in-cheek whimsical look at some of the Bible Study “No-No’s” that every Bible student should stay away from even if they have to run away while screaming their lungs out. However, all too often bad exegetical habits are used on a regular basis in an attempt to make the Holy Bible say what that student wants it to say or to affirm what they have already been taught in the past.
In this list, this author will present some of the “Must-Haves” of a complete exegetical study. These steps can be followed no matter what text in the Bible that you are studying. Although it might be beneficial if my readers have a fuller picture of what “exegesis” means. According to Michael J. Gorman, it is
…defined as the careful historical, literary, and theological analysis of a text. Some would call it “scholarly reading” and describe it as reading in a way that “ascertains the sense of the text through the most complete, systematic recording possible of the phenomena of the text and grappling with the reasons that speak for or against a specific understanding of it (quoting from Wilhelm Egger, How to read the New Testament: An Introduction to Linguistic and Historical-Critical Methodology, 1996).
So let us get started.
Steps towards a correct exegetical adventure:
When we begin to study the Holy Scriptures, sometimes we need to get out our Exegetical magnifying glasses so that we can delve deep into the English Scriptures, which is just the first step.
We will be looking at the English word “righteousness.” We need to first ask ourselves if we understand the word in our native language. If not, get out a college level dictionary and look it up. Then we can look at the context in which it is sitting. In this case, did the Lord Jesus use it before in another verse? Does He use it afterwards?
Study aids such as the Greek Scriptures can help us find what the Greek word for “righteousness” is and then we can proceed to look up the Greek word in other study aids such as a simplified Greek lexicon.
The Greek word for “righteousness” is “di-kai-oh-soo-nay” and now that we have the Greek spelling (from the Greek Scriptures, we can confidently use the simplified Greek lexicon to begin our quest.
As we learn to use an advanced Greek lexicon, there is at the beginning of the entry a section that lists other biblical sources, such as the LXX (or Greek Old Testament) or even other sources such as profane literature, which is the non-biblical books, letters and other assorted ephemera from that time period.
As we are studying in the simplified Greek lexicon, we need to ascertain if the Greek word in question is already in its lexical format. In this case as we look at the left side of the page we see the same word that we saw in the Greek Scriptures.
To know if this word is in its lexical format we need to move our finger to the right side of the page entry and just a little bit lower: in this case, the very same word is entered on the right side of the entry. This tells us that the word is the lexical root.
Since the Greek word for “righteousness” is indeed in its lexical form, we need to turn the page back to start at the beginning. As shown in the photo, the lexical form is usually in bold face type. We can now begin to read the English entries as to what this word meant with its ancient meanings.
In the simplified Greek lexicon, there will usually be a relatively short entry with various other Scriptural references where this word has been used in other biblical books. It is always wise to scan quickly down to see if the verse we are studying has been directly mentioned. If it has, then we want to focus on its particular meaning. If it has not been directly quoted, then we can read all of the entries to see what various definitions have been defined.
This photo is from an advanced Greek lexicon and the first section of the entry lists various other places where this Greek word has been used; especially in profane literature, but also other biblical translations; and various Greek manuscripts.
There are multiple entries for the Greek word used for “righteousness” and finally, we come to an entry that directly lists our particular verse, Matthew 5:20. In this case, we want to focus solely on this entry since it will be more closely linked to the meaning that we are searching out.
Well, now you have the sequel to the last article….but this time, we are doing it EXEGETICALLY!
God Bless you richly in your studies of His Word.
This handy-dandy list will help to keep you in total spiritual darkness. It is a guaranteed way to disable your ability to understand Biblical passages and it will totally ensure that you will never be able to teach others.
TEN STEPS TO COMMIT EXEGETICAL FALLACY
•When reading the Bible, only read the verse you want to study
•Make sure you never broaden your horizons by reading the context
•Absolutely never use a concordance to do word studies
•Do your word studies based only on your own understanding
•Don’t forget to proof-text
•Always lift your particular Bible verse completely out of context
•If any questions pose themselves to you….quickly block them out
•Read only those books that you already agree with: in this way you always remain in your comfort zone
•Limit any spiritual maturation to the bare minimum
•Absolutely NEVER ask the Holy Spirit to teach you what the biblical passage means
In order to heighten the proper steps you should take there are three step-by-step photos that will possibly help you to understand at a deeper level.
Step One- Only study the verse you are reading. Never study the context because you might actually learn something. Therefore, read…read…and re-read the verse if you must. This is also the best way to engage in proof-texting as well.
2. Step two: Absolutely never even begin a Biblical word study, because once again….even as noted in Step one, you might actually learn something and this is a big NO-NO in “How to commit the perfect exegetical fallacy.” So never look up any Koine Greek words in a Greek lexicon.
3. Step three: Never ever even buy a Bible concordance let alone use one if you already have it in your library. There is simply just too much information in them and it might cause an uncomfortable feeling in your brain as it is stretching whenever learning occurs. PUT IT DOWN NOW!