This is an excerpt from a letter I wrote giving forth an Apologia for the faith.
You use two Scriptures and I have no problem with the first two and I find no problem with you using them. However, you cite Colossians 1:15-18 and you fall into classical errors simply because you are not discerning the use of English grammar, let alone Greek grammar, which is how the NT was originally penned.
Let’s address your first classical error: Scriptures were not written as a hodge-podge in which we are allowed to lift them out of context as we so desire in order to prove our doctrinal inclinations. I’m glad you are trying to exegete the Scriptures; however, you have need of a teacher yet. This then entails that we should go back to at least the beginning of the chapter to establish what is going on in this personal letter that Paul is writing to the church at Colosse.
V1 Paul establishes his apostleship that it is by the will of God and introduces Timothy as well.
V2 Paul names who this letter is to be addressed: saints and faithful brethren in Christ at Colosse. He next blesses them with grace and peace, etc.
V3 Paul lets them know that he prays for them and thanks God…
V4 especially since they have faith in Christ Jesus and they love the saints.
V5 Paul reminds them of their hope which has been laid up for them, which had been proclaimed to them through the Gospel.
V6 The Gospel is bringing forth fruit and in them as well since they have known the grace of God in truth.
V7 Paul reminds them that they learned this through Epaphras their faithful minister of Christ.
V8 Paul tells them that Epaphras has told Paul and others of their love in the Spirit.
V9 Since the day that Paul heard the news, [What news? The news that the Gospel was bringing forth fruit in their lives], he has not ceased to pray for them and to desire that they might be filled with the knowledge of ‘his’ will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding. So who does ‘his’ refer to exactly? Let’s go backwards to v4 and we find the subject of ‘his’ which is Christ Jesus. How do we know this? Because what is bringing forth fruit in these saints’ lives? The Gospel and who is the Gospel proclaiming…none other than Christ Jesus.
V10 [what will be the purpose of them being filled with the knowledge of ‘his’ (Christ Jesus’) will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding?]. That you might walk worthy of the Lord (Jesus), unto all pleasing, being fruitful in every good work, and increasing in the knowledge of God. [Because the Lord Jesus Christ came to announce the grace of God for reconciliation to God the Father by the shedding of his (Jesus’) blood.]
V11 Strengthened with all might [whose? Jesus’] according to ‘his’ [Jesus’] glorious power unto all patience and longsuffering with joy;
V12 Giving thanks unto the Father, who [God the Father] has made us meet to be full partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light:
V13 who [God the Father] has delivered us from the power of darkness, and has translated [moved] us into the kingdom of his [God the Father] dear Son:
V14 in whom [Jesus] we have redemption through his [Jesus] blood, the forgiveness of sins:
V15 who [Jesus] is the image of the invisible God….
So now let’s unpack verse 15….it is critical indeed for your understanding. So the verse tells us that Jesus is the IMAGE of the INVISIBLE GOD. Hmmm. Does God the Father have an IMAGE? The verse just tells us that HE is invisible and no one can see Him. So what does that tell us…except that GOD IS SPIRIT, even as John 4:24 tells us, and that God is seeking those who will one day be born again and be filled with His Spirit to worship Him perfectly. So now what does this tell us about Jesus Christ? If He is the IMAGE of God, it is saying that Jesus is SPIRIT too. If we think about the opening chapters of Genesis, what does God say about everything that He is making? It will REPRODUCE after ITS OWN KIND. Now, however, is this truly saying that Jesus was CREATED? NO! Why? Was God the Father created at some point in time? The Greek word for ‘first-born’ is πρωτότοκος and from this word, we get our English word ‘prototype,’ the first one in a series. So therefore, Jesus is the IMAGE OF GOD, and we are being made in Jesus’ image. How? We get born-again and we become SPIRITUAL BEINGS once again. This is what Adam and Eve were originally when God said in Genesis 1:26, “Let us MAKE man (their spirits) after ‘OUR IMAGE’ and then he FORMED their bodies and then He MADE their souls by blowing in the SPIRIT into their flesh and mankind became a living soul. So who was God talking to in Genesis? He states, ‘our’ (plural) image. Okay on to
V16 For by ‘him,’[who is ‘him’? It is the Lord Jesus and not God the Father. God in the Greek is in the genitive (possessive) case and not the nominative (subject)], were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers; all things were created by him [Jesus] and for him [Jesus]:
V17 and he [Jesus] is before all things, and by him [Jesus] all things consist.
V18 and HE [Jesus] is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the prototype from the dead; that in all he [Jesus] might have the preeminence.
Verse 18 clearly states who the ‘HE’ the passage has been talking about and so HE was not CREATED as you are thinking of creation, but rather Jesus is the prototype, or the first in a series of spiritual sons and daughters that we should be like HIM and thus be able to worship the Holy Father in spirit and truth, especially since after Pentecost we are filled with the Holy Spirit so that we may do just that: worship the Most High God (the Father) and His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ, our Savior and Redeemer.
This is Part 3 of the article series concerning the idea of Complementarianism and whether or not it is Biblical. Those that adhere to this concept claim they do not believe or practice patriarchy, yet in essence they do, because they claim that the man is in charge of the woman and that they have the right to order her life, if they are married to her. Where then is the difference between the Complementarian and the Patriarchal adherent? Is Complementarianism truly Biblical? This writer emphatically states that it does not meet the requirements of being a Biblical mandate from God.
In order to answer the first paragraph, those that claim to be Complementarian, too often select passages of Scripture, but they lift it out of its near context and its remote context. It is all too easy to subscribe to a particular doctrine by sequestering your favorite passages, lifting them out of their context and holding them up as a mandate from God. While this is over-simplified, with this quaint anecdote being used, nevertheless: An atheist desperate to prove that there really isn’t any God and he so wanted to use the Holy Bible as his ammunition. He selected a verse of Scripture to confound his Christian opponent. He selected a portion of Scripture from Psalm 53, and triumphantly declared, “SEE, your own Bible says that ‘there is no God!’ But the Christian asked where the supposed Scripture was located and the atheist pointed to it in the Bible. Then the Christian correctly read the ENTIRE passage from the Holy Bible:
The fool hath said in his heart, There is no God. Corrupt are they, and have done abominable iniquity: there is none that doeth good.
While this is truly over-simplified, the result is the same. We cannot claim to be true exegetes of Holy Writ if we pull Bible verses out of their context and then claim that this is a mandate from God. So as this writer was choosing the title for this particular part, at first a title was chosen just to include Ephesians 5:21-23 which are the actual verses in question. However, one needs to read the entire chapter, and perhaps even going as far back as 4:14ff, thus leading into the verses in question as well as going beyond to the end of Chapter 5; hence the title of this article. This writer is also cognizant that this article is going to be published on Valentines Day as well as the unfortunate debut of the ungodly movie of ’50 Shades of Grey.’ I do not necessarily wish to derail this article, but if Christians truly think that they will be able to view this movie without any spiritual harm, they are sadly mistaken and need to repent if they have viewed this movie or they have even read the novel. If you lay your money down to read or see spiritual trash, you are in essence condoning and approving the material, and you will have to answer the Lord Almighty on the day of your judgment. Now that this short monotribe is finished on that ungodly movie and novel, this writer will continue with this article. Phew!
Let us now look at:
Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord. For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.
The first verse of 5:21 should tell the whole story, but for those who cannot yet see, this writer will elaborate upon the topic in question. This article will simply be too long if all of the verses that one needs to look at are included, so the verses will be listed, but readers needs to read them on their own (see above).
So let us look at 5:21 and the very first word in this verse: the Greek word is ὑποτασσόμενοι which is a Present Passive Participle, Nominative Plural Masculine word. Or in other words, if you are not a Greek-head, this connotes that it is always a Present action; we allow ourselves to be brought into subjection; and it is a participle that connotes verbal action. Now it seems like the Complementarian has it all, however, let us next look at the Greek word ἀλλήλοις, which is a Dative Plural Masculine and therefore translated as ‘one to another’ or ‘to each other.’ It should also be noted that just because the gender is masculine does not necessarily mean it is only for males or vice versa if the Greek gender is feminine. Sometimes it is in regard to gender but the context will clearly inform the reader that it applies to a specific gender when it does. So submission to one another is to be done in the “fear of Christ.” The KJV translated it as ‘God,” but the Greek text lists it as Χριστοῦ, which is translated as Christ. Furthermore, verse 21 is seen by this writer as a pivotal verse: it concludes that which comes before to the church and then opens that which comes after; to husbands and wives.
Now let us look at verse 22. We needed to look at verse 21 first because Complementarians steadfastly ignore verse 21 and sequester or lift out verses 22-23 because quite frankly, they do not like what verse 21 has to say about the situation. However, grammatically, verse 22 cannot stand on its own; which the Holy Spirit deliberately did and thus gave to the Apostle Paul to write down. Verse 22 has the word ‘submitting’ there in the verse, but it is not there in the Greek: it is written as, “The wives to your own husbands just as to the Lord.” There isn’t any verb in this verse, thus it forces the reader to go back to verse 21 to get the verbal aspect, which absolutely ties verse 22 to verse 21 without any doubt and it cannot be undone because the Holy Spirit dictated it thus. What we have here is a figure of speech called ‘ellipsis,’ where a word is omitted and one must use the context to get that word and how it is being used. Remember, it was used in verse 21 with the admonition to “Submitting yourselves one to another…” This is why they take verses 22-23 out of its immediate context because Christ has mandated that both must submit to each other in the fear of Christ. The Ryrie Study Bible actually goes to the extreme and physically separates verse 21 from verse 22 and inserts a paragraph heading to make it look like it is a separate entity. However, verse 22 cannot stand alone grammatically, no matter how many paragraph headings one inserts into the text. Readers please be informed that chapters, verses, chapter headings and such like is all man-made and was not inserted into the Holy Writ until the 13th century by ArchBishop Stephen Langton, which is what the modern divisions are based upon. However, there were other attempts at divisions as early as the 3rd century. Robert Estienne in 1551 is the one that is credited with dividing the Scriptures into verses that we still use today. You can read more about it HERE.
Now for verse 23: “For the husband is the head of the wife, even as Christ is the head of the church: and he is the saviour of the body.” The useage of ‘head’ can also mean ;’origin,’ which many scholars acknowledge, and if we read this verse as such:
“For the husband is the origin of the wife, even as Christ is the origin of the church: and He, [Christ] is the Savior of the body [Church].”
Men should be taking a sigh of relief….why? Because, at long last husbands do not have the onerous responsibility of saving your wife. This has and always has been the responsibility of Jesus Christ. He is the only one who can save us. This writer has heard such things like the husband is responsible to cleanse the wife with the washing of the Word as well as sanctify her. Really? This is where the Mormons get their idea that a wife will earn salvation if her husband accepts her into heaven. Really? How scary! So, if a woman’s husband begins to hate her, she is bound to burn in hell. This would be a very good reason for all women to only marry unbelievers and then lead them to salvation. In this way, the husband would be beholden to the wife. This is what happens when the Bible is used to defend your own personal beliefs without relying upon the actual Biblical text and keeping everything in its proper context.
When looking at verses 24-33, it further gives to the husband the character traits that he is to adopt to himself. Specifically, in verse 25:
Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it.
The word for love in this verse is ἀγαπᾶτε, which is the ‘love of God’ and not ερος or φιλεῶ, with the first being the ‘love of God,’ the second one being ‘sexual love,’ and the third being ‘brotherly love,’ from which we get the name for the city of Philadelphia. So it is interesting that husbands are commanded to love their wives with the same love that God has for us; they are also commanded to give themselves as a sacrifice and to serve their wives as Christ loved and died for His Church and submitted to His Bride. Yes, Christ submitted all the way to death. He is the perfect example that men are to follow.
In order to get the full context, the reader can go as far back as:
That we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive. But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ: From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love. This I say therefore, and testify in the Lord, that ye henceforth walk not as other Gentiles walk, in the vanity of their mind, Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: Who being past feeling have given themselves over unto lasciviousness, to work all uncleanness with greediness. But ye have not so learned Christ; If so be that ye have heard him, and have been taught by him, as the truth is in Jesus: That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts; And be renewed in the spirit of your mind; And that ye put on the new man, which after God is created in righteousness and true holiness.
The reader can continue from the above verses through the end of Chapter 5. But one can quickly read that the analogy of the Body of Christ is used, and one part is not above another. This is why the English word ‘head’ should be translated as ‘Origin’ and not with the connotation of ‘corporate head’ or ‘boss.’ The Lord Jesus Christ is the True Head of the Church, His Body and therefore the Head of every marriage. Both husband and wife are to submit to Christ Jesus first.
In concluding this article, this writer would like to focus on:
Nevertheless let every one of you in particular so love his wife even as himself; and the wife see that she reverence her husband.
If the husband desires to be respected, the KJV uses ‘reverence,’ he first must love as Christ loved the Church and even as he loves his own body…and then….so that the wife might φοβῆται the husband. The Greek word is a Present Passive Subjunctive, third singular; which comes from an even older Greek form, φοβέομαι, which means to reverence or respect. However, the word is in the subjunctive form and is always used with either the words, ‘may’ or ‘might,’ plus it is passive. What this means to this writer is this: if the husband wishes to obtain reverence or respect from his wife, then he has to follow Christ and give himself sacrificially to his wife, and then “so that the wife might respect her husband.” It is conditionally based upon the husband’s actions. It is not a command from God to the wife.
When one looks at the Complementarian viewpoint that Owen Strachen promotes, it really looks nothing at all like the Holy Scriptures that I read, which is based upon the Greek Scriptures. Be Blessed this Valentines Day, and husbands LOVE [ἀγαπᾶτε] your wives.
Christians the world over will be rejoicing come Sunday, April 20, 2014 as the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ remembers the Passion of their Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We will be praising God that He raised up His Son from the grave even as He had promised to do so in His Word. These words will be said by just about every Christian, “He is Risen! Hallelujah!”
The Scriptures speak to the truth that the Lord Jesus Christ was and is God who came down in the flesh. He left behind his Glory (ἐκένωσεν, ekenosen) that He had with the Father, to come and make available a perfect sacrifice so that those who believe on His name could receive eternal life by having their sins, transgressions and iniquities washed by the blood of the Lamb. But there was only one way that this could be accomplished; which meant that the perfect Lamb of God had to be brought to the slaughter so that His pure blood could be offered on the altar in heaven before the Holy God of Israel.
Yet Jesus was a man. Jesus came down into the flesh so that He could be our perfect High Priest who could feel the things that we have felt as it is written in
For verily he took not on him the nature of angels; but he took on him the seed of Abraham. Wherefore in all things it behoved him to be made like unto his brethren, that he might be a merciful and faithful high priest in things pertaining to God, to make reconciliation for the sins of the people. For in that he himself hath suffered being tempted, he is able to succour them that are tempted.
We see His agony as expressed in the Garden of Gethsemane where He literally sweated out blood from His forehead. Medically speaking, Jesus was suffering from a condition called ‘hematohidrosis.’ It is a very rare condition and according to Dr. Dave Miller, Ph.D.,
“only Luke referred to Jesus’ sweat (idros) – a much used term in medical language. And only Luke referred to Jesus’ sweat as consisting of great drops of blood (thromboi haimatos)-a medical condition alluded to by both Aristotle and Theophrastus (Hobart, 1882, pp. 8-84). The Greek term thromboi(from which we get thrombus, thrombin, et al.) refers to clots of blood (Nicoll, n.d., 1:1631; Vincent, 1887, 1:425). Bible scholar Richard Lenski commented on the use of this term: “‘as clots’ thromboi means that the blood mingled with the sweat and thickened the globules so that they fell to the ground in little clots and did not merely stain the skin” (1961, p. 1077).
The Lord Jesus felt the agony of what a man would feel knowing that he is walking straight towards his own death. Jesus faced His own will as opposed to His Father’s will; so we read that
Then cometh Jesus with them unto a place called Gethsemane, and saith unto the disciples, Sit ye here, while I go and pray yonder. And he took with him Peter and the two sons of Zebedee, and began to be sorrowful and very heavy. Then saith he unto them, My soul is exceeding sorrowful, even unto death: tarry ye here, and watch with me. And he went a little farther, and fell on his face, and prayed, saying, O my Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me: nevertheless not as I will, but as thou wilt.
And being in an agony he prayed more earnestly: and his sweat was as it were great drops of blood falling down to the ground.
We can rejoice that the Lord Jesus submitted His own will to that of the Father’s and went as foretold in Isaiah 53:7, “…he is brought as a lamb to the slaughter, and as a sheep before her shearers is dumb, so he openeth not his mouth.”
When the Temple guards came for him after Judas had sold his Master for a mere 30 pieces of silver, Jesus was led away as if He was a criminal. They then placed Him next to the real criminal, Barabbas and asked the crowd who they wanted to have released to them that year. The people chose the real criminal, Barabbas. What should be interesting to note are the names of these two contenders:
Bar Abbas = Son of the Fathers
Bar Abba, Yeshua = Son of the Father
The crowd that day preferred a true criminal rather than the true Son of the Holy Father; the perfect Son, who always pleased His Father; the Messiah was then to be crucified as a criminal, when He was Holy. It was the Garden of Eden being played out again. The choice between Good and evil; Adam and Eve chose their own way, which was evil and the people that were there during this age were once again choosing their own way, thus the evil way. They were calling that which was good as if it were evil; and calling that which was evil as if it were good.
And when they were come to the place, which is called Calvary, there they crucified him, and the malefactors, one on the right hand, and the other on the left. Then said Jesus, Father, forgive them; for they know not what they do. And they parted his raiment, and cast lots. And the people stood beholding. And the rulers also with them derided him, saying, He saved others; let him save himself, if he be Christ, the chosen of God. And the soldiers also mocked him, coming to him, and offering him vinegar, And saying, If thou be the king of the Jews, save thyself. And a superscription also was written over him in letters of Greek, and Latin, and Hebrew, This Is The King Of The Jews.
And it was about the sixth hour, and there was a darkness over all the earth until the ninth hour. And the sun was darkened, and the veil of the temple was rent in the midst.
And when Jesus had cried with a loud voice, he said, Father, into thy hands I commend my spirit: and having said thus, he gave up the ghost. Now when the centurion saw what was done, he glorified God, saying, Certainly this was a righteous man.
There isn’t any question as to the Lord Jesus’ righteousness, except by those who do not know Him. Which, in that case, it does not matter if they do question His righteousness, because again, they do not KNOW Him. But of all the important phrases, saying, quips, quotes or anything else one can come up with as a writer or pundit, the best exclamation is based on these Scriptures.
Now upon the first day of the week, very early in the morning, they came unto the sepulchre, bringing the spices which they had prepared, and certain others with them. And they found the stone rolled away from the sepulchre. And they entered in, and found not the body of the Lord Jesus. And it came to pass, as they were much perplexed thereabout, behold, two men stood by them in shining garments: And as they were afraid, and bowed down their faces to the earth, they said unto them, Why seek ye the living among the dead?
He is not here, but is risen!…
These Seven words rejoices the spirit of every faithful disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, not just looking forward to Palm Sunday when prophecy was fulfilled as He, Jesus, rode into Jerusalem during His triumphal entry, being hailed as the King of Israel. But His disciples continue to rejoice from Palm Sunday to the time of Passover, when the True Lamb of God was sacrificed for the sins of the world. God Almighty was fulfilling His Word when He had promised that the Gentiles would also partake and have a place in the family of God as well.
Many people claim to be Christian….but are you a DISCIPLE? There is a difference. Since Jesus Christ is the true Messiah, the true Passover Lamb which takes away the sins of the world, this would be a great time to find yourself on your knees, repenting of your sins, transgressions and iniquities, pleading the atoning blood of the Lord Jesus Christ. He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins (John 1:9). Best of all….
HE IS RISEN!
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
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!
There have been many interpretations of Biblical passages over the last fifteen hundred years and most conservative seminaries teach their students to “let the Biblical text speak for itself.” In most cases this is sound and prudent advice. Why is this so? Because there are many passages in the Holy Bible that tend to confuse a lot of people, plus there are sections in the writings of the Apostle Paul that seem to contradict each other. To get to the core interpretation of any Biblical passage there are several things the Bible student can do to aid their understanding.
1) First, just read the text. What does it say? What do you “think” it says?
2) Are they any words in the passage that you truly do not know the dictionary meaning for that particular word. Even if you think you know what the meaning is, it can sometimes be very helpful to look them up in a college level dictionary.
3) Do you know Koine Greek? If not, do you have access to a “Young’s Analytical Concordance” or a “Strong’s Concordance?” It is one thing to know what the current meaning of a particular word is and yet we also need to know what that word meant two or more thousand years ago. Because words can and do change their meanings since language is a living entity. This is why we need to know what the lexical or the native meaning of a word may be in its original setting.
This of course is just the beginning when we study the Holy Scriptures. This of course, does not leave out the power of the Holy Spirit, nor should it preclude our prayers to the Lord Jesus Christ to have His Holy Spirit teach us the meaning of a text. This also does not say that we should never read commentaries or other articles about the text in question. When we read other Christian authors it can help keep us on the right path as well. However, with that said, when the Biblical authors wrote what we now call the Bible, they were seen and heard to be espousing new and strange doctrines such as the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ. We take this as accepted doctrine, but at the beginning it was definitely new and strange.
This has been stated in order to lead up to what this article is really all about, namely the passage in 1 Corinthians 11. There have been many interpretations upon this passage concerning the idea of whether we should understand that women should wear veils when praying and what the modern application of this might mean as well. This also extends to the idea of a woman having authority in her own right.
This author was recently made aware of a theological paper that was written by Troy Martin. His thesis in this paper is that a woman’s hair is equivalent to the male testicles. He employs ancient medical texts to help him to understand confusing Biblical passages, such as this one in 1 Corinthians 11. I can appreciate his egalitarian stance on women having equal authority with men, for so we do since it was established by God in Genesis 1:27. However, the first question that I asked after reading about this article that was being quoted by another author, Richard Beck, was this: Even if Paul was aware of medical practices in his day would he have known every medical idea posited? Not hardly, since information such as this would have been found only in very large metropolises, such as Athens, Greece or Alexandria, Egypt and if it did travel to other regions of the then known world, it would have taken literally decades for it to travel.
Furthermore, when Paul wrote this, would all of his listeners or readers have been familiar with such medical ideas? Perhaps the more erudite and learned of his followers may have traveled to Athens or Alexandria and posssibly been made aware of such thoughts. But again, it is very unlikely that any of the poor and illiterate gentiles that made up the larger portion of the church would have undertood the analogy that Paul (according to Martin) was attempting to posit.
So, let’s just keep to the Biblical text shall we? If we examine the text in question v.2-16, the Greek word for head in v.3 is η κεφαλη which can be translated as the literal head on a person, it can also be translated as origin as in the head-waters of a river and as authority. In v.3 Paul breaks down the origin of everything and states that ultimately everything has come from God. Beginning in v.4 and ending in v.6 it has been thought that this is not the Apostle Paul setting down doctrine, rather he is quoting from a portion of their letter to him. Then in v.7, Paul begins his answer to the Corinthian church. Let us also keep in mind that Paul is probably not addressing anyone in the Jewish synagogue at this point; because when a Jewish man prayed in the Temple, he did cover his head with his talith. But the woman also covered her head when she prayed in the women’s section.
What Paul is addressing here are cultural issues in the city of Corinth. Remember also that the majority of the church that he was addressing had come from the pagan temples and they were still very much immersed in pagan ideology and traditions. Even though they were learning Christianity; converts to a new religion cannot just erase a life-time of prior traditions and cultural expressions overnight.
Then in v.10 we find that there is this strange allusion to angels and because of them a woman should have authority on her own head as well. Paul did not just pull a theological rabbit out of his hat so to speak by referring to the angels. Let us go back to 1 Corinthians 6:2-3 and we find Paul teaching that we shall be judging the world, and in v.3 he states that we shall also judge the angels. This is why he refers to the issue of angels in 11:10 and that women should have authority as well, simply because women will also be included as well as the men, and we shall judge the angels . In v.13-15 Paul equates that a woman is already covered….covered by her hair…and therefore needs no other covering. This negates the false churchianity doctrine that a woman’s husband is her covering. A woman already has her own covering and furthermore, even as Paul states that we are all one in Christ and it is this Christ that is our eternal covering.
Then in the last verse, v.16, Paul affirms for them that
But if any man seem to be contentious, we have no such custom, neither the churches of God.
The Bible student cannot expect to have it any clearer. Paul states: “we have no such CUSTOM… could you be any more exact? Paul was dealing with cultural issues not doctrinal issues. Furthermore, these cultural issues had their origin in pagan god worship, not the worship of the One True God. Finally, Paul closes with, “neither the churches of God.”
First and foremost in studying the Bible, we should allow the text to speak for itself and then do our word studies in English and in the Koine Greek. Through all of this we should still be reading and re-reading the text in question. Then if necessary, we should research and read various commentaries to see what other Christians have written about the subject matter. Then throughout it all, we should be seeking the teaching from the Holy Spirit. This is our final authority when it comes to understanding the Scriptures.