Lesson 2 – Biblical Greek: Reading Exercise

Gospel of John 1:1-8

 1  ᾿Εν ἀρχῇ ἦν ὁ Λόγος, καὶ ὁ Λόγος ἦν πρὸς τὸν Θεόν, καὶ Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος. 2 οὗτος ἦν ἐν ἀρχῇ πρὸς τὸν Θεόν. 3 πάντα δι᾿ αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο, καὶ χωρὶς αὐτοῦ ἐγένετο οὐδὲ ἕν ὃ γέγονεν. 4 ἐν αὐτῷ ζωὴ ἦν, καὶ ἡ ζωὴ ἦν τὸ φῶς τῶν ἀνθρώπων· 5 καὶ τὸ φῶς ἐν τῇ σκοτίᾳ φαίνει, καὶ ἡ σκοτία αὐτὸ οὐ κατέλαβεν. 6  ᾿Εγένετο ἄνθρωπος ἀπεσταλμένος παρὰ Θεοῦ, ὄνομα αὐτῷ ᾿Ιωάννης· 7 οὗτος ἦλθεν εἰς μαρτυρίαν, ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός, ἵνα πάντες πιστεύσωσι δι᾿ αὐτοῦ. 8 οὐκ ἦν ἐκεῖνος τὸ φῶς, ἀλλ᾿ ἵνα μαρτυρήσῃ περὶ τοῦ φωτός.

Watch any video online that reads the above passage.

I suggest the following video. It shows a conventional academic pronunciation of Greek.

 

Then read it out loud as many times as you think is necessary. You must be able to read pretty easily this passage before moving on.

If you record your voice (very easily done with cell phone these days), I will be glad to listen to your reading.

 

 

 

Lesson 1 – Biblical Greek: How to read Greek

by Giuseppe Guarino

The Greek alphabet is not so different than ours. At the same time, it is clear that it is different enough to cause some problems to us, who are totally depended on the Latin alphabet to write our western languages.

The change of letters from one alphabet into another is called “transliteration.” It is a common practice we find in the New Testament, where many Hebrew words were transliterated (Amen, Hallelujah) into Greek. Also, many Greek (and Hebrew) biblical words have been transliterated and adopted into our language without being actually translated – Baptism, Apostle, etc.

We will use the transliteration process first in a written form – as an exercise. Later it will take place in the mind of the student only. At last, the student will be able to recognize the Greek letters, just like the Latin and be able to read in Greek.

Greek has 24 letters. 17 Consonants. 7 Vowels.

 

Α α – A – Alpha

Β β – B – Beta

Γ γ – G – Gamma

Δ δ – D – Delta

Ε ε – E – Epsilon

Ζ ζ – Z – Zeta

Η η – E – Eta

Θ θ – Th – Theta

Ι ι – I – Iota

Κ κ – K – Kappa

Λ λ – L – Lambda

Μ μ – M – Mi

Ν ν – N – Ni

Ξ ξ – X – Chi

Ο ο – O – Omicron

Π π – P – Pi

Ρ ρ – R – Rho

Σ σ – S – Sigma

ς             S       Sigma end of the word

Τ  τ – T – Tau

Υ υ – U – Upsilon

Φ φ – F – Phi

Χ χ – Ch – Chi

Ψ ψ – Ps – Psi

Ω ω – O – Omega

 

Accents and breathings.

Accents and breathings were not part of the original Greek language. The Alphabet we – and the Greeks – use was officially adopted by the Athenians in 403/402 BC. But accents and breathings were invented by the Hellenized Alexandrians later on. For centuries, writing in Greek manuscripts continued as scriptio continua, which means simply that one letter was followed by the other, with no accents, no breathings, no punctuation and all in capital letters.

The critical editions which are in use today will provide every kind of possible help we need to read Greek easily and understand the text with much less difficulties.

I will spare the student the tedious and useless – let me say it – study of accents and breathings, which, without having any knowledge of Greek is truly a nightmare. He or she will easily get used to them and even understand their natural use when growing in the knowledge of the language.

 

How do we read ancient Greek?

Shakespeare’s writings are read today in the only English accent we know: today’s. The Old Testament is read by the Hebrews following today’s pronunciation. It makes sense, doesn’t it?

No-one actually knows how English was pronounced in the XVII century or Hebrew 3000 years ago. No-one knows how Greek was read when Homer wrote his poems.

That is why I strongly suggest that the same principle can be applied to the Bible and it is quite nice to apply modern Greek pronunciation when we read the New Testament too.

It is also true that in academic circles some choose to pronounce Greek differently. It is common practice to adopt the so called Erasmian pronunciation, which practically reads word the way they are written following the sounds I listed above when identifying the letters of the Alphabet.

In my course of study, I prefer to make things as easy as possible for the student. This is why we will start with the Erasmian pronunciation, but, in time, we will begin to approach and actually improve the fun – yes, the fun ! – of knowing Greek by understanding it as read my today’s Greek native speakers.

Exercise. Read out loud and transliterate the following Greek words. You can send your work to my e-mail (guarinous@yahoo.com) I will be more than glad to review it. Also, do not hesitate to contact me for any question you might need to ask.

Examples.

ἡ ζωὴ –   Life – HE ZOE.

ἡ ἀλήθεια – Truth – HE ALETHEIA

ἡ ἐντολὴ – Commandament

γράφω – To write

Ἀδελφοί          – Brothers

ἡ ἀγάπη – Love

ἡ σκοτία – Darkness

καὶ – And

ψεύστης – Liar

ὁ θεὸς – God

ὁ κόσμος – World

τὸ πνεῦμα – Spirit

ὁ χριστός – Christ

ὁ διάβολος – Devil

Ἀγαπητοί – Beloved

ἡ νίκη – Victory

ὅτι          – Because

ἡ καρδία – Heart

εἰ – If

ὅτι          – Why

ὁ ἀντίχριστος – Antichrist

ὁ υἱὸς – Son

Introduction to Biblical Koinè Greek: the Language of the New Testament

The Language of the New Testament. My studies convinced me that the books which are part of the New Testament were all written before the end of the first century in the most widely spread language of the time: Greek.

Why Greek?

During those days the Roman Empire was the leading world power, ruling over the lands around the Mediterranean Sea. But its military conquest had not been able to affect the extension of the supremacy of the Greek language and culture. Just like the fall of the British Empire did not mean the end of the diffusion of the English language, also in the ancient world neither the death of Alexander the Great, the first agent of worldwide hellenization, nor the division of his empire, nor the Roman conquest were able to remove the Greek influence. On the contrary, the Romans themselves were fascinated and seduced by the Greek world.

In the third century BC, in Egypt, under the Dynasty of the Tholomeos, the Bible began to be translated into Greek. This version of the Hebrew Scriptures began very early to be called the Septuagint, which means Seventy (abbr. LXX) because of the number of the original translators and the providential   circumstances  under  which  the  Pentateuch’s Greek version was completed. Whether history or myth, the name remains to this day.

What was the type of Greek used for the Septuagint?

Just like today’s English can be distinguished in its derivations: British, American, Australian, etc… The Greek of the third century BC, being a language spoken worldwide, also by non native speakers, offered a variety of choices.

Classical Greek was the elegant, sophisticated literary language. It was used by the intellectuals, philosophers and writers. But the LXX’s translators prefered Koiné Greek, a less rhetorical, more practical, accessible, elastic, fluid form of language. More open to innovation and to the introduction of new words, it was definitely more fit to express the Hebrew religious language. The latter was characterized by a very rigid, well fixed technical terminology, fundamentally impossible to be fully translated into classical Greek and that, by consequence, needed a form of language that could be better adapted to a better expression of foreign ideas and culture.

The Septuagint is an object of very deep study up to this day. It is indeed hard to underestimate the importance of the LXX version of the Old Testament, its contribution for a better understanding of the Hebrew Scriptures, facts and terminology. It also influenced the New Testament as we examine the original language in which it was written, that is a later development of the same Koiné Greek of the LXX.

Jesus’ mandate was to spread the good news throughout the whole world.

Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” (Matthew 28:19 – NKJV)

you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” (Acts 1:8 – NKJV)

The most obvious thing was that the apostles and the disciples would choose a language for the Scriptures of the Christian faith that would ensure the growth of the Church outside  of  the boundaries of the Jewish nation. Koiné Greek was perfect for this purpose.

Literarily speaking the New Testament – as well as the Old – is not the work of one single writer. Usually when we read the various translations, the change of the language and the presence of a translator will naturally uniform the style of the books of the Bible. But if we read the originals we will suddenly notice the different linguistic characteristics of each writer.

If we compare Mark to John, both words and style could hardly be more different. Paul writes even in a very peculiar way. He has a perfect knowledge both of Greek and Hebrew, which is quite evident in the accurate terminology that he displays to lay the foundations of the Christian doctrine.

Luke writes the introduction to his gospel in classical Greek, elegant and rhetorical in style, which made his work more popular among the sects hostile to the Jewish heritage.

All of the authors of the books of the New Testament – and I feel authorized to say, also the Holy Spirit – have given up artificial structures of literature, in order to embrace the vivid and accessible vernacular of the people.

The repercussions of this choice are amazing and we experience them on a daily basis when we read the Word of God, understand and live it.

The Greek of the New Testament is simple and clear, but by no means elementary or simplistic. It is not sophisticated for the simple reason that it is intended to communicate – not to boast knowledge and technique, but it never gives up its own identity and the characteristics. These traits, which make it a literary phenomenon of its own, are those with which almost every culture had to confront itself ever since the New Testament was written.

It is worthwhile notice that the Hebrew influence on the biblical Greek gave rise to a new religious terminology which would enrich the Greek vocabulary so that it could properly describe the truths of the Christian religion.

As far as the Greek influence on the Hebrew religion is concerned, there might be different opinions on the subject, since it is objectively a far more complicated matter. Personally, I believe that though the Jews might recognize the value of the Greek language, their religious identity was too strong to be contaminated with Hellenistic practice and beliefs. The strong influence of Antiocus Epiphanes or other rulers who tried to impose paganism, rituals and thought, simply led some to deny their Jewish heritage by accepting the Hellenic philosophy. In a few words, orthodox Judaism, after the Babylonian captivity of the sixth century BC, was not inclined to compromise with any foreign culture as time and circumstances have abundantly left evidence in history.

Going back to our main topic, the language of the LXX and of the New Testament, was simple, innovative; clear, live and stimulating.

Let’s see some examples in detail.

The Greek word “agape” (in the original Greek alphabet: αγαπη), which is famous also to many who have nothing to do with biblical Greek, is a peculiar word from the LXX and the New Testament. It is not found in classical Greek. The King James Version translates it “Charity”, which corresponds to modern “love” used by more up to date versions.

Another famous Greek word is “zoe” (ζωη) which means “life”. We find it used in particular in the gospel of John, where such a colloquial word has been enriched to the extent of reinventing it altogether, keeping only the original form of it, but to express and communicate wonderful new meanings.

In its original meaning, zoe has nothing of the deep spiritual meanings that the apostle attaches to it.

There is one word which is really worth not only mentioning but also considering.

We find it in the book of Revelation: “pantokrator” (παντοκράτωρ), which means “Almighty”.

I am the Alpha and the Omega,” says the Lord God, “He who is and He who was and He who is to come, The Almighty.” (Revelation 1:8)

Outside of the book of Revelation we find this same term in 2 Corinthians 6:18.

John took the word Pantokrator from the LXX translation where it thus rendered the Hebrew expression which in our Bibles is usually translated as “Jehovah of hosts” (ASV) or “Lord of Hosts” (KJV). In Nahum 2:13 the LXX reads Kyrios Pantokrator (κύριος παντοκράτωρ), literally: “Lord Almighty“.

Why did the LXX translators choose to do so?

The Greek Pantokrator was used to translate the Hebrew term Sebaoth (צבאות) also in ancient books of the Bible. It literally reviews the original Hebrew word (Jehovah of Hosts) giving it a more universal meaning, becoming its Greek evolution, expressing the absolute sovereignty of God over all creation and every creature.

The Greek term itself might even have been created to translate the Hebrew here. This would explain why some other Old Testament books of the LXX do not translate the word but simply transliterate it into the Greek alphabet: κύριος σαβαωθ, (Isaiah 1:9), which has been translated in English as: “Jehovah of Hosts” (ASV).

There is another expression used by John in the same context which is indeed worth mentioning. Addressing God as “the Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come” I believe he gave the equivalent in the Greek language of the Hebrew יהוה as much as “Pantokrator” translates the Hebrew צבאות (Sabaoth).

John knew the Tetragram, the Name of God revealed to Moses, YHVH (in Hebrew alphabet יהוה), but instead of transliterating it from the Hebrew, applying a similar process that brought to the birth of the word “Almighty”, he thinks it better to try to simply communicate the immediate meaning of that Name in Hebrew.

The four Hebrew consonants are vocalized in the Masoretic text as follows: יְהוָֹה If we simply add the vowels’ symbols to the consonants, we’ll read in our alphabet the familiar YeHoVaH.

Asher Intrater is a Messianic Jew. He writes in his book “Who ate with Abraham?” that the sequence of the three vowels “e” (sh’va), “o” (holom), “a” (patach), indicate the root of the future, present and past tense.

We might even conclude that the phrase found in Revelation 1:8 was an attempt to render the Jewish name of God (צבאות יהוה) “Adonai Sebaoth” following the principles of the LXX translators, expanding the narrow Hebrew expression Sebaoth, giving it a meaning, a religious meaning, for the Greek speaking world when interpreted it as “Pantokrator”, which is in English “Almighty”.

So the national צבאות יהוה (Adonai Sebaoth) – “Jehovah of Hosts” – becomes the  universal “Κύριος ὁ Θεός, ὁ ὢν καὶ ὁ ἦν καὶ ὁ ἐρχόμενος, ὁ παντοκράτωρ” which the ASV renders in English: “Lord God, who is and who was and who is to come, the Almighty.”

Another very important Greek word is Logos (Λόγος) used by John in his gospel, in order to fully explain the relationship of Jesus with the Father and the Creation, before becoming a man. Logos is usually translated as “Word”.

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1)

Logos is found in Greek philosophy long before it was used by John. This must not entitle us to believe that the apostle was looking outside of the Hebrew world in order to find ideas that could express the eternal state of the Savior, but a Greek terminology was simply borrowed in order to express a deeply Semitic concept.

The Greek fathers of the Church, such as Justin Martyr (second century), took the chance of this familiarity of the Greek speaking world with the idea and term of Logos to preach Jesus in a way that might be familiar to the non-Jewish people.

Nothing happens by chance – every believer must be deeply convinced of this.

The Hebrew language was born and raised along with the Faith in the Personal God of the people who spoke it: that is why it perfectly conveys the facts and ideas of the Jewish religion.

The Greek language had reached quite a large diffusion and the necessary maturity when it came in contact with the Old Testament: in the right hands it could express any concept, abstract or practical. It became the language of the Septuagint and later that of the New Testament, the perfect means through which the faith in Jesus might be shared with people virtually everywhere.

A universal language for a universal message

There are some who try to recover the Jewish heritage of our faith by simply recovering in our Bibles the Hebrew original names of God (Jehovah or Yahweh, Elohim, etc.) of Jesus and even the apostles.

With due respect, it is not necessary to go back to Hebrew names or terminology in order to believe to be more faithful to the pure original doctrine of Jesus and the apostles.

Also because, taking a closer look at the language of the New Testament, we understand that the attitude of the early Church pointed to a totally different direction.

I am by no means trying to underestimate the importance of the study of the Jewish linguistic and cultural background in order to develop a better understanding of the New Testament, of the teachings of Jesus and of the Christian doctrine and practice. But at the same time, it is vital to understand that we must not neglect the universal linguistic heritage embraced in the New Testament when choosing the Greek language to convey the message of the new faith.

Let us consider a practical example, Isaiah 7:14.

 “Therefore the Lord Himself shall give you a sign: behold, the young woman shall conceive, and bear a son, and shall call his name Immanuel.” (Isa 7:14 Jewish Publication Society – 1917)

Therefore Adonai himself will give you people a sign: the young woman will become pregnant, bear a son and name him ‘Immanu El [God is with us].” (The Complete Jewish Bible – ed. 1998)

The above Jewish translations render the Hebrew word העלמה (transliterated in our alphabet as: ha-almah) as “young woman.”

Matthew so quotes this passage in the New Testament: “So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” (Matthew 1:22-23 – NKJ)

The Greek original of Matthew renders the Hebrew word העלמה (ha-almah) of Isaiah 7:14 with “ἡ παρθένος” (he parténos), a word which inequivocably refers to a “virgin”.

If we put too much stress on the original Hebrew of Isaiah 7:14 we will miss the fulfillment of the virgin birth of Jesus of this precious Old Testament prophecy. Because the Hebrew word meant also “young woman” but the important detail is that this “young woman” implies a “virgin”. The Septuagint, the Greek translation much older than the New Testament sanctions the view of Matthew. It renders Isaiah 7:14: “ἰδοὺπαρθνος ἐν γαστρὶ ἕξει”.

The contribution of the Greek language in the correct understanding of a Hebrew original is here undeniable.

Monotheism was exclusive of the Jewish nation. Hebrew was the language that described the Jewish faith, its beliefs, God, etc. But in the New Testament the Gospel is universal and it takes a universal language to be able to express the new Faith to new believers, most of Greek cultural background,  not linked by any national bond or birthright, but by love..

Paul tore down the walls between Jewish and non-Jewish Christianity. His missionary activity was all directed to the people living outside of Israel, both physically and ethnically.

For I speak to you Gentiles; inasmuch as I am an apostle to the Gentiles, I magnify my ministry.” (Romans 11:13 – NKJ)

A very important step toward the universal message of the Gospel is substituting the ineffable Old Testament Name of God with the accessible and universal Kyrios, Lord.

This is evident in a very important passage of the epistles of Paul.

… that if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved.For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation. For the Scripture says, “Whoever believes on Him will not be put to shame.” For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek, for the same Lord over all is rich to all who call upon Him. For “whoever calls on the name of the LORD shall be saved.” (Romans 10:9-13 – NKJV)

If Paul had inserted here the Tetragrammaton, he would have openly contradicted the basic value of his statement, since among the “whoever” he included even those who could not pronounce or had any knowledge at all of the Hebrew HaShem (The Name) of God יהוה. On the contrary, he speaks of God as Kyrios, so that virtually everyone and everywhere knew what he was talking about and could be saved by calling upon the name of the Lord. The last quotation in Romans 10:9-13 is an Old Testament passage which included the Tetragrammaton, יהוה!

Paul’s quotation recalls the Septuagint Greek translation.

πᾶς   γὰρ ὃς ἂν ἐπικαλέσηται τὸ ὄνομα Κυρίου σωθήσεται (New Testament)

καὶ ἔσται πᾶς,         ὃς ἂν ἐπικαλέσηται τὸ ὄνομα κυρίου, σωθήσεται (Septuagint)

The Greek text of Joel 2:32 available for Paul must have been the same as the one we consult today.

In the New Testament the national God who revealed Himself to Moses a יהוה, becomes Lord of every man  (Kyrios) calling upon His name.

The national bond of God with Israel is now substituted by relationship, which starts when anyone, anywhere open their heart to God. “But as many as received him, to them gave he the right to become children of God, even to them that believe on his name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” (John 1:12-13 – ASV)

New wine into new wineskins

We saw how the Greek of the New Testament took the Hebrew terminology. This guaranteed that continuity which was desirable, between the Old and the New Testaments.

At the same time, the circumstances were new, the language was new and the new faith had to shed light on many details of the Revelation now become more evident because of the incarnation of the Son of God.

Philo was a Jewish “philosopher” who live in Alexandria, Egypt, between 50 BC and 50 AD. His teachings on the logos, the word (see John 1:1) closely resembles that of Paul and of John and it must have been relying on the Jewish thought of the time as the Targumin confirm.

But the apostles move forward, they report something that the official Jewish religion failed to see. They openly declare that the logos was manifested in the flesh, became a man: Jesus of Nazareth.

The epistle to the Colossians introduces a terminology which has no parallel in Hebrew.

“ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ εὐδόκησε πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα κατοικῆσαι.” (Colossians 1:19).

For it pleased the Father that in Him all the fullness should dwell.” (NKJV)

The word πλήρωμα (pleroma), “fullness”, has here specific traits. It is a technical word which includes what Paul himself will clarify later in the same epistle. No trace of this terminology is found in the New Testament: the new faith needed new words!

“ … ὅτι ἐν αὐτῷ κατοικεῖ πᾶν τὸ πλήρωμα τῆς θεότητος σωματικῶς,” (Colossians 2:9).

for in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily.

Paul is using a language which is so accurate! His terminolgy leaves no room for any doubt whatsoever on the fullness of the Deity of Jesus. If others today think otherwise, the apostle Paul has no fault at all.

“τὸ πλήρωμα” is the sum of all the divine attributes and qualities of God.

“θεότητος” is Godhead, a word that you will not find anywhere else in the New Testament.

Such terminology was never found in the Old Testament.

Another wonderful quality of our Lord Jesus Christ is

described by the word  εἰκὼν, image, which Paul uses in Colossians 1:15: “ὅς ἐστιν εἰκὼν τοῦ Θεοῦ τοῦ ἀοράτου.”

In English: “He is the image of the invisible God.

Again, this statement has no parallel in the Hebrew Scriptures.

The beginning of the epistle to the Hebrews has such a wonderful Christological terminology! It is almost impossible to exactly translate it into English.

“ὃς ὢν ἀπαύγασμα τῆς δόξης καὶ χαρακτὴρ τῆς ὑποστάσεως αὐτοῦ”. Which the New King James renders: “… who being the brightness of His glory and the express image of His person…

Both “εἰκὼν” and χαρακτὴρ express very deep Christological concepts and could be introduced in the Christian language, thanks to the high speculative level of the Greek language. Similar words are not referred to the Messiah in the Old Testament. Greek helped the holy men of God to shape the doctrine of the new faith in Jesus.

John wrote in his Gospel using a terminology that shaped the Christology of the Church. The prologue recalls the solemnity of the Genesis account of creation.

In the beginning was the Word (Gr. logos), and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” (John 1:1).

Philo wrote about the logos, the Word, too. He does it from a Jewish perspective and very probably influenced by the Jewish speculations of the time on the matter. In his wonderful work “On The Creation”, also known as “De Opificio Mundi”. There Philo speaks of the “θείῳ λόγῳ”, a phrase that C. D. Yonge translates as “Divine Reason”, but that we can also interpreta s “Divine Word”, since logos in Greek can mean both “reason” and “word”.

John says more than Philo. The apostle connects to his Jewish roots, because their interpretation was not entirely wrong. But adds: “Θεὸς ἦν ὁ Λόγος”, “The Word is God”.

John knows something that Philo did not know and could not know. The apostle’s knowledge of the Word was personal and direct, not simply speculative like Philo’s.

And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.” (John 1:14 –  NKJV)

The Jewish commentators had altrady spoken of the manifestations of God through what or who they called “Memra”, in Aramaic or “Davar” in Hebrew. When the New Testament (as well as Philo) speaks of a logos of God, revealed to mankind in the person of Jesus, it gives a universal message that has a meaning both for the Jewish people and for the Gentiles, since a common Greek term becomes the perfect means to express a deeply Hebrew idea.

The apostles themselves, through the guidance of the Holy Spirit, were the first to deliver the message of the Gospel to the non-Jewish. They did so, speaking of the wonders of God in the only universal language of their time: Greek.

The God of Moses was remembered in Israel as the one who set the people free from the slavery in Egypt. But to the Gentiles He was now proclaimed as the Almighty God, Creator of all things and above all the Father of the Lord Jesus Christ, whom He had sent to save mankind – those who received Him in their hearts as Lord and Savior.

The Hebrew heritage of our faith is quite intriguing. But we cannot simply stop at the contemplation of the old covenant. The apostles moved on. They promoted the use of a language which made their message universally understood: being accessible is far more important than the purity so cherished even then by certain Jewish circles. Not the words themselves are sacred, but the message they deliver.

HaShem, il Nome, יהוה, is not sacred in itself, but Holy is the God that we address by that name. If יהוה cannot even be pronounced, the idea which it recalls is too distant from the Gospel, Kyrios, Lors, becomes no less sacred if Holy is the God we are calling upon.

If יהוה had freed Israel from Egypt and given the Law to the people, now Godi s the Father of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.

In the light of what has been said so far, I am sure the student of the Bible will agree on how important it is to seriously study the New  Testament Koinè Greek language in oder to better understand “the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude v.3)

 

 

 

Giovanni 8:58 nella Bibbia dei Testimoni di Geova

di Giuseppe Guarino

Problemi dei traduttori geovisti italiani con il greco originale o con l’inglese della loro versione americana?

Il testo originale: Eἶπεν αὐτοῖς ὁ ᾿Ιησοῦς· Aμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, πρὶν ᾿Αβραὰμ γενέσθαι ἐγώ εἰμι.

La Nuova Riveduta: “Gesù disse loro: “In verità, in verità vi dico: prima che Abramo fosse nato, io sono”.

La Traduzione del Nuovo Mondo: “Gesù disse loro: Verissimamente io vi dico: Prima che Abraamo venisse all’esistenza, io ero”.

The New World Translation: “Jesus said to them: “Most truly I say to you, before Abraham came into existence, I have been.”

La TNM toglie di mezzo l’“io sono” di Gesù, in forte contrasto con “venisse all’esistenza” riferito per Abraamo, di solito considerato un’affermazione dell’eternità di Cristo, sostituendolo con un meno imbarazzante “io ero”.

Secondo Richard A. Young l’idea che l’originale “io sono” trasmette al lettore “ … è più dell’esistenza di Cristo prima di Abraamo; significa che Egli esiste eternamente” (Intermediate New Testament Greek, a linguistic and exegetical approach, pag. 166).

L’introduzione della frase di Gesù con il tipico “in verità, in verità” lascia intendere che qualcosa di più che il fatto che Gesù fosse solo più vecchio di Abraamo fosse da intendersi in quell’“io sono”.

Altri punti del vangelo di Giovanni ci propongono dei forti “io sono” seguiti da “la Luce”, “la Via”, “la Verità”, ecc., nello stesso capitolo 8, ai vv. 24 e 28. Questa caratteristica dell’evangelista è chiaramente a favore di una ulteriore ripetizione al v. 58.

Scrivendo in greco “ἐγώ εἰμι”, “egò eimì”, in italiano “io sono”, Giovanni non poteva non essere cosciente che per la Chiesa, uscita ormai dai confini della Palestina, della lingua e cultura ebraica, il raffronto fra la frase di Gesù e la traduzione greca dell’Antico Testamento di Esodo 3:14 sarebbe stato inevitabile.

Asher Intrater, nel suo libro “Chi ha pranzato con Abrahamo?” edito da Perciballi: “Aggiungendo le vocali “e”, “o”, “a” alle consonanti YHVH, si ottiene il nome YeHoVaH. In questa struttura verbale, la “e” (sh’va) indica il tempo versale futuro, la “o” (holom) il presente e la “a” (patach) il passato, dando al nome YeHoVaH il significato di “Egli sarà, Egli è, Egli era”: in altre parole, l’Eterno”, pag. 102. È quindi con un aperto riferimento a questa estraneità da vincoli temporali, che l’apostolo Giovanni parla del Signore come di “Colui che è, che era e che viene”. (Apocalisse 1:8)

L’eternità di Gesù è ribadita con altre parole nell’epistola agli Ebrei, quando ci viene detto che “Gesù Cristo è lo stesso ieri, oggi e in eterno” (Ebrei 13:8) e quindi non vi è per noi cristiani alcuno scandalo se egli rifiuta i vincoli temporali dicendo: io sono.

La reazione dei giudei sarebbe immotivata se la frase di Gesù non fosse stata per loro oltraggiosa al punto da spingerli a volerlo lapidare immediatamente, senza un ulteriore esame di quello che stesse affermando.

Vale la pena analizzare qui le motivazioni della Torre di Guardia per la sua traduzione. Chiedo al lettore di fare molta adesso molta attenzione.

La traduzione italiana TNM non è una traduzione dai testi originali o indipendente. Essa è fondamentalmente un adattamento in italiano della versione ufficiale in inglese della Torre di Guardia. Non vi sono dei traduttori italiani, perché, al contrario di come accade per tutte le altri confessioni cristiane, non vi è alcuna autonomia dei Testimoni italiani da quelli americani, dai quali dipendono.

Proprio nel caso di Giovanni 8:58, la Watch Tower americana trova delle motivazioni per rifiutare la lettura “io sono” che sono applicabili alla lingua inglese ed a quella soltanto. Infatti, l’originale inglese della TNM utilizza il verbo essere al passato prossimo (perfect indicative), mentre i traduttori italiani utilizzano il tempo imperfetto: ma nel farlo sbagliano la traduzione dall’inglese!

Leggiamo il commento alla propria versione di Giovanni 8:58 della Watch Tower americana – così come sono riportate nell’edizione del 1985 di “The Kingdom Interlinear Translation of the Greek Scriptures”: “The action expressed in John 8:58 started “before Abraham came into existence” and is still in progress. In such situation εἰμι, which is the first- person singular present indicative, is properly translated by the perfect indicative.”

La Torre di Guardia italiana traduce alla meno peggio questa affermazione – che non può contestare in quanto proveniente dal suo organo direttivo americano, ma che fondamentalmente parla di una regola grammaticale della lingua inglese, che in italiano semplicemente non esiste.

“L’azione espressa in Giovanni 8:58 iniziò “prima che Abraamo venisse all’esistenza” ed è ancora in corso. In tale contesto εἰμι (eimì), prima persona singolare del presente indicativo, si può correttamente tradurre con  un tempo passato come l’imperfetto indicativo o il passato prossimo”.

Mi chiedo: è possibile che fra i Testimoni di Geova italiani nessuno conosca l’inglese a sufficienza da accorgersi di questa incongruenza?

Intanto in italiano il testo dice:  “si può correttamente tradurre con un tempo passato come l’imperfetto indicativo o il passato prossimo” ma l’inglese non parla di imperfetto indicativo, bensì di passato prossimo (perfect) perché in inglese 1. Non esiste l’imperfetto e 2. In inglese il tempo del verbo che descrive delle azioni che cominciano nel passato e che sono tutt’ora in corso, è soltanto il perfect indicative – che corrisponde al nostro passato prossimo.

Ma c’è qualcosa di più ovvio. In italiano le azioni che cominciano nel passato e proseguono nel presente non si esprimono né con l’imperfetto né con il passato prossimo, bensì col tempo presente.  Esempio: “Io vivo in Italia dal 1974”. Se avessimo utilizzato passato  prossimo o imperfetto, avremmo ottenuto tutt’altro significato: 1. Imperfetto: “Io vivevo in Italia dal 1974”, 2. “Ho vissuto in Italia dal 1974”.

L’espressione: “io vivo in Italia dal 1974” si traduce in inglese “I have lived in Italy since 1974”. Il presente deve essere tradotto con un present perfect.

Allo stesso modo un’espressione inglese del tipo: “I have lived in England since 1974”, si deve tradurre: “vivo in Inghilterra dal 1974”. Perché quando un’azione comincia nel passato ed è ancora in essere, in inglese si deve utilizzare il perfect (passato prossimo), ma in italiano il presente!

Quindi la traduzione inglese dei Testimoni che dice: “before Abraham came into existence, I have been”, se origina dal fatto che il perfect descrive in inglese un’azione cominciata nel passato e tutt’ora in essere, deve tradursi con un tempo presente italiano: “prima che Abraamo venisse all’esistenza, io sono”.

Stavolta per appurare l’accuratezza della versione dei Testimoni di Geova basterà consultare un insegnante di inglese.

 

 

The Christian Counter

 

 

The Exodus: David Rohl, the New Chronology.

Giuseppe Guarino

Rohl-Book_1024x1024

A new book has been just published by the Egyptologist and archeologist David Rohl: “EXODUS, MYTH OR HISTORY?” We can only hope to see it translated in Italian as soon as possible.

The picture of the cover of the book here to the left, has been taken from the websitehttp://shop.patternsofevidence.com/ where you can buy the book and learn about the movie on the same topic, “Patterns of Evidence”, recently released in the United States. Continua la lettura di The Exodus: David Rohl, the New Chronology.

MANY BOOKS, ONE BOOK

 

Some time ago … Well, quite a while ago now, I had a problem with the length of my writings. Till I heard an expert on TV explaining that a huge book is only a collection of independent small chapters all connected together to create the final, complete book – whether it be a story, a novel or a manual.

Can we believe the same thing to have taken place with the Bible?

It’s true: the Bible is a collection of books, written by different people, in different places, in different times. But it is also true that the more you study it the more you become aware of its unity of intent, content, and message.

It is easy to come up with the conclusion that the special assistance of the Holy Spirit has made all those independent writings truly One Book! Which, to my opinion, is another strong evidence of the active presence of God in the pages of the Bible, from Genesis to Revelation, so that it actually and truly is The Word of God.

Let us see what I mean to say.

And I will put enmity Between you and the woman, And between your seed and her Seed; He shall bruise your head, And you shall bruise His heel.” (Genesis 3:15 – NKJV)

It is with right that this particular part of Scripture has been considered the first time the gospel – the good news – was ever proclaimed. Technically speaking, it has been rightly termed the protoevangelium. The classical, and I would say even the obvious interpretation of this passage is that the seed of the woman is Jesus, who bruised the head of Satan, though he had to endure the cross to save us, before rising and conquering death and the grave.

Genesis 22 is another amazing prophecy concerning the person and the atoning death of Jesus.

The Lord asks Abraham to sacrifice his only son. He is obedient and so he goes on a mountain with Isaac to obey God’s voice.

Take now your son, your only son Isaac, whom you love, and go to the land of Moriah, and offer him there as a burnt offering on one of the mountains of which I shall tell you.” (Genesis 22:2 – NKJV)

Jesus is the only begotten Son of God – see John 1:1-18. He was crucified on a mount, Golgotha – Matthew 3:17)

So Abraham took the wood of the burnt offering and laid it on Isaac his son.” (Genesis 22:6 – NKJV)

Can’t we see in this a type of Jesus, who almost two thousand years later would have carried the wood of the cross?

Abraham “took the fire in his hand, and a knife, and the two of them went together. But Isaac spoke to Abraham his father and said, “My father!” And he said, “Here I am, my son.” Then he said, “Look, the fire and the wood, but where is the lamb for a burnt offering?” And Abraham said, “My son, God will provide for Himself the lamb for a burnt offering.” So the two of them went together.” (Genesis 22:6-8 NKJV)

So many coincidences can’t be a coincidence. It’s all part of a design and evidence of the Divine Inspiration of the Bible. It is so evident that Abraham prophesizes the coming of Jesus, the lamb of God, whom God provided for himself! (John 1:36)

The precious work of Jesus on the cross, which brought salvation to all those who believe, was also so clearly seen and described centuries before, in the pages of the book of Isaiah.

Who has believed our report? And to whom has the arm of the LORD been revealed? 2For He shall grow up before Him as a tender plant, And as a root out of dry ground. He has no form or comeliness; And when we see Him, There is no beauty that we should desire Him.3He is despised and rejected by men, A Man of sorrows and acquainted with grief. And we hid, as it were, our faces from Him; He was despised, and we did not esteem Him.  4 Surely He has borne our griefs And carried our sorrows; Yet we esteemed Him stricken, Smitten by God, and afflicted. 5 But He was wounded for our transgressions, He was bruised for our iniquities; The chastisement for our peace was upon Him, And by His stripes we are healed. 6 All we like sheep have gone astray; We have turned, every one, to his own way; And the LORD has laid on Him the iniquity of us all 7 He was oppressed and He was afflicted, Yet He opened not His mouth; He was led as a lamb to the slaughter, And as a sheep before its shearers is silent, So He opened not His mouth. 8 He was taken from prison and from judgment, And who will declare His generation? For He was cut off from the land of the living; For the transgressions of My people He was stricken. 9 And they made His grave with the wicked — But with the rich at His death, Because He had done no violence, Nor was any deceit in His mouth. 10 Yet it pleased the LORD to bruise Him; He has put Him to grief. When You make His soul an offering for sin, He shall see His seed, He shall prolong His days, And the pleasure of the LORD shall prosper in His hand. 11 He shall see the labor of His soul, and be satisfied. By His knowledge My righteous Servant shall justify many, For He shall bear their iniquities. 12 Therefore I will divide Him a portion with the great, And He shall divide the spoil with the strong, Because He poured out His soul unto death, And He was numbered with the transgressors, And He bore the sin of many, And made intercession for the transgressors.” (Isaiah 53:1-12 – NKJV)

So many details, such accuracy! It can only be the work of the Holy Spirit speaking through holy men of God!

People will always find a reason for their unbelief, but the Bible supplies sufficient, reasonable evidence for those who with a sincere heart want to believe.

Studying the Bible some difficulties arise only when or if we fail to consider its unity. If we actually think of it as one book, we discover the gradual Revelation of the Person of God, His Trinity, His plan for the salvation of mankind, wonderfully manifested in Jesus Christ, our Lord and Savior.

In Hebrew 1:1-2a we read: “God, who at various times and in various ways spoke in time past to the fathers by the prophets, 2 has in these last days spoken to us by His Son.” (Hebrews 1:1-2 – NKJV)

John says something quite similar, but with different words:

For the law was given through Moses, but grace and truth came through Jesus Christ.” (John 1:17 – NKJV)

But why a gradual revelation? Why didn’t God simply tell us everything, all at one time?

These are questions I personally asked myself, too. Then I considered that there is no reason to blame God for something that even an average writer does himself, hoping to write a decent book. Imagine a mystery tale unfolding everything in the first page: it wouldn’t be a mystery anymore.

Who would want to read such a book?

At the same time, imagine a school book that will not gradually introduce a subject, but speak to the student of quantum physics before introducing him to law of gravity or the description of the atom.

I teach English – though not professionally. I would never teach a new student by starting with, say, the future progressive, or the “if” sentences. I begin with the alphabet – unless my student is already at a good level. Also, I try to speak slowly, using words he or she knows. Otherwise, he would not learn but simply be more confused than when he started the lesson.

Is it such a scandal if the same happens in the Bible?

Some mistakes made by certain interpretations are due to the simple fact that some fail to see the continuity between Old and New Testament.

For example, Jehovah Witnesses fail to see that it was no change in the Person of God, but more light that showed us that the Son of God and the Holy Spirit are God with the Father. We find hints in the Old Testament, but they became clear only in light of the New.

 

I know it’s not easy for the average Christian today, to be confronted by all the intellectual attacks coming from every direction: unbelievers, liberals, etc. It is not always easy to be able to answer to everyone. It takes rhetorical skills, linguistics, historical knowledge, which sometimes seems to fail us – this is how I feel myself too. Very often it is hard to argue against those who, even for no rational reason, just question the Christian faith – they are always more and more, in a world where there is a rampant propaganda against everything that us believers hold sacred and dear.

As it is for many other spiritual truths, besides the natural reasoning and evidence found in the physical, a Christian perceives in his spirit that the Bible, the Holy Scriptures are the Word of God, inspired by the Holy Spirit. When reading those pages, the heart of stone is turned into a heart of flesh, the perception of the self and reality changes, as we see everything through the eyes of God.

Some time ago a friend of mine – David – told me: “Reading the Bible … I don’t know how to prove it, I cannot even explain it with words, but I feel something special: it is the Word of God.”

It is true: it is something spiritual and by consequence so difficult to explain in the natural.

When we read the Bible the Holy Spirit literally speaks to our hearts, teaches us, guides us, sustains us, comforts us, delivers us, gives us strength and hope, courage, guidance, a goal, a reason to live, something worth living and even dying for. In every passage of Scripture God reveals Himself and sheds more light on our path.

This is my personal experience and I am sure it is what every true believer feels about the Scriptures.

We often are criticized because of the need we feel to share our beliefs with others – when people jump and scream in stadiums only for a game! – but since we found something so beautiful and precious not only we want to share it with others, but we dare feel guilty if we don’t. (So, please, bear with us)

In conclusion of this chapter, there should not be any doubt for the believer that the Bible is a collection of books, but it is also and absolutely One Book.

 

The Christian Counter

 

Chapter Two – The Canon of Scripture

 

Though it may not be so evident in the terminology, when we discuss the Canon of Scripture, we discuss about the books that have the right to be included in the Bible, about those that have been identified as having been inspired by the Holy Spirit.

I will treat the matter in a very simple way. This may upset the reader looking for scientific evidence. But I sincerely believe that the matter is pretty easy, strictly speaking, from a Christian perspective.

As far as the Old Testament is concerned, Jesus himself sealed with his words the Hebrew Canon of Scriptures of his days. He quoted from the Hebrew Scriptures and fulfilled what was written in them concerning the promised Messiah – whom he was.

Jesus also sanctioned the classical Jewish division of the Old Testament into Law, Prophets and Psalms, which included the very same books we find in our Bibles today.

Luke 24:44: “Then He said to them, “These are the words which I spoke to you while I was still with you, that all things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning Me.

The Old Testament is very often quoted in the New. Its authority was essential in order to prove that Jesus was the Messiah. The Lord himself mentions Moses, Daniel, David, as he regularly quotes from the Scriptures. When he was tempted in the desert, for example. In the Synagogue, reading the prophet Isaiah, written centuries before, he openly confirmed that that Scripture was authentic prophecy and that the same was being fulfilled in him.

The Hebrew Canon was recognized by Christians.

Concerning the second division of our Bibles, the New Testament, the way to treat the matter is entirely different. Things are much more simple, from a certain perspective. But, more difficult if considered from another.

When Christianity saw its rise, it had to confront itself with the Greek thought which was still dominating the intellectual world of the time. It was not easy for the early Church.

First of all, the authentic witness of the true apostles had to be preserved and received, while false prophets rose everywhere to threaten the purity of the Gospel message.

To the angel of the church of Ephesus write,`These things says He who holds the seven stars in His right hand, who walks in the midst of the seven golden lampstands: “I know your works, your labor, your patience, and that you cannot bear those who are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars;” (Revelation 2:1-2)

Many so called gospels and other false writings circulated during the early  Church period. It was not an easy task to isolate and identify the true from the false, especially since there was no central authority and the heretics were very active and prolific in the production of false accounts to substantiate their lies.

Luke himself wrote: “Inasmuch as many have taken in hand to set in order a narrative of those things which have been fulfilled among us, just as those who from the beginning were eyewitnesses and ministers of the word delivered them to us, it seemed good to me also, having had perfect understanding of all things from the very first, to write to you an orderly account, most excellent Theophilus, that you may know the certainty of those things in which you were instructed.” (Luke 1:1-4)

Luke’s main worry was to be historically faithful. So he diligently searched authoritative and reliable sources. This made his writing trustworthy and his account historically accurate. His Greek mind made his Gospel very popular among the non-Jewish believers.

And we have sent with him (Titus) the brother (Luke) whose praise is in the gospel throughout all the churches.” (2 Corinzi 8:18)

This passage of Scripture is not so complicated if it is understood for what it actually says – which is that Luke was famous in the early Church because he was the author of his Gospel account. Since it is widely believed that the third Gospel could have not been written so early, translations try to adjust the meaning of this phrase to say otherwise. But the simple truth is that in this passage we have first-hand evidence that, contrarily to what some scholars may think today from behind their desks and on their comfortable chairs, two-thousand years later, we have here evidence in support of an early composition of Luke’s Gospel.

Paul was very careful, adding signs in his letters that would confirm their authenticity.

The salutation of Paul with my own hand, which is a sign in every epistle; so I write.” (2 Thessalonians 3:17)

The salutation with my own hand– Paul’s.” (1 Corinthians 16:21)

This salutation by my own hand– Paul. Remember my chains. Grace be with you. Amen.” (Colossians 4:18)

The letters of Paul were read in the all the churches. So, those who received a copy of an epistle of Paul would diligently make sure that the other churches got it too.

I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren.” (1 Thessalonians 5:27)

In his second letter, the apostle Peter mentions Paul’s writings.          “ … and consider that the longsuffering of our Lord is salvation– as also our beloved brother Paul, according to the wisdom given to him, has written to you, as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.” (2 Peter 3:15-16)

In the words of Peter we understand about the intellectual and spiritual battle going on in the late first century church called to literally tell between true and false apostles.

The Lord himself revealed to Peter that he would soon die. Nothing was more important for the apostle than to make sure that the pure, authentic report of the eye witnesses should be preserved after his departure. He writes:

For this reason I will not be negligent to remind you always of these things, though you know and are established in the present truth. Yes, I think it is right, as long as I am in this tent, to stir you up by reminding you, knowing that shortly I must put off my tent, just as our Lord Jesus Christ showed me.

Moreover I will be careful to ensure that you always have a reminder of these things after my decease.

For we did not follow cunningly devised fables when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but were eyewitnesses of His majesty.” (2 Peter 1:12-16)

The early Church was well aware of the authority of the apostles and of their teachings. It was necessary to preserve such witness from those who attempted to twist the pure doctrine both twisting the interpretation of the Scriptures or producing false gospel accounts, false epistles, etc.

In conclusion, the care and efforts of the first century Church was all to identify and keep the true apostolic witness, discarding the lies of heretics.

It might hurt the scientific mind of today, but we must face it: only the early Church had the means to successfully preserve the true, pure Christian doctrine. It was done in a magnificent way, through the assistance of the Holy Spirit, delivering to the future generations the New Testament.

To determine which book has or doesn’t have the right to be in our Bibles, is not given to the Church of today. This was done by the early Church.

Great scholars come up with interesting or sophisticated theories, but they cannot have first hand, direct access to persons and documents available in the first century. A very simply but convincing demonstration of this is the fact that there are many theories, continually revised according to the new historical, archeological, linguistic discoveries, but the New Testament is still there unshaken in its powerful, accessible, Spirit-filled accounts to change the life of millions who study its pages.

A recent discovery had a particular international echo. The so called Gospel of Judas (so it is entitled) was unearthed in the ’70s in Egypt, preserved in a late III century Coptic manuscript. Its text and translation was published later and at a certain time it seemed like the hidden truth of the Gospel had at last been recovered. This “gospel” was known to the early Church. It was one of the many writings produced by the late first century and the second century heretics belonging to the various sects generally defined as Gnostics. Irenaeus, bishop of Lyon in the second century, spoke about this writing in his monumental five-books book against Gnosticism. The early church knew about this and the many other false, unreliable writings adulterating the purity of the apostolic doctrine and condemned them to oblivion.

The interest of scholars is understandable. We recover a piece of history with this finding. No-one denies. But the value of its witness has been overestimated only for commercial purposes. If anyone believes that this Gospel shades light on details of the Christian faith that had been hidden by the Orthodox, they are completely wrong. This anonymous writing, falsely self-attributing its authorship to Judas, provides no true new historical or religious information. The same would apply to all the many false heretical writings circulating in the first centuries of the Christian era.

The Canon of the New Testament is the one we find in our Bibles and with all due respect for those who do not entirely agree, no-one ever produced any evidence that any of those 27 books should not be considered the Word of God or that any other book was wrongly excluded from this authoritative and precious collection.

The four Gospels, the Acts of the Apostles, the Epistles and the book of Revelation have all the right to be in our Bibles right after the Old Testament, be called the New Testament and Word of God.

Old and New Testament together, are the Revelation, the Holy Scriptures which witness to the Truth of the Gospel we need to believe in order to be saved and all the teachings we need “that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.” (2 Timothy 3:17)

 

 

The Christian Counter

Amar, Dar e Compartilhar

Trad. Adriana De Mattia

Tentei tocar com a mesa da minha cozinha como faço com o meu violão, mas não consegui, então tentei com as cadeiras mas não tive nenhum resultado. Uma conclusão é que cada coisa tem o objetivo bem preciso e utilizar-la em modo diferente é inutil. Então a mesa da cozinha é para comer. E não é que bonita e útil assim? As cadeiras eu utilizei para sentar a mesa com a minha família ; e pensar que à estava para jogar fora porque não conseguia usa-las como queria, mas não era com aquele objetivo pelo qual eram construídas. Com cafeteira fiz então um bom café porque me lembrei o porquê eu a tinha comprado.

Naturalmente está estória é inventada, mas a verdade é que o homem que não encontra o seu objetivo de vida e o motivo e pelo qual foi criado fica frustrado e guarda um inexplicável senso de vazio. Falta alguma coisa.

Pois Deus o Senhor disse: ” Não é bom que o homem esteja só.” (Gênesis 2: 18).

Quando o homem vê a mulher pela primeira vez nasce o amor e a poesia.

“Deus o Senhor, com a costela que tomara ao homem, formou a mulher e a conduziu ao homem. O homem disse: ” Esta, afinal, é osso dos meus ossos e carne da minha carne”. ( Gênesis 2.22- 23).

São feitos para amar, dar e compartilhar. Se refletindo no nosso meio social, em relacionar-se com os outros. Este homem não poderia continuar sozinho; seria incompleto, teria só recebido não tendo ninguém com quem compartilhar. Jesus reafirmou nos seus ensinamentos um comandamento em particular.

” Ama o teu próximo como a ti mesmo.” ( Mateus 22.39).

O comandamento de Deus não é dado sem motivo, há um sentido. Nos faz entender qual o objetivo, a coisa nós servimos e o que temos que fazer para sermos realizados. O amor é o centro. O conceito expresso no Velho Testamento. Jesus repete e sublinha em modo único, novo e sem precedentes.

” Eu vos dou um novo comandamento que vos ameis uns aos outros. Como eu vos amei, também vos ameis uns aos outros.” ( João 13: 34).

É necessário amar o próximo como a nós mesmos e os nossos irmãos em Cristo com o mesmo amor que o Senhor teve por nós. Visto que não é fácil vale a pena sobrelinhar quanto seja a satisfação pessoal quando conseguimos cumprir esse específico comandamento que nos é dado do Senhor. Jesus no quarto evangelho disse:

” Quem crê em mim rios de águas vivas saíram do seu interior. (João 7. 38).

Não entendia bem esse versículo até quando um homem de Deus um dia me explicou na igreja um detalhe sobre o Mar Morto. O Mar Morto não é morto porque não recebe água, invés, ele é chamado Mar Morto porque não dá. E pior, se svazia porque a sua água se evapora; quer dizer desperdiçada. Do mesmo modo acontece com o cristão. Se está sentado no banco da igreja, escuta a palavra de Deus, mas não compatilha, não transmite o que recebeu, guardando para si mesmo, aquilo que aprendeu virá desperdiçado. O seu comportamento havendo entristecido o Espírito Santo, o impedirá de se sentir realizado. Já te aconteceu? Se sentir mal porque a tua preguiça ou a vergonha não deixou você compartilhar das coisas belas que você sabe da Palavra de Deus? Mesmo deixando de lado a espiritualidade, existe no homem o desejo de compartilhar o que de belo acontece na sua vida. Os avós sempre falam dos netos. Os ricos ostentam o dinheiro. Os músicos falam só de música. Os colecionistas falam só dos seus objetos raros. Nós cristãos reprimidos o nosso entusiasmo e não falamos das maravilhas de Deus.E não é isso que nos ensina a palavra de Deus inspirada do Espirito Santo. Se nós mesmos somos crentes é porque alguém nos falou do amor de Deus.

“…o que temos visto e ouvido nós anunciamos também a vocês, para que vos sejais em comunhão com nós. Ora a comunhão é com o Pai e o seu Filho Jesus Cristo. (1 João 1:3).

Os apóstolos não guardaram para eles mesmos a mensagem da salvação, ao contrário, compartilharam. Se tivessem ficado calados por egoísmo, preguiça e por medo das consequências de seus testemunhos, hoje nós não seriamos aqui. Dar é um outro aspecto que o homem se realiza em si mesmo. O Senhor Jesus é em si mesmo o exemplo de como dar.

“… tal como o Filho do Homem que não veio para ser servido mas para servir e dar sua vida em resgate de muitos.(Mateus 20:28).

Jesus disse ainda:

” Mais bem- aventurado quem dar que recebe.” ( Atos 20: 35)

O pecado se coloca entre nós e a livre realização e manifestação daquilo que é belo da nossa natureza humana original antes da queda. Hoje graças ao Espírito Santo podemos recuperar a possibilidade de fazer aquilo que é justo e experimentar a satisfação que só pode te dar o objetivo pelo qual nós fomos criados.

 

The Christian Counter

Chapter One – THE BIBLE: The Word of God

1

 THE BIBLE: THE WORD OF GOD

       The word Bible comes from the Greek ta biblia, which simply means “the books”. In fact, the Bible is a collection of sixty-six books, divided into two main sections: Old and New Testament.

The Old Testament is the collection of the Jewish sacred writings, completed long before the birth of Jesus.

The New Testament is the official collection of the writings of the disciples of Jesus.

The Bible is the Word of God, inspired by God.

Paul writes: “All Scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, thoroughly equipped for every good work.”   (2 Timothy 3:16-17)

The Bible is indeed more than just a book. It was written by men – no-one denies this fact. But those same men were not collecting their ideas or thoughts, or just telling some nice stories. They were inspired, led by the Holy Spirit in a supernatural way and whatever they wrote was in a unique and special way the Word of God.

For prophecy never came by the will of man, but holy men of God spoke as they were moved by the Holy Spirit.”          (2 Peter 1:21)

The traditional Christian view understands and explains the Inspiration of the Holy Scriptures to have affected the very words of the text so that the Bible is entirely, wholly and truly the Word of God.

Like Jesus, who was the Word incarnate, (John 1:1-14), also the written Word has, in a sense, both a human and a divine nature.

The human is evident by the fact that men actually and materially authored the books collected in the Bible. They also wrote in a human language. Furthermore, the books had to be preserved through a copying process in the past, through print today – like any other book.

The divine is evident by the fact that the Scriptures are the Word of God, which implies a unique authority concerning God’s Revelation to man.

Theologians and scholars have come up with different conclusions and definitions concerning the implications of the inspiration of the Bible and the direct consequences of it. But I still like the devastating, straight forward simplicity of the Bible itself. Let us read what it says about itself.

Jesus says: “For David himself said by the Holy Spirit:` The LORD said to my Lord, “Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool.” (Mark 12:36)

In the Psalm quoted by Mark, it was David who spoke. But Jesus says those words were spoken by the Holy Spirit.

This is what we read in other significant passages.

Men and brethren, this Scripture had to be fulfilled, which the Holy Spirit spoke before by the mouth of David…” (Acts 1:16)

But those things which God foretold by the mouth of all His prophets, that the Christ would suffer, He has thus fulfilled.” (Acts 3:18)

So when they did not agree among themselves, they departed after Paul had said one word: “The Holy Spirit spoke rightly through Isaiah the prophet to our fathers ” (Acts 28:25)

But the Holy Spirit also witnesses to us; for after He had said before, “This is the covenant that I will make with them after those days, says the LORD: I will put My laws into their hearts, and in their minds I will write them,” then He adds, “Their sins and their lawless deeds I will remember no more.” (Hebrews 10:15-17)

On the one hand, I believe it is unacceptable to consider the Inspiration of the Scriptures as an automatic dictation which completely emptied the writer of the book of his personal  contribution. On the other hand we cannot neglect to point out that the guidance of the Holy Spirit must have been essential to contribute to the final result: God actually speaking through men.

With this in mind, those who approach the Bible, can be rest assured that it is indeed, and for all purposes the Word of God.

Paul writes to the church in Thessalonica: “For this reason we also thank God without ceasing, because when you received the word of God which you heard from us, you welcomed it not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God, which also effectively works in you who believe.” (1 Thessalonians 2:13)

The Bible is the only reliable witness to the Truth of the Gospel, proclaimed by Jesus and the Apostles, the Gospel we must believe in order to be saved and to grow as Christians.

Paul wrote to the church in Colosse: “Now when this epistle is read among you, see that it is read also in the church of the Laodiceans, and that you likewise read the epistle from Laodicea ” (Colossians 4:16)

And also, to the church in Thessalonica again: “I charge you by the Lord that this epistle be read to all the holy brethren.” (1 Thessalonians 5:27)

The words we find in the book of Revelation, can be applied to the whole Scripture: “Blessed is he who reads and those who hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written in it; for the time is near.” (Revelation 1:3)

In conclusion, the Bible is a collection of 66 books: 39 in the Old Testament, 27 in the New.

 

The Christian Counter