There’s Still Time to Take a New Online Class from Bill Mounce
Here’s a unique opportunity to learn second-year Greek with Bill Mounce. Act fast, because his online courses start January 11, 2016! -Zondervan Academic Blog Editors
You’ve taken your first year of Greek, so where do you turn next? The commentaries are still too hard to understand, Greek grammars are intimidating, and you really want to be able to sit down and just read the Greek Testament. And it would be nice to get seminary credit.
Now is the time to move to the next level!
The one-semester class will…
Can the Future mean “Should” (Malachi 2:6) – Mondays with Mounce 278
Malachi 2 contains a serious warning to the priests, and I would apply the warning to preachers today.
The priests refused to honor God’s name, and so God will rebuke their descendants. They should have followed Levi’s example, who revered God and “stood in awe of my name. True instruction was in his mouth and nothing false was found on his lips” (vv 5-6).
What caught my attention was the use of “ought” in translating v 7. “For the lips of a priest ought to preserve knowledge (יִשְׁמְרוּ), because he is the messenger of the Lord Almighty and people seek instruction from his mouth” (NIV). יִשְׁמְרוּ is a Qal…
What’s a Magi and are they “Wise” (Matt 2:1) – Mondays with Mounce 277
We were singing Christmas hymns in church yesterday and I was reminded about words that are either unknown or misleading.
The lyrics to “It Came Upon The Midnight Clear” include, “For lo! the days are hastening on by prophet bards foretold.” What’s a “bard”? Wikipedia says, “In medieval Gaelic and British culture, a bard was a professional poet/story teller, employed by a patron, such as a monarch or nobleman, to commemorate one or more of the patron’s ancestors and to praise the patron’s own activities.” I guess we have to give some poetic license, but I do struggle when we use words that the vast majority of people can’t know what they mean.
Does the Order of Phrases Matter? (Rom 1:5) – Mondays with Mounce 276
One of the harder things to do in translation is line up the phrases properly. Since English uses sequence and proximity, related phrases need to go together. Greek doesn’t care (as much).
Take for example Rom 1:5. Speaking of Jesus, Paul writes, “through whom we have received grace and apostleship to bring about the obedience of faith for the sake of his name among all the nations” (ESV). The Greek is, δι᾿ οὗ ἐλάβομεν χάριν καὶ ἀποστολὴν εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως ἐν πᾶσιν τοῖς ἔθνεσιν ὑπὲρ τοῦ ὀνόματος αὐτοῦ.
The prepositional phrase translated “to bring about the obedience of faith” (εἰς ὑπακοὴν πίστεως) is adjectival, modifying “grace and apostleship” (χάριν καὶ ἀποστολήν); it is the end result of God’s grace and his apostolic call.
“Among all the nations” (ἐν πᾶσιν…
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Did Jesus Lie? (John 7:8) – Mondays with Mounce 275
One of the basic rules in textual criticism is to choose the “more difficult” reading. Another way to say this is to ask what reading would most likely give rise to the other reading, and to prefer the former.
In John 7:8, Jesus’ brothers are taunting him, telling him he should go to Jerusalem for the festival of Tabernacles. Jesus responds, “You go up to the festival yourselves; I am not going up to this festival (ἐγὼ οὐκ ἀναβαίνω εἰς τὴν ἑορτὴν ταύτην), for my time has not yet fully come.”
The problem of course is that he does go to Jerusalem (v 10). So was Jesus being honest?
This is certainly what gave rise to the alternate…
Love “for” the Father – Mondays with Mounce 274
Is “of” clear enough?
Here is a simple illustration of a subjective/objective genitive distinction, and also an illustration of translation philosophy in action.
Remember: if a noun is a subjective genitive, it is doing the action implicit in the head noun. If it is an objective genitive, it is receiving the action.
John the Apostle says, “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father (ἡ ἀγάπη τοῦ πατρὸς) is not in him” (1 John 2:15). Is πατρὸς doing the action in ἀγάπη or receiving it? Is the Father doing the loving, or is the Father receiving (our) love? There is little question contextually or theologically that it is objective, that it is our love for God.
But then the question is, do you make this explicit or…
My Good Pleasure? – Mondays with Mounce 273
Paul tells the Philippians that “it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work on behalf of his good pleasure (ὑπὲρ τῆς εὐδοκίας)” (v 13).
My wife Robin came home the other day dumbfounded, having heard the lyrics of a song that says God is working for “your good pleasure.”
True, there is no explicit pronoun present, neither αὐτοῦ or σου, so where does the “his” come from? The τῆς. ὁ is way more than the definite article, and one of its other functions is to perform the work of a possessive.
But what kind of narcissistic theology would think that God works for our pleasure? My goodness, someone needs to take a class in theology or worship, or just read the Bible.
God works for his good pleasure – as every translation says…
One Word Can Make All the Difference – Mondays with Mounce 272
I came across a couple interesting verses. My comments are not so much about grammar as they are about translation, but thought it would be fun to look at the LXX a little.
In Job 1:3 we read, “He owned seven thousand sheep, three thousand camels, five hundred yoke of oxen and five hundred donkeys, and had a large number of servants (וַעֲבֻדָּה רַבָּה מְאֹד, ὑπηρεσία πολλὴ σφόδρα)” (NIV). In neither the Greek nor the LXX is there a word for “had” in the final clause. Can you tell why the NIV added it in (as does the NLT)?
Part of the answer lies in the meaning of עֲבֹדָה, which can refer to slave labor or to non-slave…
Can you have a “twice Sabbath” (Luke 18:12)? – Mondays with Mounce 271
This phrase in Luke gives us a great example of how words have bundles of meanings, and you have to move beyond the one or two word glosses in your first year Greek grammar.
In Jesus’ parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, the arrogant Pharisee parades his accomplishments in his prayer: “I fast twice a week (νηστεύω δὶς τοῦ σαββάτου).” δίς is an adverb meaning “twice,” and in this verse σαββάτου is singular.
Can “Yes” and “Although” mean the same thing (Rom 1:21)? – Mondays with Mounce 269
Paul is arguing that all the world clearly understands God’s invisible attributes, and therefore they are without excuse for not responding properly (Rom 1:20).
V 21 then begins, “For even though they knew (διότι γνόντες) God, they did not honor him as God.” διότι is a causal connector; Paul is telling us why there is no excuse and why God’s punishment is just. But it is the γνόντες that caught my attention.
Relative Time with Participles – Mondays with Mounce 268
One of the challenges in teaching first year Greek (and writing a first year Greek grammar) is the question of simplification. How much do you simplify? How many of the grammatical nuances do you set aside?
If we taught everything first year, almost no one would survive. But if you over-simplify, the students will hate you when they have to re-learn things in their second year. Maybe not hate, but certainly not be happy with you.
A good example of this is the issue of relative time and the participle. Here is what I wrote in section 28.17: “Whereas the present (imperfective) participle indicates an action occurring at the same time as the main verb, the aorist (perfective) participle can indicate an action occurring before the time of the main verb. There are, however, many exceptions to this…