Mounce Archive 22 – Using Biblical Languages

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Everyone needs a break once in a while, and Bill Mounce is taking one from his weekly column on biblical Greek until September. Meanwhile, we’ve hand-picked some classic, popular posts from the “Mondays with Mounce” archive for your summer reading and Greek-studying pleasure.

In today’s post, Mounce explains how to use the Biblical languages well, since knowing the original languages is useful in study and preparation. Yet, he argues, mentioning Greek or Hebrew in sermons should be done carefully, for the sake of the listener.

You can read the whole post here.

In response to last week’s post, several people have asked this question. I find it interesting that I never thought of it; it is easy to criticize others, but harder to build up. A general principle of life. So how do you use Greek (and Hebrew) properly?

It…

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Mounce Archive 21 – Unreliable Etymologies

Bill Mounce on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,,,.

Everyone needs a break once in a while, and Bill Mounce is taking one from his weekly column on biblical Greek until September. Meanwhile, we’ve hand-picked some classic, popular posts from the “Mondays with Mounce” archive for your summer reading and Greek-studying pleasure.

In one of his first “Mondays with Mounce” posts, Mounce explained how etymology can sometimes be helpful in determining the meaning of a word. However, just as a butterfly is not airborne oil, etymology is sometimes unreliable.

Check out the complete post here.

The etymology of a word is the meaning of its parts. In English we might talk about a “goalpost.” This is a goal that is formed by two vertical posts. In other words, in the creation of the word for where you kick the ball in soccer — excuse me, football — somebody took…

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Mounce Archive 20 – Incomplete Definitions

Bill Mounce on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,,.

Everyone needs a break once in a while, and Bill Mounce is taking one from his weekly column on biblical Greek until September. Meanwhile, we’ve hand-picked some classic, popular posts from the “Mondays with Mounce” archive for your summer reading and Greek-studying pleasure.

First-year Greek students memorize the gloss for εὐθύς as “immediately.” If we use that translation, according to the book of Mark, Jesus seems to be running around like crazy. Mounce reminds us to look back at a lexicon and realize words often have a wider semantic range than we use.

Consider the excerpt below or read the original post here.

One of the strange literary characteristics of the gospel of Mark is the apparently inordinate use of εὐθύς. It is an adverb I memorized as meaning “immediately.”

It occurs 59 times in the NT, 41 being…

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Mounce Archive 19 – Relying on Headers

Bill Mounce on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,,,.

Everyone needs a break once in a while, and Bill Mounce is taking one from his weekly column on biblical Greek until September. Meanwhile, we’ve hand-picked some classic, popular posts from the “Mondays with Mounce” archive for your summer reading and Greek-studying pleasure.

Quite often, we put too much faith in the headings translators have added to our Bibles. As Mounce explains in this post, a quick glance at the header can shape the way we read the passage. He calls us to read the Word carefully.

If this preview whets your appetite,  you can click here to find the original post.

Usually adjectives used substantivally (i.e., as nouns) are pretty easy to figure out. Between the meaning of the adjective and the context of the passage, the translator can figure out how to treat the word. But every once in a…

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Mounce Archive 18 – You Plural, You Individual

Bill Mounce on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,,,.

Everyone needs a break once in a while, and Bill Mounce is taking one from his weekly column on biblical Greek until September. Meanwhile, we’ve hand-picked some classic, popular posts from the “Mondays with Mounce” archive for your summer reading and Greek-studying pleasure.

In Philippians 1:6, Paul says he trusts God to continue working in “you” plural. But can the believer also use this verse to rest assured the Lord will work in each of us individually? Mounce concludes: “[I]f God is working among the believers as a group, the only way to do that is for him to work in the life of each individual believer.”

Begin with the excerpt below or read the complete post here.

Paul begins his letter to the Philippians with praise for them, and then says this now famous verse. “And I am sure…

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Mounce Archive 17 – Translating Father (and Mother?)

Bill Mounce on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,,,,.

Everyone needs a break once in a while, and Bill Mounce is taking one from his weekly column on biblical Greek until September. Meanwhile, we’ve hand-picked some classic, popular posts from the “Mondays with Mounce” archive for your summer reading and Greek-studying pleasure.

Often when translating, one word can be translated multiple ways. Sometimes the differences matter, but even when the answer is not so clear, and when neither translation is theologically incorrect, attention to the nuances is important.

Click here to engage with the original post.

I heard a Father’s Day sermon yesterday in which the preacher said Ephesians 6:4 applies to mothers and well as fathers, specifically that πατήρ can mean “mother.”

Paul writes, “And fathers (οἱ πατέρες), do not provoke your children to anger, but raise them up in the discipline and admonition of the Lord.” To his credit,…

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Mounce Archive 16 – When Experiences Make Translating Difficult

Bill Mounce on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,,.

Everyone needs a break once in a while, and Bill Mounce is taking one from his weekly column on biblical Greek until September. Meanwhile, we’ve hand-picked some classic, popular posts from the “Mondays with Mounce” archive for your summer reading and Greek-studying pleasure.

This post explores translating the term “ἔργον ἀγαθόν”. Mounce explains how our own perceptions can make us prefer one translation over another.

You can find the original post here.

One of the more interesting expressions in the Pastorals is ἔργον ἀγαθόν, “good deed.” It occurs 6 times.

Women are to be clothed in good deeds (1 Tim 2:10). A widow shows herself to be godly by devoting herself to good deeds (1 Tim 5:10). If you cleanse yourself from what is impure, you are prepared for any good deed (2 Tim 2:21). Scripture equips Timothy for…

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Mounce Archive 15 – Play on Words (John 15:2-3)

Bill Mounce on 1 year ago. Tagged under ,,,.

Everyone needs a break once in a while, and Bill Mounce is taking one from his weekly column on biblical Greek until September. Meanwhile, we’ve hand-picked some classic, popular posts from the “Mondays with Mounce” archive for your summer reading and Greek-studying pleasure.

In today’s post, Mounce opens up John 15:2-3, where Jesus explained the Vine and the Branches – a fine example of word play in the original Greek. Though translation is often tricky, Mounce clearly describes and believes that the Word is clear.

Let the excerpt below encourage you to read the original post here.

I suspect that there is nothing harder to bring into English than a play on words. When that play on words branches (pun intended) into metaphors (and the question of how hard to push the imagery), and into the relationship between justification and…

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Are There Mistakes in Scripture?

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This excerpt taken from Greek for the Rest of Us by William D. Mounce serves as a primer for understanding why Greek manuscripts differ and how the Bible has come down to us through the centuries.

 

The History of the Bible and Textual Criticism

In my opening discussion, “What Would It Look Like If You Knew a Little Greek?” (pp. xi–xvii), I give two examples of different translations. The first was what the angels said to the shepherds, and I pointed out how these two are substantially different.

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace, good will toward men. (KJV)

Glory to God in the highest, and on earth peace among men with whom he is pleased. (RSV)

 I also talked about how some translations…

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Ellipsis’ Ugly Head (John 12:7) —Monday’s with Mounce 254

Bill Mounce on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,,.

We don’t talk much about ellipsis in first year Greek, but it is a grammatical fact that occurs more than you might think.

An ellipsis is when words are left out, and the assumption is that the context is sufficient to fill in the gaps. It especially happens in the second of two parallel thoughts, words from the first assumed in the second.

But John 12:7 gives us a good example of ellipsis when there is no parallel. Mary anoints Jesus’ feet, Judas objects, and Jesus responds, “Leave her alone…. It was intended that she should save this perfume for the day of my burial” (NIV). ἄφες αὐτήν, ἵνα εἰς τὴν ἡμέραν τοῦ ἐνταφιασμοῦ μου τηρήσῃ αὐτό. In other words, the words “It was intended” is the NIV’s guess as to what “should” have been before the ἵνα.

The problem…

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Did Jesus “Accept” Human Testimony? (John 5:34) — Mondays with Mounce 253

Bill Mounce on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,,.

Semantic range can be a pesky fellow. Take for example the range of meaning held by λαμβάνω.

In John 5:31 Jesus starts by saying, “If I bear witness about myself, my testimony is not deemed true.” Then two verses later he says, “You have sent messengers to John, and he has borne witness to the truth” (5:33). So it sounds like Jesus is pointing people to what John said about him.

Jesus then concludes, “Not that I accept (λαμβάνω) human testimony; but I mention it that you may be saved” (NIV).

Wait minute. Jesus just cited John as witnessing to him, so why then would he say, “Not that I accept human testimony.” Of course he does! He just did.

The NLT gets amazingly expansive: “Of course, I have no need of human witnesses.” It’s not what Jesus said. The…

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Where are the blind pastors? (1 Cor 12:22) —Mondays with Mounce 252

Bill Mounce on 2 years ago. Tagged under ,,.

I just attended the Global Access Conference hosted by Joni and Friends. Everybody needs to attend something like this because it will make you sensitive to things that you might not otherwise see.

If you are not aware of Joni and Friends, you need to check them out. They are the main Christian disability ministry, helping the church understand how to serve and be served by people with disabilities.

One of the things that I saw this week was exegetical. Paul is talking about the different gifts in the body (i.e., the church). He writes, “those members of the body that seem (δοκοῦντα) to be weaker are indispensable (ἀναγκαῖα)” (1 Cor 12:22).

Who are the weaker members, and what does it mean that they are ἀναγκαῖα? Fee writes that by analogy Paul is referring to the internal organs…

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