What does a “little faith” have to do with a mustard seed? (Matt 17:20) — Mondays with Mounce 235
This is actually a great example of how to deal with a word’s etymology and meaning.
When the disciples could not exorcize the demon, Jesus responded, “O unbelieving (ἄπιστος) and perverse generation, how long am I to be with you?” (Matt 17:17).
After the exorcism, the disciples asked him why they could not perform the exorcism. Jesus replied, “Because of the poverty of your faith (διὰ τὴν ὀλιγοπιστίαν ὑμῶν). I tell you the truth, if you have faith the size of a mustard seed (ὡς κόκκον σινάπεως), you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move; and nothing will be impossible for you” (17:20).
ὀλιγοπιστία occurs only here in the NT and in later Christian writings, so the fair assumption is that Jesus made up the word. The cognate adjective ὀλιγόπιστος likewise only occurs…
Mounce Archive 8 — Is a “Fool” a “Stupid Person” In Biblical Theology?
Everyone needs a sabbatical once in a while, and Bill Mounce is taking one from this blog until later in September. Meanwhile, we’ve hand-picked some of our favorite and most popular posts for your summer reading and Greek-studying pleasure.
As a preacher I know how tempting it can be to make the Greek fit a doozy of a rhetorical point in an English sermon.
In a post from Bill Mounce’s “Mondays with Mounce” series, he tells the story about a preacher who did just that. The culprit? Trying to make the English word moron do what the Greek moros just won’t do.
“What is a ‘moron?’,” Mounce asks. “Wikipedia say it is a ‘disused term for a person with a mental age between 8 and 12,’ with a slang meaning of a ‘stupid person.’ Is that what a ‘fool’ is in biblical…
My Advice to Students — Bill Mounce Says, “Don’t Let Yourself Be Swallowed Up By the Academy”
For those of us who have been to seminary or are in seminary we know the funny pejorative term often given to that higher academic world: semitary, with a "T". As in, when one goes off to the Church's Ivory Tower to pursue graduate work in Bible or theology it's almost as if they crawl into a 6 ft. plot in an over-grown cemetery for 2-3 years, completely divorced from the real world.
There's something about going into this kind of graduate work where the rest of the world gets shoved aside in the middle of our hyper-focus on learning other-worldly Hebrew vocab words, conjugating those pesky Greek verbs, and writing papers on obscure…
Influential Books and Authors: Bill Mounce on J.I. Packer, John Piper and others
Each week in Influential Books and Authors we hear from a noted scholar on the author(s) and book(s) that have been most important to them for spiritual and intellectual growth. This week we feature New Testament Greek scholar, Bill Mounce.
William D. Mounce (PhD, Aberdeen University) lives as a writer in Spokane, Washington. He is the president of Biblical Training, a non-profit organization offering the finest in evangelical teaching to the world for free. See BillMounce.com for more information. Formerly he was the preaching pastor at a church in Spokane, and prior to that a professor of New Testament and director of the Greek program at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary. He is the author of the bestselling New Testament Greek resources, Basics of Biblical…