Did Jesus Really Descend into Hell?
Angels in the Bible: What Do We Actually Know About Them?
The Seven Churches of Revelation: Why They Matter and What We Can Learn
Who Killed Jesus? The Historical Context of Jesus’ Crucifixion
Do You Know These 7 Differences Between the Bible and Quran?
7 Places We Find Jesus in the Old Testament
Who Wrote the Gospels, and How Do We Know for Sure?
What Is the Soul? Is It Different from the Spirit?
What Do We Gain From a Raised Christ? 6 Big, Clear Benefits Say Dodson and Watson
Who Wrote Ecclesiastes and What Does It Mean?
When Does “No” Become “Never”? (Mark 10:15) — Mondays with Mounce 335
It is often said that translators are traitors. They are traitors because they either over- or under-translate the meaning of the original text. Either they say too much in an attempt to convey the full meaning of the Greek, or they say too little and leave some of the meaning untranslated.
A typical example is the Greek construction of οὐ μή and the aorist subjunctive. It conveys an emphatic negation, not just “no” but “no no no” (as one of my children used to say when he was little). Of course, you can’t say “no no no” in translation, and we do not have a grammatical construction in English similar to οὐ μή plus aorist subjunctive. So are we to try and bring the emphatic nature of the negation into English, or do we leave it out?
A good example…
Why Do We Learn? — Mondays with Mounce 334
One of the advantages of formal equivalent translations is that they tend to maintain the distinction between dependent and independent constructions. Often the key to understanding an author’s flow of thought is the difference between an indicative or imperative and a participle. And yet sometimes functional equivalent translations maintain the distinction as well.
There is a cycle in Colossians 1:9–12 (NIV). Paul prays that God fill the Colossians “with the knowledge of his will” (πληρωθῆτε τὴν ἐπίγνωσιν τοῦ θελήματος αὐτοῦ).
This is going to happen through the work of the Spirit (ἐν πάσῃ σοφίᾳ καὶ συνέσει πνευματικῇ). The purpose of this is expressed with an infinitive: “so that you may live a life (περιπατῆσαι) worthy of the Lord.” What it means to be “worthy” is spelled out with a prepositional phrase: “and please him in every way (εἰς πᾶσαν ἀρεσκείαν).”…
A Primer on the Legacy of Preaching: Volume Two (Enlightenment to the Present Day)
They embody the rich legacy of preaching through the ages, inspired by the central ministry component of Jesus Christ, whose very purpose and mission on earth was to preach. As Jesus himself made clear in Luke 4:43:44: “‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.’ And he kept on preaching . . .”
A Legacy of Preaching: Volume Two explores the history…
Who or What Is the “Old Man”? (Colossians 3:9) — Mondays with Mounce 333
Translation without interpretation is impossible. There may be verses where there is no question as to what the author meant, but there are thousands of verses where interpretive decisions must be made.
Paul tells the Colossians, “Do not lie to one another, seeing that you have put off (ἀπεκδυσάμενοι) the old self (τὸν παλαιὸν ἄνθρωπον) with its (αὐτοῦ) practices” (ESV, also NASB, CSB, NET, NRSV).
1. “Seeing that” interprets the participle as causal. Paul is looking back at the conversion experience and saying that based on the realities of what happened at that point, therefore, in the present, they should not lie to one another. However, the participles could also be imperatival; the Colossians are to put off the remnants of their pre-conversion selves and not lie. I suspect the former is correct, but the point is that this calls…
How Much Should We Ask of Our Students? (Mark 12:28) — Mondays with Mounce 332
I am thinking quite a bit these days about sequencing, and how different biblical Greek is from English, which then raises interesting problems for the translator. I am also wondering more about how students should be translating in their first year of Greek.
Look at the series of participles in the Greatest Command (Mark 12:28).
προσελθὼν εἷς τῶν γραμματέων ἀκούσας αὐτῶν συζητούντων, ἰδὼν ὅτι καλῶς ἀπεκρίθη αὐτοῖς ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν· ποία ἐστὶν ἐντολὴ πρώτη πάντων;
The basic sentence structure is εἷς ἐπηρώτησεν αὐτόν. “One (of the scribes) asked him.” As a side note, my friend Dan Wallace told me that he prefers his students to find the verb–subject–direct object, especially in a complicated sentence, and then see where the rest of the words fit in relation to that structure. This is instead of just going word for word. A good idea.
David and Goliath: 6 Lessons (1 Samuel 17 Commentary)
“The book of Samuel is one of the great literary works in human history,” writes Paul Evans in 1-2 Samuel (Story of God Bible Commentary). “Its masterfully told stories have captured the imagination of readers for millennia” (19). Chief among them is the story of David and Goliath, the quintessential underdog story.
But what does the story mean? What lessons can we draw from it to shape our lives and inform our relationship with the Lord?
Here’s a clue from Evans: “David’s faith-filled theological perspective allowed him a different vantage point on the grave situation in the valley of Elah” (194). Evans’ commentary offers a clear and compelling exposition of David’s theological perspective. Read the story from 1 Samuel 17, then consider the lessons below, and see what…
How Does Genesis 1–11 Speak Truly? Six Insights
Reading Genesis Well answers these questions and more. In this book Old Testament scholar C. John Collins develops a rigorous approach to interpreting the parts of the Bible that figure in contemporary discussions of science and faith. Collins’ approach appropriates literary and linguistic insights from C. S. Lewis, and adds perspectives from modern linguistics (including lexical semantics, discourse analysis, and sociolinguistics).
Collins’ work will help you better navigate conversations about Genesis, science, and biblical faith. This book will help you evaluate different views of Genesis and become more deeply informed about how history, poetry, science and truth in Genesis…
How Should Biblical Morality Shape Immigration, Refugee, and Border Policy?
One of the more controversial issues of our day—both in the US and abroad, both political and moral—is how a nation should shape and enforce its immigration laws. The issue carries with it several questions that require nuance and consideration—particularly for Christians.
As Christians, how should we consider issues of immigration, refugees, and border control? How should biblical morality shape such laws? Does the Bible even offer us principles for drafting sound, compassionate public policy solutions? Scott B. Rae’s new fourth edition of Moral Choices offers some biblical and practical guidance on these questions. (Rae’s Moral Choices is a proven, standard text for Christian ethics courses, and updates to the fourth edition include a new chapter on immigration, among other new chapters mentioned…
A Primer on the Legacy of Preaching: Volume One (Apostles to the Revivalists)
They embody the rich legacy of preaching through the ages, inspired by the central ministry component of Jesus Christ himself whose very purpose and mission on earth was to preach. As Jesus himself made clear in Luke 4:43:44: “‘I must proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God to the other towns also, because that is why I was sent.’ And he kept on preaching…”
What Is Hypostatic Union?
Hypostatic union is how Christians explain the relationship between Jesus’ divine nature, his human nature, and his being. It means that Jesus is both fully God and fully man. Jesus has all of the characteristics that are true of a person, and all of the characteristics that are true of a divine being. Both natures fully exist in one person.
For centuries, the church struggled to define the relationship between Jesus’ divine nature and his…
Do You Ever Leave a Translation Meaningless? (Hebrews 13:3) – Mondays with Mounce 331
I am reading a paper this week at the national meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society. It is entitled, “Do formal equivalent translations reflect a higher view of plenary, verbal inspiration?” Because of my research, I am particularly sensitive to the claims of formal and functional equivalent translations and the relationship between words and meaning.
Hebrews 13:3 provides an interesting test case. The ESV (see also the NASB) writes, “Remember those who are in prison, as though in prison with them, and those who are mistreated, since you also are in the body (ὡς καὶ αὐτοὶ ὄντες ἐν σώματι).”
“In the body”? What does that mean? In the church, the body of Christ? This is a good example of when a slavish following of the Greek produces meaninglessness. The CSB has, “as though you yourselves were suffering bodily.” See also,…
Why Morality Matters: An Introduction to Ethics by Scott B. Rae
“Why be moral?” Perhaps it’s to fulfill some sort of social contract forged between human beings in order to transcend the state of nature? Maybe to align our lives with an internal biological impulse hardwired in us from birth? Or, to align our lives with an external code handed down to us from above?
“Why be moral” is one question at the heart of Scott Rae’s bestselling introduction to ethics, Moral Choices, now in its Fourth Edition. Rae writes in the book’s introduction:
Since the moral life and moral decision-making are the focal points of this book, you can see that I am assuming being moral matters, and significantly. If you decide that being moral is not very important, then you…