Who is Jesus? (John 8:24) – Mondays with Mounce 310

Bill Mounce on 3 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

Jesus says, “This is why I said to you that you would die in your sins, for if you do not believe that I am he (ἐγώ εἰμι), you will die in your sins.” This is one of the more interesting conundrums I have seen in a while.

Where does the “he” come from? More importantly, who is “he.” The “I” is Jesus, but who is the “he” Jesus is referring to? Does this really make any sense? Almost all translations say “I am he,” but that doesn’t make it right.

The reason this is an interesting conundrum is because there are several things at work. We all know of the use of ἐγώ εἰμι to make reference to God’s name in Exodus 3:15 (אֶֽהְיֶ֖ה אֲשֶׁ֣ר אֶֽהְיֶ֑ה, Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν). Jesus says, “I tell you the solemn truth, before…

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Translating the Name of the Lord (Hebrew and You with Lee M. Fields)

Lee Fields on 3 months ago. Tagged under .

One of the many benefits of knowing a little Hebrew (and Greek!) is that it can help readers understand their English Bibles better. Understanding the name of the Lord is a good example.

There are many expressions used to refer to the God of Israel, but the one that may confuse English-only readers is the name of the Lord. There are several terms related to this. First we will look at pronunciation. Then we will explain Hebrew terms and translations.

The name of the Lord in Hebrew is יהוה, YHWH, known as the tetragrammaton (a Greek term meaning the “four-letter word”). The Jews often substitute the expression “the Name” for the actual name of the Lord, so that they do not even accidentally give offense to the Lord. It is a useful shorthand that we will use here. Many Jews…

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What is a leap of faith?

ZA Blog on 3 months ago. Tagged under .

What is a leap of faith?

We hear the phrase “leap of faith” all the time. It refers to a momentous decision we must make that lies outside reason, or one that forces us to grapple with a difficult belief or moral position.

Surprisingly, the phrase isn’t very old.

The idea first appears in Søren Kierkegaard’s book, Fear and Trembling, which he wrote under the pseudonym Johannes de Silentio.

Let’s take a closer look at the phrase “leap of faith,” and see what Kierkegaard meant by it.

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How we know Jesus is God: 2 ways of understanding religion

ZA Blog on 3 months ago. Tagged under .

Evangelism in a Skeptical World

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We’re all on a search for God. Who am I to impose my version of God on you?

There are two ways of understanding God, religion, and spirituality.

One way is to say we’re all on a journey, we’re all searching for the truth, and we’re all searching for God, and we all have our own experiences and perspectives. If Jesus says He’s God to me, fine. But if you have found some other God,…

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What History Tells Us About Jesus

Jeremy Bouma on 3 months ago. Tagged under ,,,.

9780310328612Christianity is unique among the world religions because it claims to be historical. It revolves around a series of events that are believed to have occurred in modern Israel between 5 BC and AD 30.

Which makes it open to historical scrutiny.

As John Dickson explains in his new book A Doubter’s Guide to Jesus: “If you claim that something spectacular took place in history, intelligent people are going to ask you historical questions.”

How has it fared in the face of such critical observation? Surprisingly well! Particularly because Jesus is mentioned several times outside of the New Testament.

One lucky outcome of this flurry of ancient literary output [about the Roman Empire] is that a small-town Jewish teacher, named Yeshua ben Yosef, or Jesus son of Joseph, happened to…

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The Myth of Literal Translation (2 Thessalonians 2:3) — Mondays with Mounce 309

Bill Mounce on 3 months ago. Tagged under ,.

I know I have been beating this drum pretty hard recently, but it is so easy. I keep coming across example that clearly illustrate the problem.

The claim is that a translation can be at least somewhat literal, and that by doing so the translator reduces the amount of interpretation (often true) and the informed reader can see the Greek structure behind the English.

Frankly, the “informed” reader should be reading Greek if he or she is able to learn anything of significance from the English structure. But more importantly, I doubt there is even one verse in the English Bible that actually, clearly, reveals the Greek structure underlying it. The languages are just too different.

I am helping my friend Martin read Greek, and we looked at 2 Thessalonians 2 last Wednesday. In the ESV v 2 reads, “Let…

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Your Sermon, Your Body Language – An Excerpt from Preaching God’s Word, Second Edition

ZA Blog on 3 months ago.

You have a great sermon prepared, and the hard part is done. It would be great if all you had to do was to stand up and speak the words for maximum effectiveness. But it takes more than just words to deliver the message.

9780310536246In today’s excerpt taken from Preaching God’s Word, Second Edition, authors Terry Carter, J. Scott Duvall, and J. Daniel Hays remind us that spoken language is only a fraction of the way you effectively communicate your sermon.

***

Experts tell us that a major part of sermon delivery is body language. Roy DeBrand suggests that the “visual in preaching is vitally important to communication.” By visual, DeBrand means things related to your body, such as clothing, posture, gestures, facial expressions, and…

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The Basics of Hebrew Numbers

ZA Blog on 3 months ago. Tagged under .

Basics of Biblical Hebrew

If you’re studying the biblical languages, you’ve probably noticed that numbers are handled very differently in ancient Hebrew than they are in English. While modern Hebrew uses European digits to represent numbers, biblical Hebrew has no numerical symbols, and is always written out.

These written numbers have masculine and feminine forms which have to agree with the gender of the noun they describe. (If there’s no noun, the feminine form is used.) To help you navigate the unique challenges of biblical Hebrew numbers, Dr. Miles Van Pelt and Dr. Gary Practico created an online course, Basics of Biblical Hebrew.

The video below explores their material, and you can hear Dr. Miles Van Pelt pronounce the numbers.

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Why science hasn’t disproved Christianity

ZA Blog on 3 months ago. Tagged under ,,.

Evangelism in a Skeptical World

We used to live in the Dark Ages, where we believed in unicorns, fairy godmothers, and goblins. But then science came along and it rescued us from superstition and our age of darkness.

…Or that’s how the story is often told.

If we want to believe in a God, aren’t we going back to the Dark Ages, where we also believe in unicorns and leprechauns and fairy godmothers? Hasn’t science disproved Christianity?

The benefits of science

Before we talk about what science can’t do, we need to recognize what it can do.

Science has given us so many good things, from microwave ovens to mobile phones.

We can’t have it both ways: upholding Christianity doesn’t mean we need to disparage the benefits of science. If you want to enjoy the microwave oven, you can also believe in God at the…

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How we know Jesus rose from the dead

ZA Blog on 3 months ago. Tagged under ,.

Evangelism in a Skeptical World

How do we really know that Jesus rose from the dead?

I could give you a traditional answer. It would be something like:

“Well the Bible says he rose from the dead, and the Bible contains many contemporary eyewitness accounts which are corroborated by non-Christian, non-Biblical evidence, and it’s been transmitted to us accurately through multiple sources.”

This is how many Christians would respond, and they would be right.

Or, I could say:

“You know what? We live as if Jesus rose from the dead, because we live as if there is such a thing as unconditional love, because somehow we feel that we should love everyone no matter what—especially the marginalized, the poor, and the outcast.”

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How Much Exegetical Material Should You Share in Your Sermon?

Jeremy Bouma on 3 months ago. Tagged under ,,,,,.

9780310536246The science of solid biblical interpretation is essential to effective preaching. Yet it must be paired with the art of contemporary communication to bring the message home.

But how much of that “science” and exegetical material should you share in your sermon in order to preach God’s Word effectively?

In other words: how much of the “then” should you share to help them get the “now” meaning and see the connection?

In their second edition of Preaching God’s Word, Terry G. Carter, J. Scott Duvall, J. Daniel Hays offer this insight:

 If your audience does not make the connection between the exegetical meaning in the text and the applicational meaning you are proclaiming to them, your message loses its tie to biblical authority.

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How Can You “Answer” When There is No Question? (Matt 14:28) – Mondays with Mounce 308

Bill Mounce on 3 months ago. Tagged under ,.

(Note: you can also watch this blog post on my YouTube channel. )

Translation is a trade-off. Often you will find different key policies in conflict with one another.

One policy may be that you keep concordance, so you try to translate a Greek word with the same English word. Another policy may be that the translation actually makes sense and does not confuse the reader.

Those two policies come into conflict in Matt 14:28. The gloss for ἀποκρίνομαι is “I answer,” and so the more formal equivalent translations try to use that translation whenever possible. But in English, “to answer” means that someone actually asked a question. Right?

In this story, Jesus is walking on the water toward the disciples. When they see him, they are fearful and Jesus responds, “Take courage, it is I! Do not…

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