When Is Then, Then? (Matthew 27:38) – Mondays with Mounce 330
The longer I work in Greek, the more curious I am about conjunctions, and the more I am concerned about how we teach glosses.
Take τότε for example. BDAG give two meanings using the gloss “then.” It can mean “at that time,” which conveys no idea of sequence. It can also mean “then” in the sense of “that which follows in time.” The problem of course is that if you translate with the simple gloss “then,” we hear it as sequential.
Coupled with this is how English hears a series of events. Even without conjunctions, we default to hearing them as sequential. This happened, then that happened.
The sequencing of events around Jesus’ trial illustrates the issue. There is a series of events introduced with τότε, with καί, and with aorist and present participles. I can’t do it here, but…
Jesus’ Possible Play on Judas’ Words – Mondays with Mounce 329
When Jesus says that one of the disciples will betray him, Judas responds, μήτι ἐγώ εἰμι (Matt 26:25). μήτι shows that he expected to answer “no,” and since μήτι is more emphatic than μή (see BDAG), I would argue that translations must include the expected response.
Most do, usually with “surely.” “Surely you don’t mean me, Rabbi?” (NIV, also CSB, NET).
Unfortunately, the ESV and surprisingly the NLT undertranslate at this point. “Is it I, Rabbi?” (ESV). ““Rabbi, am I the one?” (NLT). Judas was not only a traitor; he was also a liar. The translation should bring that out.
Jesus responds, σὺ εἶπας. I find myself wondering about his answer. Translations do something like, “You have said so” (NIV, ESV). I find myself wondering if Jesus isn’t saying something a little more specific, even if the other disciples would…
The Reformation’s Influence on How We Got Our Bible
The accessibility of the Bible in most of the world’s major languages can obscure a dramatic and sometimes unexpected story: how we got the world’s bestselling book.
In Know How We Got Our Bible, scholars Ryan Reeves and Charles Hill trace the history of the Bible from its beginnings to the present day, highlighting key figures and demonstrating overall the reliability of Scripture.
This story they tell about the Bible is an important one. As series editor Justin Holcomb explains:
The Bible is the most significant and influential book in the world because it is the Word of God. The Bible tells us who God is and who we are. Ultimately the Bible is about how God created and is redeeming the world through Jesus Christ… The Bible therefore…
What Is a “Divided Tongue”? (Acts 2:3) – Mondays with Mounce 328
I am not sure why there are so many differences among the translations on Acts 2:3, but it is fun to think through the options.
The order of the words in the Greek is a little confusing; but if you think grammatically, translation is not that difficult.
The basic structure of the verse is γλῶσσαι … ὤφθησαν … καὶ ἐκάθισεν. The tongues appeared and sat.
Add in αὐτοῖς: γλῶσσαι ὤφθησαν αὐτοῖς. The tongues appeared to them, meaning, they saw the tongues.
There are two modifiers of γλῶσσαι. They were “divided” (διαμεριζόμεναι) and they where “like fire” (ὡσεὶ πυρὸς).
After the tongues of fire split, they settled over each person present (ἐφ᾿ ἕνα ἕκαστον αὐτῶν).
καὶ ὤφθησαν αὐτοῖς διαμεριζόμεναι γλῶσσαι ὡσεὶ πυρὸς καὶ ἐκάθισεν ἐφ᾿ ἕνα ἕκαστον αὐτῶν.
Several translations speak of…
What Does This Prepositional Phrase Modify? (Acts 14:1) – Mondays with Mounce 327
Prepositional phrases are generally adverbial, but certainly not always. Sometimes it can be difficult to tell what they modify.
Take Acts 14:1 for example. Paul and Barnabas have just been run out of Pisidian Antioch and have entered Iconium. The NIV reads, “At Iconium Paul and Barnabas went as usual (κατὰ τὸ αὐτὸ) into the Jewish synagogue. There they spoke so effectively that a great number of Jews and Greeks believed.”
The Greek is, ἐγένετο δὲ ἐν Ἰκονίῳ κατὰ τὸ αὐτὸ εἰσελθεῖν ⸀αὐτοὺς εἰς τὴν συναγωγὴν τῶν Ἰουδαίων. So what does κατὰ τὸ αὐτὸ modify?
I thought the NIV was pretty straightforward. “According to the same” is adverbial, the point being that it was their custom to first go to the synagogue…
Did the Disciples Have Any Faith in Jesus? (Mark 4:38) – Mondays with Mounce 326
I have had a great summer off from my daily routines and have been busy on some major writing projects. They will be announced at this year’s ETS annual meeting (2018). You’ll like them.
But during the summer, Robin (my wife) and I were listening to some sermons from an excellent preacher. I want to emphasize that he is really good. But even really good exegetical preachers can make mistakes, and his mistake, as subtle as it was, should serve as a reminder that we should always check the Greek before we preach.
I have no doubt that this preacher knows the Greek rule I am going to share with you, but I don’t think he checked the Greek this time.
Jesus is out on the sea with his disciples, the storm comes up, and the disciples wake up Jesus…
How to Read the Gospel of Mark in the Context of Second Temple Judaism
The Gospel of Mark is widely considered the earliest and most influential narrative of the ministry and passion of Jesus Christ. Although undervalued for centuries, Mark’s Gospel is now celebrated as a cleverly crafted ancient biography, emphasizing action, irony, and intrigue over more direct and discursive modes of theologizing.
Yet not all readings of Mark are equally illuminating or transformative.
Over the last several decades, the Jewishness of Jesus has been at the forefront of scholarship and students of the New Testament are more than ever aware of the importance of understanding Jesus and the Gospels in their Jewish context. Reading Mark in Context (edited by Ben Blackwell, John Goodrich,…
Speaking in Tongues: What Is Its Proper Role in Worship? (1 Corinthians 14 Commentary)
Some would say tongues deserve no role in worship. Some would say the gift of tongues deserves a prominent role. But what does the Bible say?
The nature of tongues and their role in worship were among the issues affecting the church in Corinth, as we see in the apostle Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians. In Paul Gardner’s exegetical commentary on 1 Corinthians, Gardner brings deep insight to the issue in his interpretation of 1 Corinthians 14:1–19. Gardner explains that passage’s main idea in this way:
Church members should pursue love, and this means desiring those grace-gifts that build up the church. This will lead to a prioritizing…
What the Bible Says about the Current Immigration Crisis
How does the Bible speak to the current immigration crisis? Earlier this week we sat down with Scott Rae, Professor of Ethics at Talbot School of Theology, to discuss how the Bible might shape our discussion of immigration, along with some practical things Christians can do in response.
In this video, Scott discusses:
What Romans 13 says—and doesn’t say—about the current immigration debate How to respond when immigration law calls for forcible separation of children from their parents The difference between immigrants and refugees Israel’s identity as a nation of people on the move Why it’s difficult to use the Bible as a foundation for shaping immigration policy How the modern concept of national and ethnic identity conflicts with the Bible The meaning of the Hebrew words translated into English as “immigrant” Does supporting the left’s policy on immigration also…
7 Places We Find Jesus in the Old Testament
While we know Jesus is the fulfillment of the Jewish story and we want to better understand how the two Testaments relate, we’re often unsure how the Bible’s many stories, characters, and events relate to each other—especially to Jesus. Some are tempted to force the Bible’s many pieces together, making superficial jumps from the Hebrew Scriptures to Jesus’ story. But most are left wondering:
Does Jesus and his story connect to the Old Testament? If so, where is Jesus in the Old Testament? How does the Old Testament inform our understanding of Jesus—his life and teachings, death and resurrection?
Christ from Beginning to End answers these questions, helping Christians better understand how to…
Wives “Submit” or “Respect”? Ephesians 5:22, 33 – Mondays with Mounce 318
I hesitate to open this particular Pandora’s box, and my intent is not so much to deal with the issue of submission as much as it is to give a potential example of semantic range.
It always confused me when Paul switches from “wives submit (ὑποτασσόμενοι, from v 21)” to “wives respect (φοβῆται).” Are they meant to be the same thing, or is one an explanation of the other?
Yesterday in church I saw in the CSB a potential answer, or at least part of the answer. I am used to the translation “however” for πλήν. “However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband” (ESV, also NIV,…
How to Read the Bible in Context
So how do we read such a book?
This question is important when picking up any document, from paperback to newspaper. You wouldn’t read a historical novel on WWII the same way you would a nonfiction historical account of the same time. And we read the newspaper’s front page differently than the opinion-editorials (or at least, we ought to read them differently).
How, then, should we read the Bible? It starts with context.
In Christ from Beginning to End, authors Trent Hunter and Stephen Wellum outline six different contexts—three specific, three general—to…