Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Mark 13:24-37

13.25 The word for fall here (from pimp-oo) is a present tense participle used with the the future tense of the "to be" verb. This construction (instead of a future participle) is a good lesson of why you should not waste any time learning future participles. They are so rare and even Greek speakers avoided them with other constructions.

13.31 The promise of Jesus that his Words will never pass away is a ou meh construction, ie, a STRONG future denial. Also interesting is that this word (parercho-mai) appears in 2 Cor 5:17, Behold, Everything has passed away.

13.34 The word here for "puts his slaves in charge, each with his work," is actually "gives his slaves each power/authority, that is to each his work." The word here for power/authority (charge) is "exousia." We are given power while Jesus is not here to do our work.

1 Cor 1:3-9

1.3 Paul uses the word grace more often than any other author. Interestingly, Mark's entire Gospel never has this word (charis)...a remind that things can be gracious even without the explicit word. Furthermore, each time Paul uses the word "grace" in 1 Cor, it is used in conjunction with God. Grace is not from us, but from God.

1.4 The word here for "give thanks" is "eucharist-oo."

1.5 The word here for rich is a verb, "ploutiz-oo," which Paul alone uses in the NT and in fact, only in the Corinthians letter. A reminder, perhaps to the rich people in Corinth, that real wealth comes from God in Jesus Christ.

1.6 The word for "made fast" is an aorist verb "bebaio-oo." I wonder what Paul is refering to as the singular event that made the witness fast...it looks like he might be setting up his argument later in this chapter.

The word for witness here is "martyrion," from which our English word "martyr comes from." It is interesting the way in which Paul sets up his argument here about what an effective witness will be (consider chapters 8-11). Paul seems to ground it thoroughly in Christ, not in our earthly status...which those in Corinth seemed to dwell on.

1.7 The word for "revelation" here is "apokalypsis." Interestingly, the word "gift" here (charisma) will be the focus of chapter 12. Especially fitting here that Paul points out to a divided congregation on wealth and status that the wealth, the knowledge and even the charisma is common grace we received in Jesus Christ.

The word for "lacking" here is "hystere-oo," which Paul uses in Romans to point out that we all lack the glory of God (3:23)

1.9 Paul now uses the word "koinoonia" (fellowship); again, an interesting contrast to what he will describe as happening in Corinth.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Matthew 25:31-46

25.31 The word glory (doxa) is used twice in this verse.

25.32 The word nation here is "ethneh," which in the plural (as it is here) means "gentiles."

25.32 The object of the word divide is interesting. The word nations is a neuter; here the object of the word divide is a masculine, suggesting the nations are not what are divided, but the individuals in the nations (masculine plural pronouns can refer to a group that has both men and women).

25.34 This verse echoes much of Ephesians chapter 1, in terms of glory, inheritance, the idea of the foundation of the world

25.35 The phrase, I was a stranger and you welcomed me actually has the word: "xenos" and the verb is "synagagete." To translate a different way: "I was an outsider and you gathered me to worship." "Synag-oo" as a verb does not mean invite to church, but the word underneath means gather...hospitality might seem like a weak translation.

Ephesians 1:18-23

1:18 The verb "enlighten" is a perfert verb from "photiz-oo." This tense points toward the fact that at some point we were enlightened. Looking over the first chapter of Ephesians, this seems to be baptism (1.15).

What is interesting though is that Paul then is confessing that they have Christ, but is still praying for them. In this case he is praying for knowledge. Perhaps another way to look at it is that he is praying that they would come to realize the power of their baptism.

1.18 The word "heart" (kardia) comes up here; it is used 6 times in Ephesians to describe the spiritual locus in our body.

[1.18 Grammar note: The infinitive of to know "eidenai" is in used in an articular infinitive phrase with "eis" which denotes purpose. Also the "umas," in the accusative here, is the subject of the infinitive clause]

1.19 The langauge in Greek is "immeasurable" here -- a brutal stacking of nouns that compliment the content (nouns in 18 and 19 have been translated as adjectives just to have the sentence be readible). (The word immeasurable/exceeding is used 3 times in Ephesians; 2x in 2 Cor and that is it in the NT)

1:20 Paul talks here about "God 'energizing' by raising Christ from the dead." In 3.20 we will hear of God's energy for us.

1.22 The NRSV and NIV suggest that Christ is given "head over all things/everything for the church." The NET translates the dative case of the church as "to the church." Both are grammatically possible. However, I find it odd to think that God would give the head to the body instead of for the body.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Matthew 25:14-30

25.14 The word for possessions here is "hyparxhonta (participle)" comes from the verb for "to be" an does not simply mean goods, but really the entirity of one's resources and means. Also, the word for "give here" is the same as the word for "betray" or "hand over" (paradidoo-mi).

25.15 The word for ability here "dynamis," means "power" more than ability.

25.18 The word for bury here "krypt-oo" means conceal, like "encrypted." As a noun it means secret. Who gifts are secrets!

25.24 The word for hard here is "scholaros"

25.25 The master rejects what is his, refusing to take it, giving it to the other servant.

1 Thessalonians 5:1-11

5.3 There is a word here for destruction, "olethros," is very rare in the NT (4x; only in Paul). This word only occurs, it seems, in connection with the destruction that God brings in judgment when it appears in either testament.

5.3-5.6 have four different types of subjunctive clauses
a) An "hotan" clause = whenever
b) A "ou mh" clause with the verb ex-feug-oo (the last word in 5.3), which suggests that they will NEVER flee. (fugue=flee)
c) A "hena" clause which suggests result or purpose (in order that the day might be a surprise).
d) An "horatory subjunctive" in 5.6 "Let us not sleep."

5.6 Like last week, the word Paul uses here for sleep (katheud-oo) can also mean "die."

5.7 The word for drink (methusko-mai) is the word used at the Wedding at Cana; it is also used in 1 Cor 11 as Paul condemns those who abuse the Lord's supper.

5.8 Many translations read "to put on the breastplate." Grammatically, the breastplate is already there (it is in the aorist; the actions of aorist participles preceed the other verbs in the sentence). Oddly enough, this breastplate seems to protect us from God more than the world!

5.11 The Greek here reads, build each other up "one on one." :-)

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Matthew 25:1-13

Summary:  This is a tough passage to preach on!  I am still wrestling with this passage so I offer you some Greek insights that hopefully allow you to build a message!

Note:  Because this parable involves a group of women (a bit unusual), the endings on words might be a bit unfamiliar!

παρθενοις (plural of parthenos, "virgin" or "young (unmarried)" woman; 25.1)  In our culture we hear the word virgin with all sorts of other connotations, related to sexual purity, as opposed to unmarried state.  Furthermore, I wonder if translating this as bridesmaids (see NRSV) makes the most sense.   First, there is no ceremony that includes the bridegroom marrying these women.  Second, Jesus doesn't advocate/project/encourage for polygamy anywhere else.  Third, the new testament presents the whole church as the bride collectively, not individually.  Finally, there is an alternate reading, "Bridegroom and bride."  The textual evidence is much stronger for "bridegroom" alone, but significant (western) manuscripts have both included.  In this case, I do not think one should add back in the words; they don't seem in the original.  But I think this textual problem, along with the other problems, suggests this word should be translated at least as maidens, if not bridesmaids, instead of the loaded term virgin. 

μωραι ("mooria" meaning "fool"; 25.2) The word for fool is "mooria"...like moron, or like "foolishness to Greeks."

φρονιμοι ("phronimoi" meaning "wise"; 25.2)  Again, a huge connection here with Paul's letters to the Corinthians.  Furthermore, this word will be turned upside down by Paul in many ways, as he fights against the notion that wisdom/wise thinking was being unmoved (ie, stoic), but instead argues that wisdom is about taking on the Christian character of being moved to suffer for others (Philippians 2).

ηγερθησαν (from εγειρω meaning "arise"; 25.2)  This is from the word stand/raise up that also means resurrected.

εκοσμησαν (from κοσμεω, like cosmos, meaning "trim"; 25:7)  The word for "trimmed" lamps here is actually "adorned" perhaps recalling for you the hymn: Soul adorn yourself in gladness.  To trim the lamp is to adorn the lamp, the light of Christ!; to adorn the soul!

εκλεισθη (from κλειω, meaning "close"; 25.10)  I don't like this image.  It suggests people that want to get into the doors of the Kingdom of Heaven cannot.  A silver lining?  Jesus is the one who opens up the doors (the word for the tomb's entrance is also "door" in Matthew 27:60).  The only one with the power to open the door is Christ, not us with our lamps.

γρηγορειτε (from γρηγορε, like the name gregory!, meaning "watch out"; 25:13)  This verb is in the present tense, suggesting this is to be an on-going activity.  My sense is that we have lost this sense of watching out for the coming of Christ in our churches today.  If we are to regain this though, we must offer people what the Bible offers them about Christ's return:  both fear and hope.

For those reading this with the Thessalonians text:
25:1 The word 'meet' in Matthew is similiar to the word meet that is found in the Thess. text for this week (απαντησις vs. υπαντησις). What a contrast of the meetings -- one of a king in power and the other of bridegroom.

25:5 The words here for 'sleep' are different from those in 1 Thess. (This does not mean one can/should not make a comparision; just pointing it out)

1 Thessalonians 4:13-18

4.13: The word translated "died" here (NRSV) is literally "falling asleep" (koimao-mai) in the present tense. This is the same langauge Paul uses in 1 Corinthians 15 or Jesus in John 11 (Lazarus).

4:14: The clause "We believe that Jesus died" (NIV) or "For since we believe..." (NRSV) is a classic case of Greek using an "ei" clause with an indicative to indicate "Since A, then B."

The word for "bring" is "ag-oo" which also means "lead" (as in demagogue).

4:15 The word coming (parousia) just meant coming, but could also have connotations of a royal leader, a general say, returing to celebrate victory.

4:16 The word for command (keleusma) has military connotations (it can also refer though to the one who leads the rowers!). See http://www.paulandgreece.com/thessa/arch.htm for more on the military implications here.

4:17 The word here for sieze (harpaz-oo) is the same as in Philippians (He did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped; or He did not regard grasping as worthy of God.) Again, this is a word that has aggressive, if not military connotations.