Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Acts 8:26-40

The biggest word cluster is around "way."  Both Philip and the Ethiopian are on their way.  But THE way of Jesus means the way of the Spirit.  Which means its not what we expect.

Key words:
αναστηθι και πορευου ("Get up and go"; 8:26) Philip is told to "Get up and go" (a very familiar line from the OT; Abraham -- Get up and go!). The question is whether this is verbal coordination Hebrew style (Go in a quick way) or whether Luke is implying two separate verbs. The English translations tend to put the verbs together, but the tense is actually different in the Greek. "Stand up and keep traveling/going" is probably the best translation.

γαζα (gaza, two meanings, town's name or treasury; 8:26/8:27) The word for "treasury" is actually γαζα so this Ethiopians is in charge of the "gaza"; Philip is on the road heading south of Jerusalem toward γαζα, aka treasure.  He is on the road to treasure, which will actually be is Baptism...okay, I am stretching it here, but it hardly seems coincidence that Luke uses the word γαζα in two consecutive sentences; once to mean treasury and once for the name of a town.

κολληθητι (from κολλαω, meaning "cling"; 8:29) The word for join/stay here is κολλαω as in collate or really cling. Philip is told to cling to the chariot. (Paul tells us in Romans to cling to what is good, 12:9)

απα (ara; 8:30)  The word that begins the sentence (ara) is an untranslatable interjection that expects a negative answer, so really, Philip's question is "You don't understand..."

ογηγησαι ("lead", 8:31) The word for "guide/explain" here is ογηγεω ...which comes from οδος (road/way) and αγω (lead). So Philip has been sent on the way by the Spirit to be the way-leader for someone else.

οδος (hodos, meaning "way"; 8:32) Again, we have the word "way" here...which will also show up in 8:39, he went on his way rejoicing!  Early Christians will be described as followers of the way (Acts 9:2)

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