Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Acts 11:1-18

11.1 Great use of a substantive participle here. literally: The brothers the being throughout Judea. [Odd use of kata (in the accusative it can mean throughout).] The two "the"s help you see the link between brothers and being...so we translate this: The apostles and brothers in Judea heard...why? Because the participle phrase "who are throughout Judea" is cumbersome!

11.1 Three times in the book of Acts Luke refers to people "accepting" the Word of God. No justification bending of the text. Deal with it: 8:14; 11:1; 17:1

11.5 The word for vision here is not related to sight but rather "exstatis" or "ecstatic." Peter was having an estatic vision!

Also, the way the prepositions and participles work in this verse is rather interesting; I don't think it impacts the interpretation, but worth looking at! (Note, the dative use of "corners"!)

11.6 Funny note here -- the word for "see" here (katanoe-oo) is a bit unusual. Another person looked at food and ate it -- Eve; same verb. Kind of ironic that Eve did the wrong thing; Peter here does the right thing.

11.7 The word for kill here (thy-oo) has connotations of sacrifice. (The word appears 17 times in the LXX version of Exodus!) Talk about making the common holy!

11.8 The two words Peter uses to describe the food are "koinos" (as in Koine/common Greek) and akathapos (as in unclean).

11.9 Interstingly, the verb here for "call common/unclean" is simply "koino-oo," which has no connotations of "calling" but rather means "make unclean." This seems like a subtle point, but once again, alas, the translators water it down for us. At issue is not simply the "names" Peter uses but actually how Peter treats the objects/food/people. When the translators limit the issue to naming, the avoid part of the punch -- the issue is not simply what Peter calls it but in fact is how he treats it (which includes, but is not limited to how he treats it).

11.12 The word here for "without hesitation" or "make a distinction" (diakrin-oo)goes back to an earlier word in this pericope, 11.2, when the "of circumcision party" had "took issue" with Peter. So, the "of circum. party" "diakrin-oo"s Peter; Peter will not "diakrin-oo" this invitation.

11.18 The brothers now praise (glorify) God for the repentance of the gentiles. In order to discover the repentance (metanoia) Peter had to "kata-noia" (see/observe/think) again.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Psalm 23

Note: I profess a much greater humility in regards to my Hebrew comments than Greek!

Verse 1: The word "LORD" in Hebrew is Yahweh. This most of us know. But I think two things are worth reflecting on here. First is that in English we always put the word "The" in front of the "LORD." In Hebrew it simply reads, "Yahweh is my shepherd." Second, we read the "LORD" with a certain complacency unimaginable to early readers of this.

Verse 1: The word "Shepherd" is a verbal noun in Hebrew, that is, it is a participle (shepherding) that has been fixed into a noun. Thus, every time you read the word "Shepherd" in the OT, you are reading something much more akin to, "The one shepherding." If you notice the Vulgate and Septugint translation of this verse actually leave the word as a verb: "The Lord shepherds me."

Verse 1: The word for lack here, K/H-S-R, is also used in Deuteronomy 2:7, when God says the people lacked nothing. A reminder that what God says we need is probably different from our own estimation...

Also, the translation, "I want for nothing" in stead of "I am not wanting" is from the Greek and Latin, not the Hebrew (ie, the Hebrew simply reads: "I am not wanting..."

Verse 2: The word for "resting place" is interesting. As Bible Work's TWOT dictionary says: "Basically the root nûaµ relates to absence of spatial activity and presence of security, as seen, e.g. in the ark which "rested" on Mount Ararat (Gen 8:4),"

Verse 2: The word "green" as in "Green pastures" does not appear in the Hebrew. The word is "grass." God wants to feed us, not show us pretty pictures.

Verse 3: The word "restore" is the reason I find Hebrew so wonderful but so frustrating. If you look at the word, you might have no clue that its root is Sh-U-V, which means to turn, even to repent. The sentence could read, "He turns my soul."

Verse 3: The word "name" as in "Name's sake" might be a little weak here. The word of name in Hebrew "SheM" means name, but in the sense of "reputation" or even "glory."

Verse 4: How does one translate "Valley of the shadow of death." I again defer to the TWOT dictionary, which is so helpful here: "It describes the darkness of eyelids tired from weeping (Job 16:16), the thick darkness present in a mine shaft (Job 28:3), the darkness of the abode of the dead (Job 10:21ff; Job 38:17), and the darkness prior to creation (Amos 5:8). Emotionally it describes the internal anguish of one who has rebelled against God (Psa 107:10-14; cf. Psa 44:19ff [H 20f]). Thus it is the strongest word in Hebrew for darkness." Shadow of darkeness is probably too weak a translation, but the idea here is that it encompasses more than death.

Verse 5: (heehee) The word here for "oil" is also "fat" and the word here for "overflow" is "saturate," so here we have a feast with saturated fats :-)

Verse 6: Warning on manuscripts: The Hebrew literally reads, "I will return in(to) the house of the Lord," however everyone translates this "I will live" (amending the text). Which is bizarre; the NET translation says, "return" makes no sense. Which is too bad because I think it makes more sense this way!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

John 21:1-19

21.5 The word for "Child" here is paidia, which means "child" not "friend" as the NIV has it.

21.5 Jesus asks a "meh" question which expects a "no" answer. (ou questions expect a yes answer. How can one remember this? Alphabet. m-n; o-y)

21.7 The word for "cast" is "ball-oo" which is used for both the nets and for Peter.

21.9 Jesus is cooking over "anthrakia" which means "coals" (ie anthracite coal). This is the same place Peter earlier denied Jesus.

21.11 The net is not torn (schiz-oo). Interesting that John concludes with the net not being schismed; in Mark's Gospel, the Gospel almost ends with the curtain being torn! Different metaphors, for sure, but something about the nature of Jesus in both is nicely caught with this subtle difference.

21.12-19 I refuse to comment on the various types of love that Peter and Jesus use. I don't think that John makes much of them; he uses them interchangably. If anything, the ambiguity of "philo" and "agape" points toward the intimate (and therefore mutuable and vulnerable) and transcendent (unconditional and permenant) love of Jesus toward and with his disciples.