Sunday, December 29, 2013

"Against her" or "With Her" ?

      Mark tells us that the Pharisees "tested" Jesus by asking him a question which
was " 'Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?'  "He answered and said to them,
'What did Moses command you?' " (Mark 10:2-3) The Lord told them why Moses
allowed them to divorce their wives. He follows with a quote from Genesis 2:24,
and then he states, "Therefore what God joined together, let no person separate."
(verse 9) The Master's disciples inquired about this and he said to them, "Whoever
divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery epi auten." (verse 11) The
question is: should epi auten be interpreted to mean "against her" or "with her"?

     If it means "against her" the "her" is the wife he divorced. If it means "with her"
the "her" is the wife of the subsequent marriage. According to BDAG (Bauer-
Danker-Arndt-Gingrich, A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and
Other Early Christian Literature, pages 363-367), the Greek preposition epi
has at least 18 uses in the New Testament. This indicates a wide range of meaning
in New Testament literature. So, the key to the correct interpretation of the phrase
epi auten must be sought in the context.

     "With her" is a possible interpretation, (cf. Nigel Turner, A Grammar of New
Testament Greek,   vol.  3,   Syntax,   page   272;   The   R.S.V.  Interlinear 
Greek-English   New  Testament,   page  182;  The  New  Greek  English
Interlinear New Testament, page 159), but the more likely meaning is "against
her" for the following reasons. (1) The initial question posed to Jesus was, "Can a
man divorce his wife?" Matthew has the words, "for any cause/reason." (kata
pasan aitian) Initially, the second wife was not in view. (2) Matthew's record
shows the Lord's disciples understood the Lord's words to reflect adultery to be
committed against the former wife. When Jesus explained his teaching, the disciples
said, "If such is  the  case of  the  man  with  his  wife, it is  better  not  to  marry."
(Matthew 19:10) (3) In the context of Mark's record, Jesus speaks of the man
being "joined to his wife," he is not to be "separated" from his wife, and if he
"divorces his wife and marries another he commits adultery epi auten." (4) Verse
12 is also important as Jesus turns his attention to the woman. Which woman? The
wife of the verse 11. "And if she divorces her husband and marries another, she
commit adultery." This shows that both the man and his wife sin against each other
when they divorce and remarry without the right to do so. The focus is on the
husband  and  the  wife  of  the  first  marriage, so "against  her"  is  the  correct
interpretation of epi auten.

     It is true that a man commits adultery "with" a woman to whom he has no right
to be married, but contextually, in Mark 10 the Lord is addressing a question that
relates to a man's action toward his wife, whom he has no authority to divorce. He
sins "against her" when he divorces her and marries another. His moral and spiritual
hostility is directed toward or against her!   
                                                                                                            R. Daly

Copyright 2013

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Holy "Thee" "Thou" and "Thine"

     Many people believe it is more reverential to use the old forms of address such
as "thee," "thou," "thy," and "thine," than it is to use  modern  forms  such as "you,"
"your," and "your's" in prayer and song. Why? The main reason seems to be due to
the  long  use  of the King  James Version of the Bible. Tradition, even when wrong,
is like the talons of an eagle holding onto a fish. The grip of tradition is hard to break.

     Is there a biblical way to demonstrate that such language has nothing to do with
reverence or sacredness? Yes. Note the examples in the King James Version where
those  pronouns  were  used  with  reference  to evil  people  or  evil  beings. Think 
through the text and allow God's word to be its own interpreter!

     When Jesus was tested by Satan, he told  the devil, "Get  thee  hence  Satan..."
(Matthew 4:10, KJV) Was the Lord  showing  reverence  toward Satan? Was he
using  a  sacred  pronoun   with  reference  to  the  archenemy  of  righteousness?
The answer  has  to  be  yes  according  to those who believe and teach that such
pronouns are sacred.

     Jesus came into the region of the Gerasenes, and "immediately there met him out
of the tombs a man with an unclean spirit." Jesus said to him, "Come out of the man
thou unclean spirit...what  is  thy  name?" (Mark 5:8,9, KJV) Was  Jesus  showing
reverence to an unclean spirit? The answer is yes according to those who believe
and teach that those pronouns are sacred.

     Paul, the Lord's apostle, was on the island of Paphos "and they found a certain
sorcerer, a false prophet, a Jew, whose name was Bar Jesus...Saul, (who is also
called Paul,) filled with the Holy Ghost, set his eyes on him, and said, O full of all
subtilty and all mischief, thou child of the devil, thou enemy of all righteousness,
wilt thou pervert the right ways of the Lord...?" (Acts 13:6-10, KJV) Was Paul
using sacred, reverential pronouns with reference to a sorcerer, a false prophet, a
man  full  of  subtilty  and  all  mischief,  a  child of the devil, and an enemy of all
righteousness? The  answer  is  yes  according  to  those  who believe and teach
those are "sacred" pronouns that indicate reverence and respect!

     But someone might respond, "They are sacred, reverential pronouns when used
with reference to deity." The problem is: they are used in the KJV with reference to
both deity and evil men and beings. So, we conclude, the old English forms of
address have nothing to do with reverence or sacredness. It's just the way people
talked in 1611.
                                                                                                             R. Daly

Copyright 2013  




Tuesday, December 17, 2013

What To Look For In A Bible Translation

     Through the years I have been asked the following questions quite frequently,
"Which  translation  is best? and  "What  should  a  person  look  for  in  a  Bible
translation?" I   will  respond   to   both  questions,  though  I  will  devote  more
attention to the second question.

     There is no translation that is "best" in all circumstances. If a person says the
modified-literal  versions  are  best (e.g. ASV, NASB), they  do not  take  account 
of their stodginess. They are designed to reflect Hebrew and Greek style, therefore
they are generally more difficult to read, and because they sometimes follow the
word order of the original texts, they are awkward to the English reader. On the
other hand, if one says the idiomatic (sometimes inaccurately styled dynamic
equivalence) versions (e.g. NIV, NLT) are  best, they  do  not  take  account 
of  the  fact  that they often  leave  words or  phrases  untranslated  that  can
and should be brought over into English. Neither the modified-literal versions nor
the idiomatic ones are without  imperfections. The  translators  are  human  beings,
who  are not directly superintended by the Holy Spirit  in  their  work, and  as  a 
result, their personal limitations are reflected in their work. A person should select
translations that represent both spectrums of translation theory.

                    What  should  a  person look for in a Bible translation? 

     (1) Accuracy. Good translations accurately represent the meaning of the words
in the Hebrew and Greek scriptures. When people object to meaning based translation,
they object to both modified-literal and idiomatic translations because both kinds are
meaning  based, and  both  kinds  contain  some  degree  of paraphrase, though the
modified-literal  versions  do  not  have  as  much  paraphrase due  to  their  design. 
Proof  that  the modified-literal versions contain some paraphrastic renderings is
indicated by a glance at the frequent footnotes that say, "The Hebrew says..." or "The
Greek says..." The ASV has a high degree of accuracy in that it correctly reflects the
Hebrew and Greek texts most of the time. But, even the legendary ASV occasionally
misses the mark of strict fidelity. The same is true of the RSV, NASB, NIV, and the

     (2) Readability.  Good    translations    are   readable.  If   they   are   to   be
understood, should  they  not  be  readable?  If  not,  then  what  use  are  they?
Translations should be as fluent as possible. Their mode of expression should be
characteristic of the language into which they are translated. A translation that is
not readable  is  as  useful as reading glasses to a person who is completely blind.
When   we   read   we   should   be   able   to   understand   God's   will   for   us.
(Ephesians 3:3-4)

     (3) Modernity.  The   words   and   phrases  should  be  natural  and  in  the
 language currently spoken. Elizabethan expressions such as "thee," "thou," and
the like are not hallowed, and I fail to see why some people think using such in
prayer, song, and scripture is indicative of sanctity and accuracy. Those words
are not modern and there is nothing inherently reverential about their use. God's
word should be in the currently spoken language of the people for whom the
translation is made.

     (4) Balance. A strictly literal translation would be impractical, and virtually
impossible for the non linguist to correctly use. It would be strong in Hebrew
and Greek, but weak in English. A strict paraphrase would be strong in English,
but very weak in Hebrew and Greek. So, it is necessary to take a more balanced
approach to translation. "As literal as possible; as free as necessary." The ESV
is  advertised as an "essentially literal" version. The NIV-2011 is also balanced
most of the time.  Translations that are balanced are good for reading scripture
publicly and privately. They are also good for study, though the modified-literal
ones are better because of their closeness to the Hebrew and Greek texts.
                                                                                                    R. Daly
Copyright 2013    


Monday, December 9, 2013

Mark 16:9-20

     Mark 16:9-20 is the longest disputed portion of the New Testament. The
question is frequently asked:  "Is  Mark 16:9-20  a  genuine part of the New
Testament?" I intend to state some of the relevant facts, and allow them to
speak for themselves.

     Some people believe if it is admitted that Mark 16:9-20 is not genuine
the case for the essentiality of immersion for salvation is weakened. This
is not the case, because other undisputed passages teach the same things
that are taught in Mark 16:9-20. Immersion, like faith and repentance, is
definitely essential to salvation. (Acts 2:38; 1 Peter 3:21) The authenticity
of a text is not to be decided on theological grounds, but on the weight of
the manuscript evidence. The things taught in 1 John 5:7, as it stands in the
King James Version,  are taught in other parts of the New Testament, but
that does not mean 1 John 5:7 is  genuine. I John 5:7 does not appear in any
of the oldest  Greek  manuscripts. Only  8  manuscripts have  it, and  it  is
apparently   derived   from   a  late  recension  of   the Latin   Vulgate.  The 
question    is    not:    "Are   the   things   taught   in Mark 16:9-20  true?"
The   question   is:  "Is  Mark 16:9-20  genuine?" The question cannot be
decided on theological grounds, any more than the  authenticity  of  1 John 5:7
can  be  decided  on  theological grounds.

     The  only  way  to  decide  the question is to look at and evaluate the
evidence. What is the evidence for and against the inclusion of Mark
16:9-20 in the corpus of writings known as the New Testament?

     The disputed verses are found in the vast majority of ancient manuscripts,
including codex Alexandrinus, a 5th century manuscript which is relatively
close to Codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus, both of which are 4th century
manuscripts. Two   other   5th century   textual   witnesses   that    include
Mark 16:9-20 are Ephraemi  Rescriptus  and  Bezae Cantabrigiensis. At
least two early patristic witnesses bear testimony to part or all of the long
ending  of  Mark. They   are  Irenaeus   about   202 A.D., and   Tatian's
Diatessaron  about  150 A.D.  Justin  Martyr  might  have  alluded  to the
disputed  portion  of  Mark  in  his  Apology, dated about 165 A.D. The
patristic witnesses are important because they are substantially earlier than
any of the current manuscript evidence.

     The  long  ending  of  Mark  is  absent  from  Sinaiticus and Vaticanus,
the two oldest known Greek manuscripts, dated approximately 325 to 350
(375) A.D.  

     The KJV and NKJV include the verses as a part of Mark's biography
of the Lord. Other translations indicate the textual problems with Mark
16:9-20 in a variety of ways. Most include it, but they have a space separating
it from the preceding verses. The ASV, RSV, NIV, NRSV, TNIV, ESV, and
NIV-2011 have a space between the two sections. The ASV has a footnote
that says, "The two oldest Greek manuscripts, and some other ancient
authorities, omit verses 9 to the end. Some other authorities have a different
ending to the gospel." The NIV-2011 says, "The earliest manuscripts and some
other ancient witnesses do not have verses 9-20." The ESV footnote says,
"Some of the earliest manuscripts do not include 16:9-20."

     What are we to make of this information? Even though the two oldest known
manuscripts (codices Sinaiticus and Vaticanus) do not contain the disputed
passages, some of the earliest patristic writings do contain the verses. The
patristic evidence  predates  the  manuscript  evidence  approximately  200
years. But, this  fact  alone  is  not  necessarily  proof  of  their genuineness.
Nevertheless, it does indicate an early belief that the verses are genuine, and
that Mark wrote them.

     The fact is, there is doubt about their authenticity and the modern English
versions accurately state the facts in their footnotes. Truth would not be
served by avoiding the facts.
                                                                                                        R. Daly
Copyright 2013

Monday, December 2, 2013

How Should "Adelphoi" Be Translated?

     Adelphoi,(nominative masculine plural; vocative masculine plural) and  the words
adelphous  (accusative  masculine  plural),  adelphon   (genitive  masculine  plural),
and  adelphois  (dative  masculine  plural) appear  in  the  Greek  New  Testament
approximately 240 times. They are grammatical forms of the word adelphos which
is nominative masculine singular.

     Adelphos has a relatively narrow range of meaning. It can be used to indicate a
male from the same womb as the person referenced. Hence, we read in John 1:41
that Andrew "first found his own brother Simon, and said to him, 'We have found the
Messiah (which is, being interpreted, the Anointed).' " It can also be used of one who
shares close affinity; brother in the sense of a fellow-member of the Lord's body,
congregation, or community. In Ephesians 6:23 Paul said, "Peace be to the brothers."
(ESV-2011) The plural form can also mean "brothers and sisters." That such is the
case seems conclusive in Luke 21:16, "But you will be delivered up even  by parents,
and adelphon " ('brothers and sisters), and relatives and friends." A recurring footnote
in the ESV says, "The plural Greek word adelphoi (translated 'brothers') refers to
siblings in a family."

     The older English versions use the word "brethren" to translate adelphoi. They
did this in recognition of the fact that siblings in a family are meant. In modern English
the word "brethren" is rarely used except in religious circles. It is an archaic word.
It can lend itself to confusion and inaccurate interpretation. Even the word "brothers"
when used in certain contexts can be confusing because it can appear to be speaking
to  or  about  males, when  this  may  not  be  the  intent  of the writer or speaker. In
1 Corinthians 1: 10 Paul wrote, "Now I appeal to you, adelphoi, through the name
of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing..." Inasmuch as Paul is
addressing the whole congregation, adelphoi has to mean "brothers and sisters,"
and should be translated with that phrase. We know this because he said "you all
speak the same thing." The congregation in Corinth had both male and female believers.
Verse 11 names "Chloe and her people."

     Many of the older Greek-English lexicons of the New Testament understood that
adelphoi included  "brothers  and  sisters"  in  contexts  where  a  mixed group was
addressed. Thayer's Lexicon, published more than a hundred years ago says on page
10, that adelphos includes sisters  in  (Matthew 12:46,47).  He  defines  the  word
as "a fellow-believer.." on page 11. Alexander Souter, in his Pocket Lexicon To The
Greek New Testament, published in 1916, says on page 6 that adelphos is "a member
of the same religious  community, especially  a  fellow  Christian  (particularly  in  the
plural)." A Manual Greek Lexicon Of The New Testament by G. Abbott-Smith,
published in 1921/1923/1936  says  on  page  8,  that  adelphos  can  be used "of a
fellow-Christian." These sources are cited only to show that long before the so-called
women's liberation or feminist movement, it was understood that adelphos/adelphoi
could and did include females, hence it is acceptable to translate by using the phrase
"brothers and sisters."

     When a group consisting of both males and females is addressed, as in the apostolic
letters,     it     is   accurate    to      translate adelphoi with the phrase "brothers and
sisters" as in the NIV-2011. To do so is not  in  support  of  feministic  theology. It  is
designed to support accuracy in Bible translation.
                                                                                                                    R. Daly
Copyright 2013