Thursday, June 30, 2011

What Makes It "So"?


I was reading Genesis 1 and noticed that the "and it was so" statements didn't always occur where I would have expected them to.

So I created the following color-coded chart to show when things are "so" and when things are not so "so."

I'm not sure what, if anything, this all might mean, but it's fun to read the text closely like this.

NASBBHSWhen Was It "So"?
1: 1 In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth.
2 The earth was formless and void, and darkness was over the surface of the deep, and the Spirit of God was moving over the surface of the waters.
3 Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light (or: "and light was so").
4 God saw that the light was good; and God separated the light from the darkness.
5 God called the light day, and the darkness He called night. And there was evening and there was morning, one day.
בְּרֵאשִׁית בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים אֵת הַשָּׁמַיִם וְאֵת הָאָרֶץ׃
וְהָאָרֶץ הָיְתָה תֹהוּ וָבֹהוּ וְחֹשֶׁךְ עַל־פְּנֵי תְהוֹם וְרוּחַ אֱלֹהִים מְרַחֶפֶת עַל־פְּנֵי הַמָּיִם׃
וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יְהִי אוֹר וַיְהִי־אוֹר׃
וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָאוֹר כִּי־טוֹב וַיַּבְדֵּל אֱלֹהִים בֵּין הָאוֹר וּבֵין הַחֹשֶׁךְ׃

וַיִּקְרָא אֱלֹהִים לָאוֹר יוֹם וְלַחֹשֶׁךְ קָרָא לָיְלָה וַיְהִי־עֶרֶב וַיְהִי־בֹקֶר יוֹם אֶחָד׃
God spoke, "and it was so."
6 Then God said, “Let there be an expanse in the midst of the waters, and let it separate the waters from the waters.”
7 God made the expanse, and separated the waters which were below the expanse from the waters which were above the expanse; and it was so.
8 God called the expanse heaven. And there was evening and there was morning, a second day.
וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יְהִי רָקִיעַ בְּתוֹךְ הַמָּיִם וִיהִי מַבְדִּיל בֵּין מַיִם לָמָיִם׃
וַיַּעַשׂ אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָרָקִיעַ וַיַּבְדֵּל בֵּין הַמַּיִם אֲשֶׁר מִתַּחַת לָרָקִיעַ וּבֵין הַמַּיִם אֲשֶׁר מֵעַל לָרָקִיעַ וַיְהִי־כֵן׃
וַיִּקְרָא אֱלֹהִים לָרָקִיעַ שָׁמָיִם וַיְהִי־עֶרֶב וַיְהִי־בֹקֶר יוֹם שֵׁנִי׃
God spoke; and then God made it "so" before "it was so."
9 Then God said, “Let the waters below the heavens be gathered into one place, and let the dry land appear”; and it was so.
10 God called the dry land earth, and the gathering of the waters He called seas; and God saw that it was good.
וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יִקָּווּ הַמַּיִם מִתַּחַת הַשָּׁמַיִם אֶל־מָקוֹם אֶחָד וְתֵרָאֶה הַיַּבָּשָׁה וַיְהִי־כֵן׃
וַיִּקְרָא אֱלֹהִים לַיַּבָּשָׁה אֶרֶץ וּלְמִקְוֵה הַמַּיִם קָרָא יַמִּים וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים כִּי־טוֹב׃
God spoke, "and it was so."
11 Then God said, “Let the earth sprout vegetation, plants yielding seed, and fruit trees on the earth bearing fruit after their kind with seed in them”; and it was so.
12 The earth brought forth vegetation, plants yielding seed after their kind, and trees bearing fruit with seed in them, after their kind; and God saw that it was good.
13 [And] There was evening and there was morning, a third day.
וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים תַּדְשֵׁא הָאָרֶץ דֶּשֶׁא עֵשֶׂב מַזְרִיעַ זֶרַע עֵץ פְּרִי עֹשֶׂה פְּרִי לְמִינוֹ אֲשֶׁר זַרְעוֹ־בוֹ עַל־הָאָרֶץ וַיְהִי־כֵן׃
וַתּוֹצֵא הָאָרֶץ דֶּשֶׁא עֵשֶׂב מַזְרִיעַ זֶרַע לְמִינֵהוּ וְעֵץ עֹשֶׂה־פְּרִי אֲשֶׁר זַרְעוֹ־בוֹ לְמִינֵהוּ וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים כִּי־טוֹב׃
וַיְהִי־עֶרֶב וַיְהִי־בֹקֶר יוֹם שְׁלִישִׁי׃
God spoke to the earth, "and it was so"; and then the earth made it "so."
14 Then God said, “Let there be lights in the expanse of the heavens to separate the day from the night, and let them be for signs and for seasons and for days and years;
15 and let them be for lights in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth”; and it was so.
16 God made the two great lights, the greater light to govern the day, and the lesser light to govern the night; [He made] the stars also.
17 God placed them in the expanse of the heavens to give light on the earth,
18 and to govern the day and the night, and to separate the light from the darkness; and God saw that it was good.
19 [And] There was evening and there was morning, a fourth day.
וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יְהִי מְאֹרֹת בִּרְקִיעַ הַשָּׁמַיִם לְהַבְדִּיל בֵּין הַיּוֹם וּבֵין הַלָּיְלָה וְהָיוּ לְאֹתֹת וּלְמוֹעֲדִים וּלְיָמִים וְשָׁנִים׃
וְהָיוּ לִמְאוֹרֹת בִּרְקִיעַ הַשָּׁמַיִם לְהָאִיר עַל־הָאָרֶץ וַיְהִי־כֵן׃
וַיַּעַשׂ אֱלֹהִים אֶת־שְׁנֵי הַמְּאֹרֹת הַגְּדֹלִים אֶת־הַמָּאוֹר הַגָּדֹל לְמֶמְשֶׁלֶת הַיּוֹם וְאֶת־הַמָּאוֹר הַקָּטֹן לְמֶמְשֶׁלֶת הַלַּיְלָה וְאֵת הַכּוֹכָבִים׃
וַיִּתֵּן אֹתָם אֱלֹהִים בִּרְקִיעַ הַשָּׁמָיִם לְהָאִיר עַל־הָאָרֶץ׃
וְלִמְשֹׁל בַּיּוֹם וּבַלַּיְלָה וּלֲהַבְדִּיל בֵּין הָאוֹר וּבֵין הַחֹשֶׁךְ וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים כִּי־טוֹב׃
וַיְהִי־עֶרֶב וַיְהִי־בֹקֶר יוֹם רְבִיעִי׃
God spoke, "and it was so"; and then God made it "so."
20 Then God said, “Let the waters teem with swarms of living creatures, and let birds fly above the earth in the open expanse of the heavens.”
21 God created the great sea monsters and every living creature that moves, with which the waters swarmed after their kind, and every winged bird after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
22 God blessed them, saying, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let birds multiply on the earth.”
23 [And] There was evening and there was morning, a fifth day.
וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים יִשְׁרְצוּ הַמַּיִם שֶׁרֶץ נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה וְעוֹף יְעוֹפֵף עַל־הָאָרֶץ עַל־פְּנֵי רְקִיעַ הַשָּׁמָיִם׃
וַיִּבְרָא אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הַתַּנִּינִם הַגְּדֹלִים וְאֵת כָּל־נֶפֶשׁ הַחַיָּה הָרֹמֶשֶׂת אֲשֶׁר שָׁרְצוּ הַמַּיִם לְמִינֵהֶם וְאֵת כָּל־עוֹף כָּנָף לְמִינֵהוּ וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים כִּי־טוֹב׃
וַיְבָרֶךְ אֹתָם אֱלֹהִים לֵאמֹר פְּרוּ וּרְבוּ וּמִלְאוּ אֶת־הַמַּיִם בַּיַּמִּים וְהָעוֹף יִרֶב בָּאָרֶץ׃
וַיְהִי־עֶרֶב וַיְהִי־בֹקֶר יוֹם חֲמִישִׁי׃
God spoke; and then God made it "so," but never said "it was so."
24 Then God said, “Let the earth bring forth living creatures after their kind: cattle and creeping things and beasts of the earth after their kind”; and it was so.
25 God made the beasts of the earth after their kind, and the cattle after their kind, and everything that creeps on the ground after its kind; and God saw that it was good.
וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים תּוֹצֵא הָאָרֶץ נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה לְמִינָהּ בְּהֵמָה וָרֶמֶשׂ וְחַיְתוֹ־אֶרֶץ לְמִינָהּ וַיְהִי־כֵן׃
וַיַּעַשׂ אֱלֹהִים אֶת־חַיַּת הָאָרֶץ לְמִינָהּ וְאֶת־הַבְּהֵמָה לְמִינָהּ וְאֵת כָּל־רֶמֶשׂ הָאֲדָמָה לְמִינֵהוּ וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים כִּי־טוֹב׃
God spoke to the earth, "and it was so"; and then God, not the earth, made it "so."
26 Then God said, “Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; and let them rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over the cattle and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.”
27 God created man in His own image, in the image of God He created him; male and female He created them.
28 God blessed them; and God said to them, “Be fruitful and multiply, and fill the earth, and subdue it; and rule over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the sky and over every living thing that moves on the earth.”
29 Then God said, “Behold, I have given you every plant yielding seed that is on the surface of all the earth, and every tree which has fruit yielding seed; it shall be food for you;
30 and to every beast of the earth and to every bird of the sky and to every thing that moves on the earth which has life, I have given every green plant for food”; and it was so.
31 God saw all that He had made, and behold, it was very good. And there was evening and there was morning, the sixth day.
וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים נַעֲשֶׂה אָדָם בְּצַלְמֵנוּ כִּדְמוּתֵנוּ וְיִרְדּוּ בִדְגַת הַיָּם וּבְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם וּבַבְּהֵמָה וּבְכָל־הָאָרֶץ וּבְכָל־הָרֶמֶשׂ הָרֹמֵשׂ עַל־הָאָרֶץ׃
וַיִּבְרָא אֱלֹהִים אֶת־הָאָדָם בְּצַלְמוֹ בְּצֶלֶם אֱלֹהִים בָּרָא אֹתוֹ זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה בָּרָא אֹתָם׃
וַיְבָרֶךְ אֹתָם אֱלֹהִים וַיֹּאמֶר לָהֶם אֱלֹהִים פְּרוּ וּרְבוּ וּמִלְאוּ אֶת־הָאָרֶץ וְכִבְשֻׁהָ וּרְדוּ בִּדְגַת הַיָּם וּבְעוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם וּבְכָל־חַיָּה הָרֹמֶשֶׂת עַל־הָאָרֶץ׃
וַיֹּאמֶר אֱלֹהִים הִנֵּה נָתַתִּי לָכֶם אֶת־כָּל־עֵשֶׂב זֹרֵעַ זֶרַע אֲשֶׁר עַל־פְּנֵי כָל־הָאָרֶץ וְאֶת־כָּל־הָעֵץ אֲשֶׁר־בּוֹ פְרִי־עֵץ זֹרֵעַ זָרַע לָכֶם יִהְיֶה לְאָכְלָה׃
וּלְכָל־חַיַּת הָאָרֶץ וּלְכָל־עוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם וּלְכֹל רוֹמֵשׂ עַל־הָאָרֶץ אֲשֶׁר־בּוֹ נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה אֶת־כָּל־יֶרֶק עֵשֶׂב לְאָכְלָה וַיְהִי־כֵן׃
וַיַּרְא אֱלֹהִים אֶת־כָּל־אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וְהִנֵּה־טוֹב מְאֹד וַיְהִי־עֶרֶב וַיְהִי־בֹקֶר יוֹם הַשִּׁשִּׁי׃
God spoke; and then God made it "so" before "it was so."
2: 1 Thus the heavens and the earth were completed, and all their hosts.
2 By the seventh day God completed His work which He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work which He had done.
3 Then God blessed the seventh day and sanctified it, because in it He rested from all His work which God had created and made.
וַיְכֻלּוּ הַשָּׁמַיִם וְהָאָרֶץ וְכָל־צְבָאָם׃
וַיְכַל אֱלֹהִים בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה וַיִּשְׁבֹּת בַּיּוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי מִכָּל־מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשָׂה׃
וַיְבָרֶךְ אֱלֹהִים אֶת־יוֹם הַשְּׁבִיעִי וַיְקַדֵּשׁ אֹתוֹ כִּי בוֹ שָׁבַת מִכָּל־מְלַאכְתּוֹ אֲשֶׁר־בָּרָא אֱלֹהִים לַעֲשׂוֹת׃
5: 1 This is the book of the generations of Adam. In the day when God created man, He made him in the likeness of God.
2 He created them male and female, and He blessed them and named them ("called their name") Man in the day when they were created.
זֶה סֵפֶר תּוֹלְדֹת אָדָם בְּיוֹם בְּרֹא אֱלֹהִים אָדָם בִּדְמוּת אֱלֹהִים עָשָׂה אֹתוֹ׃
זָכָר וּנְקֵבָה בְּרָאָם וַיְבָרֶךְ אֹתָם וַיִּקְרָא אֶת־שְׁמָם אָדָם בְּיוֹם הִבָּרְאָם׃

Monday, June 27, 2011

"Single-Serving Jesus"


Narrator: Tyler, you are by far the most interesting single-serving friend I've ever met... see I have this thing: everything on a plane is single-serving...
Tyler Durden: Oh I get it, it's very clever.
Narrator: Thank you.
Tyler Durden: How's that working out for you?
Narrator: What?
Tyler Durden: Being clever.
Narrator: Great.
Tyler Durden: Keep it up then... Right up.
- Fight Club (movie version)



"Single-serving friend."

That is what this essentially turns the people at communion into, with everyone having their own personal "single-serving" Jesus. (Cue Depeche Mode.)

Is this right?

Is this wrong?

If John 6:22-59 is Eucharistic such that there is to be a reminder in the Lord's Supper of the manna in the wilderness (Exodus 16:11-36), then there is in fact an individualistic aspect to it, as each person was to gather enough manna for himself or herself - though per Paul's application of Exodus 16:18 in 2 Corinthians 8:13-15, there may also have been some sharing among the people so that each person got what they needed and were supposed to have.

And there may be reasons to use more than one loaf and more than one cup if, as in the tradition preserved in The Didachê, the Lord's Supper has elements of Jesus' feeding of the 5,000 (Matthew 14:13-21; Mark 6:32-44; Luke 9:10-17; John 6:1-13) and the 4,000 (Matthew 15:32-39; Mark 8:1-10) and there are many people involved, as there were then.

Yet 1 Corinthians 10:16-17 seems to prefer, and perhaps only allows for, a single shared loaf for the people when they come together in church (1 Corinthians 11:17-18,20,33), and probably a single shared cup as well.

If partaking of the bread as Christ's body is to be a reminder of the Passover lamb (1 Corinthians 5:7) - which would undoubtedly be the case if the Last Supper was a Passover Seder as per Matthew 26:17-20, Mark 14:12-17 and Luke 22:7-16 - then this would be a further reason for using a single shared loaf at church for the Lord's Supper, as there was ideally to be only one lamb per gathered household (Exodus 12:3-41), and those who come together in church are family members, being all of the same household of the One God and Father. This understanding could likewise argue for a single shared cup, since the wine at the Passover Seder represented the blood of the one-per-household Passover lamb.


1 בֵּית אָב, pl. בֵּית אָבוֹת "a father's house." Though indicating the paternal line, the term is synonymous with מִשְׁפָּחָה "family" according to Pentateuch & Haftorahs: Hebrew Text English Translation & Commentary, Soncino Press (Second Edition).

Sunday, June 26, 2011

The Lord's Table As A "Happy Meal"

"OFFERING VERSATILITY
AND EFFICIENCY FOR THE
TIMELESS TRADITIONS
OF COMMUNION"

D. H. Williams describes his visit to a megachurch at Christianity Today. The part that struck me was this:
Immediately after the singing, without any announcement, much less Paul's words of institution (1 Cor. 11:23-26), the elements of the Lord's Supper were hurriedly handed around. Again, I was amazed at the blandly efficient nature of this activity. We could have been passing pretzels and soda pop. No one offered any guidance whatsoever on the sharing of this critical ordinance or sacrament. It seemed a strictly vertical encounter between each individual and God.
Chaplain Mike at Internet Monk said about the above: "I call it The Christian Happy Meal, with all the solemnity of going through the drive-up window."

Not too long ago I attended a service at what would probably be called a megachurch, and as I entered the auditorium (aka the sanctuary, I guess), persons with baskets (like the cigarette girls with their trays) were handing out these pre-packaged communion kits, similar to the ones in the picture above, to people as they entered.


It was a definite “What The Faith?!?!” moment for me, as I thought of the contrast between this and our small weekly home meetings where after we’ve shared and prayed together and we sense it’s time to remember and celebrate being one body with Him and with each other,

When we bless the cup at the Lord’s Table, aren’t we sharing in the blood of Christ?
And when we break the bread, aren’t we sharing in the body of Christ?
And though we are many, we all eat from one loaf of bread,
showing that we are one body. (1 Corinthians 10:16-17 NLT)

we pray and bless and thank God, and then pass around a single small loaf or matzah or slice of bread from which we each break off a piece and eat, followed by a single cup of wine or grape juice from which we each take a drink.

While I agree that taking and celebrating the Lord's Table should be a happy (as in "joyous") meal (and I'm all in favor of celebrating it in a meal setting), when it is packaged and delivered and taken as a "Happy Meal" à la McDonalds, it has been changed into something so foreign to, and estranged from, its origins and meaning and purpose that it almost makes me cringe to participate in such a ceremony.

On a related note, my friend Scott Stocking has written an interesting essay for Greek and grammar geeks on his blog today on Acts 2:42 and the difference a comma can make: The Nature of "the Fellowship" (κοινωνια koinōnia) in Acts 2:42. Even if you're not one of the aforementioned kinds of geeks, please give it a read, as it's interesting and thought-provoking.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

The Woman Who Anointed Jesus - Comparing The Accounts


Before the prayer meeting Wednesday night (6/15/2011), we were discussing the incident where the woman anointed Jesus. The author of a book my friends had been reading identified this woman - described as "a sinner" in Luke's account - as the woman caught in adultery from John 7:53-8:11, even though the Gospels themselves never make that connection.

I mentioned that the accounts vary among themselves at points, which can be a cause of confusion for some. So here for my friends' - and your - reading and comparison are the Gospels' accounts of that incident, partly color-coded to help point out similarities and differences.
Matthew 26:6–13 (RSV)Mark 14:3–9 (RSV)
6 Now when Jesus was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, 7 a woman came up to him with an alabaster flask of very expensive ointment, and she poured it on his head, as he sat at table. 8 But when the disciples saw it, they were indignant, saying, “Why this waste? 9 For this ointment might have been sold for a large sum, and given to the poor.” 10 But Jesus, aware of this, said to them, “Why do you trouble the woman? For she has done a beautiful thing to me. 11 For you always have the poor with you, but you will not always have me. 12 In pouring this ointment on my body she has done it to prepare me for burial. 13 Truly, I say to you, wherever this gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.” 3 And while he was at Bethany in the house of Simon the leper, as he sat at table, a woman came with an alabaster flask of ointment of pure nard, very costly, and she broke the flask and poured it over his head. 4 But there were some who said to themselves indignantly, “Why was the ointment thus wasted? 5 For this ointment might have been sold for more than three hundred denarii, and given to the poor.” And they reproached her. 6 But Jesus said, “Let her alone; why do you trouble her? She has done a beautiful thing to me. 7 For you always have the poor with you, and whenever you will, you can do good to them; but you will not always have me. 8 She has done what she could; she has anointed my body beforehand for burying. 9 And truly, I say to you, wherever the gospel is preached in the whole world, what she has done will be told in memory of her.”
Luke 7:36–50 (RSV)John 12:1–8 (RSV)
36 One of the Pharisees asked him to eat with him, and he went into the Pharisee’s house, and took his place at table. 37 And behold, a woman of the city, who was a sinner, when she learned that he was at table in the Pharisee’s house, brought an alabaster flask of ointment, 38 and standing behind him at his feet, weeping, she began to wet his feet with her tears, and wiped them with the hair of her head, and kissed his feet, and anointed them with the ointment. 39 Now when the Pharisee who had invited him saw it, he said to himself, “If this man were a prophet, he would have known who and what sort of woman this is who is touching him, for she is a sinner.” 40 And Jesus answering said to him, “Simon, I have something to say to you.” And he answered, “What is it, Teacher?” 41 “A certain creditor had two debtors; one owed five hundred denarii, and the other fifty. 42 When they could not pay, he forgave them both. Now which of them will love him more?” 43 Simon answered, “The one, I suppose, to whom he forgave more.” And he said to him, “You have judged rightly.” 44 Then turning toward the woman he said to Simon, “Do you see this woman? I entered your house, you gave me no water for my feet, but she has wet my feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair. 45 You gave me no kiss, but from the time I came in she has not ceased to kiss my feet. 46 You did not anoint my head with oil, but she has anointed my feet with ointment. 47 Therefore I tell you, her sins, which are many, are forgiven, for she loved much; but he who is forgiven little, loves little.” 48 And he said to her, “Your sins are forgiven.” 49 Then those who were at table with him began to say among themselves, “Who is this, who even forgives sins?” 50 And he said to the woman, “Your faith has saved you; go in peace.” 1 Six days before the Passover, Jesus came to Bethany, where Lazarus was, whom Jesus had raised from the dead. 2 There they made him a supper; Martha served, and Lazarus was one of those at table with him. 3 Mary took a pound of costly ointment of pure nard and anointed the feet of Jesus and wiped his feet with her hair; and the house was filled with the fragrance of the ointment. 4 But Judas Iscariot, one of his disciples (he who was to betray him), said, 5 “Why was this ointment not sold for three hundred denarii and given to the poor?” 6 This he said, not that he cared for the poor but because he was a thief, and as he had the money box he used to take what was put into it. 7 Jesus said, “Let her alone, let her keep it for the day of my burial. 8 The poor you always have with you, but you do not always have me.”

The painting is "St. Mary Magdalene" by Carlo (or Carlino) Dolci (May 25, 1616 – January 17, 1686). I chose it for illustrative purposes only, and because it doesn't show where the woman is or whether she is anointing Jesus' head or His feet. I am not suggesting that Mary Magdalene was the woman.

Was Eve Banished From Eden?

וַיִּקְרָ֧א הָֽאָדָ֛ם שֵׁ֥ם אִשְׁתּ֖וֹ חַוָּ֑ה כִּ֛י הִ֥וא הָֽיְתָ֖ה אֵ֥ם כָּל־חָֽי׃
וַיַּעַשׂ֩ יְהוָ֨ה אֱלֹהִ֜ים לְאָדָ֧ם וּלְאִשְׁתּ֛וֹ כָּתְנ֥וֹת ע֖וֹר וַיַּלְבִּשֵֽׁם׃
וַיֹּ֣אמֶר יְהוָ֣ה אֱלֹהִ֗ים הֵ֤ן הָֽאָדָם֙ הָיָה֙ כְּאַחַ֣ד מִמֶּ֔נּוּ לָדַ֖עַת ט֣וֹב וָרָ֑ע וְעַתָּ֣ה פֶּן־יִשְׁלַ֣ח יָד֗וֹ וְלָקַח֙ גַּ֚ם מֵעֵ֣ץ הַֽחַיִּ֔ים וְאָכַ֖ל וָחַ֥י לְעֹלָֽם׃
וַֽיְשַׁלְּחֵ֛הוּ יְהוָ֥ה אֱלֹהִ֖ים מִגַּן־עֵ֑דֶן לַֽעֲבֹד֙ אֶת־הָ֣אֲדָמָ֔ה אֲשֶׁ֥ר לֻקַּ֖ח מִשָּֽׁם׃
וַיְגָ֖רֶשׁ אֶת־הָֽאָדָ֑ם וַיַּשְׁכֵּן֩ מִקֶּ֨דֶם לְגַן־עֵ֜דֶן אֶת־הַכְּרֻבִ֗ים וְאֵ֨ת לַ֤הַט הַחֶ֙רֶב֙ הַמִּתְהַפֶּ֔כֶת לִשְׁמֹ֕ר אֶת־דֶּ֖רֶךְ עֵ֥ץ הַֽחַיִּֽים׃

20 Then the man—Adam—named his wife Eve, because she would be the mother of all who live. 21 And the LORD God made clothing from animal skins for Adam and his wife.
22 Then the LORD God said, "Look, the human beings have become like us, knowing both good and evil. What if they reach out, take fruit from the tree of life, and eat it? Then they will live forever!" 23 So the LORD God banished them from the Garden of Eden, and he sent Adam out to cultivate the ground from which he had been made. 24 After sending them out, the LORD God stationed mighty cherubim to the east of the Garden of Eden. And he placed a flaming sword that flashed back and forth to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:20-24, NLT)

20 The man named his wife Eve, because she was the mother of all living. 21 And the LORD God made garments of skins for the man and for his wife, and clothed them.
22 Then the LORD God said, "See, the man has become like one of us, knowing good and evil; and now, he might reach out his hand and take also from the tree of life, and eat, and live forever"— 23 therefore the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden, to till the ground from which he was taken. 24 He drove out the man; and at the east of the garden of Eden he placed the cherubim, and a sword flaming and turning to guard the way to the tree of life. (Genesis 3:20-24, NRSV)
These two translations of Genesis 3:20-24 might seem pretty similar, but there is one striking difference that may be overlooked by many readers. Whereas the NLT reads:
22..."Look, the human beings...What if they...Then they..." 23 So the LORD God banished them...24 After sending them out...
the NRSV reads:
22..."See, the man...and now, he..." 23 therefore the LORD God sent him forth....
The NRSV accurately represents the Hebrew in these verses, which uses the singular definite masculine noun הָאָדָם ha-adam ("the man/human being") with third-person singular masculine verbs ("he") and third-person singular masculine possessive suffixes ("his").

[NOTE: The NRSV should maybe translate לְאָדָם in 3:21 as "And the LORD God made garments of skins for Adam (not "for the man") and for his wife," since the Hebrew word is pointed as simply adam ("Adam") and not as ha-adam ("the man/human being").]

It's true that in Genesis 1:27 God speaks of the male and female human beings as the singular ha-adam, but there it's used with plural verbs ("you"(pl.)/"they") and plural pronominal suffixes ("them").

So... Who did God drive out from the Garden of Eden: Both Adam and Eve, or just Adam?

And if it was just Adam who was banished, then why and when did Eve apparently join him?

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

"Rabbis and Fathers and Teachers! Oh, My!"

I posted a link to this video clip on Facebook today with a note that said it relates to what would probably be my next blogpost here.


Chris Wright - Disciples 1st from Bill Kinnon on Vimeo.

Well, here is that blogpost.

I was going to write some related comments about servantship and church leaders in the Body of Christ, but decided to just let Chris Wright speak about it.

As for the Scripture passage from Matthew 23 that I was going to discuss, I also decided to just post Jesus' words, and my comments would only be about my translation:

Then Jesus said to the crowds and to his disciples, "...Don't let anyone call you 'Rabbi,' for you have only one teacher, and all of you are equal as brothers and sisters. And don't address anyone here on earth as 'Father,' for only God in heaven is your spiritual Father. And don't let anyone call you 'Teacher,' for you have only one teacher, the Messiah. The greatest among you must be a servant." (Mt 23:1,8–11, NLT)
Here is the original text:
Τότε ὁ Ἰησοῦς ἐλάλησεν τοῖς ὄχλοις καὶ τοῖς μαθηταῖς αὐτοῦ λέγων·...ὑμεῖς δὲ μὴ κληθῆτε· Ῥαββί, εἷς γάρ ἐστιν ὑμῶν ὁ διδάσκαλος, πάντες δὲ ὑμεῖς ἀδελφοί ἐστε· καὶ πατέρα μὴ καλέσητε ὑμῶν ἐπὶ τῆς γῆς, εἷς γάρ ἐστιν ὑμῶν ὁ πατὴρ ὁ οὐράνιος· μηδὲ κληθῆτε καθηγηταί, ὅτι καθηγητὴς ὑμῶν ἐστιν εἷς ὁ χριστός· ὁ δὲ μείζων ὑμῶν ἔσται ὑμῶν διάκονος.
And here is my (improvable) translation:
Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to His disciples and said: "...But as for you all: Don't have anyone1 address2 you as 'Rabbi,'3 for you all have One Teacher, and all of you are brothers and sisters.4 And don't call anyone1 on earth your 'Father,'5 for you all have One Heavenly Father. Nor are you to be called 'Instructors,'6 because you all have One Instructor,6 The Christ.7 [Unlike these religious leaders8], the one who is the greatest among you must be9 as your servant."

1 "anyone" is implied by the Greek.
2 Or "call".
3 I.e., Master Teacher.
4 Translating the common-gender noun ἀδελφοί.
5 "Father" is emphasized in the Greek text, which is literally: "And 'Father' not you-should-call your on the earth...."
6 "Instructor(s)" is used to differentiate this word (καθηγητής) from the word that is translated in this passage as "teacher" (διδάσκαλος).
7 I.e., The Messiah.
8 See Matthew 23:2-7.
9 Translating the future as an imperative as the NLT does. See BDF §362. (Blass, F., Debrunner, A., & Funk, R. W. (1961). A Greek grammar of the New Testament and other early Christian literature (183). Chicago: University of Chicago Press.)

Monday, June 06, 2011

So You Want To Pastor A Large Church?

"You have heard that our ancestors were told, 'You must not murder. If you commit murder, you are subject to judgment.' But I say, if you are even angry with someone, you are subject to judgment! If you call someone an idiot, you are in danger of being brought before the court. And if you curse someone, you are in danger of the fires of hell. So if you are presenting a sacrifice at the altar in the Temple and you suddenly remember that someone has something against you, leave your sacrifice there at the altar. Go and be reconciled to that person. Then come and offer your sacrifice to God." Matthew 5:21-24 (NLT)
Whereas what Jesus first says here is about your responsibility not to get angry at other people or say derogatory things to them, the second part sets forth your obligation - yours, not theirs - to approach and seek reconciliation with or forgiveness from those who feel they've been wronged by you. And that before you proceed with your worship to God.

Did you get that?

If someone acts like or says (or you otherwise learn) that you've wronged them, or if they think that you've wronged them, you are to go to them and seek to be reconciled with them.

Before you do your God thing.

Before you preach your message.

Before you teach your Sunday school class or small group meeting.

Before you go to prayer or continue your prayer or lead others in prayer.

Can you guess how many people on a regular basis in a typical-sized church get offended by, or feel they've been wronged or offended by, the pastor(s) or others in leadership? Jesus doesn't say whether such people are right to feel that way, or whether you actually did anything, or whether if you did something, it was intentional or unintentional, or was done knowingly or unknowingly.

He says, "if...you suddenly remember that someone has something against you,..."

Past a certain size of church, I don't think a pastor or church leader would have any time to do anything but spend all her or his time making peace, or trying to make peace, with those who have been, or felt they've been, hurt or slighted or ignored or wronged by her or him.

Which is why, if one wants to do things Jesus' way, one would almost be constrained to keep one's list of possible offendees - and hence the size of one's congregation - fairly small.