Emerson Ave Church of Christ

Matthew 28:19, 20 (Go, therefore, and make disciples of all nations…..)

Translations Affect Our Thinking

December 8, 2013

Translations Affect Our Thinking

The way our English Bibles read affects the way we talk, think, and act. This is one reason translators should be careful about the words they use to translate the Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek that the Holy Spirit chose in the original text of sacred scripture. Their word choices should be accurate and understandable. Otherwise they defeat the purpose of the translation process. Sometimes people with good intentions misrepresent the text because they think it says one thing, when in reality the opposite is meant by the writer(s). Let’s cite a few examples to illustrate the point.

When people read the passages that speak of “baptize,” and “baptism,” it is possible that they may assume the New Testament allows different “modes” of baptism because English dictionaries define it as, “the ceremony or sacrament of admitting a person into Christianity by immersing the individual in water or by pouring or sprinkling water on the individual. .. ” (Webster’s New World Dictionary, Third College Edition, page 109.) The English dictionary definition is incorrect as it pertains to the New Testament’s use of the word.

  Actually, “baptism” and “baptize” are not translations of the words baptisma and baptizo.

They are Greek words in English dress! They are the Greek words brought over into English. In other words, baptizo does not mean “baptize” and baptisma does not mean “baptism.” That’s like saying the words mean the words. That’s right, it makes no sense. Baptisma means immersion or submersion. Baptizo means immerse or submerge. Immersion and immerse or synonymous words should be used in our English translations. A lot of confusion would be avoided and it would go a long way in removing the ideas of “sprinkling” and “pouring” as acceptable “modes” of baptism. I would love to hear someone explain how sprinkling and pouring are “modes” of immersion.

Preachers and elders who know the facts should accurately inform people about the facts.

Yet, most preachers themselves will continue to use the words “baptism” and “baptize” because that’s what they see in their Bibles.

The word “church” is another word that has shaped our religious vocabulary. Many people think of a “church” as a religious denomination or a physical building. The word church is used to translate the Greek word ekklesia.

Ekklesia means assembly, congregation, community, or group.

The word church is a gloss, that is, a word that needs additional explanation when used in translation. The emphasis in the New Testament is on the people, not where the people assembled. (cf. John 4:19-23) The words in our English versions of the scriptures will continue to shape our thinking. Much of the confusion that exists can be eliminated if we will think thru the text.

Ron Daly

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Some Facts About The Lord’s Church

October 9,2011

Some Facts About The Lord’s Church

The word “ church” is the translation found in most English bibles for the Greek word ekklesia. Ekklesia does not mean “called out” in the New Testament as is often alleged. It means assembly, congregation, or group. In religious contexts it refers to the people, who have been saved from sin by grace through faith and the application of the precious blood of Christ (Ephesians 2:5, 8-9; 1 Peter 1:17-19). Now let us notice some facts about the congregation of Christ.

(1) Its existence was planned by God. Daniel speaks of the days when the kingdom of God would be established. He said, “In the days of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom which will never be destroyed … ” (Daniel 2:44) We learn from the New Testament that the kingdom about which Daniel wrote was the congregation that Jesus promised to build. (Matthew 16: 18-19) God established it through the work of Christ. Please notice that God and Christ are the ones who built the wonderful body of Christ. Neither John the Immerser, John Wesley, Ellen G. White, Charles T. Russell, or any other mere human being built the Lord’s congregation. It has the touch of the divine hand of deity! No other religious institution on earth can rightly make such a claim. God had nothing to do with building any denomination on earth.

(2) The Lord’s congregation was purchased with his own blood. The blood of bulls and goats could not take away sin. (Hebrews 9:12-13; 10:4) The precious blood of God’s own Son was poured out on the cross of Calvary for the sins of the world. (Matthew 26:28; John 1:29; 1 John 2: 1-2) The Lord Jesus did not die in order to build or purchase denominations. He did not shed his blood in order for people to join denominations. The Lord is not the founder, deliverer, or preserver of any denomination on the face of the earth! The fact that the Lord shed his blood for his congregation and no other should encourage us to have holy hatred for the sin of denominationalism! There is no ground on which to compromise. Jesus’ blood was pure and he died to enable people to be purified from sin. He did not die to establish man-made, sectarian, and divisive systems of religion. His blood was shed for the one body of Christ. (Ephesians 2:13-15) (More to follow)

Ron Daly

Announcement: God willing, I intend to begin teaching a class on The Fundamentals of New Testament Greek in a few weeks. This class has been requested by some of our young men. It will not be an “academic” approach, but the focus will be on how to accurately use Greek in study, sermon preparation, responding to false doctrine, and the proper use of basic research books and other material.

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