Part of this growing “healthy holistic life change” I’m preparing for is spiritual preparedness. What this incorporates for me is beginning my goal of translating the entire bible. Grant I’m sure I will only continue translating it again and again…I just want to make a valiant effort somewhere on a book I love so much.
As decided how and when and where to start, I thought I would go over a topic of debate…Old vs New Testament. This is more of a collection of thoughts about the topic…enjoy!
point one: terminology
I have always had an issue with the terms “old” and “new.” If we were strictly talking age, I get it. But we’re not. The terms old and new can refer to the old and new covenant. To me, this places little emphasis on the larger portion if the Bible because someone decided just because it’s newer makes it more important. Let’s just call them what they are: the Pentatuech, prophets and wisdom literature; gospels, Paul’s letters, the epistles and revelation. They are all books, all equally bound together as the bible that even as a while has changed over the years. There…no confusion. No bias..sort of. For purposes of this blog I will call the old and new to eliminate confusion.
point two: As a Christian, Why do I care?
A lot of people who are Christian why we even care about the Old Testament if Jesus brought the new. Here’s why–because Jesus thought it was important. A Christian’s perspective of God, his workings through the nation of Israel up and through Jesus’ life are laid out in the Old Testament. Genesis explains who God is, what He did, how humans reacted, and he beginnings of God trying to call us back. Exodus is the story of one small nation, of their escape and travels with their God who desired to show the world His beautiful blessings and His Power. I could go on and on.
Secondly, Jesus cared. It’s true! Look at Jesus throughout the gospels and you will see a man who cared deeply about he scriptures. He quotes them frequently, especially prophets like Isaiah. And his life, crucifixion and death are all wrapped up in imagery and explanations of God’s New Kingdom as told from the…(you guessed it) Old Testament.
Point three: but it’s too old
Some people say that the Old Testament lacks connection to current world. That there is no reason to read it since it talks about issues, problems and culture from the Ancient World. Well… I can tell you with great confidence that there is lying, stealing, greed, rape, murder, family feuds, chaos, and thousands of other stories… And I wasn’t even talking about the New testament. 😊 it is terribly surprising how many stories reflect much of our cultures today, just in a different context. And if there isn’t an example, chances are the feelings and frustrations have an example all heir own.
There you have it
I know I have other quirks and questions about this topic, but I don’t want to upset or bore too many people.
What do you think? What does the Old and New Testsements means to you?
This class would be centered around understanding specific words in the Bible that may lose meaning or specific interpretations when translated to English. It is meant to give more insight to the Biblical text itself to the average reader.
Incorporated into class:
Journal to react to daily readings book. (would only require
Paper on one uniquely biblical word.
Only a few vocabulary word quizzes
Week 1) Biblical languages as a whole– This would include a basic review of the alphabet for each language (yes, in one week since we’re ONLY looking at the alphabet and its helpful for people to be able to recognize what a “alpha” is.) as well as a review of the languages used in the Bible (i.e. Hebrew based on 3-character roots & Greek based on conjugation and declination of nouns and verbs.)
Week 2) Start bi-weekly quizzes, this week on alphabets. Start looking at Genesis 1 & 2. Two words to study–“to create” and ” in the beginning.” Also include a view of the Hebrew word “ruach” or “breathe” and its significance in Genesis. Readings would include 1st weeks daily scriptures.
Week 3) John 1 “Logos” review and “tabernacled” in Greek. Review of the importance of these words theologically.
Week 4) Israel’s Language–review of specific words (no more than 8-10) that are part of the journey from Eden through the Exodus until the entrance into the promise land. Words such as “manna” and “b’rit” (covenant) and others.
Week 5) Words of the Gospels—reviewing Greek words that play out in the significance of the Gospel writers.
Week 6) “The Word of the Lord”–prophets and their words. Review of the major Israelite prophets, starting with Moses through Malachi.
Week 7) Paul’s Written Speech–Review of Paul’s use of greek words that play a significant part in his theology. Certain words such as sarx in Greek and others.
Week 8) Apocalyptic Review–review of terms such as “Son of Man” in Hebrew in Daniel/Ezra and review of Revelation.
Week 9) Foreign Language Fun–This would just be a review of people in the class and their understanding of ANY foreign language translation of the Bible. Possibly would consider a presentation where student reviews a specific words in a specific language, its interpretation from the original language (Greek/Hebrew) or reviews a specific translation’s version other than their native tongue (probably no English.)
Week 10) Review of everything & Final paper or exam. Mostly like exam, multiple choice (25), short essay (5-10) and one “long” essay (major response like a discussion on Logos in John or the “Son of Man” term…something that was discussed in major details.
Every once and a while, I come across a word in the Bible (in Hebrew) that really touches me. I almost think “dang, if we even came CLOSE to matching this word I would use it….” but many times English just does not. One of these words is “ruach” or “breathe, spirit.”
This word is the same word used in Genesis 1:2 to describe the spirit of God hovering over the blocky-chaotic water. And yet, its the same word to describe the Holy Spirit of God. God’s spirit is like a breathe of fresh air, a wind. Its unseen, a felt concept, and yet when it reacts with other things, both good and destruction can come from it. The word just screams uniqueness. Not only is it used in a very specific context in the Bible, but the underscore-looking item under the final letter chet actually is not common place in Hebrew. Typically most Hebrew words are balanced between consonants & vowels. Rarely do you see two vowels next to each other.
As for the theological implications–the words relates to the breathe of life. The Holy Spirit is meant to be God’s source in all life. This is the word that describes God “breathing into ” humanity the breathe of life. The imagery is just astounding. And from my class w/ Dr. Tremper Longman last year, this image of God breathing is contrary to other Ancient Near Eastern stories, where gods live in the world, fighting, and create humans out of spite so they do not have to do anything. It’s an interesting perspective when you think of all the similarities from early creation stories to the Biblical story.
So next time you come across the term “Holy Spirit”, your meaning of God’ presence will grow deeper instead of thinking of white-sheeted floating people muddling “BOOOOoooo” in your face
So in hopes to expand my blog, I decided I wanted to start a “word of week” portion of my blog. I love languages, especially the Biblical ones and I enjoy even more some of the history and meanings of words in other languages. So I decided to provide a weekly word section where I will look at the meaning of a word in another language and expand on its, well, “importance.” 🙂
Word of the Week
What word would be more fitting as a beginning than the word for “beginning?” B’resheet is the first word of the first book of the Bible and in the Jewish community the title of the book we English-speakers know as Genesis. And rightly so, because the word comes from a similar root word in Hebrew that means “head” or “chief.” (See Brown Driver Briggs Lexicon p 911-12.) B’resheet in its Genesis 1:1 context has a distinct meaning, as it carries a prefix (B’) that indicates “in, with or by.” something. The actual noun is resheet which refers to “beginning” or “chief.”
If one would continue in the Lexicon you can see the other times this words appears in the Bible it is always associated with the beginning of something new & amazing. For example, the beginning of a new kingdom (Gen 10:10) as well as the beginning of creation. It also is associated with the first fruits in Exodus 23:19 and even the first chief in Amos 6:1.
The similar root is the word meaning chief or head, which includes a meaning of “beginning” of time located in my favorite chapter Isaiah 40:21.
I think if we were to remember this word when we coming across it in the Bible, it is important to remember its significance in that it is not just a beginning of a new chapter … it truly means a new context. either a new world, a new kingdom, a new person. And so let the new chapter of this blog, well BEGIN!
- … to Life!…. (musingsofanafterthought.wordpress.com)