Exact words or message? Scripture uses synonyms.

Discussion in '2003 Archive' started by BrianT, Jun 27, 2003.

  1. BrianT

    BrianT
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    I recently had an email exchange with someone from this forum, and they claimed "the kingdom of heaven" is different from "the kingdom of God". I *don't* want to start a debate about that in this thread, but while talking about in email, a thought related to "word preservation" occurred to me (this thought may have occurred to many of you already) [​IMG]

    Look at this, the same parable from 3 Gospels:

    Matt 13:31-32 "Another parable put he forth unto them, saying, The kingdom of heaven is like to a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and sowed in his field: [32] Which indeed is the least of all seeds: but when it is grown, it is the greatest among herbs, and becometh a tree, so that the birds of the air come and lodge in the branches thereof."

    Mark 4:30-32 "And he said, Whereunto shall we liken the kingdom of God? or with what comparison shall we compare it? [31] It is like a grain of mustard seed, which, when it is sown in the earth, is less than all the seeds that be in the earth: [32] But when it is sown, it groweth up, and becometh greater than all herbs, and shooteth out great branches; so that the fowls of the air may lodge under the shadow of it."

    Luke 13:18-19 "Then said he, Unto what is the kingdom of God like? and whereunto shall I resemble it? [19] It is like a grain of mustard seed, which a man took, and cast into his garden; and it grew, and waxed a great tree; and the fowls of the air lodged in the branches of it."

    Matthew says Christ's words were "kingdom of heaven", while the other two have Christ saying "kingdom of God". Mark says Christ's words were "lodge under the shadow", while Matt and Luke say he said "lodged in the branches". And there are many more differences between these three passages, if we really wanted to pick them apart.

    What did Christ *really* say that day? If someone was there with a tape recorder, what would be on that tape? Now, I realize that the Holy Spirit inspired the different gospel writers to use the words they did, and that differences between the gospels is not an excuse for use to use whatever words we want - but it *does* show us something very important: the Holy Spirit, in inspiring the NT authors, was MUCH more concerned with the *message* he wanted preserved, than the precise, individual words. For technically, if Christ said "lodged in the branches" when speaking this parable, writing the text with him saying "lodge under the shadow" would not be a preservation of his precise words.

    What implications do you think this should have for our present-day view of scripture, preservation, etc.?
     
  2. aefting

    aefting
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    I'm not sure if the preservation of the message is really the issue. I think you would agree that the Holy Spirit moved Matthew, Mark, and Luke to reveal a message using precise words. I would submit that the revelation of the message is more the issue than the preservation of the message.

    While I don't believe in the dictation theory of inspiration, I do believe that the Holy Spirit moved human writers to employ the exact words that they used. So there is a Divine reason for "Kingdom of Heaven" in Matthew and "Kingdom of God" in Mark and Luke -- maybe just to show that the terms are synonymous.

    So I would say that God has preserved for us more than just a message. I think the words are important and preserved, just not preseved in a manner that provides absolute certainty in every case.

    Andy
     
  3. kman

    kman
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    Could just be a simple manner of Christ speaking the same parable on different occasions and using
    different wording...and the gospel writers recording different, albeit similar incidents.

    I don't think it is a big stretch to assume Christ spoke the same parables to different audiences as He traveled around and preached.


    -kman
     
  4. BrianT

    BrianT
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    So you don't think there's any overlap in the Gospels, that they just fill in each other's time-line holes?
     

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