Greek experts are tools, not infallible men

Discussion in 'Baptist Theology & Bible Study' started by Edward63, Jul 14, 2013.

  1. Edward63

    Edward63
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    0
    Recently I was studying the words "the beginning" in John 1:1. In so doing I came to Rev.3:14 -

    “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: These things saith the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of the creation of God:” (Re 3:14 ASV)

    The Greek here for "the beginning" is the same as in John 1:1. I was stunned to find this statement in the highly valued BDAG about this Greek expression:

    "Rv 3:14; but the mng. beginning=‘first created’ is linguistically probable"

    If you've encountered heretics who deny the deity of Jesus Christ, they will invariably give you this verse and point out that Jesus Christ was the first created being and they may blather on about Greek as if they are scholars.

    Now, the BDAG is not alone and apparently as we have the Greek in Rev. 3:14; that could mean "first created". BUT WAIT, context and comparing Scripture with Scripture always rules over a first century Greek construction, which I submit may not even be totally clear to the 21st century experts. The entire force of the NT indicates the Son is eternal, and ALL creation was through him, not all "other" creation.

    Heinrich Meyer writes on this question in the 19th century:

    "The wording in itself allows only two conceptions: either Christ is designated “the beginning of the creation of God,” i.e., as the first creature of God, as Ew. and Züll. understand it in harmony with the Arians; or, the Lord is regarded as the active principle of the creation. Unconditionally decisive for the latter alternative, which, however, dare not be perverted by a reference to the spiritual new creation, is the fundamental view of Christ, which is expressed in the Apoc., as well as in every other book of the N. T. How could Christ have caused even the present epistle to be written, if he himself were a creature? How could every creature in heaven and earth worship him, if he himself were one of them?"

    The American Editor of this German work by Meyer adds the following:

    Philippi (Kirch. Glaub., ii. 215): “He is the beginning of the creation; the beginning, and, as such, the principle, the original source, and author, and therefore not himself a creature. So God himself is also called the beginning and the end (Revelation 21:6), and, in like manner, Christ (Revelation 22:13).” Gebhardt (pp. 90–98) refutes the interpretations of Baur, Hoekstra, Köstlin, Weiss, and Ritschl; and states the true interpretation to be as follows: “What exposition is demanded by the laws of language? Without further delay, I reply, that, had the seer written ‘the beginning of the creatures ( κτίσματα) of God,’ or had he written ‘the first, or the first-born, or the first-fruit ( πρῶτος, πρωτότοκος, ἀπαρχή), of the creation of God,’ then the expression might be understood to denote the first created, or that which precedes all things, the first creature in time and rank. But the seer has written ἡ ἀρχὴ τῆς κτίσεως τοῦ θεοῦ, which can mean nothing else than principium creationis, the principle, the ἐν ῷ, διʼ οὗ, εἰς ὅ, of the creation of God. After this affirmation of the literal sense, I may say that it finds confirmation in Revelation 1:17-18; Revelation 2:8
     
  2. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,406
    Likes Received:
    99
    I'm a bit confused (perhaps its because I woke up from a nap not too long ago) but what are you trying to say?

    Is the problem with BDAG or is it in some other rendering of the word?

    Just curious, a little clarity might help...just like a shot of caffeine.
     
  3. Edward63

    Edward63
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    0
    I was attempting to point out that even the recognized Greek scholars do not always agree with each other. At times the Greek grammar arguments will not settle a doctrinal question. So, we must resort to studying the context more fully, and compare Scripture to Scripture. We err to treat a scholar of any type as if he is infallible. I have found this same thing concerning the word "one" in John 10:30. You can find men studied in the Greek who disagree on how good a proof text that verse is for the deity of Jesus Christ. For me, the flow of the context in John 10 shows definitely that is a proof text that proves Jesus Christ is indeed God, Jehovah. I should add, the BDAG is a great work and I lifted the quote out of a larger entry in the reference work. I was not meaning to impugn the BDAG.
     
    #3 Edward63, Jul 14, 2013
    Last edited by a moderator: Jul 14, 2013
  4. preacher4truth

    preacher4truth
    Expand Collapse
    Banned

    Joined:
    Nov 18, 2010
    Messages:
    8,121
    Likes Received:
    0

    'We'? Not quite. Your statement sounds like a straw man argument to me. Who treats Greek 'experts' as 'infallible men'? That's a huge false assumption not to mention the OP was rather contorted.
     
  5. Edward63

    Edward63
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    0
    The "we" was an editorial "we".. (used to denote people in general) ... sorry you got no benefit from the OP, possibly others did.
     
  6. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,406
    Likes Received:
    99
    I don't disagree, nor do I know any good scholars who would disagree with your point. The challenge of translation is that there is, ultimately, a theological decision which must be made. Often popular translations will punt when they come to a specific place in a translation where a theological decision must be made. However, there are also times where they do made a theological decision.

    As my seminary Greek prof always reminded us: translators and scholars get up in the morning and put their pants on the same way as the rest of us.

    I like BDAG, though I have the most recent two editions on my shelf as I've found the most recent has come changed theology itself due to pressures from theological movements. :)
     
  7. Edward63

    Edward63
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    0
    P.J. I also have the 3rd Edition BDAG tied to a Bible software so it is more easily useable for me, since I do not read Greek. I did not mean to put down this highly respected work, just point out we should not treat such work as if it were inspired. I am interested in what you have in mind as to the shift in theology from pressure from theological movements. I know the late Dr. Danker was a Lutheran, but I am not sure of your meaning on the change in theology. It would help me, and possibly others, if you could share briefly what you have in mind. Thanks...
     
  8. quantumfaith

    quantumfaith
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    6,890
    Likes Received:
    0

    :thumbs::thumbs:

    BTW, for us uninitiated, what is BDAG?
     
  9. Edward63

    Edward63
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    0
    Sorry to not say earlier. Here is the description as listed on Wikipedia:

    The Bauer-Danker Lexicon (ISBN 0226039331) is among the most highly respected dictionaries of Biblical Greek.[1] The producers of the German forerunner are Preuschen and Bauer. The English edition is A Greek-English Lexicon of the New Testament and Other Early Christian Literature (the Third Edition was published in 2001 by The University of Chicago Press).

    As you can see, it is easier to write BDAG....
     
  10. quantumfaith

    quantumfaith
    Expand Collapse
    Active Member

    Joined:
    Jan 26, 2010
    Messages:
    6,890
    Likes Received:
    0
    Thanks for the information....(laughing) but it really didn't clear anything up for me. :)
     
  11. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,406
    Likes Received:
    99
    It is, arguably, the best lexicon (read translating dictionary) for Greek.

    BDAG is in its third edition and contains discussions and significant content on all the words of the NT as well as many other early Christian documents. Imho, it is the best out there. :)
     
  12. preachinjesus

    preachinjesus
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    Feb 9, 2004
    Messages:
    7,406
    Likes Received:
    99
    I didn't think you were being unnecessarily critical of the text. :)

    It is interesting that you are desiring to pursue a rather technical discussion of a language you don't know. While I'm sure myself and several others can, and do, have the tools to guide this discussion, some acquaintance with Greek is certainly a good thing to have for this. Particularly to understand how it operates and uses words. :)

    There has been some revisions after recommendations from feminist theologians and also a lessening of severity when considering the homosexual issues in the NT. I don't have a comprehensive list however John Frame and Vern Poythress have an excellent piece over here: http://www.frame-poythress.org/how-...nker-greek-lexicon-of-the-new-testament-bdag/
     
  13. Earth Wind and Fire

    Earth Wind and Fire
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jun 5, 2010
    Messages:
    18,936
    Likes Received:
    96
    As you have stated...they are "tools" & in that I would agree. Tim the 'Toolman'...it just fits somehow! :thumbs:
     
  14. Edward63

    Edward63
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    69
    Likes Received:
    0
    As to an English speaker using the Greek helps, I think I explained my perspective better in my response on the OP "might" a few minutes ago. I would caution that Bible honoring Pastors with Greek knowledge, not belittle the helps available to the laymen and end up sounding like the Vatican by reserving the right of interpretation to themselves. :) I appreciate the link you have included and I'll go to that now and do some research.
    Thanks...
     
  15. OnlyaSinner

    OnlyaSinner
    Expand Collapse
    Member

    Joined:
    Jun 27, 2013
    Messages:
    294
    Likes Received:
    11
    19th and 20th century scholars may disagree about the meaning of "one" or "are one", but the 1st century audience (part of the "context", as you note) had no such problem, picking up stones to throw at Jesus because "that thou, being a man, makest thyself God." The same thing is recorded following John 8:58, where Jesus proclaimed, "Before Abraham was, I am." Every learned Jew was familiar with Exodus 3:14 "I Am."
     
  16. DrJamesAch

    DrJamesAch
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,427
    Likes Received:
    0
    Yup, I agree, most Greek "experts" are TOOLS.
     
  17. Greektim

    Greektim
    Expand Collapse
    Well-Known Member
    Supporter

    Joined:
    May 22, 2010
    Messages:
    3,143
    Likes Received:
    118
    Yes... let's put experts in quotes b/c you are the unbiased expert on all things correct. Fundies :rolleyes:



    In another vein, Rev. 3:14 has best been treated by G. K. Beale. Read his article, “The Old Testament Background of Rev 3.14.” New Testament Studies 42, no. 01 (1996): 133–52.

    This helps to understand that "beginning" refers to the one creating and ruling over new creation, along with "amen" and "faithful and true witness".
     
  18. Dr. Bob

    Dr. Bob
    Expand Collapse
    Administrator
    Administrator

    Joined:
    Jun 30, 2000
    Messages:
    29,402
    Likes Received:
    12
    LOL. BUT . . .

    Please do NOT call someone like him a "fundamentalist". Those who attack the inspired God-breathed words (ie for slow learners, the Greek) are condemned by God. Don't demean the whole group by those who lie about what the fundamentals are and teach unbiblical gibberish.
     
  19. DrJamesAch

    DrJamesAch
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,427
    Likes Received:
    0
    If anyone attacked the God-breathed words, it was Tregelles and Westcott & Hort when they deliberately altered several thousand verses to conform to their Roman Catholic trash, a fact that modern versions BLINDLY accept with glea (including the The Watchtower's "New World Translation").

    Nothing like proof of attacking God-breathed words than visible erasure marks on a text that was taken from a dumpster in a VATICAN library and called "THE Bible".

    I however believe that God actually DID preserve His words, in ONE BOOK, not 1000 books.

    I also believe in that a fundamental to Christianity is loving one's neighbor and his enemies. I believe that Paul said that Christians should know who they learned their doctrines from (2 Tim 3:14), and that common sense and the Bible tells me that God would not use a man with a murderous heart of which he never repented of the during his entire "profession" to spell out the "truths" or fundamentals to the Bible believing church of which they were missing for 1500 years until Calvin showed up and killed everyone that didn't agree.

    That might be fundamentalist TO YOU, but murdering heretics is also the fundamentalism of MUSLIMS. No way on God's green earth did God use someone who murdered Christians AFTER they professed to be saved (Augustine, Luther, Calvin, all of the RCC Popes, Mohammed) to reveal ANY truth to Bible believing churches.

    The apostle John had Calvin pegged 2000 years ago:

    "They shall put you out of the synagogues: yea, the time cometh, that whosoever killeth you will think that he doeth God service." John 16:2.

    And it's worth repeating:

    "But continue thou in the things which thou hast learned and hast been assured of, knowing of whom thou hast learned them" 2 Tim 3:14
     
  20. DrJamesAch

    DrJamesAch
    Expand Collapse
    New Member

    Joined:
    Sep 30, 2012
    Messages:
    1,427
    Likes Received:
    0
    This much I would have to agree with you though we differ on doctrinal issues. The Scholarship Onlyism attitude makes the believer dependent upon the interpretations of "learned scholars" (John 7:15) and takes the Bible out of the hands of the ordinary believer. Thus if you want to TRULY understand the Bible, you have to go to their college ($$$$$$) and buy their books ($$$$$$) and attend their seminars of which you have to buy tickets for ($$$$$$$).

    Having a Greek "helps" is still limited unless you have actually studied the syntax and the rules of grammar. I have seen some on here translate word as meaning "this means the believers works are perfect" because they interpreted a PERFECT TENSE as a translation of the word, not understanding that perfect tense is a grammatical element of Greek.

    I have studied Greek for 20 years, and it's still 'Greek to me', as it is with numerous other scholars. Mounce doesn't always agree with Wallace. Wallace doesn't always agree with Robertson. Robertson does't always agree with Metzger. Metzger doesn't always agree with Zodhiates. Zodhiates doesn't always agree with Nestle and Aland. Nestle and Aland don't always agree with Vine. ETC>>>ETC>>>. If scholars don't agree with each other, then why would anyone think that someone with even 4 years of training in Greek would "get it" much less someone who barely knows how to navigate a lexicon?
     

Share This Page

Loading...