Luke 1:3--from above or from the very first?

Discussion in '2005 Archive' started by Logos1560, May 29, 2005.

  1. Logos1560

    Logos1560
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    In the context, which is the more accurate rendering of the Greek word 'anothen' at Luke 1:3--"from above" or "from the very first?"

    In his commentary on Luke, John R. Rice maintained that "the meaning in Luke 1:3 demands the translation 'from above'" (p. 23).

    In his commentary on Luke, G. Campbell Morgan wrote: "In strict etymology, I think the probability is that it means 'from above'" (p. 13).

    The KJV Study Bible called THE COMPANION BIBLE
    has this note for Luke 1:3 "from the very first=from above, Gr. anothen" (p. 1429).
     
  2. HankD

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    These are all anothen:

    John 3:3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

    John 3:7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

    John 3:31 He that cometh from above is above all: he that is of the earth is earthly, and speaketh of the earth: he that cometh from heaven is above all.

    John 19:11 Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above: therefore he that delivered me unto thee hath the greater sin.

    James 1:17 Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning.

    HankD
     
  3. Ed Edwards

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    From STRONG'S (via e-Sword):

    G509
    ἄνωθεν
    anōthen
    an'-o-then
    From G507; from above; by analogy from the
    first; by implication anew: - from above,
    again, from the beginning (very first),
    the top.


    Usage (from Crosswalk.com):

    King James Word Usage - Total: 13
    from above 5, top 3, again 2, from the first 1, from the beginning 1, not translated 1
     
  4. Ransom

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    The context is Luke describing to Theophilus his reasons for writing his account of Jesus' life:

    What would it mean for Luke to have "investigated everything from above"? Was he saying he was in a balloon? Was he dead and writing from heaven? "From the beginning" might be a secondary definition of anothen, but it's the one that makes sense in context. I don't see why Rice could say that the translation "demands" otherwise.
     
  5. FrankBetz

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    from above would then be from the very first, also from the beginning, doctrinally that is, considering all things began with God, He is the very first, and He is from above.
     
  6. Ransom

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    "From above" makes no sense in Acts 26:5 (where Paul says that those who knew him "from the beginning" know that he was a zealous Pharisee), neither does that nor "from the very first" make sense in Galatians 4:9, where Paul speaks of the Galatians returning to the "weak and beggarly elements" of Judaism.
     
  7. Logos1560

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    Here is some quotations and information from John R. Rice to help everyone see his reasons for
    saying that "anothen" should be translated "from above" at Luke 1:3.

    John R. Rice wrote: "The word does not refer to natural knowledge from the beginning of a matter, but supernatural knowledge from above. So Luke received his Gospel by revelation from above" (OUR GOD-BREATHED BOOK--THE BIBLE, p. 166).

    Rice wrote: "If Luke had meant 'from the very first' he would have used 'arche' as he did in the preceding verse (Luke 1:2) for 'from the beginning'" (p. 167).

    Rice wrote: "Matthew Henry, B. H. Carroll, Scofield, Gaussen, Lightfoot, Erasmus, Trapp, and many other scholars say 'anothen' must mean "from above" (p. 167). Then Rice gave quotations from these men.
     
  8. Ransom

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    John R. Rice wrote: "The word does not refer to natural knowledge from the beginning of a matter, but supernatural knowledge from above. So Luke received his Gospel by revelation from above" (OUR GOD-BREATHED BOOK--THE BIBLE, p. 166).

    Not to deny the supernatural inspiration of Luke's Gospel, but he is saying he has compiled an account of Jesus' life from eyewitness testimony that was "handed down" to him (v. 2) in the course of his own "investigation" (3). It's clear from the context that the anothen in question is not direct supernatural revelation "from above," but the "beginning" of Jesus' life and ministry.

    Rice wrote: "If Luke had meant 'from the very first' he would have used 'arche' as he did in the preceding verse (Luke 1:2) for 'from the beginning'" (p. 167).

    Did Luke know there was a rule that said he was only allowed to choose one synonym for "from the beginning"?
     
  9. Keith M

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    Apparently Mr. Rice bases his thinking on the verse take out of its context. And it is hard to say what Luke would have been thinking. If I say something was so "since the beginning," and then turn around later in the same paragraph and use the phrase "from the start" does that mean that my usage is wrong just because I chose different words? Of course not.
     
  10. Logos1560

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    John R. Rice cited where B. H. Carroll wrote:
    "Luke says that he had perfect understanding of all things, and now comes in the modifying word 'anothen.' That word primarily means 'from above.' It is so translated in the third chapter of John: 'Except a man be born anothen;' it is so translated in the letter of James: 'the wisdom that cometh anothen,' and in an overwhelming majority of cases in the New Testament it has that translation. So that if you translate that word, 'Having had perfect understanding of all things from above,' it makes his claim to inspiration refer to his entire record" (OUR GOD-BREATHED BOOK, p. 168).

    Rice also noted where A. T. Robertson was asked to give his view of Carroll's interpretation and
    Robertson wrote: "The literal meaning of anothen is 'from above,' and the context in Luke's Gospel will make good sense with Dr. Carroll's translation of it" (p. 170).

    Part of the reason for Rice's stress on this rendering of this word may be because of Rice's desire to defend the inspiration of the Scriptures against the liberals who claimed that Luke's writing was dependent on human sources.
     
  11. Keith M

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    I agree that Luke's writing was inspired, but not to the degree that I feel that he could not use the testimonies of others in compiling his "orderly sequence (HCSB)."
     
  12. Ransom

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    Indeed, Luke says under inspiration that he compiled his Gospel out of the efforts of his research. Rice appears to believe in a false dichotomy between "an inspired document given by direct revelation" and "a wholly human document researched from primary and secondary sources."
     

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