Atlas Apologia (Formerly IDC)

Ep. 164:Greek Words in the New Testament that You should Know.....

June 19, 2023 Aleko
Atlas Apologia (Formerly IDC)
Ep. 164:Greek Words in the New Testament that You should Know.....
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Discover the hidden depths of the New Testament by exploring some ancient Greek words that are often misunderstood due to suboptimal translations. Unlock the true meanings behind powerful terms like Logos, Agape, and Ekklesia, and how they can transform our understanding of the Gospel. By delving into these linguistic treasures, we'll enrich our faith and deepen our connection to the divine messages within the scriptures.

Join us as we examine the misinterpretation of Parusia and its implications in the present age. We'll discuss how Christ's parables are not solely about his grand return, but also about the arrival of the Holy Spirit to be with believers. Recognize the importance of using scripture appropriately and understanding the context in which the Greek words were used. Remember, while many events will literally happen, their manifestation may not always be obvious.

 This enlightening and edifying conversation is one you won't want to miss, so join us as we continue to deepen our knowledge of the New Testament in the next part of this series.

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Speaker 1:

Welcome to the IDC podcast, your number one source for a fierce defense of the Christian Gospel. This is Aleko, and I hope you're doing well. So before we get into today's topic, i want to take a moment to reflect on last week's episode entitled A Strull through the last three years of the IDC podcast. If you haven't checked it out, i would recommend going back and listening to it. In its, we reminisced about the highlights of our journey since the podcast's inception back in the summer of 2019. In its, we revisited some of my favorite episodes, each priming with insightful discussions, intellectual challenges and thought-provoking insights. So if you missed it, i strongly encourage you to give it a listen, as it provides a panoramic view of the intelligent design collective and the journey that we've gone on over the last three years. And before I close that chapter, i just want to say if you're asking yourself why summer of 2019 to summer of 2023 equals three years, then go and listen to the episode. I explain it a little bit better there. So now let's turn our attention to today's topic. So, in the vein of spiritual curiosity and linguistic enrichment, we embark on a two-part series where we're going to be focusing on several words that I think every believer should know from the New Testament that, in my opinion, are occasionally misused or maybe misunderstood today, due to not necessarily poor translation, but, let's just say, suboptimal translation. So this particular study couldn't come at a better time as I am brushing up on my Greek to go see my brother in Greece in about two months. I haven't been back to my family's homeland in. It's been a long time, and along with this modern Greek brush-up, i'm also diving back into ancient Greek and spending a little bit of time in the word because of it. We're going to be looking at a tapestry of 20 ancient Greek words found within the sacred pages of our scriptures. These words are, as we shall discover, profoundly significant and offer invaluable insights into the truths that lie at the core of our faith. We'll be looking at some words that many people think that they know or have some grasp of, such as agape, as well as the transformative power of other words like metanoia. So we're going to embark on an odyssey of language and theology as we strive to acquaint ourselves with these indispensable linguistic gems. Now, a lot of this stems from my desire to find a very good translation of the scripture, and I've read quite a few of them. For me, most roads have led to the Holmen CSB Bible, as in my opinion, it strikes that perfect balance of accuracy and literalness in translation, while maintaining readability. The HCSB, or the Holmen Christian Standard Bible, remains faithful to the original languages, ensuring that the translated text reflects the intended meaning of the biblical authors. Now there are a few things worth noting before diving into this study head first. What I would say to begin with is that the scriptures, in my opinion, are secondary to a relationship with the Christ himself. And while people like Saint Paul note that all scriptures God breathed and useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work, note that the Christ says you pour over the scriptures because you think you have eternal life in them, yet they testify of me and you are not willing to come to me so that you may have life. So let's be a bit reductionist about those two things right there. The scriptures are there to help hone you, to correct brothers and sisters who go astray and to help focus us, but no amount of pouring over them is going to help you understand them any better without the key to unlocking them, which is a relationship with the Christ. And sure you may be able to glean some amazing things intellectually speaking and we've done that with things like gematria, equidistant letter sequencing, maybe a study of the prophecies that have come true or the prophecies that are yet to come. You can definitely do that as an intellectual practice, but none of those things will bring you any closer to the Christ himself without that relationship. Case in point would be back in the time of Christ. Many people witnessed his miracles first hand. They saw incredible things happening. Yet after they were healed they reverted back to their lifestyles. They didn't really want to know him or to be close to him or to love him. They just wanted to be healed and to get on with whatever it was they were doing. And Christ notes that in several of the Gospels. So sure we can witness amazing things in the scripture. But it's not going to get you any closer to Christ unless you move your heart toward him and you speak to him and you listen to him, first and foremost. Friend of the podcast, michael had a great analogy for explaining this concept. He said that in essence he could tell me, or tell anyone any detail about his wife what her favorite foods were, the color of her hair, what she liked to do. And a person listening could indeed grasp the outer shell, the superficial of the person who is his wife. But they would never know her any better unless they met her in person and spent time with her and got to know her and talk to her and made that human connection. And the same thing goes on a much more magnified level with the Christ, where you're sure you could learn every detail about him. And that stuff is good. It's good to be inspired and it's good to be corrected, it's good to learn and it's good to be guided by scripture and by teaching. But you're really not going to get it all the way, you're not going to reap the incredible and, in my opinion, occasionally miraculous benefits unless you talk to him and you wait for his voice, you listen. So okay, i'm going to get off my soapbox now, all of that out of the way. I want to look at a couple of words in Greek. And I should also mention that this was inspired by the purchase of David Bentley Hart's translation of the New Testament. So David Bentley Hart is a Greek scholar and a theologian who embarked on creating a new translation of the New Testament published back in 2017. So Hart's translation sought to breathe new life into the biblical text and took care of some issues that I have been talking about on this podcast for years. Before I mentioned that and his modus operandi, i will say that most translations of the scripture are pretty good. You're going to get a pretty faithful representation of what the original scriptures said And they don't deviate too much, with the exception of only only a few. So, for example, new King James, king James Version, the Christian Standard Bible, csb, the NASB they're all pretty good, and there's a couple of other translations I think are fine as well. I'm not hugely into the NIV and I really don't think the ESV is that great, because there are a couple of times where the kowtow, or rather capitulates to institutional Christianity and maybe obfuscate the clarity of some words, and that's a study unto itself and you could spend many days talking about that. But for the most part, you've got the written word of God and it's very faithful across many translations, but I've always found that the CSB, in my opinion, is one of the closest. That being said, there are a couple of words that I feel are not even in the zeitgeist, the English zeitgeist anymore, and they are used throughout the scriptures And because of that they become kind of meaningless. While most people think that they understand some of these words, they don't fully grasp them because of the use of old English or uncommon linguistics. An example of that that I've brought up on this podcast before is the word repent. Sure, most Christians think that they know what repent means, and I've heard some pretty pretty rough answers and a lot of people will tend to say well, it just means don't sin anymore or change your ways or become better. Right, but the actual translation of repent from the Greek methanoya is change your mind. And if the translations of the scripture were to just revert from using repent to a proper translation of change your mind, it would make things exponentially clearer with just the clarification of that one particular word. And it's not that repent is a bad word. I just want to state again it's just not in the zeitgeist, it's not common vernacular. Most people don't use the word repent unless they're saying something scriptural or you know they're in a Christian setting or biblical setting. Change your mind would mean so much more to the public if one were to be speaking to a large group of people, change your mind. Think of how profound that would be if Christians were to switch from using repent to simply change your mind. The other issue that I have come across with regard to translations is the vagary of the English language when juxtaposed with the original Greek, and this is mildly in the zeitgeist. I think that many Christians have a superficial understanding of the fact that there are some words that are used as an umbrella term to cover several words, and in two of the most egregious places where this occurs in the scripture are the word love and the word hell. Love and hell could be many ranging things, depending on where you find them in the Greek of the New Testament, or I would say even in the Greek of the Septuagint. Now, while one can glean context from the scripture surrounding the word love and understand it a little bit better, as well as the descriptions of love that you can find in the Bible and the examples of it, hell is one where I think that Some people have actually gone astray because of misunderstanding or misinterpretation. And, make no mistake, i don't believe this began with the Protestants of the Reformation. I think it began with Catholics, and you know, some of the translations of hell were frankly quite different among early Jewish and Greek converts to Christianity And it's worth bringing up as a correct understanding could cause a paradigm shift in the believer. So back to David Bentley Hart's translation. I've been listening to it in audio format and also have it on Kindle. Heaven knows I just don't have the time to sit down and read unless I'm falling asleep and I want to give it proper attention. So typically it's when I go for walks and around my lunchtime I will listen to David's translation of the New Testament And so far I'm really impressed. It does help to work on some of these areas that I think needed to be ironed out and have needed to be an ironed out for a long time. So it has faithfulness to the original Greek. As I've said, hart's translation places great emphasis on faithfulness to the original Greek and meticulously examines the nuances of the original language, and Hart strives to convey the meaning and intent of the New Testament authors with precision. His translation seeks to capture the linguistic richness and subtleties that may be lost in other translations, as I've mentioned, and it allows readers to engage more deeply with the text in its original context. One of the other notable aspects of Hart's translation is the commitment to verbal precision. He carefully chooses words and phrases to bring out the full force of the Greek text, often using terms that are less familiar but carry a greater weight of meaning. This approach invites readers to consider fresh perspectives and encourages a more profound engagement with the theological and philosophical dimensions of the New Testament. So just a couple of other notes based on a review of Hart's translation. He also pays attention to literary style, so he captures the distinctive voice and rhetoric of each author and you'll notice that when you're listening. It's really hard to explain or summarize in just a moment here. But I would say, just pay attention to that because you can. You can detect the stylistic nuances of every single author. He provides philosophical and theological insights in his own footnotes which I think so far have been really, really fantastic. They've been very insightful, so worth a read if you get the chance, because it's one of the most faithful adaptations of the original New Testament And, to be clear, it's not going to vary that much from the New Testament that you have granted me. I'm assuming it's one of the mainstream ones, but it is going to give you a more enriching insight into the scripture. All right, without further delay some of the most misused and misunderstood Greek words from the New Testament Logos or, as it's frequently known in English speaking churches, lagas or logos. This term is often translated as word and is commonly misunderstood. In John 1.1, it refers to Jesus as the personified word of God. However, logos can also mean reason or message, and can also mean word or expression. In Greek philosophy, logos represented the divine reason or principle that govern the universe. In the New Testament, logos takes on a deeper theological significance. In 1st John 1.1, we read that which was from the beginning, which we have heard, which we have seen with our eyes, which we have looked upon and have touched with our hands, concerning the word of life. In this verse, the apostle John uses logos to refer to Jesus Christ, the word of life, emphasizing the tangible experience of encountering the divine. The concept of logos holds a profound significance for Christians, encompassing various theological implications. It's the identity of Jesus Christ. Through the use of logos, christians understand Jesus Christ as the embodiment of God's divine reason and communication to humanity. It also emphasizes Christ's pre-existence and equality with God. The word logos signifies God's self-revelation to humankind. Christians believe that Jesus Christ, as the logos, communicates God's truth, love and salvation, making the divine accessible to humanity. The logos becoming flesh in Jesus Christ highlights the doctrine of the Incarnation. This event underscores God's profound love for humanity, as Jesus the logos enters the world to offer redemption and reconcile humanity with God. Understanding Jesus as the logos encourages Christians to develop a personal relationship with God. By embracing Jesus, the living logos, believers can experience a transformative connection with God, finding purpose, meaning and eternal life. All right, the second word is agape, which is also known as agape or agape in most English-speaking churches. But make sure you soften that G, you gotta kind of lean into it a little bit. So it's a rapi for the pronunciation, so often translated as love. Agape or rapi specifically refers to a selfless, sacrificial love. Its profound nature goes beyond emotional affection and encompasses a self-giving, unconditional love. The word agape holds great significance within the context of the Greek New Testament, particularly in Christian theology. So, unlike other Greek words for love, such as eros, which is romantic love, or filia, which is brotherly love, agape refers to a selfless, sacrificial love. It is a love that seeks the well-being and welfare of others above oneself. One could say that the most famous occurrence of agape in the Bible is John 3.16, for God so loved the world that he gave his only son that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. So here agape emphasizes God's selfless and sacrificial love for humanity. 1 Corinthians 13.47, so this passage, often referred to as the love chapter, provides an eloquent description of agape love, highlighting its characteristics such as patience, kindness and the absence of envy or arrogance. Verse John 4, 7 through 8, beloved, let us love one another, for love is from God, and whoever loves has been born of God and knows God. Anyone who does not love does not know God, because God is love. This verse emphasizes the divine nature of rapi and its significance in the lives of believers. Note that rapi is a representation of divine love. It is often associated with God's love for humanity and it is exemplified in the self-sacrifice of Jesus Christ on the cross, demonstrating God's ultimate expression of love and redemption for humanity. Jesus emphasized the importance of rapi love as a central commandment for his followers In John 13, 34 through 35, he says It teaches Christians to love one another without expecting anything in return, and to forgive and to show compassion to all. Rapi love has the power to transform individuals and communities. It vosters unity, breaks down barriers and promotes reconciliation among believers, emphasizing the importance of unity within the body of Christ. And finally, a rapi love compels Christians to serve others selflessly and engage in acts of compassion, justice and mercy. It motivates believers to care for the marginalized, needy and oppressed, reflecting the love of Christ to the world. Note the nuance there of caring and being selflessly devoted to others over yourself, while not endorsing a bad lifestyle or a sin. While Christ did sit and drink and eat with tax collectors and sinners in the Scripture, he never endorsed their lifestyle. He just came to tell them that he loved them. Alright, word number three is Ecclesia, commonly translated as church. Ecclesia originally refers to the gathering or assembly of people. In the New Testament, the term takes on a distinct Christian connotation, representing the community of believers who have been called out by God and gathered together as his people. The word Ecclesia appears in the New Testament approximately 114 times, and here are a few notable instances Matthew 16, 18, and I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Ecclesia or church, and the gates of hell shall not prevail against it. In this verse, jesus uses the term Ecclesia for the first time in the New Testament, expressing his intention to establish his church comprising all faithful believers with himself as the foundation. In Acts 2, 47, we see the verse and the Lord added to their number, day by day, those who were being saved. Here the word Ecclesia refers to the growing body of believers in the early Christian community. It signifies the fellowship of believers and the expansion of the church. Verse Corinthians 12, 27,. Now you are the body of Christ and individual members of it. Paul employs Ecclesia to illustrate the concept of the church as the body of Christ. Each believer is seen as a member of this interconnected and unified body serving a unique purpose. So here's some significance to Christians. The word Ecclesia highlights the communal nature of Christianity. It signifies the gathering of believers to worship, support one another and grow together in faith. It emphasizes the importance of fellowship, encouraging mutual edification and accountability. On a slight tangent, i think it's well worth noting that many people who encounter the Christ note that they feel this tremendous source of oneness. It's something that happened to me when I was converted to Christianity. I felt this Believe me. I wasn't searching for this and I didn't ask for it, it just happened. I felt this sense of community, this communion with everyone, this interconnectedness And what I find really interesting is on a second tangent. You also find this sensation in near-death experiences. People who have genuine near-death experiences claim to feel this sense of oneness with everyone. They feel connected in an inseparable way. So it's just a mild tangent, but I find that to be really fascinating, as Ecclesia is exponentially larger than any of us could have imagined. So the use of Ecclesia emphasizes that Christians are a distinct people, called out by God and set apart for His purposes. It reminds believers of their destiny as a part of God's chosen community, tasked with sharing the message of the gospel and living out the teachings of Jesus. Finally, through Ecclesia, the New Testament portrays the Church as the Bride of Christ. This image re-underscores the depth of Christ's love for His followers, his sacrificial act of redemption and the profound intimacy that exists between Christ and His Church. We see it also in Ephesians 525. Husbands love your wives, as Christ loved the Church, ecclesia and gave Himself up for her. In this verse, ecclesia is used to portray the intimate relationship between Christ and His Church. It emphasizes Christ's sacrificial love and the depth of His commitment to the believers. Alright, word number 4, parusia. So this one, in my opinion, is one of the most egregiously misunderstood words in the Scripture And people often simply see it as the second coming of Christ. But Parusia often denotes the presence or arrival of Christ in a much more spiritual way. It encompasses both Christ's coming and His ongoing presence in the lives of believers. So, just as an important footnote to what I just said, if you want more detail on this, i would recommend going back to any of the eschatology or end time studies that Michael and I have done, where we discussed this at a little more length. But one of the most problematic misinterpretations of Parusia in the English that is seen most often in American churches is that people will often look at many of the parables of Christ where He talks about His coming and conflate that with the great coming or what is commonly known as the second coming, when in actuality it references Christ's presence and arrival, his locality within the range of the believer. It's hard to explain in just summary form if we were to just try to condense it, but they're not all a reference to the great coming of Christ at the end of this age. A lot of them can actually or should be actually interpreted as the arrival of His presence and that we should be ready for the arrival of His presence at any time. And this isn't to say that Christ won't arrive and reign for a millennium in bodily form This is not doing away with any of that But believers often put every mention of the coming of Christ or the arrival of Christ in the category of end times, when in fact this isn't the case. We know that this will happen. We know that there will be a millennial reign of Christ, but we also know that many of these parables that Christ gives refer to His general coming, his presence, the arrival of the Holy Spirit to be with the believer. One instance of this would be Matthew 24-3. As he sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to him privately saying Tell us when will these things be and what will be the sign of your coming? Parosia at the close of the age. Worth noting is that when they were saying this, when the disciples were talking about this, they were still in the age of the law, and the age of the law ended officially with the destruction of the Jerusalem Temple, but was preceded by the crucifixion and resurrection of our Christ, as well as Pentecost, thus beginning the age of the church and also walking hand in hand with Christ saying Truly I tell you, this generation will certainly not pass away until all these things take place. So you know, this has been a stumbling block for many people and I won't go too far down this rabbit hole. But many people see the Parosia here as some type of grand event at the end of our current church age, when in actuality, given the context of the scripture, it is a reference to the end of the law, the age of the law, rather. So that's not to say there won't be a climactic end to our church age. A revelation gets into that a little bit more and you've also find it in the epistles. But in the context of this particular scripture, most people blend it, especially in American theologians will blend it, due to perhaps lack of contextual understanding and scriptural understanding, with the events of revelation. And that's not to say that there aren't parallels, but it's important to note that in Luke 1720, christ notes that the kingdom of God is invisible to the human eye and in Luke 1721, that it's already in our midst and inside of us in some instances. So very important to use scripture appropriately with its context and to also understand the way the Greek works. I think one of the issues that we have so many hundreds of denominations, especially in the West, is perhaps little niggling sort of translation errors like this. And that's not to say it's going to stop anyone from being saved. I would be willing to bet that there have been a multitude of people who have had poor theology, who haven't understood very much but loved the Christ, who were saved far before or beyond some of the greatest students of the scripture. Just a hunch, and I would never presume to know who was saved and who was not. That's in the hands of God. I would also say that this is just worth noting. These are some important details that will help align you, and this understanding also leads to a much more spiritual perspective of the scripture. That's not to say that things won't literally happen, but the manifestation of them, the way that they do happen, will be very different from the way that one might see them happening. In my opinion, a lot of these things won't be extremely obvious to the layperson or the person outside of the body of Christ, and I won't, for timing reasons, go down this rabbit hole any further as we're saving it for our eschatology study. Michael and I plan to get together, perhaps in a couple of weeks got allowing. But we've also done many eschatology slash end times studies. But we're revisiting it as of early this year And we did one just over a month ago I think, and we plan to do one again soon on the churches in Revelation. So yeah, more to come on this particular topic in those studies, but just worth mentioning that Parosia is one of those words that you know. It needs to be revisited, in my opinion. Okay, that being said, 1 Corinthians 15-23, but each in his own order. Christ, the first fruits, then his coming. Parosia, those who belong to Christ. So another instance of Parosia, the gathering of his body. First Thessalonians 4-15,. For this we declare to you by a word from the Lord that we who are alive and are left until the coming, the Parosia of the Lord will not precede those who have fallen asleep. So, given the context, this one, i would say, is an eschatological verse, as is 2 Thessalonians 2-8, the occurrence of Parosia there. So there is a lot of significance in the word Parosia. It notes the coming or the presence of Christ and is most commonly associated, as I have said before, with the future return of Jesus Christ to the world. The expectation of Christ's Parosia provides hope and assurance to believers, the coming of his presence, the indwelling of the Holy Spirit in the believer, and it reminds us that this present age is not the final reality and that there is a future culmination of God's plan for salvation. Alright, we're going to finish with the word Nefma, and before we get into it, i just want to say that, given the amount of words that I've written down, this is very likely going to stem into three and perhaps even four parts. So, yeah, i'm really enjoying it. It's a lot of fun. Now back to the word Nefma. It is frequently, among English-speaking circles, pronounced numma And it's the root of words like pneumatic. But the actual Greek is nefma. So the actual word itself has multiple contexts and nuanced meanings, but some notable occurrences would be for one the Holy Spirit. So the primary usage of nefma in the New Testament refers to the Holy Spirit, or rather the third person of the Trinity. More accurately, the Holy Spirit is referred to as Ahion, nefma or Holy Spirit in numerous passages, for example in Acts 2-4, the Holy Spirit descends upon the disciples on the day of Pentecost. So nefma is also used to denote the human spirit or inner being. It represents the immaterial part of the person, encompassing their thoughts, emotions and consciousness. In passages such as 1 Thessalonians 5-23, the Apostle Paul prays for the sanctification of the Thessalonian believer's nefma. So it also refers to breath or wind. This usage emphasizes the dynamic power and movement associated with the Spirit. So it's an analogous thing when Christ discusses the wind or when wind is even referred to in the Old Testament. I was just listening to a really fascinating sermon by Ken Fish where he was discussing the usage of wind and the parallels that it has with the Holy Spirit in the Old Testament. It was quite interesting. So in John 3-8, jesus compares the work of the Spirit to the wind that blows wherever it pleases right. So nefma is employed to describe the spiritual gifts bestowed upon believers by the Holy Spirit. So in 1 Corinthians 12, the Apostle Paul discusses the diverse manifestations of the Spirit's gifting within the body of Christ. So worth noting is that the nefma highlights the active presence of the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer. The Spirit empowers, guides and comforts believers, helping them to grow in faith and conform to the image of Christ, according to Romans 8-26-27. The term nefma signifies the spiritual rebirth and transformation experienced by Christians through the Holy Spirit. In Titus 3-5,. Believers are saved quote through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, the Agion, nefma. So we also see the mention of nefma in the context of spiritual gifts. As I've mentioned before, it emphasizes the unity and diversity of believers within the body of Christ. Each member is uniquely gifted by the Holy Spirit, contributing to the edification and functioning of the whole. 1 Corinthians 12, 4-7. Alright, so, all of this being said, i really, really enjoyed this study. I thought it was a lot of fun. It was very edifying for me as well, but there are a number of other words that I want to get through and I got allowing. I'm going to pick them up soon and record this study even further. Thank you so much for joining and please remember to share with others. God bless.

Linguistic Gems of the New Testament
Greek Words in the New Testament
Christian Concepts
Significance of Parosia and Nefma
Enjoyable Study Continues