No Version so far, however, has been consistent in this matter, and the object of this study is to demonstrate that in every case the Greek forms have this meaning, or something very like it. It is not claimed that the English —able is the exact equivalent, though it comes very close. Thus, the sense of the word for loveable might be in Greek, to be loved.
Even in the Concordant Version of the New Testament, which professes to be constructed upon a scientific plan, although these forms are often rendered as we suggest, very often they are not so rendered. This is a serious loss to the deep student of God's pure words. This failure is made all the worse by the fact that the C.V. Concordance occasionally does tell the real truth. Thus, page 327, aparabatos is shewn as UN-transgressible, "inviolate." Page 374, agrammatos is shewn as not able to write, "illiterate." Page 276, apodektos is shewn as FROM-RECEIVable, "welcome." Page 277, euprosdektos is shewn as WELL-TOWARD-RECEIVable, "well received, most acceptable." Page 42, amemptos is shewn as UN-BLAMable, but is rendered "blameless."
The endings of Greek nouns have each their own consistent meaning. Thus the —sis in krisis (judging) tells of action or process. The ending —ma as in krima (judgment) signifies result or effect. The ending —sunE in abstract nouns always signifies the same. The ending —arion has a diminutive force, and speaks of what is morally small or mean, or physically insignificant.
Therefore it is not unreasonable to claim that Verbal Adjectives which end in —tos all contain the idea contained in our —able, or something very close to this. If we render these words consistently, quite a number of small difficulties in the New Testament will be cleared up, and God's Truth will be further vindicated.
We shall exclude from this study any words ending in —tos, in which the letter —t is inherent in the root of the word. Other words ending in —tos are simply nouns, and must also be excluded.
AmOmos means flawless, without flaw, as in Eph. 5:27, where the Ecclesia is to be presented by the Lord to Himself flawless; we are to be flawless in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation (Phil. 2:15); we were chosen before world-laying-down (katabolE) to be holy and flawless. (Eph.l:4); Christ offered Himself flawless to God (Heb. 9:14). In 2. Peter 3:14, however, the form found is longer, amOmEtos, occurring only here. Is it possible this can mean merely the same as the previous word? The A.V. reads. "blameless." The C.V. repeats "flawless," despite its rule that different Greek words must shew different meanings. Our rule suggests the sense as un-flaw-able. Parkhurst has "unblameable." The true sense will then be, "Be diligent, unspotted and incapable-of-flaw, by Him to be found in peace."
In Jude v. 24, the A.V. reads "Him that is able to keep you from falling." The C.V. reads "to guard you from tripping." The Greek, however, reads, aptaistous, "untrippable." Is He unable to guard His own people so that they cannot trip?
A most interesting example is to be found in John 8:7. The A.V. and perhaps most versions render anamartEtos by "that is without sin," while the C.V. has "sinless one." The word, however, signifies un-sin-able, and what the Lord actually said to the scribes and Pharisees was, "Let the one of you incapable-of-sin first be casting a stone on to her." No wonder that under such withering sarcasm His audience "came out (Middle Voice, that is, each on his own account; each one of his own accord, individually) one by one." Nothing was left them but to "get themselves out."
What a grand thing it is to be an "unashamed worker" for God (2 Tim. 2:15). Yet Paul directed Timothy to be something better, "unshameable" (anepaischunton). The A.V. here comes nearer the truth than the C.V., with "that needeth not to be ashamed." Unashamed would refer more to Timothy's condition; unshameable would make one think of his opponents also. The Latin Vulgate has the forms correctly, either un-confuse-able, or irreprehensible. Rotherham comes close to the truth, with "not to be put to shame." Darby reads, "that has not to be ashamed."
In ancient times, some to whom God had manifested that which is knowable (to gnOston) of Himself, held fast to themselves (or, held down) the truth in unrightness, even though nature testified to God's powerful achievements (Romans 1:18-20). Thus, for teaching that vice was really the fulfilment of divine truth and revelation, they were not only "without excuse" or "defenseless" (C. V.), but they were incapable of any defence (anapologEtos). Here the Vulgate reads inexcusable. Such men were far from being innocent: Their unrightness testified against them, removing every defence or excuse. The same term occurs at Rom. 2:1, where the A.V. is correct with "inexcusable," but the C.V. again reads the defenceless "defenseless." The sense to a Greek was "Wherefore, thou art undefendable, (or, indefensible) O man. . ."
It may sound rather awkward in English to render the Greek word gnOstos as "knowable" rather than "known," but that is the true meaning. It refers to that which may be known, that which is available as knowledge. Today the Scriptures are available for the world to know, but by very few are they actually known. God has always made available certain knowledge regarding Himself. Is there not something redundant and out of place in rendering "that which is known of God is apparent among them, for God makes it manifest to them" (Rom. 1:19 C.V.)? How could God make manifest what was (already) known? We ought to read, as some such as Parkhurst suggest, "that which is knowable of God. . ."
Cremer's Lexicon of N.T. Greek (page 130) states that in Plato this word always means "capable of being known." He argues that "the meanings capable of being known and known do not in many cases lie very far asunder, and he uses "knowable" for Rom. 1:19.
As the verb ginOskO (know) is incohative, implying a process of "getting to know," I would suggest for gnOstos "recognizable (by)" in place of "knowable (to)," in most of its 15 occurrences, especially in those cases where the truth of an O.T. statement was "recognizable" by an event shewn as now taking place. Thus, it was possible for all or any of those inhabiting Jerusalem to recognize in the death of Judas a fulfilment of Psalm 69:25 (Acts 1:19). See also Acts 2:14; 4:10, 16; 13:38, etc.
For the negative, agnOstos (Acts 17:23) Cremer suggests unknown, also not knowable, and unrecognizable. The pedestal which Paul observed in Athens was not inscribed to the Unknown God, or to An Unknown God, but rather "To God Unknowable," or "To An Unknowable God." The wisdom of the Athenians led them to believe that God cannot be known, just as many today think. Proud presumption is a far worse sin than mere pitiable ignorance. It was this boastful presumption that stirred up Paul to declare God to these wise people. So Paul gives the fitting and fighting answer that all along God has not been far from any human being, and that all along mankind has been God's own kin or race.
The gracious-gifts and the calling of God are unregrettable, rather than unregretted (Rom. 11:29; ametamelEta). God will never be able to regret His kindnesses. Sometimes we human beings regret shewing kindness to those who seem to be deserving, because in some cases it "does not pay." How many of the saints are genuinely altruistic, or can appreciate altruism in others? But God will never need to regret His altruism and philanthropy. None of His gifts will be flung away and wasted.
The sorrow that is in accord with God is working change-of-mind unto salvation unregrettable (2 Cor. 7:10). In both the above cases Rotherham uses "not to be regretted." We should make it a daily practice to change our minds for the better as often as we can. That is the meaning of the word often rendered "repentance" (metanoia).
The "impenitent heart" of Rom. 2:5 (C.V. unrepentant heart) is strictly a heart unable to repent or change its attitude. The word is ametanoEto shews that the passage does not refer to those who are capable of changing the mind. The elements of the word are un-after-mind-able. Are there not many people, whose hearts have been so hardened, that they are, for the time being at least, incapable of changing their minds? The puffed up man invariably thinks he is very humble, and that he needs no change of mind.
A shorter term, anoEtos, un-mind-able, unable to mind, is rendered "foolish" (Rom. 1:14; Gal. 3:1, 3, etc.), which is quite a good equivalent of the Greek, and refers to those unable to consider or mind, or think for themselves.
Some have been stumbled by Heb. 5:8. "And even being (a) Son, He learns from what things He suffers, obedience." Can a man preach what he has not experienced? I once asked a man, who thought he knew much about the subject of prayer, whether he had ever experienced the truth and reality of 1. John 5:14-15, but he was unable to say yes. The Christ had to undergo suffering, so as to learn what it was to be obedient (UNDER-HEAR). He had to be wholly Man (apart from sin), before He could be the Son of Mankind, the Representative of all mankind. But the Jews could never fathom a suffering Messiah. Before King Agrippa Paul reasoned that the O.T. did point to such a Messiah (Acts 26:23).
A.V. that Christ should suffer.
C.V. if it be the suffering Christ.
Rotherham. if the Christ is a sufferer (1st edition).
Rotherham. if to suffer the Christ was destined (5th edition).
None of these is correct. Moffatt seizes upon the truth, "that the Christ is capable of suffering." The Greek word is pathEtos. A. T. Robertson, in his Grammar of New Testament Greek, maintains that this word is the only Verbal Adjective which retains the sense of possibility. This is quite false. There are nearly one hundred and forty such words in the New Testament, occurring about five hundred and thirty times, not counting the title Christ, which occurs oftener than all other words put together.
The Vulgate reads exactly as the Greek, passibilis, "able to suffer." Dunbar's huge Greek Lexicon for pathEtos gives "liable to or susceptible of suffering." The ordinary participial form for "suffering" is pathOn, as found in 1. Peter 4:1, "he who (is) suffering in flesh."
At James 1:13 the Concordant Version comes far short of most other versions. The Greek word apeirastos means untriable, what cannot be tried. The C. V. would tell us that "God is not tried by evil." The A. V. is quite correct in reading "God cannot be tempted with evil."
Melchisedec was "fatherless, motherless, without a genealogy" (Heb. 7:3). The last three words stand for the Greek agenealogEtos, which means, strictly, "not genealogiable." That is to say, we cannot produce his genealogy, if he ever had one. To aver that Melchisedec was "without a genealogy" may be saying too much. He may have had one. At any rate, Melchisedec was certainly not Shem, as some have claimed, because we possess Shem's genealogy.
The word amiantos, occurring four times, does not mean undefiled, but undefilable. The Lord was more than merely undefiled (Hebrews 7:26). He was undefilable. He could not suffer defilement. All that is undefilable must of necessity be undefiled, but much that is undefiled is not undefilable. The same word occurs in ch. 13:4, where the versions read "and the bed undefiled." Here we must substitute "undefilable," and we must begin the verse with the words "Let be . . ." or "May. .." The word "for" (gar) which follows makes this necessary. Holy Spirit insists upon holiness of life. At James 1:27 we must once more make the same change in our Bibles. The A. V. reads "Pure religion and undefiled before God," and the C.V. reads "Clean ritual and undefiled with God..." Rotherham reads, "Religious observance, pure and undefiled with (our) God. .." Finally, at 1. Peter 1:4, we have a most interesting example. "To an inheritance incorruptible (aphtharton), and undefiled (amianton), and that fadeth not away (amaranton)." It will be noted that all three adjectives have the same ending (—ton). The inheritance is undefilable, and it cannot fade away. Charles Thomson (1808, Philadelphia) renders, "for an inheritance incorruptible, incapable of defilement or decay." We know very little that is definite regarding the future. But here we have a very definite fact. That glorious inheritance (surely something vastly grander than an allotment) will not and cannot be defiled and will not and cannot fade. In ch. 5:4 Peter speaks of "the unfading wreath of the glory," but the word is amarantinon.
We must now make a study of the words which form our title. The Greek word agaPE means love. From it come two words which are apparently in all versions rendered "beloved," namely, agaPEtos and EgapEmenos. The latter really signifies having-been-loved. The question must be asked, Is it possible that God intends both of these terms to mean the same thing? Why has no one so far distinguished between them? Even those who loudly claim that every distinct Greek word or form has its own special meaning fail to distinguish here. Why should we not utilize the word loveable for the shorter Greek word and restrict beloved to the longer word? This would be strictly concordant. It would also illuminate many passages. AgaPEtos (loveable) occurs 62 times in the New Testament. The longer word is found only eight times, and is used of what is beloved of God.
A child might be beloved without being loveable. A son might be beloved because he was the son of a very fine father. Yet he might have no loveable qualities.
In the sight of God, all His saints are beloved by Him, but they are also loveable, on account of qualities which they display.
Paul, in the spirit, continually calls believers loveable, and that must be how God looks upon us. We ought to use this word much oftener. It is more robust and vigorous than beloved.
A somewhat similar distinction is required between the two words rendered "blessed." The Middle Participle, eulogEmenos, occurs nine times, and is used of Him coming in the name of the Lord (six times), of the Nations in Matt. 25:34 who obtain eonian life because of their philanthropic actions to the Jews, and of Mary (Luke 1:42) and her Child. The other form, eulogEtos occurs eight times, and always of God (Mark 14:61); Luke 1:68; Rom. 1:25; 9:5; 2. Cor. 1:3; 11:31; Eph. 1:3; 1. Peter 1:3). In these cases, God is the Blessed God or Creator in the sense of being blessABLE. He is the one to be blessed; who can be blessed; who should be blessed. The reason for the blessing will be found in the contexts. Literally, God is here WELL-SAYable. This points to the future. The other form is HAVING-been-blessed, and points to the past.
The primitive English-German or Gothic Version of about A.D. 350 maintains the proper distinction between the two words.
We ought not to suffer because the English language may not possess such a form as blessable. God will never cease to be blessable.
There will always be more and more in the future to bless God for He will always be the "Becoming One" —ever becoming something new and glorious to His people. Never will it be possible for a point to arrive when our blessing of the Most High will run dry. Therefore is He alone the Blessable, the bless-worthy.
It is to be noted in the first chapter of Luke that both forms are found. This ought to prove that they are not interchangeable. In verse 42, Elizabeth exclaims to Miriam, "Blessed (eulogEmenE) art thou among women." In verse 68, however, the form is quite different, "Blessable be the Lord, the God of Israel." Here the form is eulogEtos. This form is such that it inspires one to bless God. Only God is ever the Blessable in the Scriptures. Men and women can be "blessed," as in the example shewn, Luke 1:42. This is another strong reason why we ought to distinguish between the words.
The next word to claim our attention is thnEtos, "mortal," ocurring six times. Thanatos (death), though ending in —tos, is a masculine noun, not a Verbal Adjective. The verb is thnEskO, I am dying. ThnEtos means, therefore, what can die, or is liable to death, die-able. Mortal is therefore quite suitable as a rendering. The meaning is not necessarily that the mortal one must die. Some who are mortal will never see death at all. The word is used of the body (Rom. 6:12; 5:11); of our flesh (2. Cor. 4:11); of this mortal who must put on deathlessness (1. Cor. 15:53, 54); of that which is mortal which will be swallowed up by life (2. Cor. 5:4).
There have been arguments as to whether the Lord was or was not mortal. It may be stated, however, that the word "thnEtos" is never used of Him.
According to 2. Cor. 4:11, the life of Jesus should be manifested not only in our body, but in our mortal flesh. Here some versions go wrong. Young reads dying flesh, Penn has deadened flesh, Charles Thomson has frail flesh, and Dewes reads as Young. Moffatt puts the sense very clearly, "so that the life of Jesus may come out within my mortal flesh."
The word athanatos (un-die-able, immortal) does not occur in the N.T. or the LXX, but in profane Greek was used of the "immortal gods," and of "immortal soldiers" who could not be conquered or killed.
At Luke 12:33 the A.V. reads "a treasure in the heavens that faileth not." The Greek word is anekleiPtos, found only here. Most modern versions shew the same error. The old Geneva version of 1557 shews the truth, "a treasure that can never fail in heaven." Fenton and Weymouth are correct, "a treasure inexhaustible." Darby, Rotherham, Young, Panin, Cunnington, and A. T. Robertson are all defective. The C.V. reads "a treasure which does not default. .." The word default here does not make good English. It means in ordinary language to fail to perform an obligation or duty, to fail to put in an appearance. Debtors can default, or a State may default on its obligations. But a treasure can hardly default. A treasure can fail. We suggest that the C.V. ought to have utilized the word "fail" here, and wherever the verb ekleiPO occurs. Fail makes much better sense at Luke 16:9; 22:32; 23:45; Heb. 1:12.
Another word from the same root (leipO, leave, LACK) is adialeiPtos, found twice, at Rom. 9:2 "continual sorrow," and 2. Tim. 1:3, "without ceasing I have remembrance of thee." The real meaning is unceaseable or incessable. The C.V. reads "unintermittent." Paul's sorrow on account of his kin was not merely continual, but the pain at his heart was unable to cease. Nothing could stop it. This brings in a much deeper note of grief. Are there not in our lives sorrows which, for the time at least, cannot cease? Without such sorrows we should learn little about God. We ought to come to look upon them as fortunes, not misfortunes. When they arrive, we should welcome them, as a means of getting to know God better.
The same Paul, who endured this unceaseable agony on account of Israel, could likewise not cease to remember Timothy and the other saints in his petitions. To overlook or forget even one soul would be absurd and unthinkable. Is the same true of us today?
At Acts 19:36, versions render the statement by the Town-clerk of Ephesus thus:—
A.V.: These things cannot be spoken against (anantirrEton).
Rotherham: these things then cannot be denied.
C. Thomson: these things are incontestable.
Darby: These things therefore being undeniable.
Diaglott: These things, therefore, being indisputable.
Young: these things, then, not being to be gainsaid.
It is most unfortunate that the Concordant Version comes far short with "These things, then, not being gainsaid." But strange to relate, the C.V. Concordance gives the true sense, as "not to be gainsaid."
At Heb. 4:13 occurs the word aPhanes, "not manifest." Another form, however, aPhantos, is found at Luke 24:31, rendered "he vanished." In the former case the C.V. renders by "not apparent," while in the latter case, by "unapparent" (And He became unapparent to them). Apparently there is intended to be some difference between not apparent and unapparent, but the difference is certainly not apparent. Literally the Greek states in Luke, "And He Himself unappearable became from them." Some of the versions simply paraphase by saying, "He disappeared from them." Young reads, "he became unseen by them." A. T. Robertson (in his Notes) has "became invisible," just as Scarlett had in the year 1798. Dunbar's Lexicon says aPhantos means "not observable." Parkhurst gives the meaning "invisible."
Here we have an important feature in the existence of the Lord after His resurrection. By all means let us preserve the proper meaning of the term. As the verb aphanizo means to "disappear," we might be justified in stating the meaning thus, "He—Himself became disappearable from them," that is, He became so that He could disappear from them.
When Stephen charged his murderers with being "stiffnecked and uncircumcised in heart and ears," and always resisting Holy Spirit (Acts 7:51), in reality he called them uncircumcisable (aperitmEtos). How could any man in the mood to murder possess heart and ears spiritually circumcised, or capable of such spiritual circumcision? The proper term, had Stephen merely meant circumcised, would have been aperitetmEmenos, like the word found in 1. Cor. 7:18 for circumcised (peritetmEmenos). The word "uncircumcisable" occurs about 30 times in the Greek Septuagint. It was not merely the uncircumcised who was to be cut off, but the uncircumcisable. See Gen. 17:14; Ex. 12:48; Lev. 26:41; Jud. 14:3 (uncircumcisable Philistines). A few years ago a critic, who stated that he stood resolutely for every jot and title (sic) of God's inspired Word, complained that "If the word uncircumcised in Acts 7:51 should be uncircumcisable, we should be given some passages to prove it. When there is only one occurrence, the Septuagint is at hand to provide more. In this case only one is needed to shew that the C.V. is right. Who would insist that Joshua circumcised the uncircumcisable (Joshua 5:7)?" Yet the same critic sometimes insisted very stoutly on his own special rendering of Greek words which occurred but once. Nevertheless, it was not unreasonable that we should seek the help and evidence of the Septuagint, keeping in mind, of course, that it is not the Hebrew word which says anything about being uncircumcisable. No passage will suit us better than Joshua 5:4-8. This shews that during forty-two years' wanderings in the Wilderness the children of Israel abandoned the custom of Circumcision, no doubt owing to their disobedience, and the many difficulties of the way. As stated in verse 7, "In their place he raised up their sons, whom Joshua circumcised, because of their having been born along the way uncircumcisable." This does not necessarily imply physical inability on the part of adults to circumcise infants. The precept became unable to maintain itself. The infants were not "to be circumcised."
It must be evident however, that my critic did not trouble to examine this passage himself, for had he done so, his own rendering would have made the Seventy produce the rather fatuous statement that the children were born uncircumcised along the way in the wanderings. Could they, possibly, have been born already circumcised?
Our explanation of this word will dispose of the blunder found on page 81 of the Concordant Version Concordance, where it is stated that aperitmEtos, UN-ABOUT-CUT, rendered "uncircumcised," signifies "the special name given those who cannot claim physical descent from Abraham." That is to say, Stephen boldly informed the Sanhedrim of Israel that they were not sprung from Abraham at all! They were mere outsiders, Gentile dogs!
All we require to do is to give this word the elements UN-ABOUT-CUT-able, and transfer the definition to the word Akrobustia, at page 109, which, for lack of a better rendering, is translated also as uncircumcision. The two terms have no element in common.
One of the most important of the Greek "Verbal Adjectives" is found at 2. Tim. 3:16, "All scripture is inspired by God." What is the true meaning of the word theopneustos? Volumes have been written concering this term, and arguments have been endless and without number. The true student of the Scriptures, however, must act with scientific precision. All other forms of the Greek verb have their own peculiar force. Why not this form?
Suppose Paul had never made this statement to Timothy. Would not the sacred Scriptures still have been God's handiwork? Or was it Paul's statement that made them inspired? If any of John's writings were later than the time of Paul, did Paul already know they were "inspired"? Let us bear in mind that during the first century there could be no such thing as a complete New Testament. Probably few believers possessed a single manuscript of a Gospel or Epistle.
The word theopneustos does not mean, and never meant, "inspired of God." The elements of the word are God-breathe-able. God CAN breathe through His own writings. There are times when you have been reading the Scriptures, and you have got nothing out of them. At other times they have spoken to you with tremendous power. We must be "in spirit" to hear His voice and feel His breath.
Any human being who speaks truth does not require to be specially inspired to do so. He does not need to be specially guided or supernaturally aided in orde.r to tell true facts. The Hebrew Prophets wrote truth concerning God and His ways and people, but they could do so without any miraculous intervention.
The Sacred Scriptures are either God's Word or they are not. We are not impressed by those who say that parts of the Bible are not of God. Either God has made a revelation or He has not. If He has left us with a revelation, surely it cannot be imperfect or incomplete. If there is one flaw in the Scriptures, as they stand in the originals, then there can be thousands of flaws. If there is one flaw, how can we rely upon 1. Thess. ch. 4? How can we rely upon one word the Lord said? And who is to decide which parts of the Bible are untrue or faulty? Every man would have a different view upon this. And which human being would we follow? The Bible is a Book which gives LIFE, Divine Life, and the only Book which gives life. Therefore it must be God's own. revelation, because He would not give us a Life-giving Book which was only partly true.
Let us apply the argument of John 6:68. The Lord had asked the twelve, "You also, you are not wanting to go away?" Simon Peter answered, "Lord, towards whom shall we be coming away? (It is) declarations of life eonian Thou hast. We also have been believing and getting to know that Thou art the Holy One of God."
Take away the Scriptures, or part of them, and we have absolutely NOTHING wherewith to guide us through our present wilderness journey. Take away the Scriptures, take away the idea of God, and our darkness will become one hundred times worse than it was before. But that would be a kind of darkness which suits the Rationalists. Can we conceive of a bigger folly than a whole succession of Presidents of an English Rationalists Society leading the attack against REASON!
It is not that the Scriptures are passively and supernaturally inspired by God. The facts of revelation are that these Scriptures can actively inspire God's people. Sometimes it takes practice for one to acquire the proper attitude or mentality in prayer. This is made much more easy by the deliberate repetition of divine statements such as Heb. 11:6. (God becomes a rewarder of those who seek Him out), Eph. 3:20; 6:18, 19; Phil. 4:6, and certainly Matt. 7:7. Such divine directions ought to become part of our daily life and inspire us.
If the Scriptures haye been mechanically and passively breathed into the various writers, we might expect the so-called synoptist writers always to agree exactly in details they report. Yet often when they report the words of the Lord Himself they use terms which differ slightly. This is due to the fact that the Lord, just like ourselves, when explaining a point, repeated His thoughts in two or more ways. All of us can do this. In a meeting, the speaker will see from someone's face that he has not understood, and will couch his message in clearer terms.
By seeking to provide the true meaning of the word theopneustos we are not abandoning any good principle. For if God's words are able to inspire His saints, it will follow that they must be true and perfect, which is quite as much as is generally understood when some claim they are inspired.
Let us then breathe in the flawless teachings of Scripture. Deep breathing, if persisted in, can make the lungs and the whole body seem very light and buoyant. Paul tells us in Eph. 5:18, "be getting filled in spirit." Here the Middle Voice form shews that this is something we must do for ourselves. God will never fill us if we are unwilling or unready. And to become filled in spirit, we must inhale deeply His words.
It will be helpful to observe in 2. Tim. 3:16 that the word for "scripture" is graPhE, which is found in the N.T. fifty times, always rendered by Scripture or scriptures. But in the previous verse the word for scriptures is grammata, which occurs fifteen times, lendered by bill, letters, writings, scriptures. It is only rendered by scriptures here. This word always means writings or hand-writings, penned by a human being. GraPhE, on the other hand, always refers to Scripture as God's handiwork. From a babe Timothy was acquainted with the sacred writings, as hand-writings, handed down by tradition. He knew them as writings, which possessed the power to make him wise unto salvation. That is, he knew them then as sacred literature. Now, however, he has got to know them as something more. Therefore in v. 16 Paul treats of Scripture as God's handiwork. GraphE is always used of the Scriptures as divine and authoritative, as from God Himself.
We must approach the Scriptures in a receptive spirit. In this world faith is our only true wealth. To read the Scriptures without a living faith is useless. It is only when the Living God breathes through His word that any benefit can accrue to us. Then does the letter of Scripture become impregnated with spirit, and it will become within us real and dynamic.
Here is how we would literally translate the verse: "Every divine-writing is breathable-by-God, and (therefore) beneficial for teaching, for exposure, for correction, for discipline which is in righteousness, that the man of God may be equipped. ."
Had Paul intended to use a Greek word equivalent to "God-breathed," this would rather have been theopneos. Dunbar's Greek Lexicon shews a word used in Homer, apneustos to which he assigns the meaning "that cannot breathe, without respiration, breathless, lifeless."
Didaktos, which occurs three times, is not "taught," but rather "teachable." There is much difference in meaning. All men can claim they have been taught certain things. But are all men teachable? Do all the saints remain always teachable? Teachers require to learn far more than those who hearken to them, but often forget this. The hills we climb in our advance into Scripture truth always reveal higher hills in front.
Let us then at John 6:45 read "And they shall be all teachable of God." At 1. Cor. 2:13 the true sense is "not in words teachable by human wisdom, but in (words) teachable by spirit." Similarly, at 1. Thess. 4:9, "for you yourselves are teachable-by-God (Theodidaktoi) unto loving one another," which is, more idiomatically, "You yourselves are capable of being taught of God so as to be loving one another."
"Made by hands" (cheiropoiEtos) occurs six times, generally in connection with a temple or with circumcision. Strictly the sense is hand-makeable, or what can be made by hands. Similarly the negative is found three times, and means, not makeable or to be made by hands. The Deity, who makes the world and all things in it, This One, of heaven and earth existing all along Lord, is not dwelling in temples which can be made by hands (Acts 17:24).
It is not befitting that both achreion (Matt. 25:30 ; Luke 17:10) and achrEston should be rendered "useless." We are bound to distinguish somehow, and prefer that the latter should be "unusable." In like manner, chrEsimon (1. Cor. 15:33); 2. Tim. 2:4) and euchrEston (2. Tim. 2:21; 4:11; Phm. 11) should not both be rendered "useful." The latter means "well usable." It will be observed that both forms occur in 2. Tim. ch. 2. The forms "well usable" and "unusable" are specially appropriate in the case of Philemon.
Following out our rule, what shall we do when we come to the common title of the Lord, namely CHRIST, in Greek Christos? Are we to imitate the Lexicons slavishly, and say this word means the Anointed? Why not take a hint from Dunbar, who gives as one meaning "that may be anointed?" The Lord is eminently the Anointable One. It is to be noted that the verb is chriO, while chrisma means an anointing. The letter T in Christos, is, therefore, no integral part of the word. The Lord is therefore One that can be anointed, that may be anointed, that is to be anointed. It may be noted that in all four cases in which the verb is used of the Lord (Luke 4:18; Acts 4:27; 10:38; Heb. 1:9), it is in the aorist or timeless form, so that His anointing is not necessarily confined to the past. If the anointing consisted of smearing oil upon a King, a Priest, or a Prophet, at his official consecration, may we say that the Lord has yet been anointed as King of Israel? Is He not yet anointable? He is anointable in all ages, in that He is worthy to be anointed.
What in the Hebrew religious system was a proselyte? The dictionary says he is "one who has come over from one religion or opinion to another; a convert, especially one who left the heathen and joined a Jewish community." To proselytize is said to mean "to make converts." The word is purely a Greek one, pros-Elu-tos, and its elements mean toward-come-able. He was a non-Jew who had leanings towards Judaism, and was thus able to make his approach and join in Hebrew rites. In the days of the Lord, the Pharisees sought to make proselytes (Matt. 23:15), thus destroying their voluntary approach. This Greek word occurs seventy times in the Greek Old Testament as the translation of the Hebrew word ger, "Stranger" or "Sojourner." The reader will pardon a brief digression concerning this last word, as it helps to explain a very important term in Eph. 2:19. The Gentiles are no longer "strangers (or guests) and sojourners, but are fellow-citizens of the saints. .." What was the xenos a guest or a stranger? How was he also a guest? A guest always has some sort of special honour. But when did Gentiles have that position in Israel? Lexicons shew that the xenos might be one bound by ties of hospitality; a hereditary foreign friend; a friendly foreigner who could claim hospitality; a guest-friend; any citizen of a foreign state with whom one has a treaty of hospitality; parties bound by hospitality, one acting as guest and the other as host. Sometimes mutual presents were bestowed, in which case both parties were xenos.
Gaius (Rom. 16:23) may have been a stranger-guest of Paul and of the Ecclesia.
The great Queen of the South was a very honoured guest in Israel. But how were the Gentiles stranger-guests of the covenants of the promise (Eph. 2:12)? We should say, they were stranger-visitors, who were permitted to receive a certain welcome, yet did not possess fellow citizenship. The Oxford Hebrew Lexicon gives real scholarly help in explaining the Hebrew word ger. Such a stranger might dwell as a newcomer but without original rights; "Evil cannot be a stranger visitor of Thine" (Psalm 5:4). Israelites who sojourned in Egypt were gers. The ger could have conceded rights, but not inherited rights. The Israelites were to shew kindness to the ger. We Gentiles had no inherited national rights; Gentiles were always alienate from Israel's citizenship and homeland. They were "without God in the world." But did not some find God elsewhere—in Israel?
Paraclete is a most interesting word. What does it mean? The Greek form is paraklEtos, and its elements are beside-call-able. The rendering Comforter goes back to Wycliffe (1380). The Rheims (1582) reads Paraclete. Modern versions favour Advocate, consoler, helper, and entreater. All of these have something of the original sense, though Advocate is much the best of them. The word really means one who can be called alongside. Many went to the Lord while He was on earth, for help and healing and comfort and enlightenment. We, however, may call alongside the Holy Spirit of God, and we can do that at any time. In 1. John 2:1 the Lord Himself is called the Paraclete. In his very suggestive book, "The Bible Doctrine of Salvation," Dr. C. Ryder Smith says Advocate is the nearest English equivalent for the Greek word, yet is inadequate. "In the city life of Graeco-Roman times the paracletos was the active representative of a resident community whose members were not citizens and had no right to speak for themselves. He was no mere professional pleader engaged for the occasion and linked to his client, like a modern barrister, by his brief and his fee; he was the standing counsel of those he represented, the established patron and champion of his humble dependants. Originally this relationship was hereditary, and the Advocate was the head of the clan, bound by sacred family ties to those whom he served, who might expect his aid whenever public speech and influence were necessary to them or advice in difficqlt affairs. He was. . . . the man whose word weighed in the state. . . . who was sure to stand by his clients and see them through in their wrongs and quarrels with the world."
All of us suffer from a senseless and shortsighted world. But here is the very One who can always help us. For as Paul tells us (Eph. 3:17) we can "have the Christ to dwell" in our hearts. And if we cannot always call Him alongside and have Him dwelling in our hearts through faith, then the Sacred Scriptures must be largely useless to us.
In our next chapter we must deal with three very common and important terms, faithful, elect, and called.