Vo. 24 New Series August, 1962 No. 4
WHAT IS APOSTASY?

Defending true ideas with unsound arguments does more harm than openly attacking them, because this practise not only misleads the unwary but discredits the truth in their eyes and creates prejudice in their minds against it.

An example that is, to me, a complete novelty, is the contention that the word apostasia, from-standing, apostasy in 2. Thess. 2:3 should be rendered by departure. We are told that "the apostle evidently refers to the departure of believers, an event to which he refers in both epistles"; i.e. in 1. Thessalonians also. So here we are supposed to read, "should not the departure be coming first" instead of "should not the apostasy be coming first." Yet the basic idea within this word, namely, stand, is upright posture in some fixed position; so obviously it cannot properly be given the idea of motion, inherent in depart, unless there be some overwhelmingly strong reason for so doing.

As usual, much of the blame rests squarely on the many discordant translations. The corresponding verb, aphistEmi, stand away, stand from, or even stand aloof, occurs fifteen times in the Greek Scriptures; and in each sticking closer to the meaning of the Greek than most translators do makes good sense,
thus:
Luke 2:37 Anna... who has not stood away (or aloof) from the sanctuary.
Luke 4: 13 the Slanderer stood away from Him until a season (elapsed).
Luke 8:13 and in season of trial they are standing away (or, aloof).
Luke 13:27 stand away from me.
Acts 5:37 and stands away enough people behind him (or, idiomatically, causes enough people to stand aloof behind him).
Acts 5:38 stand aloof from these men, and let them alone.
Acts 12:10 stood away from him (or, stood out of his way).
Acts 15:38 the one standing aloof from them.
Acts 19:9 standing aloof from them.
Acts 22:29 stood aloof from him.
2. Cor. 12:8 that it should stand away from me (or, stand out of my way).
1. Tim. 4:1 in subsequent eras some will be standing aloof from the faith.
1. Tim. 6:5 from such stand aloof.
2. Tim. 2:19 let everyone be standing aloof from un righteousness.
Heb. 3:12 in their standing aloof from God living.

Our English word depart is a perfectly satisfactory equivalent of the Greek apochOreO, rendered thus by the A.V. (King James') in each of its three occurrences, Matt. 7:23; Luke 9:39; Acts 13:13; yet its translators were so discordant that they managed to render no less than twenty Greek words by depart!

To speak plainly, it is inexcusable to follow such absurd discordance, as inexcusable as for a guest to keep you in the cold while he stands, well wrapped up, talking at your door; and simply will not go away; till your desire for his departure becomes almost unbearable. It means complete insensitiveness.

To render a word containing the root stand by one containing the idea of motion is simply to invite error, and to show that the offender lacks any real feeling for the meaning of words.

RB.W. Last updated 5.11.2005