Sunday, July 15, 2012

It Is All In The Tense – Post 2

And while we have never been one to suggest or advocate changing anything that is written in the Bible, there are a few terms we want to introduce to you that just may change your mind, as it did ours when we discovered them.  However, we would like to caution you and give you fair warning that every word of God has been established as truth, therefore, do not add to or make any additions to his word, for you will be rebuked and found to be a liar (Proverbs 30:5-6).  And definitely do not take anything away from his word.

The words of the Lord are pure words: as silver tried in a furnace of earth, purified seven times (Psalm 12:16).

But here is the thing, if you be one who believes that the Bible is the inerrant word of God, then you may want to stop reading here.  What we are about to share with you will go against all that you believe the Bible to be and our intent is not to offend but to inform.  However, if you believe differently, then please continue.

The first thing you need to do is to determine what is the word of God.  Then, you will need to be able to tell the difference between the words of God and the words of others.  And by the words of others, we are referring to the original writers of The Scriptures.  We would also like to include all of the interpreters, all of the scholars, all of the translators, and anyone else, who has had a hand in putting together the words of old in the format that we use today called the Bible.  While the Bible says that all scripture is given by inspiration of God (II Timothy 3:16), it does not mean that every word in the Bible is that of God.  God inspired men to write all that is recorded but not every word recorded is that of God.  And while we believe that God would not allow his words to be misrepresented, this does not mean that the men who were given the task of interpreting and translating those inspired words did not interject, at times, some of their beliefs, some of the things that they were taught, or their own interpretations of what they were translating.  We believe this is why God tells us to study to show ourselves approve unto him, that we may righty divide the word of truth (II Timothy 2:15).  With that being said, let us move forward.

The first term we would like to introduce to you is the word uncial.  This is a style of writing that was used between the fourth and eighth century in Greek and Latin manuscripts and was used in many of the New Testament writings.  This writing style did not taper off until around the tenth century.  In this style of writing, words were written on parchment in all caps with no punctuation.  While we do not have a copy of the original manuscript, we would like to present an English example of this writing style from John 1:1-5, which we believe would look something like this:

This writing style presented many problems for the Greek scribes that copied the transcripts and for the readers that attempted to read them.  The interpreters, scholars, and translators placed all of the chapter-verse designations and the punctuation marks into what we have today called the Bible.  So, while we are indebted to all who dedicated their time to give us the current editions of the Bible that so many of us enjoy today, we really need to keep in mind that some of the punctuation marks, capitalizations, or even the sub-titles  may have been placed in error.

And while we cautioned you earlier about adding to, making additions to, and taking away from the word of God, we know that a misplaced comma can change the entire meaning of a passage as can the capitalization of certain words.  This does not necessarily change the word of God but it does change how some passages may be interpreted, emphasizing the importance of God’s command to study to show ourselves approved so that we can rightly divide the word of truth. 

The next two terms we would like to introduce to you deals with verb the tense used in the translation of the original text of the Bible.  The Bible was written in two basic languages; a form of Hebrew was used for the Old Testament and a form of Greek was used for the New Testament.  In the both of these languages, the verb form that was used has been identified as a permissive verb form.  A permissive verb form conveys the meaning of allowing something to happen.  When the Bible was translated into English, the original verb form changed from permissive to a causative verb form.  A causative verb form conveys the meaning of involving or causing something to happen.

Because English uses the causative verb form, we imagine that during the translation process, when there was a problem finding a corresponding word to the original text, some words had to be changed because there were no words that could be used in the English language that would convey the context of the scripture or the meaning of the original text.  These types of substitutions altered the meaning of a passage, changing it from allowing something to happen to causing something to happen. 

Whenever you translate one language into another, especially one like English, there is usually something lost in translation.  The Old Testament, originally in the Hebrew language, was written in the permissive (giving permission, that permits, allowable and at one’s option) verb form.  The English language during the time the King James Version was written, had fewer corresponding permissive verbs, so the verbs were translated into the causative (producing an effect, causing) verb form.  Since then, the majority of the bibles in print have been translated from the original King James Version with the causative verb form being written into the translated bibles.

This causative verb form designates the action necessary to cause another action to happen or is used when one thing or person causes another thing or person to do something.  The causative verb form is used when one does not carry out an action themselves, but are responsible for the action being performed.

Therefore, when we read Deuteronomy 28:20-22, it should have been translated into a permissive verb form that would have said something like,

The Lord shall allow/permit upon thee cursing, vexation (confusion), and rebuke (Deuteronomy 28:20).

The Lord shall allow/permit the pestilence (plague) to cleave unto thee (Deuteronomy 28:21).

The Lord shall allow/permit thee to be smitten with a consumption, and with a fever, and with an inflammation, and with an extreme burning, and with the sword, and with blasting (scorching), and with mildew (Deuteronomy 28:22).

In these newly translated passages, you can see that instead of causing these things to happen, God allowed these things to happen.  Now, God will allow these things to happen because you allow these things to happen.  We know that this may sound a little foreign to you, but let us explain what we mean.  Do you remember our discussion of the twenty-eight chapter of Deuteronomy, where we found Moses giving the Israelites instructions from the Lord as to what would happen should they listen to the voice of the Lord and do all that he had commanded of them?  He said that certain things would come upon them and overtake them.  Do you remember what would happen should they not listen to the voice of the Lord and not do all that he had commanded of them?  He said that certain things would come upon them and overtake them as well.  God allows the blessings and the curses, mentioned in Deuteronomy, to come upon you and overtake you, if you allow the blessings and the curses to come upon you and overtake you.  Because of the freewill that he has given to you, all of these things that can come upon you and overtake you are the direct results of the choices that you make and not something that God causes to happen to you.

Enjoy your blessings - KW

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