Romans, Part 88

This is the reason I was often hindered from coming to you,[1] Paul continued his letter to believers in Rome.  The hindrance here was Paul’s own φιλοτιμούμενον (a form of φιλοτιμέομαι), translated I desire (NET) and have I strived (KJV), his own fondness for honor: And in this way I desire to preach where Christ has not been named, so as not to build on another person’s foundation, but as it is written: Those who were not told about him will see, and those who have not heard will understand.”[2]  But in two other letters Paul used forms of φιλοτιμέομαι without a hint of pride (1 Thessalonians 4:9-12 NET):

Now on the topic of brotherly love (φιλαδελφίας, a form of φιλαδελφία) you have no need for anyone to write you, for you yourselves are taught by God to love one another.  And indeed you are practicing it toward all the brothers and sisters in all of Macedonia.  But we urge you, brothers and sisters, to do so more and more, to aspire (φιλοτιμεῖσθαι, another form of φιλοτιμέομαι) to lead a quiet life, to attend to your own business, and to work with your hands, as we commanded you.  In this way you will live a decent life before outsiders and not be in need.

Granted, Paul’s own aspiration was to preach where Christ has not been named, so as not to build on another person’s foundation, while his aspiration for Macedonian believers was that they lead a quiet life, to attend to [their] own business, and to work with [their] hands, as we commanded [them].  But that implies a sense of order and rank, not necessarily a prideful aspiration on Paul’s part.  To the Corinthian believers he wrote (2 Corinthians 5:1-10 NET):

For we know that if our earthly house, the tent we live in, is dismantled, we have a building from God, a house not built by human hands, that is eternal in the heavens.  For in this earthly house we groan, because we desire (ἐπιποθοῦντες, a form of ἐπιποθέω) to put on our heavenly dwelling, if indeed, after we have put on our heavenly house, we will not be found naked.  For we groan while we are in this tent, since we are weighed down, because we do not want to be unclothed, but clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life.  Now the one who prepared us for this very purpose is God, who gave us the Spirit as a down payment.  Therefore we are always full of courage, and we know that as long as we are alive here on earth we are absent from the Lord – for we live by faith, not by sight.  Thus we are full of courage and would prefer to be away from the body and at home with the Lord.  So then whether we are alive or away, we make it our ambition (φιλοτιμούμεθα, another form of φιλοτιμέομαι) to please him.  For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be paid back according to what he has done while in the body, whether good or evil.

Surely Paul’s ambition to preach where Christ has not been named, so as not to build on another person’s foundation, was part of his ambition to please God.  Still, I wonder how different church history might have been if Paul had arrived first in Rome.  He had desired (ἐπιποθίαν, a form of ἐπιποθία) to come to them for many yearsBut now there is nothing more to keep me in these regions, and I have for many years desired to come to you when I go to Spain.[3]  For I hope to visit you when I pass through and that you will help me on my journey there, after I have enjoyed your company for a while.[4]  He acknowledged the same at the beginning of his letter to them (Romans 1:8-13a NET):

First of all, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because your faith is proclaimed throughout the whole world.  For God, whom I serve in my spirit by preaching the gospel of his Son, is my witness that I continually remember you and I always ask in my prayers, if perhaps now at last I may succeed in visiting (ἐλθεῖν, a form of ἔρχομαι) you according to the will of God.  For I long to see you, so that I may impart to you some spiritual gift to strengthen you, that is, that we may be mutually comforted by one another’s faith, both yours and mine.  I do not want you to be unaware, brothers and sisters, that I often intended to come (ἐλθεῖν, a form of ἔρχομαι) to you (and was prevented until now)…

The Greek word translated was prevented was ἐκωλύθην (a form of κωλύω).  It seems to be a stronger hindrance (see the table below) than ἐνεκοπτόμην (a form of ἐγκόπτω) in Romans 15:22, though Paul strengthened ἐνεκοπτόμην with πολλὰ (a form of πολλός).  So while he listed his own desire for honor at the end of his letter as the reason he was hindered from visiting Rome, there is a hint here that visit was deliberately delayed as something not yet ἐν τῷ θελήματι τοῦ θεοῦ (“in” or “by the will of God;” NET: according to).

I suppose I imagine that if Paul had preceded Peter in Rome churches might have become more facilitators than arbiters of the new covenant.  I’m thinking especially here of for they shall all know me, from the least of them unto the greatest of them, saith the LORD.[5]  But historically the western church became the de facto government after Constantine moved his capital east.  Even Paul proposed governmental functions for the church to deal with those who were not led by the Spirit (1 Timothy 1:5-11) in Corinth (1 Corinthians 6:1-8 NET):

When any of you has a legal dispute with another, does he dare go to court before the unrighteous (ἀδίκων, a form of ἄδικος) rather than before the saints (ἁγίων, a form of ἅγιος)?  Or do you not know that the saints will judge the world?  And if the world is to be judged by you, are you not competent to settle trivial suits?  Do you not know that we will judge angels?  Why not ordinary matters!  So if you have ordinary lawsuits, do you appoint as judges those who have no standing in the church?  I say this to your shame!  Is there no one among you wise enough to settle disputes between fellow Christians (ἀδελφοῦ, a form of ἀδελφός)?  Instead, does a Christian (ἀδελφὸς, another form of ἀδελφός) sue a Christian (ἀδελφοῦ, a form of ἀδελφός), and do this before unbelievers (ἀπίστων, a form of ἄπιστος)?  The fact that you have lawsuits among yourselves demonstrates that you have already been defeated (ἥττημα, a form of ἥττημα).  Why not rather be wronged?  Why not rather be cheated?  But you yourselves wrong and cheat, and you do this to your brothers and sisters (ἀδελφούς, another form of ἀδελφός)!

To speculate whether western churches would be different if Paul had preceded Peter to Rome is ultimately foolishness.  We who have been drawn to Christ by the kindness of God are the ἐκκλησία.  The character of our churches here and now is determined predominantly by our faith.  Are we facilitators of the new covenant or arbiters, judges with evil motives (James 2:1-4 NET)?  When Jesus said Do not judge[6] He knew to whom He spoke, intimately, both as Creator and a partaker of our humanity.

We judge everything.  We judge the weight of an object before we pick it up.  We judge the distance and velocity of the things we see around us.  We judge everyone: beautiful, ugly, rich, poor, friendly, aggressive, lying, truthful, wise, foolish.  I don’t think Jesus’ point was that we stop doing the thing that makes it possible for us to live and move in this world.  His point was—that after we make those instinctive judgments about other people—we love them as those for whom Christ died with his own love that flows through us from his Spirit, believing with his own faithfulness that flows through us from His Spirit that we have set our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of believers.[7]

I did a word study of ἐλθεῖν (a form of ἔρχομαι), translated from coming and to come, not because I thought there was anything mysterious about Paul’s usage of the word in Romans 15:22 and 23, but because I know I’ll want a good grounding in the usage of forms of ἔρχομαι when I come around again to Matthew 23:34-36.  Doing so exposed me to an interesting study in John’s Gospel narrative that I think pertinent here as it relates to judging others.

Jesus spoke to the Ἰουδαῖοι (a form of Ἰουδαῖος), translated Jewish leaders.  I’ll leave it in Greek here because I don’t think being Jewish had anything to do with it beyond the historical fact that they were hardened (Isaiah 6:9-12; Matthew 13:10-17) to the point of being enthralled with what I have called the religious mind.

You study the scriptures thoroughly, Jesus said to those with religious minds, because you think in them you possess eternal life, and it is these same scriptures that testify about me, but you are not willing (θέλετε, a form of θέλω) to come to me so that you may have life.[8]  He continued addressing those with religious minds: No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws him, and I will raise him up at the last day.  It is written in the prophets,And they will all be taught by God.’  Everyone who hears and learns from the Father comes to me.[9]  Later Jesus explained his teaching to his disciples (John 6:63-65 NET):

The Spirit is the one who gives life; human nature (σὰρξ, a form of σάρξ) is of no help!  The words that I have spoken to you are spirit and are life.  But there are some of you who do not believe…Because of this I told you that no one can come to me unless the Father has allowed (δεδομένον, a form of δίδωμι; literally, given) him to come” (KJV: except it were given unto him of my Father).

Then Jesus said (John 7:33-36 NET):

“I will be with you for only a little while longer, and then I am going to the one who sent me.  You will look for me but will not find me, and where I am you cannot come.”

Then the Ἰουδαῖοι said to one another, “Where is he going to go that we cannot find him?  He is not going to go to the Jewish people dispersed among the Greeks and teach the Greeks, is he?  What did he mean by saying, ‘You will look for me but will not find me, and where I am you cannot come’?”

Then Jesus said to them again (John 8:21-24 NET):

“I am going away, and you will look for me but will die in your sin.  Where I am going you cannot come.”  So the Ἰουδαῖοι began to say, “Perhaps he is going to kill himself, because he says, ‘Where I am going you cannot come.’”  Jesus replied, “You people are from below; I am from above.  You people are from this world; I am not from this world.  Thus I told you that you will die in your sins.  For unless you believe that I am he, you will die in your sins.”

When Judas had gone out, Jesus said [to his remaining disciples] (John 13:31-38 NET):

“Now the Son of Man is glorified, and God is glorified in him.  If God is glorified in him, God will also glorify him in himself, and he will glorify him right away.  Children, I am still with you for a little while.  You will look for me, and just as I said to the Ἰουδαίοις, ‘Where I am going you cannot come,’ now I tell you the same.

“I give you a new commandment – to love one another.  Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another.  Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples – if you have love for one another.”

Simon Peter said to him, “Lord, where are you going?” Jesus replied, “Where I am going, you cannot follow me now, but you will follow later.”  Peter said to him, “Lord, why can’t I follow you now?  I will lay down my life for you!”  Jesus answered, “Will you lay down your life for me?  I tell you the solemn truth, the rooster will not crow until you have denied me three times!”

Apart from the Holy Spirit we are no different than the worst of sinners or the hardest of those with religious minds.  For who concedes you any superiority? Paul wrote believers in Corinth.  What do you have that you did not receive?  And if you received it, why do you boast as though you did not?[10]

You were running well, Paul wrote believers in Galatia, who prevented you from obeying the truth?[11]  I was drawn here because ἐνέκοψεν, translated prevented, is a form of ἐγκόπτω like ἐνεκοπτόμην, translated I washindered in Romans 15:22.  It’s not wrong to translate μὴ πείθεσθαι (a form of πείθω; to convince, persuade) from obeying.  Several of the occurrences of forms of πείθω are linked directly to the action that conviction or persuasion produced.

The chief priests and the elders persuaded (ἔπεισαν, another form of πείθω) the crowds to ask for Barabbas and to have Jesus killed.[12]  When Pilate asked, “Then what should I do with Jesus who is called the Christ?”  They all said, “Crucify him!”[13]  In Lystra Jews came from Antioch and Iconium, and after winning the crowds over (πείσαντες, another form of πείθω), they stoned Paul and dragged him out of the city[14] 

Paul went to the Jews in the synagogue [in Thessalonica], as he customarily did, and on three Sabbath days he addressed them from the scriptures, explaining and demonstrating that the Christ had to suffer and to rise from the dead, saying, “This Jesus I am proclaiming to you is the Christ.”  Some of them were persuaded (ἐπείσθησαν, another form of πείθω) and joined Paul and Silas, along with a large group of God-fearing Greeks and quite a few prominent women.[15]

Demetrius, a silversmith in Ephesus, complained that Paul has persuaded (πείσας, another form of πείθω) and turned away a large crowd, not only in Ephesus but in practically all of the province of Asia, by saying that gods made by hands are not gods at all.[16]  A centurion was more convinced (ἐπείθετο, another form of πείθω) by the captain and the ship’s owner than by what Paul said.[17]  So he ignored Paul’s warning that the voyage is going to end in disaster[18] and they weighed anchor and sailed close along the coast of Crete[19] directly into a storm that ran them aground two weeks later.

So while it is not wrong to focus on the obedience aspect of forms of πείθω, it is a bit of misdirection in Galatians 5:7 since obedience was not really at issue.  Believers in Galatia were all too willing to obey the commands of anyone who came along in the name of Christ.  Apparently some had come preaching circumcision.  Listen!  I, Paul, tell you that if you let yourselves be circumcised, Christ will be of no benefit to you at all![20]  He said this not to the disobedient but the overly obedient.  For the act of circumcision as a body modification was meaningless to Paul vis-à-vis the Gospel of Jesus Christ (1 Corinthians 7:17-19 NET):

Nevertheless, as the Lord has assigned to each one, as God has called each person, so must he live.  I give this sort of direction in all the churches.  Was anyone called after he had been circumcised?  He should not try to undo his circumcision.  Was anyone called who is uncircumcised?  He should not get circumcised.  Circumcision is nothing and uncircumcision is nothing.  Instead, keeping God’s commandments is what counts.

Paul’s concern was the persuasion (πεισμονὴ, a form of πεισμονή; Galatians 5:8) that led to the obedience of circumcision.  His concern was that the desire for circumcision indicated that the Galatian believers were not persuaded of the truth of the grace of Christ and were, in fact, following a different gospel.[21]  The act of circumcision among Gentile believers signified a different persuasion to Paul, a different faith that the Holy Spirit they had received was incompetent and required the aid of the σαρκὶ (a form of σάρξ), translated human effort (Galatians 3:2b-5 NET):

Did you receive the Spirit by doing the works of the law or by believing what you heard?  Are you so foolish?  Although you began with the Spirit, are you now trying to finish by human effort (σαρκὶ, a form of σάρξ; literally, flesh)?  Have you suffered so many things for nothing? – if indeed it was for nothing.  Does God then give you the Spirit and work miracles among you by your doing the works of the law or by your believing what you heard?

You who are trying to be declared righteous by the law have been alienated from Christ, Paul wrote obedient believers persuaded by an incorrect persuasion, you have fallen away from grace!  For through the Spirit, by faith, we wait expectantly for the hope of righteousness.  For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision carries any weight – the only thing that matters is faith working through love.[22]  None of this was written to disobedient people unwilling to obey God’s commands.

The tables I used to write this essay for forms of κωλύω and πείθω follow.  I’ve just become aware of the differences in the Greek between the received text (Stephanus Textus Receptus) and the parallel Greek in the NET.  At those points where the form of the Greek word is different I’ve broken the table to insert the full Greek text of the verse.

Form of κωλύω

Reference KJV

NET

ἐκωλύομεν (εκωλυσαμεν) Mark 9:38 we forbad him, because he followeth not us. we tried to stop him because he was not following us.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Ἔφη αὐτῷ ὁ Ἰωάννης· διδάσκαλε, εἴδομεν τινα ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι σου ἐκβάλλοντα δαιμόνια καὶ ἐκωλύομεν αὐτόν, ὅτι οὐκ ἠκολούθει ἡμῖν απεκριθη δε αυτω ο ιωαννης λεγων διδασκαλε ειδομεν τινα τω ονοματι σου εκβαλλοντα δαιμονια ος ουκ ακολουθει ημιν και εκωλυσαμεν αυτον οτι ουκ ακολουθει ημιν απεκριθη δε αυτω ο ιωαννης λεγων διδασκαλε ειδομεν τινα τω ονοματι σου εκβαλλοντα δαιμονια ος ουκ ακολουθει ημιν και εκωλυσαμεν αυτον οτι ουκ ακολουθει ημιν

Form of κωλύω

Reference KJV

NET

ἐκωλύομεν (εκωλυσαμεν) Luke 9:49 we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. we tried to stop him because he is not a disciple along with us.

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Ἀποκριθεὶς δὲ Ἰωάννης εἶπεν· ἐπιστάτα, εἴδομεν τινα ἐν τῷ ὀνόματι σου ἐκβάλλοντα δαιμόνια καὶ ἐκωλύομεν αὐτόν, ὅτι οὐκ ἀκολουθεῖ μεθ᾿ ἡμῶν αποκριθεις δε ο ιωαννης ειπεν επιστατα ειδομεν τινα επι τω ονοματι σου εκβαλλοντα τα δαιμονια και εκωλυσαμεν αυτον οτι ουκ ακολουθει μεθ ημων αποκριθεις δε ο ιωαννης ειπεν επιστατα ειδομεν τινα επι τω ονοματι σου εκβαλλοντα δαιμονια και εκωλυσαμεν αυτον οτι ουκ ακολουθει μεθ ημων

Form of κωλύω

Reference KJV

NET

ἐκωλύσατε Luke 11:52 …them that were entering in ye hindered. you hindered those who were going in.
ἐκώλυσεν Acts 27:43 kept them from their purpose… prevented them from carrying out their plan.
2 Peter 2:16 forbad the madness of the prophet. restrained the prophet’s madness…
ἐκωλύθην Romans 1:13 …but was let hitherto… …and was prevented until now…
κωλύει Acts 8:36 …what doth hinder me to be baptized? What is to stop me from being baptized?
3 John 1:10 …and forbiddeth them that would… …but hinders the people who want to do so…
κωλύειν Acts 24:23 …and that he should forbid none of his acquaintance to minister… …and not to prevent any of his friends from meeting his needs.
κωλύεσθαι Hebrews 7:23 …because they were not suffered to continue by reason of death: …because death prevented them from continuing in office…
κωλύετε Matthew 19:14 …and forbid them not… …and do not try to stop them…
Mark 9:39 But Jesus said, Forbid him not: But Jesus said, “Do not stop him…
Mark 10:14 and forbid them not: and do not try to stop them…
Luke 9:50 And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: But Jesus said to him, “Do not stop him…
Luke 18:16 …and forbid them not: …and do not try to stop them…
1 Corinthians 14:39 …and forbid not to speak with tongues. …and do not forbid anyone from speaking in tongues.
κωλύοντα Luke 23:2 …and forbidding to give tribute to Caesar… forbidding us to pay the tribute tax to Caesar…
κωλυόντων 1 Thessalonians 2:16 Forbidding us to speak to the Gentiles… because they hinder us from speaking to the Gentiles…
1 Timothy 4:3 Forbidding to marry… They will prohibit marriage…
κωλῦσαι Acts 10:47 Can any man forbid water… No one can withhold the water…
Acts 11:17 …what was I, that I could withstand God? …who was I to hinder God?
κωλύσῃς Luke 6:29 forbid not to take thy coat also. do not withhold your tunic either.
κωλυθέντες Acts 16:6 and were forbidden of the Holy Ghost… having been prevented by the Holy Spirit…

 

Form of πείθω Reference KJV

NET

ἔπεισαν Matthew 27:20 …chief priests and elders persuaded the multitude that they should ask… …chief priests and the elders persuaded the crowds to ask for Barabbas…
ἐπείσθησαν Acts 5:40 (39) And to him they agreed [verse 39] He convinced them…
Acts 17:4 And some of them believed, and consorted with Paul and Silas… Some of them were persuaded and joined Paul and Silas…
ἔπειθεν Acts 18:4 and persuaded the Jews and the Greeks. attempting to persuade them.
ἐπείθετο Acts 27:11 Nevertheless the centurion believed the master… But the centurion was more convinced by the captain…
ἔπειθον Acts 13:43 persuaded them to continue in the grace of God. and were persuading them to continue in the grace of God.
ἐπείθοντο Acts 5:36 …as many as obeyed him, were scattered, and brought to nought. …all who followed him were dispersed and nothing came of it.
Acts 5:37 …even as many as obeyed him, were dispersed. …and all who followed him were scattered.
Acts 28:24 And some believed the things which were spoken… Some were convinced by what he said…
ἐπεποίθει Luke 11:22 …he taketh from him all his armour wherein he trusted …he takes away the first man’s armor on which the man relied
πείσαντες Acts 12:20 …having made Blastus the king’s chamberlain their friend And after convincing Blastus, the king’s personal assistant…
Acts 14:19 …who persuaded the people, and, having stoned Paul, drew him out… …and after winning the crowds over, they stoned Paul and dragged him out…
πείσας Acts 19:26 …Paul hath persuaded and turned away much people… …Paul has persuaded and turned away a large crowd…
πείσομεν Matthew 28:14 …we will persuade him, and secure you. …we will satisfy him and keep you out…
1 John 3:19 …and shall assure our hearts before him. …and will convince our conscience in his…
πεισθῇς Acts 23:21 But do not thou yield unto them: So do not let them persuade you to do…
πεισθήσονται Luke 16:31 If they hear not Moses and the prophets, neither will they be persuaded, though one rose from the dead. If they do not respond to Moses and the prophets, they will not be convinced even if someone rises from the dead.
πείθεις Acts 26:28 Almost thou persuadest me to be a Christian. are you persuading me to become a Christian?
πείθεσθαι Galatians 5:7 …who did hinder you that ye should not obey the truth? …who prevented you from obeying the truth?
James 3:3 …put bits in the horses’ mouths, that they may obey us… …put bits into the mouths of horses to get them to obey us…
Πείθεσθε Hebrews 13:17 Obey them that have the rule over you… Obey your leaders and submit to them…
πείθω Galatians 1:10 For do I now persuade men, or God? Am I now trying to gain the approval of people, or of God?
πείθων Acts 19:8 …disputing and persuading the things concerning the kingdom of God. …addressing and convincing them about the kingdom of God.
Acts 28:23 persuading them concerning Jesus… and trying to convince them about Jesus…
πείθομαι Acts 26:26 …for I am persuaded that none of these things are hidden from him… …because I cannot believe that any of these things has escaped his notice…
πείθομεν 2 Corinthians 5:11 we persuade men… we try to persuade people…
πειθομένοις Romans 2:8 …and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness… …do not obey the truth but follow unrighteousness.
πειθομένου Acts 21:14 And when he would not be persuaded, we ceased… Because he could not be persuaded, we said no more…
πειθόμεθα (πεποιθαμεν) Hebrews 13:18 …for we trust we have a good conscience… …for we are sure that we have a clear conscience…

NET Parallel Greek

Stephanus Textus Receptus

Byzantine Majority Text

Προσεύχεσθε περὶ ἡμῶν· πειθόμεθα γὰρ ὅτι καλὴν συνείδησιν ἔχομεν, ἐν πᾶσιν καλῶς θέλοντες ἀναστρέφεσθαι προσευχεσθε περι ημων πεποιθαμεν γαρ οτι καλην συνειδησιν εχομεν εν πασιν καλως θελοντες αναστρεφεσθαι προσευχεσθε περι ημων πεποιθαμεν γαρ οτι καλην συνειδησιν εχομεν εν πασιν καλως θελοντες αναστρεφεσθαι

Form of πείθω

Reference KJV

NET

πέπεισμαι Romans 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life… For I am convinced that neither death, nor life…
Romans 14:14 I know, and am persuaded by the Lord Jesus… I know and am convinced in the Lord Jesus…
Romans 15:14 And I myself also am persuaded of you… But I myself am fully convinced about you…
2 Timothy 1:5 …and I am persuaded that in thee also. …and I am sure is in you.
2 Timothy 1:12 …and am persuaded that he is able to keep that which I have committed unto him… …and I am convinced that he is able to protect what has been entrusted to me…
πεπεισμένος Luke 20:6 …for they be persuaded that John was a prophet. they are convinced that John was a prophet.
Πεπείσμεθα Hebrews 6:9 we are persuaded better things of you, and things that accompany salvation… we are convinced of better things relating to salvation.
πέποιθα Galatians 5:10 I have confidence in you through the Lord, that ye will be none otherwise minded… I am confident in the Lord that you will accept no other view.
Philippians 2:24 I trust in the Lord that I also myself shall come shortly. I am confident in the Lord that I too will be coming to see you soon.
πεποίθαμεν 2 Thessalonians 3:4 And we have confidence in the Lord touching you… And we are confident about you in the Lord…
πέποιθας Romans 2:19 And art confident that thou thyself art a guide of the blind… if you are convinced that you yourself are a guide to the blind…
πέποιθεν Matthew 27:43 He trusted in God; let him deliver him now, if he will have him: He trusts in God – let God, if he wants to, deliver him now
2 Corinthians 10:7 If any man trust to himself that he is Christ’s… If anyone is confident that he belongs to Christ…
πεποιθέναι Philippians 3:4 …thinketh that he hath whereof he might trust in the flesh… …thinks he has good reasons to put confidence in human credentials…
πεποιθὼς 2 Corinthians 2:3 having confidence in you all, that my joy is the joy of you all. since I am confident in you all that my joy would be yours.
Philippians 1:6 Being confident of this very thing… For I am sure of this very thing…
Philippians 1:25 And having this confidence And since I am sure of this…
Philemon 1:21 Having confidence in thy obedience… Since I was confident that you would obey…
Hebrews 2:13 …I will put my trust in him. …I will be confident in him…
πεποιθοτας Mark 10:24 …how hard is it for them that trust in riches to enter… omitted
Luke 18:9 …unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous… …to some who were confident that they were righteous…
Philippians 1:14 …in the Lord, waxing confident by my bonds… having confidence in the Lord because of my imprisonment…
πεποιθότες 2 Corinthians 1:9 …that we should not trust in ourselves… …so that we would not trust in ourselves…
Philippians 3:3 …and have no confidence in the flesh. …and do not rely on human credentials…

 

[1] Romans 15:22 (NET)

[2] Romans 15:20, 21 (NET)

[3] Kenneth Berding, “Paul’s Fourth Missionary Journey (And I Don’t Mean His Trip to Rome),” The Good Book Blog

[4] Romans 15:23, 24 (NET)

[5] Jeremiah 31:34b (Tanakh)

[6] Luke 6:37 (NET)

[7] 1 Timothy 4:10b (NET)

[8] John 5:39, 40 (NET)

[9] John 6:44, 45 (NET)

[10] 1 Corinthians 4:7 (NET)

[11] Galatians 5:7 (NET)

[12] Matthew 27:20 (NET)

[13] Matthew 27:22 (NET)

[14] Acts 14:19 (NET)

[15] Acts 17:2-4 (NET)

[16] Acts 19:26 (NET)

[17] Acts 27:11 (NET)

[18] Acts 27:10a (NET)

[19] Acts 27:13b (NET)

[20] Galatians 5:2 (NET)

[21] Galatians 1:6 (NET)

[22] Galatians 5:4-6 (NET)

Study: Luke 4:18-19

This is an Addendum to Romans, Part 45.

Now Jesus came to Nazareth, where he had been brought up, and went into the synagogue on the Sabbath day, as was his custom.  He stood up to read, and the scroll of the prophet Isaiah was given to him.  He unrolled the scroll and found the place where it was written,The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor.  He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind, to set free those who are oppressed, to proclaim the year of the Lords favor.[1]

Originally I avoided this quotation because it wasn’t exactly the NET version of the Old Testament (Isaiah 61:1, 2 NET):

The spirit of the sovereign Lord is upon me, because the Lord has chosen me.  He has commissioned me to encourage the poor, to help the brokenhearted, to decree the release of captives, and the freeing of prisoners, to announce the year when the Lord will show his favor…

Nor was it exactly the Septuagint:

Jesus (NET) Septuagint NET (Parallel Greek Text)
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. πνεῦμα κυρίου ἐπ᾽ ἐμέ οὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισέν με εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς ἀπέσταλκέν με πνεῦμα κυρίου ἐπ᾿ ἐμὲ οὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισεν με εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς,ἀπέσταλκεν με,
  ἰάσασθαι τοὺς συντετριμμένους τῇ καρδίᾳ
He has sent me to proclaim release to the captives and the regaining of sight to the blind, κηρύξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν

Isaiah 61:1

κηρύξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν,
to set free those who are oppressed,

Luke 4:18 (NET)

ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσει,

Luke 4:18

to proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor.

Luke 4:19 (NET)

καλέσαι ἐνιαυτὸν κυρίου δεκτὸν…

Isaiah 61:2a

κηρύξαι ἐνιαυτὸν κυρίου δεκτόν.

Luke 4:19

The first obvious difference: ἰάσασθαι τοὺς συντετριμμένους τῇ καρδίᾳ (he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted in the KJV) is missing from the Greek text of the NET.

The note in the NET reads: “The majority of mss, especially the later Byzantines, include the phrase ‘to heal the brokenhearted’ at this point (A Θ Ψ 0102 Ë1 Ï). The phrase is lacking in several weighty mss (א B D L W Ξ Ë13 33 579 700 892* pc lat sys co), including representatives from both the Alexandrian and Western text types. From the standpoint of external evidence, the omission of the phrase is more likely original. When internal evidence is considered, the shorter reading becomes almost certain. Scribes would be much more prone to add the phrase here to align the text with Isa 61:1, the source of the quotation, than to remove it from the original.”

The phrase was part of the received text (ἰὰσασθαι τοὺς συντετριμμένους τὴν καρδίαν) and included in the King James translation.  Whether it should or should not be included matters very little to me (since I have access to both and a footnote detailing the reason it was removed), though it would be interesting if Jesus deliberately deleted it from his own reading.

The brokenhearted (συντετριμμένους τῇ καρδίᾳ) hearkens back to David’s Miserere (Psalm 51:17 NET):

The sacrifices God desires are a humble spirit – O God, a humble and repentant heart you will not reject.

The humble heart (broken, KJV) is καρδίαν συντετριμμένην in the Septuagint.  Both συντετριμμένους and συντετριμμένην are forms of συντρίβω.  If Jesus deliberately deleted this phrase from his quotation, I would take it to mean He did not want his mission to be seen as limited to those who brought the correct sacrifices, the humble spirit, the humble and repentant heartIn fact this is why we work hard and struggle, Paul wrote Timothy (1 Timothy 4:10 NET), because we have set our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all people (σωτὴρ πάντων ἀνθρώπων), especially of believers.  But this, too, only creates arguments about who might remove the phrase and why.

The next obvious difference is that ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσει (to set free those who are oppressed) is not in the Septuagint.  I could accept that—to decree the release of captives, and the freeing of prisoners—may have seemed redundant to the Rabbis when translating Hebrew to Greek.

Finally, καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν (and the regaining of sight to the blind) is in Jesus’ quotation and the Septuagint but not in a contemporary translation of Hebrew.  The Greek word τυφλοῖς (a form of τυφλός) is blind in English.  When Moses complained that he was slow of speech and slow of tongue,[2] The Lord said to him, “Who gave a mouth to man, or who makes a person mute or deaf or seeing or blind (Septuagint: τυφλόν, another form of τυφλός)?  Is it not I, the Lord?”[3]  But in the law it was written (Leviticus 21:16-21 NET):

The Lord spoke to Moses: “Tell Aaron, ‘No man from your descendants throughout their generations who has a physical flaw is to approach to present the food of his God.  Certainly no man who has a physical flaw is to approach: a blind (Septuagint: τυφλὸς, another form of τυφλός) man, or one who is lame, or one with a slit nose, or a limb too long, or a man who has had a broken leg or arm, or a hunchback, or a dwarf, or one with a spot in his eye, or a festering eruption, or a feverish rash, or a crushed testicle.  No man from the descendants of Aaron the priest who has a physical flaw may step forward to present the Lord’s gifts; he has a physical flaw, so he must not step forward to present the food of his God.

But if you ignore the Lord your God and are not careful to keep all his commandments and statutes I am giving you today, then all these curses will come upon you in full force[4]  One of those curses was to be like the blind: You will feel your way along at noon like the blind (Septuagint: τυφλὸς, another form of τυφλός) person does in darkness and you will not succeed in anything you do; you will be constantly oppressed and continually robbed, with no one to save you.[5]

Did the Masoretes remove and the regaining of sight to the blind because they didn’t wish to be associated with the blind?  But they left The Lord (yehôvâh; יהוה) gives sight to the blind (Septuagint: τυφλούς, another form of τυφλός).[6]  And, Look, your God (ʼĕlôhı̂ym; אלהיכם) comes to avenge!  With divine retribution he comes to deliver you.”  Then blind (Septuagint: τυφλῶν, another form of τυφλός) eyes will open[7]

This, too, still remains: I, the Lord (yehôvâh; יהוה), officially commission you; I take hold of your hand.  I protect you and make you a covenant mediator for people, and a light to the nations, to open blind (Septuagint: τυφλῶν, another form of τυφλός) eyes, to release prisoners from dungeons, those who live in darkness from prisons.[8]  So was it removed simply because Jesus cured many people of diseases, sicknesses, and evil spirits, and granted sight to many who were blind[9] (τυφλοῖς, a form of τυφλός) and claimed to fulfill that prophecy in the synagogue in Nazareth?

Joseph Gleason, “a priest at Christ the King Orthodox Mission in Omaha, Illinois,” blogged:

For thousands of years, ancient Hebrew was only written with consonants, no vowels.  When reading these texts, they had to supply all of the vowels from memory, based on oral tradition.  In Hebrew, just like modern languages, vowels can make a big difference. The change of a single vowel can radically change the meaning of a word….The most extensive change the Masoretes brought to the Hebrew text was the addition of vowel points.  In an attempt to solidfy for all-time the “correct” readings of all the Hebrew Scriptures, the Masoretes added a series of dots to the text, identifying which vowel to use in any given location….

In the 2nd century A.D., hundreds of years before the time of the Masoretes, Justin Martyr investigated a number of Old Testament texts in various Jewish synagogues.  He ultimately concluded that the Jews who had rejected Christ had also rejected the Septuagint, and were now tampering with the Hebrew Scriptures themselves… If Justin Martyr’s findings are correct, then it is likely that the Masoretes inherited a Hebrew textual tradition which had already been corrupted with an anti-Christian bias…. Simply by choosing one Hebrew text over another, they were able to subvert the Incarnation, the virgin birth, the deity of Christ, His healing of the blind, His crucifixion, and His salvation of the Gentiles.  The Jewish scribes were able to edit Jesus out of many important passages, simply by rejecting one Hebrew text, and selecting (or editing) another text instead.

I would like to add, raised from infancy with the belief that Jesus was not, could not possibly be, the promised Messiah, and with no knowledge of deliberate textual corruptions, the Masoretes could have done this in good conscience.  Joseph Gleason concluded:

It would seem that the Septuagint (LXX) translation is…a more faithful representation of the original Hebrew Scriptures.  Perhaps that is why Jesus and the apostles frequently quoted from the Septuagint, and accorded it full authority as the inspired Word of God.

I’m not prepared to go that far.  I was happy to find a corrective to my own conclusion that Jesus and Paul were such inept scholars they couldn’t even quote a passage of Scripture accurately.  Clearly, the Septuagint I’m using was not what Jesus read in the synagogue in Nazareth.  But He wasn’t reading from the Masoretic text either.  Here is the comparison of the King James Version:

Jesus (KJV) KJV
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty them that are bruised, To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

Luke 4:18, 19 (KJV)

The Spirit of the Lord GOD is upon me; because the LORD hath anointed me to preach good tidings unto the meek; he hath sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives, [] and the opening of the prison to them that are bound; To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD…

Isaiah 61:1, 2a

Jesus’ quotation is much more agreeable with Isaiah 61 in the KJV.  But if the “King James Version is the infallible Word of God” Jesus inserted and recovering of sight to the blind into the middle of his reading of Isaiah 61:1.  Luke didn’t record anyone disputing it with Him at the time (Luke 4:20-29 KJV):

And [Jesus] closed the book, and he gave it again to the minister, and sat down. And the eyes of all them that were in the synagogue were fastened on him.
And he began to say unto them, This day is this scripture fulfilled in your ears.
And all bare him witness, and wondered at the gracious words which proceeded out of his mouth. And they said, Is not this Joseph’s son?
And he said unto them, Ye will surely say unto me this proverb, Physician, heal thyself: whatsoever we have heard done in Capernaum, do also here in thy country.
And he said, Verily I say unto you, No prophet is accepted in his own country.
But I tell you of a truth, many widows were in Israel in the days of Elias, when the heaven was shut up three years and six months, when great famine was throughout all the land;
But unto none of them was Elias sent, save unto Sarepta, a city of Sidon, unto a woman that was a widow.
And many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian. And all they in the synagogue, when they heard these things, were filled with wrath,
And rose up, and thrust him out of the city, and led him unto the brow of the hill whereon their city was built, that they might cast him down headlong.

Here is a comparison of the Septuagint and the Stephanus Textus Receptus:

Jesus (KJV) Septuagint Stephanus Textus Receptus 1550
The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor; πνεῦμα κυρίου ἐπ᾽ ἐμέ οὗ εἵνεκεν ἔχρισέν με εὐαγγελίσασθαι πτωχοῖς ἀπέσταλκέν με Πνεῦμα κυρίου ἐπ’ ἐμέ οὗ ἕνεκεν ἔχρισέν με εὐαγγελίζεσθαι πτωχοῖς ἀπέσταλκέν με
he hath sent me to heal the brokenhearted, ἰάσασθαι τοὺς συντετριμμένους τῇ καρδίᾳ ἰὰσασθαι τοὺς συντετριμμένους τὴν καρδίαν,
to preach deliverance to the captives, and recovering of sight to the blind, κηρύξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν

Isaiah 61:1

κηρύξαι αἰχμαλώτοις ἄφεσιν καὶ τυφλοῖς ἀνάβλεψιν
to set at liberty them that are bruised,

Luke 4:18 (KJV)

ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσει

Luke 4:18

To preach the acceptable year of the Lord.

Luke 4:19 (KJV)

καλέσαι ἐνιαυτὸν κυρίου δεκτὸν…

Isaiah 61:2a

κηρύξαι ἐνιαυτὸν κυρίου δεκτόν

Luke 4:19

I notice that “the heart” in the Septuagint is τῇ καρδίᾳ and in the received text τὴν καρδίαν, but I don’t know enough Greek to make anything of it.  And I don’t understand why Origen or Eusebius would delete the phrase ἀποστεῖλαι τεθραυσμένους ἐν ἀφέσει in a deliberate forgery.

 

[1] Luke 4:16-19 (NET)

[2] Exodus 4:10b (NET)

[3] Exodus 4:11 (NET)

[4] Deuteronomy 28:15 (NET)

[5] Deuteronomy 28:29 (NET)

[6] Psalm 146:8a (NET)

[7] Isaiah 35:4b, 5a (NET)

[8] Isaiah 42:6, 7 (NET)

[9] Luke 7:21 (NET)

Condemnation or Judgment? – Part 8

To reveal my own position and velocity[1] it is probably past time that I at least outline my own religious background.  And here, I’ll take the lazy way out.  Matt Slick has done it for me in his “Doctrine Grid[2] online.  He acknowledged that “some of these are debatable…I do not claim absolute correctness on all points–only the essentials.”  I’m not going to debate his points beyond pointing out that Mr. Slick offers them as “a layout of biblical orthodoxy” and I offer them only as an outline of my religious background, both its content and tone.

Though I live among them I don’t understand my people, those of my religious background, as it pertains to the hope and promise of universal salvation in the Scriptures.  I think I understand what might motivate someone like Richard Wayne Garganta to eliminate “hell talk” from the Bible.  But I can’t get a handle on what might motivate someone to eliminate the hope and promise of universal salvation from the Bible.  “It’s not there!” is a form of blindness.

A puff piece[3] about Matt Chandler in the May 2014 issue of Christianity Today caught my attention as I considered these things:

For a long time, Chandler had prayed for his dad to know Christ.  “I remember being confused with the idea of [Dad having] free will, but then me asking God to save him. To me those two things were incompatible.”
He found the answer in classically reformed teachings, especially those of John Piper. Chandler embraces the view that God predestines some to heaven and others to hell.[4]

I’m not going to say much about free will except to offer my opinion that it represents the contingent choices we make—contingent choices with a really good press agent.  I will look deeper into “the view that God predestines some to heaven and others to hell.”  We certainly knew of that view in my religion.  Our essentially fundamentalist church had separated from the Congregationalists as they embraced “modernism.”[5]  It was joined later by others separating from the Presbyterians for similar reasons, a group who held views similar to Matt Chandler’s.   My family shared a more “whosoever will may come” view.

It seemed fairer somehow.  Could God be other than fair?  He has given everyone on the planet an equal opportunity to choose to trust Him.  Salvation, therefore, is left ultimately up to an individual’s choice.  That seemed consistent enough with the Old Testament, and except for Paul’s writings and Jesus’ sayings more or less consistent with the New Testament as I understood it at the time.

So, is “God predestines some to heaven and others to hell” a fair inference from God has mercy on whom he chooses to have mercy, and he hardens whom he chooses to harden[6]?  I still don’t think so.  It requires me to reject the hope and promise of universal salvation revealed in Scripture (a Christian heresy[7] according to Matt Slick and a host of others, my people all).  Consider the context (Romans 9:17, 18 NET):

For the scripture says to Pharaoh: “For this very purpose I have raised you up, that I may demonstrate my power in you, and that my name may be proclaimed in all the earth.”  So then, God has mercy (ἐλεεῖ, a form of ἐλεέω) on whom he chooses (θέλει, a form of θέλω) to have mercy, and he hardens whom he chooses (θέλει, a form of θέλω) to harden.

I can say with full conviction on the authority of Scripture that the chariots of Pharaoh and his army [yehôvâh] has thrown into the sea, and his chosen officers were drowned in the Red Sea.[8]  I can’t say with the same confidence that Pharaoh or his army will spend eternity in hell.   Yehôvâh, as revealed by Paul, thinks differently than Matt Chandler or Matt Slick on this subject (Romans 11:30, 31 NET).

Just as you were formerly disobedient (ἠπειθήσατε, a form of ἀπείθεια), so they too have now been disobedient (ἠπείθησαν, another form of ἀπειθέω) in order that, by the mercy (ἐλέει, a form of ἔλεος) shown to you, they too may now receive mercy (ἐλεηθῶσιν, another form of ἐλεέω).

Paul referred specifically here to his own people, my fellow countrymen, who are Israelites,[9] and all those loved by God in Rome, called to be saints.[10]  But I can’t find any compelling reason to discriminate against an ancient Pharaoh and his army: For God has consigned all people to disobedience (ἀπείθειαν, another form of ἀπείθεια) so that he may show mercy (ἐλεήσῃ, another form of ἐλεέω) to…all.[11]  So while—it does not depend on human desire (θέλοντος, another form of θέλω)or exertion, but on God who shows mercy (ἐλεῶντος, another form of ἐλεέω )[12]—is a potent antidote to the “whosoever will may come” religious view of my youth, it is clearly coupled with the hope of universal salvation: God has consigned all people to disobedience so that he may show mercy to…all.

Jesus’ saying—No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me draws (ἑλκύσῃ, a form of ἑλκύω) him, and I will raise him up at the last day[13]—is a stronger refutation of “whosoever will may come” unless one takes ἑλκύσῃ to mean “Softly and tenderly Jesus is calling.”[14]  In that case, Jesus’ promise of universal salvation—And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will draw (ἑλκύσω, another form of ἑλκύω) all…to myself[15]—becomes little more than a promise of equal opportunity:  And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will softly and tenderly call all people to myself.  But I’m not convinced that ἑλκύσῃ and ἑλκύσω will dance to that tune.

Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, called to it softly and tenderly, and it rose up out of its scabbard and struck the high priest’s slave, cutting off his right ear.  The Scripture says, Then Simon Peter, who had a sword, pulled it out (εἵλκυσεν, another form of ἑλκύω) and struck the high priest’s slave, cutting off his right ear.[16]  The King James translators chose drew for εἵλκυσεν, making the connection to Jesus’ sayings clear even in English: Then Simon Peter, having a sword, drew it and struck the high priest’s servant, and cut off his right ear.[17]  Here any English speaking person might consider how much say the sword had regarding when, how or for what purpose it was drawn.

“Throw your net on the right side of the boat, and you will find some [fish],” Jesus told his disciples.  So they threw the net, and were not able to pull (ἑλκύσαι, another form of ἑλκύω) it in because of the large number of fish.[18]  Here the net resisted, because it was too heavy for the disciples to pull up out of the water and into their boat.  But it was no match for Peter dragging it ashore: So Simon Peter went aboard and pulled (εἵλκυσεν, another form of ἑλκύω) the net to shore.[19]  And again, the King James translators made the comparison to Jesus’ sayings obvious:  they were not able to draw it in.[20]

Here are a few more examples of forms of ἑλκύω from Luke and James:

“Whosoever will may come”

Bible

But when her owners saw their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and softly and tenderly called them into the marketplace before the authorities. But when her owners saw their hope of profit was gone, they seized Paul and Silas and dragged (εἵλκυσαν, another form of ἑλκύω) them into the marketplace before the authorities.

Acts 16:19 (NET)

The whole city was stirred up, and the people rushed together.  They seized Paul and softly and tenderly called him out of the temple courts, and immediately the doors were shut. The whole city was stirred up, and the people rushed together.  They seized Paul and dragged (εἷλκον, another form of ἑλκύω) him out of the temple courts, and immediately the doors were shut.

Acts 21:30 (NET)

But you have dishonored the poor!  Are not the rich oppressing you and softly and tenderly calling you into the courts? But you have dishonored the poor!  Are not the rich oppressing you and dragging (ἕλκουσιν, another form of ἑλκύω) you into the courts?

James 2:6 (NET)

It does not behoove the God-predestines-some-to-heaven-and-others-to-hell folk to call out the whosoever-will-may-come folk on this point.  The former are as opposed to universal salvation as the latter.  Still, it seems to me if I understand Jesus’ sayings correctly—No one can come to me unless the Father who sent me [drags] him and, And I, when I am lifted up from the earth, will [drag] all…to myself—I get a clearer picture of the human condition and the hope and promise of God in Christ.

The only person I want to condemn to hell is my old man, not my father, but the sin in my flesh.  I have had a remarkably blessed life.  No one raped and murdered my mother, my sister, my daughter or my wives.  Divorce is the most difficult sin I’ve been called upon to forgive.  And I love the women who divorced me.  I certainly wouldn’t want to see them condemned to an eternity in hell because they found living with me unendurable.  But by wishing my old man condemned to hell I have condemned the whole world.

Gentle Heart suggested that final judgment could be like the judgment of wheat and chaff: “So maybe John 5:28 and 29 can be talking about all us dead being raised and our ‘old selves’ get condemned and our ‘new selves’ live eternally with the Lord.”  It’s an intriguing idea that seems to satisfy the long name of God.

The Long Name of God

The Lord, the Lord, the compassionate and gracious God, slow to anger, and abounding in loyal love and faithfulness, keeping loyal love for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin.

Exodus 34:6, 7a (NET)

But he by no means leaves the guilty unpunished, responding to the transgression of fathers by dealing with children and children’s children, to the third and fourth generation.

Exodus 34:7b (NET)

The main objection would be the apparent need for postmortem salvation in some (or, many) cases.  But that is really only an objection from the human perspective, the impossibility of believing in Jesus for salvation when one faces Him in judgment.  But from the divine perspective there is no law or rule, no circumstance of life or death that prohibits God from showing mercy: I will be gracious to whom I will be gracious, I will show mercy to whom I will show mercy.[21]  Salvation does not depend on human desire or exertion, but on God who shows mercy.[22]  And, God has consigned all people to disobedience so that he may show mercy to them all.[23]  In fact this is why we work hard and struggle, Paul encouraged Timothy, because we have set our hope on the living God, who is the Savior of all people, especially of believers.[24]

There is a satisfying symmetry to the idea that universal salvation entails universal condemnation.  But I’ve had a lifetime to identify with the new man.[25]  If God condemned the sin in my flesh to an eternity in hell, I think I could bid the old man Godspeed and good riddance.  But consider one born from above by the calling of God at, or after, the final judgment.

I know how often I have oscillated between the old and new man when they were in the same geographical and space/time location.  Imagine the trauma of oscillating between the more familiar old man and the relatively strange new man when one is in hell and the other is face to face with God.  Still, the Holy Spirit has seen, and sees, me through my conflict and confusion.  I don’t doubt that He could comfort one in the throes of that terror.

I can’t say this is the way God fulfills his desire to be merciful while He by no means leaves the guilty unpunished.  I can only say, Gentle Heart, in the spirit of Jonathan Edwards’ argument for God as the Superlative Torturer, that if we can imagine this wheat and chaff solution to the dilemma of universal salvation, how many more solutions can the living God conceive and execute to satisfy the desire of his, and your, gentle heart.

Condemnation or Judgment? – Part 9

Back to Romans, Part 58

Back to Condemnation or Judgment? – Part 16

Back to Romans, Part 84

[1] http://www.religiousmind.net/2012/06/11/who-am-i-part-1/

[2] http://carm.org/doctrine-grid

[3] I call it a puff piece because I have no doubt that the editors will publish a hatchet job about the very same preacher if he slips financially or sexually, or strays doctrinally too far from what the editors feel they can sell as Christianity Today.

[4] “The Joy-Stung Preacher,” Joe Maxwell, Christianity Today, May 2014, p. 39

[5] http://mb-soft.com/believe/txn/liberali.htm

[6] Romans 9:18 (NET)

[7] http://carm.org/can-christian-be-universalist

[8] Exodus 15:4 (NET)

[9] Romans 9:3, 4 (NET)

[10] Romans 1:7 (NET)

[11] Romans 11:32 (NET)  A note in the NET acknowledges that “them” was added for stylistic reasons.

[12] Romans 9:16 (NET)

[13] John 6:44 (NET)

[14] http://library.timelesstruths.org/music/Softly_and_Tenderly/

[15] John 12:32 (NET)  NET note: “Grk ‘all.’ The word ‘people’ is not in the Greek text but is supplied for stylistic reasons and for clarity (cf. KJV ‘all men’).”  See: Colossians 1:15-20 (NET)

[16] John 18:10a (NET)

[17] John 18:10a (NKJV)

[18] John 21:6 (NET)

[19] John 21:11a (NET)

[20] John 21:6 (NKJV)

[21] Exodus 33:19b (NET)

[22] Romans 9:16 (NET)

[23] Romans 11:32 (NET)

[24] 1 Timothy 4:10 (NET)

[25] Ephesians 4:22-24; Colossians 3:9, 10 (NET)