Hypocrisy

You shall not take (nâśâʼ, תשׁא; Septuagint: λήμψῃ, a form of λαμβάνω) the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold guiltless anyone who takes (nâśâʼ, ישׁא; Septuagint: λαμβάνοντα, another form of λαμβάνω) his name in vain.[1]

Three occurrences of forms of nâśâʼ from Genesis 1:1 – Exodus 20:5[2] were translated with forms of λαμβάνω in the Septuagint:

Genesis 21:18 (NET)

Genesis 27:3 (NET)

Genesis 31:17 (NET)

Get up!  Help (nâśâʼ, שׁאי; Septuagint: λαβὲ, another form of λαμβάνω) the boy up and hold him by the hand, for I will make him into a great nation. Therefore, take (nâśâʼ, שׁא; Septuagint: λαβὲ, another form of λαμβάνω) your weapons – your quiver and your bow – and go out into the open fields and hunt down some wild game for me. So Jacob immediately put (nâśâʼ, וישׁא; Septuagint: ἔλαβεν, another form of λαμβάνω) his children and his wives on the camels.

Only one of those (Genesis 27:3) was translated take in the KJV and NET before Exodus 20:7.  There is no particular problem with this translation if I’m studying nâśâʼ.  But if I read Exodus 20:7 in English only while trying to be declared righteous by the law[3] or attempting to have my own righteousness derived from the law,[4] the temptation is great to hear it as words I might say when I stub my toe in the dark.  If I don’t say those words then I may consider myself blameless according to the law.

You shall not bear the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold guiltless anyone who bears his name in vain.

This translation might have persuaded me even in English that any and every deviation from righteousness is bearing or taking the Lord’s name in vain.  Unbelievers seem to grasp this better than those who are trying to be declared righteous by the law or attempting to have [their] own righteousness derived from the law.  But unbelievers call it hypocrisy rather than bearing or taking the Lord’s name in vain.  According to Merriam-Webster.com:

The word hypocrite ultimately came into English from the Greek word hypokrites, which means “an actor” or “a stage player”…actors in ancient Greek theater wore large masks to mark which character they were playing…

The Greek word took on an extended meaning to refer to any person who was wearing a figurative mask and pretending to be someone or something they were not.  This sense was taken into medieval French and then into English, where it showed up with its earlier spelling, ypocrite, in 13th-century religious texts to refer to someone who pretends to be morally good or pious in order to deceive others.  (Hypocrite gained its initial h– by the 16th century.)

It took a surprisingly long time for hypocrite to gain its more general meaning that we use today: “a person who acts in contradiction to his or her stated beliefs or feelings.”  Our first citations for this use are from the early 1700s, nearly 500 years after hypocrite first stepped onto English’s stage.  

On bibleone.net hypocrisy was distinguished from bearing or taking the Lord’s name in vain by ascribing more evil intent to hypocrisy:

The meaning of the words, “hypocrite” and “hypocrisy,” as used in the Bible by our Lord Jesus Christ (primarily directed toward the “religious” leaders of the day) implies more than a “simple pretense” or “acting out as a stage-player.”  It embodies a purposeful intent, which stems from a deep-seated core of evil.  More than this, it suggests a determined effort to enforce a standard of conduct upon others, which conduct the enforcer knowingly and deliberately refuses to apply to himself–hence, action born of full knowledge and evil intent.  It is not merely the failure to live up to a holy standard–a condition applicable to every believer on any given day.  It is the condition of a person who is controlled by the sin nature to the end-desire of having power over other human beings by imposing on them a set of rules, which he himself intentionally disregards.  It is a condition applicable to either an unbeliever or a believer, i.e., a believer who is outside God’s will and under the influence of the sin nature.

I was particularly taken by the words imposing on them a set of rules.  That is acting at its core.  Some rules are imposed by the writer through the script.  Some are imposed by the director who interprets the script and blocks the scenes.  Most are self-imposed by the actor.  Though actors call them choices,[5] they are rules of behavior, what a particular character will or will not say or do in any given scene, derived from observation, research, experimentation and a deeply imaginative identification with the character to be performed.  Actors can win some arguments with both the writer and the director (since both are more focused on the work as a whole) because good actors ultimately know the individual characters they play better, at least more interestingly.

Don’t misunderstand me, I love actors and fully appreciate what they do, especially film actors.  I’ve had more opportunity to see them work up close, no one famous though a few were recognizable.  I sit with a silly grin on my face watching Amy Adams sing and dance her way through New York City in Enchanted, and am just as rapt watching her decipher an alien language in Arrival.  A brief exchange in Arrival between linguist Louise (Amy Adams) and physicist Ian (Jeremy Renner) encapsulates how I feel about studying the Bible.

Ian: You know, I was doing some reading about this idea that if you immerse yourself into a foreign language, that you can actually rewire your brain. 

Louise: Yeah, the Sapir-Whorf Hypothesis…It’s the theory that the language you speak determines how you think and…

Ian: Yeah.  It affects how you see everything.

You were taught with reference to your former way of life, Paul wrote believers in Ephesus, to lay aside the old man who is being corrupted in accordance with deceitful desires, to be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and to put on the new man who has been created in God’s image – in righteousness and holiness that comes from truth.[6]  It’s not a matter of being renewed (ἀνανεοῦσθαι, a form of ἀνανεόω) by learning Greek or Hebrew, but by immersing oneself in how the Holy Spirit thinks and communicates in Greek or Hebrew.  No matter how hard Amy Adams worked to become Giselle or Louise, no matter how many choices she made, she never became a cartoon princess or a xenolinguist in reality.

Stephen J. Cole, in the “The Deadly Sin of Hypocrisy (Acts 4:36-5:11),” wrote:

While Jesus was tender with many notorious sinners, He used scathing language to denounce those guilty of religious hypocrisy.

The story of Ananias and Sapphira warns us of the danger of the sin of hypocrisy.

None of the Greek words for hypocrite or hypocrisyὑποκριτής, ὑπόκρισις, ὑποκρίνομαι—occur in, or anywhere near, the story of Ananias and Sapphira.  I assume Pastor Cole took an 18th-century definition of hypocrisy—not living up to professed beliefs—or a 13th-century understanding of ypocrite—deliberate deception—and applied it to the story of Ananias and Sapphira.  Peter said, “Ananias, why has Satan filled your heart to lie (ψεύσασθαι, a form of ψεύδομαι) to the Holy Spirit…”[7]  If we think of hypocrisy as something so evil no believer would dare do it, we miss Jesus’ point about doing righteousness as actors play a role, because we do it all of the time.  It’s how we think.  It’s how we speak to one another:

A Christian wouldn’t do that!   A Christian shouldn’t do that!  Christians should do thus and such.  A real Christian would do this or that!

These are the arguments of actors: observing, researching, experimenting, engaging in deeply imaginative thought about what a Christian might be like and trying to perform that as a series of choices—that is, by obeying rules about how a Christian should or should not behave.  It is significantly different from being born from above, possessed (Romans 8:12-17) by his Holy Spirit, filled with God’s own love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.[8]

The simplest reason why ὑποκριτής was translated hypocrite in the 16th century is that the Latin derived actor was understood as an agent or doer and may have confused the reader regarding the contrast Paul had created—building on Jesus’ allusion to the Greek theater—between ὑποκριτής and ποιητής, the doers (ποιηταὶ, a form of ποιητής) of the law.

I’ve wasted too much time assuming Jesus was an angry preacher spouting pejoratives rather than patiently communicating the words of eternal life.  So I’ll take forms of ὑποκριτής at face value and remove the exclamation points from the text.  (They are obvious editorial comments added by translators.)  And then hopefully see Jesus again, see the smile on his face and the twinkle of his eyes as He reveals the name of his Father, God is love.

Be on your guard against the teaching (Matthew 16:5-12) of the Pharisees, Jesus told his disciples, which is acting class (ὑπόκρισις).[9]  Actors observe and judge others.  It is part and parcel of their craft as they prepare a role (Matthew 7:1-5 NET):

Do not judge so that you will not be judged.  For by the standard you judge you will be judged, and the measure you use will be the measure you receive.  Why do you see the speck in your brother’s eye, but fail to see the beam of wood in your own?  Or how can you say to your brother, ‘Let me remove the speck from your eye,’ while there is a beam in your own?  You actor (ὑποκριτά, a form of ὑποκριτής), first remove the beam from your own eye, and then you can see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Self promotion is part of the job of being a working actor (Matthew 6:1-4 NET):

Be careful not to display your righteousness merely to be seen by people.  Otherwise you have no reward with your Father in heaven.  Thus whenever you do charitable giving, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the actors (ὑποκριταὶ, another form of ὑποκριτής) do in synagogues and on streets so that people will praise them.  I tell you the truth, they have their reward.  But when you do your giving, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, so that your gift may be in secret.  And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.

Actors crave an audience and thrive in the limelight (Matthew 6:5, 6, 16-18 NET):

Whenever you pray, do not be like the actors (ὑποκριταί, another form of ὑποκριτής), because they love to pray while standing in synagogues and on street corners so that people can see them.  Truly I say to you, they have their reward.  But whenever you pray, go into your room, close the door, and pray to your Father in secret.  And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.

When you fast, do not look sullen like the actors (ὑποκριταὶ, another form of ὑποκριτής), for they make their faces unattractive so that people will see them fasting.  I tell you the truth, they have their reward.  When you fast, put oil on your head and wash your face, so that it will not be obvious to others when you are fasting, but only to your Father who is in secret.  And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.

Actors never actually become the character they perform by acting (Matthew 15:1-9; Luke 13:14-16 NET):

Then Pharisees and experts in the law came from Jerusalem to Jesus and said, “Why do your disciples disobey the tradition of the elders?  For they don’t wash their hands when they eat.”  He answered them, “And why do you disobey the commandment of God because of your tradition?  For God said, ‘Honor your father and mother’ and ‘Whoever insults his father or mother must be put to death.’  But you say, ‘If someone tells his father or mother, “Whatever help you would have received from me is given to God,” he does not need to honor his father.’  You have nullified the word of God on account of your tradition.  Actors (ὑποκριταί, another form of ὑποκριτής), Isaiah prophesied correctly about you when he said, ‘This people honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me, and they worship me in vain, teaching as doctrines the commandments of men.’”

But the president of the synagogue, indignant because Jesus had healed on the Sabbath, said to the crowd, “There are six days on which work should be done!  So come and be healed on those days, and not on the Sabbath day.”  Then the Lord answered him, “You actors (ὑποκριταί, another form of ὑποκριτής), does not each of you on the Sabbath untie his ox or his donkey from its stall, and lead it to water?  Then shouldn’t this woman, a daughter of Abraham whom Satan bound for eighteen long years, be released from this imprisonment on the Sabbath day?”

Since those attempting to serve God by acting are not led by his Holy Spirit, they do not share the mind of Christ but pursue their own agendas (Matthew 22:15-22; Luke 12:54-56 NET):

Then the Pharisees went out and planned together to entrap him with his own words.  They sent to him their disciples along with the Herodians, saying, “Teacher, we know that you are truthful, and teach the way of God in accordance with the truth.  You do not court anyone’s favor because you show no partiality.  Tell us then, what do you think?  Is it right to pay taxes to Caesar or not?”

But Jesus realized their evil intentions and said, “Actors (ὑποκριταί, another form of ὑποκριτής), why are you testing me?  Show me the coin used for the tax.”  So they brought him a denarius.  Jesus said to them, “Whose image is this, and whose inscription?”  They replied, “Caesar’s.”  He said to them, “Then give to Caesar the things that are Caesar’s, and to God the things that are God’s.”  Now when they heard this they were stunned, and they left him and went away.

Jesus also said to the crowds, “When you see a cloud rising in the west, you say at once, ‘A rainstorm is coming,’ and it does.  And when you see the south wind blowing, you say, ‘There will be scorching heat,’ and there is.  You actors (ὑποκριταί, another form of ὑποκριτής), you know how to interpret the appearance of the earth and the sky, but how can you not know how to interpret the present time?”

Jesus described the experts in the law and you Pharisees as actors who keep locking people out of the kingdom of heaven.  For you neither enter nor permit those trying to enter to go in.[10]  You cross land and sea to make one convert, and when you get one, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves.[11]  You give a tenth of mint, dill, and cumin, yet you neglect what is more important in the law – justice, mercy, and faithfulness.  You should have done these things without neglecting the others.[12]   You clean the outside of the cup and the dish, but inside they are full of greed and self-indulgence.  Blind Pharisee, first clean the inside of the cup, so that the outside may become clean too.[13]  You are like whitewashed tombs that look beautiful on the outside but inside are full of the bones of the dead and of everything unclean.  In the same way, on the outside you look righteous to people, but inside you are full of hypocrisy (ὑποκρίσεως, a form of ὑπόκρισις) and lawlessness (ἀνομίας, a form of ἀνομία).[14]  You build tombs for the prophets and decorate the graves of the righteous.[15]

Jesus warned of the consequence of an actor masquerading as a minister of the Gospel (Matthew 24:45-51 NET):

Who then is the faithful and wise slave, whom the master has put in charge of his household, to give the other slaves their food at the proper time?  Blessed is that slave whom the master finds at work when he comes.  I tell you the truth, the master will put him in charge of all his possessions.  But if that evil slave should say to himself, ‘My master is staying away a long time,’ and he begins to beat his fellow slaves and to eat and drink with drunkards, then the master of that slave will come on a day when he does not expect him and at an hour he does not foresee, and will cut him in two, and assign him a place with the actors (ὑποκριτῶν, another form of ὑποκριτής), where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.

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 (ἔπραξεν, a form of πράσσω) while in the body, whether good or evil.[16]  We do not want to appear before the judgment seat of Christ as actors with nothing to show but works (ἔργων, a form of ἔργον) of righteousness that we have done (ἐποιήσαμεν, a form of ποιέω).[17]  We want to have some pattern of behavior that demonstrates we have not ignored his teaching or rejected his salvation, that we have heeded his admonition—above all pursue his kingdom and righteousness[18]—and that each of us is one who practices (ποιῶν, another form of ποιέω) the truth, one who comes to the light, so that it may be plainly evident that [our] deeds (ἔργα, another form of ἔργον) have been done (εἰργασμένα, a form of ἐργάζομαι) in God.[19]

I want to consider another film.  Before I Fall didn’t do very well at the box office.  It’s Groundhog Day as straight-up tragedy.  But I thought it was a deeply moving, poignant film with one fatal flaw.  There are spoilers here for those who are bothered by such things.

Sam (Zoey Deutch), a self-absorbed teenage girl (Samantha), wakes up on the day of her death.  She repeats that day until she gets it right.  “For the first time, when I wake up,” her voiceover says on the last iteration of the last day of her life, “I’m not scared or confused or angry.  Because, for the first time, I truly understand what needs to happen.  I truly understand how to live this day.”  Sam’s transformation from self-absorbed teenage girl to loving daughter, sister and friend is truly breathtaking to behold.

The fatal flaw?  It’s not believable.  And I don’t think Ms. Deutch’s acting is to blame.  Christ-likeness apart from Christ isn’t credible.  Sam’s beautiful transformation is credited to her own knowledge, gained through the experience of repeating the same day over and over (not unlike an actor rehearsing), and her own “big heart.”  And none of us gets to do the same day over and over to acquire such knowledge.  Believers are called to live a new day of love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control everyday forever.

Hypocrisy, by the way, isn’t the unforgivable sin.  Living an honest life of sin is never preferable to acting like the righteous.  If the fruit of the Spirit seems AWOL and the only way to obey God’s law is in one’s own strength—and that is possible—by all means do that.  Just don’t mistake that for the righteousness of God through the faithfulness of Jesus Christ for all who believe.[20]  Open the Bible and search diligently for his righteousness once the immediate crisis has passed—win, lose or draw.

My own search began (for the purpose of this discussion) with the Ten Promises.  Though hearing the Ten Commandments as promises wasn’t exactly the silver bullet I hoped at the time, it did begin to change my attitude toward God and my relationship to Him.  So as a conclusion to this essay I invite the reader to hear his promise (Jeremiah 31:31-34) to all who believe, all who are led by his Spirit: You shall not bear the name of the Lord your God in vain, for the Lord will not hold guiltless anyone who bears his name in vain.

[1] Exodus 20:7 (NET)

[2] Table 1, Forgiven or Passed Over? Part 3

[3] Galatians 5:4 (NET)

[4] Philippians 3:9 (NET)

[5] An excerpt from a video transcript of John Walcutt teaching young actors (all female apparently) follows:

…as you start to, you know, get more into grown up acting, you’re going to be expected to be able to make choices and what that means is, what we started talking about last week where you could look at material and go, “Hmm, what if I did this? What if I looked at it from this point of view? What if I decided that she is guilty? What if I decided, she’s lying?” When you make choices, your work gets interesting…
The lines are only ten percent of a scene, right? We talked about that. The other 90%  is what’s underneath, that’s where you have to make choices so here’s how I want you to think about it. Once you read through a scene and you start to get an idea of what it’s about, understand it. The first thing I want you to ask yourself is, “Who am I? Who am I in this scene? and if you just say… if you make a choice like, “Okay, I’m a girl.” Well that might be an interesting choice for me but for most of you, it’s not going to be an interesting choice. It has to be more specific. I’m a girl who has issues with her dad. I’m a girl who wants to drop out of school because I can’t stand my teachers. I’m, I’m competitive. I’m angry. I’m, I’ve low self esteem. I’m happy-go-lucky, cheerful optimist.
You make the most interesting choices you can. We call them Hot Choices so that, so that the scene starts to pop. So never say, “I’m just a girl.” Never say, “I’m just her friend.” Always make it as interesting and developed and complex as you can. So first thing you ask yourself, “Who am I?” Second thing you ask yourself, “What do I want?” What do I want in this scene, what is my objective?” And always make it about getting something from the other person, as simple as possible and it can change from line to line. Objectives change so I want to make you smile. I want to make you cry, I want to scare you, I want to wake you up, I want you to say, ”I love you.” I want you to laugh. Those are all choices and they determine how you’re going to say your lines…

As actors mature choices may become more personal or more commercial.

[6] Ephesians 4:22-24 (NET)

[7] Acts 5:3a (NET)

[8] Galatians 5:22, 23 (NET)

[9] Luke 12:1b (NET)

[10] Matthew 23:13 (NET)

[11] Matthew 23:15 (NET)

[12] Matthew 23:23 (NET)

[13] Matthew 23:25, 26 (NET)

[14] Matthew 23:27, 28 (NET)

[15] Matthew 23:29 (NET)

[16] 2 Corinthians 5:10 (NET)

[17] Titus 3:5a (NET)

[18] Matthew 6:33a (NET)

[19] John 3:21 (NET)

[20] Romans 3:22a (NET)

Fear – Deuteronomy, Part 8

I was standing between the Lord and you at that time, Moses said to Israel, to reveal to you the message of the Lord (yehôvâh, יהוה), because you were afraid (yârêʼ, יראתם) of the fire and would not go up the mountain.[1]  Then he recounted the ten commandments.  Within them was a fearful description of yehôvâh: I punish the sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons for the sin of the fathers who reject me[2]  And in a footnote (11) the translators made it perfectly clear what form of punishment they had in mind: “God sometimes punishes children for the sins of a father (cf. Num 16:27, 32; Josh 7:24-25; 2 Sam 21:1-9).”  In other words yehôvâh executes the sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons for the sin of the fathers who reject Him.

That’s what I thought.  And that’s why I love the NET.  Apart from its written record I would look back and think I had been completely insane.  It’s not that I had the NET to read when I was young, but that its translators came of age in the same religious milieu as I did.  So in the spirit of fearing the Lord I want to slow way down to consider how they arrived at I punish as a translation of the Hebrew word pâqad (פקד; Septuagint: ἀποδιδοὺς, a form of ἀποδίδωμι).  And this fear is not reverence, but the fear that keeps one from direct intercourse with yehôvâh.  Only Moses risked that, because you were afraid of the fire and would not go up the mountain.

In Exodus 20:5 (NET) pâqad was translated responding.

Form of pâqad Reference KJV NET
פקד Exodus 20:5 visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children… responding to the transgression of fathers by dealing with children…
Deuteronomy 5:9 visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children… I punish the sons, grandsons, and great-grandsons…

I intend to track pâqad, ʽâvôn (עון; translated to the transgression and for the sin) and śânêʼ (לשׁנאי; translated of those who reject me and who reject me) from the beginning to the giving of the law, and then from there to its restatement in Deuteronomy.  I first encountered ʽâvôn from the mouth of Cain after he attacked his brother Abel and killed him.[3]

So now, you are banished from the ground, yehôvâh said to him, which has opened its mouth to receive your brother’s blood from your hand.[4]  Up to that time Cain had cultivated the groundWhen you try to cultivate the ground, yehôvâh continued, it will no longer yield its best for you.  You will be a homeless wanderer on the earth.[5]  Cain lamented (Genesis 4:13b, 14 NET):

My punishment (ʽâvôn, עוני) is too great to endure!  Look!  You are driving me off the land today, and I must hide from your presence.  I will be a homeless wanderer on the earth; whoever finds me will kill me.

Here the translators assumed that Cain lamented his punishment rather than his sin; ʽâvôn can mean both.  When yehôvâh prophesied to Abram the translators assumed the Amorites were not punished in the promised land they inhabited but that the land itself would not be given to Abram’s descendants until the Amorites’ sin reached some predetermined limit (Genesis 15:13b-16 NET):

Know for certain that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign country.  They will be enslaved and oppressed for four hundred years.  But I will execute judgment on the nation that they will serve.  Afterward they will come out with many possessions.  But as for you, you will go to your ancestors in peace and be buried at a good old age.  In the fourth generation your descendants will return here, for the sin (ʽâvôn, עון) of the Amorites has not yet reached its limit.

But Abram/Abraham had no son yet by his wife Sarah (Genesis 17:15-21).

Then God said to Abraham, “As for your wife, you must no longer call her Sarai; Sarah will be her name.  I will bless her and will give you a son through her.  I will bless her and she will become a mother of nations.  Kings of countries will come from her!”

Then Abraham bowed down with his face to the ground and laughed as he said to himself, “Can a son be born to a man who is a hundred years old?  Can Sarah bear a child at the age of ninety?”  Abraham said to God, “O that Ishmael might live before you!”

God said, “No, Sarah your wife is going to bear you a son, and you will name him Isaac.  I will confirm my covenant with him as a perpetual covenant for his descendants after him.  As for Ishmael, I have heard you.  I will indeed bless him, make him fruitful, and give him a multitude of descendants.  He will become the father of twelve princes; I will make him into a great nation.  But I will establish my covenant with Isaac, whom Sarah will bear to you at this set time next year.”

The Lord appeared to Abraham by the oaks of Mamre while he was sitting at the entrance to his tent during the hottest time of the day.  Abraham looked up and saw three men standing across from him.[6]  One of them said, “I will surely return to you when the season comes round again, and your wife Sarah will have a son!”[7]

So Sarah laughed to herself, thinking, “After I am worn out will I have pleasure, especially when my husband is old too?”

The Lord said to Abraham, “Why did Sarah laugh and say, ‘Will I really have a child when I am old?’  Is anything impossible for the Lord?  I will return to you when the season comes round again and Sarah will have a son.”  Then Sarah lied, saying, “I did not laugh,” because she was afraid (yârêʼ, יראה).  But the Lord said, “No!  You did laugh.”[8]

The next occurrence of ʽâvôn involved the judgment and condemnation of Sodom.  At dawn the angels hurried Lot along, saying, “Get going!  Take your wife and your two daughters who are here, or else you will be destroyed when the city is judged (ʽâvôn)!”[9]  Competing values had met at Lot’s front door (Genesis 19:4-9a NET):

Before they could lie down to sleep, all the men – both young and old, from every part of the city of Sodom – surrounded the house.  They shouted to Lot, “Where are the men who came to you tonight?  Bring them out to us so we can have sex with them!”

Lot went outside to them, shutting the door behind him.  He said, “No, my brothers!  Don’t act so wickedly (râʽaʽ, תרעו)!  Look, I have two daughters who have never had sexual relations with a man.  Let me bring them out to you, and you can do to them whatever you please.  Only don’t do anything to these men, for they have come under the protection of my roof.”

“Out of our way!” they cried, and “This man came to live here as a foreigner, and now he dares to judge us!  We’ll do more harm (râʽaʽ, נרע) to you than to them!”

The two angels, yehôvâh’s messengers, didn’t allow the men of Sodom to fulfill their desire, nor did they allow Lot to defile his daughters to fulfill his family’s ideal of hospitality.  They struck the men who were at the door of the house, from the youngest to the oldest, with blindness.[10]   And that brings me to the first occurrence of pâqad.

The Lord visited (pâqad, פקד) Sarah just as he had said he would and did for Sarah what he had promised.[11]  The rabbis who translated the Septuagint chose ἐπεσκέψατο (a form of ἐπισκέπτομαι) here.  I find ἐπεσκέψατο at the beginning of the fulfillment of another promise as well.  The Jerusalem Council listened to Barnabas and Paul while they explained all the miraculous signs and wonders God had done among the Gentiles through them.[12] James replied (Acts 15:13b-18 NET):

“Brothers, listen to me.  Simeon has explained (Acts 15:7-11) how God first concerned himself (ἐπεσκέψατο, a form of ἐπισκέπτομαι) to select from among the Gentiles a people for his name.  The words of the prophets agree with this, as it is written, ‘After this I will return, and I will rebuild the fallen tent of David; I will rebuild its ruins and restore it, so that the rest of humanity may seek the Lord, namely, all the Gentiles I have called to be my own, says the Lord, who makes these things known from long ago.”

James didn’t quote the Septuagint.

Acts 15:16, 17 (NET) Acts 15:16, 17 Parallel Greek Amos 9:11, 12 Septuagint Amos 9:11, 12 NETS
‘After this… μετὰ ταῦτα… ἐν τῇ ἡμέρᾳ ἐκείνῃ… On that day…
…I will return… …ἀναστρέψω…
…and I will rebuild the fallen tent of David… καὶ ἀνοικοδομήσω τὴν σκηνὴν Δαυὶδ τὴν πεπτωκυῖαν ἀναστήσω τὴν σκηνὴν Δαυιδ τὴν πεπτωκυῖαν… …I will raise up the tent of David that is fallen…
…καὶ ἀνοικοδομήσω τὰ πεπτωκότα αὐτῆς… …and rebuild its ruins…
…I will rebuild its ruins… …καὶ τὰ |κατεσκαμμένα| αὐτῆς ἀνοικοδομήσω… …καὶ τὰ κατεσκαμμένα αὐτῆς ἀναστήσω… …and raise up its destruction…
…and restore it… …καὶ ἀνορθώσω αὐτήν… …καὶ ἀνοικοδομήσω αὐτὴν καθὼς αἱ ἡμέραι τοῦ αἰῶνος… …and rebuild it as the days of old…
…so that the rest of humanity may seek the Lord, namely, all the Gentiles I have called to be my own,’ says the Lord, who makes these things… …ὅπως ἂν ἐκζητήσωσιν οἱ κατάλοιποι τῶν ἀνθρώπων τὸν κύριον καὶ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη ἐφ᾿ οὓς ἐπικέκληται τὸ ὄνομα μου ἐπ᾿ αὐτούς, λέγει κύριος ποιῶν ταῦτα… …ὅπως ἐκζητήσωσιν οἱ κατάλοιποι τῶν ἀνθρώπων καὶ πάντα τὰ ἔθνη ἐφ᾽ οὓς ἐπικέκληται τὸ ὄνομά μου ἐπ᾽ αὐτούς λέγει κύριος ὁ θεὸς ὁ ποιῶν ταῦτα… …in order that those remaining of humans and all the nations upon whom my name has been called might seek out me, says the Lord who does these things.

But the Septuagint version of Amos 9:12 is much closer to James’ quotation than the Hebrew from which our Bibles have been translated.

Amos 9:12 (NET) Amos 9:12 (KJV)

Amos 9:12 (Tanakh)

“As a result they will conquer those left in Edom and all the nations subject to my rule.”  The Lord, who is about to do this, is speaking! That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this. That they may possess the remnant of Edom, and of all the heathen, which are called by my name, saith the LORD that doeth this.

The first occurrence of śânêʼ is found in the words with which Rebekah’s family blessed her when she left them to marry Abraham’s and Sarah’s son Isaac: Our sister, may you become the mother of thousands of ten thousands!  May your descendants possess the strongholds of their enemies (śânêʼ).[13]  But enemies as a translation of śânêʼ did not mean open warfare exclusively.  It could include the fear of a potential enemy.  Abimelech said to Isaac, “Leave us and go elsewhere, for you have become much more powerful than we are.”[14]  When Abimelech saw how yehôvâh had blessed Isaac and sought a treaty with him, Isaac asked, Why have you come to me?  You hate (śânêʼ, שׁנאתם) me and sent me away from you. [15]

The Hebrew word śânêʼ was also used to describe personal preference.  Isaac and Rebekah had twin sons, Esau and Jacob.  Jacob married two women, Leah and Rachel.  Rachel was beautiful.  Leah was not.  When evening came Jacob preferred to bed Rachel over Leah.  When the Lord saw that Leah was unloved (śânêʼ, שׁנואה), he enabled her to become pregnant while Rachel remained childless.[16]  She became pregnant again and had another son.  She said, “Because the Lord heard that I was unloved (śânêʼ, שׁנואה), he gave me this one too.”[17]

From the perspective of the word usage of śânêʼ it matters very little whether Leah was a superstitious woman who mistook happenstance for interaction with yehôvâh.  As a matter of faith in yehôvâh it is important to remember that Moses was not afraid of the fire, went up the mountain and spoke directly with Him.  He said of Moses (Numbers 12:6-8a NET):

Hear now my words: If there is a prophet among you, I the Lord (yehôvâh, יהוה) will make myself known to him in a vision; I will speak with him in a dream.  My servant Moses is not like this; he is faithful in all my house.  With him I will speak face to face, openly, and not in riddles; and he will see the form of the Lord (yehôvâh, יהוה).

It was Moses who wrote that yehôvâh saw (râʼâh, וירא) that Leah was unloved and enabled her to become pregnant.  If I believe, the details pulse with life.  Leah concurred with yehôvâh at first: The Lord has looked (râʼâh, ראה) with pity on my oppressed condition,[18] she said when she was not having regular sex with Jacob.  But after she was and had given birth to two sons, Reuben and Simeon, the idea that yehôvâh saw her became less comforting: the Lord heard (shâmaʽ, ושמע) that I was unloved, she amended her statement of faith.

So then faith comes by hearing,[19] Paul wrote the Romans.  The best way to avoid faith in yehôvâh is to avoid the Bible.  Don’t read it for yourself or listen to preaching or teaching from it.  The second best way to avoid faith in yehôvâh is to read the Bible, study it even, listen to plenty of sermons from it, but keep your mind focused on rules for you to obey.  I know.  I did it for years.

With my mind focused on my own compliance, or lack of compliance, to rules derived from the law I missed the grace of God, his gift of righteousness, the fruit of his Spirit.  Although they see they do not see, and although they hear they do not hear nor do they understand,[20] Jesus promised those who trusted their religion, rites and rituals rather than yehôvâhWoe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, He critiqued their labors, hypocrites!  You cross land and sea to make one convert, and when you get one, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves![21]

Elsewhere I called my attempt “to keep yehôvâh’s law in my own strength…an occupational hazard of reading the Old Testament with a willing heart…If yehôvâh said do this or don’t do that, I said okay, and woke up somewhere in the story of David to the fact that I was striving again to keep the law in my own strength, without malice or forethought.”  Jesus read the Old Testament and concluded, You must all be born from above[22] because what is born of the flesh is flesh, and what is born of the Spirit is spirit.[23]  Keeping that in view and remaining open to understanding how He got that out of the Old Testament helps to minimize the “occupational hazard” of studying it.  Another more manual technique has been to deny my suspicions of yehôvâh, to take Him at his word, and to become more suspicious of the motives (1 Timothy 1:5-7) and agendas (Galatians 4:17-31) of those who would dissuade me from trusting his salvation.

Eventually, Rachel had a son, Joseph.  When Joseph’s brothers saw that their father loved him more than any of them, they hated (śânêʼ, וישׁנאו) Joseph and were not able to speak to him kindlyJoseph had a dream, and when he told his brothers about it, they hated (śânêʼ, שׁנא) him even more.[24]  He said to them (Genesis 37:6-8 NET):

“Listen to this dream I had: There we were, binding sheaves of grain in the middle of the field.  Suddenly my sheaf rose up and stood upright and your sheaves surrounded my sheaf and bowed down to it!”  Then his brothers asked him, “Do you really think you will rule over us or have dominion over us?”  They hated (śânêʼ, שׁנא) him even more because of his dream and because of what he said.

Joseph had another dream, and told it to his brothers (Genesis 37:9, 10 NET).

“Look,” he said.  “I had another dream.  The sun, the moon, and eleven stars were bowing down to me.”  When he told his father and his brothers, his father rebuked him, saying, “What is this dream that you had?  Will I, your mother, and your brothers really come and bow down to you?”

Joeseph’s brothers’ śânêʼ was no mere emotion.  They plotted to kill him.  But Reuben, the eldest, talked them down from killing Joseph.  Then Judah said to his brothers (Genesis 37:26-28 NET):

“What profit is there if we kill our brother and cover up his blood?  Come, let’s sell him to the Ishmaelites, but let’s not lay a hand on him, for after all, he is our brother, our own flesh.”  His brothers agreed.  So when the Midianite merchants passed by, Joseph’s brothers pulled him out of the cistern and sold him to the Ishmaelites for twenty pieces of silver.  The Ishmaelites then took Joseph to Egypt.

An Egyptian named Potiphar, an official of Pharaoh and the captain of the guard, purchased [Joseph] from the Ishmaelites who had brought him there (Genesis 39:1b-6a NET).

The Lord (yehôvâh, יהוה) was with Joseph.  He was successful and lived in the household of his Egyptian master.  His master observed that the Lord (yehôvâh, יהוה) was with him and that the Lord (yehôvâh, יהוה) made everything he was doing successful.  So Joseph found favor in his sight and became his personal attendant.  Potiphar appointed (pâqad, ויפקדהו) Joseph overseer of his household and put him in charge of everything he owned.  From the time Potiphar appointed (pâqad, הפקיד) him over his household and over all that he owned, the Lord (yehôvâh, יהוה) blessed the Egyptian’s household for Joseph’s sake.  The blessing of the Lord (yehôvâh, יהוה) was on everything that he had, both in his house and in his fields.  So Potiphar left everything he had in Joseph’s care; he gave no thought to anything except the food he ate.

In the Septuagint these two occurrences of pâqad were translated κατέστησεν and κατασταθῆναι (forms of καθίστημι).  Who then is the faithful and wise slave, Jesus asked, whom the master has put in charge (κατέστησεν, a form of καθίστημι) of his household, to give the other slaves their food at the proper time?  Blessed is that slave whom the master finds at work when he comes.  I tell you the truth, the master will put him in charge (καταστήσει, another form of καθίστημι) of all his possessions.[25]

I’ll pick this up in another essay.  The tables I’ve used here follow.

Form of pâqad Reference KJV NET
פקד Genesis 21:1 And the LORD visited Sarah as he had… The Lord visited Sarah just as he had said…
Genesis 50:24 …and God will surely visit you… …But God will surely come to you…
Genesis 50:25 …God will surely visit you… ..God will surely come to you…
Exodus 3:16 …I have surely visited you… …I have attended carefully to you…
Exodus 4:31 …they heard that the LORD had visited …heard that the Lord had attended to…
Exodus 13:19 …God will surely visit you… …God will surely attend to you…
Exodus 20:5 visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children… responding to the transgression of fathers by dealing with children…
ויפקדהו Genesis 39:4 …and he made him overseer over his… Potiphar appointed Joseph overseer of…
הפקיד Genesis 39:5 …he had made him overseer in his house… Potiphar appointed him over his…
ויפקד Genesis 40:4 charged Joseph with them… appointed Joseph to be their attendant…
Genesis 41:34 …and let him appoint officers over the… he should appoint officials throughout…
יפקד Genesis 50:24 …and God will surely visit you …But God will surely come to you
Genesis 50:25 …God will surely visit you ..God will surely come to you
Exodus 13:19 …God will surely visit you… …God will surely attend to you…
פקדתי Exodus 3:16 I have surely visited you… I have attended carefully to you…
Form of ʽâvôn Reference KJV NET
עוני Genesis 4:13 My punishment is greater than I can bear. My punishment is too great to endure!
עון Genesis 15:16 …for the iniquity of the Amorites is not… …for the sin of the Amorites has not yet…
Genesis 44:16 …found out the iniquity of thy servants… …God has exposed the sin of your servants!
Exodus 20:5 …visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children… …responding to the transgression of fathers…
בעון Genesis 19:15 …be consumed in the iniquity of the city. …will be destroyed when the city is judged!
Form of śânêʼ Reference KJV NET
שׁנאיו Genesis 24:60 …possess the gate of those which hate …possess the strongholds of their enemies.
שׁנאתם Genesis 26:27 …ye hate me, and have sent me away… You hate me and sent me away from you.
שׁנואה Genesis 29:31 …the LORD saw that Leah was hated …the Lord saw that Leah was unloved
Genesis 29:33 …the LORD hath heard that I was hated …the Lord heard that I was unloved
וישׁנאו Genesis 37:4 they hated him, and could not speak… they hated Joseph and were not able to…
שׁנא Genesis 37:5 …and they hated him yet the more. they hated him even more.
Genesis 37:8 And they hated him yet the more for his… They hated him even more because of his…
שׁנאינו Exodus 1:10 …they join also unto our enemies …will ally themselves with our enemies
שׁנאי Exodus 18:21 …men of truth, hating covetousness… …men of truth, those who hate bribes…
לשׁנאי Exodus 20:5 …generation of them that hate me …generations of those who reject me

Fear – Deuteronomy, Part 9

Back to Fear – Deuteronomy, Part 10

Back to Fear – Deuteronomy, Part 11

[1] Deuteronomy 5:5 (NET)

[2] Deuteronomy 5:9b (NET)

[3] Genesis 4:8b (NET)

[4] Genesis 4:11 (NET)

[5] Genesis 4:12 (NET)

[6] Genesis 18:1, 2a (NET)

[7] Genesis 18:10a (NET)

[8] Genesis 18:12-15 (NET)

[9] Genesis 19:15 (NET) בעון

[10] Genesis 19:11a (NET)

[11] Genesis 21:1 (NET)

[12] Acts 15:12 (NET)

[13] Genesis 24:60 (NET) שׁנאיו

[14] Genesis 26:16 (NET)

[15] Genesis 26:27 (NET)

[16] Genesis 29:31 (NET)

[17] Genesis 29:33a (NET)

[18] Genesis 29:32a (NET)

[19] Romans 10:17a (NKJV)

[20] Matthew 13:13b (NET)

[21] Matthew 23:15 (NET)

[22] John 3:7b (NET)

[23] John 3:6 (NET)

[24] Genesis 37:4, 5 (NET)

[25] Matthew 24:45-47 (NET)

Son of God – John, Part 3

This is round two of my attempt to determine whether that the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light[1] is the judgment/condemnation God did not send his Son into the world to do[2] and has been done already to the one who does not believe,[3] or the basis for judging,[4] and the rationale or justification for another unspecified judgment/condemnation.  Secondly, assuming that this unspecified judgment/condemnation is to burn in hell for all eternity, I am attempting to discover whether John 3:16-21 offers any scriptural support for the gospel I was socialized into: believe in the Lord Jesus Christ or burn in hell for all eternity.

Jesus certainly taught his disciples about hell (γέεννα).[5]  The note in the NET provides a brief historical sketch: “The word translated hell is ‘Gehenna’ (γέεννα, geenna), a Greek transliteration of the Hebrew words ge hinnom (‘Valley of Hinnom’). This was the valley along the south side of Jerusalem. In OT times it was used for human sacrifices to the pagan god Molech (cf. Jer 7:31; 19:5-6; 32:35), and it came to be used as a place where human excrement and rubbish were disposed of and burned. In the intertestamental period, it came to be used symbolically as the place of divine punishment (cf. 1 En. 27:2, 90:26; 4 Ezra 7:36).”

Jesus said, fear the one who is able to destroy both soul and body in hell.[6]  Fear the one who, after the killing, has authority to throw you into hell.  Yes, I tell you, fear him![7]  Woe to you, experts in the law and you Pharisees, hypocrites!  You cross land and sea to make one convert, and when you get one, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves![8]  You snakes, you offspring of vipers!  How will you escape being condemned to hell?[9]

He made the following comparisons:  It is better to lose one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into hell.[10]  It is better for you to enter into life crippled than to have two hands and go into hell, to the unquenchable fire.[11]  It is better to enter life lame than to have two feet and be thrown into hell.[12]  It is better for you to enter into life with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into fiery hell.[13]  It is better to enter into the kingdom of God with one eye than to have two eyes and be thrown into hell, where their worm never dies and the fire is never quenched.[14]  And finally Jesus said, whoever says “Fool” will be sent to fiery hell.[15]

That is some strong language.  It lends credence to the NET translation, Now this is the basis for judging: that the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light[16]  After all, this section begins with the statement that God gave his one and only Son, so that everyone who believes in him will not perish but have eternal life.[17]  The Greek word translated willperish is ἀπόληται (a form of ἀπόλλυμι).[18]  (The negation is μὴ.)  One of the metaphorical definitions of ἀπόληται according to the NET online Bible is: “1e) metaph. to devote or give over to eternal misery in hell.”  It is translated lose in Matthew 5:29, 30 (NET).

If your right eye causes you to sin, tear it out and throw it away!  It is better to lose (ἀπόληται) one of your members than to have your whole body thrown into hell.  If your right hand causes you to sin, cut it off and throw it away!  It is better to lose (ἀπόληται) one of your members than to have your whole body go into hell.

It was translated be lost in the parable of the lost sheep (Matthew 18:10, 12-14 NET).

See that you do not disdain one of these little ones [who believe in me[19]].  For I tell you that their angels in heaven always see the face of my Father in heaven…What do you think?  If someone owns a hundred sheep and one of them goes astray, will he not leave the ninety-nine on the mountains and go look for the one that went astray?  And if he finds it, I tell you the truth, he will rejoice more over it than over the ninety-nine that did not go astray.  In the same way, your Father in heaven is not willing (οὐκ[20] ἔστιν[21] θέλημα[22]) that one of these little ones be lost (ἀπόληται).

It was translated will perish when Jesus foretold his disciples’ future (Luke 21:10-19 NET):

Nation will rise up in arms against nation, and kingdom against kingdom.  There will be great earthquakes, and famines and plagues in various places, and there will be terrifying sights and great signs from heaven.  But before all this, they will seize you and persecute you, handing you over to the synagogues and prisons.  You will be brought before kings and governors because of my name.  This will be a time for you to serve as witnesses.  Therefore be resolved not to rehearse ahead of time how to make your defense.  For I will give you the words along with the wisdom that none of your adversaries will be able to withstand or contradict.  You will be betrayed even by parents, brothers, relatives, and friends, and they will have some of you put to death.  You will be hated by everyone because of my name.  Yet not a hair of your head will perish (ἀπόληται).  By your endurance you will gain your lives.

When they were all satisfied, after Jesus fed 5,000 or more people with five loaves of bread and two fish, Jesus said to his disciples, “Gather up the broken pieces that are left over, so that nothing is wasted (ἀπόληται).”[23]  But ἀπόληται was translated to perish once again in John’s Gospel when Caiaphas prophesied (John 11:49-53 NET).

Then one of them, Caiaphas, who was high priest that year, said, “You know nothing at all!  You do not realize that it is more to your advantage to have one man die for the people than for the whole nation to perish (ἀπόληται).”  (Now he did not say this on his own, but because he was high priest that year, he prophesied that Jesus was going to die for the Jewish nation, and not for the Jewish nation only, but to gather together into one the children of God who are scattered.)  So from that day they planned together to kill him.

“He was led like a sheep to slaughter, and like a lamb before its shearer is silent, so he did not open his mouth.  In humiliation justice (κρίσις)[24] was taken from him.  Who can describe his posterity?  For his life was taken away from the earth.”[25]  This was the passage from Isaiah that the Ethiopian eunuch read (aloud presumably) when Philip was led by the Holy Spirit to accompany his chariot on the road from Jerusalem to Gaza.  Then the eunuch said to Philip, “Please tell me, who is the prophet saying this about – himself or someone else?”  So Philip started speaking, and beginning with this scripture proclaimed the good news about Jesus to him.[26]

This translation of κρίσις as justice leads me back to the translation of κρίσις as the basis for judging, for what is justice if not a basis for judging?  Now this is the basis for judging: that the light has come into the world and people loved the darkness rather than the light, because their deeds were evil.[27]  Viewed this way people were not condemned to be given over to eternal misery in hell because they loved the darkness rather than the light, but because loving the darkness rather than the light demonstrated that their deeds were evil.  For everyone who does evil deeds hates the light and does not come to the light, so that their deeds will not be exposed.  But the one who practices the truth comes to the light, so that it may be plainly evident that his deeds have been done in God.[28]

One of the definitions of πονηρὰ (a form of πονηρός),[29] the word translated evil in verse 19, is “evil wicked, bad.”  And one of the definitions of φαῦλα (a form of φαῦλος),[30] the word translated evil deeds in verse 20, is “bad, base, wicked.”

Son of God – John, Part 4


[1] John 3:19 (NET)

[2] John 3:17 (NET)

[3] John 3:18 (NET)

[4] John 3:19 (NET)

[6] Matthew 10:28 (NET)

[7] Luke 12:5 (NET)

[8] Matthew 23:15 (NET)

[9] Matthew 23:33 (NET)

[10] Matthew 5:29, 30 (NET)

[11] Mark 9:43 (NET)

[12] Mark 9:45 (NET)

[13] Matthew 18:9 (NET)

[14] Mark 9:47, 48 (NET)

[15] Matthew 5:22 (NET)

[16] John 3:19 (NET)

[17] John 3:16 (NET)

[23] John 6:12 (NET)

[25] Acts 8:32, 33 (NET)

[26] Acts 8:34, 35 (NET)

[27] John 3:19 (NET)

[28] John 3:20, 21 (NET)

You Must Be Gentle, Part 2

Neither Alexander or his evil stepfather appear during the whipping sequence in “Fanny and Alexander.”  The whipping was implied with a sound effect and a series of close-ups of the witnesses.   There was nothing titillating for a spankophile (though Justine’s pained expression was ambiguous and difficult for me to read).  There was no homoeroticism.  There was nothing to distract one from the bitter irony of a man who, in the guise of punishment for lying, bullied and tortured a boy into a false confession.

Alexander made a brave, if short-lived, stand against confessing something he didn’t believe.  One stroke of the cane later he caved like a little girl.  Frankly, I was embarrassed for Alexander.  The boy Jose in “For Greater Glory” was tortured to death rather than deny his support for the Cristeros, who rebelled against Mexico during Plutarco Elías Calles’ persecution of the Catholic Church.  To be fair, Jose may have been based on a real boy strengthened by the Spirit of God.

Alexander, though Bergman’s alter-ego in the movie, was a fictional character whose reactions were dictated by the writer/director’s rhetorical or dramatic needs.  The pyrrhic victory of Alexander’s evil stepfather stands as a brilliant illustration of Jesus’ warning to hypocrites, You cross land and sea to make one convert, and when you get one, you make him twice as much a child of hell as yourselves![1]  The real Ingmar Bergman, as far as I know, rejected his real father’s Lutheran faith with as much vigor as Jose refused to forswear himself.

It got me thinking about growing up in the cult of boyhood.  The cult derides a boy who can’t take it, whether pain or derision.  It lauds a boy who runs at full speed, throws his body down, and slides through dirt and gravel, to be called “safe.”  Bruises and blood are marks of honor.  Tears are forbidden.  The only acceptable response to pain is swearing or responding in kind, returning blow for blow.  Boys are little soldiers in training.  Anyone attempting to use physical pain to force a boy to forswear himself should be prepared for the violence that may require.

I have no idea if Erik Bergman treated his son Ingmar as ruthlessly as the evil stepfather treated Alexander.  I only know that any attempt to produce faith and repentance in another through bullying and torture is a folly of the religious mind.  Faith and repentance come from the Holy Spirit.

Or do you have contempt for the wealth of his kindness, forbearance, and patience, and yet do not know (ἀγνοῶν, a form of ἀγνοέω)[2] that God’s kindness leads you to repentance (μετάνοιαν, a form of μετάνοια)?[3]  And Paul counseled Timothy, the Lord’s slave must not engage in heated disputes but be kind toward all, an apt teacher, patient, correcting opponents with gentleness (πραΰτητι, a form of πραΰτης).[4]  Perhaps God will grant them repentance (μετάνοιαν, a form of μετάνοια) and then knowledge (ἐπίγνωσιν, a form of ἐπίγνωσις)[5] of the truth[6]

As the ghost of Alexander’s “good” father said, “You must be gentle with people, Alexander.”  And gentleness is an aspect of the fruit of the Spirit: the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness (πραΰτης), and self-control.  Against such things there is no law.[7]

 


[1] Matthew 23:15 (NET)

[3] Romans 2:4 (NET)

[6] 2 Timothy 2:24, 25 (NET)

[7] Galatians 5:22, 23 (NET)