Greek text argument


#1

I’ve been to a lot of Presbyterian services, RUF(Reformed University Fellowship), and I have a lot of Presbyterian friends. Something I’ve noticed is that Presbyterians very often refer to “the greek text”. For example, when I read John 3:16 --“For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son,[a] that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”-- to a Calvinist friend of mine, she made the comment that in the original Greek text, “the world” could mean either everyone in the world or everyone in the world that is a Christian. This Greek translation supported her argument that God sends people to Hell.

I don’t hear Catholics quoting Greek translations nearly as often as protestants and I would like to know why that is. Also, the Calvinist friend seems to think that the reason Catholics don’t use the greek as much is because we are avoiding the true meaning of scripture. Any thoughts on any of that?


#2

I’ve heard Catholic priests during homilies mention what the Greek words say, and Catholic scholars like Scott Hahn and Pope Benedict frequently use the Greek meanings of words. The Ignatius Study Bible commentaries are filled with it. Lots of Protestant denominations use them too – the Lutheran pastors I’ve heard in sermons and Bible studies often refer to the Greek. Lutheran pastors are required to know Biblical Greek and Biblical Hebrew before they can be ordained. I don’t know about Catholic priests or other denominations.

I took 1 semester of Koine Greek (street Greek from Bible times) and saw firsthand how getting a straight-from-the-Greek word study could illuminate meanings in scripture – especially connotations of words given their placement in sentence OR references to when and where the same Greek word was used elsewhere in scripture – that simply wouldn’t be possible using an English translation. So it certainly can be helpful. Like any other tool, though, it can be misapplied, and even understandings of what Greek words mean can differ among scholars in some instances. I’m no expert, but that’s what I know. :slight_smile:

MarkAA :thumbsup:


#3

I think our Greek Catholic brothers would be heartily amused by this notion!


#4

I had three years of NT Greek. Most of our tests and assignments involved translating various passages. I finally came to the conclusion that as much as I enjoyed it on an intellectual level, there was really little to be gained by using the Greek over a good translation, or multiple translations. After all, the translations represented better scholarship than I possessed and the synthesis of multiple minds.

I know on occasion the translation may lack a little nuance or be misunderstood in English, but I think a good translation is sufficient 99% of the time. Besides, as Catholics, we always have the Catechism as a failsafe against faulty individual translation.


#5

So did ANY of you learn that the greek reveals that “hell”, defined as a place of eternal torture by most churches, does not even exist?

How about the fact that there is NO word that means ETERNITY or FOREVER? Did you get that far? Or do you chose to ignore it because your “church” leader teaches you the contrary?


#6

So do you think heaven is real? And if so, will we die in heaven?


#7

Greek is a language, not a theology. You can not make it more than it is. If you wish to go off on some weird tangent or agenda, then start a thread on that. No two languages have a one-to-one correspondance in vocabulary, so nothing can be proved or disproved by the existence or lack of certain words.


#8

While I have found that an examination of the Greek of the New Testament lends support to the annihilationist theory, it is inaccurate to state that it ‘reveals’ this, as the issue still depends upon the interpretation of such passages as Mark 9:43-48. The text is infufficiently explicit to conclude that a hundred generations of Christians have all been too stupid to realise what was written on the page in front of them.

How about the fact that there is NO word that means ETERNITY or FOREVER? Did you get that far? Or do you chose to ignore it because your “church” leader teaches you the contrary?

Both αιων and αει are used within and outside of the Bible texts to denote the concept of ‘time without end’, i.e., ‘eternity’ or ‘forever’, as you will see if you examine the other references in the LSJ entries, but I probably only think this because several hundred professors and doctors of Greek tell me so.


#9

κοσμος is a very broad term, because it is a derivative of the verb κομεω, ‘arrange in order’. As such, it also covers decorations and ornaments. One hopes that this theology was not based upon one possible reading of one word in one verse.

I don’t hear Catholics quoting Greek translations nearly as often as protestants and I would like to know why that is. Also, the Calvinist friend seems to think that the reason Catholics don’t use the greek as much is because we are avoiding the true meaning of scripture. Any thoughts on any of that?

Imagine not having the Magisterium. Imagine that there is no one who can dependably explain any aspect of theology. Imagine that you have this fat, old book as the one and only genuine source of any knowledge about anything spiritual. How much more time would you spend studying it?

Protestants, on average, spend more time studying the Scriptures because they need to; thus, they spend more time studying the source languages of the translations, in order to attempt to come closer to the True Meaning of the words.


#10

Catholics don’t quote so often from the greek because the greek is not necessarily infallible. Sometimes the best manuscripts we have are fourth and fifth generation copies. Sometimes the originals were in Hebrew.

Sometimes what is written in Greek is a week translation from the words that were spoken (Aramaic).

The fullness of the Gospel was deposited to the Church, not to a book, or any collection of variously ancient writings. We need the magisterium to teach what the Scriptures say and mean.


#11

Lets look at what a greek scholar really says about John 3:16

Robertson’s Word Pictures of the New Testament

For so (outwß gar). This use of gar is quite in John’s style in introducing his comments ( 2:25; 4:8; 5:13, etc.). This “Little Gospel” as it is often called, this “comfortable word” (the Anglican Liturgy), while not a quotation from Jesus is a just and marvellous interpretation of the mission and message of our Lord. In verses 16-21 John recapitulates in summary fashion the teaching of Jesus to Nicodemus. Loved (hgaphsen). First aorist active indicative of agapaw, the noble word so common in the Gospels for the highest form of love, used here as often in John ( 14:23; 17:23; 1 John 3:1; 1 John 4:10) of God’s love for man (cf. 2 Thessalonians 2:16; Romans 5:8; Ephesians 2:4). In 21:15 John presents a distinction between agapaw and pilew. Agapaw is used also for love of men for men ( 13:34), for Jesus ( 8:42), for God (1 John 4:10). **The world (ton kosmon). The whole cosmos of men, including Gentiles, the whole human race. This universal aspect of God’s love appears also in 2 Corinthians 5:19; Romans 5:8. That he gave (wste edwken). **The usual classical construction with wste and the indicative (first aorist active) practical result, the only example in the N.T. save that in Galatians 2:13. Elsewhere wste with the infinitive occurs for actual result (Matthew 13:32) as well as purpose (Matthew 10:1), though even this is rare. His only begotten Son (ton uion ton monogenh). “The Son the only begotten.” For this word see on Matthew 1:14,18; Matthew 3:18. The rest of the sentence, the purpose clause with ina-ech precisely reproduces the close of Matthew 3:15 save that eiß auton takes the place of en autwi (see Matthew 1:12) and goes certainly with pisteuwn (not with ech as en autwi in verse 3:15) and the added clause “should not perish but” (mh apolhtai alla, second aorist middle subjunctive, intransitive, of apollumi, to destroy). The same contrast between “perish” and “eternal life” (for this world and the next) appears also in 10:28. On “perish” see also 17:12.

bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries/RobertsonsWordPictures/rwp.cgi?book=joh&chapter=003&verse=016&next=017&prev=015

bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries/RobertsonsWordPictures/

Her interpretation comes from

John Gill’s Exposition of the Bible

John 3:16

For God so loved the world…

**The Persic version reads “men”: but not every man in the world is here meant, or all the individuals of human nature; for all are not the objects of God’s special love, which is here designed, as appears from the instance and evidence of it, the gift of his Son: **nor is Christ God’s gift to every one; for to whomsoever he gives his Son, he gives all things freely with him; which is not the case of every man. Nor is human nature here intended, in opposition to, and distinction from, the angelic nature; for though God has showed a regard to fallen men, and not to fallen angels, and has provided a Saviour for the one, and not for the other; and Christ has assumed the nature of men, and not angels; yet not for the sake of all men, but the spiritual seed of Abraham; and besides, it will not be easily proved, that human nature is ever called the world: nor is the whole body of the chosen ones, as consisting of Jews and Gentiles, here designed; for though these are called the world, (John 6:33,51) ; and are the objects of God’s special love, and to them Christ is given, and they are brought to believe in him, and shall never perish, but shall be saved with an everlasting salvation; yet rather the Gentiles particularly, and God’s elect among them, are meant; who are often called “the world”, and “the whole world”, and “the nations of the world”, as distinct from the Jews; see (Romans 11:12,15) (1 John 2:2) (Luke 12:30) , compared with (Matthew 6:32) . The Jews had the same distinction we have now, the church and the world; the former they took to themselves, and the latter they gave to all the nations around: hence we often meet with this distinction, Israel, and the nations of the world; on those words,

bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries/GillsExpositionoftheBible/gil.cgi?book=joh&chapter=003&verse=016&next=017&prev=015

bible.crosswalk.com/Commentaries/GillsExpositionoftheBible/

So, a very well known Greek scholar says world means, The “whole cosmos [universe] of men, including Gentiles, the whole human race” and a calvinist comentator ( John Gill ) does back flips to deny that.

Notice that Gill appeals to the “Persic version” which is in the Persian language which is arabic, not Greek.


#12

As a realm, not some physical place like most of the “world” [Christendom] teaches.

Will we die in heaven? It can get confusing to most because the lake of fire [resurrection to judgement] is referred to as the second death…

But as for the cowardly, the faithless, the detestable, as for murderers, the sexually immoral, sorcerers, idolaters, and all liars, their portion will be in the lake that burns with fire and sulfur, which is the second death." (Revelation 21:8)

This though is only a spiritual death because we clearly are resurrected “immortal”…

**For this perishable body must put on the imperishable, and this mortal body must put on immortality. (1 Corinthians 15:53)

When the perishable puts on the imperishable, and the mortal puts on immortality, then shall come to pass the saying that is written: “Death is swallowed up in victory.” (1 Corinthians 15:54)**

Immortality is DEATHLESSNESS…

athanasia
ath-an-as-ee’-ah
From a compound of G1 (as a negative particle) and G2288; deathlessness: - immortality.

This also answers why there is NO WORD in Hebrew or Greek Scripture that REALLY means eternity or forever despite what lying spirits would have you to believe.


#13

See Matthew 25:46 and remember a word gets its meaning from its context.

Anyway, if catholic brothern want to use greek, get a copy of

A Grammatical Analysis of the Greek New Testament
by Max Zerwick, Mary Grosvenor


#14

So you want me to believe that God will ETERNALLY punish His creation by BURNING THEM IN FIRE because you don’t understand translation? In other words, I AM THE BAD GUY because I know that God has NO INTENTION of torturing ANYONE “forever”. Which of us understands God is love?


#15

Wrong my friend. VERY WRONG.

The New Testament in Modern Speech, by Dr. R. F. Weymouth:

Eternal: Greek: “aeonion,” i.e., “of the ages.” Etymologically this adjective, like others similarly formed, does not signify “during,” but “belong to” the aeons or ages."

The Interpreter’s Dictionry of the Bible (vol. IV, p. 643):

Time: The O.T. and the N.T. are not acquainted with the conception of eternity as timelessness. The O.T. has not developed a special term for “eternity.” The word aion originally meant “vital force,” “life,” then “age,” “lifetime.”

Elliot’s Commentary on the Whole Bible (Matt. 25:46).

Everlasting punishment–life eternal. The two adjectives represent the same Greek word, aionios—it must be admitted that the Greek word which is rendered “eternal” does not, in itself, involve endlessness, but rather, duration, whether through an age or succession of ages, and that it is therefore applied in the N.T. to periods of time that have had both a beginning and ending (Rom. 16:25).

Hasting’s Dictionary of the New Testament (Vol. I, p. 542, art. Christ and the Gospels):

Eternity. There is no word either in the O.T. Hebrew or the N.T. Greek to express the abstract idea of eternity. (Vol. III, p. 369): Eternal, everlasting—nonetheless “eternal” is misleading, inasmuch as it has come in the English to connote the idea of “endlessly existing,” and thus to be practically a synonym for “everlasting.” But this is not an adequate rendering of aionios which varies in meaning with the variations of the noun aion from which it comes. (p. 370)

The large Catholic Bible dictionary, The Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible (p. 693):

ETERNITY: The Bible hardly speaks of eternity in the philosophical sense of infinite duration without beginning or end. The Hebrew word olam, which is used alone (Ps. 61:8; etc.) or with various prepositions (Gen. 3:22; etc.) in contexts where it is traditionally translated as ‘forever,’ means in itself no more than ‘for an indefinitely long period." Thus me olam does not mean ‘from eternity’ but ‘of old’ Gen. 6:4; etc.). In the N.T. aion is used as the equivalent of olam. (Note: even the Catholic translators of The Jerusalem Bible and The New American Bible have failed to heed the scholarship of their own Catholic authorities.)

Dr. R. F. Weymouth, a translator who was adept in Greek, states in The New Testament in Modern Speech (p. 657), Eternal, Greek aeonion, i.e., of the ages: Etymologically this adjective, like others similarly formed does not signify, “during” but “belonging to” the aeons or ages.

**Dr. Marvin Vincent, Word Studies of the New Testament (Vol. IV, p. 59). **The adjective aionios in like manner carries the idea of time. Neither the noun nor the adjective in themselves carries the sense of “endless” or "everlasting.’ Anionios means enduring through or pertaining to a period of time.

Dr. F. W. Farrar, author of The Life of Christ and The Life and Word of St. Paul, as well as books about Greek grammar and syntax, writes in The Eternal Hope (p. 198),

“That the adjective is applied to some things which are ‘endless’ does not, of course, for one moment prove that the word itself meant ‘endless;’ and to introduce this rendering into many passages would be utterly impossible and absurd.”

Just because a word translated WRONGLY can still make sense does NOT justify doing so. Perchance someone might wish to translate Mark 9:41 as follows:

“For whosoever shall give you a GLASS OF ICE COLD LEMONADE to drink in my name… shall not lose his reward.”

Does not the verse make equal SENSE as when it is correctly translated “A CUP OF WATER?” Yes it does, but that is NOT what the Holy Spirit inspired to be preserved for us. Hence, “a glass of ice cold lemonade” is wrong, just as translating Rom. 16:26 as “the everlasting God,” is wrong.

The Holy Spirit inspired the word aionios, which translated to our English equivalent “eonian,” and this is how it must be translated if we are to be faithful to God’s Word.


#16

Hey, did you catch this one??

The large Catholic Bible dictionary, The Encyclopedic Dictionary of the Bible (p. 693):

ETERNITY: The Bible hardly speaks of eternity in the philosophical sense of infinite duration without beginning or end. The Hebrew word olam, which is used alone (Ps. 61:8; etc.) or with various prepositions (Gen. 3:22; etc.) in contexts where it is traditionally translated as ‘forever,’ means in itself no more than ‘for an indefinitely long period." **Thus me olam does not mean ‘from eternity’ but ‘of old’ **Gen. 6:4; etc.).

In the N.T. aion is used as the equivalent of olam. (Note: even the Catholic translators of The Jerusalem Bible and The New American Bible have failed to heed the scholarship of their own Catholic authorities.)


#17

The translation of what? You have yet to tell me what verse supports your earlier claim that:

[FONT=Comic Sans MS]So did ANY of you learn that the greek reveals that “hell”, defined as a place of eternal torture by most churches, does not even exist?

In what verse does the Greek language reveal this? [/FONT]

In any case, I don’t expect you to believe anything taught by the Catholic Church if you are not Catholic. No one is calling you “the BAD GUY”.

BTW - it is highly inappropiate and judgemental to make such statements like “we chose to ignore” or “do not undertand” this thing or that. You do not know me from Adam. Before you proclaim your knowledge of God’s nature (

(I AM THE BAD GUY because I know that God has NO INTENTION of torturing ANYONE “forever”. Which of us understands God is love?)

and my lack of understanding, it is better to understand from the inside than to have one’s theology all in a row.


#18

The New Testament was originally written in Koine Greek. The use of Latin is what the RCC has traditionally used, since the RCC is based in Rome and Latin was the language commonly used when the RCC was established.

I personally perfer Koin Greek when trying to figure out the meaning of specific verses, since it’s so much closer to the original manuscripts.


#19

Given a disagreement between the LSJ and any other dictionary of Greek, the weight of academic trust will always fall to the LSJ, owing to its unparalleled scope and methodological rigour. Given a disagreement between the LSJ and Louis Alcott, few serious scholars would waste much time on the issue. Now we shall see why:

και νυν μηποτε εκτεινηι την χειρα και λαβνι του ξυλου της ζωης και φαγη και ζησεται εις τον αιωνα
LXX Ge 3:22
Is God concerned that man will live ‘a really long time’?

εξελεξατο κυριος την Σιων,
ηιρετισατο αυτην εις κατιοκιαν 'εαυτωι
’Αυτη η καταπαυσις μου εις αιωνα αιωνος,
'ωδε κατοικησω 'οτι 'ηιρετισαμην αυτην
LXX Ps 131:13-4
Is God’s love only temporary?

καθαπερ ουν αυτο τυνχανει ζωιον αιδιον ον, και τοδε το παν 'ουτως εισ δυναμιν επεχειρησε τοιουτον αποτελειν. ‘Η μεν ουν του ζωιου φυσις ετυνχανεν ουσα αιωνιος, και τουτο μεν δη τωι γεννητωι παντηλως προσαπτειν ουκ ην δυνατον. εικω δ’ επενοει κινητον τινα αιωνος ποιησαι, και διακοσμων 'αμα ουρανον ποιει μενοντος αιωνος εν ‘ενι κατ’ αριθμον ιουσαν αιωνιον εικονα
Plato, Timaios 37d
Note particularly the equation of αιων with αιδιος.

πολεως εστι θανατος αναστατον γενεσθαι… 'ως 'απαξ 'υπο των 'ελληνων κατεσηαφη, τον αιωνα αοικητος εστι
Lycurgus, Against Leocrates 61-2, using Troy as an example.

Μηκετι εκ σου καρπος γενηται εις τον αιωνα.
Mt 21:19
Μηκετι εις τον αιωνα εκ σου μηδεις καρπον φαγοι.
Mk 11:14
Jesus to the fig tree. Note especially the emphatic triple in Mark.

Εγω ειμι 'ο αρτος 'ο εκ του ουρανου καταπας. Εαν τις φαγηι εκ τουτου του αρτου ζησει εις τον αιωνα
John 6:51
No eternal life, you say?

Ιησους, κατα την ταξιν Mελχισεδεκ αρχιερευς γενομενος εις τον αιωνα
Hebrews 6:10 (and c.f. 7:17, 21 and 24)
Was this temporary?

'ο κοσμος παραγεται και 'η επιθυμια αυτου, 'ο δε ποιων το θελημα του θεου μενει εις τον αιωνα
1 John 2:17
See also John 14:16, 2 Corinthians 9:9, 1 Peter 1:25, 2 John 1:2, Jude 1:13, et cetera plurima.

Further, I have only been referring to examples of αιων in the singular, and omitting the compound αιωνες αιωνων, which is also very common.

I could go on from here to demonstrate the number of early Church Fathers, native speakers and writers of κοινη, who did believe in eternal life, eternal punishment, eternal righteousness and an eternal God, but the fact that αιων is indeed used to refer to perpetuity is quite clear, and Alcott never seems to have even noticed αει. Forget Alcott; trust the text.


#20

God is Love. There is a Hell for those who die at enmity with God. I might, you might, any of us might - faith in the Love of God is what keeps us from trusting in our own non-existent strength & virtue: He is strong, we are not. God cannot possibly be false to us, for He is wholly faithful to His words - but we are all too easily capable of being false to Him :frowning:

Man is capable of sin, and therefore, capable of finding God to be his worst nightmare - because our unrighteousness can have no communion with the Glorious Righteousness of God. Such a thing is wholly impossible - it would destroy sinners, if they encountered it, because they are utterly unclean & it is wholly pure. But God is so merciful that He does not insist that those who hate Him should be exposed to the brightness of His Glory in Heaven - he gives them Hell instead, because that is what they wanted. Nobody is in Hell without having wanted to be - it is a bolt-hole in which they hide from God. It is all they will allow God to give them.

The problem is, ISTM, that you’re remembering that God is Love, but not remembering that man is capable of wickedness, of sin. The least sin is a sin, it is sinful, which is why it is a sin - it is therefore the worst thing there could ever be. It deserves Hell. The really amazing thing is that God is so immorally, indecently, unethically patient with us sinners. It doesn’t make sense, that we sin and sin and sin, yet are not destroyed. Yet so it is. Damnation is richly deserved - nothing could be more utterly just than that those who hate God should be punished for their folly, rebellion, perversity, cruelty, wickedness. It is **good **that there is a Hell - it is an appalling evil that we should sin.


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