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Sunday, May 21, 2006

Bible Contradictions addendum

Short post for Sunday. As a follow-up to the Contradictions post I want to mention a couple of other things.

There are no chapters and verses in the original language of the Bible

We have added these to our Bibles but the orginal did not have such distinctions. Having chapter and verse helps us locate things in the Bible but it was not inspired by God at all. Don't allow these divisions to have the slightest effect on how you understand the text.

The Bible was not written in English

The Bible was written in Hebrew, in Aramaic and in Koine Greek. None of those languages are English. So when we read the Bible, we are reading a translation. While most popular translations are extremely accurate, the nuances of meaning in different languages can be lost in translation. For this reason the serious Bible student has a few additional resources.


One should have a good concordance available to help look up words and find other instances in the Bible when the same word is used. One also needs a lexicon in order to view the orginal word in the original language, see the meaning of the word in that language and then consider it in the context of what you have read. A Bible dictionary is of great value in helping to understand customs and unfamiliar phrases or objects. One additional help if you wish to dig deep is an interlinear text so that you are able to see the original language as it was written before translation.

By the way, even then there are other factors involved in understanding the translation. One example: Koine Greek is written with sentences and paragraphs laid out differently than the English way. A sentence in Koine is written with the most important or emphasized part of the thought coming first, rather than following a subject-noun-object pattern. In KG, John 3:16 starts out thusly: So loved God the world... The emphasis is on the strength of the love of God. Verbs in KG also have cases such as dative or accusative, unlike English, and you may need to know what case a verb is written in to get the full meaning of a statement.

So intense Bible study is, well, intense and complex. I therefore love to read the New King James version and the New International version rather than one version alone, to allow translators to show different nuances in translation. If I go a bit deeper I will read the Amplified Version. I can then go to lexicons and so on to get more flavor to the study. But most often I trust the translator and meditate on the English version. I go further when I have questions but if I thoroughly studied every single verse that I read it is all I would have time to do!

I highly recommend the Bible Gateway as a wonderful free internet resource where Bible versions and Bible study helps can be found.

The Canon of scripture.

The accepted Canon of the Bible includes the Old Testament and the New Testament. Every single one of the New Testament books now accepted were mentioned by church fathers before the end of the first century with no exceptions. The so-called "Gnostic Gospels" were all written after the second century had begun, even though they claim authorship by "Phillip" or "Mary."

The Gnostics were a sect both known and denounced by the church in the first century and mentioned in the New Testament. If you doubt all of this, go read Eusebius and study the first century church in a good seminary library. Why do I even mention this? Because of the Da Vinci Code.

It is time to address this subject in some detail. Dan Brown's book, immensely popular, is now a movie and is a hot-button subject in the United States right now. Even though the book is listed as fiction, Brown himself claims that it is based upon fact and includes many facts. Radaractive will begin looking at Dan Brown's book/movie tomorrow!


matt said...

Yep, it's topical!
is a great introductory website.

Hawkeye® said...

Hey Radar,
Good post. I use all those resources and more for my Bible study. I have a great software program called "Quick Verse" which allows me to do rapid searches. I can do pretty much the same thing at Heartlight's "Search God's Word"...

Quick Verse also gives me access to dozens of books including commentaries, dictionaries, etc.

Jeffahn said...

I believe Dan Brown simply because he writes better fiction than radar(fewer contradictions aswell).

highboy said...

"I believe Dan Brown simply because he writes better fiction than radar(fewer contradictions aswell)."

Cute. Over my hiatus I forgot what kind of quacks radar's had to deal with.

Anonymous said...

Beliefnet interview wirth Bart Ehrman, author of ""Truth and Fiction in The Da Vinci Code".

Opus Dei, Doris Day, whatever . . .

-Dan S.

highboy said...

Don't let Dan Brown worry you Radar, no real historian, secular or no, will go near this twerp or his "research." The Gospel will still stand at the end of the day, the way it always does.

A Hermit said...

Long weekend here in the land of "peace, order and good government" (Queen Victoria's birthday, you know). Been gigging all weekend, I'll respond when I've recovered.


A Mojo Hermit

Jake said...

verbs don't take case. nouns do.

xiangtao said...

Not to mention that cases simply replace word order in determining what part of a sentence the noun is: subject, object, etc. Often rather than making the original meaning clearer, a case system such as is found in latin and greek leads to increased ambiguity. Also, the word in greek that is often translated as "so" is a staple of greek writing and goes at or near the beginning of just about every greek sentence but has essentially no real meaning. Adds to the flow of the overall work so I'm told.

xiangtao said...

Emoi gar pan Hellenikon estin!

Bible Discernment said...