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“If We Are Faithless, He Remains Faithful” . . . and Other Bad Interpretations

2 Timothy 2:13
” If we are faithless, he remains faithful.”

I know that I am not very faithful. I want to be, but I have this problem—an infection, an inclination, an uncanny ability to disappoint people. No, I am not just saying that to identify with others . . . I really do have this ability. I have won the gold medal in the triathlon of let-down, disenchant, and flake-out. Be it forgetfulness, thoughtlessness, or just plain selfishness, I can make a mess of things. I am often faithless, to others and to God.

Yet, at the same time, while I have periods of faithlessness, I still believe. In other words, I am never perpetually faithless. Confused maybe, but not faithless. I do know in whom I believe.

I am going to take an odd and probably unexpected turn now. One of the most frequently-quoted passages of Scripture, with regards to our tendency to weaken our grip on faith, is 2 Tim. 2:13:

“If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself.”

Normally, we would turn to this passage and wipe the sweat off our brows in relief. Phew . . . When we are faithless, Christ will remain faithful. Faithful to what? To us! In other words, we may let him down, but he will never let us down. We may let him go, but he will never let us go. While I believe that this principle is true and can be found in many passages of Scripture, I don’t think that is what is being taught here. If I am right, then this verse is misused, and its real (important) message is lost. This has implications concerning the character of God and the reality of judgement.

Scholars agree that this passage, starting in v. 11 and ending in v. 13, is part of a well-established statement of faith, or creed, that was put to a rhythmic hymn. It was probably used at early baptisms. Being such, it is doubtful that it is originally from Paul. Notice Paul’s introduction in verse 11, “It is a trustworthy statement . . .” The “statement” was already in existence. Notice the rhythm and parallel structure.

For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him
If we endure, we will also reign with Him

If we deny Him, He also will deny us
If we are faithless, He remains faithful, for He cannot deny Himself

This was part of the early Christian kerygma or “preaching.” It was a creed that was memorable because of its structure. This structure is probably best described as parallelism. There is a parallel construction from one line to the next. There are a few types of parallelisms that are possible:

1. Synonymous Parallelism. The second line repeats the first in words or ideas (e.g. Ps. 24:1, Ps. 19:2, Prov. 1:20)

2. Antithetical Parallelism. The second line contrasts with the first line in words or ideas (e.g. Ps. 1:6, Mark 8:35)

3. Synthetic Parallelism. The thought of the second line supplements, or brings the first line to completion (e.g. Luke 12:49-51, Ps. 92:9).

It seems clear that the first set in this creed is that of a synonymous parallelism. Notice how the second line repeats the same concepts as the first:

For if we died with Him, we will also live with Him
If we endure, we will also reign with Him

In this, we understand that “died” parallels “endure.” As well, “live” parallels “reign.”

The question now becomes Does the second set in this creed follow the same structure? I believe there is no reason for us to state otherwise.

If we deny Him, He also will deny us
If we are faithless, He remains faithful (for He cannot deny Himself)

In this case, “If we deny him” would parallel “If we are faithless,” and “He will deny us” would parallel “He remains faithful.”

In other words, this particular verse does not speak about Christ’s faithfulness to us even when we are unfaithful, but speaks to his faithfulness to himself when we are faithless (i.e., when we deny him). This faithfulness to himself is one of judgment. If we are faithless, we will be judged.

Notice the explanatory addition (which I put in parentheses) to this creed, “. . . for he cannot deny himself.” This explains why it is that Christ would deny people when they deny him. The reason is that he cannot deny himself. The implication is that his righteousness requires judgment. If he did not judge our faithlessness, then he would deny the necessary functionality of his attribute of righteousness, and this he cannot do. In other words, God cannot just forgive sin without basis. He can’t sweep sin under the rug. He cannot wink his eye at rebellion. It must be judged.

This creed represents the early proclamation of many essential elements of the Gospel. We need to ponder the implications. The earliest Christians were taught of God’s salvation and judgment. Both of these were held in balance. In other words, the earliest Christians saw heaven and hell, acceptance and denial, mercy and judgment, belief and unbelief as the essence of the Gospel. This creed evidences that in the early Church one was not taught without the other.

Paul tells Timothy in the next verse to remind the believers of these things. The term remind implies that this was a teaching already well-established in the early Church. As well, the reminder serves as a warning that there are distinctives in belief that the Church must uphold.

Having said all of this, many commentaries do not agree with my conclusion. So, if I am right, this interpretation is not as bad as some others. Those who disagree with me often say that this would not represent Pauline theology. Paul, according to them, believed that Christ is faithful even when we struggle in our faith. While I agree with this general truth—God is faithful even when we struggle—I think they are missing the point of what is being said.

First, this hymn is not necessarily a Pauline original, as I previously mentioned. It is an established creed or hymn.

Second, this passage is not speaking of people who are struggling in their faith, or even have a lack of faith from time to time (which characterizes even the best of us). What it is speaking of is perpetual unbelief or established denial. It is speaking about the reality of ultimate judgment for all those who deny Christ, having never placed their faith in him. The “faithless” in “if we are faithless” is in the present tense, meaning it is a perpetual state of faithlessness.

Therefore, I think we need to be careful how we use this verse. While it is true that when we struggle in our faith, when we let God down, and when we have times of weakness, God will never let us go (John 10:29), it is also true that if we do not ever have faith in him—if we deny him—he will deny us, for he cannot act against himself.

This has significant implications to current discussions about the Gospel and how it is to be presented, especially with regard to the doctrine of hell. Would God really allow people he loves to go to hell? Of course. Why? Because he cannot deny himself, any more than he can hand in his job resignation.

We must have a balance of life and death, love and judgment, rewards and consequences, and heaven and hell. If one of the earliest creeds balanced the Gospel in such a way, how much more should we?

There are some additional implications here. God was pleased to kill his Son because he could not deny himself. And the Son was pleased to die because he could not deny himself. It was a necessary judgment that took place as Christ stood in our place. Those who propose that a substitution was not necessary—that God could forgive without some form of atonement—are essentially saying that God could deny himself. Forgiveness comes at a price because God’s righteous nature cannot be denied.

Next: Rom. 8:16

61 Responses to ““If We Are Faithless, He Remains Faithful” . . . and Other Bad Interpretations”

  1. That is so on the money. He must be faithful to His position.

  2. Indeed the true Paul and Pauline Gospel is a bit bigger, and inclusive of the “Catholic” or universal truth and faith! Surely GOD In Christ is always faithful to Himself, first & foremost, and HE will not deny His own righteous nature! (Rom. 3:25-26)

    Good points here Michael!

    *Btw, I believe Paul included (as he often did) bits of hymns and creedal pieces in his Letters.

  3. Thanks for the new “bad interpretations” series — articles like these challenge (or affirm) some of our popular readings and force us to take a deeper (and more responsible) look in the scriptures (although in either cases I didn’t come to the same conclusion that you did in the end :P).

    Please write more like these. Thanks again!

  4. Michael,
    In support of your post I offer the following brief footnote on 2 Timothy 2:11 from the Recovery Version, a study Bible:

    “If we become faithless toward Him, though He remains faithful, He cannot accept us as faithful by making Himself unfaithful, i.e., by denying Himself (His nature and His being)”

  5. This could go that way or the other way as well – as a word of hope (that He is faithful to us despite our lapses).

    I like the NET bible note that cites that ” Paul consistently cites God’s faithfulness as a reassurance, not as a warning”, which could be why it would be more of a word of hope rather than a warning.

  6. I have both the Recovery Version NT and Bible; a rather nice biblical translation and tool, in the line of the old PB, or “Brethren” movement (with Witness Lee, etc.) We need these Biblicist works, as even an E.W. Bullinger (despite his overt Ultra-Dispensational lines). My greatgram (Irish) was a PB, “Kelly” Brethren, then she later went to the Open. She was a great affect on me! (biblical and otherwise) :)

  7. Surely we need to see “genre” in the Bible and NT. Love overall the NET Bible! But, as the notes there, (this Text), the style and linguistic, i.e. genre is open somewhat. We really don’t know, what is this “citation” for sure? But, I agree that it is most likely “creedal”. But it does appear certainly that Paul brought it from somewhere else.

  8. Wow, that was really helpful. I never looked at the parallelism present in the verse. (This gets me excited since I will be starting seminary in 1 month! – if you have any tips please let me know)

  9. I am often quite faithless.

    Anyone else here ever worry about anything?

    That shows a lack of trust in God.

    But, He is faithful to us…even so.

  10. Interesting! This time I looked at the scripture in context as soon as you revealed which scripture you were about to discuss. I did this before reading any further. I came to the same conclusion, that He is faithful to His righteousness, for He must be just. I knew nothing about parallel construction, until now; however, what I did notice was the first set was written in a positive tone, and the second set in a negative. The sets themselves are Antithetical in nature. Interpreting the last section “He remains faithful” as it typically is, deviates from the logical construction as a whole.

  11. An interesting and thought provoking suggestion. Just a couple of points. There are many other types of parallelisms than the basic three. The first three lines have a KAI in the second part indicating a consequence from the condition. The fourth line does not have that, and this breaks the assumed parallelism, so it is more likely that the intention is: “(even) if we are unfaithful, he remains faithful. After all, he cannot deny his own nature.” I asm not denying your theology of both mercy and judgment, but does this verse really teach that? It is questionable.

  12. Both ideas are true. Christ cannot accept “unbelievers” or reject faithless “believers” and for the same reason. He cannot deny himself.

    But even though unbelievers will be “cast out” ultimately – eventually – God is very patient with them in the present. He’s patient, generous and kind to them everyday even whey they aren’t aware of it. Warning them is not His primary means of winning them.

    So, I struggle to see a warning for unbelievers here especially since this passage was intended to encourage struggling believers. There’s plenty of warning elsewhere. Injecting it here dampens the encouragement and seems puny.

  13. God is always faithful to his promises. He promises judgment, but he also promises to forgive all sin which includes unfaithfulness.

  14. Indeed.

    We will be judged. But the same One who will judge us, is the same One who died for us.

    Very comforting.

  15. I can’t quite reconcile your statements. We have no faith without His gift of faith to us but He his judging us if we don’t have faith?

    I don’t really understand why we so vigorously disagree with the so called faith teaching of the blab it and grab it gospel but then we turn around and teach such similar ideas about faith. Either God is the One that supplies my faith and is responsible for the measure of faith I have or He is not.

    I see where the prosperity gospel takes faith to the extremes and puts all of the responsibility of your faith on you. According to them, God cannot respond without an action of faith on our part. What bothers me is how so many others outside of the prosperity gospel repackage the same teaching.

    For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned. (Romans 12:3 ESV)

    Taking credit for our own faith is messy. Teaching people they will be judged because they don’t have enough faith doesn’t seem much different to me than teaching that they won’t get rich or won’t be healed if they don’t have enough faith.

  16. “Second, this passage is not speaking of people who are struggling in their faith, or even have a lack of faith from time to time (which characterizes even the best of us). What it is speaking of is perpetual unbelief or established denial”. Oops!!!

    The key is, who is Paul speaking to? the word “WE” in verse 11, 12 & 13 is believers. In the Bible “we” along with “us” always means believers. So “If we believe not…” KJV

    The proper interpretation would be, in believers times of unbelief, it does not change God’s faithfulness to us in blessing us, correcting us and ultimately keeping us.

    Christopher

  17. “It is speaking about the reality of ultimate judgment for all those who deny Christ, having never placed their faith in him.”

    I guess this (“having never placed their faith in him”) is an attempt at rescuing this passage for Calvinism (once saved, always saved). Two factors rule against this interpretation. First, the passage and creed are addressed to the believers, who would have more need to be reminded about falling away than to be reminded about the fate of outsiders who are not reading this passage or reciting this creed. Second, the “if we endure” line is one of many conditional statements about perseverance that don’t really make sense if perseverance is the only possible outcome (in which case no one really needs to be reminded of rewards and punishments that are conditional upon perseverance or lack of perseverance).

  18. I “enjoy” this series. Unfortunately, it is not making me new friends. :-)

    Nothing like reading the Bible to challenge your theology.

    If you are taking any requests, 2 Chron 7:14 is a nice sacred cow.

  19. Good points, Michael.
    I also like what Gill writes:
    “The Syriac and Ethiopic versions read, ‘if we believe not him’.”
    So this may be understood as those who do not believe what was just now said concerning Christ’s denying such that deny him, but mock and scoff at His coming, and at a future judgment. Their unbelief in His promise will not make void Christ’s faithfulness to His Word, but rather bring about their own just condemnation.

    A parallel verse cited (allowing scripture to interpret scripture) is in Romans 3, where Paul writes:

    v. 3 “What if some were unfaithful? Does their faithlessness nullify the faithfulness of God? By no means! Let God be true though every one were a liar, as it is written, “That you may be justified in your words, and prevail when you are judged.”

    But if our unrighteousness serves to show the righteousness of God, what shall we say? That God is unrighteous to inflict wrath on us? (I speak in a human way.) By no means! For then how could God judge the world? But if through my lie God’s truth abounds to his glory, why am I still being condemned as a sinner? And why not do evil that good may come?—as some people slanderously charge us with saying. Their condemnation is just.”
    (Romans 3:3-8 ESV)

  20. Sorry, but DEAD wrong.

    The first parallelism is a synthetic parallelism, not a synonymous parallelism. “If we died with him” is a reference to baptism, and “live with Him” describes the ongoing Chrisitan life. “Endure” is what we do within the ongoing Christian life, so the second clause augments, rather than repeats, the first clause.

    The more common interpretation of the second couplet, that you’re attempting to debunk here, is actually more consistent with the proper understanding of the first couplet.

    I won’t deny that it’s appealing to interpret the second couplet as as a synonymous parallel. However, as you said yourself, there’s no reason to think the second couplet is a different structure than the first — and the first is very clearly synthetic.

  21. Without reading previous comments, I would only add to the original post that even when God is faithful to us, it is BECAUSE He is faithful to Himself. Anytime we think of God’s faithfulness, we should think of His faithfulness to Himself, first and foremost.

    So how does God’s faithfulness to Himself relate to His faithfulness to us? It’s really quite simple. The fact that God is faithful to Himself means that He is faithful to His Word and to His promises. Seeing that His promises are made to us, His faithfulness to His promises equals faithfulness to us. Hence, His faithfulness to us is an expression of His faithfulness to Himself.

  22. The context in which Paul cites the hymn (fore and aft) exhorts his Christian readers to keep on being faithful to Christ despite difficulties. This lends strong weight to the all the “we/us” pronouns meaning Christians (even if the kerygmatic hymn form didn’t suggest it. Which I would argue it does.) The continuous form of “are faithless” would thus refer to seriously apostate Christians.

    The stylistic parallel of comparative subject/objects tends to suggest He remains faithful to us, too:

    we died with Him, we live with Him
    we endure (with Him), we reign with Him
    we deny Him, He denies us
    we are faithless (to Him), He is faithful (to who)

    Doubtless God remains faithful to Himself, including in the Persons of the Father and the Son, but the question is whether God’s faithfulness to Himself requires faithfulness to us.

    (That’ll have to be a second comment, though. {g})

  23. In the OT, God turns His face away from and denies faithless Israel, yet insists that this is only temporary within His ultimate faithfulness to them, His goal being to lead them to repentance and salvation: a goal that He swears by Himself (since He has no one greater to swear by) to accomplish.

    In the NT, God’s faithfulness to us despite our continuing faithlessness to Him was why the Father sent the Son to save us, leading us to faith in the first place.

    If faithfulness between persons is intrinsically essential to God’s own self existence (which is true if trinitarian theism is true), then for God to be unfaithful to other persons would involve God denying Himself the same way and for the same reason that when we sin against other people we are also sinning against God (even though God is not those other people).

    Does God’s faithfulness to Himself require faithfulness to us?

    In the OT, God turns His face away from and denies faithless Israel, yet insists that this is only temporary within His ultimate faithfulness to them, His goal being to lead them to repentance and salvation: a goal that He swears by Himself (since He has no one greater to swear by) to accomplish.

    In the NT, God’s faithfulness to us despite our continuing faithlessness to Him was why the Father sent the Son to save us, leading us to faith in the first place.

    If faithfulness between persons is intrinsically essential to God’s own self existence (which is true if trinitarian theism is true), then for God to be unfaithful to other persons would involve God denying Himself the same way and for the same reason that when we sin against other people we are also sinning against God (even though God is not those other people).

  24. Argh, sorry for the double-paste in that last post. Something about this blog engine makes my browser do crazy things in the comment box. :(

  25. @Phil: I am not so sure this is an either or, here? But whatever, the last clause is Christ, for HE cannot deny Himself! Again, note the NET Bible notes here. In the end, this text is about the “faithfulness” of God In Christ, for God “Incarnate” cannot deny Himself! But, we also might want to look closely at verse 10, and St. Paul’s “Therefore”, i.e. the salvation of the elect, in Christ Jesus..with eternal glory! But, too further as “workmen” we must rightly handle God’s Word! Just looking “thematically”. :)

  26. Scholars agree that this passage, starting in v. 11 and ending in v. 13, is part of a well-established statement of faith, or creed, that was put to a rhythmic hymn. It was probably used at early baptisms. Being such, it is doubtful that it is originally from Paul. Notice Paul’s introduction in verse 11, “It is a trustworthy statement . . .” The “statement” was already in existence.

    As far as Micheal’s interpretation of this verse I have no argument one way or another, but, if I am not mistaken, it reads like he is denying the Pauline authorship of the passage in question. By denying Paul’s authorship, would that not be denying the scripture itself? In essence, Micheal is denying Paul wrote this letter! I don’t quite understand; are you claiming that Paul is quoting someone else, or that someone else wrote the letter? If the latter, than why is the letter in the bible, and for that matter, what’s that say about any of Paul’s other letters.
    I am realitivly weak in my faith, and currently standing on very soft sand; however, when anyone denies the authority of scripture I tend to take offense. Please clarify the issue for me: Did Paul write this letter to Timothy, or is it a fake?

    Don

  27. Interpreting Scriptures is not hard, if you use Scriptures. Sometimes “we” like to show how smart “we” are which gets “us” in trouble and “we” miss the simple truths of God’s Word.

    Are we trying to show the blogging world our great exegetical skills or what the scriptures actually say?

    No offense, but all the synonymous parallelism, antithetical parallelism, synthetic parallelism, Theologian’s say, probably, a hymn, is not necessary. And then to come to an erroneous conclusion (Bad Interpretation) based on bad Hermeneutics.

    I would brush up on word studies and define words by scriptures. Never forget context. This is why Paul is not speaking to unbelievers.

    Geneva Bible foot note: “And contrary to this, the falling away of men can diminish no part of the truth of God, even though by such means they procure most certain destruction to themselves.”

    Christopher

    Christopher

  28. Don: Paul wrote the letter to Timothy, but he apparently quoted from an early Christian hymn or confession. This in no way affects the Pauline authorship of the letter. Paul also quotes from the Old Testament, and in Acts, we even see him reminding his Greek audience what one of their poets said, in order to get their attention and then redirect it to Christ. Quotation is not some sort of fraud.

  29. @Christopher: I love Word Studies myself, both Hebrew and Greek, but also the Holy Scripture itself says with Paul, “Be diligent to present yourself approved to God, a workman unashamed, keeping the message of truth on a straight course.” (2 Tim. 2:15) Btw, the metaphor is also connected to God’s “righteousness”, HE is the One who cuts straight paths and lines!

  30. @ Fr. Robert: We also must be careful which version we use. I have heard many bad sermons because of bad version which means wrong teaching.
    Actually Paul said ” Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.”2 Timothy 2:15

    Interesting, the only place study appears in the whole Bible (twice) in connection with the Word of God has been removed in all versions.

    Interesting: “rightly divide the Word of God”, is not “keeping the message of truth on a straight course” two entirely different statements

    which statement is correct?

    Christopher

  31. @Christopher: One of the places that the Anglican priest/presbyter is asked to read and study before and thus after his ordination, is to read and study his Greek Text and NT. I do so every A.M., and have for many years. And as a Brit and something Anglo-Irish, I have been reading the KJV for many, many years. However, I read many other translations also, perhaps my favorites are both the ESV for reading, and the NASB Update for study. But I also have the older R.V. or Revised Version (1881-1885), English and British work, as the American Standard Version, ASV (1901). In fact I have many other Bible Translations, etc.

  32. Btw, my earlier quote was my own more literal sense of the Greek Text, from 2 Tim. 2:15.

  33. I’d like to see someone interact with my comment a bit. In particular, I mentioned another scripture that is often used in interpreting this passage from Romans 3 (see above). Any thoughts?

  34. Chris (not to be confused with the other Christopher in the thread?),

    Actually, Paul wrote {spoudason} there, which means to use speed. (It, or rather its root {spoudazô}, is literally the word from which we eventually derived the English word “speed”.)

    From an application of the term to mean being prompt, it also came thereby to mean work hard or be diligent. Thus “endeavor”.

    The term in grammatic variations is used several other times in the New Testament, and at no time does it carry a necessary (or elsewhere even very plausible meaning) of “to study”. It could however by a very extended metaphor mean “study” I suppose, since studying is hard and someone has to be diligent at it.

    You’re right about the other term meaning “correctly cutting” (thus “rightly dividing”), but that’s another way of talking about staying on a straight line, such as might be used by a tailor or a tentmaker. It’s also probably why the KJV translators thought {spoudason} should be translated “study”.

    Fr. Robert’s translation is correct, as is the KJV, although their translation into “study” is kind of a remote stretch.

  35. Jay,

    I would say Paul at verse 5 indicates he thought someone would take the faithfulness of God to save rebel Israel, to mean God would not punish sin.

    Paul before verse 3 talks about the advantages of the Jews even though some rebelled (indeed all, along with all Gentiles, v.9ff). One of those advantages were the oracles of God, which He shall be faithful to perform despite their unfaithfulness. Obviously Paul means the oracles which involve God saving sinners from sin (Israel being the standard for this) and leading them to repentance and reconciliation, including saving them out of the punishment He has already put them in for their sins: because that’s what Psalm 51 is totally about!–God bringing the murderous and adulterous David to have a crushed heart, washing him thoroughly from his injustice, cleansing him from his sin, healing the bones God has broken, creating a new clean heart, restoring the Presence and the Holy Spirit of God to him, leading David to praise God for His mighty saving victories (and to teach and convert other sinners).

    Paul flips the grammar of 51:4 around–in the Psalm David is saying that he knows God is justified and blameless in His condemnation and judgment of David’s sin–but by referring to this particular “oracle” Paul is (by a rabbinic shorthand) referring to all the prophecies of God’s restoration and salvation of rebel punished Israel, being faithful to them despite their faithlessness to Him. One common theme of which is that God shall be shown to fulfill His promises to Israel despite also having to punish them.

    Paul carries this theme on through Romans at least as far as chapter 11, where he emphatically declares that although some of Israel have stumbled over the stumbling stone (and so were grafted out of the Vine), they have not stumbled so as to fall: God’s promises to the fathers remain and shall be fulfilled. God grafted them out, and He can (and by prophetic promise will) graft them back in again.

  36. Thank you Michael. This interpretation reconciles perfectly with the line immediately preceding the one in question, “If we deny Him, He also will deny us”. If the interpretation that when we “momentarily” are faithless, then He will not reject us were applicable to this verse (although definitely taught elsewhere in Scripture), then it seems that it would contradict the line before it. But instead, it seems to repeat using another way to explain it, just like the rest of Scripture.

  37. Since the aspect of Bible Translations has come up, let me share a very nice book for any serious minded Christian on this subject, it is Donald Brake’s (Ph.D. Dallas Theological Seminary)..’A Visual History of the English Bible, (2008, Baker Books), just a very readable but historical book on the history of English Translations of the Bible. Almost a must have and read!

  38. Michael,

    I am very glad that you have taken on reviewing these common Christian “myths”. I call them “Christian Folklore”. I am glad you do it because so many pastors and preachers would not for fear of offending their flocks (a good exmple of this probability is displayed in your reader’s reactions).

    This verse has bothered me most of my life, and you clarify it quite well. Sometimes the old “take it as it is written” rule really means “take it as you want it” and many Christians don’t take the time to understand Biblical grammer and literature. It seems that we, as a whole, refuse to do the hard work and look through the Scriptures to see if what we are being told actually lines up with the teachings there.

    Thank you for sharing this with us and I look forward to your next installment.

    Blessings…

  39. Chris, I beg to disagree: could those pastors and preachers have preached the way they did because they honestly thought that was the correct explanation? As I stated above, I am one who, after weighing the reasoning put forth, gladly stayed in the “folklore” camp. Now you may think of me as being in denial :D, but I don’t think that says anything about one’s honesty…

  40. @Jason Pratt “The term in grammatic variations is used several other times in the New Testament, and at no time does it carry a necessary (or elsewhere even very plausible meaning) of “to study”

    Thanks, yes, that is the standard James Strong’s definition. What did men think before James Strong came along?? “STUDY”. for well over 300 years the Church and believers only knew to Study the Word of God. Not until 1901 was it changed to “do diligence.” Before 1611, Geneva Bible 1581 says, “Study”, Tyndale 1530 says “Study.” Coverdale 1535, the Great Bible 1540, Bishops’ Bible 1568, Whiston’s Primitive New Testament 1745, Webster’s 1833 translation, the Douay-Rheims version and so on.

    Many of Strong’s definitions are lacking. Do not depend upon him alone. “Study”, do your home work. Anyone can click a Strong’s link in a Bible program and sound like they know Greek.
    Secret: All Greek scholars must submit to James Strong’s definitions as their final authority.

    Christopher

  41. Actually, if I were to use Strongs at seminary as an authority, they would have kicked me out. It is not well respected.

  42. @ C Michael Patton: Strong’s is a Greek Hebrew Aramaic Dictionary. His definitions are the authority on what a word means. Interesting then how did you get your Greek & Hebrew definitions? I could be wrong but there is only one source. Is there another source for Greek and Hebrew word definitions?

    Christopher

  43. Yes, lots of sources. BADG is usually considered the most authoritative. Even USB has a dictionary. But there are dozens of much more reliable sources. I got my ThM in Greek. The profs at DTS had to purge all the students from their death grip on Strongs the first day of class.

  44. I simply do not agree with your commentary…and that is what you have offered.
    It is as simple as the “Footprints in the Sand” analogy. He carries us when we cannot walk any further.
    Nothing can separate us from the love of God…nothing.
    So do not attempt to undermine the depth of His grace with pseudo-philosophic babble.
    I wholeheartedly believe in the eternal security of His grace. He understands how very weak we can be and He remains faithful to His promise to take us home…even in our worst state.
    His grace completely transcends any attempt to impose conditions on a love that is unconditional.
    Give it a rest before you strain something.

  45. Thanks for that. What is BADGE. Could you please list the “Dozens of much more reliable sources”. Or just the best few, I am interested to see what’s out there. As I think Strong’s blows it many times.

    Thanks
    Christopher

  46. BAGD (not BADG)= Bauer-Arndt-Gingrich-Danker. Most recent edition is now commonly called BDAG. A standard scholarly lexicon.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bauer_lexicon

  47. The Greek word “Spoudazo” (verb), has meaning to earnestness and zeal, the R.V. has “diligence”. The NET Bible, has “Make every effort to present yourself before God as a proven worker who does not need to be ashamed, teaching the message of truth accurately.” Indeed in 2 Tim. 2:15, the Man of God is called to be a “diligent” “workman”, handing and measuring correctly the message of truth in God’s Word.

  48. Well, BDAG is the best, but you have to understand that Strongs is so old (before the mass majority of the manuscript finds and discoveries in koine Greek) that you cannot expect it to be to, well…strong :-)

    I personally go to BDAG first and this second: http://www.amazon.com/gp/aw/d/0826703437.

    The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (kittel)t and The Theological Disctionary of the Old Testament or even “Little Kittel” are very good.

    That is where I would start.

  49. Thanks again for that information.Sorry if I sound a little confused on the inadequacy of Strong’s definition. Do you mean the definitions of the Greek and Hebrew given by James Strong that is in many Bible programs as KJV/Strong are incorrect. I am not talking about how a word is translated into English but what the Greek and Hebrew word means. I did not think the actually Greek word would change.

    Finding new manuscripts would not change a word definition, would it?

    Christopher

  50. Well, I don’t want to overstate myself here like a Greek snob or something so let me say that it is not going to be THAT much difference. But there definitely will be some words that more data from other sources that are non biblical will help with, especially those words that appear only once or twice (which are a lot).

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