Curious & Difficult Bible Sayings

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Bobcat
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Re: Curious & Difficult Bible Sayings - Jn 1:1

#101 Post by Bobcat » 1 month ago

Hi Stranger,

Some, but not everyone, take the articular versus anarthrous construction of Jn 1:1 to indicate that the two phrases, "... and the Word was with [the] God, and the Word was God," that it indicates that the second phrase ("and the Word was God") is qualitative, that is, describing what the Word was, rather than who he was.

This can be seen in how some translations render it: "... and the Word was divine" (Goodspeed, Moffatt), "what God was the Word was" (NEB).

The NWT ("and the Word was a god") takes that viewpoint.

I would suggest that the literary structure of both Jn 1:1-2 (which can be seen here), and the entire prologue (Jn 1:1-18) (which can be seen here) would suggest that the last phrase of Jn 1:1 is qualitative. In the prologue literary structure, Jn 1:1 is paired with Jn 1:18 which has the "only begotten God" explaining about the God that no one has ever seen. Also, Jn 1:1 has the Word with God; Jn 1:18 has the only begotten God "in the bosom position with God," or "leans upon the Father's breast." (Compare how Jn 1:18 reads in the translations linked to above.)

On the other hand, Jn 1:1 would also indicate that Jesus is not merely another angel. "A god" could be taken to mean 'one of a class,' like 'a car' or 'a ship.' But the prologue of John is describing a unique individual. I think this is where many take issue with the NWT when they sense Jesus is being relegated to the status of just another angel.

Nevertheless, it is a highly charged subject in many circles. Many translations take it as saying who the Word was. But then one is left with the problem of the Word being with God, and being God at the same time. Somewhat of a paradox.


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Bobcat
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Re: Curious & Difficult Bible Sayings - Lu 2:1-2

#102 Post by Bobcat » 1 month ago

Regarding Luke 2:1-2 and Quirinius and the Census referred to: Here.


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Re: Curious & Difficult Bible Sayings - Rom 5:12

#103 Post by Bobcat » 3 weeks ago

An interesting post on Reddit AcademicBiblical regarding Rom 5:12 and the idea of original sin: Here.

It also discusses possible variations in the way Rom 5:12 could be translated.


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Bobcat
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Re: Curious & Difficult Bible Sayings - Gen 19:26

#104 Post by Bobcat » 3 weeks ago

A thread on Gen 19:26 and Lot's wife becoming a pillar of salt: Here.


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Re: Curious & Difficult Bible Sayings - 1Tim 2:14

#105 Post by Bobcat » 3 weeks ago

A rather lengthy thread on 1Ti 2:14 and Adam's not being deceived: Here.


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Re: Curious & Difficult Bible Sayings - Jn 1:45-46

#106 Post by Bobcat » 3 weeks ago

In Jn 1:45-46; 7:50-52 exception is taken regarding Jesus coming from Galilee, and specifically, from Nazareth. But see this post and the included link.


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Re: Curious & Difficult Bible Sayings - Gen 3:4

#107 Post by Bobcat » 2 weeks ago

An interesting thread on Reddit AcademicBiblical regarding the way Gen 3:4 is phrased in the Hebrew text: Here.


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Re: Curious & Difficult Bible Sayings

#108 Post by Bobcat » 2 weeks ago

A thread involving 2Ki 23:29 (here). The verse reads differently in 2Ki 23:29 KJV.

See also posts # 25 - 29 in this thread for additional discussion.


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Re: Curious & Difficult Bible Sayings - Gen 3:8

#109 Post by Bobcat » 2 days ago

A post (with link) describing an interesting alternative way of understanding Gen 3:8 and God's 'walking in the garden': Here.


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Re: Curious & Difficult Bible Sayings - Mt 17:20

#110 Post by Bobcat » 1 day ago

An interesting but brief discussion on the 'faith being able to move things' passages in the NT. The discussion can be found in the Reddit AcademicBiblical forum: Here.

What makes it interesting (to me) is that the OP asks why Luke would change "mountain" to "mulberry" (i.e. fig) tree. The OP assumes that Luke changes, for some inexplicable reason, "mountain" to "fig" tree.

Since the question is asked under the heading of Mt 17:20, I'll leave that as the text in the heading of this post. But the saying itself occurs at Mt 17:20, 21:21; Mr 11:23; Lu 17:6 & 1Co 13:2.

The major differences between Luke and the rest are:
Mt 17:20 occurs just after the transfiguration, with a mountain looming nearby. And this was a mountain that some of the disciples had just ascended and descended. So it could be that Jesus simply chooses a "mountain" as a handy and obvious prop.

Luke 17:6 occurs sometime after this, while they are enroute to Jerusalem for the last time. (Compare Lu 9:28-36; 13:22) Thus, the immediate setting of Luke 17:6 may not have made a "mountain" such a handy prop. Also, Luke's original audience (Theophilus) was possibly a Gentile aristocrat. That may or may not have figured into Luke's choice of material. Another consideration is that Luke is most likely a Gentile himself, and was not a travelling disciple with Jesus. (Compare Col 4:10-11, 14) Whereas, Matthew was. And Mark appears to have been a disciple at the time of Jesus (and possibly had Peter's tutelage during the writing of the gospel of Mark).

Mt 21:21 & Mr 11:23 occur when Jesus is already in Jerusalem for the last time. The setting includes a "fig" tree which Jesus has just cursed. But he then goes on to repeat the "mountain" version of the saying since he is with the same disciples he was with when he used the "mountain" version after the transfiguration. Luke's account doesn't include the cursing of the fig tree. (Lu 21:37-38)

1Co 13:2 has Paul seeming to simply be repeating a well known saying of Jesus. At the time of the writing of 1st Corinthians, the book of Luke may not have been available. So that the "fig mulberry" version of the saying may not have been available at the time.

So, tentatively, it appears to me that Luke's change/choice in the saying (from "mountain" to "fig mulberry tree") may have been driven mostly by the local situation when the saying was given, and possibly his original audience (Theophilus). It could also be that Jesus varied the saying based on his immediate surroundings with the idea of hoping that his disciples would get the point rather than be caught up in details.


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