To Translate is to Lie

There is an old saying: to translate is to lie.  For your average church-goer, this may be a bit unsettling.  Suddenly very bothersome questions start to arise.  Are my English translations wrong? Can they be trusted? Do I have to know Hebrew and Greek to truly understand what the Bible says?  The answer to all of these questions is: no…sort of.  Join me as I give a few examples.

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Hey! You’re not allowed to do that!

If you’re like me, then even after you hagah (roar like a hungry lion and then devour) the scriptures, they’re still bouncing around in your head. After I posted the shorter version of this post I called my friend Bryan Nix and we shot ideas back and forth and in the process came up with some very cool links in these two passages and I wanted to share them.

The blog post that follows is almost all of the text of part 1, but much more in-depth.

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Face to Face with God

At the Prestoncrest church we have been going through a series on worship on Sunday mornings.  Gordon Dabbs, our preacher, has been doing an excellent job preaching this difficult subject.  Worship is something that has historically divided many churches, and is still an issue today.  Being of a much younger generation, I have never seen it as such a major issue, but I recognize the potential for Satan to use it to divide and conquer.

One key concept of worship that Gordon has been going over springs from how Jesus enables us to worship God face-to-face, without anything in the way.  In my own study and research I’ve found that this subject is a powerful image of the Hebrew culture.

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The Death of Absalom Foretold

When you read the Bible you begin to see the story-within-the-story.  What I mean by that is that stories in the histories and prophets of the Tanakh are often first told in the Torah.  These new stories retell the same one in the Torah but add new insights to the precepts of God.  These stories show us the meaning of God’s will in our lives through a lived-out story.  An example is how the rabbis have viewed the story of Jonah as a retelling of Noah, but in an entirely new light.  In Noah, the one man (and his family) was saved from the flood – in Jonah the one man is plunged into the flood.  In Noah, the wicked would be destroyed – in Jonah, the wicked would be saved.  The comparisons can go on and on (perhaps the subject of a future post).  But once you understand this idea of stories being retold in new ways, you begin to see them all over the place.

At our Sunday evening church service, our preacher Gordon Dabbs was continuing his series on David’s life, this week focusing on David’s son, Absalom.  While I listened to his sermon, his words triggered something in my mind and I found a Torah parallel to this story that I will now share with you.  My thanks to Gordon for sharing his sermon which triggered my thoughts.

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Jesus and Hanukkah

Almost everyone knows what Hanukkah is.  Every year we see it right alongside of Christmas.  But few Christians know anything about Hanukkah, and even fewer know the connections between Hanukkah and the Messiah, Jesus.  As I have studied the subject over the course of the last year, I have come to the realization that Hanukkah is far more important than we (Christians) give it credit for.  Saturday was Shabbat Hanukkah and I visited Baruch HaShem Messianic Synagogue.  I learned many new things from Rabbi Marty about Hanukkah, one of which I would like to share with you here, after a brief version of the Hanukkah story to set it up.

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Context is Crucial – A Commentary on Mark 12 (part 5)

This is the fifth part of my commentary on Mark 12 as we look at this chapter in its original context.  We are asking the question, “what did this passage of scripture mean to its original hearers?” and it is transformative to our understanding for certain.  Be sure to see the other parts of this commentary too as each builds on the previous.

Part 1 – Setting the Stage: The Sadducees

Part 2 – The New Tenants

Part 3 – Give to Caesar…

Part 4 – A Silly Question

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Context is Crucial – A Commentary on Mark 12 (part 4)

This is the forth part of my commentary on Mark 12 as we look at this chapter in its original context.  We are asking the question, “what did this passage of scripture mean to its original hearers?” and it is transformative to our understanding for certain.  Be sure to see the other parts of this commentary too as each builds on the previous.

Part 1 – Setting the Stage: The Sadducees

Part 2 – The New Tenants

Part 3 – Give to Caesar…


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A Glimpse of the Throne from Sukkot

Friday at sunset begins the Festival of Sukkot (pronounced: sue-COAT, also known as Tabernacles or Booths), the last and most joyful of all the Lord’s holidays.  It is a time of intense celebration and joy because God has given us the Promised Land.  And so, during this time of joy, we remember what it was like to live in the desert so we can appreciate the land we have now.  But Sukkot has always held special significance not only for Jews, but also for the Gentiles.  Indeed, the Torah, the Prophets, the Writings, and even the New Testament uses Sukkot as a picture of the future Messianic times.  By studying Sukkot, we can get a glimpse of what Heaven will be like!

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