Wednesday, November 27, 2013
The Transliteration that Restores the Original Messages of Jesus
Have you learned how to transliterate Greek and Hebrew words yet? If you haven’t you should, because it will elevate your Bible study skills tremendously – and learning how is FREE! Just click on the links below and you will soon be working with Greek and Hebrew:
We used a very interesting word as an example in the above lessons. It is a Hebrew word that was transliterated into Greek and is often transliterated into English – AMEN (click here to see example). In this blog we are going to focus on the word “AMEN” in the Greek text of the New Testament:
Before we turn to the Greek text, we need to discuss chapter and verse markers in the Bible. They are not found in the ancient Greek manuscripts. Classically, scrolls of the books of the bible have always been divided by blank spaces at the end (petuhoth) or middle (setumoth) of the lines. Stephen Langton, Archbishop of Canterbury between 1207 and 1228, is credited with being the one who divided the Bible into the chapters that remains in use today.[i]
Robert Estienne created a verse numbering system in his 1551 edition of the Greek New Testament which was also used in his 1553 publication of the Bible in French. Estienne's system was widely adopted, and his system is found in almost all modern Bibles.[ii] Estienne was a 16th-century printer and classical scholar in Paris. He was a former Catholic who became a Protestant late in his life and the first to print the Bible divided into standard numbered verses.
Chapter and verse markers act like traffic signs. Chapter markers are like “STOP” signs. Many people base their Bible reading schedule on chapters and stop when they come to the end of a chapter. or multiple chapters of their Bible every day.
STOP: CHAPTER BREAK
Verse markers, on the other hand, are more like “SLOW” signs. Readers slow down, but usually coast on by until they encounter the next “STOP” sign.
SLOW DOWN: NEW VERSE AHEAD
The more you study the biblical text using the BHC linguistic skills, the clearer it becomes that many chapter and verse breaks were inserted in the wrong places. When that happens the context may be adversely affected or destroyed. It is very important to learn to learn how to ignore the chapter and verse markers and define the context by following the flow of what is written.
One of the obvious examples of verse markers being in the wrong place can be seen in contexts where the Greek word “AMEN” appears in the Gospels. However, finding the translation of “AMEN” isn’t always easy. Which word is the translation of “AMEN” in the King James Version of Matthew 5:18:
For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
(In The Real Yeshua Blog I explained the meanings of jot and tittle.) In order to find “AMEN” we are going to learn how to use another very important and valuable Bible study tool – the interlinear Bible. It has the Greek or Hebrew text with an English translation below each word. The interlinear Bible is available online for FREE. Click Here to go a interlinear text of Matthew 5 and then scroll down to verse 18 and find the Greek word “AMEN.”
Did you find it? “AMEN” is the first word in the verse and below it is the English translation “truly.” The King James translators translated it “verily.” Now, instead of using one of the above translations, let’s transliterate it.
Amen! For I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
Keep in mind that Jesus was teaching in Hebrew, not Greek or English. Remember, “AMEN” is also the transliteration of the Hebrew word, which means “so be it.” “AMEN” usually comes at the end of something and is used to highlight or stress something. But, in this verse “AMEN” is the first word in the sentence. Why? It is first because Robert Estienne inserted a verse marker right in the middle of a point Jesus was making. As a result, the word he used to stress the point he was making was severed from the statement. Now look what happens when we reconnect the two parts and recreate the original context by combining verses 17 & 18:
Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil. Amen! For I say unto you, until heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, till all be fulfilled.
There are four words that have cultural meanings that differ from the normal definitions you will find in an English dictionary. (Click Here to see my blog which will provide more information about those words.) Below is a reconstruction that reflects more accurately the cultural meaning of what Jesus really said:
Think not that I am come to misinterpret the Torah or the Prophets (two sections of the Hebrew Scriptures). I have not come to misinterpret, but to correctly interpret them. Amen! For I say unto you, until heaven and earth pass, neither the smallest Hebrew letter YOD nor one of the even smaller decorative marks on the Hebrew letters shall in no way be removed from the Torah until all is correctly interpreted.
Knowing that the Greek word “AMEN” is in the verse and that it usually appears after a significant statement or point is made allows you to reconnect the parts and reconstruct the words of Jesus. You will be able to see what he wanted to emphasize. (Keep in mind that when you need to use a Greek or Hebrew interlinear Bible, CLICK HERE to go to the Biblical Heritage Bible Study Tools Page and you will find the link to interlinear Bibles, different versions of the Bible, dictionaries, encyclopedias and much more.)
Now it’s your turn. Below is a list of some other verses in the King James Version in which the Greek word “AMEN” was translated “verily.” You will find an online version of the King James Bible on our Bible Study Tools Page too. You can use it and your word processor to copy and paste verses in documents, so you can start working on your own translation of the Bible. Be sure to set up a folder and save all of your work. As you look at each appearance of “AMEN” in the verses below do the following:
(1) Replace the translation “verily” with “Amen!”
(2) See if a verse or chapter marker was inserted in the wrong place.
(3) Reconstruct the context by reconnecting the parts & see what Jesus wanted to stress.
I think you will be amazed by how much power is added to the teachings of Jesus by simply doing this exercise. Have fun as you reconstruct the original contexts of the following verses:
(1) Matthew 5:26
(2) Matthew 6:2
(3) Matthew 6:5
(4) Matthew 6:16
(5) Matthew 10:15
What do you think? Does this help you better understand the words of Jesus? Please let us know you like this blog by going to our Facebook page by clicking here and – “Like” it & “Sharing” it with others. Post your comments about this exercise or whether this helps you or not on our Facebook page too. Just hearing from you lets us know you care about what we are doing to try and help people increase their Bible study skills.
We would appreciate your help in funding our work, which is completely funded by the gifts of individuals. For information about how to make donations click here. Your gifts are greatly appreciated – especially during this holiday season.
Shalom & Be Empowered!