Tuesday, March 31, 2015

Different versions of one account or two completely different accounts?

There have been many discussions about the two accounts that appear in Genesis 1 & 2. Below are the opening verses from the accounts.

1st Account
2nd Account
In the beginning
In the day
the Creator created
Yahweh the Creator made
the Heavens
the Earth
and the Earth
and the Heavens

Compare the opening verses of each account above and let us know what stands out to you and whether you believe these are different version of one account and two completely different accounts. Email your answers to me at -- jim@biblicalheritage.org


Jim Myers

Thursday, March 26, 2015

The Greatest Commandment & Eternal Life

Yesterday, in the BHC Bible Study Blog, I wrote Comparing Parallel Accounts in the Hebrew Scriptures. Anytime parallel accounts, or things that look like parallel accounts appear in your Bible, they always present great opportunities to discover some very interesting, and sometimes, unexpected things. This will be true in the subject of this blog – The Greatest Commandment & Eternal Life. If you want to have some fun – and exercise your powers of observation – get some paper and a pen (the old fashion way of studying). Below you will find three accounts that are often considered to be about the same event. Read the complete study at -- http://therealyesua.blogspot.com/2015/03/the-greatest-commandment-eternal-life.html

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Comparing Parallel Accounts in the Hebrew Scriptures

Many people are aware of parallel accounts – the same event recorded in more than one book – in the New Testament. But you may not be aware of the fact that the same thing occurs in the Hebrew Scriptures (Old Testament). Sometimes the words are identical, but other times there are differences. The example below contains an event recorded in three different books. There are no important theological revelations here, but it will make you aware of minor differences that may be interesting.

II Kings 18:13
Isaiah 36:1
II Chronicles 32:1

After these things and these acts of faithfulness,
In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah
In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah 

Sennacherib king of Assyria came up
Sennacherib king of Assyria came up
Sennacherib king of Assyria came and

invaded Judah and encamped
against all the fortified cities
against all the fortified cities
against the fortified cities,
of Judah and took
of Judah and took

thinking to win

for himself.

Always check to see if there are any parallel accounts of the sections you are studying in your Bible. You never know what you will find until you look.

Jim Myers

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

If it doesn't make sense it may be a euphemism!

 Two challenges for Bible readers and translators are idioms and euphemisms.

An idiom is a word or group of words that cannot be understood by their literal meanings.

The Bible contains a number of idioms and when we encounter them, if we are paying attention, we will realize that what we read simply didn’t make sense. I will discuss idioms in a future blog, but for now consider what a person from another culture with a different language would think of he or she was charged with the task of translating the following idioms (underlined) without know they are idioms:

(1) If that happens, I will eat my hat.
(2) I got it straight from the horse's mouth.
(3) I'll do it when the cows come home.
(4) You really put your foot in your mouth this time.
(5) It's raining cats and dogs outside.

If the translator simply used the literal translations of the underlined words their readers would have some strange images popping up in their minds, but they wouldn’t have a clue as to what the original author meant.

A euphemism is the substitution of an agreeable or inoffensive expression for one that may offend or suggest something unpleasant.  

An example of a common American euphemism is - "I'm going to powder my nose." Just like with idioms you can’t use the literal meanings of the words of euphemisms.  Obviously, the literal meanings of the words powder and nose have anything to do what the euphemism means.

English translators of the Hebrew Scriptures often use euphemisms instead of literally translating the Hebrew word below:

It is called the tetragrammaton which means the four letters, which are transliterated “YHVH” and translated as “Yahweh.” A popular euphemism for the above name in English translations is “LORD.”  Notice that it is written with all capital letters. Readers of these translations encounter the following words in their Bible -- LORD, Lord and lord.  I would wager that many fail to even notice the differences between them. The English word “lord” has the following definition -- a person who has authority, control, or power over others; a master, chief, or ruler.[i]

Obviously, the above definition doesn’t apply when the word is used as a euphemism because of the second word in the definition – “person.” Yahweh is a god, not a person. Keep in mind that the Hebrew Scriptures didn’t come with an attached New Testament and the earliest manuscripts of New Testaments books were written in Greek. In those manuscripts we find a Greek word that is translated “lord” and it means the same thing as the English definition above.

Some English translations made by Jewish translators avoided the confusion created by using the word “LORD” by using the following euphemisms:

(1) G-d
(2) HaShem (The Name)
(3) The Power
(4) Heaven
(5) The Holy One
(6) The Most High
(7) The Blessed One

In the New Testament we find one of the above euphemisms embedded in the Greek text. It is strong evidence that the words were originally spoken in Hebrew, but later translated in Greek. The word I am referring to is “Heaven.”

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven (Matthew 5:3)

Blessed are you poor, for yours is the kingdom of God (Luke 6:20)

Many theological debates have taken place over the meanings of the two underlined phrases. When we recognize that “Heaven” in this context is a euphemism we realize they mean the same thing. The question often asked is – why are they different? The answer appears to be that the text with the euphemism was meant for a Jewish audience, while the text with the word “God” was meant for a non-Jewish audience.

Whenever you read your Bible don’t turn off your mind – be alert for things that simply do not make sense in English. Chances are you may have discovered a euphemism or idiom. Do a little digging in footnotes or online and chances are you may discover what it meant to the ancient author.

Jim Myers

If you like this BHC Bible Study, please let me know by “Liking” BHC on Facebook by clicking here. It will only take a minute and doesn’t cost anything – but it really helps me to know that you benefited from my work. Also, please share it with others.

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Will you go to Hell if you call someone a “fool”?

“. . . but whosoever shall say, `Thou fool, shall be in danger of hell fire.’”

The above quote is attributed to Yeshua and translated by King James translators (Matthew 5:22).

Over the years I have had a number of people ask if they would really go to Hell just for calling someone “a fool.” Most questions like this come from people who belonged to churches that teach their members the doctrine of inerrancy and infallibility of the Bible. Obviously, if a person’s church teaches that doctrine and if their Bible contains the above words, what else could they believe – if every word of the Bible is to be taken literally and if the Bible says if someone calls someone else a “fool” they will go to Hell, then it must be the divine truth! Read the complete Real Yeshua Blog at -- http://therealyesua.blogspot.com/2015/03/will-you-go-to-hell-if-you-call-someone.html