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Showing posts from June, 2005

Rod and reproof (Prov. 29:15)

Proverbs 29:15The rod and reproof give wisdom, But a child who gets his own way brings shame to his mother. (NASB)

The juxtaposition of rod and reproof struck me this morning as I was proofing Proverbs 29 for A Reader’s Hebrew Bible (more info.; sample). Since I am daily shaping the behavioral patterns of my son, it is good to be reminded that it is rod and reproof that gives wisdom.Either the rod or verbal correction alone is insufficient. They work together. The rod I take to be metonymy of cause for effect. In other words, the rod is what causes pain, and pain is (at all levels of development) a motivator to avoid whatever behavior produced the pain. If the rod is seen merely as a physical instrument, I think its real significance is lost. It is the pain of the rod that helps drive away folly. If physical pain is ineffective, other sorts of rods are available (e.g., loss of privilege, loss of play-time, etc.).Reproof involves the verbal instruction that identifies the incorrect beha…

Mansions in the Father’s House (John 14:2, 23)

14:2"In My Father's house are many dwelling places; if it were not so, I would have told you; for I go to prepare a place for you. (NASB)
14:2evn th/ oivki,a tou/ patro,j mou monai. pollai, eivsin\ eiv de. mh,( ei=pon a'n u`mi/n o[ti poreu,omai e`toima,sai to,pon u`mi/nÈ

The AV says, “In my Father’s house are many mansions …” As child growing up, I assumed that mansions meant what I thought a mansion was: a palatial house with crystal chandeliers, grand staircases, and more rooms than you knew what to do with. Then I studied NT Greek and found out that the word translated mansions means “a dwelling place.” It does not denote or even connote the fabulous sort of residence I envisioned. That was a bit disappointing, initially.

I was also inclined to wonder why the AV chose mansion since it doesn’t mean mansion. In the process of studying NT Greek, I also began to learn something about the history of English. Words change their meanings over time! The word mansion used to be us…

Jesus' Prayer for Unity through Perichoresis (John 17:21-23)

John 17:21ἵνα πάντες ἓν ὦσιν, καθὼς σύ, πάτερ, ἐν ἐμοὶ κἀγὼ ἐν σοί, ἵνα καὶ αὐτοὶ ἐν ἡμῖν ὦσιν, ἵνα ὁ κόσμος πιστεύῃ ὅτι σύ με ἀπέστειλας. 22κἀγὼ τὴν δόξαν ἣν δέδωκάς μοι δέδωκα αὐτοῖς, ἵνα ὦσιν ἓν καθὼς ἡμεῖς ἕν· 23ἐγὼ ἐν αὐτοῖς καὶ σὺ ἐν ἐμοί, ἵνα ὦσιν τετελειωμένοι εἰς ἕν, ἵνα γινώσκῃ ὁ κόσμος ὅτι σύ με ἀπέστειλας καὶ ἠγάπησας αὐτοὺς καθὼς ἐμὲ ἠγάπησας.21 that they may all be one; even as You, Father, are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believe that You sent Me. 22 "The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, that they may be one, just as We are one; 23 I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them, even as You have loved Me. (NASB)


Jesus begins his petition for unity in John 17:21 -- "That they all may be one" … how? … "just as you, Father, are in me and I in you.

Perichoretic union, (= mutual indwelling of persons), is the focus of the o…

What's wrong with it? vs. What would please Jesus the most? (Phi. 1:10)

Philippians 1:10εἰς τὸ δοκιμάζειν ὑμᾶς τὰ διαφέροντα, ἵνα ἦτε εἰλικρινεῖς καὶ ἀπρόσκοποι εἰς ἡμέραν Χριστοῦ,1:10 so that you may approve the things that are excellent, in order to be sincere and blameless until the day of Christ;Verse 10 identifies the reason Paul is praying for the Philippians’ love for God to abound in knowledge and discernment: so that they would be able to “approve the things that are excellent” (NASB).Or as the HCSB puts it: “so that you can determine what really matters.”As a kid growing up, I developed a set of mental criteria by which I made my decisions. One of the primary questions in my criteria was “Is there anything wrong with this?” That is, of course, an important question. But the more I study what it means to love God, the more I am convinced that that question is not the most important question I should be asking.In verse 10 Paul prays that the Philippians would be able to distinguish not just the good from the bad, but the better from the good, and …

Love for God abounding in knowledge & discernment (Phi. 1:9)

Philippians 1:9Καὶ τοῦτο προσεύχομαι, ἵνα ἡ ἀγάπη ὑμῶν ἔτι μᾶλλον καὶ μᾶλλον περισσεύῃ ἐν ἐπιγνώσει καὶ πάσῃ αἰσθήσει
1:9 And this I pray, that your love may abound still more and more in real knowledge and all discernment, (NASB)

As an inspired prayer, this passage reflects God’s desire for His people. In exegeting this passage there are multiple questions to be answered.1. Paul prays for their love to abound. Love always has an object; therefore, we should ask, “Love for what?” Is Paul praying that their love for others would abound or that their love for God would abound? Or is it both? Is one primary and the other secondary?Theologically, love for God always precedes and is the source for love for others (1 John). Hence, if it is both, is the primarily love for God. Verses 10 and 11, while mentioning blamelessness which does have an others-focus, seem to focus primarily on our spiritual condition. That leads me to believe that Paul is talking about the Philippians’ love for God.2. H…