Martyred for the Gospel

Martyred for the Gospel
The burning of Tharchbishop of Cant. D. Tho. Cranmer in the town dich at Oxford, with his hand first thrust into the fyre, wherwith he subscribed before. [Click on the picture to see Cranmer's last words.]

Collect of the Day

The Fifth Sunday after the Epiphany.
The Collect.

O LORD, we beseech thee to keep thy Church and household continually in thy true religion; that they who do lean only upon the hope of thy heavenly grace may evermore be defended by thy mighty power; through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen.

Daily Bible Verse

Saturday, August 13, 2011

An Example of How to Use BibleWorks 9 for Exegetical Studies

An Example of How to Use BibleWorks 9 for an Exegetical Study

by Charlie J. Ray

BibleWorks 9 is without equal in ease of use and the variety of tools which come with the program. The sheer number of tools makes this package worth the small investment. There are Greek diagramming tools, Greek and Hebrew lexicons and grammars, critical apparatuses for establishing the original reading of the Greek text, and search engines geared to the original languages as well. While it takes a little time to learn how to use all the resources available, the investment of time will produce a greater understanding of Scripture and a greater appreciation for God's written Word. (To see a full list of resources click here).

As an example of what is possible with BibleWorks 9 I want to do a study on the use of the word “soul” in the New Testament. That will involve a comparison of Bible translations and an original language study. This will not be an exhaustive study but a rather a succinct and to the point examination. Literally, one could write volumes of books on the subject.

Let us take the first occurrence of the word “soul” in the English Standard Version when we do a search of the New Testament:

And do not fear those who kill the body but cannot kill the soul. Rather fear him who can destroy both soul and body in hell. (Matthew 10:28 ESV)

καὶ μὴ φοβεῖσθε ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποκτεννόντων τὸ σῶμα, τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν μὴ δυναμένων ἀποκτεῖναι· φοβεῖσθε δὲ μᾶλλον τὸν δυνάμενον καὶ ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα ἀπολέσαι ἐν γεέννῃ. (Matthew 10:28 GNT) (Friberg, United Bible Societies 3rd/4th Edition).

"Do not fear <5399> those <3588> who kill <615> the body <4983> but are unable <3361> <1410> to kill <615> the soul <5590>; but rather <3123> fear <5399> Him who is able <1410> to destroy <622> both <2532> soul <5590> and body <4983> in hell <1067>. (Matthew 10:28 NAU) (NASB, 1995 Update with Strong's codes).

There are several steps which can be taken from this point. I have posted the New American Standard Bible with Strong's codes for those who do not read Greek. Greek interlinears with Strong's codes are available online if you do not have a Bible software program that does this. A good one for that is Biblos.com. I do not endorse the theological views of the scholars who posted that website; however, it is extremely useful for those who do not know how to install fonts. The above verse can be viewed here: Matthew 10:28 in parallel versions. To view the verse with Strong's codes you would click here: Matthew 10:28 NASB with codes.

A word of warning needs to be said here. Translations are imperfect. That's why comparing various translations helps those unfamiliar with Greek and Hebrew is essential; it allows them to see that there are different possibilities for translation. This gets even more complicated when one considers the implications for translation into other world languages, particularly those of people groups with little to no written language.

Also, I should point out that only the original autographs of the original apostles and the Old Testament prophets are the inspired and infallible and inerrant Word of God. There are literally thousands of Greek manuscript copies of the different parts of the New Testament that have been handed down and there are hundreds of copies of the Hebrew Old Testament. None of these documents are the original autographs. That's why scholars must compare the various readings to see which is most likely the original. All translations follow a critical text or eclectic text which represents the majority opinion of scholars on what they believe was the original reading in the autographs. For the New Testament this is generally the United Bible Societies 4th Edition or the Nestle-Aland 27th Edition of the Greek New Testament. (See also, Critical Editions). For the Old Testament the two major original Hebrew editions are the BHS or Biblia Hebraica Stuttgartensia. BibleWorks 9 refers to this as the WTT. Basically the BHS or WTT is based on the Leningrad Codex of the Masoretic Text or MT. Since this is not primarily an article about textual criticism I will move on.

Briefly, however, let us take a look at Matthew 10:28 from a textual criticism point of view. Of the various Greek manuscripts available are there any significant variants out there? There could be reduplicated letters or words or omitted letters or words or even added, reduplicated or omitted phrases. Sometimes there are glosses made in the margins of a parchment or papyrus which get added to the text of a later manuscript. The gloss could be a comment written there for clarification or it could be an omission of the text written in the margin that is indicated to be included in the next copy of the text. Basically what we have are copies of copies of copies of the Greek New Testament handed down to us through the centuries since the first few decades after the ministry and death of Christ.

Since textual criticism is so detailed I will only take a brief look here. There is one significant possible variation of the verse regarding the use of the word for “soul”, namely “ψυχὴν noun accusative feminine singular common from ψυχή ”. The transliteration of the Greek word would be “psuche” or “psuchen” (the accusative feminine form). The possible variations have to do with either the addition of a Greek conjunction plus the article in the second occurrence of psuche: “kai thn yuchn A 2 ac E G K M S U W D 2 28 MT”. (CNTTS NT Critical Apparatus). This adds two words, namely kai thn . . . The “kai” is the Greek conjunction for “and”. “Ten” or “ thn” is the accusative singular form for the Greek article. In English it would read literally “and the soul”. The other two variations leave off the conjunction or delete the article and the conjunction. The main text as accepted reads: καὶ μὴ ⸀φοβεῖσθε ἀπὸ τῶν ἀποκτεννόντων τὸ σῶμα τὴν δὲ ψυχὴν μὴ δυναμένων ἀποκτεῖναι· ⸁φοβεῖσθε δὲ μᾶλλον τὸν δυνάμενον ⸀καὶ ψυχὴν ⸁καὶ σῶμα ἀπολέσαι ἐν γεέννῃ. (Matthew 10:28 SBL) To read this in Greek you will need to download the Society of Biblical Literature Greek fonts here: Society of Biblical Literature Greek New Testament. Basically the second occurrence of “soul” and “body” are both preceded in Greek by the Greek conjunction “kai”. So it reads literally, “καὶ ψυχὴν καὶ σῶμα ἀπολέσαι ἐν γεέννῃ. (Mat 10:28 GNT)”. The literal English translation is “. . . and soul and body to destroy in Gehenna.” There is a double “kai” indicating a parallel or a mutual joining of some sort. That's why the NASB reads “both body and soul”, which is an accurate translation. You can do a word study on the Greek conjunction “kai” to see the various ways it can be legitimately translated into English depending on the context. At any rate, you can see that textual criticism is appropriate here. To see more information about the CNTTS and Tischendorf and SBL critical apparatuses at the BibleWorks 9 website click here: What's New in BibleWorks 9. What is particularly time saving about the BibleWorks 9 critical apparatuses is that you can click on any of the symbols or manuscript abbreviations for an instant definition of the symbol or specific identification of the manuscript where the variant occurs. This greatly speeds up the learning curve when doing textual criticism, making even the novice much quicker to understand textual choices made by the translators of various English versions.

Exactly what does “psuche” mean anyway? The KJV is inconsistent in translating the word since in some places it is translated as “life” and in other places as “soul”. A good Greek lexicon is essential for this kind of work. The two most popular are Thayer's Greek Lexicon and the Bauer, Gingrich, Arndt, and Danker Greek Lexicon. For those less versed in Greek the Vines Lexicon or Strong's Exhaustive Concordance are useful. To save time I am not using the full titles of these lexicons. You'll find them listed at the BibleWorks full contents link above.

The technical definition of “psuche” is shown here:

28987 ψυχή, ῆς, life, soul; a many-sided word with the meaning derived from the context; (1) as the derivative existence of all living creatures, including human beings life-principle, physical life, breath (AC 20.10; RV 8.9 ); (2) as earthly existence in contrast to supernatural existence life, natural life, one's life on earth (MT 6.25; AC 20.24; RO 11.3); (3) as the nonmaterial inner life of human beings for which the body serves as a dwelling place soul, inner self (MT 11.29; 20.28); often with focus on various aspects of feeling, thinking, choosing in which the psychological being is involved; mind, purpose (PH 1.27); heart (MK 14.34); desire (LU 10.27); by metonymy, of a living being that possesses a soul person, individual (AC 2.43; 1C 15.45); plural persons, people (AC 2.41); in a first-person reference as equivalent to ἐγώ I (myself) (LU 1.47); me (myself) (LU 12.19); (4) idiomatically ἀπολλύναι τὴν ψυχήν literally have one's life destroyed, i.e. die (MT 10.39); τὴν ψυχὴν τιθέναι literally lay down one's life, i.e. die voluntarily (JN 13.38); διδόναι ψυχήν literally give one's life, i.e. die willingly (MT 20.28); παραδιδόναι τὴν ψυχήν literally hand over one's life, i.e. risk one's life, expose oneself to danger (AC 15.26); παραβολεύεσθαι τῇ ψυχῇ literally have no concern for one's life, i.e. risk one's life (PH 2.30); ζητεῖν τὴν ψυχήν τινος literally seek someone's life, i.e. want to kill (MT 2.20); ψ. ζωῆς literally living soul, i.e. (sea) creature (RV 16.3); τὴν ψυχήν τινος αἴρειν literally lift up someone's soul, i.e. keep someone in suspense without being able to come to a conclusion (JN 10.24); κάμνειν τῇ ψυχῇ literally become tired in soul, i.e. become discouraged (HE 12.3). [Friberg Lexicon, BibleWorks 9].

I could quote major portions of the other lexicons in BibleWorks 9. But it should suffice to show you the depth of the lexical information available, not to mention the Greek grammars like Robertson's. The Resource Window will allow you to hover over the hyperlinks and pop open the information immediately, saving huge amounts of time in doing exegetical work. This is particularly important for seminary students, busy pastors, and seminary professors.

The point should be well taken that to truly understand the Bible one is obligated to learn at least how to do a Greek or Hebrew word study and how to use a concordance. Parallel Bibles where the original language and English are shown together are useful as well. And for those more advanced, a program like BibleWorks 9 is absolutely indispensable. “Psuche” can mean the inner life of the person, including the thoughts, the heart, the mind, and the conscience. It can also be the principle of life that makes a person alive or a living human being. Understanding these finer points of the Greek language is hard work but well worth the effort.

Reasonable Christian Blog Glory be to the Father, and to the Son : and to the Holy Ghost; Answer. As it was in the beginning, is now, and ever shall be : world without end. Amen. 1662 Book of Common Prayer

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