About Me

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I am the Pastor/Teacher of Rivers of Joy Baptist Church in Minford, Ohio since August 2008.  I am married to Charity since June 14, 1969.  I have four grown children.   Having served in the local church for over forty years as Pastor/Teacher, Asso., Youth Pastor, Minister of Education, Building Upkeep, Camp Director, Sunday School Teacher, etc. Also I have worked in the public place for as many years as I have preached. Charity and her sister are co owner of Union Mills Conf. (Bakery) in West Portsmouth Ohio

The Bible is not the same as any other book.


GIVEN BY INSPIRATION – THEOPNEUSTOS, ETYMOLOGY AND
 hapax legomenon       January 22, 2012        
Charles e Whisnant
What in the world does THAT title mean?  That’s three big beasts in there, isn’t it?  I’ll explain, don’t worry. 

Let’s start with II Timothy 3:16-17:

·       16 All scripture 1124 is (given by inspiration of God2316 ), and is profitable5624 for doctrine1319, for reproof1650, for correction,1882 for instruction3809 in righteousness1343: 17 That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works. l

The English words ”given by inspiration of God” all come from a single Greek word, theopneustos (see, I’ve already explained one of those things in the title, it’s the Greek word for “inspiration by God”).  Chares notes: I have put this on another Document:

There has perhaps been more written about this one Greek word than any other word in the Bible.  Anyone who tells you the proper translation of this word is a simple matter is confused, showing off, or just wrong.

The day of dictionaries Unfortunately hadn’t arrived when the Bible was written, so we don’t have a handy dictionary of Koine Greek (“common Greek”, the language of the Bible) to tell us the exact meaning of the words of the Greek New Testament.  In translating ancient languages, we have to look at the clues to find out what a word means.
No Dictionaries

Some Clues or Evidence as to Meaning
Among the “clues” as to a word’s meaning in a particular document are:
  1. The way the word is used in other documents written previously or at the same time.  This can help us to understand what the word meant broadly within the language at the time.
  2. The way the word is used in related documents (Scripturally, this would primarily mean other books of the Bible).  This helps even more, because a word might have different meanings in different contexts, but if we can find it in a similar context, that is likely to be a strong indicator of what it means in the context at hand.  For instance, if we want to know what a Biblical author means by a particular word, our best evidence is not how Greek philosophers used the word, but rather how other Biblical authors used it.
  3. The way the word is used elsewhere in the document, or in other documents by the same author.  This is even better, because it gives us clues as to what this particular writer meant by the word.  Scripturally, this would mean, for instance, when trying to decide what John meant by a particular word, it is always a good idea to examine how John used that word elsewhere, and that may give us even better evidence than how Luke or James used the word.  If we want to determine what John meant in I John 1:1 by “Word of life,” we need to at least consider the possibility that it is similar to what he wrote in the first few verses of John 1.
  4. The way the word is used in the particular context at which we are looking.
  5. The words from which it is derived (called etymology — now I’ve explained another word from the title).
  6. The way the word is used in later documents.  This can help us understand what the word meant later — but meanings change over time, so it is an imperfect indicator.
  7. The grammatical context in which it is used.
  8. Any known connotations to the word or its components.
  9. Sometimes similar words in other related languages give hints as to meaning.
  10. Translations of the text into another language, when available, give further evidence — not necessarily as to the intent of the author, but certainly as to how the translator understood the word.
  11. The way the word is used in the particular context at which we are looking.
  12. The words from which it is derived (called etymology — now I’ve explained another word from the title).
  13. The way the word is used in later documents.  This can help us understand what the word meant later — but meanings change over time, so it is an imperfect indicator.
  14. The grammatical context in which it is used.
  15. Any known connotations to the word or its components.
  16. Sometimes similar words in other related languages give hints as to meaning.
  17. Translations of the text into another language, when available, give further evidence — not necessarily as to the intent of the author, but certainly as to how the translator understood the word.
hapax legomenon (one time used)
Words that only appear once are called hapax legomena (singular hapax legomenon), which means “said once” (and that explains the last of the three monsters from the title).  The meaning of these words can be more difficult to determine — we don’t have clues #2 & 3 above. 
The Greek word graphe, for instance, appears many times in the New Testament, so we have many contexts in which to examine it.  Thus, we have enough evidence to know exactly what it means — “Scripture”.  A word that only appears once gives us far fewer clues.  We have to look carefully at its single usage in Scripture, and rely more heavily on the other clues listed above.