About these studies

All of the information was collected using free, publicly available Bible study tools at www.blueletterbible.org.

The process was simple:

  1. Search for an English word or words under consideration.
  2. Evaluate every Greek word translated as the English word.
  3. Understand the definition of each Greek word, according to the Strong’s Concordance and Vine’s Dictionary.
  4. Evaluate every scripture reference for each instance of the word, evaluating each in their context and allowing scripture to interpret scripture.
  5. Record my findings.

The above process, though imperfect, is a simple one that anyone who can read can undertake for themselves, This can be done for any word or phrase in the scriptures. No other sources of information (commentaries, books, blogs, movies, Et al.) were consulted. This was not done to out of low regard for such, but so I could consider these things without too much “background noise”.

How this information is formatted

Every Greek word under consideration is separately outlined in its own section. Each word is listed with the spelling of its English transliteration and the pronunciation. Also listed is the Strong’s Dictionary definition, followed by usage references. These usages include the entire verse where the word appears in the New Testament in order to show as much context as possible. You should still look them up for further context.  Each section concludes with a summary of my personal observations based on the references.

CONTEXT IS KING

Suppose you watched a movie wherein the main character’s car breaks down. They get out of the car,  pop open the hood, and determine that a wire to the distributor cap came loose. So, being knowledgeable of such things, they re-attach the wire, get in, start the car and drive on.

Now imagine the next day, your own car breaks down. You think to yourself “ah ha! I bet it’s a loose wire on the distributor cap!”. So you get out of the car, lift the hood, and start looking for the loose wire on the distributor cap. The things is… your car doesn’t have a distributor cap – it’s fuel injected. Your car broke down for another reason. What could it be?

Your prior knowledge from the movie might help another day, if ever you’re driving a car with a distributor cap and the wire comes loose, however, the solution is of little value to you for today’s problem.

You may have had similar symptoms to problem or need of the characters in the movie, but you’d be wrong to expect that their solution will work for yours. Why? Because context is king. In a different context, some solutions are not appropriate, others are. 

When seeking to understand scripture, it’s important to realize that while all scripture is profitable, it still has a context and some aspects of scripture are appropriate because of those contexts. They may be a bad fit when shoe-horned into situations different than those they were written to address. Moses is a great example… many a church leader has compared themselves to Moses and tried to apply Mosaic practices or characteristics to their own roles as leaders despite no scriptural equivocation of the two.

Misunderstanding context can cause a reader of scripture to try to apply every example of scripture as if it’s simple, propositional or binary truth. This is not the case. Scripture is more nuanced than that. Many ideas in scripture are held in tension with ideas that can appear opposite, but usually are just complementary. Sometimes, context creates specific needs that must be addressed in certain ways. These attributes of scripture cannot be overlooked without arriving at doctrines with very poor foundations.

This is why the scriptures can say “circumcision profits nothing” and also shows Paul having Timothy circumcised. Which was right? Both were right in their context!

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