Recently I have seen some speculation that perhaps the New Testament was originally written in Hebrew, just as was the Old Testament. This is best summarized on the website, www.yashanet.com/studies/matstudy/mat3b.htm, from which the following excerpt is taken:
"Another contributing factor to misinterpretation is that the books of the 'New Testament'
are 'Greek documents.' The fact that the 'New Testament' texts we have are in Greek,
makes them no more 'Greek documents' than the Septuagint (Greek) version of the Old
Testament, which the rabbis wrote into Greek 200 years before Yeshua. The rabbis did
this (as did someone at some point with the 'New Testament' letters), for the benefit of
the non-Jewish world so that they could also learn of the God and faith of Israel.
Thus, the 'New Testament' documents remain Hebrew texts written in a Hebrew mindset,
and must be studied that way, if we are to determine what the authors' meanings are. . . ."
This article goes on to cite evidences for the Hebrew-text origins of the New Testament, which seem ample. And we know that all of the NT authors were Hebrew, except perhaps for Luke, who was "Greko-Syrian" and came from Antioch. And some scholars now think Luke could have been Jewish also. So now I can't wait to receive a Hebrew-English New Testament to see how it reads along with the Hebrew-English Old Testament in my Interlinear Bible, and compared to the King James Version, the New King James Version and the New International Version which I use now. (And how many times have we heard pastors and/or scholars of the Bible argue a detailed New Testament point by saying, "The Greek says this," meaning that the fine details of the Greek are what tell us what was really meant, when the Greek may actually have the same accuracy-of-translation problems as English.) Perhaps more definitive information about this language issue will be forthcoming. When we trust Him, the Lord takes us where He wants us to go.
That brings me to my final point in this post. I have been rediscovering a great booklet my wife gave me several years ago: Hebrew Word Pictures by Dr. Frank Seekins. The point of the book is that each of the 22 letters of the Hebrew language represents a picture of something or an object, so words can be described in terms of the "pictures" their letters make together. The idea is fascinating, and, for the purposes of this study, in "Love not the world," the admonition from 1 John 2:15, the Hebrew "word pictures" break down into:
Love = (Hebrew letters) alef - hey - bet, or what comes from the father (or Father)
Not = No = lamed - alef, or to control strongly
World (a tough one, not in the book, but from the Interlinear Bible Hebrew) = either: hey/
chet - lamed - bet, or what comes from (or what separates) the heart; or mem - chet -
lamed - reysh, or the chaos that separates the authority of the head, or that which
separates from teaching/learning/training.
So that roughly means, "What comes from the Father controls strongly what comes from or separates the heart (of natural man)." Or "What comes from the Father strongly controls (by avoiding) that which separates from teaching." Whether these are correct or not, they are interesting Hebrew ideas to consider. (And I agree with Grover in that it's easy for one to get into trouble when dabbling in a language that one doesn't know! I will update this when I get my Hebrew-English New Testament.) Here's a final teaser: by Hebrew word pictures the word, 'Torah,' means "what comes from the man nailed to the cross" (per Dr. Seekins)!
At any rate, now we go on to Love Not The World, by Watchman Nee.
10/8/2013 12:42:53 pm
I've had some concerns about some of the extremes of Jewish emphasis the last years, specifically when it teaches that our salvation and justification as Christians is tied to aspects of the law. However, understanding the Hebrew context of scripture brings a very healthy and needed understanding of the Word. Some of the idioms used have little meaning to those of us without a Jewish background. Your (Harv) example of "the evil eye" is a good one, but I'm sure there are many others.
10/8/2013 04:49:41 pm
Ouch! This whole confusion about the Law being somehow bad, when Jesus COMPLETELY supported the Law, needs resolution. A Hebrew NT I just received today substitutes 'legalism' for what our Bibles say 'law' in Paul's writings. And Romans 10:4 says "the goal at which the Torah aims is the Messiah" instead of "Christ is the end of the law" in the KJV, NKJV, etc. Paul knew the perfection of the Law, and its fulfillment and continuation in Jesus. It was legalism and all it brought that Paul knew was wrong. I am very excited about looking at the NT from a Hebrew perspective!
Leave a Reply.