SUMMARY

Do you want to really understand the Bible?

Many find it a confusing book. For many it is full of condemnation, commandments, do’s and don’ts, and even contradictions. If you are like I was, it does not seem like a book of love. There are several reasons for this and most can be easily eliminated with just a little knowledge that no one may have ever taught you.

DETAILS

It is very difficult to understand what someone is saying if both of you are using different definitions for words.

Here is just one pointer to help the Bible start making more sense. When you see the following words in the scriptures, substitute God’s definitions for the words themselves. How do you find out God’s definitions? Sometimes it is as easy as simply reading from a Greek Dictionary for biblical Greek.

Like English, Greek words often have numerous meanings as well as shades within meanings. But some words are used in a fairly consistent fashion; I will focus on a couple of these commonly misunderstood words. The following substitute definitions are found in Greek Koinea dictionaries (called lexicons). Like other languages, English has changed vastly over the last 1,000+ years so, if we are going to understand what sentences meant when the Bible was written, we need to use the same meanings the writers were using when they wrote it. Make sense?

Let’s focus on the following two words.

Faith – ‘to believe’ – But, because God does not want people to believe lies, I add clarity by adding ‘God’s Truth’,
hence, ‘to believe God’s Truth.’

Hope – ‘to expect’

Substituting the actual definition for the word itself in a sentence may make it longer but can add wonderfully to our ability to understand it. The following substitutions work in every verse containing the words ‘faith’ or ‘hope’. Try it and see how the verses will make more sense. Of course, you may be so used to thinking a certain way that this, at first, seems uncomfortable, but you’ll get used to it.

(NOTE: For those familiar with Greek, I am very aware of the difference between the present active indicative and a participle, however, for the average reader, establishing this concept of substituting definitions in order to properly understand a verse is far more important than getting into a complicated, and unnecessary, explanation of verb conjugation.)

Example (1): Hebrews 11:6 in the KJV version is “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Now try substituting the definition for the word ‘faith’: “But without ‘believing God’s Truth’ it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Example (2): Hebrews 11:1 is often quoted as the definition of faith. However, it is actually only a description of the result of faith and not the actual definition itself. Try substituting the definitions of the words ‘faith’ and ‘hope’ in this verse. “Now, ‘believing God’s Truth’ is the substance of things ‘expected’ and the evidence of things not seen.”

SUMMARY

Do you want to really understand the Bible?

Many find it a confusing book. For many it is full of condemnation, commandments, do’s and don’ts, and even contradictions. If you are like I was, it does not seem like a book of love. There are several reasons for this and most can be easily eliminated with just a little knowledge that no one may have ever taught you.

DETAILS

It is very difficult to understand what someone is saying if both of you are using different definitions for words.

Here is just one pointer to help the Bible start making more sense. When you see the following words in the scriptures, substitute God’s definitions for the words themselves. How do you find out God’s definitions? Sometimes it is as easy as simply reading from a Greek Dictionary for biblical Greek.

Like English, Greek words often have numerous meanings as well as shades within meanings. But some words are used in a fairly consistent fashion; I will focus on a couple of these commonly misunderstood words. The following substitute definitions are found in Greek Koinea dictionaries (called lexicons). Like other languages, English has changed vastly over the last 1,000+ years so, if we are going to understand what sentences meant when the Bible was written, we need to use the same meanings the writers were using when they wrote it. Make sense?

Let’s focus on the following two words.

Faith – ‘to believe’ – But, because God does not want people to believe lies, I add clarity by adding ‘God’s Truth’,
hence, ‘to believe God’s Truth.’

Hope – ‘to expect’

Substituting the actual definition for the word itself in a sentence may make it longer but can add wonderfully to our ability to understand it. The following substitutions work in every verse containing the words ‘faith’ or ‘hope’. Try it and see how the verses will make more sense. Of course, you may be so used to thinking a certain way that this, at first, seems uncomfortable, but you’ll get used to it.

(NOTE: For those familiar with Greek, I am very aware of the difference between the present active indicative and a participle, however, for the average reader, establishing this concept of substituting definitions in order to properly understand a verse is far more important than getting into a complicated, and unnecessary, explanation of verb conjugation.)

Example (1): Hebrews 11:6 in the KJV version is “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Now try substituting the definition for the word ‘faith’: “But without ‘believing God’s Truth’ it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

Example (2): Hebrews 11:1 is often quoted as the definition of faith. However, it is actually only a description of the result of faith and not the actual definition itself. Try substituting the definitions of the words ‘faith’ and ‘hope’ in this verse. “Now, ‘believing God’s Truth’ is the substance of things ‘expected’ and the evidence of things not seen.”

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