Re: NT quotes of OT passages

Karen G. Jensen (
Wed, 19 Nov 1997 13:59:59 -0600

Wed, 19 Nov 1997 07:04:59 -0500 George Murphy wrote:

>Karen G. Jensen wrote:
>> Yes, it is a refreshing lesson for us with Western minds.
>> I came face to face with this one when repeatedly asking a Hebrew teacher
>> (a real, Jewish one) what the exact meaning of some word or passage was...
>> and he just ambivilated (if I may coin a word) until I finally realized
>> there was no exact way to say it. I was being too "Greek" about it. Greek
>> has its explicit verb tenses and the like, but Hebrew is much more laid
>> into the context. Most of us with Western minds are too "Greek" about
>> Scripture.
> The same difficulties with any translation effort. It's true
>that Hebrew has senses which are hard to map onto modern Indo-European
>languages, but that goes both ways. The study of Hebrew is very
>important for understanding biblical thought, both OT & NT, but we
>should resist the temptation to think of the Hebrew language as some
>sort of divine tongue which is especially suited to conveying divine
>revelation. God did not choose the Hebrews because of any special
>abilities they had, linguistic or otherwise, but simply because - God
>chose them. God could have chosen the Chinese or Mayans or Swedes
> George Murphy

Yes, and God made it clear that He did not choose them for _any_
righteousness of their own. He told them repeatedly, "...Know then it is
not because of your righteousness that the LORD your God is giving you this
good land to possess, for you are a stubborn people." Deut 9:6, (see 3-7)

And that would go for the Chinese or Mayans or Swedes, and us too!