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Frank W. Nelte

August 2022

150 Mistranslations in the Bible PART 6

This is the sixth in a series of seven articles, in which the following Scriptures are discussed in a Genesis to Revelation sequence.

PART 6

108

ROMANS 1:23

109

ROMANS 2:9-10

110

ROMANS 5:8

111

ROMANS 8:19-21,39

112

ROMANS 8:24

113

ROMANS 8:29

114

ROMANS 11:7 & 2 CORINTHIANS 3:14

115

ROMANS 11:25 & EPHESIANS 4:18

116

ROMANS 11:29

117

1 CORINTHIANS 11:20

118

1 CORINTHIANS 12:28

119

1 CORINTHIANS 15:29

120

2 CORINTHIANS 3:14

121

2 CORINTHIANS 7:8

122

2 CORINTHIANS 7:9-11

123

2 CORINTHIANS 11:6

124

EPHESIANS 1:4

125

EPHESIANS 4:18

126

EPHESIANS 5:21

127

1 TIMOTHY 5:17-18

128

2 TIMOTHY 1:9-10

129

2 TIMOTHY 3:16

#108 = ROMANS 1:23

THE VERSE:

And changed the glory of the incorruptible God into an image (Greek “eikon”) made like (Greek “homoioma”) to corruptible man, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

Human beings rejected God and went into idolatry. The mistranslations in this verse are of consequence to people who use this verse to draw certain conclusions regarding the nature of God. Specifically, some people have reasoned from this translation that God does not have any form or shape. That is completely wrong.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

1) The Greek word here translated “changed” should be correctly translated as “to exchange one thing for another”; in other words, to replace something with something else. It is correctly translated “exchanged” in translations like the NAS, NIV, RSV, etc.

2) In the Greek NT there are two different words with somewhat similar meanings, but also with some distinct differences between them. Romans 1:23 is the only place in the New Testament where these two words are used together, expressing a relationship to each other.

These two words are “eikon” and “homoioma”. I have included them above in the quoted verse. These two words are in fact a parallel to the two Hebrew words in Genesis 1:26. Those two Hebrew words in Genesis 1:26 are “tselem” meaning “image”, and “demuwth” meaning “likeness”.

Thus Hebrew “tselem” = Greek “eikon” = English “image”.

And Hebrew “demuwth” = Greek “homoioma” = English “likeness”.

In Genesis 1:26 “image” refers to “look like God”; and “likeness” refers to “possessing characteristics like God.

So coming to Romans 1:23:

The word “eikon” refers to a true and accurate image of someone or something. The word “homoioma”, on the other hand, is used to express abstract concepts, characteristics, or attributes, independent of appearances.

So when a writer is making a literal comparison to something else, then the word “eikon” is used. And when a writer is making a conceptual comparison to something else, then the word “homoioma” is used.

In Romans 1:23 the expression “into an image made like to” is a translation of the Greek expression “en homoiomati eikonos”. Let’s look at these three Greek words.

1) “En” means “in” or “into”. It always takes the dative case.

2) “Homoiomati” is the dative case of “homoioma,” here translated as “made like to”.

3) “Eikonos” is the genitive case of “eikon,” here translated as “an image”.

A correct literal translation of this Greek expression is “into the likeness of an image,” and it is correctly rendered this way in many translations, including ASV, ERV, Darby, YLT, WEB, EMTV, WORRELL, DOUAY, LEB, WEB, etc.

Now this expression “into the likeness of an image” is another way of saying “for the concept of an image”. So Paul is in this verse talking about a conceptual comparison, not a literal comparison.

Let me repeat that: in Romans 1:23 Paul is making a conceptual comparison, rather than a literal comparison. Paul is not saying that they made their idols to look like God, not at all. The idols of the pagan religions don’t even remotely look like God, something Paul understood very clearly.

Rather, Paul is saying that the glory that belongs to God the pagans applied to their idols.

The focus of Romans 1:23 is not on God! The focus of this verse is on the glory of God! And Paul’s comparison is not between God and idols. Paul’s comparison here refers to the glory of God being attributed by pagans to their idols.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

“And exchanged the glory of the incorruptible God for the concept of an image of corruptible man, and of birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things.”

 

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

The pagans replaced “the glory of God” with idols, some of which had a human appearance, and others looked like animals, birds or creeping things. What God Himself looks like doesn’t enter the picture in this verse. It is the glory of God, rather than the appearance of God, that the pagans tried to apply to their idols. In simple terms: the pagans ascribed God’s characteristics and powers to their idols, not necessarily God’s looks or appearance.

Many different images (Greek “eikon”) make up this one specific concept (Greek “homoioma”) of paganism ... that an image of a bull or snake or eagle or frog, etc. can supposedly represent the powers of God.

But Romans 1:23 tells us nothing at all about God’s own shape or appearance. And the assertion that this verse supposedly proves that God has no shape is utterly absurd.

#109= ROMANS 2:9-10

THE VERSES:

Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that does evil, of the Jew first, and also of the Gentile; But glory, honor, and peace, to every man that works good, to the Jew first, and also to the Gentile: (Romans 2:9-10)

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

The implication here is that Paul referred to non-Israelites as “Gentiles”. But that is not correct. At no point in any of his letters did the Apostle Paul ever refer to any individual person as “a Gentile”.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

The word “Gentile” in these verses is a mistranslation.

In verse 9 the Greek word mistranslated as “the Gentile” is “hellenos”.

In verse 10 the Greek word mistranslated as “the Gentile” is “helleni”.

These two words are the genitive singular case and the dative singular case of the noun “hellen” respectively. And the noun “hellen” means: a Greek person.

“Hellen” does not mean “Gentile”.

The majority of English translations have corrected this mistranslation, and they read either “the Greek” or they just say “Greek”, since the Greek text does not contain the definite article. Translations with this correction include: ASV, RSV, NRSV, Darby, YLT, Coverdale, ERV, EMTV, Williams, etc.

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

Tribulation and anguish, upon every soul of man that does evil, of (the) Jew first, and also of (the) Greek; But glory, honor, and peace, to every man that works good, to (the) Jew first, and also to (the) Greek: (Romans 2:9-10)

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

The word “Gentile” is a slang expression intended to refer to all non-Israelites. In all places where it appears in our English translations of the Bible, it is a mistranslation. These two verses here are the only place where we have the word “Gentile” in the singular form in our English Bibles. Both are mistranslations.

For a thorough discussion of the word “gentiles” in our English Bibles see my 30-page 2017 article entitled “The Use of the Word ‘Gentile’ in the Bible”.

#110 = ROMANS 5:8

THE VERSE:

But God commends His love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

Some people have used this verse to claim that God loves all sinners, including  adulterers and murderers, unconditionally. That is not correct. There are two mistranslations in this verse.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

I have explained this verse and the mistranslations in it in detail in my 2015 article “God Does Not Love All Sinners!”. See that article for a thorough explanation.

Briefly:

1) The first mistranslation involved the expression “while we were yet sinners”.  In the Greek text this is in the present tense, and not in the past tense. This expression correctly reads “while we are yet sinners”. It is speaking about us in the present tense, and not in the past tense.

2) The second mistranslation involves the expression “but God commends His love”. The Greek text for this expression reads “sunistesin de ten eautou agapen”.

The verb “sunistao” (i.e. “sunistesin” in the text) is translated as “commends”. But that’s not really what this verb means in this context. In this context this Greek verb means “to introduce” and “to exhibit”. (In modern Greek the shortened word “sunisto” also means “to introduce” when applied to a person.) A more appropriate translation of this Greek text is “God introduces His love”.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

But God introduces His love towards us, in that, while we are yet sinners, Christ died for us.

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

This verse is not speaking about unrepentant sinners in the world. The pronoun “us” refers to converted members of God’s Church. All of us are still sinners, as the Apostle John spells out quite clearly in 1 John 1:8-9. And in Romans Paul was addressing church members, not sinners in the world. The world is not a consideration in this statement.

Here is how this works.

As long as we were unrepentant, we were cut off from God (Isaiah 59:2). And at that time Jesus Christ’s sacrifice did not in any way whatsoever apply to us. We were cut off from any access to forgiveness of our sins, and we were cut off from God’s love.

       

Then God opened our minds by calling us, along with also calling millions of other people who did not respond to that calling (i.e. see the parable of the sower, and also Matthew 22:14).

When we responded to that calling, then access to forgiveness of our past guilt was opened unto us. When we repented, then God “introduced us to His love”. How? By applying the sacrifice of Jesus Christ to our sins. And at that point, and not before that point, Christ had also died “for us”.

The article adds many more details to this explanation.

#111 = ROMANS 8:19-21, 39

THE VERSES:

For the earnest expectation of the creature waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19)

For the creature was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope, (Romans 8:20)

Because the creature itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:21)

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:39)

THE PROBLEMS WITH THESE TRANSLATIONS:

The Greek noun “ktisis” means both “creature” and “creation”. Clear examples for both meanings are Romans 1:20 (for “creation”) and Mark 16:15 (for “creature”). It is always the context that tells us whether it means “creature” or whether it means “creation”.

Here in Romans 8 Paul has used this word “ktisis” five times: once each in the four consecutive verses 19-22, and then at the end of the chapter in verse 39.

Verses 19-22 form one context. And in verse 22 the translators have correctly translated “ktisis” as “creation”. It doesn’t make sense to say that “the whole creature groans and travails”. Here in verse 22 it must mean that “the whole creation groans and travails”.

So verse 22 establishes the subject that Paul is discussing here. Paul is talking about the whole “creation” in these verses, rather than talking about “creatures”. Thus in verses 19-21 “ktisis” should be consistently translated as “creation”, in agreement with “creation” in verse 22.

Coming to “ktisis” in verse 39:

Verses 38-39 form one single sentence. So the context for “ktisis” in verse 39 starts in verse 38. We should ask ourselves: does this list that Paul presents in these two verses focus on living beings (i.e. “creatures), or does it focus on things that don’t have life (i.e. “creation”)?

Before concluding this list with the statement “any other ktisis”, Paul lists: death, life, height, depth, the present creation (things present) and the future creation (things to come). These things are not “creatures”; they fall under “creation”.

Paul also lists: angels, principalities and powers. These words can apply to “creatures” who can exercise power and authority. But these three words cover all possibilities of “creatures”. Angels are listed; and demons are potentially also covered by the words “principalities and powers”; and (other) human beings are potentially also covered by the words “principalities and powers”.

So there is “no other creature” that could be implied by the concluding expression “any other ktisis”. In this list Paul is speaking mostly about  abstract things.

It seems clear to me that here in Romans 8 Paul has consistently used the word “ktisis” with the meaning of “creation”.

CORRECT TRANSLATIONS OF THESE VERSES:

For the earnest expectation of the creation waits for the manifestation of the sons of God. (Romans 8:19)

For the creation was made subject to vanity, not willingly, but by reason of Him who hath subjected the same in hope, (Romans 8:20)

Because the creation itself also shall be delivered from the bondage of corruption into the glorious liberty of the children of God. (Romans 8:21)

Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creation, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 8:39)

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THESE VERSES:

In discussing the glory of God and the love of God, Paul has focused on the big picture that covers all of creation, rather than on just “creatures”. In practice this correction does not have any significant consequences. I have included these verses here simply to provide a clearer picture of what Paul is discussing.

#112 = ROMANS 8:24

THE VERSE:

For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for? (Romans 8:24)

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

This is the main Scriptures people use to claim that true Christians are already “saved” now in this life. That is not correct.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

The claim that we are now already “saved” contradicts clear statements by Jesus Christ. For example:

But he that shall endure unto the end, the same shall be saved. (Matthew 24:13)

These are the words of Jesus Christ. And here the Greek word “sothesetai” is the future tense of “sozo”, and it is correctly translated as “shall be saved”, in the future. Here Jesus Christ Himself clearly stated that being saved is still future.

Matthew 24:13 tells us that once we come into God’s Church, we have to continue to “endure” tests and trials. But we are not yet saved. So we are converted Christians, and that means that God has given us His holy spirit. But we are still not yet saved, even while we are enduring trials.

It is only after we have faithfully endured tests and trials “unto the end” of our lives, that then we shall be saved, in the future, at the time of the first resurrection.

In Matthew 10:22 Jesus Christ made basically the same statement as in Matthew 24:13. So Jesus Christ said this on at least two different occasions.

So how do the words of the Apostle Paul in Romans 8:24 tie in with the words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 24:13? Is there any contradiction?

The answer is that in Romans 8:24 Paul did not use the verb “saved” with the present tense! Paul did not say “we are saved”. Rather, Paul used the Greek aorist tense with the verb “saved”.

The aorist tense in biblical Greek is something for which we have no equivalent in English. This Greek tense focuses on exactness and accuracy, without regard for present, past or future. And the 12,043 times that the aorist and second aorist tenses are used in the Greek New Testament include many hundreds of examples, where it has been correctly translated by the future tense in English.

Whenever we see a Greek verb in the aorist tense in the New Testament, then it is always the context which tells us whether this verb should be translated into English in the present, past or future tense. The Greek verb in the aorist tense itself does not give us any clues in this regard. The context is the only criterion we can use to translate such a verb correctly.

Now when the context itself does not give us a clue as to a present, past or future application, then translators invariably rely on their own understanding of the subject matter being discussed. That is all they have to go on. And that is all any of us have to go on in such cases.

It follows that when the translators have an incorrect understanding of a specific subject, that then there is the danger that they might translate something incorrectly.

Specifically, here in Romans 8:24 the Greek verb in the aorist tense could theoretically be correctly translated as “we were saved”, or as “we are saved”, or as “we shall be saved”. Potentially the aorist tense includes all these possibilities.

But only one of them is correct in the context of verse 24.

The translators opted for the present tense “we are saved” statement, because that agreed with their incorrect understanding of the subject of salvation. And so they could not understand that their translation was in open opposition to the words of Jesus Christ in Matthew 24:13.

A correct understanding of Matthew 24:13, and of the whole subject of “salvation”, means that here in Romans 8:24 the aorist tense must be translated into English by the future tense.

(The aorist tense is discussed further in my 1995 article “Some Facts About N.T. Greek Verbs.)

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

For we shall be saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man sees, why does he yet hope for? (Romans 8:24)

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

The expression “we are saved by hope” is something of a contradiction of terms, as pointed out by Paul in this verse. If we supposedly “are” saved, then we don’t need to have any hope. “Hope” is only something that can exist before we receive the thing we hope for. That’s what Paul is saying in this verse.

“Hope” is always focused on the future. And “we shall be saved” is likewise focused on the future. So since we must have hope, therefore “are saved” is not really a possibility here in verse 24. It can only be “shall be saved”.

#113 = ROMANS 8:29

THE VERSE:

For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

Some people assume that this verse says that some people are predestinated to be in God’s Kingdom. Implied is that all those who are not predestinated will not be in God’s Kingdom. But this is not correct. There are mistranslations involved in this context.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

The context actually starts in the previous verse. So let’s start our examination with verse 28.

And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose. (Romans 8:28)

Note that the subject of this verse are the people who are “the called according to God’s purpose”. Implied is that all of us already understand what is meant by “God’s purpose”.

Now we come to the first problem with our English translations. In our versions verse 29 starts a completely new sentence. But that is misleading!

Verse 29 starts with the Greek conjunction “hoti”, which is translated as “for” in order to introduce a new sentence. This conjunction “hoti” is in our age today more clearly translated as “because” or as “so that”.

In plain language, when “hoti” is translated as “because” or as “so that”, then it is much easier to see that verse 29 is in fact a continuation of the sentence that started in verse 28. (There was no punctuation in the original Greek text.)

“Hoti” is a conjunction which joins what follows to what went before. Verse 29 is an elaboration of verse 28. That is what Paul intended when he wrote verse 29.

Verse 29 is not a new thought at all.

In plain terms:

In verse 29 Paul explains why “all things work together for good to them that are called according to God’s purpose”.

None of the translators really understood what Paul was saying here. They read their own biases into Paul’s words. And so they changed a few things here and there, so that the text would be compatible with their own views.

It is always a problem when translators try to translate something that they don’t really understand. It is not a case of them not understanding the Greek words they translated; they do understand those Greek words. What they don’t understand is the concept that Paul explained by using these Greek words. They couldn’t grasp the intended meaning. This is a problem not only here in Romans 8, but in many other places as well, where the translators were also really clueless as to what the texts they were translating actually mean.

So here once again is verse 29 as it appears in the KJV.

For whom He did foreknow, He also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren. (Romans 8:29)

And here is the Greek text for verse 29.

Hoti ous proegno kai proorisen summorphous tes eikonos tou huiou autou prototokon en pollois adelphois.”

The 9 English words “for whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate” are supposed to be a translation of the 5 Greek words “hoti ous proegno kai proorisen”.

Notice the three-word Greek expression “proegno kai proorisen”.

In this expression the verb for “he did foreknow” is “proegno”, and this is the aorist active indicative third person singular of the verb “proginosko”, which verb is made up of the words “pro+ginosko”.

The verb for “he did predestinate” is “proorisen”, and this is the aorist active indicative third person singular of the verb “proorizo”, which verb is made up of the words “pro+horizo”.

This Greek verb “proorizo” is the sole foundation for all the ideas about “predestination”! This verb is the key to the subject of predestination!

So let’s now examine the Greek root verb “horizo” and then also the verb “proorizo” more closely. The following information is based on the Theological Dictionary Of The New Testament (TDNT) for the entry entitled “horizo, aphorizo, apodiorizo, proorizo”.

horizo. This word (from horos, ‘boundary’) means ‘to limit’ and then figuratively ‘to fix’, ‘to appoint’. Time as well as space can be limited.” (page 728, the abridged one volume by Geoffrey W. Bromiley; bold type is my own emphasis)

proorizo. This rare and late word has in the NT the sense ‘to foreordain’.” (TDNT same page)

We get our English word “horizon” from “horizo”, because the horizon is a boundary for how far we can see. Now these two definitions in TDNT present some very interesting information! Can we see the significance of the above statements?

For the root word “horizo” this recognized reference work gives us the exact meaning of the word. But for the word “proorizo” it does not actually give us the meaning at all! Can we see that?

The statement “has in the NT the sense” is a way of telling us that this reference work will only give us a theological interpretation for what the author thinks the word should mean in the NT! Can we see that? For “proorizo” this Theological Dictionary does not provide the actual meaning of the word.

There is a huge difference between providing the actual literal meaning of the Greek words “horos” and “horizo” on the one hand; and then on the other hand stating that “in the NT” the word “proorizo” has a certain sense! What about the “sense” or “the literal meaning” this word “proorizo” has outside the NT, i.e. in a non-religious context?

Since “proorizo” is a rare and late word, therefore we don’t really have examples from classical Greek (i.e. we are not aware of uses outside of the NT). Later meanings and also the meaning of “proorizo” in modern Greek (where it means “to destine” or “to intend”), are heavily influenced by the theological meaning that was attached to this word after New Testament times, and therefore such meanings cannot be relied on.

So here is the point:

Once again not a single biblical scholar understands this verse correctly. All of them have read their own prejudices regarding “predestination” into the Greek word “proorizo”. And so this Greek word has since then been used with the meaning that people after New Testament times assigned to this word. And they have consistently assigned a wrong meaning to this word, which assignment in fact ignores the meaning of the root words for “proorizo”.

This is what a lack of understanding will produce. And that is why no matter how brilliant a scholar may be, no amount of human intelligence can get around the constraint that “the things of God knows no man without access to the spirit of God” (see 1 Corinthians 2:11, paraphrased).

To come to a clearer understanding of this Greek word “proorizo”, let’s examine all the Greek words in the NT that have the common stem “horizo”.

1) Horizo: As we have already seen, this word refers to “setting a boundary” or “setting a limit”. A clear example of this meaning is found in Hebrews 4:7.

Again, he limits (Greek “horizo”) a certain day, saying in David, To day, after so long a time; as it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts. (Hebrews 4:7)

In this verse the meaning of “horizo” is quite clear. It has to do with setting a limit or a boundary.

2) Aphorizo: This word means “to sever” or “to separate”. A clear example is found in Matthew 25:32.

And before Him shall be gathered all nations: and He shall separate (Greek “aphorizo”) them one from another, as a shepherd divides (Greek “aphorizo”) his sheep from the goats: (Matthew 25:32)

In this verse the word “aphorizo” is used twice, and the meaning “to sever” or “to separate” or “to divide” is also easy to recognize from the context. This meaning is clearly linked to the meaning of “horizo”, since boundaries separate or divide groups of people or animals.

3) Apodiorizo: This word also means “to separate” with the intention of defining a distinction between the things that are separated. This word is only used once, in Jude 1:19.

These be they who separate (Greek “apodiorizo”) themselves, sensual, having not the spirit. (Jude 1:19)

Thus far all three Greek words very clearly have to do with setting a boundary or a limit, which has the effect of separating people (or animals) into different groups.

4) Proorizo: This word is mostly mistranslated as “predestinated”. But one verse where we get closer to the correct meaning is 1 Corinthians 2:7.

But we speak the wisdom of God in a mystery, even the hidden wisdom, which God ordained (Greek “proorizo”) before the world unto our glory: (1 Corinthians 2:7)

“Ordained” is in fact a mistranslation of the Greek word “proorizo”. But the translators chose this word “ordained” because it was quite obvious to them that in this context “predestinated” would even more clearly be a wrong translation. But the translators simply couldn’t understand the correct intended meaning.

However, can you see that the mystery of God wasn’t in any way “predestinated”? Rather, shortly before the flood God modified His plan for mankind in such a way that the new plan limited the number of people who would be in the first resurrection to exactly 144,000. So before the flood God in effect “set the boundary” for how many will be in the first resurrection.

God setting a limit (i.e. a boundary) is not at all the same as God “predestinating” certain people.

That (God setting a very rigid boundary for how many will be in the first resurrection) is a mystery for most of mankind, which even the Church of God didn’t understand in the 1950's and 60's and 70's, a time when many ministers still erroneously believed that the first resurrection will comprise two groups of people: the 144,000 and the “great multitude which no man could number” (Revelation 7:9). But that belief is wrong!

At any rate, can we see that here in 1 Corinthians 2:7 the word “proorizo” has nothing at all to do with any kind of individual predestination? The focus is not on individual people; the focus is on God’s overall plan for mankind. And the meaning of “proorizo” here in this verse ties perfectly into the meaning of the root word “horizo”. So 1 Corinthians 2:7 shows us how we are to understand Romans 8:29.

By contrast, assigning the meaning “to predestinate” to this word “proorizo” is totally out of character with the other three words in this family of words (i.e. horizo, aphorizo, and apodiorizo). The meaning “to predestinate” is totally artificial and completely inappropriate. It simply doesn’t fit with any of the words in this group.

This word “proorizo” is only used six times in the NT, five times by Paul and once by Paul’s traveling companion Luke (i.e. in Acts 4:28). Matthew, Mark, John, James, Peter and Jude never used this word “proorizo” in their writings. So none of them ever speak about any supposed “predestination”. Six of the authors of NT books never use this word at all, which means that they never in any way refer to “predestination”. That should also make us think.

If there really was such a thing as “predestination”, then why would six of the eight NT authors have completely ignored this subject?

Here is the correct meaning with which the Apostle Paul used this word “proorizo”.

This word does NOT mean “to predestinate”! The root word “horizo” really means: to limit, to set a boundary, to set parameters! And the word “proorizo” means “to set a limit before”. That is 100% in keeping with the meanings of the root word “horizo” and the prefix “pro”.

Now without an understanding of the plan of God, by which plan God beforehand set a limit of exactly 144,000 people for the first resurrection, it is pretty well impossible for any scholar to comprehend the correct meaning for the word “proorizo”. Scholars cannot grasp that for a certain phase of His plan God has in advance set a very clear limit, a boundary which may not be exceeded. But we in God’s Church should be able to understand this.

So can you understand the meaning of the word “proorizo”? It refers to a predetermined boundary which may not be exceeded.

Now let’s continue with Romans 8:29.

The word “ginosko” means “to know”, and “horizo” means “to determine a limit” or “to establish a boundary”. In the Greek text both these verbs have the prefix “pro”, which means “before”. So “proginosko” means “to know in advance” or “to know before”. And “proorizo” means “to determine in advance a boundary”.

Notice that these two Greek verbs are joined by the conjunction “kai”. This three-word Greek expression “proegno kai proorisen” means “to know in advance and to determine a limit in advance”. The word “and” is the correct translation for the Greek word “kai” in this context.

Yes, at other times it is sometimes appropriate to translate “kai” as “also”; but that is not the case here in Romans 8:29, in spite of what most scholars have done.

In this expression “proegno kai proorisen” the two verbs are in the identical form in every way, and they are joined by the word “and”!

Here is a problem:

In Greek it is one expression, which our translators have changed into two expressions, because of their lack of understanding. Can we see that?

Our English translations of Romans 8:29 have changed this 3-word Greek expression into the following two English expressions:

        1) whom he did foreknow

        2) he also did predestinate

That is wrong!

In this wrong format “he also did predestinate” is presented as a consequence of the expression “whom he did foreknow”. And the expression “whom he did foreknow” is presented as a prerequisite for the expression “he also did predestinate”.

These two English expressions are presented as a form of progression. That false picture is achieved by mistranslating “kai” in this context as “also”. Now that mistranslation may sound pretty logical to some people, as if Paul used the first expression as a foundation for the second expression. We can follow that kind of reasoning.

But it is wrong!

In Paul’s Greek text these two verbs are joined on equal terms by the word “and”! They are not presented as the second one being a consequence of the first one. They are presented as equal terms.

Yes, I know, this is all very subtle! Guess who is the original master of all subtleties? (Hint: consider Genesis 3:1.) This is a mistranslation with huge consequences, because it presents the foundation for the false teaching about predestination.

The focus which Paul’s statement has in the Greek language, has been completely altered by these English translations, and that is in addition to mistranslating “proorizo”.

So now back to the rest of the Greek text of verse 29.

1) The Greek conjunction “hoti” means “because”.

2) The Greek pronoun “ous” means “whom”.

3) In this context the Greek conjunction “kai” means “and”, which is what “kai” means about 90% of the time in the over 9000 places where it is used in the New Testament. It overwhelmingly means “and”!

So the first 5 Greek words of verse 29 mean:

“because whom He foreknew and predetermined (i.e. within the limits God had set)”.

Now let’s see why Paul introduced this statement with the word “because”. Who is this talking about? The point Paul is making is this:

“All things work together for good to them who are the called according to God’s purpose of building the Family of God (verse 28), because the people God pre-knew and predetermined ...” (and then follows the next part of verse 29).

So let’s now look at that next part of verse 29.

The Greek adjective “summorphous” is the accusative plural masculine of “summorphos”, made up of the words “sun” which means “with” + “morphe” which means “form”. Now this adjective “summorphos” is typically used to describe “the essence in character” and not merely a form or outline. In other words, “summorphos” describes something that is complete and durable, character-wise.

In our English translations “summorphous” is translated as “to the image”. But it really should be translated as something like “the character-image”. It is a reference to a specific type of character.

Now we come to a grammatical technicality. This may seem to be somewhat complicated, but it is extremely important. I will try to simplify this point as much as possible. See if you can understand this?

I mentioned that “summorphous” is in the accusative case. This simply means that Paul used this word as the direct object in the statement he was making. In other words, “summorphous” represents the direct object for the statement that precedes this word.

So when our English translations translate “summorphous” as “to the image”, then they have changed this into the indirect object of the preceding statement. This represents a change in focus, from the focus Paul presented when he wrote this letter. This may seem like a minor technicality, but it has profound consequences.

Here is the point:

Since the adjective “summorphous” is presented by Paul as the direct object (i.e. the accusative case) of the preceding statement, therefore Paul must also have implied an obvious verb to qualify this direct object.

Keep in mind that in biblical Greek auxiliary verbs are commonly implied, as is demonstrated by the great number of italic font verbs found in the KJV of the NT. (Examples of auxiliary verbs are forms of “be, do, have” and “shall, will” for the future tenses.)

So the accusative case “summorphous” means that in English verse 29 should correctly read as follows:

“because the people God pre-knew and predetermined to have the character-image ...”

Note that I have put the words “to have” in italics, to indicate that they are not in the actual Greek text, but that they are clearly implied by Paul, because Paul wrote the word for “character-image” in the direct object case (i.e. accusative).

And the direct object implies a verb between the subject and the direct object. This means that there simply must be a verb between the words “the people” and the words “the character-image”. (The verbs “pre-knew” and “predetermined” apply to God and not to the subject of this expression, which subject is “the people”.) It is “the people” who are to have that “character-image”; and that character-image is what God both pre-knew and predetermined!

I realize that this is all quite technical for most people. And Satan has confused most people by dealing deceitfully with these technicalities.

So here is the point we need to understand:

When Paul wrote this, in Paul’s mind what was “predetermined” and “pre-known” to God was what would be the ultimate outcome for the people that God would call! What was pre-known and predetermined by God was what type of character all those in the first resurrection would have, rather than predetermining who those individuals would be! And the predetermining was within the clear boundary which God had set, that boundary being exactly 144,000.

“The thing” which God has predetermined is “what” and not “who”!

To repeat in simple terms:

What was “predestinated” was the type of character all those in the first resurrection would have! But God did not “predestinate” who would be a part of that group!

That is the point Paul was making! And this is compatible with everything else that Paul wrote in all of his letters.

It is Satan who has deceived the whole world into a false idea about “predestination”! Regarding any specific individual human being, there is no such thing as predestination for the ultimate outcome of that person’s life.

Simply put: God predetermined that there would be exactly 144,000 people in the first resurrection, who would all have the same character that Jesus Christ has. But the identities of those 144,000 people are not at all decided by God until those people have completed their physical lives.

Yes, upon real repentance their names (i.e. including our names) are already added to the Book of Life, in anticipation of them making the grade. So after people have come to real repentance this removes some of the anonymity, but their (i.e. including our) names are only added to the Book of Life on the clear understanding that it is still quite possible for those names to be “blotted out”.

Revelation 3:5 tells us that those who overcome will not have their names blotted out of the Book of Life, implying that if those individuals do not overcome, then their names will be blotted out of that book.

This potential, that the names of people who do not overcome can still be blotted out, retains a certain anonymity regarding the final composition of that group of 144,000 people. Now once people have lived a faithful life in response to God’s calling, then their inclusion in that group of 144,000 is secure and no longer anonymous. This applies to people like Abraham, Moses, David, etc., who have completed their physical lives.

Let’s now continue with verse 29.

The Greek words “tes eikonos” are both in the genitive singular case. They mean “of the likeness”. (These words are the feminine gender.)

The Greek words “tou huiou autou” are also all in the genitive singular case. They mean “of His Son”. (These words are the masculine gender.)

So our translation of verse 29 now looks as follows:

because the people God pre-knew and predetermined to have the character-image of the likeness of His Son ...

Let’s continue with our translation.

The Greek pronoun “auton” is the accusative singular masculine form of the pronoun “autos”, and it means “Him”! Note that the accusative case cannot mean “He”! So it doesn’t really translate as “that He might be ...”.

The pronoun “auton” is clearly the accusative case, and must therefore be translated as “Him”! This pronoun is the object of this statement; it is not the subject of the statement that Paul made. So here we have another subtle twist in emphasis in our English mistranslations.

The Greek adjective “prototokon” is the accusative singular masculine form of “prototokos”, which means “firstborn”.

The Greek expression “en pollois adelphois” is in the dative plural masculine form, required by the preposition “en”, and it means “among many brethren”.

So now we can put the whole picture for verses 28-29 together.

“All things work together for good to them who are the called according to God’s purpose (of building the Family of God), because the people God pre-knew and predetermined to have the character-image of the likeness of His Son, for Him (i.e. for that Son) to be (i.e. to become) firstborn among many brethren.”

This may all seem to be rather complicated, but in these verses Paul was making the same point that the Apostle John made in his first letter.

Beloved, now are we the sons of God, and it does not yet appear what we shall be: but we know that, when He shall appear, we shall be like Him; for we shall see Him as he is. (1 John 3:2)

Here John has the same focus which Paul has in Romans 8. God has predetermined a specific number of human beings who will all have the character-image of Jesus Christ. They have the same character as Jesus Christ, and not the same looks as Jesus Christ. And Jesus Christ grants them the privilege to sit with Him on His throne (Revelation 3:21). Only those who have the same character that Jesus Christ has can possibly sit with Christ on Christ’s throne. Anyone with lesser character would never be granted that privilege.

“Predestination” is not about who has been predetermined, but about what God has predetermined. The focus is on what God will do for us in the resurrection. Nowhere in Romans 8 is there any focus on some individuals supposedly being predetermined or predestinated. What is predestinated is our destiny to become the sons of God by a resurrection.

This is the same potential destiny for all the people God calls. But whether or not we will make it to that destiny has not yet been decided by God, because that outcome depends totally on how we respond to the calling of God, how we live our lives.

Let’s also continue with the next verse.

Moreover whom He predetermined, them He also called: and whom He called, them He also justified: and whom He justified, them He also glorified. (Romans 8:30)

In this verse the Apostle Paul summarized the whole process of salvation as follows:

1) God devised a plan to build the Family of God. This is implied by the expression “whom He predetermined” (to have the opportunity to be in the first resurrection), because God’s plan requires a fixed number of people to be prepared for the first resurrection.

2) In order to carry out that plan God has “called” a certain number of people. This is a logical consequence of the plan God set in motion.

3) And amongst the people that God has called, those that have repented are the ones God has also “justified”, i.e. God has forgiven all their past guilt.

But keep in mind that not all those that are called will end up in the first resurrection, because many who are called do not respond to God’s calling. That is what Jesus Christ meant when He said, “many are called but few are chosen” (Matthew 22:14), because the many end up on stony ground and amongst thorns.

In Romans 11:29 Paul points out that “the calling of God is without repentance”, meaning that the calling of God is unchangeable. This means that those who do not respond appropriately to that calling from God are likely to end up in the lake of fire!

So when Jesus Christ said that “many are called but few are chosen” I believe that Jesus Christ meant that “many” will therefore end up in the lake of fire, where there will be very short-lived “weeping and gnashing of teeth” (see Matthew 22:13; etc.).

In this regard we need to understand once and for all that whenever any activity involves individuals using their own free wills to either accept God’s way of thinking and to obey God’s laws joyfully, or else to resist God’s way of using their minds and to go against God’s will, then there will always be a lot of collateral damage!

There will always be large numbers of people who will have to be permanently destroyed by the lake of fire! “That is the nature of the beast” (a figure of speech, this is not meant to be a reference to some end-time individual).

As far as “collateral damage” is concerned:

1) There was a lot of collateral damage amongst the angels who had been given a free will, with one third of the angels following Satan.

2)  There was a staggering amount of collateral damage amongst all the people who lived before the flood.

3) There was a lot of collateral damage amongst the people of Israel who came out of Egypt with Moses. And that level of collateral damage continued all the way down to the national captivities for both Israel and Judah.

4) And in the future there will once again be a huge amount of collateral damage during the millennium when Jesus Christ will be ruling. That collateral damage will be in the form of a rebellion by “Gog and Meshech and Tubal” (see Ezekiel 38 and 39).

5) And at the end of Jesus Christ’s 1000-year perfect rule over this earth there will once again be a staggering amount of collateral damage (see Revelation 20:8-9).

In fact, God created this whole present universe and everything in it with a physical composition, precisely for God to be able to deal with all the collateral damage that would occur from the implementation of God’s plan to create the Family of God. Testing free independent minds always produces some collateral damage, precisely because those minds have the freedom to make wrong choices.

So don’t for one moment think that this present age (i.e. from after the flood up to Christ’s second coming) will somehow escape with only very minor collateral damage, because that is simply not correct!

Yes, the vast majority of human beings are at this time spiritually blinded, so that they may come up in the second resurrection. However, we need to understand that there will be a lot of collateral damage amongst the people that God has called during this New Testament age before Christ’s second coming!

It is wishful thinking on our part when we try to freely assign all those who don’t respond to God’s calling to the time of the second resurrection. There is accountability, and God is not playing games. And we need to understand the truth.

Anyway, to continue with Paul’s summary in Romans 8:30:

God has also predetermined the condition that will apply to the ultimate outcome, that all those who have been justified will in due time also be “glorified”.

Let’s note that at this present point in time God has very clearly not yet “glorified” any of us! Paul was simply spelling out the whole process from being called by God to eventually being given a glorious new spirit body in the resurrection.

It is this process that Paul was explaining in Romans 8:28-30; but Paul was not speaking about any one specific individual supposedly being selected before birth and then being guaranteed salvation.

#114 = ROMANS 11:7; 2 CORINTHIANS 3:14

THE VERSES:

What then? Israel has not obtained that which he seeks for; but the election has obtained it, and the rest were blinded (Greek “poroo”)   (Romans 11:7)

But their minds were blinded (Greek “poroo”): for until this day remains the same vail untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which vail is done away in Christ. (2 Corinthians 3:14)

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THESE TRANSLATIONS:

Blindness always absolves people from all guilt. We cannot expect a blind person to see something. If Israel had been blinded, then it wasn’t their own fault when they didn’t obey God. But that is not true.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THESE TRANSLATIONS:

The words “were blinded” in these two verses represent a mistranslation.

The Greek verb “poroo”, translated as “were blinded” in these two verses, has been formed from the Greek noun “poros”, which was apparently a kind of stone. And so the verb “poroo” means: “to harden by covering with a callus, to cover with a thick skin”. This Greek verb clearly means “to harden”.

My 2018 article “Harden Not Your Heart” examines this Greek word, amongst others, in detail. See that article for more information.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THESE VERSES:

What then? Israel has not obtained that which he seeks for; but the election has obtained it, and the rest were hardened (Greek “poroo”)   (Romans 11:7)

But their minds were hardened (Greek “poroo”): for until this day remains the same veil untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which veil is done away in Christ. (2 Corinthians 3:14)

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THESE VERSES:

The people of Israel hardened their own hearts and minds. This means that the people themselves were responsible for not attaining to salvation at that time. This responsibility for what happened to them is to some degree diluted by the false claim that they were “blinded”. But the Israelites were in fact fully responsible for the penalties God brought upon them. It was because the people of Israel had hardened their minds, that God eventually “divorced” both houses of Israel.

This mistranslation is well known, and it has been corrected in translations like ASV, RSV, NRSV, ERV, Lexham NT, etc.

#115 = ROMANS 11:25; EPHESIANS 4:18

THE VERSES:

For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. (Romans 11:25)

Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: (Ephesians 4:18)

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THESE TRANSLATIONS:

These two verses also imply diminished responsibility for OT Israel (Romans 11:25) and for all people (Ephesians 4:18), because they were all supposedly “blinded”. But this is also a mistranslation.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THESE TRANSLATIONS:

My 2018 article “Harden Not Your Heart” also examines these two verses in detail. The comments in the previous section also apply to these two verses.

The Greek noun “porosis” which is translated as “blindness” in these two verses doesn’t refer to “blindness” at all. This Greek word really means “hardness”.

This mistranslation is also well known, and it has been corrected in many different translations in one or both of these verses. This includes translations like ASV, RSV, NRSV, YLT, ERV, Darby, etc.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THESE VERSES:

For I would not, brethren, that you should be ignorant of this mystery, lest you should be wise in your own conceits; that hardness has happened to a part of Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. (Romans 11:25)

Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart: (Ephesians 4:18)

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THESE VERSES:

We human beings ourselves have hardened our minds, when it comes to believing and obeying the true God. And the penalties that God has imposed on Israel specifically, and on the world in general, are the consequences of our hardness of heart. “Blindness” would imply a diminished accountability for our actions. “Hardness of heart”, on the other hand, increases our accountability before God.

The human mind spontaneously rejects the truth of God not because the mind has been “blinded”, but because the mind is so totally selfish, and hardness of heart is one way that selfishness will manifest itself.

#116 = ROMANS 11:29

THE VERSE:

For the gifts and calling of God are without repentance.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

This verse is not talking about repentance one way or the other.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

The word here translated as “without repentance” does not apply to the biblical concept of repentance. Rather, this word applies to the idea of regret or being sorry. See also the lengthy section that deals with Matthew 21:29 for more information on the real meaning of repentance.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

For the gifts and calling of God are unchangeable.

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

To use the word “repentance” in this verse is somewhat misleading. In response to God’s calling we do have to repent. But that requirement of repentance is not being addressed in this verse. Paul’s point here is that God is in full control of the execution of His plan for mankind. God’s purposes will be achieved.

Some of the translations that have rejected the term “without repentance” include:

1865 Anderson NT = ... are irrevocable

EMTV = ... are irrevocable

1795 Haweis NT = For unchangeable are the gifts ...

Lexham English Bible = ... are irrevocable

1729 Mace NT = ... are irrevocable

2020 New Heart English Bible = ... are irrevocable

NRSV = ... are irrevocable

1936 Williams NT = ... are never taken back

ESV = ... are irrevocable

All these translations recognize that this verse is not speaking about the concept of repentance. And therefore they have avoided using the word “repentance” in their translations.

#117= 1 CORINTHIANS 11:20

THE VERSE:

When you come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper. (1 Corinthians 11:20)

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

People infer from this verse that “Lord’s supper” is an alternate name for “the Passover”. And so various churches in this world observe what they call “the Lord’s Supper”. And even some Church of God groups have accepted “Lord’s Supper” as a supposedly valid name for the Passover. That is a heresy.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

This verse does not contain any mistranslations. Rather, this verse is misinterpreted and misunderstood. The Apostle Paul did not call the Passover “the Lord’s Supper” in this verse. And Paul never at any time referred to the Passover as “the Lord’s Supper”.

To understand verse 20 correctly, we need to understand the context for verse 20. The context covers six verses, i.e. verses 17-22. So let’s briefly examine this context.

Verse 17 = Paul states that he must correct them for a specific problem.

Verses 18-19 = Paul identifies the problem in general terms.

Verse 20 = Paul’s most fundamental correction for the Corinthians.

Verses 21-22 = Paul provides more details concerning the heresy.

The point we need to clearly understand is that verse 20 is an expression of strong correction. Verse 20 does not tell us what to do. Verse 20 tells us what we are not to do! Verse 20 states something that is prohibited.

Let’s look a little more closely at these six verses.

Verse 17:

Now in this that I declare unto you I praise you not, that you come together not for the better, but for the worse.

“I praise you not” means “I need to correct you”.

The expression “you come together” refers to the matter about which Paul needed to correct them. Paul’s subsequent statements make quite clear that with the expression “you come together” Paul was referring to how they observed the Passover.

So verse 17 has identified the subject that Paul was going to address, i.e. Passover observance. But verse 17 has not yet identified the actual problem.

Verses 18-19:

For first of all, when you come together in the church, I hear that there be divisions among you; and I partly believe it. For there must be also heresies among you, that they which are approved may be made manifest among you.

The expression “first of all” tells us that in connection with the Passover Paul was going to address at least two different problems. It is not just one point that Paul is correcting; there are actually two problems Paul addresses. Those two problems have caused divisions in the congregation, and those problems are in fact heresies.

Note! How the Corinthians observed the Passover included heretical ideas. That is what Paul is saying. And those heretical things had caused divisions in the congregation. Paul is here not talking about heresies in general terms. No, Paul is talking about heresies involved in the way some people were observing the Passover.

Paul has told us about heresies. So Paul has now started to reveal the heresies, to which he is referring. After verses 18-19 we can expect the people to say: what heresies are you talking about, Paul? What do you mean?

We should expect verse 20 to identify the heresy he has referred to. And that is precisely what verse 20 does ... it identifies one specific heresy.

Verse 20:

When you come together therefore into one place, this is not to eat the Lord’s supper.

What is Paul saying with the expression “this is not to eat the Lord’s supper”? Paul is saying: you are not to come together for the purpose of eating the Lord’s supper! “Eating the Lord’s supper” is not the purpose for which we get together at the Passover. That is what Paul is saying here.

Paul is not referring to the Passover observance as “the Lord’s supper”. Paul is making a negative statement, telling them what they are not to do. Paul is saying: you are not to come here to eat a supper! That’s not what the Passover observance is about.

So what was “the heresy” that Paul is speaking about?


The heresy was that someone in the congregation had decided to precede the Passover service with a meal. “A meal” involves real eating, to satisfy one’s hunger. “The Passover”, on the other hand, only involves symbolical eating, which has nothing to do with eating a meal. And “symbolical eating” does not make up “a supper”.

The justification for a full festive meal before the Passover service that the unidentified “someone” had presented was: we are eating the Lord’s meal at His last Passover observance! In other words, we are simply keeping the Passover more fully. We do everything that Jesus Christ Himself did. What could be wrong with that?

Before Jesus Christ introduced the bread and wine symbols, He ate a full meal. And so we feel that we should follow His example, and also eat a full meal. After that meal Jesus Christ then introduced the bread and wine. And so after we have eaten that meal, then we’ll also partake of the bread and wine.

In other words, we first eat “the Lord’s supper”, following His example. And then we keep the Passover emblems, also following Christ’s example. Doing both those things are in memory of Jesus Christ’s last night before being crucified for our sins.

And we have given the name “the Lord’s Supper” to that specific meal. It is in memory of what Jesus Christ Himself had done.

So what was the heresy?

The heresy was that some people had inserted a full meal into their Passover observance, which meal they called “the Lord’s Supper”. The name “the Lord’s Supper” itself represents a heresy.

So problem #1 that Paul addressed was the name they had invented, what they called their Passover observance. It makes no difference whether the term “Lord’s Supper” is used to only refer to the first part of their total observance; or whether they use “Lord’s Supper” to refer to their total observance, as Protestants started to do many centuries later. Either way, attaching the title “Lord” to their “Lord’s Supper” observance is a form of blasphemy; it is offensive towards Jesus Christ.

Problem #2 that Paul addressed was how they observed the Passover. This problem Paul discussed in the next two verses. Paul points out that they had changed the Passover into a very selfish occasion.

Verse 21 spells out what “Lord’s Supper” meant to those Corinthians. To them it clearly meant a real supper.

Verse 21:

For in eating every one takes before others his own supper: and one is hungry, and another is drunken.

What were they doing? They were eating full meals with generous amounts of wine included.

Paul has used the word “supper” in two consecutive verses ... and nowhere else in this epistle. Verse 21 is speaking about a substantial meal with wine, and the expression “Lord’s supper” in verse 20 likewise included the consumption of a generous meal with wine. These two verses are speaking about the same meal.

It was everyone bringing “his own supper” to the Passover service that Paul meant with the term “Lord’s supper”, and that was the name those people had given to this practice. Paul was using the name that the heretics had invented, and the Corinthians knew exactly what Paul was talking about.

It is ridiculous to claim that in verse 20 the word “supper” refers to a very small piece of unleavened bread plus a tablespoon of red wine, when in the next verse “supper” clearly refers to a full meal plus a good amount of wine. The meaning of the word “supper” doesn’t change from one sentence to the next. In verses 20 and 21 the word “supper” refers to a full meal in both verses.

Paul elaborates further in the next verse.

Verse 22:

What? Don’t you have houses to eat and to drink in? or despise you the Church of God, and shame them that have not? What shall I say to you? shall I praise you in this? I praise you not.

Paul is talking about a meal, a supper. Verses 20-22 are all about eating a real meal. Once again Paul says “I praise you not”, to make clear that he is correcting their invented custom of eating a full meal at church services before taking the Passover.

From verse 23 onwards Paul then lays out the correct way to observe the Passover.

Now consider one last point regarding verse 20:

In verse 20 Paul plainly tells us “not to eat the Lord’s supper”. If “Lord’s supper” is supposedly a synonym for “Passover”, this would mean that Paul is telling us  “not to eat the Passover”. That’s what we have to conclude if we replace the words “Lord’s supper” with “Passover”.

But that doesn’t make sense!

There is no way Paul would tell the Corinthians in verse 20 “not to eat the Passover”, and then in verse 28 tell them “so let a man eat ... and drink ...”. A comparison of these two verses makes clear that what we are instructed to eat in verse 28 must be different from “the Lord’s supper”, which we are instructed not to eat in verse 20. These two verses must be speaking about two different “eating events”, only one of which Paul calls “a supper”.

Clearly, the eating in verse 20 refers to the meal some were eating at services before the Passover; and the eating in verse 28 refers to eating the small piece of unleavened bread that is eaten at the actual Passover observance.

#118= 1 CORINTHIANS 12:28

THE VERSE:

And God has set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, governments, diversities of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:28)

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

The claim that some people make is that this verse is speaking about government in the Church. But that is not correct.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

The word “governments” is a mistranslation.

The Greek word here translated “governments” is “kubernesis”. The related Greek word “kubernetes” means “a helmsman, a shipmaster”. Both of these Greek words are led back to the Latin-derived verb “kubernao”, which means “to steer”.

Here in 1 Corinthians 12:28 Paul was not speaking about some kind of “government in the church”. Not at all!

Paul was simply enumerating different functions that were being fulfilled. As we can see, this particular function is quite low on the list Paul provided. With this word “kubernesis” Paul was referring to something like administrators, counselors, guides; i.e. people who would look after some of the non-preaching functions that would also need to be taken care of, similar to “helps”, the previously-listed function.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

A more appropriate way to translate this verse would be:

And God has set some in the church, first apostles, secondarily prophets, thirdly teachers, after that miracles, then gifts of healings, helps, administrators, diversities of tongues. (1 Corinthians 12:28)

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

For those who claim that Paul’s use of “first ... second ... third ...” defines a chain of authority, then we need to present the whole chain that Paul presented.

The “chain” Paul presents in this verse has eight links, and not just two or three. If this is supposed to represent “the government of God”, then we need to accept the whole chain, and not just pick and choose those links that happen to suit us.

So here is the whole chain:

1st = apostles

2nd = prophets

3rd = teachers

4th = those who perform miracles

5th = those with the gifts of healings

6th = those who were “helps”

7th = administrators or counselors

8th = those who had the gift of speaking foreign languages

That’s what the whole list looks like.

Let’s face facts! If we today really had “men who perform miracles” in the Church (i.e. #4 in the above list), they would not be in 4th place in the hierarchy! No, they would assuredly be in 1st place! Why? Because there is nobody in the world today who currently has access to that kind of power. And so we would look up to such people as leaders.

Similarly, if we today really had people who had been given the gift of speaking multiple foreign languages, not because they learned a number of languages over many years, but because that gift was given to them from one day to the next, then such men would assuredly not be in 8th position on the totem pole.

No, they would be very close to the top of the chain of authority in the Church. We would be enormously impressed if we understood that some men in God’s Church had really spontaneously received the gift to speak multiple languages, to give influential sermons in those languages. We would also see such men as being near the top of the chain of authority, not down in 8th place.

We need to recognize that this list of eight things in 1 Corinthians 12:28 represents a list that Paul made up on the fly. That is, Paul made up this list spontaneously to illustrate a point he was trying to explain. That point was that the one body (i.e. the Church) is made up of many different members (verse 20), and they all fulfill different functions.

Paul was not trying to present a hierarchy of authority. Just the opposite. The hand and the foot and the eye and the ear (verses 15-16) are not competing for importance; one does not have a higher authority than the other. Paul’s point is: they all fill a need!

And that is also Paul’s point with the eight things he lists here in verse 28, that they all fill a need in the Church. But that doesn’t mean that one has authority over those lower down the list, any more than the eye has authority over the ear. They all simply fulfill different needs.

Yes, there certainly needs to be some hierarchy of authority in the Church of God.  But “governments” in this verse is a mistranslation.

For a thorough discussion of this subject see my 2020 33-page article “The Government of God”.

#119 = 1 CORINTHIANS 15:29

THE VERSE:

Else what shall they do who are baptized for the dead, if the dead rise not at all? why are they then baptized for the dead? (1 Corinthians 15:29)

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

The implication here is that a living person can be baptized on behalf of someone who has already died. But that implication is totally false.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

This Scripture is thoroughly explained in my 2021 19-page article entitled “There is no Baptism for the Dead”.

To start with, the Greek text for this verse was deliberately corrupted in the Alexandrian Minority Text. The last three words in our English Text read “for the dead”. The Greek text for this expression reads as follows:

Majority Antioch Text reads: “... huper ton nekron”.

Minority Alexandrian Text reads: “... huper autou”.

So the Greek text that originally read “ton nekron” was deviously altered to read “autou”. “Ton nekron” means “the dead”, and “autou” means “them”.

I mention this because the altered Greek text “huper autou” creates confusion. It hides the fact that this is speaking about baptized people who have died. It has removed the adjective (i.e. “dead”) that modifies baptized individuals, and instead replaced this adjective with the personal pronoun for “them”. This devious change makes it more difficult to understand the correct meaning of this verse.

Our English translation has the correct text, i.e. “the dead”. But you may have an English translation that says “them”, and you should understand that “them” is not correct.

Now let’s look at the complete Greek text for this verse.

This discussion is going to be somewhat technical. I think it is important to try to understand what the translators have done. Therefore we are going to very methodically look at every Greek word in this verse.

There are 19 Greek words in this verse.  Transliterated and in the same word order as in the Greek text we have:

epei ti poiesousin hoi baptizomenoi huper ton nekron ei holos nekroi ouk egeirontai ti kai baptizontai huper ton nekron (1 Corinthians 15:29, transliterated Greek text)

And here is the English AV text for this verse, with the corresponding Greek words in brackets. The English text provides the definite article “the” in one place where the definite article is not found in the Greek text. I have noted that occurrence as “(")”, to show that there is no Greek word in the text.

Else (epei) what (ti) shall they do (poiesousin) which (hoi) are baptized (baptizomenoi) for (huper) the (ton) dead (nekron), if (ei) the (") dead (nekroi) rise (egeirontai) not (ouk) at all (holos)? why (ti) are they (baptizontai) then (kai) baptized (baptizontai) for (huper) the (ton) dead (nekron)? (1 Corinthians 15:29 AV)

[Comment: The translators inserted “then” (“kai”) into the middle of the translation for the verb “baptizontai”, which verb means “they are baptized”. So I have for clarity included the verb “baptizontai” twice in the text above, though it only appears once in the actual Greek text.]

Notice that the AV English translation has switched the original word order of one expression.

The Greek text reads: “holos nekroi ouk egeirontai”.

Our English translation implies the word order “nekroi egeirontai ouk holos”.

Note specifically the changed position of the word “holos” in that four-word sequence, from being the first word to being the last word in our translation.

The result is that where in the Greek text the word “ouk” (i.e. not) qualifies the verb “egeirontai”, our English translation has “ouk” qualifying the adverb “holos”.

That change in word order creates a changed meaning.

So now let’s look at the meanings for certain Greek words in this verse.

1) In the English expression “the dead” the word “dead” is a noun. “The dead” is the translation for “ton nekron” in the first instance, and for “nekroi” (here the Greek does not have the article) in the second instance. Both words are forms of the Greek word “nekros”. But “nekros” is not a noun! “Nekros” is an adjective; it is a descriptive word that modifies another word.

This Greek adjective is used three times in this one verse. It is used twice in the expression “huper ton nekron” and once in the expression “holos nekroi”.

2) The Greek preposition “huper” is used twice in this verse with the genitive case, and in both places it is translated as “for (the dead)”. But “huper” has a lot more meanings than just “for”. For example, here is what the Greek Dictionary in the Online Bible says about “huper”:

huper hoop-er’; a primary preposition; "over," i.e. (with the genitive case) of place, above, beyond, across, or causal, for the sake of, instead, regarding; with the accusative case superior to, more than: " (+exceeding, abundantly) above, in (on) behalf of, beyond, by, + very chiefest, concerning, exceeding (above, ly), for, + very highly, more (than), of, over, on the part of, for sake of, in stead, than, to(-ward), very. (Online Bible Greek Dictionary)

And here is what Moulton says about “huper” in his work “The Vocabulary of the Greek Testament”.

“ ... (b)  = “concerning,” “about,” “as to,” a somewhat colorless use of ...ʽπέρ, by which it is equivalent to little more than περί, for which it is often a v.l. in MSS. of the NT (see s.v.): ...” (Moulton Greek Dictionary)

[Comment: “v.l.” stands for the Latin expression “varia lectio”, meaning “alternate reading”. So in NT Greek MSS “huper” is often used to mean the same as “peri”.]

And here is what the scholar Robertson says about 1 Corinthians 15:29 in his work “Robertson Word Pictures of the NT”:

“Which are baptized for the dead” (οι βαπτιζομενοι ...περ των νεκρων). This passage remains a puzzle. Stanley gives thirteen interpretations, no one of which may be correct. Over thirty have been suggested. The Greek expositors took it to be about the dead (...περ in sense of περι as often as in 2Co 1:6) since baptism is a burial and a resurrection. {Ro 6:2-6 } ...” (RWP on 1 Corinthians 15:29)

Robertson was an authority on biblical Greek. His comments show that he himself didn’t accept that this is a reference to being baptized for the dead. When an authority of biblical Greek, like Robertson, says that for this verse there are “thirteen interpretations, no one of which may be correct”, then it makes clear that a knowledge of biblical Greek alone is not sufficient to understand this verse correctly. That’s why the KJV translators and others have in their translations changed the word order of the original text ... in attempts to figure out some meaning for this verse.

But they still didn’t understand it correctly. I have looked at over 30 different translations, and not one of them has this verse correctly translated, meaning that not one of them has captured the message Paul was trying to get across to his readers.

So let’s try to put the correct meaning together. Let’s examine all of the Greek words in their correct sequence in this verse.

1) “Epei” means: because, otherwise, for then, else, etc.

This first word tells us that Paul is linking verse 29 to the things he has stated in the previous 28 verses. Paul has been focused on refuting the claim that “there is no resurrection of the dead” (verse 12). He has discussed the three stages by which God will build His Family. And Paul has taken the discussion right up to the time of the new heaven and the new earth.

So with “epei ...” Paul is basically saying: “If the picture I have presented isn’t true, then ...”.

2) “Ti” means: what, who, why?, etc.

So with “epei ti ...” Paul is saying: “If the picture I have presented isn’t true, then what ...”.

3) “Poiesousin” means: do, make, bring, etc.

So with “epei ti poiesousin ...” Paul is saying: “If the picture I have presented isn’t true, then what (are) they going to do ...”.

We could also word this as: “If the picture I have presented isn’t true, then what is going to happen to ...”.

4) “Hoi baptizomenoi” means “the baptized ones”. “Hoi” is the masculine plural of the definite article, meaning “the”. And here “baptizomenoi” is used like a verbal noun, meaning that the verb “baptizo” is being used to function like a noun. And it is preceded by the definite article for “the”.

We do the same in English. I can say “I walk every day”, using “walk” as a verb. And I can say “The walk was really refreshing”, using “walk” as a noun. This is what Paul has done in this verse, used the verb “baptizo” as a verbal noun.

So with “epei ti poiesousin hoi baptizomenoi ...” Paul is saying: “If the picture I have presented isn’t true, then what is going to happen to the baptized ...”.

5) Now we come to “huper”. As we have already seen, this preposition has a range of meanings. The applicable meaning for “huper” in this context is not “for”, but rather something like “concerning”.

So with “epei ti poiesousin hoi baptizomenoi huper ...” Paul is saying: “If the picture I have presented isn’t true, then what is going to happen to the baptized concerning ...”.

6) “Ton nekron” means: the dead ... (something). Keep in mind that “nekron” is an adjective and not a noun. Now because “ton nekron is followed by the word “ei” meaning “if”, therefore it does not qualify anything that follows. “Ton nekron” must in fact qualify the noun that preceded it. Adjectives following the nouns they qualify is a common grammatical construction in biblical Greek.

So with “epei ti poiesousin hoi baptizomenoi huper ton nekron ...” Paul is saying: “If the picture I have presented isn’t true, then what is going to happen to the baptized concerning the dead...”.

Or to convert this into more readable English:

“If the picture I have presented isn’t true, then what is going to happen to the dead baptized ...”.

The Greek word for “dead” is an adjective! It modifies another word. Translating “nekron” as a noun changed the meaning of the original text. “Nekron” is an adjective, and it should be translated as an adjective. And in the expression “the dead baptized” it is indeed an adjective.

Who are “the dead baptized”? These are the baptized people who had already died when Paul wrote this letter. They are the group Paul has already identified as “they who are fallen asleep in Christ” in verse 18. They are “the dead in Christ”.

We have now completed the first part of verse 29. The next word means “if”, and this word then introduces a whole new thought, which is built on the part we have just completed. These first eight Greek words could stand on their own, and convey a clear thought. In practice the first eight Greek words form the platform on which the following statements are then built.

7) “Ei” means: if, whether. This conjunction is used to introduce a new thought.

So with “epei ti poiesousin hoi baptizomenoi huper ton nekron ei ...” Paul is saying: “If the picture I have presented isn’t true, then what is going to happen to the dead baptized if ...”.

Now we come to the section where the English translators switched the sequence of the words in the Greek text.

The English translation “the dead rise not at all” literally represents the Greek words “nekroi egeirontai ouk holos”. But in the Greek text these four words appear in a completely different sequence. Also, the Greek text under consideration here does not contain a definite article for “dead”, as I have already indicated earlier. So a correct translation for the changed word order in our English text should theoretically read “dead rise not at all”, without the definite article.

The reason why the Greek text here does not contain a definite article for “nekroi” is because in the correct word order the word “nekroi” is already qualified by the Greek adverb “holos”.

The correct sequence of the Greek words here reads: “holos nekroi ouk egeirontai”. “Holos” means: completely, altogether, wholly. “Nekroi” is a form of “nekros”, the adjective that means “dead”. “Ouk” is a form of absolute negation, meaning: no, not. “Egeirontai” is a form of the verb “egeiro” and it means: to raise up from sleep or death, to rise up.

So the expression “ei holos nekroi ouk egeirontai” means “if all (the) dead are not raised up”.

The next word “ti”, which we have already seen, introduces a new expression into this statement. So the whole of verse 29 consists of three distinct expressions. The first two expressions read in Greek:

“epei ti poiesousin hoi baptizomenoi huper ton nekron ei holos nekroi ouk egeirontai”.

These two expressions translate into English as follows:

“If the picture I have presented isn’t true, then what is going to happen to the dead baptized, if all (the) dead are not raised up?”

Notice that the corrected word order for the Greek words changes the meaning from “if (the) dead rise not at all” to “if all (the) dead are not raised up”. The wrong expression “if the dead rise not at all” has a completely different focus from the correct expression “if all (the) dead are not raised up”.

The correct expression “all (the) dead” cannot possibly describe “those who are baptized for the dead”, because those people would at best (and totally theoretically) constitute a somewhat minor group amongst all Christians. (In reality there is no such group.)

And that is why the translators had to change the sequence of the Greek words in their English translations. They had to make the word order “fit” with their flawed translation of “baptized for the dead”, without appearing to twist the intended meaning too much.

And the translators simply didn’t understand the things I am explaining here. As the Greek scholar Robertson acknowledged, scholars argued about “13 possible different meanings for this verse”. All those scholars were clueless, as to what Paul is really saying in this verse.

Paul is speaking about “all the dead in Christ” (see 1 Thessalonians 4:16 again). He is speaking about those dead people “who are fallen asleep in Christ” (verse 18 again), and who have “perished” if there is no resurrection. Here in verse 29 Paul is concerned with exactly the same group of people he had already identified in verse 18.

Paul is not introducing some totally new and undefined and unrecognizable group of people in this verse. No, Paul is applying his reasoning to the group of people who were of concern to him ... members of God’s Church who had died in the preceding few decades.

So we have now correctly translated the first two parts of this verse. Now let’s look at the last part.

8) The last six words read “ti kai baptizontai huper ton nekron”. We’ve already seen the expression “baptizomenoi huper ton nekron”, where the form “baptizomenoi” is the present passive participle of the verb baptizo, while “baptizontai” is the present passive indicative of “baptizo”.

These four words “baptizontai huper ton nekron” mean “the baptized concerning the dead”, or more naturally “the dead baptized”. This is another reference to baptized people who had already died. Again, keep in mind that in the Greek text of this verse “dead” is an adjective and not a noun.

9) That only leaves us with the words “ti kai”. “Ti” we have also seen already, and it means: what, who, why. The main meanings of “kai” are: and, also.

Now we have translated all 19 Greek words in this verse.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

Here is our final translation for this verse. I’ll change the punctuation somewhat.

“If the picture I have presented isn’t true, then what is going to happen to the dead baptized? If all the dead (i.e. in Christ) are not raised up, what about the dead baptized?”

Or we can clean it up some more and appropriately amplify this text:

“If the picture I have presented to you in the previous 28 verses isn’t true, what’s going to happen to the baptized people who have died? If all the dead in Christ are not resurrected, what about the baptized people who have died?” (1 Corinthians 15:29, corrected translation, somewhat amplified)

This translation repeats the expression “the baptized people who have died” because Paul has repeated the expression “baptizomenoi (or baptizontai) huper ton nekron”. That group of people was the clear focus of Paul’s concern.

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

It should now be abundantly clear that Paul was not at all speaking about anyone supposedly being “baptized for the dead”. That is nothing more than a very misleading mistranslation.

#120 = 2 CORINTHIANS 3:14

THE VERSE:

But their minds were blinded: for until this day remains the same veil untaken away in the reading of the Old Testament; which veil is done away in Christ. (2 Corinthians 3:14)

This verse is explained together with Romans 11:7 under #107.

#121 = 2 CORINTHIANS 7:8

THE VERSE:

For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not repent, though I did repent: for I perceive that the same epistle has made you sorry, though it were but for a season.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

“Repent” is not the correct translation for the Greek word used by Paul in this verse.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

Paul is saying that he did not regret sending them a tough corrective letter. The mistranslation in this verse is important because in the next few verses Paul discusses real repentance; and that is not the same thing as what Paul himself did here in verse 8.

See the discussion for Matthew 21:29 for a detailed explanation of this subject.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

For though I made you sorry with a letter, I do not regret it, though I did regret it: for I perceive that the same epistle has made you sorry, though it were but for a season.

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

After initially feeling somewhat bad about sending them such a corrective letter, Paul then decided that it had been the right thing for him to do, to call them to task for the numerous problems that were extant in the Corinthian Church. Once Paul received feedback, he saw that the letter had borne good fruits.

#122 = 2 CORINTHIANS 7:9-11

THE VERSES:

Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you sorrowed to repentance: for you were made sorry after a godly manner, that you might receive damage by us in nothing. (2 Corinthians 7:9)

For godly sorrow works repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world works death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

For behold this selfsame thing, that you sorrowed after a godly sort, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things you have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. (2 Corinthians 7:11)

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THESE TRANSLATIONS:

The implication in these verses is that Paul is comparing the types of sorrow that are involved in repentance. But that is not what Paul is telling the Corinthian members of God’s Church. Paul is not comparing two types of sorrow. Paul is really talking about the focus and the direction of our sorrow.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THESE TRANSLATIONS:

This focus in our translations on the types of sorrow (i.e. godly versus worldly) is the result of a subtle mistranslation, where the translators translated a Greek noun into an adjective in English.

The Greek text for “after a godly manner” in verse 9 is “kata theon”.

The Greek text for “godly (sorrow)” in verse 10 is “kata theon (lupe)”.

The Greek text for “after a godly sort” in verse 11 is “kata theon”.

“Theon” is a form of the Greek nountheos”, which means “God”. The expression “kata theon” represents the accusative case. In this case “kata” expresses horizontal motion towards a goal. So the expression “kata theon” means “towards God”. It does not mean either “after a godly manner” or “after a godly sort”. This two word Greek expression “kata theon” is not talking about “sorts” or “types” or “manners”.

It is talking about a specific direction.

When the translators changed the Greek noun for “God” into the adjectivegodly”, they changed that focus of “direction towards God” to a comparison of attributes.

But Paul was not comparing attributes.

To be clear:

There are not two different kinds of sorrow. It is not that one kind of sorrow is godly sorrow, and another kind of sorrow is worldly sorrow. The implication with such a claim is that these two sorrows differ in characteristics and in attributes.

But that is not what Paul is saying.

Worldly sorrow is real sorrow, just as much as godly sorrow is real sorrow. Both are real sorrow. Where these two differ is not in type of sorrow. Where they differ is in focus.

What Paul means by (our English translation) “godly sorrow” is sorrow that is directed towards God. It is focused on God. We have sorrow because we have caused God grief! All human sins cause God to grieve.

And it repented the LORD that He had made man on the earth, and it grieved Him at His heart. (Genesis 6:6)

When we sin then we cause God grief. In Genesis 6 God was grieving because human beings we sinning so much. Our sins affect God’s emotions. The grief we experience when we see that our children are hurting themselves is a very small representation of the grief God experiences when we human beings sin. And when we human beings really repent, then there is “joy in heaven”, a positive emotion (see Luke 15:7). Obedience gives God joy, and disobedience gives God grief.

What we human beings do has a significant effect on the emotions of God in heaven.

With real repentance we have sorrow that is focused on God, because our disobedience to His laws has caused God grief. Therefore the focus of our sorrow must be directed towards God.

Let’s illustrate this by looking at the life of King David.

When David repented of his adultery and his murder of Uriah, he said in prayer to God: “against You, You only, have I sinned and done this evil in Your sight ...” (Psalm 51:4). David’s sorrow here was focused on God, because David had caused God great grief. It was that focus which made David’s sorrow a godly sorrow.

Later David also had very great sorrow when Absalom had been killed by Joab. In his sorrow at that point David even said “would God that I had died for you, O Absalom my son” (2 Samuel 18:33). Yes, David’s sorrow here was very real and very deep. But that sorrow was not “a godly sorrow”. That sorrow was a worldly sorrow.

Both of these sorrows are of the same type. They share the same characteristics and attributes. Where they differ is in their focus; they differ in their direction. One is directed at self or at the world, and the other is directed at God.

And with those different focuses they achieve different results. The sorrow directed towards God leads to real repentance, really changing the way we think and reason in response to understanding the truth of God. The sorrow that is directed towards the world does not lead to real repentance, and therefore it will ultimately lead to death (see verse 10). The sorrow of the world is the sorrow that originates with the world, and that is not directed towards God.

This subject is discussed in more detail in my 2015 28-page article “The Second Resurrection”.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THESE VERSES:

Now I rejoice, not that you were made sorry, but that you sorrowed to repentance: for you were made sorry towards God, that you might receive damage by us in nothing. (2 Corinthians 7:9)

For sorrow directed towards God works repentance to salvation not to be repented of: but the sorrow of the world (i.e. coming from the world) works death. (2 Corinthians 7:10)

For behold this selfsame thing, that you sorrowed towards God, what carefulness it wrought in you, yea, what clearing of yourselves, yea, what indignation, yea, what fear, yea, what vehement desire, yea, what zeal, yea, what revenge! In all things you have approved yourselves to be clear in this matter. (2 Corinthians 7:11)

       

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THESE VERSES:

We can certainly continue to use the expressions “godly sorrow” and “worldly sorrow”, provided we understand that these expressions do not refer to different types of sorrow, but to a different focus for that sorrow. It is the focus that is directed towards God that distinguishes the godly sorrow from the worldly sorrow, which is focused on us and on our lives and our circumstances.

#123 = 2 CORINTHIANS 11:6

THE VERSE:

But though I be rude in speech, yet not in knowledge; but we have been throughly made manifest among you in all things.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

While the word “rude” has a range of meanings that includes the meaning Paul had in mind here, our modern use of the word “rude” makes it less appropriate in this verse.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

Today the expression “rude in speech” can be taken in a different sense from the one Paul had in mind.

There is no question that the Apostle Paul was a powerful and effective speaker. Recall that the pagan people of Lycaonia called Paul “Mercurius” “because he was the chief speaker” (Acts 14:12). On some occasions Paul would speak all night (Acts 20:9), hardly a novice speaker giving his first sermonette.

Paul frequently spoke in the synagogues, and in all the churches he visited. But he didn’t consider himself to be a great speaker. So he always gave himself a low grade on “speech mechanics”. I suspect that many of Paul’s converts would have disagreed with that assessment. But be that as it may.

In the Greek world of the first century one recognized profession was that of the professional orator. For example, when the high priest wanted to accuse Paul before the governor (i.e. Felix), the high priest brought along a professional “orator” named Tertullus (Acts 24:1). Such orators had a specific way of speaking (i.e. their speech manners and traditions), which was supposed to be effective in influencing an audience.

With the expression that is translated “but though I be rude in speech” Paul was saying: “though I speak like a common man, and not like someone who has studied to be an orator”. Our common modern meaning of “rude” doesn’t enter the picture. A number of modern translations have tried to rectify this. For example:

The NIV reads: “I may not be a trained speaker, but I do have knowledge.”

The NKJV reads: “Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge.”

The NRSV reads: “I may be untrained in speech, but not in knowledge”.

Translations that say “unskilled” still miss the point to some degree. It wasn’t a matter of Paul being “unskilled” in speaking. It was really a case of Paul neither having any credentials from a recognized “college for orators”, nor even attempting to make use of any of the recognized speech techniques that were used by the orators of his time. And anyone without such credentials who attempted to become a public speaker was considered to be “a simple person” by others.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

The NKJV reads as follows:

Even though I am untrained in speech, yet I am not in knowledge. But we have been thoroughly manifested among you in all things.

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

Paul’s reference here is to his lack of recognized schooling as a professional orator. The rest of this verse makes clear that he had done an enormous amount of speaking in Corinth, and that his knowledge of the Scriptures could hardly be faulted.

#124 = EPHESIANS 1:4

THE VERSE:

According as He has chosen us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: (Eph 1:4 AV)

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

We are here dealing with a mistranslation in the expression “the foundation of the world”. This expression is explained in great detail in my 2011 12-page article titled “What Does The Foundation Of The World Really Mean?”. Please see that article for the details.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

According as He hath chosen us in Him before the throwing down of human society, that we should be holy and without blame before Him in love: (Ephesians 1:4)

#125 = EPHESIANS 4:18

THE VERSE:

Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the blindness of their heart: (Ephesians 4:18)

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

The word “blindness” in this verse implies a diminished degree of responsibility for the people involved. Blind people are never responsible for not seeing something.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

The word “blindness” in this verse is a mistranslation.

The Greek noun “porosis” mistranslated as “blindness” really means “hardness”. This is explained in detail in #107 dealing with Romans 11:7.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

Having the understanding darkened, being alienated from the life of God through the ignorance that is in them, because of the hardness of their heart: (Ephesians 4:18)

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

The lack of understanding that people have is due to their hardness of heart, rather than to having their minds blinded. See also the section with Romans 11:7.

#126 = EPHESIANS 5:21

THE VERSE:

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God.

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

This translation implies that everybody is supposed to submit to everybody else. That is completely wrong.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

There is a subtle mistranslation in this verse. It is not one where any mistranslated words are provided. Rather, this mistranslation implies that one Greek word is used twice in this verse, when in fact it is only used once.

This verse is the introductory statement for instructions relating to relationships (in this order): wives and husbands, children and fathers, servants and masters. In those instructions Paul presents a clear hierarchy for each pair, where those with the lower status in the hierarchy are addressed first.

Thus:

        1) wives submit ... husbands love ... (5:22)

        2) children obey ... fathers don’t provoke ... (6:1)

        3) servants be obedient ... masters forbearing threatening ... (6:5).

There is never a reversal of these roles; i.e. that husbands should submit to their wives, or that fathers should obey their children, or that masters should obey their servants.

In Ephesians 5:21 the words “yourselves one to another” are a translation of the one Greek  pronoun “allelon”. Now this Greek pronoun means: one another, yourselves, or themselves. But it does not mean a combination of these terms! It does not mean “yourselves one to another” or “themselves one to another”. It means only either “yourselves” or “one to another”.

The Greek text of this verse reads:

        “hupotassomenoi allelois en phobo theou”.

However, if we translate our common English text back into Greek, we get:

        “hupotassomenoi allelois allelois en phobo theou”.

Do you see the problem?

The first “allelois” is the translation of “yourselves”, and the second “allelois” is the translation of “one to another”. Our English translation implies that the word “allelois” is used twice in this verse, because our English translation conveys two distinct thoughts for this one Greek word.

The first thought addresses what we are to do. We are to “submit ourselves”.

The second thought addresses to whom we are to submit ourselves. We are to  submit  “to one another”.

So we have two completely different things supposedly expressed by the one Greek word in this verse. Now the Greek word “allelon” (“allelois” is the dative plural) can convey either of these two concepts, but one use of this word does not convey both of these concepts at the same time. We have to limit ourselves to one of these options. This the translators did not do.

A correct translation of this Greek expression in this verse should read:

Either: “Submitting yourselves in the fear of God”, implying that we are all to submit ourselves to God and His rule over our lives. It also implies that we are to submit ourselves in the fear of God to the three sets of instructions that Paul then presents in the subsequent verses.

Or: “Submitting one to another in the fear of God”. This will require some explaining regarding the contradictory statement in the next verse, the statement that states who is to submit to whom within the marriage relationship.

But it cannot read: “Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God”.

This verse is discussed in more detail in my article on this Scripture, which article is located in the General Articles directory under the Keyword “Submitting”.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

                “Submitting yourselves in the fear of God.”

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

As a foundation for the specific instructions Paul will spell out in the following verses, here Paul lays the foundation for all interpersonal relationships, that we are all to submit ourselves to God’s laws and instructions.

This statement is important because in the subsequent verses some people will be told to “submit” and to “obey”. These are things that people might not be inclined to do very readily if they have not first submitted their lives to God and His rule. The foundation for any submission to other human beings has to be our relationship to God. That is the point of verse 21.

Some people have attempted to use this mistranslation in our English Bibles to infer that husbands are supposedly also required to “submit” to their wives. That claim is absurd and contradicted in the next verse.

We should not confuse “serving” with “submitting”. Christ “served” the Church by giving His life for all people, but Christ never has and never will “submit” to the Church! That very thought is preposterous!

There is no way that this verse means that husbands are “also supposed to submit to their wives”. Such a position requires an enormous twisting of the word “submit”.

#127 = 1 TIMOTHY 5:17-18

THE VERSES:

Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine. (1 Timothy 5:17)

For the scripture says, You shall not muzzle the ox that treads out the corn. And, The laborer is worthy of his reward. (1 Timothy 5:18)

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

Sometimes the expression “worthy of double honor” in verse 17 has been interpreted to mean that such ministers should be paid a higher salary. But that is not at all what Paul was saying to Timothy.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

There are no mistranslations here. Rather, this is a case of some people attaching a wrong meaning to a specific Greek word, and thereby changing the meaning of Paul’s instruction in verse 18.

The Greek word translated as “honor” is “time”, and this word never refers to payment for services rendered. “Double honor” does not mean “double pay”, and none of the Church of God groups and congregations has ever even attempted to implement such a “double pay” policy.

This word really does mean “honor”, in the form of recognition, respect and acknowledgment of an office or a position. But it does not refer to financial remuneration.

Verse 18 then builds on this foundation. Full-time ministers, who first of all were respected for the services they provided for God’s people (verse 17), should then receive a wage or salary for their services from the Church (verse 18).

The Greek word “misthos”, translated “reward” in verse 18, refers to “dues paid for work”. So verse 18 is referring to some form of payment or wage or salary for men who worked full-time in the ministry, having already established in the previous verse that such men were worthy of respect and recognition. But  verse 18 is speaking about a “fair” wage, not a “double” wage.

These two verses and the key Greek words involved are discussed in my 10-page 2001 article “1 Timothy 5:17-18 Explained”. It is available in the General Articles Directory under the Keywords “Double Honor”.

#128 = 2 TIMOTHY 1:9-10

THE VERSES:

Who has saved us, and called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (2 Timothy 1:9)

But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who has abolished death, and has brought life and immortality to light through the gospel: (2 Timothy 1:10)

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THESE TRANSLATIONS:

Some people claim that verse 9 states that we are already now “saved”. And that means that our salvation is already certain, irrespective of how we conduct our lives from now on. But that is not correct.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THESE TRANSLATIONS:

The mistranslations in these verses involve the verbs. The meanings of the Greek verbs involved have been translated correctly, but some of these verbs have been translated with the wrong tense.

Let’s look at the Greek verbs in these two verses:

has saved = sosantos = aorist active participle;

called (us) = kalesantos = aorist active participle;

was given = dotheisan = aorist passive participle;

made manifest = phanerotheisan = aorist passive participle;

has abolished = katargesantos = aorist active participle;

has brought = photisantos = aorist active participle.

Notice that all six verbs in these two verses are in the aorist tense, and all are also in the participle form. Four of them are in the active voice, and the other two are in the passive voice. This is a minor difference. So all these verbs are basically identical in their grammatical form.

To understand these two verses correctly requires us to correctly understand how the aorist tense of biblical Greek functions. I have discussed this tense in previous articles. See my old articles titled “Some Facts About N.T. Greek Verbs” and “Verb Tenses in N.T. Greek”. There is no need to repeat that information here. See those articles for more details.

Correctly understanding the context in which the aorist tense is used provides the key for understanding whether it should be translated into English as either the past tense, or as the present tense, or as the future tense. The aorist tense itself does not give us any clues in this regard. It is always the context that makes the correct tense in English obvious. This is a significant difference between English and biblical Greek.

Thus, some translators could translate these verbs theoretically correctly with the past tense, while other translators could theoretically equally correctly translate these verbs with the present tense, and still other translators could theoretically translate these verbs equally correctly with the future tense. Theoretically that is possible.

Also, theoretically some of these six verbs can be translated in the past tense, while others are translated in the present tense, and while others still are translated in the future tense. That too is a possibility with the aorist tense in all six verses.

The key for establishing a translation in the correct tense in English for each of these verbs is a correct understanding of God’s whole plan of salvation for mankind, key aspects of which Paul is presenting in these two verses. Without the correct understanding of God’s plan people can only rely on their own understanding, something Proverbs 3:5 tells us not to do.

Getting down to our two verses:

The Greek verb translated in the past tense “has saved” in verse 9, and the verb translated in the past tense “has abolished” in verse 10 are identical in tense, voice and mood. Now it is clear that the past tense “has abolished” in verse 10 is incorrect. That is because ...

Death is still very much with us today! Death has not yet been abolished! In fact, God reveals that death will not be abolished until the time of Revelation 20:14. That verse says:

And death and hell were cast into the lake of fire. This is the second death. (Revelation 20:14)

 

Now since death is only abolished in the future (meaning that nobody will ever die after Revelation 20:14), it means that at this present time death has not yet been abolished. And that is really self-evident. We all know that every day many people die.

So with “katargesantos” Paul did not say “has abolished (death)”. Paul really said that Jesus Christ “will abolish” death, i.e. at the time of Revelation 20:14.

And in the same way, speaking about Jesus Christ, Paul said “who will save us”. In both these statements the aorist participle must be translated with the future tense.

In both these cases Paul used the aorist tense to emphasize the process of salvation, which Jesus Christ’s sacrifice for our sins has set in motion. Paul was not focusing on when these things will happen; he was focusing on the process of what will happen. Using the aorist tense with all six verbs in these two verses is evidence of this focus.

Some of the other four Greek verbs do refer to the past tense, but these two Greek verbs refer to the future tense.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THESE VERSES:

Who will save us, and has called us with an holy calling, not according to our works, but according to His own purpose and grace, which was given us in Christ Jesus before the world began, (2 Timothy 1:9)

But is now made manifest by the appearing of our Savior Jesus Christ, who will abolish death, and will bring life and immortality to light through the gospel: (2 Timothy 1:10)

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THESE VERSES:

Likewise, life and immortality have not yet really been “brought to light”. Bringing something to light means that we can see it. But we cannot yet really “see” what immortality will be like. But we will see what immortality is like when we are resurrected and able to be in the presence of Jesus Christ. So this verb should also be rendered in the future tense.

Regarding the argument that we can now, since Christ’s ministry, “understand” what immortality is, the reply is that God’s servants in Old Testament times (Abraham, David, the Prophets, etc.) also already “understood” that God is offering us human beings immortality. So that understanding was not something new when Jesus Christ preached about immortality.

#129 = 2 TIMOTHY 3:16

THE VERSE:

All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:

THE IMPLICATIONS OF THIS TRANSLATION:

This translation implies that every verse in the Bible was inspired by God. But that is simply not what this verse actually says or means. There are in fact five distinct problems with the KJV translation of this verse.

THE PROBLEMS WITH THIS TRANSLATION:

There is a long story behind the mistranslation contained in this verse, which goes back to the time of the Protestant Reformation. There is an 80-page article on my website, entitled “The Real Story Behind the Translation of 2 Timothy 3:16", and there is a 20-page article that presents a synopsis of the 80-page article. Look for the key words “Scripture Inspiration” to find these articles.

These two articles expose the deliberate mistranslation contained in this verse. Please refer to them for details.

A CORRECT TRANSLATION OF THIS VERSE:

All God-breathed Scripture is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness,

THE CORRECT MEANING OF THIS VERSE:

Some parts of the Bible are “God-breathed” and other parts are not “God-breathed”, though they are still a part of “the Scriptures”. In this verse Paul is presenting specific purposes for those parts of the Scriptures that are God-breathed.

The two articles discuss this matter very thoroughly.

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This concludes Part 6 in this series of 7 articles. Part 7 starts with mistranslations in the Book of Hebrews.


Frank W. Nelte