Monday, September 10, 2012

Notes On Grammar-Galatians 6:1

It's important when interpreting the Bible to remember two things.  Well, more than two things, but these are two things you should try to remember.

1)  The Bible was not written in English.
2)  The rules of English grammar don't apply to the original languages of the Bible.  But the rules of Greek grammar do apply.

For instance, in the following verse
Galatians 6:1-Brothers, if anyone is caught in any transgression, you who are spiritual should restore him in a spirit of gentleness. Keep watch on yourself, lest you too be tempted.

you can't take the words "spirit of gentleness" and claim that is a direct object and therefore the present imperative verb "should restore" is no longer a command.  First of all, the words "spirit of gentleness" describe how you should restore.  They are describing the manner in which the clear command of God "" should be carried out.  Second of all, the presence of a direct object does not change the fact that katartizō (the word translated "should restore") is anything other than an active (you're the supposed to act) present (an action taking place now that is repeated) imperative (a command).  Claiming that the verb "should restore" is not an imperative would be as silly as saying "You were a new comer in class and you questioned my interpretation but when I blogged about the incident and I wasn't blogging about you" or "Process these transactions after lunch" as if the phrase "after lunch" all of a sudden made it an optional request rather than a command.  Lastly, the English word "should" is not translated from a Greek word, but is added to emphasize the fact that the verb is an imperative--a command.  Therefore, the word "should" does  not suggest or imply that what the verse is talking about is optional.  Rather, it is still a command because it is a present imperative.

Silly rabbit.  Biblical interpretation doesn't work that way. 

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