Sunday, July 03, 2011

Changing Battlegrounds

I had a little reluctance to learning Greek because I was afraid that it would just change the battlefield in my struggle for understanding. By this I mean that when we study the Bible in English we may have some frustration and so we go to the Greek to look for clarity. While I didn't know Greek I was happy to believe my interlinear/lexicon combination or to believe a commentary. Now I can read the Greek (well, a lot of it) and I question the translation. Ok, no problem, go check the word in the lexicon - oh right, the accent is in a different place! But hang on - the original texts don't show accents do they? So an interpretation is already being made when showing me accented Greek. Now if I want to know the truth I must go back to the original manuscripts . . . no wait, which manuscript of several with minor variations is correct? I am not sure that I want to spend my life digging deeper and deeper!
My specific question was from Luke 17:20 where the Pharisees ask Jesus when the kingdom of God is coming. It struck me as odd because of the present tense of the question. The Greek for when is ποτε which also means once (when accented differently - I haven't shown any accent). The text could mean 'once, the pharisees asked Jesus whether the kingdom of God was coming (currently, in progress)'. I have to concede that because I am very new at this there may be a multitude of reasons why the usual translation is preferred. Also, I don't think it makes much difference to the meaning. But now I have to ask!
I'll put the Greek for verse 21 (Jesus' answer) in a later post.

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