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NT Interpretive Keys

Quicklinks Here: |Why Study? How Study?| |Volitional Keys| |Analytical Keys| |Big-picture Keys| |Conceptual Linkage Keys| |Syntactical Flags| |Syntactical Fonts| [The "More" Notes for this page]

This webpage is a sketched, categorical overview. In other webpages, there are many examples of the ideas listed here, in both the usage of a verse and in the correction of a verse's translation; so you can see how to USE the Keys in a verse. In the other webpages, many more keys are dynamically provided than the categorical listing, here. Ideally, you are TAUGHT these things by your own right pastor. That's how I learned what you'll read, below...

Warning: Study of Scripture is the most enjoyable, refreshing, fulfilling and upsetting thing you will ever 'do'. God isn't kidding when He calls Scripture a 'knife' (Roman shortsword, the machaira) in Heb4:12. You're embarking on Divine Dining And Surgery, pure and simple. And all your study is bupkis if you're not in "God's System" when you do it. "God's System" link is at pagetop. We need the food, as well as the surgery, badly; that's why you need to live in God's System (which is nondenominational and private, costs no money). Christians are not designed to function on their own, once they believe in Christ. Due to our congenital Blaming Blindness in Adam, which remains (salvation doesn't destroy your body, see), we are rendered quite wacko by being saved. So first maybe you should click on the "God's System" link and make sure you're in it, before wasting your time and reading this webpage. Seriously: test those Five Elements in God's System yourself, watch how you become smarter, the more often and longer you live in it: for in God's System, you get the HOLY SPIRIT'S BRAINS. Without His Brains, you can't read Scripture, nor can anyone else, 1Cor2 says so. Absent His Brains, you can only fool yourself that you understand what Infinite God wrote, period.


Intro: You'll go crazy over Scripture, one way or another...

Christian and crazy begin with a "c" for a reason. Look how wacko Adam went in Genesis 3. So imagine how much more wacko he became when he got saved? You never hear from him again, after Genesis 3. Look how wacko Abram was, pretending his wife was his sister. Look how wacko Gideon was, making God do circus tricks with the fleece. Look how wacko Peter was, drawing lots for the next apostle? When he knew that only God appointed the apostles? Look how wacko the last-appointed apostle was (Paul: see 1Cor15:1-10); his knowingly-obsolete Nazirite vow, in Acts 18 and 21ff -- and this was the guy God 'employed' to write most of the New Testament! So we are wacko, too, spinning Bible with the most goofy interpretations no unbeliever would even imagine, and totally ignoring the Truth.

Witness, look and load: The Dome of the Rock houses the Holy of Holies, the Rock on which the Ark sat. Everyone knows that, no one disputes it. That was the Rock on which Abraham sacrificed Isaac -- almost. Islam claims it because their Koran says it was Ishmael, not Isaac. Ok, then -- could you have a better consensus that Abraham existed and almost sacrificed a son there? Moreover, if you take a peek at Daniel 9:26, you'll notice The Wrong Guys Have The Holy Of Holies. Well? Don't "the wrong guys" have it now? Doesn't that verse say that the wrong guys will always have it until "the very end", which the Lord Himself also said, in Matt24? Hmmm. Seems like Someone is demonstrating a fulfilled prophecy in stages, to a world constantly clamoring for proof of Him, yet claiming to see 'none'...

Seeing, we don't see. Hearing, we don't hear. So we can't see the obvious which stares us in the face. Because, it drives us CRAZY to realize we are no good. So we can't see that the secular life parallels in every respect, the truth which is in Scripture -- not just that God was kind enough to leave two Witnesses of His Son's Departure, but that He is Infinitely kind enough to ordain an entire universe of hupostases, reflected everywhere in every scientific discipline, from math to physics to economics to all the natural sciences -- all alike depicting THE HUPOSTASIS, the God-man. Which, the Latter, created -- which, thus Reflect His Own Two-Sided Nature, HaYaH+HaWaH=YHWH -- the One Who Always IS, Becomes! Just as Paul says, in Romans 1:17ff. Due diligence disclosure is FULL. Never, abstruse. [There's a whole lot said about the meaning and pronounciation of YHWH, and certainly there is NOT merely ONE meaning -- it's got to be a deliberate play on words, like in Exo3:14's style of humor. Frankly, given how God likes to play with etymological data in Scripture, and how He concatenates, and how He IS two-sided -- the combo of haYAH and haWAH is.. well, like Him. You put in two or three vowels you think appropriate, end the last "h" with a "y" (to fit Moses' day), or 'whatever', based on which etymological search of pre-Mosaic or post-Davidic or whatever seems most accurate to you. Frankly, I think He means ALL permutations of spelling and pronounciation (and the many meaning layers which accompany each such permutation) -- in any epoch, signifying Timelessness Of His Fabulously Infinite GORGEOUS Character! :)]

Witness, Look and Load: Not too long ago, doctors couldn't get to be doctors, unless they BLED people. That was considered the expert advice of the day. The reason such a practice was considered valid, was that diseases were known to be in the blood, so if you bled the person, the disease would bleed out, too. Of course, what happened was that a lot of folks DIED or got sicker, because the loss of blood meant their tissues (etc) couldn't get fed (among its other functions, blood carries food your stomach processes, to your cells, so the volume of blood loss meant starvation). Today, of course, we realize how silly and harmful it was, to bleed people to rid them of their illnesses. What we don't realize, is that we still misconnect the 'dots' of data in just as silly a way, yet in different 'formats', so we still make the same mistake as the 'wisdom' of the day when bleeding someone was considered good medicine.

Witness, Look and Load: To review a case study showing Flawed Dating of the Exodus by reputable scholars, CLICK HERE for Exodate.htm. Upshot of that page: the 1440BC date is clearly delineated in Scripture, since God's Accounting System for Time is disclosed in Bible, and you can track all the way back to Adam if you follow it, with Real Dates. Then, you can look up in some encyclopedia of heft -- like Encyclopedia Britannica (denoted "EB" hereafter), which I used to vet Bible's Exodus dating -- and bingo! it matches! Same, for Joseph -- for there is a 490-year Accounting System (i.e., in Daniel 9:25), and whaddya know -- the "vizier" EB talks about is demonstrably Joseph! And, 490 years after JOSEPH was enslaved, the Exodus occurs! Right on time. For the 490 is matched to a person, a strongly-believing-in-God hero -- the whole WORLD gets 490 years due to that ONE person. And you can track it. Moreover, "Moses" is the Royal Egyptian Name of only a few Pharaohs, none of whom were Ramses, k? So you know WHEN to look for Moses' origin: by Bible, he had to be born 1520BC, so that helps you even more (he was 80 when the Exodus occurred, and was the Hero of that 490 which began in 1440BC). So why do scholars misdate Exodus, whether pro- or con-Bible? Because they FLUNK in their research. No excuse, frankly. But a dingbat with Bible and calculator and an encyclopedia can see the fit of the data -- if filled with the Spirit, and given time to vet. Well, in deference: it took me a solid year, maybe 30+ hours a week, to do Mirroring and Exodate.htms.

See what a difference in Perception Of The Obvious the Holy Spirit makes? See how blind we all are? If something so obvious as a Dome, A Wailing Wall, blood which we forever have known carried nutrients, or a name (Moses) -- right there! to put a scholar on the right historical track? [Nerd note: ancients were just as trained in practical biology as we are, if not more trained. They couldn't have been butchers, priests, surgeons (yes, they used surgery on battlefields, else no one would have survived), otherwise. Medicine, like all science, is politically sensitive, so it waxes and wanes in its competence, historically. So, they knew food was carried by the blood. That's why Scripture has sooo many analogies to blood being life, Doctrine being the lifeblood of thinking, food, etc.]

So God the Holy Spirit must literally rehabilitate our souls, even as He restored the earth, in Gen1:2ff. But the universe, is inanimate matter. We, however, have volition. So He won't rehabilitate us to the extent we won't accept it. First acceptance, Merely Believe In Christ. That makes you born-again, John 3, Titus3:5, etc. Subsequent acceptances, Believing In The Word. Discrete, repetitive, constant exposure, learning Word and learning to Live On It. Every day. That's how Christ prepared for the Cross, so that's how we prepare for eternity. No other way.[Gen1:2 is an abrupt departure from Gen1:1, in the original-language texts: there is an unknown gap in time between the instantaneous creation of the entire universe, and the six-day rehab'ing of Earth during one of the interglacial periods. In Gen 1:2, Hebrew waw has a disjunctive usage, is not necessarily consecutive. See BDAG lexicon or any other of similar detail. Moreover, v.2's verb tense displays a subsequent-to-initial-creation wasted condition. More can be said, but not in this introductory Caveat. Exo20:11 uses "asah" in Hebrew, which means to MAKE SOMETHING OUT OF SOMETHING, which is not the same verb as in Gen1:1, so that's yet another of many verses confirming that the Earth was REMADE in the Gen1:2ff account. It's a real-time account; but also, everything in Scripture is hypostatic, so double-entendre. The second "entendre" is paradigmal: how you are remade post-salvation, inter alia. Many layers of meaning in every passage of Scripture, every word in the Word. Never stand pat on an interpretation, for there are always more 'floors' of meaning, more connections. Flawless, Infinite. Just like the Author, heh.]

"Born again" means we lose our blind brains, so to Get His Brains, and we GET His Brains by breathing in the Spirit, 1Jn1:9. Heh: God always did like the garbage for sacrifice -- offal, entrails, burned. So We Church are to be living sacrifices in these humiliating (to us) bodies. So to get THE HEAD: "Christ in you, the confident expectation of glory" in Col1:27. That verse's highlighted meaning, is His Indwelling; but Scripture verses are skyscraper-stacks of layered meanings. So the verse also means we get His Thinking poured into us VIA that Same Holy Spirit, which results in that Glory. (See also Rom5:5, Eph3:15-21, 2Pet3:18, Phili2:5. 1Cor is a dissertation on us getting His Brains, which has as its climax, 1Cor13, in the Greek. In "Parallelisms" below, much is said about that chapter.)

For due to the Session, 1Jn1:9 in habitual and sustained use fills the believer with the never-before granted (Jn7:39, Eph1) Unlimited, Unfelt-But-Real Divine Power needed to see BIBLE, and thus rehabilitate the soul. Else, Bible's but a jumble of words, eye has no brain to tell it what it sees; so any ol' hallucination, will do; Satan or anyone can say anything about it, and we'd grasp no better than an animal, what's in there. Kinda like 1Jn4 says, a child filled with the Spirit will see more than a respectable degreed person who hasn't been filled. That's a sad waste of education. So, imagine what a degreed person will be told by the Spirit when he is filled!

So use 1Jn1:9 every time you feel a reaction (good or bad), just in case your emotions pushed you over the sin line. [Until you understand well how multifaceted sin is, you might just use strong feelings as a barometer. Often self-righteousness feels 'good', and guilt, etc. feels 'bad', but both are sins. Contrary to what popular psychology promotes, you don't have to spend time in self-absorbed diagnosis -- though if you are under a doctor's medication, stay on it. Meanwhile, just 'name' what you think might be a sin and move on quickly. The Holy Spirit knows how to fix what ails ya.] Else, find another way to spend your time, so you don't waste your time.


Why Study? How Study?

Let's start with WHY we should study Scripture. The decision every human faces is this: how much do you want to know, and have a relationship with, GOD? If you want to know God and you want to have a relationship with God, then you need information you can ABSORB. Ergo, a BOOK. So if a book claims to be from God, the way to handle such a book is to evaluate the CONTENT, to see if it IS from God, rather than from some other source. That is, assuming you actually want to know GOD for Himself. Every Bible verse echoes Matt7:1-2 in one or more layers/storeys of meaning; which verses, in the broadest sense, mean that whatever you 'vote' about God is what you will GET. So consider your daily, volitional voting carefully...

    Of course, God will take ANYTHING and use it to expose you to Him. So, in one sense, it matters not at all that mankind is so enamored of the tambourine idea of godness, the self-flagellating idea of godness, the Twilight-Zone ideas of godness. It also matters not at all what sins one sins, nor what good deeds one does. All interlink into the network of Truth's prescriptives and interrelational database: for Truth is infinite, so is all-encompassing. So, anywhere one 'is' on a topic, God can use it to orchestrate awareness of Him. Good, or bad. Accurate or inaccurate teaching. Bad volition, or good volition. For, Nothing is Impossible For God.

Of course, upon that awareness-of-God, you will have all kinds of internal conflict: it's your body's genetic 'memory' of Adam's rejection of God, playing against you. So learning the Book is no picnic. ("In the beginning..Man" section of LordvSatan2.htm explains this problem in some detail.) You will find every psychological defense mechanism urging a hypocritical interpretation of that interest: see Gen3, Rom7. So if a person can't handle the conflict (which is typical), he'll pretend love/interest, even to himself. So, the book will not matter; so any ol' book will do; just slap God's name on a book, begin 'worshipping' it, and presto! one is holy! So, lip service is even given to God's Book, but the Book itself is not learned (2Tim2:26-3:7). Used, abused, kissed in Shabat worship (well, only the fingers are kissed), made a status symbol, even; but never learned.

So, not only must we decide if and how much we want to know God, and thus Learn His Book, we also must decide on what PRICE OF PEACE with others we are willing to incur. Upfront, you must decide how much flak you are willing to take, to learn Him: "counting the cost", as the Lord puts it (Luke14:28, ties to a slew of verses, like Prov20:25). For, any god concepts are always politicized by mankind. Because, the idea of God is universal, there is usually at least some desire to know Him, so people try to use that desire to gain power over other people. So you can never trust what people tell you about "God", however He is defined. You always have to sift through what you hear, and then talk to God about how much is true: like Elihu said to Job, "the ear tests truth". God Alone Is Always Right. We humans, even when we don't mean to, have hidden agendas. So use 1Jn1:9 like breathing, and try to think toward God as much as possible, 24/7. You will grow light-years faster if you do this: test it yourself, and see for yourself.

For More on the War You Face when Studying Scripture, CLICK HERE.

If you are willing to live with the flak, then you agree that if God Wrote a Book for us, He means for us to Learn it. IT, not religion. IT, not works or rituals. After all, you don't need a Book, for the latter two 'magic'-based ideas. And if you have a Book From God, you don't need hearsay. It's important you know your own motives and their import, so that when hassle comes, you can remember why you are doing what you are doing. Your choice, see. Not some sense of duty, not some pressure from outsiders, not some appeasement attempt. Want God or don't, learn Scripture or don't, But Know Why, in any case. Without honesty, you may as well be dead. If you are not yourself knowingly motivated, but instead your motivation is puppeted by other people, you will inevitably fall apart.

Next, let's talk about WHAT VERSION of Scripture to study. God inspired only certain men to write Scripture. The men He chose, He Chose Personally. Those men were conversant in certain languages: only THOSE languages would be inspired, for they are 'original' to the writer. So, we'd have to study what THEY wrote, not a translation. One of the reasons why each OT and NT took so long to be reduced to writing was that God only wanted to use certain authors to write it. The criterion for use was how well they understood HIM. See, God's Infinity is a shock to the human soul, and only learning Him can strengthen and grow the soul. However, once strengthened and grown, such a soul can absorb more contact and information about Him. Thus, souls which got to the level of growth such that they could Write Infallible Scripture were the ones used.

Now, let's look at HOW to study this Scripture. What God's Inspired writers wrote, they wrote in Deliberate Styles. So, the original languages of Scripture tell you how to read them by means of the particulars of the words and how they are used. The objective is to understand what the writer MEANS, for God chose to express God's Meaning THROUGH that writer. Not, through what someone else thinks the writer means, nor what we think the writer means; not, through someone else's opinion on the same topic; not through some other language. This is GOD TALKING, not people. So we need to know what GOD means.

Whatever the STYLE of the writer, God always has him think and write thesauretically. Similar words, like concepts, antonymal words and concepts, plus nuances of difference between words and concepts, all link together to give you scads of Bible-Defined Information which (sadly) is otherwise glossed over.. and thus misinterpreted. (Search on "Thesauretical Writing" below to get a fuller idea of how Bible does this linking.)

So THE most important "how" of studying Scripture, besides 1Jn1:9 in constant use (so you're online with the Spirit), is to think thesauretically. This, you can learn to do by grabbing a thesaurus in your native (or most fluent) language, and studying it. Note how words connect yet differ. You will thus be better able to spot the same linkages in Scripture. Frankly, any good literature, law, computer science, forensics, medicine, math -- all depend on what amounts to thesauretical thinking, aka "connecting the dots". Wordplay is rife in Bible, and so precise you can't easily misinterpret meaning, if you keep on pushing to "get" the wordplay. Frankly, people get Scripture wrong mainly because they are too shallow in how they study and use it.

So, maybe the first thing you really need to do is learn the features of your own language. What's a noun, a verb, a direct object; how do tenses and moods of verbs affect the meaning in a sentence; if your native tongue is not English, it probably changes word-endings: learn those thoroughly. Also: what kinds of clauses are used in long sentences, and how do they differ? Also, how to DIAGRAM a sentence (taught in the US in the 1950's, but not afterwards, quite a pity). What combinations of words literally mean one thing, but in 'idiom' mean something else. What combinations of words make for sarcasm, for nastiness, for kindness, for love. Your own language is rich in these features: so, learn them.

Therefore, the WAY to study Scripture is via 1Jn1:9 usage like breathing, under your right pastor, and in the original languages. Furthermore, the WAY to study these original languages, is to learn the features of these languages, so you can see WHAT God is saying.

Above all, keep using 1Jn1:9 and asking what is the COMMON SENSE interpretation. For, above all, God makes sense. So an errant interpretation will not make sense. But you won't know what doesn't make sense, if your spiritual brain is out! Why else do you think so many goofy translations and goofy ideas of God exist? Because people have no spiritual brains! Why, we are ALL born brained-out, with reference to God; when born in Christ (John 3), we are STILL brained-out, unless online with the Spirit!

Now let's look at how NOT to study Scripture. We are all vulnerable to the following, um, traps: Only being online with the Spirit makes for spiritual brains, and the only PROFITABLE way to study Scripture is In The Original Languages, And Under Your Right Pastor. So, breathe 1Jn1:9, study, and Live On What You Learn!


Volitional Keys

Your volitional attitude toward a thing determines what that thing means to you, whether you see the thing properly or not. This, because you are Free To Choose. So, the person who ardently believes that any killing is murder will MISinterpret OT verses commanding execution, as God being nasty. Or, conversely, will try to blame the Jews, and treat such passages as adulterated, altered; or not God's Will. So, the person who doesn't have that prejudice, will tend to get the actual meaning God put there. So, we all gotta check our prejudices 'at the door', before studying Scripture. This is supremely hard to do. That's another reason to use the original-language texts and not a translation: the difficulty of reading Bible in original languages blocks out prejudices. For, our brains are only so large: extra concentration on WHAT Bible says, doesn't leave much room for reaction. It's time-consuming, so that by the time you see the answer, you can see why people are 'all over the map' on the issue: so aren't inclined to judge, anymore.

Detection of prejudice is important, and if you are honest about them, you can profit even more by study. So privately and honestly list all the topics you have strong feelings about, as bullet points. Keep each one short, and make it really say what your strong feeling is. You know, "i hate intellectuals because they are snotty", or ..whatever. If you aren't sure what to list, think about what makes you react with hostility, tears, etc..which you'd tend to dwell on. List them: they are likely mirroring some 'flaw' you have or think you have, yourself. (That's an old psychology trick, btw.)

Then, when studying bible under the Spirit (1Jn1:9 used routinely), if you see yourself react, see if the reaction 'matches' one of those bullets. Pay close attention to WHY you get a certain interpretation from a verse in such reactive situations. Chances are, you will still get the interpretation right, but for the wrong reason. Only a right reason rightly interprets a right interpretation (right reason determines context of the right interp). So, see if you can find a right reason.

    Example: most Christians bang the drum on works, baby. So, have zeal without knowledge. They get that zeal, because, hey -- there are a goodly number of do's the Bible commands! Yes, that's true -- but WHY? In what context? With what emphasis, compared to Learning Christ? Ahhhh: the 'right reason' is a good witness, a good life down here! Ohhhh. So, yeah, works have relevance.. not as deservings, which create owings rather than oases, but.. as desserts!

    Check it for yourself. Pull any works passages and read them in the Bible's context. Note how KNOWING always precedes. ['Much clearer in original languages -- English tends to reverse the stress on knowing, because it always manages to 'forget' the first-year seminary rule that Participles Precede Or Are Co-Terminous With The Main Verb; or, they forget some other Greek101 rule! (By means of participles NT Greek passages often say that works are only valid if based on First Knowing God, being in the Spirit, etc. Good example is Col1:9-10, covered later in this webpage.) Uncanny.]

Oddly enough, there's one kind of 'prejudice' you should have, to ensure objectivity: first assume Scripture CORRECT (or your pastor's interp, if testing that); then, DEDUCE how and why it would be RIGHT. That 'prejudice' saves a BUNCH of time in tracking 'contradictions', 'interpretations', better-understandings: it narrows sleuthing to criteria/facts/ evidence which are most RELEVANT, kinda like crime detecting. Then, do your searches for proof or reconciliation, etc. using those more-relevant items. This method was often used by Greek philosophers/ rhetoricians, and is also known as the "1st-class condition in Greek debater's technique". That is, ASSUME TRUE then work downward from there to derive conclusions, corollaries, etc.

This assuming-God-is-right is not somehow less 'objective', but rather, more so. First, the assumption gives you DIRECTION -- which, ASSUMING God lives, HE will guide you. So, objective for that reason. Secondly, since you have an 'answer', you can now OBJECTIVELY work backwards to see how &why the answer is right. So, thirdly: since you are working backwards and you don't know how it will go, you can't influence the path, because the path will have to fit the answer, no matter what you want it to do: it will or it won't work, no matter what you want it to be. Fourth, the DIRECTION you follow to find that accounting-back to prove the answer will be more RELEVANT to the answer, and hence you won't get led down false paths (bane of the induction method).

For More on How HOSTILITY is incorrectly deemed 'Scientific', CLICK HERE.

So let's get efficient, and maximize this Victory-in-Christ: why not first assume God's Word True, and save time, since the thing assumed true will have characteristics you can trace backwards to find whatever empirical data you require? Then find that data. Don't you think the data will really exist? Don't you think you'll be able to prove it's the right answer? Granted, the way to prove something God gives you will be a big surprise, to others. Then again, if it actually always works -- the true test of a theory is its predictability -- won't you have proof ABSENT tautology?

If I have a formula to solve, and I know the answer but not all the values of all the other variables -- don't I BACK INTO those values? Not a mathematician in the world would fault me for using that method for math, and in fact would say it's the ONLY OBJECTIVE way to do it. So, then: why not take the math approach, with respect to Scripture, since the INFALLIBLE Bible is THE answer? Take what IT says is the answer, then trace backwards to find the necessary variable-values? Then, look for EVIDENCE of those values actually having-been or being extant? Oh, no! It's only OBJECTIVE to presume Bible wrong?! LOL: Have to presume the Bible fallible to prove it infallible? That's Like Presuming Guilt Before Proving Innocence -- Why Eschew That For People, But Not God? Put your Brain On! Look: if the Bible is truly wrong, presuming it right and tracking the answer backwards will still prove it wrong. That is, if IT IT IT is truly wrong (a wrong formula will not track backwards, either). For, a thing is true, or not.

See, DEDUCTION is always the superior objectivity, because you have an answer and now you're accounting for it. You Can't Thus Influence An Outcome, because the outcome is where you BEGIN. Thus, you have what clinicians always long for: true double-blind 'controls'. You are the one who's 'blind', because you DON'T know what the accounting will reveal. You are also 'blind', because you don't know HOW the path goes. You learn it AS you go. So, you CAN'T be influencing the answer, and thus the path and results will prove the answer right or wrong.

So, then: treat the answer in (or claimed to be in) Scripture as RIGHT, then BACK INTO the how-is-it-right. Saves a great deal of time. Oh: save even more time, by using 1Jn1:9 and asking Father in Son's Name to show you how&why it's true. Then, like James says in James 1, start deducing, not doubting you will be shown/guided as you go. God loves showing off the Truth, so He'll bring up data against the Truth so you can have even more proof of it despite opposition. In short, He does superior 'due diligence' because He loves the Truth ("The Lord loves Justice" and similar verses). Not even the Bible debunker, however brilliant, can think up 'objections' and 'contradictions' so well as God! It's a lot of fun, and a bizillion times more efficient. So provable, even to those hostile plodders...

So, then: when you hear even (and deservedly) 'respectable' people say Gospels disagree or Bible contradicts, you'll smile, knowing the disagreement isn't the fault of the 'computer'.. but of the 'user'. Which, in good time, God will address to the user's great enjoyment! For, God is out to bless His Word, and we got paid by Him. So, He's ALSO saving us time from 'defending' Scripture, the meanwhile. 'Saving us embarrassment when we ourselves misuse the 'computer', too...


THREE CARDINAL ANALYTICAL KEYS

With analyst errors so common, how ELSE to maximally assure objectivity, so you yourself don't improperly value/interpret? Well, besides breathing 1Jn1:9 and consistent study under your right pastor,

THE CARDINAL FIRST principle of interpretation is this: whatever is most obvious we LEAST see. It's the HIGHEST TRUTH (ayathos, in Gk of Rom12:2 [wow, heard again just today, L1547!]) which is the most obvious; because, it's Highest. So, all other truth will be underneath the Highest, and corollary: but you USE the Highest Truth as the real standard, thus all the lower truths will fall in line.

Gotta keep looking for the HIGHEST meaning, therefore, IN the Truth, which is, the Bible: for, Ps138:2b! He has magnified the Truth above His Own Person! Need the Holy Spirit's Brains, then, because we are all born, brain-out, and remain that way, on our own: as testified by Romans 5:12-8:17. Every misinterpretation of Scripture happens if the Highest Truth is NOT first apprehended. Every misapplication of Scripture happens if the Highest Truth is not the criterion for deriving corollaries related to the application sought. So, always FIRST look for the Highest Truth, and stick to it in deriving any interpretations or corollaries. Whether of Scripture, or of God's Will for your life (again, Rom12:2). I first learned this back in June '99, and have never seen it fail to work.

Because this tendency to overlook is so endemic, here's a 'FLIP' shortcut you can try to reduce the time it takes to RECOGNIZE the highest truth. First, look for the 'loud' answer. Then, flip it over, so to speak: REVERSE it. Or, substitute "God" for the primary 'character' in the loud answer. For, the loud answer is the satanic answer, and God is always substituted OUT. Just as Adam chose the woman over God in the Garden; just as Adam made figleaves to 'atone', mis-substituting his BODY for his SOUL in his calculation of what he'd done wrong; so also we humans Loudly Substitute What's The Reverse Of The Truth, for the Truth: which is, God Himself. Which anti-God substitutes we reverently make In His Name, of course. Greatest evil, loudest evil, LOOKS 'white', dazzling the eyes. Angel-of-light, in fact. Phoebus Apollo, one of many nicknames for Satan ('actually, a translation of his pre-Fall Hebrew name). [Although I don't think the demon who played Phoebus Apollo was actually Satan, but rather used Satan's name to show what 'team' he was really on, the name in Hebrew (Isaiah14:13, I believe) is "Haylel-ben-Shachar", "MorningStar", "Son-of-DawnLight" or similar meanings. Encyclopedia Britannica has a good entry on the ancient significance attached to Phoebus Apollo. Whether the early (i.e., Mycenaen) Greeks knew their 'god's' name was a translation of Satan's name, I don't know, but clearly the name was known long before Isaiah was given to pen it. By the way, this substituting-out tactic of Satan is covered at great length in SatStrat.htm, which is the "Appendix" for the "Thinking Out Loud" web megaseries (link at pagetop).]

    Here's a sample usage of this shortcut. Ask just about anyone what "good" is, and you'll hear some kind of to-people answer, which of course reflects Adam's fatal choice in the Garden. So, right away you know that's incorrect, since it's the popular (a version of LOUD) answer. So, either REVERSE the answer to, "not-to-people", or "to-God", and you are on the math-path of the highest truth.

    Next, you'd test the path with Scripture, for you need a Reliable Witness, and the Trinity's Thinking is codified in Scripture, so you have Three Witnesses to testify by consulting the Word. The HS will guide you if you use 1Jn1:9; else you'll get satanic noise and will go off the math-path. So, how do we test the "to-God" 'flip' in the loud answer? What Scripture do we come up with? Well, what's FIRST, but the FIRST COMMANDMENT?

    And, is there any word in that FIRST Commandment about 'people'? NO. Notice how all the other Commandments are about people, but they follow the first, so dock under the First. Like the Lord said to Satan in Matt4, when tempted to do the good deed of making stones into bread (a to-people thing, first feeding the Most Important Human in History), "THE [monadic, unique!] Man shall live not on bread merely, but on Every Word Which Proceeds From The Mouth Of God." Ahhh. Father's Will first, even before food. Even As First Food: "My Food is to do the Will of Him Who Sent Me." Aha. So the Word of the Cross lived on the Word, and thus could GO to the Cross, which did more for people than all the works in history can ever even fantasize doing. Hmmm. So what's the True Good, eh?

In short, Read With Your Spiritual Brain On: use 1Jn1:9 like breathing. We all know we are supposed to LEARN something God is telling us. For thousands of years, we all have also known we are to EXTRAPOLATE lessons from what we are told: every religion uses parables and stories for the purpose of teaching PRINCIPLES one extrapolates with his own brain, from the facts; above all, Judaism is famous for this.

Question is, what do we extrapolate? Do we spend oodles of Mishnaic hours deciding how to distinguish between blue and white thread, or gently picking gnats out of our sandwiches? Do we look for secret numerical codes which tell us who will be assassinated? Do we look for proof of evolution, or reincarnation? Do we take a practice in the Bible and make it a condition for holiness? Do we recognize at all how such 'research', paints God as some genie doing tricks; that such 'proof' of Scriptural Divinity maligns HIM? Oh, yeah: what brain is on, when seeking such nonsense! Did Christ pay for us with that kind of thinking? Of course not. So, yes, become like a CIA intelligence expert and read between the lines -- but don't become a goofball: keep on clinging to that Highest Truth as your criterion for reading, decisions: His Essence, His Word!

    'Consensus' is the opposite of Highest Truth: though in the name of it, justifies the seeking of consensus. Any time you see the typical 'academic' approach applied to deciding a correct interpretation of a thing, you see TOO-LOW evaluation criteria employed. For academia is all about consensus among experts. So, if all the experts are WRONG, as they were in the time physicians BLED people, academia can't detect it. Bible 'scholarship' is unfortunately infected by this stupid consensus rule, forgetting entirely that the superior AUTHORITY, is God; and that Bible excoriates 'consensus' with innumerable examples (i.e., Pharisees).

    The reason consensus among experts is considered valid, is based on the common sense recognition that man makes mistakes; that there should be more than one witness; that expert collaboration should produce a superior product, compared to individual work. These are good reasons. However, there is no check against the problem of 'herding'. Anything authoritative will have political forces rally around it. So herding is a natural response, aka "CYA" in America. So, for example, millions of Christians and pastors all state false doctrines like life-in-womb, salvation-by-works ('invite', 'repent', etc). It's hard to go against the herd, see. All secular activity with any hint of authoritativeness will be subject to strong herding impulses. So base conclusions on God as much as possible, being chary of consensus.

    God is the God of Authority, and that's the point. His Authority First. First, not "only", even though He really IS the Only Authority, He's appointed authorities over us and we are to obey them (Timothy letters, Rom13, Heb13, lots of other passages). So don't be iconoclastic, nor be slavish. Christians tend to be one or the other, at least the ones I've encountered. We all make egregious mistakes. So we can't afford to overly trust, nor can we afford to react with oh, he was WRONG! God would kill us all, if HE had that reaction...

THE CARDINAL SECOND principle of interpretation is this: GOD WANTS US TO THINK THINK THINK. Think when you read a verse or passage about what it might mean. Think 'outside the box' of religious conformity. Think That God Is Real, So He Really Thinks. Him, Person. Him, Your Creator, Who Loves You. So forget all the barnacles that religion uses (well, Satan uses religion) to shackle your brain and manipulate your emotions. ASK QUESTIONS to Father (use 1Jn1:9, ask Father in Son's name), and expect an answer. 'Not necessarily all-at-once, for if your question is differential calculus, and you only know basic math, He'll first have to train you in math, lol.

    He Does Answer Immediately, And The First Answer He Gives Is Designed To Give You The Option Of Learning More; because, this isn't magic, and God never coerces volition. You likely won't recognize some of the answers He gives. Kinda like in the recent movie "Signs" (starring Mel Gibson and Joaquin Phoenix), Mel Gibson's character didn't recognize what God was saying until the last few scenes of the movie. And why did it take so long? Because the guy was Angry At God. No one who's angry, fearing, emoting -- thinks during that state. So Keep On Thinking.

    Also, LOOK for questions to ask, don't gloss over passages. Like, why don't people ASK GOD why It Only Took A Mere Three Hours To Pay For All Sins On The Cross? Why do they just ASSume it's a mystery, or (I hate this word ->) "inscrutable", or.. they just forget about it? Why don't they ask HOW He paid for sins? Why are the genealogies there? Why is it necessary to BELIEVE.. or one burns in hell forever?

    Why aren't people at least as interested in these questions, as they are in their next meal? Oh, no! They accuse, they gloss over, they get interested in something else? So, don't do these things, but be interested, and ASK because you ARE interested. (Don't fake it, either. Don't be ashamed of your disinterest, but do decide if you will overrule it by ASKING.) No accusings, no sighings, no throwing-up-the-hands, no being angry -- rather, just ask to LEARN. Assume you WILL learn, assume God Has A Good Answer He Wants To Display -- that's the only kind of 'ASSumption' which makes no donkeys. After all, why IS a verse in the Bible? There must be a reason. So, LOOK for it.

It's so strange to hear everyone clamor for 'proof' of God, when the biggest proof sits in every American hotel room, for crying out loud. The Proof Is In Writing, Now: Scripture. It's a Contract from God, primarily: that's why it's called the Old TESTAMENT and the New TESTAMENT. A "TESTAMENT" is a WILL, a legal document explaining what the Owner of Assets Wants To Do With Them, And Who Are The Beneficiaries. Like, YOU. Like, me. Like, the whole human race, if it would agree to the TESTATOR's terms.

    In any legal agreement, there are terms. These terms exist often because the beneficiary needs to be of a certain age or other condition for the benefit to actually BE beneficial to the person. More often, these terms exist because the beneficiary has to have, under law, The Right To Refuse The Testator's Wishes. So, that's one reason why the Gospel is 'believe or burn'. [Nerd note: yes, I know man came up with the names "Old Testament" and "New Testament", but those names ARE based on hundreds Bible verses IN both the Old Testament and the New, particularly in Hebrews, a Book which is entirely dedicated to Explaining The New "Will" (diatheke, big OT keyword) Christ legated to us due to the Cross: Heb7:18, 9:14ff, many other verses. Author uses the theme throughout. Quick example is Heb10:9, which is a follow-on point started in Heb2. The idea of Two Testaments is a running theme in that Book, and is stressed in every chapter.]

So now let's try to answer some of those questions no one asks. First, about why Believe or Burn is a Fair Gospel. Think: if God Himself were to ever sin, what would happen to HIM? Duh. [It's so dippy when people say God can't sin. Of COURSE He can: He wouldn't be Omnipotent if He didn't have the Power to Sin. He WON'T sin, but He can.]

    So, then: if it's All Or Nothing For God Himself, how can it be any other way for what or who He creates? Won't the creation always have to reflect, in some ways, the properties of the Creator? So, then: why is it ASSumed that God has some malevolent or arbitrary reason for a Gospel of Believe or Burn? Believe Is Easy! Easier than it is, for Him. Easier than it was, for Christ. Who Paid For It All. So, then: why is Gospel's 'believe or burn' deemed bad, for crying out loud, given a) what is inherently true about sin, even if God did it; and b) what is inherently true about Christ's Payment, which is Free To Us.. ? See how a bit of thinking gets an almost immediate answer which makes SENSE?

    GOD IS INFINITE. So, the QUALITY of God is Infinite. So the QUALITY of TRUTH, one of God's Attributes, is INFINITE. So if that Infinite-quality Thinking was poured into the Son's Humanity by the Holy Spirit -- and we know from John 1 and the NT that it was -- then the Infinite Quality of Jesus the Christ's Thinking would be so far above the finite negative quality of mankind's sins -- that it could take a mere three hours of (what I call) horizontal time. See? Thinking authorizes the Holy Spirit to unlock the zipfile of Scripture and show you the answer to questions. NO inscrutabilities. (BTW: NT's keyword "mystery" in Greek means doctrines only known to a select group, not something unknown. It's a keyword moniker for Church, a nickname for the Age of the Church. Read Ephesians.)

    No inscrutabilities, but no magic, either: the HS won't just bing! the answer into your brain like a Harry Potter movie. It takes time to learn. Real-life relationships are no good, if based on magic. (Then, only the magic holds the relationship together.) God is no genie, not magic, doesn't even LIKE magic (even His Miracles, which are NATURAL to Him like breathing would be -- even miracles are messages about Truth). God is REAL. The RELATIONSHIP to Him through Christ is real. So, let's get real! And learn the answers, gradually. Just as one learns another Person. For, that's what the spiritual life is: learning Christ. Forever!

THE CARDINAL THIRD principle of interpretation is this: FIND PATTERNS. Look around you: everything has a SHAPE. The independence of a thing is partly due to the fact that there is a CONTAINER, and that container has a certain SHAPE. Your body contains your soul, and your body is a certain shape. So is your soul: the pattern of what you think habitually is the 'shape' of the real you (body is just a bundle of DNA +lifestyle habits).

So, too, any thinking has a 'shape', a pattern, and within it is a wholeness. So, to know what GOD thinks, we get the BIBLE, so that we won't die from contact with His Thinking, but can Learn His Thinking in a manner compatible with our weakness. That's why constant use of 1Jn1:9 is so critical (true in the OT also, but expressed differently, viz, Ps32:5 and Ps66:18). For CHURCH (us believers), usage of 1Jn1:9 makes us be Filled with the Spirit (can't feel this). Later on in this webpage is a homework exercise to help you prove Bible teaches the foregoing sentence. For now, just use it: kinda like 'doing' a lab experiment, then learning the underlying pattern of principles, later.

So, God's TRUTH is likewise a pattern: everything is connected, and there is a wholeness, a 'shape' to it. So, every verse in the Bible is teaching something: what it says, what it omits, the WAY it says what it says -- all these are important keys to interpretation. So, in a narrative, you look for the message by looking at Patterns. Same, with any other Biblical text. The pattern depicts the lessons, and there will be Many Lessons From Any One Pattern. Non-narrative text conveys patterns by Repeated Words Or Repeated Analogies (most common analogy is to Cross), with the corollaries from those patterns radiating out like the spokes on a bicycle tire.

    For example, in Peter, hupo- prefixed words are little tracking flags; in all the NT, the keywords plerow and teleiow are probably most important, second only to sozo and pistis. So by reviewing the verses in which these keywords appear, you get the pattern of their meaning, the pattern of their usage, and thus the pattern of the spiritual life. In the OT, the Pattern tends to be expressed in concrete terms; in the NT, the Pattern tends to be expressed in abstract (math-like) terms. More about why OT and NT are structured as they are, is in the huge "Thinking Out Loud" megaseries (link at pagetop): especially, LordvSatan2.htm and ~3.htm.

    People often mistake the stories in both OT and New as something past, not happening now. Wrongo! Those stories are also Patterns Of Continuing Truths; truths about the nature of man, truths about how man thinks, truths about how we don't want God; truths about how God changes us when we do want Him. You are no less important than Moses, for your role is a Priestly Crown Prince under the King of Kings, Who Himself chose to 'go low' in order to become a King-Priest To Father (Phili2:5-10, Heb1-2,5-10); so you are a Priestly Crown Prince To Father, also. Moses never had that high an office (see Heb3); you, however, do (see Heb2,7,10; 1Pet2:5,9, Rev1:6, 5:10).

    So when Paul says these stories are for our benefit (somewhere in Greek of Corinthians, the chapter when he talks about the Jews), take that statement seriously. Each personal story in the Bible is a PARADIGM, and when you add them all together, you get the entire picture of the interrelationship with God, and with people. Never never never make the mistake so many others make, of thinking the Bible is passť, or "Well, I'm too low and I can't be like that Bible person." Since your real name is "Crown Prince [your-name-here]", You Can't Be Low.

    Brushing the teeth is a paradigm of humility, attention to detail, faithfulness in the little things, compassion on the helpless (teeth are helpless to clean themselves). Since even in our modern age we must spend a good 90% of our day (including sleep) tending to the care of our own bodily needs, notice how CLEVER God is to give us menial tasks we MUST do, to even stay healthy: not even the humble tooth escapes having a spiritual role!

    It takes a VERY long time to see the patterns, because we start out with scrambled brains (genetic effect of inheriting Adam's sin). 1Jn1:9 used in a habitual and sustained manner alone authorizes (God won't coerce!) the Holy Spirit to fix the scramble, and REPLACE the scrambled connections with the true ones. Christianity's sordid history displays, above all, the LACK OF 1Jn1:9 usage. Don't follow that history in your own life?

    One BIG pattern continually displayed in every book of Scripture is routinely missed by Christians: sin no longer matters for itself. Instead, sin, error, and all manner of 'bad' are but Training Aids. That's one of the major reasons WHY there WAS a Cross, so that these bads could all get CONVERTED into training aids. Just as, Joseph was the technical but not real, father of Our Lord's Humanity, so also bads are the technical but not real, 'father' of the goods ASSOCIATED with them.

    The Coniah (Jeconiah) curse meant that Solomon's line would not be the bloodline of Messias. So, Messias descends from one of David's younger sons by Bathsheba, Nathan (Luke 3). This depicts how Christ's Thinking on the Cross 'begets' Righteousness for us (2Cor5:21), because 'associated' with the curse of our sins. Technically, the sins always remain what they are; technically, Christ's Thinking on the Cross always remains what IT is; but because the sins 'occasioned' a 'response' of His Thinking, like the Virgin Conception, the 'holy' chromosomes imputed by the Spirit to the Virgin Mary's womb caused a birth; just as, we are caused to be born IN HIM (keyphrase in NT). Isaiah is saying this very thing in Isa53 (you can't tell in English).

    So: His Thinking on Cross 'begets' the JUSTIFICATION (Rom5:1,8:1) for the Holy Spirit's Birthing us (Tit3:5); so, Birth is a result of the Good, only; the bads are used as catalysts, themselves but cursed. But that capitalization is nonetheless REAL. For, Truth never returns void; His Thinking thus never returns void. No sin can prevail against His Thinking, Bible Doctrine. Five chained infinitives in Isa53:10-11 in the LXX show this, blow by blow. You can quickly see them in many of my other (DDNA-webseries) related webpages: Isa53:htm, last full screen; Isa53trans.htm, first "click here" (first sentence in the page); DDNA4.htm (yellow-gold table should be what you first see, it has full corr trans of v.10-12). You can't get the LXX in published Bibles: wow, talk about surgical excision which only Satan&Co. would be smart enough to herd and sponsor!

    Yet another pattern: God didn't kick David out of the promise due to his sin of killing Uriah the Hittite to mask his own adultery with Bathsheba, but rather used that very sin to Engender The Bloodline Of Messiah. [Nerd note: if you look carefully at Luke 3's geneology of Mary, you'll find that Messiah descended from Nathan, one of David's younger sons by Bathsheba. Legally, this is important. Even today, in nearly every royal house's genealogical protocols, a higher descent from a son of the first king often has higher claim than descent from a later king. So, if a king's line is cut off, going to the brother of that king thus is more 'pure', so the farther back you go to a brother, the higher the claim: 'nearer' the progenitor-king. Is God the God of grace, or what?!]

    Yet more patterns: God didn't kick Moses out from his title of "Friend of God" (see James 2) because Moses STRUCK the Rock the second time, when God ordered him to SPEAK to it. God didn't kick Paul out of having the highest office of writing Canon, despite his stupid Nazirite vow (Acts 18ff), which The Second Time He Fell For It, nearly got him killed (Acts 21ff), which he did against God's longstanding order to never witness to the Jerusalem Jews (Acts 22). See how, in each case, the last half of Romans 5 is operating: grace abounds the more. That's a pattern in every story, whether Balaam or Barabbas. [Bible often states the doctrine of Romans 5, though that chapter is panoramic, from Adam through eternity. Greek is important there, so take time to analyse it. Other chapters either express the same idea sotto voce, meaning beneath the main theme, like in the "unpresentable parts" quips in 1Cor12. Other passages stress irony and triumph: verses like "valley..exalted" in Isaiah, or "alive, even if he dies" (Lord, about meaning of resurrecting Lazarus), "last..first" (Lord, in Gospels). This FLIPPING of bad into greater good is discussed at length in SatStrat.htm, first section, how God's Righteousness Attribute is viewed by Sovereignty -- Isa54:1!]

    So use any failures of your own or others as Training Aids. Just as you'd apply doctrine to brushing your teeth. For, everything got ENNOBLED: by the Cross! In fact, you'll be surprised to discover that the consummate pattern For Church Only, is this: God Builds You Up In His Son's Thinking Precisely So You Too Have The Privilege Of Going Low. Paul is so excited about this fact, he can hardly restrain himself (drops his verbs), in Romans 5-9, Philippians, 2Timothy. Even when he was out of fellowship, rebelling(!) he was that excited (viz., his melodramatic statement in Acts 21:13ff). For, God Himself was not content to just have everything all nice and perfect: the Act Of Creating meant God married bad forever. On Purpose, for Better or for Worse. So yes, all bads get flipped, ennobled, For Everyone, believers and unbelievers alike. See Romans 8:11-end for Paul's epic drama about this topic; or, Ephesians (stunning)! What a God we are privileged to Intimately Know!

So every book of Scripture is deliberately woven from a particular Theme Pattern kinda like "jacquard" weaving, which is a pattern woven in the very threads, not stamped on: for, the Bible Intends you to notice a Temple Veil analogy. (The temple veil was extremely thick, incapable of being torn: see Josephus' description.) The purpose of picking a theme pattern is to Show Connections In The Data. Bible Focuses On Relationship, not merely listing facts. So, a theme pattern enables better memorable analysis of the relationships among the data.

Data for data's sake teaches nothing. So relevant data is linked to relevant data so you can learn something. Thus, certain data which is not relevant to the theme is excluded from mention, or is mentioned differently (i.e., only to show the Relationship angle). Don't make the childish mistake so-called "scholars" continually make, i.e., that because Luke doesn't describe an event the same way as Matthew, there must be a contradiction in the testimony, lol. Only babies think like that. God is no baby, baby: He doesn't need to repeat a thing in the same words to prove Himself to you. Rather, He caused this Book so you can learn from it. Hence, the patterns of exposition, not a mere see-I'm-really-God-you-can-believe-Me train of facts.

    So, since every writer of any book of Scripture has a multi-faceted framework, to list any one recurring theme within a framework is too simplistic. Still, each writer has his own way of announcing the theme-pattern he uses, i.e., in the beginning of each Gospel; somewhere later in the text, as in any modern movie, this theme gets spotlighted treatment differing markedly from the style of the rest of the text (i.e., for a whole chapter).

    So, Luke 3 lists Mary's geneology, but Matthew lists Joseph's, since Luke focuses on Straight Narrative And Cause-Effect (i.e., starting with the announcement to Mary). By contrast, Matthew's framework focuses on Legal Messiahship issues, which would require him to first list patrilineal (Coniah's curse) bloodline and other legalities to show this is the Messias; that is why Matthew spends so much time on the Messianic platform message, and only talks about historical events to the extent they SHOW His Messiahship (i.e., prophecy is fulfilled when Judas betrays Him, Matt27). [See, everyone knew of Coniah's curse, so the True Messiah would have to have an official but not real 'father' whose line reflected that curse. Plus, Matthew puts "Mary, by whom Jesus was born" in the verse (1:16), so you know Joseph was not the physical father; then he follows the phrase up with the Annunciation, etc. in the following verses.

    This way, the reader would know that the Holy Spirit is the real 'father', imputing the 'missing' 23 chromosomes and thus obviating the genetic effect of Adam's sin. People also knew that the True Messiah Would Have To Have The Real Blood Of David, But Through The Mother. However, it's a bigger miracle that the official 'father' is from the cutoff line, for Zedekiah was the last king, and his last sight was of all his sons being slain by Nebuchadnezzar. So, greater grace is depicted. So Matthew focuses on the patrilineal, not the matrilineal, line. It's a stronger legal argument, essentially, to do this: the oft-repeated OT promise that God would not cut Israel off forever, but would someday deliver and unite it, is thus maximally stated via this geneology.]

    Mark's framework seems to be Popular Reaction And Interaction to this Message (Sower and Seed, Mark4), so that's why Mark starts with the Herald, John the Baptist. So, Mark's Gospel doesn't spend as much time as Matthew's on what the message WAS. John, ever the lover of the dramatic opening, opens with eternity past; his framework seems to be God's Dramatic, Epic Continuity Of Purpose from eternity-past (John 17), given also what he writes in his epistles and Apocalypse, which alike have the same theme.

To get you started on what patterns do for comprehension of Scripture, pick one of the Gospels, and see if you can validate (or improve!) the Gospel-theme comments, above. Or, pick one of the bullets below and play with it. If you're using a translation, stick to same translation as you do this, for a given 'version' will tend to translate the same original-language words the same way, within the same book. (But not across books. Dunno why.) Ideally, have both an interlinear and an unabridged lexicon; but also, download some online Bible of the same translation version, and print out the book you'll be tracking, so you can highlight the keywords. (It's really hard to do this tracking with a bound book or even software: book pages are too small, and software restricts panoramic view.) It's supremely important to do this. Christians routinely study Bible in snippets, not panoramically -- they stay stunted in spiritual growth, if they keep their learning, fragmented. (For what it's worth, my whole spiritual life shifted into high gear when I finally "got" the pattern of Romans. My pastor always teaches panoramically, but I guess I wasn't listening well; for, I didn't see the patterning in Scripture itself on a broad scale until I studied Romans under him: 768 hours of lessons.)

  • In Kings: find the pattern of what God SAYS, or OMITS. Notice what is said versus what is omitted, and account for WHY. You might need to also track Chronicles and Samuel.

  • In Gospels: find pattern of topics Lord discusses, and omits. Find if ANYTHING He says accords with mainstream Christianity today, and then How Much Emphasis (how much text) is spent on what accords, compared to what doesn't accord. What topics get the most emphasis, and why? What's left out, and why?

  • In Hebrews: find pattern of his discussion. Do you see a constant before-and-after shifting? Before-Christ, and After-Christ? What does this shifting show? What is the author's point? What concept acts like a refrain, at the end of each Chapter? (Or near the end, for Chapter divisions aren't in the original langs, but were invented in Paris in the 12th century.) What does the author do with the keywords "faith", "second", "written..hearts", "perfect" or "end" (teleiow!), "fulfill" or "fill" or "full" (plerow!)?

  • In Romans, Ephesians, Colossians: find pattern of Paul's points. Do you see how he lassoes a prior point into the current one he makes, sometimes taking the END of a prior sentence and making it the BEGINNING of another? See how the teaching BUILDS from Chapter to Chapter? And what is Paul stressing? What, debunking? What, explaining? See how the logic FLOWS?

  • 1 John: trace keyword "abide" (maybe translated "dwell" or "remain" in your version -- Greek word is menw). Notice how John also goes back-and-forth, comparing one condition (abiding) to its antithesis. Compare apodases: John uses a lot of implicit if-then constructions -- the "then" is usually the last clause, and is the apodasis. So, by this PATTERN of exposition, what is John explaining? How much text is spent on learning something, compared to doing something, and isn't the 'doing' really the learning?

  • James: If you had success with 1Jn, you'll want to 'do' James. James does the same back-and-forth doctrinal reasoning as John and the writer of Hebrews. James' big keywords are "Faith" (Bible Doctrine) and "patience" (hupomone, really endurance/staying power, BIG keyword in Scripture) and "works". But WHAT is "works"? Can you tell how Chapter 2 plays out Chapter 1? How does Christendom accord with Chapter 3?

  • Genealogies: If you're really brave, run comparisons of the various genealogies in the Bible. Look for substitutions and missing names; ask WHY those substitutions are there, why names you expected are missing. Then, see if you can tell whether the 'next' generation listed in a genealogy is REALLY the next-in-birth-order, or -- rather, is a kind of hall-of-fame roster in descending-from-Adam sort order? Compare the NT genealogies for Joseph and Mary, and note the effect of the Coniah (Jeconiah) curse. Compare the Revelation roster of the 144,000 hall-of-famers, and notice what tribe is missing, what tribe is mentioned TWICE. Then figure out WHY.

In sum, the three principles: Keep Seeking The Uppermost Truth; think think think; seek author/story PATTERNS. If you keep on trying to 'do' these three thinkings, it will be very difficult for volitional prejudice to cloud you. Keep using 1Jn1:9 also, lest you lose your spiritual brains, the Holy Spirit! and become a brainout.


Big-picture Keys to Interpretation

  • FACT THAT BIBLE IS WRITTEN TO AN AUDIENCE. AKA, CONTEXT CONTEXT CONTEXT!  This is by far the most important fact to keep in mind while you study. Look: when someone writes, they write to someone else. Oh, ..duh! you say. Oh? Think a minute. If I'm in Australia, and I'm writing to someone ELSE in Australia, I'll use Aussie vocabulary. Someone in France wouldn't get that, or would misunderstand the words. Looking them up in a dictionary wouldn't be enough to clue the Frenchman into the real Aussie meaning, since you'd have to be an Aussie to "get" it.

    Moreover, when person "A" writes to person "B", BOTH KNOW EACH OTHER. So a lot goes unsaid. If you listen to any conversation, you'll notice its staccato quality. Partial sentences. Keywords known only to those in the conversation. Even most meetings, business conversations, chats about family have a lot omitted. And why? BECAUSE BOTH PARTIES ALREADY KNOW THE CONTEXT. So someone else reading or hearing the conversation years later, will find the letter or convo, hard to understand. Thus you must read Bible.

    See, every Bible book is deliberately written at the END of the writer's ministry on earth. The audience has long heard the content, but now the writer is about to die or retire.. or, a new generation who won't have the writer among them for THEIR lifetimes, needs it written down. Or, the audience is so wide now (as it was for the Pentateuch), the material MUST be written down, since the audience is too big for the writer to traverse, face-to-face. So when you read Bible, you need to know that the initial audience hearing those words, were already long familiar with the content. Wordplay alerts you to that fact, in the original languages: you can't make wordplay if the underlying concepts for the 'play', aren't already understood. It's like telling a joke: if you don't understand the concepts beneath the joke, then you don't get it.

    Concepts are eternal. They have relevance in every generation. But if you don't know the concepts, you won't get the meaning of the words. Even if you knew the words. You're always walking in the middle of a conversation, when you read Bible. So you must continually know the context.

    One big context everyone misses which just baffles me, is how God accounts time in 1050-year increments, with two 490-year promise-time units inside (490+70+490=1000+50). These are VOTING units, and time only continues because some believer VOTED ENOUGH for God to JUSTIFY time's continuance. I had to spend most of Part IV explaining this fact (starting with LvS4a.htm), as though the concept were new. It's not new. It's a time-accounting underpinning throughout Bible, and all the Bible writers and their immediate audiences, knew it well. Else you couldn't have the succinct presentations given in Daniel 9:24-27, 1Kings 6:1, Acts 13:20, Luke 3 and Matt1 which all rely on that accounting system.

      It should be part of kindergarten Sunday school for us, something we learn right along with the names of the apostles, getting little gold stars when we do learn. But lol! No one of the highest theological degrees has even PUBLISHED anything about it since 96AD (for John uses it too, in John's Gospel and in the Revelation)! What a travesty. So of COURSE we can't prove the timing of events Bible says, since we don't ACCURATELY KNOW from the Bible ITSELF, when the events occurred. Because, we can't READ the math the Bible provides. But of course the Bible gets blamed, and the hoary heads who have lots of initials after their names but NO competence with 1Jn1:9, mull around in confusion and urge people to take the Bible on faith. FAITH means BIBLE KNOWLEDGE, Greek word pistis (and Hebrew word emeth). Of which, there has been none, obviously. So nothing like Part IV of the Thinking series can be found on the internet. What a pity. Proves we don't read our Bible...

    Some people gloss over the OT and even the NT because it all happened so long ago, it can't be 'relevant' now. Brains out! What, is an old movie irrelevant because it is old? Doesn't any story have some paradigm underneath, from which one can learn? For crying out loud! So, not only do you have to be an Aussie to get Aussie, but you have to Look Beneath The Surface To See The Pattern.

    So also, for concepts. If you and I are both clued into who "He" is, I can just say "He" and don't need any further identifiers. So, if the recipients of a Pauline epistle already well know how the Filling of the Spirit makes one spiritual, but sin makes one carnal and hence the need for the activity enumerated in 1Jn1:9, Paul doesn't have to explain the mechanics, the reason, or the purpose: he can just REMIND them, "Keep on being filled with the Spirit" (Eph5:18). So when you read Scripture, look for what's taken for granted in the writeup. That tells you what EVERYONE knew already. Because, duh! you don't write to someone about what they already know, but about what they don't know, or need to know better.

    Important Example: since the audience is the Jews in the Gospels, and they WELL KNEW Trinity (see Lvs4a.htm; also notice how the Pharisees never ASK who is Father, Son or Spirit), Jesus' Divinity is phrased using Greek OT (LXX) keywords: i.e., John1's Greek, the Lord's quote "Before Abraham was, I AM" (deliberate play on the Sacred Tetragrammaton, INCLUDING its Hebrew SOUND). Every Gospel is chock-full of these specialized terms. By contrast, the epistles TIE His God-Man nature using Greek-god concepts as well as the Hebraic ones -- since the audience included NON-Jews. For, Gentiles Don't Know The Law, and needed the help. See for yourself.

      OT so patently displays Trinity, and NT ASSUMES reader understanding of it. Hence all the "He" words without identifying which God is in view -- everyone KNOWS which One, don't insult reader intelligence. We all use pronouns and demonstratives the same way, IN TOPICS FAMILIAR TO THE AUDIENCE. See how easy it is to overlook the obvious, even by deservedly-respected Biblical scholars? We're all human, folks: degrees aren't to be discarded, nor idolized. Listen, respect, and Test With The Spirit any claim you hear or read. Only the Spirit can cause you to discern between the "Spirit of Truth and the spirit of error/falsehood" (1Jn4:6c).

      That way, you avoid the unendingly stupid claims that somehow the Deity of Christ was not true until He died; or, lol, His Deity was somehow 'hidden' in the Gospels for political(!) reasons; or, was unknown in the OT, and progressively revealed in the NT. Incredible: were all these people drunk when they read Scripture, that they can come up with such nonsensical ideas? Did they read Bible in some other language than the ones they'd learned? Seriously, claims like these require one be drugged, lying, stupid, or sick.. to make them. Look: a RELATIVE PRONOUN is only used when the NOUN it represents is ALREADY KNOWN by the hearer/reader. That grammar rule is true in every language ever invented, and you learn it sometime in first grade (age 6 or 7). So when reading Bible, didn't any of these vaunted scholars, many of whom are linguists, remember that grammar-school rule? Nope: because, they are human (notice -- "they" -- I don't have to repeat, "scholars").

    Another example: Scholar bloopers are commonly displayed in the History Channel's many documentaries about the Bible. I've yet to see even one of them which is more than 5% Biblically-accurate (they don't get even Roman Emperor history right, though Suetonious is plain enough). [It's downright scary that since Suetonious bluntly tells you Nero was a pustular blonde tending toward the effeminate, a 'pretty boy', History Channel portrays him with darker hair and robust. So if they get the obvious you can easily read wrong.. how much can you trust what you hear?] Take, for example, the bloopers displayed in their various episodes on the alleged 'Christian' invention of hell. Bible in the OT is so rife with Hell concepts that all the Lord has to do in the NT, is use "Gehenna" as a metaphor of the place, and everyone who heard Him, 'got it' about the meaning. Were that not true, the Lord couldn't even make that metaphor, use the term (it was a noxious trash dump outside Jerusalem proper). Gehenna is an Aramaic word, not a Greek one. Hades is a place analogous to Sheol, where there were separate compartments for the good and bad "shades" (dead people, temporary abode for their souls pending His Resurrection, as explained in Eph4:8-9). But Gehenna well depicted the ETERNAL outcome, not the temporary one. The Lord couldn't have spoken about it in passing if the concept of eternal hell weren't already KNOWN. Instead, the Gospel would show a long explanation of what "hell" was, if it was new. But did any of the so-called History Channel scholars mention that? Hell no. If something is new, you must first explain it, before you can craft metaphors. But only metaphors are used throughout both OT and NT (see Psalm 37 on David's analogy of how hell awaits the wicked, so don't envy them down here on earth).

    Ergo common-sense, basic questions are not asked in the process of researching Biblical 'conundrums'. And why? AGAIN -- neither Word Written nor Word Person, is abstruse; but rather, WE are blind. Our best scholars are blind, because they are born in Adam. We are blind, because we are, too! The Jews were blinded by anger over the Real Messiah showing them how blind they are -- not because they didn't know Trinity, but because HE CLAIMED to be the Son -- LvS4a.htm explains ("mystery math" table and the paragraphs just before it).

    No wonder the Lord is so frequently abrasive in the OT and Gospels. What else will get through to such blindness?

    Ok, but we aren't Aussies either, but Frenchmen. We weren't alive when Scripture was written, so how can we be SURE what it means? Ahhhh. God the Holy Spirit knows. And, John 4:24, "They that worship Him must worship Him in Spirit and in doctrine." Ahhh. So, use 1Jn1:9, and keep plugging under your right pastor! Ask Father in Son's name for ANYTHING (remember that verse, you can ask for ANYTHING in Son's name) -- for anything you don't understand. He'll answer, boy oh boy: how do you think I got the ability to write out all these websites? It took time to learn the underlying spiritual math, but now -- whoa, I can reason out and see the Living Person all this beautimous doctrine portrays! So, then: what He has done for me -- Isn't He Saying He Wants To Do That For You, Since You Are Reading This? Isn't He Always Saying He Wants To Do This For You, Me, Everyone -- For The Sake Of His Son? Shall The Son Have Automatons Or Spiritual Babies For Companionship? me genoito, Hell, no! So, Then: The Holy Spirit Wrote Scripture, So He Can Teach You Aussie. Heh.

    So, then: because there is an audience, a most important interpretative tool to use with Scripture is isagogics. Isagogics tells you about the audience at the time of writing. Their culture, their habits, their lifestyle, etc. Exegesis needs isagogics too, because the way the word is used at a particular time in history, changes. For example, "charity" in olde English used to be the very strongest word for love. It didn't have the help-the-poor connotation, nor did it have the institutional connotation we know today. (Actually, the term as we use it today was born from the olde English idea of unconditional love which "charity" then connoted.) So now, when you read that 1Cor13 verse in the KJV with "charity" in it, you won't mistake it for some command to give all your money away.

    Isagogics also means a lot of words or ideas not now current then abounded, and to know of them really unlocks interpretative conundrums. For example, a place in Israel (or anywhere else) undergoes name changes as time passes. So if a chapter in the Bible calls the same place by one name, then by another (example, the rock on which Isaac was to be sacrificed in Mt. Moriah later becomes the site for the Holy of Holies) -- Each Name Is The Name By Which The Readers At That Time Best Knew It. So also, for different names by which people were known; for the use of the term "camel" versus "donkey"; for analogies (Heb4:12 is one, likening Scripture to the famous Roman machaira, a short two-edged sword which killed or maimed much more efficiently and quickly than other types of close-combat weaponry then made). In short, never read Scripture by today's definitions or concepts; but rather, by THAT day's definitions and concepts. The biggest failures in interpretation stem from two sources: misdefining God (hence imputing to Scripture the misdefinitions as one reads); and Reading Scripture From Other Than Its Own Perspective.

    So, then: "rightly dividing the Word of Truth" (KJV, in Timothy) means, in part, learning how to think like the reader of that time would think, so to see what the writer was saying, in that thought-milieu. Granted, the Bible is for US as an audience, too. That's why Scripture is PRESERVED in the original languages, and why we CAN go back in time, so to speak, to see how it was INTENDED back at the time of the original writing. HS enables all this: that's why a truly-qualified pastor is only one trained to study and teach Scripture in the original languages. Or, dependent on someone else who does this. Anyone else is just blowing hot air. Or, guessing. However well intentioned the teacher, unless he knows the Bible's original languages, or knows someone who well knows them -- the teacher really DOESN'T know how to interpret Scripture. Nor, of course, do we. We, as students, need to also study, so we can understand our teachers better. The teachers are appointed by God, thus kitted out with special spiritual gifts to enable them to reach back into the past and "apprehend the exact thought of the writer", as my pastor puts it. We don't have that gift (well, some of you males might have it), but we do have subordinate gifts -- especially, connected to learning Him. The HS runs all those gifts. Woe to us if we don't use them; Great Wealth of Doctrine to us, if we do!

  • FACT THAT BIBLE IS WRITTEN TO HUMANS, so talks to them in THEIR language: Here's another obvious point: God is not human. We are human. So, when God talks via Scripture, via a human, He uses human concepts and language to communicate Divine Thought. It's a type of 'translation' into words humans can understand. Oh, but you know that! Really? Did you ever think God was 'mad' at you (or someone else, heh) for some sin? Well, then you don't know, after all! For, Infinity has no emotion, because Infinity never changes. That's why it's called "infinity", for crying out loud! See how the obvious is the least seen? So, when God writes using human-type terms: "wrath", "anger", "repent", "forsake", or even body parts, like "arm", etc.: these are all metaphorical, to communicate His Infinite Attitude -- which never changes. After all, God knew all our sins billions of years before creation existed! So, then: for our sake, God uses metaphors and analogies constantly. In every verse of Scripture. Because, associative learning is the most powerful, efficient, and natural method of learning. It's also, the language of Love. For Love associates. (Hatred disassociates.)

    It's positively incredible how many misdefinitions of God are STUPIDLY made because God uses some kind of metaphor to teach us the way a parent must teach a child. So we childishly view those verses and think God has emotion, or that the Father has a body; or, what we think of our works is how God thinks of them, or that we can contribute to or lose our salvation..etc., ad nauseam. All these are the Energizer Bunny's banging (my term for our sin nature in Adam, because the sin nature is genetic, mindless, and we are attracted to it constantly). Moreover, it's positively incredible how we all gravitate to the negative side of a verse's meaning, rather than discern the many positive meanings there. Like, Christ paying for sins. God Says This Means Sin Is Not An Issue: barriers removed! So, believe! That's why Christ paid, and He's the One Who Told Us Sin is Not An Issue, but rather, Believing in Him: John 16:9. But we say, 'oooohhh, i'm bad!' and so SET UP a barrier, MAKE sin an issue (illustrated by all the self-righteousness one constantly sees on IRC and in real life). Hell is packed with moral people: notice how good deeds are piled up for burning in Rev20:11-15. Sins aren't mentioned, capisce? And why is that? DUMMY -- SINS WERE PAID FOR ON THE CROSS, SO THEY AREN'T RELEVANT ANYMORE. If my pastor yelled that once, he yelled it a bizillion times over the 53 or so years he taught. You can prove this in Bible. Only lust for self-righteousness, denies it. Original sin was religious, see Gen3: making oneself as good as God. So self-righteousness is the hardest sin to get out of, and no one gets out of any sin absent living on Bible in God's System.

      So, then: when we see verses which have some kind of 'command' in them, we think NEGATIVELY: oh, if I don't do this God will punish me. Or, worse: "Well, Dinah is not bathing as well as I do, and God's command to bathe means she's worse than me!" RATHER THAN POSITIVELY, the way God means it: This Command Is Best For You, A Blessing, A Gift. The strongest way to say, "I love you". In a word, TENDERNESS. See? children need commandments, because they have no discernment, and are tiny-minded. Commandments are a type of Security to them. Parental Tenderness expresses as commands, to Bless the Child. But maybe it's time to grow up, right? So, think: isn't the First Commandment the consummate Privilege of Life? What, little ol' me, a nothing, an Energizer Bunny -- Gets To Have Love For God? wow wow wow wow wow wow! For, if I am commanded to do it, it must be possible to do! And if it is possible to do, but I, being so dinky, obviously can't do it, then..God does it to me and for me, Eph3:15-21+Phili2:13! wow wow wow wow wow.

      Here's another childish habit we routinely betray: we read verses as black/white, with zero discernment of any other 'color'; with zero discernment of the difference between a literal statement and a figurative one. Because, we're children! Ohhhh if "baptism" is used in the Bible there must only be one kind! Ohhhh if "save" is used in the Bible it ONLY means to-Heaven! Ohhh can't possibly be more than one type of baptism, more than one meaning to "save", more than one meaning to "one"! Ohhhhh if people had a CUSTOM of baptising with water, that must be a command of Bible! Ohhh if people had a CUSTOM of fasting, that must be a command of Bible! Ohhh if David committed adultery, he must have NOT been a believer! Ohhh if the Bible says "thou shalt not kill", then killing is always a sin! Ohhh if there's a command in the Bible it is ONLY spiritual, and is ONLY true exactly the way depicted! Ohhh if there's a command in the Bible then it should be IMPOSED on the unbeliever, too! All these stupidities, despite other verses which disagree with the childish view we espouse; all these stupidities, despite the obvious fact that our interpretations don't make sense. What, getting wet saves you? What, killing the enemy in combat is a sin?

      Here's my favorite example of childish reading of Scripture: the guy or gal who throws up the hands and says God is a mystery, we can't understand Him; or, that some verse is "inscrutable". Inscrutable to whom? If so inscrutable, why is it there? Why have a Bible at all, if not to render what would be inscrutable, perspicuous? What, is the Holy Spirit Who wrote Scripture, impotent? UH-oh. The child didn't think of those replies...

    So, then: as you read Scripture, practice getting into this habit, as much as 1Jn1:9 usage, like breathing: ask what is the POSITIVE meaning of a verse. Sometimes you won't see one. Keep on asking, because each request (with 1Jn1:9 used) batters down the blindness a little bit. Then a little more. Then, a little more. In military parlance, this is called a "salami tactic": the barrier to seeing got there that way, and gets removed by the Holy Spirit that way, too. Heh. So USE it. Each usage is worth a bizillion dollars, and when you've used it habitually, you'll be able to look back and see how blind you were, but now..you see!

      So, here's some homework. Take verses which 'make' God look bad and then flip the 'bad' meaning to its logical opposite, to begin to discern the REAL ones. For example, back in Exodus, "God hardened" Pharaoh's heart (Exo7-9). Hmm. Did God really do that, since God is LOVE and Justice and Righteousness? Or, is God writing that verse from the human perspective, what it could look like to a human, and particularly, to Pharaoh? Aha. Then WHO hardened? Pharaoh, obviously. Likewise, verses like "I will have mercy on whom I have mercy" is misread as God being arbitrary. Just like Pharaoh thought of Him. Hmm. Is God really arbitrary, or is He communicating how we don't understand why He has mercy on EVERYONE?

      Oh, let's also look at the biggie, a Calvinist favorite to prove Adam lost his free will: Romans 9:20, where the accuser says, "Who can resist His will?" Aha: WHO IS RESISTING in the very act of speaking such a sentence? Duh. Yet, the negative person will insanely conclude from the verse that God overrides free will, that man has none, that God saves us DESPITE our choices. Yeah, right: that sure makes sense -- NOT!

    God speaks to us in language we understand, so we should never mistake His Tone for His real Essence. Instead, we should recognize that His Real Language, is LOVE. Else, Phili2:5-10 would not be in the Bible. Only Love 'goes low' (real meaning of tapeinow, usu. mistranslated 'humbled' in that verse). Because to Love, going DOWN to the level of the object is not demeaning. So, Love speaks the 'language' of the object. Like, a child's. However, if you are older, you can study the same words and see an older meaning. In fact, the older in Christ you grow to become, the more meaning in the same words you will see. Endless layers of meaning, in fact.

      More homework! What about all those taboos in the OT, compared to verses like Hebrews 7:18; and, "what God has called holy, you must not call common", and "all things are lawful, but not all things are helpful", and the "days" verses in Paul? Hmmm. Is God contradicting Himself? Reneging? Or, was the purpose of those old taboos rather a part of the OT "shadow" teaching system, like Hebrews 10 (and earlier) explains, a system which is no longer relevant to spirituality, now that Christ is Seated? You Decide, heh.

      Yet more homework, but the most enjoyable! Take Ps51:11 in context; compare to like passages in Ps32, 66; to John 4:24, Acts 1:5-8, then last half of both John 6 and 7 (almost too painful to read); John Chaps 14-17; to 1Cor3:1-3, to 1Cor2 and 5 (all of each), to Romans 8; then again, to Romans 5-8. Then, to Eph5:18, then to 1Thess5:19, then to 1Jn1:8-10 in the context of ALL of 1Jn, focusing on how he uses the term "abide" (menw, in Greek, which means to be-at-home, living-at-home, but English translations vary greatly). See if you can't tell that to be "spiritual", you have to be filled with the Spirit; that sin takes you offline; that using 1Jn1:9 puts you back ONline; that being "spiritual" is a STASIS, not a felt thing. So obviously, not works; nor, rolling in aisles "getting the Ghost", etc. So obviously, spirituality is not emotional. Just as Infinite God is not emotional. (See John 17 -- note the TONE the Lord's Humanity uses in His Prayer.)

        Faster determination: compare how katharizw in 1Jn1:9 is used, versus the OT; trace out the use of Greek words in 1Jn1:5-10, in the OT. John is making a very definite Temple analogy (you know, your body is the Temple of the Holy Spirit, which the Lord first explained when talking of the Temple of His Body in the Gospels). It makes a big difference if you look up how pimplemi and plerow are used in OT and NT with respect to the Spirit (dozens of verses). No doubt what John means, in 1Jn1:9.

      Next, look at verses with "knowledge", "truth", "Word", "learn", or (negatively) words like "ignorant". See if you can't tell what the spiritual life really IS, even from some translation. So, then: It's okay to be a child; it's NOT okay to pretend that God is one, too. It's okay to be a child; it's NOT okay to pretend one is all grown up now, clomping around in Daddy's shoes!

  • FACT THAT PEOPLE ACTUALLY WERE FAMILIAR WITH, AND IN THOUGHT AND COVERSATION OFTEN USED, BIBLE: if you don't understand this fact, much of the Bible will always remain a mystery. Sometimes I wonder if this entire human history isn't, on a humorous level, somewhat akin to a long quiz show in which God the Son says, "Ok, who of My creation for Father will accurately hear what the Spirit says?"

    See, in the ancient world this Scripture was a big deal. Books were extremely rare, expensive, and especially, the Word itself. Moreover, words were a big deal, period: for, life was drudgery, and words enlivened life. Especially, the Bible's Words, which are amazingly honest, open, politically-incorrect, witty, enjoyable, refreshing -- better than the best movie or best book you've ever viewed. Seriously: it's really hard to tear yourself away from Bible in the original languages, once you can read it. I don't care what pleasure you want to name, licit or illicit; even in its idealized form, honey -- it can't even begin to compare to Scripture, The Superior Enjoyment! The last 150 years of this earth's history are truly unprecedented: everything about how man lives, changed. Of course, until 1850 or so, the availability of Scripture itself, though meant always for the common man, was difficult for the common man to acquire; almost impossible, until the Reformation. Translations we have even the so-called 'new' ones today, bulpucky -- they are just rehashed, modernized COPIES of the legalistic translations made during that self-righteous-sickness period we know as "the Reformation." Incredible, how the Original Writ was covered over, reversed in translation, to suit various political agendas (i.e., the KJV was developed as a political compromise between Protestants and Catholics, so that James 1 could govern).

    So, throughout most of man's history, people learned Scripture by HEARING, and they memorized it; not so much because they couldn't read and write, but because they couldn't get the Book! For centuries, people were extremely protective of the few Bible books they could get: a psalter or two, maybe a torn portion of a Gospel. (This situation remains true, even today, in Africa. Go to www.bf.org if you're interested in helping out.) Thus, even until about 80 years ago, people actually learned to read and write by using the Bible (and the Sears catalog, for folks in the rural west and midwest of US during the Depression). If they had to memorize it, they learned to read and write with what they memorized. If they actually could USE a Bible, or -- rarer still -- even OWN one, they used it to learn to read and write.

    So, for its own audience, kinda like but more than any other 'holy book', the Bible has always been popular, and POPULARLY UNDERSTOOD. It became the foundation of the culture which learned it, and has changed cultures everywhere it has been embraced. Popularly. Commonly. Bible terms, phrases, expressions were often used, in daily life. Bible's way of 'thinking' was a common frame of reference for people in the Biblical lands.

    These isagogics are critical to Biblical interpretation. So, that's one reason why so much of the Bible is written axiomatically: everyone KNEW what the terms meant. So, if Amos calls people "cows of Bashan", THEY knew what he meant. So, when the Lord said, "Before Abraham was, I AM" they knew immediately He's making the bald statement (even using the meaning of the Sacred Tetragrammaton, a BIBLE term) -- that HE IS GOD. So, for us who are many-centuries-removed from that time, we ourselves must learn the Bible's own terms and meanings for those terms, to understand the flow of the writing, and thus, the FULL interpretation. Else, we'll misunderstand what Scripture means by what it says.

    In short, the style of writing in Scripture was FAMILIAR to people, and it was commonly and popularly used. Such usage didn't mean folks were great believers: it was just soooo cool to use God's Word, see. Such usage, however, does mean that the teaching in the NT is couched in terms of OT concepts, plus a wholly-updated vocabulary to explain the implementation of the new covenant that Christ received as Seed when Seated. The preparation phase of which, is now (NT keyterm for Church Age, among others). So, get prepared: learn how all the rich metaphors and nuances of the original languages work, so you yourself can, under your right pastor (or AS one?) "delight thyself in fatness" (OT snippet in Isaiah).

  • BIBLE IS A SET OF LEGAL DOCUMENTS: Can we be dumber? When the very title of a series of books says "TESTAMENT", and that word first has a legal connotation in English (synonym for "contract", especially a WILL), why don't our brains go on and we look at the Bible from a LEGAL standpoint? It's not as though the Bible isn't riddled with legal terminology, everywhere you look: "the Ark of the TESTIMONY", "witness", "the LAW", the narratives as DEPOSITIONS (a deposition is a type of testimony in which the witness is cross-examined, or gives his account of an event or his role in an event, in a trial or pre-trial "discovery"), "SATAN" (means the opposing lawyer), etc, etc, etc. So, then: if you know that there are a series of different legal documents in the Bible, then you read it carefully. You don't have to be a lawyer, you don't have to be someone like me who deals with legal documents for a living. You just have to have your brain ON. Of course, everyone gets bored reading this stuff, be it in the Bible, or in those credit-card notices which change the TERMS OF AGREEMENT. Woody Allen made fun of it in a movie ("Sleeper"?), where he did something bad, and his punishment was to go down to a cellar in the backyard, forced to listen to a Health Insurance Agent sell him a policy...

    Marriage is fundamentally a contract between two people; it is 'signed' by a mutual vow, in the presence of witnesses, that they will be faithful and care for each other for the rest of their lives, "for better or for worse". Yet, we all have nice, warm fuzzies when we talk about marriage. So, then: the "promise" doesn't bore us to talk about. Why, then, do we get bored about all the other types of agreements, which are far less intimately obligatory? Why, then, since the Bible is first and foremost a copy of a MARRIAGE contract between God and the human race, don't we get warm fuzzies about looking for its LEGAL meanings, too? Or, conversely, why do we get all riled up about its laws, tyrannically beating up our fellow humans over their (to us, perceived) disobediences? See how all we humans are cannonfodder for Satan&Co.? Can we be dumber?

    If you really really really love someone or something, you are EAGER to OBLIGATE yourself. That's why a Legal Agreement is so meaningful. Not dry, not boring, but..the highest form of love. As noted above, God uses terms like "commandments" to help we childish humans to understand He loves us. We don't have the ability to know what good and bad are, but we can relate to "obey". So, the good and bad are made "thou shalt" and "thou shalt not" so we can learn. But what happens, is this: we never grow up, so distort the Love Message in those commandments into "I AM GOOD" if we "obey", or "I AM BAD" if I don't. We never grow up, so don't see the Grace within the Law. Or, we don't see the legal aspect at all, and focus only on the feel-goods.

    How to get past our childish-preoccupations, when we study Scripture, then? How do we neither to the right or left, discern the legal terminology? Well, use 1Jn1:9 and plug on. Awareness is the key to using 1Jn1:9, and wanting GOD is the key to awareness. The Holy Spirit will do the rest, alerting you when you learn under your pastor or read a passage, to whatever of the legal meaning is relevant to you at that moment.

    In case it's useful, here's a quick set of hints I can list about legal stuff to look for in the Bible. The listing is paradigmal, so you can also use it to evaluate any legal document in life. If you can get your hands on a pension (or 401(k) plan document (usually there are two of these which fit together, an "Adoption Agreement" and some kind of "Plan Document"), a will, a mortgage, etc. you will benefit more from what follows. Find what is in the bullets below in that document, so you get a better idea of what I'm talking about. There's usually a particular OUTLINE for a contract, and I've maybe not listed these outline categories in their usual order (trying to type as fast as I can).

    • DEFINITIONS: every contract must DEFINE the key provisions' names, so when the name is used in a sentence, the RELATIONSHIP to other provisions or people, etc. is CLEAR: this is critical, for every legal action ever made is based on some kind of obedience to, or claimed infraction of, a DEFINITION of some kind, in some agreement (e.g., divorce). Every discipline uses words technically, and of course the BIBLE is more technical than them all. (Far more fun to read, too!) The difference between a good lawyer and a bad one, is the way he defines his terms; the way he READS a contract. Be a good lawyer: use 1Jn1:9 when you sit under your pastor, when you get up in the morning, go to sleep at night, walk, sit, (etc); and when you read Scripture; and keep on plugging!
    • AGREEMENT BENEFITS AND COSTS: these provisions constitute the heart of what the parties to the agreement promise to do, and what is the extent of that promise. For example, in a credit card, the credit card issuer promises to EXTEND CREDIT, and you promise to pay them back. For example, in the Mosaic Law, God promises to bless the covenantees ON EARTH, and the covenantees promise to do what God says to GET that blessing. See Lev26:14 for a sample of this essential nature of the Mosaic Law.

    • BENEFIT and COST VARIATIONS/CONTINGENCIES. The agreement benefits and costs vary under given circumstances, or can be optionally varied, or can be ADDED/SUBTRACTED in certain circumstances. Where the One providing the benefit can unilaterally vary, and where the one RECEIVING the benefit can unilaterally vary, and where BOTH must consent to vary, are usually specified somewhere in the context. External contingencies also provoke variance, and these too are (and must be) specified.

    • TERM OF AGREEMENT/CANCELLATION/ABROGATION/NULLIFICATION: these deal with CONDITIONS; particularly what conditions TERMINATE an agreement; lots of contingencies, like one of the parties doesn't complete his side of the agreement, or wants out; or, the agreement only has a limited lifetime; or, dies if certain external things occur; or, CHANGES if certain things happen. Often, a particular provision only turns on or off given some event or action by either the parties, or someone/something EXTERNAL to the parties. If you have a lot of problems understanding the Mosaic Law, pay particular attention to these kinds of provisions in both the OT and the NT, because the Mosaic Law is CONDITIONAL. By contrast, Salvation is UNCONDITIONAL, once obtained, yet is CONDITIONAL to get -- you have to believe in Christ (Gen15:6 is the OT phrasing for this condition). "Conditions" seem to flummox people like Calvinists, who think that if God sets conditions, somehow He's ceded some of His Sovereignty to another. That's dumb, for it's GOD who sets the conditions! So, if you find yourself having like thoughts (and we all do), just brush them aside and keep plugging. A version of this dumbness is the thought, "God isn't FAIR to set X condition" -- that, too, is coming from our Adversary. Brush it aside, for the Holy Spirit will in due time show you how X condition is a BLESSING.

    • AMENDMENT: Any time you have an agreement between parties, there must be some kind of allowance mechanism for the agreement to CONTINUE, but have some clause (provision) CHANGE. This way, you don't have to keep redrafting everything from scratch; this way, the parties are STILL OBLIGATED, yet can have flexibility to update or otherwise change HOW they relate, so that the agreement between them remains mutually profitable to keep. The heart of any agreement is to be of mutual profit to all parties to it. Else, there's no POINT in making an agreement. That is the heart of all law, not just the law of contracts, torts, wills, etc. Government derives the consent of the governed because Government is supposed to be BENEFICIAL to the governed. So, too, with the Bible. (If God isn't benefitting, how could any of us tolerate getting benefits from Him? Wouldn't it be a worse hell, for us to benefit, if He Himself is cheated even an iota? Even though He doesn't NEED anything? See why the Cross is so important?)

    The Bible isn't only a Contract, but the CONTRACTURAL nature of ASSOCIATION underlies all law, so all of Bible is thus structured. So, Bible's got a whole slew of legal forms in it, and the specialized terms to go with them. Since our proximate raison d'etre as human beings is due to the larger Angelic Trial in which we are witnesses, you'll see a whole lot of

    • Court/Trial stuff in the Bible, along with their terms: court case, witness, Testimony, Satan, admitting sin, admitting things about God, valuation/ judgement/ verdict, juries, sentencing, etc. So,
    • Governmental stuff is all in there too, since government is essentially a contract among members in society to abide by certain rules (even if it's a monarchy, there's always some consensual idea to any polity). The Mosaic Law is essentially a governmental contract for a polity, Israel. As a model for the human race (even though many of the provisions are strictly for Israel, the underlying principles can be extrapolated: LordvSatan2.htm explains more).
    • Of course, there's the Criminality stuff, which is often subsumed in the other legal forms, but also stands on its own.
    • Maybe a better term for this is Enforcement.
    • Then there's the Foreign relations stuff, which deals with intra-national or 'family' versus those OUTSIDE such group(s); sometimes, groups ALLY with each other, and the foreign stuff deals with those OUTSIDE that alliance.
    • War, Business, Politics or Game Rules: here, the parties agree by custom as well as by written agreement. Custom is a big thing in law, for if a custom is established, it constitutes an unwritten 'law', and serves as a 'precedent' one can claim in interpretation. "Case law" is developed from this idea, and is a listing of various trials in history with outcomes based on certain rationales, which future lawyers/clients use to defend or attack a given interpretation, usu. in a dispute or trial.
    There are many other legal forms, but these categories should be enough to give you a big-picture sense of how the Bible organizes itself legally.

    Then there are certain legal conventions which underlie all concepts of law, which of course the Bible itself employs. In pretty much every language on the planet, incorporation by reference is a legal way of including a whole body of information, text, law which is SOMEWHERE ELSE -- but gets grafted into the current document, so to speak, by REFERENCE to either the name of the document, or some key aspect of it; or, the FIRST or FIRST-AND-LAST, or FIRST THREE of its items/provisions. Like we say, "I know my ABC's!" -- to mean the WHOLE alphabet. Like the Lord mentions the first and last book of the Hebrew canon (in the Hebrew order of books, not the order we know) to show He's incorporating by reference in his speech, the entire OT. Like "Book of Jasher" is mentioned in Scripture, to validate the item being quoted as being accurate in that book (whether the current contender for the Book of Jasher is really THE book, is not certain). So, when you see the Bible reference "all the commandments", it's talking about not just the commandments (Decalogue), but the Ordinances/Testimony, and the Judgements. (These are the three divisions of the Mosaic Law.) So, when you see Paul just mention one (or sometimes a few) items which headed a list, he means the whole list. Writer of Hebrews does the same thing in Hebrews 6.

      There are, of course, many other types of legal conventions. Keywords usually designate them. For example, in English, when you see the word "NOTWITHSTANDING", it means that the clause which FOLLOWS that word applies DESPITE whatever was outside "NOTWITHSTANDING" and the rest of its own clause; so the "NOTWITHSTANDING" clause is an exception. Bible does the same thing. When you see a sentence which is UNQUALIFIED (meaning, no contingencies), but later in the document you see one which IS qualified (lists some contingencies), you "add up" the two to get a condition where the contingencies apply. Because you have two antithetical clauses, you know that the UNQUALIFIED one is ALWAYS true, and the qualified one is either optionally true, or sometimes true. This is an important legal way of showing interrelationships between optional things, and MANDATORY things. So, in Acts 16:31, you have an UNQUALIFIED clause. So also, in John 3:16. So also, in John 3:36 (antithesis). So, when you see verses which talk about "Baptism", you know for SURE that baptism does not save. These are but a few examples. Bible uses this type of QUALIFIED and UNQUALIFIED pairing a lot, to explain boundary lines. Just as you'd expect any good legal document to do.

      Another legal pairing-of-concepts might be called the "standard versus fact" interpretation (I'm making up that phrase to show the idea). That is, a clause might be setting a STANDARD, might be setting a STANDARD BASED ON FACT, or might be setting a FACT. The purpose in doing this is to RELATE a standard TO a fact, or to bring out something ABOUT the fact which relates to the STANDARD, or to DISTINGUISH between a standard and a fact. The way the Bible does this "standard versus fact" interpretation is awesome, for in one verse you can know all THREE things: what's the fact, what's not, what's the standard, and how it relates.

        The apostle John is quite deft at it, especially considering how he tries to use words even a child could understand (versus Paul, who, likewise deft, is so sophisticated, Paul's good friend Peter even found Paul "hard to understand"). John makes standard-versus-fact comparisons a lot in 1Jn, especially in the first and last chapters. It's confusing, maybe, despite his (allegedly) fifth-grade Greek vocabulary, to understand 1Jn or Revelation, because he writes with this underlying standard-versus-fact concept. So, people who don't read the whole of 1Jn mistake 1Jn5:18 as a fact, when it is a POSITION (so, factual in that sense), and also a STANDARD, i.e., if you're born of God, sin is a no-no. Keyword "born-of-God" should tip one off to what he means, since one is spiritually born, human spirits don't have volition in them, so don't "sin". In Revelation, John shifts to OT imagery (every image in Rev is defined in the OT), and of course never mentions the "Church" again after Chapter 3 except in the interjectory "I come suddenly" and like clauses (which was a Greek drama technique of an actor suddenly talking directly to the viewing audience instead of playing his character with the others onstage). So people who don't "get" the shift in STANDARD OF WRITING, mistake what John is saying, and think the Church is in the Trib, or there's no Millenium, etc. ad nauseam.

        In secular affairs, this same misunderstanding happens all the time. See, common sense should tell us that it's important to live up to right standards, to measure facts by right standards, and to distinguish between the two. Yet we routinely fail to do so, and then are surprised, hurt, fleeced.. etc., ad nauseam. A lot of divorces would be prevented, that way, lol: if someone "loves" you, is that person's STANDARD of love, yours? Is the FACT of that love compatible with the STANDARD? If so, how much? And if you don't together share the same STANDARD, how well will the marriage work?

    Then there's the underlying rule of all law or legal concepts: a proper legal interpretation should MAKE SENSE. Allied to this is the legal concept of 'common interpretation' (of which "common law" is a part), meaning what a sensible person would think a thing means. That is, when there is a dispute over whether your green telephone can be covered under warranty, since the warranty doesn't say what COLOR the telephone is, common SENSE says that the color doesn't matter; the judge would rule for the plaintiff. Bad and conniving lawyers pore over wording to try and finagle obedience, disobedience, or whatever other point they want folks to believe, by playing games with wording, with circumstances, etc. If you read Lizzie Borden Sourcebook you can get a real good idea of lawyering games (played against her, imo, whether one thinks she was guilty or not). Another good example of lawyering games is the "fine print" of all those welfare programs -- the fine print having like a bizillion conditions or procedures -- so it becomes so difficult to actually get anything from the program, folks don't use it (true for senior property-tax abatement rules in Illinois, for example).

    People have been playing lawyering games with the Bible from the beginning. That's what Satan does, nonstop. (SatStrat.htm covers a summary of his strategy and tactics.) That's what humans of course do also. Look at how Adam manipulates the evidence in Genesis 3, when the Lord questions him. Look how people use the Bible to justify some pet taboo, or to browbeat someone else into a behavior or attitude. So, we know we do this manipulation in our own souls, as well: 1Jn1:6-10 is a good example of it. Our sin natures in Adam just have an urge to spin anything related to God in a wacky manner. So, then: when reading any legal provision for Scripture, ask: what is the common-sense idea, here? Bad translations get flushed out that way, for added benefit. More importantly, especially in God's OT rules, or stories which seem to have no discernible point, you begin to see that wow, Scripture makes sense after all!

    Let's take a quick quiz on what we've learned in this point about Scripture being a sheaf of differing types of legal documents. Here's the test question: how can one know the WILL of God? (Hint: answer is near the top of this topic.) Flunk yourself in reading if you don't get this answer right, and learn to read better by practicing. (I used to flunk, too, lol.)

    Talk to a lawyer or get a basic book on drafting legal agreements from a law college, to learn more about legal structures and conventions, because I can only spend enough webspace to give you the idea. It's worth your time...

  • GOD'S OPINION VS. NARRATIVE: It's positively astonishing how our brains go out when we read Scripture. We know the Bible is the Word of God. We know God NARRATES certain stories to us, as well as directly telling us what to think or do, etc. We also know that when He narrates, it's kinda like a parable, in that we are supposed to look at the PATTERN and discern lessons. Yet, with books like Exodus, Numbers, Kings, Chronicles and Acts, which alike reveal how wacko believers can get, we instead seek to emulate their craziness, because oh! it's in the BIBLE!

    So use 1Jn1:9 and pay close attention to PATTERN when reading narratives: what is God's OPINION of these things? What's HIS REASON for telling the story you're reading? For example, just because people liked to fast when they prayed; just because they liked to dine together, and they wanted to share their goods in common -- don't assume GOD ORDERED it. Look for His Opinion. If you find 'no comment', ask yourself what point God is making, then. Remember, in the OT He always expressed His Opinion; and where silent, after you look at the situation, you realize He's silent because the action in question is NOT His Will. Sometimes, you find this out in a different book: for example, in Zech 7 God chastises the Jews for their fasting, because they were priding themselves on it -- so, He asks: are you doing this fasting for ME? And of course, there is no law in the Law to fast. By contrast, if you fast, does God CONDEMN it? No: there is no law in the Law to forbid fasting, either. In short, just because believers, even those who are sincere 'do' a thing, doesn't mean GOD agrees. Doesn't mean GOD disagrees. Gotta go by context.

    So too, for the NT. Paul was wacko and let his hair grow: what irony, considering he wrote Corinthians! James was wacko and decided Gentiles only have to keep certain portions of the Law. Peter, of course, as was his habit, had gone wacko, deciding to ELECT an apostle by lot (a forbidden practice, in the OT)! So: is that what God WANTS, or is Peter himself being goofy? Well, what does Scripture reveal? God always appoints His Prophets DIRECTLY. So, don't assume that election by men is the way to know God's WILL, just because you see it in the Bible, heh. Context, context, context: note that God Himself chose Paul. So, as always, any decisions should be sought from God, not from men. Granted, in corporate situations, people have to agree to a selection, and in that case 'election' is their agreement -- but not the method for knowing God's WILL. (Check it yourself: do you ever hear of Matthias again, after Peter&Co. voted him apostle? Or, do you instead see, 1Cor15:1-10, where Paul lists the apostolic-call criterion, seeing the Lord in His Resurrection Body? So, then: where do idiots call themselves today, apostles? Did the Lord really appear to them, too?)

    Here, too, being able to "get" the original languages of Scripture is critical. God communicates His Opinion using outright bald sarcasm, and by finesse. The original languages of Scripture really are good at precise meaning, including these. So, you know not only what God's Opinion is, but how and why it is, and what the boundary lines are. Fabulous stuff.

      For example, in 1999 my pastor spent a bunch of time explaining how Luke wrote Acts using classical (Attic) Greek; that how Luke writes, tells you between-the-lines things about the hypocrisy of the Christian Jerusalem legalists which only in that Greek could you see was DELIBERATE. We all talk that way, too -- saying some things, but with a lot of pregnant meaning beneath, from the bald Steven-Martin type "Excuuuuuse me!" to "I came not to bury Caesar, but to praise him." (Line in Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, very hypocritical.) So, you gotta be alert to that, especially since God is very fond of sarcasm: John 6 and 7 bristle with it, in the Lord's comments, for example. (Why folks are shocked that God Himself would like and use sarcasm, satire, and biting wit is beyond me. So, check it for yourself. NIV manages to bring out some of it, in every Bible Book, so obviously I'm not inventing this fact.)

    One big tipoff to knowing God's Opinion in stories like these is the way He talks to the believers in question. You know, like the Law was worded like a paint-by-numbers system for spiritual babies; its gorgeous true doctrines were 'underneath' the simple words. So, too: you know Gideon is wacko (though he believes too -- the wackiness is side-by-side), given the way God treats him: ok, little boy, now I'll make ONLY the ground AROUND the fleece wet. So also, in the NT narratives: often the content is very kindergarten-y, like Peter's vision of unclean food, or the order to a different Ananias to go heal Saul. The tenderness and intimacy are just as awesome in the NT as He demonstrated with Abram in that initial ceremony (where Abram fell asleep), or with Gideon. What astonishing Love and Patience for us babies!

    Here's a gem, Luke 16:9. The commentaries on it are really funny. So look at the context both before AND AFTER the verse (even in English), to get the entire story the Lord is telling, then ask yourself this question about v.9: who does the welcoming? Who is NOT doing the welcoming? And, what "eternal dwellings" are they? ABOVE the earth, or BELOW? I find it interesting that "welcome" is dechomai, which means "to receive with love" (has a big-celebration connotation), and is also used in the believer-discipline passage of Heb12:5ff. Also, used as apodechomai in Acts 21:17 -- again, by Luke, and the verse there is so laconic, given the context, it's downright sarcastic. So YOU decide what Luke 16:9 means...

    Another big tipoff: check if the author of an epistle is commenting ON the action/doctrine in question, or whether he's merely reporting it. For example, if men say or do a thing -- like the jailer being baptised -- that's MEN talking or doing, not God. But what's God's opinion on the thing said or the act? Well, notice later on in the same passage (Acts 16) how the author of Acts notes the fact that the jailer and his household were saved by BELIEVING -- which, of course, was also the REAL method of being born again in John 3 and Acts 16:31. Notice also how wacko the jailer was! See, God, being Love, is very gracious in pointing out errors. Or, tough -- depends on what's the best TONE of teaching.

      For example, compare the Judas' suicide account in Matt27 to Peter's SPEECH about it in Acts 1:18. A stupid person will conclude there is a CONTRADICTION. But since Matthew takes the pains to show how Judas' suicide FULFILLED A PROPHECY, Matthew is stating what actually happened, at God's Order. Peter, by contrast, is wacko in Acts 1, which you can PROVE because he VIOLATES THE LAW by drawing lots to choose a replacement for Judas. LOL: GOD APPOINTS, not man! So, we know that Luke is just REPORTING what Peter says, and since it was already known how Judas really died, we kindly see how wacko Peter is (God is God of grace), when he recounts some lying rumor to JUSTIFY the violation he wants, in the Lord's Name. You'll see this same softness in Acts 21:14 and 17, where Luke finesses the weakness of Paul, the weakness of the Jerusalem legalists. Kindness, not pointing-the-finger-at-the-obvious.

      SPIRITUAL DIVIDEND KEY ==> Vignettes like these help us laymen to not want to blame authorities who, being themselves human, also screw up. We start out as babies, so need to make our parents, 'god'. So if our parents make a mistake, it's traumatizing for us. But if we grow up anyway, we come to appreciate our parents all the more, realizing how tough it was for them to live up to our childish need-for-perfection. Thus, compassion replaces trauma; thus, any authority can nonetheless be obeyed and respected, even though it's known (or becomes known) that the authority himself screws up. Thus, we too can come to HAVE authority, spared of the cockiness which attends higher position; and, having learned from their mistakes as if they were our own, we ourselves will hopefully screw up less often in our 'section' of this relay race called 'life'.

    The wheat-and-tares theme also shows up a lot in these stories, which is refreshing to all of us, for we all act like TARES, though wheat! It is positively amazing that the Paul who let his hair hang out was the same guy as the one who wrote Canon; that he no sooner pens Romans than he goes completely against everything he'd written, and God has to put him in chains to wake him up! This is extremely encouraging: for, just because one is wacky, doesn't mean he's not mature. As always, there's ONLY one issue: how well have you metabolized all those Doctrinal Deposits? Action is last to get healed. Doctrine, doctrine, doctrine QUALIFIES you to GET action. No fruit absent Food. Doctrine first. Alpha and Omega. Then, harvest time. So obviously one will see the tares get 'harvested', too!

    It's refreshing to see that all the wackiness in Christianity has ALWAYS been around. Whether it's Abram pretending his wife is his sister, or Paul making vows, even AFTER having been resuscitated.. even the greats started out wacko. So none of us need be intimidated, but rather we should be encouraged, that yes, this Pleroma Plan of God really really really really works!

  • Each Scripture writer is assigned specific TRUTHS to explain: that Scripture is PROGRESSIVELY revealed. This fact is simultaneously recognized yet ignored by many. Every Bible scholar/teacher knows that John, for example, specializes in elucidating the Doctrine of God's Love. Yet people in Christendom generally do not remember that God assigned to Paul the full revelation about CHURCH. Even though, they nearly all do recognize that Paul's teaching about CHURCH is, as they put it, "Pauline". It's GOD's teaching, spoken THROUGH Paul. Just as, through any other writer of Scripture. Bible calls this gift-to-write, "theopneustos" in 2Tim3:16, which literally means, "God-breathed". So, that's where theology gets its term for infallible inspiration of Scripture, which it calls "verbal plenary inspiration". (For a fuller definition, CLICK HERE.)

    For more on How God orchestrated Cohesive Scripture from so many disparate writers, CLICK HERE.)


    CONCEPTUAL LINKAGE KEYS

    There are basically two types of logical seekings: a) FINDING DATA, and b) CONNECTING DATA. Since VOLITION is the issue, not sin, the degree to which man WANTS TO KNOW GOD will be reflected in how much, how often, and how deeply he seeks God. (It's not a works question, at all. This, of course, is the reason why Christendom, like Judaism before it, has traditionally messed up and touted works. Satan's not stupid.) Bible is thus written in a manner that a person who's spiritually 'five years old', can get a five-year-old's grasp of both data and connections. For someone spiritually older -- and the ONLY way to get spiritually older is by Learning Bible Via 1Jn1:9 and right pastor -- for someone spiritually older, the same verses will yield a more-mature understanding of both data and connections. All this, to get to the Individual Goal of Eph3:15-21, and hence the Macro Goal of Eph4:11-16 (in Greek: translations are awful). Of course, the entire book of Ephesians is on this very topic: what is the purpose, what is the data, how does it connect to Knit Together The Body Of Christ. 1Cor6-13 is on the same macro topic, as is Col1, Hebrews (whole book), etc.

    In order to learn WHAT is the RELEVANT data, what are the CONNECTIONS in that data ACCORDING TO INFINITE OMNISCIENCE, you have to be able to spot the WRITING STYLES God has the inspired authors of Scripture 'breathe' (theopneustos, 2Tim3:16-17). Some of the more important of these styles are noted in this section.

  • MULTILAYERED WRITING: Because Scripture is written to the entire human race, it REPEATS the same idea thesauretically, so that every age, every type of personality, can get the same ideas in light of their own perceptive paths. A shy person, for example, will first notice 'shy' meanings, for those are most like himself. (A person's interpretation tells you often more about the person, than about what he interprets.) So the shy one will stress the shy meanings; the aggressive one, the aggressive meanings. But we each are different, and Scripture is for all of us, so it writes doctrine in ALL personality styles. God is All Personality, anyway: so none of us need feel alienated from Him (though our sin nature in Adam is a proclivity to hostility toward God).

      Bearing that in mind, you can imagine that each verse is likewise multilayered, so that at whatever age or stage in personality you are (for we are each multifaceted, too), you can get more out of Scripture. The child will see childish do's; the adult, will see nuances. Childish Christianity has historically and unwittingly CUT OUT meanings in Bible, be it in translation or teaching, thus presenting not only a lie in the name of God, but a cardboard-cutout version of life, as well. As if we were all automatons in Metropolis (famous old 1900's silent movie), stereotypes instead of real people. God isn't like this, and neither is His Word. Satan is smarter than man, so manipulates man's natural childishness to accomplish this lie. We are stupid; but because we are stupid, we know the popularly-pandered crass satire of Scripture which we think honors God, is clearly the work of superior intelligence to our own. So there's no need to blame people. (All my websites have illustrations on this topic.) Rather, there's a need to Learn The Word Better.

      Moreover, Every Verse Has Multifaceted Uses Of Each Word. The inspired languages of Scripture are, for OT, principally Hebrew and 3rd-century BC Greek (LXX, the main OT text used by the NT writers and the Lord). NT is written in five types of Greek, not one (scholars thus miss so much by insisting on koine Greek reading). So, the features of those languages need to be learned in detail. For example, Hebrew damam in Hosea first has a connotation of SILENCING the teaching of "knowledge" of God. So in Hosea 4:5-6, there's an incredibly-brilliant SOUNDPLAY on the root meaning of damam to show how silencing the teaching of then-written OT would cause the DESTRUCTION of Israel: for, damah also means destroy (root is dam, blood: from which we get Adam, mother, etc. -- see TWOT or better lexicon which romanizes the Hebrew sounds). If you destroy something you silence it. Of course, there are many meaning layers, since LIFE, MOTHERING and LEARNING and TALKING are all included, given the root. Of course, you can get the root harlotry meaning from Hos1:1 forward, which the rest of the book goes on to show is multifaceted, not merely the child's idea of screwing around.

      Also, in 1Jn2:5, you have a frequent Bible keyword, tereo. It was one of the Lord's favorite words. Verb means CHERISH, GUARD, hold close, protect, keep or keep-to a thing, person, doctrine, idea, belief. Conveys first the ATTITUDE, and then the resultant behavior. Stressing the ATTITUDE, not behavior. Body is but biology, blindly doing the bidding of BIBLE's Doctrine, ideally. That's our Divine Design. So if we are SILENT of Bible Doctrine, we are destroyed, get it? So we need to be Devoted to Bible Doctrine, to CHERISH and GUARD it in our hearts (1Jn4 ties in here), so IT won't be destroyed IN us by our ATTITUDE, get it? See how the two disparate verses, each in CONTEXT, tell you so much information? And that, just within a few surface-review sentences!

      Greek and Hebrew language features underlie nearly all so-called 'civilized' tongues. Moreover, the two languages have a lot in common, both in sound and structure: NT writers play on the Hebrew sounds of Greek words (John is particularly fond of this, but Paul also). For example, "yadah" means TO KNOW in Hebrew, and in Greek, "oida" sounds very similar. The Sacred Tetragrammaton's root sound is like "hayah", Hebrew verb "to be". So in Exo3:14, you get a very similarly-sounding Name in Greek, which John plays: sounds like "ho own", in Hebrew or Greek.

      So other languages also reflect such roots. EL is a common sound for a definite article, and originates from Hebrew: il, el, la, etc. God is DEFINITE, see: Infinity is Intimate, in everything, so would seem 'small', not just BIG. For another example, many Spanish words reveal their Hebrew roots, and ancient Arabic was very close to Hebrew, so that influenced Spanish, too (matar means to kill, and reflects ancient Hebrew mawet, muth). While we learn in school that the so-called 'Romance' languages are heavily influenced by Latin words, Greek and Hebrew are just as influential. So, by learning Bible's languages, you are learning a lot about language itself. All Language Is Designed To Communicate. The more precise the communication needs to be, the more complex will be the language features. Since Bible is our lifeblood, Its Communication Needs To Be Extremely Precise. Neither to the right, nor to the left. We should just study from ITS languages, not our own, and study with all our heart and soul and might (Deut6:5). Which effort is totally incompetent, which is why we get the Filling of the Spirit via 1Jn1:9. Use It Or Lose It.

      All language needs to convey WHO WHAT WHERE WHEN HOW WHY. You really don't know the meaning of a sentence except to the extent you can answer those questions. Which depends on, how well you can read. Which depends on, how MUCH YOU WANT to learn. Which depends on, how interested you are. Which depends on, your ATTITUDE. Power is a separate question, for a lot of interest means a lot of desired effort, in which case, progress can be much better than a genius with no desire. Of course, for us, the Genius Holy Spirit is our Power. So, we are left with ATTITUDE. Our relative smarts are rendered irrelevant by the Redemption of Our Redeemer Who Ransomed us on the Cross to make us Royal for Ruling for Father. So our innate disinterest in learning will destroy us, not our innate inability to learn a language.

      So Bible words are not only extraordinarily multifaceted in meaning, they have CASE ENDINGS. We all probably learned at least one other language besides our native tongue, if only to graduate from school. Most languages have words with front portions which remain FIXED, while the endings change based on WHO is the subject or object in a sentence. Some languages also change the front portion (usually called a "stem" or a "root") to COMPOUND the meaning of the word. For example, Greek verb teleiow (tel-eye-OH-oh) means to complete, finish, mature, perfect (legal sense, contractural), fulfill, even fill up (stressing result). So, if done, "telei" changes to "tetel", thus COMPOUNDING the basic meanings with the actual result: "tetelestai!" shouted the Lord on the Cross. Finished, with results (salvation) which go on forever, is the meaning of that particular word.

      So the words themselves, have more than one meaning. In any language employing case endings, there are five basic cases: nominative (subject), accusative (object), dative (beneficiary), genitive (owner), vocative (addressee). However, THESAURETICALLY, these five indices branch out into many other meanings. Dative, for example, points to beneficiary, but may be stressing OWNER or ORIGIN, so might focus on means of going from point-of-origin, to destination (locative and instrumental uses). Genitive, likewise -- but with the stress on HOW THE MEANS EXPRESSES power of owner, intent, and other source-related issues (ablative use). These case endings are but one or two letters in length, and so an entire sentence or paragraph's meaning can be tied together, simply by using a particular case ending. Kinda like, the Cross tied together for all time our salvation (theme of Heb10). So you'd expect God the Holy Spirit to be quite fond of thesauretical wordplay using Case endings. Bingo.

      That's just the beginning of the idea of multiplicity. Prepositions are critically-important vehicles of multi-layered meaning. Articles and pronouns, particles, enclitic or otherwise, make all the difference in an interpretation, and have so many uses. So while VERB TENSE is supposed to convey a whole lot of meaning, the tense itself is multifaceted, and the other words in the sentence or passage tell you not only which of the facets is highlighted, but also how all the other tense meanings are ORGANIZED. In short, a Bible verse conveys as much information as an encyclopedia.

      So, any case ending has MULTIPLE MEANINGS ALL AT ONCE. Just as, any word has multiple meanings all at once. So too any preposition, particle, pronoun, verb tense, etc. All this, before you factor in critical interpretative clues like idiom, isagogics (culture of the writer or his milieu), etc. Whether the writer INTENDS to simultaneously REFERENCE more than one meaning at once is a question a reader must raise. God Always Intends A Multifaceted Explanation, and conveys His Infinity by deft usage of language features. So no translation will be helpful. Gotta study the original.

      For, BY SIMULTANEITY of reference, CAUSAL CONNECTIONS are deftly explained. Since it can take only ONE letter in a word to change or render multiple-meaninged a word; since every word is multi-meaninged in just about any language, you'd expect God the Holy Spirit chose the inspired languages due to their extremely nuanced features, so Omniscient God Could Express Himself.

      Causal connections between data are illustrated by the words used. If I say "demagogue", you immediately know a lot of information: the person is a political figure; the person speaks to people to persuade them; the person intends to deceive. Whether or not a person really IS a demagogue (lit., demos, people, gogue, fake-teacher), remains to prove. But that one word tells you much information, and CONNECTS the information in a particular way.

      Causal connections between data are explained by the way the words are used. For example, "Stop being drunk with Wine..but be FILLED by the Holy Spirit" is Eph5:18 (corr. translation of first verb), and is VERY humorous. It's not condemnatory. Idea that you get drunk to forget your troubles, to get happy, is replaced by a superior drink: the Word. Which requires the filling of the Spirit, to acquire. Additionally, you can read it with the eye of an ascetic (not a good idea, but the meaning layer is there), and conclude that IF you drink, you might get drunk and thus lose the Filling. So getting drunk is not spiritual. It was considered spiritual at the time, as part of Roman Bacchic/ Greek Dionysus rites, so here is yet a third layer: you were settling for fellowship with a fake god by getting drunk; Have Instead The Real God, For No Money Spent (see Isa55)!

      See How Rich Scripture Is? And those are just casual scratchings from one very simple verse, Eph5:18! Of course, if you go back to 1Jn2:5 (exegeted in Caveat #2 on Home page), you see that -- hey, "tereo" sets up HIERARCHICAL MEANINGS. For, what you first CHERISH, you want to hold close; you want to protect; you want to KEEP TO YOURSELF; you want to GUARD. Idea that you come home after work and the first thing you do, is GRAB a thing, just to RELISH it. Or, you constantly THINK ABOUT IT during your day. See? See how easy it becomes to interpret if you slow down and think? See how much more accurate an interpretation, when you have the fine nuances of even simple things like case endings and multi-meaninged keywords in Scripture?

        See how much we Christians must hate Original Scripture, to have had it freely available for over a century, and yet still interpret it so badly? What a shame to us. What wealth we miss. What angst we go through in this life, believing so many lies and then lying against GOD by claiming the lies are His Word! If I hear one more person use Ps139:11-17 to claim life is in the womb -- when that passage is a detailled treatise on WHY NO LIFE IS IN WOMB within the (excuse me) much more important context of God Alone And Personally Made You Exist At Birth, I'll upchuck.

  • HUMOR: Every Bible verse has at least one layer of humor in it, deliberately. Translations routinely bleach out the humor, because people want a SOUR God. To them, God must be boring to be majestic. But no translation can bleach out the humorous fact that God made a covenant using a penis: Abram's circumcision. So even in translation, you can see unavoidable humor, if you look closely. Read the story about Elisha's ministry in 2Kings, and note how funny much of the story is. Read Isa44's sarcasm. Look for funny linkages, like how a tree is used for both life and death in the Garden, as well as the Cross. Look for irony, like in the widow who gave the two coppers being accorded giving more than the guy before her who gave the talent.

      Note how in the Levitical sacrifices, God got the fat and entrails, but the people got flawless meat to eat: so the more you sinned, the more you got to eat; the richer the priests got; how you dined because you sinned. Clearly, this God of ours has the biggest sense of humor possible. Infinite, in fact. If you spend time with the original languages, you'll see that He makes so many wordplays and soundplays (beginning right away with the wordplay on "beginning", in Gen1:1), you can tell He's always smiling. Even in the judgement passages there is a layer of humor: come on, march 7 times around Jericho, then the walls collapse? See what that says about GRACE? How human power is no match for God, thus no works are desired? Which the sacrifices daily taught? God Just Wants The Fellowship, get it?

      And on and on. Don't miss the humor, but seek it avidly: because it tells you so much information about what God Thinks, and is soo refreshing. Not the ogre portrait religion paints (any religion, Christian or no), at all! Or, just grab your favorite beverage, chill out and talk with God about irony in creation; or, just think about it. All those little fish in the ocean no one sees -- even they are free to choose where to swim. Does that sound like an ogre's choice for creation, to you?

      God is fabulous. Religion hates Him. Christian legalists hate Him. Anyone who spends time telling you how you should think of Him hates Him. Hatred has no sense of humor. Love, however, does. So enjoy finding all the treasure of HUMOR He created, and talks about in Scripture! Bon appetit!

  • NEAR-and-FAR CONTEXT: Scripture always draws analogies. As you'll see below, a moniker for this analogizing is "parallelism". When it does this, it uses keywords as runners in a kind of relay race; or, 'stepping stones', if you like that analogy better. Or, like bookends, so that the concepts explained BETWEEN the bookends tell you a whole series of data-and-connections. Thus, CONTEXT is critical, as any Biblical-language seminary professor will constantly warn you to remember. Most important idea is to determine the 'fit' of the verse within a whole; check the EXACT WORDS to see how they are ELSEWHERE used, to assess the PRECISE connections.

    Classic case is 1Jn5:18; without knowing the fit of the passage (which the rest of 1Jn5 and 1Jn3 tells everyone, but who cares to investigate, lol), one mistakes the entire import of the verse (which is about irrevocability of salvation due to positional sanctification).

  • NEAR-and-FAR KEYWORDs: If you learn nothing else from this page, learn the importance of keywords in tracking what Bible means by what BIBLE says. It's the heart of hermeneutics. For, Legal documents and good literature use keywords in thesauretical ways to DENOTE RELATIONSHIPS. Legally, the use of a keyword shows PRECEDENCE, and thesauretical plays denote how that precedence changes or applies. Really important to know keywords. Can't at all understand Scripture, without them. Your better lexicons list the major verses in which a word occurs, so that helps you know where to look for keywords.

    A really great help for my own keyword tracking has been BibleWorks, for if I remember a keyword in one language, I can then find out its original; or, remembering the original, I can find out how it is usually translated. That's why in my sites you'll see me CLASSIFY rather than name, verses, i.e., "save" verses, etc. Because, those are KEYWORDS. By viewing them all you get a real good grasp of how to CONNECT the dots. Kinda like chess, you can play forever, but you know where you are going. Led By Bible. I first remember hearing about this keyword tracking when my pastor spent time on "hope" verses when he exegeted Romans 5:5 in his tape series on Romans (verse-by-verse exegesis). My spiritual life skyrocketed, as a result: that's the day when I saw for myself how Bible is Infallible. (Before that day, I believed it, but didn't see. Frankly, my pastor has always taught by cross-referencing keywords when he traces a doctrine pan-Bible, so I must have been brained-out for a long time, to not notice this is THE way to really get a grip on Scripture.)

    You need the Original Languages to do a competent job of tracking them. See, when translating, sometimes you leave alone the word because it's a keyword, and sometimes you translate it because it's a PLAY on a keyword or is not being used in that sense. Really, we need a fresh translation of Bible which doesn't translate the keywords, but just leaves the Original Words alone so you can track them. But then, most of the Bible wouldn't be translated, so thickly woven are these keywords. Heh. Good thing the Spirit teaches us!

    God bless the translators, they have the worst job on earth. Divided over this problem they all know -- when to translate a word so it shows as a keyword, and when not -- translations don't routinely render the Bible keyword the same way, so you don't know from translation, how to track the keywords. Or, if the keywords are rendered consistently (i.e., KJV tends to do that), the choice of what English word is made, confuses. Like, translating "sozo" to SAVE all the time, makes the UNacquainted reader think he has to work for his salvation, or he can lose it, etc. ("Save" in English has more than one meaning; same, for Greek, and the first meaning in Greek is RESCUE.)

    The Bible is, even if demoted to the mere status of "literature", the most deftly packed piece of writing in history. Whole DOCTRINES are communicated by the deft placement of a keyword, the type of tense, even an article. Parallelism (q.v.) is thus accomplished, and much is learned.

      For example, in Romans 9:13, the two "the" words act like a Justice-Scales icon (technically called "objectifying the noun"), showing that "Love" and "hate" there are JUDICIAL pronouncements.

      A judicial idiom for a witness in a witness box, plus the effective present tense of martureo in Heb10:15 proves that the Holy Spirit is PERSONALLY testifying (breaking into the flow of the writing) that the Church is not Israel. Of course, you can know that by deft keywords, like "Body" and "Bride". So: Church can't be in Tribulation, for the Trib is part of Israel, which is a DIFFERENT COVENANT (big theme in Heb10, end). Of course, the deft keywords "new" and "second" in Hebrews (recurring, tracking) tell you that: i.e., Heb10:9 "He takes away the first, to establish the "second". The keywords are repeated in every chapter, either explicitly, or before-and-after conceptually. So are keywords plerow and teleiow.

    In short, because Scripture is written to an audience who already KNOWS the keywords, because written by someone who already knows doctrine so well that he can just pen perfectly what God the Holy Spirit taught him -- only small references are needed to convey whole doctrines. So, you can track them throughout Scripture, and get both the parameters and flow of the doctrine, in a dynamic, easy-to-remember context, rather than via some rote process or dry tome! So, if you know "water" is a keyword for Word, when you see "pour" in Romans 5:5 you know it's Word being poured into our hearts -- which then is called "Love", explaining the result of that Word's Pouring. So matches Gal5's theme, which is exactly the same; so now 2Cor5's Process of Learning to have "Love of/for God" (a circle demonstrated by the genitive case, which has either an objective and subjective focus, or both, as in Rom5:5). So then 1Cor13 is about the HEAD, the WORD, not about some emotion of love. See how much Scripture is suddenly clear because you know "water" and "pour"? See how you can screw up interpretation, if you don't know the keywords? Of course, 1Cor cuts God's Head off everywhere in the translation of the Book (same cutting-off occurs in Ephesians and James), so you can't get the right interpretation.

    For example, John 1 loves to make wordplays on the "Word of the Lord" passages in OT, plus fact that the Son was the Shekinah Glory (though passages like Isa63 show Spirit was also, denoting Co-Equal Godness); and that the Son is the One Who met Moses. You can't see this in English, because John uses the LXX keywords for both Shekinah and Exo3:14's I AM WHO I AM. It's impossible to mistake it: skenoo and ho own! Especially since ho own is such a paronomasia in OT! The words even sound like the Hebrew! ("LXX" means "Septuagint", Greek OT; Jews in Jesus' day used the LXX, and many NT verses quote from it.) So you know right away that John is not using the Greek idea of Logos (an incredibly stupid claim made in our day), but rather, tweaking the gnostics (Logos and "light" were two of their keywords); rather again, that John is screaming Deut 6:4 -- Adonai Elohenu Adonai ECHAD is UNIQUE because He "became flesh and TABERNACLED/TENTED (skenoo) among us." Very funny. Very profound. All this, accomplished with just three words: logos, skenoo, and ho own. Amazing!

    Another example: The Bible is adamantly 'dispensational', far more than I knew before learning the Daniel timeline. Bible lays a LOT of stress on APPOINTED TIMES, and they all relate to TEMPLE -- the spiritual life, the contract with God. So, since our bodies are Temple since Church is now to be made of LIVING STONES, all those OT metaphors' precedence, help us to interpret our own covenant, our own "time".

      "Dispensationalism", like anything else in Bible, is abused by men; covenantalists usually can't stand dispensationalists on the ground that the latter are anti-semitic. Well, hey: people can use anything in the Bible to justify their insane lusts, k? Bible isn't anti-semitic, duh; and a good bit of man's interpretation of Bible's dispensationalism, was accurate in the 19th century, and needs more attention than it gets today. The controversy between the so-called covenantalists and dispensationalists is wacko. There is no contradiction between "covenant" and "dispensation". The latter only references the Time Period to which a particular COVENANT belongs. Sheesh. So much bitter controversy over these two terms; totally unnecessary: Book Of Hebrews makes the distinctions clear. Ephesians makes them clear. No need for arguing. Keywords show you time changes, and coupled with the really great keyphrase "meta tauta" and its morphs, you don't have to kill yourself to know how God divides TIME. [Correct assignment of a covenant depends on the Time to which it belongs. Debate over which covenant belongs to which time is unending. Why, I can't fathom.]

      "Dispensation" is an older English word for a particular covenant belonging to believers of a particular time period. You can prove this rather easily from the original languages, but not from the English, because the English egregiously mistranslates the keywords. These keywords are, in Greek: oikonomia, oikodomia, kairos, chronos, and aiwn.

      Hebrew keywords are many also, but "l'moed", a pregnant word often translated appointment or "time", is favored. In the Greek LXX kairos is favored, and has a dual use: you'll find it translated as "time" when Hebrew l'moed is used (i.e., in Daniel). That term in Bible means a point in time, a period of time, or.. a dispensation. The latter term is really more descriptive of the meaning, but is dated, now (19th century word of greater respect than fashionable, today). If you doubt it, try reading the "Daniel Timeline" link in "Quicklinks" on Home Page, or LvS4a.htm. Big eye-opener. [Yes, there are daft uses of dispensationalism, but the Bible's definition is not daft, k?]

      So when "times of the Gentiles" is used by the Lord in Luke 21:24, but "his OWN time" at the end of 2Thess2:6 (which no English Bible properly translates even though the same construction is in 1TIM2:6 referring to Christ's Own Dispensation, aaargh), you see two Dispensations referenced. Luke 21:24 references two dispensations, one of Church, and one of Trib. 2Thess2:6 is part of a reminder on why "the" Anti-Christ shows up in His Own Dispensation, not the current (Church) one, because the Holy Spirit Is Removed During Trib (ibid, "what" in that verse should have been translated WHO: also see v.7). You'll find those keywords used in every epistle, and often also in the OT, if you can search on the Greek. English sometimes translates "time" words as "worlds" for no discernible reason (well, someone mistranslated it that way in an olde English version and others just copy the error, apparently). So, by looking at the original-language keywords, you can see for yourself what Bible says a lot faster and better than through a translation. See how the stupid battles between covenantalists and dispensationalists waste everyone's time? Pun intended!

    A more controversial example has to do with the Bible's teaching that human life begins at birth. My pastor has taught this since the late 1960's, and although I'm adopted, I always recognized it was insane to claim that one is human until born. That the Bible is so strident about the fact that life begins at birth, which I guess accounts for my pastor being like-strident, caused me to do some investigating. Caveat #4 on the Home Page has a longer explanation, so what follows is just for purposes of discussing keywords.

      Using BibleWorks, of the probably 20 (?) keywords the Bible uses to explain this doctrine, I traced out "womb" verses, "spirit" verses, and especially the prepositions used with them. In nearly ALL cases the English translation REVERSES THE MEANING of the prepositions used. So, the original lang's prepositions (min, ek) all mean DIVORCED FROM, OUT FROM, AWAY FROM the womb -- but except in Galatians, Luke 1:15 (NIV only), the English insists on saying "in the womb", or the ambiguous "from" the womb. That latter, chopped off meaning is mandated in seminary, but the OUT-FROM meaning is stridently taught. You can even sometimes see in Strong's that OUT FROM is the meaning. Better lexicons go into some detail on this, and you have experts like Badillo (in Spain, a CATHOLIC country) show how the etymology is always "from outside". [Works by Badillo can be purchased from Amazon: at least, I bought mine there.]

      There's a lot more than prepositional keyword designation for the fact that life begins at BIRTH. There's James 1 analogy to sin being BORN; John 3's BORN again, not conceived again (Gospel doesn't save you by you knowing it!); there's a bunch of inspire-expire terminology ("spirit" verses which mean breath, not human spirit nor Holy Spirit). Idea with these verses is that you're not alive until you are breathing on your own. Duh. So, in Acts 5, Ananias BREATHED OUT HIS SOUL (Eng: "expired"), meaning he died. In Genesis, "lives" are breathed INTO Adam AFTER his body is formed; Elihu's speech to Job talks about this also. Proverbs on appointed once to be born, once to die. Many others (I'm writing off the top of my head, on lunch break.) Nearly every one of my sites contains something about this issue, and I don't remember all the verses I'd looked up relevant to the point something in a site mentioned. So I don't recall them all now. There are hundreds of verses. Each one of them has a celebratory "of course" tone: meaning, that both the writers of Scripture and the readers knew, axiomatically, that life begins at BIRTH.

      Yet the most humorous and profound of them all have this meaning, in the Hebrew (and Greek of Galatians, where Paul uses a Hebraism about his own birth): God PERSONALLY makes you human at birth. This is usually expressed as "called me", or "knew me", or "formed me" in the OT: it's a often moniker for the appointed prophets. The idea is that God Does All The Work; God Wants Intimacy, And God Is Personally Involved. That's the big stridency in the Bible. (Bible doesn't mention abortion at all, so it obviously does NOT accord the topic with the value prolifers claim. In the entire Bible, there's one verse about miscarriage, in Ex21:22; and there, it's not a crime if the guilty guy caused the woman's miscarriage -- it's a civil matter, penalty to be decided by the husband and wife. At least 10 English versions of the Bible make this meaning clear, including the Catholic Douhay-Rheims. Details are at the end of SatSpin.htm. Search on the word "abortion".)

      There are a lot of other important reasons for this stridency in the Bible, depending on what context is viewed. For example, God is Perfect, and only creates Perfectly. So He stresses His Sole Creatorness And Perfection by weaving Infinity's quality of intimacy-with-everything. See God's Intimate, Direct Fatherhood in verses with these keywords: I called You I Formed You I Knew You I Made You Out From Out From Divorced From ..the womb. Meaning, no human works makes you, only God: the Hebrew syntax always has the undertone of 'you AREN'T a you until I make you'. Meaning, not alive until God makes you. Other verses stridently note that the real person is his SOUL (sometimes nephesh; psuche in Grk). For, the God who saved us not by works which we have done, but by His Mercy, is consistent. Not even the womb can contribute to human life! Now, think of all the gorgeous Love the prolifers miss seeing, because they don't know this Hebrew idiomatic statement of God's Strongest Declaration of Love (possessively stated, an anthropopathism, like 'jealous').

      Prove it to yourself. Get any book on Biblical Hebrew or Biblical Greek. Badillos and Mounce, (Heb and Gk, respectively), are easily available at Amazon. It's not hard to prove this, even without a Bible. It's impossible to understand why folks don't recognize the insanity of claiming life-in-womb: it's a claim, thus, that God is a murderer and a sadist! So, "Christian" and "Crazy" both begin with a "C" for a reason: without Bible Doctrine, your brain is out. [God would be a murderer by prolife standards, since many fetuses are spontaneously aborted all over the world, totally apart from any human involvement. God would be a sadist if the soul was in the womb, since then the person would feel all that biological development -- it would be painful. Think of a kid cutting his teeth, how much pain he has, and then multiply it a bizillion times. Also, the human brain isn't fully developed until sometime toward the end of the last trimester: so ask anyone suffering from brain cancer how he feels; then you'll get a glimmer of an idea how unbelievable pain would be inflicted on every person, if God were so stupid as to put a soul in a womb! Do Your Homework. God is not a sadist, for crying out loud!]

  • TRACKING KEYWORDS AND THEIR CONCEPTUAL SYNONYMS through Bible! Partial list: soter/sozo; menw; baptizw, kleronomia and its conceptual synonyms, paratithemi, hupo-words, arche formations, phroneo and its 'think/know' synonyms. In English, "salvation"/"save"; "abide", remain", "rest" (often that term in OT refs 'the remnant'); "inheritance"/ "promise"/ "riches", "Book of Life", etc. A really important one is "faith" (pistis, in greek). Hebrew aman and Greek pisteuw each mean believe, and neither has any connotation of merit in the subject, but ALL connotation of merit in the object: you believe in a thing because you perceive ITS merit (duh). So also, with their cognate nouns, the point is, the thing believed: doctrine. Truth. God's. So, a lot of the usage of this action noun refers to what is believed, more than the act of believing. Scholars might call this the "passive" meaning (versus the "active" meaning, which highlights the act of believing). So verses like Heb11:6 would be quite differently understood: "Without Believed Doctrine (pistis) it is impossible to please Him." Eph 5:17, Col1:9, Romans12:2, Eph1:8 all confirm this, so.. see what a difference a word's meaning makes?

    • KEYWORDS in word play are often employed to do this tracking for you: the authors frequently use a keyword and then use it differently to explain the DIFFERENCE between God's Way, and man's. Or, to show the BOUNDARY LINES in the meaning. A "boundary line" means that the term has a certain meaning within certain contextual limits. For example, one of the most common words used to do this difference/boundary-line explanation is "sozo", meaning "to save". The term also means "save" in secular ways, like saving money, saving from disaster, etc. Bible shows how the to-Heaven salvation is a floor: you are on one side of it (unsaved), or the other (saved). Once on the other side, your spiritual life is designed to build up upon that foundation: see "foundation" passage in 1Cor3, ending with "yet he himself shall be saved, yet as through fire". So, often sozo and its cognate noun are used to explain how the post-salvation building-up functions. Usually other salvation terms like "eternal life" or "born of God" (two of John's favorites) are dogmatically stated in the near context, so you can see that the post-salvation life is in view, not pre-salvation. 1Jn5's usage is a good text example, where he's constantly drawing boundary lines between what you can do (e.g., sin face-to-face with death, in 1Jn5:16), and what you can't do (lose your salvation, viz. 1Jn5:13 bracketed by 1Jn5:18-20).

      Pick any English word which you think important, find its Greek root, and then search on it. Besides soter/sozo, examples are: autos (for God); baptizw; ergon; gnosis vs. epignosis (tweaking both the gnostics and all works-oriented methods of salvation). All "know/think" words are synonyms, so you'd need to search on them also, when tracking gnosis/epignosis. Phroneo and its cognate noun is a biggie, and often used with sophia: see Phil2:5, Eph1:8. So is sunesis and its cognate verb. By the way, Greek prefixes nouns with an "alpha-privative" letter "a" to indicate the exact opposite of the noun. For example, "aphron" means the opposite of "phren" (not in the Bible) or "phronesis" (yes, in Bible), sensible/objective thinking; "adikos" means the opposite of "dikaios", righteous. (Well, righteousness and justice and love; like Hebrew word tsedekah. The components are never divorced; so you'll maybe see a translation of these words, as "integrity".)

    • Clarificational word play: ergon and autos, karpos: "gain" verse pair, 1Tim6:5-6.
    • Linkage word play: Sabbath and Sabbaoth (rest and Armies, idea of linking REST to COMBAT, cute.) It's frequent in the OT, but demonstrated by the facts: they train and train but then the LORD destroys the enemies, and they but clean up -- so it's a REST. Remember OT writing style is metaphorical and read-between-the-lines. NT does this wordplay more baldly, but still you read-between-the-lines.
    • Repeated phrases/ideas which FLOW in context with other words/ideas, like John's frequent use of "beginning" and "menw" which link our spiritual life back to the Garden of Eden test. See also Paul's use of marriage followed by Angelic Conflict in 1Cor6-7, Eph5-6. Key here is FLOW: what point follows the next -- you're being told how the different topics/doctrines relate to each other.
    • Simile, metaphor, analogy, allusion, etc.
    • Alliteration and onomatopoetic usage, like Peter's fondness for hupo-prefixed words.

  • Viewpoint/reasoning constructions like Straw man, a fortiori, men.de (Attic: "on the one hand..on the other hand" reasoning). The "men.de" verses are almost never properly translated, so the reader misses the flow of what the writer means. Straw man (hypothetical arguer's point of view) examples are in Jas 2:18ff, Rom9:19-20, Pharaoh's hardening in Exo to which that same Romans passage alludes. Sometimes a strawman argument is interjected (the Exo passages on Pharaoh's hardening). Really, Romans is a very good book to see these reasoning paths, for part of its purpose is to show how Bible Doctrine is to be used to think. You can read it like a book, even in the English. Ponder how Paul goes from one point to the next, and why he seems to suddenly switch. Galatians is a good book in this connection also. James is too, really, but people with works-lust screw it up so much! Read James with your spiritual brains on, even in English: concentrate on the order of his points, so by the time you get to 2:26, you understand what point he makes! (Hint: Doctrine Works.)

  • Quotes in Bible which are deliberately altered by the Holy Spirit in order to state the interpretation of the quote (e.g., Heb8:8-12, compared to Heb10:15-17 compared to Jer31:31-34; also, Matt4:4, compared to Deut 8:3ff). I think Paul does this also in Romans 4. The Lord does this in Rev3 re Laodicean believer error, in a very humorous manner given the isagogics ("cold..hot" becomes "hot..cold"). Peter does this in Acts 2, several times: compare, for example, Acts 2:17-21 to Joel 2:28-32 -- the Acts passage DELIBERATELY changes certain words in that well-known OT prophecy. OT does this also a lot with names: substituting a name you expected (all names in Bible are plays-on-words, so if you don't know the meaning of the name, you miss a lot. Pity that most lexicons and Bibles don't tell you the meaning of names).

      Knowing what words change and why (even ORDER of clauses being reversed) is critical to interpretation. Only idiots assume a contradiction in such passages -- and, there are many idiots. See: in common speech, we all at times deliberately change a common quote to make a new quip: so why not recognize that in Bible? It's kinda like saying "Windoze", rather than "Windows" -- get the reason for the change? Bible is more sophisticated and far more clever, but -- same idea. Here's another analogous use: Tom Lehrer, famous 1960's MIT prof, junked his profession to go on the song circuit. He performed a ditty at Carnegie Hall in which the tune was from "I am the Model of a Modern Major General" (from Pirates of Penzance, an operetta by Gilbert & Sullivan) -- but the words were.. the Table of Elements! Hysterical. Want yet another, perhaps clearer example? All those parodies of "Twas the Night before Christmas", where some of the words (and of course, the meter) are well known, but many of the words are hilariously not what you'd 'expect'! (A more solemn one is making the email rounds right now -- about a soldier home from the war, who sleeps alone, unfriended.)

  • Scriptural 'Math', concatenation of verses. All Scripture writers are very fond of Scriptural 'math'. That is, taking a well-known Bible metaphor, verse, portion of a verse -- and combining it with other metaphors, verse-snippets. "Concatenation" is each 'part', THEN ADDED TOGETHER. For example, if I take "For God so loved the world" in John 3:16, plus "God demonstrates His Love for us" in Romans 5:8, and thus say "God so demonstrates His Love for the world", that's an example of both math and concatenation. Thus the ENTIRE CONTEXT of each verse is ALSO in view, and the concatenated statement (summed one) expresses yet more meaning DUE TO the concatenation. Idea is, when you patch them all together, you communicate a whole zipfile of information on how these portions fit together. It's very helpful if you get a Bible which shows this concatenation in capital letters. One such Bible is Updated New American Standard Bible, Reference Edition, Library of Congress Card Number 98-61548. (BibleWorks version of NASB also shows it.) At the beginning of this webpage is a sample concatenation, so you can see the richness of this rhetorical device: search for "evil generation" at the beginning of the page.

    Scripture writers, of course, are much more sophisticated in their concatenations, since every verse in the Bible demonstrates God's Infinity Attribute. So, the concatenations' math goes in infinite directions, connecting every concept in every verse (of which there are dozens, if not thousands) -- to every other verse. So, when they concatenate, literally hundreds of verses get added together: vertically, horizontally, diagonally. I first noticed this math function when under my pastor's exegesis of Romans 5. (He wasn't talking about it exactly, just tracing the meaning of "hope" in Romans 5:5. HS used that to awaken me to this function of Scripture, and for the last 8 years or more, I've seen it play everywhere in Bible.) To do this, they string together keywords and/or metaphors. When you recognize that any word meaning "know" stands for all Bible words of similar meaning (thesauretical), you can begin to understand that the linkages are..endless. Check it out yourself. Pick a verse, play with its synonyms and use a concordance or software program.. see how the linkages work! (Even the begats are like this, but knowing what to search on, takes a lot of preplanning.)

    Concatenation was a lot easier for people in the OT and the Lord's Day, because -- think -- they had far less 'entertainment' available to them. Moreover, their lives were more repetitive, so more of the mind was free to ponder, concentrate while engaged in some task. People would talk about Scripture and its concepts while they sewed or baked bread; while they travelled to the next stop; while they ate or washed. So, by the time a kid was 12, he would be so reared in the terminology and wordplay, it would be natural for him. Even today, orthodox Judaism has this practice, since Deut6:4ff enjoins it: "when you get up..when you lie down", you're supposed to be thinking and living on HaTorah. So, concatenation was a daily, common, occurrence. The Quality and number of Levels of Wordplay was considered a sign of education. Other cultures prized it too, within their own milieu: the Greeks, for example, did a lot of concatenation wordplay regarding their 'gods'. You can't understand a classical Greek play if you don't know it.

    So, OT concatenation tends to take the 'concrete' form, so is more metaphorical, the metaphors being common things. NT concatenation upgrades the OT form, and goes off into the stratosphere with ABSTRACTS. Today's far-duller populus go blank, when confronted with abstract concepts: use 1Jn1:9 like breathing, if you catch yourself getting frustrated. For, mankind has declined from his former aggregate smarts. But the Holy Spirit can redress any shortfall: just be willing to learn and do the legwork (the latter is evidence of positive volition). [The decline is very dramatic since I was born. My vocabulary is considered by many today, to be way too high: yet, it was merely 'average', when I was growing up in the 1950's!]

      Isaiah concatenates almost continuously: he's so sophisticated, it's too hard to succinctly explain his formulas, here. Isa 44-45, 53-55 are astounding chapters chock-full of this 'math'. Peter does that, in Acts 2. It's phenomenal: it is an explanation of how the 'new covenant' for Israel is to be implemented (preparation phase of Footstool began at Session). Two other obvious examples of concatenated math, where you ADD THE CLAUSES vertically and horizontally: 1Jn1:6-10 (nine clauses, kinda like tic-tac-toe); and 1Cor13:10-13, a Word 'building', driving home the point that the future, completed Canon is the "greater gift" for the "greater gifts" of the spiritual life). (See also Eph2 and Eph4, but first read the whole Epistle a dozen times, to get past the religious spin and into what Paul means.) Revelation is likewise full of math from all over the Bible: that's why the (mostly OT-defined) metaphors are so many. (Think of a Biblical metaphor the way you would a math variable, like delta-T, etc. Don't make the mistake of treating Biblical metaphors as solely 'color' or 'secret code' or 'primitive', like some dingdongs do.)

    The Lord was best at Scriptual math and concatenation -- you'd have to pour over the parables and things He says very carefully, to catch on. I started to plot the Scripture He was concatenating when He stated Matt16:18 (each word in that verse represents dozens+ keywords in OT); but after I realized He made an Exactly-Fitting Confluence Of All The OT prophecy, Fitting Together The Prophecy Of The Gentiles, I gave up, exhausted! LvS4a.htm is on this topic (part of the larger picture of why Church is not Israel, why Rapture is Pre-Trib, kicks off Trib).

      You know, nobody who can read the Greek text of that verse would ever mistake Petra, a keyword for CHRIST in the LXX, as referring to Peter; especially, since the demonstrative houtos is used by a speaker to refer to himself or the individual just mentioned -- well, houtos refers to "I" (case ending of verb to build). Impossible to mistake. Instead, one would notice by using that keyword, all "Petra" verses are included in the statement -- hence the Total Confluence Of All Prophecy, since "Petra" was the BEDROCK on which the ARK sat -- depicting Messiah-to-Come, get it? So you have to HATE CHRIST and the human race to claim little petros, a chip of Petra, is instead the foundation of Church. So sad what people MISS when they don't do their homework. So vile when people LIE against Bible, as they so often do, in VILELY misusing this verse. Better to be boiled in oil...

      In His 1st Advent, people were smarter about Scripture than we are now (no TVs, then, and people actually liked the words a bunch). So, they hardly had to Hear But A Few Syllables Of The Beginning Of Some Verse Phrase, To Recall The Entire Doctrine He Referenced. So He could do lightning-fast additions of zipfiles, and people could get it. Well, if they were interested. (Folks like you and me must spend a lot more time.) That's why He was so hated by the religious crowd, for His Teaching was so obviously that He was God-Man, Messiah -- and ANTI-religion. (The religious English translations dilute way too much.) See for yourself: Gospel of John is particularly good for this kind of tracing. Notice how He loses adherents when He announces He is the Bread of Life (mannah, get it? Another way to say He's God and Messiah of the Levitical sacrifices). NIV and NASB and RSV seem to capture better the abrasiveness of His Discourse. It's real important to know He's being deliberately abrasive. Oh: Matthew is another good Gospel for this tracking, especially beginning around Chapter 7 or so (before the groupies gathered, before He appoints the 12).

    Concatenation is one of the most sophisticated and important communication devices in Scripture, almost as important as "parallelisms" (covered below). Folks who don't spend time learning how it works will misinterpret Bible's meaning, and never catch on, mistaking the concatenation+math for Biblical error, etc. Frankly, many who have reputations as good Biblical scholars don't recognize concatenation and mistake it for Biblical error. So sad and common is this scholarly ineptitude, you'll find modern Bibles preface its books with claims that so-and-so (author) had to get the information from some other mere human. Why? Because, to these scholars, they see 'mistakes'. So they might still 'buy' the basics in Scripture, but don't buy that it's infallible and inerrant. What, is the Holy Spirit chopped liver? He 'can't' transmit whatever the so-called scholars find impossible to believe, to the Scripture writer? Yeah, well -- if you learn how concatenation and Scriptural math 'play' in the Bible, you'll never have even a shadow of a doubt that the Holy Spirit Himself, inspired every jot and tittle!

      Frankly, two other deemed-holy books specialize in concatenation: Koran, and Book of Mormon. When you examine their concatenation and 'math', you realize that they are also non-human -- but written by some demon. Wordplay is too rich, references to Scripture are too good, to be humanly done. But, the references also reveal the extreme hatred of Bible (expressed as brilliant, biting derision), so clearly aren't from God. (SatStrat.htm highlights some of these usages.)

    All believers actually use some form of concatenation in daily spiritual life. How often do you remember snippets of verses from widely-disparate portions of Bible? And immediately, you know something of how they 'connect'? That's the Holy Spirit, mentoring you. Keep on studying, and you'll 'hear' it happen, even while waiting for a bus, or even in your sleep; people will mistake you as 'brilliant', but you will know it's the Lord. Seeing Him, anyway, is what you will care about. And, oh boy! You will: you don't have to die to see Him, and no dream or vision is even remotely as clear, as Scriptural concatenation, in live display! Doctrine works! His His His Thinking!

  • Literal vs. idiomatic meanings in keywords: This is a really important category, and goes missed due to poor Bible translation. One of the biggest translation flaws in the Bible is the literal translation of words/phrases which have cultural loading, so that the 'literal' translation is truncated. "Agathos", "pistis", "sozo", "proskuneo", and a wide variety of other Greek words (Hebrew, too) have CULTURAL meanings which require multiple-word translations, to convey. Moreover, lots of IDIOMS (words which if literally translated lose all sense) are lost if literally translated. Here's an English example: "good-bye". If you don't know the expression is a salutation upon departure, your translation will be goofy. So, for example, the word mistranslated "unity" in Eph4:5, conveys to the English mind, one denomination, but really means "a system of doctrine", in the Greek, because "unity" means a System, and "pistis" first means Bible Doctrine You Believe. (You'd have to know the cultural meaning of both words, to understand this fact.) In short, in Greek, the system is talking about the Unified System Of God's Thinking, not some man-defined denomination.

      So, sometimes to bring out the Greek (or Hebrew) meaning of a Bible word/phrase, you need to translate it literally; but other times, idiomatically. Here's an example: in 2Cor5:14, the verb sunecho should be translated more literally, especially since "sun" ("with) as a prefix to a verb generally denotes Divine Action Upon The Human, not the human's action upon himself. The Greeks were always attributing man's action to Divine Source, which "sun" conveys. So, you should not translate the verb "compels", because "echo" means "to have, to hold", so with "sun" means "to hold together" -- to keep you whole. Hence, to motivate going on. English "compels" implies you are forced. But you know God never forces. So you should regard the verb more etymologically, to get what Paul is saying, esp. since v.13 reads as it does (contrast between fracturing the mind, and being of sound mind). "Motivates" is too tame a translation in English; the strength which "sunecho" conveys requires a sense of being "driven" by a motive, not just "motivates". So, driven and held together by the Bond of Love. So, you could translate the verb, "convincingly motivates" or "strongly motivates" or "compellingly motivates", to convey the strength factor.

      Another example: "pros" is a preposition usually translated "to" or "toward". But its root is "face-to-face". So, in the passage where Paul talks about how we will be "pros" God forever after leaving this body, "face-to-face" should be translated, since "body" is being stressed (2Cor5:8). It's a judgement call whether to use idiom or literal; you'll have to make it, since translations tend to be uniformly literal or idiomatic, and never get key passages, correct (like the critical Eph4:5).

      So you can TELL if you've got a wrong 'judgement call', if the passage doesn't fit closely to the context. Hint: either the Bible publishing committees, or the translators they employ, have been historically ascetic/legalistic. So their translations always have a decidedly ascetic/works-oriented slant. Bible is ANTITHESIS of this. So if you see a passage which seems to stress works, look up every word in the original. Every time I use that guideline, I find a MIStranslation. So you will, also. [Publishers have to sell, just like anyone else. So it shouldn't be surprising that translations always have been slanted to the perceived 'market' of buyers. There has always been debate in doing this, because a lot of translators are good at what they do, and want a purer rendering. So, how to solve the dilemma: Create A Market. Use 1Jn1:9 and ask Father in Son's name for better translations. Go over the problem with your friends. If the publishers can JUSTIFY a purer translation, they will make one. All depends on the market. Better still, create a market for more teaching from the Original? Vote In Prayer And In Your Volitional Choice Of How To Study...]

      My all-time favorite verse is Heb11:1, which uses the keyword HUPOSTASIS. That very word is the Exact Structure Of Everything In The Universe, A Two-Sidedness. Hypostatic Union, actually. Purposeo.htm's "Due Diligence" section explains. It's a keyword for Christ in Hebrews (ties back to Heb1:2 or :3), and if you don't know that, you screw up Heb11:1's meaning. Verse is all about how Learning and Living on Doctrine is the HUPOSTASIS of the Trial -- great play on words, especially to reference the two-sided meaning of YHWH, which itself is a Hebrew concatenation of hayah+hawah, again -- Hypostatic Union. Study the verse, see for yourself. Translating it is.. well, impossible. I keep trying, though! So sometimes, the literal and the idiomatic meaning need to be referenced (two-sided REALITY, SUBSTANCE, CURRENCY, ESSENCE) -- well, you can't cram all that meaning in English!

      Wordplay is central, in Bible. You won't get the meaning of a verse until you understand its own wordplay. Etymology of words is frequently used as the basis for the wordplay. So, for example, 1Cor13 keeps on being missed as a HEAD metaphor, Canon: Christ's Thinking In Writing. So to get the wordplay, you have to get into the original languages. For 1Cor13, the introducing verse is 1Cor12:31. Huperballw is that which 'surpasses', rises above, the Body, which is the Head. Paul started talking 'head' concepts, in 1Cor1:5. Kephale means literal head, so figuratively means Authority, Ruler. And Rulership always means His Word, with stress on the authority. So Paul begins that BASIS right away, in 1Cor1:5. Theme continues throughout the epistle.

  • Greek drama usages/metaphors: idea that if Attic is deliberately used, that's an interpretative key. (This is also a syntactical font.) Frankly, most teachers today pooh-pooh the frequency of Attic uses in the NT. Very sad, because they miss so much that way! John 1, John 3, 1Jn and Rev are couched in Greek drama concepts. (John must have been an avid fan of Greek drama. His introductions are so vivid, you can feel what we moderns would call "the curtain going up".) So, people miss the meaning, because they'd have to know Greek drama ideas are used to communicate; so naturally they misinterpret the verses. Romans 8 is also loaded with Greek drama overtones, and tells a play-within-a-play; rolling to a series of crescendos from v.1 onward.

      Here's a really important example. Greek verb sunergew causes scholars no end of problems. It is used in Rom8:28 and James 2:22, very famous verses. VERB IS INTRANSITIVE. Meaning, that the ACTOR in the verse HAS TO BE GOD. So, in James 2:22, you can't interpret "faith works" as your faith, but as the DOCTRINE (first meaning of "pistis" in Greek), since that comes from God. Same, for Romans 8:28, "GOD WORKS ALL THINGS", not the things doing it themselves. See, "God" is in accusative case, because it's bad Greek to repeat His name again, having been the Object of "to those who love". Accusative case in Greek drama is most-stressed HERO case. So the hero in Greek drama, got all the TRANSITIVE verbs. But God is superhero, even able to convert INTRANSITIVE (villain's) verbs into success, "agathos", a term meaning Only Divine Good, and never human good (see Plato's Philebus, for example). So you can't interpret either passage as something man does. So all the dingbats chanting these verses as if they merit something, well.. don't know their Bibles.

      Another important example: Luke was a doctor, so had to learn Attic Greek to BE one. So, he uses Attic constructions, which make it clear that so much of what Christianity pants after in Acts.. were dingdongs. Not to be emulated. So learn Drama Greek, so to separate the goatish interpretations from the Shepard's Meaning.

  • Rare constructions like intransitive-becoming-transitive (2 verses in NT, one of which is Rom8:28, another which is Jas2:22; or, like the Attick accusative of object-and-result, in Eph1:7 and Col1:14). Here's a biggie which every Bible egregiously mistranslates: Eph2:10 uses the IONIC DATIVE OF PURPOSE. It's covered at length in LvS4b.htm -- "Father's Criteria" table. You'll be surprised! (The way the Holy Spirit orchestrated my learning the value of this passage is a dramatic story itself, and is covered there in tiny font. Use that story's paradigmal elements to look back on your own life and see His Orchestration for you!)

      Here's a truly rare construction everyone seems to miss, but no one would want to miss: John 3:16. In it, you have a fabulous stressing of HUPOSTASIS. There are Two Result Clauses, one beginning with hoste and another beginning with hina; within the hoste clause, is Attic Drama accusative of object-and-result, being "Son" (huios) and "uniquely-born" (monogeneis). That structure really really matters, because in Drama Greek the two-ness stress in the STRUCTURE was important, depicting UNION: He is First God The Son, with the result that He also becomes Humanity (see Heb10:5), get it? See how it matters to know which kind of Greek you are translating? If you mistake this verse for koine, you'll mistake the double accusative for accusative of apposition, just two direct objects, not noting the relationship between the objects. So, Bible Greek scholars even as (imo, deservedly) venerable as Daniel Wallace teach Eph1:7 and Col1:14 as koine, but they are not koine. So, extra treasure in those verses, gets missed. Of course, Fourness, in the two two's, is Biblical number of completeness. (How any human being can possibly think Christ was not Divine at Birth is totally beyond me.)

  • References one writer seems or does make to another's work, like in 1Pet1:3-5. ('Which seems to reference Eph1, borrowing from its wording -- or, to denote that such wording was commonly used?) Of course, seeing references which aren't there is an eisegetical blunder (e.g., thinking "last trump" verse is referenced by the 7th angel's trumpet, in Rev -- see Lvs4a.htm and its subpages, RevPlay.htm and LordvSatan5.htm). This is a keyword problem, and it is normal to screw up. People think, for example, that the Door of Salvation, and the One KNOCKING on the door of Laodicea, both mean that the Laodiceans, weren't saved -- um, but CHURCH means BELIEVERS. So "door" has more than one meaning. Keyword misdefinition problem, easily fixed. Keep on plugging when you think you have a connection, vet it thoroughly. I can't tell you how many times I THOUGHT I found one which wasn't there, myself.

      1Jn1:9 is always critical, but especially here. Saves a LOT of wear and tear to stay 'online' with Him, because the Holy Spirit will ALERT you that something's wrong or missing! God knows, I've had to revise the webpages a bizillion times for mistakes, and Part IV of the Thinking series took FOUR YEARS to vet, because I kept on having BETTER connections, but not until 7/2004 with the Daniel Timeline, did I have sufficient FIT. So plugging and being online -- BREATHE 1Jn1:9, even if you're not sure! -- my pastor says he just uses it in case he forgot something, if he didn't remember using it for awhile. Great advice. I can't LIVE without 1Jn1:9!

  • Indirect and direct discourse, and especially, telling the difference between the two. Conjunction hoti is often used, but more often NOT used, to introduce a quotation. Legei or some morph of graphw are used -- but again, more often not used. That's just for quotations -- because, thought flow is so fast, the writer just launches into a reference or verse snippet. The Lord in particular is very fond of quoting indirectly, and changing a keyword or two to make His point (concatenation, again). That's a frequent rhetorical device of Bible writers, too. So if you mistake what's not a quotation but a reference or even a classification of verses, as IF a quotation, you can spend a lifetime trying to find what verse is being referenced. Test the words for sense, save yourself time, lol.

      Interpretative quoting is often indirect. Idea is that, since Scripture is so well known to the audience, focusing on a KEY CONCEPT, like James does in James 4:5 (and the Lord does, constantly, in the Gospels) -- is evocative enough of the (usually multiple) verses in question, the verse doesn't have to be quoted. It's very common throughout Bible, which is another reason why you need to think thesauretically and become familiar with Bible keywords. When interpretative quoting is DIRECT, as in the flipping of Jeremiah 31:31-34 in both Heb8:8-12 compared to Heb10:15-17, a particular word change is being highlighted. Makes all the difference in interpretation -- took me a month of hearing my pastor repeat the latter passage, before I got why the Holy Spirit made that particular switch (reversing "heart" and "mind") -- see Heb101517.htm.

      Famous example everyone screws up is Jas4:5, which is incorrectly treated as quoting some portion of OT -- which portion, no one finds, of course. And why? Oh: simply because some scribe capitalized PROS, and inserted punctuation in the wrong place (original manuscripts didn't do either, and scholars all know that); also, because the translators forgot that "pros" also means "against" when they translated that verse. Truly weird, that they let stand the senseless translations which all make God look like He's Jealous (a sin). Not just in the English translations, either -- only one version of the Spanish Regina Valera (an interlinear, by LaCueva) used the Spanish "hacia" in a way you could SEE it meant "He speaks AGAINST jealousy". I use this verse to test what Bible to buy, and thus bought that one. My pastor's exegesis of it is in Bumpkin.htm -- search on "Jas4:5". Better still, get his tapes. I'm writing these sites to understand his teaching and thus Bible better, not to pinch-hit...

      Translation gaffes like in Jas4:5 are many. It's hard work, though, to translate and teach! Well, everyone's human, and no one can survive without 1Jn1:9! Most of our Bible scholars, teachers (etc.) in ANY denomination are truly gifted, hardworking, sincere folks to whom we frankly owe our lives -- but no car runs without GAS, whether a Volkswagen or a Maserati; and Satan's substitute 'gas', just fills one with a lot of hot air, so competence normally present, blows up!

  • Parallelisms and Irony. These are all over Scripture. Parallelisms, like concatenation, are extremely important semantic structures in the Bible: probably, the most important technical writing structures to seek. You'll never understand prophecy, else; you'll never understand Doctrine, else. Spotting them is worth a bizillion dollars in doctrinal capital for your own spiritual wealth. A "parallelism" is a structure which takes two or more metaphors and compares them, in order to memorably teach something important. Structures of three parallelisms are called "anephora", and are a rhetorical device (Modern Greek uses it still). Kinda like Caesar's, I came, I saw, I conquered, there's a rhythm to it. More importantly, the three-tiered anephora is NESTED, so that the parallels go out in many directions, corollaic.

    Usually, the parallelisms, like concatenation, are funny (haha, or smile-ironic). Wording is almost always very witty. Romans 4:5 is a great example, but only in Greek: the more you work for salvation (or 'for God'), thinking you're EARNING WAGES, the more you make yourself go in debt! The two parallelisms are wages and debt (or, working vs. crediting, if parallelling the four participial verbs -- verb VOICE parallels are critical to the humor and the interpretation).

      My pastor has discovered one he can't find anyone else referencing, so calls it (thus far) the "Thieme Rule of Parallel Consideration". Example is in Rev3 on Laodicea, where "lukewarm" and "gold" are the two parallels. This is a new thing for me to write about (I heard it in 12/2002 for the first time), so what I say about it might be somewhat incorrect. Briefly, the rule goes like this: if you find a metaphor describing a problem, look for a metaphor describing the solution within the same passage. In that passage, the parallel is really obvious, for the way that the Laodiceans GOT hot water from Hierapolis was by spending money to build a pipeline to their town -- but in certain seasons of the year, the water cooled off by the time it got there, so was only medicinally good as an emetic! So, the Lord counsels them to buy Real Gold (a frequent metaphor for Bible Doctrine, in Bible, aka "truth", "wisdom") -- i.e., so they can pipe the HOT Doctrine into themselves! very funny!

    Probably the most sophisticated parallelism I've seen in Scripture so far is in 1Cor12-13. All of 1Cor is awesome, not at all the shallow how-to-behave, ohh-ahh-spiritual-gifts interpretation generally sold. It's All About Head, And How Head Will Attach To Your Body, because You are part of the Body of Christ. Metaphors have a LOT to do with sex in marriage and body parts, so of course your average teacher would be somewhat constrained to tone down how bald Paul is -- Paul, the only virgin apostle! Look: it's really stupid that the immoral get to so color the word "sex" that we can't even talk about it the way GOD means it, as a holy and wonderful thing between two married people, representing (as my pastor likes to remind us) COALESCENCE OF SOULS. Not the cheap nonsense pandered everywhere by everyone who thinks like an animal, flashing their mere skin as if that wasn't gross. So don't think what follows is meant in that tawdry vein...

      The analogy starts right away in 1Cor1:5, about what is being built IN the head -- namely, His Head. It goes on from there. Awesome. KEYWORDS are critical, and THESAURETICAL meanings (you know, a head THINKS) are vital, to get the glory from this Bible Book. So Paul focuses on the REPRODUCTION of this Head into the Body of Christ. Uh-oh, lots of marital sexual innuendo, ONENESS, John 17! So what Paul did in Chaps6-7, he basically repeats in Chaps12-13: 6-7 are individual parallelisms between the spiritual life and marriage; 12-13 is the macro-epic side, very Greek-Drama style. Paul lays out this elaborate parallelism among the purpose of God, the building of the Body of Christ, and the building of the Head of Christ FOR the Body: Canon, Christ's Thinking In Writing, a promise which goes back to Jer31:31-34 (a sibling parallelism is in Heb8:8-12 through 10:15-17).

      Body is obvious in Chapter 12; but not so obvious in Chapter 13, where "love" and "perfect" refer to CANON, which is Christ's Thinking (1Cor2). In the Greek, this tracing of the parallels is easier to do, because there's an obvious Greek rhetorical structure called "anephora": a kind of threesomeness-of-comparison. The overall threesomeness is Body, Head, Canon, between Chaps 12 and 13: within that threesomeness are nested other types, which if you even read the English with your brain on, you can section off and examine. You can't follow the flow of Chapter 13 if you don't recognize the anephoric structure of Chaps 12-13.

      So Paul stresses the anephoric meaning by constantly grouping concepts in nested threes. Further, he uses the key word "meros" (part of a WHOLE) in Chapter 12, then strategically places MEROS in the verse which has the clause "when the COMPLETE has come" (English translates it "perfect", instead of "complete", so you miss the meaning). It's VERY strong. So, you know that tongues, miracles, etc. are to be REPLACED by the "better things" 1Cor12:31 points AHEAD to (Love, Completion of Canon, Chap13). There's much more to say about this passage, but try using the above clues to parse the concepts in those chapters. See if you don't notice things about the flow which before had escaped your attention. [Note to self: parsing is in L1626 notes. Class itself wasn't on parsing except for the comment about meros; L1625 had passing comment about anephora. The two turned on the lightbulb to the flow.]

      Oh: there's an oft-misinterpreted phrase in 1Cor13:12 which you'll need to know about, when you parse. the "I will know even as I am known" is completely screwed up: it has to do with getting SCRIPTURE, not with dying and going-to-heaven. See Gal4:9, where the FULL sentence of that same structure is used. Parallel uses are 1Cor8:2-3, 1Jn5:20; all of 1Jn is on the mechanic: God's Knowing Is Caused To Be In You, as a result of which you are in fellowship with Him. Like-mindedness. [John 8:55, 10:14, 13:7, 14&17 (each whole chapter), 15:15 and like verses seem to be the source of this wordplay.]

      Know also that in Greek, when the verb is in the passive, and you have a case ending of agency, and the agent is a PERSON -- God, in Gal4:9 and 1Cor8:3 -- you must translate the PASSIVE verb as being CAUSED BY the PERSONAL AGENT. Moreover, in those two passages preposition/prefix Hupo is used, denoting SOURCE. So, the correct rendering would be I will know even as I am caused to know BY GOD. In 1Cor13:12, Paul didn't stick in the "by God", because the phrase was then common, so the audience knew what was left out; akin to just saying "Clinton", with no further elaboration. Warning: I think somewhere in my websites I too used the screwed-up interpretation of the "even as I am known" to reference post-death. It's not that the point is untrue, but it's clearly not what Bible means by those verses' words. Gal4:9 makes that fact clear, even in the screwy English: how can Paul be telling the Galatians they already know as they are known, since they aren't dead yet? So, then: the phrase references being caused to know God BY God: and in 1Cor13:12's context, it's using anephora to explain the pre-Canon childish Way (name for Christianity at the time Paul wrote); compared to the post-Canon completed, adult Way. Whew. When I find my own blooper, I'll fix it. Yikes!

    Parallelisms don't only occur for problems/solutions. Lots of other pairings occur: cause/effect, obverse/reverse, male/female. Concept of pairing/opposites of many kinds probably give rise to this use of parallelisms, in Scripture. God Loves Turning Things On Their Heads, And His Ironic Humor Matches His Ironic Nature. Pay special attention to any ironic parallelisms, and think them over very carefully. These are stated both baldly and conceptually. The latter is only found when you evaluate the meaning of the narrative, parable, or explanation. Examples are: dead but alive again, not-my-people become my people (Hosea), lost but found (Gospels), valley exalted (Isa), can't live until it dies (Paul's body analogy in last half 1Cor15), "unpresentable parts" (lit., private parts) being the more honored (1Cor12:20ff), term "Immanuel" (God with us), poor-rejoice-in-wealth (Jas 1, but also common in OT), sterile-bearing (Isa54:1), and many others. Looking at irony in the Bible will unveil a whole lot of what Christendom has missed seeing from its founding. The writers of Scripture were keenly aware of parallel irony. We should be, too. The original-language texts have a great deal more parallel irony than the English renders; but there's so much, you could learn even in translation.

      The most ironic parallelism in the Bible is the Cause of Our Salvation: 2Cor5:21. That whole Chapter is critical. The Lord Was Made Sin So We could be Made Righteous. NOTE WELL: God Made Him Sin; God Makes Us Righteous. Right away, you know you can't lose salvation, since ONLY God does the 'making'. Moreover, what is more ironic? From this and the other myriads of parallelisms strewn throughout Scripture, one should hear this screaming fact: what's "bad" is what's MADE most glorious. You never ever ever need to feel that a bad thing happening to you or anyone else is for nought. Instead, reckon it to be a greater benefit, since the Cross itself is structured that way!

    All prophecy in the Bible is double-entendre (dual-application, a type of parallelism). People who don't know the parallel will misinterpret prophecy, and thus potentially wreck their spiritual lives. Isa7's prediction of the Messiah being born of a virgin (not merely a young woman -- poor scholarship always 'forgets' to compare Scripture with Scripture) is FIRST routed in the time it was stated; the 2nd meaning is for a later generation, the one in which the 1st Advent occurs. So also, the Isa28:7-12 prophecy of tongues is to first warn Samaria, but also to warn of the TEMPORARY end of the age of Israel (the end of Samaria being the model for the end of the whole), and the insertion of the age of the Gentiles (a really big prophecy in the OT, has a lot of keywords to denote it). This, of course, happened on Pentecost (see Acts 2, where Peter explains it).

      Dualism/parallelism is so central to Biblical structure PRIMARILY because the Lord is dual-natured: God and human; also, because the Divine Nature itself is INFINITE, FULL-SPECTRUM, so has ironic 'poles'. Example of the latter: Righteousness ("+R") isn't Righteousness if ALL of its standards aren't met; but (other pole) the same would be true if +R couldn't WITHSTAND all, so for that SECOND facet, NO standards should EVER be met. Infinity itself, would have to encompass all yet take up no space or time. [That's how we know it's qualititative, not quantitative.. or, if you wish, some nonspacetime 'dimension', though the word 'dimension' itself is misleading.] Fixes.htm and SatStrat.htm each have a first subdivision which explore this God's Nature Irony in more detail, if you are interested.

    So, there are TWO Advents, not one; so, every prophecy, even though only belonging to Israel (hence, not to Church), is DUAL in meaning: near-fulfillment (to the generation first getting the prophecy), and far-fulfillment (to a parallel generation in some not-date-predicted future). What we call the Rapture (which is an Anglicized term taken from Latin Vulgate in 1Thess4) is an ENDING of Church, and a BEGINNING of the last 7 years of the Age of Israel. (LordvSatan4.htm's associated subpages provide a lot more detail on this and other prophecy issues.) See the pairing?

    One of the biggest classes of major misinterpretations in Scripture is the misapprehension of parallelisms, particularly in the OT. So many mission-critical Bible Doctrines are screwed up or missed, like the RESTORATION of the Earth, the SPIRITUAL DEATH which occurred when Adam ate the fruit, the fact that no life is in the womb, Hypostatic Union, etc.

      These misinterpretations come from a 'rule' someone long ago made up, which is demonstrably not true. I don't know who invented the rule or when, but it has been around for five centuries or more. Here's the historical, demonstrably incorrect rule, nonetheless faithfully followed in Bible translating: when Bible DOUBLES a concept or verb, it 'intensifies' the meaning. By Contrast, The Correct Rule, Which Is Almost Never Observed In Translations: When Bible Doubles A Concept Or Verb, It Distinguishes Disparate Actions/Ideas/Events Which Are Related. The Greater Intensity Is Due To The Nature Of The Relationship Between The Two. Sheer logic would tell you that the repetition cannot be God's Intent, especially since you have so many bald verses warning against meaningless repetition about prayer, in the Gospels. Sheer lawyering will tell you that you don't repeat a clause or verb used immediately prior except to CLARIFY or DISTINGUISH or CONTRAST something RELATED. God is more precise than the best lawyer. (Watch how Paul uses what seems like repetition to make very important distinctions, like in Phili2:10-13, Eph5:18, last half Rom5. Look how John uses repetition in verses like 1Jn2:4-5. Really, John spends all of 1Jn using repetition to CONTRAST AND COMPARE via parallelism. If you don't pay very close attention to the Greek word changes, you will miss what he means.)

      If you've got a searchable Hebrew (BHS) OT, search on mot(h)-tamut(h), which is the doubling of the qal infinitive absolute plus the qal imperfect (see Gen2:17, last two words). Compare to Gen2:16's doubling of akel, to eat (same exact structure). (Greek LXX structure to match this Hebrew one is precise, too, but the language works differently.) Try applying the preceding paragraph's underlined statement to the text. Then, do the same with any other doublings you like. See if you don't find the underlined statement to be far more appropriate, than the truncated, popular, soundbyte "intensifies" idea. Word is no soundbyte. We really should stop treating Him that way. So doublings should be treated by an emphatic adjective, alright, but also translate each doubled item SEPARATELY. For example, based on the text and on other Bible passages which elaborate on the meaning of the text, my pastor translates the last clause in Gen2:17 as "dying spiritually, you will die physically." The usual translation substitutes the first "dying" with "surely", thus entirely obscuring what God says.

      You'll find maybe 6 (I stopped counting then) other verses which use the exact Gen2:17 words: one is a qere reading (Gen20:7). Note how later passages effectively quote Gen 2:17's structure. Since there are maybe 100 other verses where a different doubling is normally used, to lamely translate mot-tamut as "surely die" isn't right: a DIFFERENT meaning is meant. You wouldn't have DIFFERENT doublings most of the time, but the Gen2:17 structure repeated only a FEW times, if it wasn't an important DISTINCTION. If you don't have a transliterating device to see the pronounciation, try to guess it from the letters (Hebrew letters are phonetic diagrams of mouth/tongue positions: "tet", for example, shows the tongue flicking across the back of the upper teeth; het is a closed hey; hey is very breathy, slightly open mouth, just as the name of the letter sounds. The letter "tau" mimicks how your tongue pushes sound THrough, so the left 'leg' is wiggly.)

    There are literally thousands of doublings, especially in the OT. NT's doublings aren't so easy to spot, but they exist: Paul likes doublings; 1Jn uses them also. Translations, as just noted, REVERSE the doublings to singles, so you almost never see the doublings (just as you don't see the soundplay, especially in the Hebrew). Anything the Lord says in the OT demonstrates wordplay/soundplay doublings: quite distinctive speaking style. Psalms uses couplets, and so do many other passages in Scripture (without the poetic tone of Psalms) to SEPARATE related ideas; to show causality; to show What Is Not The Same in clause/verb 1 and its 'double'. Again, in Gen2:17, you have a doubling of "muth", to show how Spiritual Death Causes Physical Death. You realize this is the setup from the doubling of "eat" and "tree" in the previous verses: "eating" is a metaphor for believing throughout Bible; "tree" is a result of what's produced by eating (for the seed of belief produces a spiritual crop, get it). So to REVERSE the coupled comparison by translating the doubling, "you shall surely die" is just plain dumb. It hurts to say "dumb", but it hurts worse to Miss This Doctrine. Now I understand why my pastor spent so much time explaining the meaning of the doubling in Gen2:17.

    Same, for treating Gen1:2 as a furtherance of Gen1:1, rather than an abrupt change. Which, even the text should tell you. However, the fake rule has been long taught in seminary, so no one bothers to check Scripture against the fake rule for what nonsense the fake rule makes out of the translations. That's why, for example, "Elohim", a PLURAL (really very funny, too, considering the phallic cult at the time), and verses like "Let us make man in Our Image" is NOT the 'plural of majesty' (another flavor in the fake rule family) but The Trinity Being Depicted. That's why you have to use a 'first name', like the Sacred Tetragrammaton, to distinguish Who in Trinity is In View. But, if you use the fake rule, then you can't 'see' Trinity in the OT very well.

      In Scripture, God is constantly making the point that Each Member Of The Godhead Is Separate, Co-Equal, And United By Love. That's why They Don't Choose to be Equal in Authority: "Father", "Son", "Spirit" are bald statements of that fact. Scripture's frequent clever display of Them as essentially Triplets is manifest by the "He" usage, Jehovah Elohim (well, "Jehovah" transcription uses "Adonai" vowelpoints), etc. God's Sense of Humor: see, you can't tell Us apart, and We will never choose to be apart, which is why Son and Spirit CHOSE to be SUBORDINATE though Equal, because Love subordinates. Authority subordinates by BEING Authority, so We All Subordinate, Constantly Choosing Dependence, though Infinitely INdependent. For, Love Subordinates. What a God! Who could even imagine such Persons!

      But of course, if you treat the Word as a soundbyte, essential meanings like these about the Trinity go unnoticed, and you have to convene councils and confessions over the centuries of Christian history, to guess at how God is. For Scripture translation, like everything else, is subject to political manipulation. Politics are a huge factor in all public phases of life: academia, science, business, government, and especially religion are peculiarly prone to good ol' boy networks and gerrymandering to 'cater' in the name of consensus. So Bible translation rules are largely dumb, however good seminary teaching might be: even 1st year seminary rules are largely ignored in Bible translating. Shouldn't be surprising, but it is...

  • TWEAKS. This is a major, tongue-in-cheek rhetorical style throughout the Bible, and it's used to memorably note the difference between what seems right or good, and what truly IS good. The following keywords are frequently used in tweaking style: "good", "works", "salvation", "save", "deliver", "God" (versus fake-god), "hope", "word", "life", "death", etc. A verse will take what's commonly considered "good", and then tweak that common definition to show the true one. This ia a common form of rhetoric in every language, but Hebrew and Greek linguistic structures are finely tuned to it. So, a translation will sound dour rather than funny. So you miss the humor in verses like "Stop being drunk, but be filled with the Spirit", as we saw earlier. Often, sarcasm is used (Isaiah 44-45); sometimes, reverse sarcasm (Isa53-55, how what seems a wasted and sterile life, bears unending progeny). The Lord is extremely fond of sarcasm, and uses it frequently in both OT when He speaks, and in NT: NIV notices sarcasm, and tries to translate it.

    Every Scripture author loves play like this. An easy way to see how tweaking is used is in Matt4: note the Lord's choice of words. Then, having seen the pattern, look for it everywhere else. The bigger uses of tweaking go undetected if you don't study in the original languages, because the tweaking is done by using keywords and syntax which in a translation are largely fuzzed over. So don't miss this rhetorical style, which itself is a form akin to parallelism. (Frankly, "tweaking" should be a separate webpage of great length!)

    There's a certain pattern to Biblical tweaks:

    • Look for verse pairs where the same keyword is REPEATED in the second verse. The second verse is the tweak, telling you how to interpret the first one. "Gain..gain", "work..work" (Phili2:12-13), "save..deliver" or "save..save", "save..sanctify", and "sanctify..sanctify" are samples to search. James uses a LONGER tweaking style, taking a whole chapter to explain "faith" (which means Doctrine, as you can prove by the context, esp. the "doer of the Word" verse), then TWEAKING the human-error ideas of works in Chapter 2.

    • Religious keywords in other faiths (i.e., gnostic) are tweaked by using THEIR terms. I can't believe that Bible debunkers are so dumb they don't 'get' the Bible's tweaking, and instead mistake the commonality of references to conclude that somehow the Bible 'borrowed' from other faiths. What rot. If they even bothered to be good scholars, they'd realize Bible's playing out a Monty Python skit, taking something in common pagan practice and satirizing it, yet at the same time showing how God really wants a thing. For example, if you spend time on the details of the Levitical sacrifices compared to practices in the region, you'll realize that God is Making Fun Of Sacrifice. Sinner gets fed choice meat that way! Oh well: scholars have blinders, too...

        The OT does this in practically every verse, and all God's ordained rituals tweak extant religious practices. (The humor is so awesome, I wonder how anyone got through the ritual without crying with laughter. They did do a lot of jubiliant shouting at the sacrifice, see TWOT on Isa54:1's Hebrew meaning of "ranan".) So, in the OT, words translated 'god' or 'demon', and all manner of phallic cult words are used to TWEAK their meaning compared to God's real meaning of intercourse. Extremely funny.

        In the NT, both the Lord and all the Scripture writers frequently tweak with keywords like "riches", "light", "darkness", "knowledge", "Word" (though that's FIRST an OT Hebraism). Paul and John are particularly fond of tweaking with these words. Peter likes tweaking his own name, since "Petros" means Chip Of The Petra, Bedrock, the Rock on which Isaac was almost sacrificed, which became the Rock on which the Ark sat in the Holy of Holies (now the site of the Dome of the Rock, in Jerusalem). Peter uses other "stone" words (lithoi, hupogrammoi), including precious hard items like gold and all manner of money words: he LOVES making analogies to gigantic funding required for a play (epichorigew), as does Paul (in Ephesians). The Lord of course liked using stone words, as in Matt16:18 and Revelation. The (post-Paul) writer of Hebrews likes to tweak the priesthood, in Chaps 5-10, and uses the PETRA word in Heb6:18-19 (allusively). Extremely funny!

    • Sometimes a tweak is accomplished by comparison of dissimilar words which you wouldn't think should be paralleled, or to the OT version, to show the Change Christ Wrought Due To His Victory. Quick example is in Heb5:8-9, emathen epathen: it's a paronomasia which basically begs the question, is it suffering, if it's learning? Then there are shorter versions, like the famous Heb10:5 (compare to Ps40:6) and Eph4:8 (compare to the OT quote), showing that instead of men giving gifts to God, God Does The Giving. Very funny. Peter loves tweaking by attaching the prefix "hupo" (under, subordinating), idea that only by being a slave, are you free. He uses the word "huparchein" in 2Pet3:11 as a conceptual palindrome, alluding to the Royal Family of God: the Ruler (references Pleroma) is the Most Ruled. Very humorous and true. [Even funnier is the fact that "hupo" also is used to designate SOURCE, as in the Gal4:9, idea that God CAUSES, is the SOURCE of your knowing (improperly translated). So the SOURCE of being RULER or RULED, is God. Surely Peter knew this by 2Peter, because Galatians had been penned a good 10 years prior, and Peter recommends Paul's letters at the end of 2Peter. Frankly, if you look at how frequent hupo-concepts are honored, you'll realize that authority was much more respected in the ancient world, than today. Man has regressed backwards, devolved.]

    • 'One-liners' which are sarcastic indicate that what went before, is tweaked. KJV phrase "Verily, they have their reward" is typical of this genre of tweaking. Often the sarcasm is invisible in the English, and is always invisible to those of a legalistic frame-of-mind. So that's why you often see in Christian cable and television the exact same behavior the Lord condemned in the Gospels: long prayers, holy tones, singing instead of teaching, emotional and especially money pitches, flashy testimonies, near-death experiences; rituals, healings, revivals, diluted messages (full of repetition and histrionics, scant doctrine exposition), and especially, appeals to guilt (yet guilt is a paralysing SIN: Matt9). It's positively tragic how mainstream Christianity is exactly like the Pharisees or emotional cults prevailing in the Lord's day. Everyone sees Scripture and no one sees Scripture. Hiding in plain sight. Ergo, the loving tweak against the Pharisees and their emotional, circus counterparts: if they only knew how rich the REAL spiritual life is, they'd not even want to bother with all those cheap substitutes! Sorry, but even the most deemed-pleasurable immoral activity is BORING, compared to seeing Him in Bible! See: God replaces the addiction which is the sin nature, with Addiction To His Son. Heh.

    • Other tweaks can only be seen in context, or are very finessed. Story of Balaam is a tweak: poor guy could only bless Israel, and had to get his advice from an ass, meaning Balaam was a donkey (animal who is as stubborn as your hiney), yet has this great gift from God (whatever he says, happens). Sin is tweaked in that Paul was the most moral, and therefore the greatest sinner who ever lived. See 1Tim and Phili3:8 in context. Paul was also the greatest believer who ever lived, and he both tweaks himself as well as his lowest-beginning status, in 1Cor15:1-10, even though aware that he excelled all the other apostles. Tweaks always stress the unexpected, the irony, i.e., of low being made high, or high being made low. So Grace is stressed, by tweaks. Never expect that the look of a thing will correctly represent either essence, or outcome. For, nothing is impossible for Infinite God, and INFINITY means that all opposites are joined. Like in the 'unpresentable parts' passage of 1Cor12:19ff, another classic tweak. Like the fact that God the Son designed the reproductive organs and the eliminating organs to be right next to each other, and certifies Abram's covenant, with circumcision!

    A Great Deal Of Misinterpretation Of Scripture Occurs Due To Folks Not Recognizing This Tweaking Style. For example, there's the "gain..gain" verse pair in Timothy, where Paul talks about folks trying to get monetary gain from being considered holy, compared to the true profit of the spiritual life; the wonderful tweaking "work out your salvation" in Phili2:12-13 (or thereabouts), where Paul shows that it's GOD Who gives your salvation a 'workout' so you can be filled up to Pleroma. ['Ties to Eph2:10, 4:11-16, major theme of that Book; ties to Romans 8's imputed Righteousness (Romans 6, 2Cor5) at salvation getting filled up with Righteous Thinking of Christ (1Cor2)]. James uses tweaking in Jas 1:1-Jas2:26, the tweak itself being set up in a series of rolling crescendoes, one 'peak' of which is Jas2:18; which of course no one notices, lol. Faith without works is indeed dead, because the Word of God ("Faith" means Believed Doctrine, in most Scripture verses) never returns void: so believe it, for crying out loud, James says. Thus "Scripture is fulfilled" (verse 24 or thereabouts) when you become a "Doer of the Word" on the same level or better than Abraham. But of course, "better things have come" (2Cor5:17), and these "better things" (a favorite tweaking catchphrase in Hebrews) completely tweak all prior covenants, all prior ideas of good, happiness, rapport with God -- because the Cross is FINISHED, the major theme of Hebrews. So, see? There are lots of really critical interpretations which the tweaking style reveals. In a very humorous, memorable, relaxing manner!

  • THESAURETICAL WRITING. This Big-picture stylistic key is probably the most important interpreter of Scripture to seek when you study, and I wish I had more time to explain it: best I could do was to write using that style ("Thinking Out Loud" link at pagetop). [Actually, the writing process was really asking and recalling Doctrine, which is the normative command to every believer ("seek" verses plus verses like John14:26, etc.); then, writing what the connections and answers, etc. were. So the style which resulted wasn't something I myself noticed until the moment of writing; or, sometimes, long afterwards.] Romans and Hebrews are great books to read, even in translation, looking for how this style elucidates what God means. Yes, there are many mistranslations in those Books, but just keep on using 1Jn1:9 and keep on going over and over and over the verses, looking for thesauretical wordplay. Frankly every book of the Bible, and every verse, even the "begats", is rich with thesauretical wordplay.

    Here's why: because God is infinite, Everything Is Connected; so God communicates not only the fact He's The Author Of Scripture, but also How He Unites Everything, by means of this phenomenal writing style. So a word like "gain" is synonymally connected to "riches"; thus tweaking TRUE gain and TRUE riches compared to inferior ones, is a frequent wordplay in Bible. So use a thesaurus, learn how words are conceptually connected, especially if working with a translation; better still, use it in your head while studying in the original languages. Take care to study classical Greek culture, since so many of the Bible's words tweak that culture, thesauretically play off it.

    One of the most important thesauretical trackings you can do to see how the BIBLE defines a thing is by matching metaphors. For example, "water" is the most common metaphor for Scripture in Scripture. So when you see Gen1:2ff., God is telling you a lot more than the mere summary of how the Holy Spirit restored (yes, restored, not created) the earth. So, you aren't too surprised to discover that every time the Spirit is mentioned in Scripture, He has a "restoration" role, except on that unique occasion where He bings in the remaining 23 chromosomes to the virgin Mary (thereby resulting in the Virgin Pregnancy) -- though, even that activity is done to provide for the RESTORATION of mankind to God via the Uniquely-Born Human (monogeneis, in Greek; usu. mistranslated "only-begotten", translator should be spanked with a wet noodle). Learning the Truth, of course, is the followup Ministry to saving man, so when David says "He restores my soul", you not only see the Savior, but the One Who Empowered Him (cf John 1), and you know it's the Word David also has in mind.

      Notice that connection: Spirit and water, Spirit makes born or grow from what already exists, like a farming, a mothering: not that He can't do something else, but that as SOVEREIGN God also, this is what He does do. [Greek of 2Cor13:14 is so bald on the fact that They are Three Independent, Co-Equal Gods, only unfamiliarity with Scripture -- or laziness -- accounts for any other interpretation, sorry.] Spirit teaches Word. Remove not thy Holy Spirit from me (prayer by David). Ho, come to the waters (Isaiah). So you know when in Numbers 11:6(?) the Exodus generation says "Our souls are dried up" they are unwittingly confessing that they have no truth in them. Same kind of metaphor for the man who is a tumbleweed, a desert, etc. No water, no Word. So the Jeremiah (?) analogy of the well-watered TREE with deep roots, means a believer well-supplied with Bible Doctrine. So when Paul in Eph3:17 says (corr. trans.) "that Christ may be at home in your hearts WHEN YOU HAVE BEEN ROOTED AND ESTABLISHED/ GROUNDED in Love", Bible Doctrine is in view there also; water is, after all, what makes a plant ROOT and grow. [Nerd note: participles in Greek should be translated as preceding or underlying the main verb, which here is menw, to be-at-home, remain, stay, stay-faithful, etc. A participle is often best translated as a finite verb, especially when it is temporally used, as here.]

      So, when you see a WATER-RELATED verb like in Romans 5:5, and what is "poured out" is LOVE into the "Heart" (common Bible metaphor for the believing and thinking faculties of the soul), then you know that LOVE is used in Rom5:5 as a metaphor for Scripture, too. You also know that love is not emotional, for it's what you think ("heart" thinks, circulates thought). Of course, the most famous use of the LOVE metaphor to designate Scripture is in 1Cor13, where it also stands for the Head (indicated by hyperbole in 1Cor12:31, and its cognate verb in Eph3:17), which is to say Christ (which is also another metaphor for Scripture, as in 1Cor2:16, since Scripture is the Thinking Of Christ). 1Cor13:4's machrothumew means NOT SWAYED BY EMOTION (root sense that any emotion sits alongside, not interfering), so that verse is one more "witness" to show Scripture does NOT mean the 'normal' definition of love in the Chapter. Heh: see how Vast A Genius it takes to link all these metaphors so flawlessly throughout Scripture? See how important thesauretical tracking is to really being sure what Scripture, not some human, says it means? (A good pastor does this tracking, and does it in the original languages; the actual tracking can take all day for just a few words!)


    Syntactical 'flags'

    The purpose of a flag is to call attention to something. Like, to the signature line in a document you give someone to sign. There are an amazing number of ways to flag things in Greek. What follows are only a few of them, typed as fast as I could think of them:

  • Cadence. Words have sounds, and strings of words have sound patterns. These patterns are used in poetry, song, and rhetoric to give a certain FEEL to the message which adds to the import of the message itself. Bible is very keen on using sound for this purpose, which makes sense, given the to-the-ground milieu of humanity, both past and present (technology doesn't free us from driving to the drycleaners, for example). Whether one can read or not, one's life is mostly spent doing things all day, so by thinking about what one heard, or by telling those nearby, sound became an important element in understanding and remembering. We all much more enjoy hearing something than reading it, if the telling is well-done. Movies wouldn't be popular, else.

    "Cadence" examples: rat-a-tat-tat makes you think of drums or gunfire; bilauw bilauw bilauw (Isaiah) makes one think of slumber or drunken/drugged speech; and Here! and Here! and Here! in threes, is sort of majestic, measured, military. Teet-teet-teet-teet makes one think of nagging, an insect, or Morse Code; awwwwww or ahhhh sounds give a sense of empathy. Of course, each language has its own versions of these sounds. The discipline of philology pays a lot of attention to the meaning of sound. Mario Pei wrote a lot of books on the topic (there are others, but I can't get any philologist I have contacted to recommend anything).

    So, then, look for repeated meters, sound patterns, clauses which 'match' or seem as though they are being set in some kind of relationship to each other. Translations often screw these up, so for THIS type of usage you'd need something like two translations to work with: one which tends to screw up by being too literal, and one which tends to screw up by missing cadence, but getting the meaning fairly accurately. For example, the KJV is pretty literal, and suffers mostly from being based on Textus Receptus and the Vulgate. Young's Literal Translation is downright funny, but when it comes to looking for PATTERNS, his translation is pretty useful. NIV manages, more than the other English translations, to convey flavor in the underlying original-language texts (but occasionally mangles a verse more than other translations do -- this flaw is really no less than other translations, though). NASB tends to be too gray-meaning, but tries to be literally-based.

    Good sample passage for seeing the role of Cadence is 1Jn1:6-10. John adores Greek drama. In Greek, the first four verses are (for us) like a curtain going up: verse 5 is the proverbial 'theme' of the play. Verses 6-10 have a three-claused cadence, which fortunately in English is preserved. [A "clause" consists of a subject and a verb, maybe with an object -- communicates a point or idea of its own. Note how the clauses link VERTICALLY as well as horizontally: first clause in 6 allies with the first clause in each of the other verses; so also, the second, etc. That tells you a lot about the mechanics of the spiritual life, which is of course appropriate to say there, given the 'theme' of verse 5. Check it out. (Actually, he does clause-matching in his entire epistle. In English, one will fall asleep reading, since the same WORDS are repeated so often in seemingly-simple mathlike equations; so drink coffee or guarana or something to stay alert. 1Jn1:9, better still!) John is soo cool. He always uses OT concepts and OT vocabulary, but PICKS among that vocabulary what has resonance according to GREEK ideas. Thus he tweaks the gnostics, using some of their buzzwords, but with the OT meaning, to show -- hey, you guys are off-base. Word and Light, for example, are two gnostic buzzwords, but WAY before them, they were God's buzzwords. "From the beginning"! It's clear in 1John what "fellowship" is; it's clear in 1Jn how works DON'T do anything, if one is walking in "darkness"; it's clear that one must "abide" in the Spirit, to even be living the spiritual life. How simple, how clear, how is it then that Christianity doesn't "get" 1Jn? Of course, like everyone else I had looked at it for years, too, and only in the last 7 "got it", what he meant in the text. OOOPS! Oh well...]

  • Finesse. The purpose of finesse is to make a statement in such a way that you simultaneously understand it, and yet don't feel insulted/intimidated. There's always some undertone of encouragement, or intimacy. It's a frequent occurrence, in the NT. Paul uses finesse in Romans 1-3. Another common kind is using finesse to communicate commands. 'Like at the end of Eph 5, the command to the woman. Like in Matt 9, the Lord's command to the paralytic. Idea of NOT using imperative brusquely. Satan used the imperative-of-entreaty in Matt4:3. Another really cool use is the third-person imperative, which the stupid English poorly translates with the word "let" (him, us). Abominable! You miss the humor as well as the CERTAINTY that way! Yet another category of imperatival finessing: the verse "There is no other Name [Person, Reputation: Greek "onoma"] given among men whereby we MUST be saved." Finally, there is the me+imperative-of-prohibition. That means to "stop doing something you are already doing". English translations typically translate "me" as "not", so you get massively-wrong ideas from reading verses like "Be angry, and do not sin" -- which should be translated, "Stop sinning by being angry" or something like that. Amazing!

    It seems as though the usage of double accusatives in a verse is a type of finesse, though perhaps another descriptive term would be better. It is CERTAIN, however, that in almost every verse where there is more than one accusative 'object', it is mistranslated, or misunderstood. (Note: the accusative is the object case, often, and is often three words which go together, not just one: usu. an article +adjective +noun/pronoun constitute one accusative 'object'.) Good examples of these are James 4:5 and Romans 8:28. Also two other verses, Eph1:7 and Col1:14 (in "Rare Constructions", above). With those two, the confusion seems to be classifying WHAT Greek a double accusative is: a real tragedy, for if one stops using 1Jn1:9 due to misinterpretation of those two verses, the spiritual life freezes. Yet another kind of example pertains to more than one accusative CLAUSE. Eph2:10, and especially, Eph4:11-16 are really screwed up in the English. Instead of the Greek meaning of GOD DOES THE WORK and PASTOR VIA SPIRIT does the work, the English makes it sound like believers do the work. Really bizarre. (LvS4b.htm, "Father's Criteria" table, too! briefly covers these two passages. Better still, get a program like BibleWorks and parse/diagram the passages yourself. The mistranslation will be obvious, as it is the word ORDER in the English which makes the English translation, mislead.)

      Yet, let's just focus on what seems to be the overall problem translations have: they don't seem to 'know', or worse -- won't commit to, what object goes with what explicit or implicit verb(s) in the clause. Sometimes, the object is only referenced via the (nee: "definite") article, but was named several verses above; maybe translators, being human, get confused? (Peter often says "Him" or "That One" to mean The Lord. I find myself doing it, too: because it's really hard to type the Lord's First Name. Seems somehow disrespectful, dunno why.) In any event, watch out for double objects -- or, when you run across a verse which seems fuzzy or bizarre, check to see if there's more than one accusative object in the verse.

      Maybe more often, it's just untranslatable, so the harried translator takes his best shot -- or, follows what has been the accepted meaning. That's partly what's been wrong with Jas4:5 (Bauer Danker in Bibleworks noted it was a "tradition" problem). For example, Hebrews 11:1 kinda defies ONE wholly-accurate translation, because the genitive PLURALS going with the SINGULAR nominatives, have the effect of pointing BACKWARDS (the normal structure) but ALSO forwards. Because, each nominative in the verse, is the OBJECT of the genitival participals. So, you'll see this verse attempt to match "elpizomenon" to "hupostasis" (which is true -- the latter is the OBJECT of hope, pistis being His Thinking and therefore the SUBJECT/CONTENT of the confident believing). But it first belongs to "pistis" (Bible Doctrine, His Thinking). So, when multiples of the same case exist and they have MORE than one 'tie' to other words in the verse, well.. it's God's Genius.. which defies translation. Good Thing He Preserved Scripture!

  • Use of pronouns and demonstratives, like the relative pronoun hos (e.g., in 1Tim2); also, is it used in its original attic sense? Pronouns and demonstratives (well, where demonstratives are not actually part of an idiom, like dia touto) are designed as 'pointers'. True flags, these, they help you determine WHO/WHAT is referenced; in Greek, the 'answer' to that question might be several verses BACK or FORWARD! So, knowing the pronouns/demonstratives are really helpful, especially for those confused by Godness (e.g., is God Trinity, is the Lord God-man, etc). I'm not sure you can do this tracing well in the English. I know folks have a lot of trouble with "He" and "Him" clauses. A frequent mistranslation of hos is 'what' rather than 'who', DESPITE CONTEXT. It's uncanny how often this mistranslation occurs when God is intended -- and especially, the Holy Spirit: viz 2Thess2:6 (covered in "Near-and-Far Keywords", above).

    Of course, as mentioned at length earlier, houtos in Matt16:18, coupled with Petra, leaves NO doubt that the Lord is pointing to Himself. The demonstrative is often used to POINT as with a finger. English doesn't often render houtos as "this one" but "him", etc., translating it idiomatically, so you MISS the keyword. LOL, no matter how translated, something is missed.. nothing's infallible, but God, thus God's Inspired Texts...

  • Hapaxzlogomenas. This means the term is only used ONCE ("hapaxz" means "once") in the NT. So such words are very important.
  • Nuances, like subjective versus objective genitive, especially where both ideas are intended (in 2Cor5). Such nuances explain causal relationships, often. If you don't know that there is some double-entendre nuance in the Greek word's case, you miss some critically-flagged points. Example, in 2Cor5, Paul is explaining how our irrevocable salvation was bought by the Son via substitution, how thus let's also substitute so as a result His Love grows in us as we spiritually grow. So the love of Christ (origin, His Love) becomes our love for Christ (object). Very Cool stuff! [BTW, the Hebrew really maximizes nuancing, too.] James Joyce likes it so much he quipped about it in the first substory of his controversial masterpiece, Ulysses: "subjective and objective genitive." Yes! And to think this Jesuit-trained guy's book was deemed too steamy for the prudish censors! They'd positively die if they knew how many swearwords there are in Scripture!

  • Synonymal nuances, like lupew versus metamellomai versus metanoew; or, like heteros versus allos. The first three, when traced, show that emotion is absolutely NOT the spiritual life. The last two, mistranslated "other" in most English Bibles, really mean "another-different" versus "another-of-same-kind". So, when Paul talks in Galatians about "another gospel", one might stupidly think there is more than one way to get saved!

  • So-called 'Mistakes', like use of comparative as superlative, or made-up words like megistos in Peter. (Koine doesn't have superlatives.) Another good example is the seemingly-strange word order in Rom8:28, after oidamen.
  • Verb tense, mood, especially in combination with other verbs's tense/mood in the passage context; culminatives versus constantive versus LAS/durative versus others. This is really important, so you can measure causes and results and frequency. Unfortunately English almost always doesn't convey these differences, so a lot of misinterpretation results, viz., not understanding that Acts 16:31's "shall be saved" is not future, but PERMANENCE-as-of-point-of-belief.

    Another big point my pastor constantly stresses: participles either PRECEDE the main verb, or are co-terminus with it. Causal linkage or precedence-in-time is indicated by the action of the participle. Again, misinterpretations abound if you don't understand the timing of the verb(s), and translations botch that clarification. Absolutely incredible examples of such ineptitude (sorry, there's no nicer 'name') are: Colossians 1:9 and 10. Unbelievable: 'translated backwards, in v.9 instead of following the Greek word order; but BACKWARDS again in v.10, instead of following v.10's participles' preceding timing, but only following the Greek word order! So the resulting English looks like "fruit" is works, instead of learning; exactly the opposite of the screaming point Paul makes! [They reversed v.9 to 'match' the word order in v.10, looks like: for, v.10 follows the usual Greek rule of listing FOUNDATIONAL or most important things last in a sentence. Modern Russian also has this feature. Yet Bible REVERSES that rule to stress a thing still further. (But I wonder if it's ATTIC rule to reverse, kinda like the use of accusative where a case should be nominative, in which case Paul is stating the SAME thing TWO ways: v.9, the Attic way; v.10, the koine way. I'd have to study more, to know.)]

  • Usage plays in the article, like monadic, familiarity/identity, Granville-Sharpe (sp?) hyphenations. "The" in English is what the "article" means, but the usage of the article in the Greek is often very different from the English. For example, if the Greek leaves OUT the article (called "anarthrous construction"), QUALITY is stressed (among other things). In English, leaving out "the" wouldn't make sense! Ergo, a lot of stupid stuff is going around these days, putting "a" where there's no Greek article -- Greek doesn't have an "a" type ("indefinite") article, so folks trying to make anarthrous passages like those in John 1:1ff, "a God" are insane! See also Romans 12:2, where "agathon kai euapeston kai teleion" is used. Means that all THREE things (highest intrinsic TRUTH values, well-pleasing, mature status quo: "teleios" is a keyword in Scripture for Spiritual Maturity through Pleroma) -- all THREE are ONE thing: God's Will.

    By contrast, when you have SEPARATE ARTICLES, monadically used with their nouns, linked with eimi, then you have an equality. even more so when the verb EIMI is understood, and is in ELLIPSIS. This is classic Hebrew way of stating TIMELESSNESS, and thus 2Cor13:14 shows THREE CO-EQUAL UNCREATED INFINTE SAME-ESSENCE/NATURE, INDEPENDENT! GODS (not hydra-headed Westminster Confession, for crying out loud). It's NOT polytheism to say "GODS". ELOHIM IS PLURAL, His Last Name: His, Father; His, Son; His, Spirit -- EACH UNIQUE. Nice that Bible doesn't tie itself up in knots over what "one" means. UNITED. CORPORATE NOUN. CORPORATION. But not, doggone it, hydra-headed. NOT DIMINISHED because INFINITE. So number doesn't diminish Godness -- it can't. Else, you and I couldn't be here, either...

  • Uses of prepositions, especially huper, ek, pros, eis, en. What's bizarre here is that these prepositions are very keenly taught in seminary, but students are not allowed to translate them properly. So, the Bible translations are generally wrong, as well. For example, "huper" (and "peri", for that matter) convey SUBSTITUTION-FOR, not merely the English "for", which conveys partialness. For another example, "ek", like its Hebrew counterpart 'min', means OUT FROM, SEPARATED FROM -- from outside, is the idea. But in our lousy English, "from" to us means from inside. So a whole lot of folks think soul life is in the womb. Really sad. For another example, "eis" has a causal meaning, designating RESULT. So, in Romans 10:9-10, a passage Christians have misused for centuries, is not "unto salvation" (KJV), but "because of, resulting FROM salvation". So much for the kooky idea that you have to say aloud that you believe, in order to be saved! (Well, it should be obviously kooky anyway, since Paul there tweaks the mouthing-fakeness of folks in Deut 30. See Moses' stern warning, there.) Oh, another thing about eis: it is often used as an "accusative of reference" (which I believe is an Atticism) -- so you'd not translate it "to" or "toward", but "with reference to" -- and then follow with the object of the preposition. That matters a lot in certain verses; entirely changes the interpretation! Brain doesn't remember the cites right now. So, try using "with reference to" in some verse which seems strange in the English, where you know eis is the preposition. See what happens.

    Sometimes prepositions aren't separately used in Greek, but rather by case endings. English has no case endings; So Prepositions Would Be Needed In English To Get The Critical Point Of The Verse: Examples are Eph1:8 and Col 1:9's usage of pasei sophiai: by means of GETTING "all spiritual wisdom" do you get the riches (Eph), and know His Will (Col). For, God's WILL is "IN" them. So if you get the understanding and spiritual wisdom, you then get His Will, because it was His Will for you to first get the understanding (etc); so you get them, you get His Riches.

  • Prepositions' cases in wordplay with other words in the same case, like Rom8:28's eis.
  • Etymological plays, where the origin of the word's root tells you some key to interpretation, like the many very different uses of baptizo; miano in Heb12; machaira in Heb 4 and Rev, versus romphaia. Another biggie, often paired, is the use of ouk and me, peri and huper. Peter likes these, but so did the Lord. Most of His quotes about being saved or getting eternal life (like in John 3) should have the English "not" (ouk) translated "never".

  • Isagogical plays, especially with military (or nautical) words like taxis and tachu/tachos; especially with polity/legal words like politeuma, or with lithoi/petros and the white pebble in Rev. (Nautical example: the "fall from grace" verse is really "drift off course from grace". Entirely different meaning!)
  • Paranomasias, even sacred ones like the double-'He'/'Him' wordplay when referencing Father and Son, like in 2Cor5:21, and the allusion to the sacredness of the Shema. Other examples: Heb 5:8-9, and the circumcision one in Galatians.

  • The humble "kai". "Kai" is usually translated "and" in English Bibles, though it has a number of flag meanings. "In fact" (emphatic use), "even" (ascensive use), etc. all FLAG the reader to whatever follows after it as being important. Not to be confusing (heh), but post-positive "de", which is often translated "but" has a transitional/next-conclusion usage, but unfortunately is often translated "and" in that case. Of course, if you're using a translation, how do you know which is being used? Aarrrgggh.


    Syntactical 'fonts'

    [This section needs a lot of rewriting, even more than the others. It's confusing, and not all what's listed as fonts belong here.]

    Syntactical fonts are used to call attention to key concepts which massively affect how you read the verse's import. Unlike flags, syntactical fonts are never subtle. Some fonts stress the smallness; others, bigness; some, separateness (very common). In short, the purpose of such fonts is to help you see the BIG picture, to show where a thing 'fits' in it: what's in foreground, what's in background, what's the relative proportion of thing "A" in God's Eyes to thing "B". Or, more often, to correct some errant thinking, by stressing the CORRECT place or the INCORRECT place one imagines a thing to fit. In fact, syntactical fonts can be quite offensive, like grabbing you by the nap of the neck, like a drill sargeant might do to a misbehaving recruit! So, English translations tone these down, lol. You know: Bible must be sweetness-and-light, must hide what the Holy Spirit really says!

  • dia touto and other Atticisms If you see these, Slow Down Reading And Pay Close Attention. To Whatever is in Attic, or follows some Attic 'heads up' idiom like dia touto (too often rendered "Because of this" or "therefore" in English, having no where near the punch of the Greek).

  • Anacoluthens. These are all surprise clauses, like the 'absolutes': accusative, nominative, genitive. Grab some advanced Biblical Greek textbook, like that of Wallace, to see the 'philosophy' behind the usage of a case. For example, accusatives are objects of action, but in Greek Drama, you STRESS the subject by using the accusative, not the nominative (the normal case for subjects); genitives are belonging-to's, so essentially convey RELATIONSHIP or OWNERSHIP, and have a host of very important corollary meanings (esp. in Bible) as a result. So far, I get the impression that the accusative absolute RANKS the individual above all others on a macro level, for accusative absolutes are the most dramatic way to highlight; I guess that's why Peter begins some of his verses with accusatives, when referencing the Lord; not a 'mistake' some so-called scholars accuse Peter of making. [Why they miss all the drama lingo Peter habitually uses, so don't clue in that the dramatic use of the accusative might be deliberate on Peter's part, I can't fathom; esp., since Paul and John do the same thing. Even I can see it, lol.] Nominatives are 'routine' uses, implying normalcy, regularity, etc -- but a nominative absolute seems to rank the individual's FUNCTION above all others (not sure yet, need to research more). Genitive absolutes are noted below, and seem reserved for split-screen use, separating the character(s) in the genitive from the 'background' individual(s) in the same sentence. Those in the genitive absolute are the 'good guys', so to speak (or, sarcastically, who thinks he is the good guy at the moment -- and really is, but NOT that way, at THAT moment! -- Paul, in Acts 21:14).

    [FYI: Those of us who grew up on Latin still prefer the more-descriptive eight (Latin) case divisions for the (fewer number of) Greek cases, so you might hear talk about "locatives" and "ablatives", etc. which in Biblical Greek are usually taught today under "genitive" or "dative", since the endings are the same. (Greek case names: nominative, vocative, genitive, dative, accusative.)]

    A whole lot of misinterpretations of Scripture come from not recognizing these absolutes (which are Atticisms, even if koine greek words are used). "Absolutes" are clauses GRAMMATICALLY UNRELATED to the rest of the sentence (hence the name "absolute"), BUT RELATED CONCEPTUALLY; and have the force of "hey, LOOK!", split-screen drama (viewing actions of two or more groups alongside each other), etc. These special clauses are formed by a substantive +participle (with or without an object), both of which are in the same case, i.e., accusative. Each case has a different function, so choice of case tells you HOW to interpret the clause in the sentence, in the passage, in the topics covered.

    "I come suddenly/soon" is an example of another anacoluthen: an interjectory clause (said by the Lord, in Gospels and Rev) -- it's interruptive. Ancient Greek drama used these a lot, e.g., in Aristophanes' plays the actor would suddenly spout something As An Actor, To The Audience, rather than speaking his expected lines. Yet, that interjection tells you something critical about how the topic applies. For example, it's so important you catch on to the Application To Your Life, that the topic-at-hand is interrupted by the interjectory clause. Or, the clause is stressing no relationship (which is the point of interrupting). Really neat way to grab one's attention! [TACHU is "suddenly", "by surprise", connotation of a thief suddenly breaking in on you. English nearly always MIStranslates this word as "soon", giving idiots who think they found a contradiction in Scripture a lot of embarrassment, if a knowledgeable Christian is in the chatroom...]

    I get the impression that some exegetes really hate anacoluthens. They call such usages poor Greek, and a bunch of other not-so-nice names. Sad: as if God is only allowed to use 'the King's English'! NB: Like the other absolutes, genitive absolutes are Atticisms. The biggest scholarship failure in Christendom, second only to the insane must-use-one-English-word-to-translate-one-Greek-word, is the lack of recognition of Hebraisms, Atticisms, etc. (Most Greek scholars miss these because the "ism" uses koine words?)

    GENITIVE ABSOLUTES spotlight, as well as stick out the way other types of absolutes do. So the substantive is in the GENitive case, and the participle, also in that case. In Acts, Luke uses about two dozen of these to spotlight Paul's fall and recovery, contrasted with the role/function of other 'actors' in the unfolding drama, beginning in Acts 21:14. In that verse, you see so much due to the genitive absolute: Paul, highlighted; the others, in the background. Paul, self-dramatic, putting even God in the background by the very "willing to Die!" attitude he exudes; but the others, quietly thinking via the "still, small voice" of the Spirit (not saying, English gets that wrong) "Let the Will of the Lord come to pass", in the imperative of toleration. Reflecting the Lord's Own Permissive Will that Paul be allowed to make his own mistakes. Even though the entire ministry is at risk. So, Real easy to see Paul's out of fellowship, there. Real easy to see it's the Lord's Will to NOT be activistic, NOT rebuke, NOT interfere with a stubborn carnality. Only in the Greek, of course.

      So, from that point on, the reader knows to track Paul's fall and Divine Deliverance DESPITE failure, and THAT's the highlighted meaning of the story. So, then: see how the Greek tells you how to interpret?

      Thus is portrayed What God Considers Important, Related: God looks at Paul; everyone else, is mere background. And why? Certainly not due to works, which is what got Paul OUT of fellowship, in the first place! Considering the context is Paul's failure and recovery, this use of the genitive absolute is very heartening to know! Look: religious types have always had trouble 'explaining' David's adultery, and ordered-murder of Bathsheba's husband; that Solomon, a child of that union, became king; that Moses murdered the Egyptian; that Paul was in chains. They just can't accept the obvious GRACE conclusion that only BEGINS with Eph2:8-9. It keeps on going! Grace Always, Not Works!

        So, today you hear tripe which is even funnier than the Japlish instruction manuals for electronics we buy: like, a person can't 'sin like that and be saved' (oh, Christ wasn't good enough?); head-and-heart belief (since when did belief take place anywhere BUT the soul?); Lordship salvation (as if dead people could make Christ ANYTHING!); spirituality = works, "faith without works is dead", using the phrase to REVERSE what James meant in Jas2:18 -- so works without doctrine is alive, maybe? Hmmmm: wasn't it called the Tree of the Knowledge of GOOD and Evil? So you can do something without the Lord's Thinking -- and it counts with the Lord's Father????!!! Yeah, right: anything to justify working working credit credit gimme gimme, the "trinity" religion (Satan!) worships. Worst kind of arrogance, that: per Philippians 3:8,19! Which Paul learned, as a result of his fall: will we? Probably not. We imitate Paul's failure, rather than his success. Which, in Acts, God has Luke spotlight, beginning with that fall. Deep lesson there, of grace. Tharsei, then! Use 1Jn1:9, forget what's behind, and press on like Paul did, only and always, in the Spirit!

      So many folks have misused the events in Acts, it's not even funny. Of them Paul later warned Timothy, in 2Tim2:14, to not wrangle over NON-essential trifling matters (logomachew, which only Thayer and Bauer Danker, properly explain yet no translation correctly renders). This is pretty ironic, since Paul is writing Timothy AFTER his own fall, and PAUL fell in Acts, due to logomachew -- wrangling with the Jews over their insistence on the now non-essential, Mosaic Law. Mistaking The Words' Form For The Meaning Beneath Them, so missing that Messiah Changed The Entire Meaning Of The Spiritual Life...

      Yet whole denominations are based on activities in Acts which the BIBLE deems mere ketchup, like whether you baptise, fast, wear hats, (etc., ad nauseam) or similar such BODY stuff which has zippo to do with learning Christ -- because, oh! the word Baptism is there! Yet these same denominations ignore what the Bible does stress: here, the occupational hazard of a mature believer.. failing due to religiosity, which is just as emotional as New-Age, or adultery. Yet not one in 1000 pastors, even understands Paul failed! They fail exactly like Paul was doing, thinking it some great martyrdom he was willing to undergo! Oh yeah: gimme gimme gimme some credit, God!

      See how vulnerable we Christians are, apart from the Holy Spirit? If religiosity can attack Paul a year after he had already died, went to Heaven, and was resuscitated (see 2Cor12); soon after he wrote Romans, a quintessential dissertation on why religiosity is evil; if Paul's failure is so routinely replicated by READING the very passage of his failure by thousands of undoubtedly-sincere pastors, even..how Great is God's Deliverance! For, at some point common sense must conclude, not blamesmanship against scholar incompetence; rather, that all this failure depicts the devastating blindness that sin has inflicted on us all, even though we are responsible for it. That all failure, then, is but a spotlight on the so-great salvation the Lord accomplished on our behalf. Oh sin, where is thy victory.. indeed. Let us be made genitive absolutes, then -- unrelated to our failure, quietly pursuing the One who pursued us, sitting in the background of history, learning Him!

  • Stresses like prolepsis, ellipsis, aposiopeia (e.g., Rom9:22), anephora. These are all rhetorical devices to express speaker/writer emotion toward the topic. There's an often-misinterpreted one in Matt24:24. There's NO "if IT WERE possible", but rather, "if possible". Someone stuck in a verb where it doesn't belong, and stuck in the WRONG tense! (In English, "were" is often the tense of assuming-true-though-NOT-true, so that's a BAD word to use here: should be NO verb, just as in Greek, to convey the same meaning.) So, Calvinists and others misuse the verse to claim that believers can't be deceived -- wrongo. Bible is rife with examples of believers being beguiled, right up to the apostle Paul himself, with that stupid vow (twice)! See why it's important to compare Scripture with Scripture, before running off with a cockamie interpretation?

  • Clauses written as 'asides' or afterthoughts: footnote font; e.g., works passages. The topic of "works" is typically displayed in three ways: a) language of accommodation for spiritual children; b) contrasting True Works with false ones (i.e., in Jas2:18-24 and Phili 2:12-13, Rev 20:11-15) c) distinguishing that Doctrine does all the real work, and all else is trash (ibid, plus Phili 3:8, and any of the Lord's comments on works in the Gospels). It's really important to look at the way Scripture talks about works, since so many people go off half-cocked and read any verse with the word "work" in it as if the spiritual life was 'works' (which it is not -- check out Rev20:11-15, and see how the GWTJ condemnation is based on works). But here it must be noted that translations all cut God's Head off in works verses. Two basic flavors of cut-off: Divine-Only-Verbs are translated as if human verbs (like sunecho, in 2Cor5:14, sunenergew in James 2:22 -- the "sun" prefix MAKES it a Divine Verb, see Thayer). Second flavor (and most common, in thousands of verses): anarthrous (no-fronting-article) nouns are ONLY Divine Actor nouns. But in translation, "Divine" is not added to the noun, so you think it's human. Since any noun can be made anarthrous, since that's a RED FLAG as to the Divine Actor -- and you learn this in first year of seminary, k? -- there's no excuse for the mistranslation. So some excuse for dippy Christians who don't learn Bible in the original languages, to IMAGINE it's their works or action. Sigh.

      But even translations can't mess up the order of topics presented. If you read the epistles, track how often and in what ORDER any works are mentioned. Generally, you'll find them AFTER something talking about KNOWING some Doctrine; or, at the end of letters, kinda like a reminder, be-loving, etc., just before the epistle ends -- a footnote rhetorical style, meaning that works are tangential, always to be done in the Spirit (which the original text makes clear, the translations fuzz out). For, works are to be applications of Doctrine LEARNED. That's why the order is KNOW-FIRST, then.. oh, here are some do's or reminders. Of course, any verse about works in the original languages stresses that it's GOD's Work, not man's, and that being Filled with Spirit and KNOWING Scripture WHILE doing the 'do' makes it 'count'. Else, wood, hay, stubble, dead works. See, when you write someone a letter, you stress the most important stuff, first; then go through corollaries, whatever. Then close with miscellany. That's a logic issue, which in every human society, is fairly common. But, of course, when it comes to BIBLE, logic goes out the brain.

      About 90% of Bible is about knowing something. Bible would thus be 10x smaller if spirituality was merely what you did with your body. Of course, what did Abram, David, Moses, etc. Paul, Christ DO? I can't find a single 'Christian' activity among them. Not one. Read the Gospels yourself: do you find Christ running revival rallies? Or did the crowds follow Him? Do you see Him promoting Himself? Or did He (Mark's Gospel) keep telling the Demons Advertising Him -- to shut up? Did He advocate giving, or did He praise the woman who only gave the two coppers due to what she was THINKING? Praise Mary (of Bethany? not sure which one) who brought Him the ointment, saying "the poor you shall have with you always, but you shall not always have Me." Hmmm. Not politically-correct, huh. In Dostoyevsky's "The Grand Inquisitor" chapter of Brothers Karamazov (Chap 19?) the Inquisitor arrests Christ because He's Not Politically Acceptable. Yeah. Never is. Rev17, however, depicts Today's 'Christianity' rather well...

      Works matter. In fact, works matter a lot more than Christians accredit! For, we dumb believers believe that putting a faggot on a fire, lighting a candle, sending money to Africa is 'good'. Instead, we are to be Learning To Be Kings, Which Requires A Great Deal Of Thinking. So, not qualified to 'do' anything until trained at a princely-level. So YES, works are important -- The Right Ones. Which Require A Lifetime Of Training. Of course, since the Lord spent 30 years in Training before He did anything, should be a big hint that God doesn't want His Royal Family slobbering over other people, misleading them as to the Nature of the RELATIONSHIP with GOD. Oh well.

  • Syntactical parentheses, like Hebrews 11. There, if you don't know you have a parenthesis, you miss the entire structure of the Book: Hebrews 2 begins with a warning, which is telling you the outline and purpose of the book; that warning is reiterated in different ways in each chapter, thus alerting the reader to a new point in the outline; the end of Hebrews 10 reiterates the warning (which is, each time, that Jerusalem is about to be destroyed, and what must the believer learn/do to avoid being sucked up into that Lev26-type ending). Bible uses a ton of syntactical parentheses in the original languages: ancient tongues used syntax, not so much punctuation, since the sound of the syntax accomplished what in modern languages punctuation is designed to do. (Modern languages depend more heavily on pauses and tone; hence punctuation was developed for the written equivalents to spoken pauses and tones. Ancient languages like Hebrew and Greek instead conveyed the meaning by case changes, word order, and other prefixes/suffixes, so it didn't matter whether you paused or not in speaking; whether the words were written or spoken.)


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