Saturday, January 22, 2011

Inspired Translations?

“All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness: That the man of God may be perfect, throughly furnished unto all good works.” II Timothy 3:16-17
On the basis of these verses, some folks insist that we must interpret scripture according to the plain reading of the text. Some believe it is dangerous to dig into the Hebrew and Greek meanings, to study the cultures and beliefs of Bible times, because doing so may result in conclusions that disagree with traditional interpretation of the Bible.

But is the King James Version, the Revised Standard Version, or any other version the scripture to which these verses refer? Can we be certain that the translators maintained the meaning of the original scripture? Can we be certain the translators did not impose their own bias upon the translation? And considering that translations differ, must we consider all of them to be the Inspired Word of God?

The truth is, it is the original scripture that is inspired, not the translations. We all must do our best to understand the text from the original—or as close to it as we can get, not from the translation. And if the meaning from the original differs from the translation or from the interpretation, we must go with the original Hebrew and Greek, doing our best to determine what those words meant in Bible times.

Insisting that bible words must carry today's meaning is also a false belief. The meaning of words can change over time. Take the word “gay.” Fifty years ago that word meant happy and cheerful, but today it means homosexual and people rarely use it to mean happiness lest they be misunderstood. Although many words keep their meanings, the fact that many change over time makes it very important to do our best to find out what the word meant when it was written. If the Bible was written in 1925 and we tried to say the word “gay” meant “homosexual,” because that is what it means today, we'd be so far off in our interpretation and completely miss the real meaning of the passage.

Frankly, I want the real meaning, the meaning God authored and inspired, not the meaning some translator or interpretor imposed upon the text.

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Joyful Sacrifice of Husbands

Joel and Kathy Davisson Authors of "The Man of Her Dreams/The Woman of His!" and "Livin' it and Lovin' it!" left a comment on my January 19, 2010 post “Husband, Give yourself up for your Wife.” Rather than post it there, where few would see it, and where the internet crawlers may use it to block traffic because it is a repeat of what I already wrote, I decided to make a new post of it and insert comments to defeat the system. Thank-you Joel & Kathy! See link to their site at bottom of post.
“I am not sure if there is a way to put your article below in quote form - but wanted to say EXCELLENT to what you have written! Joel and Kathy Davisson Authors of "The Man of Her Dreams/The Woman of His!" and "Livin' it and Lovin' it!" Waneta Dawn wrote: "Ephesians 5:25 Husbands love your wives, even as Christ also loved the church, and gave himself for it. Just how much giving of himself is a husband to do? He is to do it “even as” Christ loved and gave himself for the church. Strong’s #2531 says this is just (or inasmuch) as, that:—according to, (according, even) as, how, when. So husbands are to love and give themselves for their wives “just as,” “according to," “according as,” “even as,” “how,” “inasmuch as,” Christ loved and gave himself for the church.”
Some thoughts I've had since I wrote the above is how humble—as in connected to truth—Christ is and was. Jesus knew He is God, He has superior strength, yet He lowered himself to become a man for both our benefit and for His. He wanted relationship with us because He loves us so much. Similarly, even though a husband may know he has superior physical strength, because he loves his wife, just as Jesus did, he will give up all the advantages that gives him in order to gain mental and emotional connectedness with his wife. Even if he believes he is entitled to have anything his heart desires because he is “the man,” he will give up that advantage in order to gain, have, and keep relationship with his wife.

In today's culture, men do give up their entitlement while they date, in order to win the woman of their choice, but once they have won the woman, they pick up their entitlement and turn on their wives as the conquerer turns on the vanquished and demands submission. In other words, they lay down their male-privilege as a manipulation and a deception. Many men do this throughout their marriages to gain sexual favor from their wives. Neither the premarital courting, nor the bid for sex are the laying down of self Ephesians 5 is talking about. Jesus didn't deceive us into becoming His subjects. He laid down his life, which broke down the wall between us and Him. He continues to give us life and relationship and never turns into a cruel taskmaster, a controlling dictator, or an otherwise unwanted user. Although He has the right of authority over us, He doesn't inflict it on us. He gives us free choice without shaming us, berating us, etc.
“Notice that the passage does not say a husband is to be an authority over his wife as Christ was and is over the church. That side of Christ’s job description is not mentioned at all in relation of husbands to wives. Instead loving and giving are the focus. Those are the specific ways that husbands are to be toward their wives. Now that we know that husbands are to love and give themselves up like Jesus did, what does it mean to give oneself up? According to Strong’s # 3860, give, "paradidomi," means to surrender, i.e. yield up, intrust, transmit:—betray, bring forth, cast, commit, deliver (up), give (over, up) hazard, put in prison, recommend. So a husband is to surrender himself, yield up himself, intrust himself to his wife, transmit himself (I get the idea of transmitting himself into the power of another like Saul transmitted Christians to the government and to prison and death—namely he is to transmit himself to his wife), betray himself, bring forth himself, cast himself, commit himself, deliver up himself, give over or give up himself, put himself in prison, put himself in hazard, recommend himself (as giving himself over.)”
In coming to earth as a baby, Jesus did indeed entrust himself to humans. He betrayed himself and His own best interests of safety, comfort, and the adulation to which He was accustomed, and placed himself in a place, body, and position where He would be limited. Indeed, His life was in danger. The children of Bethlehem were killed in an effort to kill Jesus. Jesus entrusted himself to Joseph and Mary, to the priests, laws, & customs of that day. He became vulnerable for our sakes. Similarly, a husband is to entrust himself to his wife, giving up his own best interests in order to meet the best interests of his wife.
“I fail to see any authority in this whatsoever, except the authority he has over himself, with which he gives himself up for his wife. This surrendering to the point of betraying, imprisoning and putting himself in hazard, is beyond submission. This is more like submitting “no matter what,” like submitting even to the betraying of himself, the imprisoning of himself, and to putting himself in a hazardous position. This surrender and committing of self has nothing to do with demanding submission from his wife, or with demanding submission from all wives to their husbands in general, or even in teaching wifely submission. It is beyond selflessness toward his wife. It is literally laying down his life for his wife. It brings to mind Romans 12:1 “I beseech you therefore, brethren…that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice.” It is literally when husband and wife disagree, the husband is to choose his wife’s preference instead of his own. He is to lay down what is in his own best interests and instead do and aim for what will benefit his wife.”

In other words, a husband's focus is to be his love for God and his love for his wife. His love for his wife is not to be aimed at training or disciplining her. He may impart information to her, but that must be geared toward benefiting her. To do that, he must know her completely—how she thinks, how she feels, what she thinks she needs, how she experiences life, what she values. This requires discussion, the sharing of the deepest thoughts and feelings, not dominance or authority over. It requires making decisions together, because when the husband alone makes decisions, that tends to restrain his wife's input.
“Even if the complementarians are right, and a husband’s position of “head” gives him the right to make the final decision, scripture commands that he give up his will and his way in favor of his wife’s will, way, and intuition, and in favor of her benefit. This is the position most complementarians, along with men of the world, would consider as wimpy or passive. But the Bible considers this kind of behavior as active. It is active love and consideration of another above one’s own self. It is a love so deep it cares for the other more than it cares for oneself. It is what makes a boy a man." Great job, Waneta! From Joel and Kathy Davisson”
If it is wimpy for a man to lay down his preferences for his wife, then it must have been wimpy for Jesus to lay down his life and preferences for us. Obviously, the opposite is true. What Jesus did took great courage and strength. It was the greatest testing of His life; He sweat as it were great drops of blood. Jesus is asking men to be real, loving, strong, sacrificing, men—just like Him. And just like Jesus, their motivation is to be love--and even joy.

Hebrews 12:2 "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him, endured the cross, despising the shame,and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God." If the sacrifice of Jesus was done because of the joy that was set before Him, the sacrifice of husbands should also be done because of the joy that is set before them. Joy of close communion and relationship with their wives, and the "well done, thou good and faithful servant" from the Lord.

Thank-you Joel and Kathy Davisson for bringing this to our attention again!
Please check out Joal and Kathy's site @ God Save my Marriage

Waneta Dawn is the author of "Behind the Hedge, A novel" See A Mennonite woman fights to save her family yet keep her faith.