Sunday, February 2, 2014

Understanding the Bible, part two: connections with and or even.

Connecting like, similar, or synonymous words and concepts with and or even.

Often times in the Bible two words are united by the word and but are referring to one concept.

In the Bible more than two words can be joined to refer to one concept. This understanding can be used to find the definition of one of the words.

For instance;

Deuteronomy 1:12  How can I myself alone bear your cumbranceand  your burdenand your strife?

Here is the definition of cumbrance from It is a trouble, a bother, a burden, or an encumbrance. Therefore by using the two words following cumbrance in the verse we can see the Bible definition of a cumbrance is a burdensome strife.

Exodus 36:1  Then wrought Bezaleel and Aholiab, and every wise hearted man, in whom the LORD put wisdom and understanding to know how to work all manner of work for the service of the sanctuary, according to all that the LORD had commanded.

Wisdom and understanding are synonymous in this context, as well as throughout much of the Bible.

Based on the context words united by and can also be opposites.

Philippians 4:12  I know both how to be abasedand I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need.

In the above verse the Bible definition of abased  is given in the verse as to be hungry and to suffer need.   But abound and abased are placed in opposition by the definition provided inside the verse even though they are connected by and.

The word even is also used to link two of the same thing.

Genesis 6:17  And, behold, Ieven I, do bring a flood of waters upon the earth, to destroy all flesh, wherein is the breath of life, from under heaven; and every thing that is in the earth shall die.

The angel, or appearance (Isaiah 63:9), of God is almost all of the time Jesus Christ who is the physical, visible image of the unity of God (Hebrews 1:3).

Notice that God sent His angel or appearance (the pre-incarnate Jesus Christ) to lead the Hebrews into the promised land. He told them He would (Exodus 23:20, 23) and then the angel spoke to them in Judges 2:1. Please read those verses. That angel or appearance was Christ. Note the word even.

Galatians 4:14  And my temptation which was in my flesh ye despised not, nor rejected; but received me as an angel of Godeven as Christ Jesus.

Parallel phrasing is a way of identifying a concept by a similar concept. For instance in the following verses the Holy Spirit establishes a similarity in the number of grains of sand on the beaches of the world and the number of stars in the sky using both the former action of connecting using and as well as with parallel phrasing. While this does not establish a specific number it does create the sense of an enormous amount, which would be contrary to the popular and scientific view of the number of stars believed to exist in the first millennium B.C.

Genesis 22:17  That in blessing I will bless thee, and in multiplying I will multiply thy seed as the stars of the heavenand as the sand which is upon the sea shore; and thy seed shall possess the gate of his enemies;

Hebrews 11:12  Therefore sprang there even of one, and him as good as dead, so many as the stars of the sky in multitudeand as the sand which is by the sea shore innumerable.

This is interesting because God challenges Abram to tell, or count as in a bank teller, the stars if he is able to do that.

Genesis 15:5  And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be.

Although, God is quite capable of counting the stars and naming them.

Psalm 147:4  He telleth the number of the stars; he calleth them all by their names.

However, these similar orders of magnitude are not references to specific numbers but are designed to express the concept of a great many, a multitude, a large number, lest the fundamentalist insist that the number of stars in the sky is exactly the number of grains of sand on the seashores of the world.

Deuteronomy 1:10  The LORD your God hath multiplied you, and, behold, ye are this day as the stars of heaven for multitude.

Conclusion: We looked at like things connected by and as well as even. You should be able to find other words and concepts linked in the same manner. We also looked at an example of opposites connected by and. In each case, the context determines the meaning. Now, as you read your Bible through keep in mind these principles and let the context be your guide.

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