There was a minor kerfuffle on my blog recently regarding my statement that “Jesus is the Gospel.”
I have to agree with Bill Clinton on this one: It depends on what the meaning of the word “is” is.
On that note, I often find that the most important theological words are the smallest ones.
What does it mean to be “in” Christ?
Have you ever stopped to ponder the significance of the big “but” in Ephesians 2:4?
How much of a difference is there between Jesus being “a” word and “the” Word in John 1:1?
Would it make a difference in John 18:36 if Jesus was translated as saying His Kingdom was not “from” this world instead of “of” this world? (Answer: YES!)
Bottom line: When studying Scripture, don’t ignore the small words. They can make all the difference.
Pal Madden says
What he was really saying was depends on what you believe a lie is. Had nothing really to do with the word ‘is’. Just a way to sidestep the truth. Not good theology.
“It depends on what the meaning of the word ‘is’ is. If the–if he–if ‘is’ means is and never has been, that is not–that is one thing. If it means there is none, that was a completely true statement….Now, if someone had asked me on that day, are you having any kind of sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky, that is, asked me a question in the present tense, I would have said no. And it would have been completely true.”
In common use “are you having any kind of sexual relations with Ms. Lewinsky” does not mean are you having sex with her at this precise moment, because such a meaning would be situationally absurd. The implied present is not bound but unbound. Clinton, by containing the implied present is able to provide an answer that deceives and is intended to deceive.
This is one, and only one of the major problems with language: it can hide the truth while giving the appearance of revealing it. Language is the pied piper that misleads.
Take Jeremy’s Jesus is the Word. We don’t need to contrast it with “a word,” for “the Word” is in itself capable of many different interpretations.
Now consider, there are over 3000 different bickering bible-based denominations, some highly antagonistic to each other. The biblical analogy for today’s Church is the Tower of Bable, a construction that aims at the heavens but that is impeded by a confusion over language.
Do you think that God needs a religion, a book, a priest class, an ideology? Does He need you to explain Him, defend Him, and interpret HIm? His existence is a logical necessity and He speaks to us most loudly through His creation and His silence. He leads us to peacefulness, patience and humbleness by His being peaceful, patient and humble.
God is the still small voice, not a theologian playing with words. His silence is always waiting to embrace you if only you listen.
Tower of Bable. LOL. Very true.
Brian Midmore says
NT Wright agrees. Rom 3.29 says ‘OR is He the God of the Jews only’. If you read the NIV bible the word OR is translated away. What the word OR means is that the main thrust of what Paul is saying is not ‘how might an individual be saved’, but rather ‘Who are the people of God?’ The point of Paul’s argument is that the the people of God are now both Jews and Gentiles by faith in a faithful Messiah Jesus. If it wasnt by faith but by ‘the works of the Law’ then only the Jews would be God’s people.