language meaningful in Scripture ?

WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096

Do words used in biblical texts actually have one correct meaning ? Or is the meaning of words unimportant because something else gives them a different meaning for each person?

In other words, did the writers of Scripture write using the words to convey a particular meaning of a word, an expression, a sentence, a statement, etc? Or did they ju write "something" which any reader is free to give whatever meaning he/she deems good?

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Comments

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096

    Here are two words which are rather very simple and I would think are plain and clear in meaning => "I" and "am".

    For some reason, readers of Scripture at times claim that these two words "I am" really do not mean "I" and "am", but in essence mean "God". Such is often claimed - for example - in reference to Jesus' words recorded in John 8:58 ("Before Abraham was I am"). So then Jesus words are interpreted as Jesus said he was the I AM ... Now, is that what the text really records as Jesus' words?

  • Isolated simple words tend to lack contextual meaning: e.g. "I" and "am"

    What genre is John 8:58 ? (kind of writing style)

    Keep Smiling 😀

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096
    edited June 27

    @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus wrote:

    Isolated simple words tend to lack contextual meaning: e.g. "I" and "am"

    So the personal pronoun "I" lacks contextual meaning, such as what meaning? Does not "I" always carry the same meaning, i.e. as a personal pronoun it represents and refers to the person speaking or writing or reporting, etc. ??

    The word "am" lacks contextual meaning, such as what meaning? Is not "am" always the 1st person singular present tense form of "to be" and thus always occurs in context of an "I" describing what an "I" is ??

    What genre is John 8:58 ? (kind of writing style)

    The genre of writing style is irrelevant .... the words "I" and "am" are part of a statement of Jesus in which he compares himself in some regard to Abraham. I would suggest to have a close look at the statement, sentence Jesus speaks ... one might then immediately recognize that Jesus' statement is actually an incomplete thought, since he did not complete the thought (such as "Before Abraham was I already lived", or "Before, Abraham was ... [Now,] I am" or "Before Abraham was. I am {who or what? }", etc.

    Claiming that Jesus was saying that he is God [the "I AM"] adds to Jesus' words, because he did not say "Before Abraham was, I am I AM", did he? Neither did he say "Before Abraham was God" (in which case he would not even be referring to himself, but to God, Who was most definitely before Abraham ...

    What would a closer look at Exo 3:14 in the Greek LXX (Septuagint) and comparison of the Greek text in John 8:58 reveal???

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096
    edited June 27

    Here is another simple expression which appears to have a rather plain and clear meaning => "to have come FROM" or "to have been SENT". Someone sending someone normally means that there are TWO parties involved: (a) the sender, (b) the one who is sent.

    In the cases of GOD sending someone, such as a prophet, a messenger/angel, a king, the messiah, etc. it is clear and plain that the one being sent therefore can NOT be God, since God is the One Who sends them.

    Now, generally speaking, it could be that someone FALSELY claims to send someone, and instead goes himself in disguise or someone FALSELY claims to have been sent but has not been sent and goes as "under cover" whatever (cp. TV series "Under Cover Boss" ). However, I doubt one could correctly declare that such a scenario is the case with the true God; rather it should be obvious that God and Jesus are not part of an "under cover" operation

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096

    The term "Messiah" / "Christ" means simply "Anointed" ... in the case of the man whim God promised to send as His savior and redeemer, that man was God's ANOINTED. Again, the simple plain meaning of "Anointed" already in itself and without any possible deviation means that TWO are involved => (a) God, (b) the man whom God anoints.

  • Bill_ColeyBill_Coley Posts: 1,773

    @Wolfgang posted:

    The term "Messiah" / "Christ" means simply "Anointed" ... in the case of the man whim God promised to send as His savior and redeemer, that man was God's ANOINTED. Again, the simple plain meaning of "Anointed" already in itself and without any possible deviation means that TWO are involved => (a) God, (b) the man whom God anoints.

    Your argument makes sense to me, Wolfgang. Unless specified otherwise, one who is chosen/appointed/anointed cannot ALSO be the one doing the choosing/appointing/anointing. Of course, were there a verse that said Jesus chose himself, or that God chose Godself, yes. But that's clearly NOT what happens in the NT: God chooses. Jesus is the one God chooses. God anoints. Jesus is the one God anoints.

  • @wolfgang wrote: Does not "I" always carry the same meaning, i.e. as a personal pronoun it represents and refers to the person speaking or writing or reporting, etc. ??

    Does "person" definition include supernatural being(s) ?

    @Wolfgang wrote: The word "am" lacks contextual meaning, such as what meaning? Is not "am" always the 1st person singular present tense form of "to be" and thus always occurs in context of an "I" describing what an "I" is ??

    Does "I am because we are" fit this assertion ? (Ubuntu is a Zulu proverb)

    What is meant by "I Am" answer to the questions by Moses: "What is your name ? What shall I say to them ?"

    @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus wrote: What genre is John 8:58 ? (kind of writing style)

    @Wolfgang wrote: The genre of writing style is irrelevant .... the words "I" and "am" are part of a statement of Jesus in which he compares himself in some regard to Abraham. I would suggest to have a close look at the statement, sentence Jesus speaks ... one might then immediately recognize that Jesus' statement is actually an incomplete thought, since he did not complete the thought (such as "Before Abraham was I already lived", or "Before, Abraham was ... [Now,] I am" or "Before Abraham was. I am {who or what? }", etc.

    The kind of writing style (Genre) is helpful for identifying community of words for contextual meaning. What verse starts narrative (story) that includes John 8:58 ? How many times is Abraham mentioned in this narrative dialog ? Considering story dialog, appears Jesus thought is complete (plus evoked reaction in Jewish hearers to kill Jesus for blasphemy).

    @Wolfgang wrote: What would a closer look at Exo 3:14 in the Greek LXX (Septuagint) and comparison of the Greek text in John 8:58 reveal???

    Ἐγώ εἰμι (same spoken words)

    Keep Smiling [:)]

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096
    edited June 28

    @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus wrote:

    @wolfgang wrote: Does not "I" always carry the same meaning, i.e. as a personal pronoun it represents and refers to the person speaking or writing or reporting, etc. ??

    Does "person" definition include supernatural being(s) ?

    yes ..... but perhaps you want to interpret that word according to your private interpretation ?

    @Wolfgang wrote: The word "am" lacks contextual meaning, such as what meaning? Is not "am" always the 1st person singular present tense form of "to be" and thus always occurs in context of an "I" describing what an "I" is ??

    Does "I am because we are" fit this assertion ? (Ubuntu is a Zulu proverb)

    Nonsense answers are perhaps typical when one has no real answers ... but actually defeat any attempt at having a proper exchange

    What is meant by "I Am" answer to the questions by Moses: "What is your name ? What shall I say to them ?"

    The meaning is exactly "I" and "am" ... as God declares to Moses "I am THE BEING ONE (ONE WHO IS)". I thought a closer look at Exo 3:14 (e.g. with Logos LXX edition) would have shown you that simple truth on first reading of the passage

    @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus wrote: What genre is John 8:58 ? (kind of writing style)

    @Wolfgang wrote: The genre of writing style is irrelevant .... the words "I" and "am" are part of a statement of Jesus in which he compares himself in some regard to Abraham. I would suggest to have a close look at the statement, sentence Jesus speaks ... one might then immediately recognize that Jesus' statement is actually an incomplete thought, since he did not complete the thought (such as "Before Abraham was I already lived", or "Before, Abraham was ... [Now,] I am" or "Before Abraham was. I am {who or what? }", etc.


    The kind of writing style (Genre) is helpful for identifying community of words for contextual meaning. What verse starts narrative (story) that includes John 8:58 ? How many times is Abraham mentioned in this narrative dialog ? Considering story dialog, appears Jesus thought is complete (plus evoked reaction in Jewish hearers to kill Jesus for blasphemy).

    See above ... your evasive ideas are not helpful to the exchange

    @Wolfgang wrote: What would a closer look at Exo 3:14 in the Greek LXX (Septuagint) and comparison of the Greek text in John 8:58 reveal???

    Ἐγώ εἰμι (same spoken words)

    Are you telling us indirectly that you did not really take a closer look at Exo 3:14? Or did you not read how the words God answered to Mose in the LXX text actually read ???

    ὁ   θεὸς   πρὸς   Μωυσῆν   Ἐγώ   εἰμι   ὁ   ὤν

    The words ὁ ὤν are God's name, in English "the (One) (who) exists". The words Ἐγώ εἰμι simply mean "I" and "am"!! ( Tan, R., & deSilva, D. A., Logos Bible Software. (2009). The Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint (Ex 3:14). Logos Bible Software.)

    When you declare "I am John Johnson" are you claiming to be God, because you use the same words "I am" in your statement?

    JesSmiling as recorded in Joh 8:58 are the words "I" and "am" ( Ἐγώ εἰμι), BUT NOT the words "ὁ ὤν" ... thus all claims about Jesus referring in Joh 8:58 to Himself as "the I AM" are NOT what the text says, as Jesus was not even speaking about Exo 3:14 in the first place.

    But then ... keep 😀 ... even if it is at your sweet errors. 😀

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096

    A rather important matter in regards to meaning in language is the proper recognition of the use of figures of speech which authors use to emphasize certain points.

    Unfortunately, it seems that many readers of text today are not very knowledgeable when it comes to the use of figures of speech, and the result of such ignorance usually is that "figurative" is regarded as less or even non-important in comparison to what is said to be literal. The exact opposite is true, because figurative language serves the purpose of giving emphasis.

    Example:

    John 10:9   I am the door: by me if any man enter in, he shall be saved, and shall go in and out, and find pasture.

    John 10:11   I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.

    Did Jesus mean that he was both a "door" and a "shepherd" in a literal sense? Of course not !! Jesus used figurative language associated with the commonly well known field of a shepherd and his sheep folds, and by using this type of language put special emphasis on what he stated.

  • @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus wrote:

    @Wolfgang wrote: Does not "I" always carry the same meaning, i.e. as a personal pronoun it represents and refers to the person speaking or writing or reporting, etc. ??

    Does "person" definition include supernatural being(s) ?

    @Wolfgang wrote: yes ..... but perhaps you want to interpret that word according to your private interpretation ?

    Who is the "I" in Isaiah 14:13-14 (ESV) ?

    I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God 
    I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly 
    in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; 
    I will make myself like the Most High.’ 
    

    @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus wrote:

    @Wolfgang wrote: The word "am" lacks contextual meaning, such as what meaning? Is not "am" always the 1st person singular present tense form of "to be" and thus always occurs in context of an "I" describing what an "I" is ??

    Does "I am because we are" fit this assertion ? (Ubuntu is a Zulu proverb)

    @Wolfgang wrote: Nonsense answers are perhaps typical when one has no real answers ... but actually defeat any attempt at having a proper exchange

    Google search for: "I am" not "to be" included Zulu proverb of Ubuntu "I am because we are" in search results. Scientific method makes an hypothesis, tests it, followed by modifying hypothesis. Testing "am" always assertion found a "Nonsense" answer, which confirms "am" always assertion is a fantasy (that does not reflect human reality, let alone spiritual truth).

    Keep Smiling 😀

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096
    edited June 28

    Here is another rather important word used in the Biblical Scriptures => "God".

    Scripture is clear that the term "God" is singular and refers always to a singular acting Being/Person/etc, as is clearly seen in the many hundreds of places where the singular person pronoun "He, Him, His" is used for "God". That fact by itself provides a plain simple and clear meaning of the term "God".

    The term "God" in plain language does NOT describe a "group", a "family", a "non-personal thing or characteristic" or a "commUnity" or other such fantasy fiction idea

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096

    @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus wrote

    Who is the "I" in Isaiah 14:13-14 (ESV) ?

    I will ascend to heaven; above the stars of God 
    I will set my throne on high; I will sit on the mount of assembly 
    in the far reaches of the north; I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; 
    I will make myself like the Most High.’ 
    

    The answer to your "I" question was already given in my above post:

    Does not "I" always carry the same meaning, i.e. as a personal pronoun it represents and refers to the person speaking or writing or reporting, etc. ??

    The "I" is a reference to the single person speaking those words. Did you think differently ?

  • @Wolfgang wrote: The "I" is a reference to the single person speaking those words. Did you think differently ?

    Pronouns are placeholders for nouns. What noun(s) do the "I" pronouns in Isaiah 14:13-14 represent ?

    How many speaker(s) in Isaiah 14:13-14 ? (appears to be three: a sinner, God who knew sinner's heart, and God speaking through Isaiah)

    @Wolfgang wrote: Or did you not read how the words God answered to Mose in the LXX text actually read ??? ὁ θεὸς πρὸς Μωυσῆν  Ἐγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν —

    Stilted literal translation:

    Ἐγώ I
    εἰμι I am
    ὁ the
    ὤν I am being
    

    Parsing ὤν shows εἰμι, verb, present, active, participle, singular, nominative, masculine

    One way to translate a participle (verbal noun) into English is using a gerund.

    Greek relative pronoun for who: ὅς is not used in Exodus 3:14 so (one) is implied.

    Lexham Hebrew Interlinear shows "I am that I am" in Exodus 3:14 plus has a footnote referring to The NET Bible translator's note:

    The verb form used here is אֶהְיֶה (’ehyeh), the Qal imperfect, first person common singular, of the verb הָיָה (haya, “to be”). It forms an excellent paronomasia with the name. So when God used the verb to express his name, he used this form saying, “I am.” When his people refer to him as Yahweh, which is the third person masculine singular form of the same verb, they say “he is.” Some commentators argue for a future tense translation, “I will be who I will be,” because the verb has an active quality about it, and the Israelites lived in the light of the promises for the future. They argue that “I am” would be of little help to the Israelites in bondage. But a translation of “I will be” does not effectively do much more except restrict it to the future. The idea of the verb would certainly indicate that God is not bound by time, and while he is present (“I am”) he will always be present, even in the future, and so “I am” would embrace that as well (see also Ruth 2:13; Ps 50:21; Hos 1:9). The Greek translation of the OT used a participle to capture the idea, and several times in the Gospels Jesus used the powerful “I am” with this significance (e.g., John 8:58). The point is that Yahweh is sovereignly independent of all creation and that his presence guarantees the fulfillment of the covenant (cf. Isa 41:4; 42:6, 8; 43:10–11; 44:6; 45:5–7). Others argue for a causative Hiphil translation of “I will cause to be,” but nowhere in the Bible does this verb appear in Hiphil or Piel. A good summary of the views can be found in G. H. Parke-Taylor, Yahweh, the Divine Name in the Bible. See among the many articles: B. Beitzel, “Exodus 3:14 and the Divine Name: A Case of Biblical Paronomasia,” TJ 1 (1980): 5–20; C. D. Isbell, “The Divine Name ehyeh as a Symbol of Presence in Israelite Tradition,” HAR 2 (1978): 101–18; J. G. Janzen, “What’s in a Name? Yahweh in Exodus 3 and the Wider Biblical Context,” Int 33 (1979): 227–39; J. R. Lundbom, “God’s Use of the Idem per Idem to Terminate Debate,” HTR 71 (1978): 193–201; A. R. Millard, “Yw and Yhw Names,” VT 30 (1980): 208–12; and R. Youngblood, “A New Occurrence of the Divine Name ‘I AM,’ ” JETS 15 (1972): 144–52.

    TJ Trinity Journal

    HAR Hebrew Annual Review

    HTR Harvard Theological Review

    VT Vetus Testamentum (a journal)

    JETS Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

     Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition Notes (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), Ex 3:14.

    @Wolfgang wrote: Here is another rather important word used in the Biblical Scriptures => "God".

    When Yeshua (יְהוָ֥ה salvation) was asked about the most important commandment in the Torah (Teaching), he quoted "The Shema" whose first line (Deuteronomy 6:4) includes plural unity of One True God:

    • Sh'ma שְׁמַ֖ע (Hear & Obey)
    • Yisra'el יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל (Israel)
    • Adonai יְהוָ֥ה (Lord)
    • Eloheinu אֱלֹהֵ֖ינוּ (Plural God of us)
    • Adonai יְהוָ֥ה (Lord)
    • echad אֶחָֽד (One / Alone)

    One True God (who alone is to be worshipped) is a plural unified God, which is consistent with plural pronouns and one unified image in Genesis 1:26 (ESV) "Let us make man in our image, after our likeness." Searching 2016 ESV Bible for phrase "The LORD your God" finds 394 Old Covenant (Testament) verses having LORD (Hebrew singular) your God (Hebrew plural) so plural unified God has substantial scriptural support. English translation of Hebrew Plural elohim uses "God" for One True God in ESV along with "gods" when refering to false gods: e.g. Deuteronomy 7:25, 12:3

    Keep Smiling 😀

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096
    edited June 29

    KeepSmiling4Jesus wrote

    When Yeshua (יְהוָ֥ה salvation) was asked about the most important commandment in the Torah (Teaching), he quoted "The Shema" whose first line (Deuteronomy 6:4) includes plural unity of One True God:

    Sh'ma שְׁמַ֖ע (Hear & Obey)

    Yisra'el יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל (Israel)

    Adonai יְהוָ֥ה (Lord)

    Eloheinu אֱלֹהֵ֖ינוּ ( God of us)

    Adonai יְהוָ֥ה (Lord)

    echad אֶחָֽד (One / Alone)

    One True God (who alone is to be worshipped) is a plural unified God

    There is no such a thing as "a plural unified God". The term "God" is SINGULAR ... check all the translations you may have in your Logos Library. Furthermore, "God" is NOT a term for a duo, a trio, a quartet, a family, a group, or a unit ...because if it were such, it would be a unit of GODS !!! A team is a team of unified PLAYERS, not of a unified player. A Family, group, etc is a unity of plural MEMBERS.

    And, please, don't come with the argument that the Hebrew word elohim is a plural form of a noun .... of course it is!!! Just note, however, that the reason for the use of the plural in reference to the true God linguistically is to distinguish between TRUE God, and FALSE gods (in reference to whom the translators do actually translate "gods" [plural]. This use of a plural in Hebrew has nothing to do with the true God being a "unit" of plural Gods.

    You provide a prime example for disregarding most simple and commonly accepted rules of grammar and meaning of language.

    KeepSmiling4Jesus wrote

    Considering story dialog, appears Jesus thought is complete (plus evoked reaction in Jewish hearers to kill Jesus for blasphemy).

    So then, what was that complete thought of Jesus in Joh 8:58? Since the sentence itself is definitely an incomplete sentence, perhaps you can tell us which figure of speech is involved by which the thought would be completed? Perhaps you can provide a different punctuation to Jesus' statement, since the punctuation provided by most or just about all English translations plainly indicate an in complete thought ??

  • @Wolfgang wrote: There is no such a thing as "a plural unified God".  ... And, please, don't come with the argument that the Hebrew word elohim is a plural form of a noun .... of course it is!!! 

    What word(s) describe One God using plural pronouns with unified image in Genesis 1:26 (ESV) Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.

    Seems if One God was an absolute monotheist, then Genesis chapter 1 would have singular elohe instead of plural elohim, which needs a minimum of three since Hebrew nouns can have singular, dual, and plural forms.

    Did One God make a mistake describing Himself using plural nouns & pronouns in Genesis chapter 1 ?

    • If yes, then what is what is trustworthy in the Bible ?
    • If no, then what is plural in One God ?

    Keep Smiling 😀

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096
    edited June 29

    @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus wrote:

    What word(s) describe One God using plural pronouns with unified image in Genesis 1:26 (ESV) Then God said, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness.

    Seems if One God was an absolute monotheist, then Genesis chapter 1 would have singular elohe instead of plural elohim, which needs a minimum of three since Hebrew nouns can have singular, dual, and plural forms.

    Well, if you read the following verse 27 in Gen 1, you will see what happened in accordance with the words spoken in verse 26

    Gen 1:27   So God created man in his [own] image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.

    Are you suggesting that within one verse God changed from plural "us" to singular "he / his" ... did two of your three take a hike or went on vacation? Oh no ... hmn hmn ... funny enough the text in v.27 uses elohim and then the singular "he / his" instead of the "they / their" ... And the same is found in hundreds of places throughout the OT scriptures. Perhaps God as well as the writer of Gen and other writers of OT Scriptures did just not know what you "know" about God ??

    Did One God make a mistake describing Himself using plural nouns & pronouns in Genesis chapter 1 ?

    I don't think so ... But I do think you are making the mistake of thinking that God and the OT writers made a mistake by using a plural noun with a singular pronoun in hundred of other places? Have a look at dictionary entries for elohim and see why it is used with singular pronoun to distinguish between the singular true God and plural false gods.

    If yes, then what is what is trustworthy in the Bible ?

    If no, then what is plural in One God ?

    Answer already given .. there is NOTHING plural in the One, Who Alone is true God !!

  • PagesPages Posts: 73
    edited June 30

    A condensed summary (3 pages) of my thoughts follow below concerning ἐγὼ εἰμί, Jn. 8:58, and Ex. 3:14.

    I: Upon reading the ἐγὼ εἰμί sayings of Jesus as recorded by John in his Gospel the sayings may be grouped grammatically into one of three individual categories as follows:

    1. Where ἐγὼ εἰμί is at the beginning of a clause and exists in a complete sentence and thought unit (cf. Jn. 6:35, 41, 48, 51; 8:12; 10:7, 9, 11, 14; 11:25; 14:6; 15:1, 5).

    2. Where ἐγὼ εἰμί implies a meaning to complete the thought of the clause drawing from the context – i.e. “I am” implying the Messiah Jn. 4:26, 8:28; “I am“ implying Jesus Jn. 6:20; “I am“ implying Jesus of Nazareth Jn. 18:5, 6, 8. 

    3. Where an emphatic ἐγὼ εἰμί stands alone at the end of a clause without a contextual implied meaning to be drawn from the clause itself nor a predicate as found in the other sayings – (categories 1 and 2 above). In this third category three such examples exist in John’s gospel Jn. 8:24, 8:58; 13:19.

    Apart from the extraordinary event recorded at Jn. 18:6 it is interesting that Jn. 8:58 is the sole instance of Jesus’ “I am“ statements to which the crowd was provoked to do violence (Jn. 8:59) – other recorded occurrences of crowd violence toward Jesus (cf. Jn. 10:31; 11:8) had to do with “...equal with God” Jn. 5:18; “...claim to be God“ Jn. 10:33; and “...claim to be Son of God“ Jn. 19:7). 

    Some common views as to why ἐγὼ εἰμί in verse 58 brought about the response in Jn. 8:59.

    1. Jesus was mis-understood, or cut off mid-sentence by the crowd.

    • I find both of these options lacking as John throughout his gospel provides editorial comment to clarify certain parts of the narrative for his readers (cf. Jn. 2:21, 6:71, 8:27, 9:7, 20:9, etc).  
    • While this is common practice for John in his Gospel, no such comment is made for v. 58 informing his readers what the crowd’s misunderstanding was; nor does he provide the unfinished portion of Jesus’ words were he to have been cut off mid-sentence by the crowd. It therefore follows that the clause stands unambiguous as is written with the crowd having heard Jesus out completely before reacting in v. 59. 

    2. Jesus was in the act of announcing that he is Israel’s Messiah.

    Somewhat similar to the options above and equally unpersuasive for the following reasons. 

    • It is important to take into account that historically Israel was, and is to this very day, awaiting their Messiah (cf. Lk. 3:15; Jn. 1:41, 4:25, 29, 7:26-27, 31, 41, etc) having at various times in the past followed those who were considered to be the Messiah (cf. Matt. 24:5; Mk. 13:6, 22; Lk. 21:8).
    • The expected Messiah was to rule over the nations as king and by his rule there would be worldwide peace (cf. Isa. 2:2-4, 11:1-9) and the nation of Israel restored. Consider the intention of the people toward Jesus at Jn. 6:15. 
    • This messianic age was looked forward to with great anticipation by the Jewish people during this second temple period (cf. Lk. 1:64-80, 2:25-38; Jn. 12:12-15; Acts 1:6) – from Qumran (“[… For the hea]vens and the earth shall listen to His Messiah [and all w]hich is in them shall not turn away from the commandments of the holy ones.” (4Q521 f2ii+4:1–2 QUMENG)) – since some 400 years prior, Malachi was the last prophet of God to communicate to the people of Israel.
    • It is true that the majority of Israel would reject their Messiah according to the OT (Isa. 53:2-3 – cf. Jn. 1:11; 15:1); however, it is worth noting that a claim to be Messiah is not under penalty of death whereas blasphemy is (Lev. 24:16). In Matt. 26:65 and Mk. 14:64 we are told the charge against Jesus was blasphemy for his words “... you will see the Son of Man sitting at the right hand of the Mighty One and coming on the clouds of heaven.“ and this comports well with the other instances in John’s gospel previously mentioned (Jn. 5:18, 10:33, 19:7).   
    • In one instance where ἐγὼ εἰμί within the clause contextually implies the Messiah (Jn. 4:26) John records an encounter (Jn. 4:28-30) where the end result (Jn. 4:39-42) of this chance meeting is diametrically opposite to that of Jn. 8:58-59.  
    • Then we have John’s statement of “many believed in him“ (Jn. 8:30) which is prior to vs. 58-59; so, we have a group within the group in toto who profess to believe Jesus is the Messiah. Therefore, it would be strange indeed that this entire group, as a whole, would then find the words of v. 58 as an offensive claim to Messiahship worthy of death (v. 59) – which carries no penalty whatsoever within Judaism.
    • Also worth mentioning are the inquiries and speculation by the people regarding Jesus as the Messiah (cf. Jn. 4:29, 7:26-27, 31, 41-42, 10:24, 11:27).

    3. That a claim to pre-exist Abraham brought about the crowd’s response.

    • This one as well is highly unlikely given the context of the conversation starting at Jn. 8:52; in support of this is Jesus’ statement at Jn. 8:56 which elicits no more than disbelief from the crowd in Jn. 8:57.
    • A claim to pre-exist someone would not be considered blasphemy nor would it be worthy of death by stoning; but one rather to be met with disbelief and ridicule as demonstrated by the crowd’s response in verse 57.

    To summarize, given the heightened messianic expectations during this late second temple period in which Jn. 8;58 occurs, the immediate context of Jn. 8:30-59, no editorial comments from John, and the grammatical structure of 8:58 itself “εἶπεν αὐτοῖς Ἰησοῦς· ἀμὴν ἀμὴν λέγω ὑμῖν, πρὶν Ἀβραὰμ γενέσθαι ἐγὼ εἰμί” leads me to conclude that the crowd fully comprehended Jesus’ statement to be more than an announcement of Messiahship, and certainly more than pre-existing Abraham (cf. Jn. 5:18, 10:33, 19:7).  

    II: ἐγὼ εἰμί in the LXX:

    Exodus, Deuteronomy, and Isaiah passages pertinent to Jesus’ usage of ἐγὼ εἰμί at Jn. 8:58.

    1. For many the singular OT text considered to be both the basis and referent of Jesus’ ἐγὼ εἰμί sayings in the Gospel of John, in particular Jn. 8:58, is Ex.3:14. Here Moses is directed by God to tell the Israelites that אהיה (“I AM“ or “I WILL BE” – debate between present or future tense) has sent him; however, in the following verse (Ex. 3:15) Moses is additionally instructed by God to say YHWH has sent him. From this I conclude that this phrase אהיה אשר אהיה is not a form of the divine name יהוה (YHWH); but rather YHWH’s self-description of Himself – this is borne out in the Greek text as well. In other words, I take this phrase as being used in the sense of an adjective encompassing all that YHWH is.    

    It is in the LXX where אהיה אשר אהיה “I AM WHO I AM” is translated into Greek as Εγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν “I am the being one” or “I am the existing one”. Here Moses is directed to say that Ο ὢν “the being/existing one” has sent him, followed by Κύριος ὁ θεὸς in v. 15 as having sent Moses – following the Hebrew text.

    While Ex. 3:14 does carry relevant background for the ἐγὼ εἰμί sayings of Jesus; I believe it to not be the first-most of OT passages related to Jesus’ use of ἐγὼ εἰμί in the Gospel of John. Due to the following point I suggest first starting with the closer grammatical construct connection of the Deut. and Isa. passages (listed below) before going to Ex. 3:14.

    • The standing objection is that the emphasis in Ex. 3:14 is placed on Ο ὢν and not ἐγὼ εἰμί as the name descriptive of God; and, by this reasoning, Jesus ought to have said Ο ὢν instead of ἐγὼ εἰμί if he, Jesus, were claiming to be God in Jn. 8:58. This objection does carry a certain validity, in that Ο ὢν does not appear in Jesus’ words here, nor does the full phrase ἐγὼ εἰμί ὁ ὤν. Nonetheless, it may be noted that the Jews considered Jesus’ statement of "ἐγὼ εἰμί" a stoning offense (Jn. 8:59).

    Important to this topic will be whether there are other occurrences of ἐγὼ εἰμί in the LXX that are self-descriptive of God as used by Himself found elsewhere in Scripture demonstrating a parallel construction to Jesus’ use (Jn. 8:58). And we do find such occurrences in these OT passages of Deut. 32:39; Isa. 41:4, 43:10, 46:4, 48:12, 52:6 as I alluded to above.

    Specifically Isa. 43:10, 46:4, 48:12 where אני הוא ani hu (MT) is translated by ἐγὼ εἰμί (LXX) where ἐγὼ εἰμί stands at the end of the phrase as an emphatic absolute without predicate. It is worth noting that this is the accepted grammatical understanding of the phrase construct (אני הוא – ἐγὼ εἰμί) in the above Isa. texts and (אהיה אשר אהיה – Εγώ εἰμι ὁ ὤν) in Ex.3:14. So, it is in these three Isa. texts that is found the grammatical and syntactical Greek parallels to Jesus’ use of ἐγὼ εἰμί (Jn. 8:58) while supporting the connection to Ex. 3:14. 

    2. For an additional and similar construct to Jn. 8:58 using σὺ εἶ (2nd person) see MT Psa. 90:2 (LXX 89:2).

    I consider it most likely that these OT texts of God’s own descriptive self-revelation came to the Jewish crowd’s mind when at Jn. 8:58 Jesus uttered “ἐγὼ εἰμί” prompting the crowd’s response (Jn. 8:59).  

    III: Addendum:

    1. For those who might be curious about the relationship between ὢν and εἰμί – ὢν is the present participle masculine singular nominative form of the verb εἰμί (to be, exist). This verb form is used as a verbal adjective. 

    2. This phrase (inflected form with the article (ὁ ὤν)) occurs a relative small number of times in the NT (thirteen), and twice in the OT (LXX).

    3. Concerning ὁ ὤν that may have further relevance for consideration is Jesus speaking of himself “the one who is” ( Jn. 6:46) and that he alone has seen the Father. Additional usage of ὁ ὤν is used by John of Jesus (Jn. 1:18) “the one who is“ who makes the Father known, and lastly by Paul referring to Jesus “who is“ (Rom. 9:5).

  • Adding Hebrew parsing of singular and plural for One God in Genesis 1:26-27 (ESV) Then God (plural) said, “Let us (plural) make man in our (plural) image (singular), after our (plural) likeness (singular). And let them have dominion over the fish of the sea and over the birds of the heavens and over the livestock and over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth.” So God (plural) created man in his (singular) own (singular) image (singular), in the image (singular) of God (plural) he (singular) created him; male and female he (singular) created them. 

    @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus wrote: Did One God make a mistake describing Himself using plural nouns & pronouns in Genesis chapter 1 ?

    @Wolfgang wrote: I don't think so ... But I do think you are making the mistake of thinking that God and the OT writers made a mistake by using a plural noun with a singular pronoun in hundred of other places? Have a look at dictionary entries for elohim and see why it is used with singular pronoun to distinguish between the singular true God and plural false gods.

    Plural elohim is used with both singular and plural pronouns in Genesis 1:26-27

    Phrase "The Lord (singular) your God (plural)" occurs nearly 400 times in English translations, which has both singular and plural nouns referring to God. From my view, One True God is a plural unity so plural elohim is correctly used with singular & plural nouns & pronouns describing God (so inspired words are literally True). Theological Lexicon of the Old Testament (TLOT) notes elohim has a contested etymology and difficult explanation for singular/plural usage. New International Dictionary of Old Testament Theology & Exegesis (NIDOTTE) notes plural elohim form can indicate less than fully monotheistic (plus appears assertion that plural elohim form is always used with singular verbs when refering to Israel's God may be incorrect: e.g. Genesis 35:7).

    @Wolfgang wrote: Answer already given .. there is NOTHING plural in the One, Who Alone is true God !!

    If "NOTHING plural in the One, Who Alone is true God" is correct (absolute monotheism), then all nouns and pronouns referring to God would have been singular.

    Logical implication from "NOTHING plural in the One ..." is plural elohim being mistakenly used instead of singular form. Hence question about what is trustworthy in the Bible remains unanswered. Related logical implication of "NOTHING plural in the One ..." is other Biblical words being mistakes so they are unbelievable & untrustworthy.

    Keep Smiling 😀

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096

    @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus wrote

    If "NOTHING plural in the One, Who Alone is true God" is correct (absolute monotheism), then all nouns and pronouns referring to God would have been singular.

    Your statement disregards the use of the plural as part of a figure of speech, by which a sovereign speaks of HIMself as "we, us".

    Even today, this figure of speech and manner of speaking is used by monarchs in official situations, c.p. the queen of the UK using "we" when in literal sense, she is speaking of HERself. With your idea, I suppose "queen" is actually a "trio of persons" and not a singular person??

  • @Wolfgang wrote: Your statement disregards the use of the plural as part of a figure of speech, by which a sovereign speaks of HIMself as "we, us".

    Any Bible example(s) of One God "we" usage with elohim ? (One God has used third person "us" with elohim and our)

    Logos Bible search for we INTERSECTS <Person God> does not find any sovereign "we" occurences in the Old Testament while New Testament results include:

    John 14:23 (ESV) Jesus answered him, “If anyone loves me, he will keep my word, and my Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him. 

    If Jesus is not God, then please explain how the man Jesus can come with God the Father to make their home in a different human.

    From my view, am Thankful for God the Father & God the Son (& God the Holy Spirit) making their spiritual home in me (so am literally experiencing God's Truth of John 14:23 every day).

    Keep Smiling 😀

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096

    @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus wrote:

    Any Bible example(s) of One God "we" usage with elohim ?

    I am native German speaker with some knowledge of English as well as a bit of knowledge of Biblical languages. You seem to be a native English speaker ... and do not realize that "we, us, our" are each 1st person plural pronouns???

    (One God has used third person "us" with elohim and our)

    ?? See above ...

    Logos Bible search for we INTERSECTS <Person God> does not find any sovereign "we" occurences in the Old Testament while New Testament results include:

    While you rather often use the powerful search capabilities of Logos Bible software, doing so does not automatically produce any result to prove or disprove something ... I would like to mention that - unfortunately - your searches all too often were searches for terms or combinations of terms which have then led to you making conclusions and interpretations which had little or nothing really to do with the meaning and content of what is stated in those verses.

  • @Wolfgang wrote: ... and do not realize that "we, us, our" are each 1st person plural pronouns???

    What is the grammatical difference between we (wir) and us (uns) ?

    Any Bible examples for plural elohim used with we (wir) ?

    Apologies for me getting older, which has its opportunities (some are pleasant while others are not: e.g. grammatical distinction).

    Keep Smiling 😀

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096

    @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus wrote:

    What is the grammatical difference between we (wir) and us (uns) ?

    I am surprised you seem to not know such basic English101 grammar ... ever heard of grammatical cases?

    By the way, you are not impressing me nor doing me a favor by adding the German translations for "we" and "us" ... actually, your move comes across as arrogant and demeaning by "try to help you as a native speaker..."

    Any Bible examples for plural elohim used with we (wir) ?

    What is the purpose of this non-sensical question? See above for grammatical cases ...

    Apologies for me getting older, which has its opportunities (some are pleasant while others are not: e.g. grammatical distinction).

    ??? what does that question have to do with anything?

  • Plural elohim has numeric variety of pronoun grammatical usage:

    • Subject: Singular
    • Object: Singular & Plural
    • Possessive: Singular & Plural
    • Reflexive: Singular

    Please provide "meaning and content of what is stated in" John 14:23 that includes previously requested explanation:

    If Jesus is not God, then please explain how the man Jesus can come with God the Father to make their home in a different human.

    Keep Smiling 😀

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096
    edited July 3

    Please provide "meaning and content of what is stated in" John 14:23 that includes previously requested explanation:

    If Jesus is not God, then please explain how the man Jesus can come with God the Father to make their home in a different human.

    The explanation is about as plain and simple as it can get, and it is given in the opening part of Jesus' statement =>if anyone loves me, he will keep my word ..." Also cp. Col 3:16 ("Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom..." ESV)

    Furthermore, it should be obvious that God is NOT in a literal sense making His home (take up His residence) with a human being. Perhaps you think differently ... in which case you may want to start constructing a real big home which you may think is big enough?

    Again, we can see how a knowledge of the use of figures of speech and a careful reading and observation of text and context are prerequisites to understand the Scriptures

  • Please provide "meaning and content of what is stated in" John 14:23 that includes previously requested explanation:

    If Jesus is not God, then please explain how the man Jesus can come with God the Father to make their home in a different human.

    @Wolfgang wrote: The explanation is about as plain and simple as it can get, and it is given in the opening part of Jesus' statement =>if anyone loves me, he will keep my word ..." Also cp. Col 3:16 ("Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly, teaching and admonishing one another in all wisdom..." ESV)

    What makes the word of Christ rich for humans ?

    @Wolfgang wrote: Furthermore, it should be obvious that God is NOT in a literal sense making His home (take up His residence) with a human being. 

    How can the man Jesus come with God the Father to spiritually dwell (make their home) in different humans ?

    Keep Smiling 😀

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096

    @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus

    What makes the word of Christ rich for humans ?

    How can the man Jesus come with God the Father to spiritually dwell (make their home) in different humans ?

    You are asking the wrong questions ... besides the points made in the verses to which you comment

  • @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus

    What makes the word of Christ rich for humans ?

    How can the man Jesus come with God the Father to spiritually dwell (make their home) in different humans ?

    @Wolfgang wrote: You are asking the wrong questions ... besides the points made in the verses to which you comment

    Both questions seek scripture meaning. Admittedly these questions are challenging ("wrong") to an absolute monotheistic faith that does not believe Jesus is God. Conversely, these questions are easy to answer from a plural unity faith in One God. The word of Christ is the word of God, which is abundant in spiritual riches (and blessings). Earlier commented on daily reality of John 14:23 in my life so continue to Thank God for His Loving presence in me.

    Keep Smiling 😀

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096

    @Keep_Smiling_4_Jesus

    Admittedly these questions are challenging ("wrong") to an absolute monotheistic faith that does not believe Jesus is God.

    You can save yourself the typing effort of making this silly comment about "absolute monotheistic faith that does not believe Jesus is God". The questions you asked had nothing to do with the verses and what had been commented before ... and as such were wrong questions asked for anyone of whatever faith.

    However, you seem not to notice that with your comment about "absolute monotheistic faith" you actually declare that you do not believe in absolute monotheism but in something which is not really monotheism but something else which is then labeled "monotheism" but in truth and in an absolute sense is not monotheism but polytheism.

    Isn't it Interesting how sometimes what is supposed to support your view turns out to be what shows the truth and reveals the falsehood of your claims? !!

  • WolfgangWolfgang Posts: 2,096

    Adherents to the "Jesus=God" dogma usually rest on John 1:1 and John 1:14 and an inaccurate supposedly "logical connection" between two phrases.

    John 1:1 -- "... and the Word was God" & John 1:14 --- "the Word became flesh" which then is claimed to teach that "God became a human".

    The fallacy in such a conclusion is due to (1) a misunderstanding of the expression "the Word was God", and (2) using the misunderstanding to then conclude that God became flesh/a human.

    Here's an example in which the same manner of speech is involved: "The score was Mozart" & "the score became a symphony". Does that mean that the music score was the person Mozart because "the score was Mozart" ? Obviously not. Did the score turn out to be a symphony? Yes, it did. Or did after all the person Mozart turn into a symphony??

    John 1:1 speaks about "Word" and declares that this "Word" was "God" ... very simple, the word which is in view was God's Word (as was the music score in the example Mozart's music score). Later on, when the time was fulfilled, what had been "Word (God's Word)" became flesh (a human being) when that Word was accomplished and the man spoken of as promised Messiah was born (just as the music score (Mozart's music score became a symphony when it was played).

    God can NOT become a man, just as a composer does not become a piece of music.

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