Peace and a Bagel?

What does peace have to do with a bagel?

We have a local bagel place that sells the “everything bagel”.  It has all the toppings on it at once: toasted garlic, onions, sesame and poppy seeds, caraway and kosher salt.  Some days it is the best thing since….sliced bread.

Peace (shalom) in the bible is neither only about political peace (lack of war) nor is it about only personal peace (tranquility.)  we sometimes choose the A or the Z of peace, wither politics or personal well-being.

Peace is about the A to the Z and all the letters in between. It is a comprehensive state of welling being, harmony and healthy relationships: individually, inter-personally, inter-nationally, inter-culterally, within the family, within the church, within the community.  In short it is the Everything Bagel.

I take my toasted with hummus.

Weighing the options – Ephesians 1:11

Sometimes we find passages where the translations and the commentators can not agree.  In Ephesians 1:11 we find the aorist passive 1st person plural form of klēroō. 

This verb is used only once in the New Testament, thus it is a hapax legomena – a word used only once in the written record.  This makes the translation difficult.

It means literally “our lot was cast.”  In comparison to its cognates, the word has to do with lots, destiny, being chosen and inheritance.  Two Old Testament usages are cited.  Israel is sometimes  called God’s possession –

Deut. 32:9
    But the Lord’s portion is his people,
        Jacob his allotted heritage.

   Yet it can also refer to the portions of land that were given to the tribes if Israel after the conquest.  This is commanded in

Numbers 26:55-56
    But the land shall be divided by lot. According to the names of the tribes of their fathers they shall inherit. [56] Their inheritance shall be divided according to lot between the larger and the smaller.”

   And the process of this division by lot is described in Joshua 14 – 19.  Each tribe received title to a portion of land that was theirs to enter in and take possession. 

So the commentators and translations split – those opting for the translation that we are God’s portion cite the grammar, while those choosing that we receive an inheritance cite the context – especially verse 14.

One translation (RSV) seems to skip the whole thing!

In seminary the joke was that if you put all the commentaries who chose position A on one side of a scale and those choosing position B on the other, you could pick the “heaviest” choice.

We prefer to go with the context. In reading this section, Ephesians 1:3-14, it seems that words like choosing and electing are tied with benefits to us. 

v.  4 – Chosen – to be holy and blameless

v. 5 – Predestined – for adoption

v. 11 – Predestined – for an inheritance

v. 13,14 – Holy Spirit – guarantee of our inheritance

V. 14 has the noun form of the verb (klēronomia) and is translated as “inheritance” or “salvation”.

In general, we prefer to go with the context over the dictionary alone – as words have a range of meaning (semantic field) that is made specific by how it is used.

So we have received an inheritance according to God’s eternal plan (v. 11) which is sealed or guaranteed by the Holy Spirit to the believer (v. 14).

For the content of this inhertiance…well, the sermon is yet to be preached, drop by Bethany EFC  in Madison, WI and see what one FRESH READ might be.

Otherwise, ponder this:

Psalm 16:6  ESV
    The lines have fallen for me in pleasant places;
        indeed, I have a beautiful inheritance. 

John 21 – Style or Significance

In the three repetitions of the questioning of Peter by Jesus on the beach post resurrection, there are interesting variations  in the vocabulary.  there are two words for love (agapao and phileo), two for tending the flock (bosko and poimaino), to for the flock (arnia and probatia) and two for know (oida and ginosko).  A lot of attention has been given to Jesus switching from the so called “higher” word for love (agapao) to the lesser word suggesting friendship (phileo).

F. F. Bruce states that the two words for love are used interchangeably when the OT word is translated, that agapeo does not necessarily indicate a higher sort of love, and John tends to use them interchangeably (the father loves the son in John 3:35 and 5:20 are agapeo and phileo respectively; “the disciple whom Jesus loved” is written with both words 13:23; 20:2).   (F. F. Bruce, The Gospel of John, Eerdmans, 1983, p. 441)

We agree that the variation is more stylistic – it is common in Greek and English to vary the words for the avoidance of repetition.  The point then seems to be that the three repetitions answer the three denials by Peter in the chapter 18.

With word-studies it is important to look at all the factors before leaping to a conclusion.