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September 17, 2007 / Daniel

Reading the Bible in color

Learning Greek and Hebrew this semester has really been a privilege.  In the past, I thought, “Now that we have so many great English translations of the Bible, why do we even need to learn the original languages?” 

Yet learning to read the Bible in the original languages adds so much to our understanding of Scripture.  It’s like the difference between watching TV in black and white versus color.  In black and white, you can definitely see what’s going on, but there’s so much life and action that you miss. 

Right now, I’m just learning to sound out words, but already it’s helped me to understand the Bible better.  Shelley and I have been reading 1 John together at nights and last night we came across 1 John 2:27. 

As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

It’s always puzzled me to what John’s getting at here.  What’s John mean by “his anointing”?  I’ve always heard that he is referring to the Holy Spirit.  Yet why didn’t John say “the Holy Spirit?”  Wouldn’t have that been clearer? 

Yet last night it hit me when I saw in it in Greek.  The text is about discerning between the Christ and the antichrists.  And, of course, Christ means “the anointed one.”  The word for the anointing is “Chrisma.”  Obviously they share the same root. 

So what’s the difference between the Christ and Christians vs. the anti-christs?   Christ and His followers have the anointing.   And when was Christ anointed?  At His baptism, when the Holy Spirit descends on Him in Matt. 3.  (BTW, that passage has all sorts of royal overtones. 

So understanding the Anointing as referring to the Holy Spirit makes all kinds of sense when we look at it in the original language. 

This has given me a new incentive to apply myself to my studies.   

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3 Comments

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  1. david / Sep 17 2007 8:52 pm

    Very cool. I’ve always thought it would be great to read it in the original, I’m glad to see that you’re doing it.

  2. Dennis / Sep 17 2007 10:11 pm

    Hey Daniel,

    Very interesting stuff. Good luck with your studies in Hebrew and Greek. That sounds daunting.

    I agree with you about what you wrote but read a few things slightly differently.

    The “anointing” probably refers to a specific act. As a Catholic, I would read that as their Baptism.

    Also, His anointing isn’t referring to Matt. 3, it’s referring to us being Baptized into Christ’s death. When we are anointed, we die with Christ. Our flesh is crucified with Him and we die. Additionally, His anointing doesn’t happen at Matt. 3. It happens at Calvary.

    Also, I don’t think it’s necessarily discerning between Christ and antichrists. I think it’s discerning between things of God and things of the World (as referenced in verses15-18) . As you know, we have choices and if we choose Christ, He will lead us to eternal life.

    Even moreso, I think this verse is telling us that we must remain within the Body of Christ. Throughout the New Testament, Scripture tells us that we must remain within the Body of Christ. Salvation is only possible if we are members of the Body of Christ. If we are outside of His Body then we are not saved.

    If we choose worldly things, (e.g. 1 John 2: 16) we will be of this world and will die with our things instead of living with Christ.

    Just my thoughts.

  3. Levi Michael / Sep 18 2007 12:23 pm

    I’m pretty sure ‘anointing’ there refers to ‘anointing.’
    In particular the anointing in which we as Christians receive the Holy Spirit, the Sacrament of Chrismation.
    Besides that, everything Dennis says above is also true.

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