Letter Extract


and other word meanings


Your treatment of anOthen in particular is an example of a very sound principle of exegesis, and I will use it to demonstrate to you how the meanings of two other words in dispute can be established.

The word anOthen does not mean "again", but rather "above" as it is correctly translated in John 3.31. (and four other places): the Greek word for "again" is palin as in John 1.35. (and 140 other places). [This you agree]

The word metanoEO does not mean "submit", but rather "repent" [def.2b in Webster's Third New International Dictionary] as it is correctly translated in Matt.11.20/21 (and 32 other places): the Greek word for "submit" is hupeikO as in Heb.l3.17.(the only NT occurrence).

The word mustErion does not mean "secret", but rather "mystery" as it is correctly translated in Lk.8.10. (and in all the other 26 places): the Greek word for "secret" is kryptos as in Lk.8.17. (and 12 other places). Cf. lCor.l4.vv 2&25.

You do not have to accept either mine or anyone's opinion; you can check it out from Scripture yourself and believe what the Bible states. I am indebted to your friend for causing me to perceive more exactly the truth as to the words secret/mystery, even though he was attempting to put a different case.

I should like to draw your attention to the term "the present age" which you seem to be using loosely as many people do. In fact Bullinger's magazine "Things to Come" commonly confused "Age" and "Dispensation". This term needs to be respected as a Biblical one having a definite meaning and it is nowhere equated with "the dispensation of the grace of God". There is no such term in the Bible as the "age of grace", or "the present dispensation" or even the "Acts Dispensation", though such terms are freely in use by Christian people.

I am well aware that the word aiOn has a basic sense of flowing, as Sellers so helpfully demonstrated back in the 1960s. I know that its particular meaning is very much determined by context, and it can mean a hidden source, a channel or mediator, or in modern Greek, a century. But the idea of a flow of indefinite time marked by a certain character is still a Biblical one. though perhaps overworked by Knoch. ,

In the first century AD the disciples wished to know the sign of Christ's parousia and of the consummation of the age (or Eon), which is detailed in the 24th of Matthew. It was not necessary to define "the age" as obviously it was that in which they were living, and the disciples understood that it consummated with the Second Coming. That Jesus compared the close of the age with that of Noah's days shows that the previous age ended at the Flood when the current age began.

 But nobody then knew that a parenthetical dispensation was to intervene; and when it did so there were queries as to whether there had been a change of age too. This problem is dealt with by Paul in Titus 2.11-14., where it is indicated that the sOtErion or "salvation bringing" grace of God toward all men (Cf.Acts 28.28.) was an epiphaneia (Verb form); and that we are to live "piously in the present age" in anticipation of the next epiphaneia. when the promised kingdom begins to emerge. An epiphaneia does not have to be "a great light" or blazing forth, it can be enough to provide real or figurative light on uncertainty, as for the wise men from the east.

It should be noted that "the present age" which Demas loved was certainly not this dispensation. So the administration of the grace of God is not "the present age", though it occurs within it, as do the times of Abraham, of Moses, and of the Acts period as well as the pre-millenial kingdom, which is its climax. The end of the age is dealt with in Matt.13.37-43, when the angels remove offenders out of that kingdom. The "age to come" requires Christ's personal presence.


Maurice Lloyd [Sept. 1995]

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