[B-Greek] Newbie / Lurker question on Hebrews 11:1 DE as transitional conjunction

Blue Meeksbay bluemeeksbay at yahoo.com
Thu Aug 26 11:59:07 EDT 2010

Sometimes I think we may too hard on our preachers. I once talked to an Arabic 
Christian about the difference between the Eastern and Western mindset and how 
such a one understands Scripture. For instance, the Western mindset is more 
linear, whereas the Eastern mindset is more general or all encompassing. For 
example, I mentioned Paul’s emphasis about the singular *seed* in Gal.3:16.
He said the Eastern mindset would never understand Abraham’s seed as referring 
to Christ, (except for the fact that Paul makes such an interpretation); rather, 
he would understand it to mean the nation. 

We all approach Scripture with a particular mindset. Sometimes I think a 
preacher will approach a text and use it as a jumping board to demonstrate a 
particular point, like the example of *now* in Heb. 11:1. I do not know if we 
should always take them so literally.  He just uses the word *now* to show that 
faith always brings the potential future into a present possession. It possesses 
a hope and makes it a present reality. This is a common technique in preaching. 
He is just using the English juxtaposition of *now* and *faith* in this verse to 
demonstrate this point and does not mean to say the Greek is teaching that faith 
is always now.
Now, I am not saying that some preachers may not ignorantly do this, or that the 
preacher in question did not do this. It seems from Kenneth’s post, that is 
exactly what he did. But I think sometimes a grammarian that is disciplined to 
look at things in a linear and analytical manner applies that mindset to 
preachers who are not thinking that way, but are thinking in a more broad and 
general manner. We should not take them so literally, but give them space to 
develop their points.
In one way, they are following a respected hermeneutic of Judaism, and in some 
cases Early Christianity. Some Midrashic hermeneutics were more concerned with 
the practical applications of words within a text rather than a rigid literalism 
of the word within a text. Take, for example, the interpretation Hos. 11:1  by 
Matthew  in Matt. 2:15.
I think, perhaps, we should give our *preaching* brethren a little more latitude 
and understanding and realize that many times they are not approaching the text 
with the same mindset of a grammarian, but are looking at the text with a more 
general mindset, looking at verses from a pastoral heart rather than a more 
literal teachers heart.  We should be thankful for their gift, and give them 
space, realizing that a grammarian would probably bore the flock to death.
Blue Harris

From: Oun Kwon <kwonbbl at gmail.com>
To: b-greek at lists.ibiblio.org
Sent: Wed, August 25, 2010 8:52:49 PM
Subject: Re: [B-Greek] Newbie / Lurker question on Hebrews 11:1 DE as 
transitional conjunction

On Wed, Aug 25, 2010 at 6:38 PM, Kevin Riley <klriley at alphalink.com.au> wrote:
>  To take 'now' in this context as a temporal word is to misunderstand English. 
> In standard (formal) English, 'now' is a good translation of 'de' in this 
>instance, which is probably why so many translators use it.  For it to have a 
>temporal reference it would have to come somewhere else in the sentence. 
> Actually, I am not sure you could put 'now' as a temporal reference into the 
>sentence as it stands without a good bit of restructuring.
> I suspect the problem is a hermeneutical one rather than one with either the 
>Greek or the English language.
> Kevin Riley

How about 'Well then' instead of 'Now'? It may remove 'now'
misunderstood as a temporal marker.

Oun Kwon
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