From "The Answer Book" ©1989 Samuel C. Gipp. Reproduced by permission
QUESTION: What about "nuggets" found only in the Greek?
ANSWER: Why settle for "nuggets" when you can own the whole mine?
EXPLANATION: Most "nuggets" that preachers find in the Greek exist only in the fantasy of their minds.
First, anyone who believes that the Bible is the perfect word of God, cannot believe that it can be improved on... even by them. Most men who discover "nuggets" are filled with a prideful humility through which they believe that God is going to show them something in the Greek that no one else has found. Then they can "humbly" impress their preacher friends with their monumental "grasp" of the original language.
They do not, regardless of what they say in the pulpit, really believe that the Bible is perfect as it stands, in English OR Greek. Therefore they never read their Bible with a desire for the Holy Spirit to help them understand it. They instead "pray" that He will show them some better way to translate some Greek word.
Since the Holy Spirit never does this, they usually resort to "The Greek Game". This game can be played by anyone. Even if they have had no training in the Greek language. Simply put, all that the pseudo-scholar needs to do is to own a Young's Concordance. In the very back of a Young's Concordance is a list of the Greek and Hebrew words used in the Bible. Under each word given is a list of the different ways that that particular word was translated in the King James Bible. All the eager critic needs to do is to interchange the English words used.
For example, take the Greek word "haplotes." It was translated five different ways in the Authorized Version.
1. bountifulness II Corinthians 9:11
2. liberal II Corinthians 9:13
3. liberality II Corinthians 8:2
4. simplicity Romans 12:8, II Corinthians 1: 12
5. singleness Ephesians 6:5, Colossians 3:22
Now, in order for our zealous scholar to humbly display his massive intellect, he must find a verse where "haplotes" is translated, let's say, "singleness" or way #5. Such as Ephesians 6:5.
"Servants, be obedient to them that are your masters according to the flesh, with fear and trembling, in singleness of your heart, as unto Christ;"
Then in his preaching, when lighting upon his prearranged victim" he makes some statement that is critical of the King James translators for having poorly chosen this translation. Then he chooses one of the other words into which it was translated, say, way #3 or #4 and takes 10-15 minutes to expound on the virtues of his choice while ever pointing out sadly the poor choice of the Authorized Version translators. Of course, later when he reads a verse such as Romans 12:8, "Or he that exhorteth, on exhortation: he that giveth, let him do it with simplicity; he that ruleth, with diligence; he that sheweth mercy, with cheerfulness", where his pet Greek word is translated "simplicity" or way #4, he will reverse the process and expound on the virtue of choice #5. All the time lamenting, again, the poor choice of God's translators.
His audience, unaware of the ease with which this is accomplished, stares on in awe of his intelligence and tremendous grasp of the Greek language. They feel so fortunate to have a man of such caliber (.22 Blank!) to point out to them the errors in their Bible. And of course they are totally convinced by this charade that they, lowly peons that they are, can never truly understand the Bible as well as their exalted teacher, because they lack the "tools" he possesses from the Greek.
This scenario is NOT an over statement. I have experienced it first hand.
Once while listening to a self-impressed Bible scholar preach I marveled at the ease with which he duped his audience. He was reading Romans chapter 8. Upon reading a particular verse, he stopped at a particular word and stated, "Now the King James translators mistranslated the Greek word used here." Then he spent 10-12 minutes expounding on the merits of his choice of translation. The audience was duly impressed with this man's grasp of the "original language. " (I once heard a 14 year old boy do the same thing in a "preaching contest". You see, ANYONE can do it!)
The very next day I was listening to another preacher on the radio. Coincidentally this zealot was also preaching from Romans chapter 8. He also read the same verse and ALSO stopped at the very same word that the expert from the previous evening had accosted. He then stated, "Sadly, the King James translators did not properly translate the Greek word used here."
I then braced myself for a rehash of the previous evening's exposition. But it was not to be. For this particular scholar pointed out that the word in question should have been translated an entirely different way (choice #1 vs. choice #4).
He then, as the previous evening's butcher, expounded on the virtues of HIS choice over that of the King James translators, or last evening's expert. I was amazed! Two completely different men, two entirely different opinions. In fact, their only point of agreement was that the Bible could not possibly be correct as it was. I quickly consigned their esteemed (and humble) opinions to the garbage heap of education and accepted the choice that GOD had made for His Book in 1611.
A second method of finding "nuggets" is for someone with a limited understanding of Greek to do the same as the above, only they take their choice of words from the Greek Lexicon instead of the Concordance.
The result is always the same, the congregation is over-whelmed by the "depth" of his study, They are also convinced that they can never match his comprehension of the Bible without matching (Ha!) his comprehension of "the Greek."
A tremendous example of the fallacy of this method of Bible (?) study is recorded in Dr. David Otis Fuller's book entitled Which Bible? We quote it in its entirety.
"An interesting story is found in Walton's biography of Bishop Sanderson illustrating the truth of the old proverb, "a little learning is a dangerous thing." Dr. Kilbye, an excellent Hebrew scholar and Professor of this language in the university, also expert in Greek and chosen as one of the translators, went on a visit with Sanderson, and at church on Sunday they heard a young preacher waste a great amount of the time allotted for his sermon in criticizing several words in the then recent translation. He carefully showed how one particular word should have been translated in a different way. Later that evening the preacher and the learned strangers were invited together to a meal, and Dr. Kilbye took the opportunity to tell the preacher that he could have used his time more profitably. The Doctor then explained that the translators had very carefully considered the "three reasons" given by the preacher, but they had found another thirteen more weighty reasons for giving the rendering complained of by the young critic."
A third type of "nugget" is one which actually does not exist except in totally false statements made by a Bible critic.
The greatest example of this is found in the analogy of the two Greek words "agape" and "phileo". Both of which are translated "love" in John 21:15-17.
15 "So when they had dined, Jesus saith to Simon Peter, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me more than these? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my lambs.
16 He saith to him again the second time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? He saith unto him, Yea, Lord: thou knowest that I love thee. He saith unto him, Feed my sheep.
17 He saith unto him the third time, Simon, son of Jonas, lovest thou me? Peter was grieved because he said unto him the third time, Lovest thou me? And he said unto him, Lord, thou knowest all things; thou knowest that I love thee. Jesus saith unto him, Feed my sheep."
We have all heard this passage expounded by a pseudo-scholar. (Sometimes in complete sincerity due to acceptance of bad teaching.) The presentation is made that "agape" in Greek speaks of a deep, intimate, selfless love. "Phileo" on the other hand is little more than a casual "friendly" type of love. Our scholar then laments, almost tearfully, the constraints of the English language. He points out that the Lord actually says, "Peter ... lovest ("agape") thou me. (With a deep, intimate, selfless love) more than these?"
Peter responds, "Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love ("phileo") thee." (With a casual, friendly type of love.)
Our Bible critic points out that the Lord, not receiving the answer that He desires, asks again.
"Simon, son of Jonas, lovest ("agape") thou me?"
Peter, it is then pointed out, is unwilling to commit himself to such a deep relationship so he responds again.
"Yea, Lord; thou knowest that I love ("phileo") thee."
At this point our Bible corrector points out that a saddened Saviour gives in to Peter's lack of commitment and changes His own choice of Greek words to "phileo".
"Simon, son of Jonas, lovest ("phileo") thou me?"
This sudden change supposedly shocks Peter into seeing his own spiritual infidelity to the Lord. Thus, saddened he answers.
"... thou knowest that I love ("phileo") thee."
Our false teacher then points out to his audience that there is no way to attain such depth of meaning from this passage using only the feeble English. Once more the trusty "Greek" has enlightened us as English can never do!
This presentation is tremendously effective and has only ONE flaw. The definitions given for "agape" and "phileo" are TOTALLY UNTRUE!
I am about to make a statement concerning "agape" and "phileo" which is not based on prejudice or opinion. It is based on careful honest study of the way in which "agape" and "phileo" were used in the Bible ("Our final authority in all matters of faith and practice) by Jesus Christ Himself and the New Testament writers. The statement is this: There was absolutely NO DIFFERENCE in New Testament times between "agape" and "phileo" and that BOTH are used interchangeably by Jesus Christ and the writers of the New Testament. REGARDLESS of what Greek grammars, Greek teachers and Greek preachers may say!
If you have been steeped in the false teaching of "agape" and "phileo" by your college professor or pastor, you will immediately (and with much prejudice) reject my supposition. ("How could such godly men be wrong?" Right?)
Yet, I will not attempt to prove it is true. The proof will come from Jesus Christ, Paul, Peter and John, and any other New Testament writer that I could have chosen for the comparison. But wait! They are not my final witnesses. The final and most weighty argument will be waged by YOU!
For years I have been giving a test in Bible Conferences in which I speak concerning this false teaching of "agape" and "phileo". A copy of this test is reproduced below. IF you have the courage and IF you can be honest with God and yourself, feel free to take it. Here's how it goes.
In part #I, I have reproduced quotes from the New Testament which were made by Jesus Christ using "agape" and "phileo". Without looking at a Greek New Testament or Concordance or any other help, use the false rules for "agape" and "phileo" given by critics of the English Bible. Read the quote. Decide whether Jesus is referring to "agape" love (deep, intimate, selfless love) or "phileo" love (casual, friendly love).Then put an "A" for agape or "P"" for phileo in the blank before the quote.
Part #II is identical to part #I except that the quotes are taken from various New Testament writers. Do the same as in part one, putting an "A" for agape and a "P" for phileo, using only the critics definition of these words. No guessing, no hunches. Use only their own rule.
After you have completed the test, see the answers found below on this page.
JOHN 21:15-17 - AGAPE vs PHILEO
AGAPE love: Deep, intimate, selfless love.
PHILEO love: Casual "friendly" love.
I - Comparison: How Jesus used AGAPE and PHILEO.
____ 1. Luke 11:42 the love of God
____ 2. John 5:42 the love of God
____ 3. Matt 10:37 He that loveth father or mother
____ 4. Rev 3:9 to know that I have loved
____ 5. Rev 3:19 As many as I love
____ 6. Matt 23:6 love the uppermost rooms
____ 7. John 12:25 He that loveth his life
____ 8. Luke 11:43 ye love the uppermost seats
____ 9. John 5:20 the Father loveth the Son
____ 10. John 16:27 the Father Himself loveth you, because ye have loved me
II - Comparison: How other New Testament writers used AGAPE and PHILEO.
____ 1. II Tim 3:4 of pleasures more than of God
____ 2. John 11:5 Jesus loved Martha,
____ 3. John 20:2 the other disciples whom Jesus loved
____ 4. I Cor 16:22 If any man love not the Lord
____ 5. Rom 5:8 But God commendeth his love
____ 6. I Cor 16:24 My love be with you all
____ 7. II Tim 1:7 of power, and of love, and...
____ 8. Rom 12: 10 one to another with brotherly love
____ 9. II Thes 3:12 abound in love one toward another
____10. Titus 2:4 women to be sober, to love their husbands
____11. Eph 5:28 So ought men to love their wives
____12. I Peter 2:17 Love the brotherhood
____13. Heb 13:1 Let brotherly love continue
____14. Titus 3:4 and love of God our Saviour
____15. I John 2:5 in him verily is the love of God perfected
If you have taken the test and if you have been honest, you have found that the TRUTH of the matter is that neither Jesus nor any of the New Testament writers acknowledged the false rule foisted on us by heady and high-minded Bible critics.
Thus we see that this little "nugget" is made only of "FOOL'S GOLD" and has never really existed except in the deluded minds of men.
Who will you believe? Jesus Christ or your Greek professor?
ANSWERS TO TEST
JOHN 21:15-17 - AGAPE vs PHILEO
I - Comparison: How Jesus used AGAPE and PHILEO.
AGAPE and PHILEO.