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Interpretation of Various Verses
In the following e-mail exchanges, the e-mailers' comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.
> Hi Gary,
I realize that you're a busy man so I'll be quick. First, I'm a "fan" of your website. Theologically I'm also a Reformed Baptist but am no longer a Majority Text advocate. I just wanted to make some comments/questions. You don't have to respond to me personally with an email.<
I respond to a few I am familiar with, but I don't have the time to research the ones that I am not.
> 1. Would you consider Eph. 4:30 a verse that could be used to support the doctrine of the Personality of the Holy Spirit? Some translations have "by Whom" as opposed to "by which". Is that supported by the Greek?<
The pronoun is neuter, so "which" is most literally accurate. But the reason it is neuter is simply because the antecedent "Spirit" is. So the verse doesn't against the Sprit's personality, but it doesn't argue for it either.
> 2. a) As you know, Christians in the past and present (from Athanasius to us) have been divided on the issue of whether Prov. 8:22-31 is a reference to the Pre-Incarnate Christ. We also know that Jehovah's Witnesses use these verses to support their position of Neo-Arianism (or at least very similar to the ancient heresy). Can the phrase "before his works of old" in verse 22 and the phrases "from everlasting" and "from the beginning" in verse 23 in the Hebrew be used to support the eternal past and timelessness of Christ if these verses were accepted as references to Christ?<
"From everlasting" can mean "forever" or it can mean an indeterminate though limited amount of time. So it could go either way. As for the others, I'm not sure. But personally, I do not accept these verses as referring to Christ. Proverbs chapter 1-8 is discussing wisdom, which is personified throughout as a woman, so it wouldn't be a reference to the Son of God.
> 3. What do you think of John 6:29 as it relates to Calvinism? Does that verse really teach in the Greek Grammar that our believing in Christ is ultimately the work of God? Or can it be interpreted either way?<
From my own translation:
6:28 Therefore, they said to Him, “What shall we be doing so that we shall be working the works of God?”
6:29 Jesus answered and said to them, “This is the work of God, that you* be believing [or, trusting] in Him whom that One sent.”
I don't see it as referring to Calvinism per se, just that salvation is by faith not works.
> 5. How do you go about translating Heb. 7:12 in light of the fact that depending on the translation, it can affect ones view of the Bible and their theological framework? (e.g. Theonomy, Covenant Theology, New Covenant Theology, PROGRESSIVE dispensationalism (which is my tentative position) and Regular (Revised) Dispensationalism et al. interpret this verse differently).<
From my ALT:
7:12 For the priesthood being changed, of necessity also [there] takes place a change of law.
I guess "change of law" could be taken in a dispensational sense. But in context, It probably just refers to the Levitcal priesthood no longer being necessary in like of the work of Christ., which even theonomist would agree with.
> 6. Are there any significant differences between the MKJV and the LITV? What was the translators purpose?<
Yes there is. The purpose of the LITV is to provide a very literal translation, which it is. the purpose of the MKJV was to give an updated KJV, but one that Green believes is more accurate than the NKJV. So the MKJV has a good bit of the "feel" of the KJV to it.
Personally, I prefer the NKJV to the MKJV. The MKJV is a little more accurate than the NKJV but also a little less readable. So for general and find the NKJV more than accurate enough. And for a very accurate versions I refer to the LITV, and my own ALT of course. I discuss these versions in more detail in my Bible versions book.
>P.S. Thanks again for your wonderful website. It fills a gap that other apologetics websites don't cover. And I'm not really interested in a personal response so much as relaying these comments/concerns to you since you clearly have a passion for God's Word and Truth. Soli Deo Gloria!!!!!
Thanks for the kind comments. And I hope the above is helpful.
>What can you tell me about Ezekiel and Aliens? I have a niece who thinks there were aliens in Ezekiel.
This claim is often made in regards to the passage I've quoted below. I guess if you already believe in aliens, then one *could* interpret this passage as being a "sighting." But more realistically, it is probably a manifestation of the glory of God.
[Ezek 1:15] Now as I looked at the living creatures, behold, a wheel was on the earth beside each living creature with its four faces.  The appearance of the wheels and their workings was like the color of beryl, and all four had the same likeness. The appearance of their workings was, as it were, a wheel in the middle of a wheel.  When they moved, they went toward any one of four directions; they did not turn aside when they went.  As for their rims, they were so high they were awesome; and their rims were full of eyes, all around the four of them.  When the living creatures went, the wheels went beside them; and when the living creatures were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up.  Wherever the spirit wanted to go, they went, because there the spirit went; and the wheels were lifted together with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.  When those went, these went; when those stood, these stood; and when those were lifted up from the earth, the wheels were lifted up together with them, for the spirit of the living creatures was in the wheels.
>Subject: 1Timothy 4:10
"For therefore we both labour and suffer reproach, because we trust in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, specially of those that believe."
Here the Scripture makes a distinction between Christ being the Savior of all men and Christ being the Savior of those that believe. Wouldn't then this verse teach unlimited atonement?
That would be one possible interpretation. But the question hinges on what is mean by God being the "Savior of all men." If God saved "all men" then it could be said that all men are saved. It doesn't say the "potential Savior', but the Savior. And "especially" is a rather weak way of distinguishing potential salvation and actual salvation.
That said, the exact meaning would be difficult to pin down. The word "Savior" could also mean "Preserver," Indicating God's general providence over people. Or "all men" could be used in the sense of "all kinds of men" as many versions render 1Tim 6:10. But still, in both cases, the contrast with "especially" doesn't seem strong enough. So I'd say there's difficulties from either perspective.
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