1998-09-26 - In The Beginning
The Genesis Series, Part 4
This week I think is a good week to dig into some words. Yeppers some words. Most folks would agree that the Lord Created the heaven and the earth. They believe it because the Bible says so. What they usually do not say is that they also believe that the scriptures were inspired by the Holy Spirit. In fact each word, each thought, each message is inspired. Sometimes we overlook a lot in our surface reading of the scriptures. Many times we gather a verse here or a verse there or a chapter here or a chapter there and we then personalize it with a message or as some would call the process spiritualize the meaning. This technique has long been the most popular and widely-used and was introduced by a 1st century church father named Origen. He admitted that there was an exact literal meaning to the Bible just as the writers of the 66 books of the Bible taught yet insisted that there was also the personalized meaning or spiritualized and it was on the same plane as what is known as the grammatico historico method of study. Anyway we are not here today to delve into your preferred style or mine of writing or teaching or discuss the influence Plato, Socrates and other secular men had on Origen forming the personalized preferred method or the influence that style has had on the church today or throughout history. What I'd like to do is discuss some exact meaning of words. As always all scripture quoted will be from the 1901 ASV unless otherwise noted.
Genesis 1:1 In the beginning Elohim (God) created the heavens and the earth.
This word Elohim is actually plural 1994. I find it interesting that in the very first sentence God begins to reveal the trinity. Also in Genesis the word Echad is used Genesis 1:5 And there was evening and there was morning, one day. echad (one) - two distinct different things combined together to form a composite unity of one. Another interesting use of the word is found in Genesis 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one (echad) flesh.
Husband and wife both have separate bodies, intellects and lives, yet they are considered a composite, one joined in unity.
This small fact is brushed over and accepted easily enough as people read the marvelous creation story. Yet the same word echad reappears in the shema Deuteronomy 6:4. The literal translation of the Shema is Hear oh Israel the Lord our God is Echad (one). It is a word that describes composite unity. So in the very first words of the Bible there are things to be learned. Elohim God is plural and the word echad is described in two contexts for its meaning. The exact meanings of the words and the thoughts they convey are in perfect accord with the Almighty revealing Himself as Father, Son and Holy Spirit. I think it is very important that even though the preferred method of spiritualizing or personalizing the Bible's teaching is popular and employed by many of todays outstanding ministers and laymen -it is very important also to allow room for the old-fashioned method of searching for the exact meaning word by word, sentence by sentence. In fact I believe that if personalizing the Bible were not as preferential today that more people would understand the Old and New Testament better.
And as the Apostle Peter taught the exact meaning of some deep things he said to us these words.
II Peter 1:19 21 And we have the word of prophecy made more sure; where unto ye do well that ye take heed, as unto a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawn, and the day-star arise in your hearts: 20 knowing this first, that no prophecy of scripture is of private interpretation. 21 For no prophecy ever came by the will of man: but men spake from God, being moved by the Holy Spirit.
In His Service,