Thursday, March 08, 2007

On Combining '60's Pop Culture and New Testament Greek

One of the joys of my life is the privilege of teaching New Testament Greek. My Greek class is kind of like a small discipleship group. After class this morning, one of the students asked me what the Greek word for believer was. I had never thought much about it. We don't have a Greek vocabulary word for that. I thought about it a while, and responded that it must be the participle formed from the verb: ὁ πιστεύων (literally "the one who believes").

My daughter, Kimberly, has John 3:16 in the Greek memorized. Though in an earlier post I diagrammed John 3:16 in the Greek, I must confess that I don't have it memorized in Greek. In order to test my theory, I went to John 3:16 in the Greek, and found this:

οὕτως γὰρ ἠγάπησεν ὁ θεὸς τὸν κόσμον, ὥστε τὸν υἱὸν τὸν μονογενῆ ἔδωκεν, ἵνα πᾶς ὁ πιστεύων εἰς αὐτὸν μὴ ἀπόληται ἀλλʼ ἔχῃ ζωὴν αἰώνιον.

Thus, I confirmed my suspicion. The present participle of πιστεύω is used 115 times in the New Testament in that manner.

Where does the '60's Pop Culture come into the equation? Well, the student, armed with the Greek rendering of "believer" made up a Greek sentence:

ἔβλεψα δὲ τὸ προσωπὸν αὐτῆς, νῦν εἰμὶ ὁ πιστεύων.

You may remember the lyrics like this:

And I saw her face, now I'm a believer.

Hope you all have a great day!


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