Saturday, December 03, 2011

Word Study of “Perfect” in Matt 5:48

Word Study of “Perfect” in Matt 5:48

Various Bible versions translate this word “perfect”

New International Version (©1984)
Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
New Living Translation (©2007)
But you are to be perfect, even as your Father in heaven is perfect.

English Standard Version (©2001)
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
"Therefore you are to be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

King James Bible (Cambridge Ed.)
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

International Standard Version (©2008)
So be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Aramaic Bible in Plain English (©2010)
Be therefore perfect, just as your Father who is in Heaven is perfect.

GOD'S WORD® Translation (©1995)
That is why you must be perfect as your Father in heaven is perfect. Don't Do Good Works to Be Praised by People

King James 2000 Bible (©2003)
Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.

American King James Version
Be you therefore perfect, even as your Father which is in heaven is perfect.

American Standard Version
Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Bible in Basic English
Be then complete in righteousness, even as your Father in heaven is complete.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Be you therefore perfect, as also your heavenly Father is perfect.

Darby Bible Translation
Be ye therefore perfect as your heavenly Father is perfect.
English Revised Version
Ye therefore shall be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

Webster's Bible Translation
Be ye therefore perfect, even as your Father who is in heaven is perfect.

Weymouth New Testament
You however are to be complete in goodness, as your Heavenly Father is complete.

World English Bible
Therefore you shall be perfect, just as your Father in heaven is perfect.

Young's Literal Translation
ye shall therefore be perfect, as your Father who is in the heavens is perfect.

Occurrences of this word.

This word in this exact form occurs 19 times in 17 verses. In the ESV this word is translated 11 times as “perfect”, 7 times as “mature”, and once as “full”.

Mat 5:48 (twice in this verse: perfect, perfect), Mat 19:21 (perfect)
Rom 12:2 (perfect)
1Cor 2:6 (mature), 1Cor 13:10 (perfect), 1Cor 14:20 (mature)
Eph 4:13 (mature)
Phil 3:15 (mature)
Col 1:28 (mature), Col 4:12 (mature)
Heb 5:14 (mature), Heb 9:11 (perfect)
Jam 1:4 (and twice in this verse “full” effect, perfect), Jam 1:17 (perfect), Jam 1:25 (perfect), Jam 3:2 (perfect)
1Jo 4:18 (perfect)
So about 40% of the time it is translated something other than “perfect”.
The books where this word is used the most are James (24%) and 1 Cor (18%).

Various Dictionary and Reference Works

The word translated “perfect” in Matt 5:48 is “teleios” (τέλειος ) in the Greek.

Strong's Number 5046 in the New Testament dictionary. The entry in Strong's dictionary reads: 5046 teleios tel'-i-os from telos, 5056; complete (in various applications of labor, growth, mental and moral character, etc.); neuter (as noun, with 3588) completeness:--of full age, man, perfect. see GREEK for 5056 see GREEK for 3588
Vine's Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words:
"complete, perfect," from telos, "an end," is translated "of full age" in Hbr 5:14, AV (RV, "full-grown man").

Robertson's Word Pictures in the New Testament:
Perfect (τελειο). The word comes from τελος, end, goal, limit. Here it is the goal set before us, the absolute standard of our Heavenly Father. The word is used also for relative perfection as of adults compared with children.

Thayer's Greek Definitions:
- Original: τέλειος
- Transliteration: Teleios
- Phonetic: tel'-i-os
- Definition:
1. brought to its end, finished
2. wanting nothing necessary to completeness
3. perfect
4. that which is perfect
a. consummate human integrity and virtue
b. of men
1. full grown, adult, of full age, mature

Barnes' New Testament Notes:
Matthew 5:48:
Verse 48. Be ye therefore perfect, he concludes this part of the discourse by commanding his disciples to be perfect. This word commonly means finished, complete, pure, holy. Originally it is applied to a piece of mechanism, as a machine that is complete in its parts. Applied to men, it refers to completeness of parts, or perfection, when no part is defective or wanting. Thus Job (Job 1:1) is said to be perfect; that is, not holy as God, or sinless--for fault is afterwards found with him, (Job 9:20, 42:6) but his piety was proportionate--had a completeness of parts--was consistent and regular, he exhibited his religion as a prince, a father, an individual, a benefactor of the poor. He was not merely a pious man in one place, but uniformly. He was consistent everywhere. This was the meaning in Matthew. Be not religious merely in loving your friends and neighbors, but let your piety be shown in loving your enemies; be perfect; imitate God; let the piety be complete, and proportionate, and regular. This every Christian may be; this every Christian must be.
(m) "Be ye therefore perfect" Gen 17:1, De 18:13, Lk 6:36,40, Co 1:28

Scofield Reference Notes:
The word implies full development, growth into maturity of godliness, not sinless perfection. Eph 4:12,13. In this passage the Father's kindness, not His sinlessness, is the point in question. Lk 6:35,36

Personal Comments

I found Barnes' Notes as well as Scofield's notes to helpful with this verse. Pointing out that it is not God's sinless perfection that is in view but rather His Fatherhood. We are then not being asked to be “perfect” in exact duplication of God but rather to be “grown up” “mature” children displaying attributes consistent with our family heritage as children of God, we should naturally have more love than just for our friends.

1 Jn 2:5 gives some practical insight. “but whoever keeps his word, in him truly the love of God is perfected. By this we may know that we are in him:”

Keeping His word = perfected love = assurance that we are His.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Earthen Vessels

Earthen Vessels; Why Our Bodies Matter to Our Faith, by Mathew Lee Anderson

Matt Anderson has done an excellent job of introducing a less thought about aspect of anthropology, the human body. Although this is only a 231 page work, his notes on each chapter has been a fertile ground for me to add to my reading list. This subject is rich and full in its applications for the Christian and the Church. I will predict that this work will not be his last on this subject and that this little book may just cause some paradigm shifts. I know it has challenged me on many levels. If you are a Christian leader you need to read this book.

Chapter Outline:
  1. Earthen Vessels
  2. Evangelical Inattention an the Secular Body
  3. What is the Body
  4. The Body Toward Others
  5. The Body as Shaped by the World
  6. Tattoos and the Meaning of Our Bodies
  7. The Body and It's Pleasure
  8. Homosexuality an the Christian Body
  9. The Mortal Body
  10. Spiritual Disciplines: The Body Shaped by Grace and Gratitude
  11. The Body and the Church

Quotes that I particularly liked:

pg 31 This is the paradox of the body: The body is a temple, but the temple is in ruins. The incarnation of Jesus affirms the body's original goodness. The death of Jesus reminds us of the need for redemption. And the resurrection of Jesus gives us hope for it's restoration.

pg 66 In other words, when our original parents sinned, they did not simply destroy our relationship with God, with each other, and with the creation around us. They also destroyed our integrity as human persons so that our internal and external no longer work in harmony.

pg 69 An embodied theology is a theology that acknowledges the radical uniqueness of Christmas, the cross, and Easter. Only there did the on who transcends creation enter it, die for us, and rise again. But in taking the form of a human, Jesus opened the possibility of redemption for everyone and established the pattern for human flourishing. He is not only the revelation of God to us, but the revelation of man to us.

pg 74 Tyler Wigg Stevenson sums up consumerism: "We buy to be; we are what we buy; we are what we consume." (see also Brand Jesus: Christianity in a Consumerist Age by Tyler Wigg Stevenson)

pg 80 For our creation care to be authentically creation care, we must respect the biblical order of keeping humanity at the center. Because of the incarnation, our ecology flows from our theological anthropology--and not the other way around.

pg 82 The body is the seat of our personal presence, which means it has an inherent dignity from the moment of conception by virtue of being a human body.

pg 131 The new testament's basic contention is that our human flourishing is not found in marriages or the natural families that they inaugurate, but in bearing each others burdens in love within the church. (Matt 10:34-39 & ch 19) The only alternative is to minimize the humanity of Jesus by treating his celibacy as an aberration rather than a possibility for our lives.

pg 149 The basic irrelevance to the biological dimension to the question of our formation should also be noted. In fact, the push to find a "gay gene" represents the moral schizophrenia of the scientific establishment. On the one hand, the slim evidence for a genetic basis for same-sex attraction is put forward as evidence that it is normal. On the other hand, the slim evidence for a genetic basis for alcoholism is put forward to find therapy to change it.

pg 192 The body is a social reality, Which means there is no such thing as a spiritual discipline that does not transform our relationships. When we present our bodies to God we begin to discern the ways in which we have trained them to damage others.

pg 203 Many of our prayers --extemporaneous or otherwise-- are grounded in an anxiety that we are not being heard, which manifests itself through repeating the same thing over and over.

pg 227 I've dubbed the phenomenon "Anderson's Law": the volume of the worship band is inversely proportional to the volume and vitality of the congregational worship.

pg 227 The body of the Christian belongs in the body of Christ. The reality of the hiddenness of our life in Christ is a social reality, for it knits our lives together with those who have been called out of the darkness into the kingdom of Christ's glorious light. The invisible working of the Spirit in us takes a visible form in the life of the Church.

Friday, February 04, 2011

John 3:16 and the Super Bowl

I've read a little bit of discussion about the super bowl ad that got rejected. Here are my 2 cents that I posted over at scientia et sapientia

As much as I would love to see scripture openly promoted in advertising. I can’t help but feel a small bit of relief that this super bowl ad didn’t make it. In my paranoid imagination, if the ad would have run, I can see Bubba turn to Skeeter and ask, “Hey whatever happened to that clown wig guy?” To which Skeeter replies, “Yeah, Rainbow Man, I remember him. Wonder where he is now?”

Not exactly the best effect, IMHO. I salute the creativeness of the ad but I would suggest that the message of the text is what should be displayed not merely a pointer or reference to it. I believe our culture has lost the ability to put the two together.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Strength Speaks to a Broken Mind

Let Eagles bid the Tortoise sunward soar --
As vainly Strength speaks to a broken mind.
                            Samuel Taylor Coleridge

This fragment of Coleridge is perhaps an allusion to Aesop's fable of the Tortoise and the Eagle.

A TORTOISE, lazily basking in the sun, complained to the sea-birds of her hard fate, that no one would teach her to fly. An Eagle, hovering near, heard her lamentation and demanded what reward she would give him if he would take her aloft and float her in the air. "I will give you," she said, "all the riches of the Red Sea." "I will teach you to fly then," said the Eagle; and taking her up in his talons he carried her almost to the clouds suddenly he let her go, and she fell on a lofty mountain, dashing her shell to pieces. The Tortoise exclaimed in the moment of death: "I have deserved my present fate; for what had I to do with wings and clouds, who can with difficulty move about on the earth?'

Moral: If men had all they wished, they would be often ruined.

I have spent many a day wishing I was something or someone else. Dissatisfied with my lot and discouraged with myself I longed to be something more or at least something else.  To be sure Coleridge did as well. He suffered from divorce, depression and drug addiction.

His epitaph reads:

"Beneath this sod
A Poet lies; or that which once was he.
O lift one thought in prayer for S.T.C.
That he, who many a year with toil of breath,
Found Death in Life, may here find Life in Death."

Let Eagles bid the Tortoise sunward soar... Have you ever heard them bidding? Calling you up? Wooing you to a place you wish you could go. I believe this is a common human experience. No matter who or what we are we all have at times wished we were someone or something else.

As vainly... Coleridge seems to believe that it is an impossible thing for people to change. Not an uncommon belief when trapped in drug addiction or some form of mental affliction.

Strength speaks to a broken mind. If the mind is broken how then can Strength supply any help or remedy?

There is a part of every human that is broken. The Bible calls it the "inner man" or "inner being". It is that part of us that resonates with justice, love, truth, and beauty. Eternal qualities that we admire but are just out of our grasp. And like Coleridge we despair of ever soaring higher. But the truth and strength of the Bible doesn't just speak to the mind. The mind is where we think we should start. The apostle Paul tells us in his letter to the Ephesians that we need to start deeper. No one can understand with the mind the love of Jesus unless God has strengthened their inner being by the Holy Spirit. Pray this prayer with Paul.

Eph 3:16-21; that He would grant you, according to the riches of His glory, to be strengthened with power through His Spirit in the inner man, so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith; and that you, being rooted and grounded in love, may be able to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, and to know the love of Christ which surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled up to all the fullness of God. Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.

The truth of the gospel is not a creed or doctrine to be only apprehended with the mind. It is a person with whom we will become utterly captivated; Jesus Christ, God's son. The strength of our relationship is not and never will be dependent on my ability to understand, reason, think, or comprehend. My transformational life in Christ takes place because of what Jesus did and does. It's as if I am looking at snap shots of my life, baby pictures, toddler-hood, school days, teenager, adult. What did I do to get from one stage to the next? Nothing much, just eat, sleep and live. So it is in Christ, I simply follow Him. No incantations, no magic formula. Just a love that bids me to love Him in return.

Tuesday, January 04, 2011

Lessons from the Book of Job

Job 1:1
There was a man in the land of Uz whose name was Job;

The meaning of his name is “hated” this could be because of Satan who came before God wanting to do Job harm. The children of God are hated by Satan and his followers. Jesus tells us that we too will be hated by all because of His name. Mark 13:13.

and that man was blameless,

Job was one who was complete, morally innocent, and having integrity. So he was considered blameless, Christians are blameless before God. God does not see our sin since we are “in Christ” He sees instead the blamelessness of Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:8.


Job was righteous, so too is the Christian in Jesus Christ. 1 Corinthians 1:30 &31 say, But by His doing you are in Christ Jesus, who became to us wisdom from God, and righteousness and sanctification, and redemption,so that, just as it is written, "LET HIM WHO BOASTS, BOAST IN THE LORD."

fearing God

Not the kind of fear that makes one afraid but the type that fills one with reverence and awe. As Jesus tells us in Luke 12:32 “Do no be afraid, little flock, for your Father has chosen gladly to give you the kingdom.” This was surely a true sign that Job was grateful to God and full of appreciation for all that he had.

and turning away from evil.

Job moved away from evil and moved towards God. The book of Hebrews encourages us to “draw near” to God through Jesus (Heb 7:25) and James 4:8 promises us that if we “draw near to God He will draw near to us” It is a hard thing to fight against sin. We try to resist our bad habits and sins only to discover we are powerless to overcome them. Turning away from evil is not the same as fighting sin. When we turn away from anything we are turning towards something else. That something else that has power over sin and evil is Jesus Christ. We must not get caught in Satan's trap of trying to purge ourselves of our sin. We can only repent, turn away, turn toward the One who has the power to forgive and to cleanse and take them away from us. Jesus gives us victory over evil.

These four characteristics are traits that God will boast of in His servants...

Job 1:8

The Lord said to Satan, “Have you considered my servant Job? For there is no one like him on the earth, a blameless and upright man, fearing God and turning away from evil.”

God boasts in his servant Job. One who is “hated” as his name means. As a servant of God I am blessed to hear God boast in this way since I too am His servant. To see God's love for Job as He brags about him to Satan encourages me because if He boasts of Job He will also boast of me. Jesus is not ashamed to call me His “brother” and God is not ashamed to be called my God. (Heb 2:11 & 11:16) Oh the comfort and joy of my soul to know that my God delights in me because of my glorious savior Jesus Christ.

For there is no one like him on the earth,

These words hold more meaning than just a story of Job. For the prophet Isaiah foretold of another who was also hated, and to be sure “there was no one on earth like Him”. Isa 52:3&4, “He was despised and forsaken of men, A man of sorrows and acquainted with grief; And like one from whom men hide their face He was despised, and we did not esteem Him. Surely our griefs He Himself bore,
And our sorrows He carried; Yet we ourselves esteemed Him stricken, Smitten of God, and afflicted.”

Jesus the Messiah is unique. There is no one exactly like Him on earth. He was born of a virgin. Lived a life without committing a sin against man or God. Allowed Himself to become the focus of God's “hatred” for sin on the cross. In Matthew 26:39, He prays, “if it is possible, let this cup pass from Me; yet not as I will, but as You will." The cup of God's anger against sin was what Jesus drank on the cross. God “hates” sin. So Job (hated) is a picture of the One who was to come later to take away sin. To make a way for everyone who comes to Him to become “like”Him, blameless, upright, fearing God, and turning away from evil. Giving to all who would believe in Him, His nature so that we may become the children of God. 2 Peter 1:4, “His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. For by these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world by lust.”