Does the English language cause a “division of words” that prevents us from gaining a full understanding of the things of God?
It’s clear there are verses in the Bible that, despite our research, we can’t understand. Even commentary from some of the greatest scholars doesn’t seem to shed much light on these. So, we have to ask ourselves if these are passages that God did not intend for us to understand? Absolutely Not! In fact, there is only one place in Scripture that God tells us he has something but it’s not to be shared at this point – you can find that in Revelation 10:4 “When the seven peals of thunder had spoken, I was about to write; and I heard a voice from heaven saying, “Seal up the things which the seven peals of thunder have spoken and do not write them.”"
So why is it that we don’t have full understanding of Scripture? Why are some things hidden from us? There are a few possible reasons:
- You’re not a true believer (I pray this is not the case) – 1 Corinthians 2:14 says, “But a natural man does not accept the things of the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him; and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually appraised.”
- You haven’t been taught to look for the “hidden treasures” in the Word of God.
- The English language causes a division of words that makes it difficult to fully understand the things of God.
If you’re a Believer, it’s likely a combination of the latter two. A trend that’s been sweeping through churches is to: not offend, not challenge and not teach in areas that the pastor doesn’t fully understand. Rather, most churches have become a social gathering; a place to drink bad coffee, chat with friends and listen to a “heart warming” message that lets you walk away feeling good about your relationship with Jesus.
But, this isn’t God’s desire for you. Hebrews 5:11-13 tells us that we have become dull of hearing and that, by now, we ought to be teachers; but instead, we have need to be taught because we’ve been partaking of milk which is for new (baby) believers. It goes on to say that we need to move on to solid food (mature believers), which gives us a greater understanding of God.
So, we know that God desires us to move from milk to solid food to gain greater knowledge of Him but can we do that using just our Bible or do we need to seek out experts? I recommend you stay away from “experts” and give God a chance to reveal his mysteries to you. As for your Bible, it will be invaluable, but you’ll also need a copy of the Old Testament written in Biblical Hebrew and a copy of the New Testament in Greek. But, “wait”, you say, “I can’t read Greek or Hebrew and I don’t see the value in it anyway.”
Here’s the problem as I see it. Both Greek and Hebrew have writing styles that differ greatly from our English translations. Granted, they all present the same exact message, reading Scripture in the language it was originally written will reveal what Isaiah 45:3 tells us are “treasures of darkness” and the “hidden wealth of secret places”. So, gather up some friends, get a grade school level Hebrew and Greek language course and have fun.
Let’s take Hebrew for example. Biblical Hebrew doesn’t include verses or chapters and punctuation is pretty much non-existent, in fact, scribes used what the New Testament (Mat 5:18 KJV) calls “Jots” and “Tittles”, which are Greek translations for the Hebrew words “Yod” and “Horn” – sort of. In English these would be the equivalent to dotting an “i” or crossing a “t”. But really that’s not even accurate.
Unlike English, Hebrew words have a literal and numerical value as does individual letters. So, a word can have a meaning but each letter within that word can have a meaning that adds revelation or understanding to the “whole” word.
A good example of this is the sign that was hung on the Cross above Jesus. In English it reads, “Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews”. Pilate did this more to mock Jesus then he did because he believed in Jesus as a king. The sign was actually written in three languages: Greek, Latin and Hebrew. When read in Hebrew, the first letter of each word spelled - which is the name of God (Yahweh). The name reads from right to left and the Hebrew letters are: Yod, Hey, Vav, Hey. Without knowing it, Pilate called out the destiny of Jesus.
Are you starting to understand the importance of reading or at least researching Scripture in the original languages? There are hidden meanings with much of God’s Word and it’s our duty (and privilege) to seek those out and for that, he offers tremendous blessings, an increase of faith and a boldness forged out of love.
I’d like to close with a saying that the Jewish rabbis have stood by for years – it goes like this: “No one will have full understanding of the Scriptures until the Messiah comes. But when He does, He’ll not only interpret each of the passages, He’ll also interpret the very words. More importantly, He’ll even interpret the very letters and spaces between the letters.”
Thankfully, Messiah Yeshua (Jesus) has come and one of the many gifts He brought, apart from salvation, is the spaces between the letters, the “hidden treasures” that afford us a closer, more intimate relationship with Him.
I’d like to challenge you to broaden your knowledge and remove the division of words that keeps you from seeing that God is truly in the details. Drop us a comment below and let us know what God has revealed to you.