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Catholics, Orthodox (and some Anglicans) claim it is legitimate to pray to Mary and other Saints in heaven. Other Christians claim we should only pray to God. Who is right? Well, contradictory as it may seem - both are right, because both are using ‘pray’ in a different way. In Greek there are two words that we translate as ‘pray’, parakaleo and proseuchomai. Greek speaking Orthodox use parakaleo for addressing Mary & the Saints and proseuchomai for addressing God and. We have only the one word, “pray”, and hence the misunderstandings that arise in this. Parakaleo (Strong 3870): "to call near, that is, invite, invoke (by imploration, hortation or consolation):—beseech, call for, (be of good) comfort, desire, (give) exhort (-ation), intreat, pray." This is similar to the etymology of pray given in the Online Etymology Dictionary: c.1290, "ask earnestly, beg," also "pray to a god or saint," from O.Fr. preier (c.900), from L. precari "ask earnestly, beg," from *prex (plural preces, gen. precis) "prayer, request, entreaty," from PIE base *prek- "to ask, request, entreat" So pray means, at its root, ask earnestly, entreat, beg, request. If you read old English plays you will find phrases such as “prithee sir” (pray you sir) or “where are you going I pray”. Take these extracts from that great English writer, Jane Austen “But pray, Colonel, how came you to conjure out that I should be in town today?” (Mrs Jennings to Colonel Brandon in Sense and Sensibility) "Oh! cousin, stop a moment, pray stop!" (Fanny Price to Edmund in Mansfield Park) Scripture itself uses the word pray in this manner: Notwithstanding, that I be not further tedious unto thee, I pray (parakalo) thee that thou wouldest hear us of thy clemency a few words. (Acts 24:4 - KJV) Wherefore I pray (parakalo) you to take some meat: for this is for your health (Acts 27:34 - KJV) It is in this sense of asking, requesting, petitioning, entreating, that Catholics ‘pray’ to Mary Proseuchomai (Strong 4336) "to pray to God, that is, supplicate, worship:—pray (X earnestly, for), make prayer." It is this word proseuchomai that is generally used for addressing God. But when you pray (proseuche), go to your inner room, close the door, and pray (proseuxai) to your Father in secret (Mt 6:6). Spirit & Truth Fellowship International (not Catholic) say about parakaleo & proseuchomai: "The Greek verb parakaleō (#3870 parakale,w) and its noun form paraklēsis (#3874 para,klhsij) have a very wide range of meaning. Further, they appear quite often in scripture (109 verb uses; 29 noun uses). The words’ basic meaning is to call to one’s side. “To call some one hither, that he may do something…to use persuasion with him” (Bullinger). The calling along can be meant to appeal or plead; encourage or urge; to comfort; summon or invite; only once is it applied to God and that by the Lord Jesus (Matt 26:53)." "The Greek verb proseuchomai (#4336 proseu,comai) and its noun form proseuche (#4335 proseuch,), like euchomai and euche, denote prayer in the more general sense. This means the content of the prayer may include various specific requests (aitema), supplications (deēsis), intercessions (enteuxis), etc. However proseuchomai and proseuche are only used as prayer to God (the prefix pros means towards)—whereas euchomai and deēsis are not restricted in this way (Trench, Synonyms). It generally “seems to indicate not so much the contents of the prayer as its end and aim” (Thayer)." To summarise: Catholics use one meaning of ‘pray’ (Greek parakaleo) when addressing Mary and a different meaning of ‘pray’ (Greek proseuchomai) when addressing God.
The question of why good people suffer evil has haunted human experience since Cain slew Abel. The Bible offers numerous reflections on this question, perhaps most notably Psalm 73. And it has fascinated philosophers, from Boethius onwards. Yet a more intriguing, if less frequently asked, question is surely this: Why do ordinary people do wicked things? And not just wicked things on the personal level—spousal abuse, rape, murder—but on the national and international level, too. A lot of ordinary Germans supported Hitler and were involved in implementing his genocidal policies. Why? The most famous treatment of this issue is that of Hannah Arendt, whose eyewitness reports from Adolf Eichmann’s trial in Jerusalem came to form the book Eichmann in Jerusalem: A Study in the Banality of Evil. Arendt’s Eichmann is a buffoon, an unreflective mediocrity incapable of grasping the enormity of what he had done. In his own eyes, he was just the man who made sure the trains ran on time. That they happened to run all the way to Auschwitz was an incidental detail of no great moral moment to him. While more recent research on Eichmann has called into question just how thoughtless and unreflective he was as he carried out his role in the Holocaust, the Third Reich still raises questions that should be disturbing to all who are confident they’re so civilized they could never be part of such horror. Germany was culturally and technologically the most advanced nation in Europe in 1900; 33 years later Hitler was its chancellor, and neither the Third Reich nor the Holocaust could have happened without the involvement of large numbers of ordinary, polite, civilized human beings. How and why? The Christian answer is that human beings at their core are sinful, depraved, and twisted toward selfishness. That’s true; but the fact that that answer is true doesn’t mean it isn’t trite. The cause that explains everything in general explains nothing in particular. The British were similarly sinful, but they didn’t orchestrate the systematic annihilation of the Jewish population in London. The French had a worse record on anti-Semitism, but they didn’t host the Wannsee Conference. So why Germany? And what of lasting value can be learned, if anything at all, from the catastrophic crimes of such a civilized nation? In his new book, The Law of Blood: Thinking and Acting as a Nazi, distinguished historian Johann Chapoutot offers an account of Nazi life that attempts to answer these questions. Examining everything from the ideological premises of Nazism to its practical application at home and abroad, both in the chaos of war and the implementation of governing, Chapoutot’s work offers a comprehensive view of the world as the Nazis understood and experienced it. And therein lies salutary lessons for us all. Understanding Nazi Ideology There has been a temptation in dealing with Nazism to dismiss Nazi ideology as shallow, a creed designed by psychopaths and believed by idiots. This is perhaps connected to an understandable fear that explaining the attraction of Nazism might somehow become a means of excusing it. The problem with such an approach is that it feeds the mentality that sees the Nazi “them” so alien to the enlightened “us” that we might just fall into the same ditch without even noticing. Chapoutot refuses such a simplistic approach. And at a time when the public square is polarized, and the dominant voices are found at the extremes, a book that addresses Nazism in all its cultural and intellectual complexity is a most welcome addition not only to the scholarly literature but also to the world beyond academia too. Chapoutot presents Nazism as a vast, internally coherent and rhetorically compelling system of belief and behavior that was quite capable of adapting contemporary events to become part of its grand, self-justifying narrative. Many of its elements had deep philosophical and cultural roots. Chapoutot identifies a reverence for nature at the heart of the movement. The German race was distinctive and uniquely moral. Differences between cultures were rooted in biology, and biology possessed its own hierarchy. This is the basic premise from which Nazism grew, and it forms the core of Chapoutot’s first chapter. In subsequent chapters in part one, he demonstrates how this premise shaped attitudes toward religion, reproductive ethics, history, legal philosophy, and judicial practices. He demonstrates how the Nazis constructed elaborate historical and biological narratives, reinforced by the medium of film, to shape the popular imagination. The men who formed Nazi (and thus German) culture were no half-wit cave-dwellers. They were often academically and professionally accomplished. It was no coincidence that eight of the 15 men who attended the Wannsee Conference held academic doctorates. In part two, Chapoutot focuses on the importance of struggle to Nazi culture. If the Nordic race is truly superior to the rest, then its experience will inevitably be marked by struggle as it moves toward its ultimate ascendancy. And this would take place on two fronts: in the German heart and in the world around. Regarding the former, Germans needed to overcome any feelings of pity for those who were inferior, for such emotions were likely to undo the grand destiny of the Nordic race. It is here that the battle against Christianity was waged most strongly: Christianity, as a religion that favored the weak, was particularly pernicious. In this context, I was surprised that Chapoutot didn’t mention Nietzsche. It is well-established that Nietzsche was no anti-Semite—Nazi theoretician Ernst Krieck once sardonically commented that it was only Nietzsche’s opposition to nationalism, socialism, and racialism that prevented him from being a great Nazi philosopher. But Nietzsche’s genealogical approach to moral discourse, his focus on Christianity as slave-morality, and his insight into ressentiment as driving ethical thinking all seem to underlie Nazi thinking on Christianity and also on Judaism as a religion. In part three, Chapoutot concludes his study by showing how the Nazi narrative justified eastward expansion. If the myth of origin lay at the foundation of Nazi thinking, so did the myth of the destined final frontier. The apocalyptic horror of the invasions and occupation of Poland was the result of a consistent working out of the Nazi narrative in practice. Like The Godfather, the story of Nazism demonstrates how the relentless logic of a false premise can transform decent human beings into monsters. Danger of Origin Stories There is always a danger with books on Nazism that the reader walks away with the words of the Pharisee on his lips: “I thank you, Lord, that I am not like other men.” Chapoutot’s book should provoke a different, more sobering response, for it is a clear demonstration of how the moral compass of a society can become distorted in tragic ways. The story he tells give credence to Alasdair MacIntyre’s insight that moral discourse is a function of narrative. Kant’s deontological ethics only make sense in a world that tells a particular story about itself, and the same is true of the ethical thought of Aristotle and Paul and Confucius and Muhammad and Thomas Aquinas. When the world is understood in terms of a story of origin and of destiny, then moral codes come to reflect and reinforce these. Nazism thrived on a myth of origin (the Aryan race as the pinnacle of humanity) and of destiny (the ultimate triumph of the racially superior); and it fueled these myths with ressentiment of the Jews, aided and abetted by the “criminals” of Versailles and the decadents of the Weimar Republic. In that context, ethics of common human decency simply vanished, and systematic annihilation of Jews ultimately came to make sense. The subsequent Holocaust was a tragedy the scale of which is hard to conceptualize today. But the same ethical dynamic that created it plays out every day in more trivial and truly banal circumstances. And Christians might be particularly susceptible. Anyone who has ever worked for a Christian organization knows that stories of origin are powerful—whether it is a tale of sacrificial fidelity in the fundamentalist-modernist controversy or the conservative resurgence in the Southern Baptist Convention. And tales of destiny, frequently connected to those myths of origin, loom large in the institutional imagination. And the danger for such is this: transcendent ethical imperatives are relativized in the service of the local narrative. There is, to borrow a term, a teleological suspension of the ethical in service of ultimate destiny. People who are perceived to be in the way get treated like dirt. Lies are told—and believed—in the service of the greater destiny. And everyone becomes slowly but surely complicit in corruption, even as the rhetoric of piety is used not to hide but rather to justify the same. That is where Chapoutot’s book will be useful for Christians. It tells the story of the gradual, logical, coherent corruption of an entire society in the service of great evil. In doing so it not only teaches us about the rise of Nazism. It also teaches us about the dynamics of moral thinking and behavior in a way that is a warning to us all, no matter how small and insignificant the little worlds we happen to inhabit. View the full article
Hello everyone, I have a question how do you get and understanding of the bible when your reading it, I was told that it's a message out of every scripture. I read a scripture over and over and still did not get the message besides what it was saying, but I guess it was more to it then what I wasn't getting.
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Human beings all over the world, from different circles of life, have their own definitions of wisdom. But the greater percentage of what many hold as wisdom, is what the bible refers to as conceited wisdom. The married man or woman who has extra-marital affairs, with the notion that the taste of only one type of soup is not enough, believes he/she is operating in wisdom. The beautiful lady who goes about trading her body sexually for money, with the notion that she is using what she has to get what she wants; believes also that she is walking in wisdom. The young man who uses the internet and other media to trick and scam people into frustration believes also that he is smart or walking in wisdom. Just to mention but a few of the conceited wisdom mankind operate in. And to this group of people walking or operating in this kind of conceited wisdom, the word of God says; “Seest thou a man wise in his own conceit? There is more hope of a fool than of him”—Proverbs 26:12 Given this backdrop, we want to scripturally study what true wisdom or divine wisdom actually mean. So people can actually pursue and apply it in every area of life. What Is Divine Wisdom? Scripturally, there are mainly four definitions of wisdom. And we will be considering them one after the other. 1) The Fear of God: “But where shall wisdom be found? And where is the place of understanding? Man knoweth not the price thereof; neither is it found in the land of the living… And unto man he said, behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding”—Job 28:12-13; 28.
The above scripture defines wisdom— divine wisdom—as the fear of God. Then again the word of God tells us in Psalm 111:10 that;
“The fear of the Lord is the beginning of Wisdom”. Hence, according to scriptures, divine wisdom can simply be defined as the “Fear of God”.
2) Thoughtfulness: “Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents and harmless as doves” – Matthew 10:16. The word wise as translated in the above scripture is from the Greek word: ‘phronimos’ meaning; ‘thoughtfulness’. In order words, sagacity, discretion, shrewdness, astuteness, cleverness, cunningness or subtlety (in a good sense), etc. The Lord admonished his disciples to engage this type of wisdom as he sent them out to preach the gospel. He admonished them to be as wise as the serpent and harmless as dove.
And of course, what Jesus says to one, he says to all. This same injunction of the Lord also applies to us Christians today. We also need this divine wisdom in the discharge of our great commission; in order to record substantial results.
The Apostle Paul employed this aspect of wisdom in his Evangelical work. He says; to them that are under the Law, became as a man under the law. And unto them that are without the law, he became as a man without the law. To the intent that he might by all means save some (1 Corinthians 9:20-22).
And of course, this being wise as serpent, is shrewdness. It is definitely cleverness or sagacity. And we must as well employ this wisdom in our ministry and every area of life, for maximum success.
3) Intellectual Insight: “And he shall go before him in the spirit and power of Elias, to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children, and the disobedient to the wisdom of the just; to make ready a people prepared for the Lord”—Luke 1:17
The word translated in the above scripture as wisdom is from the Greek word; “phronesis” meaning; intellectual or moral insight. The same word is also translated in the New Testament in some other context as prudence.
Hence, this gives us a third definition of divine wisdom to mean divinely inspired, intellectual or moral insight. In order words, understanding or prudence. This particular definition of wisdom, do merit distinction from the second definition of wisdom we had already considered, ‘phronimos’.
So intellectual or moral insight, inspired by God, is also divine wisdom.
4) Love or Word Practice: “He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him” John 14:21
“Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.
And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man which built his house upon the sand: and the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it”—Matthew 7: 24-27.
In the first scripture above (John 14:21) the Lord defines love as having and keeping his commandments. Then the second scripture (Matthew 7:24-27), the Lord again says whosoever hears his sayings and does them, he would liken to a wise man.
Hence, we can define divine wisdom as well as the Love of God or the practice of God’s word. And I believe, just the same way as the word of God says the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom, the Love of God is the climax of wisdom. So there you have it. The above definitions are the meaning of divine wisdom. And the Lord will have us walk in all the above four aspects of divine wisdom to the glory of his Holy Name. Remain Blessed! Emeke Odili.
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Gustave Dore, The Good Samaritan. Dr. Amy-Jill Levine of Vanderbilt University explains how getting an accurate answer to the question “Who were the Samaritans?” can shed light on how shocking the Good Samaritan parable would have been to Jesus’ audience. The Good Samaritan parable is one of the most beloved gospel stories for young and old alike. The story is told in Luke 10:29–37: A man going from Jerusalem to Jericho is attacked by robbers who strip him and beat him. A priest and a Levite pass by without helping him. But a Samaritan stops and cares for him, taking him to an inn where the Samaritan pays for his care. As Dr. Amy-Jill Levine discusses in a column in the January/February 2012 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, the story has proven a popular one for sermons over the years, and it has been interpreted in many different ways—ranging from a tale about ritual purity to lessons about personal safety and even freedom fighters or universal healthcare. These sometimes-unusual interpretations are no doubt an attempt to find meaning in the parable for the times and concerns of a changing audience. And although that may be a worthy cause, Levine notes that in order to grasp the full import of the story, one must understand the times and concerns of first-century Judea, where Jesus and his followers lived. To do this, one must understand the relationship between Jews and Samaritans. This is sometimes hinted at in modern interpretations of the parable but rarely fully grasped. Dr. Amy-Jill Levine So who were the Samaritans, really? Levine explains that they were not simply outcasts: They were the despised enemies of the Jews. Yet where listeners would have expected a Jew to be the hero of Jesus’ story, instead they would have been shocked to hear that it is a Samaritan. As Levine explains, only by understanding this reality does the powerful message of the parable come through: Read more from Dr. Amy-Jill Levine about interpreting the Good Samaritan parable in Biblical Views, “The Many Faces of the Good Samaritan—Most Wrong,” Biblical Archaeology Review, January/February 2012. Not a subscriber yet? Join today.
The Galilee is one of the most evocative locales in the New Testament—the area where Jesus was raised and where many of the Apostles came from. Our free eBook The Galilee Jesus Knew focuses on several aspects of Galilee: how Jewish the area was in Jesus’ time, the ports and the fishing industry that were so central to the region, and several sites where Jesus likely stayed and preached.
Related reading in Bible History Daily: Recovering the Original Meaning of Matthew’s Parables by Helmut Koester Inn from the Good Samaritan Parable Becomes a Museum The Samaritan Schism Dating of the Samaritan Temple on Mt. Gerizim Ancient Samaria and Jerusalem
This Bible History Daily feature was originally published in January 2012.
The post Understanding the Good Samaritan Parable appeared first on Biblical Archaeology Society. View the full article