Yes, I have fallen off the edge of the earth…but I finally made my way back to this blog. It’s not like I haven’t been busy. Long story short – about two weeks ago I released the ebook version of a new book, and today I activated the print version. Let me tell you a little about the book – Dry Bones: Breathing New Life into Petrified Words of the Bible and how it got started.
As I researched the Greek text of the Bible for sermon preparation, I began to have questions about why the translators from Greek to English made choices of replacement words. Sometimes a Greek word can be translated three or four (or more) different ways. Putting a different word in a sentence can change the meaning of the sentence. Why did King James translators choose the replacement definitions they did?
My thesis for Dry Bones is that several words of the Bible, specifically the New Testament, have taken on theological meanings that were developed after the gospels and letters were written. When a person talks about “being saved,” what does that mean to them today and what did it mean to the person in the first century writing it? Or when a person says, “I believe in Jesus,” what does that mean for them today and what did it mean to the person in the first century?
I’ve chosen twelve significant words in Christianity, stripped them of vocabulary based on fourth through sixteenth century theological decisions, and put them in terms that don’t lead a person toward a particular brand of theology. The only difference is using an alternative definition that is not automatically attached to a particular theological pathway. It’s been incredibly exciting to see pieces of the puzzle start to fall into place. Some things that were hard to understand in the New Testament often make more sense.
So basically, I’ve redefined twelve common terms that I believe carry theological baggage with different definitions. Even when my replacement words are synonymous with the old, they often give a different perspective and meaning from the one people have been conditioned to accept. Here’s the list of words I’ve chosen that are defined, redefined, and replaced:
- kingdom of heaven
- life (coming from psuche)
- life (coming from zoa)
Like I’ve said many times in my books, translation is a subjective process. It depends on the point of view and the belief system of the translator. Therefore, it’s only fair that I explain the basis of my belief system which is clearly different from the good people of the sixteenth century.
#1 – God is good. God is love. God has always been good from the beginning of time, no matter what ancient people imagined God to be like.
#2 – Jesus came to reveal the true image of God…which is said often in the New Testament (and confirmed by Jesus five times in the Gospel of John when told the Pharisees, “You don’t know God” – and he told Phillip, “If you have seen me, you have seen the Father”).
That’s about it. With this foundation, I think you’ll be surprised at the expanded way these words in the New Testament can be interpreted. It has convinced me that the Christian Testament is more about securing the kingdom of heaven on this earth than being a guide to getting to Paradise when you die. I think it brings the New Testament to life.
I hope you’ll check it out here at Amazon. I’d love to hear what you think about it.