Follow my blog with Bloglovin Follow my blog with Bloglovin
 
Sparkling Gems from the Greek: 365 Greek Word Studies for Every Day of the Year to Sharpen Your Understanding of God's WordSparkling Gems from the Greek: 365 Greek Word Studies for Every Day of the Year to Sharpen Your Understanding of God's Word by Rick Renner
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Rick Renner’s daily devotional, Sparkling Gems From the Greek, is a thick, heavy tome that is somewhat intimidating at first glance, but don’t be misled. In each daily reading, Renner offers up a daily scripture and breaks it down, piece by piece, into its original Greek translation, allowing the reader to gain a fullness of understanding that includes the nuances and inferences that don’t translate well into modern American-English.
Consider the word “love.” In English, its meaning is limited to “an intense feeling of deep affection”  Our understanding of the word “love” is limited to that of a feeling, even though the word itself appears 179 times alone in the New Testament. Japan, until the late nineteenth century, didn’t have a word for love at all.  The Greek language can boast five; philia, storge, eros, agape, and xenia. <br><br>“Philia” is commonly translated from ancient Greek to modern English as being a “brotherly love.” Philia is the dispassionate virtuous love and loyalty to friends and family, a concept that was, interestingly, developed by Aristotle. It can also mean "love of the mind."<br><br>“Storge,” like “Philia,” occurs within families, but differentiates in that it specifies natural affection; that which is naturally reciprocated between parents and their children. Storge has been commonly defined as “motherly love.”<br><br>“Eros” is described passionate love, with sensual desire and longing. <br><br>The Greek word, “agape”, refers to a Godly, divine spiritual relationship. If in the Greek “eros” describes a physical attraction, then the Greek “agape” describes a spiritual one.<br><br>The fifth and last Greek word for love is “xenia.”  Its meaning translates with the most difficulty into modern English, and even when translated, doesn’t easily interpret into understanding in western-thinking minds. Xenia is loosely translated as “hospitality,” but more specifically is an almost ritualized reciprocal need-based friendship between a host and his guest. It is somewhat like the dependence-based “storge” in familial relationships, differing in that the xenia relationship can potentially take place between individuals who had previously been strangers. Both material as well as non-material benefits expressed include mutual gift giving and protection or shelter. The word in the Greek originates from traditions honoring the Greek god, Zeus, also know as Zeus Xenios, from which the word originates. In mythology, he had the role of protector of travelers, creating a religious obligation to be hospitable to travelers. <br><br><br>While all this may seem tedious, the impact of breaking open the limits of the English language in understanding scripture is no less than astonishing. <br><br>Imagine reading this scripture assuming that the word, love, has been translated from the Greek word, eros:<br><br>“Love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. Love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Love never ends.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-8 <br><br><br>What?! I can connect with the act of physical intimacy being one in which couples are unrushed in their lovemaking and in intimate encounters we are to avoid at all costs being arrogant and/or rude to one another, but REJOICE IN WRONGDOING? What does that even mean? I shudder to think! Is God telling us through His Word to patiently endure an unskilled intimate partner?  And I should hope that spouses would not boast to others about what goes on behind closed doors!<br><br>This scripture, correctly translated using the word, agape, changes form entirely and takes on a completely different meaning. It translates more accurately as <br><br>“God’s perfect divine love is patient and kind; His holy love does not envy or boast; Perfect Godly love is not arrogant or rude. God’s sacred love does not insist on its own way; it is not irritable or resentful; it does not rejoice at wrongdoing, but rejoices with the truth. God’s pure, undefiled love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things. Godly love never ends.” <br><br>Replacing the faulty word, eros, with the correct word, agape, as correctly identified using a Strong’s concordance brings much more clarity, and ultimately, understanding, to the scripture. It takes the Word from (still true) difficult to apply to giving a clear understanding of God’s loving relationship to us that we are to try to emulate.<br><br>In each daily devotional, Rick Renner does precisely this; offering up scripture verses and unlocking the keys to understanding by breaking down and translating each scripture to illuminate the lost nuances. He does this in a palatable manner using stories to illustrate meanings and follows with questions for the reader to ask one’s self, making the devotion both personal and applicable.

<br/><br/>

<a href="https://www.goodreads.com/review/list/25022912-anastasia-l-gstrup-riebs">View all my reviews</a>

 





Leave a Reply.