Next time I have to give a sermon I’m going to choose as my text Chapter 20, verses 7-13 of the Book of Acts, in which Paul gives a sermon so long a guy falls asleep, falls out the third floor window and is knocked cold:
On the first day of the week, when we were assembled for the breaking of bread, Paul, since he intended to leave on the following day, began to speak to them and prolonged his address until almost midnight. There were a great many lamps burning in the upper room where we met, and a young man called Eutychus who was sitting on the window sill fell fast asleep as Paul’s address became long and longer. Finally, completely overcome by sleep, he fell to the ground from the third story and was picked up as dead. But Paul went down, bent over him and holding him gently in his arms, said,
“Don’t be alarmed; he is still alive.”
Then he went upstairs again and, when he had broken bread and eaten, continued a long earnest talk with them until daybreak, and so finally departed. As for the boy, they took him home alive, feeling immeasurably relieved.
The Book of Acts, Praxis Apostolōn, has a couple long sermons from Paul. As a character, I find it hard to get into Paul. Just feels like he makes it all about himself?
If you had a Catholic or any sort of Christian upbringing, you’ll know this one:
Our Father who art in heaven,
Hallowed be thy name.
Thy kingdom come.
Thy will be done
on earth as it is in heaven.
Give us this day our daily bread,
and forgive us our trespasses,
as we forgive those who trespass against us,
and lead us not into temptation,
but deliver us from evil.
The most famous prayer in the world? Maybe. But what about “daily” there? While reading a list of hapex legomenon,
a word that occurs only once within a context, either in the written record of an entire language, in the works of an author, or in a single text.
I learned that “daily” in this case is an ancient Greek hapex legomenon.
Epiousios, translated into English as ″daily″ in the Lord’s Prayer in Matthew 6:11 and Luke 11:3, occurs nowhere else in all of the known ancient Greek literature, and is thus a hapax legomenon in the strongest sense.
So, this word, that’s only used once, epiousios, what exactly did it mean? Wikipedia:
The difficulty in understanding epiousios goes at least as far back as AD 382… At that time, St. Jerome was commissioned by Pope Damasus I to renew and consolidate the various collections of biblical texts in the Vetus Latina (“Old Latin”) then in use by the Church. Jerome accomplished this by going back to the original Greek of the New Testament and translating it into Latin; his translation came to be known as the Vulgate. In the identical contexts of Matthew and Luke—that is, reporting the Lord’s Prayer—Jerome translated epiousios in two different ways: by morphological analysis as ‘supersubstantial’ (supersubstantialem) in Matthew 6:11, but retaining ‘daily’ (quotidianum) in Luke 11:3.
The modern Catholic Catechism holds that there are several ways of understanding epiousios, including the traditional ‘daily’, but most literally as ‘supersubstantial’ or ‘superessential’, based on its morphological components. Alternative theories are that—aside from the etymology of ousia, meaning ‘substance’—it may be derived from either of the verbs einai (εἶναι), meaning “to be”, or ienai (ἰέναι), meaning both “to come” and “to go”.
Kenneth E. Bailey, a professor of theology and linguistics, proposed “give us today the bread that doesn’t run out” as the correct translation. The Syriac versions of the Bible were some of the first translations of the Gospels from the Greek into another language. Syriac is also close to Jesus’ own Aramaic, and the translators close in time and language to Jesus should thus have had considerable insight into his original meanings. In Syriac epiousios is translated as anemo, meaning lasting or perpetual.
Wrote to my friend BVZ who’s a pastor out in Oklahoma, he sent me some Biblical commentaries that suggest a connection with words that meant “ration.”
Today’s? Every day’s? Tomorrow’s? A day’s worth of? Earned? Special? Sacred? Eternal? Magic? Holy? Sustaining? Nutritious?
What did epiousios mean?
Maybe the prayer should go:
give us this day, our wonder bread.
this is the fourth in our series on the Book Of Mark.
Mark One, about the scraps of Mark on Papyrus One.
Mark Two, an intro to Mark, and what’s going on with it.
Mark Three, about “The Secret Gospel of Mark,” and now Mark Four, about J. B. Phillips.
Also He said to them, “Is a lamp brought to be put under a basket or under a bed? Is it not to be set on a lampstand? 22 For there is nothing hidden which will not be revealed, nor has anything been kept secret but that it should come to light.23 If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.”
That’s how the King James Version does Mark 4:21. Here’s how J. B. Philips does it:
Then he said to them,
“Is a lamp brought into the room to be put under a bucket or underneath the bed? Surely it’s place is on the lamp-stand! There is nothing hidden which is not meant to be made perfectly plain one day, and there are no secrets which are not meant one day to be common knowledge. If a man has ears he should use them!
Wanting to know more about the guy I was trusting to translate my Mark for me, I read J. B.’s book:
It’s good and short and clearly written, much like Mark. J. B.’s strongest point is that the Gospels seem true to him because, well, who could make this stuff up?
That kind of reminded me of the several times in the Quran where Allah says, hey, if you don’t believe this, let’s see you write a Quran.
Surprised to find, in the next Phillips I picked up, a description of my workplace.
I can’t say The Price Of Success was exactly a page-turner. JB Phillips had a hard childhood, but through diligence earned himself a place at Cambridge, became an Anglican churchman, and started translating The New Testament during World War II.
No surprise that he was pals, or at least sometime correspondents, with C. S. Lewis.
I often heard Lewis’s Screwtape Letters recommended for young Christians in my youth. When I finally got to the book (audiobook) I found it a really stiff and unattractive vision. How did Christianity, which, when you get back to the source, was unquestionably weird, get claimed by stiff collar types like C. S. Lewis?
I found Ring Of Truth to be a more compelling read.
In Price of Success, Phillips is very open and honest about his struggles with depression.
No doubt hearing this, from a respected Christian leader in 1984, was really helpful to people. The book was published two years after his death.
Am I allowed you quote you by the way, J. B.?
Mark Five: Strange Tales Of Jesus!
The news and whatnot got me thinking about how a theme/promise in both the Bible and Quran is that anything hidden will be revealed. Surah 69:18 there above.
Thomas Cleary’s version goes:
On that day you will be exposed;
no secret of yours will be hidden
Luke hits us with this again in 12:2:
The time is coming when everything that is covered up will be revealed, and all that is secret will be made known to all.
Whatever you have said in the dark will be heard in the light, and what you have whispered behind closed doors will be shouted from the housetops for all to hear!
Consider Mark, chapter 5. Possible spoiler alert for the TV show Legion — keep hearing it’s awesome, that’s what led us here.
Jesus Restores a Demon-Possessed Man
5 They went across the lake to the region of the Gerasenes.[a] 2 When Jesus got out of the boat, a man with an impure spirit came from the tombs to meet him.3 This man lived in the tombs, and no one could bind him anymore, not even with a chain. 4 For he had often been chained hand and foot, but he tore the chains apart and broke the irons on his feet. No one was strong enough to subdue him. 5 Night and day among the tombs and in the hills he would cry out and cut himself with stones.
6 When he saw Jesus from a distance, he ran and fell on his knees in front of him.7 He shouted at the top of his voice, “What do you want with me, Jesus, Son of the Most High God? In God’s name don’t torture me!” 8 For Jesus had said to him, “Come out of this man, you impure spirit!”
9 Then Jesus asked him, “What is your name?”
“My name is Legion,” he replied, “for we are many.” 10 And he begged Jesus again and again not to send them out of the area.
11 A large herd of pigs was feeding on the nearby hillside. 12 The demons begged Jesus, “Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them.” 13 He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned.
14 Those tending the pigs ran off and reported this in the town and countryside, and the people went out to see what had happened. 15 When they came to Jesus, they saw the man who had been possessed by the legion of demons, sitting there, dressed and in his right mind; and they were afraid. 16 Those who had seen it told the people what had happened to the demon-possessed man—and told about the pigs as well. 17 Then the people began to plead with Jesus to leave their region.
18 As Jesus was getting into the boat, the man who had been demon-possessed begged to go with him. 19 Jesus did not let him, but said, “Go home to your own people and tell them how much the Lord has done for you, and how he has had mercy on you.” 20 So the man went away and began to tell in the Decapolis[b] how much Jesus had done for him. And all the people were amazed.
That’s the New International Version.
(Funny that Bible Gateway, at least on my computer, makes their money from ads for Theory.
The King James ends:
And all men did marvel.
And therefore it is completely consistent that Trump is an idolater in many other ways. He has given no evidence of humility or dependence on others, let alone on God his Maker and Judge. He wantonly celebrates strongmen and takes every opportunity to humiliate and demean the vulnerable. He shows no curiosity or capacity to learn. He is, in short, the very embodiment of what the Bible calls a fool.