Defining Hard Phrases

This originally appeared as an email delivered on
Saturday, January 28th, 2012.

Everyone finds phrases they don’t understand in the Bible.

Word definitions can be found in context or dictionaries, but phrases are not found in dictionaries. What some wrongly do is try to find a translation that says something they understand.

The problem with this is that the paraphrased translation does not explain anything. It only dumbs down the phrase sometimes to a point of oversimplification.

You may be losing an important nuance for the sake of simplification. If you cannot learn from the context what the phrase means, it is better to use the King James Bible and check commentaries or Bible dictionaries for help on the meaning of hard phrases, idioms, figures of speech, etc.

While commentaries are doctrinally bias and merely men’s opinions, they will explain more than a different translation ever could.

There is a place for commentaries, it is to get a studied comment on Biblical phrases. Don’t throw away the translation, get an explanation.

Once you gather a meaning go back to your Bible to learn what it is teaching. Don’t depend on the commentary to tell you what the Bible says rightly divided, they won’t know how.

For God’s glory,

Justin Curtis Johnson

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This was originally published in the weekly Grace Ambassadors email sent free to subscribers.