Saturday, June 6, 2009

Sharpshooter

by John D Ramsey

The other day in the hardware store Gabby spotted the prize – a pink Red Rider BB gun. It was as if Daisy had manufactured the gun just for her. I did not buy it that day. The BB gun would have sat in its box until the weekend and the little girl would have tortured her mother with incessant questioning, “Can I shoot now? When can I shoot, Mom?”

Wednesday of this last week, Lisa bought Claire and Gabby pink camouflage boonies. We are going to be outside this weekend in public places, so the girls need hats and we need an easy way to keep them spotted in a crowd. The pink hats reminded me of the pink Red Rider, and so I picked it up on my way home from work Friday night.

Gabby, sitting at the kitchen island, did not notice when I laid the gun down in front of her. Her brother, Daniel, who had come home for a visit, distracted her. When she finally noticed the rifle sitting directly in front of her, she gasped, “For me?”

After dinner, Gabby and I went out to shoot. House rules are:
1. Every gun is always loaded (at least we treat them such).
2. Adult supervision is required (and 11-year old sister is not an adult).
3. Always wear eye protection when handling a firearm.
4. Carry the gun with the muzzle pointed to the ground.
5. Never point a gun in the direction of people.
6. Keep the safety on until the gun is pointed downrange.

Gabby, is tenacious about following rules. Later in the evening when Daniel reloaded her rifle and tried to hand it back to her, she stopped him, “Is the safety on?” she demanded. When he assured her it was, she took the gun and walked back to her shooting position.

Gabby is not yet a sharpshooter, but with training and continued practice she may be someday. Shooting is a simple concept, handle the firearm in such a way that it remains stable, align the eye with the sights and the target, and squeeze the trigger. In general, guns shoot consistently straight. Once the sights are aligned, failure to hit the target at 5 yards is a purely human weakness. No amount of willpower or even practice will force a gun to defy the physical sciences.


Likewise, is our study of Scripture. Peter wrote, “No prophecy of the scripture is of any private interpretation.” (1 Peter 1:21 KJV) We must handle Scripture correctly to discern the truth. Just as you cannot evaluate the accuracy of one’s aim by contemplating the front sight or rear sight alone, you cannot evaluate the meaning of one passage of Scripture without the context of the rest of Scripture.

I read in my Apostolic Bible Polyglot, Hebrews 3:1, the other day, “Whereupon, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, contemplate the apostle and chief priest of our acknowledgement offering – Christ Jesus.” In general, translators italicize words they consider to be inferred by the context. It struck me that perhaps the words, “acknowledgment offering” connote something more specific than the word, “confession,” which the New American Standard uses to translate omologias.

I checked the lexical concordance, and found that he same word in the Septuagint (LXX) in Leviticus 22:18. There omologias refers to an acceptable personal offering. I checked the other passages where the same word appeared, and the Apostolic Bible sometimes translates the word, “confession” and sometimes it translates it “acknowledgment offering.” I looked for clues in the passages for why the translator would translate the same Greek word differently. “What was his insight?” I wondered.

I did not think about it too long. Before I retired for the evening, I sent an email to the translator, Charles Van der Pool, asking him what he was thinking. He kindly replied a couple hours later, saying that he did not remember. He wrote, “What is really important is what the Greek says, not necessarily my translation.” I was hoping for a different answer, but he gave me the best.

Yet Van der Pool’s translation intrigues me like a glimmer of light. Was the writer of Hebrews contemplating the Old Testament acknowledgment offering when he wrote that we should contemplate Christ as our apostle and chief priest? Elsewhere, Paul wrote to the Corinthians telling them that their gift to the believers in Jerusalem was their “acknowledgment offering to the good news of the Christ.” (2 Corinthians 9:13 AB) Was Paul contemplating the Old Testament sacrificial system when he penned his letter, or was he merely meaning “confession?”

Perhaps there is little distinction in meaning between acknowledgment offering and confession. The writer of Hebrews primarily is asking us to contemplate Christ as our apostle and chief priest. What is at stake is depth of insight into the thoughts of the New Testament writers. Were Paul and the writer of Hebrews contemplating Leviticus or other Old Testament passages referring to a whole burnt offering? Is the reader to infer such an association? I will contemplate this question for some time.

As I reflect upon this, I am thankful to have an Apostolic Bible. The interlinear format enables a weak student of the Greek, such as I am, to delve more deeply into word associations. God preserved the content of Old Testament into the Greek of the New Testament. The writers of the New Testament certainly used the LXX in their own study. Reading the Old and New Testaments in a unified but ancient language enlightens both.

A word study between the Old and New Testaments in the Apostolic Bible is like aligning ones eye to the front and rear sights. With continued practice . . .

1 comment:

  1. AnonymousJune 15, 2009

    I think John that if we believe that all scripture is insireped of God and not just an individuals letter. Such as pauls oen leter to the hebrews. We can look to god to give insight.

    My take is that Paul was insipried by God. Paul was a great scholar of the Old testament. So the themes that are in the old testamant come forward to the new In this case "Offerings" Offerings are Giving or setting apart for God. As Jesus says in the Sermon on the mount let your yes be yes and your no be no. But Give to God what is Gods. IF you have acpeted him as your LOrd then all that you have is his anyways set aside for His purpose. when we live and spend our resources on anything so long as it is not sin in a real since we are doing what he gave us the resources and gifts to do.

    I hope this makes since to you...

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