DISCOVER GOD'S MESSAGE OF GOODNESS, EASE
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A word from Jonathan:
I want to share with you my passion for the Greek New Testament. I have taken some bold steps to reveal to you its depth and richness, along with varying approaches to words, phrases and verses -- so that you, the reader, will have a greater participation in understanding our Lord, Jesus Christ, through the Greek Scriptures.
This work has been a labor of love... a love for the Word, for the Truth and for people. It began as a quest to better know the Scriptures, but it has become a journey into the heart of our Father. What started as a personal challenge grew into a desire to share the wonders I found in His inexhaustible Word. This is by no means a finished work, but continues to be an ongoing and unfolding revelation.
These studies and writings are interpretations considering the contexts, figures of speech, symbols, types of literature and cultural factors. I use Scripture to interpret Scripture, looking at the patterns of God's dealings as set forth in the Hebrew Bible. Searching out the literal meaning of Greek words and endeavoring to minimize doctrinal bias, I depend upon the unveilings from His Spirit. May this bless you in your search into the things of the Father, and to more authentically know the Truth, Who is our Life.
My prayer is that the One who makes all things real, the "set-apart Breath-effect," will breathe these words into each and every heart that reads them. May God use this work to bring blessings to each reader, and to bring His reign into every heart.
To God be the glory,
BLESS, and CURSE NOT
The title of this article comes from the King James rendering of the last clause of Rom. 12:14. The contrast expressed in this simple translation should make us pause and consider. The religious mind can think, "Well of course... we should not curse!" And yes, we so commonly say, "Bless you," or sign an email, "Blessings," – and we mean it. Yet it can also be a thoughtless social response.
A childhood memory verse for me was Ps. 19:14 where David said, "Let the words of my mouth, and the meditation of my heart, be acceptable in Thy sight, O Lord (Yahweh), my Strength (Rock) and my Redeemer." Paul, in our Romans verse above, has given a definition to acceptable words and thoughts – while pointing out their opposites.
An expanded translation of Paul's words is instructive:
14. You folks keep on speaking well of (or: repeatedly think goodness for; continue
blessing) the people consistently pursuing and persecuting you: be continuously
blessing (speaking well of [them] or thinking goodness for [them]) and stop cursing (or:
you must not continue praying down on, or wishing anything against, [things, situations or
While we may not think that we participate in "cursing," we may be doing so without realizing it. The Greek word for curse here is kataraomai, which comes from ara, a prayer or a wish, and is prefixed by kata, down on, or against – as given in the expansion above. Do we ever pray thoughts or words down on situations or people? Do we ever wish anything against things, situations or people? Do we "curse" the weather – something that comes from God? Do we "curse" people through our criticism of them – are we entertaining wishes against their behavior? Are we praying against practices or laws that we consider not right or immoral? Do we "curse" our leaders by praying against them?
I think that it was Socrates to whom the saying was attributed, "The unexamined life is not worth living." This article is a call to life examination. David, in Ps. 139:23-24 asks of God,
"Search me out, O El, and know my heart; test me, and know my disquieting thoughts.
See if a grievous way [is] in me, and guide me in [the] Way eonian" (CVOT).
We can often tend to live "thoughtless" lives, and be in habits of speech or thought of which we are unaware. I have not thought that I curse people or things, yet I can see that I have had wishes against situations and people – and have felt just in doing so. In the past I am sure that I have prayed against the devil and evil spirits. I have practiced kataraomai, in my ignorance. But the simple imperative is, "Curse not." "O Father, lead me in the Way eonian!"
But let us look at the positive injunction: "Be continuously speaking well of, blessing and thinking goodness for people, things and situations!" What a different mindset. What a contrasting attitude and way of being! The word "bless" comes from eu, (which means goodness, ease, well-being), prefixed to logeo, to speak or think (from which comes the noun, logos). The noun eulogia (from which we get the English "eulogy") can simply mean "good speaking," or "thinking goodness and well-being." So Paul's positive admonition is to think and speak goodness, well-being, and what today we would call "positive things" in regard to people, things and situations. "Bless, and curse not."
A parallel consideration is the examination of what many call our "prayer life." The Greek elements of the most common word for prayer are pros, which means directed toward, with a view to; eu, which is defined above; and che, which means having. The noun prayer is "toward, or with a view to, having wellness, goodness, ease and well-being." The verb is pros-eu-chomai, to direct our thoughts or words toward having goodness, ease and well-being. There are other words for making requests to God, but we can see here that the most used word for "praying" in the NT is a word that is quite similar to "blessing."
Now it should be emphasized that proseuchomai is not a making of a request for God to do something. This is something that we do, just as blessing is something that we do. We do not need to bounce our "prayers" off of God, as though sending a radio beam to a satellite in the sky to be then directed down to the subject of our prayer! The person that is joined to the Lord is one spirit (or: one Spirit). The Father lives in His temple – in us! Praying is actually joining our thoughts and words with the Spirit of God and sending them directly to our desired end. Praying is actually impartation of goodness, ease and well-being.
Furthermore, this "praying" is not just in words or thoughts. The Greek element chomai is what makes this word a verb. It can also refer to action. Steve Dohse pointed out that when Peter told the lame man "such as I have give I thee" (Acts 3:6) he was "proseuchomai-ing" him – he was praying/imparting into him.
May our "prayers" be blessings and not curses.
ALL 5 OF JONATHAN'S
(Updated 2015 Edition)
JONATHAN'S 4TH COMMENTARY
Peter's Encore & Later Paul
Comments on 2 Peter & Ephesians
JONATHAN'S 3RD COMMENTARY
Comments on Romans
JONATHAN'S 2ND COMMENTARY
John, Judah, Paul & ?
Comments on 6 Epistles
JONATHAN'S 1ST COMMENTARY
Peter, Paul & Jacob
Comments on 9 Epistles
Jonathan's first four volumes in a series of New Testament commentaries
Great companions to:
The New Testament
If you like the Amplified Bible, this translation unpacks more Word!
GOD'S MESSAGE OF
WHICH BRINGS GOD'S
GIFTS OF HIS SPIRIT,
HIS LIFE, HIS GRACE,
HIS POWER, HIS
FAIRNESS, HIS PEACE
AND HIS LOVE