RE: Why isn't BAPTIZW translate

19 Sep 96 10:21:29 EDT

Thanks to Don and Stephen for your replies.

Don, you wrote:

>.............................There also has to be a good reason to buck
>established traditions, a "hill to die on" if you will, and Bible trans-
>lations that no one buys or uses because of the translation's
>tendencies are self-destructive. Then, too, you would be probably be
>prised out how much of the English language is really just
>and very often foreign words in their original forms; so transliteration
>an old and commonplace art in English.

Yes, this is certainly true but the problem with BAPTIZW is that to the
person with no or little knowledge of the Bible/Church History/Church
practice (and there are LOTS of these people around today) it is a
mystical or even meaningless word. Granted, there are many
transliterations in English (especially of Greek and Latin words) but
these words are generally understood by most people - even if
they are not aware of their origins.

The denominational thing aside, my motivation, my drive and my
ministry is to present the truth of the Bible to others in an accurate,
responsible and CLEAR way. I want to make the Bible come alive!
Words like "baptize" in the text makes this difficult because it
conjures up all sorts of unwarranted or inaccurate thoughts, ideas
and connatations.

Are technical terms like "baptise" really necessary? I recognize
the economic reasons why these traditions are kept but it can't
go on forever - someone has to go out on a limb.

Stephen you wrote:

>The fact is that very early on in Christianity, before the
>New Testament was completed, the Greek word BAPTIZW became
>a technical term. Technical terms may depart in meaning
>from the word upon which they were based. Therefore, the
>usage of the early Christians is quite important. For
>example, here is chapter VII.1-3 of the Didache:

BAPTIZW may have become a technical term in English but
there in no evidence to suggest that it became a technical
term in Greek. D. A. Carson warns against this "technical
term" fallacy in his book Exegetical Fallacies (2nd Ed, p. 45).
In any case the standard lexical meanings (dip, immerse,
sink, envelop, engulf, place into) fit perfectly into any context
of the NT.

>"Concerning baptism, baptise thus: Having first rehearsed all
>these things, 'baptise, in the Name of the Father and of the
>Son and of the Holy Spirit,' in running water; 2. but if thou
>hast no running water, baptise in other water, and if thou canst
>not in cold, then in warm. 3. But if thou hast neither, pour
>water three times over the head 'in the Name of the Father and
>of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.'"

This quote from the Didache, enhances my point. "Baptize" is
used in all the instructions except for the last one. If there was not
enough water available (enough to immerse someone) then the
water could be poured 3 times over the head. Baptize could easily
be substituted here for Dip or Immerse.

When you consider the purpose of baptism as symbolic of
dying with Christ, being purified/sanctified and then rising
with Christ, then dipping/immersing makes the most sense
(unless of course you're in the middle of the desert and there
isn't much water about!)



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