RE: How to find the meaning of words

From: Bill Ross (
Date: Wed Apr 07 1999 - 12:48:19 EDT

First, this is the Biblical Greek list--not the Biblical King James Version

I'm afraid that despite your credentials as a "Candidate in Religion" and
"#1 Cowboy Fan" you aren't the ultimate authority on all things linguistic.
If you personally so distrust etymology, don't consider it. Others do.

"Color" is fine, but the "color" in question has nothing to do with the
images Paul wanted to communicate to the Corinthian readers (nor with the
images the Corinthian readers would have had in mind when they heard/read
Paul's letter.)

Did Paul inform you of this personally? On what authority do you say that
the word's military associations are the only legitimate associations, and
the only ones Paul and God would have us appreciate??

If you want to look to the Greek to supply "color" for preaching or praying
the text, don't you think you should attempt to find the "color" Paul
intended his readers to see (or that Paul's readers were likely to see,
according to the best historical reconstruction)?

You don't know with certainty the scope of Paul's intentions and to project
*your* grid so forcefully upon the meaning of the words is popery (Pope
Perry?). Your "historical reconstruction" is not a complete basis for

I've supplied you with a more historically likely image. Exactly how
appropriate the military image is is open to debate, of course--might make a
good thread, might not. But I think it's more likely that in 1 Cor 4.1,
Paul was referring to himself, Apollos, and Peter as "soldiers under
command, all alike serving the same Commanding Officer," than that he was
referring to them as "rowers together in the bottom of the ship."

I think you're off base. I don't think there is any intended reference to
the military. Both the military usage and Paul's usage were likely referring
to being servants, ranking alike like rowers on a ship. He could have used
any of about seven words that all mean servant, but have different
etymologies, and hence different nuances of meaning, such as DOULOS,
THERAPOS, etc. He could have said "We're all just soldiers under command."
He didn't.

If you must, write an addendum to Scripture so we can always be sure to have
the correct historical reconstruction interpretation. "Chapter One: Always
Soldiers, Never Rowers" :-)

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