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An examination of Acts 13:48

Discussion in 'Salvation (Soteriology)' started by ScottEmerson, May 25, 2002.

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  1. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson I Like Traffic Lights

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    I've heard two people in the last week say that Acts 13:48 was the verse that caused them to accept Calvinism. Calvinists know this verse well:

    "...as many as were appointed unto eternal life were saved"

    Here are some interesting things about the word used there to define "were appointed unto."

    The Greek word is tetagmenoi, which is the middle-passive voice form of tasso. Middle-passive is a somwhat rare construction where the subject receives the action, so it can best be translated "many as set themselves to eternal life believed."

    I heard from my old Greek professor from University, and he concurs.

    When asked this was translated as such, he basically said the English would be very convoluted in translating it as such. Such contruction occurs rarely in the NT - the middle-passive also occurs in Romans 9:22 talking about vessels that prepared themselves for destruction and I Corinthians 16:15 about people who devoted themselves to service.

    I have seen an argument that the middle-passive is a divine-passive. However this construction was used many years before koine (or common) Greek in ancient Greek, and looking at the other instances of the middle-passive, it's clear that the ones used in the writings of the Bible were using the normal tense of the middle-passive.

    I would like to encourage everyone to study Greek and see what things you can find! Granted, you won't get to middle-passive until much later, but there are still interesting thing's you'll find right off!
     
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  2. Lion Heart

    Lion Heart Member

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    scott,

    Greek isn't going to help you on this one.

    Here is the entir verse;

    Acts 13
    48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.


    The word "ordained" in the Hebrew is 'nebuwshazban"
    (neb-oo-shaz-bawn

    Try defining it.






    Richard
     
  3. tericl2

    tericl2 A Work in Progress

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    Hey Lionheart! :wave:

    I can't find that Hebrew word in the lexicon. I have looked up ordained and appointed. None of the hebrew words match what you wrote there. Can you give me a Strong's number or something like it?

    Also, why are we checking the Hebrew? The NT was written in Greek.

    God Bless
     
  4. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson I Like Traffic Lights

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    The text isn't in Hebrew. Luke wrote it in Greek. The tense of the word still stands. You're getting your Hebrew from translating BACK from the English, it seems.
     
  5. Lion Heart

    Lion Heart Member

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    Sorry, Scott, Teric

    I was interrupted as I was finishing up, we got visitors and had to leave.

    My mistake, The word in Strongs is 5021 in the Greek;

    tasso (tas'-so); a prol. form of a prim. verb (which latter appears only in certain tenses); to arrange in an orderly manner, e.i. assign or dispose ( to a certain position or lot): addict, appoint, determine, ordain, set,

    Acts 13
    48 And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed.


    I lost my original train of thought, however, what some believe or don't wouldn't change the meaning in view.

    Here is a similar Greek word which has synonimous interpretation, which leaves no doubt in the readers mind WHO had determined it.

    Srongs 3724 Greek, horizo (hor-id'-zo) from 3725 to mark out or bound
    ("horizon"), i.e. (fig.) to appoint, decree, specify , -declare, determine , limit, ordain

    Acts 2
    23 Him, being delivered by the determinate counsel and foreknowledge of God, ye have taken, and by wicked hands have crucified and slain: KJV


    same verse,

    Acts 2
    23 This man was handed over to you by God's set purpose and foreknowledge; and you, with the help of wicked men, put him to death by nailing him to the cross. NIV



    It is good to study gods word, and look at the original language; but God in his infinite wisdom has guided those who wrote the words, and translated them into the various labguages simply, that simple people can turn from their sins and trust in him, and not the opinions or writings of others.




    Great excersize, Thank you.


    Blessings




    Richard
     
  6. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson I Like Traffic Lights

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    I know it comes from tasso... My quote from the first post:

    "The Greek word is tetagmenoi, which is the middle-passive voice form of tasso"

    The problem is the tense. It's middle-passive, not just passive. That's why it must be translated where the subject does the action to himself (or themselves, since it's plural). THat's why "those who appointed themselves to eternal life" is correct.
     
  7. Candidus

    Candidus New Member

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    Alford comments:

    "The meaning of [tetagmenoi] must be determined by the context. The Jews hadjudged themselves unworthy of eternal life: The Gentiles, as many as weredisposed to eternal life, believed."

    I believe this to reflect the true meaning in this passage.
     
  8. Lion Heart

    Lion Heart Member

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    What version translates this passage your way??



    God is so gracious he even tells us we;


    1 Pet 1
    22 Seeing ye have purified your souls in obeying the truth through the Spirit unto unfeigned love of the brethren, see that ye love one another with a pure heart fervently:

    The truth is we are wretched sinners undeserving of Gods merciful Grace;

    But when God accomplishes his good pleasure in the elect, or works in them true conversion, he not only causes the gospel to be externally preached to them, and powerfully illumines their minds by his Holy Spirit, that they may rightly understand and discern the things of the Spirit of God; but by the efficacy of the same regenerating Spirit, pervades the inmost recesses of the man; he opens the closed, and softens the hardened heart, and circumcises that which was uncircumcised, infuses new qualities into the will, which though heretofore dead, he quickens; from being evil, disobedient and refractory, he renders it good, obedient, and pliable; actuates and strengthens it, that like a good tree, it may bring forth the fruits of good actions.

    When a man takes Gods word and changes it to read
    "who appointed themselves to eternal life", trying to prove a point and believes this, he in essence is denying the word of GOD and in effect refuting the GRACE of God.

    I'll trust that God knows Greek better than I, and what he has caused to be written for the generations to read is good enough for me.




    Thnak you anyhow,




    RICHARD
     
  9. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson I Like Traffic Lights

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    Ha! That is the funniest thing I've read in awhile.

    Here's a hint for you. Man translates the Greek to English, not God. Man tries to do the best they can, and man learns more about the nuances of the language each day. So you're saying that you're going to go with the English before the Greek, even though Luke wrote the text in Greek?

    Believe you me, I am not denying the word of God - I'm showing you how such translations are inaccurate. Among Greek scholars, such nuances are being discovered and newer translations will undoubtedly begin translating a little better. For example, many older translation used the word Lucifer in Isaiah, when Lucifer wasn't even in the original text, but was added by Jerome in the Vulgate (some would say interpreted by Jerome).

    I've given you the factual information about the original word used. I'm sorry if it disagrees with your theology. Either your theology is wrong or Luke's use of tetagmenoi was. Call me crazy, but I'm going to lean on the side of Luke.


    The fact that you bring forth Greek when you think you have a point, and deny it when you don't is interesting to say the least.

    SEC
     
  10. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson I Like Traffic Lights

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    One more thing - the Bible wasn't written in the common man's tongue for 1200 years between around 300 AD when Greek fell out of existence to the English translations in the 16th century. Did God cause that - that the majority of time between now and then left the 99% of the population without a chance to read God's word?
     
  11. Lion Heart

    Lion Heart Member

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    ok




    Richard
     
  12. isshinwhat

    isshinwhat Pro Deo et Patria

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    That is only true to a certain extent in European countires. The entire Greek and Arab world had the Bible in their native languages from the beginning, as well as other more obscure texts in Japanese and Germanic for parts of history, in-between take-overs and forced language changes or clerical exile.

    The majority of the literate people in Europe read Latin well into the 1500's, so the issue of the Bible being kept from the literate population is a myth. I am, however, uncomfortable with the illiterate people not hearing the Bible readings in a language they understood. Though they were taught outside of Mass in their native languages, and as a matter of necessity knew some Latin, I feel it would have been nice to have had services offered in both tongues: both that of Literate and Illiterate Europe.

    For a copy of the Bible in Aramaic, please visit www.pe****ta.org I think everyone here will find it very interesting, given your love for the original languages of the Bible.

    God bless you, my brothers and sisters,

    Neal
     
  13. isshinwhat

    isshinwhat Pro Deo et Patria

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    It's edited, but the missing letters are s-h-i-t in that order in the middle of the address. I hope you all take the time to visit that wonderful site.

    Neal
     
  14. Ben johnson

    Ben johnson Legend Supporter

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    Scott---what is the tense and usage of the word "tetagmenoi" in Romans 13:1? In this passage it is paired with "by God". I always contended that the usage in Acts, had it MEANT "by God", it would have USED "by God".

    :)
     
  15. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson I Like Traffic Lights

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    It's used in the same manner. God has ordained himself with the powers, since theos takes the genitive case.

    Since the people are the subject of tetagmenoi, they are the subject in Acts.
     
  16. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson I Like Traffic Lights

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    True, true - good call! I really AM Eurocentric... I need to stop that! I would say that the majority of Europeans didn't know Latin - that's why all the hubbub was brewing when they wanted to translate it in the 15th and 16th century.
     
  17. isshinwhat

    isshinwhat Pro Deo et Patria

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    I would say the majority of Europeans were illiterate, and the vast majority of those who could read, read Latin. But that doesn't change the fact that the common folk didn't speak it, so they didn't get a whole lot out of the Liturgy of the Word in Church :(

    There were translations of all the New Testament books floating around in the Vulgar Language of the time, but none had been collected as a single body until 1380 or so. The problem was never, I don't believe, the Bible being in the vulgar tonuge, but that it needed to be translated correctly into that tongue.

    Does anyone know of any Greek grammar books that would be helpful in my study? Thanks in advance! And don't worry, we all tend to get a little ethnocentric at times.

    Neal
     
  18. ScottEmerson

    ScottEmerson I Like Traffic Lights

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    Neil,

    Check out Basics of Greek Grammar by a guy named Mounce. It'll be the best grammar book you'll ever have.
     
  19. isshinwhat

    isshinwhat Pro Deo et Patria

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    Thank you, Scott!

    Neal
     
  20. cougan

    cougan Senior Member

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    I have only read the first post and offer this following article.
    DOES GOD UNCONDITIONALLY FOREORDAIN CERTAIN ONES TO ETERNAL LIFE? (Acts 13:48)

    "And when the Gentiles heard this, they were glad, and glorified the word of the Lord: and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed" (Acts 13:48).

    The controversy which surrounds this text is to be found in the last phrase, "and as many as were ordained to eternal life believed" (Acts 13:48). A casual reading of this verse makes it easy to see why Calvinistic theologians readily include it as one of their so-called proof texts for their false teaching concerning foreknowledge and foreordination (predestination) of persons to salvation (and some to (damnation).

    Those who would subscribe to Calvinistic doctrine teach that God in some arbitrary way unconditionally elected certain individuals to eternal life and condemned others to eternal damnation. They assert that such election is unchangeable and unconditional and that man is unable and helpless to do anything whatsoever to alter the circumstances, either for good or evil. This teaching is the basis for their false doctrines of "irresistible grace" (which asserts that those elected to be saved, will be, whether they want to be or not), "eternal security" (which teaches that the elect saints will never fall), and "limited atonement" of Christ upon the cross (which asserts that Christ died only for the "elect" and not for all persons).

    Does Acts 13:48 teach or imply that certain ones are foreordained to eternal life? Does it in any way suggest that only such persons as were previously ordained to eternal life could believe and did believe? Let us be honest. There can be no question that the exact English wording of Acts 13:48 in the KJV and the ASV could allow, within itself, the Calvinistic conclusion. This is not the only conclusion which could be drawn, even though the wording may allow for such a conclusion, as we shall see.

    First, when we consider the whole counsel of God on this subject we will find that the clear teaching of the Scriptures will not allow us to draw the Calvinistic conclusion. Second, the clearest meaning of the original Greek (the language in which Luke wrote and the language which his readers read, spoke, and understood) is not conveyed by either the ASV or the KJV.

    Let us consider first the Greek construction of the sentence. The following is a transliteration of the Greek found in the last phrase of verse 48: "... [@kai] [@episteusan] [@hosoi] [@esan] [@tetagmenoi] [@eis] [@zoen] [@aionion]." This is either pluperfect periphrastic middle or passive. Translators usually give it the passive meaning; but the middle meaning would be equally correct, grammatically speaking. The Greek verb [@tasso] (which is the stem of [@tetagmenoi]) here means "place in order," "assign," "to put in place," as well as "ordain." A correct translation using the middle voice would be: "... and as many as had placed (arranged) themselves for eternal life believed" (this is the direct middle).

    When one utilizes a trustworthy translation of the Scriptures, a knowledge of Greek is not necessary for a correct understanding of the Scriptures. The truth can be known only by studying the whole counsel of God on any given subject. With the knowledge that God's Word never contradicts itself, we are assured that whatever Acts 13:48 is teaching it is not the Calvinistic position. Scripture adequately teaches that all accountable people do have something vital to do with their relationship with God. It is that relationship with God that will determine their eternal destiny. The following passages are given for your study and consideration: Matt. 11:28-30; John 5:40; Acts 2:40; Phil. 2:12-13; 1 Tim. 4:16; 2 Peter 1:10; 3:9; Rev. 3:20; 22:17.

    One last factor should be observed -- the immediate context. In Acts 46 Paul blames the disobedient Jews for their own conduct, "... but seeing ye put it from you (the Word of God, S.A.O.), and judge yourselves unworthy of everlasting life ..." Notice that Paul did not say, "God is the one to blame, after all he didn't foreordain you; you couldn't be saved even if you wanted to!" The Scripture is clear, the responsibility was theirs, not God's. They had judged themselves unworthy of eternal life! In like manner the obedient "were glad and glorified the word of the Lord" (Acts 13:48). Having good and honest hearts they obeyed the gospel, thus "saving themselves" (Acts 2:40) by reaching out and cooperating with God's grace. Salvation is a combination of God's action and man's response.

    We cannot escape the conclusion that Scripture teaches that God did foreordain the plan and conditions of salvation. Those who accept God's plan and conditions thus "place themselves" under the grace of God and are recipients of eternal salvation. Acts 13:48 does not teach unconditional Calvinistic foreordination!
     
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