Philology

Dictionary.com

noun
  1. the study of literary texts and of written records, the establishment of their authenti-city and their original form, and the determination of their meaning.
  2. (especially in older use) linguistics, especially historical and comparative linguistics.
  3. Obsolete. the love of learning and literature.

Etymonline.com

late 14c., “love of learning,” from Latin philologia “love of learning, love of letters, love of study, literary culture,” from Greek philologia “love of discussion, learning, and literature; studiousness,” from philo “loving” (see philo-) + logos “word, speech” (see Logos).

Meaning “science of language” is first attested 1716 (philologue “linguist” is from 1590s; philologer “linguistic scholar” is from 1650s); this confusing secondary sense has not been popular in the U.S., where linguistics is preferred. Related: Philological.


Discussion/Explanation

I kinda would like to resurrect the original meaning of the term that has now become obsolete as is so clearly noted under the Dictionary.com entry. Even so…

The first definition under the Dictionary.com is what best fits for our purposes here. It is the area of study that is actively involved in authenticating ancient documents and this includes manuscripts of the Bible and particular books of the Bible. It is an area of study actively involved in all sorts of ancient/old documents, not just the Christian Bible.


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Parable

Dictionary.com

noun
1. a short allegorical story designed to illustrate or teach some truth, religious principle, or moral lesson.
2. a statement or comment that conveys a meaning indirectly by the use of comparison, analogy, or the like.


Etymonline.com

mid-13c., parabol, modern form from early 14c., “saying or story in which something is expressed in terms of something else,” from Old French parable “parable, parabolic style in writing” (13c.), from Latin parabola “comparison,” from Greek parabole “a comparison, parable,” literally “a throwing beside,” hence “a juxtaposition,” from para “alongside” (see para- (1)) + bole “a throwing, casting, beam, ray,” related to ballein “to throw” (from PIE root *gwele- “to throw, reach”).

Replaced Old English bispell. In Vulgar Latin, parabola took on the meaning “word,” hence Italian parlare, French parler “to speak” (see parley (n.)).


Discussion/Explanation

Parables are told in various area of the Bible. Among the most famous are those told by Jesus Christ.

Examples of these particular stories would be:

Parable of the Sower – Matthew 13:3-23, Mark 4:2-20, and Luke 8:4-15

Weeds Among the Wheat – Matthew 13:24-30

Growing Seed – Mark 4:26-29

You’ll notice Christ’s parables are found among the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke). An example of a parable elsewhere in the Bible includes:

Eagles and the Vine – Ezekiel 17:1-24

Each story or parable tells a story that is meant to teach (much as you saw in the definition from dictionary.com).

An interesting point about Christ’s parables is that he also did it without always explaining the story and this was on purpose. His parables all involve spiritual matters and they were meant to instruct those who would listen and want to understand. The stories weren’t simply for anyone who wanted to hear a story. Each had a point and a purpose.


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Incarnation

Dictionary.com

noun
1. an incarnate being or form.
2. a living being embodying a deity or spirit.
3. assumption of human form or nature
4. the Incarnation, (sometimes lowercase) Theology. the doctrine that the second person of the Trinity assumed human form in the person of Jesus Christ and is completely both God and man.
5. a person or thing regarded as embodying or exhibiting some quality, idea, or the like: The leading dancer is the incarnation of grace.
6. the act of incarnating.
7. state of being incarnated.


Etymonline.com

c. 1300, “embodiment of God in the person of Christ,” from Old French incarnacion “the Incarnation” (12c.), from Late Latin incarnationem (nominative incarnatio), “act of being made flesh” (used by Church writers especially in reference to God in Christ; source also of Spanish encarnacion, Italian incarnazione), noun of action from past participle stem of Late Latin incarnari “be made flesh,” from in- “in” (from PIE root *en “in”) + caro (genitive carnis) “flesh” (originally “a piece of flesh,” from PIE root *sker- (1) “to cut”). Glossed in Old English as inflæscnesinlichomung. As “person or thing that is the embodiment” (of some quality, deity, etc.) from 1742.


Discussion/Explanation

There are many myths of various beings taking a human form in history. In the case of Christianity, Jesus Christ was God incarnate in flesh even to be the point of being born into the world as any other human being.

Even to this day, the Incarnation of Jesus Christ still possesses mystery but there are many things that we do know.

  1. God became incarnate as Son of God and Son of Man in Jesus Christ. He is God and man at the same time. This is important as it allows him to fulfill the role of being the last Adam and pay the price for sin brought into the world by the first Adam (the Adam of Genesis).
  2. Despite being incarnate, Jesus is still part of the triune nature of God. God is multi-dimensional and is not bound by the same constraints as you are I. He is one.
    1. God the Father has no physical form and neither does the Holy Spirit.
      1. You will often see dove imagery for the Holy Spirit despite the Scriptures never describing the Holy Spirit to be a dove but was compared to a dove in Luke 3:22.
  3. The Son did not give up His deity to become man though he does seem to restrain it.
  4. The terms we use: Father, Son, Holy Spirit are very mortal terms used to describe this triune nature that is inherently beyond our full understanding (at least not in this lifetime and probably not even in the next after the end of all things).

There is much to be studied and discussed on this topic. But, suffice to say that the word “incarnation” in Christianity is a term brought up in reference to Christ’s being God as human.

A great work to read because of its historical significance to the doctrinal understanding of the incarnation of Christ would be On the Incarnation by Athanasius. The following link takes you to a pdf file of the work. (it’s free)

http://www.onthewing.org/user/Athanasius%20-%20On%20the%20Incarnation.pdf


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Historical Theology

Etymonline.com

Historical

early 15c., “of or pertaining to history, conveying information from the past,” with -al (1) + Latin historicus “of history, historical,” from Greek historikos “historical; of or for inquiry,” from historia (see history). For sense differentiation, see historic. Meaning “narrated or mentioned in history” (as opposed to what is fiction or legend) is from 1843. Related: Historically.

Theology

mid-14c., “the science of religion, study of God and his relationship to humanity,” from Old French theologie “philosophical study of Christian doctrine; Scripture” (14c.), from Latin theologia, from Greek theologia “an account of the gods,” from theologos “one discoursing on the gods,” from theos “god” (from PIE root *dhes-, forming words for religious concepts) + -logos “treating of” (see -logy). Meaning “a particular system of theology” is from 1660s.


Discussion/Explanation

Historical theology is one of the 4 main branches of theology that is often closely tied with studies of church history. Why?

The answer to this question – because the focus of historical theology is to study the development of doctrine historically. Those that followed directly beyond the apostles largely spent their time reiterating what was already written by the apostles. Some of the biggest developments of this time were in the form (or liturgy) of early worship gatherings and an emphasis on the deity of Christ (even more so than what is described in the NT).

Much of historical theology focuses on such developments in their historical context. Our current understanding of God’s Word has come to us because of the many events that have occurred from then to now.  Chief among these events were challenges to the faith that often came in the form of heresies. Through such heresies, it became clearer the difference between the fact and fiction, the truth and falsehoods surrounding the faith.

Besides chronological developments and doctrines, we also see territorial developments and denominational developments as we study historical theology. This grants us understanding as to how such groups and divisions have come to be and inform us on how to view them today.


There was nothing to give from Dictionary.com this time around.


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Dogmatics

Dictionary.com

noun (used with a singular verb)
  1. the study of the arrangement and statement of religious doctrines, especially of the doctrines received in and taught by the Christian church.

Etymonline.com

1670s, from Late Latin dogmaticus, from Greek dogmatikos “pertaining to doctrines,” from dogma (genitive dogmatos) “opinion, tenet,” literally “that which one thinks is true,” from dokein “to seem good, think” (from PIE root *dek- “to take, accept”). Related: Dogmatical (c. 1600).


Discussion/Explanation

These are the official doctrines of the church.

The study of dogmatics involves these recognized doctrines and is sometimes mixed up with systematic theology. This fact is in large part because people have a tendency to use dogmatics and systematic theology interchangeably – though they are not the exact same. A key difference is whether or not there is official sanction by the church of the doctrine.


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Confessions

Dictionary.com

noun
  1. acknowledgment; avowal; admission: a confession of incompetence.
  2. acknowledgment or disclosure of sin or sinfulness, especially to a priest to obtain absolution.
  3. something that is confessed.
  4. a formal, usually written, acknowledgment of guilt by a person accused of a crime.
  5. Also called confession of faith. a formal profession of belief and acceptance of doctrines, as before being admitted to church membership.
  6. the tomb of a martyr or confessor or the altar or shrine connected with it.

Etymonline.com

late 14c., confessioun, “action of confessing, acknowledgment of a fault or wrong,” originally in religion, “the disclosing of sins or faults to a priest as one of the four parts of the sacrament of penance,” from Old French confession (10c.), from Latin confessionem (nominative confessio) “confession, acknowledgement,” noun of action from past-participle stem of confiteri “to acknowledge” (see confess).

An Old English word for it was andettung, also scriftspræc. Meaning “that which is confessed” is mid-15c.  Meaning “a formula of the articles of a religious faith, a creed to be assented to” is from late 14c. In the common law, “admission or acknowledgment of guilt made in court or before a magistrate,” 1570s.


Discussion/Explanation

The descriptions above do a great job of describing this term. I do want to highlight a few points.

The term reads “confessions” rather than “confession” as this post is truly aimed at what is also called “confessions of faith”. Creeds are related to this term.

The second part of the etymonline description speaks on this point. I want to add that each confession that arose was primarily in response to opposing beliefs at the time of writing. Typically, these opposing beliefs were heresies and the confession arose as a written document of faith that clearly defined what the faith was in contrast. The Nicene Creed and Apostles Creed are examples that arose during such times.

These creeds served as summations as well as building blocks to more comprehensive writings more commonly called a “confession of faith”. As such, creeds have gone hand-in-hand with confessions though you won’t hear a church recite an entire confession as they are often book-length whereas a creed is much shorter (a summation as said earlier).

Some common confessions would include:

  • The Westminster Confession of Faith
  • The 1689 London Baptist Confession of Faith

These confessions were never meant to replace the Scriptures and often quote them and give references to specific passages. They serve as teaching tools and clarifying tools as they often pull together the greater context of the counsel of God found in His word (the Bible).


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Father’s Day and more

It is now after 5:30pm where I’m at in the US.

Today is Father’s Day around here and I wanted to say a

Happy Father’s Day!

to all you father’s out there! Being a father is an awesome job and one that is sorely lacking in multiple countries today (some are better off than others).

There won’t be a definition post today, just this one, but I wanted to take the time to thank especially father’s but also anyone who fulfills a parenting role. You all do so much for the next generation and it is what you do that sets the stage for the next chapter in the societies of our world.

Always remember to be patient and bearing and above all -> direct the family to look to God for their guidance!


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Baptism

What exactly is baptism?

Dictionary.com

noun
  1. Ecclesiasticala ceremonial immersion in water, or application of water, as an initiatory rite or sacrament of the Christian church.
  2. any similar ceremony or action of initiation, dedication, etc.
  3. a trying or purifying experience or initiation.

Etymonline.com

“initiatory sacrament of the Christian faith, consisting in immersion in or application of water by an authorized administrator,” c. 1300, bapteme, from Old French batesme, bapteme “baptism” (11c., Modern French baptême), from Latin baptismus, from Greek baptismos, noun of action from baptizein (see baptize). The -s- was restored in late 14c.

The signification, qualifications, and methods of administration have been much debated. Figurative sense “any ceremonial ablution as a sign of purification, dedication, etc.” is from late 14c. Old English used fulluht in this sense (John the Baptist was Iohannes se Fulluhtere).

Phrase baptism of fire “a soldier’s first experience of battle” (1857) translates French baptême de feu; the phrase originally was ecclesiastical Greek baptisma pyros and meant “the grace of the Holy Spirit as imparted through baptism;” later it was used of martyrdom, especially by burning.


Discussion/Explanation

As you can see, the term has had some variant use. Even so, the focus here is on what you see in definition #1 from dictionary.com.

Baptism, while it has initiate qualities, more specifically display death to one’s old self and rising anew as a believer in Jesus Christ. Practices surrounding this sacrament have varied throughout church history.

Of the various baptism varitions, each can be easily placed into one of two categories of baptism:

  1. Credobaptism
  2. Paedobaptism

Credotbaptism is the baptism of professing believers. It involves the public profession of faith from the believer accompanied with entire-body immersion in water. [cred- (latin) refers to a creed or profession; often called “believer’s baptism”]

  • The Baptists (hence the name) are some of the most well-known connected to this practice.
  • The water immersion could take place in a river, lake, pool, etc. Some Christian traditions will only baptize in running water (usually a river).

Paedobaptism is the baptism done upon infants or young children. This could include immersion, dunking, or sprinkling with water. [paed- comes from Greek pais which means “child”]

  • Entire households are considered to be part of the Covenant of Grace if the parents are believers. Therefore, it is the parent’s belief that is looked to instead of the Child’s belief.
  • Baptism is considered the sign of the covenant just as circumcision was the sign of covenant found in the Old Testament.
  • For variations on paedobaptism (current & historical), see the list within the Paedobaptist post.

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Atonement

Dictionary.com

noun
  1. satisfaction or reparation for a wrong or injury; amends.
  2. (sometimes initial capital letter) Theologythe doctrine concerning the reconciliation of God and humankind, especially as accomplished through the life, suffering, and death of Christ.
  3. Christian Sciencethe experience of humankind’s unity with God exemplified by Jesus Christ.
  4. Archaicreconciliation; agreement.

Etymonline.com

1510s, “condition of being at one (with others),” a sense now obsolete, from atone + -ment. Theological meaning “reconciliation” (of man with God through the life, passion, and death of Christ) is from 1520s; that of “satisfaction or reparation for wrong or injury, propitiation of an offended party” is from 1610s.


Discussion/Explanation

When we wrong someone, commit a crime, etc., we have to atone for it (sooner or later). The information above does a great job of describing atonement.

Atonement in Christianity is all the more powerful as the atonement, the one who paid the price to make amends for mankind’s sins, was Christ. He paid the penalty in order to mend the broken relationship between mankind and God. This is why it is only through Christ that we can have any hope. There is no one else we can turn to in order to be right with God.


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Heaven

What is meant by the terms 1st Heaven, 2nd Heaven, and 3rd Heaven?

Let’s start by defining Heaven:

Dictionary.com

noun

  1. the abode of God, the angels, and the spirits of the righteous after death; the place or state of existence of the blessed after the mortal life.
  2. (initial capital letter) Often Heavens. the celestial powers; God.
  3. a metonym for God: May heaven help us!
  4. heavens, (used with a singular verb) a wooden roof or canopy over the outer stage of an Elizabethan theater.
  5. Usually heavens. the sky, firmament, or expanse of space surrounding the earth.
  6. a place or state of supreme happiness: She made his life a heaven on earth.

Interjection

heavens, (used to express emphasis, surprise, etc.):
For heaven’s sake! Good heavens!

Idioms

move heaven and earth, to do one’s utmost to effect an end; make a supreme effort:
She promised to move heaven and earth to be there for our wedding anniversary.


Etymonline.com

Old English heofon “home of God,” earlier “the visible sky, firmament,” probably from Proto-Germanic *hibin, dissimilated from *himin– (cognates Low German heben, Old Norse himinn, Gothic himins, Old Frisian himul, Dutch hemel, German Himmel “heaven, sky”), which is of uncertain origin. Perhaps literally “a covering,” from a PIE root *kem- “to cover” (also proposed as the source of chemise). Watkins derives it elaborately from PIE *ak- “sharp” via *akman- “stone, sharp stone,” then “stony vault of heaven.”

From late 14c. as “a heavenly place; a state of bliss.” Plural use in sense of “sky” probably is from Ptolemaic theory of space as composed of many spheres, but it also formerly was used in the same sense as the singular in Biblical language, as a translation of Hebrew plural shamayim. Heaven-sent (adj.) attested from the 1640s.


You may be able to guess what these different numbers refer based on the above information already but let’s make them clear now.

1st Heaven – the sky or, at least, the sky that includes planet Earth’s atmosphere. This is not to include stars or other celestial bodies.

2nd Heaven – outer space. To be clear, this is everything beyond earth. This includes all of the void of space, the planets in it, stars and more.

3rd Heaven – in the presence of God in His domain; commonly referred to as God’s home. This is the heaven most often referred to in Scripture and Christian circles – especially when speaking of life after death.

2 Corinthians 12:2 is probably the most well-known text that prompts people to ask this question as the various translations will word it as “third heaven”.

As you can see, each heaven is something different. Their commonality is in that they’re all considered above us. The third heaven is too considered above us as hell is below us. Obviously, heaven and hell are not places we have the power to physically visit by our own power; there is an even greater sense of beyond-ness to them as compared to our known physical universe (which includes the first two heavens).


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