Hebrew is helpful to understand Jesus

Hebrew is helpful to understand Jesus and His ministry. The people that Jesus ministered to and worked with were mostly Hebrew. Although Jesus would have known several languages, his primary language was Hebrew. Jesus used common rabbinical teaching methods in His teachings, such as the frequent use of the hyperbole like the illustration of having plank of wood or a "SPECK OF SAWDUST" in an eye Mt 7:3-5 (NI) or the suggestion of a camel going through the "EYE OF A NEEDLE" Mt 19:24 (NKJ).

Click here to see the biblical evidence that Jesus’ primary language was Hebrew.

Click here to see a list of some of the Hebrew Scriptures Jesus quoted.

Jesus says, "THIS CUP IS THE NEW COVENANT IN MY BLOOD; DO THIS, WHENEVER YOU DRINK IT, IN REMEMBRANCE OF ME" 1 Co 11:25 (NI). These words made sense to some of the Jewish people Jesus was speaking to, if not at the time, then later after His blood was shed at His crucifixion. Some understood that blood was important in a covenant between God and man. Some understood that a blood sacrifice offering of a lamb was normal in Abraham's day (Ge 22:7-8) and at the time of the Passover (Ex 12:3-21) and in Temple worship (Lev 9:3). Some connected these facts when John the baptizer saw Jesus and referred to Him as, "the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world" (Jn 1:29 NI). Unfortunately, many Jewish people did not understand as God complained about people who hear but do not "UNDERSTAND"(Is 6:9), including some Jewish followers of Jesus who subsequently stopped following Him after His comments about blood (Jn 6:53-66).

Understanding Jesus' words

Most of Jesus words are easy to translate and understand. A few words may be confusing and difficult to understand and comparing different translations may help, if they are available. Some languages may have more accurate translations than those available in English. For accurate translations, intellectually ability and education and a good communication relationship with God and with His Son Jesus are all important, as both God and Jesus are still alive. The best way to understand what is in the bible is to use the bible to understand what is recorded in the bible. When Jesus words spoken in Hebrew were translated and recorded in Greek the only dictionary available was the Greek translation of the Hebrew bible, the Septuagint, which frequently used a single Greek word for several different Hebrew words.

Example, when Jesus says "FOR MANY ARE CALLED, BUT FEW ARE CHOSEN" (Mt 22:14 (NKJ), the word chosen may lead to confusion. The Greek word eklektos, which is, translated "chosen", when we check it in the Septuagint and refer to the original Hebrew word for better understanding; we find eklektos is the Greek translation for over 20 different Hebrew words. For example, in Genesis 41:2 the Hebrew word bari, translated eklektos, refers to the "choice" cows; in Judges 20:16 the Hebrew word bachuwr, also translated eklektos, refers to "select" men or soldiers; in Isaiah 22:7 the Hebrew word mibchar, also translated eklektos, refers to the "most beautiful" or "nicest" valleys; in Isaiah 43:20 the Hebrew word bachiyr, also translated eklektos, refers to God's "chosen" people. Jesus was saying many are "called" but few are "choice, special, extra nice" or "chosen". Many people "ARE CALLED, BUT FEW ARE SPECIAL"(Mt 22:14 (ET).

Another example is when Jesus said, "HE WHO BELIEVES IN ME WILL DO THE SAME THINGS THAT I DO. HE WILL DO EVEN GREATER THINGS THAN THESE BECAUSE I AM GOING TO THE FATHER" Jn 14:12 (IC). The word "GREATER" is confusing because what could be greater than all the miracles or works Jesus did? What can be greater than raising a person for the dead or walking on water or healing people of conditions from birth or being totally guided by God, etc. The Greek word , meizon, translated "greater" in English is used for over 24 Hebrew words in the Septuagint. One of the Hebrew words, gadol, that is translated as meizon in Greek and translated "greater" in English many times but just like in English we have words with more than one meaning, it is also is translated as "more than I can bear" in Ge 4:13 (NI) and as "became more and more powerful" in Est 9:4 (NI). Doing "MORE" than Jesus did in His three years of ministry may be more accurate and more understandable than greater.

Another example of a confusing translation is when Jesus after describing the details or events of His second "COMING" states "THIS GENERATION WILL BY NO MEANS PASS AWAY TILL ALL THESE THINGS TAKE PLACE" in Mk 13:30 (NKJ). Obviously the Jewish generation of people Jesus was talking to almost two thousand years ago has passed away. The Greek word for generation, "genea", is correctly translated from the Greek but it was used for ten Hebrew words when the Hebrew was translated to the Greek in the Septuagint. "Moledeth" is a Hebrew word found in Genesis 31:3 and 43:7 that is translated "genea" in the Greek and "relatives" in the English (NAS). "Mispachah" is another Hebrew word found in Jeremiah 8:3 and 10:25 that is translated "genea" in the Greek and "family" in the English (KJ). The Jewish people Jesus was talking to are a people group from the family or relatives of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob. A better understanding might be "THESE PEOPLE AND THEIR RELATIVES WILL BY NO MEANS PASS AWAY TILL ALL THESE THINGS TAKE PLACE" in Mk 13:30 (ET).

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