Friday, May 26, 2017

Cool Words in the Gospel of Luke

Last week we looked at how Luke lines up and links with the Old Testament book of Proverbs. We saw how the word wisdom occurs noticeably in Luke and not the other gospels. I wondered if there were other words that would show up in greater numbers in the three resh books (Bible books that line up with the same Hebrew letter, in this case Proverbs, Luke, and 3rd John) if I did a search. Of course they would have to be words that started with this Hebrew letter. In The Bible Wheel by Richard Amiel McGough words such as physician (ropheh), to heal (rapha), friend (reyah), and racham (mercy, compassion and with different vowel points womb) are given as key words that link to these three books. I chose “friend” and did a search. Here’s my chart of what I found:

Number of occurrences of the word “friend”, Hebrew reyah, Greek philos 
I think it’s pretty amazing that these three resh books have a higher number of occurrences of the word friend than any other book in their series, i.e., of the first 22 books in the Bible Proverbs wins, of the second 22 books Luke wins and in the third 22 books teeny, tiny 3rd John ties with James – a book that is almost 8 times longer – so I think 3rd John wins.
I checked Luke for the other resh words – physician, heal, mercy and womb – and those words occurred more in Luke than any other New Testament book. I thought it was particularly interesting that mercy and womb would be written with the same Hebrew letters in order. Is there some deeper connection there? As I searched out answers I found that womb exemplifies a woman’s attributes of warmth, a nurturing spirit, love and mercy toward her child as well as protection. When we come across the words mercy or compassion in reference to God we can infer that He has those same “womb” characteristics as a mother. English is much less descriptive than Hebrew and again we lose so much in translation.
Now, we can’t cover all there is in Luke, but I thought we would look at Mary’s hymn of praise, called the Magnificat in Luke 1:45-55 (with Greek definitions inserted). I suggest you read it in your own Bible first because all my insertions may be confusing upon first glance:
42 In a loud voice she exclaimed: “Blessed (ευλογημενη eulogeo – speak well of, invoke a benediction upon that God will use the Holy Spirit to affect her heart and life, humanity implied) are you among women, and blessed (υλογημενος eulogeo – speak well of, to praise and thank him, Godhood implied) is the child you will bear!
45 Blessed (μακαρια makarios – extremely blessed, fortunate, well off) is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill (τελειωσις teleios – completely) his promises (literally, things spoken to her by the Lord, hence promise is implied) to her!”
 46 And Mary said:
   “My soul (ψυχη psuche – breath, by implication spirit) glorifies the Lord
 47 and my spirit (πνευμα pneuma – breath, the rational soul) rejoices in God my Savior (σωτηρι  soter – deliverer, used of God and Christ)(Mary is revealing that she knows she is a sinner), see note 1
48 for he has been mindful
   of the humble state of his servant (by using the word servant she is showing her unworthiness and humility). see note 2
From now on all generations will call me blessed (μακαρια makarios – blessed, note this is a different blessed than vs.45, in reality this phrase means “they shall bless me”),
 49 for the Mighty One has done great things (μεγαλεια  megaleios – magnificent things, wonderful works, great miracle) for me—
   holy (αγιον  hagios – sacred, including the notion of respect and veneration) is his name. see note 3
50 His mercy (ελεος  eleos – mercy, compassion, active pity) extends to those who fear (φοβουμενοις  root: phobeo – to be in awe, revere, honor, to stand in awe of God, worship and adore Him) him,
   from generation to generation. see note 4
51 He has performed mighty deeds with his arm;
   he has scattered those who are proud in their inmost thoughts. see note 5
52 He has brought down rulers from their thrones
   but has lifted up the humble.
53 He has filled the hungry with good things see note 6
   but has sent the rich away empty. see note 7
54 He has helped his servant Israel,
   remembering to be merciful
55 to Abraham and his descendants forever,
   just as he promised our ancestors.”
Following are the 7 notes mentioned above. They all refer to Old Testament Scripture that Mary was obviously quite familiar with.
Note 1: Isaiah 45:21
Note 2: 2 Psalm 138:6
Note 3: Psalm 111:9 
Note 4: Exodus 20:6 and Psalm 103:17
Note 5: Genesis 11:8
Note 6: Psalm 107:9 
Note 7: 1st Samuel 2:1-10.
This prayer is often called the Magnificat from the first words in Latin “magnifying” God’s name. There are 19 references to God in this song as Mary Magnifies Him. She tells 8 things he has done starting in verse 50. What are they? 1) extended mercy to those who fear him; 2) performed mighty deeds; 3) scattered those who are proud;  4) brought down rulers; 5) lifted up the humble; 6) filled the hungry; 7) sent away the rich; 8) helped His servant Israel.
She certainly magnifies the Lord, doesn’t she? Shouldn’t you?