Thursday, July 18, 2013

Answers To Your Questions

Who made the choice to use the word "Christ", which is the Greek word for Messiah? Would not "Jesus" have been more appropriate for translators in translating the epistles of the Apostle Paul, who wrote to we non-Jews? 

The role of the translator is not to change the words of the original text. The Greek word for Christ is “Christos” meaning, “anointed” which is equivalent to the Hebrew “Mashiyach” or in English “Messiah.” In the New Testament we find that Joseph is told to name Mary’s child Jesus, “for He will save His people from their sins“ (Matt. 1:21). This was done, as the angel explained, in order to fulfill the word of the Lord through the prophet Isaiah. The prophecy was that “the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel” (Matt. 1:23). Jesus is Immanuel (“God with us”)!

Now, Jesus is the Greek “Iesous” meaning, “Jehovah is salvation,” and comes from the Hebrew “Yehowshuwa’,” meaning the same – Jehovah is salvation. Sometimes Paul uses both names “Jesus Christ,” sometimes just “Christ,” sometimes “Jesus,” and sometimes “Christ Jesus.” The significance of the name used in the text is important to the context – that is to say, when Jesus is used alone the emphasis us upon salvation, “God in the flesh,” and Christ’s humanity. Whenever the name Christ is used the emphasis is placed upon “the anointed of the Old Testament.” When the word order is Christ Jesus, the emphasis is placed upon the first name.

For example, in Ephesians 2:6, “And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus:”    The emphasis is placed upon His Messianic work. You can tell by what is said in verse 7:  “That in the ages to come he might show the exceeding riches of his grace in his kindness toward us through Christ Jesus.” The expression “ages to come” expresses the Messianic Kingdom.

Thanks for your question,
Dr. John Pappas