Barry Newman's Blog

July 29, 2012

Science and Genesis 5: 1 – 6: 8 (part II)

Filed under: Genesis,Science — barrynewman @ 3:56 am

Seth to Methuselah (5: 6 – 27)

I am again indebted to Walton[1] for his insights into the language used in these early chapters of Genesis and also for information concerning surrounding cultures that could be considered relevant for understanding certain aspects of these chapters. He indicates that while the names Seth and Enosh are clearly Hebrew, the only names in the lists in chapters 4 and 5 that have a reference to the divine name “El” are, Mehujael, Methushael and Mahalalel. The use of “El” indicates a Semitic setting for the language involved.  He also states that “indications of Mesopotamian (Akkadian) include the use of the term, mutu, ‘man’, in Methushael and Methuselah” and that “most of the names can be explained using Hebrew etymologies.” He concludes that if one “accepts that Hebrew did not develop as a language until the first half of the second millennium B.C. … it is logical to conclude that these are translations from a language used in earlier sources.”

The complete list of names – Adam to Noah is ten in number, with special attention being given to the first and last and also to the seventh – Enoch.  A feature of the list of names in chapter 4, if one begins with Adam, is that the seventh there is also written about in some detail – Lamech, not to be confused however with the Lamech of chapter 5.  Furthermore, just as this Lamech, last on the list of seven, has three sons so does Noah, last on the list of ten named in chapter 5.  The list of names in chapter 11 also has some features parallel with those of chapter 5.  In chapter 11 the list begins with Shem and ends with Terah.  If one adds to the list Noah, father of Shem, there is a total of ten names with the one named at the end also having three sons.  Such similarities among the lists suggest a degree of artificiality. This is not to suggest however that the names were not meaningful or even that that they did not belong to real people.  None the less, it might mean that one does not have tight person to person genealogical lines.  Any genealogy where all linkages would have been expressed could have contained many more names.  Walton points out that “comparing biblical genealogies to one another shows that there are several generations skipped in any particular presentation.  This type of telescoping also occurs in Assyrian genealogical records.”

It should be noted that all those from Adam to Lamech are recorded as having “other sons and daughters”. Noah is spoken of with reference to his sons only and all three are named. It could be inferred from the blessing of God upon Noah and his sons, “Be fruitful and increase in number” found in Genesis 9: 1, that Noah also had other sons and daughters, though that is not certain. The list of seven names, together with the reference to “other sons and daughters” probably indicates that the population was steadily increasing. God had pronounced his blessing for mankind, “Be fruitful and increase, fill the earth” (Genesis 1: 28) and his words had come to fulfilment.  While, as Walton puts it, “in the Mesopotamian traditions overpopulation was considered a major problem … the Atrahasis Epic (indicating) that overpopulation contributed to the noise of humanity and brought on the flood”, in the Genesis account it was never a question of overpopulation. Nor was the existence of a large population to be seen as anything other than the fulfilment of God’s intention for mankind.  What was extremely disturbing to God was the increase in wickedness as mankind increased.  And what was disturbing to man was the unfailing curse in which God had cursed the ground.

But why does the list exist in the first place?  Could not the writer have simply moved on from Seth to Noah, making a general reference to population growth, without expressing any continuity?  Obviously for the writer, continuity is important.  This is an account of humanity.  One person leads onto another just as one event leads onto another.  Many individuals named may not be all that important in themselves but it is necessary that they all be linked, with special significance being given to those who begin the list and those who end the list.

The seventh person named in the list, Enoch, is however of some significance in his own right.  It is reported of him that “Enoch walked with God and then he was not for God took him.” With Walton, the phrase, “walked with God” expresses the idea of “living in a way that pleased God.”  That “he was not” at least at first strikes one as a little odd.  However considered alongside of, by comparison, his short life span of only 365 years, it could either signify that he simply died before his normal time or that in some other sense he ceased to exist as a human being on the earth.  That “God took him” is consistent with either possibility.  However that it is also recorded that “he walked with God” might indicate that for benevolent reasons God took him before his “natural” time, to be with him, either through an early death or without any normal death occurring.  On the basis of the text alone and without considering later ideas about what happened to Enoch, a degree of uncertainty remains.  Later speculation about Enoch in Jewish literature abounds but it is later speculation.

What is of interest is that “in the Mesopotamian lists of pre-Flood sages, the seventh in the list, Utuabzu, is said to have ascended to heaven.”  Furthermore, “in the Egyptian Pyramid Texts, Shu, the god of the air, is instructed to take the king to heaven so that he does not die on earth.”  Such texts together with the Genesis text could have relied on material dated earlier than all three.  Alternatively there could have been borrowing among the texts.  Is the Genesis text a theologically purified version of textual material that the writer relied upon as he constructed his version?  That is a possibility.

[1] See Walton, J.H., Genesis, the New Application Commentary Series, Zondervan, Grand Rapids, MI, 2001, pp. 279-285 for comments on Genesis chapter 5.


July 27, 2012

Science and Genesis 5: 1 – 6: 8 (part I)

Filed under: Genesis,Science — barrynewman @ 12:10 am

Science and Genesis 5: 1 – 6: 8

Genesis 5: 1 – 6: 8 deals with a number of issues but chapter five in particular is best known for its recording of men living very, very long lives.  What are we to make of such a claim?

Over the last couple of years I have produced four blog series dealing with the first four chapters of Genesis. The series for Genesis 1: 1 – 2: 3 was produced in full on 23. 12. 2010, Genesis 2: 4 – 25 on 10. 4. 2011, Genesis 3: 1 – 24 on 4. 7. 2011 and Genesis 4: 1 – 26 on 31. 7. 2011.  This blog series will examine Genesis 5: 1 – 6: 8, with a few comments being made from a scientific point of view.

The account of Adam and what followed from Adam

Chapter 5 begins with “This is the book of the “toledoth” of Adam.  As discussed in a previous blog, the Hebrew word “toledoth” probably has the sense of “the account of” with the reference here being to Adam and some matters that followed from Adam.  The previous and first reference to “toledoth” in Genesis occurred in 2: 4. The next “toledoth” after 5: 1 occurs in 6: 9.  With the suggestion that the various “toledoth” references are indications of original sections of Genesis being pieced together to produce the complete book of Genesis, this blog series will be restricted to that one section, Genesis 5: 1 – 6: 8.  That there is a reference to “the book of the “toledoth” in 5: 1, though there is no other conjunction of “book” with “toledoth” in Genesis, adds some weight to the notion that at least in this case we are dealing with a section of material that once stood in its own right.

Adam (5: 1 – 5)

The Hebrew word, “adam” occurs six times in these five verses. Not once is it accompanied by the definite article but twice it is to be understood generically to refer to “mankind”.  God created (bara) man (male and female) and named them “man” (vv. 1, 2).  But the prime reference is to “the” man whose name is “Adam” (vv. 1, 3, 4 and 5).  The writer has no difficulty in moving freely between “adam” – mankind and “adam” – the man Adam, because the man Adam is the first of mankind.  (Matters of a scientific nature dealing with the notion of Adam as first man were dealt with in earlier blogs.)

Somewhat repetitively, echoing Genesis 1: 26 – 28, the writer records how God made (asah) mankind in the image of God, that they were male and female and that God blessed them. What is added here however, is the reference to, “in the day” that God created (bara) mankind, “in the day” when they were created (bara) (vv. 1, 2).  Probably the point being made is that the sixth day of Genesis 1 is in mind.  It is also possible that the writer wishes to make clear that being made in the image of God and being blessed were not matters which came about subsequent to the creation of mankind.   Mankind was made in God’s image and blessed by him from the start.

As the writer unfolds what follows from Adam, his concern to begin with is almost solely with Seth.  Abel had previously been mentioned and had of course come to an untimely end.  Cain also had earlier been referred to along with what followed from him, his genealogy.  So now, at this point, the writer is concerned with Seth.  That Adam fathered sons and daughters is noted but almost by way of passing reference. Seth provides the connection between Adam and the list of names that is about to unfold.

Of some interest, as mentioned in a previous blog, Seth is “fathered” in the likeness of Adam, according to his image (5: 3) just as mankind is made in God’s image after his likeness (1: 26). It would appear that whatever significance we give to mankind being made in God’s image, after his likeness, a matter discussed in some detail in an earlier blog, the similarity between God and the mankind he made is substantial.  Indeed that the writer mentions that Seth was fathered in the likeness of Adam, according to his image who as male with female had been made in the image of God, after the likeness of God, could be his way of indicating that this imaging, this likeness, does not stop with first man but is passed on from mankind to mankind.

And so, Adam lived for 930 years, 800 years after he fathered Seth.  No information is given in Genesis 4 as to when he became the father of Cain or Abel, or as to how long any of the descendants of Cain lived.  It is only in chapter 5 when discussing Adam, Seth and his line that references to years become important.  It would seem to be that, relatively speaking, the lineage of Cain is unimportant.  (The extreme oddity of the extraordinary longevity of Adam and those who follow will be discussed later.)

July 20, 2012

The Gospel and its Proclamation (Full Series PDF)

Filed under: Proclaiming the gospel,The Gospel — barrynewman @ 12:23 am

Here is the full series

July 19, 2012

The Gospel and its Proclamation (part XXI)

Filed under: Proclaiming the gospel,The Gospel — barrynewman @ 11:02 pm

Concluding Comments

With respect to the noun, “euaggelion” and the verb, “euaggelizomai” the language of the New Testament and as found in the Greek literature external to the New Testament up until about the time of the New Testament, have much in common.  It is essentially “good news” and the “good news” is announced or proclaimed.

However there are some differences.  In the New Testament, unlike in the other Greek literature, the noun predominantly appears as “the good news” rather than simply “good news”.   It is “the gospel”. In the New Testament, the news, perhaps better understood as the announcement, the proclamation or the declaration, is really very good, very great or even very sombre. Furthermore, in the Greek literature external to the New Testament, the “good news” almost always relates to a specific event, whereas the gospel of the New Testament, in its totality, relates to a large number of interwoven and weighty events or situations.  There is one instance in the New Testament where what is referred to as “a gospel” seems to relate to a very specific gospel being delivered at a specific point in time, rather than “the gospel” which dominates the pages of the New Testament. There are a couple of other occurrences where reference is being made to a false gospel.

In both the New Testament and the Greek literature outside of the New Testament, the verb can often simply be translated without reference to “good news” or similar.  However, depending on the actual verb used in the translation, in some texts something like “good news” also need to be mentioned. And while the verb in the Greek literature external to the New Testament can often be translated as “announcing” or proclaiming”, it lacks the context that would make sense of translating it as, “preaching”.  Sometimes the context displayed in this literature is such that the words, “proclaiming”, “announcing” or “declaring” could be judged to be inappropriate if too much “grandeur” is read into their usage. Not so in almost all instances occurring in the New Testament. Furthermore, while in the Greek literature external to the New Testament, the verb translated as proclaiming or announcing always has the idea of “good news” behind it, in the New Testament, as with the noun, the proclaiming, announcing, or declaring is occasionally more “sombre” rather than “good”.  There is one instance in the New Testament where the verb relates to some “giving of good news” that is simply related to human beings (though it does indeed concern their faith and love).

The message that is so great comes from God and is about his Son.  We in the apostolic tradition have nothing to boast about in ourselves.  Our boasting is in the Lord Jesus Christ, crucified for sinners, raised gloriously by the Father, appointed judge of all men and before whom all shall appear – some for glory some for condemnation.

We have received the message.  We, as his messengers, have a message to tell.  The gospel is the announcement, the declaration, the proclamation that the world must hear.  If we do not declare, if we do not announce, if we do not proclaim, how shall they hear?

And we must live by the gospel, unashamedly demonstrating that in the great mercy of God, according to his great kindness Christ has set us free, free to love, free to serve, free to glorify the one who has done great things for us.  Praise be to God!  Honour and glory to his name!

July 16, 2012

The Gospel and its Proclamation (part XX)

Filed under: Proclaiming the gospel,The Gospel — barrynewman @ 11:29 pm

Euaggelion and Euaggelizomai in Galatians

Before concluding one should not fail to recognise how dominant the words “euaggelion” and “euaggelizomai” are in the letter to the Galatians.  Taken together, the noun and the verb occur 14 times. This absolute frequency of the noun and verb considered together is only exceeded in the book of Acts (17) and only equalled in1 Corinthians (14). The only other book to reach double figures is Romans (12).

Galatians is that letter which offers no thanks to God for his work in the believers to whom the letter is addressed.  It is written to counteract an alternative gospel, a gospel which demanded the observance of certain rituals, particularly circumcision. Having been at pains to establish his own apostolic credentials, Paul declares that “we know that a man is not justified by works of the law but through faith in Jesus Christ” (3: 16).  Yet the Galatian problems went beyond their thoughts about circumcision.  Paul writes: “You observe days and months and seasons and years!  I am afraid I have laboured over you in vain” (4: 10, 11). But he continues: “For freedom Christ has set us free; stand fast therefore, and do not submit again to a yoke of slavery” (5: 1).  “In Christ Jesus neither circumcision nor uncircumcision is of any avail but faith working through love” (5: 6).  “You were called to freedom brethren; only do not use your freedom as an opportunity for the flesh, but through love be slaves of one another” (5: 13). “Walk by the Spirit and do not gratify the desires of the flesh” (5:16).  “If we live by the Spirit, let us also walk by the Spirit” (5: 25). “Far be it from me to glory except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ by which the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.  Neither circumcision counts for anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creation (6: 14, 15).

We do well to examine ourselves with regards to the possibility of a false gospel. Circumcision may not constitute a problem for us but what other “under the law” type of practices and beliefs do we have?  What are we to make of our rituals, our observances, our demands on ourselves and others?  Have they become mandatory, part of the requirements, we imagine in our foolishness, God demands of us over and above living by his Spirit, having been justified by faith in his Son, Christ crucified?

July 13, 2012

The Gospel and its Proclamation (part XIX)

Filed under: Proclaiming the gospel,The Gospel — barrynewman @ 10:13 pm

The proclaimers as messengers

What is clear both within the New Testament and in the Greek literature external to the New Testament is that a messenger (an “aggelos”) proclaims, announces or declares something of moment, something of importance.  And in the Greek literature outside of the New Testament it appears to be always a reference to “good news”.  The same is nearly always true in the New Testament. However, in the case of the New Testament, except say with respect to Timothy bringing the good news of the faith and love of the Thessalonians, it is God’s message that is being proclaimed and it fundamentally concerns his son.  And those who announce it, declare it or proclaim it, do so simply as his messengers.

Again, in case we need reminding, we are not announcing what emanates from us.  We are the messengers.  We are not the message.  We carry it with sincerity, with sobriety, with jubilance and with dignity on behalf of another – the one who sends us, God the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ.

“Good News”, “Great News”, “Sober News”, “Gospel”?

I have suggested that sometimes “good news” may be better replaced with “great news” or even “sober news”. Why not often replace it with the one word, “gospel”?  There is some sense to that suggestion and many a translation will use the word, “gospel” freely as though it were a technical word.  I have chosen to use it from time to time.  Yet it needs to be recognised that “gospel” is simply an old English word, meaning “good news”.

None the less it seems that, “euaggelion” in the New Testament often seems to carry with it a technical connotation.  It is the content of the message that is being proclaimed and this message is unique.  As the New Testament emphasises, it is “the Good news”.  And it is the dominant use of the definite article alongside of the noun that undoubtedly contributes to its technical character.  Understandably therefore, “the gospel” which now by common usage has taken on technical overtones, conveys what the New Testament sees in some places as, that special that specific message, “the word” that comes from God and is about God (1 Thess 2: 13).

I have chosen largely to use the words, “good news” or “great news” even when dealing with the verb, in order to convey that essentially this message is indeed “good news” or perhaps even better, “great news” and even sometimes “sober news”.  But “the gospel” is a very appropriate rendering, provided we understand what is being conveyed by that term in its varied contexts.  Overall, it is “awesome news” to appeal to a modern idiomatic expression, an expression which captures both the wonderful and the very sober aspects of its nature.

July 11, 2012

The Gospel and its Proclamation (part XVIII)

Filed under: Proclaiming the gospel,The Gospel — barrynewman @ 8:04 am

Frequency of “euaggelizomai” in the New Testament books

Of the 52 instances of “euaggelizomai” and the 2 instances of “euaggelizo” in the New Testament, 15 occur in the book of Acts, 10 in Luke, 7 in Galatians, 6 in 1 Corinthians, 3 each in Romans and 1 Peter, 2 each in 2 Corinthians , Ephesians, Hebrews and Revelation, and  1 each in Matthew and 1 Thessalonians.

The book with the greatest relative frequency is Galatians.

Euaggelizomai as proclaiming, announcing, declaring, preaching

As discussed earlier, “euaggelizomai” in the New Testament carries with it the sense of conveying information in a grand or sober manner.  Words such as, “proclaiming”, announcing”, “declaring” or even “preaching” seem admirably suited for conveying such sense. Which one of those words is more suitable could be determined by a consideration of context though often there is little available for deciding between one word and the other.  Whether or not one should also refer to “good news”, “great news”, “solemn news” or something similar, is however another matter.

When considering how “euaggelizomai” is used in the Greek literature external to the New Testament the suggestion was made that there appears to be a general rule that when what is being announced or conveyed in some way or another is directly and explicitly referred to at that point in the text, a translation that refers simply to “announcing” or similar seems permissible. This general rule seems to apply to New Testament usage as well.  This is most obvious when the direct object is “euaggelion” (1 Cor 15: 1; 2 Cor 11: 7; Gal 1: 11; Rev 14: 6).

Consider also the following:

“I was sent to announce these things to you” (Luke 1: 19), “I declare to you, “great joy” (Luke 2: 10) , “(Jesus) preaching and proclaiming the kingdom of God” (Luke 8: 1), “From that time the kingdom of God is announced” (Luke 16: 16), “They did not cease teaching and proclaiming Jesus the Christ” (Acts 5: 42), “they went everywhere, proclaiming the message” (Acts 8: 4), “They believed Philip as he proclaimed the things concerning the kingdom of God” (Acts 8: 12), “(Philip) proclaimed to him Jesus” (Acts 8: 35), “ certain of them spoke to the Hellenists proclaiming the Lord Jesus” (acts 11: 20), “we declare to you the promise made to the fathers” (Acts 13: 32), “because he proclaimed to them Jesus and the resurrection” (Acts 17: 18), “how beautiful are the feet of those announcing peace” (Rom 10: 15), “the message I proclaimed to you if you hold fast” (1 Cor 15: 2), “if we or an angel from heaven proclaimed to you contrary to what we proclaimed to you” (Gal 1: 8); “I should proclaim him among the nations” (Gal 1: 16), “He who once persecuted us now proclaims the faith” (Gal 1: 23), “(Christ) proclaimed peace” (Eph 2: 17), “I should proclaim among the gentiles the unsearchable riches of the Christ” (Eph 3: 8), “Timothy having declared to us your faith and love” (1 Thess 3: 6), “This is the message that was declared to you” (1 Peter 1: 25), “the mystery of God as announced to his servants the prophets” (Rev 10: 7).

In each case, one may judge it sufficient to refer to “proclaiming”, “announcing”, “declaring” or even “preaching” without also adding “good news” or the like as indicated in the translations provided. Alternatively, in a number of cases, the translator may sense that the addition of “good news” or similar is appropriate.  This may be particularly so when it is very obvious that what is being proclaimed etc is indeed “good news”.

There are also other instances, where no direct and explicit reference is being made to what is being announced, and contrary to the few examples cited from the literature external to the New Testament, no reference to “good news” or similar seems to be necessary.  For example, Jesus referred to the requirement for him to preach in other towns beyond Capernaum (Luke 4: 43) and Paul in his letter to the Galatians writes of his preaching to them in the weakness of the flesh (Gal 4: 13).  The word, “preaching” delivers the translator from having to automatically refer to “good news”.

July 7, 2012

The Gospel and its Proclamation (part XVII)

Filed under: Proclaiming the gospel,The Gospel — barrynewman @ 4:39 am

              In the Pauline letters

Mention has already been made of the occasions when Paul uses “euaggelizomai” in close association with “euaggelion” [he proclaims the gospel (1 Cor 15: 1; 2 Cor 11; 7 and Gal 1: 11] and where “euaggelizomai” is used by him in relatively close association with “euaggelion” [Rom 10: 15, 16, Gal 1: 6-8 (2x) and 1 Cor 9: 18].

Paul’s desire to preach the good news is evident in his letter to the believers at Rome (“I am ready to proclaim to you at Rome also” [Rom 1: 15] and “It has always been my ambition to preach the gospel where Christ has not already been named [Rom 15: 20]) as well as in his second letter to the believers in Corinth (“so that we may preach the gospel in lands beyond you” [2 Cor 10: 16]).

Paul writes against either himself or an angel proclaiming a gospel contrary to the one received (Gal 1: 8, 9). In perhaps the only use of “euaggelizomai” in the New Testament that is not directly related to gospel proclamation, Paul writes of Timothy declaring the faith and love of the Thessalonian believers (1 Thess 3: 6).  He quotes from Isaiah 52: 7 in referring to “how beautiful are the feet of those who proclaim peace” while referring to the necessity of the preacher and the preacher being sent (Rom 10: 15). And he writes of Christ who proclaimed peace to the gentiles who were far off and peace to the Jew who was near (Eph 2: 17).

But in the vast majority of occasions when he refers to the proclaiming the gospel – it is with reference to himself, the proclaimer – Rom 1: 15, 15: 20; 2 Cor 10: 16 and Gal 1: 8 have already been referred to. There are another 12 instances where the reference is to himself: “Christ did not send me to baptise but to proclaim the gospel” (1 Cor 1: 17), “For though I preach the great news I have nothing of which to glory (1 Cor 9: 16), “Woe to me if I do not preach the great news” (1 Cor 9: 16), his reward is that in preaching the gospel he makes it free of charge (1 Cor 9: 18), he reminds the Corinthians the gospel which he had proclaimed to them (1 Cor 15: 1) by means of which preaching of the gospel they are saved (1 Cor 15: 2), it was the gospel of God that he had proclaimed to them (2 Cor 11: 7), the gospel which Paul had preached to the Galatians did not have its origin in man (Gal 1: 11), God’s Son had been revealed to Paul so that he could proclaim him among the gentiles (Gal 1: 16), he could refer to others who reported of him in earlier days as, the one who had persecuted believers but then proclaimed the faith (Gal 1: 23), he writes to the Galatian believers of how when he first proclaimed the great news to them it was while he was in the weakness of the flesh (Gal 4: 13), but explains to the believers in Ephesus how grace had been given to him to proclaim among the gentiles the unsearchable riches of the Christ (Eph 3: 8).

            In Hebrews, 1 Peter and Revelation

Reference has already been made to the angel with an everlasting gospel to proclaim (Rev 14: 6) and the use of the active voice in the reference to the mystery of God, announced to his servants the prophets in times past, about to come to its fulfilment (Rev 10: 7).  The two instances in Hebrews, each occurring in the passive voice, have already been referred to: “For we also have had the good [great?] news announced to us just as to them” (Heb 4: 2) and “Those who formerly had the good [great?] news announced (to them) failed to enter because of disobedience” (Heb 4: 6).  Two of the three instances in which “euaggelizomai” occurs in 1 Peter, both being in the passive voice have also been mentioned above: “The word of the Lord abides forever and this is the word, the good news announced to you” (1: 25) and “For this is also why the good [great?] news was announced to the dead” (4: 6).  The third instance found in 1 Peter is where he writes of the prophets of times past and their involvement in the things which have now been announced (anaggello) to his readers by those who preached the good news to them through the Holy Spirit (1 Peter 1: 12).  All but the first of these seven texts have some reference to the past.  As suggested earlier, the only exception, (Rev 14: 6), is probably not a reference to the proclaiming of the great news which so dominates the pages of the New Testament.

July 2, 2012

The Gospel and its Proclamation (part XVI)

Filed under: Proclaiming the gospel,The Gospel — barrynewman @ 11:14 pm

Instances of “euaggelizomai” in general

              In the Gospels

Jesus at his birth is the subject of the good news of great joy brought by an angel of the Lord to shepherds (Luke 2: 10). Jesus proclaims the great news.  He proclaims the great news of the kingdom of God (Luke 4: 43; 8: 1) and he declares that from the time of John the great news of the kingdom of God is being proclaimed (Luke 16: 16).  He preaches good news to the poor (Matt 11: 5; Luke 4: 18; 7: 22). He declares that he must proclaim the great news to towns other than Capernaum (Luke 4: 43) and he preaches the good news in the temple (Luke 20: 1). His disciples proclaimed the great news (Luke 9: 6).

Zechariah is informed by an angel of the Lord of the good news of the coming birth of John, the “immerser” to be (Luke 1: 19), and of John himself it is written that having spoken of the coming Messiah and his judgement “with many other exhortations he preached great news to the people” (Luke 3: 18).  Given how closely this latter text of proclamation follows upon the reference to that judgement to be carried out by Jesus, it is difficult to simply translate “euaggelizomai” as proclaiming “good” news.  The news is actually awesome.  Perhaps translations should simply refer to “preaching” or similar.

It is of some interest to note that when Jesus instructs the disciples of John to tell him that good news is preached to the poor, it literally reads, “the poor are proclaimed/preached/announced” (Matt 11: 5, Luke 7: 22).

              In Acts

Understandably, the word “euaggelizomai” occurs a number of times in the Acts of the Apostles.

The apostles proclaim Jesus the Christ (5: 42). Peter and John preach the great news to many Samaritan villages (8: 25). Peter speaks of the proclaiming of the great news of peace by Jesus Christ (10: 36). Those who were scattered throughout Judea and Samaria preach the word (8:4).  Some who were scattered preach the Lord Jesus to some Greeks (11: 20). Philip preaches the good news of the kingdom of God (8: 12), proclaims the great news about Jesus to the Ethiopian Eunuch (8: 35) and preaches the good news in many towns (8: 40).  Paul proclaims the great news to the Jews at Antioch concerning what God had promised (13: 32) and later both he and Barnabas proclaim the word of the Lord at that same city (15: 35). Paul and Barnabas proclaim the great news at Iconium (14: 7), Lystra (14: 15) and Derbe (14: 21).  Paul recognises that God had called his group to proclaim the great news to the Macedonians (16: 10) and at Athens proclaims Jesus and the resurrection (17: 18).

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