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Friday, January 13, 2006

Suffer the little children

Have you or someone else you know ever wondered what the English translation wording meant when Jesus says, "Suffer the little children to come unto me?" When people come upon words in English Bibles which have different meanings from what they used to have, which is the case with the word "suffer," most people try to comprehend the wording using their current understanding of words. So some people might wonder if Jesus (or perhaps some else, maybe their parents) had to suffer when children came to him. Or maybe those who think more globally, including many theologians, might think that Jesus is referring to how women suffer in childbirth to produce children who can come to Jesus.

Obviously, none of those meaningss are correct even though they might be the best someone can come up with given that they are speakers of contemporary English and a Bible version they are using is not written in contemporary English. Jesus was saying what most English versions today make clear, "Allow the little children to come to me."

Why did I blog on this today? Because my wife, Elena, and I have been busy this week helping welcome our newest granchild, Shiloh (seen above with her grandma Elena), into the world and taking care of her older siblings. Shiloh Irene Errington was born this Tuesday. Shiloh is a precious little thing. Just as I did with our granddaughter, Elianna, born last August, I was able to come up with a special lullaby song for Shiloh. I sang it to her for a long time last night, after we brought Shiloh home from the hospital, as I paced the floor with her in my arms, trying to keep her asleep so her mother could get a little more rest before the next feeding. Shiloh's parents and we, both sets of grandparents, will gladly encourage Shiloh to go to Jesus, as she grows and understands more about our faith. And we will try to read Bible versions to her which use English that her parents and older brother and sister already speak. (The children speak very good English, using adverbs properly. I'm amazed, as a linguist, at how much "good" English grammar our small grandchildren have already learned.)

How about you? Are you using Bibles which are worded in good quality contemporary English? If so, you, your family, children, and grandchildren, speakers of contemporary English, will understand God's Word more accurately and clearly.


At Fri Jan 13, 10:36:00 AM, Blogger Funky Dung said...

"Suffer" is definitely a pretty archaic choice of words. I take it to mean "have patience" or "be patient". Afterall, "patience" is from the Latin verb "patior", that is "to suffer, endure, bear, or permit".

At Fri Jan 13, 04:44:00 PM, Blogger lingamish said...

As a father of four, I've suffered little children for ten years now. Nonetheless it was worth the pain as they are a lot of fun now that they are all out of diapers and sleep through the night.

I saw a sign the other day that said, "Children are a rainbow. Grandchildren are the pot of gold."

Congrats on Shiloh she's a beauty.

At Fri Jan 13, 05:52:00 PM, Blogger Adam said...

Wayne, do you think you could read this and comment on it?

I would surely appreciate your time!



At Fri Jan 13, 08:43:00 PM, Blogger SingingOwl said...

Funky Dung? Wow? "Suffer" in this case means "allow."

And that is one beautiful newborn! Congratulations.

At Fri Jan 13, 09:01:00 PM, Blogger Wayne Leman said...

Adam, you asked an important question. I answered it on your blog.

At Fri Jan 13, 09:24:00 PM, Blogger Adam said...

Wayne, I appreciate your time, I truly do. Thank you so much for answering and I am glad to see The Message made the cut!



At Sun Jan 15, 12:36:00 PM, Blogger Funky Dung said...

Given the disciples' reaction to the children, I think there'd be a slight negative tone to "suffer the children". That is, for the disciples, it'd be a grudging allowance. ;)

At Sun Jan 15, 02:35:00 PM, Blogger Peter Kirk said...

If we are talking about Mark 10:14, there is no negative tone to the Greek word used, ἄφετε aphete, which is simply the regular Greek word for "let" or "allow". It seems to me that the idea of "a grudging allowance" comes only from a misunderstanding of KJV, and of the meaning of "suffer" in KJV times which (at least in this sense) was simply "allow". There is nothing grudging in the use of "suffer" in KJV at e.g. Exodus 12:23, Matthew 17:17, Mark 11:16 etc.

At Mon Jan 16, 12:17:00 PM, Blogger Jon Knapp said...

Hey Uncle Wayne,
Beautiful picture! I have missed getting to spend time with you guys. Blessings . . .


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