Good News for Everyone VIII: Sanctification
- The term "saints" is another word which has lost much of its real significance as the result of popular usage and misconceptions as to its true biblical meaning. For many people, "saints" are only the patron saints of persons or institutions, and as heavenly beings they are supposed to intercede for their devotees.
For others, "saints" are only those specially devout and holy persons who are often more sanctimonious than sanctified. In his first letter to the Corinthians, Paul addresses the "sanctified" and indicates that they were called to be "saints," while in his second letter the apostle addresses them as "saints," but obviously he wants them to be far more consecrated to the work and worship of God than they as yet are.
In order to reproduce more faithfully the meaning of the Greek term traditionally translated "saints," it is much better to speak of "the people of God," even as Today's English Version does. They have not always been fully consecrated or sanctified, but they do belong to God, and as his people they are the objects of his constant concern and love. page 74 - 75
I asked Dr. Packer what he would use for the word hagioi ἁγίοι in the situation of translating the Bible for the first time into a new language. He suggested "committed", or "given to God."
With this in mind, I want to revisit the last two paragraphs of the Statement of Concern against the TNIV.
- How do they know that changing "saints" to "those" in Acts 9:13 or to "believers" in Acts 9:32 or to God's people" in Romans 8:27 does not sacrifice precious connotations of holiness which the Greek word carries. To justify translating "saints" as "believers" because it refers to believers is like justifying translating "sweetheart" as "wife" because that is who it refers to.
Because of this we cannot endorse the TNIV as sufficiently trustworthy to commend to the church. We do not believe it is a translation suitable for use as a normal preaching and teaching text of the church or for common memorizing, study, and reading Bible of the Christian community.
I realize that by now, at least one of our readers has forgotten why God might be said to have "children" instead of only "sons". I do my best to be a faithful reminder, but nonetheless I have had a request to rerun this and start over again at the beginning. Maybe next year. Maybe not.
I will be taking a break for the rest of the summer but expect to be around and will drop back in once in a while. I just want to add that I have not been here on this blog to promote an egalitarian agenda, although others have given me that label, and I see no reason to deny it. But it seems utterly irrelevant to my position here. Authority resides in word and truth, not in man or woman.
Concerning my defense of the single woman Bible translator, I was rereading my sister's autobiography the other day and noticed where she talked about her first experience on the mission field working with another woman, a Bible translator. I have rephrased their experience here.
- My sister went to live with a small community of missionaries in a faraway place and teach high school and evangelize. There were a few older missionaries and another young woman, a Bible translator, and later a couple of young men came too.
In all the meetings the women were silent. Even at the Friday evening prayer meeting only the men prayed. Later the Bible translator told my sister that, not only, had she never spoken during a meeting, but no one had ever even prayed for her work.
The younger missionaries finally started up a group with some of the local young people and in this group the women spoke. That went okay for a while until James arrived. He not only knew that women were to be silent but he also knew how to silence women.
If a woman speaks then you must not acknowledge it. You freeze and do not turn your head or move a muscle. Then when the woman stops you carry on as if not a sound had been made. If this happens, the woman has not spoken but she has only made a noise.
Truth is stranger than fiction.