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How do we study our Bible words..multiple meanings and basic meanings

Q6: How do we study our Bible words? (part 2)

Hypothesis: How do we study our Bible words - multiple meanings and basic meanings?

Introduction: In the previous webpage we saw an example of how a child like faith method is used. Now we will consider what my friend (a Greek and Hebrew scholar) feels about this method:-


REPLY to the author about the study of the WORD "desire" with Hebrew word "chemdah" and Greek equivalent word "epithumia"...

Very interesting, but we have a clash of two approaches here. You are looking for straight-laced consistency in the semantic range and connotations of a word, epithumia, for instance (a word I have used to illustrate semantic fluidity). A contrary approach would be to allow the context to determine the applicability of whatever aspects are in the range of meaning of a word and allow for contextual connotations (as you grapple with at one or two points).

The second approach makes understandable the diverse renderings of words . The first approach is not how language works. Take an English example:

  • 1. �The billionaire�s house was stunning.�
  • 2. �The billionaire�s share market loss was stunning.�
  • 3. �The fighter�s blows were stunning.�

    1. and 2 both refer to an experience that is primarily emotional;

  • 3. refers to a physical experience�same word. Looking again at the first two, 1. has positive connotations; 2. negative connotations.

    Yet both are employed to portray emotional-intellectual experiences that go in an appreciative, awed direction that would bring aesthetic meditations to mind (in sentence 1.), and in a contrasting direction of a sharp, painful pang that would bring mathematical computations into mind (in sentence 2.). Not the first, but the second is the abstract echo of the concrete usage expressed in the third sentence. We need context to be the final determinant of word meanings.

  • Conclusion: Words are pictures. On their own words are pictures. When word pictures are placed in sentences with other pictures, then we build up different meanings and various shades of meaning, from the combination of word pictures. Thus the sentence has a meaning based on context. Words on their own do not require context to define them. They are word pictures with a single basic meaning regardless of their context.

    Even words with multiple meanings should also have a single basic picture to explain the origin of both meanings which come from various angles of the word picture. Which picture is intended comes from context in these cases.

    Discussion: Consider the study, and let's see if words do have a more fluid and diverse meaning; or perhaps a single basic meaning for all context.

    STRONG'S : 1939. epiyumia epithumia, ep-ee-thoo-mee'-ah

    Search for 1939 in KJV

    from 1937; a longing (especially for what is forbidden):--concupiscence, desire, lust (after).

    A study of "epithumia"

    Here is a list of the Word in question, with the Hebrew equivalent word. (To save space, the meaning of the word is written underneath:)

    Mr 4:19 And the cares of this world, and the deceitfulness of riches, and the lusts of other things entering in, choke the word, and it becometh unfruitful.

    and the desires of other things

    Lu 22:15 And he said unto them, With desire I have desired to eat this passover with you before I suffer:

    With desire I have desired

    Joh 8:44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

    and the desires of your father ye will do.

    Ro 1:24 Wherefore God also gave them up to uncleanness through the lusts of their own hearts, to dishonour their own bodies between themselves:

    through the desires of their own hearts,

    Ro 6:12 Let not sin therefore reign in your mortal body, that ye should obey it in the lusts thereof.

    that ye should obey it in the desires thereof.

    Ro 7:7 � What shall we say then? Is the law sin? God forbid. Nay, I had not known sin, but by the law: for I had not known lust, except the law had said, Thou shalt not covet.

    for I had not known desire, except the law had said, Thou shalt not desire.

    Ro 7:8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence . For without the law sin was dead.

    But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of desire .

    Ro 13:14 But put ye on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the lusts thereof.

    and make not provision for the flesh, to fulfil the desires thereof

    Ga 5:16 This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the flesh.

    ye shall not fulfil the desires of the flesh

    Ga 5:24 And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with the affections and lusts.

    with the affections and desire.

    Eph 2:3 Among whom also we all had our conversation in times past in the lusts of our flesh, fulfilling the desires of the flesh and of the mind; and were by nature the children of wrath, even as others.

    in times past in the desires of our flesh

    Eph 4:22 That ye put off concerning the former conversation the old man, which is corrupt according to the deceitful lusts;

    which is corrupt according to the deceitful desires;

    Php 1:23 For I am in a strait betwixt two, having a desire to depart, and to be with Christ; which is far better:

    having a desire to depart

    Col 3:5 � Mortify therefore your members which are upon the earth; fornication, uncleanness, inordinate affection, evil concupiscence , and covetousness, which is idolatry:

    evil desire

    1Th 2:17 � But we, brethren, being taken from you for a short time in presence, not in heart, endeavoured the more abundantly to see your face with great desire.

    with great desire.

    1Th 4:5 Not in the lust of concupiscence, even as the Gentiles which know not God:

    lust of desire,

    1Ti 6:9 But they that will be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and hurtful lusts, which drown men in destruction and perdition.

    hurtful desires,

    2Ti 2:22 � Flee also youthful lusts: but follow righteousness, faith, charity, peace, with them that call on the Lord out of a pure heart.

    Flee also youthful desires:

    2Ti 3:6 For of this sort are they which creep into houses, and lead captive silly women laden with sins, led away with divers lusts,

    with divers desires,

    2Ti 4:3 For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears;

    but after their own desires

    Tit 2:12 Teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly, in this present world;

    and worldly desires,

    Tit 3:3 For we ourselves also were sometimes foolish, disobedient, deceived, serving divers lusts and pleasures, living in malice and envy, hateful, and hating one another.

    serving divers desires

    Jas 1:14 But every man is tempted, when he is drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.

    when he is drawn away of his own desire,

    Jas 1:15 Then when lust hath conceived, it bringeth forth sin: and sin, when it is finished, bringeth forth death.

    Then when desire

    1Pe 1:14 As obedient children, not fashioning yourselves according to the former lusts in your ignorance:

    according to the former desires

    1Pe 2:11 Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul;

    abstain from fleshly desires,

    1Pe 4:2 That he no longer should live the rest of his time in the flesh to the lusts of men, but to the will of God.

    to the desires

    1Pe 4:3 For the time past of our life may suffice us to have wrought the will of the Gentiles, when we walked in lasciviousness, lusts, excess of wine, revellings, banquetings, and abominable idolatries:


    2Pe 1:4 Whereby are given unto us exceeding great and precious promises: that by these ye might be partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world through lust.

    through desire.

    2Pe 2:10 � But chiefly them that walk after the flesh in the lust of uncleanness, and despise government. Presumptuous are they, selfwilled, they are not afraid to speak evil of dignities.

    in the desire

    2Pe 2:18 For when they speak great swelling words of vanity, they allure through the lusts of the flesh, through much wantonness, those that were clean escaped from them who live in error.

    they allure through the desires

    2Pe 3:3 � Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts,

    after their own desires,

    1Jo 2:16 For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world.

    the desires of the flesh,

    1Jo 2:17 And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever.

    the desire thereof:

    Jude 1:16 These are murmurers, complainers, walking after their own lusts; and their mouth speaketh great swelling words, having men's persons in admiration because of advantage.

    walking after their own desires;

    Jude 1:18 How that they told you there should be mockers in the last time, who should walk after their own ungodly lusts .

    own ungodly desires .

    Re 18:14 And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all. (KJV)

    And the fruits that thy soul desired after

    Notice the verses retain the same context and fluidity of the word "desire" and the same diverse meanings are retained despite the same consistent meaning used each time. In fact if anything the verses speak to so called Christians who think they do not lust after the world, in fact they do desire the things of the world just as a wicked person does with their lusts. Lust and desire is the same word, same meaning.

    Notice also this method, a child like faith method, does not require one to understand lexical grammar or multiple meanings or context...yet the aim of the method is to simply discover the single basic meaning of the word in its original language and use a similar English word consistently for the same word.

    Consider cases where one wants to make a word have opposite meaning:-

    Job 2:9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse "barak" God, and die.

    The Hebrew word "barak" means to "bless" but in this context the wife of Job was being sarcastic,and the opposite meaning "curse" is intended.

    The meaning of words in a sentence..

    QUOTE: "We need context to be the final determinant of word meanings"Endquote.

    The Author however, finds Words have the same basic meaning regardless of context.

    When Bible words are placed in an arrangement of words, than their individual meanings may change slightly because of the sentence. But this is a sentence of words, not the basic word itself, which alone should have a single basic meaning, regardless of its context.

    Ro 7:8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of concupiscence . For without the law sin was dead.

    Ro 7:8 But sin, taking occasion by the commandment, wrought in me all manner of of desire . For without the law sin was dead.

    Translators thought it is necessary to add another English word meaning " of stronger desire", but here we are interpreting the word in it's context, rather than allowing the word to have it's own broad meaning. Hebrew words have broad meanings, even though this is a Greek word, its original word was a Hebrew one, "chamad" or "chemdah".

    Ge 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife "'ishshah": and they shall be one flesh.

    Ge 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his woman "'ishshah": and they shall be one flesh.

    Translators thought it is necessary to add another English word meaning "wife" rather than "woman", and although this is OK, leaving the word as "woman" allow the reader to see it's the same Hebrew word, in a different context, meaning the woman was also his wife.

    Yet in old German, there are two different German words, one for woman and the other for wife.

    Ge 2:23 Da sprach der Mensch: Das ist doch Bein von meinem Bein und Fleisch von meinem Fleisch; man wird sie M�nnin hei�en, darum da� sie vom Manne genommen ist. (LGB)

  • Ge 2:24 Darum wird ein Mann Vater und Mutter verlassen und an seinem Weibe hangen, und sie werden sein ein Fleisch. (LGB)

    Consider another example, this time the Greek word "ekklesia"..

    Ac 18:22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the church "ekklesia", he went down to Antioch. (KJV)

    Ac 18:22 And when he had landed at Caesarea, and gone up, and saluted the assembly "ekklesia" , he went down to Antioch. (KJV)

    Ac 18:22 und kam gen C�sarea und ging hinauf (nach Jerusalem) und gr��te die Gemeinde und zog hinab gen Antiochien. (LGB)

    Ac 19:39 But if ye enquire any thing concerning other matters, it shall be determined in a lawful assembly"ekklesia" . (KJV)

    Out of 115 verses only two like this one is translated correctly, as "assembly"

    39 Wollt ihr aber etwas anderes handeln, so mag man es ausrichten in einer ordentlichen Gemeinde. (LGB)

    Notice the German translates the Greek correctly with the same German word "Gemeinde" consistently, while the English translation does not.

    If there are any different meanings for "Gemeinde" than they would have to come from the sentence context, and not from the word which has a single basic meaning (unless of course it one of the uncommon examples of multiple meaning words).

    The German, word "Gemeinde" means a "assembly" or "community", and may mean "church" which is an "assembly" anyway. Thus Moses has "assemblies" or "churches" in his time.

    Ex 12:6 And ye shall keep it up until the fourteenth day of the same month: and the whole assembly "qahal" of the congregation of Israel shall kill it in the evening. (KJV)

    6 und sollt's behalten bis auf den vierzehnten Tag des Monats. Und ein jegliches H�uflein im ganzen Israel soll's schlachten gegen Abend. (LGB)

    The German word "H�uflein" is used instead of "Gemeinde", and this shows the author that sometimes translators have other things in mind rather than language consistency during translation.

    Nu 8:9 And thou shalt bring the Levites before the tabernacle of the congregation: and thou shalt gather "qahal" the whole assembly of the children of Israel together: (KJV)

    9 Und sollst die Leviten vor die H�tte des Stifts bringen und die ganze Gemeinde der Kinder Israel versammeln (LGB)

    1Sa 17:47 And all this assembly "qahal" shall know that the LORD saveth not with sword and spear: for the battle is the LORD'S, and he will give you into our hands. (KJV)

    47 und da� alle diese Gemeinde innewerde, da� der HERR nicht durch Schwert noch Spie� hilft; denn der Streit ist des HERRN, und er wird euch geben in unsre H�nde. (LGB)

    Looking at numerous verses we see the German word "Gemeinde" does consistently substitute for "qahal" in Hebrew, most of the time, but there are exceptions which the author cannot explain. In an ideal English translation the word "qahal" should occur across the OT and NT, and be always translated as "assembly", or the English word "gathering" / "gather".

    Thus the German confirms Moses had "church assemblies" in his time!

    Words with multiple meanings

    The author once asked an Italian teacher if there were any words in Italian with multiple meanings. The teacher thought for a while and said, "albero".

    I said,"What does this word mean?"

    The teacher replied, "mast or tree".

    But I said, "Isn't a tree cut down from the forest shaped into a mast, and when you look at a mast it looks like a tree, wide at the bottom and narrow at the top." After that the Italian teacher could not think of any other convincing examples of multiple meanings in words.

    Technology does impact into a culture and introduce new ideas from which existing words are embraced with it, hence you might get what looks like multiple meanings, but they are still single word meanings with a broader base.

    Here is an example of a Hebrew word with multiple meanings.

    The Hebrew word "bread" is "lechem" ; but also means to "fight" : Strong's 3899. When making bread one has to fight with kneading the bread dough, punching and folding it over and over. kneading.

    Ge 3:19 In the sweat of thy face shalt thou eat bread "lechem", till thou return unto the ground;

    Jg 5:8 They chose new gods; then was war "lechem", in the gates: was there a shield or spear seen among forty thousand in Israel?

    Here is another example of a Hebrew word with multiple meanings.

    The Hebrew word "ab" means "dad" and it also means "fruit". This is because the dad was the provider for the family, the one who would bring home "treats", such as fruit for his children.

    Ge 2:24 Therefore shall a man leave his father "ab" and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh.

    Song 6:11 � I went down into the garden of nuts to see the fruits "ab" of the valley, and to see whether the vine flourished, and the pomegranates budded.

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