Thursday, February 12, 2009

Today's Scripture: Ephesians 5:11

I'm just going to provide a scripture with some of the original Greek, to provide food for thought. I'll add my own comments as well. This isn't meant to be exhaustive, just to give something to chew on spiritually.

Ephesians 5:11, in multiple translations, of which I'll keep a few that phrase it a bit differently:

International Standard Version (©2008)
and have nothing to do with the unfruitful works that darkness produces. Instead, expose them for what they are.

New American Standard Bible (©1995)
Do not participate in the unfruitful deeds of darkness, but instead even expose them;

King James Bible
And have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them.

Bible in Basic English
And have no company with the works of the dark, which give no fruit, but make their true quality clear;

Weymouth New Testament
Have nothing to do with the barren unprofitable deeds of darkness, but, instead of that, set your faces against them;

Young's Literal Translation
and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of the darkness and rather even convict,

The key ideas here are:

  • The phrase translated in the King James as "have fellowship with" -- sugkoinwnevw: to become a partaker together with others, or to have fellowship with a thing. It comes from the bases sun, translated "with", from a root indicating union; and koinoneo, "to come into communion or fellowship with, to become a sharer, be made a partner".

  • The word translated in the NAS as "deeds" -- transliterated ergon:

    1. business, employment, that which any one is occupied
    a. that which one undertakes to do, enterprise, undertaking
    2. any product whatever, any thing accomplished by hand, art, industry, or mind
    3. an act, deed, thing done: the idea of working is emphasised in opp. to that which is less than work

    Boy, ain't THAT a kicker when you're looking at abortion as a deed of darkness! Business, employment.

  • The word translated as "unfruitful" -- akarpos: metaph. without fruit, barren, not yielding what it ought to yield. You could preach an entire sermon on how this word fits abortion. Aside, of course, for the literal barrenness that's being chosen at the moment. Abortion was supposed to usher in a utopia, in which all children were "wanted", none were abused, women were happy and fulfilled. Instead we see poverty, child abuse, domestic violence, drug abuse... Not the glorious Age of Enlightenment abortion was supposed to bring us by a long shot.

  • The word translated as "darkness" -- skotos: This is the same word translated as "darkness" in a recent scripture, "For our struggle is not against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the powers, against the world forces of this darkness, against the spiritual forces of wickedness in the heavenly places." Let's look at the many ways it's defined:

    1. darkness
    a. of night darkness (I'm assuming this is metaphorical in this context, and not an admonition not to be a night watchman!)
    b. of darkened eyesight or blindness (or inability to see, as exhibited in those who can look at a fetus and not see the baby)
    2. metaph.
    a. of ignorance respecting divine things and human duties, and the accompanying ungodliness and immorality, together with their consequent misery in hell (Whoa!)
    b. persons in whom darkness becomes visible and holds sway

    Again, enough meat for a sermon. The darkness is unable to see any hope in the pregnant woman's circumstances, unable to see the value of her unborn child's life, unable to see her love for the child and her wish for another way but this.

    So that's the first half -- what we are to avoid.

    But what are we to do?

    Let's look:

  • The word translated "instead" or "rather" -- mallon: more, to a greater degree, rather; much, by far; rather, sooner; more willingly, more readily, sooner. So we're not just seeing an alternative, but an alternative that indicates a far stronger rejection of the other alternative. This isn't "paper or plastic" here.

  • The word translated "reprove" in the King James -- transliterated elegcho: They really go to town on this one:

    1. to convict, refute, confute
    a. generally with a suggestion of shame of the person convicted
    b. by conviction to bring to the light, to expose
    2. to find fault with, correct
    a. by word
    1. to reprehend severely, chide, admonish, reprove
    2. to call to account, show one his fault, demand an explanation
    b. by deed
    1. to chasten, to punish

    There's a whole nother sermon there, isn't there?

    It's my prayer that this post really gets folks thinking.

    And -- reference the ongoing "incrementalist versus absolutist" battle -- What the incrementalists are doing is far from fruitless. We have statistical analysis showing that these measures produce real fruit in the lives of real women, sparing them the burden of abortion and sparing their children's lives. They expose the deeds of darkness -- informed consent laws reveal the truth of abortion's purported "safety", the truth that the woman is far from alone and abortion is far from her only option, the truth about what it is an abortion destroys; ultrasound laws bring to light very clearly that what an abortion destroys is not mere tissue; safety regulations highlight the quackery that goes on, endangering women's lives in the name of protecting them.

    Lots to see here. Lots to reflect on and pray over.
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