Category Archives: Gospel

More Than One Grace Macedonians Money Angels Incarnation How Do They Go Together

The traditional teaching of 2Corinthians chapters eight and nine is used to get believers to give money to religious institutions’ needy causes. The  Macedonians, who gave in the midst of affliction and poverty, is the standard to duplicate.

But searching through the verses of this passage in light of Greek meanings reveal a different point.

Here are a couple of key words from previous posts about this passage that help reveal the fullness of what Paul was saying.

(2Cor 8:2 2Cor 9:11,13 – BTW liberality is not about giving money)

liberal/liberality in the Greek means

  • simplicity
  • singleness
  • sincerity
  • purity
  • graciousness
  • not compounded or over complicated
  • single-threaded

(Liberality is not about giving money.)

(2Cor 9:7 BTW –  a cheerful giver loves God, not God loves a cheerful giver)

cheerful in the Greek means

  • propitious (favorably disposed toward someone)
  • disposed because satisfied – describing someone who is cheerfully ready to act because already approving (“already persuaded”)
  • won over
  • already inclined

(Cheerful in this context is not about smiling or laughing when giving.)

We will see that grace is the source of of the Macedonians’ liberality and cheerful giving.

More Than One Grace

In the Greek there is more than just one word for grace. They are cognates of the same root word, but their individual meanings are important to apply.

In this passage (2Cor chapters 8 and 9) several cognates of ‘grace’ are used NINE times.

Now this is curious. Any Greek words for money or offering are NOT used in these two chapters!

Grace is such a big deal that Macedonian story (chapters 8-9) is book-ended with grace.

Grace Bookends

Beginning of story –

“Moreover, brethren, we make known to you the grace of God given to the churches in Macedonia.” (2Cor 8:1)

End of story –

“… who long for you because of the exceeding grace of God in you. Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2 Cor 9:14,15)

The Graces_GrowingInFullness_Nancy Teague


It is grace, grace, grace! It is not about money, money, money. In fact, there are no Greek words that mean ‘money’ or even ‘offering’ in this story.

Exposing Mistranslations

In fact let me back the grace focus with a few examples.

“…to travel with us with this gift, which is administered by us to the glory of God” (2Cor 8:19)

Now, we would automatically think this gift is money. Some translations even say ‘offering’. So it must be money, right? Nope.

The Greek word for gift in this verse is

  • xáris (charis)- favor, disposed to, inclined, favorable towards, leaning towards to share benefit”) – properly, grace. xáris preeminently used of the Lord’s favor – freely extended to give Himself away to people (because He is “always leaning toward them”)

“…prepare your generous gift beforehand…” (2Cor 9:5)

Looks like a big offering of money! Ah but, ‘generous’ is not even in the Greek, and ‘gift’ is eulogia – adulation, praise, blessing. Of course ‘blessing’ can be money, but I am deconstructing the religious mindset that this passage is all about giving money.

More mistranslations:

  • In verse 20 Paul continues – “avoiding that anyone blame us in the lavish gift…” Sounds like a lot of money. But, ‘gift’ is NOT in the Greek. “Lavish’ means thickness, abundance, lavish generosity. It seems there could be an abundance of something else going on.
  • Verse 21 – “providing honorable things…”. The translation ‘honorable things’ in the Greek means beautiful, good, worthy; beautiful, as an outward sign of the inward good, noble, honorable character. ‘Providing’ means – I take thought for beforehand, provide for, practice; to think, plan before. There is thought and practice of things beautiful, worthy, and of honorable character. Again, more than about the wallet.

Looking up some of these words in the Greek can certainly get one to reconsider what is really being said!

What Is Thanks

It is the GRACES theme that overwhelms Paul at the end.

“Thanks be to God for His indescribable gift!” (2Cor 9:15)

Now, Is this a usual “thanks”?

When we say thanks, it generally means we are expressing gratitude for a pleasant experience, kindness, or help.

Is this what Paul was doing, but was just super thankful to God? No.

Paul is not thanking God. Say what?!

Check out the actual Greek meanings in this verse:

Thanks  

xáris ‘charis’ (khar’-ece) – grace, favor, kindness, disposed to, inclined, favorable towards, leaning towards to share benefit; sometimes rendered ‘thanks’, but the core-idea is “favor, grace“, “extension towards“.
[Please note it is NOT the cognate euxáristos – prop. thankfulness (thanksgiving) – literally, “the giving of thanks for God’s grace – e.g. 2Cor 9:11,12.]

to God

for

epí (a preposition) – upon – naturally looks to the response (effect) that goes with the envisioned contact, i.e. its apt result (“spin-offs,” effects).

the

indescribable

anekdiḗgētos – indescribable, that cannot be thoroughly related, inexpressible, impossible to estimate

of him

autos – an intensive pronoun (1) self (emphatic) (2) he, she, it (used for the third pers. pron.)

gift!

dōreá – a gift, freely given and hence not acquired by merit or entitlement. It expresses a brand of giving that highlights the beneficent desire of the giver. (Note: this word comes from dídōmi – to put, place. It is used in 2Cor 8:1 – “…the grace of God put/placed on the churches. So when God ‘puts/places’ something or Someone on or in someone it is actually connected with being a free gift!).

Paul, in other words, is ecstatically shouting – “Grace to God upon the indescribable of him, Jesus, His free gift to all of us. ”


Angel Announcement Precursor to the Macedonians

Speaking of Paul’s loud pronouncement, how about –

The angel shocked the shepherds and said, “I bring you good tidings of great joy to all the people…” and then suddenly a multitude of heavenly host filled the skies with praise to God in response to Grace becoming flesh and the goodwill it meant toward men! (Lk 2:10-14)

Paul, in a way, was joyfully echoing this angelic raving, besides boasting how the Macedonians couldn’t help but display the fruit of  true grace!

It is not about money. It is about GRACE GRACE GRACE.  And the essence of grace is about joy!  The Macedonians got that. Talk about fullness!

Dig In

  • “I bring you tidings of great joy.” ‘Joy’ (xará) comes from the root word for grace (xar). Xará means – grace recognized, joy because of grace. Now this angel is talkin’ GREAT joy. Greek ‘great’ means – large, great, in the widest sense. To parallel that, the Macedonians had an “abundance of joy (xará)”! (2Cor 8:2) Their “abundance” (GR superfluity, excessively large amount, an abundance that exceeds normal expectations) was noticeable too. Hmm, is the grace you experience noticeable?
  • The heavenly host were actually saying (in the Greek meanings) – “Glory to God, namely upon (upon – that causes an effect) the physical earth peace (peace – from a word that means to join, tie together into a whole; properly, wholeness) in (in – inside, within – as in the condition (state) in which something operates from the inside) the human race, with whom He is pleased (pleased – good-will, good-pleasure, satisfaction, happiness, delight of men). Hey, is something wonderful going on IN each human, but we can’t see it because we really do not understand grace nor what Grace completed?
  • The story of the Macedonians is truly about being enriched in all ‘liberality’ – simplicity, purity, sincerity, singleness. This caused euxáristos (giving thanks for God’s grace). (2Cor 9:11) Gosh, to grasp that the coming of Jesus – His glory, full of grace and truth, revealed in flesh (because He really does enjoy our likeness of Him) – brought excessive enrichment to all mankind.

Oh, the exceeding grace of God in you!!!

 

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Satan Fell Like Lightening Names Written In Heaven Things Hidden From The Wise Part 2 Names Are Written in Heaven

Then the seventy returned with joy, saying, “Lord, even the demons are subject to us in Your name.” He said to them, “…do not rejoice in this, that the spirits are subject to you, but rather rejoice because your names are written in heaven. (Luke 10:17,20 NKJ)

Part 2 Your Names Are Written in Heaven

Jesus told the seventy.

Boy, that sure stirs up questions!

• Why did Jesus only tell the seventy?
• Does God have favorites?
• Jesus said, “are”, not “will be”, written – how can that be when He hadn’t even died yet?
• Why did their names get written in heaven? Did the disciples do something to make this happen? Maybe because they were casting out demons, i.e. doing the ‘work of the Lord’?
• Did Jesus mean they would be ‘in heaven’, as religion defines it?
• Is that what it takes to ‘get into heaven’ – having your name written in heaven?

The big questionYour character is written in heaven

If their names are already written in heaven and they hadn’t asked Jesus to forgive them of their sins and be their Savior, then has religious Christianity been preaching the wrong message?! Selah

The big point

Time for some Greek understanding of a few key words in Lk 10:20.

names   (GR character, reputation, fame, (figuratively) the manifestation or revelation of someone’s character)

are written   (GR I write, inscribe, to engrave)

in   (GR on, among, inside, within)

heaven   (GR more correctly translated ‘the heavens’, the visible heavens: the atmosphere, the sky, the starry heavens; the spiritual heavens)

In essence, Jesus was telling the seventy (who basically represent all of mankind):

Your character, your fame, your being, your true identity as a reflection of Me, made before time began, is engraved within the heavens. Your fame shouts everywhere! It has nothing to do with anything you do. It has all to do with how I see you, made you, and know you.

My Father and I reconciled and restored the world to Ourselves (2Cor 5:19) to reconfirm the certainty that who YOU are is beautiful, astounding, and worthy. That is why it takes something big, like the heavens, to eternally and joyfully manifest this truth of significance and value.

There is nothing you have to do to be written up like this. I did the write up. In fact, I heavenly engraved it before foundation of the world.

So rejoice in this – your names are engraved within huge places!


Dig In

• So much for the religious notion that your name could be erased. Engraved and inscribed declare permanency. Don’t ever forget, there is a permanency for God’s unconditional love for all.

• Doing the work of the Lord can cause rejoicing, but the greater joy is about the certainty of your true identity and your place in Him. By the way, heaven is not our destination, Jesus is. And speaking of ‘place’ – Eph 2:6 reads in the Greek – “and raised us up together and seated us together within the heavenly realm/divine/sphere of spiritual activities within Christ Jesus.” Now religion says this only happens after you repent of your sins and ask Jesus to be your Savior. My how religion negates His finished work. His wondrous truth comes by revelation, not by doing something. Enter into the joy of where you are and who you are. It’s free.

• Why does traditional religious Christianity make it so hard to enter into the joy of the gospel and the joy the Godhead has over us? Hmmm

Huge Meanings Why Jesus Stooped Wrote On The Ground and Raised Up Jn 8:2-11

In scripture, when something is repeated two or three times, that means we need to pay attention. It is important. Take heed. Ponder.

Jesus repeated three actions TWO times concerning the woman caught in adultery as she had to stand before her accusers.

  • stooped down
  • wrote on the ground
  • raised Himself up

Looks like we need to pay attention!

There is HUGE meaning and significance to His, what I call, prophetic actions. Out of all my pondering, these past few weeks over His actions in this story with the adulterous woman, I was amazed to discover truths about our true identity and the Good News.

You know, if we begin to realize how much He is for us, how He came to show us who we really are, that He has never changed His mind about us, and get free from the ‘traditions of the elders’ (AKA religious tradition) – then we will begin to see this wondrous pattern of unconditional eternal love.

Click here for the video to see and hear for yourself what Jesus was saying by His actions. You will be wowed!


Dig In

  • Jesus knows the times when we were brought low. Please realize, He will get even lower than us, because He came to lift us up. We were always made to be lifted up and highly valued.
  • Jesus has nothing but terms of endearment about us, even in the midst of our blowing it. Open your heart to the truth of who you really are.
  • Don’t let accusers define you. Only God’s evaluation of you counts. Come into the revelation of His elation over you! Certainty of this is part of fullness.

P.S. The next post will explain what Jesus truly meant when He told the woman caught in adultery, “Go and sin no more.”

Jesus’ Gospel The Woman Caught In Adultery Includes Us!

Have you ever considered that the woman caught in adultery is a wonderful picture of us?

Now some might be offended that I would place them in company with an adulterer.

Isn’t it interesting how we Christians can get so hung up on particular sins, itemize them, prioritize them, and hence easily accuse. We decide which sins are really bad, which ones are allowable, and even which ones are not worth considering as sin.

Back to the woman caught in adultery being like us. This story in John 8:3-10 shows how Jesus brought out His scoop shovel to remove the mess she got caught in, as well as remove the mess she was drug into.

What Jesus did in this situation totally deconstructs the false teaching explained in my previous post. Our traditional religious Christian Gospel preaches that our salvation is up to us, Jesus begs to differ with that.

Click on the video to discover the true Gospel,, preached by Jesus Himself. Get the full scoop and nothing but the scoop.

Dig In

  • Grasp that His scoop shovel can handle and remove any mess.  And even in the midst of a mess, He does not condemn you.
  •  Seriously, why would God condemn someone made in His image? He knows our life, our experiences, our traumas, our poor choices, our misperceptions – and in the midst of that He values us.
  • When we realize we are not accused by God, then it sure makes it harder to want to accuse others. That is part of fullness!

God Was Not Angry With Saul of Tarsus, Nor Is God Angry At You Or The Taliban!

Has God ever been angry at you? Could He get angry at you if you do the wrong thing?

How about God being angry at the Taliban? Surely, He’s had it with the recently released “Taliban Dream Team”? Isn’t God ready to destroy them for all the mass killing they have done?Is God Angry?

Talking about destruction, are you ready to have your misperceptions about an angry God blown up? Some might say “Oh, yes!” Then there will be some who say, “No way! I know I am totally right in my world view of God. I know all my doctrines, traditions, teachings are totally accurate. Don’t you mess with my religious paradigms.” If your response is the latter, please stop reading.

Let’s see if Saul of Tarsus’ encounter with Jesus blows holes in our mindsets about an angry God.

Saul of Tarsus’ actions should anger God

  • destroyed, ravaged, harassed believers (the church)
  • exceedingly enraged against Christians
  • punished believers
  • murdered and agreed to killing many believers
  • compelled believers to blaspheme Christ’s name
  • persecuted the church, known as the Way
  • imprisoned men and women, and beat them
  • was extremely zealous for his traditions and God
  • believed he was obeying his God and doing the right thing

See any similarities when it comes to the Taliban, Al Qaeda, dedicated terrorists?

God’s Response

What was God’s response to Saul’s raging actions? Beat him up? Reject him? Doom him to hell? Have nothing to do with Saul until he repented his brains out?

For some reason, I had this picture that Saul got knocked off his donkey by that bright light, as he traveled to Damascus. Maybe it was from a cartoon or an illustration about this story? Anyway, with that image in my imagination, I read into this Damascus Road story a violent interruption by God.

To my surprise, there is no donkey mentioned in Paul’s account! It is just a brilliant light surrounding Saul, and he then falls to the ground. So much for an angry God!

Paul believed in an angry God

Now remember, Saul’s upbringing included doing many sacrifices to keep God happy. Hey, kind of like the heathens appeasing all their pagan deities with their sacrifices! Hmmm.

As far as Saul/Paul was concerned, he and God were on the same page. You blow it, you don’t follow the one true God, you pay. Hence, Saul’s ravaging anger and destruction.

But God had a good plan for Saul/Paul. God knew who he really was, what He had made in His image. And God knew the perfect timing to awaken Saul to His unconditional love for him and Paul’s true identity. No wonder Paul would later pen, “nothing can separate us from the love of God…!”

Misguided zeal

Paul gained greater clarity – “they have a zeal for God but not in accordance with knowledge.” (Rom 10:2) My, what zeal Saul had for his ‘god’. Of course it was a vindictive zeal. Boy, was he off! God is not vindictive, and never has been.

Saul’s vindictive zeal came out of self righteousness! Saul of Tarsus had been totally ignorant of God’s righteousness, and was good at establishing his own. (Rom 10:3)  After all, he followed the letter of the law to the “T”.

What knowledge?

Now, what is this “knowledge” of which Paul speaks?

Knowledge in the face of Christ Jesus! (2Cor 4:6)

Hey, remember, that Jesus said, “If you have seen Me, you have seen the Father…No one knows the Father except the Son…the Father and I are One…the Father who dwells in Me does the works themselves…the Father tells Me what I should say…If you had known Me, you would have known My Father also…”

Saul thought he knew God. But he didn’t because He didn’t know Jesus. It was only when Jesus showed up that Saul/Paul finally began to know the One true God.

Did Jesus ever pour out wrath on anyone while He walked this earth? Nope. Have you ever pondered how nonviolent Jesus was?

Somehow we forget that Jesus was showing us exactly who the Father God was. We still like to impose man’s misunderstanding and limited view of God in the Old Testament onto who Jesus displayed God to be.

God did speak in various times and various ways by the prophets, but in these last days He gave His final word about Himself, and us, through His Son. (Heb 1:1-3) We must look to Jesus, and Jesus only, to see who God really is!

No longer judge according to the flesh

If we truly understand Jesus’ words, “Father, forgive them. They don’t know what they are doing.”, then we would no longer judge anyone according to the flesh. Jesus said, I judge no one. (Jn 8:15) Paul said, in light of the reconciliation that happened at the cross, they too, no longer regard anyone according to the flesh. (2Cor 5:16)

God and Jesus were not angry with Saul. They did not judge Saul according to the flesh, nor do they judge anyone that way. Even so, God and Jesus are not angry at the Taliban. And God and Jesus are not angry at you either. In fact, the One true God is not angry at anybody!

Dig In

  • God knows how to arrest everyone’s attention to get them to see the truth about His love and acceptance. If He did that for Saul/Paul, wouldn’t He do it for the “Taliban Dream Team”? Wouldn’t He do it for everyone? After all, God is impartial.
  • God loved the world. And He still loves the world. If violent behavior is not beyond God’s love, then why would we think anything else would be either?
  • God is Love. Love bears all things – even our misunderstandings of Him. Love endures all things. Love never fails. Truly love won at the cross. There was no ‘God anger or wrath’ at the cross, only reconciliation. (2Cor 5:19) Any anger that you think was there is man’s own anger. We were ‘enemies’ (Greek – hostile) in our minds. (Col 1:21) Ditch the anger mindset about God – it is a lie.

Did the Apostle Paul Get Born Again As Religion Teaches and Requires?

Do you know the steps one must take to get saved? Have you been taught the “Four Spiritual Laws”? How about “The Romans Road”? Maybe the “ABCs of Salvation” is the better way to get saved?!

Yee gads, how did becoming a believer get so formulated? Man. Man likes to help God out.

Paul, the Apostle, knew none of those formulas. In fact his life is a prime example to blow up all our religious ways of ‘getting saved’ or ‘born again’.

Check out the  to video see if Paul really got born again the way we think it should happen –

Here is a free PDF download with all the details and scriptures –Did The Apostle Paul Get Born Again As Religion Teaches and Requires?

Dig In

  • If any aspect of your walk with God involves a formula, steps, a system then beware. These man made ideas have no LIFE in them. Only Jesus is the life!
  • It was revelation that awakened Paul to who he really was, even in his mother’s womb. His violent action affected NOT the security of being in Jesus and Jesus in Him.
  • True salvation is not dependent on feeling bad about your sins and asking forgiveness. You were forgiven at the cross – all mankind was forgiven at the cross. Now to wake up to that powerful truth! Sin is in NO WAY  more powerful than His eternal love expressed in Jesus’ death and resurrection. There’s certainty and fullness in Christ’s final words –  “It is finished.”

What’s With All the Joy Around Jesus’ Birth? Part 1 Baby John

Ever wonder –
how much joy happened?
who had the joy?
what kind of joy was it?
when was this joy?
what did darkness have to do with this joy?

How much joy?

Gosh, how do you measure joy – by the cup, by the gallon, by the barrel?

Is there such a thing as immeasurable joy? You bet. We all need this immeasurable joy?! In fact it is part of our inheritance.

Who had this joy – way back when?

  • Baby John (AKA John the Baptist)
  • Mary
  • The Angels
  • The Shepherds
  • The Wise Men
  • The World

For this post let’s do

Baby John’s joy

 Two key dynamics here – a voice and a leap

The setting –
Mary, was in the midst of hearing incredible news, from the angel Gabriel no less. She heard the Holy Spirit would come upon her and the power of the Highest would overshadow her so that she would conceive, and give birth to God’s Son (God’s incarnation). As if that wasn’t enough baffling good news, the angel also explained that her relative, Elizabeth (a barren woman, now in her old age), was six months pregnant! Goodness gracious, what a day of news!

Mary takes off from Galilee, for an 80-100 mile hike to the hill country in Judah to visit her Elizabeth!

Was Mary so full of joy and wonder that she just couldn’t sit still? I bet there was a lilt in her step over all those hills as she walked, and walked, and walked. Figure about 24 hours to get there.

Mary arrives with a greeting. Ever wonder what Mary said?

But, it wasn’t her words, it was her voice that sparked a special response!

When Elizabeth heard the greeting, six 6 month old John,  while in her womb, leaped. (Lk 1:41)Visitation by Carl Bloch

Elizabeth explained, “…as soon as the voice of your greeting came into my ears, the babe leaped in my womb for joy.” (Lk 1:44)

Okay, gotta do a little Greek to get this joy.

heard –  akoúō  (ak-oo’-o) – I hear, listen, comprehend by hearing; properly, to hear (listen); (figuratively) to hear God’s voice which prompts Him to birth faith within (cf. Ro 10:17).  akoúō) is the root of the English term, “acoustics.”]

voicephóné  (fo-nay’) – a sound, noise, voice

cameginomai  (ghin’-om-ahee) – I come into being, am born, to emerge, become, transitioning from one point (realm, condition) to another

leap/leapedskirtaó  (skeer-tah’-o) – I leap (for joy), skip, bound

foren  (en) – in, on, among. En (a preposition) – properly, in (inside, within); (figuratively) “in the realm (sphere) of,” as in the condition (state) in which something operates from the inside (within).
[Obviously the word ‘for’ used in this passage is not the most accurate translation on en!]

joyagalliasis (ag-al-lee’-as-is) – exultation, exhilaration, wild joy, ecstatic delight, exultation. (from agalliáō, “to exalt” – exuberant joy; “intense joy and gladness”)

John didn’t do just a little leap in his mommy’s womb.

We’re talkin’ about an inward exhilarating, wild, ecstatic, intense joy and delight of skipping and  bounding – that manifest itself physically!

Geesh! Did that leap hurt? Apparently not, Elizabeth, being filled with the Holy Spirit after her son leaped,  shouted out with a loud voice… (Lk 1:42)

Realize – Elizabeth was one wild crazy old lady at that moment. She shatters the ‘little old lady’ mindset.

A little more Greek

loudmegas (meg’-as) – large, great, in the widest sense

voice kraugé  (krow-gay’)  a shout, clamor, outcry (from 2896 /krázō, “cry out” – loud crying, done with pathos (great emotion); clamorous screaming (shrieking) that is extremely boisterous

Whoa! Can you cop a picture of Elizabeth?!

Now some might think – well, I don’t want to look that stupid. However, it sure looks like this kind of reaction can happen when you tap into the pure Gospel.

Of course Mary, Elizabeth, and John only had an inkling at how good this news was really going to be. We on the other side of this wondrous story have a clearer opportunity to realize what this immeasurable joy is all about. Just remember though that religion is really good at stifling fullness of joy by its ignorance, misunderstanding, and proper decorum mindset.

Next post – Mary gets ‘whacked’ with joy!

Dig In

  • Looking up some key Greek words really helps to dig into what is really being said in a passage of scripture. BibleHub.com (LINK) is my go to source for getting the goods.
  • Jesus stated, “out of the mouth of babes You have established strength.” Scripture also states “the joy of the Lord is my strength”. In light of baby John, we could also include, ‘out of the movement of babes…’  Hmm, how strong was baby John at just 6 months in the womb?! Now don’t forget, this exhilarating joy burst forth all because of a sound. It’s that simple. You can’t work it up. Let the sound (the acoustics) of His voice reverberate in you – the same wild joy can be yours. It’s part of fullness!
  • Something else to ponder – ginomai – the Greek word used when Mary’s voice came into Elizabeth’s ears, is the same word used in Jn 1:14 “And the Word became flesh…” Hmm, now that’s a whole ‘nother  point to dig into! Just sayin’ – those Greek meanings are worth the search.

What Does Peter Mean With Born Again?

Sorry to be tardy in getting out my next post! I’ve been steeped in trying to learn WordPress.org designing and plugins – in hopes of improving the look and features on my website and blogs. Arrggh! Talk about complicated. But, praise God, I found an easier solution. So my life can go on. BTW – hope you like my new header! It expresses some of the playfulness, liveliness, and joy in His fullness for us.

Okay, here we go! Back to the great topic at hand (a month ago) – what about this BORN AGAIN stuff!

Peter used the word born again

If your frame of reference and understanding is the traditional Church teaching on ‘born again’, i.e.

  • acknowledge you are a sinner and repent of your sins
  • ask Jesus to forgive you and cleanse you of your sins
  • ask Jesus to be your Savior,

then you would automatically think Peter is using these words to elaborate on how you got born again (AKA saved).

Many Bible translations interpret Peter as saying ‘born again’. Here are the verses:

  • 1Pet 1:3 “Blessed be the God and Father…who according to His great mercy has caused us to be born again to a living hope… (NASB)
  • 1Pet 1:23  “for you have been born again not of seed which is perishable but imperishable…” (NASB)

If we take the Bible translators word for it (no pun intended) then we question not, because it confirms  what we have already been taught by the religious system – i.e. once we ask Jesus to save us then we get this incorruptible seed and have access to heaven.

In addition, since Peter and Jesus used the words ‘born again’ it shows they are in agreement with what we believe that word means. Thus we can go on our merry way knowing such agreement secures our traditional doctrine of needing to get born again, so we can be saved.

But, what if the ‘official’ Bible translations interpret certain Greek words through their religious  assumptions and doctrines of tradition? Jesus’ use of ‘born again’ and Peter’s use of ‘born again’ are great examples of that ‘what if’.

Peter’s unusual word for ‘born again’

Peter used the Greek word, anagennaó. He used it twice. He is the only one who used this word in all the New Testament!

It is worth noting that this word does not occur in Classical or Septuagintal Greek. This underscores the  importance of its rare use.

Did Peter make up anagennaó? Did he know he was the only one using it? I don’t know. But in light of its rarity, curiosity arises as to its true meaning.

The accurate translation

anagennaó – to beget again, from above

The break down of  anagennaó

  • ana  –  up, again (ana intensifies gennaó – emphasis mine)
  • gennaó  –  beget, be born, begotten, sired

Here are the verses with the actual Greek meaning in mind:

  • 1Pet 1:3  “Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who according to His abundant mercy has anagennaó (begotten/sired us AGAIN from up/above) to a living hope on account of the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead.”
  • 1Pet 1:23  “…having been anagennaó (begotten/sired AGAIN from up/above), not of corruptible seed but incorruptible, on account of the word of God, which lives and abides forever.”

Peter is NOT talking about our religious traditional doctrine of ‘born again’ – how to get saved or how someone got saved through saying certain words or doing certain steps.

 What is Peter really saying?

Peter is extolling the eternal truth of our true origin and identity.

He is reminding us

  • God made us in His image – (remember there is only one Father of all)
  • We are begotten with an incorruptible seed that resides within each man
  • we were first begot from above
  • of Jesus’ words to Nicodemus – Nick you first came from above (and to get there had nothing to do with your good works)

What’s the big deal with ‘ana’?

Why would Peter tack on ana – emphasizing ABOVE/AGAIN – if he wasn’t pointing to something that was already there in the first place!?  That is what the AGAIN is all about!

From Above Again

Here’s the mind boggling truth – God did this AGAIN thing before the foundation of the world, before He even made man! Think – Lamb of God slain before the foundation of the world. Sin was not an “Oh no!” to God. He dealt with it before creation.

God never changed His mind about us. God sealed the deal of His eternal intentions of having us always be a reflection of Himself before time began.

Paul echoes this staggering truth  – “He saved us and called (Greek invited,named) us with a holy calling…before time began, but has now been revealed by the appearing of our Lord Jesus Christ who abolished death and brought life…” (2Tim 1:9,10)  Press pause. This verse takes some pondering, because religious tradition does not teach it or believe it.

Jesus’ word anouthen and Peter’s unique word anagennaó echo across the ages and throughout eternity of who we really are. May you have ears to hear that echo in your heart.

Dig In

  • Nicodemus couldn’t grasp Jesus’ ‘born again’ because his frame of reference was of a corruptible seed that needed to be made incorruptible by doing good stuff and following the rules. If you think like Nick, ask Jesus to show you the incorruptible truth of who you really are – He really does want you to know.
  • Looking up Greek words in certain verses can enlighten you to real truth – Truth that exposes religious tradition that nullifies Jesus! (Mk 7:1-13)
  • If you cannot grasp, or even resist, that ‘all men have already been ‘born again’ – not to fret. As Peter said, this word lives and abides forever. It is not dependent on us getting it for it to be so. But when we get it, we get the pure Gospel – talk about fullness!

Why Is Born Again A Big Deal!

The previous post about Jesus NOT saying “you have to be born again” certainly stirred up some questions and challenges from some readers. Great!

Hearing ‘Born Again’ For Years

Having heard the ‘born again’ phrase for over sixty years, I too was taken aback when I heard the real meaning to what Jesus said. So I am not surprised that those raised in or involved in ‘church’ would balk, dismiss, or wonder ‘what in the world is she talking about?!’.

It is unsettling and even upsetting to have our traditional religious teachings and phrases called into question, dismantled, or (gasp!) blown up! Resistance is to be expected.

Question

Let me ask you a question. Does the Christian teaching you have had, does the truth that you know -REALLY set you free? Do you live in abundant joy? Do you live in certainty and confidence? Are you content in whatever circumstances you are in? Do you abide in a place of rest and peace? Do you really love yourself? Do you experience love for ALL people?

If your answer is “no” to any or all of the above questions, then maybe what you know as truth is not the fullness of truth. Just maybe you have not heard or understood the pure Gospel, the really good news!

Do I live in all those things (above) all the time? No. But I now realize it is mine to have right now right here – because that is what the New Covenant scriptures declare! I am maturing in these truths.

Hey, it really is okay to question. Just think, how many times Jesus called into question the traditions of His day!

Back to the ‘born again’

Two more points:

1)      John 3:3 – Jesus totally changed the direction Nick began with, by starting with the words (various translations) – “Most assuredly” “Truly, Truly” “Verily, verily” “Truly…emphatically” “the solemn truth” “guarantee this truth” “Most certainly”

The Greek words in the text are “amḗn, amḗn…” Phonetically (am-ane’)

amḗn definition: verily, truly, amen, so let it be; as an “emphasis marker,” introduces a statement of pivotal importance – i.e. that is essential in interpreting the over-all passage.

Nicodemus You Are From Above!

Verily, Verily. Pay attention Nick!

Looks like we need to pay close attention to what Jesus was saying!

2)      Did you notice this in Jn 3:7?!

Jesus seems to conclude with a little humor by including Nick’s Greek word gennáō  (Greek  beget, give birth to Jn 3:4), as He re-enforces His anóthen point about needing to be ‘from above’.

“Do not be amazed that I said to you, “You must be born again.”

Now if we grew up with this ‘born again’ phrase we would automatically think Jesus is confirming what we’ve been taught in church – ‘you have to be born again’ – i.e. you have to repent of your sins in order to be saved, you have to be forgiven of your sins, you have to ask Jesus to be your Savior. Then you are saved and can go to heaven.

But, Jesus is NOT saying that!

The Full Import of Jn 3:7

Let’s look at a few Greek words from this verse, to get Jesus’ point.

  • amazed – Greek thaumázō – astonished out of one’s senses; awestruck, “wondering very greatly”
  • must be – Greek deí – properly, what must happen, i.e. what is absolutely necessary, inevitable
  • born – Greek gennáō – properly, beget (procreate a descendant), produce offspring; (passive) be born, “begotten”
  • again – Greek  anóthen  – from above, from a higher place, from the first, from the very first, from of old, anew, over again, indicating repetition

Here’s my very loose paraphrase of what Jesus was reiterating for Nicodemus:

“Hey Nick, don’t be bent out of shape, what I am saying is an absolute must.  Your natural birth must first originally begin at the very first from a higher place. Where you began has to happen anew, it must happen over again.”

In other words, Jesus was trying to get Nicodemus to see where man originally began, before he came from his mother’s womb. Jesus would renew and restore our original source and beginning. He accomplished this through His death and resurrection. And, He also dealt sin a final death blow, once for all!

My point is to help you begin to see how important it is to get back to your beginning, your origin, your true identity. That is the really good news! Talk about freedom!

Dig In

  • If you find yourself absolutely unwilling to question your religious traditions then consider how confined you are. Jesus came to bring freedom. Religious rituals, rules, doctrines do not bring freedom.
  • It really is okay to question what you’ve been taught. God is not nervous about or disappointed in you questioning. He longs for you to be immersed in abundant truth and know fullness.
  • Don’t let your shallow identity keep you from discovering your true identity. You are meant to be ‘wowed’ with who you really are. God is certainly ‘wowed’ by you. For goodness sake – you are made in His image – why wouldn’t that be a ‘wow!’?

More points to follow! Stay tuned!