Friday, July 27, 2012


The Our Daily Bread devotion for today focused upon Barnabas, and suggested that, because of his continual edification of Paul and others, he was appropriately named "Son of Encouragement."  Over the years, I have noticed that "Bible scholars" have tended to look at the lives of men and women in the Bible, and have defined the original Hebrew or Greek words accordingly. 

Take for example, "Jacob."  Strong's Concordance defines his name as "heel holder" or "supplanter."  The actual meaning of the Hebrew יַעֲקֹב (Ya`aqob), means "to be behind" or "to come from behind."  Jacob was more likely named as such because of his being the second child born of twins.  And yet, because He "stole" his brother's birthright and the blessing of Isaac, the Hebrew word has come to be defined as "supplanter."  Today, it is much like us calling a traitor, "Judas."

Barnabas' name is actually from an Aramaic origin:  בַּר  (bar) meaning "son of" and נְבִיא (nebiy), meaning "the prophet," as the Hebrew word is used in Ezra 5:1-2 and 6:14.  The New Testament name, Barnabas, is a transliteration from the Hebrew to the Greek Βαρναβᾶς (Barnabas).  Therefore, his name may have come from the fact that his father may have been a prophet.  If that was the case, his actual name would be, "Joses, the son of the prophet" (Acts 4:36).

The same interpretive bias is true for the name "Jesus."  The Greek Ἰησοῦς (Iēsous), was mistakenly translated "Jesus" in Acts 7:45 (KJV), where the context clearly shows that Luke was speaking of Joshua.  There is another mistranslation in the KJV in Hebrews 4:8, where again, the context clearly shows the writer was speaking of Joshua.  This is easy to understand in that the Greek is a translation of the Hebrew יְהוֹשׁוּעַ (Yehowshuwa), or "Joshua."  Joshua's name has been correctly defined as "Jehovah is Salvation,"  and so, our Lord's name has also been define as such.  God's Word supports this.  In Matthew 1:21, He tells us:  "And she shall bring forth a Son, and thou shalt call His name JESUS: for He shall save His people from their sins."

I don't know about you, but I am glad that I was not named after my character!

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