CLF 18/19 King James Bible Grammar & Punctuation

By | June 17, 2016

The Adventure of the Vocabulary of the King James Bible

Chapter 18

in chapter 17 we saw how restricting Word definition choices help to intensify focus

Solving a Disputed Text

Understanding the KJV’s grammar – especially its use of precise pronouns – sorts out many allegedly difficult texts.

An example is found in Hebrews 6:6

(the pronouns are underlined for emphasis):

“If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” Hebrews 6:6

 

 

Hebrews 6:6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

 

Underline the third person plural pronouns

By simply studying the grammar,

the solution to this controversial verse becomes obvious.

The interpretation fits within the pattern of the Epistle and the entire New Testament.

 

 

Just what were these Hebrew Christians trying to repent of doing?
What were they falling away from?
Who or what are they trying to renew?

 

By the end of this section you will be able to correctly answer this but you need to pay attention
. Are you ready? Yes [ ] No [ ] Uncertain [ ]

The truth is found in the five pronouns

and the word repentance:

THEY – They matches the those at the beginning of the sentence

“…those who were once enlightened…” Hebrews 6:4.

About what were they enlightened?

There could be no more sacrifice for sin offered since God offered his son once and for all!

 

 

Hebrews 6:4-6 For it is impossible for those who were once enlightened, and have tasted of the heavenly gift, and were made partakers of the Holy Ghost, 5 And have tasted the good word of God, and the powers of the world to come, 6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

 

This is one sentence!
About what were they enlightened?
There could be no more sacrifice for sin offered since God offered his son once and for all!

Who are the THEY?

THEY – refers to the people within the context:

those who were falling away

those who were turning back to the Old Testament system of sacrifices and offerings.

The clue to understanding this

THEM – This pronoun is the biggest clue

what do you remember about reflexive pronouns?

This THEM is not an object of a preposition; it is not the reflexive pronoun of they.

They were not trying to renew themselves again unto repentance

Repenting of Their Sins?

They were not trying to repent of their sins

If they were, the verse should read:

“If they shall fall away; to renew themselves again unto repentance…”

 

 

The reflexive pronoun “themselves” should have been used here, instead of objective the pronoun “them”.

 

Do you appreciate this? Yes [ ] No [ ] Uncertain [ ]

The common belief that

those who had fallen away were vainly trying to return to Christ might be true – but it’s not in this case.

Instead, the pronoun THEM appears in the verse as the object of the verb RENEW.

 

 

Again, if the object and the subject were the same, then themselves, not them, would have been the correct pronoun.

 

Can you appreciate this? Yes [ ] No [ ] Uncertain [ ]

The THEM Mystery!

So who, or what, does this “them” represent?

The pronoun THEM, in this case, is not referring to people.

The pronoun THEM is referring to the things that they were once enlightened about

What had they tasted?

What were they once enlightened about?

Look at Hebrews 2:1 where we get the warning that we should not let slip the revelation and understanding about Jesus Christ and the cross that we had been given

“… lest at any time we should let them slip.
Hebrews 2:1

this warning is talking about neglecting so great salvation – they were inclined to neglect it by going back to the first covenant practices, ordinances and sacrifices.

 

 

Hebrews 2:1 Therefore we ought to give the more earnest heed to the things which we have heard, lest at any time we should let them slip.
Hebrews 2:3 How shall we escape, if we neglect so great salvation; which at the first began to be spoken by the Lord, and was confirmed unto us by them that heard him;

The Early Church

The church was made up of Jews and Gentiles who were converted and had left their old ways.

The Epistles constantly warned the Jews and the Gentiles not to return to their old ways

 

 

Paul warns the converted Jews not to return to their old ways and go back into the old covenant system of religion because it was now completely unnecessary and in actual fact dishonoured the real plan of salvation.
What’s more the converted Jews who wanted to return to these old useless and now sinful ways were bent on persuading the Gentile Christians to join them in their particular style of sliding back.
They had come to the point where they repented of abandoning the old sacrifices in order to gain the light of Christ and they were trying to return to what their religious customs had instilled in them since Moses. They were trying to have a foot in both camps
The second warning in Hebrews is about not hardening their hearts like they did in the wilderness when they wanted to go back to Egypt
Hebrews 6:6 occurs in the next warning which is about apostasy falling away – falling away from the new covenant by going back into the ways of the old covenant.

We Are to Go Forward and Not Back

Hebrews 6:1 describes how we should go forward rather than go back.

We have to go forward unto perfection from the starting point of the principles of the doctrine of Christ there is nothing wrong with the foundation of repentance of dead works, faith towards God, of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of the resurrection from the dead, and of eternal judgement.

 

 

There is something wrong with all of the customs of the old covenant now that the new covenant has been introduced.
Hebrews is both an encouragement to go forward into perfection and a warning against returning to your old ways
If you are a converted Jew that would be returning to the old covenant ordinances and if you are a converted Gentile it would mean returning to the behaviour of the old lawlessness.
Both make an open shame of the cross of Christ.

What Does This THEM Represent?

THEM represents the super-ceded Old Testament system of imperfect customs: “…gifts and sacrifices…meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.” Hebrews 9:9-10

“…while as the first tabernacle was yet standing:” Hebrews 9:8

the fact is that the sacrifice and all that pertains to it is absolutely FINISHED!

 

 

Can you see that the time of the Reformation was passed and that if they fall away from the new covenant in Christ, trying to renew these old ordinances again to repentance that they will crucify to themselves the son of God afresh? Yes [ ] No [ ] Uncertain [ ]

 

Hebrews 9:8-10 The Holy Ghost this signifying, that the way into the holiest of all was not yet made manifest, while as the first tabernacle was yet standing: 9 Which was a figure for the time then present, in which were offered both gifts and sacrifices, that could not make him that did the service perfect, as pertaining to the conscience; 10 Which stood only in meats and drinks, and divers washings, and carnal ordinances, imposed on them until the time of reformation.

 

This same thought of the folly

of returning to the old covenant practices is continued in Hebrews 8

“For finding fault with them…” Hebrews 8:8

THEM – is not the Hebrew Christians, it is the works and practices of the first covenant

Chapter eight is not referring to people

 

 

Hebrews 8:8 For finding fault with them, he saith, Behold, the days come, saith the Lord, when I will make a new covenant with the house of Israel and with the house of Judah:

 

Can you see that it is the old covenant practices and sacrifices mentioned here ? Yes [ ] No [ ] Uncertain [ ]

Note the pronouns in this verse

Hebrews 6:6 If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance; seeing they crucify to themselves the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame.

THEY – The second use of they, like its first use in this verse, correlates to the Hebrew converts.

Repenting from what?

Yes , these same believers were repenting, from leaving the Temple sacrifices and customs with its torn curtain.

They were turning from Christ alone and attempting to renew the insufficient, but familiar, old ways.

 

 

Can you appreciate this? Yes [ ] No [ ] Uncertain [ ]

The Reflexive Pronoun

themselves – This is the reflexive pronoun of they.

It is the object of a preposition, referring back to the subject (they): “…they crucify to themselves…” Hebrews 6:6

Themselves grammatically fits with they, whereas them does not.

 

 

Can you appreciate this? Yes [ ] No [ ] Uncertain [ ]

Him

“…..and put him to an open shame.” Hebrews 6:6

HIM – This “him” easily refers to its antecedent, the Son of God.

Repentance

“If they shall fall away, to renew them again unto repentance;” Hebrews 6:6

REPENTANCE – this word is used throughout this book to signify a change of mind: “…he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears” Hebrews 12:17

 

 

Despite his bitter crying, Esau couldn’t convince his father to change his mind about the blessing – he (Esau) found no place of repentance.
Esau wasn’t so much sorry because he he had done wrong he was sorry because he lost his inheritance. He wanted his father to change his mind about giving it to him.
Do you appreciate this? Yes [ ] No [ ] Uncertain [ ]

 

Hebrews 12:17 For ye know how that afterward, when he would have inherited the blessing, he was rejected: for he found no place of repentance, though he sought it carefully with tears.

 

Summary of Hebrews 6

What is the solution to the doctrinal question of Hebrews 6:6?

The answer is found by understanding the Bible’s explicit grammar.

 

 

A common theme

of the converted Israelites that Paul the apostle has to address constantly

They, the distressed Hebrew Christians, were changing their minds about the excellency of Christ and falling from the precepts and promises of the new covenant.

They tended to return to the ways that were now finished; circumcision is an example

 

 

They were erroneously repenting from Christ alone, one sacrifice for ever, trying to revive the insufficient and imperfect ordinances of the old, albeit familiar, sacrificial system.

 

The Hebrew Christians were either returning to the practice of them or attempting to teach the Gentile Christians to practice them. See Paul concerning circumcision.

 

You appreciate this? Yes [ ] No [ ] Uncertain [ ]

Look at this encouraging verse

“In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away” Hebrews 8:13

A new and better way had been established.

All of these verses encourage the troubled believers to endure in their new-found faith:

 

 

Hebrews 8:13 In that he saith, A new covenant, he hath made the first old. Now that which decayeth and waxeth old is ready to vanish away.

 

The new covenant has done away with the old covenant ? Yes [ ] No [ ] Uncertain [ ]

The Constant Theme of Hebrews

“…let us hold fast our profession” Hebrews 4:14.

“Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith…” Hebrews 10:22.

“Cast not away therefore your confidence…” Hebrews 10:35.

“He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second” Hebrews 10:9

 

 

Hebrews 4:14 Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession.
Hebrews 10:22 Let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, having our hearts sprinkled from an evil conscience, and our bodies washed with pure water.
Hebrews 10:35 Cast not away therefore your confidence, which hath great recompence of reward.
Hebrews 10:9 Then said he, Lo, I come to do thy will, O God. He taketh away the first, that he may establish the second.

Christ is better!

Christ and the New Testament are better.

It also explains the many exhortations to continue living by faith, despite persecution.

 

 

The following is quoted directly from Paul Scott’s book English for Bible Readers
“If they (1) shall fall away, to renew them (2) again unto repentance; seeing they (3) crucify to themselves (4) the Son of God afresh, and put him to an open shame” (Hebrews 6:6).
Let’s go through this again for it is important; and we’ll go through it as if we were in an interesting dialog with a cut-and-paste dispensationalist:
A.) “Let us turn to the text and note the pronouns, as shown below, as 1, 2, 3 and 4, so we are on the same page.”
B.) “Ok.”
A.) “Does the pronoun themselves , number 4, represent the exact same nouns as the pronoun they, number 3?”
B.) ” Hmmm, ummm, (humor this guy!) yeah, sure, of course!”
A.) “We agree! Pronouns #3 and #4 represent the same nouns.”
A.) “Now, the hard part…. Does the pronoun them, number 2, represent the exact same nouns as the pronoun they, number 1?”
B.) “Yep, those (number 2) are the same people (as number 1)….”
A.) Impossible. Unless you violate the rules of grammar, that is, wrest the Scriptures—them (#2) can not be they (#1)!
B.) “What?”
A. ) If they (#1) and them (#2) were the same, that is subject and object were the same, the reflexive rule of grammar would demand that them (#2) be written as themselves! An example is given later, in the very same sentence—pronouns #3, 4. Therefore, the pronoun them (#2) must represent someone or something else!
B. ) I got it! Thank you so much for showing me how the reading of the Scriptures, with correct grammar in mind, really illuminates and makes these supposedly difficult passages clear and easy!
Wow! What a book! What an author!

 

You and I would have to agree? Yes [ ] No [ ] Uncertain [ ]

End of Chapter 18