A United Methodist Pastor's Theological Reflections

"But thanks be to God, who gives us the victory (nikos) through our Lord Jesus Christ." - I Corinthians 15:57

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

The New Testament Word/Phrase of the Week

The New Testament bible scholar, Dr. Tom Wright, has produced a glossary of New Testament words/phrases that is really helpful for the study of scripture. What I like most about his definition of New Testament words is that he helps us to know what a Jewish person from the 1st century would have understood these words/phrases to mean. Too often, we allow our 21st century world view to get in the way of the original meaning.

Here is the New Testament word/phrase of the week: Gehenna or Hell

Gehenna is, literally, the valley of Hinnom, on the south-west slopes of Jerusalem. From ancient times it was used as a garbage dump, smouldering with a continual fire. Already by the time of Jesus some Jews used it as an image for the place of punishment after death. Jesus' own usage blends the two meanings in his warnings both to Jerusalem itself (unless it repents, the whole city will become a smouldering heap of garbage) and to people in general (to be aware of God's final judgment).

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