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, July 14, 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: Life, Soul, Spirit

"Ancient people held many different views about what made human beings the special creatures they are. Some, including many Jews, believed that to be complete, humans needed bodies as well as inner selves. Others, including many influenced by the philosophy of Plato (fourth century B.C.), believed that the important part of a human was the 'soul' (Gk: psyche), which at death would be happily freed from its bodily prison. Confusingly for us, the same word 'psyche' is often used in the New Testament within a Jewish framework where it clearly means 'life' or 'true self', without implying a body/soul dualism that devalues the body. Human inwardness of experience and understanding can also be referred to as 'spirit'."

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