Flatlander Faith

Apologetics from an Anabaptist perspective

Tag Archives: languages

My home and native land

I am Canadian by birth. I am part of this country and its people; this country and its people are part of me. The history and culture of Canada are an integral part of who I am. I have lived and worked in five of Canada’s ten provinces and visited three more; I am at home anywhere in our land; I speak both official languages.

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Image by Welcome to all and thank you for your visit ! ツ from Pixabay

Being a citizen by birth is much like being part of a family. We may not always agree, but our roots go deep, our histories have intertwined so we cannot escape the fact that we are family. People from other countries, other cultures, have married into our family and become part of who we are as a family. So it is with our country. We used to have a family doctor who came here from the Democratic Republic of Congo, had received his medical training there. He told me once that he sometimes thought of going back, but his children were Canadian, their roots were here.

I love the land of my birth, my home and native land. I love her people. And yet. . .

By the new birth I am a citizen of another country, the kingdom of God. Specifically, I am a member of one special part of this kingdom, the Church of God in Christ, Mennonite. Not by natural birth, my parents and my wife’s parents were not members of this church. The natural birth does not make anyone a citizen of the kingdom of God.

At the beginning, we had no roots here. They soon grew and twined together with our brothers and sisters so that we cannot imagine being spiritually at home elsewhere. We love our brothers and sisters. Like us, they are sometimes weak, sometimes clumsy, we all make mistakes but we are family.

We are citizens of two kingdoms, but our first allegiance is to the kingdom of God. Our Canadian citizenship is only for this life, our heavenly citizenship is for eternity. As the second century writer of the Epistle to Diognetus so eloquently described the life of Christians:

For Christians are not distinguished from the rest of mankind either in locality or in speech or in customs. For they dwell not somewhere in cities of their own, neither do they use some different language, nor practise an extraordinary kind of life.. . They dwell in their own countries, but only as sojourners; they bear their share in all things as citizens, and they endure all hardships as strangers. Every foreign country is a fatherland to them, and every fatherland is foreign. . . Their existence is on earth, but their citizenship is in heaven.

There is an election in Canada on Monday. I will not vote. However, I will continue to pray for the members of our government, for they are ministers of God for the matters of this life. I will pray that God will bless them with wisdom and vision to exercise their ministry for the good of all the people of our land, so we can live in peace, order and safety. Above all, that we may be at liberty to worship and serve God according to His will.

More meanings from the margins

Here are some more examples of marginal readings that give a somewhat different sense than the reading in the main text. I have highlighted the words in the regular text in orange, and the reading from the margin in green and added my own comment on the difference.

Genesis 4:26 – And to Seth, to him also there was born a son; and he called his name Enos: then began men to call upon the name of the LORD.
Margin: to call themselves by the Name of the LORD
This is not when people first began to pray, but the time when there began to be a lineage of people who called themselves the people of the Lord to distinguish themselves from the lineage of Cain.

Psalm 121:1 I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help.
Margin: Shall I lift up mine eyes to the hills? whence should my help come?
Hebrew has no punctuation; but this verse is a question. Our help comes from God, not from the hills.

Isaiah 2:12 -16 For the day of the LORD of hosts shall be upon every one that is proud and lofty, and upon every one that is lifted up; and he shall be brought low: . . .and upon all pleasant pictures.
Margin: pictures of desire
God is not against something just because it is nice to look at. But when our desire is set on a picture rather than on God, He will judge us.

2 Corinthians 10:5 Casting down imaginations, and every high thing
Margin: reasonings
This seems just a little stronger to me.

Colossians 2:18 Let no man beguile you of your reward
Margin: judge against you
in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels,
Margin: Gr. being a voluntary in humility
Voluntary is of French origin and means of one’s own will. That is clearer in the marginal reading.

1 Peter 2:9 But ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, an holy nation, a peculiar people;
Margin: a purchased people
Peculiar has shifted in meaning since the translation was made, purchased is still very clear.

There are not a lot of instances like this, and the meaning is usually not very different. The translators were men of great learning, had access to texts in the original languages and translations into many others. There is a portrait of Lancelot Andrewes, the lead translator, in my post of four days ago. Andrewes was fluent in 15 modern and 6 ancient languages. Even with all this learning, the translators were careful not to let their own opinions override the Word of God, thus the reason for the alternate readings in the margin.

What do you think? Do examples like this prompt you to take a closer look at these verses to consider what the message really is?

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