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May 16, 2020

Yesterday we heard the charming conclusion of the story of Naomi, Ruth and Boaz. The words of the town women have prophetic significance: “Praise the Lord, who has now provided a redeemer for your family.” (NLT) The words have a double meaning for us today, as we see them looking forward to Jesus our Redeemer.

Now if you have been listening closely, you didn’t hear the word ‘redeemer’ in the GNT. That word happens 8 times in Ruth, beginning at 2:20. GNT translated the correct meaning as “a close relative of ours, one of those responsible for taking care of us.” The term meant much more than— for instance, redeeming a family member who had been sold into slavery. The nearest kinsman would also revenge a murder or marry a widow of a close family member. The advantage of GNT’s term is that it accurately shows the meaning, but the advantage of translating using the word ‘redeemer’ is that readers will more quickly see the correspondence between what Boaz did with Jesus— who both came from Boaz’ line and is our redeemer.

Continuing the history of Israel, we now move to the transition from the period of judges to the period of kings. The books of 1 and 2 Samuel were originally one book in the Hebrew Scripture. They were separated in the Greek Septuagint. The books are named after Samuel, not written by him. In 1 Samuel, we see that Samuel is not just a judge, but also a prophet, and that he anointed both Saul and David. This book contains many of the favorite Bible stories told to children.

The traditional titles in the Psalms (given as headings or footnotes in our Bibles) were written centuries afterward by the Rabbis and we need not consider them part of the inspired Word. This title of Psalm 90 may identify Moses as the author, or the Rabbis may have meant that this psalm reflects a Mosaic perspective. No other psalm is labeled like this one. This is a good psalm for meditating on the meaning of our life and our short life-span.

Yesterday in the final chapter of 1 Timothy, Paul continued giving instructions on how to teach particular groups in the church, ending with teachings for slaves and for rich people. Note that those who give generously to help others store up heavenly treasures and “a good foundation for the future.” Paul's closing encouragements to Timothy are moving because we can sense Paul's deep love for Timothy.

We move back in time slightly from 1 Timothy to Romans. Romans was written perhaps 6-9 years before 1Timothy, written at the time that Paul was in Corinth. The topic sentence for Romans is 1:16-17, and the book is an outstanding presentation of this thesis in impeccable logic. As a translator, I often use those two verses as an example of how hard it is to understand a literal translation versus a meaning based translation. I encourage you to compare the NLT with something like the ESV— to see what I mean.

GNT Translation notes:

1Sam. 1:20 The name Samuel actually means ‘name of God’ but has some sounds that are similar to the Hebrew verb ‘asked’.
Rom 1:8 First, I thank my God through Jesus Christ for all of you, because the whole world is hearing about your [fully believing in Christ//faith].

12 What I mean is that both you and I will be [mutually encouraged to believe more fully in Christ//helped at the same time, you by my faith and I by yours].

13 [I want you to know//You must remember], my friends, that many times I have planned to visit you, but something has always kept me from doing so. I want to win converts among you also, as I have among other Gentiles.

17 For the gospel reveals how God puts people right with himself: it is through [believing//faith] from beginning to end. As the scripture says, “The person who is put right with God through [believing//faith] shall live.”