In recent issues of The Way Magazine we have considered that the Scripture interprets itself in the verse—right where it is written, and a word or words must be interpreted according to Biblical usage. As workmen of the Word, we must also understand that the words must be in harmony with the verse as well as with all the scriptures relating to the subject.
The Word of God is the will of God. God means what He says, and He says what He means. God is perfect, and His Word is just as perfect. II Timothy 3:16 declares, “All scripture is given by inspiration of God [God-breathed]….” All of the God-breathed Word fits together perfectly, like a hand in a glove. It must fit from Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:21. If individual words or phrases in a verse or an entire passage of scriptures seem to not fit with all the scriptures relating to the subject, we can apply basic keys to Biblical research and see how the Word fits together harmoniously.
To illustrate this Biblical research principle, let’s look at Matthew 27:46:
And about the ninth hour Jesus cried with a loud voice, saying, Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani? that is to say, My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?
This verse is a great example to use in presenting this research key. First, the King James Version includes foreign words which I do not understand. Also, the question “Why hast thou forsaken me?” does not fit with other verses about the relationship between God and Jesus Christ. Other scriptures indicate that God would not and did not forsake His only begotten Son, Jesus.
Let’s go to the Word and see exactly what God wants to communicate. Applying the Biblical research key that the words must be in harmony with the verse as well as with all the scriptures relating to the subject will help us understand that God did not forsake Jesus. In the process we will also find a more accurate translation of those foreign words.
Look at what Jesus said about his heavenly Father in John 8:29:
And he that sent me is with me: the Father hath not left me alone; for I do always those things that please him.
When Jesus allowed himself to be crucified, he was doing the Father’s will. Jesus was paying the price to redeem mankind. It was the Father’s will for Jesus to lay down his life, and God did not leave Jesus alone.
A number of years ago, one of our children needed surgery to repair a torn ligament. I stayed at the hospital with our child. I would have scrubbed up and joined the surgical team in the operating room if they had allowed it. I did not want to leave our child alone. Our heavenly Father, Who is perfect in every way, is certainly more loving and concerned than I. Logically, where would God be when His Son was obeying His plan of redemption? God was right there with Jesus. Jesus said, “The Father hath not left me alone.”
Jesus and God were united in accomplishing a common goal, our redemption. Jesus said in John 10:30, “I and my Father are one.” They were one in purpose. Jesus was not on his own; the Father was with him.
Philippians 2:8 states it this way:
And being found in fashion as a man, he [Jesus] humbled himself, and became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross.
Whom was Jesus obeying? When Jesus gave his life, he was obeying God, and God was there.
II Corinthians 5:19 proclaims:
To wit, that God was in Christ, reconciling the world unto himself….
Jesus knew he would not be alone. John 16 is very clear.
Behold, the hour cometh, yea, is now come, that ye shall be scattered, every man to his own, and shall leave me alone: and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.
Though many of Jesus’ disciples scattered, Jesus was not alone. God was with Jesus through it all. How then could Jesus have said, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” That would be inconsistent with these other scriptures relating to the subject. So, what did Jesus say?
If we find an unclear or apparently contradictory scripture, it may be a problem in our understanding or it may be a problem in translation. When I encounter a verse which is difficult to understand, one of the first things I do is check our ministry’s various scripture indexes to see if any of our publications handle the verse. Our scripture indexes are an important tool to help us find existing research which builds our Biblical understanding and can correct errors in translation. By checking our scripture indexes, I saw that Matthew 27:46 is handled in several of our ministry publications. As I looked up the information written about this verse, I found clear documentation about a translation error.
The foreign words in Matthew 27:46 are Aramaic. Jesus spoke Aramaic. Since the translators were able to translate Jesus’ other words in all four Gospels, why did they leave in these Aramaic words? The translators were not clear on the correct translation. They did not know what to do with these words, so they left them in and added their best attempt at an English translation. The major problem in Matthew 27:46 is in the translation.
Dr. George M. Lamsa’s translation from the Aramaic is one place where we can find the accurate answer. Matthew 27:46 reads in The Holy Bible from the Ancient Eastern Text:
And about the ninth hour, Jesus cried out with a loud voice and said, Eli, Eli, lemana shabakthani! My God, my God, for this I was spared!
When Jesus cried out with a loud voice, it was not because of the pain and agony he was enduring. It was a cry of triumph!…
This is an excerpt from the July/August 2005 issue of The Way Magazine.
Copyright© 2005 by The Way International. All rights reserved.
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