Wednesday, November 9, 2016

THE LOGOS IS THE RHEMA (pt 4)

What is the biblical evidence for the difference between logos and rhema?

If someone were to read the Bible without any knowledge of the difference, would they arrive at the currently common understanding?


Does the Bible give us any clues as to what we should believe about the difference between or the importance of one word or the other?

Obviously, if you have been following this writer for any length of time, then you already know the answer to that last question.

YES!

I always look to the scriptures for my answers.

The second question is quite intriguing for me.

Think about it.

If someone without knowledge of the point of this discussion, someone who is relatively new to the reading of the Bible, were to begin reading the Bible, would they gain any insight as to a difference between the logos and the rhema?

Again, the answer should be obvious on at least one level.

No.

No, because the two words are from the Greek, and both are translated “word” (among others), and there is no specific verse of scripture that gives us the distinction.

The distinction to which I refer is that of something being spoken to my spirit that does not come from my understanding of something I read.

Does this actually happen? Does something come from the Lord into my spirit apart from actually reading the Bible?

Of course it does.

Happens on a regular basis.

Since it happens, should I seek for it to happen?

Nope.

Just because something happens is no indication I should try to make it happen.
Go cause lightning to strike from the sky.

However, there is no way that a person will arrive at an understanding of two different words from God from just a reading of the Bible.

Since this idea of two types of words from God is based on the original Greek, it is necessary that we go there to look for the distinction between logos and rhema.

This could be a long and involved journey, but I will try to cut to the essence of the material. Hopefully, I will provide enough evidence for you to make up your own mind based on enough scripture using both words.

Please be more noble than those in Thessalonica. Be more like the Bereans who “searched the scriptures daily to see if these things were so.” (Acts 17:11)

BASIC STATISTICS

In both the Old and New Testaments, logos is used much more often than rhema.

Please remember that I am speaking of the Greek words logos and rhema, so that when I refer to the Old Testament I am speaking of the LXX (Septuagint).

As previously mentioned in a prior article, the Hebrew words translated into the Greek are imra and dabar. Dabar is used much more extensively than imra, appearing 1,439 times, whereas imra appears only 37 times. Both logos and rhema are used in the LXX to translate both words.

Quoting Otto Procksch again:
“Except in the Octateuch (first eight books of the OT) logos is thus the predominant rendering.” (AUTHOR’S NOTE: He gives the proportionate use of both words for each section of the OT)
(Theological Dictionary of NT Words, vol. 4, p 92)

In the NT, logos appears 330 times, while rhema appears only 70 times—almost five times as often.

Should we make something out of that fact? Should we conclude that one is more important than the other?

I think not.

I will show in the next article that the two words—logos and rhema—are actually synonyms meaning essentially the same thing.

They are used so often as synonyms that it is difficult to see how we ever came to think that one had more power than the other.

However, before I get into that, I would like to show you an interesting usage of the two words in the OT LXX.
The words of Jeremiah the son of Hilkiah, of the priests that were in Anathoth in the land of Benjamin: To whom the word of the LORD came in the days of Josiah the son of Amon king of Judah, in the thirteenth year of his reign. (Jer 1:1-2)
I’ve emphasized a word in both verses. Each of those translates the Hebrew word “dabar” discussed earlier.

However, the LXX uses both logos and rhema in these verses.

Care to guess which one for each? Go back and read again.

Based on the little we’ve discovered so far, and the currently common understanding of rhema, I would venture that most would say that the “words of Jeremiah” were logos and the “the word of the Lord” was rhema.

Not so.

The words of Jeremiah are rhema, and the word of the Lord is logos.
(Click on the highlighted words above to see for yourself. Sorry. You DO have to be able to at least recognize the words in Greek.)

To me, that was an astounding discovery, going completely contrary to what I would have expected.


There is nothing quite like this in the NT, but we will look at ALL the passages where the two occur together in the next article.

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