Word for the World devotionals from Dr. Randy White

Chosen to Be Holy

Just as He chose us in Him before the foundation of the world, that we would be holy and blameless before Him…(Ephesians 1:4 NASB95)

Yesterday, we determined that those whom God chose before the foundation of the world were the Jewish people. Today we learn that they were chosen to be “holy and blameless before Him.” While most people read immediately passed this reference, it actually gives us great insight for interpretation of other Scripture. There is a group of people, the Jews, who were chosen to be “holy.” The word holy is translated only two different ways. In the New Testament. Often, of course, it is simply “holy.” At other times, however, it is translated “saints.” Many times it is simply a reference to that which is holy. Most commonly, it is used as a designation of the spirit of God. A few times it is used in connection to Angels, or to Jesus Christ himself. But when it refers to a group of people, modern translations have almost exclusively use the English word “saints” as the translation. This has had sad results in our ability to understand the Scripture, and was possibly the result of an anti-Semitic bias.

Of the 69 times the word Saints years in the Bible, eight of those are Old Testament references to the Jewish faithful. In the New Testament, at least 15 references to the Saints (that is, “the holy”) are unquestionably references to the Jewish people. When you take your understanding of “the holy ones” from the Old Testament, which would have been where the apostle Paul and the other biblical writers gained their understanding, it’s easy to see how the New Testament writers defined “the holy ones.”

What happened along the way? Why does the Christian world. Now, almost exclusively understand the Saints to be any believer? I suppose that there is no other answer save the fact that the church forgot its Jewish roots. Rather than reading out of Scripture, from the point of view at which the original writers would have both written and understood the words, we read into Scripture, from our American point of view.

Welcome to a new understanding!

In His Grace;

Dr. Randy White

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