Hey Jude, Don’t Be So Tense: A Note on the Grammar of Jude 7

“Just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities,
which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and
pursued unnatural desire, serve as an example
by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.”–Jude 7
1Unless otherwise indicated, all biblical references will be from the ESV.

Imagine I said to you that Jesus serves as an example of suffering and therefore loving your enemies.

What comes to mind? Would you think I am referring to the NT record of his ministry and death? What if someone argued that the use of the present tense “loving” must mean that Jesus really is loving the enemies with him in heaven right now?

My guess is the majority of people would remember the Gospel narratives of Jesus going to his death so would think the use of the present tense is not an unusual way to refer to his past sacrifice. Even though we were not present when he died, the Gospel narratives are cognitively present to us because we are intimately familiar with those narratives. I think most people would intuitively recognize that simply pointing to the present tense of “suffering” or “loving” would not be sufficient to establish otherwise.

Yet, this is exactly the kind of argument that some traditionalists use with respect to the following statement about Sodom and Gomorrah in Jude 7, “serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire.” Here are some examples. Matt Slick argues

If we look at the text and analyze what the Greek says, it becomes evident that the wicked people of Sodom and Gomorrah are presently experiencing the punishment of eternal fire.

In verse 7, Jude says that the people of Sodom and Gomorrah (7a) who went after strange flesh (7b) are presently an example (δεῖγμα, deigma, 7c) in undergoing the punishment of eternal fire (7d). Jude knew that the fires of Sodom and Gomorrah were extinguished, yet he chooses to say they are an example of the punishment of eternal fire, which is happening now (present participle). This is because he is using the permanent judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah to illustrate the permanent judgment of the wicked who are presently” undergoing the punishment of eternal fire.”2Matt Slick, ‘Annihilationism and Jude 6-7, angels and the wicked undergoing punishment of eternal fire’, https://carm.org/annihilationism/annihilationism-and-jude-6-7-angels-and-the-wicked-undergoing-punishment-of-eternal-fire/, last accessed, 11/06/2022

Notice Slick’s appeal to the represent tense of the participle ‘undergoing’. To his credit, Slick does quote from accepted authorities on the Greek text such as Daniel Arichea and Howard Hatton.

The verb for undergoing is in the present tense, which means that the inhabitants of Sodom are at the moment going through their punishment…The word translated example is literally “sample”; that is, here is an actual case of sinners being punished; this serves both as proof and as a warning to future generations of the reality of divine punishment (note TEV “plain warning”).3Daniel C. Arichea and Howard Hatton A Handbook on the Letter from Jude and the Second Letter from Peter, (United Bible Societies, 1993), 25–27

He also quotes Bill Mounce, a respected NT grammarian.

ὑπέχουσαι [from ὑπέχω hupéchō] is present tense, so it might imply a present punishment. However, remember there is no absolute time significance outside the indicative, and this is a participle. So all the tense of ὑπέχουσαι says is that it is undefined in its aspect. However, if relative time is accounted for, since πρόκεινται is present, the linear ὑπέχουσαι would be describing action happening at the same time as πρόκεινται and hence a present “undergoing.” So the suggestion is that the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah are currently being punished for their sins, and their current punishment serves as a current warning to us.4Bill Mounce, ‘Sodom, Gomorrah, and Pornography (Jude 7)’, https://www.billmounce.com/monday-with-mounce/sodom-gomorrah-and-pornography-jude-7, last accessed 11/06/2022.

A member of the Rethinking Group made a similar argument recently.

… what continues to stick out to me is that Jude switches from the aorist (past tense) participle “having given themselves over to sexual immorality” and [having] gone after strange flesh” to the present tense participle “undergoing punishment.”

As I continue to read the passage, this change is striking. I cannot see any good reason that Jude wouldn’t say “having undergone punishment” if he wanted to refer to a past judgment. There is nothing in Greek to prevent this and everything to expect this. I find no reason for Jude to use the present tense participle instead of the aorist tense which he used immediately before.

It seems to me the most likely conclusion is that Jude is intentionally using the present tense participle to communicate that Sodom is currently undergoing punishment and this serves as an example of eternal fire.5J.D. Martin, “Many think my interpretation of Jude 7 is a complete stretch…” Rethinking Hell [Facebook discussion], posted 09/15/2022, https://www.facebook.com/groups/rethinkinghell/posts/5359831707467333/?__cft__[0]=AZWbqJkx5Tel4B7NBCvpXydGUsA6kforsW4eSuJSbf7H7Ck-oaJ3f-H19FX0LEVDB3hwch8go-md85B0G-XxtXAIZ4PcfGzTUjLOvD9VStRa50qqFyE0NOhRcU5vWjbJfio&__tn__=%2CO%2CP-R, (last accessed 11/06/ 2022).

The argument has also made its way into academic journals,

The present participle in the clause δίκην ὑπέχουσαι (“undergoing punishment”) in conjunction with the present tense verb in the clause Πρόκεινται δεῖγμα indicate the ongoing nature of the punishment and thus its particular effectiveness in continuing to serve as an example.6Robert L. Webb ‘The Eschatology of the Epistle of Jude and Its Rhetorical and Social Functions, ed. Craig A, Evans, in Bulletin for Biblical Research, Vol. 6 (1996): 139-151, n.17

The argument is simply that since the present tense is used then Jude must have had in mind the ongoing punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah as he was writing his letter. However, this assumes the present tense was used because Jude was saying Sodom and Gomorrah were being punished in Hades while he was writing. Douglas Moo helps to explain why this is a false assumption,

Jude concludes, then, that these sinful cities on the plain “serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.” Indeed, God’s judgment was spectacular and final. According to Genesis 19:24, “the Lord rained down burning sulfur on Sodom and Gomorrah—from the LORD out of the heavens.” Writers contemporary to Jude saw in the topography of the area, with its sulfurous odors, smoke, and terribly desolate appearance, continuing evidence of this awful judgment of God on sin. This is one of the reasons why Jude uses the present tense here at the end of verse, for the cities “serve as an example of those who suffer the punishment of eternal fire.”7Douglas J. Moo, 2 Peter, Jude, Kindle ed., (Zondervan, 1996), Kindle locations, 4955-4963

Moo correctly identifies that the present tense was used by Jude because Sodom and Gomorrah had already come to be regarded as an example of what it is like to undergo divine punishment. This is no assumption on Moo’s part. Kelly is indicative of most commentators on Jude who emphasize “Their destruction (more particularly Sodom’s) became a proverbial object-lesson of God’s vengeance on sin”.8J. N. D. Kelly, The Epistles of Peter and of Jude, (Hendrickson Publishers, 1969), 259. I am listing some examples from a range of sources prior to and including the NT era to show why these scholars draw this conclusion.

Isaiah 1:9 If the LORD of hosts had not left us a few survivors, we should have been like Sodom, and become like Gomorrah.

Isaiah 13:19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the splendor and pomp of the Chaldeans, will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them. 20 It will never be inhabited or lived in for all generations; no Arab will pitch his tent there; no shepherds will make their flocks lie down there. 21 But wild animals will lie down there, and their houses will be full of howling creatures; there ostriches will dwell, and there wild goats will dance. 22 Hyenas will cry in its towers, and jackals in the pleasant palaces; its time is close at hand and its days will not be prolonged.

Ezekiel 16: 48 As I live, declares the Lord GOD, your sister Sodom and her daughters have not done as you and your daughters have done. 49 Behold, this was the guilt of your sister Sodom: she and her daughters had pride, excess of food, and prosperous ease, but did not aid the poor and needy. 50 They were haughty and did an abomination before me. So I removed them, when I saw it.

Zephaniah 2:9 Therefore, as I live,” declares the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, “Moab shall become like Sodom, and the Ammonites like Gomorrah, a land possessed by nettles and salt pits, and a waste forever. The remnant of my people shall plunder them, and the survivors of my nation shall possess them.”

3 Maccabees 2:5 You consumed with fire and sulfur the people of Sodom who acted arrogantly, who were notorious for their vices; and you made them an example to those who should come afterward. (NRSV)

Wisdom 10: 6 Wisdom rescued a righteous man when the ungodly were perishing; he escaped the fire that descended on the Five Cities. 7 Evidence of their wickedness still remains: a continually smoking wasteland, plants bearing fruit that does not ripen, and a pillar of salt standing as a monument to an unbelieving soul. (NRSV)

4 Esdras 2: 8 “Woe to you, Assyria, who conceal the unrighteous within you! O wicked nation, remember what I did to Sodom and Gomorrah, 9 whose land lies in lumps of pitch and heaps of ashes. That is what I will do to those who have not listened to me, says the Lord Almighty.” (NRSV)

Jubilees 16:5 And in that month the LORD executed the judgment of Sodom and Gomorrah and Zeboim and all of the district of the Jordan. And he burned them with fire and sulphur and he annihilated them till this day just as (he said), “Behold, I have made known to you all of their deeds that (they were) cruel and great sinners and they were polluting themselves and they were fornicating in their flesh and they were causing pollution upon the earth.” 6 And thus the LORD will execute judgment like the judgment of Sodom on places where they act according to the pollution of Sodom.9James H. Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the New Testament: Expansions of the “Old Testament” and Legends, Wisdom, and Philosophical Literature, Prayers, Psalms and Odes, Fragments of Lost Judeo-Hellenistic Works, vol. 2 (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1985), 88.

The Testament of Asher, 7 1 “Do not become like Sodom, which did not recognize the Lord’s angels and perished forever.10James H. Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, vol. 1 (New York; London: Yale University Press, 1983), 818.

Philo, “even to this day the visible tokens of the indescribable disaster are pointed out in Syria—ruins, cinders, brimstone, smoke and murky flames which continue to rise from the ground as from a fire still smoldering beneath”11Quoted in Richard Bauckham, Jude-2 Peter, (Zondervan Academic, . (p. 55). Kindle Edition.

Luke 17: 26 Just as it was in the days of Noah, so too it will be in the days of the Son of Man. 27 They were eating and drinking, and marrying and being given in marriage, until the day Noah entered the ark, and the flood came and destroyed all of them. 28 Likewise, just as it was in the days of Lot: they were eating and drinking, buying and selling, planting and building, 29 but on the day that Lot left Sodom, it rained fire and sulfur from heaven and destroyed all of them 30 — it will be like that on the day that the Son of Man is revealed.

2 Peter 2:6 and if by turning the cities of Sodom and Gomorrah to ashes he condemned them to extinction and made them an example of what is coming to the ungodly;

It is important to note that in no place in biblical or extra-biblical literature was Sodom and Gomorrah spoken of in terms of an example of punishment in Sheol or Hades. The point is, all the evidence indicates the past destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah was widely regarded as a tangible example illustrating how God destroys the wicked when he judges and punishes them. This means when people thought of Sodom and Gomorrah in the context of divine judgment they naturally thought of the story of the destruction of those cities in Genesis 19.

This brings me back to where we started. Just as saying Jesus serves as an example of loving your enemies would remind any Christian of the passion narratives in the Gospels, so also referring to Sodom and Gomorrah would have reminded Jude’s audience of the original story of the destruction of those cities. In such cases, the present tense is used because people will already have been thinking of the events in the story with which they were familiar. That is, the present tense was used because the OT story of Sodom and Gomorrah’s destruction was already cognitively present to his audience,

Traditionally, NT grammarians have understood the Greek tense of a verb to convey the time in which the action of the verb takes place. It was the idea that the tense itself had encoded within its form the idea of progression through time. So, if a NT author or speaker used the present tense, he did so because he thought the verbal action was taking place in his present. When I was learning NT exegesis, we were taught that the tenses function as follows.

Tense Relationship to verbal action in time
Present A verbal action that is ongoing in the present at the time of writing or speaking.
Future A verbal action that is ongoing in the future.
Imperfect Relates to a verbal action that is ongoing in the past
Aorist Undefined with respect to ongoing action
Perfect The action has been completed in the past with implication flowing from that completed act

This looks simple. If the present tense was used then the author this was because the verbal action was taking place in real time, at the time he was writing. This is sometimes called aktionsart. It is the theory that “the verb tenses of Greek are used to convey how an action objectively occurs.”12Stanley E. Porter, Idioms of the Greek New Testament , 2nd ed., (Sheffield Academic Press, 1999), 27. If this is how the present tense functions then traditionalists would be right to point to the present tense in Jude 7 (“serve as an example by undergoing a punishment of eternal fire”) and conclude that Jude had in mind the present, ongoing punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah in Hades.

That is not the whole story on Greek tenses, though. Advancement in studies on Greek tenses have shown that the tenses themselve relate more to an author’s subjective view of the verbal action than to any objective verbal aktionsart. This is called verbal aspect. I will include a link to an introduction to verbal aspect to assist the reader to understand this feature of Greek tenses.13Master Biblical Languages (Daryl Burling), ‘Verbal Aspect: What is it and is it important?‘, YouTube video [7:59], posted 07/18/2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCINNdEcDIU&t=479s, accessed 11/06/2022. In short, while the aorist tense was used to talk about an event as a whole, the present tense was used when an author was thinking about something from the perspective of someone watching the event unfold. This would be like my statement that Jesus is an example of suffering and therefore loving one’s enemies. I do not mean to use the present tense because it conveys how Jesus’s suffering is objectively taking place in real time. I used the present tense because I wanted to use it as a verbal cue prompting people to think of his past death in a way that puts attention on the story of his suffering and death.

Stanley Porter, one of the pioneers of studies in Greek verbal aspect, explains it like this,

The analogy of a parade proves useful. If I am a television correspondent in a helicopter flying over the parade, I view the parade in its immediacy from a vantage outside the action as ‘perfective’; that is, in its entirety as a single and complete whole. If I am a spectator standing with others along the side of the road watching the parade pass by in front of me, I view the action immersed within it as ‘imperfective’; that is, as an event in progress. And if I am the parade manager in corporate headquarters considering all of the conditions in existence at this parade, including not only all the arrangements that are coming to fruition but all the accompanying events that allow the parade to operate, I view the process not in its particulars or its immediacy but as ‘stative’; that is, as a complex condition or state of affairs in existence. For example, in Rom. 8.11 with ἐγείραντος (aorist), 2 Cor. 1.9 with ἐγείροντι (present), 2 Tim. 2.8 with ἐγηγερμένον (perfect): each verse uses a different tense-form to refer to the same event, the raising of Christ. The use of each depends upon the author’s contextual emphasis.14Ibid., 24.

…verbs function in Greek as indicators of the speaker or writer’s view of a particular action, regardless of how that action might ‘objectively’ have transpired in the real world or ‘when’ it might have transpired. The verb tenses grammaticalize (i.e. represent a meaning by selection of a particular verb tense-form) this subjective viewpoint through the category of verbal aspect.1 Greeks were still able to make reference to various times of the day or night and to distinguish kinds of action, but they did so by using a variety of indicators, with verb tenses as only one factor in establishing the temporal context.”15Ibid.

The point is not that the present tense itself is not used to express the idea of progression through time. Porter draws attention to how the Greek tenses were used to express something about the author’s subjective perspective of the verbal action. It is not a simple case of the present tense itself being used because it relates to what is objectively in time as the author was writing. The way an interpreter can detect progression in time in the use of the present tense involves much more than recognising the author used verbs and participles with the present tense form. Porter is at pains to emphasize this as he frequently revisits this point.

… in Greek the temporal ordering of events is not measured in relation to a fixed point (absolute time), but by the relations established among the involved events with regard to each other and to the context. This relating is achieved by a variety of indicators available in the language (e.g. use of temporal adverbs, such as νῦν, τότε). In other words, elements other than verbal aspect (context, for example) are the primary conveyors of temporal information in Greek. This applies in the case not only of the non-indicative mood forms, but of the indicative mood as well.

A variety of contextual features (often called deictic indicators) must be analyzed to establish temporal values: references to person, place and time, and discourse features.

The last of these appear to be the most significant … The interpreter’s task is to consider all of the relevant information—including verb tenses, discourse type and so forth—before deciding when an event is to be conceived of as occurring.16Ibid., 25–26.

This all means the traditionalist argument that the present tense of “undergoing” shows Jude was saying Sodom and Gomorrah were actually being punished as he wrote his letter is based on an outdated view of NT Greek tenses. Traditionalists must identify other factors demonstrating their interpretation of Jude 7 is accurate. The only traditionalist I have seen attempting to buttress the present tense argument this way is Bill Mounce. After stating he believes the present tense conveys the idea that Sodom and Gomorrah are currently undergoing a punishment he says,

How could they be a present example? The historical descriptions of the traditional location of Sodom and Gomorrah certainly serves as an example to all who see it, and smell it. Wisdom 10:7 says, “Evidence of their wickedness still remains — a continually smoking wasteland, plants bearing fruit that does not ripen, and a pillar of salt standing as a monument to an unbelieving soul” (in Kelly, 259). You could even translate πρόκεινται as “are serving” to make the point clear.17Mounce, ‘Sodom, Gomorrah, and Pornography’

Here is the problem with this. The example Mounce uses from Wisdom 10:7 refers to evidence of the past destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah. This is one of the texts I quoted above when I pointed out that it was widely regarded as a tangible example illustrating how God destroys the wicked when he judges and punishes them. It is not evidence that anyone, including Jude, thought that the people of the twin cities had connected that destruction to their current suffering in Hades. It simply highlights that when an author pointed to Sodom and Gomorrah they were reminding their audiences of the story of the demise of those cities. It was a way of making them think about that story. As such, it meant that as they thought about that story it would be serving as a current example to them. Pointing to the present tense of the word behind “serve” does not change this, Rather, it is like my example of Jesus swerving as a current example of suffering and therefore loving your enemies.

Mounce lets the cat out of the bag in another way when he says this,

Jude writes, “just as Sodom and Gomorrah and the surrounding cities, which likewise indulged in sexual immorality and pursued unnatural desire, serve (πρόκεινται) as an example by undergoing (ὑπέχουσαιa) punishment of eternal fire” (ESV).

ὑπέχουσαι is present tense, so it might imply a present punishment. However, remember there is no absolute time significance outside the indicative, and this is a participle. So all the tense of ὑπέχουσαι says is that it is undefined in its aspect.18Ibid.

Since the participle “undergoing” is a participle then its aspect is undefined even though it is in the present tense form. This means the use of the present tense of “undergoing” itself cannot in and of itself bear the weight for the claim that Jude had in mind the current suffering of Sodom and Gomorrah in hades.

In no way does noting Jude’s use of the present support this claim.

If traditionalists are responding to conditionalist exegesis of Jude 7 and all they have is an argument from the present tense, then the appropriate response is to ask them what else they have got to offer. If all they have is an argument from the present tense then they have nothing.

References
1 Unless otherwise indicated, all biblical references will be from the ESV.
2 Matt Slick, ‘Annihilationism and Jude 6-7, angels and the wicked undergoing punishment of eternal fire’, https://carm.org/annihilationism/annihilationism-and-jude-6-7-angels-and-the-wicked-undergoing-punishment-of-eternal-fire/, last accessed, 11/06/2022
3 Daniel C. Arichea and Howard Hatton A Handbook on the Letter from Jude and the Second Letter from Peter, (United Bible Societies, 1993), 25–27
4 Bill Mounce, ‘Sodom, Gomorrah, and Pornography (Jude 7)’, https://www.billmounce.com/monday-with-mounce/sodom-gomorrah-and-pornography-jude-7, last accessed 11/06/2022.
5 J.D. Martin, “Many think my interpretation of Jude 7 is a complete stretch…” Rethinking Hell [Facebook discussion], posted 09/15/2022, https://www.facebook.com/groups/rethinkinghell/posts/5359831707467333/?__cft__[0]=AZWbqJkx5Tel4B7NBCvpXydGUsA6kforsW4eSuJSbf7H7Ck-oaJ3f-H19FX0LEVDB3hwch8go-md85B0G-XxtXAIZ4PcfGzTUjLOvD9VStRa50qqFyE0NOhRcU5vWjbJfio&__tn__=%2CO%2CP-R, (last accessed 11/06/ 2022).
6 Robert L. Webb ‘The Eschatology of the Epistle of Jude and Its Rhetorical and Social Functions, ed. Craig A, Evans, in Bulletin for Biblical Research, Vol. 6 (1996): 139-151, n.17
7 Douglas J. Moo, 2 Peter, Jude, Kindle ed., (Zondervan, 1996), Kindle locations, 4955-4963
8 J. N. D. Kelly, The Epistles of Peter and of Jude, (Hendrickson Publishers, 1969), 259.
9 James H. Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha and the New Testament: Expansions of the “Old Testament” and Legends, Wisdom, and Philosophical Literature, Prayers, Psalms and Odes, Fragments of Lost Judeo-Hellenistic Works, vol. 2 (New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 1985), 88
10 James H. Charlesworth, The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, vol. 1 (New York; London: Yale University Press, 1983), 818.
11 Quoted in Richard Bauckham, Jude-2 Peter, (Zondervan Academic, . (p. 55). Kindle Edition.
12 Stanley E. Porter, Idioms of the Greek New Testament , 2nd ed., (Sheffield Academic Press, 1999), 27.
13 Master Biblical Languages (Daryl Burling), ‘Verbal Aspect: What is it and is it important?‘, YouTube video [7:59], posted 07/18/2022, https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCINNdEcDIU&t=479s, accessed 11/06/2022.
14 Ibid., 24.
15 Ibid.
16 Ibid., 25–26.
17 Mounce, ‘Sodom, Gomorrah, and Pornography’
18 Ibid.

5 More Myths About Hell: A Response to Mark Jones and Crossway

In a recent installment of Crossway’s “5 Myths” article series, Mark Jones attempts to debunk what he sees as “5 Myths about Hell.” In so doing, however, Jones misreads a host of biblical texts that support the doctrines of conditional immortality and annihilationism, mistakenly thinking they teach eternal torment. Along the way, he perpetuates five other popular myths about hell, which we at Rethinking Hell debunk below. Continue reading “5 More Myths About Hell: A Response to Mark Jones and Crossway”

Falling “Into” Error: Grasping at Straws in Matthew 25:46

For years, I have said that two things convinced me of conditional immortality and annihilationism (hereafter, “conditionalism”) more than anything else. First and foremost, I discovered that, with virtually no exception, every proof-text historically cited in support of eternal torment proves upon closer examination to be better support for conditionalism. Second, I was shocked at how poorly thought out traditionalist arguments against conditionalism typically are. Matthew 25:41-46 is a case study in both phenomena, for it is surprisingly powerful support for conditionalism, but when traditionalists dig their heels in, they often resort to highly dubious arguments they wouldn’t countenance in virtually any other context, such as by claiming the Greek preposition εἰς (eis), translated “into,” rules out the annihilation of the finally impenitent. Continue reading “Falling “Into” Error: Grasping at Straws in Matthew 25:46″

Perish the Thought, Part 2: More Challenges to the Traditionalist Reading of John 3:16

 

For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him
should not perish
but have eternal life.

–John 3:16

 

In my article Perish the Thought: How John 6 and 11 Challenge the Traditionalist Reading of John 3:16,1Darren J. Clark, “Perish the Thought: How John 6 and 11 Challenge the Traditionalist Reading of John 3:16,https://rethinkinghell.com/2019/06/14/perish-the-thought-john-3-16/. I demonstrate that John 3:16’s phraseology of “eternal life” and “perish” teaches that only believers will live forever, while all others will die. I examine John 6 and 11 to strengthen my exegesis of John 3:16 because those are two sections in the narrative where Jesus explains further what he meant to convey in that famous verse.2All citations in English will be from the ESV, unless otherwise indicated. In those chapters Jesus speaks about the kind of life believers will be given, and simply employs the same language he uses in surrounding contexts to refer to ordinary life and death (John 6:49-51, 58; 11:25-26). For John 3 and John 6 I show that Jesus drew from historical and tangible examples from the Israelite experience of being protected from death (John 3:14-16 cf. Num 21:4-9; John 6:22-59 cf. Exod 16:16-21). I also explain how Jesus’ terms “eternal life” and “perish” relate to the death and resurrection of Lazarus in John 11.

The purpose of this current article is to provide a supplementary argument to fortify my previous argument about what Jesus meant in John 6:49-51 and 11:25-26, where he taught that believers will not die. In particular, I have in mind the use of the verb ἀποθνήσκω (“to die”) as it is used in John 6:50 and 11:26. I will then demonstrate how this impacts our reading of two similar statements made by Jesus, in similar contexts in John’s narrative.

Continue reading “Perish the Thought, Part 2: More Challenges to the Traditionalist Reading of John 3:16”

References
1 Darren J. Clark, “Perish the Thought: How John 6 and 11 Challenge the Traditionalist Reading of John 3:16,https://rethinkinghell.com/2019/06/14/perish-the-thought-john-3-16/.
2 All citations in English will be from the ESV, unless otherwise indicated.

Perish the Thought: How John 6 and 11 Challenge the Traditionalist Reading of John 3:16

 

For God so loved the world,
that he gave his only Son,
that whoever believes in him
should not perish
but have eternal life.

–John 3:16

 

John 3:16 is one of the clearest texts supporting the conditional immortality view. This is because Jesus contrasts the eternal life received by believers with the death they would otherwise receive if they reject him. After all, to die is just what “perish” normally means whenever we use that word of humans. As John Stott noted, when the Greek verb apollymi is used in the middle voice and without a direct object it means to be destroyed in a way that causes someone to perish or die (Stott points to Luke 15:17; 1 Cor 10:9 for physical perishing, and John 10:28; 17:12; Rom 2:12; 1 Cor 15:18; 2 Pet 3:9 for perishing in hell).1John Stott, “Hell and Judgement,” in Rethinking Hell: Readings in Evangelical Conditionalism, eds. Christopher M. Date, Gregory G. Stump, & Joshua W. Anderson, Kindle ed. (Cascade Books, 2014), Kindle locations, 1319-1322.

Traditionalists often respond by arguing that this term in John 3:16 need not refer to the death or annihilation of unbelievers.2William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary, Olivetree ebook ed., (Baker Book House, no publishing date given), no page given. But beyond a generalized word study of apollymi, most traditionalists do not give a rationale for their interpretation of the phrase “shall not perish.” A few have offered reasons to read it as referring to an unending “perishing” in hell. Continue reading “Perish the Thought: How John 6 and 11 Challenge the Traditionalist Reading of John 3:16”

References
1 John Stott, “Hell and Judgement,” in Rethinking Hell: Readings in Evangelical Conditionalism, eds. Christopher M. Date, Gregory G. Stump, & Joshua W. Anderson, Kindle ed. (Cascade Books, 2014), Kindle locations, 1319-1322.
2 William Hendriksen, New Testament Commentary, Olivetree ebook ed., (Baker Book House, no publishing date given), no page given.

On the Meaning of Destruction in the Bible

If you have been researching the doctrine of hell for any significant amount of time, you are bound to have encountered the debate over the meaning of the biblical language of destruction. Conditionalists like ourselves argue that in contexts of final judgment, Greek words like apollymi (to destroy), apoleia (destruction), and olethros (destruction) consistently communicate that the wicked will actually be destroyed, or ended, by God.1For instance, see Glenn Andrew Peoples, “Introduction to Evangelical Conditionalism”, in Rethinking Hell: Readings in Evangelical Conditionalism, eds. Christopher M. Date, Gregory G. Stump, & Joshua W. Anderson, Kindle ed. (Cascade Books, 2014), Kindle locations, 675-717, 830-838;2See also John Stott, “Judgment and Hell”, in Rethinking Hell: Readings in Evangelical Conditionalism, eds. Christopher M. Date, Gregory G. Stump, & Joshua W. Anderson, Kindle ed. (Cascade Books, 2014), Kindle locations, 1312-1336; John W. Wenham, “The Case for Conditional Immortality”, in Rethinking Hell: Readings in Evangelical Conditionalism, eds. Christopher M. Date, Gregory G. Stump, & Joshua W. Anderson, Kindle ed. (Cascade Books, 2014), Kindle locations, 1915-1939; John Stackhouse Jr, “Terminal Punishment”, in Four Views on Hell, ed. Preston Sprinkle, Kindle ed. (Zondervan, 2016), Kindle locations, 1216-1344.

In response, those holding to the traditional view of hell such as John Blanchard have argued that this language does not denote annihilation when it is used of humans.3John Blanchard, Whatever Happened to Hell, Kindle ed. (EP Books, 1993), Kindle locations, 4371-4422. Eldon Woodcock examined the terminology, concluding that “the usage of apollymi/apoleia (destroy, perish, destruction) in the NT conveys various nuances of destruction–none of them annihilation causing cessation of existence.”4Eldon Woodcock, Hell: An Exhaustive Look at a Burning Issue, Kindle ed. (WestBow Press, 2012), Kindle locations, 4113-4114. D. A. Carson argues that these words do not necessarily include the sense of “extinction,”5D. A. Carson, The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism, Kindle ed. (Zondervan, 1996), Kindle locations 11888-11900. and Tim Barnett and Greg Koukl assert that “In the Bible, destruction language is not synonymous with nonexistence.”6Tim Barnett and Greg Koukl, “Hell interrupted: Part 2” [blog], https://www.str.org/solidgroundnovember2017hellinterruptedpart2#.XKG7YfZuJjo, (accessed April 1, 2019). For Douglas Moo, when Paul uses the terms they refer merely to “the situation of a person or object that has lost the essence of its nature or function.”7Douglas J. Moo, “Paul on Hell”, in Hell Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents Eternal Punishment, eds. Christopher W. Morgan & Robert A. Peterson, Kindle ed. (Zondervan, 2007), Kindle location, 2448.

For the most part, the traditionalist argument revolves around examining the various ways in which the apollymi/apoleia word group is employed in the New Testament and noting a distinct range of meaning attached to this language.

Rethinking Hell has provided good responses to this line of argument, especially in an excellent article by Glenn Peoples, who demonstrates that this reply from traditionalists is susceptible to the charge of the fallacy of illegitimate totality transfer.8Glenn Peoples, “The Meaning of ‘Apollumi’ in the Synoptic Gospels” [blog], https://rethinkinghell.com/2012/10/27/the-meaning-of-apollumi-in-the-synoptic-gospels/ (accessed April 1, 2019). In a related article I have built upon Peoples’ discussion, demonstrating how a close reading of the context of Matthew 10:28 allows only the sense of “to kill” for apollymi in that verse.9Darren J. Clark, “Exegesis Interrupted: A Critique if Stand To Reason’s Article ‘Hell Interrupted, Part 2’” [blog], https://rethinkinghell.com/2018/11/13/exegesis-interrupted-a-critique-of-stand-to-reasons-article-hell-interrupted-part-2/ (accessed April 1, 2019). In the current article, I will discuss more broadly some of the biblical and non-biblical examples used by traditionalists to dismiss the conditionalist case from the biblical language of destruction. As noted above, traditionalists typically assume that we must claim that key words like apollymi, apoleia, and olethros mean something philosophical like ceasing to exist, or something scientific like annihilation in the sense of molecular disintegration.10For instance, Robert Morey, Death and the Afterlife (Bethany House Publishers, 1984), 90. Their approach in response, therefore, is heavily weighted towards showing how the words can be used in such a way as to allow some part of the person or thing destroyed to remain after the process of destruction has been complete. I maintain that this is argument is a fundamental misunderstanding of the conditionalist argument, and of how the biblical authors actually use the language of destruction to communicate the end of the wicked at the last judgement.

Rather than examine all instances of destruction language in the Bible, due to space constraints I will focus on texts used to support the most common traditionalist counterclaim. As their argument goes, destruction language for final punishment can instead mean ruin, because there are texts where it does denote that concept. This approach is seen for example in John Blanchard’s argument that apollymi is used to communicate the loss of wellbeing in a way that makes the person useless for their intended purpose.11Blanchard, Whatever Happened to Hell, Kindle locations, 4400-4402; J. I. Packer makes the same argument in “The Problem of Eternal punishment:, in Crux 26, no. 3 (September 1990): 20. It is also seen in D. A. Carson’s contention that John 3:16 contrasts “two qualitatively different types of existence, one involving a loving communion with God and another lacking it (a state of ‘ruin’).”12Carson, The Gagging of God, Kindle location, 11888. Douglas Moo echoes these statements when he concludes after examining the terms in Paul that “In none of these cases do the objects cease to exist; they cease to be useful or to exist in their original, intended state.”13Moo, “Paul on Hell”, Kindle locations, 2456-2464. As a final example, note Charles Hodge’s understanding of the biblical concept of destruction:

To destroy is to ruin. The nature of that ruin depends on the nature of the subject of which it is predicated. A thing is ruined when it is rendered unfit for use; when it is in such a state that it can no longer answer the end for which it was designed.14Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology: The Complete Three Volumes in Four Parts, Kindle ed. (GLH Publishing, no date given), Kindle locations, 30385-40495.

In order to support this view of destruction, traditionalists frequently appeal to the use of apollymi in relation to wineskins (Matt 9:17; Mark 2:22; Luke 5:37). Their point is that the destroyed wineskins do not go out of existence, but have become leaky and can no longer function as intended, to store the wine.15Moo, “Paul on Hell”, Kindle locations, 2456-2464; Woodcock, Hell, Kindle location, 3717-3726; Woodcock, Hell, Kindle locations, 3717-3726.

We may question the legitimacy of using this characterization of what happens to old wineskins to provide an alternative understanding of “destroy” for key texts like Matthew 10:28 (“destroy both body and soul in Gehenna”). For one thing, when humans are punctured like wineskins we can easily bleed to death, which follows even more swiftly if one of our vital organs is involved.16For a discussion on how this supports the conditionalist reading of Matthew 10:28 see my “Exegesis Interrupted: A Critique if Stand To Reason’s Article ‘Hell Interrupted, Part 2’” [blog], https://rethinkinghell.com/2018/11/13/exegesis-interrupted-a-critique-of-stand-to-reasons-article-hell-interrupted-part-2/ (accessed April 1, 2019). But ancient wineskins didn’t simply develop leaks. Instead, they were sewn together from pieces of sheep or goat skin, which, as leather does over time, would age and become brittle.17Darrell L. Bock, Luke: 1:1-9:50, (Baker Books, 1994), 520. Being filled with heavy liquid, at some point they would essentially explode into torn pieces, an image emphasized by each Synoptic author with the verb “burst” (ῥήγνυμι, rēgnumi).18Frederick William Danker (ed.), et al, A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature, 3rd ed., (University of Chicago Press, 2000), 904. If the kind of destruction depicted here is supposed to represent what happens to both body and soul in Matthew 10:28, then it would most naturally communicate a destruction of the person themselves. Humans are sentient, which is fundamentally different from inanimate objects like wineskins. So if the wineskins example applies, that kind of complete destruction would rob a person of life and the faculty of consciousness. Far from showing how the wicked would be left in a ruined state unfit for their intended purpose, this only reinforces the conditionalist view that destruction here deprives people of their very lives.

Other biblical examples cited by traditionalists in support of taking destruction language for final punishment to mean ruin, include the destruction of property by thieves (John 10:10), the idea of perishing gold (1 Peter 1:7), and perishing food (John 6:12, 24).19For instance, see Woodcock, Hell, Kindle locations, 3709-3738. As in the case of wineskins, the kind of ruin inflicted in these examples would normally kill a person. In 1 Peter 1:7, Peter’s point is that even gold will ultimately be done away with in a final fiery judgment (destroyed completely), despite its ability to survive the refining process now.20Karen Jobes, 1 Peter, Kindle ed., (Baker Academic, 2005), Kindle locations, 2424-2425.

In the case of John 10:10 (“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.”), this may be an allusion to Ezekiel 34:2-3, where the leaders of Israel are accused of slaughtering the choice sheep for their own consumption.21Grant R. Osbourne, John Verse by Verse, Kindle ed. (Lexham Press, 2018), Kindle locations, 4153-4155. According to J. Ramsey Michaels, “kill” and “destroy” here are part of a metaphor.22J. Ramsey Michaels, The Gospel of John, Kindle ed. (Eerdmans Publishing, 2010), Kindle locations, 10002-10014. The Greek word for kill is θύω (thuō). It is used of the slaughter of animals (in this context sheep) for food.23Danker (ed.), A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament, 463. As Michaels states,

“The supposition is that sheep are stolen not in order to be added to someone else’s flock, but to be slaughtered for food, and thus “destroyed.” The accent is on “destroy,” for being “destroyed” or “lost” is in this Gospel the very opposite of gaining “eternal life” (see 3:16; 6:39–40). Here the thief comes to “destroy,” while Jesus comes “that they might have life.”24Michaels, The Gospel of John, Kindle locations, 10004-10005.

This is a far cry from Woodcock’s explanation that John 10:10 refers to the mere ruin of items not stolen by the thief, an explanation which does not adequately account for the text in all its details.25Even if Woodcock is correct the kind of destruction a thief could leave (breaking furniture, etc.) would often kill a person. Woodcock, Hell, Kindle locations, 3729–3731.

Similarly, Woodcock’s example of perishing food is quite odd (John 6:12, 27).26Ibid., Kindle locations, 3733-3738. Woodcock is correct that spoiled food is useless for its intended purpose of sustenance, but his insistence that it does not go out of existence flies in the face of the natural observation that essentially nothing is left of food once it inevitably decomposes. It is telling that in John 6:27, Jesus challenges his audience to choose food that “endures to eternal life” rather than food that will perish. This contrast between food which perishes and food which endures forever removes any doubt about what it means for ordinary food to perish. It does not simply mean that the fruit can no longer be used for its intended purpose, but depends on the idea of the ending of the fruit itself through decomposing.

But traditionalists also use the example of the destruction of land in Ezekiel 6:14 and 14:16, which Christopher Morgan frames in terms of its lost fruitfulness.27Christopher W. Morgan, “Annihilationism: Will the Unsaved Be Punished Forever?”, in Hell Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents Eternal Punishment, eds. Christopher W. Morgan & Robert A. Peterson, Kindle ed. (Zondervan, 2007), Kindle locations, 4943-4950. While it’s true that destroyed land cannot bear fruit, Morgan ignores the fact that such fruitlessness results from the land itself being desolated to the point of no longer supporting or produce life. A search of the Hebrew word for “desolation” used in Ezekiel 6:14 and 14:16 reveals that it is commonly used to communicate the reduction of land and cities to a literal heap, i.e. concrete ruins rather than an abstract concept of ruin, often with an emphasis on no human life remaining there. The picture is one of complete dismantling of what the land and cities once were, so that they became unlivable.28I include the list of references from my stepbible.org search so the reader can verify this. https://www.stepbible.org/?q=strong=H8077a|version=ESV&options=VHNUG&qFilter=H8077a As with the wineskins, if this kind of destruction were to be inflicted upon people themselves, they would not remain alive with some ruined purpose, but would be well and truly dead.

Extra-biblical examples of destruction fare no better. For instance, as an example of the kind of destruction he thinks the Bible has in view, John Blanchard points to the 1992 Los Angeles race riots, in which widespread damage was inflicted on property in various districts.29Blanchard, Whatever Happened to Hell, Kindle locations, 4405-4422. He writes that “The damage was certainly horrific; hundreds of buildings were gutted, millions of dollars’ worth of damage was done and many people were killed. South central Los Angeles lay in smouldering ruins—but it was not annihilated.”30Ibid. Moo uses the example of a tornado destroying a house, arguing, “The component parts of that house did not cease to exist, but the entity ‘house,’ a structure that provides shelter for human beings, ceased to exist.”31Moo, “Paul on Hell”, Kindle locations, 2459-2469. Similarly, Roger Nicole appeals to wrecked vehicles that are “so damaged and twisted that the car has become completely unserviceable.”32Cited in Alan Gomes, Evangelicals and the Annihilation of Hell, Christian Research Journal, (Spring 1991), 18; see also Larry Dixon, The Other Side of the Good News: Confronting the Contemporary Challenges to Jesus’ Teachings on Hell, (Christian Focus Publications, 2003), 97.

All of these examples of destruction resulting in loss of function or usefulness do not actually justify taking the biblical destruction language–as applied to final punishment of human beings–to refer to the more limited concept of ruin. They are typically offered to show that the remains of a destroyed person or thing continues in existence, assuming that our view requires destruction to denote non-existence, or molecular disintegration of all constituent parts. But this is not even something conditionalists deny! Instead, the concept they overlook, which they deny and we affirm, is that of the finally unsaved being killed, or rendered lifeless. This concept is all that needs to be investigated through the language of destruction.

With that key question in mind, Matthew 10:28 becomes an important verse helping us to relate human death to the destruction of the wicked in Gehenna (final punishment), establishing that the kind of destruction inflicted is the kind that will kill them completely.33See my article cited above. There is no need for speculation about whether or not there are any “remains” of the body or soul post-destruction, since the point is that the destruction results in a complete death, compared to something only partial and incomplete when inflicted by mere men. Just as a corpse is robbed of all life and consciousness, so also the destroyed person in Gehenna will be lifeless, without any faculty of consciousness. The whole person will be dead and gone. It is this point that traditionalists usually fail to grasp, and the reason most conditionalists find them utterly unconvincing when they are debating the meaning of the biblical language of destruction. In order to do better, traditionalists simply have to abandon their current line of argument that the Bible teaches a kind of destruction that renders the person or thing merely useless for its intended purpose, while somehow preserving its life or essence. This argument is too reductionistic, and is powerless to address the core conditionalist argument from the biblical language of destruction.

References
1 For instance, see Glenn Andrew Peoples, “Introduction to Evangelical Conditionalism”, in Rethinking Hell: Readings in Evangelical Conditionalism, eds. Christopher M. Date, Gregory G. Stump, & Joshua W. Anderson, Kindle ed. (Cascade Books, 2014), Kindle locations, 675-717, 830-838;
2 See also John Stott, “Judgment and Hell”, in Rethinking Hell: Readings in Evangelical Conditionalism, eds. Christopher M. Date, Gregory G. Stump, & Joshua W. Anderson, Kindle ed. (Cascade Books, 2014), Kindle locations, 1312-1336; John W. Wenham, “The Case for Conditional Immortality”, in Rethinking Hell: Readings in Evangelical Conditionalism, eds. Christopher M. Date, Gregory G. Stump, & Joshua W. Anderson, Kindle ed. (Cascade Books, 2014), Kindle locations, 1915-1939; John Stackhouse Jr, “Terminal Punishment”, in Four Views on Hell, ed. Preston Sprinkle, Kindle ed. (Zondervan, 2016), Kindle locations, 1216-1344.
3 John Blanchard, Whatever Happened to Hell, Kindle ed. (EP Books, 1993), Kindle locations, 4371-4422.
4 Eldon Woodcock, Hell: An Exhaustive Look at a Burning Issue, Kindle ed. (WestBow Press, 2012), Kindle locations, 4113-4114.
5 D. A. Carson, The Gagging of God: Christianity Confronts Pluralism, Kindle ed. (Zondervan, 1996), Kindle locations 11888-11900.
6 Tim Barnett and Greg Koukl, “Hell interrupted: Part 2” [blog], https://www.str.org/solidgroundnovember2017hellinterruptedpart2#.XKG7YfZuJjo, (accessed April 1, 2019).
7 Douglas J. Moo, “Paul on Hell”, in Hell Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents Eternal Punishment, eds. Christopher W. Morgan & Robert A. Peterson, Kindle ed. (Zondervan, 2007), Kindle location, 2448.
8 Glenn Peoples, “The Meaning of ‘Apollumi’ in the Synoptic Gospels” [blog], https://rethinkinghell.com/2012/10/27/the-meaning-of-apollumi-in-the-synoptic-gospels/ (accessed April 1, 2019).
9 Darren J. Clark, “Exegesis Interrupted: A Critique if Stand To Reason’s Article ‘Hell Interrupted, Part 2’” [blog], https://rethinkinghell.com/2018/11/13/exegesis-interrupted-a-critique-of-stand-to-reasons-article-hell-interrupted-part-2/ (accessed April 1, 2019).
10 For instance, Robert Morey, Death and the Afterlife (Bethany House Publishers, 1984), 90.
11 Blanchard, Whatever Happened to Hell, Kindle locations, 4400-4402; J. I. Packer makes the same argument in “The Problem of Eternal punishment:, in Crux 26, no. 3 (September 1990): 20.
12 Carson, The Gagging of God, Kindle location, 11888.
13 Moo, “Paul on Hell”, Kindle locations, 2456-2464.
14 Charles Hodge, Systematic Theology: The Complete Three Volumes in Four Parts, Kindle ed. (GLH Publishing, no date given), Kindle locations, 30385-40495.
15 Moo, “Paul on Hell”, Kindle locations, 2456-2464; Woodcock, Hell, Kindle location, 3717-3726; Woodcock, Hell, Kindle locations, 3717-3726.
16 For a discussion on how this supports the conditionalist reading of Matthew 10:28 see my “Exegesis Interrupted: A Critique if Stand To Reason’s Article ‘Hell Interrupted, Part 2’” [blog], https://rethinkinghell.com/2018/11/13/exegesis-interrupted-a-critique-of-stand-to-reasons-article-hell-interrupted-part-2/ (accessed April 1, 2019).
17 Darrell L. Bock, Luke: 1:1-9:50, (Baker Books, 1994), 520.
18 Frederick William Danker (ed.), et al, A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament and other early Christian literature, 3rd ed., (University of Chicago Press, 2000), 904.
19 For instance, see Woodcock, Hell, Kindle locations, 3709-3738.
20 Karen Jobes, 1 Peter, Kindle ed., (Baker Academic, 2005), Kindle locations, 2424-2425.
21 Grant R. Osbourne, John Verse by Verse, Kindle ed. (Lexham Press, 2018), Kindle locations, 4153-4155.
22 J. Ramsey Michaels, The Gospel of John, Kindle ed. (Eerdmans Publishing, 2010), Kindle locations, 10002-10014.
23 Danker (ed.), A Greek-English lexicon of the New Testament, 463.
24 Michaels, The Gospel of John, Kindle locations, 10004-10005.
25 Even if Woodcock is correct the kind of destruction a thief could leave (breaking furniture, etc.) would often kill a person. Woodcock, Hell, Kindle locations, 3729–3731.
26 Ibid., Kindle locations, 3733-3738.
27 Christopher W. Morgan, “Annihilationism: Will the Unsaved Be Punished Forever?”, in Hell Under Fire: Modern Scholarship Reinvents Eternal Punishment, eds. Christopher W. Morgan & Robert A. Peterson, Kindle ed. (Zondervan, 2007), Kindle locations, 4943-4950.
28 I include the list of references from my stepbible.org search so the reader can verify this. https://www.stepbible.org/?q=strong=H8077a|version=ESV&options=VHNUG&qFilter=H8077a
29 Blanchard, Whatever Happened to Hell, Kindle locations, 4405-4422.
30 Ibid.
31 Moo, “Paul on Hell”, Kindle locations, 2459-2469.
32 Cited in Alan Gomes, Evangelicals and the Annihilation of Hell, Christian Research Journal, (Spring 1991), 18; see also Larry Dixon, The Other Side of the Good News: Confronting the Contemporary Challenges to Jesus’ Teachings on Hell, (Christian Focus Publications, 2003), 97.
33 See my article cited above.

Biblical Theology Interrupted: Part 2 of A Critique of Stand To Reason’s Article “Hell Interrupted, Part 2”

This is the second part of my response to an article by Tim Barnett and Greg Koukl (henceforth B&K) of the ministry Stand to Reason, called “Hell Interrupted – Part 2.” In their article, B&K attempt to critique the conditionalist reading of the Bible via three interpretive principles drawn from a textbook on hermeneutics by William Klein, Craig Blomberg, and Robert Hubbard.1 William W. Klein, Craig L. Blomberg, and Robert L. Hubbard, Introduction to Biblical Interpretation, 3rd Ed. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2017), 264. In the first part of my response I focused only on their first two principles of interpreting passages and words in their immediate contexts. I avoided addressing their third principle because I believe that technically it isn’t an interpretive principle. In this article I will address this principle in detail. It would be best to begin by quoting this principle in full as B&K articulated it:

Biblical teaching in earlier parts of the Bible…are developed and enlarged in later revelation …. In some instances, God reveals His truth progressively [emphasis added]. Often, the first word is not the complete story. Later revelation gives us the fullest picture, the most complete characterization. Consequently, “where earlier revelation has progressively prepared the way for later formulation of God’s truth, we must give priority to the later [emphasis added].” Put simply, the final word is the last word.

Continue reading “Biblical Theology Interrupted: Part 2 of A Critique of Stand To Reason’s Article “Hell Interrupted, Part 2””

References
1 William W. Klein, Craig L. Blomberg, and Robert L. Hubbard, Introduction to Biblical Interpretation, 3rd Ed. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2017), 264.

Exegesis Interrupted: A Critique of Stand To Reason’s Article “Hell Interrupted, Part 2”

I consider myself an exegete. For seven or so years last decade during my dual degrees at Malyon College–a Baptist seminary in Brisbane, Australia–I developed a passion for biblical hermeneutics and exegesis that remains with me today.1 In this article the term hermeneutics refers to those principles one employs when interpreting and applying a text. Exegesis is the process of applying hermeneutical principles to properly read meaning out of a text. Eisegesis is the hermeneutical sin of reading meaning into a text. At the start of each semester, I would make sure I could fit every single exegetical subject into my schedule. I became capable enough in this area to be employed by the college as their first study skills tutor, a role in which I was responsible for teaching new students hermeneutical and exegetical principles. I point all this out simply to show that I am in a position to recognize when these principles may be incorrectly applied, or not even applied at all. Continue reading “Exegesis Interrupted: A Critique of Stand To Reason’s Article “Hell Interrupted, Part 2””

References
1  In this article the term hermeneutics refers to those principles one employs when interpreting and applying a text. Exegesis is the process of applying hermeneutical principles to properly read meaning out of a text. Eisegesis is the hermeneutical sin of reading meaning into a text.