Nazarene Principles ©2000

A BIBLE STUDY COURSE

#9. HOW TO STUDY. In the process of learning Nazarene principles you will also learn how to study the Bible and its teachings. So, this is a Bible study aid which may be used personally or to help others to know the Nazarene. Throughout sections of this publication there are questions which may be used in review or in teaching others. Each paragraph is numbered so you may reference particular portions. There are about 400 footnotes to amplify various points and these can be resorted to for confirmation or clarification.

#10. TRANSLATIONS. In the course of the Nazarene principles there are many Biblical verses and texts. These are rendered from the Greek in a literal rendering or paraphrase of the Christian Scriptures. In the Old Testament, or Hebrew Bible, either in the Hebrew or the Greek version called the Septuagint (LXX), specific translations will be used or compared and these are followed by abbreviations indicating the version.

#11. Some inquire which is the best version to use. There is no best version. There are only different versions, all stating with a good degree of accuracy the same fundamentals. In the Old Testament we prefer the Jewish Publication Society’s (JPS) Tanakh or Bagster’s Septuagint.(LXX) Overall for notes and marginal cross references we encourage the New Jerusalem Bible (NJB). For accuracy: Rotherham, the Revised Standard Version (RSV), An American Translation (GDS) by Smith and Goodspeed, or the New English Bible (NEB). For a moderately paraphrased modern English version, Phillips Modern English (PME). However, in the end any version will do as long as one checks certain words with a lexicon or concordance. All translation has a degree of paraphrase and interpretation.

#12. STUDY MATERIALS. It is helpful to have an interlinear13 translation keyed to Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance. Most translations are not altogether consistent in rendering14 certain words from the original and so some standard concordances will not always lead one to a particular search word. For example, the word generally translated by the English word “soul” is nephesh in Hebrew and psyche in Greek. But, some translators may use a half dozen different words to render these. Using Strong’s numerical code system the Hebrew word is 5315 and the Greek 5590. By using these numbers you can research the original meanings and the location of these in the Hebrew and Christian Bible. You will then discover with the first occurrence of 5315 that birds and fish are “living souls”. (Genesis 1:20)
13 INTERLINEAR. A version with the English under the Greek. A translation with the Strong’s numerical code is The Interlinear Bible, J. P. Green, including both OT and NT. For NT only and without the numerical code: The New Greek/English Interlinear New Testament by United Bible Societies; Diaglott by Benjamin Wilson, WBTS; Kingdom Interlinear, by WBTS.
14 CONSISTENT RENDERINGS. The New World Translation by WBTS is very consistent in renderings and is a good tool for concordance and search work.

#13. You may find it helpful to have a few translations for comparisons and some parallel15 or multi-versions with four to eight columns are available. The important thing is to be able to compare the original, seeking as an accurate rendering as possible. All (all) translations have their bias based on their theological structures and interpretations. None of this is said to give you the idea that all of this is so burdensome. You can discover the important principles or truths by reading the traditional King James Version which has served that purpose for over four-hundred years.
15 PARALLEL. For example, The Comparative Study Bible (Zondervan); The New Testament from 26 Translations (Zondervan).

#14. HOW TO INTERPET THE BIBLE? The safest and most accurate method is to let other inspired writers interpret the Bible for you. In the process of reading the Nazarene principles you will learn how the Nazarene and his inspired disciples quote and paraphrase many hundreds of verses with sources in the Jewish Hebrew and Greek Scriptures, the “Old Testament.” If one can locate these, then there is a good basis for understanding their inspired view on a particular matter. There are upwards of a thousand source words and phrases drawn from the Hebrew Scriptures including over 300 direct quotations and 1,000 paraphrases. For example, the Bible’s last book, Revelation, or the Apocalypse, makes over four dozen references to the prophet Daniel. In this way the Nazarene or other Bible writers give their inspired interpretations.

#15. After this method it is best to rely on the context and the way a certain writer used particular words. Sometimes there are two or more possibilities to an understanding. Here a bias may be formed which would indicate the way a verse most likely (but not definitely) may be understood. It must be admitted that there are some matters which cannot be firmly known at this time.

#16. In all of this a great degree of respect should be shown to others who arrive at a different view. If one finds the need to give reasons for a belief, then keep in mind First Peter (1 Peter 3:15) chapter 3, verse 15, ‘Revere the Christ as Lord in your hearts16… being always ready to make your defense to any one who asks from you a reason for the hope which you cherish17… in a gentle and respectful way.’18 (Compare Colossians 4:5, 6)
16 HEARTS. This phrase is from TCNT.
17 HOPE. This phrase is from WEY.
18 RESPECT. This phrase is from TAY.

#17. WHY THE BIBLE IS HARD TO UNDERSTAND? Some, if not most, find the Bible difficult to understand. They begin with a desire to read it and dutifully start with Genesis 1:1 but bog down in the “begats” of Numbers. For a Christian, Hebrews 1:1 is a good rule to begin with: ‘The God19, who spoke in different ways in ancient times to our fathers through the Prophets, in these Last Days20 speaks to us through a Son.’ God used to speak by means of the Prophets but now he communicates by means of His Son, Jesus Christ the Nazarene. Where would be a good place to begin reading the Bible then? Why not those “red letters” in the family’s old King James Bible?
19 THE GOD. In Greek there is only the definite article and it often precedes the word for God, ton theon, tou theou, ho theos) because in the Roman and Greek world there were other gods from which to differentiate The (Absolute) God. (Compare 1 Corinthians 8:5, 6)
20 LAST DAYS. The “last days” on the Jewish nation which experienced the end of its Temple Age in 70 AD. (Hebrews 9:26)

#18. There are several reasons for this difficulty in comprehending the Bible: 1) the Bible is a very big book21 with a long story written over two millennia covering a period of unknown eons. (Genesis 1:1 to Revelation 22:14) 2) Because it was written in Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek there some language idioms that may seem strange or foreign. 3) The syntax or language style of those writers has a different structure or form not easily grasped at first, such as very long sentences22. 4) The Bible was written by Jews to Jews and entrusted to the care of Jews23. A knowledge of this background is often helpful in comprehending what is said. 5) The mental conditioning of those who approach the Bible is often biased or even prejudiced to ideas inherited from family, religious background as well as from those subtle half-truths learned through the media. With these in mind let us begin an examination of the Nazarene principles.
21 BIG BOOK. 500,000 words, employing 8,674 different Hebrew words, and 5,624 Greek..
22 LONG SENTENCES. Compare Romans 1:1-7.
23 JEWS. See Romans 3:1, 2.

Nazarene Commentary 2000

Mark Heber Miller

2000 All Rights Reserved