A family’s public reputation, their “name,” was of critical importance in their communal society. Knowing this helps us decode a much misunderstood word in our Bibles, the Hebrew word shem, which overlaps with the English word “name” but is actually much broader.
Have you noticed the latest food trend? Growing numbers of people are into artisanal foods. They love organic cheeses and heirloom vegetables, farmer’s markets and food co-ops. They want to eat slow food, not fast food. It takes more time and effort, but it’s worth it, they say. You know what? I’m into artisanal Bible […]
A friendly, bite-sized study of five flavorful Hebrew words. Readers taste the ancient wisdom of Hebrew and see how useful it can be for reading both Old and New Testaments. (Ebook, 2014)
There are some Hebrew words that really can’t be translated into English, and pakad is one of the most fascinating. It can be a wonderful word or a terrible word, depending on the context. How can this be?
Many of us are frustrated by why no one seems to be able to come up with one perfect English Bible translation. Why are there so many versions? Why can’t we just have one final, best English translation? A major reason is because of one aspect of language that most of us don’t appreciate. When […]
When you speak, you “paint.” Each language has a palette with a finite amount of colors that have evolved from the cultural memories of its users. When you try to “paint” a scene in a different language, the same words can have different shades of meaning, so the result is never exactly the same.
The word “fear” is common in the Old Testament, and to many it sounds like we should cringe in dread of God’s presence. We also find “fear” in the New Testament too. Why is there so much fear in the Bible?
I recently told you about some of the interesting Norwegian words I grew up saying, like “uff-da” and “vasakope.” As my immigrant ancestors were learning English, they hung on to words in their mother tongue that did a better job of expressing what they meant to say. My relatives weren’t the only ones doing this. […]
I’ve been thinking about Hebrew words and language lately, and analyzing the words that I use. I’ve noticed that my vocabulary is peppered with words from other languages. Many of my unusual words come from my Norwegian ancestors. For instance, I grew up saying uff-da. Many have seen “uff-da” on bumper-stickers and refrigerator magnets, but I […]
I love Hebrew words. I can’t count the number of times that learning a definition has deepened my understanding of not just one Bible passage, but many. Recently I’ve posted a couple examples to show you what I mean. In the article “Does God Forget Sins?” I explain how the words for “remember” and “forget” […]
Biblical Hebrew includes only about 8,000 words, far fewer than the 100,000 or more we have in English. Because Hebrew has so few words, each is like an over-stuffed suitcase, bulging with extra meanings that it must carry in order for the language to fully describe reality. Unpacking each word is a delightful exercise in […]
You have to admit, some Bible passages are real head- scratchers. For instance, in several places God says, “I will not remember your sins.” But how can God, in his infinite intellect, forget something? And what does he expect of us, since we pray, “forgive us our sins as we forgive those who sin against […]