There really is no substitute for having some knowledge of the original languages when it comes to studying the Bible. Don’t get me wrong. I have great appreciation for the labors of many of those who have translated the Bible into English. However, when you are able to look at the Greek and see the nuances that don’t come across in the English text it can give great insight into the Spirit-inspired word of God.
Take 2 Timothy 1:7 for example. I’ve been attempting to memorize the book of 2 Timothy this year. I started off strong, then fell off a bit, but now am coming back with vengeance. Anyway, this is how it reads in a few English translations:
- NASB: For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.
- KJV: For God hath not given us a spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.
- HCSB: For God has not given us a spirit of fearfulness, but one of power, love, and sound judgment.
- ESV: For God gave us a spirit not of fear but of power and love and self-control.
- NET: For God did not give us a Spirit of fear but of power and love and self-control.
As we turn our attention now to the book of Joshua, it is worth taking a step back for a couple of minutes to consider the entire Hebrew Bible. Our English translation Old Testaments begin with Genesis and end with Malachi, and there is a logical order of the books. The first five books are Law, then there is History beginning with Joshua and going through Esther. Then you’ve got Poetry from Job to the Song of Solomon, and then the Prophets, first the major ones, Isaiah, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, and then the minor ones, from Hosea to Malachi.
The Hebrew Bible is also ordered logically, though not by the same logic. There are three main divisions in the Hebrew Bible, the Old Testament, and you have seen them referenced by Jesus Himself in the New Testament – the Law, the Prophets, and the Writings. The Law in the Hebrew Bible is the first five books, what we have looked at thus far, Genesis to Deuteronomy, the Pentateuch, the Torah. The Prophets are divided into the Former Prophets and the Latter Prophets. The Former Prophets are most of the books we consider to be history, while the Latter Prophets go from Isaiah through Zephaniah. The Writings are the rest, and they actually end with Chronicles.
As we progress in our study we will look more closely at the significance of all of that, but I bring it up now because Joshua is the beginning of the books considered to be the Prophets, and in particular the Former Prophets. And how does Joshua begin? With a commissioning by God Himself. Continue reading