Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong.
Thursday, February 02, 2012
A deep look
Last week, after sharing at my small group Bible study, I was talking to a friend about how we go so deep when we are preparing to teach, but stay superficial in our personal devotion times. Based on that, I decided to take time to look deep at a verse of the Scripture.
The verse chosen this week is I Corinthians 16.13 and teach us a lot how to behave in a way that honors God.
I Corinthians 16.13 - A deep look
The verse can be divided in 2 parts, according to the verbs.
A. Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; (Gregoreite, stekete en te pistei,)
Verb ending: eite = Present Imperative Active, 2nd person
Active Voice: the subject performs, produces or experiences the activity. The action is being accomplished by the subject.
Gregoreite: means “be on the alert, keep watch”. Occurs 23 times in the New Testament, with the literal meaning of stay awake, as in Mark 13, when Jesus ask the disciples to stay awake while he prays in the Getsemani; or figurative as be vigilant, as in Mt. 24, when Jesus tells us to be alert, cause nobody knows the he will be back, or as in Acts 20.31, when Paul is teaching the elders of the church in Ephesus to be alert about false prophets. About our own lives, it occurs with the meaning as “keep a watch around yourself”, as in the present verse, in Colossians 4.2 (“Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and thankful”).
Stekete: means “stand firm, stand fast, to persevere”. Occurs 11 times in the New Testament, literally meaning when someone stands somewhere waiting for something, as in Mark 3.31; or figuratively to stand firm in the Lord or in the Faith in Galatians 5.1; Philippians 1.27, 4.1; I Thessalonians 3.8 and II Thessalonians 2.15, as well as in the present verse.
En te pistei: in the dative voice, indicates the means by which “stekete” is done or accomplished.
My translation: HEY, you, DO IT! Open your eyes, be alert about what we talked and PERSEVERE, stay firm in the faith you have. Just one more thing: DO IT NOW!!
B. Be men of courage; be strong. (andrizesthe, krataiousthe.)
Verb ending: sthe - Present Imperative Middle, 2nd person
Middle Voice: The subject initiates and participates in the action. He performs the action upon himself or for his own benefit.
Andrizesthe: means ‘act like men, be brave’. The only occurrence in the Bible, comes from the word ‘andrizo’ (in the present tense: ego andrizomai - I behave like a man, I am brave). The word brings the idea of be a full grow, mature man; to be courageous by taking initiatives God reveals through faith (pistei, word to which andrizo is strictly connected).
Krataiousthe: means ‘be strong, empower yourself (or let yourself be empowered)’. The word is used 4 times. Luke uses this word twice in the known verses about how John Baptist grew - Luke 1.80 (“And the child grew and became strong in spirit; and he lived in the desert until he appeared publicly to Israel”); and also about Jesus - Luke 2.40 (“And the child grew and became strong; he was filled with wisdom, and the grace of God was upon him”). Paul uses this verb twice two, once here and the other occurrence is in Ephesians 3.16, when Paul prays “that out of his glorious riches he may strengthen you with power through his Spirit in your inner being”.
My translation: HEY, you, LIVE IT!! Experience acting like a men, make it your lifestyle, be brave, do what is right for God. Also, be empowered by the Spirit. Don’t listen only, but LIVE IT, EXPERIENCE. Ah, and do it NOW!
Paul imperatively uses this 4 verbs to express what he expects from the Corinthians, what God expects from them. The imperative voice is used in Greek to make a call to a long term commitment, for a attitude or action to be one’s continual way of life, lifestyle.
So Paul's calling for the Corinthians is for a lifestyle of vigilance, perseverance in faith, maturity and empowerment by the Spirit.
In the hope of presenting myself blameless in front of my King,