Monday, January 29, 2018

Greet one another with a holy kiss.  The churches of Christ salute you” (Romans 16:16).

Beginning with verse 3 through 16, the King James Version uses the word “greet” five times and “salute” twelve.  All seventeen are from the same Greek word aspazomai.  Both English words mean the same thing and either one is correct.  It illustrates human rather than divine choice.

This greeting or saluting is given as a command four times (Romans 16:16; 2 Corinthians 13:12; 1Thessalonians 5:26; and 1 Peter 5:14).  Paul commands it thrice and Peter once.

The second half of this verse also contains the same Greek word, translated by some versions as “greet” and others as “salute.”  The KJV uses the English word “salute.” Although there is a tendency to focus on the expression, “the churches of Christ,” in the second half, some miss the significance of all six words and their relationship to the seven found in the first part of verse 16!

These four passages are a singular command!

Greet one another with a holy kiss” (Romans 16:16).

Greet one another with a holy kiss” (2 Corinthians 13:12).

Greet all the brethren with a holy kiss” (1 Thessalonians 5:26).

Greet ye one another with a kiss of charity” (1 Peter 5:14).

Both Romans 16:16 and 2 Corinthians 13:13 add the following:

The churches of Christ salute you” (Romans 16:16) and “All the saints salute you” (2 Corinthians 13:13).

This is a command for all assemblies as well as all members in those assemblies!  It is the expected greeting of the churches of Christ because Paul, Peter, and the Holy Spirit command it.  Some understand it to be an approved apostolic command!

Most members of conservative churches are not in love with The Living Bible or The Message because of the liberties both take with the Greek text.  The Living Bible (TLB) renders 2 Corinthians 13:12-13 as, “Greet each other warmly in the Lord.  All the Christians here send you their best regards.”  The Message gives us, “Greet one another with a holy embrace.  All the brothers and sisters here say hello.”  Romans 16:16 is translated in the TLB as, “Shake hands warmly with each other.  All the churches here send you greetings.”  The Message produces, “Holy embraces all around.  All the churches of Christ send their warmest greetings.”

If the TLB was the only English Bible in existence, no one would know that a “kiss” was commanded by Paul, Peter, or the Holy Spirit.  The expression “the churches of Christ” would not be there so the singular could not be used as a descriptive biblical designation.  If the Message was the only English text, the command would be “holy embraces” rather than “a kiss.”

Both translations take liberties with the Greek text, translating verses into today’s traditions rather than give us the biblical command with the specific act given!  Charges are made that these two “Bibles” are not true translations.  Some congregations would not allow either to be read in classroom or pulpit.  Yet, those translations express the exact practices used by the objectors!  This seems to be a contradiction by doing the very thing that is being objected to!

If one is asked if the TLB or Message correctly translate those four verses, a definite “No” would be heard.  However, the very thing expressed in those translations is what most churches practice.  Why the objection?  Someone might respond that neither translation gives what the Greek states.  That may be true, but why doesn’t the objector practice what the true translation commands rather than practice what is found in these bogus translations?  If we are not going to practice what is specifically stated, why not change the Bible to harmonize with our practice?  Isn’t that what the King James translators did in several passages because a correct rendering would put a specific church doctrine in conflict with the Bible?  Didn’t the future English translations continue that deception?  Isn’t that why some serve hamburgers and Cokes rather than unleavened bread and fruit of the vine on the Lord’s table?

Perhaps an examination is needed of the rules that our hermeneutic rest upon.  If it is faulty, our conclusions will be.  Perhaps the question the Jewish court asked the apostles, is a good one for us to answer.

By what power or what name did you do this?” (Acts 4:7).