Monday, February 17, 2014

The Importance of Discernment

In R.C. Sproul's St. Andrew's Expository Commentary on Acts, the Epilogue cites 2 Timothy 4:6-22 and talks about Paul's last days on earth.  The following excerpt is found on page 433:
"Paul's death is very close, yet the words he used were "my departure is at hand."  The Greek word translated "departure" is the word analusis, from which we get the English word analysis.  So a more literal translation might be "the time of my analysis is near."  If Paul were to write that today, we would think that he had an appointment with a psychiatrist or a tax attorney.  When the term analysis was first coined, it was closer to the original Greek meaning.  To analyze something was to parse it, to make close and careful distinctions as one part of something was separated from another.  Paul was saying that in a very short time his body was going to be separated from his soul.  He would still be alive, and his soul would enter into the presence of Christ, though his body would be put into a grave."
That sounds very scholarly, but from the Noah Webster's 1828 American Dictionary of the English Language, a derivative is a word which takes its origin in another word, or is formed from it.  Therefore, the derivative analysis does not define analusis because a derivative does not define the origin of the word; it's the other way around.  You can get an idea of what a derivative word means when you know the original word, which  is one of the benefits of learning Latin and Greek.  However, it is illogical to say that the word 'analysis' is a "more literal translation" than departure because it is a derivation of the Greek word.  I'm very surprised that paragraph made it through the editing process.  It's important to look at the logic of the argument and not just the grammar or the nice sounding idea.

My desire is to develop a higher level of biblical discernment, which is why I started this blog and why I want to have a working knowledge of Koine Greek.  I also want our boys to understand the importance of discernment.  One of the advantages of homeschooling is the ability to teach them logic and rhetoric.  These skills equip them to read and write based on the truth of God's word and not what's politically correct or academically accepted.
As Christians, we should all be biblically discerning in this present age.

"For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for he is a babe. But strong meat belongeth to them that are of full age, even those who by reason of use have their senses exercised to discern both good and evil," (Heb. 5:12-14).