Philemon 1:20 – Dogmatic Alterations in the New Testament

Often times readers of the Bible encounter difficult passages and are consoled that the actual Greek will rectify and allay any concerns that might arise from that. However, when comparing the Westcott-Hort, Textus Receptus and Byzantine manuscripts we find some inconsistencies that appear to be fueled by an attempt to make the text adhere to certain Christian doctrines.

Philemon 1:20 states:

“Yes, brother, let me have joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in the Lord.”

In the three major Greek codices of the New Testament we have:

nai adelfe egw sou onaimhn en kuriw anapauson mou ta splagcna en kuriw
nai adelfe egw sou onaimhn en kuriw anapauson mou ta splagcna en kuriw
“Yes, brother, let me have joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in the Lord.”
[Textus Receptus]

nai adelfe egw sou onaimhn en kuriw anapauson mou ta splagcna en kuriw
nai adelfe egw sou onaimhn en kuriw anapauson mou ta splagcna en kuriw
“Yes, brother, let me have joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in the Lord.”
[Byzantine]

nai adelfe egw sou onaimhn en kuriw anapauson mou ta splagcna en cristw
nai adelfe egw sou onaimhn en kuriw anapauson mou ta splagcna en CHRISTOU
“Yes, brother, let me have joy from you in the Lord; refresh my heart in CHRIST.”
[Westcott-Hort]

Looks a lot like someone wanted the text to say something that it didn’t. Interestingly enough, this is one case where some English translators didn’t buy into it. This is why in the differing versions of the English New Testament some say “…in Christ” and others say “…in the Lord”.

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Published in: on February 10, 2007 at 4:12 pm  Comments (5)  

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5 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. As Salam Alikum

    Sidi I have a question for you, and please keep in mind I’m not good with this topic lol.

    To the christian Christ is both Messiah and the Lord.

    Christ is a greek word which means Messiah.Given that Jews and Christians beleive that the Messiah is divine. To herald the title “Lord” in no way diminishes that position and neither does this textual variant.

    Given that to use the term “messiah” is to infer Lordship/the Lord in judeo/christian thinking. Would they not consider this as a contradiction or corruption by utilising either term as to use either is to infer the other?

  2. Musa, not a problem. I appreciate your analysis and request for clarification. However, to sum it up in short: Your conclusion is based upon incorrect data.

    The word Mashîyach from which the English word “Messiah” is derived does not indicate any divinity whatsoever in Judaism, nor even in many sects of Christianity.

    The root of the word is משח (mashach) which simply means “to rub”. This is because kings and leaders in ancient Israel were anointed with oils as an induction.

    Never have the Jews expected their Messiah to be a human incarnation of God. This was a belief commonly held by their neighbors such as the Babylonians, Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. However, it was strongly resisted throughout the centuries by the Jewish people.

    • Yay! YOU are correct! My heart fills with love, and loving memories of my father and grandfather, and what I was taught at Hebrew school. Thank you.

      There is a lot of revisionist thought now… or something. Jews for Jesus. Sects of supposedly ultra devout Jews who venerate their community rabbis (elevating to, what seems to me, idolatrous levels of zealotry, though I am afraid to say that). Jews must NOT deify any human being! That’s tantamount to idolatry, and the reason Abraham destroyed his father’s wares, in the idol shop in Ur, between the Tigris and Euphrates. My understanding is that Islam says that Mohammed was a prophet (The Prophet), not the son of G-d. We have prophets, too. Elijah is the first that comes to mind, and Afikkomen. I don’t have the necessary character set to render that correctly, unlike you ;o) but the prophets certainly were not deities. In Judaism, the coming of the Messiah is not an event to base one’s daily activities or life plans upon. The Messiah might not arrive until the heat death of the universe, or later.

      It is strange to look at online curriculum vitae (on LinkedIn), how some Israeli men say that their interests include studying about Hashem. I never heard or read such words as Hashem or Moshiach or Yeshua, until recently. Soi disant Australian and UK Jews tell me that the name of G-d is Yeshua! Are they Jews for Jesus, or some sect of Orthodox? I don’t know, have no one to ask. I am confused by Chabad, and their Moshiach Mobile. Is that right, for them to do that?

      Your explanation of etymology, re ungents and anointing with oil, seems entirely correct to me. My grandfather from Zhytomyr was named Moses. In the U.S., he changed it to Morris in grammar school and Maurice as an adult. My grandmother, who was fluent in English, French, Ladino and of course, Yiddish, called him Moishe. When she was irritable or calling him to dinner, she would yell what sounded like “Maysh”. Neither “Maysh” nor Mashîyach has anything to do with the Messiah! (It seemed bizarre to me that Ariel Sharon, may he rest in peace, would have been considered the Messiah…by no fault of his own, as that didn’t start until he was comatose.) There isn’t specificity about the Messiah, or an afterlife in general. I was told that it is for scholars to discuss at synagogue or contemplate at prayer time. And to concern myself with being honest, fair, chaste and generous in the here and now.

      Hear, oh Israel! The Lord our G-d, the Lord is One. There is one G-d, there is no other. G-d is great, Blessed be His name. Isaac was the younger brother of Ishmael. The son is the father of the man? Love thy neighbor as thyself!
      Thank you.
      * If you don’t want to publish this, I understand, will not feel censored, nor censured. I have imposed enough already :\ I am glad that you provide wholesome and supportive insight to the religious young men who have questions about their religion. You are a good man. Please, be careful. Be well.

      lux et veritas

  3. Regarding your interchanges over at the ‘do the right thing’ blog.

    1. The owner of that blog instigates the hatred directed towards your faith.
    2. On another blog he has referred to you as ‘pedeophile enablers’ and
    3. On the same blog he actually brags about you being trounced by his religious right wing neocon friends over at his blog.

    Just wanted to let you know the true face of what you’re dealing with over here. The pastor is duplicious in his dealings with anyone who doesn’t agree with his mindset.

  4. Raoul, these observations of yours probably alarm you a lot more than they alarm me 🙂

    When these people resort to such deceptive and duplicitous tactics, they are only confessing the failure of their totem pole deity to give them the “new heart” that they claim to acquire upon being “born again”.

    Anyone who witnessed that discussion clearly saw Pastor “Do The Right Thing” delete my posts when he and his minions could not answer them.

    No skin off my back. Though, I’m sure their actions bearing witness against their own deity is a cause for far more consternation for them than it is for me 😉

    May God guide us all to His Truth.


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