Do Words Matter?

The Hebrew word K’ne•si•ya, which is translated into Greek as Ekklesia (church) is almost identical to Hebrew Word beit k’ne•set (synagogue). Both relate to the function of the house of prayer: gathering the believers for prayer and worship, and congregating. The root of this word is kânas (kaw-nas’), and it yields such terms as le-khanes, to gather or collect; le-hikanes, to enter; k’nisa, an entrance; kenes, a convention or congress; bet-k’neset, a place of gathering, i.e., a synagogue (hence, too, Israel’s Knesset or Parliament); k’nesiya, a church.

The word synagogue is a Greek word meaning “a gathering together.” The Modern Hebrew word for a “synagogue” is בית-כנסת (beyt-keneset) which literally means “house of the assembly.” The word בית (beyt, Strong’s #1004) is a Biblical Hebrew word meaning “house,” but the word כנסת (keneset) is not. However, it’s verbal root כנס (kânas, Strong’s #3664), is found in the Hebrew Bible and means “to bunch up together” or simply, “to assemble.” The word כנסת (keneset) is also used in Modern Hebrew for the “Israeli Parliament.”

Do we need to put aside our traditional understanding of the Scriptures and replace it with another one more faithful to the original text perspective. The Jesus that will emerge will be different than what we thought we knew. Here is the catch: instead of reading it, as if it was written for 21 century Gentile Christians, we need to read it as if it was written, for the first-century peoples of ancient Israel. The book proves what Krister Stendahl stated long time ago: “Our vision is often more abstracted by what we think we know than by our lack of knowledge.”

A Hard Word

“Jesus said these things while he was teaching in the synagogue at Capernaum. When many of his disciples heard it, they said, “This teaching is difficult; who can accept it?” But Jesus, being aware that his disciples were complaining about it, said to them, “Does this offend you?……..Because of this many of his disciples turned back and no longer went about with him. So Jesus asked the twelve, ‘Do you also wish to go away?’ Simon Peter answered him, ‘Lord, to whom can we go? You have the words of eternal life. We have come to believe and know that you are the Holy One of God.'”

The first hard word truth is this: Jesus was born a Jew, lived as a Jew, was crucified as a Jew, was raised from the dead as a Jew and is coming back as King of the Jews.

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