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Interpretation of Various Verses


In the following e-mail exchanges, the e-mailers' comments are in black and enclosed in "greater than" and "lesser than" signs. My comments are in red.

>What does it mean: "now after [the] Sabbaths" in Matthew 28:1? The other gospels have a singular Sabbath (Jesus rose again after one Sabbath: Friday-Saturday-Sunday). I know there is a reason for Matthew recording it under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, but what does it mean? Why is it plural?


For some reason the word "Sabbath" is often in the plural in the Greek text when it would seem that the singular would make more sense. Most versions change it to a singular in translation for this reason. But for my ALT I translated it as a plural since that is what it is (e.g. Matt 12:1,5,10,11,12; Mark 1:21; 2:23,24; 3:2,4; 4:16,31; 6:2,9). But exactly what the reason is for this I am really not sure.

However, an important point here is that Seventh Day Adventists will claim that since in Col 2:16 Paul uses the plural “Sabbaths” rather than the singular he is not referring to the weekly, seventh-day Sabbath but to “special” Sabbaths. But since the synoptic Gospels use the plural “Sabbaths” to refer to the seventh-day Sabbath, then this argument doesn’t hold up. As such, Paul’s teaching that keeping “Sabbaths” is not a requirement for today applies to the seventh-day Sabbath and not just to “special” Sabbaths.

>Subject: Matthew 28:18-20

Could you give me your take on this Scripture? One church in particular is translating this "... go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing THEM (meaning disciples) in the name of .... and teaching them to obey ....."

They're saying you have to be made into a disciple before you can be baptized. Now I see it as "...go and make disciples of all nations, BY (and by is not used) baptizing them ... and teaching them to obey...

My Key Word Study Bible has the word "make" as an Aorist Active Imperative and the words baptizing and teaching as Present Active Participles. Know these grammatical codes has not helped me figure out what the correct translation is. It's All Greek to ME! It seems to make a BIG difference.

Thank you in advance, I would really appreciate your help.


I translated this verse as, “When you* have gone, make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" (ALT).

So my translation is similar to the one you mention. In fact, probably most any version would be. As you indicate, only the word "make disciples" is an imperative, so that is the command in the verse. "baptizing" as a participle is subordinate to this imperative.

Now is is possible to take participles in the instrumental sense and thus translate it as "by." But more common is the temporal sense, which is to say in the verse the sense would be, "make disciples, THEN baptize them." And frankly, I would agree with this rendering and the resultant interpretation.,

I assume you are trying to make the verse teach that baptism is essential to salvation. Although using the instrumental sense is possible, most versions do not translate it this way as it is rather unlikely.

In addition, I personally disagree with the idea that baptism is essential to salvation and discuss why in my Scripture Workbook.

Thanks for your help.



>I have a question on a certain verse in the Bible. It reads: "But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who taught Balak to put a stumbling block..." (Revelation 2:14 NKJV). In the Greek Received Text Textus Receptus it reads:

All ecw kata sou oliga oti eceiV ekei kratountaV thn didachn Balaam, os edidasken en to Balak balein skandalon...

Disregarding textual variants, I am wondering about the en before to Balak. This is ignored in the NKJV, but how should it be translated? It wouldn't make sense to say "in Balak", but since en is sometimes translated "by" as in 1 John 2:3, it would make sense to say:

""But I have a few things against you, because you have there those who hold the doctrine of Balaam, who was taught by Balak to put a stumbling block..."

Is this a legitimate translation of the TR? And if so, does it make more sense since it was Balak who hired Balaam to get him to curse Israel (not discrediting Balaam's part)?


As far as I can tell, only Stephen's 1550 edition of the TR (used in George Ricker Berry's Interlinear) has en, in this verse. All other editions of the TR, along with the MT and the CT, do not have the word. And the textual evidence strongly indicates that the word is not original.

That said, if en were included you could translate it as you indicate, but again, it is very doubtful that the word belongs in the text.

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