breath of life

i’m ok with Koine Greek, but i don’t read Hebrew at all.  so Charles Van Der Pool’s interlinear  Apostolic Bible is a real joy to me.  it has a “literal” English translation underneath the Greek text for both the old and new testaments.  the old testament text is from the Septuagint, translated about 250 years before Christ.

when the old testament is quoted by new testament authors, they generally quoted from the Septuagint (a.k.a.: “LXX”) version.  you can tell which they used because the LXX often varies a bit from the Hebrew in ways unlikely to occur if they were translating Hebrew on the fly.  because of this scholars think that normal people during Jesus lifetime read and studied the Greek translation more than Hebrew original.

so it’s called the Apostolic Bible for good reason.  it has the same texts that the apostles could have read in their day – though it’s unlikely the gospels and epistles were collected in one place until quite a while later.

the biggest benefit to me – besides having the old and new testament Greek texts together in one place – is the concordance.  finally it’s easy to consider the meaning of a word by seeing all the times it was used in both sections of the bible.

one that had me excited this morning is in Acts 2:2.  the NIV says:

Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting

in the Greek, “violent wind” is “pnoes biaias” (πνοῆς βιαίας).  “biaias” is the adjective translated “violent”, but i wasn’t familiar with the word translated “wind”.  it’s similar to pneuma (πνεῦμά) – translated wind, breath, or spirit – but is a little different word.

so off i went to the concordance.  and it turned out there was a reason for my unfamiliarity.  it is only used twice in the new testament, the other use also in Acts at 17:25 where it’s translated “breath”.

so maybe, i thought, it was more like the sound of a “strong breath”.  the thought that came to my mind was a 40-year old blowing out the candles on his birthday cake.

but it was the old testament that helped me out most.  our word is used a number of times, but the first one is enough.

The LORD God formed the man from the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man became a living being. – Genesis 2:7

“Breath of life” (pnoen zoes – πνοὴν ζωῆς) uses the same word as the Acts 2 passage.  and it makes perfectly clear what happened in the upper room.  when God created Adam he imparted life to lifeless clay by breathing on him.  in Acts he did the same thing to 120 people.

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One Response to “breath of life”

  1. Tabea Says:

    Thanks! That helped a lot!!!!

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