Words Mean Things
For the sake of discussion let us suppose the following.
What if a concerned friend of yours came up to you and told you that a couple down the street had separated. Would you need clarification as to what separated meant? Would you ask your friend if the couple separated from your street to go on a romantic holiday or if they were now divorced or would you just understand that they had stopped living together although they were still married?
How about when someone comes up to you and starts speaking. Do you normally need to hear 3 or 4 sentences or more before you can assemble enough context to understand what they are saying? That would be the exception not the rule.
There are some who suggest that the scripture is written in just such a way. I heard such nonsense about ten years ago and have recently heard it again. The next quote is just such nonsense.
"The root fallacy explains that you can gain no special truth behind the text by looking at the greek word behind it, because the word's english equivalent is not solely dependent on the definition of the greek word.
I believe the above is utter nonsense! Is it an apology for poor translations? It may be a way of neutralizing one's responsibility to scripture? Unfortunately it is what is being taught in preaching schools today. According to this many Bible software companies have wasted their time as their software is specifically designed to let one dig deeper into the language behind the English translation.
We do actually know more about the real meanings of Koine Greek words than was known fifty years ago. When Strong's and Thayer's did their work the Koine Greek was unknown. When the KJV was translated, if the truth matters, the translators were forced to do some guessing as some of the words they were attempting to translate were unknown. Even now as new Lexicons are being written corrections are being made to many words. Unfortunately the old incorrect definitions are not always being removed so there is confusion. When one looks at those definitions, the range of meanings does make it look like Greek words have all kinds of meanings. In some other situations there are a few words that have been given new incorrect, but politically correct, meanings. In those cases the old correct meanings have been removed.
Let us look at one Greek word specifically.
I included the entire entry from Strong's. Remember that anything after the :- is not a part of the definition, but is merely a listing of ways the word was translated in the KJV. Also remember that Mr Strong stated that the first word is the most reliable word, in this case free fully, while the most radical understanding is the last word, in this case (specifically) divorce. I would add here that it sounds like Mr Strong, while acknowledging how the KJV translated words, would disagree with the nonsense statement I quoted above. Based on my understanding the radical definition in this case should not be included.
Next let us show with the use of Englishman's that in fact the KJV is relatively consistent with the translation of apoluo except in one specific location and not in all context that is similar. Perhaps they were trying to protect church doctrine and hide the truth? Take a look at the list. The words translated from apoluo will be in bold print.
Matt 1:19 minded to put her away privily.
Hopefully you noted that only one time in all of these verses was the word apoluo translated divorce. Some translations, such as the NIV, are much worse on this. The way I see it, if divorce is an accurate translation in Matthew 5:32 then it is also valid in any of the other verses. According to the false idea that Greek words have no specific meaning then divorce would be just as valid in any of the above verses. The word divorce is a legal term. So if it is valid to translate apoluo as such then one must admit that in Acts 19:41, for example, that the entire assembly was married to the town clerk of Ephesus and then divorced by him.
My point though is that those who would support the idea that divorce is what is being discussed in Matthew 5:32 do not understand the difference between being separated without being divorced and being divorced. While "set at liberty" sounds really nice it still is best to just stick to the closest meaning available. Poetry can get in the way of understanding and in scripture no one has poetic license.
(Mat 5:31 MKJV) "It was also said, Whoever shall put away (apoluo G630) his wife, let him give her a bill of divorce (apostasion G647)."
Well there are a couple articles at this web site on the particulars of divorce and adulteration. I hope you will find them useful and just how simple the scriptures are to understand if you have the right meanings of the words.
Feel free to send your helpful comments.