Fighting Words

This post about fighting words is a spinning-off of the post War and Rumors. This is not a complete study of fighting words. These Greek words have different English words they are translated into like strife, quarrel, boxing, and others. I used the NIV, Mounce Reverse-Interlinear, Strong’s Concordance, and the KJV to do this study.

Logomachia-G3055-1 Timothy 6:3-5. Fighting about words. It is used only once in the Bible.

Agōnizomai-G75-John 18:36 and 1Timothy 6:12 (the first word). This refers to a person fighting in public.

Agōn-G73-1Timothy 6:12 (Second word), 2 Timothy 4:7. This refers to where the fight is occurring, like a stadium.

Machomai-G3164-James 4:2. To fight, quarrel, contend or dispute. It is used in Acts 7:26 and other verses.

Polemeō-G4170-James 4:2 and Revelation 2:16. To quarrel, fight, battle, or make war.

Pykteuō-G4438-1 Corinthians 9:26. To box, fight, or beat with your fist. The object of this is beating (derō) the air.

Strateia-G4752-2 Corinthians 10:4. Military service or campaign. This word is also in 1 Timothy 1:18. In most translations, it has two “war or fight” words, but in the Mounce Interlinear, it only has one. It could be read-look at the prophecies about you and have a good campaign. I do not envy translators.

Theomachos-G2314-Acts 5:39. Fighting or opposing God. Theomachos is used only once in the Bible.

James 4:1 also has words that describe fighting/quarreling and disputes. It is polemos-G4171. Again, different translations will give you different words. This word is also used for battle or war.

Linguistics (study of words) is not a simple academic field. Combine that with dogma and you have a difficult task, to say the least. Latin, Greek, Aramaic, and Hebrew may still be in use in one form or another, but I feel we do not understand how the original people used these words and phrases. My case-in-point is all of the musical terms and not-understood lines in the Hebrew text. If you really want to feel bad, wade into the tenses and break down of the ancient Greek text. Yes, these may be necessary but they are not for everyone.

I believe there is a good understanding and many faithful renderings of Scripture. It is distressing to see a modern Logomachia over Scripture. My prayer is that we do not extend this into a Theomachos over His plan and purpose for His Church. (They may have been used once in the New Testament but letters today would repeat them many times.)

As I pondered all of this, a strange comparison came into view. The original language that the New Testament was written in was Greek, not Latin. But it did not take long to convert Scripture and most religious writings into Latin. Greek was more for the common people and Latin was for knowledgeable people. Latin was favored by the learned- science, theology, and other subjects taught in universities. For what it is worth, the greatest thing the Reformers did was to translate the Bible out of a dying language to one that the people could understand.

The comparison and contrast I saw were the two trees in the Garden-one was for Knowledge and the other was for Life. Jesus’ teachings on the Kingdom, with miracles confirming His words, were new treasures given to bring life to hurting people. This is why the Pharisees and Sadducees opposed Him, Jesus’ teachings clarified and used Scripture in a way that went against their knowledge. (Of course, claiming to be the Son of Man also got under their knowledge-skin and dogma.)

The modern fighting over words is now with liberal, woke, post-modernist who are changing the God-given uses of words into something different, something anti-God.  

Yeast

This study on yeast will focus on Matthew 16: 5-12, where we get the term “yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees”. Some background information will help make sense of my study. (See below for other studies on yeast.) I have termed this section of Scripture the third block of teaching about the Kingdom of God (Matthew 13:53 to 20:34).

Pharisees and Sadducees

The Sadducees aligned with the priest or kohen. It is probable that Zachariah, the father of John the Baptist, was a Sadducee. The Temple was the center of their religious world.

The Pharisees believed more in the priesthood of every father for his family. They still worshipped at the Temple, but the local synagogue was their focus.

Both groups had their own “teachers of the Law”. Many times, the term applies to the Sadducees, but it may have been specific men inside each group.

In the Gospel of Matthew, there are four groups of scriptures that have these two groups in conflict with Jesus-Chapter 9, Chapter 12, Chapters 15-16, and Chapters 19-23. Yes, there are other references. Chapters 15 and 16 come after feeding the 5,000 and the 4,000. (Only Matthew and Mark have the feeding of the 4,000.) Matthew has the Pharisees confronting Jesus after the feeding of the 5,000 with the complaint that the disciples (people) did not wash their hands according to the oral tradition. Where would they find that much water on the mountainside? Matthew 15:12 states that Jesus’ answer offended them. After feeding the 4,000, the Pharisees demanded a “sign from heaven” to prove Jesus was for real. In Chapter 19, they ask about divorce and the same topic comes into play on the Temple Mount before Passover.

Yeast

In the Bible, there is two yeast. Physical yeast for making bread, beer, and wine (The Egyptians used baked bread to make beer.), and metaphorical yeast, as in Matthew 16:6 and Matthew 13:33. Most of the references to yeast carry a negative connotation however, in 13:33 it refers to the work of the Church of Jesus.

I want to share a yeast of the Pharisees and Sadducees from 16:5-7. The disciples forgot bread and then decided Jesus was mad because- “It is because we didn’t”. Yes, this is just part of verse seven, but the principle is there. We didn’t do something; how can we be good enough?

The yeast of the kingdom is different. The best two examples I thought of were Matthew 28:19, “go and make disciples”. My other one is Acts 2: 42- “they devoted themselves to”. You may have others, but these are the two that came to my mind.

Yeast-Before Passover

Yeast, a Model of Church Growth

Yeast, All Bad?

What I Learned From Yeast

Holy Spirit

For Pentecost 2022, I was looking at the term (logos) Holy Spirit and found this interesting fact. Out of the New Testament writers, Doctor Luke uses Holy Spirit the most. (These are approximate numbers because translations are different.) Holy Spirit is used 100 times in the New Testament, 55 of those are used by Luke. The Greek doctor, who traveled with Paul and spent time with Mary, the mother of Jesus, and John, mentioned the Holy Spirit more than all the other writers combined. In his Gospel, it appears 13 times, with the rest (42 or 43) being in Acts. Luke wrote these letters to Theophilus (friend of God).

Other Tidbits

  • Ruach HaKodesh or HaKo’desh is Hebrew for Holy Spirit. Ruach is breath, wind, or spirit.
  • Hagios Pneuma is Greek for Holy Spirit. Pneuma is breath, wind, or spirit.
  • If you look in the KJV, use the term Holy Ghost instead of Holy Spirit.

The Sermons on the Mounts-War and Rumors

In Matthew 24 Jesus has finished His sermons on the Temple Mount, for the leaders and the crowds, and is going to the Mount of Olives. The disciples comment about the stones of the Second Temple, built by Herod, and Jesus predicts they are coming down. (Rome accomplished this in 70 A.D.) Back on the Mount of Olives, the disciples ask when the end will come, this is the start of several lessons about the end times and the kingdom of God. Jesus, in Matthew 24:6, uses the phrase, “wars and rumors of war”. Mark 13:7 and Luke 21:9 also are references, Luke has the term revolutions.

War or Battle

We do not tend to think of these as the same thing, but in the Greek (Strong’s 4171) they are the same word or from the same root word-polemos. There are a few times polemos is translated as the word fight. The occurrence of this word/idea is rare in the Gospels but not in the Epistles. (Mounce Reverse Interlinear NT) The above verses account for most times it is translated as war with Luke 14:31 being the other time, it talks about a king planning a war.

I find it interesting that Paul and the other Epistle writers talk about war, battles, and fighting more than Jesus did.

Rumor

Akoe (Strong’s G 189) is the Greek word for a rumor. This is a root for many words that deal with hearing or reports.

In studying the idea of rumors, I found two Old Testament verses that cover rumors very well. These are from the NIV.

Jeremiah 51:46 tells us to not lose heart because a new rumor shows up every year.

Ezekiel 7:26-Calamity upon calamity will come, and rumor upon rumor.

The major difference between then and now is these reports can appear in minutes instead of months.

Fight

To introduce the difference between fight and battle and not talk a little about it now, did not seem right. In the New Testament, several words (5 to 8) are translated as the word fight. They indicate levels of conflict and possible places. One is strictly about fighting over words.

On the Mounts

 For those that want to think Jesus just walked about saying love, love; I will point to these sermons before His death. These interactions should be classified as fighting and the whole morning in the Temple as battle after battle, or a war.

The types and shadows of these days started with Abraham leading Isaac to the mount to be sacrificed, Joshua’s journey into the Promised Land, David’s return after the death of Absalom, and Elisha’s trip to Mt Carmel.

Jesus cleansed the Temple and ended the curse of fig leaf acts started by Adam and Eve. He silenced the religious leaders and prophesied the end of the Second Temple. Jesus’ sorties from the east bank included raising a dead man, healing blind eyes, and bringing a sinner back to the Father. He cried over Jerusalem and announced His death, then still did a victory ride into the city to fulfill the words of Zechariah 9:9.

Yes, there have been wars and reports of wars, how could we expect anything else. Come, Lord Jesus!