Tuesday, February 10, 2009


I'm not much of a Greek student, mostly because I resonate so deeply with the Hebrew viewpoint. But I freely admit that the Greek language often has wonderful word pictures which have helped me to understand principles that seemed fuzzy on first reading. The author of the piece below, Spiros Zodhiates, has written several reference books which are filled with useful insights. He is a scholar with a good heart.


(Heb. 2:18; 4:15)

There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it. 1 Corinthians 10:13

The Greek word for "temptation" is peirasmos which is derived from the word peira, which means "experience." In order for a soldier to be experienced, he has to fight, there has to be some battle in which he is engaged. And in order for us to be experienced, for our endurance to be tested, we must also engage in a battle, and that "battle" is temptation.

If we seek to know the Lord, to love Him, and to walk closely to Him, we won't be fearful when we are called upon to face temptation. When a father takes his child by the hand to lead him through the dark woods, the response of the child may be fear, and he may not want to go that way. But that may be the only path by which they can reach their home. The fact that his father is holding his hand will give the child the courage that he needs.

(Zodhiates, Spiros. 1998. The Lord's Prayer. Second Revised edition. Chattanooga, TN: AMG Publishers., pgs 282-283)

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting Donna. In regards to resisting temptation and our need to become experienced soldiers, I'm also reminded of a statement one of the Rabbi Commentators, Ibn Ezra, once made when comparing the raising up of Moses' hands during the battle with Amalek. He had two explanations which were (I have freely borrowed from http://hirhurim.blogspot.com/2009/02/responding-to-crises-with-emunah.html:

    The first is that "emunah" here means strong and steady, as it does in a number of places in the Bible. This is the most widely accepted explanation, adopted by the Ramban and Rashbam in their commentaries, Radak and R. Yonah ibn Janach in their respective Sefer Ha-Shorashim, and most modern commentators and English translations. The lesson I see here is that in response to crisis we should not waver. We cannot afford to give in to depression or otherwise slip in our practices and attitudes. It is easy to have faith when times are good. It's when times are tough that you need your faith most but it is the hardest to find. You can't waver; you can't let it slip.

    IV. Growth Through Overcoming Difficulty

    The Ibn Ezra's second explanation is that "emunah" is related to "omen" in Esther 2:7: "ויהי אמן את הדסה - And Mordechai had brought up (omen) Hadassah". Ibn Ezra continues to explain this, and the footnote in the Mossad Ha-Rav Kook edition expands upon it, that in our context the word means that Moshe's arms learned how to hold themselves up. In other words, they became self-sustaining. While Moshe initially needed help from Aharon and Chur, his arms became self-sustaining. The lesson I see here for dealing with a crisis is that it is even possible to grow from challenges and to become stronger.