Saints, Cubs, and Preaching to the Preacher

“And if you ask, ‘Who is Amos or Abdias, or what is the number of the Prophets or Apostles?’ they cannot even open their mouths. But with regard to the horses or charioteers, they can compose a discourse more clever than the sophists or rhetors.” (St. John Chrysostom, Homilies on the Gospel of St. John, LVIII).

I referenced this in my sermon on Sunday, Within the Octave of All Saint’s Day. I followed with the question, “Can you name the Twelve Tribes of Israel? Can you name the nine of the Cubs who won the World Series? Or 12 of the actors in your favorite movie?”

Pastors preach to themselves. Yes, I can name the 12 tribes…at least on a good day (frankly it is something I’ve been refreshing myself on as I read Genesis this month), but we still preach to ourselves. So we all look to our weaknesses and strengths. Knowing the Scriptures is pretty basic. Learning who the saints are is good.

In my vocation, I know the Scriptures, have a vocational, and avocational interest in the Saints, but I don’t remember and know Hebrew like I once did or should. So that’s my intent. I’m going back to basics, and by next year hope to be reading Hebrew at least as well as I do Greek, maybe better.

I’ve already started.



Jewish Translation of Genesis 3:15

I’ve run into two different translations of Gen. 3:15 from the Torah which read, “You shall bruise their heel, and they shall…”. Yes, plural instead of m/s/n singular. The Hebrew is clearly singular, so what gives?

In Bible Study I suggested this was out-and-out anti-Christian translation to eliminate this as a prophesy of the Messiah. But I did some more research, and, while this still may be true, it also is a result of the singular/plural ambiguity of the word translated “seed,” which Christians render as singular, and Jews translate in the plural, referring to Israel.