Yes LORD (Part 2)

We have it easy today. You can login to Amazon and buy your favorite Bible translation in English, Spanish, Korean, Arabic... you name it. That wasn't always the case. A long time ago, reading the Hebrew Scriptures meant reading them in, well, Hebrew.

Legend has it that one day a guy named Ptolemy II (the P is silent) thought he would build a vast library of the world's most important books. He decided that the Hebrew Scriptures deserved a spot on the shelf and had them translated into Greek, the popular language of the day. This happened somewhere around 250 BC and they eventually called it the Septuagint. By the way, that's a great word to use with your friends and family if you want to sound like a pompous know it all.

Translating old books into new languages isn't always easy. Heck, translating basic signs into English seems to be troublesome at times.

I guess this could be happening. Maybe.

I think that would only aggravate the situation.

No thank you.

One issue that came up was how to translate yahweh, the divine name of God. Eventually, the Septuagint chose to use the Greek word kyrios. Kyrios is a lot like the Hebrew word adon, which we talked about last time. It can mean lord, master, owner, and sometimes God, so we can kind of see why they chose this word. Unfortunately, this was probably the beginning of treating "Lord" as if it was God's name.

And then along came the New Testament. Sometimes the New Testament likes to use kyrios for God. In Luke 1:6, the parents of John, the cousin of Jesus, are described as "observing all the Lord's (kyrios) commandments and regulations blamelessly." But kyrios isn't just used for God. It's also used for Jesus. Lots of times in the Gospels, kyrios is used to address him, kind of like saying "sir." This isn't the only way it's used, but check out John 4:11 and 4:15 where kyrios is translated "sir" in many English translations. The letters of Paul frequently use kyrios for Jesus, but not simply as an address. Jesus is more than sir to Paul. Philippians 2:5-11 is a great example. In this passage, Paul describes the humble attitude of Jesus, who gave up everything for humanity yet found himself exalted. The passage culminates in verses 9-11 (NIV):

Therefore God exalted him to the highest place
and gave him the name that is above every name,
that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow,
in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is kyrios,
to the glory of God the Father.

More than sir. More than someone simply held in honor. For Paul, Jesus Christ was Lord.


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