Arguing the Bible is the least attractive use of language for the topic. However, it is a reality that the Bible is argued, among many other topics, particularly about its authenticity and its views. The first weapon to use in any argument is knowledge. If a person doesn’t thoroughly or even partially know his or her topic – their argument is nothing more than an opinion. Those pro-Bible people should know that the Bible itself warns against arguing its authenticity; people either believe it or they don’t, but, these battles still do exist. The anti-Bible people should know which tools to use to authenticate their side of the banter.
Another good thing to know is that the Bible has been translated in to many languages for practical use. Its original languages were Hebrew and Greek. As any bilingual person knows, although the content of a translated sentence is the same, sometimes the feeling or the intent is lost. So, to glorify or tear apart a certain scripture, one must first dig down to that scripture’s original meaning in the original language. The results are always interesting.
Ã¢Â?Â¢ A King James Version of the Bible
Ã¢Â?Â¢ A Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Probably a pair of magnifying readers as the print can be small
Who was King Jimmy?
Back in the 1600’s, many people could not read or write. They were farmers. King James was a historical person of power who, as an advocate for literacy, wanted the Bible “translated in the English tongue to one settled original”. The Holy Bible was printed in 1611. Though this topic can be widely argued – so be it, but that’s who King James was.
What is a Concordance?
The definition of concordance is an alphabetical index of the principal words in a book or the works of an author with their immediate contexts. Thus, the Strong’s Exhaustive Concordance is an index of scriptures in the Bible that separates word by word, which is why it is called exhaustive. So, if you want to argue the “eye for an eye” scripture, just look up eye in the Strong’s book to find almost 200 entries starting from Exodus to Revelation of where the exact word eye was used. This is not to include eyes (which has its own column), eye’s, or eye-witness, etc. Everything is very clearly separated.
So, How Do I Use This Book?
The first thing to understand about the Strong’s reference book is that it is separated in to three sections: The Main Concordance, The Hebrew and Chaldee Dictionary, and The Greek Dictionary. When using the dictionaries, it is important to note that each word follows a number. So, when looking up eye in Exodus, the reference number is 5869. When looking up eye in Matthew, the reference number is 3788. The Hebrew dictionary is organized with straight numbers (5869), and the Greek dictionary is organized by italicized numbers (3788.)
To use the book, one must also familiarize him or herself with the abbreviations provided in the general preface. For example: Ge is the abbreviation for Genesis, M’t is the abbreviation for Matthew. Since they are listed chronologically, anyone with the knowledge of the books of the Bible may have an easier time navigating.
After the abbreviation of the book, there are numbers separated by a colon ( : ), M’t 5:38. The number before the colon is the chapter of the book. The number after the colon is the verse within that chapter. Therefore, M’t 5:38 would be the book of Matthew, chapter 5, and verse 38. At the far right is a number used as a reference for definition.
The Main Concordance is used to actually find the scripture being looked up, such as “an eye for an eye”. Below, the “e” signifies the word eye and (for the sake of space) is also abbreviated. The abbreviation of the book only appears once. Therefore, every set of numbers after “Ex” that do not have abbreviations before them, fall in the book of Exodus. The next abbreviation, “Le” will list all of the chapters and verses in Leviticus using eye, until the next abbreviation, and so on. Opening the book to eye, the search begins; it looks like this:
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Ex 21:24 E for e, tooth for tooth, hand for 5869
Ã¢Â?Â¢ :26 if a man smite thee e of his servant ”
Ã¢Â?Â¢ :26 or the e of his maid, that it perish; (also in verse 26) ”
Ã¢Â?Â¢ Le 21:20 or that hath blemish in his e “
So after reading all of the e’s in the sentences, the wanted verse appears near the end of the list in the book of Matthew:
Ã¢Â?Â¢ M’t 5:29 if thy right e offend thee, pluck it 3788
Ã¢Â?Â¢ :38 e for an e and a tooth for a tooth “
Knowing that the verse appears in the book of Matthew, chapter 5, and verse 38 is an important fact to remember. This way, when presenting the argument, there is no discrepancy of knowledge.
Notice in the above examples that the numbers to the far right are in straight text and italic text. This is to direct the reader to which dictionary (in the back of the concordance) the word is found. As stated earlier, the straight text (5869) is found in the Hebrew dictionary. Opening the back of the book to the Hebrew dictionary, notice that it is organized first by these numbers. Turn to 5869.
The definition goes on and on about how the word in this context can mean the eye in the body, or the eye of a landscape, therefore being used literally and/or figuratively. This leaves a lot of room for argument, so maybe a couple of other words in the scripture from Matthew 5:38 should be looked up in the concordance to develop a fully defined strategy for discourse.
In the Greek dictionary, incidentally, the example above in Matthew (3788) specifically states that yes, the word eye is used literally, but it also makes a note that it is used as envy (from the jealous side) which is not noted in the Exodus reference.
How to Present the Argument
The first thing to do is get the facts straight. Know the scriptures to be looked up and write them down. It might do some good to compare a couple of different scriptures and see the context between the two, or to contrast between the Old and the New Testament. The Old Testament went by prophets and seeing the future of what was to come. When Jesus Christ (according to the Bible) came and died, this marked the beginning of the New Testament up to present day.
Secondly, remember the topic being argued. Using a concordance can take the reader down many different and interesting paths which yield great results, but not always the exact results that one originally sought out.
Finally, keep in mind that no matter how concrete your view is after all your hours of research and study, that the other person or persons have the right to maintain their opinions on the subject. It doesn’t do any good to shove your view down the other person’s throat, for that fact – whether it’s the Bible, or one’s opinion on the latest football game. Use these tools to equip yourself mentally and spiritually; if the view can be presented without an argument, then the argument has come a long way. If one or the other person sways to the understanding of the other, a great sense of accomplishment is gained. However, not much in life worthwhile is gained by force.
Matthew 5:38 Ye have heard that it hath been said, An eye for an eye, and a tooth for a tooth: 39 But I say unto you, That ye resist …