God warns that teachers will receive a stricter judgment, So I must come to you and tell you I shouldn’t have endorsed the “gospel sentence” that some saw in the Hebrew meanings of the ten names listed in Genesis 5.
For those of you who have just joined us, this is what I found so fascinating, but now about which I have serious doubts. I’ll explain why, what I learned, and ask for your forgiveness,
For a few of you, this raised red flags, and I’m thankful, for it caused me to check with Hebrew scholars, to whom I am so grateful. I learned a lot, though I wish I had checked before I posted. I don’t know Hebrew and I certainly don’t know the finer art of Hebrew: Semantics. I had looked up all the names in two concordances, but I see now that was not enough to keep me in the clear.
I’ve learned enough now to stay away from interpreting names. I was wrong to go there without checking with those who are experts in Hebrew. I hope I can re-establish trust with you.
When I’m writing a book, this blog is so helpful to test things on, to see what is clear and what is not, and to get your wonderful input, for God has mericifully gifted us here with women of depth and discernment. Perhaps when I get to heaven I’ll find out Missler was right all along, but I don’t think so. I also know that after I faced this and repented, the uneasy feeling in my heart went away — and I believe that was the blessed conviction of the Spirit. I know that God holds teachers to a strict account so I will stay away from the interpretation of names in the future. I have taken down the original post, and have edited last week’s post, and I will be more cautious in the future.
What I learned from both of the scholars with whom I checked is that Hebrew, and particularly with the names of people, is complex. For example, Seth can be translated appointed or substituted — and which translation is right makes a big difference in the gospel sentence. Missler, who first published the above, said you have to sometimes go to the root, but I learned that can be dangerous too, as you will see from the article I’m posting that Professor Greg Scharf sent me. He is the lead teaching professor at Trinity Evangelical Seminary and he checked with one of his astute scholars who in turn sent this link to an article by a trained “Semiticist” (I had to look that one up — it comes from semantics, or the study of language) Dr. Scharf’s friend thought the article a bit harsh and would have stated it more kindly, but still that the Semiticist’s points were true. I too wish he could have been kinder, yet this certainly clarified for me the problems in Missler’s approach. I do think Missler is a godly man and I still think it is possible there is something to what he says, but I am more doubtful now and if I err, I want to err on the side of caution and I am persuaded that is dangerous to go into this deep, dark water for we can be misled. When our own Lizzy said, “I’ve never heard this before but I trust Dee,” I felt a catch in my heart. I believe was God’s Spirit warning me because He loves me and He loves you, and He is a good Shepherd who leads us into safety.
Our own Diane said, “Why study what is unclear when there is so much that is clear?” Dorian Coover-Cox, the first professor with whom I checked at DTS said the same. Of course much in Scripture is challenging, and I don’t think that means we should avoid challenging passages, but we must be careful especially with “new” findings as we are continually warned in Scripture to stay with what we were taught “from the beginning.” If there is something hidden in the Old Testament, it is often confirmed in the New Testament, and then we know we are on safe ground.Dear Dr. Scharf commended to me D. A. Carson’s New Testament Commentary on the Old Testament “to keep me on the straight and narrow.” I have that and will use it more than I have. I do know God holds teachers accountable!
So, I’ll give you the link to the article which I’d love for you to read today or tomorrow and then we’ll go on to see what is the clear teaching of this passage of the names in Genesis 5 and also consider some ways to avoid false teaching.
I am so thankful to you for your graciousness. Here is the article from the Semiticist. On the chance the link stops working, I’ve also included the PDF>
Pdf of the above:
So now let us turn our attention to the same passage, but see what is CLEAR FOR IT IS FASCINATING. I hope you’ll trust me again and stay with me!
1. Share anything you’ve learned from this or from the above article.
Tuesday-Wednesday: Bible Study: The Genealogy of Genesis 5.
Last week we saw, in looking at the first gospel in Genesis 3:15, that two families began: one of Satan and one of God’s. That sets the stage for the rest of the Bible drama! That of God’s would lead to the Messiah. This is confirmed in the New Testament, as we will see. Let’s just look at what we learn about some of the men from each line in this Genesis account.
2. Read Genesis 4:17-24 What things do you learn about the descendants of Cain?
3. Lamech from the line of Cain was the first polygamist and that led to grief and abuse throughout Genesis. As you will see next week, Noah’s sons were not polygamists. Give an example from Genesis of the grief polygamy brings.
4. In Keller’s free sermon (please listen!) he contrasts Genesis 4:24 with Matthew 18:21-22. Before you listen, what do you see?
5. What do you learn about the descendants of Seth from:
A. Genesis 4:26
B. Genesis 5:22-24
C. Genesis 5:28 (This Lamech is different than the descendant of Cain)
D. Genesis 6:6-8
6. What contrasts do you see between these two lines?
Cain’s line is credited with what might be called worldly progress and achievement whereas Seth’s were often (but not necessarily always) men of faith who grasped the fact that sin was the root of their troubles. I liked so much a comment by Derek Kidner: A biased account would ascribe nothing good to Cain. The truth is more complex. God was to make much use of Cainite techniques for his people.
I liked that because I see so much good often in some non-Christians — and indeed, they certainly can be more loving and giving that some Christians. As Kidner says, “The truth is more complex.” We are made in the image of God, so there is greatness, even in the line of Cain. Some of the best books I have read are by non-Christians — because all wisdom is from God. Yet we who have the seed of Christ, as 1 John so clearly shows, should walk as He did, love as He did, and be known by our love and light.
7. Read 1 John 3:11-15
A. To whom did Cain belong and why did he murder Abel?
B. What does verse 13 say and how does this confirm Genesis 3:15?
C. What is one test to show we have passed from death to live according to verse 14?
8. It was a red flag to me when a couple of you said, “I’ve never heard this before.” What are we told in 1 John 2:24 and how could we apply this for protection?
9. The closing of 1 John is a climatic summary of truths expressed throughout:
A. What is characteristic of a child of God according to 1 John 5:18 and why?
B. How do you see the two families in 1 John 5:19?
C. Find three reasons Jesus came according to 1 John 5:20.
D. How does John end and how is this related to everything he has been
teaching about walking in love, light, and truth?
Thursday-Friday: Free Sermon from Keller: A Tale of Two Cities
10. Share your comments or notes from Keller’s sermon.
11. What is your take-a-way and why?