googlef87758e9b6df9bec.html A Sure Word: Acts 20:28: The Blood of God or the Blood of His Son? An Argument of Exceptions

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Acts 20:28: The Blood of God or the Blood of His Son? An Argument of Exceptions

Be on guard for yourselves and for all the flock, among which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the church of God which He purchased with His own blood.” Acts 20:28

I was online the other day, discussing this verse. It's one of special, theological importance. A plain reading of this verse shows that God purchased the church, “with His own blood.” Obviously, it was Jesus who shed His blood on the cross so this verse seems to affirm the divinity of Jesus. That is, Jesus is God.

The person with whom I was discussing this verse took exception to that understanding. He resorted to a “mistranslation” argument. I've had dealings with this individual before and his Greek is not really that good. However, in this case, there is a certain amount of ambiguity in the Greek that he was leveraging to bolster his point.

The Greek reads, διὰ (through) τοῦ (the) αἵματος (blood) τοῦ (the) ἰδίου (His own).

The most obvious translation of this verse is the one rendered in most Bibles, “through His own blood.” Another translation, which is a little more awkward in English, is “through the blood which is His own.” But there is still another possibility: “through the blood of His own (Son).”

The latter translation is not the most likely but it is still possible. The question is, which is the intended translation of the three? Since the critic I was conversing with online did not believe Jesus is God, he argued the 3rd translation, the least likely one, is the correct one. He hooted and cheered that even RKBentley, a conservative Christian, acknowledged that “through the blood of His own” had merit as a possible translation. Of course, he ignored that I said it is the less likely one. As far as he was concerned, it is THE translation because Jesus is not God.

From there, we began discussing some other verses that referred to Jesus as God. Here are a few that I cited – please excuse my frequent use of the word, “clearly,” I was making a point:

In John 20:28, Thomas clearly says to Jesus, “The Lord of me and the God of me.”

John 1:1c clearly says, “the Word was God.”

Titus 2:13 clearly says, “the great God and our Savior, Jesus Christ”

2 Peter 1:1 clearly says, “our God and Savior, Jesus Christ”

In John 10:11, Jesus clearly said, “I AM (ἐγὼ εἰμι) the good shepherd” while Psalm 23:1 clearly says, “Jehovah is my shepherd.”

In Matthew 3:3, John the Baptist said he was preparing the way for the Lord (who is clearly Jesus) just like Isaiah said. Isaiah 40:3 clearly said the prophet will prepare the way for Jehovah.

Joel 2:32 clearly says that whoever calls upon the name of Jehovah will be saved. Roman 10:13 clearly says whoever calls upon the name of the Lord (Jesus) will be saved.

Revelation 1:8, we clearly see that God is the Alpha and Omega. In Revelation 1:17, Jesus clearly says He is the first and the last. In Revelation 22:13, we clearly see that the Alpha/Omega and the first/last is the same Person.

In John 5:21, Jesus clearly says He gives life just as the Father gives life.

In John 5:23 Jesus clearly says we should honor Him in the same way we honor the Father

In John 10:30, Jesus clearly said, “I and the Father are one.”

We also have many clear instances of people worshiping Jesus; The man born blind (John 9:38), the magi (Matthew 2:11), the disciples in the boat (Matthew 14:33), et al.

So we see time after time where the Bible clearly identifies Jesus as God. The response from my critic friend online was to cite William Barclay:

But we shall find that on almost every occasion in the New Testament on which Jesus seems to be called God there is a problem either of textual criticism or of a translation. In almost every case we have to discuss which of two readings is to be accepted or which two possible translations is to be accepted.

Note that Barclay said, “almost every occasion.” If the Bible says even once that Jesus is God, then that would clear up the ambiguous verses but never mind that now. What struck me was that the rebuttal I usually hear to seemingly clear references of Jesus' divinity is to say that the Bible doesn't really mean what it clearly seems to be saying.  Each and every time the Bible seems to identify Jesus as God, they say a more obscure translation of the verse is the correct one.

Is that the best they have? Their only response - ever - is to say, “what that really means is....”  We argue rules and they argue exceptions. How odd it would be if God gave us His revelation in code. How are we expected to understand any part of the Bible if the most ordinary meaning of any verse is never the correct one?

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