Remove Fat and Insert Tool

In my younger days I was a bit of a motor head. I wasn’t into big American muscle but instead my tastes ran towards small European cars that handled well. (This was the seventies and the only Japanese cars that fit this bill were the Datsun 510 and Z cars). My preference was for German machines, and since I was on a National Boh budget this meant Volkswagens and Audis and not Bimmers or Porsches. But Porsches, Audis and VWs were all sisters under the skin and their DNA was good.

Rebuilding the engine on my Sirocco (yet again) I encountered an amusing little lesson on how sometimes things get lost in translation. It was a piston rod and was factory made in Wolfsburg. Inside the box, in typical German orderly fashion, the instructions read;

1.) Take out tool.

2.) Remove fat from tool.

3.) Insert tool.

Fat? Tool? Of course they meant the protective grease that covered the part for shipping. I thought it was pretty funny, especially since Germans are renowned for their precision.

I was reminded of this recently while participating in some theological discussions on the net involving differing translations of the same scriptural text. For example, in 1 Corinthians 6 and in 1 Timothy 1 Paul uses the words arsenokoitai and malakoi. These two words have been translated as ‘homosexual’ yet it is not clear to everyone what Paul meant. In fact, arsenokoitai (a word that Paul apparently coined himself) was for the longest time thought to be about masturbation. It wasn’t that long ago that the modern translations began to use the word ‘homosexual’ here.

I’ve talked before about how the word Sheol has been translated to mean both the grave as well as hell, or hades. There are other places where people, especially those who are critical of faith, point out the obvious contradictions and inconsistencies found in scripture. Usually these contradictions and inconsistencies can be explained as errors in translation or just a case of literary styling. I think it is good to take all this into consideration when presenting small portions of scripture as support for our arguments (which I do all the time, I know). I sometimes wonder if this was how the Bible was even intended to be used. Which might be more meaningful when we remember that for most of its history it was never even a book.

Here are three web pages that provide information on Paul’s use of these words, the last one providing the more traditional Christian position.

http://fogarty.org/tim/gay_issues/word_arsenokoitai.html

http://www.religioustolerance.org/homarsen.htm

http://www.catalystresources.org/issues/222dodd.html

And here is a link to one of the better atheist articles concerning biblical inconsistency. I think it’s worth while hearing the other side.

http://www.atheists.org/christianity/realbible.html

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  1. #1 by Stephanie on April 24, 2008 - 3:09 pm

    Janice-

    Very nicely said…..

    I see it not as a ‘church’ or doctrinal position, other than the position that we’re not all there yet. The position that says we’re willing to explore and challenge. . . and let God decide where the chips may fall. Lets just get about the business of ‘doing my Father’s work’ or something to that effect.

  2. #2 by netprophet on April 24, 2008 - 3:12 pm

    Christian and all,
    Or should that be “all Christian?”

    It is so refreshing to be able to share our beliefs and opinions without feeling the fear of condemnation and finger wagging. I’m in agreement with all on this post and I would like to add one thing.

    I’ve been told so many times by so many “in the know” church leaders, that if I don’t accept the entire Bible as the word of God that I will fall into the trap of creating my own little comfort zone where I only accept what’s good for me and what I feel is not, I will just cast off as man’s interpretation. After all, that is man’s nature. I kind of agree with that part about the Word, however, when I ask them which interpretation do they suggest I accept? They of course always say theirs or their Church’s or Heaven forbid, that of the majority.

    I believe this is just the way God intended it to be. The reason I believe this is the tower of Babel. In complete unity we have no need for God. What other reason would God have to confound our languages other than to help us understand that in our differences there is He! In other words, unless we want to do no more than debate and argue our questions and opinions knowing we will never reach total agreement or solve any mystery we seek the solution of, we have to turn to the Holy Spirit (Who is the Bible’s inspiration in the first place). And there it is. The answer we have all been looking for. Ha! Ha! 🙂

  3. #3 by Janice on April 24, 2008 - 3:29 pm

    Thanks for the affirmation Stephanie!

    Netprophet- I will be pondering that- tower of babel and all – thank you for that. I immediately think of the passage where were are told to maintain unity but also to attain unity — kind of as in we are already ‘one’ and yet we still have some unity issues to work out…perhpas that is a never ending process.

    I believe I am definitely of the personality that I NEED some confusion or issues in my life to remind me of my need for God. (guess thats one of my character flaws) else I’m likely to go building my own towers in my own powers and pride. I wish it weren’t so..but I think it just kind of is for me.

    Thanks again,
    Janice

  4. #4 by Stephanie on April 24, 2008 - 3:30 pm

    Net-

    That’s beautiful…………….

    I believe this is just the way God intended it to be. The reason I believe this is the tower of Babel. In complete unity we have no need for God. What other reason would God have to confound our languages other than to help us understand that in our differences there is He!

    YES! YES! YES!

  5. #5 by Christian on April 24, 2008 - 10:29 pm

    Wow – Good stuff. Didn’t mean to be sitting things out but….it’s our 26th anniversary today so I’ve been spending time with my ‘blogging widow’.

  6. #6 by Janice on April 24, 2008 - 11:15 pm

    Happy Anniversary!

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