English blog


08-02-2012 - Posted by Andre Piet

The best way to find out the meaning of a word, in the Bible, is to consult a concordance or keyword-registry. They shows where and how the word is used. This is how you discover its meaning. Then, of course, it is important that we look at the original Bible word and not at the way it has been translated, because that (often) is not done consistently. In Matthew 14:33, for example, we read in the KJV:

Then they that were in the ship came and worshiped him, saying, Of a truth thou art the Son of God.

The Young’s Literal Translation does not speak here of “worship” but of “bowing down”. And rightly so. The Greek word behind this (proskuneo), not only has to do with the worship of God (e.g., in Mat.4:10), but also with expressing honor, in general. So it is used, in Matthew 18:26, where a slave as a supplicant, bows before his master (Mat.18: 26), or in Acts 10:26, where the God-fearing Cornelius pays humble tribute to Peter. Or what do you think of the words of Jesus addressed to the church of Philadelphia:

Lo, I make of the synagogue of the Adversary those saying themselves to be Jews, and are not, but do lie; lo, I will make them that they may come and bow before thy feet, and may know that I loved thee. Revelation 3:9, Young’s Literal Translation

The word behind “bow”, here, is the same as “worship”, as shown in the first quotation. Obviously this cannot be “worship” and the KJV translators have not wanted to suggest that, either. But why then translate it that way? It shows that the translators, in the word “worship”, have projected their theology: the Son of God should be worshiped. But the Greek word “proskuneo” has a much broader meaning and refers to the respectful bowing down to anyone, whether this be done to God, the Son of God, a king or a master. ——————————— translation: Peter Feddema