Reading the Bible in black and white with a dash of color


The girl in the red coat from Schindler's List

The girl in the red coat from Schindler’s List. What a powerful metaphor. Click image to enlarge.

Have you watched Schindler’s List? Can you remember the scenes with the little girl in the red coat? Crimson blood set against black and white. It’s seared an indelible print into my memory.

I feel the same when I read the New Testament in Greek. I’m not proficient enough to do it in full color yet but I’m certainly starting to see dashes of scarlet within the black and white text. Take John 1:1 for example.

1 In the beginning was the Word…

“was” is a translation of the Greek word “ην”. It’s a teeny tiny word, almost insignificant really, but Greek is a whole lot more exact than English. They have rules upon rules and distinct word permutations for every nuance under the sun. That one little word “ην” tells an entire story.

From school I was familiar with the past, present and future tenses. Well the word “ην” is in an imperfect tense. The imperfect tense is a past tense but it’s a bit more than that. It carries with it the idea of an action, occurring in the past, having been repeated over and over. By saying, “In the beginning was the Word” John is trying to convey to His readers that the Word was consistently, perpetually, abiding. It’s stuff you just can’t glean out of an English text. The English word “was” is a black and white translation of the ruby red “ην”.

What translation do you use? How do you go about interpreting Scripture?

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3 thoughts on “Reading the Bible in black and white with a dash of color

  1. Is it not amazing, even scary sometimes,how through the vehicle of God-given human creativity, we see glimpses of God’s truth as it is intentionally woven into the fabric of normal media with such astounding presence.

    No-one is without escape or excuse as even the hardiest unbeliever is captured by the reality and the relevance.

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