Something I having been wondering about for some time now and prompted by a reply in another discussion.


I would consider myself to be charismatic, but you know, thinking about it, I am not entirely sure why? Or, if I am actually charismatic.


What defines 'a charismatic' or 'to be charismatic'? What is charismatic worship?..............


Thanking you. Lorraine

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The word "charisma" bears no resemblance to our equivalent word - "gift". It's just one of those hard to explain things about how languages develop over time.

Actually it does show up in the New Testament but only if you are reading it in the original Greek. See this page, from Thayer and Smith's Greek Lexicon, which expands on the meaning of the word and also provides references for where it is found (translated by terms such as 'gift'):



"Original Greek" as in the texts that have been historically accepted as reliable sources of the New Testament canon by the Christian church for the best part of the last 2,000 years. How old are the oldest fragments of the Aramaic texts? I couldn't find that information on the site you quoted. Does it precede the Rylands fragment (a small portion from John's Gospel, dated to somewhere between 100 - 150 AD and in Greek)?

I think the mysteries of God's message to us are revealed more by the breath of his Spirit than by the nuances of any written version; the bedrock of the redeemed life is God's grace reaching to us, whatever our language.


Terry -

I think that Wulf gave you an excellent reply below.  The Aramaic/Greek question has been debated for quite awhile.  It's somewhat like the fellow who displayed George Washington's axe.  "It's the original... of course, since George used it it's had seven new handles and two new heads!"

To be fair, the crucifixion reveals Jesus crying out in Aramaic, "Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani" (and some helpful onlookers mistaking Eloi (my God) for Elijah, either not listening carefully, half-lost in the crowd noise, not understanding Aramaic, or thinking that Jesus thought Elijah had forsaken him!).  But that is what Jesus spoke (most likely His preferred tongue, though we generally assume He spoke fluent Hebrew -- I find it hard to picture Scribes and Pharisees 'debasing' themselves to conversing with him in any other language).  How did He speak to Pilate?  With an interpreter?  Nobody knows the answers to these things.

In the 60's I was told that medieval monks made the whole thing, because there were "no trustworthy documents before 1000 A.D."  But people keep digging for truth.

Which "axe-head" inscribed the various New testament books -- at point of origin?  James, Peter and John might be good candidates for Aramaic; but Luke would be likely for Greek and Hebrew for Matthew Levi.  For that reason, why should Paul, a Hebrew of the Hebrews, write in Greek, except that he would have had a small audience in Athens if he did not converse easily in that language.  In what language did he burst out "I was born a Roman citizen!"?

1 John 5:7 reads "...the father, the Word, and the Holy Spirit, and these three are one" -- in some Bibles, but only as a footnote in others.  Were these words expunged by an Anti-trinitarian or inserted by a Trinitarian? 

The study of ancient texts is helpful to our understanding -- but we still live in the shadow of Babel, where words must be translated, and we are forced to spend time re-imaging the meaning of phrases.  We also live in a world in which my wife gives students a list of four topics to cover on an essay, and explains those four topics verbally for five days, with the students repeating and discussing what she is explaining -- and they still turn in papers with three topics, different from the ones on the list.

Yes, we need His word (quoting Wulf here) "revealed more by the breath of His Spirit than by the nuances of any written version."

Hi Terry - I would be careful with this suspect teaching. I believe it stems from an unhealthy root that seeks to put one culture and language above all others which goes against everything taught in the NT. T


I'll share what I remember from 4 years of Greek, Hebrew and Semitic studies. Admittedly, I've confirmed some of it via web searches as it's been many years and I can't recall it all at a moment's notice.


Aramaic as Commoners' Hebrew:


Aramaic was not poor man's Hebrew as has been suggested. It was actually a separate language and it's use in Jesus' time has been traced to the Assyrian invasions of Palestine. It's actually a Semitic SISTER language to Hebrew along with Arabic. Common people may have spoken it, but it's not because it was "commoners's Hebrew". It was certainly quite commonly spoken, but unlike those of us in the US who can get away with only one language, they had to be coversent in more than one language to carry on. Greek was that other language.


Hebrew considered "the holy language":


Considered by whom? It was a language with origins in Canaanite languages and dialects. If Hebrew was the holy language, Aramaic is a sister to the holy language. Why use the sister language? And if one specific language was "the holy language", what does that say about inferiority and standing among cultures? 


Neither Hebrew nor Aramaic were special in their own right but descended from Canaanite languages in the fertile crescent. Hebrew, and I believe Aramaic, descended from Ugaritic. 


Paul's recipients were Judean synagogue leaders:


Not at all. Remember Romans 15:16 and other parts of the NT where Paul states specifically that his mission was to spread the gospel to the Gentiles. The major portion of Paul's NT audience spoke Greek and would have had no knowledge of Aramaic given the regions where they lived. It hardly seems sensible that Paul's original letters would have gone out in Aramaic to the Romans, Ephesians etc. when those readers wouldn't have been able to read them. And Paul may have spoken and written it quite well but needed the scribe due to vision issues. The existence of the LXX is further proof that this was true even for Jewish people living in these regions.


Paul et. al. were not fluent writers of Greek:


Perhaps true, but so what? It is and has always been common practice to use scribes in this situation. Note Col 3:18 - "This salutation by my own hand" - implying that the rest of the letter was written by his assistant. (Also I Cor 16:21, 2 Thess 3:17 etc.) Primacy arguments fail here.



Aramaic texts pre-date the Greek by at least 100 years:


How can Aramaic texts pre-date Greek texts by at least 100 years when the earliest Greek texts that we have get us into 70 AD (a papyri of Mark I think)?  If the Aramaic texts are 100+ years older than that, they were written before Jesus was born!


"Letters that were to be used for teaching the truths of the Almighty would certainly not be written in a language that would make it even more difficult to understand the mysteries of His work."


On can reasonably argue that Greek was THE BEST language to communicate God's work. For instance, there isn't a word for virgin in Hebrew that gives the emphatic meaning of  "virgin". Almah only implies it. But the Greek states emphatically, "virgin". This sets the record for all time and for all people, regardless of culture, that Mary was a virgin - something that Hebrew wasn't capable of communicating. And it establishes a vitally important piece of doctrine surrounding the person of Jesus. I can't think of another ancient language that contains the ability to communicate nuance and meaning with such precision. Having studied Latin, Hebrew and Greek in depth for 4 years, I can assure you that this is true.


So no language owns it all. The language of the people to whom God wishes to communicate His message is the language. 

Stevo, this analysis seems very sound, and your research jives with what I've read on this subject (though my Greek is limited to intensive self-study with lexicons and a parallel NT and my 'scholarly study' mostly journal articles and books dealing with language that happened to look interesting). 

A quick google of "first-century papyri" yielded nothing meaningful, either in the way of Greek or Syriac documents.  We're nowhere close to the originals, which were mostly made (by considering external evidence and the length of the authors' lives) in the middle of the first century. 

We do have a few fragments of Mark and I believe another letter from pre-100. I seem to remember it was around 70AD. Of course the dating itself is suspect. Either way, you will search far and wide to find this store of Aramaic texts. Funny that, if Hebrew were the holy language, and there's a theory about how it's been preserved by God since it was special, why would the original NT be in Aramaic? I would expect a "gold standard" in Hebrew. 


What you will find is God's last revelation in many languages today with only the Greek holding the subtle nuances that make some of the slight differences in the interpretation.

It's astonishing, Stevo, that no King-James-only troll has found this discussion... yet.

True that. There was one on here for a while, he disappeared.

Once I had a live one who would come into my office and just start spouting about the Received translation and how the exact number of words and letters added up...  uh!   oh!   flashback!   agh!

Ick.  If there were any credibility in that, imagine the pressure on Wycliffe Translators to "get it right". 


On a similar note, there are two camps with the Greek versions: Majority Text and Critical Text. Most translations are based on the Critical Text while the KJV, NKJV and Darby are the only ones I know of based on some version of Majority Text.  I tend to favor Marjority Text when studying Greek but also realize that only a small percentage of Greek readers agree. I also realize that a small percentage of the differences are even material.


Funny how we got to Greek translations and Aramaic primacy arguments from charisma. I guess it makes sense how that happened...

In Romans 5:15, Paul uses kharisma to mean the gift of salvation, coupled with kharis - grace, the grace of Jesus.  Paul, interestingly, uses a different word, dorhayma, for "gift", while contrasting the negative effect of Adam's sin to the positive effect of Jesus' grace.  For all we know, Paul may have simply been using a synonym, as does any good writer.  The "gifts" (kharismatohn) in 1 Cor. 12:4, however, are definitely a matter of abilities given by God (12:6 is where charismatics get the term 'operating" - enerjaymatohn - in regard to gift ministries).  Here the tenor of the passage is to remind the people that their "gift" does not make them any more special than anyone else.  Humility and cooperation are the themes.

The Body may harbor multiple ministries; a word may harbor multiple meanings.

I've also seen Greek words simply get tossed around, simply to give their speaker an air of authority.  The speaker finds the root in Strong's and sprays it on the congregation.  if it happens to be a cognate of a familiar English word, all the better:)

Please pardon my strange spellings of Greek words.  I'm trying to get their pronunciation both right and readable by normal people, which the textbook spellings never do.


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