Preaching through Leviticus

Through Rod Decker’s blog I learned of one Pastor James Schmidt of North Valley Baptist Church (Mayfield/Carbondale/Jermyn, PA) who has been doing just that.  Have you done it?  Are you brave enough to?  Check out Rod’s post about it.  He quotes part of James’ testimony about his experience.

I was scheduled to take a summer class in seminary on Leviticus and was really looking forward to it.  I was super bummed when it got canceled due to low interest (two people signed up).  My OT professor said it was the first time he had that problem.  Instead of taking it independently I ended up taking a class on the Chronicles (which was a good alternative and I learned a lot).

I hope to some day preach the whole Pentateuch.  It is just so foundational to understanding the rest of the Bible (OT and NT).

Why the low interest in Leviticus?

Jesus, the Son of God or the Chosen One or both?

I did a sermon last week on John 1:29-34 fosucing primarily on 29b, “Behold the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world.”  I sought to explain what was meant by Lamb of God and its implications.

But as I was working on the text I noticed a couple of things I thought I’d run by you all.  It’s too much for me to post the whole passage in the Greek so I will just focus on a couple of things and you all can look up the passage in whatever copy of the Greek text you have.  But I will also compare with some English translations.

The first thought I have centered in how Ιδε is translated in John the Baptist’s statement.  Here it is the aorist active imperative of οραω – to see.  It is not really an imperative in the sense of a command as much as it is an exclamation to draw attention.  Or is it?  Could it be a command?  Maybe its a both/and situation?  John sees Jesus and tells his disciples “Ιδε ο αμνος του θεου ο αιρων την αμαρτιαν του κοσμου.” (sorry no accents, haven’t got that down yet).  How do we translate Ιδε? Behold? Look? Here is? See?

The TNIV and NLT have “Look, the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

The NASB and ESV have “Behold, the Lamb of God who takes away the sin of the world!”

The NRSV and HSCB have “Here is the Lamb of God, who takes away the sin of the world!”

When I read “Look, the Lamb of God…” or “Here is the Lamb of God…” it doesn’t seem to have the same impact as the more archaic “Behold, the Lamb of God…”

BDAG lists οραω as (1) to perceive by the eye, catch sight of, notice.  (2) to see someone in the course of making a friendly call. (3) to experience a condition or event, experience, witness. (4) to be mentally or spiritually perceptive, perceive.

Not sure yet, what to think.  I want to say it is a combination of 1 and 4 both see and understand.

How would you translate Ιδε in this instance and others like it?

The next thing I found interesting was in verse 34.  It reads in the Greek: “καγω εωρακα και μεμαρτυρηκα οτι ουτος εστιν ο υιος του θεου.”  The UBS 4 has the variant as {B} ο υοις citing P66, 75 with alternative readings of ο εκλεκτος and ο μονογενης.

The NIV has what I have typically know it as “I have seen and I testify that this is the Son of God” as does the NASB, ESV, NRSV, and HCSB (no access to the RSV, REB, or the NET).

But I was awestruck when I saw how the TNIV and the NLT took a different perhaps more interpretive route:

The TNIV has: I have seen and I testify that this is God’s Chosen One.”

The NLT has “I saw this happen to Jesus, so I testify that he is the Chosen One of God.”

Both the TNIV footnotes it with “See Isaiah 42:1; many manuscripts is the Son of God.” and the NLT footnotes it with “Some manuscripts read the Son of God.”

So I looked up the Isaiah passage and it reads: “Here is my servant, whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom I delight; I will put my Spirit on him, and he will bring justice to the nations.”  This is the first verse for the section in Isaiah that tells if the Servant of the Lord and what he will do.  It is a good connectionA great connection But I wondered about the TNIV and NLT’s translation and their choice for choosing to translate it in light of Isaiah 42:1.

Is this too interpretive or is it a good callWhat say you?