Matt 7:7/Luke 11:9 – Ask, Seek, Knock… or?

In a recent conversation, it was wondered if the NLT over interpreted this verse.  This verse is noted frequently, especially when related to prayer.  It occurs in Matthew (7:7) and in Luke (11:9).  Let’s compare using the NLT and TNIV as our base translations:

Here is the TNIV for Matt:

Matt 7:7 “Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 

Here is the NLT for Matt:

Matt 7:7 – “Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 

Here is the TNIV for Luke

Luke 11:9 – “So I say to you: Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you.

Here is the NLT for Luke:

Luke 11:9 –  “And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 

Here is the verse in the Greek

Matthew 7:7 – Αιτειτε και δοθησεται υμιν, ζητειτε και ευρησετε,  κρουετε και ανοιγσεται υμιν·

Luke 11:9 – καγω υμιν λεγω, αιειτε και δοθησεται υμιν, ζητειτε και ευρησετε, κρουετε και ανοιγησεται, υμιν.

The differences are that Matthew leaves out καγω υμιν λεγω, where Luke has it.  Otherwise the statements are identical in spelling and tense.  

Looking at each of the verbs here we see that  αιειτε, ζητειτε, and κρουετε are each in the present active imperative with the present being in a customary sense as in “make it a habit” to ask, seek, knock – iow: ask and keep on asking, seek and keep on seeking, knock and keep on knocking.  

If we look at how the NLT translated these verbs, I think they might have captured the real meaning of the text.  This is what Jesus wants of us isn’t it?  He wants is to keep pressing him about our needs before him in prayer.  To many of us give up after a time when instead we need to keep on pressing into the Lord in prayer for the needs we have.  God wants us to keep on pressing him – to ask and keep on asking, to seek and keep on seeking, to knock and keep on knocking on heaven’s door!

ps. this is not to say the TNIV is not right but did the NLT over interpret?  The TNIV seems to reflect the traditional rendering but the NLT seems to reflect a little more literally the sense of the Greek in this verse.

The blood of Jesus explained

Be forewarned: not all will agree with what follows.

So one may hear this term a lot or one like it: the blood of Jesus, the blood of Christ, the shed blood of Jesus, the blood, etc.  What does this term mean?  What is it’s significance? Does it mean he bled like one does after cutting one’s finger?  Is that all he had to do to redeem mankind form sin?  Cut his finger and shed a little blood? 

Here is what I shared in my recent sermon on the blood of Jesus:

What do we mean by the shed blood of Jesus?  While he did bleed and shed blood was needed for the forgiveness of sins, the term “the blood of Jesus” is a reference to the violent sacrificial death of Jesus on the cross for the sins of humanity (that’s you and me and everybody else).  It is not the blood itself that saves because Jesus had normal human blood as we all do.  There is no magical power in the blood itself but rather it plays a symbolic role in that by Jesus shedding his blood, as a sinless man, through his violent sacrificial death on the cross, so that the wrath of God towards sin and sinful man is both averted and the penalty for our sin is wiped out.  We are set free from sin and its hold on our lives, our sins are forgiven, we are reconciled to God and given access to him because of the blood of Christ, or his death on the cross.  

It can be a challenging topic to talk about but In the Bible, Blood plays a significant role throughout both the Old and New Testaments and in the life of God’s people.  From Genesis chapter 3 on, blood is shed because of sin.  Because life is in the blood – when life is taken blood is required to make restitution for the life taken.  Blood is used to establish a covenant between God and man.  In this case it becomes the blood of the covenant.  In Leviticus 14 God ordained that blood be used for ritual cleansing.  Blood is used to purify parts of the tabernacle in the book of Exodus to designate them holy to the Lord.  Blood is required for the payment of sin – in a sin offering an animal’s blood is shed and it is offered up as a sacrifice.  In this sense the life of the animal is offered up in substitution for the person making the sacrifice.  When blood is shed it does not mean simply cutting a hand so one bleeds.  When blood is shed it often refers to a violent death or taking of life.   Blood is needed to pay for sin.  It’s either our blood or the blood of another, usually an animal.  In Old Testament times, animal sacrifices were sufficient for a person’s sin offering.  But in the New Testament, we find out that in reality, it was impossible for the blood of bulls and goats to take away sins.  Our own blood was needed to pay for our own sins but we could not do that and God knew it.  So, Jesus Christ came to give his life in our place so that we might live. 

Thank God for the shed blood of Jesus on the cross!  

Thought for the day: on Repentance

Repentance is not merely an act to be done but lifestyle to be lived.  A lifestyle of repentance is one that seeks to intentionally do the right thing (and go the right way) in the eyes of the Lord.  Repentance is not a one time thing but a daily attitude one lives out before the Lord and others. The benefits of living a life of repentance then is the peace that comes from choosing to set aside one’s own will and purpose to take up the will and purposes of God.