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Musings -- A Continuing Series of Comments on Specific Translation Issues within the International Standard Version New Testament

by Dr. David Alan Black

"So great is the force of established usage that even acknowledged corruptions please the greater part, for they prefer to have their copies pretty rather than accurate."

Jerome

drblack.jpg (5141 bytes)
Dr. David Alan Black
Associate Editor
, ISV NT

"Press On" or "Be Carried Along"?

In Hebrews 6:1, the readers are told to leave elementary things and advance to maturity. The verb often translated "go on" (NRSV) or "press on" (NASB) is pherometha, from the common New Testament word meaning "bring" or "carry" (phero).

Here it appears in the passive voice and pictures the Christian as "continually being carried along" to maturity. There is nothing here of "going on," or of "pressing on," or of self-effort, or of struggling to make progress in the Christian life. The author is saying, as it were, "lift your sails and allow yourselves to be borne along to maturity by the Holy Spirit of God." He also uses a tense that implies a process rather than a single act. Hence the ISV rendering:

Therefore, leaving behind the elementary teachings about Christ, let us continue to be carried along to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works, faith toward God

This same idea of being carried forward by God is found in Romans 8:14, where Paul declares that "all who are led by God’s Spirit are God’s children," and in 2 Peter 1:21, where Peter, using the same Greek verb as our author uses here, asserts that the prophets "were carried along by the Holy Spirit." It is the power of the Holy Spirit that is the true dynamic of Christian growth!

Introduction Poetry Lettuce? Press on? Good Giving Good Citizens Can Faith Save? On Poets & Liars An Ode to Love The Disciple Teachable? Sloppy Agape Mustering Mystery Alliteration Whom Sweet Whom Conclusion

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