There are words that carry the same definition year after year, while others transform into new (and often completely unrelated) meanings. Some have never had a clear definition… only the expression of opinion, and cliches can be pesky little morsels when understanding what is written today (let alone thousands of years ago).
This category is designed to hold a working glossary for this project. These translations of phrases and words are intended to reflect what I hear, type and speak in everyday life.
You are encouraged to chime in with what these words mean in your experience and mind… because the dialect of now will be different tomorrow… and isn’t quite what it was yesterday.
VITAL POINT OF UNDERSTANDING: THIS STORY DOESN’T AIM FOR THE “RIGHT WORD”, BUT RATHER THE MOST UNDERSTANDABLE WORDS TO ENABLE ANY WHO FOLLOW THE ONE – TO DO SO WITH COMPLETE HUMILITY ALLOWING GOD’S CONFIDENCE (AND NO FEAR).
Initial intent was to keep a Master Document, using this blog post, of all cultural paraphrases, but stopped after Jesus Words 3. (It was demanding too much time.) Major words and cultural paraphrases are kept here for easy copy/paste.
Please pass on your religious terms needing redefining via social links (top right corner on mobile)
- “As“ is replaced with “like“, because like is our common term to compare (without sounding pretentious).
- “ascending and descending” is accurate, but no one I know describes a roller coaster as ascending and descending except professionals trying to impress each other with their knowledge and command of the language. People today say, “goes up and down“. Let me know if I’m off base.
- “at hand” is replaced with “now”
- “Baptizing” is a bible/Jewish word for “washing”. It was a type of religious washing which carries no modern equivalent, so “washing” is the most understandable articulation. Still physical baptizing is still an action across most every brand of Christian community, so baptizing was left.
- “changers of money” is replaced with vendors, because I know what those look like, and picture changers of money as the cages at a casino
- “Christ” is Greek for “Chosen One“. It is true that the actual term is “Anointed One”, but to anoint means to smear or wipe… which anymore is a bio-hazard. This individual was anointed because that way the method with which designation was communicated – washed with oil. This action signified what King Arthur’s sword pulled out of the stone signified; a choosing of that individual.
- “coming down on [him]” culturally paraphrased with “landing on [him]”.
- “Demons” is replaced with “evil spirits.”
- “disciple” is a “follower“
- “even so” culturally paraphrased as “in the same way“. In this setting the sentence is also arranged… less Yoda.
- “heaven” is what we call the biological sky, but it also refers to the construct of eternity. All three are expected to be used as clarity allows.
- “hour comes” is replaced with a more commonly spoken “time is coming”
- “Jesus” is Greek for “Joshua”. His name (and it’s meaning) is a central theme across all Jesus’ teaching, but in order for the story to flow with understanding… Jesus was used rather than Joshua (even though Jesus is the Greek translation of Joshua. Clarity, rather than correctness, is the goal.
- God’s “kingdom” is God’s “perspective“. My people live with the concept of Kingdom meaning only a type of government or power expressed by the one in charge. The ruling Kingdom in this day consisted of one person’s perspective (and everyone under the king’s rule lived by his perspective, or could be killed). It was the King’s land that everyone was using, and all his citizen’s were his servants to command. That type of all encompassing authority over everyone’s experience is best culturally termed as a combination of “Power”, “Authority”, “Government”, “Standard” and/or “Perspective”. All that said, Kingdom is understood, and is the most accurate description of the realm of God’s Authority we all live within.
- “Lord” is fittingly replaced with “Authority”, but the central statement of, “Jesus is Lord” running through Christianity leads Lord to be left for continuity and clarity sake. Our society doesn’t have aristocracy, so Lord is unable to be given context required for definition.
- “Most Certainly“ is the phrase used in this translation, but other versions use, “Verily, verily”, “Very Truly”, “Most assuredly”, etc.. The use of a repeated word used here would probably best be translated as “Amen, amen”, but since this word marks our modern Pharisaical trumpet (at the end of our prayers), it also is not an culturally understandable term. Amen is a confirmation of truth, and the Holy Spirit is the Spirit of Truth. This Spirit was in Joshua after his baptism, and was planted here (through Joshua’s death), and now lives inside each of his followers. “Truth’s truth” is the cultural paraphrase used in this story. Feel free to look up Strongs #g281 (link to Blue Letter Bible)
- “of that which“ is culturally paraphrased to “about what“. Strongs #g3739 (link to Blue Letter Bible)
- “one cannot“ culturally paraphrased to “no one can“.
- “one in charge“ is a cultural paraphrase of “master of the house“
- “place of business” culturally rephrased as “storefront“
- “Man” historically identified both male gender (as compared to female), and general humankind/mankind. Human is used for clarity sake.
- “receive our witness“ culturally paraphrased as “believe us“. Not only would no one talk that way today (outside of a courtroom), but even though it reduces the number of words – it will be universally used in this story when these three words are in this order. The root words of this phrase are: Strongs #g2983 meaning “receive”, “take”, “have”, or “catch”, Strongs #g1473 references “ego” meaning “me”, or “myself”, and Strongs #3141 meaning “witness”, “testimony”, “record”, or “report”. These three words are used in our culture as “believe us”.
- “Repent” is replaced with “turn from wrong”
- “Sabbath” is replaced with “God’s Day”.
- “Satan” is “The Accuser“
- “Scribe” is closest to a “public servant”
- “should not” is culturally paraphrased as “does not have to“… and the following “have” becomes “has” (in both usages) View a few versions side by side, and check out the three words to make this phrase: Strongs #g622, then Strongs #g3363, and finally Strongs #g622 (yes the first and last word of this phrase are the same).
- “Take up” is replaced with “pick up”
- “teacher of Israel” culturally paraphrased using English’s grammatical process as “Israel’s teacher“.
- “that“ is replaced with “because“, because the end of this sentence isn’t, “that it was most grammatically correct”, but rather “because it should be clearly understandable”.
- “that“ is replaced with a semi-colon (“;”). It seems that getting rid of that “that” is the purpose of something like a semi-colon. It’s even spelled like an afterthought. It seems; semi-colons add clarity (too much? maybe).
- “their works“ is culturally paraphrased with “what they do“. I hear my culture talk about our work… but never “their works” (outside of religion). This is something that we can’t define (with complete certainty), but “what we do” is clearly visible to all (in ourselves and others).
- “underneath” is replaced with “under“. It may be proper English, but nobody talks that way. “Hey mom, where’s the clearer.” “It’s under the sink”… or “my young-ling, it is underneath the water-faucet and wash-pan in the kitchen.” Ya, we’re going with “under” here.
- “well” is replaced with “very“. There is no one I know who uses well in this way. We have multiple replacements for “well” pleased, but “well” isn’t one we use. Very’s the most common, and so it was used first.
- “who says to you” is replaced with “saying”
- “Woman” is certainly the most accurate word, but any female I address (today) as woman would be greatly offended. It would be a statement of subjection to a Male’s authority. “Ma’am” is likely a societal equivalent.
- “zeal” is a beautiful word, and undervalued in our culture. So undervalued, that it doesn’t carry clarity required to appreciate the value of zeal. However, the deepest emotion our culture appreciates is “passion” – so that is closest for this purpose.